BOOK REVIEW – A TREE IN THE HOUSE: FLOWERS FOR YOUR HOME, SPECIAL OCCASIONS & EVERY DAY…

My book review this month is A Tree In The House: Flowers For Your Home, Special Occasions & Every Day by Annabella Hickson.

The book provides ideas and instructions for celebratory botanical installations and arrangements, covering beautiful, seasonal bouquets, flowers for friends, table and overhead arrangements, and flower arrangements for special occasions. The instructions are wonderfully simple and cover everything from the perfect flower-to-vase proportions to how to create an overhead floral installation, and the book particularly focuses on foraged and locally and seasonally grown plants. All the floral arrangements are as zero waste as possible and include tips like how to transport flowers in vases (instead of plastic) with no water spills, and how to create a structured arrangement without floral foam.

A Tree in The House celebrates the simple, natural beauty that flowers bring to the home, with flower arranging that is in sync with nature.

Full of useful information and gorgeous photography and to be read the only way with a cup of tea and a slice of cake curled up in a deep armchair.

 

THE BEST CHILDREN’S AFTERNOON TEAS…

Yes, there is a guide to the best Children’s Afternoon Teas. The guide is written by The London Mother and although we can’t enjoy these lovely places at the moment it doesn’t mean we could make up our own at home. Here are just a few from the guide to the best Children’s Afternoon Tea in London.

Little Ones Afternoon Tea | Lanesborough Hotel

The Lanesborough has created a yummy tea for children up to age 12 that starts with hot chocolate or fruit juice and includes honey roast ham, mint yoghurt and cucumber cheddar cheese and strawberry jam sandwiches.Sweet treats include American pancakes with Nutella, Smarties and marshmallows, and homemade plain and raisin scones with strawberry jam and clotted Devonshire cream.

Children’s Afternoon Tea at Dorset Square Hotel 

Kids get to decorate their own cupcake at the Children’s Afternoon Tea in The Potting Shed Restaurant. Flex their creative muscles with different icing and toppings on their cupcakes and tuck into a selection of finger sandwiches, cakes, fruit and ice cream.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych 

This Roald Dahl inspired tea is just as fantastical as you’d imagine his afternoon tea with children to be; think fizzy drinks, snozzberry jam and chocolate milkshake mixed by waterfall. Tuck into not-quite-as-it-seems salmon and beetroot macaron and cheddar scones with bacon toffee jam, luscious lemon floss and plates piled high with wondrous cakes, sweets, mousses and scones – all washed down with chocolate or lemon sherbet tea or swimming pool fizz.

Rock n Roll Afternoon Tea | The Gore

Afternoon tea isn’t all hearts and flowers, older kids will enjoy Rock ‘n’ Roll afternoon tea. The unique afternoon tea experience is inspired by artists like The Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses, Queen and David Bowie.

Lots more to look through on The London Mother site but plenty to inspire you here.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF DRINKING COFFEE…


With so much hype about the health benefits of certain teas, it’s nice to know that coffee has some health benefits as well.

According to a Greek study, one cup of coffee a day could reduce your blood pressure. Researchers actually found that those who drank between one and two cups of coffee daily had the healthiest arteries.

Two cups a day (no more than two cups if you are pregnant) could keep Alzheimer’s at bay.

After studying more than 122,000 women, researchers found that three cups a day can reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer. However, according to a US study in 2006, coffee drinkers who have more than three cups a day may increase their risk of a heart attack.

Coffee, like tea, is packed with antioxidants which can potentially cut the risk of cancer, however, more than three cups a day could mean that you are twice as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis.

In fact, the BBC Health say that ‘three cups a day may have some health benefits according to a large review of studies, in the BMJ’. It found a lower risk of liver disease and some cancers in coffee drinkers, and a lower risk of dying from stroke – but researchers could not prove coffee was the cause.’

And, the Mayo Clinic states that ‘while past studies hinted that coffee might have a dark side, newer research suggests that it may actually have health benefits.

Why the reversal? It’s hard to look at just one aspect of diet and connect it to a health condition because so many other factors that could play a role. For example, early research on coffee didn’t always take into account that heavy coffee drinkers also tended to use tobacco and be sedentary.

When newer studies adjusted for such factors, they found a possible association between coffee and decreased mortality. Coffee may offer some protection against:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Liver disease, including liver cancer
  • Heart attack and stroke

Coffee still has potential risks, mostly due to its high caffeine content. For example, it can temporarily raise blood pressure. Women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or breastfeeding need to be cautious about caffeine. High intake of boiled, unfiltered coffee has been associated with a mild increase in cholesterol levels.

The bottom line? Your coffee habit is probably fine and may even have some benefits. But if you have side effects from coffee, such as heartburn, nervousness, or insomnia, consider cutting back.’

10 Health Benefits Of Coffee - The Health Savvy

OVER TEN REASONS TO DRINK GREEN TEA…

 

The question is are there any other foods or drink that have been reported to have as many health benefits as green tea?

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times. It is made using the leaves of the Chinese Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are then applied to heat quickly after picking which minimizes oxidation. This is thought to give the green tea it’s many benefits.

1. Researchers have suggested that it can help slash the risk of developing cancer by shrinking tumours.

2. It has been known to stabilise your cholesterol levels.

3. It has shown significant reductions in deaths of cardiovascular disease.

4. It can boost your immune system and aid weight loss.

5. It has been effective in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

6. It can reduce tooth decay.

7. A recent report has shown that it can also slow the onset of Alzheimers and Parkinsons Disease.

8. It can help fight infections and allergies to the body.

9. They also say it can slow the ageing.

10. The latest news on Green tea is that it can enhance the ability of our brains’ cognitive functions especially on the working memory, a Swiss scientists suggest.Researchers have recommended further study into how green tea can help with cognitive impairments such as dementia.

11. Green tea’s other benefits include reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. This research was conducted at the University Hospital of Basel Switzerland and led by Professors Christoph Beglinger and Stefan.

12. Drinking green tea ‘may’ reduce the risk of age related functional disabilities like osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

13. They say that for people who consume 1 – 2 cups of green tea per day have a ten percent lower risk of becoming disabled.

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FLOUR THAT’S GLUTEN AND WHEAT FREE…

With so many of us suffering with gluten and wheat intolerances but still wanting to bake it was great to see flour without either.

Oast to Host has solved this problem with its two new flour blends Cake and Pastry. They have been expertly blended to give you light and fluffy cakes and crisp pastry. They contain a little dried egg albumen, which helps with the texture of the bakes.

They start at Cake Flour £4 for 450g for 2 available online at Oast to Host. And the Pastry Flour £9 for 2 x 450g.

This wonderfully versatile flour allows you to make your favourite: CAKE/cup cakes, SCONES, BLINIS, STEAMED PUDDINGS & BISCUITS.  Everyone will be coming back for more!  Each 225g recipe will make a generous 8″ Cake. 

You can make anything from Lemon Drizzle, Coffee and Walnut, Chocolate, Battenburg or Carrot Cake!  Our new in-house favourite is Earl Grey Cake using real tea leaves! 

See how easy it is to make this delicious subtly perfumed sponge cake by watching their video. They have lots of recipes on the website.

TEA COCKTAILS, A DIFFERENT TASTE ON TEA…

If you go to the Tate Galleries in London, Liverpool or St.Ives you will see that they supply JING teas.

JING One Cup Tea-iere for Loose Leaf tea

JING is run by Edward Eisler and his team. By building relationships with the worlds finest tea farmers in China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan and Taiwan, JING hand sources not only the finest teas and herbal infusions, but also special, rare teas which are seldom seen outside their country of origin.

They supply tea and teaware directly to customers through their website and offer full tea service concepts for the world’s best hotels, restaurants and retailers, in the finest British and modern-oriental styles.

Tate has a carefully selected JING tea range, including some of our most popular loose teas and herbal infusions including Darjeeling 2nd Flush, White Peony, Jasmine Pearls, Yellow Gold oolong, Rooibos and Lemon Verbena. Our whole leaf tea bags are also available to take away at Tate Modern.

Matcha Shaker

The barmen on the top floor of Tate Modern have put together some great cocktail recipes using their teas. The menu includes inspired twists on established classics like Martini, Negroni and Rob Roy, using our Earl Grey, herbal infusions and Lapsang.

All of the tea cocktails use tea syrups. To make these syrups, simply pour into a pan a 300ml cup of tea and add 150ml of sugar. Heat the mixture and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Taste for strength and add more tea leaves if needed. Depending on the cocktail, this syrup should be enough for 10 or more cocktails.

Bamboo Tea Tray

GROWING YOUR OWN TEA…

We are not talking about herbal teas either, but real tea: Camellia sinensis. You don’t need a large garden to grow your own tea, a planter on a balcony would work just fine.

‘You could try growing Camellia sinensis in a greenhouse, or in a pot that you can bring indoors during cold winters.

The Camellia sinensis plant is a small shrub about 1-2 meters in height, though it will grow taller if you don’t prune it. In the fall, your tea shrub will flower with small white blossoms that have a delightful scent. These plants are often grown as ornamentals. For planting, Camellia sinensis likes well-drained and sandy soil that is on the acidic side. If you are going to grow your tea in a container, add some sphagnum moss to the potting mix. You’ll need some patience, too. Your plant should be around 3 years old before you start harvesting leaves.

A great site with all the details on growing your own tea is ‘Guide to Growing Tea’, and you might be able to get seeds at your local nursery or try online at Amazon.

From that plant, you could make black, green or oolong tea. Fascinating stuff and for all us tea lovers, its another thing we can try growing in the garden.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE CAMOMILE TEA?…

What’s your favourite Camomile tea? With so many to choose from it’s difficult to decide. Here are some of the most popular ones on the market.

Dorset Tea Cool Camomile Tea 20 Bags (great for summer) £2.49 

Heath & Heather Organic Camomile Tea 20 Bags £2.19 / Camomile & Manuka Honey Tea 20 Bags £2.19 / 

 

Floradix Organic Camomile Herbal Tea 15 Bags £1.69