CHRISTMAS TIED UP IN A TEA CUP AND MORE…

Last minute handmade gift ideas that are great for #christmas. Easy to follow these lovely teacup candles infographic from Pinterest.

If you haven’t got any tea cups to use how about these shells instead, also from Pinterest

If you are handy with the knitting needles and have some spare wool around why not get this free tea cosy pattern from Love Knitting on Pinterest.

Or copy this DIY cup cosy also found on Pinterest

There are lots of easy handmade gifts all around tea which could soon be knocked up for any tea lover. These were just a few I found on Pinterest. It has inspired me to quickly knit up some of the cup cosy for my friends.

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HOUSEKEEPING BOOKS THROUGH THE CENTURIES…

Before 1800, housekeeping books tended to be handwritten collections of recipes and instructions tried and tested by the household cook. By the 1850’s they were developed into books for ‘adult women’, in particular for your brides who were setting up home.

They were intended as work manuals, they were without lavish photography or even set in fine bindings but if you can get hold of one from a book shops they will amaze you. They tell us about the lives of the women in the past from where you can see social change and the disappearance of domestic servants.

Mrs Breton’s Book of Household Management, which was published in 1861 was a huge success and sold 60,000 copes in its first year and two million by 1868. Of course with no television at that time these books were inspirational.

By the time Helen Simpson wroteThe Happy Housewife‘ in 1934 modern appliances were starting to pop up everywhere, not only helping with the housework but also removing the servants of that time.

In ‘Keeping House’ with Elizabeth Craig (Collins 1936) she said ‘ I have no use for elaborately decorated or furnished homes or for elaborate meals. The simpler the home, the simpler the housekeeping.

Some of these vintage home books can now fetch a lot of money at auction. A book published in 1687 ‘The Accomplished Ladies Rich Closit of Rarities’, by John Shirley sold at Sothebys for £1,625. So, if your great aunt or grandma are still alive and have some old cookery books make sure they don’t end up at the tip.

Even the National Trust ‘Manual of Housekeeping of 2006’ sold 10,000 copies in 2006.

The Good Housekeeping Institute have written a book The Art of Good Housekeeping in 2010 which is packed with tried and tested answers to every household query, from how often you should clean your duvet, to how to maintain the exterior of your house.

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.

PUMPKIN LOAF CAKE FOR HALLOWEEN…

This is a great recipe for Pumpkin Loaf Cake for Halloween which I found on the Oakhillhomestead site…

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp mace
1/8 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
3 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups of fresh pumpkin or 16 oz of canned pumpkin
1/2 cup water if pumpkin is fresh or frozen OR 2/3 cup water if pumpkin is canned
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, soda, salt, spices and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In another large bowl, combine eggs, water, oil and pumpkin; stir until blended. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, add nuts if you’re using them and mix well. Lightly grease the bottoms of two 9×5″ loaf pans and pour in the batter. Bake for one hour. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the loaves; the toothpick should come out clean. Cool slightly and take out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.

#CHOCOLATE – IS IT GOOD OR BAD FOR YOU?…

#Chocolate – is it good or bad for you?

There has been lots written in the tabloids about the benefits of eating #chocolate but is this true or false?

Well, according to Medical News Today, #chocolate receives a lot of bad press because of its high fat and sugar content. Its consumption has been associated with acne, obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and diabetes. … #chocolate’s antioxidant potential may have a range of health benefits.

Some studies have suggested #chocolate could lower cholesterol levels and prevent memory decline.

Researchers who studied cyclists doing time trials in the U.K. found that “After eating dark #chocolate, the riders used less oxygen when cycling at a moderate pace and also covered more distance in a two-minute flat-out time trial.”

Antioxidants can help reduce free radical damage linked with premature ageing. It can be found in foods such as beans, fruit and dark #chocolate.  Dark #chocolate ranks higher than many fruit and vegetables for its antioxidant power.

Healthline says dark #chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. Studies show that dark #chocolate (not the sugary crap) can improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease.

So, I guess eaten properly the answer is a definite ‘yes’  #chocolate can be good for you. How appropriate is that with #Chocolate Week this week from 15th – 21st October. ENJOY

 

CHOCOLATE WEEK 15-21st OCTOBER, 2018…

Chocolate Week, the nation’s favourite themed week, returns for a 14th consecutive year, celebrating the world of fine #chocolate from 15 to 21 October 2018.

Hundreds of events are expected this Chocolate Week around the UK, with the country’s top chocolatiers and #chocolate companies, as well as hotels, bars and restaurants celebrating by hosting talks, tastings, demonstrations and sampling, as well as creating exclusive products, new launches, offers, #chocolate meals, cocktails and recipes using some of the best #chocolate brands from around the world.

Chocolate Week aims to promote fine flavour #chocolate, the independent artisan chocolatiers and the #chocolate companies who work in direct partnership with cocoa farmers, encouraging consumers to pay a fairer price for their #chocolate.

A list of participants can be found on the Chocolate Week website.