A GREAT GIFT FOR ANY TEA, CAKE AND CHOCOLATE DEVOTEE…

I have just published my book ‘A Little Book on Tea Cake & Chocolatewhich would make a great gift for anyone who loves tea, cake and chocolate. 

This little book on tea and cake is a guide about one of our favourite beverages. It explains tea pairings, tea and chocolate, tea and health, tea and sandwiches, fascinating tea facts, buying the right tea, tea to help you sleep and tea cozies and teapots. It also features over one hundred tips on baking cakes and has some recipes for delicious loaf cakes. It finishes with several lovely tea quotes.

A great book for any tea devotee. It’s available on Amazon for £2.99

Over the last three months of spending hours after hours and days after days at the hospital, where my Dad was,  I started making notes of some of my posts on tea, cake and chocolate as I felt sure I could use it in a book.

There are nineteen chapters which cover all the tea topics I have mentioned above plus tips on how to make the best cake, pastry, and more. I also cover baking apps and recipe books old and new.

I finally finished it at the weekend and it is now available to buy as a paperback and hopefully as a kindle read soon. I would love some feedback if any readers bought the book.

 

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FOUR TIPS ON MAKING GREAT FOOD FOR WHEN YOU’RE ON THE MOVE…

There is no better feeling in the world than sitting down to a hot cup of freshly poured tea and a slice of moist, crumbly cake. As delightful as this always is, you don’t always have time to sit down and prepare your favourite meals and snacks. We all lead hectic and busy lives which can often feel us longing for warming breakfast teas and comforting snacks. You don’t need to go without your favourite foods and beverages when you’re on the move. Just make sure you’re prepared with all of your ideal treats for every occasion. Here’s how you can make sure your tummy is never rumbling when you’re out and about.

1.Savvy Snacks

When you are out of the house all day or going on a long journey it is so important to be prepared with handy and healthy snacks to keep your stomach rumbles at bay. Whether you are a fan of sweet or savoury treats Halal food to go will always be able to provide you with a nutrient-dense snack to keep you satisfied all day long. You will never have to worry about your hungry tummy ever again, as long as you stay prepared.

2.Brilliant Breakfast

Too busy to eat breakfast? This is the most important meal of the day and most certainly should never be missed, even if you are feeling pushed for time. There are so many ways to fill up on a hearty breakfast without spending hours in the kitchen. Everybody loves cake, so why not consider cake for breakfast? Whip up some healthy banana, blueberry and oat muffins on a Sunday evening. Your breakfasts will be sorted for the entire week. Just grab a cake and go, it has never been simpler!

  1. Lovely Lunch

You would always opt for afternoon tea if you had the choice from the lunch menu. Unfortunately, you don’t always have the time to indulge in this type of treat. Pack your own Tupperware full of traditional English sandwiches and you will never have to miss out on your afternoon tea fix every again. From cucumber to smoked salmon and cream cheese, choose your favourite and enjoy your sophisticated lunch on the go.

  1. Dazzling Desserts

No matter how filling your breakfast or lunch was, there is always room for dessert. If you’ve got a sweet tooth then get your hands dirty in the kitchen and start baking some batch treats. You can slice up freshly made caramel shortbread, strawberry cheesecake or even a classic Victoria sponge cake. Share your homemade baked goods with your work colleagues and friends and you’ll be everybody’s favourite person.

Whatever time of day it is, you can be sure that your belly is satisfied and you have a smile on your face. Even the busiest of people have the chance to enjoy their favourite foods when they’re travelling, at work or on a day trip. Be prepared with your favourite recipes and you won’t ever feel like you’ve neglected your sweet treats.

SOME OF MY HYGGE LIFESTYLE IMAGES TO CHILL WITH…

I am in love with everything Hygge means and have started a facebook page and soon a blog on the beautiful images I find on the web which shows how peaceful and homely a Hygge lifestyle is.

If you haven’t heard of Hygge before then the true definition is ‘Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special. Hygge (or to be “hyggeligt”) doesn’t require learning “how to”, adopting it as a lifestyle or buying anything.’

Check out these 20 things to start doing to enjoy a Hygge way of life that I found on Pinterest… 

Which one is your favourite?

KNITTING FOR EVERYONE…

If you haven’t learnt how to knit before then now is the time to do so. Knitting is back in fashion from knitting simple tea cosies to bed throws and even recycling old sweaters into new ones.

The web has an abundance of sites with some giving tutorials on how to knit and others giving you a choice of many free patterns to start your knitting.

Knitting groups have been set up one very popular one is called Stitch and Bitch there is also a great book from Amazon, Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook – The Stitch ‘n Bitch Handbook covers every aspect of knitting and the knitting-together lifestyle: the how-to, the when-to, the what-to and why-to. Writing with wit and attitude, Debbie Stoller explains why young women are taking up knitting in droves and covers everything you need to know to get your knit on – from the tools of the trade to casting on and binding off to getting fancy – all with step-by-step illustrated techniques. Then it’s time to pick up the sticks: at the heart of this book are forty stylish patterns that are as hip to wear as they are to knit, as good for beginners as they are for purly pros.

Another popular one is UK Hand Knitting where you all meet for a natter while knitting your favourite jumper. Just click on your area on their map to find your nearest group.

Some great sites for knitters include The Daily Knitter where you can find lots of Free patterns and  Knitting Help which has free tutorial videos to help you knit.

According to Wikipedia, Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. As each row progresses, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can be passed through them. This process eventually results in a final product, often a garment.

Knitting may be done by hand or by machine. There exist numerous styles and methods of hand knitting.

Different yarns and knitting needles may be used to achieve different end products by giving the final piece a different colour, texture, weight, and/or integrity. Using needles of varying shape and thickness as well as different varieties of yarn can also change the effect.

THE LEGEND OF TEAPOTS…

Legend says that the Chinese were the first to invent tea and also teapots. The first ones were made around the 8th century, and appeared during the Sung Dynasty (960-1270) and the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

These teapots were made of porcelain and were commissioned directly from Chinese artisans. They were very expensive as they were brought half way around the world which in those days took around three years to get there and back.

They were also quite a status symbol of the well to do, however, the desire of the middle classes to also enjoy a nice cuppa fuelled a huge new market for teapots not made in porcelain but other alternatives.

Now in the 21st century, we have some 300 years of European teapot tradition and innovation to draw upon. Our teapot, heritage runs from ‘Wedgewood’s Creamware’ to the many and varied influences of Victorian teapots.

teapot 

A MUG OR A CUP FOR YOUR TEA?…

Which do you prefer a mug or a tea cup and saucer?

Personally, I think both are appropriate in certain situations. You would give the builder a mug, and yourself one while sitting reading your favourite magazine. Although if you were sitting in a nice tea room or having a cup of tea with a friend, I’m sure you would probably prefer the cup and saucer.

The other problem is which one to buy? Do you go for Cath Kidston’s latest designer mugs, Tesco’s Spell Out Mug ‘ Home is where the Heart is’, or an antique china tea cup and saucer that is so delicate that you cannot pop it into your dishwasher.

Personally, I only like my tea or coffee from a ‘china’ mug and would buy both Cath Kidston’s designs as well as quirky ones from Amazon like this classic Lionel Richie one ‘Is it tea you’re looking for’.

As for the antique china cup and saucers, well, I have plenty of those and now tend to buy them for my daughter who has started collecting them but NONE of them will go anywhere near my dishwasher.

THE VINTAGE TEA COSY…

Although Tea Cosy’s are back in fashion again the first documented tea cosy in Britain was in 1867 and it was probably the Duchess of Bedford, who by establishing the activity of afternoon tea in 1840, increased the popularity of tea cosy.

They then flourished during the late 19th Century and were also starting to be used in North America at the same period.

It is defined by Wikipedia as ‘a cover for a teapot, traditionally made of cloth or wool, which is used to insulate the tea, keeping it warm while it brews’.

Cloth tea cosies often have padded inserts which can be washed separately and many are hand knitted looking just like a woollen hat with a bobble on the top.

You can buy tea cosy’s from most places now including Amazon who sells the hand block printed ones, but you will find really original ones on Etsy like this Maroon and blue bobble style large tea cosy for £4.99, which is lovingly handmade by refugees from the Middle East.

Or this unique and original Succulent Tea Cosy -The only watering needed is to make your pot of tea. The grey wool ‘concrete planter’ cosy is double layered for extra warmth and the succulent leaves are hand cut so every plant is different, and available from Not on the High Street for £29.95

Of course this original design of tea cosy are the ones that I remember most, available from Etsy at £11.99 This tea cosy has been hand knitted in a quality aran yarn, making it soft and cosy, perfect for keeping your fresh brew toasty warm.