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.

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WHY HOUSEWORK IS ‘GOOD FOR YOU’

They are now saying that housework can count as an exercise (well I already knew that), and some tasks can actually help to improve your strength and flexibility.

They are now saying that housework can count as an exercise (well I already knew that), and some tasks can actually help to improve your strength and flexibility.

They are now saying that housework can count as an exercise (well I already knew that), and some tasks can actually help to improve your strength and flexibility.

They are now saying that housework can count as an exercise (well I already knew that), and some tasks can actually help to improve your strength and flexibility.

Apparently ironing isn’t at the top of the list for exercise but you can burn around 55 calories and it can make a significant difference to your core strength.

Vacuuming, however, can boost your core strength and can give your heart a good workout AND you could burn up around 100 calories each time. Yipeee, that means another KitKat bar for me…:)

Dusting and polishing will burn around 90 calories and helps increase flexibility as you reach up to corners and around furniture.

Changing the bed is also a good cardio workout and can burn up around 70 calories.

Finally mopping the floor is another good cardio workout for your heart and can burn around 100 calories.

Sooo, if I did all of the above on the same day that would mean I would have an extra 415 calories burnt up !!

7 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT THE SCONE…

This Scottish Quick Bread is said to have taken its name from the Stone of Destiny (or Scone) the place where Scottish kings were once crowned.

Scones became popular and an essential part of the fashionable ritual of taking tea in England when Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788 – 1861), one late afternoon, ordered the servants to bring tea and some sweet breads, which included scones.

It is especially popular in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, and Ireland.

The original triangular shaped scone was made with oats and griddle-baked.

Today’s scones are more flour-based and baked in the oven and made of wheat, barley or oatmeal with baking powder. They can include raisins, currants, or cheese.

In 2005 it was estimated that the UK scone market was worth £64m, showing a 9% increase over the previous five years.

Scones can be savory or sweet and are usually eaten for breakfast, but are also served with tea and in coffeehouses.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

EASY 3 MINUTE SPELT BREAD RECIPE…

Easy 3 minute Spelt Bread

Ingredients

500g spelt flour
10g fast-acting dried yeast
half teaspoon sea salt
50g sunflower seeds
50g sesame seeds
50g linseeds
500 ml warm water

Method

Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6
Combine all the ingredients, adding the water last
Mix well and turn the dough into a greased lined loaf tin
Put straight into the oven and bake for one hour
Remove loaf and turn it out of tin, then return it to the oven without the tin for a further 5 – 10 minutes.

 

EASY RAISIN TEA LOAF CAKE…

Ingredients

225g seedless raisins (or other dried fruit)

100g soft brown sugar

1 cup of cold fruit or chamomile tea

225g self raising flour

½ level teaspoon mixed spice

1 x Orange

1 Medium Egg

Method

Preheat oven to 325F 160C Gas 3

Line or grease loaf tin

Grate the rind of the orange

Put the dried fruit and sugar into a large basin

Add the orange rind

Pour over the cold tea and leave overnight or for 12 hours

Gently mix the egg

Add the sifted flour, mixed spice and egg to the mixture

Pour into loaf tin

Bake for 1½ hours

Leave to cool for 15 minutes before turning out of tin

Cool on wire rack