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.

.

A GREAT GIFT FOR CHRISTMAS – YOUR OWN TEA PLANT TO GROW YOUR OWN TEA…

Grow Your Own Tea Plant

Not On The High Street have a great Grow Your Own Tea plant Kit for £17.95 which would make a great Christmas gift for any tea lover.

These amazing kits have all you need to grow your own tea plant at home. Harvest and dry the leaves for the ultimate in homegrown tea.

Whether a keen gardener or someone who enjoys herbal tea, there’s nothing more satisfying than growing your own chamomile flowers and drinking some tea you’ve brewed at home.

Our Grow your own tea kit has been specifically designed to the highest quality.

A greenhouse, conservatory or even a sunny window are all adequate to grow this amazing plant.

Inside the Tea Plant Kit are two large terracotta-coloured small plant pots (one 9cm tall, the other 6cm tall), one saucer (9cm in diameter), two professional grow pelles, two plant pot trays, two wooden label sticks and your tea plant seeds. An instruction sheet is also included on how to grow and take care of your new arrival. Their seeds have a shelf life of 12-18 months.

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.

 

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.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF BREAD…

Bread comes in so many different types, from bagels, ciabatta, tortillas, potato, garlic, you name it you will find one out there.

 Bread is a low-fat staple food for many people and a good source of carbohydrates.

 They are made with different flours including white, wholemeal or wholegrain.

 Whole grains are grain foods in which all parts of the train are intact and retained during any processing.

 According to wikipedia ‘ Bread is a staple food prepared by cooking a dough of flour and water and often additional ingredients’.

 The Real Bread Campaign has absolutely everything you need to know about bread and more. The Real Bread Campaign are fighting for better bread in Britain. The national network brings together everyone who care about the state of bread in Britain.

 It has an online guide dedicated to helping you discover places to buy ‘Real Bread‘ and bread making courses and lessons on loaf.

 For me, ‘real bread‘ taste very different from processed breads and loaves and something I can never say ‘no’ to if it’s a freshly made one in a Restaurant.