Exploring, sipping & delighting in all things tea.
Just put the kettle on. One lump or two?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to completely avoid breaking those precious tea sets...

Now, a bit of langue dans la joue (ok, we know... probably an outrageous translation... thanks google!)... is a must... now and again...

Here's how to avoid those disastrous, sometimes even maybe predictable breakages of your oh-so-precious tea sets/pieces...

  • Do NOT leave any piece of antique, pretty, vintage, found/thrifted or just plain gorgeous and sweet tea pieces in the sink for careless/unaware/nut jobs to chuck in their filthy plates on top, resulting in your tea cup and heart, breaking into a million little pieces.

  • Never ever let a terribly clumsy or drunk (tea cup wine drinking included) person anywhere near your tea set. Give them the cups/mugs/milk jug/tea pot that's been hidden in the back of the cupboard for a good long while, waiting for the next clumsy (or drunk) person to come along.

  • Do never ever ever even bother taking your oh-so-precious tea set out when hosting a kids party, or have numerous amounts of children topped up with sweets running under your feet.

  • Don't invite the Greek family around for high tea/afternoon tea/cream tea... if you get what we mean.

  • ALWAYS make sure you have sturdy feet. Unless you are used to walking in 8" heels and may even possibly live in them do not drink tea from your grandmother's hand-me-down pretty tea set unless you want to take mosaicing up for a hobby.

  • Try to always keep your precious tea set/pieces in a level, sturdy, reliable cupboard/cabinet/bureau even possibly within a level, sturdy and reliable box until the next time it needs to come out. And possibly maybe, even a padlock and chain (to keep those drunk friends at bay).

  • Don't even bother trying to display your pretty little dainty floral tea set on that wonky shelf. Ever! You never know, a sudden gust of wind, slam of a door or even a rhinoceros falling through your roof. It's just not worth it.

  • Even though it might be sweet and kind of nostalgic to give your Granny her tea in the sweet tea set she gave you, remember older people's eyesight and memory (Where's the table gone?!!) may not always be up to scratch, resulting in a tea stained carpet, a scolded cat and no more pretty tea cup to pass onto your kids when you lose your marbles.


  • Maybe attach small, extremely strong magnets to the bottom of your tea cup and saucer thus giving you an extra reliable way of making sure that if there's any dangers, your tea cup and saucer are staying strong. It may even be worth putting some under each place on the table.

  • Maybe just maybe get your lovely set out for your kids to adore (in a display case).

  • Maybe consider using a sticky device or clip for those not so trusty teapot lids that inexplicably decide to flip off the teapot when pouring ones tea.

  • Maybe tie your guests up and give them straws to drink their tea from whilst you serve them, making sure your little pinky is raised high in the air and your apron is fastened as tight as tight.

  • Maybe give each of your guests a little tip (on a sly piece of paper) noting that you may turn into their worst nightmare (possibly mother-in-law territory) if there's a slight instance where a breakage may occur. Although, this may mean that your guests might not even return, but at least that tea set will still be intact!

  • Do use a metal teapot. There's less chance that it will break.

  • Do actually really let your kids have a look, touch and appreciate your finest adored crockery and keep for best.

  • Do let your friends drink from this wonderful crockery too, subtly hinting that it may have been owned by a distant relative/you found it and you just adore it/it means a lot to you, as they will most likely take extra special care to make sure there'll be no chance of breakages (take off their 8" heels and calm the nerves of their extremely clumsy partner).

  • Do invite that Greek family. They tend to only normally like breaking plates... we think.

  • Do get a spirit level for sorting out that wonky shelf that would be a perfect place to display your set. (Rhinoceros's aside).

  • Do attach Velcro to some gloves and the clumsy person's tea cup. They'll thank you for it later.

  • Do probably invest in a dishwasher (if you haven't already) always making sure that your pieces are dishwasher safe!

  • Do get your Gran some very special eye magnifying glasses, (so that her eyes look funny and you can have a little sneaky giggle with the kids) but at least she can still see that favourite tea cup she has looked after so well over the years.

And lastly... do in fact just plunge right in there, sifting/sourcing/thrifting/receiving those tea accessories that make your heart melt, that make you instanty want to cherish and adore them. And do share with your loved ones and pour them tea from your very best and give them cake. Laugh and love over that pot of tea, sharing parts of you and your life, in some ways that only a good cuppa and a generous serving of cake can do.

Chin chin...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Guest Post * My Granny's Tea Set

Keeping it in the family.

I love scouring charity shops and flea markets for second-hand finds and like many people I am a real crockery junkie. I can't resist a floral patterened tea set and I have a bit of a thing for tea pots too. But it's also really nice to treasure something that's been handed down to you, something special that's part of your family history.

My mum recently gave me this lovely tea set, which once belonged to my granny (my dad's mum). Up to then, it had been residing in a cabinet, ignored in the back room that never gets used often. It's not particularly rare or valuable, and, as you might be able to tell, it's a hotchpotch of two different sets.

You see my granny was one of three sisters and each of them was given a tea service as a wedding present from their parents (one in blue, one in green and one in pink). The pink set has gone to the other side of the family but I've gladly inherited what's left of the blue and green. Apparently my granny was quite clumsy by all accounts and therefore there's not much of the green set that's survived intact but I really like the way they look mixed and matched together. It's nice to use something that's been in the family too.

I used it recently when we threw a party to celebrate the royal wedding and as my mum sipped her tea from the cup, it must have jogged her memory. She said she could remember being served tea on this set the first time she went to meet her future in-laws. How lovely is that? And it's also a reminder that things should be used and enjoyed as often as possible, not just left to languish in a glass cabinet or hidden in a cupboard. Life is a relatively short party after all and you've got to make the most of it!

By the way, if you liked the look of the scones pictured, I can't take credit for them I'm afraid. My sister, who's the baker in the family, made them and they are amazing. She does the making, I'm more about the presentation and consumption (very important too). If you're interested, here's the recipe. They go perfectly with a nice cup of tea!

Scone Recipe

8oz self raising flour
2tsp baking powder
1 3/4oz butter
1oz caster sugar
1 3/4oz fruit
1 egg
3 1/2 fl. oz milk

Method: Set the oven to gas mark 6. Rub butter into the flour and baking powder. Add sugar and sultanas then add egg and milk. Mix to bind. Gently press (don't roll) into a round at least an inch thick and cut out. Bake for 15 mins in a hot oven.

According to my sister, the pressing (not rolling) and the thickness of the dough are both key to getting your scones to rise nice and big. Serve with strawberry jam. Tiptree or Bonne Maman are the best if you ask me and use extra thick cream if you can't get hold of clotted. Personally I don't bother with butter if I have the previous two in abundance. Enjoy!!

Kathryn Sharman is a freelance journalist and copywriter. She also writes a blog.

Many thanks again for a wonderful guest post from Kathryn. You can see Kathryn's previous guest post here.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Well then! Have you been good little elderflower picking people? You've 'ad long enough!

And as promised... (finally... we know we know!) here is the result of the elderflower picking, resulting in the ever-so-fragrant-and-sweet elderflower tea! (This is our little surprise we've been telling you all about...)

Hope you enjoyed that little video! And hope you had the volume up...

And we've got some exciting news too! Mr IOT is involved in a daddy's allotment... and they were so excited and inspired by Isle of Tea, that they're actually going to make an Isle of Tea!!! We're so excited, we might even burst. So expect to see (at some point!) some pics of the making of the isle. There'll be all sorts of herby plants to pick to make scrumptious fresh teas with water going around the whole isle! Why not make your own Isle of Tea?

The other news is that our shop with vintage tea dresses and other pretty vintage dresses has recently fallen into the hole of no bidders on ebay... so, instead of getting disheartened about it, we've decided that we might just go ahead and fill up our etsy and folksy shops with our vintage stock and see how it goes.

Please support us as much as you can. We do have a load of lovely vintage dresses and we're quite a new little business, so we wouldn't want to vanish away into thin air. Especially as we love bringing you the vintage dresses so much. We just love tea dresses, especially vintage ones and so it is a pleasure to sell them and have them all around our little Isle of Tea tower.

As always, keep those chins up and chin chin to thee all.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guest Post * Louise loves Tea too

Hi, my name is Louise. I am a 24 year old PR Executive, crafter, craft blogger, and tea drinker!

Recently I blogged about my lovely experience at High Tea of Highgate a beautiful little tea shop in the middle of Highgate Village run by a lovely lady who followed her dream. Georgina sold her flat to open this lovely little vintage tea shop, and I can say from my own experience there that it is a credit to her.

I blogged the lovely Chinese tea set that I bought for my mum from China Town in San Francisco!

I have also blogged about the lovely tea cup pin cushion I managed to pick up at the Danson Festival, from Annie May.

I would like to take this opportunity to show how far my love of tea goes! I love most tea related paraphernalia, from jewellery, tea sets, to more practical items.

I love these “Time for Tea” items; ring £10.00 and Necklace £12.00 from chic unique.

While on a lovely outing to London with my boyfriend we decided to have a look round Liberty and found this amazing mannequin covered in broken crockery.

This beautiful set of four teacups and saucers brings on visions of afternoon tea on beautiful summer days. £32.00 from Vintage Style Gifts

I have also developed a real taste for fruit teas, mint tea and lemon and ginger tea (if I’m suffering from a sore throat).

Tea is amazing, not only does it taste fabulous but it heals and calms. Tea is inspiring and offers comfort and nostalgia. I hope that you have enjoyed looking at the tea related workings of my mind and that I have been able to offer you some inspiration.

Friday, July 8, 2011

We love...

...these recent tea inspired blogposts that have caught our attention!

Afternoon tea over at Flora & Purl

Which has really got us thinking how rubbish we've been at stocking our etsy and folksy shop up with painted ceramic goodies! Must must must be good little tea painting ceramic people.

That Teapot Lamp
over at A Thrifty Mrs

Original pic from here

A must have for Isle of Tea Towers, surely?!! Hmmm... birthdays too far away... Christmas nowhere in sight just yet... Perhaps time to get crafty and get making...

Finally...a tea dress! over at Kat got the cream

Good find Kat! Looks great. Floral and all. Eeeeesh! Jealous with a big fat J! :~}

We've still got many a pretty vintage tea dress in our shop with some other summer treats thrown in!

Coffee House vs Tea Shop over at Rosalilium

Yep, we have to say it... we love tea too...

A great post with a great discussion/debate! One to get your teeth really stuck into.

Thanks ladies for inspiring us all in the tea department!

More to come soon on the elderflower tea post, something to cause a bit of a stir, some more brilliant guest posts and we're on the look out for more T.ARTs.

Chin chin

Monday, July 4, 2011

Guest Post * The Tea Club

A lovely cup of tea always seems to be the cure to everything here in the UK and back in my home land of Ireland too. Have you recently been mowed down by an industrial lawn mower, decapitated by a low flying jumbo jet or just broken a finger nail? Grab a bag, pour hot water over it and all will be right with the world. Why they don't employ this wonder cure on the NHS and save themselves a small fortune is beyond me.

Until recently, however, I'd missed the fuss. I wasn't part of The Tea Club. As a child I'd had my tonsils out and gone against the advice of the surgeon and supped on a hot drink before the two weeks were up. The pain, the pain, I can not tell you how painful that was and, frankly, I don't suggest you try it anytime soon. So I was off hot drinks, I avoided them at all costs for about twenty years until my doctor recently suggested green tea to help with medication related dehydration. And I liked it. I was hydrating myself and enjoying a hot drink, bizarre. I kept on with the green tea until whilst at a friend's house for lunch I progressed to Earl Grey and the next time onto Lady Grey. I was enjoying it and suddenly I had admittance to the club. The Tea Club. I was no longer looked at like I had not two but seventeen heads when I politely declined a cup of tea in favour of a cold drink. I now knew and understood how to make a cup of tea that someone would truly appreciate. And I had come to find that nothing in the world goes quite as well with a scone as a cup of Rosie Lee.

Membership to The Tea Club is open and free and I regret not becoming a member a great many years ago. Sure, I enjoyed my lemonade or orange juice whilst out to tea or round at a friend's house but now I've found, at the midway point of a china cup of tea, that 'aah that's the spot' feeling that I'd never quite found until I'd become a member of The Tea Club and I'm not letting go.

All I have to do to renew my membership to my club is keep my cupboards filled with a plentiful supply of tea leaves which is something I'm going to make sure I always do because despite not having a badge to pin to my lapel The Tea Club is the best club I belong to.

I'm Thrifty, a full time journalist, life long second hand addict and a new member of The Tea Club. You can find me blogging at athriftymrs.com

Thanks Thrifty!! Welcome to the club.

P.S. You tea lovers must take a look over at Thrifty's Apple and Raspberry Heaven Cake.
Oh my! You must!

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