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

Monday, January 30, 2012

What do you wear... *Guest Post*

You may very well remember Amy Elizabeth from her Tea & Bakes post back in August last year, but here we have her with a marvellous What do you wear (where we ask you how you like to wear your tea dresses throughout the seasons) guest post....

Short vintage dress, knee highs and cotton cardigan

have a confession to make... I don't wear dresses nearly half as much as I used to. When I worked in a vintage boutique, it came with the territory; dressing up every day, channeling a 50's housewife, or a lady of the 40's stepping out for tea.

Vintage collared dress, oversized fair isle jumper and suede flats

As well as owning a pretty hefty collection of dresses, I also had A LOT more free time on my hands to make the effort. Fast-forward through graduation, a move to London, and a couple of jobs, my life these days revolves around '40 hour weeks' not '40's styling'.

Forget-me-not dress, black cardigan, grey wool tights and suede flats

Having recently purchased some beautiful seasonal knitwear and the obligatory new winter socks, I decided it was time to start rocking the dress again. The ability to layer is key if you don't want to store your dresses away for winter, and it doesn't have to be difficult!

Tri-blend day dress, knitted cardigan, sheer black tights and dr martens

Experiment with sheet tights, thick tights, knitted socks, knee high socks, leggings, wool cardigans (I LOVE cardigans) Christmas jumpers, blazers, leather jackets, overcoats - the list is endless. Mix and match items you already have in your wardrobe and you might be pleasantly surprised at how many outfits you can style around a dress.

Here are a couple of examples to hopefully inspire you.

Thanks ever so Amy Elizabeth!

Chin chin...
*All of the photographs in this post are owned by Amy Elizabeth

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We Love...

Well, well, well!

We recently realised that we haven't had that many We Love posts very lately, so how better to start this year's WL posts with such a marvellous, inventive and beautifully tea inspired creation.

*All the teacup bracelet photos are owned by Abigail Clark*

Yep, that's right! You've got it!! "Repurposed Vintage Teacup bracelets".

How marvellous and beautiful are these?! You can find a vast selection of these beauties at the radiant etsy shop, Stay Gold Mary Rose which are all created by Abigail MaryRose Clark.

Since 2004 Abigail has been making jewellery and further went onto graduate with a degree in 3D Art and Design and Metalwork in 2006. She now sells her vintage teacup bracelets in Anthropolgie in the US and UK as well as in "shops, boutiques, galleries and craft shows throughout the UK, Europe, America and Canada".

We love these bracelets. A perfect way to preserve beautiful vintage teacups to accessorize your outfits at all times. We cannot think of any better way to accessorize your outfits actually.

And get thee to her shop, where you'll also find a nifty 40% off selected items. Thrifty and nifty... We're in teacup heaven!

You can follow Abigail Clark's updates on her blog, facebook and twitter pages.

Teacup bracelets?! Who'da thunked that?!! We're just a trifle excited...

Chin chin...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Perfect Afternoon Tea * Guest Post from Claridges, Connaught & The Berkely

The art of the British afternoon tea had its origins in the Victorian society of the 19th century. The story goes that the Duchess of Bedford came up with the idea to quell hungers pangs she experienced between lunch and dinner. Since she was one of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting, the idea was quickly welcomed by the queen. Soon, the idea of an afternoon tea with thin sandwiches and small cakes spread across the country, and the tradition was born.

Traditional Foods for the Perfect Afternoon Tea

The quintessential British afternoon tea begins with savoury sandwiches. Afternoon tea sandwiches are traditionally light, delicate and with the crusts removed. There should always be a selection of brown and white bread sandwiches. With the buttered bread, traditional fillings include thinly sliced cucumber, thin sliced ham, roast beef, cheese with pickle, tuna and smoked salmon.

A serving of warm plain, cheese or fruit scones follows the sandwiches, all of which are eaten with a generous helping of clotted cream and preserves. Many pure afternoon tea enthusiasts still bake their own scones with family recipes and whether hot or cold, scones are a delicious treat.

A selection of cakes and sweet pastries finish a traditional afternoon tea menu. Small iced buns, known as fancies, are sometimes served, Battenberg and marbled coffee cakes are popular choices as well.

Victorian Decor of the Afternoon Tea

Foods, linens, serving ware and teacups are all the necessary elements of a proper afternoon tea. Every place should be individually set for each person and for a more formal atmosphere, matching teapots, teacups, small plates and saucers are best. Silverware should be finely polished and finishing touches can include a seasonal well chosen vase of flowers and spoon rests, so guests do not have to put their stirring spoon on their saucer.

Restaurants with a Twist of the British Afternoon Tea

With a view to courting tea "fashionistas", many restaurants have added a unique twist to the traditional elements of the British afternoon tea. These institutions are becoming the new hallmark of the afternoon tea. Pret-a-Portea at the Berkeley in Knightsbridge creatively bakes pastries and cakes inspired by the latest catwalk collections. Editors from the leading fashion magazines actually meet with the pastry team to advise them of the season's hottest textures, colours and trends to inspire the new Pret-a-Portea menu.

Claridge's in Mayfair is another great afternoon tea venue in the capital, it recently won the Tea Guild’s Top London Afternoon Tea 2011 Award. The judges were in awe of its tasteful style, along with the extraordinary selection of teas, scones and cakes. This luxury hotel has its own twist on the afternoon tea, with a delicious array of finger sandwiches - all served in its sumptuous Art Deco surroundings.

Well we all know where to be heading out for tea in the big ol' capital...

Merci beaucoup to the tea charmers from Maybourne Hotel Group from us little lot over here at IOT Towers.

*All images in this post were used with the permission from marketing at Maybourne Hotel Group.

***Coming up... What do you wear from Amy Elizabeth - A look at our new tea plate - What oh what are we to do with those blinking tea dresses - Our new ceramic studio - Tea & Bakes and handfuls of We Love***

For now -

Chin chin...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year & have a cuppa tea! Go ooooon...

So, here we are. The New Year!

We do hope you've had the most delicious Christmas holiday wherever you are.

We've come across so many posts recently about new aspirations and goals, diets, regimes, organisation, resolutions and so on, we thought we'd add our own little suggestion.

With some help from one of the biggest fans of tea we know...

So do go on. Do have a cup of tea. Make some time for yourselves around the hectic money driven, fast paced, got to keep it all going, busy busy busy lives we all have to follow. Sit down, take Mrs Doyle's charming advice and have a little break from the I must do this, I must do that niggles. Give yourselves a pat on the back. We're not supposed to be super human... (hang on...let us just check...) We're human. To be more precise, we're apes. Apes that like making drinks with leaves and milk from cows, rice or beans. (?) Perhaps we are superhuman afterall...

We like to look back and consider the highs and lows of the last year and ponder what changes we could make, however! There is one large ingredient that is a must, that is 100% compulsory. If you're having one of those moments, when you're sitting down, making plans for the next year and getting your head around what's in store, DO make sure you have a cup of tea, nestled snuggly between ones hands, (preferably with a chocolate or two to hand - you know... the ones left over from all the Christmas chocs!). We know...we know! You might be doing an OH-SO special diet that requires not even the slightest whiff of anything sweet whatsoever, but we're afraid, when making such life changing decisions and embracing the next year ahead, it's also a must.

*Please note. If you do not have any Christmas choccies left over, do not fret. Simply check the cupboards for any hint of chocolatey biscuit goodness (there's bound to be a left over Christmas ginger biscuit of some sort... surely!?). No Christmas ginger biscuits in sight? Well.. don't repeat this next part to anyone (but desperate needs do come to desperate measures of course) ... Well, this is only possible if you have children, or young people around yourselves on a frequent basis. There's bound to be some kind of stash of Christmas succulently sweet goodness. Look high and low (particularly low if you have very small children or any midgets frequenting your space). We wish you luck!

A nice cup of tea does make a difference.

We particularly like what Gladstone had to say about our dear friend tea. Sums it all up rather nicely.

"If you are cold (blumming freezing with all these 100mph winds actually!)
Tea will warm you
If you are too heated
(Turn the heating down, love)
It will cool you
If you are depressed
(Winter blues, be gone)
It will cheer you
If you are excited
(Ooooo we're making plans, we're making plans!!)
It will calm you"

So no need to worry and fret dear friends. This time of year so many people give themselves a truckload of restrictions and beat themselves up, but surely this can be done in such a way that's satifying, acheiveable and not just plain bonkers (calorie counting are we?). Take a step back and have a little think (tea is in place, yes?), rid the guilt and think about what's important in life.

We read a very charming blog post by Seeds & Stitches
recently that hit the nail right on it's head. Indeed we want to succeed in our lives, but it's most importantly important to remember what's the most important of all importance in our lives! (We're never going to say the word important ever again...)

One of the greatest (very nearly said important) things we would like to do is say a massive huge

Thank you

To all you lovely lot out there over the past 8 months, since we began back in May. For all your kind words, support, marvellous guest posts, tea & bakes and enjoying Isle of Tea.

May tea be with you. Always & Forever.

Chin chin...
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