Friday, December 6, 2013


Hello! Lady B here. I didn't mispell Aloha...I just put up an acronym of A Leave of Absence. Aloha means hello as well as goodbye so it's appropriate since I will want to say hello in the near future.
I have been working on a book regarding Afternoon Tea and it is all encompassing if I want to finish it. It's a commitment I take seriously. In the meantime please enjoy all the posts from Dame Ruthie. I'll see you after my book is put to bed. Cheers!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Hello, Lady B here. I experienced a very serendipitous occurrence a few weeks ago. I was walking in my neighborhood on a bright fall day. I saw my neighbor Liz outside of her house so I stopped to chat. She asked me how things were and I replied that I was writing a book about tea and finding it more difficult than I had expected! So Liz replied that she was writing a book too! It will be about illustrated children's books. Then she said she had a blog. So of course I said "I do too!"  So we exchanged blog addresses and I hurried home to check out her blog. Please visit her blog when you have a chance. Liz'  Well, a few days passed and I found a box on my front porch. In it was this sweet teacup.

So I guessed where it came from. I put a little gift in the box and put it on her doorstep.
A few days later I saw a bag on my doorstep. You guessed it - another anonymous package. This time containing two tea cups!
                      This beautiful cup adorned with pansies from the      Salisbury company in England.
And this sweet rosie teacup from the Elizabethan company in England.  I'm not sure who is going to strike next but I do know I have a very nice relationship with a neighbor who I now have quite a lot in common with!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Arizona and Blue Willow

Well, Hello there from Lady B! This will be a different little post! A few weeks ago I went to Arizona to visit my son. As I usually do, I researched a bit to see if there was a nearby tea room. Now, Arizona is very different from my neck of the woods. I didn't see a rose bush any where...lots of cacti though. But I did find a tea room!! In the town aptly named Carefree!! The English Rose Tea Room was located on the corner of Easy Street and Lucky Street!! Honestly!

It really was everything I could hope for in a tea room. The only problem was that it was closed!! We couldn't wait around as we had reservations for a tour in Sedona  But you can bet the next time I visit I will make this my priority.

A piece of British heaven in the desert!!

There were beautiful rose murals on the outside. I imagine they miss the real thing too.

Teacup chandeliers...of course.

The cactus were as big as people!

Adjoining the tea room was a British-themed store called Jo London

I had to give this all up to go to Sedona. But, as you can see, it was worth it.

So, changing gears, I have to share the story of Blue Willow china because I found this lovely teapot at a yard sale after I returned home.  It got me thinking about the story that goes with it. The pattern was designed by Thomas Minton in the late 1700's. To promote the sales, Minton invented a story to go with it. The story is completely English in origin with no ties to China.

One version goes like this: Once there was a wealthy Mandarin who had a beautiful daughter, Koong-se. She had fallen in love with her father's humble accountant, Chang. This angered her father who wished for her to marry a powerful Duke. He built a fence around his house to keep the lovers apart. The Duke arrived bearing gifts. On the eve of the wedding, the accountant, disguised as a servant slipped into the palace and the two lovers escaped with the jewels. They were discovered and the Mandarin chased after them. They ran over the bridge and were helped by three gardeners. They escaped to a remote island but were discovered and put to death. The gods transformed the lovers into doves. The other story told of a Shaolin monastery burned by the Imperial troops of the Manchu rulers. The souls of the dead monks take a boat to the Isle of the Blest On the bridge are three Buddha awaiting the dead souls. They are Sakyamuni, the Buddha of the past, Maitreya, the Buddha of the future, and Amitabha, the ruler of the western paradise. The doves are the monks' souls on the journey from human to immortal life.

That particular dish was manufactured by Burleigh

Another yard sale treasure by Johnson Brothers.

A close-up of the fanciful trees.

Here's a kettle in the same design. Now I can bring the kettle to the pot!! Love the little bird.

I'm sure a willow pattern has been made by many, many pottery companies.

                                                                Two birds flying high
                                                           A Chinese vessel, sailing by
                                                A bridge with three men, sometimes four
                                                           A willow tree hanging o'er
                                                      A Chinese temple, there it stands
                                                             Built upon the river sands
                                                         An apple tree, with apples on
                                                       A crooked fence to end my song

Sunday, August 4, 2013

OK...One More Book

I received this book in the mail on Friday. I have been waiting anxiously for it to be published and here it is. Now, it's not strictly about tea, but it is entirely about England!

Susan Branch documents her two-month trip to England which begins on the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship.

She visits lovely gardens and castles and houses. It's a very personal diary that is hand-written. I really started to think that I have a new best-friend!

I recommend this book to everyone. The one passage that completely blew me away is the following:

" Now I realize an Anglophile is not made, she is born - in the gardens of rural England, in a tearoom on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales & she can't be held responsible. It's like falling in love, she has to go with it. She sees an English Meadow in the middle of a stadium in London during the Olympics with real sheep and shepherds and geese and wildflowers and she realizes she is in love with the people who would DO that. She hangs up her bunting, turns on Downton Abbey and says , sign me up."

Yes, Susan Branch touches every British nerve in my body. Please give this book a look. I know you will enjoy it!
Cheers from Lady B !!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Another Collection! This time it's tea books!

Looking about the house, I found another tea books. I know Dame Ruthie has many too, so I will show you mine and let Dame Ruthie share hers with you at another time. The Charms of Tea was published by Victoria Magazine in 1991. It's quite informative with information on how to present lovely teas. It's also romantic with lovely pictures and paintings.

Alexandra Stoddard's Tea Celebrations lives up to her high standards. If you pour yourself a cup of tea and sit down to read this book, it's as if your are relaxing and enjoying a visit from her. She has a lot to say and puts her words down in such a lovely fashion

Scones and Tea is a lovely book from TeaTime magazine. As the title implies, it is a very large collection of recipes for scones. They say it is the ultimate collection and I agree.

You're Just My Cup of Tea is a wonderful book with great watercolor illustrations by Camille Ellerbrook. It overflows with recipes and conversation.

An Emilie Barnes/ Susan Rios collaboration, Everything I Know I Learned Over Tea is a sweet book. The idea is that conversation flows more smoothly when accompanied by a cup of tea. I truly believe that to be true.

This is probably my favorite tea book! Time for Tea is a conversation with thirteen English women.From a Lady to a dairy farmer to a schoolgirl, we are treated to their teatime traditions. The photographs and recipes are wonderful I feel as if I had made new friends. Over a cup of tea, of course.

Christmas Teas of Comfort and Joy by Emilie Barns contains sweet paintings by Susan Rios.  It contains Christmas crafts, customs and ideas for celebration. If you need a little nudge to get you into the holiday spirit, this is the book!

While we are on the subject, we can't forget this book. A Cup of Christmas Tea has no recipes, just a lovely story of what's important.
The Twelve Teas of Friendship is another book by the Barnes/Rios duo. The illustrations and conversation are delightful as they take you through each month with a lovely suggestion for a special tea to share with friends.

The Art of Tea and Friendship is a lovely book with paintings by Sandy Lynam Clough. It's like visiting an art gallery with Sandy as your guide.

This delightful little book was gleaned from Mrs. Beeton's original book Beeton's Book of Household Management which was written in 1861. It has lots of recipes and instruction for brewing the perfect cup of tea.

Talk about a little book! Isn't this sweet? Yes, that's a quarter next to it. Don't be surprised by it's size, it contains history, recipes and lots of information.

I found this little paper-back in Barnes & Noble and love it! It has history, recipes and tons of information along with super photographs.

The Essential Tea Companion is another book from Victoria Magazine (which I cannot live without). If you are looking for just one book about tea, this is the one. Like the title's essential!

Country Tea Parties  by Maggie Stuckey is a delight largely due to the lovely watercolor illustrations by Carolyn Bucha. It has ideas and recipes for twelve teas. One for each month. My favorite is the Queen's tea for the month of August

What can I say? It's the Ritz! The one in London...the one where my daughter and I enjoyed afternoon tea. It has history and recipes. Some of the teas are specific. Such as the mad hatter's tea, the pre-theatre tea, and the club man's tea.

Hmm, another Victoria publication...OK, I'm obsessed. Anyway, The Art of Taking Tea is a beautifully photographed book that will take you away to wonderful places to virtually experience tea. You can go to the English countryside, a Parisian tea salon or Boston's Beacon Hill. A truly enjoyable experience.

Having Tea by Tricia Foley is a style book as well as a tea book. It has wonderful menus, recipes, and style suggestions... lots of information.

This is actually my friends book. Tea by Roy Moxham is a delightful read if you want to know absolutely everything!! There are tales about smugglers, hangings,and tea plantations all over the world, uprisings, wars and oh yes, that tea party we had in Boston long ago.

Tea at Fortnum & Mason is a handbook for British tea drinkers. It's a tribute to tea with recipes and history

 I picked this book up in Paris. It is the true home of French Tea. The Mariage Freres has been blending their French tea  since the 1600's. This book is full of information about every aspect of tea from preparing it to classifying it, to identifying where it was grown.

 This clever little book is filled with tea-related quotes. There is one for each day of the year.

If Teacups Could Talk is another book with paintings by Sandy Lynam Clough. This time Emilie Barnes did the writing. I love the conversation because as you know, I do love my tea cups!! 

OK, I had to add these. I'm sure most of you have been reading the Laura Childs collection of tea mysteries! They are fun and a wonderful way to spend the afternoon...along with your cup of tea.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mariage Freres

Lady B here. We were in Paris last week! Doesn't that sound decadent?
I had to take the opportunity to visit the Mariage Freres tea museum and tea room. There are quite a few of them in Paris. We chose the one inside the Louvre since we were there to look at the myriads of masterpieces including the very small Mona Lisa.

Here is their sign which is also their trademark

A tea-lovers' dream come true!

I believe they carry more than 500 types of tea! I purchased  Earl Grey Provence which has a delicate lavender scent. I also bought French Breakfast tea to celebrate my trip!

This lovely tea room was adjacent to the tea museum.

Not only did they have this huge selection of tea, they also displayed tea paraphernalia from the 1850's

Right next door was this divine chocolate shop called La Maison Du Chocolat where I purchase delicious macarons (pronounced ma-ka-ROHNS). I brought some back for Dame Ruthie and we both agreed that they were the best we ever tasted! They were filled with a ganache that had a fabulous fudge-like flavor!

Right now I am am enjoying my French tea and am filled with gratitude for having such a nice adventure. Bon Jour!!