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Monthly Archives: April 2016

  • Bring Afternoon Tea Back into your Life

    The ritual of afternoon tea was once as present in people’s day to day lives as today’s ritual of kicking back on the sofa in the evenings for a little light surfing and a few snacks is for us.

    Yesterday’s routine was less about total slobbery and more about total pleasure in every sense of the word. From the table setting to the food and drink presentation things were just more careful. Even an ordinary family would make an effort to use good china, tablecloths and tray cloths along with the nicest napkins and besides that, afternoon tea was the perfect time to invite a new friend back to meet the family! It’s an informal, relatively short meal so it can, even today be a great excuse to catch up with a friend or get to know a neighbour better.

    Afternoon tea was a time for reflection and a time for boosting the soul as well as the body. A little chat, some tea and cake and all was well with the world.

    Of course, we were living in a different world back then…people’s hours of work were fewer and more reliable and with less of a daily commute, it was to be expected that folk were back in the house at around the same time each evening.

    Today, with many people in one household on different schedules it’s trickier to meet up for a regular routine of afternoon tea but …that’s not to say we shouldn’t make the effort!

    A little time in exchange for a big reward

    The simple fact is that spending time around a table with those you love…or indeed with yourself alone, is vital if we’re to remain on a good wavelength with our families and in a good mental state if we live alone.

    Making the effort to lay a table may seem far-fetched to some, even silly…why bother with all that when nobody expects it?

    However, scientific research has proven a correlation between our environment and the way in which we behave with more beautiful environments creating more positive behaviour.

    Where we eat and drink is just as important a part of our environment as the rest of our home. Making a beautiful tea setting can really lift moods and children in particular will respond well to a regular, set afternoon tea where they can sit, enjoy a light snack, a chat and something to drink with their parent or carer.

    A modern take on afternoon tea

    We view afternoon tea today as a rather special treat; something we might do on our birthday in a lovely hotel or restaurant. We expect afternoon tea to include all kinds of pastries and rich sandwiches, cake and scones with preserves, butter and cream but in reality, afternoon tea can be a healthy, regular meal which isn’t difficult to arrange at all.

    The ingredients

    Tea of course is a must-have. Whether you choose herbal teas, fruit teas or more traditional options is up to you but make sure that you use your best china! Lay the table…it’s not a lot of effort to use a tablecloth or if you’re not a fan of table linen, simply add a plant or vase of flowers to your table for an instant feeling of occasion.

    In terms of what to eat, it’s not realistic to plan to consume quantities of salmon sandwiches and fruit scones on a daily basis, nor would most of us want to! Instead, look at healthy alternatives to the old-fashioned and filling afternoon teas of yesteryear.

    Some good options include the following;

    • Vegetable crudités with humus
    • Fruit salad
    • Cold meat
    • Cheeses
    • Quiche
    • Soup
    • Boiled eggs
    • Salads

    Whatever your favourite, light snacks are, these should be considered as candidates for your modern take on afternoon tea and after all, you can always include scones, cakes and sandwiches on special occasions!

  • 7 Clever Ways to Recycle Used Tea Bags

    For most of us, a tea bag is a single-use item isn’t it? We make our delicious cup or pot of tea and the bags, shrivelled, damp and useless are thrown away. Unless you can think of something else to do with them that is!

    You’ve probably heard about the old beauty trick where a cold, used tea bag is placed on tired eyes to help tighten up the delicate skin around your eyes right? Well there are a lot more brilliant uses for spent tea bags than that…so read on and learn more about how to make the most of your favourite tea bags.

    • Improving your garden: Did you know that if you save up your used bags until you have a good amount of them and then add them to a bucket of hot water, the resulting weak tea is a marvel at keeping fungal infections away from your plants? It’s also full of nutrients which your plants will love. So save up those bags, brew up a weak tea, cool it down and then offer your garden a refreshing drink!
    • Flavouring cooking: Teas such as Jasmine and Green Tea are wonderful for enhancing the flavour of your cooking…especially where rice is concerned. Simply pop a used bag into the water you’re boiling for your cooking then remove before adding the rice. The delicate flavour will subtly enhance your meal.
    • Freshen up your carpets: Before the days of vacuum cleaners or carpet shampooers, housemaids would hoard tea leaves to aid in the cleaning of the floor coverings in large houses. Save your used tea bags in an airtight container in the fridge; when you have enough, open up the bags and let the leaves dry out a little. Sprinkle liberally over the carpet, leave them in place overnight and then vacuum them up. Your carpets will be visibly cleaner and smell sweeter!
    • Natural air freshener: Tea bags make wonderful odour neutralizers and you can add them directly to your cat’s litter, to your dustbin and to the fridge where they will literally absorb nasty smells.
    • Deter mice: If you believe any one of the many children’s story books illustrating mice enjoying cups of tea and slices of cake, then you’re sorely mistaken. Mice hate tea. They like cake…but tea? They won’t go near it if they can help it so if you think that you may have a little rodent issue at home, sprinkle some dried tea leaves from used bags liberally in the area and they’ll hesitate before coming back.
    • Hair conditioner: Tea makes excellent hair conditioner and you don’t even need to use a fresh bag! Save up a few bags and brew a weak mixture. Use this in your final rinse after shampooing and you will notice a real improvement in shine.
    • Glass cleaner: That’s right, you can even use tea as a window cleaner! You only need a weak mixture to really clean windows to their full shine. Polish with a cotton cloth after cleaning to maximise shine.

    With so many genuinely useful uses for used tea bags, we’re certain you might think twice before composting your next tea bag!

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