A few weeks back I wrote about a favorite “Fantasy Island” of mine–the Stampington Studio’s luscious magazines! Today “De Plane! De Plane” is landing on the island to take us to tea! Never mind that I almost live on iced tea, today we’re doing it up grand and looking at some favorite sources of inspiration as well.
Some of you know that I am writing a series set in two great houses–one in Scotland and one in England. Amberleigh and Shellborne to give their proper names. You can read an introduction here, if you’d like. Obviously, these people take tea time very seriously. Like Queen Elizabeth still does today, the hostess in these homes would measure out her custom blend of either India or China teas and serve beautiful little dainties on the side. Here are the photos I used for one great tea scene at Shellborne.
I love tea sandwiches! “Finger Sandwiches,” my grandmother called them. She served them sometimes for bridge. Smoked or plain salmon, shrimp, cucumber, egg and cress (well, you got me here–I can’t stand hardboiled eggs!). The point is to provide a beautiful little nibblie to go with the tea. An tea wouldn’t be tea without a sweet or two, now would it? A Victoria Sponge? (Remember the movie Calendar Girls? Yep, that’s their cake!) Brandy Snaps? Fruit Cake? (Those last two have prominent roles in my books). Who wouldn’t want to world to just plain come to a halt so these goodies could be enjoyed in a civilized way? Beats a Starbucks run to this coffee-loather, I can tell you. But, hold the milk. I’ve never taken to tea with milk or cream.
Walter Granville-Smith, A cup of tea, 1904
Some of my favorite inspirations for tea time come from these two great magazines. (Disclaimer–no “Fantasy Island” is not purely an occasional series devoted to my favorite magazines!)
I give you my word that these are two of the loveliest magazines ever produced! They are a temporary cure for vexed tempers, hot flashes, the vapors or office ennui. The perfect lunchtime pick-me-up that won’t get you into any trouble unless you read them for longer than an hour. The present gorgeous table settings, divine little tea shops, beautifully restored houses and recipes so lovely you want to lick the pages. How can you beat that? And, best of all? The magazines are calorie free! Sorry, I can’t promise the same for the cream and butter loaded yummies.
Lady Edith Crawley and Sir Anthony Strallan before the devastating end
This little gem appeared in one of my feeds–it is only $2.99 for Kindle. Though as a big-time Andith ‘shipper (translation for non-Tumblr afficiandos: I loved the Lady Edith–Sir Anthony relationship) I just read the hilarious recaps in the British papers for the last few series. All the same, that cup Lady Mary had to put down before taking baby George for his five minutes of face time you can bet had properly made tea. Tea bags were not yet a thing. Imagine Carson dangling a tea bag! Tea at Downton.
Next week, the paperback edition of a recent tea book comes out. I have not had an opportunity to preview it, but it definitely will go on my to-read list. Just looking at it makes me want to re-binge watch Indian Summers or Jewel in the Crown! Darjeeling: The Colorful History and Precarious Fate of the World’s Greatest Tea by Jeff Koehler.
You can read tea-themed mysteries, tea-themed romances, and tea planter romances. You can have morning devotions related to tea–you can even color a tea themed page while you sip your steaming cup of goodness! Personally, I’m impatient to read this new novel–it comes out in September. The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies.
What’d I tell you? Tea time is just Fantasy Island! Brew a pot or dunk a bag and have at it.
Do you enjoy tea? Have you visited a fun tea shop? Do you like to hold costumed Edwardian tea parties? Tell me your tea story in a comment or leave a link to your own tea-related post.