tea break

modflowers: teaI love tea.

I start the day with a cup of Earl Grey as soon as I get up, which I leave to stew until it’s very strong and just the right temperature – i.e. not too hot to drink quickly, straight away, once a good big dose of high-quality soya milk is added to it.

And then, I have another.

And another. And probably one approximately every hour or so until about 5pm, when I stop. But only really to preserve my ability to get to sleep at a reasonable time of night.

As well as EG I also like the occasional cup of builder’s tea, especially to accompany cake or cream scones.

And after Chinese or Thai food there’s nothing nicer than supping a whole pot of jasmine green tea, served really weak and really hot.

I used to drink herbal teas at work in the office, but kind of went off them once I left that environment behind.

But it’s fair to say that I do love tea.

modflowers: teaOr at least, I did.

Whilst we were away on holiday I didn’t drink any tea at all. Not even at breakfast.

It was stinking hot for nearly all of the time, even early in the mornings and I do not share my mother’s opinion that a nice, hot cup of tea will cool you down. Incidentally, this is equally untrue of the local Cretan firewater raki, despite what the taverna man told us.

Unlike my Australian nieces, I do not hold with iced tea. Ugh. In my book, neither soup nor tea were ever meant to be served cold.

And when you roll out of bed entirely refreshed, and there is freshly squeezed orange juice on offer made with oranges that only kissed the trees goodbye a few moments before, and with a soft mountain breeze, clear air and bright sunshine replacing traffic noise and general grey chilliness, tea becomes sort of superfluous to requirements.

modflowers: Liptons teaThe Greeks are not known for their tea-drinking. Perhaps this is because of the ubiquity (presumably due to the heat) of UHT milk, which everyone in Britain knows tastes disgusting in tea – or, for that matter, in anything else.

Whilst I am not averse to the odd cup of weak Cretan dictamnus (or mountain tea) it’s a bit of an acquired taste.

And sorry Liptons, but your brew is distinctly inferior to the stuff I normally drink.

So I didn’t have any tea for two whole weeks, until the last day on the way to the airport, when there was a cup included in a “Simple Breakfast” we stopped off for along the way. I drank it black (it was Liptons) and it was ok.

I fully expected to return to my usual tea-slurping normality as soon as we got home.

modflowers: teaHowever, the first cup tasted, well, nasty. I put it down to the unfamiliar tapwater. I persevered, but the second and third cups still disappointed.

I did enjoy this morning’s first cuppa of the day. But I really didn’t anticipate the fact that I just can’t seem to get back into drinking tea. 

It’s very strange. I’m not unhappy about cutting back on my caffeine consumption, which may have explained the persistent headache of my first few days on holiday, but there are other unexpected, knock-on effects. Like, what exactly do you punctuate your day with if you don’t drink tea?

I don’t like coffee – neither the taste, nor what the caffeine it contains does to my stomach and head. I bought a jar of Barleycup yesterday, but it seems too thick somehow, for regular drinking. Like ploughing your way through a mugful of Ovaltine when it’s not bedtime. Or slurping a cup of custard.

I know that really, I should do what I did on holiday – and drink more water. But somehow, stopping work for a nice glass of water just doesn’t seem very enticing.

modflowers: teaI miss the ritual of popping the kettle on, then choosing a mug, fishing a teabag out of the jar and sneaking a look at my phone or laptop whilst waiting for it to boil.

I miss sitting down with lad over a cuppa and a biscuit when he gets in from school.

And I miss the excuse to just sit and do nothing in particular for ten or fifteen minutes at a time.

I’m sure my taste for tea will return soon, whether I want it to or not. I’m not sure if that’s something to be looked forward to, or viewed with regret.

All I know is that at the moment, I am bewildered by my current state of beverage befuddlement.

It’s just not really my cup of tea. ♥


sheffield sybarites

modflowers: Sheffield spoils - vintage fabricsSometimes it’s good to indulge.

To give yourself over to pleasure, allow yourself to partake without guilt and to feel nothing but joy at doing so.

That sums up my Saturday in Sheffield.

Yes, I know that probably sounds a little odd, because if you try to think of a place symbolising pure pleasure, Sheffield probably isn’t the first one that springs to mind.

But you’re clearly just not as au fait with what Sheffield has to offer as you should be. Because my Saturday meet-up there with Jen of Little Birdie blog was about as full of pleasure as any day I could wish for.

modflowers: Forge Bakehouse, SheffieldJen and I hadn’t met in person before. And neither of us know Sheffield that well. But it’s appeal lay in the fact that it lies about halfway between me in Nottingham and Jen in Leeds, and that it boasts a developing antiques quarter, crammed with enticing places to shop and eat.

First of all there was the matter of breakfast. Jen was keen to try Marmadukes Cafe Deli, which turned out to be spectacularly nice, both in terms of decor and food…

modflowers: Marmadukes Cafe Deli, Sheffieldmodflowers: breakfast at Marmadukes, SheffieldI know my granola looks healthy. But that really was honestly what I fancied most in the world – and it was absolutely delicious.

Suitably fortified, we headed for Abbeydale Road, home to the Sheffield Antiques Quarter’s attractions, aided by the helpful maps app on my phone.

I love a good rummage in a vintage shop or two, so being spoilt for choice I was in my absolute element.

Particularly when we got to Honeysuckle at Home. I even had the honour of having owner Jude go and rummage up some extra items out of her car, just for me!

Here’s some of what I brought home with me…

modflowers: vintage fabric from Honeysuckle at Home, Sheffieldmodflowers: vintage curtains from Honeysuckle at Home, Sheffieldmodflowers: vintage curtains from Honeysuckle at Home, Sheffieldmodflowers: vintage linens from Honeysuckle at Home, Sheffieldmodflowers: vintage linens from Honeysuckle at Home, Sheffieldmodflowers: vintage linens from Honeysuckle at Home, SheffieldTo be honest, I could happily have spent all day in there.

But I think I was pushing it as it was, as I realised that Jen had done her browsing and was patiently waiting for me to be ready to move on.

So we did.  To my second-favourite place of the day – florist Swallows and Damsons.

modflowers: Swallows and Damsons, SheffieldI know that flowers are a difficult thing to mess up in terms of making your shop look nice, but really, Swallows and Damsons is floristry styled to die for…

modflowers: Swallows and Damsons, SheffieldThe smell was divine too!

So divine was it that Jen left with a pot and an armful of eucalyptus, despite the impracticality of lugging pots and plants around, whilst I succumbed to a couple of those trendiest of plants, succulents…

modflowers: succulentsThey sit just perfectly in the pair of vintage eggcups I got at Honeysuckle At Home.

I could, I suppose, list all the other things we bought, and ate (Forge Bakehouse, where we had lunch, richly deserves a mention, despite it’s predilection for calling quiches “pies”) and all of the places we went to, and the conversations we had, but that might leave you a bit bored.

It’s one thing to experience pure pleasure, but it’s quite another to hear, at length, about someone else’s.

modflowers: treasures at Vintedge, SheffieldSuffice to say that you can read about Jen’s favourite bits of the day over on Little Birdie.

And that I’m hoping to be heading back to Sheffield soon.

And if you should fancy a sybaritic Saturday of your own, you know what to do…

You really should sally forth to Sheffield. ♥


hello saucy – reprise

gravy boatJust a quick post to let you know that the search is over.

Yes folks, this is the little beauty that will be taking pride of place atop our table, filled to the brim with a plethora, nay a cornucopia even, of yet-to-be-decided varieties of tasty sauce to accompany our future meals.

A thoroughly life-enhancing purchase, I hope you’ll agree.

And for £4.99 plus postage, an undeniable bargain!

The design is Springtime by Jessie Tait for Midwinter. I’m not sure of the date, but it certainly has that certain “je ne sais quoi” of the 1960s about it.

So you can all stop scouring the interweb for sauce boats, jugs and gravy pourers now, and carry on about your business.

Me, I’m off to make some custard. :)