Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Japanese Tea Ceremony Clutch

Japanese Tea Ceremony Pouch

You can find a free pattern for the Tea Ceremony Clutch here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nassau trip

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

- St. Augustine


We recently traveled to Nassau in the Bahamas for a week of much needed rest and relaxation at Blue Water Resort on Cable Beach.  Our spacious, fully equipped, three storey resort condo was wonderful.


The tropical look rattan furniture, tiled floors throughout and cool blue color was lovely.  It was a great contrast to the bright yellow exterior of the buildings.  The ocean view from the third floor deck was gorgeous and it was great having two enclosed first floor patios.


We spent a lot of time lounging on the beach or around the pool, but did manage to fit in some fun activities.  Don and I really enjoyed our “Tru Bahamian Food Tour” in the heart of historic Old Nassau.  I was able to sample conch fritters and conch chowder – both delicious, especially the spicy conch chowder at Van Breugel’s Bistro and Bar.

Graycliff Chocolatier had some excellent treats and of course, one of my favorites was the pretty pink chai tea chocolate – hubby loved the key lime, which was also on our sampling tray.  I took a variety box of sixteen plus extra hand painted salted caramel chocolates  back to the condo to share with our friends.


Yes, they even had a signature bacon flavor chocolate.  ☺


Pure Caribbean was a tea merchant and specialty store on the tour, and sadly I didn’t get a picture to share.  We also saw lots of the historical buildings and churches along the way.  I’d definitely recommend “Tru Bahamian Food Tours” to anyone going to Nassau.

The “Sandy Toes” tour was also fun and included lunch and snorkeling at one of the reefs.  The weather at the beginning of the week was so rough that the ferry captain wouldn’t go out on the day we booked, but luckily they rescheduled for Friday and the weather was much nicer.  It was interesting to see all the beautiful homes on the trip to the island, including ones that had been owned by Elvis Presley and Mary Kay Ash (no longer pink though).

Another fun outing was lunch at “The Fish Fry” on Arawak Cay.  There were so many restaurants, but we finally settled on Twin Brothers and had a delicious seafood meal.  I had Bahamian fried snapper, served whole - head and all, and it was so fresh and very tasty.  


We had an interesting guided tour of Fort Charlotte after our lunch at Twin Brothers.  The main part of the fort was completed in 1789.  Since no enemy ever came to threaten Britain’s West Indian possessions after that time, Fort Charlotte was never needed to resist an invasion.


If you are arriving by cruise ship for a day in Nassau, you’ll be hard pressed to pick only one or two restaurants or activities.  We didn’t visit Paradise Island (seen behind this mega ship) on this visit. 


There was good bus service for going downtown and it’s a bargain at $1.25 each way.  Some of the trips were pretty scary, with crazy drivers, fast traffic and having to drive on the opposite side of the road.  If we had been braver, we might have rented a car and seen more of the island.


Between the two of us, hubby and I took over four hundred pictures and I kept a journal, so we’ll be able to relive the trip for years to come. 

If any of you have visited Nassau, I’d love to hear about your experience.  ☺

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cake Mix Cookies


When I was visiting Canada last August, my sister Donna introduced me to Cake Mix Cookies – so quick and easy to make.  All you need is your favorite cake mix, an egg, half a cup of melted butter and your add ins. 

I’ve tried a few different kinds.  I think the Coconut cake mix with added coconut flakes was yummy.  My hubby liked the cookies I made with Spice cake mix and walnuts.  Today I’m having German Chocolate cake mix cookies with milk chocolate chips as my add in.


Try some with your afternoon cup of tea.  Just mix 1 cake mix, 1 egg, 1/2 cup melted butter and whatever add in you like (nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, etc.  Depending on the mix, you might need a splash of water.

I use a 1 1/4 inch scoop to place the dough on cookie sheets and then bake at 350 degrees for around 12 minutes or till done (cracked on top).

These were delicious with a cup of Golden Tips Goomtee Darjeeling tea. 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Golden Tips Tea Company


Recently an unusual looking package arrived in my mailbox from India.  I could see that it contained a box and was wrapped up in fabric that appeared to be hand sewn. 


Each corner had sealing wax applied to it.  I carefully unstitched the package and found that the inside box contained a wonderful assortment of tea from Golden Tips Tea Company.


Golden Tips Tea Company produces one of the oldest and most reputable brands of tea.  Their tea is 100% Pure Single Origin Unblended Tea from India.

The tea comes well packaged, with lots of valuable information included on the label, such as - origin, estate, date picked, flush and season, grade and useful brewing information.

Right now I’m enjoying Castleton Moonlight First Flush black tea.  I’m definitely not a connoisseur tea taster, but even I can taste the fine quality and flavor of this Darjeeling tea.  I really like the mild astringency, delicate flavor and bright golden liquor of this black tea.

I’ve also sampled the Okayti Silver Needle  white tea.  It has a lovely fragrance and a delicate sweet taste which I enjoyed.  I was also happy to see that this is an organic tea.

Golden Tips offers several terrific sampler packs of exotic tea for just $15 including shipping from India.


The photo above is Halmari Gold black tea from Assam, India.  Look at all those gold tipped leaves in this superior hand picked tea.  As soon as I opened the package I could smell the rich maltiness and the brew is full bodied and perfect with a splash of low fat organic milk. 

I’m looking forward to tasting more samples (such as Arya Ruby Darjeeling, Giddapahar Muscatel, Goomtee Darjeeling, Avaata Supreme Nilgiri and others) over the next couple of weeks.

You can check out Golden Tips large selection of teas for yourself here


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pewter Cup and Teapot Earrings


These are the pewter tea theme earrings that I mentioned in one of my recent "trip to Canada" posts.  I have been wearing them quite a lot and find them so lightweight and comfortable.  I thought that I’d kept the store receipt, but now I can’t find it and can’t remember the name of the shop.  I believe it was on the main street in Port Perry, Ontario.

There are many interesting shops on Queen Street in the downtown shopping area.  There is also a great place for traditional fish and chips for lunch and lots of beautiful scenery to photograph along the lakefront park area of Lake Scugog. 



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Canadian Classic Fine Bone China

One cup and saucer was added to my collection after my trip to Canada last month.  I already have a teacup decorated with maple leaves and the Canadian flag, also another that has the Royal Canadian Tartan.  My new cup does not quite fit the theme, but it is bone china and made in Canada.


This set has a raised white on white pattern with gold trim and a pretty mixed floral motif. 


I have never seen bone china that was made in Canada and the $5.00 thrift shop (for charity) price seemed reasonable.  There doesn’t appear to be any easily available information about Canadian Classic China online.  If any of you know about this company, I’d love to hear about it.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Old Mill Centennial Afternoon Tea

The Old Mill motto says “VALLIS HUMBRIA ANGLIAE PARS ANGLIA PROCUL – In the valley of the Humber, a bit of England far from England”. 


I’m glad that I was able to experience the special Centennial Afternoon Tea at the Old Mill in Toronto with my sister-in-law Jane, during my recent trip to Canada.  The Old Mill is a long time favorite landmark for dining, dancing, buffets, afternoon tea, weddings and meetings.


Tea is served in a lovely bright room overlooking beautiful gardens and fountains.  There was a box of Old Mill Centennial Tea at each place setting – I’m looking forward to trying their blend.  It contains  black and green teas - Dimbula, Nandi, Nilgiri, Assam and Wuyi.


Our three tier tea tray contained Cucumber, Baby Watercress and Fine Herb Cream Cheese Open Face Sandwich – Mini Egg Salad Croissant with Bibb Lettuce and Tomato – and a Smoked Salmon, Asparagus and Fine Herb Cream Cheese Pinwheel.


Next were the Currant and Lemon Scones with imported Devonshire Cream and Greaves Jams and Marmalade.


The tea pastries included Battenburg Cake, Lemon Meringue Tartlet, Scottish Shortbread and a Chocolate Dipped Strawberry.


We enjoyed pots of Earl Grey and Crème au Caramel Rooibos tea.

It was a delicious English afternoon tea in a delightful venue.  I was also happy to learn that a portion of the proceeds are donated to Women’s Habitat (a refuge that provides counselling, support and advocacy for women and their children who are fleeing domestic violence).



Jane mentioned that she and my brother almost had their wedding at the Old Mill over thirty years ago.  They decided against it because the ballroom they liked shared a dance floor with another ballroom.


If you would like to explore a little more of the Old Mill Inn and Spa, or if you live nearby and are interested in planning an event, their website is here.

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