Tag Archives: tea

Tea Time

18 Feb

It is a well-known stereotype. Brits love tea. And you know what? It’s a ritual worth having. After a long day, a steaming mug of Earl Grey with a splash of milk and a spoon of sugar can ease more than tired eyes. A proper cuppa can relax the mind, warm the belly, and give you enough energy to finish your day.

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I enjoy English Breakfast at all hours, typically with a spoon of honey and a splash of skim or soy milk. Earl Grey and English Breakfast are traditional but not the only tea enjoyed across the pond. At my internship I participated in daily tea time at about four o’clock, sometimes half past. We always had some variation of green tea—with lemon, jasmine, mint—and green tea remains a favorite of mine. I love a green and white tea, with a spoon of honey, whenever I feel sickly or in need of warming. Honey sweetens it just enough and soothes the throat as it goes down.

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Now when I say a proper cuppa, that mainly refers to how long you let the tea steep. A green tea only takes about three minutes to be perfectly drinkable. But black teas, like English Breakfast, take at least five minutes. The longer you steep, the stronger the tea. Steep for too long and it will taste like you’re sucking on a tea leaf. Steep for too little and you might as well throw the weak excuse for a cup down the drain.

Another important part of the tea ritual, at least for me, is the vessel. When it comes to mugs, I’m a bit picky. For some reason tea tastes better when sipped from one of my many UK-friendly mugs. The thin, bone china Harrods mugs I inherited from my uncle are perfect for cold days and chilly fingers. My short, wide Shakespearean insults and love quotes mugs—purchased at the Bard’s birthplace—are thick and sturdy, the right size for an afternoon spot. 

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Windsor Castle and the best cider of my life

8 Mar

One of my favorite experiences that I got to share with my family was going to Windsor Castle. We went on Monday the 21st, catching the bus after a delicious breakfast at Cafe Concerto (where you get your own mini teapot). It’s about an hour outside the city and very easy to get to. Plus, Windsor is a charming town with more to do than I expected.

Sadly, we weren’t allowed to take photographs inside. We did get a free audio tour though… And the Queen herself was home, although she was too busy to come say hello.

Windsor Castle was founded by William the Conqueror at the end of the 11th century. It is the oldest official residence in the UK and Queen Elizabeth II is one of 39 monarchs to have lived there. The Castle’s church, St. George’s Cathedral, is the final resting place of many royals, including the Queen’s father, George VI, and mother, as well as her sister, Princess Margaret. It was also the location of Prince Charles’ wedding to Camilla (Gorilla).

The most recognizable part of the castle, the Round Tower.

The guards don't wear the red uniforms this time of year, which is a shame. But they sure know how to pace while carrying a large weapon regardless of their attire.

St. George's Cathedral, where Henry VIII and other royals are buried.

Interesting architecture with this cathedral; There are no tall spires or giant stained glass windows like most cathedrals. There was no photography inside, unfortunately.

After touring the Castle we went to a pub (of course) for lunch.

The Carpenter's Arms Pub, established in 1518. This is where I had the best drink of my life.

Rekorderlig Berry Cider... If I ever manage to find this again, I just might buy a case. Imagine a Shirley Temple (the drink, not the child actress) and now imagine it to be even more delicious. And you still can't possibly understand how wonderful it is. Seriously, if you find it in the states, please let me know.

We said goodbye to Windsor and headed back to London. We got off the bus at Knightsbridge, also known as Harrod’s.

Mom and I looked around (because really, who can afford anything there anyway?) while Dad and Mark found a pub to pass the time. We all went to Pizza Express (one of my favorite places since going there in St. Andrew’s. Thanks, Charles!) for dinner and a great way to end a wonderful day.