There are many things I love in life, those little luxuries that never fail to make me smile. Very high on my list of favourite things are tea sets, cake, history and visiting beautiful places. This probably explains why I love all things National Trust so much! Whenever I visit a National Trust property I always have a good look round the gift shop. The girls will often get a little treat and I sometimes pick up something nice for myself.

The National Trust shop have a team of in-house designers. They create beautiful prints inspired by the many beautiful places in the Trusts care. One of my favourite recent ones, was inspired by West Wittering. My grandparents had a beach hut there when I was little and the print brought back fond memories.

The latest addition to their lovely range of designs is Bohemian Circles, inspired by the Bloomsbury Group and Virginia Woolf’s former home Monk’s House, which is in the care of the Nation Trust today.

Here’s a little back ground on the Bloomsbury set:

The Bloomsbury Group were a circle of friends, writers and artists who created new ideas for art and literature. They lived in the Bloomsbury area of London, and met, lived and loved together from 1904 until the 1930s. They believed creativity and beauty were central to life and they created and enjoyed vibrant and radical art.

You may have heard of their names as their influence is still important a century later. Roger Fry inspired them to embrace modern art, and when now famous artists such as Cézanne and Gauguin were hardly know in Britain, he and Clive Bell introduced them to the public. This appreciation of new art inspired their Bloomsbury friends. Vanessa Bell created paintings full of gorgeous bright colour.

Her sister, Virginia Woolf pioneered new forms of writing in novels such as Mrs. Dalloway. Virginia’s novel Orlando was inspired by Vita Sackville-West and her vast house, Knole, now cared for by the National Trust. Vanessa’s many talents included design, and she created the covers for Virginia’s novels published by the Hogarth Press. Virginia ran the press with her husband Leonard Woolf, and they lived together at Monk’s House, now also cared for by the National Trust.

Virginia’s companion, Duncan Grant, shared her talent for art and design, creating everything from paintings to textile designs for the Bloomsbury run design company, the Omega Workshops. Other members of the group excelled in their chosen areas, whether it was Lytton Strachey’s radical biographies and critical writings, or John Maynard Keynes economic theory. (above picture – the living room at Monks House)

It is remarkable that this small circle of friends contained so many talented people, whose work still seems vibrant, fresh and radical today. Their relationships now seem as forward-thinking as their art, and can still seem a bit unconventional to us today. They believed people should be free to live and love as they chose. Above all, when we visit a garden like Sissinghurst, read a novel by Virginia or enjoy a beautiful painting by Vanessa, we can still feel the love, beauty and pleasure they brought to their life and their art.

I love that the new range pays homage to so much talent and history, as well as being very pretty. The kitchen and tableware range features a bold, yet chalky colour palette, reflecting colours the Bloomsbury Group artists used most frequently. Including a particular shade of green, based on the distinctive colour Virginia used to paint her sitting room walls.

~Every penny of profit from sales of the range, goes to support The National Trust, who protect and conserve hundreds of beautiful buildings and places, so that we can enjoy them. These would make amazing gifts, for Christmas, a new home or a wedding, or just something special for yourself.

The National Trust kindly leant me this set to try out and to take some pictures of. I adore the range, everything from the history to the beautiful design is lovely.

Of course no tea set would be complete with a great cuppa to go with it. The National Trust offer an amazing selection of tea, in lovely tins. As someone who only buys fairly traded tea and coffee, I am glad to see that National Trust Tea is Fairtrade too.

Featured Products:

side platecake slicecake standmilk jugcake forksteapotteacupnapkins

The range is available in selected National Trust shops or on the National Trust online shop.

Thank you to Matthew Storey for helping me with this post!

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I’m a little bit obsessed with iced tea at the moment and I’m really enjoying finding new ways to brew my favourite teas into delicious and refreshing summer drinks. A couple of weeks ago I shared my peach iced tea recipe and today I have another delicious offering for you. This time I was approached by T2 to see if I’d like to try one of the recipes from their website.

This time I’ve tried Citrus Squash, a delicious blend of two fruity summer teas – Turkish Apple chunky and Southern Sunrise.

Turkish Apple Chunky, is one of the more simple offerings from T2 and just contains chunky pieces of apple. Its a great tea for blending with others and I’m definitely going to be experimenting with this one a lot.

Southern Sunrise is one of my new favourites. It contains apple, white hibiscus, apple pomace, sweet blackberry leaves, lemongrass and grapefruit peel making it deliciously fresh and fruity. It has the most amazing smell too.

To make the iced tea you will need:

  • 8 teaspoons Southern Sunrise
  • 8 teaspoons Turkish Apple Chunky
  • 500 ml/17 fl oz soda water
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • Orange and lemon slices, to garnish
  • 2L T2 Jug-a-lot

How to Make:

  1. Add teas to the infuser of your 2L T2 Jug-a-lot and half fill with boiling water. Infuse for 30 minutes then remove infuser and leave to cool for 1 hour.
  2. Add soda water and orange juice. Fill with ice and decorate with orange and lemon slices.

We really enjoyed drinking this lovely iced tea, even the kids liked it. Its a great alternative to a sugary fizzy drink and tastes like a healthy version of Fanta or Tango.

This would be ideal for summer barbecues and parties and its definitely one we’ll be making a lot this summer.

I have a few more iced tea recipes coming up over the next few weeks, so if you enjoyed this one keep your eyes peeled. You can also find lots of tea recipes on the T2 website.

*Thank you to T2 for sending me the tea featured in this post. All opinions and the tea jug are my own. 

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a two of the teas from the Whittard Gift box I received when I celebrated National Tea Day at their shop in Kingston. Today I thought I’d share some more of the goodies from my box. I’m really enjoying working my way through all the samples.

Part of the joy of tea to me is the preparation and serving of it. I love the ritual of brewing and serving it in a favourite cup or mug. I recently got this lovely initial mug from New Look and I love it!

The two teas I’m writing about today are twists on classic and popular teas. Both of them are very different, but have the addition of lovely cornflower petals.

First us was their famous Piccadilly Blend. This is a classic black tea with the additions of rose, strawberry and lotus, with cornflowers petals. I liked this one in the same way that I liked the rose tea, the subtle floral tones on top of the classic tea flavour are lovely. This is another one that is very well-balanced. I’ve photographed it here black, but having tried it a few more times, I think I prefer it with a little splash of milk. I’ve definitely developed a taste for teas with floral hints and will be looking for more.

Also in my box, was a selection of biscuits. These were all absolutely delicious, but my favourite would have to be the Earl Grey infused shortbread. These were so tasty that I will definitely be getting some more as a little treat for myself. They also come in a really pretty tin, which is definitely a bonus to me.

I really like the idea of tea infused biscuits, these really would make such a lovely gift. Not only do they come in individual tins, they also have gift sets. I’d love to try some of the other flavours.

Next up I tried Marrakech Mint. I absolutely adore mint tea and have tried so many different flavours and varieties over the years. This particular tea is a blend of Whittard’s gunpowder green and peppermint leaves with a light sprinkling of cornflower petals.

This is a really refreshing and very light tea. They recommend trying it with honey or sugar. I don’t usually sweeten my drinks, so I really enjoy this as it comes, but I’ll definitely give the honey a go.

One of my favourite things about this tea, is how the little compact tea leaves unfold in the hot water and reveal beautiful complete leaves. This is definitely one to brew in a glass teapot of tea maker so you can watch the magic happening.

Here’s the tea leaves after brewing. Gunpowder tea is fired and rolled and was one of the first teas the chin ease traded with the arabs.

Get the look: Initial mug £5.95 New Look – Cat Teapot £8 George – Butter Dish – Laura Ashley

What teas have you been enjoying recently? Any recommendations?

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I’m still a little bit obsessed with tea at the moment. I’m really enjoying trying new recipes and different brewing equipment to create the perfect cuppa. I recently went to a tea masterclass at my local T2 shop. This was organised by Fay from Blogabooketc as part of our Kingston Blogger Meet which I’ll be writing more about soon. We were shown how to make lots of different tea recipes including iced tea. I’ve tried mixing and matching lots of different teas and flavours and at the moment this is my favourite.

I made this using T2 Packs a Peach, which is a gorgeous loose leaf tea, with lots of beautiful fruity ingredients. I also used fresh mint and nectarines to add a bit of extra flavour.

I brewed the tea using my T2 Jug-a-lot iced tea jug. I have the 2 litre one, which is perfect for keeping in the fridge. I really like that once the tea is ready you can leave it in the fridge all day and go back for a glass whenever you fancy one.

How to Make:

First I fill the jug 2 thirds full with boiling water and add my mint and nectarine.

Then I add the tea infuser.

I allow this to cool before sealing the lid and leave it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning I remove the tea infuser and fill the space in the jug with ice.

The end result is refreshing and delicious, perfect for hot summer days. I’ve been trying out lots more iced tea recipes and would love to share a few more on here very soon.

What are your favourite tea flavours? Do you have any recipes or suggestions that I should try?

*This post is not endorsed by T2 and all products used were purchased by me.

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A few weeks ago I blogged about my trip to the Whittard shop in Kingston. Faye and I were treated to a tea tasting and were shown around the shop and taught about some of the teas and their origins. We were also given a goody box to take home.

The box contained lots of samples including tea bags, loose leaf tea, marmalade and biscuits. Since I decided I wanted to write about tea more, I thought I’d work my way through the box and let you know what I thought of the contents. I’m going to do a couple of teas at a time.

As I’ve said before, I prefer loose leaf tea to teabags. I really enjoy the ritual of spooning out the tea and watching it brew, so I was really pleased to see all the lovely choices in my box.

The first tea I tried was the English Rose. Rose is a very traditional ingredient in tea and was first blended during China’s Ming dynasty. Whiter currently have this tea in a gorgeous Alice in Wonderland tin, which I completely love.

This blend is beautifully well balanced with the rose. It is pale, aromatic and quite full flavoured while still being delicate and fragrant. There is a subtle hint of rose without being over powered. I found this tea to be quite refreshing and as recommended by Whittard this would be lovely for a summer picnic. I take mine with a little milk.

Another treat inside the box, was a little jar of Blood Orange Marmalade infused with Assam tea. I adore marmalade on toast so was very happy with this! This was very tasty and full of chunky yummy orange bits. The hints of tea are quite subtle and make this a great addition to my breakfast. I’m definitely going back to pick up another jar of this!

The other tea I tried was the Apple and Elderflower fruit infusion. This blend contains apples and elderflower, with sweet liquorice, vanilla and hibiscus with added rose and marigold petals.

This beautiful mix is tangy, fruity and fresh. It has a medium strength and smells absolutely divine. This can be served hot, which is how I had it or it can be made into a refreshing iced tea.

Recreate my breakfast look:

Hen Toast Rack – £22 – Laura Ashley

Cat Teapot – £8 – George at Asda

Gold Spoon (set of 4) – £20 – Laura Ashley (not currently available)

1953 Coronation Plate – Vintage car boot find

Bird Butter Dish – £22 – Laura Ashley

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