Stop and enjoy all the lovely flowering blossoms, not just the roses! Why limit yourself when there are so many colorful and beautiful blooms all around? One of my favorite things is taking a moment to enjoy the marvels of beauty I encounter. With all of my observations this week , I didn’t finish much in the reading department, but there are a few fun things to share, including this lush azalea.
What I have been reading
I finished The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson. Told in alternating POVs of 3 women, Ann and Miriam in London, 1947, and Heather, Ann’s granddaughter in 2016.
This historical fiction book revolves around Ann and Miriam, embroiderers who had a share in making the royal wedding gown for Princess Elizabeth all those years ago? The characters are fictional but I enjoyed the friendship between Ann and Miriam. I’ll tell you soon how I managed to finish reading it just yesterday.
The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield is one of my current reads that feels like spring. The first story, At the Bay, made me think about gender roles, perceptions, childhood, the simplicity of childhood but also a longing to do something outside of our normal, routine everyday life.
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim has allowed me to travel to Italy with 4 women, each of whom, have their own motives for wanting to have a break or a rest from their everyday lives. There are things about this book that made me think about The Garden Party but since both are short, I’m sure I should finish them both this week. Which of course means I need to finish up those carryover reads from March too. So many books….
What I have been drinking
Tea Challenge Update: Week 1 of the challenge was very good. I finished 5 teas, 2 of them I’ll share below.
☕ The Cup: Mateccino | 🍃 Tea Type: Herbal | ✉ From: Citizen’s Tea
This tea falls into the herbal tea category but has caffeine, which comes from the Yerba mate, which comes from the leaves of a hollylike tree found in South America. This tea had a roasted flavor but a bit of sweetness but provides a good kick of caffeine in the morning.
☕ The Cup: Jasmine Rose | 🍃 Tea Type: White | ✉ From: ZenTea
Finishing this tea taught me something new and prompted me to start a new series called, The Steep Off. One of my favorite things about loose leaf tea is that you can resteep the leaves and enjoy at least one more cup. With this tea, and in the steep off post, I shared how I was able to enjoy 3 cups and what each cup taught me.
☕ The Cup: Matcha | 🍃 Tea Type: Green | ✉ From: Gifted from a friend
Matcha and me, me and Matcha. We’ve had such a splendid time together this week and in a few short cups, it will all be gone. Didn’t want this time sensitive tea to go to waste. Not only did I drink Matcha this week, I baked with it too.
Fridays should be a mandatory part of every weekend, don’t you agree? My weekend started on Friday this week and I’ve been having a ball. Part of the day was spent walking around the downtown area of a neighboring city, stopping in some fun shops, including a cute vintage store. I also discovered a potential place for afternoon tea in addition to a shop that sales teaware. Unfortunately they both were closed but great excuse to go back, right? The evening culminated in dinner at a steakhouse (historic train depot turned restaurant). From time to time you’d hear the whistling train rush by while dining. I had a delicious Ribeye with a baked sweet potato. I didn’t eat it all because I had to save room for dessert; a slice of Ginger Peach Cheesecake.
On Saturday, I put on my Martha Stewart baking cap and spent more time with Matcha. I have a book called The Tea Book, All Things Tea by Nick Kilby and Louise Cheadle, that includes a few recipes for baking with tea I’ve been eager to try.
While in the baking zone, I was also in the audio zone. I was listening to The Gown, the book I mentioned earlier. My husband walks into the kitchen and says, “What are you listening to?” I tell him. He says, “How can you understand what they are saying, it sounds like another language.” I laugh while attempting to explain how I can understand everything. He shakes his head and I continue listening at twice the normal narration speed.
Below is my attempt at Matcha & Pistachio Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting. Although they don’t look exactly like the picture, they actually taste pretty good. Of course it was easy to pair matcha cupcakes with a matcha latte, another recipe included in the book. I added some nutmeg and cinnamon to this latte and it proved to be delicious. I’m actually sipping and eating some of both as I write this post.