My week in books and tea 4.7.19

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.

β˜• The Cup: Mateccino | πŸƒ Tea Type: Herbal | βœ‰ 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.

β˜• The Cup: Jasmine Rose | πŸƒ Tea Type: White | βœ‰ 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.

β˜• The Cup: Matcha | πŸƒ Tea Type: Green | βœ‰ 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.

Weekend Shenanigans

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.

Published by booksbythecup

Lover of good books and tea

21 thoughts on “My week in books and tea 4.7.19

    1. That’s what I like to hear! More tea is never a bad idea especially if you find one you love.

      There are so many recipes for tea infused goodies, a favorite I found online an early grey cupcake so I thought it was time to try something new. I like to try them to see if any would be good at my tea parties


      1. I use a preprogrammed electric kettle that has been a constant companion for almost 3 years until it didn’t work back in February so I went back to using the one I had on the stove. I was ecstatic when the replacement for the preprogrammed kettle arrived in the mail. But even without it, you can still have fabulous tea! With a tea infused treat πŸ˜‰


    1. Thank you so much Clair! The weekly reviews help me share something regularly and it just so happens this week was a little limited on the finished books. But I had some fun things to share like those cupcakes. Now I just need to give them all away! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Sounds like a great week and those cakes look mighty good! But I can’t imagine listening at double speed. I can manage x 1.5 – after that, I’m with your husband on this! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely a good week! The cupcakes were a lot of fun. I am in the process of giving away as many as possible since I don’t need to eat too many.

      Lol, so much depends on the narrator! Sometimes I will start at 1.5 and bump it up. I tried to listen to an audio CD in my car once and it felt so slow but it was the only audio version my library had so I just had to deal with it. πŸ˜†

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jasmine Rose sounds so good! I only finished 2 samples but I’m almost done with two other opened bags so yay! (2 down, 280 to go πŸ™ˆ)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my goodness, your cupcakes! YUM! I loved hearing about your reads, and I can’t stop smiling about your twice the narration speed audio and your husband’s comment! I am right there with you about speeding things up. I can follow- if I don’t have any distractions at all. Wonderful post, Shell! β™₯️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I made mini ones, easier to give away but also don’t make me feel too bad for having a few in a row. I think I’ll definitely bake with Matcha again! Lol, I’m glad to hear you understand the narration speed too. Thanks so much Jennifer. 😍

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You said you had Ginger Peach Cheesecake. Does the ginger make it a bit zingy? I always thought ginger was supposed to be spicy. That green tea is so green! I’m used to that nearly see-through stuff they sell at the grocery store. Or did the latte elements make it such a thick, opaque beverage?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The sauce on the side of the cake did make it zingy but not overpowering, not at all what I expected but it was yummy.

      Matcha is powdered versus just the green tea leaves which makes it very green and is more concentrated. You don’t remove the powder, you whisk it in.


  5. Have you ever tried to make a tea loaf? It might just be an old-fashioned English thing but since you love tea you might like it? You steep the dried fruit in tea until it gets nice and juicy and then put them into a rich loaf. It’s perfect…with a cup of tea!

    I’m also curious that you recognise strains of the Garden Party in The Enchanted April. Katherine Mansfield has been on my list to read for so long, but I’m always a little worried she’ll be a bit *whispers* depressing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually haven’t tried that! I’d have to think about which fruit to use but that sounds wonderful. I looked up a lemon tea loaf and thought about using an Earl Grey to infuse into it.

      I have never read Mansfield before but in this collection she gives moments in the lives of people. In the story I mentioned, the moments of a few women reminded me of the musings of the ladies early in The Enchanted April.


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