Monday, July 14, 2014

A Little Tea & A Little Knitting ...

Are you a coffee or tea drinker? or neither ? Up until just a few years ago my coffee was religion to me. Then I married my ex-husband who's Mother is English. Very English. Cuppa in the morning and afternoon like clockwork English. But I've come to learn that most of the English are that way. Tea is a religion to them like coffee is to many Americans. And English tea is different than American tea. I know this because on my folks last trip across the pond my ex Mother-In-Law sent home about a pound of good black English tea for us and my parents. My Moms suitcase still smells like Yorkshire Gold! I became a tea drinker overnight but without abandoning my coffee. I still love my coffee. But I also LOVE a good cuppa. I like mine sweetened and with milk or half & half.

For years I have loved and adored all things English. I follow the Royals very closely and have received Royalty Magazine for a couple years now which is fantastic. You get all the Royals not just the English ones. I love British television programs. I think in many ways British TV is much better than American. I don't mean at all to sound UN-American, but I must tell you of my love of all things English so that you can understand just how much of a big deal it was to me to have proper English tea. I have attended events that were presented in High Tea fashion which is to say wonderful teas were served along with their courses of savories, breads, and sweets. But I had never attended a tea event with just a few friends to see what that was like. Here in Albuquerque, if you want to attend a proper English tea, you go to the Saint James Tearoom. I had never been before. I have been hearing stories of the several times my Mom and Betty have been but have never been myself. I was beginning to get a little jealous truth be told! This last time they went to tea they all agreed that the next time would be reserved for a time when I could go...when I wasn't in the hospital! So, reservations were made for 11:00am tea this past Friday. Mom, Betty, our friend Dee, and I got all gussied up and went to the Tearoom. I was so excited! I knew, being the person I am, that I would be taking LOTS of pictures. I was blown away by everything, absolutely everything. The grounds were gorgeous, all the people who worked at the tearoom were dressed in English maid uniforms. It was fabulous. I'll get to the pics because there are a lot of them....

It started when we first pulled up...

The grounds of the Tearoom are absolutely gorgeous. Very lush and peaceful...
 

 I wished I'd have gotten pics of the entrance into the tearoom but it was quite crowded. I can tell you that when we first walked in it was immediately into part of the gift shop. The gift shop was SO extensive. From cute things for babies and tea sets for young kids to hats and fascinators that could be purchased. They even had a selection of hats to choose from should you desire to wear one. There were beautiful tea sets everywhere. There were old fashioned shaving kits for men too and by the price I think they were plated in gold. Colognes, lotions, jewelry, and any tea accessory you could possibly think of. And the tea sets! Oh, the tea sets! They had very affordable sets and sets where one cup alone was $150.00 let alone its matching pot at $450.00! Again it would have been nearly impossible to get photographs of the gift area because of the number of people that were there. This is were everyone sort of waits for the tea chime to ring. When it does it means they are beginning to seat everyone. There were just 4 of us so we got a little nook all to ourselves with a curtain that pulled back for privacy. When they are seating you you pass wonderful things! Art and tapestries and this...


This helps the guests find their way back to their seating should they need to go to the loo (bathroom) during tea. Here is a picture of our nook on the way out. I didn't think to get the picture on the way in so there are empty glasses on the table here but it was fabulous! The name of our nook was Munstead Wood...


We were seated and waited on by a wonderful girl named Dominique. When we arrived there was a hot pot of tea on the table for us to begin with. I do not remember its name but it was amazingly good. We arrived to a table set just for us and welcoming us personally...


 There was a exquisitely framed copy of our menu for the day, the teas we would be having and the food too...


Each menu is created around a theme or a person or a story. It just...it was wonderful. Just wonderful. All the very fine little attention to detail, I couldn't believe it. We started on the first pot of tea...


They had both regular sugar and lumps, if you cared for either in your tea. And real creme. It was so wonderful. I highly recommend...if you are a tea drinker and have not had an experience like this before please look up in your area and see if they have a tearoom you can pay a visit to. You wont regret it but rather spend a lot of time wondering why you didn't do it sooner. After we'd had some tea Dominique arrived with our food. The attention to detail and artistry with the food was simply divine.


And this is Dominique! See how she is dressed?! Every person working and walking around in there was dressed this way. Lovely! She is standing by our curtain which was kept pulled for our privacy.


Its hard to say what my favorite part of the meal was. It was all so good. The breads were incredible. And in the center there? Yeah, that's real lemon curd and clotted creme next to it. The scones just melted in your mouth. The others were like little sticky buns but with white raisins and currants and nuts. Just wonderful. The dessert section was a no brainer, I knew I would love that. On the top level were egg salad sandwiches with fresh parsley along the edges, little cups of chicken salad so good I wanted a 2 inch think sandwich of it, cherry tomato and melon with basil cups and prosciutto wrapped asparagus which was no less than awesome. In the dessert section were coconut cookies (the ones that look like Madeleine's), mini creme puffs and chocolate cookies with chocolate creme on top. With each layer of the meal came a new tea. And each tea was paired with the food so beautifully!

Here is a fantastic picture of Mom...


And Dee...


And Auntie Betty...


 Everything around was beautiful. I found myself taking pictures of things like our window...I thought the view was gorgeous...


 On the little table between Mom and I sat a stained glass butterfly/angel lamp. The sun was shining on it just so...


And another window in the tearoom...


 When we left the tearoom I took a few more pictures outside. There was one particular flower that I had to shoot. It was the essence of what this entire experience was all about. It was beautiful, colorful, the sun shined on it in all the right places, it was delicately put together, there was no attention to detail that was missed....


I cannot wait to go back the next time. It truly was an adventure in tea! I hope you have the chance to have a similar experience where ever you live. Going to a tearoom may not sound like all the much but it truly was a maiden voyage I will not forget. You can visit their website for more pictures of different nooks and different seating arrangements for larger parties... its a great site.
The St. James Tearoom

I did take my knitting though I knew the instant I arrived I wouldn't be knitting. At all. But I have been knitting and ever starting knew things and getting back to some old things that have been sitting for far too long. Like this one. I am finally getting back to this one. This is Sidney's Cornwall Coast. All I need to do is finish up the border and she's ready to go! So I pulled this one out to work on it...


We have a friend in knitting group who is getting married soon and several of us have made squares to put be together into a blanket for her. This was the first one I did for her...


And this is the second one that I have going for it. It's the same pattern just a different color. Its actually all I had available in worsted weight yarn. I don't normally have a lot of that around. I work in mainly fingering weights or lace weights...


I made these for my "Fairy" Goddaughter Alia and they were so precious it was hard to give them away! Not that I would have any use for them but still. But "awwww" factor. And even with little gold ladybug buttons!


Little Mary Janes! Too cute. And as if I didn't already have a lot going on and what feels like a million different WIP's...I had to start another. The yarn is amazing and I have been wanting to work with it for some time now. I CO for a shawl. The body will be done in just plain garter. I don't want to interrupt all that wonderful color in there. Lace will go on the edging when I get there...


Isn't the color amazing!? I shot it this way so I could get an accurate pic of the color of this yarn. Its from Phydeaux Designs and all of her yarns are absolutely amazing. If you haven't been over there to check her out yet please do. You will not be disappointed.

Today is definitely a tea day. I am drinking Yorkshire Red from England and its fabulous. I am going to put a movie on a knit. Maybe fall asleep. I decided to take this week "off." I did not go to stitch group today, I am not going to knitting tomorrow. The only thing I am doing is the Opera on Wednesday. That's it. I've been so tired and I'm still not fully well yet and I've been doing too much, plain and simple. I need to recognize that and haven't been. So this week is a lazy week of knitting, watching movies, and napping because its what my body needs to get over being sick for so long. I will miss all my peeps but I know they understand. Thanks for taking my tea adventure with me! I took all the pics for you!

Let me know what you are all up to...tea or coffee? crochet or knitting? movie or TV show? Until next time my friends....knit on!

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