Darjeeling Tea

To celebrate the end of 2015 and the start of a new year, I will be sipping the champagne of teas, also known as Darjeeling.  

I tried this tea once before in a tea room, and I must say I was not fond of the flavor.  But that was also the day I sampled lavender shortbread & that may have ruined my taste buds for a long time.

True Darjeeling tea is grown, harvested and manufactured in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India.  It is most commonly a black tea, however Green Darjeeling is becoming popular. 

I am brewing a readily available and affordable Darjeeling from Twinings.

Darjeeling

After a three minute steep time, the color is lighter than my normal cup of black tea.

Tea

At first sip, I enjoy the flavor, there is something familiar about it.  Then, the after taste hits.  It tastes smoky, musky or some word I can not seem to find.  It is not bad, it just isnt great.
But, I continue to sip & sip!

Lasting thoughts on Darjeeling, the Champagne of Teas: 
I enjoyed this tea if for no other reason than to double check my initial opinion.  It is a good tea, not memorable, and not a tea I would reach for all the time. 

The Night Circus

Do you want to read a book that is hypnotic and captivating?

Then I highly recommend that The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, be the next book you read.

I spent the majority of this title not quite understanding what was going on – and loving every page of it!

Maybe that is the magic of this book.

Thenightcircusbook

Two contestants, Celia and Marco, are chosen because of their skills in illusion and magic. They are bound to a contest, unknowing of the rules, requirements and even each other. They only know that they must take on an opponent and the contest will take place when they are ready.

The stage is set in a magical black and white circus that arrives without notice.
Le Cirque des RĂ©ves, is a mulit-sensory delight for all attendees. But as the other circus performers become entangled in the contest – can love break the spell and save the day?

 The Night Circus is a must read and has a spot on my favorite books of 2015!

 

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Dominic

The old hardback copy of Dominic that I brought into the house was met with unease.  It looked like one of those classics that you had to read in high school, that you knew would be awful.

But we decided to take a chance on the mustardy yellow color covered book and we found a heroic tale of a dog with a superb blend of action and deep meaning.

Dominic

Dominic is an on the go sort of dog. He sets off with his piccalo to see what lies down the road.  His keen sense of smell leads him to find friendships on his adventures and right into the clutches of the Doomsday gang.  The Doomsday gang is a group of villians who attack the innocent animals of the countryside. Being a kind and courageous dog, Dominic must find a way to defeat these ruffians.

The exceptional descriptive vocabulary in this book make it a wonderful read aloud.  The reading level in my opinion would have to be 7th grade or higher. The beauty of the wording may get overlooked and skipped over if a child had to sound out many of the words.
That is why reading aloud is an easy way to learn new words. The challenging words are heard in context and are made to come alive in the mind.

The illustrations in Dominic are simple stick and line sketches.  I found them charming, but my children seem to have a more refined opinion of what an illustration should be. But by the end of the book they were asking to see the pictures as well. Simplicity can grow on you.

Drawing

To wrap it all up in a bandana ( story reference ) Dominic is a fabulous boy read or read aloud for mulit-ages, I lean towards 8 and up.  Boys will enjoy the sword fighting and heroic deeds of this loveable dog. 
Moms will appreciate the outstanding vocabulary and life lessons taught in the story.

I dog eared several pages but this is a tidbit I am still mulling over- "Fighting the bad ones in the world was a necessary and gratifying experience. Being happy among the good ones was, of course, even more gratifying. But one could not be happy among the good ones unless one fought the bad ones."

 

 

 

 

 

Tea at Downton

 Tea at Downton: Afternoon Tea Recipes From The Unofficial Guide to Downton Abbey, while short, a mere 77 pages, is a treat of a book.

Written by Elizabeth Fellows, Tea at Downton shares the origins history of afternoon tea time.
It came as no surprise that afternoon tea began as a necessity in a woman's life.  With a myriad of responsibilities, then and now, sometimes a woman just needs a treat to make it through the day.

Teaatdowntonbook

I enjoyed the history aspect of how World Wars influenced changes in tea time and its menu.  The book is filled with recipes and etiquette techniques.

With Downton in the title, you can expect the book to cater to we Downton Abbey fans.  The book does include tidbits of information on Edwardian kitchens and homes, such as Downton. There are recipes that bear the names of favorite characters from the television show.

My only grumble of complaint would be that a few photos would have been nice, throughout the book or at least in the recipe section.  Being an average cook, I like to see how my new creation should look when I am finished.

I am looking forward to trying out a new recipe or two when the last season of Downton Abbey airs in January 2016.

Tea at Downton is best, when read in an English accent and is a lovely addition to my kitchen bookshelf.

 

 

 

 

 

The Teashop Girls

Teashopgirlsbook

I can't take credit for this book find.
With the word "tea" in the title, I am not sure why it never came up on the many book searches I was do- but I am glad my daughter found this book.

The Teashop Girls is a cute story about a girl named Annie, whose grandmother owns a tea shop call the Steeping Leaf.
Someone needs to turn this fictitious tea shop into a real place! 

Imagesteepingleaf
Annie and her best girl pals, aka the tea shop girls, ban together after an eviction notice to try to save this special place. 

I found the images of old tea advertisments adorable, the smattering of tea facts, awesome.  The clincher for me had to be the tea quotes that began each chapter! 

This story is written for girls ages 8-14.  I do not speak for everybody, but I would bump that age up to 12ish.  I can't see the boy crush element of the story appealing to an eight year old who can't imagine liking a boy. Not to mention that the "Teashop Girls" are eighth graders.

 

Still those opinions aside, this was a tea-rrific, light hearted story.  A worthy read for tween girls and their tea obsessed moms!