Afternoon high tea is such a deeply civilized and indulgent custom, isn’t it? I think it’s all those gold-rimmed cups, raised pinkies and tiny, crustless sandwiches. Or maybe I just love the idea of stopping mid-day to treat yourself, mull over the events of the coming hours, days and weeks from atop a steaming mug of Earl Grey. I think we’d all be better off – humanity, that is – if we were required to take a one-hour breather every afternoon. Stranger Things’ Chief Hopper may say that mornings are for coffee and contemplation, but I think afternoons are for tea and reflection. Also crustless cucumber sandwiches with herbed cream cheese, and a couple of those tomato-and-bacon jobbies with the spicy mayo when you get a moment, thank you.
Sitting down with a bracing cuppa, however, is but one way to enjoy the elegant pleasures of tea time. There’s also plenty of tea-based bath and beauty products, scented waxes and perfumes, as well as a vast assortment of things that just look like they belong on a tiered tray. Of the latter, I have much! It really made me realize how much my taste in decorating is rooted in the flouncy tea room aesthetic – so many vintage florals, and everything’s shaped like a petit four. I also really love it when my bath and beauty items look – and smell! – like wee pastries. And so what delicious assortment of treats has recently made an appearance on my tea tray of life? 😉
Well, for starters, tea time would be no such thing without a proper tea set, of which I somehow had none. I didn’t even have a teapot, save the deeply unattractive – but wonderfully functional – diffuser pot I use for my day-to-day tea breaks. I pulled together this beautiful little set from a stunningly gorgeous display of mix-and-match items at Marie Antoinette, a favourite decor shop in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario. If you turned me loose in there for just 10 unbidden minutes, I could bankrupt myself and probably everyone else I know. Is it cheating to say, “I’ll just take the entire store”? Because I would. Twice!
How wonderful are these sweet little cups with their tiny china spoons? I’m smitten with the not-quite-matching detailing and the vintage floral design on these pastel pretties.
The nicest surprise of all – because it was actually something I neglected to check while I was in the store – was getting this cute little teapot home and discovering that it houses a convenient built-in diffuser basket. Form and function at its prettiest!
Another sweet find from Marie Antoinette was this tantalizing trio of mini cupcake-shaped Bath Mallows from UK outfit Bomb Cosmetics in, left to right, Cherry Pie, Lavanille and Little Bo Peep. These tiny treats are so scrumptious (particularly Little Bo Peep, which smells like cake and candied berries) I had to hold myself back from just snatching up mad handfuls of the delicious little buggers. Oh, that finances and storage space were of no concern!
Speaking of mad, here’s a few items that might show up on the edge of the Hatter’s tub, a playing card-shaped wax tart and tri-layered scrub from The Bathing Garden in Tea Party with Alice, a perplexing blend of strawberries, honeyed tea and clotted cream, and a dainty rollerball perfume from Solstice Scents in Blossom Jam Tea Cakes, a beguiling blend of spring florals, almond tea cakes and sweet icing. Appropriately enough, I’ve been driven sort of mad by both of these scents, as I really don’t care for either. Or do I? Nah, I definitely don’t like them. Or maybe I do? I’m deeply undecided on both, and it’s really messing with my head. The Hatter would absolutely approve.
None of these wax tarts from Yankee Candle smell like tea, but they remind me of tiny fluted tea cakes nonetheless. They also look pretty fabulous stacked up so sweetly in that header photo. 🙂
Of these five tarts, Strawberry Lemon Ice is a favourite. It smells exactly like the strawberry sauce my church would serve atop its annual Strawberry Social shortcake, juicy, sweet and tart. Cafe Al Fresco is an unexpected favourite – smooth and creamy in a way I think none of us ever expect from Yankee Candle. Honey Lavender Gelato was pretty inoffensive, and you already know my feelings on Pink Sands. Peeps had no scent whatsoever, unfortunately. It happens, particularly with Yankee’s lighter scents, and you don’t get lighter than a marshmallow Peep.
Finally, we have a couple of cake trays laden with tantalizingly yummy wax treats from The Bathing Garden, including (top tray left to right) Summer Melon & Mint, Guava Berry Gelato, Summer Twilight, Sweet Madi and Happy Un-Birthday and (bottom tray left to right) Bee Smitten, Sweet Madi, Cheshire Cat, Sugared Pie Crust and Mid-Summer Song. Delicious little (non-edible) treats fit for an elegantly refined – and well-earned – tea break.