Please welcome today's very special morning tea guest. Christina Lowry is not only a mum to two gorgeous kids, a knitter and a gardener, but she is an incredibly talented jeweller with a business selling her own beautiful creations. One of her 'Afternoon Tea' necklaces features as part of our giveaway and I can personally attest to how fab they are, having purchased my own Christina Lowry Designs necklace several weeks ago. Christina writes here about her love affair with tea and coffee, and shares some beautiful photos. Enjoy!
There is much to be said for the humble cup of tea or coffee. When one thinks about the simple pleasures in life, a cuppa with friends surely makes the list. A hot drink has a way of slowing down a moment and nurturing conversations. A quiet cup of tea alone can encourage creativity, or be a moment of respite from a busy day.
The simple act of drinking tea or coffee is a daily ritual for many of us. Over the years, as our days take us here and there, our rituals come with us. Tied up in these rituals are rich memories. As I sit here now with a cup of tea I have been untangling the threads of memory regarding some of my own caffeine moments.
I recall being a child of four years of age, waiting as patiently as I could with my sister. We'd stand beside my Grandmother's floral tablecloth as she poured tea for my Grandfather and parents. Pretty plates laid out with cake and biscuits were our reward. Treats in hand we would leave the adults to their conversation as we roamed through her vast house. I can clearly see the plush, maroon, patterned carpet, the heavy furniture and a lifetime of knick knacks and photo frames which carefully adorned each surface. Though we knew we mustn't touch, we often turned small objects over in our hands before replacing them. My Grandfather's green shaving brush. An ornate gilt frame decorating a black and white portrait of my fresh faced Grandmother. A carved handled umbrella. A Bakelite letter opener. By the time the second cup was being poured we had usually moved on to the garden. Beneath walls of passion fruit vines we would scamper, searching for ripe strawberries. After I turned five my Grandfather's chair remained vacant at each visit, though the ritual never changed.
My University years are coffee stained, and coffee rings grace the pages of my old journals. In those days we lived on a diet of coffee, instant noodles and French toast. It was at this time I met my dearest friend, whose inadequate housekeeping meant that upon visiting for coffee he would often present you with a Vegemite jar as a coffee cup, as the coffee cups were in use as ashtrays. The conversations were long, fascinating and lively, and remain some of my most bittersweet memories, especially since his passing two years ago.
My husband is not a tea or coffee drinker. (I love him nonetheless.) He did not spend a fair portion of his youth in cafes, as I had done. Impressed on my memory is our first coffee date. Tucked away in an empty cafe in the mountains he was visibly startled from our conversation by the sound of the beans being ground - unaccustomed to it as he was. It was both amusing and endearing. Years later he took me to cafes all around the world. Singapore, Dubai, London, Scotland, Wales, Paris, Prague, Italy, Budapest, Croatia, Greece, Amsterdam. I remember the waitress in Amsterdam jokingly referring to my order as a 'kinder coffee' (children's coffee) because I took it with milk. In a famous coffee house in Prague I shared a table with an elderly couple and Dave was forced to leave due to the cloud of cigarette smoke. My boss in Athens drank thick dark coffee all day long and still took a nap after lunch.
Quiet moments are rarer now as a stay at home mother of two little ones. Pregnancy concerted me from coffee drinker to tea lover. Now my daily ritual revolves around a morning cup of black loose leaf tea, followed closely by another. While afternoons and evenings are the domain of homegrown peppermint tea.
Even now, the scent of coffee is a reminder of the many beautiful moments I have shared with people I've loved. Coffee and tea have offered me more than a way to connect, slow down and share in conversation. They've also offered me an excuse to stay for just a little longer.