Monday, June 29, 2015

O Canada!

Niagara Falls is a must-see attraction in Ontario. I've visited Niagara Falls countless times over the years, and never tire of seeing its magnificent cascades.

The Canadian Horseshoe Falls
The Maid of the Mist boat tour taking tourists for a very close and wet view of the Falls.

The American Falls

Photos courtesy of my friend
The gardens across from the Falls.

Photo courtesy of The Secret Garden Restaurant
In the middle of the gardens, you will find The Secret Garden Restaurant.

During my 2011 visit to The Secret Garden Restaurant, we sat outside at one of the patio tables where we had a fantastic view of the Falls while I enjoyed my scones (not pictured) and cup of tea!

At our June tea social at the office, we celebrated Canada Day. I brought in these cute strawberry cups and saucers by Cath Kidston. These "breakfast cups" were fine bone china and larger than your typical teacup.

My colleagues brought food with a Canadian or red and white theme: red velvet cookies, maple cookies, strawberries, red pepper jelly and cream cheese with crackers. Not pictured: cherries, Lindt chocolate.

The Canadian-inspired teas included: Birthday Cake and Red Velvet Cake (top); Blueberry Icewine, Maple green tea, and Maple Earl Grey (bottom).

 At home, I enjoyed a "Canada" cookie with a mug of Blueberry Icewine black tea.

Happy 148th Birthday, Canada!

I'm joining the following parties this week:

Monday, June 22, 2015

Bye Bye Birdie

Hello, Summer!

This week, I'm sharing a teacup that I acquired last month. The teacup's pretty blue colour immediately caught my eye at the thrift store.

This is the first teacup in my collection which features an avian design, "Early Bird". With a capacity of 280 mL, the cup is slightly larger than a standard teacup which suits this tea drinker perfectly!

This cute teacup was designed by the Dutch designer, PIP Studio, whose motto is: "Happy Products for Happy People".

This box of infusion de calafate was a souvenir gift from a friend who had visited Patagonia.

During her travels in Argentina and Chile, she sent me a couple of postcards, including this one from Cape Horn--the southernmost tip of South America. 

In the pre-Panama Canal days, Cape Horn was the treacherous trade route travelled by the clipper ships.

The calafate berry is also known as the Magellan Barberry and found throughout Patagonia. You can learn more about the calafate berry here. According to local legend, "He who eats calafate must return."

Photo Source: Internet

Top: Yellow calafate flowers
Bottom: Blue-purple calafate berries

Steeping instructions were not provided so I let the teabag stepped for 5 minutes.

The fruity scent and taste of the calafate berry infusion were very mild, but pleasant. 

Now that I've tasted the calafate berry, I must be destined to visit Patagonia!

I'm joining the following parties this week:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dancing in the Street

Exactly one year ago today, I was in Calgary, Alberta where I had the privilege of attending a free (!!!) outdoor tea dance that celebrated the Fairmont Palliser's centennial birthday. 

All were welcome to attend the vintage-themed tea dance--an ode to the popular 1920s and 1930s tea dances hosted by the Palliser.

On the front street of the hotel, dancers from the Toe Tappin' Swing company jived to the Summit Big Band to get the tea party started.

As a throwback to the days of yore, partiers were encouraged dress up in vintage attire. These individuals were the strong contenders for the Best Costume Awards.

The Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi, talked about the role of the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary's history. Back in the 1910s, it was unheard of to build a luxury hotel in the middle of the prairies. If you build it, they will come... hundred years later and Calgary is a thriving metropolis and the Palliser is one of the finest hotels in the city! You can learn more about the hotel's interesting history here.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the front entrance of the hotel.

The lobby featured a replica of the Fairmont Palliser and the cake for the cake-cutting ceremony.

The birthday cake was served buffet-style in the lobby.

Guests helped themselves to the Fairmont's exclusive blend of Breakfast Tea (it tasted a little bitter to me so I think the tea was oversteeped).

The table centerpieces were bone china teacups filled with lilacs.

  Here's to another century of the Palliser's Western hospitality!

I'm joining the following parties this week:

Monday, June 8, 2015

Stopping to Smell the Roses...and the Corpse Flower?!?

In celebration of June's birth flower, I'm sharing some lovely rose images captured at last summer's visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG)--the largest botanical garden in Canada which was granted a royal status by King George V in 1930.

Pink hybrid tea roses in the Centennial Rose Garden at the RBG's Hendrie Park.

 I wished that I had taken more photos of the gorgeous roses! Next time...

Amidst the beautiful blooms of Hendrie Park you will find the Turner Pavilion Tea House. 
Since the Tea House's menu selections were rather limited (alas, they did not serve afternoon teas!), we opted to lunch at the RBG Centre's Gardens' Cafe instead.

To our pleasant surprise, the "Tea Sandwiches" that we ordered at the Gardens' Cafe came with a quarter of a quiche, a scone and preserve! The meal was the perfect serving size and tasted delicious.

The teacup I'm sharing this week is Royal Stafford's "Berkeley Rose". It was one of the first teacups that I purchased (from a consignment store for under $5) for my collection.

The hand-painted pink roses and gold trim are so pretty!

The Royal Stafford backstamp circa 1950s.

Photo Courtesy of My Co-Worker
Last week, I had the unique opportunity to see the Titan arum, aka Corpse Flower, in rare bloom at McMaster University's Greenhouse. It takes approximately 7 years for the Titan arum to flower. To date, only 4 of the Titan arum blooms--out of approximately 200 cultivated flowerings throughout the world--have occurred in Canada.

Photo Courtesy of My Co-Worker
The Titan arum is known as the world's smelliest plant because when in bloom, it emits a foul stench of rotting flesh or meat to attract its pollinators. You can learn more about this fascinating flower here

Photo Courtesy of My Co-Worker
This Titan arum was named "Magnus" and grew 6 feet tall. Magnus had closed up the night of May 31st so we were not exposed to its putrid odour during our visit. But it was still very cool to see the corpse flower up close and personal!

 This 1-minute time-lapse video shows Magnus' short-lived bloom.
Smell you later, Magnus!

I'm joining the following parties this week:

Monday, June 1, 2015

British Invasion

During the Victoria Day long weekend, I went with some friends to the Totally British Festival at the Hamilton Convention Centre. The festival featured British entertainment (e.g., Robin Hood pantomine), music (e.g., Celtic music, tribute bands), food (e.g., meat pies) and other goods from the UK. I didn't take much photographs, but I did capture a couple of tea-themed booths on my camera.

I was immediately drawn to King's Cross' booth of pretty teawares, but I resisted the temptation to purchase anything!

 I did buy some English scones to take home with me.

The ready-to-serve food was limited to meat pies (how could you not serve scones at a gathering of Anglophiles?!?) so after the festival, we went to our favourite British tearoom, Taylor's Tea Room, for lunch.

The tea cozies at Taylor's are so sweet!

I enjoyed the Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea--a blend of Earl Grey and Jasmine--in this Delphine teacup featuring grapes.

One of my companions sipped English Breakfast tea from this dainty Paragon teacup called "Peace Rose".

I strategically only ate half of the sandwich that I ordered (not pictured) to ensure that I'd have room for the yummy scone with Devonshire cream and jam!

Our office tea social in late May was also British-themed!

I brought the vintage Tetley mugs (Churchill/Made in England), the white teapot (from the "Word Range" collection by British ceramic designer, Keith Brymer Jones), and teabags (English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Downton Abbey's English Rose). My colleagues brought English-related goodies such as: scones, clotted cream, and Cadbury chocolate.


I'm joining the following parties this week: