Monday, January 25, 2016

Back to the Eighties

I've been feeling some birthday nostalgia this month so let's hop into Doc Brown's DeLorean time machine and revisit my 30th birthday. To celebrate this milestone birthday, I had a "Thirty Candles - Back to the Eighties" party!

The totally rad '80s decor and music.

You're totally an '80s child if you've had classic candies such as Fun Dips and Nerds, watched movies on VHS tapes and adopted Pound Puppies.

Top: My parents' Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man costumes.
Bottom: The prizes awarded to the guests who busted out the most wicked '80s outfits and hairstyles.  

 My righteous friend baked this most excellent birthday cake!

Flash forward 6 years later...

I'm "celebrating my birthday in the daytime because I need my beauty sleep" old and  try to spread out my birthday activities throughout January. Thank you, Gilmore Girls, for introducing me to the concept of "birthday week"!

For my family gathering, my aunt baked me this beautiful purple birthday cake.
The unique flavour is ube macapuno (purple yam with coconut). YUM!

Pretty tea-themed cards from family and friends.
The scones featured on the right card made my mouth water!

The lovely birthday cards from my blogger friends...

...with tea samples tucked in their happy mail!

This Body Shop Fuji Green Tea gift set from my mom will definitely be appreciated by my skin this winter!

This pretty tea towel by Molly Hatch was also from my mom.
Love the vintage teawares on the towel! 

My brother gifted me a Taylor's Tea Room gift card (I couldn't help but geek out over its clever packaging!), some interesting teas from Calgary, cute teapot card holders...

 ...and this gorgeous Polka Blue tea for one set by Royal Albert!
I'm enamored with the beautiful sky blue colour and blending of romantic roses and whimsical polka dots! 

The teacup is larger than your standard 6-8 oz size and can carry generous amounts of tea!

Next week: A gluten-free and vegan birthday brunch!

I'm joining the following parties this week:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Birthday Girls' Day Out

A couple of weekends ago, I conspired with my friend's hubby to "kidnap" my friend and fellow January baby for a ladies-only, early birthday celebration! Her thoughtful hubby made us reservations for Sunday Brunch at The Ancaster Mill.

Photo Credit: Historia Building Restoration, Inc.
The Ancaster Mill was originally a stone flour mill built in the 19th century. In the late 1970s, the new owners converted the mill into a restaurant with an Earth to Table food philosophy.

My herbal tea was served in the cutest cast iron teapot!

The passion fruit herbal tea was quite tasty!

I didn't get a chance to photograph the different food stations, but did manage to capture the delicious dessert display. My sweet tooth wanted to try EVERYTHING...

...but I limited myself to the chocolate truffle cake, cheesecake, and some fruit. YUMMY!

Our original itinerary included an afternoon tea at the local Art Gallery later that day, but the amazing brunch left us so full that we opted to postpone the afternoon tea for another time.

We returned to my "tea house" and enjoyed a pot of Buddha's Blend, a delicious fruity white tea by David's Tea.

Cartoon by Cathy Thorne
A huge THANK YOU to my friend's hubby for organizing the fun co-birthday celebration for us!

I'm joining the following parties this week:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Embarrassment of Riches

My family and friends totally spoiled me last Christmas with tea-related gifts! I'm blessed that my loved ones enable my addiction support my love of all things tea.

 This "Celebration" Teapot by Bowring is a daily reminder to:
 Celebrate Life...Dream Big...Laugh Often...Live Well...

Glass ornaments for my tea-themed tree.

 Tea-infused bath and body products.
These soft lips are single-handedly keeping the Toronto-based Bare English & Co. in business!

 I suspect my friends gifted me this super cute teacup apron and copper teapot cookie cutter to motivate this reluctant chef in the kitchen (Well played, guys!).

When I sent my friend a photo showing off my new tree topper, her response was:
Love it! do know...cookie cutter is meant for making cookie, right? Hint, hint...

How cute are these miniatures?

 An assortment of new teas for me to try out throughout 2016...

...with the IQ Kettle with variable temperature control to optimize the tea flavour.

 Fun new mugs and cups for some happy sippin'.

 The pretty pattern of this vintage bone china teacup is called Silver Lace by Queen Anne.
The silver filigree design is perfect for winter decor!

A vintage lustreware teapot and sugar set made in Japan.

After seeing all the tea stuff that I've shared today (and over the past year), you'll be surprised to learn that I'm actually a bit of a minimalist! Teas and pretty china are my kryptonite, but I'm running out of storage space in my humble abode...

Thanks to my generous and thoughful family and friends, I now have more than enough teas, teapots, and teacups in my collection. So this teaholic is on a diet! I haven't purchased any new teas since October 1st (YAY!), and I won't buy any tea pretties for a while...let's see how long my resolve will last!

Now it's time to announce the winner of my 1-year blogiversary giveaway!

And the Winner is...(drum roll):

Congratulations, Annamarie!!! Please send me your mailing address and I will ship the tea towel, mug and tea samples to you.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway!

I'm joining the following parties this week:

Monday, January 4, 2016


It seems like it was just yesterday that I was composing Tea in the Valley's inaugural post while listening to Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" (HA!). On January 6th, I will be celebrating my first blogiversary! 
 Let's dance to some party music: Kool & The Gang - Celebration

Starting this blog was one of the best things I've ever done! I've been touched and humbled by the camaraderie I found in this wonderful blogging community of tea time lovers. I have met and developed friendships with fantastic individuals who have taught and inspired me with their faith, wisdom, and creativity; made me laugh, cry, swoon over their tea pretties, and salivate over their yummy foods; astonished me with their generosity; and understand the thrill of the hunt and my geeking out over a bargain teacup find!

The teas that I received from blogger friends and past teacup exchange partners during the Christmas season.

This fabulous Christmas pocket letter was part of a surprise package sent to me by Lynn who was my swap partner from the March teacup exchange. I was stunned when I found inside the box...

A CUP OF CHRISTMAS TEA--the Holy Grail of my teacup collection!!! 
I've been hunting for this pattern for years but haven't had much luck finding it at local thrift stores (the ridiculously high international shipping rates prohibited me from purchasing it online).

In addition to the awesome teacup, Lynn also sent me these lovely gloves and yummy tea samples to help keep me warm during these winter days. THANK YOU, Lynn, for the amazing package!!!

It was only fitting that my Cup of Christmas Tea was christened with Murchie's Christmas blend (Thank you, Judith!). 

To thank you all for your incredible support during the past year, I am hosting a 1-year Blogiversary Giveaway!

The giveaway winner will receive:
1) A "Tea for Two" towel 
2) A bone china mug by Cambridge (English by Design)
3) Some tea samples (to be determined based on the winner's tea preferences).

Due to high postage costs, the giveaway is only open to residents of Canada and U.S. (sorry!)

How to enter: 
Please leave a comment here about your tea preferences.
(e.g., black, green, white, oolong, herbal, rooibos, flavoured, etc.)

If you do not have a Blogger/Google account, you can also enter by sending me an e-mail.
(pleases click on my complete profile on the right for my e-mail address)

Entry Deadline: 
11:59 pm EST on Saturday, January 9, 2016

The name of the winner will be announced on: 
Monday, January 11, 2016.

Good luck everyone!!!

I'm joining the following parties this week: