Self Care: A Cuppa Tea

It was one of those dreary winter  January afternoons when my phone rang. On the other end was a good friend who lived out of town checking in upon hearing there was a forecast of a bad storm in our area. "How are you doing?" he asked. 

"Your timing is perfect," I responded. "I am just now sitting down for a little self-care." Of course, he was curious as to what this "self-care" was all about. I explained what "self-care" meant to me. It's a time when I step away from social media and the television, and turn on a relaxing music channel from Pandora Radio. My preference for relaxing channels is Andrea Bocelli, Gregorian Chant, or Enigma. These moments of self-care are nothing new to me. I've been doing it for years - at least 45 years.  

There has always been a variety of tea in my cupboards, from loose to bag, from black to herbal. While there is a variety, I still find my way to my favorites: Earl Grey is my favorite black tea with notes of bergamot orange, a citrus fruit found around the Mediterranean. This quintessentially British tea is perfect when paired with sweets like a fresh morning pastry or an afternoon shortbread. 

In the last couple of years since quarantine, I've been enjoying Harney and Son's Paris blend. In homage to the Parisian tea shops they visited, the Harney family blended this black tea with flavors of black currant, vanilla, bergamot, and caramel. 

When it comes to herbal teas I tend to lean more toward anything with lavender, such as a honey-lavender blend. This blend is very relaxing, and the fragrance is a bonus. I also enjoy blackberry leaf tea. It's good for me with antioxidants and is known to help settle stomach issues. It's also delicious on ice in the summer. 

These moments of self-care are only sometimes planned. What makes them delicious is these moments are often impromptu, which often happen around 2:00 pm or so... The mind and body say, "It's time to stop the world. Turn on some music and have a cuppa." 

A few moments of self-care are so simple. Turn on your choice of calming music and heat up the water for tea. For an extra special afternoon treat, I might savor an English shortbread or a French macaron if I have them on hand. A family-in-law got me hooked on the Lady Stella butter cookies which are delicious when dunked into a hot beverage or even dunked into a glass of red wine. His parents had owned an Italian deli where he became familiar with this treat and would gift me a bag of these flavorful cookies in the spring. 

I dragged this box of macarons all the way home from Paris. 

However, if I am feeling ambitious, I will bake in the morning my favorite scone recipe, my recent recipe for madeleinesthe easy rosemary shortbread recipe, or the versatile soft and buttery cookie recipe

See my easy recipe for Madeleines 

One other essential thing to complete this moment of self-care. Go through the china cabinet and pull out the finest or the prettiest cup and saucer you can find. We must never save these pieces for "something special." If you don't remind yourself that you are "something special," long after you're gone, someone else will use them for that "something special." 

The pretty little tea cup in the photo was gifted to me by my grandmother, Grace She collected tea cups, and since I was a little girl I have always admired the cup with the Lillies of the Valley. In French, Muguet.

The muguet was also the favorite flower of King Charles of France, who celebrated La Fête du Muguet, a tradition that began when the King on May 1st of 1851 and inspired by the floral gesture of luck and prosperity, started to present the ladies of his court with small bunches on the same day.

These moments of self-care do not have to end with the warmer weather ahead. Turn these teas into iced tea with a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint plucked from the garden. Grab one of these treats and add a piece of fruit, or just a dessert bowl of fruit, and head outside to a shady spot on the deck or under a tree. Listen to Mother Nature or your favorite soothing playlist. 

Take the time for yourself. We deserve it. 


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