A Message from Ruth at Antiques And Teacups

Welcome to the blog of Antiques And Teacups! Let's share a cup of tea and talk about the things we love...like teacups, antiques, collectibles, visiting England, antiquing and learning about victoriana and quirky gadgets. Fun!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year, First Footer Tradition

And a Happy New Year to you! My husband and I have a tradition of taking time on New Year's Eve to pray for God's blessing for the coming year and thank Him for His grace through the ending year. This has been a difficult year for many, and we are praying for His grace and mercy, as well as health, happiness and joy for all of you, my dear friends, as we move into 2016. It just seems the fitting way for us to end one year and begin another.

New Year's Eve...the last one...in London, with the London Eye....and from Seattle...

I was asked a lot last year about the United Kingdom New Year tradition of the First Footer, and so wanted to repeat that.  

In England and other areas of the UK, especially in Scotland where Hogmanay is celebrated from Dec. 31st until Jan. 1st (known as Ne'erday) as the New Year's tradition, one of the old traditions is called First Footing. 

The First Footer refers to the first person who crosses the threshhold after midnight and "seals yer fate" for the coming year. The First Footer should be a tall, dark and handsome man with a "dainty foot" and come with certain things:

Until the First Footer came in the front door after midnight, no one should enter or leave. The First Footer would knock, be asked to enter and do so with gifts in his pockets which have regional variations. The usual in my family's tradition was bread or sometimes salt, coal, coins and matches. In Scotland the bread is shortbread and also included...what else? Whiskey! The First Footer then backs out of the door...so he won't take his good luck with him. Then the door (and the party) is free for all!  Many were also musicians, and would enter again to the last house on their list and play for the party.
The coal means your hearth won't grow cold, your bread is enough food, the coins insure prosperity and the matches, light. And the whiskey...happiness! Don't know that I agree with that equation, but....

First Footers who met the criteria, were in great demand and could make good money going from house to house by appointment. I don't know how many do so today, although a Scots neighbor said the gifts nowadays are more likely whiskey!  The first footer often wore a top hat, and this was said to been added in the 18th century, as the chimney sweeps wore top hats, and so signified sweeping away the old bad luck and making way for the new.

 And a very Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Tuesday Cuppa Tea, Christmas In Victoria

Hello! Have you recovered from Christmas...and the New Year is fast approaching! Welcome to the last Tuesday Cuppa Tea for 2015! Amazing!!!!

We just got back yesterday afternoon from Victoria, BC Canada where we spent Christmas. We had a Christmas package at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel in the Oak Bay area of Victoria...a large pseudo Tudor on the coast.  

The hotel, which is like a like an English country house hotel, has a large spa and outdoor mineral pools...which we did not use...30 degree temps don't appeal to me going in and out of a hot tub....

This was in the hotel entrance...a Rolls Royce...so took a photo of my husband and sent to our kids...who were out of state with in-laws or soon-to-be-in-laws...and said..."Here's our new car"! They both texted back " Nice! Lol! Whatever you say!"

The hotel has a pub, restaurant, coffee shop and the David Foster Foundation Theatre where we saw a fun Christmas dinner show. The rooms were very nice with tea and coffee making facilities, and a great selection of Two Leaves And A Bud organic whole leaf teas in silk steeping bags with a nice teapot...nice!

The selections were, all organic: Assam, Darjeeling, Alpine Berry,Chamomile, Jasmine Petal Green and Peppermint. We have had this company's teas before...and they are very good!

This is the hotel lobby...we had a relaxing stay with too much to eat, shopped in Oak Bay on Christmas Eve, and hoped to have tea at White Thistle Tea room, but they were booked, but did have afternoon tea on Boxing Day at the Fairmont Empress, a Christmas gift from my honey...this is the Empress in gingerbread just outside the tea lobby...

The hotel was beautifully decorated inside, the exterior is being renovated...

The china always used in the tea room was designed for the 1939 Royal Visit of King George the VI, Queen Elizabeth and their daughters Elizabeth and Margaret, and was revived in 1952 when soon-to-be Queen Elizabeth II visited, and has been a fixture of the tea room since.

Tea began with Empress Afternoon Tea, honeydew melon with whipped cream, and the tea tower. We decided to try their gluten free version, not having had it before. There were...the sandwich course:
Scottish smoked salmon
egg salad
Black Forest Ham
cucumber, cress and cream cheese
Moroccan chicken salad, a mildly spiced curry which was a seasonal change from their Coronation chicken

Golden Raisin scones, cream and strawberry jam
seasonal sweets:
egg nog pink and green macarons
flourless chocolate chake
shortbread with a hint of nutmeg
passion fruit cheesecake bites
Egg Nog chantilly cream in chocolate cups with white chocolate snowflakes

We could only eat about half, and brought the rest back to the room for a later snack.

And for teacups...the Christmas trees in the tea lobby was filled with teacups...

and another by the gift shop was filled with Empress teabag caddies...

The rest of our way out of the hotel, through the conservatory joining the adjacent conference centre was lovely!

We had a wonderful break, beautiful, tasty and romantic! I hope your Christmas was as blessed!  And best wishes for a Happy New Year filled with peace, health, prosperity and Grace!

Below is the list of some of the blog parties I will be part of and there is the linky for your tea related posts...please remember that it is SSSLLLOOOOOOWWWW but if you are patient...it's there! And I love to read your comments, and can find you to visit!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas! My Favorite Christmas Teas, Christina Rosetti Poem

I just want to wish you all, dear friends, the most wonderful Christmas ever! May you be surrounded by all that is beautiful and gracious, as the source of Grace, Jesus is the center.  I brought this post, partially finished, with me out of town to Victoria, BC because of the no-Internet problem most of the week, but find I can't scroll down to tell you about the teas...but I am sure you can see what they are. Murchies Christmas tea was again my favorite, but the Downton tea...very cranberry juicy...and the Republic of tea...liked spiced cider...were delicious. The Harney White Christmas smelled like almonds, but tasted like chocolate. All warming joyful hearted teas!  Merry Christmas!

And here are my choices of my favorite Christmas teas this year...

I came across one of my favorite Christmas poems which has also been made into a Christmas Carol with several variations. The poem was written by Christina Rosetti during the Victorian era and I still love it!

What can I give Him,

Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

In the Bleak Midwinter
 gifChristina Rossetti (1872)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Tuesday Cuppa Tea, My Tea Is For The Birds!

Hello my dear tea friends...I didn't think I'd see you this week for Tuesday Cuppa Tea! The last few weeks have been so stormy, windy and filled with multiple power outages, I thought it was just another one when I woke up Saturday ready to finish my blog...with no internet or phone. But it kept on...and on. Finally today at 4:30 pm it was restored...which is why I am late...and it wasn't caused by the wind or storms...a rat had gotten into the fiber optic main building and merrily begun shredding fiber optic cables! Amazing...in a tech world, a decidedly low tech critter can bring everything screeching to a halt. I was just glad it wasn't the week before because of all the Christmas orders from the shops that had to be in the mail to reach their destinations before the big day. The folks who ordered over the weekend knew they wouldn't be in time anyway, so no panic ensued. Whewww...glad THAT's over!

My tea has not been processed well because I couldn't get access to the photos, but here is my birds tea. I seem to have collected quite a few bird mugs over the years, and I know you have seen some already. But...they are favorites this time of year!

This is my Emma Bridgewater Robin in a Christmas wreath Happy Christmas mug...I LOVE her pottery....and I love the Cheeky Chappie English Robins!

This is from her Birds line...

This next mug is by Dunoon, England in the Robin again by artist Richard Partis in the Season's Greetings set of 3...and I know you have seen this as I have shared this before...one of my favorites.

And then there is my Emma Bridgewater cup and saucer in the Robin Folk print...

Goes so well with the rest of the flock! And this year I found this Lenox, USA teapot in the Winter Greetings pattern with a Cardinal on it to keep the robin's company!

The birds live in a closet most of the year, but I love to have them all out during the holidays.

 I borrowed a neighbor's bundt pan in a Christmas tree shape, and made a Lemon Cranberry cake and it was delicious! Have you done baking? I don't dare do a lot because it's only the 2 of us, and you can only give so much to the neighbors! Lol!

We are heading for Victoria, BC for Christmas this year, so will post about that later. I bet it will include tea!

I wish you all the most wonderful Christmas this year...may your hearts be filled with love, light, hope, grace and His love as we celebrate Christ's birth.

Below is the list of some of the blog parties I will be part of and there is the linky for your tea related posts...please remember that it is SSSLLLOOOOOOWWWW but if you are patient...it's there! And I love to read your comments, and can find you to visit!


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