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!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tuesday Cuppa Tea, Burns Night, Shelley Thistle, Downton Jewels and More!

Hello and welcome to Tuesday Cuppa Tea for the last Tuesday in February!

Because my post today is focused on the tradition of Burns Night, the meals and festivities focused on the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns, that are celebrated in various fashions around January 25th which is his birthday, I have chosen a Shelley Thistle teacup which I have shared before...

Thistles and heather have always been the symbol of Scotland, and the thistles represent Scotland in the arms of the United Kingdom.  This Thistle design by Shelley China is pattern number 13820 dates it to from 1955 and 1956 when the pottery closed. 

The shape is the Cambridge shape. The Thistle pattern was made in about 4 other shapes with green and gold trim, but this is the pink trim version. Perfect with the Walnut Shortbread recipe later in the post....

Robert Burns was born January 25, 1759 and lived until only 1796 and is revered as one of the most famous poets of all time, and certainly the most revered Scottish poet and song writer.  He is called one of the founders of the Romantic era and also as a social reformer. His works were both lyrical, romantic and full of social and political plain spoken opinions.  There are huge Scottish clubs and societies all over the world where this is celebrated, and everyone is asked to wear Tartan. An example of an invitation:

The evening will usually start with the singing or saying of what is called the Selkirk Grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Ans sae let the Lord be thankit.

A traditional Burns supper...or party...or tea, has several essential ingredients. Basically those are "neeps and tatties" or turnips and potatoes, a "wee dram" of whiskey....which is where some of the all male celebrations get a bit rowdy, and last but not least, Scotland's national dish...haggis! Haggis is a sheep's intestines stuffed with...okay, you don't want to know. I tried it, and DIDN'T like it! 

Part of the dinner is the Address To The Haggis after it is bagpiped into the room with much ceremony and toasting...

In honor of Burns Night celebrations I have a few tartan or Scottish tea related items to share, tartan being the first thing that comes to mind when talking of Scotland. Some of these items are available at Antiques And Teacups, and some are from my archive. Just click on the photos and if it is still available, there is more information.

A vintage, hand made padded Tartan tea cozy

A new Springfield, England Glamis Thistle large bone china teapot....Glamis being the Scottish castle where Queen Elizabeth's mother, the Queen Mum Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was raised before she married the man who became King George VI...

A vintage Tartan needlecase or vinigarette case also called Mauchline War from the 1870s...

A vintage Robert Burns tea towel

A vintage English tea towel with Scotties, heather and thistles...we don't have thistles around here that I know of, but because we have weather similar to that of Scotland, we have lots of heather...

This is a sprig of heather I just picked on our walk today...brought it home and put it in a Royal Albert teacup called Highland Queen with purple thistles that I got yesterday and was waiting for a sunny day to photograph, so excuse the less-than-perfect photography...

As you can see, heather comes in lots of colors...we have pink, white and this magenta outside...and all over Sequim, as a much used ground cover.  And now for some Scottish Shortbread....

While I was looking for a Shortbread recipe to share, I found this Afternoon Tea book by Michael Smith from 1986 that I had lost in the back of my tea recipe bookshelf. There is a Walnut Shortbread recipe which is very good and easy I'd like to share....

The pastry is soft and must be handled with care.  It can be made in a food processor, although I didn't this time, using the all-in-one method. 

Walnut Shortbread

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup finely crushed walnuts (I prefer Pecans actually)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
generous 1/2 cup confectioner's (powdered sugar)
2 small egg yolks..or egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Sift the flour and crushed nuts together into a bowl.  Make a well in the center. Mix the softened butter to a paste with the sugar and egg yolks and place in the well.  Gradually draw the flour into the center and mix into the butter forming a soft dough. Roll out on a floured board approximately 1/8 inch thick and cut into 2 inch squares, and transfer carefully to baking pan.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 16-20 shortbread biscuits. There are not too sweet, perfect with a cup of tea.

The Burns Night celebration evening is of course ended with Robert Burns famous song For Auld Lang Syne, preferably to the sound of bagpipes.  Much fun and good food is enjoyed. Sometimes even Burns teas are given, by those not overly fond of the whiskey...that would include me!

I found this great website, www.bagpiper-online.com where you can listen to bagpipe music. How cool is that!   So Hoots, Mon...or lady...and enjoy Burns Night and have a cup of Irish Breakfast tea with me...since I don't have Scottish tea! !

And to change the subject slightly...I do do that, don't I???  Here is this weeks page from my Downton Abbey Engagement calendar...Daisy at work...do you think she might be making Shortbread?  Who knew Miss Bunting would help her to realize she's a math whiz? Good for her!

I had posted this on my Facebook page today, but thought many of you wouldn't have seen this.  Awesome article from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) about the jewelry created for Downton Abbey...this is Violet the Dowager Countess of Grantham's "Russian" tiara...gorgeous! Visit the link below for a wonderful slideshow of some of the fabulous pieces created for the show, with some fun stories.


So thanks for joining me today for a Burns Night edition of Tuesday Cuppa Tea! Below is the list of some of the blog parties and the linky for your tea related posts. I love to hear from you...have a wonderful week...and have a cuppa with a friend!


  1. Lovely post. I was amazed during my first visit to Scotland in 1995, to see thistle over 6 feet tall beautifully displayed in gardens. Perhaps it is different from the pesky thistle here in KY?

  2. What a great posting, Ruth! I had hoped to do a Robbie Burns post yesterday but alas, I was down with a flu bug. I know I wouldn't like Haggis either but my youngest son has eaten it. He and I are the experimental ones in the family when it comes to food but I draw the line at Scotland's famous haggis pudding. Love your teacups and the teapot really is lovely. The Scottie tea towel is adorable and the shortbread looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your week.


  3. Thank you for all the information on Robert Burns, Ruth. I always learn so much from you. Your thistle teacups and teapots are so pretty and yes, I'd love a walnut shortbread cookie with my tea...perfect! Thank you for hosting your lovely party.

  4. Hi Ruth,
    I love your pink thistle Shelley teacup and your thistle teapot. Your treats look delish too! Thank you for hosting Tuesday Cuppa Tea! Happy Tea Day! Karen

  5. Love this! My husband is 3/4 Scot; I'm 1/4, so together, we make a whole!! I have the Shelley cup you pictured, but with the fluted edge. It is high up there as one of my favorite cups, being a Shelley and all, and having the Scottish thistle on it. My husband's Scottish grandmother made the best shortbread.
    Thanks for sharing about Burns's night; I always learn lots of interesting things here on your blog.

  6. What a fun post of all things Scottish and Burns. I enjoyed it all. I have a couple of teacups with thistles on them so should do a post sometime. My grandmother was Scot and came to Canada as a girl with her family. I wish I knew more of her story. Lovely post Ruth!

  7. I miss attending the Burns dinner our Legion used to put on but like most groups, the members are ageing and there's not enough people for events. Maggie (from Scotland) made the tastiest haggis.
    I have a different patterned thistle teacup and like to pull it out every so often but it sure would be nice to have a teapot like yours to go with it.
    Thanks for hosting your tea gathering Ruth - I'm off to see the DA jewels.

  8. I love this time of year when all the thistle teacups come out. :) Thank you Robbie Burns! ;) Really enjoyed seeing the tea towels and I'm going to try the shortbread recipe. Happy Tea Day and Thanks for hosting!

  9. Love the thistle's purple colour!

    Hooray for Downton Abbey winning the SAG Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series!

  10. What a beautiful post filled with lots of interesting things. I so love seeing the photo of Daisy, too! Hugs, Diane

  11. Beautiful teacup set! And that crown is gorgeous! Thanks for hosting...Christine

  12. Oh, I do love all the great Scotland info/connections. And thanks for the shortbread recipe as well! I've made it with pecans and almonds but never walnuts. Sounds worth a try!

  13. I love learning all about this event. This Yankee had never heard of it.

    I am going to hop on over and check out the DA jewels info. Sure have been enjoying the new season. I love that Daisy is bettering her brain, but by golly I am on Robert's side - the sassy outspoken class-less Miss Bunting has to go. She makes my skin crawl, she has no manners but poor ones. /shiver me timbers.........

  14. Ruth, you are a bottomless fount of information of all things England, Scotland, and Ireland and I just love it! Teatime is the star of the show, of course, but all your color commentary on English history and trivia makes for a delightful visit every time I drop by! Linking in today with an imminent winter storm adventure and teatime!

  15. Oh, Ruth, I am amazed with all the interesting information you shared here today!
    First of all, I love the thistle tea cup you picked for this celebration of Robert Burns. It's really so Scottish! I have thistle around here and also heather in the several lovely colours, but so far I haven't managed to grow it in my garden.
    I've already eaten Haggis in Scotland and I was delighted to read about Robert Burns and these traditional dinners to celebrate his birthday.
    Thanks for sharing it all and for hosting Tuesday Cuppa Tea.

  16. I love it when you post about Scotland. I have a bit of Scots in my blood. I had that Tartan tea cozy and for some reason I sold it in my shop. I know now I SHOULD have kept it. I also had a nice boxed set of Robert Burns books that were in a box covered with the tartan. That too sold. I know.... I should think a bit harder.

  17. Ruth, I love your thistle teapot. Always love to see your collections!

  18. What a lovely post. I adore fine china and have a few bits myself. My main set is "Dimity Rose" by Royal Albert which I collected in the 1980s. The walnut shortbread sounds scrumptious!

    1. Hi there and nice to meet you! That's a lovely pattern! Thanks for your visit and comment!

  19. What a fun and interesting post! You are the PBS of tea blogs my dear! I feel like the intellectually challenged poor relation not having watched Downton Abbey.I want to watch it from the beginning and am waiting for it to turn up on Netflix. I do a savory Rosemary shortbread (nut allergy) which is nice in the winter. Perfect when one wants a little something not too sweet.

  20. Thank you for the sweet party dear Ruth. Thanks for the great post, very interesting and I really enjoyed it! Everything RA is simple gorgeous!
    Have a lovely week and I'm sorry I'm so late to the party.

  21. I love your thistle cup. I would have never guessed it was an Aynsley. Have a wonderful week. Blessings, Martha

  22. I learn so much when I visit your blog. Robert Burns died so young, yet had an impact on history exceeding that of many who lived long. I did not know much of what you wrote and will be seeking even more info about Burns and his times.

    The history of a people really is intertwined with the every day, isn't it ? I think that is what I appreciate the most about our tea-time Tuesdays. Everyone's tea-time habits, celebrations, and memories are bits and pieces of their own history combined with that of their friends, extended families, and now, their blogging friends. One simply cannot contain and quiet the history of family & country, especially when there is good food, good drink, and fellowship. Write on !

  23. Hi Ruth! I really enjoyed your post today on Robert Burns. I tried haggis while I was in Scotland and I wasn't a big fan, but I must say it improved after a couple of glasses of wine! Lovely Shelley thistle pattern and that Royal Albert Highland Queen is really pretty too. I think I like them both equally!

  24. Hi sweet Ruth! What a delightful post, my dear :) I learned quite a bit and I thoroughly enjoyed the history.

    Your Walnut Shortbread looks delicious! I will have to try your recipe soon with a cup of tea :)

    Thank you, my dear, for sharing at Roses of Inspiration. Hugs to you!

  25. What a pretty teapot. Here is Canada, the thistle is one plant we don't like. It's always interesting to read about other countries. Thanks for sharing such a lovely post.

  26. Walnut shortbread, YUM! I have always thought that the thistle weed is so pretty that it should have been a flower. Love the teacup! It has been unusually warm here lately and my Heather plant is starting to bloom. Thanks for sharing with SYC.


Thanks for visiting and we love to hear from you! We read every comment. If my husband's health permits, I love to visit andreply. Have a wonderful day and a cuppa tea always at hand! :)


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