Romance

I’m a very romantic kind of person. Despite all my other characteristics, I’ll often act out of character in the name of love. I’d spent the best part of my late teens to late twenties searching for that elusive love; instead I filled up on a diet of romantic books, films and music, relating it to whatever situation was (or wasn’t going on for me).

For me love had rules, not the sort that restrict or restrain but allow it to grow and flourish.

1. It has to be epic and all-consuming, the stuff of great novels.

2. It should never mean compromising – I don’t mean between you and your soulmate, more that it should never ever mean settling for Mr ‘Well, He’ll Do Because I Don’t Want To Be Single’. I was single for a very, very long time and turn blokes down because I didn’t feel that thing, that thunderbolt.

3. There is only one person for each of us – yes, I know the modern thing is to believe there are multiple people for us all and that may be right, but for me I’ve always believed there is only one person that I could ever click with. Sometimes you might think you’ve found it, but its only when you really do that you realise you were wrong all those other times.

4. You should be able to be yourself, nothing hidden. By extension, this should mean that neither one has to give any of themselves up in order to be with the other, so all the things and people you liked best before being together, you should be able to have in your life once you are a couple.

5. Love means equality. None of this ‘woman comes second to the man and thus has to play games to get him and keep him’ bollocks. Nor any of the crap where a woman is expected to run around after a man and do all the bloody work.

This is a snapshot into how I feel about love; but to better understand my feelings about romantic love, I’m going to share with you my favourite romantic films, books and songs. Oh and maybe a quick bit on Mr T.R.A!

Films

I could write an essay on this. But I shall try to keep it short and sweet. Any early Richard Curtis film, as clichéd as that is; I have often felt like a female Hugh Grant at times in life, bumbling my way through a series of romantic mishaps. Pretty in Pink, St Elmo’s Fire and Mannequin (points for those that know the link!). Atonement. Sliding Doors. Grease. Dirty Dancing. Once. Pretty much anything involving Anne Hathaway. Films of my favourite romantic books even when they’re shockingly bad (One Day and Time Traveller’s Wife I’m talking about you). The Harry Potter series (yes, there’s oodles of love in them!). The Notebook. Sleepless in Seattle. The Way We Were. Funny Girl. Any ever made featuring Sandra Bullock. Hundreds of others that I can’t think of now, of all shapes and sizes. Whilst I love lots of different films probably considered more noteworthy, I will always be fond of a romantic love story.

Books

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I read a lot of books, and a whole chunk of them tend to have a romantic plot or subplot. A few of my all-time favourite romantic novels are pictured above.

1. The Time Traveller’s Wife. Read so often my copy is falling apart

2. One Day. Had to buy a replacement as lost my original copy!

3. Jane Eyre – actually own more than one copy of it and am trying to collect different editions!

4. Pride and Prejudice. Well, of course this has to feature on such a list.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Snape. That’s all I’m saying.

6. The Rosie Project. A fairly recent read that has made my list of favourites.

I also enjoy stuff with a sci-fi/fantasy/fairytale twist – The Night Circus, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the Mortal Instruments series, anything written by Ali Shaw. I tend to trawl my local Waterstones looking for good finds on a regular basis. Nothing makes me happier than reading a good love story over a cup of tea.

Songs

There are hundreds of love songs I adore, but recently I put together a playlist of songs that remind me of Mr T.R.A and how I feel about him on Spotify; link is below if you fancy a listen!

Sara and Dom – a love story

Mr T.R.A

My silly, romantic, caring, considerate, adorable handsome bloke. I always thought I’d spend all of whatever relationship I ended up in worrying about how much the other person loved me, and whilst that has at times been true, when I really think about it properly I know I’ve nothing to worry about. All the little things with him are amazing – simply doing day-to-day stuff like curling up and watching tv or doing the monthly shop; and the big things too like seeing new places or eating at restaurants previously undiscovered or sharing the big moments like Christmas. I’m besotted, that is really very true indeed.

pulling a silly face

And another silly face pose…

A romantic trip to Cornwall on the sleeper train…

In his element at the National Railway Museum

Us at our favourite cottage to stay in (in the middle of nowhere!)

So that’s what I mean when I say Romance. Grand, all-encompassing, epic; what keeps me going and makes me happy and lights up my life.

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet 43.

Tea

So, welcome to this first post of what will be hopefully many. If you know me from my previous blog incarnation or elsewhere on t’internet, feel free to skip through this first paragraph. Those that don’t, well settle down with a good brew and I’ll begin. I’m Sara, I’m in my early thirties and live with Mr T.R.A in the West Midlands with three cats called Rory, Isobel and Molly. You’ll probably see pictures of them throughout this blog as all four of them will no doubt want to get in on the action! I am a book and stationery fiend, which results in a heavy Waterstones/Paperchase addiction. I am fond of vintage things, mainly from around 1930s-1950s and often the items I like are somewhat influenced by those eras. Fashion is a great love of mine, although interpreted in my own way – sometimes somewhere near high fashion, but mostly quirky and girly. I’ve a thing for woodland creatures, so they will no doubt find their way into this blog via accessories and household objects! I am a jewellery magpie, the quirkier the better. I’m a vegan who likes cake and will go miles for a slice. There’s probably loads I’m not mentioning, but if you stick with me and this blog, we’ll learn about each other along the way, right?

Now, to why I’ve named this blog Tea, Romance and Adventures and what this blog is all about. Those three sum up my favouritest things in life. I am a tea obsessive, always on the look out for new teas and places to take afternoon tea. A born romantic, who is very lucky to have a man-shaped person who feels similar about such things but also I am fond of good romantic fiction and that combined with a cup of tea is my favourite thing to do. Going on adventures, seeing new things, going to new places and discovering hidden gems is one of the things I like best; I think creating memories to treasure is one of the great joys in life – along with love and a good cuppa. Hence this blog’s name. I aim to cover all sorts in this blog; fashion, home, places I go, things I buy, things I love; in other words, lifestyle.

I figured that exploring each of the title’s topics would make a good first three posts. To explain what I think of when I hear these words, how they factor in my life. So, first up is TEA!

Tea I drink and love best

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This is how things look at T.R.A Towers when I’m at home indulging in a cup or ten. The teapot was a Christmas present, combining my love of tea and of Doctor Who (yes, I am a bit of a Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Comic Book fan!). The tea of the day was loose leaf Cinnamon and Rose, very moreish!

My favourite tea brands are numerous. I am a fan of Twinnings when I want a quick cuppa and don’t want to faff with loose leaf; Rose Garden and Lavendar Earl Grey are my two favourites as well as the more traditional Earl Grey and Lady Grey. I also like both Pukka Three Mint and Clipper Tea After Dinner Mint as I try to not have caffeine after early afternoon (which is a hard slog when you’re a tea fiend!). As I have problems sleeping sometimes, I also like Clipper Tea Snore and Peace – that combined with a bath filled with fragrant bath oil does the trick relaxation wise!

When it comes to loose tea, I like getting it from independent tea shops although I do reckon you can’t go much wrong with Whittards if looking on the high street! Two of the places I’ve tried are as follows:-

Hebden Tea  – I’ve been to the shop they had in Hebden Bridge and bought Hebden Rose Tea; I adore Hebden Bridge, because of how many independent shops there is and that there’s a really good vegan place to eat there also! Recently went to York for a trip there, and bought some of Cinnamon and Rose from the shop they’ve moved to there.Its the tea that is featured in the pictures above!

Camellia’s Tea House – stumbled upon this tea house/shop when wandering around London, namely around Kingly Court which is off Carnaby Street and happens to be one of my favourite bits of London. Which says a lot given I’ve an obsession with the city! Their Rose Tea is one I tried in the cafe and had to buy a bag to take home!

I probably should mention that as a vegan, I drink my tea black which is why I tend to go for flavoured/floral teas that taste better without (non-dairy) milk being added. However, having once been a dairy milk and sweetner girl, I think Yorkshire Tea or Twinnings Breakfast are probably the best if you want to add a dairy or non dairy milk to your tea!

Tearooms I love the best

I really believe in the art of Afternoon Tea. I think when at home, its easy to go with teabag tea or even loose tea in an everyday teapot and mug. But there really is nothing better than vintage or vintage inspired china to be drinking your tea in, and for that to be set upon a tableclothed table where you’re waited upon by others! I’ve a couple of places that are my favourites and will always visit given half a chance. All are independents – I figure you probably know chain coffee houses and cafes are around if you want something less slow-paced.

Thea Caffea – I’m originally from Nottingham so a couple of my favourites are actually there and not where I currently live. There’s part of me that doesn’t want to share this one, as you’d never ever spot it if you walked past as its down a small alleyway. In fact, I’d walked past it loads of times before I got told about it and then googled its location! Its been open a couple of years and really are willing to go that extra mile; if you are vegan, contact them in advance of going and the chef will be willing to knock up something for you! I’d highly recommend the Vintage Tea, as they did an amazing vegan version for me the last time I went!

White Rabbit Teahouse – another one in Nottingham where both their branches are hidden away! I’ve been to the original one, which is on Houndsgate but yet to visit the newer branch on Bridlesmith Walk. I’ve a trip to Nottingham soon so planning to go and take a peek! I’ve only ever eaten here when not a vegan; the food is ok but not amazing in terms of savoury options however the cake is pretty good. Its more the atmosphere and the way things are served that keep this a favourite. I’ve occasionally felt a bit rushed when there, I’m hoping that now there are two branches this will not be the case! I’ve yet to enquire to whether they could cater for vegans, so that is probably something to explore sometime soon for me.

The Tea Emporium – Closer to home over in Ironbridge. Really good tea and service, although slightly annoyingly when we visited, the waitress kept trying to flirt with Mr T.R.A right in front of me!! The whole place is lovely to walk around, and this is the perfect stop for a cuppa.

The Vintage Tea Emporium – I’ve enjoyed many of a happy hour in this place, a find of my friend Jem – as it was a place halfway between where we both lived! Seriously nice place, and probably gets Best in Show for ticking all the food/service/ambiance boxes for me!

Scarthin Cafe – a cafe that serves vegan wares in the middle of a secondhand bookshop. Couldnt wish for more really!

Alpine Coffee Shop – ok, so strictly speaking not a teahouse. However it serves seriously out of this world cake and actually has a longer list of teas than some of the tea houses I’ve been to! If in mood for a coffee (which I am sometimes!), that is pretty amazing too. It’s a bit further from home, given that it is in Betws-y-Coed in Wales! Betws-y-Coed is one of my favourite places to visit, I guess because other than outdoor brands there’s not really any chain places and also there seems to be a sort of calm to the place. It also helps that the coffee shop backs onto the train station, which indulges one of Mr T.R.A’s passions!!

I usually prefer to do one of two things when partaking in all this tea – either reading whether that be a good book or a magazine; or having a good old natter with someone. There really is nothing like either the solitude a cup of tea can bring or the companionship. It’s an all-rounder really!!

What is your favourite cup of tea or place to drink it?