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Valentine’s Day is well known for celebrating love between two people. I feel Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers, but for friends and family, as well. After all, these are people you love and cherish. Why not show your love and appreciation for them? Try our selection of Valentine’s Day gifts that are sure to brighten up everyone you love!teagsmg1000037835_-00_a-stash-of-love-gift-set

If you have a tea loving friend or family member, while tea is a good gift, but why not an accessory or an essential? By essential, try a tea kettle or a teapot. One can never have too many of those? If one ever breaks, you can always have extra! As always, our English Tea Store teapots come in many colors and you can choose from 2 cup or 6 cup teapot!

Perhaps the person you love is from the other side of the Pond? Wouldn’t you like to give them a taste of Home? We’ve got our selection of British sweets and chocolate to start off with. Some of our most popular candies include the world famous melt-in-your-mouth Cadbury Dairy Milk and the gooey but heavenly sweet Walkers Toffee. Let your love show their patriotism with their favorite items featuring the Union Jack. Give them a travel mug to sip their tea from or let the world know where they’re from with they’re shopping bag. Or surprise your Across the Pond Honey with a flag of Home! Great Britain, Scotland, and plenty more! Hang it in the kitchen or living room, it will bring a smile!

You can always put a steasvbf1000033494_-00_the-romance-of-tea-valentine-gift-basket_2urprise package together but if you’re strapped for time, try our gift baskets. They’re easy, convenient, and best of all, there’s just about one for everyone! If you know someone who is a fan of mint, we have a mint tea time basket featuring chamomile tea, or someone who is just getting into tea, there is the English Tea Store basket, and then the Deluxe Afternoon Tea for the full English tea experience!

There’s just about something for everyone. Take a look around our site and check out all of our categories!

-CD

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

 

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Recently my family and I had to pack up and move to a new house. While I was sorting through my things, I came across some of my tea sets. I noticed that I had several tea-for-one sets. My fiance saw them and immediately wanted to try them out. Then I remembered that National Hot Tea Month was coming up again so now is a good time to delve into tea-for-one sets!

teapchn1000029112_-00_rose-porcelain-tea-for-oneIf you are unfamiliar with these unique tea sets, many of them are usually made of ceramic, porcelain, or bone china. Each set comes with a small teapot to brew a teabag or two in, depending on how strong you like your tea, a cup, and a saucer. Stack the teapot on top of the cup and set it all on the saucer and voila! These nifty sets look great on any counter, cupboard, or table, and they fit nearly anywhere.

English Tea Store carries our very own brand of tea-for-one sets, much like our own regular teapots. These are made of ceramic and carry up to 16 ounces of delicious tea along with a 10 ounce cup. They are touched with a beautiful glossy finish and come in a range of lively colors, from blue to lime green. You may end up teadt1p1000031882_-00_shabby-rose-porcelain-tea-for-onestarting a collection!

But if you want to explore the more exotic versions, we carry an excellent variety. There is the beautiful Shabby Rose Turquoise Porcelain set, which is a pleasing look for the eyes, or the Rose Porcelain set. This one features a beautiful gold trim* and a more traditional teapot look and very charming. One of our best selling sets is the Irish Claddagh, beautifully decorated with creamy colors and Celtic knotwork and patterns. A Claddagh is embellished in the stoneware, symbolizing love, friendship, and loyalty.

These tea sets are very ideal to give to someone who fancies a quick cup of tea but doesn’t want to pull out the entire tea set. I had received my tea-for-one sets as gifts and they are the best ever. These are sure to wow and you will enjoy using your tea set.

-CD

 

*For tea sets with gold trim, these are not recommended for microwave use.

 

Mothers-Day-11

With the year nearly half over, it’s already time to think about our mothers. We owe our lives to her, so it’s a must that she deserves a lot of spoiling! Mother’s Day is celebrated in both the United States and the United Kingdom, only the UK celebrates Mother’s Day on the fourth Sunday during Lent and the US celebrates on the second Sunday in May. For more information on the history of Mother’s Day, take a peek at my post from last May.

fcnd_cad_crnc_-01_cadbury-crunchie-1-4ozBut what to get for mum? My own mother was a fan of the Cadbury chocolate. She loved the Cadbury Dairy Milk with the Fruit and Nut. She loved it so much that she would NEVER share it with us! She had every right not to. There were six of us children who put her through so much! So every mother deserves some of her favorite things on her day. Here are a few things that are sure to please your mom (or mum).

If your mother is from the UK, some Union Jack gifts are sure to please her. If you frequently visit her at home, a Union Jack doormat is one of the best wateagfku1000035501_-00_union-jack-shopping-bagys of expressing yourself just outside your house. Perhaps a lovely tea cosy for her best teapot when stopping by for tea? And if she loves to go shopping, a shopping bag adorned with Union Jacks to show the world that she is a Brit and proud! Another good idea is to also fill the bag with a few goodies, as well!

As always, there are many varieties of gift baskets. Nowadays, there’s a gift basket for just about anything! Ranging from relaxing spa to even tea! Pick one full of goodies out and your mom will be delighted!

However you express your love and appreciation for your mother, always do so! She’s the most important person in your life and you only get one! Spend the day with her or if you can’t, give her a call!

-CD

teadmgo1000035354_-00_star-wars-classic-travel-mug-16ozAfter months of waiting, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally going to be released onto DVD! Many of their fans can now own a piece of the most recent movie in the well-loved Star Wars trilogy. To celebrate the release of The Force Awakens, English Tea Store is proud to present a range of Star Wars themed tea ware!teadmgo1000035349_-00_star-wars-darth-vader-sculpted-mug-18oz

Starting off with characters we all know like Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers, these 12 ounce mugs are the perfect gift for anyone who’s a fan of the Dark Side. Perhaps you REALLY want to wow them with a sculpted mug of Darth Vader? Him and the Stormtrooper both hold 18 ounces of pure dark (or light) tea. Then there are somteadtpo1000035353_-00_star-wars-r2-d2-teapote new characters in the film like Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren.

Perhaps you are a fan of the Light Side and not afraid to show it? This travel mug features the iconic poster of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader. Finally, the coolest and cutest item in the Star Wars range is the R2-D2 tea kettle. This is sure to please ANY Star Wars fan! You can’t go wrong with this beautifully made ceramic kettle with a 36 ounce capability! The brew is strong with this one!

-CD

Ovente Kettle

(c) Crystal Derma – English Tea Store

For quite some time now, tea drinkers have been able to purchase electric kettles and boil their water using electricity, saving on their gas bills. Electric tea kettles have added extra convenience to the tea drinker’s life, adding space on the range top (or stove). The advantage to an electric kettle is that it helps boil water in a faster amount of time than done on a stove. They also usually come with the feature of automatically shutting off when it reaches the proper temperature.

When looking for an electric kettle, there is a great variety, so choose according to your needs. Electric kettles come with many features. Some allow you to control the temperature. Rather than guesstimating or sticking a thermometer in the water with a traditional kettle, you can change the setting to a certain temperature. This is especially beneficial when boiling water for a certain kind of tea (i.e., green tea, white tea, or darjeeling), since in order to bring out the best flavor is to steep them at specific temperatures. Some kettles are also marked with milliliters (ml) so measuring water is easy! Making a cuppa for one or six? No problem! Simply measure and pour the water in and switch on the kettle! Safety First: Be sure the electric kettle is unplugged when not in use!

teaapke1000033272_-00_ovente-electric-stainless-steel-kettle-1-7-liters-silver_1

(c) English Tea Store

There are several types of electric kettles, ones with and without cords. The ones with cords simply have a cord running from the back and plug into an outlet into the wall, while the cordless ones have a base, allowing the user to pick it up and go wherever the user chooses to. In my research, I was unable to find out the origins of the electric kettle and there are a vast amount of manufacturers who make electric kettles.

And did you know that electric kettles are not just for tea and coffee? Any food that involves hot water like oatmeal, instant soup, or hot chocolate can be made using an electric kettle.

One of the few downfalls to having an electric kettle is that would not work if the electricity shuts off or goes out. If you must have tea, then keep a stovetop kettle as a backup, unless you have my current stove. It’s electric AND gas! It needs electricity to bake in addition to starting up the stove but runs on gas. But definitely keep a regular kettle in case of emergency!

As for picking out a good electric kettle, it’s hard to choose. If you’re like me and just want the basics, then the Ovente kettle is a good choice. You can choose from three colors (green, white , or brown, and they all brew very nicely. The green one has a pretty blue glow when it’s on and even automatically shuts off when the water is hot enough! Best of all, with colors like these, they blend in perfectly with your kitchen!

teaapke1000033278_-00_ovente-electric-glass-kettle-1-5-liters-maroon_1

(c) English Tea Store

Do you fancy a bit more of a chrome look? There are ones like the Ovente Stainless Steel! This kettle has a more sleek design than their standard plastic kettle. Or perhaps you enjoy watching the water boil? Some electric kettles are made with the combination of glass, so you can watch the water gently boil!

Sometimes extra money in the budget could allow for a more high tech but well worth the money, kettle, such as the Chef’s Choice 677 model. 1500 watts of heating power add to this kettle compared to the standard plastic Ovente’s 1100 watt. Finally, if you want to add some high tech to tea preparation, you can always go for the Chef’s Choice Electric 688 Smart Kettle. Now what makes it a smart kettle? It has a feature that will allow it to remember the previous temperature setting that was selected in its last use! Plus many other wonderful features! Definitely worth the extra money on this one!

When you look for an electric kettle, remember that there is one for everyone!

 

How do you serve your tea? Do you simply brew a cup? Or do you serve from a teapot? Whether it is for two people or six, teapots have been around for centuries. Teapots come in many forms, sizes, and are made in several materials like ceramic, metal, silver, or even glass.

DTP_BB8C_-00_8-Cup-Brown-Betty-Teapot

(c) English Tea Store – Brown Betty Teapot

The earliest teapots were invented during the Yuan Dynasty in China but it was during the Tang Dynasty when tea became more popular. The earliest teapots were made from Yixing, a type of clay. By the end of the 17th Century, this teapot arrived in Europe and there was already a high demand for tea. However, tea was normally reserved for the wealthy since it was taxed so high, making it expensive at the time. Teapots produced back then were made of silver. Catherine of Braganza (the wife of Charles II) even enjoyed tea originally from Chinese porcelain, but later on switched to English silver.

In 1784, the taxes on tea were finally cut, thus greatly reducing in price and allowing more people to have access to the beverage. Tea’s popularity and consumption began to increase and tea eventually became the most popular drink in all of Britain. Many makers of British teaware became prominent and also competed against China’s teapots until British teapots became more standard. Today’s most popular teapots come from many British manufacturers, ranging from Wedgwood’s Bone China to the smash hit (I probably shouldn’t be saying that about teapots!) Brown Betty teapot.

Round-vesseled and beautiful, these teapots are tougher than you think! These teapots were made early on in the 1800s, with special red clay found in the Bradell Woods area located in Stoke-on-Trent and glazed with a Rockingham Glaze, helping it turn into its signature brown color. How the Brown Betty got its name is relatively unknown but what they are known for is their excellent quality since the tea leaves will have plenty of room to gently unfurl once hot water is poured in. Brown Betties are well known for retaining heat thanks to the ceramic and can stay warm for a long time (cozies also help)!

You can use whatever tea you fancy in any teapot, whether it’s for yourself or for a full table of guests. There are 2 cup, 4 cup, 6 cup, and even 8 cup teapots. Not into two cups of tea? Not a problem! There are tea for one sets like this one that even include a cup!

Did you know? Yixing teapots are known for “remembering” a type of tea. The clay in it makes it porous, so it helps remember the previous teas that were infused in them, thus earning the nickname “memory teapots”. It’s best to stick with one type of tea when infusing in this teapot.

Yes, folks, the artificial Christmas trees are already on display for sale at various stores, right alongside the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations. Sure, merchants are spurred by a sluggish economy and the need to move merchandise, but that’s not the only reason this greenery is popping up amongst fake pumpkins, huge inflatable ghouls and witches, and cutouts of Pilgrims eating turkey. They want to spread out that “holiday rush” — the big crunch that comes during the last month before Christmas.

Very non-perishable, lasting, and perfect for that planned ahead gift basket: Let Nature Sing Latte Mug with Spoon (ETS image)

Very non-perishable, lasting, and perfect for that planned ahead gift basket: Let Nature Sing Latte Mug with Spoon (ETS image)

There really is something to be said for such a tactic. It benefits both the merchant and you, the consumer, by relieving some of the pressure. When it comes to holiday gift baskets, this is a great option, as long as you remember a few simple guidelines when ordering. Gift baskets are often thought of as a last minute option that is especially good for the hard-to-buy-for recipient on your list. However, they are really an opportunity to customize a very memorable gift that can linger in that special someone’s mind and heart for years to come.

That being said, keep these factors in mind when ordering:

  • Perishables — Unless you have an extra refrigerator for storing items that won’t last long at room temperature (cheeses, some chocolates, fresh fruits, etc.), avoid such items as part of the gift basket.
  • Include something lasting — Having something in the gift basket that won’t get eaten or flowers that will wilt and be thrown away assures that a part of your basket arrangement will be “the gift that keeps on giving.” Teapots, mugs, artificial flowers (instead of real ones), and plush toys are a few options. The basket itself can be a lasting part of the gift; sometimes it’s not even a basket but a metal tub or other shape such as a watering can (great for the gardener on your list), or a wood chest, or a wicker or metal sleigh, and many more.
  • Theme — You might be thinking “Duh! The theme is Christmas!” However, you can get a bit more refined than that. The theme can be one for children, young adults, or more mature folks, for people who are artists, writers, bankers, carpenters, plumbers, teachers, firemen, and a host of other professions. The theme can also be one that is more fun or more serious, more secular or more religious, etc. It could be a way to introduce someone you know to tea or give that tea aficionado a special treat of fine teas.
  • Customize — Instead of a pre-assembled gift basket, you can select the items to include. This helps you address any dietary, religious, or other preferences. Gluten-free, vegan, diabetic-safe, Kosher, and so on. Customizing assures that there are no perishables, that something lasting is included, and that the right theme is portrayed — a way of tying together all of the above.

Ordering early can assure that you can get all of the above just the way you want them. While that last minute addition to your gift list (there always seems to be at least one for us) can be covered by that equally last minute order, the early orders will be taken care of and off your mind. A bit less stress during the holiday rush!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Even with all the special deals for teas and teawares held during the Christmas shopping season, there are about as many sales now. Tea vendors present deals on those special gift baskets and holiday-themed teapots, as well as various foods and teas that are popular during this time of year.

Here are a few deals I have found on items sure to turn those Winter blahs into teatime bounty:

Mars   Maltesers & Friends Selection Box – 6.63oz (188g) — How can you be blah when your package of these candies arrives with a cheery snowman on the front? The holiday season might be over, but a lot of   the country is still in the throes of Winter. These chocolates will sweeten your day. Milky Way (light, fluffy nougat center in milk chocolate), Twix (biscuit topped with caramel, covered in milk chocolate), Mars (nougat and caramel covered in milk chocolate), Mars Maltesers (milk chocolate covered malted   honeycomb balls), and Peanut M & M’s. (Cannot ship to Canada.)
Mars Maltesers & Friends Selection Box  (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Mars Maltesers & Friends Selection Box (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Christmas Crackers — A real Christmas tradition. Read more about them here.   But you can also use them for any kind of party, especially in the Winter.   Birthdays, anniversaries, and anything else. Both adults and children will   appreciate them. A nice “Pop!” and a shower of gifts from inside each one.
Christmas Crackers (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Christmas Crackers (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Mince Pies — Usually only widely available during the Christmas season, mince pies are so   delicious that hubby and I tend to stock up (on the ones not containing   alcohol) for year-round enjoyment. Having them on sale is a perfect   opportunity for us, then, and for you, too! See what’s so special about these   little pies here.
Mince Pies (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Mince Pies (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Spiced & Christmas Tea — Holiday teas are often ones that are flavored, especially with cinnamon,   apple, orange, and other spices. Most of the major brands off their own   versions. You can get some from Stash, Taylors of Harrogate, Twinings, or   Harrisons & Crosfield! And with plenty of long, cold Winter nights ahead,   you can savor a cuppa while snuggled in front of a crackling fireplace.
Spiced & Christmas Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Spiced & Christmas Tea (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Snowman   Teapot – 20oz — Missed out on this snowman teapot? Get it on sale now. He’s hand-painted   ceramic and holds a bountiful 20 ounces of hot, steaming tea! He even comes   in his own house… uh, I mean gift box so you can store him safely  (although he’s so cute you just might want   to have him on display year round) or give him as a Winter birthday gift.   There is even  a Snowman creamer and   sugar bowl set and our Snowman mug!
Snowman Teapot - 20oz (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Snowman Teapot – 20oz (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Gift   Basket – Drum — Able to hold about 5 or 6 items — tea, small teapot, cookies, etc. The   thing I like best about it is that it’s not overly Christmasy looking, so we   can have it out year round and just change what we put in it. Very   decorative. It could even be a place for you to stash those special teas you   enjoy.
Gift Basket - Drum (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Gift Basket – Drum (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

I bet you don’t feel blah anymore — right? I sure don’t!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Build a tea gift basket (Photo source: composite image)

Build a tea gift basket (Photo source: composite image)

Tea helps save your sanity while shopping — whether in actual physical stores or online — for whatever gifts are on your list. Scarf for your cousin Mike. Latest Taylor Swift CD for your sister Cassie (she’s off to college now, so Mom and Dad won’t have to listen to it). Cheese-and-crackers-and-beef-sausage gift pack for Uncle Joe. Hand-dyed scarf for Aunt Beatrice. The list seems longer and more esoteric every year. And often your choices seem the same as they did the year before.

And then there’s the Secret Santa thing that many workplaces do. How do you buy something appropriate for that guy that sits five cubicles down from you but that you hardly know and yet you and everyone else are intimately familiar with his battle with adenoids? A toughie. Mull it over while enjoying a nice cuppa cinnamon flavored tea.

One way to ease your dilemma over what to get those folks who are on your gift list every year but for whom selecting the right gift, one sure to please, gets to be more and more of a head scratcher: the tea gift basket!

I’ve written about tea baskets before and tend always to think of them as a way to satisfy a variety of needs when gifting:

  • Size can vary from the very small and simple, like a mug and a package of tea, to a large and bountiful basket full of teawares and teas and treats and maybe even a cute little stuffed critter.
  • Style and theme can vary to suit the occasion by your choice of container and decorations used. A ribbon or two (blue or pink for baby showers, red and green and gold for Christmas, etc.), a wicker basket or a tin bucket painted with the desired theme, and so on.
  • Contents can vary, from the more “basic” teas and flavored mixes with fruits, spices, and flower petals to some premium straight teas or tea blends available in small quantities and at higher prices. Chocolates, cookies, crackers, cocoa mixes, and other goodies will add a more elaborate touch.

If you’re not sure that those giftees would appreciate such a gift, maybe because they’re not tea drinkers or their preferences run to things like cherry soda and Cheetos (something I used to have all the time before discovering the wonders of tea), by all means give them a gift to suit their tastes. Otherwise, you’d be wasting good tea. But tea can still aid your gift quest. Just steep yourself a nice mugful to sip on while you cruise store sites or fill up your travel mug and take it along as you elbow your way through the crowds at the mall.

Happy shopping!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Holiday Gift Tray - Holiday Themed

Holiday Gift Tray - Holiday Themed

While the kids are hoping for the latest must-have toy under the Christmas tree, tea lovers are putting their list of teas and related items in their letters to Santa (and laying copies around for their friends and family to find, just in case). Nothing can bring that twinkle to their eyes like a tea gift on Christmas morning!

Teas gifts are quite popular. You can, of course, buy a pre-made gift basket for the tea lover you know. Or you can go a step up and select from the vendor’s pre-determined alternatives. Or better still you can go all the way and craft the perfect tea gift, from something simple and charming for that tea newbie you know or something truly super for the tea connoisseur in your life.

Holiday Latte Mug with Spoon

Holiday Latte Mug with Spoon

Crafting the perfect tea gift:

  • Choose some kind of container, such as a woven basket, a wooden tray, or a metal planter large enough to hold all the delights you will want to include as part of the gift.
  • Choose a tea or two or three, basing your selections here on the giftee ― for the newbie a sampler pack of black or green teas might be a good start, but for a more knowledgeable tea lover you will want to select something more for the refined palate such as some Tie Kuan Yin Iron Goddess Oolong.
Harney and Sons Holiday Tea

Harney and Sons Holiday Tea

  • Lots of seasonal goodies abound right now, and you can select either based on what will go well with the teas or something special for this time of year.
Mr Kipling Christmas Cake Slices

Mr Kipling Christmas Cake Slices

  • Don’t forget a touch of whimsy by including a holiday ornament.
  • Dress it all up with ribbons and bows.

If you’re ordering online, be sure to order in time for Christmas delivery. You don’t want to disappoint that tea lover on your list. Now, don’t you feel like a regular Santa’s helper? Ho ho ho!

Penguin Christmas Ornament

Penguin Christmas Ornament

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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