Toronto Tea Lovers, Celebrate with Tea – Support & Shop Local with The Sugared Teacup’s *NEW* Tea Gift Box Business!

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IT’S ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!!!!!!!!  Ate by Ate’s sister, The Sugared Teacup, (http://www.thesugaredteacup.com) has been preoccupied for the last little while for a veeeery good reason and the news is out: THE SUGARED TEACUP IS NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!!  The Sugared Teacup has partnered with many of Toronto’s finest local tea shops and businesses to give you a “Taste of Toronto” tea-style for the holidays and hopefully into the new year and beyond with SPECIAL THEMED TEA BOXES!

I’m beyond ecstatic and excited and nervous and every other crazy emotion imaginable because this is my baby.  The Sugared Teacup is no longer just a blog; it’s a business idea and brand that I have put my heart and soul into for months and I am overjoyed that I can watch it grow with the love and support from the community – the blogging community, the tea community, our local community, and so many others.

Okay, so before I dive in and give everyone the details on how make a purchase, I want to explain how this all came about from the very beginning.  Back in September, I was laying in bed when I was suddenly struck with an idea: how great would it be to start a tea box subscription business with the local tea shops and businesses?!  Subscription box services have been growing in popularity over the last number of years.  Everything from organic food, cosmetics, stationery, and books can be delivered to your doorstep every month in a fun and unique package of goodies.  Tea boxes have definitely been a part of the fun so while I knew this was not a new idea and that I certainly wasn’t re-inventing the wheel by thinking about this, I knew I wanted to put my own mark on it and make it different from anything else out there.  So I got to work.

How are The Sugared Teacups’s Tea Boxes (“Sugared Tea Boxes”!) different?  It’s all about keeping everything local.  As I’m envisioning this idea unfold as time goes on, I absolutely want to involve other tea businesses (and tea-related businesses!) in Ontario and the rest of Canada but for the time being, this idea has its roots in Toronto – literally.  There are many tea box businesses out there that operate in many different ways.  Some use smart technology to determine what type of tea drinker you are by having you take a survey and they base their monthly selections on that profile.  Other businesses send a surprise box each month.  And others focus and introduce their subscribers to different brands and businesses from across the globe, all the while sourcing their own teas.  The Sugared Teacup tea boxes are all about 1) supporting Toronto tea businesses, 2) giving tea lovers lots of fun and variety, and 3) allowing everyone to try teas they wouldn’t normally go out of their way to try.

When I was chewing on this idea back in September, I thought about why I loved the idea so much and why others would too.  Not only is this a huge creative outlet for me (I decorate and personalize every box!  The crafting scrapbook princess in me is so ridiculously happy right now!), the tea boxes target some of the issues some people face when it comes to tea and shopping for it.  For example, some are deterred from ordering online because they need to spend x amount of dollars for free shipping, otherwise they could be spending more on shipping than they are on the tea.  Now this wouldn’t be an issue for those who are dedicated to a specific brand or business.  However, I know there are many who don’t want to spend so much on teas they may not like in such large quantities (for example, in 50g or 100g quantities).  These tea boxes give you the variety and the opportunity to try many teas in smaller amounts.  Some teas come in full size (there are some in special tins!), but the majority of the teas come in smaller pouches so instead of hemming and hawwwing over trying to choose 1 or 2 full size teas at full price, you get at least 5 teas in adorable packaging!

There are also many people who love tea but are unadventurous in their exploration of the city.  I know there are folks who’ve never even ridden the subway or streetcar!  So the likeliness of them discovering these different tea shops and business is very low.  There are SO MANY amazing tea shops and businesses here in Toronto so these boxes give everyone the chance to get to know them without having to schlep out there visiting 6 different places or feeling overwhelmed and not having a clue what they should try or feeling uncertain of what they might like.  I blog so I do this anyway for a living!  And because I love doing it.  Not to mention I’m used to choosing teas for people who don’t know what they want (like my brother!  And my mom!  And others!).  But not everyone is going to wake up at the crack of dawn to haul their tooshie out to buy tea.  I do the work for you by putting together a fantastic box of tea based on your preferences (more about that below), giving you a “taste of Toronto”.  Because at the heart of it, that’s what this is!  I kept thinking to myself, “well, for me, I would LOVE it if I could try a bunch of local teas from say, Vancouver.  Or Nova Scotia.  Or Seattle.  Or anywhere!”  I wish someone could send me a box of teas like that.  So I thought, “well, why don’t I do that for Toronto?”

And that is how The Sugared Teacup Tea Boxes were born!

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In a nutshell, I’m offering 6 different themed tea boxes (as well as a special Earl Grey Lovers box!): black tea, green tea, mixed teas (black, green, rooibos), herbal/rooibos/caffeine-free, fruity teas, and dessert teas.  You choose the type of box(es) you’d like and I put together a fabulous selection of teas from all the wonderful shops and businesses based on this selection!  It’s that easy!

This is the soft launch for the holidays, meaning if it does well, I’ll be growing the business by offering subscriptions and shipping across the country (and maybe the US if I can make it work!).  FOR THE HOLIDAY SOFT LAUNCH THOUGH, I am keeping it entirely local, meaning Markham and Toronto pick-ups and drop-offs for tea box purchases.  

Head on over to the Tea Boxes page on The Sugared Teacup’s menu bar (http://www.thesugaredteacup.com/teaboxes) to fill out a form to make a purchase – I have a BLACK FRIDAY WEEK INTRODUCTION PROMOTION GOING ON THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS!  All online transactions will be handled using PayPal.  If you’re uncomfortable purchasing online or if you would prefer to not use PayPal and pay in cash, please feel free to download an order form using the PDF file link at the bottom of the Tea Boxes page; you can e-mail me at thesugaredteacup@hotmail.com telling me what selections and quantities you’d like and you can simply bring me a hard copy of the form for receipt purposes upon pick-up and drop off.

I’ve been working really hard to turn this idea, dream, and passion into a reality and I am SO thankful and grateful for the tea shops and businesses that have so graciously jumped on board with it!  (Check out the Tea Boxes page to see which tea shops and businesses I’ve partnered with so far!).  This is just the beginning of a crazy new chapter in The Sugared Teacup’s journey and I am so happy and excited to have you all be a part of it.  SUPPORT LOCAL, SHOP LOCAL!  Let the games begin!

 

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In Love With the Three “S’s”: Sandwiches, Sweets & Scones – Afternoon Tea at Annona at the Park Hyatt in Yorkville!

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This past week has been bitterly cold (by Toronto’s standards; folks from Edmonton or Winnipeg are free to chuckle and/or roll their eyes) so it’s no surprise that I’ve been guzzling cup after cup of hot tea to warm me up from the inside out: milk oolong, apple custard herbal, green dragon pearls, and birthday cake rooibos just to name a handful.  All warm and cozy, all yummy.  I’m making a nice dent in my tea collection which makes me super happy because the more my family and I drink, the more room there is for new ones!  So amidst all the jolly tea chugging, I thought to myself, “hmm, I’m really behind on afternoon tea blogging, I should get on that.  Like, now.”  I have folders upon folders of photos I have yet to post just waiting to be shared with you guys so I hope y’all are in the mood for some afternoon tea posts because there’s going to be a generous amount of them in the coming weeks and months!

I’ve done afternoon tea about 15 times now and it’s become one of my favourite things in life, not just because I’ve enjoyed many of them with my best friend but because they’re such luxuries.  Some folks go on trips.  Others buy shoes.  Or nice electronics.  I do afternoon tea.  It’s a treat, one that delights me and inspires me, so much so that I’ve devoted an entire bulging scrapbook to it with a sequel waiting in the wings.  The tranquility that comes from pouring hot tea from a beautiful teapot into an equally charming and dainty teacup; the anticipation of the tiered stand being placed on the center of the table, brimming with finger sandwiches, scones, and sweets; and the utter joy that comes from appreciating pretty things, yummy things, and the awesome company and friendship that’s right in front of you.

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While I’ve enjoyed each and every single afternoon tea experience for different reasons, my favourite place, hands down, is Annona inside the swanky Park Hyatt hotel in Yorkville on Avenue Rd.  I’ve been to Annona twice and both times were absolutely fantastic.  Not only is the food delicious and the space relaxing, the service is beyond gracious.  One of the things I love about having afternoon tea here is the sense of balance.  Their dining room feels luxurious without being too formal or stiff, their dainty china is colourful and whimsical, and their menu, which changes every so often, is chock full of variety.  You can tell how much effort they put into their menu because it’s unlike anything you’d see or get at any other place.  You can tell that they’ve made a conscious effort to give you a different type of experience and taste sensation with each finger sandwich and dessert: there are pinwheels, savoury tarts, sweet tarts, savoury cones, white bread, wheat bread, pumpernickel, cakelets, cupcakes, macarons, different cheeses, meats, vegetables, fruits, the list goes on.

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Their afternoon tea, available on Saturdays and Sundays from 3pm-5pm for $36 per person, is comprised of a gorgeous assortment of five different finger sandwiches, three small scones, and SIX different sweets and desserts in addition to the loose leaf tea from their tea menu and clotted cream, jams, jellies and preserves for the scones.  There are 12 loose leaf teas to choose from including several different greens, blacks, and herbals, my favourite being the Eros, a yummy orange and vanilla dessert tea.

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They bring you your plate of finger sandwiches first, followed by a silver tiered stand containing the scones and sweets.  While their menu does change periodically (which you can view on their website here), here’s an idea of the type of savouries you can expect based on the delicious assortment I enjoyed the two times I went: crispy cone filled with a creamy Boursin cheese mixed with cranberries and crushed walnuts; smoked salmon and chives with cream cheese on pumpernickel bread; chicken and asparagus salad pinwheel; watercress and cheddar cheese whole wheat pinwheel; shredded cucumber and carrot with hummus on white bread.

And if five different scrumptious finger sandwiches weren’t enough to tickle your variety-loving self, the desserts surely will!  There is seriously no shortage of awesomeness when it comes to all the different types of sweets you get with your afternoon tea.  There’s a mix of fruit desserts, chocolate ones, and ones with nuts (just a note to those with allergies – which I’ll actually get to later on in the post) including a lemon white chocolate vanilla cupcake, mixed berry tartlet, plum tart, raspberry macaron, peppermint white chocolate layer cake, and a decadent pistachio double chocolate eclair with chocolate custard filling, chocolate drizzle, and plenty of crushed pistachios on top.  I just love how Annona mixes things up, plays with different flavour combinations and textures, keeping things fresh and exciting.  Their afternoon tea is, in my opinion, so modern, contemporary, and fun.

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It’s crazy to think that there’s even more to love about Annona, but there definitely is.  I mentioned how gracious their service is earlier in the post and I meant it whole-heartedly.  It’s not just in the way their staff services you in person but also in the care and attention they give you when you make your reservation.  Annona is the first place I’ve ever placed a reservation for online and I absolutely love it because I’ve written notes for them regarding requests I’ve had for seating (given how I’m a blogger and obviously take photos, I always request a table beside a window so that I’ll have good lighting) and regarding my best friend’s allergies, asking them if there is any way to substitute those with other menu items and they have taken every single word to heart and have granted me everything I’ve requested with no question or hesitation on their part and with no reminders for them on my part.

I can’t even begin to express how much those gestures mean to me because it shows me that they truly care about making the experience a good fabulous and memorable one.  Not only did they grant my request for a window table each time, they actually went out of their way to make different pastries for my best friend.  We were floored.  So much time, attention and care was taken and we were never made to feel guilty or like a burden for making these requests which I really appreciate.

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If you love afternoon tea as much as I do, enjoying it at Annona will be a happy foodie experience you won’t soon forget!

*****

Annona is located inside the Park Hyatt Hotel in Yorkville at 4 Avenue Road, just north of Bloor St. West.  Their afternoon tea is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 3pm-5pm; reservations are not specified as absolutely required on their website but I would highly recommend making them just in case.  You can call them at 416-324-1567 and also visit their website: http://hyatt.com/gallery/torphannon/tea.html.

 

New Year, More Tea – A Look at Ate by Ate’s Holiday David’s Tea Haul with Eggnog, Apple Custard & More!

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Happy new year, everyone!  It was quite nippy out on Wednesday so for those of you who par-tayed that night, I hope you had fun!  And for those who stayed inside (like me), I hope you kept toasty and also had fun.  I’m not much for new year’s eve celebrations (eating pizza and watching the adorable Anderson Cooper on tv are about the most exciting things I do and that suits me just fine) but I’m not going to lie: I “celebrated” on the inside when I kicked 2014 out the proverbial door and slammed it shut when the clock struck 12 and the big, shiny ball dropped.  Good riddance.  Teeth-grinding frustration, anger, and emotional agony is the only way to accurately describe this past year.  There were definitely some really wonderful, happy moments throughout the year that I clung onto like little life preservers but as a whole, 2014 was terrible.  At this point I don’t know if 2015 will be better, but all I can really do is hope for a brighter year.  It’s Ate by Ate’s first post of 2015 and we’re starting the new year on a yummy, tealicious note: David’s Tea winter and holiday haul post!

At this very moment I am both excited and miffed.  Excited because I just got David’s Tea’s new e-mail about their brand spankin’ new Sunshine collection (nothing like hitting us hard with more “oh-my-god-I-need-these-in-my-life” tea products after the holiday rush, huh?  Seriously, no mercy) and all the new stuff on their website looks so fun and colourful and vibrant (squee!).  However, I am also miffed because the content of this post is now soooo last year.  Like, we’ve totally moved on and little Deb over here is still playing with last year’s toys.  In hindsight, I really should have made this post on Wednesday but in my defence, I had no idea that they were going to steal my thunder.

Hmph.

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No matter.  I am totally enjoying all of my holiday and winter goodies to the fullest and all of it makes me smile, especially my “snowy village” latte mug which is just so darn cute.  I loooove all my new stuff.  I think I did a pretty good job with my haulage this season if I do say so myself.  Granted, half of the things you see in the photos were Christmas gifts, so I wasn’t a total crazy maniac who bought out the whole store.  Just some of the store.

For me, my favourites from the holiday and winter collections are the Eggnog, the Cocomint Cream, and the Apple Custard and as you can tell from the photos, I was totally spoiled in all three flavour categories.  I picked up the ginormous Eggnog collectible tin, the Eggnog Christmas ornament, and the cute little stackable tin.  Not only do I think the tea is delicious but I adore the beautiful bright blue colour the tea products are outfitted in.

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Next, the Cocomint Cream.  The Cocomint Cream tea is included in the “Christmas Morning” trio set AND I was able to take advantage of a very limited edition product that I only found at Yorkdale Mall: tea and cookies!!  I was so shocked when I found the adorable little tea and cookies set at Yorkdale and while I’m still confused as to why the product availability was so limited, I am ecstatic that I was able to get my hands on a set before the holidays were over.  The tea and cookies set comes with a little tin of Cocomint Cream tea as well as half a dozen chocolate chip cookies.  Um, hello, DEB IN A NUTSHELL.  LOVE.

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Finally, the Apple Custard.  Oh how I love this tea to itty bitty pieces.  This is probably my favourite out of all the holiday and winter flavours.  It smells divine and you should taste it cold/chilled/iced too.  It is yummylicious.  Thank goodness it’s part of the winter collection that is still available in stores until the spring collection replaces it come March.  My best friend got me the cute-as-a-button Apple Custard tea house (equipped with a nice big baggy of tea and bottle of vanilla agave) for Christmas and I picked up the little yellow stackable tin from the boxing week sale.

And speaking of which, I couldn’t resist adding one more item to the holiday haul during my last David’s Tea visit on new year’s eve: the Earl Grey trio collection!  It was marked down as a boxing week sale item, both my brother and mum love Earl Grey tea, the box is really pretty, AND – get this – there’s a Star Trek reference on the box.  Now, I’m no Trekkie, but my boyfriend is and I do have some knowledge of the series from my TNG-watching days so I can appreciate the very cheeky Star Trek quote on the packaging: Tea.  Earl Grey.  Hot.  *waves to Patrick Stewart, aka. Captain Picard*

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The holidays are sadly coming to a close, but winter is definitely sticking around so I’ll be happily enjoying these teas for weeks to come.

Making Christmas Memories at Bobbette & Belle’s Newest Location with Tea, Cookies, Alfajores & Macarons!

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I know Christmas comes and goes every year and I know it might not be the happiest occasion for some folks, but for me, it’s my favourite time of year.  I love Christmas even more than I love summer and that’s saying a lot because my birthday is during the summer and I love me my birthday celebrations.  I love Christmas so much and I look forward to the season and everything it brings each year and I always feel so happy when everything I love is happening within a span of a month (seeing friends, holiday menus, holiday displays, exchanging presents, and taking a ridiculous amount of photos of all of the aforementioned) and when it’s all over I always feel a little nostalgic and sad.  So I try my hardest to soak up every moment and to make as many fun memories as possible.

I made many of these wonderful memories yesterday when I spent one of the best days ever with my best friend for the holidays.  Part of the ultra fabulous day included an afternoon stop at Bobbette & Belle’s 2nd location in uptown Yonge-Lawrence village for hot drinks and sweets!

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Not only am I so in love with Christmas but I am absolutely smitten with Bobbette & Belle’s newest location.  I didn’t even KNOW they opened a 2nd location until late last week when I was just out and about in the area and happened to walk past it.  I was so stunned I nearly shouted, “WHAT!?” right out on the sidewalk.  Sigh.  This is what happens when I stop blogging and, for the most part, being tuned out of all my foodie outlets for nearly half a year.

I have no idea when Bobbette & Belle opened this new location but am I ever sure glad they did!  I love it even more than their original flagship on Queen Street East.  While the Queen East location is big and airy, the Yonge-Lawrence location has such a warm, comforting, communal feel to it.  The decor and aesthetic is very similar: gorgeous cake pedestals displayed on shelves, beautiful china dishes and tea plates hung stylishly on the wall, a chalkboard menu, wood floors, and platters and stands full of pastries and sweets (tarts, cupcakes, macarons, cakes, scones, cookies and so much more!) just waiting to be devoured.  The difference?  The cafe aspect and feel.  The Yonge-Lawrence one screams Parisian cafe to me with its small tables and seating section in the back and the beautiful cushioned booth seating right up in the front by the storefront window (which can seat 4 sets of 2) is prime real estate, baby.  It’s bright, it’s soothing, and with the cushiony seating and knitted pillows, it’s the perfect spot to spend time with someone over a delicious dessert and hot drink.

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I was so excited finding out about their new location that I took advantage of the timing and ordered something holiday-themed: a Christmas tree-shaped shortbread cookie (which is actually what I had the last time I was at Bobbette & Belle during Christmas, go figure!  Check out that blog post here) along with two delightful macarons in cassis and chocolate mint, an alfajores cookie, and a nice big hot steaming mug of Citron Calm tea from their selection of Sloane Fine Teas!  I am over the moon that they serve Sloane teas as their teas are delicious.

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Ugh, this was such a delicious afternoon treat!  I knew I loved their macarons and shortbread cookies and now I love their alfajores cookies.  A lot.  The cookie has such great texture (sturdy yet soft and moist) and the caramel was nice and thick and gooey without being mushy and the coconut it was rolled in gave it the perfect crunch.  LOVE.  And in addition to the Christmas-themed shortbread cookies, they had a chocolate candy cane peppermint cupcake on hand as well as some apple caramel pastries, apple cider, and several other holiday yummies.

Their new location is in an accessible part of town (walking distance from Lawrence subway station) and it’s in an area that I really enjoy being in as I love the Yonge-Lawrence and Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhoods.  I cannot wait to come back for scones and tea, or maybe a tart with a macaron, or a slice of cake, or just more alfajores cookies.  And a hundred plus more cups of tea.

*****

Bobbette & Belle is located at 3347 Yonge Street on the east side of Yonge at the corner of Snowdon Ave. (Fairlawn Ave. being the street on the west side of Yonge) in the Yonge-Lawrence Village neighbourhood.  Their hours are 9am-6:30pm from Monday-Friday and 9am-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.  Their original flagship location is in Leslieville at 1121 Queen Street East.

A Happy Kombucha From David’s Tea = A Happy Deb! The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 011

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DSCN2444I know, I know.  It’s summer, not spring and we’re closing in on Canada Day, not Easter.  So theoretically, I should be posting photos of an awesome summer haul, right?  In theory, yes.  But when you’re sipping tea left and right and trying your best to keep up with the dizzying array of delicious options available, you’re going to fall behind.  I’m still bummed about not exhausting the spring collection before it went off the shelves!  So I’m playing a bit of catch-up right now with my sets.  I FINALLY cracked this baby open (in my defense, it’s only been 2 months, not 2 years!) and played around with the adorable peek-a-boo egg-shaped flaps and tea tins in this cute-as-a-button 12-tea set which includes favourites such as Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Macaroon, Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait, Lime Gelato, Chocolate Rocket and more.

I wanted to try something different though so I decided to try the Happy Kombucha tea ($9.75 for 50g in-store and online), an Oolong with mango, pineapple, kombucha powder, and safflower and HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL is it ever fruity and refreshing and delicious!  To me, it tastes similar to the Long Life Oolong but with more of a tropical twist to it as opposed to a peaches and cream and with a subtle sweet tea scent and flavour mixed in as well.  Its looks are deceiving; in appearance it looks like a mix of rolled tea leaves with chili flakes and sundried tomatoes but in taste it is all brightness and fruitiness.  I instantly loved it and it’s now on my list of favourites.

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I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “well, you love everything!”.  I actually don’t.  There are a bunch of teas I’ve tried that I don’t care for and that I wouldn’t buy or bother to drink again.  I only post about the things I love because ranting or focusing on the things I don’t is a waste of my time and energy and it’s funner to talk about things I enjoy.  So if any of you ever want to know which teas I’m not fond of, pop me a message and I’ll message you back privately with my honest opinion, no holds barred!

Lovey-doveyness aside, Happy Kombucha is truly where it’s at for a yummy summer iced tea option.  It’s a fab tea and its name is fun to say!  At first, I thought kombucha was just a fun name but I looked it up online and found out that it’s actually a type of tea that goes through a fermentation process with all sorts of probiotic and bacteria culture stuff going on.  For more info on kombucha, check out this great blog called The Kitchn where Emma explains the food science behind it with great photos and descriptions.  Drinking this amazing tea totally made my day.

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An Intro to Deb’s Tea Journal & Scrapbook & the Favourite David’s Tea List – The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 005

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I’m going to tell you all a story about my beloved Five Star coil-bound plain white paper notebooks, the ones I’ve used to create and house two very special scrapbooks.  It was the summer of 2003, the summer I graduated from high school.  Me, my best friend, and another high school friend were at the mall one lazy summer day when we decided to stop by Wal-Mart.  For whatever reason, we meandered into the stationery section where we stumbled on these plain and simple Five Star notebooks.  They had a sturdy dark green cover, a large metal coil, and the most luscious (yes, luscious) plain white perforated paper.  Pages of pure white, bursting with endless possibilities for all sorts of art projects.  We saw them and we knew we all had to get one.  They were just too perfect to pass up.  They weren’t lined, they weren’t too thick or too thin, they weren’t held together with staples or glue and the price was pretty darn decent at $3 a pop.  So there we were, 3 girls out of high school and university-bound, lining up at the cash single file waiting to pay for the exact same notebook.  When we left with our identical purchases, I asked my friend what she was going to do with hers.  “Fill it with memories, I guess.”

And that was the plan, to make scrapbooks that were uniquely our own, each telling our own special stories.  While my best friend and other friend never ended up using it for this purpose (I know, I asked out of curiosity), I went to town with mine, creating a personal, visual time capsule using photos and magazine cut-outs and stickers and stationery to tell the story of what high school was like, what my life was like, and everything that embodied what I loved and who I was at that point in time.  I poured myself into it, creating layouts of birthdays parties, prom, Christmas get-togethers, fun things that happened in high school.  It became a pet project near and dear to my heart at the tender age of 18.  I loved the notebook I used so much that I actually went back soon after to buy another one, this time with a dark teal cover.  And it is this 2nd notebook that now houses my new and beloved Tea Journal and Scrapbook.

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Check out how THICK the scrapbook has gotten!  The pages add up fast!

Check out how THICK the scrapbook has gotten! The pages add up fast!

I know it’s a bit of a departure from my blog’s namesake (hi 8×8 scrapbooking!), but I wanted to do something different and I wanted everything in one cohesive package.  Working on my latest scrapbook project, my tea journal and scrapbook, has been one of the best things in my life for the past few months.  It’s been so much fun and such an amazing creative outlet creating a gazillion layouts chronicling my afternoon tea adventures, teatime recipes from magazines, tea-inspired food, and my favourite teas and tea experiences.  And just like that first Five Star notebook scrapbook, I poured my heart and soul into it.  It’s a reflection of who I am (or at least part of who I am) and how deeply I have fallen in love with all things tea in the last 5 years.  It’s been so much fun that in hindsight, I should have bought 5 more notebooks!  I only have 5 more pages, front and back, left and still plenty of scrapbook layouts to do so I am on the hunt for another one (or three).

While I’ve plowed through a ton of photos and layouts, some pages are still a work in progress, but for good reason: these pages are growing lists of my favourite teas from different shops and brands!  I had a jolly good time adding a few more favourites to my David’s Tea layout recently and creating the layout in general.  I wanted it colourful and punchy so I used some bright and fun scrapbook paper that would stand out but at the same time be a good backdrop to plain white paper and text.  And to be resourceful, I punched out the teal circles and cut out the David’s Tea logo from an actual David’s Tea bag!  Here are some photos of my scrapbook cover page and David’s Tea scrapbook layout, as well as an updated list of my favourite teas!

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Deb’s Updated List of Favourite Tea from David’s Tea:

  • Baked Apple (herbal tea, Winter 2010/11)
  • Birthday Cake (rooibos tea)
  • Blueberry Jam (black tea)
  • Chocolate Rocket (mate tea)
  • Coco-Lemon Thai (white tea)
  • Coffee Cake (black tea, Winter 2013/14)
  • Creme Brulee (rooibos tea)
  • Fantasy Island (black tea)
  • Lime Gelato (green tea)
  • Long Life Oolong (oolong tea)
  • Mango Lassi (herbal tea)
  • Mom’s Apple Pie (green tea, Fall 2013)
  • Pink Lemonade (rooibos tea)
  • Red Velvet Cake (black tea)
  • Shooting Star Fruit (white tea, Summer 2014)
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait (herbal tea)
  • Toasted Walnut (green tea)
  • White Chocolate Frost (herbal tea, Winter 2013/14)

Soaking Up Summer at David’s Tea – The Ate by Ate Daily, Vol. 004

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A recent Sick Kids Hospital & David's Tea collab!

A recent Sick Kids Hospital & David’s Tea collab!

I’m almost positive I’m in the minority on this one: I’ve never been a coffee drinker.  Ever.  While most people line up at Timmy’s or Starbucks or Second Cup for their morning java (or just make it themselves at home), I’m usually either noshing on a breakfast wrap or sipping on a cup of tea.  Or both.  Coffee just hasn’t captured my heart the way it has almost everybody else.  Even so, I know how deeply folks (like my mum!) love their coffee and how the morning jolt or two is crucial to functioning for the rest of the day.  And I’ve always found it amusing.

I think I finally know what that feels like now – only with tea.  I don’t feel right unless I get my weekend fix of David’s Tea.  I make myself a cup of tea at home most days but on weekends I’m talking literally walking into a David’s Tea and getting myself a hot or iced cup of whatever flavour I happen to be craving at that particular moment.  I am at odds with myself now if I go a weekend without a visit.  Which is not to say I’ll start exhibiting symptoms of withdrawal like twitching if I don’t get my fix but I will certainly show signs of dissatisfaction like, you know, pouting.  Going to David’s Tea is just too much fun – the window shopping (and of course real shopping when I do my hauls), the sampling, the adorable themes, sets and accessories, the cute chalkboard promos (see the Sick Kids one up top!  This one was from two weeks ago) and the tea drinking.  You should see my tea menu.  So many scribbles and notes on all the teas I’ve drank so far, my favourites, my not-as-favourites, the teas I still need to try, the ones I’ve bought, possible ones my best friend would love, the ones my brother has tried and loved…yeah.  It’s a scribbly mess and I love it.

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So, I’ve been making my weekend/weekly jaunt to David’s Tea and enjoying the lusciousness that is their summer collection.  I am SO in love with this collection and I’ve actually been trying it out for a few weeks now, knocking them down one by one.  The summer packaging and accessories are so bright and punchy and fun (watermelons!  pineapples!  palm trees!) and the seasonal flavours are really great.  I’ve tried 4 so far: Shooting Star Fruit, Just Peachy, Mango Fruit Punch and the June Flavour of the Month, Hot Tropic which I actually tried today (it tastes like a mango pina colada!) and my absolute fave is the Shooting Star Fruit with honourable nods and mentions for the Just Peachy and Hot Tropic for also being awesome.

hot tropic screencap

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You’d think things would get boring for me making a visit once a week but they truly don’t because there are constantly new things being introduced and a slightly different selection to drool over based on the location.  It’s insane.  Along with the slew of new summer seasonal stuff (including the iced teas, pitchers, steepers, mugs, teapots and pitcher packs), there’s the June Flavour of the Month, tea flavoured chocolate bars, end-of-the-school-year teacher’s set, fun new tea blends, and even tea biscuits and cookies by the box!  I absolutely cannot wait until I make my actual summertime haul of goodies.  Until then I’ll be happily drinking, scribbling, and scrapbooking away.