Monday, January 20, 2020

Tea-lightful Christmas gifts

In addition to the interesting teas that I received for Christmas, my family and friends also gave me some really cool tea-themed gifts.

What does the fox say?

A two-cup teapot

A tea cozy (the new teapot is small, but it matches the cozy perfectly!)

A lovely teacup in my favourite colours: purple and yellow!

A lavender tea set that includes a creamer, sugar, and spoon.

A new Sereni-tea mug for the office.

A tea infuser bottle that can keep the liquid hot OR cold.

You can never have enough cute tea towels or napkins!

A Mrs. Potts and Chip tee.

Tea-infused candy.

A teacup night light and magnets.

I'm so thankful to have such thoughtful friends who spoil me!

Monday, January 13, 2020

2020 Sipdown Challenge

Once again, my family and friends spoiled me on Christmas with some unique and interesting teas!

Teas from France: Laduree and Lov Organic

A variety of green and herbal teabags by Touch Organic, Muji (my cousin brought all the way back from Japan), and Tetley.

Loose leaf teas from Canadian companies: Totalitea (Calgary), Geek+Tea (Hamilton), DavidsTea (Ontario), Pluck (Toronto),and Waterdown Tea House (Waterdown).

I have enough teas to last me for years. So I'm recommitting to drinking what I own in 2020! No more new tea purchases for a looooooong time!

Now it's time to announce the winner of my 5-year blogiversary!
And the WINNER selected by Random.org is...(DRUM ROLL):
Congratulations to CHERYL from Two Sides of the Ocean!!!
Cheryl, please e-mail me your mailing address by January 15th and I will ship your prizes you.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Celebrating a new year and my 5-year blogiversary!

Happy 2020!
As usual, the holidays flew by! But I'm looking forward to what this new decade will bring.

I kicked off the new year with a cup of Goddess oolong tea from the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, BC. This decade, I hope I can finally cross off afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress from my bucket list!

My tea empties from the December sipdowns.
Left: teas from my customized tea advent calendar.
Right: other holiday teas that I enjoyed during the Christmas season.

Today is a very, very, very special day: Tea in the Valley is celebrating its 5-year blogiversary! 

I was a lurker of tea blogs for years before I finally joined the fun! Starting this little blog has been an incredible ride. The connections I made through blogging enriched my life in so many ways. I've even met some of my local blogging friends in real life! Extreme gratitude goes out to everyone who has supported this blog by visiting, commenting, or following via e-mail over the last 5 years.

To thank you all for your awesome support, I am hosting a 5-Year Blogiversary Giveaway!

 The giveaway winner will receive:
1) This vintage bone china (Made in England) tea cup and saucer.
2) Some tea samples and other surprise items

Eligibility: 
Due to high postage costs, the giveaway is only open to residents of Canada and U.S. (sorry!)

How to enter: 
Drop an "Enter Me" comment and a way for me to contact you below
(if I don't already have your e-mail address).

Entry Deadline: 
5:00 pm Eastern Time on Sunday, January 12, 2020

The winner will be chosen via Random.org and announced on: 
Monday, January 13, 2020

If the winner doesn't contact me within 48 hours, a new name will be drawn.

Good luck everyone!!!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Five on the 2010s

It's the last post of the decade! Instead of doing an annual recap, I decided to look back at Tea in the Valley's memorable moments from 2015-2019 (when I joined Blogland).

2015
2015 Toronto Tea Festival
1) I went to my first tea festival. Over the last 5 years, I've attended 2 Toronto Tea Festivals and 4 Royal Botanical Gardens Tea Festivals. The tea festivals are such a blast and a great opportunity to sample different teas and meet the vendors (many are local small businesses).
 
2016
Twinings Tea Tastings with Stephen Twining
2) I met Stephen Twining from the Twinings UK-based tea company. Twinings has been in the tea business for over 300 years so it was amazing to meet Stephen, a 10th generation Twining.

2017
Afternoon tea with blogging friends
3) I met up with some blogging friends for an elegant afternoon tea at Nicol's Pastry Shop. I've made wonderful friends through blogging. I'm grateful that some of us live within an hour's drive from each other so we can meet up in person!

2018
Outdoor Summer Tea Social
4) I'm so lucky that my co-workers like tea and participate in the tea socials that I organize. Over the years, our tea socials have varied from potlucks to "pop-up" teas to "teas to go".

2019 
A thrifting jackpot: a 10-cup teapot
5) Treasure hunting at thrift stores and garage sales is part of the fun of collecting teawares. After years of searching, I finally found this HUGE teapot, nicknamed "Black Beauty" by my colleagues, that can serve 10 cups of tea. So now I can share more teas with family and friends!

Thank you all for your visits and comments throughout 2019. Looking forward to a new decade of tea!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2019

RA Poinsettia Teacup, Candy Cane Green Tea Taste Challenge, and More!

Vintage bone china teacups with Christmas designs are hard to find in my neck of the woods.

So I was beyond thrilled when I found Royal Albert's poinsettia teacup at my local thrift store for only $5!!!

Last week, I organized a "Candy Cane Green Tea Taste Challenge" at the office. We sampled three green tea blends (left to right): 
1) Tease Candy Cane Crush (loose leaf); 
2) Trader Joe's Candy Cane (teabag); 
3) Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane (teabag).

Teas #2 and #3 had the same ingredients, but we noticed a slight difference in taste (note: those photos were shot at home because I forgot to take pics during the actual tasting).

The winner was: Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea--one of my all-time favourite holiday teas!

I've also been enjoying candy cane black teas:
Top (left to right) Dessert by Deb's Peppermint Mocha Fudge  and Davids Tea's Candy Cane Crush Tea Latte.
Bottom: The Polar Tea Co.'s Candy Cane Crunch was my favourite. It's too bad that the vendor is no longer in business.

I've also been sipping other (non-candy cane) seasonal teas.

Creemore Christmas Herbal Tea by Clearview Tea.

Christmas in July, an orange spice black tea by Coco Tea Co.
(I forgot to photograph Coco Tea Co's other delicious holiday blend: Christmas Cookie Rooibos)

(Orange) Holiday spice black teas by Geek+Tea (top) and Monarch Tea Co (bottom).

Dessert by Deb's holiday teas: Santa's Snickerdoodle black tea (left) and Holiday Cranberry Crumble Rooibos (right).

At a friend's house, I enjoyed these sweet treats with a cup of Chocolate Cauldron, a chocolate orange herbal tea by Geek+Tea.

Days 13-24 of my "drink what you own" tea Advent calendar.
(Yes, I cheated and took out the last 2 days so they can be included in the collage).

Wishing you a joyful and blessed Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2019

A Very Merry Christmas Tea with Geek+Tea

December 15 was International Tea Day. So it very was fitting that on the 15th, I attended "A Very Merry Christmas Tea" hosted by Geek+Tea--a local business that grows and blends organic and direct-from-farm teas!

I love the unique artwork and names that celebrate sci-fi shows and books, and that the teas were available in 15 gram samplers. I had a lovely chat with the proprietor, Alyson, who encouraged us to try out any of the teas on display.

Sample #1: Shire Organic Green Tea was inspired by Lord of the Rings. It was a nice delicate green tea (I forgot to take a photo. Whoops!).

Sample #2: 221B Organic Black Tea was inspired by Sherlock Holmes' London address. This smoooooth black tea blend had a delicious vanilla and coffee flavour!

Sample #3: Snow Maple Organic White Tea was inspired by Game of Thrones. I really enjoyed the light sweet flavour.

Sample #4: One Apple a Day Keeps the Dark Lord Away was inspired by Harry Potter. It was a very tasty apple chai blend.

Samples #2-4 came home with me, as well as some additional teas.

 Days 1-12 of my customized Tea Advent Calendar.
We're more than halfway to Christmas!

One of my tabletop trees is decorated with teabags that were too pretty to throw away.

Monday, December 9, 2019

2019 Tea-Themed Christmas Tree

Did you know that the first Saturday of December is National Christmas Tree Day in Canada?

My tea-themed Christmas went up a few weeks ago.

Left: My brother gave me this cute teapot with the striped handle and spout last Christmas.

Right: The Hallmark Keepsake Tea Time! Nutcracker set was a post-Christmas sales purchase (I'm currently stalking at Hallmark: the "Chimney Sweep" teapot and Mrs. Potts and Chip.)

The following photos feature the new additions to the tree this year.

A green matcha tea frappucino ornament from Michaels.

I hemmed and hawed over buying this Hallmark teacup ornament for regular price. But I hadn't seen it at other Hallmark stores and it was the last one left so it went home with me!

I normally don't invite skunks into my home, but this purple-coat wearing, teacup-holding little fellow made me smile.

Here's the sparkly teapot broach that I purchased at the RBG Tea Festival!

My mom gave me these elegant pink and gold tea ornaments from The Tea Room in Streetsville. The teacup is the size of a demitasse. Can you spot the gold forks and spoons?

Also from my mom: this adorable bunny in a pink teacup! (This will also be part of my Easter decor.)

This is my favourite new ornament: an embroidered teapot from HomeSense.

My tea-themed ornaments bring me joy during the festive season.

Do you have any tea-themed ornaments or Christmas decor?