Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tea Review: BPG

Thirsty Thursday #20

The Metropolitan Tea Company

Buckingham Palace Garden Tea

Hi! Can you believe we're up to our twentieth Thirsty Thursday post?! I love it! The other day Lady Marvin posted a photo of her steeped tea; it was so colorful. When we asked about it she told us it was the Buckingham Palace Garden tea she and Xyra found at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. I had to find it and share it with you!

So here's the thing. It's not available at the grocery store; and the company site is for wholesalers, so you can't really order directly online either. BUT if you are out and find a little tea shoppe you might find this tea blend on the shelves.
According to the picture Xyra took this blend is, "Flavoury with medium body. Delicate Earl Grey and Jasmine notes. Bright with a touch of coppery colour. Perfect for afternoon settings." The website adds, "Intriguing hints of high-grown Ceylon Earl Grey blend effortlessly with soft Fujian jasmine, malty Assam, flavoury Dimbula Ceylon, and brisk East of Rift Kenya to create a blend fit for the Queen's annual royal garden party."

Because we don't have a container to show off, I'm using our small stove as a pedestal. The little white bowl holds enough tea to steep for the review.
Isn't is pretty?
It's even prettier in the teapot!

Water added. Lid on.
Timer set for 4 minutes. 
You know sometimes we will practice with a tea before we review it. Yesterday we practiced and majorly over steeped the tea. Do NOT over steep this tea. It gets really bitter. We doctored it, but it was still pretty bad.
[Timer beeps]
Done! It does have a lovely copper color to it.
And lightly dancing leaves.
The more you have in your cup the deeper the color. This will be my plain taste.
Now all three cups are prepared.
Plain is nice. Comforting. Not one note tries to top the others. The Earl Grey and jasmine are very faint. I'll add a tiny bit of table sugar. (sips) 
Hmmm. The sugar brings out the jasmine more. Still delicate and well blended notes. The website's Buckingham Palace Garden paragraph starts out, "Milk before the tea, or tea before the milk?" So I'm going to add that too. (sips) 
You know, even though it is a "medium body" it holds up well with a bit of sugar and milk. The milk adds a creaminess to the mix. 

I really like this blend. 
It is holds up anyway you like to fix it...but I'm curious. I wonder if it can be re-steeped?
Here we go!
[Timer beeps]
Wow! No change in color.

Let's see how it tastes. I'm only trying it plain this time. Just checking the blend and body of a re-steep. Sometimes the next steeping is weaker. (sips) 
Hey! This is good. It re-steeps well. Almost better than the first cup, almost. Anyway, the Metropolitan Tea Company Buckingham Palace Garden tea is lovely with nice flavors blending for a relaxing cup. 
I hope you find it in your area tea shoppe.

Oh! Here is the Find a Retailer link.

What is your favorite beverage for the afternoon?

Oh, hey! Did you notice the photos aren't quite as yellow or dark as previous? We have new light fixtures in the kitchen now. They're really bright! But make for good photos!

So glad you stopped. Come again soon!

Note: Tea Time with Melody Q is not affiliated with American Girl or The Metropolitan Tea Company. The tea reviewed was purchased with our won money for our collection. The review is unsolicited and comprised of our own honest opinions, thoughts, and words. Links are provided for educational and informative purposes only; no purchase is required or suggested to enjoy the post.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Review: Meet Marie-Grace

Meet Marie-Grace

by Sarah Masters Buckey


Meet Marie-Grace is the fifth book chosen by Flo and the girls over at Say Hello to My Little Friends for discussion in their book group. We were really happy to see it listed because it gave us a reason to move it up on our to read list. I mean, seriously, the Marie-Grace and Cecile series books have been sitting around waiting to be read for a year or more! So without further ado...let's hit the reviews!

First off, super interesting read. New Orleans is a very interesting city with loads of history. But my favorite part has to be her voice lessons with an actual opera star! Reminded me of Lady Trav's husband, but a woman. Anyway, we got to see a time when celebrities were not automatically super rich. Mademoiselle Océane took students to help pay the bills. You know, I wonder if she every worked with or met Jenny cool, she may have, but that's my addition to the story.

Okay, so here it is. I really like Marie-Grace and her story. She's shy because they've returned to her mom's home town and she can't remember anything about being there before. But then she's really strong in some situations. That time she helped her dad, pretty spectacular. Plus her new friend Cecile really helps. But the part I liked best was the history at the back of the book.

Fun read! I liked learning about New Orleans, especially Marie-Grace's schooling. From home school to a public style school. Being in social situations will help her.

Marie-Grace is shy. I am too. I liked that about her. Every time she grew, I smiled and cheered her on! LOVED the illustrations! Really helped me see the scenes better.

Lavinia! Oh, she's terrible! Just like Nellie Olsen on Little House; always thinking she is better than everyone else. I loved how Cecile described her in her Mardi Gras costume! But you have to read it to find out yourself!

Being new and not knowing anything is no fun. I remember how that felt when I first arrived here. I'm glad she is meeting people who are being friendly and helpful; who balance all the mean people like Lavinia. Great read. I'm looking forward to reading more.

Yay! I got to practice my French! Language is an interesting thing; so many came together and stayed separate in New Orleans. I hope Marie-Grace learns or remembers more as the stories progress.

Xyra's Review
Meet Marie-Grace (American Girls: Marie-Grace and Cécile, #1)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was great! I loved that the author noted in advance the use of French language and that there was a glossary and pronunciation guide in the back of the book.

Marie-Grace is the not so new girl in town. She was born in New Orleans, but her dad moved his practice a few times before heading back to the land of his wife's family. She barely remembers being in the city. She find challenges in making friends at school, but not during singing lessons.

I truly enjoyed the attention to historical detail as well as the lessons in society and traditions. The author basically skimmed the top of most topics; not much you can do in less than 150 pages. But what she wrote peaked my curiosity and inspired me to want to know more and find out things on my own.

The illustrations were a great asset to the story. So was the history section after the story.

Looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.

Have you read this book? how about the entire series? What did you think? Share here and you can join the discussion over at Say Hello to My Little Friends too!

Happy reading!

To Quote Horton's Friends

We are here! We are here! We are here!


Perhaps We've been heard! We've been heard! We've been heard! would be a better chant. American Girl has heard our many voices! Check out the awesomeness from their recent Facebook announcement.

"**An Important Update for Our Customers**
We love and appreciate our dedicated American Girl fan community, and we take our role in listening and responding to your feedback very seriously. In recent months, many of you have shared your thoughts on how we can continue delivering the great products you’ve come to expect from us. We’ve heard you, and we will be implementing two changes as a result.
First, we will be reverting to the separate underwear design for all of our 18-inch dolls. Starting today, any dolls that are currently in production or any new dolls being developed will now come with removable underwear. Because there are dolls with permanent underwear already in the market, this will be a rolling change—meaning dolls that currently have the permanent underwear design will remain as is until the inventory is sold through.
However, if you currently own an American Girl doll with the permanent underwear and are disappointed with the design, we will do a one-time, free body exchange on the doll to create one with separate underwear and return the doll to you at no cost. For details on this offer, please click here:
Second, we have made the decision to return to our iconic boutique box for our 18-inch dolls. Only the new 2017 contemporary characters, as well as some of our Truly Me dolls, will come in the current packaging until inventory is sold through. In addition, none of our 18-inch doll outfits will be sewn directly into packaging, with the exception of any existing inventory for our 2017 contemporary characters.
Thank you for caring enough to share your candid and heartfelt opinions with us, and we are sorry if we disappointed you in any way. Your feedback helps us deliver on our promise to create high-quality products, services, and experiences that nourish a girl’s spirit and help develop her strength of character.
Your Friends at American Girl"

Oh. My. goodness! I almost fell off my chair! 
So exciting!
Woo hoo!

Best wishes,

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tea Review: Blackberry Sage

Thirsty Thursday #19

The Republic of Tea: Blackberry Sage

Lanie on the Lanai

Hi! It's a bright, sunny, spring morning. Almost feels like summer. We're having a short heat wave, so I thought I'd do a tea review outside.
Do you remember the tea cakes Grace showed you on Mother's Day? Well, they were from the latest Tea Time Magazine. We made ours teapot shaped. Here's our plate of four with the magazine
They were AWESOME! Totally suggest this recipe. Anyway, the tea sommelier suggested black current tea for the sweet course. We don't have black current tea right now, but I found blackberry sage.
It's The Republic of Tea brand. You can see it steeping right next to me. Do you notice something different about the cups waiting?
The blend is "fine black tea, natural blackberry flavor, and sage." It says "this tea is also nice cooled and served over a tall glass of ice." Have to try that today!
We followed the instructions using just under boiling water and are letting it steep for 4 minutes. They suggest 3 - 5 minutes.

[timer beeping in the distance]

Ooo, done! Check out the great color.  
I can smell the berry...(inhales again)...and a faint bit of sage.
The cup on the right is plain.On the left has sugar in the raw. The third has ice. (giggles)
Let's see how plain tastes.
Nice. A bit rough around the edges. You know, strong. Not bitter, just strong. Mostly tea and blackberry. Now with the sugar in the raw.
Okay, this is better. Smooths the edges of the flavors and brings out the berry. Bring on the iced! The iced is unsweetened.
Oh. Very nice. Refreshing. Mellow. Very tasty. Perfect for a hot day.

If you follow us regularly, you know we like many fruit teas. Not all, but many. Sometimes the fruit can be too strong or artificial. 
The Republic of Tea Blackberry Sage tea is not like that. The flavors are mild and blend well together for a soothing hot and a refreshing iced tea.

What's your favorite go to beverage on a hot day?

Xyra aside: Just before posting I tried the iced version sweetened with sugar in the raw. Not too much. The iced tea is good sweetened as well as unsweetened. Also in the magazine, the sommelier inset on the tea article mentions black currant tea for the sweet course. The online article pairs the lemon buttercream cake stacks with a darjeeling. We will be reviewing a darjeeling in the near future.

See you again soon! Stay cool!

Note: Tea Time with Melody Q is not affiliated with American Girl, The Republic of Tea, or Tea Time Magazine. The tea reviewed was a sample from a past Republic of Tea catalog. The review is unsolicited and comprised of our own honest opinions, thoughts, and words. All links are provided for educational and informative purposes. No purchase is required to enjoy the post. Should you be interested in trying the tea, the links will help point you in the right direction.