Friday, May 30, 2008

The Perfect Rose Tea

I have very few regrets in my life, and every one of them involve an opportunity I missed; a chance I didn't' take. This story is about one of them. Don't worry, like most of my stories, it has a happy ending.

I began reading Victoria magazine when I was just 19 and very impressionable. My dreams were filled with Edwardian style dresses, lovely manners, and high tea. Victoria featured stories about high tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia frequently enough that taking tea in that lovely place became a real dream of mine. Fast forward about 10 years or so and you will find Jeffrey and I visiting Victoria, B.C. with my parents. My one goal was to experience high tea at the Empress Hotel. I had even brought a very special dress to wear. (Notable because I do not wear dresses.)

Here's where we get to the regret part... High tea was very expensive. Very. And, nobody but me was interested in it. In fact, my family actively tried to talk me out of it. I felt like I had only two choices. One, I could pitch a fit and get my way, but disappoint everyone else. Two, I could graciously acquiesce and never let on how disappointed I was. I choose number two. Since then, each time I think of that lovely, lovely trip, (and it was wonderful in spite of the tea thing) I feel a pang of disappointment.

Fast forward another eight or nine years to today. I was reading my Victoria magazine, and whaddya know? They were featuring tea at the Empress Hotel again. A tiny twinge. And then.

And then.

My daughter walks in and hands me this:

How did she know? She couldn't possibly have known.

I'm sure I don't need to say it, but we had a marvelous time. I am certain that the most gorgeous teacakes served on the finest china in the most posh surroundings could never compare to our tea party on the floor of my daughter's bedroom. Some days you remember that being a Momma can surpass even your long-held dreams. Some days being a Momma gives you more than you could ever have imagined. On those days, you know that being a Momma is all you will ever need in this world.

Today was that kind of day.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As we enjoyed our tea party, Sloane offered us (Gareth the tiger, Lilybear the Leopard, Gopti the cat, and myself) the recipe for her delicious tea. I asked her to tell it to me again so I could write it down just for you. The rest of this post is from Sloane, in exactly her words.

"This is how you make Rose Tea.
  • First you take two teaspoons full of sugar.
  • Then you add 6 cups of water.
  • And then you put a half of water bottle full of lemonade tea - which is tea mix that has lemony spice taste with a touch of watermelon.
OK, back to our recipe.
  • For the rest, well, you put about 8 chocolate chips in it.
  • And then, voila, you are finished. Well, almost.
  • First you let it get hot. Then cool.
That's the recipe.
But, today I put in double chocolate because my guests all love chocolate. And, don't forget: always add two chocolate chip cookies for your guests. Or, whatever their favorite cookie is. Ours is chocolate chip. To make a nice tea party, you should decorate with whatever your guests' favorite colors are. Handwritten invitations are nice, too. YUM! That chocolate packs a wallop of good!" ~ Sloane Lawson

Lilybear the Leopard with her invitation.

the tea table

the cookies
Meet Gareth the tiger.
This is our hostess, Sloane.
And, this is Gopti the cat, an uninvited, but no less welcome guest.

Happy tea. Happy life. Happy weekend. From the ladies of Team Lawson to you and yours.
Sursum corda. Lift up your heart.

The picture of the Empress Hotel came from here. The lovely tea picture came from here. I took the the tea party pictures today.


Anonymous said...

I was reading your blog this morning, showing my husband how the kitty was drinking tea, when my golden jumped up on the bed, and started to muscle his way in and flopped down on the key board. I told him he was not refined enough to join a tea party!

Jennie said...

I can't wait to have a tea party with Ava. What a delight!!!

studio wellspring said...

call it the pregnancy hormones, but this made me weep a little bit. your daughter is truly a gift of light & bliss from above!
also, i have been to the empress hotel and it does in fact live up to is reputation {you can't help but feel a bit pulled back in time and wish you were wearing a large brimmed hat & petticoats}. i hope with all my heart you & sloane get to have high tea there someday ~ and when you do make it to southwest canada please let me know because i adore that part of the world and would love any excuse to make the excursion north.

Laura said...

How wonderful! This really warms my heart!

Your blog is such a refuge. A place of beauty and hope.

thank you!

Happy Anniversary too!!!!


Jaime said...

Hi Relyn...I will try this again and see if it goes through.

I was so happy to find your blog, and felt like I had come home when I found this post. I have lived in Victoria for 8 years now and high tea at the Empress has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Why is it so expensive just to get a cup of flavoured water and some tiny sandwiches?
Personally, I think the sweet little *tey* party you had with your daughter way surpasses what the Empress could have given you...especially if you throw in some chocolate chip cookies!

But....if you ever visit Victoria again, I would be delighted to go to the Empress with you and have high tea..if you would still like to go. I better start saving my pennies!

Much love xo

tangobaby said...

I agree, this tea is so much more lovely than any tea you might have had at the hotel! This is just the best story and Sloane is too lovely for words. But rose tea probably only tastes delicious when Sloane makes it.

Someday you can take Sloan out for a fancy tea for her turn. If you come to SF, we can all go to tea at the Ritz-Carlton, my treat!

Relyn said...

We'll just have to throw a kitties only tea party, for yours and mine. Then a little brutishness won't be noticed. ;<) Of course, we will have to be quick about it, won't we? Since you guys are leaving soon. I'll be watching your blog for updates. Praying for you both, too.

Our moms are right, "There is nothing like a daughter." (Of course, I am sure there is nothing like a son.) Still...

You have so much fun ahead of you: tea parties and lip gloss, party dresses and shoe shopping. Heaven! Ava is such an answer to prayer. I am so delighted with her precious little self. Kiss her for me. I miss you.

Studio wellspring,
Let's make a date for tea at the Empress: you, Lil' Peach, Sloane and me. We'll all say, "Who cares?" to current fashion and take tea in our most gorgeous, flower-trimmed, large-brimmed hats. I know it will have to be some time from now so Peach can enjoy it, too. That's fine, it gives me something to look forward, too. Sing a song to Lil' Peach from me today, please. Something cheerful with a snappy beat, if you wouldn't mind. xo

You are such a kind and thoughtful friend. We did have a happy anniversary, thanks. And, thank you so much for your description of my blog. That is what I hope and pray it will be. Love you.

Start saving, and please plan on joining Studio wellspring, me, and our girls for a fancy tea party in a few years. Mean time, I would love to get back to Victoria, explore some more, and meet you. Our trip there was one of the loveliest I have ever taken. Lucky you to live in such a gorgeous place.

Your blog is such a treasure, mostly for your wise, sweet spirit and your amazing writing, but also for the gorgous pictures of all the places you love. I would like to walk up your mountain with you some day. Till then... blessings, my friend.

Oh, you do know how to tempt a girl. Let's see... What's first, Paris or San Fransisco? Either way, don't we have a date to meet and play? I believe make up, great food, and lots of laughter is on the agenda. Right? Wish it were next week. Love you.

Oldies, but Goodies