5 Favourite Tea Companies + WIP Update

Hullo, world!

Last week I wrote a post that was kind of heavy and actually took many tries for me to write…And I’m glad I did. 

But for this week, I think I’ll settle for something light and fluffy. 😉 The cherry blossoms are starting to bloom, but that’s just the timing for it to rain…I know, Vancouver weather simply sucks. Plus, it hailed last Friday. 

Anyhow. 

Today, I’ll be sharing my 5 Favourite Tea Companies! *squeals* I love drinking tea (in case you didn’t know) and usually drink at least 5 cups of tea a day. Since I’m on a Lent fast, I’m only drinking hot water as of current, but still. 

Now that the introductions are underway, let the tea party commence!

1. Murchie’s Tea & Coffee

:: Visit Murchie’s::

This is one of the older companies on the list with a history of 127 years. Since it’s Canadian/Scottish, the tea blends offer things like Canadian Breakfast, Sugar Maple, CBC Radio blends, & c. One thing I love about Murchie’s is the old tea shop feel and how one can find totally unexpected blends like Strawberry shortcake blend. 

Some of my favourite tea blends:

Canadian Breakfast | Editor’s Blend | Queen Victoria 

2. The Secret Garden Tea Company

:: Visit TSGTC::

This is an excellent tea parlour like anyone can hope for based locally! It’s one of the oldest tea houses in Vancouver located in one of my favourite areas…Kerrisdale! You can book a high tea, breakfast/lunch tea, or individual teas. It is a bit expensive, but I love the atmosphere and the special occasion feel, so it’s definitely worth it. 

3. DavidsTea

:: Visit DAVIDsTEA::

Okay, now that I looked at the list, this one’s also a Canadian tea store. But. Unlike the other tea companies on the list, this one takes a more modern approach to tea so it’s not like the traditional tea store. Plus, I just love the colourful cans and glass-jars filled with all sorts of exotic blends. 

Some of my favourite tea blends:

cream of earl grey organic | tulsi tranquility | just peachy

4. Twinnings 

:: Visit Twinnings (UK/NA)::

As many of you already know, I’m obsessed with Earl Grey tea. And since I’m obsessed, there’s no possible way I won’t mention the company which first established it. Twinnings has a history of 300+ years, and that’s almost as cool as the fact it’s practically a tea standard of sorts. (Fun Fact: Our family buys the 144 tea bag box of Earl Grey.)

Some of my favourite tea blends:

Ear Grey | Lady Grey | English Breakfast

5. Tsujiri

:: Visit Tsujiri (CA/JP)::

This store was founded in 1860 around the time of the end of the Edo era and shogunate. I didn’t have a chance to visit when I was in Japan, but it recently came to Canada! 

One thing I love about Tsujiri is the deep authentic taste of Japanese tea. I’m kind of picky about green tea here (which is why I cringe when I find people have blended green tea with something else). With Tsujiri, I can be sure to get the dark, rich flavour I’ve been craving. They also have tea-infused sweets and food which is just amazing. 

Some of my favourite tea blends:

O-matcha | Houjicha Latte | Sencha


*End tea-rant*

I hope I’ve done each tea company justice to convince you to drink more tea. If not, I guess I’ll force-feed you tea next week. *inserts evil laughter*

Anyhow. 

WIP Update

I’ve been kind of all over the place with my WiPs as of late and kind of wanted to apologise for that. I mean, I don’t need to, but I don’t like confusion and I’m just going to assume you don’t, either. (If you’re the kind of person who lives for chaos, this has nothing to do with you.) 

Recap of Months 1, 2, and 3

January–I was writing my secret project ™ which I revealed (sort of) to be titled Osthauptstadt. Wrote the 0.5 draft to halfway point of 25K and left it to stew. 

February–I wanted to write something fluffy and not as serious as my previous WIP, so I switched gears to Elijacomb 17. I wrote 10K in addition to the 11K I had, bridging the 0.5 draft total to 21K. Very happy with what I’ve written. 

March–I started out brainstorming for another secret project involving homeschoolers, tea, and superpowers, but realised I had to type out last MeNoWriMo’s handwritten draft (aka Woodstone, 05 draft)…which is what I’m doing now. I also printed out Zwei from Juliet and began some edits. 

So that’s kind of where I’m at. Although I feel all over the place, looking at it this way makes me realise I hadn’t been wasting my time or anything. (I know, that’s the grand revelation we come to.) I’m still kind of on the fence whether I should do Camp NaNo this year or not, but last year I got solid wordcounts in for Woodstone and would like to do that, so I guess I’m leaning into doing it. Not on the website, though. (If you’re curious about this, read this post I did last October.) 

And I guess what I wanted to say is, even though a quarter of this year’s already past, you’ll probably find that you’ve actually accomplished much if you look back. Until I did this WIP Update, I didn’t realise I got a lot done already. I thought I was kind of flitting to and fro and meandering between projects (which is true to some extent) , not getting much done. 

But I was. 

And it reminds me that it’s important we know where we are in life, where we’re heading, and whether or not we’re at a place God wants us to be. Maybe you didn’t get things done you thought you would. Maybe you’re a little burnt out already. Wherever you are, try to take a moment to reflect on the year 2021 so far. I promise you, it will help you find your footing. 

And that’s it for today! 

Thank you for reading! What did you think? Do you have any favourite tea company? Do you like drinking tea? How is life going for you so far? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

April’s Afternoon Tea with SJ

Good afternoon to you!

Thank you for joining me in the third installation of “Afternoon Tea with SJ”. It is always a pleasure for me to have you for my tea. 

Today, we’ll be having a spring-themed tea! 

To start with, imagine that we are sitting in a brightly lit sunroom directly adjacent to the yellow sitting room from before…

Sunlight freely streams down on our faces, and you can see the flowering  might of the garden through the white slatted glass windows. We have before us little sweets quarantine baking has wrought us (pancakes, melon bread, strawberry mousse, custard puddings, etc.) We are sipping a special kind of tea I invented called potato-chive tea. It’s consisted of washed and dried potato peels and chives, which would sound like it tastes funny, but in actuality doesn’t. Served with cream, butter, and maple syrup, it has a heavenly scent of baked potatoes and the elegance of chives. (And in case it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, try it anyways. I tested it out in a lab setting, and I say with full honesty that it’s good.)

Ready?

Here we go…

Bibliotheca 

Some of you would  probably recall my death-wish booklist of 120 classical books. The plan was to read over twenty books each month. From the books I will be sharing with you, however, you will see that the focus has shifted. I read nine books this month, which isn’t terrible, but I’m starting to realise that I read because it’s fun. It should never be a list of chores to do. 

So, I’ll be tackling the list in a more leisurely fashion. Plus, I began bookstagramming, which has become my second hobby after blogging!

April Books:

  1. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  2. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 
  4. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
  5. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  6. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  7. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  8. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
  9. Wildcard by Marie Lu

I’m reading That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis now. It’s the third book in his Space Trilogy series, and it’s been exciting, classic Lewis! If his fantasies are not your cup of tea (why do I keep saying that phrase?), give the Space Trilogies a try. It’ll be sure to give you a new perspective!

I feel like I read so many great YA this month. As you could probably tell, I was getting a little tired with my classical books challenge, so I decided that a change of book scenery might do me good. And it did! I was seriously impressed by Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and enjoyed the treacherous glittering landscape from The Cruel Prince. I finally finished reading Renegades (I’d started reading this book twice and stopped twice because of my tight reading schedule) and took to it pleasantly. 

Me and books

But what really blew me was Marie Lu’s conclusion to Warcross–Wildcard. 

I’ve always liked Marie Lu, but this series has drastically changed my outlook on her books. It’s so raw and real even with the loud glow of the augmented virtual reality that is Warcross. Plus, the story takes place in my hometown–Tokyo! (And  despite what everyone thinks, Shinjuku is totally safe. Kabukicho is perfectly safe, too, as long as you don’t go into the stores.) 

The book hit me heavily as a YA sci-fi writer, and although I thought I knew what would happen, I was still happily surprised at how the events built up to the climax. If you’re a fan of movies like Inception, Warcross is a must-read. 

Academics 

Okay, I’ve rambled enough about books. (Which is totally contradictory, since one never rambles enough about books.) 

What is happening with my life outside books and virtual realities? *sips potato-chive tea*

Well, that is a question indeed. 

First of all, I’ve decided on my college. It was more God’s decision than mine, but I’m happy with elated at where I’m going. We had the orientation in the beginning of April (online, which was great since I would not have been able to go otherwise). 

With the COVID-19 and all, I’m not entirely sure what would be happening in the near future concerning my education, plus I have a few financial concerns I’m talking over with God, but I know that in the end, only God’s will be done. And that’s the best part. I’m a natural planner, and want to plan every single thing that happens. Lately, God has been convicting me of not giving up control and trusting in Him more. As I celebrated my eighth Christian birthday, I’m starting to realise that God’s plan is the best plan that ever will be for my life. (Took me long enough, but still.) 

So whether this pandemic has been turning your life upside-down or not, I urge you to call on Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ever imagine. 

Writing

It is Camp NaNoWriMo season! Now that we’re all cooped up inside, there’s nothing (really) hindering one from pledging crazy word counts for the month. This is my fourth NaNoWriMo attempt (if one should count last year’s Camp, which totally didn’t happen), and with every attempt, I think it gets a little easier to write. 

What I want to think my relationship with NaNo looks like

In my very first NaNoWriMo–2018, I believe–I was terrified of having to write so much in a month. I ended up writing close to 20K in a day. I know, it’s amazing what people can do when they’re under extreme pressure. *takes another sip, takes a bite out of my pudding*

This month, I wanted to try to be as consistent as I could get with my writing. Meaning, I would write every single day, no matter what. 

I even got to conduct a short study while I was at it (Can Drinking Cocoa/Tea/Coffee Increase One’s Word Count?) For  your information, the study was only for five days, and had one participant (me), so I would need a bigger sample size and a longer duration, but at least for myself alone, there seems to be some sort of correlation. (Best results with cocoa, in case you were wondering.)

I made another drastic change in my writing life: I became a Pantser! More technically, I was planning Woodstone Abbey to its minute detail, and then proceeded to throw all that out the window. Maybe that makes me a Plantser, I don’t know. This change was due to Stephen King’s book, On Writing. I’ll be doing a more detailed review of the book and why it’s a book every author needs. 

It has been a pleasant afternoon talking with you. Thank you for joining me for tea. I hope to see you next week where I share with you how came I to write. 

Did you enjoy the Afternoon Tea? What are some things you did this April? Have you been able to take life at a more leisurely pace? Let me know what you think in the comments below!