Monday, January 28, 2019



"I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows, 
Where oxlips and nodding violet grows"
(Midsummer Night's Dream)

Napoleon introduced the violets to France but it wasn't until the mid 19th century that this humble flower with it's delightful fragrance became the symbol of  Toulouse... to be nicknamed the "City of Violets" 

I love violets but do struggle to keep them alive during the winter doldrums ... Saddly...They  seem to be a temperamental little species in captivity.

Parme Violets have thirty petals with a white center that is particularly perfumed. If you are
 looking for a sweet Valentine's Day gift, choose violets.

In the language of flowers, Violets represent peace, sweetness, modesty, and shyness, so it is no surprise that violets are often offered as tokens of affection, to declare love in a discreet way. 

Mid -Winter is not violet time in Toulouse 
I love a challenge !!! 

So I went on a shopping SPREE!!!

and found
                  "La Maison de la Violet". 
It is an authentic 1930's barge that has been rejuvenated into a charming Violet Shoppe. (Photo via a tourist ) It is moored on the Canal du Midi.

The galley is filled with violet products while the deck is a tearoom that overflows with fresh, perky violets that are FOR SALE in the Springtime. 

                                           HOW DELIGHTFUL !!!!


"Violet Sugar"

I take mine black but you're welcome to a little "sweetening".

I found this dainty cup and saucer at the antique market...It is so delicate and sweetly handpainted. I keep imagining Edwardian ladies in white dresses at an outdoor tea party.
The set has no markings so I'm guessing that it could be from the 1850's.

There,  now try your tea !! 

           The Noir a la Violette has a very mild flavor,infact it is not overly scented nor flowery at all.

                  Shall we continue shopping ?

Sometimes half the fun is taking inventory                                               of the myriad of items on display. Did you know that violets can be drunk as liquor, eaten in salads or even crystallized to dissolve in champagne .... I would love to try that !!!

On "La Maison de la Violet" there are so many items to chose from...

Perfume, essential oils, soap,jams, jellies, honey, syrup, vinegar, cookies and haute couture accessories to name a few.

Since it was teatime, I was selective.
Scented sachets

and last but not least


There were litterly thousands of shopping venues in Toulouse, but they all looked far too grand and expensive.
When I am traveling, "my cup of tea" is to research and find unique little shops like, 
" La Maison de la Violet".  

PLUS, Kim and I met the owner... She is just as cute and sweet as her little shop, isn't she!!
This is a memory worth keeping.

    NOW ... Please do relax and finish your tea.

You must be exhausted after all that walking and shopping.

"The Violet"
( Jane Taylor)

Down in a green and shady bed,
A modest Violet grew,
Its stock was bent, it hung its head,
As if to hide from view.

And yet it was a lovely flower,
Its colors bright and fair;
It might have graced a rosy bower,
Instead of hiding there.

Yet there it was content to bloom,
In modest tints arrayed;
And there diffused its sweet perfume,
Within the silent shade.

Then let me to the valley go,
This pretty flower to see;
That I may also learn to grow,
In sweet humility.


Sunday, January 20, 2019


              It’s a stormy day... so I paused for a moment to
                  ‘ smell the roses”, pick the perfect teacup 
                        and choose a delicious brew of tea
                                   to share with everyone.

I just couldn’t resisting  using this antique lustre ware teapot. While it beams with bright copper tones to the naked eye, on the inside it is simply clay. Looks can be deceiving.

OMG...What a fabulous brew this little two cupper makes .

The teapot is an early 1900’s piece, created in the 12th century hamlet of Bruslem, England. Based on the fine abundance of local clays in the Peak District and Staffordshire Moorlands close to Liverpool, this little medieval hamlet has become known as, “ The Mother Town” of six other villages that make up the last real working industrial town in Britain ... in this case pottery.

Today, I have selected a most  delicate Staffordshire cup and saucer to stand in bold contrast to the wholesome Burslem teapot. Funnily enough, they actually compliment one another... Don’t they ?

Everything is"pretty in pink” ...  I could, however, be a little bias, since pink is one of my favourite colors.

What is your choice of color when it comes to selecting  china or teacups ?

My daughter gifted me a Canadian organic tea called 
“ Apple Pie Chai ".

The scented bits and pieces of apple, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, vanilla bean, star anise and maple that make up this delicate tea are perfect for a winter day !!!

        You can view this and other wonderful flavours at:
    It is definitely worth the effort if you like organic teas.

                 And now for a little sip of "Apple Pie Chai ".
                                                 It is  

Last October/November, I travelled to Toulouse, France and into the Bordeaux countryside . I would like to share a few pictures of this UNESCO site with you. 

The 9th century monolithic, Saint -Emilion Church,  is the largest underground church in Europe.

Stepping through its' doors, I was immediately awe struck with the fractionated light that created exemplar hues within the stone walls of the medieval architecture ... Of course my sensitivity and imagination were on high alert.

To my delight, various non- titled works of medieval artwork were on display for public viewing. The particular  celestial piece
below seemed to present itself with a vaporous presence journeying through the annals of time.  You can almost envisage and feel the movement of this divine figure. 

I felt an enlightened curiosity in all of the artistry that was represented with hidden marks and symbolism, for instance, this next composition had an eerie omnipresence with it’s numerical mysticism ... yet ... It is very beautiful !!!

I do love artwork and often view  paintings as messages waiting for the perfect storyteller 
to herald  and unlock ancient secrets into our new millenium.

I think, perhaps, a little extra study and research is also required before this secret code will be  discovered.

There is no doubt that talent and hidden secrets abounded within the religious sect of the this early era.  I just felt privileged to have had the opportunity to experience them.

Wouldn’t  it be miraculous to be able to decipher the artistic 
handiworks of the past !!!

Ultimately, the face of this carved statue says it all.
I see such longing and compassion.
What do you see?

Such are the meanderings of my teatime on a snowy day.  I hope that I didn't bore you !!!!
Heavens, what else is there to do during a storm, except to look at pictures and watch the snow transforming itself into a whirling frenzy of philosophical  tea sips ... 
The tea was delicious.

SO ..... What do you think about at teatime?

Today, I wish you all, a quiet place to relax, rejuvenate
“Smell the Roses "

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


HAPPY NEW YEAR to ONE and ALL... Out with the old and in with “ NEW”  Hopes and Dreams.

Last year marked joy and sadness for many... like other families, we too suffered loss with sorrow wiped away by tears of love.

                                            “ The rose is sweetest wash’d with dew,
                                            And Love is loveliest when embalmed in tears”
                                            Sir Walter Scott: Lady of the Lake
                                                                        Canto 1V

I pondered the newness of the snow falling this morning. It was so fresh and clean like a rejuvenating breath of beauty that had come to cleanse the tattered threads that remained from the year before.

Then, I folded the last of my mother clothes and said, “ I LOVE YOU, MOM ”, for the last time.


“ Passed on, beyond our mortal vision,
But now the thought is robbed of gloom,
Within the Father’s many mansions
Still dwelling in another room.

The one whose going left us lonely
Is scaling heights undreamed of yore
And guided on by Love’s unfolding,
Has gone upstairs and shut the door. “

It is time to close the door on 2018  and  open a new door of Hopes and Dreams for the coming year. It is also time to humbly continue to  share your love and generosity with family and friends. 
We all need it !!!

“ Love isn’t like a reservoir. You’ll never drain
it dry. It is much more like a natural spring.  
The longer and the farther it flows, the 
stronger and the deeper and clearer it

Wishing you all, a most joyous and prosperous 2019  !!!