c November 2015 | Garden, Tea, Cakes, (Books) and Me

Join in with my Festive Instagram Photo Challenge #25FestiveDays starts 1 December

The festive season will soon arrive, and I am welcoming it with open arms. I have promised myself this year to fully embrace all things festive - and I pretty much have some thing planned for every day in December. From a day out celebrating a Victorian Christmas to cosying up at home watching Christmas movies and eating homemade mince pies.

I have taken the plunge to create a festive Christmas Instagram Photo Challenge called #25FestiveDays giving anyone with an Instagram account the chance to join in and share a themed festive photo.


How to join in:-
  • The challenge starts 1 December ending 25th December
  • Regram my Instagram #25FestiveDays Photo Challenge picture 
  • Share a photo each day using the theme listed include the #25FestiveDays hashtag
  • I will regram my favourite #25FestiveDays photos
You can follow me on Instagram GardenTeaCakesandMe to to see all my #25FestiveDays photos

I do hope lots of you take up the challenge, I am looking forward to seeing how everyone interprets the daily themes.

Happy #25FestiveDays everyone!

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Decorating a 60th Birthday Cake the Easy Way

Happy 60th Birthday to my uncle! I wanted to make him a 60th birthday cake that was not too fussy and did not require too much time to create it. I settled for a simple sandwich cake, filled with lemon curd, fresh fruit (raspberries from my garden) and fresh cream. Decorated rather successfully, if I do say so myself, with a chocolate birthday message and a 60 chocolate button. All of which I made using Choco Writers. It tasted divine and was very light too. I will be using this recipe again but may add a different flavoured curd - possibly lime or passion fruit and orange. 

Decorating a 60th Birthday Cake

If you would like to try some easy cake decorating yourself, I am pleased to say that Choco Writers are offering one of my readers the chance to win a set of choco writers one, white, dark and milk chocolate. You can also see my Choco Writers review for more information.


If you are new to using the Rafflecopter widget to enter a giveaway, simply register with your name and email address to activate the Rafflecopter widget, which will collate all your entries. 

At the end of the giveaway once the winner is selected you will receive an email (using the email address you registered to use the Rafflecopter widget).

Giveaway open to UK residents only. Closing Date: 10 December 2015

Good Luck. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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British Tea Customs - The Great British Brew

So  many interesting facts about The Great British Brew, which for the majority of the British population is tea. I, in common with over half of those of us that drink tea, enjoy it with milk and no sugar. I know that some of my readers who live elsewhere in the world will  find these facts most amusing. But I for one can identify with many of them,  the exception being 'a cup of Snargul' which sounds like a tea from Harry Potter book maybe? Oh, and anyone that know me will agree that I am somewhat fussy about how my tea is made - but then again aren't we all?

I hope you enjoy this fascinating insight into The Great British Brew, that Sykes Cottages have put together. I am sure you will have a favourite fact.  I will leave you with mine, that British tanks are equipped with tea making facilities - I kid you not!

The Great British Brew
The Great British Brew Infographic by Sykes Cottages
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.
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Be quick! Send for your Free Trex 2016 Calendar

Last year I shared with you the opportunity to send for a free 2016 Trex calendar. Good news they are giving away almost 10,000 calendar's again this year! I have successful registered for a calendar the last few years, and have been quick to sign up for the 2016 calendar
Photo credit: Trex
They are very useful calendars plenty of room for you to write down your important appointments. Each month includes a recipe, using Trex - which I always have it he fridge. It is a dairy free alternative to butter.  They are very good quality, in previous years the calendar included Trex discount coupon. But I noticed last year they no longer included them, what a shame. 

I am sharing this with you because I think it is a great offer, not because Trex have asked me to. 

Be quick and register for a Trex calendar now. Good luck!

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Nell Makes Handmade Christmas Cards

I am so pleased to share with you details of my friend who has taken the plunge and set up her own website and Etsy shop called Nell Makes, to sell her wonderful handmade cards. It is a big step to go from handmade crafts for yourself to attending craft fairs and selling on the internet - so well done Helen and good luck with your new adventure.

Christmas Cards handmade in Shropshire
Handmade in Shropshire by Nell Makes
Handmade in Shropshire by Nell Makes
Christmas Cards by Nell Makes
Nell Makes creates handmade Christmas and Birthday cards, a selection of felt or origami designs. I particularly like the Christmas cards with festive origami star and Christmas tree made from the pages of old books, how clever! There is a selection of fun dinosaur birthday cards too. You can choose which colour card and which colour felt you would like your design to be made from.

To celebrate Nell Makes new website and Etsy shop, I have one set of 4 lovely handmade origami Christmas cards as a prize for one of my readers. Or you can order a set of cards yourself from Etsy, go on help support a Shropshire crafter.

Nell Makes handmade cards
Origami Christmas Cards by Nell Makes

Crafting using old books
Crafting from old books

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Time for a nice cup of Piacha tea

It is not just a case of having a hot drink to warm you up. The right drink can put you in the right frame of mind to face the world or escape the world. It is no secret I love a nice cup of English Breakfast Tea, but for those days where I feel sluggish or have enjoyed days of overindulgence in food I always turn to a Mint Tea. 

Engliah Breakfast loose tea from Piacha Tea Bar
English Breakfast loose tea from Piacha Tea Bar

For the last few weeks I have been drinking tea from Piacha Tea Bar. An Islington tea bar in London that sells their own tea blends.  For those of you, like me, that live in a county far removed from London you can still enjoy the Piacha Tea Bar, at home. They sell tea cards, a sealed pouch filled with flavoursome loose tea, perfect for delivery in your morning post through your letterbox. A perfect pick me up to send in the post to yourself or a friend.  

Piacha Tea Cards
Perfect Piacha Tea Cards - Tea in the post!

Tea Revives You Cup

All the teas when brewed are refreshing and delightful, my favourite has been the Moroccan Mint. A blend of Chinese green tea, spearmint,  peppermint and rose petals. At just £3.20 for a tea card, they are affordable and say so much more to a friend than just a cup of tea. There is a wide choice from the Moroccan Mint, English Breakfast to the refreshingly yet relaxing sounding Chamomile Citrus.

Do you have a favourite tea? Or maybe you are a coffee drinker?

Disclosure: I was sent some tea cards from Piacha for the purpose of this review, all opinions are my own.

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