If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve started a little ritual of having tea at three every day.* It’s a chance for me to slow down for just a little bit in the afternoon and recharge for the rest of my day. I love the beautiful alchemy of pouring hot water over fragrant tea leaves and just waiting, breathing in and out.** Nothing to do, nowhere to be, just a short half hour or so to be quiet and reconnect with myself.
Since I work from home, I’m lucky to be surrounded by my books. I’ve always considered books to be my friends, but I’ve been hauling theme around with me for ages and sometimes I don’t see them anymore. And I think we all know that if we’re not seeing, using or appreciating something, it becomes clutter. With over 1000 books in my home, that could be a lot of clutter and I don’t want my precious books to turn into that.
My solution is to pair Tea at Three with two more things I love, my darling books and sharing with others. I have so many gorgeous books: vintage books with amazing covers, children’s books, gardening books with botanical illustrations, cookbooks and collections of fairy tales and poetry… All of them wonderfully “shareable” in so many ways. Many of them are books that I wouldn’t normally pick out if I were settling in for a longer time, so it’s nice to revisit some beautiful friends.
Here are some of my favorites for tea at three. They all feature either beautiful illustrations or have short pieces that are easy to put down so you can get back to work.
The Goddess Guide, by Gisele Scanlon
I will be honest with you, this book is almost 100% frivolous. The average person cannot afford the beauty products or experiences that Scanlon talks about in this gorgeous book. But it is gorgeous. The book itself has the cover of your dreams. The beautiful black brocade is velvety against that hot pink lusciousness. Scanlon’s photographs and illustrations are rich and well put together. It’s like your favorite beauty blog rolled into one beautiful, physical experience. If you can find a copy, it’s lovely to flip through. This book is not for you if Pinterest stresses you out, or if things like beauty blogs and Instagram make you feel pressured into living a “picture perfect” life. However, if you’re like me and you just really like looking at pretty pictures, you might love this one.
The Vintage Tea Party Book, by Angel Adoree
This is a cookbook and lifestyle guide all in one. Like The Goddess Guide, this book is not for folks who feel pressured to adhere to a “picture perfect” life by platforms like Pinterest or Instagram. However, if you really dig baking and a vintage aesthetic, I think you’ll find this book to be incredibly charming. Adoree has a pleasant demeanor, and though her personal style is nothing like mine, I love the recipes and gorgeous illustrations herein. It’s the perfect teatime book because of course, it’s about how to host a lovely tea party. Reading it with a steaming cuppa kind of makes me feel like I’m at a tea party, without the fuss of baking or putting on mascara.
The Nature Notes of and Edwardian Lady, by Edith Holden
The pressure’s off. This book, or its counterpart The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, are perfect for nature and history lovers alike. Edith Holden was a remarkable woman. Born in 1871, she was the daughter of a paint manufacturer. In her time, she was best known as an illustrator of children’s books, but the reproductions of her diary and nature notes are some of her best known work today. Holden’s beautiful illustrations, thoughts, and bits of poetry make these books a delightful tea time read. The books are easy to leaf through and set aside for another look later.
Blue Horses, by Mary Oliver
Truly, Blue Horses is just one of Mary Oliver’s beautiful collections of poetry. A friend recently noted that when you turn thirty, someone should hand you a pile of Oliver’s work so that it might be your guide, and I completely agree. I don’t always “get” poetry, but Oliver’s words always speak to me as a woman, and her words often make their way into my Tea at Three experience. I find that a quick snippet of good words, put together with some lovely photos or illustrations makes my afternoon a little nicer, and I think we all need that.
I hope you’ll start your own Tea at Three practice, whether it’s in the morning, afternoon or evening. With coffee, wine or tea, you can pair up bevvies, books and images to create a small moment of peace in your day that you look forward to. I admit, I don’t make it every day at three, and sometimes not at all, but the days I do, I’m always happier for it.
**My gorgeous friend Lindsay helped me to re-learn this thing that women the world over have known for eons, and she can teach you too.
Allison Carr Waechter has the kettle on as she types this and hopes you do too. Catch up with her for #teaatthree on Instagram and make sure you tag her so she can see what you’re up to as well.