Best of the best in 2017

tea n book quote

I’ve had another wonderful year of reading and managed to finish 120 books.  From the 120 books read 52 of them were from new authors to me, so you can say 2017 was the year of discovering new talent.

It’s always very difficult for a book lover to choose their favourite reads of the year.  I enjoy many books from a wide variety of genres and tend to rate them by my overall enjoyment.  However, I would like to highlight a few that I particularly loved:

The Wild Warriners series by Virginia Heath.  Mills and Boon Historical writer Virginia Heath created a new series for us this year and I completely fell in love with it.  The Warriners are four brothers trying to escape the bad reputation that their late father has left them with.  We have been introduced to two of the brothers to-date and shortly in the new year we will be treated to another instalment from the Warriners.  I would say it’s like a 19th century rural middle England ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.’

the-bear-and-the-nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.  The Bear and The Nightingale is a grown up version of a fairytale set in Russia dealing with loss, grief, family struggles, forbidden love with a wonderful mystery of mythology and unknown magical creatures.  This book and it’s story would look impressive with a big movie budget bringing all the characters and creatures to life, a blockbuster in the making.

all the good things

All the Good Things by Clare Fisher.  A very moving, insightful story that was full of real life raw emotions, there was no sugar coating around the edges of life’s turbulent at times bumps in the road. A wonderful, inspiring debut that I feel should be read by all that have any involvement with young people. The words from this book will stay with me for a long time.

bamboo heart

Bamboo Heart by Ann Bennett.  The author, Ann Bennett, wrote with such passion and honesty. She left no scene without telling the shocking truth of a young man’s struggle to survive in the most terrifying of ordeals. The story sounds quite oppressive but it wasn’t as you were dealing with real people’s emotions and even during times of war love always found a way to bring sunshine and hope to your days.

the woolly hat knitting club

The Woolly Hat Knitting Club by Poppy Dolan.  This was a joy to read.  Poppy Dolan has created the most delightful, charming romcom that leaves you with a wonderful warm cosy feeling.

summer of impossible things

The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman.  This novel got me from the start to the finish. I was captivated by this almost other worldly love story. A story of a love between a mother and a daughter; a story of a love that seemed almost impossible to believe but the consequence of never feeling the strength of this love is almost too heart breaking to think about.

the secret life of alfred nightingale

The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale by Rebecca StonehillThis was such a profoundly moving novel that evoked many emotions in me. A story cleverly told in two different time frames from two generations of one family going through a pivotal time in their own lives which would leave a lasting impression forever.

walking wounded

Walking Wounded by Anna Franklin Osborne.  This was such an emotive story that deeply moved me, at one point I had to stop reading due to the tears blurring my vision.  The author takes you on a very emotional journey, one that millions took that had no choice but to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ but behind the smiles lay troubled souls and broken hearts.

teacup border

As many of you will know I love my loose leaf tea and some my favourite blends this year have been:

  • William Wilberforce Blend by The Tea Shop, Hull.  A lovely blend of African black teas.  To find out more details and buy http://teashophull.co.uk/
  • White Bellini by The Tea Experience, UK.  A gentle white tea that’s fruity and refreshing.  To find out more details and buy http://www.teaexperience.co.uk/
  • Cinnamon Bun by Jollybrew Tea.  A festive blend of black tea with a warming taste of cinnamon.  To find out more details and buy https://www.jollybrew.co.uk/
  • Ceylon Decaff by Tea Shirt Tailored Refreshments.  A lovely well-rounded black tea without caffeine.  To find out more details and buy https://tea-shirt.co.uk/
  • Lemongrass and Ginger by Chai Kai Tea Company.  This is a perfect combination to drink at any time of the day but especially comforting when you are suffering with a cold.  To find out more details and buy http://chaikaitea.com/

I’d like to thank you all for the support I’ve received this year sharing the love of reading and books.  Wishing you all a wonderful, happy, healthy 2018.

Advertisements

Chai Kai Tea Company review

Chai-Kai-Logo

I was first introduced to Chai Kai Tea Company via the TeaTourist subscription box back in March and loved their sample of Turmeric Root Chai and it got me intrigued to find out more about the company.

Chai Kai first started out as a Tea House in Cambridgeshire by two brothers, the pairing up of looseleaf tea and Indian inspired street food was a perfect partnership.  The Chai Kai tea family expanded with a Mrs Chai Kai and a little Chai Kai.  The Tea House closed down and after a year long break the company has been relaunch with gusto.  The company now sell their quality loose leaf teas online.  Below is a quote from their website regarding their Chai Kai Tea Loose Leaf collection.

We are immensely proud of our premium quality loose leaf tea collection. I would say what makes our tea so popular with our customers is the care and inspiration behind our flavours.  Each blend has been carefully crafted, inspired by the colours and culture of South Asia that delivers delicate teas full of taste and quality.

All the loose leaf teas are hand picked from the finest tea gardens around the world, from the lush valleys of the Himalayas to the tea farms of South Africa.  The teas and ingredients are also ethically sourced and then hand blended right here in the UK.

Chai Kai currently has 16 blends of black, green and herbal teas available to purchase on their website.  They also offer a subscription service with two options; a Monthly Loose Leaf Tea Subscription which includes 4 x 20g of tea delivered to your door as a one off offer or as a regular subscription; the other option available (which is very tempting) is a Tea and Nankhatai Subscription which includes one pack of tea and handmade indian shortbread delivered to your door as a buy it now or regular subscription.  Both sound ideal tea lover gift ideas.

To purchase online teas, subscriptions and teaware please visit Chai Kai here:

https://www.chaikaitea.com/

Following two orders from the company I am now a fan of their tea.  I’ve had the pleasure to taste four of their blends.

Apple and Cinnamon Green Teaapple and cinammon tea

Purchase link:  https://www.chaikaitea.com/product/apple-and-cinnamon/

This is a wonderfully aromatic green tea that’s been blended with cinnamon, apple pieces and natural flavouring.  It’s a very comforting cuppa that takes you back to days of homemade apple pies and crumbles.  It’s a delicious, warming cuppa that has just the right amount of sweetness, a calorie-free cuppa.

chai kai darjeelingBombay Breakfast black tea

Purchase link:  https://www.chaikaitea.com/product/bombay-breakfast/

The aroma of the dried leaves is quite intoxicating, there’s a slight musky floral aroma. Once steeped the colour is a rich, dark amber. The taste is like an Earl Grey blended with a Darjeeling with an added oomph! Full flavoured and delicious and not just for breakfast!

darjeeling chai kai1st Flush Darjeeling

Purchase link:  https://www.chaikaitea.com/product/first-flush-darjeeling/

I’m loving Darjeeling tea more and more, it’s a lovely blend to drink in the afternoons with it’s gentle taste.  This blend by Chai Kai is full flavoured but still compliments the wonderful mellow tones of this tea.

chai kai earl greyEarl Grey

Purchase link:  https://www.chaikaitea.com/product/earl-grey/

This was quite an unusual Earl Grey but it still had a wonderful aroma from the bergamot but upon tasting there was something more, I can’t quite figure out what but the brew was quite warming and comforting and once drunk I proceeded to make another cupful! A gorgeous warming Earl Grey with Jasmine blossom and Safflower petals.

enamelware

The company also offer a range of teaware and I’m particularly loving their enamelware.

Purchase links:  https://www.chaikaitea.com/product/hand-painted-mug/

https://www.chaikaitea.com/product/tea-caddy-small/

Giving Back – MakeLunch

Chai Kai Tea are one of the official partners in 2017 for the MakeLunch charity.  MakeLunch is a charity that tackles child poverty in the UK building a network of churches and community groups who work together to fill the holiday hunger gap.  For every tea sold in 2017 Chai Kai will make a donation towards the MakeLunch charity.  To find out more about MakeLunch please visit www.makelunch.org.uk

To connect with Chai Kai Tea Co online please visit the following links:

Website:  http://www.chaikaitea.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/chaikaitea/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/chaikaiteaco

Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/chaikaitea/