This post is produced in collaboration with The English Tea Shop

I mentioned in yesterdays This Week I that things are, er, a little stressful, around here at the moment.

These things will pass, as they always do, and routine will be restored, but when times are tough there is one thing I have learned is really important, and that’s to make sure you take quality time out when you can.

It might be a long hot bubble bath before bed, or taking advantage of a train journey to read a book rather than catch up with work. Or it might be taking half an hour out in the middle of a busy day for a cup of tea and a biscuit.

The English Tea Shop recently gave me the perfect excuse to take some time out as they sent me 2 of their teas to try. They are classic blends, English Breakfast and Earl Grey.

For me English Breakfast is the kind of tea that I like to drink in the morning (hence English Breakfast I guess!) It has a strong, proper tea flavour and manages to be both a caffeine kick and strangely calming at the same time. Earl Grey is a tea that I choose when I want to treat myself to an afternoon break. The bergamot flavour makes it feel special and I always feel fancy drinking Earl Grey!

It’s so easy to think you don’t have time to take a break. I’ve been really guilty of it myself. When you’re busy it’s easy to think you have to keep pushing on, but all that happens is you burn out and slow down and aren’t as efficient as you could be if you’d just taken 15 minutes to make a cup of tea and sit on the sofa and stroke a dogs ears.

There is a little ritual in making tea that can be part of the calming routine, and there’s nothing like snuggling up on a rainy afternoon, like the day I took these photos, and having a cup of tea and a biscuit (I had dark chocolate Lebkuchen from Aldi, they are GOOD!).

I have so many types of tea in my house, from supermarket tea bags for a quick caffeine fix, to herbal teas that claim to fix all types of ailments and fancy loose leaf teas for when I fancy treating myself to a full on afternoon tea. These English Tea Shop bags fall nicely in the middle. They feel fancy for when you want to treat yourself, but they’re convenient and easier to use than loose leaf.

The teas from the English Tea shop come from Sri Lanka and are fair trade and organic. The teas come from small farmers and are grown in limited quantities in a sustainable way, without chemical fertilisers or pesticides, which is nice to know for something that your are infusing in water and drinking! No cup full of pesticides for you!

The English Tea Shop sent me a guide to making the perfect cup of tea using tea bags from their Master Blender, Sampath Amarasena. I share it with you now in the hope that you can take some time out today to snuggle up and treat yourself to a cup of tea.

Step 1 – Fill the kettle with fresh water, use filtered if you can (note from me! I have heard that using filtered water gives a cleaner taste and stops that scum you occasionally get on the top of tea!)

Step 2 – Place 2 tea bags in a pot, or one in a mug.

Step 3 – Pour freshly boiled water over the tea bags.

Step 4 – Leave to steep for 3-5 minutes (note from me! I like strong tea, but Mr LLL likes tea bags merely waved at the cup)

Step 5 – Pour desired quantity of milk. Milk ALWAYS goes in second.

Thank you to the English Tea Shop for collaborating on this post. As ever all opinions are my own. Who doesn’t like a nice cup of tea?