Pairing books with tea (Let’s Bring Back)


Descriptions: The Huffington Post’s “Let’s Bring Back…” columnist, Lesley M. M. Blume, invites you to consider whatever happened to cuckoo clocks? Or bed curtains? Why do we have so many “friends” but have done away with the much more useful word “acquaintance”? All of these things, plus hot toddies, riddles, proverbs, corsets, calling cards, and many more, are due for a revival. Throughout this whimsical, beautifully illustrated encyclopedia of nostalgia, Blume breathes new life into the elegant, mysterious, and delightful trappings of bygone eras, honoring the timeless tradition of artful living along the way. Inspired by her much loved column of the same name and featuring entries from famous icons of style and culture, Let’s Bring Back leads readers to rediscover the things that entertained, awed, beautified, satiated, and fascinated in eras past.

Let’s Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By written by Lesley M. M. Blume is a charming encyclopedia of things that should come back in style. Such as bows and curtsies or town criers. I wholeheartedly agree!


With 240+ pages and clever illustrations of forgotten things, this book is a fun, leisurely read. I recommend reading a few pages over breakfast every day. As such, the tea to pair with this book might be a breakfast tea. I recommend Tokyo Breakfast Tea by Mariage Frères.

Coincidently, one of the things that should come back in style is Tea Time. The author quotes Henry James, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” Ms. Blume ends this entry with a thought, “And yet we’ve swapped it out for dreary Starbucks runs.”

I hope you’ve been well!

xoxo, Jane



Thursday Reading Links (on a Sunday) #28

Mariage Frères in Tokyo.

Having just returned from Japan, I was so sorry and sad to hear about the typhoon. I was happy that Japan beat Scotland in their rugby match. They really needed a win as a morale boost for the nation.

We had a lovely tea at Mariage Frères in Tokyo.

Four Most Haunted Hotels in Washington D.C.

I am craving a good slice of battenberg cake and can’t seem to find one in my neck of the woods. Which makes sense since I live across that little pond from Britain. How to make the perfect battenberg cake. I just need to stop being lazy so I can make it myself. I have a great recipe in my Fortnum’s cookbook.

Renovation Romance Novels to Read if You Love HGTV.

Meghan Markle vs. The Daily Mail. One of the comments in this article made a good point. The media keeps crucifying the Duchess, but Prince Andrew can get away with pedophilia? I’m as baffled as you are.

A Creative Life: Sophie & Spencer.

I’m reading The Gown by Jennifer Robson. It is so, so, so good that I don’t have words for it (yet, review to follow). If you love couture, royals, history and royal history then you might like this book too.

And just for fun, the blog one year ago: Trinket Tuesday: Tour Eiffel

Have a great new week!!

xoxo, Jane

Mariage Frères in Tokyo

Mariage’s fabulous teaware. (If you look closely, you can spot Japan’s famous vending machines.)

I’m back from two weeks of traveling, (one week in Japan and the other week in Palau) though I’m still trying to play catch-up. It’s been harder than I anticipated to get back into the swing of things.

The blog might remain quiet for a while longer, but I did want to quickly share my wonderful afternoon tea experience at Mariage Frères in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood.

Mariage Frères (Mariage Brothers) is a French tea company, founded in 1854. It’s a luxury brand with locations in Paris, Berlin, London and Tokyo. They have over 500 tea blends!

We visited the Ginza location, which is Tokyo’s uber-chic shopping district, and sat down for their version of afternoon tea.

The peaceful and beautiful Ginza restaurant.

The restaurant was peaceful and beautifully decorated. I loved the floor tiles and the wall art. I kept looking all around me because I didn’t want to miss any details.

Time for tea!

I had a savory tea, while my husband opted for scones. It was divine.

I must admit, what I enjoyed the most about our experience (and generally dining in Japan), was the peacefulness of it. You can stay at your table for as long as you want. You don’t actually get the check until you ask for it. This really allowed us to sit and enjoy ourselves for a few hours without feeling as if we had to leave. It was a fabulous experience.

Do you have a favorite tea restaurant? (In England, my favorite place for tea is Fortnum and Mason.)

xoxo, Jane


Dave Barry Does Japan by Dave Barry


Someone (who shall remain unnamed) ceremoniously loaned me their copy of Dave Barry Does Japan and told me I had to read it. It’s my pet peeve when people give me their books and I was caught off guard. I responded with a lame, “oh, ok” and proceeded to read it because I wanted to finish and return the book ASAP.

Boy, am I glad I didn’t have the heart to say no to unnamed person because this book gave me a thousand laughs.

Dave Barry is a columnist and a humor writer. He was commissioned by Random House (in the 1990s) to travel to Japan for three weeks and then write about his summary of the Japanese culture.

Initially, I read this book at bedtime, but I laughed so much that it kept startling my poor husband awake. Needless to say, I had to switch to daytime reading.

It made me laugh because Dave writes about his experiences in such a way where he pokes fun at himself and the less desirable aspects of American culture (i.e. our bad cars, our bad manners, our lack of pride in our jobs, whereas the Japanese take pride in their work, make good cars and are polite to one another). I laughed at his attempts to figure out the Tokyo streets (impossible) and attempts to order food that looked somewhat familiar to him (never happened).

Though Dave makes a huge effort to learn the Japanese culture (he even meets with Japanese CEOs and government officials to truly understand) he admits that he hasn’t learned anything at all because it is simply impossible to learn and summarize any culture in just three weeks. I found this honest and respectful. He ends the book by poking fun at Americans just one last time; we could stand to learn from Japanese manners and politeness. (So perhaps he did indeed learn something about Japanese culture?)

If you’re looking for a book about Japanese culture and what to do on your next trip to Tokyo then this book is not for you. But if you’re looking for a book about an American lost and confused in Japan who is not scared to poke fun at himself, then I recommend it.

Am I glad I read this book? Yes, I really am.

Would I read another humor book? Probably not.

xoxo, Jane

A Sunday Photograph

Japan 231.jpg

I’m trying to organize my photographs (it’s a daunting task and not going well) when I came across this picture in my Japan file from 2010. I took this photograph in Tokyo. Japan was one of the most wonderful countries I’ve ever visited and would love to go back. The people are so good and honorable and interesting and kind. The food was delicious. Zig-zagging through Tokyo was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. It’s so nice when pictures bring back good memories.

Happy Sunday!