A compilations of A Return To Loveliness posts from A Delight Life.
Welcome Spring

The days when the soft morning air holds 
just enough warmth to embrace our hearts
 with expectation are upon us. 

The song of the birds and
 the fragrance of the flowers
 greet us to welcome our presence
 in the glory that is spring.

The sweeping branches of the Bridal Wreath Spirea
 give homage to the soft billowy snowflakes 
that decorate the winter’s landscape.

The gentle flower, the green of the apple
 and the Jadeite vase are symbolical
 of the transition from one season to another.

In springtime, change comes every day
 – an early morning walk
 with a soothing cup of tea
 is a wonderful way to start the day.

What a glorious gift – spring.

A Delightsome Return to Loveliness is all around us

Wishing you a most Delightsome first day of Spring!

Teatime Bliss

The tea ritual: such a precise repetition of the same gestures and the same tastes; accession to simple, authentic and refined sensations, a license given to all, at little cost, to become aristocrats of taste, because tea is the beverage of the wealthy and the poor; the tea ritual, therefore, has the extraordinary virtue of introducing into the absurdity of our lives an aperture of serene harmony. Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us. Then let us drink a cup of tea. Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light. And, with each swallow, time is sublimed.
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I have been enjoying the latest copy of  Teatime Bliss-a

This issue is filled with beautiful, inspiring photography – tea time tips, seasonal tea settings as well as a number of tantalizing recipes.
I am thoroughly enchanted.

Some of the tips include:

Managing the menu-‘the heart of any get-together is always the food…
A warm welcome – using the ordinary and the extraordinary  to set a lovely tablesetting.
Thoughtful details – ‘plan a seating chart to ensure that everyone has a chair. Place cards makes a lovely addition to a table setting, and you can prompt easy dialogue by appropriately placing people who have common interests near each other.

Teatime How-Tos

Quoted from Tea and Etiquette: Taking Tea for Business and Pleasure’ by Dorothea Johnson

* Do take small bites of food
* Don’t reach across the table.
* Do maintain good posture
* Do listen to others when they speak
* Do thank others fore their kindness
* Do write a thank-you not to show your appreciation

Perhaps if we practiced the art of taking tea – our society would be more cordial, more relaxed and more thoughtful.

You will find this and quite a number of amazing recipes in the latest issue of   Teatime Bliss – definitely a Delightsome teatime read.

The official first day of spring is just one week away! I have been enjoying my garden – the weather is supposed to be more like April and May for the next ten days.
I know, I will be spending a number of hours in the garden.

Moments like this act as magical interludes, placing our hearts at the edge of our souls: fleetingly, yet intensely, a fragment of eternity has come to enrich time...When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?
Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the HedgehogDorothea Johnson

Cotswolds Cozy

The March issues of Victoria Magazine celebrate England – 
its countryside, its style and more.
In the 1998 March issue you will find an article on furniture inspired 
by the lifestyle in the countryside of England, Cotswolds.

The descriptions of the homes, people and 
countryside of Cotswolds is
perfectly idyllic.

Some two hours’ drive east of London, one comes upon golden-hued villages cupped in the green hands of the hills, each with its ancient church tower. This ist the Cotswolds region, where cottage doorways are a tangle of roses, and within, one can sink into furnishings as amply welcoming as these—
a return to a timeless English comforts”. Mary Forsell

Books and pictures were everywhere, patterned china ewers filled with dried flowers. Photographs, ornaments, small items…covered every horizontal surface”. Rosamund Pilcher, The Shell Seekers

Nowhere else is there such a sense of tranquility” Julain Thompson – furniture designer for the Cotswolds Collection for Highland House is quoted as saying.
According to the Victoria magazine article, due to the dark English winters, the walls in these cottages were typically whitewashed to reflect light. Also, ‘nature has a way of crowding in too. A butterfly collection gathered by a Victorian ancestor, a sprig of herbs enbcouraged in a warm corner, play their role in the artless decoration. For what cheers and comforts has its own dateless style—and a gift for fitting in, like an old stone dwelling on a hillside that greens anew each spring' Forsell.

Portions of Rosamund Pilcher’s novel, The Shell Seekers is set in Cotswolds.

Happiness is making the most of what you have, and riches
 is making the most of what you've got.” Rosamuld Pilcher, The Shell Seekers.

Cotswold also appears as a central character in stories written by 
a number of authors, some mysteries.

“Miss Read” has set a whole series of novels, The Thrush Green books which are set in a fictional village in Cotswolds. These stories relay a clear picture of the life of those living in Cotswolds – seemingly as they have for decades.

Reportedly ‘semi-autobiographical’ books by Nancy Mitford, such as 
Love in a Cold Climate’ are well written with a wry sense of humor.

Also Joanna Trollope novels are said to be set in the smaller villages in the  Cotswolds. These stories are said to be ‘unique and interesting…as well as intriguing because of their British setting’.

Apparently, there are the Mary Russell Mysteries, stories set in the countryside. 
Mary Russell is said to have been the wife of Sherlock Holmes! 
These stories are written by Laurie R. King.

Even Agatha Christie set her Miss Marple books in the 
Cotswolds village of St. Mary Meade.

Also there is Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee – stories set depicting the author’s childhood including some of the darker side of rural living. A movie was made with the same title.

Other authors who base their stories in the Cotswolds include:
Anne Granger – Meredith Mitchell series;
Patricia Harwin's series of Far Wychwood mysteries;
Fiona Mountain has chosen for her sleuth, Natasha Blake;
M.C.Beaton's brisk and aggravating middle-aged sleuth Agatha Raisin;
Rebecca Tope's Cotswolds Mysteries;
Melissa Craig, creation of author Betty Rowlands;
Edward Marston's historical mystery The Owls of Gloucester set in the 11th century;
Rosemary Rowe's beguiling series set in Roman Britain;
Freda Davies's detective Keith Tyrell

I am fascinated by all I have found of this romantic sounding place – with names of villages such as Bourton-on-Water, Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold and more. There does seem to be a sense of mystery and magic in these names and the descriptions of the ‘honey colored limestone villages of Cotswolds.
here no one is ever too busy to chat and perhaps to invite you in for buns and tea” In a place where – nothing seems to have changed – where sheep remain the main economy of the countryside and chickens still roam through the gardens and into the kitchens.

Idyllic. Completely idyllic. I plan to find one of these books and travel through my imagination and look to my home to see if I can bring a sense of the tranquility of Cotswolds into the décor.

The Romantic Heart

In the midst of winter Victoria Magazine 
has shared our romantic sentiments. 

During the month of February, in tributes to beauty and romance Victoria Magazine editors share with us Valentines, roses, lace, weddings, beautiful décor, delicious recipes – chocolate, poetry, as well as people and places that transport us in tributes to beauty and romance. 

On this chilly, rain-filled Monday, I enjoy a 
comforting cup of tea and dream of spring 
and of summer – of roses – of lunches 
in the garden, of  relaxing in the hammock
 beneath leafy bowers.

I dream of romantic changes and touches 
I plan to add to the rooms in our home.

I dream of picking fresh fruit and vegetables.
And I dream of people and places I’d love to meet and to visit.

Sentimental – romantic – definitely a sense one is given while 
perusing through the pages of Victoria magazine’s February issues. 

I am enchanted by the lovely gilded rose dessert set I found at the
flea market last week. The maker’s mark has a crown with the words
Royal Crown below. I haven’t been able to identify this – whether it is new or vintage. But, I am completely delighted by the delicate design.

While I enjoy the tea and treats, I note that several of the February Victoria Magazine covers are collages of Valentine ephemera created by Cynthia Hart. Her creative work can be seen on the 1992-1996 Victoria magazine covers.

It is those things shared in the February Victoria magazine issues that touch 
our romantic heart  causing us to dream of rose filled gardens, lacy touches, 
the romance of Valentines and more that draw our hearts – 
that connect us as Kindred Spirits.