Why Not . . . Enjoy Tea for One?
Thursday May 25, 2023

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“When you have flowers, books, and tea, you are never alone.” —Alexandra Stoddard

The rituals we create and savor throughout days and thus throughout lives create a quality of life that only comes from intentional living. Which is to say, when we live thoughtfully and invest in that which we have control, the time we have in our own company, every day is elevated, and along with so many other rituals we can welcome into our lives, whether they are daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally or yearly, enjoying tea for one is most definitely a ritual to savor.

Not too long ago, on a Sunday morning after our regular long walk through the trees, the pups and I returned home and enjoyed our first al fresco croissant breakfast on the garden porch. And while served with a meal, tea was of course served as well, and it is a weekly ritual I savor every Sunday when the weather allows – outdoors, a petite table cloth on my Fermob café table, a bud vase with a single stem of a bloom pulled from a bouquet in the house or a small bouquet brought outside, a cloth napkin and KDFC’s Sunday morning program that plays Baroque music for two hours.

C’est idealée pour moi.

Enjoying a small pot of tea in our own company is no doubt something most if not all TSLL readers do I have a feeling, and it is when we make sure we give it thoughtful care and pay attention to the details that we elevate it to the point of ensuring we slow down, sit down and become still which makes a powerful difference. Even if for only 15 minutes in the afternoon as our work days may not allow much more, when we cultivate a cozy area either with the furniture or the table setting or simply a gorgeous tea cup & saucer, similar to the one my recent guest Anna Murphy discussed as her Petit Plaisir in episode #358, we create a ritual that nourishes us, brings us back down to ourselves, to the present, and gives us time to becomes settled or settle more deeply.

As I was preparing for my interview with Alexandra Stoddard (which will air in June on The Simple Sophisticate podcast), I was reading more than a few of her 28 books, and one book that is my favorite is her Tea Celebrations: The Way to Serenity and one of the chapters that share ideas for enjoying tea is a chapter dedicated to “Tea for One”. I would like to share with you a few of her ideas and thoughts to ponder on this subject.

Sharing that her need for tea enjoyed solely in her own company is something that “makes me more a more content, tranquil person”. She goes on to say that by intentionally carving out regular time throughout our day, perhaps multiple times a day, we begin to exercise the muscle that helps us live more deliberately throughout our entire day, and thus our lives. Here are a few more:

Tea for one is . . .

  • . . . a time-out
  • . . . a preamble
  • . . . time to learn about ourselves
  • . . . time to honor yourself.
  • . . . involves caring for ourselves.
  • . . . a signal to our soul that our life has value.
  • . . . time to hear our inner voice.
  • . . . tap into our inner yearnings and clear away whatever doesn’t ring true or feel right.
  • . . . time for you to savor and not hurry.
  • . . . an opportunity to get back to ourselves.
  • . . . helps us seek and maintain openness, inner calm, tranquility, elegance, beauty, joy, grace and serenity
  • . . . eases our fears rather than fuels them.
  • . . . can gently guide us on our path.
  • . . . deepens our awareness as a result of serenity and contentment gained in this moment of time with ourselves.

“Until we can learn to do something beautiful only for ourselves, we will always be in a state of anxiety, frustration and even anger, since we sill not be fulfilling our unique needs.” —Alexandra Stoddard

Ideas for creating a ritual of Tea for One, as suggested by Alexandra Stoddard:

  • Establish a sacrosanct time that best suits your mood – a time of day based on who is in the house (if you live with others), the weather. Tune in to how you feel at different times of the day.
  • Find a tray you prefer
  • Select a beautiful teacup & saucer or mug that has special meaning for you.
  • Select reading material, a journal to write in or anything that will relax your mind.
  • Prepare a favorite tea varietal, maybe this is the only time of day when you enjoy this particular tea because it is special to you for whatever reason
  • Pair a small snack or gôuter – sweet or savory, healthy (slices of fruit or berries) or a treat
  • Tend to your breath – slow down, breathe and exhale more deeply, this will physically begin to calm your entire body and mind.

For me, the early afternoon is a wonderful time to sit in my reading nook chair or in the Sunshine garden that is sheltered and private from the neighbors, surrounded by cherry trees and birds dining at the café. I set up a small tray of a 2-cup teapot of black tea, sometimes a biscuit or a piece of chocolate, often a light-reading book, magazine or section of the newspaper, choose a favorite teacup or mug and lose track of time. With Norman and Nelle napping nearby on the grass or in the chair with me or next to me as this time of day is usually the time of day they both nap (before dinner), the entire house and mood at home is calm, settling and reenergizing for the latter part of the day whether that involves not much at all or evening plans or more work at the computer.

However your Tea for One comes together, I hope you have many wonderful moments savored during this ritual that is yours alone. For more inspiration, I have included a couple of photos I have recently captured during this tea ritual I so enjoy, and you can also find more visual inspiration following the IG Tag #tsllsimpleluxuries as well as following the woman who created many of the illustrations for TSLL, Sarah Lœcker on her instagram account @tea_in_the_studio.




Explore more posts from TSLL’s 5th British Week


61 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Enjoy Tea for One?

  1. Amen! What you’ve written, shared is a most perfect reminder. Tea time is a moment of pure enjoyment in our every day life. Thank you, Shannon. Re: A. Stoddard. June is around the corner and I look forward to your interview with this lovely lady. My book, bought at $6., arrived and I’m enjoying Alexandra’s wisdom. ~ Teresa

    1. Teresa, I just ordered some books too! Found some really decent prices on “used-very good & like new”. I ordered Grace Notes, Living a Beautiful Life and Daring to be You (?), but they all look lovely!

      1. Melissa, thanks for your response. I’m ordering Grace Notes today. Alexandra is the epitome of loving life & don’t all of us want to surround ourselves with beauty? Her positive attitude graces me.
        ~ Teresa

        1. It certainly does! I look forward to receiving mine and digging in. Had never heard of this author, but better late than never!

  2. Alexandra Stoddard’s book, Living a Beautiful Life, inspired me and awakened in me a love of ritual, beauty and simplicity. Your messages further my inspiration! Thank you for keeping alive the beauty of a simple luxurious life-including tea for 1. I am so looking forward to listening to your conversation with Alexandra Stoddard in June.

    1. My chance discovery of Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard did the same for me, Deb. I second all your kind words above.

    2. I purchased this book 30 years ago when I got married and still refer to it once in a while (it is amusing that the book was written before any kind of electronic/internet devices were around 😆). This blog is so reminiscent of Alexandra Stoddard’s regard for ritual and her appreciation of beauty in everything. Truly appreciate Shannon for helping me to uphold a gracious way of living!

  3. Shannon, I adore your book recommendations and couldn’t order Alexandra’s book you recommend in this post fast enough – eagerly awaiting its arrival so I can read it whilst enjoying tea for one!;)

  4. My tea time ritual is in the evening. A cup of herbal tea, a biscuit and a bit of reading is just what I need to relax and settle in!

    1. Maureen, I agree that’s my ritual too. Evening tea in my blue Brown Betty 2-cup, just ends the day in a relaxing way.

    2. Maureen, I seem to enjoy a later evening cup, as well. I have a morning one for caffeine and then the next thing I know I look up and it’s almost dinner, too late for afternoon tea. Maybe I’ll have to work on that because a break does sound nice.

  5. I definitely need to add more rituals to my life. I just started working from home and feel like it will be extra important I look forward to your interview with Alexandra Stoddard.

  6. Shannon, thank you for the lovely reminder that tea time is a quiet luxury from which everyone can benefit. Twenty minutes of escape from the world, sipping a warm beverage, enjoying a snack, and wonderful reading material (I love my travel magazines for this time – so many wonderful places to visit). I, too, have ordered Alexandra Stoddard’s book and am eagerly waiting for its arrival. Enjoy your tea time!

  7. About two years ago, I implemented a “tea time” at about 3:30 in the afternoon. As you suggest, I have a variety that I do not have any other time and will pair it with a piece of shortbread or chocolate while enjoying the latest Cotswold Explorer walkabout on YouTube or perusing the most recent English Home Magazine. And even though I am at my desk, it is a moment that gives me that extra pick-me-up to face the remainder of the workday. Highly recommend. Looking so forward to your interview with Alexandra Stoddard.


    1. Michelle, I think you’ve nailed the teatime ritual. Perfect time of the day to pause sip some delicious tea with or without cake or biscuit reflect and recharge to move into the rest of the day with purpose. My teatime is around 4pm daily, even when I’m travelling. Sometimes It’s just me or with hubby or friends. In France le goûter is around 5pm after the children return from school and if I’m at a friend’s house they always offer me tea as they know my ritual so well Happy teatime.. Kameela 😊

    2. Great idea, Michelle, to watch or read something during. I tend to just sit and ponder mostly but a feast for the eyes would be nice, too! Shannon’s idea of music is also lovely. Baroque is my favorite, lively and uplifting yet elegant. Hey, occasionally take that “or” out from between shortbread or chocolate and add an “and”…they go wonderful together.

  8. Hello everyone, love the post and embracing food rituals especially dear to ourselves. As a dietitian, just a reminder that “treats” are not the opposite of healthy. Let’s embrace the “how” we eat versus “what” we eat. It makes food and enjoyment of it so much easier and fulfilling. Thanks, Meg

  9. Thank you for reminding me that I can sit down and relax with a cup of tea. Often I make a cup of tea and drink it while preparing a meal or cleaning up the kitchen, never just sitting down with it.
    I also have Alexandra Stoddard’s book ‘Tea Celebrations’. It’s been on my book shelf with several of her other books that I’ve own for years. Looking forward to your conversation with her in June. Thank you so much, Emilie
    I’m enjoying British week.

  10. Yes! I just love this. I enjoy my teatime ritual everyday. It helps me to just pause and take in the day before it gets out of control again.

  11. Dear Shannon, this post and the highlights from the book made me realize that this kind of “tea time-me time” isn’t just a treat and a simple luxury, but also beneficial and important for our health. Thank you!

        1. Tea time/Me time, perfect, smiling all through reading the comments. In my family, we always said that tea can cure everything and solve every problem. Of course, that is a rather broad statement, but the ritual of making the tea, setting the tray, choosing a tidbit, as well as whatever else you choose to embrace during that time defines the special nature of the experience. And as we are reminded daily in this space the joy we embrace during our special times is the reason for seeking a better and more conscious way of living.

  12. Shannon love the title of the book and look forward to the podcast jn June. The suthor is right tea is calming and restorative.Thanks to the Duchess of Bedford who started this tradition Feeling peckish between lunch and supper she devised this teatime ritual which is now a true British tradition .My teatime ritual is part of who I am .It started when I was a child after school we would enjoy delicious tea and biscuits or cakes still warm from the oven. It’s a time to pause, savour a delicious cuppa reflect and recharge to move on to.the rest of the day. Often it’s just me, sometimes with my husband and other times with friends. I can have many teatime breaks in the day but the 4pm ritual is special to me
    The varietal is different from breakfast or elevenses In Britain everything stops for tea no matter what else is going on. The kettle is always at the ready. When one is feeling down or happy or just taking a break there’s no better excuse . We’ll say” let’s pop the kettle on” I even stop.for tea when I’m.travelling when conditions allow and can get grumpy if I.miss it.
    I teach English to French students and my class is called called,yes you’ve guessed it ‘A Cup.of Tea’😀. In recent years more and more Tea salons are opening up in France for us tea lovers . It’s quite common now among my friends to.be offered tea instead of coffee after a meal.
    In Britain part of the tradiion when the tea is being served in a group is that the person who will serve the tea asks “Shall I be mother?” Of course everyone is always in agreement.
    Happy teatime to all. Kameela 😊

    1. I adore the name of your class!
      Your descriptions and comments always add such positivity to Shannon’s discussions.
      Have a lovely weekend!

      1. Thank you for your kind words Noreen. Yes isn’t the name cute😊. You too gave a fabulous weekend. Kameela.

    2. Happy teatime, Kameela. I love the name of your English class. I am so glad to hear that France is offering up more tea salons for those who need a Cuppa. Thank you for sharing these interesting tidbits. Xo

      1. Thank.you Karen. Yoy’re welcome I like coffee but coffee diesn’t like me! So it’s great that we can enjoy tea outside the home. And encourage the French to.drink more tea 😀 Kameela

    3. Yes, thank you to the Duchess of Bedford! There’s a lovely raspberry/rose black blend with her name…it’s divine.
      I get grumpy without a snack, too!! 🙁

  13. Love the vignettes and quotes. I must check out this author! My favorite quote is that “it signals to our soul that our life has value”. It is so nourishing to slow down and care for the self, and a sip and treat are extra bonuses. My favorite vignette is with the tablecloth…I’d never thought of using one before, especially outside! Lovely.

  14. Thank you Shannon for a very thoughtful post. On a challenging work day I’ll send my husband a text to say I’m on my way home and it’s a 2 tea bag day. There is nothing more soothing then a slip of tea at the right temperature and strength to make everything right in the world. While I do love a good cup of coffee in any form, there is something magical about a cup of tea.

    1. There is definitely something magical about tea, Susan. Can’t put my finger on the difference between it and coffee….but it’s certainly there. You are so right, temp and strength matter so much. When I want a decaf black I have to use 3 bags to get the flavor I’m after!

  15. I love this post. I have made a very intentional choice of having “downtime” in my busy days.
    As you can imagine for someone like me, running a very successful wealth management practice the word (downtime) is forbidden in our industry…

    However, I started to have my cup of tea and a little something everyday at 3 pm at the office. Reading and learning from some of Shannon’s post, books and TV shows, I match downtime with a cup of tea for one. I have my tea pot, my cup and my assortment of teas. My assistant has it in the schedule and my team knows that this is my time.
    It wasn’t easy at first, but once it became a ritual “my downtime and my cup of tea” was all I needed.

    Shannon, thanks again and again, for sharing these little pieces of wisdom, and reminding us that selfcare is not selfish, selfcare could be as simple as a cup of tea for one….

    1. Sonia,

      Thank you very much for your comment and sharing in the work environment you are in that while not easy is still possible with intention. Your final words are words to remember. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. 🙂

    2. Sonia, great idea to purposely schedule it in until it becomes a second nature ritual. I also loved “self care is not selfish”.

  16. What a lovely post! I am a tea drinker – or was until the doctors decided tea was the probable cause of my kidney stones (ouch!) & recommended I give it up. Still, taking the time to sit w a beverage & just ‘be’ can be a good thing. My favorite Alexandra Stoddard book is The Gift of a Letter. I’m looking forward to listening to your chat w her.

    1. Sorry to.hear that you had to give up your cuppa Cathy. You’re right just pausing with any beverage is relaxing. Kameela😊

  17. I just love the photos of your wonderful home and teacups. I think that it is a great reminder to keep these rituals during a busy day. I’m always surprised how quickly 3pm comes along!

  18. This is a favorite post about savoring a cup of tea. I’m a lover of tea and teacups, and I have a full cupboard of assorted teas including tulsi (herbal). What is it about tea that makes us feel so comforted? My special ritual occurs around 3pm when I put the kettle on and find a cozy spot to sit and sip as I peruse an English Home or Victoria magazine. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the comments here. A special thanks to Kameela for sharing about the British tradition of saying, “Shall I be mother?” Love it! 🥰. Harney & Sons has a limited edition tea called “Little Women Orchard House Blend”. It is a Green tea with apple pieces. It is a lovely light tea to sip in the afternoon. The tin is so pretty!

    1. You’re right, Karen, the tin, box and bag designs of tea can add so much to the experience, especially a themed one. More have crept out of my cupboard and out into the open than probably should!

      1. You are so right Melissa. My tins find a way out of the cupboard too, until I find it cluttering my countertop, and then back in the cupboard they go! Xx

    2. Karen one can.never have too many teacups, teapots or blend of teas. I have a collection of pretty tea’caddies’ (tins)’ I think.it’s the idea that you’re about to take a break and slow down. It’s the ritual that relaxes soothes and comforts us as well as the drink itself.. Tulsi is a great herbal.Love apple and green tea. I make my own with green tea and dried apple pieces from my own apples. I add a pinch of cinnamon et voilà it’s perfection. Happy teatime. Kameela 😊

      1. Kameela, we are kindred spirits when it comes to tea blends, teacups and assorted paraphernalia. One can’t have too many, but storage can be a problem. I love the idea of adding your own dried apple pieces to green tea. I have been making homemade ginger tea steeped with a bit of grated turmeric and dash of black pepper. It is so good and healthy. It’s fun to get creative with our own blends. Xx

  19. Hi Shannon!
    What a perfect teatime reading during my own tea for one. Seeing pictures of the Burleigh tea set (the identical one I won two British Weeks ago) makes me smile. I feel like I am having tea with you! I also like to have tea with my favorite classical music to take a break from my work or relax after a project. To me, yea is good for the soul.

  20. I was introduced to tea as a student studying abroad in London 20 years ago. I’ve been hooked since, especially since my wonderful grandmother tried to get me into coffee without success. Tea for me is synonymous with comfort and tranquility, so any moment I have to enjoy the warmth and aroma of a cuppa is met with immense joy and gratitude. I “discovered” Alexandra Stoddard last year and love her philosophy on good living and look forward to the podcast next month. Thank you so much Shannon!

  21. I treasure my afternoon tea ritual outside when the weather is nice here near Seattle. I tend to choose a magazine to read as I often start daydreaming and can’t fully concentrate on a book 🙂

    1. Reading everyone’s rituals and perspectives have been so delightful! Daydreaming describes afternoon teatime perfectly, Lauren. You are so right about a magazine versus a book. I do like to dig into a good book though in the evening, with an herbal tea as a trusty companion!

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