Tea is my weakness. Tea is my drink of choice. Tea can warm my heart, my body and my toes. If I’m having a bad day or in need of a pick-me-up – instead of reaching for the wine bottle – I reach for the kettle. And the daily struggle to balance my tea intake with water, is real – what do you mean I can’t *only* drink tea? At parties or social get-togethers, once the clock strikes 12 – while everyone pours their final double gin in a desperate attempt to prolong the night – you’ll find me huddled on the sofa, in my comfies (that I’ll have purposely packed), cuppa in hand, sipping away. I’ve even been known to ask the bewildered bar staff in clubs for a ‘cuppa’ – but whether that was because of my love of tea, a well-needed caffeine boost or because I was a little too intoxicated, I’m not sure. Let’s go with the former. So, yes, you could say tea is my one true love, followed closely by pain au chocolat (which are always accompanied by tea anyway), and then the girls and then Boy Dom. Okay, I mean the special humans in my life obviously come first, it’s just that tea gives me much less back-chat, grey hairs and stress, so…
My love of tea all started when I was merely a young bairn, drinking it with several teaspoons of sugar and framing it with Rich Tea Finger biscuits (half the packet fanned perfectly around my cup). And eaten on a Saturday morning, lying on my Nana’s rug, (because only Nana’s will allow you to have biscuits for breakfast), while watching Calamity Jane for the millionth time. These days, the Rich Tea Finger spiral breakfasts have (unfortunately) vanished, and the teaspoons of sugar have (unfortunately? fortunately?) decreased – I’m a half a teaspoon kinda gal now, too sweet for a full spoon but not sweet enough to go without – but my morning brew is still going strong. It’s always good to start your day with happiness, and that is what I do. A cup of tea and a pain au chocolat is my kind of happiness, and to me, it’s the best kind.
So, one afternoon, as I enjoyed a cup of tea (this part might not be entirely accurate, but it’s likely, and it makes the story more impactful, so I’m adding it in), I opened an email that made me stop mid-sip – ‘Join us on a flavour adventure ending in Rwanda!’ It was an email from Taylor’s of Harrogate asking if I would like to join them on an 18-month adventure, celebrating the brand’s coffee and speciality tea range, and culminating in a once in a lifetime trip to Rwanda. An adventure that promised to be filled with workshops, content creation and travel. A chance for me to learn about the brand, the products, tea and coffee, and improve on what was my embarrassing lack of knowledge behind the beverage that I claimed to love so much (turns out there’s a whole world of flavours outside my beloved breakfast tea). I’d be drinking copious amounts of tea and coffee, because, you know, research, and raising my sugar intake tenfold – because when you have tea, you gotta have cake too, right? And I’d be sharing this journey with a group of fellow Instagrammers – tea and cake are always best served with good company. No surprise then that I jumped at the chance to be involved.
The whole campaign is in collaboration with Creating for Good, a group of creative and inspiring influencers who have teamed up to use their passions and skills to make a difference. They raise money for charities, including Women for Women, who help women survivors of war rebuild their lives and whose work we’ll see first-hand when we arrive in Rwanda. It’s this bunch of extraordinary women who’ve organised the array of workshops – including cookery, cinemagraphs and inspirational talks – for us to experience along the way. And to top off a campaign that already sounds too good to be true, Taylor’s will be donating £10k to Women for Women plus an additional £500 to a charity of my choice.
Over the next year, I’ll be sharing Stories, images and more blog posts about this adventure, detailing the new skills I learn (successfully making a souffle at the last cookery class was a highlight of mine) and the extraordinary journey that we take. So, I hope you enjoy following along – get ready to see tea, and lots of it.