Sunday, 28 July 2019

Tea Time : The Norns by The Forest Witch

Note: I have already removed the tea from its original packaging and placed it in a tin for storage, but originally it came in a resealable stand-up pouch the same as the one pictured.

Today's Tea: The Norns from The Forest Witch
What is it? From the Forest Witch website: "A black tea swirling with deep forest fruits of elderberry, currant, and blueberry. Woody clove and sweet fennel round out the flavour, all creating a deep cup of tea, dive in if you've the heart for it."
Ingredients: organic black tea, organic blueberries, organic elderberries, organic currants, organic cloves, organic fennel, flavour
Recommendations: Steep 1 teaspoon for 3-5 minutes.

The Tea and Me:
The Norns is created by independent tea blender The Forest Witch Mia, located in Canada. All of her teas are inspired by Celtic deities or fantasy themes such as Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and most recently, Good Omens. The Norns are the little-known Goddesses of fate in the Norse pantheon, deep and mysterious.

The dry tea has a very strong, earthy spice scent. I steeped it for 4 minutes, hedging my bets with the instructions. I usually try black teas both with milk and without. My preference is to drink black tea with milk, but I like to try it both ways to find the best. The black tea has a very strong fennel flavour, though not as much like liquorice as the spice itself. This is possibly due to the influence of the cloves, which come through too in a moderate way. Strong tannins made my tongue wrinkle, made even more astringent by the fennel. I found that the fruits were barely noticeable.

Adding milk punches down the tannins and allows the fruit flavour to come out. Even still, I found the berry flavours too subtle to be satisfying. My personal taste in teas is to the sweet side, so perhaps my taste buds were searching in vain for something that was never meant to be there.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed The Norns and would purchase it again. It's the perfect tea to sip deep into the night, staring into the flame of a single candle, waiting for the witching hour to arrive.

The Norns is available online from The Forest Witch shop. I found the price (in Canadian dollars) very reasonable and the postage costs to Australia, too, especially compared with many U.S. sources. She also has an Etsy shop if you prefer. I loved dealing with Mia and look forward to making many more purchases with her. Her Instagram is here.

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Friday, 5 July 2019

My June, and Life & Health Update

In June I've been enjoying the colder weather, as I wrote about more in my Hello Winter blog post. In this post I want to talk about some more personal things. Some long-time readers might know that I have Ulcerative Colitis (I even wrote a zine about it a couple of years ago!). In late May I developed some new health problems, quite suddenly. I woke up in the middle of the night with severe pain in my knee. I was almost unable to walk. I managed to make it to a doctor and to my chiropractor with Husband's help, but I was given conflicting information about it. The most likely diagnosis is arthritis, which is a secondary complication of Ulcerative Colitis. It began to improve very slowly, but has relapsed several times. I can only stand for a few minutes, I can't walk very far and between that and a Colitis flare-up, I haven't been able to work. At the moment, I don't know if I'll get better, or if this is how my life will be now.

Having said that, I've been trying to stay positive and do what I can. I can still cook, do dishes, etc, as long as there's a chair nearby to rest my knee. I've been making art, crafting and even writing a couple of stories, which I might share soon.

What I've been painting ...
Here are some paintings in progress, and finished. I like giving the paint-by-numbers an ironic message. I have at least 10 more stashed away to do.

What I've been crocheting ...
It's been a lot of fun making these little plushy monsters. I'm currently onto my fourth. I love choosing the colours, and designing the faces.

What I've been reading ...
As one of my 101 Things in 1,001 Days items, I've been continuing on with The Lord of the Rings, and nearly finished the first book. The Fellowship have just left Lothl├│rien and said farewell to Galadriel and the other elves. I have been deliberately trying to imagine everything independently, not just fall back on what places and people looked like in the movies. Sometimes it can be quite difficult, even though I haven't seen the movies for about 5 years. Am I the only one who worries about that?

What I've been playing ...
I've started playing The Blockheads again. From what I understand, it's like a 2D version of Minecraft (though I've never played Minecraft). I'm working towards the ultimate pinnacle of the game -- the creation of a jetpack! so my Blockhead can fly through the sky rather than having to put up with riding donkeys. So undignified.

Bonus Kitty Picture ...