Handy Hint number two!
Posted in handy hints, pia's photos March 5th, 2008 by piablog

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My absolute favourite pass time is drinking tea. I start my day with a cup of black Indian tea, a dash of bonsoy soy milk and half a teaspoon of honey. It’s heaven for me, I am rejuvenated and ready to start my day. I love it so much I pour myself another and another until the sun goes down…

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But what more benefits does tea have beside being heavenly to the tastebuds? Oh my oh my oh my oh my, let me tell you all about it.

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Before I became a stylist, I owned a teahouse. It was called Indigo Teahouse and it was my pride and joy, a dream I had envisioned for many years. Although we sold coffee and wraps, muffins, salads and sweets as well, tea was the focus. We had a whole wall filled with beautiful tins of tea, a special selection I had carefully sourced from all over the world. I loved the teahouse, going in every morning before I started my day in my other shop, I would pour myself a luxurious pot of chai and stroll across the town back to my homeware store and sip away all morning. Bliss.

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I styled this tea story for Vogue Entertaining + Travel some time ago, it was one of my very first styling jobs!

And although my life has changed dramatically since then, one thing has remained constant: my love of tea. But I don’t just drink the stuff. No siree bob! I use it all around the house:

  • I place used tea bags in my potted plants. Just on the top soil, and when I pour water in the plants I do so over the tea bags, it is wonderful for the plants and all through winter when there is hardly any sunlight for my beautiful palm it has kept its lustre and looks as beautiful as ever. I owe it to the tea bags!
  • When I have enjoyed a cup of camomile tea or two I allow the bags to cool, gently squeeze out excess water and place them on my eyelids for an instant soothing eye treatment.
  • If I am having a bath I also place some left over camomile tea bags in a cotton pouch and let it float in the water, giving the bath a lovely camomile soothing scent as well as being soothing for my skin.
  • As tannins in tea are a natural dust mite insecticide, I suck up in the vacuum cleaner a used and slightly damp tea bag every once in a while and vacuum away.

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  • If you suffer from sneezing in second hand and vintage stores which we all love, keep a spare damp tea bag in a zip-lock bag in your handbag and when you start to feel a sneeze coming on open the bag to your nose and inhale. It is such a neat trick!
  • I love the old worldly look on paper and often I will stain a piece of white paper in a tea bath (left over tea water) before I draw or paint something. Don’t do what I did once which was to put one of my new ink drawings which I was so pleased with (and rarely does that happen!) into a tea bath. Don’t ask me what I was thinking, I wasn’t. But I managed to save it before the ink disappeared entirely and I am still rather pleased with the artwork.
  • There are SO many uses for tea, these are just a few of my personal favourites that I thought you might like to incorporate into your day too. I found this incredible list for those of you who are hungry for more tea uses. If you missed my first introductory handy hint, click here.
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    all images by Pia Jane Bijkerk unless otherwise stated.

    Now, it’s time for a cuppa, would anyone care to join me?

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    26 Comments

    1. sofia says

      beautiful words, beautiful photos, beautiful tea !
      Me too I’m a big big fan of tea, unfortunatly I suffer from anemia and I can only drink one cup of true tea a day the rest is either Rooibos tea (love it) or herbal tea infusions.
      It’s incredible how a tea bag or tea can be useful :)
      I also use it in my art and as inspiration, love the colors of a tea bag after it has been used, I even have one hanging on my inspiration board (you can see it here, page 14 http://www.designformankind.com/downloads/DesignForMankind_ezine_002.pdf)
      I also love to stain fabric with tea.
      Tea lovers that’s what we are :)

      March 5th, 2008 | #

    2. indigo16 says

      What a wonderful name for a teahouse, the photographs are lovely too, especially the little heart! being english I live and breathe tea, Jasmine is my favourite.

      March 5th, 2008 | #

    3. Lucy says

      mmmm…tea is so wonderful. I feel better just reading about it here :) I’ll take a cuppa chai, thankie kindly!

      March 5th, 2008 | #

    4. joanna goddard says

      this is amazing!!! i love the photos, too. wow, i am going to have a cup right now, in fact.

      also, love the heart in the last photo:)

      March 5th, 2008 | #

    5. Romain says

      Amazing! I would never have suspected all the different uses. There is a very good tea history website here: http://www.stashtea.com/facts.htm

      March 5th, 2008 | #

    6. josephine says

      this is so cool! being chinese, i’ve been drinking tea since i was a kid. indigo16, jasmine tea is my favorite, too. the scent is heavenly. pia, i’m seeing wandering hearts everywhere now, especially in the last two tea photos.

      March 5th, 2008 | #

    7. Julie says

      I’ll definitely join you! Those are some neat uses for tea!

      March 6th, 2008 | #

    8. nataJane says

      This list is amazing! I had no idea how many uses there are for tea… So great to know.

      I wish I drank tea more often… I’m a coffee person, but I know that tea would be much better for me. Thanks for the tips!

      March 6th, 2008 | #

    9. jo says

      oooohhh! i will join you for tea as well! those photos are gorgeous!!! i love it all :) yay for tea!

      March 6th, 2008 | #

    10. joslyn says

      tea…sigh…and your photos…double sigh.

      March 6th, 2008 | #

    11. Mag says

      What a great list of uses for tea!!! I’m a tea lover but never thought that it could have such a wide range of uses. I will remember to try the tea bag on my puffy eye lids next time around. Thanks for sharing.

      March 6th, 2008 | #

    12. marie says

      i love tea so much too! i drink alot of rooibos, green tea and herbal teas too..it makes me feel calm and peaceful! oh and your tea house sounded beautiful! wow..thats a wish for me too..

      March 6th, 2008 | #

    13. tempestdelfuego says

      Thanks for all this information! Makes me love tea that much more.
      Funny, I had just poured a glass of green tea before I read this post. :)

      March 6th, 2008 | #

    14. itsasne says

      Ooohh… such peaceful images! You can see the canal right from your window? How lovely.
      I love love tea as well, only I use and re-use the tea bags/leaves so much I doubt I could use them for anything else afterwards :) Will try that trick to ‘feed’ plants though.
      I’ve just discovered a new-ish shop with only Fair Trade products where they stock loads of yummy teas. Bought some amazing green tea with bergamot and lemon. Heaven…
      PS.Just realized: I’ve actually dreamt about buying this new white teapot+white cups… Funny, I must have have been influenced by you since I visited your blog and read your tea entry right before going to bed! :)

      March 6th, 2008 | #

    15. Yasu says

      Im drinking tea now…
      It’s so fun to read your blog!

      March 6th, 2008 | #

    16. Pia says

      wow i love everyone’s comments, thank you! I imagine us all sipping on our favourite tea while we read and peruse each others blogs, very cool syncronicity. Itsasne, great dream, and you spotted well the window view, I was wondering if anyone might catch it! I shall reveal more in due time…

      March 7th, 2008 | #

    17. lynne says

      ok, so what i love best about blog world is the immediate connection w/the collective! last night as i sipped a cup of (darjeeling) tea, i thought “i should do a post/some pics of my tea rituals.” I too am a tea drinker – being a colonial girl myself! thanks pia, for the beautiful post and affirming this great Oneness we all share:)

      March 7th, 2008 | #

    18. Pamela says

      As a fellow tea drinker, I’m hoping you’ll play blog tag with me. On my blog are the simple rules to share 7 random things in your great style.

      March 7th, 2008 | #

    19. itsasne says

      And today, just as I was checking my hotmail account, a link to the benefits of the different kinds of tea (click on the 8 smaller photographs to see info on green, jasmine, camomille…)
      http://style.uk.msn.com/wellbeing/healthyeating/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=7703034
      Pia, so your 4th photograph in your ‘rain, hail…’ post is really the view from your window… I had been wondering :)

      March 7th, 2008 | #

    20. Mary-Laure says

      That’s 1 more thing we have in common, as I too am a tea addict.
      I didn’t know any of those neat tea tricks (for the potted plants, the mite insecticide etc), THANKS!

      March 7th, 2008 | #

    21. ali says

      You lead such a charming life, Pia. I’m happy to benefit from your tea bag expertise. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve put them in the bath tub, too!

      March 8th, 2008 | #

    22. Bhavna says

      Being from India, tea is so much part of the daily routine that its like breathing! :-). One of my best travel experiences has been goint to a tea estate and understanding the nuances of how the tea leaves ultimately result in different qualities of tea.

      Love the tips that you shared…specially the one that stops sneezing!

      March 11th, 2008 | #

    23. Karina says

      i do not like te too much but after reading your entry all i want is a cup of te.

      March 12th, 2008 | #

    24. Pia says

      what great comments – i think all these comments are better than the post! i love that this post has inspired you to try tea Karina, and Bhavna I would love to hear about your experience of going to a tea estate! Ali, I am thrilled to learn I am not the only one putting tea bags in the bath – forget chemical bubblebath, its herbal tea all the way! And Mary-Laure, I’m looking forward to meeting you over a cup of tea in Paris – I am a keen drinker of chai and I know one Indian restaurant in Paris that makes it perfectly if you would like to join me? And Itsasne, I love your comments! Thanks everyone, I have many more handy hints to share with you over the coming months and I hope you’ll like those too px

      March 12th, 2008 | #

    25. laura says

      delightful blog, really delicious. sitting here with my tea, it’s so nice to know there are others out there appreciating the little things just as much as me.

      have a great day.

      March 15th, 2008 | #

    26. deborah says

      i am so inspired by this post because of your journey and also how something as wonderful and simple as tea has stayed with you.

      March 17th, 2008 | #


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