The Fashion Magpie Hot Tea

Tea Service.

My closest childhood friend was Australian, and her “mum” was rarely without a cup of tea when at home. I was surprised to find that even her father drank tea; it had seemed such a feminine treat in our American household. Tea was not only a routine part of my friend’s everyday life, but something of a panacea, too: coming down with a cold? Tea. Upset stomach? Tea. Heartache? Tea. In a rage? Tea. I shared this quote from a movie I watched recently, but it bears repeating here:

“How about a cup of clever tea?”

“Why is it clever?”

“Because it always knows just where to go. If you have a headache, it goes to your head; if you have a stomachache, it goes to your stomach.”

I love my clever tea these days, and it’s not only the taste that soothes — it’s the ritual of boiling water, measuring out loose-leaf tea, and waiting for it to steep and cool. Nowadays, I drink tea after dinner every night and often in the late afternoon, too. As Mr. Magpie put it: “You need a vice right now; tea is it.” (Coffee and wine are obviously out while pregnant.) Because of this, I’ve had occasion to explore the finer points of tea-drinking. Sharing what I’ve found below for those of you heading into “dry January” (that’s a thing now, huh?) and looking for something to look forward to after dinner…

+I use my electric kettle every single day — for coffee in the morning and for my beloved tea the rest of the day. I cannot say enough good things about it. It heats evenly and virtually instantly (tea is ideal when water hits over 210 degrees), and pouring out of that gooseneck spout is strangely delightful. My only gripe with it is that the buttons/controls are a bit confusing to figure out at first. But once you’ve nailed it, it becomes second nature.

+I am drawn to the retro-chic aesthetic of this Smeg Kettle. The Bonavita is utilitarian, but this would be show-stopping if you (like us) need to leave your kettle on the counter. A lovely way way to introduce color to a kitchen. (P.S. — Speaking of introducing color to a kitchen, my Christmas rug for the kitchen has now been marked down to only $10! Buy now and save for next year. It was such a fun way to juju up the kitchen before the holidays.)

+If you want to go old school (stovetop kettle), how chic is this in a modern kitchen? For a more traditional/feminine look, love this.

+I tend to buy loose leaf teas and I use either this brewing basket (read the reviews!) or disposable filters from David’s Tea. I’ve gone with David’s Tea filters simply out of convenience, as I buy a lot of loose leaf tea from them, but these get good reviews on Amazon.

+My favorite teas are from David’s Tea, Fortnum & Mason, and Harney & Sons. I especially love Harney & Son’s peppermint (so smooth); David’s Tea Mother’s Helper (so comforting), The Big Chill, and Forever Nuts; and any of Fortnum & Mason’s black teas (<<this would be such a good self-care gift), which I drink more sparingly as I am trying to avoid too much caffeine during my pregnancy. Mr. Magpie occasionally has tea with me after dinner, too, and his favorite is one from David’s Tea called Le Digestif (currently sold out, but this looks similar), which is wonderful for calming the stomach after a big meal.

+My mother in law gifted me a bunch of loose leaf teas from Brooklyn-based Bellocq for Christmas and I cannot wait to try them. They came gorgeously packaged; a really solid gift idea for a tea lover.

+I like to drink my tea out of these mugs, but whenever I visit my mom in D.C., I always drink out of her elegant bone china tea mugs from Tiffany (no longer carried, but they are in that signature Tiffany blue, like these, which would be fun for my fellow Manhattanites). I have my eye on these right now (love them in the pale pink), and of course love these and these. Also, can you imagine a cabinet full of these or these?! Or for Christmas — I’d die over these.

+My mom has an incredible sterling silver tea service set similar to this (only hers comes with a huge urn she puts over a sterno flame) that I absolutely adore. You might consider buying a set of these vintage sterling silver spoons to get a touch of that old school British look for less.

+I am addicted to these shortbread cookies, and I especially love them with tea.

+For your mini: how darling is this tea set?! Mini already has two tea sets (which she LOVES and plays with daily nowadays) — this one, which I also gifted my niece for Christmas, and this one, which is so Scandi-chic (I’ve removed the smaller parts for now).


+A recipe for a rainy day.

+I think Mr. Magpie needs this. #classic #Kennedystyle

+I’m a pragmatic cook — what about you?

+This is SUCH a fun top for a big night out — I’m thinking a bachelorette party or a trip to Vegas. I like the idea of pairing it with a black skirt or tailored black pants for a fab 80s-esque silhouette.

+These are SUCH great earrings and a great way to get the heart-shaped-earring trend without being too over the top about it, for those of you who weren’t quite as on board with the size of my Alessandra Rich beauties.

+Drawn to these pants with a navy blazer and simple white tee (<<these are my favorite).

+Anyone traveling somewhere warm this spring? I love love love this dress for a vacation.

+This is me, this is not me.

+Ordered this in the snakeskin print — I think it will work well with my bump but would look just as chic without it! Depending on how long it is, I might wear it with my maternity tights and new favorite booties or black skinnies.

+I’m hosting a baby shower in about a month and I am wondering if I can get away with this shift-style dress (will the bump squeeze in?) and my #extra Gucci tights (they are very stretchy).

+Dying over this knit shortie for micro.

+This was one of the biggest revelations of 2018.


    1. How genius!!! I love it. Also happy to hear someone else loves her gooseneck kettle as much as I do. Why does it bring me so much joy?!

      Thanks for writing in on this 🙂 xoxo

  1. I love drinking tea, though I don’t permit myself the ritual as often as I’d like (I should work on this in 2019!) I typically drink one cup of coffee (or latte, if I’m being indulgent) in the morning, and then the occasional cup of tea in the afternoon. We have a few blends from Paper & Tea (a small German company) that I like, and lately I’ve been on a matcha kick, which I prepare with oat milk, heated in our Kaico enamel milk warmer. I love the look of that Smeg kettle … I have a fancy, quick electric kettle but tend to just use a Hario stovetop kettle, which goes with all of our coffee accoutrements! Haha.

    P.S. I met the founder of Bellocq at a trade show several years back, and she was so lovely — so in addition to the tea being beautifully packaged and very lovely to sip, know that the people behind it are lovely as well! xo

    1. So cool to know that about the Bellocq founder! LOVE that it’s a woman-owned business (did not know that!)


  2. Oddly specific, but, how many ounces do you usually have at night?

    I’ve only ever drank soothing tea before bed and usually put honey in it. How to you “dress” tea? I put creamer in my coffee but no clue what, if anything, to put in tea.

    1. Hi! I measure out around 1 TBSP of loose-leaf tea (a little more if it’s super leafy — depends on what I’m brewing), and that usually ends up being about .5 oz, I believe. David’s Tea sells a “perfect scoop” spoon that they recommend using with all of their loose leaf teas and include instructions on how much to include in each bag, but I find that around a TBSP of most types of loose leaf tea works well.

      I drink my herbal teas au naturale — nothing in them. Peppermint on its own is so joyously smooth and sweet. But if it’s a black tea — earl gray, English breakfast, or this amazing one called “Empire Blend” my sister bought me from Fortnum & Mason in London — I like to add a splash of cream and a spoonful of sugar. I find cream is much better with tea than milk — it makes for such a rich drinking experience.


  3. My parents have a tea philosophy similar to your friend’s mum. My mother refills a cup or travel mug all day from the second she wakes to her bedside table at night- no matter the season. I absolutely inherited their habit (I average about 8 cups a day!) and especially the prescriptive and ritualistic uses. Tea makes just about everything better.

    All of my friends were asking for computers or cars or designer handbags for college graduation, but all I wanted from my parents was a Burleighware tea set. They obliged. It’s absolutely beautiful and one of my most treasured possessions. I love that it’s not too precious for frequent use, but still looks lovely on a shelf. A must have for any tea lover!!

    1. Now THAT is amazing. Such a sophisticated entreaty for an 18 year old! And it demonstrates such dedication to the art and ritual of tea 🙂


  4. Have you ever tried Mariages Freres tea? My husband and I had afternoon tea at their flagship in Paris a few years ago and I’ve been a loyal fan ever since. Their Marco Polo blend is my personal favorite. It smells heavenly & their packaging is pretty chic on the countertop.

    1. I haven’t, but thank you so much for the introduction!!! I am SO intrigued. Going to order myself some when my current oversupply dwindles a bit (my tea ritual now takes up two shelves of our limited cabinetry…!)


  5. I am a plain water drinker through and through- don’t drink coffee and am only hit with a tea craving once every 2 years or so. I did a walking trip through Wales last year that involved staying in a lot of tiny bnbs. I quickly discovered that turning down an offering of tea upon arrival was a bit of a faux pas. So I forced down LOT of tea on that trip! Taste aside, it is quite a lovely ritual, though. And of course I’m always very happy to eat whatever baked good gets served alongside!

    1. Haha – right!! Scones pls and thank you. Water only is probably the best way to go though. Wish I had your preferences! xx

  6. I also got hooked on having tea at night after visiting some European friends – it makes winding down before bed that much easier/better. I have some loose tea but it always feels like it’s a messy process. I don’t think I have the right equipment for it so maybe I will try some of your suggestions. I also like Harney & Sons (I received the Paris tea as a gift – such a pretty tin, too!), and Bigelow’s Sweet Dreams tea at night. I need to try the Honey Lavender one, though!

    1. Yes, exactly — it’s the perfect “wind down” for me. It puts me in the right frame of mind. So relaxing! xoxo

  7. The first sips of my morning tea are my favorite moments of the day! I’m a devotee of Rishi teas (sold at Whole Foods and online). Earl Grey in the morning, Sencha in the afternoon, and Ginger Turmeric on winter nights. Rishi also sells beautiful air-tight tins on their website for storing loose-leaf tea.

    1. Wow – thanks for the tip! Going to check this label out at WF when I am there this week!! xoxo

    1. Your wish is my command 🙂 I will be posting a lot more on this topic soon!!! Congrats to you!!! xoxo

  8. Tea has been my indulgence this go around as well. Yogi Tea’s Honey Lavender is my post-dinner treat (often paired with a face mask and my latest book), and peppermint tea was my nausea-fighting weapon.

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