Today I am deviating a little from my recipes to introduce my TEA baby to you.
If youâ€™re a tea lover like me, you may enjoy the story!
When my first two boys were still toddlers, I read a book called â€œRaising Boysâ€. Read it? I figured I needed as much help as possible seeing as though I was outnumbered already. I am even more outnumbered now as weâ€™ve added one more critter to the tribe. Yip. So technically itâ€™s 4:1 including my husband.
The three things that I remember from that book were, 1.) Teenage boys need a mentor because advice (no matter how good it is) is just not as good as if a family friend or mentor were to have given it. 2.) Boys need rough play and 3.) Family Rituals/traditions are important. 3.)
Nothing earth shattering here. But still, I was intrigued enough to read on.
- Thanks goodness these Sanders boys are still a while away from the teens so need to find a mentor yet. Tick! Although the thought of 3 teenage boys does makes my heart quiver. A little. Okay a lot.
- My boys get plenty of rough play, that just seems like a natural process but perhaps thatâ€™s because there are 3 of them? Theyâ€™re always in a scrum.
- I was mostly interested in the family ritual/ tradition part which I actually think is relevant for individuals and the family as a whole. Turns out that family traditions help create a sense of belonging where kids feel secure and content. Traditions also help to teach kids the values of the family. So simple but so beautiful.
Naturally I wanted to create a long list of family traditions and rituals and implement them immediately. I think in fact, I did create a list hah hah! *Overachiever* But the thing is, they kind of need to evolve and develop on their own. And they do.
In the very early days with my first baby, we would go for walks in the nearby Krantzkloof Gorge on the weekends (and even during the week) and play in the river, have snacks and then hike back up to the carpark. It felt like a lifeline for me as a new mother â€“ just to get out and have fresh air on my face. Iâ€™d always feel sane afterwards (or less crazy however you want to look at it)
As baby number 2 and 3 came along we did the same, we always went on hikes or for walks. And although I didnâ€™t think of it as a family tradition at the time, it was.
Then in 2017, we did a campervan trip to France and as the outdoor family that we are, we did many nature walks and wild river swimming adventures. My husband and I and even the boys are tea lovers so we would always take our camping Kettle with us on our adventures. It soon became our â€œthingâ€. It wasnâ€™t just walking/hiking adventures anymore, it was â€œTea Adventuresâ€.
Inspiring families and individuals to get outdoors and re-connect with the natural world for a simpler yet more content life. With tea and biscuits of course.
It was only the following year however during a run with my husband that the seed was sewn for the OTC to become something more than just a hashtag. We wanted it to be something we shared with others. I remember saying to my husband, â€œIâ€™m surprised that a tea company hasnâ€™t come up with a concept similar to an Outdoor Tea Club. Combine tea which makes people happy with the outdoors which makes people happy and you have DOUBLE happiness and people associating your tea with happiness and happiness with tea.â€
My husband naturally agreed! â€œâ€We should find a tea company to sponsor our tea clubâ€ he said.
I thought about it for a moment and then remarked â€œâ€why donâ€™t we just be the tea company?â€â€˜
At this point, I felt the need to phone my mom and tell her she had given birth to a genius. 🙂
Seriously though, IÂ was feeling the synapses firing a million miles a second. The idea was energising and I think our pace even went to just under 7 minutes per km heh heh!
That evening, I designed a logo and jotted down my ideal list of teas and a few blends I thought would work well as part of the OTC. I researched tea bags and found out that they were really expensive but that theyâ€™re also not that great for the environment. Most tea bags have a thin layer of plastic on them that is necessary to heat seal the bags. I know, it was news to me too!
So, as part of a tea adventure, we decided to opt for loose leaf teas â€“ theyâ€™re actually more fun because its part of an old-world brewing process! Sans tea bags.
As much fun as it is to create teas and drink teas, the products we have created are really just a vehicle for the message. The message of the Outdoor Tea Club, and this is something very close to my heart, is about getting families, friends and individuals outside and interacting with nature. Disconnecting from our busy lives and submersing ourselves in the natural world. Science will show you how time in nature can make us feel less stressed, anxious and depressed. So the more we visit nature, the more we feel relaxed, calm and happy. It is medicine for the mind and naturally, a hot cup of tea (and maybe a trail cookie or two) enriches the experience so hopefully weâ€™ll do it again and again.
My husband and I have personally seen the results of this. When we feel stressed or that the kids are getting out of hand, we head outdoors, pack our kettle and mugs and have tea in nature. We all come back feeling refreshed! Every, single, time.
So here is my challenge for you!
Tell your family yourâ€™re going on a mini tea adventure (honestly it could be any warm drink, sometimes when itâ€™s real cold, we pack hot chocolate only!). There is no day like today, so think of where you can go, it doesnâ€™t have to be far, sometimes we just sit outside in the garden during full moon and make tea (or eat ice-cream). The idea is to get outdoors, to a botanical park, garden, gorge, forest, river, mountain, ocean – whatever seems fitting for you and your family.
What do you need to be a part of the Outdoor Tea Club?
- Camping Kettle
- Gas Burner and attachment to hold kettle
- Water or use from the river (make sure to boil to get rid of bacteria)
- Enamel Cups
- Tea (and sugar if you take)
- Rusks or Choc Chip Cookies â€“ this is optional but highly recommended by me! 🙂
I got my enamel cups engraved with each family members initial. It really does transform an enamel cup into something special. They each want to drink from their cup. Proof again that personalisation will never go out of fashion. 🙂
Take a picnic blanket or just a towel if you like to sit on. Take a deep breathe in, think of all the things youâ€™re grateful for. Sip tea, eat a biscuit, dunk a rusk, tell a story, create your own family tradition!
Enjoy the company around you, even if it is just yourself 🙂
I would love to hear about your tea adventures!!