I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

the blog!

If I had to choose:

Tea, Books, and More Tea

As some of you already know, I love tea. I wake up every morning looking forward to my quiet time with a pot of tea and my diary. I daydream about life on the English countryside and no joke, I’ve even flirted with the idea of living there for one year, just to try it out (with Paul and Rusty of course :)). Oh how I would love to see those lovely, green, hilly hills; drink tea in those lovely tea rooms; pick flowers on those enchanted footpaths. How dreamy life must be on that English countryside.

Today, since it’s a beautiful fall day, and since I’m sure some of you are wanting to be all cozy with your big comfy sweaters and perhaps your own cup of tea (or coffee :)), I thought I’d share two of the most recent books I’ve read that have just left me with a, for lack of better words, book hangover. Not the bad kind where you’re sitting there wondering, “My, what an awful book. I can’t believe I wasted the last two days reading it.” No, this is the most wonderful kind of hangover, where you’re left with a completely different perspective on the whole entire world. And where you get this dreamy feeling deep in your gut that only you feel and know about because you’re the one that encountered this magical book.

1. A Fine Romance: Falling in Love With the English Countryside by Susan Branch. My mother, knowing how much I’ve always loved the English way of life, showed me a new book she bought from one of her favorites: A Fine Romance by Susan Branch. Before I even begin to explain the wonders this book holds, let me just tell you what I saw while very quickly flipping through: watercolor paintings, ticket stubs, handwritten loveliness, photographs. Need I say more?? I fell in love with it before I even read the first page. And that my friends, is just a wonderful feeling. :) Her entire handwritten book is her diary from when her and her adoring husband took a cruise to England and their trip throughout the English Countryside. They visit all sorts of enchanting places (Jane Austen’s house – enough said!) and you truly feel like you’re in England with her. I’ve already read it 3 times and each time I finish, I turn to Paul and say, “Let’s just move to England, Paul.” Preferably in a little cottage. Surrounded by fields of wildflowers and down a windy, narrow path.

2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I have always loved Children’s classics. When I was a very little girl and we made our weekly trip to the school’s library, I remember being so intrigued by the hidden bookcase that we weren’t allowed to visit until we were older. I knew some sort of magic lived there. When I was finally old enough, I found out that the bookcase hosted all sorts of literary classics, and the one I always saw but never checked out was The Secret Garden. It wasn’t until after I read Susan Branch’s book that I finally decided I had to find this book (she lists it as one of her all-time favorites, so naturally I knew it would be a wonderful read). One day while Paul and I were up in St. Cloud (we used to live there during college), I visited one of my favorite bookstores, Books Revisited (used books are my absolute favorite) and began searching for my new friend. I found it in the Children’s Classics section (I tried searching for a better version since the cover was a little mangled, plus I love hardcover books) and bought it (only $3!). Since this was a special book I decided to treat it with the utmost care and respect. So, when dusk hit (I love dusk), I made a pot of tea and snuggled on the couch to begin my new journey. The thing about books like these is that you know your whole life can change – it’s a pretty big deal. :) And omigoodness, I couldn’t put it down. I loved the old-school dialogue, Yorkshire accents, and wonderful descriptions of the secret garden. It’s life-changing. And I cried, so you know it’s a good one. :)

So my lovely bookish friends, if you are in need of two curled-up-in-a-chair-snuggled-with-a-cup-of-tea-life-changing-magical books, try one of these. And beware, your life may never be the same. :) Happy Friday, friends!!

  1. Sounds like you have a lovely quiet time in the mornings. I remember the Secret Garden…holds some beautiful memories for me. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I vaguely remember reading the Secret Garden as a preteen… And seriously how awesome that your childhood library had a secret bookshelf for the classics, and how special it must have felt to finally be able to go visit that shelf when you were old enough.