For the love of tea: Chai Tea Recipe

posted in: Foodies | 5

A Chai Tea recipe to satisfy my infatuation

chai tea, bone china, china teacups, elephant tea pot

You may or may not be aware by now but I quickly become obsessed with things. Chai Tea surpasses this. With a good Chai Tea recipe you can rule the world, whilst Blogging about it.

So here is my (Joshua’s) easy recipe for Chai Tea. (Yes Chai Tea should be capitalised… they are two awesome words.)

Side Note: Slightly off topic BUT a big bug bear for me is when new recipes ask for weird spices; because not finding the right ingredients or having leftover things that go stale and later a funky colour because you refused to chuck them out IS ANNOYING. I promise that all of these ingredients will be available at the supermarket, although you may have to depend on a world foods aisle and you will love this tea so much that you will use up the spices surprisingly quickly. Unless you don’t like Chai Tea, in which case leave this Blog and never return… just kidding! I am not the Kaiser of Tea.

chai tea ingredients, spices, cardamon pods, ginger, cloves, ginger, chai tea

Chai Tea Ingredients:

  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 5 pieces of cassia Bark or half a stick of cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 2cm chunk of ginger
  • 200ml milk
  • 500ml water
  • 500ml water
  • 2 darjeeling tea bags, another recommendation would be assam.
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar… sometimes when I am feeling particularly good about myself I add an extra one in.

Chai Tea Recipe

  1. Pour the boiled water into the saucepan with the milk and simmer.
  2. cardamon pods, crushing cardamon pods,  chai tea, chai tea spices, spices crushed cardamon pods, cardamon pods, chai tea, chai tea recipe
  3. Crush the cardamon pods.
  4. ‘Bruise’ aka break up the cassia bark.
  5. Add all the spices into the pot.
  6. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Try not to let it boil over and if you are are too tempted by the smell then 15 minutes will probably do.
  7. chai tea, brewing chai tea, spices, boiling spices brewing chai tea, darjeeling tea, brew tea, brew chai tea
  8. Add the tea bags and the sugar.
  9. Stir.
  10. Leave to brew for 5 minutes or longer depending on your tea strength preference.
  11. tea strain, chair tea strain, strain chai tea chai tea, chai spices, brewed t
  12. Strain. My recommendation would be through a sieve and not a saucepan lid as so cleverly demonstrated here.

chai tea, chai spices, brewing tea, china teacups, vintage teacups, chai in teacups

And wallah! That is the Chai Tea recipe complete. Not only have you successfully filled your house with an aroma sent by the God’s; once it’s cooled off a little bit you have the chance to taste it. I recommend having finished any housework before you start and completing with a good book at hand.

If you aren’t satisfied yet then have a play around with ingredients! Adding any of the following makes for a tasty mix: orange zest, nutmeg, vanilla or honey.

elephant teapot, flower tea cups, vintage teacups, elephant tea, chai tea
Sneaky Elephant

In Retrospect Magazine Launch Party

posted in: Events, Miscellaneous | 0

A thoroughly enjoyable evening with In Retrospect Magazine

In Retrospect Magazine, Launch Party

Back in January I attended an entertaining evening at the In Retrospect Magazine‘s launch party. Have you heard of In Retrospect Magazine? Well it’s a brand new magazine for people with a passion for vintage and written by them too. I am already a solid fan of the magazine, which is no mean feat considering there has only been one edition published so far!

In Retrospect prides itself in being a modern magazine for old fashioned people; setting itself apart from glossy lifestyle mags whilst feeling more inclusive for men too. Not only are the articles in depth but this magazine will present me with the chance to see my own writing in print! Watch out for my interview with the gorgeous Natalie Ross in issue two.

But back to the main event! The In Retrospect launch party was held in Brighton, and where better? I hadn’t been to Brighton before but after finding an amazing 50s dress on sale in Loot, Brighton could be a contender for one of the best cities for vintage! This is something only reconfirmed the following morning by JB’s, an amazing American 50s diner, where I had my fill of pancakes dripped in maple syrup accompanied by stacks of bacon. Yum.

In Retrospect Magazine, Ava Aviación, launch party,

Held at the Sallis Benney Theatre with a champagne reception, things naturally got off to a good start. I was instantly taken back by everyone’s gorgeous outfits. Some of the highlights included a beautifully beaded flapper dress, a silk gown worn by the stunning Ava Aviación, who is one of the writers, as well as some sharp suit dressing by the men!

With a warm up speech from a passionate Mathew Keller, In Retrospect Magazine’s Chief designer & Co-creator. The Pennies from Heaven were up next to treat us to a dance routine with plenty of Charleston leg swivels and cheeky black swimsuits. Following them was the Premiere of Paper Doll, a short film demonstrating the vintage scene that is thriving in Brighton today directed by Mathew. The protagonist learns the delights of being a gentlemen as he falls in love with the character Agatha, played by Fleur McGerr. The short film leaves the audience to decide whether Agatha was real, or in fact an imaginary paper doll.

In Retrospect Magainze, British Belles, launch party

Following on was more drinks and once the music was turned up, the dance floor got into the swing of things… literally! Awful joke, I apologise now. There were some really great Lindy Hoppers who had me transfixed, especially as I had a Lindy Hop Workshop coming up. I spent a lot of my evening delighted to be watching the dancers. There was mingling, excitement and plenty of friendly compliments on each others outfits. I had a lovely time speaking with a couple who are off to Viva this year and hope to be married by Elvis – congratulations!

My dive into the world of vintage is only just beginning, but to see so many people who dress in the style full time, many of whom I already follow (aka. stalk) via Twitter and Instagram, was pretty inspiring. I can’t wait for another opportunity in which to meet all of these amazing people, hopefully at a one year celebration of In Retrospect Magazine, if not before! (I also promise not to be such a scaredy cat and actually introduce myself to people too. None of the ‘oh you were there too’ tweets next time!)

In Retrospect Magazine, Blaire Rowland, Blaire Amy, launch party

Thanks to the In Retrospect Magazine team for such a great event!

And if you feel like you missed out, then no worries, just subscribe to the magazine here!

In Retrospect Mag, lindyhop, Dancing In Retrospect, In Retrospect mag In Retrospect Party

All Photos by PaVan Wilder

Operation War Diary

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0

Operation War Diary, WW1

Taking part in Operation War Diary means that the soldiers who fell can be remembered whether they have living family members or not; whilst offering a great opportunity and insight into the front line.

Operation War Diary, WW1, IWMOperation War Diary is a citizen science project. If you don’t know what that means, no worries; put simply it is for people who have an interest in a research project and want to offer their support by processing data. It gives projects the opportunity to process large amounts of data faster and is commonly styled in a game like manor for ease of use and fun. This type of research usually relies on an online method, where people can submit their findings and deductions.

As Operation War Diary said via Twitter (follow them @OpWarDiary)

‘The combination of digitisation and crowdsourcing is our best hope for preserving the legacy of those who fought in the war and helping future generations understand what they went through.’

In the case of Operation War Diary, you study pages taken from unprocessed First World War diaries.

The diary entries have been scanned online and are sourced from The National Archives. With the combined efforts of the IWM (Imperial War Museum) and the Zooniverse community, ‘home to the Internet’s largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects.’ There is a lot of hope for great things to come from this. Not only will it create an online catalogue but it can aid IWM’s Lives of the First World War project, which aims to build a ‘permanent digital memorial.’

Somme, 1916, WW1, British Soldier
Winter War: British Trenches on the Somme, 1916 –

In short this project will mark the sacrifices made within the First World War and help to preserve memories. It is this preservation of memories that makes me so passionate and interested in Operation War Diary. I volunteer with elderly people who can remember being children whilst we were at war (admittedly the WW2) and some of their stories are incredible. Any story they finish is followed by the consensus that it was a horrible time and that it should never be repeated. If this can capture people’s interest and remind them of the struggles at war, and take away some of that desensitisation created through dramas then that is an achievement in itself.

War Horse, WW1, war photos
War Horses: A Veterinary Hospital in France –

This project operates through a tagging system, not dissimilar to tagging your Facebook friends in photographs. Instead of facial recognition, Operation War Diary encourages you to provide different tags depending on what type of page you are looking at. You have guidance through a list of attributes it suggests you look for, for instance, name, date, casualties and even the weather. You can then place these tags to the relevant place on the page and give more detail.

The data then becomes complied and can be analysed quicker, for instance tracking regiments and getting a wider view of army life.

Remeberance: The Forgotten Survivors of the great war - greatwarphotos
Remeberance: The Forgotten Survivors of the great war –
Maybe you’ve read this Post and thought it’s a good idea, but are concerned that you wouldn’t know what to tag? Well Operation War Diary have incorporated a start up Tutorial for tagging to help you get familiar with the platform, as well as a field guide to help you make the best choices. However if you can’t decipher a diary entry you can simply choose not to tag it. Some of the diary entries have as little as 4% completed, so why not get involved now!

Not only will a digital catalogue of reliable war diaries be created, but a lasting legacy. Get involved today, even if you just volunteer 10 minutes of your time, let’s preserve history.

Visit the website here:


Thanks to military history Paul Reed for allowing me to use world war original photographs that he has collected. There are more to be seen on his website Great War Photos.

What to expect at your first Burlesque show

posted in: Burlesque and Cabaret, Events | 0

The unexpected would be a good start…

Bettsie Bon Bon, Pocket Circus, Burlesque, Appleton Productions, Leanna Bruce
Bettsie Bon Bon by Pocket Circus

Following on from my ‘Why I like Burlesque’ Post, is what to expect at your first Burlesque show. Now this is an almost impossible question to answer in the first place, as a Burlesque show can involve numerous kinds of strange and wonderful things, but getting over simple stigmas is a start. Things like yes you are going to see some boobs this evening, no not all of the performers will indulge you by being a size that you necessarily can relate to and understanding that audience participation is rife will be a big help.

Below is a short and definitely not definitive list of what to expect at your first Burlesque show. But the hope is to open your mind and get you excited for the evening performance ahead or inspire scaredy cats to go!


So what can you really expect from your first Burlesque Show:

Elsie Diamond, Pocket Circus, Appleton Productions, Burlesque, Cabaret
Elsie Diamond by Pocket Circus
  • Burlesque can be hilarious. Believe it or not, for people who have no experience of Burlesque this can be the biggest shocker. You are going to laugh. If you pick the right show, Burlesque is as much about comedy as it is about tease and personally that is why I enjoy going so much! Although a heads up for newbies, I am not sure if Gorelesque uses hilarity in the same way? (I have yet to see a Gorelesque act so I cannot advise.) But a classic show always seems to feature humorous acts in it as well as the usual bump n grind, singing, dancing and tease acts.
  • It’s not just a strip. To get on in Burlesque it appears you need to have multiple strings to your bow or some kind of niche. I have seen wonderful magic tricks performed by Delores Deluxe, lots of singers, ballet dancers and some amazing hula hoopers.
  • There will be eye contact. During a ‘serious tease’ there can be eye contact. Personally I find this really unnerving as I am about as sophisticated and comfortable with my body as a toddler who has just learnt that legs can be walked on. But you know, other people prefer a serious tease. Don’t be scared, just remember to look at the performer’s really gorgeous… hands?
  • Boylesque is a thing. This isn’t just a cabaret routine. Boylesque really does refer to a tease act. I have seen the performer Equador the Wizard swan about in a patriotic routine which left little to the imagination and received quite easily the loudest, appreciative reaction of the evening. Whether you are a girl loving every minute of this change up, or a guy who is appreciating that the man on stage really does have some serious balls (metaphorical they shouldn’t be visible!), I am sure you will love Boylesque. It’s not uncomfortable, in many ways it is just wacky. The couple of Boylesque routines I have seen have been awesome. Sure they took me by surprise but hey this is Burlesque, anything is possible.


Eivissa Rose, Joust Photography, Burlesque, Show girl, Appleton Broducts, Tease Bar
Eivissa Rose by Joust Photography

What not to expect at your first Burlesque show:

Dolly Rose, Appleton Productions, Burlesque, Tease Bar
Dolly Rose, Appleton Productions
  • Strippers. These ladies have class and you won’t be tipping for extra privileges. Also shouts like ‘what would your Mother think?’ will not be well received by the performer or the audience… consider yourself warned.
  • Nipples and downstairs. From the beginnings of burlesque there has been one rule… and that is not to show nipples or your downstairs. In many ways this keeps up the pretence that they are playing coy. Although slips can happen, they aren’t on purpose. Also although you will have read this, pants seem to be getting skimpier and skimpier. Well I guess the less material, the less expensive rhinestones needed? Some performers show so much arse you’ll be surprised they are wearing pants, fortunately this isn’t a concession being made up the front – although I recently got a flash of a seriously unkept garden. Looking at you Rubyyy Jones!
  • Places to hide. I have seen Burlesque performers crowd surf, get onto the stage by climbing over audience members, come out to tell jokes on viewers laps and just general walking around and poking fun at unsuspecting victims. This can be enjoyable and horrific in equal measures but a part of the show that will not be going away any time soon.


So that is the round up. If you want to celebrate the human body through slightly pervy whoops and cheers, then take that bold step and get yourself to your local show. Most Burlesque venues have a bar, so if you need a bit of courage, prop yourself up there! You honestly will be rewarded by a great performance and an infectious excitement that leads to Burlesque audience addiction!

Make sure you let me know how your first show goes, I look forward to hearing all about it 😉


Lady Catalina, Appleton Productions, Tease Bar, The Tea Bar, Burlesque
Lady Catalina, Appleton Productions

Many thanks to Leanna Bruce from Appleton Pin Up Girl for letting me use photos from the Burlesque shows she puts on at The Tease Bar in Basingstoke.