British Royal Wedding Required Traditions


Meghan-Markle-royal-wedding

photo by JANE BARLOW/AFP/Getty Images

With all the buzz about England’s next Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle, Miss Meredith Sweetpea’s mind has turned to romance. There are so many things to consider when planning a wedding. Especially so when marrying into the royal family.

In British tradition, there are a number of age-old royal wedding requirements.

  • The monarch must permit the marriage in writing for the six heirs closest in line to the throne.
  • A formal engagement announcement must be made by Kensington Palace, followed by a public photo session and joint interview. Prince Harry and Ms. Markle posed for the press in the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace.
  • The king or queen is the Head of the Protestant Anglican Church of England, therefore they and anyone they marry must be a member of the Church of England or they will lose the right to the throne. Ms. Markle will be baptized into the Church of England prior to the wedding.
  • Royal brides must wear a white gown, and customary lace, ever since Queen Victoria wore a white gown at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840.
  • Royal grooms must wear a military uniform. Prince Albert was the one to start this trend.
  • Continue reading

Wedding Omens and Predictions


Queenb-Victoria-Orange-BlossomsFor centuries, people declared that there were omens that could predict weddings and happy marriages. Here are some of the ones the Victorians believed, and some we still believe today:

You (or someone you know) will be married soon when:

  • A chicken enters your house with a straw in its mouth, which it leaves behind.
  • A mockingbird flies over your house.
  • A white dove comes near your house.
  • A spider descends from the ceiling and “dances” up and down.
  • A cow moos at night.

Your marriage will be happy if:

  • You feed a cat at of one of your old shoes just before you marry.
  • A cat sneezes in front of the (or your) bride on the day before the wedding.
  • Either party dreams about the wedding day.
  • You marry in June.
  • Your wedding ceremony lasts between a half hour and an hour (the rising hand of the clock denotes rising fortune.)
  • You marry in the afternoon.
  • You marry on a beautiful day.
  • Continue reading

Cooking From Scratch is an Art Form


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Savory Scones

When I tell people I cook everything from scratch, I get one of three responses: “Good for you,” “I don’t cook,” and “Why?”

Which begs me to think, “Have we truly lost the art form of creating a delicious meal?”

“Cooking can be an act of love and delight, or it can be yet another exercise in racing through life on automatic pilot–never stopping for a moment to notice, feel, or taste. Cooking performed as an act of love brings us renewed energy and vigor-cooking performed on auto pilot is draining.

When we dook in a hands-on, no-rush style, we are forced to stop, taste, feel, smell, see, and experience our food. Isn’t this what life is all about? Isn’t this what is missing from a harried life?”     –excerpted from The Simple Living Guide, by Janet Luhrs

Cooking meals, and living simply, can take some planning ahead. But all you need are simple ingredients stored in your pantry. Continue reading

Good Manners and Emotions | Meredith Sweetpea | Manners Quotes


cup-of-tea

“Good manners have much to do with the emotions.
To make them ring true, one must feel them, not merely exhibit them.”

–Amy Vanderbilt

7 Ways to Decorate with Natural Elements


african-violetsThinking of decorating, one’s mind may jump immediately to fabrics and furniture. However, there are so many natural elements that can bring the outdoors indoors to create harmony.

1. Flowers

Cut flowers can brighten up any space, but don’t overlook the color and drama in flowering plants, such as orchids or African violets. Use your imagination when choosing a flowerpot; just about anything can be repurposed as a planter.

2. Plants

Add color and healthy elements to a room with plants. Group them together using a same-color or same-varietal theme for instant impact.

3. Seashells

Recall your summer vacation with a bowlful of seashells. But don’t stop there, use them to frame a mirror, set them in concrete, or accent a lamp with them. Repeat the theme in your table settings. Continue reading

Pinky Up or Pinky Down When Drinking Tea?


The Queen enjoys a good cup of tea.

Miss Meredith Sweetpea was invited to partake in a lovely tea last week where the subject arose of whether or not it is proper to raise the pinky when raising the teacup to one’s lips.

Heavens, do people still think that “pinky up” is the proper way to drink tea?

 

Those in attendance were divided as to the correct answer, with each believing their method to be right. This called for an exploration of how to properly drink tea.

The Proper Way to Hold a Teacup

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Pinky up? Wrong!

The proper etiquette for holding the teacup is to pinch the handle of the cup between the thumb and the index finger if the handle is small, or pinching the same two fingers together through the handle.  The finger should not hook through the handle to raise the cup.

The handle should rest on the third finger, using the pinky beneath the cup to stabilize it, or using the 3 open fingers under the handle pressed against the cup to balance it, with the fingers curving back toward the wrist. Never should the pinky be raised.

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Hooking through the handle? Wrong!

In fact, it is considered rude to stick out the pinky, in addition to looking ridiculous. The practice originated from those wishing to elevate their status, however, it is ultimately taken as a symbol of elitism. In social settings, lifting the pinky will surely identify you as unsophisticated rather than what you intended it to mean.

Adding Milk and Sugar to Tea

If you wish to add milk to your tea to lighten or cool it, add the milk after the tea is poured into the cup. If you add it before the tea, you will not be able to tell how much is needed.

When stirring tea, use a back and forth swish of the spoon rather than a circular motion. And never clink the spoon against the side of the teacup to shake off any remaining drops. Simply place the spoon on the saucer behind the teacup.

If you are standing and drinking tea, hold the saucer with one hand as you drink with the other. Look down at your cup while you drink, and not at the others in the room. This will help prevent you from spilling your tea down the front of your frock or necktie.

Need a New Royal Doulton Tea Set?

If you need a new tea set, consider the lovely Royal Albert New Country Roses tea service from Royal Doulton, and its matching cups and saucers.

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Am I the Granddaughter of King Henry VIII? | Meredith Sweetpea


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L: Henry Carey; R: King Henry VIII; Middle: mashup of the two. The resemblance is uncanny. Could he be King Henry VIII’s son?

When Miss Meredith Sweetpea read the best-selling historical novel “The Other Boleyn Girl” she was captivated by the story, and read the entire book in one sitting. Have you read it?

The story, written by British historian Philippa Gregory, tells the tale of Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn’s older sister, who had a long-term affair with, and two children by, King Henry VIII prior to his meeting and subsequently marrying Anne. It is told from Mary’s point of view, beginning with Mary at the naive age of 14.

This book penetrated my mind, and for years, lingered with a familiarity unclaimed by any other novel. Continue reading

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