Thursday, June 20, 2013

To Cosy or not to Cosy? That is the REAL question...

So, I am not sure if I’ve previously mentioned that I think I have an addictive personality?  Well just in case you missed it – I HAVE AN ADDICTIVE PERSONALITY!!  It’s totally out there now…no going back.

And yes it is abundantly clear that I use this said, self-diagnosis to justify my contribution to consumerism and my addiction to all things tea - two birds, one stone and all of that – but who cares right?

I must say though when I first started working at The Berry Tea Shop I declared  that there was no way I would ever become a crazy teapot lady (no offense to you wonderful crazy teapot loving individuals out there – we love you!) but never in a million years did I think I would become a crazy tea COSY lady!


Oh, how I do love a good tea cosy.  I must admit it wasn’t an instant attraction to the cleverly crocheted woolly hat looking thing.  To be honest I didn’t think they were anything other than a gimmick.
Then one day a delightful piece of fabulousness caught my eye and I knew I just had to have it. But before I went ahead and purchased it, I asked Cliff if they really worked, in the hope that he would say “no”, which would instantly change my mind and I would never have to concern myself with such silliness and frivolity again.

However, Cliff said “yes”, and then the crazy tea cosy lady was born…

I now have quite the collection, which I blame on our very creative and clever Tea Cosy maker, Vicky. But more on that later....

Have you ever wondered how the Tea Cosy came to be? It certainly has sparked my curiosity so I decided to do a little research.  So now if someone comes into the shop and happens to ask, I will sound like the most knowledgeable person IN THE WORLD (as long as the conversation sticks to the cosy!).  Anyways....

Tea was first introduced to Britain in the 1660’s when Catherine of Braganza married King Charles II. Young Catherine was quite fond of tea and brought the pleasures of ‘taking tea’ to the Court. Up until 1750 it was quite expensive to import tea, so it was only for the Aristocracy. As the British Empire expanded it became cheaper to import exotic goods and tea became Britain’s national drink.
Then in the 19th Century, Anna Russell the Duchess of Bedford started the Afternoon Tea trend, when well-to-do ladies would all gather around for a few tasty morsels of deliciousness and tea (of course) and do what ladies do best – TALK!

As they sat in their finest wears, sipping tea from the only the best china, these ladies would get so carried away with their gossiping about the Aristocracy and what not, that the tea would inevitably become cold. Some would use this as an invitation to leave, instead of calling for fresh tea, but I am more than positive that others would have been quite saddened that their little social affair had come to an abrupt end.

Enter the tea cosy – that little knitted hat looking thing to keep the tea warm. Partly out of the desire to keep tea warmer for longer (function) and the Victorian period custom of decorating and covering objects (fashion), the tea cosy was thrust into the limelight and became a part of afternoon tea drinking society.

A few hundred years later and the tea cozy is still important amongst the tea drinking society, especially during winter.  Now, I don’t know about you but I am not winter’s biggest fan. As far as I am concerned the only good thing about winter is boots, boots and boots! Boots are awesome! They keep your feet warm and they look hot! But just like your feet, your teapot needs to keep warm too - and wouldn’t you want your teapot to look equally as awesome as your feet?

Meet our tea cosy maker,  Vicky “flying fingers” Pye …

Vicki is quite the clever clogs and when you see the little creations she comes up with, I pretty much guarantee you will want to join me at the Inaugural Tea Cosy Anon meeting!

Vicki has been crocheting up a storm for years and some of her creations can be found at The Berry Tea Shop. Some of my personal faves are “Shaun The Sheep”, the  house with the red roof and my current favourite “Bab’s” the Babushka (Matryoshka) Doll.

If nothing tickles your fancy, floats your boat or makes your heart sing, Vicky makes cosies to order. We’ve had a couple of interesting requests -  Sigmund Freud, Frida Kalo - and they were AH-MA-ZING! We also have Mr T(ea) who has become the unofficial mascot of The Berry Tea Shop – he is so very cool! 

I personally would like to see an Alice in Wonderland, Snow White or even a Darth Vader cosy  Mmmm….on that note, I might just be off to put it to the powers that be ;)


I have discovered that I am not alone in my love of the cosy (and maybe not so crazy after all).  Tea cosies can be seen everywhere and they come in all sorts of designs, colours, patterns and materials.  They make a great conversation piece and are cherished by people all over the world.  Some people inherit tea cosies as family heirlooms (with plenty of stories attached),  there are tea cosy festivals and there have even been books written about them, “How Tea Cosies Change the World” (Loani Prior).  Tea cosies can simply add colour, design and fun to your life, over and above the function of keeping your teapot warm.

“Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn't try it on. ” ― Billy Connolly


Keep your teapot warm and cosy this winter (as well as your head!).


Pru xx

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