“Tea is much more than a mere drink in Britain. It is a solace, a mystique, an art, a way of life, almost a religion.”
– Cecil Porter of Gemini News Service
Centuries ago in England, there was a tradition of gathering with colleagues and having a tea party. A British tea party used to be the perfect method of celebrating special occasions like an anniversary, birthday, or even weekends. The tradition of using tea as a luxurious drink is continued to this day.
A British tea party can be organized in any season. In the summertime, the tea party is done mostly outdoors. Due to cold weather, the party is done indoors in the winter. There are a wide variety of different tea to choose from, such as white tea, green tea, black tea, oolong tea, or if you are feeling really adventurous, you can even make kombucha tea.
There are many recipes you can try for a vintage British tea party. Here are some of the most delightful ones:
1. Apple TartAdvertising
It is an enticing combination of a shortbread crust, a cream-cheese filling, a scattering of sliced almonds, and a few slices of cinnamon-sugared apples. It is deliciously warm from the oven, where the shortbread is nice and crisp, where the slices of apple are warm and fragrant, and the filling is soft and creamy.
The most important ingredient here is apple. Therefore, you must take care in deciding the brand of apple. You can also try mixing two or three varieties of apples for a more complex flavor. (Click here for the recipe)
2. Vanilla Cupcakes
Vanilla cupcakes are baked in a 12 cup muffin tray and are lined with paper liners. To make this type of cupcake, you need to mix the white cake batter using the “creaming” method. This method includes the mixing of butter, eggs, and milk at room temperature.
Cupcakes are one of the most popular bakery items. They are found almost everywhere, from birthday parties, to weddings. Their decorations range from the very simple, to stunning works of art. (Click here for the recipe)
3. Chocolate Sponge CakeAdvertising
Chocolate sponge cake is different from other sponge cakes, as it doesn’t contain flour. It also contains beaten egg yolks, sugar, and melted chocolate. It has a lovely spiral design. The light and airy texture makes it look like it will just melt in your mouth.
I love the rich chocolate flavor of this sponge roll. The good part is that it can be stored in the refrigerator for four to five days, although I have never had one last that long. It’s a perfect recipe for an afternoon tea party. (Click here for the recipe)
4. Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin bread is one of my favorite quick breads, as it is easy to make. This moist quick bread is full of pumpkin and its spices. However, what makes it different from other quick bread is the vein of cream-cheese filling through its center.
5. Cream SconesAdvertising
Cream scones are a warm and lovely dish, served with clotted cream and jam. They have a light interior and crisp exterior with some flavor of butter. It is best if all the ingredients are cold, to add the liquid to dry all of the ingredients at once, and then to mix all of them together in a quick and light manner.
6. Shortbread Cookies with White Chocolate & Raspberries
One of the easiest cookies to make, shortbread cookies are actually two sweet shortbreads, buttery in taste, that are filled with raspberry jam and white chocolate. They look very festive and make a perfect cookie during the Christmas holidays or for Valentine’s Day.
Their white coating of powdered sugar and the red raspberry jam pokes through the cut out. When making sandwich cookies, you want all the cookies to be of the same size because if the cookies are of different sizes, they don’t fit together particularly well. (Click here for the recipe)
7. White Sandwich BreadAdvertising
The ingredients of white sandwich bread include bread flour, a small amount of plain flour, SAF Gold instant yeast, dried milk powder, some kosher salt, and a little water.
When the bread first comes out of the oven the crust is slightly crisp. As it cools, the crust becomes softer and the texture becomes flaky. The texture of this bread is soft. It’s so fluffy that you will surely find it more delicious than you think. (Click here for the recipe)
8. Meringue Cookies
They are so light, sweet and crisp that they seem to just melt in your mouth. The outside of the meringue cookies seem nice and crisp, but the inside remains soft and puffy.
They are used as a normal dish, but they can also be used as a dessert item by topping with ice cream, whipped cream, or fresh fruit. These cookies include just two ingredients: stiffly beaten egg whites and superfine sugar. (Click here for the recipe)
Featured photo credit: English Cream Tea via upload.wikimedia.org
Last Updated on August 15, 2018
7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day
Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.
Why is it important to train up our core strength?
There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.
This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.
Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.
In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.
One Exercise, multiple benefits
There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.
By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.
When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.
Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.
In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.
What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.
What will happen when you start doing planks every day
1. You’ll improve core definition and performance:
Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:
- Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
- Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
- Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
- Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.
2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column
Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.
Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.
3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism
Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).
4. You’ll significantly improve your posture
Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .
A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.
A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.
On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.
5. You’ll improve overall balance
Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!- but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.
6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before
Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shoulders, shoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.
7. You’ll witness mental benefits
Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.
How to hold a plank position
- Get into pushup position on the floor.
- Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
- Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
- Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
- Hold the position for as long as you can.
- Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
- When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.
Watch the video if you have any doubt!
Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:
How to improve your plank time gradually
- Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
- Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
- Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.
Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.
Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?
You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:
- After prolapse surgery
- Pelvic pain conditions
- Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
- Previous childbirth
Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.