Showing posts with label #afternoontea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #afternoontea. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tea Party Tuesday-Old Country Roses

Hello, everyone. This week on Tea Party Tuesday, I wanted to share about Old Country Roses China. According to Macy's this pattern is the most popular pattern in the world! It's no wonder. The lovely pink, red and yellow roses are suited to any season. Rimmed with gold, this china is truly stunning! The first cup and saucer in my collection was handed down from my Aunt Louise who knew I loved to collect them. 

Soon, after being inspired by a photo on Pinterest, I searched online until I found this cup and saucer in the Avon shape. I simply couldn't live without it!

    And then, I had to purchase the tea set because I needed an extra creamer for a party I was hosting. The set was less expensive than the creamer alone. 

    I don't know what makes your heart go pitty-pat, but for me it's beautiful dishes. The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series has afternoon tea in every book. Some say I use too many descriptions of food and clothes but writers write about who they are and what they do. If you love beauty like me along with a good mystery free of anything unpleasant except perhaps a murder here and there, you may want to check them out.
    Thank you for joining me this week. I pray you stay safe and sound in the days ahead.

     Try Book 1 in the series as a Free eBook!

    All Jillian Bradley wants is to spend a quiet weekend by the ocean and enjoy her afternoon tea. But a startling discovery draws Jillian and her garden club friends into solving a mystery that threatens her life and changes her future. "Murder in Half Moon Bay," Book 1 in the Jillian Bradley Mystery Series, introduces Jillian's little companion Teddy, a Yorkie who falls prey to danger but rises to become a sleuth dog in the next book.

    See you in my books!

    ~Nancy Jill

    Thursday, November 14, 2019

    Saturday, November 9, 2019

    Bucket Lists as we Age

    So, how many of you have a bucket list? I used to until that list grew to be overwhelming. I archived it on Pinterest just to avoid looking at it. As the photo suggests, we need things to look forward to whether it involves travel or learning a new skill. Great! Nothing wrong with that until...yes, we begin to slow down and eventually run out of gas!
       Since no one knows their last day on earth I decided to only plan a day or at the most one season at a time. And then enjoy the journey.
       This season I feel healthy and happy therefore I will only undertake new cooking skills that I find both creative and enjoyable. I will bake five new kinds of cookies, try my hand at a few candy recipes (but no candy thermometers, please-they’ve been disastrous in the past), and a few new appetizer and salad recipes that look good to me. My husband doesn’t have to eat them, either!
       I’m reading a few new authors while enjoying my old favorites, too. If you like beautiful settings for armchair travel and an amateur sleuth who’s into gardening and afternoon tea, you may enjoy the books I’ve written. Please check them out if you’re interested on my Books page. 
        Thanks for joining me today. Please let me know how your bucket lists are going.
        Until next time, Happy Holidays!
    ~Nancy Jill

    Wednesday, October 23, 2019

    What's it all about, Alfie?

    Who else uses lines from movies in everyday conversation besides my husband and me? "Alfie" is song sung by Dionne Warwick from a 1966 British romantic comedy-drama film directed by Lewis Gilbert and starring Michael Caine. I can't remember the movie but the song remains a catch phrase whenever I pose a "What's it all about?"

    Unfamiliar books pose the same question. With so many new books on the market today sometimes it's overwhelming to choose! So, here's an early review I thought apropos to use on the back covers of all my books, which are a series but stand-alones as well. 

    "From the first book, I was hooked. Who can imagine a female protagonist-our age-Baby-Boomers-who gets into so much trouble? At every turn, Jillian is engrossed in a mystery. Her little friend, Teddy, (whether one likes dogs or not) is another character in this fantastic series. I can't put them down once I begin. I read quickly...then read them again--on my Kindle, of course."

    The books' byline includes a secret ingredient. Can you see what it is? (Clue-it's in italics.)

    "Enter the world of Jillian Bradley and her Yorkie companion Teddy, where afternoon tea is served and murderers are brought to justice."

    If these have appeal, begin with "Murder in Half Moon Bay" and follow Jillian Bradley and Teddy's adventures. 

                                          Try Book 1 in the series as a Free eBook!

    All Jillian Bradley wants is to spend a quiet weekend by the ocean and enjoy her afternoon tea. But a startling discovery draws Jillian and her garden club friends into solving a mystery that threatens her life and changes her future. "Murder in Half Moon Bay" Book 1 in the Jillian Bradley Mystery Series, introduces Jillian's little companion Teddy, a Yorkie who falls prey to danger but rises to become a sleuth dog in the next book.
    There you have it! Pure fiction, pure fun. Enjoy!

    See you in my books!
    Nancy Jill Thames

    Monday, September 23, 2019

    Not Your Normal Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel!


    Set in the beautiful city of Victoria on Vancouver Island, a bitter conflict over fishing rights and the love of one woman turns deadly with the murder of a young attorney, drawing Jillian and Teddy into yet another intriguing adventure.


    It was time to get away. Perhaps melancholy had set in due to not much excitement in my life beyond answering questions for my garden column.
    The only bright spot in my life was the little family living in the large Victorian I’d once occupied.
    After the tragic loss of my second husband, a change in my life was needed to help forget the past.
    I had reasoned Walter and Cecilia needed more room now that my godson D.J. had been born.
    The perfect solution had been to give them the house, renovate the old worker’s cottage for myself, and live on the back of my property.
    The young couple had been my friends ever since that first homicide case in Half Moon Bay years ago. Since I had no children, they had become my family.
    I considered my yard again. Granted, flowers and shrubs were interesting, I suppose, but living in the Bay Area the weather rarely varied and could even be described as boring.
    Unlike other parts of the country with heavy snow and freezing temperatures, in Clover Hills, there were always gardening tasks.
    That’s okay for the younger generation, but as a senior working on a computer several hours a day, my back rebelled.
    I was actually ready to hire a gardener for the first time in my life!
    This caused a guilt trip to begin to sprout until I yanked it out of my emotional garden and settled for practicality.
    With my new yard team in place coming every other week to mow and trim, I could finally relax and travel.
    First on my bucket list was The Butchart Gardens near Victoria on Vancouver Island.
    This magic spot had been calling to me ever since I watched a fascinating documentary on their creation from an old quarry. Besides, I read they served lovely lunches and afternoon tea, my particular favorites.
    Hmm. I also had readers in British Columbia, as I recalled, so it might be worth a visit to help connect and boost readership.
    It would also be a perfect way to justify the cost of the trip. What’s not to like?
    A call one afternoon with an invitation from dear friends in Arizona that I’d helped in another homicide case cinched my plans.
    Before long, I was packed and ready to go with my beloved companion, Teddy, a four and a half pound Yorkshire terrier with a nose for adventure.


    My little Yorkie shivered as I held him close. Teddy had never been on the open water before. A few gentle strokes calmed him as our Black Ball ferry continued from Port Angeles to our destination, beautiful Vancouver Island.
    This brave dog could survive the uncertainty. He’d been in far more stressful situations, notably the time we were separated in London a few years ago.
    The memory made me shudder. A few wrinkles were added to my face that day. It didn’t matter. As long as I maintained my ideal weight on my small frame, and friends continued to comment on not looking my age, I was content.
    When Teddy looked at me with those concerned brown eyes, I kissed him on top of his head. He was so adorable I simply could not resist.
    He whimpered as we passed both peninsulas surrounding either side of the harbor.
    “Don’t worry, my love,” I said. “We’re almost to the harbor. You’ll enjoy all kinds of new things to smell, I promise.”
    When he heard the word “smell” Teddy’s shivers subsided. He perked up his soft pointy ears and panted.
    “No one can ever convince me this intelligent little creature doesn’t understand English,” I said to my friends who stood against the railing.
    Dr. Arthur Wingate, an old botanist colleague, vegan to the core, and his tan, trim wife Diana each gave Teddy a pat.
    A recent concierge for a five star Phoenix hotel, Diana had taken a position as a hotel reviewer for one of the news sites which carried my “Ask Jillian” column.
    “How are you enjoying retirement, Diana?” I asked.
    “It’s been great. This trip worked out as a perfect thank you gift for your help in getting me this new job.”
    Arthur put his arms around his wife and gave her a hug. “She wrangled an excellent package for the three of us at the Empress including a senior discount for their famed afternoon tea.”
    “We knew you’d enjoy it.” Diana said. “It’s a legendary experience.”
    “So I’ve heard. So are the Butchart Gardens. I can’t wait to see them.”
    “Look.” Arthur pointed to the view of distant mountains.
    Sunlight broke through the clouds and glinted on the water as we entered Victoria’s Outer Harbor.
    Hydroplanes took off as others gracefully landed, reminding me of white birds skimming the water for fish. Tugboats and other sailing vessels loaded with what appeared to be tourists navigated the picturesque port.
    A warm breeze brushed by and ruffled my long blonde hair. After I inhaled the pleasant air, I exhaled and turned to my friends. “It feels as if we’ve been transported.”
    “To the Mediterranean?” Arthur must have read my thoughts. “The weather here is temperate year round.”
    “No wonder the island’s a favorite for retirees. I read all about the demographics before we came.”
    Arthur breathed in the sea air. “I read the same thing, except love birds like it, too. I’ve heard Victoria’s is a town of the newly-wed and the nearly dead.”
    Diana glared at him.
    “That’s awful, darling,” she chided. “Anyway, Victoria’s supposed to be rather quaint, too.”
    “Quaint as in shopping, you mean?”
    He rolled his eyes, and it made me chuckle.
    “You do love to shop, don’t you, Diana,” I said remembering some of the beautiful outfits I’d seen her wear.
    She grinned and quickly nodded, which made me chuckle out loud.
    “I must say I got the better part of the bargain, Diana. A few years ago I invited you to visit the Bay Area, and I wound up as your guest to Victoria.”
    Diana hugged me. “Jillian, we can never repay you enough. If it wasn’t for your help, Arthur might be in prison for murder. And, you did help me to get this dream job.”
    “It was my pleasure. Now listen, you two, I love exploring on my own. Don’t feel you have to baby-sit me while we’re here. If you do, I may not join you the next time.”
    We had a good laugh.
    The ferry glided into port, passing motor boats and sailing vessels on either side.
    “We’re now in Victoria’s Inner Harbor.” Arthur nodded to the grand array of architecture, including the Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel.
    “Impressive.” I studied the different vessels moored along the docks, captivated by the big stationary ones. A few had slips next to them where smaller boats were anchored.
    “I never thought there would be houseboats. Maybe I didn’t look close enough in the photos on TripAdvisor®.”
    The small cottage I lived in came to mind. The truth was, at times, it becomes confining.
    What would life be like to live on a boat where you can sail away whenever the desire hit?
    Diana tapped my shoulder. “You have a faraway look. Is anything wrong?”
    A loaded question.
    “No. A daydream about life on one of those houseboats is all. Sometimes wanderlust creeps in.”
    She nodded. “We heard about Vincent.”
    How could I fool my friends? Vincent was the man I’d recently been in love with. We’d met through Arthur during a collaboration in Scottsdale five years ago.
    “Have you heard how he is?”
    Arthur stroked Teddy. “Word has it he needs caregivers now. Jillian, don’t feel guilty because you didn’t rush to his side. It’s not what he wanted.”
    “I’ve accepted his wish.” I shook myself and hugged Teddy for comfort. “We’ve pulled to shore.”
    “We’re here.” Diana led the way to their car parked below deck. I admired her quick step and the smart way she always dressed.
    Teddy perked up his ears as if he knew his little paws would soon be on dry land, then gave me an expectant look.
    “Yes, let’s get you into your tote for safety until we can set you down for a walk.”
    I shouldn’t have said that word. Whenever I mentioned it, Teddy burst with excitement and wanted to run around in circles.
    Arthur chuckled in his deep, rich voice I loved to hear. “Don’t worry, Teddy. There’ll be plenty of opportunities for w.a.l.k.s. when we get to the hotel.”
    Diana and I had to laugh when Arthur spelled out the word.

    Upon arrival at our destination, a handsome and cheerful valet greeted us. “Welcome to the Fairmont Empress.”
    The hotel was a massive Chateau built of stone and brick with steeply pitched copper roofs, domed polygon turrets, and ornate gables with dormer windows.
    The valet gave Teddy a pat, piled our luggage onto a cart, and stepped aside as we approached the front desk.
    Dramatic was the only way to describe the public rooms on the ground floor, with linking staircases to the palm court, ballroom, dining room, and library.
    In the lobby, a stunning oriental carpet covered most of the black marble floor. And the harbor view was breathtaking.
    Wood paneled walls, elegant window treatments, and fabulous art created wonderful ambiance for our stay.
    A young couple waited in line behind us. The man, who could have been foreign judging by his slightly bronze skin and aquiline nose, wore a dark suit and chatted in quiet whispers while the young woman held onto his every word. Honeymooners, perhaps.
    The clerk spoke to Arthur. “One of our staff will help your party to the Gold Check In desk. It appears you’ve been upgraded. Mrs. Bradley is a celebrity.”
    Arthur and Diana exchanged glances, and smiled.
    Another of the hotel staff came over and introduced himself, shaking my hand effusively.
    “I’m Harold Simms, the hotel manager. We hope you’ll enjoy your stay, Mrs. Bradley. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration for your garden column. ‘Ask Jillian’ is quite popular here in our Weekender.”
    “Thank you. You are most kind. I’ll pass that on to my publisher. One thing I will write about are the gorgeous hanging baskets I see everywhere. Absolutely beautiful.”
    Teddy barked a tiny, “Woof.”
    “Oh, I’m sorry,” the manager said to him. “We welcome you, too. What is his name?”
    “Well, welcome, Teddy.”
    The attention caused Teddy to pant, which I have come to learn means he’s happy or thirsty.
    I nodded toward the winding wrought iron staircase leading to the next floor.
    “The hotel is lovely. I look forward to your afternoon tea.”
    “Thank you.” Mr. Simms motioned to a courtyard peering in from an entry close by.
    “Don’t miss our stained glass dome.”
    “I’ve seen photos. Palm Court, right?”
    “You’ve done your homework, Ms. Bradley.”
    “Oh, please, do call me Jillian.”
    He found a brochure and pointed to the tea times. “You must excuse me, Jillian, I’m being paged.”
    He nodded to another staff member to take over.
    At that moment someone behind me tapped my shoulder.
    I turned around and faced the young couple I’d noticed. The woman with dark hair pulled back in a neat pony tail wore a business outfit that hid her curvaceous figure.
    “Excuse me,” she said, “but are you the Jillian Bradley who writes the column?”
    “I am. Are you a fellow gardener?”
    “Kelly Morrison.” She smiled and offered her hand in a firm business fashion. Then she turned to her young man. “This is David Blackwolf, the lawyer I work with.”
    His smile dripped charm.
    “A pleasure, ma’am.”
    Without offering his hand he turned to her. “Check in for us. I think we’re on the Gold floor, too. I need to meet with Leo.”
    “Sure. See you later.”
    We watched the young lawyer walk across the lobby until he was confronted by a man with a slight limp. The two men appeared to be of aboriginal descent with dark hair and bronzed skin. They could have been brothers.
    After the man with the limp pointed an angry finger in David Blackwolf’s chest, the two men separated and disappeared down a hall.
    The young woman seemed chagrined by the man’s behavior. “Don’t mind them. They’ve been at each other for years. Badger Knight is a lawyer for First Nations.”
    “And David Blackwolf represents the opposite side?”
    Kelly nodded. “How observant.”
    Arthur and Diana followed the bellman with our luggage right as a text popped up on my phone:
    Don’t worry. Finish your conversation. We’ll check in for you and let you know our room numbers.
    I waved an acknowledgement.
    “Is your fiancĂ© aboriginal?” I asked. “His last name is Blackwolf.”
    The young woman blushed. She raised her hand to cover her mouth as if embarrassed. On her wrist jingled a pretty charm bracelet.
    “So I guessed wrong,” I said.
    ”No. David is a First Nations member, half-blood, actually, but he’s only a good friend. We work together.”
    “I see. Sometimes good friends turn into more. But don’t mind me. I’m a notorious matchmaker.”
    She smiled and another blush rose in her cheeks.
    I pointed to her wrist. “Your bracelet is so unusual. The turquoise beads add a different touch.”
    “Thank you. David bought it for me one time when we were out together. He can be extremely kind. Or charismatic. He is a lawyer.”
    “Which would explain his demeanor. The lawyers I’ve known have all been the same way, in addition to being smart and clever. They seem to get what they want.”
    “Your dog is adorable!” She let him smell her hand, and scratched behind his ears. “My parents have a Yorkie. They love him to death. If I didn’t work all day and live in a small apartment, I’d get one myself.”
    “Are you a lawyer, too?”
    “I’m the administrative assistant to Leo Hunter. He’s the department director for Fisheries and Oceans in Canada. David represents us.”
    “And do you have a meeting here at the Empress?”
    “Yes. The conference rooms are connected through the conservatory.” She checked her phone.
    “I’d better check in and get back to work. David will wonder what’s become of me.”
    “It’s nice to meet a fan,” I replied.
    “Woof,” Teddy barked.
    “I’d better take him outside before I go to my room. Maybe we’ll see each other later.”
    “I can’t wait to tell Mom and Dad I met you.” She took a card from her purse and handed it to me. “Let me know what room you’re in so I can invite you to lunch while you’re here.”
    “How nice.” Kelly reminded me a little of my former personal assistant Cecilia back in Clover Hills. I took the card and tucked it inside with Teddy.
    After Diana texted the room numbers, I sent a quick reply asking her to have the bellman settle my luggage.
    I turned to my small companion.
    “Let’s go find a pet area.”
    Teddy wagged his tail at the idea.

    Read more!

    See you in my books!
    ~Nancy Jill