April 9, 2020

a little post of comfort care


Ok it's April 8th as I'm writing this and I'm feeling pretty crappy today. And I feel crappier for even writing that sentence, as I sit in my safe and secure house, stocked with food, and a spouse who is so fortunate to have a job that allows him to work from home, and a daughter who has weathered this upheaval to her life with immense grace. She has been my ray of sunshine throughout this pandemic experience. We began quarantine-life over a month ago, and I sailed through the first month no problem - my introvert self was actually RELIEVED to have an official mandate to STAY HOME.

But I have a hefty and severe and mostly untreated generalized anxiety disorder during the best of times. I do have some prescription medication, but it doesn't work particularly well for me, and I can't tolerate most pharmaceuticals. The world events of the past couple of months (actually since November 2016) has thrown my anxiety into an unremitting and constant state. And in the past few weeks, I have nightmares pretty much every night, so sleeping hasn't been fun.

I saw this post on Instagram that described exactly how I'm feeling. "I stay away from the news as much as possible because it either makes me cry, convince myself I'm dying, have a panic attack, or want to vomit." Yeah, that sums it up to a tee, except I haven't been staying away from the news.
And I saw a meme that basically said something to the effect of - you know how lately everyone feels totally flipped out and like the world is ending? That's how people with severe anxiety feel every day of their lives. It's rough to be a prisoner in your own mind.

Ok so at this point you might be wondering, um Melissa I thought I was going to come here and get a little lift, your post says comfort care. I mention the above litany because I want you to know that if you have been feeling sad, bad, mad, crazy, or full of despair - you are not alone. And it seriously makes me want to tear the hair from my head to think of what the front line heroes are going through. Health care providers crying in closets, working shift after shift with unsuitable protection. Doctors living in tents in their garages so they don't infect their families. Grocery workers and delivery staff keeping people fed and safe in their homes. OMG THANK YOU to all them, there can never be enough thank yous.

So now I'm going to show you pictures of jam and chocolate and some books, and then go cry some more I guess. I'm sorry, today was the wrong day for me to be writing, but I'm writing it all down anyway.

I'm not having a good day. Let's talk about chocolate. And tea. If you haven't tried Biscuit Brew Yorkshire Tea from Taylor's of Harrogate, please please please do yourself a huge favor and get this immediately. It's the most delicious, full bodied, slightly malty, amazing, comforting, hug-in-a-cup. It really really is. A dear friend of mine spent the summer in England two summers ago, and she sent me a box of this magical tea. I carefully rationed the tea, making it last for nearly a year, because I didn't think I'd be able to get it in the states. But turns out you can!


EARLY on in the quarantine process, I knew I was going to need my favorite chocolate to help get through this journey, and I was going to need A LOT. Lo and behold, Amazon sells a whole box of Cadbury Fruit & Nut milk chocolate bars - I think 14 came with the box? NO it is not the kind from England, and NO it is not as good, but it's still pretty great. I love this chocolate so much, I've loved it forever and it's just screams comfort to me. Now - I have to apologize because I'm seeing that now Amazon has DOUBLED the price. What?! I bought my box of 14 bars for $20, which was a great deal. Ugh. That's outrageous. Well I guess I better make these chocolate bars last......

Speaking of chocolate - I found this Vosges line of chocolate bar in a local grocery last winter, and gasped at the beauty of the packaging. I got a chocolate and stout variety for my husband for Christmas. But look at these other flavors! So beautiful right? I think these would be very nice for a Cottagecore picnic this summer, even if just in the backyard. I'm torn about which I would like to try more - the Fromage Blanc and Berries, or the Cheddar and Apple. Only the Raw Honey Cacao is available on Amazon right now, sadly, but the entire line is available on the Vosges website.


And while I'm on this cozy comfort picnic theme, I want to remind you all again about these amazing Elegant & English cookies - I mentioned them last year and they are definitely worth seeking out.


How good can a plain, unadorned biscuit-type cookie be? AMAZING. Just amazing. They're imported from the U.K. and they are hands down the best tea cookies I've ever had. Treat yourself, or treat someone else, and I promise that neither one of you will be sorry. I had the Baked Apple & Custard variety last summer, and I would dearly love to try the Lemon & Ginger and the Strawberries & Cream flavors.


I knew I was going to want chocolate, my favorite tea, and MARMALADE to get through this stay at home time. In addition to what you see here, we also got several jars of Bonne Maman marmalade, which is a great favorite in our house. At Christmas, I got a jar of 'Old Times' Orange fine cut marmalade and it was wonderful, so we thought trying out 'Tiptree Orange', which is a medium cut flavor would be a good idea. Black Currant is also one of my great favorites - the older I get, the less sweet, and more tangy I like my jams. You should peruse the entire line of Tiptree jams, if you're a very jammy person. They have such pretty labels, and would make for lovely gifts. Sigh, I swear Amazon has jacked up the pricing on all of this since last I looked. This Black Currant jam is also very good, and less expensive.


We love marmalade so much in our house, I really think it's time that we learn to make it, but it sounds intimidating. I think we have to give it a whirl though.

Now that we've discussed chocolate, tea, and jam, of course you're going to want some reading material. I happened across these three books recently, and I ordered one of them, and intend to eventually bring the the others home as well.

  
'Plaid and Plagiarism' by Molly MacRae is sitting at the top of my book pile right this second.This is Book 1 from the Highland Bookshop Mystery series, and I'm totally up for reading about bookstore owners who become amateur sleuths after discovering a murder victim in a backyard garden shed. The story is set in Scotland and centers around the goings on of a local literature festival. I WANT TO GO TO A LITERATURE FESTIVAL WHAT IS THAT AND WHERE CAN I FIND ONE BUT OH NO THERE PROBABLY WON'T BE FESTIVALS ANYMORE. Insert brain exploding emoji.

I fell in love with alllllll the covers from this cute looking mystery series set in Singapore featuring a lady named Aunty Lee, who loves to cook. 'Aunty Lee's Delights' by Ovidia Yu tells the story of Rosie 'Aunty' Lee, who finds time for solving mysteries while running a restaurant. Yes, as you can see, I'm still on my cozy mystery kick and I feel like that's mainly what I've been showing lately here and on Instagram. No apologies. If I didn't apologize for the rant up above, you think I'm going to apologize for picking cozy mysteries over and over? Lol. I've officially lost my mind in real time. Isn't this fun?

And lastly, how pretty does this last one look - 'Shades of Milk and Honey' by Mary Kowal. I'm kind of kicking myself that I didn't order this one first. Seriously what was I thinking?? The summary on Amazon describes it "like wandering onto a secret picnic attended by 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell', 'Shades of Milk and Honey' is precisely the sort of tale we would expect from Jane Austen...if only she had been a fantasy writer." This is a world where society ladies practice magic -- 'glamour' -- as part of their everyday lives. Ok I'm off to go order this right now.

Don't these look fun? Are you off to order chocolate and tea? I'm actually writing the end of this post on April 9th and I'm feeling a lot better than I was yesterday. I had Biscuit Brew tea and marmalade toast for breakfast. I took out the part of my blog post wherein I threatened immediate deletion of any comments that might wander over here and mention anything about that disgrace we have for a "president". I put quotes around that word because obviously that term has no meaning anymore. OH LOOK WHAT JUST HAPPENED I TOOK OUT PART OF YESTERDAY'S RANT ONLY TO PUT IT BACK IN TODAY!

Good times my lovelies. Welcome to my breakdown.



20 comments:

  1. Regarding your love of marmalade - in case you missed this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/food/2020/feb/09/forget-wellness-marmalade-is-the-key-to-a-long-healthy-life

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    1. Oh my goodness!!!!! I can't wait to read this!!! Thank you thank you!!!

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  2. I've been brave for long enough, and yesterday was my breakdown day. Felt depressed and awful all day, but today is better. I'm an introvert who already worked from home, so it's not like my actual life has changed THAT much, but just the idea that I can't go to the library, or grab a cup of coffee with a friend, or see a movie (I miss going to the movies, even though we don't go that often), and YES, I hear my privilege talking. I have lost writing clients, but my husband still has a job, so we are OK. The people I love are OK, and I'm grateful. Thank you for sharing your ranting--I feel less alone :)

    That said, I'm all for cozy mysteries and delicious treats and I am going to buy some of that tea sooner rather than later. Those books look wonderful, too.

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    1. Maybe it was the full moon?? I'm noticing that everyone's super sad day coincided with the full moon! Right there with you about the movies. We don't go all that often, but I do love to go when we do. I'm so sad at the thought that maybe the theaters won't make it - apparently AMC movie theaters were barely making it before the virus.

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  3. Today I saw the ripped bodice post about a Festival of Books that had been cancelled, and they are in so. Cal. They exist!

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    1. What a fun and cool idea - Festival of Books! Sigh. Alas. That sounds so wonderful!!

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  4. The biscuit tea sounds lovely, and I am going to get some when I run low on my Prince of Wales tea. I bought a case full from Amazon when our local grocery stopped carrying it reliably, and it's mild enough not to trigger my heartburn. I thought about eating pear jam today (that I made years ago), but we are out of bread and I forgot to bake some today. Tomorrow's project...

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    1. Oh I'll have to go find some of the Prince of Wales! - I also have acid reflux and I have to be careful about black tea consumption - green tea and herbal is fine but too much black I can't handle - that's why I was able to make my box of Biscuit Brew last so long, because I don't regularly drink black tea.

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  5. Sorry that you are having a bad day. I think any sane person feels the same way since he-who-must-not-be-named came into our lives on Nov. 2016 and hijacked our thoughts. All the more reason to indulge in tea and jam and chocolate these days. And books, which are totally a necessary business. Have you hear of bookshop.org? It is a new alternative to Amazon that supports your local independent bookstore with each purchase. Check it out! A pleasant way to pass the time--better than the news, for sure. Thanks for your cozy recommendations, and for introducing me to the term cottagecore. How did I not know this? When this is over, I can't wait to dash into Harvard Square and purchase the latest copy of British Country Living Magazine from the bookstore in person. I'll pour myself a cup of tea and escape into the British countryside for a few blissful moments...
    Peace.

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    1. Thank you so much Cat!! That's how we refer to that person around here as well, lol. YES YES YES I just found out about bookshop.org and I'm going to figure it out this weekend!! That sounds so great! We can thank my teen daughter for cottagecore - she brought me up to speed. And let me tell you, the British Country Magazine is AWESOME - I'm keeping it on my kitchen table so I can flip through it all the time! 'Twas a very good purchase. Big thumbs up!

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  6. Just so you know, your posts are incredibly comforting and inspiring. Of course I love the books, food, and cozy coziness, and I also love the candid humor, even when it is around tough subjects. I have one of your book boxes I've been saving under my bed - I just didn't know I was saving it for a worldwide pandemic! I'm off to order more tea and curl up with a book. Thank you for sharing here - it makes a difference!!!

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    1. Oh Jenn!!! Thank you SO much. And I'm so delighted that my box was saved for a time when it would be most needed!! XOXOXO

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  7. I know you posted this on the 9th-I hope you are feeling better! I feel this is the time we need to not only be kind to others, but to ourselves. Many thanks for your acknowledgement of our grocery workers. My daughter has worked at a grocery store in their Clicklist department for over 2 years. Last Thursday she had a panic attack at work, and had to go to the doctor. These workers are under an incredible amount of stress-not only are they at risk healthwise, but their workload is off the charts.

    I must say, I am thankful for my homebody tendencies-I love to read and watch movies. BUT...after a month of not going anywhere besides my front and back yards? I definitely have cabin fever!! My husband loves to grocery shop, so he has been doing that solo-but I feel like I REALLY need to see some other people right now. From a safe distance of course!!

    Have you read The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal? It felt like such a comforting read to me, even though there were tears. If you like Elizabeth Berg (whom I love) you might enjoy this one. I stayed up all night reading it.

    By the way, on the whole, I'm not an anxious person, but I CANNOT watch and read the news right now. My stress level goes through the roof. I know many people want to keep on top of all the news, but for me-it leads me down a dark path. I do think one thing that is really being driven home for me-all the things I tend to worry about, what a waste of time! I never would have thought the world would be in this situation right now.

    On a quick happier note, I became addicted to the jams of England on my first trip there. Even more, I LOVE when you get them in the little containers. They trip every one of my happiness triggers. I also became addicted to clotted cream, which unfortunately I cannot get where I live!

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    1. Oh Maureen. My heart aches for your daughter. I am so so sorry. I wish with all of my being that her load lightens soon, and that she feels better!! I have not read either of those authors you mentioned, I'll look them up right after finishing this reply! I'm actually planning a summer box for this year that includes some tiny british jams, if I can find them ha. I'm trying to see less of the news - everything I see makes my laugh hysterically, and then cry. be well and safe sweet friend!!

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  8. Thank you for this post. I needed to be reminded I'm not alone. ❤️
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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    1. oh my goodness I am so sorry to be such a late response to this - YOU ARE NOT ALONE, AND BIG BIG HUGS TO YOU.

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  9. I've had a lot of these days, so I hear you. Those books look lovely, and I wish the ebook apps of my local library had them. And finally: marmalade takes a while to make, but is easy too -- I still have a couple of jars I made from cara cara oranges last year.

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    1. oh WOW I adore those kinds of oranges!! I'm so impressed that you made some! SOME day, I WILL make some homemade marmalade, I'm speaking it into existence.

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  10. I'm popped by and decided to reread some of your old posts. :)

    I say, that Plaid and Plagiarism sure does looks good. I would love it on audio.

    I want to go to a lit fest too. *sigh* Let's just remember it won't be forever. It's just for now. *hug*

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    1. BIG HUG right back. I'm so glad you popped by!! Wishing you much health, cozy cheer, and happy treats and books!

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