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How Does Tea Culture Vary Around The World?

One of my favorite topics... tea (Camellia Sinensis)! 

When tea first originated in Southern China during the Shang dynasty, it was originally used as a medicinal drink. Chinese people and many other cultures still use it for this purpose, however, it is also consumed for numerous other reasons nowadays. It is thought to have originated around the 3rd Century, but it wasn’t until much later that it was exported around the world. After tea spread far and wide throughout the 16th Century, different countries and cultures have adapted it and enjoyed it in diverse ways. Now, there are vastly different methods to enjoy tea depending on where you are.

China is Famous For Its Teas 

China is the country that started it all, and it is believed that tea was exported to Japan and Korea in the 9th Century. This means that China was probably enjoying tea for around 600 years longer than anywhere else. For this reason, it is ingrained in the culture of the country. Tea rituals are common practice when entertaining guests. Visitors to a household will sit and watch as the host prepares the teacups and brews the tea. They will ceremoniously pour some tea out first, and then tip this away before pouring out the beverages for everyone’s consumption.

Chinese culture has been exported around the world in many ways, beyond tea too. For example, the Fu 88 slot at Betway shows how the Chinese association of red with money has spread across the world. The title also features dragon imagery which is commonly linked with Chinese culture. There are plenty of mobile games that reflect how Chinese traditions have spread around the world as well. These include Honor of Kings and CrossFire, which both draw inspiration from Chinese folklore. These are hugely popular not just in China, but in western markets as well.

Tea in Britain 

It should come as no surprise that the UK and Ireland are two of the biggest tea drinkers per capita in the world. Indeed, tea is one of the things regarded nowadays as quintessentially British. The first record of tea among the English came in 1615 from East India Trading Company worker Richard Wickham, who wrote a letter requesting the leafy drink from a merchant in Macao. It was later described by Peter Mundy on a visit to Fiji in 1637 as “water with a kind of herb in it.” The official trade of tea in England began in 1664, and by the 1800s the country was importing around 24 million pounds per year.

Tea is an important part of the culture in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, but it is no longer commonly consumed as part of a ritual. Still, you can partake in a decadent Afternoon Tea at famous hotels throughout the UK. The refined custom of afternoon tea is a wonderful way to take a respite from the hectic pace of today’s busy world. The elegant ritual of Afternoon Tea is credited to Anna, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford. As was customary during the later 1700′s and early 1800′s, people would eat a huge breakfast, tiny lunch, and then a substantial dinner around 8:00 at night. The Duchess, describing a “sinking feeling” during the afternoon, began to request tea and cakes to tide her over. Soon, she invited her friends to share the ritual with her, and it quickly became a fashionable custom.

Tea in The Middle East 

In Arab countries, there is a widespread fondness of tea, with Turkey and Iran making it into the top four countries in the world for tea consumption per capita. Most of the tea produced in Turkey is Rize tea, which is named after a province on the Black Sea coast, famous for its fertile tea-growing soil. Iran is also renowned for having exceptional land for tea growing. Gilan in the north has the perfectly mild weather, soil quality, and fresh spring water needed to produce high-quality tea.

In Middle Eastern countries, people consume tea at all times of day, and it is a common feature of celebrations. Herbal and black teas are extremely popular, but some people are known to drink it with milk as well.

USA and the Popularization of Iced Tea

The United States is only ranked at number 35 in the world’s tea-drinking countries, and the drink is not completely ingrained in the culture here like it is elsewhere. However, the country can be credited with contributing to the evolution of tea drinking in a way that has spread across the world. This is, of course, the introduction of iced tea.

According to the legend, the cold version of the drink first came about at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904. At the event, a group of Indians were running a stall selling traditional black tea. However, due to the sweltering temperatures of the day, people didn’t want to consume hot beverages. So to counter the problem, they decided to fill the glasses with ice. The rest is history, and now Americans drink 40 million cups of iced tea every year. The drink has been exported to various countries, with big companies like Lipton profiting massively from the growing popularity of this way of drinking tea.

Tea Travel

For tea aficionados, discovering all the different cultures and contributions from various countries to the progression of tea is a must. The best way to experience all the diverse ways to enjoy the iconic drink would be to visit all the main tea drinking countries. Only then can you get a rounded experience of everything to do with tea. 

I had the chance to participate in a matcha tea ceremony in Japan, indulged in afternoon tea in England, sipped strong black tea in Turkey and can't wait to experience the rest.

Afternoon Tea Guide For Southwest Florida


The History of Tea Around the World


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20 Workplace Romance Novels You Need to Read

Ever since Lois & Clark, Who's the Boss and Moonlighting, I've been enthralled by workplace romances, which is why I gravitate toward the office romance trope when reading too. 

The forbidden relationship, office politics, imbalance of power, will they or won't they, sneaking around, gimme all of it!! 


20 Office Romances to add to your TBR (to be read) pile: 

 

Double Standards by Judith McNaught 

Nick Sinclair, the ruggedly handsome president of Global Industries, handles his business the way he handles his women: with charm, daring, and complete self-control. When he hires Lauren Danner, he assumes the whip-smart beauty will be another easy conquest but much to his surprise, her wit and rare spirit dazzles him and he slowly finds himself falling in love. Yet he has no idea that Lauren is living a lie, one that is becoming more dangerous with every passing moment.

Note: This is set in the 80s so be prepared for the lack of PC and I'm not just talking about the computer, lol, plus, no cell phones, etc. Oh, and when he asks if she can type, he means can she use a typewriter! However, Judith really sets the standard for Office Romances for the trope. 

Private Confessions by Lori Borrill


Experience has taught ad exec Logan Moore that office affairs always end in disaster. Which is why his online romance with Scorpio63 is exactly what he needs right now—the anonymous, steamy encounters help him forget the secret urge for Trisha he gets every day. (STEAMY)

Loved reading this office romance with mistaken identities. It's steamy and fun. 

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she's always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face to face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they’ve kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as co-workers for one reason only: to make partner at the firm. But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. 

After the Kiss (Sex, Love & Stiletto series) by Lauren Layne 


Lauren Layne kicks off her Sex, Love & Stiletto series with a delightful short novel! In After the Kiss, the star columnist of Stiletto magazine will do anything for a story. Anything . . . except fall in love. The entire series consists of workplace relationships. 

Irresistibly Yours: An Oxford Novel by Lauren Layne 

Meet the men of Oxford magazine! In the first captivating spin-off of Lauren Layne’s Sex, Love & Stiletto series, a not-so-friendly battle of the sexes turns into a scorching office romance. Hotshot sports editor Cole Sharpe has been freelancing for Oxford for years, so when he hears about a staff position opening up, he figures he’s got the inside track. Then his boss drops a bombshell: Cole has competition. Female competition, in the form of a fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes—and write circles around them, too. 

Note: Being a baseball fan and a former journalist, this first book in the series was my favorite. 

Mine to Five by Tara September

Her dream job. His last chance. Working as a team will make their wishes come true, but at what price? Set from Thanksgiving to Christmas, tis' the season for an office romance.  

The Dare by Lauren Landish


Have you ever had one of those really bad days at work? You know, one where your hot boss catches you photocopying your backside in his office? No? Just me then?


Her Gentle Capture by Elizabeth Lennox

Adriana is good at her job! And she’s not going to sit back and take her current boss’s grumpy moods any longer! Feisty and creative, Adriana succeeds at everything he tosses at her. But having her boss, CEO Mitch Powell, double-checking her every move puts her on edge. Unfortunately, during the late hours (and only when she’s exhausted, mind you!) she can't stop herself from imagining what he looks like underneath all of his perfectly tailored suits. Determined to break down Adriana's defenses, Mitch pulls out the stops to make her crave him--as much as he wants her. (STEAMY)

Release! (Walker Brothers Series) by J.S. Scott 

He needs a fake fiancee. I need to eat. What happens when two people from way different worlds suddenly collide to make a simple, temporary business deal that could solve both of their problems? (STEAMY)

The sequel, Player! has a stronger corporate angle to it, however, there may be a trigger for some as the heroine was raped in her past and discusses it. Personally, I liked hearing about how she overcame it and how the hero took things carefully as to not scare her away.  

Janie loses her job, house and boyfriend in the same day (like you do)! She is offered a job by Quinn Sullivan who is a security guard in her office building and a random guy she stalked during her lunch and off office hours.


The heroine has a funny first meeting and an impromptu double-date with her future boss a month later. 
 

Three Simple Rules by Nikki Sloane


I would do anything for my dream job. Now I have to. 

Classic office romance with the boss combined with an after-hours sex club. (STEAMY/Erotic)

In New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase’s sizzling and hilarious debut novel, Drew Evans—gorgeous, arrogant, irreverent, and irresistibly charming—meets his match in new colleague Kate Brooks.

The Stopover (The Miles High Club Book 1) by T L Swan

When the handsome guy you met on a flight and had a hot affair with a year ago is now your new CEO. 
A Grumpy Boss Romantic Comedy. A steamy, swoony workplace romantic comedy with a grumpy boss hero determined to save the day and a plucky heroine who is starting to wonder if there might actually be a beating heart just beneath her boss’s sexy vests.

Beautiful Bastard (The Beautiful Series Book 1) by Christina Lauren

An ambitious intern. A perfectionist executive. And a whole lot of name calling. Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He's exacting, blunt, inconsiderate--and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Just Curious by Jude Deveraux 


I read this charming short story almost every year at Christmastime. It is dated, but still adorable. 

Karen is a young widow. She works in a secretarial pool for Mac Taggert. He is a wealthy man who treats women as though they are interchangeable. After his most recent fiancee has walked away, Mac asks Karen to be a substitute bridesmaid in a friend's wedding, so he doesn't have to show up alone. After being promised her heart's desire, she agrees and love ensues. 

His Temporary Assistant (Kensington Square Book 1) by Taryn Quinn


A Grumpy Boss Romantic Comedy. His Temporary Assistant is a standalone office romantic comedy set in small-town Kensington Square, which is near Crescent Cove. It has a happily-ever-after ending and no cliffhanger.

Don't Start Now by Tara September 


Two at odds journalists are assigned a travel piece onboard a new cruise ship. However, there is a room mix-up and an ex-boyfriend on board too. 

Pulitzer-prize-winning war journalist turned small-town newspaperman, Adam Seager, has given up a lot for his work, country, and family, but not this time. He knows what he wants, and it’s his coworker, Eve. But what happens when they are back on dry land? 

Did I miss one of your favorites? Comment below if so. 


Best Office Romance Novels to Read

Workplace Romance Themed Novels to add to your TBR pile
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3 Off-the-radar Vacation Spots in 2021

Are you looking for somewhere a little bit different to travel this summer? We have come up with a great selection of off-the-beaten-track or slightly less obvious options that offer a wide range of activities - including casino and betting fun. Add them to your 2021 bucket list!


Malta 


While you might be challenged to pinpoint Malta on a map, it’s definitely one for the bucket list. Situated between North Africa and Italy, this English-speaking EU Member State is the perfect place to spend a holiday vacation. Not only does it enjoy gorgeous weather all year round, but it’s steeped in history and intrigue. You can visit the fortified harbor cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Birgu, and the capital of Valletta. It’s also worth visiting Mdina, ‘The Silent City’ which dates from the medieval period and is also home to the ruins of a Roman villa.

The country is also known for its gambling. It’s home to several stunning land-based casinos, one of which is set among the fortifications of an ancient city. These are open and welcoming to tourists, but Malta is also renowned for its online gambling, with the Malta Gaming Authority being a respected commissioning body for online gambling. The country is also home to sites like FruitKings, which offers a range of slot game favorites from the top providers, such as Evolution, Blueprint, and NetEnt. The beauty of this is that you can sit on one of Malta’s stunning beaches or islands, and still play slot games from the comfort of your phone. What better way to relax and unwind while taking time out.

Malta has been used as a location for many big Hollywood movies such as Gladiator, Troy, Assassin’s Creed, By the Sea, Popeye, Munich, World War Z, and the Game of Thrones series. You can take yourself around the island, hunting out the locations that were used in a variety of the world’s most famous movies and shows.

Be sure and eat the ultimate Maltese street food, pastizzi, and these other 12 foods you must try in Malta.

Albania


You might not have considered Albania as a possible holiday destination, but not only is it open for US visitors - it’s also a gorgeous Balkan and Mediterranean country. Perched on the edge of the Adriatic and part of the Ionian Sea, Albania enjoys hundreds of kilometers of unspoiled beaches, rugged hiking trails, stunning mountainous scenery, and fascinating history. Home to hundreds of castles, a mini Acropolis, and a host of beautiful lakes, Albania is one of Europe’s hidden gems. 


The capital Tirana is cosmopolitan and vibrant with the highest ratio of cafes and bars per capita on the continent. You can shop, soak up the history and Balkan culture, take a cable car ride, or just sit back and enjoy Albanian coffee (which is super strong) and watch the world go by. Furthermore, the country is extremely safe. Street crime and harassment are almost unheard of and Albanians have sworn an ancient oath to respect and protect any guest. 

You can also travel to the north of the country and visit Mrizi i Zanave, a world-famous restaurant serving up traditional cuisine with a contemporary twist. While in the region, you can check out traditional fabric weaving studios like Artistike Zadrima, handmade silver filigree workshops, and even soap factories where the products are made with locally grown herbs like sage and lavender. 

But if you prefer something a bit more glitzy, Albania is home to two super-luxurious casinos that are situated in five-star resorts. This means you can hit the spa, dine on fine food, enjoy the pool, and then visit the casino in the evening while donning your best attire.


Barbados 


A bit closer to home than Albania and Malta, Barbados is open for business in 2021. Famed for its white sandy beaches, aquamarine waters, and laid-back vibe, it is known as one of the top holiday destinations in the world. But if beaches aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other things you can do.



For those that love gambling, while Barbados doesn't have casinos, it does have lots of other options. Slot machines are everywhere and are super popular with locals and tourists alike. You can also take part in fun lotteries that give you the chance to win various jackpots. Additionally, you can try your luck on the horses, something that is really popular with the local population! 

Barbados is great for horseback riding and exploring caves. In terms of the latter, Harrison’s Cave is full of waterfalls, pools, and beautiful rock formations just dying to be explored. It’s also worth getting out of the resort (the best of which is the Fairmont Royal Pavilion) and checking out some local cuisine. Broasted chicken, mangos and coconut, spicy and salty fish cakes, and plenty of rum punch is a great way to spend the day.

You should also be sure to visit Bridgetown which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating from 1628, the capital is home to more than 100,000. While there, you must visit the Nidhe Israel Synagogue, the various churches, the Barbados Museum, the Cheapside Market, and the harbor!

Caribbean or Mediterranean, you are sure to have a wonderful holiday full of culture, gambling, casino, food, sun, and fun!

Take an off-the-radar holiday in 2021 - 3 Vacation Spots to try


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Ideas to Turn Your Home Into Your Favorite Vacation Destination

The main reasons people go on vacation are for either relaxation or for an exciting, new experience. Although not many views can beat those of the exotic waters surrounding the islands of Seychelles, that doesn’t mean your home should not feel like a dream destination. Some of the perks of being on vacation can be easily enjoyed at home if the surroundings and the atmosphere are right. 

Here are a few ideas on how to easily revamp your house so that you can create a welcoming environment for relaxing vibes.


Organize Themed Evenings In 


One of the best things about going away is being able to attend various parties and events. Whether they are organized by the resort you are staying at or in a nearby club or restaurant. However, who says your living room space can’t be transformed into a Hawaiian beach bar, or become the host of a wine tasting experience similar to those in Tuscany? 

Another exciting idea involves turning your kitchen into a bar area and your living room into a fancy casino. All the people living with you could join in, if not, you can even play it online with your friends. On BonusFinder, for example, you can find online casinos that work with a minimum deposit, so that everyone that decides to play can try out various options. Then, once everyone is happy with their choice, the casino-themed night can begin. 


Update Your Inside Decor to Feel More Like a Resort 



If it’s too hot or too cold to be spending numerous hours outside, there are plenty of other options to revamp the inside of your home to resemble a resort. 

  • Add some oversized wall art.
  • Give your walls the island treatment (there are now stick and peel wall options). 
  • Go big with houseplants (real or fake).
  • Use crisp white linens (I'm all about Cozy Earth's bamboo sheets, providing the perfect sleeping temperature. It's a splurge, but worth it. I even bought a set for my mom. Get 50% off with the discount code IG_TARA50 ).
  • Set up a bar cart (you can switch up with the seasons).

Focus On the Outside Space 


The most drastic vacation change you can make to your home is to completely redecorate the outside space. When it comes to the outdoors, you have two options. You can either focus on 
designing a patio for a dreamy outside oasis or on turning the backyard into various entertaining zones. Of course, if your budget and space allow, you can even do both. The bottom line is, if done with style, the backyard can easily become your favorite spot on your property. 

An outdoor area with tables, chairs, benches, or garden sofas, is very inviting for one of the best activities when going abroad - al fresco dining. Eating outside always feels like a getaway and, if you don’t want to cook, you can just order the food and enjoy it on your patio. Moreover, you could even install a hammock and turn it into a reading spot. Add a few cozy cushions, a blanket, and some lanterns, and it would invite you to reflect and relax.

Another idea if you're an outdoorsy type, you can transform the backyard into a campground with a fire pit, smores and tents. 
 


How to Turn Your Home into a Vacation Resort

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