ness talks about life

how to make a cup of tea

I’ve discussed the Art of Making a Mug with fellow countrywomen (and found that some pour the milk first and the water after *shudder* and others scald the teapot before beginning the brew etc etc) and have decided to throw in my penny’s worth.

Here, dear friends, is a true and definite guide to how I make a cuppa.

step one: assemble ingredients


Needed: A dodgy tin containing tea bags* (origin unknown, possibly from shop down the road).

A cup, most likely slightly tea stained

Milk, in my case, goat’s milk

A kettle

*Note to reader. The round tea bags are to be preferred to their weaker relatives, the pyramid tea bags. The shape is important. (No, really. It is).

step two, three and four: boil kettle, deposit tea bag into tea cup, pour boiling water into cup


Tip the boiling wrath onto the innocent tea bag. (Pouring directly onto the tea bag causes it to bleed more rapidly). Continue pouring until an inch or less (measurement could be grossly overestimated, hence the less) beneath the rim of the Chosen Vessel.

step five: add the milk


Do not overdo this step. Actually, as a point of fact, don’t underdo it either. Over brewed tea is awful and leads to a Wiggling Serpent of Discomfort in one’s unfortunate stomach. Overdoing makes it white and bland and boring.

step six and seven: be impatient, grab a teaspoon

I don’t like waiting for my tea to brew. Occasionally, I can leave it for say, ten seconds or perhaps even more than that (gasp!) but then I worry that I might be over brewing it and this is a genuine fear that grips me, my friends. 

This. Is. Tea.

On the most part, I fling brewing advice out of the window and wield a teaspoon.

behold! The ‘Teaspoon’

step eight: drain the tea bag of its life


Personally, I like my tea to be the colour of a medium sun tan. Take that spoon, fish for that bag and then push it against the side of the cup. Watch the last dregs of its life spiral out and colour your future drink. Desperately hope that you don’t split the tea bag with your fervour.

step nine: bin the tea bag

Fling the spent and tired bag into the bin. Take a moment to reflect on its sacrifice. Clean drops from its voyage from side to bin.

step ten: enjoy the tea of your labour


Reading, writing and living in general – all is made complete with a cuppa.

ness rambles, ness talks about life, ness writes about writing

Possibly Edible Creations, Deadlines and other such draconic nonsense

After a string of late nights and many hours spent staring at words until the words themselves lose their meaning (‘curse? cu-rse? c-ur-se? That’s not a word. Wait. Is it?’) I felt rather drained this morning.

The sun was bright and shining, and the sudden urge to sit in a coffee shop, drink coffee and read a nice comforting book seized me.

But then I realised that coffee shops contain coffee, chairs, toilets, food and people. I decided that the garden was a better – and quieter – option.

IMG_0804// pictured: a cup of tea, a pink Bible, Marcia Schuyler, by Grace Livingston Hill – ‘Tales of a Child Bride’ as it ought to be subtitled – and an edible creation entitled: Let Me Just Bung This In With That and I Might Have Overdone The Cinnamon’ //

It was quite a pleasant brunch. But then dark clouds appeared and I beat a graceful retreat. It started raining soon after, which prompted a hasty trip outside to retrieve the washing.

The Curse of Cackling Meadows is officially released tomorrow. I’ve decided that deadlines are actually quite useful things. As are dictionaries, without which I wouldn’t have learnt that ‘draconian’ doesn’t describe something as dragon-like. The correct word for that sort of thing is ‘draconic’.

Draconian means unusually cruel or severe, and derives from the Athenian statesman Draco and his severe set of rules. It is also the name of a Swedish Doom/Gothic Metal band.

You learn something new every day, and I managed to avoid describing a cloud as ‘draconian’, which would have odd. I mean, ‘a draconic cloud’ still sounds quite odd, but in context it’s perfectly fine.

Or so I like to tell myself.

ness rambles, ness talks about life

Existential Crises and such

outsideteaI made a cup of tea after work. With my warm cup of Beautiful Beverage in hand I stepped out into the garden. Not three steps outside, I paused.

“Why?” you ask.

Because the cup in my hand matched the outside world so perfectly. It had to be documented. A camara was snatched. Pictures were taken. I suffered through a brief existential crises because I was having a photo shoot with a cup of tea.

But I don’t regret it.

And now, I go to make one more cup of tea. (One needs support when writing about dragons, obviously.) But, I’m probably not going to take a photo of this one.

I have to have standards, after all …

books, ness talks about life, ness writes about writing

A Chat with C.B. Cook

Grab the beverage of your choice and settle down for a visit with C.B. Cook, debut author of Paralyzed Dreams, in which I cross-examine her on her favourite authors and on the always Very Important question of: tea or coffee?

This question will never not be important.

Are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of writer, or do you prefer to plan everything out?
I’m kind of both, actually. I have to have an outline of some sort, but I have trouble writing if it gets too detailed. I like to know where I’m going, but be able to dive in and just play around with the story as I go.
Tea or coffee?
Neither, really. But I’d have to say I think coffee would be better, as long as there’s lots of cream or sugar in it.
Do you have any favourite authors, if so – who?
The only question harder than this is the favorite book question. 😉 C.S. Lewis is definitely one of my favorites, along with H.G. Wells and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. My favorite modern authors include Ashlee Willis, Lisa Bergren, Melanie Dickerson, Marissa Meyer… the list goes on and on. 😉 You’re on there, too!
Aw, thank you! Now, what is your favourite genre to write in?
That’s a hard one, for me, at least. I’ve written in fantasy, contemporary, and a little science fiction. Contemporary is a lot of fun, but I’d definitely say fantasy is my favorite. But I really want to write a mystery, too.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs, definitely. We have a super adorable crazy dog, and I wouldn’t give her up for anything. 😀
Tell me a little bit about your brand-new book:
I wrote this book for my mom for Christmas a few years ago. I honestly don’t know how I came up with the idea, other than just trying to torture my characters. *sigh* But it’s a story about a volleyball player, Pam, who gets in a car accident. Her entire life has centered around playing volleyball, so when she finds out that she’s paralyzed, she gets angry at everyone… including God. Her whole life seems ruined, and her dreams are now paralyzed, just like she is.
Thank you very much for stopping by, and all the very best : )

C.B. Cook is a teen author with many short stories under her belt, and now a published novella, Paralyzed Dreams. She has been blogging for over a year and is working on writing a middle grade fantasy series. When she’s not balancing homework or writing, she can often be found messing around in Photoshop or talking to her dog. You can visit her at