That’s important for anyone who remains a Downton Abbey virgin. My dog groomer, Sequinette, of Fur Majesty NYC grooming, recently confessed to me that she hasn’t ever watched it. I know she’ll love it, so I said it to her and I say it to any of my readers who haven’t gone there with Downton… It’s waiting for you when you’re ready.
People are so into Downton for a ton of reasons. Here are some of the reasons I love it:
1. High drama: This show, like Empire, Nashville, Alias, Dallas (I went there with an 80s nighttime soap opera), loves to make 90 degree turns with its drama. By the end of an episode out of nowhere a character’s life will be changed forever. Also, like Buffy, the show’s writers are not afraid to kill off a beloved character, which amps the drama up 10 million percent. Scientifically proven high drama factor.
2. Vintage glamour: OMG the costumes! The hair! The sets. Downton the location (it’s set in some huge castle that is a real life place) is practically a character in the series.
The Dowager Countess (played by Maggie Smith) is my favorite character. Her one liners are amazing. “Don’t be defeatist dear, it’s very middle class.”
3. Class tension: There are not a lot of shows on television that address class in any way, even the ones that are set in working class surroundings don’t always discuss it. I love that they talk about it, and especially that the show over the seasons addresses changing times in England, that exploration of the division between “upstairs and downstairs” (the upper class and the serving class that served them) is actually pretty nuanced and ongoing.
4. English people experiencing feelings: Emotions aren’t something Brittish people are known for being comfortable with and it’s so fascinating watching characters who are supposed to suppress feelings having them. The actors are really great in Downton Abbey.
5. Shirley Maclaine! She shows up sometimes.
6. Tea passion: I literally always go make some tea while watching Downton because they remind me about tea and then I want to drink some.
So when Dara and I found a canister of GRANTHAM BLEND tea from The Republic of Tea at Bed Bath & Beyond last summer we were dumbfounded. Did we plop $12 on a caffeinated tea I probably wouldn’t like as much as PG Tips (because it is my hands-down favorite black tea why try something else). But the answer was, we love Downton Abbey and I figured it would be great to try it.
Then on a recent trip to BB&B* I found more Downton Teas! Their English Rose tea (based on the daughters Grantham) and their Estate Blend (an Earl Gray based on the Dowager Countess). After that score I knew I needed to Lesbian Tea Basket about it.
Here are the Downton Tea Blends I tried from The Republic of Tea.
English Rose Tea (delightful hibiscus rose blend) Grantham Breakfast Blend (a black tea basic–don’t be fooled it does not taste like ginger) Estate Blend (an Earl Gray that is the best vanilla black tea I’ve ever had–you can only get it at Cost Plus World Market OR the CPWM in the Bed Bath and Beyond)
You can watch all the seasons of Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime here in the States! And *sob* the upcoming season is going to be the last!
I think I love BB&B partially because of my triple B initials and partially because of the coupons and partially because I live in the city and it is kind of the best suburban style store and partially because of all the as seen on TV merch.
*We were at Bed Bath because I had coupons! I bought a $130 slow cooker/roaster/steamer thing for $80 on a gift card! I felt like the best Cooking Identified Femme Huntress when I scored that level of discount and used a gift card. I love coupons. I’ve been posting my recipe successes with the Ninja 3-in-1 on instagram.
If you want to buy your Downton Tea with a coupon, sign up for the Bed Bath & Beyond mailing list. The most valuable one for this I think would be to get the $5 off $15 coupon from the back of the catalog or use the 20% off coupons from the mailings or that you sometimes find in People Magazine. It’s like the best ongoing easter egg hunt when you have a BB&B gift card like I do and you want to ultra maximize your savings. Do you have BB&B money saving tips to share? Please comment!!! I love this game.
If you want to watch all of the episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket, my web series where I rate and review tea and reclaim tea parties for lesbians, clickie here!
I had so much great feedback from the first round of tea shipped out. People said it was "love in a cup," "totally delicious," and one person even said "Best tea I've ever had" about the Find Your Chill blend! Wow!!
Because I love to grieve by creating art, I thought that for this sale I would create two special blends to honor Prince. One caffeinated and one herbal tisane. I've heard a lot about his secret philanthropy since his death and am donating 20% of the proceeds from those blends to Yes We Code, a coding school empowering folks from low-opportunity backgrounds find success in the tech sector.
The flavor is Youthberry Wild Orange Blossom Blend with Rock Sugar Sample. The link I'm giving here has slightly different ingredients than the one I was given as part of Leo's tea stash divestment, so perhaps Teavana changed their blend? Now I have something else to investigate.
While I cast about looking for someone to collaborate on the sound editing for FemmeCast, I've been a little antsy to make media. I was struck with the divine spirit to share my recent passion for tea and my enduring passion for lesbianism in the form of totally DIY, low-tech videos. Mostly I am just frustrated with how hard it is to determine whether or not tea is any good from the box.
There are four episodes so far, with more to come as inspiration continues. I've instituted a rating system and occasionally have guest hosts.
So grab a cup of tea, cozy up to your computer and enjoy!