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tea & crumpets anyone? we’re gearing up for downton abbey’s return!

It seems like ages since we’ve visited the regal halls of Downton Abbey. We’ve gotten over the devastation of last season‘s tragic ending, and are ready to don our long white gloves and lift our pinky fingers with the Crawley clan once more: Season four kicks off on PBS this Sunday, January 5th. To celebrate, we thought it might nice to add a little faded Edwardian charm to our homes — or menus. Here are a few ways you can give your own abbey a bit of Downton-ness.

1. Have a proper cup of tea like Lady Mary.


It amazes us how many people in America don’t know how to make a proper cup of tea. Restaurants are the worst culprits when they bring the teapot full of water and a cup with unopened tea bag on the side. You have to pour the boiling water directly onto the teabag, people! In the teapot! Also, as recommended at Yorkshire Tea‘s site, you should use two teabags per four cup pot. Let the tea brew about five minutes before serving. Having a dainty little cup like Mary’s to sip out of is nice as well. This Noritake Crestwood Gold China set has a very similar elegance.

2. Bake yourself a Bundt cake in a beautiful vintage pan.


The wall of copper cake and tart molds on display in the Downton Kitchen is enviable, but you can start your own today but doing a simple seplace on Etsy. Acquiring the pan is only half the step. Next you need to whip a lovely cake like Daisy, above. We have some favorites, like this peaches and cream cake, but this ginger one made with molasses and stout by Melissa Clark has been on our bake-soon list for sometime. How very, very British!

 3. Dine by candelabra light.


Few things could transport us to post-War England more than dining table lit by candelabra’s. This set from Hawksworth Eyres & Co are heirloom quality. But for a quick fix that won’t break the bank, try this one from Food Service Warehouse for less than $60.

Are you having a Downton viewing party at your home? Tell us how you are celebrating and what you’re looking forward to in the next season. For more inspiration, see our previous Downton posts here.


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sip & see: crazy for the kitchn’s downton abbey cocktails

Having just started season 2, I admit to being a happy passenger aboard the slow train to Downton Abbey. While the delay means I can’t talk about it with anyone, it has also afforded me the great fortune of stumbling upon the Kitchn’s Downton Abbey Cocktails series, which dedicates a drink to each Crawley daughter. Concocted by Nancy Mitchell of The Backyard Bartender, each recipe is fairly simple, containing only three ingredients each for Edith and Sybil, and four for Lady Mary, perhaps the most complex of the three. I’m excited by the splash of gin in Sybil’s St. Germain and Champagne combo, but for the sake of reporting will honestly will have to try all of them, probably multiple times, while I finish season 2. Have you been watching? Which daughter and drink is your favorite?

Season 1of Downton Abbey is streaming on Netflix and Season 2 is available on, but hurry; it expires 3/6!

From our partners

seen on downton abbey: edwardian-era bar cart

I made it through the first two seasons of “Justified” on DVD in time to start watching season three on FX. Now I’m doing my best to get caught up on “Downton Abbey.” While it’s hard to compare a series set in Harlan, Kentucky with one set in North Yorkshire, the writing and acting on both is exceptional. On “Justified,” it’s usually the outside shots that capture my fancy. Big craggy rocks, mountains, sweeping shots of fields. But on the Abbey set? It’s all about the interior. Although I could live in the library with the floor to ceiling shelves and layered rugs, the set piece that really caught my attention was the table used as a bar. When bar carts are all the rage, it’s funny to see the same idea (sans wheels) in a period piece. The only requirement, it seems, would be finding a table that was slim enough without being too tall. An Edwardian table on Ruby Lane for $4,500 and a less ornate table on eBay for under $400 look to be the perfect fit. Of course, if you decide to go the Abbey route with your bar, plain old bottles will never do.

From our partners

going retro for a mad men viewing party

We don’t know which is more exciting, seeing the Hunger Games at the movies this weekend or finally getting Don Draper back into our Sunday nights with the return of Mad Men on AMC. True, neither will quite fill the cultural void left after the end of Downton Abbey, but we’re still psyched none the less. As far as menus go, deviled eggs and martinis sound much more tasty than roasted squirrels. We might be leaning more towards a retro party than a post-apocalypical one. For inspiration on a Mad Men themed party, check out this gallery on iVillage food (thanks @LisaCericola!).

From our partners

kinda genius: tether stemware protectors

True story: I just spent the entirety of my viewing of the season 2 finale of Downton Abbey (Done at last! Let’s chat!) accompanied by the sweet stylings of a loose bowl clunk-clunk-clunking around in a running dishwasher. While I usually approach dishwasher loading as an art form, this kind of rogue dish shennanigans is just one of the reasons I always hand wash my wine glasses – I’m just too paranoid that they’ll clink together and shatter. Once again, Pinterest has come to my rescue by introducing me to Tether: a plastic rod that affixes to the posts in the dishwasher to keep stemware in place. Genius! $12.99 for four at

For more day-saving ideas, check out Real Simple’s “Problem-Solving Products” board on Pinterest.

Want more great dishwashing advice? See this post to see and share!

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