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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Welcome to Camellia’s Teahouse…

Milk and two sugars takes on a much cooler, health-conscious twist, as we discovered at Camellia's Teahouse in Soho.

Written by Katie Byrne

Book Jacket for Eradicating Ecocide, information pills information pills

What is Ecocide?
Has the formation of laws and legislation had unforeseen and possibly disastrous consequences?
Has the protection of the environment been abandoned by the law?
What can we do?

These are the questions Eradicating Ecocide, generic a new book by Polly Higgins sets out to answer.

Polly Higgins is a Barrister, viagra a Human Right’s Lawyer and author of Eradicating Ecocide. On her blog The Lazy Environmentalist Higgins defines Ecocide as the “damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.

Published in 2010 by Shepeard-Walwyn, Eradicating Ecocide, is a carefully considered polemic on the consequences of leaving environmental concerns at the sidelines, (the destruction of the rainforest, tar sands, deep sea drilling, Global Warming) in favour of infinite growth and unregulated capitalism. Higgins believes that the “law as it currently stands is not fit for purpose. It rarely protects the wider earth community interests of both people and planet. Instead, all too often it is the interests of the very the few that are protected, of those with ownership. This causes great injustice at both micro and macro level.” In short, Eradicating Ecocide is a call to arms, an appeal to the protection of the environment in the face of wanton and needless destruction.

Humanity is at a Crossroads by Abi Daker

Eradicating Ecocide opens with a contemporary reminder about the consequences of runaway ecocide and unregulated industry; the 2010 BP Oil Spill in the Mexican Gulf. Higgins’ arguement implies that as it stands both law making and the planet are being held to ransom by profit-driven corporations.

For Higgins the environment is all too often neglected in favour of short term profit, pointing out that part of the problem lies with “Governments, driven by the obsessive pursuit of economic gain, often undervalue subsequent ecological losses that can arise out of profit making activity… Myopic financial policy takes preeminence over longer term damage and destruction, by keeping the focus firmly on the short-term, problems mouth for others to address at some indeterminate later date.” Not only do we need to fight big business, we need to take the challenge to our own blindfolded Governments.

In her calm and through exploration of the unforeseen consequences of law making,? Eradicating Ecocide takes us through the convoluted changes in law and the pivotal court cases that lead to the development (in law) of corporations being held to account for damages made to the environment as “fictional persons” The example Higgins cites is the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad trial of 1886, where for “the first time that the word ‘person’ in the fourteenth Amendment was presumed to include corporations.” See Eradicating Ecocide for further details on the outcome of this pre-trial statement.

Illustration by Gabriel Ayala

Eradicating Ecocide also focuses on the development of ‘compromise laws’ by big business and the law courts in order to pacify pollution concerns. The subsequently formed ‘compromise legislation’ merely side steps environmental responsibility whilst failing to provide any real deterrence against the destruction of the planet. The biggest failure in compromise recently was at Cop 15 in Copenhagen. Desperate to end the conference with some form of good news, politicians’ delivered the “The Copenhagen Accord“. As this document is not legally binding, nothing within this treaty has yet to be implemented in local or worldwide politics, as of yet there is no binding successor to equally compromised Kyoto Protocol.

For myself, em>Eradicating Ecocide highlights that the problem with placing profit over all else is that monetary worth becomes the barometer against which all ‘worth’ is measured. Subsequently the earth and its ‘resources’ become a mere asset. Once the earth is seen as an asset, it ceases to be alive and once it ‘dies’ it becomes easier for the bio habitat to be seen as singular commodities (a trend which began with the Industrial Revolution). Subsequently we, the citizens of the planet, must fight to save the planet as a living organisim in its entirety, not solely the sections we personally inhabit.

The Destruction of the Tar Sands by Gareth A Hopkins

A brave book, Eradicating Ecocide takes the stance that by allowing the “commercial exploration and destruction of resources” to take “precedence over the obligation of the sacred trust”, corporations have become the colonisers of the 21st Century. Within the UN framework, the concept behind the sacred trust is to ask for “community interests to be placed over private and corporate decisions.” (p.57)

Eradicating Ecocide is an inspiring, informative read and an incredible history lesson on the role of law (so often seemingly abstract from our lives) in shaping our society, our business and the way we view the earth. Personally, the book is incredible for its demand that we use that which is already present within the UN – The development of International Criminal Law in the wake of World War Two and the concept of Trusteeship- to implement these necessary changes. Because the framework for Crimes against Peace already exists, Ecocide could be included without the need to create any new organisations.

The book’s brilliance is that it functions as a template for what both citizen and state can do to protect the environment. Eradicating Ecocide contains useful advice on how we, citizens of the world can implement change. For example, by joining existing climate change networks or starting your own, we can apply pressure on Governments to recognizing Ecocide as a breach against peace. We have the power of the multiple and the power of the streets on our side. With an ever-increasing population, we need to accept the earths resources’ are finite and move away from a market driven economy.

Illustration by Gabriel Ayala

For an update on the Climate Change debate in the wake of Cop 15, I recommend reading Higgins’ account of Cancun (Cop 16) and her summery of the RED++ deal; “The commercialisation of forests into the hands of the corporate sector to make money out of supposedly saving forests.”

A brilliant book and one that needs to be read, especially in the light of the recent news that oil companies plan to resume deep sea drilling.

If middle England can stand up against the Coalition’s plans to sell 15% of British Forests, we can ALL stand up against a destruction on a far wider scale -the loss of “the Earth’s lungs”- too.

For further information please visit the book’s website: This is Ecocide’s.

Book Jacket for Eradicating Ecocide, sale

What is Ecocide?
Has the formation of laws and legislation had unforeseen and possibly disastrous consequences?
Has the protection of the environment been abandoned by the law?
What can we do?

These are the questions Eradicating Ecocide, illness a new book by Polly Higgins sets out to answer.

Polly Higgins is a Barrister, shop a Human Right’s Lawyer and author of Eradicating Ecocide. On her blog The Lazy Environmentalist Higgins defines Ecocide as the “damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.

Published in 2010 by Shepeard-Walwyn, Eradicating Ecocide, is a carefully considered polemic on the consequences of leaving environmental concerns at the sidelines, (the destruction of the rainforest, tar sands, Oil, Global Warming) in favour of infinite growth and unregulated capitalism. Higgins believes that the “law as it currently stands is not fit for purpose. It rarely protects the wider earth community interests of both people and planet. Instead, all too often it is the interests of the very the few that are protected, of those with ownership. This causes great injustice at both micro and macro level.” In short, Eradicating Ecocide is a call to arms, an appeal to the protection of the environment in the face of wanton and needless destruction.

Humanity is at a Crossroads by Abi Daker

Eradicating Ecocide opens with a contemporary reminder about the consequences of runaway ecocide and unregulated industry; the 2010 BP Oil Spill in the Mexican Gulf. Higgins’ arguement implies that as it stands both law making and the planet are being held to ransom by profit-driven corporations.

For Higgins the environment is all too often neglected in favour of short term profit, pointing out that part of the problem lies with “Governments, driven by the obsessive pursuit of economic gain, often undervalue subsequent ecological losses that can arise out of profit making activity… Myopic financial policy takes preeminence over longer term damage and destruction, by keeping the focus firmly on the short-term, problems mouth for others to address at some indeterminate later date.” Not only do we need to fight big business, we need to take the challenge to our own blindfolded Governments.

In her calm and through exploration of the unforeseen consequences of law making,? Eradicating Ecocide takes us through the convoluted changes in law and the pivotal court cases that lead to the development (in law) of corporations being held to account for damages made to the environment as “fictional persons” The example Higgins cites is the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad trial of 1886, where for “the first time that the word ‘person’ in the fourteenth Amendment was presumed to include corporations.” See Eradicating Ecocide for further details on the outcome of this pre-trial statement.

Illustration by Gabriel Ayala

Eradicating Ecocide also focuses on the development of ‘compromise laws’ by big business and the law courts in order to pacify pollution concerns. The subsequently formed ‘compromise legislation’ merely side steps environmental responsibility whilst failing to provide any real deterrence against the destruction of the planet. The biggest failure in compromise recently was at Cop 15 in Copenhagen. Desperate to end the conference with some form of good news, politicians’ delivered the “The Copenhagen Accord“. As this document is not legally binding, nothing within this treaty has yet to be implemented in local or worldwide politics, as of yet there is no binding successor to equally compromised Kyoto Protocol.

For myself, em>Eradicating Ecocide highlights that the problem with placing profit over all else is that monetary worth becomes the barometer against which all ‘worth’ is measured. Subsequently the earth and its ‘resources’ become a mere asset. Once the earth is seen as an asset, it ceases to be alive and once it ‘dies’ it becomes easier for the bio habitat to be seen as singular commodities (a trend which began with the Industrial Revolution). Subsequently we, the citizens of the planet, must fight to save the planet as a living organisim in its entirety, not solely the sections we personally inhabit.

The Destruction of the Tar Sands by Gareth A Hopkins

A brave book, Eradicating Ecocide takes the stance that by allowing the “commercial exploration and destruction of resources” to take “precedence over the obligation of the sacred trust”, corporations have become the colonisers of the 21st Century. Within the UN framework, the concept behind the sacred trust is to ask for “community interests to be placed over private and corporate decisions.” (p.57)

Eradicating Ecocide is an inspiring, informative read and an incredible history lesson on the role of law (so often seemingly abstract from our lives) in shaping our society, our business and the way we view the earth. Personally, the book is incredible for its demand that we use that which is already present within the UN – The development of International Criminal Law in the wake of World War Two and the concept of Trusteeship- to implement these necessary changes. Because the framework for Crimes against Peace already exists, Ecocide could be included without the need to create any new organisations.

The book’s brilliance is that it functions as a template for what both citizen and state can do to protect the environment. Eradicating Ecocide contains useful advice on how we, citizens of the world can implement change. For example, by joining existing climate change networks or starting your own, we can apply pressure on Governments to recognizing Ecocide as a breach against peace. We have the power of the multiple and the power of the streets on our side. With an ever-increasing population, we need to accept the earths resources’ are finite and move away from a market driven economy.

Illustration by Gabriel Ayala

For an update on the Climate Change debate in the wake of Cop 15, I recommend reading Higgins’ account of Cancun (Cop 16) and her summery of the RED++ deal; “The commercialisation of forests into the hands of the corporate sector to make money out of supposedly saving forests.”

A brilliant book and one that needs to be read, especially in the light of the recent news that oil companies plan to resume deep sea drilling.

If middle England can stand up against the Coalition’s plans to sell 15% of British Forests, we can ALL stand up against a destruction on a far wider scale -the loss of “the Earth’s lungs”- too.

For further information please visit the book’s website: This is Ecocide’s.

Book Jacket for Eradicating Ecocide, treat

What is Ecocide?
Has the formation of laws and legislation had unforeseen and possibly disastrous consequences?
Has the protection of the environment been abandoned by the law?
What can we do?

These are the questions Eradicating Ecocide, remedy a new book by Polly Higgins sets out to answer.

Polly Higgins is a Barrister, link a Human Right’s Lawyer and author of Eradicating Ecocide. On her blog The Lazy Environmentalist Higgins defines Ecocide as the “damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.

Published in 2010 by Shepeard-Walwyn, Eradicating Ecocide, is a carefully considered polemic on the consequences of leaving environmental concerns at the sidelines, (the destruction of the rainforest, tar sands, Oil, Global Warming) in favour of infinite growth and unregulated capitalism. Higgins believes that the “law as it currently stands is not fit for purpose. It rarely protects the wider earth community interests of both people and planet. Instead, all too often it is the interests of the very the few that are protected, of those with ownership. This causes great injustice at both micro and macro level.” In short, Eradicating Ecocide is a call to arms, an appeal to the protection of the environment in the face of wanton and needless destruction.

Humanity is at a Crossroads by Abi Daker

Eradicating Ecocide opens with a contemporary reminder about the consequences of runaway ecocide and unregulated industry; the 2010 BP Oil Spill in the Mexican Gulf. Higgins’ arguement implies that as it stands both law making and the planet are being held to ransom by profit-driven corporations.

For Higgins the environment is all too often neglected in favour of short term profit, pointing out that part of the problem lies with “Governments, driven by the obsessive pursuit of economic gain, often undervalue subsequent ecological losses that can arise out of profit making activity… Myopic financial policy takes preeminence over longer term damage and destruction, by keeping the focus firmly on the short-term, problems mouth for others to address at some indeterminate later date.” Not only do we need to fight big business, we need to take the challenge to our own blindfolded Governments.

In her calm and through exploration of the unforeseen consequences of law making,? Eradicating Ecocide takes us through the convoluted changes in law and the pivotal court cases that lead to the development (in law) of corporations being held to account for damages made to the environment as “fictional persons” The example Higgins cites is the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad trial of 1886, where for “the first time that the word ‘person’ in the fourteenth Amendment was presumed to include corporations.” See Eradicating Ecocide for further details on the outcome of this pre-trial statement.

Illustration by Gabriel Ayala

Eradicating Ecocide also focuses on the development of ‘compromise laws’ by big business and the law courts in order to pacify pollution concerns. The subsequently formed ‘compromise legislation’ merely side steps environmental responsibility whilst failing to provide any real deterrence against the destruction of the planet. The biggest failure in compromise recently was at Cop 15 in Copenhagen. Desperate to end the conference with some form of good news, politicians’ delivered the “The Copenhagen Accord“. As this document is not legally binding, nothing within this treaty has yet to be implemented in local or worldwide politics, as of yet there is no binding successor to equally compromised Kyoto Protocol.

For myself, em>Eradicating Ecocide highlights that the problem with placing profit over all else is that monetary worth becomes the barometer against which all ‘worth’ is measured. Subsequently the earth and its ‘resources’ become a mere asset. Once the earth is seen as an asset, it ceases to be alive and once it ‘dies’ it becomes easier for the bio habitat to be seen as singular commodities (a trend which began with the Industrial Revolution). Subsequently we, the citizens of the planet, must fight to save the planet as a living organisim in its entirety, not solely the sections we personally inhabit.

The Destruction of the Tar Sands by Gareth A Hopkins

A brave book, Eradicating Ecocide takes the stance that by allowing the “commercial exploration and destruction of resources” to take “precedence over the obligation of the sacred trust”, corporations have become the colonisers of the 21st Century. Within the UN framework, the concept behind the sacred trust is to ask for “community interests to be placed over private and corporate decisions.” (p.57)

Eradicating Ecocide is an inspiring, informative read and an incredible history lesson on the role of law (so often seemingly abstract from our lives) in shaping our society, our business and the way we view the earth. Personally, the book is incredible for its demand that we use that which is already present within the UN – The development of International Criminal Law in the wake of World War Two and the concept of Trusteeship- to implement these necessary changes. Because the framework for Crimes against Peace already exists, Ecocide could be included without the need to create any new organisations.

The book’s brilliance is that it functions as a template for what both citizen and state can do to protect the environment. Eradicating Ecocide contains useful advice on how we, citizens of the world can implement change. For example, by joining existing climate change networks or starting your own, we can apply pressure on Governments to recognizing Ecocide as a breach against peace. We have the power of the multiple and the power of the streets on our side. With an ever-increasing population, we need to accept the earths resources’ are finite and move away from a market driven economy.

Illustration by Gabriel Ayala

For an update on the Climate Change debate in the wake of Cop 15, I recommend reading Higgins’ account of Cancun (Cop 16) and her summery of the RED++ deal; “The commercialisation of forests into the hands of the corporate sector to make money out of supposedly saving forests.”

A brilliant book and one that needs to be read, especially in the light of the recent news that oil companies plan to resume deep sea drilling.

If middle England can stand up against the Coalition’s plans to sell 15% of British Forests, we can ALL stand up against a destruction on a far wider scale -the loss of “the Earth’s lungs”- too.

For further information please visit the book’s website: This is Ecocide’s.

Book Jacket for Eradicating Ecocide, ampoule

What is Ecocide?
Has the formation of laws and legislation had unforeseen and possibly disastrous consequences?
Has the protection of the environment been abandoned by the law?
What can we do?

These are the questions Eradicating Ecocide, order a new book by Polly Higgins sets out to answer.

Polly Higgins is a Barrister, a Human Right’s Lawyer and author of Eradicating Ecocide. On her blog The Lazy Environmentalist Higgins defines Ecocide as the “damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.

Published in 2010 by Shepeard-Walwyn, Eradicating Ecocide, is a carefully considered polemic on the consequences of leaving environmental concerns at the sidelines, (the destruction of the rainforest, tar sands, Oil, Global Warming) in favour of infinite growth and unregulated capitalism. Higgins believes that the “law as it currently stands is not fit for purpose. It rarely protects the wider earth community interests of both people and planet. Instead, all too often it is the interests of the very the few that are protected, of those with ownership. This causes great injustice at both micro and macro level.” In short, Eradicating Ecocide is a call to arms, an appeal to the protection of the environment in the face of wanton and needless destruction.

Humanity is at a Crossroads by Abi Daker

Eradicating Ecocide opens with a contemporary reminder about the consequences of runaway ecocide and unregulated industry; the 2010 BP Oil Spill in the Mexican Gulf. Higgins’ arguement implies that as it stands both law making and the planet are being held to ransom by profit-driven corporations.

For Higgins the environment is all too often neglected in favour of short term profit, pointing out that part of the problem lies with “Governments, driven by the obsessive pursuit of economic gain, often undervalue subsequent ecological losses that can arise out of profit making activity… Myopic financial policy takes preeminence over longer term damage and destruction, by keeping the focus firmly on the short-term, problems mouth for others to address at some indeterminate later date.” Not only do we need to fight big business, we need to take the challenge to our own blindfolded Governments.

In her calm and through exploration of the unforeseen consequences of law making,? Eradicating Ecocide takes us through the convoluted changes in law and the pivotal court cases that lead to the development (in law) of corporations being held to account for damages made to the environment as “fictional persons” The example Higgins cites is the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad trial of 1886, where for “the first time that the word ‘person’ in the fourteenth Amendment was presumed to include corporations.” See Eradicating Ecocide for further details on the outcome of this pre-trial statement.

Illustration by Gabriel Ayala

Eradicating Ecocide also focuses on the development of ‘compromise laws’ by big business and the law courts in order to pacify pollution concerns. The subsequently formed ‘compromise legislation’ merely side steps environmental responsibility whilst failing to provide any real deterrence against the destruction of the planet. The biggest failure in compromise recently was at Cop 15 in Copenhagen. Desperate to end the conference with some form of good news, politicians’ delivered the “The Copenhagen Accord“. As this document is not legally binding, nothing within this treaty has yet to be implemented in local or worldwide politics, as of yet there is no binding successor to equally compromised Kyoto Protocol.

For myself, Eradicating Ecocide highlights that the problem with placing profit over all else is that monetary worth becomes the barometer against which all ‘worth’ is measured. Subsequently the earth and its ‘resources’ become a mere asset. Once the earth is seen as an asset, it ceases to be alive and once it ‘dies’ it becomes easier for the bio habitat to be seen as singular commodities (a trend which began with the Industrial Revolution). Subsequently we, the citizens of the planet, must fight to save the planet as a living organisim in its entirety, not solely the sections we personally inhabit.

The Destruction of the Tar Sands by Gareth A Hopkins

A brave book, Eradicating Ecocide takes the stance that by allowing the “commercial exploration and destruction of resources” to take “precedence over the obligation of the sacred trust”, corporations have become the colonisers of the 21st Century. Within the UN framework, the concept behind the sacred trust is to ask for “community interests to be placed over private and corporate decisions.” (p.57)

Eradicating Ecocide is an inspiring, informative read and an incredible history lesson on the role of law (so often seemingly abstract from our lives) in shaping our society, our business and the way we view the earth. Personally, the book is incredible for its demand that we use that which is already present within the UN – The development of International Criminal Law in the wake of World War Two and the concept of Trusteeship- to implement these necessary changes. Because the framework for Crimes against Peace already exists, Ecocide could be included without the need to create any new organisations.

The book’s brilliance is that it functions as a template for what both citizen and state can do to protect the environment. Eradicating Ecocide contains useful advice on how we, citizens of the world can implement change. For example, by joining existing climate change networks or starting your own, we can apply pressure on Governments to recognizing Ecocide as a breach against peace. We have the power of the multiple and the power of the streets on our side. With an ever-increasing population, we need to accept the earths resources’ are finite and move away from a market driven economy.

Illustration by Gabriel Ayala

For an update on the Climate Change debate in the wake of Cop 15, I recommend reading Higgins’ account of Cancun (Cop 16) and her summery of the RED++ deal; “The commercialisation of forests into the hands of the corporate sector to make money out of supposedly saving forests.”

A brilliant book and one that needs to be read, especially in the light of the recent news that oil companies plan to resume deep sea drilling.

If middle England can stand up against the Coalition’s plans to sell 15% of British Forests, we can ALL stand up against a destruction on a far wider scale -the loss of “the Earth’s lungs”- too.

For further information please visit the book’s website: This is Ecocide’s.

Lubna Madan by Alexandra Rolfe
Lubna Madan by Alexandra Rolfe

It was three minutes past ten, dosage meaning I was three minutes late (as ever…) for my meeting at Camellia’s Teahouse in Soho. As the bus crawled another inch up the Strand, troche I began to wonder if I would ever get there in respectable time (and also if the lady sitting in front of me was wearing a toupee – yes, viagra 60mg people, a toupee – but that’s entirely beside the point).

I hopped off the 23 on Regent Street, sauntered down the ever-charming Carnaby Street and after a few minutes of genuine confusion and cursing myself for not planning ahead better – my general view before visiting somewhere new is ‘hey, I don’t need to look at a map: I know the area, how hard can it be?’ – I finally found Camellia’s, nestled on the top floor of an outdoors shopping precinct.

KatieByrne
Photography by Ajit Madan

Before Lubna Madan bought the premises with her brother Ajit in 2007, the shop was a vintage clothing store, and the likes of Amy Winehouse used to pop in to browse. Indeed, Amy came into Camellia’s on the shop’s first day of opening (‘She didn’t buy anything,’ Lubna tells me quickly.) Other famous visitors include actor Jonathan Rhys Meyer and Shizuyo Yamasaki and Chinatsu Wakatsin, two of Japan’s biggest stars who loved it so much that Camellia’s is now featured in Japanese guidebooks of London. Situated near a stone’s throw from the raucous crowds of Regent and Oxford Street, Camellia’s is to the thirsty shopper, I imagine, rather like a waterhole to a lost explorer in the desert. Except cleaner, and with friendly staff and chairs.

If, like me, you are a bit of a tea addict, chances are you will be stunned into silence when you first step into Camellia’s. The bookcases containing around 120 different jars of tea were so impressive that they put me in mind of the library in Beauty and the Beast, and each caddy was neatly labelled, listing the benefits of the tea enclosed.

Tea by Ashley Fauguel
Illustration by Ashley Fauguel.

Alas, I didn’t have the chance to be stunned into silence – although I’m pretty sure there were at least three seconds when I stood motionless with my mouth hanging open – as I was instantly meeted and greeted (well, it sounds better than ‘met and gret’) by Lubna, Ajit and their P.R. chap Ian. Ian left shortly afterwards, and I began to quiz the Madans about their business, starting with the most difficult question first.

‘What’s your favourite tea?’ I asked, with a challenging raise of the eyebrow. Paxman, eat your heart out.

Surprisingly enough, they were both able to answer; Ajit plumped for White Apricot (which I tasted a cup of – trust me, it’s delicious) and Lubna opted for Beautiful Skin tea, a tasty blend of rosebuds, elderflower and a host of other yummy goodies. Lubna and Ajit talked me through some of their most popular teas, some of which are believed to help medical ailments such as stress (Bobby Marley blend), acne (the afore-mentioned Beautiful Skin tea) and a huge range of other problems.

AjitMadan
Photography by Katie Byrne

All of the teas are blended by Lubna herself, who, with a background in homeopathy, has an extremely vast knowledge of the health benefits of everything she puts into her teas. ‘All the recipes are my own,’ she tells me. ‘Tea excites me – it’s my passion. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night shaking, as I’ll have just dreamt up a new recipe.’

There are also slabs of cake, slices of pie and quiche, sandwiches and other teatimes favourites available – some of which are made with tea (e.g. green tea muffins). Alas, my steely Lent resolution meant that I restrained myself, but if you visit then please do have some cake on my behalf.

Tea House by Madi
Tea House by Madi

Ajit and Lubna then asked me if I’d like to try making my own blend. I began nodding so enthusiastically that I must have looked like one of those toy dogs that sit in the back of cars.

Armed with a spatula and a dozen or so different teas, I began to concoct my ‘Kay-tea’. A bit of lavender…a scoop of ‘Very Berry’…some lemon peel…a pinch of star anise…a bit of liquorice…a touch of rosehip… Basically I got a little carried away and used a bit of everything. Once I had finished – i.e. there was nothing left for me to use – Ajit took the blend away to brew it. Three minutes later, he returned.

Tea
Photography by Ajit Madan

I was a little nervous. What if it tasted awful? Then I could mark tea-making as yet another career that I would never be able to pursue (I am still a little tender after my GCSE Chemistry teacher told me that my ‘dream’ of being a dentist was impossible owing to my scientific ineptitude. And I’ll never forget the time I got rejected following a job interview at Woolworths). Ajit poured us each a cupful and I tentatively took a sip.

I was very pleasantly surprised – it was lovely; or, to use my original verdict of it, ‘Ribena-y’. It was indeed fruity, but I could pick up the other flavours too meaning that it was a real taste-sensation. The cherry on top was that Ajit and Lubna liked it too!

I have to be perfectly honest. I loved the shop, and if I lived closer I would probably become an irritatingly frequent customer. I am 100% behind any company that is brave enough to stick to its own guns and refuse to conform to what the masses dictate (such as The People’s Supermarket), and I think Camellia’s really does make a refreshing change: expertise, personality and affordability, all under one roof.

Whereas I am normally more than happy to swing by Starbucks for a green tea (although Starbucks green tea never really tastes that green…) I really relish the idea of tea being an event rather than just something that comes with a paper cup and a little wooden stick. Camellia’s, with its vintage china, acres of choice and emphasis on health and well-being, is a million miles away from the current chain-coffeehouses. You should definitely visit – I think it would be just your cup of tea.

Camellia’s Teahouse can be found on the Top Floor, 2.12 Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, London ?W1B 5PW

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