Leisured coziness

Tea and coffee await you at the Hearthside Inn, Bar Harbor, Maine. June 2012

“The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured coziness.” ― P.G. Wodehouse

Autumn is a wonderful season for tea lovers, and “leisured coziness” is a perfect description of what makes the bed-and-breakfast tea time so appealing. For those of us who are die-hard tea addicts, tea is a treat almost any time or anywhere. But an elegant, comfortably furnished inn on a crisp morning is hard to beat as a setting for the pleasant ritual of making and sipping tea.

Perhaps the only place that is better for such a simple indulgence is home– ours, or a friend’s . Pop a few fresh flowers into a bud vase and some bread into the toaster, and we can re-create the guest house feel in our own kitchens. The essential ingredient, of course, is taking the time to enjoy it properly. Maybe the allure of charming inns lies mostly in the fact that we take more time to relax in such settings. But why wait for a special occasion or a faraway place?

Today or sometime soon, make a date with yourself to spend a bit longer than usual on your tea or coffee break. Grab the novel you’re enjoying, or a colorful magazine, or re-read a recent letter or card from a friend. Sip as slowly as you like, with unlimited refills. If weather allows, open the windows to catch a bit of birdsong and a whiff of fresh air.

The combination of a little caffeine and some quiet, unhurried moments might jump start a droopy mood and energize the day. In any case, if you’re like me, you could use a bit more leisured coziness in your life. October is a perfect time to make it a priority!



  1. Knowing the phrase is that of Wodehouse, I nevertheless would like to tell you what a strange juxtaposition I see in the phrase, leisured coziness. I might suggest a few others to illustrate my feelings: accidental warfare; perfunctory treatise; or even the common suggestion (in 21st century society) casual intimacy. I Love well planned, carefully executed periods of coziness.

    • Eric, here’s a definition from Webster’s online dictionary: “Leisure: 1. freedom provided by the cessation of activities; especially time free from work or duties…”

      I don’t see the juxtaposition as strange at all. I can be quite cozy while cooking, cleaning, or going about other home chores, but such task-related coziness (though completely compatible with the rewarding “nesting” sensibilities they invoke) is of a completely different nature than that of the relaxing, task-free coziness I’m describing here. There is definitely a place for planning and careful execution (though you know what they say about “the best laid plans of mice and men…”) but there also is a place, and I would argue, a crucial one, for spontaneous enjoyment and leisurely rest.

      An added note re: planned coziness — you might find some of the recent popular works on the Danish practices related to hygge to be of special interest when putting together such plans. I think that leisure and planning are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

  2. Good morning, Julia!
    Several months ago, I had the romanticized notion that I’d like to grind my coffee beans by hand, rather than use a horrible, loud electric coffee grinder. It was so pleasant and fun – for the first few minutes ….
    So instead, I’ve been grabbing coffee at work because (ironically?) it’s less work.
    But maybe today I’ll put on some fuzzy slippers and take the time to grind my own. It tastes so much better!
    And all those silly documents and spread sheets can wait for a few more minutes. πŸ™‚

    • Susan, that’s the eternal paradox, isn’t it? It’s often summed up lately in the popular phrase “the perfect is the enemy of the good” — or as my friend Ashleigh Brilliant said many years ago, “It’s only because I want everything I do to be perfect that I never actually do anything.” πŸ™‚ I have the same dilemma re: loose tea vs. tea bags. But such a delicious dilemma to have, when compared to some of the no-win decisions I face! Put on those fuzzy slippers and grind those beans. I’m enjoying the virtual aroma from here. BTW I’m on your wavelength this morning — I decided to follow my own advice and brew a pot of loose-leaf tea!

  3. Amy

    What lovely thoughts. Enjoy your cups.

    • Thank you. HM sends her best, etc.. πŸ™‚

  4. Sheila

    Good morning, my friend. β˜•οΈ I enjoyed your post so much yesterday, took a virtual stroll over to Bar Harbor Tea Company, shopped, put a few items in my cart, and then came back to the real world! In that length of time, Fall has appeared at 428 and it’s fabulous. I hope you’ll have a good week and “smile and keep your chin up”! πŸ‘‹πŸ» Hi to Matt!

    • Thank you, Sheila. We are having a deliciously cool day here, too. Sunny and perfect for feeling cozy! It’s easier to keep my chin up when the weather gives my spirits a boost. πŸ™‚ Tell Walter that Juia says hi — and of course, to your other guys as well. Have a great week!

  5. HarryS

    Perhaps it’,s not so much the tea as it is the We.

    • I think you’re right about that!

  6. Leisured coziness is a rare treat indeed. I sit with my mug of coffee this morning in the dark and read your lovely words as the rain showers us slowly at the moment. I love this time of day more than any other. The world is just beginning to wake and move about while I enjoy a bit quiet time. Wishing you a wonderfilled weekend filled with cozy moments.

    • Marlene, I loved reading your brief description of early morning. It inspires me to try rising at very early hours more often. I’m naturally a late night to late morning sleeper, but I’ve had just enough of those magical (in my case, insomnia-induced) pre-dawn experiences to catch a bit of the enchantment you describe.

      • I have NEVER been able to sleep late. So sad in a way. But I do love my early mornings.

        • Marlene, Jeff was like that too, once he reached the age of about 30. In our early years together, we could really enjoy sleeping in on Saturdays, but in his case it was surely just a result of exhaustion from the rigors of dental school. I always envied his ability to get up while it was still dark and head out to work (even in the snowy winters of Ohio) without ever complaining. If the Circadian Rhythm Fairy could wave a wand and turn me into a morning person, I’d probably go for it. But as Kelly can tell you, I am a true night owl, for better or worse.

          • Both of my kids are. So was their dad. I’m just always the odd one out. πŸ™‚

            • Marlene, odd is often a great way to be, and this is one example!

  7. You’re singing my tune Julia! I’m all about leisurely mornings. I rarely dress before 10am and have a slight fear of being caught in my PJ’s late by a needy neighbour or the like. I rise when the kitties wake me for their morning lovefest. This consists of tummy rubs, head scratches, and lots of cat hair flying about. When I finally put my feet on the ground, I get a sweater on and they run halfway down the stairs. They always stop on the landing and look back to ensure I’m really up. I chime in with, “here we go!”, and we’re off! There’s kitty food dished out and in their minds, that’s #1. If it’s nice, I open the door so we can hear the birds. I make my first of two cafe-latte’s and catch up on-line with pals for a bit. At some point, I toast my raisin bread and watch a little local news. Somewhere around the crack of 10, I make my move on the day.
    This routine suits my late nights and as you pointed out to Marlene, also helps if I’m visiting you, LOL. Last night I was typing something for work at 2:30am…LOL. I should probably re-read it πŸ˜€ xoxo

    • K, I just loved reading the description of your morning, which sounds totally perfect, right down to the raisin bread (I’ll have to remember to pick some up next time you come). I promise I won’t keep you up so late this time!! We’ll set an alarm for midnight and play Cinderella, running to beat the deadline. πŸ˜€

  8. Leisured coziness! I like that, Julia.

    • Thanks, so do I. I need to prioritize it more often. πŸ™‚

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