Often on waking and peeling open an eye to check whether it is indeed morning and that sound of jiggling really is Finley, I picture a freshly poured cup of Earl Grey tea in order to swing my legs out of bed and start the machine turning. Those first sips remind me that all is well in the world. That fragrant curling scent remembering a thousand wakings. Grounding me in the day as I peel and chop, grind some nuts, spoon out yogurt, pack up lunches, find socks and listen to the relentless scraping of inexpert eight year old fingers learning the violin.
With tea in hand I do my best to remember that this is all play. Each soothing sip smooths out ripples in the fabric of morning. The familiar, the every day, chores and musts, I do these things because I love.
I love to play. I choose this morning, this tea, these chores and dance through them with a fragrant curl of steam in my heart.
Listen to that discordant violin. What a miracle that those hands, which were once as small as apricots, are now drawing a bow across some strings. When I see it this way my head fills up with the weight of my blessings and shoulders drop with relief.
Finley packs up his violin with a smile. 'I think I'm getting quite good at this' he muses to himself, 'I think I'll move on to guitar by year six'. I treasure his confidence like a cup of hot tea, holding it close to feel the warmth on my chest.
I like my tea with almond milk, it has a wonderful round flavour and can be made thick to use like cream (with chopped banana, fresh dates, pistachios and rosewater) or thinner to use in tea or for milkshakes and smoothies, or even just heated through, with a little cinnamon and nutmeg for a delicious and comforting bedtime drink (shot of brandy optional).
4oz flaked almonds (or whole almonds for a milk which you need to strain a little)
1-2 tsp honey
small pinch sea salt or Himalayan rock salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Spice or coffee grinder that will process wet ingredients
If you only have a small grinder as I do you will need to do this in two batches and then shake the whole lot together in a big jar.
Grind the flaked almonds with sea salt until they are very finely ground and starting to clump a bit - just a bit.
Add honey and vanilla and some of the water and grind again for about a minute to make a very thick creamy slush.
If you have a large grinder then add all of the rest of the water now and process again for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is completely smooth. If you have a small grinder, pour the slush into a jug with the remaining water and process in two batches (or make half the amount).
You shouldn't need to strain this nut milk as it's pretty fine, but you can get a little grit at the bottom of your tea, so if you like something completely grit free, strain through muslin or a fine sieve and keep in a jar in the fridge for up to three days.
Don't keep longer than three days or the honey may start to ferment with the nuts!