“Respect people who find time for you in their busy schedule. But love people who never look at their schedule when you need them!”

 
Now I know what true friends mean. I cannot thank God enough, for gifting me such amazing friends. It is hard to imagine life without them now. They have been there for me every single time I needed them. They hear me when I need to say so many things, support me when I need someone to be on my side, hold my hand when I need guidance, hug me when I need some love and care, give me strength when I am feeling low, laugh with me when I want to share my happiness, they make me smile!
 
Everytime I want to thank them for being who they are, I am either speechless or so emotional that tears don’t stop rolling down my cheeks. Today, I want to tell them that they are very very special people in my life and I will attempt to do everything it takes, to keep our friendship special. I will always be there for them, wherever I am in this world. Below is a small poem which I read long time back and which touched my heart. I dedicate it to all of you guys..a small token of my appreciation. If any of you are reading this post, you know it is for you and that I truly mean every word from the bottom of my heart. I love this quote by Jane Austen:

 

“There is nothing I would not do for those who really are my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not in my nature.”
 

“I couldn’t find the right words
Nothing seemed to rhyme
To write something for you all
I think it will take time

 

Because when you have friends
That are very hard to find
There’s so much to say
Because you make everything alright

 

So I will tell you right now
exactly what I need to say
To show you how much I appreciate
You being there everyday

 

You’re worth more than anyone
even a million pounds
Because you always know what to say
When I am feeling down

 

You make me smile big smiles
And my days so very bright
And when I lose my way
You find me in the night

 

I sometimes wish I could explain
How much you mean to me
But its just not possible
To list a billion things

 

So I just wanted to say
I love you so so much
And I hope you never leave me
Promise to stay in touch”

In Julia Child’s words: “No one’s more important than people. In other words, Friendship is the most important thing, not career, not housework, or one’s fatigue. And it needs to be tended and nutured.”
 
Friends have become such an important part of my life that I like to grab any opportunity to spend time with them. Catching up over some tea and dainty looking sweet bites, is indeed a fabulous opportunity to have fun with your girlfriends. It is easy to put together and also looks very stylish and chic. Last time when I organized a tea party, it was a huge hit among the girls. We chatted, laughed and enjoyed the afternoon while munching our way to glory the pretty tartlets, homemade scones with devonshire cream and raspberry jam, cucumber and dill sandwiches along with some premium teas from my favorite tea retailer Ronnenfeldt.
 
Last week, I was excited when a really old friend called to say hello and to tell me that she was visiting my city for a couple of days. She is one of the closest I have. I get reminded of the famous quote from Sex and the City: May be our girlfriends are our SOULMATES and guys are just people to have fun with! Would you agree? 
 
This friend of mine is a creative soul and loves pretty, beautiful things around. I like her excitement and enthusiasm about small little details. She finds pleasures in simple things around us and her strong interest in aesthetics is always so refreshing. So when she was coming over after ages, I needed to do something more. Apart from putting together a small afternoon tea, I also made some tea favors for her. Got some crafty notebooks and a cookbook from her favorite author as tea favors. I collect cutouts from magazines which I often use to wrap gifts. To make these pretty and vintage looking favors, I wrapped the gifts with some local brown paper, pasted a vintage cut-out and added some crochet hand made flowers and a rough twine. The favors were ready in no time and looked beautiful! They would sure be a talking point of the party.
 
I also love setting up the table when I am expecting guests. All my friends also have that creative gene in them and hence they tend to appreciate a pretty table more. An effort appreciated is never a task and no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. So normally, the first thing which gets me excited about hosting a party at home is creating the mood around the table with different centerpieces, flowers vases, candles, frames, crafty ideas etc.
 
I used fresh blooms around the table to welcome spring and brighten up the grey tones of the table. Just some mason jars, small ikea buckets filled with roses, baby’s breath fillers and some pretty greens created magic around the table. If flowers were not that expensive in Dubai, I would fill my house with fresh flowers every single day. But I tend to forget that I live in a desert and everything here is imported so we don’t have the luxury to just pick flowers from the wild or grow them in our gardens. Well, not complaining..we still have access to things from around the world even though they come at a price.
 

Came across this cute quote the other day: “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy tea and that is one of the same thing!” I loved it. Sipping tea in a quiet corner with a good read is my favorite thing to do. They say that tea makes it easier and is so true! I need tea to change things I can and need wine to accept things that I can’t!
 
A conversation around a tea table is so much lighter, fun and creative at the same time. I believe in the power of tea. And thankfully, most of my friends do too.
 

Coming to the scones. Last time I tried scones, they came out little dry and not so crumbly. However, I came across this recipe from BBC Good Food and the scones were perfect. They were moist from inside and crisp from outside. They were crumbly and just melted in my mouth. This recipe is a must for all scone lovers who are little afraid of making them at home. The recipe is a classic scone recipe but one could twist it to their needs. Every time I use this recipe, the result is consistent and the scones are devoured by everyone.
 

So, we had a fun afternoon. As expected, the hand wrapped gifts were a highlight. She refused to open the favor because she thought that they were too pretty to be unwrapped. Well, I can only hope that she likes the inside as much as she liked the outside.
 
Afternoon was spent remembering good old days, laughing at our own stupidity while growing up, some confessions and of course wishing for the world to be a better place to live in with lots of good and genuine people in our lives, healthy and beautiful living. Such beautiful moments spent with amazing people strongly emphasizes the fact that growing old can be fun..if you do it with the right people!
 

I hope you’ll enjoy the scones and thank you once again for dropping by. I hope you enjoyed looking around. For more pretty updates, you could find me on Instagram, Facebook.
 
I would also love to hear from you about your friendships, favorite scone recipe or your idea of table settings..so do drop in a line in the comments section.
 
PS: I cannot find the author of the above poem online. So, in case the poem belongs to you, pls do let know as I would love to connect with you.
 

Classic Scones
Serves 8
Have a batch of scones on the table in 20 minutes with this foolproof recipe..moist crumbly scones every time
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
350g self-raising flour, plus more for dusting
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
85g butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp caster sugar
175ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
squeeze lemon juice
beaten egg, to glaze
Instructions
1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder, then mix. Add the butter, then rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.
2. Put the milk into a jug and heat in the microwave for about 30 secs until warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, then set aside for a moment. Put a baking sheet in the oven.
3. Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and combine it quickly with a cutlery knife – it will seem pretty wet at first. Scatter some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat into a round about 4cm deep.
4. Take a 5cm cutter (smooth-edged cutters tend to cut more cleanly, giving a better rise) and dip it into some flour. Plunge into the dough, then repeat until you have four scones. By this point you’ll probably need to press what’s left of the dough back into a round to cut out another four. Brush the tops with beaten egg, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.
5. Bake for 10 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking, generously topped with jam and clotted cream. If freezing, freeze once cool. Defrost, then put in a low oven (about 160C/fan140C/gas 3) for a few mins to refresh.
Notes
Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the milk sours it slightly, mimicking sharp-tasting buttermilk, often used in scones but sometimes tricky to find. The slightly acidic mix gives a boost to the raising agents in the flour and baking powder.
Adapted from BBC Good Food
Adapted from BBC Good Food
Swati Bansal Rao http://swatibansalrao.com/
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