My Historically-Inspired Morning Routine

I’ve written before about my vintage-inspired routines, but lately, I’ve been finding myself going even further back in history for inspiration. Because the summer always makes me yearn for airy muslin dresses, I’ve been stuck in the Regency period lately. And because I never just limit myself to fashion or beauty, I’ve found the practices of the Regency period bleeding into my morning routine.

Since having a baby, the early morning is often the only time I get entirely to myself, and adding childcare to my morning routine has meant that I have to rise particularly early. While my hours may be more akin to that of a Regency servant, I’ve taken some inspiration from Regency middle and upper classes to carve out a few quiet moments to myself in the morning.

I rise between 5:30 and 6 a.m., and wash up. I shower every morning, although it is often a very quick shower to wash my body and face, while I keep my hair protected in a cap or turban. I spritz my clean skin with rosewater and apply a few drops of facial oil, put on a robe, and go into the kitchen.

One thing I’ve learned is that I no longer wake ravenous, so I don’t need to make a full breakfast immediately upon rising. In true historical fashion, I’ve started eating my breakfast around 10 a.m. in my office. But I need something to get me through my commute, so I’ve been making a cup of drinking chocolate. I’ll share more about my particular recipe a little further on, but while my chocolate boils, I usually have enough time to prepare the few things I need to bring to work for my breakfast and lunch: some sliced bread and cheese, a couple boiled eggs, some fruit, and a salad.

To make my chocolate, I bring water to a boil, add chopped chocolate, spices ground in my mortar and pestle, and sugar. I stir until the chocolate melts, and then bring it to a simmer. Then I remove it from the heat, add cream, and whip it to a froth. This is poured into a cup or mug and enjoyed with a chapter or two of a book. I’ve lately tried to keep myself from opening up my devices too early in the morning (although I often fail to resist temptation), and instead have been reading classic books. I recently finished Jane Eyre and enjoyed it immensely.

By the time I finish my chocolate, Elliot and Dan have usually woken up, so I sit and nurse Elliot while Dan takes his shower. Once both have finished, I can make the final touches to my skin care by applying sunscreen, and then dress my hair, dress my body, and put on a little makeup. Then, I can gather my things and leave for the train station, my little oasis of calm having thoroughly prepared me for the day.

Regency-Inspired Drinking Chocolate
(inspired by this post)

1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 cardamom pods
3 allspice berries
1 Tbsp. of sucanat (unrefined sugar)
1 cup of water
2-3 Tbsp. heavy cream

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Break open the cardamom pods and empty the seeds into a mortar. Add the allspice. Grind the spices to a powder with the pestle. Chop the chocolate. Add the chocolate, spices, and sucanat to the boiling water. Stir until the chocolate has melted and blended with the water, then bring back to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add cream. Whip to a froth and serve. Makes one generous cup.

Winter Mornings

“In winter I get up at night / And dress by yellow candle-light.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

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Most mornings in the winter we wake up before dawn and I find myself making my way downstairs as the sun is just coming over the horizon. In the summer, it would be light for hours, but the dim light of winter lends a solitude to the early hours. It’s a bit dark and cool. I have to shower this morning, because I’m leaving early and have to be dressed and made up. I shower and dry off, and then dress casually to have my breakfast. I set the kettle to boil and get the tea out. Earl Grey this morning. Two slices of thick handmade bread go in the toaster and butter and a plate are at the ready. A glass of milk finishes off a nice light breakfast.

Sitting in the early morning is the best time to sit and think. It’s quiet. Even when Boyfriend is up, he’s sipping his coffee contemplatively. We have our time together without speaking too much because we don’t want to wake anyone else, but we just enjoy the silent company. And soon the world wakes up and things warm and brighten and become louder and the day starts in earnest. But I enjoy my early morning sanctuary while I can.

A Full Breakfast

Weekends are for errands and long walks and lounging with a pot of tea. And for big breakfasts. This weekend, I decided I’d make myself and Boyfriend a full English breakfast.

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An English breakfast consists of bacon and eggs and toast, but also grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, and a pool of baked beans. And it is washed down with copious amounts of strong black tea. I had mine with a little milk. Often, it includes sausage links as well as bacon, but I decided to limit myself to one breakfast meat.

Our Saturday morning was wonderful. I dragged him out of bed a little after 8 a.m., to bundle up for a walk around the lake near our house. I wrapped up in fleece leggings, a long skirt, a thick cabled wool sweater, my vest, a scarf, my boots, and my crocheted ear warmer and found myself toasty warm, other than a bit of nip at my nose. It was chilly and clear and very quiet. There were a few runners out. Even some of the geese were still sleeping. Boyfriend was not too pleased to be up and about at that hour, but it was a lovely start to the day. And I knew he would appreciate what we had in store for us when we got home.

When I got home, I threw the rashers of bacon in the oven to bake. I got a pack of nice thick-cut bacon from a local farmer. Eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, butter, and milk were all also from nearby farmers, and I had a loaf of homemade bread in the freezer. I tipped the tin of beans into a small saucepan and put it on a low flame to warm up while the bacon cooked, and washed up the veggies. When the bacon started getting sizzly, I started frying up the mushrooms and then tomatoes, and turned the beans up a touch so they started to bubble. I toasted the bread and spread it with plenty of butter. And lastly, the eggs went in the pan to cook gently in some butter.

While all this went on, I boiled the electric kettle and made a pot of Assam tea and laid out my tea tray. Everything came together beautifully, and by shortly after 10, we had our plates. I poured some tiny glasses of orange juice because Boyfriend likes it, and I thought a small glass could do me some good in the dead of winter. We devoured our breakfasts, some of us faster than others, and I sat and sipped tea and finished The Secret Adversary, which I’d started the day before. By the time it hit noon, I felt invigorated with the walk and sustained with food and tea and was ready to run some holiday errands!