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Book yourself in for Hygge!

Book yourself in for Hygge!

Greetings Hoogly fans! I hope you’re bearing up well in these unacceptably frigid temperatures; all the steaming breath and numb fingers, the breeze that cuts your ears and the car-ice that makes you late.  Can anyone even remember the heat wave now? And apparently there’s snow on the way: I knew I should have chained myself to the sun-lounger last time I was in Spain. But it is what it is—and we’ll make the most of it, like we always do. Even though we have to take down the Christmas decs, and we’ve nearly run out of chocolate. Oh, the misery!

 

But there is hope! One pastime, in particular, is especially good for overcoming the January blues in true Hoogly style: the simple pleasure of reading! Hygge asks us to be cosy and comfortable, and to do the things we love, with the people we love, in the places we love. And what better way to snuggle up, escape to far-off lands and meet interesting characters than within the pages of a good book?! There is something unfailingly magical about the smell of a new book; the excitement of starting a new adventure, the way a good author taps into your imagination and emotions, allowing you to see and feel things outside of your ordinary experience, to test the boundaries of what is possible, to discover what it means to be human, and to share a connection with a group of people you will never meet, but can hold in your heart forever.

I say all this, of course, because I’m biased: not only do I love books, but I love that fact that you can share a book with a cup of tea! Is there greater happiness to be had than the sip-and-flick? The answer to that is: probably not—but it helps to have the right book and the right cup of tea. The tea of course, is the easy part, which we’ll come to a little later (spoiler alert: it’s Hoogly!) The right book, however, is a little trickier. But help is at hand, as it always is, from our Hoogly book club! For January, we’ve chosen two books we love as a starting point:

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. This best-selling novel is about Anna, a former child psychologist, whose chronic agoraphobia has kept her inside her New York City apartment for ten months, bingeing on old black-and-white movies and watching her neighbours in other apartments. One day Anna hears a frenzied scream and witnesses something she wasn’t meant to see. Can she summon the strength to uncover the truth about what happened? Will anyone trust her? Can she trust herself? This is a wonderfully claustrophobic thriller, reminiscent of Hitchcock’s classic film Rear Window, but full of contemporary issues, destined to be enjoyed and talked about for a long time to come!

Our second choice is The Language of Kindness: a Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson. This memoir recalls Watson’s twenty-year career, including stints at Great Ormond Street hospital and St Mary’s hospital in Paddington. In an easy-to-read style, Watson explores what it means to be a nurse: an indiscriminate act of caring, compassion and empathy, and remembers moving and poignant stories from her career, including the miraculous survival of a premature baby. As the NHS continues to make headlines, this is a beacon of hope in troubled times, reminding us of the best in human nature and the power of love.

And while you’re enjoying those two wonderful books, you can get your feet up and chill with our glorious selection of cleverly crafted and cosy teas! As an accompaniment to The Woman in the Window, we recommend the thrilling indulgence of Danish Pastry Rooibos. This combination of chocolate, cinnamon and a subtle pastry taste will satisfy and seduce you, leaving you wanting more!

To accompany The Language of Kindness, why not try Classic Green tea?! This is a brew with great flavour and depth, and studies have shown it can be good for your health too! This elegant, clear liquor will bring clarity to any situation, and help remind you of what’s important in life.

So, until next time, enjoy your flicks-and-sips, and don’t forget to stay chilled, not chilly! 

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Happy Brew Year!

Happy Brew Year!

Well, where on earth did 2018 go? It seemed to disappear quicker than a bag of Maltesers during a rom-com, and now we’re hurtling into a brand-new year, and all the hope, excitement and anticipation that a blank canvas brings. This is the time for resolutions: personal goals and milestones that will shape and effect our lives. Whatever nonsense, heartache and madness wider society throws at us, we can all try and keep ourselves on the straight and narrow, focussing on things we can control, at a pace we can manage. And it all sounds so simple, when you talk about it in the abstract. I’m definitely going to do it this year! January is the best chance to make a permanent change! I’ll treat myself to something special if I can stick to it! But when it gets down to the nitty gritty of actually bringing about real change, things can unravel quicker than a ball of thread in a kitten’s paws. Life, as they say, has a habit of getting in the way. There’s work, and stress, and urges, and withdrawals. There’s pangs and flings and go on, just one. Just when we think we have a slither of willpower, the cookie crumbles and everything falls apart.

But just what are these tasks that we chose to set ourselves? Here is a list of some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions so that you see how you compare!

-Get more exercise.

-Lose weight.

-Become tidier/more organised.

-Learn a new skill or hobby.

-Spend less money/save more.

-Quit smoking/drinking.

-Spend more time with friends and family.

-Go on more trips.

 

Any of those sound familiar? The first two are reasonably predictable; the indulgences of Christmas weigh, uh, heavily on our minds, and there is something akin to panic when January rolls around and your clothes no longer fit. Becoming tidier certainly applies to me: I’m a keen promoter of the floordrobe, and having a spare room to hide the crap I can’t be bothered to sort/file/tidy/sell. It’s one of my least favourite parts of my personality, but all hope is not lost. I certainly don’t need a new hobby, though, filling my house with more stuff. I just need to set aside a day to get it all done. Oh, but boxsets, and XBOX, and the pub…

The pub! Which, I guess, fits into the next two categories nicely: spending less money and quitting drinking. I don’t partake in alcohol myself, but for those that do, and who fancy trying a little bit less, you can find a lot info by Googling ‘Dry January’, a drive run by Alcohol Change UK.

Onwards to a very Hoogly resolution indeed: spending more time with friends and family! This is that cosy, snuggly sensation of Christmas all year round that the Danes wish to spread across the globe: the ringing of doorbells and the welcoming of guests, the baking of cakes and the burning of candles as we sit around in our socks and lounge pants and talk about silly things and failed resolutions.

And you can even use your final resolution to take a trip to Denmark to see how the masters Hygge things up!

So, how confident are you that you’ll stick to your resolutions? 50-50? 110%? About as likely as a rain-free 2019 in England? Well, whatever your outlook, give yourself a well-earned boost of happiness and resolve with a delicious brew of Hoogly Tea. We have a whole bunch of tasty flavours to keep you company while you transform yourself into a new person, from indulgent gems like Chocolate Brownie black tea, to the fruity brilliance of Berrylicious herbal infusion. Experience the globetrotting elegance of Darjeeling Afternoon and Masala Chai black teas, or treat yourself to a bit of Hoogly Heaven with Danish Pastry Rooibos. All of our brews are carefully crafted to help you unwind and find that perfect moment of calm and tranquillity in your busy day. And who knows, it may even give you the boost you need to take 2019 head on…and win!

Happy New Year from all at Hoogly Teas. Keep calm and pop the kettle on!

Written by Chris Bedford.

www.hooglytea.com

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Hygge Like A Hound!

Hygge Like A Hound!

This morning I went on a dog walk organised for greyhound owners, sloshing through muddy paths and climbing steep hills with about twenty enthusiastic sight hounds, all wrapped up in stylish and colourful coats to protect their thin frames from the winter temperatures. My seven-year old black greyhound started off nervously, but was soon joining in the ever-so-polite bottom sniffing and tail wagging with all his new friends, and soon leading the pack as we trekked through the countryside. It was marvellous to meet other greyhound owners, sharing stories about quirks and idiosyncrasies particular to the breed: sofa-hogging, roaching (lying upside in an ungraceful, legs-spread style), squirrel-chasing, fussy walking in bad weather, fussy eating when it’s not pilchards, and generally being asleep. All the time. Which is the biggest misconception about these beautiful animals: people assume that because they are such athletic sprinters that they must require a lot of exercise, but in fact, they are more than happy with two twenty-minute walks a day. Mine will gladly bomb around in the garden, pretending a tennis ball or a teddy bear is some sort of prey, tossing it in the air, chasing it and chewing it, and last about five minutes before collapsing.

And when they are done, they are done. Greyhounds can sleep for up to 23 hours a day, and they make it an artform. Whether its curled up in a ball, lying lazily on their side, or roaching, greys can get comfortable just about anywhere, and usually do.  They know what they like and they like what they know, and everything is simple and straightforward that way.

Which is why I think they are a good example to follow for us Hygge fans! Hygge requires us to fill our lives with the people we love, to focus on the things that make us happy, and ensure that we repeat these things at every opportunity, not just on special occasions. Greyhounds know that they love their beds. They know that they loved their teddies and tennis balls, and that these things mean cuddles and playtime. They know that they hate the wind and the rain, and that it’s better to be warm and unconscious on the sofa. These are the rules, and they are adhered to. They are focussed on, and repeated. And it means that greyhounds are very cosy, happy creatures, unburdened by the sorrows that other dogs endure: hoping for another six walks, begging for fetch, yearning after a sausage. Greys are, mostly, above all that. Just sleep it off, they advise.  Try again when you wake up.

Now, I’m not advocating that we sleep 23 hours a day, as lovely as that may sound. Nor am I saying that two twenty-minute walks a day will solve all of our problems—although staying healthy and active does no harm. All I’m saying is: notice what you love—and who you love—and keep these things close. And then stick the kettle on and complete the process by indulging in our delicious Hoogly Tea range, made with all the comfort and cosiness of Hygge in mind. Our luxurious and eclectic range is the perfect way to keep the winter blues at bay, with traditional as well as exotic tastes to discover.

For something new and fabulous this Christmas, why not try Masala Chai black tea, combining iconic Indian Assam tea with warm aromatic spices to enchant the senses. Brew this dazzling cuppa strong with milk and sugar to experience the full taste sensation!

Moving eastward on our Hoogly global tea tour, why not give Genmai Cha green tea a whirl? Originally concocted by Japanese farmers, this refreshing delicacy combines Sencha green tea with toasted rice to create a unique brew that must be tried to be believed!

And finish the day with our decadent and sinfully seductive Chocolate Brownie black tea. This is as simple and delicious as it sounds, and will have you racing back to the cupboard with the speed of a greyhound to refill your mug!

That’s all for now, Hoogly lovers. Merry Christmas and a happy new year from all of us at Hoogly. Enjoy your nap! I know my greyhound will…

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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A new Christmas tradition!

A new Christmas tradition!

We all have our favourite Christmas traditions; the little moments and items that make the day extra special and unique, and the activities in which everyone joins in, creating a wonderful sense of togetherness and peace. These traditions form part of the fabric of December, an anchor in the seas of our busy lives, keeping us safely moored and reminding us that Christmas has thrilled our previous generations, and will continue to thrill future generations for years to come.

So what are our top 10 Christmas traditions?

-Christmas Cards! The first card was created in 1843 by the Post Office as a way of promoting its services, and now it’s a lovely, non-digital way of saying hello and offering the warmest of wishes in the coldest of months.

-Stockings! This comes from the legend of St Nicholas, the gift giver, who sent bags of gold down a chimney so that a poor man could pay for his unmarried daughters’ weddings. The gold ended up in some stockings that were being aired, and the tradition was created! The Dutch called St Nicholas Sinterklaas, which eventually transformed into the English Santa Claus!

-Mince Pies. Old Santa has a job to do, and he needs mince pies to fuel his trip! Initially inspired by Middle Eastern Cuisine brought back by Crusaders, this was originally filled with meat, but this ingredient had disappeared by Victorian times!

-Holly and the Ivy. Used in pre-Christian times in Winter Solstice celebrations, these enduringly popular plants offer a dash of colour in the dark winter months.

-Turkey. Originating in Mexico, these were popular with Henry VIII, and became a fashion in high society in the 19th century. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the turkey became a commodity that everyone could afford. Now they’re an integral part of many households on Christmas Day, and the correct way cooking this big bird is the cause of many yuletide arguments.

-Christmas Crackers. Invented by a sweet-maker in the late 1840s, these included riddles and mottos, but it wasn’t until the inventor made them ‘crack’ that sales really took off. Now the sound of the crack is traditionally followed by the reading of a bad joke, and the collective groan by those who bothered to pay attention.

-Christmas Pudding. Fruity, delicious, and sometimes on fire, this is an essential treat that no-one can fit in but rarely, if ever, refuse. Sometimes includes coins—or credit cards, because my Dad thought that was funny.

-Mistletoe. A pagan practice taken up by early Christians, this tradition of kissing under the mistletoe has its origins in England. A berry should be plucked for each kiss until none remains. Pucker up!

-Christmas Carols. Another pagan tradition swallowed up by early Christians, carols have been written throughout the centuries, but most of the familiar tunes were created in Victorian times. Contemporary Christmas music is played on loop in most public places from the 1st December, and has led some people to wear ear muffs.

-The Christmas Tree! These noble companions have been around for more than a thousand years, but the UK didn’t see one until the 1830s. Prince Albert put one up at Windsor Castle in 1841 and started a tradition that has created magic for every generation since. Caution: some people are very particular about where the decorations are placed, so if you value your life, don’t interfere. It’s just not worth it for bauble and tinsel.

And this year we warmly invite you to add a new tradition to your December celebrations: a mug of Hoogly tea!

Our delicious brews are designed to recreate the calm, cosy and indulgent pleasures of Hygge—the Danish way-of-life that has captured the imagination of millions, and helped the Danes consistently land a place at the top of the ‘world’s happiest people’ tables! Think of Hygge as Christmas all year round; a devotion to feeling peaceful, happy and comfortable by filling your house with things that bring you joy—cute lamps to add atmosphere, big fluffy pillows to lounge about on, and scented candles to add some spice. Hygge is about wearing your oldest, comfiest pyjamas and fluffy socks. It’s about making cakes and licking the spoon, without worrying about the calories. It’s about having friends and family over to share in your happiness and create laughter and memories together.

So if these things sound appealing, then condense them all into a mug and try a Hoogly tea this December. We’ve got some dazzling winter recommendations to warm your cockles: Spiced Orange herbal infusion, a zesty and fruity combo, coupled with mulled spices, offering the perfect accompaniment to a seat by the fire after Christmas dinner. Or how about Lemon & Ginger herbal infusion? Classic lemon and fiery ginger embrace each other in this energising brew that will give you just enough fuel to survive a game of charades before falling asleep in perfect comfort. Lastly, flip the kettle on for Around the Fire Oolong Tea. This is a lovely mix of the comforting and the exotic as smoky Chinese and Taiwanese tea leaves combine with safflower flames and crushed chilli for a kick that Rudolf would be proud of!

  Whatever your traditions are this Christmas, open your heart to Hoogly and make room for one more. We promise you won’t regret it!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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The Gift Of Hoogly!

The Gift Of Hoogly!

Nothing says ‘Christmas without the stress’ quite like our Danish ethos of Hygge. The mindful concept basically requires you to act like it’s December all year round, without cramming into rugby-scrum shops to spend all your hard-earned cash on presents for other people. The Danes are masters of Hygge, incorporating it into their daily lives and routines, focussing on the things that make them happy, and ensuring they surround themselves with people or things that bring them joy.

Hygge asks us to cosy ourselves—and our houses—until we’re cocooned in a cotton bud of loveliness that we never want to leave. Fluffy socks, our comfiest lounge pants, soft pillows in our favourite nook of the house to read. Low lamplight and candles, a glass of wine for the bath, a box of chocolates in front of latest TV show. It challenges us to have our friends and family around for giant, homemade feasts and boardgames at any time of the year, not just on specific dates. It urges us to step outside, no matter the weather, and enjoy the world around us in all its glory. To get wet, muddy, snowy, suntanned or sticky. To go for a jog or a cycle, and breathe in the fresh air, noticing the trees, the grass, the sky, and stay fit and healthy so that we can enjoy our Hoogly indulgences even more. Hygge asks us to discover what it is that makes us tick, and to set ourselves like a clock so that we repeat these joyful behaviours day after day. This is why the Danes are some of the happiest people on the planet—and you can be too.

But there is still Christmas to contend with. Sadly, we can’t make it vanish in one swish of a Hoogly wand. However, we can offer you a delightful, delicious and decidedly novel idea for your Christmas gift list this year: our sumptuous range of Hoogly teas! Our tantalising and eclectic range are the perfect present for those hard-to-buy-for friends and relatives, a luxurious and elegantly presented selection that will transport the lucky recipient to a whole new world of taste sensations, at the same time offering all the cosy relaxation of Hygge!

For someone who wants to explore the whole spectrum of our tasty, tranquil treats, why not give them a Hoogly Bag? This is a stylish, branded cotton bag with forty individual wraps of eight different blends, including Apple Strudel green tea, Lemon and Ginger herbal infusion, Chill Out Mint and English Breakfast black tea! It’s a lovely gift for one, but there’s more than enough to satisfy the whole family in this beautiful bumper pack!

For tea lovers everywhere, why not go for a Hoogly Gift Box?! This beautiful and classy box contains 250g of your favourite brew in a lovely glass jar, a five-pyramid tea pod and a branded Hoogly mug! Your friends and family will be thrilled to receive this carefully crafted package that will keep them cosy, calm and joyful throughout the grey early months of the new year!

And for that special someone, pick up a gift that says ‘I think the world of you’ with our Luxury Wooden Box and Bag combo! This tea treasure consists of a gorgeous branded wooden box filled with twenty individual tea pyramids, alongside a cotton bag containing forty wraps. Sixty wraps in total, combining eight different tastes, including Earl Grey, Rhubarb and Vanilla, Classic Green and Cosy Chamomile. Forget flowers and chocolate—this gift will be an unexpected delight this Christmas, giving you a very good reason to escape the cracker jokes and charades by heading to the kitchen and flipping on the kettle!

Whatever you get up to this December, don’t forget to give to the gift of Hygge—and make it last all year round!

Written by Chris Bedford.

www.hooglytea.com

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A Whole New Ballgame!

Right now, in the United States, the American football season is building to a crescendo. The days get shorter, the nights get colder, and fans have a decent idea of how their team’s season is going to pan out. Months of off-season anticipation and excitement (the first week of February all the way to September) have led to this; soon we’ll know who is going to make the playoffs and have a chance of playing their way into the most watched sporting event on the planet: the Superbowl. A place where history, dreams and legends are made. Last season’s Superbowl was a perfect example of the wonderful stories that this incredible game can create: on one side, the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady—considered by many to be the ‘GOAT’ (greatest of all time) and winner of five Superbowl titles—versus the Philadelphia Eagles, led by a substitute quarterback called Nick Foles, who was only playing because the star quarterback Carson Wentz was injured. After a momentous, back-and-forth tussle, Foles and the Eagles came out victorious, confirming to many that football is the most unpredictably dramatic sport on earth, and writing Foles’s name into the pantheon of NFL history.

For many English people, the world of pads, helmets and cheerleaders represent a confusing amalgamation of rugby and wrestling; a three-hour circus full of strange movements, endless stoppages and eccentric terminology. And these people aren’t wrong! To the uninitiated, gridiron can appear clunky, overblown and immeasurably tedious. But once you start to pick up the basics of the rules and tactics, a new picture emerges: an unbelievably well-choreographed combination of balletic athleticism, brute strength, chess-like strategy and graceful execution of physics-defying agility.

In the simplest terms, the eleven-man teams are split into Offense and Defence, so that at any given time, one team’s Offense will play the opposition’s Defence—and vice versa. The Offense has four attempts—called downs—to move the ball ten yards by either running with the ball rugby-style, or throwing it down the field to one of the receivers, who will attempt to run in cleverly-devised patterns in order to create space and receive the pass. These attempts are called plays. Once a player is tackled, the play is over and the game stops. The next play starts from where the player was tackled. The ultimate aim is to move the ball into the opposition’s Endzone (similar to the area which you score a try in rugby) thus scoring a touchdown. If the Offense succeeds in getting ten (or more) yards, they receive another four downs. If they fail, they will try and kick (punt) the ball as far away from their Endzone as possible, in order to make it harder for the opposition team’s Offense to score when they take to the pitch. At any time, the Defence can try and strip the ball from the Offense or intercept one of their throws and advance it towards the opposite Endzone.

Still confused? I don’t blame you. It takes a whole heap of time and patience to absorb all the multitude of fine details the game has to offer, to decode what on Earth is meant by Tight End Waggle, bubble-screen, Hail-Mary and quick-slant. But as you slowly start to pick it up, you realise that this sport offers so much more drama, tactical prowess and nail-biting tension than so many others. In a large percentage of matches, the result will go down to the last pass in the last second of the game, with thousands of camera lenses flashing, the pigskin ball arcing through the floodlit heavens, and four or five 200lb men jumping like gazelles to try and grab the prize in the Endzone. And because there are only 32 teams in a country the size of America, competition for places is fierce. A bigtime mistake might be a player’s last. It’s commonplace for players to be cut from a team the morning after a big loss: there’s always someone else waiting in line for their chance. Hard to reconcile that with a sport like cricket or soccer, where some players can have an underwhelming season and still find themselves signed up to the squad.

But this is football. Brutal, relentless, elite. Filled with stories like Brady and Foles, heroes and villains, underdogs and Hall-of-Famers, pride and glory, misery and defeat. If you like sport, my advice is to sit back, grab a hotdog and give the game a real good go. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find!

And in the spirit of trying something different, don’t forget to flip on the kettle and discover our delicious range of Hoogly Teas! Our blends are as exotic and thrilling as anything American Football can conjure, combining tantalising tastes with the cosy comfort of Danish-inspired Hygge!

After safely removing your helmet and gumshield, try a mug of Baked Apple Chai! Mellow Sri Lankan tea is the quarterback here, carefully coordinating a combination of Apple, Ginger, Cinnamon and cloves to bring you an alluring and harmonious brew that is sure to score a touchdown! 

For those who yearn for the fire and energy found in football, why not try Lemon and Ginger herbal infusion? This satisfying brew will warm your cockles and pads, and give you a zesty edge over the competition. So good you’ll keep coming back for more!

And if you’re after the magic of the Superbowl, bring the special occasion home with Sparkling White tea. This beautiful Chinese brew is elegantly blended with flowers and fruit pieces to give you the refreshing taste of victory with every sip!

That’s it for this week, folks. Bring on game night. Go Vikes!!!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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A Hoogly Year!

A Hoogly Year!

Is it me, or is it cold? Properly, bitterly, unacceptably freezing. The summer heatwave now seems like a bad joke, some distant dream involving t-shirts, Magnums and sleeping without a duvet. This morning it was the sort of temperature where getting out of bed seems like a direct contravention of my basic human rights; the sort of temperature where it wouldn’t be ridiculous to wear every single item of your clothing and ride a huskie sled to work. My greyhound has the right idea: he pokes his long nose out of the back door, assesses the climate, and promptly goes back to bed. His canine senses are telling him to prioritise survival over the comfort of his bladder or the filling of his tummy. If I suggest a walk, he looks at me as if I’ve just ripped up his favourite toy in front of him and binned his box of treats. So, we go back to bed, with a warm mug of Hoogly, of course, and wait for the sun to do its thing.

But this time of year is not all bad: we get to have some spooky fun with Halloween (big shout out to the Netflix series ‘The Haunting of Hill House,’ a brilliant story of families and ghosts to get you in the mood for the dark winter to come) In case you’re wondering, my Halloween costume this year will be a hibernating bear. If someone could kindly bring me some trick-or-treat chocolate to my cave, that would be splendid, thank you.

After Halloween we move to Bonfire Night. This is a truly Hoogly celebration, a way to get friends and family together all dressed up in cosy coats, scarves and fluffy socks. It’s a night for icy breath and wellington boots, of mesmerising orange flames and kaleidoscopic firework displays, of burgers and hotdogs with lashings of sauce. Unless it rains, in which case it’s a bit rubbish. But don’t worry you’ve always got a mug of our delightfully Danish tea to sustain you through the unpredictable weather.

And once we’ve navigated November, we move onto the serious stuff. The word that cannot be mentioned. The all-encompassing stress-monster. The jingling bells and familiar songs. The swathes of shoppers elbowing and bumping each other as they cross items their giraffe’s neck list. The day of gorging and regret, punctuated by the giving and receiving of gifts, and the repeat of a good film.

If you survive the-word-that-cannot-be-mentioned, you’ll then find yourself in January, a month of violent introspection and urgent self-improvement, with military-level supplies of fruit and veg stocked up to compliment our new regime of exercise, which we carry out in a manner that suggests we’re being chased down by a monster. Which is why our regime only really lasts until mid-January, February at best. Plus, we’re a bit hungry. For something other than carrots and quinoa.

And then it’s summer again, possibly another heatwave, beaches rammed with the same people who were brawling for presents in December, but this time with less clothes and more burnt skin and beer. At least you can go to work and come home again in daylight—which does improve the working day by 4-5% (the same percentage as getting a free coffee from the barista or discovering that the boss you dislike is off sick.) This is not quite as big as the 12-13% improvement in a working day when you are allowed to punch out early, especially if it’s a Friday and your extra free time bleeds into a weekend. As Mickey Flanagan says, we’re going out out! The list of things that make a working day worse are too long—and the percentages too big—to mention here, but we all know what they are. We’ll choose to ignore them in a burst of Hoogly mindfulness.

To summarise this rant, I would like to say that every season, every day, every moment is improved incalculably by flipping on the kettle and popping in one of our Hoogly tea bags. Bad moods, bad days, bad luck and bad bananas will fall away as you discover our tantalising variety of finely crafted treats, each designed to bring the cosy comfort of Hygge into your life, allowing you to become the centre of attention, the full focus of your relaxation, stripping away stress and strains as if they never existed. Whether you’re a traditionalist, an experimenter, a sweet-tooth or a smooth operator, there is something in our shop for everyone. You may even find the perfect gift for December, and it’s all just a couple of cosy clicks away!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Hoogly and Vegan!

Hoogly and Vegan!

At Hoogly, we’re very proud of our cosy and mindful philosophy of Hygge as it offers us an easy way to keep life’s stresses and hardships at bay, teaching us to stay connected our friends and family—and to the places and things we love the most. Hygge is a compassionate ethos; an ethos that asks us to be kind, not only to those around us, but also to ourselves. It is an ethos that appreciates the simple pleasures of nature and the beauty of the outside world—whilst not forgetting the joy of fluffy socks and a soft pillow. It is an ethos of light chit-chat over a cup of tea and indulgence in the sweeter things in life without fretting about the consequences. Most importantly, Hygge is easy to follow and anyone can do it!

We’re always on the lookout for other philosophies that go hand-in-hand with Hygge, and we’d like to give a shout-out today to the roughly 3.5 million vegans in the UK! We know there are a lot of vegans out there who enjoy our cosily crafted teas, and we’d thought we’d talk a little bit about veganism for those who might be interested in giving it a whirl!

Put simply, veganism is living and eating, as close as practically possible, in a way that excludes any form of cruelty or exploitation of animals for food, clothes or any other reason. Around 60 billion land animals and over a trillion marine animals are used and killed as commodities per year for human consumption, and vegans wish to move away from this system and help steer humanity towards a more compassionate, plant-based alternative. A vegan’s diet, therefore, includes a rich and diverse combination of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, beans, seeds and pulses—prepared in a mind-blowing number of combinations so that you’ll never get bored. Pretty much all of your favourite foods (pizza, cake, curry and pasties—to name but a few!) can be recreated with plant-based ingredients. There are a huge amount of recipes and cookbooks out there now to inspire you and help you create delicious and nutritious recipes—so what are you waiting for? …Oh, more good reasons to be a vegan. OK…

Vegans also wish to raise awareness of the environmental burden of animal products, namely the large amount of crops and water needed to feed the animals and the other costly processes involved in transportation from farm to fork. A plant-based diet requires only one-third of the land needed to facilitate a dairy or meat diet, which in turn could help reduce the strain on human resources around the world, especially in poorer parts of our global community.

There’s also evidence that shows a plant-based diet is beneficial for your health, with the core food-types being rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. There has been some research that suggests vegan diets are linked with lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as lower rates of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

If you’re thinking about trying veganism, follow our Hoogly tips for long lasting success:

-Don’t rush! It’s quite a big change to implement, so take it one step at a time. Maybe start by cutting out milk and cheese and go from there. Better to ease your way in than to plunge into the deep end and wonder why it didn’t work out!

-Expect the unexpected! Some people have odd reactions to your choice, including comments that can be less than kind or understanding. Don’t be rattled, however. It’s their problem, not yours!

-Hit the high street! Most big restaurants now have delicious vegan options so you can take your lifestyle on the road with confidence. Whatever your tastes, there should be something there for you!

-Network! Find other vegans on social media and get support, hint and tips on recipes, and a platform to share your fun vegan experiences. Your input may also plant a seed for others!

-Remember why you’re doing it! On a day where everything is a bit of a struggle, remember why you chose to make the change—your compassion and concern for animal welfare and making a difference with the environment. And if that doesn’t work, flip the kettle on and chill with one of our cosy teas. You’ll be back to yourself in no time!

There are loads of tastes and flavours to choose from, including sweet treats such as Chocolate Brownie, Danish Pastry and Apple Strudel; fabulous fruity fun, including Spiced Orange, Berrylicious and Lemon & Ginger; and exotic discoveries, such as Rhubarb & Vanilla, Marzipan Rooibos and Sparkling White tea. All of these carefully crafted—and vegan!—mugs of joy will wash away the crazy, fast-paced hubbub of modern life, transporting you to a place of mindful tranquillity and keep you coming back for more. 

Thanks for reading and good luck with any changes you make with your lifestyle! We’re always here with a cuppa if you want to tell us all about it!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Space for More Tea!

Space for More Tea!

With the arrival of the film ‘First Man,’ starring Ryan Gosling, our minds turn back to the heroic journey four astronauts took nearly fifty years ago on July 21st 1969, creating history as the first humans to visit the moon. The enormity of the achievement cannot be overstated: the technological and mathematical wizardry to launch human beings on such an audacious and precise mission, and to bring them back safely again; the skill, courage and determination of the astronauts on board; the pressure that the country was under politically—battling against Cold War rivals Russia to win the ‘space race’ and the sheer scale of the risks involved in plunging into the howling darkness and exploring new frontiers.

It’s one small step for man…one giant leap for mankind. These were Neil Armstrong’s famous words as he stepped foot on the moon’s surface—but what must have been going through his mind at the time? He was already an experienced pilot, having flown nearly two hundred types of aircraft, and completing seven gruelling years of training and missions since becoming an astronaut in 1962. But even for a hardened veteran, there is no precedent for placing your boot where no man has gone before. He must have experienced fear, anticipation, exhilaration, curiosity—not to mention all practical information and knowledge he needed in order to complete his mission. His training would have given him vital preparation, but as a human being, stray thoughts of his family and of home must have crept in—doubts as to whether he would ever see them again, and reflections on the phenomenal distance between himself and the planet on which he was born and raised, and the tremendous isolation that must create.

But in the end, Armstrong and the team completed the mission, and came home to a hero’s welcome (and 21 days in quarantine in case they’d come back with an unknown space disease!)

These days the frontiers have moved further outwards. The Mars One non-profit foundation aims to put one hundred human colonists on Mars by 2031. Candidates are currently being assessed under a wide range of criteria, including health, psychological stability, motivation, ability to work in a team, and resilience. The wellbeing and compatibility of the colonists are so important because the mission is a one-way trip. Mars will become these pioneers’ home; the first colony of its kind created to stretch the bounds of the possible, inspire future generations and bring the world closer together—just like the Armstrong and the Apollo 11 team in 1969. What an amazing achievement it would be—and what an extraordinary privilege and responsibility for those that make the journey. How do you come to terms with the fact that you will never see Earth again?  Leaving behind friends, family, loved ones. For some of us, this burden may seem insurmountable. But for the select few, the challenge, the thrill, the sheer audacity of the mission is too much to resist. Their names and achievements etched into the history books for all time—forever linked with courage, adventure and hope. As President John F Kennedy said in 1962: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

  At Hoogly, we have a slightly different perspective. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. We do things not because they are hard, but because they are easy. The inspiration behind our teas, Hygge, is all about enjoying the simple pleasures of life and incorporating them into your daily routines. Hygge is about relaxation and comfort. It’s about indulgence and treats. It’s about putting yourself first for once. It’s about being around the people that bring you joy. Going into space is a phenomenal, awe-inspiring achievement—but going around to your friend’s place for a cuppa is just as wonderful. The universe is full of mysteries, wonders and the unknown—but we love things that are familiar, cosy and safe.  And through our delicious range of brews, we want you to experience all these things too.

So, flip on your kettle, pull out a mug and embrace tantalising flavours such as Chocolate Brownie, Danish Pastry, Spiced Orange, Rhubarb & Vanilla, Marzipan Rooibos and Raspberry, Liquorice & Lavender. It’s one small sip of tea—one giant leap for tea-kind!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Black and White Tea!

Black and White Tea!

Greetings Hoogly fans! As I was curled up on my sofa the other day, laid low by a nasty little cold, I flicked through the TV channels and came across a lovely old black and white film called Since You Went Away, a 1944 American flick about a family dealing with those they love being sent away to war. As I sipped my Hoogly Tea, I instantly relaxed as the opening credits rolled, with a fireplace framed in shot, the names of the cast members drifting upwards as the orchestral piece swelled and built to crescendo. I felt a comforting veil of tranquillity fall over me as the film began, the characters communicating with such lovely manners, eloquence and naïve enthusiasm. As the plot played out, there were moving sequences of loss and grief, as well as romance, humour and slapstick, all held together by sweeping violins, cellos and trumpets.

The world the film evoked was so pure and perfect—I was struck by a strange sensation of longing or nostalgia for a time gone by, even though I was born nearly forty years after the film was made. Here, in black and white, was somewhere safe. A retreat from the complexities and pace of modern life. A window into a simpler time, when emotions seemed somehow sharper, when love and loss seemed magnified and bigger than life itself. Which, for a wartime film, was almost certainly the case. Those watching Since You Went Away would’ve been experiencing all the same anxieties, insecurities and loss as the characters in the film. Watching it play out on the big screen, however, may have gone some way to dispelling their emotions: knowing that they weren’t alone, that others were going through similar trials and that by pulling together they might just emerge unscathed on the other side….

…See how easy it is to be swept up in the wave of sentiment?! Gotta love the golden oldies!

After the film finished, it dawned on me just how Hoogly the old black and white movies really are. Our ethos is all about feeling calm and cosy, and making a regular habit of filling your life with the things you love. Watching these classics is like slipping on a comfy pair of pyjamas and socks: soft, reassuring and relaxing. You know exactly what you’re going to get. They demand nothing from you, and you have to give nothing in return. This is Hygge in a nutshell. And once the film is over—simply find another one and do it all again!

And if you can’t decide on a film, here are some Hoogly recommendations:

  1. Wuthering Heights (1939) A dark, brooding interpretation of Emily Bronte’s classic novel set in the Yorkshire Moors starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. Full of passion, obsession, love and tragedy, this beautiful film is complimented by a rousing score that stays with you long after the end credits. Best enjoyed with Around the Fire Oolong Tea, a cosy combination of smoky tea leaves and warming spices, licked by flames of safflower and crushed chilli—sure you get you through any stormy night on the Moors!
  2. Brief Encounter (1945) An atmospheric romance starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, following a married woman’s chance encounter with a doctor at a train station, which leads to an affair. Full of clipped English accents and repressed emotion, this stunning film explores complex moral issues and has one of the most masterfully constructed final scenes of all time. Woven together by Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto number 2, this is definitely best enjoyed with traditional English Breakfast black tea—simple, but full of hidden depths.
  3. Casablanca (1942) Arguably the greatest film of all time, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. An American expatriate runs a bar in Casablanca and comes into possession of documents that allow free travel across German-occupied Europe. When his former love Ilsa arrives with her resistance hero husband, she demands the papers, but Rick and Ilsa have unfinished business. With a timeless score, memorable lines and career-best performances, this is a treasure to be enjoyed time and again. Best served with Chocolate Brownie black tea, a wonderfully rich and unapologetically decadent treat that just gets better with each sip!

So, there we are—from Hygge to Hollywood and back again, all you need for complete tranquillity and cosiness is a black and white film and a mug of Hoogly tea!

 

THE END

Written by Chris Bedford.

www.hooglytea.com

 

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Cornish Delights!

Cornish Delights!

I recently crossed a longstanding item off my to-do list by visiting Cornwall, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! From a base in West Sussex, the drive West was scenic and unhampered by traffic, offering a passing glimpse of the ancient structure of Stone Henge. As I passed the stones, evening fell, and there was some sort of event taking place, which caused Stone Henge to illuminate with flashing neon lights. While not exactly an authentic historical representation of English history, it was certainly eye-catching and an exciting way to get the holiday started!

On the first day I visited Tintagel, a picturesque village that is the stepping stone to a breath-taking walk encompassing stunning clifftop panoramas with links to the legend of King Arthur! You can visit the ruins of Tintagel castle, a medieval fortification, which offers a great insight into the past. If you’re feeling energetic, you can hike across to Tintagel island, whose vantage point offers an unparalleled view of the sea and surrounding verdant country. I chose to take the narrow, steep steps down to Tintagel beach—which offers a small cave, a waterfall, a gentle tide and, fortunately for me, a rare visitor in the shape of a sunbathing seal! Everywhere I went there was fresh air, smiling faces, dogs charging about and beautiful glimpses of the natural world. It was a hugely relaxing and a truly Hoogly way to spend a day!

In the next couple of days, I experienced a number of small, Cornish villages, which offered a glorious sense of community, character and charm. I paid a visit to Padstow, a stunning fishing port near the Camel River. With sandy beaches, water-sports, ferries to nearby attractions and a stunning boat-filled port, there was no shortage of things to see and do. I sampled some local fudge, spotted chef Rick Stein’s local restaurant, delighted in the local craft and gift shops and had a traditional Cornish pasty that knocked my socks off!

From Padstow, I travelled to Boscastle, a hugely attractive medieval harbour and village tucked away in a steep valley. Some of the cottages that line the small stream that runs through the village date back to the 15th century. Boscastle marked the beginning of a mini paranormal tour of Cornwall at the local witchcraft museum, which was full of fascinating stories, artefacts and models that explained the history of witches, the persecution they’d received, and how witchcraft and nature are intertwined.

Things really started to go bump in the night at the famous Jamaica Inn, a pub and hotel located in the romantic wilderness of Bodmin Moor, made famous by Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, and now one of Britain’s most haunted places! A three-course meal was followed by a paranormal investigation as guests were invited to visit haunted rooms—in the dark—and test out ghost hunting equipment such as EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) recorders, temperature gauges and electromagnetic sensors that detected movement. Needless to say, there were a lot of creepy moments, unexplained noises and loud bangs that made me scream! The tour was completed at the atmospheric Bodmin Jail, another famously haunted site, where I was given a talk on the history and workings of the prison—the site of numerous executions—and told about various ghost and spirit sightings. At one point the tour group heard what sounded like a child’s rattle coming from one of the empty cells. This was more than enough for me: I chickened out of the overnight investigation and decided I’d done enough hard time for one evening!

On the journey back, I visited the Somerset town of Cheddar, and Cheddar Gorge. The little town was full of lovely craft shops and tea rooms, leading up a hill to the Gorge itself, a set of caves discovered in the in the early 20th century. Inside there are vast caverns and openings filled with limestone in all sorts of beautiful contortions, having been eroded and shaped over hundreds of thousands of years. It was in these caves that ‘The Cheddar Man’ was discovered—Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton, dated to the Mesolithic period some 9000 years ago! His remains are now in the Natural History Museum, but a replica is still there, and it gives you a sense of awe at the vast age of these caves, and the excitement the first explorers must have felt as they came across wonder after wonder: crystal clear rock pools, undulating ‘waterfalls’ of limestone, stalactites and stalagmites, and crevices in the rock’s ceiling that shoot up for hundreds of feet. The caves are now used to ripen the famous Cheddar cheese, giving it its distinct and delicious flavour. Once back in daylight, I went to a local shop and bought enough cheese to see me through an apocalypse, and made my way home a very happy bunny!

So, Hoogly lovers, if you want a lovely ‘stay-cation’ that couldn’t be more Hoogly, head South and West and keep on going! And when you get there, be sure to start and end each day with a relaxing Hoogly Tea, crafted to create cosiness, tranquillity and mindfulness in everything that you do! And at Hoogly, we’re all about treating yourself to the best things in life. So, if you fancy a Cornish Pasty and ice cream to accompany your tea, I can assure you they are the best in the country!

Written by Chris Bedford!

www.hooglytea.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not-so-smartphones and the Hoogly Solution!

Not-so-smartphones and the Hoogly Solution!

It appears that Smartphones are bad for our health. A plethora of recent studies have looked into our daily habits and discovered that there are a myriad of ways in which our favourite toys are doing us harm, some of which are obvious, some of which are really quite surprising. How many of these phone-busting facts were you aware of…?

Phones are a pain in the neck! (and back). The number of young people with back problems has risen sharply over the last year or so, with up to 45% of 16 to 24-year-olds feeling the effects of leaning and stooping over their phones, which can put pressure on spinal discs. And as anyone who has experienced back ache will tell you, it can be fierce, repetitive and a real drag on your mood.

Talking of stooping and leaning over your phone, the risk of accidents whilst absorbed in your screen jumps hugely. You are much more likely to walk into a solid object, trip over your feet, and walk into the road without looking or paying attention to traffic lights. And as any police officer will tell you, using your mobile while driving—even simply listening to someone else talk—is a bad idea and can lead to critical loss of attention.

And if you’re not meandering into a road or smacking into a lamppost, it probably means you’re sitting down—which is another negative offshoot of technological advancement. Lack of physical activity is rife in the smartphone era: it’s so much easier to phone or text than step out of the house or office to go see someone. And that’s not even mentioning the endless hours of games we play on our phones on the commute home and in our living rooms. But our sedentary lifestyles are catching up with us. Obesity increases the risk of serious cardiovascular diseases and some cancers, and puts a huge strain on our bodies. All-you-can-eat data is not a good thing.

Research also indicates that depression and anxiety are on the rise, with many young people affected. Having constant access to the web, with its dark corners, is not ideal, but a lot of mental health issues can arise from surprising avenues. With the knowledge that most people have their phone with them 24-7, a slight lull in email or text alerts can falsely convince a person that they’re being ignored or excluded by people who mean a lot to them. In addition to this, there’s been lot of research into the negative effects of social media on self-esteem: young people are constantly exposed to photos and profiles that are curated and perfected, leading to the false impression that their friends all have perfect, stress-free lives, which can build an inferiority complex and anxiety that you are doing something wrong, or living life in the wrong way. Social media is a powerful tool that has the power to bring people together, but its downsides are an extremely serious issue that has yet to be properly addressed.

Another danger of smartphones is that it can impact your sleeping patterns. Exposure to even small amounts of bright light, especially later in the evening, can interfere with the brain’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. In addition to this, answering emails last thing at night, or playing a stimulating game, will put you into a state of alertness or stress that is less than ideal for drifting off to the land of nod.

Interrupted sleep leads neatly onto the next topic of reduced attention span. The constant exposure to links, updates or alerts—and the dopamine hit that this gives us—greatly reduces our ability to concentrate on one task with full concentration. And as nearly all phone-users know, even the physical presence of a mobile can distract us and take our attention away from our nearest and dearest, as the true extent of our addiction (and let’s make no bones about it—it is an addiction) becomes cruelly apparent. And as we become more phone-centric, we lose connection not only with our friends and family, but we can also impair the development of our children. For thousands of years babies and children have bonded with us through eye contact and learned social cues by observing us communicate and examining our facial expressions. Experts have warned that if we have our eyes locked on our phones when interacting with those around us—and with our children—then we risk losing some key connections and developmental milestones down the line.

What’s the solution to all this glumness? Well, I’m not sure there is a quick-fix or antidote, but we at Hoogly have an idea how to take a step in the right direction: Put the kettle on, make a gorgeous cup of Hoogly tea, wrap both hands around the mug, let the taste and scent elevate your senses and bring you a sense of mindful tranquillity—and then repeat!!

 Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

 

 

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