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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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GOING GREY!

GOING GREY!

The snow has finally gone and the ‘Beast from the East’ has subsided. No longer are we huddling in front of the fire, putting hot water bottles under our jumpers and tobogganing to work. Our mild, grey mornings with intermittent rain showers and sunless afternoons now appear somewhat welcome; there’s no need to hack at the car with ice picks before setting off in the morning, and no immediate threat of turning into Bambi on ice when braving the pavements. And as I write this, on a thrilling rail replacement bus service, that big orange thing in the sky has even dared to make an appearance, poking its face through a cumulus nimbus, hinting playfully at the promise of weeks to come.

All this excitement calls for a celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with a warm, delicious, cosy and Hoogly cup of tea?! This week our feature brew is Earl Grey black tea, our riff on the classic favourite, which we think you’ll go potty for. Perfect as an accompaniment for breakfast and just as good as a treat or pick-me-up throughout the day, our Earl Grey is a thrilling combination of Sri Lankan black tea and natural bergamot oil, infused with zesty lemon peel and sweet orange blossom. The seductive citrus scent is a joy for the nostrils, and the unique taste will have you racing back to the kettle for more!

The assumption is that Earl Grey is named after Charles Grey, the second Earl Grey, Prime Minister of Britain in the 1830s, who was given a diplomatic gift of tea flavoured with bergamot oil by the Chinese. There are stories—not known to be verified—about a Chinese mandarin gifting Grey the tea after one of Grey’s men rescued the mandarin’s son from drowning, but it has to be taken with a pinch of salt as Grey never set foot in China. It would be nice to think, though, that this delightful blend had such a heroic start to its glorious life in England!

Whether you’re a Prime Minister, a mandarin or simply a tea enthusiast, there are certain rules to follow if you want to make the most of your brew. Here’s our Hoogly step-by-step guide to making the perfect Earl Grey cuppa: Start with fresh, cold water—never pre-boiled water that has been left to cool and subsequently re-boiled. Next, heat the water to 208˚ Fahrenheit, or just under boiling point. Before you pour, warm the pot or mug! This is an important one: when hot water is poured into a cold environment it will cool quicker, which doesn’t allow proper and consistent steeping of the blend. Simply pour hot water in, swirl, and pour away. Finally, experiment with how long you want to steep—or brew—the tea. It’s different for different brews—and different tastes—but once you’ve found your style, you’ll soon be in Hoogly heaven!

Now you’ve got your tea, it’s time to get Hoogly. Get your friends or family over, pull on your comfiest, loungiest clothes, crack out the cakes, bakes and sweets and have a super-chilled evening of light chit-chat, board games and digital detox! This is what our company ethos Hygge is all about, and it’s the perfect way to shed your stress, ditch your dramas and unwind. And with our uniquely delicious Earl Grey blend at your side, you’ll soon be as calm, cosy and contented—just like all those delightful Danes!

 www.hooglytea.com 

Written by Chris Bedford!

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