Hoogly Blogs / drink well

A Little Bit of You-Time with Hoogly

A Little Bit of You-Time with Hoogly

Have you ever looked at the clock and it seems to be moving backwards? The passage of time is a strange phenomenon; we all remember occasions when it screams past too quickly—but when it’s sluggish and ugly, it can do weird things to the hands of a clock, or the digital readout on a watch. 

Waiting for a delayed train is one of my personal, time-bending bugbears. Or perhaps labouring through a tedious project at work. Maybe even during a date with a person who is totally wrong for you: a quick glance at the watch to see that seven minutes has elapsed, and you were sure it was two hours. 

Sometimes having the kids home in the summer holidays can feel like this. And especially so after the yawning time-chasms of the national lockdowns, where many parents and guardians became full-time educators as well as boredom-fixers. Six weeks is a long time in anyone’s books, but with littles one around all day long, demanding to be fed, to go on adventures, to play games and to do it now, then the pressure can build on those poor souls looking after them.  What’s worse is the debate and controversy about foreign travel, which has kept many families grounded, unable to get away and put their feet up in the sun. And I haven’t even mentioned the poke-nudge-tantrum when it comes to screens: one family app calculated that parents will be hounded 521 times over the holidays about getting behind a phone, tablet or console. That’s some high-quantity pestering! It can be expensive too, with working parents seeing the bills mount up for childcare and holiday camps—a prospect that is difficult to swallow after the financial and career uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

One thing you can be sure of, dear readers, is that the time will pass, the kids will eventually have a nap or go to bed, and the summer holidays will end. And at the end of the day, when you’ve finally got the couch and the remote to yourself; when your back aches and your head is throbbing; when your feet are blistered from hiking and your hands are sticky from glitter and glue—remember that you’ve earned yourself this time. You deserve the rest—and you deserve the most luxurious treat to accompany your me-time.

And this is where Hoogly tea comes in!

Our Hygge-inspired brews were created with mindfulness and relaxation at their core; they are liquid tranquillity, luring you in with tantalising aromas, before leaving you spellbound with an array of delicious tastes. Our teas are the perfect way to unwind and let go of the shrieking madness of the day-gone-by. Hoogly moves at your pace. It won’t bug you; it won’t tug on your shirt; it won’t demand Minecraft or Fortnite. It will, however, leave you yearning for another cup, drawn in by the naturally healthy and vegan ingredients, woven together in original and elegant ways, and dazzled by the way it makes you feel. You can even rely on Hoogly to look after the environment while you chill, with our plastic-free bags and ethically sourced, fair-trade ingredients!

But if a cup of spectacularly delicious tea just won’t get you there—why not try our seriously indulgent Salter Caramel hot cocoa?! Using Himalayan salt and coconut nectar sugar, this sweet treat is the ultimate way to put the day behind you, with more warmth and comfort than a childhood blanky!

That’s it for now, tea lovers! Good luck with the rest of the holidays, and remember to flip on the kettle whenever you need little bit of Danish delight from Hoogly!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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A Flask Of Freedom

A Flask Of Freedom

After months of restrictions, at the time of writing, the country is cautiously opening up. What a long, arduous stretch it has been! Things we used to take for granted have become like a vaguely familiar dream: heading to the shops, meeting someone for a chat, hitting the gym. But now many of the things that brought us a sense of normality and joy are slowly returning, and we can look forward to more freedoms coming our way, should everything go as planned.

What are you most looking forward to doing? Personally, I can’t wait to get a haircut. My wife has done a commendable job with my electric beard-trimmer, and while my hair looks OK with a ‘grade zero’, when it grows back, I look a little like a Lego man with a clipped-on wig. Which is fine when you’re locked down and not seeing anyone—but now I’m about to be viewed in public again, the experts will need to take a good look at my barnet! And I’m also looking forward to getting my ear hair removed by flaming tabs as they do at my barbers. There’s always an accompanying sense of smug satisfaction that I survived the experience without crying.

The opening of gyms is also a most welcome change. I’ve managed to keep myself fairly healthy over the lockdown, but there’s only so many times you can do the same jogging routes—or run up and down the stairs like there’s an emergency—without getting a little weary of the same old routine. It will be wonderful to take a dip in the pool once again, and perhaps try some weights. I can also resume my new-found love of racket sports, although I have much more enthusiasm than I do ability, but it’s certainly a more pleasurable and competitive way to keep fit than trying to beat my personal best time  to the local Tesco and back. 

Tesco, Tesco. The little trooper soldiering on throughout the crisis. A big shout-out to those brave and inspirational workers who kept us fed and watered throughout the pandemic; they really are heroes who deserve all the praise and plaudits that they get. But it will be nice to see another shop. Any other shop. And it will be nice to browse. Such an odd thing to miss, when so much has been taken away, but the ability to breeze freely in sections and shelves, unmolested by online ads or emails, seeing how items actually look in real life, gauging how they would look in your hand, or your living room, or your wardrobe. Don’t get me started on bookshops. Browsing was invented for bookshops, or vice versa, and there is nothing quite like the smell and the feel of physical books, combined with the sea of spines that sit tantalising on the shelf, urging you towards your next literary treasure or discovery. I know I have to budget. I really do. But it’s been so long.

So long since we sat outside and had a pint together. Sharing our stories, our highs and lows, with the ones we love and cherish, enjoying something tasty—maybe even a little naughty—that we haven’t had to prepare. Even though it might be a bit chilly on some days, the return of outdoor hospitality is a welcome boost for both punters and owners, and a great barometer of how far we’ve come, and of all the sacrifices we’ve made, and the liberties these sacrifices have earnt. If cheesy chips don’t help put the last year behind us, then what will?

Well, Hoogly tea, for a start. If you’re not going to the pub, but you are meeting friends of family outdoors for a chat, a walk or a picnic, then fill up a flask with one of our warming and delicious brews, and enjoy the mindful tranquillity that Hoogly does best! You can’t go wrong with our broad and eclectic collection, including traditional teas, herbal blends and even hot cocoa! We aim to put a smile on your face with every sip, and what better way to celebrate the easing of restrictions that to enjoy a cosy cuppa in the midst of nature?! While the air is still nippy, we heartily recommend Around the Fire Oolong tea, a warming and smoky combo of tea leaves and spices, licked by the flames of safflower and crushed chilli to keep you fiery while everyone around you adds extra layers. Or how about Earl Grey black tea, our Hoogly riff on a classic brew, balancing Sri Lankan leaves with bergamot oil, complemented by a cheeky twist of lemon peel and orange blossom. This is my personal favourite of our collection: a dependable and delicious old friend that always hits the spot. Perfect to enjoy on your own, but equally fun to share. Just keep a firm grip on your box of teabags—once your friends get a taste, they’ll be after more!

So that’s it, tea lovers! Until next time, stay safe and be Hoogly to each other!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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FIKA-ing it out

FIKA-ing it out

 

We all know how amazing hygge is: the Danish hard-to-translate word conjures images of candles, fluffy socks and sweet treats. Hygge is a state of mind, and it effuses every cup of tea that Hoogly creates, giving tea-lovers a wonderful sense of cosiness, tranquillity and relaxation—but the Danes are not the only ones who have a little bit of magic up their sleeves. In Sweden they have a rival to hygge, a revolution that is now going global, with a tradition that shares a lot of traits with hygge. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Fika.

Like Hygge, Fika can be used as a verb (We’re Fika-ing today, people!) or a noun (It’s time for Fika!) and it basically means to meet, have a coffee and a chat. It can be done at any time of the day, and can last as long as several hours. It’s also a hugely popular treat for workers during business hours. It will surprise very few of you to learn that Fika is very therapeutic. Pausing from the hectic schedule, munching down on a cinnamon bun and having a hot drink while sharing a nice catch-up is beneficial to productivity, keeping minds fresh and in good spirits. So ingrained is Fika in Swedish culture that some firms add a contract clause stating that workers are entitled to Fika rast (coffee breaks!)

How did Fika come about? It’s thought that the origin of the word is a reworking of the syllables of ‘kaffi,’ the old spelling of coffee. Originally, the coffee was the centre of the ritual. Over time, fikabröd (fika bread) become just as important, the home-baked and fresh cakes tied in to the joyful social aspect of sharing something sweet and enjoying the moment together.

In the 1940s, guests who popped by for Fika were treated to something special. The finest china was on show, no help was needed with the washing up, and thanks to the best-selling book “Sju Sorters Kakor” (Seven kinds of biscuits), seven different types of cakes or biscuits were an obligatory presentation. Six was lazy, eight was showing off! ”Sju Sorters Kakor” is now part of Swedish culture, with each household squirreling away up to four copies, with Swedes firmly believing it’s the most influential book since the bible. There is a fear that Sweden may, in fact, sink in to the sea, due to the excess copies of this Fika literary treasure.

There are so many sweet options to choose from while you Fika, but a good place to start is the princess cake (prinsesstårta). This globe-shaped indulgence consists of a sponge base topped with vanilla pastry cream and oodles of fluffy whipped cream. It will often be enrobed with green marzipan, and crowned with a pink marzipan rose. Some modern bakers will add a thin layer of raspberry jam, although many original recipes omit it!

When summer rolls in, the jordgubbstårta comes out. This luxurious strawberry cake is a combination of sponge, vanilla cream and strawberry jam, covered in whipped cream and a pile of fresh, moist strawberries.  Chocolate-lovers will be drawn to the kladdkaka (sticky cake) a gooey and rich delight, again balanced with whipped cream and fresh berries.

The kanelbulle—cinnamon bun—is a Swedish classic, served in most cafes and bakeries, and an all-time favourite amongst Fika fans. The heavenly fragrance lures you towards its filling, soft and bready body, offering the perfect treat to share with your Fika friends. (I’ll share the moment, but not the cake. Hands off, mate…)

Of course, we at Hoogly approve of Fika—but we would cheekily swap out the coffee for one of our delicious and relaxing teas, of course. And what better brew to enjoy a Scandinavian chit-chat break than Danish Pastry herbal infusion? Riffing on the Danish national treat, this wonderfully warming indulgence is infused with a chocolate and cinnamon aroma, and a deliciously comforting pastry taste. It will seduce tea (and Fika) lovers over and over again!

Alternatively, why not try Apple Strudel green tea—a classic combination of juicy apples and sweet spices, blended with Chinese and Japanese roasted green tea, creating a potent mix of authentic tradition and sweet modernity. Your Fika breaks have never tasted so good!

That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. I hope you all remain safe and well as we look forward to opening up and sharing Fika and Hygge as they were meant to be!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Book Club

Book Club

It’s that time again! We’re here to help you relax and unwind in authentic Hoogly fashion with our top reading recommendations for the summer and autumn! After the lockdown pause, books are well and truly back in our lives again, and there’s even more to come, with August bringing a wealth of new publishing, plumped up by many titles which were delayed earlier in the year. It’s a very exciting time to be a book lover, people!

First up: we have ‘The Giver of Stars’ by Jojo Moyes. You may be familiar with Jojo’s novel ‘Me Before You’, which was a huge best-seller, and went on to become a hit Hollywood movie of the same name. Her latest book is a wonderful, warm-hearted story about friendship and the power of books. Set in Kentucky during the Great Depression, the book tracks five women across the dust bowls and prairies of America as they encounter hardship and oppression, and tells of their journey to overcome everything by bringing a travelling library of books to those who need them most. With Jojo’s trademark wit and wisdom, as well as beautiful descriptions of Kentucky, this is an absolute must-read! As an accompaniment to this great novel, we recommend our indulgent Luxury Hot Cocoa: a sweet and creamy delight that you will crave over and over again, and just like Jojo’s book, you will feel the need to tell all your friends about it!

Our second pick is Bill Bryson’s ‘The Body.’ Bryson has proved time and again that he is the perfect travel companion, taking us all over the world in his journals, allowing us to see and experience people and places we had never seen before, and offering a window into the lives of others with his trademark sense of humour and fun. This time, Bryson is taking us on a tour of our own bodies, neatly following up from his amazing ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything,’ which laid out the story of science in a zippy, fun and accessible style. Now we have the opportunity to learn about the miracle of our physical and neurological makeup, encountering amazing facts and astonishing stories about how our bodies function and possess the remarkable ability to heal themselves. This is truly a book for anyone! To accompany this great read, we recommend naturally caffeine-free Sweet Orange Rooibos: a delicious sip of sunshine from South Africa, with a lively, zesty natural citrus flavour, and a playful hint of strawberry. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Our final pick is for the little ones in your life. ‘Look Up!’ by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola is a joyous and life-affirming new picture book about loveable Rocket, a space-obsessed girl who wishes everyone was excited as she was about the upcoming meteor shower! If she’s going to be the greatest astronaut, star-catcher and space traveller that has ever lived, she’ll need to convince her big brother Jamal to stop looking down at his phone and start LOOKING UP at the stars. Bursting with fun, energy and eye-popping illustrations, this amazing story will reignite your desire (in true Hoogly fashion) to switch off those screens and switch on to the world around us! And how about something sweet and delicious to complement such a fun-filled story? Try Raspberry, Liquorice & Lavendar black tea, a delightful blend of sharp raspberries and super-sweet liquorice root, sprinkled with lavender flowers for a fresh, floral twist! This is a great summer beverage, equally tasty as an ice lolly, but can be enjoyed at any time of the year, whether you’re reading, relaxing, chilling with friends, or just having some Hoogly time around the house!

If you enjoyed these books, pop into your local Waterstones for some great new recommendations, and remember to flip the kettle on as soon as you’re home—there’s so many different Hygge-inspired brews to try, you’ll never run out of gorgeous-scented, taste-tastic choices!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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