Hoogly Blogs / eco friendly

A New Page

A New Page

Greetings Hoogly fans! I hope you are all safe and well. Since the last blog I’ve had my first vaccination jab, which was an extraordinarily efficient process, with hundreds of people being manoeuvred with military precision through a large hall, with the whole thing (including the fifteen-minute precautionary post-jab wait) only taking about half an hour. Remarkable work by the healthcare and admin teams, and another step closer to freedom. Fingers crossed things continue to look so positive!

In the meantime, I reckon it’s time to once again delve into the delights of the literary world, discovering which books are the new must-reads as the summer season approaches. Books have been a much-treasured lifeline for many over the lockdowns, their escapism and immersion so much more pointed and urgent than in regular life, giving us an opportunity to relieve a bit of pressure from the valve that steadily builds in confinement. In fact, one of the silver linings of my time on furlough was the ability to read a lot more, which creates the space to try new authors and genres, something that can be the most unexpectedly pleasurable and satisfying experience, and one that people often wish they had tried earlier.

For me, the discovery was American author Anne Tyler, a name I had seen countless times on bestselling lists and on bookshelves, but whose book covers and plots had never appealed to me. I sat down with a mug of Hoogly Earl Grey and started a book called ‘A Spool of Blue Thread,’ which is about three generations of a family in Baltimore, their loves and losses, their triumphs and successes, and the way each generation impacts on the next. I instantly fell in love. Tyler has a forensic understanding of family dynamics; her characters are all relatable, their decisions—good and bad—mirror our own, and we feel their sorrow and joy, crying and laughing with them. Humour, in fact, is sprinkled lovingly throughout the book, with seemingly every other line infused with a wry smile or a wink to the reader, which offers a counter-balance to the more emotional scenes, some of which you have to read a few times to properly understand how beautifully crafted, meaningful and poignant they are. Tyler writes, in fact, just as many of us experience family life: with love and fun, intersected with thunderbolts of drama, woven together with compassion, comfort and few unwelcome surprises! I heartily recommend all of her many novels; you couldn’t find a more Hoogly author if you tried!

So what books are making a splash as we speak? Our first Hoogly recommendation is ‘The Lamplighters’ by Emma Stonex. Inspired by true events, this is the story of three lighthouse keepers who vanished from their lighthouse in 1972, with the entrance door locked from the inside. Within the walls, the clocks have stopped; the weather log speaks of a terrible storm, but the skies have been calm all week. Twenty years later, a writer approaches the women the keepers left behind and invites them to tell their story. As they confront their darkest fears, the truth begins to surface… With critical and popular acclaim, ‘The Lamplighters’ is going to be a must-read novel for the summer ahead!

Our next pick is a stunning mash-up of genres. ‘The Devil and the Dark Water’ by Stuart Turton is a historical mystery thriller with elements of crime and the supernatural. It takes place in 1634 as the world’s greatest detective Samuel Pipps is being transported as a prisoner to Amsterdam aboard an East India Company merchant vessel. Almost as soon as the ship leaves the harbour, the devilry begins, with strange symbols appearing on the sails, a dark figure stalking the decks, and animals being slaughtered. Can Pipps and his faithful bodyguard solve an impossible theft and a brutal murder before the ship’s passengers descend into terror and anarchy? The author brings the scenes vividly to life with acute observed details and a poetic descriptions, drawing you into the era and the setting from the very first page, and then carrying you along on a wild and scary ride as the super sleuth follows the clues and battles enemies real and imagined! If you fancy something inventive and different, this is the book for you!!

For kids around ages 9-12, we highly recommend ‘Harklights’ by Tim Tilley. This is the story of Wick, who lives in the terrible Harklights Match Factory and Orphanage, working without rest for Old Ma Bogey. As he dreams of escape, he happens across a tiny baby in an acorn cradle. As midnight chimes, Wick is visited by the Hobs, who are miniature protectors of the forest, who thank Wick for taking good care of the baby. But their gratefulness does not end there: the Hobs offer Wick an amazing opportunity—escape from Harklights and start a new life and adventure with them in the wild! This is a beautiful book, extremely Hoogly in its themes of friendship, family and the natural world, and offering a much-needed message of hope during the difficult times we have all experienced. Kids will love the world that is created inside the covers, and will embrace the Hobs and their urgent need to protect the world around them.

As for the perfect accompaniment to your literary treasures, look no further than a beautiful mug of Hoogly tea! We can’t think of better way to relax and wind down than to pick a cosy nook of your home, curl up with a good read and sip a delicious brew while you immerse yourself in a good story. How about kicking off the summer with a cup of Spiced Orange herbal infusion?! This is a zesty sensation that sings of sunshine, combining fruit and mulled spices to create a taste that will thrill you during those long, warm nights with friends and family!

For something a little different, why not try Blueberry Muffin Rooibos? This tantalisingly toasty brew is infused with sweet berry tones to recreate a classic naughty treat, perfect to accompany breakfast, or as a Hoogly mindful moment at any time of the day as it’s naturally caffeine-free! Sure to become your new favourite cuppa—and as restrictions ease, it will become your guests’ favourite too!

That’s it for now; take care of yourselves, pop the kettle on and stay 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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IKIGAI

IKIGAI

Here at Hoogly, we base our products on the concept of Hygge: the Danish lifestyle ethos that values cosiness, mindfulness, and focussing on the things you love the most. Although Hygge is our driving force, we’re always on the lookout for other concepts and ideas that can have a positive influence on our everyday lives, and we think we’ve found just the ticket with an ethos that originates on the other side of the world in Japan.

Ikigai (pronounced ick-ee-guy) is, at its most simplistic, your reason for getting out of bed in the morning. Finding your purpose, or a calling, can be a huge factor in living a long, healthy and fulfilled life. But Ikigai goes further. It asks you to examine yourself, listen to your instincts, and to step outside of the practical routines we adopt in our day-to-day lives, moving closer to the things we feel passionate about.

Your ikigai is a combination of four elements:

-What you love.

-What you are good at.

-What the world needs (your mission)

-What you can get paid for.

Ikigai sits in the centre of where these four elements converge, and helps clarify what makes our life worthwhile. It’s worth spending some time examining the list, making detailed notes on each category, and seeing if there are any overlaps that you hadn’t thought about before. It could be that this is the starting point for finding your ikigai. And even if things don’t seem rosy now, many people who live by ikigai use the concept as a means of looking forward to a brighter future. Much like Hygge, Japanese people see happiness as the sum of small joys experienced in everyday life, whether that is in work or at home. And the more you focus on what it is you actually love, the more you increase the small—and big—joys you will experience.

In order to unlock our purpose, we have to cling on to curiosity. Philosopher and civil rights leader Howard W Thurman states, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

The Japanese have some of the longest-living people in the world, and there’s a strong chance ikigai plays some part in this. Author Dan Buettner, who has written about longevity, thinks it is not enough to simply know your purpose: you have to put it into action. “In Japan, older people are celebrated, and they feel obligated to pass on their wisdom.” This gives them a focus outside of themselves, in service to the wider community. In Japanese work culture, the team is valued more highly than the individual, and workers are driven by being held in high esteem by their colleagues, being thanked, and being useful to others.

If your work is a strong part of your ikigai, it does not necessary follow that working harder and longer is vital to your happiness. Fulfilment comes, in many cases, from feeling that you are making a difference or helping people. Small gestures matter, even something seemingly trivial as acknowledging someone and smiling. Bigger gestures follow later, as we discover what we love, what breaks our heart, and what makes us come alive (or possibly a combination of all three!) When we know more about these three things, we are a step closer to changing our lives—and even the world—for the better.

We’ve got a pretty strong idea of our purpose here at Hygge: making incredible tea that helps you unwind, relax and find that special moment of bliss in your busy life. We feel good about what we do, and we want you to feel good too, which is why all of our teas are vegan—as well as delicious!

Hoogly’s pick for this month? Well, it has to be Genmai Cha green tea! Like ikigai, this brew comes all the way from Japan, and is now enjoyed as a worldwide delicacy in its own right! Indulge in the intriguing mix of vibrant sencha and toasted rice, combining to create a fresh and invigorating brew that will give you a brand-new way to feel refreshed, rejuvenated and relaxed!

So, until next time, it’s ikigai and goodbye!

 

Written by Chris Bedford

 

www.hooglytea.com

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Black and White Tea!

Black and White Tea!

Greetings Hoogly lovers! I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year! How are your resolutions coming along? Congratulations to everyone who is attempting Veganuary! This is a truly exciting and virtuous mission, helping the planet and its animals in numerous ways, and we at Hoogly are fully behind you! Don’t forget that all of our tantalising teas are vegan, so you can complement your new menu with our relaxing, eclectic selection of scent-sational brews!

Aside from being tidier and better with money, my resolution for the new year is to indulge in a regular routine of retro movie nights. This is a simple and relaxing pleasure I have drifted away from in recent years, especially since the advent of streaming, and the constant deluge of new content provided by the giants of TV subscription. When I was younger, my parents introduced me to some of their favourite films, and watching them I discovered a whole new world that seemed distinct and separate from the films I was watching at the time. Firstly, the oddity of black and white. It took a while for me to fully understand that this was a limitation of technology and not evidence that previous generations had actually lived in a world without colour! As I grew older, the films my parents raved about so much began to take on new meaning for me. I began to appreciate the craft involved, the style and scale of some of the productions, the beautiful orchestral music, the purity of the dialogue, and the magnetic draw of the shining stars that appeared in them. Humphrey Bogart, Laurence Olivier, John Wayne, Vivien Leigh. Names my parents spoke about with such reverence, such joy, such fond recollection. I began to understand why Mum and Dad had watched these films over and over, endlessly, never tiring of what was being offered. It was an escape—all good movies are, of course—but these films of the forties, fifties and sixties seemed a breed apart. They were reassuring. Comforting. Like an old friend. They reminded people of a different era, and in many ways (although reality almost certainly differed) a better time. A period of respect and understatement. A period where awful things were implied but not shown. A period in which everything felt ordered, safe, aligned. An idea that, for ninety minutes, nothing else mattered, and everything was as it should be.

From the hundreds of films my parents introduced me to, a handful have stayed with me forever, and now make up the hit-list of retro movie night. But before I get into the details of this glorious rollcall of cinematic delight, I must share with you the proper way to enjoy your relaxing retro evening.  First of all, you must wear pyjamas. If you don’t own a pair of PJs, then a t-shirt and lounge pants are acceptable. Secondly, you must have a duvet or sheet: you never know when the movie night may extend beyond reasonable hours—it might be midnight already when Gone With the Wind starts, and you’ve got four hours to get through yet, so it’s wise to make arrangements to sleep where you sit! Thirdly, you need copious snacks, preferably popcorn, but I will allow any reasonable assortment of chocolates, crisps or nuts. Fourthly, you must have an endless supply of Hoogly Tea at your side! As you know, like Hollywood movies, our teas range from the classic to the exotic, from elegant simplicity to flavour fiestas, taking your around the world on a chilled and refreshing journey. So get your kettle and bags ready—lights, camera, action!

And so to my favourite retro films. If you haven’t seen these already, then you’re not living your best life. Sort it out!

 

  1. Brief Encounter. A chance meeting of a married woman and a doctor at a steam-covered train station leads to a romantic affair, and a dramatic exploration of loyalty, regret and the choices we make. Has one of the greatest—and most English —endings in cinema history.
  2. Wuthering Heights (1939) This adaptation of Emily Brontë’s novel is a wind-swept and moody saga of love, loss and obsession, with a sweeping and underrated orchestral score, and fine performances by Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. Have a hanky ready!
  3. Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart plays night club owner Rick, who agrees to help his former lover and her husband stay a step ahead of the Nazis—but old feelings are soon rekindled. This masterpiece has some of the greatest lines of dialogue ever written, a beautiful score, high drama, and never fails to delight, no matter how many times you watch it.
  4. Carve Her Name With Pride. The true story of Violette Szabo, an English war-widow who became a secret agent in occupied France during World War 2. A film about courage, love and doing one’s duty, this a fitting tribute to a remarkable heroine—the first woman to be awarded the George Cross. Included in the film is the reading of a love poem Szabo was given to help encrypt messages while she was in France—it is a thing of rare beauty, and the moment the poem appears will stay with you forever.

 

If you fancy a seductive treat to add a little bit of Hollywood glamour to your movie night, why not try one of our Hoogly hot cocoas?! We have three decadent flavours to choose from: Luxury Hot Cocoa, Cocoa & Mint, and Salted Caramel Cocoa! These sweet sensations will knock your cosy socks off, and keep you coming back for more! So give one an audition today!

Until next time, good luck with all your resolutions and enjoy your movie night!

www.hooglytea.com

Written by Chris Bedford.

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