Hoogly Blogs / healthy indulgences

A Time of Waste

A Time of Waste

Plastic is a pretty remarkable material. It’s cheap, strong, long-lasting, and can be made into any shape you can imagine. Humans are so enamoured with the invention that since the fifties, it’s estimated that we’ve created over eight billion metric tonnes of plastic. Although plastic has been put to good use and has been a success in many areas of our everyday lives, the impact of its supreme durability is now becoming horribly evident.

 

Nearly eighty percent of plastic made in the last seven decades has been discarded onto landfills or into the general environment. Less than ten percent is recycled, and the rest is incinerated. This has led scientists, conservationists and activists to call on the population, from top to bottom, to urgently reassess the way we think about and use plastic.

The statistics they cite are damning. More than 8 million tonnes of plastic finds its way into the sea each year, and some experts estimate that, by the middle of the century, there will be more plastic than fish, and that 99% of all seabirds will have eaten some plastic during their lives. The sea also contains over fifty trillion particles of micro-plastic—five hundred times the amount of stars in our galaxy. Sea turtles can mistake plastic bags for tasty jellyfish, floating plastic can tempt a swooping seagull, and young perch will readily eat plastic over plankton. Scientists think that this waste effects over six hundred species, and the damage done by consuming this indigestible poison is often lethal, which is not only an obvious disaster for the creatures themselves, but also has a knock-on effect on our species, as we eat so many sea-dwelling creatures ourselves. Owing to the fact that plastic can degrade into fragments tiny enough to pass through the gut and into the flesh of fish and other animals, we are already consuming the waste plastic that is polluting our oceans. This is not good news, as some plastic is toxic and can cause disruption to the normal functioning of hormones. Additionally, plastic has been known to attract other spilled pollutants and poisons like a magnet, which simply heightens the importance of removing it from our oceans.

It’s not just the sea that is affected, of course. There are over three hundred billion pieces of plastic in the once-pristine Artic, and some of the remote Pacific Islands have some of the highest levels of plastic pollution anywhere on the globe.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s now thought that plastic may be contaminating the air. Microparticles from cosmetics and microfibres from synthetic clothes wash into our sewage systems and enter treatment plants, finally finding their way into the sea. Some particles, however, combine with the sewage and are then used to fertilise farmers’ fields. Once these dry, and the wind picks up, these particles may be blown into the atmosphere where they can be inhaled as we go about our lives.

The good news is, the world is beginning to respond to the problem. The United Nations has engaged in a ‘War on Ocean Plastic,’ creating a CleanSeas campaign which have notable signatories, including the UK and France, Brazil and Italy. The UK itself has enforced a ban on microplastics in “rinse-off” cosmetics, and has tried to raise awareness in communities about the best ways to recycle, and how to avoid single-use plastics where possible.

And we at Hoogly are doing our part too. Our ethos, Hygge, is about being cosy and content, focussing on the things that bring you joy, and most importantly, being kind to yourself. But being cosy starts in your surroundings and your environment: we want the natural world, from which we take so much pleasure, to be as beautiful and healthy as possible, so that it can provide purity, safety and comfort to us now and in the future, helping us find balance and tranquillity in our everyday lives.

To this end, all of our tea pyramids are fully biodegradable, giving you peace of mind every time you flip on the kettle and indulge in our tasty range of brews. In addition to this, we will very soon be packaging and presenting our tea pyramids in fully biodegradable cellophane bags made from natural, renewable sources. The new NatureFlex bags are static-free, compostable, heat-seal viable, and won’t biodegrade on your shelf. So now you can relax, enjoy the Hoogly moment, safe in the knowledge that you’re sharing a smile with Mother Earth.

And if you’re looking for help navigating your way through our delicious selection of eclectic treats, look no further than our Hoogly Brew of the Week: Early Grey black tea. Our riff on an old classic provides the perfect way to unwind in style, with a delicate blend of Sri Lankan tea leaves, infused with bergamot oil and complemented by zesty lemon and sweet orange, offering a scintillating scent as well as a treat for the taste-buds!

That’s it for now. Until next time, look after yourself and the beautiful world around you—and don’t forget, for a huggable cuppa…it has to be Hoogly!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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A Lolly good idea!!

A Lolly good idea!!

Greetings Hoogly fans! The other day I was trying to solve a very difficult problem. I had a tune to a TV programme going around my head, but I couldn’t remember which programme it belonged to. I had a feeling it was a children’s TV show, but the more I hummed it to myself, and the longer it stayed on tip of my tongue, the more frustrated I became. Unlike most problems, this couldn’t be solved with a quick Google search, which is most infuriating to a person in the year 2019. Eventually, my interest waned, but every few days or weeks, the tune would re-emerge organically in my brain, the volume up high, and the irritating process would start all over again. I asked friends and family, but nobody seemed to know. A few friends became as annoyed as I was, clutching their hair and squashing their eyes shut as they tried to force the name to come. It was as if I had passed on some kind of exasperating virus. Eventually, about three months after the tune emerged in my head, somebody cracked it, and, I have to say, it was a huge anti-climax. It turns out that it was the tune for Grange Hill, which I had initially ruled out as a possibility because I knew the original Grange Hill tune, which wasn’t the tune in my head, failing to remember that the tune had changed at some point during the show’s lifespan. Still, at least the mystery was solved, and I could go back to humming songs I knew.

I tell you all this because I’d originally planned to talk about memory, specifically childhood memories of summer, and I realised that the Grange Hill debacle had a certain connection with this thread, although I’m hoping most of your childhood memories come back to you more easily, and bring more pleasure than my farcical episode!

For me, summer is about grass. The back garden and the park. Paddling pools, water pistols, tennis rackets and balls of all shapes and sizes being bounced of the garden wall or accidentally lobbed over the fence. I loved warming up and cooling off. Sliding and diving around, getting mud on my knees and elbows. Five-a-side football with my mates. American football with my dad. Cricket with my great aunt—who at the age of 65 was still capable of delivering a wicked swing delivery and bowling me out!

And in those seemingly endless evenings, I used to love pitching a tent in the back garden, pretending I was an explorer, hunting bugs, escaping furry predators, finding hidden treasure (Cadbury’s Crème Eggs buried by my grandma) and hunting UFOs in the night sky. I would sit out for hours with my cousin, eating Coco Pops from a cake mix bowl, staring at the stars, waiting for ET to swish by, or land, or fire a laser beam. Although we never got any concrete proof, we both swear to the fact that, one evening in Northampton, we saw three orange triangles shoot silently across the sky in a tight formation. Our very own episode of the X-Files!

Last but not least on my list of childhood memories of summer: BBQs! This is a love that, for most people, never really goes away. The scent of grilled foods that you can float on, cartoon-style, drifting out towards where the action is happening, filling your plate time and time again with unashamedly naughty food. Add to this the joy of friends and family huddling around for fun, games and laughter…and third courses…what more could a kid want??

…Well I’ll tell you what more a kid could want!

Hoogly popsicles and ice tea!!

The sun has been pretty unrelenting this summer—nothing like the nonsense of last year’s heat wave—but still intense. To ensure that you stay refreshed and cool off in style, why not try a Spiced Orange or Berrylicious lolly? Simply brew the herbal infusion bags for twice the usual amount of time, pour into a mould shaped to your preference, and leave it in the freezer overnight! By morning, you’ll have some distinctively delicious sweet summer snacks to fuel your fun in the sun!

Alternatively, why not chill out with the elegance and seduction of a Hoogly ice tea? Simply pop two teabags in a heat-proof pitcher, cover with four cups of boiled water, then leave for around five minutes. Then, remove the teabags, sweeten to your preference, then mix in five or six cups of ice until they melt. If you feel like customising your brew, why not add slivers of your favourite fruit and allow them settle into the mix? Pop the finished article in the fridge and you’re ready to rock when the sun gets too hot to handle! For the best iced teas, we highly recommend Chill Out Mint, with its invigorating and cooling menthol character, Cosy Chamomile, with its carefully chosen herbs that relax the body and soothe the mind, and Jasmine Dawn, a delicate and alluring blend of jasmine, vanilla and rose.

So that’s it! Now you’re all set to enjoy a hot, Hoogly summer, confident in the knowledge that you can stay refreshed and mindful with every sip! Here’s to making more happy memories…cheers!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Viva Las Vegas!

Viva Las Vegas!

What a strange place Las Vegas is.

A city carved out of a desert. A place of luxury, glamour and wealth. A place of excess, extravagance and eccentricity. Where else would you find a replica of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower in the vicinity of a hotel shaped like a pyramid, and another like a Disney castle? And the hotels are not simply hotels, of course. They have shopping malls, and restaurants, museums and aquariums. They house sports venues, concert venues, computer game tournaments and conferences. And of course, they are home to the lifeblood of Las Vegas: the casino. The twinkling neon mazes that chime and whizz and clink, tempting and teasing you inside with the promise of gold, and keep you there with their clockless walls, free drinks, and smoky seduction. But the House always wins. Despite your best intentions, your secret strategies and your carefully calculated tactics, the chances are that you’ll leave with less than you came with. But that’s OK. You can console yourself with a magic act, or a comedy gig, or a burlesque show. You can learn about the history of atomic testing, the mob, and the sinking of the Titanic before indulging in a meal from any cuisine in the world. You can have waffles, ice creams, ice creams in waffles; pretzels, sausages, sausages in pretzels; milk shakes and cheesecakes watching Chippendale beefcakes. You can watch Celine Dion, or Lady Gaga, and see David Copperfield make things vanish. You can ride a rollercoaster or sit in a car leaning over a skyscraper. You can take a chopper to the Grand Canyon or the Hoover Dam, and you take a stretched Hummer to a nightclub just because you can. You can be yourself, or you can be someone else, or you can be no-one at all. A city of sin doesn’t sit in judgement. Just ask the Heart Attack Grill, where you eat free if you weigh over 350lbs.

As the cab drove away from Gatwick on my return, everything felt a little dull, muted and quiet. For a while, it felt wrong. Then, it felt absolutely right again. Vegas is unique, brazen and memorable, but it’s also like fever dream, where everything is faster, brighter, stronger—but also surreal and edgy and cauldron-hot. I was relieved to be back. Everything in moderation, as they say…but I’d jump at the chance to go again. The aces are high.

And now I’m back I’ll be indulging in a very English past-time: the glorious cup of tea! How I missed it in America! How strange to be denied easy access to such a simple pleasure in a foreign land, especially in a city that has everything for everyone. But now, at long last, the wait is over. I can drink Hoogly to my heart’s content, gently lowering myself from the highs of Nevada, and allowing the beautiful and tantalising tastes to transport me to a place of tranquillity and calm.

As the kettle rumbles and puffs, I begin to think about how Hoogly connects with Vegas. The luxurious quality of our teas, the indulgence, the elegance—like the finest hotels—crafted with the highest quality to bring pleasure and relaxation in equal measure. And the sheer range of tastes, like Vegas’s endless showcase of restaurants, offers something for everyone. Genmai Cha green tea from Japan; White Choc and Chilli—a creamy and sweet Chinese treat; Indian-inspired Masala Chai, delightful Danish Pastry Rooibos; classic English Breakfast black tea—not to mention a decadent collection of sweet and delicious treats, such as Spiced Orange and Berrylicious herbal infusions, Chocolate Brownie Black tea and Apple Strudel Green Tea!

Unlike the twinkling casinos, however, Hoogly is not a gamble. We guarantee you’ll love our seductive scents and gorgeously mellow brews, and that before long, you’ll refuse to go without our calming, cosy and mindful blends, infused with a touch of Danish Hygge!

Go on, roll the dice…you really can’t lose!

 Written by Chris Bedford!

www.hooglytea.com

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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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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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Hoogly Book club for Kids!

Hoogly Book club for Kids!

Reading is one of life’s simple pleasures. Children the world over fall in love with books, transfixed by the story, the world within which it is told, and the adventures that their beloved characters are thrown into. Whether it’s funny books, scary books, thrillers & mysteries or books that help us learn about the world, there are few better ways for kids to find a few moments of calm, mindfulness and intrigue than a good read.

With this in mind, Hoogly are delighted to suggest some fun titles for three different age brackets—books that we think will bring excitement and magic to your child’s downtime. Hygge is, after all, about relaxing and focusing on the things you love most—and there are few things more wonderful than the feel and smell of a new book, and the thrill of turning to page one and seeing what awaits inside…

First off, a book for the little ones: we recommend ‘Ruby’s Worry’ by Tom Percival. This is a lovely book about a fun-loving girl called Ruby who one day discovers a worry (which looks a little cloud with eyes). The worry gets bigger and bigger and threatens to spoil Ruby’s fun—can she find a way to get rid of it? This is a beautiful and poignant introduction to emotions, with lovely and inventive illustrations. It should be a must for all children’s bookshelves!

For the 7+ age range, we recommend “The Trapdoor Mysteries” by Abie Longstaff. This is an exciting, magical story about a servant girl called Tally, who works in a large manor house. One day she meets a squirrel and discovers an underground place of magic—and must use the help of both to solve a burglary!

For the 9+ age range, we recommend “Secret of the Sun King” by Emma Carroll. This is a thrilling, old-fashioned adventure story that will keep you gripped from the first page! It’s 1922: Lil and her friends must return a secret package to Egypt in order to break a Pharaoh’s curse and protect those they love. It’s a race against time—can they save the day, or will the perilous journey be their last...?

And while the kids have their noses buried in these brilliant books, why don’t you put your feet up and chill out with a cosy, calming Hoogly tea? Our brews are lovingly crafted to be the perfect tonic for a long, hard day, helping you stay mindful and enjoy your well-earned slither of peace.

As your inner balance returns, try a mug of our dazzling Vanilla Chai black tea: this combination of bold and fiery chai spices and super-smooth vanilla offers a unique taste experience that will draw you in, seduce you and have you rushing back for more!

Alternatively, for an invigorating taste sensation, we recommend Lemon & Ginger herbal infusion. This marriage of zest and fire will energise your day, giving you a refreshing and zingy new way to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures.

So, there you have it: books and tea, thrilling young and old for generations. And with Hoogly—and our book club—they both just keep getting better and better! Enjoy!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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