Hoogly Blogs / loose leaf

COME DINE WITH ME

COME DINE WITH ME

Greetings Hoogly fans! I hope everyone is doing well. It’s great to see the country creeping back into some sort of normality after such a long and difficult few months. While there still seems a fair way to go in this surreal and unprecedented journey, we can at least begin to do some of the things that have been denied to us during lockdown, including eating out! This is a favourite pastime of mine; I love everything about the experience of dining away from home. I especially enjoy the simple pleasure of not having to cook my meal: this is an underestimated joy, and is matched only by the delight of avoiding the washing up. These factors most easily explain why I spend far too much time (and money) in restaurants and pubs—but I can’t help it. There’s something magical about it.

Another huge part of the pleasure of eating out, of course, is the sociability. I think this was one of the things I found hardest about lockdown; the inability to meet regularly with friends and family over a table of good food and catch up on gossip, or put the world to rights with far-reaching debates and conversations. The love of cuisine is something that binds us together; and the experience of the restaurant is something that is best when shared. It starts with the perusal of the menu; the giddy anticipation that comes with the wealth of choice; the slight disappointment that your decision must be boiled down to only one selection, and the promise of something sweet to end the meal.

Then comes the wait. The mouth-watering pause between waiter/waitress visitations, and the smell of the kitchen wafting through the room. And then the plate arrives, placed in front of you like a dream, artfully presented or piled high; a glorious, indulgent reason to be cheerful. The first bite is everything: perhaps you go quiet for a moment. Block everything else out. Spend some alone-time with your main course; taking in the flavour, the texture, the delicate acrobatics of your taste-buds as they are caressed by the food. Once you’ve got to grips with the treat in front of you, the conversations can begin again; declaring how delicious your meal is to others as they confirm the quality of their own dish; swapping stories of where inferior or superior versions of the same meal have been experienced in the past, or perhaps tales of cooking the same dish at home with good or bad results. Sometimes things are left unsaid, however. Jealous glances followed by rueful thoughts. I wish I’d chosen what she’s having. I knew I should have ordered chips. Would it be wrong to ask for seconds?

But food aside, as I mentioned earlier, the loveliest part of dining out is being in the company of those you love and cherish, experiencing a joint adventure that keeps us connected and in touch, creating memories that sustain us through the working week, and through the hardships that inevitably arrive at our door. And the most recent global hardship has made the art of eating into a quite different experience, but one that I think will gradually help us move away from the darker months that preceded these. It will take time, of course. There is naturally, and rightly, an undercurrent of caution to getting back into our old habits, but I think a shared love of quality grub, conversation and lack of kitchen chores will eventually become second-nature once again.

And, of course, there is no better way to round off an evening—whether you’ve been at work, out for a meal, or spending the day at home—than flipping on the kettle and settling down with one of our amazingly relaxing Hoogly teas! We have a huge range of brews that represent our cosy, mindful ethos, helping you find that perfect moment of calm in the storm of modern life. The Hoogly range have scents that are as enticing and delicious as their flavours, and will soon find a special place in your daily routine—and maybe even your heart! We’re all about treating yourself to something special, which is why we love having a meal out, and which is why we design all our teas to put you, the customer, first, helping you focus on the simple things in life that bring you joy and calmness.

Our recommendation today is: Baked Apple Chai black tea. This versatile delight is an excellent accompaniment to any occasion and climate, working from a base of mellow Sri Lankan black tea, which overlaps with the dazzling flavour combination of apple, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla pieces. Throw some blackberry and lime leaves into the equation, and you’ve got yourself a luxurious mug of happiness that will put a smile on your face time and again.

So until next time, stay safe, go at your own pace, and love tea!

Written by Chris Bedford, 

www.hooglytea.com

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A walk on the wild side!

A walk on the wild side!

Greetings Hoogly fans! As the lockdown is gradually eased, many of us are taking the opportunity to step outside and cautiously enjoy exercise in the wider world once again. Spending such a long time indoors has been truly testing (even with our endlessly varied and delicious Hoogly brews to enjoy!) and now that we are starting to stretch our legs, the surroundings that we’ve barely seen in weeks take centre stage once more. But it’s not just the beautiful woods, forests and parks, replete with plump trees, radiant flowers and vast swathes of glistening grassland that demand attention; it’s also the amazing creatures that dwell within. Personally, I love nothing better than to watch wildlife busily going about its business: squirrels scurrying and pestering nuts; ducks with fluffy chicklets drifting across glinting ponds; geese sculling overhead in military formation; foxes on a dusk prowl, flitting into hedge furrows with a flash of orange. And, of course, there are the hundreds of varieties of dogs, hauling their humans around, blissfully unaware of the world’s problems, tongues lapping out like slabs of bacon as they urge yet another lap of the park. Don’t forget, too, the insects, arachnids and reptiles that dart about, burrowing, hiding, marching, flying and hunting beneath and around our feet—a whole other world of stunning intricacy, complexity and imperious design…if only we look close enough.

Watching animals go about their lives has always given me a sense of calm, an escape from whatever else I’m thinking about. It’s oddly comforting knowing the simple, binary prerogatives of these creatures: safety, warmth, food, sex. But it’s not always simply about survival; there are secrets and magic to be found in the wild; chase and play, fun and games, mating rituals, elaborate communication, tender acts, and lifelong relationships. There is so much to admire—and envy—In the animal world that I thought I list a few amazing facts for your enjoyment—nuggets of information that will dazzle, surprise and give you fresh perspective on our wild neighbours!

    

  • In 1945, a Colorado farmer decided chicken was on the menu, and chopped one of his rooster’s head off with an axe; unfortunately, his aim was slightly off, and despite removing the head, the rooster’s brainstem remained mostly intact, and a clot saved it from death by blood loss. When ‘Mike’ continued to run around, the farmer knew he had something incredible on his hands, and soon the rooster became famous, delighting and shocking visitors for eighteen months, before he eventually succumbed to the inevitable!
  • The bombardier beetle, when threatened, cooks up a chemistry set of destruction in its belly: hydroquinone, hydrogen peroxide, catalysing enzymes and water, a jet of which shoots out of its rear end with a loud pop, scaring and stinking predators away! Thankfully, the beetle also has an inner valve which closes so that the beetle doesn’t explode!
  • Some lizards and salamanders can ‘drop’ their tails when a predator grabs it; this process of autotomy happens when the lizard contracts certain muscles, cleaving a vertebra and causing the tail to fall (and sometimes wiggle independently to further befuddle an attacker) Often, a new tail tip made from cartilage may grow back, but the bones are gone forever.
  • It may not surprise you to know this, but cats have adapted to skilfully manipulate their owners. A study showed that cats that want something from their humans emit a unique, high-frequency purr, which is of a similar pitch to the impossible-to-ignore wails and cries of a human baby, ensuring we soon top up the bowl and put a smile on moggy’s whiskers.
  • In 1986, a five-year-old boy fell into the gorilla enclosure at Jersey Zoo, knocking himself unconscious. Jambo, the head of the gorilla group, took the situation into his own hands, guarding the boy, and stroking his back, keeping his curious fellow gorillas back. When the boy came round and started to cry, Jambo stepped back, allowing keepers to rescue the boy unharmed!
  • An African Grey Parrot called Alex, according to his handler, had the ability to understand concepts, recognise colours and shapes and knew around 100 words, including some the parrot had made up himself! When Alex saw his first apple, he christened it ‘banerry,’ a portmanteau of ‘banana’ and ‘cherry,’ two fruits he already enjoyed!

 

To celebrate the outside world, and all the majestic creatures that inhabit it, why not indulge in one of our finest summery brews: Spiced Orange herbal tea! This fresh, zesty delight has a generous dose of mulled spices, and is infused with a fruity centre that will quench your thirst and thrill your taste buds at any time of day!

Until next time, stay safe, be Hoogly, and don’t let the cat twist your arm!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hoolgytea.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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Turn Over a New Leaf in January!

Turn Over a New Leaf in January!

Greetings Hoogly lovers! Today I’m going to talk about the New Year, and all the opportunities this brings to treat yourself to some Hygge magic. Yes, it’s soon going to be January, that wonderful period of calm reflection, a period collective exhalation after the mayhem of December, turning thoughts away from shopping lists and decorations towards longer-term goals and projects.

Every year, my resolutions are the same: eat better, spend less, tidy more, and read more books. I like to think I’m relatively consistent in sticking to them—at least until mid-March. But the resolution that brings me the most joy and satisfaction is the book-reading. I think carving out time to chill out and become absorbed in a book is one of life’s true pleasures, and one of the most Hoogly things you can do. Hygge, after all, is about focusing on the things that bring you comfort and happiness, and doing those things in the cosiest way possible. So, this January, get in your PJs, pull on your big socks, plop yourself down in your softest chair, and let yourself be fall in love with the literature!

And if you need some top tips for books to read in 2020, then here are Hoogly’s top five books to inspire, thrill and comfort!

  1. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. This is a stunning gift book for all ages, featuring exquisite illustrations and beautiful conversations between the four animals that will lift your heart, stir your emotions and bring a smile to your face. One to keep on the shelf forever.
  2. Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley. A stark departure from the first choice on the list, this is a wonderfully disturbing little horror novel about a couple who have lost their young son. In the mother’s despair, she turns to a group called The Beacons to find answers about the visions she sees of her son, but in her desperation to find hope, she may possibly unearth something terrible. A gothic rural setting and a pacy narrative make this essential reading for the dark nights of winter!
  3. Blue Moon by Lee Child. Jack Reacher is back! The six-foot-seven former military cop must use every inch of his brawn, logic and intellect to get the better of two criminal gangs who are vying for control over the town where Reacher has just shown up. If you haven’t read Lee Child before, fasten your seatbelt for the best thriller writer in town! The plots are devious, the action is intense, and Jack Reacher one of the coolest, most addictive characters ever created! Electric, white-knuckle stuff!
  4. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes. A romantic novel set in 1930s Kentucky, this absorbing read tells the story of Alice, who, disillusioned with married life, joins a travelling library led by feisty and rebellious Margery O’Hare. But not everyone is overjoyed with the women’s desires to spread the love of books and they come up against stiff resistance that threatens to crush their dreams. Can the women’s belief in each other, and the power of books, win the day?
  5. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. Now the hit BBC show is underway, huge swathes of us are rediscovering the classic His Dark Materials series, in which plucky Lyra and her shape-shifting animal daemon embark on an adventure that will bring them in contact with witches, child-snatchers and warrior ice-bears, whilst seeking to discover the dark secret at the heart of her world. This is the first in the original trilogy that has captured the imagination of children and adults alike with its imagination, narrative skill and epic world-building.

 

And what better way to accompany your bestselling book than a beautiful brew? Make Hygge one of your New Year’s resolutions and enjoy the scintillating scents and tantalising tastes of Hoogly Teas, bringing tranquillity, relaxation and joy wherever and whenever you need it.

If you aren’t quite ready for the end of the festive season, why not spend January indulging in our uniquely wonderful Christmas Cake Rooibos—a harmonious blend of fruit and spices that will delight friends and family, even on the coldest, darkest days. Truly, a gift that keeps on giving!

If it’s luxury and elegance you’re after, then look no further than White Choc & Chilli White Tea! This creamy and sweet Chinese brew is an aromatic treat, perfect to add a little heat to winter, with a taste that will lure you back time and again!

So that’s it for this month, friends. I hope Santa brings you everything you wish for, including some good books and, hopefully, some delicious Hoogly delights! You deserve it!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

 

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A Clean Start

A Clean Start

So, I’m not sure if anyone told you, but Christmas is coming. Looming ominously and gathering size and speed, like the giant rolling ball in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. And when it is done, we are most likely to have an influx of stuff. Good stuff. Prezzies, gifts, gestures of goodwill, items from our Santa wish-list. Bag after bag of generosity from friends and family, sitting in our living rooms or on our spare bed, waiting patiently for us to finish our leftover sandwiches and fifth box of chocolates, and maybe also a few naps, before attention is turned back their way, as we try to find a home for all those socks and scarves and underpants; those games and toys and books. Not to mention the fancy and oversized kitchenware and the bathroom smellies. Now I don’t know about you, but in my house, those bags are usually left unattended for a few days before I can summon the energy to find everything a home. This is because, in years gone by, I have been a little bit…how best to put it…messy. I’ve let my tidiness and organisation slide and adopted a policy of ‘that’ll do,’ with a dollop of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ And, unsurprisingly, when the festive season hits and I add more stuff to an already heaving system, things usually end up going awry.

But there are worse things at sea, right? What’s wrong with a bit of mess? No harm, no foul. Well, actually, there may be something to the old saying about ‘tidy house, tidy mind.’ If we think back to all those moments in our lives when we had a massive clean, I’m willing to bet that nine times out of ten it was a hugely positive experience. Personally, I remember tidying my student digs after weeks (OK, months) of screwed up essays, takeaway pizzas and parties, fuelled by the fear that government agents in hazmat suits were ready to burst through the door and arrest us for crimes against hygiene. And when we were done—weary, sweating and with ten binbags in hand—the place looked amazing and we felt amazing. Being clutter free and clean made us feel invigorated, creative, focussed and happy. We vowed that, from that moment on, we would never be messy again. And we weren’t. For an entire week. And then life happened.

But my point is, tidying works. But we so easily forget. There seems to be a disconnect; the euphoria of being clutter free and relaxed, followed by the gradual accumulation of stuff, and a feeling of underlying stress as a result. It boils down, in essence, to control. If our space is clean and tidy, we feel in control, on top of our tasks, ready to focus on others things. If we are messy, that feeling of control seeps away, creating an ever-increasing feeling of helplessness. Too many rooms, too much grime, too little time. And it’s hard—really, really hard to create change.

But help is at hand. There are now a wealth of writers, bloggers and Instagram stars who dedicate themselves to helping others find the tranquillity and calm that comes from tidiness. Marie Kondo, author of ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ offers a wonderfully precise and ruthless ethos to kickstart your cleaning routines. Here are five useful tips from her writing:

1: Does is spark joy? Those items/clothes/books etc loitering in drawers, boxes, cupboards. Do they actively give you proper, smile-inducing, laughter-provoking pleasure? If not, get rid!

2: Don’t let your family see you tidy: Parents, especially, can often try and ‘save’ things from being thrown out. Own your choices, go solo, and if it doesn’t spark joy, you know what to do!

3: Tackle categories, not rooms. For example, deal with all clothes first, then move onto books. It gives you focus and stops you creeping from room to room!

4: Nostalgia is not your friend: Get your blinkers on, people. Don’t be distracted by old photographs, or some pretty rock you found at a beach once, or that blade of grass that Lady Gaga walked on at a festival that one time—focus on your categories and don’t fall down the memory lane rabbit hole, because that’s a perfect way to achieve absolutely zero!

5: Purging feels good. You can give the bulk to charity, or children of friends and family, and the rest can be recycled or put in the bin. You will feel so much lighter, freer, happier and content knowing that you’ve rid yourself of things you neither need nor care for. And, once this stuff is gone, the things that do spark joy are clearly accessible without solving a Krypton Factor puzzle in order to find them!

And…breathe.

Of course, we at Hoogly love the idea of being kind to ourselves. We don’t claim to be the tidiest people in the world (Come on, we make a lot of cakes!), but we do try to follow the Danish ethos of Hygge as best we can, which shares some key themes with Marie Kondo’s books. In Hygge, we seek to fill our lives with the things we love the most: people, food, mementos and places. If it doesn’t bring us cosiness, contentment and happiness, then we say farvel to it—good riddance. Because Hygge is about treating yourself well, spoiling yourself with life’s little luxuries and simple pleasures, and remembering to make a habit of it!

We think Marie Kondo would really dig our Hygge-inspired Hoogly teas. For a start, they are delicious—but they are also crafted with no unnecessary excess—just simple ingredients, well chosen, allowing the scent and taste to speak for themselves.  And not to brag, but our tea boxes are also small, neat and easy to stack! So our kitchen will look pristine… just as soon as we’ve organised all the stray plastic bags, Tupperware, pan lids, bottle tops and recipe books…

So, how about our recommended tea of the week?

Well, what better than a brew that makes you feel cleansed and refreshed inside and out? The cool and classic Chill Out Mint! Our invigorating menthol cuppa not only tastes amazing, but, in some cases, can also aid digestion, freshen breath and ease certain headaches. It’s also naturally caffeine and calorie free, meaning you can enjoy this sumptuous tea without feeling sinful. So simply sit back, relax and let the natural flavour wash over you.

That’s it for now Hoogly fans. Hope you have success in pruning your possessions, and we’ll see you again soon for a nice cup of tea and a chat!

Written by Chris Bedford.

www.hooglytea.com

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Take my breath away.

Take my breath away.

Can you remember the first song you ever learned? The first song you ever loved? Incy Wincy Spider? Round and Round the Garden? The Hokey Cokey? Our fascination and obsession with music starts early and, for most of us, locks in for the rest of our lives. The rhythms and comforts of the womb are replaced by the rhythms, beats and melodies of the songs our parents teach us, and the tunes we hear in the world around us. And there are so many reasons we listen, so many reasons we enjoy songs and music: the joy of dance and expressing ourselves; relaxation; hearing a story, or something that relates to us; hearing something that makes us laugh or cry; being blown away by the power or soul of the singer or band; being mesmerised by the intricacy of the arrangement, the sounds of the instruments both familiar and strange, the movement of the melody, the surprises that musical genius offer. Our relationship with music almost feels innate, coiled in our DNA, fundamental to who we are and where we are going. It has the ability to transport us instantaneously to a moment in our past, a form of time travel keenly linked to our emotions, both joyful and sombre. As soon as song that means something to us plays, our mind can recall seemingly every detail about the time and place we last heard it, and what was going through our minds at the time. It can be quite surreal, unsettling even. It shares this trait with our sense of smell, which can also wrench us away from the present, back to a time and place we had long since forgotten.

I remember the first time I discovered the angelic low timbre of Karen Carpenter’s voice at aged ten, listening rapt to such songs as Close to You, Yesterday Once More, Goodbye to Love and There’s a Kind of Hush. When I played these songs, something came over me: an instant sensation of peace, tranquillity and unadulterated pleasure. I listened on loop and couldn’t get enough. I was slightly miffed to find out that I wasn’t the first person to discover The Carpenters; I had been keen to spread the word and claim some of the glory for myself. But when I told my parents about my new obsession, my mum smiled and told me that it wasn’t a great surprise. She told me that when I was a baby, I was a pain in the backside because I would never fall asleep. I would cry and scream and generally cause headaches and chaos. The only thing that calmed me down and lulled me into slumber was a drive in the car with the cassette player turned up, listening to the heavenly tone of Karen Carpenter. I was shocked. I had no memory of this whatsoever, but it was somewhere deep down in my subconscious, just waiting to be released once again. The power of music. And it made me enjoy the Carpenters even more.

Another wonderful aspect of music is the way that it can unite us. Anyone can enjoy music, share in it, sing it, dance to it, and some of the most pleasurable musical experiences are formed at gigs and concerts and festivals, with huge crowds massed for a singular purpose, moving as one organism as the musicians and singers hypnotise and entertain. For me, the unifying power of music took place across generations. When I was young, my Dad introduced me to the Beatles, who had taken over the world when he was a child, creating an excitement and ‘mania’ the likes of which may never be seen again. In the car he would play their early tracks: soulful, roaring rock and roll numbers, but layered with incredible harmonies, jangling guitars and thoughtful lyrics. Hearing the ‘oohs’ and ‘yeah, yeah, yeahs,’ I was intoxicated, and I set about listening to everything they had ever recorded, which took me on a journey through a decade of musical genius. My Dad, however, had very strong views about the Beatles later work, saying he felt ‘betrayed’ by their more experimental, surreal and kaleidoscopic songs, feeling that they had moved too far away from the sweet, ‘pure’ love songs that had been so important to him (and his failed romances) when he was a young man. I didn’t feel the same way, and this was the first time I had experienced music as a divisive topic, but it wasn’t the last—just simply something to accept with a subject that inspires such an emotional response.

The next song that I obsessed over was ‘Take My Breath Away’ by Berlin. Now, this wasn’t because I was a fan of the Hollywood movie Top Gun, with which the song became eternally linked, but, well…OK—full disclosure—I am a HUGE fan of the Hollywood movie Top Gun, and I’ve watched it about fifty times…but I love the song even more. The first time I heard the strange, otherworldly synth bass riff that drives the power ballad, I was transfixed. It felt magical, dreamlike; almost as though it had been written just for me. I listened to it over and over, revelling in the effect it had on me, and found myself, for the first time in my life, truly connecting to a song’s lyrics. As an anxious child, I had always escaped my worries by turning inward, to my imagination and safe spaces in my head, and hearing lines like turning and returning to some secret place inside and, more powerfully, …turned to hear you say, if only for today, I am unafraid, I felt comforted and understood, even though it was a song about romantic love, which at that point I didn’t understand, it was also a song about finding safety and shelter. Well, that and flying supersonic jet planes whilst wearing massive aviator shades.

We at Hoogly understand that a good cup tea is something almost as universal as music, a simple pleasure that brings people together, provides comfort and joy, and a national treasure that elicits strong emotions—even if it sometimes provokes a disagreement or two! (Milk first or second, anyone?)

With the cosy ethos of Hygge as our guide, we’re dedicated to creating experiences that surprise, scintillate and soothe: teas that, like the best songs, will become obsessions, urgent routines, and then trusted old friends. We want you to indulge in our wide variety of tastes, travelling the world with our eclectic mix of brews, but always feeling like you’re in the safety of home.

This week’s Hoogly recommendations are:

-Danish Pastry Rooibos: With the aroma of chocolate and cinnamon tinkling like piano keys over the powerful bassline taste of delicious pastry, this Danish delight will thrill and seduce tea lovers like a catchy chorus.

-Cosy Chamomile herbal infusion. This is a lullaby of a brew, perfect to snuggle up and unwind with, as the smooth chamomile is perfectly harmonised with rose hips, lemon verbena and lime leaves.

-Darjeeling Afternoon Black Tea. Discover the ancient melody of Himalayan Darjeeling, combined with Sri Lankan and Chinese black teas, to create the perfect pitch and tone, giving you a refreshing liquor of delicate complexity.  This is the way tea was meant to be taken.

 

That’s all from us for now. Have a wonderful summer and don’t forget to give Hoogly a chance! It may well take your breath away!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Going vegan

Going vegan

At Hoogly Tea, we adhere to the Danish ethos of Hygge: a cosy, relaxed way of living that challenges us to focus on the things we love the most, and asks us to incorporate these things into our life as much as possible in order to be regain balance and tranquillity. It is an ethos that allows us to indulge in fluffy socks and naughty treats. It inspires us to create a soft nook of joy in our house, and spend all day reading, or invite friends and family around to bond over board games and baking. It reminds us to explore the beauty and restorative joy of nature, and releases us from the stresses of the everyday slog, while whispering gently in our ear: be kind to yourself.  It’s no surprise that the Danes, who created Hygge, are amongst the happiest people on the planet, and through our range of Hoogly teas, we wish to pass on this happiness, making the flick of the kettle switch a starting point for a whole new—and more mindful—way of experiencing the world.

And in the spirit of exploring new ways of looking at the world, Hoogly is proud to announce our recent Vegan certification, meaning that our entire range is now both Vegan and Gluten-free! We know there are a lot of Vegan Hoogly fans out there, and we’d like to take this opportunity to say hello, thank you for your support, and to talk a little bit about the lifestyle that over three million people in the UK have adopted.

Veganism, in essence, is about making a series of choices in both diet and lifestyle that will help alleviate animal suffering and exploitation around the world, with particular focus on reducing animal slaughter, poor livestock living conditions, the use of animals for cosmetics, makeup, furniture or clothing, as well as attempting to counteract the negative effects of the meat and dairy industries on the climate and environment.

Excitingly, incorporating a plant-based diet can provide a variety of health benefits, and there are many reasons why this may be the case. Vegans avoid red and cured meats, which have been linked with colon cancer. In addition, plant-based diets tend to be higher in fibre, fruit and vegetables, consumption of which usually leads to better long-term wellness. Vegans are also statistically leaner than non-Vegans, perhaps owing to a lower consumption of saturated fats, which in turn may lead to a reduction in diabetes and heart disease.

One aspect of the plant-based diet that often surprises people is the way that cutting out dairy can improve health. Milk products have been linked to a number of chronic ailments, including acne, nasal congestion, digestive issues and migraines, and there are plenty of delicious alternatives to try if you wish to give it a go, such as almond milk, coconut milk and soy milk.

In terms of food, you can enjoy many of your favourite meals such as curries, pizzas, lasagnes, pasties and stews with wonderful, plant-based ingredients—not to mention a whole load of cakes, cookies and brownies! Nowadays there are a huge amount of resources available to give you mealtime ideas: bookshops have entire sections devoted to Vegan recipes, and you can find simple and effective recipes at the click of a button online. And speaking of the web, one of the great parts of adopting this lifestyle is networking with likeminded people on social media, sharing hints, tips and photos, as well as offering support and unity, and keeping the message at the forefront of people’s minds.

And the message is, at its heart, is to act with compassion—to our fellow beings as well as our planet—which is something that we at Hoogly are very keen to promote. For our part, we make all of our tea pyramid bags out of plant extract, which means they are fully biodegradable. It’s a small, very positive step, which, combined with other similar steps, will help us get closer to the kind of world we all wish to see.

Finally, as Summer draws near, we’d like to recommend a juicy June gem…Berrylicious herbal infusion. This fruity treat is bursting with the gorgeous flavours of apple, raspberries and strawberries, counterbalanced by the rich, caramelised notes of roasted dandelion root. So, drag out that deckchair, pop on your sunnies, and indulge in the luxurious taste of sunshine, smiles and endless balmy nights.

Disclaimer: Good weather not guaranteed. Umbrellas advised.

That’s all for now, Hoogly heroes. Be kind to yourself and others, and try adding a little Danish delight to your life…

 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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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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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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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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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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