Hoogly Blogs / natural

A Lolly Good Idea

A Lolly Good Idea

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s a bit…warm. As I write this, I’m melting into my leather sofa, three cups of water at my side, a cold flannel wrapped around my forehead like the headband of a 70s tennis player. As I look up over my monitor, I can see the dog sitting in a shaded corner of the garden, trying to dig out some carrot and chicken from his rubber Kong toy. Just watching him makes me feel weary. I know this sounds a little pathetic, but I’m just one of those people that don’t do very well in the sun. It’s almost certain that perched on a branch in some long-lost part of my family tree lies a Factor 50 vampire. (I also don’t like garlic and am vulnerable to stakes through the heart) At the merest hint of sunlight my body shuts down and my skin begins screaming for mercy. If I look outside into dazzling sunshine without sunglasses for more than ten minutes, I get a whopping headache that is unacceptably tough to shift. 

So, you won’t be surprised to learn that when I discovered we were about to experience a heatwave—and possibly the hottest day ever—I wasn’t racing to don my Speedos and blow up my flamingo dinghy for a day at the beach. In fact, the most enthusiasm I could summon was an obsessive impulse to check my weather app every fifteen minutes to see if the forecast had all be some incredible hoax or mistake. When it became clear that there weren’t great blizzards piling in from the north, I finally resigned myself to a few days of stickiness, irritability and lack of movement. 

But every cloud has a silver lining.

The one thing that always puts a smile on my face when the sun is baking down is the refreshing joy of indulging in Hoogly Iced Teas and Lollies! …And you thought we were all about hot, mindful, cosy masterpieces! Think again, tea lovers! Hoogly has a deliciously Danish answer for everything that life throws our way, including temperatures creeping up the mid-thirties. Our summer sensations our so easy to make; all you need to do is:

 

  • Pop four Hoogly Tea Bags in a 1 litre jug.
  • Add boiling water until the jug is a third full.
  • Brew for 5 minutes.
  • Put some cold water in until the jug is two-thirds full.
  • Add some ice and refreshing fruit for extra pazazz!

 

The perfect iced tea!

 

The hard part is choosing which of our amazing teas to select for your icy brew! But don’t fear, as ever, we’ve come up with a few suggestions to help you out this summer.

 

It doesn’t hurt to invert! A tea that usually warms the cockles will provide the perfect chill-out experience in its iced form: Apple Strudel Greet Tea! This classic combination of juicy apples and sweet spices is as refreshing as a dip in the pool, with a tantalising taste that make a splash and lures you back time and again!

 

For those who are after a zinging brew full of summer zest, then we highly recommend Citrus Bloom Herbal Infusion. Bright citrus notes sing in harmony with a melodious trio of peppermint, rosemary and sage, while fennel seeds add a twist to your icy treat!

 

And who could resist the cup of liquid luxury that is Marzipan Rooibos?! This rich and indulgent flavour is a perfectly elegant way to cool down in a heatwave, combining almond pieces with mallow flowers and vanilla pieces. Once you’ve taken a sip, you’ll forget the sweat and decompress from the stress!

 

If Iced Teas don’t work for you, then why not delight your family and friends with some luscious lollies? Simply brew your bags for twice the usual time, pour the contents into a mould, and then leave in the freezer overnight!

 

Kick off your sunbathing session with Spiced Orange Herbal Infusion. Our riff on the classic flavour is a beautifully balanced combination of fruit and mulled spices, treating Hoogly lovers young and old to a dazzling new way to enjoy the sunshine.

 

Or how about the extremely grown-up, extraordinarily luxurious Apricot Blossom White Tea? A lolly for those who are taking life slow and enjoying the moment. A lolly that is a treat for the adults while the kids are off playing and you can have ten minutes to put your feet up.  A complex mix of Chinese Pai Mu Dan and crisp green tea, drenched in sunny, ripe, soft stone fruit flavours, frozen to perfection to treat you something gloriously Hoogly. 

 

That’s it for this time, sun-lovers. As the temperatures rise, remember to stay hydrated, wear sun cream and, most importantly, be Hoogly to each other!

 

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Making a splash with Hoogly

Making a splash with Hoogly

Greetings Hoogly fans! As I write this, the country is in the grip of a mini heat-wave, with temperatures in some parts soaring to over 30⁰. This wonderful exhibition of sunshine, however, can leave us a little hot under the collar, to say the least, so I thought I’d spend some time thinking about one of my favourite—and most refreshing—past-times: the simple joy of swimming!

Historical evidence has indicated that swimming was enjoyed as early as 2500 BCE in Egypt, and later in Assyria. In ancient Greece and Rome, swimming was part of military training and education for males. The Romans built pools, distinct from their famous baths, and Gaius Maecenas is thought to have constructed the first heated pool. 

In Asia, swimming appears to date back to the first century BCE, with evidence  found of races taking place throughout the region. In 17th century Japan, compulsory swimming lessons in schools were implemented by Imperial edict. 

In Europe in the Middle Ages, a lack of swimming activity seems to be evidenced by the fear of infection and epidemics spreading through close contact in water. Later, in the 17th century, there are reports of swimming at British seashore resorts, in conjunction with water therapy. In the 19th century, however, swimming increased in popularity both recreationally and for sport. By 1837, when the first swimming organisation was formed, London had six indoor pools, each with diving boards. 

The first swimming championship was held in 1846 in Australia and then annually thereafter. Competitors had to race over 400 metres. Swimming was included in the modern Olympic Games from their inception in 1896. Events were originally men-only, but women were brought into the fold in 1912. Some of the first events were a little odd compared to contemporary conventions: in 1900, when the event took place in France’s river Seine, competitors had to climb over a pole and a row of boats before swimming under them! When official body FINA took over, the races were codified and simplified, with strokes being reduced to crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly. 

You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer, of course, to feel the benefits of exercising in the water. Swimming is an excellent workout, requiring the movement of the entire body against the resistance of the water. Amongst other great benefits, swimming can:

-Keep you heart rate up whilst taking impact stress off the body. 

-Increase endurance, cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. 

-Help keep you at a healthy weight.

-Be good for your heart and lungs.

-Tone muscles.

-Improve posture, coordination and balance.

-Improve flexibility.

And it’s not just the body that benefits from swimming. This form of exercise can be extremely peaceful and relaxing, immersing yourself in water can be a truly mindful experience, as well as being incredibly refreshing and invigorating on a blazingly hot day. Swimming is also well known to alleviate stress, and is available at a multitude of places such as beaches, lakes and rivers, offering the calming beauty and soundtrack of nature. (You must always take care to ensure that the environment you are swimming is safe, however.)

Once you’ve finished your revitalising dip, you’ll need a tasty treat to keep the refreshment topped up! Hoogly heartily recommends Citrus Bloom herbal infusion! This bright and beautiful brew combines summery citrus with the lively trio of peppermint, rosemary and sage, topped off with a scattering of fennel seeds. Equally delicious as a cuppa, an iced tea or a lolly, this sun-kissed sensation is perfect to dive into for the hot weather!

Or how about a firm customer favourite: Raspberry Liquorice and Lavendar black tea? Make a splash this summer with this dazzling combo of sharp raspberries and super-sweet liquorice root, sprinkled lovingly with lavender for a fresh, floral twist. So delicious you’ll want to fill the pool and swim in it!

That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. Remember to stay safe in the sun and drink lots of water—but save some room for our luxurious and mindful cuppas—the perfect treat to spoil yourself as the weather shines and shimmers. 

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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The Magic of Mindfulness: Ichigo Ichie

The Magic of Mindfulness: Ichigo Ichie

As you all know, at Hoogly, we are committed to helping you find that perfect feeling of calm and relaxation, by offering you a delightful selection of delicious teas, and adhering to the Danish concept of Hygge, which celebrates the things both big and small that bring you joy, and a commitment to focussing on these things, leaving your stresses and strains behind you.  Because Hygge works so well in our lives, we are always on the look-out for concepts and ways-of-being that complement our ethos, drawing inspiration from cultures and beliefs from around the world. With this in mind, we would like to draw your attention to the Japanese philosophy of Ichigo ichie.

Translated as “Once, a meeting,” or “In this moment, an opportunity,” ichigo ichie informs us that every meeting, moment or experience is a unique treasure that will never be imitated in exactly the same way. It asks us to be aware that letting these moments pass us by means losing them forever, to our detriment. 

As we become more attuned to ichigo ichie, we learn to take a step back and acknowledge that every morning we wake up, every sunrise we experience, each day we spend with our family and loved ones is incredibly important and valuable, and deserves our utmost attention. In a society dominated by mobile phones, social media, emails and 24-hour news cycles, this lesson becomes ever more vital as we seek ways to navigate a culture of distraction, information overload and political divisiveness. 

As you begin to cultivate ichigo ichie’s practices, you will hopefully discover a happier and more fulfilling life, helping you become untethered from fears about the future or heaviness related to the past. You will appreciate the gift each moment brings and live fully in the moment, in a calm and mindful way.

 

Here are some of ichigo ichie’s guiding principles:

 

  • Live as if every moment will never be repeated. Greet and bid farewell to people with “ichigo ichie,” reminding yourself of the unique nature of each interaction.
  • Don’t put off those magic moments. Opportunities may only present themselves once: if you don’t make the most of it, it is gone forever. Seize the moment and treasure your life.
  • Be in the moment. Imagining what will happen in the future and trawling through the past can lead to negative emotions. Concentrate on what and who is in front of you. The possibilities of now are limitless. 
  • Meditate. Find a cosy, Hygge-inspired nook or soft pillow and remove yourself from the hustle and strain of your day. Step back from all other thoughts, observe the world around you and be grateful for the miracle of life. 
  • Try something new. Allow yourself to experience something outside of your usual routine. There is nothing more invigorating or exciting than finding a new passion and grabbing it with both hands. These moments are what life is about. 
  • Be aware of your senses. Notice the beauty of the way we perceive the world around us. Allow yourself to watch, listen, smell, touch and taste without distraction or interruption. Make a note of the things you experience. Describe what you have discovered and the way it makes you feel. 
  • Don’t wait! There’s no point in putting off celebration. Holidays, parties and events are fabulous—but try to recapture the spirit of these happy moments in your everyday life. Make every day worth singing, dancing and blowing out candles for!
  • You’re never stuck. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, and you find that you can’t properly engage with ichigo ichie, then tap into the transformative nature of humanity. We can mould and adapt to new circumstances and challenges—give yourself the opportunity to create something bold, new and exciting!

 

And what better way to accompany a mindful philosophy than one of our gorgeous Hoogly teas! Savour the moment with a stunning scent and tantalising taste as we help you navigate the day in style! 

How about a tea that recreates an ever-popular tasty treat? Blueberry Muffin Rooibos is a wonderful brew for any time of the day, combining the unique flavour of Rooibos with sweet berry tones, offering a delightful drink to return to over and over.

As the warm weather approaches, revive your senses with Citrus Bloom herbal infusion! This refreshing drink is a dazzling combination of bright citrus notes and a lively trio of peppermint, rosemary and sage, finished off with a warm scattering of fennel seeds. It’s like a burst of sunshine from the kettle!

That’s it for now Hoogly fans. We hope you find the ideas of ichigo ichie enticing and of benefit. In the meantime, take good care of yourselves and keep drinking tea!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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FLASH IN THE JAN?

FLASH IN THE JAN?

Another new year is upon us. A chance to reflect on another surreal and unusual period in the shadow of a global pandemic. A chance to look ahead to better things on the horizon. What does 2022 hold for you? Some of us like to make detailed plans; others like to blow with the breeze. Some of us look to make small improvements in our life and wellbeing; others aim for wholesale and irreversible change. Which brings us to the topic of New Year’s Resolutions. The perfect opportunity to map out a strategy for the coming weeks; a blueprint of how we envisage this new version of ourselves. Let’s be honest here, though: most of our lofty goals get benched after a few days or weeks. Quit social media. Drink less. Lose weight. We’ve all given it a go at some point. We’ve all had varying degrees of success. But this year, perhaps, we can adjust our aims so as to get closer to 100% Resolution Compliance. Small is the new Big. Sustainability is everything. 2022 You is going to nail this!

So, what sort of goals should we be setting in order to achieve glorious victory? Here are a few ideas for long-lasting, life-enhancing, still-going-by-summer resolutions.

  1. Give someone a compliment every day. Spread positivity and make someone feel better.
  2. Read a book every month. It’s good for your brain, improves focus and reduces stress!
  3. Jot down something you’re grateful for at night. What a lovely precursor to head-meeting-pillow.
  4. Drink water: It makes every single part of you work better. Think what a plant looks like when it’s not watered and imagine this as your body and brain. Hydrate—feel great!
  5. Let go of grudges. Allow them to float away like a balloon. You’ll feel lighter and happier and better able to cope with what comes your way.
  6. Send handwritten letters. It’s such a sweet, novel thing to receive. You will make someone’s day, perhaps even reach someone who you haven’t connected with for a while. And the act of writing is truly mindful.
  7. Avoid negative people or complainers. This is a tricky one, but giving mood-hoovers a wide berth will positively impact you in more ways than you think.
  8. Listen. Allow others time and space to get their point across without interjecting. Really listen to what they are saying and take a moment to absorb the point they have made. They will appreciate it, just as you will in return.
  9. Don’t check your email—for a whole day. This can apply to WhatsApp and other Social Media too. It won’t hurt you. In fact, it might just make you feel a whole lot calmer, happier and more focused.
  10. Clear your clutter. Research indicates (and experience tells us) that being surrounded by mess is stressful. It’s like your brain is absorbing all the future chores it has ln the agenda and storing them like stone anchors in your mind. Which pushes out all the good stuff, like tranquillity, concentration and contentment.
  11. Drink more Hoogly Tea. Well, this goes without saying, doesn’t it?! We are all about the Hygge: fluffy socks, candlelight boardgames and sweet treats. Doing all the things that make you happy, and none of the things that make you upset. Our teas encapsulate this delightful Danish ethos, offering a huge range of tantalising treats, which smell as delicious as they taste.

Looking for something new for January? Why not indulge in our elegant Luxury Hot Cocoa? This is the ideal way to stay warm and cosy in the dreary depths of winter, providing a delectable sweet and creamy taste with subtle undertones. With all your resolutions to keep up, you have to be naughty somewhere, right…?

Or how about Turmeric Twist? This dazzling delight brings a touch of sunshine and summer direct to your tastebuds, brightening up your day and your mood. Equal parts earthy and sweet, combining a citrus twist and a hint of mint, there is something for everyone in this cup of Hoogly hugs!

For those who like something extra special: allow us to introduce White Choc and Chilli white tea! Creamy and sweet with a little heat, this Chinese tea is combined with cocoa shells, apple pieces, rosehip and chilli to create a wonderful blend of aromatic tones, perfect to pick you up from the January blues!

That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. Stay safe, good luck with your resolutions and keep drinking tea!

Written by Chris Beford

www.hooglytea.com

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A Flask of Freedom

A Flask of Freedom

As I write this, the evening sun is painting the garden gold, and the sky is a perfect, limitless blue. There is a gentle breeze caressing my face and the enthused chitter of birds from hedges and bushes. From the neighbour’s garden, a sprinkler swivels and whispers as it shoots out a misty haze. At the back of the neighbour’s yard, they have a pond, where a loved-up pair of ducks have just produced eleven chicks, little bundles of fluff who follow their parents about with adorable clinginess, as Mum and Dad quack aggressively at any perceived threat. On the TV, another match from Euro 20/21 is about to start, the second of three today, following England’s opening win. This is a decidedly lovely day.

Alas, Freedom Day has been postponed—we have one last push to get back to normal—but, on a day like this, I don’t feel as though I can complain. As it stands, things feel nice and Hoogly. The dog is chewing the plastic washing liquid cup, because it was there, and my wife is reading a novel about a husband who lies and cheats and then tries to kill his Mrs, which I try not to take personally. The only thing that’s missing from this scenario is something refreshing. Something delicious to accompany this glorious weather. Something simple, straightforward and moreish.

I expect you’ve guessed that I already have the answer to this conundrum! Yes, it’s none other than Hoogly’s dazzling selection of Iced Teas!

To make a family-friendly and summery iced tea for four, do the following:

 

  • Place four Hoogly Tea Bags in a 1 litre jug.
  • Add boiled water until the jug is a third full.
  • Brew for five minutes.
  • Pop some cold water in until the jug is two-thirds full.
  • Add some ice and fresh fruit for extra pazazz!

 

Now for the fun part: which Hoogly blends to use for your cosy cup of chill?

 

For a bit of zest and fire, why not start off with Lemon and Ginger herbal infusion? This energising customer favourite tastes like sunshine and smiles, and can be ratcheted up a few levels by adding lemon zest and grated ginger!

 

For a playful party piece, why not bring out Berrylicious herbal infusion? Bursting with beautiful berries, this dynamic drink builds to a fruity crescendo, before giving way to the rich, caramelised notes of dandelion root. To be especially fancy, add strawberries and raspberries, and you’ll have a sweet sensation that will thrill your family and friends!

 

For a cooling, calming alternative, why not try Chill Out Mint herbal infusion? This invigorating menthol cuppa is especially good for those who have overdone it at the barbecue, offering a soothing fix for full bellies, whilst giving you a fresh and bracing way to unwind and relax after a hard day’s sunbathing.

 

If Iced Teas are not your…um, cup of tea…then why not try a cheeky Hoogly lolly?! We’ve got the perfect flavours to make this traditional treat work: simply brew your bags for twice the usual time, pour the contents into a mould, and then leave in the freezer overnight!

 

For a bit of traditional Hoogly charm, why not try Danish Pastry Rooibos? This riff on the Danish national treat creates a sumptuously sweet lolly, with a chocolate and cinnamon scent, and a cheeky pastry taste!

 

Our next succulent summer sensation is Raspberry, Liquorice and Lavendar black tea! Sharp raspberries combine with super-sweet liquorice, sprinkled with lavender flowers for a flesh and floral twist. Pick this one out the freezer when you want a delicate and delicious treat that will thrill your taste buds!

 

Our final lolly-licious pick is Baked Apple Chai black tea! The Sri Lankan base flavour is overflowing with the combined charms of apple, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, giving you an exotic frozen adventure! This one is perfect for the grown-ups amongst you, full of subtle charm and elegance, ideal for dishing out to guests on those baking summer afternoons.

 

That’s it for this time, sun-lovers. As freedom approaches, remember to stay hydrated, wear sun cream and, most importantly, be Hoogly to each other!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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TAKE MY WORD FOR IT

TAKE MY WORD FOR IT

I’ve always loved words. The sound of them. The shape of them. The way they can be both familiar and exotic. The way they can bring comfort but also consistently surprise, bewilder and entertain. Words are alive. Like us, and in their own way, they are organic and evolve over time, sometimes changing meaning, sometimes created out of apparent nothingness like the Big Bang, sometimes changing for very specific and progressive reasons. Words are a reflection of our societies and our lives. Our dictionaries are currently awash with words spawned from technology, often abbreviated as a nod to our fast-paced world: App, I-Pad, Hashtag, Vlog. Some of these words have shown the abovementioned evolution from their original or previous meaning: Wireless, text, memory, data, glitch, hack… If technology and science is our new religion, words of the past have reflected our foundation in the ancient and foundational beliefs: shrine, faith, dogma. Other words have developed from our propensity for organised violence and war: camouflage, torpedo, manoeuvre. And from war to crime: Alibi, culprit, ransack. And from destruction to the nurturing and noble art of medicine: Cataract, germ, inoculate—and one we’re sadly all too familiar with—virus.

I’m now going to gather together some of my favourite words—words that bring me pleasure, comfort or solace—and discuss the origin of each. It’s a really lovely, relaxing exercise for the mind, and I highly recommend giving it some time and thought yourselves. Even though, as discussed, words can mutate over time, the building blocks will always be there, a colossal and dynamic constant, like the walls of some ancient or fantasy city on a hill. Behind those walls we can feel safe. From their towers, we can observe the stories and achievements of our forebears, and build ever upwards towards a brighter future.

 

  • Silhouette. This magnificent word has a hint of poetry about it, touching as it does on light and dark, whilst also straddling the boundary between the sinister and the beautiful. The word comes from a name: Etienne de Silhouette, an 18th century French author and politician. Why he should lend his name to the dark outline of something against a bright background remains in dispute. Some accounts connect the word to his policies as Controller General, others to his brevity in the role. One French dictionary claimed he decorated the walls of his chateau with outline portraits. We shall probably never discover the truth, adding a suitable shade of mystery.
  • Nonchalant. Another French word—meaning literally ‘not being concerned.’ The laid-back, couldn’t-give-a-damn, aloof attitude was one I aspired to as a young man, but always failed to achieve. It was the cool kid in school. The movie star in sunglasses. It was an especially desirable trait to have, I remember, in close proximity to those I was interested in dating—but instead I always seemed to come across as stuttering, oafish and embarrassing. I can be nonchalant about those failures now, of course. It’s only taken twenty years to forget…
  • Diddle. This is one of those words that sounds funny and silly but has rather unpleasant meaning. The current version--to ‘cheat or swindle--’came into use soon after Irish dramatist James Kenney’s play ‘Raising the Wind’ (1803) in which character Jeremy Diddler repeatedly borrows and fails to repay money, and is most likely attributed to the impact of this character.
  • Eccentric.  A word that always puts a smile on my face, creating surreal visions of people sitting in their underpants and a top-hat on a sofa in their front garden. There are greater and lesser displays of eccentricity, of course, and I imagine most of us have someone in the family who displays such tendencies with great regularity. The word means ‘unconventional or slightly strange,’ but it started off as an astronomical term meaning ‘a circle or orbit not having the earth precisely in its centre.’ From the Greek ekkentros, from ek ‘out of’ and kentron ‘centre.’
  • Tantalize. That wonderful-but-just-out-of-reach dream or object. It comes from Greek Mythology and King Tantalus, who killed his son Pelops and fed him to the gods in a stew. In reparation, Tantalus was made to stand for eternity up to his chin in water that receded when he tried to take a sip, and under fruit that retreated when he reached for it. Lesson learned, I would expect.

 

From everyone at Hoogly, thank you for all your support in this crazy, unprecedented year. We hope you have a wonderful, calm and safe Christmas and very happy New Year. Until next time, keep calm and put the kettle on!

written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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THE THRILL OF THE CHILL

THE THRILL OF THE CHILL

Greetings Hoogly fans! With the world continuing to be upside down, I expect we’re all finding things tough at the minute. At Hoogly, we’re always looking for ways to relax, unwind and put a smile back on our faces. With this in mind we’ve been scouring the web to find the Ultimate Chill List: a comprehensive compendium of mindful activities that will help you find balance, tranquillity and calm in your day-to-day life. You may find that some of your favourites have made it onto this list, which means you’re ahead of the game. If not, you may just find something new to help keep you rolling on through the lockdown and beyond!

 

  1. Write something: Putting pen to paper can be deeply cathartic. Write down your worries, your thoughts, your ideas. Jot down the things you love and appreciate. Write about the past and your favourite memories. Write about what you’re looking forward to in the future. Pay attention to the way the pen feels in your hand. Listen to the scrape of the nib on the paper. Go back later and look at what you have written later and see if you feel the same way. 

 

  1. Take a hike! Get out and about in nature. Try starting early when the air is fresh and the birds and other animals are out in force. Slow down and observe everything around you: the colours, the birdsong, the smell of the bark, grass and wet pavement. Enjoy the crunch of leaves under your feet. Stand and watch a dog chasing a ball. Or a bird sculling through the air above you. A squirrel scampering across a field. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth as you travel. Savour the moment.

 

  1. Have a contrast shower. OK, this might not be for everyone, but repeating cycles of hot then cold showers can be extremely relaxing for your mind and body, and fitness professionals and athletes recommend this procedure to produce relief for muscle fatigue and soreness! A great way to start the day! Screaming permitted…

 

  1. Make a song or dance of it…Put on your favourite playlist, make some space and dance like no-one is watching. Don’t focus on form or technique, just let it all hang out. Sing along at the top of your voice (wall thickness permitting) and power out those ballads from deep inside your chest. Movement, rhythm and song are wonderful ways to relax the mind, body and soul.

 

  1. Watch your fave childhood cartoons: Make a list of the shows that brought you joy, excitement and laughter—then hunt them down on YouTube or streaming channels. Connect with your inner child and remember how you felt as you watched them back in the day. For me, it’s Dogtanion and the Three Muskahounds; Thundercats and Super Ted. What’s yours??

 

  1. Ditch the Tech: Take a day off from all your devices. It’s quite a tricky one, this—but with a bit of determination it’s possible, and the rewards are huge. There’s a very strong chance you will feel more relaxed, have greater energy, attain more focus, and observe a big drop in stress.

 

  1. Colour it in! Adult colouring has become hugely popular over the last few years, and with good reason. The act of focussing on the intricate designs, staying within the lines and creating something beautiful is a great way to take your mind off things that are bothering you, and the gentle repetition is an excellent way to relax and bring some mindfulness into your life!

 

  1. Yoga! As an active meditation, Yoga is a wonderful way to reduce stress and lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Combining physical poses, controlled breathing and relaxation, yoga is a healthy, calming and enjoyable way to chill out—and can be done in the comfort of your own home with a free YouTube beginner’s video.

 

  1. Knit! Once you’ve picked up this amazing hobby, it can be as relaxing as meditation. Once you’ve mastered the skill, muscle memory will take over and you can zone out and let all that tension and anxiety dissipate. Also, you can create yourself some super-cosy warm socks for those Hoogly nights in front of the fire!

 

  1. Drink tea! We’ve saved the best for last, of course! Having a cuppa is a wonderful way to slow down and reset. Take your time, experiment with new flavours, enjoy the warmth as it passes through your body, and then put the kettle on and do it all again! At Hoogly, you can choose from a huge range of sumptuous and scent-rich brews that will be the perfect accompaniment to your mindful route. Relax, unwind and discover ancient and modern tastes that will put a thrill in your chill!

 

Until next time, take care of yourself, and we’ll see you on the other side!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Wabi-Sabi

Wabi-Sabi

Greetings Hoogly fans! I hope you are all safe and well. While we are still under the long shadow of the pandemic, I thought I’d share something I’d discovered over the last month that made me sit up and pay attention; something that offered a well-timed shift in perspective, and simply put a smile on my face. As with our company’s beloved Hygge ethos, the Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi provides an inspiring and philosophical way of looking at the world, and—just like Hygge—offers a way of reducing stress and feeling better, even in difficult circumstances.

In essence, the ancient Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi seeks to counter the world’s obsession with perfection, trends and the purchase of new and fancy items. It views imperfection as meaningful and valid, and in its own way, beautiful. It offers a way to navigate the unpredictability of life by embracing the idea that all things pass, that what we have now is truly worthwhile, even if it is damaged or worn, as long as we love it, and appreciate it.

Wabi-sabi is a cracked and re-glued vase. It’s a misshapen, homegrown fruit or vegetable. It’s a Lego construction built from a box of leftover pieces. It’s an old floor with scuff marks that echo a life well-lived. It’s a button wonkily re-sewn on an old jacket. It asks us to appreciate simplicity, modesty and imperfection in all its guises. By learning to be content with our lot without yearning for more, we can select what we truly love and need, offering a cheery antidote to a materialistic, mass-produced society.

Wabi-Sabi can help us in our everyday lives, too. It allows us to pause and take a mindful step back from the relentless pursuit of perfection, offering the opportunity to count our blessings and rejoice in the way things are rather than the way they could be. It does not diminish or reject the complexity of life and its trials, but chooses to see life as temporary, incomplete and imperfect. A great example is the Japanese art of kintsugi, in which cracked pottery is filled with gold-dusted lacquer to highlight its age and imperfection rather than concealing it.

By utilizing seven Zen aesthetic principles, including Kanso: simplicity, Shibumi: beauty in the understated and Shizen: Naturalness without pretension, Wabi-sabi can also be used to help curate and shape your home. By following the principle of less-is-more, Wabi-sabi seeks to reduce consumption and lessen the strain on our planet. It allows us to appreciate the natural world around us and encourages us to incorporate long-lasting options like wood, steel and stone into open, spacey decors. If you can’t use these natural materials, then you can always take inspiration from nature in your choice of colours, suiting your mood and personality, and bringing a rustic, humble aesthetic into your life that will enable you to treasure the space around you, and imbibe its transience. By getting rid of unloved or unused items, you allow your most cherished items to flourish and shine, and you increase the tranquillity of your surroundings.

Hoogly fans will be delighted to learn that Wabi-Sabi has roots in a Japanese tea ceremony introduced by Zen monk Murata Shukō, who incorporated simple, plain and imperfect Japanese pottery and utensils into the original Chinese ceremony that was traditionally luxurious and lavish, in order to help guests better appreciate what was in front of them. Whereas guests had previously drunk tea and admired the full moon; Shukō wished them to appreciate a half-moon, or a moon covered by clouds. Shukō did not entirely replace the extravagance of the traditional ceremonies, choosing instead for coexistence, but he is credited as being the founder of the more minimalist Wabi-cha ceremony, which then led to Wabi-sabi.

And to celebrate Wabi-sabi, as well as Hygge, why not indulge in one of our most delicious brews, Apple Strudel, which combines Chinese and Japanese green teas, as well as a gorgeous combination of spices, fruit and petals, giving you a taste of the ancient, as well as a cheeky slice of Danish delight!

Until next time, stay safe, look after each other and try a little Wabi-sabi in your life!

 Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Kettle Do Nicely

Kettle Do Nicely

Hello everyone. First off, we at Hoogly would like to extend our best wishes to everyone during this challenging period; we hope you are all doing as well as possible under the circumstances. It can seem trivial to talk about tea during such a turbulent time—and yet, throughout history, people have turned to simple pleasures when things are tough, finding comfort in the familiar and the reliable. Flipping on the kettle is a symbol of crisis management; a beacon that draws us together; a plastic click that says sit down and tell me about it and I’m here for you. So, we say: fill the kettle, flip the switch, and make your favourite cuppa. It won’t change the world, but it might bring a small moment or two of calm, solace and tranquillity.

The main topic of this blog was going to be about the great outdoors and the treasures one can find there. But at a time when less and less of us are venturing outside, this topic, at first, seemed a touch counterintuitive. However, the more I thought about it, the more I figured that the wonderful things I’d seen and learned about didn’t get less wonderful just because I wasn’t going to visit them for a while. In fact, thinking about them took my mind off current events, and put a smile on my face. So, in the end, I decided that I would write about them—and hopefully you’ll find something here that will put a smile on your face too.

The first thing I discovered was something extremely contemporary in terms of nature: a phenomenon known colloquially as ‘witches knickers.’ This is where a shred of stray plastic bag gets caught high up in the branches and twigs of trees, bringing to mind, to those who named it, images of old hags flying around on their broomsticks (presumably without much clothing) and swooping low enough to snag their undergarments in a most unfortunate way. Although this is also a reminder of the excesses of human production, it always gives me a chuckle when I see it.

The second thing I learned about was a spheroblast or burr. This is something I’d seen many times without being able to put a name to it: an anomaly in trees causing various sizes of growths to bulge out from the trunk, sometimes as big as footballs. Burr—as in burr walnut—is often used by luxury car manufacturers and makers of pipes, and the fractal grain of these growths appeal greatly to wood carvers. I like to think of it as trees puffing out their chest with pride—or perhaps with hostility—seeing as Spheroblast sounds like something the X-Men might do battle with!

The final part of the natural world that I discovered was the word Dumbledore. Steady on, Potter fans, it’s not what you think! This is actually another name for the bumblebee! In Britain, our gold and black friend has, in fact, gone by many names: ‘foggy bumbler,’ ‘drumbledrane’ and until fairly recently, the ‘humble-bee.’ Beatrix Potter chose ‘bumble’ instead of ‘humble’ in Tale of Mrs Tiittlemouse (1910)—and by the middle of that decade, Beatrix’s choice had become the norm! Our other literary Potter, of course, has a headmaster with the name Dumbledore, but the character is out of sync with the original West Country meaning: a person who is lethargic, slow, and a little dim.

Fun fact: the bee’s buzz doesn’t come from its wings! It’s actually the sound of the bee’s muscles firing up before take-off, much like a plane or helicopter! Take a peek and have a listen next time you spot a bee on a flower!

And to celebrate the natural world, why not try one of our latest creations…Apricot Blossom green tea?! This uniquely elegant brew is a combination of the downy leaves of Chinese Pai Mu Dan white tea and refreshingly crisp green tea, underscored by the ripe, sunny flavours of soft stone fruit. It’s the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon tea, or can be enjoyed on its own as a tasty treat that will help you relax and unwind.

That’s it until next time, Hoogly fans. Take good care of yourselves, do Hygge, and keep filling your kettle!

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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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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