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Book yourself in for Hygge!

Book yourself in for Hygge!

Greetings Hoogly fans! I hope you’re bearing up well in these unacceptably frigid temperatures; all the steaming breath and numb fingers, the breeze that cuts your ears and the car-ice that makes you late.  Can anyone even remember the heat wave now? And apparently there’s snow on the way: I knew I should have chained myself to the sun-lounger last time I was in Spain. But it is what it is—and we’ll make the most of it, like we always do. Even though we have to take down the Christmas decs, and we’ve nearly run out of chocolate. Oh, the misery!

 

But there is hope! One pastime, in particular, is especially good for overcoming the January blues in true Hoogly style: the simple pleasure of reading! Hygge asks us to be cosy and comfortable, and to do the things we love, with the people we love, in the places we love. And what better way to snuggle up, escape to far-off lands and meet interesting characters than within the pages of a good book?! There is something unfailingly magical about the smell of a new book; the excitement of starting a new adventure, the way a good author taps into your imagination and emotions, allowing you to see and feel things outside of your ordinary experience, to test the boundaries of what is possible, to discover what it means to be human, and to share a connection with a group of people you will never meet, but can hold in your heart forever.

I say all this, of course, because I’m biased: not only do I love books, but I love that fact that you can share a book with a cup of tea! Is there greater happiness to be had than the sip-and-flick? The answer to that is: probably not—but it helps to have the right book and the right cup of tea. The tea of course, is the easy part, which we’ll come to a little later (spoiler alert: it’s Hoogly!) The right book, however, is a little trickier. But help is at hand, as it always is, from our Hoogly book club! For January, we’ve chosen two books we love as a starting point:

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. This best-selling novel is about Anna, a former child psychologist, whose chronic agoraphobia has kept her inside her New York City apartment for ten months, bingeing on old black-and-white movies and watching her neighbours in other apartments. One day Anna hears a frenzied scream and witnesses something she wasn’t meant to see. Can she summon the strength to uncover the truth about what happened? Will anyone trust her? Can she trust herself? This is a wonderfully claustrophobic thriller, reminiscent of Hitchcock’s classic film Rear Window, but full of contemporary issues, destined to be enjoyed and talked about for a long time to come!

Our second choice is The Language of Kindness: a Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson. This memoir recalls Watson’s twenty-year career, including stints at Great Ormond Street hospital and St Mary’s hospital in Paddington. In an easy-to-read style, Watson explores what it means to be a nurse: an indiscriminate act of caring, compassion and empathy, and remembers moving and poignant stories from her career, including the miraculous survival of a premature baby. As the NHS continues to make headlines, this is a beacon of hope in troubled times, reminding us of the best in human nature and the power of love.

And while you’re enjoying those two wonderful books, you can get your feet up and chill with our glorious selection of cleverly crafted and cosy teas! As an accompaniment to The Woman in the Window, we recommend the thrilling indulgence of Danish Pastry Rooibos. This combination of chocolate, cinnamon and a subtle pastry taste will satisfy and seduce you, leaving you wanting more!

To accompany The Language of Kindness, why not try Classic Green tea?! This is a brew with great flavour and depth, and studies have shown it can be good for your health too! This elegant, clear liquor will bring clarity to any situation, and help remind you of what’s important in life.

So, until next time, enjoy your flicks-and-sips, and don’t forget to stay chilled, not chilly! 

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Hygge Like A Hound!

Hygge Like A Hound!

This morning I went on a dog walk organised for greyhound owners, sloshing through muddy paths and climbing steep hills with about twenty enthusiastic sight hounds, all wrapped up in stylish and colourful coats to protect their thin frames from the winter temperatures. My seven-year old black greyhound started off nervously, but was soon joining in the ever-so-polite bottom sniffing and tail wagging with all his new friends, and soon leading the pack as we trekked through the countryside. It was marvellous to meet other greyhound owners, sharing stories about quirks and idiosyncrasies particular to the breed: sofa-hogging, roaching (lying upside in an ungraceful, legs-spread style), squirrel-chasing, fussy walking in bad weather, fussy eating when it’s not pilchards, and generally being asleep. All the time. Which is the biggest misconception about these beautiful animals: people assume that because they are such athletic sprinters that they must require a lot of exercise, but in fact, they are more than happy with two twenty-minute walks a day. Mine will gladly bomb around in the garden, pretending a tennis ball or a teddy bear is some sort of prey, tossing it in the air, chasing it and chewing it, and last about five minutes before collapsing.

And when they are done, they are done. Greyhounds can sleep for up to 23 hours a day, and they make it an artform. Whether its curled up in a ball, lying lazily on their side, or roaching, greys can get comfortable just about anywhere, and usually do.  They know what they like and they like what they know, and everything is simple and straightforward that way.

Which is why I think they are a good example to follow for us Hygge fans! Hygge requires us to fill our lives with the people we love, to focus on the things that make us happy, and ensure that we repeat these things at every opportunity, not just on special occasions. Greyhounds know that they love their beds. They know that they loved their teddies and tennis balls, and that these things mean cuddles and playtime. They know that they hate the wind and the rain, and that it’s better to be warm and unconscious on the sofa. These are the rules, and they are adhered to. They are focussed on, and repeated. And it means that greyhounds are very cosy, happy creatures, unburdened by the sorrows that other dogs endure: hoping for another six walks, begging for fetch, yearning after a sausage. Greys are, mostly, above all that. Just sleep it off, they advise.  Try again when you wake up.

Now, I’m not advocating that we sleep 23 hours a day, as lovely as that may sound. Nor am I saying that two twenty-minute walks a day will solve all of our problems—although staying healthy and active does no harm. All I’m saying is: notice what you love—and who you love—and keep these things close. And then stick the kettle on and complete the process by indulging in our delicious Hoogly Tea range, made with all the comfort and cosiness of Hygge in mind. Our luxurious and eclectic range is the perfect way to keep the winter blues at bay, with traditional as well as exotic tastes to discover.

For something new and fabulous this Christmas, why not try Masala Chai black tea, combining iconic Indian Assam tea with warm aromatic spices to enchant the senses. Brew this dazzling cuppa strong with milk and sugar to experience the full taste sensation!

Moving eastward on our Hoogly global tea tour, why not give Genmai Cha green tea a whirl? Originally concocted by Japanese farmers, this refreshing delicacy combines Sencha green tea with toasted rice to create a unique brew that must be tried to be believed!

And finish the day with our decadent and sinfully seductive Chocolate Brownie black tea. This is as simple and delicious as it sounds, and will have you racing back to the cupboard with the speed of a greyhound to refill your mug!

That’s all for now, Hoogly lovers. Merry Christmas and a happy new year from all of us at Hoogly. Enjoy your nap! I know my greyhound will…

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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The Gift Of Hoogly!

The Gift Of Hoogly!

Nothing says ‘Christmas without the stress’ quite like our Danish ethos of Hygge. The mindful concept basically requires you to act like it’s December all year round, without cramming into rugby-scrum shops to spend all your hard-earned cash on presents for other people. The Danes are masters of Hygge, incorporating it into their daily lives and routines, focussing on the things that make them happy, and ensuring they surround themselves with people or things that bring them joy.

Hygge asks us to cosy ourselves—and our houses—until we’re cocooned in a cotton bud of loveliness that we never want to leave. Fluffy socks, our comfiest lounge pants, soft pillows in our favourite nook of the house to read. Low lamplight and candles, a glass of wine for the bath, a box of chocolates in front of latest TV show. It challenges us to have our friends and family around for giant, homemade feasts and boardgames at any time of the year, not just on specific dates. It urges us to step outside, no matter the weather, and enjoy the world around us in all its glory. To get wet, muddy, snowy, suntanned or sticky. To go for a jog or a cycle, and breathe in the fresh air, noticing the trees, the grass, the sky, and stay fit and healthy so that we can enjoy our Hoogly indulgences even more. Hygge asks us to discover what it is that makes us tick, and to set ourselves like a clock so that we repeat these joyful behaviours day after day. This is why the Danes are some of the happiest people on the planet—and you can be too.

But there is still Christmas to contend with. Sadly, we can’t make it vanish in one swish of a Hoogly wand. However, we can offer you a delightful, delicious and decidedly novel idea for your Christmas gift list this year: our sumptuous range of Hoogly teas! Our tantalising and eclectic range are the perfect present for those hard-to-buy-for friends and relatives, a luxurious and elegantly presented selection that will transport the lucky recipient to a whole new world of taste sensations, at the same time offering all the cosy relaxation of Hygge!

For someone who wants to explore the whole spectrum of our tasty, tranquil treats, why not give them a Hoogly Bag? This is a stylish, branded cotton bag with forty individual wraps of eight different blends, including Apple Strudel green tea, Lemon and Ginger herbal infusion, Chill Out Mint and English Breakfast black tea! It’s a lovely gift for one, but there’s more than enough to satisfy the whole family in this beautiful bumper pack!

For tea lovers everywhere, why not go for a Hoogly Gift Box?! This beautiful and classy box contains 250g of your favourite brew in a lovely glass jar, a five-pyramid tea pod and a branded Hoogly mug! Your friends and family will be thrilled to receive this carefully crafted package that will keep them cosy, calm and joyful throughout the grey early months of the new year!

And for that special someone, pick up a gift that says ‘I think the world of you’ with our Luxury Wooden Box and Bag combo! This tea treasure consists of a gorgeous branded wooden box filled with twenty individual tea pyramids, alongside a cotton bag containing forty wraps. Sixty wraps in total, combining eight different tastes, including Earl Grey, Rhubarb and Vanilla, Classic Green and Cosy Chamomile. Forget flowers and chocolate—this gift will be an unexpected delight this Christmas, giving you a very good reason to escape the cracker jokes and charades by heading to the kitchen and flipping on the kettle!

Whatever you get up to this December, don’t forget to give to the gift of Hygge—and make it last all year round!

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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Hoogly and Vegan!

Hoogly and Vegan!

At Hoogly, we’re very proud of our cosy and mindful philosophy of Hygge as it offers us an easy way to keep life’s stresses and hardships at bay, teaching us to stay connected our friends and family—and to the places and things we love the most. Hygge is a compassionate ethos; an ethos that asks us to be kind, not only to those around us, but also to ourselves. It is an ethos that appreciates the simple pleasures of nature and the beauty of the outside world—whilst not forgetting the joy of fluffy socks and a soft pillow. It is an ethos of light chit-chat over a cup of tea and indulgence in the sweeter things in life without fretting about the consequences. Most importantly, Hygge is easy to follow and anyone can do it!

We’re always on the lookout for other philosophies that go hand-in-hand with Hygge, and we’d like to give a shout-out today to the roughly 3.5 million vegans in the UK! We know there are a lot of vegans out there who enjoy our cosily crafted teas, and we’d thought we’d talk a little bit about veganism for those who might be interested in giving it a whirl!

Put simply, veganism is living and eating, as close as practically possible, in a way that excludes any form of cruelty or exploitation of animals for food, clothes or any other reason. Around 60 billion land animals and over a trillion marine animals are used and killed as commodities per year for human consumption, and vegans wish to move away from this system and help steer humanity towards a more compassionate, plant-based alternative. A vegan’s diet, therefore, includes a rich and diverse combination of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, beans, seeds and pulses—prepared in a mind-blowing number of combinations so that you’ll never get bored. Pretty much all of your favourite foods (pizza, cake, curry and pasties—to name but a few!) can be recreated with plant-based ingredients. There are a huge amount of recipes and cookbooks out there now to inspire you and help you create delicious and nutritious recipes—so what are you waiting for? …Oh, more good reasons to be a vegan. OK…

Vegans also wish to raise awareness of the environmental burden of animal products, namely the large amount of crops and water needed to feed the animals and the other costly processes involved in transportation from farm to fork. A plant-based diet requires only one-third of the land needed to facilitate a dairy or meat diet, which in turn could help reduce the strain on human resources around the world, especially in poorer parts of our global community.

There’s also evidence that shows a plant-based diet is beneficial for your health, with the core food-types being rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. There has been some research that suggests vegan diets are linked with lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as lower rates of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

If you’re thinking about trying veganism, follow our Hoogly tips for long lasting success:

-Don’t rush! It’s quite a big change to implement, so take it one step at a time. Maybe start by cutting out milk and cheese and go from there. Better to ease your way in than to plunge into the deep end and wonder why it didn’t work out!

-Expect the unexpected! Some people have odd reactions to your choice, including comments that can be less than kind or understanding. Don’t be rattled, however. It’s their problem, not yours!

-Hit the high street! Most big restaurants now have delicious vegan options so you can take your lifestyle on the road with confidence. Whatever your tastes, there should be something there for you!

-Network! Find other vegans on social media and get support, hint and tips on recipes, and a platform to share your fun vegan experiences. Your input may also plant a seed for others!

-Remember why you’re doing it! On a day where everything is a bit of a struggle, remember why you chose to make the change—your compassion and concern for animal welfare and making a difference with the environment. And if that doesn’t work, flip the kettle on and chill with one of our cosy teas. You’ll be back to yourself in no time!

There are loads of tastes and flavours to choose from, including sweet treats such as Chocolate Brownie, Danish Pastry and Apple Strudel; fabulous fruity fun, including Spiced Orange, Berrylicious and Lemon & Ginger; and exotic discoveries, such as Rhubarb & Vanilla, Marzipan Rooibos and Sparkling White tea. All of these carefully crafted—and vegan!—mugs of joy will wash away the crazy, fast-paced hubbub of modern life, transporting you to a place of mindful tranquillity and keep you coming back for more. 

Thanks for reading and good luck with any changes you make with your lifestyle! We’re always here with a cuppa if you want to tell us all about it!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Black and White Tea!

Black and White Tea!

Greetings Hoogly fans! As I was curled up on my sofa the other day, laid low by a nasty little cold, I flicked through the TV channels and came across a lovely old black and white film called Since You Went Away, a 1944 American flick about a family dealing with those they love being sent away to war. As I sipped my Hoogly Tea, I instantly relaxed as the opening credits rolled, with a fireplace framed in shot, the names of the cast members drifting upwards as the orchestral piece swelled and built to crescendo. I felt a comforting veil of tranquillity fall over me as the film began, the characters communicating with such lovely manners, eloquence and naïve enthusiasm. As the plot played out, there were moving sequences of loss and grief, as well as romance, humour and slapstick, all held together by sweeping violins, cellos and trumpets.

The world the film evoked was so pure and perfect—I was struck by a strange sensation of longing or nostalgia for a time gone by, even though I was born nearly forty years after the film was made. Here, in black and white, was somewhere safe. A retreat from the complexities and pace of modern life. A window into a simpler time, when emotions seemed somehow sharper, when love and loss seemed magnified and bigger than life itself. Which, for a wartime film, was almost certainly the case. Those watching Since You Went Away would’ve been experiencing all the same anxieties, insecurities and loss as the characters in the film. Watching it play out on the big screen, however, may have gone some way to dispelling their emotions: knowing that they weren’t alone, that others were going through similar trials and that by pulling together they might just emerge unscathed on the other side….

…See how easy it is to be swept up in the wave of sentiment?! Gotta love the golden oldies!

After the film finished, it dawned on me just how Hoogly the old black and white movies really are. Our ethos is all about feeling calm and cosy, and making a regular habit of filling your life with the things you love. Watching these classics is like slipping on a comfy pair of pyjamas and socks: soft, reassuring and relaxing. You know exactly what you’re going to get. They demand nothing from you, and you have to give nothing in return. This is Hygge in a nutshell. And once the film is over—simply find another one and do it all again!

And if you can’t decide on a film, here are some Hoogly recommendations:

  1. Wuthering Heights (1939) A dark, brooding interpretation of Emily Bronte’s classic novel set in the Yorkshire Moors starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. Full of passion, obsession, love and tragedy, this beautiful film is complimented by a rousing score that stays with you long after the end credits. Best enjoyed with Around the Fire Oolong Tea, a cosy combination of smoky tea leaves and warming spices, licked by flames of safflower and crushed chilli—sure you get you through any stormy night on the Moors!
  2. Brief Encounter (1945) An atmospheric romance starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, following a married woman’s chance encounter with a doctor at a train station, which leads to an affair. Full of clipped English accents and repressed emotion, this stunning film explores complex moral issues and has one of the most masterfully constructed final scenes of all time. Woven together by Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto number 2, this is definitely best enjoyed with traditional English Breakfast black tea—simple, but full of hidden depths.
  3. Casablanca (1942) Arguably the greatest film of all time, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. An American expatriate runs a bar in Casablanca and comes into possession of documents that allow free travel across German-occupied Europe. When his former love Ilsa arrives with her resistance hero husband, she demands the papers, but Rick and Ilsa have unfinished business. With a timeless score, memorable lines and career-best performances, this is a treasure to be enjoyed time and again. Best served with Chocolate Brownie black tea, a wonderfully rich and unapologetically decadent treat that just gets better with each sip!

So, there we are—from Hygge to Hollywood and back again, all you need for complete tranquillity and cosiness is a black and white film and a mug of Hoogly tea!

 

THE END

Written by Chris Bedford.

www.hooglytea.com

 

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Not-so-smartphones and the Hoogly Solution!

Not-so-smartphones and the Hoogly Solution!

It appears that Smartphones are bad for our health. A plethora of recent studies have looked into our daily habits and discovered that there are a myriad of ways in which our favourite toys are doing us harm, some of which are obvious, some of which are really quite surprising. How many of these phone-busting facts were you aware of…?

Phones are a pain in the neck! (and back). The number of young people with back problems has risen sharply over the last year or so, with up to 45% of 16 to 24-year-olds feeling the effects of leaning and stooping over their phones, which can put pressure on spinal discs. And as anyone who has experienced back ache will tell you, it can be fierce, repetitive and a real drag on your mood.

Talking of stooping and leaning over your phone, the risk of accidents whilst absorbed in your screen jumps hugely. You are much more likely to walk into a solid object, trip over your feet, and walk into the road without looking or paying attention to traffic lights. And as any police officer will tell you, using your mobile while driving—even simply listening to someone else talk—is a bad idea and can lead to critical loss of attention.

And if you’re not meandering into a road or smacking into a lamppost, it probably means you’re sitting down—which is another negative offshoot of technological advancement. Lack of physical activity is rife in the smartphone era: it’s so much easier to phone or text than step out of the house or office to go see someone. And that’s not even mentioning the endless hours of games we play on our phones on the commute home and in our living rooms. But our sedentary lifestyles are catching up with us. Obesity increases the risk of serious cardiovascular diseases and some cancers, and puts a huge strain on our bodies. All-you-can-eat data is not a good thing.

Research also indicates that depression and anxiety are on the rise, with many young people affected. Having constant access to the web, with its dark corners, is not ideal, but a lot of mental health issues can arise from surprising avenues. With the knowledge that most people have their phone with them 24-7, a slight lull in email or text alerts can falsely convince a person that they’re being ignored or excluded by people who mean a lot to them. In addition to this, there’s been lot of research into the negative effects of social media on self-esteem: young people are constantly exposed to photos and profiles that are curated and perfected, leading to the false impression that their friends all have perfect, stress-free lives, which can build an inferiority complex and anxiety that you are doing something wrong, or living life in the wrong way. Social media is a powerful tool that has the power to bring people together, but its downsides are an extremely serious issue that has yet to be properly addressed.

Another danger of smartphones is that it can impact your sleeping patterns. Exposure to even small amounts of bright light, especially later in the evening, can interfere with the brain’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. In addition to this, answering emails last thing at night, or playing a stimulating game, will put you into a state of alertness or stress that is less than ideal for drifting off to the land of nod.

Interrupted sleep leads neatly onto the next topic of reduced attention span. The constant exposure to links, updates or alerts—and the dopamine hit that this gives us—greatly reduces our ability to concentrate on one task with full concentration. And as nearly all phone-users know, even the physical presence of a mobile can distract us and take our attention away from our nearest and dearest, as the true extent of our addiction (and let’s make no bones about it—it is an addiction) becomes cruelly apparent. And as we become more phone-centric, we lose connection not only with our friends and family, but we can also impair the development of our children. For thousands of years babies and children have bonded with us through eye contact and learned social cues by observing us communicate and examining our facial expressions. Experts have warned that if we have our eyes locked on our phones when interacting with those around us—and with our children—then we risk losing some key connections and developmental milestones down the line.

What’s the solution to all this glumness? Well, I’m not sure there is a quick-fix or antidote, but we at Hoogly have an idea how to take a step in the right direction: Put the kettle on, make a gorgeous cup of Hoogly tea, wrap both hands around the mug, let the taste and scent elevate your senses and bring you a sense of mindful tranquillity—and then repeat!!

 Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

 

 

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Hoogly Tea Party!

Hoogly Tea Party!

Greetings Hoogly lovers! It looks like the heatwave has subsided for now and our lawns and plants have been given a long-overdue drink from Mother Nature—and we’ve had a chance to turn off our fans and wear at least some of our clothes. This feeling of pleasurable relief is something we’re always looking to replicate in our teas: a lovely treat to look forward to after a long day at work or with the kids; a tasty and refreshing way to take a deep breath and regain your inner balance once more.

And the best thing to do with a good feeling once you’ve got it? Share it around! One of the most Hoogly things you can do—in cool or warm weather—is to host a tea party! Our Danish ethos of Hygge is all about feeling calm and content, surrounding yourself with your favourite people and things and building bonds and memories that sustain and enrich us. So what are you waiting for? Get those invites out and let’s get the fun started!

With Hoogly’s delightful range of brews, there’s something wonderful waiting for every single one of your guests, making the day easy and exciting. You can thrill your visitors with sweet and indulgent treats like Chocolate Brownie black tea, Apple Strudel green tea, or our brand new crowd-pleaser: Berrylicious herbal infusion! For the more traditional tea-drinkers, you can serve up charm and elegance with our English Breakfast black tea, Earl Grey or the calming delights of Chill Out Mint herbal infusion. If your guests want to try something unique and different, why not indulge them with the liquid luxury of Marzipan Rooibos, the national treasure that is Danish Pastry rooibos, or the zest-tastic Spiced Orange herbal infusion. With all these flavours and styles, you can try a different and delicious Hoogly blend with each mug, keeping your taste buds dancing for joy.

And what party would be complete without cake? The Danes are masters at gathering together to get hands-on in the kitchen, keenly aware of the benefits. Being with friends and loved ones, creating in partnership, making a mess and licking the spoon—these are not only a great way to spend an afternoon, but they also help us bond, lower our stress levels, keep us away from those pesky phones and tablets, and hopefully result in a yummy masterpiece!

Why not go even further? Once in a while, make a whole batch of cakes, cookies or muffins, give them a price tag and sell them at your party. The money you raise can go to a charity of your choice—and there are loads of official fund-raising tea parties to help you organise, such as the Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party, which seeks the support of tea and cake lovers up and down the country to raise funds and awareness for cancer care—a valuable cause that will affect most of us directly or indirectly at some point in our lives. So invite your friends and neighbours around and get the whole street sipping, scoffing and rock and rolling to create memories that will last for years to come.

And once it’s over, do it all again! What better way to put life’s stresses behind you than to flip on the kettle, turn on the oven and have a Hoogly good time!

Written by Chris Bedford

Visit www.hooglytea.com

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Tea at the Theatre!

Tea at the Theatre!

Going to the theatre is one of life’s rare treats. The excitement builds at home when the tickets or email arrives confirming your attendance, making it real. Then the anticipation ratchets up as you hear friends and co-workers rave about the show, and the critics continue to lavish it with praise. On the big night, you crack out your finest clothes, shoes and accessories and admire yourself in the mirror: you are ready for a big night out! When you arrive at the venue, you drink in the surroundings, admiring the ornate fixtures, the plush carpet, the history of the place. You imagine people from different generations, even a hundred or more years ago, treading the same well-worn path into the stalls. And then you see the stage—the curtains drawn back, the set perfectly arranged and painted, the props in place. The anticipation builds again until the lights dim and a voice announces that it is time to start.

It’s at this point that the real fun begins. The lights go up, the actors take the stage and the drama unfurls. You immediately sense how much more intimate and absorbing this set-up is than any television or film production. The drama takes place within touching distance, the actors speak, shout and sing as if they are communicating directly to you across a room. You can see their sweat, read the anguish or delight on their faces, even sometimes notice the glisten of their eyes.  You appreciate the imagination and craft of the props: the way one object can become many if viewed from a different perspective; the way a well-designed backdrop can imply depth and size that isn’t there; the way the lights add mood and focus and drama all of their own.

My favourite genre of play has to be the murder-mystery, especially the classic tales of Agatha Christie. From Murder on the Orient Express to And Then There Were None, Christie’s stories have thrilled theatre-goers for generations with their attention to period detail, eccentric and eclectic casts of characters, a famous sleuth trying to solve a murder, and a suspect list that includes everyone except the corpse. Even if you know the story (and the identity of the murderer) inside out, there is still enormous fun to be had watching the whole thing unfold—the deathly scream from another room, the discovery of a body, and delicate assessment of clues and statements until the killer is revealed. It is a tried and tested formula that works a treat every time.

Right now, you can experience an Agatha Christie play with a difference. Witness for the Prosecution is currently showing at London’s County Hall, which for 64 years served as the headquarters for local government in London. At the heart of the hall is the octagonal council chamber, which provided seating for over two hundred council members, as well as four press and public galleries which overlook the chamber. For the purposes of the play, the chamber is transformed into a court room, and you are invited pass judgment on the trial of Leonard Vole, accused of the murdering a widow to inherit her wealth. It really does feel as though you are witnessing a real trial—there are moments when you get so absorbed in the action you want to shout out—and the story of deceit, passion and betrayal is one of Christie’s best. So don’t be guilty of missing out on a unique and riveting theatre experience. Get yourself on jury duty right now!

And when you get home, why not treat yourself to a nice mug of Hoogly tea? Our delightful Danish brews have all the luxury and indulgence of the finest trip to the theatre, crafted to deliver an elegant and refined cuppa that combines Hoogly comfort with the thrill of something new.

You don’t even have to wait until you’re home! Why not take a flask of unapologetically decadent Chocolate Brownie black tea with you for a sweet treat in the interval? For a start, you’ll avoid the bar queue, and secondly, you’ll have a uniquely warming and delicious way to pass the time! If the drama is too much for you, why not calm yourself with Chill Out Mint herbal infusion? This is a classic brew, crafted with soothing menthol and mint, combined with fresh herbs to help settle and satisfy any tea lover!

So there you have it: for a brew that has all the seductive appeal, excitement and just-as-good-the-fifth-time-round star quality of the theatre, then the only choice is Hoogly!

Written by Chris Bedford.

www.hooglytea.com

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Check In With Hoogly!

Check In With Hoogly!

One of the most satisfying things about summer is escaping the grind and going on holiday. And one of the most satisfying things about going on holiday is checking into a lush hotel. As the doors to the accommodation open you can breathe a huge sigh of relief; the stress of packing, driving, flying, document-checking and queuing are over. You can wheel your suitcase inside content in the knowledge that you now have one or two weeks of complete, unadulterated leisure miles away from the rat-race and the strains of everyday life.

I’ve taken the liberty of listing just a few of the reasons that hotel stays are so gloriously pleasing:

No cooking or washing up! This is my personal favourite; being waited upon and served delicious meals every night without lifting a finger, and sauntering off after pudding has been devoured, knowing that someone else has to do dishwasher duties!

A tidy room! This is such a luxury—the wonderful world of housekeeping; somebody kind and patient to make the bed, clean the bathroom and straighten up our suncream-smeared books, spare flip-flops and endless wet towels.

Room service! Now we’re talking! A menu of food and drinks only a phone call away—and you don’t even have to leave the bed! When your stomach hasn’t quite adjusted to the new time zone and you absolutely, positively must have burger, chips and tequila at 10pm…voila, there is it. Genius!

A pool to lounge around! Of course this makes the list; it’s the whole reason we go, isn’t it? A fierce determination to get the perfect sunbed, soak up the rays in a calm, quiet environment, catch up with the latest thriller, and bomb into the pool when we start to look/feel a bit barbecued.

Staying in a hotel is all about indulgence. Treating yourself to something wonderful…just because. It’s about focussing on relaxation and switching off from the world. It’s about experiencing somewhere new whilst never feeling too far from home. And all of these things fit wonderfully into our ethos, Hygge. The Danish mindful way-of-life asks us to seek out pleasure and comfort in all its forms and bask in them. To laugh and to be cosy. To bake a cake with friends and not count the calories. To talk about things that bring us together. To experience the world around us and revel in its beauty.

Drinking our teas is like checking in to a lovely hotel. You can leave your cares and worries aside and be swept away by the indulgent flavours and exciting taste combinations. Allow our calming brews to restore your equilibrium, like the best spa day, draping you in a silk sheet of tranquillity. But don’t forget to party hard with our sweet and naughty offerings, remembering that there’s no judgement on our watch—only lives lived to the full, through pleasure and luxury.

The à la carte recommendation from Hoogly today is Danish Pastry rooibos tea—a wonderfully warming chocolate and cinnamon aroma combined with a subtly delicious and familiar pastry taste. Based on our famous national treat, this brew is seductive, succulent and sensuous—a gift for any tea lover.

As a sensational alternative, why not try Vanilla Chai black tea—with bold and fiery chai spices tempered by elegant and smooth vanilla pieces, this is a well-crafted and distinctive tasting brew that is sure to have you returning for more.

Wherever you go away to this summer, be sure to take a pack of Hoogly tea with you—it’s the perfect accompaniment to a perfect holiday, a slice of delicious Danish indulgence to make you feel at home anywhere in the world.

Written by Chris Bedford.

www.hooglytea.com

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Let's all have an ice cup of tea...

Let's all have an ice cup of tea...

Can you believe it’s nearly July?! The summer is hurtling past, full of sunshine, laughter and fun. For Hygge fans, this is a wonderful time of year—an opportunity to experience all that the outside world has to offer, discovering new places to walk, cycle or drive, spending time together with loved ones as the long days stretch into long evenings. There is really no limit to the benefits of stepping out into nature, breathing in the fresh air of a green space, meeting new people and animals, and strengthening bonds between friends and family as you explore the wilderness that lies beyond your back yard.

Hygge veterans will know that once you’ve found the experiences and activities that bring comfort and happiness to your life, the real skill is to actively focus on these joyful treats, and ensure that you continue to make time for them in your ever-busier schedule. Just as the Danes guarantee that they carve out time in winter to get all cosy, warm and snuggly with their low-glow houses and fluffy socks—in summer they insist on hunting down sunlight and fresh air as if their lives depended on it, knowing full-well that the exercise, social interaction and absorbing adventure is as healing and mindful as pretty much any therapy or drug. Oh, and don’t forget those indulgent feasts on the barbecue—the hazy, mild summer evenings were made for burgers, sausages, chicken-on-a-stick and chit-chat about nothing-in-particular.

But what do you do when you need to wind down and get refreshed after your big day out? At this time of year, with the sun baking down and temperatures soaring into the silly numbers, you have to make sure you stay hydrated and cool where possible. Drinking enough water is vitally important for your mental and physical health, but once you’ve got that covered, it’s time to discover some new and delicious ways to chill! Of course, no sensible blog about summer fun would be complete without a mention of the age-old sugary delight of ice cream—but we at Hoogly would like to introduce you to our own cooling summer sensation—iced lollies and iced tea!

Using our eclectic and delicious, Hygge-inspired brews, you can create a fun, frosty and flavoursome treat that will keep you refreshed and calm on the hottest of days!

For a popsicle that will knock your socks off…try brewing two Spiced Orange herbal infusion tea bags for twice as long as usual…then simply pour the tea into a popsicle mould and put in the freezer overnight! In the morning, you will have a zesty, fruity, mouth-wateringly sweet summer snack to recharge your batteries for the adventures ahead!

For a seductive and chilled ice tea, why not try our wonderful Rhubarb and Vanilla Green Tea? The combo of tart Rhubarb, sweet vanilla and a classic Chinese green tea creates an elegant and refreshing drink to enjoy again and again as you take a well-earned moment to yourself. To create this mindful masterpiece, simply place two teabags into a heat-proof pitcher and cover with four cups of boiling water—then leave for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the teabags, sweeten with sugar or sweetener if required, then stir in 5 or 6 cups of ice until they melt. You can always modify and customise your Hoogly Ice Tea by adding slivers of your favourite fruits and leaving them to soak in. Refrigerate the finished article and enjoy at your leisure!

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s make the most of the summer months and take advantage of the beautiful countryside and green spaces that surround us. And when you need to take a break, do it the Danish way, and have an ice cup of tea!

Written by Chris Bedford.

 www.hooglytea.com 

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