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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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HOOGLY, BRICK BY BRICK

HOOGLY, BRICK BY BRICK

When did you last do some LEGO? Perhaps at Christmas with the kids? Maybe back in your own childhood? Or perhaps you are a daily LEGO user, filling your home with clickety-brick creations of all shapes and sizes. Whether you use LEGO or not, the brand and its bricks are inescapable. There are more LEGO mini-figure people in the world than humans—and for each person on the planet there are sixty-two LEGO pieces. Contemporary designs are high-concept, high-tech masterpieces, ranging from skyscrapers to space shuttles, Star Wars to Harry Potter, and everything from animals to robots along the way. This is all a far cry from the modest beginnings of the company.  2022 will be the 90th anniversary of the year Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from a poor farming family in Billund, Denmark, first made his foray into toy making. During the Great Depression, when carpentry work was hard to find, Ole found inspiration from the miniature prototypes of the wooden items he was planning to build, which he discovered could be turned into toys. After two years of success, he named his company LEGO, combining two Danish words ‘leg’ and ‘godt,’ which mean ‘play well.’

It was not all plain sailing at the beginning, however. The company averted disaster when the Yo-Yo craze died a sudden death, leaving them vastly overstocked with unsellable product. Ole had the bright idea to cut the Yo-Yos in half, re-inventing them as wheels for a new truck design, which went on to be a big hit!

In the 1940s, a British toymaker called Hillary Page patented the first Interlocking Building Cubes, but he failed to see the versatility and astounding potential of his creation. It was the Danes who rolled with the idea, creating their own Automatic Binding Bricks, which were renamed LEGO bricks in 1953. It wasn’t until 1964 that the first instruction manuals found their way into kits, and four years later, a Legoland Park opened in Denmark as sales accelerated to 18 million units. 

Despite flirting with bankruptcy in 2004, the company went back to basics and is now going from strength to strength, with video and board games, as well as movies—on top of their vast empire of creations. 

Some LEGO facts:

-20 Billion LEGO pieces are made annually. 

-Each second, seven LEGO sets are sold globally. 

-4.8 million LEGO pieces were lost at sea in the late 90s, and pieces are still washing up!

-Six eight-stud LEGO pieces have 915 million different construction combinations.  

 

We at Hoogly are big LEGO fans, of course. Not only because they are Danish (although that certainly helps!)—but because doing LEGO is an embodiment of many of the principals of Hygge that we live by: focussing on what makes you happy; being calm and mindful; sharing happiness with others; treating yourself to something a bit naughty—and creating something beautiful and exciting!

Of course, there is no better accompaniment to a LEGO session than a cup of Hoogly tea. Especially if you’re building something epic like Hogwarts or the Death Star—you’ll need all the delicious fuel you can get! 

For maximum creativity and flair, we heartily recommend Banoffee Pie Black Tea! Slotting together a pudding with a cuppa in classic LEGO brick style, this lush brew is indulgent, rich and sweet, with subtle warming tones of banana and toffee. The only problem is that our sensational taste may distract you from your project!

  And to further celebrate all things Danish, why not try Danish Pastry Rooibos? This national treat has a wonderfully warming chocolate and cinnamon aroma combined with a subtle pastry taste, perfect to sip while you brick! 

So—if you haven’t done LEGO for a while, why not drag down that box from the loft, or treat yourself to a new set, setting aside the stresses and strains of the day to focus on something calming, creative and mindful. And don’t forget to keep one of our delicious teas handy for those mini-breaks from all the fun!

 

That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. Stay safe, be good yourself and flip the kettle on!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Hoogly Book Club

Hoogly Book Club

Greetings Hoogly fans! It’s that time again: the chance to discover what’s hot in the literary world, sharing our top picks to help you relax, unwind and distract yourself from the stresses and strains of everyday life! It’s been a sensational year of publishing, with so many established authors bringing out big books, as well as stunning breakthrough debuts by a host of rising stars—it’s been very hard to whittle down our choices. But we’re here to make the tough decisions so you don’t have to; so, if you’re sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin…

 

BIOGRAPHY:

Will Smith, ‘Will’

This charts the career of one of the biggest stars of music and film of our time. This profound read is not only a life story that chronicles some of the most recognisable cultural moments of the last few decades, but also a personal journey of self-discovery, acknowledging the toll his stardom took on those around him, and the vital lessons he learned about the way his mind works, and how best to grapple with all the pressure that surrounded him. It’s a book that—like its subject—is in a category all of its own, a book that will transport you behind the scenes into superstardom, as well as provide genuine universal wisdom that will echo in your own life.

 

FICTION:

Jennifer Saint, ‘Ariadne’

This debut has become a huge hit, latching onto the current popularity of the Greek Myths in literature, and carving out its own distinct niche with a dazzling re-telling of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, written from the perspective of Ariadne, Princess of Crete. First capturing your heart with a sensational cover jacket (really—look it up, it’s gorgeous), this beautifully written novel weaves themes of sisterhood, love and secrets into a world of petulant gods and monsters, asking us to look afresh at an old story, bolstered by the shining beacon of female strength and courage. This wonderful book will brighten the darkest February day and put a smile on your face.

CRIME/THRILLER

Sophie Hannah, ‘Haven’t They Grown’

This gripping read came out in 2020 and got a little lost in the chaos of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. I picked it up the other night and couldn’t put it down for the next two days!! It tells the story of Beth, a mum-of-two who lost touch with her best friend Flora and her family twelve years before. While she is in the vicinity of Flora’s new house, Beth decides to have a cheeky snoop. She sees Flora’s two children get out of the car, Flora calling their names. But the kids haven’t aged a single day. They look exactly the same as they did twelve years ago—and Flora seems in some distress. Beth drives away, thinking she must be mad. Thus begins a feverish, unsettling and paranoid search for the truth of what Beth has witnessed, a mission she cannot let lie, even though her husband protests, and there appear to be no plausible answers. What secret lies at the heart of Flora’s family? Whatever it is, Beth realises, it can’t be good…

CHILDREN’S

Mark Dawson, ‘The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse’

A brand-new book for ages 9-12, with echoes of an all-time favourite: Enid Blyton. Lucy, Max, Charlie and Joe spot a phantom figure on Southwold beach one winter evening and are soon thrown into an unexpected mystery. But this should be no problem for the After-School Detective Club! As they dig deeper, the task gets more difficult, and they have to summon all their wits when they realise they are up against a ruthless gang of smugglers! Prepare for motorboat tracking devices, bedroom escapes, daring ocean rescues and undercover operations! This is the perfect read to keep the kids engrossed and entertained, harking back to those glorious Famous Five and Secret Seven adventures of yesteryear!

That’s it for the book recommendations—now for the tea recommendations!

This month, our perfect book club companion is Apple Strudel Green Tea! A classic Hoogly combination of taste and scent, this delightful brew will warm your cockles with a blend of juicy apples and sweet spices, bound together with a beautiful roasted green tea, adding a well-baked twist!

And if you really want to treat yourself, why not go for Chocolate Brownie black tea? This is a pleasingly rich and unapologetically decadent chocolate delight, perfect to sip as you flip pages of the latest best-seller, satisfying your craving for something oh-so-naughty. Just like your book—you won’t want it to end!

That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. Have fun with your books, stay safe, and we’ll see you soon!

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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BUMP IN THE NIGHT

BUMP IN THE NIGHT

Greetings Hoogly fans! It’s that time of year again: the nights are getting longer; the temperature has fallen and the bulging darkness begins to encroach on our every flank. Before long it will be that most spooky of occasions: Halloween, and we will once again take to the streets like an army of the undead, dressed like vampires or monsters or ghouls, helping our kids score chocolate and sweets from ordinary humans, and listening carefully to every bang, rustle and clank in the shadows. But how can we explain our continued fascination with all things ghastly and spectral? Stories of spirits and otherworldly entities have run through all cultures since the dawn of civilisation, woven and overlapping with stories that seek to explain death and the journeys we take after our mortal race has run.

The most compelling and persistent story is that of the ghost: from Pliny the Elder in ancient Rome describing a spectre with rattling chains, to Hamlet’s father in Shakespeare, all the way up to the Victorian tales of Charles Dickens and Henry James, and the contemporary tales of modern Hollywood, such as Ghostbusters, Paranormal Activity and the Blair Witch Project. But what exactly is a ghost? Is there as scientific basis for them? Is it possible to find out? Should we even question such an ancient and mysterious phenomenon, or should we perhaps accept that some things at the fringes of our understanding are meant to remain there, tantalising, but always out of reach?

Science, as it tends to do, has had a good stab at trying to define the ghost. Here are some ideas that experts have touched upon over time:

SUGGESTION. It appears that people are more likely to report paranormal activity if they believe a location is haunted. Studies have shown that groups of people shown around old buildings will react differently based on the information they have been given: those that have been told the location is haunted nearly always report more ghostly goings-on than those who have been told there is no spectral infestation. There is also the possibility that our will and power of belief is much stronger than once thought: simply wanting to see a spirit go bump in the night may be enough to create something in the mind that appears—or perhaps is—real!

  ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS.  Some scientists have posited that pulsed magnetic fields—undetectable on conscious level—may be responsible for our perception of ghostly presences. The magnetic fields, it’s thought, could contribute to unusual patterns in the brain’s temporal lobes—a theory which other scientists have refuted, but nevertheless many ‘haunted’ locations do have unusual magnetic fields.

MOULD. Strange as it may sound, there is anecdotal evidence that toxins linked to mould growth can create hallucinations and visions, with other symptoms including irrational fear and dementia-like complaints. It’s not too much of a stretch to link classic haunted locations like unused castles or unkept houses to widespread mould growth, so perhaps there is something to this!

CARBON MONOXIDE. In the 1920s, a family reported a haunting after moving to an old house. After investigation, a leaky pipe was discovered, and carbon monoxide was blamed for the family’s ghostly hallucinations. There’s more than one reason to make sure your alarm is in working order!

OUIJA BOARDS. Hollywood has immortalised this spirit-summoning board-game where users move a planchette over a board covered with letters and words allowing a spirit to communicate from beyond and pass on a message for those they have left behind. The odd thing is—on many occasions, players’ hands do seem to move independently, giving rise to a fascination with the process, but scientists have insisted that these movements are involuntary, unconscious physical movements called the ‘ideomotor effect,’ where our bodies respond to our deep-rooted yearnings and desires without our brain giving instructions. Ghost-hunters will tell you that there are things that science can’t explain, and perhaps they are right. But I don’t dare take out a Ouija board to prove the experts wrong!

Well, in order to calm down after all that talk of ghastly ghouls, let’s take a moment to enjoy some lovely Hoogly tea. This month, we think it’s important warm up and rediscover one of our classic cuppas: Around the Fire Oolong Tea. One of our original blends, this customer favourite is perfect for the winter months, combining smoky leaves with safflower and crushed chilli, making this your go-to fiery friend!

To complement our Oolong, why not try Masala Chai black tea? Based on the iconic India brew, this rich and malty assam is blended with warm, aromatic spices to enchant your senses and stave off the frigid winter evenings! Brew it strong with milk and sugar to the complete Hoogly experience, allowing you to wind down, relax and let go of the day’s stress!

That’s it for this time, folks. Enjoy Halloween; fangs for reading!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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RELAX

RELAX

After a long day at work, there’s nothing better than kicking your shoes off at home and finally being able to unwind. Everyone has their own ways to de-stress and chill out, but I think most of us would admit that the easiest (and often the most satisfying) thing to do is to slump on the couch with the TV remote and disappear into a good box set or movie. But if you find that Netflix and ice cream doesn’t always get the job done, then why not try a few activities that will make you happier, healthier and more productive in the long run?! 

 

1. Exercise: This might seem like a ludicrous suggestion after a long, draining day in the office, but it is well known that running can keep your brain young, reduce anxiety and improve your mood. If you’re not the jogging type, then try a brisk walk, listening to your favourite podcast or audio book, and burning some calories while you enjoy the fresh air.

 

2. Read: This is a wonderful way to escape the worries of everyday life, plus it has the added benefits of helping to improve your memory, reduce stress and increase your attention span. Try a genre or style that you normally wouldn’t choose, and you’ll be surprised what exciting surprises the literary world has to offer!

 

3. Cook: Some people (myself included) find cooking incredibly stressful, but for others, following a recipe and measuring out ingredients is an extremely therapeutic hobby, boosting creativity, mood and a sense of control. Plus, you (hopefully) end up with something delightful at the end of the process, preferably something big and cakey.

 

4. Clean: Another counter-intuitive suggestion, but this chore can actually work wonders for your mental health. Tidying, organising and decluttering your personal space allows you to view your home as more restful, clearing out the chaotic thoughts that can often mirror the environment around you.

 

5. Journal: There are many benefits to journaling, including organising your thoughts, helping to purge your mind of repetitive thoughts or anxious feelings, and better understanding yourself and your emotions. The act of writing is itself mindful: even if you’re only drawing simple shapes or letters, it’s a nice way to focus your concentration, noticing the way the pen or pencil interacts with the paper, paying attention to how you feel as you create, and allowing yourself to enjoy the moment.

 

6. Digital detox: It’s always a good idea to ration your screen time, but especially so after a hard day of checking emails and conjuring spreadsheets. It’s important to cut off from the working day where possible, allowing your mind to have the rest it deserves, and focussing on the people and things around you. Do this often enough, and you may find that your mood improves, as well as your sleep, leaving you feeling more refreshed and ready to face the working day.

 

7. Drink a cup of Hoogly tea. Obviously, we’ve saved the best for last! Having a cuppa after work is one of life’s great pleasures, but at Hoogly, we take things to the next level, providing a relaxation sensation that is hard to match! Our teas are lovingly crafted with your mindfulness as our top priority, allowing you to unwind in luxury, enjoying our scintillating scents and tantalising tastes. With this is mind, allow us to present a glorious pick-me-up for the autumn months: Tiramisu black tea! This Italian-inspired masterclass is an indulgent blend of Sri Lankan black tea, coffee beans and cocoa, dazzling your senses with a rich and creamy taste that will soften the blow of the shortening days and reluctant sun. 

 

That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. Keep a look out for the Hoogly Tea Lodge in Preston Park, opening soon to offer the people of Sussex (and beyond) their fix of beautiful brews, classic cakes and a gorgeously laid-back atmosphere packed with Hygge charm. I was fortunate enough to be invited for a sneak preview of the venue, and I was blown away by the friendly team and the quality of the products on offer. If you get the chance to check it out, you will leave with a smile on your face, guaranteed!

 

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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What are you afraid of…?

What are you afraid of…?

I suspect it’s fair to say that most of us are afraid of something. Some people can’t cope with heights; others run a mile at the sight of a spider; a large number of us are scared of the dark; and who doesn’t hear the dum-dum, dum-dum theme song from Jaws whenever you swim out a bit far in the ocean? My personal fear is people wearing large animal heads. Some people say that’s irrational and tease me about it—but when the bunny-men come for us all, they won’t be laughing, will they?!

But there is one lesser-known fear that we at Hoogly would like to draw attention to today. In fact, it’s more than a fear: it’s actually a phobia—and one that goes to the very heart of what we do as a company…

Tepidophobia

This is the fear of a badly-made cup of tea.

I think we at Hoogly all suffer from this in various degrees. The thought of a bad cup of tea brings us out in a sweat. We strive for perfection, and this means putting a smile on our customer’s faces with every brew. So we understand the feeling of dread that can mount when entering someone’s home for the first time and hearing the kettle rumble and puff, wondering if the person making the cuppa will ask how you take it. Will they mention the dunk-time? If they don’t, is it a faux-pas to bring it up? Just a quick in-and-out for me, mate. Or perhaps: Leave the thing in there; I like it as close to coal as possible. And what about the milk? A cup of tea can be savaged by inappropriate dairy levels. And what creaminess, too? Full-fat, green or red-top? Or perhaps no milk at all? Do they have alternative milks? Oat, almond, soya? And we’ve not even considered how long the kettle is allowed to cool down before being poured. So much to think about. But then you’ve found yourself in an engrossing conversation; the tea has not been drunk—it’s gone cold on the side. Don’t worry, your host says. I’ll bung it in the microwave. Your heart begins to pulse. The terror moves over your skin like a snake. Don’t do it, you try to communicate with your eyes whilst smiling. Thanks very much, you actually say, because you’re a good person. And now they’ve gone to all that effort—opening the microwave door and twiddling the knob—you’ll have to drink it. Muddy, creamy, overboiled, cold and reheated tea. Maybe you can’t be friends with this person, after all. It’s all been a horrible mistake. Ping…

Should have asked for herbal.

Should have asked for Hoogly!

We get it, tea lovers. We’re on your side. We want to take the fear away—and we invite you to discover our hygge-inspired range of mindful teas, perfect for sweeping away those stressful thoughts, calmed by the knowledge that our teas smell and taste delicious every time.

Introducing…Apricot Blossom White Tea. The perfect accompaniment to an afternoon tea, this blend of downy leaves, Chinese Pai Mu Dan and green tea is drenched in summery soft-stone fruit flavours, creating an elegant elixir for the pain of a mediocre restaurant cuppa.

Revive your senses this summer with Citrus Bloom Herbal Infusion! Luscious lemony notes are complemented by the tantalising trio of peppermint, rosemary and sage, rounded off with the sweet warmth of scattered fennel seeds. This elegant brew is perfect for parties and barbeques, keeping those long, lazy evenings alive with a bit of Hoogly magic.

Finally…fall in love with a rose. Our gorgeous, aromatic Rose Blush White Tea brings the glamour of nature to your mug, with pink rosebuds creating a luxuriously lavish floral taste, combined with subtly sweet grassy tones. This is a drink to share with someone special; and, yes, that includes treating yourself to some well-deserved Hoogly time!

That’s it from me on Freedom Day! Stay safe, enjoy the sunshine and don’t forget to add a bit of Danish delight to your tea collection!

Written by Chris Bedford

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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A SPECIAL DELIVERY

A SPECIAL DELIVERY

The doorbell rang. Sarah looked up from her book. She wasn’t expecting anyone, and no deliveries were scheduled. Brady, her white and brown spaniel, wagged his tail at the possibility of guests and treats, but Sarah was less enthusiastic. Perhaps it was one of the neighbours asking for a favour, or maybe some kind of charity agent, or possibly even kids from the nearby school playing pranks. She got up wearily and looked out of the living room window. It was a cold, grey October afternoon, with dry bronze leaves flittering and drifting in the breeze, and silvery puddles on the roads. Some birds had delivered a cluster strike of white poo on her car windscreen and bonnet, which worsened her bad mood, and as she opened the door, she noticed the neighbour’s cat—as if driven by some secret competition with the birds—had done its business on her front drive. That’s just wonderful….

Nobody was there.

Looking down, she spotted a small, square cardboard parcel, about thirty centimetres high and wide. She knelt to inspect it. There was no label or barcode. No address. No markings at all. She turned it over in her hands a few times. It was light and made no sound when she rotated it.

Brady came out and sniffed the parcel. Which was no help at all, because Brady had failed his police sniffer training, being massively uninterested in scenting out drugs and explosives, preferring instead to focus solely on biscuits and soggy tennis balls. At least Sarah knew that the box contained neither of these items, because Brady lost interest in a matter of seconds and scrambled away.

Sarah shrugged and brought the parcel inside. She figured it was a mistake, so she left it in the porch, deciding that it’s rightful owner would come back and claim it at some point. The she returned to the sofa and didn’t give the package a second thought.

Later that night, as she was brushing her teeth, Sarah heard a sound. At first, she couldn’t make out what it was, only that it was coming from downstairs, and that it sounded somewhat like humming.

She set her brush down and listened.

Heard nothing.

She moved closer to the stairs.

Still nothing.

“Brady? Is that you?”

The dog didn’t reply.

Sarah shook her head and turned away.

Hoooo….’

She stopped in her tracks, a shard of ice in her chest.

What was that?

‘Hoooo…’

It sounded like a whimper. A mournful wail. Somewhere between the drone of a mosquito and an electrical appliance running low on battery.

“Pipes,” she said out loud, because she felt like saying something to fill the space, and because that’s what her dad always said when there were strange noises in the house. “Pipes…or your mother snoring.”

It didn’t sound like either of those things, and she felt as though she should investigate. Maintenance of this place was her responsibility now. If something was faulty, she needed to fix it.

“Brady? Come here boy. Come and help.”

Brady didn’t come.

There was no sound. No movement.

“Puppy? Where are you?”

No answer.

Moving slowly, she made her way downstairs. She turned all of the lights on as she went.

“Brady?”

Hoooo…’

Louder this time. Coming from the near the front door. With her skin pricking with goosebumps, Sarah crept towards the noise.

She opened the door to the porch.

Saw Brady sitting bolt upright in front of the package, his head tilted to one side, his silhouette dead still.

“What are you doing, dog?” Sarah said.

Brady didn’t turn around.

Sarah took a step closer. Put a hand on the dog’s collar.

Brady jumped in the air and squealed. It was as if she’d jabbed him with a taser.

Sarah’s heart nearly exploded.

“Bloody hell, Brady!” she snapped, and the dog seemed to notice her for the first time, thrusting himself against her legs and licking her hands.

“What have you been doing down here?”

Brady leapt up into Sarah’s arms and made himself small. Caught by surprise by the dog’s fear, Sarah ruffled the pup’s neck and whispered comforts to him. Then she looked down at the parcel. The air around her was cold. Even with the light on behind her, the corner where the parcel sat was threaded with gloom. Sarah dropped Brady in the living room and went back to pick up the box. She opened the front door and placed the parcel outside. The weather forecast had predicted rain, but that was too bad. The box didn’t have her name on it. It wasn’t hers. Who cares?

Closing the door firmly, she raced Brady back upstairs and settled down into the warmth of her bed. Brady looked at her with big, wet Disney eyes.

“Come on then: you too…”

Brady grinned and jumped onto the bed, curling himself into a ball beside her.

Sarah listened to some podcasts and music for an hour until her heart stopped jackhammering and her eyes got heavy. Then she went to sleep to the sound of Brady’s rhythmic breathing.

 

When she opened her eyes, the red digital numbers on her clock read 3:03am. She sat up and noticed right away that she was shivering. She pulled the duvet around her but it made no difference. She could see her breath form in misty puffs in front of her face. Had she left a window open? She was sure she had not.

She switched on the bedroom light.

Brady was gone.

Nothing unusual there, however. He often slinked back to his own bed, tired of Sarah’s flailing arms and general fidgeting, and wary of the sharp old springs in Sarah’s ancient mattress.

She wanted to get up and seek out the source of the draught, but she was too damn cold. It was as though she’d parachuted naked into the middle of some Arctic expanse. She checked her phone. The temperature readout said sixteen degrees. Which couldn’t be right. Sixteen was less than ideal, but a long way from this ice blizzard.

‘Hooooo…’

There it was again. This time it was more urgent. It didn’t sound focussed or pinpointed. It was all around her.

It was everywhere.

‘Hooooo…’
“Pipes,” Sarah said again—because that had to be the cause. Especially now the heating was gone.

Come on. You can do this. Just go and check the dial. It’s not that far…

One, two, three…

She tore out of bed, pulling open the wardrobe and putting on her thickest fleece and jogging bottoms. Then she put on another two layers, top and bottom, plus three pairs of socks.

‘Hooooo…’

“Alright! I get it!”

A plumber call-out was going cost a lot of money. She hoped the damage wasn’t too bad. Frozen pipes were no joke. She guessed Christmas was going to be a charity shop affair this year.

‘Hooooo…’

Behind her. In front of her. Above her.

Below her.

‘Hooooo…’

Brady started yapping. Not helpful.

Sarah opened the airing cupboard and placed a hand on the emersion heater.

Red hot…

The pipes were warm too. The dial looked healthy, with no flashing lights, alarm bells or faults.

‘Hooooo…’

What the heck?

Brady kept barking. Insistent, staccato ruffs, cutting into her cold ears.

‘Hooooo…’

Sarah went downstairs. The sound was getting stronger. It was coming from the front door.

‘Hooooo…’

Breathing heavily, and with a cold sweat slicking her back, Sarah reached out towards the porch door with trembling hands.

She opened up.

Then she jumped back, catching her hip on the door handle, sending a bolt of pain arrowing up her side.

The parcel was there, on the mat, neatly lined up, taunting her.

Singing at her…

‘Hooooo…’

‘Hooooo…’

How had it got back inside?

Who had put it there?

Why had they put it there?

Sarah took out her phone and hovered her finger over the number 9.

All of a sudden, Brady stopped barking.

A thick silence draped over the house.

Sarah’s phone glowed, her thumb twitching, the device wobbling in her weak grip.

Then something touched her shoulder.

Something heavy.

A hand.

Gnarled fingers dug into her skin. Long nails pressed against her flesh.

Sarah turned around

…and screamed.

 

Happy Halloween everyone!!!!

Sarah’s parcel didn’t turn out so well for her…but that shouldn’t put you off sending someone an amazing gift this Christmas—the Hoooo…gly gift of tea! If you’re stuck for a gift idea for your friends and family this year, look no further than our luxurious and eclectic range of Hygge-inspired brews! Even those hard-to-buy-for people will be blown away by the novelty of receiving an unusual and thoughtfully chosen prezzie from our delightfully Danish collection, and they will discover a gift that keeps on giving—delicious treats that smell as good as they taste, and offer a calming, mindful way to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures.

As well as our individual teas, we offer stunning collection sets that are ideal for gifting. How about our large luxury wooden box, handmade in the UK, divided into six compartments and housing 60 individually wrapped tea pyramids and seven different blends?! This elegant and stylish gift set will look lovely in any setting, and can be refilled or repurposed as required!

If you want something even more Hoogly, how about our amazing range of hand-crafted mini hot water bottles? There is nothing that says Hygge more than curling up on the sofa with fluffy socks, a blanket and low lamplight, and our gorgeous bottles—made from luxury fabrics—are the ideal accompaniment to a cosy night in. With seven colours to choose from, there’s something for everyone!

Last, but not least, how about treating your friends and relatives to one of our gorgeous Hoogly tea pots?! Our stunning glass and silver design comes with a removable filter and is perfectly proportioned for one person. Add two teaspoons of our loose-leaf creations—or a single tea pyramid—then sit back, relax and let the Hoogly magic happen! The elegant tea pot is dishwasher safe and will become a stylish part of any kitchen collection!

So that’s it for now, Hoogly lovers! Have a wonderful Halloween and Christmas. Stay safe and drink lots and lots of tea!

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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