Hoogly Blogs / vegan

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

Read more
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

Read more
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

Read more
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

Read more
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

Read more
A Little Bit of You-Time with Hoogly

A Little Bit of You-Time with Hoogly

Have you ever looked at the clock and it seems to be moving backwards? The passage of time is a strange phenomenon; we all remember occasions when it screams past too quickly—but when it’s sluggish and ugly, it can do weird things to the hands of a clock, or the digital readout on a watch. 

Waiting for a delayed train is one of my personal, time-bending bugbears. Or perhaps labouring through a tedious project at work. Maybe even during a date with a person who is totally wrong for you: a quick glance at the watch to see that seven minutes has elapsed, and you were sure it was two hours. 

Sometimes having the kids home in the summer holidays can feel like this. And especially so after the yawning time-chasms of the national lockdowns, where many parents and guardians became full-time educators as well as boredom-fixers. Six weeks is a long time in anyone’s books, but with littles one around all day long, demanding to be fed, to go on adventures, to play games and to do it now, then the pressure can build on those poor souls looking after them.  What’s worse is the debate and controversy about foreign travel, which has kept many families grounded, unable to get away and put their feet up in the sun. And I haven’t even mentioned the poke-nudge-tantrum when it comes to screens: one family app calculated that parents will be hounded 521 times over the holidays about getting behind a phone, tablet or console. That’s some high-quantity pestering! It can be expensive too, with working parents seeing the bills mount up for childcare and holiday camps—a prospect that is difficult to swallow after the financial and career uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

One thing you can be sure of, dear readers, is that the time will pass, the kids will eventually have a nap or go to bed, and the summer holidays will end. And at the end of the day, when you’ve finally got the couch and the remote to yourself; when your back aches and your head is throbbing; when your feet are blistered from hiking and your hands are sticky from glitter and glue—remember that you’ve earned yourself this time. You deserve the rest—and you deserve the most luxurious treat to accompany your me-time.

And this is where Hoogly tea comes in!

Our Hygge-inspired brews were created with mindfulness and relaxation at their core; they are liquid tranquillity, luring you in with tantalising aromas, before leaving you spellbound with an array of delicious tastes. Our teas are the perfect way to unwind and let go of the shrieking madness of the day-gone-by. Hoogly moves at your pace. It won’t bug you; it won’t tug on your shirt; it won’t demand Minecraft or Fortnite. It will, however, leave you yearning for another cup, drawn in by the naturally healthy and vegan ingredients, woven together in original and elegant ways, and dazzled by the way it makes you feel. You can even rely on Hoogly to look after the environment while you chill, with our plastic-free bags and ethically sourced, fair-trade ingredients!

But if a cup of spectacularly delicious tea just won’t get you there—why not try our seriously indulgent Salter Caramel hot cocoa?! Using Himalayan salt and coconut nectar sugar, this sweet treat is the ultimate way to put the day behind you, with more warmth and comfort than a childhood blanky!

That’s it for now, tea lovers! Good luck with the rest of the holidays, and remember to flip on the kettle whenever you need little bit of Danish delight from Hoogly!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

Read more
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

Read more
A New Page

A New Page

Greetings Hoogly fans! I hope you are all safe and well. Since the last blog I’ve had my first vaccination jab, which was an extraordinarily efficient process, with hundreds of people being manoeuvred with military precision through a large hall, with the whole thing (including the fifteen-minute precautionary post-jab wait) only taking about half an hour. Remarkable work by the healthcare and admin teams, and another step closer to freedom. Fingers crossed things continue to look so positive!

In the meantime, I reckon it’s time to once again delve into the delights of the literary world, discovering which books are the new must-reads as the summer season approaches. Books have been a much-treasured lifeline for many over the lockdowns, their escapism and immersion so much more pointed and urgent than in regular life, giving us an opportunity to relieve a bit of pressure from the valve that steadily builds in confinement. In fact, one of the silver linings of my time on furlough was the ability to read a lot more, which creates the space to try new authors and genres, something that can be the most unexpectedly pleasurable and satisfying experience, and one that people often wish they had tried earlier.

For me, the discovery was American author Anne Tyler, a name I had seen countless times on bestselling lists and on bookshelves, but whose book covers and plots had never appealed to me. I sat down with a mug of Hoogly Earl Grey and started a book called ‘A Spool of Blue Thread,’ which is about three generations of a family in Baltimore, their loves and losses, their triumphs and successes, and the way each generation impacts on the next. I instantly fell in love. Tyler has a forensic understanding of family dynamics; her characters are all relatable, their decisions—good and bad—mirror our own, and we feel their sorrow and joy, crying and laughing with them. Humour, in fact, is sprinkled lovingly throughout the book, with seemingly every other line infused with a wry smile or a wink to the reader, which offers a counter-balance to the more emotional scenes, some of which you have to read a few times to properly understand how beautifully crafted, meaningful and poignant they are. Tyler writes, in fact, just as many of us experience family life: with love and fun, intersected with thunderbolts of drama, woven together with compassion, comfort and few unwelcome surprises! I heartily recommend all of her many novels; you couldn’t find a more Hoogly author if you tried!

So what books are making a splash as we speak? Our first Hoogly recommendation is ‘The Lamplighters’ by Emma Stonex. Inspired by true events, this is the story of three lighthouse keepers who vanished from their lighthouse in 1972, with the entrance door locked from the inside. Within the walls, the clocks have stopped; the weather log speaks of a terrible storm, but the skies have been calm all week. Twenty years later, a writer approaches the women the keepers left behind and invites them to tell their story. As they confront their darkest fears, the truth begins to surface… With critical and popular acclaim, ‘The Lamplighters’ is going to be a must-read novel for the summer ahead!

Our next pick is a stunning mash-up of genres. ‘The Devil and the Dark Water’ by Stuart Turton is a historical mystery thriller with elements of crime and the supernatural. It takes place in 1634 as the world’s greatest detective Samuel Pipps is being transported as a prisoner to Amsterdam aboard an East India Company merchant vessel. Almost as soon as the ship leaves the harbour, the devilry begins, with strange symbols appearing on the sails, a dark figure stalking the decks, and animals being slaughtered. Can Pipps and his faithful bodyguard solve an impossible theft and a brutal murder before the ship’s passengers descend into terror and anarchy? The author brings the scenes vividly to life with acute observed details and a poetic descriptions, drawing you into the era and the setting from the very first page, and then carrying you along on a wild and scary ride as the super sleuth follows the clues and battles enemies real and imagined! If you fancy something inventive and different, this is the book for you!!

For kids around ages 9-12, we highly recommend ‘Harklights’ by Tim Tilley. This is the story of Wick, who lives in the terrible Harklights Match Factory and Orphanage, working without rest for Old Ma Bogey. As he dreams of escape, he happens across a tiny baby in an acorn cradle. As midnight chimes, Wick is visited by the Hobs, who are miniature protectors of the forest, who thank Wick for taking good care of the baby. But their gratefulness does not end there: the Hobs offer Wick an amazing opportunity—escape from Harklights and start a new life and adventure with them in the wild! This is a beautiful book, extremely Hoogly in its themes of friendship, family and the natural world, and offering a much-needed message of hope during the difficult times we have all experienced. Kids will love the world that is created inside the covers, and will embrace the Hobs and their urgent need to protect the world around them.

As for the perfect accompaniment to your literary treasures, look no further than a beautiful mug of Hoogly tea! We can’t think of better way to relax and wind down than to pick a cosy nook of your home, curl up with a good read and sip a delicious brew while you immerse yourself in a good story. How about kicking off the summer with a cup of Spiced Orange herbal infusion?! This is a zesty sensation that sings of sunshine, combining fruit and mulled spices to create a taste that will thrill you during those long, warm nights with friends and family!

For something a little different, why not try Blueberry Muffin Rooibos? This tantalisingly toasty brew is infused with sweet berry tones to recreate a classic naughty treat, perfect to accompany breakfast, or as a Hoogly mindful moment at any time of the day as it’s naturally caffeine-free! Sure to become your new favourite cuppa—and as restrictions ease, it will become your guests’ favourite too!

That’s it for now; take care of yourselves, pop the kettle on and stay Hoogly!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

Read more
A Flask Of Freedom

A Flask Of Freedom

After months of restrictions, at the time of writing, the country is cautiously opening up. What a long, arduous stretch it has been! Things we used to take for granted have become like a vaguely familiar dream: heading to the shops, meeting someone for a chat, hitting the gym. But now many of the things that brought us a sense of normality and joy are slowly returning, and we can look forward to more freedoms coming our way, should everything go as planned.

What are you most looking forward to doing? Personally, I can’t wait to get a haircut. My wife has done a commendable job with my electric beard-trimmer, and while my hair looks OK with a ‘grade zero’, when it grows back, I look a little like a Lego man with a clipped-on wig. Which is fine when you’re locked down and not seeing anyone—but now I’m about to be viewed in public again, the experts will need to take a good look at my barnet! And I’m also looking forward to getting my ear hair removed by flaming tabs as they do at my barbers. There’s always an accompanying sense of smug satisfaction that I survived the experience without crying.

The opening of gyms is also a most welcome change. I’ve managed to keep myself fairly healthy over the lockdown, but there’s only so many times you can do the same jogging routes—or run up and down the stairs like there’s an emergency—without getting a little weary of the same old routine. It will be wonderful to take a dip in the pool once again, and perhaps try some weights. I can also resume my new-found love of racket sports, although I have much more enthusiasm than I do ability, but it’s certainly a more pleasurable and competitive way to keep fit than trying to beat my personal best time  to the local Tesco and back. 

Tesco, Tesco. The little trooper soldiering on throughout the crisis. A big shout-out to those brave and inspirational workers who kept us fed and watered throughout the pandemic; they really are heroes who deserve all the praise and plaudits that they get. But it will be nice to see another shop. Any other shop. And it will be nice to browse. Such an odd thing to miss, when so much has been taken away, but the ability to breeze freely in sections and shelves, unmolested by online ads or emails, seeing how items actually look in real life, gauging how they would look in your hand, or your living room, or your wardrobe. Don’t get me started on bookshops. Browsing was invented for bookshops, or vice versa, and there is nothing quite like the smell and the feel of physical books, combined with the sea of spines that sit tantalising on the shelf, urging you towards your next literary treasure or discovery. I know I have to budget. I really do. But it’s been so long.

So long since we sat outside and had a pint together. Sharing our stories, our highs and lows, with the ones we love and cherish, enjoying something tasty—maybe even a little naughty—that we haven’t had to prepare. Even though it might be a bit chilly on some days, the return of outdoor hospitality is a welcome boost for both punters and owners, and a great barometer of how far we’ve come, and of all the sacrifices we’ve made, and the liberties these sacrifices have earnt. If cheesy chips don’t help put the last year behind us, then what will?

Well, Hoogly tea, for a start. If you’re not going to the pub, but you are meeting friends of family outdoors for a chat, a walk or a picnic, then fill up a flask with one of our warming and delicious brews, and enjoy the mindful tranquillity that Hoogly does best! You can’t go wrong with our broad and eclectic collection, including traditional teas, herbal blends and even hot cocoa! We aim to put a smile on your face with every sip, and what better way to celebrate the easing of restrictions that to enjoy a cosy cuppa in the midst of nature?! While the air is still nippy, we heartily recommend Around the Fire Oolong tea, a warming and smoky combo of tea leaves and spices, licked by the flames of safflower and crushed chilli to keep you fiery while everyone around you adds extra layers. Or how about Earl Grey black tea, our Hoogly riff on a classic brew, balancing Sri Lankan leaves with bergamot oil, complemented by a cheeky twist of lemon peel and orange blossom. This is my personal favourite of our collection: a dependable and delicious old friend that always hits the spot. Perfect to enjoy on your own, but equally fun to share. Just keep a firm grip on your box of teabags—once your friends get a taste, they’ll be after more!

So that’s it, tea lovers! Until next time, stay safe and be Hoogly to each other!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

Read more
FIKA-ing it out

FIKA-ing it out

 

We all know how amazing hygge is: the Danish hard-to-translate word conjures images of candles, fluffy socks and sweet treats. Hygge is a state of mind, and it effuses every cup of tea that Hoogly creates, giving tea-lovers a wonderful sense of cosiness, tranquillity and relaxation—but the Danes are not the only ones who have a little bit of magic up their sleeves. In Sweden they have a rival to hygge, a revolution that is now going global, with a tradition that shares a lot of traits with hygge. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Fika.

Like Hygge, Fika can be used as a verb (We’re Fika-ing today, people!) or a noun (It’s time for Fika!) and it basically means to meet, have a coffee and a chat. It can be done at any time of the day, and can last as long as several hours. It’s also a hugely popular treat for workers during business hours. It will surprise very few of you to learn that Fika is very therapeutic. Pausing from the hectic schedule, munching down on a cinnamon bun and having a hot drink while sharing a nice catch-up is beneficial to productivity, keeping minds fresh and in good spirits. So ingrained is Fika in Swedish culture that some firms add a contract clause stating that workers are entitled to Fika rast (coffee breaks!)

How did Fika come about? It’s thought that the origin of the word is a reworking of the syllables of ‘kaffi,’ the old spelling of coffee. Originally, the coffee was the centre of the ritual. Over time, fikabröd (fika bread) become just as important, the home-baked and fresh cakes tied in to the joyful social aspect of sharing something sweet and enjoying the moment together.

In the 1940s, guests who popped by for Fika were treated to something special. The finest china was on show, no help was needed with the washing up, and thanks to the best-selling book “Sju Sorters Kakor” (Seven kinds of biscuits), seven different types of cakes or biscuits were an obligatory presentation. Six was lazy, eight was showing off! ”Sju Sorters Kakor” is now part of Swedish culture, with each household squirreling away up to four copies, with Swedes firmly believing it’s the most influential book since the bible. There is a fear that Sweden may, in fact, sink in to the sea, due to the excess copies of this Fika literary treasure.

There are so many sweet options to choose from while you Fika, but a good place to start is the princess cake (prinsesstårta). This globe-shaped indulgence consists of a sponge base topped with vanilla pastry cream and oodles of fluffy whipped cream. It will often be enrobed with green marzipan, and crowned with a pink marzipan rose. Some modern bakers will add a thin layer of raspberry jam, although many original recipes omit it!

When summer rolls in, the jordgubbstårta comes out. This luxurious strawberry cake is a combination of sponge, vanilla cream and strawberry jam, covered in whipped cream and a pile of fresh, moist strawberries.  Chocolate-lovers will be drawn to the kladdkaka (sticky cake) a gooey and rich delight, again balanced with whipped cream and fresh berries.

The kanelbulle—cinnamon bun—is a Swedish classic, served in most cafes and bakeries, and an all-time favourite amongst Fika fans. The heavenly fragrance lures you towards its filling, soft and bready body, offering the perfect treat to share with your Fika friends. (I’ll share the moment, but not the cake. Hands off, mate…)

Of course, we at Hoogly approve of Fika—but we would cheekily swap out the coffee for one of our delicious and relaxing teas, of course. And what better brew to enjoy a Scandinavian chit-chat break than Danish Pastry herbal infusion? Riffing on the Danish national treat, this wonderfully warming indulgence is infused with a chocolate and cinnamon aroma, and a deliciously comforting pastry taste. It will seduce tea (and Fika) lovers over and over again!

Alternatively, why not try Apple Strudel green tea—a classic combination of juicy apples and sweet spices, blended with Chinese and Japanese roasted green tea, creating a potent mix of authentic tradition and sweet modernity. Your Fika breaks have never tasted so good!

That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. I hope you all remain safe and well as we look forward to opening up and sharing Fika and Hygge as they were meant to be!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

Read more
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

Read more
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

Read more
26 results
Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart