Hoogly Blogs / vegan

A Clean Start

A Clean Start

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And…breathe.

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

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

So, how about our recommended tea of the week?

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

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

Written by Chris Bedford.

www.hooglytea.com

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WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU COCOA!

WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU COCOA!

The weather has turned. The days are shorter, the nights are longer, and for most of us, works start and ends in the gloom. Umbrellas are out, flapping and spraying; puddles pepper the roads; the grass is muddy, the pavements are slippy, and you find yourself wearing more and more clothes, outside and in. A few weeks of this grizzly, shivery nonsense, and it feels like it’s been this way forever. Does the sun actually exist? Was its warming fingers on our eyelids just a distant, lovely dream? Did we really go to the beach that time? Were the scents of the barbecue a figment of our collective imagination? Did we really go out for a picnic in the park and watch the dog nosedive into the cocktail sausages?

Yes, we did all those things, and more. But they are in the past. To be filed and treasured. Now, things have changed, people. This is the season for staying in. The season for cranking up the fire or the heating, pulling out your cosiest socks and jumpers, and gathering the board games from the attic. This is the season for scented candles, a good book and a hot water bottle. It’s the season for treating yourself to all the joy of your biscuit cupboards, and then refilling and doing it all over again. In other words, it’s the season of Hygge!

We all have different ways of overcoming the dark and the cold and the winter blues. The Danes use Hygge to focus on all the people and things that make them happy and content—and once they have decided, they introduce these treasures into their lives at every given opportunity. It sounds simple, but it actually takes a bit of getting used to; our fast-paced, digitised society makes it harder and harder to take a step back, breathe, and be mindful of what really matters in life. But with practice, and the help of our nearest and dearest, all of us can be as gloriously cosy and happy as the Danes!

One of the most important elements of Hygge is making connections: with the things you love, but also with nature and its beauty, and the people around us. In the social media age, there can be a tendency to become isolated as a result of the ease of interaction through our phones and computers, with all our news being announced, jokes being told, and stories being shared in a text box, rather than face-to-face. Hygge gently invites us to gather together, in groups large or small, to remind ourselves of the joy and comfort of belonging; of baking messy cakes on a rainy day; of watching a scary film in the dark and chucking popcorn at your mates when someone screams; of having titanic Scrabble matches, whilst keeping an eye on that aunt who gives herself extra points; of simply having a nice cup of tea with friends and remembering the good old days, and planning better ones for the future.

And speaking of cuppas, don’t forget to supplement your cosy gatherings with the only brews that recreate the Danish delight of Hygge—Hoogly Teas! We have a wide range of delicious, healthy, scent-sational and vegan teas to choose from, including rooibos, green tea, herbal blends and traditional tastes such as English Breakfast, peppermint and Earl Grey.

But this year, we’re going one better in the cosy stakes. We’re about to roll out the ultimate winter comfort; the sweet pick-me-up that makes all things better; the treat that thrills kids and adults alike. A night-time settler that is just as good the following morning. In fact, its always the right time for this legendary beverage.

Drum roll please…

Yes, you’ve guessed it.

HOT COCOA IS LANDING!

Feel free to picture confetti falling, balloons rising, trumpets blaring, crowds cheering, and Maroon 5 playing energetically in the background.

(This is our ideal launch party, but the band haven’t replied to our emails as yet)

We have three incredible flavours to choose from: Salt Caramel cocoa (which uses pink Himalayan salt), Mint and Cocoa and Luxury Hot cocoa! All of our fabulous flavours are vegan, and full of the wonderful antioxidant goodness of the cocoa bean, and all made with natural ingredients, including nectar sugar.

We know, we know…unbelievably exciting. We’ve only just stopped dancing ourselves.

Winter is now officially sorted. When the wind howls outside, when rain droplets slalom down the window pane, when the clouds gather and threaten to blot out all memory of summer, pop the kettle on, take a seat, and chill with the globetrotting, taste-tastic, super-cosy phenomenon that is Hoogly Cocoa! …And then get all your friends round and tell them about it!

Or don’t.

Sometimes it’s worth keeping things this good a secret.

Until next time Hoogly lovers…have a happy, spooky Halloween!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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A Time of Waste

A Time of Waste

Plastic is a pretty remarkable material. It’s cheap, strong, long-lasting, and can be made into any shape you can imagine. Humans are so enamoured with the invention that since the fifties, it’s estimated that we’ve created over eight billion metric tonnes of plastic. Although plastic has been put to good use and has been a success in many areas of our everyday lives, the impact of its supreme durability is now becoming horribly evident.

 

Nearly eighty percent of plastic made in the last seven decades has been discarded onto landfills or into the general environment. Less than ten percent is recycled, and the rest is incinerated. This has led scientists, conservationists and activists to call on the population, from top to bottom, to urgently reassess the way we think about and use plastic.

The statistics they cite are damning. More than 8 million tonnes of plastic finds its way into the sea each year, and some experts estimate that, by the middle of the century, there will be more plastic than fish, and that 99% of all seabirds will have eaten some plastic during their lives. The sea also contains over fifty trillion particles of micro-plastic—five hundred times the amount of stars in our galaxy. Sea turtles can mistake plastic bags for tasty jellyfish, floating plastic can tempt a swooping seagull, and young perch will readily eat plastic over plankton. Scientists think that this waste effects over six hundred species, and the damage done by consuming this indigestible poison is often lethal, which is not only an obvious disaster for the creatures themselves, but also has a knock-on effect on our species, as we eat so many sea-dwelling creatures ourselves. Owing to the fact that plastic can degrade into fragments tiny enough to pass through the gut and into the flesh of fish and other animals, we are already consuming the waste plastic that is polluting our oceans. This is not good news, as some plastic is toxic and can cause disruption to the normal functioning of hormones. Additionally, plastic has been known to attract other spilled pollutants and poisons like a magnet, which simply heightens the importance of removing it from our oceans.

It’s not just the sea that is affected, of course. There are over three hundred billion pieces of plastic in the once-pristine Artic, and some of the remote Pacific Islands have some of the highest levels of plastic pollution anywhere on the globe.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s now thought that plastic may be contaminating the air. Microparticles from cosmetics and microfibres from synthetic clothes wash into our sewage systems and enter treatment plants, finally finding their way into the sea. Some particles, however, combine with the sewage and are then used to fertilise farmers’ fields. Once these dry, and the wind picks up, these particles may be blown into the atmosphere where they can be inhaled as we go about our lives.

The good news is, the world is beginning to respond to the problem. The United Nations has engaged in a ‘War on Ocean Plastic,’ creating a CleanSeas campaign which have notable signatories, including the UK and France, Brazil and Italy. The UK itself has enforced a ban on microplastics in “rinse-off” cosmetics, and has tried to raise awareness in communities about the best ways to recycle, and how to avoid single-use plastics where possible.

And we at Hoogly are doing our part too. Our ethos, Hygge, is about being cosy and content, focussing on the things that bring you joy, and most importantly, being kind to yourself. But being cosy starts in your surroundings and your environment: we want the natural world, from which we take so much pleasure, to be as beautiful and healthy as possible, so that it can provide purity, safety and comfort to us now and in the future, helping us find balance and tranquillity in our everyday lives.

To this end, all of our tea pyramids are fully biodegradable, giving you peace of mind every time you flip on the kettle and indulge in our tasty range of brews. In addition to this, we will very soon be packaging and presenting our tea pyramids in fully biodegradable cellophane bags made from natural, renewable sources. The new NatureFlex bags are static-free, compostable, heat-seal viable, and won’t biodegrade on your shelf. So now you can relax, enjoy the Hoogly moment, safe in the knowledge that you’re sharing a smile with Mother Earth.

And if you’re looking for help navigating your way through our delicious selection of eclectic treats, look no further than our Hoogly Brew of the Week: Early Grey black tea. Our riff on an old classic provides the perfect way to unwind in style, with a delicate blend of Sri Lankan tea leaves, infused with bergamot oil and complemented by zesty lemon and sweet orange, offering a scintillating scent as well as a treat for the taste-buds!

That’s it for now. Until next time, look after yourself and the beautiful world around you—and don’t forget, for a huggable cuppa…it has to be Hoogly!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Take my breath away.

Take my breath away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This week’s Hoogly recommendations are:

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

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

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

 

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

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Going vegan

Going vegan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer: Good weather not guaranteed. Umbrellas advised.

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

 Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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A Hoogly Year!

A Hoogly Year!

Is it me, or is it cold? Properly, bitterly, unacceptably freezing. The summer heatwave now seems like a bad joke, some distant dream involving t-shirts, Magnums and sleeping without a duvet. This morning it was the sort of temperature where getting out of bed seems like a direct contravention of my basic human rights; the sort of temperature where it wouldn’t be ridiculous to wear every single item of your clothing and ride a huskie sled to work. My greyhound has the right idea: he pokes his long nose out of the back door, assesses the climate, and promptly goes back to bed. His canine senses are telling him to prioritise survival over the comfort of his bladder or the filling of his tummy. If I suggest a walk, he looks at me as if I’ve just ripped up his favourite toy in front of him and binned his box of treats. So, we go back to bed, with a warm mug of Hoogly, of course, and wait for the sun to do its thing.

But this time of year is not all bad: we get to have some spooky fun with Halloween (big shout out to the Netflix series ‘The Haunting of Hill House,’ a brilliant story of families and ghosts to get you in the mood for the dark winter to come) In case you’re wondering, my Halloween costume this year will be a hibernating bear. If someone could kindly bring me some trick-or-treat chocolate to my cave, that would be splendid, thank you.

After Halloween we move to Bonfire Night. This is a truly Hoogly celebration, a way to get friends and family together all dressed up in cosy coats, scarves and fluffy socks. It’s a night for icy breath and wellington boots, of mesmerising orange flames and kaleidoscopic firework displays, of burgers and hotdogs with lashings of sauce. Unless it rains, in which case it’s a bit rubbish. But don’t worry you’ve always got a mug of our delightfully Danish tea to sustain you through the unpredictable weather.

And once we’ve navigated November, we move onto the serious stuff. The word that cannot be mentioned. The all-encompassing stress-monster. The jingling bells and familiar songs. The swathes of shoppers elbowing and bumping each other as they cross items their giraffe’s neck list. The day of gorging and regret, punctuated by the giving and receiving of gifts, and the repeat of a good film.

If you survive the-word-that-cannot-be-mentioned, you’ll then find yourself in January, a month of violent introspection and urgent self-improvement, with military-level supplies of fruit and veg stocked up to compliment our new regime of exercise, which we carry out in a manner that suggests we’re being chased down by a monster. Which is why our regime only really lasts until mid-January, February at best. Plus, we’re a bit hungry. For something other than carrots and quinoa.

And then it’s summer again, possibly another heatwave, beaches rammed with the same people who were brawling for presents in December, but this time with less clothes and more burnt skin and beer. At least you can go to work and come home again in daylight—which does improve the working day by 4-5% (the same percentage as getting a free coffee from the barista or discovering that the boss you dislike is off sick.) This is not quite as big as the 12-13% improvement in a working day when you are allowed to punch out early, especially if it’s a Friday and your extra free time bleeds into a weekend. As Mickey Flanagan says, we’re going out out! The list of things that make a working day worse are too long—and the percentages too big—to mention here, but we all know what they are. We’ll choose to ignore them in a burst of Hoogly mindfulness.

To summarise this rant, I would like to say that every season, every day, every moment is improved incalculably by flipping on the kettle and popping in one of our Hoogly tea bags. Bad moods, bad days, bad luck and bad bananas will fall away as you discover our tantalising variety of finely crafted treats, each designed to bring the cosy comfort of Hygge into your life, allowing you to become the centre of attention, the full focus of your relaxation, stripping away stress and strains as if they never existed. Whether you’re a traditionalist, an experimenter, a sweet-tooth or a smooth operator, there is something in our shop for everyone. You may even find the perfect gift for December, and it’s all just a couple of cosy clicks away!

Written by Chris Bedford, 

www.hooglytea.com

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Hoogly and Vegan!

Hoogly and Vegan!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not-so-smartphones and the Hoogly Solution!

Not-so-smartphones and the Hoogly Solution!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

 

 

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