Hoogly Blogs / vegan

A Flask of Freedom

A Flask of Freedom

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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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

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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

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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

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THE THRILL OF THE CHILL

THE THRILL OF THE CHILL

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Wabi-Sabi

Wabi-Sabi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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COME DINE WITH ME

COME DINE WITH ME

Greetings Hoogly fans! I hope everyone is doing well. It’s great to see the country creeping back into some sort of normality after such a long and difficult few months. While there still seems a fair way to go in this surreal and unprecedented journey, we can at least begin to do some of the things that have been denied to us during lockdown, including eating out! This is a favourite pastime of mine; I love everything about the experience of dining away from home. I especially enjoy the simple pleasure of not having to cook my meal: this is an underestimated joy, and is matched only by the delight of avoiding the washing up. These factors most easily explain why I spend far too much time (and money) in restaurants and pubs—but I can’t help it. There’s something magical about it.

Another huge part of the pleasure of eating out, of course, is the sociability. I think this was one of the things I found hardest about lockdown; the inability to meet regularly with friends and family over a table of good food and catch up on gossip, or put the world to rights with far-reaching debates and conversations. The love of cuisine is something that binds us together; and the experience of the restaurant is something that is best when shared. It starts with the perusal of the menu; the giddy anticipation that comes with the wealth of choice; the slight disappointment that your decision must be boiled down to only one selection, and the promise of something sweet to end the meal.

Then comes the wait. The mouth-watering pause between waiter/waitress visitations, and the smell of the kitchen wafting through the room. And then the plate arrives, placed in front of you like a dream, artfully presented or piled high; a glorious, indulgent reason to be cheerful. The first bite is everything: perhaps you go quiet for a moment. Block everything else out. Spend some alone-time with your main course; taking in the flavour, the texture, the delicate acrobatics of your taste-buds as they are caressed by the food. Once you’ve got to grips with the treat in front of you, the conversations can begin again; declaring how delicious your meal is to others as they confirm the quality of their own dish; swapping stories of where inferior or superior versions of the same meal have been experienced in the past, or perhaps tales of cooking the same dish at home with good or bad results. Sometimes things are left unsaid, however. Jealous glances followed by rueful thoughts. I wish I’d chosen what she’s having. I knew I should have ordered chips. Would it be wrong to ask for seconds?

But food aside, as I mentioned earlier, the loveliest part of dining out is being in the company of those you love and cherish, experiencing a joint adventure that keeps us connected and in touch, creating memories that sustain us through the working week, and through the hardships that inevitably arrive at our door. And the most recent global hardship has made the art of eating into a quite different experience, but one that I think will gradually help us move away from the darker months that preceded these. It will take time, of course. There is naturally, and rightly, an undercurrent of caution to getting back into our old habits, but I think a shared love of quality grub, conversation and lack of kitchen chores will eventually become second-nature once again.

And, of course, there is no better way to round off an evening—whether you’ve been at work, out for a meal, or spending the day at home—than flipping on the kettle and settling down with one of our amazingly relaxing Hoogly teas! We have a huge range of brews that represent our cosy, mindful ethos, helping you find that perfect moment of calm in the storm of modern life. The Hoogly range have scents that are as enticing and delicious as their flavours, and will soon find a special place in your daily routine—and maybe even your heart! We’re all about treating yourself to something special, which is why we love having a meal out, and which is why we design all our teas to put you, the customer, first, helping you focus on the simple things in life that bring you joy and calmness.

Our recommendation today is: Baked Apple Chai black tea. This versatile delight is an excellent accompaniment to any occasion and climate, working from a base of mellow Sri Lankan black tea, which overlaps with the dazzling flavour combination of apple, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla pieces. Throw some blackberry and lime leaves into the equation, and you’ve got yourself a luxurious mug of happiness that will put a smile on your face time and again.

So until next time, stay safe, go at your own pace, and love tea!

Written by Chris Bedford, 

www.hooglytea.com

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Summer Sensations!

Summer Sensations!

Greetings Hoogly fans! I hope you are all safe and well. The summer is here and the sun is (mostly) shining, and the world is creeping back to something like ‘normal.’ Now is the time to discover all the ways in which you can make the most of the warmer weather with our spectacular selection of luxury brews, which are the perfect accompaniment to a hot day, whatever your plans!

As you know, Hoogly is all about relaxation, mindfulness and being kind to yourself, and what better way to chill and unwind than sitting outside and enjoying the sunshine, fresh air and all the scents of summer. To make the most of your sunny experience, we heartily recommend one of our latest and greatest brews: Apricot Blossom. This is an elegant combination of Chinese Pai Mu Dan white tea and Sencha green tea, underscored by a refreshing drench of fruity flavours. It’s perfect for an afternoon tea, a picnic, a sunbed sidekick, or even as a cheery reminder of good weather on a classic English rainy day. This charming tea comes in pyramid bags or loose leaf, and makes an ideal gift, putting a smile on the faces of your friends and loved ones, and giving them a treat they can return to time and again.

Another newcomer is the tantalising and tempting Tiramisu black tea, a rich and indulgent pick-me-up that combines coffee beans and cocoa within a body of Sri Lankan black tea and roasted dandelion root. This creamy indulgence is an exhilarating new way to enjoy a classic cup of tea, and absolutely perfect to share with family and friends. Give your taste buds something to exciting to work on this summer, whether you’re serving with a picnic, enjoying at breakfast, or capping off a delicious meal!

Our next newbie is also incredibly versatile, ideal for any occasion or season! Introducing Ginger Biscuit rooibos tea! This is Hoogly’s take on the classic snack: a light, warm and subtly spicy blend of rooibos and ginger that will hit the spot no matter what. This winning blend is a great way to relax at the end of a long day, and equally good as a treat, or an accompaniment to any kind of meal. And, yes, we’ve even tried it as a cheeky caffeine-free midnight cuppa, and it does the trick! Just don’t tell anyone your secret!

Summer is not summer, of course, without a lolly—and our brews are perfect for frozen family fun! We recommend Sweet Orange Rooibos for your icy delight—it’s bursting with South Africa’s unique rooibos taste, and alive with juicy, zesty citrus flavours and a playful hint of strawberry! Simply brew the bags for twice as long as usual, pour the contents into a mould of your preference, and leave in the freezer overnight. When you wake up, you’ll have a sensationally sweet summer treat for all the family!

If lollies aren’t your thing, then give a Hoogly ice tea a go! Place two teabags of your choice in a heat-proof pitcher, pour in four cups of boiling water, and leave for around five minutes. Then remove the teabags, sweeten, add slices of fruit for a lush twist, and pour in five or six cups of ice until they melt. Allow everything to settle and then whack it in the fridge until the sun gets too hot to handle, and you’re good to go! For an ice tea that’s full of glamour and inner balance, why not try our Rhubarb and Vanilla green tea, which carefully caresses tart and sweet flavours, creating a note-perfect accoutrement for a chill day in the sun.

So that’s it for this time, Hoogly lovers. Stay safe, enjoy the weather and keep flipping the kettle on!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com 

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A walk on the wild side!

A walk on the wild side!

Greetings Hoogly fans! As the lockdown is gradually eased, many of us are taking the opportunity to step outside and cautiously enjoy exercise in the wider world once again. Spending such a long time indoors has been truly testing (even with our endlessly varied and delicious Hoogly brews to enjoy!) and now that we are starting to stretch our legs, the surroundings that we’ve barely seen in weeks take centre stage once more. But it’s not just the beautiful woods, forests and parks, replete with plump trees, radiant flowers and vast swathes of glistening grassland that demand attention; it’s also the amazing creatures that dwell within. Personally, I love nothing better than to watch wildlife busily going about its business: squirrels scurrying and pestering nuts; ducks with fluffy chicklets drifting across glinting ponds; geese sculling overhead in military formation; foxes on a dusk prowl, flitting into hedge furrows with a flash of orange. And, of course, there are the hundreds of varieties of dogs, hauling their humans around, blissfully unaware of the world’s problems, tongues lapping out like slabs of bacon as they urge yet another lap of the park. Don’t forget, too, the insects, arachnids and reptiles that dart about, burrowing, hiding, marching, flying and hunting beneath and around our feet—a whole other world of stunning intricacy, complexity and imperious design…if only we look close enough.

Watching animals go about their lives has always given me a sense of calm, an escape from whatever else I’m thinking about. It’s oddly comforting knowing the simple, binary prerogatives of these creatures: safety, warmth, food, sex. But it’s not always simply about survival; there are secrets and magic to be found in the wild; chase and play, fun and games, mating rituals, elaborate communication, tender acts, and lifelong relationships. There is so much to admire—and envy—In the animal world that I thought I list a few amazing facts for your enjoyment—nuggets of information that will dazzle, surprise and give you fresh perspective on our wild neighbours!

    

  • In 1945, a Colorado farmer decided chicken was on the menu, and chopped one of his rooster’s head off with an axe; unfortunately, his aim was slightly off, and despite removing the head, the rooster’s brainstem remained mostly intact, and a clot saved it from death by blood loss. When ‘Mike’ continued to run around, the farmer knew he had something incredible on his hands, and soon the rooster became famous, delighting and shocking visitors for eighteen months, before he eventually succumbed to the inevitable!
  • The bombardier beetle, when threatened, cooks up a chemistry set of destruction in its belly: hydroquinone, hydrogen peroxide, catalysing enzymes and water, a jet of which shoots out of its rear end with a loud pop, scaring and stinking predators away! Thankfully, the beetle also has an inner valve which closes so that the beetle doesn’t explode!
  • Some lizards and salamanders can ‘drop’ their tails when a predator grabs it; this process of autotomy happens when the lizard contracts certain muscles, cleaving a vertebra and causing the tail to fall (and sometimes wiggle independently to further befuddle an attacker) Often, a new tail tip made from cartilage may grow back, but the bones are gone forever.
  • It may not surprise you to know this, but cats have adapted to skilfully manipulate their owners. A study showed that cats that want something from their humans emit a unique, high-frequency purr, which is of a similar pitch to the impossible-to-ignore wails and cries of a human baby, ensuring we soon top up the bowl and put a smile on moggy’s whiskers.
  • In 1986, a five-year-old boy fell into the gorilla enclosure at Jersey Zoo, knocking himself unconscious. Jambo, the head of the gorilla group, took the situation into his own hands, guarding the boy, and stroking his back, keeping his curious fellow gorillas back. When the boy came round and started to cry, Jambo stepped back, allowing keepers to rescue the boy unharmed!
  • An African Grey Parrot called Alex, according to his handler, had the ability to understand concepts, recognise colours and shapes and knew around 100 words, including some the parrot had made up himself! When Alex saw his first apple, he christened it ‘banerry,’ a portmanteau of ‘banana’ and ‘cherry,’ two fruits he already enjoyed!

 

To celebrate the outside world, and all the majestic creatures that inhabit it, why not indulge in one of our finest summery brews: Spiced Orange herbal tea! This fresh, zesty delight has a generous dose of mulled spices, and is infused with a fruity centre that will quench your thirst and thrill your taste buds at any time of day!

Until next time, stay safe, be Hoogly, and don’t let the cat twist your arm!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hoolgytea.com

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IKIGAI

IKIGAI

Here at Hoogly, we base our products on the concept of Hygge: the Danish lifestyle ethos that values cosiness, mindfulness, and focussing on the things you love the most. Although Hygge is our driving force, we’re always on the lookout for other concepts and ideas that can have a positive influence on our everyday lives, and we think we’ve found just the ticket with an ethos that originates on the other side of the world in Japan.

Ikigai (pronounced ick-ee-guy) is, at its most simplistic, your reason for getting out of bed in the morning. Finding your purpose, or a calling, can be a huge factor in living a long, healthy and fulfilled life. But Ikigai goes further. It asks you to examine yourself, listen to your instincts, and to step outside of the practical routines we adopt in our day-to-day lives, moving closer to the things we feel passionate about.

Your ikigai is a combination of four elements:

-What you love.

-What you are good at.

-What the world needs (your mission)

-What you can get paid for.

Ikigai sits in the centre of where these four elements converge, and helps clarify what makes our life worthwhile. It’s worth spending some time examining the list, making detailed notes on each category, and seeing if there are any overlaps that you hadn’t thought about before. It could be that this is the starting point for finding your ikigai. And even if things don’t seem rosy now, many people who live by ikigai use the concept as a means of looking forward to a brighter future. Much like Hygge, Japanese people see happiness as the sum of small joys experienced in everyday life, whether that is in work or at home. And the more you focus on what it is you actually love, the more you increase the small—and big—joys you will experience.

In order to unlock our purpose, we have to cling on to curiosity. Philosopher and civil rights leader Howard W Thurman states, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

The Japanese have some of the longest-living people in the world, and there’s a strong chance ikigai plays some part in this. Author Dan Buettner, who has written about longevity, thinks it is not enough to simply know your purpose: you have to put it into action. “In Japan, older people are celebrated, and they feel obligated to pass on their wisdom.” This gives them a focus outside of themselves, in service to the wider community. In Japanese work culture, the team is valued more highly than the individual, and workers are driven by being held in high esteem by their colleagues, being thanked, and being useful to others.

If your work is a strong part of your ikigai, it does not necessary follow that working harder and longer is vital to your happiness. Fulfilment comes, in many cases, from feeling that you are making a difference or helping people. Small gestures matter, even something seemingly trivial as acknowledging someone and smiling. Bigger gestures follow later, as we discover what we love, what breaks our heart, and what makes us come alive (or possibly a combination of all three!) When we know more about these three things, we are a step closer to changing our lives—and even the world—for the better.

We’ve got a pretty strong idea of our purpose here at Hygge: making incredible tea that helps you unwind, relax and find that special moment of bliss in your busy life. We feel good about what we do, and we want you to feel good too, which is why all of our teas are vegan—as well as delicious!

Hoogly’s pick for this month? Well, it has to be Genmai Cha green tea! Like ikigai, this brew comes all the way from Japan, and is now enjoyed as a worldwide delicacy in its own right! Indulge in the intriguing mix of vibrant sencha and toasted rice, combining to create a fresh and invigorating brew that will give you a brand-new way to feel refreshed, rejuvenated and relaxed!

So, until next time, it’s ikigai and goodbye!

 

Written by Chris Bedford

 

www.hooglytea.com

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Black and White Tea!

Black and White Tea!

Greetings Hoogly lovers! I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year! How are your resolutions coming along? Congratulations to everyone who is attempting Veganuary! This is a truly exciting and virtuous mission, helping the planet and its animals in numerous ways, and we at Hoogly are fully behind you! Don’t forget that all of our tantalising teas are vegan, so you can complement your new menu with our relaxing, eclectic selection of scent-sational brews!

Aside from being tidier and better with money, my resolution for the new year is to indulge in a regular routine of retro movie nights. This is a simple and relaxing pleasure I have drifted away from in recent years, especially since the advent of streaming, and the constant deluge of new content provided by the giants of TV subscription. When I was younger, my parents introduced me to some of their favourite films, and watching them I discovered a whole new world that seemed distinct and separate from the films I was watching at the time. Firstly, the oddity of black and white. It took a while for me to fully understand that this was a limitation of technology and not evidence that previous generations had actually lived in a world without colour! As I grew older, the films my parents raved about so much began to take on new meaning for me. I began to appreciate the craft involved, the style and scale of some of the productions, the beautiful orchestral music, the purity of the dialogue, and the magnetic draw of the shining stars that appeared in them. Humphrey Bogart, Laurence Olivier, John Wayne, Vivien Leigh. Names my parents spoke about with such reverence, such joy, such fond recollection. I began to understand why Mum and Dad had watched these films over and over, endlessly, never tiring of what was being offered. It was an escape—all good movies are, of course—but these films of the forties, fifties and sixties seemed a breed apart. They were reassuring. Comforting. Like an old friend. They reminded people of a different era, and in many ways (although reality almost certainly differed) a better time. A period of respect and understatement. A period where awful things were implied but not shown. A period in which everything felt ordered, safe, aligned. An idea that, for ninety minutes, nothing else mattered, and everything was as it should be.

From the hundreds of films my parents introduced me to, a handful have stayed with me forever, and now make up the hit-list of retro movie night. But before I get into the details of this glorious rollcall of cinematic delight, I must share with you the proper way to enjoy your relaxing retro evening.  First of all, you must wear pyjamas. If you don’t own a pair of PJs, then a t-shirt and lounge pants are acceptable. Secondly, you must have a duvet or sheet: you never know when the movie night may extend beyond reasonable hours—it might be midnight already when Gone With the Wind starts, and you’ve got four hours to get through yet, so it’s wise to make arrangements to sleep where you sit! Thirdly, you need copious snacks, preferably popcorn, but I will allow any reasonable assortment of chocolates, crisps or nuts. Fourthly, you must have an endless supply of Hoogly Tea at your side! As you know, like Hollywood movies, our teas range from the classic to the exotic, from elegant simplicity to flavour fiestas, taking your around the world on a chilled and refreshing journey. So get your kettle and bags ready—lights, camera, action!

And so to my favourite retro films. If you haven’t seen these already, then you’re not living your best life. Sort it out!

 

  1. Brief Encounter. A chance meeting of a married woman and a doctor at a steam-covered train station leads to a romantic affair, and a dramatic exploration of loyalty, regret and the choices we make. Has one of the greatest—and most English —endings in cinema history.
  2. Wuthering Heights (1939) This adaptation of Emily Brontë’s novel is a wind-swept and moody saga of love, loss and obsession, with a sweeping and underrated orchestral score, and fine performances by Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. Have a hanky ready!
  3. Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart plays night club owner Rick, who agrees to help his former lover and her husband stay a step ahead of the Nazis—but old feelings are soon rekindled. This masterpiece has some of the greatest lines of dialogue ever written, a beautiful score, high drama, and never fails to delight, no matter how many times you watch it.
  4. Carve Her Name With Pride. The true story of Violette Szabo, an English war-widow who became a secret agent in occupied France during World War 2. A film about courage, love and doing one’s duty, this a fitting tribute to a remarkable heroine—the first woman to be awarded the George Cross. Included in the film is the reading of a love poem Szabo was given to help encrypt messages while she was in France—it is a thing of rare beauty, and the moment the poem appears will stay with you forever.

 

If you fancy a seductive treat to add a little bit of Hollywood glamour to your movie night, why not try one of our Hoogly hot cocoas?! We have three decadent flavours to choose from: Luxury Hot Cocoa, Cocoa & Mint, and Salted Caramel Cocoa! These sweet sensations will knock your cosy socks off, and keep you coming back for more! So give one an audition today!

Until next time, good luck with all your resolutions and enjoy your movie night!

www.hooglytea.com

Written by Chris Bedford.

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Turn Over a New Leaf in January!

Turn Over a New Leaf in January!

Greetings Hoogly lovers! Today I’m going to talk about the New Year, and all the opportunities this brings to treat yourself to some Hygge magic. Yes, it’s soon going to be January, that wonderful period of calm reflection, a period collective exhalation after the mayhem of December, turning thoughts away from shopping lists and decorations towards longer-term goals and projects.

Every year, my resolutions are the same: eat better, spend less, tidy more, and read more books. I like to think I’m relatively consistent in sticking to them—at least until mid-March. But the resolution that brings me the most joy and satisfaction is the book-reading. I think carving out time to chill out and become absorbed in a book is one of life’s true pleasures, and one of the most Hoogly things you can do. Hygge, after all, is about focusing on the things that bring you comfort and happiness, and doing those things in the cosiest way possible. So, this January, get in your PJs, pull on your big socks, plop yourself down in your softest chair, and let yourself be fall in love with the literature!

And if you need some top tips for books to read in 2020, then here are Hoogly’s top five books to inspire, thrill and comfort!

  1. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. This is a stunning gift book for all ages, featuring exquisite illustrations and beautiful conversations between the four animals that will lift your heart, stir your emotions and bring a smile to your face. One to keep on the shelf forever.
  2. Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley. A stark departure from the first choice on the list, this is a wonderfully disturbing little horror novel about a couple who have lost their young son. In the mother’s despair, she turns to a group called The Beacons to find answers about the visions she sees of her son, but in her desperation to find hope, she may possibly unearth something terrible. A gothic rural setting and a pacy narrative make this essential reading for the dark nights of winter!
  3. Blue Moon by Lee Child. Jack Reacher is back! The six-foot-seven former military cop must use every inch of his brawn, logic and intellect to get the better of two criminal gangs who are vying for control over the town where Reacher has just shown up. If you haven’t read Lee Child before, fasten your seatbelt for the best thriller writer in town! The plots are devious, the action is intense, and Jack Reacher one of the coolest, most addictive characters ever created! Electric, white-knuckle stuff!
  4. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes. A romantic novel set in 1930s Kentucky, this absorbing read tells the story of Alice, who, disillusioned with married life, joins a travelling library led by feisty and rebellious Margery O’Hare. But not everyone is overjoyed with the women’s desires to spread the love of books and they come up against stiff resistance that threatens to crush their dreams. Can the women’s belief in each other, and the power of books, win the day?
  5. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. Now the hit BBC show is underway, huge swathes of us are rediscovering the classic His Dark Materials series, in which plucky Lyra and her shape-shifting animal daemon embark on an adventure that will bring them in contact with witches, child-snatchers and warrior ice-bears, whilst seeking to discover the dark secret at the heart of her world. This is the first in the original trilogy that has captured the imagination of children and adults alike with its imagination, narrative skill and epic world-building.

 

And what better way to accompany your bestselling book than a beautiful brew? Make Hygge one of your New Year’s resolutions and enjoy the scintillating scents and tantalising tastes of Hoogly Teas, bringing tranquillity, relaxation and joy wherever and whenever you need it.

If you aren’t quite ready for the end of the festive season, why not spend January indulging in our uniquely wonderful Christmas Cake Rooibos—a harmonious blend of fruit and spices that will delight friends and family, even on the coldest, darkest days. Truly, a gift that keeps on giving!

If it’s luxury and elegance you’re after, then look no further than White Choc & Chilli White Tea! This creamy and sweet Chinese brew is an aromatic treat, perfect to add a little heat to winter, with a taste that will lure you back time and again!

So that’s it for this month, friends. I hope Santa brings you everything you wish for, including some good books and, hopefully, some delicious Hoogly delights! You deserve it!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

 

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