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A Whole New Ballgame!

Right now, in the United States, the American football season is building to a crescendo. The days get shorter, the nights get colder, and fans have a decent idea of how their team’s season is going to pan out. Months of off-season anticipation and excitement (the first week of February all the way to September) have led to this; soon we’ll know who is going to make the playoffs and have a chance of playing their way into the most watched sporting event on the planet: the Superbowl. A place where history, dreams and legends are made. Last season’s Superbowl was a perfect example of the wonderful stories that this incredible game can create: on one side, the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady—considered by many to be the ‘GOAT’ (greatest of all time) and winner of five Superbowl titles—versus the Philadelphia Eagles, led by a substitute quarterback called Nick Foles, who was only playing because the star quarterback Carson Wentz was injured. After a momentous, back-and-forth tussle, Foles and the Eagles came out victorious, confirming to many that football is the most unpredictably dramatic sport on earth, and writing Foles’s name into the pantheon of NFL history.

For many English people, the world of pads, helmets and cheerleaders represent a confusing amalgamation of rugby and wrestling; a three-hour circus full of strange movements, endless stoppages and eccentric terminology. And these people aren’t wrong! To the uninitiated, gridiron can appear clunky, overblown and immeasurably tedious. But once you start to pick up the basics of the rules and tactics, a new picture emerges: an unbelievably well-choreographed combination of balletic athleticism, brute strength, chess-like strategy and graceful execution of physics-defying agility.

In the simplest terms, the eleven-man teams are split into Offense and Defence, so that at any given time, one team’s Offense will play the opposition’s Defence—and vice versa. The Offense has four attempts—called downs—to move the ball ten yards by either running with the ball rugby-style, or throwing it down the field to one of the receivers, who will attempt to run in cleverly-devised patterns in order to create space and receive the pass. These attempts are called plays. Once a player is tackled, the play is over and the game stops. The next play starts from where the player was tackled. The ultimate aim is to move the ball into the opposition’s Endzone (similar to the area which you score a try in rugby) thus scoring a touchdown. If the Offense succeeds in getting ten (or more) yards, they receive another four downs. If they fail, they will try and kick (punt) the ball as far away from their Endzone as possible, in order to make it harder for the opposition team’s Offense to score when they take to the pitch. At any time, the Defence can try and strip the ball from the Offense or intercept one of their throws and advance it towards the opposite Endzone.

Still confused? I don’t blame you. It takes a whole heap of time and patience to absorb all the multitude of fine details the game has to offer, to decode what on Earth is meant by Tight End Waggle, bubble-screen, Hail-Mary and quick-slant. But as you slowly start to pick it up, you realise that this sport offers so much more drama, tactical prowess and nail-biting tension than so many others. In a large percentage of matches, the result will go down to the last pass in the last second of the game, with thousands of camera lenses flashing, the pigskin ball arcing through the floodlit heavens, and four or five 200lb men jumping like gazelles to try and grab the prize in the Endzone. And because there are only 32 teams in a country the size of America, competition for places is fierce. A bigtime mistake might be a player’s last. It’s commonplace for players to be cut from a team the morning after a big loss: there’s always someone else waiting in line for their chance. Hard to reconcile that with a sport like cricket or soccer, where some players can have an underwhelming season and still find themselves signed up to the squad.

But this is football. Brutal, relentless, elite. Filled with stories like Brady and Foles, heroes and villains, underdogs and Hall-of-Famers, pride and glory, misery and defeat. If you like sport, my advice is to sit back, grab a hotdog and give the game a real good go. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find!

And in the spirit of trying something different, don’t forget to flip on the kettle and discover our delicious range of Hoogly Teas! Our blends are as exotic and thrilling as anything American Football can conjure, combining tantalising tastes with the cosy comfort of Danish-inspired Hygge!

After safely removing your helmet and gumshield, try a mug of Baked Apple Chai! Mellow Sri Lankan tea is the quarterback here, carefully coordinating a combination of Apple, Ginger, Cinnamon and cloves to bring you an alluring and harmonious brew that is sure to score a touchdown! 

For those who yearn for the fire and energy found in football, why not try Lemon and Ginger herbal infusion? This satisfying brew will warm your cockles and pads, and give you a zesty edge over the competition. So good you’ll keep coming back for more!

And if you’re after the magic of the Superbowl, bring the special occasion home with Sparkling White tea. This beautiful Chinese brew is elegantly blended with flowers and fruit pieces to give you the refreshing taste of victory with every sip!

That’s it for this week, folks. Bring on game night. Go Vikes!!!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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The Hunt For Hoogly!

The Hunt For Hoogly!

Believe it or not, the weather will eventually warm up and Spring can begin in earnest. One of the most highly anticipated events in the coming weeks is Easter, a time for family bonding, gift giving and relaxation.  It’s also a time to indulge in serious amounts of chocolate, as shops are stacked floor to ceiling with our favourite brands in egg form. And there is something extra exciting about finding chocolate within chocolate, with some eggs containing bonus treats!

Easter celebrations take place around the globe, but not all cultures refer to it by the same name. Early Christians knew it as Pesach, the Hebrew for Passover; and today many languages use a variation of this word: Pesach in French, Pasqua in Italian and Pask in Sweden. In Christian tradition, Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion, but the historical roots of contemporary festival practices are more widespread.

The origin of the English word is that of a pagan fertility goddess called Eostre, whose celebratory festival always took place during the Spring Equinox. Early European Christian missionaries slowly began to merge the pagan names, timings and some of its symbols into the Christian celebrations. Eostre’s symbol, in fact, was that of a hare or rabbit, thus creating one link to the Easter Bunny! Rabbits also tend to give birth in Spring, so as people saw fields overrun with baby bunnies at this time of year, it was natural to incorporate them into the celebrations, and eventually into Easter.

 And the tradition of eggs goes back even further than the time of Jesus. Many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Greeks, viewed the egg as a symbol of fertility and renewed life. Eggs were used in pagan rituals, hung in temples and utilised for mystical practices. As missionaries observed people hunting for eggs in Spring, they began to assign value and meaning to the eggs to describe Christ’s resurrection and renewed life. Eggs would be dyed symbolically: yellow for resurrection, red for the blood of Christ, blue for love. Children would hunt for hidden eggs, and then recount the story associated with them. 

Nowadays, Easter is big business around the world, especially in America, where spending at Easter can reach up to the tens of billions through a mixture of cards, candy and other gifts. This year, make sure you incorporate the gift of Hoogly into your celebrations! Our delicious teas are the perfect accompaniment to your relaxing, family-orientated holiday, created with the Danish concept of Hygge in mind, which focuses on being calm, cosy and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. 

And one of life’s greatest simple pleasures is flipping the kettle on and putting your feet up with a warming brew, surrounded by your favourite people. We at Hoogly can take this simple pleasure to another level with our tantalising range of tasty teas. As Easter approaches, put the stresses of the working week behind you with brews such as Cosy Chamomile, a gorgeous herbal infusion combining snuggly chamomile with lemon verbena, lime leaves and lavender, all especially chosen for their ability to soothe the body and mind. It’s a hug-in-a-mug—what are you waiting for?

If hunting for hidden eggs and other treasure is your thing, then track down and discover Sparkling White Tea!! A magical and elegant blend of Chinese White Tea, fruit pieces and flowers, this sensationally seductive brew will add a touch of glamour to your Easter break!  As with all our teas, it smells as delightful as it tastes, bringing you back again and again to experience its charms!

However you spend this Easter, we hope you feel relaxed, renewed and recharged. And don’t forget to hunt down Hoogly!

By Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com
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