Hoogly Blogs / well being

Books, books and books!

Books, books and books!

Greetings Hoogly fans! It appears that the heatwave has finally broken, with big blobs of intermittent rain stubbing the glass of my window, and a breeze that seemed almost unimaginable three days ago wafting over me. With the unforgiving sun finally off our backs, it’s time to start enjoying our downtime again, and that starts with filling our bookshelves with some excellent new reading material. At Hoogly, we are all about the mindful, calming and treasure-finding joy of literature, and we like nothing better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a best-seller. With so many good books out there, however, it can be difficult to choose, so we have taken it upon ourselves to point you in the direction of some sure-fire successes!

 

First up, we have A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle. This is one of those books that completely transports the reader and can be gobbled up in one or two sittings. It’s set in the 1920s on board a luxury liner called The Endeavour, with 2000 passengers on board—and one killer…

 

When a body is discovered at the bottom of a flight of stairs, the ship’s first officer and a Scotland Yard detective begin to investigate. They soon discover a web of intrigue surrounding a priceless painting, but all is not as it seems, and the clues—and twists—keep on coming, until an ending that completely knocks you sideways!!

 

This is a great read for Agatha Christie fans, and anyone who enjoys a gripping murder mystery, with complex, flawed characters, pacy writing and an intricate and imaginative plot. The perfect book to escape your stress!

 

Second up is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This one has been all over social media and is a huge word-of-mouth hit. It takes place in the late sixties in North Carolina and centres on a girl called Kya, who has survived for years alone in the marsh she calls home, befriending gulls and drawing lessons from the sand. When two men from town, intrigued by Kya’s wild beauty, offer new possibilities for touch and love, she opens up to a new world—but then the unthinkable happens. 

 

This is simultaneously about the beauty of the natural world, a gripping coming-of-age story and a surprising tale of a potential murder. The characters are sensitively drawn and the novel has an impeccable sense of time and place. You will be thinking about this wonderful book long after you have read the last page, and thrusting it into the hands of friends and family!

 

Thirdly, we have one for the kids. Alex Neptune, Dragon Thief by David Owen is ideal for ages 8-12, introducing us to a shy boy named Alex, who is convinced the sea is trying to kill him! So when a group of weird and wonderful sea creatures drag him to an abandoned aquarium in order to rescue an imprisoned water dragon, he’s not overly happy! But how can he refuse a magical myth?

 

Teaming up with his best friend Zoey, knower-of-legends Anil, a sharp-shooter octopus, four acrobatic otters and a shifty seagull, Alex plans to break the dragon out. And soon he discovers the sea might not be so bad after all. In actual fact…he might just have its power at his fingertips!

 

This is a hilarious, action-packed and easy-to-read adventure, perfect for kids who love Percy Jackson, Harry Potter and all things magic and mythical! 

 

And, as mentioned, no book-reading session is complete without a tantalisingly tasty cup of Hoogly tea! So here are our recommendations for the books we have chosen:

 

For Fatal Crossing, bask in the elegant glory of Rose Blush White Tea. Imagine yourself in the ornate dining room of the Endeavour, surrounded by men and women in their finest attire, a band playing violins and cellos on a raised platform, waiters in black and white bringing silver-platter meals, and the Captain in his starched white uniform meeting and greeting enthralled guests. Your aromatic Pai Mu Dan tea contains pink rose buds and offers a luxurious floral taste, complemented by subtly sweet grassy tones. As you sip the delicious brew, keep an eye on the other guests. The killer could be anyone…

 

For Where the Crawdads Sing, we invite you to try Berrylicious Herbal Infusion. Drawing on the glory and beauty of nature, this sweet brew combines apple pieces, rosehips, hibiscus, roasted dandelion root and freeze-dried strawberries and raspberries for a vibrant infusion, which—just like the plot—will have you coming back for more. You won’t want the book or the tea to end!

 

Lastly, for Alex Neptune, Dragon Thief, we invite you to indulge in Chocolate Brownie Black Tea. This is an unashamedly fun brew, a treat for anyone, a cup of timeless pleasure that will take you back to your childhood and put a big old smile on your face. And after you’ve unleashed the power of the ocean and launched an ambitious dragon heist, sit down for a well-earned five minutes to yourself and revel in the chocolatey splendour!

 

That’s it for now Hoogly lovers! Until next time, take care and stay Hoogly!

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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Book Club

Book Club

It’s that time again! We’re here to help you relax and unwind in authentic Hoogly fashion with our top reading recommendations for the summer and autumn! After the lockdown pause, books are well and truly back in our lives again, and there’s even more to come, with August bringing a wealth of new publishing, plumped up by many titles which were delayed earlier in the year. It’s a very exciting time to be a book lover, people!

First up: we have ‘The Giver of Stars’ by Jojo Moyes. You may be familiar with Jojo’s novel ‘Me Before You’, which was a huge best-seller, and went on to become a hit Hollywood movie of the same name. Her latest book is a wonderful, warm-hearted story about friendship and the power of books. Set in Kentucky during the Great Depression, the book tracks five women across the dust bowls and prairies of America as they encounter hardship and oppression, and tells of their journey to overcome everything by bringing a travelling library of books to those who need them most. With Jojo’s trademark wit and wisdom, as well as beautiful descriptions of Kentucky, this is an absolute must-read! As an accompaniment to this great novel, we recommend our indulgent Luxury Hot Cocoa: a sweet and creamy delight that you will crave over and over again, and just like Jojo’s book, you will feel the need to tell all your friends about it!

Our second pick is Bill Bryson’s ‘The Body.’ Bryson has proved time and again that he is the perfect travel companion, taking us all over the world in his journals, allowing us to see and experience people and places we had never seen before, and offering a window into the lives of others with his trademark sense of humour and fun. This time, Bryson is taking us on a tour of our own bodies, neatly following up from his amazing ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything,’ which laid out the story of science in a zippy, fun and accessible style. Now we have the opportunity to learn about the miracle of our physical and neurological makeup, encountering amazing facts and astonishing stories about how our bodies function and possess the remarkable ability to heal themselves. This is truly a book for anyone! To accompany this great read, we recommend naturally caffeine-free Sweet Orange Rooibos: a delicious sip of sunshine from South Africa, with a lively, zesty natural citrus flavour, and a playful hint of strawberry. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Our final pick is for the little ones in your life. ‘Look Up!’ by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola is a joyous and life-affirming new picture book about loveable Rocket, a space-obsessed girl who wishes everyone was excited as she was about the upcoming meteor shower! If she’s going to be the greatest astronaut, star-catcher and space traveller that has ever lived, she’ll need to convince her big brother Jamal to stop looking down at his phone and start LOOKING UP at the stars. Bursting with fun, energy and eye-popping illustrations, this amazing story will reignite your desire (in true Hoogly fashion) to switch off those screens and switch on to the world around us! And how about something sweet and delicious to complement such a fun-filled story? Try Raspberry, Liquorice & Lavendar black tea, a delightful blend of sharp raspberries and super-sweet liquorice root, sprinkled with lavender flowers for a fresh, floral twist! This is a great summer beverage, equally tasty as an ice lolly, but can be enjoyed at any time of the year, whether you’re reading, relaxing, chilling with friends, or just having some Hoogly time around the house!

If you enjoyed these books, pop into your local Waterstones for some great new recommendations, and remember to flip the kettle on as soon as you’re home—there’s so many different Hygge-inspired brews to try, you’ll never run out of gorgeous-scented, taste-tastic choices!

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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