Relaxing with Hampstead Tea

I have a bit of a reputation for being a caffeine junkie, never far away from a cup of coffee. In a bid to be a bit more healthy I’m trying to step it down a notch though, I’m pretty sure it’s not helping my already erratic sleep pattern among other things.

I’ve always been the kind of person who’ll experiment with herbal teas- I go through phases of loving and hating them and at the moment I’m experimenting with a different flavours and brands trying to find some that don’t just taste of nothing, or worse, taste like dirty swamp water (or what I imagine it to taste like having never actually sampled it).

Enter Hampstead Tea who were kind enough to send me a couple of their new blends- an intriguing sounding Honeybush & Vanilla* blend named “Shangri La as well as a soothing camomile*.

Out of the two blends it was the Honeybush & Vanilla that I was most curious to try. As a rule I love vanilla flavoured things. It was described as being a decadent and smooth blend and I really can’t argue with that description. I’m still not entirely sure what honeybush is meant to taste like, but combined with the camomile and vanilla that make up the rest of this flavour this made for a delicate and relaxing mid-morning alternative to yet another coffee. A good 4 minutes brewing time left this full of flavour and the brand win brownie points for individually wrapping their bags making them ideal for popping in my work bag for a moment of peace during the working day.

The Camomile was equally good. I’ve drunk a lot of Camomile tea over the years, in a bid to relax and unwind before bed more than anything and I’ve mostly been non-plussed. This was up there with one of the best I’ve had. Naturally caffeine free and full of flavour after a 3 minute brew this is a Camomile I’d actively seek to buy again and at £2.30 for 20 sachets of tea I can’t argue with the price.

For anyone looking to meditate their inner spirit, Hampstead Tea have also released a Valerian and Lavender blend, I declined to try this one as I don’t like lavender and can’t take Valerian but it sounds promising- the combination of ingredients are designed to help send you to sleep and essentially soothe the soul.

Hampstead Teas scour the world looking for the best sources of herbs and spices to use in their teas and where possible only use bio-dynamically grown ingredients- this essentially means ingredients grown with the greatest respect for their environment and in total harmony with nature.

Overall a brand I highly recommend, and with many more interesting sounding flavours on their website it is a brand I look forward to getting better acquainted with over the coming months.

What is your favourite relaxing tea blend?

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Bristol Life: Grandaddy at The Colston Hall

It feels like ages since I last went to a gig- it’s something I fell out of love with as I found it more stressful than pleasurable. Social anxiety means crowds can be a nightmare so often it’s easier to just miss out, however when I was given the opportunity to go and see one of my favourite bands at The Colston Hall last Friday I knew I needed to push myself and go.

The band in question was Grandaddy, an indie rock band from Modesto, California who formed way back in 1992. I was introduced to them four years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since my first listen- fronted by Jason Lytle (who has also released some excellent solo work) I find the combination of clever lyrics and eclectic beats strangely soothing/ an. They push boundaries which lifts their sound to the next level- I’d love to be inside the mind of the band, creative genius in my opinion. They split as a group in 2006 but re-formed in 2012 and it’s their later releases that have impressed me the most, their new album “Last Place” especially.

I’d heard they were good live and had high hopes for the gig. I find can be a double edged sword- going in to something unknown with high expectations can often be a set up for disappointment but I’m delighted to report that this wasn’t the case and the band (despite a last minute crisis) exceeded expectations.

Their set lasted just over an hour and was a mix of their latest work and some old favourites. Lytle has a somewhat aloof stage presence and yet still manages to work the room. His voice, live, somehow manages to sound exactly like it does on the records (and this is often where I find live performances fall short) and the band clearly have good chemistry as the banter flowed between songs. They have an almost mesmerising manner about them and the set passed by in the blink of an eye leaving me wanting more and more- I could have watched them perform for hours on end.

If you’re a fan of the band and have yet to see them live then please, do, I can promise you’ll love it. I really hope that Grandaddy continue as a band and bring us albums for years to come. Like good wine they really do get better with age and I would jump at the chance to see them again.
A big thank you to The Colston Hall for making this possible, Bristol may not have any big music arenas but when you have a venue like this you really don’t mind that much! I’ll leave you with one of my favourite tracks from the band- let me know if you’re a fan and what your favourite track is.

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Bad Mood

My love for slogan t-shirts is still going strong and they are the first thing I seem to be drawn to upon entering a shop at the moment. Last month, on a trip to Cabot Circus with Mum we popped in to Pull & Bear- one of our favourite places to browse for affordable basics and cool casual vibes and I happened upon one of the most me tees I have ever seen. Behold…

Tee: Pull & Bear | Jeans: H&M | Converse: Schuh (similar)

Looking back at these pictures “beholding” might not actually be that possible as I’ve kind of failed to capture the slogan but this perfectly oversized white tee states “bad mood” and handily serves as a warning for when people are best to avoid me.

I do my best to be chipper, really I do but sometimes life gets the better of me and I am prone to either a short temper which leaves me snapping at everyone over the smallest of things or I retreat in to myself completely and barely say a word. I’m putting it down to a mixture of hormones at various points in the month as well as the pressures of still not being in work, dealing with eating disorder recovery 24/7 and not sleeping brilliantly but it’s pretty handy to be able to at least warn people they might not quite get the reaction they are expecting from me.

This was actually a really hard outfit for me to photograph- aforementioned eating disorder recovery is taking it’s toll and the struggle with seeing changes in my body [of which I know are further grossly exaggerated in my head due to the nature of the beast] has left my body confidence at rock bottom. Still, it has to be done and I can’t go backwards so I’m determined to keep on wearing the things I want to wear and not give in to the urges to hide behind baggy dresses and jumpers all of the time- although of course they have their time and place!

It’s a hard journey and harder still when you can’t explain to anyone why after 15 years this still torments you. Why you’ve been signed off from work for almost a year knowing exactly what you need to do to get back there [which you want more than anything else] and yet still struggle so much to do it. Having spent the majority of last year firmly in denial this year has seen a renewed determination and slowly but surely progress is being made. It feels fast, it feels scary and I’m not even sure why I’m writing about it on the blog, other than to serve as a reminder to myself but the end result will be worth it and this time there IS no going back. I have plans, things I want to achieve and there is no room for anorexia to be my side kick.

Apologies for getting so deep and personal once again, it happens from time to time and I did say I wanted to bring a bit more “real life” to the blog.

I suppose I should also apologise for all of the random people I’ve snapped at over the last few months, well, mostly. Friends and family please accept my sincerest apologies. Random people I encounter on a daily basis who seem to make it their life mission to wind me up? I’m so not sorry!

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The Wish List That will make my Mum have kittens*

I’ve always been a bit of a daredevil- the first to the top of the climbing frame as a child, the one who wanted to swing the highest. It carried on throughout my youth- abseiling, kayaking, climbing, high ropes, parasailing- I was game on for anything [unless it involved caves or tunnels, then I was much happier sat on the sidelines].

It’s all fallen a bit by the wayside since I hit my twenties but that doesn’t mean the urge isn’t there, and now I’m on my renewed mission to get back to health and fitness I’m finding myself coveting gems from my childhood to ease myself in- from scooters to rollerblades I want it all, bringing me to today’s wish list featuring products from Proline Skates

So why the title of this post? Well, lets just say I’m not the most graceful of human beings. If anyone is going to injure themselves during an activity it’s usually me [it doesn’t even have to be sport, I slipped two discs shopping in Aldi and broke my foot in Zara!] Every time I mention wanting to get back to doing things that will give me an adrenalin rush I’m met with eye rolls and “is that REALLY a good idea?”

I happen to think it’s a brilliant idea personally- but perhaps erring on the side of caution I’ll start with a scooter or skates and work my way up. As much as I like the buzz I am quite keen to avoid a trip to A&E having made it 18 months without one and I’d also quite like my dignity to stay in tact.

That said, I’m toying with the idea of a trampoline park gathering for my birthday celebrations with friends- you can imagine how that idea went down!

Are you a bit of a dare devil? Any random accident stories to regale me with?

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[Insta]life lately

Well, I’m kind of getting there with making these posts a regular thing again, not that I live an especially exciting life or anything that would explain my desire to share. I can only put it down to being a nosy person myself and some of my favourite posts to read are people’s instagram round-ups. For the full idea of what I get up to you can give me a follow and if you want to know more about any of these pictures just leave a comment below [click on the images to see full size and hover over them for a caption].
Leave your instagram usernames below and I’ll be sure to give you a follow.

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