2017 Part 1: a year reviewed.

How on earth are we halfway through the year already?!

2017 has been a whirlwind of a year so far, with so many life things going on. I thought I’d write a little review of the year so far, with some life updates and some info on some of my 2017 reads throughout!

January:

January brought a rocky start to 2017 for me. I was bogged under with a lot of university madness; exams, coursework, presentations, all of the fun (not fun) stuff. I spent some time with my lovely friends, feeding ducks at Haddo House and visiting the Cat Cafe. I ended the month in Edinburgh with my (then new) boyfriend, Liam. We went to the dungeons, the zoo and to the National Museum of Scotland, which was a great escape from everything. Despite the stress I felt during exam time, I managed to end the semester with 3 A’s and a B. Not bad going!

january

February:

February was a quiet month for me. Third year continued into second semester, and I enjoyed getting back into my classes. I also enjoyed quality time with friends and my boyfriend; whether whipping up pancakes on pancake day, going for walks on the beach, or catching up over hot chocolate. I made sure to take plenty time for myself, reading books and binging on Netflix. Other than that, there’s not much to report!

february

March: 

March was a pretty happy month! I joined a group of my amazing friends at my university’s applicants day and spent the afternoon dancing to the Cha Cha Slide in front of complete strangers. I celebrated International Women’s Day, caught up with friends, stroked dogs, did some pottery painting, went on my first night out in months (for someone who is slightly terrified of nights out in bars and clubs this was a special night)  and ended the month travelling to Durham for the Nightline Association’s national conference. A fairly good month!

march

April:

April is a contender for the best month of the year so far, and it will be hard to find a month that was as good as it was. I started the month in Durham with some great people. I attended a fancy pants event which was a hop away from Durham Cathedral and had many a drunken laugh with my best friend, Tom. Once home, I headed to Glasgow with Liam for a few days of peace and quiet together. We took a boat trip on Loch Lomond, ate out (a lot), wandered round shops, watched movies and went to the transport museum. It was so nice to get away in the middle of semester and to have some quality time with my boyfriend. Once back in Aberdeen, I went bowling with some colleagues, caught up with old friends, did some reading at the pub, went to the theatre, solved a murder (at a murder mystery party) and went to a ball! I attended the RGU Student Achievement Awards at the end of the month and was incredibly honoured to receive a Half Scarlett award for 450 hours of volunteering in the past year. All in all, April was pretty perfect.

april

May:

May had so many ups and downs. I started the month with a lot of family stuff going on, which made my impending university deadlines and exams much harder to get through. I was incredibly stressed and felt the lowest I had felt in a long time. I was working in overdrive to try and do well at university despite what was going on, but I had lost all faith in my ability. Once my deadlines were complete, I was able to breathe a bit, and catch up with friends, before celebrating my 21st birthday!

I turned 21 on the 18th of May, and had a truly fantastic birthday. My best friend, Lauren and her beautiful daughter Demi, my boyfriend, Liam, my parents, brother and grandma spent the evening together and I was incredibly lucky to receive not just one…but two very literary birthday cakes! The celebrations continued when a group of my friends and I went bowling and for a meal, and it meant so much having some of my absolute favourite people all together. The birthday celebrations ended with a trip to the theatre to see Wonderland with Lauren, which was a fantastic show, I loved it!

Unfortunately, after the madness of my birthday, my Granda passed away three days later, after a long deterioration. It was an incredibly hard couple of weeks, knowing what was coming and I struggled very hard. The weeks after my birthday blended together somewhat and I needed a lot of support, which I got from some of my favourite people. Particularly; my friends Becca and Eilís rallied to my side. Becca took me to the theatre to see Sister Act, and she, Eilís and I went for a lovely walk along Newburgh beach as a distraction from everything that was going on. I felt very lucky to have my friends and boyfriend around me during May.

may

June:

June was a bit more gentle to me than May and was jam packed with adventure! While I was still grieving for my loss I had some really fantastic moments which helped me get through. Becca, Eilís and I took a short but sweet trip to Edinburgh, one of my favourite places in Scotland. We went to Camera Obscura, had a spot of lunch and took a trip to the Scottish parliament building, and we managed to fit in some Swedish meatballs at IKEA!

I was home for a few days, which I used to catch up with two of my best friends; Hannah and Lauren, and I did a spot of drawing with my little buddy, Demi.

This was before jetting off on another adventure with Becca and Eilís, this time my boyfriend, Liam also joined us. We went to the Isle of Lewis and spent 5 days exploring the beautiful scenery, walking, climbing up various stone formations, standing on many a cliff edge, playing cards and visiting beaches. We went to one of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches, Luskentyre beach, we went to the Callanish standing stones, and had a Starbucks in a castle! This week did a tremendous amount for my mental health and made me feel myself again. I really couldn’t have asked for a better trip to take my mind  off of things.

When I came back I ended up catching a cold, but that didn’t stop me from catching up with my university girls (we haven’t all been together in over a year), celebrating my 6 month anniversary with Liam, and getting some cuddles from some very cute dogs! I also was thrilled to discover that after all of the struggles of May, I managed to get 4 A’S in my second semester of third year, meaning I ended the year with 7 A’s and a B, my best grades yet. Achieving those grades despite the madness and sadness going on in my life at that time meant so much to me, and really made the month.

june 2June

And now July is upon us, and I am both nervous and excited for the next 6 months of 2017. I will enter my 4th and final year of my undergraduate degree, I will continue to spend time with my amazing friends and boyfriend, I will (hopefully) read more and do more fun things. But mainly I just want to maintain as strong and as positive of a mental state as possible, despite any setbacks that may come my way.

What have been the highlights and lowlights of your year? Do you have any? I’m sorry that this post was extremely self indulgent. But I can’t wait to look back on it in 6 months time and see what my life is like, let’s hope it is as good as I’m aiming for!

 

Teapigs: a brand review.

Hi everyone!

Posting something a little bit different today, this is a review of 12 different flavours of Teapigs tea.

For those of you who don’t know this about me: I BLOODY LOVE TEA. I am an avid tea drinker and I am obsessed with trying different kinds and finding different mugs and vessels to drink it from. Thus it came as no surprise when I was gifted a box of  Teapigs teabags from my best friend Hannah for my birthday.

teapigs
This box contains 12 different kinds of tea, with 2 teabags per type. It is a pick n’ mix  sample box (costing £15.99 plus postage) where you can select 12 out of 31 different options.

Click here if you’re interested in getting one of these pick n’ mix boxes for more information!

Now I have slowly but surely worked my way through all 12 flavours, and I have some thoughts on each flavour. If you are a tea fanatic (like myself), then why not go and make yourself a cuppa and then come back and read this post? I am drinking one while writing!

I must say before reviewing these teas, that this is based solely on my taste in tea and on my preferences, therefore just because I really like a certain tea or really dislike another it does not mean you will feel the same! I am primarily assessing these teas on their descriptions, what they are meant to taste like and the strength of flavour. I hope you enjoy!



Tea Temples

The interesting thing about Teapigs teabags is that they are shaped differently and made differently than regular teabags. What makes Teapigs teabags special is that they are biodegradable, mesh sacs containing whole leaf tea, with space for the leaves to infuse in the water.  Personally, I prefer these sorts of teas as I feel they have more flavour and it is lovely being able to see the loose leaf tea and what is going in to making your perfect cuppa!

An example of a Teapigs temple bag (teabag is the Green Tea Detox).

1/  Everyday Brew

Description: This is Teapigs’ signature blend, comprised of Assam, Ceylon and Rwandan blends. It is essentially Teapigs’ version of an English Breakfast tea. It is available in packs of 15 or 50 tea temples, and as a loose leaf tea. For more information click here!

Thoughts: This tea was destined to be my favourite, as I am a sucker for black tea. I adore strong, breakfast teas; my favourite black teas being Yorkshire Gold Twinings Breakfast Tea or Twining’s Assam. This is perfect with a splash of milk for the perfect, energetic cup of tea. I would recommend this to anybody who enjoys a quintessentially British cup of tea, and prefers black teas to anything fancier, fruity or herbal.

2/ Bolly Good

Description: This is a chai blend which consists of Assam tea (which I love!) blended with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla. It is available in packs of 15 or 50 tea temples, and as a loose leaf tea. For more information click here!

Thoughts: This is a spicy blend and I actually quite enjoyed it! I didn’t leave the teabag in for too long as I prefer spicy teas to be slightly weaker, but it is tasty and the flavour wasn’t too overpowering. I’d recommend this for a winter night, or for people who want to drink tea but want something a bit more exciting than plain black tea. Add a bit of milk like I did and it’s a lovely drink that’ll warm you up from the inside.

3/ Melt Away

Description:This is a chocolate tea! Intrigue! It is a blend of black tea, cocoa beans and chocolate flakes. This is available in packs of 15 tea temples. For more information click here! 

Thoughts: This is not a very chocolate-y tea as suggested on the website, however I really like this blend! It tastes like a regular black tea, yet with a slightly sweet aftertaste. This aftertaste is not specifically chocolate, but it  definitely makes it easier to drink a black tea without milk or sugar. I’d recommend this to anybody who wants a bin of sweetness in their tea, but wants something subtle. I poured milk in after a few sips and I found I enjoyed that even more!

4/ Popcorn Tea: Fab Japanese Treat

Description: Toasted rice and green tea are blended together to create a traditional and nutty tea, known as Genmaicha. It is available in packs of 15 tea temples and as a loose leaf tea. For more information click here!

Thoughts: I am surprised at just how much I enjoyed this flavour! I normally do not like green tea blends, however the rice creates this aromatic, nutty flavour that reminds me of Sugar Puff cereal and which merges with the earthy taste of green tea. I found this one a surprisingly tasty -yet odd- flavour, and I’d recommend it to anybody who likes nutty and smokey flavours.

5/ Bursting with Berries: Super Fruit Tea

Description: This is a berry blend, which is full of anti-oxidant berries; namely cranberries and blueberries. It is available in packs of 15 or 50 tea temples, and as a loose leaf tea. For more information click here!

Thoughts: I like the taste of this tea, however it is not overly strong or sweet. I am not a massive fan of fruit tea, as I find that it makes me even more thirsty opposed to quenching my thirst. This, while tasty, left my mouth with a dry feeling after drinking it, which I’m not a fan of. I’d recommend this for anybody who loves fruit teas or berry flavours, but it just isn’t for me!

6/ Tea with Trimmings: Spiced Winter Red Tea

Description: This wintry blend is reminiscent of Christmas, comprised of redbush tea and a combination of orange peel and winter spieces such as cinnamon and cloves. It is available in packs of 15 tea temples. For more information click here!

Thoughts: This is like chai 2.0. It is incredibly spicy and the flavours are very strong and create an extremely aromatic and cosy cup of tea. However, I am not a fan of strong spice flavours, and while the chai is a bit more muted, this one is a bit too spicy for me. I would recommend this for winter nights for anyone who loves mulled wine or hot apple cider! It has all those qualities in a tea form, however is a bit stronger. It is nice to sip, however I could not drink a full cup.

7/ Lazy Days: Lemon and Ginger  Tea

Description: This is a commonly paired combination of lemon and ginger, containing liquorice, which is reminiscent of British summer days. It is available in packs of 15 and 50 tea temples, and as a loose leaf tea. For more information click here!

Thoughts:  This is not my favourite of the collection, however it is quite tasty. I am not much of a fan of ginger flavours in tea, however I felt this tea struck a good balance between lemon and ginger flavours, meaning the ginger was not too overpowering. I have heard that lemon and ginger tea is good for sore throats and for soothing purposes, and I’d recommend it is you like fruit teas, as well as spicy teas, as it is almost a combination of both.

8/ First Class: Darjeeling Tea

Description: Darjeeling tea originates from West Bengal, India and is commonly served without milk.  It is available in packs of 15 tea temples, and as a loose leaf tea. For more information click here!

Thoughts: I can’t put my finger on this one, but I didn’t like it very much. It had an odd aftertaste which I didn’t really like, and it didn’t leave much of an impression on me. However, I think that may just be me and my tastebuds, it just wasn’t my cup of tea (get it?), but it may be someone else’s.

9/ Grey with Attitude: Earl Grey Strong

Description: This is a combination of Assam and Rwandan blends, with Ceylon and Darjeeling and the necessary zest of bergamot which categorises this tea as Early Grey. It is available in packs of 15 and 50 tea temples, and as a loose leaf tea. For more information click here!

Thoughts: I love this! I don’t drink Earl Grey very often, however I actually really enjoy the fragrant flavour. This is quite a strong taste, however Earl Grey is not a tea that you drink for muted flavour. I really like this and it made me feel like a posh lady while drinking it!

10/  Snooze: Sleepy Tea

Description: This is a soothing blend of apple, lavender and chamomile; which is marketed to aid in a good night of sleep. It is available in packs of 15 tea temples. For more information click here!

Thoughts: I was extremely excited to try this tea as I often take a really long time to fall asleep, as my thoughts are most intense right before I go to sleep. I drink a lot of caffeine too and so I was excited to see how this tea would succeed as a replacement for a cup of Yorkshire Gold before bed. I was not disappointed!

The taste is definitely not for everybody, as the lavender aftertaste is definitely quite different. However, I loved it! I realised that the act of having a hot drink before bed is just as comforting regardless of the blend, and I actually felt a lot better for having a tea without caffeine before my bed, and I felt I was in a cosy and comforted frame of mind before falling asleep. I would recommend this if you are a fan of chamomile already, however if you are not keen on floral scents or flavours I would suggest opting for something different. While it says there are hints of apple, I did not pick up any apple flavours, but this could possibly be due to the strength of the lavender. I definitely want to purchase more of this!

11/  Clean n Green: Detox Tea

Description: This is a combination of green tea, lemongrass, ginger, coconut and dandelion leaves. It is means to be a refreshing, detox tea that can be served iced or hot. It is available in packs of 15 tea temples. For more information click here!

Thoughts: I actually enjoyed this more than I usually enjoy green tea (I really don’t like plain green tea). This is a great alternative for those who don’t like the taste of green tea but want the health benefits. It is sweeter, however lemongrass and ginger are somewhat overpowering. I was looking forward to the taste of coconut, however it did not come through. That being said, this is definitely more drinkable than plain green tea, and it feels very fresh.

12/ Up Beet : Energy Tea

Description: This tea is a blend of beets, spices and hibiscus and is meant to give you energy when you drink. It is available in packs of 15 tea temples. For more information click here!

Thoughts: I was extremely nervous about this tea, as it is primarily beetroot, which I don’t really like eating. I enjoyed this tea, however it is not a favourite. It has quite an earthy taste, which I normally don’t enjoy (spoiler alert: I don’t like green tea that much!), but I found this easier to drink. I would recommend this to people who like green tea, as it is not a very sweet tea and is definitely quite a strong flavour. As for the energy benefits, I can’t say that it gave me any more energy, however I find drinking tea of any sort to be a somewhat rejuvenating act.


 

tea gif

I hope you guys enjoyed this extremely in depth tea review of Teapigs teabags. I hope I have inspired you to try a new flavour, or to stock up on a trusty favourite. I love Teapigs and despite not loving every single flavour or type of tea, I applaud Teapigs for making such high quality teas in such an array of blends, there is truly something for everybody.

My favourites of the collection were:

Everyday Brew

Popcorn Tea

Snooze : Sleepy Tea

Check out Teapigs to have a browse, to shop by mood or even by blend of tea. I hope your next cuppa is as good as you deserve!