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Book Reviews

Our recommended tea to accompany Love in Colour: Raspberry Choc Kiss


Love is in the air; it’s February and St Valentine is amongst us. This month it seems only appropriate to choose a book and a brew that gets the pulse racing for Twist Tea’s latest review.  Love in Colour is an anthology of love stories, each based on mythology and folklore retold in a contemporary setting by Bolu Babalola. Taking an old idea and giving it a modern twist: now that sounds like a familiar concept at Twist Teas!

 

First Impression:  Is it wrong to admit I chose this book because of its cover? 

The front illustration is just gorgeous.  It gives a much-needed injection of colour at this sometimes-gloomy time of year.  

 

Short story collections are not usually my first choice, as there often doesn’t seem enough time to form an attachment with any of the characters. The protagonists in Love in Colour possess a god or goddess-like perfection and it is impossible to imagine a stray hair or a pimple among them.  With my currently unkempt hair I would normally find it difficult to feel an affinity for such flawlessness.  Despite this, I found myself urging them to succeed, to win their battle, to unite with their soulmate and to live happily ever after.

 

My favourite story was that of Psyche, the Greek goddess of the soul.  In her version, Bolu transports Psyche 1900 years into the future and reimagines her as an ambitious career woman about to pitch an idea to earn herself promotion. Working for a women’s magazine, modern Psyche has her every idea and effort thwarted by Venus, her jealous and vindictive manager. Fortunately, handsome and loyal Eros has her back as she risks it all professionally.  

 

The verdict: Love in Colour offers the reader a dose of pure escapism.  It demands that you switch off the news, Facebook and Instagram and allow yourself to be transported to lush, tropical destinations we can currently only dream of.  


The Twist: A book this lavishly written should be complemented by a tea of equal sophistication. In my mind there is only one blend up for the job: a cup of Twist Tea’s Raspberry Choc Kiss.  This tea is a heady combination of Sri Lankan and Chinese black tea, with the tartness of raspberry, the fragrance of rose petals and a subtle hint of hot chocolate. And just when you think it can’t get any better, there is also a touch of Damiana in this blend, a herb believed to be an aphrodisiac by some indigenous Central and South American cultures.

 
Written by Nicky Kavanaugh, Founder and Director of Twist Teas

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Book Reviews

Our recommended tea to accompany The Lost Man: Lemongrass and Coconut


 

January and February are my least favourite months in the UK. Christmas is over, the weather is unrelentingly grey, damp and cold, the days are still short, and spring is a long way in the future.  To top it all off, January 2021 sees us once more in a hard lockdown due to Covid-19. Wrapping up and hibernating inside with a good book and a cup of tea seems like the only sensible thing to do!  

 

The Lost Man provides escapism from January-itis in spades.  Set in rural Queensland amid searing summer heat, buzzing flies and the ever-present danger of death by dehydration, snakebite or spider bite, a man from a remote farming community has died suddenly and brutally.  

 

First Impression:  I was completely hooked by this book before the end of the first chapter. Jane Harper’s amazing prose easily enables the reader to imagine the taste of dust in their mouth, feel the blistering heat from the sun, and sense the growing dread that all is not as it should be for the central characters as they struggle to come to terms with Cameron Bright’s death.

 

One key theme to The Lost Man is that of isolation. Farms in this region of Australia lie across vast tracts of land, often covering several thousand hectares each, with the closest major cities located thousands of kilometres away.  Even popping over to the closest neighbour necessitates considerable planning and a lengthy drive.  Flooding can completely cut these properties off from one another, requiring them to always have emergency supplies on hand.

 

Does the thought of feeling isolated sound familiar? Unfortunately, isolation has become commonplace during lockdown this past year. People have felt cut-off from loved ones, friends, even from medical help and there have been concerns about grocery supplies.  So how can we stay positive during this time? While it is difficult to plan too far ahead with so much uncertainty, we can still make time to enjoy simple pleasures such as a lovely cup of tea and a fabulous new book. It’s all about the little things right now, isn’t it?

 

The verdict: Read it!  And then read Jane Harper’s other books.  The first I read was Force of Nature, followed quickly by The Dry.  I am eagerly awaiting her latest, The Survivors, to be released later this month. 

 

The Twist?  Although I’m guessing that no-nonsense farming people would prefer a straightforward brew such as Twenty Four Seven, in the spirit of dry January, I recommend that the Bright family try a Twist Tea cold brew, made with chilled water. The blue of Lemongrass and Coconut would contrast nicely with the red soil while the all-natural ingredients would completely refresh them.  Don’t forget the ice!

Written by Nicky Kavanaugh, Founder and Director of Twist Teas

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Book Reviews

Our recommended tea to accompany this book: Classic Earl




Skål to author, TV presenter and former model, Caroline Fleming! Cook Yourself Happy is a wonderfully wholesome immersion into the Danish lifestyle, peppered with childhood memories, insights into the culture, traditions and history of this proud Nordic country.


If you collect cookbooks to bring a bit of colour, life and fusion to your family cooking, you’ll absolutely love this book.


First impression: I’m a highly visual person and was drawn by the texture, warmth and distinctly Scandinavian hygge feel of the photography and layout. Portions are modest, nourishing and simply presented. The photographs of Caroline’s childhood home and local haunts provide an engaging context to her warm and lovingly-told food story.


Recipes: What I like most about the recipes is the wholesome connection to nature and the local environment, and how much I learned about the country through the recipes. Denmark is a seafaring nation and while many of the dishes are bursting with fish and shellfish ingredients, Caroline includes the traditionally harvested produce, meat and cheese specialities, as well as foraged ingredients such as mushrooms, blueberries, cherries, apples and nettles in her recipes. These are carefully balanced recipes including light meals, soups and open sandwiches (a firm part of everyday Danish life), salads, meat, fish and vegetarian main courses, desserts, bread, bakes – even healthy candy(yes, really!) and drinks. 


I rate a cookbook on how many recipes I want to try immediately when I first page through it – this book scores a 10+. I love the twists on some of the old favourites such as apple cake (served in jars with macaroons and cream!); the food bread – it is absolutely delicious – and Caroline’s carrot salad – wow.


Ethos: I have a dear Danish friend, Jette, and have enjoyed many a noisy, fun, warm and hearty meal with her and her family, so I found it very easy to relate to the ethos of Cook Yourself Happy. I recognise the feeling that Caroline explains so well. The kitchen is undoubtedly the heart of the home and the act of cooking is an expression of love. Recipes handed down through the generations make you think of family and friends when you use them: I covet Jette’s mum’s oat ball biscuits recipe I was given one Christmas – Caroline’s version of Vanilla and Oat Cookies are reminiscent of these – and I genuinely salivate when I think about Jette cooking the Danish way to cook pork: I couldn’t stop eating it either!


The Twist: As a Twist Teas lover, perhaps the sweetest surprise of all, was finding a recipe at the very end of the book for iced tea I hadn’t come across before. It combines Earl Grey, lemons and sugar. It is wonderful. A super addition to my cookbook shelf – but also a beautiful way to learn about the Kingdom of Denmark. Thank you, Caroline.

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Book Reviews
We all know that small changes for the better can make a big difference. That first cup of tea in the morning? Game changer!  The millions of tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year are killing seabirds and marine mammals.  And David Attenborough is right when he says that ‘We have a responsibility, every one of us’.  But knowing how we can make a difference isn’t as straightforward as it seems. 

Our teabags don’t contain any plastic and we do our upmost to use the most environmentally friendly packaging available.

As a team we promote reusable cups – we even sell them on our website.  We help clean up on the Common outside Pollards Farm and frequently share tips on giving up plastic include washing clothes in a wash bag to catch plastic microfibres (the cause of 30% of plastic pollution in the ocean) and using bar shampoo.  But plastic’s not going away without fight, so what else can we do to help?

So we bought this accessible guide, written by the campaigner at the forefront of the anti-plastic movement, for some practical tips.  And it doesn’t disappoint.  Martin Dorey, anti-plastics expert, has been working to save our beaches from plastic for the past 10 years. His Beach Clean Foundation and global call to arms #2minutebeachclean has been taken up by people all over the world, and has proven that collective small actions can add up to a big difference.

If you’re interested in finding out more about what you can do to save the planet from plastic – this book’s definitely worth a read.
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Book Reviews

Our recommended tea to accompany this book: To Mother with Love



Since we love nothing better than curling up with a book and a brew, we’re going to share a few recommendations. 
Of course, books are super subjective, so they might not be right for you. But, it’s great to get a tip-off from someone, so maybe you’ll give it a go.


So, our first book review is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – it was recommended to me by a friend and what appealed to me most about the story was the relationship between mother and daughter and how it confronts the reality that all of us have flaws, no matter how well we disguise them.  It reflects that really us mums are just making this up as we go along, and raises all sorts of questions about motherhood.


Writes the author: “It came, over and over, down to this: What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?” Whether or not you agree with the choices made by the characters, it’s hard not to empathise with their predicaments – especially, I felt, being both a mother and a daughter. 


And the brew to drink with this tale? It’s got to be To Mother with Love – Chinese White Tea with Apple Pieces, Rosehip, Hibiscus, Strawberry, Elderflower, Orange Blossom, Rose Petals and Orange Peel. This tea tastes like summer and while it is usually served cold with sparkling water, it is also delicious hot. (We also sell this one as SexyMotherCuppa and Strawberry & Rose, knowing that the more fun names might not be right for everyone. Like books, it’s subjective!)

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Book Reviews

If there’s one thing that unites us here at Twist, it’s a good book. Well, that and a good brew, obviously.

Whether curling up on the sofa, crashing out on a sunlounger or making the commute a touch more bearable, a book and a brew makes for a happy Twister.


So, we thought we’d combine these two loves by sharing some reviews of our favourite books. And, of course, suggesting which of our lovely brews would put a Twist In the Tale. 

If you’re like us, tweet or insta a photo of your book and a Twist tea, and we’ll share it  on our social media.  Use the hashtag #TwistInTheTale, or namecheck us in your post to make sure we see it. So, read on while we read on. Enjoy.

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