I thought I had given up this tea tasting lark, but I was walking through the tea aisle of my local shop recently and all the packaging is just so tempting. I figured if I was going to ease myself back into the world of fruit and herbal tea, I should probably do it cost effectively, so I opted for a box of mixed flavours.
And given that it is January, there’s only one option on that list that seems appropriate – detox! At first glance, the list of ingredients doesn’t sound all that appetising. Aniseed isn’t my favourite flavour, but mix it with coriander, and fennel, and even celery? What’s that about?
I’ll tell you what it’s about, it’s delicious! I don’t understand it at all because there’s nothing about this I should like but somehow the mix is incredible. I’ve already drunk all the sachets that came in this pack and am now thinking it’s time to buy a Detox-only pack.
I’ve never really done a detox so I don’t know what they’re like, but this tea does have a clean feeling about it that I imagine would work very well for anyone embarking on such a thing. This was an excellent tea to restart my tasting adventure on. Top marks.
Apple’s limited edition January-only new year’s activity badge worked it’s magic in our household. The first available week, Mr C and I were both working on maxing out our activity rings each and every day, and it got a bit competitive.
Turns out when a badge is limited edition, it really does have a motivating effect. We managed this January one in the first week… come on Apple, what’s next? More badges required!
Evolving sports to appeal to new generations of fans usually involves adapting to shorter attention spans, and that is something that can cause plenty of debate amongst the more traditional sport lovers. I’m in favour of making sport approachable wherever possible, but there’s likely room for all formats – long and short alike. Tennis is taking this approach, it seems, and I recently learnt about a new format.
I’ve talked before about whether tennis needs to think about making all matches just three sets long but perhaps there’s another way. I’ve heard of Tie Break Tens, which is an end of season celebratory tie break tournament but today I learnt about the Fast4 format for the first time. It’s been the format for the Hopman Cup, where mixed double teams represent their country. In 2017, it was won by Team France but for me, the format was the most interesting thing about the tournament.
As the LTA say: “FAST4 Tennis provides a simple, exciting way of speeding up a conventional tennis match. The fundamentals of tennis remain the same, but there are four rules that ensure matches are fast, competitive, exciting and can be completed in a reasonable period of time.”
I imagine long-time conventional tennis fans are shaking their head at the very concept, but what’s great about it is that if you don’t like it, you can watch the Davis Cup or something similar. You can enjoy Wimbledon’s incredible but lengthy five set finals, or you can indulge in first to four play instead.
Or, even better, watch it all and enjoy the variety!
I love Demi Lovato, but I realised recently that she is an expert at picking songs to be featured on. Whilst her own work is plenty good enough, when she is featured on a song, it’s always a brilliant one! Don’t believe me? Let’s review.
First up, The Vamps.
Yeah, you! Then she teamed up with Olly Murs for the catchy Up, and took on the myth created by N Sync in Irresistible. Teaming up with Fall Out Boy, Demi stomps her way around a toy store, looking at the action figures and generally having a good time.
Finally, my particular favourite, the partnership with Brad Paisley for the excellent Without a Fight.
If you’re going to feature on an array of songs, I think you couldn’t pick a better batch.
Anyone who has been following this site for a while will know that at the end of each year, I like to hand over the reigns to Mr C to share his top five songs and films of the previous twelve months. Last year was an absolute disgrace as he was unable to narrow down his shortlist to five and after a full month of arguing about it, we ended up with top tens instead.
Thankfully, this year, I’ve been able to nag him to the point of picking an actual top five, so let’s get going with the top five songs of 2016.
Mr C’s top five songs of 2016
- Cheap Thrills, by Sia
- Without a Fight, by Brad Paisley feat. Demi Lovato
- Starving, by Hailee Steinfeld & Grey feat. Zedd
- Starboy, by The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk
- CAN’T STOP THE FEELING! by Justin Timberlake
Here’s the full shortlist, packed full of worthy songs – it’s been a good year for music I think!
Mr C’s top five films of 2016
- Eddie the Eagle
- The Man Who Knew Infinity
- Straight Outta Compton
- Bridge of Spies
- The Martian
We haven’t managed to watch as many films as we normally do in a year, so we’re just going to have to try harder in 2017. There are plenty of good films set to come out this year, so the next top five list might be a tough one!
Although I’ve stopped making specific New Year’s Resolutions (for the most part), there’s always one thing that I try and reboot each January 1st and that is being organised and staying productive. Whether it is trying out a new task list software, or actually finding a use for the notebooks I buy when I raid stationery shops, it is really difficult to end the year in the cool, calm state I start it.
This year’s ideas include the following:
- Having a list of smaller, repetitive tasks that I can do every day to stop them becoming a larger weekly chore.
- This post from Fast Company has some interesting ideas on it but the one that I find most inspiring is the second one. Picking just one goal for each day and getting it done. “By acknowledging I had limited time, limited bandwidth, and too much to do, and forcing myself to choose just one thing and getting it done every day, I wound up accomplishing some of my most important goals.”
- Mindfulness. With Apple introducing the Breathe app on the Watch, and mindfulness apps springing up all over the place, it’s hard to ignore. It’s one of those things that seems a bit odd (breathing helps? thanks for that) but those that do it really speak volumes of its benefits. There’s some tips in Tom Daley’s new book, which is worth a look.
- Do Nothing Days! I always have a bit of guilt when I’m not working flat out or being creative or working on my to do list. But sometimes you need time out, and if it’s scheduled in, then there’s no way I can feel guilt about that, right? It’s all part of the plan!
- Another good post I found is about the bad habits that need breaking. I definitely want to get a better sleep pattern going and maybe take a look at the multi-tasking thing. As everyone’s favourite guru Ron Swanson says: “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”
Here’s to a great year!
Over Christmas, the 80s TV show Pop Quiz returned for a two-part special, and it was brilliant! I’ve never heard of this show before, but was keen to give it a watch as it looked just like Question of Sport only about music. It even features genuine music acts, including Toyah Wilcox, some guy from Spandeau Ballet and other people I don’t know but who were a lot of fun.
I really enjoyed the intros round, as well as the “guess the song from the lyrics” round. It’s always amazing how hard it is when lyrics are taken out of context and read with the wrong rhythm.
Mr C loved it too, naturally, as music trivia is his thing. He particularly enjoyed the album covers round, guessing almost instantly that the close up of an ear belonged to Andrew Ridgeley of Wham fame.
I just think I need to ask some questions is all.
Anyway, the second part is next week and I hope it gets commissioned for more, because it’s fabulous.