BREW MONDAY SAMARITANS AWARENESS DAY 18th JANUARY…

Samaritans Brew Monday will kick off on 18 January, the third Monday in January, which is usually known as ‘Blue Monday’. They will be turning this day on its head and into something positive by encouraging people to get together over a warming virtual cuppa.

Reach out to a friend, family member or colleague for a virtual cuppa and a chat. It doesn’t have to be a Monday or a cup of tea, just taking time to really listen to another person could help them work through what’s on their mind. ​

Because now more than ever, sharing a cuppa is more than a drink – it’s about reaching out, checking in and staying connected.

Have a Brew Monday, any Monday, or a day that’s good for you.

Here are a few ways you can connect virtually:

  • Group audio/video calling is available on Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp (up to 4 people on a call) and Facebook messenger.
  • A phone call or conference call can work just as well for connecting with people, especially for those not comfortable on camera.

And don’t forget, if you use your virtual get-together to raise money for Samaritans, you’ll help give people having a tough time somewhere to turn when they need to talk. Just £5 can help the Samaritans answer a call for help.

Want to fundraise?

Stay connected, get everyone together for a virtual cuppa and raise money for Samaritans.

Have a Brew Monday….

Every seven seconds, Samaritans answer a call for help.

They are there, day or night, for anyone who’s struggling to cope, who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure.

Samaritans is not only for the moment of crisis, they are taking action to prevent the crisis.

They give people ways to cope and the skills to be there for others. And they encourage, promote and celebrate those moments of connection between people that can save lives.

They offer listening and support to people and communities in times of need.

In prisons, schools, hospitals and on the rail network, Samaritans are working with people who are going through a difficult time and training others to do the same.

Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy, and Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide.

That’s why they work tirelessly to reach more people and make suicide prevention a priority.

Read more about our vision, mission and values.

During 2018, more than 20,000 people volunteered their time for Samaritans:

  • more than 17,000 trained listening volunteers responded to calls for help
  • 2,200 volunteers supported the running of our 201 branches
  • more than 1,200 people in prisons volunteered as trained Listeners providing peer support.

Read more about Samaritans’ structure and how their volunteers, staff and branches work together.

7 WAYS TO HELP YOU WITH VEGANUARY…

Are you struggling with ideas for Veganuary? I think most of us are struggling with everything at the moment so here are some tips to help you win with Veganuary. In Dr. Vegan’s article, plant-based nutritionist Riya Lakhani (ANutr), has put together some easy hacks to help you get the most out of plant-based eating.

When putting together your shopping list, plan your meals in advance to help you keep your meal choices varied and nutritionally sound. Your grocery list should contain the following:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables. No rules here but try butternut squash, pomegranates and sweet potatoes
  • Carbohydrate sources including oats, rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta and noodles
  • Protein sources such as kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas and lentils 
  • Healthy fat sources including nuts and chia seeds, avocados and nut butters
  • Refrigerated foods including tofu, tempeh, seitan, plant-based milks
  • Sauces and condiments including tomato sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, mustard and chilli sauce
  • Cupboard staples including coconut milk, coconut flour, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, nutritional yeast, herbs and spices

There are some delicious recipes to inspired you like Avocado Spinach Whole-Grain Toast

 Veggie Stir-fried Noodles

or Thai Green Curry with Tofu and Broccoli Florets

You can find lots of ideas on Dr. Vegan’s site which sell higher quality, naturally sourced, and plant-based supplements that really work. Made in the UK, Dr. Vegan’s products are naturally sourced and plant-based, more absorbable, and contain zero animal products or any nasty additives. 

NEW WAYS FOR USED TEA LEAVES AND TEA BAGS…


These green tips on used tea leaves is from the site Green Living Tips which explains about how tea can affect the environment, and a few extra tips from One Good Thing website.

Uses for used tea leaves and tea bags…

  • If you do use tea bags, instead of throwing them into your household trash bin – they can be composted or added to a worm farm.
  • I’ve seen dried tea leaves suggested as an incense (although in my opinion, burning tea leaves smell pretty bad)
  • Burning tea leaves is said to repel mosquitos
  • Dried tea leaves can absorb moisture in cupboards and odors in refrigerators
  • Tea leaves sprinkled in kitty litter can help reduce smell
  • Remove oil from pots and pans without impacting on their “seasoned” aspects
  • Dried tea leaves can sop up oil spills in the kitchen.
  • Soak old tea bags in melted wax to make firelighters
  • You can use the leaves from a tea bag to freshen up your carpets! Just allow a tea bag to dry out, then remove the leaves. Stir the leaves into a big handful of baking soda, then sprinkle the mixture over dingy or smelly spots on your carpet. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, then vacuum the area thoroughly.
  • Re-brew used tea bags to refresh parched skin. Allow the tea to cool, then pour it into a spray or squeeze bottle. Then just spritz it onto your skin or apply with a cotton pad.

These stunning used tea bags art which I wrote about earlier in the year I found on Pinterest are totally unique. There is even a book of some of these images by Ruby Silvious – 363 Days of Tea. A Visual Journey on used tea bags.

In 2016, Ruby also worked on “52 Weeks of Tea” and “26 Days of Tea in Japan,” created during her art residency at Studio Kura in Itoshima. This collection reflects a mix of ancient and contemporary style and inspiration.

More recently she created paintings based on art masterpieces such as Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid” and “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter,” as submissions to the 2017 International Rijksstudio Award.

A GREAT GIFT FOR CHRISTMAS – YOUR OWN TEA PLANT TO GROW YOUR OWN TEA…

Grow Your Own Tea Plant

Not On The High Street have a great Grow Your Own Tea plant Kit for £17.95 which would make a great Christmas gift for any tea lover.

These amazing kits have all you need to grow your own tea plant at home. Harvest and dry the leaves for the ultimate in homegrown tea.

Whether a keen gardener or someone who enjoys herbal tea, there’s nothing more satisfying than growing your own chamomile flowers and drinking some tea you’ve brewed at home.

Our Grow your own tea kit has been specifically designed to the highest quality.

A greenhouse, conservatory or even a sunny window are all adequate to grow this amazing plant.

Inside the Tea Plant Kit are two large terracotta-coloured small plant pots (one 9cm tall, the other 6cm tall), one saucer (9cm in diameter), two professional grow pelles, two plant pot trays, two wooden label sticks and your tea plant seeds. An instruction sheet is also included on how to grow and take care of your new arrival. Their seeds have a shelf life of 12-18 months.

We are not talking about herbal teas either, but real tea: Camellia sinensis. You don’t need a large garden to grow your own tea, a planter on a balcony would work just fine.

‘You could try growing Camellia sinensis in a greenhouse, or in a pot that you can bring indoors during cold winters.

The Camellia sinensis plant is a small shrub about 1-2 meters in height, though it will grow taller if you don’t prune it. In the fall, your tea shrub will flower with small white blossoms that have a delightful scent. These plants are often grown as ornamentals. For planting, Camellia sinensis likes well-drained and sandy soil that is on the acidic side. If you are going to grow your tea in a container, add some sphagnum moss to the potting mix. You’ll need some patience, too. Your plant should be around 3 years old before you start harvesting leaves.

A great site with all the details on growing your own tea is ‘Guide to Growing Tea’, and you might be able to get seeds at your local nursery or try online at Amazon.

From that plant, you could make black, green or oolong tea. Fascinating stuff and for all us tea lovers, its another thing we can try growing in the garden.