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Here at Ringtons, we are filled with Christmas spirit, and we want to make sure that our customers are feeling the festive magic too. This is why we have put together a handy guide filled with all of our favourite hints and tips for getting into the Christmas spirit. So sit back, relax and enjoy our festive guide with your favourite cup of tea.

12 WAYS TO GET INTO THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

Are you struggling to get into the Christmas spirit? Here are twelve ways to feel fun and festive in the run-up to the big day.

1. Christmas Movies 

Our first step to getting into the Christmas spirit is to, of course, get the festive films playing. Whether you sit down with a bowl of popcorn and a warming tea or pop them on in the background while you tick off your to-do list, a classic Christmas movie is the perfect way to fan the flames of your festive cheer. 

2. Festive Countdown

Everyone needs a Christmas advent calendar to count down the days in December. No matter your age, festive cheer is for everybody! But if you’re looking for something that little bit more festive, then why not create your own advent calendar, whether it’s for yourself or a loved one? 

Make an advent calendar filled with your favourite things and add a mixture of Ringtons tea, biscuits and treats for a festive gift that keeps on giving. This is the perfect way to pick you up each day in the winter season. 

3. Bakes and Cakes 

Fill the house with merry smells by making mince pies, a Christmas cake or a classic Christmas pudding. You can enjoy these Christmas treats all season long and always have a tasty dessert on hand for unexpected guests popping over for a cuppa and catch-up. The sweet scent of baked goods is a subtle and relaxing way to ease into the Christmas spirit.

4. Magical Decorating 

When it comes to decorating, we believe the more tinsel and sparkle, the better! Whether you do it all in one go or take your time adding a decoration here and there, the magic of transforming your home for the Christmas season is a sure-fire way to spread cheer throughout your home to get the whole family feeling the magic. 

Don’t forget to brew everyone their favourite cup of tea or a festive hot chocolate to keep the mood light, as we all know tensions can run high when everybody gets involved!

5. Enjoy a Christmas Beverage 

Nothing says Christmas like a glass of mulled wine, Advocaat or a warm mug of spiced tea. You can enjoy a Christmas beverage any time and place, so pop some spiced tea in your bag to enjoy in the office, at a friend’s or on the go. Don’t forget to add candy canes, biscuits or a jewel wrapped chocolate on the side for extra Christmas cheer. We think our spiced Christmas tea goes best with a stick of cinnamon! 

6. Visit a Christmas Market 

Now, we know that the hustle and bustle of Christmas days out are not for everyone, but if you loved being amongst the crowds, sharing laughter and enjoying the sounds of carol singers, then you will love a traditional Christmas market. From arts and crafts handmade with love to sweet treats that are perfect for gifting, for many, a Christmas market is the dream place for finding surprise stocking fillers. 

7. Wear a Christmas Jumper

Cute, classic or funny, you’ll be sure to raise a smile and help spread the Christmas cheer with a festive jumper. Whether in the office, running errands or cosy days at home, we don’t think a Christmas jumper should be limited to just one day a year. So, start wearing them now and feel the Christmas spirit with this unofficial uniform for the season. 

8. Christmas Shopping 

If you’re anything like our team at Ringtons, you find joy in giving Christmas presents rather than receiving. Though we may get stressed trying to find the perfect gifts, once you have found them, the feeling of accomplishment is one to savour and enjoy. If you’re stuck on ideas, you can’t go wrong with a Christmas gift from Ringtons, or why not create your own hamper style gift with an assortment of our most popular teas, coffees and biscuits available?

9. Listen to Christmas Songs

Do you start blasting the Christmas songs in November? Or do you think the festive tunes should be reserved for the big day only? Whether you love or loathe them, putting on your favourite Christmas album will not only fill yourself but your home, car or office with joy. Turn the volume up and have a good old singalong!

10. Wrap Up & Add a Bow

Those festive scenes and the thought of your loved ones opening their gifts will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So, take the stress out of wrapping up presents and gifts by taking your time with doing a small number each week. This way, you will have more time and energy to add that extra flourish and finishing touch to each present with ribbons, bows and tags.

11. Tour the Best of the Decorated Houses

Get the whole family into the festive spirit by touring the neighbourhood glittering displays. Some people go all out, lighting up their houses and gardens with inflatable Santas, lit up snowmen and flashing lights. So, why not show your appreciation by leaving a donation in their charity collection box if they have one. Or think of games for the whole family to get involved in as you walk, such as the first person to spot a candy cane or sprig of mistletoe? 

Just don’t forget to wrap up warm and consider filling a flask with hot chocolate to keep you all moving. 

12. Enjoy the Party 

Whether it’s with your friends, family or work colleagues, wear a silly hat, pull crackers and tell bad jokes. It’s all part of the fun in the festive season, so don’t be afraid to go all out for this year’s party celebrations! Our golden rule for being the perfect party guest is never to show up empty-handed, bring an assortment of Ringtons treats for the guests, or a gift hamper for the host with the most, and then you can enjoy the party!

Get in the Christmas Spirit with Ringtons

Now you have read through our top tips for feeling the Christmas spirit this holiday season, don’t forget to relax and enjoy the little moments too. These are sometimes our favourite and most treasured memories, after all. Find the perfect Christmas presents in our wide range of hampers and gift sets also available online now, and explore the best gifts for tea lovers guide online now.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a coffee harvest in action to get a true picture of the taste and quality of the year’s crop, which is why our Green Coffee Buyer and QC Manager Sadie reminisces on travelling to Brazil in 2019 to meet some of our producers.

Needless to say, it was a very busy and fruitful trip (pardon the pun) with Sadie travelling from farms to cupping labs to processing stations and meeting the people behind the coffee as she went.

Heading to origin is always exciting and inspiring, so here we challenged Sadie to pick out the three things that she loved most about the trip:

Shipments of coffee from a cooperative I visited in Brazil frequently make its way to the Port of Tyne, which is a pretty cool thought. From here, we blend, roast, pack and deliver it to our customers to enjoy across the country. Having seen the coffee production myself up close in Brazil, the sheer size and scale of coffee growing never ceases to amaze me. Being able to track the process, getting to know the people behind the scenes and to witness all the hard work that goes into growing and producing the coffee that ultimately ends up in your cup, is fascinating.

I mused in a previous blog (click here to read) that coffee is a constant education. Its journey is so complex and touches the lives of so many people, from the tired mum drinking her instant coffee at 5am to the small holder farmers handpicking their coffee cherries in the rolling hills. It connects people from all across the globe and is always full of surprises – origin trips continue to remind me of this.

It was great to see producers taking control and making decisions to overcome the challenges currently faced in coffee production. Minas Gerais, the region we visited is prolific for cultivating the varietal Mundo Novo, which is a high yielding coffee plant but vulnerable to pests and weather patterns. Rain and temperature triggers coffee plants to flower, which results in coffee cherries that contain two coffee beans/seeds within them. If rainfall is erratic multiple flowerings can occur, meaning that by the time harvest comes around the tree contains fruit which has ripened at different times, leading to unripe and overripe cherries on the same branch. This then leads to a reduction in the quality. In addition, cold weather during this time can also be a threat, as leaves are susceptible to rust brought on by harsh frosts, which can stall the development of the coffee cherry and in extreme cases, stop the tree flowering completely that year.

I was encouraged to see many farms are looking to the future by introducing Arara as an alternative varietal. One of the benefits is that it tends to flower fairly slowly, meaning cherries ripen more steadily but it’s higher yielding. It also is proving to be hardier than Mundo Novo and more resistant to disease and rust. Plus, the flavour qualities are proving to be excellent, so it is no surprise on many of the farms I visited, I saw nurseries full of Arara, rather than Mundo Novo.

Brazil has benefitted hugely from a national programme of agricultural research carried out by the Agronomic Institute of Campinas (IAC). This has allowed scientists to invest in coffee plant research, which they can then roll out across the country to support producers.

The need for a collective, collaborative and inclusive approach led to the development of World Coffee Research in 2012, which works with the in-country organisations to focus on specific problems their coffee industry faces – whether it be choosing the right variety of coffee to grow, or how to reduce the impact of plant disease. Ringtons have pledged to support this work by joining its Check Off program. 

I have to say the hospitality on this trip was incredible – the people I met throughout my time in Brazil were warm and welcoming…and even better, I was treated to some delicious food… I still can’t stop thinking about the p֮ao de queijo (Brazilian cheese breads)!

It’s always great to meet people who are just as passionate about coffee as me, I really can’t wait for the next trip.

Want to read more about Sadie’s trip? Read the travel diary here: https://ringtons.co.uk/blog/ringtons-travel-diaries-sadies-south-american-coffee-conquest/

In these strange and unprecedented times when we are experiencing such a dramatic change in the way we live our lives, it is normal for us to sometimes feel anxious and sad.

It is important, now more than ever to focus on the positive things in our lives. When we can’t control so many aspects of life we need to look at the things we can make an impact on.

One thing we do have is more time. We can use this time to do many positive things. Here are some of my top-tips for taking care of your mental well being over the next few weeks…

A new routine for everyone…

We are all at home, so now’s the time for a new routine and structure to daily life. Set a plan for each day and try to stick to it as much as possible. It’s important to be mindful of each family member when setting a new routine, to ensure everyone’s needs are met and we’re all happy! We can use this close proximity and time spent with loved ones to develop and make better connections, improve intimacy strengthen relationships. If you live alone, this is the perfect time to get to know YOU and look after yourself a little more.

Me time/self care…

Even within a busy family home, time to yourself is essential. I find being very honest about my needs helps me not feel overwhelmed by other people needing too much from me. It is a good for us all to have a bit of alone time and to not feel guilty about that. Running is an easy way to physically and mentally get away, but choose an activity you love. It is good to tell your family what you need. It’s not about getting away from them, it’s about caring for yourself. This may be as simple as reading a book, having a bath or having a cup of tea in the garden by yourself.

Physical Activity…

Exercising is great for your mental and physical well being. Make sure everyone in your household has daily physical activity. Also schedule outside time being in nature and sunlight is needed for melatonin levels to help sleep and mood.

Nutrition…

Food has a big impact on mood. Be mindful of what you eat, when you eat and how you eat. Try to eat un-processed food and as much fruit and vegetables as you can. Keep hydrated with water and tea. Avoiding caffeine after 2pm can also help promote good sleep.

Sleep…

We have more time to sleep, so enjoy it. Spend more time in bed. Having a set time of when you go to bed and get up can be helpful for a good body clock, promoting a healthy sleep pattern. It’s a fact that most people do not get enough sleep and sleep is the most important thing you can do for your body. Your body heals when you sleep. Why not use this time to establish good sleep routine? Your body and mind will thank you for it. Bedtime can be a relaxing time too. Turn off your devices, don’t watch tv, read a book, listen to an audio book or use this time to really connect with your partner.

Connection…

Staying connected with friends and family is vital. We are social creatures. Use technology as much as you can to help with this, things like: phones, computers and apps like facetime, zoom and house party can all be great ways to stay in touch while you can’t be in the same room as your loved ones. Keep talking it is the best therapy we have. Use this time to make your relationships stronger with your Friends and Family.

Technology…

While technology is great for keeping in touch, it is also important to have time away from technology too. We can have information over load. We can have too much blue light. It is addictive and we all need to police ourselves on this front. Have time away from your phone everyday. I turn mine off at 9pm and I don’t allow phones in bedrooms in my house.

Goal setting…

At this time we have no plans. All plans have been cancelled indefinitely. This can be very hard to cope with but we can still set goals and micro goals. I like to have a plan and goals. We can still use this time to get fitter, to cook more, to spring clean the house, to learn a new skill, to make those photo albums you have been meaning to do since Christmas. Even to meet a future partner or find out information for a future venture. This could be your time to do something that will be amazing and fulfilling. Change your attitude and you can change your outlook.

Gratitude…

It’s important to remember that this is a huge moment in all our lives. Not many people in the world will not be affected by this global pandemic. We are all suffering in different ways but we are in this together. Be kind to each other and feel grateful for everything you do have. Write a list everyday of things you feel grateful for. This could be as simple as the sun being out that day or the love you feel for you children. We all have many many things to feel grateful for everyday. Focus on them and on helping others, it will help you feel joyful.

Home schooling and even just having kids at home can be a challenge at the best of times… So while we’re all spending more time at home, I find that exercise is very much needed to help the kids concentrate and let off some steam. As habit is created through routine, so structuring each day with time for exercise is really important. In this blog, I’ve outlined some of my top tips for keeping the kids active while they’re at home…

I am giving my kids one session first thing with a little help from technology… We are watching the Youtube live session by The Body Coach, Joe Wicks. It’s a live PE session for kids and a new episode goes live each day at 9am. It’s fun, it’s free and it gets my kids going for the day ahead. To try some of Joe’s workouts for yourself, click here to head over to his Youtube channel.

As the weather begins to get a little better and we can spend more time outside, garden games with whatever you have available are a great way to keep the kids active.

Balls are what my boys love, they play a lot of football and cricket and love basket ball and hockey too; but anything competitive gets the best out of my kids!

We do circuit training most days and they love to be timed or race each other doing hurdles and shuttle runs. To help we have we have cones and a catching net, but feel free to get creative, you can easily improvise with whatever you have around the house!

My kids also like to practice techniques and drills in the garden and we are also doing an afternoon session of circuits or football. This helps to get them focused on whatever the afternoon’s lessons or activities may be.

They also love bike rides and scooting, even if it’s just around the garden. It’s worth investing in some garden games like swing ball, skittles, french boules or mini trampolines – remember ordering online is a great way to stock up while many of the local shops are shut.

At the weekends we are venturing out and going for family walks. Getting outside in nature is good for all of us and the kids love it too!

Keeping the little ones entertained can be challenging when every activity needs to be house-based. I’ve found the simplest hacks are often the best way to keep little ones entertained. I’ve outlined some of my favourite ideas below…

  • Make a sand pit or a water table which the little ones are sure to love.
  • Painting on the patio with water and paint brushes is also a sure winner.
  • Role play games like pretending to have a garden café.
  • Take the paints outside and set up an art corner in the garden.
  • Looking for things in nature or seeing how many different flowers they can spot while on a walk. My kids love taking a jar to collect bugs or even picking up litter. If you can make it into a game and it keeps them amused.
  • Oh and everyone loves an Easter egg hunt, (perfect for this weekend) or a treasure hunt. This can be inside or outside.
  • My kids still love playing hide and seek too!

While we’re all at home during the day, I like the idea of getting the kids to help with chores. These might include: gardening, tidying up inside or outside, baking or even getting the kids to help with dinner! Mine like to do the dishes and use the hoover!

We love doing arts and crafts as a family, its a great way to focus the mind and is a real outlet for creativity in kids. I find many of my ideas online and try to mix up the crafts as much as possible, places like Pinterest are great for this too and remember to share your ideas with your friends!

I love any excuse to be creative and so do the kids, so things like singing, dancing and laughing are a great way to express yourself and all feel like therapy at the moment.

It’s so important to keep each others spirits up and for me, fun needs to be the most important part of the activity!

I hope you’ve found these tips for keeping active with the kids at home helpful, remember to keep checking Ringtons social media channels for more updates from me and lots of other tips to help you during this time. Let’s all #StayHomeWithRingtons

In our latest edition of Tea Break, we featured a mouth-watering picture of Julie’s tempting tiffin treats made with our very own Ginger Snaps. After being inundated with requests for the recipe, we got in touch with Julie and we’re delighted that we can now share her recipe with you – Enjoy!

Don’t forget, if you make a batch, take a picture, upload it to social media and tag us in your post, using #RingtonsRecipes

Julie’s recipe:

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 100g butter
  • 300g milk chocolate, broken into pieces (1/2 for the tiffin, half for the top)
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 300g pack Ringtons Ginger Snaps
  • 200g punnet cherries, 12 reserved, rest destalked, pitted and halved
  • 75g white chocolate, broken up

Method:

First things first, line a 20cm square baking tin with baking parchment and set aside for later.

Now, put your butter, 150g milk chocolate and the golden syrup into a saucepan and melt over a low heat, stirring all the time. Once the mixture has melted, allow to cool whilst you work on the Ginger Snaps.

Put half the Ginger Snaps into a food processor and blitz to a fine crumb. Then, add the rest of the biscuits and pulse into larger pieces.

Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, put the biscuits into a sandwich bag or between a clean tea towel and beat with a rolling pin until crumbled to the right texture.  

Next, put the Ginger Snaps into a large mixing bowl and pour over the melted chocolate mix. Combine. Spoon the chocolatey ginger mix into your baking tin, filling right into the corners and make sure the top is even too. 

To top the tiffin, melt the white chocolate and remaining 150g milk chocolate in separate bowls, either over boiling water or in the microwave. Once melted, take the milk chocolate and spread it over the top of the tiffin. Then, drizzle over the white chocolate. Using a skewer, get creative, and loosely mix the chocolates together to create an eye-catching pattern. Place the cherries on top.

Chill your tiffin in the fridge for at least two hours. In the meantime, we think you’ve earned a treat. So, put your feet up and enjoy a cup of Ringtons tea with a rogue Ginger Snap whilst you wait.

Once the tiffin is nicely chilled cut it into 12 squares.

The tiffin will last up to a week stored in the fridge. But we warn you, in our experience, it’s gone within days or even hours – it’s an absolutely perfect afternoon treat to be nibbled alongside a comforting cup of tea.

Tres Leches Cake is traditionally a Latin dessert made with three (tres) kinds of milk (leche) – hence the name! This recipe makes 12 squares but you can easily double the weights if you’re catering for a larger crowd. Share your photos with us on social media and make sure to tag @Ringtons. Intensify the summery flavour with a cup of Strawberries and Cream infusion.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

113g unsalted butter, softened

200g caster sugar

5 eggs

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

200g self raising flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

 

For the milk mixture:

295ml milk

120ml double cream

397g tin condensed milk

170g tin evaporated milk

 

For the topping:

300ml double cream

50g caster sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

227g strawberries

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 20x30cm baking tin. To make the cake, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs, stirring after each addition. Stir in vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt until combined. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, pierce all over with a fork.
  2. To make the milk mixture, whisk milk, double cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk until blended. Pour evenly over the cake and chill overnight.
  3. To make the topping, whip double cream until firm, stir in sugar and vanilla. Spread over chilled cake and decorate with strawberries before cutting into squares.

 

*Note: This recipe makes 12 squares

 

Recipe by Kate Simmons for Ringtons.

 

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