Adventures in Tea… teapigs everyday brew taste test challenge

I spent March switching from my normal everyday tea to the teapigs everyday brew.

This is a great full leaf tea in a teabag. I love watching the leaves unfurl as I wait for it to brew and fill the teabag with the soaked leaves. It doesn’t get the powder at the bottom of the mug like other teabags and it tastes so much better. It is more subtle than ground up tea, but that means you don’t get the aftertaste that other teas can leave behind.

I would definitely switch to this all the time if it wasn’t for the cost compared to what you can get on offer at the supermarket. I know it’s not the same and no where near as good, but £9.95 for 50 teabags compared to as little as £1 for 80 is hard to justify when you are trying to spend carefully. Also I get free tea in work and make the most of this during the week. I worked out I would need two boxes of 50 to cover my tea drinking currently. I found I didn’t reduce the amount of mugs of tea I consumed as I thought I might. I like to drink a lot of tea during the day and do so instead of water most of the time. This could get costly.

My plan is to take advantage of the repeat delivery that teapigs offers which gives you a discount on every 3rd order. I will also keep this tea for at home and make sure of the work supply while at the office as this will be more economical and sustainable than trying to switch completely. I will also add the peppermint tea and matcha tea to my order as I also use these a lot as well.

Please note this tea and mug was sent to me for free by teapigs to take part in this challenge. All views are my own and I do not receive further advantages by taking part. I’ve bought teapigs several times in the past and love the tea and brand and will continue to buy the products myself in the future.

Life Lately = Busy!

Where has March gone already?! I can’t believe I haven’t posted since the 4th and now it’s the 28th!

It’s been a busy month and I haven’t had chance to think really. I’ve got a few posts I need to share and will be getting those up, even if some are just photo posts in the next week or so. But work has taken over my life and I don’t mind. I am enjoying what I am doing and am really pushing to get a step up later this year, so like being busy and challenging myself by taking on new projects. I’ve also been able to get out to some different sites this month, which has been great.

I’ve also had my 5th cold of the year and have been really frustrated about it. I have had some kind of illness since November and I am ready to be down, but I cannot seem to shake this last one and am still snivelling and coughing after a couple of weeks. I’ve let it eat into my training and be an excuse for not doing things. I’m pulling out of a triathlon I signed up for at the beginning of April and am changing my May one to a relay team. The only other one I have signed up for is the 70.3 and I am really not feeling it and am pretty certain I will be withdrawing as have not done a single bit of running in 3 weeks. I just need to make the decision for myself.

I have actually been doing a lot of thinking recently and have been making some changes to my behaviours to help myself and make my life what I want it to be. It’s not about being happy all the time, but rather content with my life and the decisions I make. So I’ve been inducing in some of my favourite past times recently:

TV – I’ve been watching The Blacklist & Grey’s Anatomy (season 9 onwards) and have been loving getting back involved with good TV. I admit I love watching a number of episodes in one go, rather than wait each week (yay for Sky Go box sets). My TV has been playing up so have mainly been streaming, but I finally got around to calling the aerial guys and that will be fixed next week!

Films – I’ve been taking advantage of my unlimited card this year and in March so far have seen Home, Chappie, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and Focus. I plan on going to see something tomorrow, but not sure what yet. I love my early afternoon visits to the cinema as there is usually hardly anyone there and I can book my favourite seat and enjoy some downtime.

Books – I haven’t been reading much this month, but have been listening to The Dresden Files and Sherlock Holmes audiobooks. I’ve got a few book reviews to post from February and plan on doing that over the next week or so. My plan is to spend more time reading as I really do miss it. I want to cut/focus my training time and have more free time to enjoy the things I love.

House – I have had a few quotes to get my garden paved over as all my grass is dead and I want somewhere I can relax and take the cats out into and clean my bikes. The firm I have chosen came round this morning to measure up and will be starting next week, which is way sooner than I expected, but fantastic as I will soon have an outside space I can use and enjoy properly for the summer.

So there has been a lot going on. It’s nice to sit and remind myself as I am prone to thinking I haven’t been doing enough, but it is more about doing the things I love doing and that is enough. The blog had to slide a bit, but I hope to get back on track in April and again focus on the things I love and enjoy.

Swimming – Video Analysis Session

So I had a video analysis session on my swimming last week and it was weird, but also really good and I think it is going to improve my swimming a lot this year.

I have taken a step back from triathlon over winter. There are various reasons why, but overall I am just not enjoying it any more. I’ve said it before, but if I hadn’t already signed up for the 70.3 I don’t think I would this year. However I am keeping going, but I have to have something I look forward to and for me that is swimming and getting back into open water swimming this year.

I treated myself to a coaching package from Jason at South West Swim. I’ve gone for the package that contains 2 video sessions and 4 121 sessions in the lake. It is really good as I can spread them out over the spring summer, so I feel like it value for money and although I paid upfront I get the benefit over the whole season.

This is for me to improve my swimming and work towards a 10k swim. The first video session was on Friday, but I’ve only just had time to go through the videos myself after the session. You basically get in and swim normally for 8 lengths and have it recorded from different angles. You then go through the video and pick out the bits you need to work on then go through some drills to help with those. There isn’t really much swimming involved, but the take away is more than I have ever had. The main things that have come out for me to work on right now are my hand entry/initial catch and my head position.

I’ve thrown in some screen shot of the session (I am definitely not linking to the video!)

So what am I am doing:

Hand Entry and Catch – I try to enter the water fingers first; the video shows that I don’t always manage that. So I have some new hand paddles from Finis (Freestyler) to help me with this. I then need to make sure my catch starts right away rather than pushing downwards. I need to be pushing the water backwards (or my body forwards) rather than up or down. This has probably stemmed from a tendency to over reach.  Both of these I can work on in my normal sessions.

Head Position – I am holding my head slightly too high, which is causing my feet to drop below the water and causing me to drag my body. All in all I am making it more difficult for myself. So I am tweaking my head position by using my eyes and adjusting where I am looking when I swim. I am looking too far forward, so I need to bring it back a bit. This again can be done in my normal swim sessions and it just about reminding myself about what I am looking at.

My personal goal for this year is also to get my bilateral breathing a habit, rather than something I have to concentrate on all the time. I would like to be able to get stronger with it and be able to keep it up while I swim further and get tired. This will be helped by the above technique adjustments so I see it as a complimentary practice.

Overall this was a brilliant session and I have already been practicing the above. It is really weird watching the videos back though as we recorded our conversation over it and then Jason added more commentary and advice to the drills video. I went to the 220 Triathlon Show at the weekend and treated myself to some new hand paddles (as well as a Dryrobe!) so feel really motivated to get practicing and get back in the lake. My other big purchase I need to make is a new swimming specific wetsuit.

I also want to get more involved in the open water community and get to know people at the lake who I saw last year, but didn’t do anything more than say hi or have a quick chat to. There are lots of othe revents and activities I want to get involved in this summer with open water swimming nd joining the community up my local lake with help with that.

Adventures in Tea… teapigs everyday brew taste test

A tea filled March is ahead and I love it already.

teapigs kindly sent me over some everyday brew and an everyday brew themed mug to take part in their everyday brew campaign real tea taste test. I am switching my normal tea (usually whatever is offer at the time I need to stock up) and having the everyday brew instead for two weeks!

teapigs

I started yesterday on the 1st and I already love it!

The tea is very different from the standard tea bags you get. It proper full leaf tea, not some semi powdered stuff and you taste the difference. This does mean it comes with a slightly higher price tag. I’ve always saved teapigs as a treat tea and have it every so often, rather than all the time and this is all to do with cost. However I am willing to experiment and see if quality can win out quantity. I hope that I can switch to having less cups of much better tea it will make it balance out and be economical for me to continue with after the campaign.

I have already noticed a difference. The tea is much less dusty and tastes lovely through the whole cup, with none of the bitter residue the tea I’ve been drinking leaves behind. Someone also made me a cup of tea at work using the normal bags we get supplied and I it was a completely different taste! The one we get in work I’ve always thought was quite good, but when you taste it pretty much side by side you notice the difference straight away. It’s quite eye opening!

So for the next two weeks follow me here, on twitterInstagram, and Tumblr to see how I get on switching my everyday tea to everyday brew!

 

Life update

The blog has had to a backseat these last few weeks as life has been super busy. I think 2015 is going to be about quality over quantity in general, not just the blog, but also training and how I use my time.

Big news time!

I am now a qualified level 1 swimming teacher!

I spent last week in Bristol on my swim teaching course with a great group of people and a great course tutor from the Institute of Swimming.  I chose to do the intense course for my level 1 as I need to do this in order to do my level 2 course, which is what my swimming club really need me to have. It was a full on week of learning and teaching crash course kids lessons on top of commuting to Bristol. The course is all about how you assist a level 2 teacher, but we still had to write lesson plans and evaluations and were taking the swimming lessons in pairs. It was good fun as well as information overload. With swimming, like any sport, it is all about safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. It is serious and can have serious consequences, therefore keeping yourself safe as a teacher is also extremely important.

I have decided to focus my efforts and spare time on developing my swimming skills and that means my teaching/coaching skills as well. I thought about continuing my triathlon coaching, but it is not where my full interest lies. Swimming is my passion and where I want to learn and challenge myself.

Later this week I am having a video analysis session to look at my front crawl and learn what I need to do to become a better open water swimmer. I have saved up my pennies and splashed out on this and a follow up session including 4 121 lake sessions with my coach. I will let you know how it goes!

I want to do more swimming focused posts to share my love and hopefully point people to some good resources out there. I’ve been looking at Critical Swim Speed training (CSS) for myself and think I’ll do a post on that once I’ve got my head around it as well as share more about my club training.

I’m still not where I want to be mentally when it comes to the 70.3 triathlon, but I am enjoying my swimming and cycling. At the moment I hate running and I know it is all down to my weight. I’ve reached out to some people in the running club for support and will continue to work on this aspect of my life so it complements my training.

Life is full on at the moment and that is okay. As long as I make time for myself to unwind everything is good.

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