Our tips to make 2018 the Best Year Yet

If you’re anything like us, 2017 flashed before our eyes. We’re pretty sure that 2018 is going to be the same, if not even faster! It’s too easy to get caught in the whirlwind of life, without actually taking a moment to stop and look at where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going. We have put together a few things we’ll be doing to make 2018 the best year yet.

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Set Achievable Goals

All the discussion around new year goals and resolutions of course is motivational, but the questions is, how many people stick to the promises they make to themselves? We’ll be happy to make it halfway through February sticking to what we thought would be our new way of living. The problem with all these promises, restrictions and changes is that if we don’t stick to them and fail, it can make us feel pretty down in the dumps.

Taking time to sit down with a cup of tea and building a plan of action is not just therapeutic, but it will take some of that lingering new year weight off your shoulders. Write down your big goal for 2018 at the top of your piece of paper. Underneath it, write down five smaller goals that you need to do to achieve it. Then set each of these smaller goals a deadline and you may want to add some bullet points of how exactly you will achieve them.

These smaller goals seem much less daunting and much more achievable, especially when they have a deadline. Each week you can look back at your plan and cross off what you have done to get that real sense of achievement. This will motivate you even more when you see you are actually getting closer to achieving your goal.

 

Practice Mindfulness

The turn of a new year is not just a time to make improvements and adjustments, but also time to get a little selfish too. Concentrating on your own mind and personal wellbeing will give you the energy needed to get through the last of the winter months.

Here at Devonshire Tea we thrive off the lovely fresh air and nature that Devon offers us. For us, there’s nothing better than tying on the walking boots, making a flask of hot tea and hitting the South West Coast Path. Taking 30 minutes out of your day regularly to get moving is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of family and work life.

Whether it’s a gentle walk with the dog or a quick cycle into town, it will give you the boost of energy you deserve, whilst giving your mind the time and space to relax and wander. The Headspace app is a great way of introducing meditation into your daily routine. Meditation has been proven to help people stress less, focus more and even sleep better, and this app guides you gently through the process, working with whatever time you have to spare.

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Stay Hydrated

It goes without saying that drinking enough water throughout the day will help keep energy levels on a high. If you’re someone who struggles to drink enough, setting reminders or alarms are a wonderful way to keep on top of hydration. There are some great apps out there which remind you to keep hydrated too.

You could also invest in a water bottle with marked hourly hydration targets like this. Remember that all drinks, including tea and coffee, contribute your recommended 8 glasses a day. So, what are you waiting for? Go and stick the kettle on!

 

Drying Out?

A stiff drink when you get home after a long day helps you to unwind and relax, but having alcohol in the system does make it harder to sleep and may make you a little slower the next day. Also, have you noticed how much more time you’ve got now you’re not on the booze? For those of you battling your way through what might seem the longest and most boring month in the calendar, we have found some great tasting non-alcoholic tipples to get you through the detoxing month.

We’ve found that switching up our usual “gin o’clock” to “iced tea time” has been a fantastic way of quenching thirst whilst curing that want for something tasty to sip on. Simply brew the teabags in the fridge overnight in cold water and add a slice of lemon – our Earl Grey Tea works particularly well for this. Hot drinks have been proven to help relax and prepare the body for sleep, so pop the kettle on, get in your pajamas and grab that book you’ve been meaning to finish.

We’re also loving Devon-based Luscombe’s tasty and natural range of mixers, juices and tonics, especially their Sparkling Elderflower and Hot Ginger Beer! If you’re feeling nifty, you can enjoy one of their delicious new Elderflower tonics or what we like to call a “T&T”, it’ll really trick you into thinking there’s some gin in there.

 

Healthy Eating

After a good two weeks of eating every festive treat in sight, it can be hard not to feel the slightest bit of guilt. With the harsh prospect of finding the motivation to get back on track as well having to go back to work, it can all get a bit too much. Solutions like weekly meal plans are great way to help you stick to your new personal diet goals.

Meal plans aren't just solutions to the problem of needing to eat the right food and decrease snacking, but making and planning meals is also an expression of creativity. Kitchen chalk boards can be the perfect addition to a family home and a brilliant way of getting the whole family involved. It’s a fun method for slowly introducing and controlling certain foods that your children are eating, helping them to cut down on saturated fats and instead incorporate new and exciting ingredients which are tasty, healthy and nutritional.

 

#inspirationAbby Millar
Inspiration: Crafty Homemade Gift Wrapping

With less than a week to go until the big day, we have found the perfect gift wrapping trends for you this season. Why not give some of these a try this week? Be sure to tag us!

 

Nautical Style

We have a fond love for the seaside here in Devon, so it’s not surprising we love the idea of incorporating coastal treasures into gift wrapping.

This style is classic but with a nautical edge, perfect for any time of the year. Whether it’s a piece of delicate coral or seashells, this is a great way to add subtle, sophisticated features to a special gift.

To finish, why not add a pop of colour? Green coastal foliage like pine or dried seaweed is a lovely way of adding more tones to a neutral colour scheme.

 

Free Hand

We love the simplicity of this trend. It’s fun, it’s creative and kid-friendly too.

Hand drawn illustrations are a personal way of adding something “homemade” to a heartfelt gift. You can even make the illustrations relevant to that person and their interests!

Find some festive metallic pens, turn the Christmas carols on and get crafty with the kids in the run up to Christmas.

 

Go Bold

Christmas wrapping doesn't have to be the same old red, gold and green. As you can probably tell, we love a splash of colour here at Devonshire Tea!

Why not go that little bit extra this year and add vibrant colours to your gifts? Using bright coloured tissue paper against a neutral base such as brown parcel wrapping paper creates a young, fun and playful style.

 

Pom Poms

From pom pom earings to pom pom sandals, we’ve seen these homemade balls of yarn everywhere this year.

Colourful, nostalgic and not to mention super easy to make, pom poms paired with a plain background such as white tissue paper silver foil paper or brown parcel wrap is a fun way of adding some love to your festive gift wrapping.

You can even add a sparkly thread to make them even more festive! Don't know how to make them? Click here for a tutorial.

@ Mollie Makes

@ Mollie Makes

 

Natural Rustic

This theme is similar to the Nautical style, but this time we head away from the coast and head into the forest.

Gift tags don't always have to be made from paper, why not find an old leaf to write on with silver pen? Step out of the shops and immerse yourself in nature, whilst collecting some of the natural treasures it has to offer.

We love the concept of using pinecones, leaves and twigs to spruce up your winter gifts. The colours from your findings paired with rugged string or twine creates a rustic Scandinavian style, a trend we love which has been extremely popular this year.

 

Furoshiki

Why not try something new this season? Let us introduce you to Furoshiki, Japanese fabric wrapping.

The main concept is to eliminate the use of wrapping paper and instead make beautiful wrapping from fabric. We couldn’t back this more! Not only does it last for years, it is much more eco-friendly, and in the long run, is much more economical.

Using a variation of colours and prints, Furoshiki is an innovative and planet-friendly way to wrap your gifts this winter. For a step by step guide click here.

#inspirationAbby Millar
Recipe & Gift Idea — Homemade Sloe Gin

It’s that time of the year again where the dreaded words "holly", "turkey", and "presents" are starting to make an appearance.

Unless you fall under the age of adolescence, this time of the year can become a little bit of a drag – full of worry, stress, and copious amounts of wrapping paper – no wonder we swear by the words, "Eat, drink, and be merry!" during this season!

Sloe gin has made a huge comeback over recent years. It’s extremely easy to make and it can taste out-of-this-world if left to steep for long enough. Taking the steps to make your very own sloe gin requires minimal effort for maximum reward.

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Small bottles of homemade sloe gin tied with a little ribbon make the cutest gifts, and the act of making it will help you get into the spirit without the stress of the high streets. We guarantee it’ll soon become an annual ritual.

This autumn we took time out of our daily grind and headed up onto Dartmoor to start picking our wild sloes. With the fresh, crisp air and those beautiful moorland colours, autumn is the perfect time for picking sloes; they're at their ripest and are fairly easier to find.

Foraging for sloes in autumn also allows you enough time for the alcohol to soak up their beautiful flavour, not to mention that gorgeous berry red colour to get you in the mood for the Christmas season.

For storage, we like to use Kilner Jars – they’re the prefect size, are easy to pour and, of course, they’re air tight making them perfect for batch production for all your friends and family! 

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Ingredients

  • 280g ripe sloes, washed
  • 140g sugar
  • 600ml of gin
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Method

  1. Put the sloes in a 1 litre Kilner jar, pour over the sugar and the gin. Close the lid and shake.
  2. Store the jar preferably in a dark cupboard, shaking once every day until sugar has all dissolved.
  3. Depending on the preference, between 2- 6 months strain out the sloes, using a muslin-lined funnel placed in a bottle. We used our Kilner bottles.

Tip: If your gin looks slightly cloudy, filter out the offending particles using filter paper in a funnel.

#inspiration, #recipesAbby Millar