Lost A Pint Of Blood? Replace It With Tea!

Lost A Pint Of Blood? Replace It With Tea!

In which I discuss the safest way to lose blood and it's proper replacement...

Blood Donation

So I want to take a break today from PhD based ramblings to talk about giving blood. Did you know that 96% of people rely on the other 4% for blood donations? [1] Maybe you've not thought about it before or are a little worried about what it entails so I'll tell you now that it mostly involves biscuits, drinking and sitting down. Easy eh?

On Tea - Tea Throughout the Day

In which I give my thoughts on what tea to drink when throughout the day...

So as a British person (66% of Britons drink tea daily) I feel the need to consume a good quantity of tea everyday. The average Briton drinks 3½ cups a day - you'll find me at the top of the bell curve dong my best to keep the average up. I normally have around 6 cups a day.

Sencha Green Tea

Sencha Green Tea

In which I blog about the last two weeks, gain another year and try some green tea...

The Last Two Weeks

It's been a busy few weeks so I'm afraid the blog has suffered slightly. I had a hectic week filled with work and rehearsing and just about managed to make a rather ridiculous cake. This was followed by a pretty stellar concert by CAOS which filled out the church and enjoyable festivities thereafter. I plan to update more regularly in the future.

Other than that I have turned another year older and received many gifts of tea, cake and board games. The tea will be reviewed shortly. As for the board games I now have Ticket to Ride: Europe, Alhambra & Hare and Tortoise. I probably won't review these as they've been around long enough to be well reviewed online but I've enjoyed playing them already :D

White Tea

In which I review another tea from the outlet...

The only other white tea I've tried before this was an Earl Grey variant which overpowered the tea a little. So this is my first time properly trying white tea.

It's a delicate tea and so only needs a quick brew of 2-3 minutes. This tea tastes as if it falls between green tea and black tea. It's very enjoyable :)

It's nice to have something to break up my green tea-black tea-green tea rotation I have at work :)



Interesting Tea Uses

I might start putting interesting links at the bottom of the reviews :) Here's the first one courtesy of Alex:


Green Earl Grey

In which I restock my work tea...

Teat for the Tea God! Mugs for the Mug Throne!

I was down to my last few tea bags at work and so decided to head the the Lowry Outlet Mall where there is a Whittard's outlet shop with a few friends.

There were some good discounts available:

  • Buy one get one half price on all tea/coffee
  • Ridiculous discounts on all Christmas packaged products (up to 80% off)

And now I have a large stock of new tea for work and for reviewing!

I will endeavour to review other tea brands in between all these Whittard ones too!

Green Earl Grey

"Stop what you are doing and savour!"

Regular readers will now I am a big fan of Earl Grey. With the aforementioned offers I just had to risk it and get hold of some green Earl Grey. This tea is essentially just green tea with bergamot added.

It's a lovely brew and means I can enjoy Earl Grey at work without the need for milk or lemon*. It's lighter than the black tea equivalent and very refreshing. I would heartily recommend it!

*Yes I drink Earl Grey with milk - I like it that way!


Lowry Outlet Mall: http://www.lowryoutlet.co.uk

Tea: http://www.whittard.co.uk/tea/green/green_earl_grey/green_earl_grey_50_teabags.htm

Tom Out!

The Great British Tea Test 2012

The Great British Tea Test 2012

That tea review data in full...

So we set out to try all the major and supermarket brand teas and decide which was the best this year.

The Tea & The Cakes

We tried the following teas:

  • ASDA red label
  • Clipper
  • Lancashire
  • Marks & Spencer everyday
  • Morrisons red label
  • PG Tips
  • Sainsbury's red label
  • Tesco red label
  • Tetley
  • Twinings
  • Typhoo
  • Whittard
  • Yorkshire

Spiced Chai

Whittard's Spiced Chai Tea

This is the return of my tea blogs on a bi-weekly basis. If you have any tea suggestions please post them in the comments. If I know you IRL feel free to share a cup with me and I'll happily review it :D

This is the last of the teas from my visit to the Whittard's outlet store - I'll have to go again after this :).


"Brew using 2 or 3 teabags in a 6-cup teapot

. Warm the pot first with a splash of hot water. Add the tea and pour on boiling water. Brew for 4-5 minutes. Alternatively, brew one teabag in a mug and remove when the tea is the strength you require


As usual I brewed it for 5 minutes. Apparently you can add condensed milk to have a sweet version of tea but unsurprisingly I don't have any at work.


Dark brown.


You can definitely smell the cinnamon and cloves. Surprisingly it smells less Christmassy than I thought it would. It smells very nice though :)


A cavalcade of spices! But the cloves and cardamon are the strongest flavours. Despite the strength of these flavours you can still taste the black tea fairly strongly. A very enjoyable experience but I have had better chai. I think milk would likely improve it.

2nd Year Report

I've been drinking this tea while writing my 2nd Year Report. Hopefully as of Wednesday next week I'll be officially onto the 3rd year of my PhD Programme :)


A lovely tea but there is better chai out there. Probably would be improved by milk (condensed or otherwise).

Next Time

As I said tea reviews will be bi-weekly on Wednesdays now :) I'm thinking of coming up with some kind of rating system for the teas so people can compare my thoughts on tea.



Tom out!

Instant Christmas!

Another visit to Whittard's returns another intriguing tea that I just had to try! :)

I also wasn't aware that such a thing as instant tea existed :o


"Spoon three heaped teaspoons (20g) to 200ml water, or according to taste. Serve over ice for a long summer punch, or add hot water, curl up and enjoy as a soothing winter warmer.


Ridonculously easy to brew. It is instant tea! I went for the hot version since it is October (the previous few weeks crazy weather notwithstanding).


Dark reddish brown.


Smells like hot Ribena with a hint of spice. It is a very warming smell - perfect for winter.


So what does mulled wine taste like without the alcohol? I now have a very good idea - similar to hot Ribena with added spices. There is also a tea after-taste. All-in-all it does taste like mulled wine but it doesn't warm you up in quite the same way as the alcoholic version. 


I tried this tea while baking some cupcakes and making gingerbread :) Pictures will follow on my other blog (which I really need to post more on...).


Warming, lovely. I could drink it all winter long!



See you all next week!

Early Thoughts of Christmas

After my visit to the Whittard's outlet store I have a plethora of tea to review :) Here's the second one - Spice Imperial.

If anyone has suggestions for companies other than Twinings and Whittard's for me to try please add them to the comments. I don't want to only review these two companies. Also I will keep you posted on


"Brew one teabag in a mug and remove when the tea is the strength you require.

Warming in the winter and also makes wonderful iced tea. Best brewed light and drunk without milk, but can also be brewed stronger and drunk with milk"

Simple enough to brew. I have tried it with and without milk but haven't yet had the chance to make iced tea from it :S


Dark brown as any standard black tea.


Smells like Christmas! A very similar smell to Chai but with hints of orange and no ginger.


Once again this is nice brewed either way and I tend to make it without milk when I have it at work. You can definitely taste the cinnamon first and foremost with hints of orange and vanilla. If you aren't a fan of ginger you could use this as replacement Chai though I think I still prefer Chai myself.

Compiling Fail

While I did try this tea at the Tea Party previously mentioned I am currently using it to calm me down as a particularly pesky configure script is not playing ball at the moment as it can't find GCC :(


Tastes like Christmas! But in a subtly different way to Chai. Delightful!



See you all next week!

P.S. Tea Party Cakes

Here pictures of the Tea Party cakes as promised :)

Tea-themed cupcakes :D

The variety of cakes on offer

The Volcano Cake!

The Late Tea

I apologise for the lack of posts this last week-and-a-half but I have had a major deadline to work towards.

After my visit to the Whittard's outlet store I have a plethora of tea to review :) Here's the first one - Vanilla flavoured tea.


"Brew one teabag in a mug and remove when the tea is the strength you require.

Best brewed light and drunk without milk, but can also be brewed stronger and drunk with milk"

Simple enough to brew. It is definitely worth trying both methods to see which you prefer, I know that I did.


Dark brown as any standard black tea.


The vanilla smell is fairly strong and overpowers the smell of tea.


This really depends on how you make the tea. At work I brew it lightly without milk and while it smells of vanilla this mostly brings out the tea flavour. On the other hand brewing it strongly with milk brings out more of the vanilla flavouring which is complemented by the milk (use more milk than normal). Either way this is a very nice tea.

Tea Party

I first tried this at a tea party I held which featured some amazing cakes (pictures will follow) and a competitive game of Trivial Pursuit.


Either tea-like with a hint of vanilla or milky-vanilla with a tea aftertaste. Lovely.



See you all next week!

Another Dessert Tea!

It appears that Whittards are particularly fond of dessert based tea and so this week we turn to the delightful Loose Leaf Apple Crumble Flavoured Tea!

This tea was discovered by Tom B and the tasting sample kindly donated by Rach T.


"Always drink lightly brewed with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of leaves per 6-cup teapot. Warm the pot first with a splash of hot water. Add the tea and pour on boiling water. Brew for 2-5 minutes. Do not add milk."

The instructions don't differ much from the other Whittard teas. Again milk is not required and I went for ~5 minutes brewing time (this is a very light tea).


Very pale brown.


A lovely light smell of apples with a hint of cinnammon. This might not quite send you to an English orchard as the advertising blurb claims but very enjoyable.


I expected this tea to be along similar lines to the

Sticky Toffee Tea

 but once again I was surprised! It is very light with hints of apple, cinnamon and vanilla and much more reminiscent of a herbal tea.Personally I'm a fan of strong tea so I feel this is unlikely to become a regular addition to my afternoon. That said, however, it was a refreshing change and definitely worth a try.


There's no music this week as I had guests around for the tea tasting. Instead our conversation had an old episode of Supermarket Sweep for background featuring Dale Winton's orange face (though not as orange as

David Dicknson

!). Hilarity of course ensued as the ineptitude of the contestants became apparent.


Light and refreshing. Smells of apples and cinnamon. Delightful.



See you all next week!

The First Weekly Tea

The idea of me presenting my tea of the week was suggested at my birthday party last month. Since I am always happy to oblige in such endeavours I am going to start a weekly tea review blog :D

So this weeks tea is Whittard's Loose Leaf Sticky Toffee Pudding Flavoured Tea (currently 25% off in their Manchester store). It sounded crazy so I simply had to try it.



Always drink lightly brewed with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of leaves per 6-cup pot. Boil freshly drawn water, warm the pot first with a splash of hot water. Add the tea and pour on boiling water. Brew for 2-5 minutes. Do not add milk."

Brewing the tea is straightforward but it should be enjoyed without milk. I personally think that brewing this tea for 5 minutes is best to really get a strong aroma.


A traditional light brown tea colour


It does exactly what it says on the tin! Just open the packet and take a long deep breath to truly get that sticky toffee pudding smell in your nostrils. A wonderful treat :)


I had no idea what to expect when tasting this tea, would it go down like syrup? Well disappointingly it tastes like normal tea (but with the amazing smell described above). However, I feel this is probably for the best as I don't know as if I could drink an entire cup of sticky toffee syrup (this is a lie, I totally could but probably shouldn't). These sentiments were also expressed by those who tasted the tea with me, so we have a consensus.


Nice tea taste, amazing smell. Warming and lovely.



See you all next week!