Bubbleology: the theory of tea-volution


(picture from Bubbleology’s website)

When my friend first suggested to meet to drink bubbletea in Soho, I imagined a drink tasting of marsh mellows or chewing gums.  I admit: I wasn’t feeling too excited about it. As we walked to the shop, we saw a long queue of people waiting outside or meeting in front of the shop. Interesting. The shop didn’t look like a coffee shop or a tea shop at all: rather, like a chemist’s lab. And there we were: right in the middle of Bubbleology! A new theory of Tea-volution!

(picture taken by me in the London Soho shop)

The queue was long, we had to make our order. But what were we supposed to order?? It took me a while to understand how it works, as I read through the ‘lab instructions’ on the wall above the counter. So, first you choose if you want a milky or a fruity tea, then you decide the size, and if you want to add something or mix more than one flavour. Confusing. I went for Coconut Regular Bubbletea. Would it be hot or cold? No idea! Turns out you can have it both ways but if you don’t ask they will make you a cold one. I got my ‘Regular’ that looked much bigger than normal, was given a huge straw and on the bottom of my drink I could see…BUBBLES!

As I drank it, I couldn’t figure out what I thought about it. First reaction: weird! Second reaction: it takes like milkshake but much lighter! Final reaction: WOW!

OK, apparently I’m slow at finding out new trends because apparently a lot of people have tried Bubbletea before in Soho in the Chinese shops or Taiwanese shops. Yet I was still puzzled by the bubbles which I could eat through my straw and were really chewy and some of them would burst releasing fruitjuice! Amazing! I felt like a kid! I was not able to finish my drink as it was way too big and probably too cold. While we were wondering what the bubbles were made of, a young-looking man sitting next to us working on his PC spoke to us and explained that the bubbles were made from potato starch! We were surprised about his knowledge on the subject, and he turned out to be the owner and founder of the shop – Assad Khan – a UK businessman, who was fed up of working for a bank in New York and came up with this great business idea. He’s opened two shops in London so far, one in Soho and the other in Knightsbridge and he’s about to open at least 3 by the end of 2011 (so he told us).

If you want to read more about Bubbleology:

http://www.bubbleology.co.uk/about.php

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/apr/24/bubble-tea-comes-to-britain

Want to listen to some new music while sipping your bubbletea? Try listening to Luca DG, a friend of mine with whom I tried Bubbletea! He’s an emerging Italian singer living in London – amazing voice! 😉

http://www.myspace.com/lucadg

A Year Starting with Fireworks!


Just over a week ago, I posted about A Scary New Resolution… to start running!

It is time for an update and I’m really happy because things are going really well!

I have completed Week 1 of the NHS Couch to 5K programme after three runs in a week. The suprising thing is that I actually found the training relatively easy and felt like I could have done more. But I decided to stick with the plan and increase the amount of running gradually as the programme envisages, to avoid hurting myself (most important things!) or getting disappointed with my fitness level too soon.

I must confess that on the third day of running, I was fed up of listening to the same podcast and decided to skip to the second week’s podcast. After only five minutes, I realised it was something rather stupid: at least for one week I had to keep to the plan! Plus it would not be healthy to skip a training and go on to the next level without being prepared for it, right? So I went back to the first podcast!

The new trainers are good for running, although I’m still getting used to them. I have also received the arm band for my MP3 that I bought online, but I have yet to try it out.

Another great news is that in the last ten days I have lost 2.5 kg! I am making a big effort to eat more carefully and to be more active, but I am still surprised by how much weight I have lost! I’m not going to rejoice until I have lost a bit more and reached a stable weight.

This year has started well also in another respect: I have made a point about relaxing myself and having fun more often! Yesterday I had a 30 minutes-long hot bath and that was really bliss! I will do it more often!

By the way, the blog has almost reached 2000 visits since opening in August 2010!!! Thank you!!! When I started I wrote My First Blog Ever and I remember how excited I was about this new goal…and I have really enjoyed it so far so I hope to improve and expand my blog over time. I leave you with a song that really ignites me!

Katy Perry – Firework

LYRICS

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag,
Drifting through the wind
Wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards,
One blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
Six feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
‘Cause there’s a spark in you

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the fourth of July

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
You’re gonna leave ’em falling down-own-own

You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it’s time, you’ll know

You just gotta ignite, the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, Oh, Oh”
You’re gonna leave ’em falling down-own-own

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It’s always been inside of you, you, you
And now it’s time to let it through-ough-ough

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on, show ’em what you’re worth
Make ’em go “Oh, Oh, Oh”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby, you’re a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, Oh, Oh”
You’re gonna leave ’em falling down-own-own

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

The Green Children


Recently, a friend was complaining about the low quality of music and video-clips on MTV. Although I generally enjoy commercial music, and I love dancing to the beat of modern tunes, I completely dislike the soft-porn trend (not so soft actually…) going on in most video clips and the sexually explicit lyrics that – instead of being an expression of art – are a sequence of random, inappropriate and shallow comments.

This why coming across modern and young artists such as The Green Children, brings a relief similar to a breath of fresh air. I first discovered their music on iTunes, while listening to the radio under the ‘Ambient’ category.

 

The first song I heard was ‘Skies on Fire’, of which you can hear an excerpt here:

I then visited their website (http://www.thegreenchildren.com/tgc/) , which I strongly recommend you to browse: it is like entering the magical world of their ethereal music. You will also discover that they have created The Green Children Foundation to raise money for micro-credit, health care and children. In 2005, they visited Bangladesh and India, and they decided to shoot a music video to celebrate the women borrowers of Grameen Bank, known as ‘the bank for the poor’. Thanks to The Green Children Foundation, the Grameen Green Children Hospital in Bangladesh was opened on May 12, 2008 serving already over 60,000 people.

The Green Children is a European music duo composed by Marlow Bevan from Warwick (UK) and Milla Sunde from Ålesund (Norway), who met while attending the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. They called their band The Green Children as Milla explained “We liked the green element because we draw so much inspiration from nature, and we are childlike in many ways.” They then came to discover that The Green Children was actually the name of an English Medieval legend about two children who appeared in the countryside in Suffolk who had green skin and were unable to speak or understand local language. The children in the legend came from the land of an unknown world, and the band felt that this reflected perfectly the magical aura of their music.

Milla’s voice is sweet, clear and silky – it somehow reminds me of Lene Marlin but The Green Children’s music is much happier, more cheerful and livelier. Finally, I bought their album Encounter from Amazon a week ago and I am listening to it almost non-stop in the car, at home, at work. It is relaxing and it makes me feel so so so happy!

I will conclude my post with one of my favourite songs from their album, ‘Hear Me Now’, which is the video they shot in Bangladesh:

Lyrics

Hear Me Now- The Green Children

A scarf uncovers a smiling face
That tells the story of a changing place
She knows no greater wonder than what she’s seen
She bears a heart of secrets from where she’s been, she says

Hear me now
Hear me now
Hear me out, she cries
See me now
See me now
See in me and I’ll rise

She’s worked hard and achieved
A new life’s been received
So much pride in her eyes
She’s thrown out her disguise
She’s got a chance to make it on her own
Just one man gave hope to his home, he says

Hear me now
Hear me now
Hear me out, he cries
See her now
See her now
See in her and she’ll rise

She speaks unfamiliar words
But so easily understood
It’s like a tone in her voice
Reveals the power of choice
She’s so wonderful
The way she holds herself
She finally broke the spell
You can tell

Hear me now
Hear me now
Hear me out, she cries
See me now
See me now
See in me and I’ll rise

Hear me now
Hear me now
Hear me out, he cries
See her now
See her now
See in her and she’ll rise

A scarf uncovers a smiling face
That tells the story of a changing place

“I don’t care what the people may say about me”


There is a song that I just can’t get out of my head lately: Eliza Doolittle‘s “Pack Up”. I love the immediacy of the rhythm, of the lyrics and I just find it so CUTE!

Her nickname caught my attention immediately, as I love Audrey Hepburn’s film ‘My Fair Lady’ where her character is called Eliza Doolittle – a poor and illiterate girl who sells flowers in London’s Covent Garden until one day Professor Higgins decides she needs to learn to talk ‘p-r-o-p-e-r’ English and turns her into a fine and charming lady.

Now, it’s likely that if you Google ‘Eliza Doolittle’ you will no longer get pictures of beautiful Audrey Hepburn, but also of this cheerful pop-singer:

The chorus of the song (I don’t care what the people may say, what the people may say about me) is very catchy and it just calls for being whistled along in the streets and sung out loud in the car!

The feeling I get when listening to this song is that I am light like a bird and nothing of what others think, say or do matters to me. Anything serious just looks very funny to me: maybe this song is also a little bit cheeky?! What do you think?

ELIZA DOOLITTLE – PICK UP

LYRICS

I get tired
And upset
And I’m trying to care a little less
When I Google I only get depressed
I wast taught to dodge those issues I was told
Don’t worry
There’s no doubt
There’s always something to cry about
When you’re stuck in an angry crowd
They don’t think what they say before they open their mouths

[chorus]
Pack up your troubles in you old kit bag
And bury them beneath the sea
I don’t care what the people may say
What the people may say about me
Pack up your troubles get your old kit back
Don’t worry ’bout the cavalry
I don’t care what the whisperers say
Cos’ they whisper too loud for me.

Hot topic
Maybe I should drop it
It’s a touchy subject
And I like to tiptoe round the tiff going down
You got penny, but no pound
Your business is running out
‘not my business to talk about
They don’t think what they say before they open their mouths.

[chorus]
Pack up your troubles in you old kit bag
And bury them beneath the sea
I don’t care what the people may say
What the people may say about me
Pack up your troubles get your old kit back
Don’t worry ’bout the cavalry
I don’t care what the whisperers say
Cos’ they whisper too loud for me.

Tweet tweet
Tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet
Tweet

[chorus]
Pack up your troubles in you old kit bag
And bury them beneath the sea
I don’t care what the people may say
What the people may say about me
Pack up your troubles get your old grin back
Don’t worry ’bout the cavalry
I don’t care what the whisperers say
Cos’ they whisper too loud for me.

Yeahh yeah yeah
Yeah yeah
Yeah
(dibadabadodooo)

Sound Journeys


A long time ago I discovered relaxation music as one of the most amazing ways to really influence my concentration and mood.

Before reading this post, I recommend you click here and listen to this music while reading…  

It is the same music I am now listening to while typing this post!

A friend once introduced me to music by Enya, which I very much enjoyed (and I still do). However, whenever I listened to it while looking for calm or concentration, I felt I wanted something even more ‘basic’, without voices and really not even with a recognizable melody. I found that if I could follow the melody, this would not relax me as my mind was still concentrating on trying to grasp the words, the pauses, the rhythm.

I wanted a music that would draw my concentration on the action I was doing, such as studying, reading or writing, and not on the music itself. I eventually stumbled into Dan Gibson‘s music and from then onwards I have grown to really love his style, which goes from New Age to Jazz music.

Dan Gibson has produced a vast amount of music from the 1980s, all aimed at exploring wildlife and discovering sensations through sound journeys.  He died only a couple of years ago, however there is a massive collection of music you can easily find and buy even online. Dan Gibson’s label, Solitudes, helps you relax, rediscover the emotions of nature and the love for life. Here are the pictures of some of the CDs I have and which I listen to regularly.

I know someone reading this might feel very skeptical, but it is really a matter of trying it. Based on my own experience, these types of music are effective if you listen to them in many different situations, be it while lying down with your eyes closed or while working. Over time, you will learn which sounds of the nature you prefer and not everyone will enjoy all of them.  Also, different sounds will be suited to different situations.

I am no expert, but I have realized that listening to music with sounds of nature helps my mind recall the happiness and beauty of nature. It naturally induces the mind into a state of calm and tranquility. This is something very important if you feel stressed out, or even just a little bit anxious about a task you need to perform.

I have found that Dan Gibson’s music, but also many other music styles with nature sounds, help relaxation and concentration by:

  • improving your breathing
  • relaxing tense muscles
  • improving your mood
  • helping your concentration

Of course, this is not all automatic. It takes time and patience. You need to dedicate sometime to the listening and learn how to improve your breathing and how to ‘follow the music’. Most of all, you need to learn to listen! Sounds obvious, but it is not! You also shouldn’t listen to it too loudly or too softly, as in the first case the music can be irritating and in the second case it is useless. Finally, I have also found that if I listen to it too often, it loses its effect on me. So I try to use it sparingly and not for too long, just like taking a short holiday during my busy daily life!