Kindness

Toasty Nougat

Some people are just born to be kind. I have one such friend, who is the embodiment of kindness itself. I sat with another friend of mine and we tried to come up with 3 people my kindest friend wouldn’t invite in for the night if they had no where to stay. We came up with 2.

She’s one of those people to whom I owe a great deal. We met when we began studying together, and she was a breath of fresh of air in a sea of hyperbole and affectedness. I understand that at university age, people are spreading their wings of opinion and learning to fly outside the confines of high school, but we were both well into our 20s and therefore considered ‘mature age’ students. We were the rung of mature age students that’s looking for some like-minded friendship. Not the type that sits almost at the front of the class and has ~a lot of questions~ that begin with, “It’s really more of a comment. (Insert my life experience here because it will be valuable, I’m sure).”

The years my friend spent studying in Australia, she and her husband became great companions to me and my husband. She kept me sane when I thought I was losing my mind over ancient languages. She also kept me humble because she could pull almost the same marks as me, except she’d write her essay in about 6 days and I’d take nearly 4 weeks. Then one day, her study time here in Australia came to an end, they packed themselves up and we saw them off at the airport.

18 months later, my Main Man, Little Lad, and I made the gruelling 27 hour trek to the Eastern side of Canada to visit. And we fell in love with the city, and can’t wait to go back again. But what was better than being in a beautiful location was being with our friends again. They seem to operate on our level and we reminded each other of some of the best of each other that goes by the wayside in our inevitable periods of absence.

Luckily for my friend, I reintroduced her to the love of tea. Canada doesn’t have T2 (real oversight, there T2), but they do have David’s Tea, which is pretty good if you can’t have T2. David’s has a herbal blend called ‘Forever Nuts’, and it has a heavenly scent. My friend bought some, and then told everyone about it, including the fact she wanted to bathe in it. For me, I couldn’t get the song “Forever Young” by Alphaville out of my head.

I snagged a small sample of ‘Forever Nuts’ to bring home, but a close T2 comparison is Toasty Nougat.

It’s a caffeine free tea, and I love it as an evening sip. It’s a bit fruity, but largely nutty, with popcorn, salt, and malty notes. Truly reminiscent of creamy nougat. It smells divine dried and once brewed, easily considered a liquid pudding.

Toasty Nougat: 5/5
Enjoy with: your kindest friends.

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The Boss Boss

Apple Crumble

This is the story about the best boss I have ever had. I’ve had more jobs than I would probably like to admit, mostly due to the number of years I was a student (and to be honest, I’m probably not done being a student, but motherhood is a great reason for a hiatus). When you’re a student you find yourself flitting between some strange jobs, and picking up work when and where you can. Upskilling is great, but it doesn’t lend itself to a regular routine.

All that being said, numerous jobs leads to numerous bosses. They all have their own particular style of leading their employees and most of them are terrific at it. You rarely become the boss if you’re completely inept, although rarely doesn’t mean never. I once talked to a regional supervisor of mine, and I was uneasy knowing this person had a drivers’ licence. I’m not quite sure how they got out of bed and dressed each morning, let alone manage an entire region. Still, had this person done a good job managing the region, I wouldn’t have been on the phone to them.

I have had some truly spectacular bosses who cared about the organisation, the employees and managed to balance the organisational direction with the personal ambitions of the employees. These were my best bosses.

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But one stands out high above the rest. And I’m happy to list a few of the things that made her such a spectacular boss.

1. She was the boss who knew how to delegate. There’s a fine line between dumping your garbage on someone you supervise and delegating tasks. My boss worked out the things in her role that only she could do, and kept those to herself. Everything else was up for grabs. As a result, she built a hierarchy into our team so that she didn’t have to be the first port of call all the time.

2. She collaborated often. When she had a task on her plate that directly affected someone in the team, she would pull them in on every discussion possible so they could be a part of the project at every stage. This was how we came to trust her, and how she knew which of us she could trust.

3. She groomed us for promotion. There was one fixture on our team who will probably be in the same job beyond retirement age, but the rest of us were vying for better jobs in our futures. Rather than try and reign us all in and keep us in her team, our boss gave us all the tasks she could to propel us in the direction we wanted to go. She suggested us for promotions within the organisation whenever possible.

4. She let us be whole people. When we came to work, we weren’t just a body filling a role. We had families, hobbies, study, and interests and she brought all of this together in our team, encouraging us to lead lives rather than have jobs. In doing so, she has bred loyalty into the team. Sure, nearly all of us were hoping to have better jobs in the future, but until something better came alone, we weren’t going to leave her.

5. She drank tea. This was exceptionally important to me as a tea drinker. It also meant we could be social with our boss. We saw her as someone with a whole life, and treated her accordingly.

She doesn’t drink tea with apple in it though, because it doesn’t sit well with her. And though we shared many cups of different tea in the years I worked for her, I think of her most when I drink tea with apple in it.

As I sipped Apple Crumble, I thought of her. I reflected on how much she added to my life. She was understanding beyond the call of duty when I was trying to complete my Masters, and when I was pregnant and vomiting for nearly 30 weeks. She pushed me for promotion again and again. She visited me when my Main Man was away for a while and I was home alone with LL. She believed in me, and it’s always nice when someone believes in you.

Apple Crumble is aptly named. It’s sweet and fruity and full of apple flavour. It has a mild nutty flavour and a hint of creaminess to it. The aftertaste is a tiny bit woody due to the chickory and spicy thanks to a helping of cinnamon. As a tisane, it’s a perfect post-dinner tea especially if some rumination is on the cards.

Apple Crumble: 4/5
Enjoy with: Contemplation