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Earth Day 2019 – How Michael Jackson’s Earth Song Shaped Me

earth day 2019

In November 1995 I remember sitting in front of the telly, wide-eyed and cross-legged, staring up at Michael Jackson as he cut a striking figure against an apocalyptic background, calling for global peace, an end to animal exploitation and the destruction of our planet. He was singing Earth Song – a record that despite its age is sadly still as relevant today as it was back then.

I had turned four just a couple of weeks before that release, but it made a real impression on me. It quickly became my favourite song. I was allowed to stay up to watch half of Top of the Pops on a Friday (no Youtube back then 😉) – so every week I eagerly awaited the video’s airing. Something about the tragic sequence of shocking visuals must have captured my imagination and awakened the sensitive, empathic soul within me. I even remember having dreams about it – particularly the scorched, blackened twigs that used to be trees set against the fiery sky – the corpse of an elephant with its tusks torn away from it.

But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago, over twenty years later, that I made the connection between the moments I spent staring up at that screen and the beliefs I hold to this day. I didn’t even make the connection myself – it was my boyfriend who recognised the link. One night we were discussing our favourite Michael Jackson songs and I said mine was Earth Song. I told him how vividly I remembered those evenings as a little girl, watching the video every week it was in the charts, captivated. Instantly he told me he felt it must have shaped my views…that the person I am today perfectly reflected the innocent child glued to the TV! We watched it again and all these memories came flooding back to me. Looking back the content really was horrible – but I never saw it that way. I wasn’t scared or fearful. I just took it all in.

I absolutely loved that song. It made a strong and lasting connection with me – even at such a young age.

I have always been an animal lover and idealist – I don’t ever remember a time when I’ve been different. I became an opinionated (and by all accounts quite annoying 🙈) activist at a young age. I was anti-war, anti-capitalism, pro-peace, pro-animals. I hated Tony Blair for the Iraq War – even though I had no understanding of it. I hated the divide between rich and poor – I couldn’t understand inequality and injustice made me angry. I regularly expressed a desire to join Greenpeace and ride on the Rainbow Warrior – harpooning the poachers who targeted the whales and seals, throwing myself on the whales to deter attack. People told me I was stupid and asked me why I would put myself in danger like that but I never thought about it as dangerous, I just knew I wanted to do it.

When I became vegetarian in my early teens it wasn’t really a thing amongst young people like veganism is today (I didn’t hear of that until I was 18!) I didn’t know any adults who were veggie, either. I regularly ruined Sunday roasts with my reminder that everybody was eating a defenceless animal. Usually I wore t-shirts with animals on them – my favourite was a pink one with a pig on it that said ‘I’m not bacon, I’m your friend.’

Nobody understood the veggie, animal-lover thing. It was a step too far for them. I was a wannabe hippy, it was just a phase. I was already an overweight, nerdy teenager with no friends, bullied mercilessly. My strong opinions on ‘unpopular stuff’ didn’t help. Eventually I became very ill with an eating disorder and afterwards my parents persuaded me to eat meat again. Recently I rediscovered my roots and became vegetarian, then vegan. Now I can’t imagine being anything other than my true self.

Now I’m 27. I obviously have a much greater understanding of the complexities of a peaceful, harmonious and healthy earth. My strong opinions aren’t quite so fierce, and I certainly don’t push them on other people unsolicited. But my feelings remain completely unchanged – as a four year old girl I felt exactly the same way as I do now. I have more insight and information today – but those deep, primal instincts remain. It makes me sad now to look back at that passionate little girl, and later the troubled teenager, both of whom knew right from wrong deep down, but were battling against the fear of not fitting in and not being ‘normal’. Eventually I got tired and gave in to my demons…I spent years fighting myself instead of fighting for the causes that mattered to me so much.

That’s why when I started Aura Chai I wanted it to be a business that did no harm to the earth or its inhabitants. I wanted it to be as ethical and sustainable as possible.

Rewatching the video and listening to the song now as an adult brings up so many mixed emotions for me. It makes me even more determined to make a difference, however small. It even gets me thinking about how I’ll bring up my future children – my hope to raise compassionate, respectful people who will cherish and protect their habitat and fellow earthlings. I feel huge respect for the schoolchildren who marched earlier this year, taking a stand against the government. I know that had the movement happened when I was young I’d have been there myself with a huge banner, shouting at the top of my voice 😭

Today, on Earth Day, my hope is that more young minds can be influenced by popular figures in the media standing up for what’s right, just as I was.

What about you? Did you love Earth Song? How are you celebrating Earth Day?

interconnected hippy

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5 awesome gifts for chai lovers

chai latte gifts

Confession: we love Christmas here at Aura Chai. Specifically the fun involved in finding extra-special gifts for everyone we care about! But sometimes gift-buying isn’t so fun…sometimes it’s a nightmare. Certain people in your circle (there will be at least one!) can be hard to buy for. But fear not! Here at Aura Chai we have a fab selection of foodie gifts, gifts for him, gifts for her – most importantly, gifts for chai latte lovers. Here we share just a few of our favourite chai latte gifts – ideal for Christmas, Diwali and Eid as well as birthdays, thank yous and get well soons! Continue reading 5 awesome gifts for chai lovers

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Chai-Spiced Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamon rolls

Anything chai-spiced gets us going here at Aura Chai… but I am particularly excited to post this recipe!! I am gluten-intolerant, I avoid sugar, and I’m transitioning from veggie to vegan. Although things are getting better it’s still hard to come by tasty treats when I’m out and about.

This cinnamon rolls recipe ticks allll the boxes. It’s free from gluten, animal products and refined sugar. And it’s super easy. Continue reading Chai-Spiced Cinnamon Rolls

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Vegan Chocolate Chai Blondies

blondies

The leaves are turning brown…there’s a nip in the air…the nights are drawing in. Winter is on its way! Although we at Aura Chai prefer warmer climates, there’s something undoubtedly romantic about snuggling down and cosying up with your faves in front of the fire. One thing we just CAN’T go without during winter are cookies and cakes…and this one’s sure to kick off Autumn nicely. These chai blondies are crispy on the top and gooey on the inside. And the recipe is vegan, gluten free AND refined sugar free – what more could you want? Continue reading Vegan Chocolate Chai Blondies

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Aura Chai At Cup North/Manchester Coffee Festival 2018

cup north

Hey guys! Today we have some very exciting news! This November we will be exhibiting for the very first time at the prestigious Cup North – also known as Manchester Coffee Festival. Read on to learn more about Cup North and why we think it’s the best way to share our unique, authentic chai latte blend with some of the biggest names in coffee!

Continue reading Aura Chai At Cup North/Manchester Coffee Festival 2018

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Vegan Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

vanilla chai cupcakes

As I’m writing this the weather has taken a slightly gloomy turn and little grey clouds are drifting past my window – perfect weather for cupcakes! It’s been so lovely and hot recently that I admit I’m glad of a little rain. It’s also an excuse to bake (and eat) lots of delicious cakes and cookies!

Vanilla chai cupcakes have become a modern classic. This version is made with our Aura Chai original blend – for a truly delicious and authentic flavour. Not only that – this recipe makes a healthy, wholesome treat – using wholewheat flour and no refined sugar.

Continue reading Vegan Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

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Chai and Ayurveda

 

At Aura Chai we’re true chai lovers – and we’re passionate about chai latte. We’re dedicated to introducing our authentic, delicious chai blend to as many people and places as possible! Although chai latte is now a trendy ‘not coffee’ beverage emerging on menus all over the world, it has noble origins as an Ayurvedic healing tonic. It’s not the overly sweet, powdered version many have become accustomed to. It’s actually a complex blend of healing spices and tea muddled with warm, comforting milk designed to balance and nourish the body. Here we share some of the proven health benefits of chai latte and its rich heritage steeped in the culture of India and Ayurvedic medicine. Continue reading Chai and Ayurveda

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Recipe: Vanilla Chai Frappuccino (Frappuchai)

chai frappuccino

One thing I have always loved about Starbucks (sorry cofficionados!) is their frappuccinos. On a hot day the creamy frozen coffee totally hits the spot!

I love chai lattes and dirty chai lattes iced – so when the hot weather hit us I started thinking about creative ways to serve and enjoy Aura Chai.

This chai Frappuccino is totally delicious and mega healthy. It’s super quick, really easy and you only need several ingredients and a blender. Whip one up in no time as a morning treat or afternoon pick me up.

Continue reading Recipe: Vanilla Chai Frappuccino (Frappuchai)

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Why powdered chai is the new instant coffee

powdered chai latte

Confession: I was soo nervous about writing this post. It’s not in my nature to be ‘mean’ about other people or products. So it was admittedly a stretch for me to write a whole blog on this rather cheeky comparison!

I’ve been mostly focusing my efforts on sharing everything good about what we do – the benefits of our authentic blend and why we’re different. Positive vibes only! Our little company is still relatively new – but one thing we’ve found along the journey is that it can be difficult for those who are new to chai lattes or don’t know much about them to appreciate what constitutes an authentic blend (and what doesn’t). I’ve found the easiest, simplest way for me to explain to discerning coffee connoisseurs is with this coffee-based comparison:

“If you wouldn’t serve instant coffee, why would you serve powdered chai latte?”

 

Continue reading Why powdered chai is the new instant coffee