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Britons turn to tea before facing difficult emails or conversations

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Young woman drinking tea while working from home
Tea mood: 48% of those surveyed admitted that a tea-break is an essential time out during their day | Photo: Vlada Karpovich

It is your best friend throughout the winter and the perfect companion any other season of the year. But a report recently published by the UK Tea & Infusions Association (UKTIA), highlights other interesting findings. According to the study three quarters of us drink black tea, with or without milk, but only one in 100 people drink a classic builder’s brew of strong, dark sugary tea. Interestingly, seven times that number (7%) add CREAM to their tea, only marginally fewer than the percentage who add a plant-based milk (10%). And more: less than one in four people (22%) adds milk or sugar before adding the teabag and hot water – following the golden rule of seasoned tea lovers that strongly believe you should never add milk to your tea as the last item.

The UK imports around 100,000 metric tons of tea every year and although the nation consumes millions of cups of tea every day, according to the UKTIA’s Tea Census Report the favourite brew remains a humble cuppa – black tea – derived from the Camellia sinensis plant.

“If there’s something the Brits do well, it’s popping on the kettle and brewing a good cup of tea. It’s a tradition that dates back to the 16th century when Charles II married the Portuguese princess and tea lover Catherine of Braganza.” – says Sharon Hall, head of the UK Tea and Infusions Association, remind us that the origin of the popular beverage is not always known.

“Most people think that black tea comes from China (39%) or India (37%) but most of the tea drunk in the UK actually comes from Kenya, although it is often blended with other teas such as Assam tea from India, Ceylon teas from Sri Lanka and black teas from Rwanda and other east African nations.

When it comes to infusions, peppermint and chamomile are the most popular ones with 24% and 21% of respondents drinking them at least twice a week.

Although tea can be a real thirst quencher as well as a means of socialising, our love of tea runs far deeper as many respondents turn to tea when they’re emotional and cold according to the Tea Census Report.

“Tea is a hug in a mug, a loyal friend, and a calming aid. A third of Brits (32%) see their tea break as a time to connect with other people, but 38% catch up on social media, 16% enjoy doing a puzzle on their tea-break and 5% use the time to just sit and think.” – adds Hall. “Around a third (29%) of Brits turn to chamomile when they want to de-stress, and a fruit infusions is a popular choice when we’re feeling dreamy (16%).”

Nearly half of those surveyed (46%) and detailed in the Tea Census Report told us a cup of tea gets them going in the morning and one in five (18%) say a brew helps them face a difficult conversation or email. More than half of those polled (56%) also confirmed that their feelings are a factor while making their choice of tea or infusion, with black tea coming up on top to sip on a variety of occasions, from feeling hungry or nostalgic, to when you feel motivated or happy.

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London exhibition portraying unfairly censored communities is open until Friday

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Visitors at the Unseen exhibition in London
Female body and race are amongst the content being censored on social media platforms

An exhibition in the United Kingdom is showcasing images of 13 communities censored and silenced on social media platforms.

Unseen’, part of an online community project aiming to open the discussion around digital censorship, is now a public exhibition featuring posts and several stories submitted by people and small businesses who experienced their content and social media accounts being removed or shadow banned. Created by British photographer Rankin, the initiative is on display at Quantus Gallery in Shoreditch, East London.

“Censorship is a necessary tool to prevent fake news, protect children, and more. But it is often used inadvertently to silence marginalised voices,” says creative founder, Rankin. “We have had an incredible response so far, and we’re just getting started. This is an important issue, and those affected deserve to have a voice in the policies that affect them on the platforms they love and build their businesses on.” – defends the photographer known for his portraits of a variety of celebrities, from Kate Moss, Madonna and David Bowie to Queen Elizabeth II and Britney Spears.

Brands, content creators, and body-positive activists and artists have been clashing with social media networks over overly restrictive publishing guidelines for a while, with platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok regularly banning content posted worldwide.

“It is a continuous, frustrating game of whack-a-mole with platforms, so much so that I have ended up blending my Ph.D. in the moderation of online abuse with my experiences of censorship,” – Says Dr. Carolina Are, a visiting lecturer at the City University of London whom recent work focused on finding frameworks to effectively moderate social media without affecting freedom of expression, and on platforms’ moderation and censorship of nudity and sexuality.

The exhibition ‘Unseen’ will run until June 24th at Quantus Gallery 11-29 Fashion Street, London, E1 6PX.

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One in five UK adults has started a ‘side hustle’ since March 2020

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38% of people surveyed used the money they earnt from a side hustle to pay for rent, clothes and even food | Photo: Jonathan Borba

One in five (19%) adults in the UK have started a ‘side hustle’ since March 2020 and, almost one in six (16%) claim to earn upwards of £1,000 a month from their new venture, according to new research from insurance provider, Aviva, conducted by Censuswide over 10 days in May, 2022.

However, only two thirds of those who started a side hustle over the past two years are still pursuing them today. 37% have returned to their day jobs being their main source of income now that lockdowns are over, and some companies expect employees to return to the office or work from home only partially.

The most popular ‘side hustle’ people chose to pursue was to ‘sell handcrafted products’ (23%), a phenomenon that saw online marketplaces for crafts and vintage items such as Etsy growing exponentially in 2020 and 2021. One in nine (11%) looking for an extra income turned to art, 9% to photography, while a similar number (10%) tried their hand at being a social media influencer – a popular choice with those aged 16-24 (13%). Other income boosters included becoming a courier (6%), driving a taxi (4%), and offering nutritional advice (4%).

When asked what their original motivation was to start a side hustle in addition to their normal, full-time job during the pandemic, most say it was financially motivated. Two in five (39%) people said they did it because they saw an opportunity to turn a hobby into an income; others to ‘make ends meet’ (30%); become financially independent (21%) or to pay off debts (18%).  Over a quarter (27%) started their new vocation to empower themselves/ gain confidence and improve their mental health, while 16% just wanted to practice the skills they had attained (i.e. photography, counseling, etc.).

“The pandemic has transformed how we relate to work. Aviva’s research reveals two sides to this story. For some, the pandemic has brought greater work-life flexibility. This appears to have fuelled a boom in ‘side hustles’. For others, the pandemic has brought greater financial strain, and this appears to have fuelled a need to look elsewhere to make ends meet.” – says Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings & Retirement at Aviva.

On average, side hustlers make around £497 a month from their secondary income, with more than one in four (28%) earning more than £500 a month.

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Young people increasingly struggling to get on the UK property ladder

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Feeling the pinch: 19% of young people living in Cardiff needed to find additional employment to pay their bills, a survey has revealed | Photo: Karolina Grabowska

Despite a property market boom across the UK in recent years, the average age of a first-time buyer is up by almost two years, meaning the average Briton, now, will be 34 years old by the time they purchase their first home. 20 years ago, the average age of a first-time buyer was 31, while in the 1990s it was approximately 29, according to market analysis by Which.

And a recent survey released by independent finance broker KIS Finance has found that over 22% of 18 to 35-year-olds have been forced to take on an additional job as the cost of living crisis deepens, making home ownership out of reach for an increasing number of people.

Last week the Government’s announced a range of steps to try to help more people onto the property ladder. However, exactly how the proposed schemes will work in practice remains to be seen.

The proposal to extend the existing Right to Buy Scheme to include housing association properties could help large numbers onto the property ladder, who thought that home ownership was beyond their reach. This amendment to the original scheme, which was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1980 and allowed people to buy their council house at a discounted rate, could see up to 3 million low paid workers buy their own homes.

“Whilst the announcement of measures to help first-time buyers onto the housing ladder will be welcomed, it remains to be seen how the proposals will work in practice. Accepting housing benefit payments toward a mortgage will be a significant change for mortgage providers and it may take some time for the details to be worked through. However, any steps to help support young people to escape from the trap of rented accommodation will be positive and the industry needs to be ready to adapt to support the proposed changes” – says Holly Andrews, MD at KIS Finance.

Key statistics from KIS Finance’s survey also found that 22% of those aged 18 to 35 have taken on an additional job to help them afford basic items such as rent, heating, and food, and a staggering 57% of young British workers reported they are already struggling financially and expect things to get significantly worse in the near future.

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