15 APRIL 2015


There is such a rich history of the benefits of teas and herbs. If you study the medicinal history of many ancient civilizations, all their medicines came from the observation of many different combinations and treatments of plants documented over millennia. Many of our modern pharmaceutical medicines were developed from ancient medicinal recipes, then sadly replicated synthetically. Blending, experimenting, growing and drinking medicinal tea and herbs has been a passion of mine for 30 years.


My youngest son Jake was in a fire and desperately wanted to start a charity to help other burns patients. My absolute passion is all things Tea. We decided we would do our own medicinal tea range to fund the charity. We registered “the Roach Foundation”, and got to work on our teas. We called our tea company Raw Essentials. After many incarnations, much tea sourcing, blending, trialling and over 16 months, we are finally really happy with our product.

Jake came across a world renowned Tea Master in the Philippines. After much communication, I decided to go to the Philippines with our tea and get some feedback from her, before we went to market. Jake was unable to come with me.

The girls had been so supportive over the 16 months, testing and trialling and giving feedback about the teas. I decided to ask if any of them would like to come with me, and to my absolute delight, they all said yes.


The Philippines is a stunningly beautiful country with a lush tropical climate. Enchanting to look at, but murder on the hair. My hair was like fairy floss the whole time we were there. The most amazing thing that happened to our hair though was when we were outside looking at the sunset on the balcony of the 71st Grammercy, an electrical storm was brewing. After about 10 minutes our hair started to stand on end. Gamble and Pettifleur have long hair and it stood up straight about 25 centimetres in the air. Even Chyka’s hair was standing up straight. It felt and looked so strange, we couldn’t stop laughing. That has never happened to any of us before and it felt great for the four of us to share this FIRST together.


What no one else gets to see is the behind the scenes stuff. Well let me tell you, that first night out started with joy and laughter. There was the happy vibe of a group of friends away on an adventure and tonight was the start of that. Lydia was meeting Joanna’s parents and family, I had asked Chyks to join me in meeting the Tea Master, this was the first group trip away with the girls for Gamble and Pettifleur, Jackie had just run a marathon for charity and almost didn’t make it, and Gina was writing her book and needed some time away. We do have times where we all get along well and enjoy each other’s company. They just don’t seem to last.


The biggest thrill for me was meeting Renee Sebastian, world renowned Tea Master.

I asked Chyka to come with me to meet Renee because we share a love of all things in the kitchen. We both love to cook and experiment with flavours. Chyka loves to style it and I love to grow it, but all roads lead back to the kitchen. When I told Chyka about Renee and that she was going to teach us to blend our own tea, I knew Chyka would be in. Renee is a Philippine national who was educated in America and speaks with an American accent. She has followed her dreams and started a flavour tea company called De-Yu-Da. Her teas are amazing, she uses only the best quality tea and has added fruit and different herbs to make the most amazing flavours. Just stunning. We chatted with her for a few hours about suppliers, pitfalls, the theory of blending and all things tea. Renee gave us the most delicious afternoon tea of fresh baked local pastries and cake and fresh fruit and amazing tea. It all went too fast. We agreed to continue our friendship and keep in contact. Chyka and I left with bags of tea and pots and our own special blend of Chai tea. Incredible day.


Continuing on with the bad hair theme, the day at The Farm luxury spa was idyllic. The gardens were breathtaking (my second passion is my garden), and each pavilion had its own stunning setting. There were even peacocks running around.

We were all talking about what we were doing in our life and where we were hoping to go. I know it looks a bit like conflict, but between us we have a lot of experience in life and business. I think we get the benefit of each other’s experience, and although we may not want to hear it, it’s priceless. I think we help each other dodge a few mistakes. Some smart bitch will bring up the holes in your plan that may not have occurred to you. If you can stand the heat, it’s a remarkable group.

Hahaha, I am probably so happy because for once, I was not involved in any of the disagreements. A welcome relief. And I got to see the Tea Master. One of my dreams. With interesting, stimulating company.

All in all I had a wonderful trip. You can see more about the Roach Foundation and our incredible tea at


Oh, Gina did say to Jackie and I, “let’s throw the newbies under the bus”.

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