When it comes to organic beauty, that is my bag. My skills in beauty are pretty much nil. Ombre lips? No idea. Contouring? Not a clue. But throw me into the beauty aisles at Planet Organic or Infinity Foods and I am as happy as Larry. I love the smells,the packaging and feel of the shampoos and creams that adorn the shelves.
We don’t think enough about what goes onto our skin and what is in the products we use. The more natural and organic the product usually the more expensive the product is which can usually put us off. However, there are certain products which I think are definitely worth investing in and this is one of them.
I received Dr Bronner’s Almond Liquid Soap for my birthday after much deliberation about the price. It supposedly has 18 in 1 uses, everything from washing your hair to using as toothpaste to helping with congestion. I kid you not. I haven’t tried everything, but after using it as a face and body wash I am already converted. You only need a few drops, as they leave the glycerine ( a great moisturiser) in meaning the formula is really concentrated. This means it is much better value than I initially thought. The soaps leave you feeling cleansed, moisturised and smell incredible! As a greasy face sufferer I love it as a face wash.
If that wasn’t enough, their packaging is from 100% recycled materials, they dedicate company profits to local and global causes and they use traceable fair trade and organic ingredients. They are also a certified B-Corp.
I have listed the ingredients below:
Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Palm Kernel Oil*, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Natural Almond Fragrance, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
*CERTIFIED FAIR TRADE INGREDIENTS
** None remains after saponifying oils into soap & glycerin.
Dr Bronners Liquid Soap costs approximately £8- £10 for 472 ml bottle and is available in Planet Organic, Amazon and Cult Beauty.
London is a haven for food from all corners of the Earth.
In fact, I find that outside of Oxford Street it is pretty hard to find a terrible restaurant in London. I find that the best eateries in London are always the unpretentious little finds tucked away far from the madding crowd that you hope no one else finds out about. The ones you almost don’t want to tell anyone about in the fear that the next time you come it might be a 2 hour wait for the next table.
Morito, the little sister of Moro, is one of my favourite restaurants in London. Moro and Morito are based in Exmouth Market, which if you are ever around that area (about a 20 minute walk from Kings Cross) is definitely worth a visit.
The food is a fusion of North African and Spanish, which makes for a real treat indeed. If, like me, you have quite an intense and almost unhealthy love for aubergines ( I have a jumper with aubergines on it), make sure you try the crispy aubergine, whipped feta & date molasses (pictured above). The aubergine, cut like thick chips, goes all gooey yet crispy on the outside and the feta and the salty taste of the feta with the sweet molasses makes you want to marry the dish and take it home to meet your parents.
Anyway, it’s a great little restaurant as it’s also pretty reasonable for London. Each dish is on average around £6 or £7 and you could probably get away with four dishes between two people as the sizes are quite generous for tapas. The vegetarian food is just as good as the meaty treats if not better. The whole place has a relaxed, raw cantina feel and the staff are great. I especially enjoyed the Spanish style glasses they serve with your wine that look a little like tumblers and make the delicious Spanish wine go down all too easily.
You can book at lunchtimes but not in the evenings, but if you do need a table the lovely people of Morito will take your number and call you once your table is ready (so you can have a swift one in one of the neighboring bars or pubs).
Salad has always had a bit of a bad reputation in the UK.
For years, the Brits have shamelessly placed a slice of dehydrated tomato on top of an old bit of iceberg lettuce and called it a salad. No wonder we suffer from an obesity problem.
Fortunately these days we have started to look at health food with a new perspective and we have realised that salads no longer needed to be tasteless and dull, in fact there were suddenly no rules. Nuts and seeds? Throw ’em in. Cheese and fruits? Why not?
This is one of my favourite salads. I love the different textures and the depth of flavour. This recipe is a bit of inspiration to anyone who needs a crazy good, easy and relatively reasonably cheap salad to “beet” the summer heat. You can easily leave out the mackerel if you are not a fish fan. Use as a wholesome main or a delightful side.
Asian Mackerel Salad
Serves 2 as a main with leftovers and costs roughly £8.
For the salad:
2 x pre- cooked mackerel fillets (marinated if desired)
Small bunch of chopped coriander for garnish
1 red pepper, sliced
1 x 150g bag of leafy vegetable of your choice ( I use lambs or mixed lettuce)
1 x 250g bag of cherry tomatoes, halved
For the dressing:
1 tbs honey
3 tbsp soy sauce
The juice of 1 lime
1 medium chilli
2 spring onions chopped
1cm piece of drama of ginger
1 tbs sesame oil
Chop all the vegetables and mix into a salad. To create the dressing, Method:
Chop all the vegetables and mix into a salad. To create the dressing, put your heaviest items in first with your salt which in this case is soy sauce and add your honey, chilli and fish sauce. Then add your lime juice and your sesame oil and shake all ingredients together. Add all your other dressing ingredients and taste and add a little more lime juice, and anything else you think your dressing needs a bit more of. Shake again and voila! It’s all about balancing sweet and sour – bearing in mind most oils are naturally sweet.
Told you it was easy!
I remember in year 7 my backpack was almost the same size as me and I seemed to carry around everything I would need for the entire week. I could have probably survived in the wilderness for an entire month on the amount I deemed necessary to keep in my backpack. A giant armadillo and its family could have comfortably fitted into it and still had room for my packed lunch. I remember the “cool girls” in my class at secondary school would have these teeny tiny Warehouse bags accompanied by a plastic bag (only from acceptable shops of course) and it was really only the nerds who carried backpacks. Well the backpack has done a complete u turn on the coolness scale and now every brand from Doc Martins to Mulberry have an iconic backpack. I had recently found myself with shoulder and back pain from carrying heavy items in a shoulder bag and decided it was about time to invest in a backpack. I wanted something smart but a bit different, durable but chic , a backpack that didn’t make me look like I was going hiking for 6 months. One of my old backpacks was so big that once when I came into work my boss told me I looked like a little turtle. Wonderful. After some serious consideration I decided upon the Sandqvist Alva backpack and I have to say I love it! It was a bit more than I had wanted to spend and was definitely a treat, but I justified it by the fact that it is an investment for my back I ordered mine from John Lewis as you can avoid hefty delivery charges and collect from your local Waitrose. I went for the Khaki colour but it also comes in black.
The bags are carefully designed by three Swedish from sustainable materials. The bags are made in India by a family run factories that they know and trust. Sandqvist is a member of the Fair Trade Foundation which means workers have a right to fair wages, reasonable hours of work and child labour is completely banned.
Even when I overload the bag, it doesn’t feel heavy and I find the weight evenly distributed on comfortable straps which don’t dig in. It fits in a hell of a lot which is great as I often find myself packing a lot of “just in case” items. I have had the bag for a couple of months now and I have seen no sign of wear or tear at all. I also just found a handy side zip pocket which is great for items that you need to get quickly. The only thing I would change would be to have a popper on the buckle for extra ease of access but this is so minor. Practical and chic- this one is a keeper!