Friday favourites

I know the title is as unoriginal as the concept, but I feel it is time to show some love to the products that have made me smile in the past week or two. Those foods that you really wish you could get away with eating several times a day (aside from cake, which is too obvious), those items you keep picking up and putting back down with a sense of satisfaction.

I do still have a post in the works to pay tribute to companies that I really feel are making a difference, but this is just a little interim teaser because I just can’t hold the love in any more.

My Great Expectations Fitness t-shirts

I got my first batch of printed t-shirts and they are even better than I expected! I was adamant that I wanted an ethical and eco-friendly fabric that was suitable for training in – look no further than Continental’s bamboo viscose t-shirts: the raglan tee for the women’s t-shirts, and the jersey tee for the men’s. Loose-fitting yet flattering cuts, breathable yet natural, ethical yet afforable, exactly what I want my business to be about. With such a light fabric, I figured screen printing would be the best way to go, but again – it had to be ethical and affordable. I am so glad I found I Dress Myself, eco-friendly screen-printers based in Somerset, who print even small runs of t-shirts at surprisingly affordable rates (and provided the t-shirts that I wanted as well). The logo looks amazing and the t-shirts look and feel great, and I can definitely say I wear mine with pride and can’t wait to see my clients wearing them soon too!

Roo’Bars

More substantial than your average raw fruit-and-nut bar, yet less sweet, and weighing in at only 150kcal, these are nothing groundbreaking and yet are just so good!

Nkuku Eva enamelware bowls

I originally bought a bowl and cup from the Nkuku Eva range for my friend Viv as a late birthday-cum-good luck on your research trip to Ghana gift… and ended up falling so much in love with them that a couple of months later I had to treat myself to one! I guess that’s always a good sign, right, loving something you got someone else so much that you get one for yourself? It feels slightly wrong, but I have to say that whenever I use my little bowl – I got the navy one – it makes me irrationally happy. Material girl, material world, etc. But at least they’re ethical and fairtrade – and, I would assume, fairly durable – not to mention the perfect breakfast, snack, or ice cream bowl size!

Oven-baked sweet potato wedges

Cut a sweet potato into more-or-less wedge-shaped chunks, place on a baking tray, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and paprika, mix vigourously with fingers until all are coated (getting messy and oily is part of the fun), bake in the middle of an oven at 180°C, remove around 30-40mins later when edges are crisp and browned and the sweet potato fragrance is overwhelming the house. Eat as they are with your fingers. Of course, you can have them with whatever you like, but I enjoy them the most with no distractions.

Frank bars

Somewhere between an oat bar, a nut bar, a chocolate bar, and a fruit bar. Lost in that Bermuda quadrilateral of chewiness, moistness, tart fruitiness, chocolatey richness, and savoury oatiness. A small but oddly satisfying snack, not overly sweet, with a blend of fast- and slow-digesting carbohydrates as well as protein, a hit of energy at just over 100kcal for when you’re on your way to the gym and it’s too close to training to eat a proper snack, or for when you can’t decide between chocolate and something more substantial.

Coconom Coconut Sugar

This is fantastic in baking and I feel that is where it truly shines, adequately standing in for processed granulated sugar, but offering so much less guilt along with its subtle caramel flavour. However, not having been inclined to do any baking lately, I have found myself sprinkling it on top of my breakfast bowls – perhaps defeating the purpose of unsweetened (non-dairy) yoghurt/milk, admittedly, but adding richness and depth and subtle sweetness to an otherwise very tame breakfast or snack.

Baby Stella’s Body Butter

I discovered these all-natural handmade body butters randomly on a market stall in Wimbledon, and fell in love with the silky mousse-like texture of the blend of shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil among other natural ingredients. I picked up a tub of Sweet Orange for just £5, and a little goes a long way and leaves my skin feeling smooth, healthy and happy. I love that “Mama Stella” makes these in her own kitchen, unconditionally committed to her principles of using delicately blended natural products. Massaging this rich body butter into your skin is the perfect post-training ritual to soothe tired legs and beaten-up skin.

So those are the main (little) things making me smile this week, so thank you to all the companies/manufacturers/founders/thoughtful ethical people who brought all these products into the world, and good luck to all of you with your business ventures!

I’d love to hear from everyone else what your favourite eco-friendly, vegan, healthy, feel-good products and foods you have been enjoying lately! Please leave me a comment and let me know what to check out, I love an excuse to try new (vegan) things!

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