You know what, there would have been a time when I’d have been ashamed to be seen quoting The Sound of Music twice (actually, three times) on my blog, but as I want to talk about some of my favourite things at the moment, I really couldn’t ignore the fact that every time I drafted this post in my head (yeah, I do that – maybe that’s why I never notice things on the street around me?) I ended up with “that song” stuck in my head. Misery loves company, as Ben would say.
I love a good rant – but I am possibly even more of a fan of giving credit where credit is due. Did I tell you about the time I called a supermarket to tell them that the cashier who served me was so friendly and happy it genuinely brightened up my evening? Turned out it was that girl’s first day, and the manager was delighted that he could pass such encouraging feedback on to her. I know it’s corny and old-fashioned but things like that really make a difference, to me at least.
So here’s a list of my – slightly random – favourite things at the moment:
- Roasted beetroot – I know, it’s hardly a novel invention, but I never think to buy it and yet it’s so easy to prepare, is an easy addition to salads even cold, and is so delicious. Not to mention healthy – its effects on blood pressure and liver function could be just what you need post-holiday, and it’s a great way to enjoy roasted root goodness with more vitamins and minerals and fewer starchy carbohydrates.
- ProteinMunchies.com – Build your own protein bar, choosing from nut butters, additional nuts and seeds, superfoods, and add pea protein and agave nectar for vegan options. I haven’t tried this service yet, but at £25 for a case of 10 of your own blend of healthy whole-food ingredients, I definitely will soon. Of course, I could totally make these at home myself, but frankly I never prioritise making snack bars when I’m in the kitchen, and I know I’m not a alone. It’s great to see something like this online!
- Oil cleansing – I’ve known for ages that skin and hair are best left to their own devices when it comes to controlling sebum levels, but for some reason I never really thought to use oil to cleanse my skin. I guess I always thought of it as a bit of a “dirty hippie” thing to do, and as someone who spent a lot of time rolling around on gym mats of questionable hygiene status with various training partners (of equally questionable hygiene status), I didn’t want to take any chances and preferred to err on the “burn everything off my skin” side of caution. But when Kristy at Keepin’ it Kind raved about it, and when I read the informative post she had linked to from The Veggie Nook, I decided it was time to stop ignoring the red flare-ups and the flaky patches and the overall dullness. I’ve only just started using oil this week, but my skin looks bright and feels lovely and smooth, despite my face being lashed with wind and rain every day this week. I’m a convert.
- Alpro rhubarb & strawberry soy yoghurt – I don’t know why this yoghurt is so different to me than all the others out there, and I know Alpro is hardly an ethical company despite making things that don’t contain cows’ milk, but it is literally irresistible to me. A 500g pot rarely lasts more than a couple of days, I just can’t get enough of the stuff!
- Bamboo clothing – Again, not so much of a new one to me but I am particularly in love with one company. I bought numerous Christmas gifts for various people from there, and they all arrived super quickly, delivered in reusable biodegradable packages, fit beautifully and felt gorgeous. Bamboo clothing is normally pretty expensive, but these items aren’t ludicrously priced and at the moment they have a sale on with some really good deals. If you have even just a little bit of money to spend at the moment, definitely think about spending it here.
- TRX suspension trainer – I’ve only been back just over a week, and only done five light training sessions, but I feel like the TRX has whipped me back into shape. I still need to do a lot more, and desperately need to start grappling again, but I feel like everything switched back on immediately from our first session thanks to the suspension work.
- Chili chocolate protein shakes – I know people have given up on making protein shakes enjoyable, but I haven’t! I love chili chocolate, so why wouldn’t I sprinkle a pinch of chili powder into my chocolate-flavoured protein shakes and benefit from the supposed effects on metabolism whilst enjoying a little bit of a kick to my otherwise unexciting protein shake?
- Ethical online shopping – Ever since my Christmas shopping I have been in love with EthicalSuperstore.co.uk. They have a great range of products from homeware to fashion, eco-friendly gadgets to grocery, often have good sales on, and the website is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Products always arrive quickly, in good condition, and with free UK delivery over £50. Honestly, I’m impressed.
- Tahini dressing – I love tahini so much that I normally drizzle it on food as-is, but I thought I’d take the time to put a little more love into my food so I mixed up some tahini with soy sauce and apple cider vinegar and the result was way better than I could have hoped for – plus, then you can drizzle so much more tahini goodness over your bowl of food. That dressing and kale are a match made in heaven.
- Neal’s Yard Almond Moisturiser – I know, I know, I’m all into my oil-cleansing which reduces the need for a moisturiser, but I was given this before I started using oil and frankly, I love it. It’s smooth and silky and feels so nourishing. Although it’s not greasy or sticky, I can feel it forms a protective barrier on my face which keeps it soft and glowing all day. I oil-cleanse at night and in the morning after splashing some water on my face (mainly to help me wake up) I smooth some of this stuff on. I can’t believe how far just a little dab of it goes too!
- Le Pain Quotidien – I know, I always go on about them and they’re not even a vegan or ethical company, but I think they deserve a mention for vastly expanding their vegan repertoire. Less than a year ago, I only went there for soy milk provided free of charge and the odd vegan muffin, as well as hummus and tapenade on bread. I’m not sure if the Detox salad was already on their menu, but I only had that once and never will again. Gradually, the little vegan carrot appeared in more and more places and when I visited on Tuesday, they had a vegan salad special (avocado and lentil), a vegan three-bean chili special, and even a vegan dessert special (apple cannelé) to add to the good old muffins and recent additions of cocoa-pear cake and chia pudding. And I’ve just seen on their core menu such tantalising additions as tofu quiche and hemp seed blondies. Remember it’s a healthy balance between supporting vegan businesses and encouraging mainstream businesses to cater to vegans…!
That’s probably about it for the specifics – I hope you can pick out at least one of those that interests you and that brightens a day or a week with something new and exciting!
In general I’m just really enjoying cooking again after a few weeks of being cooked for, and cooking from scratch; I say it’s to save money but I just love the satisfaction of having made something completely on my own. I made chorizo sausages from Vegan Brunch the other day, after making my own vegetable stock for them, and I am so proud and satisfied every time I eat them – the fact that they’re delicious is just a bonus. It goes without saying that I’m happy to be back in the gym and to see my clients again, but I’m also really into writing at the moment, as well as reading and learning, and I’m getting to bed at a (slightly more) reasonable time too.
How about you? What’s your latest feel-good routine, favourite company, or food craving? I’m going to need some new ones soon so please inspire me!