Monday, 25 June 2018

an adventure to corsica

hello dearest reader! last week my mum, my boy and i went on a trip to Corsica, which is an island off the coast of France/Italy. mum had actually had it booked for ages to go by herself, but given recent events, we sort of ended up deciding that Buds and i would go with her... and given we'd also spent the previous four weeks basically trapped in the house with our bathroom being remodelled, we were so excited to get out!

Corsica is somewhere i've wanted to visit ever since i heard about it as a holiday destination a couple of years ago. and it didn't disappoint as a holiday destination, in fact, it reminded me a lot of my visits to Fiji and Hawaii, because of its relaxed island vibes. there are a lot of beautiful sandy beaches, a lot of marinas full of boats and lots of markets with local produce. there are also a lot of herds of animals roaming across roads, with no obvious sign of the farmer guiding them - which i find both cute and a sign of how relaxed the industry side of things is there.

we ended up staying in two locations, both of which were based on the east of the island, within 45 mins of the airport. firstly, in Bravone...


the beach at Bravone was lovely, and not too busy, although we didn't go at peak season (end of July and all of August). the sea would've been lovely to go in for a swim, but my boy isn't really a huge fan of the beach yet - he gets upset by sand and the sounds of the ocean, he always has. but i was proud of him that day because he walked by himself the whole way up the beach and back almost all of the way too.

but at the beach we got bitten to pieces by bugs, and this was on the first day - annoyingly i had Googled "are there mosquitoes on Corsica?" before leaving and decided i didn't need to bring my repellent with me... i need to go and put new answers in those forums because there definitely are bugs in Corsica! we ended up buying something in a pharmacy up the road the day after. i feel like such a Brit because i just don't know how to deal with bugs well - mum and i kept saying that we should've brought marmite because eating that is supposed to ward them off?!


the place we stayed was almost like paradise, it was gorgeous, lovely pool, cute animals, stunning garden for my little one to run around in, there was even a patisserie van at 7:45 each morning with fresh produce. and these sheets, look at them...


we spent a lot of time feeding the goats, swimming in the pool and running around the flower garden.





unfortunately, i contracted some sort of horrendous stomach bug just two days into the trip, which put me out completely for a whole day, and then i was weakened for the rest of the trip. but we still made the most of it! and i praise God for my mother being so helpful in looking after my boy when i was unable to.

on the Wednesday we drove an hour south to Pinarello - a lovely long beach near Porto Vecchio. we watched the kite surfers in the water, going back and forth and fast and slow.


half way through the trip we moved ourselves to an AirBnB in the footsteps of the mountains. we enjoyed a little more space to move around, as well as aircon and good wifi, and we got to have several long evenings full of deep discussions.

we went for walks down the little lane, looking at the abundance of beautiful wildflowers, and all the smells of the island.



and one day we decided to brave the terrifying cliff-edge roads in our rental car and drive further into the mountains through Cervione (stopping to play in a cute playpark) - eventually stopping at a reservoir to take in its beauty and vastness. there was no-one around, and it was so peaceful and majestic.


instead of beaches we took the little one to see boats instead, and he loved it. it seems a lot of guys were just chilling on their boats in the afternoon, and we also got to see a boat come in and attempt to pull in by the jetty. it's nice to see a harbour full of boats that people actually use, rather than ones that are too big and not used enough. there was life in the harbour, is what i mean, and i've only really seen that in a couple of harbours in the south of england in summer months. i kind of wish i was more of a boat person.


let me just say that i want to go back to Corsica again one day! it really is a stunning island, and i just wish that circumstances had been different and i had felt much better throughout the trip. or, as i'm clearly not a 30c/85f woman, perhaps we will consider exploring it around easter time when it's cooler but still sunny. and also perhaps when my boy decides that beaches and sandcastles are cool ;)

we ended the holiday by saying that we wished we'd had one more week in our house because we were just about getting into our groove and relaxing together. it really was important for us to get out of our regular routines and look at how we are doing with things and give some time to reflection.

anyhow, any questions you have, please don't hesitate to ask! thank you for reading, and i hope this inspires you x

Friday, 22 June 2018

why i'll always have a konjac sponge in my bathroom

it's not too often i find a new thing that i love so much as i love my new sponge. what a strange sentence?! but i do, i really do, love my sponge.

it's a konjac sponge - which is a sponge made out of konjac root. which if you've never heard of that before, don't be surprised, because it grows in asia and you'd only ever have heard about it (probably) if you have tried konjac noodles from a health food shop. anyhow, the root itself is super healthy and packed with minerals and vitamins. it grows wild at high altitudes, and is naturally alkaline - so it's perfect for balancing out the PH of your skin.

they come in all shapes and sizes (even a cute heart-shaped one), as well as with additional ingredients like pink clay or charcoal. there are never any other ingredients though, no additives, no colours, no pollutants.


one of my main favourite things about it is that it's 100% sustainable and biodegradable - it's not taken from a reef and it's not putting plastic out there into the world. the sponges i use from The Konjac Sponge Company are the original and the best - any other brands are just copying from their success but not meeting the same high standards of production. these ones have the official Cruelty-Free and Vegan stamp of approval too.

but THE MOST IMPORTANT thing about these sponges is how it cleans my face, and has helped clear up the congestion around my mouth and chin. basically i've been using it every other day for about 2-3 months now (actually i'm on my second one) and seriously the bumpy, blackhead-y, congested skin there is clearing up, it's tightening my pores and clearing them out. which is amazing, because no other "product" has been able to do that for me. and this is so simple.

when it arrives it's a hard de-hydrated block, and you need to rinse it under water for 30 seconds to rehydrate. you'll know when it's ready because it will get good and squishy. and then i simply run the water warm and clean my face in small circles until it's done. you can't apply hard pressure with it, because it's too soft for that, so it really is gently on your skin. and if you're someone who doesn't like to use a lot of water or would rather use some other product to cleanse even deeper, then you can use the sponge with your cleanser too.

if you're someone that suffers with acne or bad breakouts, then i think this will help, because they would work well for people with sensitive skin. i would say that any harsh scrubs you should be avoiding anyway if you suffer with breakouts, because it will just aggravate your skin.

once you're finished using the konjac sponge rinse it through, and then give it a good squish in the palm of your hands and leave it somewhere hanging up to dry - i just use the shower door handle, and sometimes the handle on the back of my wardrobe. it needs to be somewhere it won't get wet or get touched and it will get air all around it to dry out fully. this will help preserve it for longer and you can then get good value out of it. these sponges don't last forever, but they can last a good 3-6 months depending on how well you look after it.

if you're interested in purchasing, you can find them easily on Amazon, or browse the whole collection on their website:
Regular Face Sponge - UK/ US
Small Pore Refiner (for daily use) - UK, not available on US Amazon yet 
Large Body Sponge - UK / US 

also, if you have any questions please do ask! it's so much fun to bring to you things that i really love. and if you're more of a visual person, then you can watch my full review below... x

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

what we ate on monday & my bircher muesli recipe

is 'what i ate wednesday' still a thing? i feel like it got taken over as soon as instagram arrived... but i wanted to write a post about what we ate monday, because it was TASTY, and i finally filmed a 'what we eat in a day' video for my YouTube channel (scroll down if you're interested, because i'll pop the video at the end of this post for y'all).

it's my most commonly requested video, and perhaps that's because so many of those following from the old school days of blogging remember my food posts. let me start by saying that the day went super smoothly, i literally only spent 69 minutes cooking and preparing food (because that's as much footage i had from the day) and that's all because i actually PLANNED what we would eat. meal planning makes all the difference for my sanity and our health as a family.

so if you're looking at the day thinking "i could never feed my family like that" just know that you simply need to sit down and write a plan for 30 minutes at the weekend and you'll be much more likely to feed your family nutritious food! you can grab my example template and meal suggestion guide here and find out how i meal plan here in one of my recent-ish videos.

ok, enough pre-amble, into the food...

we started out the day with bircher muesli, topped with raspberries. and even though we eat this ALL the time, i've never actually shared a recipe on my blog, so today is the day!


bircher muesli
serves 2-3

ingredients:
2 eating apples, skin on
1/2 cup porridge oats
1/2 cup dairy-free yogurt
2/3 cup soy milk
1/4 cup raisins
a sprinkle of cinnamon
a squeeze of lemon
a dash of maple syrup, optional/to taste

1. grate the apples into a bowl.
2. add in the rest of the ingredients and stir.
3. leave overnight or for a couple of days in the fridge.
or eat it straight away covered in fresh raspberries.


for lunch we had some roasted potato fries/wedges, along with leftovers and veggies from the fridge, including some leftover lasagne, some pesto olives, some avocado, hummus and some corn on the cob. truly delish leftovers!


for dinner we ate pizza!! not just any pizza, but homemade pizza base pizza ;) i use this Jamie recipe, which is divine, easy and reliable. and then topped it with tomato puree, frozen spinach, sliced tomatoes, salmon and Sainsbury's Dairy Free grated cheese (i prefer Daiya, but i wanted to try out something new).


and for dessert we had apple, peach and nectarine crisp - it was supposed to be crumble but it came out really crispy and delicious, so i renamed it! really delicious with a drizzle of Alpro cream.


and of course, he didn't eat it all! my 27 month old boy ate all his breakfast (no raspberries though), most of his lunch (minus the potato wedges), and then basically nothing for dinner other than a banana before bed (i think he was full from a liqorice bar he had that afternoon!). but i enjoyed it! and there were a lot of leftovers for the rest of the week.



please let me know in the comments how you feel about everything we ate today, and let me know if you'd like more posts like this going forward? i won't know unless you tell me ;)

and as we're going old school today, i'm ending the post by telling you my latest favourite song...

currently listening to: the proof of your love by for King and Country

Monday, 4 June 2018

my favourite non-toxic deodorant: salt of the earth

if there's one product that i'd love for everyone to switch over to being non-toxic, it's their antiperspirant deodorant. so, i hope you stick with reading this little blog post that explains a little bit about why i think so, and also the things i've tried so far...


why switch to natural?

because conventional deodorants have aluminium salts in them, which are a potential carcinogen. and because they work by blocking up your sweat glands, which actually is an essential part of the body's detoxification process. and the aluminium can also be absorbed by the body (particularly after shaving) - and in studies in past they've found high levels of aluminium in breast tissue (because the breast tissue begins in the armpit and goes down in a teardrop shape from there...

so, for me, this was a definite switch i needed to make, but it wasn't easy to find one that would work! i started with sprays and sticks that looked the same as my old conventional one, but sure enough by the end of the day i would start smelling. the only other two options i found that i kind of liked are:

bicarbonate of soda - which does a fantastic job to eliminate any scent, however hard you exercise. BUT it is messy, it's a little weird to explain at airport security, and when it mixes with sweat it actually becomes quite acidic and starts to really irritate my skin and produce a rash - so bicarb is a no-no in summer or when i exercise. actually Schmidt's is something lots of other people use, which is bicarbonate of soda mixed with a few other things and the pot comes with a spoon, so it's a little easier to use (try it here - US/UK).

Jason's deodorant - this stick deodorant has a very similar feeling to conventional deodorant and works well, but i don't find it lasts all day, or is as reliable as the salt stick. but if it's not the middle of summer and you're not doing intense exercise then it's pretty good and nicely scented (try it here - US/UK)

BUT, the absolute winner has to be Salt of the Earth (try it here - US/UK) because:

  • it's easy to use - simply run it under water and swipe it under your arms, or use it straight out of the shower before you dry off
  • it has no scent, which means it's also unisex
  • it leaves absolutely no white marks
  • it has just one ingredient
  • it gives ALL day protection
  • the actual rock lasts for ages! i only bought a new one two years in, and finally upgraded to the full size, instead of the travel one - so i expect full size to last 3 years or so.

you can of course buy alum rocks from other companies, but i do like the convenience of this one, despite the plastic packaging (which is in theory recyclable anyway). it's great for travel and reliable.

how do you use it?

i keep mine by the sink, so i run it under the tap before i brush my teeth in the morning. then quickly swipe under my arms back and forth a couple of times to make sure i've covered the area. then it's important to leave the stick to dry out without the lid on. i only use the lid when i need to travel actually.

how does it work?

it's kind of strange to use the first time, because you can't see anything when you apply it - it's totally clear. you just feel like it's water that's on your underarms. according to their website it works by "leaving a microscopic layer of mineral salts on your skin.  These mineral salts inhibit the growth of odour causing bacteria leaving you feeling fresh and scent free."

there's an absolutely brilliant article on their site that is a must-read if you're interested more in how alum actually works.

will it stop me sweating?

no. it doesn't block your pores. but i find that the more i used it the less smelly i became. perhaps because i'm not naturally super stinky, or maybe because my body took a while to get into a better rhythm of detoxing through the underarms. there's an interesting article by The Washington Post that delves into some thinking behind whether anti-perspirants may even make you smell worse by altering the 'flora' of bacteria in your pits.

here's a little review video i did a while back that explains things out loud,, in case you're interested:


this works for me 99.9% of the time, and there isn't any need for me to try anything else - i've found my holy grail for my underarms. so i hope you give it a shot! and if you have any questions about it please let me know because i'd love to answer them.

if you want to know more about my journey to natural beauty, catch up with my last blog post, 'what cleaner beauty means to me'.

thanks for reading, and i hope you stop by again soon x