I’m gonna admit something straight away here. I sent this to my email subscribers a couple of weeks ago, because…..well, I was scared to share something and my loyal newsletter crew are who I go to first. I send a bit of a personal letter to my email subsribers every other week. No blog post updates or spam, just a few musings from me.
Anyway, I wanted to share it with everyone, because that’s what I do right? I am an oversharer……and if you are reading this blog, you deserve teh truth from me. SO deep breath, here goes.
I totally love Lush products. However, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I am a self-proclaimed Lushie — the name hardcore lush fans give themselves — but I am certainly on the periphery.
Lush is a little bit Marmite, and synonymous with teenagers…..the bubblegum pink bath bombs, silly names, aggressive fragrances and slightly bonkers staff are all a little divisive. For the record, these are all precisely the reasons why I love Lush, but when someone grimaces when I beg to go into a store; I understand why.
In the days of yore, back when I was growing up, Anita Roddick’s Body Shop was THE place to go for cruelty-free, good clean bathing fun. If you too are a child of the eighties, you’ll surely remember the day you had to issue a strongly worded letter to the relatives requesting that they refrain from buying you ANY MORE BODY SHOP STUFF. I still hankered for Fuzzy Peach shower gel, and Strawberry Shampoo, but those days are long gone and since The Body Shop was sold to L’Oreal many years ago things have changed. Hello there Lush, we have been expecting you……………..
Weirdly, I discovered Lush through my mum years ago. I can’t remember when, but I think she may have been searching for stocking fillers for my sister and me, and found a bath bomb or two. Despite my love for all things natural, neutral and subtly scented, I fell for this fizzy balls of joy and have never looked back.
Since that time, my love for Lush has evolved with the brands changing focuses, and I now use their products for more than just bathtime which, in my opinion, don’t happen enough these days. Anyhow, I digress.
I wanted to share with you a few of my favourite Lush products, because they actually aren’t all super obvious — when I tell people about them, or they see them in my bathroom I often get a few surprised questions. So, here goes….
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The Comforter Shower Cream
This one is a no-brainer. The disgustingly yummy blend of cassis smells EPIC and I genuinely look forward to using it each day. And I, my friends, am NOT a morning person 😉 As the name suggests, it’s more of a cream than a gel but it lathers deliciously and leaves your skin nice and soft.
Angels On Bare Skin Face Cleanser
I was very lucky indeed to see this Lush classic being made from scratch, and it really made me thing that I should just invest in some lavender and kaolin and knock some up myself…..I obviously haven’t, and won’t. Ever. Why would I when I have a lovely Lush store on my doorstep with plenty of the good stuff for sale. So, what is it? It’s a face cleanser, for sensitive skin…..it contains lovely lavender and because of the scrubbiness, you get a nice exfoliation too. Because of that, I generally only use it a few times a week in the morning. It’s gentle, and I love it but it’s crap at taking makeup off — so don’t even try, it’s not designed for that!
Honey I Washed My Hair Solid Shampoo Bar
I have extolled the virtues of solid shampoo bars for yonkers, they truly are a must have when you travel; especially when you are travelling carry on only. They do take a little getting used to at first, but once you try them you will be hooked. I was more than a little devastated when my old fave Ultimate Shine was discontinued, but the trusty Honey I Washed The….line stepped in with the sweet, calming scent of, well honey obviously!
Each Peach and Two’s a Pair Massage Bar
I cannot lie, I have gone through several of these strange massage bars throughout the years but none has ever been repurchased until Each Peach came along…..Aside from the amazing name, the citrusy, retro smell is enough to make you forget it’s a moisturiser and dunk it in your tea. Just me? The concept of the massage bar is simple — it’s essentially a solid moisturiser. That’s all. No need to save it for a ‘sexy night in’ with a partner…..I mean, do it if you want to, but in my opinion that’s weird. Another product that is fab for travelling, especially now Lush have special oval shaped tins to fit them into.
Rub, Rub, Rub Salt Scrub
A good body scrub is a must have. To banish lumpy upper arms, and to extend your tan it is something you should never overlook. I talked about it in a little more detail here. It’s an earthy, salty sea scent with a satisfyingly blue-green hue. Genuinely makes me feel like I am by the seaside all the time….
Brazened Honey Face Mask
Okay, this is a weird scent. It’s a little like lettuce, mixed with hot milk and honey (did anyone else’s mum make that for them when they were poorly?!). I adore honey, both to eat and for it’s fantastic antiseptic properties — great for breakouts and for calming sensitive skin down. This face mask is not great if you are a strict vegan, obviously, but if you aren’t — dive right in. I use this every other week, but it’s so gentle you could use it much more.
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Disclaimer: The Pinnable image? Not vegan, but easily made vegan but switching the grilled halloumi for vegan cheese or grilled tofu.
I’m always banging on about my #cleaneats and partially Vegan lifestyle, so it’s probably time to put my money where my mouth is and tell you what I cook up on a weekly basis. To clear a few things up, I am not Vegan. I am also not Vegetarian. I just eat what I want to eat, which throughout the week consists mainly of a plant-based (therefore Vegan) diet. I believe in moderation, so if I want a dirty Byron burger — I’ll have one. Although I do watch what I eat about 80% of the time, it stands to reason that for the other 20% — I don’t.
Bizarrely, other people’s reactions when you talk about eating vegan food, or experimenting with your lifestyle are mostly negative. I have been questioned endlessly about why, what and how I cope and get endless comments about being Vegan, despite the fact that I do not identify as one. I say that it’s bizarre because I would never ask anyone why they were choosing to eat unhealthy foods, or talk shit about a pregnant women who chose to eat, gasp, unpasteurised cheese…or wine. Sidenote: I don’t particularly understand the obsession with labelling every single aspect of a human being, but such is life.
My journey to get to where I am today, food wise, started after my first long term stint abroad. After two years of travelling, I realised that I felt infinitely better and my skin had cleared up too (I’ve suffered from adult acne since the age of about 29). Once I got back, I couldn’t help but try to take what I could from my travelling lifestyle and try to convert that into some form of London friendly scenario, if you know what I mean?! So, of course, I turned to Pinterest and blogs and found some amazing resources to help me find my way in the plant world and I’ve experimented enough to have a pretty robust bunch of weekday staples.
I’ll tell you a few things about a Vegan diet, though, that you may be surprised to hear. These are the reasons I choose to eat from this diet most of the time. It’s cheaper. You don’t have to shop at Holland & Barrett or Whole Foods to get everything you need. You won’t miss cheese. Mustard and cider vinegar will become your new best friends. Tofu can be delicious.
So, here are a few of my staple recipes:
Granola | Chia Seed Pudding
It would be ridiculous to call this a ‘recipe’, really, as it is just uncooked porridge. Put oats and whatever milk you fancy in a bowl, and leave overnight. It goes all creamy and delicious while you sleep and if you’ve been clever and added cinnamon, peanut butter or cocoa powder (or, indeed, all three) then it is literally ready to eat.
If, like me, you are rarely prepared then fear not. I add honey (or agave for the Vegan’s), some banana and desiccated coconut.
Recipe by A Beautiful Mess
I know, I know. I can literally hear you groaning but honestly — scrambled tofu is delicious. Okay, it’s not gonna cut it for the hardcore scrambled egg eaters out there, but for me — it works. It’s packed full of protein so it’s sooooo perfect for after a workout and takes mere minutes to make. The key is in the drying, and the flavouring. Let’s be real people — tofu is bland as fook, and it needs to be dried out. I cut a chunk off the block and literally squeeze the water out. I then wrap it in greaseproof paper, and smush it between two plates with some heavy books on top. The longer, the better, but I find that 30 mins will suffice.
You will need to add a fook-load of seasoning. Otherwise the tofu will taste of, well tofu — which is, as we mentioned, notoriously bland. I tend to favour turmeric, cumin, garlic and garam masala. Something about Indian spices makes the dish super yummy. Add some texture in by frying it with kale, or shredded cabbage and stick it on toast, or in a tortilla wrap. YUM.
Recipe by Oh My Veggies
Granola & Yoghurt
Granola is ridiculously pricy if you buy it from the supermarket. That’s why I make it! It is disgustingly easy, and not in the way that Mary Berry tells you that a Christmas dinner is easy to make. There are hundreds of recipes out there and honestly, Áine Carlin does a cracking one but this one is my fave, because…BANANA BREAD.
Recipe by Minimalist Baker
Chia Seed Pudding
Oh man, this naughty dish rocks my world a lot. Chia seeds are magical I tell you. TOTALLY MAGICAL! You can make it easily with a few ingredients: chia seeds, some form of milk….be it almond, soy or good old cows, and a bit of flavour (cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg). The only downside is waiting for it to set overnight….
Recipe by Oh She Glows
Lunch & Dinner
Macarono-Cheese | Kale & Cannelini Bean Soup | Veggie Prep | Celeriac & Apple Soup
This dish is not as good as a cheese laden Macaroni Cheese, but it’s almost as good. It’s definitely just as comforting! Also, baked, crispy kale? A revelation!
Recipe by Áine Carlin – Keep it Vegan
Veggie Tortilla Wrap
This isn’t even remotely Mexican, and in no way authentic to any nationality apart from the one that praises using a tortilla wrap to house any filling. I rely on always having wholewheat wraps on hand to add scrambled tofu, or egg too, or chuck some leftovers in for a day-after lunch.
Recipe by Oh My Veggies
Okay that sounds dull, but really — soup is probably a staple in everyone’s life right? The Mighty Boosh say so anyway…… It doesn’t just have to be leftover roast chicken soup, or boring old vegetable, or lentil soup either. Chuck some cannelloni beans in and, if you eat eggs — a poached egg on top — and you’ve got yourself a gourmet offering. Puree some boiled celeriac and apple with a sprinkling of thyme, and you will no longer relegate soup to sick days.
Recipe by Waitrose and Hemsley & Hemsley
Puy Lentil Bolognese
There are a few comfort foods that I can’t live without. Lasagne is one, and Spag Bol is another. I have only just discovered this dupe for the Italian meaty classic, and I love it. Puy lentils rock — they hold their shape and don’t go mushy like the other types do. So all you have to do is add the usual ingredients and some yummy tagliatelle and voila! Prego!
Recipe by Olive Magazine
Any Indian Curry!
Curry is the root to all happiness! Seriously, it is. India is a food mecca for vegetarian’s (as is Bali, IMO) and I think that’s just because they know how to flavour. That’s the secret, really. If your food has enough flavour, it kinda doesn’t matter if it’s a rice cake you’re eating, or a pile of tofu! Obviously, for your curry I would recommend using neither of these two things — I would chuck in stacks of root veg and some chickpeas.
Recipe by Abel & Cole
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Oh how I love to eat. And how I love to do it in London. I’ve been meaning to do a post all about my favourite London cafés for a while now, but such is life, and I’ve not been arsed. Whoops.
If you’re a Londoner you’ll know we tend to stick to our own little areas. Mostly. I’ve been here 16 years now — six of those in Hammersmith — so I really stick to my own area! If you are new to London though, or here on a wee trip you probably won’t want to stick just to this one small corner and you might want to read my London neighbourhood guide to get you acquainted with the city.