I'm sure by now you've heard of a juice cleanse, but what about a soup cleanse? Other than the age-old cabbage soup diet that sounds just ghastly, I hadn't until Press rolled out their new range.

About two years ago, I was really into my cleanses. Having started with a one-day cleanse, I pushed the boat out and bought a juicer, a bunch of organic produce, and drank my way through three days. In fact, you can read about my 3-day juice cleanse and even try it for yourself. The experience was a really positive one, despite being quite a foodie - I learnt the difference between mental cravings and physical hunger, made a bunch of tasty juices that I still drink to this day, and felt incredibly refreshed inside and out.

Well, I decided to give Press' new Nourish Cleanse* a try this time round. The setting was slightly different, taking up my Saturday a few weekends ago, and there was no real reason to be cleansing other than as a way to feel refreshed. For some reason, I treat cleanses like I do haircuts; they're perfect at the time of a big life change.

So, the cleanse itself... was good. The soups were tasty. The "leche" was delicious. But the juices were so gingery, oh my gosh it was a hold-your-nose-and-glug scenario. I think through the day, I looked forward to the soups and cashew milk the most, them having a smooth and creamy taste, but even when I do make juices I'm so careful with the amount of ginger that the Greenhouse 3 and Garden 2 juices blew my socks off.

Either way, I enjoyed the cleanse, and would recommend soups for anyone adverse to only consuming juices. I felt lighter, enjoyed lounging around the flat (a real rarity!) and am now looking for soup recipes with cashew nut bases. The only thing I would like to see is a cleanse that comes in glass bottles - less plastic waste.

If you'd like to give a cleanse a go, I'd also recommend following my key tips...

#1 PREPARE WELL
So, my first tip for cleansing, whether you're a beginner or a pro, is to prepare a few days in advance. I've written this up previously in my guide How to Prepare for a Juice Cleanse, but the essential takeaway is to eat a diet of raw, plant-based foods between 24 to 48 hours before starting your cleanse. This will get your body used to the nutrients you're going to receive and the lack of meat/dairy/eggs without taking away the fibre.

#2 STICK TO THE PLAN
Then, onto the cleanse itself. Set yourself a guide for the day. Press provides an example day plan in the pamphlet that comes with the cleanse. My recommendation is, at the very least, to follow the order in which the cleanse has been designed. On the Nourish cleanse, the soups align with meal times, juices for blood sugar pick-me-ups, so you'll minimise your hunger and can hopefully run your day like normal!

#3 HAVE A BACK UP PLAN
Whether you've gone on a cleanse before or not, I always recommend having a back up snack to hand for those moments of weakness. There's nothing worse than feeling trapped with only a fridge of veggie juices... If you find yourself needing a little something extra, try a handful of unsalted cashew nuts. And remember, you can drink as much extra water and herbal tea as you want!

And if you'd like to give the Nourish Cleanse a go, or try one of Press' other cleanses, you can get one day free on a three-day cleanse with the code "CURIOUSLYCONSCIOUS". Happy cleansing!

Okay, I'll admit it; I suck taking photos at events. If you can ignore the low quality pictures, I hope you can enjoy the real gems that I uncovered at the I Am Zero Waste talk held last weekend!

WHAT IS ZERO WASTE?
It's probably appropriate to start with an introduction to the zero waste movement. While I'm not quite a fully-committed "zero waster", I do appreciate the movement and have slowly been adopting zero waste ways that fit with my lifestyle. Zero waste is a lifestyle choice where you throw away quite literally zero items.

Bea Johnson, on the left of the first photo, is an advocate and longtime zero waster. You might have seen her before with a mason jar in hand - that's how much waste her family made in one year. She visited London to talk about her lifestyle choice, and ways we can improve our reduced impact on the planet by following zero waste, and I was lucky enough to go along to see her.

By her side is Catherine Conway, the founder of Unpackaged, a concept store built around the idea of shoppers bringing their own refillable jars and bags to take away the foods she stocks. I love the idea, and apparently so do Londoners as she's since partnered with Planet Organic too.

THE 5 R'S
So, onto Bea's presentation. If you've read her book, you'll be familiar with the most part of her advice, including her guiding principles: the five R's. These are, in order:
  1. Refuse
  2. Reduce
  3. Reuse
  4. Recycle
  5. Rot
To start, try refusing anything that will cause waste. Say no to exhibition freebies, ask companies to stop sending you junk mail, buy produce that doesn't come wrapped in plastic... It takes a combination of willpower, mindfulness, and this refusal to get started with zero waste.

Bea also mentioned the materials she looks for in products that are more planet-friendly, which I thought was actually quite useful. As metal and glass can be recycled over and over, they're a really great option, while paper and cardboard is also good for recycling, and wood or bamboo can be composted easily.

BULK BUYS
Another tip from Bea was to buy items in bulk. This reduces packaging, the cost, and you'll be surprised at how many items you can make out of just a few simple ingredients. For example, for pretty much any cleaning need, you only really need three items: bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar, and castile soap. This is all you need to make washing up liquid, window cleaner, bathroom cleaner... it's all dependent on ratios.

LIFETIME GUARANTEES
The final tip of the day was to look for items that have lifetime guarantees. Bea swears by her sons' Jansport backpacks, which she bought second-hand and then returned to the company for new replacements. While there is some conflict over whether the manufacturer will wholly recycle the old/used items, these kind of investments prevent excessive consumption and general waste over an entire lifetime.



Despite all the wonderful recipes out there for breakfast, I'm really quite a bore when it comes to my own. I get stuck in a rut, starting the week with a leisurely porridge, and ending on the first item that falls into my hand when I rummage in the cupboard. If you couldn't already tell, I'm not a morning person.

I've decided I'd like to be a little more prepared with my meals than I have been as of late, and breakfast is my first port of call. Over the last seven days I ate banana bread for breakfast, spreading on cashew butter when I had extra time and whisking two slices away in a small tub when I didn't. The fact that this is something I can prepare the night before and have it last all week is the best kind of breakfast for me, as someone who always gives herself 5 minutes too little time every morning...

LIVING LAGOM WITH IKEA
This recipe is the first outcome of my involvement on the Live Lagom project with IKEA. The project has been running for seven years, and each year they choose a select number of people to look through their range to find items that will help them live better, be it in a more sustainable way, finding wellbeing, or bringing their family closer together.

As a spritely 24 year-old with a tiny rented apartment and flatmate, this has meant looking to reduce food waste, and improve the efficiency of our home (I could really do with cheaper bills!) In this recipe, I used a few essential IKEA items including their metal knives, chopping board made from sustainably sourced wood, and loaf tin.

So, here's my recipe for breakfast banana bread, a less sweet version of regular banana bread with flax seed for omegas and chia seed for protein and fibre.



BREAKFAST BANANA BREAD
Serves 5

4 overripe bananas
150g flour
100g ground coconut
20g flax seed meal
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Line your loaf tin with baking parchment (beware of the plastic-lined ones) or smooth coconut oil on the sides and bottom
  2. Preheat your oven at 200°C, 180°C for fan ovens
  3. In a food processor bowl, add all your ingredients
  4. Process until smooth, and feel free to add as much or as little of each ingredient as you like - I'm not sure you can ever make a "bad" banana bread!
  5. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and put into the oven as soon as it's hot enough
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes (you can test to see if your loaf is ready by putting a fork in the bread and it coming out clean)
  7. Leave to cool on a wire rack, and slice each morning fresh!

In case the card shops and the blatant advertising hadn't warned you already, Mother's Day is almost upon us. I've actually always grown up remembering the day because more often than not, it lands on my birthday or my birthday weekend. I'll be honest, as a kid this was not okay. Why share my birthday celebrations with my mum? Not fair!

Now that I'm older, I'm actually almost thinking these two days should be in reverse. Thank you Mum for squeezing me out all those years ago, raising me and forever giving me an emotional safety net to fall into. You should be celebrated on the day of my birth, and I'll just settle for a simple shared one-day event to recognise my fortune being here!

So, if nothing else, please say thank you to your mum this Mother's Day. Appreciate her in the way she likes - and only you know that deep down. Here are a few other ideas that might make a nice addition too:

PAMPER DAY
What's better than spending quality time with your mum? Perhaps spending quality time with your mum during a massage, facial, and steam! I love a good spa, but sadly my mum is a little averse to joining me in that. If your mum does like a spa though, I'd really recommend Spa Experience (multiple venues, good for being on a budget, full review) or for spa veterans, Banya No. 1 (London only, expensive but really worth the Russian experience, full review).

NATURAL SKINCARE
Forget the same old Elizabeth Arden tube, your mum deserves a little hint of nature. If you don't get chance to spend the day with your Mum this year, perhaps send her a little gift in the form of natural beauty. This past Christmas I finally got my mum a natural beauty hand cream that she now swears by over her Aveeno - the ultra-moisturising Pomegranate, Argan & Grapeseed Hand Cream from Crabtree & Evelyn. From there, perhaps a Balancing Rose Otto gift set from Balance Me, or Body Wash & Lotion from Green People?

BAKE OFF
Do you remember how good those butterfly cakes you and your mum made were? Despite the obvious conflict with my healthy eating, I'd love to have more of that quality time with my mum. Perhaps a good cook book (or try one of my favourite healthy cookbooks) and some ingredients to go with it will be enough to get us both back in the kitchen, and we'll have something to eat by the end of it too!

It takes a lot of work being green. I’m not patting myself on the back here, just stating a fact. It takes thought, planning, and investment. Where do you start? When will you end? It’s more of a journey than a project – so if you’re reading this, well done for making it this far!

Over time I’ve swapped a lot of things for more sustainable alternatives. However, I wouldn’t say I took the easiest path when doing it – there are many things I should have done first, ones that make a big different and don’t take too much effort either.

So, upon reflection, I’ve decided to make a list of my top five sustainability swaps – these are the first things I would recommend to anyone looking to be more green, save money, and also look after our planet too!

1. SWAP TO ORGANIC
My first port of call is moving to more organic foods. Organic certification (in the UK, this is from the Soil Association) guarantees food is not exposed to pesticides, meaning it is closer to nature, better for the environment, and better for your health. I know organic food now comes at a premium, so try swapping for fresh produce that’s in season and only the ‘dirty dozen’.


2. SWAP TO AN ETHICAL ENERGY PROVIDER
This is one of my latest conscious living finds, and I don’t know how I didn’t look into it sooner. Utilities are one of the most expensive things in my life (ignoring my astronomical London rent) so the more ethical they can be the better. Brighter World Energy is an energy provider that is aiming to stop energy customers from being overcharged, while also giving clean sustainable energy to people in the remotest parts of Africa. For every 2000 customers that join them, they build a solar powered grid in a remote village in need like the one in the photo. Sounds like a win-win to me!


3. SWAP TO REUSEABLES
You may have heard that there’s a new reusable in my life, and I’m not ashamed to say that at 24 I am excited about having a lunch box. This is the best thing for me! For too long, I’ve been making shoddy salads or buying food out for lunch every day rather than bring in food from home. My new lunch pot and cutlery sit well alongside my KeepCup and I have to say, I’m saving money as well as reducing my waste.


4. SWAP TO RECHARGEABLES
Alongside reusable items, have you thought about rechargeable items? While the technology sector remains a difficult field to navigate when being sustainable, there are a few options out there. I’m a big fan of my rechargeable batteries and charger, as well as electric razor that’s charged by the mains.


5. SWAP TO PUBLIC TRANSPORT
My final point is probably my most underrated one – public transport. I use public transport almost every day, and I genuinely enjoy it. London buses are surprisingly clean, many are hybrid or electric, and they transport hundreds of people in one vehicle every day. The tube and trains are the same, although I have to admit, a little grubbier. Either way, they’re a low impact way of travelling (unless you can walk or cycle, which I do whenever I can). And this is coming from someone with a driver’s licence too. If in doubt, take a look at this ‘waste of space’ photo

This post is sponsored by Brighter World Energy.