I'm a total skincare junky (you should know this by now), so when it comes to what lotions and potions I apply to my skin, I'm quite picky purely down to experience!

My key tips for a good body butter go hand-in-hand with understanding your own skin. Your skin is the body's largest organ, and it goes through a lot. Not only does it have to put up with changes in temperature, weather, and situation (my skin is always so much happier after a run), it also reflects what's going on inside your body.

For the sake of ease, let's split skin types into three baskets, à la face: oily, combination, and dry. Now, there are additional elements - rosiness, acne, sensitive, strained... for these, I'd recommend looking up some skin-specific natural ailments. For body butter though, I primarily stick to plant-based options that don't irritate newly shaved skin, are relatively quick to hydrate (without alcohols) and smell nice, of course!

My body skin is primarily oily, needing a shower every day, and that means the body butters I've shortlisted are light on extra ingredients, mainly (if not completely natural) and steer clear of my 25 harmful ingredients to avoid list. So, in honour of a few years of experimenting, here are my few favourites - and a new one to add to the mix:

ELLOVI: KEY LIME BODY BUTTER
This is my latest find, and I'm loving it! Made from six all-natural ingredients (macadamia, Hawaiian coconut, shea, hemp seed, African marula, and non-GMO corn starch), the Ellovi's Key Lime Body Butter* initially glides on, with the shea butter dots melting slowly across my skin at body temperature. The lime scent is really refreshing too, and works well with the quickly absorbed mixture, making it a perfect addition to my beauty cupboard in time for summer. As with any natural product, I'd next like to see it made organically, but these things do take time!

SHEA YELEEN: LAVENDER SHEA BUTTER
If citrus scents aren't your thing, Shea Yeleen's Lavender Honeysuckle Shea Butter is a great alternative. I enjoyed this during the winter months last year, as it's deeply moisturising (as all shea butter products are). Shea Yeleen is fairly traded, and pays its staff a living wage too. You can read my full review here.

MIO: THE A CREAM
Not technically a body butter, but definitely worth the mention for anyone into their fitness. While I can't vouch for the claimed skin-tightening affects of the Mio's The A Cream, I love carrying this in my gym bag for after a good session and hot shower. It's quick to apply with a pump mechanism rather than needing to be loving applied with your fingertips, and my skin laps it up. You can read my full review of it here.

COCONUT OIL
Hottest product of 2015, coconut oil is a genuinely great option for body butter. I love one-ingredient beauty products, and couldn't miss this favourite, as I usually keep a small jar in my beauty cabinet for any dry skin needs. This is definitely better on dry skin than oily, and also works well as a hair mask too!


It's the end of National Vegetarian Week! How did you get on? As a two-year old vegetarian (and still loving it) I've been playing around with my choices recently. I initially made this decision to switch to being a vegetarian after learning where meat really comes from. Now, I know what you're thinking - meat comes from animals. Yeah, I know. But it's the places those animals are housed in that really freaks me out, to the point of me likening the life of an animal raised for meat to that of a wrongly convicted prisoner (you can read more here).

However, after this decision, I learnt that my diet as a vegetarian is also healthier for me, and more sustainable for the planet. Did you know that factory farming is an industry responsible for incredibly toxic pollution? Not only are cows responsible for more greenhouse gases than transport1 but it also causes gigantic amounts of noxious sewage, water waste, and ammonia emissions2.

For this year's National Vegetarian Week, I teamed up with Orso, a classic Italian restaurant tucked away in the West End of London. It might not seem like the most obvious choice, if you have a peek through their menu, but I was presented with the challenge to visit and try their vegetarian food.

As vegetarians, or anyone with dietary restrictions knows, this can sometimes be a pain. However, I accepted the challenge, and was impressed with not only the variety of options, but also the quality of the food. Forget the safe-bet national restaurant chains; it's places like these that can really make anyone of any diet feel comfortable, and also enable them to try new foods and have a good time.

On the back of that, here are my top tips for eating out at any kind of restaurant as a vegetarian, with real-life examples from my visit to Orso.

1. SET YOUR PARAMETERS
This is probably something you've done already, seeing as you've made the commitment to be a vegetarian. However, everyone is different, and it could be that you're pescatarian, vegan, or simply not a fan of eggs. By knowing what you will and won't eat, you can easily pick out the dishes that don't fit your criteria, and do your research beforehand on grey-areas. A good example of this is vegetarian cheese - some cheese is still made with rennet (although rarely).

2. SPEAK UP
Let all the relevant people know your meal plans. I don't mean this in an arrogant sense - no-one likes being told us vegetarians are "holier than thou" because we care about animals, our health, and the planet. But it's no hassle to let the member of staff on the end of the phone know that you'll be eating vegetarian food when booking, as well as the waiter that serves you. One of the nicest things about eating at Orso under this premise was the welcome from the Maître d'Hôtel, who happily accommodated my vegetarian needs, pointing out which options I could choose on the menu, and bringing over some absolutely delightful zucchini fritti and Sardinian bread in rosemary oil.


3. DON'T HOLD BACK
Part of the fun of going out to eat is the option of trying new and exciting foods. I love experimenting with tastes, and will give almost anything a go once. While a cheesy pasta might seem appetising because it's so familiar (and my goodness, Orso's ravioli with spinach, ricotta, and sage butter was a delight), perhaps give something a little more extravagant a go. My number one recommended dish from their menu was the pizza with walnuts and spinach on a fired base - forget Pizza Express, this was a real pleasure.


4. ENJOY
This final step actually took me a little while to master. As soon as you're hyper-aware of your food, you can become almost suspicious of it, especially when you didn't make it with your own hands. In all honesty - by the time it's on your plate, it's too late to do anything about it. Enjoy what you've ordered, take in the delicious flavours, and make a memory of both the evening and food. Eating out is always a festival of flavour and friendship (if not family, or romance) and that goes for everyone, vegetarian or not. Even as a wellness blogger, I know when to take a night off, and this flourless chocolate cake definitely tickled my fancy!



Markets are a tricky thing. First, there's the whole overwhelming of the senses; colourful fresh produce, smoky sizzling lunches, cat calls from the stall owners, and the hustle and bustle of everyone trying to get the best deal.

I've always been a little intimidated by markets, no matter how often I go and how much I love their spirit. Shyly standing at the edge of a stall motioning to a bowlful of bananas never catches a seller's eye, despite how good I am at doing just that!

Borough Market is a little different to my usual food markets. Yes, the food is organic, and yes the prices are steep. Let's not beat around the bush! It's a posh market, where the etiquette gets even more blurry - can I stand and shout for a punnet of berries? Do I queue? What about trying before I buy?

Last weekend was my first visit, and while I did struggle to really get into the game, I have to say that it was an overall enjoyable experience, and I loved the food I did pick up. Open for a very reasonable amount of time on a Saturday (8am to 5pm), I headed there around lunch with the intention of trying the most delectable foods I could find. It's perhaps not the best strategy if you're looking to stock your larder, but for lunch it's a treat!

I first headed into the greengrocers section, and was delighted to be met with a Slow Food London award sign - something I'm quite passionate about. I didn't pick anything up this time round - prices are quite high, but of course you are paying for quality of food, freshness, locality, etc. - but will do in the future.

I then walked past a juice bar or two, and grabbed a cheeky watermelon juice. A real sugary treat, with little bits floating through it - perfect for the hot weather. And then I found my heaven: fresh pasta.

When it comes to Italian food, I am a queen eater. Isn't everyone? Pasta has to be my favourite food, but to step up the healthy aspect of it I usually go for plant-based alternatives. Think courgetti, or gnocchi, which is what I got alongside lots of pesto (my favourite!)

The pictures don't really do justice to the sheer size of Borough Market - hidden under the railway arches, there are stalls, shops, coffee and juice bars, florists, a Monmouth Coffee, and a cacao restaurant called Rabot 1745 which I have bookmarked for a visit another day (eep!)

If you're ever in the area, I'd recommend a quick walk through at least - you can pick up some weird and wonderful items there, whatever your diet choices.

Summery weather means summery food. My body is super quick to change it up when the sun comes out, craving sweet salads and cool juices.

One of my favourite salads to make is this qunioa mixture, making the best of my fridge essentials with a sharp twist. There are a few variations of this floating around, but I've found when I'm in a pinch for time, I can still whip this one up without too much fuss.

Let me know if you give this a go - I love it, and so has everyone I've ever made it for too!





QUINOA SALAD RECIPE
Serves 1

1/3 cucumber
1 medium tomato
60g quinoa
Handful of pine nuts
2 tsp tahini
Splash of extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
Splash of apple cider vinegar

  1. Boil water, and add to a pan with your quinoa, leaving on a medium heat
  2. Wash and dice your cucumber and tomato as your quinoa simmers
  3. In a small frying pan, add some pine nuts (no oil) and dry fry until they're golden brown - keep an eye on these, as they burn quickly
  4. Remove your pine nuts from the heat
  5. Once the quinoa has swollen and is showing little white sprouts, also remove from the stove and strain any excess liquid
  6. In a bowl, put your cucumber, tomato, and quinoa together - it's now time to get fancy!
  7. Spoon on your tahini, add your olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt
  8. Mix mix mix mix mix
  9. Sprinkle on your pine nuts and voilà! Summery quinoa salad
For an added herbal element, try torn fresh coriander - I love the stuff, but I know some people hate it!

I'm always hesitant to talk about dental care on the blog - it feels like the middle ground between healthy lifestyle and medicine, and I categorically don't feature medical advice on here as I'm 100% not qualified to do so!

However, when it comes to brushing my teeth, I've already switched a few things since becoming more conscious of what I put in my body. Last year I told you about fluoride-free toothpaste, and now I've got an all-natural toothbrush to review!

When I say all natural, I genuinely mean it. For the last month or so I've been trialling the Swak Miswak Toothbrush 3.0*, and while I've had my ups and downs, I've decided to feature it because it's a great step forward for living sustainably.

The premise for the Swak toothbrush is simple, and rooted culturally across the world, where many groups of people still use miswak twigs to clean their pearly whites. Taken from soft twigs of salvadora persica, the bristles of the brush contain natural amounts of the following nutrients:

Calcium
Flavonoids
Fluoride
Potassium
Silicate
Tannins
Saponins
Vitamin C

You'll notice that fluoride does make the list - and that's actually not a bad thing, as it's a lot more moderate compared to regular toothpaste.

The Swak toothbrush is a refined method of using miswak twigs (sat side-by-side in the photo), as its bristles are far less abrasive, and also do not come with the heady spicy scent that the stick has. If I'm honest, it was far too strong for me to even bear putting it in my mouth! It's a wonder how such a smell can come from a plant!

One thing I was impressed with by the Swak brush is that it can be used without water or toothpaste, making it perfect for camping. To start using it, you have to nibble the bristles a little, easing them apart from one another, and then take it around all of your teeth. As it's much smaller than a regular toothbrush, this takes a while, but means you take a lot more care to get every millimetre of enamel, and it's particularly good for getting into any odd nooks and crannies, such as unhappy wisdom teeth (which I have on and off).

The downside with the Swak is that it doesn't work great with toothpaste, nor does it clean my tongue as well as a regular brush. I've really grown to enjoy a clean tongue (sounds odd, doesn't it?) so I still feel like my mouth just isn't quite as clean as it could be after using it. However, I think Swak could easily make different size brushes!

The concept is a good one, and the fact that the bristles are recyclable, inexpensive to replace, and fit with any of their handles. I also love the handle I have, which is completely biodegradable too. Overall, I'd recommend moving up to a Swak if sustainability is your number one priority - I bet it works well with a little bicarbonate of soda too!