When I was small, I used to sit in the garden in summer with my mum and think she was crazy for drinking tea. Tea in the sun! Sweat dripping down your neck and a hot drink in your mouth... Bleh. No way.

Now, however, I've found the perfect balance. When it's rainy (which it is for the most part of the British summer, cue eye-roll here), I rifle through my tea cupboard - yes, I have a cupboard full of tea - for my freshest blends, and have them hot. This includes vitamin-boosting Apple + Blackcurrant T Plus tea*, refreshing Garden Mint Twinings tea*, and a late-night favourite, Clipper Sleep Easy Tea. Recently, it's been soothing me into a deep sleep on week nights, and also comes in cute unbleached bags too.

However, on hot days, I like to chill out with an iced green chai. Since discovering Yogi Tea's Chai Green tea*, I've been trying to find the perfect moment to pair it with, and I've come to the conclusion that this is a tea to be drunk cold on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

My recipe allows for brewing a little in advance, but it's totally worth it! The green tea mellows out the usually powerful chai taste, and when mixed with a lightly creamy plant-based milk, ice, and hint of sugar, it's a real delight.

You'll note from the photo that I've also spruced things up with a little mint from my garden (how amazing is that, I can grow plants!) but that's totally optional. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do if you give it a go.



ICED GREEN CHAI
Serves: 1

1 Yogi Tea Chai Green teabag
250ml water
120ml plant-based milk
1 tsp raw cane sugar
+
Ice cubes

  1. Boil 250ml water and pour into a cup
  2. Steep the Yogi Tea Green Chai teabag in the water for around seven minutes
  3. Remove the bag, and leave the tea to cool, putting in the fridge once cool enough
  4. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes, or for however long you want to leave it
  5. Pour into the mug or glass you want to drink out of, adding the plant-based milk (I opted for oat milk, and Yogi Tea recommend rice milk) and sugar
  6. Stir, pop in a few ice cubes if you like, and there you have it!




I love vegetarian restaurants. The moment you walk through the doors, you know you can enjoy everything to the full; the smells, the tastes, the chatter. As a vegetarian of a few years now, it's something I'll never get tired of, that relaxation when going to eat at a restaurant catered to vegetarians and vegans.

The Gate restaurant in Islington in one such place. It might not have the Instagram chic of Ethos, and it could do with an overall theme (right now, it's straying into a friendly village vibe) but its food really shines as an artisan of vegetarian cuisine.

I went along last week with my flatmate Campbell (who isn't vegetarian) to give their food a go. The visit started off relaxed, a glance through their menu (which does differ somewhat to their website) and a friendly chat with the lovely waitress led to a big bottle of Belu sparkling water, a cut above the rest in terms of ethics, and a revelation that they serve organic wine by the glass.

After picking through the deliciously seasoned olives, and a starter of asparagus, lightly cooked so still with that fresh crunch, my thai green curry arrived. Now, up until this point I'd been enjoying myself, but the presentation of the curry took me by surprise! Sticky rice rolled in a leaf and dotted with seeds, and a bowl of the creamiest, coconut curry full of sweetcorn, mushroom, tofu, and watercress - my mouth is watering writing about it!

And for the meat eater, the biggest veggie platter of all time - I've never seen so much food! I believe it was billed as The Green Dragon, with avocado, peppers, tofu, and teriyaki sauce. He was definitely pleased.

We chowed down and looked around the restaurant a little; there was a real mix of visitors, which is always a good sign, with this undoubtedly boosted by their child-friendly attitude and first restaurant to be certified autism-friendly.

Finally, we topped off the meal with two desserts; a chocolate cake, and a vegan meringue (I barely could tell the difference from regular meringue) topped with coconut cream (my favourite part) and fresh mango. Too sweet? Perhaps, but I can't deny a treat!

Overall, I'd say The Gate is the perfect restaurant to go to as a group. It might not be as intimate as some places, but its food can make anyone smile - including non-vegetarians, coeliacs, and vegans - and there's enough space and good service to cater for larger groups, a rarity in central London!


It's rare that I talk about the more corporate side of blogging, but this was too good an opportunity to let it pass.

For the past year or so, I've enjoyed going to meet-ups and networking events with a view to widen reach of my blog, and also speak to other bloggers about their own. It's always nice to walk in a room with people who care about writing and reading as much as I do, and the fact they know how great blogging is means there's always an instant connection!

However, it's fairly easy to forget names, domains, handles, etc. I am surprisingly good with faces though - it's been nice to spot a few friendly bloggers outside of the online world and almost feel like a fan of a celebrity. All in all, it's warranted need of some business cards, and like everything I do, they had to be as sustainable as possible for me to feel okay with it!

That's where my trip to Moo came in. I've looked through green business cards before, and while few and far between, Moo's green business cards seemed to be well considered for the eco-friendly shopper.

First off, paper for the cards is sourced from sustainable forests (you can read more about this is done on the FSC website). With the majority of paper products that I buy (and yes, that includes the glamorous world of toilet roll) I always look for the FSC logo, to make sure it's sustainably sourced. While there's often a toss-up between recycled paper, and FSC sourced paper, I've been told by more than one printer that I work with professionally that FSC is kinder to the environment, needing less harsh dyes to bleach paper back to a regular white.

The box that these business cards come in is made from 100% recycled pulp board too. This is such a nice change from plastic boxes, and it's a charming little thing to hold too.

Finally, when whoever you've gifted your card to has no need to keep hold of it any more, the card can be recycled and is biodegradable too. I'm planning a post explaining the differences between compostable and biodegradable, but essentially if it does end up in a landfill, it will be broken down by bacteria and return to nature.

If you're looking to also purchase some cards in the future, I'd totally recommend these ones. You can also get an exclusive 10% off your order, by clicking through to Moo's site directly from here too. Enjoy!


I am so happy with my new piercing. It was almost a surprise to me when I had it done - I'm not usually one for making rash decisions, especially ones that are semi-permanent. However, I've been wanting a helix piercing (top of the ear) for so long, and if you've seen my Pinterest, you'll see all the helix earring jewellery I'm coveting at the moment too.

So, first thing's first; I did my research before getting pierced. The night before, I decided it was high time to get it sorted, and although I wasn't sure that I could waltz straight into a salon and have it sorted, I wanted to visit the piercing studio on the Saturday to at least book it in.

After combing through reviews, I decided Cold Steel in Camden was the best place to go. While their website seems pretty hardcore, their 90+ reviews rating them close to 5 stars was the biggest convincer. Piercing since my birth year, I couldn't argue with that amount of experience either!

On the Saturday, I headed to Camden to get my ear done. I was a little anxious, nerves rolling around my stomach, but knew this was it. I went along with a friend, who also wanted the same done, and we entered the dark entrance a little scared but also excited!

Inside was a simple reception area, the desk being a jewellery counter full of different studs and rings. The receptionist was thorough with us, asking us if we had eaten recently (you should eat up to 4 hours before a piercing to avoid feeling whammy), consumed alcohol in the last 24 hours (alcohol thins the blood, making it unsafe to pierce someone under the influence) or got any medical history they may need to know about. Once we'd gone through that, we were told we'd have to wait 20 minutes before getting it done (an eeek! moment), so we filled out long forms about our current health, signed these, and learnt how to clean our piercings, which I'll go into in a minute.

Before being pierced, we were told that it would be done by hand (the only safe way to have a helix piercing; guns are for lobes only), without anaesthetic or ice. My first reaction was a long grimace - I hate pain. But when asked why, I was told it was the most natural way to have it done, and that these elements can interfere with the accuracy and also enjoyment of having a piercing done.

We both headed into the piercer's room together - holding hands with each other while each of us got them done. It's probably one of my girlier moments, getting rosy cheeks and breathing quickly, but after selecting the height of the piercing, I laid back without nerves and had what can only be described as a long-lasting bee-sting sensation go through my ear. I didn't even bleed!

Two weeks on, and my piercing is in pretty good shape. It's taken a few knocks so far, bled once, and for my first week left me feeling run down (which is common with piercings), but there has been no bad reaction to the industry standard titanium ball closure earring, and I will be able to replace it with whatever jewellery I choose in just under four months!

For maintenance, I clean my piercing every night in a solution of 1/2 pure sea salt (no anti-caking agent) to 1 pint of warm water. I apply a soaked cotton ball to the area, or leave my ear to rest in a small cup of the solution until it goes cold.

Right now, this is the only piercing I have, although I'm planning having my lobes redone after they closed up from years of not bothering with earrings. And then perhaps an orbital piercing too... we'll see...


Last Friday, I visited TEDxLondon at the Science Museum with my workplace (which is the best place I've ever worked). It was a day packed full of knowledge, all based around the theme of ingenuity, and my god I loved it!

We started the day by heading to the museum and gorging on their café goodies, and then heading into the IMAX theatre there to await the cerebral goodness about to come our way.

In-keeping with the usual mindful and sustainable chatter on Curiously Conscious, my favourite presentations included a lecture on the way mankind is having to adapt to climate change from Gaia Vince (although I do wonder if it's not too late to slow these changes? I think it's time I picked up Naomi Klein's book again...), understanding what 'Where are you from?' really means in poem form by Francesca Beard and the art of shin dogus (the oxymoron of useless tools in Japanese) and why we all need to invent by Science Museum's Inventor in Residence Mark Champkins.

I was really inspired by Mark Champkin's inventions while there, as a lot of them take into consideration ecological problems posed by generic activities we all take part in. Ideas included biodegradable baubles encasing fir tree seedlings to go on your Christmas tree to replace the one you had cut down (I similarly puzzled over the ethics of Christmas trees last year), as well as seeded cards, which deliver the gift of trees/flowers/herbs through seeds infused to a card. You can quite literally have your card and eat it...

Since then, I've found on his website that he also took part in a project with the Science Museum in 2014 to reclaim rubbish, making desirable items from the things staff and visitors threw out over the course of a month. His reclaimed rubbish lamp was both functional and stylish, and the entire process makes me want to follow in the footsteps of zero-waster Lauren Singer and begin analysing what I throw out over the course of a month in order to learn how to cut down.

Francesca Beard's poetry really struck a chord with me, as I've regularly been asked where my name comes from, and by extension, where I'm from. This was an even more common occurrence when I was living in France, as my name is clearly not English. However, over time I've learnt that my origin isn't simply dictated by my ethnicity, or my parents' backgrounds, but by the experiences that have moulded me, the places I've lived, and the people whose company I've shared. Even now, I refer to Paris as my adopted hometown, and my fingers are crossed that barriers won't be raised between my two cities based upon the results of Thursday's referendum. Please, do some research before you vote.

Other highlights of Friday's TEDx talks were Stephen Hawking's speech on reaching Alpha Centauri, defying convention in the realm of social media by Steve Bartlett, cutting edge research into curing Alzheimer's from genius 15-year old Krtin Nithiyanandam (and his well-deserved standing ovation), tabla drum music from Talvin Singh, and that one moment where I could almost touch Lauren Laverne's hair. Not that I would have of course, I'm no stalker and she's far too cool for me to dare...

Overall, it was an amazing day, and one that has got my creative juices flowing. It's amazing what we as a species have and can achieve, and the same skill can be applied by all of us, in whatever way we want, if we put our minds to it.

When it comes to style picks, I often find myself stuck between premium ethical and sustainable brands, or faced with visiting charity shops and eBay. Recently, I've been visiting lots of different charity shops (nine in total) to see if it's possible to find items that suit your wallet and style, and have found that there is indeed a knack to it.

Here is my list on how to shop smarter in charity shops and find whatever you're in need of, be it brand new clothes, up-market or high-street brands, or certain styles, in the most ethical way possible. And there's always the added bonus of giving money to charity for every purchase you make!

1. CHOOSE YOUR STORE CAREFULLY
Every charity shop is different, and I'd say the main differences are down to location rather than charity. I've found some great high-street picks from charity shops on the high-street, but if you're looking for something higher-end, go to the high-end areas. Case in point, when I visited Barnardo's Marylebone, I was sifting through brands such as Aquascutum and McQueen, rather than the usual H&M or Zara.

2. SHOP BY COLOUR
A lot of charity shops are stocked by colour. I'm actually so used to it now that when I go into a charity shop that isn't, I'm immediately put off! Right now, my wardrobe is quite monochrome, so I go in for the black, white, and grey sections first, then quickly looking at anything else, including the new stock.

3. MIX YOUR SIZES
A well organised charity shop will also have every hanger labelled, and there's usually a mix of numbers and letters based on what the garments themselves say. I've found now as a steady size 8 that clothes sizes from shop to shop vary, so give the sizes on either side of your own a look just in case. There may also be a changing room available - I'd make good use of it if you've got time.

4. HAVE A BUDGET
This may first sound quite stingy, but it's the same approach you'd normally take for the high street, and certain items may be close to those prices. I've found that I still need to make sure I don't go out of control and buy things I don't need. The pictured top is a brand new & Other Stories top that I found in Barnardo's Marylebone for £19 - the same price I'd be prepared to pay first-hand.

5. LOOK FOR LABELS
The best thing I found on my few visits to charity shops is that certain places like Barnardo's have different labels depending on the quality of the garment. That means that if you only want new, or like new clothes, you can still give charity shopping a go!


I was very tempted to call this the Green Beauty Starter Kit, because it has pretty much everything you need to spring into green beauty. It's also the biggest giveaway this blog has ever seen, totalling over £200 worth in green beauty products.

Having spent just under two years blogging about natural beauty, I've come to find that there are different levels of 'greenness' in the beauty world. I make sure everything I use is cruelty-free for starters - so it's the same with everything in this hamper.

Second, there's products which are predominantly natural. This doesn't really mean much - the ingredients list will tell you all you need to know. However, everything here - and in my own beauty regime - avoids the 25 harmful ingredients often included in everyday beauty products.

Finally, there is the holy grail of natural beauty: organic certification. This is done independently by organisations such as the Soil Association and EcoCert, and my favourite picks are these (see Melvita, TOTM, and Viridian).

To enter my giveaway, all you have to do is follow the instructions on the box below, and select as many of the options as you like. You also have to live within the UK - or, at least be willing to collect it from a postal address in the UK, as I'm posting this big box out to one lucky reader! Good luck.



BURT'S BEES
Milk & Honey Body Lotion £10.99
Wild Cherry Moisturising Lip Balm £3.99

CHUCKLING GOAT
Refresh Kefir Lotion £7.95

EARTH KISS
White Thai Clay Face Mask £1.99
Skin Radiance Face Mask £1.99
Detox Mud Face Mask £1.99
Morrocan Clay Face Mask £1.99

ELLOVI
Tinted Lip Butter £3.50

MIO SKINCARE
Liquid Yoga Bath Soak and Spray £18.50

MELVITA
Rose Petal Shower Gel £13.00
Hydrating Body Veil £15.00
Youthful Eye Contour £29.50
L'Or Bio £15.00

QUEEN TEA

Mini Milk Bath Powder £13.50

SIMPLY SUPPLEMENTS
Jojoba Carrier Oil £9.99

SINNE FIRENZE
Calm Me Essential Oil Blend £14.00
Balance Me Essential Oil Blend £14.00

SKINCERE
Eye Serum £14.99

TOTM
Selection of Organic Cotton Pads & Tampons
Organic cotton bag £3.95

VIRIDIAN
Ultimate Beauty Skin Repair Oil £15.76



a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's been a while since I posted a recipe, and this video has been sat waiting to be edited for quite a while! Matcha green tea lattes are my Saturday morning pleasure, when I have more time and patience to brew this.

In all honesty, this recipe is quick and easy to make, but it takes a little more stirring and cup swapping than a coffee or tea. My quick and dirty trick to simplifying this, while also making it vegan, is to use coconut milk powder* from The Coconut Co - a little like cornflower, you'll need to add water to it independently, and whisk up. It's also adds a wonderful subtly sweet element to the drink.

If you'd like to know more about matcha green tea and its benefits, read my blog on it here.





MATCHA GREEN TEA LATTE
Serves: 1

1 tsp matcha green tea powder
1 tsp coconut milk powder
+
Freshly boiled water

  1. In two separate cups, add your teaspoonfuls of matcha powder and coconut milk powder
  2. Add a small amount of hot water to both
  3. Whisk - I use a small frothing whisk, but a bamboo whisk will also work
  4. Pour into a larger cup, and top up with hot water until you're happy
  5. If you're more of a sweet tooth, add in a drop of agave syrup


I've been a little quiet on the blog (but not on Twitter) when it's come to fitness, so I thought it about time to give you all an update with where I'm at. Also, I apologise for the 'beheaded' picture - never a good look!

MY FITNESS JOURNEY: A RECAP
So, since graduating from university last year, my fitness has been a mouldable extension of wherever I'm living it seems. While still in my university flat, I continued with frequent Yoga with Adriene practices, and running 3km circuits round the park.

However, my first graduate job really swallowed up a lot of my passion for fitness. Having been the most stressful office I have ever worked in (and I've been working in offices on the side of my education since I was 16), my energy and willpower was zapped, with most of my efforts going into perfect photos and feeling imperfect. It was only for a really good friend and work colleague that I bounced back to the gym, where I alternated between body weight routines (so hard, so satisfying), weighted routines (oh the pain) and zumba (because everyone deserves a little sassiness in their life, even the old guy who would be there every session, without fail). I kept that up for three months, before landing my dream job in a design studio in the heart of London, and so it was onto house number three!

I'm based in Southwark now, and while I love its quirky cool cafés and community garden, I can't say the same about its gyms. Having ventured into the local 'The Gym' when I first arrived (more to use its shower than anything, as ours was on the blink) I found myself queueing for treadmills, being kicked out of the only floorspace by trainers, and frustratedly cycling because it was the only machine free. Never. Again.

So, for four or five weeks I went without fitness, and my body really did suffer. It's funny how fitness sometimes feels like a chore, but the days my head is fuzzy or my body is fidgety, I crave it. I was stuck in a rut between falling out of love with yoga, and refusing to suffer at the gym.

And then, upon discovery of a large local park, it hit me. I don't need a treadmill to run: I have ground, I have feet, I can run whenever I like, and for free!

BORN TO RUN
Since that moment, I've been on great runs, long runs, tired runs, and dark runs (not a recommendation). My flatmate and I run together to the park, where he then takes off into the distance to set 5-minute kilometres, where I chug along at a 6:40 pace. I've found after roughly ten weeks of this that I'm far better at running slow and far, rather than fast, short runs. I might only do a 32-minute 5k, but I can keep that pace for just under an hour now!

On my runs, I've got two sets of capri pants which I far prefer wearing to shorts, as well as a set of sustainable t-shirts that I love to run in. My favourite at the moment is this 'Arm The Animals' tee* from Arm The Animals, a company committed to activism in animal welfare, who also sources its t-shirts from sustainable factories (Just Hoods and Bella + Canvas). Alongside that, I like taking my Yenna Label 'Surf Your Life' t-shirt out with me, and if it's cold, my Beaumont Organic sweatshirt.

I've also got to recommend the killer mix that is Spotify and Nike+ in my ears to keep me going. While my armband might not look flash, it's an essential part of staying motivated and I would recommend it to anyone. In fact, I've recently been considering a Fitbit or something alike - does anyone have any recommendations?


YOGA IT OUT
While running is my main course when it comes to fitness, yoga is still a valuable side-dish. Right now, I have to say that the only real times I do yoga is pre- and post-run, bashing out a few warrior poses to get me pumped. It's also good exercise for when I'm feeling ill, or am PMSing (Adriene has some wonderful videos for this), but there are times when I know I need a good touch of my toes and sun salutation and I neglect it.

Recently I've been trying out a cork yoga mat* from CorkYogis. The beauty of this mat is that it's eco-friendly, sustainable, and also comes with the option to dedicate a portion of the profits to a cause, such as teaching a woman literacy. Kudos, Cork Yogis.

As far as a yoga mat goes, it's a little more complicated than your average rubber mat. The cork needs wetting to get grippy, and actually comes with a spray bottle and bag upon purchase. However, in comparison to my Manduka eKo mat, which is a top of the range, biodegradable natural tree rubber mat, it measures up well!

Right now, I'm genuinely looking for a sustainable running shoe - does anyone have any recommendations? After 100km+ running, I think it's time to break in another set!


Green mascara is quite hard to find. What I mean by this is natural mascara rather than the colour green - although I recently saw a girl on the tube who wore pink mascara and was rocking it.

Despite being somewhat of a green beauty reviewer, I'm a creature of habit; I tend to stick with my favourite brands when I'm left to choose. Having stuck for a while with Living Nature's Fragrance Free Mascara, I took to Twitter to ask which mascara you were all trusting, and by the sounds of it, Green People's Volumising Mascara was working a treat.

So, here's my review. And it's not five stars, but that's my own fault...

First thing's first: I always go for pure black mascaras. I'm yet to find a person who I think brown mascara suits more than black (and that's the same for my very blonde mother and grandmother), and with my dark hair and even darker pencilled brows, black is the only way to go!

I've been using it for three months now, and it's almost time to get a new one. The liquid has gotten thicker over time, and while it does volumise, I'd say it's the same as the Living Nature one as it lengthens more than anything else. It also doesn't have much of a smell, and my eyes have been fine with it, although it does need a good swipe of micellar water on a reuseable pad every night, otherwise you'll wake with panda eyes!

My downfall comes down to how I purchased my mascara. Having searched around online, I found it cheapest on Amazon - not my greatest moment, I'll admit. When it arrived, it was quite dry already, and I imagine from an older batch than I would have received if I'd ordered it directly from Green People. Inspired by my mistake, I'm soon going to release a list of best places to order from online other than Amazon...

All in all, this mascara is a good standard black mascara. You can apply quickly for a daytime look, or go all in for a darker, evening smoulder... The choice is yours!

Amber and I go quite a way back. Despite only having met "in real life" briefly at the Glow Getter Gathering last year, we've grown to be good blogging friends and after hearing about the wonderful things Amber has lined up, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share her story on Curiously Conscious.

Amber is a green beauty blogger at heart, with her successful blog, Amber's Beauty Talk, becoming a pillar of the green beauty scene. It was through the #GreenChat that Amber hosts every Sunday at 8pm (GMT) that I started to find and follow lots of other bloggers, and enjoy interacting with everyone on a level playing field. Here's why I'm a big fan of hers, as well as her blog, and am excited for the new developments in her life...



Hi Amber! Tell me, what's the most exciting development going on in your life right now?
Hi Besma! Well, I have a few exciting things happening in my life right now. My boyfriend and I have bought our first house together so we’re patiently waiting for that to go through, so we can move in hopefully by summer! I am also setting up a new online store called Nectar & Bumble. I have a huge passion for bees (bordering on obsessive to be honest) and I wanted to bring together bee products and also hopefully raise money for bee conservations too.

I have to say, I'm so excited about seeing your green beauty boutique, Nectar & Bumble, open soon. Has it been hard work setting everything up?
Ah, I’m so excited too! It has been quite hard work, with boring bits like setting up the website and writing terms and conditions which is completely different to blog writing and taking photos like I’m normally doing! It’s also been so much fun though, talking to brand owners and working out which products to stock...it’s so hard not keeping everything for myself!

How did you first get into green beauty?
I first got into green beauty as I signed up as Neal’s Yard Remedies consultant. I started learning about organic beauty, ingredients to avoid and it was a lot of fun. I started my blog as I really enjoyed talking about the products and then I carried on finding more organic and natural brands and it went from there... now three years on I only use green products!

What's been the biggest change in green beauty since you first came on the scene?
I would definitely say the amount of brands has increased since I started my blog and packaging has come a long way. Natural and organic brands now don’t look out of place on the shelf next to mainstream brands and there’s so many wonderful brands out there.

How did you get into hosting #GreenChat, and what's so great about it?
Green Chat was actually first set up by Ana (of the blog Ana Goes Green) a few years ago but unfortunately she was unable to carry on. About 18 months ago I asked her if it would be okay to set it up again as I felt it’s a great way for everyone in the green beauty community to get together every other week and talk about things we all love. It’s so much fun discovering each others favourite products or discussing things that are important like ethical fashion, ingredients etc.

What's your number one tip on shopping for green beauty?
I would say read the ingredients list. That’s the first thing you should do before purchasing any products. If there’s any ingredients on there you can’t read or aren’t sure of, you can visit EWG to read about them. I also have a Green Beauty Newbie series on my blog with details on ingredients to avoid, my favourite books and also shops to visit for truly natural and organic products.

Do you have a must-have item that you repurchase over and over?
I love the Bodhi & Birch Neroli Luce Oil, that’s one of my holy grails along with Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm which I’ve purchased quite a few times. At the minute I’m loving a secret product I’ve been working on just for Nectar & Bumble with Mallow & White which will be on the website when we launch!

Finally, do you have anything you'd like to share with readers of Curiously Conscious?
I would say definitely give green beauty a go! If you think natural products aren’t living up to mainstream products standards, then you’re not trying the right brands. I have so many favourites and they’re all from brands who are small businesses or people who have created the products from scratch and worked their way up. I prefer supporting businesses like this and it really makes a difference to the products and also your skin!



If you'd like to follow Amber, you can find her at her blog, on Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin', YouTube, Instagram, and of course her new green beauty boutique, Nectar & Bumble.

May has been a wonderful month. I'm really starting to feel at home - my family has come to visit, the flat garden is blooming, and after a week of train journeys (excluding the regular blasts on the tube) I'm glad to be sat at home with a cup of green tea and a keyboard to tap out my thoughts and feelings.

There have been some real high points this month which I've covered in previous posts: my feature in the Sunday Times Magazine, discovering maple water, and National Vegetarian Week. And there have also been a few tit-bits that I've saved up until the end of the month to reveal!

1. KEEP CUP
A sustainable must-have for all coffee lovers, I've been enjoying my Keep Cup on days where a homemade brew just won't do. I went for the classic glass and cork option, but I'm also loving their colour range - and they come in different sizes too, depending on your preference!

2. MOONCUP
Another cup with a completely different use, but a sustainable one nonetheless. I'm due to do a full review of the Mooncup soon, but after my first six months giving it a go, I'm definitely giving it the thumbs up. If you're not already aware what a mooncup is, it's essentially a reuseable silicone cup that women can use in place of tampons, pads, and the like. If that isn't your thing, check out these organic cotton options.

3. BURT'S BEES LEMON BUTTER CREAM
So, my fling with 'natural' nail polishes over. In all honesty, I couldn't bear spending the £10+ on polishes that still smelt far too synthetic to my liking, and removing the polish still tore my nails up. As I get back to having natural nails, I've been treating my poor ones to long-lasting hydration in the form of Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. Putting this on before bed, and then whenever I have time out and about, they are already looking softer and shinier. You can read a full review here.

4. LIANNE LA HAVAS - BLOOD
You know you've sorted your life out when you have a Spotify subscription on the go. My music splurge is justified as my accompaniment on my walk to and from work every day, and I've been loving Lianne La Havas' latest album, Blood. It's like honey for your ears!


5. MERAKI HAND CREAM
Isn't it beautiful? Anything Danish-designed (make that Scandinavian) and I'm drooling. This hand cream from Meraki* comes in a lightly fragranced linen dew scent, cut through with mint. Made with natural oils, it's actually a little step outside of my usual natural beauty picks - I'd love to see some organic or cruelty-free certification...

6. BOTANICAL FARMER CLARITY CANDLE
Simplistic and strong-smelling, this candle has been a permanent feature on my desk for a good while now - I actually haven't yet used it purely because it's packaged so well. I love the little mason jar that the Clarity Candle* comes in, white rubber stopper and all. I've also been enjoying their Room Botanicals in Sleep* made from dried flowers straight from the farm.

7. CTRL ALT DELETE
One in a line-up of two podcasts, Ctrl Alt Delete has gotten me through walking and running this month alongside Lianne La Havas. Emma Gannon, who I've been following on Twitter for some years, has expanded into a light-hearted but interesting podcast series featuring big names such as Cheryl Strayed, Zoella, and industry experts. Every one I've listen to so far I've loved!

8. WELL AWARE SHOW
The final favourite of the month, and it's another podcast. The Well Aware show is a masterclass in all things mindful with an equal dose of minimalism too. I first listened to the podcast last year in my little lonely flat on the outskirts of London, and have enjoyed topics ranging across sustainability, yoga, natural beauty and more being discussed. Well worth a listen, plus Lindsay's voice is raspy wonderfulness.

Life has been a little crazy lately. In the blogosphere, I've had a wave of people contacting me since my appearance in The Sunday Times magazine last weekend. What has really struck me as crazy is the sheer number of people who have come out saying they have felt that pressure too - to eat perfect meals, to blog with perfect photos, and to deny and shamefully hide away those naughty treats we all like to eat on the side.

To give you a bit of background, it all started when I came across the term 'orthorexia' online. Not officially recognised as a medical condition, orthorexia defines itself as a mental illness with eating perfectly healthily, to the point of obsession. If you're as immersed in the healthy living world as much as I am, you'll be familiar with a few aspects of it: how far do you restrict your diet? Vegetarian? Vegan? Plant-based vegan? Fruitarian?

And then of course, how perfect is your food? When your newsfeed is flooded with beautiful images of smoothie bowls, green juices, slim bodies and beach-babe hair, it doesn't take long for you to start noticing how your life is nothing like this. I've been there, and I've done the whole plant-based food obsession, the three-day juice cleanses, the moping about how I'll never be a tanned, blonde surfer girl with yoga-toned abs and the ability to eat out of shelled coconuts for the rest of my life...

All of this culminated in my feature in 'The Clean Eating Myth' written by Katie Glass. Alongside a few other bloggers, and a girl who identified as orthorexic, we set about showing how clean eating can actually become unhealthy in that it does become a mental problem.

Now, I have to say that I'm not - and never have been - orthorexic. However, I understand its pressures, and how there isn't a platform for anyone, be it young girls, bloggers, Instagram foodies, or men, to come out and say they are feeling the pressure themselves. That really does make me upset, as wellness is a holistic approach combining eating healthily, exercising, and happiness. These are all vital to really achieving true wellness, where you're fully aware of how wonderful you are, and everyone around you, is.

So, I've started to take a different approach to how I blog, and what I blog about. You may have noticed this already - my Instagram feed is no longer a catalogue of gleaming white, minimalist images, and my videos show how I genuinely make food, rather than a staged video shot and edited to perfection. It's taken a while for me to join all these dots myself, but I cannot continue to pretend my life is just as beautiful as all the pins on my Pinterest. Basically, I live in a pretty little run-down London flat, I love a bag of Malteasers every now and again, and I get my juicer out a maximum of once a week. Should I be ashamed of that? Of course not.

I'm hoping that this will resonate with the community of bloggers I've come to know and love, and also give anyone who needs it the opportunity to express their true selves, show that we're not all superhuman, and aspire to be real, genuine people without the need to edit our lives to perfection online. Curiously Conscious has always been about sharing new discoveries in the field of wellness that I enjoy and want to share with you, and in this sense, it continues with this same purpose. It's surprising how things have changed so much in the last two years - both in my life, and in the field of healthy living - but this resolve remains. Be true to yourself, eat mindfully, and enjoy the little things, whether it's a lay-in, a run around the block, or a late-night jam on toast!