How was your January? I'll be honest, I'm really not keen on the cold weather, wet shoes, and hot dry air from the indoor heating. Give me the summer any day!

Despite all this, there have been a few stand out items I've enjoyed this month, and I'm glad to have discovered them to make the month a little more manageable...

ANTIPODES SPF15 MOISTURISER
Last year I spent a long time examining natural suncare products - and I know you're going to be wondering why I'm still trying them come winter! It's more that exposure to the sun's rays happens all the time, and I'd really like to find a natural moisturiser with SPF. My best bet so far has been Antipodes SPF15 Moisturiser*, suitable for face and body. It's lighter than a suncream, but still takes a little time to really be absorbed - really though, I'm just happy I'm protected 24/7!

ECOTOOLS STIPPLING BRUSH
I finally invested in a new foundation brush and I'm loving it. I swapped up my old Boots brush for an EcoTools Stippling Brush and I'm now a total convert to a round brush over a flat one. Makes applying foundation so quick and easy!

MOA GREEN BATH POTION
This month has been a busy and quite honestly, stressful one, so I've been taking baths when I can to relax and unwind. Alongside a ban on all tech in the bathroom (despite loving a good film while in the bath) I've enjoyed finding some headspace while using M.O.A.'s Green Bath Potion* - peppermint heaven!

BEEFAYRE WILD FIG CANDLE
To go alongside my bathing sessions are my candles - I'm not at home until a candle is on to be honest! Last year I switched to using soy candles only, this little Wild Fig Votive from Beefayre* has been a pretty addition to my collection.

DELICIOUSLY ELLA ENERGY BALLS
You may have spied me at Deliciously Ella's book launch last week - it was a lot of fun, and pretty surreal to get to speak to one of my biggest inspirations! I managed to sneak away with a few of The Mae Deli's Energy Balls (and a sweet potato brownie in a napkin when no-one was looking!) and have been enjoying them on the go.

OMBAR COCO MYLK
As my dairy-free story continues, I've switched up my chocolate for smaller, lighter affairs such as Ombar's Coco Mylk bar. It actually makes me feel good knowing I'm having less dairy and sugar (and chocolate overall), plus I spotted Harry Styles in Wholefoods when I bought my last bar!

BBC CLEAN EATING DOCUMENTARY
Onto entertainment and I couldn't write this list without mentioning the BBC Horizon documentary Clean Eating - The Dirty Truth - it's like a grown-up version of Clean Eating's Dirty Secrets that aired on BBC 3 a while ago. To be honest, watch this, ignore the other one, and take note - "clean eating" has a negative connotation now, partly due to myself calling out orthorexia two years ago and landing in a Sunday Times Magazine article - but in all honestly, people like Ella Woodward are just making wholefoods more appealing than a lot of processed food out there.

SEARCH PARTY
Another TV show, but this one is all pleasure. Earlier in the month I binge-watched Channel 4's Search Party, a story about a group of self-obsessed New York millennials who try to solve the mystery of a distant friend's disappearance. It's witty, clever, and well worth a watch for when you're feeling like a little TLC in the form of nail polish, TV, and your PJs...

This post has been a long time coming, but I've been so afraid to talk about my new diet!

You may remember a while ago I visited the nutritionist Angelique Panagos to discuss my history with food, antibiotics, stress, and turning vegetarian (you can read my full account with her here). We ended with her sending me a diet guide, a few recipes, and some diet tests to do. In the end, I found keeping up the perfect diet she had set out was too much maintenance, but there were some good takeaways - such as getting more protein, omegas, and vitamin B12.

Since then, I upped my supplement game, taking daily flaxseed oil capsules, vitamin D and vitamin B12. I did feel better for it (whether that's in my mind or not, I couldn't tell you), but I still felt a little nervous about the quality of everything, considering it's notoriously difficult to absorb the nutrients from these supplements.

By the time January 1st came round, I'd made my mind up: I was going to start eating fish.

BYE BYE VEGETARIANISM
It's probably worth levelling with you here - the moral argument behind me becoming vegetarian has always been the treatment of animals, not for health reasons (although there is a health bonus to going vegetarian if you eat a lot of meat, especially red meat). So to be eating fish was firstly a little daunting, as I wanted to find the best-treated type possible, as well as break my vegetarianism with something that doesn't make me feel uneasy.

I ended up taking around a week to really work out what would be the best option. With meat, I feel like there is a much more sacred ritual for them - raising, slaughtering, preserving, and cooking all deserve much more time and thought both morally and to really gain the best nutrients.

THE BEST SEAFOOD
According to a few sources, the best diet is actually to eat vegan, and once or twice a week eat molluscs. This is what I'm basing my new diet on, however molluscs just aren't appealing to me - I barely want to eat fish - and if I'm honest, I would rather stick to vegan protein than shellfish.

Instead, I looked to fish, and something palatable. I started my search by looking at their welfare; in my opinion, farmed fish is not the way to go. Exposed to antibiotics, they live in restricted water, and their meat is often more flabby and less nutritious. The farms they live in also tend to employ practices to kill any wildlife around that threatens the livestock, for example killing seals found in their waters.

Charities such as Oceana and Seafood Watch are advocating the consumption of smaller fish, such as sardines and anchovies. This is where I'm heading to - these fish are much more sustainably farmed, and are actually the fish fed to larger fish that we as a nation are much more preferential to. To cut down the demand for these, why not eat their food instead?

But really, as someone who never liked seafood and now would like to start eating it to be really healthy, I wanted something with a typically good taste, not too salty, and easy to eat. Salmon was my answer - but only the best.

So, now I go by the CIWF guide to fish, choosing the highest standards possible. First, my salmon has to be Soil Association approved. The organic certification body demands a few strict standards are met, such as not using certain forms of medicine, fair food treatment, etc. Second, they have to be caught in the wild, meaning the fish has had a better life and is also better for me!

VEGAN... SORT OF
Alongside eating fish once a week, I also eat one or two portions of (free range!) eggs and continue to graze on vegetarian high protein sources like beans and pulses. However, I'm now going without dairy completely - no cheese, butter, cream, milk... It's been tough, but it's positive effects are already showing in the form of clearer skin and a calmer digestive system. I've had a sneaking suspicion I'm lactose intolerant for a while now, and whether I am or not, a reduction in sugars in general and lactose in particular has helped quite a bit.

What I would like to know is what diet choices you're making, and your reasoning. I know I have a lot of vegan readers, and cruelty-free beauty fans too, so I hope this hasn't been too controversial... It's hard to be in this position and change my previous opinions, especially on something as controversial as diet.

Over the years, I've gotten through a lot of natural beauty products, but there are a few that really have real staying power in my makeup bag! I've recently upgraded my daily routine so that it sits in a little marble-style box and thought it about time I show you my everyday favourites - all natural, all cruelty-free!

FOUNDATION
For getting an even base, I use a mix of two products: Ere Perez Oatmilk Foundation and RMS Beauty Un-Cover Up. I'll usually apply the Ere Perez foundation first using an EcoTools Stippling Brush and then dab a little Un-Cover Up over any outstanding blemishes - this mix works best because the foundation is water-based and has longer staying power, and the RMS Beauty pot is great for taking around for on-the-go touch-ups. If you're looking for other options for nautral foundation, try reading my Natural Foundation Edit.

EYES
Most days, I prefer to highlight my eyes and leave my lips nude. I'll usually do this with Ere Perez Waterproof Natural Mascara which again, has the most staying power of all natural mascaras I have tried, but my true favourite is Green People Volumising Mascara for its consistency. On days where I fancy an added boost (weekends usually, or taking a look from day to night) I'll use Dr. Hauschka Liquid Eyeliner in black. This is probably one of my most loved natural products - it's better than a lot of high street eyeliners I tried in the past, and although it has a higher price point than most, the liner lasts a long time both in the bottle and on my eyes.

LIPS
For lips, no matter what my day entails, I have to start with a slip of Dr. Hauschka Lip Care Stick over my lips. This is the best lip balm I have ever used, without question, and it's also one of the only items that travels with me wherever I go. This is normally enough for me - I'm an eyes girl! - but if I'd like a little lip love, I'll go for RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Content. This is a long-lasting lip shine, which is surprising for a natural product, although I do prefer applying this with a lip brush rather than my fingers. I think when this gets used up (it's taking a while!) I'd like to go for something closer to a lipstick - any recommendations?

NAILS
Finally, nails. I'm currently going without nail polish, but when I get back on the nail train (whoo whoo) I'll only ever be using Little Ondine's water-based polishes. My favourite colour I've tried so far is their Red Red Wine, with a little Secret as both undercoat and topcoat. It's a classic red that looks great with two coats, but I'm also fond of their nude Mashmallow too.


I have a new treat! I'm so particular when it comes to adding items to my wardrobe (which is basically a nice way of saying I rarely buy clothes... but when I do, I invest). Say hello to my new Matt + Nat Parabole saddle bag.

I'll be honest, I've been coveting Matt + Nat bags for years. My first foray with the brand was way back when I first started writing the blog; I was living in Paris, in a teeny tiny flat and spending all my money on clothes. Investment pieces were slowly revealing their true colours while high street polyester faded and frayed, or shrank horribly to my dismay in the laundrette.

As a new vegetarian, I'd set out to find a high quality vegan alternative and stumbled across a CĂ©line look-alike in the form of The Orwell (the design is no longer being made but you can have a peek at my early review here - ooh the contrast on that photo!). Well, over two years on and that bag is still as black, nimble, and loved as the day I received it in the post.

After Christmas this year I decided it was time to treat myself once more, and took the plunge in the sales (something I rarely do). If I'm honest, I often feel quite disconnected from the fashion world, its most pertinent attempts at interesting me being made by high-street stores. It's why I took a stance against Black Friday last year; there's something so impersonal about it all, and there's always the sombre whispers strung in the fibres of each garment sadly hanging in a uniform manner; the mistreatment of the earth and the people it came in contact with.

So it was quite the leap for me, but I took it and I purchased this colour crush of a bag. I've always had an affinity with brands that are well-designed and well-made, Matt + Nat being one of them. If you didn't know, the name stands for 'Material and Natural' and they focus on the cruelty-free nature of their bags, as well as using recycled materials where possible (their cork line was delightful). That being said, they do still make their bags in China, and it's been over two years since I wrote the same in my first blog. I'm a little disconnected from how these factories work, but it is nice to read that one of theirs voluntarily meets Social Accountability International's SA8000 standard.

Having now used it for just over two weeks, I'm happy to say the bag shapes up pretty well. I've minimalised what I carry around with me, my shoulder is lighter, and it adds a welcome pop of colour to my usually monotone outfits. All in all it set me back £67 plus £10 shipping (£10 is a little ridiculous) but I'm sure this bag will also live for years on end, just like it's older sister in my wardrobe.

Dairy-free milk

So, you may have read that I'm going dairy-free this year, and I'll be honest, it's been pretty tough going. So far, I've been quite happy cutting out cheese and yoghurt - although denying a pizza earlier this week was a toughie - but there seems to be no escaping milk.

Milk is everywhere. You wouldn't believe it until you try to avoid it - I've been denied tomato soup, grumbled when putting back a packet of ready-salted crisps, and even started looking up restaurant menus online before going to them. In my How To Eat Out as a Vegetarian guide, I didn't bother to include this as the little green v is pretty much included everywhere, but milk? That takes some preparation.

One thing that I have found easy enough to do is cut out cow's milk completely. I've been using plant-based milks for years now, but typically where it's required it in large doses such as in my breakfast smoothies or porridges. This week was the start of me using plant-based milks in everything, including tea and coffee.

And, despite having researched fervently as to which plant-based milk alternative is best for your health, I was surprised to find that their tastes differ so much when used with delicate tastes such as breakfast tea. You might love coconut milk for example, but coconut tea? Not so much.

I've paired up with Dream to try out their Rice Milk as part of my dairy-free exploration, and see how it holds up against other flavours of plant-based milk. You can actually do this along with me, as they're running a 'try me for free' campaign at Tesco and Asda, where you can claim your money back if you don't enjoy the taste.

My first and most important taste test has been in my morning drinks. Over the last week I've given rice milk a go in my teas and coffees at home, and found that it's not only been a good replacement (although it is noticeably thinner than cow's milk), but it's also made me go without sugar (I take my tea with one sugar normally). This is because Dream's Rice Milk contains naturally occurring sugars, giving it a sweeter flavour than standard milk or other plant-based alternatives.

The second test has been with cereal. I'm not much of a cereal eater, but when I do fancy a bowl of my homemade granola, it has to be with plant-based milk. Rice milk in large doses actually does quite well here too, as it doesn't taste strongly in comparison to almond or coconut milk, but the bigger impact is the high sugar content. I would probably stick to wholly almond milk if you're a massive cereal eater to avoid this added sugar, but if you're looking for the best taste, rice milk will definitely give you that.

Finally, what's the best plant milk for smoothies? I've dabbled with loads of different brands and types, but have come to find that I'll try and throw in the healthiest ingredients even if it sacrifices the taste a little. If you're new to smoothies, you may love using Dream's rice milk as it adds an extra smoothness and sweetness, but for me the best option has to be unsweetened almond milk. I have to add that the bonus with using Dream is that their rice milk, oat milk, and coconut milk are all enriched with calcium and vitamins D2 and B12. This is a really worthwhile combination, as vitamin D2 enables the absorption of calcium, and both calcium and vitamin B12 are elements we veggies and vegans need to actively maintain as we're not getting them from animal sources.

To sum up - if you're just making the switch, or perhaps taking part in Veganuary, I'd totally recommend Dream Rice Milk as a good starting place; you'll not miss out on any nutrients and still enjoy the taste. Then, depending on the foods you eat, have a little experiment with a few different flavours!

This post is sponsored by Dream. All views expressed remain honest and unbiased.

58 South Molton Street

Seeing as January is classically the month for self-improvement, I thought it would be good to post about my recent experiences at 58 South Molton Street. I've been twice to the wellbeing centre, and after both visits have found myself leaving the place and turning onto Oxford Street with a real spring in my step.

The centre was set up by psychotherapist Noam Sagi and marketing expert Michal Cohen-Sagi as a beautiful space for health and wellbeing professionals to work in. Rather than a business centre, I've come to think of it as a co-working space for practicing therapists in all different fields.

For visitors to the centre, you'll find the place has a number of things to offer. First, there are the treatment rooms, with 'House Experts'. Notable members include Angelique Panagos, the Nutritional Therapist I visited a while back (you can read about my experience with Angelique here), the Italian Medical Centre offering holistic healthcare, and Noam Sagi himself.

Second are the rotating therapists. My first visit was something along the lines of this, a kind of open day for the centre where I got to meet and sit with Angelique, and then had my makeup done by talented natural makeup artist Mel Jenkinson from Glow Organic.

On my second visit, I met with Noam Sagi for an hour's introductory therapy session. I'll be honest, it started off tense but the session ended with a hug, and what happened in-between really did make me re-evaluate my approach to life and my mental wellbeing. I can't say that I was massively comfortable telling someone new to me things that go on inside my head, and even though I've wondered how therapeutic talking out my problems would be, in reality it's weird to sit and talk about yourself for a long time without any real direction. However, over the course of the session Noam pointed out some home truths - my bending to anyone's will, wanting to always be liked, and always keeping myself in check when sometimes it's okay to be messy and make mistakes - and those takeaways have helped me expand my comfort zone. Sometimes it's okay to say no, and sometimes it's okay for someone to not like you.

The final string in 58 South Molton Street's bow is their natural beauty and wellbeing range. Called 58 Lifestyle, they use all organic products (where possible, for example clay can't be organic) and they make some really delightfully scented items. My favourite from the range is definitely their bath oil, which creates a refreshing and heady experience with only a few drops each time.

Overall, I've enjoyed dipping my toes in a few different therapists' pools and it's made me realise that wellbeing encompasses so many things. While I'll stick to the triumvirate of mind, body and spirit, it's been nice to explore certain niches and I feel like my gut health and my confidence have both seen improvement!



Hello you, Happy New Year! I've been hiding away for a few days over the holiday season and it's given me the headspace to relax, focus on relationships, and visualise the future of this blog. All in all, it's been bliss!

Now, you'll have to excuse my wide-screen grin as the photo for this post; I'd been playing around with the concept of videos and in the end decided against it, but did garner this photo which I thought would do well for a smiley intro to 2017. What it does represent is a certain level of optimism that I have for this new year - I'm hoping to seed a real conscious lifestyle across the main aspects of my life, and echo this online in the form of thoroughly researched, informed posts, more collaborations, and regular and frequent posting (every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with constant updates on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest).

So, to start of the year on the right foot, I thought it would be worth outlining my intentions (rather than resolutions - I'm not resolving anything, instead I'm aiming to better myself!)

MIND
I've decided to divide my intentions between three key wellness aspects, and my first is all about the mind, baby. I realised quite recently that I'm good to myself and others when I'm happy, but when I'm not feeling so chipper I lose that. When I'm unhappy, I normally try to remedy it with too much shopping or too much chocolate, and I can categorically say that I've never gone to the gym when I've been unhappy with myself. So for me my first goal is to look after my state of mind, practicing taking a step back and evaluating what's making me unhappy when I'm a grump. I'm not going to label it as meditation, but instead an internal focus without distraction, be it at work, at home, on the bus, wherever. I think a lot of things could be improved if this was a widespread practice, don't you?

BODY
Does anyone instantly feel a nervous pang at the words "weight loss"? Even though I'm happy with my dress size, the phrase fills me with dread, visualising parts of my body I'm not happy with. And even though we're only two days into 2017, it's already everywhere - SlimFast ads, gym membership promotions... And here's me, visualising my little belly, round and squishy. Or my bingo wings, weak and wiggly. Or what about the tops of my thighs, where a beautician once applied a cream and said "that'll help with the cellulite". Cellulite?! What cellulite?!

I've learnt over the years that motivation based on fear and the feeling of not being good enough does not work for me. I also hate that there's no real distinction between skinny and healthy - I've been overly skinny, and was unhappy and unwell during that time of my life. To really look after my body this year, I'm moving on to a more conscious diet (I'll be blogging about what this entails soon) and feeling strong. Strength is becoming the new skinny, and I love it. I love how I feel after body weight training, knowing I've achieved more squats than my last session. I'm turning to Zanna van Dijk for inspiration here - I'd suggest you give her a follow if you'd like to join me on my quest!

SOUL
My final aim is around soul. I feel like even though I have the best intentions in the way I go about my life (public transport, healthy diet, natural cruelty-free beauty products, etc.) I need to give something back, and more than my spare change to the odd homeless person. I'm not sure what I'm going to do to fulfil this intention yet, but I'd like to start focusing more on the environment and giving back where I can, be it volunteering, activism, or regular donations. We'll see.