I can’t believe that February has come to an end, but it was definitely filled with exploring a variety of things. I found a number of new favorites this month as part of those explorations.
As part of my effort to reduce waste and especially use of plastic I decided to try recent to start reusing soap again to wash instead of shower gel/oils. On a recent holiday to Marseille come across their famous traditional vegetable oil based organic soaps, which were all natural, smell divine and as they are made with mostly olive oil or shea butter was so good for your body. With this traditional method of using oil to make soap, it helped me overcome the previously main reason I had stopped using soap as it was always so drying on my skin. I have really been enjoying using this soap as my skin is so soft and hydrated. I am so happy that I stocked up when in Marseilles, but already found it on amazon to restock, and so highly recommend for anyone who is interested in natural beauty and eco-friendly products.
Yes, you read that correctly, Yoga mascara. However, I didn’t get it for it power to make me suddenly able to do downward dog straight into a plank (or either of these individually). Nevertheless the formula using green tea, fruit extracts and collagen to make you lashes feel truly lifted. It also has this lotus brush which means it has a thick section to give you volume and a thinner part to ensure you coat every lash. It lasts all day and super easy to get off, two must have for me in a mascara. So even if you don’t practice yoga this is a mascara to try out.
This is a great palette, it has such a great range of nude colours that it is perfect for anyone who wants to do natural beauty. The colours might be nude but they are high in pigment and have good coverage. There is a number of colours I wouldn’t of bought otherwise but really enjoyed especially some of the bronze/rose gold one which are brilliant at making a natural smokey eye. For less than £30 it is truly a cult product and a good staple product to have in your bathroom. It also would travel well and offer everything you need for a day to night look as well. Highly recommend for everyone whether you are a make-up lover to someone just starting out.
How to Walk by Thich That Hanh
I was given this book by a friend who knows my love for walking and knows that I am exploring the use of mindfulness. At its core it just teaches you to be mindful of the everyday things of walking, and to not take it for granted. I will hold my hands up that I can easy walk somewhere and not be able to tell you much about the journey there, I am sleepwalking. However, most of the pleasure is found in the journey not just the destination, literally in this case. This book has meant that I do try to slow down and take stock when I walk and take in my surroundings. Easy to read, with bitesize exercises and examples that it is easy for anyone who hasn’t any experience with mindfulness but just was to enjoy walking more.
Little Black Book – A toolkit for Working Women by Otegha Uwagba
I have heard a few people talk glowingly about this book and just saw it there on the counter at Waterstones so had to get it. One thing I had appreciated when picking it up, it that is a toolkit for women working in creative industries, there are great take aways for all working women – including the chapters Getting It Done and Public Speaking 101 and the rest of the book is very enlightening for everyone and some of the advise is easily adaptable to your situation. I like that it wasn’t too preachy but much more a practical and evidential of real life experience, is great to learn from others who have been there before you. It is a short book that you binge read it in no time. I definitely think it was empowering and will a resource that I dip into when I need some good advice for difficult situation from giving a presentation, negotiation new contracts or before going to a networking opportunity. Due to how short and bitesize some of the issues address it does at times leave you with a number of questions and wanting it to cover more things in depth. So definitely enjoyed it and it did lead me to wanting to read more on some of the subject raised (and why I am finally getting round to Lean In – which will most likely appear in next months favourites).
This is a box of 52 weekly affirmation cards, little statements to help bring positivity and empowerment. As the boxes itself says, “Be inspired to live your best life…let it help you overcome negative thoughts, embrace greater energy and manifest your desires”. I have found them really uplifting and a few I have struggled with to embrace my demons and accept the message personally. How I use them is to randomly take one each day and read it over a few times in my head and then to say it out loud once or twice if I don’t believe myself the first time. It is a great way to start the day positively and help give yourself a boost. There is also blank cards in the pack so you can include some more personal affirmations that you need to confirm and vocalise. I do believe in the power of affirmation – my issue is the consistency of doing the same affirmation each day but these cards encourage we do practice affirming daily but also help me address confidence issues. Hopefully after a year of use, I will have no issue at all and will be shouting out daily positive affirmations.
Yes, I know I might be a bit late to the game, however I have only just started really exploring Apple Music. I like the playlist, and really like the tailored new music one and I have found some really good new artists and songs, here a few that I have had on repeat this month (I warn you they are pretty varied):
- Andy Brown, Burning House
- Bonodo, Black Sands Album
- David Cook, The Lucky Ones
- Declan J Donovan, Human Way
- Baby Ariel, Perf
- Justin Timberlake Feat. Chris Stapleton, Say Something
- Justin Timberlake Feat. Alicia Keys, Morning Light
- Imagine Dragons & Khalid, Thunder/ Young Dumb & Broke (Medley)
- Keala Settle, This is Me
- Troye Sivan, My My My
- The Chainsmokers, Sick Boy
- Thirty Seconds to Mars, Dangerous Night
- Sigrid, Strangers
- Kendrick Lamar & SZA, All the Stars from Black Panther Album
My Guest Needs no Introduction with David Letterman
David Letterman, from Tonight Show fame has a great show on Netflix where he has very intimate interviews and quasi-documentaries on topic they raise or themselves. So far there is only two shows but what big hitters he got. Barack Obama – it was so interesting as it took place a few months after he left office and looked back of his upbringing, black history and also his thoughts of what is next for him. Obama is also brilliant (as always) and banters back to Dave and gives as good as he gets. Then you get George Clooney, post marriage and babies but it was great to hear more about the work he is doing alongside his wife (found out how they met) especially for refugees and you get to meet his parents who are brilliant. I can’t wait for the next interview he has, it is unlike any other interview and definitely not a late night show format – it is more a hybrid of comic and laid back 60 minutes.
My Final Year
This a movie HBO documentary by Greg Baker, showing the final year of Obama’s administration with a focus on foreign policy and follows John Kerry (Secretary of State), Samantha Power (Ambassador to UN) and Ben Rhodes (Deputy National Security Advisor). It covers so many aspect of foreign policy from climate control to Syria and everything in between, it also of course highlights the impact of the election and Trump and the fears of the new President-Elect of how much of their progress he might reverse or destroy. I found it really inspiring and especially with the Parkland #NeverAgain and #MeToo movements it makes it clear that we need to all speak up as empowered citizens and use our voice to demand change. It also brings a small fear about what individuals took over in these positions, especially when you see how upset they are when leaving office. It is a great documentary for anyone who is interested in American politics or not, it highlights the multiple issues going on around us across the world. I can’t recommend enough and we be watching it again for certain.
This month I have watched the following reality documentaries which I found on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I do like sports but I don’t know why but I really enjoy watching these behind the scenes sports team documentaries. I think it is partly due to the human factor and learning about how the players/team members react and deal with being in such a competitive environment, and that is the second reason it is so interesting to figure what happens before the match and what leads to those wins or loss and what happens afterwards. I watches shows on a mixture of sports from American football to endurance racing. I do warn you these documentaries are very inducing of binge watching as they always build up to a big game or finale.
Coach Snoop, Netflix – Yes, the rapper Snoop Doggy Dog is a coach of a mid show American football team for at risk children in Los Angeles. It really splits the focus on the power of these boys being part of a team and how the coaches treat them and the different background stories of the players and their family – it hits you heart strings hard at time and is also very enlightening. I hope they have another season.
Grand Prix Driver, Amazon Prime – This follows the Mclaren F1 team, the title is a bit misleading as it is 50:50 documentary showing the new driver Stoffel Vandoorne with a few sightings of Alonso but a lot of the design and engineering team. It is really interesting as you see the team struggling, the only thing was annoyed that it wasn’t a documentary through a whole season it is just up to the first test day.
One Juventus, Netflix – I will confess that I don’t follow football much, mainly will watch when family members are or during the World Cup or key final matches and definitely don’t follow the Italian league. I have heard of Juventus but that was my limit. However, I love sports documentaries so had to watch, even those most of it is subtitled because as you might expect most of the players speak Italian. It was very interesting to get a better understanding behind a team at the top of its game and to see how mentally strong a lot of the players are and how the coaches help focus that energy.
Le Mans, Amazon Prime – These documentary follows a few teams participating in Le Mans, again a race that I have heard about but never actually watched or followed drivers in it. However was very nice to see Mark Webber the former F1 driver who I have seen. I like that this documentary didn’t just follow one team but a mixture of high performers and also the independent outfits, which gave you a great cross section and there is a great twist at the end you don’t see coming.
This isn’t just a February favorite, but I have been using it a lot this month especially with the recent cold weather. I am not terrible that I put it on everything, it is just savory food, but it is great on a wide range of things from rice cakes, to salads to hummus and stews. It has a lovely chick but isn’t (personally) too spicy, which means you can use lots of it, which is good as I find it addictive. It lifts a dish and packs a flavor punch.
Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Cookie, Eat by Chloe
Finally, Eat by Chloe the vegan/plant-based exclusive US brand has finally come to the UK, and found a great home in Covent Garden. I will do a full blog post on the restaurant, but I feel like as they have such a great menu need to try move of it before do a full review. Nevertheless, I have to tell you about Sweets by Chloe and their chocolate chip cookie – which looks like your classic big circle with equally spotted chips which is both lovingly crispy and full of gooey insides. Then add in that is it plant-based – most people wouldn’t believe you and they added to the flavor with have a hit of cinnamon in it as well. That cookie came with me to work to help get me through a stressful day and but ended up being sadder it was finished. Just yummy, can’t wait to try other flavor combinations they have.