My Healthy Life: Favourites from 2017

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I often get asked about my own preferences for products, places I eat, and general practises that I employ daily as a firm believer in a holistically healthy lifestyle, so as we race towards the end of this year I thought I would summarise a few of favourites for you.

All of these fit with my basic principles of nourishing both our bodies and minds as best we can, supporting sustainability, artisan and organic production processes, and of course delighting in truly delicious tasting things 🙂

I hope the following provide some inspiration if you are looking to make 2018 your healthiest, happiest year yet, and remember New Year’s resolutions needn’t be pipe dreams, simply set yourself realistic, achievable goals that you can implement long term and go for it!

Wishing you all an extremely Happy New Year, and if you’d like to share any of your fabulous finds please comment below, I absolutely love new suggestions of places to go and things to try 🙂

Phoebe x

 

PLACES TO EAT

  • Ahi Poke 

A gem of a spot in Fitzrovia, this dive in and dive out, or sit and mull over your food a while, Hawaiian inspired restaurant has become one of my top choices for a satisfying and sustaining lunch or quick dinner. The basis of their dishes is fresh marinated fish (traditionally ahi tuna hence the name) but they also offer other varieties and vegetarian/vegan alternatives. Check their website for the full menu and more info.

  • BiBimBap Soho

Not actually a 2017 discovery I must admit but if you haven’t headed into one these unassuming beauties for their traditional Korean fare then you need to ASAP. The bibimbap is the iconic Korean dish consisting of a superheated stone bowl filled with rice, julienned vegetables and any additional toppings of your choice (I love their mixed mushrooms and kimchi personally) along with homemade miso and chilli sauces. This is my ultimate in healthy comfort food, and is perfect to chat over as the boiling hot bowl keeps your food piping hot for ages! Find out more here.

  • Bonjour Brioche Cafe

I think we all have one local café that we just love to go to, and I am lucky that this beautiful spot is also on my route to the tube station so depending on where I’m working that day I may even be able to sneak an extra visit in on my way in to clinic 😀 Their food has a Middle Eastern influence, is totally allergen friendly and their juices and coffees are just divine. Worth a wander over to North London for, especially for a super chilled weekend breakfast.

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  • Casita Andina

The newest offering from the Ceviche chain this cute spot on Great Windmill Street encompasses all the cosy, friendliness that the original restaurant has now unfortunately lost (in my opinion – many still love it and if you manage to nip in for lunch when it isn’t insanely busy I’m sure it’s still delightful). The fresh, vibrant Peruvian flavours, fab decor and stonkingly good cocktails make it a firm favourite for a fun dinner with friends for me, and the other highlight is Peruvian food is 99% naturally gluten free which gives it an extra thumbs up in my book!

  • Ethos Foods

Again another favourite that didn’t just appear on my radar this year but one that has continued to grow in popularity over the past 12 months for very good reason. A beautiful spot to grab breakfast, lunch or dinner, their buffet style offering means everyone can create their own personal perfect plate. The menu is entirely vegetarian, with a selection of hot and cold dishes, as well as desserts, sweet treats, and drinks. You can also dive in a grab takeaway to whisk away with you, but if you want to eat in I would suggest reserving as you are unlikely to be able to walk in to grab a table as you could do in the old days.

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  • Farmacy

This restaurant has to be my ultimate favourite in terms of experience as well as food. An absolutely stunning space, with foliage flowing down from hanging baskets and entirely covering the exterior, this eatery is passionate about sustainability, provenance and plant based living, which is reflected in their mouthwatering menu. It is another that  is entirely vegan but both meat free and meat lovers alike will find something truly divine to dive into, and again their impressive drinks offering makes it perfect both for a rejuvenating (think fresh juice shots and smoothies) or raucous (martinis and mojitos) rendezvous. Unfortunately they don’t take reservations but as the space is rather large I have never had to wait particularly long.

  • Le Pain Quotidien

Definitely not new I hear you all chorus, and yes I would agree BUT a recent revamp of their menu has pushed this franchise back into the forefront for me. LPQ have always been passionate about high quality produce, even way back when they were simply a bakery, patisserie and coffee spot, and now they have extended that into a wide range of beautifully balanced foodie offerings, including plenty of allergen friendly choices. I also love their selection of artisan teas, fresh juices, smoothies, matcha and turmeric lattes which make great choices if you’re not a coffee fan.

  • Lazy Hunter

As the wave of new restaurants into Camden and Kentish Town continues it’s hard to keep up with all the things on offer but this little hideaway in between the two is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the neighbourhood. A simplistic menu centred around high quality meats (there are vegetarian options too) they have a fab offer on their epic burgers on Tuesday nights, and another on steaks on Thursdays.

  • Manna

A stalwart on the vegetarian scene for the last 50 years (yes indeed!) this beautiful eatery has been flying the flag for plant based living for longer than I’ve been alive…..! Obviously both their decor and menu have evolved in that time but I have it on good authority that their tantalising treats remain just as delicious as when they opened up all those moons ago. If I tried to list my favourite dishes I would basically just be copying out their entire menu so if you’re looking for a lovely place for that special meal then look no further than these guys.

  • Nama

Now these guys are at the head of the gastronomic revolution. They opened their doors a couple of years ago proudly proclaiming their entirely raw vegan menu, and me and my other ‘dark greens’ flooded in to dabble in this hugely health conscious form of eating. And we were not disappointed. By dehydrating their food, they can produce the most incredibly flavoursome dishes whilst retaining all of the nutritional value of the ingredients as nothing is heated so cannot be destroyed. I have dined with both nutritionally minded and nutritional newbies and each and every person I have taken to this Westbourne Park wonder have been overwhelmed by the food. Check out their fridge for the most incredible raw, vegan treats, or stop in for a smoothie or hot cacao on your travels, you won’t be disappointed.

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  • Redemption Bar

Having recently opened their second site I felt it was high time I actually got round to ticking this beauty off my list and oh my gosh I cannot believe I waited so long! The ethos of this restaurant again goes to highlight our tendency for overindulgence in all things, and instead goes to prove that sugar free, gluten free, vegan and alcohol free dining can be truly exquisite. Diving into their aromatic curries, incredible veggie burgers and sensationally spiced soups whilst sipping on non-alcoholic sparkling wine you won’t miss any of those things from your meal. They also bake their own gluten free chia and flax bread which is probably the best I’ve ever tasted, and their avocado toast has to be the most generous portion of avocado I have ever seen! Find them in Shoreditch and Notting Hill for the ultimate in feel good fine dining.

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  • Senor Ceviche

These guys originally opened up in Kingly Court (off Carnaby Street) a few years back when the Peruvian wave first reached London, and due to their proximity to where I was working at the time, quickly became my go to dinner spot. I see them as the livelier younger brother to the Ceviche chain, with a less traditional spin on the dining experience, louder music and generally more of a youthful vibe. They’ve just opened up a new site on Charlotte Street, and suffice to say the first time I went I left in stitches and was still giggling when I got home. A perfect spot to catch up with friends whilst nibbling on delicious food, and potentially having one too many of their fabulous Pisco sours 😉

  • Tibits

Almost as long standing as Manna this slightly hidden gem (tucked down Heddon Street off Regent Street) is another leading lady of the vegetarian/vegan foodie scene. Again they have recently revamped their menu, with new and exciting dishes on offer. I love to dive in and grab a rainbow coloured take away lunch box, or seek shelter from the hustle and bustle for a more leisurely meal.

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  • Yorica

For when you just need a free from treat these guys have you covered. An entirely gluten free and vegan friendly ice cream parlour this is far more than your usual fruit sorbet alternative, we’re talking soft serve frozen yoghurt in different flavours, at least 10 ice creams to choose from, plus waffles, shakes, toppings and sprinkles. The original site on Wardour Street is the perfect place to dive into when you just gotta have something indulgent, and is open until 12am making it a hugely popular stop for revellers wending their way home at the weekend. Check their website for more info and their new openings.

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  • Zelas Food & Wine

A truly tiny nook of a place up in North London on the Archway Road, this unassuming wine shop also happens to serve the most delicious buckwheat crepe pizzas. I would say I go at least once a month (sometimes more) to sit, watch the world go by, catch up with friends and nibble away. Their choice of wines is exceptional (if you’re a wine fan) and the rest of their foodie offerings are more than delicious and hugely generous.

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THINGS TO EAT

EVERYDAY

  • Coconut Butter

Depending on the time of year you can be pretty sure that I will start most mornings either with a smoothie or a steamy bowl of porridge and both of those will probably feature coconut butter somewhere in the recipe. Over and above the fact it’s insanely delicious coconut butter is also a fabulous source of healthy fats, something many people don’t eat enough of these days, it is also nut free which is great for those who have/live with allergy sufferers and is a rich source of selenium. If I miss out on my daily dose in the morning you can be sure I’ll sneak it in somewhere else like atop a wholegrain rice cake with some frozen tart cherries as an afternoon snack. My favourites include Biona and Tiana (or as a sneaky trick simply buy creamed coconut, warm the block in a cup of hot water and once melted decant into a jar with a tight fitting lid….et voila coconut butter for half the price..!!)

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  • ChicP

Another thing you can be sure to find in my daily diet is houmous and I particularly like this brand for their commitment to reducing food waste by utilising surplus fruit and vegetables in their products. The variety of flavours is also amazing, I absolutely adore the beetroot and horseradish for its earthy-spicy kick.

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  • Clearspring

I love Asian flavours, I love sea vegetables, I love the umami flavours of fresh miso paste and tamari, and Clearspring do all of these things for me. My store cupboard will always contain these as well as pretty much the rest of their product range…..a must have in my kitchen.

  • Hoxton Beach

If I could eat falafel everyday I would. No questions I asked I would happily have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of my life. (Potentially boring after a while but I’d be happy for at least a fortnight!) These guys have been travelling around farmer’s markets and popping up temporarily for a while but recently found a permanent home in cafés and selling directly through stores like Plant Organic offering up their simply sensational Middle Eastern fare. I love their classic version with smokey baba ganoush but the sweet potato with beetroot tahini are not to be missed either.

  • Kefir

Similar to the kombucha below in its fermented nature (but achieved through a slightly different process) kefir is another fabulous food stuff to include into your daily diet. Some of you may have seen the campaign by Biotiful Dairy appearing on the London Underground, and their products popping up in Sainsbury’s, something I was truly ecstatic about as it shows the inching away of the old adage that these ‘health foods’ were exclusive or luxury products when in actual fact most of them stem from old style preserving techniques. Anyway dairy kefir is great for those who can tolerate it, personally I love the coconut based products by Rhythm Health and the water based by Pureearth.

 

  • Kombucha 

Fermented foods are a huge part of my diet, I try to include at least 2 portions of these incredible health promoting foods each day as they are so integral to keeping well. I turned away firmly from fizzy drinks many moons ago (I’m more than happy with sparkling water and fresh lime juice) so some people initially question my enthusiasm for this drink. If you haven’t dabbled before, kombucha is a fermented tea (usually black or green tea) which can then be flavoured with fresh herbs, spices and fruit. There is some sugar added to support the fermentation process but the resulting drink should be tart as the sugar has all been digested by the probiotic bacteria, meaning that what you actually end up consuming is pretty much sugar free. There are loads of products now available to try, my choices would always be Karma, ProFusion, Love, Jarr and Equinox.

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  • Laurie’s Foods

Another fermented foodie one, with the added bonus that these guys are super small scale producers and their products are just a tad different to your usually offerings. Laurie’s are all about the sauerkraut and currently have three varieties – original, beetroot and hot and smokey kimchi which is my ultimate favourite of all time. I have always been a big fan of pickled things and so these are a perfect seasoning to salads, meat, fish, eggs, or topping for toast paired with avocado for me.

  • Matcha

Anyone who knows me will probably attest to my absolute adoration for coffee but after the summer I decided that my long term friend had to go. I’d become overly reliant on my caffeinated crutch and it wasn’t doing me any favours so I kicked it to the curb cold turkey style and after a week or so re-introduced some caffeine but in the form of matcha. This green tea is hugely antioxidant rich, much gentler on the adrenal and digestive systems and is also absolutely delicious. You can find my recipe for my daily matcha latte here and check out my favourite products by Sevenhills, PureChimp and Vivid.

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  • Nush

When I first discovered I couldn’t eat dairy products there was nothing much on the health conscious alternative scene, there was soy yoghurt in its overly sweet, gelatinous form but I wasn’t a fan, and the original coconut yoghurts were too rich for my tastes. So scan forward to the beginning of this year and the sudden arrival of actual artisan almond milk yoghurts, with no weird ingredients, a selection of incredible flavours and I’m one happy bunny. Oh and then they made cashew ones and my joy reached supersonic levels…..then came the big tubs….basically they’re all fab, you guys need to try them ASAP (I’m pairing the strawberry cashew with a slice of my banana bread here AKA heaven on a plate). Find them here.

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  • Nut & Seed Butters

Again like coconut butter I pretty much feature nut/seed butter in my diet most days. They will either join my porridge toppings, compliment fruit, veggies or crackers as a snack, serve as the base for sauces and dressings or find themselves mysteriously disappearing from the jar on a spoon…. 😉 The key with these butters is to find unsweetened versions, preferably organic with no additional oils as they are so rich in natural fats there is no need to add any extra. As with regular nuts and seeds they will turn rancid over time so if I buy the larger tubs (if they’re more cost effective at the time) then I decant them into smaller jars and use them up so I don’t expose the whole thing to oxygen repeatedly. My choices would be Meridian, Biona, Sun & Seed, Pip&Nut, RAWHealth and Manilife (although I try not to have peanut butter all the time, opting for true tree nuts instead). Alternatively just pick your favourites, chuck them in a food processor and leave them blending until smooth and dreamy!

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  • Taifun Feto

In September I released my eBook ‘Powered By Plants’ which centres around plant based living and eating. I was a vegetarian for a long time as a child because I didn’t enjoy the taste or texture of meat, and now although I class myself as an omnivore my tendency is towards more plant based sources of protein, both from a health and environmentally conscious perspective. (More info on conscious living can be found in my short video here). Many people can find tofu a pretty boring food (I personally don’t agree and think it depends entirely on how you treat it) but I was really pleased to see this new product hit the shelves as 1) it’s fermented so another thumbs up for more probiotics in the diet and 2) that fermentation gives this tofu a lovely tangy flavour and slightly different texture than regular firm tofu, all of which combine into something delightfully delicious in my book. Find it in major supermarkets and health food shops like Ocado, Waitrose, Planet Organic, Revital and Whole Foods.

  • The Precious Pod

Another one for the houmous (I told you I was a big fan!). After going through a rebrand this company started the year with a big bang and flew onto our shelves with more new and creative flavours. I love the simplicity of their ingredients, the smooth texture of their dips and generally pretty much everything about them! Their turmeric houmous is to die for, and the rose harissa and olive blends are also firm favourites in my house.

  • The Tiger Nut Company

Possibly my most revolutionary discovery of the year (and if you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I absolutely adore these babies!). Tigernuts are not actually a nut but in fact a South American root vegetable, resembling a small shrivelled tuber in their dried form. They are integral to South America where horchata (sweetened tiger nut milk) is drunk daily, and having made my own I can entirely see why. Their nutrient profile is astounding and hugely supportive of gut health, coming complete with plant based protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, folate, vitamin C and more vitamin E than you can shake a stick at! I love to snack on whole tiger nuts, use the flour and milled versions in porridge or baking, and have recently started sprinkling their ‘Tigernut Crunch’ (chopped pieces) over pretty much every dish I make. Find out more about them here and check out my Recipes tab for inspiration on how to use them.

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SNACKS

  • Adonis

“But aren’t these just another snack bar?” “Shouldn’t we avoid pre-packaged snacks in general?” Yes these are both valid statements and overall I would agree BUT even with the best intentions and pre-planning sometimes we just need a convenient (and slightly sweet) snack. These bars appeared late in the year and boast an impressively low sugar profile as they are composed of coconut, nuts, seeds, chia, flax, superfoods and xylitol. Now I’m not usually one for advocating sweeteners in any form but in this instance they use so little I’m happy to recommend these, also xylitol has the added benefit of supporting our oral bacteria and so maintaining good dental hygiene, so it’s there for an actual reason rather than just for the sake of it. I personally don’t like the cacao pecan bar, only opting for the coconut, vanilla and açai version but that’s my taste.

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  • Ape Snacks

A simple idea but one done well, Ape have latched on to our love for little packets of crunchy, savoury snacks and focussed on coconut to tie in with the trend for grain free/healthy fat rich diets. Originally they simply offered salt or pepper versions but have now expanded into a scrummy spiced one with cumin and cardamom, as well as little cracker style snacks.

  • Emily’s Crisps

The conflicting information over whether vegetable crisps are actually better for us in any way continued to circulate this year, with the overwhelming conclusion that no, if you buy regular crisps, whether they are £3.99  and made of beetroot and sweet potato, or 65p and based on the humble spud, there is no real difference nutritionally. Emily’s however are a different story entirely. They simply dehydrate sliced fruit and vegetables leaving you with an incredibly crunchy snack that actually tastes exactly like its original counterpart. There is no frying and far more of the nutritional content is preserved. Find them in major supermarkets, online retailers and health food stores. See their website for more info.

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  • iRaw

A particularly recent discovery so I cannot attest to their whole range but the dehydrated sunshine crackers by this small brand are absolutely to die for. Again they concentrate on preserving the nutritional content of their ingredients by keeping everything ‘raw’ and using superfoods, spices, naturally gluten free grains and seeds within their products.

  • The Giving Tree

Similar to Emily’s but with a larger range of products these guys are up there with the dehydrated fruit and veggie crisp kings. Their broccoli ones are a firm fave of mine and they can be found in many large retailers (potentially a few more than Emily’s).

SMOOTHIES

  • Boa Vida Açaí

Açai bowls absolutely hit the headlines in the foodie world this year, the clamour for that Instagram worthy purple hued bowl reaching the high decibels especially during the summer peak as we learned of the incredibly nourishing nature of these incredible little berries. So obviously I went and dutifully sought out one for myself and found it…..well a tad disappointing if I’m honest! It was really sweet and then topped with banana and somewhat sickly peanut butter, all fine for the first couple of mouthfuls but then unpleasantly syrupy once it began to melt. So I parked my açai search for the time being. That was until I bumped into the lovely Steph of Boa Vida who was sampling her premium açai and my god what a difference. Earthy, rich and almost bitter like raw cacao, with an incredible, ever so slightly oily finish that just sings of the true nature of açai. Basically from the first mouthful I have 1) Never considered buying any other form of açai and 2) Now pretty much eat it as often as I can. Find out more about Boa Vida on their website.

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  • Honestly Good Smoothie Company

From about March-October I start my day with a smoothie (during the winter I swap to a more warming breakfast but that just means my smoothie becomes an afternoon snack or speedy, nutritient packed lunch). I herald the smoothie as an incredible addition to anyones diet as the opportunity to pack in veggies is second to none, soups are similar but the cooking process will cause the loss of the more delicate water soluble vitamins. My caveat is they must be vegetable heavy, the opportunity to have the opposite effect by packing them with fruit is huge (more info here) and I know that sometimes all these considerations can discourage people from including these wondrous things in their diets. And so how happy was I to discover these guys 😀 THGSC basically take all the hassle out of the equation for you, simply delivering pre-packed and portioned smoothie bags (veg heavy of course) with additional superfoods that have been carefully considered by a Nutritional Therapist to further enhance the benefits of their blends. You simply sign up for the frequency you want and they arrive at your door, frozen and ready to grab and go as you need. In fact I was so happy to find them I told them so, and in return they have offered anyone who signs up with the code ‘NATNOURISH’ £10 off their first order. Find out more here.

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  • Naturya

Naturya are the big dogs when it comes to superfoods. They’ve been around and leading this field for longer than I’ve known what a chia seed is! But they have recently rebranded and launched a whole swathe of new products including the stunning bars pictured below (probably should be included in the snack section but oh well). Their absolute commitment to providing the highest quality, most sustainable, most health promoting products keep them firmly at the top of my list, and you will always find a range of their incredible ingredients in my kitchen and daily diet. Also if you are yet to try their new super bars then track them down ASAP (the berry is my favourite!)

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  • Local Honey Man

Now this may sound like an odd introduction but I am not actually a big fan of honey…..saying that these guys managed to convert me. As I have mentioned I am all about supporting small scale artisan producers and love that these products all come direct from the bee keepers (you can also buy bees from them if you are so inclined!). Their stunning range of natural, raw honeys is beautiful, with the extra special infused versions making for wonderful presents (either to yourself or loved ones 😉 ) My personal choice however is always bee pollen and theirs is just divine.

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TREATS

 

 

  • Booja Booja

I was never a big ice cream or chocolate person so when dairy went out of the window I wasn’t left bereft in their absence, especially when the only alternatives available were ‘frozen desserts’ which if you looked at the ingredients were pretty much sugar and some delightful whipped hydrogenated oils…..no thank you! Ahhh but then it all changed when these guys came along. Again it was another refresh of the branding and relaunch of new flavours situation at the beginning of the year (they’ve been around for a while now) but my goodness are they good. Their chocolates are divine and the ice cream a dream – in fact everyone in my house happily opts for it over regular dairy ice cream and they’re much bigger fans of the stuff than I am! I definitely class it as a treat however because although the ingredients are natural they do use agave syrup, which being high in fructose is not so fabulous for us in large quantities.

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  • Freaks of Nature

Despite what the name implies there is absolutely nothing freakish about these guys. The one pictured below is just all about pure chocolatey indulgence (but dairy, soy, egg and gluten free) and their other products are similarly divine. Find them in major retailers, online or in larger health food stores (and find them you should!)

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  • Lickalix

The ultimate in conscious and free from ice lollies, much lighter than an ice cream but more than delightful. They come in a range of flavours including a couple of boozy ones for the adults and will be adored by both little and big kids alike.

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  • Mr Prempy’s

I first came across these guys when I was training and they happened to come to sample their products during a lunch break. Think of the ultimate in raw cheesecake style desserts and you’re halfway there, and that’s before you get onto their bars which are designed to emanate the flavours and textures of classic favourites such as snickers and bounty bars. Basically they’re rich, they’re delicious and they’re made with natural ingredients so if you want a little treat now and again, or a showstopper of a centrepiece for someone’s birthday or celebration, then they have got you more than covered.

  • The Raw Chocolate Company

Despite claiming to not be a big chocolate fan there is something about a chocolate covered raisin that will always have my heart and these guys satisfy that need for me every time. Their range of delicious treats including raw chocolate covered mulberries, goji, cashews and almonds is just mouth watering, and their additional focus on limiting their impact on the environment through decreasing the plastic they use for their packaging keeps them high up on my list of favourite brands.

 

 

HEALTHY LIVING

  • Calm

Because who actually gives themselves enough time to breathe these days? I love this app for its sleep stories – 30 minutes of pure calming chat to help you wind down at the end of the day, in addition to daily meditation practices. A perfect way to help calm stress and support us in our busy modern day lives.

  • Coconut Bowls

These recycled beauties caused an absolute social media storm this year, their natural beauty making them perfect for that ultimate Instagram shot. I agree that they are absolutely stunning but was also exceptionally pleased to see people grasping hold of the idea of re-usable culture – that in fact we can easily use natural things, multiple times, for different purposes, rather than always having to have something new, bright and shiny. Check out Coconut Bowls if you fancy grabbing one, or a matching spoon, straw or one of their other products for yourself.

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  • Conscious Cleaning

This year has been the year the rest of the world has finally started to take notice of the  impact we have on our environment. It cannot be denied that we are causing major changes to our world with startling consequences (I may have shed more than a small tear when the Great Barrier Reef was declared largely dead). One of the most beneficial things we can do is to be aware of the chemicals that we leach into our water systems by swapping to natural alternatives, not only will this help to preserve the planet and it’s wildlife, but also protect us from the damaging effects those synthetic toxins have on our bodies. Ranges including Ecover, EcozoneMethod and Attitude are widely available, and I personally love my EcoEgg for laundry or use natural Soap Nuts (also brilliant for those with sensitive skin/eczema).

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  • Epoch Fitness

It will come as no surprise to you that I am incredibly passionate about living an active lifestyle – bar the food we choose to eat there is nothing more powerful than good quality, appropriate exercise to keep us well and fit. Along with walking as often as I can, targeted strength training in the gym and swimming outdoors when the weather permits (more info on how incredibly beneficial this can be here) I am absolutely committed to the dynamic reformer pilates classes at Epoch Fitness. I began going to this studio 4 years ago and I can unequivocally say that I have never been stronger, more injury free (a big statement for me as I am incredibly hypermobile and thus hugely more susceptible to injuring myself!) or more happy with my physique than I am now. If you are looking to add something in to your routine for 2018 that will truly support you towards optimal health and fitness then I would strongly encourage you to check these guys out, they are truly exceptional at what they do.

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  • Headspace

Another app option to give yourself some literal headspace by adding in 10 minutes of guided meditation a day. Scientifically proven to rewire the brain, making us more able to cope with the stressors in our daily lives, in addition to sleeping better, improving our mood and generally keeping us on the happy, bouncy side of life.

  • Keep Cup

A simple thing but a hugely powerful one as disposable coffee cups (along with straws) rise to the top of the list when it comes to plastic waste in our oceans. I like these guys as they are super lightweight and easy to chuck in my bag, plus there is the added bonus that many retailers will offer a discount if you bring your own cup for them to fill.

  • Motion Nutrition

Now these guys could definitely be in the foodie category but I place them here as I think they fit the best alongside my active lifestyle. With a true commitment to the highest quality ingredients, organic practises and literally supporting you to be your most incredible self, I have been a passionate supporter of this small brand since the get go. Their proteins used to only concentrate on the whey based but this year we saw them branch into the plant based market and literally blow the other offerings out of the water with their roasted peanut protein. I actually cannot explain how delicious it is, and having originally been someone who avoided protein powders due to their sandy texture and questionable, often over-sweetened flavour, you will now see me happily adding this in to savoury and sweet recipes, smoothies, or simply shaking with nut milk for a super speedy and sustaining snack. Their other products including the natural pre-workout energiser are also definitely not to be missed out on.

  • Yogaia

Similar to meditation, yoga is an incredibly balancing practise that we can all benefit hugely from if we add it into our routines regularly. I know however that busy lives mean that may of us forget about these incredibly important calming things, instead focussing on more active forms of exercise which we see as more ‘necessary’ in keeping fit. I love this online platform as it means you can easily add in a practise at home, choosing a level appropriate for you and a style that fits your mood that day. They also offer a 30 day free trial to get you started.

 

 

COSMETICS & BEAUTY

  • Dr Hauschka

Swapping over my cosmetic products has been a gradual process that I will continue into next year but one thing that I had originally struggled with was finding a good lipstick. Now I love a bright lip and had always chosen either Chanel or MAC versions but on looking into their ingredients I was horrified so luckily this giant of the natural beauty world relaunched it’s offering in the summer of this year with stunning new shades that made the swap entirely pain free for me. Beautifully moisturising and long lasting to boot I happily apply these in the knowledge that I am no longer painting my face with unpronounceable chemicals!

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  • Essential Oils

Hugely powerful in more ways than one, I really started to experiment more with essential oils this year. In the summer I combined pure citronella with coconut oil to apply as a natural insect repellant (2 bites in 3 weeks compared to 15 on others using the ‘regular’ stuff!) and regularly add rejuvenating and decongestant blends such as rosemary or eucalyptus to steamy baths if I feel I need a bit of a boost. I have a wide array in my cupboard at the moment but usually opt for Tisserand, Absolute Aromas or DoTerra blends.

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  • Faith in Nature

I have struggled with natural haircare for a while now as my scalp has a tendency to be overly dry (I suffered terribly with psoriasis as a child/teenager) but on swapping to these products 3 months ago my head is beautifully clear, my hair shiny and lustrous and I’m a very happy bunny. I’m yet to try the whole range as I wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t have a flare up but I am more than in love with the Aloe Vera version, so much so that I now also have their soaps, shower products and even their dog shampoo for my pampered pooches!

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  • Hurraw

Lip balm, I’m never without it, and just like my issue with regular lipsticks many of the ones available contain a whole load of nonsense that I don’t really want anywhere near my face! So these are my choice, all natural, raw and delicious, I always have their black cherry tinted one on hand, and their SPF one in every pocket/bag during the summer.

  • Kinn Living

With products both for your home and your body, Kinn Living have hit the eco-friendly, plant based, organic toiletries and cleaning products nail right on the head. Their range is absolutely gorgeous, their minimalist branding a joy to have on display, and everything truly delightful to use. They make absolutely gorgeous gifts for friends and loved ones, and I personally adore their bath oils for a luxurious soak in a steamy tub at the end of a long day.

  • MooGoo

Another brilliant discovery for my occasionally temperamental skin is this incredible hypoallergenic range. So gentle, and with products like their MSM cream designed to help soothe inflamed area in times of trouble (I still get lovely ‘stress patches’ of psoriasis on my eyelids occasionally), as well as scalp creams, body washes, lip balms and hair care. Their baby moo range is also incredibly cute for little ones.

  • Neom Organics

Now these guys know how to do luxury! If you’re looking for a present, or a gift to yourself, then look no further. Their candles are divine, their body and bath products are just beyond description, and for the ultimate in all things decadent and delicious it has to be their intensive skin treatment candles….stunning products which are the most gorgeous twinkly accompaniment to a bath and that when you blow it out becomes a deeply nourishing body oil. Truly and utterly divine.

  • Pai Skincare

A London based brand that is truly intent on providing the utmost in quality skincare. Designed to be exceptionally gentle, they have different ranges for different skin types. During the summer I particularly loved the lightness of their nighttime moisture serum, and their cleansers and serums are just glorious.

  • Sukin

These guys are my everyday loves. I have been using them for years but I include them in case you guys haven’t. Totally natural, free from all the things we want to avoid, and with a range spanning from skincare to body wash to hand cream and back, I can’t recommend them highly enough. I think their new(ish) lime and coconut scented body cream is just delicious, and there is the added bonus that I consider them far more budget friendly than many of the other product ranges I have come across. I use their normal or sensitive range throughout the year and give my skin an extra moisturising boost with their rosehip cream/oil in the winter.

  • Weleda 

I adore a body oil and these guys do them SO WELL. My favourite for my skin is the Sea Buckthorn blend but my Mum absolutely adores the Pomegranate. Weleda are by no means new to the scene, and their huge variety of products attests to their long standing as a leader in the natural beauty market, but I love the way they keep their products current and both luxurious for pure enjoyment, as well as nourishing in terms of harnessing the power of nature and applying it everyday use. Another regular feature in my house is their Arnica bath soak, a fabulous way to unwind and soothe tired or achey muscles at the end of the day.

 

And that’s it! I’m sure there are plenty more that have slipped through the net but I think I better wind up now or it’ll be 2019 before I finish writing this post!

 

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