April was a bit a turbulent for me. We moved to a new house at the beginning of the month so I have been juggling the logistics of moving, packing, unpacking and finding my way around a new house and a new city. I was then away with work and have generally been feeling a bit paralysed by stress and overwhelmed by the chaos around me. It happens to us all!
So, I hope you will forgive me for being rather quiet on the blog and social media front for the last few weeks. But I’m starting to get myself back on track and thought a good place to pick up would be my April favourites…
Here are the things that have added to my life in the last 4 weeks…
EATING / COOKING
Oatly Oat Milk
Until last month I hadn’t tried oat milk (gasp!) But when exploring our new city of St Albans one of the local cafés was serving oat milk lattes. I only drink decaf coffee as caffeine has a strong effect on me, but decaf coffee with almond milk tends to separate and you have to keep stirring it to get a drinkable latte! But with the oat milk I didn’t have that issue. And it tasted super creamy and delicious. So, when we were next in the supermarket I bought some by Oatly and have been enjoying adding it to smoothies as well as using it in coffee and tea at home. I also noticed that on the nutrition front it’s higher in protein than my usual almond milk – who would have thought – so that’s a bonus.
Black Bean Bolognese/Chilli from Healthy Living James
My fiancé has now become a full (rather than part-time) vegetarian which has made dinner a far easier process. His favourite ‘meat dish’ and comfort food of choice was a good chilli con carne and I was always a spaghetti Bolognese fan myself. So, when we found this Black Bean and Lentil Bolognese recipe by Healthy Living James we couldn’t wait to try it. The black beans combined with the lentils give a great texture to the dish and the cacao gives it a deep flavour. Even if you’re not a vegetarian I highly recommend giving this recipe a go. It’s beneficial for your health and the environment to replace animal proteins for plant proteins sometimes, and this is a perfect transition dish for those looking to eat more vegetarian meals. I like to make a double batch of this recipe then split it into two pans just before adding the spices. One pot gets Italian herbs and mushrooms to make it a Bolognese and to the other I add kidney beans and Mexican spices of cumin, paprika and chilli powder to make a chilli. We freeze the extra portions so we have simple dinners – which has been a blessing during the move when I haven’t had the time and energy to cook. And this recipe is so good you won’t ever get bored. I serve it with either brown rice pasta, courgette spaghetti, wholegrain rice, roasted sweet potato wedges or these new BFree Sweet Potato Wraps.
New Le Creuset Pans
Since moving we have also – finally – upgraded our sauce pans. For years I have wanted to get cast iron and stainless steel Le Creuset pans as the non-stick coating on many sauce pans contains chemicals which are released into the air when the pans are heated to high temperatures. And although research is still limited, the toxins in the non-stick coating have been linked to several health issues including CFS. So, I was incredibly excited to visit the Le Creuset discount shop in Bicester Village. I could have spent so much money. But in the end we went for:
Signature shallow casserole in almond which for us doubles as a ‘frying pan’ and wok as well as a casserole dish (although we have a deeper one from before which I use more for casseroles in the oven)
Although these pans were expensive, you know you’re getting quality and no hidden nasties which for me is priceless. Plus they come with a lifetime guarantee so we will never need to buy pans again!
Continuing my journey of removing the hidden toxins and chemicals from my life, this month I treated myself to the Juice Beauty Flawless Serum Foundation in sand.
Prior to this I was using a mineral powder base which never gave me the coverage or had the staying power I wanted/needed. Since coming off the oral contraceptive pill nearly 3 years ago I have struggled with my skin health and suffered from horrible acne – which just goes to show how much hormone disruption the pill causes! This foundation is liquid and although you have to work quickly to blend it, it gives me a better coverage but still feels light and (hopefully) looks natural on my skin.
To compliment this I bought the rms beauty un-cover up in shade 11. Again, I had been using a mineral powder cover up for a couple of years but this liquid concealer which comes in a cute and handy pot is a revelation. It’s easier to apply – no need for brushes and provides much better cover-up for my spots and dark circles under the eyes!
We’ve been indulging in some Netflix binges over the last few weeks as the perfect escape from the stresses of the move and to help recharge our batteries – it’s one of the few ways to get me to sit still for long periods of time. Our favourite shows currently are:
Designated Survivor: a cross between Homelands and 24 so if you’re a fan of either I highly recommend giving it a go.
Better Call Sal: the spin off from Breaking Bad, which tells the story of the lawyer Sal Goodman. But even if you didn’t watch Breaking Bad this is still a great show.
Girlboss: I started watching this when I just need some real escape time and wasn’t expecting much from it, but it’s easy and entertaining watching and it’s great to see a strong female lead setting up her own business.
Right that’s it for my April Favourites. Let me know if you have any questions about any of the products above or any recommendations of things for me to try in May, or June, or July….!
Please note I have no affiliation with the brands above and these are not paid endorsements. These are genuinely my personal choice of things I have been loving over the last month and which I hope you might find value from too. I have linked the website – Content Beauty – where I bought my make-up products from as they offer free UK delivery and I was pleased with the service I received but the same brands are available from other places.