Thanks to lovely Aussie stylist Simone Haag (whose home you can snoop around here) I’ve stumbled across the rather wonderful Pigeon Toe Ceramics. The Portland-based company produce so many covetable porcelain pieces that it’s pretty hard to pick a favourite, but if I had to, it would be the stunningly simple but incredibly beautiful hanging kitchen baskets pictured directly below, which I spotted in Simone’s kitchen. WANT!
You may have noticed that I’ve been rather silent for the last month or so – sorry about that. Work and life have been pretty busy (blame Milan design week), and I find that when there’s a lot going on, the last thing I feel like doing when I get home is spending more time in front of a computer. In times like these, I tend to go a little off grid and become a bit anti-social, and I try to get outside as much as possible – it’s the only antidote to all those hours spent on a train or in an office. And when I’m not out wandering round the countryside, I’m either with family or I’m curled up at home trying to replenish depleted energy reserves…. both of which feel equally good for the soul. Here’s a few pics so you can see what I’ve been up to, but don’t expect anything exciting, it’s just not my style at the moment!
A little while back, after struggling with some skin concerns, I went for an acupuncture facial at boutique organic skincare store, beauty salon and complementary therapies clinic, Content in Marylebone. I can safely say that what I discovered there has changed my view on beauty products for life. I’ve never been a real makeup fiend but I’ve always been fascinated by all the new lotions and potions brought out every two minutes by the various big beauty brands. I can think of many an agonising trip to the John Lewis beauty hall, spending ages traipsing from counter to counter, wondering which particular serum has the right composition to banish my eye bags or erase those pesky fine lines. But no more! I have seen the light! Never again will I waste my money buying into the beauty industry myth… and never again will I cover my poor skin with chemicals when all it wants is to be cleansed, soothed and nourished.
Why the change of heart then? Well, the lovely Laura Jones – acupuncturist, facialist, organic beauty expert and reiki master – taught me a lot me about the skin and what it does and doesn’t like. She made me realise that my expensive, synthetic beauty regime was really a chemical assault that was actually stressing and disrupting my skin, rather than allowing it to cleanse and heal. She also explained that most skin concerns are vary rarely topical problems, and instead relate to imbalances inside your body – in my case, the digestive organs.
Anyway, what I learnt from Laura in the treatment room, and from the lovely, knowledgeable staff on the shop floor, has been invaluable. Cleaning the crap out of my medicine cupboard and replacing it with a few select organic beauty staples was such a joyous moment. And incredibly freeing. Never again will I look at an advert for the latest miracle beauty product and think ‘Ooh! Do I need that?!! Will that stop me getting wrinkles? Will that cure my crow’s feet?!’. Because I know that, even if it will (which is highly unlikely), I don’t want it. Not only are those products expensive, they’re also harsh and over-hyped. Think about it, if natural foods can do so much good for your insides, why shouldn’t natural products do the same for your face?
Intrigued? Well if you’re interested in ditching the chemicals and switching to natural, here are some tips from Content founder, Imelda Burke to get your started…
1) Loose the Lipstick – If you wear lipstick then you are eating it every day so there is no better place to start your update. Think about how much mineral oil and synthetic colour there is in each tube, how long it lasts you, and how much you have eaten over your lifetime. Switch to an organic lipstick from brands such as ILIA, ILIA, RMS Beauty or Vapour Cosmetics.
2) Switch Scents – Most people use perfume once a day, others much more often. Switching to an organic perfume from a brand such as the LA-based Strange Invisible Perfumes or the ParisianHonore Des Pres is a great way to avoid spraying fixatives and synthetic fragrance on yourself every day. Organic perfumes use a mixture of essential oils and absolutes to create base notes that last, and should be made from organic alcohol if an EDP or just lovely oils.
3) Get Sun Shade – Switch your synthetic sunscreen for a natural one. Using titanium dioxide and zinc oxide the natural sunscreens reflect rays away to protect it. The trick is in the application – make sure it is regular and that you are using a generous amount for maximum protection – rub well to avoid a white residue on the skin. For the face we love the John Masters SPF 30 and Vive Sana Solar to Polar.
4) Smelling Sweet – When it comes to deodorants, keep fresh with organic alcohol, essential oils and mineral salts. Leave the parabens, fragrance and aluminium on the shelf and make sure what you are using comes from a reputable organic skincare brand. If you’ve tried all others and found natural deodorants less than reliable than conventional counterparts, try the Soapwalla Cream Deodorant. It triumphs where others fail!
5) Think Big – Often used once or twice a day, body moisturiser is the product that that covers the majority of your skin, the body’s largest organ. By ditching the synthetic versions and going for an organic skin care product instead, you will cancel out the use of the synthetic ingredients over the majority of your body. When switching out products think big and ditch the products used on the largest area of skin first. For dry skin we love the Pai Comfrey and Calendula Organic Body Cream and the Laidbare Butter Me Up Body Butter . For Summer, nothing bets the golden shimmer of May Lindstrom’s The Good Stuff .
It can be overwhelming to change your ways at the beginning, but if you get started with these five tips and just replace a product at a time with a natural and organic version, it will feel less daunting. If you want to prioritise products, we recommend leaving the wash-off products to last – they are only in contact with the skin for a short time so less of a priority to begin with… although we still recommend switching them out when you can!
For more info, or to book a treatment, head to Beingontent.com, or call +44 (0) 20 3075 1006
I love food and I love cooking, and I’m also very interested in nutrition. Unfortunately, I’m starting to realise that these interests aren’t always compatible, as the more you learn about eating well, the fussier you become about the nutritional value of your meals. These days, the recipes and cooking methods I regarded as ‘healthy’ in the past just don’t cut it, and the cookbooks on my shelf do very little to inspire me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a little indulgence here and there, but when it comes to the day-to-day I want to know that I’m giving my body everything it needs to thrive. That said, I’m not the kind of person who can live off kale and alfalfa sprouts, so what’s a girl to do? Well, I get lots of great ideas from the wonderful web (particularly Shira McDermott’s great blog, In Pursuit of More), but there’s nothing quite like having a beautiful cookbook to lay on your worktop and deface with splatters and sploshes of stock and sauces. It’s for this reason that I was excessively excited when I came across Dale Pinnock‘s new book, The Medicinal Chef. It’s packed with delicious but easy recipes, all of which are made with lovely, healthy ingredients. It’s gives you the lowdown on a whole host of easily obtainable, nutrient-giving foods that you can include in your daily meals, as well as a list of common conditions and how to treat/prevent/manage them through your diet. There’s a mix of light bites and heartier meals, edible cures and more glamorous fare, and even a few sweet treats thrown in for good measure. It’s already the most-used cookbook on my kitchen shelf, and I’m steadily working my way through all the recipes. Here are three of my favourites below… a little exclusive for JustALittleJoy readers. Enjoy!
FAMOUS FLU-FIGHTER SOUP
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5cm piece fresh root ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced, skins left on
1 punnet shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 handfuls goji berries
vegetable stock, to cover
salt and black pepper
Put the onion, chilli, garlic and ginger in a large saucepan with the olive oil. Cook over a medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens.
Add the sweet potatoes and mushrooms to the pan along with the goji berries. Stir well, then add enough vegetable stock to cover all the ingredients. Simmer well for 10–15 minutes, until the potato is soft.
Season with salt and pepper. Carefully add the soup to a jug blender in batches, and blend into a smooth, vivid orange, spicy soup.
SESAME SOY SALMON WITH VEGETABLES AND COCONUT RICE
2 tablespoons low-salt soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 large salmon fillets
150g brown rice
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
olive oil, for cooking
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 large red onion, finely sliced
1 small carrot, cut into thin strips
1/2 courgette, cut into thin strips
handful baby spinach
Mix together 1 tablespoon soy sauce with the sesame oil and honey, and stir well to create a marinade. Pour over the salmon and leave to marinate for at least an hour, or overnight.
Put the rice in a saucepan and cover with salted boiling water. Simmer over a medium heat until half cooked, about 10 minutes (check the instructions on the packet). Add the coconut milk and continue to simmer until soft and tender. You may need to add a little extra water. Add the desiccated coconut and stir well. Transfer to a warmed dish and set aside.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the salmon and its marinade and cook for 6–8 minutes, turning regularly.
Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large pan or wok and add the garlic, onion, carrot and courgette. Stir-fry for 2–3 minutes, until soft. Add the spinach and remaining soy sauce, and cook for 1 minute. Once the salmon and vegetables are cooked, serve immediately with the coconut rice.
BLAST-OFF BREAKFAST BARS
MAKES 6–8 BARS
light olive oil, for greasing
2 tablespoons honey, plus extra for drizzling
4 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons peanut butter
(a good-quality one, with no added salt or sugar)
280g porridge oats
3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon goji berries
2 tablespoons chopped dates
1 tablespoon chopped dried figs
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 and lightly grease a 23cm baking tin.
Melt the honey, coconut oil and peanut butter together over a gentle heat in a pan. Remove from the heat, add the rest of the ingredients (reserving a few seeds and dates to sprinkle over the top), and stir well to form a sticky mixture.
Press the mixture firmly into the prepared tin.
Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and dates. Bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container. They will keep for up to a week. Serve with a little honey drizzled over, if you like.
On my birthday this year I received some beautiful tableware from a couple of friends, which led me to discover Two Sisters Home in Wimbledon Village. This lovely shop, which opened in 2011, is the joint venture of sisters (obviously) Natasha Sharpe, a former retail buyer, and Jane Duffy-Lynch, an interior designer. They stock a unique mix of contemporary pieces, design classics, and vintage one-off finds – as well as Scandinavian kitchenware, French and Italian glassware and vintage lighting. If that’s not enough, they’ve thrown in a good dose of British textiles and ceramics too. Intrigued? Well take a have a little virtual snoop around their store and then go pay them a visit!
3, Church Road,
London SW19 5DW
I was truly inspired when the first issue of Cereal landed on my desk. An independent quarterly publication rooted in the passions of its creators – namely food and travel – Cereal feels more like a book than a magazine. This beautifully designed, coffee table-worthy tome is printed on luxuriously thick, matte paper, and is bursting with glorious images. Each topic is treated as a chapter, often including multiple articles and even the odd bibliography. As a magazine journalist myself, I love to see print continue to step its game up in this digitally-dominated world. And Cereal is a prime example of print publications at their best – contemporary, relevant yet totally timeless and utterly collectable.
Here’s what the publishers have to say… ‘By crafting and curating a tactile experience, we hope Cereal, like a good book, can be read over and over again. We’ve also made sure that it’ is a visual feast. We think people learn better with pictures. In part, Cereal is aimed at our inner child. Back when we were little, we learned many a fun fact from the back of cereal boxes. One of our fondest memories of childhood is of waking up to a huge bowl of something crunchy and milky, devouring the words and pictures on the back of the packet. These boxes were the first thing we read each day, and they taught and entertained us. Hence, Cereal. We hope to become your morning read.’
Have a sneaky peak here… then put down your iPad and go order a copy.