I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… this week has gone fast! Time really is racing at the moment. Maybe it’s because I’m nearing 40. Maybe it’s because we’ve been sat still doing not very much for weeks and now we’re allowed to go and do a bit more. Or maybe it’s because time is a bit wibbly wobbly. Who knows?! Anyway, what it means is that we’re here for another episode of my weekly blog series.
It’s been a pretty decent week. I had Monday off and used it to go for a walk in the sunshine at Sand Point and Middle Hope near Weston Super Mare, which was just the most lovely way to spend the day (and features as my weekly blog header image for photo this episode). Apart from that I’ve been working, gardening, cooking, doing chores and, well, not blogging. It’s a good job I’ve kept up with my weekly blogs on a Sunday!
I’ve had a fair few deliveries recently and I thought it would make a bit of change if I made this weekly blog a bit of an in the mail special, featuring the things I’ve bought and have been sent over the last week or two. Some of these items are PR gifts, and I’ll make sure it’s clear which ones they are. Nothing here is necessarily a recommendation at this stage, they’re too new for that, but I will certainly let you know if I am liking them so far.
Bamboo Face Covering
With face masks being mandatory inside shops, museums, libraries, and other places at the moment, I decided I needed to buy a face covering to make life a little easier. I’ve been wearing Buffs up until now, which work absolutely fine as a face covering and are well within the guidelines here in the UK (and I have a number to choose from in my gear cupboard). But using a neck gaiter as a face covering does have its disadvantages; it moves down my face when I talk, is very warm on a hot day as it covers up so much of my head, and with my ears covered makes hearing people even harder.
I chose this bamboo cotton face covering from Etsy, as I wanted something simple, shaped, adjustable, and soft. My skin is very sensitive, I have terrible spot-prone skin which is aggravated by anything that touches it (including by a Buff or scarf, my bike helmet strap, a hat that goes over my forehead, etc.), and I genuinely find having things across my face to be uncomfortable and restrictive. In these times, comfort must take a second seat to what is sensible and required, and so choosing a mask that was going to mitigate at least some of my personal difficulties is very important.
Thankfully, this face covering is working well for me. It is shaped properly (rather than just a rectangle of fabric), washes well and dries quickly, is lovely and soft, and is as comfortable as I think it can be. Oh, and the UK-based company making and selling these masks plants a tree with each purchase, which is a lovely environmental touch that I definitely appreciate.
I should probably buy another couple, but as I’m not going anywhere that mandates mask wearing every day or even every other day at the moment, I’m good for now. Have you found the perfect mask that fits well, is soft, and washes well? Please feel free to recommend the ones you’ve tried to Splodz Blogz readers in the comments below.
Teva Ember Camp Shoes
Mentioned in my Outdoor Gear I’d Buy Tomorrow #2 post last month, I finally gave in and purchased a pair of the Teva Embers. I’ve honestly lusted after these for so long, I couldn’t resist the sale price. I suppose it was partly because I actually haven’t been able to go camping next year (which will hopefully change before this month is done with), but I genuinely think these will be great for camping and at home when the weather is a little cooler. My “I haven’t spent much on petrol recently” brain decided I was worth the splurge.
I decided on the Mids in the Deep Lake colourway (basically a teal). It was very close between these and the Mocs, and I’m still not entirely sure which I would like best, but the booties won over on the day I clicked the button. They’re basically a camp shoe with a sleeping-bag style upper and a trainer sole, making them ideal for mooching around after a day in hiking boots. So far, they are just as comfortable as I hoped, although I’ve not exactly had much wear of them considering the temperatures we’ve had here in the UK this week (bare feet whenever possible at the moment!). I’m not wishing summer away but I am definitely looking forward to it being cool enough to wear these lots.
The Ember Mids cost me £39.99, which I think was reasonable – I certainly wouldn’t (couldn’t) have paid the full £80 for these, as let’s face it, they’re a bit of an unnecessary purchase!
Skinners Tough Socks
(PR gifted item)
While I talk about footwear and that outdoor gear wish list post I wrote, I also took delivery of the rather interesting looking Skinners Tough Socks this week. These came courtesy of Wildbounds, an online outdoor gear store that sells stuff from some great independent outdoor brands including Helinox and Nemo. I mentioned them in that blog post because they seemed to be a great option for camp shoes, as they are small and lightweight and so ideal for packing in the smallest of spaces, and Wildbounds were kind enough to provide me with a pair to give me an opportunity to try them out.
I’m told that Skinners are the most funded footwear project in crowdfunding history, and so I’m not the only one intrigued by them. The sock-shoe hybrid has been designed to combine functionality with comfort into something that can be used for camping, hiking, as approach shoes, in the gym, for water sports, for short runs and more. Barefoot shoes are hugely popular these days, and as someone who certainly enjoys the freedom of not wearing anything on her feet, I can’t wait to see how I get on with these. They feel a bit weird on my feet, I have to admit, but not in a bad way, in a “oh these are socks and shoes” kind of way.
I’ll be testing these Skinners Tough Socks out over the next month or so and will write one of my review posts featuring them soon, so if you’re interested in finding out how I get on with these more unusual camp shoes, be sure to look out for that.
Internet Radio for the Bedroom
We recently decorated our bedroom (which I wrote about in weekly blog episode 27), and if that’s not an excuse to buy some new tech, I don’t know what is! We’ve had the same analogue radio forever, and so decided it was the perfect time to enter the digital age and buy an Internet/DAB radio.
We chose the John Lewis own brand Cello. We could have easily spent hundreds more, but this one seemed to have the right combination of sound quality, functionality, and style for us. We heard it in person and compared it to other options in our local John Lewis, but ordered it online for home delivery as they didn’t have one in the store for us to have straight away. It’s proving to be a very good purchase so far; it was easy to set up, has a couple of different alarm settings so we can have it come on at different times on working days and weekend days, sounds very good in the size space we need it to fill, and looks great in our bedroom.
The only problem now? Our choice of radio stations is now a little bit ridiculous. We’re already fans of BBC Radio 6 Music, Scala Radio and Chris Country, but there are so many radio stations – from all over the world – we could easily have a different station on each morning. I mean, we’ve definitely been enjoying stations from Canada and New Zealand, although the time difference can be a bit confusing. Got a recommendation for a must-listen-to digital radio station? Feel free to make your suggestions in the comments below.
Soft Furnishings to Complete the Bedroom
The finishing touches for the bedroom came in the form of some new bedding, curtains and curtain tie backs.
We decided it was about time we treated ourselves to some 100% cotton bedding. This could have been a real splurge, as good quality bedding really can be expensive, but we found The White Company had a great sale on which made the duvet cover sets quite reasonable and I didn’t feel at all guilty making the purchase. I chose two plain white duvet cover sets, both 100% cotton, one very plain and simple and the other with a textured finish. They finish off our sage-green bedroom very nicely indeed, helping the colour to pop, and genuinely feel much more luxurious when we go to sleep. There is nothing wrong with buying mixed-material bedding, it’s cheap, washes well, and doesn’t need ironing; but sleeping on good quality cotton is certainly nicer.
We headed to Dunelm to buy some plain grey curtains, but the tie backs were all so, well, fancy. All I wanted was some rope, in the same grey as the curtains if possible. Nothing with tassles, or lace, or fake crystals, or sparkle. I found exactly what I had in mind over on the Andrea Cook Interiors Etsy store, and actually ended up with a choice of three or four grey rope curtain tie backs to choose from. They arrived quickly and definitely look the part, adding a touch of natural material into the room without adding a new colour or any fuss. I would absolutely recommend these if you’re looking for something similar.
Isobaa Merino Wool Socks and Jumper
(PR gifted items)
I have definitely learnt over the years that when it comes to outdoor gear, or actually pretty much anything these days, spending on good quality basics is what will make all the difference to day to day comfort. You’ll have heard me say things such as “life is too short for rubbish socks” regularly, and I genuinely believe it; this isn’t about buying the most expensive things, but doing your research and making good choices on quality over quantity.
Isobaa reached out and asked me if I’d like to try out their range of clothing. I like what they do; they produce good quality basics that are useful for outdoor and everyday wear, and are bothered about the people and the environment for which they design their products. If I was looking for a company that sings the virtues of One Hour Outside, then Isobaa could be it, so I was delighted to be asked to work with them on some product testing.
A bit like the Teva Embers, it’s a bit warm at the moment to be testing out the merino wool sweater and socks I’ve been sent (isn’t it nice not to have to wear a jumper or socks?!), but I already think this could be my favourite sweater of all time. It’s just so, well, simple. Just like me! Nothing complicated here, nothing fancy, just a basic, easy, comfortable crew neck sweater that goes with everything, and rolls up small to pack but will be very warm when needed. I’ll let you know what I think in practice when I’ve had chance to give these some real-life wear.
Letters to the Editor
It is an absolute joy to receive mail from friends. Whether it’s a postcard, a letter, or a gift, there is something very special about knowing that someone thought of you enough to send you something in the mail. This particular example came all the way from New York, from a lovely online friend I’ve been chatting to for years. Ally, or Shybiker, chose to share a project they’ve been working on with me, and it was a lovely surprise to receive it.
The note inside read “Over the years one of my favourite activities was writing letters to newspapers and magazines. Recently I thought it’d be fun to gather those letters and share them with friends. Here they are.” I have thoroughly enjoyed sitting and reading this collection of letters over the course of a few evenings. The collection includes a letter about free speech published at the age of 15 in a local newspaper, along with letters on motorcycling, law, feminism, art, and more. It’s been such a fun insight into Ally’s thoughts, feelings and opinions over the years.
That is where I will end this in the mail weekly blog special. I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly different weekly blog. If you enjoyed reading this episode, if you think my weekly blog series is a fun thing to read regularly, and especially if you got to the end of this one(!), I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Come on by next Sunday evening for the next in the series.