CURRENTLY LOVING | MAY 2021

posted in: Beauty, Fashion, Food & Drink, Gifted, Home, Outdoors | 0

I do love writing my Currently Loving features. It gives me a somewhat self-indulgent opportunity to look around me at the things I’ve got and openly share gratitude for them. Thankfully my stats suggest you enjoy reading them, too, so I can continue to write them without worrying.

Splodz Blogz | Currently Loving May 2021

This time around, my Currently Loving features some outdoor things and some indoor things, some bought things and some gifted things, and some new things and some really quite old things…

As always, once you’ve read mine, please do let me know what the things, books, films, walking routes, food, and other stuff you are currently loving at the moment. Tell me everything in the comments box below or send me your recommendations over on twitter.

Currently Loving | May 2021

01 Metal Obelisk from Etsy

I’m starting with this one because I couldn’t include it in my flat lay photo as 1) it’s just too big to bring inside and 2) I gave up waiting for sunshine to take the rest of my items outside. But I still felt my new obelisk deserved a place in my Currently Loving feature this time around, I really love it…

Metalinbloom Obelisk

We originally ordered an obelisk from a large online garden store who just kept pushing the delivery date back by weeks at a time, and so cancelled that order and started again. This time we looked much smaller, and found a family run company called Metalinbloom over on Etsy, who create very simple obelisks and other garden decorations out of steel.

This solid steel obelisk is hand made from 8 mm solid round bar and is already providing great support for our clematis, which is happily making its way up and around it. It is two metres high, has six legs making it super sturdy, and with that big steel ball on the top is much simpler looking than many of the traditional obelisks we found for sale.

Splodz Blogz | Garden Obelisk

I’m not the purchaser of things that look fancy or are overly adorned with pattern, I much prefer style to indicate function, and so this particular design is exactly my taste.

Although it meant we had a delay of some weeks, I’m glad that the original garden company let us down because we’ve ended up with a stunning obelisk that is much better quality than the one we originally chose, that arrived within just a couple of days, and makes me smile when I look out at the garden.

The question is, do I need another one (or two)?!

02 Snack Delivery!

(PR gifted item)

I mentioned my Wellbox delivery in my Weekly Blog when it arrived (read Weekly Blog Episode 67), and I just had to include it here too.

Wellbox are a gift box service offering personalised gift boxes designed to help send love and kindness in the post. Did you know that one in three of us struggle with loneliness, depression and anxiety while working from home? The feeling of isolation is huge, and so doing something to help others feel loved is even more important than ever.

I was treated to the Sustain box by the Wellbox team, as they wanted to send me something to keep my belly happy and my energy levels up as I get out hiking. The box included 22 different snacks, including bars and bags of sweet and savoury treats made with natural ingredients and predominantly sourced from independent companies.

Splodz Blogz | Wellbox Sustain Snack Box

My box included nuts, seeds, olives, chocolate, dried fruit, fruit leathers, trail bars, flapjack, corn, and more. My intention was to keep hold of the snacks until I do the second half of the Winchcombe Way (read Weekly Blog Episode 66), but you won’t be surprised to know that hasn’t exactly gone to plan; I love me a snack and have been munching my way through these fabulous snacks on much shorter walks over the last few weeks. I’ve pictured a couple of the items I got – those savoury plantain chips were utterly delicious, I shall have to find me more of those from somewhere.

There are lots of different types of box available for you to send to friends, family, or even all your work colleagues (they offer discounts on multiple boxes). It’s not just about food, there are tea boxes, mindfulness boxes, and relaxation boxes. And for every box sold they make a donation to charity, either for a meal to a local homeless shelter, or to MIND, depending on the box purchased. A great place to look if you want to send something nice to a loved one.

And looking at the price, which is £30 for the Sustain Box, I would certainly consider treating myself to another one of these boxes ahead of a big hike, just to keep the snacks interesting and different. It would also make a fabulous gift if you want to treat someone embarking on an outdoorsy challenge this summer.

03 Green Face Cream

I have awful skin. I always have breakouts, I get terrible redness, and my face is both dry and oily, whatever I do to try and correct it. I hate it, it saps my confidence and makes me frown when I look in the mirror or at photos of myself. And while I’m yet to find something to give me anything close to a smooth complexion, this little tub of Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment has become a regular feature on my bathroom shelf.

This green stuff is a confidence booster like nothing else I’ve found over the years. It was originally a gift from a friend who bought it on recommendation but it didn’t suit her skin, and I’m so glad she sent it my way to try out, because it’s been very helpful to me.

In short, this is a green-to-beige cream that reduces redness and events skin tone. It covers (some of my) blemishes and smooths the complexion. Made with herbs, minerals and various other complicated sounding things, it sooths, calms and moisturises. It’s quite thick (you don’t need much), and it feels nice and cool when applied to the face. 

I don’t use it on a daily basis, I know my skin better than to rub in random things too regularly, and it’s too expensive for every day. But when I have something in my diary for which feeling my best is important, this goes on. Sometimes I stop there, and sometimes I put my Double Wear over the top. It hasn’t fixed my terrible skin (“treatment” in the title of the product is perhaps overselling), but it calms it down and keeps it that way all day when I need that extra bit of help.

04 Fit Pit Natural Deodorant

Back in Weekly Blog Episode 60 I shared how I’d been transitioning from chemical to natural deodorant and how that went for me. I still think it’s strange how using an ordinary deodorant can have such long lasting effects on the smell that comes from our armpits, but there we are, we live and learn.

This little jar (this is the 25ml size) from Fit Pit is my current favourite natural deodorant. Freshly scented with peppermint (probably my favourite scent) and mandarin essential oils, it has a low bicarb formula that is light and gentle. It is 100% natural, organic, cruelty free, and doesn’t contain aluminium, parabens or BPA.

Each morning after washing, I apply a pea sized amount of the set cream to my underarms with my fingertip – it melts on contact with my skin and rubs in very easily. It works as well as any deodorant I’ve used in the past, and is much kinder to my body than spraying it with chemicals.

I like that it comes in a little glass jar, which eliminates plastic waste and can be reused for other things when empty and washed. Glass is not always considered best for travel, but I wouldn’t have a problem including this in my wash kit for camping or road tripping.

Made by The Green Women, I actually bought my Fit Pit natural deodorant from Rooting for Earth, a small ethical and sustainable online store based in King’s Lynn, well worth a browse when you next need bathroom or kitchen products.

05 Canadian Pyjama Bottoms

I have to admit I’ve been doing a lot of lounging around recently. I think we all have. Thankfully, languishing (if you’ve not read the New York Times article on this topic then I highly recommend that you do, I felt like Adam Grant was inside my head describing my current state of mind back to me, putting into words my inner struggles and extreme tiredness that have slowly gotten worse and worse over the last year), is much nicer when you have a favourite pair of pyjama bottoms in which to do it… and these are mine.

These (well worn) Hatley women’s jersey pyjama bottoms are fantastic quality, made from 100% cotton with a nice wide leg and elasticated waist. I love the bear and moose print, it’s very Canadian, which is where the company is based. They are just so comfortable, soft, the fit is perfectly relaxed, and I like nothing more than curling up in these and taking a (long) break from the world.

I got mine from Amazon over a year ago, but they also have their own online store, although I can’t find the pyjama bottoms on there, so it does make me wonder if they make them anymore. I really hope they return, as I want some more but that’s proving quite difficult at the moment.

https://www.instagram.com/p/COzaG4GDWHc/

06 Pop Socket

(PR gifted item)

Pop Sockets have been around for a long time now, but this is the first time I’ve given one a go, and I’m wondering why it’s taken me so long. The premise is very simple; this stick-on poppable phone holder means you can hold your phone securely, text with one hand, hold your phone at arm’s length to get photos, and prop your phone up to watch videos. Does having one make me cool now?!

I’ve got the SOG Pop Socket, which isn’t a bog-standard Pop Socket; it’s got a little multi-tool built in, which is what drew my attention to it. Believe it or not, there’s a bottle opener, mini pry bar, and quarter inch and 4mm hex bit drivers in that thing.

The multi-tool is surprisingly sturdy, made out of stainless steel, stays in place thanks to a magnet, and easy detaches from the Pop Socket itself. I now have easy access to a useful tool to easily open cardboard boxes, remove bottle caps, turn (flathead) screws, pry staples out, and probably other things too. It’s not so good on parcel tape, though, not quite sharp enough for that.

I wondered how useful it would actually be, but it is genuinely handy. The only downside is how much bulk the Pop Socket adds to my phone case, but I’ve got used to that quickly, and I can always leave my case at home if I don’t want it with me sometimes.

And if it ever gets too bulky, or I don’t want the multi-tool on there any more, it comes off and can be replaced with a different PopGrip top, of which there are 100s to choose from.

07 Instant Peach Melba Iced Tea

I love iced tea. When I’m somewhere warm, maybe I’ve been out walking or riding my motorcycle in the hot sunshine of southern Europe or the USA, I like nothing more than a refreshing glass of iced tea. Like many things I enjoy in a hot climate, it’s just not the same at home. I mean, I can make my own at home; I can brew a cuppa, add still lemonade or some other mixer, and pour that over ice. But we just don’t get the weather to enjoy it in the same way here, especially not this month!

When we do get nice weather, I do love an iced tea, especially a sweetened version (and I don’t drink sweet hot tea). Whittard make this very easy indeed with their tubs of flavoured Instant Tea powder. Add the powder to water (it dissolves best in hot water which is then allowed to cool before topping up with cold water before drinking), and you have a very delicious and refreshing iced tea drink.

This is their Peach Melba instant tea, and I would say have become a little bit addicted to. It is, as you will imagine, inspired by the classic dessert. It is super sweet, mellow with peach flavour, and there’s a hint of raspberry in there too. You can drink this hot, if you like, but this is most definitely an iced tea flavour in my book.

They also do a Turkish Apple flavour and Pink Lemonade, which are very good indeed, but that Peach Melba is the one I’m enjoying the most. The only problem is this is marked as a limited edition product on the Whittard website and there is no indication how long they will be making it for… I’d better order some more.

08 Isobaa Merino Trainers

(PR gifted item)

I talk about Isobaa a lot. I’ve come to really love their merino base layers for hiking and motorcycling (read my Motorcycle Road Trip Packing List and my Currently Loving March 2021 posts for more), and find their everyday socks perfect for, well, everyday wear. They were recently kind enough to send me a pair of their brand-new Merino blend trainers to try out, and they have done it again – another entry into my Currently Loving feature for this great UK based company.

Design wise, these trainers are very classic in style. If anything, they are a plain and simple looking pair of shoes: no fuss, no messing, just clean lines and simple fit. A single colour upper, a white sole, matching laces, normal trainer shape with a low back and reasonably wide toe box. They are ordinary looking, blending in with whatever else you choose to wear with them. And I like all of that.

But where the look is simple, the concept is not. These trainers have serious eco credentials. They are made from predominantly recycled and natural materials, including Merino wool, recycled polyester, BLOOM foam made from algae, and recycled rubber. Isobaa pride themselves on being natural and sustainable, and they do this very well here.

I’ve been wearing them every time the weather has been dry enough to allow, and they are very light and comfortable. They will be ideal for travel, and I’ve already had them stowed in my motorcycle panniers for a weekend away recently. I promise you a full review on here when I’ve caught up a bit on posts, but in the meantime the Merino Blend Trainers (mine are the navy) fit in perfectly in my Currently Loving feature.

Oh, and at the time of writing, they are in Isobaa’s half price sale, making them £50, which I would say is excellent value. If you’ve been thinking about these, I guess now is the time to buy.

09 Cotwolds Pacmat

(PR gifted item)

I can now sit ON the Cotswolds IN the Cotswolds thanks to my fabulous new and very appropriate waterproof Pacmat picnic blanket from Rubbastuff.

These picnic blankets are so good. They are small and easy to carry, they have a soft and quick dry top providing a nice place to sit for a picnic, and they have a waterproof layer so when you’re sat on damp ground you don’t get a wet bum… and this one is covered in a map of my home patch, so I can feel inspired to walk while I sit and eat.

Splodz Blogz | Cotswolds Pacmat by Rubbastuff

I’ve marked this as a PR gift in the interests of good disclosure in blogging, but please know that I am already a true Pacmat fan and have previously purchased both my family-sized Dartmoor Pacmat (read my review post) and my one-person Thermal Patch Pacmat (read my Camping Bits and Bobs post) myself. I reckon everyone needs one (or more) of these – they are well made, far from bulky, and definitely worth the price.

Not only did Rubbastuff send me a present, which was a really lovely thing for them to do, but the lovely people behind the product are always happy to chat getting outdoors on social media, and I love that.

There are loads (and loads) of map prints to choose from now, there’s bound to be a place you fancy sitting on – you’ll find them all listed on the Rubbastuff website. And if you’d rather have something less place-specific, start here for all the other designs.

10 Trespass Stalk Merino Hiking Top

Tresspass perhaps isn’t known for being top of the line when it comes to hiking gear. But in all honesty, this base layer top has been an absolute staple in my outdoor wardrobe since I first got it back in 2017. I have probably worn this top hiking more than any piece of outdoor clothing I own, which means it definitely deserves a place in my Currently Loving post this time around.  

It is just the perfect any-weather top. The shape is flattering, it fits my shape perfectly, the merino does its job at being both warm and cool as needed, the half zip provides air flow, the sleeves are good and stretchy so I can push them up to my elbows when I want to, and it’s still my go-to even after wearing it on what must be hundreds (and hundreds) of hikes.

It was originally a PR gift, which I reviewed in this post following my West Highland Way hike, but I think I can honestly say four years down the line that it’s such a great buy. I had a look and while it’s still listed on the Trespass website, the link doesn’t go anywhere – which is a shame as I would 100% buy another one if it did.

In fact, maybe you can help there. Do you have a similar stretchy merino wool mid-layer recommendation? Send me your suggestions, as I’m in the market for a new one.

Splodz Blogz | Currently Loving May 2021

What are you currently loving this month? What do you think of my choices? Tell me in the comments below.

Want to see all my Currently Loving posts? This link should help.

In the interests of full disclosure for this Currently Loving post, and as mentioned within the text above, the trainers, Pacmat, Wellbox, PopSocket, and merino top were all originally PR gifts (some many years ago!), for which I am very grateful. I have therefore marked this post as gifted, but it is not sponsored – they did not ask to be included in my Currently Loving feature, I did that because I’m genuinely currently loving the items.

There are affiliate links on this page, the funds from which help me go on the mini adventures that make life interesting.

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