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CURRENTLY LOVING | JULY 2021

Every couple of months or so I put together a list of ten things that I’m currently loving. You know, my favourite things, things that are bringing me joy, my top ten things of the moment.

I say things, but you know how these lists are – there will be things, but there will also be books, music, experiences, and other random categories. And while some things on my list will be new to me over the last couple of months, some things will be long standing favourites, tried and tested for months or years.

In this particular Currently Loving post I have books, a television series, food, clothing, some fabulous foot cream I’ve been using for years and years, and my favourite way to take a break from normal life. Now I look at it, my numbering seems a little weird this time around, sorry about that, but I think you can still follow the list as I write about it…

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

Currently Loving | July 2021

01 A Sweet-Smelling Garden

Is there anything better than walking by a raised bed of lavender, mint and rosemary on a nice day? Especially when that lavender, mint and rosemary are in your own back garden? I don’t think so. It’s such a sweet-smelling pleasure – I love it almost as much as the local bee population.

I’ve got a lot of lavender growing this year, it’s all over, and it’s doing really well. There’s some in pots, and some in our raised bed.

I’ve got some gaps and fancy some more sweet-smelling herbs – what do you think I should add?

I should add to this Currently Loving entry that I’m also very much enjoying my home-grown courgettes, raspberries and blueberries, and hope to enjoy my tomatoes very soon… the work I put into my garden last year is really paying off this year, and I‘m very happy about that.

02 The Boys

Looking for something to binge watch on the telly box that will entertain as well as confuse you? The Boys, on Amazon Prime, is a superhero story like no other I’ve ever come across… it’s cynical, violent, disturbing, and mysterious. And yes, I’m including it in my Currently Loving list.

There are nods to all the superhero films and series’ you’ve ever watched, but rather than being a parody, this is a fascinating deconstruction of the superhero genre. It follows all the rules, and ignores them all at the same time, providing everything you would expect from a brightly coloured Marvel or DC show, but flipped on its head so you’re never really sure who is on who’s side.

There’s also a could-easily-be-real dystopian view of institutional power added into the mix, which really makes it hard to unravel the expected good versus evil element to the story. And all that has really drawn me in.

I rarely watch the second series of any TV programme these days, Mandalorian excepting, but this one provides an excellent continuation of the same story. I mean, it’s not the best thing I’ve ever watched, but it’s great Friday night viewing. I’m about half way through the second series, and am very much hoping there’s a decent ending to as I don’t want to get that far and be disappointed.

Please note that this is not a programme suitable for kids… it’s graphic and the language is blue at times. You have been warned.

If you fancy binge watching The Boys, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime Video using my affiliate link.

03 Cute Basic Tee by Isobaa

(PR gifted item)

You already know I’m a fan of Isobaa from the number of times I’ve mentioned them here on Splodz Blogz over the last year or so. You are therefore probably not surprised to find another entry in my Currently Loving feature… this time for a cute basic tee.

This Merino 150 Tee is just perfect – as discussed in my recent post all about finding the right basic tee. The cut and fit, the colour and design, and of course the material. It’s been especially good in the recent heatwave, and for camping trips where I’ve found I haven’t need to wear the spare tee I packed – the promise of moisture wicking and odour control properties is real!

It’s not cheap, at £60 it’s a real investment (mine was very kindly gifted), and so I’ve been very careful to look after it properly by washing it as little as possible and to the provided instructions. I am definitely wanting another couple of the other designs to make a little Isobaa tee collection, and am hoping there will be a good sale at the end of the season to help me out with that.

04 Salad… with Ranch Dressing

I mentioned in a recent weekly blog (read Episode 78) that I’ve fallen back in love with salad. I’ve been eating bowls of colourful salad as my working day lunch, making big portions of salad to go with our evening meals, and have been loving it, especially during the heatwave.

I’ve been varying up the leaves (all kinds), tomatoes, sweet peppers, feta cheese, Poacher cheese, leftover roast chicken, cold cooked white or sweet potato, crispy onion, seeds, cashew nuts, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, red cabbage, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, pomegranate seeds, and whatever else looks fresh and colourful. Not all at once, of course, but I like variety.

Dressing wise, I really love ranch, but we don’t get much of that here in the UK. Tesco has started to stock Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing, which is a good option, adding a lovely creamy tang. It’s also great for dipping if you’ve got chips or onion rings. Failing that, I will normally opt for Caesar dressing, which is much more widely available here.

What’s your go to salad option? And what dressing do you prefer?

05 Camping

It took me over six months into 2021 to get my first camping trip in of the year, but since the summer solstice I’ve had three lovely short camping trips that certainly mean it makes it into my Currently Loving post this time around.

I’ve been hugely fortunate that the three camping trips I’ve been on have been in great weather, in beautiful places, making up (and then some) for all those months without any time under canvas.

While camping isn’t entirely relaxing, I’m not a sitting in my chair watching the world go by kind of person, it is one of my favourite ways to take a break from normal life… Being outdoors morning, noon and night is so good for my wellbeing. I sleep well, eat well, move lots, and breathe deeply.

Our motorcycle road trip this year won’t involve the tent, so my next pitch will be in mid-September for Comms Unplugged, and I’m very much looking forward to that.

06 Not-Walking-Trousers from Next

If you have been working from home during the pandemic as I have, you will I’m sure have fallen into the wonderfully comfortable trap of wearing joggers, leggings, and walking trousers most days. And why not?! I’ve mainly been in my Tentree joggers when at home (you can read my review here), and in my Kiwi Pro walking trousers when I have needed to go into the office (which I wrote an ode to in this post).

A few weeks back I popped into Next thinking I really should get some work-suitable trousers that are almost as comfortable as my walking trousers, so that I can save my Craghoppers for actual walking adventures. And I came home with a pair of linen blend tapered trousers in a black and white vertical stripe, similar to these.

They’re great. Plenty of room around my middle and thighs, a good length as they are or with a couple of turns at the ankles, have deep pockets, an elasticated waste, and a smart-ish look. Probably not the most sustainable option (I can’t always warrant the cost I’m afraid), but I like them, and they are doing what I need of them.

07 Cawston Press Sparkling Rhubarb

If you’re looking for a refreshing summer drink, I can highly recommend Cawston Press Sparkling Rhubarb. Made with pressed rhubarb, apples and sparkling water, it’s sweet, a little tart, and very nice indeed straight from the fridge. Absolutely perfect for the warm weather we’ve been experiencing recently.

Their Elderflower sparkling drinks are also very nice, but I tend to buy Elderflower cordial and use it with my Sodastream, so it’s the Rhubarb cans I’ve been buying regularly when I do my big shop each month.

08 Gerlach’s Foot Cream

This inclusion in my Currently Loving feature is an oldie but a goodie… I absolutely swear by this foot cream, and think anyone who spends lots of time on their feet, whether for work or leisure, should give it a try.

Gerlachs Gehwol Extra is an awesome foot cream that protects the feet and helps them recover and repair after strenuous activity. Massaging it into aching feet is such a nice feeling, the oils from eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender and thyme smell good and get to work straight away.

I can attest to it preventing aching feet, sores, blisters and chafing – something I always use before and after hiking long miles. The ingredients provide an anti-inflammatory effect, can prevent athletes’ foot, and will also deal with foot odours.

I mean, if you’re hiking and camping, you really ought to have this stuff in your kit bag, it’s something of a wonder cream for the feet. Go buy some!

09 New Summer Motorcycle Gloves

I always enjoy getting new kit, and my most recent purchase for my motorcycle gear cupboard are these summer gloves.

The Oxford Brisbane Air Short Textile Gloves (mine are the tech grey/black colourway, bought from Sports Bike Shop in Boston) are not your top-of-the-line motorcycle gloves. My Oxford winter gloves have proven to be very comfortable, and these ones offered great value for money for the spec, and seemed to fit my hands much better than anything with a similar price point.

The important thing about summer gloves is that they let plenty of air through whilst still providing comfort for long rides and protection should I land on the floor. These have a lightweight mesh construction with reinforced leather palm and low-profile impact knuckle protection, which ticked all the boxes for me.

I could have spent a heap more money on some better summer gloves from a premium brand, and maybe I will do that one day, but for now – for the kind of riding I’m doing – these are spot on for me.

10 His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman

The sign of a good book, in my opinion, is not wanting to stop reading – or, in my case, listening. And that’s why Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy has landed in my Currently Loving feature for July. It’s been such a fabulous listen, and I’ve raced through all three books, with just an hour or so of the third and final instalment ready for my lunchtime walk tomorrow.

Following the story of Lyra, a child living in the prestigious Jordan College in Oxford, His Dark Materials (three books: The Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass), is about adventure and will power and magic and trust.

I like Lyra; she’s adventurous, and naughty, easily bored, with a keen sense of curiosity which gets her into trouble. When children start going missing, Gobblers are blamed, and Lyra is determined to go north to find out who they are and what they are doing. The books follow the story of what was really going on… full of mystery and intrigue.

This is a wonderful tale that took me into a magical world of daemons and witches and dust and the paranormal. Oh, and bears. It’s like a series of fairy tales, taking things that seem real and combining them with things that are far from it, and taking me along for the ride.

These are probably children’s books, but I didn’t read much as a teenager and I’m only really catching up now – I’ve very much been enjoying the escapism and wonder Philip Pullman gave me. When I’ve finished the final episode I’ll give the BBC television series a go to see what that’s like.

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 Isobaa Basic Tee was originally a PR gift, 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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