CURRENTLY LOVING | FEBRUARY 2022

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

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, a lot of the time these things are long standing favourites, tried and tested for months or years.

One thing that is always true: My currently loving posts include things of varying types that make me smile. In this particular iteration I have included footwear, pyjamas, the most excellent salad topper, and my latest new favourite tee.

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 right now. Give me your recommendations in the comments box below, or send me your notes over on twitter or via Instagram message, I always like to hear from you.

Splodz Blogz | Currently Loving February 2022

Currently Loving | February 2022

01 Wide Leg Jeans

Jeans are a funny thing. Sometimes I can’t imagine wearing anything else. Other times I find them the most uncomfortable and unflattering piece of clothing going. At the moment it’s the latter, and it’s my new FatFace Elise wide leg jeans that have led to that recent change.

They are made from a heavy denim (which is part recycled), have a high-rise waist, deep pockets, and a nice simple shape. There’s a teeny bit of stretch making them easy to move in, but not enough to mean they get out of shape after one wear. And, most importantly, they are very comfortable and I think they look okay on me!

At £55 they’re not cheap, but I don’t think that’s bad value. I do like FatFace clothing, especially their woolly jumpers. It’s probably my favourite casual clothing store to shop in thanks to the combination of quality, company ethos, value and style.

02 Meindl Bhutan Hiking Boots

Originally a PR gift

I mentioned in my latest Weekly Blog (Episode 99) that I’ve been enjoying some short but very satisfying boots-on walks during the week. It feels right, therefore, that I give my hiking boots a mention in this currently loving post.

I’ve had these boots for over two years. They were part of a collaboration I worked on with Cotswold Outdoor back in December 2019, chosen specifically with long distance hiking in mind. I have hiked hundreds and hundreds of miles in them, in all weathers and on all terrains, including the UK Coast to Coast hike last October. And I love them.

Yes, they’re heavy – these are full on leather boots with big fat soles, thick uppers and deep lugs. But with that comes support, stability, and warmth. They are a solid boot and, most importantly for outdoor footwear, I completely trust them.

They took a bit of breaking in, as any leather boot does (I wrote some advice on breaking in leather boots in this post), but now they’re moulded to my feet they are just perfect.  

I’ll add that despite putting these boots through a lot in the last two years, they are hardly showing any wear, either on the uppers or the soles. I wash and wax them as needed, especially after they’ve got very wet. It’s another benefit of a top-quality pair of leather boots – they last.

I always recommend getting boots properly fitted (using a service like that provided by Cotswold Outdoor – remember, you aren’t obliged to buy anything). But if you’re looking for a pair of truly all terrain boots that will keep you comfortable for miles and miles, then you should at least try the Meindl Bhutans on. You’ll find them here at Cotswold Outdoor, here at Blacks, and here at Go Outdoors.

Splodz Blogz | The Weekly Blog Episode 76
In my boots on a rock.

03 Photo Book: Let’s Get Lost

Originally a PR gift

This hardback book is a collection of landscape photography from some of the remotest and most spectacular locations around the globe. And it is utterly stunning.

Curated by travel and lifestyle photographer Finn Beales, and featuring a collection of other landscape photographers, this lovely book is a wonderful piece of visual escapism. There are coastal views, mountain landscapes, forests and expansive wildernesses. Every single page makes me want to visit the places featured, the photos are simply beautiful.

It’s been sat on my coffee table since I received it back in November, allowing me to dip in and out when I’m sat on my sofa. It is currently open on a page devoted to Jokulsarlon in Iceland, with photos by Finn Beales. Oh my, how it’s making me want to go back to explore more (and take some better photographs)!

04 Hatley Pyjama Bottoms

I included my Hatley pyjama bottoms in my currently loving post back in May last year. They make a return in this new edition thanks to receiving a second pair for Christmas, and (yes, I know) with a third pair on the way.

You just can’t have enough pairs of your favourite pyjamas, can you?!

These jersey pyjama bottoms really are fantastic quality. They’re made from 100% cotton, have a nice wide leg and elasticated waist, and the new ones have a little pocket on the front. 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.

The patterns are fun (bears and moose – very Canadian), and they wash and wear so very well – my original pair are still going strong, now nearly two years old. I got mine from Amazon (the bear ones are here), but they also have their own online store, if you’d rather buy direct.

05 New Balance 373 Sneakers

These are my new not-for-hiking trainers – the New Balance 373 in tan. I have always loved trainers and always seem to have a pair or two on my wish list. I’m not a collector, I don’t go in for the super expensive trainers and leave them in pristine condition on a shelf. No, I just love to wear trainers, I simply like to be as comfortable as possible at all times (as you will unquestionably notice that in this currently loving post).

The New Balance 373 is a very lightweight trainer with a suede and mesh upper. I actually went to Schuh with the green ones in mind, but when I saw them in real life I didn’t like the tone – however, these mustardy-brown ones caught my attention.

Reserved for days when I won’t be getting muddy or going on slippery trails, I am absolutely currently loving these right now.

Next up I’m after a pair of Vans Old Skool skates with the gum sole, but should probably not add another pair to my collection just yet – and it seems I’m just out of time to get my size at the moment anyway.

06 Decent Hiking Socks

I recently saw an instagrammer say they can’t see the point of paying good money for decent hiking socks, so they just get cheap ones from Primark. But in my humble opinion, socks should get our utmost attention, seeing as walking relies so much on having happy feet.

I have learnt first-hand that if you wear decent socks you can go further; they help support, protect, and cushion your feet while you walk, run or do pretty much anything else. And that’s without mentioning the problems with fast fashion, cheap materials and cheap labour, and the associated environmental and human rights issues.

With that, I am always currently loving decent hiking socks. But as I’ve added a couple of new pairs to my collection recently, here’s what I recommend:

Bridgedale Trekker

The purple pair on the left are my Bridgedale Trekker Socks, my very trusted old favourites. This particular pair are at least six years old and still perfectly wearable. You really can’t go wrong with a pair of Bridgedales, the company know exactly what they are doing and how to make socks that do their job perfectly.

1000 Mile Fusion

I wore the 1000 Mile Fusion Double Layer Walking Socks for almost all 200-miles of my Coast to Coast hike last autumn (full gear list coming soon), having received them as a gift just before. They’re made a mix of merino wool and Tactel, and have all the good padded bits, as well as some fancy looking arch and Achilles support.

The benefit of 1000 Mile socks is they are double layered, so you don’t need to liners (which I normally do for big hikes) – they’ve got that blister protection built in. They’re thick and warm, a really good autumn and winter sock.

Darn Tough Hiker Boot Midweight

Darn Tough are the brand you hear all the American hikers talk about, and now I have a couple of pairs I can see why. The Hiker Boot Midweight, which I got for Christmas, is a fully cushioned sock with seamless construction made from merino wool. I’m yet to do more than average day hikes with them yet so I’ll reserve any long-test review for another day, but first impressions are very good indeed – comfortable, moisture wicking, and no blisters.

Splodz Blogz | Stood in the Cleveland Hills
Wearing good hiking socks… honest!

07 My Second Favourite Basic Tee

Last summer I wrote a blog post all about the best basic tee I’ve ever worn – the Isobaa Merino 150 Tee, which I was gifted by the company. Well, thanks to Christmas gifting, I am now the proud owner of a second one – so I can actually put the lime one in the wash now…

This tee is just perfect for me. The cut, fit, style, the material – all great. I really like the navy colour, it’s a little more subtle than my other one but no less lovely. And the slogan “pack light live well” is something I aspire to!

I’ll not bore you with any more gushing about this tee here, but please do go and read my blog post which explains it all.

08 Airtight Snack Pots

These little canisters by Matador are so useful! Another Christmas present, these are my new hiking snack pots. Made from aluminium with silicon pop-off lids, they are watertight and airtight, so they’re great for nuts, sweets, fruit, or anything else I fancy taking out on the trail with me.

Zip lock bags are great, but these jars are so much more convenient – and everlasting. They’re easy to carry, food safe, dishwasher safe, and lightweight.

They could equally be used for tinder for fires, medication, jewellery, or even little electronic adapters or headphones, but for me, they are for snacks.

09 Crispy Onion Bits

I think this little plastic tub of goodness is my new favourite store cupboard staple. Adding texture to salads and pasta dishes elevates lunchtime instantly, and these crispy onion bits (there are several brands available, these are the ones I got from Tesco this time) are the perfect way. So crunchy and sweet, I haven’t found a salad they don’t work on yet!

Apparently (I think I saw it on a Sorted Food episode), you can use these when cooking chilli or other dishes with an onion base to save time chopping and slowly cooking fresh onions, but I think I’ll stick to using them on top of salads. And yes, I’m aware I could probably make my own, but that wouldn’t be quite so convenient.

10 Cicerone Walking Guides for my Local Area

Originally a PR gift

The “Walking in” series by Cicerone are all about day walks, each containing 20-30 walks doable in anything from an hour to a full day. Two of the three books pictured were a gift from Cicerone, who publish loads of books like these designed to help people explore here in the UK and further afield.

For each walk there is a route description, help on where to park and public transport options, a small OS route map (which I always use in conjunction with the relevant OS Map to get the full context), and information on geological and historical features that can be seen along the way.

The great thing about books like this is they are always sat on the bookshelf waiting, so anytime I find myself with a day or half day available for walking, and want someone else to do the route planning, I can choose a ready-made walk. These books are also quite compact, meaning they are not too onerous to carry on the walk itself.

I now have a collection of four of these books for the areas closest to where I live (I can’t tell you why I didn’t find the Brecon Beacons one when I was taking my currently loving photo), which gives me plenty of fodder for weekend adventures.

I’ve got a post coming up very soon about one of the hikes I did from the Forest of Dean book, so do watch out for that over the coming days.

Splodz Blogz | Currently Loving February 2022

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

In the interests of full disclosure for this Currently Loving post, and as mentioned within the text above, the hiking boots, photo book, 1000 Mile socks, and two of the Cicerone books, were originally PR gifts, 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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