Good evening and welcome to another episode in my weekly blog series. How has your week been? Have you enjoyed the weird combination of bright spring skies and torrential rain?! We even woke up to thick fog this morning.
I have spent this weekend at the first National Outdoor Expo up at the NEC in Birmingham. I say I have, I certainly planned to, I’m actually getting ahead and writing this on Friday evening (oh get me scheduling a post ahead of time!).
I’m an Ambassador the show, which has been over two years coming thanks to the pandemic. As part of that I get to spend the full weekend mooching around, chatting to other outdoorsy people, and filling my inspiration bucket at talks and on the various trade stands. I’m rather hoping that I found the courage to introduce myself to a bunch of people!
I’ll write something about the Expo separately another time. But for now, this weekly blog is going to be a bit of a mail time special. I’ve enjoyed a fair few deliveries recently, and I want to share a few thoughts on them with you.
It’s been a good while since I featured a mail time (or I sometimes call it “in the post”, depends how I’m feeling) in my weekly blog, and as it’s been a rather fun few weeks for deliveries, I thought it was time I brought it back.
I’ve had a couple of big gifted packages from two of my favourite outdoorsy companies in the last month, and have also been buying a few bits for myself. I do love me a nice delivery!
A Pickled Thank You
First up I want to give a really special mention to something that was brought to my front door just a few minutes ago… these are Well and Truly Crunchies, and they are a thank you from the team that organised the International Women’s Day event I spoke at a couple of weekends ago (read episode 102 for more on that).
Well and Truly are a female-owned snack company with decent morals creating sweet and savoury treats with decent ingredients. I’d not heard of them until this evening, but here I am, singing their praises on my blog – I like what I see, and I very much like what I taste! Think gherkins and dill pickles (rather than picked onion), with a texture and crunch a bit like NikNaks.
I think crunchy pickle flavoured snacks as a thank you gift could definitely catch on. Thanks to Adventure Queens and Love Her Wild for my very appropriate gift.
Isobaa Slippers and Coat
These clearly didn’t arrive this week as I’ve already featured both of these items on my Instagram (the slippers nearly a month ago), but it would be remiss of me to include a mail time here in my weekly blog and not mention this particularly fabulous delivery.
I’ve been a fan of Isobaa for a good couple of years now, and have had the pleasure of working with them on a few reviews in that time. They are the lovely people who make my favourite basic tee (which you can read me gush over in this post), along with a few other bits I wear regularly.
This time around I’ve been testing out their merino blend slippers, and their merino wool insulated puffy coat.
Merino Blend Slippers
The slippers are so comfortable. I got them just a week after my similar-looking Baabuk Gus wool slippers fell off my feet… The sole got so thin from me stomping about in them over four years that eventually there was nothing left!
Made from merino wool and recycled polyester/foam, the Isobaa Merino Wool Blend Slippers are so very comfortable and warm. And if there is ever something that benefits from the anti-odour and moisture wicking properties of merino, a pair of slippers is definitely it!!
I also really like and appreciate the solid rubber sole on these; great for in the house but also good for popping out to the garage or even as a camp shoe (maybe I’ll need to update this post?).
This insulated jacket isn’t filled with down or synthetic fibres… it’s puffiness comes from merino wool. The Isobaa Women’s Merino Wool Insulated Jacket is made from material collected and saved during yarn production, it’s not only got all the warm and breathable features of merino, but is also using up waste.
It’s not as packable as a down equivalent might be (this isn’t a puffy that is designed to fit into its own pocket), but it’s very warm, highly breathable, and comfortable – even when it’s wet. I’ve been wearing it loads over the last two or three weeks and I really like the way it looks, fits and works.
You’ll get a proper review post for the slippers and jacket here in the coming weeks, but in the meantime I’m happy to recommend both these things (and everything else that Isobaa make) if you’re looking.
Travel Your Way by Nathan James Thomas
I’ve been sent a copy of Travel Your Way by Nathan James Thomas to review, and while I’m more of an audio book listener than physical book reader, I’ve been really enjoying this one over the last few days. It’s a bit of a combination story book and how-to guide, concentrating on how travel helps us understand the world deeply, for our and its benefit.
I was a bit worried from the cover description that the author would be dismissing some kinds of travel over others (I’ve spoken before how I was once told my kind of adventure wasn’t “real adventure”). Thankfully, this book clearly acknowledges that there are lots of different ways to travel, doesn’t get caught up in the narrative that tourists are bad people, and instead talks about travel being what you want and make it to be.
I’ve not finished the book yet (it won’t be long!), but I’ll be sure to share my usual mini book review when I have.
Robens Sleeping Bag and Mat
The people behind my amazing Green Cone tent (one of my most popular review posts to date) have kindly set me up with a new sleeping bag and sleeping mat to try out this Spring. Robens is doing some interesting things with their gear at the moment, and I’m very happy to have the chance to try their gear out for myself.
Hot off the press, this is the new Robens Icefall Pro 600, a synthetic -1C bag filled with MicroThermo Ball insulation. I haven’t had chance to sleep in it yet, but I can already say I love how puffy it seems compared to my current synthetic bag – it’s very cosy, with lots of loft (it feels like a down bag), and a well-shaped fit without it feeling like I can’t move around as I sleep.
The 600g of MicroThermo Ball is in a box wall layout to help keep the insulation where it’s supposed to be, and the brushed lining material is soft to the touch but still provides high moisture transfer to help prevent dampness and odours.
I’m also already sold on the centre-front zip – providing super easy access (apparently this is very handy when you’re in a small tent), and the ability to easily sit up.
To go with the new sleeping bag, I also got the new Robens Icesheild 55 sleeping mat, a foam core sleeping mat designed with a new offset construction technique. With an R value of 4.2 (good to -12C), this pad is made with horizontal channels cut across the top and bottom surfaces of the foam, to give an even thickness and eliminate cold spots you might get from traditional foam and air mats.
It’s 5.5cm thick (the same as my Alpkit Dirtbag, which is the mat I will no doubt be comparing this to), anatomically shaped, and super-fast to inflate and deflate (that valve is huge!).
There will be a review post for these camping bits here on Splodz Blogz later in the Spring, when I’ve had chance to actually get out and camp with them (I might yet resort to a garden campout… we’ll see). I always promise to only review when I’ve given things a fair try, which is why you get mail time as well as reviews for things that require a bit more planning to test fully.
New Electric Toothbrush
After over a year of getting not-quite two brushes out of a charge of my electric toothbrush, I finally gave in and got a new one this week. In fairness, I probably would have put up with the poor battery life for a little bit longer still, but the handle fell apart, which was my cue to replace it.
I used my Boots points (always handy) and bought pretty much the same thing again – the Oral-B Pro 3 3500. Or at least I thought it was the same again; it turns out electric toothbrushes have come on a little way since I got my old one. I chose the 3500 in black, which is the same as the 3000 but comes with a travel case – I may or may not use that but I’m not one to turn down a free gift when it might be handy. There is lots of choice, some cheaper, some very much more expensive. After some research, I went for the one that felt the best spec for my money (points), as well as specifically choosing one that doesn’t have the phone app stuff built in (no thanks!).
It turns out that this oscillates SO much faster than my old one – I’m definitely getting cleaner teeth as a result. It’s also quieter. And the battery life is wonderful; I no longer have to keep it on charge 24 hours a day in order to brush my teeth!
As mentioned back in weekly blog episode 61, I now buy LiveCoco toothbrush heads (also on Amazon) for my electric toothbrush as you can return them to the company to be recycled. They fit Oral-B toothbrushes just as the official heads and do a great cleaning job, with the added benefit of being just a little bit more eco-friendly. Worth looking at if you’re using an electric toothbrush.
Foundation for Travel
While I know lots of outdoorsy ladies who don’t wear makeup at all when they’re on adventures or travelling, I do like to have a small makeup bag with me when I’m away. This is all about giving myself a bit of a confidence boost by evening out my red complexion, and covering up the many spots and marks I have on my face. Never underestimate (or judge) the power of a less red and blotchy face.
I say makeup bag, but really, it’s just four items I include in my wash bag.
The first is my favourite green cream, the Cicapair Tiger Grass Colour Correcting Treatment, which is in itself the most amazing confidence boosting cream I’ve ever found. And the most expensive bit of skincare I’ve ever used. In the daytime I will often wear this on its own (especially for work), but it also works as a good base under my foundation when I want that extra coverage.
Body Shop Foundation
I repurchased my travel foundation of choice this week, hence it being included my weekly blog mail time. I use is The Body Shop Matte Clay Skin Clarifying Foundation, which is a full coverage but lightweight foundation that comes in a little plastic squeezy tube. It is very matt, goes on very easily, and stays in place all day – no need to reapply. I guess I really use it more like a concealer than a foundation, but I haven’t found a concealer that doesn’t make my breakouts worse yet – this The Body Shop foundation works well with my skin and is high coverage enough to cover my blemishes. And if I do want to dress up for any reason, I’ve got a decent foundation in my bag just in case.
And then I’ll also have my Benefit Eye Bright pencil (which I think has been discontinued as I couldn’t find it listed online, so I’ll be looking for a replacement soon), and a travel sized tube of mascara (any I find!), for when my eyes need to look a bit wider than they might naturally feel.
Do you wear makeup when you travel? When you hike? When you ride your motorbike?
Odlo Base Layers
As mentioned in episode 102 of my weekly blog, I was reminded last weekend that I got rid of my old thermal base layers at the end of my UK Coast to Coast hike because they were more hole than clothing, and were no longer doing their job, not even for sleeping in. Those Odlo base layers that I was originally gifted back in 2015 have certainly done their job, and I found a couple of options from the same brand at Go Outdoors.
Given that I shopped at Go Outdoors, I’ve no idea if they are current season or last season, which is no problem to me; I chose them based on the brand, description, materials, and the price. They were all on sale, so I paid around £80 for the two pairs of leggings and one long sleeved top. A big sum in one go, but good value if these base layers perform and last anything like my last set.
Waiting for Delivery
I’m hoping these layers will be perfect for under my motorcycle gear, good for sleeping in when camping, and even as hiking base layers when needed. I say hoping; as I write this, I’m yet to receive my new base layers… for some reason they’ve been sent in three separate packages, and each one is with my local Hermes courier (or whatever they have renamed themselves to).
Hopefully by the time I write my next weekly blog episode I can confirm the packages have arrived, the base layers fit, and get on with using them on my adventures. I’ll let you know!
Question of the Week
I guess considering this weekly blog has been a mail time special, there is only one question I can put to you:
Have you had any nice deliveries recently?
Have you treated yourself recently, had a nice gift from a friend, or maybe you’ve ordered something nice but it hasn’t arrived yet?! Let me know in the comments below.
I hope you have a really good week, whatever you have planned. I look forward to sharing something about the National Outdoor Expo, and any other everyday adventures I get up to over the next few days with you in my next weekly blog episode. Bye for now!
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