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CURRENTLY LOVING | APRIL 2022

It’s time for another one of my currently loving feature posts. In these semi-regular blogs, I put together a list of ten things that I’m currently loving. These are my favourite things, things that are bringing me joy, my top ten things of the moment.

“Things” is something of a loose term. You know how these lists are – clothing, shoes, books, music, food, experiences, places, and other random things. While some things on my list will be new to me, a lot of the time I also include long standing favourites, tried and tested for months or years.

One thing that is always true: my currently loving posts include things that make me smile. In this particular episode, I have included things that keep me warm, my new toothbrush, my lovely new multitool, some food and drink, and more. I’ve definitely taken better currently loving flat lay photos, but hopefully it illustrates the items I’ve included well enough!

As always, once you’ve read my list here, 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.

Currently Loving | April 2022 

01 Isobaa Merino Insulated Jacket

Originally a PR gift

Received a couple of months ago, and reviewed in this recent blog post, the insulated jacket by Isobaa Merino isn’t filled with down or synthetic fibres… its puffiness comes from merino wool. I have worn this jacket pretty much every day since I got it, and for that reason alone it simply has to make an appearance in my currently loving post.

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 packable puffy for that fits into its own pocket), but it’s very warm, highly breathable, and comfortable – even when it’s wet. I love the way it looks, fits and works; it has a shape and long line to it, and has been great for keeping me getting outside both hiking and mooching in the cold weather.

If you’re looking for an insulated jacket for winter or cold spring days, this is definitely worth a look. Read my full review for more on this one.

Wearing my Isobaa Merino Insulated Jacket up on Cleeve Hill.

02 Hot Water Bottle

My friend Jenni swears by her hot water bottle(s) when she goes camping. But I’ve never had one, so she kindly bought me this cute little one for my birthday. And it has to be said, she was right – I am sold.

I used it for the first time when I camped at The Wave, and it made ALL the difference to me getting warm and comfortable in bed. I’ve not resorted to using it at home yet, but know that it will now be essential packing for all future camping adventures. Thanks Jenni, I totally get it now!

It’s a little traditional shaped one with a soft and fuzzy cover – perfect for making a habit of packing whenever I grab my sleeping bag, or head off on a glamping trip.

03 New Electric Toothbrush

I mentioned that I bought a new electric toothbrush in my weekly blog mail time special – and I’m very pleased to report that I’m very happy with it, it’s working an absolute treat.

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. 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 to buy 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 basically went for the one that seemed the best spec for my money (points).

It oscillates SO much faster than my old one – and there is no doubt that my teeth are cleaner as a result. Who knew all I needed was a better toothbrush?! It’s also much quieter. And the battery life is wonderful; I’m getting 12 days between charges, meaning it’s now possible to take with me on short trips away.

As mentioned way 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.

04 Zippo Rechargeable Hand Warmer

Originally a PR gift

Things that keep me warm are a bit of a theme in this currently loving post. Next up I have this little silver chunk of metal with a dual purpose: it’s a battery pack for my phone and an electric hand warmer in one. I mean, you’d have guessed battery pack, right? But would you have guessed hand warmer, too? Maybe being made by Zippo is a bit of a giveaway.

To be honest, I shouldn’t need a hand warmer in mid to late April, but here we are. Less complaining, more finding ways to live with the ridiculously changeable weather we’re having at the moment.

The Zippo Heatbank 3-Hour Rechargeable Hand Warmer and Power Bank (also on Amazon) has 2,600MaH power, which means this little battery will provide my iPhone (8) with one full charge. Or… it will give me up to three hours of continuous heat to keep my hands warm in my pockets – or my body warm when I’m riding my motorbike, or (if I don’t have my hot water bottle), my sleeping bag warm when I’m camping. It heats up to 45 degrees Celsius but with has two heat settings (low and high) so you have some control over the output.

It’s small, light, and very handy – and the heating element works very well. I should say you can’t charge your phone and warm your hands at the same time (safety first!), but as long as you can choose between the two, it’s a great little product. This has gone into my camping bits and bobs box ready for my next trip.

05 Leatherman Multitool

Originally a PR gift

My new Leatherman Wave+ multitool (also at Blacks, also at Go Outdoors) has made my currently loving post because, quite frankly, I have ALWAYS wanted one of these. I actually bought one for my husband for Christmas, complete with engraved initials (to prove to him I wasn’t going to steal it!). But a couple of weeks ago I was very excited indeed to receive one of these shiny yet useful gadgets to add to my motorcycle and camping toolkit. And I’ve already used it.

This particular model is one of Leatherman’s best sellers. It has a stainless-steel body, 18 locking tools including quick one-hand opening blades. Handy for vehicle maintenance, camping, and even DIY (although for the latter, probably not by me…), the Wave+ also has a saw, screwdrivers (including a mini one for glasses), wire cutters, and two types of pliers.

Some multitools can be massive, and heavy, but this feels good in my hand, is easy to open and close, and doesn’t add a great deal of weight to my pack. I’ve always carried a multitool when camping and road tripping; as a super handy catch all tool, it’s surprising how useful pliers and serrated blades can be. Until now that has been a cheap knock-off rather than the real deal – I’m feeling very fortunate to have a proper Leatherman to take with me on this year’s adventures.

Everything I read about Leatherman suggest that these tools last for years and years, and I very much hope to report in ten years that mine is still going strong.

06 Basic Sunglasses

The sunglasses I wear when motorcycling never made it home from Iceland. Not really sure how that happened; I had them there, and I didn’t have them when I got home. I was hoping there would be sunglasses to buy at the National Outdoor Expo (read weekly blog episode 104), but there weren’t any that I could see. Which is a shame because I was ready to part with some cash!

I ended up in the new(ish) Decathlon store to get a pair of their basic Hiking Sunglasses. They have a simple and plain design, are lightweight (26g), have category three lenses with a 100% UV filter, fit my face well, and came in at just £14.99. And they’re surprisingly good – they don’t feel cheap, the lenses are plenty dark enough for all day wear, and they have a two-year guarantee.

The reason I have a specific pair of sunglasses for motorcycling is because 1 – I care too much about my Ray Bans (I don’t want to break them!), and 2 – my lovely wooden hiking sunglasses (which I won in a competition years ago) are polarised and so make it hard to see the display on my bike and my phone (for satnav). These Decathlon ones are ideal.  

Also, have you used the self-checkout machines at Decathlon? There’s no scanner… You put the item in the tray and it just knows what you have placed there. It must be scanning the item, somehow, but it fees like you just chuck the thing on the side and it’s done. Kind of weird. But really interesting for my geeky side.

07 Oldo Warm Merino Leggings

I bought these Odlo Merino Warm Pants in the sale at Go Outdoors a few weeks ago to replace my old thermal base layer leggings. I slept in them for the first time last weekend, when I stayed in one of The Camp safari tents at The Wave (read about my surf and stay), and they went straight on my currently loving list.

These are a 17.5-micron merino loose fitting wool pant that is soft, with a wide elasticated waist band, designed for running, hiking and climbing. Being merino, they are naturally moisture-wicking, quick-drying, warm, stretchy, and have that all important odour control – all of which means they are ideal for travel.

I think the loose fitting design is what has made me like them so much. They’re still leggings, but they don’t suck me in around the middle, don’t bunch up (or dig in) around my knee, and they’re not too tight around the ankle. It makes them super comfortable for sleeping in, they’ve instantly become my camping sleepwear of choice. They are also going to be perfect to wear underneath my motorcycle trousers or waterproof hiking trousers when it’s cold.

At less than £30 (in the sale, no idea how long they’ll be available for) they were a bargain, too. Very happy with these. I should maybe get a second pair – shame they only come in black.

08 Crisps

Crisps are my favourite. I very much have a sweet tooth, I love me some chewy sweets, iced doughnuts and fruity dark chocolate. But given the choice of all the snacks, I will choose crisps. And at the moment, it’s specifically these Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar of Moderna by Kettle I am currently loving. Oh my.

You have no idea how much self-control I have had to muster to not eat this bag of wonderfully crunchy and savoury hand cooked potato chips while I was waiting for the right time to take my currently loving photo this week. I shouldn’t be proud of myself for leaving a bag of crisps unopened, but here I am.

I love how Kettle make crisps that are super crunchy, not too greasy, and full of flavour. These salt and vinegar ones are lovely and tangy on the tongue, the perfect accompaniment to a sandwich (especially of the cheese or tuna variety), a bowl of soup, or any rice or pasta dish.

I know that crisps are a processed food, high in calories, and in fat and sugars, but everything is okay in moderation.

What are your favourite crisps?

09 Strawberry Squash

While we’re on the topic of things I consume that are probably not very good for me, here’s my new favourite basic squash – Tesco’s Apple and Strawberry Squash. It’s just so sweet and tangy and refreshing, especially when made with fridge-cold water. Perfect for a sunny afternoon.

If you’ve not tried the new quadruple strength squash from Tesco I should say you really do only need a tiny bit of this – it’s super strong. They recommend a tablespoon (15ml) in 300ml of water, which is not very easy to pour from this shape of bottle, which means I almost certainly have it too strong most of the time, but I’m okay with that!

10 Having Plans Again

I’ve mentioned before on Splodz Blogz how one of the things I struggled with most during the pandemic was having an empty diary. I thrive on planning ahead, getting excited for trips and adventures; having things to look forward to makes me happy. And it finally feels like I have plans, and that there are more plans to come. I know this thing isn’t over, I’m not naïve. But I am very happy that it feels like there is the freedom to get excited about doing stuff now.

Represented by my hand thrown pot I created at Eastnor Pottery in February, and the bag I got from The Wave when I visited earlier this month, either of which could have made my currently loving list in their own right. There is just something so wonderful about having little adventures planned out.

Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon fun times really are the best, they really do keep me going, and I am looking forward to many more fun days out like these during the rest of 2022. What one day adventures have you got planned over the next few weeks?

And there are the big plans, too. I’m off to Portugal very soon indeed, for three weeks mooching around on my motorbike looking for great views and eating lots of food. If you’ve got any Portugal must-sees, then make sure you come over to twitter to let me know so I can add them to our map so I don’t miss the best bits when we’re working out our route.

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 jacket, Leatherman Wave+ and Zippo hand warmer, 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 also affiliate links on this page, the funds from which help me go on the mini adventures that make life interesting.

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