Monday, May 18, 2020

Socially Distant Chef: Episode 3

It feels apt to have collated this little snapshot of what I can only describe as comfort food after a week that was very much a struggle. But this ride we’re stuck on, the ‘coronacoaster’ I’ve seen it called, yeah, it keeps on rolling. So here’s a scant handful of things I’ve eaten lately.

Fake-Away Subway
This one was a birthday wishlist meal. Faceache decided he really fancied a subway style sandwich with salami, cheese and BBQ sauce amongst other things. Messy as hell, but he was a happy bunny. I went with a homemade burger sauce, vegetable meat balls, equally as messy and pretty damned good.

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THAT Pret a Manger Cookie…
This we need to talk about. This is the Almond Butter & Dark Chocolate cookie from Pret a Manger AKA The Vegan Cookie they brought back due to popular demand. Made by me. They came out SO well, I strongly recommend you hit up the Veggie Pret Instagram feed where they have posted the recipe, because it’s too good not to try- I made a handful, and froze the rest if the dough in individual portions, so I have a treat lurking for when I need one.

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Fishfinger Sandwich
Because sometimes you wake up on a Saturday morning, and you drink your coffee and you lever yourself out of bed, and only a fishfinger sandwich will do. And so it was, the morning after the night before, I was slicing leftover, slightly disappointingly textured but very tasy sourdough and slathering homemade tartare sauce on hot from the oven fishfingers. What more is there to say?

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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Keeping My Cool, Naturally: First Impressions of Natural Deodorant

I started writing this post last week and that version is 2 pages of a document long and it doesn’t even cover the product I want to chat about today. So I’m saving my mammoth post for another time as it covers a whole host of other things I (still) want to talk about later!

SO. Let’s talk about natural deodorant. There are lots on the market with new products popping up all the time. Some are creams, some come in tubes, and some look a bit like a familiar stick deodorant. They’re made with a variety of natural ingredients such as clays and essential oils and one of the biggest selling points is often that these deodorants are aluminium-free. Aluminium is the ingredient that blocks the pores in your underarm to prevent swearing in lots of the deodorants and antiperspirants we’re so used to. If the idea of purposefully blocking your pores leaves you a little surprised, then a more natural alternative might be for you too.

All of that said, my primary motivation was to reduce waste. Although it’s not true for all natural deodorant products, many of them have less packaging, and what packaging they do have might be compostable and/or single use plastic free.

With all of this in mind, I set about some research a couple of months ago, and last week I opened up this delivery from Wild. The format is based around a refillable unit (in a choice of colours, this is the closest I could get to green….) and compostable or recyclable cartridges of natural deodorant in a choice of different scents. There are options to make savings on the refills by opting for a flexible subscription of regular deliveries of the cartridge or you can purchase ad-hoc with a minimum purchase of 3 cartridges (to help reduce postage and packaging impact).

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This starter box set me back £25 and replacement cartridges come to around £6 each depending on how you buy them. I chose Bergamot, Orange Zest & Mint, some of the other options include Rose and Coconut.

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Aside from having used up the last of my previous deodorant, something I’ve been burning through for a couple of months, there’s another reason I chose to make this switch now as opposed to when I first started to investigate earlier in the year. And that’s lockdown. Stay with me for a sec…

One of the considerations with this switch if you’ve been using aluminium deodorant for a long time, which many of you will have been for lots of your adult life, is a transition period. Not entirely a surprise when you remember that the aluminium you’ve been using has been building up, blocking your pores over the years. Some people experience a period of sweating a bit more and you might notice you don’t smell quite as fresh as usual too. Popular consensus seems to be that the transition period lasts 2-3 weeks. There’s some people who swear by a clay-based mask to clear the pores both DIY and options available to buy. I have chosen to follow the Wild advice given it’s their product I’m betting on, which is simply to shower more often if needed, and use the deodorant to freshen up is needed. They have a super helpful guide on their website which outlines what you might expect if you’re a person who does go through a transition period.

And so that brings me to day 7 in the Wild... as it were…

I’ll be open and honest (because why else would I be chatting about my deodorant on the internet anyway… ), and say that I’ve been using a unisex antipersperant roll on for a long time. I’d say it’s largely considered to be quite a strong product and I’m a person who only has to think about being hot and I sweat. In other words, I’m fully expecting to experience a transition and the reason that, for me, there’s no better time than now to give it a try. To put no finer a point on it, there’s only one other person in my household to offend and although lots of you might be working from home, I’m currently unemployed and so I have quite literally no reason to leave the house or come into contact with anyone else.

In my professional life and work settings, the idea of taking on a possibility of excess sweating and body odour would have been horrifying, but whilst the effects of this pandemic are so awful in so many ways, it’s a perfect opportunity for me to set aside some of the anxieties and let’s be honest, excuses when it comes to making positive changes that might take a little adjusting to.
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So far, it’s been a warm 7 days here in London. It’s also been a week of workouts, so here’s what I’m noticing…

Day 1
Easy to assemble, easy to apply, looks pretty.
Top of product a bit crumbly.

Day 3
No noticeable difference, not sweating more than usual and haven’t noticed any body odour, which I feel I’m super conscious of knowing I’ve made a change. Product smells AMAZING.

Day 4
Double workout, sweating as expected, not smelling quite as fresh as I do usually, but nothing a standard post-workout shower won’t solve.

Day 6
Woke up with some body odour after a very warm night and a humid early morning, although it was more noticeable, it’s also not unusual for me in hotter months.

Day 7
My underarms feel a little raw, but also much softer to touch and none of the usual residue I’m used to.

I’m full planning to chat about this again, one week isn’t a huge amount of time in the grand scheme of things, but I also really wanted to get this out there in case anyone else is thinking about trying something new and experimenting during a period of time where we’re potentially afforded a little more privacy in which to play.

If you’re interested in this process, I’ve been documenting my experience via Instagram stories and if you have any questions, please feel free to ping me a message- this isn’t an ad, a sponsored post and neither am I here to tell you what is right for YOU, but I’m happy to share what I’m learning with anyone who might find it useful. And stand by for more chat about sustainable changes! If you do happen to purchase via the links in this post though, you'll get 20% off, which is a standard referral link, available to any new customer to pass on to friends.
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