Food and Drink: Things I’m Loving*

Hello, you! Hope you’re doing well today. First, I have a little confession to make. You may have noticed that it’s been super quiet here, and I apologise. I think I might have to reduce the number of posts I’m uploading. Life is busy, and right now, my dissertation needs to come first. I hope you understand, and just know by September I’m hoping to have a lot more time to write up posts. I have a long list of things I’m wanting to share, so as always, thanks for being wonderful and patient. 

Anyway, here’s a post I hope you enjoy (warning…it might make you thirsty!)

If you know me, you’ll know that I  love food. I am that annoying person who’d like to think they’re a real ‘foodie’. I love cooking, I love experimenting, and most of all, I love eating. Food is such a wonderful thing to feel passionate about. I love nourishing my body and aim to eat as healthily as possible. I’m fortunate that my healthy eating habits were formed from a young age (thanks mum and dad!) and I try and eat a good balance of protein, fats, carbs and vegetables. I’m also a real fan of refreshing,  tasty drinks; I’m an avid tea lover, and my tea cupboard is stuffed with so many varieties and flavours. I love a refreshing cool fizzy drink every now and then, but what I do hate is that horrible sugary film left on your teeth or – where the diet versions are concerned – nasty artificial sweeteners to replicate that sugary taste we all love. So when Gaia recently got in touch and asked if I fancied trying out some new products – tea and  a healthy version of fizzy drinks – I jumped at the chance.

Meet my two new favourite drinks; ICHAI tea and Ugly Unsweet Water! 

ICHAI

I admit, I’m quite new to chai blends. I never really tried a chai tea that lived up to my expectations; they lacked the spicy warmth I was promised, or were oversweet, sometimes in powdered form with dried milk and were – oftentimes – a real disappointment. This is where ICHAI comes in and changed all my chai-related expectations. Meet ICHAI: a caddy of loose leaf tea blended with real spices and all-natural ingredients. Available in eight different flavours, these teas are of the finest quality with absolutely no artificial flavours, additives or preservatives, for the purest, most delicious chai pleasure. 

I was lucky enough to receive four of the blends to try starting with the Classic Chai #8 : blend of tea, ground cinnamon, green cardamom and a hint of ginger, clove and star anise for a deliciously balanced and calming blend. You can see the amazing, fragrant mix of spices, you can really appreciate the flavours in the final cup.

Next is Vanilla Chai #7; sweet, indulgent and comforting, this chai is a sumptuous blend of cinnamon, vanilla pods and a hint of cloves for a sweet and indulgent take on the classic chai tea.

Thirdly is Ginger Chai #3: dried ginger root added to the blend to provide a spicy, warming cup that settles, cleanses and invigorates. This blend won the Great Taste award in 2015, and you can see why! 

Finally we have a caddy of Spicy Chai #1: a deeply warming blend with cinnamon, green cardamom, black pepper, cloves and ginger, creating a warming blend perfect for even the chilliest of days.

I’ve been enjoying these blends with milk and a little honey, and I have to say the Spicy Chai and Vanilla Chai are proving to be my favourites, although I’m really enjoying all of them!

Helen, ICHAI’s creator, spent years working as a plant biologist working with Unilever, and her work to create the best tasting plants has continued with the creation of ICHAI. Helen wanted to create traditional chai with the finest ingredients to produce the best taste and aroma. The spices are grown to maintain their optimum flavour, ground to the optimum particle size, using the correct machinery to produce an exquisite-tasting chai and an intense drinking experience. I’m not claiming to be a plant biologist like Helen, but she’s doing something right as they taste absolutely fantastic! I can’t wait to get my hands on the other flavours.

Ugly Unsweet Water

Ugly are changing the way we think about fizzy drinks with their new range of unsweetened fizzy drinks, with natural flavours, no artificial colors or sweeteners. Ugly kindly tells us we’re sweet enough already (thanks, Ugly!) and maintains that their drinks are delicious without that  awful sugary film or horrible artificial sweetener aftertaste. These are best enjoyed chilled, and come in two flavours: lemon and lime, and pineapple and grapefruit. I absolutely loved both of these, but the pineapple and grapefruit has to be my favourite. I was pleasantly surprised by their cool, crisp taste, and would love to see these in vending machines on campus! They’re fab on a hot day, and if I could I’d be drinking one as I write this!

So there you have it; some truly delicious drinks to quench your thirst this Wednesday afternoon. What do you think of the ICHAI and Ugly drinks? Thanks so much to Gaia, Helen and the Ugly team for letting me try these delicious products; I’m a real fan!

Look after yourself today, 

Heather x

Things I’m Loving in October

Hello there, you. Thanks for bearing with me! Today I thought i’d do something a little bit different, and I thought i’d share some of my favourite things that I’ve been loving in October! Since this month has been pretty difficult pain/mental health wise¬†I thought i’d write something happy and positive, because that’s always nice and it’s a good way to remember the past month ūüôā

I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year. I love the golden leaves that rustle and tumble all around, I love the misty, sleepy mornings and wrapping up in snuggly clothes. One of the things I REALLY love most is getting to wear my fluff-filled Dr Martens; I am fortunate (or ridiculous…you decide!) to own seven (yes, that’s SEVEN) pairs of Dr Martens. Don’t fear though; I very rarely buy them full price and you can always search them up online and find reduced prices when things are slightly out of season. I own a pair of brown Serena boots, and they are lined with the fluffiest white faux-fur. They’re a great winter boot and admittedly I’ve had my pair for about 3 years now which is really good going. I got mine for the bargain price of ¬£35 (ish) at TK Maxx but you can find them on the DM website here.¬†They are pretty pricey, but they’re very lovely and will keep your toes all toasty and warm.

I also am enjoying wearing my Pascal cherry reds during the cooler months; another Dr Marten boot. Again, these were bought at a lower price (around ¬£65 I believe from Country Attire¬†, although I think the price does fluctuate so just keep an eye out). You can find them full price on the DM website here¬†. Just be aware; if you’re familiar with Dr Martens Cherry Red, the red of these is more like an Oxblood but it is still rather lovely. Plus the leather finish means they’re pretty much buttery-soft from the first wear, which is practically unheard of in Dr Martens! I’m always wanting to add another pair to my collection (they’re pretty much all I wear and I have loads of different styles/materials/colours) and though I know they’re pricey, they do last. I have a pair of Triumph 9-eyelet boots that tie up with ribbon laces, and they’re pretty much like new and I’ve had them for 5 years, so I suppose you could say they were worth the originally hefty price tag of ¬£130 (ish).

Because I live with chronic pain, it’s really important for me to keep warm as much as possible as the cold just makes things so difficult to deal with. I bought a couple of basic fleeces from M&S to slouch around in on ‘off’ days. I know they’re not the most ‘stylish’ thing, but they’re really comfortable and great for wrapping up warm in. You can find them here,¬†at a really reasonable price.

M&S do some wonderful lounge/sleepwear, and I recently bought a snuggly Me to You dressing gown to wrap up in on chilly evenings. It has a hood, and zips up, and best of all it transforms you into a giant Me to You bear…what’s not to love?! They have very similar styles right now, but I cant find the exact one I have…but you’ll get the picture with the¬†similar items here.

Again, a warmth related product. This one is a little bit gorgeous and wonderful, and i’m currently wrapped up in it now. It’s an electric-heated faux fur throw by Dreamland. Not only does this look lovely draped across a sofa, but it’s so toasty and warm when switched on (you plug it in and there’s 6 different temperature settings) and is really soothing when my back pain is getting really bad and my painkillers aren’t working. You can also machine wash it and tumble dry it which is hugely convenient. My dad bought this for me and I am so incredibly grateful. It’s definitely an amazing buy for anyone with pain issues. Find it here.

What are your favourite things this winter?

I hope you’re having a great Thursday whatever you’re doing!

Heather x