Shippable Mother’s Day gift ideas


In Denmark, where my mum lives, we normally just give flowers on mothers day and no gifts. But since popping by with a bouquet of flowers isn’t that easy for me, with a ocean and a few countries between us, I normally send her a little something in the mail, just to let her know I am thinking of her.
But when it comes to sending a present, you need to consider shipping cost as well, when you are looking for something special to send. I have done the mistake a few times, once ended up paying twice as much in shipping, than I had payed for the nice tin of biscuits I was sending, which meant I could have bought her a silk scarf and it would have ended up being the same price all together.

So if you are having to ship your mothers day present like me this year, here is my list of thing I have sent in the past or are considering sending this year.


A Silk or light weight scarf is one of the best things to send, as they don’t weigh a lot and can often be folded very compactly, making it easy to send. They don’t have to cost a fortune if they are silk, I got a really beautiful one from Uniqlo last Christmas for only £9.95 and Accessorize has some really cute ones at the moment for only £12.00. 
But for this mothers day present as we are going into spring, this light weight one from M&S is super cute and very fitting as a mothers day gift with the mum and baby elephant print. 
Price £12.50. Click Here for more information.


Tea and chocolate, this was actually something I sent my mum last year, with a note saying “for you to sit back and relax for a few minutes”. Individual packed tea bags, like Fortnum and Mason or Pukka teas, are great for this, as you can take them out of the outer packaging and re pack them. Together with the BeyondDark chocolates buttons, that comes in small individual bags and are high in antioxidants, works really well together next to the tea bags and makes it easy to fit into any size box.
Click Here for more information on the BeyondDark chocolates.


A beautiful print is an easy thing to send in a hard back envelope, as long as you don’t exceed the A4 size. Small shops or museums shops like V&A often have some great ones, also Paperchase has some really nice ones currently. But for online finds, some good places are notonthehighstreet.com and Etsy.com. The one I am considering, I am even considering getting my self, as both me and my mum have a weakness for quirky cat art, is from Etsy.
£4.32 (plus exchange rate can change if you are buying from a seller outside the UK on Etsy). Click Here, for more information.


My mum has a small stamp size garden and love flowers, so think these flower seeds from The Kew Collection would be a great present to send. Not only is this a fun little present to send if you live in London, but she will get some flowers in her garden she might not have been able to get anywhere else and will think of you when they flower.
£2.29-2.99. Click Here for more information.


The last one is more of a thoughtful present and it would require using a bit of time on it. But if you are living in a different city or country than your mum, she would probably love a little insight into you daily life, so making a little Vlog of “a day in the life of you” would probably make her really happy.
I did a similar ting for my mum 12 years ago but with pictures, when I was studying in Nottingham, showing her where I lived, the collage where I was studying, city centre, etc. 
But now a days most people are able to record video on their phone and most computers have some sort of video editing program. Then just burn on a dvd or upload to youtube with a private setting and send her a link to it.

I do however have a little bit more time to get my mothers day parcel sorted, as in Denmark, it isn’t mothers day before 11th of May.


Mia

Zoya Nail Polishes, Big 5 Free Formula.


I was so excited to try this, probably the thing I was most excited to try in my eco friendly march trials, but I am not sure I am a convert just yet unfortunately.
I had heard about Zoya nail products before, but I didn’t actually realise it was one of the non toxic brands, so when seeing it in whole foods, I just had to try it out for this month. The whole foods I was in didn’t have a great colour selection, so I went home and found some more colours online. 
I had purchased the base coat, a half size nail polish in the colour Neely and the nail polish remover from the brand. I was going to buy the top coat as well, but I just felt like I would end up using to much money on a brand I didn’t know that well. 


I had to try this three times before it worked somewhat.
First time using it, I applied one coat of base coat and two layers of polish and found it quite difficult to apply. It was quite late in the evening when I applied it and had gone to bed a few hours later, just to wake up the next morning with marks in all my nails from the duvet cover and examining them closely there was a few tiny chips as well.
Next day I took it off in the morning and applied the base coat and polish like the day before, but on one hand I applied a layer of my normal top coat. I was working on the computer all morning, so this time it got 4 hours of drying time, but I still felt it was a bit tacky and ended up working like a princess to not ruin my nails (but who has time for that right?!). Next morning it was the same, my nails was filled with marks on both hands and again some tiny chips.
So I tried again, this time with no base coat and no top coat, just two thin layers of the polish and it worked a lot better and was a lot easier to apply. It was dry about 30 minutes after applying, though still a tiny bit tacky for about an hour.
I have had it on now for 5 days and no chipping, but I has gotten quite a few marks in the nails (as you can see in top picture) and on two fingers some of the polish has melted a bit when the touching the side of a hot kettle.
Plus because my nails are quite ridged I found that when just using the polish on its own, the ridges stood out more.
Now I don’t know if it had been better if I had gotten the top coat, if maybe you need to use the series together?
I love the colour though, like a dusty mint colour and the fact that it doesn’t have a horrible smell, not even the nail polish remover.
Now the nail polish remover is just amazing, I don’t think I have ever used a more efficient nail polish remover, removing polish in one swipe and the packaging is just genius. Did find it a little bit drying on the nails though, but nothing major.


After trying it out and not being super happy with the result, I went online and read a few reviews and it seems like most people love it, so I don’t know if it is just my polish there is something wrong with or the formula just doesn’t work for me. Have you ever tried Zoya polishes?


Mia
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Eco Friendly March, week three


Week 2 was all about trying to get better indoor climate, click Here to read why and how week one went. But since you can’t really tell that much of a difference after just one week, I will just explain what changes I have made.
First thing I wanted to figure out was the candles, the reason why I wanted to look into getting a better indoor climate in the first place, as I had bought a bag of tea lights that made my house smell like gasoline.
From what I have gathered after reading up on the subject, it is mainly paraffin based candles and lead core wicks, that are not that good for you. So I found some Organic plant oil based tealights online to try out, though I am not sure I will buy these again, as I didn’t realise they were made from palm oil when buying them. The only difference with these from the normal tea lights I buy, is that they don’t have as big a flame, but I think that is down to wick being a pure fiber wick. They do however last a lot longer than my regular tea lights, about 2 hours longer, so I suppose what they lack in brightness they make up for in burning time. I have noticed a small difference in that I am not as tired late in the evening, but since the weather has been so much nicer this week, it can also be down to the house being more aired out from the open windows on sunny days.


Another way I found while searching for ways to improve our indoor air, is house plants. NASA actually did studies on house plans improving air quality, to use on space stations, and are shown to remove toxins in the air from chemical cleaners, paint and more. Now reading this, as I am literally living in a house we are currently renovating, definitely made me think about our current indoor air. I then contacted a friend who owns a decorating company, as I know they often work with a lot of healthier paints, and she told me that normal paint will give out fumes for up to two years of painting the walls and 5-10 years if you are using stronger paints, like oil based. 
Now how many plants you should have per square foot seems to varies from article to article, but most are saying a 6-inch size plant pot per 100 square foot living area. Plus they should be placed in areas where you spend the most time in the house, in my case around the bed, desk and sofa.
I did however find it quite funny that looking at pictures of the best plants to improve indoor air, they where all plant that I associate with elderly people, as I remember all of my grandparents having these plant all over their house….just makes you think that they might have known a bit more than we do. I am not super keen on all of the plants for my personal style, but I did find a few that seems to work in our house and I will slowly be acquiring more and more, as I find the place for them around the house. Now lets just hope I can keep them alive!
Click Here to see a list of the 15 plants that improves indoor air.


The third thing I found I could change is cleaning products, as some cleaning products will give off fumes from ingredients that aren’t that good for you to breath in. 
Now we were already using some of these products, but have now changed out all of them with non toxic ones. I don’t really feel that there is a difference in efficiency, except for maybe the toilet cleaner, but I think it is just a case of using it more often than I am used to. My favourite is definitely the Method surface cleaner, that literally dissolves any mess in 30 seconds, but without any strong smell that can make you cough or be uncomfortable to breath in when using it. 



Week three:
This is going to be a difficult one I think, but for this week I am going to challenge my self to not use the car and use my bike for errand instead. My husband has just done a spring check on my bike, making sure the wheels are keeping air and that everything is oiled up, so no excuse not to use it now. 

Second thing is not to get plastic bags when doing my grocery shopping. Now I already do that when I remember, but I do forget to bring my reusable bags quite often, or I will just get a few things on my way back from a long walk, where I didn’t bring a bag. So to set myself the challenge to not use any plastic bags for a week, will hopefully get me into a habit of not forgetting to bring my own bags when doing the grocery shopping.

Mia
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Small Lemon Drizzle Cakes


Last week when I was trying to become better at not waisting food, I made a big batch of apple sauce from some apples that wasn’t as crisp as I had expected when buying them. So instead of letting them go to waist, I just peeled, cored and cut up into smaller pieces. Put in a pot with a bit of apple juice, just so they don’t stick and burn at the bottom of the pan, covered with a lit and cook for 20-30 minutes or until they go mushy. Cool and then just blend until smooth. Store in the fridge for a couple of days or portion it up and freeze, then just take out a couple of hours before use.

So because I had this apple sauce in my freezer, I decided to make some small lemon drizzle cakes, to bring to a friends house.
Besides being a good way to use up apples, they are also processed sugar and dairy free, and super easy to make.


Makes 12


Ingredients:
250g plain flour (I used fine spelt flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
200ml apple sauce
150ml flavourless oil, like light olive oil, groundnut oil or vegetable oil
100ml agave or sweet freedom
2 eggs
zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla past
50ml of lemon juice


For lemon syrup:
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
5 tablespoons of agave or sweet freedom


Preheat oven to 175C
Line a cupcake tray with cupcake papers.


Mix flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a big bowl. Then whisk applesauce, oil, agave, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla past, until it is mixed well.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry slowly, while stirring it together, until it is all incorporated into a smooth batter. As a last step, when everything is ready and the oven it hot, is to stir in the lemon juice. This will activate the bicarbonate of soda in the batter and make it start to bubble, so immediately after, divide the batter in the cupcake cases and bake.
Bake for about 15-17 minutes or when turning golden on top.


While the cakes are baking, make the lemon syrup, by stirring together the lemon juice and agave in a small pan, then bring it to a boil over medium heat, letting it boil for about 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool a bit.


When the cakes have been taken out of the oven and cooled for about 5 minutes, spoon on the syrup on top of the cake a little at a time, spreading it with the back of the spoon to cover the whole surface.
Then leave them to absorb the syrup and cool a bit more before eating.


Enjoy


Mia
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Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil


I bought this little bottle of Josie Maran 100% pure argan oil, when we were in the States at the end of last year, but since I still had some of my other facial oil left, I didn’t start using it until the beginning of this year. 
I only bought the small travel size as I had heard a few people saying that it was to rich for their skin and made them break out. I do find that some facial oils clock up my pores, but I also find that that dry oils makes me get dry patches, so I decided to just try the small size of the original version.

Firstly, which is a big plus for me, is that the oil has no scent what so ever, it even has less scent than water does, crazy! I don’t think I have ever come across an oil that didn’t have a scent, but this is so welcoming to me as I normally can’t stand a lot of scents natural oils have on my skin.
Second is that it is quite rich, yes, but my skin was fine with it if I only use very little during the day and it absorbs quite quickly, without clocking up any pores. 
I have mainly been using it in the evening instead of a night cream and after 6 weeks my skin definitely looks more hydrated and firm, even my pores look diminished.
I now regret not buying the big bottle, but isn’t that often the way it goes! 
I can only cross my fingers that Josie Maran will come to the UK at one point, as after trying this amazing oil, I now want to try the whole line out. Especially the new Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment, that just sounds like skin heaven in a bottle and the Argan Daily Moisturiser with SPF 47, that seems to have just launched.
But for now, if you are living in the UK like me, you can currently get a hold of some of the products on QVC UK. Click Here to find out more.


I think this brand in general fits so well with my eco friendly March theme, as companies goes, they just tick all the boxes in regards to ingredients, ethically and humanitarienly. Click Here to read more about Josie Maran.


Mia
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Eco Friendly March, week two


The first week of Eco Friendly march has gone surprisingly well and buying organic and fair-trade has been easier than I thought. Read first eco friendly march post by clicking Here.
My first concerns with this was how much more I would use buying only organic and fair-trade when possible, but since we sort of have a weekly food budget, I found it quite easy to just cut back on a few other things making me not go over our budget.

The thing I found had the biggest price difference is Chicken, we actually used 7 pounds more on chicken this week. Where as with beef there wasn’t that big of a difference in price than what we normally buy and there was a deal on diced beef this week, so we actually ended up saving money on that one.
The area I was really surprised by after gathering up the difference, was vegetables, where we actually only ended up using around 5 more than buying non organic vegetables and that is including all the vegetables we use for making juice and smoothies. Some things, like bottled tomatoes actually ended up being cheaper if you got the organic brand and some things didn’t even have that big of a price difference, like spinach that was only £0.10 more and is on the list of the fruit and veg you should eat organic, click Here to read more about about that.
Things I had a hard time finding was organic frozen berries, only place I found them was Whole Foods, but it doesn’t actually say organic on the packaging, but googling organic frozen berries the same brand comes up, so still a bit confused about that one.
The way we make our food budget work, was to buy less expensive meat and some days have a vegetarian dinner or have things like eggs that are a cheaper than meat as our protein at meals. Plus using up all your groceries and not waisting has also helped with the budget.


For the not waisting part I also think it went really well and only thing that got waisted was a tiny bit of spinach and kale that had gone bad over night.
Some food preparation that I was already doing, just meant a bit of re-thinking, because normally I was buying things to make them specifically instead of waiting until I had over ripe bananas or apples, for frozen bananas and apple sauce. We eat a lot of bananas at our house but they do have a tendency to become overly ripe over night, so when ever they do, I peel, cut into pieces and freeze. Great for healthy banana milk shake or in smoothies.
With apples that are past the eating stage, I just peel, cut into smaller pieces and cook with a bit of apple juice. When cooked and starting go mushy, then just blend, pour into small containers and freeze. Great for baking, in deserts or in yoghurt for breakfast, just take out of freezer a few hours before use to thaw.
But the best way of using up vegetables, I actually came up with one evening, while only having a few things in the fridge and didn’t want to go to the shops, was pasta sauce with vegetables. I only had a few mushrooms that was starting to go soft and a courgette that was a bit bruised, but together with some tomato passata in a jar, a bit of garlic and chilli, this made a really yummy tomato sauce. I think pretty much any vegetable will do, so a great way to use up vegetables. You can also blend it if you are not a big chunky vegetable fan, have kids who are just not vegetable fans in general or just make and freeze for a lazy day when you don’t feel like cooking. 


All in all I think this week was a success and I found it very enlightening, especially with which supermarkets that are best when buying organic, which in my case was Tesco Ekstra and the worst actually being my local Waitrose, that doesn’t have that many organic vegetables as I would have thought they would.
But it has definitely made me want to continue buying as much organic (preferably UK grown) as I can and I am even currently looking into getting an organic vegetable box subscription. Not only because buying organic doesn’t cost as much as I thought, but I have also found that the products have a lot more flavours and smell, than regular fruit and vegetables, so all around a convert.


Week two:
So for the next challenge I am going to set myself, is going to be to get a better indoor climate. Recently I kept being able to smell a gass/petroleum smell in the evening and after three days, I figured out that it was coming from our tea lights. When googling it, it turns out regular candles aren’t that good for your indoor climate. But this google search also led me to a some other articles on indoor climate, so for this week, I will reed up on what I can do to improve my indoor climate and try some of them out.


So stay tuned for next week if you want to know how I got on.
Mia
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Whole Foods Market Haul


A Whole Foods Market have recently opened a shop a bit closer to where I live, so I no longer have to go all they way into centre of London to get my Whole Foods shopping fix, which is great for me, but maybe not so great for my wallet to have one closer!
Now I will say that I wish that they would have more of the amazing products that they have in the american stores, I am still dreaming of Justin’s nut butters, but I suppose there goes a lot of work into bringing a product over to the UK.
But here are some of the things I go to Whole Foods for. I did also pick up a few other things on this trip, like oranges and coconut water, but those you can get from any supermarket now a days, so didn’t include them. 

  • Teapigs popcorn tea – Now I know you can get Teapigs in a lot of shops now, I just hadn’t seen this flavour before. After tasting though, I am not sure I would buy again, taste like roasted green tea.
  • Amisa organic spelt, onion and linseed crispbread – These are soooo yummy, the perfect snack for when you are feeling a bit peckish. Great with or without topping.
  • Tropical Whole Foods fair-trade organic dried Mango and Banana – These for me are a life saver when I crave sweets, as they are a great substitute. They do have just as much sugar in them as normal sweets, these just containing fruit sugar, so I literally see them as I would sweets and try and control myself with them.
  • Chia Seeds – I use about a tablespoon of these in my green smoothies as a great way to get more fibre and omega 3.
  • The Food Doctor Cacao and Tangerine granola – Eating this stuff makes me feel like being a child again, but it is sweetened with agave instead of refined sugar. Great in yoghurt or the Vanilla CoYo I also got.
  • Organic Spelt Penne – For some reason wheat pasta seem to be quite heavy in my stomach, but after finding spelt pasta, I no longer get that overly full feeling when eating pasta. Only note with these is that you have to be careful not to overcook them, as that seem to happen quite quickly.
  • CoYo coconut milk yoghurt with vanilla – I am normally not into flavoured yoghurts and since I am lactose intolerant, I haven’t had natural yoghurt since Lactofree stopped making their natural yoghurt. But this little, quite expensive though, pot of coconut yoghurt is what food heaving must be like, because it literally taste heavenly, especially with The Food Doctor granola.
  • Organic Kale – this is actually the main reason why I go to Whole Foods, as this seems to be the only place I can get whole organic kale for my green juices and smoothies.

I do know that it can get quite expensive shopping in Whole Foods, but I normally only buy what I can’t get in other supermarkets and try and be sensible with my choices, as I could easily go on a shopping spree in there every time. But I do think a few good food items can make a huge difference in your daily diet, so this is more than enough to tie me over for a weeks time, together with my normal supermarket shopping.

Mia
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