November has been a month of expansion and release, of turning inwards in order to see beyond what my senses tell me is reality, of gratitude and connection and growth.
I love to try new products that support my health as well as rediscover those I have previously enjoyed and forgotten about or was unsure of and now feel called to use again. Whether these are beauty items, food products, homewares, self realisation books or recordings, I think it is helpful to share what I have come across as it might speak to or inspire a need or want in your life. *Some products have affiliate links. °Some products in this post were gifted.
Here is what I have been loving in November:
Hambleden Herbs began in 1982 on an organic herb farm in the small village of Hambleden in the Oxfordshire countryside with values of purity, vitality and integrity. With a focus on environmental awareness, ingredients are sourced responsibly, shipped rather than flown, plastic free compostable bags are being rolled out for all teas and long term contracts offer farmers security in becoming certified organic.
Deliciously spiced and perfectly balanced, this sweet mix of allspice, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, hibiscus, juniper berries and nutmeg comes in beautiful sewn fabric pouches that are easy to use to make tea, spiced syrup or mull wine or apple juice and are quaint and very special feeling.
Good old fashioned organic beetroot is on my favourites list this month because it is bright and nourishing and cleansing and healing and delicious juiced, eaten raw grated into salads and blended into dips, dressings and smoothies, baked whole or steamed in chunks and the leaves are wonderful too.
A fantastic source of vitamins and minerals, beetroot can be bitter so I leave it to ripen like fruit and a few weeks after buying, it is sweet and softer and doesn’t have the tannin like taste that fresh beets do for me.
A finer version of ground almonds, almond flour is extremely versatile, brilliant for use in salads, baking, granolas and energy balls. Almonds are energy rich and a great source of nourishment that I feel especially drawn to in cooler months. Almonds are believed to symbolise life, rebirth and a connection with our inner truth.
I tend to buy all of my dried food items in bulk which saves on cost, shipping and packaging and do my best to find out about the ethics of the supplier I purchase from, however, I know I will never get it totally right and do make compromises.
Capers are the edible flower buds of the Flinders Rose, a perennial that produces beautiful white flowers. Eaten for health benefits throughout the Mediterranean, they are antioxidant rich, a source of minerals, vitamins and fibre and help balance blood sugar levels.
I am a huge fan of pickled capers and the fact that they are unbloomed flowers makes them a very special ingredient for me. I like their texture and flavour, eat them raw and cooked, in pasta, salads, on crackers and bread and whilst it is suggested that smaller berries have richer flavour, these giant capers are delicious and I prefer them to smaller ones.
I love maple syrup. I feel well eating it and believe it to be a health supporting ingredient in my own diet and as we approach the festive season use it often. Not all maple syrup is created equal. Made from the sap of maple trees that store starch in their trunks and roots before winter, they are tapped for sap that is heated to remove water and leave behind a sweet syrup.
Maple syrup is graded based on density and translucency and in Canada must be made exclusively from maple sap. Handcrafted from sap harvested from Quebec red maple tree forests early in the maple production season, this syrup is light and sweet and pure tasting and delicious on fruit and baked and raw desserts. I can’t find any information on the ethics or production processes of the company but hope as they are certified organic that they are respectful of planet and people.
I’ve been using this Waterpik model for six years now and this month felt especially grateful for it. Oral health is so important to our overall health and in a holistic approach to wellbeing it must be considered and supported. We all know that flossing is essential. Using water pressure to clean between teeth and below the gumline removes bacteria and debris that other methods don’t.
Built to last, this is a well made unit that is easy to keep clean and leave to dry – I leave the cord to dangle over night and shake it hard to remove water after use and before putting away every morning. I use with water, mouthwash or specific oral health products depending on what I feel is of best benefit in the moment. Quick to use, it cuts down on the waste and production of traditional dental floss.
A charmingly illustrated book that provides cultural references from around the world on what constitutes happiness, I really liked this sweet little book which I expect can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Sharing beliefs and wisdom from countries around the world as well as similar ideas from other places, each entry is not only interesting, uplifting or heartwarming but reminds us of our likeness and connection with one another.
I feel that so often now we reach for our devices in moments of rest or stillness and overlook books like these that years ago would have provided entertainment for us in our quieter moments. I have enjoyed picking up this book when I had the time to and learning a little more about what it is to be human.
I first read this book a few years ago and it has been on my mind again this month. For those of us who remember life without smartphones when standing in a queue meant allowing our minds to wander and riding public transport, getting lost in a physical book, we may also remember a time when we didn’t feel our attention being constantly hijacked, were able to concentrate and didn’t pick up a device every time boredom struck.
Making the case for letting ourselves get bored and balancing our use of technology, Zomorodi combines scientific data with real life stories, a humorous and entertaining glimpse into her own experience with boredom and technology addiction and experiments to encourage us to put down our devices and let our brains return to daydreaming, mind wandering and the default mode activated by boredom which can help us make sense of our lives, experience new ideas, think in new ways and nurture and cultivate our thoughts.