Food to Help you Love Yourself!

Working during a pandemic has been an interesting experience, bringing a whole new set of challenges.  Linving with lockdown has kept us confined indoors, zooming, designing, looking at screens far longer than we should. Along came a chance to try out some healthy, lovingly-prepared top chef food made using the freshest seasonal ingredients and have it delivered to our door, so we jumped at the chance to review.  

Love Yourself deliver a variety of calorie-controlled weekly diet packages which include five meals per day, for five days a week. You can even track your diet with each meal by syncing into the MyFitnessPal app to keep in track of nutritional goals and progress.  

Menus are changed on a weekly basis and there are numerous choices including gluten-free, vegetarian, ketogenic or muscle gain, with daily calorie intake options ranging from 1200-2500.  The freshly cooked meal sets are scientifically balanced throughout, guaranteeing your dietary requirements are met so you can achieve your goals.

The idea behind Love Yourself began after Head Chef Michal finished cookery school and started working with some of the most dedicated and passionate chefs. Michal began to experiment with new flavours and recipes and used his years of experience in the restaurant industry to reach out to those with busy personal and work lives, who don’t always have the time to spend in the kitchen, but want to eat healthy, quality food.

You can heat up your meals in the microwave (instructions are on the packaging) or simply enjoy cold.  

This Quinoa Baharat (below) with flavoursome broad beans had nice textures with a crunch of sunflower seeds, with original flavours, a delicious dressing and a spice mix.  It was refreshingly good as a summer's day meal. We added a squeeze of lemon to elevate the taste a bit more.

We heated up the Italian-style soup in the microwave for two minutes.  It was a warming and delicious blend of chunky vegetables with beans. 

Ingredients are locally sourced and seasonal.  To use with the My Fitness Pal app you simply scan the barcode on each meal label to add the nutritional value to your account. 

Love Yourself help you to maintain a balanced diet with the perfect amount of fresh meat, fish and vegetables, or without meat of course, if you select the veggie option. Meat substitutes such as tofu, seitan and Quorn ensure full flavour and nourishment and eliminate all animal produce from your diet, if that is what you wish for. 

Colourful food, packed with all the nutrients you require.



Simple Summer Pleasures

The best summer days are those where you can enjoy simple pleasures, be mindful and breathe in life. Eating outdoors has an earthy, uplifting feel which rejuvenates us. I would love to eat a Greek salad from this gorgeous Ariel bowl from the Swedish brand By On.  It bears a beautiful form with the shape of a seashell and its wavy surface exudes elegance to create a sea-inspired table setting.  

A curved end to the scallop shape makes it easy to hold.

The Ariel bowl is sculpturally beautiful too and can stand alone in a display.

Available from Nordic Nest. 

A Piece of Cake - with AnySharp Pro World's Best Knife Sharpener

If you are looking for a nifty little inexpensive gadget, look no further than the AnySharp Pro World’s Best Knife Sharpener, patented and designed with tungsten carbide technology for expertly sharpening almost any type of knife, even serrated blades.  

We tried the AnySharp Pro before slicing up our office baguettes and found its PowerGrip suction base gave it instant good stability on any smooth surface and with light pressure and a few deft strokes, our knives were as sharp as new.  At a celebration, serving up perfectly proportioned birthday treats proved to be a piece of cake.

We loved the AnySharp's ease of use and compact size (6 x 6 x 7 cm) which is so easy to store tidily in a kitchen drawer or tool box, ready to pop back out easily whenever needed.

Available from Lakeland, Wayfair and other retailers.

The box is a perfect size for easy gift wrapping.

The AnySharp is available in various colours.

Water, water everywhere, but is it safe to drink?

Drinking from beautiful glasses always makes the drink feel more special, even if it's purely water. Designer Tapio Wirkkala took inspiration from the melting ice in Lapland to create this beautiful Ultima Thule carafe for Iittala with coordinating drinking glasses.

The Ultima Thule's gorgeous bubble design base...

The trio is a perfect gift or a welcome addition to the home collection, available from Nordic Nest.

Following a more contemporary vibe the Acqua glass and matte stainless steel water carafe from Blomus is a classic glass decanter that holds a generous 1.5 litres. A smart, self-closing lid ensures that ice cubes stay in the carafe while pouring to keep its contents perfectly chilled. Using lemon or strawberries in the carafe is a brilliant way to add flavour to your beverage while also creating a colourful centrepiece on the dining table. The cleverly designed lid also makes the carafe highly versatile — if you're serving sweeter drinks, such as juice at a festive children's birthday party, the lid makes sure the drink is protected from wasps and other pests.

The Essence decanter (below) is part of Iittala's series designed by Alfredo Häberli.  With an elongated, tall design, the white and red wine series with accompanying champagne and drinking glasses gives an elegant touch to any occasion.

The tall and graceful Essence decanter

We've sneaked in this pretty Alveskog drinking glass from the Norwegian design studio Wik & Walsøe which will look gorgeous on seasonal, Christmas tables.

It's all very well having beautiful glassware, but what about the water we are drinking?  At the Bright Space Design studio, we had the pleasure to test the ZeroWater - from the only water filter brand that delivers the equivalent to purified bottled water into your home, and removes 99.6% of total dissolved solids (TDS). No other water filter producer comes close to the ZeroWater's five-stage ion exchange technology with its gravity-fed filtration system that matches the TDS levels found in purified bottle water. 

The Good Housekeeping Research Institute confirm that ZeroWater removes more total contaminants such as chromium, lead, hydrogen sulphide, aluminium, mercury and 99% of fluoride from water than conventional two-stage filters, such as Brita, which remove less than 50%.

We loved the laboratory-grade digital TDS meter which is included with the spacious 2.8 litre jug and can be used to test any water you want to drink.  The aim is to produce a “000” reading of your water quality and to change your filter when the reading displays 006.  Once the filter gets ‘old’, its performance drop off rapidly and the taste of the water changes back noticeably.

The 12-cup pitcher does need a large fridge, or you can leave it out on the counter and pour your  softened water from the tap dispenser direct, rather than lifting and pouring from the jug - very handy!

What about taste?  The ZeroWater removes virtually all chlorine, and you will notice the taste of the water transform to what is arguably the purest tasting drinking water. 

Watch Phillip Schofield on ITV's 'How To Spend it Well at Christmas' review the ZeroWater. 

The ZeroWater 12-cup pitcher costs £39.99.

How Your House Plants Can Survive Under Floor Heating

Under floor heating emits constant heat which then transfers directly into plant pots which are placed on them, drying out the soil far too quickly. Here are some fabulous raised indoor planters which look amazing and that your plants will love you for.

This Bloomingville Black Standing Metal Deer Storage Basket (below) has a stylish cage design and is made from iron in a black finish. Perfect for raising things off the ground, creating extra storage space and displaying plants or home accessories.

Make your standing metal planters even more versatile by adding this Brass Shelf for Standing Metal Planters by Hurn & Hurn to create a multi-levelled display. Use the solid brass shelf to create a side table element to the planter or as a platform for a plant pot to sit on. This accessory covers a third of the overall length of the planter, so it can be placed anywhere along the top of a compatible standing planter, available from Ferm Living.

These are the top 10 house plants that clean the air, according to NASA Studies:

1. "Bamboo Palm" – Chamaedorea Seifritzii
2. "Chinese Evergreen" - Aglaonema Modestum
3. "English Ivy" - Hedera Helix
4. Gerbera Jamesonii
5. Dracaena “Janet Craig”
6. Dracaena Marginata
7. "Mass cane/Corn Plant" - Dracaena Massangeana
8. "Mother-in-Law’s Tongue" - Sansevieria Laurentii
9. "Pot Mum" - Chrysantheium morifolium
10. "Peace Lily" - Spathiphyllum

Succulents are a great choice of plants for the home because, not only do they not need too much watering, but they are also good at cleaning indoor air. Like many houseplants, they remove toxins common in our homes or offices, such as inks, oils, paints, plastics, rubber, formaldehyde and/or trichloroethylene and they produce oxygen from CO2.

Pot your favourite plants in this adorable bird feet plant pot, crafted in zinc with a distressed golden dark bronze finish, from The Farthing

Mid-century interior design elevated plants to a higher level and this is a fabulous solution for contemporary homes with under-floor heating systems.  Add metallics into your interior design with these vintage look contemporary brass planters on matching stands, by Mink Interiors.

Patio paving slabs can also emit a great deal of heat during the summer months.  Take the raised planter trend outdoors with these smooth concrete Scandic-inspired pots from Cox and Cox.

This pair of planters in yellow ochre feature a set of tripod-style legs, similar in style to stage lighting! The tall legs give your planters a boost, making them even more conspicuous. Available from Red Candy and also available in black.

An antiqued gold round-shaped bowl on tripod style legs adds a stylish look to your interior design and is a great way to showcase and admire indoor plants. Available from Melody Maison.

The sleek lines and modern look of this metal storage basket make it ideal for tidying away books or toys. Also available in black, from the Bloomingville collection, pictured above.

Style Icon Reveals How to Create Parisian Chic at Home

Ines de la Fressange is no stranger to style. She was the first model to sign an exclusive modelling contract with couture house Chanel, and became Karl Lagerfeld's muse due to her incredible likeness to Coco Chanel.

Today, de la Fressange balances her life as a fashion designer, busy mother, businesswoman and author with her bestseller, Parisian Chic, captivating readers with windows into her world of French fashion and interiors.

Copyright: Country and Townhouse

In her latest book, Maison: Parisian Chic at Home, de la Fressange has combined her flair for design with the talents of her close friend Marin Montagut, who is a watercolour artist and the illustrator behind the popular Bonjour City Guide-Maps.  

Wrapped in a paper sleeve, which can be removed and unfolded to become a beautiful kaleidoscopic poster, Maison: Parisian Chic at Home steps into the colourful interiors of fifteen creative Parisians, including the authors', who divulge their design secrets, provide vibrant watercolour illustrations and eclectic mood boards.

Detail of Montagut's art...

Kaleidoscopic book cover folds out...

Montagut's art plays a major role...

Contemporary and vintage styles merge with a clever use of colour, natural materials and a wealth of creative display ideas designed to motivate the inspired reader to "Get the Look", armed with lists and tips about de la Fressange and Montagut's favourite design destinations in Paris.

The book showcases both contemporary and classic styles, but Chez Ines is like "talking a walk in the countryside"...

Chez Ines, Le Val De Grâce District, Paris
 Stylish storage solutions...

Marin and Ines...
All images (except first one) copyright Maison: Parisian Chic at Home
by Ines de la Fressange and
Marin Montagut, Flammarion, 2018.

A coffee table book you can pick up for daily inspiration or enjoy cover-to-cover for interiors a la mode.

Chameleon: The New Colour-Changing Stainless Steel Bottle

Single-use plastics are fast becoming X-rated and reusable cups or bottles for those on the go are more sought after every day.

The Chameleon is a new thermochromic stainless steel bottle that reacts to cold temperatures and reveals exactly how much is in your bottle at any time.  

Each Chameleon comes with a free sun jacket, made from tear resistant silicone which protects from bumps and scratches and harmful UV rays. The jacket is removable so you can use it when you need to. The purpose is to prolong your bottle's life and keep you away from consuming single-use plastics.

What is the bottle made of?
This stainless
steel body is covered in a thermochromic paint which enables the colour changing
process when cold liquid is added. Sealed with a rubber leak proof lid and h
andy silicone strap,
perfect for on the go
Is the Chameleon leak proof?
Indeed it is. We have been through a number of iterations on the lid design to make sure your
handbag, gym bag or kids lunchbox will stay dry.

The Chameleon comes in three colours...

The white section shows the empty area so you know how much water is left without having to look inside...

 Peach Chameleon...

Sealed with a rubber seal proof lid and carry strap...

Empty Chameleon...

Available in shops or online from February 2019.