It's that time of the year again...
… and here I am, once again thinking – where on earth did the year go?! Silly season is upon us again; the malls serenade us relentlessly with cheery Christmas carols, whilst elaborately decorated nativity scenes are in every other corner. The holidays in the Philippines is what I like to call Christmas on steroids – Filipinos love a good celebration, and Christmas is no exception.
Sometimes I don’t know where I stand when it comes to exchanging gifts. I love the idea of giving a loved one something useful, but more often than not, I see my friends and family receiving presents that just end up collecting dust somewhere in the house. Don’t get me wrong, I always appreciate the gesture. At the risk of sounding a little like the Grinch, I feel like most of us have more than enough possessions, and the contribution or more ‘stuff’ in our lives isn’t making us any happier. I’ve also discovered that by de-cluttering my living space, my mind is more clear and at peace.
So, considering everything I’ve just said – what do I give my friends for Christmas? Well, first of all, I love giving (and receiving) experiences more than material possessions. My sister once bought me surfing lessons for Christmas one year (and a flying trapeze lesson another year! She gets my drift). That being said, I also love giving consumables. By that, I mean products that you can use and consume rather than, say, an ornament that lies around the house. As you know, I’m passionate about health and wellness, and it makes me so happy when my friends discover new products that improve their wellbeing.
On that note, I thought I would share with you some of my top picks from Healthy Options. These are all products that I use personally, and I think they make great little gifts for friends and loved ones.
1. Birch Benders pancake mix – There are a few flavours, and when I went to healthy options I saw the plain and chocolate chip. This is the first eggless pancake mix I’ve tried that tastes delicious – the pancakes are fluffy and have a nice consistency. Great for your vegan friends or those avoiding eggs.
2. Navitas Naturals cacao nibs – these are so versatile. Perfect for a bit of extra chocolatey crunch without the dairy or sugar. I add these to granola for a bit of texture, top my smoothie bowls with them, or use them when I’m baking some banana bread.
3. Andalou Konjac Sponges – This is my most recent beauty find that has totally blown my mind! It’s a gentle exfoliator for your face and body made from a plant. You don’t need to use any product with it, just soak it in some warm water and gently use on your skin in circular motions. My skin became so smooth, without any irritation or redness. I’m a little obsessed with this right now. Sponges last 1-3 months with proper care.
4. Soothing Touch Narayan Balm – My friend Bianca introduced me to this product. I keep it in my work out bag and take it with me to yoga. It’s a beautiful soothing balm (with menthol) that I like to rub on my shoulders and temples to relax.
5. Manuka honey – Now to some people, manuka is liquid gold. It has a host of wonderful healing and antibacterial properties, and comes with a price tag. This is the manuka I found with the highest UMF (20+), but that means it goes for 4000 pesos a pot. Obviously I don’t use this every day, but when I’m coming down with a cold or a sore throat, I take it by the teaspoon or mix it in with some warm water or tea.
6. Soothing Touch lavender massage oil – If you’re a sucker for massages like me, you probably appreciate having your own organic oil. Lavender is known for its relaxing properties, and I also like the idea of using an oil that doesn’t have any artificial fragrances. Less irritants for the skin and thus the body.
7. La Tourangelle pistachio oil – Take your salad dressings up a notch by using pistachio oil in your dressings. They make great vinaigrettes (try with some balsamic and honey), or you could drizzle it over some steamed veggies with a bit of sea salt.
8. Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate – My favourite snack of the moment is this dark chocolate, Pumpkin Seed & Sea Salt chocolate bark. Their chocolate is fair trade and non GMO 🙂