Humble Stuff: Cruelty-Free Cleaning

Since I moved to Edinburgh last month, I’ve had to learn to become a real adult – yes, that’s right, I have to do things like washing my own clothes and cooking my own meals. Shocking! My flatmates and I share a cleaning rota to make sure our little flat is shining like a new shilling and this week it was my turn to clean the bathroom which meant I had the chance to use my gorgeous Humble Stuff cleaning products.

I first found out about Humble Stuff on Twitter and I contacted the lovely Marie to find out if they’d be interested in collaborating with The Fourth Month as I am keen to promote cruelty-free homeware just like Wee Tree Soaps: Part 1. Marie was more than happy to get involved and agreed to send me a package of her fantastic products so that I could share their awesomeness with you all!

Humble Stuff is a range of cruelty-free, eco-friendly cleaning products. They’re handmade in Scotland (based in Glasgow) and all their ingredients are fresh and sustainable. I’m struggling to see why they’re called Humble Stuff because these cleaning products are really something to brag about. They’re the UK’s first producer of handmade cleaning products and, with no artificial fragrances or harsh chemicals, they are doing something really amazing for the earth!

It all originated with Marie who has been a self-employed domestic cleaner for over ten years but was fed up of using toxic cleaning products. In search for an alternative, she discovered traditional methods like bicarbonate of soda and vinegar could  be used to clean just about everything. Marie continued to research and experiment with non-toxic cleaning solutions with the support of her clients and eventually took the plunge (pardon the bad toilet pun) and took her cruelty-free cleaning products to Trading Standards. Marie now sells these products at fairs and festivals and has gone on to win the prestigious #SBS award (Small Business Sunday)

I received all three of Marie’s ethical cleaning products in my parcel and I’ve now used them all to clean my new flat. Here’s what I thought:


1. Multi Surface Cleaning Spray, £5

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This is the product I will use the most out of the three. Multi surface cleaning sprays are a gal’s best friend; I use it on the kitchen counters, bathroom surfaces and my desk and bedside cabinet. Each spray is handmade with you in mind so you can choose from a variety of beautiful scents: Blood Orange (Limited Edition Halloween scent), Lemon Myrtle, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lime & Eucalyptus or go Fragrance Free. My spray was Lemon Myrtle and I am so pleased with it because I am a sucker for all things lemony. This leaves your surfaces smelling citrusy fresh, which makes a pleasant change from the chemical smells a lot of anti-bac sprays have.

It’s only £5 and you can buy it on Etsy.

2. Soft Cleaning Paste, £5

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This soft cleaning paste goes back to traditional cleaning methods as it is made up of sodium bicarbonate and organic Castile soap.  It is tough on grime and dirt so you can use it for greasy kitchen utensils. I used this paste on the shower tiles and bathroom taps and they were sparkling in a few minutes. You simply mix in 1 teaspoon of the paste with 500ml of hot water and use a microfibre cloth to buff whichever surface you’re cleaning. Again, you can choose from a variety of scents so your house will be smelling and looking like paradise in no time. I got Lemon Myrtle and, like the multi-surface spray, it left my bathroom smelling like lemon cheesecake.

It’s £5 too and you can grab a 250g tub on Etsy. 

3. Toilet Freshener, £5

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These sticks were probably my surprising favourite from the bunch – mostly because they require little to no effort on my part. The box contains a minimum of 12 fizzing toilet sticks. You pop one in the toilet, let it fizzle to freshen the bowl, scrub or just flush away. It’s old-school and uses bicarbonate of Soda and citric acid infused with 100% pure essential oils. Choose from Grapefruit & Rosemary, Peppermint, Eucalyptus or Fragrance Free. I got Lavender and Patchouli sticks; the smell is really soothing and if you read my blog you’ll know I’m a big advocate for the use of lavender oil. The best thing about these sticks is that it allows you to clean your toilet without using any stringent chemicals that harm aquatic life once they’re flushed away. Your bathroom will smell amazing without any guilt!

These sticks are also £5 and available on Etsy. 


Something to remember: these products are made with fresh ingredients so there is a recommended use-by date. Don’t stick these in the back of the cleaning cupboard and forget about them until next your Spring clean. Get use out of them!

If you’re interested in trying some of these products, Humble Stuff offer a special deal: all 3 products for only £12.

Not only will your house be sparkling clean but by using Humble Stuff you are supporting an environmentally friendly way of living as well as an independent company. Independent and ethical shopping is the way forward so do your bit by ditching the toxins and using Humble Stuff around the house.

Find out more about Humble Stuff on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Check out their website and buy their cleaning products on Etsy.


If you’re interested in more ethical products, check out my review of Wee Tree Soaps: Part 1 for vegan-friendly soaps and July 2016 Homespiration: Candle Edition for cruelty-free candles. Keep an eye on my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages for regular updates.

Creamy Coconutty Curry

If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw this delicious coconutty veg curry in my Insta story and, as promised, here’s the recipe.

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One of the main reasons I was so excited about moving out was to start cooking all of my own meals. I want to experiment with different recipes and prove that you can eat a really healthy, varied vegetarian diet on a student budget.

Indian food is one of the best cuisines for vegetarian cooking because curries are so flavoursome whilst really easy to make! Thus, my first proper meal in my new abode was a healthy vegetarian curry. It’s a really sweet and creamy dish (without the guilt of ordering a korma) which is great when you are a student living away from home because it is ultimate comfort food for nights when you are feeling cold and homesick!

This recipe serves four but I separated portions into tubs which can be kept in the fridge for up to three days or frozen. I used mostly frozen veg because it is more economical as a student but you can use fresh too. In fact, you can also experiment with different types of vegetables – it’s a great recipe for using up leftovers.


Ingredients
  • 1tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 Medium Sized Sweet Potato (peeled and cut into chunks) or a Really Generous Handful of Frozen Sweet Potato Chunks
  • 200g Frozen Peas
  • Half a Broccoli Head (cut into small florets)
  • 2tsp Ground Cumin
  • 2tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 2tsp Mild Chilli Powder
  • 2tsp Coriander Leaf
  • 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 400g Tin of Coconut Milk
  • Optional: A Squirt of Tomato Puree and/or A Squirt of Tomato Ketchup
  • Optional: A Meat-free Alternative such as Quorn Pieces for Added Texture and Protein!
Method:
  1. Put a tablespoon of coconut oil into a frying pan on a very low heat and allow to melt.
  2. Once fully melted, throw in the chopped onion and garlic and cook very gently for 10 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the sweet potato chunks, frozen peas and broccoli florets (or whatever veg you’re using) and cook for a further 3 minutes or so to allow any frozen veg to defrost slightly.
  4. Toss in the cumin, turmeric, chilli powder and coriander leaf and stir through. Fry for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk and mix thoroughly allowing the stodgy coconut milk to melt. If you’ve got tomato puree and tomato ketchup, squirt a little in now.
  6. Bring to the boil and then simmer on a low-medium heat for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the vegetables are all soft and tender. If you are using meat-free pieces: add in 10 mins before the end of cooking to allow them to cook in the sauce.
  7. Serve on a bed of wholegrain rice or with some naan bread. Enjoy!

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Lazy Lentil Curry

I’m going to call this one “3-Can-Dan” because the basis of this yummy vegetarian curry is just three tins and some dried herbs that you can keep in your pantry at all times for a quick, easy and tasty curry on lazy days.

Truthfully, we had just came home for 10 days in Spain so there was no fresh food in the house. I was researching curries using tinned lentil soup, since we had some in the cupboard, and was perplexed that I couldn’t find any online. There are a lot of recipes using cream of tomato soup which I might try out at a later date. So I was inspired to create a really easy curry out of tinned, dried and frozen food that we had in the kitchen. I am so happy with how it turned out, it tasted so much better than I expected and this is definitely a recipe I will make when I’m living on a student budget in Edinburgh. It happens to be a bonus that it is low in fat, contributes towards your five-a-day intake and is also vegan-friendly.

If you’re following Slimming World and want to make this a syn free delight, swap the sugar for sweetener and use one of the following lentil soups as your Healthy Extra B choice: Tideford Organic Foods Red Lentil Soup with Apricots & Chillies or New Convent Garden Soup Skinny Tomato Vegetables with Laird Lentils Soup. I used Weight Watchers Carrot & Lentil at 4 syns. Be wary – some canned soups have a lot of hidden sugars!

It takes about 20-30 minutes to put together and requires little to no skill. It serves about 4 people. You can serve as a main with rice or, like me, top a baked potato for lunch and freeze the leftovers for another day. It is super filling because of all the lentils and chickpeas which is great for staying fuller for longer. Remember the canned soup you choose will vary the taste slightly so you can experiment with flavour by trying different soups!

Ingredients
  •  1 Can of Lentil Soup (about 300/400g)
  • 1 Can of Chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 Can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Portion of Any Frozen Veg
  • 1 Onion (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2tsp Turmeric
  • 2tsp Coriander Leaf
  • 1tsp Mild Chilli Powder
  • 1tsp Cumin
  • 1tsp Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Oil
  • Optional: a dash of soy sauce and lemon juice for extra flavour
Method
  1. Heat a little oil in a non-stick pan. Once hot, toss in your chopped onion and garlic and cook on a low-medium heat for 5 minutes before adding the portion of frozen veg and drained tin of chickpeas. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  2. Once the frozen veg has begun to defrost, it’s time to add your spices: turmeric, coriander leaf, mild chilli powder and cumin. Coat thoroughly and let the spices fry into the veg for about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in the tin of lentil soup and chopped tomatoes. Stir through. Add a good grinding of salt and pepper and the teaspoon of sugar to sweeten the tomatoes. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. The lentil soup and tomatoes should reduce into a yummy, thick sauce.
  4. Done! Serve on a bed of fluffy rice or on top of a baked potato.

Have you given this recipe a go? What did you think? Which canned soup did you use? I want to see your pictures so send them my way on Facebook, Twitter or tag me on Instagram @thefourthmonthblog. 

Eating Veggie in Marbella: Terra Sana

Consistency Is Key

I’ve been eating in Terra Sana for years. In particular, my family love the breakfasts they serve: fluffy french toast with fresh fruit and golden syrup – yum! Terra Sana is renowned for healthy, simple and ethical eating. If you google vegetarian food in Marbella then Terra Sana will come up time and time again. The atmosphere is relaxed and the company slogan is “food for the soul” which more or less sums up the vibes and the food they serve.

There are several venues to choose from depending on where you are staying on the coast: Benalmádena, Plaza del Mar, Miramar, Marina Banus, La Cañada, Nueva Andalucía and Laguna Village. I’ve eaten in a few of their restaurants and each time they provide consistently good food and chilled out vibes although I personally prefer their sea view destinations to their shopping centre locations.

Setting the Scene

Unlike many places in Costa Del Sol, Terra Sana is not about the flashy lifestyle of the rich and famous. It’s down-to-earth: you are seated at rustic wooden tables and artsy, hippy decor adorns the walls. There is nothing pretentious about their venues; instead they focus on an earthy atmosphere. You can walk straight off the beach with sand in your toes and salt water in your hair and still feel comfortable.

Veggie Options

As I previously mentioned, Terra Sana is famous for their vegetarian cuisine. Their funky health-conscious food lends itself well to a vegetarian and vegan diet making it the perfect destination for anyone adopting a meat-free diet on the coast. They offer an incredible selection of breakfasts, salads, wraps, smoothies, juices and, for the hungrier diner, there are even pizzas and burgers.

Salads

To start with we shared the Terra Sana and Sydney Salads with some cajun spiced chips on the side. Most of you will agree that salads are not often the most exciting option on the menu, especially when you are vegetarian. However, these salads were incredible. The Terra Sana was a mixture of avocado, tomato, feta cheese, dates, cucumber, red onion, black olives and mixed nuts on a bed of mixed lettuce leaves with a summery dressing. If like me, you love nuts and the flavours of a Greek summer then this is the salad for you. The Sydney boasted a great big hunk of warm breaded goat’s cheese with avocado, pear, toasted walnuts, spinach leaves, lettuce hearts, croutons and balsamic honey dressing. My sister has since had to go back to Terra Sana just to get another taste of this amazing salad. It left us scraping the dish for every last bit of hot, creamy goat’s cheese with that delicious tangy balsamic dressing – delicious! You do not need to be veggie or on a diet to enjoy these salads.

Wraps

I split a wrap and a pizza with my sister because we wanted to try out more of the veggie options because there was plenty to choose from. We opted for the Wrap Around which is a flour tortilla absolutely stuffed with an incredible smoked aubergine relish, spinach, avocado, tomato, red onion and cream cheese. The only downside is that it is served cold – we would’ve liked a hot wrap but that’s more of a personal preference. I could have eaten that lightly smoked aubergine relish by the bowl. If this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there was also the Tofu Wrap. It will transport you to Asia with smoked tofu, rice noodles, spiced peanuts, shredded Chinese cabbage, bean sprouts, coriander, red onions, red peppers and chilli jam all wrapped up in a tortilla wrap.

Burgers, Pizzas & Stir Fries

My sister and I also split the Zeus pizza which boasted Mediterranean roasted veg, pesto, mozzarella, goat’s cheese and a balsamic dressing. I hadn’t noticed the pizza didn’t come with a tomato base when I ordered. This was strange at first but once I had accustomed my taste buds, this was a lovely fresh pizza with a crispy cracker-like base. Our other vegetarian guest tried the La Sierra pizza which was topped with balsamic mushroom with rosemary, goat’s cheese, mozzarella spinach and pine nut. He also remarked on the uniqueness of their pizza options. Do not go looking for indulgent (and greasy) pizzas that you might find in Pizza Hut or Dominos. This is a health-conscious pizza if such a thing exists.

You can also choose from: a Mozzato pizza (standard cheese and tomato), the vegan Buddha burger (tofu burger with lettuce hearts and apple slices) or a vegetarian spicy stir fry straight from the wok.

Overall Impression

I will admit the food at Terra Sana is somewhat of an acquired taste and I do not recommend it for fussy eaters. However, if you are looking for vegetables, fruit and flavour galore with a focus on ethical and healthy eating then this is where you need to go. Is it vegetarian-friendly? 100%. Is it a cool and fun place to eat? Definitely. Is it indulgent? No. Is it for everyone? Probably not. But a wrap stuffed full of fresh veg with a fresh fruit smoothie does not go amiss as you watch the sunset after a long, hot day on the beach.

Check out Terra Sana on their website. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Have you been to Terra Sana? What did you think? Send me your pictures.