Product review: BOXD nutritional powders

For the past two years, I’ve been optimising my diet. No faddy dieting, but rather good solid nutrition. Like most of us, I’m concerned that the quality of food available generally has deteriorated over the years. Finding an egg or a carrot, for instance, that actually has any flavour is a challenge. I had been cruising along, a happy vegetarian for over 40 years, and feeling pretty smug in all honesty that I had it right. But our bodies and our nutritional needs change throughout our lives. For one thing, we need more (class A) protein as we (ahem) mature. There are only so many times you can eat eggs, cheese or meat in a day, and I’ve been searching for a tasty ready mix to supplement my protein intake.

BOXD ‘natural wellness’ shakes are formulated to specifically meet the nutritional needs of women. I’ve been blending like crazy recently to put these to the test. Read more to find out how I got on in the kitchen.

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Christmas gift guide 2021

You would think that finding wonderful gifts for family and friends would be an easy ask in the virtual ‘shopping mall’ online. The Christmas marketing season is upon us but with so much choice it can actually make choosing the right present more challenging, with hours spent peering at your mobile screen trying to find the best deals.

I’ve gone back over the past year to find the best books I’ve read, foods I couldn’t get enough of and delicious wines you might not have heard of. Here’s the Hashtagtravelling.uk guide to thoughtful and sustainable Christmas gifts in Santa’s virtual grotto.

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This week… bread and circus

Another odd week in an age of odd times. In addition to the gods’ conspiracy to thwart travel writers with lockdowns, complicated travel guidelines and such-like, now there’s the fuel delivery shortage. After trying around eight stations (I lost count, and almost the will to live, after four) I queued for an hour to fill up. Having expected a wait of a couple of hours I thought that was reasonable (how mad can things get?).

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This week… chimney tops, ration books and guardian angels

Every September heritage houses, museums and other buildings throw open their doors to the public. Entry and tours are free despite the work of many of these organisations being independently funded, so a donation is welcome. The nationwide Heritage Open Days festival closes today and I took the opportunity take a peek behind the scenes over the nine-day event in Winchester. Here’s what I discovered.

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Whistler’s Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan

If you have never read Wilkie Collins’s novel Woman in White written in1859, I urge you to remedy the situation before you visit a new exhibition opening in February. (So, no excuses, you have plenty of long winter nights to catch up). It is a wonderful Victorian tale of intrigue surrounding a mysterious woman lost in London and dressed entirely in white. A new exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts also aims to ‘cherchez la femme’, in this case the flame-headed Joanna Hiffernan, through the work of American painter and printmaker, James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903).

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This week… pottery, postcards and rats

So, in the UK someone appears to have switched off summer, and in the cold rain temperatures have dropped dramatically. Of course, being British we staunchly hold on to the hope that the sun will come out again before autumn sets in but the mood as I write feels like the dog days of summer. I’m craving a bowl of warming homemade soup (broccoli, pea and pesto, thanks for asking) so there’s definitely a slight shift to the earth’s axis. Ahem.

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This week… Mr MacGregor’s potting shed and rabbits

I continue to enjoy the delights of regional locations with historic sites and glorious English gardens in all their summer finery, right on my doorstep. I’ve had a few wobbles, days when the news was sad, scary or downright frustrating, but on balance I’m still here, scribbling in my online journal with one eye on that light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for joining me again this week, and I hope you enjoy my latest ramblings and photographs.

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Summer Wines (and not a bar-b-que or rosé in sight)

Summer is on its way! From tomorrow in the UK, larger events will be permissable albeit at lower capacity in line with safety guidelines. Whether you’ll be attending a summer event in person or enjoying the moment from your own garden, the social season is the perfect opportunity to set up the picnic table, dress up for the occasion and crack open a bottle or two of delicious wine. More than ever it feels important to make the most of the freedom of warmer days and longer evenings. It’s been a long, cold covid winter so take time out to relax and bask in the warmth of the sun, as well as friends and family.

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This week… pizza, photography and life on Mars

A glorious spring week with longer days of sunshine as everything starts slowly warming up, including me. As I write this I have Abba blasting in the background and I have to keep stopping to dance around the living room. The news remains up and down but I’m definitely feeling upbeat. It’s been awhile. Hello optimism.

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