paperhaul february 2017 stationery subscription box
Disclaimer: I purchased this box using the #paperhaul blogger discount

Today I wanted to share a little peek at the latest box from #paperhaul, the monthly stationery subscription box from Crafty Creatives. This month's box of pretty pastel shades included gift tags, cards, postcards and a small notebook which this time around is filled with dotted grid style paper - my personal favourite! Each print is made up of simple shapes ranging from triangles to stars, teardrops, polka dots and waves creating a lovely collection of versatile pieces.

My top picks from this month's box would have to be the triangle print cards and pretty gift tags. I've been a subscriber since day one but with it's beautiful colour palette and simple prints I think this box might be one of my favourite #paperhaul collections to date!

If you're interested in treating yourself to the next #paperhaul box you can sign up at Crafty Creatives for just £10 a month.

paperhaul february 2017 stationery subscription box


Stars, Triangles & Polka Dots - #paperhaul February

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

good clean food red lentil earth curry
*Review copy c/o Netgalley, book release date: 7th March 2017

Good Clean Food is the debut cookbook from Lily Kunin, who you may recognise as the health coach behind popular foodie Instagram account Clean Food Dirty City. In the book's introduction Lily shares the story of how she came to have such an interest in healthy eating and it is inspiring to learn how she managed to improve her own health issues by changing her diet.

Of course the main focus of the book is the food with 100 plant-based and gluten-free recipes that not only sound delicious but look it too! The book is full of beautiful photographs of the dishes and the overall minimal design means that the colourful creations really pop against the white background.

Recipes included cover everything from the basics such as veggie broth and salsa to everyday dinners and even party dishes. It is worth noting that whilst the recipes are mostly plant-based and free from both dairy and gluten they are not all suitable for a Vegan diet as some do include ingredients such as eggs and honey. Of course, there’s no reason that many of these can’t be adapted with substitutes if necessary and Lily even encourages readers to ‘make these recipes your own’.

The book also has another unique element that makes it stand out from the crowd; beauty and skincare recipes! Scattered between the foodie pages are several product recipe ideas for hair and skin which utilise many of the same ingredients as the dishes. These include a Coconut Coffee Body Scrub and Brightening Green Tea Face Mask which sound perfect for a little pampering. As someone who has an interest in non-toxic/natural beauty and homemade products this crossover was a pleasant surprise and I loved that these little extras were included.

Naturally, I was keen to try out one of the recipes from the book and selected the Red Lentil Earth Curry (pictured above). I actually hadn't cooked anything similar to this before but the recipe was very easy to follow and the final dish tasted great! After testing out the curry I'm looking forward to trying out more of Lily's recipes - the Choc-Chip Cookies and Mexican Chocolate Pudding both sound amazing.

With an impressive variety of plant-based recipes and a beautiful vibrant design Good Clean Food is definitely one to add to your bookshelf.

Good Clean Food - Review & Recipe Test!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

This recipe is a refined version of something I threw together as part of my 30 recipes challenge and was inspired by the popular idea of a vegan 'tuna' style salad made from mashed chickpeas. Before the challenge I'd never been a big fan of chickpeas but this recipe definitely changed my mind! I couldn't believe how quick and easy it was to make and I instantly knew it would become a go-to lunch for me in future.

My favourite way to serve this chickpea salad is with a mixture of brown rice and red lentil pasta, but it would also taste great paired with crisp lettuce in a sandwich, pitta or wrap. This salad also keeps well in the fridge for a second serving the next day.

chickpea tuna salad vegan gluten free recipe a natural detour

2 servings

210g tin of chickpeas
2½ - 3 tbs vegan salad cream (or mayonnaise)
3 tbs sweetcorn
2 finely chopped spring onions
¼ tsp garlic granules
½ - 1 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
½ tsp lemon juice
1 tbs chopped fresh chives 
½ tbs chopped fresh parsley
salt & black pepper

Drain and rinse chickpeas*, then place in a medium size bowl and mash with a fork.

Add spring onions, sweetcorn, lemon juice, salad cream, garlic granules, nutritional yeast flakes and herbs to the bowl and stir well to combine. You may wish to add extra salad cream/mayonnaise at this point to achieve your preferred consistency, and extra fresh herbs to taste.

Season with salt and black pepper to taste before serving.

*Don't forget to save the liquid for use in other recipes!

chickpea tuna salad vegan gluten free recipe a natural detour

Please let me know if you try out this recipe & share your photos with me on Instagram (@sawyerandscout) using #anaturaldetour - I'd love to hear from you!


Chickpea Salad (Vegan/Gluten Free)

Friday, 10 February 2017

Over the past six months or so I've been gathering a small collection of books focused on a natural non-toxic lifestyle, featuring everything from homemade beauty products to natural remedies and the many uses of essential oils. Today I thought I would share a little bit more on four of the titles from my shelf.

Neal's Yard Remedies: Essential Oils, Susan Curtis & Pat Thomas

From what I've read so far this book is the ultimate guide to all things essential oils, with tons of information and suggestions for use of each oil. There's a section on base oils, as well as one sharing product recipes and another with natural healing remedies. The pages are laid out beautifully and the book is the perfect guide for anyone like myself who is fairly new to using essential oils - I'd highly recommend picking up a copy!

Natural Remedies, Laurel Vukovic

I actually picked this book up in TK Maxx not long before Christmas and thought it looked like a very handy guide to add to my collection. This book not only covers recipes for non-toxic beauty but also covers household products and natural remedies for anything from headaches to arthritis. It even has a section which shares natural remedies for pet care! With over 1000 recipes and tips Natural Remedies is a great quick reference guide to have on your bookshelf.

Handmade Beauty, Juliette Goggin & Abi Righton

This recipe book is filled with ideas to create your own lip balms, face masks, bath bombs, shampoo, lotions and more. In addition there are guides on how to work with specific types of ingredients, equipment, product storage and sourcing the best ingredients. There's a handy glossary in the back sharing the benefits of each ingredient too. Again, this one is well designed with lots of lovely product photos throughout.

Green Beauty Guide, Julie Gabriel

This was actually the first book I invested in when I became seriously interested in non-toxic products. It includes product recipes and lots of useful information on skincare and ingredients. There's a brilliant handy guide to 100 most toxic ingredients in the back of this book and I have been known to carry a photocopied version of the list around in my bag to check up on product labels whilst I'm out shopping! Definitely one to pick up if you're interested in reading up on all things non-toxic beauty.

Have you read any of these titles? Are there any other must-read 'natural living' books I'm missing? I'd love to hear your recommendations!


A Natural Living Bookshelf

Monday, 6 February 2017

30 recipes in 30 days challenge final update a natural detour

With my 30 Recipes In 30 Days Challenge finally complete I thought I would pen a quick post sharing my thoughts on the project. Firstly, I'm pleased to be able to say that I actually completed the challenge, particularly after getting ill part way through. Over the thirty days I tried out a whole variety of recipes, including all of those pictured above, and discovered what I'm sure will become some new favourites I'll recreate over and over again.

Back in December when I first posted about the challenge I mentioned that it was inspired by my desire to tackle my out of control foodie Pinterest boards, however things didn't quite work out as planned. Despite the fact that the challenge pushed me to finally test out some more of the many ideas I'd pinned it also led me to pinning even more recipes! Whilst I may have failed in this aspect I'm actually really glad it turned out this way as overall the challenge has left me feeling inspired to experiment even more in the kitchen.

As much as I enjoyed testing out other blogger's amazing recipes (and they were delicious!), I think the days I enjoyed the most were those where I adapted a recipe to suit my diet or took an idea I liked and created my own recipe. The challenge has really encouraged me to work on creating more of my own recipes and sharing them here on the blog - keep an eye out for another recipe next week!

If you're considering taking on your own recipe or cooking challenge I would highly recommend going for it. Trying out a new recipe every day can be hard work and tricky to fit around other commitments but it was definitely worth the effort!


30 Recipes In 30 Days - Final Thoughts

Friday, 3 February 2017

Here they are, the final five recipes of 30 Recipes In 30 Days! If you missed the last post in the series you can catch up here. Don't forget to check back later this week for a post on my final thoughts on the challenge!

vegan rice pudding

Day 26 - Rice Pudding

Ah, rice pudding! Before giving up dairy I had been known to eat many a bowl of rice pudding with Nutella stirred through so I was excited to find this dairy free version over on Fooduzzi. Unfortunately, despite the fact that I had been to the supermarket earlier in the day I didn't really have the right type of rice for the recipe but will definitely be trying it again in future. I topped the bowl of rice with quinoa puffs, walnuts and dark chocolate.

tofoo tikka curry tofu vegan

Day 27 - 'Tofoo' Tikka

On the supermarket trip mentioned above I spotted some Tofoo tofu products and decided to try out the Indian Spiced Tofoo. I'm not generally a huge fan of tofu however the image of a veggie curry on the packaging looked delicious and I was really pleased to find the recipe over on the company's website. I switched up the veggies, using green beans instead of peppers and the final dish had tons of flavour.

eggplant aubergine parmesan vegan gluten free

Day 28 - Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Another recipe full of flavour was day 28's eggplant - or aubergine - parmesan from Minimalist Baker. This recipe took a little longer to prepare and cook than a lot of the others I've tried out but the breadcrumb mixture tasted incredible. I've already made another recipe using a mixture inspired by it - keep an eye out for a post on this soon!

samosadillas vegan gluten free

Day 29 - Samosadillas

This recipe from Go Dairy Free, a cross between samosas and quesadillas, made it's way into the challenge when I was searching through Pinterest for something to use up leftover gluten free tortillas. These were so easy to make I cooked up a whole batch for Sunday lunch and shared them with my family. They were a big hit and I'm sure I'll be making them again soon!

singapore noodles vegan gluten free

Day 30 - Vegetable Singapore Noodles

The final recipe of the challenge was a quick and easy veggie Singapore noodle dish from Cilantro & Citronella. Again, I switched up the veggies to suit what I had in the fridge and really enjoyed the result - definitely one to try out!


30 Recipes In 30 Days - Update #7

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Although A Natural Detour has been pretty heavily focused on the foodie stuff in it's first couple of months I also wanted to introduce a regular feature where I can share little snippets talking everything from TV to podcasts, books, crafts and anything else under the umbrella of 'life outside blogging'. The Little Detours series is my version of a 'happy list' style post and a chance for you to get to know the person behind the blog a little better.

Winter Sun | With constant cold weather it can be easy to stay inside and hide away for the winter months, but the sun shining brightly on a recent country walk was a very welcome surprise.

This Is Us | The highlight of my TV week lately has definitely been new US drama This Is Us. The show follows the lovable Pearson family and seems to drop a new bombshell every episode. I can't wait to see where they go with the storylines for the rest of the season and beyond (the show has recently been renewed for two more seasons!). I'd highly recommend checking this one out if you haven't seen it yet.

Diffusing | A couple of months ago I finally invested in an electronic diffuser to pair with my growing essential oil collection. Lately I've been loving the Clear Head blend from Aqua Oleum which includes Eucalyptus and has been helping to keep the dreaded winter sniffles at bay!

The Popcast | If you haven't discovered it yet, The Popcast is a weekly podcast hosted by Knox and Jamie who love to talk all things pop culture. Although I've been listening to this podcast for a little while now I still have tons of older episodes to listen to and lately I've really been enjoying catching up whenever I can.

Rountables etc. | Speaking of pop culture, award season is here once again and for me that means lots of roundtables to watch! For the past few years I've really enjoyed following the roundtable series from The Hollywood Reporter and this year I've also been watching a lot of Variety's Actors On Actors series.


Little Detours #1

Saturday, 28 January 2017

It's time for another 30 Recipes In 30 Days update post! Despite having a cough and cold this week I was not about to give up on my ambitious challenge and managed to muddle my way through four more recipes, mostly with successful results. If you missed my previous 30 Recipes post you can catch up here!

hash brown haystacks vegan gluten free

Day 22 - Hash Brown Haystacks

I really love hash browns but had never attempted to make my own before so I was very excited to find this naturally vegan/gluten-free recipe over on Minimalist Baker. Dana's blog post suggests using your processor's grater attachment to shred the potatoes and I have to say this worked really well and is definitely something I'll be doing again! The hash browns were easy to make and tasted delicious - perfect for a Sunday brunch. Unfortunately I had a little trouble getting them to crisp up, even with some extra cooking time, so when I next make them I may try cooking at a slightly higher temperature.

chickpea cookies plantpure kitchen recipe

Day 23 - Chickpea Cookies

If you caught my latest book review featuring The PlantPure Kitchen you'll already know all about day 23's recipe. These healthy cookies were based on one of the recipes from Kim Campbell's new plant-based cook book and were very easy to make using a blender!

chickpea tuna salad with pasta vegan gluten free lunch

Day 24 - Chickpea 'Tuna' Salad

This tuna salad alternative is something I'd been keen to try for a while and with leftover chickpeas from the previous recipe this was the perfect time! I didn't follow a specific recipe to create the 'tuna' salad, instead taking inspiration from various blogs as well as videos on Instagram. I mashed the chickpeas and combined with spring onions, sweetcorn, lemon juice, garlic granules, salt, black pepper, parsley, chives and vegan salad cream (I'm not a big mayo fan!). This was super easy to make and tasted great mixed in with some brown rice/red lentil pasta and topped with my favourite vegan parmesan. I enjoyed it so much that I had it for lunch again the next day - definitely a winner!

aquafaba chocolate mousse vegan gluten free

Day 25 - Chocolate Mousse

The chickpeas strike again! Of course, having opened a tin of chickpeas for the previous two days recipes I couldn't let the water from the can - or aquafaba - go to waste. Ever since I first heard about aquafaba I've been fascinated by the idea and amazed by the recipes people have created with it so I decided to try out a chocolate mousse recipe from Vanillacrunnch. Unfortunately I ran into a few issues with the texture of the mousse but the flavour was good and I would definitely like to try the recipe again to see if I can correct this - sadly I didn't have another can of chickpeas to do so on the day!

If you'd like to see which recipes I'm hoping to try out next you can find my '30 Recipes In 30 Days' board over on Pinterest and follow me on Instagram for daily updates (@sawyerandscout) where I'll be using the hashtag #30recipesin30daysAND

30 Recipes In 30 Days - Update #6

Thursday, 26 January 2017

The PlantPure Kitchen is a new plant-based cookery book from Kim Campbell and is a follow-up to the 2015 film PlantPure Nation and companion cookbook of the same name. The author describes the PlantPure goal as to provide people with 'the knowledge, tools, and recipes to build delicious plant-based meals that are both healthy and fun' and the content of the book seems to fit this well. Containing 130 recipes and lots of tips for getting started on a plant-based diet the book is a great introduction for anyone looking to make changes to their diet. The recipes cover all areas from breakfast to dessert and everything in between and I've bookmarked several that I'm keen to try out including a Spicy Nacho Sauce and Raspberry Jam Bars.

chickpea cookies the plantpure kitchen vegan gluten free
chickpea cookies plantpure kitchen vegan gluten free

In addition to the book review, I thought it might be fun to try out one of the PlantPure recipes and share the results with you. As mentioned above, there are a handful of recipes I bookmarked to try but the one I decided to go with for this post is the Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Although I was aware of the idea I'd never made cookies with chickpeas before but the step-by-step recipe was simple to follow. The cookies are made using a blender, which again was something I hadn't really done before but it definitely made the process easier. I substituted the recipe's powdered peanut butter for natural peanut butter from a jar and the Sucanat for coconut sugar plus a dash of water and as you can see the cookies turned out really well! Free from gluten and dairy, the finished cookies are fairly dense but have a soft texture that would make them a great protein-filled snack.

chickpea cookies plantpure kitchen

*Review copy c/o Netgalley, book cover image via


The PlantPure Kitchen - Review & Recipe Test!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

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