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No one needs a gift that will sit unused gathering dust in a drawer. With this in mind we have picked the items that genuinely enhance our daily lives – whether they make life just that little bit easier or a touch more beautiful . From fast impact makeup and skincare to products that induce some much needed rest, we hope they add some joy to your life or others’. Happy Holidays!

Stocking Life savers

Multi Port USB travel adaptor

The mother of all USB travel adaptors, this one has four ports so you can charge all your gadgets simultaneously from one socket. It also comes with four different types of conversion plugs – UK/ US/ EU and AUS – and even contains a safety system which stops charging once a device is full. Buy here

Jet Zone Jet Lag Prevention

A favourite from our founder Misty Reich, Jet Zone Jet Lag Prevention is a must-have for frequent fliers. The homoeopathic formulation contains ingredients that help to provide temporary relief from circadian rhythm disruptions such as aiding  restlessness, headache, heartburn, exhaustion and anxiety.  Buy here

Jet Zone
Lindsay Albanese ‘The Drop’ Hat Clip

Have you ever wanted to take a hat with you on your travels but don’t for fear of it being squashed like a pancake in transit? Fear not – the Lindsay Albanese ‘The Drop’ Hat Clip contains a high quality magnet clasp on one end and a clip on the other so you can attach it to your bag and not fear losing or squishing it. Buy here

The Cable Tidy Kit

No more getting your cables in a twist thanks to this set of tidies that will keep your leads and chargers separated, neatly bound and ready for action. Buy here

Magic Gadgets

The reMarkable 2

Whether you’re a busy mom, entrepreneur or generally have a lot on your mind, then you may need the remarkable 2 in your life. Dubbed ‘the world’s thinnest tablet’ it’s a next-gen digital notepad that converts handwriting into text, saves notes, documents and then you can save it all on the cloud. Buy here

NuFace Fix Line Smoothing Device

This clever hand held wand uses micro currents – tiny electric pulses that mimic your body’s own current – to make your skin produce more elastin and collagen. Small enough to throw in your makeup bag or hand luggage, research shows that just 3 minutes, 1-2 times a day, 5 days a week makes a visible reduction of fine lines and puffiness. Buy here

Nu Face
JBL CLIP Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Whether at home, by the pool, in a park, hotel room, at work or up a mountain, the JBL CLIP Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker gives great sound, is waterproof, and has 10 hours of sound life. Plus the integrated carabiner clips means you won’t lose it amongst your clobber. Buy here

MusicCozy Sleep Headphones

Whether you have trouble getting to sleep, struggle to get any shut-eye on a flight or would just like some time out listening to music at home, we can highly recommend the Music Cozy Sleep Headphones. The ultra soft eye mask has inbuilt Bluetooth headphones for the ultimate switch-off. Includes a voice control function and 1-3 hour auto-off mode. It even has a 3D space around the eyelashes so lashes stay lustrous until daylight. Buy here

Music Cozy
Oura Ring

The Oura ring is the ultimate digital wellness tracker housed in a small 8 mm wide ring on your finger. Made of titanium (but available in gold, silver or black colour ways), the ring tracks fitness, sleep, stress, your monthly cycles and shows its insights within an app on your phone. It also syncs to Apple Health and Google Fit, leaving you more knowledgeable about your personal wellbeing than ever before. Buy here

Current Body Skin LED Light therapy mask

We no longer need to travel to a salon for better skin. This award winning light therapy mask is great for using at home or travelling, and uses anti-ageing red and near infrared light therapy to rejuvenate and reduce lines.  In four weeks, 35% of those who tested it said their wrinkles had reduced, whilst 95% reported better skin tone, texture, firmness and brightness. Maybe don’t wear on a flight if you don’t want to scare the staff. Buy here

Your Beauty Buddies

Drybar High Tops Self-grip Rollers

For days your hair needs a little oomph when there’s no time to visit a salon, we can highly recommend this set of low maintenance rollers. For best results, blow dry hair and whilst still warm, take sections of your hair and roll the rollers in away from the face . Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing and running through with fingers. Buy here

Davines bar shampoo & case

When it comes to hair cleansing, we strongly believe that shampoo bars are the future. One of our favourites is the MOMO Shampoo Bar and Case from Davines. Just swipe across damp hair and massage in before rinsing. The box also keeps your bar protected from disintegrating in the shower. Buy here

Davines shampoo bar
72 Hair Intense Replenishing mask

The ultimate hair mask for dry, damaged or hot tong abused hair. This luxurious deep conditioning treatment contains avocado oil and wheat germ protein that thoroughly penetrates the hair shaft, strengthening and replenishing moisture whilst fighting  frizz. Buy here

72 Intense Replenishing Mask
Manta Hairbrush

This incredibly gentle, revolutionary and award-winning hairbrush was created by its founder when his wife was undergoing cancer treatment. Using flexible technology it fits ergonomically to the hand but is also extremely gentle on the scalp and hair, minimising pull and breaking, yet detangling and maximizing shine. Buy here

Manta hair brush
La Mer Lip Volumizer

Packed with antioxidants, this serum-inspired lip product softens, smooths and plumps lips leaving them luxuriously conditioned and plumped without oily shine. 

AM Essentials from 35 Thousand 

Give the gift of gorgeously glowing skin with the AM Essentials kit from 35 Thousand. Containing a Clever Cleansing Balm, and one All-In Day Serum SPF 30, together this power duo will ensure anyone a good skin day. Buy here

AM Essentials

On the Go-Getters

RADIUS Tour Travel Toothbrush & Case with Replaceable Brush Head

On the run, on a flight, or working late and have a date, this toothbrush is perfect for stashing in your handbag at all times. With a gum stimulating , fan brush head, the jack knife design protects the head from getting dirty. Buy here

Radius toothbrush
Tumi Just in case tote

There are reuseable bags, and then there’s the Just in Case Tote. This ingenious carryall packs into a small zipper pouch, but when opened out is strong, roomy and timelessly stylish. Buy here

Yeti Rambler 10 oz Tumbler

Here are 35Thousand we are huge fans of Yeti travel mugs which are the perfect drinks companion for busy lives. The smooth sliding lid means easy drinking on the commute/ school run, and the double wall insulation vacuum keeps drinks at just-ordered temperature for hours.  Buy here

Kusshi signature makeup bag

When you open and close a makeup bag many times a day, you might as well get a good one right? Kusshi addressed everything  that’s wrong with most makeup bags. This signature bag for example has a zip that opens wide so you can see everything inside at once, has a flat base so it stands up rather than falling in the sink, has mesh pockets for sponges and small items as well as an optional snap closure mechanism when you need to makeup and run. Buy here

Kusshi makeup bag

Self Care Saviours

Blackroll® Duoball 08

Everyone would benefit from owning one of these peanut shaped self massage fascia balls. Made from a tough foam, its shape means it reaches the places other massage rollers just can’t reach. Virtually weightless it’s also the perfect travel fitness accessory. Buy here

Duoball
Breath: new Science of a Lost Art 

There is more and more research to say that the way we breath can change the way we feel. Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts as well as cutting edge studies, this book is full of dazzling revelations about the breath as well as practical advice on how it could change your life. Buy here

Charlotte Tilbury Cryo Recovery Mask  

Inspired by cryotherapy and facial acupressure, this cryo recovery face mask is designed to be kept in the fridge or freezer. Attaching around the back of the head, it then moulds to the face to smooth, firm and refresh the skin leaving it look lit from within. And the best bit? It’s reusable time and time again. Buy here

Desmond and Dempsey ‘Parrot’ Signature pyjama set 

We’re sure we don’t know anyone who wouldn’t wish for a perfect pair of pj’s this holiday season. We think we’ve found them right here. Buy here

Desmond and Dempsey pyjamas

The 35 Thousand Skincare has been formulated with stressed out skin in mind. Want to learn more? Click here

In a year of lockdowns and social distancing, we’ve probably all had a marathon movie night or two. And while we love watching our favourite big screen stories in the comfort of our homes, we’re just as ready to enjoy them when we’re on-the-go. After all, what better way to fend off the boredom of dreaded delays or long-haul flights (remember those?) than re-watching a much-loved masterpiece? With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite movies of all-time. So, whether you’re getting cosy in front of the fireplace over the festive period, are hoping to take that much-anticipated bucket-list trip in 2021, or are back on the road for work, we hope this selection will inspire, move and entertain you as much as it has team 35 Thousand. 

Romantic Comedies

Sabrina

A comedic chronicle of an ugly duckling turned beautiful swan who pines for her childhood crush – a very wealthy, very engaged playboy. Misty Reich, founder of 35 Thousand loves the remake with Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear. “It’s probably in my top 3 movies of all time. Romance, rags-to-riches, Kinnear and Harrison Ford are fab but Ormond is one of my faves! Also, if you have time watch the original with Audrey Hepburn,” she says.

The Proposal

High-flying Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) attempts to avoid deportation to Canada by pretending to be engaged to her assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds). Cue mishaps and hijinks, which make us laugh every time. Bullock and Reynolds are magic together. Plus, Misty adds, “It involves shenanigans with immigration and visas which hits close to home for me”.

The Proposal
When Harry Met Sally

Can men and women ever truly be platonic friends? It’s the old age question the movie’s title characters, Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) grapple with as their paths cross and re-cross. 35 Thousand’s Product Development Director Claire Bristow says, “The romantic in me can’t help believing that somewhere out there are always two souls destined to find each other, somehow, somewhere, in the end” Misty loves it too, “Probably the MOST classic Meg Ryan movie and early Billy Crystal is so great!” she says.

Baby Boom 

Businesswomen J.C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) finds her life turned upside when she’s left to look after the baby daughter of a suddenly deceased relative. 80’s shoulder pads, corporate woman working hard to have it all, the laughter and tears of early motherhood and, of course, Diane Keaton – what’s not to love?

You’ve Got Mail 

Competing bookstore owners Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) start an online romance, unaware of each other’s true identity. Misty says she “Could make a whole list of Meg Ryan movies, but this is so good. New York business rvalry turns to romance.” 

You’ve Got Mail
Amélie

Parisienne ingénue Amélie (Audrey Tatou) surreptitiously choreographs the love lives of people around her. This is a favourite of 35 Thousand contributing writer, Anna Loa-Kaim. She tells us, I kid myself that I’m just keeping my French alive by watching this over and over again but it’s really the whimsical, magical joy of it, from Amélie’s micro-fringe to the mystery of her dad’s AWOL garden gnome touring the world with Amélie’s flight attendant friend because he can’t do so himself. There are so many moving touches, quirky asides and glorious, almost cartoon-like shots of Paris – it’s just delicious to watch.” 

The Holiday

Unlucky in love Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) swap homes and soon find themselves wrapped up in transatlantic romances. Such a feel-good movie and always great to watch over the winter holiday season.

27 Dresses

Perennial bridesmaid Jane Nichols (Katherine Heigl) has eyes only for her boss, George (Edward Burns); will Jane finally get the happily-ever-after she dreams of or will the arrival of her younger sister Tess (Malin Åckerman) throw a spanner in the works? For contributing 35 Thousand writer Aasiyah Dana, “There’s something endearing about awkward Jane. Her quirky charm makes me smile every time and, although predictable, 27 Dresses is still a whole lot of fun.”  

Drama

Good Will Hunting

The movie that won Matt Damon an Oscar. This is the story of janitor Will Hunting (Damon), whose genius-level IQ is accidentally discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard). Claire loves how this movie is “About the power to choose your path and change your life, the option of choosing optimism, love and possibility no matter what comes before”.

Steel Magnolias

Southern girl Shelby (Julia Roberts) prepares to get married while dealing with health scares. An oldie but a goody,” for Managing Director of Brandstand Communications Andrew Perera, “This has an amazing cast that’s not only funny but shows how friends can really support each other in difficult times.” 

American Honey 

One of those movies that doesn’t have a plot in the typical sense; American Honey invites us into the world of Star (Sasha Lane), as she joins Jake (Shia LaBeouf) and his friends selling door-to-door magazine subscriptions. The slow meandering of the narrative deftly mirrors the protagonist’s life on the road and offers a soulful glimpse into America’s poverty-stricken, marginalised teens. “Director Andrea Arnold masterfully blends a sense of youthful yearning with bleak reality,” says Aasiyah.

Great Expectations

A screen adaption of Charles Dickens acclaimed novel, Great Expectations charts the life of orphan Pip (John Mills) and his childhood benefactor, the tragic Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt). Anna-Marie Solowij co-founder of Brandstand Communications always goes back to the original David Lean directed version. “It’s a great coming-of-age tale of wealth and poverty, love and rejection but it all comes good in the end.” 

Running on Empty

Fugitive husband and wife team Arthur (Judd Hirsch) and Annie (Christine Lahti) and their boys are always on the run from authorities, making teenage son Danny (River Phoenix) long for independence and stability. His dreams though, might mean leaving his family behind forever. Another of Claire’s favourites, she loves this for its “Slightly low-key, low budget charm. Beautifully shot and a heart wrenching exploration of what it really means to be a parent.” 

Lost in Translation

Newlywed Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) and ageing movie star Bob (Bill Murray) strike up a surprising but touching friendship, as they navigate the bright lights of Tokyo. For Anna-Marie, “This is one of those movies where you wish you could re-write the ending. I’m constantly drawn back to it for that – the idea that it could be different, but perhaps it’s for the best that it isn’t. After all, they’re both married, CLEARLY to the WRONG people. I also find myself returning to it for the truly foreign nature (to westerners) of Japanese culture. The first time you go to Japan it feels EXACTLY as disorienting as it does in the movie.”

Lost in Translation
Beaches 

Charting the journey of friendship from childhood, Beaches follows the lives of New Yorker CC (Bette Midler) and Californian Hillary (Barbara Hershey). This one never fails to make Andrew cry!

Comedy 

What about Bob?

Self-absorbed psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) has his holiday spoilt by patient Bob Wiley (Bill Murray). Misty admits “This tries too hard,” but she still keeps coming back to it. “Watching Murray get under Dreyfuss’ skin is just funny to me.”

The Money Pit

Anna (Shelley Long) and Walter (Tom Hanks) are a young couple whose relationship is put to the test when they buy a country estate outside New York City for a too-good-to-be-true price. I have lived this,” Misty reveals, “And Hanks and Long make a great team.”

Oceans 11

Suave thief Danny Ocean (George Clooney) masterminds the ultimate casino raid in Sin City. Super slick and stylish, with such an amazing cast. It’s that movie we agree we can watch over and over again and love it even more each time. Mollie Payne, Senior Digital and Content Executive at Brandstand is “Always partial to a good heist movie, but this one’s definitely top of the list.”

Oceans 11
Wedding crashers

Confirmed bachelors and divorce mediators Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) and John (Owen Wilson) gate-crash a high-profile wedding where John falls for bridesmaid Claire (Rachel McAdams). This is a guilty go-to for big laughs. The banter between Vaughn and Wilson is legendary.

The Boat that Rocked

Pirate DJ Quentin (Bill Nighy) and his friends are on a mission to help Quentin’s godson Carl (Tom Sturridge) lose his virginity. Senior Digital Marketing Executive at Brandstand Communications Tilly Doody-Henshaw loves the movie’s styling, aesthetic and music. “I find music really dictates how I’m feeling and the soundtrack to this always puts me in an amazing mood. It’s also very British in its sense of humour which makes me feel more at home!”

True Stories

Pride

In 1984, London-based LGBTQ campaigners and striking Welsh miners join forces against a common enemy: Margaret Thatcher, the police and the press. Chosen by Tilly, she reveals: “I first watched this with my family over Christmas, so it reminds me of them. The music and aesthetic of this movie is brilliant. The storyline is also true and totally heart-warming; the final scene never fails to make me cry – in a happy way! Most of the movie is also set in South Wales, where my family are from, so their sense of humour reminds me of home.”

Boys Don’t Cry

Not an easy watch but this gut-wrenching true story is one Aasiyah returns to time and again. Hillary Swank won an Oscar for her role as trans-man Brandon Teena, whose search for acceptance in small town Nebraska ends in tragedy. “Swank’s performance will forever live in my memory, as will the poignant soundtrack,” she says.

Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry

Musicals

The Sound of Music

Transporting us to 1930s Austria, The Sound of Music is classic film based on the real life of governess Maria (Julie Andrew) widower Captain von Trapp and his seven children. Uplifted by the pure joy of song, this is an absolute must-watch. 

Mary Poppins

Nanny Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) delights the young children in her care with enchanting adventures. A sing-along classic which Misty watched all the time as a child and still loves today.

Fantasy/ Romance  

The Princess Bride 

The story of young lovers who must overcome separation and the evils of Florin, a mythical land, in order to be together. Cult classic, funny and SO quotable.

About Time 

Love Actually vibes, with time travel but minus the festive setting. Domhnall Gleeson plays Tim Lake, a man who can travel through time but soon discovers that his unique gift can’t help him escape everyday problems. A favourite of Anna Lao-Kaim, she says “About Time presents love, grief, living in the moment and so-called success in a beautiful, poignant and funny way. Although it’s full-on Richard Curtis fuzziness, my husband and I love it and chose a Bill Nighy quote from the movie as a reading during our wedding ceremony: “I’d only give one piece of advice to anyone marrying. We’re all quite similar in the end. We all get old and tell the same tales too many times but try to marry someone kind.”

Meet Joe Black

Nearing his 65th birthday, Bill Parish (Anthony Hopkins) is paid a visit by Death, in the human form of Joe Black (Brad Pitt). Bill and Joe come to an agreement, but complications arise when Joe falls for Bill’s daughter. Mollie loves this film for its “Unique plot; it’s the perfect combination of romance, drama and comedy. The coffee shop scene at the beginning is definitely one of my favourite movie scenes ever. It’s a long one, and quite emotional, so definitely set aside for a long-haul flight and have a pack of tissues handy!” 

Coming-of-age

Juno

Pregnant teen Juno MacGuff (Elliot Paige) finds herself getting a little too involved with her baby’s adoptive parents. “The characters are so good” says Misty and she especially loves Jason Bateman, “Who has a bit of a twisted role” as dad-to-be Mark Loring.

Call Me by Your Name

Another coming-of-age, novel-based movie with all the excitement and heartbreak of a first love lost.” Set in Italy, the movie follows the budding relationship of Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) over the course of a sun-drenched summer. With an excellent cast and soundtrack – Love my Way by The Psychedelic Furs, Erik Satie and Ryuichi Sakamoto – Anna-Marie asks, “What’s not to love”?  

Call me By Your Name
16 Candles

As she approaches her 16th birthday, Samantha (Molly Ringwald) longs for popular older boy Jake (Michael Schoeffling), while spurning the affections of school nerd Ted (Anthony Michael Hall). Cringe-worthy flashback of the highs and lows of those awkward teen years. Jake leaning on the Porsche at the end is one of Misty’s most swoon worthy moments on screen (forget you read that if you haven’t seen movie yet!).

Adventure

The Beach 

Backpackers Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), Etienne (Guillaume Canet) and Francois (Virginie Ledoyen) head to Thailand in search of adventure and paradise – but not all is as it seems. “This movie makes me want to go travelling and never come back,” shares Mollie. “Such a great soundtrack, All Saint’s Pure Shores is one of my all-time favourite songs and the backdrop for the scene where this song is played is just so beautiful. If you’re looking for an adventure movie with beautiful scenery and a bit of a dark twist, all topped with a little romance, then you’ll love it.”

The Beach (2000) Directed by Danny Boyle Shown: Leonardo DiCaprio (as Richard)

Animation 

The Incredibles

Bob and Helen Parr hide a secret – they’re actually married superheroes Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Hunter) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter). When a crazy robot threatens trouble, Mr. Incredible must come to his family’s rescue. Misty’s favourite animated movie; “I love the notes of adult humour but it’s still kid-friendly” she says.

Monsters University

If you ever wondered how factory workers Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan (James Goodman) met, then this is the movie for you. Witty and, according to Aasiyah, “One of the few prequels which is as good as (or maybe even better!) than the original”. 

If you loved this story you will also love our story on Pocket Aromatherapy for on-the-go comfort here

They say that giving is sweeter than receiving, so what will some of our favourite women be giving to others this holiday season? Read on for ‘give list’ inspo aplenty…

It’s been…a year. Whether you’re celebrating the holidays with loved ones in person or online, or treating your closest family and friends, given the tough times we have endured in the unarguably seminal 12 months that have been 2020, it is likely to be imbued with even more significance than normal. Looking after ourselves and those we love has become top priority and appreciating the little things is a habit that most of us have cultivated at one point or another as we’ve contended with lockdowns, social distancing and the general ravages of a global pandemic. 

As we approach the holidays with hope on the horizon (*raises a glass to science*), we may be looking to splash out on something special to spark a whole lot of joy or simply be in search of something small and meaningful to tuck into someone’s stocking to let them know you’re thinking of them. From tried and tested wellbeing wonders to 24/7 flowers and stationery that’ll convince you to step away from the Whatsapp chat, here’s your gift list starter for ten according to women we love….

Misty Reich, Founder of 35 Thousand

Well Behave Women Seldom Make History: Herstory Museum A5 Journal, £12.99

“This beautiful Journal has my favourite quote “Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History” on it. I bought this Herstory Museum version for some girlfriends and I love that it is elegant but has a wink of rebellion and reminder to make some good trouble;)”

Buy here

Oura Personal Health Tracking Advice, 419 Euros/ $515

 “This is a splurge-worthy fitness tracker.  I have worn all the fitness tracking devices and watches, and if they are attractive they aren’t terribly accurate and vice versa.  This ring is tiny (it weighs less than 6 grams), comes in different metals, is well researched and highly accurate.  It measures Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability, Sleep, Activity and Temperature.”

Buy here 

Read Misty’s article ‘The Books that changed my head, heart, leadership and life’ here

Susannah Taylor, Editorial Director, 35 Thousand

Neom’s Perfect Peace Pod Starter Pack, £100/ $134

“My Neom Wellbeing Pod has kept me calm throughout the whole of 2020. It’s a beautiful-looking aromatherapy diffuser that you add essential oils to, filling your house with mood-lifting scent. Since we are spending so much time at home, it would make the perfect gift for anyone no matter their age  – I know some people who use it in their children’s bedrooms to get them to sleep.”

Buy here

The Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen, £20/ $27

“We are so enveloped in our digital world that I want to celebrate the joys of hand written notes. There is nothing like a proper fountain pen to write with, (and to remember how to write instead of using a keyboard!). I bought one of these Kaweco pens at the small independently owned shop Choosing Keeping in London and it is incredibly smooth and makes writing a joy. Perfect if you are journaling too.”

Buy here

Read Susannah’s guide ‘How to hack your own motivation’ here

Rae Feather, entrepreneur and founder of clothing brand Rae Feather

Alighieri The Solitary Tear Pearl and 24kt Gold-Plated Necklace, £185/$229

“2020 has been a year of great loss for so many of us in so many different ways. This necklace is not only incredibly beautiful in itself but it conveys a very poignant meaning.”

Buy here

Comfort & Joy Hamper by Rae Feather, POA

“A personally curated gift hamper is thoughtful and let’s face it, we all deserve some comfort and joy! Mine would feature my organic harem pant sweatshirt, monogrammed slippers and 100% lambswool throw and one of our new soya candles.”

Buy here 

Read Rae’s How She Carries on interview in the midst of lockdown here

Ruby Hammer MBE, global makeup artist and brand founder

Aromatherapy Associates Moments to Treasure, £225/$292

“I’d love to give someone a complete aromatherapy kit in the form of this super duper Christmas selection. I adore all of this brand’s blends and this brings together everything that you could possibly wish for when it comes to relaxation. It’s perfect for your right-hand woman.” 

Buy here

Ruby Hammer Forever Foot File, £22

“This would make for a useful present to facilitate at-home pedis and it’s not something that someone would necessarily buy themselves. It’s a great little tool to maintain your feet. I really like to look after myself from head-to-toe when time allows and this is an absolute essential for doing so. It also looks chic in the bathroom and will last forever – it’s far from a throwaway stocking filler.” 

Buy here

Ruby tells us how to go from ZZZz’s to a Zoom-ready face super fast here

Trish McEvoy, Makeup artist and founder of Trish McEvoy cosmetics

Dear Annabelle Stationery, sets from $60

“Now more than ever I think that we’re all recognising the importance of staying connected. Sending and receiving handwritten notes is one of my greatest joys, even more so when using beautiful stationary. Dear Annabelle is playful, elegant and so thoughtfully hand-crafted – a true pleasure to send, and receive! 

Buy here 

Trish McEvoy No 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk Super Enriched Hand and Body Cream, £39/$60

“This is ultra-hydrating, velvety-soft and deliciously scented. It’s the perfect gift to inspire those special moments of self-care and relaxation.”

Buy here

Read about how Trish managed her business in the midst of the Corona Crisis here

Karen Cummings-Palmer, integrative wellbeing and beauty consultant and founder of 79 Lux

OG Wellbeing Omega 3, from £29.99 

“I’d put this in someone’s stocking because this year has proved that health is the ultimate wealth (for a more substantial gift I’d buy a year’s subscription!). Og Wellbeing Omega 3 is a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps to counterbalance some of the damaging effects of stress on the body as well as support hair skin and nails for a beauty boost from the inside out.”

Buy here 

79 Lux Golden Oil, £68

“This body oil is deeply rejuvenating and rich in frankincense which not only reminds me of Christmas but is known to support immunity, The gold in the formula also imparts a subtle ‘lit from within’ luminosity all-over.”

Buy here

Read Karen Cummings-Palmer’s ‘How She Carries On’ article about managing her skincare brand and how she survived 2020 here

Nicola Elliott, founder of Neom Organics

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, £10.99

“I love gifting books and The Daily Stoic is a great choice for anyone who would appreciate a little philosophy each day. I read mine before bed most nights.”

Buy here

Neom Real Luxury Candle, £32/$36.50

“I developed this fragrance way back in 2005 to help with my own anxiety and it’s become a Neom classic – it’s used by anyone who wants to create an oasis of calm in their home or gift a little bit of zen to their friends! It’s chock full of 24 essential oils – I call it the cashmere blanket of our collection.”

Buy here 

Read about how Nicola survived personally and professionally during the Corona Crisis here

WHITNEY BROMBERG-HAWKINGS, FOUNDER OF FLOWERBX

Rae Feather Monogrammed Slippers, from £90/$120

“Wearing a pair of these is like walking on Heaven, yet somehow they also make you feel as though you can get away with wearing them as ‘house shoes’. Rae helps to navigate those kinds of wardrobe boundaries in style. I think that giving a gift that incorporates both comfort and style is especially relevant this year.”

Buy here

Flower Subscription from FLOWERBX, from £40/ $54 per delivery

“Flowers have a unique ability to convey love, evoke emotion and create connection, all of which are sentiments that we’re especially craving at the moment.”

Buy here  

Read about Whitney’s wardrobe, work ethic and wisdom here

Bobbi Brown, former makeup artist and founder of wellbeing brand EVOLUTION_18

Fairholme Candles, from £9.50 for a pair

“I’m excited to give Tony Jack’s new Fairholme hand-dipped candles this year. They’re really luxurious and the perfect addition to an at-home dinner table, especially if you’re looking for ways to make nights-in feel more special during lockdown or while restrictions are still in place.”

Buy here

Evolution_18 Beauty Blend £25/$24

“This is my go-to product for feeling my best. Right now, it’s more important than ever to keep healthy routines going .This powder is packed with over 30 fruits and vegetables plus collagen peptides, not to mention the fact that it’s delicious. I love adding it to my yogurt for a power-packed breakfast.” 

Buy here

Read about how Bobbi managed her wellbeing and business in 2020 here

Cher Webb, fashion, beauty and red carpet makeup artist

A year’s Spotify Premium subscription, from £9.99/$9.99

“I’ve really cherished my Spotify Premium subscription this year – it’s gotten me through more than one lockdown, that’s for sure! My Spotify Unwrapped was quite the journey so the first gift that comes to mind this year would be sharing that with someone who doesn’t already have it.”

Buy here

Maison Margiela Replica Memory Box, £30/$35

“Spritzing on a favourite fragrance has really acted as a daily fix for me during 2020. I love how fragrance can instantly transport you back to a certain time in your life and it’s such an effective mood lifter. Fragrance always makes for a thoughtful gift and I love the idea of discovering a new scent as a fresh start to the new year. 

“A fragrance discovery kit will allow the recipient to find their new signature scent – my favourite sets are by Maison Margiela and Atelier Cologne. Each kit includes the most popular fragrances within their respective incredible portfolios so you can really get to know your scent preferences.”

Buy here

Read Cher Webb’s guide to managing life on the go (plus some top beauty tips) here

To mask or not to mask? That has seemingly been one of many pandemic related questions debated by leaders in both the UK and the US over the past few months. And if we are to wear one, which are the best protective face masks to buy?

The World Health Organisation issued new guidelines on 5 June recommending that governments ask citizens to wear face coverings in public areas, while areas of the world affected by the 2003 SARS outbreak in particular were quick to adopt face mask wearing as standard. Just ten countries officially advocated wearing a face mask in public at the outset of global coronavirus lockdowns in March – now over 130 countries and 20 US states and counting require face coverings to be worn in situations when social distancing is difficult. Young children and those with certain medical conditions that make wearing a mask challenging are exempt. 

If you’re wondering where it’s necessary to mask up, pharmacist Parvinder Sagoo has quite the checklist:

“Wearing a mask is most important in areas that are inside, closed off or where you will be in close proximity to others. This is hospitals, pharmacies, shops, cafés, public transport, taxis, cinemas, salons, nail bars, skin clinics, spas and other confined spaces where you could put yourself and others at risk.”

Add to this the fact that masks are now mandatory in many areas of the UK in shops, supermarkets and on public transport, with fines of up to £100 issued to those who fail to comply, and you’re going to need to be grabbing a mask alongside your wallet and keys on the regular. Mandates on face masks differ in the US from state to state but you’re looking at a fine of up to $5000 or a year in prison if you skip the face covering in Hawaii, for one. Better safe than sorry on every count.  

While no mask can make you invincible, fabric, fit and function can vastly impact on how effective a face mask really is. Surgical masks and respirators (the tightly sealed ‘filtration’ masks that need to be fit tested to the wearer) are in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare staff and key workers – if you find a mask described as ‘medical’, don’t buy it. So, what should we buy instead? 

At the bottom of the pile are paper masks according to Sagoo:

“The flimsy blue paper masks you see do act to protect immediate respiratory droplets but when you look closely you can see that they are not ideal for ensuring complete protection as they are rectangular in size and have gaps and gaping holes at the side and by the nose.

“These types of masks are cheap and while they do offer some protection they’re not really suitable for stopping the transmission of virus particles.”

What’s more, these disposable masks contribute significantly to landfill waste, so unless you’re required to wear them for work it’s better to opt for a reusable face mask. If you’re questioning whether a swathe of Liberty or leopard print fabric stands up to pathogenic invaders as well as sartorial scrutiny, Dr Aragona Giuseppe, GP and medical advisor at Prescription Doctor, affirms that basic cloth masks are indeed effective, but she has some pointers before you bulk buy. 

Like an onion or well-developed personality, your mask needs layers – ideally three in line with many government guidelines. Dr Giuseppe also advises opting for a mask “with a filter in order to filtrate bacteria and dust that can become trapped in the mask”. Many are sold with filters but you can buy them separately and slip them between the layers of your mask for cleaner airflow. 

As for fabric, cotton is Dr Giuseppe’s day to day choice as it is breathable and soft against the skin. (If they aren’t, they can cause skin irritation and potential acne as shown in our article Behind the Mask and can withstand being washed at high temperatures – you’ll need to wash your mask at a temperature of “at least 60ºC/ 140ºF in order destroy coronavirus particles that could potentially cause infection.” 

Synthetic materials are generally less effective than natural fabrics in terms of providing a barrier for virus particles, plus they tend to shrink or become misshapen when washed at high temperatures.    

Speaking of shape, Dr Giuseppe stresses that your mask should be snug to keep out the bugs:

“To ensure full protection your mask needs to be large enough to cover both your mouth and nose comfortably. It needs to be tight enough around your face that there are no gaps where potential particles could enter or leave but not so tight that it is sore on the skin.”

It seems that finding the right mask is quite the Goldilocks endeavour, which is why we’ve road tested a variety of styles, materials and fits to see what sticks. 

The ‘won’t fog up your glasses’ one

ISKO Vital+ masks, £16.11 for five, have a bendable nose clip that helps to seal the mask to your face more effectively, minimising ‘leaks’ and helping to prevent glasses from steaming up. Made from organic cotton interweaved with an antimicrobial polymer to keep bacteria and odour at bay, the four-layered mask is available in three sizes (in hindsight I should have gone for a ‘small’) and lasts for up to 30 washes. The comfy ear elastics are coated in soft cotton, so there’s no behind the ear chafing. 

Writer Anna Lao-Kaim in her Isko mask
Writer Anna Lao-Kaim in her Isko mask
The hot weather one 

Wearing face masks while it’s muggy is especially unpleasant: enter the light but mighty Ally mask, £15. The mask is KN95 accredited, meaning that it has been proven to block up to 95% of airborne particles, yet its ‘high-density’ four layered fabric feels like one of the lightest of the bunch. It has a ‘wipe clean’ outer layer that’s easy to sluice with alcohol spray or hand sanitizer on the go and it can be washed at temperatures up to 80ºC/180ºF. The ergonomic fit is ideal for ‘ski jump’ noses such as mine too. 

Even better, buy the HEROES x Ally mask and all profits will be donated to the HEROES charity, a support lifeline founded by NHS workers, for NHS workers. Each regular mask purchased also includes a £2 donation to HEROES. 

The linen one 

On the subject of accommodating your schnoz, Swedish brand Plümo quite literally excels in this area – the concertinaed shape is less claustrophobic than ‘flat’ face masks. The four layered hardy organic linen mask, £10, is naturally antibacterial and this one was the most breathable of them all. Most likely for this reason I also found it to be the most comfortable to wear for long periods of time. If you choose to add one to your bulging face mask wardrobe, the brand will donate to NHS Charities Together to support NHS staff and volunteers. 

The silk one 

Silk on the outside, cotton on the inside, The Fold’s Florence face mask is on the minimalist side in terms of bells and whistles but you can easily add a filter to the pocket at the front to improve efficiency. Each pack, £30, contains a printed mask and a plain mask so you can adapt your face covering to your vibe on any given day, with £15 of each sale donated to Smart Works charity. 

best protective face masks the fold's florence face mask
The Fold’s Florence mask
The ‘underwear’ one 

A cursory Google search reveals that underwear manufacturers are leading the pack when it comes to face mask production. Given that so many of us have abandoned our bras during lockdown, it’s probably a shrewd move. 

High-end hosiery brand Falke’s fleece-lined face mask, £15 for two, has a nose clip for a secure fit and a moisture-repellent outer layer to keep your mask clean and dry (masks need to be replaced and washed as soon as they become damp to prevent bacteria multiplying). While there’s no pocket for a filter, the polypropylene material helps to repel external droplets while containing your own respiratory droplets. Just a heads up that the ear hooks are also pretty tight, which is a plus for securing the mask in place but you may need to give the old lugs a break if you’re wearing the mask for a long time. 

The picnic one 

Gingham may have been a key SS20 trend, but given that we’ve all been in our joggers since March it’s most likely getting the most significant exposure in the guise of facial coverings rather than couture. Bridesmaids dress brand Rewritten began making masks for friends and family at the beginning of the pandemic before pivoting their business to make non-medical grade masks for customers with all profits donated to NHS charities. 

A set of five cotton masks is £44 and should last you for months – they’re sturdy and wash well. Ties can be looped around your ears or secured to the back of your head to allow you to fit the mask more easily to your face shape, although I’d advise doing this before you leave the house for a faff-free experience. There’s no pocket for a filter but the material is tightly woven to minimise particle leakage. 

The sporty one

Californian cycling company Eliel has produced a line of “fun facade” masks – each design is unique and quirky. Made with breathable, moisture-wicking material that’s ideal for cycling or running, these masks will last you for as long as the pandemic does — and maybe for long after. The brand manufactures its face masks in a San Diego factory, donating masks to local healthcare providers too. 

With an excellently snug fit around the mouth and nose, you’ll feel comfortable yet still able to breathe as you climb those hills, whether you’re on your bike or on your feet. Even better, users can insert a dust filter between the layers of fabric for extra protection. Masks come in a pack of five or six too so you’ll never be caught short between washes, with a five pack starting at $60.

The Eliel face mask

And finally….

If you find wearing a mask very uncomfortable or claustrophobic then we can highly recommend adding a few drops of peppermint oil onto the filter to help you breathe easier or make the whole process a little more pleasant. Peppermint oil is energising but others we recommend are Vetiver for its calming properties, Rose for when you need to balance your emotions and Bergamot for a fresh, zesty scent that is often used in aromatherapy for helping with anxiety.

As recent events have shown, anything can happen when we least expect it. Ayesha Muttucumaru lists the ten ways to prepare yourself before you leave home in a pre-travel checklist.

What’s on your travel checklist? For most of us, it’s what clothes to take, the toiletries we’re going to attempt to squeeze into our 20cm x 20cm bag and the snacks to pick up from duty-free to see us through the flight. The lead-up to a trip can be stressful and in amongst all the planning and packing, it isn’t surprising that the things that could help us in a crisis can slip through the cracks

As recent events have shown us, anything can happen while we’re away. And if we don’t take the right precautions before we leave, it could leave us without a safety net if there’s an emergency. Worried that you may have forgotten something? We’ve got you covered. Here’s your list of essential pre-trip checks to help your travels go as smoothly as possible.  

Check that your passport is valid – and that you have copies

Carrying an out-of-date passport could bring an abrupt end to your travels before they’ve even begun. What’s more, some countries require that your passport be valid for six months after the date you travel and have two or more blank pages, making the need to keep regular tabs on yours and your family’s passports that much more important.

To protect yourself in the event that your passport gets lost, stolen or damaged while you’re away, make a note of your passport number and take two photocopies – leave one with friends or family at home in case of an emergency and take one with you. Make sure not to store the copy in the same bag as your passport though so that if that bag gets stolen or misplaced, you’ll still have something to show your consulate, embassy or high commission to prove your citizenship.

Check that you have your essential documents

These include the entry requirements for the country that you’re travelling to such as the correct visas should they be necessary.

If you’re planning on driving abroad, research the driving requirements and laws of the country that you’re travelling to and whether you need to apply for an international driving permit (IDP). Also check what level of cover your insurance policy provides and, if applicable, that your driving licence is valid. If it’s out of date, you’ll have to allow enough time to get it renewed.

Thirdly, take details of your insurance policy with you as well as your policy number and the contact number provided by your insurer in case you need them in an emergency. 

Check the safety of the country you’re travelling ro

As this can change in the weeks and months after booking your trip, it’s important to keep up to date. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) international travel and health page  for instance, provides useful information on coronavirus and other diseases.  

Other useful resources include your home country’s government branch that deals with the interests of citizens overseas, such as the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)  and the US’ Bureau of Consular Affairs.  They will help you to find out more about topics such as your destination’s coronavirus status, entry restrictions and security alerts. It’s also useful to follow them on Twitter and Facebook too and some even allow you to sign up for email alerts.

Further valuable crisis control includes leaving details of your trip, itinerary, contact information and copies of your insurance policy with a trusted family member or friend, and considering sending your phone’s IMEI number (a number that’s unique to the device) to them too, so that they can block or locate your phone in an emergency. 

Check that your travel insurance cover meets your needs

Carefully read through your insurance documents before you leave to ensure that you’re covered for everything that you need, to check if your excesses are still suitable and to see if your insurer has to be made aware of any updates. This could include any changes to your health since taking the policy out or any activities or sports that you’re planning on doing while away (as you may need specific top-up cover).

It’s particularly important to be aware of the circumstances where cancellation cover would be provided. Keep checking government advice for the country that you’re visiting, because if you choose to still travel against their advice, it is likely to invalidate your cover. Contact your insurer if you are uncertain of any aspect of your policy. 

Check that you’ve got all recommended vaccinations and a supply of medications

Seek out advice about vaccinations from your health practitioner at least eight weeks before you’re set to travel. This is because some require a number of doses (such as rabies) or need to be given well in advance of your departure date in order to allow your body time to reach the requisite level of immunity. Your practitioner will also be able to advise on wider travel health and if you need to take malaria tablets too. 

To avoid last minute panic, it could be worth creating an at-home record of your vaccinations so that you can keep an eye on the ones that are about to run out and keeping a separate fund to cover costs should you need to pay for any of them.

Also, if you’re on any prescription medication, book in with your doctor to ensure that you have enough to take with you for the duration of your trip and to see you through any unexpected delays or if your luggage gets lost. Take it in its original pharmacy packaging, along with a copy of your prescription and a letter from your prescriber. Bear in mind though, that you may need to check with your destination’s embassy before you leave that you’re able to bring in certain medications too.

Finally, divide your medication between your hand and hold luggage to ensure that you have an emergency supply should either get stolen or lost. Side note: it’s also worth packing a few essential toiletries and spare clothes in your hand luggage too in case of an emergency.

Check what the medical facilities are at your accommodation 

Traveller’s diarrhoea, food poisoning, sunburn and now, coronavirus – there are a number of ways that we can fall ill on holiday. Check the travel advice issued by your government for your destination so that you can take appropriate precautions, and if possible, call your accommodation ahead of your trip to find out what on-site facilities are available to deal with a medical emergency or if someone staying there starts displaying coronavirus symptoms. The situation surrounding coronavirus is constantly changing, so keep checking your government’s coronavirus travel advice. If you have symptoms while away, you may have to be quarantined in your hotel room for 14 days, moved into quarantine facilities or even hospitalised. 

Also take a basic first aid kit with you containing: antiseptic, painkillers, wound-cleaning gauze, sterile dressings, bandage tape, plasters, tweezers, scissors, thermometer, antihistamines, sunburn treatment, insect repellent, insect bite treatment, prescribed medications and condoms. Check everything is in date.

Add extras to suit where you’re going. In our experience, it is worth taking hand sanitiser (containing 60 per cent alcohol or more), anti-diarrhoea medication and rehydration sachets that can help replenish minerals and fluids when you’re recovering from a fever or food poisoning.

Check that you have an emergency fund and a mixture of payment methods

Think cash and a prepaid currency card and/or specialist travel credit card. This will ensure that you aren’t left empty handed should one of them get lost or stolen while you’re away. Also have extra funds set aside to cover unexpected travel delays or emergencies.

A specialist travel credit card serves as a particularly handy way to avoid fees while also providing great exchange rates. A prepaid currency card allows you to load a certain amount of money onto it before you leave, thereby allowing you to budget more efficiently. Many allow you to lock in a rate too in case you’re concerned about currency fluctuations. Both are designed to help you avoid the huge hidden transaction charges that you’d have to pay if you were to use your home cards abroad. Should you choose to use your home cards though, let your banks and/or credit companies know before you leave to ensure that they don’t get rejected when you’re away.

Check your phone works abroad

Call up your service provider before you leave to confirm that there won’t be any problems with your connection at your destination. They’ll also be able to discuss tariffs and if another plan might be more economic for your trip to help you avoid astronomical charges. 

If you’re able to access WIFI easily though, you can avoid these costs by using an app such as Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. So make sure that you have them downloaded before you go.

Check your list of emergency contacts is up-to-date

On the subject of useful things to have on your phone, find and add the contact details of the consulate, embassy or high commission at your destination so that you have them to hand in an emergency. Also make a note of the numbers to call should your phone or cards get stolen and the contact details of your airline or tour operator and insurer. Write the list down as well in case (and sorry to sound pessimistic here!) your phone gets stolen. 

Check you’re leaving your home safe and secure

The bump back to reality is hard enough without returning to find that your house has been broken into or damaged while you’ve been away. Create the illusion that someone is home by buying timing switches for your lights that can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times of the day. To remove a tell-tale pile of post on your doormat (if visible), ask a neighbour, friend or family member to drop by and pick it up a few times a week.

If however, you don’t feel comfortable sharing your key with someone else, it could be worth checking with your mail service to see if they have any secure holding options available. For example, in the UK you can sign up to the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service  which will hold your mail and then return it to you once you’re back. Prices range from 10 days for £15 to 100 days for £75, but bear in mind that it takes five days to set up.

Check all doors and windows are locked, any extra sets of keys under a doormat or flower pot are brought inside and any grocery deliveries are cancelled. Finally, make sure that all appliances except your fridge/freezer are turned off at the socket to reduce the fire risk and keep holiday ‘did I leave my straighteners off?’ panic to a minimum. It’ll also save you money too. 

Main image: Unsplash.com

Instagram: @ayesha_muttu 

Twitter: @ayesha_muttu 

We’re increasingly looking beyond the beauty stash to prioritise having wellbeing handbag essentials to hand – here’s what you really need and why, by Anna Lao Kaim

A capsule make-up collection, phone and house keys – the holy trinity of handbag must-haves for most of us, but the current global pandemic has led many to reassess the ‘critical’ kit that we cart around. From hand sanitiser to vital packets of tissues to catch sniffles, our handbag staples have evolved of late from simply a standby nude lipstick plus keep-cup combo. Health fundamentals have often been overlooked in favour of more glamorous accessories but now that staying well is particularly at the forefront of our minds, what should we carry on the daily? Here’s your wellbeing starter for ten…

The hygiene heroes

Pharmacist Thorrun Govind stresses that hand sanitiser supplies should be primarily reserved for healthcare workers – if you quite literally can’t get your hands on any, don’t panic. Govind emphasises that “Hand sanitiser is no substitute for properly washing your hands with regular soap and water” (you know the “happy birthday” drill). Essentially, it’s an added extra and many people that are using it aren’t getting the full benefits according to Govind:

“Hand sanitiser can help to limit the spread of germs and viruses to some degree but just dabbing it onto your hands will make no difference – you need to really rub it in (between fingers and around the nail bed) for it to be in any way effective.”

Additionally, hand sanitiser needs to have an alcohol content of at least 60% to guard against the spread of bacteria and viruses so a homemade vodka cocktail for your hands simply isn’t feasible. Look for the highest alcohol content available and tuck an emollient rich hand cream in your bag too to combat chapping – alcohol has a dehydrating effect on skin from the outside as well as the inside.

One important ‘healthy handbag’ factor to consider is how often you actually clean it. Govind recommends giving your bag a thorough sluice with antibacterial spray or wipes and lifting out any artificial compartments in bags to give them a good wash. Clearly if your bag is a Birkin you may not wish to give it a Dettol bath – specialist handbag cleaning services such as The Handbag Spa and The Restory can do the dirty work for you.

The doctor’s bag

While a moveable pharmacy isn’t necessary, Govind highlights that there are a few key items we should ideally have in stock.

Pain relief

Paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen are the big hitters. In terms of treating coronavirus symptoms, Govind states that pharmacists are currently being advised to recommend paracetamol over non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen as a precautionary measure. Some evidence links ibuprofen to more severe respiratory illness symptoms but this association is yet to be verified – NHS advice advocates taking paracetamol to reduce pain and bring down a fever until we know more. That said, it’s important not to stop taking ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory painkillers if you’ve been prescribed them by your doctor.

On-the-spot solutions

Keeping an antihistamine in your bag isn’t just handy as we go into hayfever season – a tablet can help to reduce the effects of everything from pet allergies to reactions caused by allergens in alcoholic drinks (wine flu really is a thing). Antihistamine creams on the other hand can bring down external reactions, although Govind notes that oral antihistamines are usually the most effective option.

Also on the ‘good to have’ list are oral rehydration salts to speed recovery if you’ve had episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting (in which case keep yourself and your handbag at home until you’ve fully recovered), an eyewash solution to rinse away grit, pollen and dust and an antiseptic cream to soothe, heal and disinfect everything from grazes to wounds to unwelcome spots. 

Tools of the trade

On Govind’s handbag hitlist are a small thermometer, clean tweezers and plasters (depending on your ‘new shoe’ status, blister plasters may prove useful too).

The period products

With the tampon tax finally being scrapped in the UK in 2021 (we’re still waiting on 33 states to do the same in the US) the world is slowly coming around to the fact that period products are in fact not luxury items – they’re handbag essentials for a large number of us. With that in mind, for those that can afford to, it makes sense to opt for the most eco-friendly period products on the market.

Regular tampons and pads typically have a 90% plastic content but the sustainable period product market has seen a boom in compostable, reusable and organic innovations that not only meet your monthly needs but are also made for women, by women. Groundbreakers include Hey Girls, a UK company producing 100% organic tampons with biodegradable applicators made from sugar cane. For every period product purchased, the founders give a box to a girl or woman from a low-income family. Seventh Generation runs a similar initiative in the US by quite literally absorbing tampon tax for every packet sold and donating it to period care non-profits. Other bright, bold, non-body shaming and environmentally friendly brands to bookmark include Flo (available in the US and the UK) Ohne in the UK and L. in the US, all of which include a social enterprise benefit whenever you buy. In short, from hereon you’ll be brandishing a tampon from your purse with pride – this stuff has stayed hidden in there for far too long.

Follow Anna @instagram

Main image credits: Smythson Portobello Notebook, and the Gigi Cross-Body Bag from aurora-london.com

In an ideal world we would all be able to fly first class and get eight hours of sleep before we reach our destination. The reality? We are sat bolt upright for 8 hours whilst we repeatedly jolt awake with an armrest in our backs and our necks welded to our shoulders. However there is help. There are now a host of comfort-inducing travel pillows available that might take the sting out of long haul flights and save your neck at the same time. 

Here are our favourite travel pillows: 

The Trtle Travel pillow 

This award-winning piece of kit provides proper technical neck support that’s ergonomically shaped into the curve of your neck and chin and it acts almost like you’re resting on an invisible hand.  All wrapped in a hypoallergenic fleece lining , it wraps around your neck like a scarf in order to support your head and neck in a comfortable position when sleeping. Half the weight of traditional U-shaped neck pillows, it is also small enough to fit into your hand luggage. At $30.85 it’s a small price to pay for a sleep on the go. Go to uk.trtltravel.com or amazon.com 

The Kallysleep Travel pillow 

If you’ve ever tried a memory foam mattress, you will understand how this pillow supports and moulds itself around your body. The Travel Memory Foam Pillow designed by Kally Sleep (who specialise in sleep related problems and pillows) has an ergonomic design, with a soft, jersey cover.  Designed to support around the chin, neck and base of the head, it wraps around firmly and tucks into itself around the front of your neck providing 360 degree softness and support in cramped flying conditions. It also rolls up into a ball and comes in its own bag to make transportation easier $37.08 www.kallysleep.com 

good travel pillows kally sleep
Kally Sleep Travel Pillow
Huzi Inifinity Pillow 

Described as ‘the best travel pillow ever made’, the Huzi infinity pillow is a long snake-like looped pillow (hence the word Infinity). It’s this shape that makes it multi-functional: you can wrap it around your neck a few times like a scarf to fully support your head and neck (no other support required); you can contort it to fit any space if you are next to the window on plane; you can wrap it around yourself to support your back and you can even twist it around your ears and eyes to cancel noise and light.  $43.27 www.infinitypillow.co 

good travel pillows huzi infinity
The Huzi Infinity Pillow
The Thermarest Down Pillow 

Thermarest specialise in sleep enhancing products for everyone from car campers to international travellers. With pillow foam sourced from upcycled foam from some of their other products, the result is a filling that packs up really small yet expands big and then rolls away very tightly to tuck into your hand luggage. Perfect for planes, trains or camping under the stars, it can also be used as a proper pillow if you don’t like the look of the ones your hotel has to offer. With various washable pillow covers to choose from it is also available in small (12 x 18”), medium (14 x 18”) and large (16 x 23”) and x large (16.5 x 27”). $19.47-$55.64 Amazon.com 

The environmentally friendly Thermarest travel Pillow
The environmentally friendly Thermarest Pillow
The J Pillow 

Awarded British Invention of the Year, the J Pillow is the brainchild of Gemma Jensen a former flight attendant who sure knows a thing or two about sleeping on the go. Filled with 3D polyester fibre, it’s supportive but soft –  the top of the J wraps around your neck or head depending on how or where you are resting  – whilst the downstroke of the J supports down the neck and wraps under your chin . Covered in soft, velveteen, washable material, it can be used anywhere from planes to reading in bed. With its own bag and a loop fastener it can also be attached to your luggage so won’t risk losing it on the go. $35.79  Jpillow.co.uk