I am a huge fan of independent brands which have some kind of ethical standpoint. The way we choose our products is changing. We are now more interested in the origin of the brands we choose, how the products were made and if anyone was exploited in the process. There are many new, independent and cool brands popping up in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle sectors. As long as the product is to my liking and works well then these are the brands at the top of my wish list.

I have only ever been an occasional beer drinker but since moving to Germany it has become my drink of choice. The stuff here really lives up to the reputation! Recently I was introduced to the Berlin based brand BRLO Craft Beer. Before I attempt to describe the nuances of their beer I would like to give you some background info on what I believe makes this brand truely special.

Ever heard the saying “you reap what you sow” or “you get out of life what you put in”? Well I am a strong believer that the more we share in life the more we will receive in terms of happiness, health and opportunities.

BRLO make beer responsibly and with love, producing in small batches and working mostly with local suppliers who farm their ingredients sustainably. They also give back to their community – they support regional community projects and donate their beer to charitable projects – which literally makes me want to go and spend all my hard earned money on their product – which isn’t the best idea as I can’t function on beer alone even though it sounds kind of fun.

But all this goodness only works when the actual product is very good, so I was eager to get testing. There are three beers to choose from HELLES, PALE ALE & PORTER.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 15.20.58HELLES is the BRLO take on a classic German beer, I could tell it’s well produced because it tastes so fresh. I like to drink this kind of beer at a Summer party or at a BBQ.

PALE ALE is my favourite of the three as it has a unique flavour (maybe fruity, but I’m not sure) that I find really interesting, and tasty. I could drink this beer whenever, wherever.

PORTER is also really good! This is rich and smooth, the sort of beer I would drink with a traditional British roast dinner on a Sunday afternoon.

BRLO is available at places throughout Germany plus The Netherlands and Norway which you can find on the BRLO finder. So why not plan a trip to Berlin and go on a BRLO bar crawl, I know I will.

To find out more about this cool brand visit their website here.

Freshly pressed green juices are so healthy that we should all consider them in our daily routine. In recent years I have become a bit of a juice snob, preferring only organic juice that has been freshly pressed, anything that’s been sitting in a fridge for a few hours will not do. Sometimes I struggle to fit everything into my daily routine and sometimes (or a lot) there just isn’t the time for juicing in the morning. The best compromise I have found is using alkalising powered greens. I simply mix a small scoop of power with a bottle of water, drink it and head out on my merry way.

BENEFITS OF BEING ALKALINE

According to livestrong.com if you have a slight pH fluctuation, and your body becomes more acidic than it should be, your body immediately begins to exhibit symptoms of an imbalance. These symptoms may be considered little things, like a runny nose, fatigue, a skin breakout, or a slight case of irritable bowel syndrome. However, these minor health issues are actually the first sign that your body might be too acidic and needs to reach a more alkaline state. Although exposure to germs and contaminants, stress and other external life factors can cause all of these symptoms too, you are more likely to have clearer skin, better digestion, more energy, and a nose that runs less often when your body is alkaline.

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The UK based company Energise For Life stocks a selection of powered greens that are hard to find, even in health food shops or places like Whole Foods. Young pHorever is my brand of choice which contains Wheatgrass, Kamut Grass and Barley Grass, Alfalfa Leaf, Broccoli, Tomato, Spinach, and Cabbage, combined with 35 other leaves and vegetables known to be highly alkalising.

I also picked up a jar of Raw Reserve from Whole Foods in London because I had been traveling and didn’t have anything with me. This product has the added benefit of 25 billion probiotics in each serving and tastes better then the pH Miracle Greens. Whilst I am a loyal Young pHorever customer I also really like the Raw Reserve so I will definitely recommend both. Even though fresh juicing is king in my opinion the powered greens contain many nutritious grasses and leaves that are difficult to find for juicing, therefor both are a great option.

For more information on living a more alkaline lifestyle visit pH Miracle Living.

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Getting fresh and then staying fresh is never more important than during the Summer months. The products I use need to be effective, stylish and most importantly, non-toxic. It may seem a bit much calling products ‘non-toxic’, surely the use of toxic ingredients in any cosmetic would be illegal? Well, I’m afraid that’s not the case, obviously we aren’t talking about anything that could potentially melt our skin off but many companies formulate with ingredients that are known to be bad for our health. Making the switch to natural or a combination of plant based and healthy chemicals is a no brainer. But finding the alternatives that look right, smell right and work as well as the best of the rest – is slightly more challenging.

Since relocating from London to Germany I have embraced the German culture, from the food to the beer to the many cool brands, whilst more slowly than surely taking on the language. Having discovered the Hamburg based Brooklyn Soap Company I was keen to give it a go. This is a brand founded in 2012 by three guys who were inspired to create the range after their time spent living in Brooklyn. All of the products were formulated specifically for men, using only natural, herbal ingredients that are also vegan and cruelty free. For a while I have been looking for a good natural deodorant, annoyingly the ones I have tried simply haven’t worked and went straight in the trash. So when I saw that the Brooklyn Soap Company carry a natural deodorant in their line of grooming products I decided to try one alongside their body wash which doubles up as a face wash. I had high hopes for the deodorant but from my last experiences I didn’t hold my breath. I’d also like to add that I am one of those people that NEEDS deodorant so I was really happy to discover that this one works, very well.

The body wash is sulphate-free, which I like. About five years ago I ditched products containing sulphates because I find them drying on the skin and scalp. Bear in mind that a sulphate-free product may foam less which can take some getting used to, this product foams nicely and removed the dirt without stripping away the skins natural moisture. Both products smell great and the ingredient list is impressive. The line includes hair and beard care.

The body wash is priced at 24,90€ for 300ml and the deodorant is 17,90€ for 100ml you can buy them from here.

Choosing independent brands is super important to me and Germany has some incredibly innovative and creative entrepreneurs, who in my opinion, are amongst the new generation of brands that are re-educating the market leaders in producing responsible and ethical products that are also really, really good.

If you have any questions then you can leave a comment or tweet me.

BYREDO X INEZ & VINOODH

A couple of years ago I was in Paris for Fashion Week, it was a great trip, visiting my favorite places and catching up with friends. I was in Colette where I came across 1996 by Byredo, this is a brand I like for it’s unique take on fragrance, the presentation, design and packaging are all on point. I wasn’t wearing any cologne so I went right ahead and tested it on myself and throughout the day I received compliments. Whilst I didn’t purchase this product on the spot it was one of those scents I couldn’t forget and I decided to pick up a bottle shortly after.

In the simplest form I will describe this scent as rich and sensual, I wear it in Summer and Winter. I appreciate good quality fragrance and gravitate toward brands such as Frederic Malle and Escentric Molecules. Byredo founder and creative director Ben Gorham created 1996 in collaboration with photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. ‘1996’ was inspired by a photograph of a young girl entitled ‘Kirsten 1996’ taken by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin in that year.

“Opening with the icy, deep green beauty of juniper berries ‘1996’ indeed transports the wearer to another plane and, like the image, combines polar opposites, as the Northern Hemisphere gives way to creamy orris and soft, slightly flirtatious violets.The soul of this fragrance is a warm, almost viscous black amber, it’s deep cognac rapture envelops the wearer and time stands still for just a moment until the journey concludes in the softly-sensual leather and patchouli of the orient.” – Ben Gorham

Ben sums up his fragrance better than I ever could, this is a rich soulful fragrance that feels unique and special whenever I wear it. Next time you’re in a department store look out for a Byredo counter and see for yourself.

Packing light is the most comfortable way to go when traveling. Rifling through your suitcase at the check-in desk does not set the tone for a stylish and relaxing trip. The best situation is hand luggage only, being able to stroll out through the exit instead of waiting at the carosel earns you some extra vacation time.

I picked up my travel-lite secrets from traveling for work, in these situations we all want to be in and out of the airport as fast as possible. Most of us don’t relish the task of packing, these tried and tested tips uncover the secret to traveling light but with style.

TRAVEL WITH HAND LUGGAGE ONLY

The bigger the suitcase the more you put in it, pack smart using a small yet space efficient carry-on (with wheels) and you’re a winner. Department stores offer a selection of small cases that meet airline requirements for hand luggage. Any decent airline will have an on board carry-on allowance of one bag, include a cross strap bag for essentials like passport and wallet, with enough room to add small items from your suitcase such as cosmetics or chargers.

With a 10 year guarantee and worldwide delivery the Kin by John Lewis 2-Wheel 55cm Cabin Suitcase is great value for money at £49/73€.

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WEAR YOUR BIGGEST PIECES IN TRANSIT

I always wear the bulkiest pieces such as shoes, belt or a jacket when I travel, freeing up valuable suitcase space. Wearing your smarter outfit option in transit increases the opportunity of a free upgrade. Never travel with full size cosmetics, either decant or buy travel sizes.

ALWAYS PACK A VERSATILE WARDROBE

Plan each days outfits ahead of time and include versatile pieces that can be worn in different settings. I often pack a cool pair of sandals that can be worn with shorts during the day and again with casual trousers in the evening. Anything monochromatic makes recombining pieces much simpler. If you are happy to splurge on luxuries then take advantage of the hotel’s laundry service, you can wash the essentials to be worn again and leave space for anything new you might pick up along the way.

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Ancient Greek Sandals

GET SMART WITH YOUR TECH

My Apple MacBook Air 13′ weighs in at under 1.5 kg and has all the functionality I need when I’m abroad, for everything else I use my i phone. The Bowers & Wilkins P3 Foldable Headphones have heat sensitive, memory foam pads that mould themselves to the shape of your ears which helps drown out any noise from other passengers during the flight.

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