Favourite finds for May 19


The Handmade Soap Company’s mission is to share their passion ‘To bring pure, heartfelt joy to your everyday, so even the small things feel precious’. They started with a love of natural ingredients and a big pot in their kitchen. Their products are made from coconut, vegetables, and scented with essential oils. No nasties, no parabens, no products are tested on animals, and their packaging is both beautiful and sustainably sourced.

I’ve bought The Handmade Soap Company products as gifts many time. Their company ethos of ‘straight from nature’ appeals to my ambition to keep life simple and natural. I spend ages testing and smelling their divine samples in the shops, but I have never bought them for myself. I finally found myself at the receiving end of a gift when I got a lovely surprise delivery of goodies from Holly Kennedy creator of Happy Magazine.

My favourites are the calming and relaxing Lemongrass & Cedarwood range and the uplifting and soothing Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme & Mint. Like every good essential oil blend they include top notes, middle notes and base notes to their ranges which they highlight on their website for the essential oil fans out there.

The Handmade Soap Company are widely available, you’ll find them in Avoca, Kilkenny Shop and all good gift shops. You can also shop their full range of soaps, creams and diffusers direct from from their website, they also ship internationally.

The Irish Balance Podcast is hosted by Dr Ciara Kelly, an Irish medical doctor and health & wellness blogger. She is currently following her passion to help people understand how lifestyle affects their health by completing her Masters in Public Health & Nutrition. Wellness is about all the choices we make and the impact these choices have on our overall health. Ciara’s mission, through her podcast, blog and social media, is to simplify the methods for finding wellness and explore what balance is to each individual. Her message is clear and consistent across all her platforms, with a realistic, balanced and non extreme approach to sustainable wellness. It is a refreshing break from the often mixed messages we receive when it comes to health and diet advice. I would recommend you start with the most recent episodes of the podcast and happily work your way back to the start. She has an incredible bank of knowledge in all areas of wellness, no matter what your interpretation of a happy and healthy life is there will be plenty for you to tap into and learn with this podcast.

The Irish Balance Podcast is available on iTunes and Podbean. You can also follow Ciara inspirational content on her website or on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Purpose Foods cropped up in my Instagram feed one day and as a previous packaging designer I was intrigued by their brave white minimalist packaging. Reading further, what struck me as different from other snack bars was their focus on prebiotic fibre to feed the good bacteria in our guts and promote healthy digestion. I am a big fan of fibre and feel its importance has been overshadowed by the protein obsession for years. Their three high fibre, vegan, energy & protein bars are – ‘Brekkie on the go’ packed with vitamins and minerals; ‘Post gym fix’ high in plant based protein; and ‘Crave kicker’ fibre rich craving cruncher. But don’t let their names limit you, they work for me at anytime of the day!

The ingredient list on most energy bars can be a minefield of unidentifiable substances. Purpose Foods ingredients are all natural and carefully selected with a ‘nothing to hide’ policy. Each bar has a small list of around six ingredients, chosen for a specific purpose and health benefit. You can read more about how they select their ingredient on their website.

I ordered a starter pack of mixed of the three flavours which arrived in a matter of days. You can order them direct from their website. As of yet I haven’t spotted them in the local health stores but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. They also have a blog which will be worth keeping an eye on but currently as they are a young company is just starting.

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru