Translated from the French version.
Hi, everyone! Today is the first Thursday of the month which means Sustainable Talk, and I am very happy to have the Amsterdam-based entrepreneur, Victoria from Mango & Salt, answering to all of my questions. She will share with us her well-being tips, her views on “comfortable fashion”, some of her favorite vegetarian recipes, her passion for books, the launch of her book (!) and most importantly, her conception of self-caring, its importance and the strong impact it has on our body, soul and planet.
So sit back, relax with a good cup of herbal tea and enjoy the reading!
Margot: You studied graphic design and you are now a full-time entrepreneur. What made you launch your blog, Mango & Salt?
Victoria: I am blogging since I am a teenager. I first started – probably like everyone – with personal stories of my life as a young lady.
Around 2008, I discovered fashion and interior design blogs. They were such a source of inspiration that I became a keen reader. Those blogs made me want to create my own, and that’s how Mango & Salt was launched in 2009. The current version was born the year after.
At that time, I was studying urbanism, which wasn’t leaving room to express my creativity – I suppose I needed to find a channel of communication to release it. I was also about to leave Paris for Barcelona and live there. I didn’t know anybody, so I guess blogging was a way to stay connected with France and a community.
Margot: On your blog, you share many well-being tips. What is your ritual to feel good on a daily basis?
Victoria: I essentially keep a spirit of self-caring. I try to have enough sleep, to listen to my feelings, to cook healthy and savory meals…
When I am facing a difficult period, I reconnect with what matters the most (wellness, health, my family…). I take time for what feels good for me, like reading, resting, sports… It is not always easy for a perfectionist and stressed individual like me, but I must do it!
There are, indeed, practical tricks that help me go through those kinds of days. I am a big fan of essential oils – like lavender, which relaxes me a lot – and small auto-massages to unwind physical tensions. Soft yoga sessions like Hatha or yin are also a great way for me to relax. And when everything goes wrong, nothing better than taking a break, get out and breathe a little fresh air!
Margot: You always suggest natural/organic cosmetics and makeup products to your readers. What are your current favorite skincare and makeup products?
Victoria: For my face, my favorites are Antipodes skincare products. It’s a New-Zeeland brand with amazing formulations and quality ingredients. A more reachable option is the Magnifica moisturizer from French brand, Sanoflore. I absolutely adore it and it has helped me diminish my acne.
On the make-up side, I am devoted to RMS Beauty products. You just need to apply a small amount to get that magnificent “glowy” effect. They nourish the skin and are easy to apply on. The products are pricey, but they will last you forever!
Finally, for personal hygiene, I only swear by cold-process soaps. They are eco-friendly and very practical. They saved my atopic skin from the cold and dryness. Goodbye Crocodile-like legs!
Margot: On Mango & Salt, you talk about “comfortable fashion”. What does it mean for you? Could you share some of your favorite brands?
Victoria: Comfort is a key aspect of my outfits together with the aesthetic finish and its far-reaching consequences.
For me, to be comfortable in yourself is a huge part of feeling good. It means that you take care of yourself, you develop a kind attention towards your body, and you listen to your feelings. It’s a whole that goes hand in hand with eating well, choosing more natural cosmetics and avoid intoxication.
There is also a part of a rebellion against seduction and appearance diktats imposed to women in today’s society. Wearing comfortable clothes doesn’t mean to slack off; it’s rather the opposite (that’s at least what I am trying to show on the blog!). That’s a way to showcase femininity from another angle and go beyond the mini-skirt/high-heels combo. I like the idea of accepting and giving priority to our real needs rather than just conform ourselves to an image that doesn’t necessarily suit us. When we are at ease, we are ourselves. That authentic feeling is precious.
Comfort is to me one of the criteria to always take into consideration when it comes to sustainable shopping. “Feeding” the fast fashion industry for a piece of clothing in which we don’t necessarily feel good and will most likely not wear a lot is a pity!
I try to link comfort with ethics as much as possible. For instance, I love the collections, The First and La Dolce from the Belgian fashion brand, Made & More, Ekyog garments, or the eco-friendly denim line from Bonobo Jeans. Otherwise, I am a big fan of the loose & soft basics from American Vintage, and the trendy pieces from CLOSE by Monshowroom.
Margot: I know that you love reading and that’s probably why you’ve created a book club for your readers. How important is reading to you in this digital era?
Victoria: As an ultra-connected person, reading is my way to unwind. I read many books a month to escape and for my own knowledge, but also for my own balance. It’s important to take some time for calmer activities, to withdraw ourselves from the frenetic modern lifestyle.
Nowadays we are used to short and instant content immediately swept away by other content and we are used to reading and digesting them in a couple of minutes or even seconds. We are even directly exposed to visual content without choosing it.
On the contrary, diving into a good book means taking the time to discover a story of over a hundred pages. It means escaping this world which constantly dictates the same specific language that gets stuck in our minds. Being able to focus on a story is unique. Today, reading a book is almost impossible for some people because of all the animated distraction around us.
It’s a pity. The value of a long text that has been reworked multiples times, is obviously very different from what a short spontaneous text can offer. We should seek both of these kinds of content.
Green Life Book
Margot: Talking about books… On the 22nd of March, you have launched your first book called, Green Life. What’s inside?
Victoria: Indeed, it was my biggest journey from these past twelve months! Green Life is an inspirational book of recipes and tips to head towards a greener life, which means a healthier, more natural and eco-friendly lifestyle.
It’s mainly about cooking. I share tips and 150 easy and delicious vegetarian recipes for any situations (breakfast, drinks, starters, sweets, shared or to-go meals, or my usual ”meal bowls”).
There is also a small part of “lifestyle” where I suggest some green tips I use on a daily basis in other areas. You will find homemade cosmetic & home product recipes, but also natural wellness pieces of advice such as aromatherapy, auto-massages, yoga, and Pilates.
This book intends to give insights to those seeking to adopt a natural and sustainable lifestyle!
Margot: Could you share with us your three favorite vegetarian meals for this spring?
Margot: To conclude, I would say that Mango & Salt reflects the art of “slow living”. In a nutshell, could you give us some tips and examples to adopt this more harmonious and reasonable lifestyle?
Without denying modern life imperatives, I believe that the slow living lifestyle requests that reconnection with forgotten values like taking the time and having patience over instantaneity; indulgence and sustainability over the performance and number obsession; authenticity over appearance; quality over quantity.
The idea isn’t necessarily to switch to a lifestyle completely opposed to the values of your society. The idea is to find the right balance.
In the western world, I think everything tends to be driven by the way we organize our time and the way we consume:
- Buy fewer but better, according to your values (supporting artisanal fabrication, ethical engagement.) and become conscious consumers.
- Choose, as much as possible, natural and eco-friendly alternatives to reduce our carbon footprint and respect the humans, animals, and nature.
- Take some time for the things that make you feel good, fuel your soul even if there is no immediate benefit (like cooking, reading, doing sports, walking in nature, creative activities…)
- Appreciate the small joys of life (both universal & accessible) and sharpen them on a daily basis (appreciate the sun, cooking, sharing with people we love, discovering new things…).
Margot: Thank you, Victoria, for taking the time to share your green and sustainable journey with us!
Ladies, make sure to follow Victoria on Instagram @mangoandsalt!
See you on May the 4th for the next Sustainable talk Interview!
Everyone, please share your thoughts, comments, and experiences in the box below!