Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - October 2021 review

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

 

If you're looking for a beauty subscription box where all the products inside are cruelty-free and from natural brands, LoveLula is most definitely the box for you! Delivered every month, October's box is worth £55 and contains all of the following beauty treats for you to discover.

Balm Balm Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm & Muslin Cloth Duo

With Christmas around the corner, this Frankincense-infused Cleansing Balm from Balm Balm is sure to bring some seasonal joy into your skincare routine! With its rich blend of nourishing ingredients such as Shea Butter, Beeswax, Sunflower, and Jojoba Oils, this balm offers a deep cleanse to remove all impurities from the skin. The handy muslin cloth that's included is perfect to use with it.

Madara Shape Cellulite Cream

Anti-cellulite creams are a little controversial these days due to the body positivity movement, however, I personally do feel they can play a part in improving body confidence for those who aren't a fan of their 'wobbly bits'. It's important to remember though that only exercise and a healthy diet can achieve a toned body, but these targeted creams do help to have a smoothing, firming, and moisturising effect, particularly on 'orange skin effect' cellulite. 

Ooh! Oils Of Heaven Organic Baobab Face Oil

I'm a huge fan of the Ooh! Oils Of Heaven Face Oils range as they have something for everyone and are brilliant for those who have skin allergies as each face oil is based on just one superstar ingredient. Case in point, this Organic Baobab Face Oil is rich in Omega fatty acids for beautiful, healthy skin and absorbs quickly without clogging pores. 

Greenfrog Botanic Shampoo Bar 

Moving onto haircare, zero waste fans will love this clever Argan and Rose Oil Shampoo Bar from Greenfrog Botanic. Formulated with 96% natural ingredients, it also contains Aloe Vera to keep hair hydrated throughout the colder months ahead, and this solid bar format is an easy way to cut down on your personal plastic waste as each bar replaces up to three plastic bottles of shampoo.

Antipodes Glow Ritual Vitamin C Serum

The final product is a sample of the brand new Antipodes Glow Ritual Vitamin C Serum. I've already had the pleasure of trying this out when it recently launched so you can check out my review of it here - it's amazing! 

LoveLula Beauty Box* is a monthly subscription box priced at £13.95 with free postage in the UK. Visit lovelula.com to find out more.

Have you subscribed to LoveLula's Beauty Box?

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Foodie Friday: Introducing Flower & White - Delicious Fairtrade & Vegetarian, Sweet Treats Under 100 Calories

Friday, 22 October 2021

 

Here's an extra special Foodie Friday post this week just for my lovely vegetarian readers, let me introduce you to the blissfully sweet world of Flower & White!


Every now and then, there's a brand that pops up that ticks all of the right boxes when I'm looking for something to satisfy my massive sweet tooth, and Flower & White have exceeded all of my expectations in this area.


Based in Telford in nearby Shropshire, this independent business has grown from humble beginnings making giant Swiss meringues in a shed, to being a hugely successful brand with stockists selling their yummy products across the UK.

Their USP? Making delicious chocolate-covered meringue bars that are wholly indulgent, but which come in at under 100 calories. They're suitable for vegetarians, made from only natural ingredients with no artificial colours, flavours, additives, E-numbers or preservatives, and they're also gluten-free. Take all of my money now!

That's not all though. Flower & White are an ethical brand in every sense of the word. The egg whites used to create their melt-in-the-middle fillings are all free-range, and they use fairtrade ingredients to ensure that farmers are paid properly. To help the environment, all of their products are made without palm oil and their packaging is made from 100% recyclable paper.

Coveted for their original chocolate-covered meringue bars, these are currently available in five different mouth-watering flavours so you can take your pick from Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Crunch, Raspberry Crumble, Hazelnut Praline and Salted Caramel

The rich flavour and creaminess of the chocolate perfectly compliments that light and airy meringue filling which really does melt in your mouth. Each bar is just 95 calories, yet they are so sweet and satisfying that you won't feel like you've eaten a typical low-calorie bar.

It's easy to fall in love with these sweet treats, and whilst the bars are the ideal serving size for one person, Flower & White also sell larger 75g pouches of mini meringue bites in all of the above flavours so you can share them with friends and family. They'll be a crowd-pleaser at your next get-together for sure! Like the bars, the pouches are also made from 100% recyclable paper packaging and each bite comes in at just 26 calories.

Shop the full range at flowerandwhite.co.uk

Are you a fan of meringues?

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Health & Lifestyle: Are Chocolates Bad? Not At All! #AD

Thursday, 21 October 2021

When you think of it, it is almost impossible to know that an ovoid, long and yellow to red-coloured fruit that has pulp-covered seeds, can be turned into the yummy treat that we now know. This aromatic product which can be in the forms of liquid, bars, paste, or powders, are widely used in confectionery and can also be used in cooking.

Before it became chocolate, it all started from the tree called Theobroma cacao which literally translates to "food of the gods" in Greek. The fruit referred to as cacao pods are harvested when ripe, where you can get sour beans covered in a white pulp. These trees are native in South America spread across southeastern Mexico to the Amazon River. When the popularity of chocolates surged, plantations in West Africa, South and Southeast Asia were established. At present, countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia, Côte d'Ivoire, and Brazil account for most cocoa production in the world.

But how does it become chocolate, you ask? The process of turning these white seeds into the brown coloured treat that we know nowadays takes time. The seeds are typically taken out of the pods first and placed on fermentation trays before it gets covered and left for two to seven days. This process is an important step because it gives the chocolate its aroma and flavour. After the fermentation, the seeds are then dried under the sun for another three to five days. Many manufacturers use rotary driers for faster drying, but it is said that drying naturally under the sun gives the best tasting product. Afterwards, the beans are cleaned and roasted until all the remaining components are the nibs. These cacao nibs are then turned into thick paste consistency called chocolate liquors.

Chocolates are undeniably one of the best treats there is, and we are lucky to be living in these times where this simple fruit can be turned into the sweet treat that we know. At the same time, there is more to it than just being a plain bar of sweets. Chocolates can also provide health benefits when consumed moderately.

Health Benefits of Chocolates:

Chocolates have been coined as an unhealthy treat, creating a bad reputation for it. This is due to its high sugar and high-fat content that has been associated with health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, acne, heart disease and high blood pressure. But unbeknownst to many, moderate consumption of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can actually provide health benefits. Here are some:

  • Contains fibre and minerals. A bar of chocolate with a high cocoa content of 70–85% can be a good source of a decent amount of fibre and minerals that can benefit our body. It contains iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and small traces of caffeine and theobromine.
  • Good source of antioxidants. Chocolates, especially the dark kind, contain compounds, such as polyphenols, flavanols and catechins that are active antioxidants that are believed to aid in fighting free radicals in the body.
  • Helps improve blood flow. The flavanols in dark chocolate are known to stimulate the lining of arteries, making them relax, which influences the blood flow reducing the blood pressure.
  • Increases HDL (good cholesterol). Aside from the ability of dark chocolates to decrease insulin resistance which is often associated with diabetes and heart disease, cocoa powder is found to be helpful in increasing the HDL or the good cholesterol while preventing the oxidation of LDL, the bad cholesterol.
  • Reduces the risk of developing heart disease. Due to chocolate's ability to help improve blood flow and reduce the bad cholesterol in the body, it is said that it has the potential to help lower the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Protects the skin. Skin benefits like protection against sun damage, increased skin density and hydration are associated with flavanols which can be found in chocolates.
  • Improves brain function. Since it contains stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine, cocoa and dark chocolates can help improve the brain's function in a short term period. Additionally, it contains flavanol, which helps increase the blood flow not only in the body but also in the brain, which also helps with cognitive function.

Different Kinds of Chocolates:

Although you can find tons of different kinds of chocolates in the market nowadays, there are only three main types of this sweet and aromatic treat.
  • Milk Chocolate - This type of chocolate is the most common in the market. It is mixed with milk or cream, sugar and contains 10% to 50% of cacao solids.
  • Dark Chocolate - This type of chocolate is hailed to be the most healthy kind. It is also mixed with milk and sugar, but the cacao solids percentage can go anywhere from 50% to 90%.
  • White Chocolate - This white-coloured type of chocolate is made from milk solids, sugar, and sometimes vanilla. Unlike the two other types, this chocolate does not contain cocoa solids but cacao butter instead.

Other Types of Chocolates:
  • Semisweet Chocolate
  • Bittersweet Chocolate
  • Unsweetened Chocolate (or Baking Chocolate)
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Sweet German Chocolate
  • Couverture Chocolate
  • Ruby Chocolate

Healthier Options:

If you are looking for chocolates with other health benefits, here are some healthier choices:

Ashwagandha-infused Chocolate - Known to reduce blood sugar levels, this powerful adaptogen can be found infused in chocolates sold in the market. Aside from chocolate's health benefits, additional advantages of having ashwagandha on it are reduction of stress, anxiety, risk of developing depression, and it is also believed to have anti-cancer properties.


CBD Oil-infused Chocolate - Becoming popular in the market, many people use CBD oil for pain, anxiety, sleep and even skin conditions. Different edibles like CBD gummies UK, CBD cookies and CBD oil infused-chocolates are considered the perfect option because you can get your CBD oil dose conveniently even when you're on the go.


Nootropic herbs-infused Chocolate - Nootropic herbs such as rosemary, lemon balm, Bacopa, Ginkgo Biloba and Gotu kola are powerful herbs that are known to boost your brain functions and cognitive health. You can find nootropic herb-infused chocolates in the market if these are the benefits that you are after while enjoying the yummy treat.


Mushroom-infused Chocolate - While there are many kinds of mushrooms in the world, many of them are used due to their health benefits. Mushrooms such as reishi and cordyceps are said to be the most potent kind of mushroom and can be beneficial to heart health and boosting energy. It also has anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and antitumor properties. Eating chocolates infused with these mushrooms in moderation is surely a great way to rake in these benefits.

Sustainable Beauty: Just One Switch Campaign with Counter Culture #JustOneSwitch

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

 

This month, I've been taking part in Counter Culture's online campaign to encourage consumers to make more environmentally friendly purchases. The focus has been on making 'just one switch' in your daily beauty routine to get you started towards a more sustainable lifestyle, one step at a time.

Counter Culture is an online UK store that is home to some of the best sustainable beauty and wellbeing brands, and it's proud to champion female founders and indie/boutique brands as well. Their #JustOneSwitch mission resonated with me as soon as I received an email about it because I often see people on social media saying how difficult it is to go from using conventional products to finding more eco-friendly alternatives. 

It can be a consumer minefield out there and thoroughly overwhelming at the start, so by shifting the focus on making just one switch at a time, the journey to a more sustainable lifestyle suddenly becomes a much more attainable goal. But where to start?

Counter Culture kindly asked me to choose a couple of products from their online store to show you how easy it is to make 'just one switch'! 

Switch Your Deodorant: POSY Grapefruit & Lemon Deodorant* (70g, £9.95, link)

Get rid of polluting aerosol deodorants that are full of nasties and switch to a clean, natural, eco-friendly one instead. There are so many brands out there nowadays that do them, so my advice would be to pick one in a scent and format that you like the most. 

For this challenge, I decided to try POSY Grapefruit & Lemon Deodorant which comes packaged in a plastic-free cardboard tube that has an easy push-up, solid cream stick of deo inside. I find this ultra-convenient to use and I just love the fresh scent of grapefruit and lemon essential oils. It's made from natural and organic ingredients, and comes in a card tube or tin format, as well as a range of different scents.

Switch Your Hand Wash: Flamingo Soap Co Citron and Coffee Soap Bars* (£6 each, link)

Washing our hands has become more important than ever for obvious reasons and I honestly dread to think of just how many plastic bottles of hand wash have been used up and thrown away during the course of this awful pandemic. However, it's super easy to switch to using a bar of soap instead! I'd recommend buying a couple of these and placing them next to every sink in your home - you'll be amazed by how many plastic bottles just one bar of soap can replace as they really do add up throughout the year. 

I love these soaps bars from the Flamingo Soap Co as they're affordable, free from palm oil, parabens, and SLS, and they're vegan-friendly too. They're a completely zero waste solution to plastic hand wash bottles and even the label is embedded with wildflower seeds so you can plant it and feed the bees and butterflies in your garden. My two faves are the Citron and Coffee soap bars, and if you're already thinking of doing another sustainable switch, why not pop one of these into your shower to use instead and save even more plastic waste?

Switch Your Face Wipes: Bamboo Collection Bamboo Flannel* (£3, link)

When you're thinking about moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle, one of the easiest ways to adapt is by making a pledge to yourself to stop using anything that is single-use. From face wipes to cotton wool rounds, there are reusable replacements for all of these things that are kinder to your skin and the planet. 

I would suggest starting with disposable face wipes because they are so commonly found clogging up our rivers and beaches; a soft and luxurious Bamboo Flannel is the perfect switch for these. This one is made from a blend of 50% bamboo and cotton so it's naturally anti-fungal and super absorbent. When you've finished using it, simply put it in the washing machine along with your towels, dry, and reuse it again and again. A super easy switch!

Visit CounterCulturestore.co.uk for all of these eco-friendly products and more

What product have you switched to?

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Home Decor: How To Utilise That Blank Wall Space #AD

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

When arranging your furniture sometimes you find yourself with a huge blank wall space that looks too empty. However, when you try and fill it with furniture, you may find that it looks too cluttered and cramped! A big blank space can really upset the flow of the room and nag at you every time you see it, wondering what you can do with it. Here are some tips for utilising that wall space without overdoing it.

Artwork or Prints

The most obvious choice for how to decorate a wall is to hang a picture or two. However, this might feel a little boring or basic when you are trying to create a trendy or chic space that accurately reflects your own personal style. You can get your photo printed on wood or order aluminum prints to create a display that is a little different. You can create your own photo collage display with varying sizes or use different coloured frames for a more quirky look. In building up your photo display you can also interpret script or scenic pictures interspersed with your personal photos which can be swapped and rearranged whenever you feel like it.


Hang some wallpaper

Wallpaper does not have to go all around the room, it can be used to create a cool feature wall. Patterned or floral wallpaper makes a blank space appear as though there is more going on without being too busy. A great invention is removable wallpaper which can easily be hung up and torn down without damaging the wall underneath. If you do not fancy the hassle of repapering or maybe you find yourself getting a little bored and like to change things up regularly, this is the perfect solution. This is also a great option for people who are renting because it does not damage the walls meaning you can redecorate without the risk of losing your deposit or upsetting your landlord.

Hang a decorative blanket or tapestry

Hanging a cool tapestry or blanket can be a really interesting alternative to traditional pictures. It can perfectly fit in with a hippie or bohemian vibe but if you pick the right piece it can also really help style a more modern space too. Consider the theme of the rest of the room and shop around for something that you feel will fit in without looking silly.


A mirror

I am obsessed with mirrors when it comes to interior decorating. Mirrors are miracle workers – they create the illusion of more space and make rooms look larger, they reflect light and make the place brighter and they provide a practical purpose too! This is a great choice if the room is already fairly full and you do not want to overcrowd it. Mirrors can also fit into any room and can accommodate any theme or style. Depending on the amount of space you can hang something large and ornate or use a series of smaller mirrors slotted together to create a sleek, modern display.

Health & Lifestyle: Musclemary Not Just Protein - Chocolate Crush review

Monday, 11 October 2021

The start of a new week is always a good time to reassess your health goals, and if you're currently getting back into an exercise routine, make sure this Musclemary Not Just Protein powder supplement is at the top of your healthy shopping list.

Whether you're vegan or not, Musclemary has a range of premium plant-based protein blends that work for all fitness levels, and they're a great way to incorporate more healthy protein into your daily diet. 

Unlike other protein powders which focus simply on the macro element of protein, Musclemary's vegan blends contain a carefully selected superfood mix that's rich in antioxidants and vitamins to not only support your muscle gain goals, but also your overall health by boosting your immune system and energy levels at the same time!
 
I was kindly sent one of Musclemary's Not Just Protein powder supplements to try out and naturally, I had to choose the Chocolate Crush flavour as we all know how much I love anything chocolate flavoured.

The large pouch comes with a handy scoop and each 30g serving boasts a whopping 18g of plant-based protein thanks to a mixture of pea and white hemp protein. In addition, each serving provides 100% RI of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Panthothenic Acid, Vitamin B6, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin C and the all-important Vitamin B12. Many of these essential nutrients are derived from superfoods such as Flaxseed, Maca, Acai Berry, Goji Berry, Baobab, Raspberry, Strawberry, Blackberry and Matcha Green Tea so that's a lot packed into this supplement. It's dairy-free, gluten-free, GMO-free, low in fat and has no artificial sweetners.

How to Use and Taste
Start the day with a scoop of powder blended into your favourite smoothie or simply mix on its own with water. It has a thick milkshake-like consistency with a tasty hit of raw cacao flavour. I found it to be quite sweet, although there's no added sugar as the sweetness comes from natural Stevia instead. Alternatively, you can add it to pancake/waffle/cake batter or stir it into overnight oats or porridge.

Charity
For each product sold through their website, Musclemary donates £1 to their chosen charity Stonewall which helps to promote equality, diversity and inclusivity for LGBTQ+ people.

Musclemary Not Just Protein* (600g, £35, link)

What's your favourite vegan protein supplement?

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