The Weekend Post: Top 5 Eco-Friendly Cleaning Hacks That Actually Work #AD

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Doing a little bit of cleaning here and there on a regular basis, is a lot less stressful than trying to tackle the enormous challenge of cleaning the whole house when family or friends arrive unannounced, or you have that all-important landlord check to pass. To make things even easier, here are my top 5 eco-friendly cleaning hacks that actually work - so you can get the job done without harming the environment in the process - win, win!

Hack 1 - Use White Vinegar & Water to Clean Windows & Mirrors
Lots of mainstream window cleaners contain butoxyethanol which can cause a sore throat if inhaled and can really irritate the lungs of asthma sufferers, so make your own natural window cleaner by simply mixing white vinegar and plain water (50/50 ratio) in a spray bottle. Spritz onto any window and mirrored surface to remove dirt and grease marks, and then buff to a beautiful shine with a reusable cloth.

Hack 2 - Get Rid Of Bad Cooking Odours With Essential Oils
Opened your oven or microwave and got a whiff of something nasty? You don't need to resort to using bleach-based products to get rid of those bad post-cooking smells. Instead, add a few drops of essential oils (citrus, eucalyptus or vanilla all work nicely) to a bowl of water and pop it into the oven or microwave on a medium heat setting. Allow the water to steam the inside surfaces until almost evaporated, then remove, switch off and wipe a cloth over the surfaces. It will smell so much better!

Hack 3 - Remove Tough Grime And Stains With Baking Soda
Baking soda can be used for so many different purposes and it works particularly well for removing those tough, built up stains on oven doors, as well as general daily dirt and grime in both bathroom and kitchen areas. Make a thick paste by combining baking soda with a little water, spread it onto the dirt/stains and allow it to do its thing for 15 minutes before removing with a damp cloth.

Hack 4 - Put Lemons In The Oven, Microwave And Dishwasher
It may sound strange at first, but lemons have natural antibacterial properties which can help to degrease ovens, microwaves and dishwashers. To use in the oven or microwave, cut them in half and rub directly onto the inside surfaces. Leave for 20 minutes and then wipe down with a damp cloth to remove grease and stains. You can also use lemons in the dishwasher to degrease and refresh - simply cut them in half and put them inside the top rack face down, then run the dishwasher on an eco wash. Compost the lemons after use and enjoy a sparkling clean and fresh dishwasher.

Hack 5 - Re-Use Your Old Toothbrushes For Cleaning Hard To Reach Areas
Save your old toothbrushes for cleaning those hard to reach/tricky areas around the house. The smaller brush heads allow you to angle into all sorts of nooks and crannies and remove dirt and grime found around taps, in between grouting tiles and at the back of washing machine drawers. 

Need some more cleaning hacks? 
Check out these cheap and easy DIY eco-cleaning methods from Pattersons below! Pattersons offer both commercial and household eco-friendly cleaning product ranges, so why not discover their eco cleaning products today?



[This is a sponsored post]

What are your favourite eco-cleaning hacks?

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Foodie Friday: Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe)

Friday, 1 November 2019

Foodie Friday: Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe)
The weather is awful so it's time to embrace those simple pleasures in life, such as cosying up on the sofa with a hot bowl of homemade soup.  This easy Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup recipe will warm you up in no time at all!

Soups are a great way to use up leftover veg and once you get into the habit of making your own (and it's pretty addictive when you start), you'll quickly find that you'll never want to eat a ready-made can of soup ever again. Homemade really is best here and I'm sure you'll agree once you've tasted this delicious recipe.

I always try to make sure that I incorporate plenty of naturally red coloured foods into my diet as they are packed full of super-healthy antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A (beta-carotene), Vitamin C, manganese and lycopene, as well as being a good source of dietary fibre. Cooking tomatoes, in particular, helps them to release more of the antioxidant lycopene which helps to protect the heart and even lowers the risk of some forms of cancer.

Not only that, but roasting the tomatoes and red peppers for this recipe takes this soup to the next level up in terms of adding even more flavour, so it's well worth taking the extra time to do this, and once your soup is ready, you'll have a whole batch to see you through the week for some speedy lunches or dinners. Yum!

Foodie Friday: Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe)
Ingredients (makes four servings - simply double the ingredients to make a bigger batch if you're meal prepping)
  • 4 medium-sized Red Peppers
  • 400g Plum Tomatoes
  • 1 small White Onion
  • 1 stick of Celery
  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic, depending on taste
  • 2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 400ml Vegetable Stock
  • Salt & Pepper to season
  • Drizzle of Coconut Milk (optional)
  • Chilli Flakes (optional)

Method
  • Preheat the oven to 200C / Gas Mark 4. Cut the Red Peppers in half and discard the ribs and seeds. Halve the Tomatoes and Onion, and place everything on a baking tray, along with the Garlic to roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes until soft. 
  • In a large saucepan, mix together the Vegetable Stock and Tomato Puree. Finely chop the Celery and add it to the saucepan, simmering over a medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the peel from the roasted Onion and Garlic and add them to the saucepan for 5 minutes, before adding the roasted Red PeppersTomatoes and Olive Oil. Simmer for another 5 minutes to allow all of the flavours to infuse.
  • Add a drizzle of Coconut Milk if using and transfer everything to a food processor. Blend until smooth and pour a serving into a bowl. 
  • Season with Salt & Pepper, and sprinkle over some Chili Flakes if you like a little spice. Enjoy immediately whilst the soup is still hot with some slices of toasted sourdough.

Storage tip: Once thoroughly cooled, this soup will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days or it can be frozen in batches for up to a month. Ensure it is fully defrosted before reheating and always serve piping hot.

Do you enjoy making your own soup?

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Christmas Gift Guide 2019: Laouta All Natural Soy Wax Wood Wick Candles review

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Christmas Gift Guide: Laouta Luxury All Natural Soy Wax Wood Wick Candles review
Candles are one of my favourite products to gift and to receive, so it made sense to begin this year's Christmas Gift Guide series with a spotlight on Laouta's beautiful luxury candles.

It's so easy to find incredible artisan candles these days - there really does seem to be a boom in this section of the market which means that us consumers are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the perfect candle for that special someone this Christmas.

For this reason, I will be featuring a range of different brands during the run-up to the big day, but for now, let me introduce you to Laouta.

Christmas Gift Guide: Laouta Luxury All Natural Soy Wax Wood Wick Candles review
This small, family-run business is based in Greece and they have an array of natural and cruelty-free beauty products alongside a selection of artisan candles. All of Laouta's products are inspired by traditional Mediterranean recipes which pay homage to their heritage, and everything is made by hand in small batches using locally sourced handpicked natural ingredients. 

Free from parabens, stabilisers, synthetic dyes, synthetic ingredients, perfumes and preservatives, Laouta's products are proudly 100% natural and they have a strong commitment to the environment by ensuring all of their packaging is 100% recyclable or biodegradable. 

I have yet to try their beauty products (although they are on my to-try wishlist!) as it was their All Natural Soy Wax Wood Wick Candles which immediately caught my eye whilst I was browsing LoveLula.com one evening, so I knew I had to pick some up!

Christmas Gift Guide: Laouta Luxury All Natural Soy Wax Wood Wick Candles review
There were four or five different scents to deliberate over and I eventually chose Bittersweet Almond and Raspberry & Pomegranate. I was pleased to see that they arrived in plastic-free , cardboard packaging and they come housed in white handmade ceramic pots which can be re-used afterwards. 

Made from 100% natural, hand-poured soy wax which is carefully mixed with a premium fragrance oil blend, each candle weighs 200g and boasts a burn time of up to 30 hours. At the centre is a wooden wick and I absolutely love these because they produce a satisfying and cosy crackling sound when they're lit!

But I know what you're all thinking - what do these Laouta Candles smell like? Well, they smell just like their namesakes! Bittersweet Almond has a subtle, sweet marzipan and floral fragrance to my nose which is comforting and Christmassy, whilst Raspberry and Pomegranate has a fruity floral aroma going on with a little spice added in for good measure. The scent throw isn't wide which I found a little disappointing at first, but after an hour of burning, they will subtly fragrance a small room or living area without being overwhelming and most of the time, I want a candle to do just that.

Laouta All Natural Soy Wax Wood Wick Candles* (£25 each) are available from LoveLula.com

Will you be buying candles as gifts this year?

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October Empties: Products I've Used Up

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

October Empties: Products I've Used Up
My little wicker basket is full once again just in time for this month's Empties post, so here's another rundown of the products that I've finished up recently. Which ones will I be repurchasing in the future? Keep on reading to find out!

Gallineé Body Milk* (reviewed here)
This is a lovely body moisturiser with a light and easily absorbed texture so it's been great to use throughout Summer. I love the fresh and clean scent that it has and I think this is the third bottle that I've gone through so you know it's good! Repurchase? I'll buy it again next Summer as I need something much more heavy-duty for my dry skin in Winter.

Bodhi & Birch Tomato Seed Cleansing Oil* (reviewed here)
From Bodhi & Birch's excellent Superfood skincare range, I enjoyed using this luxury cleansing oil as a first cleanse to remove makeup and daily grime and it smells absolutely delicious like a Bakewell tart! However, I prefer the overall texture and performance of the Avo Bao Cleansing Balm from this range more, so I wouldn't personally buy this one again. Repurchase? No.

Tropic Good Skin Day Resurfacing Serum* (reviewed here)
If you're looking for a natural AHA based exfoliating treatment, you must try this and I believe it's my second or even third bottle that I've used up. I have the old packaging as it's since been renamed the Fruit Peel Serum but I believe the formula is still the same. Brilliant for brightening dull complexions and smoothing uneven skin texture. Repurchase? If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have seen that I've recently been sent two brand new serums to try out from Tropic, so I'm going to see what they're like first!

Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin-Brightening Eye Cream* (reviewed here)
Another skincare product that I've used many, many times in the past is this gorgeous Eye Cream from Antipodes. Perfect for dry under eyes like mine, it hydrates and smoothes out fine lines and wrinkles, so it sits well underneath concealer. Plus, the pot lasts for ages too. Repurchase? I've gone back to the Dafna's Eye Care for the time being, but I would pick this up again.

October Empties: Products I've Used Up
Pai Gentle Hydrating Cleanser (reviewed here)
Whenever my skin throws a wobbly, I often come back to this ultra-gentle cream cleanser from Pai to help calm everything down. It always works a treat and usually restores my skin to its normal self within a week or so. This is another product that I've used countless tubes of and it's something that I'll always have in my skincare stash - I highly recommend it for sensitive skin types. Repurchase? Already have!

Yves Rocher Coconut Eau de Toilette
This travel-size bottle was an impulse purchase on holiday as I'd forgotten to pack a perfume with me. As the name suggests, it's a straight-up coconut scent which isn't too cloying like some others can be, but I found that it didn't last long before I needed to re-apply sadly. Repurchase? No.

Grace & Stella Activated Coconut Charcoal Powder Teeth Whitening Formula*
I was sent this from Amazon to try out and I have a real love/hate relationship with it! I love the fact that it's a natural teeth whitening alternative and it does help to remove stains and brighten up your teeth with regular use (it won't give you crazy white teeth as you can only achieve that through bleaching or by getting veneers, but I did notice a difference whilst I was using it). But I hated the mess as it's a loose powder and it gets everywhereRepurchase? No, I'm using a different one from Laviish at the moment which I prefer as it's a solid formula.

P.S - Recycle your beauty empties with Terracycle! 
Most of these plastic and glass containers can be recycled through my local council service (blue bin in my area), however, things like the pumps have metal springs in them which are not accepted as they require a different method in order to be recycled. Luckily, Garnier have teamed up with Terracycle to recycle beauty and personal care waste which is deemed difficult to recycle. It's free, all brands are accepted and there are drop off locations all over the UK. Read more here.

What have you used up recently?

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Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - October 2019 review

Thursday, 24 October 2019

 LoveLula Beauty Box - October 2019 review
October's LoveLula Beauty Box is here and inside there's a fantastic array of natural and cruelty-free products to see you through Autumn and beyond. This month's box is also worth over £59!

Here's what's inside:-

Seascape Island Apothecary Uplift Body Lotion
 Seascape Island Apothecary Uplift Body Lotion (RRP £16)

I thought it was a little strange to receive another full-size body lotion as there was a Madara one in last month's box (check out my review of that one here if you missed it), however, after testing it out I'm certainly not complaining! This Seascape Island Apothecary Body Lotion has a really great texture, feels hydrating and smells beautiful with essential oils of Eucalyptus, Lime and Lavender. If you're a morning shower kinda person, this is amazing to apply afterwards as the scent instantly puts you in a refreshed and positive mood for the day ahead.

 Balmond's Intensive Facial Oil
 Balmonds Intensive Facial Oil (RRP £22)

Worth £22 on its own, this luxury Intensive Facial Oil is described as a blend of plant-based ingredients to help rejuvenate and nourish tired, sensitive and damaged skin thanks to a variety of essential vitamins and nutrients in the formula. I haven't come across this brand before, so I'm curious to try this out soon as it sounds perfect for protecting the skin during Winter.

Laidbare Pack Your Bags Eye Cream
 Laidbare Pack Your Bags Eye Cream (RRP £7.99)

Laidbare is a lovely affordable natural skincare brand whose products I've namedropped many, many times over the years. Needless to say, I've already had the pleasure of using this Pack Your Bags Eye Cream in the past and it has a really nice light consistency for those who don't like heavy or thick eye creams, so I like to use it in the mornings as it sits well underneath makeup.

Dr Botanicals Cocoa & Coconut Superfood Reviving Hydrating Mask
Dr Botanicals Cocoa & Coconut Superfood Reviving Hydrating Mask (30ml, RRP £9.90)

Another great skincare product that is going to come in handy for the colder months is Dr Botanicals Cocoa & Coconut Superfood Reviving Hydrating Mask. As we put the central heating on, you might find that your skin feels more dehydrated than usual so this quick-acting mask will help to revive and nourish your complexion in just 10 minutes. It's ideal to use whenever your skin feels stressed or tired, as well as on long flights for a fast moisture boost.

Also included: a free sachet sample of Mossa Glow Cocktail Serum.


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?

Introducing: Aromatica - Clean & Vegan Beauty Products from Korea

Monday, 21 October 2019

Aromatica - Clean & Vegan Beauty Products from Korea
It's always exciting to receive packages from abroad, especially when it comes to discovering ethical beauty brands who are leading the way in sustainability and clean beauty values in their home countries and beyond. This week, I'd like to introduce you to Aromatica from Korea.

Aromatica prides itself on offering a wide range of cruelty-free and vegan-friendly products that covers, well, everything! From haircare and skincare to body care and items for the home, Aromatica has something for everyone. Born in 2004, it is involved in researching cosmetic ingredient safety campaigns for Korea and works alongside the EWG (Environmental Working Group) to help educate consumers who are concerned about the impact of certain ingredients on their health and the environment. 

Needless to say, all of Aromatica's products are certified by ECOCERT & COSMOS, Vegan, EWG VERIFIED™ and follow the company's own strict standards when new formulas are tested and developed. I was kindly sent a selection of Aromatica's bestsellers to try out to give you an example of what they have to offer.

Aromatica Rosemary Scalp Scaling Shampoo
 Aromatica Rosemary Scalp Scaling Shampoo* (400ml, $26, link)

The colder months can often spell trouble for those who have sensitive and dry scalps, and they can even trigger symptoms in people who generally don't have any problems throughout the year. If your scalp is feeling itchy, irritated or you're suffering from dandruff, give this Rosemary Scalp Scaling Shampoo a go.

Free from silicones and sulphates, as well as a vast range of other potentially irritating known ingredients, this shampoo produces a light lather when plenty of water is added to it and it has a pleasantly fresh and herbal scent. The 97% natural ingredient formula does an excellent job of gently cleansing the hair and scalp, but like many shampoos of this nature, it did leave my hair feeling a little drier than usual afterwards, so a good quality conditioner is a must to use alongside it. On the plus side, it's great for clearing up dandruff!

Aromatica Organic Jojoba Golden Barrier Oil
 Aromatica Organic Jojoba Golden Barrier Oil* (30ml, $36, link)

If you're a fan of aromatherapy, you'll be all too familiar with the concept of barrier oils and these multi-purpose oils are a great way to customise a skincare routine. This one features quite simply a high quality, 100% natural and organic cold-pressed Jojoba Seed Oil, without nothing else added to it for the ultimate purity. The luxurious glass bottle comes with an inbuilt dropper dispenser and you can use this in so many different ways.

Create your own facial, bath or body oil by mixing it with your favourite essential oils, or simply just apply it on its own to reap the natural moisturising properties of this liquid gold.

Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum
Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum* (130ml, $44, link)

Perhaps one of Aromatica's most popular products is the Rose Absolute First Serum and this may be partly due to the Korean beauty trend of including an essence in their famous multiple-step skincare routines. This highly concentrated treatment triples up as a toner, essence and serum, all-in-one and it boasts a formula which is 97.3% natural and 80.4% organic.

Perfect for dry and mature skin types, the serum has a thick but easily absorbed consistency with the unmistakable scent of fresh roses. It helps to balance and brighten the skin, boosting hydration levels and smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles, so if you're looking for an all-round anti-ageing skincare product to add to your Christmas gift list, this is definitely one to try!

Aromatica Organic Aloe Vera Gel* (300ml, $14, link)

I also want to give a special mention to this Organic Aloe Vera Gel because I've been using it on a regular basis to soothe my dry skin for the past month or so. Made from 99.5% natural ingredients, 96.5% of which are certified organic, this is a wonderful multi-purpose gel which will appeal to those who don't like using heavy or sticky body creams or butters. Instead, this lightweight gel sinks quickly into the skin and it helps to calm down and reduce any irritation. A pleasure to use on the face and body, it's also ideal as an after-sun treatment to combat sunburn.


Shop the full range at thearomatica.co with free shipping over $100

What are your favourite natural Korean beauty brands?

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