New In Beauty: PHB Ethical Beauty Bio-Gel Skin Brightener review

Monday, 25 March 2019

PHB Ethical Beauty Bio-Gel Skin Brightener review
For the past few weeks, I've been testing out the latest skincare launch from the cruelty-free British brand, PHB Ethical Beauty. Meet the Bio-Gel Skin Brightener!

What is it and what does it claim to do?
This is a light gel, serum-like skincare treatment which helps to brighten dark spots, reduce and prevent pigmentation areas, evens out your skin tone and provides overall radiance to your complexion.

What are the key ingredients?
Made from 100% naturally derived ingredients, the Bio-Gel Skin Brightener contains key ingredients such as Aloe Vera to soothe and hydrate, Neroli to target dark spots and dullness, Immortelle to brighten and even out the skin, and Licorice to specifically target melanin production to help reduce the appearance of pigmentation problems. Full INCI can be found here

What's not in it?
This product is free from parabens, palm oil, GM ingredients, sulphates, silicones, mineral oil and petroleum derivatives, artificial colours and fragrances.

Who can use it?
Lots of people can enjoy the Bio-Gel Skin Brightener as there are no animal ingredients in the formula so vegans can use it, and it's also Halal certified. If dark spots, pigmentation marks/areas and general dullness/lack of radiance are skincare concerns to you, you may benefit from incorporating it into your routine. It's safe to use during pregnancy and PHB state that all genders and ages can use it from the age of 3+.  

How do I use it?
I've been using this in place of my usual evening serum whenever I feel that my dull skin needs a brightening boost (I don't have any dark spots or pigmentation areas, so it's something I've wanted to try purely for its overall radiance promoting qualities), so you can use it in the same way after cleansing and toning, and it's gentle enough to use morning and night. I like to follow it up with a  facial oil or moisturiser afterwards as I find that it helps to lock everything in as I love layering my products.

Overall thoughts?
I'll be honest - I wasn't completely enamoured with the PHB Bio-Gel Skin Brightener at first as it didn't seem to really do anything for my skin in the beginning, but after using it for a couple of weeks now, I can see that my complexion does look noticeably brighter than it was before. It smells lovely and fresh, and has a brilliant light texture that sinks into the skin quickly without feeling greasy or sticky, plus it's packaged in a luxurious feeling glass bottle. I wouldn't say that it's an essential in my skincare routine, but it is a nice addition to have and I'll happily continue to use it.

PHB Ethical Beauty Bio-Gel Skin Brightener* (50ml, £25) is available from LoveLula.com

Have you tried anything from PHB Ethical Beauty?

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Foodie Friday: Bananacado Bread (Gluten-Free / Vegetarian / Supercharge Your Gut recipe)

Friday, 22 March 2019

Bananacado Bread (Gluten-Free / Vegetarian / Supercharge Your Gut recipe)
What do you get when you mix overripe bananas with an avocado? Bananacado Bread! I've baked many different kinds of Banana Breads over the years, and this is one of the best recipes that I've come across for a perfectly moist and utterly delicious result every time.

If you follow me on social media, you'll no doubt have seen that I've been reading up on Gut Health quite a lot lately and have been taking steps to improve my digestion as part of my overall health and wellbeing journey. I have struggled with bouts of IBS for a few years now, but since I've started to eat a much healthier and varied diet, my symptoms have become a lot more manageable on a day-to-day basis. 

There are lots of nutritionists out there whose specialism is based on Gut Health and Lee Holmes is one such person whose books I've been enjoying reading. I checked out her latest book, Supercharge Your Gut, from my local library, which is where this particular recipe comes from. Free from dairy, wheat, refined sugar and gluten, her Bananacado Bread is a brilliant way to use up any overripe bananas and avocados that you may have lying around in your fruit bowl.

Bananacado Bread (Gluten-Free / Vegetarian / Supercharge Your Gut recipe)
Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)
  • 3 large overripe Bananas
  • 1/2 a large or 3/4 a small ripe Avocado
  • 3 organic & free-range Eggs
  • 2 tbsp of Agave Syrup
  • 200g Ground Almonds
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Method: 
  • Preheat the oven to 160C and line a standard loaf tin with baking/greaseproof paper.
  • Peel and roughly chop up the Bananas and Avocado, and then place in a food processor. Whiz until smooth.
  • Add the Eggs and Agave Syrup and whiz again to blend everything together.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the Ground Almonds, Baking Powder and Bicarbonate of Soda and gently stir through the banana mixture until combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean. Leave to cool before turning out of the tin.
  • Cut into slices and enjoy on its own with a cup of tea or coffee, or add your favourite nut butter for an even more indulgent treat.

Storage tip: This Bananacado Bread will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or you can freeze it for up to 2 weeks.

Are you a fan of Banana Bread?


Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - March 2019 review

Thursday, 21 March 2019

LoveLula Beauty Box - March 2019 review
Have you been looking for a cruelty-free subscription box that's packed full of organic and natural beauty products? Look no further - LoveLula is the beauty box for you!

Beauty boxes vary widely in terms of the overall subscription price and the quality and variety of the products that they include, but LoveLula has been one of the most consistent boxes on the market. I've been receiving the box for review as one of LoveLula's accredited bloggers for over two years now and I still get excited when it arrives every month.

This month's box is no exception, as it offers fantastic value for money with a fabulous mix of skincare and makeup products, and it includes some of my favourite natural and organic brands too.

 INIKA Certified Organic Liquid Eyeliner in Black
 INIKA Certified Organic Liquid Eyeliner in Black (RRP £19)

Regular readers will know that I love INIKA (you can check out my numerous reviews of the brand here) and I'm interested to try out this Certified Organic Liquid Eyeliner which retails for £19. Made from 70% organic ingredients, this all-natural, vegan-friendly liquid eyeliner promises to provide intense, long-lasting and smudge-proof results. The skinny nib looks good for easy to apply flicks so I'll report back soon when I've put it through its paces. Let me know if you've tried it?

SARYA Couture Makeup Eyeshadow in Mocha
 SARYA Couture Makeup Eyeshadow in Mocha (RRP £17.80)

Last month, I had the pleasure of introducing you all to SARYA Couture Makeup (read that feature and see swatches here if you missed it), so I'm delighted that LoveLula is helping to promote the brand by including one of their luxury Eyeshadows in this month's box. I received the shade Mocha which I already have and it's absolutely beautiful - I can't wait to gift this to my sister the next time that I see her as I know she'll love it!

 Madara Deep Moisture Gel Day
 Madara Deep Moisture Gel* (RRP £28)

Moving onto skincare, I found another full-size product, this time from Madara who feature regularly in my skincare routine posts over on my Instagram stories. Their Deep Moisture Gel is an oil-free and light gel moisturiser for oily and combination skin types. Key ingredients include Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera Juice, Sage, Northern Oak and Witch Hazel to offer essential hydration without overloading the skin. Don't have oily skin? You can use this as a primer instead to smooth and prep your complexion before applying makeup.

Hurraw! Moon Night Treatment Lip Balm
 Hurraw! Moon Night Treatment Lip Balm (RRP £4.99)

Regular readers will know that I'm something of a lip balm addict and I adore the Hurraw! lip balms. Their Moon Night Treatment Lip Balm is one of the brand's most popular products and it's a brilliant balm to apply before going to bed as it contains calming Blue Chamomile and Vanilla which gives it a deliciously sweet and relaxing natural scent. 

Zuii Organic Samples
Zuii Organic Samples

To round off this month's box, there's a handy trio of sample sachets from Zuii Organic who have recently launched at LoveLula. Here you can try their Flora Luminising Creme, Flora Gradual Tan Body Lotion and Flora Gradual Tan Face Lotion. I've actually been testing out a few of their products recently and will have a review of them up next week, so keep an eye out for that!

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: Handmade Naturals - Skincare Routine review

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

I love discovering new-to-me natural and affordable British skincare brands, and the Cheshire based Handmade Naturals are my latest find with a multi-award winning range of cruelty-free and vegan products.

Handmade Naturals have been developing their extensive skincare range, with expertly handcrafted formulas that use only 100% nature-derived ingredients, since 2007. It's easy to see on their website how proud they are of their ethics with certifications from both The Vegan Society and Cruelty-Free International clearly labelled on their products, and a company commitment to using sustainable and recyclable packaging. 

With such a large range of affordable products available, I was truly spoilt for choice when Handmade Naturals asked if I'd like to try anything from them. In the end, I decided to test out a cleanser, toner, face moisturiser and a lip balm so that I could compose a handy 'skincare routine' post, and they've been working very well!

Handmade Naturals Rose, Hemp & Jojoba Cleansing Lotion* (100ml, £8.95, link)
If you prefer to use a cleansing lotion that also doubles up as a makeup remover in the evenings, the Rose, Hemp & Jojoba Cleansing Lotion is a must-try. It has an ultra-gentle and nourishing formula that's made from just eight ingredients including unrefined Organic Hemp Oil, Jojoba Oil, Aspen Bark extract, Vitamin E and Rose Damascus Oil. The light texture is easy to massage into the skin, whilst efficiently removing all traces of makeup and daily grime. My skin feels so soft after using this and I love the convenient airless pump applicator. Oily skin types can also use this as a light moisturiser.

Handmade Naturals Lemonbalm & Witch Hazel Face Toner* (100ml, £6.95, link)
Witch Hazel is an ingredient that I often look out for in skincare products as I find it helps to keep blemishes at bay and it doesn't aggravate my eczema, so when I saw this alcohol-free toner I knew I had to try it! Composed of only two ingredients; Melissa (Lemonbalm) Floral Water and Witch Hazel, this toner is lovely and refreshing on the skin. Packed full of natural antiseptic, astringent, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it will help to soothe and heal acne and blemish prone skin with regular use.

Handmade Naturals Ultra Light Face Cream* (50ml, £13.25, link)
With Spring on its way, I wanted to try a lighter facial moisturiser and this Ultra Light Face Cream has been a perfect match for my oily/combination skin. Featuring a blend of Organic Argan Oil,  Witch Hazel, Avocado Oil, Rosehip Oil and Vitamin E, it absorbs easily and delivers just the right amount of hydration to keep my skin healthy and happy. It also works well underneath makeup as a primer for a smooth and flawless finish.

Handmade Naturals Cocoa & Mandarin Lip Balm* (4.5g, £2.95, link)
Most of the products from Handmade Naturals are suitable for vegans with the exception of their lip balms which contain beeswax. They have four different flavours available, all free from mineral oil/petroleum derivatives and instead packed with nourishing Cocoa Butter, Beeswax, Almond and Calendula Oils. I couldn't resist trying the Cocoa & Mandarin Lip Balm which not only tastes delicious, but does a fantastic job of keeping dry lips moisturised throughout the day. A bargain for under £3!

Discover the full range of skincare and more at handmadenaturals.co.uk

Do you like to buy from British brands?

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Currently Loving: 4 Lipsticks To Try From RMS Beauty Wild With Desire range - Review & Swatches

Monday, 18 March 2019

4 Lipsticks To Try From RMS' Wild With Desire range - Review & Swatches
When it comes to luxury lipsticks, RMS' Wild With Desire range ticks all the right boxes, from ultra chic packaging to insane pigmentation and clean formulas - they are simply beautiful! Here are my top four shades that you should add ASAP to your payday wishlist.

Back in December, I posted about the Limited Edition Wild With Desire Mini Lipstick Set from RMS Beauty and it quickly became one of my most viewed blog posts of the year (check it out here if you missed it!). Many of you were disappointed by how fast the set sold out and since then, I've received numerous requests to do another post on these lipsticks which focusses on the shades that are available to buy all year round. Always eager to please, I've rounded up four of my favourites to share with you all today.

4 Lipsticks To Try From RMS' Wild With Desire range - Review & Swatches
From L-R: RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Brain Teaser, Temptation, Russian Roulette and Rapture

But first, a little background info on RMS Beauty for those who are new to the brand. Founded by celebrity makeup artist, Rose-Marie Swift, RMS Beauty is one of the world's leading cruelty-free, ethical, luxury cosmetics brands that specialise in 'clean' formulas which use only certified organic, raw and natural ingredients. Loved by A-list actresses and celebrities, RMS Beauty is one of those instantly covetable brands where you simply want to purchase every single product that they make! I'm definitely addicted - you can check out my previous reviews and features here.

The RMS Wild With Desire Lipsticks are drop dead gorgeous in so many different ways. Packaged in sleek, silver metallic tubes, the chunky bullets within are surprisingly well-shaped to be applied directly to the lips, thanks to the tilted angle that they twist-up from.

It was truly love at first swipe when I tried these - the pigmentation is quite frankly insane for a 'natural' lipstick and these lipsticks put to shame many other brands whose offerings appear lacklustre in comparison. With RMS, you get an intense colour payoff that delivers a smooth and sexy satin finish. Lighter shades apply easier than the darker ones though (which is almost always the case with lipsticks anyway) and they easily last longer on the lips than virtually all of my other 'green beauty' lipsticks. Any drawbacks? Only one slight niggle really - they're not as moisturising as I was hoping for, but it's nothing that a touch of lip balm underneath can't fix!

Below are four of my favourite RMS Beauty Wild With Desire Lipstick shades:-

RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Brain Teaser
 RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Brain Teaser*
Brain Teaser is an interesting medium pink colour with a brownish undertone. It feels very 'on-trend' whenever I wear it and really helps to pull together a makeup look that you can either dress up or down depending on your mood and social occasion.   

RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Temptation
RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Temptation*
The perfect pinky-mauve, it's easy to see why Temptation is one of RMS' bestsellers! Ideal for everyday wear, it's one of those 'throw it into your handbag ASAP' shades that never lets you down. If I ever happen to lose it, I'll be sure to repurchase this shade colour pronto!   

RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Rapture
RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Rapture
Rapture is something of a chameleon shade because it often looks completely different from various angles and lighting situations. Most of the time though, it's a classic brick red that works well for range of skin tones.

RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Russian Roulette
 RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Russian Roulette*
It doesn't get much more vamp-tastic than Russian Roulette so if you're after a killer deep berry red, this is the shade for you. This is one of those eye-catching shades that always gets a lot of compliments whenever I wear it on a night out, but you will need to use a lip liner with it to prevent any bleeding/feathering. Stunning nonetheless!

Swatches! From L-R: RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Brain Teaser, Temptation, Rapture and Russian Roulette
Swatches! From L-R: RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Brain Teaser, Temptation, Rapture and Russian Roulette

Shop the full range of RMS Wild With Desire Lipsticks* (4.5g, £30 each) at LoveLula.com

Have you tried any of these?

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Foodie Friday: Carrot and Lentil Soup with Salt & Pepper Tortilla Chips (Vegan recipe)

Friday, 15 March 2019

Carrot and Lentil Soup with Salt & Pepper Tortilla Chips (Vegan recipe)
It's been a crazy week with a hectic combination of flu, politics and dreadful weather zapping my energy levels, so this warming bowl of Carrot and Lentil Soup is exactly what I need to help reset my body and mind for a (hopefully!) more relaxing weekend ahead.

I love making soups from scratch; not only do you get to cut down on your plastic waste by avoiding those bulky pre-packaged pots from the supermarkets, but it's also a lot cheaper and you can make a huge batch ready to freeze in individual portions for when you're too busy to cook during the week.

Carrot and Lentil Soup is an all-time favourite of mine and it's even more delicious to make when your taste buds are bored of classic flavours such as Tomato or Minestrone. It's a tasty, wholesome soup, and the added Lentils provide some extra bulk, protein and fibre for a more substantial (yet still very light and easy to digest) meal. 

I've paired my recipe below with some Salt & Pepper Tortilla Chips but you could add Rice, extra veggies, a slice of Sourdough Toast, or simply enjoy it on its own in your favourite bowl.

Carrot and Lentil Soup with Salt & Pepper Tortilla Chips (Vegan recipe)
Ingredients (serves 2 - you can double the ingredients if you're batch-cooking)
  • 300g Carrots (peeled & sliced)
  • 4 tbsp Red Split Lentils
  • 700ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1 small Onion (peeled & finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic (peeled & finely chopped)
  • 1 small chunk of fresh Ginger (peeled & chopped)
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper

Method:
  • In a large saucepan, add the Olive Oil, Onion, Ginger and Garlic and cook over a medium heat for about a minute. Add the Ground Cumin and Coriander, stirring everything together for a further 30 seconds to allow the spices to infuse.
  • Next, add the Carrots, Lentils and Vegetable Stock to the pan, bringing it to a boil. Cover with a lid and then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Once cooked, remove from the heat, pour into a blender/food processor and blitz until you have a smooth consistency. Alternatively, use a hand blender if you prefer. If the soup is too thick, you can add a little extra water if needed.
  • Serve immediately.

Storage tip: You can keep fresh soup in the fridge for 2-3 days or freeze in batches for up to a month.
Carrot and Lentil Soup with Salt & Pepper Tortilla Chips (Vegan recipe)
To Make The Salt & Pepper Tortilla Chips
Preheat your oven to 190C. Cut up a Tortilla into large triangles/dunkable chip sizes and brush each piece with a little Olive Oil. Spread out onto a baking tray and sprinkle over some Salt and Pepper. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until lightly golden and crispy (they will continue to crisp up as they cool).

Do you like making your own soups?

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