Green Beauty: 3 Luxury Pampering Treats To Try From MOA (Magic Organic Apothecary)

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

3 Luxury Pampering Treats To Try From MOA
If you're a beauty box fan, you may have already tried MOA's most well known and best-selling product, The Green Balm, but there's more to the brand than just a pot of multipurpose balmy goodness, as you'll soon discover below.

MOA stands for Magic Organic Apothecary and if that's not reason enough to check out this brand, I don't know what is! Amongst the cool name, the beautiful packaging, and the 100% natural formulas (everything from MOA is free from parabens, artificial preservatives, perfume, alcohol, SLS and lanolin), there are some gorgeous luxury products to be found throughout MOA's small, but heavenly range. 

I picked up these three luxury pampering treats online from LoveLula last month, and instantly fell in love with this wonderfully English green beauty brand. 

3 Luxury Pampering Treats To Try From MOA
MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion* (100ml, £27.50, link)
The Green Bath Potion has something of a cult following amongst the LoveLula Natural Beauty Club (come join us on Facebook here), and it really is a magical bath potion to help soothe away the day's emotional stresses and physical aches and pains. The key ingredients in this are Peppermint, Fennel, Fir Needle, Yarrow and Sweet Birch, so it smells very minty and herbal which is ideal for clearing the sinuses if you've been suffering from a cold or the flu recently. It's a very potent and concentrated product, and for each bath, you only need to use one or two capfuls (I'd recommend starting off with one at first as it's quite strong if you're not used to it!). Breathe in the aroma and feel uplifted and relaxed within minutes. Bliss!

MOA Hello Sunshine Energising Body Oil* (150ml, £22.50, link
I love a good pampering body oil, and Hello Sunshine is the perfect way to put you in a positive mood for the day thanks to its incredible scent. Packed full of active ingredients, this exquisite blend contains lots of skin nourishing oils such as Sunflower Seed, Rapeseed, Olive and Sesame Seed to moisturise and soften dry skin, whilst Eucalyptus, Marjoram, Lemongrass, Pine and Peppermint essential oils provide a delightfully zesty and slightly woody aroma, to help wake you up and revitalise the senses. A must-try for anyone who enjoys using body oils in the morning.

MOA Dreamy Mineral Soak review
MOA Dreamy Mineral Soak* (400g, £25, link)
Drift off to a peaceful night's sleep with the help of this Dreamy Mineral Soak for the bath. Composed of a base of mineral-rich Himalayan Pink and Sea Salt to draw out toxins, this salt bath also helps to boost your circulation and reduce the appearance of cellulite, whilst the infusion of Lavender, Pine, Lemon Peel and Cardamon essential oils, all promote relaxation of the mind, easing away stress and giving your skin a purifying cleanse at the same time. I did notice a little bit of a residue on my skin after using this, but it didn't dry it out or leave me super wrinkly so I wasn't too bothered. I absolutely love the scent of this bath soak and a couple of handfuls is more than enough for a full-on relaxing and pampering experience in the tub.   

Have you tried any of these?

Healthy Living: Femna Confusion Infusion Herbal Tea for PMS review

Monday, 16 April 2018

Healthy Living: Femna Confusion Infusion Herbal Tea for PMS/Mood Swings review
PMS is the bane of many menstruating women's lives, but can a natural herbal tea really help with those pesky monthly mood swings? 

I've suffered from PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) ever since I started my periods at the age of 11, and it's been one hell of a rollercoaster to ride into adulthood. My symptoms tend to vary in their extremities from month to month; I may manage to 'get away' with just a few 'mild' annoyances like breakouts, bloating, headaches and feeling more tired than usual, but then I have times when I experience full-blown PMS to the point where I find it incredibly difficult to get out of bed due to migraines, nausea and feeling depressed. 

I'm lucky enough to have a local female GP who understands periods and PMS, and for people who have the milder to moderate symptoms, a few tweaks in your daily life such as eating a more balanced and healthier diet, and doing more exercise, can make a big difference to managing the worst of PMS. However, one symptom that I've always struggled with has been mood swings, so I was interested to see what natural alternatives were out there to help with these. 

Whilst I was researching online, an email popped up in my inbox from an independent wellbeing brand called Femna, and it was like the universe was putting us in touch! Spooky, eh?!

Healthy Living: Femna Confusion Infusion Herbal Tea for PMS/Mood Swings review
Femna are a small Berlin-based company who specialises in women's well-being, and they've developed a range of natural teas and products to help in the areas of PMS, menstruation, fertility, pregnancy and menopause. Founded by two young social entrepreneurs, Maxie and Emily, these two women are committed to helping other females in a more holistic and natural manner, rather than the traditional Western approach which sees women popping countless pills and not really fully understanding what's happening to their own bodies.

When I browsed their products, a pop-up questionnaire appeared at the bottom of the left-hand side of their website, with some short statements about PMS and how you feel when you have it. Typically, I ended up ticking 'all of the above', and was re-directed to the Confusion Infusion Tea.  I was curious to see if it would help with my mood swings, and Femna kindly sent me a sample to try.

The Confusion Infusion Tea* is blend of beneficial anti-inflammatory herbs to help with general PMS and mood swings. It contains Lady's Mantle, Yarrow, St John's Wort, Lemon Balm, Silverweed and Peppermint to help calm the mind, soothe menses pain and brighten your overall mood. The tea is a loose-leaf one, so you just need to add two teaspoons to 200ml boiling water, infuse, strain and enjoy. You can drink 2-3 cups a day during the week before your period is due for the most noticeable results. It tastes similar to Green Tea strangely enough which I found pleasant and can be taken warm or cold, although I would recommend warm for the best soothing benefits. 

Overall thoughts?
This tea did seem to help a little with my PMS mood swing symptoms. I didn't notice any huge changes, but I did feel a bit less snappy and my housemates kindly commented that I was 'less moody than usual' which is a firm positive! I'll certainly finish up the bag and consider repurchasing it in the future.

Femna Confusion Infusion Herbal Tea* (€8.90, 50g which makes 25-20 cups of tea) is available from femna.eu)

Have you tried anything like this for PMS?

P.S: Always visit your GP for professional advice if you're struggling with PMS, depression or anything else, and remember that you can request to see a different GP if you feel that the first one you see isn't listening or taking you seriously. Trust me, I've been there and it's always worth the effort to find the right GP to help you.

New In Beauty: Tropic Tahitian Vanilla and Coconut Luxury Bath Foam & Soothe The Senses Bath Soak review

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Tropic Tahitian Vanilla and Coconut Luxury Bath Foam & Soothe The Senses Bath Soak review
Tropic have been busy with some brand new releases lately, two of which are these heavenly scented, luxury pampering treats for the bath. Now, who doesn't enjoy indulging in a long soak in the tub?

It's been a busy week of revising for Uni exams, which has left me feeling pretty run down and stressed to be honest, but the weekend is fast approaching - hooray! I have Gin in the cupboard and I'm going to be making the most of my free time, with plenty of self-care planned. At the top of my pamper list are these two luxury bath products from Tropic, which I've been loving since they were launched last month. If you're in the mood to truly spoil yourself, you'll want to pick up at least one of them for your own bathroom!

Tropic Tahitian Vanilla and Coconut Luxury Bath Foam & Soothe The Senses Bath Soak review
Tropic Tahitian Vanilla and Coconut Luxury Bath Foam(260ml, £18, link)
Tropic darling, you had me at the words 'Tahitian Vanilla and Coconut' - I mean, can you think of any scents that remind you more of tropical islands than those two? I'm pleased to report that this Luxury Bath Foam smells as good as it sounds, and once you try it, you'll want to bathe in it every day. Seriously, it's one of the most addictive scents that I've ever smelt! 

The fragrance comes naturally from Vanilla and Coconut Extracts, but there's some Sweet Orange and Grapefruit Oils in the blend to make it even more deliciously tropical. This 100% natural bubble bath is one of those products that I've been looking for, for such a long time, as it's SLS free, yet creates a decent amount of lovely bubbles thanks to Coconut-derived cleansers. For a bath, I'll use 1-2 capfuls, but you can use 3 if you want an even more bubbly experience. It leaves my skin feeling soft afterwards and your whole bathroom will smell like a tropical island spa.

Tropic Soothe The Senses Bath Soak* (260ml, £38, link)
For something even more luxurious, the Soothe The Senses Bath Soak is something that I imagine pampered princesses using on a regular basis to delicately soften and scent their skin. This Limited Edition product is a welcome addition to Tropic's Soothe The Senses range and it truly smells like heaven on earth. 

Featuring a range of plant-based oils such as Macadamia, Sweet Almond, Coconut and Sunflower Seed, this oil-to-milk formula instantly transforms when added to the water, into a decadent bath milk that moisturises and nourishes the skin. It also contains a range of therapeutic aromatherapy oils like Cedarwood Essential Oil which helps to ground and comfort the mind, Lemon, Mandarin and Sweet Orange to brighten and uplift, and Frangipani to relax and soothe. A splurge-worthy purchase for those who want to soak away the day's stresses in the best possible way.

P.S These are both packaged in plastic for health and safety reasons.

Have you tried anything from Tropic?

Currently Loving: Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palette in Seductive Beauty - Review & Swatches

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palette in Seductive Beauty - Review & Swatches
On my beauty wishlist, you'll find a lot of Charlotte Tilbury products, such is my obsession with her makeup. The insanely popular Instant Look In A Palettes have been on my radar ever since they launched about two years ago, and now I finally have one!

The story of how this came into my possession is a straightforward one; after one too many glasses of Rioja on a cold, rainy evening last month, I found myself browsing the Charlotte Tilbury website after seeing an offer on Instagram from an online friend who sent me a £15 off voucher code. Bizarrely, I've never ordered directly from the site before, despite having an arsenal of Charlotte Tilbury makeup in my beauty drawers, so I was determined to make good use of this first customer discount.

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palette in Seductive Beauty - Review & Swatches
The wine gave me the courage to splurge and splurge I did. To be fair, I had been on a no-buy for three months prior so it wasn't too bad for my bank balance. I added to my basket an online-only lip liner and lipstick duo and then my attention was drawn back to the gorgeous Instant Look In A Palettes. I'm a sucker for a pretty palette as many of my regular readers will know, and with three colourways to choose from, I did a little online swatch checking and decided to go for Seductive Beauty which I'm absolutely smitten with. 

It arrived promptly with the rest of my order and to say it was love at first sight, is an understatement. 

The Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palettes have all been cleverly designed so that you have the majority of your makeup curated together in one palette hence the 'instant look' name. The idea behind it is that you can do your makeup quickly and easily, simply by following the numbers in order - perfect for beginners and those who are unsure of what colours go with what - it's super convenient and you only need to add your foundation, mascara and a lippie, and you're good to go!

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palette in Seductive Beauty - Review & Swatches
The palettes are beautifully packaged as you'd expect from Charlotte Tilbury. The outside is kept minimal and classy with her signature logo, and inside there's a huge mirror which is a firm selling point for me as you can just (carefully) throw this into your bag without worrying about packing much else. Overall, it feels luxurious, sturdy, is a relatively compact size (great for travel), and there are no annoying brushes taking up valuable makeup space, so you get excellent sized pans of product, compared to most palettes from other brands.

As you can see, Seductive Beauty is the palette to go for if you love your neutrals!

The top row of Seductive Beauty features three shimmery eyeshadow shades:
  • Eye Brighten - a light, peachy-beige with an almost frosty, but fine golden shimmer. Ideal for the inner corner to make your eyes look more awake.
  • Eye Enhance -  this is one of those gorgeous medium-taupey browns that looks amazing as an all-over the lid shade and again, it has a hint of fine golden shimmer. 
  • Eye Smoke - richly pigmented, this is a killer medium-dark brown to smoke out your eyes with and it has a little golden shimmer for good measure.

All of the eyeshadows apply smoothly without any fallout issues. They blend easily and can be layered up for a more intense look if desired, but are equally as pretty for softer, everyday looks as well. I always wear an eyeshadow primer underneath as I have oily lids, though I have tested them on my sister who never wears a primer and they lasted on her well throughout the day without creasing.

For the second row, we have four pans:
  • Face Bronze - this is darker than the bronzer in Charlotte Tilbury's Bronze and Glow palette and actually suits my light olive skin tone a lot more, as it's a medium shade with slightly reddish undertones and a little fine golden shimmer. Blends so nicely on the skin without ever looking muddy, but is quite soft and pigmented, so you need to tap off the excess from your brush before applying.
  • Cheek Swish - a warm, light-medium pinky blush with a bright coral quality to it. Has some lovely golden shimmer running through it which gives the cheeks an instant glow.
  • Cheek Pop - this is a more medium rosy pink that compliments the Cheek Swish shade well, but can easily be worn on its own of course. Both of these blusher shades are so easy to work with and blend out effortlessly.
  • Highlight - a pale golden shimmer with a warm peachy undertone. Incredibly pretty for a more natural glow to the face - it's not going to give you a highlight that you can see from a million miles away!

Overall thoughts? 
I've seen some mixed reviews of the Instant Look In A Palettes, with most of the negativity being directed at the quality not being the same as Charlotte's stand-alone products, an issue that often comes up for many brands who make palettes like this. To be honest though, I can't see a huge difference between them, other than perhaps the powders in this palette being a fraction less pigmented and perhaps a little bit drier than the stand-alone bronzers, highlighters and blushers. Even if that's the case, it's still a beautifully put together palette with products that are easy and enjoyable to work with. 

If you want some Charlotte Tilbury in your life, but don't necessarily have the cash to splash on all the separate products, I think the palettes are a great way to try a lot of shades out and they are amazing for travel too. Neutral lovers definitely need to pick up Seductive Beauty!

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palette in Seductive Beauty* (£49) from charlottetilbury.com

Have you tried out any of these palettes?

Tried & Tested: Saach Organics Natural Hair Colour in Burgundy review (results on Dark Brown Hair)

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Saach Organics Natural Hair Colour in Burgundy review
Henna hair dye is something that I've only used once in my life, and it was such a messy experience that I vowed to never use it again. Of course, now that I'm a bit older and perhaps a little wiser with my product choices, I decided the time was right for me to re-experiment with this ancient form of hair colour.

My hair is naturally dark brown which rather limits my colouring options, unless I want to bleach it to lighten it first. I did this a lot throughout my teenage years whilst at college, and although I had a lot of fun, I ended up completely ruining my hair to the point where it was snapping off every time I tried to drag a brush through it, so you could say my love affair with bleach ended at that point! For the next couple of years, I let my hair recover and didn't use any dyes on it during this period.

However, when I reached my late 20s, I started to see some inevitable grey hairs starting to appear here and there, so I decided to seek out some natural hair dye alternatives. I've tried numerous brands with varying levels of success, and have mostly stuck with a basic semi-permanent dark brown shade to match my natural colour. Lately though, I've been craving a bit of a change and after some late night online browsing, I stumbled across Saacch Organics.

Saach Organics Natural Hair Colour in Burgundy review



Saach Organics Natural Hair Colour in Burgundy review
Sacch Organics are an all-natural haircare brand that specialises in plant-based hair colours which can be used on all hair types and by all ages. They're particularly useful for those who have sensitive and hypersensitive skin, as well as consumers who are looking for dyes that are free from the common irritants of PPD (Para-Phenylenediamine), Ammonia and Peroxides, which are regularly found in most mainstream hair dyes. 

Instead, Sacch Organics use a 100% naturally derived formula based on herbs that are grown and harvested to Ayurvedic traditions. Indigo Leaf Powder and Natural Henna form the base of this powdered semi-permanent hair dye, and there are several colours to choose from. I know that these dyes can't and won't lighten my naturally dark brown hair, but I picked up the Burgundy shade in the hope that it would add a nice reddish tone and cover up my greys - if your hair is much lighter than mine, you're more likely to achieve the colour shown on the box above.

Inside the box, I found:-
  • Natural Hair Colour (75g powder)
  • Natural Hair Colour Protect Shampoo (50ml)
  • One pair of Gloves
  • Hair Cap
  • Applicator Brush
  • Instructions

Saach Organics Natural Hair Colour in Burgundy review
Saach Organics Natural Hair Colour in Burgundy review
Before applying: There's a lot of conflicting information online about how best to use Henna/Indigo Leaf Powder, and the instructions provided with the box just say to 'apply it to the hair' (which didn't help matters!), but it seems like it's down to a matter of personal preference as to whether you want to apply it to dry, dirty, clean or wet hair. In the end, I washed my hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove all traces of dirt and any product build-up, then I left it to partially dry so it was still damp, but not soaking wet.   

Next, I covered the bathroom floor with lots of newspaper and made sure that I had some old towels nearby to mop up any spillages. The purpose of any 'dye' is to stain and it's always better to be safe than sorry as my mum always says! To protect my skin, I applied a barrier balm (anything similar to Vaseline will do) on my ears, around the base of my neck and hairline to prevent any weird marks, and tucked in an old towel around my shoulders - I'd recommend wearing a T-shirt that you're not precious about as well, just in case!

The instructions were simple and easy to follow, but they didn't tell me how much of the Natural Hair Colour powder to use for my hair length. After a bit of googling, I decided to use the whole packet and hope for the best! Thankfully, this worked out for me and was more than enough to cover all of my fine, shoulder-length hair - if you have longer/thicker hair, you may need two boxes to be on the safe side. I mixed the powder with 1 cup (235ml) of lukewarm water and blended it in a bowl until it became a 'spreadable paste'. 

Saach Organics Natural Hair Colour in Burgundy review
Applying: Firstly, make sure you've got your gloves on! If you've ever used any kind of Henna product before, you'll know that it smells pretty bad and this was no different - it's kinda like damp, earthy woodland mixed with lots of mud; I enlisted the help of one of my housemates to do the back of my head for me and she almost gagged at the smell, but I soon got used to it. The paste is thick and tricky to apply - it's incredibly messy stuff and you will likely get it everywhere, so be careful. I found the included Applicator Brush to be mostly useless and ended up using my hands to slather it on, making sure that everywhere was evenly covered. 

After around 20 mins of applying, I gathered my paste-covered hair up and pulled on the sexy hair cap to let it do its thing. The instructions state that it should be left on for 1-2 hours depending on the colour intensity desired, and I left it on for the full two hours. Once the time was up, I hopped into the shower and attempted to rinse it out with water only, as instructed, and my whole shower looked like it had had a bad encounter with the Swamp Thing. It took about half an hour to completely rinse it all out, and probably an extra half an hour to clean my bathroom afterwards. C'est la vie!

I wrapped my hair up in an old towel and then left it to air dry for the rest of the evening. It was pretty dark by this point, so I couldn't immediately see any difference, other than my hair feeling quite rough and dry. When I went to sleep, I made sure that I put an old towel over my pillow and then left my hair to do its thing over the next 24 hours. During this whole time, it smelt very damp and earthy and I couldn't wait to wash it.

Saach Organics Natural Hair Colour in Burgundy review
Results: On day two, I gave it a good wash with the included Saach Organics Natural Hair Colour Protect Shampoo and my heart sank when I saw how much dye was coming out and going down the drain, but I needn't have worried. My hair was very tangled by this point, so I used some conditioner on the lengths and ends, rinsed it out and left it to air dry. 

Now I could finally see the fruits of my labour! Inside, my hair didn't look any different - you could maybe see the tiniest tinge of red if you squinted hard enough. But outside and when the sunlight hits, it's transformed into a richer brown with a noticeable warmth of dark red which is really impressive considering that my hair is naturally dark brown to start with (check out my profile picture in the sidebar over there to see what I mean). Perhaps the biggest change though is in the overall condition - it's insanely shiny and just feels so much bouncier and full of life. Oh, and all of my greys are completely covered!

After nearly three weeks, I've continued to use the Colour Protect Shampoo and it stills looks pretty shiny with that lovely reddish tint, though not as obviously vibrant as it was in the first week. No signs of any grey and my hair feels really nice and soft still. 

Would I use it again? Yes! Despite the mess and length of time that it takes to apply and rinse out, I'm very happy with the results and would certainly consider using this on a long-term basis to cover greys and give my hair an overall boost when it needs it. It feels good to use something that's 100% natural!

Saach Organics Natural Hair Colour in Burgundy* (£10.95) is available via LoveLula.com

Do you use natural hair colours?

Foodie Friday: Spinach & Oat Flour Falafels recipe (Gluten-Free/Vegan)

Friday, 6 April 2018

Spinach & Oat Flour Falafels recipe (Vegan/Dairy-Free)
Falafels are something that I've regularly eaten for a long time and they're often a staple for many people who are vegetarian and vegan, but they're so tasty that everyone can enjoy them! 

However, I've been pretty lazy in the past and used to always buy them ready-made from the supermarket. That was until I moved to a more multi-cultural city, and my palate was opened up to the wonderful flavours from the local Lebanese and Middle Eastern restaurants, where falafels are made fresh on the day and taste a million times better. Since then, I've experimented with a couple of different recipes, adding in other ingredients when I've fancied a change. 

The classic Falafel recipe is very simple and delicious, but try this one below the next time you want to make some. The addition of Spinach gives them an extra nutritional boost, and using Oat Flour instead of Chickpea Flour can give them a slightly thicker texture.

Falafels are naturally high in fibre, high in protein and low in fat, but will easily absorb oil during the frying process which bumps up the fat content. To keep them lower in fat, fry them in a pan instead of a deep fryer - they won't be as crunchy on the outside, but they'll still taste good!

Spinach & Oat Flour Falafels recipe (Vegan/Dairy-Free)
Ingredients:
(makes around 15-20 Falafels depending on how big you want them)

  • 400g Dry Chickpeas (NOT canned - drained and soaked the night before making)
  • 1 small Onion - finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves - crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh Spinach
  • 3 tbsp Oat Flour*
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • Pinch of Salt & Black Pepper
  • Coconut Oil - for frying
  • Tahini - to serve

Method:
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse for a few minutes until you have a coarse like texture that is becoming easy to mould together (see photo above). You may need to stop and start it to make sure that the sides don't build up - just push these down back into the mix with a spatula.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and make balls by squishing the mixture into your hands. Set aside.
  3. In a frying pan, add 1tbsp of Coconut Oil and fry the Falafels for a few minutes on each side, until they start to turn slightly golden brown.
  4. Serve in a wrap or pitta with your favourite veggies and drizzle over some Tahini. Enjoy!

Storage: Keep your cooked falafels and any uncooked falafel mixture in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

*You can make your own Oat Flour cheaply and easily at home - simply blend 35g of Gluten-Free Rolled Oats in your food processor until it turns into a fine powder - that's Oat Flour! :)

Spinach & Oat Flour Falafels recipe (Vegan/Dairy-Free)
 Raw Spinach Falafels before frying
Spinach & Oat Flour Falafels recipe (Vegan/Dairy-Free)

Do you like Falafels?

Previous Post Previous
Powered by Blogger.