Foodie Friday: 4 Salads To Make This Summer (Vegetarian & Vegan recipes)

Friday, 30 June 2017

4 Salads To Make This Summer (Vegetarian & Vegan recipes)
The days of staring into a bowl of sad looking, limp lettuce leaves are well and truly over, so say hello to Summer with four of my favourite salads!

One of the most overused retorts that I often hear when people find out that I'm trying some new vegetarian/vegan meal ideas is that boring old chestnut, "So you just eat a bowl of rabbit food/lettuce then?". *cue MAJOR eye roll*. 

Thankfully, the growing popularity of snapping Instagram perfect meals has highlighted how beautiful and colourful something as simple as a salad can be, and that it absolutely doesn't have to include a single lettuce leaf (unless you want it to that is - there's nothing wrong with some crisp, fresh lettuce anyway!).

Here are four of my favourite summer salads that are not only packed full of flavour and taste as good as they look, but they easily prove that salads need not be boring. Vive la révolution!

Sunny Thai Salad recipe
Bright & Sunny Thai Salad

This Bright & Sunny Thai Salad is bursting with flavour and combines juicy mango chunks with colourful ribbons of fresh veggies and crunchy toasted cashews. There's even a tasty dressing to finish it off beautifully.

Ingredients (serves 2):-
  • 1 Courgette
  • 2 Carrots (medium-sized)
  • 1 small Mango (firm)
  • 50g Cashews (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Coconut Oil
  • Hemp Seeds

For the dressing:-
  • 1/2 Garlic Clove (finely chopped)
  • 1 Red Chilli (finely chopped, remove seeds if desired)
  • Juice of 1 Lime (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Honey or Agave Nectar

Method:-
  1. Slice the Courgette and the Carrots into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Chop up the Mango into smallish chunks and place everything into a large bowl.
  2. In a frying pan, heat up the Coconut Oil and add in the chopped Cashews, tossing until lightly toasted. Allow to cool slightly and add to the salad bowl.
  3. In a jam jar or a similar container with a lid, make the dressing by adding the Garlic, Chilli, Lime Juice, Olive Oil and Honey. Shake thoroughly to combine.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to mix everything together. Sprinkle over some Hemp Seeds for an extra nutritional boost.

Deconstructed Ploughman's Salad recipe
Deconstructed Ploughman's Salad

A classic Ploughman's can be a heavy meal with all that bread and cheese, so why not try a lightened up salad version for Summer? You still get all the flavours and textures, but it won't leave you feeling bloated afterwards. Win-win!

Ingredients (serves 2):-
  • 100g mixed Salad Leaves
  • 1 Celery stalk (chopped)
  • 1 Apple (thinly sliced)
  • 50g Cheddar Cheese or Dairy-Free Cheddar (thinly sliced)
  • Handful of Walnuts
  • 2-4 Oat Cakes (crumbled)
  • Salt & Black Pepper

For the dressing:-
  • 2 tbsp Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Honey or Agave Nectar
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:-
  1. In a large bowl, add the mixed Salad Leaves, chopped Celery, Walnuts, crumbled Oat Cakes and the sliced Apple and Cheese. Gently mix everything together.
  2. In a jam jar or a similar container with a lid, add all the dressing ingredients; Cider Vinegar, Honey and Olive Oil, shaking well to combine everything.
  3. Arrange the salad onto plates and pour over the dressing. Finish with a sprinkling of Salt & Pepper.

New Potato, Avocado & Lamb's Lettuce Salad
New Potato, Avocado & Lamb's Lettuce Salad
New Potato, Avocado & Lamb's Lettuce Salad

This potato salad makes for a filling lunch option, and by only using a dressing instead of coating the potatoes in a heavy mayo sauce, it's much lighter too, but still very satisfying.

Ingredients (serves 2):-
  • Handful of New Potatoes
  • 50g Lamb's Lettuce
  • 1 Avocado
  • Salt & Pepper

For the dressing:-
  • 1 bulb of Garlic
  • 2 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Cider Vinegar
  • 100g Crème Fraîche or Dairy-Free Alternative
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon

Method:-
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Slice off the top (pointy end) of the Garlic and place cut side down into a small ramekin. Roast for 20 minutes or until the cloves are soft to the touch. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Wash the New Potatoes and chop into bite-size chunks. Boil in a large saucepan for around 20 minutes, drain and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Chop the Avocado into small chunks and add to a salad bowl with the Lamb's Lettuce and New Potatoes.
  4. For the dressing, squeeze out the now soft Garlic cloves into a food processor and add the Olive Oil, Cider VinegarCrème Fraîche and Lemon juice. Whizz until smooth.
  5. Arrange the salad onto plates and spoon over the dressing. Season with a little Salt & Pepper.

Warm Indian-Style Asparagus & Courgetti Salad
Warm Indian-Style Asparagus & Courgetti Salad

If you're not a fan of cold salad, this warm Indian-Style Asparagus and Courgetti number might be more your thing and can be served as a side or bulked out with tofu/veggie protein for an evening meal.

Ingredients (serves 2-4):-
  • 1 bundle of Asparagus Tips
  • 1 Courgette
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Pinch of Chili Powder
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Handful of Pine Nuts
  • Coconut Oil for Frying

Method:-
  1. In a frying pan over a medium heat, melt the Coconut Oil.
  2. Spiralize the Courgette (or if you don't have a spiralizer, just use a vegetable peeler to cut it into thin ribbons) and add to the frying pan with the Asparagus Tips.
  3. Add the Mustard Seeds, Turmeric, Cumin Seeds, Chili Powder and Pine Nuts, and lightly toss together for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and arrange into bowls. Squeeze over a little Lemon Juice to serve.

[The salad recipes above have been adapted from recipes by Abel & Cole]

What are your favourite summer salads?

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What I've Been Reading Lately: June Books Roundup

Thursday, 29 June 2017

What I've Been Reading Lately: June Books Roundup
A round-up of the books that I've been reading this month:-

Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

Non-Fiction / Memoirs: "Award-winning actress Drew Barrymore shares funny, insightful, and profound stories from her past and present told from the place of happiness she's achieved today."

Drew Barrymore has been one of those actors who has literally grown up in the spotlight, and I've been a fan of many of her films for a long time. She was one of the infamous 90s girls and always came across as a friendly, confident woman with a real passion for life in interviews, despite her past troubles with alcohol and drugs. I didn't realise that she had a book out until I spotted Wildflower in the library and intrigued to find out more, I picked it up.

Wildflower is what I'd describe as a 'memoir of sorts'. It's not a chronologically ordered autobiography, rather it's a free-flowing, mish-mash of anecdotes and stories recalled in short chapters, and it's the type of book that you can dip in and out of as you please. There are a few sad parts, but Drew's ability to maintain a positive outlook throughout everything that life throws at her, is admirable, to say the least. That said, for someone who has led such an interesting life, this book felt like it only really skimmed the surface but I get the feeling that Drew wanted to keep some things private which I can completely understand. Fans of hers will no doubt love it nonetheless. [3/5]

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Historical Fiction / Romance: "Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home."

This book has been recommended to me so many times by close friends and online friends, that it was inevitable that I would have to get my hands on a copy at some point in my life and I've finally read it!

Fingersmith is a novel quite unlike anything that I've ever read before. It's set in Victorian times and the story follows two young teenage girls; Sue, a poor but sly and cunning master pickpocket (often referred to as a 'fingersmith', hence the title of the book) and Maud, a quiet and sheltered girl who is the heiress to a small fortune. Both lead wildly different lives, but the two soon meet when Sue becomes involved in a plot to steal Maud's inheritance. However, things don't exactly go to plan as Sue develops feelings for Maud and the story quickly evolves into a rollercoaster of emotions and dark secrets.

There were a lot of really interesting plot twists throughout which kept me hooked, yet despite the thrilling lesbian romance (and um yes, there are sex scenes too), there was a certain level of Victorian misery and bleakness that kept the story grounded and stopped it from going off into the realms of a romance fantasy. The ending was especially good - unexpected, but one that made a lot of sense the more that I thought about it, long after I'd turned the last page. A Dickensian-style novel with a difference! [4/5]

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

Psychological Horror / Thriller: "Frank - no ordinary sixteen-year-old - lives with his father outside a remote Scottish village. Their life is, to say the least, unconventional. Frank has turned to strange acts of violence to vent his frustrations. In the bizarre daily rituals there is some solace, but how far is too far?"

Iain Banks first novel, The Wasp Factory was released to much controversy back in 1984, with many people calling for it to be banned due to its graphic and violent content. Being a fan of psychological horrors and having a strong stomach, I'm not sure how this book has managed to pass me by for so long and now that I've read it, I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

The Wasp Factory is not a book for the faint-hearted. It's told in the first person by Frank, a deeply troubled 16-year old who has killed three children (all related to him) by the time that he's 10. The story now sees him reflecting upon his actions and pondering on his childhood as he approaches becoming an adult. What follows is a depressingly dark account of an isolated upbringing filled with horrifying sadistic rituals often involving animal abuse; a difficult relationship with his father, and numerous conversations with his older brother Eric, who has recently escaped from a mental institution.

It's clear that both Frank and Eric are psychopaths, and that the mother's absence from their lives and the father's 'odd' behaviour (plus some other life changing events) may have played a central part in all this violent mayhem. It brings about that old debate of nature vs nurture -is it all the parents' fault, or are the boys just naturally twisted and evil? Whilst The Wasp Factory will guarantee to sicken and horrify 99% of people who read it (I can only assume the other 1% are psychopaths themselves), it does make you think about how someone can do such awful things, and whether it's their background/upbringing that makes them how they are. [3/5]

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier 

Historical Fiction / WW2: "The silver sword became the symbol of hope and courage which kept four deserted and starving children alive through the years of Nazi occupation, and afterwards on the search to find their parents in the harshest of circumstances."

The Silver Sword is a story featuring the Balicki family that's based on true events during the Nazi occupation of Poland in 1940 during WW2. The family become separated when the father is taken to a prison camp for refusing to put up a portrait of Hitler in the school classroom that he works in, and the mother is taken by the Gestapo in the middle of the night. This terrifying situation leaves behind the three Balicki children (aged 13, 11 and 3), who must now try to survive in a country that is being torn apart by war. The first half of the story focuses on the father's escape from prison after serving a year and his desperation to try and find his family back in Warsaw, and then the rest of the book reverts back to the children's survival story immediately after their mother is taken away. 

It's a YA story, so the prose is simplistic and fast-paced, but it's still an incredibly moving novel and one that really packs an emotional punch into such a short amount of space. [3/5]

The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles

Historical Fiction / Literature / Romance: "Obsessed with an irresistible fascination for the enigmatic Sarah, Charles is hurtled by a moment of consummated lust to the brink of the existential void. Duty dictates that his engagement must be broken as he goes forth once again to seek the woman who has captured his Victorian soul & gentleman's heart."

Given the scandalous praise that screams at you when you read the blurb on the back of this book, I half expected The French Lieutenant's Woman to be a sordid, bodice-ripping erotica, but thankfully, it's much more intelligent and sincere than a trashy French version of a Mills and Boon yarn. 

Instead, The French Lieutenant's Woman is a deeply romantic and multi-layered story that features the complexity of a classic love triangle with Charles (a confident, self-made gentleman), Ernestina (Charles' fiancée, the beautiful heiress to a vast fortune), and Sarah (the classic 'other woman', with a sense of mystery about her). It's always obvious in these kinds of stories that someone like Charles should dump the pretty wealthy woman and run off into the sunset with someone like Sarah, but the story delves into the emotions and hearts of everyone involved and makes for an interesting holiday read. Fowles' prose is beautiful, with the erotica scenes adding a little naughtiness here and there. My only criticism is that some parts played out longer in the storyline than I wanted them to, but for the most part, I enjoyed it. [3/5]

What have you been reading lately?

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New In: REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Salt Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Body Scrub & Body Wash review

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Salt Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Body Scrub & Body Wash review
One of the biggest trends that I've seen in new product launches this year, has been focused on helping our bodies cope with the stresses and demands of our busy 21st-century lives. It's no surprise then to see a brand like REN release a new range that does just that.

REN's latest launch is a brand new body care range called Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium. Its aim is to harness the natural properties of these rich sea minerals and anti-oxidants to help re-energise tired minds and bodies, in a bid to fight daily fatigue and stress. Of course, there's only so much a beauty product can do, so if you're feeling stressed or tired all the time, please book in to see your GP at the earliest opportunity. However, something that always helps me to de-stress is a good old pamper session in the bathroom, so this is something that I can definitely relate to.

From this point of view, the new REN range is worth trying out for anyone who has a busy lifestyle, and the act of taking some time out for yourself to focus on just you, even for 10 minutes, can have a really positive effect on your mind. There are six products within the Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium range that you can pamper yourself with, but below are my favourite two.

REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Salt Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Body Scrub review
REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Salt Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Body Scrub* (330ml, £26, link)
For an all over body exfoliation, you can't beat a good salt-based scrub. REN's latest offering uses fresh Sea and Magnesium Epsom Salts to polish away dull, dead skin cells and leaves the whole body looking clearer and feeling as smooth as a baby's bum. The simple act of massaging the salts into the skin helps to stimulate circulation, and as the salts are infused with a blend of anti-fatigue essential oils, this scrub ultimately has a wonderfully relaxing and invigorating effect on both the body and the mind. The scent is very fresh and sea-like, and it's worth pointing out that the Atlantic Kelp extract and Microalgae in the formula also help to re-hydrate the skin, so you get to reap the beauty benefits too. It's one of the best luxury body scrubs that I've used in a long time and makes me feel like I've just come out of a Spa whenever I use it!

REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Salt Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Body Wash review
REN Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Wash* (300ml, £20, link)
If you don't have the time to spare to treat yourself to a full on pamper session, don't worry, you can still experience the benefits of the new range with REN's Anti-Fatigue Body Wash. This body wash is made with a sulphates-free formula that's enriched with Atlantic Kelp extract and Magnesium PCA to wake up tired skin, and it also includes that special blend of anti-fatigue essential oils to wake up your mind too. Like the scrub, it smells so fresh and invigorating - the perfect shower gel to reach for if you've had a sleepless night (and great for fixing hangovers as well!).  

Have you tried the new Atlantic Kelp & Magnesium range?

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June Empties: Products I've Used Up

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

June Empties: Products I've Used Up
I usually post my Empties right at the end of the month, but there's no way I'm going to finish anything else in the next couple of days, so here's a slightly earlier than usual Empties post. Here's everything that I've used up recently and my thoughts about whether I'll be repurchasing them or not. Enjoy!

Living Nature Sensitive Cleanser
Whenever my skin feels like it's going to break out or throw a tantrum, I'll switch whatever cleanser I'm using to something like this Sensitive one from Living Nature to help calm it down, so I've been using this on/off for a couple of months now. I've gone through tubes of it in the past and it's lovely and gentle on the skin. Great for a morning cleanse, or as a second cleanse in the evening. Repurchase? I have a lot of cleansers to use up at the moment, but I would definitely repurchase this in the future.

Swell Advanced Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner
If you have fine hair like I do, these are a must-try! I love the Swell range, and these are SLS and silicones-free. As they are quite pricey, I like to alternate them with some more affordable brands, but they are absolutely fantastic and work a treat! Managed to get these on offer in the Christmas sale. Repurchase? Yes, I'll be sure to snap them up next time they're on offer somewhere!

Swell Ultimate Volume Masque*
Used a full-size tube of this masque before and loved it, so it was handy having a travel size in my toiletries bag. It's a really great hair mask for anyone who has fine hair that needs extra hydration and volume, as it doesn't leave your hair feeling weighed down. Lovely stuff. Repurchase? Yes.

Aveda Outer Peace Blemish Relief Pads
These pads were an impulse buy because I saw them on a half-price offer a few months ago, but I sadly didn't see any difference by using them. They didn't make my skin or blemishes any worse, but they didn't clear up anything either. Repurchase? No.

Bodhi & Birch Camomile Sky Bath & Shower Therapy*
I was so lucky to win this in a giveaway at Christmas time and I've thoroughly enjoyed using it as a luxury shower gel. I love Bodhi & Birch's Bath & Shower Therapies and this Camomile Sky scent is so fresh and unusual. Lovely for Summer. Repurchase? Will do once I've used up some other ones!

June Empties: Products I've Used Up
Ila Bath Soak for Pure Relaxation
This is a really calming bath soak to use for those busy days when you get home feeling stressed and just need to unwind. Perfect for a relaxing pamper with some candles and a glass (or two) of wine! Repurchase? Yes, the full size is very reasonably priced so it's on my shopping list.

L'Occitane Shea Hand Cream
Just a mini that I had in my handbag - this is still one of my all time favourite hand creams. Ideal for very dry hands and doesn't feel sticky or greasy at all. Repurchase? Already have some more minis in my stash.

Conscious Skincare Pure Body Butter*
A very simple but effective body butter made with just pure natural and organic ingredients like Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter. It's got an amazing lightly whipped texture to it and works so well for eczema and general dry skin. A little goes a long way so it's taken me months to get through this huge tub! Repurchase? Yes.

Balance Me Radiance Face Mask
I've mentioned this face mask on numerous occasions and I still love it a lot. A great one to reach for if your skin is feeling congested or looking dull - it really helps to brighten everything up and gives your face a gentle manual exfoliation at the same time. Repurchase? I may have a few more travel sizes in my stash somewhere that I need to dig out.

Roques Oneil Therapie Restore Aura Spray
One of my favourite Christmas presents that I received last year was a Roques Oneil Therapie Gift Set which included this full-size bottle of their incredible Restore Aura Spray. It's made with a calming blend of essential oils and it smells absolutely heavenly! Lovely to use as a relaxing facial spritz when you're feeling stressed, or as a luxury room/pillow spray to help you to sleep. Repurchase? It's expensive so it's on my wishlist for the time being!

Which beauty products have you used up recently?

Summer Haircare: Aveda Suncare Protective Hair Veil & After Sun Masque review

Friday, 23 June 2017

Aveda Suncare Protective Hair Veil & After Sun Masque review
We all know about the effects of the sun's rays on our skin, but what about on our hair? If your locks are feeling frazzled by too much sun, grab one of these products!

Whenever I use heat styling tools on my hair, be it a hairdryer or the straightening irons, I almost always use a heat protector product. It's become something of a habit that I don't really think about anymore, but on the rare occasion where I've been in a rush and skipped this step, my hair has really suffered for it. Everyone's hair is different of course, but as mine is naturally very fine and dry (not to mention already a bit damaged from too many blow dries), a helping hand in the form of a heat protector really helps, and the same goes for a protector against the sun.

Too much UV exposure on hair can cause it to become weak and brittle due to a loss of natural proteins in the hair. Add to this a summer holiday with lots of swimming in chlorinated water and a build up of natural salt from those long windswept walks on the beach, and your hair could be looking worse for wear by the end of a week-long trip abroad. Those with naturally thicker, darker hair tend to fare better than those with finer, lighter or colour treated hair, but too much of anything is going to take its toll.

This may be why there are so many products on the market right now which are basically 'suncare for your hair', to help keep you looking your best in all of those holiday Instagram selfies. So two products that I've been enjoying using during this recent heat wave have come from Aveda, whose suncare/haircare range has dedicated formulas to protect your locks against the damaging effects of UV, sun, salt and chlorine.

Aveda Suncare Protective Hair Veil & After Sun Masque review
Aveda Suncare Protective Hair Veil* (100ml, £22.50, link)
One of the easiest ways to protect your hair against the sun is to use a leave-in spray that contains a clever UV filter in its formula. Aveda's Protective Hair Veil does just that, and uses naturally derived UVA/UVB inhibitors which are found in Wintergreen and Cinnamon Bark Oils to help to protect the hair from receiving any further damage from the sun's harmful rays. The formula is also water-resistant and promises to provide sun protection for the hair for up to 16 hours (but make sure to reapply it after swimming). To use it, you just spritz onto dry or damp hair and style your hair as normal. It feels lightweight and non-sticky so it won't interfere with your hairstyle, or cause any product build up afterwards. I really like it as it's so easy and simple to use, and it's definitely been helping to stop my hair from getting frazzled with all this sun we've been having recently.

Aveda Suncare After-Sun Masque* (125ml, £24, link)
If your hair has already had too much sun exposure and is feeling worse for wear, you can rescue it with an intensive hair treatment/mask. Whilst any ultra-hydrating hair mask will do the job, Aveda have some fantastic hair masks in their range and their After Sun Masque is a real SOS treat for anyone who has dry or damaged hair. Formulated with key nourishing ingredients such as Tamanu Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil and Green Tea, it also contains Morikue Protein and Vitamin E to further repair and protect the hair. You only need to leave it on for a couple of minutes to see it work its magic (around 5 minutes is optimum), so it's a fantastic quick fix product to use when you're on holiday and have better things to be doing than waiting for a hair mask to develop!

Have you tried any of Aveda's suncare range for hair?

The Mid-Week Pamper Treats: Special Birthday Edition

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Mid-Week Pamper: Special Birthday Edition
If you can't indulge in a pampering session on your birthday, when can you?! Here are four products that I'll be reaching for to celebrate my birthday this week.

The Mid-Week Pamper: Special Birthday Edition
The Hair Mask: Naturtint Vital 5 Hair Mask* (200ml, £14.99, link)
With all this humidity going on thanks to the longest, stickiest heatwave I can ever remember, it's safe to say that my hair has not been looking its best recently. A combination of too much sun and far too many styling products have left it feeling ultra dry and looking quite flat and sad. It's time for an intervention! Luckily, I have this gem from Naturtint on hand and their Vital 5 Hair Mask is fantastic for rescuing stressed out and parched hair. Formulated with key ingredients such as Wheat Proteins, Shea Butter and Canola Oil, it helps to deeply moisturise dry hair, add volume, vitality and shine, and strengthen it overall. Free from SLS and parabens, it's a great hair mask to try and gets to work in just 5 minutes for the ultimate quick hair fix.

The Face Mask: Janjira Marine Radiant White Instant Brightening Bubble Mask* (40ml, £24, link)
I've been testing out a bunch of new face masks lately, but none have impressed me as much as this Instant Brightening Bubble Mask from Janjira. This Thai-inspired brand is all about spa friendly products, so they were a perfect match for this special Birthday pamper edit. The Instant Brightening Bubble Mask feels a little gimmicky at first as you apply a couple of pumps of the mask to the skin and then wait for it 'bubble' up. It quickly turns into a light foam within around 3-5 minutes and then you rinse it off. The lather/foam is produced without SLS which is always a winner in my book, and I was very pleased to see a noticeable brightening effect to my complexion immediately after using, thanks to an interesting ingredient called Algowhite (trademarked) which is extracted from Brown Algae. There's also Vitamin C (well known for its brightening qualities) and Vitamin D3 in the formula to help protect the skin against pollution and keep it hydrated. A fun mask to use and one that actually works!

The Mid-Week Pamper: Special Birthday Edition

The Luxury Body Oil: Antipodes Heavenly Body Oil* (100ml, £24.99, link)
Whilst Antipodes do some amazing skincare products, their body stuff is not to be overlooked as this Heavenly Body Oil is my newest favourite from the organic New Zealand brand. Despite feeling like a light and non-greasy oil on the skin, it's actually very rich and hydrating due to nutrient-rich base of Avocado Oil, Macadamia Oil, Jojoba Oil, Rosehip Oil and Vitamin E, so it's a lovely body oil to reach for in this kind of weather when your skin might be feeling dry or dehydrated from too much sun exposure! The addition of Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Lavender essential oils makes it smell incredible too. It's such a gorgeous luxury pampering product to have in your bathroom!

The Bath Soak: Botanicals Deep Peace Mineral Soak* (70g travel size pictured, full size is 500g for £27, link)
If you're struggling to get a good night's sleep in this heat, taking a bath before bedtime can really help. I've been enjoying using Botanicals' Deep Peace Mineral Soak which contains a blend of Pink Himalayan Mineral Crystals, Dead Sea Salt and Epsom Salt, all of which are infused with organic essentials oils of Sandalwood, Sweet Orange, Geranium, Lavender and Marjoram. This is a very relaxing bath soak as it really helps me to switch off after a busy day and prepare my mind for a restful night's sleep.

What are your favourite pampering products?
Have you tried any of these?

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Staying Safe in the Sun: Organic Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin from Green People

Monday, 19 June 2017

Staying Safe in the Sun with Green People
As the UK basks in another heatwave this week, take this post as your daily reminder to slap on some much needed SPF so that you can enjoy this beautiful weather safely - you never know when it's going to rain again!

Sunscreen is the most important staple to have by your side during the Summer months. I know it's common sense, but the number of people who I've seen this past weekend who have been really badly sunburnt, makes me realise that it's something that needs to be brought up again and again.

It's not rocket science people - if you're going to be outside at this time of the year, you're going to need some sunscreen! Apply it 30 minutes before going outside, and re-apply it every two hours (or more often if you're swimming or sweating a lot). Simples!

Here are two of my favourite organic and cruelty-free summer skincare essentials from Green People, both of which are ideal for the whole family to use and are especially ideal for anyone who has sensitive skin:- 

Staying Safe in the Sun with Green People

Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF 30* (200ml, £22, link)
If you have sensitive skin, it can be really difficult to find a suitable fragrance free sunscreen that isn't going to irritate it. Luckily, this one from Green People is one of the best that I've tried and it will happily cover any of my eczema prone areas without upsetting my skin - hooray! This natural based formula is 78% organic and provides a protection of SPF 30 against both UVA and UVB rays so that you and your family are fully covered. It applies like a regular body moisturiser and absorbs easily, without any greasy feeling, making this the perfect choice for any fussy kids who might not like the feel of thick or sticky sunscreens on their skin. This is also a great sun lotion for those who suffer from Prickly Heat to try out. I love it!

Green People Hydrating After Sun Soothing Moisturiser* (200ml, £15.95, link)  
Ah, the blissfully cooling benefits of a high-quality after-sun product! These can be a real godsend if you've caught too much sun during the day and Green People's offering is a lovely, non-greasy, ultra-cooling moisturiser that you can use all over the body to reduce peeling as it helps to heal the skin with a range of natural ingredients. Formulated with the likes of Organic Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Myrhh and Mint, this after sun is 94% organic and feels wonderfully refreshing on the skin after a long day in the sun. The big 200ml tube will keep the whole family happy this Summer, and you can use it as a light and fresh body lotion all year round too - win win.

Do you use any products from Green People?

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Summer Holidays: Ted Baker Enchanting Treats Blush Pink Vanity Case Gift Set review

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Ted Baker Enchanting Treats Vanity Case Gift Set review
Looking for a new toiletries set to jazz up your summer holiday this year? Ted Baker's latest Porcelain Rose bath and body collection has just launched into Boots and it's a beauty!

Ted Baker's new collection features a whole host of fresh floral scented treats to get you in the mood for Summer, and there are three new fragrance ranges to choose from; Pretty Pearl, Opulent Petal and Blush Pink. Each one has its own products which you can purchase singularly, or if payday is coming up, there are some gorgeous gift sets available including this one which immediately jumped out at me when I first saw the new collection.

Ted Baker Enchanting Treats Vanity Case Gift Set review

The Enchanting Treats Blush Pink Vanity Case Gift Set is based around a beautiful vanity case in a chic and stylish floral print, and has metallic rose gold detailing for some added luxe (the signature Ted Baker bow on the zip is super cute!). Unlike smaller toiletries sets, this vanity case is a very generous size that's perfect for longer holidays as it has loads of space to store your favourite toiletries in. It also looks great sitting pretty on your vanity desk at home - I've already had lots of compliments about it!

Inside the vanity case, you'll also find three full-size products:-
  • Ted Baker Blush Pink Body Wash (200ml)
  • Ted Baker Blush Pink Body Souffle (300ml)
  • Ted Baker Blush Pink Body Spray (150ml)

This Blush Pink range smells amazing with subtle notes of Jasmine and Neroli on a base of Sandalwood, Patchouli and Musk. It's a very floral, feminine and summery scent overall and I think Ted Baker are onto a real winner with this collection!

Ted Baker Enchanting Treats Blush Pink Vanity Case Gift Set* retails for £25 and is available from Boots stores nationwide and online at boots.com

Are you a fan of Ted Baker?

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Foodie Friday: Cacao & Almond Energy Balls (Deliciously Ella / Vegan Recipe)

Friday, 16 June 2017

Cacao & Almond Energy Balls (Deliciously Ella / Vegan Recipe)
Happy Friday! For this week's Foodie Friday post, I wanted to share one of my favourite recipes by Deliciously Ella and show you how easy it is to make these delicious Cacao & Almond Energy Balls at home. 

These are perfect as a post-gym/workout snack or just as a healthier, refined-sugar free alternative to reach for when that afternoon energy slump happens! I've stuck mostly to Deliciously Ella's original recipe, but I have added slightly more Almonds to up the protein percentage, as I personally like to grab one of these when I've finished a workout.

I love to make these at the weekend in advance of a busy week, and they'll happily keep in the fridge for about a month in an airtight container.

Cacao & Almond Energy Balls (Deliciously Ella / Vegan Recipe)
 Ingredients:- (makes around 12 Energy Balls)
  • 150g Almonds
  • 200g Medjool Dates
  • 2 tbsp Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 tbsp Almond Butter
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • Pinch of Salt

Method:-
  1. Place the Almonds into a food processor and pulse until they are chopped into small pieces.
  2. Add the Medjool Dates and Coconut Oil, and mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Next, add the Almond Butter and Raw Cacao Power along with the pinch of Salt, and blend everything again until it looks like a thick paste mixture.
  4. Take a tablespoon of the mixture into your hands and roll into a ball. Set aside on a plate lined with greaseproof paper and continue making balls until all the mixture is used up. Depending on the size that you want, you'll probably end up with around 10-12 balls in total.
  5. Pop the rolled balls on the plate into the freezer for about an hour to firm up, and then transfer to the fridge into an airtight container. They will soften up again but should retain a firm ball shape. Enjoy!

Cacao & Almond Energy Balls (Deliciously Ella / Vegan Recipe)
Have you tried making your own Energy / Bliss Balls?

Green Beauty Box: LoveLula Beauty Box - June 2017 review

Thursday, 15 June 2017

LoveLula Beauty Box - June 2017 review
My favourite green beauty box from LoveLula arrived last week and I've been enjoying its contents as it includes a good mix of makeup and skincare from some amazing brands.

Here's what I found inside:-

Balm Balm Hibiscus Face Mask with Muslin Cloth (5g travel size) 
This gentle exfoliating face mask comes as a loose powder that you mix with a little water to create a paste. It's made from simple natural ingredients such as Brown Rice Flour, Ground Hibiscus and Rose Geranium Essential Oil, to give the skin a deep cleanse that draws out clogged pores and impurities. I've only used it once so far but it left my skin looking much clearer and brighter so I''m looking forward to using it more often in the future!

John Masters Organics Lavender, Rose Geranium and Ylang Ylang Soap (42g, RRP £3)
I always have a solid bar of soap on the go in my bathroom, usually as a hand soap by my sink, and this one from John Masters Organics features three of my favourite essential oils; Lavender, Rose Geranium and Ylang Ylang. Needless to say it smells beautiful, and the SLS-free base of Organic Olive Oil and Cupuacu Butter means it won't dry out my hands. 

Bellapierre Kiss Proof Lip Creme in Antique Pink (full size, RRP £20)
I was really pleased to see a makeup item in this month's box because I feel they've been missed in previous months, but this liquid lipstick from Bellapierre certainly makes up for it! Worth £20 on its own, I received the shade Antique Pink which is such a gorgeous everyday shade for me to wear, and the matte formula is really great too. It even smells good - win win!

Madara Daily Defence Ultra Rich Balm (full size, RRP £15)
You guys all know that I love my multi-purpose products and Madara's Daily Defence Ultra Rich Balm has been on my wishlist for a while now. Suitable for face, body, hands and any dry bits like cuticles and elbows etc, this balm-meets-super-rich-cream helps to protect the skin from dryness and extreme weather conditions by giving it an intense shot of moisture where it's needed the most. It's something that I'll definitely get more use out of in the winter months, but I'll be keeping it on my bedside table to tackle my dry cuticles and hands until then.

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?

3 Toning Mists to Cool You Down This Summer

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

3 Toning Mists to Cool You Down This Summer
Summer is well and truly on its way with the mercury set to rise this week, so it's time slap on the SPF and make sure that you've got one of these toning mists on hand to keep you cool and refreshed in the heat.

Summer skincare tends to fall into two main categories; for oily skinned guys and gals, you might be reaching for all the mattifying products in the world right now, and for drier skin types, the key is to stop your skin from getting parched by the sun. But toning mists are beneficial for every skin type to use and as someone whose face likes to be dehydrated and looks like an oilslick in the hotter months, they are an absolute saviour for rebalancing all that excess sebum and soothing the skin.

Here are three of my current favourite toning mists to help cool you down this Summer:-

3 Toning Mists to Cool You Down This Summer
Best for Anti-Aging & City Dwellers: Evolve Organic Beauty Daily Defence Moisture Mist* (100ml, £20, link)
For a really effective toning mist that also doubles up as a protector against pollution, this new Daily Defence Moisture Mist from Evolve Organic Beauty will appeal to city workers and skincare fans alike. The 99.4% natural (20.5% organic) formula boasts three key ingredients; Hyaluronic Acid for locking in moisture and boosting collagen, Moringa Peptides to protect against the irritating elements of pollution, and Prickly Pear which calms and hydrates. These key ingredients are housed in a base of Rose and Orange Flower Water, and this mist can be used over make-up throughout the day to protect and refresh, as well as a being a daily staple in your skincare routine after cleansing. It's quickly become one of my favourite new skincare discoveries and is definitely worth trying. Also available as a handy travel size.

Best for Balancing Oily & Sensitive Skin: IHANA Skincare Arctic Facial Toning Mist* (50ml, £25, link)
If you have a bigger budget and want a toning mist that has a much higher percentage of organic ingredients in it, look no further than IHANA's Arctic Facial Toning Mist which is ideal for all skin types, but is particularly useful for anyone who has oily, combination and easily irritated sensitive skin. The Arctic Facial Toning Mist contains an impressive 99% natural formula, 94.8% of which comes from certified organic ingredients. It features the likes of Cranberry Fruit Water and Rosewater to soothe and hydrate, natural Glycerin to keep in moisture, Arctic Meadowsweet Extract to clarify and tone, and Heather Flower and Arctic Roseroot Extracts help to further soothe and reduce any redness and skin irritation. This one feels really refreshing and cooling, and I think that sensitive skin types will certainly appreciate it.

Best for Brightening & Refreshing: Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer* (30ml, £6.50, link)
Liz Earle's Instant Boost Skin Tonic has been a longtime favourite of mine, and it's one of those products that I've used on and off for years. Formulated with lots of soothing natural ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Calendula, Chamomile and Cucumber, it's these combined with the floral water base which gives it such a unique and uplifting fragrance that so many people love. It also has a subtle brightening effect which is great for perking up a dull complexion, and the alcohol-free formula ensures that skin is kept hydrated and happy, even in the hottest weather. I love keeping one of the travel size bottles in my handbag for a quick refresh on the go!

What are your favourite toning mists?

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