Introducing: Guiltless Skin - Rosehip Cleanser, Illume Moisture Serum & Revive Organic Face Oil review

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Guiltless Skin - Rosehip Cleanser, Illume Moisture Serum & Revive Organic Face Oil review
For those who are seeking a simple, but effective, natural skincare routine, Guiltless Skin is a brand that you should definitely be looking into.

Made here in England, all of Guiltless Skin's products are cruelty-free, vegan-friendly and use organic ingredients (certified by the Soil Association) that are sustainable and biodegradable. You won't find any fragrance or essential oils in their range either - everything has been stripped back to create fuss-free formulas that are easy to use and which are also suitable for sensitive skin. 

The packaging reflects this minimalist, practical approach, and whilst Guiltless Skin doesn't have the luxury fanfare of mainstream brands, the sleek glass bottles do have a rather wholesome vibe about them that's refreshingly clean and uncomplicated. After all, it's what's inside that counts the most when it comes to skincare anyway! With this in mind, I was keen to put Guiltless Skin to the test, and have been trying out these three products as part of my evening skincare routine for the past couple of weeks.

Guiltless Skin - Rosehip Cleanser, Illume Moisture Serum & Revive Organic Face Oil review
Guiltless Skin Rosehip Cleanser* (50ml, £14, link)
Formulated especially for sensitive skin, the Rosehip Cleanser is a very gentle, pH-balanced cleanser that has a light gel consistency which emulsifies when you add water to it. The formula is 100% natural (80% of which is certified organic), and it uses a blend of Glycerin, Rosehip, Camelia and Almond Oils, as well as Lactic Acid, to remove everyday dirt and impurities. I've really enjoyed using this recently as it's perfect for my combination skin now that the weather has turned colder, and it leaves my skin feeling soft, nourished and thoroughly clean, with any redness or irritation significantly calmed down. The pump dispenser is great and a small amount is all you need, making it one of the most cost-effective organic cleansers that I've used in a long time.


Guiltless Skin Illume Moisture Serum* (30ml, £26, link)
Serums are a great way to 'sandwich in' moisture, which is especially important for your skin's health with Winter coming up. The Illume Moisture Serum contains Hyaluronic Acid to plump the skin and keeps that moisture locked in for longer, organic Lingonberry Extract which is rich in antioxidants to help fight against free radicals, and organic Pomegranate Extract to encourage cell turnover and improve elasticity. There's also Lactic Acid and 5% Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) included in the formula which is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help to reduce redness, smooth out fine lines, reduce the appearance of large pores and strengthen the skin's natural barrier.

This serum is lovely and lightweight, sinking in quickly once massaged into the skin. I use a lot of serums with Hyaluronic Acid in them, and this worked just as well as some of my favourite products from various bigger brands. It layers beautifully underneath the face oil below too, for the perfect evening skincare combo.


Guiltless Skin Revive Organic Face Oil* (30ml, £30, link)
Winner of the Editor's Choice at the Beauty Shortlist Awards earlier this year, Guiltless Skin's Revive Organic Face Oil has been created for mature skin types, but I would say that anyone who wants to benefit from the anti-ageing ingredients will enjoy using this as a daily staple. The 100% natural formula boasts a 'powerhouse of super seed oils' such as Prickly Pear, Pomegranate, Sacha Inchi, Nigella and Perilla, each carefully chosen for their unique properties, as well as their abilities to work together to create a natural anti-aging facial treatment to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve elasticity and soothe redness and irritation.

Although this face oil is fragrance-free like all of the other Guiltless Skin products, it does have a subtle woody scent that's a bit earthy, but this soon dissipates once fully absorbed. Revive certainly lives up to its name as it gives the skin a good moisture boost and helps it to get its natural 'glow' back which is ideal for those who find that their skin looks a bit dull and feels drier during Winter. Like all facial oils, a little goes a long way and I feel that the price point is excellent for this product given that it's 100% organic.

Shop the full range at guiltless-skin.com

Have you tried this brand before?

Foodie Friday: Homemade Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni (Vegetarian recipe) #WorldPastaDay

Friday, 26 October 2018

Homemade Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni (Vegetarian recipe) #WorldPastaDay
OK, so technically it was #WorldPastaDay yesterday, but that wouldn't fit with Foodie Friday would it?! Being the massive pasta fan that I am, I didn't want to let the occasion pass me by, so this week I'm sharing how easy it is to make one of my all-time favourite vegetarian pasta dishes; Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni.

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni is a staple ready meal in the vegetarian aisle at the supermarket, and whilst I've been known to pick up one or two when I've been shopping, nothing quite beats a good homemade meal does it? And of course, being homemade, you know exactly what ingredients are going into it (those ready meals are usually loaded with excess salt and sugar), so you can adjust the calories and macros to suit your personal needs. This popular veggie pasta dish is wonderfully comforting during the colder months and it's also incredibly easy to make. It takes less time than you might think too.

The recipe below makes one individual serving, but you can make a larger dish to serve more people by tweaking the number of ingredients - just add additional filled Cannelloni rolls and pour over more tomato sauce - easy!

Homemade Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni (Vegetarian recipe) #WorldPastaDay
Ingredients: (for 1)
  • 2 Fresh Lasagne Pasta Sheets
  • 75g Ricotta Cheese
  • 100g Fresh Spinach
  • 150g Passata Sauce
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Oregano
  • 10g Extra Strong Mature Cheddar Cheese (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper (to season)

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 180'C / Gas Mark 4.
  • In a frying pan, lightly sauté the Spinach and sprinkle over the Nutmeg and Oregano.
  • On a clean work surface, make the Cannelloni by laying out the Fresh Lasagne Sheets and spooning over the Ricotta Cheese evenly. Add the sautéed Spinach and roll up the pasta sheets.
  • In an ovenproof dish, pour in half of the Passata sauce. Add the now filled Cannelloni rolls and pour over the rest of the Passata on the top.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove and add the grated Mature Cheddar Cheese if using. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. 
  • Serve immediately - enjoy!

Storage tip: This dish can be frozen (after it's been cooked and fully cooled) for up to 3 months in a freezer-proof container, or any cooked leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Homemade Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni (Vegetarian recipe) #WorldPastaDay
What's your favourite pasta dish?

Health & Lifestyle: Getting A Good Night's Sleep with Utmost Me - Neuro Rest Supplements review

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Utmost Me Neuro Rest review
Struggling to get a good night's sleep can be annoying when it happens once or twice, but when it's a regular occurrence, it can have truly debilitating consequences for many aspects of your daily life. 

I've been a notoriously bad sleeper for as long as I can remember. It takes me a long time to be able to relax and actually fall asleep, and when I am asleep, I find it difficult to stay asleep, often getting up numerous times in the night. Needless to say, these poor sleep patterns leave me feeling tired for much of the next day, and come night time again, the vicious cycle repeats.

Before anyone asks, I've seen my GP about this problem many times and I've been referred to a specialist Sleep Clinic in the past, as well as enduring countless sessions of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and regular counselling to try to get to the bottom of it. I've been put onto various prescription medications, nearly all of which had horrible side effects, so I currently don't take anything. What's the root cause of my sleep problem? For me, it all seems to be linked to Stress and Anxiety, which is something that I've been dealing with since I was a teenager. I'm a terrible worrier and have had a particularly difficult past couple of years trying to deal with too many problems all at once; it's no surprise that I find it hard to get to sleep.

When Utmost Rest contacted me to ask if I'd like to try out their Neuro Rest supplements, I was hesitant at first. I've used a lot of similar natural products in the past with varying degrees of success, but after reading the info on their website, I was curious to try them to see if they would work for me. 

Utmost Me Neuro Rest review
Utmost Me is an entrepreneurial start-up which focuses on improving sleep, and reducing stress and anxiety. It was founded by Richard Turnbull back in 2016, a father and stressed out city worker who was becoming frustrated by the number of sleepless nights that he was enduring which left him exhausted. He began to research brain energy and after working with a wide range of health experts for over 12 months, Utmost Rest came to life.

The brand currently has two natural supplement products available; Neuro Focus Plus and Neuro Rest. Both have been developed by a team of bio-scientists, doctors and expert nutritionists for a fully science-evidenced approach which has seen positive results from customers. Since the launch of Neuro Rest, over 100,000 bottles have been sold and the brand enjoys a 75% customer retention rate - something is clearly working here!

What's in Neuro Rest?
Neuro Rest is a food supplement and two capsules contain 112mg of Magnesium, 90.9mg of Griffonia Seed Extract (providing 5-HTP 90mg), 70mg of L-Tryptophan, 72mg of Montmorency Cherry, 25mg of Grape Skin Extract, 17mg of Watermelon Extract, 70mg of Chamomile Extract, 10mg of L'Taurine, and 50ug of Biotin

What Does It Do?
The brand's unique MagneRest® blend is made up of three different types of Magnesium which helps to relax the mind and contributes to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue. 5-HTP has been proven to increase the production of serotonin (often referred to as the 'feel good' hormone), which also helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. The addition of the natural sources of melatonin (found in the fruit extracts) aids the body in regulating itself for natural sleep, whilst the remaining ingredients work in synergy to help you switch off for a good night's rest.

Who Can Use It & Who Shouldn't?
This supplement can be used by adults who are looking for a natural way to reduce anxiety and help them to sleep. However, it's not suitable for children, pregnant or nursing women, and anyone who is currently taking any type of medication or has a medical condition should consult their GP first. Neuro Rest is vegan-friendly.

How Do I Take It?
Take 1 capsule per night with a glass of water for the first 4 nights, 30 minutes before you to go to bed. After that, you can increase to 2 capsules per night for as long as you need it.

Did It Work For Me?
Like many supplements, I didn't see any immediate differences and found that it took at least three weeks of nightly use before I began to notice any changes. I did, however, find that they helped my mind to switch off a lot better than before (I'm one of those people that constantly has a million 'to-do' thoughts in my head before I go to sleep!) and I was able to fall asleep faster than I previously did. That said, I still struggled to stay asleep and this aspect hasn't changed much for me, although I certainly appreciate the extra helping hand in reducing some of my anxiety/anxious thoughts before bedtime. I would still be interested in taking Neuro Rest on a regular basis for the positive effects that it has had on my anxiety alone, and I imagine that if your sleep is mostly affected by stressful periods, and not a longstanding issue like mine is, you would likely see a much better result in your sleep improving by taking these.

Utmost Neuro Rest* (60 capsules) retails for £24 and is available utmostme.com

Do you take any natural sleep aids for insomnia or anxiety?

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Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - October 2018 review

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

This month's LoveLula Beauty Box arrived about two weeks ago and it features some amazing green beauty skincare gems! The total contents are worth £54, so shall we take a closer look at what's inside?

Madara Smart Anti-Pollution Charcoal & Mud Repair Mask
 Madara Smart Anti-Pollution Charcoal & Mud Repair Mask (travel size, full size retails for £24)

One of the biggest skincare trends this year has been anti-pollution formulas and Charcoal has frequently popped up as a key detoxifying ingredient. This new mud mask from Madara harnesses those natural properties of Charcoal and combined with Black Northern Mud, has created a powerful and effective treatment that removes impurities and pollution build-up. You can use it 2-3 times a week, though I would only really recommend it once a week max as I found it to be quite drying, so it's one that needs a good hydrating moisturiser or face oil as a follow-up step after using. That said, it did a brilliant job of unclogging my pores!  

I forgot to photograph them, but there's also a pack of Madara skincare samples included in the box; City CC Cream in Light and Medium Beige, and Age-Defying Sunscreen SPF 30, which I'm looking forward to trying out shortly.

Kathleen Tranquil Fields Body And Massage Oil
 Kathleen Tranquil Fields Body And Massage Oil (RRP £34)

Worth £34 on its own, this full-size Kathleen Body And Massage Oil is undoubtedly the star of this month's LoveLula box, and you guys know how much I adore a luxury multi-purpose pampering product like this! 100% natural (97% organic) and vegan-friendly, Tranquil Fields is a heavenly blend of plant oils such as Sweet Almond, Sunflower Seed, Argan and Rosehip, mixed with essential oils of Lavender, Vanilla and Frankincense. It's perfect to use before bedtime to help you drift off to sleep and it leaves my skin feeling wonderfully soft. 

Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm & Muslin Face Cloth
Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm & Muslin Face Cloth (travel size duo)

Regular readers will know that I've been a fan of Lyonsleaf's Beauty Balm for a few years now, so I was very happy to see this travel size duo which is ideal for holiday and weekend bags (as well as trialling the balm if you've yet to try it of course!). Beauty Balm is an incredible multi-purpose, water-free formula, and it can be used in so many different ways such as an intensive moisturiser for dry skin, an exfoliator and a cleansing balm, the latter of which is how I use it the most often. A must-try for anyone who loves green beauty skincare!

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

Have you subscribed to LoveLula's Beauty Box?

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Autumn Skincare: 3 Serums & Oils To Try From Antipodes

Monday, 22 October 2018

Autumn Skincare: 3 Serums & Oils To Try From Antipodes
It might not be time to put the central heating on just yet, but if you've been feeling like your skin could use some extra TLC now that Autumn is here, why not try one of these products from Antipodes?

Autumn can be a tricky time for skincare as your normal routine may require some little tweaks here and there to help prep your skin for the colder weather. One easy way to instantly upgrade your morning and/or evening skincare routine is to add a more hydrating product, and this can be beneficial for all skin types to keep it looking its best against the colder elements.

Below are my three top picks from the popular organic and natural skincare brand Antipodes, which I've been enjoying using lately.

Autumn Skincare: 3 Serums & Oils To Try From Antipodes
Best For Oily, Combination & Acne Prone Skin: Antipodes H20 Hosanna Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum* (25ml, £27.99, link)
For those of you that have oily or acne-prone skin, you may choose to skip a serum or a face oil for fear of it breaking you out, but a high-quality serum with the right ingredients and formula can give your skin the essential moisture that it needs, but without overloading it or clogging pores. Antipodes' H20 Hosanna Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum is a brilliant example of a product that can work for these more troublesome skin types because it's oil-free and wonderfully lightweight. This serum helps to boosts the skin's natural production of Type l and lll collagen and elastin by up to 72%, plus it contains plant-based antioxidants to plump up and repair damaged skin, making it ideal for those who are looking to improve the appearance of acne and blemish scars.


Best For Early Signs Of Ageing & Anti-Ageing: Antipodes Worship Superfruit Antioxidant Serum* (30ml, £33.99, link)
If you're after something that's on the next level up when it comes to powerful and effective antioxidants, Worship Superfruit Antioxidant Serum is the one to try as it's packed full of them! Featuring Antipodes' unique Vinanza Oxifend Plus® superfruit complex which combines Boysenberry, Blackcurrant, Kiwi Fruit and Vinanza Grape Seeds, Worship gives the skin a real boost which helps to fortify the natural barrier against free radical damage, thus preventing some of those telltale early signs of ageing. I really love using this water-based serum, which has a great lightweight texture and is easily absorbed, because it layers nicely underneath other moisturisers and face oils, and makes my skin feel fully protected.


Best For Dry, Stressed & Dehydrated: Antipodes Divine Face Oil* (30ml, £18.99, link
I always find that I use more face oils during the Autumn and Winter months than at any other time of the year, and once again, I've been reaching for the Divine Face Oil which I've been a long-term fan of for many years now. Divine contains a superb blend of plant-based oils that are rich in fatty acids such Omega 9 that keeps the skin moisturised and strong, no matter what the weather throws at it. Avocado, Macadamia, Jojoba and Rosehip Oils all work together with added Vitamin E to make sure that your skin is hydrated, feels soft and looks more radiant. There's also a small amount of Ylang Ylang, Sweet Orange and Jasmine essential oils which give it a thoroughly luxurious and pampering subtle fragrance, that makes this face oil such a pleasure to use, especially before going to bed.

Have you tried any of these?

Foodie Friday: Apricot & Coconut Energy Ball Recipe Kit review #MixRollLove

Friday, 19 October 2018

Apricot & Coconut Energy Ball Recipe Kit review
Energy balls are everywhere in the supermarkets at the moment, but they are one of my favourite healthy snacks to make at home and I love having a tub of them in the fridge for when I'm feeling peckish! If you'd like to make some too, why not try an Energy Ball Recipe Kit?

Following a successful Kickstarter funding campaign earlier this year, Energy Ball Recipe Kits were created by Victoria Prince, who has been experimenting with making lots of versions of these wholesome tasty snacks at home since 2014. Fast forward to the present day and Victoria's delicious Energy Ball Recipe Kits are now available as a subscription box, where you'll receive an exciting different flavour to create every month in the comfort of your home.

All of the high-quality ingredients used are vegan-friendly, and I was very happy to see that all of the packaging is also eco-friendly; the ingredients are portioned out into plant-based plastic bags which are 100% biodegradable and compostable, and the cardboard box is FSC Certified (Forest Stewardship Council) which can, of course, be recycled after use.

Victoria very kindly sent me her latest Energy Ball Recipe Kit to try out and the box slipped through my letterbox nicely. Opening up, I found a welcome card, plus all the details for this particular recipe. As you can see above, this kit is for Apricot & Coconut Energy Balls which sound amazing!

I received the following ingredients to make these:-
  • Pitted Dates
  • Ground Almonds
  • Milled Linseed
  • Coconut Flour
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • Peanut Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Dried Apricots
  • Desiccated Coconut

Making these energy balls is incredibly easy, and the enclosed leaflet provides handy step-by-step instructions based on the Mix, Roll, Love concept. There's no baking involved and all of the ingredients are provided for you in the kit - it's really that easy! 

I decided to make these in my food processor as it's the fastest method, but you can simply mix the majority of the ingredients into a bowl instead if you don't have one. 

I found the mixture to be a little dry, so I added a bit more Coconut Oil to mine to make them slightly more malleable when it came to the 'Roll' stage. This was definitely the fun part and I enlisted the help of my niece who was visiting to help me out. 

The finished product!

These Apricot & Coconut Energy Balls tasted amazing and have quite a strong Nutmeg flavour too, so they're a good one to try for this time of the year when things are getting a bit more seasonally spicy. Each recipe kit makes around 30 energy balls and can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for 7 days, or if you don't think you'll eat them all by then, you can pop them in the freezer to enjoy at a later date. In my house though, they were quickly devoured and barely lasted the week!

To find out more about Energy Ball Recipe Kits visit energyballrecipes.com

Do you like making Energy Balls?

Healthy Living: Hello Day Autumn Box - Supplements Review

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Hello Day Autumn Box - Supplements Review
Despite the somewhat unseasonal weather that we've been experiencing here in the UK over the last few weeks, that Autumnal chill is now well and truly here to stay. If like me, you're looking to change up your daily supplements to boost your health in preparation for the colder months ahead, Hello Day's Autumn Box is here to lend a helping hand.

I've always loved Autumn for its outstanding natural beauty outdoors, but I must admit, I don't much welcome the often inevitable colds and flu that the change in season brings. This time of year is a particularly busy one for many people too, with the kids settling in back at school, and the new college and Uni academic years starting, it's not a great deal of fun if you're missing it all because you're feeling run down and full of cold! 

Hello Day Autumn Box - Supplements Review
As I've often reviewed supplements in these Healthy Living features, I was keen to dedicate some time to try out Hello Day's Autumn Box which is a brilliant complete set of natural supplements to keep your mental and physical health at its best during this change of season.

The Autumn Box has been created by an expert team of doctors and pharmacists who have specially curated this programme of four natural supplements to keep your immunity high, your skin, hair and nails healthy, your digestion system working properly, and your vitality and mental wellbeing balanced. This holistic approach that combines both aspects of mental and physical health is something that Hello Day are well known for, and the box itself is beautifully presented.

Let's take a closer look at each of the different supplements which you'll find inside the Autumn Box.

Hello Day Vitality Balance
Hello Day Vitality Balance (30 capsules / 1 per day)

Looking after your mental health is just as important as ensuring that your diet and exercise routines are up to scratch, so I was pleased to see these Vitality Balance supplements which has been specifically designed to help reduce tiredness and stress. Each capsule contains 112.5mg of Magnesium (to combat fatigue and reduce anxiety), 112.5mg of Siberian Ginseng Root Extract (to promote healthy mental wellbeing and boost your energy levels), 30mg of Rhodiola Root Extract (to keep you mentally and physically alert) and 50mg of Passionflower Extract (to promote a calm mind). 

The capsules are easy to swallow and help you to overcome the seasonal tiredness that many people experience as the nights draw in and the temperatures begin to drop. I know that I always personally struggle with fatigue during Autumn and Winter, so I've found these particularly useful.

Hello Day Immunity Shield
Hello Day Immunity Shield (15 sachets)

Immunity Shield is your helping hand against cold and flu bugs, with each individually portioned sachet featuring a powerful combination of natural ingredients to give your immunity a real boost. It contains 375mg of Purple Coneflower Root Extract (more commonly known as the popular Echinacea Purpurea) which is widely revered for its natural abilities to keep the immune system functioning as it should be, 250mg of Elderflower Fruit Extract (which has beneficial stimulating anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties), 250mg of Siberian Ginseng Root Extract (to boost your energy levels), and 24mg of good old Vitamin C which accounts for 30% of your daily NRV.

Presented as a powder supplement that you can mix in a small glass of water, Immunity Shield has a pleasant Passionfruit flavour and is easy to incorporate into your morning routine.

Hello Day Beauty Boost
Hello Day Beauty Boost (60 capsules / 2 per day)

Being a beauty blogger, I was instantly drawn to Beauty Boost as I'm always on the lookout for beauty focused supplements which can help with improving the health and appearance of my skin, hair and nails. Autumn is definitely a good place to start to take something like this because the cold weather loves to wreak havoc with chapped skin, lips and weak, brittle nails and hair becoming common complaints during the season.

Beauty Boost is quite similar in composition to other supplements of this nature that I've tried in the past as each capsule features 2.8mg of Vitamin B6, 80mg of Vitamin C, 40ug of Selenium and 10mg of Zinc, all of which in combination contribute to healthy collagen production and help to protect the skin's cells from oxidative stress. In addition, there's also 3.5mg of Cystine (an essential amino acid for strong hair and nails which is naturally found in Keratine), and 25mg of Horsetail Extract with Silicium (to promote healthy hair growth). 

This pack will provide one month's supply and I would always recommend sticking with beauty supplements for at least three months to see the best results as I tend to find that you don't see much difference after just a month of taking them daily, so it may be useful to bear this in mind if you're interested in trying this box.

Hello Day Digestion Cleanse
Hello Day Digestion Cleanse (15 sachets)

The fourth and final product in Hello Day's Autumn Box is their popular Digestion Cleanse, and  I feel that 2018 has been an excellent year for raising public awareness of the importance of looking after your gut. Digestion Cleanse is a powder supplement which is made from a combination of natural ingredients - each sachet contains 500mg of Rosemary Leaf Extract, 300mg of Lemon Balm Leaf Extract, 300mg of Sweet Tamarind Fruit Extract and 200mg of Chrysanthellum Extract.

These ingredients work together to improve bowel function by supporting the liver and biliary system in removing toxins during the natural metabolising process. It also helps to boost your liver and digestion function overall and can be taken once a day in a small glass of water. I liked the Mint flavour as it felt like taking a normal digestive aid and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to improve the health of their gut. 

Hello Day Autumn Box* retails for £79 and is available from hello-day.com

Do you change your supplements with the seasons?

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New In Beauty: Evolve Organic Beauty Multi Peptide 360 Moisture Cream & Superfood 360 Serum review

Monday, 15 October 2018

Evolve Organic Beauty Multi Peptide 360 Moisture Cream & Superfood 360 Serum review
I've mentioned Evolve Organic Beauty on here many times and recently featured their amazing Hyaluronic Serum 200 in my last Empties post. A couple of weeks ago, their brand new Superfood Duo arrived in the post and I couldn't wait to put them to the test!

Consisting of a serum and a moisturiser, Evolve's new Superfood Duo is based on the brand's 'Age Smarter 360' concept which looks at how best to care for the skin as it naturally changes as we get older. In a beauty industry that's obsessed with using synthetic fillers and cosmetic surgery in the neverending quest to maintain a youthful look, it's refreshing to come across Evolve's more natural and holistic approach that uses superfood ingredients to age gracefully instead. 

Combined into effective formulas which are handmade in small batches in Hertfordshire, these products help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve elasticity, skin tone and firmness, provide essential hydration and bring back your skin's natural glow. Sounds good right?!

Evolve Organic Beauty Superfood 360 Serum review
Evolve Organic Beauty Superfood 360 Serum* (30ml, £38, link)
Considering how much I've been enjoying using Evolve's Hyaluronic Serum 200 over the last couple of months, I had high hopes for this newbie and it didn't disappoint. Described as a 'supercharged anti-ageing serum', this product can be used by all skin types and has a 99% natural composition (81% of which is organic) that's made up of a relatively short, but very effective ingredients list. These include superfoods such as Cacay Oil, Sacha Inchi Peptides and Maca Root Powder, which are all well known for their natural anti-ageing properties for the skin. 

Like all of my favourite serums, this one is lovely and lightweight, absorbs easily into the skin and a little goes a long way. It layers beautifully underneath my face oils and moisturisers, so I've been using it in the evenings to give my complexion a boost overnight. I started to see some positive signs within just two weeks of regular use; my skin feels softer, looks brighter and the tightness that I sometimes get above my cheeks has gone. I don't have many fine lines yet but the ones around my eyes look more smoothed out, and my skin feels more plumped up in general. I've also had no issues with it clogging my pores or causing any breakouts, so it currently getting a thumbs up from me!

Evolve Organic Beauty Multi Peptide 360 Moisture Cream* (60ml, £30, link
Dry skin needs a lot of hydration to keep it happy, and as fine lines and wrinkles tend to show up earlier on drier skin types compared to oilier ones, I was pleased to see a whole powerhouse of fantastic ingredients crammed into this 99% natural moisture cream. Key ones include Coconut and Sacha Inchi Peptides to improve firmness and visibly reduce wrinkles, Cupuacu Butter which is packed full of phytosterols that support collagen production, maintain a healthy skin barrier and improves elasticity, Prickly Pear to calm irritated skin and boost hydration, and Hyaluronic Acid to lock all that moisture in.

This moisturiser has a herbally scent and a rich texture, but it sinks into the skin quickly and doesn't feel greasy, heavy or sticky. I did find it too much for my combination skin to use every night though (it is recommended by Evolve for dry skin so I expected this), however, I've been using it as a hydrating treatment once a week with good results so far. Definitely, one to check out if you have dry/mature skin that needs a nightly surge of moisture to keep those wrinkles at bay.

Shop the full range at evolveorganicbeauty.co.uk

Have you tried anything from Evolve?

UK GIVEAWAY! Win Acrylic Makeup Storage from Songmics + Review

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Acrylic Makeup Storage from SONGMICS
Acrylic makeup storage have long been the go-to for beauty bloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers and anyone who loves displaying and building up their makeup collection, so I'm thrilled to bring you a giveaway in partnership with Songmics so that you can win one of their popular acrylic makeup organisers. Read on to find out how to enter!

There's something so pleasing about being able to see exactly what you have in your makeup collection, and these on-trend, clear acrylic units are a must-have for your vanity table. There are a number of brands out there who sell these and Songmics kindly sent me the following two-piece set to share with you all today.

Acrylic Makeup Storage from SONGMICS
The first part of this Songmics set has three sections and a dedicated lipstick holder area where you can display 12 of your favourite lipsticks. I was able to easily fit any of my lipsticks into these from a variety of brands such as Charlotte Tilbury, MAC, Urban Decay and Kat Von D, so any standard sizes will work nicely. 

Next to the lipstick area are two sections and these are perfect for small palettes or chunkier products that you want to stand up which may not fit into the drawers below. For reference, I've included a boxed Too Faced Blusher, a Dolce & Gabanna Eyeshadow Quad and a Hurraw Lip Balm in the front, and a Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palette and a Bare Minerals Eyeshadow Quad in the back.

There's a small thin but deep section at the back of the lipsticks which you can use for more palettes (I put a Lorac Eyeshadow Palette and an RMS Beauty Quad in there), or it would be a good place to store some makeup brushes.

Size-wise, it's 8.5 inches across, 4.5 inches depth and 3 inches high (at the highest point at the back).

Acrylic Makeup Storage from SONGMICS
Acrylic Makeup Storage from SONGMICS
Acrylic Makeup Storage from SONGMICS
The second part is a three drawer unit and it surprised me how much makeup I could fit in! I tried out a lot of different products in this and the biggest items that managed to make the cut were the Yadah All Day Cushion and the Bellapierre Banana Setting Powder - both of which are quite chunky. 

Each drawer measures 9.5 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches so there's plenty of space; in the top drawer, I filled it with some of my most used bronzers and blushers (both powder and liquid/tube formats); in the second drawer I added a few favourite eyeshadow sticks/liquids, eyeliners, mascara, a Physician's Formula Nude Eyeshadow Palette, a KIKO Concealer and some brow products. For the third and final drawer, I placed some Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick Minis, the Yadah Cushion, Bellapierre Banana Setting Powder, PUR Pressed Mineral Foundation Compact and a couple of highlighters and a BB travel size from Marcelle.

Acrylic Makeup Storage from SONGMICS
Acrylic Makeup Storage from SONGMICS
Most of the acrylic storage sets from Songmics can be stacked or used separately (as shown above) so you can customise your makeup storage to your exact needs and how you want to display everything. They have lots of different organisers on Amazon, so be sure to check them out - they'd make ideal Christmas presents for anyone who loves makeup. Give them a like and follow on Facebook too for more giveaways and product news :)

Want to win your own Songmics set? Enter via the Rafflecopter below, and one lucky winner will be drawn at random when the giveaway ends on 13/10/2018 - good luck!

Introducing: YOPE - Ginger Sandalwood Natural Liquid Soap review

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

YOPE - Ginger Sandalwood Natural Liquid Soap review
You guys know that I'm a sucker for cute packaging and when I was recently introduced to YOPE, I instantly fell in love.

I mean look at it - it's a juggling owl! Well, I think it's an owl? Regardless, it's CUTE!

YOPE is a Polish brand that's recently launched here in the UK in Waitrose. They have a huge range of shower gels, body lotions, hand creams and they even have a new line of eco-friendly washing up liquids, bathroom, floor and kitchen cleaners too. However, they are most well known for their Natural Liquid Soaps and I was so happy when this cutie arrived on my doorstep the other week.

As my regular readers will already know, I tend to avoid SLS in my products these days as it can sometimes dry out and irritate my skin, and everything from YOPE is free from SLS and SLES. The brand has been developed by a team of cosmetologists and dermatologists to be safe and healthy for everyone in the family to use, especially young children. The composition of the formulas are all 92% natural and feature low-processed ingredients, with no Parabens, PEGs, Silicones or artificial fragrances in any of their products.  

YOPE - Ginger Sandalwood Natural Liquid Soap review
They have a wide variety of natural scents/flavours available and I've been loving this Ginger Sandalwood one which smells so uplifting with a nice subtle zing! The Sandalwood also adds an Autumnal element as it's quite woody and warming which works very well with the Ginger IMO. These ingredients aren't only included for their scent though as Organic Ginger Root Extract helps to fight off free radicals, whilst natural Sandalwood Extract promotes healthy skin regeneration, so it feels gentle and nourishing on the skin. Vitamin B5 and Allantoin are also present to further hydrate, refresh and soften, making it a pleasure to use.

As with most Liquid Soaps, these are multi-purpose so you can use them to wash your hands, in the shower or bath, and I've been using it to clean my makeup brushes as well. The bottle comes in a huge 500ml size so it's excellent value for money - definitely give them a try!

YOPE Ginger Sandalwood Natural Liquid Soap* (500ml, £7.99) is available from Waitrose.

Have you discovered any new beauty brands at your local supermarket recently?

Green Beauty: S5 Neutralise Cleanser, Purity Serum + Balance Fluid review

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

S5 Neutralise Cleanser, Purity Serum + Balance Fluid
Widely known in the beauty industry for their innovative serums, the organic skincare brand S5 has recently undergone a reformulation and repackaging makeover, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on some of their products!

Described as 'intelligent organic skincare for modern living', S5 is a specially formulated range of high-end skincare which helps to combat the environmental and physical stresses of everyday life such as pollution, foreign chemicals, lack of sleep and poor nutrition. These are all common culprits which can cause inflammation in the skin as well as premature ageing, so S5 has developed products to deal with a range of different skin problems and complaints. 

One of the key concepts behind the brand is their scientific research and emphasis on using natural ingredients which grow in the extremes of nature (such as mountain, desert, arctic and tropical climates), and what active components they can use to help make the skin more resilient overall. I really like this idea and it introduces a range of exotic natural ingredients to consumers who may not have tried anything like this before. 

Made in small batches in their own studio lab in Hertfordshire, all of S5's products are cruelty-free, suitable for sensitive skin, free from SLS/SLES, parabens, petrochemicals, TEA, artificial colourings and are vegan friendly. Like many brands, S5 are constantly improving their skincare, and this week sees the launch of their 'second evolution' with new formulas and a sleeker rebrand to go with it.

I've had the following products for the past month to try out which are all suitable for oily, combination and sensitive skin types, so here are my thoughts!

S5 Neutralise Cleanser, Purity Serum + Balance FluidS5 Purity Serum* (30ml, £48, link)
The Purity Serum is something that I've used on/off from S5 for a few years now (it was first featured in a favourite serums post of mine back in 2013 here), and I was keen to see what this new formula was like. Specifically developed to tackle acne and blemishes, this 99.65% (and 86.72% organic) natural treatment has been clinically proven in tests to reduce the appearance of blemishes by 42% and sebum production by 65%. 

This serum features an effective bioactive blend of Andiroba, Acai and Copaiba, which work in synergy together to balance sebum and blitz blemishes, and there's Alpine Epilobium to further balance oil production and reduce the appearance of large pores, whilst the popular Willow Bark is included to clarify congested pores and help promote natural exfoliation of skin cells.

Purity has a typical runny serum-like consistency that absorbs fast and layers well underneath other products such as face oils and moisturisers, so it was easy to incorporate into my skincare routine. It feels very soothing, and unlike many other acne targeted treatments, it doesn't dry out my skin. I mostly like to use this 1-2 times a week, but if I'm dealing with a breakout, I'll use it every evening until it clears up, and it does help to speed up the process very well.

S5 Neutralise Cleanser, Purity Serum + Balance Fluid
S5 Neutralise Cleanser* (100ml, £24, link)
A lot of cleansers for oilier and combination skin types can be too harsh or stripping, but this Neutralise Cleanser is like a breath of fresh air, so it's perfect for sensitive skin too. Texture-wise, it's very light, oil-free and because there are no sulphates, it doesn't foam or lather up much, but it does do an excellent job of gently cleansing the skin and will even remove some light/mineral based makeup too. Given the price though, I prefer to use this as a morning cleanser instead because it's so nice and refreshing - it really helps to wake up my tired skin a treat and it never feels dry or irritated afterwards. 

Two superstar ingredients in this cleanser are African Moringa Peptides which help to protect the skin against environmental aggressors and pollution (another good reason to use it in the morning), and Prickly Pear Cactus Extract that's revered for its natural hydrating and soothing properties.


S5 Balance Fluid* (50ml, £46, link)
To complete this three-step routine from S5, I tested out their Balance Fluid which is an anti-ageing moisturiser that's been specially designed to balance and protect oily, combination and reactive skin. Like the rest of the range, I love the sleek glass packaging that comes with an inbuilt pump, and a friend of mine was quick to compliment it when I showed it to her the other day - the rebrand is definitely a winner!

Featuring Alpine Epilobium and an 'Extreme Protection Complex', it helps to balance excess sebum production, reduce the appearance of pores, and protect the skin against the ageing effects of everyday pollution. Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid is also included to instantly hydrate and plump up fine lines and wrinkles. This moisturiser is incredibly lightweight; the 'fluid' name is spot on here as it describes the texture perfectly. As it's so lightweight, it absorbs quickly and creates a lovely smooth and mattified base for makeup - I can happily skip using a primer whenever I've used this which is always a welcome bonus.

Check out the full range of S5 Skincare at s5skincare.com

Have you tried anything from S5?

Easy Baking: How To Make Crusty Artisan Bread in a Bread Maker/Machine (Chocolate Chip & Cherry Sourdough Bread recipe - Vegan)

Monday, 1 October 2018

Chocolate Chip & Cherry Sourdough Bread recipe - Vegan
If you remember my Chunky Apple & Spelt Soda Bread recipe from a few weeks back (check out that post here if you missed it), you'll know that I've been eager to try my hand at baking some sourdough/artisan bread for a while now.

Life has certainly been getting in the way of my baking attempts recently, but I have been able to make some advances in the kitchen with a little helping hand from a Panasonic bread machine, and I highly recommend them if you're busy/short on time, or simply don't have the energy to do all that kneading yourself! They basically do all the hard work for you and I've had some great success with making a couple of different variants of crusty bread recently - all of which have been delicious and are far healthier than what you'll find in the supermarket as you have complete control over what ingredients to use.

My favourite recipe at the moment has been for a Chocolate Chip and Cherry Sourdough Bread and for this, I simply followed a basic White Sourdough recipe (Jamie Oliver and Paul Hollywood have some good ones), and then added in some dairy-free Dark Chocolate Chips and a few dried Cherries as the last step, before it all went into the bread maker. I was surprised by how well it turned out and after a few tweaks here and there, I've managed to get it perfect.

Heads up: You'll need a Sourdough starter before you attempt this recipe - I used this recipe from The Guardian for mine, and a bread machine that has a Hard Crust Bread setting on it.

Chocolate Chip & Cherry Sourdough Bread recipe - Vegan
Ingredients (makes 1 loaf):
  • 450g Organic Strong White Flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50g Organic Spelt Flour
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • Handful of dairy-free Dark Chocolate or Cacao Chips
  • 3-4 Dried Cherries, cut into small pieces

(for the Levain):
  • 80g Active Sourdough Starter
  • 80g Organic Strong White Flour

Method:
  • Make the levain the night before going to bed and this is pretty easy as you simply combine your Sourdough Starter and the 80g Strong White Flour in a bowl with 80ml of cold water, and mix it until it's all smooth. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave on the side overnight at room temperature. In the morning, your bowl mixture should look bubbly. 
  • The next day, in a separate large bowl, add the Strong White Flour, Spelt Flour and pinch of Sea Salt, mix together and make a well in the centre. Add the levain and 300ml of cold water.
  • Mix everything together until you have no lumps. Cover with a tea towel and set aside for around 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan of your bread machine, push the Dark Chocolate Chips and Cherries into the dough so that they are well covered, choose the setting (one for Hard Crust Bread will give you the best results for this recipe) and let the breadmaker work its magic. 
  • Once completed, allow to cool slightly before adding a light dusting of White Flour over the top to finish it off. Enjoy it sliced warm or cold with your favourite toppings. Any type of nut butter and jam works well with this one!

Chocolate Chip & Cherry Sourdough Bread recipe - Vegan
Storage tip: Keep it in a bread bin for up to a week (later on in the week it's great for toasting), or slice it and store in the freezer for up to a month. 

[This post is sponsored by Panasonic]

Have you ever used a bread machine?

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