Project Pan #7: 6 Months Of Makeup Empties

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Project Pan #7: 6 Months Of Makeup Empties
I think it's time for another Project Pan post, don't you think? I love doing these with my makeup products. It's a fun way to 'shop your stash' without needing to buy anything new of course, and it's oh-so-satisfying when you finally use something up!

Regular readers will know that I've been doing Project Pans for a number of years now and they still remain one of my most requested posts. But if you're new to all of this and have no idea what a Project Pan is, let me quickly go over some details to help you catch up.

A Project Pan is where you choose a number of products to either completely use up or 'hit pan' on, within a certain timeframe. I first heard about the concept from several makeup community groups, but they have since grown to incorporate any type of beauty product from skincare, haircare to body care and even items like candles - you can basically do a Project Pan for anything that you like! 

I tend to focus mine on makeup as I like to include other beauty products in my monthly Empties posts (which are you can check out here). For this latest PP, I set myself the goal of using up 15 makeup items in 6 months, which sadly was a little too ambitious as I ended on 11, but nevertheless, I'll count it as an achievement anyway ;)

Here's what I used up:-
Project Pan #7: 6 Months Of Makeup Empties
Tropic Tinted Skin Shade SPF 50 in Medium/Dark*
The only base product that I finished up was this Tinted Skin Shade from Tropic which is a fantastic tinted mineral facial sunscreen and one of my favourite products to use on a hot and sunny day - I think this is the second or third tube that I've gone through. I really loved the light-medium coverage, the SPF 50 sun protection and the fact that it didn't feel greasy or heavy on the skin. It's cruelty-free and vegan-friendly too. Repurchase? Definitely.

NYX High Definition Eyeshadow Base
I have quite oily eyelids so an eyeshadow base/primer is a must-have to prevent shadows from creasing. I decided to pick this one from up from NYX after reading so many positive reviews, and whilst it worked very well and is a much cheaper alternative, I still don't think it's as good as the Urban Decay Primer Potion, unfortunately. Repurchase? Probably not.

Lily Lolo Big Lash Mascara*
After being somewhat disappointed by Lily Lolo's Natural Mascara, I didn't have high hopes for their Big Lash Mascara, but I was pleased to be wrong! This is one of the best natural mascaras that I've ever tried, and I've tried a LOT! It lengthens, darkens, adds volume, doesn't flake or smudge and gives you big, full lashes. Amazing stuff. Repurchase? Yes.

Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Creme in Butterscotch
Words cannot describe how much I love this concealer and it must be the third pot that I've used up since discovering it a couple of years ago. A little goes a long way as it's so thick and pigmented (I've had this pot for well over a year), and I find that it covers up practically everything, but it's especially useful for stubborn blemish and acne marks thanks to its full-coverage abilities. Repurchase? Definitely.

Project Pan #7: 6 Months Of Makeup Empties
bareMinerals Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara (travel size)
This was a great mascara - it separates, lengthens, adds volume, doesn't smudge or flake, but I only managed to get about two or three uses out of it before it dried up. I'm not sure if this happened because it was a travel size that I received in an online GWP, so I'd need to research reviews of the full-size to double-check before purchasing another. Repurchase? Not sure.

PIXI Lash Line Ink
Another product that dried up very quickly (in less than a month of opening it) was this liquid eyeliner pen from PIXI. I loved the richly pigmented formula and the skinny nib for creating easy cat-eye flicks, however, there are other liquid eyeliners out there that last considerably longer! Repurchase? I have another one so I'll use that up and see if the same thing happens.

B. Sculpt & Highlight Contour in 02 Medium*
It takes me forever to use up products like blushers, bronzers and highlighters so I was very pleased that I finished off this dual-ended contour stick from B. One end has a nude highlight and the other has a medium-toned contour shade (see swatches here), both of which are matte and cream formulas which blend effortlessly into the skin. Super easy to use and very convenient to have in your makeup bag, especially if you travel a lot. One of the best budget makeup products that I've ever used. Repurchase? Yes.

Project Pan #7: 6 Months Of Makeup Empties
Living Nature Lipstick in Bloom*
I'm a creature of habit when it comes to lipsticks and will often carry a couple of different shades in my handbag and basically wear them to death! It's no surprise then that I used up this beauty from Living Nature. Bloom is a gorgeous everyday pink that looks particularly amazing in the Spring and Summer months. You can see a swatch of it hereRepurchase? I'm tempted but I have so many similar lipsticks that I'd like to finish off first.

NEEK Skin Organics Natural Lipstick in Come Into My World*
This lippie is more of a pale/nude pink that had a lovely matte formula. It's one that I would reach for when I wanted to pair it with a smokey eye for a night out and it looks equally as pretty just worn for every day - see a swatch hereRepurchase? Again, I have too many similar shades to use up!

Pacifica Devocean Natural Lipstick in Tenderness*
Another easy to wear, gorgeous everyday shade is Pacifica's Tenderness which is part of their Devocean Natural Lipsticks range. It's a little lighter than my natural lip colour but not as pale as the NEEK lipstick above, so it provided a good 'in-between' colour option. Repurchase? I'd definitely buy this again at some point in the near future!

Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes (travel size)
Despite loving pretty much everything else from Charlotte Tilbury, this mascara was sadly a bit of a let down as I found it very clumpy and it gave me smudgy panda eyes (not a cute look!). Not for me. Repurchase? No.

Have you ever done a Project Pan?
Have you tried any of the products that I used up?

Foodie Friday: Crispy Oven Baked Polenta Fries (Gluten-Free / Vegan recipe)

Friday, 12 July 2019

Crispy Oven Baked Polenta Fries (Vegan recipe)
Potatoes will always hold a special place in my heart, but sometimes, a girl has just got to try something different. Case in point, these gluten-free Crispy Oven Baked Polenta Fries are a great alternative and really hit the spot when you have a craving for chips!

Polenta is a popular staple in its hometown of Northern Italy and you've probably seen it most commonly served as a creamy, thick and oh-so-comforting bowl of goodness like this. But this cheap and cheerful cornmeal substance is actually a lot more versatile than you might think, as it can be used to create all manner of sweet and savoury delights such as soft gluten-free cakes and as an alternative to potato fries/chips. 

I really enjoy using Polenta in Chocolate Orange Polenta Cupcakes (recipe here) and as Porridge with Cardamon and Maple Syrup (recipe here). However, it takes on a whole new dimension when it's set and baked in the oven to create these tasty Crispy Oven Baked Polenta Fries - try them for yourself and let me know what you think!

Crispy Oven Baked Polenta Fries (Vegan recipe)
Ingredients (serves 2 as a side)
  • 150g Polenta, plus extra for coating
  • 350-400ml Vegetable Stock
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to season

Method
  • In a large saucepan, add 350ml of the Vegetable Stock and bring to the boil. Add the Polenta and stir or whisk so that it dissolves and creates a smooth texture. Depending on the type of Polenta that you've purchased (fine, coarse or quick-cook), you may need to add some more of the Vegetable Stock to get the right consistency. After a few minutes of cooking, the Polenta will start to thicken and at this point, remove the pan from the heat.
  • Pour the cooked Polenta into a square baking tin (I used a standard sized brownie tin), allow to cool and then pop it into the fridge to chill for about an hour.

  • Once chilled, preheat the oven to 220C / Gas Mark 7 and transfer the Polenta to a greased baking tray. Cut into chips and add a generous drizzle of Olive Oil all over. Sprinkle on some uncooked Polenta to create a crunchy coating and season with plenty of Salt and Pepper.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the fries look golden and have a crisp texture. Serve immediately - enjoy!

Have you tried Polenta Fries before?

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New In Beauty: Benecos S/S19 Makeup - Natural Face Primer, Foundation Stick, Eyebrow Gel & Refillable Makeup Palette review

Thursday, 11 July 2019

New In Beauty: Benecos S/S19 Makeup - Natural Face Primer, Foundation Stick, Eyebrow Gel & Refillable Makeup Palette review
Need some affordable natural and organic makeup for your Summer holiday bag this year? Check out these shiny new releases from the budget-friendly brand Benecos.

It's been a busy Spring and Summer so far for Benecos with several new products being added to their ever-expanding cosmetics line, and below are some of the latest newbies that you can now pick up, just in time for your Summer holiday! For those who are new to the brand, they are cruelty-free, vegan and use natural and organic ingredients which are certified by BDIH and COSMOS Organic.

Benecos Natural Face Primer
Benecos Natural Face Primer* (25ml, £6.95, link)

Let's start things off by taking a look at some base products. This new Natural Face Primer has a gorgeous lightweight texture that glides onto the skin to create a smooth base for makeup. Featuring key ingredients such as Organic Aloe Vera Juice and Squalene, it helps to not only keep makeup looking fresh and intact for longer, but also hydrates and plumps up the skin. It's 73% organic and an absolute steal at less than £7!

Benecos Natural Foundation Stick
Benecos Natural Foundation Stick* (6g, £9.45, link)

Benecos' Natural Foundation Stick is nice and compact, and comes presented in sturdy cardboard tube packaging to help reduce the usage of unnecessary plastic (the inner core that holds the foundation stick itself is still plastic but at least it's been minimised). Twisting it up, the Foundation Stick is super easy to apply as you can just swipe it directly onto the face and blend with your fingertips or a makeup sponge/brush if desired. It has a creamy formula that melts into the skin for buildable coverage - it's easy to go from light-medium coverage without it looking cakey or mask-like. You'll still need a separate concealer for any dark circles/blemishes as I found that it struggled to cover these, however, it wore well throughout the day with just a touch of mattifying powder needed to keep my oily T-Zone in check. 

I'd say it's definitely better suited for young, oily and combination skin types as I noticed that it clung a little to some drier parts of my face, especially around my nose which required more primer/moisturiser underneath, so drier or more mature skins may not find it suitable for them. It's available in only three shades which is very disappointing in 2019, but still, it's certainly worth a try if you happen to find a match (for reference I have light olive skin and opted for Sand which is good match when I'm wearing fake tan - I would probably try Ivory for the Winter months).

Benecos Natural Eyebrow Gel
Benecos Natural Eyebrow Gel* (3ml, £5.65, link)

Coloured eyebrow gels are a great product to use in the Summer months when it's hot outside and you don't want to run the risk of using pencils that may smudge or melt off in the heat. I also like using them for a more natural look which again, I personally think looks better in Summer for a fresher and more youthful finish. This Natural Eyebrow Gel comes in two shades, Ash Brow and Brunette, the latter of which I've been testing out. It has a small brush which makes it easy to apply, adding definition and subtle colour whilst keeping unruly brows in their place.

Benecos IT Pieces Refillable Makeup Palette in Pretty Cold
Benecos IT Pieces Refillable Makeup Palette in Pretty Cold
Benecos IT Pieces Refillable Makeup Palette in Pretty Cold* (£26.45, link)

One of my most popular blogposts last month was a review of Tropic's new customizable makeup palette (check it out here if you missed it), so if you've been looking for a more affordable and organic alternative, Benecos has the answer. Their brand new IT Pieces Collection offers a range of makeup refills (from £3.95 for eyeshadow, £5.65 for the palette itself) so that customers can build their own bespoke palette, plus there's the option of purchasing a ready-made palette as you can see above.

The Pretty Cold Refillable Makeup Palette comes complete with a highlighter, blusher, and four shades of eyeshadow. I found the Highlighter to be a little on the chalky side, however, the blusher and eyeshadows blend much better and feel smoother too. I'm absolutely smitten with the three metallic eyeshadow shades, Blue GalaxyMuddy Olive and Lilac Light  - they are so beautiful!

Benecos IT Pieces Refillable Makeup Palette in Pretty Cold swatches
 Swatches- Benecos Pretty Cold Refillable Makeup Palette - From Top-Bottom: Refill Eyeshadow in Blue Galaxy, Muddy Olive, Lilac Light and Ballerina Glam, Refill Blush in Rose Please and Refill Highlighter in Shooting Star

What do you think of the new makeup releases from Benecos?

Adulting 101: How To Quickly Get Your Finances Back On Track #AD

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Most of us try to manage our money. But, sometimes life just gets in the way and things go wrong. When that happens it is all too easy to go down the wrong path and end up deep in debt. 

If it has been a while since you last looked at your finances, I suggest you set aside an hour or two to do so, as soon as possible. That will enable you to identify any issues and remedy them before they turn into bigger problems. Here is how I suggest you approach the task. 

Identify and quantify what you are spending 

First, use this budget calculator to quickly identify where your money is going. It is best to open your banking app when you do this so you can identify your costs accurately. The more accurate the data you put into the calculator is the easier it will be to see the true state of your finances. 

Work out if you have a problem 

That particular budget calculator asks you to enter your income in at the beginning. This is great because it enables you to instantly and accurately identify how much spare cash you have to play with. 

Sometimes the results will be good and you will have more disposable income available than you thought. Other times, things might not look so good. A lot of people that go through this exercise discover that they are spending more than they earning. Without really realising they are doing so they are gradually relying more and more on credit to get them through life. When that starts to happen, serious debt is just around the corner. But, there is no need to panic. As you will see, there is plenty that you can do to quickly remedy the problem. 

Work to reduce your outgoings 

The easiest step is to review your outgoings and identify areas you can save money. It could be as simple as skipping one or two nights out, cancelling your gym membership and maybe buying slightly fewer clothes. Pretty much everyone will be able to find ways to live on less. This article contains 50 effective yet simple ways to do just that. 

Changes, like cancelling your gym membership or switching to a cheaper mobile phone contract, will benefit your bank balance immediately. So, don’t hang around, take this step as soon as you can. 

Try to earn more money 

It is also worth considering taking on more work to fill the gap. You could work more hours at your current job, take a 2nd job or join the gig economy. There are lots of opportunities out there. Unfortunately, most of them are not that well paid, but, whatever you earn will make a difference. Plus, if you are busy working you can’t be out spending. So, that helps too. 

Install and use a budgeting app 

Lastly, install a good budgeting app on your phone and get into the habit of using it. That way the minute you start to go off track you will be told so that you can take remedial action.

[*This is a sponsored post - Photo by Emma Matthews via Unsplash]

Green Beauty News: Persephone Beauty - A New Online Place To Shop For Natural Beauty

Monday, 8 July 2019

Green Beauty: Persephone Beauty - A New Online Place To Shop For Natural Beauty
Calling all green beauty fans! There's a brand new online shop called Persephone Beauty which has been set up recently by fellow blogger, Laura Franklin-Hollier from Laurzah.com

Founded by Laura and her husband, Persephone Beauty offers a small but carefully selected range of independent natural beauty brands which adhere to Persephone's strict ethos that's based on three main principles:-

  • Natural beauty without compromise
  • Picking sustainable products that are kind to the planet and the skin
  • Only offering products that Persephone loves that contain ingredients that meet their high standards.

This means that every single product that you can purchase from Persephone is free from the following 'nasties' and for full transparency, INCI lists are provided alongside the listed products.

  • All Parabens
  • Mineral Oil
  • Phthalates
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Silicones
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Artificial Fragrance
  • Diethanolamine
  • Hydroquinone
  • Toulene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Oxybenzone

There are currently six natural beauty brands stocked on Persephone and I anticipate that more will be added soon as the brand continues to grow. Laura very kindly gave me a gift voucher to use on the site to help promote it and I chose the following products to give you all an idea of what you can expect. 

persephone beauty
The package arrived quickly in a small cardboard box with biodegradable packing peanuts, and the contents were delicately wrapped in hot pink tissue paper. On the top was a lovely thank you card from Laura and a 10% discount code to use on your next order.

Here's what I picked:-
Evolve Organic Beauty Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum
Evolve Organic Beauty Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum* (30ml, £22, link)

Evolve Organic Beauty have been a longtime favourite natural beauty brand of mine for years, so I was delighted to see several of their products stocked on Persephone. If you're new to Evolve, they're a cruelty-free and vegan-friendly skincare company who make all of their products by hand in small batches here in England.

I've been lucky enough to try out many of Evolve's products in the past and can highly recommend their Daily Defence Moisture Mist, Radiant Glow Organic Mask and Hyaluronic Serum 200 as good places to start. When I saw this new Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum, I knew I had to have it!

Specially formulated for oily and combination skin types, this treatment serum is composed of 99.7% natural and 82% organic ingredients, and uses key actives such as Willow Bark, Acai and Copaiba to reduce sebum production and treat existing blemishes. Willow Bark, in particular, is a very useful ingredient as it's a natural source of Salicylic Acid which I always find works well for my skin when I'm tackling a breakout and indeed, this serum has definitely been helping to clear up my complexion since I've been using it.

What I like the most about the Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum is that it doesn't irritate my skin when I apply it (no stinging) and it doesn't dry it out either like so many anti-acne products have a hideous tendency of doing. Instead, it's gentle but effective and you should see noticeable results within two weeks of using it daily.

Skin & Tonic Lip Balm in Peppermint
Skin & Tonic Lip Balm in Peppermint* (4.3g, £3.50, link)

Skin & Tonic are another amazing British natural skincare brand and I feel like I don't sing their praises enough! To remedy that, I wanted to give a cheeky shout-out to their range of Lip Balms, which like the rest of their products, are 100% natural and organic, as well as being handmade in London. 

I believe that they have around three or four different lip balm varieties to choose from, but my personal favourite is the Peppermint one as it reminds me of the classic Burts Bees formula, and I know that so many people struggle to find an independent and organic version to replace a mainstream beauty fave so now you can try this instead!

This lip balm is made from just four ingredients; Shea Butter, Beeswax, Coconut Oil and Peppermint Oil, and it's this no-fuss simplicity which originally attracted me to Skin & Tonic in the first place. It does what it says on the tin by keeping my lips moisturised and soft for longer and has a pleasant zingy mint feeling - what more do you need?

Discover these products and more at persephone-beauty.com

Do you enjoy online shopping?

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Introducing: Yen Candles - 100% Organic Soy Wax Candle in Lemongrass review

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Yen Candles - 100% Organic Soy Wax Candle in Lemongrass review
I was thrilled to discover a new company called Yen Candles via Instagram recently, and you are going to want to add this brand to your gifting wishlist ASAP.

I love to give luxury handmade candles as gifts, mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, virtually everyone that I know always enjoys receiving them, and secondly, there's that old shopping mantra of 'buying one for someone else means that I can buy one for me', right?! 

Needless to say, my home is filled with candles from various brands, but over the years I have begun to seek out more of these wax-based beauties from smaller, independent and niche companies because they often specialise in creating candles that are 100% natural. I'll never forget the day when a friend brought me a ludicrously expensive Diptique candle and I had to hide my disappointment when I found out that it was made from cheap paraffin wax and synthetic fragrances (both of which contain known carcinogens, so you know, not the kinda stuff you want to be breathing in or have floating around in your living room atmosphere...).

So if you're looking for a healthier alternative, natural soy wax candles are the way forward. They burn 'cleanly', so no nasty black soot or harmful toxins will be emitted, allowing you to fully enjoy the mindfulness benefits of lighting a candle, or just the simple pleasure of scenting your home.

Yen Candles - 100% Organic Soy Wax Candle in Lemongrass review
Yen Candles are made from 100% natural, organic and GMO-free Soy Wax and are hand-poured in my hometown of Stoke-on-Trent. They are also cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, as well as being environmentally sound too; all of Yen Candles' wonderful plastic-free packaging is made from recycled and recyclable materials, and their wooden wicks are sourced from FSC managed forests.

I was kindly sent their Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil Candle and I've been besotted with the scent ever since. Lemongrass has always been one of my favourite Summer fragrances due to its uplifting and zingy nature - it manages to make me smile whenever I smell it, even if I'm having a bad day!

The candle's fragrance is composed entirely from essential oils (so no synthetic fragrances here) and it has an impressive scent throw, even when you take into account its large 340g size. Lifting the lid and lighting the two wooden wicks was such a pleasure, especially as wooden wicks produce a rather satisfying crackling sound which I'm sure is popular amongst ASMR fans. 

Currently, Lemongrass is the only scent available from Yen Candles, but I'm sure more will be in development shortly, so keep an eye on their Etsy shop below.

Yen Candles - 100% Organic Soy Wax Candle in Lemongrass review
Yen Candles Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil Candle* (340g, £18 with free UK delivery, link)

Do you only buy natural wax candles?

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Self Care Beauty: An After-Sun Pamper with Nature's Kitchen, Gallinée and Antipodes

Monday, 1 July 2019

Self Care: An After-Sun Pamper with Nature's Kitchen, Gallinée and Antipodes
It's been a glorious scorcher of a weekend here in the UK, but despite regularly slapping on the sunscreen, my skin (and hair) has started to feel really parched and dry. Not to worry though - these three products that I picked up from LoveLula are here to help for an after-sun pamper session!

Step 1: Remove All Of That Sunscreen
Sunscreen is designed to stay on your skin so that it can protect you from the sun's harmful rays. This means that it's important to make sure that you take a little extra time in the evening to properly remove all of your sunscreen, otherwise it can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Fun fact - a lot of people think that sunscreen itself is the leading cause of breakouts in Summer and whilst this can be true in some circumstances (e.g a sensitivity or reaction to a certain ingredient), most of the time, it's because it hasn't been properly removed.

To remedy this, I've been enjoying using Nature's Kitchen Oat Milk Cleanser & Makeup Remover* (100ml, £12.99, link), a natural budget-friendly, fragrance-free cleanser that effortlessly removes every single trace of sunscreen, as well as daily grime, pollution and makeup. Packed full of organic plant-based ingredients such as Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Oatmeal, Kale, Green Tea and Cucumber extracts, it's easy to apply and feels really gentle on the skin. 

Self Care: An After-Sun Pamper with Nature's Kitchen, Gallinée and Antipodes
Step 2: Don't Forget Your Hair And Scalp
My hair is naturally dry most of the time, but when I've been out in the sun, it can soon start to feel incredibly parched and straw-like. On top of that, I often find that the sun and any kind of heat can aggravate my sensitive scalp, so in addition to a hat, I like to use a dedicated hair mask at least once a week during the Summer months. My current go-to rescue treatment is Gallinée Hair And Scalp Care Mask* (150ml, £28, link) which is my first time trying out the French brand's haircare range. 

I've been a fan of their prebiotic infused skincare for a while now, and this specialised treatment also features a unique complex of beneficial prebiotics and probiotics to support the scalp's delicate microbiome. The mask is thick, rich and creamy, yet somehow 'melts' into the hair's fibres to restore and deeply nourish. 5 minutes is all you need for it to work its magic and afterwards, both my hair and scalp feel immediately soothed and softened.


Step 3: The After-Sun Face Mask
No pamper session would be complete without a face mask thrown in for good measure and I've recently found myself going back to an old tried and tested favourite of mine; Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask* (75ml, £26.99, link). I cannot sing the praises of this face mask enough; it hydrates, it soothes, it fights against blemishes and breakouts, and it always makes my skin feel and look rejuvenated again.

With its deliciously creamy texture and sweet natural scent, this mask's hero ingredient is Manuka Honey Active 20+ which is prized for its antibacterial and antifungal properties that helps to clear up the skin, and it acts a natural humectant that draws and holds in moisture for longer. I like to apply a thick layer all over for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse with warm water and a flannel for baby-soft, happy skin every time.

What are your favourite after-sun products?

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Foodie Friday: 10 Minute Blueberry Chia Jam (Vegan / Refined Sugar-Free recipe) #NationalCreamTeaDay

Friday, 28 June 2019

10 Minute Blueberry Chia Jam (Vegan / Refined Sugar Free recipe)
Happy National Cream Tea Day! To mark the occasion, I wanted to share a ridiculously easy way to make a delicious homemade Blueberry Chia Jam in around 10 minutes.

As I was scrolling through Twitter earlier, I noticed that it's National Cream Tea Day today which inspired me to make one of my go-to prepping recipes; Blueberry Chia Jam. I always like to have a pot of homemade jam in the fridge and this one is a great way to use up any blueberries that you may have which are turning a little soft. Blueberries are a really fantastic superfood which are packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C, and now that they're in season, they're much cheaper (and tastier) to purchase in bulk.  

To get a thicker, wobbly, jammy-like consistency going on, I've used Chia Seeds, another popular superfood thanks to their high omega-3, fibre and protein content, and to keep the jam as healthy as possible, I've opted for a small amount of Maple Syrup to add sweetness without the crazy refined sugar crashes.

This Blueberry Chia Jam tastes incredible slathered onto a thick slice of Sourdough Toast with an optional layer of your favourite nut butter underneath for an easy breakfast, slapped onto crackers or simply indulge and use it for a decadent Afternoon Cream Tea spread. P.S: Simply halve the amount of ingredients if you want to make a smaller pot.

10 Minute Blueberry Chia Jam (Vegan / Refined Sugar Free recipe)
Ingredients (makes around 200g)
  • 220g fresh Blueberries
  • 2 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 2 tbsp pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Method
  • Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add in the Blueberries. Cook for around 5 minutes, occasionally stirring and squashing the berries down into the pan with a spatula to create your desired texture (lumpy or smooth - you choose!).
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add in the Maple Syrup, Lemon Juice, Vanilla Extract and Sea Salt. Stir and taste, adding in more Lemon Juice or Maple Syrup if required.
  • Add the Chia Seeds, stir and then leave it to thicken for a further 5 minutes. 
  • Once completely cooled, pour the jam into a sterilised jar with a lid and pop it into the fridge where it naturally thicken up a little more. Enjoy!

Storage tip: This jam will keep in the fridge in a sealed jar for up to a week.

10 Minute Blueberry Chia Jam (Vegan / Refined Sugar Free recipe)
Do you always have a pot of jam in your fridge?

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Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - June 2019 review

Thursday, 27 June 2019

LoveLula Beauty Box - June 2019 review
Another month, another fantastic beauty box from LoveLula! This month's box offers a green beauty selection of makeup, haircare and skincare to cover all the bases - it's what I like to call a good 'top-up' edit as I often find myself running low on many of these products. Here's what's inside:-

FOM London Anti Pollution Hydra Plump Serum
 FOM London Anti Pollution Hydra Plump Serum (10ml travel size, full size retails for £46)

Hydrating serums are ideal for Summer as they allow you to add moisture to your skin, without applying thick layers. Instead, this lightweight serum is fragrance-free and can be used morning and night to boost hydration levels, strengthen the skin's natural barrier and leave it looking glowy and naturally plumped up. I've used this FOM serum before and it does have a slightly sticky/tacky feeling to it at first, but once dried down, it works well underneath moisturisers and face oils.

Natorigin Mascara in Black
 NATorigin Mascara in Black (RRP £15.95)

Finding a mascara that's suitable for sensitive eyes can be tricky on the high street, so I was pleased to see that LoveLula has included this one from NATorigin in their box this month. This award-winning mascara boasts a 98.5% natural formula that not only adds definition to your lashes, but will also lengthen and strengthen them. Approved by Allergy UK, it can be used by the most sensitive eyes and is suitable for contact lens wearers.

There is also a NATorigin Eyeliner included this month but mine appears to be missing, so you should have received both products if you're a subscriber x

Ayumi Intensive Hair Conditioning Treatment
 Ayumi Intensive Hair Conditioning Treatment (RRP £8.99)

Enriched with Coconut and Avocado Oil, as well as the unique Ayurvedic herbs Java Grass, Quassia, Sacred Lotus and Indian Lilac, Ayumi's Intensitive Hair Conditioning Treatment will help to revitalise and rehydrate dry and damaged hair in no time at all. This is a brilliant treatment to try if your hair is feeling frazzled from too much sun, and it's also free from SLS, parabens and mineral oil which is a much-appreciated bonus.

Madara Weightless Sun Milk SPF 20
Madara Weightless Sun Milk SPF 20 (sample)

Finally, at the bottom of the box, I found a sample of the brand new Madara Weightless Sun Milk SPF 20. I was so excited to try this and it didn't disappoint! The texture is absolutely beautiful because it's light, sinks in quickly, doesn't leave a white cast and sits well underneath makeup. I will definitely be picking up a full size of this when my current facial sunscreen runs out!

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

Have you subscribed to LoveLula's Beauty Box?

Introducing: Lozano Skincare Skintea Active Renewal Masque review

Monday, 24 June 2019

Lozano Skincare Skintea Active Renewal Masque review
New cruelty-free, British skincare brands are popping up right, left and centre at the moment! The latest to hit my inbox is Lozano Skincare with their exciting launch of the Skintea Active Renewal Masque.

Many new skincare brands often go down the route of launching a series of basics first such as cleansers and moisturisers, but Lozano Skincare is a little different in the respect that they want their products to complement your existing daily skincare routine. This shifts the focus to products that will 'boost' your skin by giving it that extra va-va-voom for the best possible results.  

Although I'm a self-proclaimed skincare junkie, I know that my skin will generally behave much better when my routine is kept fairly simple (cleanse, tone moisturise) with just one or two additional products like a good serum, exfoliating toner or a face mask thrown in for good measure, so Lozano instantly appealed to me. I'm also a fan of using acids such as Hyaluronic Acid, Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid in my skincare, and as Lozano's first luxury product contains all three of these, I couldn't wait to test it out.

What Is It and What Does It Do?
Lozano's Skintea Active Renewal Masque is an exfoliating treatment that helps to remove dull, dead skin cells and impurities, unclogs pores and brightens your complexion. It also boosts cell turnover and increases collagen production, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and keeps the skin hydrated, so it's what I would call an excellent 'all-rounder' to add to your routine.

Who Can Use It?
Although Lozano suggests that all skin types can use this, I would recommend doing a patch test on sensitive skin first as I know some sensitive skin types can't/won't tolerate certain acids such as Glycolic. I think it would be great for most others though, especially dry, dull, dehydrated, mature and oily/combination.

What's In It and What Isn't?
Key active ingredients in this masque include 3% Glycolic Acid, 3% Hyaluronic Acid, 1% Lactic Acid and 5% Camellia Sinensis. It's free from Alcohol, Silicones, Sulphates and Parabens, and is safe for nut allergy sufferers to use. Full INCI is listed on their website here

How Do I Use It and How Often?
After cleansing, apply 3-5 pumps to damp skin, gently smoothing it on (don't rub or massage it in) and avoiding the eye area. Leave on for around 15 minutes and then remove with water and a flannel. Pat skin dry and follow up with your usual moisturiser or face oil. Can be used 2-3 times a week.

Overall Thoughts?
I love non-manual exfoliators like this which use fruit-based acids and enzymes to shift those dull, dead skin cells as I find they are much more effective and non-abrasive than the 'scrubby' equivalents. Lozano's Skintea Active Renewal Masque is no exception and it's been brilliant for helping to brighten and clear up my skin. I've been using it only once a week for the past month but that's been enough for me to notice a difference, and I'd say that it's in a similar league to REN's popular Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask which I've been using on and off for years. Definitely worth a try if you're after a new exfoliating masque treatment that has additional hydrating and anti-ageing benefits.

Lozano Skintea Active Renewal Masque* (50ml, £32) is available direct from lozanoskincare.com / Use code LAUNCH10 for 10% off!

Are you a fan of exfoliating treatments like this?

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Foodie Friday: Strawberry Shortcake (Vegetarian recipe)

Friday, 21 June 2019

Strawberry Shortcake (Vegetarian recipe)
What's the first ingredient that you think of when someone says 'Birthday cake'? Chocolate? Vanilla? Salted Caramel? Nope, this year I decided to celebrate with something completely different; a Strawberry Shortcake

It might seem like an odd choice but the main ingredient that I wanted to include was fresh Strawberries, and bizarrely, I didn't fancy making a chocolate cake (although I assure you, I'll be eating some chocolate in its classic bar form later this evening!). Instead, I opted for something seasonal, fresh, with all the indulgence of an English Afternoon Tea, and thus this delicious Strawberry Shortcake was made from scratch in my kitchen earlier today.

I'm so pleased with how it turned out as I ended up tweaking the recipe from a couple that I found on Pinterest to suit what I had in my cupboards. This cake is like a giant scone that's both dense and fluffy inside, topped with an overly generous amount of whipped organic Ricotta. To finish it off, I've added fresh Strawberries that have been lightly cooked in a zingy Orange syrup to bring out all of their juicy flavours. 

Heaven in every mouthful!

Strawberry Shortcake (Vegetarian recipe)
Ingredients (makes 1 large cake)

For the cake:-
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 organic, free-range Egg
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 50g organic Butter (cold & cubed)
  • 80ml Almond or Soy Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt

For the topping:-
  • 250g organic Ricotta
  • 250g fresh Strawberries
  • Juice of 1 Orange
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Star Anise

Method
  • Preheat the oven to 220C / Gas Mark 7 and line a 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  • In a large bowl, add the Flour, Baking Powder, Sugar and Salt and mix well. Add the Butter and mix into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it resembles something that looks like fine sand and then make a well in the centre.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the Egg, Milk and Vanilla Extract.
  • Pour this into the well and gently stir everything together. Once you are near a dough like consistency, use your hands to give the mixture a light knead so that everything is fully combined.
  • Place into the lined cake tin and gently press the mixture down. Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes until the top is a light golden brown and a skewer in the middle comes out clean.

  • Whilst the cake is baking make fruit topping by adding the chopped fresh Strawberries to a small saucepan with all the other ingredients, except the Ricotta. Simmer for 3-4 minutes to allow the Strawberries to soften slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and allow to cool fully before adding the topping otherwise everything will run off!
  • First, place the Ricotta in a bowl and with a fork, lightly whisk it to a whipped consistency. Spread over the cake and finish with the Strawberries and a generous drizzle of the Orange syrup from the saucepan. 
  • Cut into slices and enjoy!

Storage tip: Enjoy this cake ASAP and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 48 hours.


Strawberry Shortcake (Vegetarian recipe)
P.S: Thank you everyone for the Birthday wishes on social! :)

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