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

Friday, 15 March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you like making your own soups?

Organic Haircare: Dry Hair Saviours from John Masters Organics

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Organic Haircare: Dry Hair Saviours from John Masters Organics
Making the switch to natural and organic haircare doesn't mean that you have to miss out on luxury products - not when you have some dry hair savours from John Masters Organics in your bathroom!

In the ever-widening world of green beauty, there's one name that stands out from the rest when it comes to all things luxury hair care and that name is John Masters Organics. Founded on decades of innovative formula research and practical, hands-on expertise (the man behind the brand is a world-famous hairdresser to a star-studded clientele list), John Masters has been committed to promoting clean and natural formulas that work for all hair types since the '80s. 

All of their products are free from Silicones, Parabens, Phthalates, Mineral Oils, Synthetic Fragrances and Synthetic Dyes, and everything is made from at least 95% organic ingredients (certified by USDA Organic). The brand's cruelty-free status is approved by PETA and their eco-friendly ethics mean that all of JMO's bottles are made from 100% recyclable packaging (plus all the printing on the bottles themselves is produced with washable soya ink, and all their paper packaging is made from recycled paper).

If you haven't tried anything from John Masters Organics yet and your hair is feeling dry, damaged or dehydrated, check out these bestsellers.

Organic Haircare: Dry Hair Saviours from John Masters Organics
 John Masters Organics Shampoo For Dry Hair* (236ml, £24, link) and Conditioner For Dry Hair* (236ml, £25, link)

This hard-working duo has been a godsend for my dry hair recently, which has been feeling even drier and rougher due to the colder weather and those awful blistering winds! Starting with the Shampoo, it quickly becomes clear that this is a great SLS and sulphate-free formula because it has a gentle lather that's easy to work up in your hands, and it spreads across the hair smoothly without tangling everything up (the latter of which is sometimes a common bugbear with SLS-free shampoos)

Key ingredients include Evening Primrose Oil which is naturally high in Gamma Linolenic Acid that's needed for keeping your hair and scalp in tip-top condition; Jojoba Seed Oil for essential moisture, something that dry hair urgently requires, and Avocado Oil to further hydrate and nourish for the soft and swish-worthy results every time you use it. I always try to use a shampoo that's free from sulphates these days because I find that SLS really strips the natural oils from the scalp and irritates it, so if you have the same problem, I strongly recommend switching to a different shampoo like this one. 

To complete your dry hair transformation, the matching Conditioner has a beautiful silicone-free formula that's rich in gentle and hydrating ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Avocado Oil, Lavender, Jojoba Seed Oil, Babassu Seed Oil and Vitamins B5 and E. What I like the most about this conditioner, apart from its gorgeous scent, is that it doesn't overload or weigh down my fine hair, yet still manages to keep my parched hair moisturised, smooth and looking shinier than before.

John Masters Organics Vented Paddle Brush
John Masters Organics Vented Paddle Brush* (£29, link)

Investing in a good quality brush can make a world of difference to the health and happiness of your hair, especially if you can be a bit heavy-handed with the styling tools. This Vented Paddle Brush is made from eco-friendly and sustainable bamboo and is fantastic for blow-drying with. It's lightweight so it feels comfortable to use and hold, and the wider spread out bristles glide effortlessly through your hair to remove any knots or tangles in a jiffy - perfect!

Shop the full range of John Masters Organics at johnmastersorganics.co.uk and lovelula.com

Have you tried anything from John Masters Organics?

Introducing: MoMineral - Loose Mineral Foundation and Mattifying Setting Powder review

Sunday, 10 March 2019

MoMineral - Loose Mineral Foundation and Mattifying Setting Powder review
Mineral foundation has been a staple in my makeup bag for many years now, and whilst I like to switch things up by using different formats and formulas, I often find myself going back to mineral foundations whenever my skin is feeling fussy, breaking out, or when the weather starts to get warmer and I want something lighter on my face.

Like any kind of foundation though, finding the right one for you takes some trial and error which is why I'm a big fan of makeup brands that offer a good sample service. In fact, I tend to query why a makeup brand doesn't offer foundation samples these days, and it's even more important to have this option available when you're shopping online.

A few weeks ago, a 100% natural, cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, British indie makeup company called MoMineral got in touch to ask if I'd like to review their Mineral Foundation. Instead of sending me any old shade like some brands automatically do, they asked me to try out a sample kit first.

MoMineral is committed to providing a foundation shade for everyone and they offer six different Mineral Foundation sample packs that you can test out. Each one contains a range of shades so that you can find the perfect match for your skin tone. I opted for the Light Neutral set which has five shades and I was really impressed by the variety included. 

I tend to fall into the mainstream 'Light Beige' category, however, sometimes foundation shades can be too orange or dark for me, so I find a good neutral toned one usually works very well for me as I have neither dominant cool or warm undertones in my skin. To understand the differences in undertones and with help finding the best foundation shade for you, I highly recommend watching Lisa Eldridge's video here and then you can choose your sample pack from MoMineral here.

MoMineral - Loose Mineral Foundation and Mattifying Setting Powder review
MoMineral Loose Mineral Foundation in Ilu* (8g, £20, link)

The concept behind MoMineral is that they believe that makeup should even out your skin tone, provide nourishment and protection for the skin and enhance your natural beauty, which is certainly something that appeals to me! If you're a fan of 'makeup with skincare benefits', this is a brand for you.

The Loose Mineral Foundation has a smooth, silky and weightless texture which is easy to blend and buff into the skin. It gives a lovely matte finish that doesn't feel drying and offers some sunscreen protection which is a welcome bonus. I found it easy to build up the coverage from a light to a good medium level, so I just needed a few dabs of my regular concealer here and there to cover up some stubborn old acne/blemish marks. This foundation stayed put throughout the day when I used it in conjunction with the Setting Powder below, and it faired well on its own too, with only a minor touchup needed on my T-Zone area after 6/7 hours of wear.

After trying out the sample pack, I found that my perfect shade was called Ilu and it gives me a very natural and 'real' skin finish if that makes sense - very much like 'my skin but better!'. Formulated without any fragrance or glitter, it's suitable for sensitive and acne prone skin types, and with 24 shades to choose from, there's a foundation for everyone.

MoMineral - Loose Mineral Foundation and Mattifying Setting Powder review
MoMineral Mattifying Setting Powder in Pure* (10g, £12, link)

A high-quality setting powder can make a big difference to the overall longevity of your makeup and as I have oily/combination skin, it's something of an essential in my makeup routine. MoMineral's Mattifying Setting Powder comes in two shades; Pure - a whiteish translucent shade for fair to light complexions and Safi - a warmer yellow translucent shade designed for tan to deep skin tones.

Made with a blend of Rice and Cornstarch powders, it expertly absorbs any excess sebum/oil from the skin, to create a smooth, flawless and mattified finish, which also helps to minimise the appearance of pores and subtly brightens up the complexion at the same time. I love using this all over to set everything into place and it's great to use underneath the eye area if you're a fan of the 'baking' makeup trend. As with all mineral powder products, this 10g jar will last a long time!

Shop the full range of mineral makeup at MoMineral.co.uk

Health & Lifestyle: Viridian Aronia & Cacao Frappé review #WellnessWednesday

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Viridian Aronia & Cacao Frappé review
If you're on the lookout for a healthy way to start your day, why not try swapping your coffee for Viridian's new Aronia & Cacao Frappé? The latest launch from the ethical supplements brand, this vegan-friendly drink is easy to prepare, and full of immune-boosting and fatigue-fighting benefits.

What is it?
Viridian's Aronia & Cacao Frappé is a nutritional supplement that comes in a powder format, which is packaged in a recyclable/reusable glass jar. It contains just two ingredients; Aronia Berry and Raw Cacao, so it's suitable for vegans and is free from gluten, wheat, lactose, dairy, soy, added sugar, salt, yeast, preservatives and artificial colourings. Each jar contains 25 servings and each serving gives you 695mg of Raw Cacao (providing 200mg of flavanols), and 505mg of Aronia Berry (providing 200mg of polyphenols)

Viridian Aronia & Cacao Frappé review
What are the benefits?
Aronia Berry is a less familiar superfood than other berries here in the West, but it's been popular with the Native Americans for centuries, and the Mayans were a fan of them too. More commonly known as the Chokeberry or Wild Gooseberry, Aronia berries are native to North America and have a really vivid, dark purple colour which gives the berries their high anthocyanin and antioxidant properties. Rich in Vitamins B, C, K and minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium and Iron, they help to boost the immune system, protect your vital organs (especially the heart, liver and stomach), and research is currently being carried out on their abilities to reduce blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation in the body.

Anyone who is a 'healthy' chocoholic will already know why Raw Cacao is amazing, but to recap, it's the unfermented, non-heat treated form of the cacao seed so it retains all of its wonderful nutrients. Packed full of flavonoids, catechin and epicatechin, Raw Cacao also boasts a high level of antioxidants which protect against cell and tissue damage, and is high in Magnesium, Iron and Calcium.

Viridian Aronia & Cacao Frappé review
How do I use it?
To make an Aronia & Cacao Frappé, simply add half a teaspoon to a glass of cold milk or dairy-free milk alternative of your choice. Give it a good stir and enjoy! You can use a frother if you're feeling fancy for an even more indulgent result.

What does it taste like?
I'm used to the flavour of Raw Cacao, but having never tasted Aronia Berry before, I wasn't quite sure what the two combined would taste like. It's definitely more Aronia than Cacao which gives it a somewhat bitter and berry-ish edge, but it's palatable and the more I drink it, the more I've started to like it. I find that it works best with creamier plant milks such as Cashew, Coconut or Macadamia, and you could add a tiny bit of Honey or Agave to sweeten it if necessary.

Overall thoughts?
If you're looking for a new and different healthy start to your day, I think you'll love Viridian's Aronia & Cacao Frappé as it's a nice drink to alternate with the usual Turmeric Lattes and Green Juices to keep things interesting throughout the week. I've noticed that I've been feeling less tired since drinking it which is a massive bonus for a poor sleeper like myself, so if you suffer from fatigue, stress or are feeling run down, you may find this beneficial to your morning routine.

Viridian Aronia & Cacao Frappé* (30g, £30) is available from independent health food stores and online at viridian-nutrition.com

What do you like to drink first thing in the morning?

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February Empties: Products I've Used Up

Monday, 4 March 2019

February Empties: Products I've Used Up
The shorter month of February has certainly caught up with me time-wise so this latest edit of Empties is here a little later than usual! Here's everything that I've used up recently - spot any of your own favourites among them?

Ogario Revive And Shine Conditioner* (reviewed here)
Ogario are one of the most underrated natural haircare brands in my opinion, and I've gone through several bottles of this incredible conditioner. It really does live up to its name as it always manages to add shine to my lacklustre hair, and helps to repair any damage that I've done with the straighteners and curling tongs! Repurchase? Yes.

Tropic So Sleepy Pillow Mist* (featured here)
I'm usually a big fan of most of Tropic's products, but this So Sleepy Pillow Mist was a little disappointing if I'm being honest. I loved the scent of it but the spray applicator kept clogging up and I found that other similar products were more effective. Repurchase? No.

February Empties: Products I've Used Up
Organyc Organic Cotton Pads(reviewed here)
I've cut down on my use of cotton pads for environmental reasons, though I do still use them for things like removing my nail polish. I really like these ones from Organyc because they're organic and feel soft, but don't disintegrate when you add liquid to them. Repurchase? Yes. 

Benecos Natural Lip Balm in Mint (reviewed here)
If you're looking for a budget-friendly natural lip balm, you can't go wrong with Benecos! I've used this Mint one in the past and think this might be the third tube that I've finished up - it's that good! Repurchase? Will do once I've used up some of my other lip balms.

Weleda Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Concentrate(reviewed here)
Oh, this was such a beautiful serum! I really enjoyed using it throughout Winter - it hydrates, plumps everything up, evens out skin tone and just made my complexion look a lot brighter and healthier looking than usual.  Repurchase? Yes.

Weleda Body Oils in Pomegranate, Sea Buckthorn, Wild Rose and Lavender(reviewed here)
These are all gorgeous, it's hard to pick a favourite but I'd have to say that Pomegranate and Wild Rose are two must-trys if you haven't used any of these before. The formulas are just on-point and feel so luxurious to use. Repurchase? Yes, I'd happily buy all of these in the full-sizes!

February Empties: Products I've Used Up
Organiqua Hair Oil(reviewed here)
My hair has been very dry lately so I've been using this hair oil treatment about once a week to deeply hydrate and condition it. It's been doing a good job, but I feel that there are better ones out there that I've tried from other brands in the past. Repurchase? No.

ESSE Gel Cleanser (trial size)
If you're into probiotic skincare, you'll love ESSE and this Gel Cleanser was a lovely morning facial wash. Great for most skin types, including combination/oily, it thoroughly cleanses without leaving the skin feeling tight or stripped afterwards. Repurchase? Tempted!

Vestige Verdant Organic Peat Mask(reviewed here)
I reached for this face mask whenever my skin was feeling particularly oily or congested, so I've been impressed by how long this jar has lasted, as a little goes a long way. Brilliant for drawing out impurities and stubborn blackheads. Repurchase? Definitely, but I need to use up some other face masks first!

Madara Time Miracle Total Renewal Night Cream (trial size)
Sadly, this night cream was a little too rich for my combination skin type, but I would recommend it to those who have dry/mature skin instead. Repurchase? Not for me.

What have you used up recently?

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Foodie Friday: Healthy Blueberry Pancakes (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian / Hemsley & Hemsley recipe)

Friday, 1 March 2019

Healthy Blueberry Pancakes (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian / Hemsley Hemsley recipe)
It's Pancake Day next Tuesday and if you're looking to make a healthier version this year, these Blueberry Pancakes from the Hemsley sisters are wonderfully fluffy and utterly satisfying! 

Any excuse to make a fresh batch of pancakes and I'm all for it - whether it's to celebrate Pancake Day (aka Shrove Tuesday) or to simply enjoy a leisurely weekend brunch at home, I have yet to come across anyone who won't devour a plate of hot pancakes that's served in front of them. I was flipping through some of my favourite cookbooks and the pancake recipe that I've probably used the most often comes from the Hemsley sisters, and this one is actually the very first recipe that I tried from their bestselling debut called The Art Of Eating Well

It's a healthy version of the thick and fluffy American style pancakes that many people love, but these are grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free, and they taste so good! This recipe calls for Coconut Flour which you should be able to find in the free-from section of your local supermarket. I picked up an organic one that was on offer in Aldi recently, so you needn't spend a fortune and if you enjoy gluten-free baking, it's a worthwhile staple to have in your cupboard.

Healthy Blueberry Pancakes (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian / Hemsley Hemsley recipe)
Ingredients: (makes four pancakes)
  • 150g fresh Blueberries (plus extra for serving)
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Oil or organic Butter
  • 2-4 tbsp warm Water
  • 2 free-range, organic Eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup (plus extra for serving if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2tbsp Coconut Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Method:
  • Melt the Coconut Oil or Butter over a low heat in a frying pan and allow to cool.
  • Meanwhile, beat the Water, Eggs, Maple Syrup, Vanilla Extract and pinch of Salt together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  • Sift in the Coconut Flour and Bicarbonate of Soda, and blend with the melted Coconut Oil to make a batter, without washing up the frying pan. Leave the mixture to thicken up for about 5 minutes.
  • Pop the frying pan back onto a medium heat and add 2 tbsp of the batter to form one pancake. Push in a couple of Blueberries into the centre.
  • After a couple of minutes, the bottom of the pancake will have set and you can flip it over, but be extra gentle with it as there's no gluten in the mixture. Once done, place on a heated plate and repeat the process with the next pancake. Once they're all cooked, you can pop them under the grill to warm up before serving if necessary.
  • Serve with extra Blueberries and a drizzle of Maple Syrup if desired - enjoy!

Healthy Blueberry Pancakes (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian / Hemsley Hemsley recipe)
What's your favourite healthy pancake recipe?

Payday Treats: 4 Products To Try From Antipodes

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

4 Products To Try From Antipodes
Antipodes are one of my favourite natural and organic skincare brands, and if you're looking to treat yourself to something new this payday, here are a few suggestions to add to your skincare basket.

My love for this New Zealand brand has been one that's grown ever stronger over the years, and if you haven't tried anything from them before, I urge you to have a leisurely read through my previous features and reviews for all things Antipodes related - you'll find a bunch here to start you off in the right direction. With such a vast range of skincare and body care available, Antipodes still manages to surprise me and the products below are mostly new-to-me, which I've been testing out over the past couple of weeks. 

Antipodes Resurrect Clarifying Facial Toner(100ml, £18.99, link)
Usually at this time of the year, I'll still be reaching for the hydrating mists in my skincare routine, but thanks to this absolutely balmy warmer weather we've been having lately, my skin has been asking for something much more balancing instead. In steps Antipodes Resurrect Clarifying Toner; one of the best toners that I've tried for oily and combination skin types. Not only does it feel instantly wonderfully refreshing when you spritz it on, but it does a fantastic job of balancing oily skin which results in pores looking more refined and clearer. It also helps other products absorb better into the skin afterwards and can be used morning and night.

4 Products To Try From Antipodes
Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream* (30ml, £24.99, link)
Oh, how I adore this eye cream! It's become one of my most frequently recommended products ever, and if I see anyone looking for a new eye cream to try out, I always suggest this one without fail. Packed full of Avocado Oil, Vitamin E, Vinanza Grape, Borage Oil and Kiwi Seed Oil, this eye cream has a beautifully rich and silky texture, yet somehow manages to feel light at the same time and is easily absorbed into the skin. It's ultra-nourishing and hydrating, but never seems to overload the delicate undereye area either. Perfect in every way - I'll always have a jar of this in my skincare cabinet.

Antipodes Halo Skin-Brightening Mud Mask* (75g, £26.99, link)
One of the newer products from Antipodes, the Halo Skin-Brightening Mud Mask was only released last year and quickly became very popular online. I've been dying to try it out for such a long time and I'm pleased to say that it really does live up to all of the hype. This mask is what I would call a true multi-tasker because it delivers so many benefits for the skin, and is fantastic if you're after a quick fix before a special occasion or night out. With a base of Kaolin Clay and Volcanic New Zealand Mud, Halo will brighten and tighten your complexion in a mere 15 minutes - it's a must try!

Antipodes Joyous Protein-Rich Night Replenish Serum* (30ml, £36.99, link)
If you're looking to jumpstart your evening skincare routine, one of the easiest ways to start seeing noticeable results is with a high-quality night serum and Joyous ticks all of the right boxes for what my skin needs right now. This intensive treatment serum contains an expert blend of natural active ingredients to eradicate signs of dryness and dehydration, smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and help repair any damage from free radicals. Key ingredients include Himalayan Goji Berry which contains 19 amino acids to replenish the skin deep down; Red Raspberry Seed Oil and New Zealand Blackcurrant, both offering rich sources of essential fats such as Gamma-Linolenic Acid, and Kiwi Seed Oil to further nourish and hydrate. 

Joyous has a gorgeous, natural berry-rich scent that I find very relaxing and spa-like, and it layers well underneath moisturisers and facial oils. I believe most skin types will enjoy this, especially if your complexion needs a moisturising boost and if the first signs of ageing are a concern to you, this will help to keep them at bay for a little longer.

Do you have any favourites from Antipodes?

Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - February 2018 review

Monday, 25 February 2019

 LoveLula Beauty Box - February 2018 review
February is drawing to a close, so it's time to recap on the LoveLula Beauty Box which arrived earlier in the month. I've particularly enjoyed trying out these products and as always, the variety included is fantastic value for money with the overall contents being worth £60!

Here are the beauty treats inside this month's LoveLula Beauty Box.

Seascape Island Apothecary Soothe Sleep Oil (full size, RRP £8)
You guys know how much I love anything that helps to promote a better night's sleep as an I'm a terrible sleeper and this little rollerball is a handy product to have on your bedside table. Described as a 'true lullaby in a bottle', Seascape's Soothe Sleep Oil features a blend of calming Lavender, Bitter Orange Flower and Mandarin Orange Peel Essential Oils to relax and balance the mind. Just swipe it across your pulse points before bedtime and breathe in the gorgeous fragrance for the best results. I do find it rather relaxing so I think it does help!

Balm Balm Fragrance-Free Face Balm (full size, RRP £9.50)
If you have dry and sensitive skin like I do, you'll find this next product to be a particularly useful addition to your skincare/self-care routine. 100% organic and natural, this is the fragrance-free version of Balm Balm's bestselling Face Balm which is a multi-purpose treatment that can be used everywhere and anywhere - not just for the face! I like using a little bit of this on my cuticles if they're cracked to instantly soothe and hydrate, and it's also great for lips, feet, elbows and hands.

 LoveLula Beauty Box - February 2018 review
Crazy Rumors Hot Cocoa Lip Balm (full size, RRP £3.99)
I'm a lip balm addict and Crazy Rumors are one of my favourite lip balm brands - all of their products are cruelty-free and 100% natural, plus they have a massive range of different flavours so there's lots to try out from them. I've used the Hot Cocoa Lip Balm before and loved it, so I'm very happy to have it back in my life! It tastes and smells delicious, and keeps my lips moisturised for longer.

PHB Ethical Beauty Gentle Moisturiser (full size, RRP £16.95)
Next up, I found a full-size bottle of PHB Ethical Beauty Gentle Moisturiser which is perfect for very sensitive skin types including eczema and psoriasis (though I always recommend that you check the ingredients and patch test first if you suffer from either of these skin conditions). I've been enjoying the texture of this 100% natural, fragrance-free moisturiser, which sinks into the skin quickly and provides a nice smooth base for makeup so it's a good one to try as your morning moisturiser. Key ingredients include Organic Aloe Vera Extract and Organic Shea Butter to thoroughly hydrate your complexion, so if you struggle to find moisturisers that work for your sensitive skin, you should definitely try it.

Walden Natural Perfume Oil in Gentle Rain (10ml, RRP £17)
The last product is a beautiful Natural Perfume Oil from Walden, a brand who are exclusive to LoveLula. I've tried out many of their fragrances in the past (check out my previous reviews here), and was excited to see this new addition called Gentle Rain which is their latest scent. Described as a blend of Oak Moss, Labdanum and Patchouli, it's a fresh, woody and luxurious fragrance that's completely different to anything else that I currently own and it will certainly appeal to those who are seeking out more unusual natural scents.

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?

Foodie Friday: Homemade Hummus / Houmous (Vegan recipe)

Friday, 22 February 2019

Homemade Houmous / Hummus (Vegan recipe)
Hummus is one of the most popular dips for crunchy vegetable sticks, making it a healthy snack to enjoy at any time of the day. This Middle Eastern favourite can be found in virtually every supermarket in the UK, but you haven't probably tasted how amazing Hummus can be until you've made it from scratch yourself!

Is it Houmous or Hummus? I'll stick with its traditional Arabic spelling for this feature as the name is derived from the Arabic word for Chickpeas and if you're not yet a diehard Hummus fan, Chickpeas are the base of this tasty dip. I'm a massive fan of Hummus and regularly whip up a big batch at the weekend to see me through the week ahead, although sometimes it doesn't always last that long! 

Hummus is essentially a paste of chickpeas which have been blitzed together with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic and Tahini. I would definitely recommend using dried Chickpeas over the tinned variety as I find that they have so much more flavour and if you buy a big bag, it's often more economical as well. Chickpeas are high in fibre and contain a range of essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin K, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Calcium, Phosphate and Magnesium. They're also high in protein, making them particularly beneficial for vegetarians and vegans. 

Give this recipe a go and you'll never buy shop-bought Hummus ever again!

Homemade Houmous / Hummus (Vegan recipe)
Ingredients: (makes one large tub)
  • 250g cooked Chickpeas
  • 2tsp Tahini
  • 3tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed Lemon Juice (to taste)
  • Pinch of Salt & Black Pepper

Method:
  • If using dried Chickpeas, rinse and then soak 125g (they will double in size) in water for 8 hours or leave overnight. Rinse well and place in a saucepan. Cover with water, bring to the boil, then cover with a lid, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45-50 minutes. Drain.
  • Add the cooked Chickpeas to a blender and add all of the other ingredients. Start with 2tbsp of Lemon Juice, blitz until smooth and then taste, adding extra afterwards if wanted. 
  • If you find that your Hummus is too thick (the overall texture will depend on the quality of the chickpeas that you're using), you can add a splash more water. Blend again if necessary.
  • Transfer to a sealable container and store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

Homemade Red Pepper Houmous / Hummus (Vegan recipe)Already tried plain Hummus? Give it a twist by blending in some roasted Red Pepper, or you could add your favourite spices such as Turmeric or Paprika for something different!

Have you made Hummus from scratch before?

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Introducing: SARYA Couture Makeup - Review & Swatches

Thursday, 21 February 2019

SARYA Couture Makeup - Review & Swatches
Heads up fellow makeup junkies - Italy's luxury organic makeup brand SARYA is here and they have some gorgeous products to feast your eyes upon!

SARYA is a relatively new brand to the organic cosmetics market, having spent two years in development, they only officially launched in Summer last year. Their ethos is based around developing makeup that uses natural and organic ingredients that don't compromise on performance or results, and with sophisticated, sleek packaging to boot, you can see why there's been some buzz about them online. They are also proud to be certified organic (by Cosmetici Biologici) and cruelty-free (by PETA).

That said, I hadn't heard of SARYA until a package arrived via LoveLula (one of the brand's UK stockists) a couple of weeks ago. At present, their makeup range is fairly limited as they only sell a few lipsticks, eyeshadows and makeup brushes, but I was still excited nonetheless as the packaging is so beautiful. Inside, I discovered a cute faux-leather, branded makeup bag, a single eyeshadow compact, an eyeshadow brush and a lipstick, so it was time to have a play!

SARYA Couture Makeup Eyeshadow in Mocha
 SARYA Couture Makeup Eyeshadow in Mocha* (3.5g, £17.80, link)  and 201 All Over Shader Brush* (£11.60, link)

Single eyeshadow compacts seem to be coming back into vogue these days, as beauty consumers are streamlining and decluttering their makeup collections, and SARYA has four different shades to choose from which will definitely spark some joy in your makeup bag! These eyeshadows are made from an organic formula that features a blend of Apricot Oil, Avocado Oil and Shea Butter, and is free of parabens, mineral oils, fragrance and phthalates, which results in a silky smooth feel and makes them easy to blend.

As I mentioned earlier, the packaging is really sleek and opening it up, I was met with the most beautiful chocolate brown shade called Mocha. This is one of those versatile shades that works well all over the lid and as a crease/transition colour to add depth and smokiness. Richly pigmented, I've been reaching for this shade a lot recently as it's just so easy to wear, especially when applied with the 201 All Over Shader Brush. Featuring silky soft, synthetic Taklon bristles, this vegan-friendly brush is a great addition to your collection and the wider cut of the head lends itself perfectly to sweeping shadow all over the lid for a fuss-free finish.

SARYA Couture Makeup Lipstick in Lovecraft
SARYA Couture Makeup Lipstick in Lovecraft* (4g, £19.50, link) and Makeup Bag* (£13.30, link)

I'm like a magpie when it comes to luxury red lipsticks and SARYA's Lovecraft is an absolute stunner. Created from a 75% natural formula that has ultra-nourishing ingredients such as Coconut Oil, Beet Oil, Castor Oil and Palm Butter, and is free from the likes of petroleum, parabens, artificial colouring and fragrance, this lipstick glides on effortlessly and has some killer pigmentation - the swatch below was just one swipe!

Lovecraft is a warm red that's incredibly flattering to wear for a range of skin tones as it makes your teeth look whiter, and instantly brightens up your whole complexion. It has a semi-matte finish, feels very moisturising and lasted a good few hours before I needed to reapply (that was without eating/drinking though). As it's so pigmented, I'd recommend applying it with a lip brush for a perfect pout, and a lipliner would also come in handy to prevent any feathering later on in the day.

Lastly, I have to mention that awesome branded Makeup Bag! Made from bright red synthetic leather, I've had so many compliments about it and it's currently in my travel bag ready for any impromptu weekends away.

Swatches! SARYA Couture Makeup Eyeshadow in Mocha and Lipstick in Lovecraft
Swatches! SARYA Couture Makeup Eyeshadow in Mocha and Lipstick in Lovecraft

Shop the full range of SARYA Couture Makeup at LoveLula.com

Have you heard of this brand before?

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DIY Beauty: Trying Out Abigail James' Berry Beauty Recipes For Dry Winter Skin & Hair #LoveFreshBerries

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

DIY Beauty: Trying Out Love Fresh Berries & Abigail James' Beauty Recipes #BerryBeauty
As much as I enjoy trialling new beauty products, I find it just as fun to whip up some DIY beauty recipes in my kitchen! I wanted to share some super easy ones that you can try out yourself at home, using a variety of fresh berries and all-natural ingredients that you may already have in your fridge or cupboard.  

I love eating all types of berries; strawberries are a definite favourite of mine, but I enjoy all the others too, especially blueberries and raspberries! Not only are they ridiculously good for you, low in fat and packed full of essential nutrients such as Vitamin C, but you can also use them to make your own natural skincare and hair care products which is handy if you're on a budget!

The three beauty recipes below have been created by the celebrity-facialist and skincare guru, Abigail James, and they use a mix of different fresh berries as the star ingredients so that both your skin and hair can reap their benefits. These are perfect for brightening up a dry or dull Winter complexion, and there's a hair mask recipe as well which is ideal for lacklustre hair. 

All of these recipes are made from 100% natural ingredients, so let's get stuck in!

DIY Beauty: Trying Out Love Fresh Berries & Abigail James' Beauty Recipes #BerryBeauty
 Mixed Berries Ultimate Face Mask

Ingredients:
  • 1 large or 2 small Strawberries 
  • 4 Blackberries 
  • 8 Blueberries 
  • 7 Raspberries
  • 2 heaped tablespoon Oats 
  • 1 teaspoon of Honey 
  • 1 large tablespoon Yoghurt 
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil 
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Almonds (optional) 

Method:
Place all the ingredients into a smoothie maker and blend for 20 to 30 seconds until everything is thoroughly mixed. Apply with your hands and gently massage over the face and neck, to work the mask into the skin and activate the exfoliating properties, avoiding the eye area. Leave on the skin for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove with a warm damp flannel or cloth.

Why It's Good For Your Skin:
This mask has an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins and essential minerals from all of the berries, and it's notably high in Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium and Vitamins A, C and K, the latter of which helps to support healthy blood vessels. Strawberries have natural AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) that exfoliate and brighten the skin to give it a real glowing boost! The other ingredients add their own benefits as well; Honey has incredible anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and healing properties for the skin, Coconut Oil is packed full of Vitamin E and acts as a natural hydrator, and the Oats gives the mask an extra gentle exfoliating action for even smoother skin.

Results:
Although it was a little messy to apply, the results were certainly worth it and I was really surprised by how well it worked! I left it on for the full 10 minutes and experienced a little tingling sensation due to the fruit acids but after rinsing, my skin felt silky smooth and looked noticeably brighter like I'd had a full night's sleep which is brilliant. I'd definitely make this again when my skin needs another all-natural, quick fix, radiance boost!

DIY Beauty: Trying Out Love Fresh Berries & Abigail James' Beauty Recipes #BerryBeauty
 Balancing and Brightening Face Mask

Ingredients:
  • 15 Blueberries
  • 8 Blackberries
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 large teaspoon Honey
  • 1 Green Tea bag
  • 1 tablespoon Natural Yoghurt

Method:
Boil the kettle and steep your Green Tea bag (White Tea is also an option) and place all the other ingredients into a blender. Remove the teabag, cut it open and add the tea leaves to the blender. Blend for 15 to 20 seconds. This mask is a little runny in texture so you might want to apply it with an artist's paintbrush. Apply one layer evenly over the face, then a second and possibly a third if required. Leave to dry on the skin for 5 to 10 minutes and then dampen your face with a warm flannel or cloth before removing. Finish with a tiny amount of Almond Oil, or your normal facial serum or moisturiser.

Why It's Good For Your Skin
Both Blueberries and Blackberries are little powerhouses of nutrients which makes this mask particularly beneficial for blemish-prone skin. Blueberries contain Salicylates (the salt aspect of Salicylic acid), a widely used antibacterial ingredient found in many skincare products to target spots, large pores, acne and general breakouts, whereas Blackberries are high in Vitamin A which is an essential vitamin when treating breakouts. The high water content of the berries also adds hydration to the skin without contributing extra oil, and their amazing blend of minerals (especially Zinc) are great for problem skin. As mentioned above, Honey has antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, whilst Cinnamon also has its own antibacterial and soothing benefits. Green Tea is included as it's very high in antioxidants and soothing properties and Natural yogurt is used to help restore the skin's flora and acid-alkaline levels.

Results
This mask was a lot runnier than I expected but I followed Abigail's advice and used a paintbrush to apply it which made it much easier to handle. As I applied the layers, the mask tightened as it dried which felt really satisfying and then I removed it with a warm face cloth. Looking in the mirror, my complexion did look more glowy and brighter overall and as my skin type is combination that's prone to breakouts, I think this would be a useful natural treatment for me to incorporate into my routine.

DIY Beauty: Trying Out Love Fresh Berries & Abigail James' Beauty Recipes #BerryBeauty
Hair Restoring Strawberry Mask

Ingredients:
  • 3 Strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 sprig of Rosemary or 4 drops of Rosemary/Lavender Essential Oil 

Method:
Blend all the ingredients together thoroughly for 20 to 30 seconds. This can be a little messy to apply so best done in the bathroom over the sink. Apply to dry hair; start in the middle of your hair at the root and apply small amounts down the parting. Massage in, then separate the hair and continue to apply all over the scalp, massaging in each time. Then apply whatever is left to the lengths of your hair. Give the scalp a good massage, pile your hair on top of your head and leave on for 20 minutes. Thoroughly rinse off then wash with your normal shampoo and a very small amount of conditioner.

Why It's Good For Your Hair
Strawberries are very high in Vitamin C which supports healthy circulation as it boosts Iron absorption, and they also contain natural Silica for healthy and stronger hair growth. Olive Oil is included to deeply nourish and the proteins in the Egg White help to support the scalp and prevents any excess oiliness. To further boost this natural tonic treatment, Apple Cider Vinegar gives the hair a beautiful glossy finish, while Honey strengthens the hair follicle and Rosemary stimulates blood flow for a healthy scalp.

Results
You definitely need to apply this hair tonic mask over a sink as Abigail recommends because it is quite liquidy and I enlisted the help of my sister to cover the back of my head for me as I found this part a little tricky. Once massaged in though, I could feel a slight tingling like the mask was 'working'  and after rinsing it out, my hair had a gorgeous glossy sheen to it which was impressive! My scalp also felt really good, almost like it had been thoroughly cleansed, so I'd recommend this to anyone who has a dry or itchy scalp like mine.

Give these DIY Berry Beauty Recipes a try and let me know what you think!

[This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Love Fresh Berries]

Do you enjoy DIY Beauty?

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