Green Beauty: Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Collection 2019 - Review & Swatches

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Collection 2019 - Review & Swatches
Not ready to say goodbye to Summer just yet? Me either! To keep those sunny vibes flowing for longer, just add these beauties from Lavera's Limited Edition Natural Pastels Collection to your makeup bag ASAP.

Lavera is one of the most well-known organic and natural beauty brands in the business and I always get excited when I see a new collection drop from them. Their latest, Natural Pastels, is inspired by the floral shades and colours of Summer, but it's definitely a collection that you can wear all year round thanks to its flattering neutral tones. 

Everything in the collection is just like Lavera's existing products as they are all cruelty-free, certified organic and natural by NaTrue, and are free from parabens, artificial colourings and preservatives.

Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Collection 2019 - Review & Swatches
When I opened up the package from them, I was pleased to see that all of the products are housed in eco-friendly, durable cardboard packaging which fits in perfectly with Lavera's ongoing commitment to the environment and sustainability. Once you've used up the products, all of the packaging is recyclable and the mirrors in the palettes can be taken out and re-used. Another thing that I love about these palettes is that there are no unnecessary brushes/applicators, as I always prefer to use my own brushes anyway, and find that most people throw away the ones that are included.

To complement the collection's theme, the pastel pink packaging is adorned around the edges with an intricate silver floral motif, which I think is really pretty!

Lavera's new Limited Edition Natural Pastels Collection features two Mineral Eyeshadow Palettes, two Mineral Blush Palettes and three Lipsticks, of which I have a selection below to show you.

Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Mineral Eyeshadow Palette in Blooming Nude review swatches
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Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Mineral Eyeshadow Palette in Blooming Nude* (£24.95, link)

Starting with the Mineral Eyeshadows, this beautiful Blooming Nude palette features six large pans and a mirror. There's a matte pale cream, a gorgeous warm rose, a matte chocolate brown, a shimmering copper brown, a shimmering brown with cool undertones and a deep graphite purple/taupe shade. All of the shades are easy to blend and work with and have a silky consistency that has surprisingly little fallout. As you can see in the swatches below, these eyeshadows have a gorgeous sheen to them which is much more pronounced on the second row of colours, so it's a really versatile palette that you can use for both day and night. 

They aren't as crazy pigmented as some mainstream eyeshadows are, but as far as natural/organic alternatives go, they are brilliant! I'm a huge fan of bronzey and taupey neutrals like these, and you can even wear the first shade as a highlighter and the second shade as a blusher - super easy to travel with!

Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Mineral Eyeshadow Palette in Blooming Nude review swatches
Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Mineral Eyeshadow Palette in Blooming Nude

Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Mineral Blush Palette in Coral Bloom review swatches
Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Mineral Blush Palette in Coral Bloom* (£24.95, link)

This Mineral Blush palette is a fantastic selection for makeup beginners, those who travel a lot or anyone who is simply craving some gorgeous blushers! This trio is called Coral Bloom and these shades are so flattering for a wide range of skin tones - there's a shimmering pearlescent highlighter, a stunning peach blush and a rosy pink blush.

As you may expect, the pans are bigger than the eyeshadows above, and there's a handy mirror included. The quality is the same as the eyeshadows and they are easy to build up when you apply them - from sheer to a bolder flush depending on what look you're going for. I am so smitten with this palette and have been getting a lot of use out of it since it arrived!

Lavera Limited Edition Natural Lipstick in Rosy Pastel review swatches
Lavera Limited Edition Natural Lipstick in Rosy Pastel review swatches
Lavera Limited Edition Natural Lipstick in Rosy Pastel* (4.5g, £13.90, link)

The last product that I have from the collection is one of the three new Lipsticks. Formulated with a range of natural pigments and moisturising plant-based ingredients such as Organic Blossom Butter, Coconut Oil, Candelilla Wax, Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter, Argan Oil and Jojoba Seed Oil, they glide on easily and feel very hydrating on the lips. 

This ultra-buttery texture does make them prone to melting if left in a warm place though (the top of mine melted a bit when I left it in the car), so keep it somewhere nice and cool to get the most out of it. The shade I have is called Rosy Pastel - a pretty neutral-toned nude pink with a glossy finish that's perfect for everyday wear. 

Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Mineral Blush Palette in Coral Bloom review swatches
Swatches: Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Mineral Blush Palette in Coral Bloom & Natural Lipstick in Rosy Pastel


Lavera Limited Edition Natural Pastels Collection is available from selected health stores nationwide and online from laverauk.co.uk

Have you tried any makeup from Lavera?

New In Beauty: PMD Clean Pro RQ - Smart Facial Cleansing Device review

Monday, 9 September 2019

PMD Clean Pro in Blush - Smart Facial Cleansing Device review
Looking to invest in a facial cleansing device, but don't know which one to pick? Skip past the harsh electrical cleansing brushes and treat your skin to a much more hygienic, gentler and sustainable product instead - meet the new PMD Clean Pro RQ.

Long-time readers will know that I'm not a fan of the Clarisonic or the millions of similar versions that have spawned from it over the years. I used to have one when they were all the rage, but it was way too harsh for my skin and caused more problems than it was worth - never again!

Needless to say, I'm pretty fussy with facial cleansing tools these days but one type that has stood out for me is the, in my opinion, much better range of silicone-based devices that are now readily available on the market. Last year, I reviewed the excellent PMD Clean (read here) which has been my main skincare crush, and now PMD has launched the PMD Clean Pro RQ and it's even better.

PMD Clean Pro in Blush - Smart Facial Cleansing Device review
What is the PMD Clean Pro RQ?
This is a free-standing 'smart facial cleansing device' that's made mostly from silicone and charged via a USB cable. It uses two types of technology; SonicGlow and ActiveWarmth to deliver beneficial results to your skin. The front of the device features a head which is made from soft silicone bristles and these are used in conjunction with the SonicGlow tech to break down dirt, oil and impurities deep down in the pores at 7,000 vibrations per minute. This frequency also helps to lift, firm and tone the skin and there are two vibration settings to try out; Gentle and Intense.

Flip the PMD Clean Pro RQ over and you'll discover an embedded smooth piece of real Rose Quartz stone. This side offers the anti-ageing benefits thanks to the ActiveWarmth tech which also has the two massaging settings of Gentle and Intense. Rose Quartz is often used in facials as it helps to reduce inflammation and tension and many say that it has properties of Magnesium, Iron and Oxygen.

How Do I Use It & How Often?
How often you use it depends on your own skincare concerns but to give you an example, I have been using the brush side just once a week to give my skin a deep down exfoliation (I have oily/combination skin that can sometimes be sensitive so I don't like to overdo it), and I've been using the Rose Quartz side 2-4 times a week in the evenings for a facial massage.

You can apply any kind of liquid cleanser to the brush side and you can use your favourite face oil or serum with the Rose Quartz side. However, I prefer to apply the product directly to my face first, and then go in with the PMD Clean Pro RQ, though that's just my personal preference.

PMD Clean Pro in Blush - Smart Facial Cleansing Device review
PMD Clean Pro in Blush - Smart Facial Cleansing Device review
Which should I buy - the PMD Clean or the PMD Clean Pro RQ?
As you can see from my review of the PMD Clean here, these two products are very similar with the main differences being the new addition of the ActiveWarmth tech and the Rose Quartz stone, and the fact that the PMD Clean Pro RQ has a rechargeable battery rather than relying on AA batteries as the PMD Clean does. The size and feel of both devices are otherwise the same and you definitely don't need to buy both!

If you want the anti-ageing benefits of the ActiveWarmth tech, the luxurious facial massage that the Rose Quartz side has to offer and the convenience of having essentially what is a two-in-one product, then the PMD Clean Pro RQ is definitely something to consider investing in. However, if you're younger or on a budget, save your cash and go for the PMD Clean instead.

Overall thoughts?
I have been absolutely loving the PMD Clean Pro RQ! The ActiveWarmth Rose Quartz facial massage is a sheer delight to use and I already knew that I'd enjoy the deep exfoliation that the brush side delivers. This device fits in perfectly alongside my existing skincare routine and I feel that my skin tone has improved since using it on a regular basis for the past 6-8 weeks. The silicone material makes this device super easy to clean as it's anti-bacterial and odour-resistant, and you don't need to ever replace the head which makes the PMD Clean Pro RQ a far more hygienic and sustainable purchase than a Clarisonic-style product. Highly recommended!

PMD Clean Pro RQ* retails for £165 (link)

Do you use a facial cleansing device?

August Empties: Products I've Used Up

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

August Empties: Products I've Used Up
Are we really into the first week of September already? Right then, here are my slightly late August Empties!

Eco By Sonya Organic Personal Outdoor Spray* (reviewed here)
I'm one of those people who gets bitten the minute I step foot outside, so I often use an insect repellant when I'm walking the dogs in the woods. This is a really good natural and organic-based product that uses essential oils to deter mozzies and other common biting insects. It's not 100% foolproof but I find that it certainly helps. Repurchase? Yes.

Aveda Beautifying Composition Oil (reviewed here)
A real luxury pampering treat, I absolutely love the scent of Aveda's Beautifying range and their multi-purpose Composition Oils are brilliant - I've been using them for years! I add a few drops to a bath and massage it into my skin afterwards - pure heaven. Repurchase? Yes.

Balm Balm Face Balm* (reviewed here)
Speaking of multi-purpose products, this Face Balm can be used on any dry skin areas and is particularly useful for cuticles, feet and lips. 100% natural and organic, it's fragrance-free so would be well suited for sensitive skin types. Repurchase? I have a lot of similar products to use up first, but I would consider buying it again.

Weleda Creamy Body Washes in Pomegranate and Sea Buckthorn* (reviewed here)
Regular readers will know that I'm a huge fan of these Creamy Body Washes from Weleda and I love both of these scents. Fantastic for dry skin, they're perfect for travel or if you're in a rush as you don't need to follow up with a body moisturiser after showering. Repurchase? Yes.

August Empties: Products I've Used Up
Walden Castles In The Air Eau De Parfum(reviewed here)
I finally finished a perfume! This is a lovely fragrance for Spring and Summer as it smells fresh with floral and citrusy notes. The Walden range is completely different to anything that I have in my perfume collection, so if you're quite open-minded about fragrance and want something that's natural, definitely have a look into these. Repurchase? Will do in the future.

Aveda Beautifying Radiance Body Polish (reviewed here)
This salt-based body scrub is from the same Beautifying line as the Composition Oil above so it's no surprise that I finished it at the same time as they are ideal pampering partners! Like the oil, it's very luxurious and leaves my skin feeling wonderfully soft. Repurchase? Definitely as a treat.

Madara Nourish & Repair Shampoo*
Having been a fan of Madara's skincare for such a long time, I decided to try out one of their Shampoos and it did not disappoint. This Nourish & Repair formula is great for dry and damaged hair as it deeply hydrates and helps to strengthen against further breakage and split ends. 99% natural and SLS-free. Repurchase? Yes.

Organyc Organic Cotton Pads(reviewed here)
I don't use a lot of cotton pads these days, but when I do (for things like removing nail polish), I opt for these ones from Organyc which are made from 100% organic cotton and are biodegradable. They're strong and get the job done. Repurchase? Yes.

Fruu Avocado Lip Balm(reviewed here)
Finally, I used up a lip balm! I loved this one - it's made from natural and organic ingredients and kept my notoriously dry lips happy and hydrated. The flatter style of packaging is super handy for squeezing into carry-on bags too. Repurchase? I have a million lip balms to use up, but I'm sure I'll come back to this in the future!

What have you used up recently?

The Weekend Post: A Daytrip To Manchester - Where To Shop, Eat & Drink #VisitManchester

Saturday, 31 August 2019

A Daytrip To Manchester
Manchester is by far one of the most interesting and vibrant cities in the whole of the UK. With an ever-growing student population, streets of independent shops, artisan cafes and cocktail bars, and a local community that embraces diversity, it's no wonder why it's on the top of many young people's places to visit.

Planning a trip is easy with accessible transport links and countless serviced apartments in Manchester for those who want to stay for a night or weekend, so if you're thinking of visiting, I've compiled a list of some of my favourite 'hidden independent gems' to shop (second hand, on a budget and zero waste), eat and drink.

Northern Soul Grilled Cheese manchester
Northern Soul Grilled Cheese manchester
Where To Eat: Northern Soul Grilled Cheese [Manchester Picadilly, Station Approach, M1 2GH & Northern Quarter, Unit 10-11, Church Street, M4 1PN]

Manchester is truly a foodie's dream come true with scores of independent and artisan businesses dishing up every kind of cuisine that you can think of. Cheese lovers should head for Northern Soul Grilled Cheese, which specialises in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, oozing with their special three-blend cheese mix that's toasted on locally sourced Sourdough and filled with additional ingredients such as Mac 'n' Cheese, Pulled Pork, Pastrami and more. Extra sides on offer include Loaded Fries, Mac 'n' Cheese bowls and the popular 'Frickles' - deep-fried pickles.

Northern Soul Grilled Cheese - Mac Attack manchester
Northern Soul Grilled Cheese - Mac Attack

Perfect for a hungover brunch with friends, I opted for the 'Mac Attack' which really is cheese heaven thanks to its combination of three different types of cheese melted together with a generous amount of mac 'n' cheese. The grilled cheese sandwiches come with half a chunky pickle and your choice of homemade slaw or crisps, with condiments such as French's Mustard and Encona Hot Pepper Sauce at the table to dip your toastie into.  Mmmmmmm!

Siop Siop Manchester
Where To Eat & Drink Coffee: Siop Siop [53 Tib Street, M4 1LS]

If you're after a cup of high-quality coffee, Manchester is full of independent coffee shops so there's no need to buy your latte or espresso from a chain when you're visiting the city. Siop Siop is a fantastic coffee shop with a small outdoor seating area and communal tables inside for a cosy get together. As well as mouthwatering blends of proper coffee, you'll also find an equally enticing menu of homemade Pancakes, Sandwiches, Salads and Cakes, with vegetarians and vegans catered for.

Siop Siop - Doughnuts
Siop Siop - Rhubarb & Custard, Coffee Glaze, Millionaire's Doughnuts and Chocolate & Coconut Snickerdoodle

You can't visit Siop Siop without trying at least one of their famous handmade doughnuts though, and these are truly something special. The flavours change regularly so it's always exciting to see what's new and if there's no seating available, I would recommend ordering a box to go, you won't regret it.

Where To Shop: Vintage Kilo Sale
Where To Shop: Vintage Kilo Sale
Where To Shop On A Budget: Vintage Kilo Sale [pop-ups throughout the city]

As you may expect from a city that's full of students, vintage clothes are incredibly popular and coveted, so if you're a fan, you'll love the numerous 'pop-ups' that are easily found across the city. In the centre, you'll find several 'kilo sales', stores of vintage clothing where you can spend hours rummaging through the clothes rails. Once you have found your perfect 90s check shirt and 80s denim jacket, you simply take them to the till to be weighed, with most shops charging around £15 per kilo.

Where To Shop On A Budget: Oxfam Emporium
Where To Shop On A Budget: Oxfam Emporium
Where To Shop On A Budget: Oxfam Emporium [8-10 Oldham Street, M1 1JQ]

Charity shops are another place to find second-hand bargains for a cheap price (that also benefits the chosen charity so win-win for everyone!), and one of the best in Manchester is the Oxfam Emporium. This well-organised and tidy shop has a regular amount of newly donated stock coming in so I always seem to find something to take home with me whenever I visit. This time around, I found a nearly new Urban Outfitters Playsuit for £6.99, a vintage button-up denim skirt for £4.99 and a second-hand Marc by Marc Jacobs Bag for £6.99. What a bargain! And of course, if you're local, this is a brilliant place to donate your unwanted clothes, shoes, accessories, books and CDs.

Where To Shop Zero Waste: McCall's Organics
Where To Shop Zero Waste: McCall's Organics
Where To Shop Zero Waste: McCall's Organics
Where To Shop Organic & Zero Waste: McCall's Organics [Unit 6, 7 Church St, M1 1PN]

Eco-friendly and zero waste shoppers can happily support McCall's Organics on Church Street with an easy conscience. This small but expertly curated shop is your one-stop destination for fresh organic fruit and veg, chilled organic dairy, healthy drinks (they have Kombucha on tap!), and of course, it's the perfect place to stock up on your cupboard essentials such as rice, lentils, beans, pasta, dairy-free milks, gluten-free flours, soups, sauces, tea, coffee, canned goods and plenty more.

Customers are encouraged to shop zero waste by bringing their own containers, plus there's a refillable section of eco-friendly laundry products and cruelty-free toiletries. If you get to the shop early, you can take advantage of locally sourced fresh bread and a tasty selection of vegan cakes too.

Where To Drink: A Place Called Common
Where To Drink: A Place Called Common manchester
Where To Drink: A Place Called Common [39-41 Edge Street, M4 1HW]

You'll never be thirsty in Manchester with its plethora of cocktail bars, clubs and pubs on every single street, and I could have written a whole blog post dedicated just to popular drinking spots in the city! However, I decided to focus on A Place Called Common because it has such a cool and friendly vibe, plus it's one of the rare places that does a decent range of Happy Hour cocktails every single day (most don't do HH on Saturdays) from 3-7pm for just £5 each.

A Place Called Common - Bramble Collins, French Martini, Passionfruit Daquri & Espresso Martini

Sitting outside in the sun with a cold drink is one of life's simple pleasures and here there are plenty of tables for you to enjoy a catch up with your friends. It does get incredibly busy though, but there is seating inside and well-behaved dogs are also welcome. Whilst it's mainly popular for its delicious cocktails, it's worth mentioning that Common has some brilliant food on offer as well, with a range of burgers, salads and bar sides to soak up all of that booze. There are several vegan options too so everyone's included.

Crazy Pedros Manchester
Crazy Pedros Manchester
Crazy Pedros Manchester
Where To Eat Late: Crazy Pedro's [Short Street, Northern Quarter, M1 1JG & 55-57 Bridge Street, Deansgate, M3 3BQ]

Manchester is a city that doesn't seem to sleep, making it a popular destination for partygoers and students alike. Just like any other city, it has its fair share of kebab shops and local Chinese takeaways, but the place to go for your post-drinks, late-night grub on a Friday or Saturday night is Crazy Pedro's.

Tucked down Short Street in the Northern Quarter, this basement bar is home to the best pizza that you'll find in the whole of Manchester. The quirky colourful ambience of Crazy Pedro's adds a youthful feeling throughout the establishment and with free Beer Pong, pinball machines and more Tequila than you can shake a stick at, you know you're going to have a good time here!

Crazy Pedros Manchester
Crazy Pedro's - Summer B (Vegetarian) and Pepperoni


Back to the pizza and Crazy Pedro's has become famous for its unusual flavours and weird toppings (the Big Mac and Chicken & Waffle pizzas are popular to give just two examples), but you'll still find the tried and tested favourites such as Margherita and Pepperoni, and they even do vegan pizzas with dairy-free cheese and mock meats. A menu at the bar shows that day's slices which are available from £3, or you can order a whole pizza to enjoy now or takeout. Open until 4am, Crazy Pedro's has two venues in Manchester for punters to pick and choose from depending on where their night out is starting or ending ;)

[This is a collaboration post - the spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own]

Have you visited Manchester?


Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - August 2019 review

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - August 2019 review
The sun is shining and it's time for another recap of this month's LoveLula Beauty Box! Worth over £60, let's check out what green beauty goodies are inside for August's box.

Laidbare In Safe Hands Hand Cream (full size, RRP £6.99)
Like lip balms, you can never have too many hand creams in my opinion and I've had the pleasure of using this one from Laidbare numerous times in the past. In fact, I first reviewed it back in 2013 (check out that post here)! Needless to say, this is a lovely hand hydrating cream which is 99% natural and features Organic Shea Butter, Sunflower Oil and Vitamin C to keep dry hands soft and supple.

Madara Eye Contour Cream (full size, RRP £26)
Madara are a very popular organic skincare brand and I love many of their products, so I'm very much looking forward to trying out their Eye Contour Cream which has been on my wishlist for quite some time. Enriched with Baltic botanicals, it promises to be a light-textured gel-cream that deeply hydrates, smoothes fine lines and diminishes puffiness.

Inika Lip Glaze in Rosewood (full size, RRP £18)
The star of this month's box for me is this gorgeous Lip Glaze from Inika. Worth £18, it can be used on its own for a glossy wash of colour or applied over lipstick to add a beautiful high-shine finish. It's made from organic natural ingredients and feels (and looks!) really luxurious.

Nature's Kitchen Rescue Cream (full size, RRP £8.99)
The last product is another full size one that would definitely come in handy for any late Summer getaways that you may have planned. Nature's Kitchen's multi-purpose Rescue Cream helps to reduce inflammation caused by a range of dry skin complaints such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis, and it can be also be applied to sunburn to instantly soothe and hydrate.


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?

Health & Lifestyle: 4 Reasons Why Everyone Should Have a Salt Lamp #AD

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Health & Lifestyle: 4 Reasons That Everyone Should Have a Salt Lamp
Sometimes a cultural force comes along that is so truly transcendent that it comes to define an entire era, reshaping life as we know it. 

It might be a bit much to think that a little night light-sized salt lamp will do that. 

However, it is true that they’re the toast of the New Age and Alternative Living world today, reshaping those industries and giving others reason to sit up and take notice of these incredible products. 

With their mixture of color and whispers of their soothing sleep-assisting potential, salt lamps are one of today’s trendiest items – and here are four reasons that you’ll absolutely want to be in on that trend. 

Beautiful Exterior 

Let’s just get this out of the way – salt lamps are absolutely stunning to behold. The light filters through the Himalayan salt in just the right way to make the inside glow in a luminescent way that’s unlike anything else. This should be reason enough to get a salt lamp. They’re small enough to fit into any room, and their unique glow is versatile enough to fit in with nearly any type of interior. 

That’s due in no small part to the uniqueness of the salt rocks used in these lamps’ construction. They are just translucent enough to allow light to filter through, while being just opaque enough for that light to show up dimly yet vibrantly beneath the thick tastefully textured, incredibly colorful rocks. 

It’s a far cry from the blasé lampshades of old; that’s for sure. 

Sleep Assistance 

Of course, a chic-looking lamp wouldn’t be enough to catapult something to hit cult status. 

No, what really helps sell the salt lamp mythos is the fact that they are said to be quite beneficial for those looking to get a good night’s sleep. Needless to say, there’s always a huge market for sleep assistance products. Given the frantic, frazzling pace of modern life, someone finding a way to make sleep easier for us to come by can feel like an alchemist discovering the secret of turning tin into gold. 

While scientific studies on its effectiveness are hard to come by, given how subjective sleep aids can be, there’s quite a bit of positive buzz about it, so if you’re desperate to try something new to help you slip off to sleep, salt lamps can be a great choice. 

Soothing Ambience 

This is due in large part to the soothing ambience they create. That aforementioned special balance of dim yet vibrant light is perfect for creating low-lit ambience that is warm, inviting, and yes, soothing. 

If you’re looking to introduce a new sense of ambience into the bedroom, you may want to shelve those candles and give salt lamps a try. 

The Price 

Last but not least, salt lamps have the ever-important factor of price on their side. While prices will naturally vary, they’re nearly always well south of £100, with many high-quality options well shy of £50, making this an experiment that’s easy to afford. 

That low risk factor and the wonderful potential gains make salt maps an experiment well worth experiencing for yourself.


[*AD - This is a sponsored post - photo my own / lamp kindly gifted by Himalayan Salt Lamp UK]

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Foodie Friday: Crispy Tofu & Mixed Veg Rice Bowl (Vegan recipe)

Friday, 23 August 2019

Crispy Tofu & Mixed Veg Rice Bowl (Vegan recipe)
One meal that I've been cooking a lot of lately is this delicious Crispy Tofu & Mixed Veg Rice Bowl. Packed full of nutritious veggies, plant-based protein and wholegrain carbs, this healthy meal fills me up but doesn't make me feel bloated or sleepy afterwards.

When I'm short on time or don't have the energy to spend an hour cooking, I love nothing more than just grabbing a bunch of fresh ingredients from the fridge, chopping everything up and popping it all into a wok for 10 minutes. You can't beat a good stir fry and this Crispy Tofu & Mixed Veg Rice Bowl is a fast and easy dish with only a little bit of prepping to do.

It's also a great way to use up any leftover veggies at the end of the week which is what I did for this particular post. Feel free to grab whatever you have in the fridge and make this tasty bowl your own!

Crispy Tofu & Mixed Veg Rice Bowl (Vegan recipe)
 Ingredients (serves 1)
  • 60g Brown Basmati Rice
  • 150g firm, drained & pressed Tofu
  • Pinches of mixed Spices (e.g Paprika, Cayenne, Turmeric, Cumin etc)
  • 1 tsp of Cornflour
  • 2 tsp of Toasted Sesame Oil
  • Large handful of leftover mixed Veg (I used Broccoli, Kale, Runner Beans, Chestnut Mushrooms, Chillies and Yellow Pepper)
  • Sprinkle of chopped Peanuts (to serve, optional)
  • Salt & Pepper or Soy Sauce (to serve, optional)


Method
  • Cut the Tofu into bite-sized cubes and add them to a bowl with the mixed Spices, Cornflour and 1 tsp of Toasted Sesame Oil. Mix well and leave to marinade whilst the rice is cooking or if using microwaveable rice, leave for at least 20 minutes. 
  • Cook the Brown Basmati Rice according to the pack instructions.
  • Add 1 tsp of Toasted Sesame Oil to a wok over a medium heat and add all of the chopped leftover Veg and the marinaded Tofu. Stir fry everything together for around 8-10 minutes, until the Tofu becomes crispy.
  • Plate up the bowl with the Rice first, then add the Tofu and Veg on top. Sprinkle over the Peanuts if using, and add your seasoning of choice. Enjoy!

P.S: You can try this dish with my recipe for Crispy Madras Tofu Bites.


Crispy Tofu & Mixed Veg Rice Bowl (Vegan recipe)
What are you cooking this weekend?

Green Beauty Must-Haves: Antipodes Hand & Body Creams review

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Antipodes Hand & Body Creams
Many green beauty fans love Antipodes' skincare with their gorgeous serums and face oils being incredibly popular all over the world, but have you tried their Hand & Body Creams? These hidden gems are a must-have for anyone who likes to indulge in some luxurious pampering.

There's rarely a month that goes by where I don't sing the praises of the New Zealand based, cruelty-free brand Antipodes - they are one of my all-time favourite natural and organic companies and you can find all of my reviews and features of the products that I've used from them here if you fancy a catch-up read.

I've long been a fan of their Joyful Hand & Body Cream which has the most divine fragrance (seriously, you have to experience it for yourself!), so I was really excited to receive their two other versions in the post last month. These are all packaged in fully recyclable aluminium tubes so they're a great luxury option for those looking to cut down on their plastic waste.  Let's check these beauties out!

Antipodes Hand & Body Creams
Antipodes Delight Hand & Body Cream
Starting off with Delight, this 98% natural Hand & Body Cream contains some key hydrating wonders from the plant world such as Macadamia Oil, Vinanza Grape, Avocado Oil and Marigold Flower Oil to deeply hydrate and keep skin softer for longer. This is a good one to try if you enjoy sweet, creamy floral scents as it features a strong Vintage Gardenia fragrance which means that you can skip wearing your usual perfume for the day.

Antipodes Joyful Hand & Body Cream
My dear long-time lover, the decadent and heady scent of Joyful always puts me in a good mood, bringing a guaranteed amount of joy to any pampering/self-care session at home! It's also one of my favourite summer fragrances thanks to an exotic floral blend of Wild Blackcurrants and Hibiscus Flower. The moisturising base formula contains Avocado Oil, Macadamia Oil, Marigold Flower Oil and Vitamin E for silky soft skin.

Antipodes Jubilation Hand & Body Cream*
If you have very dry skin and want to take it up a notch in the hydration stakes, Jubilation is the one for you. This ultra-nourishing Hand & Body Cream has a slightly richer and thicker texture than the two above, and it features essential Omegas 3, 6 and 9, as well as Vitamins A, C and E to feed your skin all the good stuff that it needs to replenish and repair. Avocado Oil, Meadowfoam Oil, and Kiwifruit Seed Oil work together to deeply moisturise dry skin types, whilst Feijoa and Wild Blackcurrant essential oils offer an uplifting and sophisticated floral fragrance.

Have you tried any of these?

Antipodes Hand & Body Creams (120ml, £28.99 each) are available from LoveLula.com

New In Beauty: Tropic Beauty Boost Sheer Foundation, Mineral Foundation, Kiss Me Quick Lipsticks & Lip Glazes - Review & Swatches

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Tropic are killing it with the new beauty releases this year, and their latest makeup products for base and lips have been in daily rotation on my vanity since they arrived! Let's take a closer look at what's new.

Hot on the heels of their customisable Colour Palette (read my review of that here), Tropic has brought out a whole new range of base and lip products for you to fall in love with. From lighter foundation options for the Summer to delectable nourishing lipsticks and lip glazes, there's something for every makeup junkie to get excited about! And as always, everything from Tropic is certified cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.

Here's what I've been loving lately:-

Tropic Beauty Booster Sheer Foundation
Tropic Beauty Booster Sheer Foundation* (30ml, £22, link)

If you hate the feeling of thick liquid foundations on your skin, this Beauty Booster Sheer Foundation is a brilliant alternative that you'll instantly love the moment that you try it. Not to be confused with a tinted moisturiser, Beauty Booster offers a light-medium level of coverage in a weightless-feeling liquid base. The pigment here is combined with a serum formula that contains SPF35 and it gives the skin a gorgeous dewy finish that looks particularly fresh, brightening and youthful so it's great for perking up dull or tired complexions.

I've been applying it with a damp beauty blender sponge and I love how easy it is to achieve a really natural, healthy-looking finish - very much like 'my skin, but better'! Available in six shades, I have Warm Beige which is perfectly suited to my light olive skin tone.

Tropic Beauty Booster Sheer Foundation in Warm Beige and Tropic Mineral Foundation in Warm Beige
From L-R: Tropic Beauty Booster Sheer Foundation in Warm Beige and Tropic Mineral Foundation in Warm Beige

Tropic Mineral Foundation
Tropic Mineral Foundation* (6g, £24, link)

For those who prefer mineral powder foundations, Tropic's bestselling Mineral Foundation has been re-packaged for their new collection. Like the Beauty Booster above, it comes in six shades and Warm Beige was another perfect match for me, without any hint of orange. Instead, it gives me a lovely natural finish on the skin which I'd say is the equivalent of light-medium coverage - a quick sweep over the face will blur any small imperfections, whilst another buildable layer delivers a more even coverage. SPF25 is included in the silky-soft formula and I really like how well this wears throughout the day, without any dry patches forming around my nose or mouth like some other mineral foundations have a habit of doing. Another bonus is that refills are available to cut down on plastic waste.

A word on the packaging though - whilst I like the compact pot with its inbuilt mesh to stop the powder going everywhere, it is a little tricky to get it out onto your brush. You have to push down in the centre to bring the powder up and be quite firm with pressing it into your brush, so a small kabuki is your best tool to apply it.

Tropic Eco Artist Kabuki Brush
Tropic Eco Artist Kabuki Brush* (£22, link)

Need a new kabuki brush in your life? I have been seriously impressed with all of Tropic's Eco Artist Brushes so far that I've tried out, and their Kabuki Brush is no exception. This brush is short and compact so that it fits in perfectly with the Mineral Foundation pot above and the smaller size makes it ideal for travelling with as it doesn't take up much room in my makeup bag. A fluffy and dense head of vegan-friendly synthetic fibres allows you to bluff and blend foundation into the skin effortlessly, whilst the sturdy wood base fits nicely into your hand.

Tropic Kiss Me Quick Lipsticks in Go Go Goji, Plum Pout and Fresh Fig
Tropic Kiss Me Quick Lipsticks in Go Go Goji, Plum Pout and Fresh Fig* (5g, £20 each, link)

There is something rather alluring and addictive about opening up a fresh new lipstick and these Kiss Me Quick Lipsticks have had me well and truly smitten since they arrived. The white and gold packaging is not only stylish, but they have been specially made to accommodate Tropic's new refillable lipstick cartridges which makes it easy to switch up different colours and to replace your favourite shade when it runs out.

Formulated with a seriously hydrating blend of plant based ingredients such as Candelilla Wax, Olive Squalene, Babassu Oil, Shea Butter, Mango Seed Oil and Jojoba Oil to name but a few, these lipsticks are ultra-nourishing and plumping with a glossy finish. Due to this, they aren't as long-lasting as I'd hoped for, but with a lipstick this beautiful, I don't mind whipping it out of my bag to show it off as I reapply!

There are currently eight shades available and I have the following three to tempt you with:-

Tropic Kiss Me Quick Lipstick in Go Go Goji
Tropic Kiss Me Quick Lipstick in Go Go Goji

An easy way to wear a subtly brighter shade in the Summer months and perfect for holidays, Go Go Goji is a lush pop of coral pink that's incredibly flattering on a range of different skin tones.

Tropic Kiss Me Quick Lipstick in Plum Pout
Tropic Kiss Me Quick Lipstick in Plum Pout

Aptly named, Plum Pout is a juicy plum-pink that looks equally amazing on pale, tanned and darker skin tones. I love wearing this one for dinner evenings and nights out.

Tropic Kiss Me Quick Lipstick in Fresh Fig
Tropic Kiss Me Quick Lipstick in Fresh Fig

Oh, Fresh Fig! My new favourite everyday lippie, this is the perfect 'my lips but better shade' as it's just a touch darker than my natural lip colour. I think this is going to live permanently in my handbag from now on!
Tropic Lip Glazes in Sugar Plum and Candy Pop
Tropic Lip Glazes in Sugar Plum and Candy Pop* (5ml, £14 each, link)

For an even glossier pout, Tropic's Lip Glazes will be calling your name this Summer and they smell good enough to eat with a sweet and fruity scent. Available in three shades, these Lip Glazes are super moisturising with a beautiful shine finish and have much more pigment to them than I was expecting. There's no stickiness and they glide on easily. Use them on their own or apply over lipstick for some megawatt shine!

Tropic Lip Glaze in Candy Pop

Candy Pop is like a classic bubblegum pink and candy floss pink, all swirled together! As you can see, this is a really juicy and glossy wash of pink.

Tropic Lip Glaze in Sugar Plum
Tropic Lip Glaze in Sugar Plum

Although it looks darker in the tube, Sugar Plum translates to a much sheerer colour when applied to the lips and has a subtle shimmer that I love. A great shade to wear all year round.

Shop the full range of Tropic makeup at tropicskincare.com

What do you think of the new collection? Anything that's caught your eye?

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