Health & Lifestyle: 5 Reasons Why You Should Add Aloe Vera Juice To Your Morning Routine

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

5 Reasons Why You Should Add Aloe Vera Juice To Your Morning Routine
Aloe Vera isn't just a trendy house plant that's loved by millennials the world over - this super succulent has been highly revered for its many health benefits for hundreds of years, and one of the easiest ways to reap its rewards is by drinking its juice. 

I was lucky enough to never suffer from sunburn as a child (my mother was always extra vigilant when it came to the importance of sunscreen, to the point where I rarely stepped outside without being covered head to toe in the stuff), but I remember being at a young friend's birthday party during a particularly hot Summer one year and seeing a fellow playmate's skin go bright red in the sun. He screamed a lot and my friend's grandmother came out with this most unusual spikey looking green plant. She cut one of the spikes off, sliced it open, rubbed it onto the boy and much to my amazement, he immediately stopped crying. I remember thinking that it must have been made of magic!

Aloe Vera, of course, has been used to treat sunburns and skin irritations for a very long time and this widely available medicinal plant has no ends to its countless benefits, with more research in progress all the time. In recent years, Aloe Vera Juice has really hit it off as a health drink in the West, and if you've been curious as to why, here are just 5 ways that you can benefit from adding a little to your morning routine.

5 Reasons Why You Should Add Aloe Vera Juice To Your Morning Routine
1. Helps With Promoting Good Digestion
Gut health is currently in the news and for good reason, as a healthy gut can protect against numerous illnesses and diseases. Aloe Vera Juice can help to promote good digestion thanks to its natural anti-microbial properties which aid waste secretion and has an alkalising effect on the body. It basically gets you 'going' and cleanses the delicate digestive tract at the same time. This makes it particularly useful for those who suffer from IBS or constipation problems. A small word of warning though - make sure that you stick to the amounts on the bottle and don't overdo it as Aloe Vera Juice can cause laxative effects in some people.

2. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
New research has started to show positive links between consuming Aloe Vera Juice and its ability to regulate and in some cases, actually lower blood sugar levels in the body which can prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Tests on both animals and humans have shown scientists that there are specific compounds in Aloe Vera which help the body to stabilise insulin production.

3. Boosts Natural Immunity and Circulation
If you're feeling run down or having a particularly busy week, drinking a shot of Aloe Vera Juice in the morning can give your immune system a helping hand due to its vitamin-rich profile and polysaccharides content. These enable the body to better fight off things like common colds and infections and also helps to boost your blood circulation.

4. Relieves Heartburn
Eaten too much or something that didn't quite agree with you? You can soothe some of the painful symptoms of heartburn by consuming a tablespoon of pure Aloe Vera Juice after a big meal. Researchers believe this is because of Aloe Vera's calming and alkaline effect on the stomach and digestive tract, which prevents the muscles connecting the oesophagus and stomach from contracting.

5. Soothes Eczema, Psoriasis and Skin Irritations
As I mentioned earlier, you can apply Aloe Vera topically to the skin and it'll soothe away any skin irritation from sunburn to psoriasis and eczema flare-ups. You can choose to use a dedicated topical gel or if you already have a bottle of pure Aloe Vera Juice in your fridge, you can pour some onto a cotton pad and press it directly onto any irritated areas for instant relief. 

Fushi Organic Aloe Vera Juice review
Choose Certified Organic and Cold-Pressed
Due to the growing consumer demand for Aloe Vera Juice, you really need to choose your product carefully as some juices on the market contain as little as 1-5% Aloe Vera, so make sure that you read the label properly before buying. I always recommend looking out for certified organic produce when it comes to any health products/supplements that you're ingesting, and would highly recommend Fushi Pure Aloe Vera Juice which is 100% pureorganic, cold-pressed and unfiltered for the most natural and potent end result. 

This juice is hand selected from mature, organically grown Aloe Vera plants, and extracted only from the inner leaf where the most nutrients are found, which ensures that it has a minimum content of 1700mg/ltr polysaccharides. Free from preservatives, it comes packaged in a recyclable glass bottle (yay no plastic!) and should be stored in the fridge after opening where it'll keep for up to three weeks. It has a much cleaner and fresher flavour than other brands that I've tried in the past, though Aloe Vera Juice can be something of an acquired taste so if you're not keen, it's easy to pop into your morning green juice or smoothie instead!

Fushi Pure Aloe Vera Juice Organic* (500ml, £11) is available from fushi.co.uk

Do you take Aloe Vera Juice?

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Tried & Tested: 4 Everyday Vegan Beauty Products To Try From Hempz, NEEK Skin Organics and RosehipPLUS #Veganuary

Monday, 28 January 2019

4 Vegan Beauty Buys To Try From Hempz, NEEK and RosehipPLUS #Veganuary
I've really enjoyed taking part in Veganuary this year (both the food/diet and ethics/lifestyle sides of it), and I'll definitely be including more vegan beauty products in my daily routine from now on. If you're looking to do the same, check out these four vegan beauty products from Hempz, NEEK Skin Organics and RosehipPlus that you can use every day.

Neek Skin Organics Vegan Skincare
 NEEK Skin Organics Vegan Face Cleanser* (100ml, £14.50, link) and NEEK Skin Organics Vegan Face Moisturiser* (75ml, £18, link)

To accompany their gorgeous vegan-friendly lipsticks (check out my feature on those here), Aussie brand NEEK Skin Organics have recently launched their very first foray into skincare with these two exciting new products; a Vegan Face Cleanser and a Vegan Face Moisturiser

The Vegan Face Cleanser is a super gentle, light gel cleanser which can be used either in the morning or evening. Packed full of botanical extracts such as Aloe Vera, Sage, Calendula, Horsetail, Bladderwrack and Wild Peach, it's particularly useful for those who have blemish prone skin as it helps to keep spots at bay. However, it's equally suitable for anyone who wants a cleanser that will thoroughly remove all traces of makeup and daily grime so it's a great all-rounder! I love the uplifting fresh scent that this cleanser has too - it's very refreshing to use first thing in the morning and always leaves my skin feeling soft and not stripped or tight afterwards. It's free from parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, palm oil, perfume, phenoxyethanol, gluten, propylene glycol, EDTA, and animal by-products.

A great follow-up to the cleanser is NEEK's Vegan Face Moisturiser and these two really work well together. It's nicely hydrating for this time of the year, yet feels very lightweight and non-greasy on the skin as it absorbs quickly. Featuring nourishing, anti-ageing ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, Green Tea, Chamomile, Squalene, Wattleseed, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Avocado Oil, Rosehip Oil and Vitamin E, this moisturiser is perfect for mornings so that you have a comfortable layer of protection to face the day with.

RosehipPLUS Certified Organic Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil
 RosehipPLUS Certified Organic Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil* (30ml, £25, link)

Another Aussie beauty favourite that's now readily available here in the UK thanks to Amazon, is from RosehipPLUS. Their bestselling Certified Organic Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil is a 100% pure and natural Rosehip Oil with a difference. Not only is it organic and cold-pressed, but it's made from Rosehip Berry Seeds that has had all the flesh removed before the pressing process, which gives it a  unique warm golden colour, rather than the dark reddish hue that you see with many other cheaper brands.

I've spoken about my love for rosehip oil in numerous posts as I find it's such a brilliant oil to have in your skincare routine. High in natural bioflavonoids and essential fatty acids, it's great for helping to fight free radical damage, thus protecting the skin against the elements which in turn, helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As with most oils, a little goes a long way (only 2-3 drops are needed), and this one especially feels very luxurious, hydrating and nourishing when massaged into the skin.

Hempz Herbal Healthy Hair Fortifying Shampoo
Hempz Herbal Healthy Hair Fortifying Shampoo* (265ml, £19.66, link)

If your hair is currently feeling weaker and drier than usual due to the Winter weather, switching up your shampoo can definitely lend it a helping hand. This one from Hempz is from their popular Herbal Healthy Hair Fortifying range which has been specially developed to hydrate and strengthen, so there's no better time to try it out!

It's 100% vegan-friendly, free from THC, parabens, gluten and harsh sulfates, and it does an excellent job of thoroughly cleansing the hair and removing any product buildup. Featuring a healthy dose of ultra-nourishing Hemp Seed Oil, alongside ingredients such as Sunflower Seed extract and Shea Butter, this shampoo will help to put the shine and bounce back into your hair, plus it'll make your tresses feel a lot less fragile and less prone to breakage with long term use.

Have you tried any of these vegan beauty buys?

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Foodie Friday: Quinoa Pizza (Vegan / Gluten-Free / Deliciously Ella recipe) #Veganuary

Friday, 25 January 2019

Quinoa Pizza (Vegan / Gluten-Free / Deliciously Ella recipe) #Veganuary
Pizza is one of my all-time favourite foods - I could honestly eat it every day! However, it's usually pretty calorific, so if you're looking for a much healthier version to make at home that's also gluten-free, why not try this Quinoa Pizza for a change?

Quinoa Pizza (Vegan / Gluten-Free / Deliciously Ella recipe) #Veganuary
The supermarkets are full of ready-made, gluten-free pizza bases these days, but if you check the label, you might be shocked to find a bunch of hidden sugars, excess salt and artificial preservatives, so what's a gal to do? Make your own of course! 

Thankfully, there are lots of healthy, gluten-free pizza recipes online and I've been trying out various ones over the past couple of months with differing results. The best by far has been Deliciously Ella's Quinoa Pizza recipe from her self-titled debut cookbook, and it's a fun way to try something new with quinoa!

Quinoa is a brilliant pseudocereal that's naturally gluten-free, and unlike most other plant-based foods, it contains all nine of the essential amino acids which makes it an excellent source of complete protein for vegetarians and vegans. If you've only eaten quinoa in salads or as a side before, you must try this pizza recipe! It only contains five ingredients and is ready in under 20 minutes.

Quinoa Pizza (Vegan / Gluten-Free / Deliciously Ella recipe) #Veganuary
Ingredients:- (makes one 20cm size pizza):-

  • 195g Quinoa (the plain white colour)
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tsp of Herbs de Provence
  • Olive Oil (for greasing)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • Sprinkling of Chili Flakes (optional)
  • Your favourite Pizza Toppings


Method:-
  • Prep the night before: Place the Quinoa in a large bowl, pour over cold water, making sure that it's properly covered by a good few centimetres, and leave to soak overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 210C / fan 190C.
  • Drain any excess water from the Quinoa and then transfer to a food processor. Add the Apple Cider Vinegar, Herbs de Provence, Salt and Chili Flakes if using. Blend for a couple of minutes until you have you something that looks like a greyish pancake mix.
  • Grease a 20cm cake tin with Olive Oil and pour the mixture in, smoothing it out, and bake for around 15 minutes or until the pizza base is firm. 
  • Remove from the cake tin, transfer to a baking tray and add your Toppings. Pop back into the oven for a few minutes. Cut into slices and enjoy!


Cooking tip: For a crispier base, try cooking the pizza on a terracotta pizza stone in the oven. If you're a pizza fiend, it's definitely worth the one-off investment! 

Quinoa Pizza (Vegan / Gluten-Free / Deliciously Ella recipe) #Veganuary
What's your favourite gluten-free pizza base?

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High-End Makeup: 3 Products To Try From RMS Beauty - Buruti Bronzer, Eye Polish in Magnetic and Luminizer in Champagne Rosé - Review & Swatches

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

RMS - Buruti Bronzer, Eye Polish in Magnetic and Luminizer in Champagne Rosé - Review & Swatches
For the ultimate clean and organic makeup treat, you can't wrong with anything from the luxury brand RMS Beauty. Curious to find out more? Here are three products you should definitely try out from RMS Beauty.

RMS Beauty holds a special pride of place in my makeup collection and I'm in good company, as the brand is incredibly popular with a whole list of Hollywood actresses and supermodels. Developed by the revered celebrity make-up artist Rose-Marie Swift, RMS Beauty makes cruelty-free cosmetics for those who are seeking out clean, raw, organic and natural ingredients in their makeup with skincare benefits, all without compromising colour or performance. 

Yes, ladies (and gents), it's 2019 and we really can have it all!

RMS - Buruti Bronzer, Eye Polish in Magnetic and Luminizer in Champagne Rosé - Review & Swatches
RMS - Buruti Bronzer, Eye Polish in Magnetic and Luminizer in Champagne Rosé - Review & Swatches
I've reviewed several RMS Beauty products over the years (you can check those out here), and I was lucky enough to acquire three new additions to my growing collection just before Christmas. 

Each one is housed in the classic frosted glass pots with white lids packaging that RMS Beauty has become famous for (I don't know why but they are so satisfying to hold in your hands!), and I love that underneath you can clearly see the name and shade of the product. For this reason, I usually store them upside down in this manner so that I can quickly find them in my vanity table drawers.

These cream formulas are also fantastic for the Winter months when skin tends to be drier, so if you're new to RMS Beauty or just want to treat yourself to some luxury makeup, here are three products to try out.

RMS - Buruti Bronzer Review & Swatches
 RMS Beauty Buruti Bronzer* (5.6g, £26, link)

If your skin is anything like mine, you may have noticed that it looks a little duller during Winter, but you can easily cheat your way to a more sunkissed looking complexion with this beauty, the Buruti Bronzer. Formulated with RMS' famous wildcrafted Buruti Oil, this ultra-sheer cream bronzer is a delight to work with, especially if you have dry or mature skin (oilier skin types can set this with a little translucent powder to lengthen the staying power)

The colour is a nice warm bronze shade that's very flattering on, and although it has a healthy golden sheen to it, there's no crazy glitter in here. Instead, you can layer and build up to the colour to suit your skin tone, and it's easy to blend out for the perfect finish. Darker skin tones can use this a gorgeous highlighter shade, whilst paler complexions can adapt it to use as a warming contour shade. 

RMS Eye Polish in Magnetic Review & Swatches
RMS Beauty Eye Polish in Magnetic* (£26, 4.2g, link)

When I'm in a rush, nothing beats a quick swipe of cream eyeshadow all over the lids with just your finger, and this is perhaps one of the reasons why I love the RMS Eye Polish pots so much. They are the ultimate, fuss-free, low-maintenance makeup products! There are several sheer metallic shades to choose from, and each one contains a unique blend of raw mineral pigments which have been mixed with skin-friendly ingredients such as Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Jojoba Seed Oil and Cocoa Butter, to hydrate and nourish the often dry and delicate eye area.

This shade Magnetic is the brand's bestseller and it's easy to see why. It's a super pretty everyday taupe colour that has just a hint of silver and mauve to keep it interesting. On the lids, they go on creamy with a gorgeous glossy finish that's very wearable and on-trend. As they are so moisturising, I do have to use these with an eyeshadow primer underneath to prevent any creasing as my lids are naturally oily, so I'd recommend doing the same if you want to increase its longevity on the eyes.

RMS Luminizer in Champagne Rosé - Review & Swatches
RMS Beauty Luminizer in Champagne Rosé* (£36, 4.8g, link)

Only want to try one product from RMS Beauty? Make it one of their luminizers! These creamy highlighter pots of dewy, brightening goodness are the most covetable from the brand, and they have something of a cult following amongst makeup artists and customers alike. Featured regularly in the top beauty editors favourites lists every year, RMS' Luminizers come in a range of different shades to suit and flatter all skin tones.

If you're struggling to pick one, the Champagne Rosé Luminizer is universally popular and is described as a 'blushed pink champagne'. On my light olive/medium skin tone, it delivers a glossy opalescent sheen which draws attention to the high points of the face, and it can transform any look into one that's instantly fresher and more youthful with just one easy swipe.

I feel that it's important to point out that the RMS Beauty Luminizers are not the bling-tastic/OTT highlighters that you constantly see on YouTube and Instagram. These are much more subtle and delicate for an overall understated, sophisticated and chic look. They're particularly great for makeup beginners and newbies to play with as you simply can't go wrong with them!

RMS - Buruti Bronzer, Eye Polish in Magnetic and Luminizer in Champagne Rosé - Review & Swatches
Swatches! From L-R: RMS Beauty Eye Polish in Magnetic, Luminizer in Champagne Rosé and Buruti Bronzer

What are your favourite products from RMS Beauty?

Vegan Skincare: Trilogy Age-Proof Line Smoothing Day Cream, Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+, Very Gentle Cleansing Cream and Blemish Control Gel review #Veganuary

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Trilogy Age-Proof Line Smoothing Day Cream, Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+, Very Gentle Cleansing Cream and Blemish Control Gel review
Vegan skincare is everywhere right now and Trilogy are one such brand that has always had a wide range of vegan-friendly products available. I've been testing out these four bestsellers recently.

I've been a fan of Trilogy for many years and they were, in fact, one of the first proper skincare brands that I got into when I started blogging. With innovative formulas, fantastic ethics, cruelty-free and organic certifications, plus ranges designed especially for sensitive skin, I was immediately attracted to the New Zealand brand who are readily available here in the UK via a wide range of stockists.

If you haven't tried anything from Trilogy before, here are four products that you should check out, (regardless of whether you're vegan or not!).

Trilogy Age-Proof Line Smoothing Day Cream, Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+, Very Gentle Cleansing Cream and Blemish Control Gel review
Trilogy Age-Proof Line Smoothing Day Cream* (50ml, £31.50, link)
For those of you reading who are in your 30s or are just starting to see the first signs of ageing appear such as fine lines, Trilogy's Age-Proof range is definitely worth looking into. Their Line Smoothing Day Cream features the brand's innovative Glycablend trademarked formula which helps to visibly smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, and is especially beneficial to the skin with long term use. Packed full of active Botanicals, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydroxyproline, Olive extracts, Evening Primrose Oil and Vitamin E, this hardworking moisturiser is rich and nourishing in texture, ultra-hydrating and absorbs quickly. It provides exactly what your skin needs to face the elements in the morning, and makes a great smoothing base for makeup (you can easily skip using a primer!).

Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant +* (30ml, £31.50, link)
Rosehip Oil has been a strong staple in my skincare routine for many years and I'm never without a bottle or two of this multi-tasking oil. Having tried countless different brands, I find that no two rosehip oils are the same, as each has their different subtleties and blends when it comes down to performance, absorbability and overall texture/feel, so it's worth trying out a couple to find the best one for your skin. That said, Trilogy's Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ is an excellent one to use and is made with 100% certified organic natural ingredients. 

This unique antioxidant-rich blend features Rosehip Oil, Tomato Seed Oil, Cranberry Seed Oil, Acai Seed Oil and Oat Extract to give your skin a highly nourishing dose of plant-based goodness. The essential fatty acids in the mix help to repair, hydrate and strengthen, whilst a plethora of anti-oxidants, vitamins, and Omegas encourage healthy collagen production and fight against free radical damage. As with any facial oil, you only need to use a tiny amount (2-3 drops per application) and this can be applied directly to the face as the last step in your skincare routine, or mixed into your day or night moisturiser for a real boost.  

Trilogy Age-Proof Line Smoothing Day Cream, Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+, Very Gentle Cleansing Cream and Blemish Control Gel review
Trilogy Sensitive Very Gentle Cleansing Cream (200ml, £23.50, link)
Struggling to find a cleanser for sensitive skin? Try this one! I have used the Very Gentle Cleansing Cream on and off for years and I'm thrilled to see that it's now packaged in a glass bottle with a pump - hooray! This cleanser is one of the mildest and gentlest that I've tried and I often recommend it to anyone who is suffering from skin problems such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea. It's been dermatologically tested and the fragrance-free formula uses Trilogy's SyriCalm complex which helps to quickly calm down any irritation and redness. 

I like using this as both a morning and evening cleanser, especially in the Winter months when I want something more hydrating, and it'll also remove my makeup if I'm wearing light and mineral based products (I find that it does struggle to shift stubborn waterproof liquid foundations and mascaras so I'll use it as my second evening cleanser if I'm wearing those). Use it with a muslin cloth or flannel for the best results.

Trilogy Blemish Control Gel* (20ml, £12.50, link)
My sensitive/combination skin type is prone to breakouts every now and then, so I've been reaching for this Blemish Control Gel whenever a spot has been threatening to pop up. It contains Witch Hazel, Rosehip Oil, Salicylic Acid, Cucumber and Ginger extracts, which results in a powerful antibacterial spot treatment that quickly reduces inflammation, decongests blocked pores and blackheads, and helps to clear up the skin. Word of warning though; it is quite drying so make sure that you follow it up with a good moisturiser or facial oil afterwards to replenish your skin's moisture levels and prevent any flaking issues - the Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ works very well with this.

Have you used anything from Trilogy before?

Foodie Friday: Golden Mylk AKA Turmeric Latte (Vegan / Jasmine Hemsley recipe) #Ayurveda

Friday, 18 January 2019

Golden Mylk aka Turmeric Latte (Vegan / Jasmine Hemsley recipe)
Feeling cold? Warm yourself up with a steaming mug of Golden Mylk, a popular Ayurvedic drink that helps to improve your digestion and circulation. It's the perfect way to beat the Winter chill and can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

If you'd have asked me five years ago whether I'd be settling down on the sofa with a mug of almond milk that's been prepared with turmeric, I probably would have thought you were mad. On the outset, I'm sure it sounds a little strange, but Golden Mylk (also known as Turmeric Latte), is one of the most deliciously comforting, caffeine-free drinks and it's good for you too!

Turmeric has been used for centuries thanks to its well-known anti-inflammatory properties which are found in its Curcumin compounds, and Golden Mylk is a great way to get some of this beneficial spice into your everyday diet. Adding some Black Pepper helps the body to absorb the Curcumin much easier, and all of the other spices add their own unique properties and flavours into the mix.

This is the first recipe that's featured in Jasmine Hemsley's East By West cookbook which I bought myself for Christmas, and I highly recommend picking up a copy if you're interested in Ayurvedic cooking or are just looking for something different to try. If you eat dairy, you can make this with organic whole milk, but it's just as tasty, if not more so, when made with Almond Milk instead.

Golden Mylk aka Turmeric Latte (Vegan / Jasmine Hemsley recipe)
Ingredients:- (for one)
  • 250ml Almond Milk (make your own or use your favourite brand)
  • 3 Cardamom Pods, cracked
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 1 inch of Fresh Ginger, grated, or use 1tsp of Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp Jaggery
  • 1/4 tsp of freshly ground Black Pepper

Method:-
  • Place the Almond Milk in a small saucepan and add 60ml of water. 
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients, apart from the Jaggery, and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add a splash more hot water if needed and then stir through the Jaggery to taste.
  • Strain and serve in your favourite mug.


Shopping tip: If you haven't come across Jaggery before, it's made from raw, unrefined sugar cane juice and is sold very cheaply in cones or blocks. It has a delicious caramel/molasses flavour and can be readily found in Asian shops, larger supermarkets that have a world food aisle, or purchased online. Avoid buying the granulated kind that's found in health food shops as this has more than likely been chemically treated to stop it from clumping.

Golden Mylk aka Turmeric Latte (Vegan / Jasmine Hemsley recipe)
Have you tried a Turmeric Latte before?


[Recipe taken from East By West by Jasmine Hemsley]

Introducing: Good Bubble - Super Bubble Bath and Grubby Gruffalo Hair & Body Wash for Newborns & Sensitive Skin

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Good Bubble - Super Bubble Bath and Grubby Gruffalo Hair & Body Wash for Newborns & Sensitive Skin
Winter has not been favourable to my eczema prone, sensitive skin this year, but on a more positive note, it has allowed me to discover some wonderful new-to-me brands, including Good Bubble.

On the outside, Good Bubble may look like every other skincare company that's aimed towards the parents of newborns and young kids, with their collaboration featuring the popular Gruffalo series and the 'no tears' signage on the bottles. However, look a little further and you'll discover a brand that's dedicated to providing better formulas for said newborns and kids, as well as anyone who suffers from sensitive skin like myself. 

The naturally-derived and organic range of Bubble Baths, Shampoo, Conditioners, Moisturisers and Body Washes from Good Bubble are all free from a long list of 'nasties' which can cause irritation, common allergic reactions or sensitivity to the skin such as sulfates (SLS and Sodium Coco-Sulfate), silicones, parabens, PEG, phthalates and artificial colours. And their products won't break the bank either, with affordable prices starting at just £1.99 to £3.99.  

Good Bubble have lots of different variations of their products available, so I was eager to test out two of their most popular ones; the Super Bubble Bath with Dragon Fruit Extract and the Grubby Gruffalo Hair & Body Wash with Prickly Pear Extract.

Good Bubble - Super Bubble Bath and Grubby Gruffalo Hair & Body Wash for Newborns & Sensitive Skin
Good Bubble Super Bubble Bath with Dragon Fruit Extract(400ml, £3.29, link)
SLS is the main ingredient which tends to aggravate my sensitive skin, so I try to avoid it as much as possible in my bath and shower products. For this reason, I often reach for bath oils or melts over bubble bath products, which is why I was pleased to come across the Super Bubble Bath as it's free from irritating sulfates. It doesn't produce a mountain of bubbles as a result, however, there are plenty to play with and it certainly satisfies my bubble bath cravings! The fruity fragrance is lovely too, but it isn't overpowering so it should suit fussy kids just fine. 

Good Bubble Grubby Gruffalo Hair & Body Wash with Prickly Pear Extract* (250ml, £3.69, link)
Like the Super Bubble Bath above, the Grubby Gruffalo Hair & Body Wash is also made from 98% naturally derived ingredients and has a mild and gentle formula which makes it suitable to be used as a shampoo, as well as an everyday body wash. It gets the job done quickly and well - I even tried it out on my notoriously difficult four-year-old niece at the weekend who hates having her hair washed, and she didn't seem to mind this one at all! It left her hair soft and thoroughly clean which her mum was very happy with. She also liked the fruity scent and adored the Gruffalo illustration, so it was smiles all round for a change!

The full range of Good Bubble products are available from LoveLula.com

Have you tried anything from Good Bubble?

New In Beauty: Tropic Eye Work Rejuvenating Serum and Eye Dream Age-Defying Overnight Butterbalm review

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Tropic Eye Work Rejuvenating Serum and Eye Dream Age-Defying Overnight Butterbalm review
Fed up with eye creams that don't seem to do anything? Check out this hard-working duo from Tropic instead and give your peepers some well deserved TLC.

I always get excited whenever I receive a new skincare treat from Tropic, and before Christmas, a package arrived with their brand new Eye Work Rejuvenating Serum and Eye Dream Age-Defying Overnight Butterbalm. I'm obsessed with trying out eye care products as the eyes are always the first area of the face to show the first signs of ageing, so I couldn't wait to test these beauties out! And like everything else from Tropic, both are certified cruelty-free and are vegan-friendly.

Tropic Eye Work Rejuvenating Serum review
 Tropic Eye Work Rejuvenating Serum* (10ml, £28, link)
I'm seeing more and more brands release eye serums and like a great serum for your face, a dedicated eye serum with the right ingredients can be a beneficial step in your anti-ageing skincare routine. Eye Work comes packaged in a slim tube that features a ceramic tip which dispenses just the right amount of product each time. The serum has beautiful silky texture that absorbs easily and I found that it has a subtle tightening effect when it's initially applied.   

The key actives in Eye Work are Peptides (derived from Hibiscus) which help to reduce puffiness and promote firmness; Vitamin C to brighten dark circles and lighten any age-related pigmentation, and Coffee Cherry extract which has been included for its anti-inflammatory properties that further depuff and soothe the delicate eye area. It's definitely been helping with my puffy eyes which are awful when I wake up!

Eye Work is a fantastic product to use first thing in the morning if you suffer from puffy eyes and dark circles, and it layers very well underneath makeup. You can also dab a bit on during the day or after work if you need a little brightening boost, so it's useful to pop into your handbag too.

Tropic Eye Dream Age-Defying Overnight Butterbalm review
Tropic Eye Dream Age-Defying Overnight Butterbalm* (15ml, £38, link)
Eye Dream, on the other hand, is completely different to Eye Work and has been specially formulated to serve as an overnight treatment. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I first opened it, as I was greeted by a light blue-tinted balm (from the Blue Tansy extract), that was completely solid due to the cold weather. After a good warm up near a radiator, it transformed into a much more pliable balmy texture which was still very thick and rich, due to a whole range of plant-based butters and oils such as Shea Nilotica Butter, Coconut Oil, Murumuru Seed Butter, Oat Kernel Oil and Sunflower Seed Oil, to name but a few.

The superstar anti-ageing ingredients in Eye Dream though are the Bio-Retinols and Plant Ceramides (both naturally derived), and it's these two which will ensure that you see a noticeable difference when you're using it. Retinols are great for stimulating the production of collagen, whereas Ceramides are famed for their ability to plump and rejuvenate the skin, improving elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

A tiny amount goes a very long way with this product as to not overload the skin, but once you get it right, it's a brilliant step in your evening skincare routine if you're concerned about your eyes looking tired and older. My only bugbear with Eye Dream is that it does have a tendency to lose its balmy texture when it's in a cold environment, and then it takes a good 5-10 minutes for the texture to become useable once again, so bear this in mind if you live in a cold country.

What eye products are you using at the moment?

Weekend Style: Men's Non-Leather Winter Shoes for Work and Play #Veganuary

Sunday, 13 January 2019

A new year can often mean new shoes if your current ones have been worn out, so I've enlisted the help of one of my housemates to showcase two pairs of men's non-leather shoes from the online retailer Jacamo, which are perfect for work and play.

Brogue Chelsea Boots
For Work: Brogue Chelsea Boots* (£35, link)

Brogue Chelsea Boots are such a classic style for men's shoes and their mature and sophisticated design lends themselves well to any kind of job that requires a smarter approach with a shirt and tie. That said, they're also popular amongst trendy/hipster circles when worn dressed down with a casual pair of black jeans at the weekend to the pub, making them an even more versatile shoe choice for your wardrobe.

These black Chelsea Boots are made from non-leather materials and feature a textile tan-coloured sole, yet have a comfortable and flexible leather-like look and feel to them, but without the expensive price tag. Affordable and stylish, they're available in men's UK sizes 7-12 with standard and wide fit options.

Dan says: "These boots are very comfortable and they definitely look the part for work - even the manager has complimented them! I'm also surprised by how affordable they are."

Reebok Trainers
Reebok Trainers
Reebok Trainers
For Play: Reebok Trainers* (£55, link)

Over the years, more and more leading brands of popular sportswear have been utilising the versatility of man-made materials for their trainers, and it's now very easy to find non-leather alternatives online. Reebok is one such brand that has an excellent range available which are made from innovative textile-based materials. 

For example, the pair shown above features a shock absorbent EVA midsole cushion and have a rubberised sole grip that lets the user explore their surroundings with a comfortable and secure footing. Ideal for many outdoor activities from walking to beginner hiking, these Reebok Trainers are suited to those who are looking for a style of trainer that's more 'outdoorsy' than what you'd see in the gym, and the blue/grey colourway suits blue and dark blue jeans.

Dan says: I've always bought Reebok trainers because they're good quality and last a fair while. I also really like this particular style and they're incredibly comfortable to wear."

For more men's boots, shop the full range online at Jacamo.co.uk

What are your favourite brands of non-leather shoes?

Foodie Friday: Cumin-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Date & Pearl Barley Salad (Vegan recipe) #Veganuary

Friday, 11 January 2019

Cumin Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Date & Pearl Barley Salad
Veganuary is in full swing and if you're after a wholesome and truly filling Winter Salad with a difference, you're in the right place! This is one of my favourite things to make at the moment as it's so easy to make a huge batch to help you get a head start on your healthy meal prep for the week.

Before anyone says 'Eurgh, Brussels Sprouts!', trust me - they taste completely different when they're tossed in some Olive Oil and roasted in the oven with a good sprinkling of Cumin. You'll never, ever want to boil them again after trying them this way! I've managed to win over my fair share of sprouts haters (including fussy kids) with this recipe, so I hope you'll give it a try too.

As I'm rarely in the mood to eat cold salad leaves during the Winter months, this salad instead calls for a hearty base of Pearl Barley; a wonderfully cheap and cheerful grain with a subtle nutty, chewy texture, that's readily available in most supermarkets, yet often overlooked. It's packed full of fibre, vitamins and minerals, and it properly fills you up, so it's something that I always have a bag of in my cupboard. 

Add in some Medjool Dates and you have the perfect combination of flavours, all in one dish. It sounds a little strange, but it works! You can enjoy this meal warm or cold - just add a little water if you want to gently warm it through in a saucepan over a low temperature.

N.B: I've adapted this recipe from one which was featured in Liz Earle's Wellbeing magazine.

Cumin Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Date & Pearl Barley Salad

Ingredients:- (makes 4 servings)
  • 200g Pearl Barley
  • 16 Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 50g Pine Nuts
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • 30g Fresh Parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Cucumber, seeds removed & diced
  • 6 Medjool Dates, stones removed & sliced
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tsp Chili Flakes (optional)

Method:-
  • Preheat the oven to 220C / Gas Mark 7 and bring a medium pan of water to the boil.
  • Thoroughly rinse the Pearl Barley in cold water before adding it to the medium pan. Slice the Lemon in half and pop one half into the pan. Adjust to a medium heat and cook until the Pearl Barley is chewy and tender. Drain, discard the Lemon and set aside.
  • Whilst the Pearl Barley is cooking, trim and halve the Brussels Sprouts and add them to a large bowl. Drizzle over the Olive Oil and sprinkle over the Cumin, mixing them together well so that the Sprouts are evenly coated. 
  • Roast the Brussels Sprouts for 15-20 minutes until they start to char slightly at the edges. In the last 3-4 minutes, add the Pine Nuts to the baking tray to lightly toast. Transfer to a plate to cool.
  • In a large bowl, add the cooked Pearl Barley, Brussels Sprouts, Pine Nuts, crushed Garlic, diced Cucumber and sliced Medjool Dates. Squeeze over the remaining half of Lemon (removing any pips) and mix everything together. Finish with a pinch of Salt and Pepper, and sprinkle over some Chili Flakes if desired. 
  • Serve it up and enjoy!

Storage tip: This salad will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Cumin Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Date & Pearl Barley Salad
What are your favourite Winter Salads?


P.S: I never purchase Medjool Dates which are from Israel due to the ongoing occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. If you're interested in learning more about the international boycott of Israeli products, please feel free to visit bdsmovement.net / You can easily purchase fairtrade Palestinian Medjool Dates from Zaytoun (look out for them in your local Oxfam shop) - they are delicious!

My Style: MantraBand - 'Enjoy The Journey' & Personal Musings On Life #MindfulJewellery

Thursday, 10 January 2019

MantraBand - 'Enjoy The Journey' - Jewellery review
Mindfulness is one of the many mainstream wellbeing trends that I sincerely hope sticks with a lot of people who explore elements of it to incorporate into their everyday lives. Whether it's discovering a new favourite self-help book, getting into the habit of taking 10 minutes out of your day to feel 'present', or just wearing a simple band of silver to remind you of a meaningful message, make Mindfulness part of your life this year.

MantraBand - 'Enjoy The Journey' - Jewellery review
MantraBand - 'Enjoy The Journey' - Jewellery review
They say that the gifts you'll come to cherish and remember for years to come are those that have some kind of meaning to them, and they're also often the unexpected ones which bring about the biggest smiles. A stranger complimenting you on your commute or a random act of kindness when you're having a bad day, it's that sort of thing.

The other day as I picked up some parcels from the post depot, I found a small black jiffy bag amongst them with my name and address neatly written on the front. There were no sender details on the back and inside was this MantraBand carefully wrapped in delicate tissue paper. With no accompanying note to suggest who had sent it or where it had come from, I assumed it may have been a PR gift of some kind, so I happily took it out of its packaging and popped it onto my wrist. I loved the message 'Enjoy The Journey', but didn't think much else of it.

That same evening, I received an email from an old friend who I haven't spoken to in a few years. It was such a pleasant surprise to hear from her after all this time, and she had sent the MantraBand after seeing it in a shop with that age-old popular rhetoric, 'I saw this and immediately thought of you'. I'll be honest here, tears were streaming from my eyes by this point because the 'Enjoy The Journey' message immediately became so much more than three words engraved onto a band of silver.  It reminded me of one of the last times that we'd met and had a night out in a pub, just laughing and chatting about those deep, philosophical musings which occur between like-minded souls. For her to remember this as well, so vividly, well it just warmed my heart.

MantraBand - 'Enjoy The Journey' - Jewellery review
'Enjoy The Journey' was one of those musings that we often had, and it's always been something that I said I would get tattooed at some point, but never did (I still haven't plucked up the courage to get a tattoo of any kind so this bracelet is a happy alternative).

We get so wrapped up in the craziness that is this fast-paced, never switched off, modern day living, with our obsessive fixations on the future and how amazing our lives will be, if only we had this and if only this would happen etc, that we often forget to be present in the here and now.

To me, 'Enjoy The Journey' sums up what we should all be striving for. Yes, it's fun and exciting to have ambitions and plan goals for the future, but it should be equally fun and exciting to appreciate what we have right now, and really enjoy everything that happens which leads up to fulfilling that ambition and achieving that personal goal.

So enjoy the here and now and wear your mantra, literally, on your sleeve, as a daily reminder. Be more present, be mindful and enjoy life now with your family, friends and loved ones. Don't take anything for granted and don't wish your life away because it's not Instagram-perfect. Enjoy the journey, your journey, because you only get one journey to live.

MantraBand - 'Enjoy The Journey' - #MindfulJewellery
I'd like to dedicate this blogpost to Josephine :)

You can find your own MantraBand to gift to a friend at naturisimo.com

3 Self-Care / Pampering Products To Try This Month

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

3 Self-Care/Pampering Products To Try This Month
Need a little January pick me up? These three self-care/pampering products are my top choices for the month and include a luxury hydrating and toning body oil to beat the winter blues, a budget-friendly Ayurveda-inspired face wash, and a brilliant multi-purpose eye mask.

Seaweex My Sunshine Body Oil
 Seaweex My Sunshine Body Oil* (120ml, £21.99, link)
I probably use more body oils and body butters during Winter than I do at any other time of the year, and I find that's there's just something so comforting about slathering on a luxury body oil after a bath in the evening. My latest obsession comes from a little-known Polish brand called Seaweex who use hand-harvested, organic seaweed extract as a key ingredient in all of their products. 

Their Sunshine Body Oil is a beautiful, relaxing and uplifting blend of rich essential and plant-based oils that feels very nourishing on dry skin, but without the greasiness or stickiness that some other body oils have. The seaweed extract helps to improve elasticity and firmness too, making it a good one to try if you're doing a detox or getting back into your workout routine this month. 

Ayumi Naturals Turmeric & Bergamot Face Wash
 Ayumi Naturals Turmeric & Bergamot Face Wash* (150ml, £5, link)
If you follow me on social media, you'll have no doubt seen that I'm currently learning more about Ayurveda, so I was thrilled when I saw that this Ayurvedic inspired skincare range called Ayumi Naturals has recently popped up in my local Tesco! The whole line is cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, and all of the products are free from SLS, parabens, mineral oils and GM ingredients. Best of all though, everything is priced at just £5 which makes it an affordable option to add to your weekly grocery shop.

The Turmeric & Bergamot Face Wash for combination and blemish-prone skin is something that I've been testing out since before Christmas, and I've been enjoying using it as my morning cleanser. It features key actives such as Turmeric, Papaya, and Amla extracts, as well as Vitamin C and Lemon, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass and Mandarin essential oils, to thoroughly cleanse, refresh and brighten the skin. There's also Argan Oil to add some hydration which prevents the cleanser from feeling stripping or drying afterwards. A tiny amount creates a generous lather so I expect that this will last a good few months.

Bedtime Bliss Sleep Mask
Bedtime Bliss Sleep Mask* (£8.90, link)
Regular readers will know that I've suffered from sleep problems and migraines since I was a teenager, and although I've been able to do a couple of things to make them more manageable over the years, they're still a pain in the butt to deal with (there's nothing like a bad migraine or a sleepless night to throw you off your healthy eating/exercise schedule!)

I've been asked a couple of times about sleep masks in the past so I wanted to include this one from Bedtime Bliss, as it's one of the most comfortable that I've found, without costing an absolute fortune. It has a lightweight and contoured design which allows the mask to be 'moulded' to the eye area, meaning that all light is completely shut out. The fully adjustable strap is elastic and fastened with velcro and I find that it doesn't cause any pressure on my head or on the eyes. Perfect for travelling with, as an everyday sleep mask to use in bed, and as a migraine 'recovery' mask which is what I mainly use it for.

Have you tried any of these?

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