Foodie Friday: Baked Plantain Chips (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe) #HealthySnacks

Friday, 29 March 2019

Plantain Chips (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe) #HealthySnacks
I try not to snack so much these days but y'know, there are times when you just fancy a little something to keep you going through those particularly busy days that seem to go on forever! These homemade Baked Plantain Chips are a delicious alternative to regular crisps and contain a source of Vitamin C and fibre.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I'm a big fan of meal prepping and it's one of the ways that I've managed to lose weight and keep it off for over a year now. As well as prepping full meals in advance, I make sure that I always make some healthy snacks on the side too and I've been enjoying having a stash of Plantain Chips on the kitchen counter for those moments when I can feel myself getting hangry!

Although they aren't the lowest calorie snack option around, Plantain Chips are very satisfying as they contain fibre so you don't need to eat many before you feel satiated, and when you make your own, they're still a lot lower in calories and fat than regular crisps. Plantains can be found at most fresh 'World Food' shops that are near Carribean communities and they're well worth seeking out if you're stuck in a food rut and want to try something different.

Plantain Chips (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe) #HealthySnacks
Ingredients: (makes a large batch)
  • 2 large & ripe Plantains
  • Good drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • Generous sprinkle of Sesame Seeds
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper (to season)

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Peel and slice the Plantains into chip-sized coins - the thinner they are sliced, the faster they will cook so try and keep to a uniform size to avoid burning. 
  • Arrange the sliced Plantains onto a baking tray and drizzle over your preferred Oil. Give everything a quick stir and then sprinkle over the Sesame Seeds
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden - they will continue to crisp up slightly as they cool.
  • Season with Salt & Pepper and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, enjoy!

Have you tried Plantains before?

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Budget Beauty Under £15: Cruelty-Free & Vegan Hair Masks from Noughty and SheaMoisture

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Cruelty-Free & Vegan Hair Masks under £15 from Noughty and Shea Moisture
It's becoming easier than ever to find cruelty-free and vegan-friendly beauty products on the high street, so I wanted to highlight two of my favourite hair masks that you can pick up for under £15 from your local Boots and Superdrug.

Noughty To The Rescue Intense Moisture Treatment
 Noughty To The Rescue Intense Moisture Treatment* (300ml, £8.99, link)

Noughty have recently announced that they are now fully certified as cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny (as many of you will know, it's the internationally recognised gold standard in cruelty-free beauty), which is fantastic news! To celebrate, I wanted to mention one of their bestselling products; the To the Rescue Intense Moisture Treatment which has quite literally rescued my hair on numerous occasions.

This thick and creamy hair mask is 97% natural, free from parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates and silicones, and features several nourishing ingredients such as Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Argan Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and Black Oats. It's particularly beneficial for frizzy, dry and damaged hair, so if you're prone to reaching for the bleach and curling tongs a lot, you need to try this ASAP! I love the fact that you can use this as a quick 3-minute job if you're short on time, or you can leave it on for 20 minutes for a seriously intense repairing and hydrating treatment for frazzled tresses.

SheaMoisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless Hair Masque
SheaMoisture Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless Hair Masque* (354ml, £12.99, link)

Finding a hydrating treatment for hair that's dry and fine can often be tricky and if I'm being perfectly honest, I've struggled to find decent ones that don't cost the earth. After trying out lots of different brands, the one that has come out on top for its performance, ethics and affordability is this beauty from SheaMoisture.

Formulated especially for fine, wavy, curly and afro hair types, SheaMoisture's Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless Hair Masque has really perfected the delicate art of balancing essential moisture for dry locks without weighing down fine/thin hair.  This treatment feels wonderfully lightweight and it's brilliant for hydrating and smoothing frizzy tresses and annoying static for an ultra-sleek result. Packed full of Coconut Water, certified organic and fairtrade Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Cocoa Seed Butter, Avocado Oil, Mango Seed Butter, Imbe Oil and fruit extracts, this masque makes my hair much more manageable and easier to style. It's free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates,  paraffin and mineral oil, plus it smells amazing! Find it in your nearest Boots store.

What are your favourite hair masks?

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Mother's Day Gift Ideas: Newbridge Silverware - Amy Huberman Jewellery review + UK GIVEAWAY!

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Newbridge Silverware Jewellery review
Mother's Day is fast approaching and if you're still searching for that perfect gift, why not check out these beautiful jewellery pieces from Newbridge Silverware?

Established in 1934, Newbridge Silverware has been a revered name in silver and tableware, especially in their home country of Ireland. The brand has become synonymous with fine creativity, craftsmanship and quality, but did you know that they also have a wide range of jewellery available too?

Below are some eye-catching and stylish pieces from their new Amy Huberman collection (inspired by the Sun, Moon and Stars), to treat your mum to this Mother's Day.

Newbridge Silverware Amy Pendant
 Newbridge Silverware Amy Pendant* (£34, link)

Detailed coin-style necklaces have always appealed to me as they have a timeless Boho-esque charm to them, and the Amy Pendant is something that can be worn every day. Featuring an embossed detail of Sun, Moon, Stars and Birds at the centre and presented on a delicate long chain, this pendant is 14K Gold-plated and has a protective anti-tarnish layer to keep it looking its best for longer.

Newbridge Silverware Amy Bangle
Newbridge Silverware Amy Bangle
Newbridge Silverware Amy Bangle* (£34, link)

Keeping with the theme of being inspired by the Sun, Moon and Stars, Amy Huberman's signature Amy Bangle is a solid 14K Gold-plated band that's easy to slip on and off, and it looks great on its own as a statement piece or layered with other gold coloured jewellery. Like the pendant above, it features an embossed Sun design which is accentuated by two small Stars and a crescent Moon.

Newbridge Silverware Amy Drop Earrings with Sun and Stars
 Newbridge Silverware Amy Drop Earrings with Sun and Stars* (£26, link)

If your mum loves earrings, this special set of Amy Drop Earrings with Sun and Stars makes a lovely gift and has a really youthful vibe to them - they're particularly dazzling when the sunlight catches them! These earrings are also 14K Gold-plated and feature the same anti-tarnish layer as the other pieces in this collection, each of which is presented in its own light blue gift box.

UK GIVEAWAY!
To celebrate Mother's Day, I'm giving away a pair of the Newbridge Silverware Amy Drop Earrings with Sun & Stars (worth £26) to one lucky UK reader. To enter, just pop your details into the Rafflecopter below and a winner will be chosen at random next week - 02/04/2019 - good luck!

New In Beauty: PHB Ethical Beauty Bio-Gel Skin Brightener review

Monday, 25 March 2019

PHB Ethical Beauty Bio-Gel Skin Brightener review
For the past few weeks, I've been testing out the latest skincare launch from the cruelty-free British brand, PHB Ethical Beauty. Meet the Bio-Gel Skin Brightener!

What is it and what does it claim to do?
This is a light gel, serum-like skincare treatment which helps to brighten dark spots, reduce and prevent pigmentation areas, evens out your skin tone and provides overall radiance to your complexion.

What are the key ingredients?
Made from 100% naturally derived ingredients, the Bio-Gel Skin Brightener contains key ingredients such as Aloe Vera to soothe and hydrate, Neroli to target dark spots and dullness, Immortelle to brighten and even out the skin, and Licorice to specifically target melanin production to help reduce the appearance of pigmentation problems. Full INCI can be found here

What's not in it?
This product is free from parabens, palm oil, GM ingredients, sulphates, silicones, mineral oil and petroleum derivatives, artificial colours and fragrances.

Who can use it?
Lots of people can enjoy the Bio-Gel Skin Brightener as there are no animal ingredients in the formula so vegans can use it, and it's also Halal certified. If dark spots, pigmentation marks/areas and general dullness/lack of radiance are skincare concerns to you, you may benefit from incorporating it into your routine. It's safe to use during pregnancy and PHB state that all genders and ages can use it from the age of 3+.  

How do I use it?
I've been using this in place of my usual evening serum whenever I feel that my dull skin needs a brightening boost (I don't have any dark spots or pigmentation areas, so it's something I've wanted to try purely for its overall radiance promoting qualities), so you can use it in the same way after cleansing and toning, and it's gentle enough to use morning and night. I like to follow it up with a  facial oil or moisturiser afterwards as I find that it helps to lock everything in as I love layering my products.

Overall thoughts?
I'll be honest - I wasn't completely enamoured with the PHB Bio-Gel Skin Brightener at first as it didn't seem to really do anything for my skin in the beginning, but after using it for a couple of weeks now, I can see that my complexion does look noticeably brighter than it was before. It smells lovely and fresh, and has a brilliant light texture that sinks into the skin quickly without feeling greasy or sticky, plus it's packaged in a luxurious feeling glass bottle. I wouldn't say that it's an essential in my skincare routine, but it is a nice addition to have and I'll happily continue to use it.

PHB Ethical Beauty Bio-Gel Skin Brightener* (50ml, £25) is available from LoveLula.com

Have you tried anything from PHB Ethical Beauty?

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Foodie Friday: Bananacado Bread (Gluten-Free / Vegetarian / Supercharge Your Gut recipe)

Friday, 22 March 2019

Bananacado Bread (Gluten-Free / Vegetarian / Supercharge Your Gut recipe)
What do you get when you mix overripe bananas with an avocado? Bananacado Bread! I've baked many different kinds of Banana Breads over the years, and this is one of the best recipes that I've come across for a perfectly moist and utterly delicious result every time.

If you follow me on social media, you'll no doubt have seen that I've been reading up on Gut Health quite a lot lately and have been taking steps to improve my digestion as part of my overall health and wellbeing journey. I have struggled with bouts of IBS for a few years now, but since I've started to eat a much healthier and varied diet, my symptoms have become a lot more manageable on a day-to-day basis. 

There are lots of nutritionists out there whose specialism is based on Gut Health and Lee Holmes is one such person whose books I've been enjoying reading. I checked out her latest book, Supercharge Your Gut, from my local library, which is where this particular recipe comes from. Free from dairy, wheat, refined sugar and gluten, her Bananacado Bread is a brilliant way to use up any overripe bananas and avocados that you may have lying around in your fruit bowl.

Bananacado Bread (Gluten-Free / Vegetarian / Supercharge Your Gut recipe)
Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)
  • 3 large overripe Bananas
  • 1/2 a large or 3/4 a small ripe Avocado
  • 3 organic & free-range Eggs
  • 2 tbsp of Agave Syrup
  • 200g Ground Almonds
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Method: 
  • Preheat the oven to 160C and line a standard loaf tin with baking/greaseproof paper.
  • Peel and roughly chop up the Bananas and Avocado, and then place in a food processor. Whiz until smooth.
  • Add the Eggs and Agave Syrup and whiz again to blend everything together.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the Ground Almonds, Baking Powder and Bicarbonate of Soda and gently stir through the banana mixture until combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean. Leave to cool before turning out of the tin.
  • Cut into slices and enjoy on its own with a cup of tea or coffee, or add your favourite nut butter for an even more indulgent treat.

Storage tip: This Bananacado Bread will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or you can freeze it for up to 2 weeks.

Are you a fan of Banana Bread?


Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - March 2019 review

Thursday, 21 March 2019

LoveLula Beauty Box - March 2019 review
Have you been looking for a cruelty-free subscription box that's packed full of organic and natural beauty products? Look no further - LoveLula is the beauty box for you!

Beauty boxes vary widely in terms of the overall subscription price and the quality and variety of the products that they include, but LoveLula has been one of the most consistent boxes on the market. I've been receiving the box for review as one of LoveLula's accredited bloggers for over two years now and I still get excited when it arrives every month.

This month's box is no exception, as it offers fantastic value for money with a fabulous mix of skincare and makeup products, and it includes some of my favourite natural and organic brands too.

 INIKA Certified Organic Liquid Eyeliner in Black
 INIKA Certified Organic Liquid Eyeliner in Black (RRP £19)

Regular readers will know that I love INIKA (you can check out my numerous reviews of the brand here) and I'm interested to try out this Certified Organic Liquid Eyeliner which retails for £19. Made from 70% organic ingredients, this all-natural, vegan-friendly liquid eyeliner promises to provide intense, long-lasting and smudge-proof results. The skinny nib looks good for easy to apply flicks so I'll report back soon when I've put it through its paces. Let me know if you've tried it?

SARYA Couture Makeup Eyeshadow in Mocha
 SARYA Couture Makeup Eyeshadow in Mocha (RRP £17.80)

Last month, I had the pleasure of introducing you all to SARYA Couture Makeup (read that feature and see swatches here if you missed it), so I'm delighted that LoveLula is helping to promote the brand by including one of their luxury Eyeshadows in this month's box. I received the shade Mocha which I already have and it's absolutely beautiful - I can't wait to gift this to my sister the next time that I see her as I know she'll love it!

 Madara Deep Moisture Gel Day
 Madara Deep Moisture Gel* (RRP £28)

Moving onto skincare, I found another full-size product, this time from Madara who feature regularly in my skincare routine posts over on my Instagram stories. Their Deep Moisture Gel is an oil-free and light gel moisturiser for oily and combination skin types. Key ingredients include Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera Juice, Sage, Northern Oak and Witch Hazel to offer essential hydration without overloading the skin. Don't have oily skin? You can use this as a primer instead to smooth and prep your complexion before applying makeup.

Hurraw! Moon Night Treatment Lip Balm
 Hurraw! Moon Night Treatment Lip Balm (RRP £4.99)

Regular readers will know that I'm something of a lip balm addict and I adore the Hurraw! lip balms. Their Moon Night Treatment Lip Balm is one of the brand's most popular products and it's a brilliant balm to apply before going to bed as it contains calming Blue Chamomile and Vanilla which gives it a deliciously sweet and relaxing natural scent. 

Zuii Organic Samples
Zuii Organic Samples

To round off this month's box, there's a handy trio of sample sachets from Zuii Organic who have recently launched at LoveLula. Here you can try their Flora Luminising Creme, Flora Gradual Tan Body Lotion and Flora Gradual Tan Face Lotion. I've actually been testing out a few of their products recently and will have a review of them up next week, so keep an eye out for that!

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

Have you subscribed to LoveLula's Beauty Box?

Introducing: Handmade Naturals - Skincare Routine review

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

I love discovering new-to-me natural and affordable British skincare brands, and the Cheshire based Handmade Naturals are my latest find with a multi-award winning range of cruelty-free and vegan products.

Handmade Naturals have been developing their extensive skincare range, with expertly handcrafted formulas that use only 100% nature-derived ingredients, since 2007. It's easy to see on their website how proud they are of their ethics with certifications from both The Vegan Society and Cruelty-Free International clearly labelled on their products, and a company commitment to using sustainable and recyclable packaging. 

With such a large range of affordable products available, I was truly spoilt for choice when Handmade Naturals asked if I'd like to try anything from them. In the end, I decided to test out a cleanser, toner, face moisturiser and a lip balm so that I could compose a handy 'skincare routine' post, and they've been working very well!

Handmade Naturals Rose, Hemp & Jojoba Cleansing Lotion* (100ml, £8.95, link)
If you prefer to use a cleansing lotion that also doubles up as a makeup remover in the evenings, the Rose, Hemp & Jojoba Cleansing Lotion is a must-try. It has an ultra-gentle and nourishing formula that's made from just eight ingredients including unrefined Organic Hemp Oil, Jojoba Oil, Aspen Bark extract, Vitamin E and Rose Damascus Oil. The light texture is easy to massage into the skin, whilst efficiently removing all traces of makeup and daily grime. My skin feels so soft after using this and I love the convenient airless pump applicator. Oily skin types can also use this as a light moisturiser.

Handmade Naturals Lemonbalm & Witch Hazel Face Toner* (100ml, £6.95, link)
Witch Hazel is an ingredient that I often look out for in skincare products as I find it helps to keep blemishes at bay and it doesn't aggravate my eczema, so when I saw this alcohol-free toner I knew I had to try it! Composed of only two ingredients; Melissa (Lemonbalm) Floral Water and Witch Hazel, this toner is lovely and refreshing on the skin. Packed full of natural antiseptic, astringent, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it will help to soothe and heal acne and blemish prone skin with regular use.

Handmade Naturals Ultra Light Face Cream* (50ml, £13.25, link)
With Spring on its way, I wanted to try a lighter facial moisturiser and this Ultra Light Face Cream has been a perfect match for my oily/combination skin. Featuring a blend of Organic Argan Oil,  Witch Hazel, Avocado Oil, Rosehip Oil and Vitamin E, it absorbs easily and delivers just the right amount of hydration to keep my skin healthy and happy. It also works well underneath makeup as a primer for a smooth and flawless finish.

Handmade Naturals Cocoa & Mandarin Lip Balm* (4.5g, £2.95, link)
Most of the products from Handmade Naturals are suitable for vegans with the exception of their lip balms which contain beeswax. They have four different flavours available, all free from mineral oil/petroleum derivatives and instead packed with nourishing Cocoa Butter, Beeswax, Almond and Calendula Oils. I couldn't resist trying the Cocoa & Mandarin Lip Balm which not only tastes delicious, but does a fantastic job of keeping dry lips moisturised throughout the day. A bargain for under £3!

Discover the full range of skincare and more at handmadenaturals.co.uk

Do you like to buy from British brands?

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Currently Loving: 4 Lipsticks To Try From RMS Beauty Wild With Desire range - Review & Swatches

Monday, 18 March 2019

4 Lipsticks To Try From RMS' Wild With Desire range - Review & Swatches
When it comes to luxury lipsticks, RMS' Wild With Desire range ticks all the right boxes, from ultra chic packaging to insane pigmentation and clean formulas - they are simply beautiful! Here are my top four shades that you should add ASAP to your payday wishlist.

Back in December, I posted about the Limited Edition Wild With Desire Mini Lipstick Set from RMS Beauty and it quickly became one of my most viewed blog posts of the year (check it out here if you missed it!). Many of you were disappointed by how fast the set sold out and since then, I've received numerous requests to do another post on these lipsticks which focusses on the shades that are available to buy all year round. Always eager to please, I've rounded up four of my favourites to share with you all today.

4 Lipsticks To Try From RMS' Wild With Desire range - Review & Swatches
From L-R: RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Brain Teaser, Temptation, Russian Roulette and Rapture

But first, a little background info on RMS Beauty for those who are new to the brand. Founded by celebrity makeup artist, Rose-Marie Swift, RMS Beauty is one of the world's leading cruelty-free, ethical, luxury cosmetics brands that specialise in 'clean' formulas which use only certified organic, raw and natural ingredients. Loved by A-list actresses and celebrities, RMS Beauty is one of those instantly covetable brands where you simply want to purchase every single product that they make! I'm definitely addicted - you can check out my previous reviews and features here.

The RMS Wild With Desire Lipsticks are drop dead gorgeous in so many different ways. Packaged in sleek, silver metallic tubes, the chunky bullets within are surprisingly well-shaped to be applied directly to the lips, thanks to the tilted angle that they twist-up from.

It was truly love at first swipe when I tried these - the pigmentation is quite frankly insane for a 'natural' lipstick and these lipsticks put to shame many other brands whose offerings appear lacklustre in comparison. With RMS, you get an intense colour payoff that delivers a smooth and sexy satin finish. Lighter shades apply easier than the darker ones though (which is almost always the case with lipsticks anyway) and they easily last longer on the lips than virtually all of my other 'green beauty' lipsticks. Any drawbacks? Only one slight niggle really - they're not as moisturising as I was hoping for, but it's nothing that a touch of lip balm underneath can't fix!

Below are four of my favourite RMS Beauty Wild With Desire Lipstick shades:-

RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Brain Teaser
 RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Brain Teaser*
Brain Teaser is an interesting medium pink colour with a brownish undertone. It feels very 'on-trend' whenever I wear it and really helps to pull together a makeup look that you can either dress up or down depending on your mood and social occasion.   

RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Temptation
RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Temptation*
The perfect pinky-mauve, it's easy to see why Temptation is one of RMS' bestsellers! Ideal for everyday wear, it's one of those 'throw it into your handbag ASAP' shades that never lets you down. If I ever happen to lose it, I'll be sure to repurchase this shade colour pronto!   

RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Rapture
RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Rapture
Rapture is something of a chameleon shade because it often looks completely different from various angles and lighting situations. Most of the time though, it's a classic brick red that works well for range of skin tones.

RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Russian Roulette
 RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Russian Roulette*
It doesn't get much more vamp-tastic than Russian Roulette so if you're after a killer deep berry red, this is the shade for you. This is one of those eye-catching shades that always gets a lot of compliments whenever I wear it on a night out, but you will need to use a lip liner with it to prevent any bleeding/feathering. Stunning nonetheless!

Swatches! From L-R: RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Brain Teaser, Temptation, Rapture and Russian Roulette
Swatches! From L-R: RMS Wild With Desire Lipstick in Brain Teaser, Temptation, Rapture and Russian Roulette

Shop the full range of RMS Wild With Desire Lipsticks* (4.5g, £30 each) at LoveLula.com

Have you tried any of these?

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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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