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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Foodie Friday: Thick & Fluffy American-Style Buckwheat Pancakes With Chopped Dates, Hazelnuts & Maple Syrup (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free recipe)

Friday, 16 August 2019

Thick & Fluffy American Style Buckwheat Pancakes With Chopped Dates, Hazelnuts & Maple Syrup (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free recipe)
American-style Pancakes are not known for being healthy and are usually depicted with masses of greasy fried bacon and glugs of maple syrup. For a more nutritious approach to this breakfast favourite, I have this delicious alternative recipe that you can try this weekend, and don't worry, I've still included some maple syrup!

Thick & Fluffy American Style Buckwheat Pancakes With Chopped Dates, Hazelnuts & Maple Syrup (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free recipe)
One of the easiest ways to instantly make any bread, cake or pancake recipe healthier is to swap the often used refined white flour for a more nutrient-packed wholegrain variant. I love using Buckwheat Flour and it works particularly well to create these moreish American-style Pancakes which have a thick and fluffy texture that makes them perfect for stacking and majorly satisfying to dig into. 

Switching to Buckwheat Flour also makes these Pancakes low-GI and gluten-free, and with the addition of a little Ground Ginger and Cinnamon, they are even more flavourful and interesting than their white flour-based opponents, meaning that you don't need to rely on mountains of sugar to get your tastebuds flowing.

I love having toppings on Pancakes, so I've sprinkled over some chopped Dates and Hazelnuts for even more flavour and micronutrients. Finish with a generous drizzle of Maple Syrup (the best quality that you can find/afford) and you have a brunch made in heaven!

Thick & Fluffy American Style Buckwheat Pancakes With Chopped Dates, Hazelnuts & Maple Syrup (Vegetarian / Gluten-Free recipe)
Ingredients (serves 2-3 people as mini stacks of pancakes)
  • 225g Buckwheat Flour
  • 275ml Rice Milk (or you can use Soy, Almond or regular semi-skimmed)
  • 1 large organic free-range Egg
  • 1 tsp gluten-free Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1-2 tsp of organic Butter
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Handful of pitted Dates, chopped, to serve
  • Handful of Hazelnuts, chopped, to serve
  • Maple Syrup, to serve

Method
  • In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together (Buckwheat Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Ground Cinnamon and Ground Ginger), making a well in the centre.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the Egg and Rice Milk, and then slowly pour into the dry bowl, whisking it in until you have a smooth batter.
  • Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of Butter. Add the pancake batter mixture (about 2tbsp per pancake) and cook for a few minutes until bubbles appear on the surface and then flip over and cook the other side. 
  • Repeat until you've used up all the pancake batter and serve immediately with the chopped Dates and Walnuts with a drizzle of Maple Syrup over the top. Enjoy!


Do you like making pancakes on the weekends?

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Health & Lifestyle: Neubria Charge and Shine Advanced Brain Health Supplements review

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Neubria Charge and Shine Advanced Brain Health Supplements review
Brain health may well be the next big wellness trend, as many of us are looking for ways to protect our grey matter as we get older. Ahead of the curve are Neubria, a specialist natural health and wellbeing brand who offer a range of advanced brain health supplements, developed from an exciting holistic approach.

I regularly use supplements on a day-to-day basis for a variety of reasons; to help boost my immune system and make sure that I'm not missing out on any essential vitamins or minerals, to improve my gut health, and to generally keep my body performing the best that it can be (which isn't always easy with an autoimmune illness, hence the need for some extra support via supplements)

Neubria Charge and Shine Advanced Brain Health Supplements review
I hadn't, however, given much thought to my brain health until I came across Neubria whilst indulging in some late night shopping on LoveLula. Which is really odd considering how much emphasis there is on almost every other aspect of the body - I just don't think that brain health is discussed that often, despite it being the most important organ that we have. 

Neubria is aiming to change this with its range of advanced brain health supplements. They've put together a board of Scientific Advisors which includes experts in the fields of Neuroscience, Human Performance, Medicine and Nutrition to develop specialist formulas that can help improve mood, memory, sleep, energy and mental performance. It's this holistic approach that sets Neubria apart, and their supplements are manufactured in a UK GMP accredited facility in line with MHRA guidelines.

Ever curious, I decided to see if their products could work for me, so I've been trying out their Charge and Shine supplements over the past two months.

Neubria Charge Advanced Brain Health Supplements review
 Neubria Charge Advanced Brain Health Supplements* (60 capsules 1 month supply, £25, link)

Each supplement from Neubria comes presented in a book-style packaging which opens up to reveal the capsules and a handy fold-out leaflet that offers healthy lifestyle advice and tips to help you on your way. I suffer regularly from fatigue and low levels of energy, so naturally, Charge was the supplement which appealed to me the most when I was browsing the range.

Charge is an energy-boosting supplement that's been formulated to provide slow energy release throughout the day so that you don't have any of the crashes or side effects that are common from similar caffeine-based products. It features a blend of six natural botanical ingredients - Guarana, Maca, American Ginseng Root, Siberian Ginseng, Korean Ginseng and Green Tea extract, which work together to help combat fatigue and tiredness. They also provide Niacin (Vitamin B3), Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, and Panthothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) which I always find useful to top up my daily requirements.

How to take: 2 capsules a day, preferably in the morning and no less than 4 hours before going to sleep. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Thoughts? I regularly take a Vitamin B Complex as I always notice a difference when I forget to take them, so having B3, B5 B6, B12 in this supplement was great to help boost my energy levels. These are high in caffeine (2 capsules provide 130mg) and with the addition of the three types of Ginseng, I did find that I was slightly more alert than usual, especially in the mornings where I tend to struggle - I'm definitely not an early bird! I didn't experience any jitters or crashes, but the effects did seem to wear off by 3pm when I found myself wanting to have a nap as usual. I would be interested to try these on a longer-term basis though, instead of my usual Vitamin B Complex supplement as I did appreciate the extra energy in the mornings.

Neubria Shine Advanced Brain Health Supplements review
Neurbia Shine Advanced Brain Health Supplement* (60 capsules - 1 month supply, £25, link)

Shine is completely different to Charge as it's a mood-boosting supplement which helps to maintain a positive mood with a range of natural anti-anxiety properties, as well as supporting both mental and physical health, so it's what I would call a good 'all-rounder' that many people could benefit from trying.

Containing the brand's unique 'Shine Bright Botanical Complex' of Turmeric extract, Rhodiola Rosea Extract, Ashwagandha Root Extract and Saffron Extract, this complex is joined by a superstar list of 22 essential daily vitamins and minerals to cover all bases. The Shine Bright Complex has been developed by looking at each ingredient's abilities to improve mood and there are some fascinating scientific studies out there by numerous reputable sources to back these up, with Turmeric and Saffron being of particular interest within medical circles.

How to take: 2 capsules a day with food. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Thoughts? Shine is definitely a supplement that I will take again regularly to replace my current daily vitamin and mineral capsules as it brings together so many essentials. The addition of the Shine Bright Botanical Complex is something that I can see helping me over a longer duration as I suffer from bouts of depression and anxiety, so anything that can improve my mood and keep me thinking positively is obviously a massive plus. With anything related to mood, I would suggest taking a supplement like this for at least 3-6 months before you start to see any real progress as to whether it's working for you (I have to admit that I didn't notice any difference from using these for just a month), so I have already ordered some more to continue with. 

Shop the range of Neubria Advanced Brain Health Supplements at LoveLula.com

Do you take any supplements?

In My Bathroom: Green Beauty Favourites from Noughty, Esse, Wild and Pura Source

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

In My Bathroom: Current Green Beauty Favourites
My bathroom has become fondly known as 'the testing area' for many of the products that I'm lucky enough to be sent to try out as a blogger. Along the windowsill and around the sink, you'll find an array of haircare, some skincare (though I tend to keep most in my bedroom due to the humidity/heat), and of course, plenty of pampering bodycare items. 

For today's post, I thought I would share some of the new green beauty favourites that I've been enjoying testing out recently from brands such as Noughty, Esse, Wild and Pura Source.

 Noughty Tough Cookie Strengthening Shampoo & Conditioner
 Noughty Tough Cookie Strengthening Shampoo & Conditioner* (250ml, £6.99, link)

If you're looking for cruelty-free and vegan-friendly haircare on a budget, you can't go wrong with Noughty who have a large range of products to cater to every hair type and concern. I've used their To The Rescue line for frizzy and damaged hair on and off for years (I featured their Hair Mask Treatment earlier in the year here), and they've now added a new range called Tough Cookie which is specially formulated for weak and brittle hair. This strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner duo is made from 97% natural ingredients, and like all of Noughty's products, they're free from parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates and silicones. 

Tough Cookie features 'Anti-Pollution technology' which is derived from Wheat Bran extract to protect your hair against the dulling and drying effects of urban living and utilises an antioxidant blend of Cloudberry, Bilberry and Sea Buckthorn, to further protect and strengthen hair fibres on a daily basis.  I have noticed a reduction in hair breakage since using these so something is certainly working here, and I love how fresh and light my hair feels after every use.

Charity tip: Noughty Haircare will donate 5% of sales from Tough Cookie Shampoo and Conditioner to Fund4Trees to help promote the conservation and improvement of the natural environment.

 Esse Light Body Moisturiser
 Esse Light Body Moisturiser* (200ml, £45, link)

On the higher-end of the beauty spectrum, I've been smitten with this Light Body Moisturiser from the South African natural and organic brand, Esse. The texture of this lotion is simply beautiful and it's perfect for the warmer months when you don't want anything thick or heavy on your skin. Instead, this body moisturiser is blissfully light and easily absorbed with a slightly medicinal plant-based scent that you'll either love or hate (strangely enough, it's definitely grown on me the more that I've used it!).  

Packed full of essential omega fatty acids and nourishing antioxidants from the likes of Marula Oil, Manketti Oil, Jojoba Oil, there's also Aloe Vera to soothe and hydrate, and an interesting ingredient called Kigelia which harnesses lightening, brightening and firming properties, and has been shown to help repair damage caused by the sun. A lovely luxury pampering treat for Summer which comes packaged in glass to show off in your next bathroom shelfie snap.

Wild Natural Deodorant in Lemon & Thyme
 Wild Natural Deodorant in Lemon & Thyme* (75g, £10, link)

One of the newer green beauty brands that I've recently been introduced to is Wild Cosmetics who currently specialise in natural deodorants which are free from common nasties such as aluminium and parabens. Made here in the UK, these cruelty-free and vegan-friendly deos are available in three different scents; Mint & Eucalyptus, Rose & Geranium and Lemon & Thyme, and there's also an Unscented version for those who have sensitive skin or allergies to essential oils. I was kindly sent the Lemon & Thyme deo to try and it smells amazing, plus it keeps me fresh all day!

Presently, Wild's stick deodorants are housed in recyclable plastic packaging, however, the brand has already put the wheels into motion with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, to launch a range of refillable deodorants in glass in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on their website for updates.

Charity tip: Wild have formed a partnership with the World Land Trust to donate 10p per product towards global reforestation.

Pura Source Eco-Friendly Bamboo Cotton Buds
Pura Source Eco-Friendly Bamboo Cotton Buds* (£8.99 for 4 boxes - 800 cotton buds, link)

Last, but by no means least, I wanted to mention Pura Source who are a fantastic new British brand that's focused on eco-friendly and sustainable products. Their first launch are these brilliant Eco-Friendly Bamboo Cotton Buds which are 100% biodegradable thanks to their natural bamboo stems which completely eliminates the need for any plastic to be used, and they come packaged in recycable cardboard. These Cotton Buds are excellent quality and can be purchased in bulk online from Amazon, so now's a great time to stock up and ditch the single-use plastic versions forever!

What green beauty products are you loving right now?

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