Health & Lifestyle: How To Get A Good Night's Sleep - 3 Wellness Experts Share Their Top Tips #BestSleepEver

Thursday, 28 May 2020

best sleep ever top sleep tips
Getting a good night's sleep seems like an impossible task for many people and it's something that I've struggled with for years - I'm so envious of anyone who can just instantly fall asleep as soon as their head touches their pillow! To help those in the same boat, I decided to pick the brains of three wellness experts to see if they could share some words of wisdom so that we can all try to enjoy a good night's sleep at last.

My experience with poor sleep
For as long as I can remember, I've always been a terrible sleeper, especially since hitting puberty. After that, my early 20s were particularly stressful in many ways, and I fell into a lot of bad habits such as eating too much junk food, staying up too late, drinking too much alcohol before going to bed - all the standard hallmarks of early adult life some might say! The problem was that my sleep didn't improve that much when I began to clean up my lifestyle later on - I was still plagued with crippling insomnia that was causing me to fall asleep during the day as I was completely exhausted. 

I visited my GP who diagnosed insomnia and prescribed sleeping tablets which gave me horrific nightmares, so I sought a second opinion and was sent on a CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) course which helped a lot with my stress management, but it still didn't solve all of my sleeping problems. Frustrated by years of poor sleep, I've been going down the self-help route recently which has led me to contact some wellness experts via social media to see if they could share their knowledge on this tricky issue which affects nearly two-thirds of UK adults on a regular basis.

Aurimas Juodka
Meet AJ - The Health & Human Performance Expert
Aurimas Juodka is a Health and Human Performance Expert (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Nutrition Coach, High-Performance Coach - wellwithaj.com). In his career as an educator, speaker and coach, AJ has helped hundreds of his clients excel in life physically and mentally, after personally struggling with a range of health issues himself including insomnia, digestion problems, mental fog, low energy and a compromised immune system.

One of the key aspects of attaining good sleep comes through understanding the basics of the body's natural circadian rhythm. AJ explains that the circadian rhythm, "is an internal body clock that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Humans are ultimately still animals that thrive with the cycles of nature." This is why his top tip for better sleep is, "rising with the sun and blocking all artificial blue light". He recommends wearing blue light blocking glasses, installing f.lux or Iris app on your computer, using the night shift mode on your phone and having warm lighting in the house. AJ also advises that it's important to create a bedtime routine based on whatever helps you to wind down such as drinking tea, taking a bath before bed, turning your WiFi off, putting your phone onto aeroplane mode or his personal favourite, which is using an acupressure mat. 

The timing of your evening meal is another key factor as well - AJ recommends not eating within at least 3hrs before bedtime because "an overloaded digestive system makes your body focus on digestion rather than producing necessary sleep hormones. Pre-bedtime snack really isn't a great idea."

ursula james
Meet Professor Ursula James - Visiting Professor of Clinical Hypnosis at Robert Gordon University and a Visiting Teaching Fellow at Oxford University Medical School

Ursula James is a Hypnotherapist and Professor of Clinical Hypnosis (her company, Thames Medical Lectures, has lectured at most of the UK's medical schools including Oxford and Cambridge, and she is a Patron of Anxiety UK and the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV). She is also a Foundation Member of the Academy of Medical Educators and a member of the Women of the Future Network - ursulajames.com). Ursula treats people with sleep problems and has a hypnotherapy mp3 called Better Sleep which you can listen to in bed to help you to fall asleep. To further aid those who are experiencing poor sleep due to the Coronavirus pandemic, she has created a weekly Covid Calmer session which is conducted over Zoom every Wednesday - you can check out previous sessions on her YouTube channel here.

With hypnotherapy being Ursula's area of expertise, I asked her how it can help my fellow readers with their sleep. She replied, "Sleep is more than physical rest, it is mental housekeeping, without which we can go crazy. Using hypnotherapy helps you to prioritise, compartmentalise and discard information so you optimise your sleep. It also helps you with creativity and letting go of the things which stress you.

Hypnotherapy is a brilliant process for improving your sleep, whether it is to get to sleep, get better quality sleep, or to eradicate disturbed sleep. It does this by keeping your mind occupied with a simple process which moves in tandem with your natural sleep processes. It helps you leave out the upsetting thoughts, so you don’t dwell on them as you sleep, and focus on the positives from the previous day, as well as creating something to look forward to in the next day."

Aside from hypnotherapy, Ursula also recommends trying these top tips for better sleep; "a warm bath, an orgasm (partner not required), and a warm milky drink. Do not attempt all at the same time, you will probably spill your drink."

Meet Joel Jolen from Reset Breathing and Fellow of Buteyko Professionals Intl institute (FBPI)
Meet Joel Jolen from Reset Breathing and Fellow of Buteyko Professionals Intl institute

Joel Jolen is a Fellow of Buteyko Professionals Intl institute (FBPI). (He holds a BA Hons in Health Econ and his area of specialism is focussed on breathing techniques - resetbreathing.com).

The benefits of improving breathing to someone who is struggling to sleep takes many forms, as Joel explains below, "the key is how you breathe during the day. That’s whilst eating, working, exercising and relaxing. The causes of poor sleep from a breathing education perspective include:
  • Mouth breathing by day – this has become common place and you might be surprised by how many people think it’s correct to mouth breathe. This puts you on fight or flight and can create a cascade of stress throughout your body without you being aware.
  • Your breathing being audible at rest – this basically means you are breathing a volume of air far bigger than required. It’s often out of habit following a change to your breathing pattern after a sustained period of stress.
  • Sighing, sniffing, and yawning with big breaths also creates over breathing and impairs sleep when you finally get your head on the pillow.
  • Large breaths prior to talking along with lots of visible upper chest movement have a similar effect."
Joel warns that those who have jobs which involve excessive talking, such as teachers and sales executives, should be particularly mindful as they can be at risk of fatigue due to a loss of CO2 and oxygen. He advises that drinking carbonated water can help if you have a lot of talkative days. Other things to watch out for which can upset your sleeping patterns include eating processed foods - Joel recommends to "stay away from beige food and don't overeat as both increase breathing rate beyond that of fresh food. Eat light to breathe right", and make sure the temperature in your house isn't too warm as, "high temperatures can impair breathing too".

My favourite piece of advice from Joel is when he says the following which I think anyone who struggles to sleep will appreciate; "The benefits are life-changing and the techniques and accompanying lifestyle advice are simple. Admittedly, they are not easy to commit to but all you need do is focus on those life-changing benefits and they act as a huge incentive...especially as drastic improvements in health/sleep can be experienced in 4-6 weeks."

Thank you to all of the experts who shared their knowledge for this feature!

Do you struggle with sleep?

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The Weekend Post: My First Virtual Blogger Event with Moonpig - Cards, Cocktails & Flowers #MoonpigMoments

Sunday, 24 May 2020

My First Virtual Blogger Event with Moonpig - Cards, Cocktails & Flowers #MoonpigMoments
Last Thursday evening, I took part in my first ever Virtual Blogger Event via Zoom! The event was hosted by Moonpig to help spread the word of the brand's mobile app which makes it easy to send cards and gifts to loved ones during these difficult times.

Although some restrictions on the lockdown within England have recently been eased (such as unlimited outdoor exercise etc), it's still not permitted or considered safe for people to visit family and friends at their homes due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This has been putting a big strain on relationships and the emotional aspects of not being able to see your family or friends have been upsetting to say the least. 

Thankfully, technology has been amazing for keeping in touch with those outside of your immediate household, and it's been great to see more people going back to some 'old-fashioned' ways of communication such as sending a card in the post and making more phone calls. Before Covid-19 happened, I couldn't remember the last time that I received a physical card through the letterbox, but now every time that I get one from a friend or family member, it instantly cheers me up! 

moonpig app
Back to the virtual blogger event, after a quick 'Hello!' to everyone who joined in over Zoom, we were introduced to a demo of the Moonpig app (you can download it here) by Jasper, which is available for both iOS and Android customers. The app is free to use and it's quick and simple to set up your account by just filling in a few details at the sign-up process. Once you're all set up, you can browse the hundreds of card designs that Moonpig has available, and they really do have a card for everyone and every occasion from classics to the more contemporary - I spotted some Tiger King ones whilst I was scrolling through earlier which are quite funny ;)

At the top of the homepage on the app is a slideshow of the current Moonpig offers and I thought this made the shopping experience even easier as it was clear to see the discount codes. Who doesn't love a cheeky bargain?!

moonpig app
moonpig app
The ordering process is also incredibly concise and easy - just select the card that you're interested in and then it displays how you can personalise it - there's even the opportunity to 'handwrite' a message inside the card using a stylus pen which I thought was a lovely touch.

As you can see above, Moonpig has three card options to choose from; a digital eCard (handy if you've left things too late!), a Standard Card size and a Giant Card size which is brilliant if you want something that's more of a novelty. iOS users can even use the AR view on the app to physically see how big the cards are by moving your phone around the room, a digital card pops up on any surface which is very clever.

There are lots of interesting features within the app including a page to add a reminder date and an option to import from an online calendar. I'm terrible for forgetting the dates of people's birthdays so this feature instantly appealed to me and I've already synced up my calendar to my account so there are no excuses now!

mix and twist cocktails
After the app demo, we were treated to a Cocktail Masterclass with James from Mix and Twist and using the contents of a very generous cocktail box which had been delivered the day before, we created three delicious cocktails using Silent Pool Gin as the main ingredient. I love gin so I'd been looking forward to this part all week!

silent pool gin
The first cocktail was called a Gin Garden (above) which was bursting full of flavour thanks to plenty of fresh mint and cucumber. Next, we had a fun 'quick-fire' round where we raced to make an Elderflower Collins - I almost spilt the entire bottle of Gin over my keyboard in the process but luckily it all went to plan and the result was delicious! Finally, the last cocktail was perhaps my favourite - a Strawberry Gimlet which involved a fresh Strawberry puree and of course, plenty of Gin. Yum - thank you James for being an awesome bartender!

Moonpig flowers
Moonpig flowers
Moonpig are not just famous for their personalised cards, their range of fresh delivery flowers is simply beautiful and for the final part of the event, we had the pleasure of taking part in a Flower Workshop with Roxanne. She shared her top tips for arranging a professional-looking bouquet and offered advice on how to make fresh flowers last longer which I found really useful. We were able to arrange our own bunch thanks to a gorgeous fresh flower delivery from Moonpig which featured their bestselling Luxury Rose and Peony Boquet* (above, £50, link)

I was truly blown away when this arrived as the flowers were in perfect condition and I've enjoyed watching the Peonies come into bloom over the past few days; they are so stunning.

One of the many gifts available at Moonpig

I thoroughly enjoyed the Virtual Blogger Event and had a great time chatting to fellow bloggers over Zoom. I hope more brands do these virtual events now and in the future, as I've often struggled to accept event invites due to not living in London, so this makes it so much more inclusive for bloggers to join in. Thank you Moonpig for being an amazing host! 

Discover the full range of Moonpig cards, flowers and gifts at moonpig.com/uk and don't forget to check out their app!

Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - May 2020 review

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

LoveLula Beauty Box - May 2020 review
Worth over £50, this month's LoveLula Beauty Box has something for everyone with makeup, haircare, skincare and more! Everything included is cruelty-free and it's a great way to try out a high-end brand or a new product without breaking the bank. Curious to find out more? Keep on scrolling to discover what's inside. 


INIKA Organic Lip Crayon in Deep Plum (RRP £19.50)
Being a make-up junkie, I always look forward to receiving cosmetics in the LoveLula Beauty Box and I was thrilled to find this full-size chunky Lip Crayon from INIKA. I've had the pleasure of trying out a lot of makeup from INIKA and they are one of those green beauty brands that I regularly use - you can check out my previous reviews of their makeup here

This Lip Crayon is a gorgeous plum shade which is very flattering on and I imagine it will suit most skin tones too. The creamy formula means that it doesn't drag onto the lips and it's made from 100% natural ingredients, plus it's certified vegan and cruelty-free.

The Castillian Soap Company Natural Hand Sanitiser in Peppermint & Chamomile (RRP £9.50)
With hand sanitiser being in hot demand, I was incredibly grateful to receive another one of these Natural Hand Sanitisers from The Castillian Soap Company. I recently featured it in my Good Hand Hygiene post here and love the refreshing minty fragrance it has. It gets the job done and doesn't leave hands feeling dry or sticky.

Ayumi Naturals Hibiscus & Turmeric Shampoo (RRP £6.99)
The face scrub from this same range appeared in February's box (check out my review here if you missed it) so it's nice to try out this Hibiscus & Turmeric Shampoo as I haven't used anything from Ayumi Naturals' haircare range before. This one's described as being suitable for fine and dull hair types thanks to the brightening natural properties of Turmeric and Papaya extracts which sounds interesting.

Skin Alchemists Humble Warrior Cleansing Oil (RRP £15)
The last product in this month's LoveLula Beauty Box is a deluxe 30ml sample of Skin Alchemists Humble Warrior Cleansing Oil which is a new-to-me brand that I'm excited to try. Formulated to remove all traces of makeup and daily grime, this deep cleansing oil can also be used as a natural face mask, hair treatment and as a nail and cuticle oil - you guys know how much I love a multipurpose beauty product!

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?

Treat Your Feet: Give Your Feet Some TLC with Tropic Skincare

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Show Your Feet Some Love with Tropic Skincare
One of the little joys that comes with the warmer weather is that glorious feeling of being able to ditch your socks and put your bare feet into your favourite flip-flops or sandals  - I love it! So make sure to show your feet some TLC this summer with these pampering foot care treats from Tropic Skincare.

The range of products that are available from Tropic Skincare never ceases to amaze me - from skincare to haircare, suncare and body care - they have it all! One category that I had yet to explore was their foot care and with the temperature rising this week, it was as good a time as any to test some of them out.

As always, everything from Tropic Skincare is certified cruelty-free and is suitable for vegans -yay!

Show Your Feet Some Love with Tropic Skincare
Tropic Ocean Fizz Foot Soak* (100g, £6, link)
If your feet haven't seen any sunshine since last Summer or if they're feeling tired and weary after a long day, a good soak with this refreshing Ocean Fizz Foot Soak can make a huge difference. This is one of the best products that I've tried for really helping to soften up your feet and after a soak in this, they'll be almost as soft as a baby's bum! To use the Ocean Fizz Foot Soak, just add three tablespoons to warm water and give it a quick mix to activate - it produces a satisfying 'fizz' and then it's ready for you to soak your feet in for a relaxing 5-10 minutes, though I have it tried it for longer and it feels lovely. A spa-like pampering treat that you can enjoy at home for just £6? Bargain!

Tropic Polishing Foot Pebble* (130g, £9, link)
For feet that are particularly dry or rough, Tropic's luxury Polishing Foot Pebble is a godsend. This solid exfoliating bar features White Sand from Bora Bora and Tahitian Volcanic Ash to buff away dry skin, whilst Peppermint and Eucalyptus essential oils help to instantly refresh and revive. Use it directly onto wet feet to create a cleansing lather for soft and supple feet in no time at all.
Show Your Feet Some Love with Tropic Skincare
Tropic Repairing Foot Remedy* (80ml, £14, link)
In the same league as a lip balm and hand cream, a hardworking foot cream is a beauty essential in everyone's bedroom/bathroom and this Repairing Foot Remedy offers an intense softening treatment for dry feet. I found that it works particularly well on cracked heels thanks to its super hydrating formula that uses the likes of Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil, Macadamia Oil, Avocado Oil, Illipe and Cupuacu Butters, to really deeply nourish and repair dry and damaged skin. There's also Aspen Bark extract included which contains Salicyclic Acid to gently dissolve dead skin cells for a smoother result. The rich, thick texture is brilliant with an uplifting fresh fragrance, and it doesn't feel greasy or sticky.

Do you look after your feet?

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Good Hand Hygiene: Keeping your Hands Clean & Soft during Coronavirus and beyond

Monday, 18 May 2020

Good Hand Hygiene: Keeping your Hands Clean & Soft during Coronavirus and beyond
Practising good hygiene at home and when you're outside is one of the best ways to protect yourselves and others from the spread of Coronavirus. Here are some of my top picks from the green beauty world which include hand sanitisers, soaps and hand cream to keep your hands clean and soft.

Keeping your Hands Clean & Soft during Coronavirus and beyond
Hand Sanitisers
Depending on which organisation or Government guidelines you're looking at, you want to make sure that your hand sanitiser contains at least 60% alcohol for it to be effective at killing off bacteria and germs. Anything below 50% is considered too diluted which will compromise its disinfecting abilities. Unfortunately, there are a lot of 'natural' hand sanitisers on the market that are alcohol-free and these are absolutely pointless as they won't do anything - you need alcohol as the main ingredient!

For green beauty fans who want to use something that's more natural and kinder to their hands than the likes of Dettol, but still serves the purpose of being a high-quality sanitiser, you can look out for products which incorporate alcohol with ingredients such as aloe vera, vegetable glycerine, essential oils and plant-based flower waters or essences.

I recommend trying The Castillian Soap Company Hand Sanitiser with Peppermint & Chamomile* (50ml, £9.50, link), a travel-friendly size which includes 62% organic grain alcohol, organic chamomile floral water, natural plant glycerin and peppermint essential oil. It smells wonderfully fresh and doesn't leave hands feeling dry or sticky afterwards. 

For families or anyone who requires a larger size bottle, Alteya Organics Hand Cleanser* (100ml, £7.95, link) has an easy to use spray applicator and a formula which boasts 70% alcohol (denatured ethyl alcohol) with organic glycerin and lavender essential oil for further antibacterial protection.

Keeping your Hands Clean & Soft during Coronavirus and beyond
Hand Soaps & Moisturisers
At home and in bathrooms, the NHS state that washing your hands with any kind of soap and water is a highly effective way to stop the spread of Coronavirus and practising good hygiene is something that we should all be doing to protect ourselves and others. It doesn't matter which brand or type of soap that you use, the focus is more on how often you wash your hands (it should be done on a regular basis throughout the day) and how long for. The NHS recommends washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds each time and you can check out their techniques video with further info here.

Personally, I'm a big fan of an old-fashioned bar of soap. They're a great way to cut down on your plastic waste and usually last longer than the bottled versions. I currently have Ayumi Naturals Neem & Tea Tree Soap* (100g, £2.49, link) by my bathroom sink which is vegan-friendly and has the naturally antibacterial benefits of neem, tea tree and lemongrass oils to keep your hands super clean. It also doubles up as a purifying facial cleanser for acne and blemish-prone skin types.

If you prefer a liquid hand soap that contains alcohol, Organii Citrus Liquid Soap* (300ml, £4.95, link) comes in a large 300ml bottle with a pump. Made from a blend of 100% plant-based ingredients, it features organic olive oil, alcohol denat, vegetable glycerin and citrus essential oils for a fresh and thoroughly clean feeling every time.

It should come as no surprise that regular and longer hand-washing sessions can result in dry skin quite quickly, so a hand cream is an absolute must-have to help restore the moisture balance. My current favourite is Lavera Basis Sensitiv Hand Cream* (75ml, £4.95, link) as it's packed full of ultra-hydrating ingredients such as organic sweet almond oil, shea butter, jojoba seed oil. Bye-bye dry hands!

What are your hygiene must-haves?

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Foodie Friday: Tahini, Date & Cacao Energy Balls (Dairy-Free / Vegan recipe) #HealthySnacking

Friday, 15 May 2020

Tahini, Date & Cacao Energy Balls (Dairy-Free / Vegan recipe)
Snacking getting out of hand during lockdown? Whip up a batch of these moreish Tahini, Date & Cacao Energy Balls to keep in the fridge for those emergency snack moments and enjoy a healthy energy boost at the same time!

Energy Balls are something that I've been regularly making at home for a few years now and I absolutely love these naturally nutrient-packed, refined-sugar-free mini snacks. The other joy of making Energy Balls is that you can pretty much conjure up any flavour that you fancy and use any ingredients that you already have in your cupboard (for example check out this Deliciously Ella Cacao & Almond recipe which is a firm favourite in my house). Run out of Cashews? Just swap them for some Almonds - easy!

These Tahini, Date & Cacao Energy Balls have an amazing sweet and salty flavour going on and are a source of plant-based protein, vitamins and antioxidants. They only take 5 minutes to make in a food processor and simply require some chill time in the fridge afterwards - if you can wait that long before tucking in...

Tahini, Date & Cacao Energy Balls (Dairy-Free / Vegan recipe)
Ingredients (makes around 12 balls)
  • 12 Medjool Dates (pitted)
  • 50g unsalted Cashews
  • 2 tbsp Tahini
  • 1 tsp Cacao Powder
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Method
  • Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blitz until it forms a paste-like texture that you can hold in your hands. If it feels too sticky, add a little more Cacao Powder and blend again.
  • Remove the mixture from the processor and using your hands, make roughly 12 balls from it, rolling each one between your hands or on a clean plate.
  • Place the balls on a plate and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving - enjoy!

Storage tip: Keep the Energy Balls in the fridge in a sealed container for up to a week.


Tahini, Date & Cacao Energy Balls (Dairy-Free / Vegan recipe)
Have you tried making your own Energy Balls at home?

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Spring Skincare: 3 Steps To Hydrated & Glowy Skin - Kri Unveil Organic Oil-To-Milk Cleanser, Evolve Organic Beauty Radiant Glow Mask & Antipodes Baptise H20 Ultra-Hydrating Water Gel review

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Kri Unveil Cleanser, Evolve Organic Beauty Radiant Glow Mask & Antipodes Baptise H20 Ultra-Hydrating Water Gel review
Getting hydrated and glowy looking skin can be easier than you might think with the right products - here are just three Spring Skincare must-haves to help you on your way to a more radiant complexion.

Kri Unveil Cleanser review
Step One: The Oil-To-Milk Cleanser

Although sunscreen is seen as an anti-ageing essential to apply all year round, I know plenty of British people who only really bother with it when the sun starts to come out during May (onto the naughty step with you!). So if you've just started wearing sunscreen, make sure that you include a good quality cleanser in your evening skincare routine to remove it properly at the end of the day. 

I've been enjoying this new Kri Skincare Unveil Organic Oil-To-Milk Cleanser* (100ml, £22, link) which comes packaged in a luxe glass bottle and is free from essential oils and fragrance so it's great for sensitive skin types. Made from a blend of just four natural plant-based oils (Safflower, Sunflower, Camellia Seed and Grapeseed) plus Vitamin E, this cleanser transforms into a lightweight milky formula when water is added to effortlessly remove all traces of makeup and SPF for silky soft, clean skin. I love it!

Evolve Organic Beauty Radiant Glow Mask review
Step Two: The Radiant Glow Mask

If your complexion is looking a bit dull or your skin just needs a boost, the Evolve Organic Beauty Radiant Glow Mask* (60ml, £24, link) is the perfect brightening treatment to reach for. It's won a series of skincare awards over the years and is a popular favourite amongst natural beauty lovers thanks to its ultra-rich formula which has tiny Blueberry seed particles (cleverly sourced from natural waste from the juicing industry), Sunflower Seed Oil, Kaolin Clay, Organic Vanilla Oil, Raw Cacao Powder and Sweet Almond Oil as its main ingredients. 

This 100% natural combination helps to draw out impurities to purify your skin and buff away dull dead cells on the surface so that your skin feels smooth and looks much clearer after just one use. It's also a really fun mask to use as it smells (and looks) like chocolate ;)

Antipodes Baptise H20 Ultra-Hydrating Water Gel review
 Step Three: The Ultra-Hydrating Water Gel

Antipodes are one of my favourite natural skincare brands as regular readers will know, and if you've been following me on Instagram recently, you'll no doubt have seen a couple of snaps on IG Stories of my current skincare routine which includes this latest release from the New Zealand brand; their new Baptise Ultra-Hydrating Water Gel* (60ml, £29.99, link)

Developed mainly for oily, combination and dehydrated skin types (though I'd say it's suitable for everyone to use), this luxury moisturiser has the most wonderful lightweight and fresh feeling on the skin which makes it such a pleasure to use - I was instantly smitten when I first tried it over a month ago. It's ideal for anyone who has thirsty skin in need of a good 'drink' thanks to the intensive moisture-boosting elements of Hyaluronic Acid and Manuka Honey. If you usually hate the feeling of heavy moisturisers, this is a must-try!

What is your current Spring Skincare Routine?

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Health & Lifestyle: What Are The Health Benefits of Essential Oils & How Do I Use Them With An Aroma Lamp? #AD

Monday, 11 May 2020

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are a liquid which is a concentrate that is extracted from a plant. The reason they extract these oils is for their health benefits and aromatic smell. Essential oils are often linked with aromatherapy. The use of essential oils have been around for thousands of years, people used them as perfume, a way to fragrance their home, and to repeal insects. Over the last few years, there has been a huge increase of people using these oils, as an alternative way to fragrance their home instead of using chemicals.

To use essential oils in this manner, you simply heat them up. There are a few products out there can help you to achieve this. You can use an oil burner, you simply ignite a tea light, and place the essential oils in a bowl at the top. The heat from the candle will cause the oils to vaporize producing natural aromatic smell in your home. This is a much more traditional way of heating up your essential oils.

There are aroma lamps which can also be used to heat up these oils. The one as pictured above can be used by simply switching the lamp on as the base of the lamp is touch-sensitive. The heat from the bulb will then heat up the essential oils. The benefits of using aroma lamps are that there is no need for a candle, making this a much safer product to use.


Essential Oils Health Benefits

  • Stress and Anxiety - There are have been studies showing that around half of people struggle from stress and anxiety use alternative methods to help them. Many people found with the use of some essential oils can help them with their therapy.
  • Headaches - A study showed the use of peppermint essential oils can help reduce headaches, simply dilute the essential oil with water and place on the forehead.
  • Helps with sleep - Using lavender essential oils can help people sleep.
  • Inflammation - The use of oregano and thyme essential oils can reduce inflammation.
  • Non-chemical - Using essential oils is a great way to avoid chemical and provide a natural aromatic fragrance to your home.
  • Repel insects - Some essential oils are proven to hold off mosquito for up to 3 hours.
  • Perfume - They can be used as a natural perfume, simply dilute with water.

There are hundreds of different types of essential oils out there and each one has its own health benefits. If you are looking for aromatherapy product be sure to check this website.

Foodie Friday: Vegan Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash & Applewood Vegan Smoky Cheese (Dairy Free recipe)

Friday, 8 May 2020

Vegan Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash & Applewood Vegan Smoky Cheese (Dairy Free recipe)
It's the ultimate comfort food - Mac & Cheese. Few things hit the spot better when you're craving a big bowl of carbs and cheesy goodness and this recipe allows you to sneak in some extra veg as well, without missing out on any of the indulgence. Oh, and it's vegan too!

With the pasta shelves now being readily restocked by the supermarkets (hooray!) after the stockpiling madness of recent weeks, it's finally time that I feel able to share one of my favourite comfort food recipes to enjoy whilst in lockdown and beyond. 

I love everything about a classic Mac & Cheese but sometimes it can be a little heavy going, so this version includes some cleverly hiden veg (so it's great to share with fussy kids as you can't really taste it) and skips out all of the dairy to make it vegan. Don't worry though - it's still got an awesome layer of cheese thanks to the best vegan cheese out there - Applewood Vegan Smoky Cheese. Seriously, if you haven't tried it yet, make it part of your next essential shop ASAP. It's a game-changer!

This recipe is really easy, as most pasta-based meals are, and it's also amazing heated up the next day for a quick lunch with or without a salad - I'll leave that decision up to you ;)

Vegan Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash & Applewood Vegan Smoky Cheese (Dairy Free recipe)
Ingredients (makes 3-4 portions depending on how hungry you are):-
  • 200g Macaroni Pasta
  • 150ml Passata
  • 250g Butternut Squash
  • Generous handful of Petit Pois Peas
  • 150ml Cashew or Almond Milk
  • 1 tbsp Dairy-Free Butter
  • 1 clove Garlic (peeled & crushed)
  • 200g Vegan Cheese of your choice
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper to season
  • Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4. Cut the Butternut Squash into chunks and add to a baking tray with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Roast for around 30 minutes until soft and tender. Alternatively, if you find it difficult to cut up Butter Squash, skip this step and get some ready chopped frozen Butternut Squash to use instead.
  • Cook the Macaroni Pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, add the Butternut Squash (roasted as above or frozen), 50g of the grated Vegan CheesePassata, Almond Milk, Dairy-Free Butter and crushed Garlic, and simmer over a medium heat for 10 minutes, until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Next, use a hand blender or a potato masher to break down the Butternut Squash into the sauce so that you have a smooth consistency. Season with Salt & Pepper to taste.
  • Add the cooked Macaroni Pasta to the sauce. Throw in a generous handful of Petit Pois Peas and stir to combine. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and top with a layer of the remaining grated Vegan Cheese
  • Cook in the oven at 180C for around 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden. Serve immediately - enjoy!

Storage tip: Once thoroughly cooled, you can store any remaining Mac & Cheese in the fridge in an airtight container for about 2-3 days.

Vegan Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash & Applewood Vegan Smoky Cheese (Dairy Free recipe)
What's your favourite Mac & Cheese recipe?

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Introducing: Tabitha James Kraan Organic Haircare + 10% Discount Code

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Tabitha James Kraan Organic Haircare
When it comes to luxury organic haircare, there has been one British name that's stood out in green beauty circles for a few years now and that name is Tabitha James Kraan.

As is often the basis for many a woman's journey towards a healthier and more organic lifestyle, Tabitha James Kraan became aware of the link between what she was putting on her body and how certain ingredients could be passed onto her unborn child when she first became pregnant back in 1999. An entrepreneurial hair artist by trade, Tabitha already had her own established salon, and this light bulb moment led her to realise that she could be putting her clients at risk through the chemicals that she was routinely using during their appointments.

She completely transformed her brand to fully reflect her new natural and organic lifestyle and reopened her pioneering organic hair salon in the Cotswolds which was the first of its kind in the UK. Fast forward to 2013 and Tabitha began to experiment with creating her own line of natural and organic haircare products that were tested on her loyal client base, before being officially launched to the public in 2015.  

Last month, I was asked to be part of the Tabitha James Kraan ambassador programme and I can't wait to share some of her award-winning, Soil Association certified products with you all which you can read about below.

Tabitha James Kraan Golden Citrus Clean Shampoo
Tabitha James Kraan Golden Citrus Clean Shampoo* (250ml, £25, link) & Golden Citrus Clean Conditioner* (200ml, £32, link)

In sleek black packaging that instantly stands out in your bathroom, TJK's Golden Citrus Clean Shampoo and Conditioner is a match made in eco-luxe heaven. Developed for all hair types, including coloured hair, both the shampoo and conditioner are made from 100% natural ingredients, a high proportion of which are also certified organic (73% for the shampoo and 85% for the conditioner)

The Shampoo boasts an ultra-gentle and nourishing formula which is great for anyone who has a dry and itchy scalp as it instantly soothes and hydrates. It also helps to rebalance an oily scalp, whilst leaving your hair thoroughly clean but not feeling stripped. The Golden Citrus aromatherapy scent adds a beautiful luxury spa-like feeling to the often mundane act of washing your hair, and with zero silicones, harsh detergents or synthetic ingredients, it's a shampoo that truly cares for the overall health of your hair.

The matching Conditioner is really more like an intensive and hydrating hair mask treatment. It's deeply moisturising in every sense of the word and left my dry hair feeling the silkiest and softest it's been in a long time, plus that Golden Citrus scent is just so addictive! Leave on for 2 minutes if you wash your hair often or bump it up to 10 minutes for a once-a-week masking treat. 

Tabitha James Kraan Organic Hair Cleanser in Amber Rose
Tabitha James Kraan Organic Hair Cleanser in Amber Rose* (60ml, £9.50, link) & Organic 4-in-1 Conditioner in Amber Rose* (60ml, £9.50, link)

If you're new to the world of natural and organic haircare and don't know where to start, why not try these handy travel-size options first? I'm particularly fond of the Tabitha James Kraan's Hair Cleansers and 4-in-1 Conditioners which are an interesting alternative to regular daily haircare and can be used as the first stepping stone to detoxifying your hair.

The Hair Cleanser helps to restore the health of your scalp and hair so it's a good place to start if you're making the switch to including more green beauty products in your routine. It feels lighter than a normal shampoo, yet efficiently and gently cleanses the scalp, getting rid of build-up and impurities with a clever formula of Organic Aloe Vera, Oatmilk, Coconut Oil, Argan Oil and Rosehip Oil.

Follow up with the 4-in-1 Conditioner which can be used as a light conditioner, nourishing scalp cream to soothe any irritations, a leave-in conditioner and a styling aid to smooth away frizz and flyaways. And like the Golden Citrus scent above, this Amber Rose range smells equally alluring and beautiful.

Tabitha James Kraan Scented Organic Hair Oil
Tabitha James Kraan Scented Organic Hair Oil* (30ml, £38, link)

Speaking of beautifully scented hair, TJK's Scented Hair Oil marries together the brand's signature Amber Rose fragrance with a truly exceptional hair oil that is bursting full of 100% natural (and 99% organic) ingredients. Designed to be used as a pre-wash treatment to revive all hair types, it adds instant shine and smoothness, whilst star ingredients such as Organic Sea Buckthorn, Rosehip, Safflower, Goji Berry and Argan Oils, all work together to strengthen and nourish the hair with regular use. Say hello to glossy, healthier locks in next to no time!

Tabitha James Kraan Organic Dry Shampoo for Fair Hair* (75g, £29, link) & Compact Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair* (15g, £19, link)

No modern haircare range is complete without a dedicated line of Dry Shampoo products these days and if you've been struggling to find a natural and organic replacement, Tabitha James Kraan has the answer! Crafted from 100% natural ingredients, there are options for both Fair and Dark Hair to cleanse, restore, refresh and volumise your hair in between your shampoo sessions.

This is one of the best natural Dry Shampoo formulas that I've tried and I also love the super-luxe gold metallic packaging - the regular size looks great on vanity tables and bathroom shelves, whilst the compact version is ultra-convenient for keeping in work desk drawers and handbags to plump up and refresh your hair on the go. Plus, this Dry Shampoo smells amazing too, but you've probably already guessed that, right?!

Shop the full range of Tabitha James Kraan Organic Haircare at tabithajameskraan.com and get 10% off your first order with the code evelynn10 - enjoy!

Have you tried anything from Tabitha James Kraan yet?

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