Health & Lifestyle: 3 Natural Balms To Help You Through Cold & Flu Season #WinterWellness

Thursday, 16 January 2020

3 Natural Balms To Help You Through Cold & Flu Season
Nobody likes having a cold, or worse still, catching the flu, and having spent the last week feeling like death warmed up in, I can certainly sympathise! One thing that always gets me through the rough times is having a pot of natural balm on my bedside table to help alleviate some of the worst symptoms such as blocked sinuses, so here are three of the best that you can try this Winter. 

Herbfarmacy Easy Breathe Balm
 Best For Colds: Herbfarmacy Easy Breathe Balm* (30ml, £10.50, link)

This completely plastic-free balm from Herbfarmacy is one of the brand's hidden secrets and something that I feel they should promote more often! Made in small batches on their farm in Herefordshire, the Easy Breathe Balm boasts an-all natural, cruelty-free formula which is also 100% organic (certified by the Soil Association) so it already ticked a lot of boxes for me when I initially picked it up. 

Unscrewing the metal tin, you'll be greeted with a firm and solid balm that has a soothing and moisturising base of Sunflower Oil, Beeswax and Marshmallow Root extract, which is combined with refreshing Eucalyptus, Spearmint, Peppermint, Lemon Tea Tree and Rosemary essential oils and extracts. The balm is easy to warm up between your fingertips and spreads well onto the skin without any stickiness. Apply to the chest and lower throat areas to help clear the airways - this is brilliant for stuffy colds so that you can get on with your day.

EQ EVOA Siberian Balm
Best For Flu: EQ EVOA Siberian Balm* (15ml, £9.95, link)

When flu hits, you need something heavy-duty, and EQ EVOA's Siberian Balm really does pack a punch! It's the smallest of the three balms that I've tried here coming in at just 15ml, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in its powerful natural abilities. Created from a unique formula that features 99.5% natural ingredients (42.4% of which are organic), it uses Edwelweiss extract (also known as the Star Of Glaciers) with Tahitian Monoi, Clove, Camphor, Cajeput and Menthol essential oils to quickly decongest and bring instant relief when you're truly suffering from the very worst flu symptoms. 

Although it's technically called a balm, it has a more of a thick and buttery texture which is white in colour, and yet it still retains all of the qualities of a traditional balm as it's easy to use and doesn't feel tacky or sticky. Needless to say, a little goes a long way and be extra careful to make sure this doesn't get anywhere near your eyes! As with all of the balms featured here, please wash your hands thoroughly after use, but especially with this one as it's so potent!

Silvan Skincare Breathe Balm
 Best For Families: Silvan Skincare Breathe Balm* (60ml, £14.50, link)

It's quite often the case that when one member of the family comes down with a cold or flu bug, everyone else in the household gets it within a matter of days, so this larger jar is definitely one to keep on standby during the Winter months. Handmade in Wales, Silvan Skincare's Breathe Balm is suitable for the whole family to use and is made with the highest quality natural, organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. It's certified by both the Vegan Society and the Leaping Bunny programme, plus it's packaged in a glass jar so ideal for families and consumers who are cutting down on their plastic waste.

With a rich and soft, non-sticky balm texture, Breathe Balm has a gentle but effective blend of ingredients which include fairtrade Organic Shea Butter, Organic Olive and Jojoba Oils, Oat extract, Vitamin E, Eucalyptus, Camphor, Peppermint and Rosemary essential oils. These work hard to soothe and clear blocked sinuses quickly, helping you to breathe easier faster. Rub a small amount onto the temples, chest, thorax and back as often as needed.

3 Natural Balms To Help You Through Cold & Flu Season
All balms featured are available from LoveLula.com

Have you tried any natural balms this Winter?

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Veganuary: Snack Ideas For Vegan Runners #AD

Monday, 13 January 2020

If you are a vegan runner, you have probably heard plenty of times that you need to change your nutrition if you want to become a strong and successful athlete. After all, we are taught to believe that we can only get proteins and carbs we need from meats and eggs.

Of course, these nutrients are important for your performance, they help you build muscle and speed up your recovery, but there are many ways you can follow a carb/protein-rich diet without consuming anything that came from a living creature. In fact, if you need more information about the best diet for vegan runners, let’s stick to the part of your eating plan you are most likely skipping – their majesties the snacks. These seemingly insignificant treats between your main meals are essential for keeping your energy levels up and achieving your goals. In case you have no idea how to prepare delicious vegan snacks in a matter of minutes, here are several ideas to get you started. 

Make your own trail mix 

Forget about those you can buy at the store and make your own trail mix that will contain all the things your body needs to refuel and recover. To add some sweetness to the combo, choose goji berries that are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and fats. You can also opt for flaked or shredded unsweetened coconut, dairy-free chocolate chips or dried fruit such as chopped dried apricots, dates, raisins, cranberries, blueberries or cherries. Nuts are an inevitable part of the homemade trail mix, so throw some cashews, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios in the bag as well. If you like pumpkin or sunflower seeds you can add them to the mix as well as some apple chips. Keep these ingredients in your pantry and any time you need a quick snack to add a few spoons of each of these to a small to-go container or a bag and you are all set. 

Make energy bars 

Every Sunday take an hour of your time to make a batch of homemade energy bars you will be able to keep in the fridge and grab every time you are hungry. You can make them with hemp seeds, ground flax, almonds, cashews, oats, cinnamon, dried fruit, peanut butter, maple syrup and other ingredients you love. There are plenty of recipes online, but you can also use your imagination and come up with your signature energy bars. 

Fruit and cashew cream 

This is one of the easiest and tastiest snacks out there. First, you will need to soak cashews overnight. In the morning drain them, put them in a blender with water and some kind of sweetener and make a smooth and creamy paste. Second, you will need to slice an apple, a pear, peach or some other kind of fruit and you are done! Dip the pieces into the cream and you will have yourself a tasty treat you can enjoy any time. 

Stuffed dates 

Are you looking for a delicious snack you can make in a couple of minutes? Then make sure you always have dates in your pantry because they will come in handy, especially if you fall in love with this treat. Stuff the dates with almond butter, peanut butter or sunflower seed butter, put a slice of banana on top and sprinkle it with cinnamon. Easy-peasy! 

Raw vegetables and hummus 

Just as you can dip fruit into cashew cream, you can dip veggies into hummus. This tasty dip is high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats so it will boost your energy levels while keeping you full for hours. You can check out these recipes and make your own batch of hummus at home. 

With these delicious treats, snacking will easily become your favourite part of the day.


[This is a sponsored post - first image from Pixabay, food mages my own]

New In Beauty: a.po.the:ca Frankincense Cleansing Balm, Al!ve Magnesium Plus Body Recovery Bath Flakes & Handmade Naturals skincare

Thursday, 9 January 2020

New In Beauty: a.po.the:ca Frankincense Cleansing Balm, Al!ve Magnesium Plus Body Recovery Bath Flakes & Handmade Naturals skincare
January is a long month, but don't worry, these natural skincare and pampering treats are sure to put a smile back on your face! Here's a selection of what's new to look out for.

 a.po.the:ca Frankincense Cleansing Balm
 a.po.the:ca Frankincense Cleansing Balm* (60g, £22, link)

Last year, I was introduced to a brand new organic, sustainable and natural skincare company called a.po.the:ca (check out my post here) who are based in London. With a clean design, glass packaging and even cleaner ethics, they instantly appealed to me, so I was thrilled to receive a pot of their latest creation just before Christmas. 

The Frankincense Cleansing Balm is a deliciously rich and thick balm that makes short work of removing daily grime, impurities and makeup. Made from 100% natural ingredients (99% of which are certified organic by COSMOS), this balm features the likes of Coconut Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Beeswax, Vitamin E, Frankincense Oil and Grapefruit Oil, for an ultra-nourishing cleansing experience. Like many products of this nature, a tiny amount goes a long way and it's easy to massage into dry skin before removing with a warm flannel. Oh, and did I mention that it smells absolutely beautiful? Definitely one to add to your shopping list.

Al!ve Magnesium Plus Body Recovery Bath Flakes
 Al!ve Magnesium Plus Body Recovery Bath Flakes* (750g, £8, link)

Anyone who regularly plays sports, exercises hard or does pilates/yoga, will no doubt already know all about the benefits that soaking in a tub of magnesium salts can offer for the body. This all-natural, magical mineral not only helps to soothe away minor aches and pains, relieving stress from stiff muscles, but they also have unique properties that can improve joint health and circulation, as well as boosting your skin and overall health.

Using them couldn't be easier either - simply add a generous handful or two to a warm bath, sit back and let your body rapidly absorb all of the benefits. These Al!ve Magnesium Plus Body Recovery Bath Flakes are a good place to start if you haven't tried them before and are available online, as well as being a new addition to Sainsbury's stores.

Handmade Naturals Face Cleansing Lotion* (100ml, £8.95, link) and Balancing Face Cream* (50ml, £13.25, link)

With reducing plastic packaging on every ethical brand's mission statement, I was delighted to receive a parcel from Handmade Naturals, who have been actively making the switch to a more sustainable and easily recycled alternative. All of their Cleaners and Face Creams are now presented in sleek frosted glass bottles which I personally feel only adds even more luxe appeal to the brand's aesthetics - I'm sure their customers will love the change! Best of all, the prices have remained the same, so if a small Cheshire based company can achieve this, there's no excuse for the big boys to not follow suit in 2020 is there?!

Have you spotted any new products that you're excited about recently?

Health & Lifestyle: New Nordic Hair Volume Supplements, Hair Volume plus Nail Strong & Hair Volume Gummies - 3 Month Trial Review

Monday, 6 January 2020

Health & Lifestyle: New Nordic Hair Volume, Hair Volume plus Nail Strong & Hair Volume Gummies - 3 Month Trial Review
Supplements are always big news during January, as many of us wish to boost our health for the new year ahead, and the demand for beauty specific supplements continues to grow. For the past three months, I've been trialling three different supplements from New Nordic to help address a common concern: thinning hair.

Thick hair, like good skin, is often partly down to genetics and unfortunately, I wasn't blessed with masses of hair akin to a Disney Princess. That said, I was pretty happy with my hair when I was younger and only started to experience problems when I hit my mid-late 20s and began to notice that it was thinning and at times, even falling out. I had some blood tests done and discovered that I was deficient in some key vitamins and minerals due to an underlying autoimmune illness which was wreaking havoc with my hormones.

Fast forward to the present day and I've experienced several cycles of hair loss over the last five years that have had a serious effect on my self-confidence and self-esteem. My illness, diet and stress levels are better managed now (though I'm still trying to figure out what triggers certain on-going issues), and my gut health has improved enormously which allows me to benefit greatly from taking supplements, so I always recommend getting some tests done first to see if you can identify any deficiencies first.

To manage my thinning hair, I take daily supplements with Biotin and Zinc and New Nordic's Hair Volume range is full of them! I've tested out the following three different formulas over the past three months to see what effects they would have.

Health & Lifestyle: New Nordic Hair Volume, Hair Volume plus Nail Strong & Hair Volume Gummies - 3 Month Trial Review
New Nordic Hair Volume* (30 tablets, £24.95, link)

The original New Nordic Hair Volume supplement is a bestseller and contains micronutrients and natural herbal extracts to help maintain normal hair volume and growth. Each ingredient has been carefully chosen for its beneficial properties and its these bioactives that nourish and activate the life processes of hair follicle cells. Biotin and Zinc are essential for healthy hair, and Copper has an interesting quality as it contributes to normal hair pigmentation which can help to prevent premature grey hairs.

Packaged in each tablet is 300mg Apple extract (rich in procyanidin B2), 250mg Millet extract, 200mg Horsetail extract, 60mg L-cysteine and 50mg L-methionine. These are accompanied by a large amount of Biotin (475mcg which is 950% NRV), 30mg Pantothenic Acid (500% NRV), 10mg Zinc (100% NRV) and 1mg Copper (100% NRV).

The tablets are a little larger than a standard Paracetamol, but I found them easy enough to swallow with a glass of water and they can be broken into two smaller pieces if you need to. I took one a day as recommended and found them useful to prevent my hair from further thinning, so they're something that I will happily continue to take on a regular basis. These supplements are dairy and gluten-free.

Health & Lifestyle: New Nordic Hair Volume, Hair Volume plus Nail Strong & Hair Volume Gummies - 3 Month Trial Review
New Nordic Hair Volume plus Nail Strong* (60 tablets, £29.95)

If you want an extra boost that also helps your nails in the process, the latest addition to the New Nordic range are the Hair Volume plus Nail Strong supplements. They have the same base ingredients as the original Hair Volume formula above, but also contain 200mg Orthosilic Acid (cholin-stabilised), 45mg Propolis and 20mg Pepper extract.

I'd say that the superstar ingredient here is the Orthosilic Acid which is a bioavailable form of silicon that's been proven to help strengthen brittle nails, so if yours are feeling weak or tend to break easily, this is the supplement for you!  New Nordic recommended that you take two of these tablets a day with a glass of water and they are roughly the same size as the original Hair Volume supplements. I started to see noticeable differences to my nails after just two weeks of taking them.

Health & Lifestyle: New Nordic Hair Volume, Hair Volume plus Nail Strong & Hair Volume Gummies - 3 Month Trial Review
New Nordic Hair Volume Gummies* (60 gummies, £19.95, link)

Taking tablet-shaped supplements isn't for everyone, but don't worry, New Nordic also offer their brilliant Hair Volume formula in a much more palatable option for anyone who struggles with, or doesn't like swallowing larger tablets. These gummies are soft and chewy with a deliciously sweet apple juice flavour instead!

Enjoy two a day with a meal and you'll benefit from 150mg Apple extract, 125mg Millet extract, 100mg Horsetail extract, 475mcg Biotin (950% NRV) and 2.5mg Zinc (25% NRV). They don't quite pack the punch of the other two formulas above, but if your hair is in relatively good shape and you simply want to continue maintaining what you have, these could be useful to you. Unfortunately, the gummies are sugar and gelatine based so they're not suitable for vegans, vegetarians or diabetics.

Shop the full range of New Nordic Hair Volume supplements at newnordic.co.uk

Do you take beauty supplements?

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Foodie Friday: Easy Cheesy Herby Nuts (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary

Friday, 3 January 2020

Easy Cheesy Herby Nuts (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary
Veganuary is set to break a new record in terms of participation this year, with over a quarter of a million Brits taking the pledge and trying vegan this month. Whether you're taking part or just want to reduce your meat and dairy intake, I'll be sharing a series of tasty vegan-friendly recipes throughout January to help you out as part of my popular Foodie Friday posts - enjoy!


For this week's Foodie Friday post, I wanted to share a recipe for Easy Cheesy Herby Nuts which only takes 10 minutes to make. I made two huge batches of these for Christmas and New Year's Eve parties at home, and they were one of the most popular snacks on the table with everyone asking for more afterwards!

To get a subtle herby cheesy flavour, I simply coated the nuts in a generous amount of Mixed Italian Herbs and Nutritional Yeast - the latter of which should be on every new vegan's to-buy list. This form of inactive dried yeast, often nicknamed 'nooch', has a surprisingly realistic cheesy flavour to it and can be sprinkled over pasta dishes, soups, sandwiches, popcorn, roasted potatoes, the list goes on.

I'd recommend buying Nutritional Yeast which has been fortified with the all-important Vitamin B12 for an extra healthy boost, so why not give these Easy Cheesy Herbs Nuts a try this weekend? 

Easy Cheesy Herby Nuts (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary
Ingredients (makes one batch)
  • 300g Mixed Nuts
  • 3-4 tbsp Nutritional Yeast (depending on how 'cheesy' you want them)
  • 1 tsp Dried Mixed Italian Herbs (Herbs de Provence works well)
  • Generous drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper

Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4.
  • In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients and give everything a good stir to coat the nuts.
  • Spread them out onto a baking tray and pop into the oven to roast for around 5-8 minutes, until they start to go golden brown. Allow to cool before tucking in and enjoy!

Storage tip: Keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (not the fridge) for up to a week.

Easy Cheesy Herby Nuts (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary
Are you taking part in Veganuary?

December Empties: Products I've Used Up

Thursday, 2 January 2020

December Empties: Products I've Used Up
Happy New Year! It made sense to me that the first blog post of 2020 should be an Empties one as I know a lot of people are currently embarking on No Buy and decluttering challenges (myself included), so I hope this helps to provide some additional motivation! Here's everything beauty-wise that I've used up recently and my overall thoughts about whether I'll be repurchasing them again.

Eco By Sonya Coconut & Mint Body Wash*
This massive bottle of body wash lingered in my bathroom for much of 2019 and I loved the unusual coconut and mint scent which was nice and refreshing for an early morning shower. Great SLS-free formula. Repurchase? I have a million other body washes to get through, but it's something that I would happily pick up again in the future.

Bali Balm Sandalwood & Ginger Lip Balm* (featured here)
A gorgeous luxury lip balm with a thick texture and surprisingly delicious flavour - it lasted ages and was perfect to apply before bedtime. Repurchase? I'm currently using up another Bali Balm in a different flavour so keep an eye out for that in a future Empties post.

REN Moroccan Rose Otto Ultra-Moisture Body Oil*
I'm a huge fan of REN's Moroccan Rose Otto range and this body oil was such a pleasure to use. Heavenly scented and with such a rich and nourishing formula, it's hard not to fall in love with this luxury pampering treat! Repurchase? Yes.

December Empties: Products I've Used Up
Tropic Deep Hydration Soothing Cooling Mask(reviewed here)
If your skin is in need of some deep hydration, I can't recommend this Tropic face mask enough. I enjoyed using this after a clay mask to put moisture back into my skin, or whenever I felt like it was feeling tight or dry. Lovely cooling effect that just sinks right in. Repurchase? Will do in the future.

Alteya Organics Bulgarian Rosewater*
A simple 100% natural and organic rosewater spritz - I always have a bottle or two on the go as I regularly use it in my daily skincare routine to instantly calm any redness or irritation, as well as being a gentle toner for sensitive skin types. Repurchase? I have others to use first but would buy again.

Bodhi & Birch Nordic White Body Oil* (travel sizes)
Everything from Bodhi & Birch is ultra-luxurious and smells amazing, and this is no exception! I adore this Nordic White fragrance which is a mix of Spruce and Fennel - to my nose, it's very clean, piney, refreshing and spa-like. The Body Oil formula is also simply glorious to use on dry skin. Repurchase? Yes!

Nathalie Bond Himalayan Pink Salts Rose & Patchouli(travel size)
Although I loved the relaxing scent of these bath salts, they sadly left a sticky residue all around my tub which was very disappointing. Repurchase? No.

a.po.the:ca Rosewater Face Mist(reviewed here)
Surprise, surprise, another rosewater spritz - told you I liked them! Similar to the Alteya Organics one above, this one is also 100% natural and 96% organic, but it has the addition of Glycerin and Radish Root Ferment which makes it feel more hydrating. Repurchase? Will do once I've used some others up.

December Empties: Products I've Used Up
Tropic Passion Fruit & Ginger Lily Luxury Bath Foam(travel size)
Last month, I finished off the Monoi & Orange Flower travel size bath foam from Tropic (post here) and now it's the turn of Passion Fruit & Ginger Lily, an equally beautiful fragrance with a fantastic SLS-free formula that generates lots of bubbles. Repurchase? Definitely.

Mitchell And Peach Flora No.1 Eau De Parfum(travel size)
I finally emptied a perfume - hooray! OK, it's a travel size but considering how rare it is for me to actually get through a full-size bottle, I'm still counting it as a victory. Flora No.1 is a very sophisticated floral fragrance that really grew on me the more I wore it. Repurchase? I'm on a perfume buying ban at the moment until my stash is decreased, though it's certainly on my future wishlist.

Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair (reviewed here)
An old favourite that I've been using for well over five years now, this easy to use treatment has seriously saved my hair many, many times from too much blow-drying and straightening. I've gone through countless tubes and rest assured that I'll be taking the scissors to this one soon to get out every last drop! Repurchase? Of course.

P.S - Recycle your beauty empties with Terracycle! 
Most of these plastic and glass containers can be recycled through my local council service (blue bin in my area), however, things like the pumps have metal springs in them which are not accepted as they require a different method in order to be recycled. Luckily, Garnier have teamed up with Terracycle to recycle beauty and personal care waste which is deemed difficult to recycle. It's free, all brands are accepted and there are drop off locations all over the UK. Read more here.

What have you used up recently?

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