Winter Skincare: Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten - Skin Renew Cleansing Oil, Dark Circles Eye Cream & Booster review

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten - Skin Renew Cleansing Oil, Dark Circles Eye Cream & Booster review
Looking for an affordable way to give your Winter Skincare routine a boost? Check out these Vitamin C infused helpers from Super Facialist and banish dull complexions for good!

I don't need to tell any fellow Brits this, but the lack of light that the Northern Hemisphere gets during the winter months can give everything a greyish tinge, including your skin, so you're certainly not alone if you've been feeling that your complexion looks a bit more lacklustre than usual recently.

The good news though is that there's an abundance of Vitamin C infused skincare on the market which can help to brighten and rejuvenate your skin, and when you see the affordable prices from Super Facialist below, these products will brighten your bank balance as well!

I've been testing out the following from Super Facialist's incredibly popular Vitamin C+ Brighten range over the past month, to see what all the hype is about.

Side note: Super Facialist is a cruelty-free brand and although the formulas aren't as natural as some other brands that I feature on here, everything is free from parabens, mineral oils, petrolatum and synthetic colours. 

Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten - Skin Renew Cleansing Oil, Dark Circles Eye Cream review
 Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Renew Cleansing Oil* (100ml, £5.50, link)
I love using cleansing oils for removing daily grime and make-up after the end of a long day, so when I saw this award-winning one, I knew I had to try it! Featuring nourishing ingredients such as Sunflower Seed Oil, Olive Fruit Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Raspberry Seed Oil and that all-important brightening Vitamin C, Super Facialist's Skin Renew Cleansing Oil has a gorgeous silky texture which transforms into a milky cleanser when water is added to it.

This SLS and alcohol-free Cleansing Oil did an excellent job of removing all traces of impurities and make-up, including long-lasting liquid foundation, though it's important to note that this shouldn't be used to remove eye makeup such as mascara (I'd recommend using a separate micellar water for that job and then going in with this afterwards to use over the rest of your face). My skin felt soft, hydrated and thoroughly clean after rinsing with a flannel and I love the fresh citrusy scent. Available in two sizes, the handy 100ml bottle pictured above is great for travelling with and a good way to try it before purchasing the larger 200ml bottle.

Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten Dark Circles Eye Cream* (15ml, £14, link)
As someone who has hereditary dark circles, there's little that you can do to change them as it's all down to winning the genetics lottery, unfortunately, but some targeted brightening eye creams can make them look a little less severe which is how I would describe Super Facialist's offering. 

This fragrance-free Eye Cream has Vitamin C, Caffeine, a Peptide complex and 'light diffusers' to help brighten up the undereye area, but after using it morning and night for four weeks, I can only say that I've noticed a slight difference. That said, it's great for smoothing out fine lines and provides a good base for applying concealer, so if you're looking for an affordable eye cream that does those, definitely try it. Just don't expect any miracles on the dark circles front.

Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten Booster review
Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten Booster* (15ml, £18, link)
One of the newest releases from Super Facialist is their Vitamin C+ Brighten Booster, a supercharged serum that combines 1% Vitamin C, a naturally derived pro-collagen Vitamin C active and Allantoin, which all work together to deliver some serious glow to dull skin.

The fragrance-free and vegan-friendly formula has been designed to 'boost' your day or night moisturiser (from any brand), by simply adding 2-3 drops directly to the cream and then applying it as usual. This is a particularly useful product for any skincare fan who is on a budget, or for anyone to use during the darker Winter months to give their complexion a brightening helping hand.

I've really enjoyed using this and have tested it out with a couple of different moisturisers, all of which the Booster has worked and blended well with. A little goes a long way and you should see a noticeable difference within a fortnight of applying it on a daily basis.

Shop the full Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten range at your nearest Boots store or online at superfacialist.co.uk

Have you tried anything from Super Facialist?

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Plastic-Free Haircare: Biovène Barcelona Moisture Volume Solid Shampoo & Conditioner review #ZeroWaste

Friday, 14 February 2020

Biovène Barcelona Moisture Volume Solid Shampoo & Conditioner review
You may be well aware of solid bars of shampoo, which are fast becoming the norm in eco-conscious households, but did you know that solid hair conditioners are a thing too?! Meet Biovéne Barcelona - the easy way to become completely plastic-free for all your daily hair care needs.

There's rarely a week that goes by when I don't come across a new plastic-free beauty brand, and my latest find is Biovène Barcelona. This award-winning, socially conscious company hails from Barcelona, Spain which is one of my favourite cities in the whole world thanks to its diversity, architecture, and the countless amazing restaurants where you can find a gourmet veggie burger at 4am! 

Biovène Barcelona Moisture Volume Solid Shampoo & Conditioner review
Biovène Barcelona embraces this unique inclusivity from its homeland, and has created a range of completely plastic-free haircare which feels premium, yet is accessible and affordable - everything is priced at just £5.99. They also readily champion the Clean Beauty movement with transparent formulas which are free from a long list of 'nasties' such as Sulfates, SLS, SLES, Parabens, Formaldehyde, Phthalates, Mineral Oil, Retinyl Palmitate, Palm Oil, Oxybenzone, Hydroquinone, Triclosan and Triclocarban, and there's less than 1% synthetic fragrance in their products. 

I love these clear statements on the side of their packaging (see above) - it makes it so much easier for consumers to shop for proper green beauty when a brand is so proud of what they make!

Biovène Barcelona currently has five different sets of pH balanced Solid Shampoos and Conditioners available to suit all hair types and concerns, and I have recently been testing out the Moisture Volume duo which is formulated for normal, fine and oily hair types.

Biovène Barcelona Moisture Volume Solid Shampoo & Conditioner review
Biovène Barcelona Moisture Volume Solid Shampoo* (40g, £5.99)
I find that many solid shampoos I've tried in the past have a tendency to weigh down my fine hair, so I was curious to try this Moisture Volume Solid Shampoo to see if it would buck the trend. With key natural ingredients such as Apple Cider Vinegar, Biotin, Shea Butter, Beeswax, Macadamia Oil and Vitamin E, this light green coloured solid bar promises to volumise fine hair, giving it extra strength and resilience, whilst keeping it hydrated and preventing product build-up. To use it, I simply added water to the bar to create a light lather and then massaged the lather into wet hair. It smells really fresh and left my hair thoroughly clean without feeling 'squeaky' or dry afterwards. I didn't notice any extra volume though.

Biovène Barcelona Moisture Volume Solid Conditioner* (40g, £5.99)
After enjoying a positive experience with the shampoo, I followed up with the matching Solid Conditioner with high hopes but sadly, I was left disappointed. The Conditioner has similar ingredients to the shampoo - there's Biotin, Apple Cider Vinegar, Shea Butter, Beeswax and Macadamia Oil etc, however, it just felt a bit waxy and sticky in consistency. I followed the instructions and applied the bar directly to my hair, smoothing it over and leaving it on for 5 minutes before rinsing. After rinsing, my hair unfortunately felt very tangled and sticky, which didn't improve after I got out of the shower and left it to air dry. I tried a couple of different methods after that, including wetting the bar between my hands and then smoothing the conditioner onto my hair, but the results proved to be much the same with my hair feeling dry with a waxy residue left on it, despite numerous rinses.

Overall thoughts?
I can definitely recommend the Moisture Volume Solid Shampoo, but my hair just didn't like the Solid Conditioner sadly! I may be tempted to try some of the other conditioners in the future to see how different the formulas are though - fingers crossed.

Shop the full range of Biovène Barcelona plastic-free haircare at LoveLula.com

Have you tried plastic-free haircare?

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Introducing: Rebecca Tracey - Handmade Aromatherapy - The Perfumed Workshop

Monday, 10 February 2020

Rebecca Tracey - Handmade Aromatherapy - The Perfumed Workshop
Just before Christmas, I was introduced to the wonderful world of Rebecca Tracey's Perfumed Workshop at Bonds in Stratford-upon-Avon by a friend who adores aromatherapy as much as I do. Ever since, I have been simply smitten with her exquisite range of beautifully scented lifestyle products, and I was over-the-moon when my friend sent me a surprise package as an early 'Galentine's' gift.

Rebecca Tracey is perhaps one of the most underrated entrepreneurs who specialises in creating artisan aromatherapy products, and she has turned her passion for pure and natural scents into a successful business. Based at Bonds Lifestyle Centre just outside of Stratford-upon-Avon, Rebecca's Perfumed Workshop is a must-visit for anyone who is interested in high quality, 100% natural fragrances, candles, diffusers, aromatherapy blends, skincare, body care and more. Everything is handmade, cruelty-free and sustainably packaged.

To give you a small insight into this brand, I thought I'd share the package that my friend sent me as a mini introduction to what Rebecca Tracey has to offer.

Rebecca Tracey - Handmade Aromatherapy - The Perfumed Workshop
 Rebecca Tracey Lemon, Patchouli & Lemongrass Botanical Candle 01* (300g, £28, link)

I adore luxury naturally scented candles and they really don't come much more luxurious than Rebecca Tracey's sublime collection of Botanical Candles which currently has fifteen enticing fragrances to choose from. This 01 Botanical Candle is based on a blend of Lemon, Patchouli and Lemongrass, three of my favourite mood-boosting essential oils, and this is such an uplifting, summery, zesty and 'happy' fragrance to experience - it's the perfect antidote to this miserable weather!

All of these Botanical Candles are handmade using non-GMO Soy Wax and 100% pure essential oils. They have an impressive scent throw and this 300g size will deliver a clean, non-toxic burn for around 60 hours. Larger 3 wick candles are also available which are definitely next on my wishlist.

Rebecca Tracey - Handmade Aromatherapy - The Perfumed Workshop
Rebecca Tracey Frankincense, Lavender & Geranium 04 Aromatherapy Room Fragrance* (100ml, £15, link) and Fresh Head 21 Aromatherapy Pulse Point Rollerball* (10ml, £9, link)

Being a migraine sufferer, I can't use mainstream room sprays as they're a painful trigger for me (the aerosol ones are the worst) and often leave me feeling nauseous and irritated as well, so I prefer to scent my home with simple, natural blends of essential oils instead. 

Rebecca Tracey has created ten different Aromatherapy Room Fragrances, all housed in dark glass bottles, and 04 Frankincense, Lavender & Geranium is a divine cocktail of floral and woody notes. This one's great for spritzing around the bedroom to help you unwind as it's very relaxing and doubles up as a calming pillow spray too. Like the candles, the Room Fragrances are 100% natural and use only the finest and purest essential oils.

Aromatherapy fans should also check out the range of 100% natural Pulse Point Rollerballs, of which there are six blends, each one with a different purpose. Fresh Head 21 is a soothing and refreshing way to clear a foggy head so that you can concentrate on tasks better and be more productive. It's perfect for anxiety and fatigue, as well as being a useful study aid if you find that you're a bit of a procrastinator like me!

Discover the full range of Rebecca Tracey's Aromatherapy ranges and products at rebeccatracey.co.uk

Are you a fan of Aromatherapy?

January Empties: Products I've Used Up

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

January Empties: Products I've Used Up
January always feels like the longest month of the year and my Empties seem to reflect that as I have another bumper edit of them! Here's everything that I've used up recently and my thoughts about whether I'll be repurchasing them again or not.

D'Alchémy All-Over Blemish Solution (samples)
I had a horrible breakout when I had flu last month, so I decided to try out these samples of D'Alchémy's All-Over Blemish Solution and this stuff is amazing! It's a light, oil-free cream which unblocks pores and reduces inflammation so that blemishes heal faster. Worked a treat! Repurchase? Yes.

Lavera Whitening Toothpaste
I love Lavera's toothpastes as I believe all of them are SLS-free and their Whitening formula is a really good natural option for those who are looking for something to gently remove daily surface stains such as coffee, tea, wine and curry/spices. Gentle and effective. Repurchase? Yes.

Skin & Tonic Brit Beauty Oil (reviewed here)
I've used this wonderful omega-rich facial oil many times over the years and often come back to it during the Winter months when my skin feels drier and needs more nourishment. Great to use for an evening facial massage as well. Repurchase? Will do next Winter.

January Empties: Products I've Used Up
Tropic Smoothing Cleanser Complexion Purifier*
One of my favourite cream cleansers for combination skin, this one from Tropic is perfect to use morning or night and removes all traces of daily grime, pollution and impurities. Repurchase? Yes.

Lyonsleaf Natural Body Butter(reviewed here)
Another long time fave of mine is Lyonleaf's Body Butter. This stuff is seriously thick, rich and super buttery as it's a water-free and preservative-free formula, and it's amazing for very dry skin and problems like eczema. Repurchase? Yes.

CHOBS Moringa Total Cream(reviewed here)
This was a lovely moisturiser to use in the Winter months and I sometimes used it as a night cream when I felt like my skin was particularly parched. Repurchase? Will do next Winter.

Weleda Samples
I always seem to have a stash of Weleda minis lying around as they come in handy for travelling and weekends away. Here I've used up their Arnica Massage Oil, Almond Body Oil, Almond Sensitive Body Wash and Lotion, and Pomegranate Regenerating Body Lotion. Repurchase? I would happily buy full-sizes of all of these!

January Empties: Products I've Used Up
Organii Intensive Organic Face & Body Oil(reviewed here)
Another Winter skin fave - Organii's Intensive range is ideally suited for people who suffer from eczema like myself and their Face & Body Oil is fantastic for sensitive and dry skin types as well. I didn't use this on my face but loved it on my body after a bath or shower. Repurchase? Yes.

Radical Skin Perfecting Screen SPF 30(reviewed here)
I use sunscreen on my face all year round, regardless of the weather as I feel it's one of the best things that you can do in terms of anti-ageing, so it's no surprise that I've gone through many tubes of this over the years! Sinks in, doesn't feel greasy and sits well underneath makeup. Repurchase? Yes.

Tropic Clear Skin Blemish-Fighting Mask(reviewed here)
A powerful natural-based clay face mask for when you're fighting a nasty breakout - this gets to work quickly and helps to reduce the size of spots within 24 hours. Particularly useful for bringing those painful 'under-the-skin' blemishes to the surface. Repurchase? Yes.

Madara Smart Anti-Fatigue Eye Rescue Cream & Anti-Pollution Charcoal & Mud Repair Mask
Two from Madara - the eye cream is brilliant for those who are battling dark circles and fine lines - it creates a smooth surface for concealer, hydrates and de-puffs so it was my go-to in the mornings. The face mask uses a combination of charcoal and mud to detoxify congested skin and remove traces of pollution so it's a good one to use once a week. Repurchase? Yes to both!

January Empties: Products I've Used Up
P.S - How To Recycle Your Beauty Empties!
All of the glass and easy-to-recycle plastic PET empties will be put into my council's blue bin kerbside recycling scheme, but for the harder-to-recycle stuff, I will be:-

  • Recycling the sample sachets, pumps and atomisers with Neal's Yard Remedies - more info at the bottom of their website here.
  • Recycling toothpaste tubes with Colgate's partnership with Terracycle - more info here
  • Recycling any other products that my local council doesn't accept, such as flexible plastic tubes at The Body Shop, L'Occitane or with Garnier's Terracycle partnership - more info here.

What have you used up recently?

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The Weekend Post: Is Botox The Right Way To Get Rid Of Wrinkles? by Austin K

Sunday, 2 February 2020

If how you look is important to you, ageing is bound to be your biggest challenge. Some of the signs of ageing can be hidden easily by simple procedures. Hair colour can hide your grey hairs pretty easily. Other signs like fine lines and wrinkles that appear on your face are a lot harder to deal with. Ageing cannot be reversed, there's no cure for it. There are a lot of good habits one can inculcate to delay the signs of ageing from appearing. Habits like smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol have been known to make things worse faster. Apart from taking preventive steps, there are options one can consider even after fine lines and wrinkles appear on your face. 

Why do wrinkles appear? 

Ageing coincides with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The exact causes may vary depending on where they appear. The way to treat wrinkles depends on the precise cause of why they appear or where they appear. Our facial expressions make our skin fold. This is caused by the contraction of certain facial muscles. Once the face returns to a resting state the skin straightens out due to its elasticity. Ageing reduces the elasticity of the skin. Due to the frequent contraction of the muscles in a similar pattern over the years the skin forms lines where it folds and over the years these lines deepen. For these types of wrinkles, Botox is the best solution available. 

What does Botox do? 

Botox is a powerful toxin that can temporarily paralyse muscles when injected into them. When injected into the facial muscles responsible for wrinkles they get paralysed and the wrinkles get smoothed out. This effect will last between three to six months depending on a few factors. After that period another dose would be required to maintain a wrinkle-free appearance. Botox cannot remove all types of wrinkles though. It is typically used to treat wrinkles that form on the top one-third portion of the face. Most reputed organizations that offer Botox treatments like ​Therapie Clinic ​also offer other solutions. The most common being dermal fillers. 

What are other treatments? 

All wrinkles do not form because of the contraction of facial muscles. Ageing also reduces the tissue volume in the face. This causes the skin to shrink or sag leading to the appearance of wrinkles. Botox cannot help with such wrinkles. Dermal fillers are a range of substances that can be directly injected into the skin to replace the lost volume thereby letting the wrinkles vanish. The treatment will have to be repeated in around ten months. 

Apart from injectables and preventive good habits, there are surgical methods to treat wrinkles. These methods like a facelift are a lot more expensive. It will also involve a longer recovery period. It also comes with the risks associated with surgery and anaesthesia. Injectables are a safe and relatively hassle-free process to get rid of wrinkles. When it comes to wrinkles that form due to muscle contractions Botox is the best option.

Article contributed by Austin K


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Foodie Friday: No Bake Salted Chocolate Pretzel & Peanut Butter Squares (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary

Friday, 31 January 2020

Salted Chocolate Pretzel & Peanut Butter Squares (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe)
Happy Friday everyone! As today marks the end of a very successful Veganuary, I wanted to round off the month with a chocolatey sweet treat which is based on a simple no-bake recipe. These Salted Chocolate Pretzel & Peanut Butter Squares are seriously moreish so you have been warned!

Vegan desserts and sweet treats are often a lot easier to make at home than you may have previously thought, thanks to the ingredients being readily available from most supermarkets these days. It's simply the case of finding a like-for-like product such as dairy-free chocolate or a plant milk alternative to use instead.  

With this in mind, I wanted to share an easy no-bake recipe for Salted Chocolate Pretzel & Peanut Butter Squares as I feel it's a great recipe to try if you're new to veganism. They're also healthier than something you'd buy pre-made/prepackaged in the shops, and these yummy squares are the perfect size to pop into lunch boxes or to keep in the fridge for whenever you have a sweet snack craving.

I'm hopelessly addicted to that salty chocolate flavour sensation so these really hit the spot if you're a fan too!
Salted Chocolate Pretzel & Peanut Butter Squares (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe)
Salted Chocolate Pretzel & Peanut Butter Squares (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe)Ingredients (makes 8-10 squares)
  • 80g Salted Pretzels, plus extra for topping
  • 80g Jumbo Rolled Oats
  • 150g Medjool Dates
  • 6 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 2 tbsp Maple or Agave Syrup
  • 150g Dairy-Free Milk or Dark Chocolate
  • 2-3 tbsp Dairy-Free Milk
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil


Method
  • Line a brownie tin with baking paper and set aside.
  • Place the Salted Pretzels, Oats, Dates, Peanut Butter and Maple Syrup into a food processor and blitz until everything comes together to form a rough dough-like texture.
  • Add 2 tbsp of the Dairy-Free Milk and blitz again so that the dough feels sticky between your fingers. If it's still a bit dry or crumbly, add an extra 1 tbsp of Dairy-Free Milk and mix again.
  • Transfer the dough to the lined brownie tin, using a spatula to spread it evenly and to smooth out the surface, pressing it firming into the tray. Set aside.
  • Next, break up the Dairy-Free Chocolate into smaller pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl with the Coconut Oil. Heat on medium-high for 20-30 seconds until mostly melted and then stir to ensure a smooth and glossy consistency.
  • Carefully pour the melted Chocolate over the dough layer, using the spatula again to smooth it out so that it's an even layer. Finish with some broken pieces of Salted Pretzels and pop into the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.
  • Once set, remove from the fridge and cut into squares. Enjoy!

Storage tip: Keep the squares in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Salted Chocolate Pretzel & Peanut Butter Squares (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe)
Salted Chocolate Pretzel & Peanut Butter Squares (Vegan / Dairy-Free recipe)
Do you enjoy no-bake recipes?

[Recipe adapted from PlantBased magazine]

Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - January 2020 review

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - January 2020 review
The first LoveLula Beauty Box of 2020 arrived earlier this month and they've done a fantastic job of including a variety of green beauty products, with an overall value of £50! Curious to find out more? Keep on reading...

Kathleen Natural Bright Mask
 Kathleen Natural Bright Mask (RRP £28)

Worth £28 on its own, this luxury, vegan-friendly face mask is proudly made in the UK by Kathleen Natural who are based in Royal Leamington Spa. The Bright Mask is appropriately named as it's been formulated to deliver refreshing, illuminating and hydrating results thanks to a blend of rich natural acids which are found in White Willow Bark and Hibiscus extracts. The acids help to speed up cell turnover as they gently clear away dull, dead skin cells on the surface, revealing brighter, fresher and younger-looking skin underneath - genius!

Kiki Health Magnesium Oil
 Kiki Health Magnesium Oil (RRP £12.50)

Next up, I was delighted to find a Magnesium Oil from Kiki Health as I often talk about the benefits of magnesium supplements to anyone who will listen! Most of us in the UK have a magnesium deficiency so it's important to keep your levels topped up, especially if you exercise or train a lot. This convenient spray can be applied any time of the day directly to the skin, where it's quickly absorbed to help relax muscles and soothe any minor aches or pains.

Hesh Black Seed Oil
 Hesh Black Seed Oil (RRP £7.99)

Another interesting product in this month's LoveLula box is Hesh Black Seed Oil which comes packaged in dark glass to protect the ingredients within from the elements. Containing simply 100% pure and virgin Black Seed Oil which is extracted from the seeds of the Nigella Sativa plant, this oil has been revered by Asian communities for centuries thanks to its antioxidant-rich properties. You can take it internally to help with allergies, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and digestive disorders, or you can apply it topically to treat dry skin problems, reduce inflammation and boost natural hair growth.

Natura Siberica Taiga Daily Protection Hand Cream
 Natura Siberica Taiga Daily Protection Hand Cream (30ml travel size)

As Winter continues its chilly assault on our skin, make sure to give your hands some extra TLC with this travel size Taiga Daily Protection Hand Cream from Natura Siberica. With ingredients such as Wild Honey, Arctic Cloudberries and Lingonberries, this hard-working hand cream instantly hydrates and softens, whilst also protecting the skin's natural barrier.

Mádara Grow Volume Shampoo & Conditioner
Mádara Grow Volume Shampoo & Conditioner (samples)

To round off this month's LoveLula box, we have two samples of Mádara Grow Volume Shampoo & Conditioner - a range of natural hair care which is infused with Caffeine and Zinc to give your hair a healthy boost. And don't forget that after you've tried these, you can recycle the sample sachet packaging at your nearest Neal's Yard Remedies as part of their national recycling scheme - more info here to find your local stockist.


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: Sundose - Personalised Supplements review

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Health & Lifestyle: Sundose - Personalised Supplements review
We consume billions of pounds worth of health supplements in the UK, with an estimated 71% of the general public stating that they take some form of a multivitamin every day in a recent survey. But as everyone's health needs are different and individual, should we be looking at a more personalised approach to supplements? 

With my interest in health and wellbeing forever growing, I've been fortunate enough to speak to numerous professional nutritionists and health experts over the years, and most are in favour of supplements being taken to ensure that we get all of the vitamins and minerals that our body requires to perform at its best. There are many factors involved, but common thoughts on why supplements are beneficial are based on busy lifestyles that include more travel these days, longer commutes, longer working hours and family commitments, poor diets that are reliant on packaged and convenience foods, and a lack of many key minerals in our soil due to environmental pollution and intensive farming practices.

However, it's important to actually stop and think about your individual health and lifestyle needs before you simply buy the nearest multivitamin on the shelf. For example, if you're a woman who has periods, you'll usually require more iron than a man, or if you do a lot of exercise, it's likely that you may need a top up of magnesium as exercise depletes your body's magnesium stores. 
Health & Lifestyle: Sundose - Personalised Supplements review
Personalised Supplements
This is why I was interested in the opportunity to trial Sundose who specifically tailor their supplements to your personal health requirements. When you sign up to their health service, you're asked a number of questions to assess your needs and for an even better, tailored guarantee, it's recommended that you submit to them a copy of your recent blood test results. This approach will allow their lab to individually compose and 100% match the Sundose supplements to exactly what your body needs. Pretty neat, huh?

What Is Sundose?  
Sundose is a composition of high-quality vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics and antioxidants, which are designed to be taken every day to boost your overall health. It's free from preservatives, colourants, anti-caking ingredients and fillers, so it has a short shelf-life and needs to be kept in the fridge so that it remains fresh. Boxes contain a month's supply which are delivered to you, and your Sundose supplements change as you change, as the composition is recalibrated every month. You can even download the Sundose app and track your progress, plus they have supplements available which are suitable for those who follow a vegan diet.

Health & Lifestyle: Sundose - Personalised Supplements review
How Do I Take Sundose?
For ultra-convenience and freshness, Sundose is packaged into individual daily sachets which contain a powder that you mix with water and drink (you can choose the flavour of this when you sign up), and a range of supplements that you swallow with a glass of water. It's recommended that you take your Sundose drink and supplements after breakfast.

What's In My Personalised Sundose?
To give you an example of what you can expect, here's how my Sundose was composed:-

The Powder part (that you mix with water to drink) contains a high amount of Vitamin C (606mg) with Folic Acid, Selenium, Biotin, Vitamin B12, Thiamine, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin, Panthothenic Acid, Zinc and Magnesium all covering my daily requirements. It also includes Vitamin D, Iron, Molybdenum, Manganese, Calcium, Vitamin E, Copper, Potassium, Iodine, Chromium, Lycopene, Coenzyme Q10 and Lutein in varying amounts.

For the Supplements, I received four capsules to swallow:-
  • An antioxidant capsule which contains Silymarin, L-ornithine and Choline.
  • An omega fatty acids capsule which contains Fish Oil, EPA and DHA.
  • A probiotic capsule which contains Saccharomyces boulardii, Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus plantarum LP01 and Inulin.
  • A further antioxidant capsule containing L-theanine, Bacopa monnieri extract, Ashwagandha extract and Korean Ginseng extract.

Overall thoughts?
I took Sundose for one month and thought that it covered all of my essential health needs and more, especially with the powder that you make into a drink - I found this useful for boosting my overall energy and immunity. The probiotic element helps to support gut health, whilst the two antioxidant supplements addreses anxiety, sleep, fatigue, energy levels and healthy hormone regulation. I always feel that it's good to comsume more essential omega fatty acids, and despite being a vegetarian, I have always had good results from taking fish oil (it's my only exception to the vegetarian rule) so again, this worked well for me. This is definitely something that I would look into continuing with in the future as it covers all bases of health in my opinion, and does what you want your supplements to do for you.

Sundose* retails for £69 per month and is available from uk.sundose.io

Would you consider personalised supplements?

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Foodie Friday: Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary

Friday, 24 January 2020

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary
It's been incredibly inspiring to see so many people take part in Veganuary this year on my social media feeds, and this week's recipe is for anyone who has been craving some serious comfort food - it's my favourite Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

A generous bowl of spaghetti is sometimes the only thing that really hits the spot during Winter, especially as this whole week seems to have been a pretty miserable combination of dark grey skies, constant drizzle, chilly temperatures and awful politics - brrrr! 

This plant-based Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese only takes around 30 minutes to make and it's one of the best mid-week dinners that the whole family can enjoy. I find that it's a good one for kids too, as it's an easy way to sneak some extra veg into their meal without the bowl being thrown at the wall ;) 

As always, you can customise the ingredients by adding some Chilli if you want some heat, or if you're on a low-carb diet, you can simply swap the Spaghetti for Courgetti instead. 

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 200g Dried Spaghetti 
  • 1 pack of Vegan Mince
  • 1 can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 punnet of Chestnut Mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, peeled & crushed
  • 1 small White Onion
  • 2 sticks of Celery
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • Generous handful of Petit Pois Peas
  • Salt & Pepper

To Serve
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Dairy-Free Cheese 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

Method
  • Roughly chop up the Red Pepper, Onion, Celery and Mushrooms and give them a quick blitz in a food processor, or finely chop everything into very small pieces, e.g the mushrooms should look similar to mince.
  • In a large saucepan over a low-medium heat, add the finely chopped vegetables, along with the can of Chopped Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Soy Sauce and Garlic. Stir everything together and simmer to allow the flavours to infuse and season with Salt & Pepper. After 10 minutes, add the Vegan Mince, stir and cook for a further 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
  • Whilst the veggies and sauce is simmering, cook the Spaghetti and Petit Pois Peas according to the pack instructions and set aside.
  • Add the cooked Spaghetti to the saucepan with the veggies and stir over a low-medium heat to ensure it's thoroughly coated and piping hot.
  • Serve immediately with torn fresh Basil Leaves, a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, extra Black Pepper and finely grated Dairy-Free Cheese if desired. Enjoy!

Storage tip: The Bolognese sauce will keep in the fridge for 2 days in an airtight container. Ensure that it's thoroughly heated before serving with fresh pasta.

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary
 What's your favourite pasta dish?

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Tried & Tested: My. Haircare - Rescue My. Hair Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar review

Thursday, 23 January 2020

My. Haircare - Rescue My. Hair Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar review
Banish residues of everyday pollution and plastic at the same time with this nifty eco-friendly Shampoo Bar from My. Haircare. Oh, and it's vegan-friendly too! 

Bars of soap have made a huge comeback into bathrooms all over the world, as we all try to do our bit to reduce our plastic waste, so it only seemed like the next logical step to swap all of those shampoo bottles for a solid bar of shampoo as well. If only it were that easy!

I have had a serious love/hate relationship with shampoo bars over the years and it's always been the one product that I've really struggled to find a plastic-free replacement for. For example, I first started out trying all of Lush's shampoo bars many years ago and whilst my hair liked them, the inclusion of SLS caused my eczema to flare up and my scalp was not happy so I had to stop using them. 

Then began a long trial and error process of attempting to find a shampoo bar which was free from SLS, but that also didn't turn my hair into straw. After trying what seemed like every brand that I could get my hands onto, I admitted defeat a few months ago.

Or so I thought, until a new one dropped through my letterbox recently from My. Haircare... could this be 'The One'? 

My. Haircare - Rescue My. Hair Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar review
My. Haircare Rescue My. Hair Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar* (80g, £13.95, link)
Having enjoyed using My. Haircare's brilliant Infuse My Colour range (reviewed here), I decided to give their Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar a go. This shampoo bar is one of four that they currently sell (the others are Hydrate, Volume and Smooth), and as you can guess by the name, it's been specially formulated to help remove product build-up and pollution residue from the hair, both of which can leave your locks looking dull and feeling lank and dirty.

Cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, this eco-friendly shampoo bar has been created by hand using waterless technology and cold-pressed methods. With a gentle neutral p.H of 5.5, it's pleasantly free from Palm Oil, SLS/SLES, Sodium Hydroxide, Lye, Silicones and Parabens, and the product is completely biodegradable - even the recyclable cardboard box that it comes in can be re-used to store the bar between uses. Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar has a subtle, fresh and very clean scent with hints of Cucumber and Violet, and is enriched with Oat Protein to soothe difficult-to-please scalps making it suitable for all hair types to use.

How To Use & Results
Simply wet your hair first and then rub the bar between your hands to create a lather. Apply the lather to your hair, massage it in and then rinse thoroughly. If required you can repeat the process if your hair has a lot of product build-up, but I felt like it did a good enough job the first time around.

I was surprised by how well it lathered as this has been a tricky problem area for other shampoo bars that I've tried, and after rinsing, my hair felt clean and soft. I've tried it with and without conditioner and found that skipping conditioner is a definite no-no if you have dry hair, as it resulted in a lot of frizz. However, when used with a conditioner, it was actually not bad at all, if just a little frizzier than usual. Whilst it's not the holy grail shampoo bar that I was hoping for, it's still the best that I have tried so far, and something that I would happily use whilst travelling and visiting friends in the city.

Have you made the switch to a shampoo bar?

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