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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Travel Size Beauty: Plastic-Free Minis from Antipodes (Get 20% off at Feel Unique & Beauty Bay)

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Travel Size Beauty: Plastic-Free Minis from Antipodes
Lucky enough to be getting some Winter Sun this month? If you're jetting off to sunnier climes, make sure to pop these brilliant plastic-free beauty minis from Antipodes into your carry-on.

As regular readers will know, I absolutely love Antipodes natural and organic skincare, and I was pleased to discover recently that their range of minis is virtually plastic-free - yay! Instead, the main element of packaging comes in either glass or aluminium tubes, both of which can be easily recycled after use.

So if you're stocking up on your beauty minis for your travels this year, why not check these out? They're also perfect for anyone who wants to try out the products before committing to purchasing the full-sizes and I have three of the brand's bestsellers for travellers below:-

Travel Size Beauty: Plastic-Free Minis from Antipodes
 Antipodes Hosanna H20 Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum* (10ml, £12.49)

Travelling can really suck all of the moisture out of your skin, especially if you're flying, so make sure you're prepared with an intensive hydrating serum such as Hosanna. This incredible oil-free serum is beautifully lightweight and easily absorbed to help improve the skin's overall appearance for a more youthful and plumped up glow. Key ingredients include Vinanza Grape which helps to boost elasticity, firmness and prevents moisture loss, Mamaku Black Fern to further firm up and protect the skin's natural barrier and Waiwera Artesian Water which delivers essential nutrients and antioxidants to the skin's epidermal layer for a healthier-looking complexion.

Antipodes Worship Skin Defence Antioxidant Serum* (10ml, £12.49)

For skin that's fighting the early signs of ageing, Worship is a fantastic antioxidant-rich serum that works as a preventative against future free radical damage. Boasting an interesting superfruit complex called Vinanza Oxifend Plus which is made up of potent extracts of Boysenberry, Blackcurrant, Kiwifruit and Vinanza Grape, this serum acts as your secret weapon to keep skin looking younger and more vibrant for longer. I'd recommend it for all skin types and ages over 30+.

Travel Size Beauty: Plastic-Free Minis from Antipodes
Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream* (15ml, £11.95)

To compliment your serum, a rich nourishing night cream can definitely help to lock in all of that goodness, whilst providing additional skincare benefits of its own as Avocado Pear clearly demonstrates. This luxurious feeling nighttime moisturiser is packed full of hydrating heroes such as Avocado Oil, Manuka Honey and Vinanza Grape, and it helps to stimulate collagen production by up to 92%. A wonderful all-rounder for those who are looking for an evening skincare routine which does more!

Shop Antipodes minis at Feel Unique and Beauty Bay currently with 20% off for a limited time

Are you a fan of Antipodes?

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?

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