Saturday, 25 October 2014

October Favourites

Hello angels, I am back with another month of favourites as you can tell from my witty and highly original title.  I always love reading product reviews, I feel like they're often the best way to determine whether purchasing said product is worth my time.  I tend to use products seasonally (surely I'm not the only one?) so now we're heading towards Winter and everything including my skin is getting drier, I'm having to waste my money accordingly.  So here's my line up of my most used and loved products this month...and on an unrelated note my photo editing tool had some Halloween themed stickers so I've added them to my picture because I'm festive.  I'll probably do the same for Christmas posts...get over it.
1. NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder (£27) - So I used this bronzer about two years ago before converting to Hoola by Benefit.  I use Hoola a lot in Summer as I think it's great for an all over bronzed glowy look when I like to convince myself I'm an uber toned and beachy Californian.  However, for the colder months I prefer to opt for a rosier look so I like to use bronzer as a contourer instead.  The NARS bronzers are extremely pigmented so you only need the smallest bit to last you and Laguna seems to be the best shade to suit all skin types.  If you want a strong bronzer to add a bit of depth to the face (around the cheekbones and temples) then this one is perfect.  Don't use it for an all over look because I think it's a bit too strong and your face is going to look a different race to the rest of your body.

2.  Daim Bar Bag of Minis - Tom and I really only go to Ikea to pick up one of their mega bags of Daims.  They're so incredibly moreish and I can cram a ridiculous amount into my handbag which is a blessing and a curse.  I don't think I can really review a Daim bar I'm just so obsessed with them I had to give them a platform for me to gush about their greatness.  I refuse to believe that there are people out there who don't like them.  Purchase immediately.

3.  MAC 'Fleur Power' Powder Blush (£18) - Referring back to what I said earlier about preferring a rosier look in the colder months, this is the product I like to use to achieve such a look! I've had this powder blush from MAC for about a year and I never bothered to really use it because I couldn't get over how shocking the colour was.  Although it looks terrifying, it applies gorgeously.  All you need is the smallest amount applied to a blusher brush being sure to knock off any excess powder.  It gives the best flush of 'Ive just ran a short marathon' colour which is great for me as I can't run full stop.

4.  Trilogy Rosehip Oil (£11) - I was using Rosehip Oil last Winter after reading up that Miranda Kerr swears by it (don't judge).  I used it up so quickly because I was so obsessed by it but by the time I got round to remembering to purchase it again the weather got too warm.  I have combination skin so as soon as the climate changes, my skin overreacts.  I always like to use oils on my skin when I can but even more so when it's feeling particularly parched.  As you know I am a big fan of using natural products and remedies, and rosehip oil is especially packed with beneficial antioxidants and fatty acids to smooth, hydrate and plump the skin.  I use 2/3 drops morning and night, massaging it into freshly cleansed skin and when my skin is particularly dry I like to layer a moisutiser over the top for extra hydration.

5. Lush Retread Conditioner (£10.75) - On the topic of hydration I'm always looking for ways to keep my hair super soft and healthy.  Aside from using coconut oil as a weekly deep conditioning treatment, I haven't been so impressed with previous everyday conditioners I've bought before.  I've always liked Lush products and their emphasis on using natural ingredients so I thought I'd try my luck with one of their conditioners.  The price point is a little high compared to the average conditioner so I can understand any initial hesitation, but luckily you have me to waste my money first before you do.  Firstly, I like that it's in a tub.  You're given a fairly generous amount and I like that I can scoop up as much or as little as I like.  The product itself smells great and applies nicely although it wasn't as thick as I expected and as I have long hair, I leave it on for at least 10 minutes to really let it sink in.  After it's been washed out and my hair has dried I can really appreciate what a great product it is.  My hair feels incredibly soft and light, it also makes the ends of my hair appear lighter in colour too (not sure why? Am I delusional?) and it stays feeling silky until the next wash.  With many other conditioners, the hair tends to feel super soft after it's washed but dries out as the day passes but with this one I didn't have that problem at all.  My one tip for this product would be to leave it in for 10/15 minutes for the full affect.

6.  Miaroma Essential Oils in Ginger and Eucalyptus (£4.99 - £7.99) - I've been reading up on essential oils and their health benefits for a long time and I finally got round to actually purchasing some.  They've been used in aromatherapy and holistic remedies for years so I thought it was time to jump on the oil bandwagon...however, because the oils are so potent, a carrier oil is needed to mix them with so I bought some almond oil which isn't pictured here.  Essentially a carrier oil is a natural, scentless moisturising oil used to dilute the essential oils so they can be massaged or applied onto the skin safely.  I bought bottles of lavender and tea tree oil too but I wanted to talk about the ginger and eucalyptus as I feel they're especially great for the upcoming months.  Ginger essential oil is especially warming and great for any digestive upsets or nausea as well as great at boosting the immune system.  It is also very uplifting and energising which I think is important as it seems like as soon as it gets cold, everyone tends to feel much more sluggish and they're suddenly cursed with some sort of illness.  On the lines of illness, eucalyptus oil is also great at warding off that dreaded Winter flu that makes public spaces feel like being submerged in a pool of germs.  As well as being antiseptic, antibacterial and anti inflammatory, eucalyptus oil is also a great decongestant that will help you clear any oncoming coughs and sniffles.  You can apply the oils (plus carrier oil) directly to the affected area or through areas which will absorb the oils into your bloodstream the quickest such as the soles of the feet.  On the plus side, Holland and Barrett have a penny sale on at the moment which includes all the oils so now is the time to try them out on the cheap.  Google the health benefits of essential oils to learn more or I'll be here all day explaining.
7. Philip B Oud Royal Thermal Heat Protection Spray (£8-£20) - I've never really bothered with heat protection spray in the past.  I'm lucky enough to have hair that doesn't need anything done to it in the morning and I never went through the teenage phase of perma straightened hair.  However, I've recently been teaching myself how to blow dry my hair with a round brush because I feel like it's much nicer to make the effort with your hair during Autumn/Winter when you know you're not going to end up a horrible sweaty mess.  I  may also have watched both seasons of The City in 3 days and Olivia Palermo was reminding me of how much I have life/hair envy for her.  I'd read great reviews on the Philip B stuff and the smell is actually incredible.  With the combination of that and my Lush conditioner my hair stays really smooth and extra bouncy after my blow dry.  The only qualm I have is that I bought the 60ml bottle for £8 which is pretty tiny and will run out really soon.

8.  Denman D75 Medium Round Brush (£8.99) - Back to my Olivia Palermo envy, I just want to take a minute to say how flawless she always looks.  She has killer style, perfect make up and incredible hair.  So thanks to her, I decided to by a round brush and get my blowdrying act together.  As I'm a complete blowdry virgin, I chose the Denman brush as A) They sell it where I work and B) Denman seem to be pretty famous for their brushes.  I feel like the bristles aren't always great at gripping my hair properly, but that might be down to my shoddy technique.  It does get the job done nicely and so far it has resulted in a really nice soft smooth finish to my hair, although the brush does get hot very quickly.  So far it's doing the job but I would love any brush recommendations from seasoned blowdrying pro's!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Overnight Oats With A Twist

So I was on my way home from uni earlier this week and my route requires me to pass by a plethora of shops that I try hard to ignore.
 However, I convinced myself that a few bits were needed at home so I wandered into Waitrose and spent a fair amount of time simply browsing.  As I left, I watched hopelessly as my annoyingly infrequent bus drove past me and all I had to show for my idiocy was a carton of coconut milk and a pack of mozarella balls (I am aware of how odd this is).  As it was raining sideways and I didn't want to spend the next 15 minutes waiting for another bus (I should really learn how to drive) I took shelter in Holland and Barrett.  I picked up the essential oils I had been meaning to buy for months and  a flavour of Yogi tea I had yet to try and as I went to pay, I ended up engaging in conversation with the lovely sales assistant about our mutual love for Yogi Tea.  As I was leaving, she pulled out something from beneath the desk and popped it in my bag.  It wasn't nearly as strange and conspicuous as I make it sound, it turned out to be a recipe book written by the makers of Yogi tea.  And this, my friends, is how we get to the recipe for overnight oats.

The Yogi recipe book is simply brilliant.  It tells you how to incorporate the different Yogi teas into the recipes by either using the spices in the tea bag or using the brewed tea itself.  It then ends each recipe with a mantra and a yoga position much like the tea bags do themselves.  My tea cupboard has to be one of the best stocked tea cupboards I know of.  I'm not even disguising that as a humble brag it's pretty much a fact.  So thanks to my inability to avoid Waitrose and the lovely lady at H&B, I now have other uses for all my tea bags that I had never even considered before.  So, here is a great breakfast/dessert recipe packed with delicious flavours whilst being extremely easy to make and suitable for vegans!
You will need;

  • 1 small mug of brewed Organic Choco Yogi Tea Aztec Spice (Use any herbal tea you like, I like this one because it has flavours of chocolate, ginger and cinnamon which are incredibly warming in this current climate)
  • 3/4 a cup of rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp of non dairy milk (your choice, I like to use coconut milk) 
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • A pinch of cinnamon
This is the basic recipe for the overnight oats.  When it is prepared, you are free to add all the powders, butters and toppings that you like.
Brew your herbal tea of choice in a small mug for 20 minutes.  Put your oats, chia seeds and cinnamon into a bowl and mix.  Next, add the brewed tea and non dairy milk to the oat mix and stir until fully combined.  Pop in the fridge and leave overnight ready to be consumed the next morning.

The oats and chia seeds soak up all the liquid which results in the mixture thickening much like porridge.  I love this recipe because it cuts time from my morning routine but still ensures I have a proper filling breakfast.  When you remove your oats from the fridge, you may want to stir up the mixture and perhaps add a little more milk if it is too thick.  Then the fun can begin when you start to add your toppings.  Here are some of my favourite combinations;
  • 1 scoop of peanut butter mixed in and topped with raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon of maca powder topped with goji berries and mixed seeds (as pictured)
  • 1 scoop of almond butter topped with sliced bananas and walnuts
  • 2 scoops of yoghurt (Rachel's do a limited edition apple and cinnamon one around Christmas which is amazing) topped with strawberries
Experiment and see what works for you.  Hopefully you should have most of the basic ingredients in your cupboards so you won't have to spend any extra cash to prepare a fantastic breakfast dish.  This recipe works just as well without the chia seeds if it's not something you want to purchase, just make sure your liquid quantity is slightly less.  For me, breakfast really is the most important (and most enjoyable) meal of the day, and as I'm fairly lazy, I enjoy the extra time spent in bed knowing my breakfast is ready and waiting for me.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

I realise it's been a really long time since I've written anything.  I kind of hit a slump after coming back from America and as life does, it gets in the way.  Now that I'm back into some sort of a normal routine I can hopefully get back to blogging more regularly whilst trying not to be drowned in final year work.  Tom and I had missed cooking so much whilst we were in America (we ate out everyday....oink) that when we came home we got back into our usual regime of throwing a load of ingredients together and calling it a meal.  As a result, I have lots of recipes and experimental dishes I want to share that I hope you'll like and that won't cause too much bodily harm.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Amongst The Clouds

If you find yourself in New York, it is imperative that you add 'Visit the top of the Rockefeller' to your list of things to do.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Lower Manhattan

We spent the next morning fuelling up on waffles and eggs at a local diner in the Meat Packing District.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014