So I did *some* cooking…

By the headline you’d think I cannot cook to save my life. That is not entirely true. I might not be the most enthusiastic cook but when I am feeling it I can really deliver. Fact.

I had never tried Flora Freedom before, and when I received my hamper and found out about the new flavours – avocado & lime, coconut & almond and walnut –  and the recipes created by Benjamina Ebuehi using the spreads, I was ready to give a go.

Flora Freedom is a dairy free range of spreads, also free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavours and certified by the Vegan Society. The spreads can be used for cooking, baking and of course, spreading. They have 45-60% less fat than butter and 100% of the oils used come from plants.

Obviously, I was immediately drawn to the Avocado oil and Lime flavour and it quickly became my go to bread spread for my usual breakfast of avocados and boiled egg.

Also great for cooking omelettes or adding garlic, chopped herbs or black pepper for a special spread. I like with coriander.

I also used it to make one of the recipes, the avocado and lime buckwheat pancakes, which I really liked as they have two options – one vegetarian and one for the meat eaters.

I went for the veggie one and if you want, you can try them using the recipe below – it’s pretty easy!

Avocado & Lime Buckwheat Pancakes

  • Servings: 4 (2 pancakes each)
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

300ml semi skimmed milk, 55g wholemeal flour, 55g buckwheat flour, 1 egg, 25 g Flora Freedom Avocado & Lime, melted

Filling

Cooked beetroot (diced), 50g goats cheese (sliced), 1 avocado (sliced).

Or

2 avocados (sliced), 4 rashers bacon, 175g cherry tomatoes (halved), handful coriander (chopped).

Preparation

  1. For the batter: place flours in a mixing bowl, add egg and gradually whisk in milk, beating well. Stir in a teaspoon of the melted Flora.
  2. Heat a little of the remaining Flora in a frying pan and pour in a little batter, tip pan to spread. Cook until underside is golden brown and then cook other side.  Repeat until all batter is used.
  3. Divide your chosen filling between the pancakes and fold or roll.

I was, actually, very surprised at the coconut & almond one, it’s delicious on toast! It is the perfect spread for sweeter breads, and Benjamina suggests it on shortbread, in the topping of fruit crumble or – my favourite option – melted to make homemade granola.

The walnut flavour is nutty and great for shortcrust pastry, cheese biscuits and cake icing!

I have to say that overall, I was quite impressed with the flavours in the range, even alone as spreads. I don’t have any dietary requirements, but feel they are not a “tasteless” options to satisfy a special diet, but tasty for every day use.

You might find the coconut one very pale, but it is some proof that no artificial colours have been used!

Each 225g Flora Freeedom Dairy Free tub retails for £1.50 (RRP). There are tons of free recipes on flora.com

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

My lips aren’t sealed…

Lately, my lips have been terribly dry, flaky and cracked? Am I kissing too much, you ask?

Well, I don’t kiss and tell, but what I can tell is that I freaked out when I saw a crevasse, which for me was Grand Canyon sized, and that got me thinking about around the lips ageing and how I haven’t come across a specific product for that.

Obviously, as it was around my birthday, I started thinking my lips look like those of a 100-year old with (no, I’m not dramatic, no, there is absolutely no exaggeration on this statement) and I started thinking about what I was going to do about that…

Enter the super compact (and rather effective) Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate. I mentioned the Hyaluron-Filler range before on the blog and absolutely love their CC Cream and the eye cream and realised their Concentrate would be the perfect boost to care for that so often neglected area.

This intensive anti-wrinkle in a serum form, it is great for the area as it is very light and absorbs so quickly.

The combination of high and low molecular hyaluronic acid and bio-active glycine saponin helps target prematurely ageing skin where the wrinkles originate and support skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid. Nifty, eh?

I’ve been using it morning and night, and have already felt a small improvement on the area. And while I am there, I also dab a bit around the lines coming from the edge of the nose to the corner of the mouth (known as “Chinese” moustache).

So, with six of those vials coming in each pack, I am sure I can be laughing through to 2018 without worrying about those lines (too much)!

The Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate costs £30 for 6x5ml., which I think is very good price indeed for a serum this potent. You can get it from major retailers and the Eucerin website.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

 

And… breathe

Anxiety is something I have carried with me for a long time. Although rather manageable most of the time, there are periods that it still gets the best of me, no matter how many defense mechanisms I have against it.

The first time I came across aromatherapy breathing roll ons was after the this works energy bank launch event. I loved the range, but was really intrigued by that little roll on.

Fast forward a bit a few have come into my life. I feel the different scents do evoke feelings of calmness, energy, relaxation but for me, the most important thing is the time you take to breathe.

Sounds weird but most of us do not find time in our days to breathe mindfully. We our always on the go, with our heads on the schedule ahead, with a million thoughts overlapping. And if you are an anxious person, multiply that by 100, on a good day.

For me, the simple reminder of that little fragrant tube begs me to stop (hammer time! Not really), take some time out, breathe deeply a few times and think of nothing. And resume.

At the moment I have a few on the go, with a heavy bias towards the this works breathe ins, which have a natural blend of super oils. I apply them on my wrist, rub against the other and breathe away.

The energy bank fragrance is brilliantly awakening, with soothing orange oil, mood-boosting rosemary and energising geranium.

It is really an awakening fragrance, a fab post-lunch pick-me-up and costs £18 for 8ml.

The deep sleep stress less breathe in shown was reformulated and renamed as stress check and is now part of the fantastic stress check range.

It is calming, refreshing and really opens the airways for even deeper breaths, formulated with eucalyptus, frankincense and lavender oil . The packaging is now white for all this works breathe in roll ons, and they are very affordable at £16 each.

Bamford’s Padmasanainspired by the yoga pose of the same name, is a 100% organic blend of rosemary, ginger and basil oils, for concentration as it helps to restore mental strength and clear the mind.

It is quite fragrant, quite smoky to start with and then quite herbal.

Finally, a little spray from Evolve Organic Beauty, the Tranquility Essence with lavender, bergamot and cedarwood.

Although it contains alcohol in its formula, I really love this spray. It is not overpowering, quite citrus and you can really get the lavender at the end.

This is little helping hand is very useful if, like me, you struggle to naturally take a little time to breathe.

What’s your go to method to get your daily dose of mindfulness?

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

When dermatologists do skincare

My skin has always been a constant issue for me. Being far from perfect, more often than not it has caused me more pain than joy.

Acne that plagued my younger years never ceased to returned, and the that meant my skin was always dry, flaky and dull from the many aggressive treatments I subjected it to. I spoke openly about how acne made me feel and only from a few years ago I started to love my skin and give it some chance to thrive.

ZENii London skincare has a great ethos – and mind – behind it. Dr. Johanna Ward, award winning skin doctor, has developed ZENii for her clients, and the brand looks as skin health holistically, inside and out.

I’ve been using the regime for about a month now, almost exclusively and have to say my skin has never looked better – move radiant, more even in texture and tone, less blemishes and no breakouts, not even around my period. That’s huge.

My favourite has to be the fantastic Antioxidant Power Serum (£85, 30ml) with L ascorbic acid, niacinamide, vitamin e, ferulic acid and panthotenic acid. Full of antioxidants, it’s like a vitamin shot for the skin, it supports collagen production and has anti-ageing and pigmentation repair properties.

It’s a delight to apply and I know you’re gonna call bullsh*t, but I can, in a way, feel it working in my skin.

The Micronutrient Night Repair Cream (£75, 50ml) is another delight. For a night Cream, is rich but very light thus being perfect for my skin, which just drinks it. I must point out that the dispenser is great, a push downso your product in the pot never gets in touch with air thus not oxidising!

It contains pro-vitamin B5, vitamins E and C, jojoba oil, coral seaweed, retinyl palmitate and sodium hyalunorate so it helps restore, repair and rehydrate skin overnight by working on the fight against free radicals and supporting the skin natural night healing and repair process.

With an SPF 50, the mighty Moisturising Sun Protection (£50, 100ml) has quickly became a favourite of mine. Vitamins B5 and aloe vera add hydration to the broad spectrum sun protection.

It’s super light, behaves well under makeup, and is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive.

A good cleanser is also essential in any skincare regime and the Papaya and Chamomile Cleanser (£35, 100ml) does not disappoint. Enriched with vitamin E and orange oils, it is super gentle removing debris and makeup efficiently and not drying the skin!

Finally, tying the regime together is the Antioxidant Q10 Toner (£35, 120ml). Very mild but potent, it has coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, aloe Vera and botânica extracts, this toner adds to the moisturisation and skin support as well as refreshing and improving radiance.

Because my skin is looking better, makeup looks great. Having said all that, I feel a pang of sadness given the, in my view fair price for such superior products, but still above my budget.

Although after using it a month continuously, it does feel like they go a long way so once I’m finished, I’ll workout the cost per month and am sure it will end up being worth investing in my next lot!

I feel a lot of confidence on the company and the wonderful Dr. Ward, whom I met at the range launch over a fabulous breakfast at Sky Garden. She exudes the confidence, expertise – not to mention glorious skin- and care I would trust my problematic skin to.

And ZENii does not do only skincare as Dr Ward, a cosmetic dermatologist, believes in inside and ou, holistic beauty and wellbeing, so there’s a fantastic line of supplements for various skin concerns and relaxing home fragrances.

Visit the ZENii website to soak in all the greatness and purchase all the products I’ve been using.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Get that bounce back

Probably the most know and widely used Philip Kingsley product, the fabulous Elasticizer has received the special edition treatment and is now available in Coconut Breeze.

The Elasticizer is a pre-wash treatment suitable for all hair types that adds manageability, elasticity, bounce and shine.

The formula remains the same but infused with notes of coconut, jasmine, almond and vanilla, it seems to become more luxurious. It is really a delight to use.

It contains hydrolized elastin, which works on body and elasticity. It improves the tensile strength and moisture retention on strands; castor oil, which helps lock in moisture, vitamin E rich olive oil and glycerin.

As it is a pre-wash treatment, it should be applied generously to damp hair and left to work for 10-20 minutes, covered with a plastic cap (one comes in the box) or a towel.

You then shampoo and condition as normal. I had it on for the whole night and when I washed my hair in the morning, it was soft and dried beautifully; it had some extra weight to it without being heavy.

Also, I lost a fair amount of hair a while back and have tons of baby hairs that have reached a very unmanageable length and I feel the treatment also helps manage the frizz.

The Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Coconut Breeze costs £33 (150ml) and is available online on the Philip Kingsley website, M&S, QVC. You can buy the smaller 75ml version for £19.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains some PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

You actually scrub up well…

You know when your skin feels a bit congested, and no amount of a good cleanser seems to actually make it feel clean?

Enter facial scrubs. I am a huge fan since my skin, with all its issues, seem to demand that, from time to time, a use something less gentle to keep it under control.

And because I like variety and rotate skin products, I decided to share the scrubs that have been keeping my skin in check:

The Alpha H Micro Cleanse Super Scrub (£35.95 for 100ml) has been a favourite for ages. Alpha H has some lovely products all with my dear glycolic acid, which here is at 12%. The formula also contains eco-friendly jojoba beads, caffeine and peppermint, for renewed and refreshed skin.

It’s a fine but tough scrub; it does have at-home microdermabrasion properties and I leave on my face for a few minutes so the glycolic acid can work on the skin.

The Botanics Radiant Youth Microdermabrasion Polish (£9.99 for 125ml) is one of the finest I’ve ever encountered and I love it! So effective yet gentle, it is infused with extracts from the leaves of the Gingko plant and polishes away dead skin to reveal smoother radiance.

In fact, Botanics, which you can get from Boots UK, was one of my biggest budget skincare discoveries this year and I will be soon talking about more products, the company, their love of natural ingredients and how they work with Kew Gardens to deliver the best plant power to our skin!

The gorgeous dermalogica daily microfoliant (£48 for 75g) that has been with me forever! I love this dry rice powder product that releases papain, salicylic acid and rice enzymes when wet.

Can be mixed with water but my best tip is to mix with your favourite foamy face wash. Works a treat for gentle exfoliation and can be used more frequently so super soft skin.

And talking about powders in a tub, meet the Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub (around £7.99 for 125g), which is Bioré‘s answer to the bad boys microbeads.

Activated by mixing with water, it fizzes up for cleansing and gentle exfoliating – and you can make is thicker or thinner, depending on how much exfoliation is required. The fact is completely dissolves helps avoid over-scrubbing.

Of course, scrubbing should be done lightly, in upwards circular movements to also help boost circulation on the skin. Never over-scrub as this can hurt the skin and in case of spots, make them worse!

It is also very important to pick a scrub for your skin type. Sensitive skins will not like it very much and maybe you should opt for a gentle chemical exfoliator instead.

Still, I find the act of using a facial scrub extremely satisfying! Am I alone on that?

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains some PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Get your nails Dressed to the Nineties

There no secret I am a 90s person (late 90s, I’m not that old). I’m secretly unashamed of the terrible fashion sense and even worse – makeup habits I had at the time.

Also no secret I love nail polish, especially when they come from essie.

So obviously I am head over chunky heels with the essie Dressed to the Nineties Limited Edition Fall 2017 collection, hitting the shelves at the end of August 2017.

The six gorgeous shades fleet between pinks and purples with the right amount of shimmer and shifting.

My favourite, surprisingly, is silvery metallic with a light purple shine Girlie Grunge; just gorgeous and rather neutral for its shade. As they say, come as you are. Oh, and shine.

As I am a sucker for colour shifting, I could not stop myself loving Dressed to the Nineties, a very dark purple with a subtle green-blue shimmer. Gorgeous.

At the moment, I have the mega pretty As If. This powdery periwinkle is warmed up with a hint of red, and it’s the most gorgeous thing.

On my toes for weeks now is the “staple with a difference” Knee Highlife, a deep wine red with some purple undertones.

For the more discreet out there, Saved by the Belle is a lovely baby pink, creamy and a slight blue undertone and Mixtaupe is a fabulous warm ivory with a tiny dash of pink.

As you can see, pinks, reds and purples tie up the collection together, warming or cooling the tones for those exclusive shades full of cool, relaxed vibes, fit for office and party.

Of course, I cannot rave enough about the essie brush, which delivers a perfect at home mani so effortlessly. Lately, that is all you see on my nails.

Also worth remembering that the colours are curated by essie’s Global Colour Designer Rebecca Minkoff, so you know you’re gonna be up-to-date.

The collection has barely launched but being the lucky bitch I am, I was one of the first to get my talons all over it and I’ve already wore four of the six shades to near exhaustion. Nah, not really, I can’t get enough.

The too cool for school Fall 2017 collection is available from the 23rd August to the 17th October in Superdrug and 30th August to the 26 September in Boots. After that, it’s hasta la vista, baby, to all of these fabulous shades. As if! you gonna let this lot go 😀

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Celebrating timeless fashion with Nivea deodorant

How can your deodorant affect your style? Well, nothing worse than white marks in your favourite black dress to make you wish the earth would swallow you!

The Nivea Invisible for Black & White deodorant, on top of having white mark protection for black clothes, also helps prevent those horrible yellow stains on white garments.

Of course it also counts with the 48 hour anti-perspirant protection, cares for the skin and is also gentle, as it is dermatologically tested and alcohol-free. I also like the bottle has an “open-close” twist top and the classic Nivea smell is present in a softer version.

And the classic bottle now has had a stylish makeover by Matthew Williamson and enchanting design is full of gorgeous patterns, including pretty butterflies, complimenting the brand colours.

Matthew Williamson, who is passionate about designing timeless pieces, says it is important that clothes make women feel better about themselves and that he’s teamed up with Nivea “to celebrate these timeless fashion favourites that make women feel great while offering them a product that will help look after those clothes they love for the long haul.”

This Limited Edition Nivea Invisible Black & White by Matthew Williamson fashion bottle hits the shelves on the 28 August.

The loved and trusted Nivea Black & White formula, all dressed up, costs £3.29 (RRP for 250ml) and you can get it from major retailers like Boots and Superdrug.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Take me to the beach…

Who doesn’t like mermaid hair? Somehow beach hair seems to fall beautifully into place with minimal effort.

Although it looks pretty, it’s important to pay extra attention to our hair in the summer – the salt, chlorine and exposition to the sun can cause a lot of damage to our tresses.

Umberto Giannini to the rescue! The gorgeous Beach collection was designed to care for your hair and keep it looking amazing even when subjected to external aggressors.  And the whole range is loaded with coconut oil goodness.

The Beach Wash Coconut Shine Shampoo (250ml, £6) is a delight – pearlised pink in colour (love), it smells divine with bergamot, madarin and sea spray. It lathers really well and throughly cleanses hair and scalp, leaving it squeaky clean – but not dry.

The Beach Care Coconut Shine Conditioner (250ml, £6) is also pink and smells delicious too. It does not immediately leave hair soft on application, but does after rinsing.

Hair detangles and dries amazing. It contains shea butter and the bergamot, mandarin and sea spray fragrances.

They leave a soft lingering scent on hair that feels very soft, shiny and happy!

Most possibly the star of the range is the Pool Proof Leave-in hair Protection Cream (150ml, £8), dubbed the swim cap, it creates a barrier to protect hair against UV rays and chlorine/salt in the water.

I have to say it is pretty delightful and I love a good sun protection for hair. This one contains olive oil added to the coconut so it is also a great leave-in treatment. And you guessed: smells divine!

A good spray is a must for beach hair – the Catch a Wave Coconut Oil Beach Texture Volumising Spray (200ml, £7)is just it. Different from other sprays I used, hair does not feel stiff – some may say it is due to the coconut oil . And it also has UVA and UVB filters to help protect hair and the uplifting scent across the range.

Finally, a product that is not really my thing: the Boho Beach Jelly – a Coconut Oil Scrunching Jelly (200ml, £7), it is great to enhance natural curls, shaping them and retaining softness and bounce.

It is silicon and sulphate free, the coconut oil provides nourishment and UV filters are also in to help  protect against colour fade.

Also, let’s take a moment to admire how pretty the Beach collection is… with a very affordable price.

You can get the Umberto Giannini Beach range at their website and Boots, online and in-store.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Overnight hand care

If like me you’re obsessed with hand creams, keep reading. Crabtree & Evelyn, which has the best hand cream in town, has an overnight hand therapy cream and I am sold.

I do have the habit of moisturing my hands before going to bed anyway and lately I have been doing with a product made exactly for that.

But Dani, how is it different from a normal hand cream, you ask? Well.. of course, the trick in on the concentration. This rich cream contains a concentrated complex of vitamins and amino acids, including arginine.

It is formulated especially to protect, by enhancing the skin’s natural barrier, maintain the natural moisture level, help skin recovery and soothe any dryness.

As any Crabtree & Evelyn hand therapy creams, it is easily and totally absorbed by the skin leaving no trace, but a long-lasting moisturisation. Applied at night, this cream works its wonder so I have been waking up with soft and nourished hands.

The classic La Source – a crisp, clean scent of refreshing aquatic notes, musk, and gentle shoreline breeze – is the version I’ve been using, but the overnight hand therapy is also available in three other amazing scents.

I’ve talked a lot about the hand therapy creams (which is always in my bag) and the amazing 60 second fix for hands (which I use about twice a week) and now the overnight hand cream is yet another Crabtree & Evelyn product that has a firm place in my life.

The overnight hand therapy costs £19 for 75ml and you can get online from the Crabtree & Evelyn website or in their ever so tempting shops!written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.