Monday, 19 December 2011

How to make chocolate truffles



Mmmmmmmm.... what do you think of the truffles I made? They taste delicious!

I would normally pay a lot of money for a box of truffles that look and taste as good as these. But why buy them when you can make them yourself for a fraction of the price and have fun with it too! Plus you'd know exactly what goes in them. These would make a lovely handmade gift or simply to enjoy for dessert.

To make 10 pieces all you need is:
  • 100 grams of chocolate
  • 100ml double cream
  • a teeny weeny bit of butter.


  1. If you're not using chocolate chips, grate the chocolate yourself. It might take a while but you'll be toning your arms while you're at it ;)
  2. Heat the double cream over medium heat.
  3. Once bubbles appear, add the butter. You only need a small amount - about a quarter of a teaspoon.
  4. Stir in the butter really quick so that it completely melts before the cream starts to boil then remove from the stove immediately.
  5. Stir this mixture bit by bit into the chocolate until it is nice and creamy. Leave it in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Take the chocolate mixture out of the fridge and leave at room temperature for half an hour.
  7. After half an hour, take out any ingredients you want to use to coat your truffles. I used the Caramel Kiss Mix hot chocolate from Hotel Chocolat (it's grated chocolate with little white chocolate hearts), cocoa, icing sugar and ground almonds. You can also use chocolate chips, desiccated coconut, melted chocolate or whatever you like.
  8. Roll the truffles into small balls and roll into the toppings.
  9. If the rolling melts the chocolate, return to the fridge for a few minutes to set.
Now they're ready to eat!

Enjoy!

xx

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Winter warming Coconut Custard

I'm not a big fan of winter but it is a good excuse to indulge in warm desserts and cover up in baggy clothes, whilst watching Desperate Housewives. A perfect night in.

I recently made a beautiful coconut custard, using Thai Taste Coconut Milk, which you can find the recipe for here.


It's very simple but I way overcooked it :( It still tasted lovely though and I will definitely be getting some more Thai Taste Coconut Milk to try it again.

Overcooked custard, siiigh :(


I'd have to try some of the other recipes on their website too like the Chicken and Coconut Soup and the Thai Green Chicken Curry. They sound like delicious and warming dishes!


Will you be trying the coconut custard recipe soon? You can find Thai Taste Coconut Milk, as well as the rest of their range, at major UK supermarkets.

xx

Winter Wonderland



(Clockwise from top-left)
Ski Hat by Liv
Kington top by Liv
Lily Lolo natural lipgloss in Whisper
Brass Sheet ring by Made
Moto Vintage Blue Organic Baxter Jeans (Topshop)
Priti NYC nail polish in Ginger Snap Orchid (Cult Beauty)
Angelic eyeshadow by Lily Lolo

Keep warm! xx

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Is your toothpaste making you sick?

For many years, I have been getting an upset stomach after brushing my teeth in the morning and at bed at night. I assumed that it had something to do with swallowing a small amount of warm water when rinsing my mouth. However, I then started to read that being sensitive to fluoride, which is in most toothpastes, can cause this too. After reading a lot of things about fluoride and how it affects our health, I've recently got myself an all natural fluoride-free toothpaste and I no longer suffer from an upset stomach. So it was the toothpaste all along!

I am currently using Tom's of Maine anti-plaque propolis and myrrh toothpaste, which is all natural and fluoride-free. The ingredients are:
Calcium carbonate, Water, Glycerin, Xylitol, Spearmint and peppermint oils, Carrageenan, Sodium lauryl sulfate, Myrrh, Propolis.


The texture is nothing like most toothpastes. It's more of a soft paste than a gel, which is no surprise as it does contain chalk. I find that it gently cleans my teeth by using a very small amount even without foaming much. It also doesn't require much rinsing out either.

It is supposed to have a minty flavour but I only really taste the mint as I'm rinsing my mouth so it doesn't give me nice minty smelling breath afterwards but I don't mind.

Overall, it works really well, it's good value for money and makes my belly happy. However, in future I do want to try out different toothpastes and will be looking for one with a longer lasting flavour.

So, yeah.. a review on toothpaste. Not very inspiring but I hope I've assured you that natural toothpastes can work just as well as all the regular toothpastes out there and that they are much better for your health. Love Lula have a selection of natural toothpastes, including some for kids. I'm actually very tempted to get the Lavera strawberry and raspberry kids tooth gel... yumm! Whatever toothpaste you decide to get, always check the ingredients as even natural toothpastes may have added fluoride.

xx

Saturday, 19 November 2011

GoGo Guarana Breeze drink review

A few days ago, I reviewed the GoGo Guarana vegicaps, which I quite liked. So I was happy to find the GoGo Guarana Breeze drink at Holland and Barrett as I find that energy drinks have some scary ingredients in them and I stay way clear of them.


The first thing I noticed was the smell. Do you know that 'dentist smell'? That strange smell of dental surgeries? That! That mixed with something very foul. Not tempting at all.

If you think that's bad, you haven't heard the rest of it. The taste is worse than the smell. I can't describe it because as much as I've tasted some pretty horrid things in my life, this is a new one. Yuck! I had to force it down me as I was so tired but I couldn't force myself to drink enough of it to feel the effects. The only effect I felt was that of disgust and fatigue. That's not a good combo.

I wonder if the makers of this drink trialled it as I can't imagine anyone enjoying it at all. But if you do like it, I would love to know!

xx

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Burt's Bees Radiance Body Lotion review



I've been using this product for a while after getting it as part of a cute set from my friend on my birthday. The product isn't completely natural but very close with 98.2% natural ingredients.



As you can see, it is more or less like your average body lotion with a runny consistency. You only need a very small amount as it spreads so well. Unlike your average lotion, however, it contains mica, which gives a glowing effect. You can't see the tiny mica particles in the photo but you should be able to see the beautiful glow it gives off. Once massaged onto the skin, you can't see any 'sparkles' unless you really focus but you can see from this photo how it made my skin really glow.


I find that this is ok as an everyday moisturiser to use around the body but I wouldn't recommend it for dry skin as it doesn't seem to be strong enough to be effective. I'm happy using body oil instead.

I find it really good if you want to give your skin a very subtle colourless glow whether for daytime or for an evening occasion. I'm not a fan of the sweet smell and I have dry skin so I reserve this product for occasions to give my arms and legs a lovely healthy look.

I have more Burt's Bees product reviews coming up so watch out for those!

xx

Monday, 14 November 2011

An alternative to coffee?

Being a university student, I need a constant supply of caffeine to get me through the day. So I decided to try an alternative to coffee just to try it out and see if it would be any better.

At my local Revital store, the lovely store assistant told me about GoGo Guarana vegicaps, which are all natural and vegan capsules containing guarana seed powder sourced from the Amazon, which gives the population a source of income, which is good to know. She also told me that the pills offer mental stimulation for hours instead of a quick peak then a crash that coffee usually gives. I've heard that guarana contains caffeine (although more recently I've also read that it contains something else entirely different that is often mistaken for caffeine) and that's all I needed to hear so at just over £4 for a pack of 20, which is cheaper than buying coffee all the time, I thought I'd give them a GoGo (see what I did there?). 


So what did I think of them? Was it a GoGo or a NoNo?

I tried them for a few days and I quite like them. I have since ran out and I would like to buy some more soon. What I liked about them is that keep me focussed in class even with little sleep instead of my mind wandering. They keep me slightly awake but not as much as coffee and when I take them in the late afternoon, I feel less sleepy.

I wouldn't say that there was a placebo effect as I would normally have trouble staying awake and focussed and from refraining from yawning when I have had little sleep. So I am very sure that these effects were due to the pills.

What I don't like about GoGo Guarana is that it is too weak when I'm extremely tired and I miss the coffee buzz. I was told that I won't feel the crash at the end of the day but this is completely untrue as some days I come home and I'd feel so tired that not even more pills would keep me awake.

But overall I would still recommend them. If, for whatever reason, you would like to try an alternative to coffee, this may help keep you awake and focussed. But if you are looking for something stronger than coffee, this won't be it.

You can find GoGo guarana vegicaps at Revital stores on the Rio Health website.

xx

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Autumn Gold


Dress - People Tree
Earrings - People Tree
Butter London 3-free polish in West End Wonderland
Bangle - Just Trade
Mineral eyeshadow - Gold Dust by Inika

Friday, 11 November 2011

How to cook less, use leftovers AND save money

I've grown up being literally force fed. I wasn't allowed to be fussy with my food or not finish my dinner. But luckily I've grown up to like pretty much anything and I love trying new food. I've also learned to not be wasteful and to always finish what I'm eating or to put it away for another time. I can't count the number of times my mother told me that there are hungry people in the world who would do anything for a bite to eat. So putting perfectly good food in the bin is not an option for me. I'd feel too guilty.

However, one thing that I am guilty of is buying too much food (I really need to stop shopping when I'm hungry) and then it never gets eaten quickly enough before it expires. So I have to throw it away.

Thankfully, there is a campaign, which you may or may not have heard about, called Love Food Hate Waste. It is full of resources that shows you how much food to cook depending on how many you are cooking for and also how to store food to keep it fresh. My favourite part of the website is how to use up leftovers.

Tips and recipes to reduce food waste - Love Food Hate Waste

So check out the website and tell your friends. Let's all minimise waste together.

xx

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Thea Skincare Rebalance Clarity Creme Foaming Face Cleanser and Moisturiser


Thea Skincare is a completely natural skincare line with products to suit different skin types. The products I'm reviewing are the Rebalance Clarity Creme Foaming Face Cleanser and Moisturiser for oily/ acne skin.


I got sick of using oily cleansers as they left my skin greasy, especially when natural cosmetics contain a lot of oils too. So I was happy that there is a cleanser that is suitable for oily skin. The cleanser is a light gel that can be quickly and easily massaged onto the skin to create a little foam.


It has a beautiful sweet smell (floral perhaps?) which I absolutely adore. It is very easily washed off unlike oily cleansers which require a lot of rubbing and if anything gets in my eyes (and something always does) it doesn't sting my eyes at all. I am left with a completely cleansed face without the natural oils stripped from my skin. It's not exactly a make up remover but it removes make up very gently. Removing mascara requires some working in of the product so I recommend using an eye make up remover if you don't wish to rub your eyes.

I don't normally use moisturiser after cleansing but after using a microdermabrasion system my skin was fairly dry and sore for a few days. The Clarity Creme Face Moisturiser was a lifesaver as it cooled down my skin and reduced the soreness and also kept my skin moisturised, hydrated and soft without making it greasy.


I don't like the smell so much.. it's a little medicinal. There isn't a full ingredients list on the website or the packaging so I'm not entirely sure what it is. But the smell is very mild you wouldn't even notice. The fact that no fragrance is added was perfect for me as my skin was feeling sensitive and fragranced moisturisers made it feel more inflamed. Even though the consistency is a thick cream, it isn't greasy at all, it is absorbed really well and it didn't give me any blemishes.


The only flaws I can find are the double cap on the cleanser (see above), which is a bit of a waste, the bigger cap comes off really easily when in an overnight bag for example and the lack of a full ingredients list on the website. Other than that I can't fault the products at all and they work amazingly well.

Overall, I love these products. They're not fussy with packaging and fragrances and clearly focus on making products that work great. I think from what I've tried from this range so far, it is very good quality and one of the best natural skincare ranges I've tried.

So if you have oily or acne skin and find natural products too oily then I would recommend trying these products out. If you have a different skin type then check them out as they have something for everyone. Oh and also check out the lovely gift sets too!

The cleansers costs £7.95 for 50ml and £13.95 for 100ml and the moisturiser is £22.95 for 50ml at Theaskincare.com.


xx

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Benjoy Pot Snacks review by Mama Angel

Hello Angels,

My son Maxwell, has been accustomed to the organix goodies food range since weaning began at 6 months but after receiving the free samples of Benjoy Munchcups, I discovered that Max is very fond of them so they will be a new addition to our shopping list. I am very interested to see what other snacks are available in the range.

The content of 100% natural ingredients was very pleasing for myself as a mother who is very cautious of unhealthy food products aimed at children.

The nutrition breakdown of both the vegetable mini crisps and the crunchy grape slices left me very satisfied indeed and was happy for my son to munch away.

It is a relief to see new brands promoting and providing healthy snacks for babies, toddlers and children. This new range has a very unique and different approach in terms of the adventurous variations.

Whilst observing Max, I found the snack pots were easy for his small hands to grasp. The anti-spill layer worked really well as Max avoided dropping any and the pot allowed enough room for my son’s fingers to reach inside. The aesthetics were very interesting, Max liked looking at the colourful designs.


We found these to be suitable as a mid morning snack. Max enjoyed the crunchy texture and was able to manage the easy bite size pieces. I tried one and found them deliciously sweet. It is good to acknowledge that when the water is removed from the grape, the nutrition is still high and it is counted as one of the 5 a day recommendations. The absence of unhealthy and unnecessary ingredients was very good to see.

Max ate all the contents of one pot per day over four days and I am pleased to his stools were normal. Max seemed full until dinnertime. The after effects in terms of mess were not too bad although he did need to wash his hand and have his face wiped but there was no major clearing up. The empty pots and cardboard were recyclable which as an environmentalist, I approve of very much.



Max enjoyed these very much and being high in Vitamin A and fibre, I enjoyed watching him eating them. However, it was a shame that they were not to be considered as one portion of fruit & veg but the nutritional value did keep Max happy and full up before his evening meal.

After trying one, I found their taste had a lot of flavours, without salt and no artificial ingredients too was very pleasing. The crisps left crumbs, more so than the grape slices but nothing damaging to clothes. Maxwell did have sticky fingers and a messy face after consuming the crisps.

Overall, Maxwell 'benjoyed' the snacks very much and they make a filling and healthy snack.


Find Benjoy snacks at Morrisons and Waitrose starting at 79p a pot or £2.49 for a pack of 4. See the list of stockists here.

Love Mama Anna xx

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Rawganic Organic Face Cleansing Balm


A few days ago, I reviewed the Rawganic 3-in-1 facial wipes. But did you know that they also have an Organic Face Cleansing Balm in their range too?


This is a moisturising and cleansing balm that comes in a cute little tin. It has a beautiful rosey smell.

The consistency is quite oily making is very easy to spread around the face and on the eyes. It solidifies in cooler temperatures so you just need to rub your fingers in it a few times to warm it up and get enough to cover your face.


It removes make up very easily. I do use natural make up which is easy to remove anyway so I wouldn't know how well it would work on heavy professional make up. With eye make up, it removes it well but only after rubbing my lashes a few times, which I'd rather not do as the skin around my eyes is quite thin and sensitive.

Once my face is completely cleansed, it feels moisturised. If you have dry skin then it might be of benefit to you but if you have oily skin then that might not be something that you'd want. However, instead of leaving an oily film over your face, which can clog pores, it is absorbed into the skin after a few minutes.

A great thing about this product is that it's so space saving and multifunctional when you're travelling and don't want to take a lot of products with you. It also fits into your make up bag if you want to cleanse and reapply your make up during the day. What I love about this, and I really am surprised that it wasn't marketed this way, is that it makes a great correcter. Do you know how sometimes you make a big mess of your eyeliner or you blink and get mascara around your eyes and have to remove the whole thing and start again? I like to get some of this stuff onto a cotton bud and it removes the uh-oh right off. So it's useful to have this in your make up bag at all times.

Overall, this is a good product that cleanses the skin from make up and dirt. However, it is moisturising so I wouldn't recommend this if you have oily skin. But I would recommend it for any other skin type, including sensitive, as it's very light and gentle. I would also recommend this to use a correcter for make up mistakes for any skin type.

Rawganic Organic Cleansing Balm can be bought for only £4.90 at Naturisimo.com.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Apodea Propolis Geranium deodorant

Apodea is an Italian brand that has recently hit the UK with its range of  natural skincare and haircare products that contain propolis sourced using biodynamic beekeeping at the founders' farm in Umbria, Italy. One of their products is the Propolis Geranium deodorant.


The Propolis Geranium deodorant is an all-natural roll-on deodorant made from 96% organic ingredients:
hyssopus officinalis water*, mentha piperita (peppermint) water, melissa officinalis (lemon balm) water*, potassium alum (natural rock alum), propolis* (extracted in 1:1 organic alcohol, where alcohol is evaporated), xantan gum, pelargonium asperum juglans regia extract*

*Demeter certified

It has a beautiful rose smell but also has a creamy smell too like a moisturiser.

Unlike other deodorants, I didn't have a problem using this after shaving. It doesn't sting and irritate at all so I can put this on right after having a shower.

By the end of the day, my underarms feel completely dry. In warmer days they don't feel completely dry as it is not an anti-perspirant. Our underarms are supposed to breathe and let out toxins so this is a good thing. However, the great thing about this deodorant is that my underarms don't feel sticky or 'creamy' as other deodorants leave them feeling.

I was worried that this deodorant wouldn't be strong enough to prevent odours as I used to use an unscented alum crystal deodorant, which worked great at times and not so great at other times. Fortunately, this one leaves me 100% odour-free, which is the most important thing for me.

Overall, I love love LOVE this product. The ingredients are organic and it works amazingly well without leaving my underarms feeling icky. The only thing I don't like is the price as it's a bit steep at £12. But if price isn't a concern for you, then you'll love this product too.

Find the Propolis Geranium deodorant and more at Apodea's online store.

xx

Monday, 24 October 2011

Soy Candle Collection Review

Most candles on the market are made from paraffin wax - not something I want to be breathing in! So I was happy when Soy Candle Collection kindly wrote to me asking if I'd love to try some of their products.

I was even happier to open the parcel to find two of my favourite scents from their collection: Sandalwood & Vanilla and Coconut & Lime Verbena.. yummm!


The candles come in recyclable packaging but I think I'll reuse them after they're finished. The tin makes a lovely trinket holder and the glass pots make a cute little tea light holder.


Before burning the candles, I took a long smell of these and they smell amazing. Sandalwood & Vanilla smells like expensive perfume and Coconut & Lime Verbena doesn't smell much like either coconut or lime to me but very pleasantly has a lovely refreshing and cool smell. Reminds me of holidays.


When the candles are being burned, the scents don't let out much fragrance and I find that the same with many candles. However, the smell of the Sandalwood & Vanilla candle lingers for a while after I blow it out and I love smelling it as I drift to sleep at night.

In terms of the burning time.. wow! I actually forgot the Coconut & Lime Verbena candle lit in my bedroom for over 5 hours (!!) I'm lucky the house didn't burn down! But it was still lit when I got back.

Overall, the smells are lovely but just like many candles, don't have much fragrance when lit. However, they burn forever. OK maybe not forever but I've had them on for hours and they're still pretty much full.

Find these candles at SoyCandleCollection.co.uk.

xx

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Lulu & Boo Organics Calendula Cleansing Milk Review


Lulu & Boo Organics is an award winning certified organic skincare range. They also have a range specifically formulated for mothers and babies.

I was kindly sent the Calendula Cleansing Milk to review.


The Calendula Cleansing Milk is described as a light and creamy cleansing milk that purifies and softens skin, removes make up and dirt gently and is suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin. It contains many oils such as sweet almond oil, jojoba oil and castor oil as well as calendula extract and camomile extract, to name a few.

To use this product, you spread it on your face, wipe it off with a damp cloth or some cotton then rinse your face with water. The consistency is quite thin and it is easily spread around the face as it melts into an oily texture. When wiping off the cleanser with a wet facial sponge, the make up was removed very gently and quickly. It did break down my eye make up making it easier to remove but it took a while to get it all off as it has a thin consistency unlike heavier make up removing lotions.

After rinsing my face, it left my skin feeling moisturised. I normally have combination skin (normal, dry and oily) and do not go for cleansers that leave an oily film on my face no matter how light it is as I prefer my skin to feel completely oil-free. But I have been using a microdermabrasion system recently (more about this in the future) which left my skin feeling sensitive and in need of moisture. I've been using this cleanser both before and after the microdermabrasion treatment so I can now see how well suited this product is for different skin types. I wouldn't recommend this cleanser for oily, normal or combination skin,  however I would recommend it for sensitive, dry and flaky skin types as this may help cleanse your face gently while moisturising it.

My favourite things about this product are:
  • How light and gentle it is. Even when I get it in my eye it doesn't feel irritating at all.
  • I'm a sucker for nice packaging and think the bottle is just adorable.
  • I love the lovely yellowy-limey colour of the cleanser.
  • If you have dry skin you will enjoy the moisturising properties.
  • It's 97% organic
  • You only need a small amount. A little goes a long way.
The lovely colour of the cleansing milk

My not-so-favourite things about this product are:
  • I don't like the smell that much. I can't quite describe it but I'm guessing it's either the camomile or the calendula. Not the kind of smell I prefer but it is bearable.
  • I don't think it is suitable for every skin type as it is oily
Overall, if you are looking for a light moisturising cleanser, this is a great product. It removes dirt and make up quickly and gently and the natural oils moisturise your face.

The cleanser costs £15.95 for 100ml, which is most than a lot of cleansers but it is full of organic products, which justifies the price.

Check out Luluandboo.com to see more of their organic range.

xx

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Spot-free the natural way


I've been getting so many spots the past few months. I assumed that they were stress-related as I had so many assignment deadlines but they went on for months and months. On top of that, I was using a lot of natural products on my face, which tend to contain lots of oils, so that might have been another contributing factor. It was only when I started using tea-tree oil, which is anti-bacterial, that I've realised that the cause may be bacteria clogging my pores. 

I was unsure whether tea tree oil would do anything but I thought I might as well give it a go. Within a few days, the amount of spots has drastically reduced. I simply add a few drops of tea-tree oil to a damp facial sponge and wipe it across my face, especially the most spotty areas, after cleansing my face. I lightly pat my face dry so to not wipe off the tea tree oil. It has now become a crucial stage of my skincare routine.

I expected it to have a fresh smell like mint or menthol for some reason. But it has a strong smell quite like tarmac perhaps? It's really weird.

The one I use is by Absolute Aromas, which I got from my local Revital store. I use the organic one, which is £4.95 - only 45p more than the non-organic. You could use a toner which contains tea tree oil but I think many toners are just diluted tea tree oil and more expensive too.


There are different causes of spots so if you suspect that it could be bacteria-related, try this out. It definitely works for me.

xx

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Trek Review

Hello Angels!

Remember those tasty raw fruit snack bars by Nakd that I reviewed a little while ago? Well they also have a similar product range called Trek. Trek are a range of energy bars made of only raw fruit, grains, nuts, soya crispies, ginseng extract, ginko extract and some products also contain cocoa. They are full of energy and protein so they're great and very convenient for long hikes, weight training, running or any physical activity really.


I'll be honest.. I'm not the most active person. However, I did find these bars so convenient when I have a long day ahead of me but no time for breakfast. A much wiser choice than picking up a latte and doughnut on my way to university, I'll tell you that!

Trek bars have about twice the amount of calories than Nakd bars so I wouldn't advice to have these as a snack unless you are very active. They make a healthy meal replacement bar if you have no time to eat. They are almost twice the size of the Nakd bars so they're quite filling.

I was sent the Cocoa Brownie and Peanut & Oat to try.

The taste and texture of both bars are a little similar to the Nakd bars. I found them a little drier, less sweet and less tasty though to be honest. But that's not to say that I didn't like them. Just like the Nakd bars, I love the combination of fruit and nuts which give them a lovely flavour and texture. I also like the little soya crispies which are like tiny puffs of rice.

Cocoa Brownie


Ingredients:
Dates (40%),Soya Crispies (15%), Raisins (13%), Peanuts (8%), Cocoa (4%), Oats, Apple Juice,
Ginseng Extract, Ginko Extract.

Calories (per 56g bar): 216

Protein (per 56g bar): 11g

I was excited to try this as I thought it would be nice and chocolately, just like an actual brownie. I couldn't taste the cocoa in the Cocoa Brownie at all :( But I still enjoyed it as it's very similar to Nakd bars in that it's full of yummy dates and raisins. If you don't like raisins, just like I said in my Nakd review, the raisins are minced up so you get the lovely flavour without the raisin texture.

Peanut & Oats



Ingredients:
Dates (38%), Raisins (12%), Peanuts (12%), Soya Crispies (10%), Peanut butter (7%), Apple Juice, Oats,
Ginseng Extract, Ginko Extract.

Calories (per 56g bar): 239 kcal

Protein (per 56g bar): 11g

This has to be my favourite out of the two bars. It's a little drier than Cocoa Brownie, probably due to the oats, but it has a lot more flavour and texture because of the peanuts and I love peanuts! Just like the Cocoa Brownie, it is full of dates and raisins, which give it lots of flavour and takes away some of the dryness.

Overall, I quite like these bars. My only disappointment is that they are a little dry and lack any interesting flavours but they still taste very nice. However, as an energy/ protein bar and not necessarily something to 'indulge' in, they are quite satisfying and very healthy too.

I would recommend Trek to anyone active looking for a natural alternative to all the energy and protein bars out there and also if you are always busy and have little time for breakfast or lunch.

Find Trek bars at Naturalbalancefoods.co.uk.

xx

Monday, 10 October 2011

Thai Taste Easy Pad Thai Meal Kit Review

If you're ever too lazy or too tired to cook what ever you do, don't reach for the ever so convenient but unhealthy noodles in a pot. You know which one I'm talking about. Because I've found a meal kit that takes very little time to prepare plus it's healthy and tastes SO good!

Thai Taste have meal kits that let you prepare a delicious noodle dish in no time. There are three to choose from:
  • Easy Thai Green Curry Kit
  • Easy Thai Red Curry Kit
  • Easy Pad Thai Meal Kit

I was kindly sent the Easy Pad Thai Meal Kit to try and let me tell ya, it taste delicious. Unlike ready meals or semi-prepared meals, it tastes fresh (you could fool someone into thinking you cooked it from scratch!) and you probably won't believe me but it's as good as Wagamama at a fraction of the price. So why eat out when you can eat in!


The kit contains noodles, Pad Thai sauce and a peanut mix. That's everything you'll need, unlike many kits out there that give you half of the ingredients and you have to fork out and buy some many other things. But you are free to add anything else to the dish. The peanut mix has some dried onion and carrots in there but not much so I recommend adding chopped vegetables to your dish.


It's all very simple. Just boil the noodles and stir fry with the rest of the ingredients and anything else you want to add. I could only find prawns but you can add chicken or veggies. Then relax and enjoy the meal.


I ate so much of this and there was still enough for the rest of the family to eat and they enjoyed it very much too. I think this would be enough to serve a small family or a group of friends especially if you add more ingredients to it.

I think this meal kit is convenient and super tasty. It's also affordable at £1.99 (prices vary) per kit which supposedly makes two servings though I'd say you can get more servings out of it. The only thing I don't like is that it contains a lot of sugar so I wouldn't eat this regularly but then again why would I eat the same thing regularly no matter how good it tastes. It makes a nice occasional treat. I also don't like all the plastic packaging but the outer plastic case and card sleeve are recyclable.

If you wanna give this a try, see the list of stockists here.

Enjoy!

xx

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Busy Busy Busy Bee


I have been so busy these days with uni that, as much as I would love to spend my entire days blogging, I don't have as much time as I used to. But I'm still going to keep blogging because I love it. That's the main reason why I blog. It's just something that makes me happy. That and to give honest opinions on products to help you choose the right products for you. I just won't be blogging as much as I used to.

So here what's to expect from me in the near future, not in any order:

  • Lulu & Boo Organics cleanser
  • Burt's Bees Radiance Body Lotion
  • Thai Taste Easy Pad Thai meal kit
  • How to cook less and use up leftovers
  • Trek review
  • Soy Candle Collection review
  • Burt's Bees radiance lip balm
  • Benjoy review
  • A bunch of Nakd product reviews
  • Some Balance Me reviews
  • Burt's Bees body wash
  • Oskia London Get Up & Glow review
  • Origins cleanser
  • Eco-friendly laundry
  • Nature's response chocolate soap
  • Gogo Guarana review
  • Pit Rok crystal deodorant review
  • My spot-free solution
  • Green People make up reviews/ swatches
  • Sia Soy Candle review
  • Thea face cleanser and moisturiser review
  • Apodea deodorant review

And possibly lots more! I have a bunch of new stuff that probably won't be used for a while because I already have a lot of opened products that I want to use up first.

So if there's anything you would prefer me to review, just let me know and I'll get it done soon.

xx

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Nakd Infused Raisins

I try to eat healthily but one thing I really need to change about my diet is to eat more fruit. I just don't enjoy the stuff. I love raisins but they do get boring after a while. I have a huge bag of raisins in the cupboard that I bought intending to eat them more often but that never happens. So I was excited to try Nakd infused raisins, especially as they come in such interesting flavours like Crazy Cola and Tangy Lime, to name a few.


Crazy Cola tastes exactly like... cola. I know that's obvious but how many times do you find a healthy product claiming to taste like something not-so-healthy but it actually tastes completely wrong? I didn't think I would like these because raisins and cola are quite a combination! But I enjoyed them A LOT!

Tangy Lime is my favourite out of the two. They taste like sweets. Kind of like Lime flavoured Starburst. Very fruity! Just like Crazy Cola and the rest of the Nakd range, they're 100% natural. So no dodgy additives in these babies.


I enjoyed both of these flavours and can't wait to try the rest like Cherry infused raisins and Pineapple infused raisins. Definitely something to stock up on. They're great to keep in the handbag for when I'm out and get a bit peckish or for long journeys.

So if you're trying to get your kids to eat more fruit, or even if trying to get yourself to eat more fruit, I recommend these raisins 100%.


xx

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Betty Hula Review

Aloha!

I'm not in sunny Hawaii, sadly, but the Betty Hula products I've been testing have put me in a sunny mood on this damp autumn's day. 

If you haven't heard of Betty Hula, it is a range of handmade skincare products made up of natural and fair trade ingredients. They have three moisturisers and a body oil so far and they will be widening their range to include lip balms, gift sets and body scrubs too.


I heard about Betty Hula a while ago and I've always thought that their jars look so beautiful and colourful but I've never had the chance to try what's inside them. They kindly sent me some samples to try of some of their moisturisers and The Secret body oil.




The moisturisers I received are Champagne & Spice and Rum & Blackcurrant.

The ingredients* are: Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E.

As you can see from the ingredients list, it is full of natural moisturising, anti-inflammatory and healing ingredients so you can use it for different reasons whether you want to use it for your eczema or as an aftersun cream. I'm surprised that fragrance isn't on the list because there is definitely fragrance in there! I've been told that the fragrance is natural but it undergoes a manmade process so they would describe the product as being 99% natural.

I imagined the consistency of the moisturisers to be like whipped shea butter but they're more like a heavy lotion (or a light cream) as you can see in the picture below.


Unlike some of the other creams I've reviewed previously, this product doesn't melt into an oil once it touches the skin. It's pretty much like most creams and lotions in that way. But it is still absored very quickly into the skin and doesn't leave my hands sticky.

I was also very curious how the creams would smell as they sound very unique and like nothing I have tried before. I actually imagined them to have a boozey smell but, thankfully, they don't smell like that at all!

Champagne & Spice has a sweet smell. It is very difficult to describe as it isn't like anything I've smelled before. It does smell familiar though. Like perfume except not overpowering. Do you know how some perfumes have a spicy smell? Kinda like that.

Rum & Blackcurrant is quite similar to Champagne & Spice in that it is also very sweet. It has a lovely fruity smell, which I quite like.

I really wish I could describe these scents better. They're just too unique to compare to anything. Overall, very nice smells. A little too strong first thing in the morning or at bedtime for me though, especially the Champagne & Spice, but it makes a nice evening treat after a bath. I love using it when I'm out as the smell is very comforting. Out of the two, I think I prefer Rum & Blackcurrant as I don't like the spiciness of the Champagne & Spice.

I haven't been using them long enough on my body to comment on how well they work but I'm happy with using it as a hand cream. My hands feel soft and hydrated.

I quite like the creams and would buy them if they were a little cheaper. Until I find them on offer, they're going on the (never-ending) wish list. I think it's great that there is a natural cream that has a fun smell as many brands tend to follow the fragrance-free path, which isn't very exciting. There is also a Kiwi & Lime scented one that sounds delicious.

RRP £14.99 for 120ml



The Secret is a body oil that is described to be moisturising, repairing and anti-ageing. The ingredients* are: Grapeseed Oil, Apricot Kemel, Avocado Oil, Hemp Oil, Vitamin E, Rose Absolute, Jojoba Oil.

I love that they use a range of different oils that are known to have anti-ageing properties so the skin benefits from them all. I don't have any wrinkles or scars but I have been getting stretch marks. I haven't been using it much though as I keep forgetting to but I'll try to use it more often and report back if I can. Again, it has a lovely smell that is 100% natural and I won't even attempt to describe it.

Whether it works for me or not, I would rather buy rosehip oil, which is less than half the price of this and I've read numerous recommendations for it. But if you're looking for a fun smelling alternative to rosehip oil or a luxurious yet useful gift for a mamma-to-be, this seems like a great product.

RRP £15.99 for 50ml

Sounds tempting? Betty Hula is available at Bettyhula.co.uk and selected Sainsbury's stores. Get 15% off at Bettyhula.co.uk with the code BHB15. Plus free shipping!

*EDIT: I am unsure about the full ingredients list. The ingredients list on the Sainsbury's website differ.

xx

Monday, 3 October 2011

Rawganic 3-in-1 Facial Wipes Review


You come home and just feel like going straight to bed... but you need to remove your make up. It happens all the time. I have always made the effort to cleanse my face as the thought of sleeping with my make up on terrifies me. But using cleansing wipes makes things so much easier. With Rawganic Organic 3-in-1 facial wipes you can cleanse, tone and moisturise with just one wipe so you can kill three birds with one stone (not my favourite idiom).

I was sent a pack of these to try by Rawganic and I was so happy to give them a go as it isn't easy finding wipes made from only natural ingredients.

The ingredients of this product (96% of which are organic) are:
Aqua, Cotton*, Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera) leaf juice powder*, Benzyl alcohol, Maltodextrin*, Coco-Glucoside, Betaine, Dehydroxyacetic acid, Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) leaf extract, Sodium hydroxide, Citric acid.

*Indicates certified organically produced ingredients.

The first thing I noticed about these wipes is the two holes punched in the middle of the wipes. I thought maybe they help split the wipe into two smaller ones. *attempts to rip the two parts apart* Nope! I have nothing against holes but I'm curious to know why they're there so if anyone has any idea, let me know.

The scent of the wipes is barely there. It has a clean smell like baby lotion. I quite like it.

Now for the most important part.. how well do they work? Extremely well actually. Just one wipe of this across my face and all traces of make up, heavy eyeliner and mascara included, are vanished. You wouldn't think it with how light and gentle these wipes are.

After my face is cleansed, my face feels a little damp. Hydrated rather than oily. Within a minute or so, the 'stuff' is all absorbed into my skin and it feels clean and soft.

So I'm very happy with these wipes and would recommend them.

The wipes cost £3.30 for 25. Available from Naturismo.com.

xx

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Natural beauty on a budget


The natural beauty niche market is full of highly priced brands, which aren't affordable for everyone especially if you have to shop for the whole family. I think natural products should be affordable for everyone so I've put together some products that won't break the bank.


Find these products at Love Lula. Naked Produucts are available from the Naked Bodycare website.

xx

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What's Green, Black and yummy all over?

We've all heard of Organic chocolate and we've all heard of Fair Trade chocolate. But not very often do you find chocolate that is both Fairtrade and organic, so you can truly indulge guilt-free.

I'm talking about Green & Black's, which I'm sure you've already guessed. ok the title probably gave it away too.

Although they have been bought by Cadbury's which were then acquired by Kraft, Green & Black's still sticks to its principles of providing excellent quality chocolate produced ethically from bean to bar, which is the reason why after a moment of distress thinking I would have to break up with one of my favourite chocolate brands, we still remain in love.


I was kindly sent some of their chocolates to try and review.

My favourite has to be Butterscotch, which wasn't sent to me but I have to share how delicious this is. It is the first Green & Black's chocolate I've ever tasted and I fell in love from first bite. It's rich in cocoa (34%) but satisfies your sweet tooth at the same time with the pieces of crunchy toffee. It's the perfect balance between cocoa, milk and sugar. A combination made in heaven. Just a few squares of this and I'm satisfied. So if you ever have the need to gorge down a huge bar of milk chocolate (we all feel like like that sometimes don't we), a few squares of this will sure hit the spot.

Almond is another one of my absolute favourites. This one contains 37% cocoa and lots of roasted almonds that taste so fresh and give the bar a lovely crunch. The almonds have their skins left, on which gives the chocolate a slight bitter taste but this is complemented with the sweetness of the bar.

If I can't tempt you to try either as you simply prefer less cocoa, Creamy Milk is another fave. What I love about this is how the different layers of flavour.. the creamy milk, the rich cocoa, the sweetness... build up in my mouth and I can feel the different parts of my tongue getting more and more excited. Compare this to most milk chocolates that have a 'flat' one layer taste, if that makes any sense. So don't let the innocent name fool you. This is no ordinary milk chocolate.

Caramel and Mint sounded extremely tempting at first. I am a huge fan of caramel filled chocolates (naughty, I know) and I love minty chocolates occasionally such as After Eight. I am not, however, a fan of chocolates containing alcohol and the taste of the alcohol in both of these bars ruined the taste for me. There's no hint on the packaging that it contains alcohol except in the ingredients list. But if you love alcohol chocolates, which there aren't many options out there on the market, then you might be tempted to try out these flavours.

White Chocolate is like the more mature version of Milkybar - because grown ups like white chocolate too. It is very creamy without being too milky or too sweet. It supposedly contains Madagascan vanilla in there but it's difficult to distinguish between the vanilla and creamy white chocolate flavours as they're very similar. The packaging is a little confusing. It does state 30% cocoa but looking at the ingredients list I assume by that they mean 30% cocoa butter.


Now we all have our own particular tastes when it comes to most things; chocolate being one of them. I prefer milk chocolates but occasionally prefer extra rich cocoa but not as far as craving plain or dark chocolate. So I will have to warn you that I'm going to be biased.

I've only gotten as far as trying a few bites of two of the dark chocolates as I know that the rest will be strong for my taste buds. I normally love coffee flavoured chocolates but the Espresso bar (70% cocoa) was too strong for me. Then again this is espresso and not a milky latte so expect a strong one! Maya Gold, 55% cocoa infused with orange and delicate spices, has a truly unique taste. It reminds me of Christmas cakes with the fruity and sweet spice flavours. This isn't too dark for my own personal taste though I still prefer milkier chocolates. I can see myself melting this and pouring it over a sponge cake. Yum! There are also Hazelnut and Currant, Dark and Cherry in the dark category.


I think I'll be reserving the dark chocolates to try out one of their recipes. Would that be something you'd like to see on Eden Angels?

Do you have a favourite Green & Black's flavour? Maybe one you haven't tasted yet but are tempted to try?

xx

Friday, 23 September 2011

Dr.Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Body Oil review


As promised, I'm finally reviewing the Dr.Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Body Oil.

This product is described as 'This invigorating oil enhances the skin's elasticity and helps to discourage cellulite.'

This sounded great for me. I had no cellulite when I used to go to the gym but as I've been gaining weight, it came back. Booo :(

I don't know whether this product just discourages cellulite or it reduces it too but from what I've heard, lemongrass oil is great for decreasing fluid retention in the body. I haven't been using it long enough to personally see any difference on the amount of cellulite I have but even so it would still be difficult to know whether any reduction in cellulite is caused by the oil or the massage.

Whether it will do anything for my cellulite or not, the moisturising properties of this product is amazing. I've been using lotions and creams on my legs for years and could never find anything to get rid of the keratosis pilaris on my outer thighs. But my legs must love the oil as they soak it right up really quickly and I've noticed a big difference even after the first application. No more bumpy legs, yay!

Another thing I love about this is how easy it is to massage around my body. I get annoyed with some creams that take forever to spread and be absorbed but it's super quick to apply this after a shower.

I also LOVE the smell. Lemongrass smells delicious.

So even though I'm not so sure about the cellulite busting properties, I would recommend this as a body oil if you have really dry skin or keratosis. Seriously worth the money!

Dr.Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass body oil is available at Love Lula for £17.95.

xx

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Pai skincare review

Pai skincare, who are an organic skincare brand certified by the Soil Association, sent me a sample set of a cleanser and two moisturisers in a cute little pouch for me to try*. 




I've been using this as a make up remover and it removes make up, including eye make up, very easily and gently without irritating the skin. I got a little in my eye and I didn't feel a thing!
The consistency is very light so the oils are absorbed quickly but my skin felt hydrated rather than greasy. However, because the product is absorbed quickly, I found that I had to use more of the product.



I've being using this on dry areas around my face, especially around my nose. Even though it has a thick consistency, it is absorbed very quickly and my skin felt softer from the first application.

As I'm using the Geranium & thistle cream on dry areas, which is much suitable as I wouldn't want blemishes to appear in the surrounding oily parts of my skin, I am using the macadamia and rose dry skin cream on my hands instead. Again, the cream is absorbed really quickly so I don't have to wait long for it to dry or end up with sticky hands. The sample pot is a great size to pop into my handbag too.

My favourite things about these products is the thick consistency that melts on my skin and how cold they are. And I love the mild rose smell, which is great because I don't like overpowering smells. I think these products have a lot of great properties and are truly of premium quality.

The cleanser costs £25 and the moisturisers cost between £19 and £26 so they aren't cheap. They are absolutely great products but I personally wouldn't spend that much on them. If you love premium skincare or are looking for something that would work on dry or irritated skin, then I'd recommend getting a free sample set and trying them out. You only have to pay for p&p.


*Views are my own as always! :)