Sunday, 26 February 2012

My Matcha Challenge

Hey all!

Have any of you tried matcha before?

Matcha is a type of green tea that is ground down to a fine powder. Originating from Japan, it is well known for it's amazing health benefits and its energising effects. There are too many benefits to list down, so make sure you check out this link and read all about it.

Now I am a big fan of matcha. I still remember the first time I tried it. My friend was raving about it and, as a coffee drinker and one who is suspicious of bright green milky drinks, I was rather sceptical at first. I decided to be adventurous and gave it a try. It was one of the best decisions I made in my life (no kiddin'!). It tasted so great and it made me feel incredibly awake and refreshed. I didn't crash afterwards either.

Unfortunately, I can't get a nice matcha drink close to my home. So a refreshing cup of matcha in the morning wasn't an option for me. But thankfully, you can buy matcha online to make drinks at home at a fraction of the cost. teapigs matcha is 100% organic and comes in an cute little tin to keep it fresh.

Cute :')

You can drink it however you like, whether you prefer to whisk it into hot water, whip up an ice-cold matcha frappe or knock back a matcha shot. Personally, I prefer a hot matcha latte, which is very suited to this weather and it really warms me up in the morning.

You can also add it to food such as stirring it into yogurt with some honey and nuts to make a very nutritious breakfast.

I recently took part in teapigs's matcha challenge where I drink matcha for two weeks and report back on how it made me feel. I have been drinking it mostly as a matcha latte in the mornings. I normally drink regular black tea and have to buy a coffee afterwards to keep me going. But with a matcha latte I find that it keeps me feeling awake for hours and it also makes me more focussed in class. Plus, it tastes yummy!

I haven't experienced any long-term effects. Although, I have been awfully inactive the past few weeks, just sitting down and typing away at my dissertation for hours each day. So I didn't expect any weight loss miracles. But the short-term benefits of feeling refreshed, awake and relaxed during these stressful days have been amazing.

So if you're looking for an alternative to coffee, I seriously recommend you give this a try. I seriously recommend you get yourself a frother as it can be difficult to blend into your drink.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!


P.S. Excuse the funky photography. I got a little carried away playing with my phone ;)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Weleda Skin Food Review

Do you know how some girls are obsessed with lip balm. They buy every lip balm out there and are always applying it to their lips. I'm the same way with hand moisturiser. I've been told many times that I'm always putting something on my hands. It's not only because I need to protect my hands from this harsh weather but there is something comforting about massaging my hands with cream and breathing in the calming scent.

As someone who has tried so many creams, I'd like to share my views on Weleda's Skin Food, which they kindly sent me to try*.

Firstly, I must comment on Weleda's brand. I have a lot of respect for Weleda because it has a long heritage of being ethical. I'm never taught on the ethical side of business on my degree so I always find companies such as Weleda very inspiring.

So, onto the product. The consistency of Skin Food is very different to many moisturisers on the market. Because it is mostly made up of sunflower seed oil, it melts instantly onto my skin and it's quickly absorbed without leaving a damp and oily residue.

The smell is very calming thanks to the extracts of Chamomile and Calendula. It also has a mild grassy smell, reminding me of spring, which I am really looking forward to as it has been one long winter!

As soon as the cream is absorbed, my hands feel very soft and the calming scent lingers on my skin.

Surprisingly, this great product doesn't come with a big price tag either. A 30ml tube costs £4.95 and the 75ml tube is £8.95 on the Weleda website.

Have you tried Weleda Skin Food? Let me know what you think.


*100% honest as always :)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A Natural Low-Calorie Sugar Alternative

Hello! I hope you've all been well. As promised, here's my review on Total Sweet Xylitol.

As I have a big sweet tooth, I find it difficult to cut down on sugar even when I'm trying to lose weight. And I've heard too many nasty things about synthetic sweeteners so I decided to try a natural alternative.

Xylitol is a supposedly a great substitute as not only is it low in calories, it doesn't contain any sugars.  So it's much better for your health.

The first thing I noticed about this product when I picked it off the shelf is that it does contain calories. But only a little so I didn't mind taking it home with me. Also, comparing it to regular granulated sugar, it contains the same amount of carbs (it doesn't contain any sugars though). As I just wanted to cut down on calories and sugar, I didn't mind all of this at all.

Trying the xylitol in a cup of tea, I didn't like it at first as it didn't sweeten at all. All it did was reduce the bitterness of my cup of tea tea. But over time, I did get used to it. And I did prefer it at times as my taste was too adjusted to very sweet things.

I did find, however, that I was scooping in more sweetener than I usually do with sugar as it wasn't sweetening at all. This meant that I was consuming more carbs in my tea than I usually do.

So I'm in two minds about this product. I'm not too fussed about the calories as I'm not on a strict regime but I do love a sweet cup of tea on a cold, grey morning. Also, the price isn't helping as it was just under £3 for 225g, which does add up with the amount of tea I drink.

I really wish I could say I love it as I'd love a healthier alternative to sugar. But my hunt for a natural sweetener must go on.

Got any suggestions for healthy sweeteners for me to try?