30 Mar 2015

Mint Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

Healthy & yet still delicious (& addictive!) mint choc smoothie.

You guys, I've stumbled upon the holy grail of smoothies. And it contains chocolate!! I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm having to actually restrict myself from making this every day as it's just so. damn. good. It's a proper chocolate-tasting smoothie and satisfies any chocolate craving easy-as-pie. Plus thanks to the wholesome ingredients it fills you up, gives you 1 of your five-a-day and contains good healthy fats and minerals that your body needs.

Serves one:

1 Banana
1/2 Small Ripe Avocado
Milk (I use coconut or almond but any will work)
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp peppermint extract (haven't tried this with fresh mint - let me know if you do!)
2 teaspoons raw cacao powder
1 pitted medjool date (or) 2 tbsp maple syrup


Whizz everything up in a blender, easy! add more milk to loosen consistency as you go - it takes seconds as everything you're blending is soft. I find it always smells weird at first, very avo-banana-ery but this fades and it tastes nothing like it smells. Rich chocolate, fresh mint, slightly sweet and oh-so-moreish.

I use this cacao powder - I have tried another but this one seems much less bitter (but it's still pretty bitter) and more aromatic. The 250g bag will literally last you forever. If you don't have cacao you can still use cocoa but will probably need to add an extra teaspoon or so to cover the banana taste.
I picked up my vanilla bean paste from Waitrose in the baking isle. It was £3.99 but you can also buy the same brand on amazon. Seem's pricey but it's so much nicer than an extract and you can actually taste vanilla when you bake with it!

Will you be making this treat?

26 Mar 2015

Wanna Get Involved With The #ArtyProject?

A different type of post today, but hold on, because I want YOU to get involved!

Blogging is such an amazing way of expressing your hidden creativity, even if you don't think you're creative I'm here to tell you... you ARE. Blogging is a platform to express your creativity in all sorts of different ways, from photography and writing to designing layouts, creating graphics, photo styling and editing.
Okay, sure we all know that, so where am I actually going with this?

A few weeks ago I responded to a tweet from Zoe about getting involved in a new art based project, I wasn't sure exactly what she meant but I was up for it regardless, as since graduating last year I've really let my creativity levels drop. I was severely burnt out after 4 years of studying art and am now ready to get back into creating something, anything. 
It turns out the tweet was the start of a new collaborative/community project involving bloggers who fancy being a little more creative. Simply put we have a set theme and we then have 2 months to come up with a finished piece of artwork, blogging about it along the way. It's very relaxed and we're all about encouragement and being a team!

Our first theme is: BEAUTY
Seeing as we're all beauty bloggers it only seemed fitting that the first theme be based on what we do best. It's of course open to interpretation and you can take it any which way you please. I already have ideas for where I'm going!

Deadline: JUNE 3rd-ish
We have two full months to build on our idea and create something we're proud of. You can approach this time however you see fit; filling a sketchbook, documenting your thought process on Instagram, writing a diary, blogging, making short videos, getting others involved or even just going straight for it and creating one piece straight off the bat.

Any and all mediums are excepted, of course, art can be and is everything and anything. If you're a photographer, a writer, a painter, videographer or mixed media artist (that's me!). You can participate. If you're not an artist or have never studied art you can STILL participate, we encourage it! Be brave and try something new!

Keep Updated
We'll be using the hashtag #ArtyProject on Instagram and twitter to stay connected and offer encouragement as well as blogging about our progress too, we have a plan of one post every two weeks, but if you don't have any updates to report then there's no need to worry. We also have a group Whatsapp chat going to keep up to date and communicate easily!

Who's involved?
There are four of us right now, but I foresee this being an amazing little community...

Zoe - Zoe Newlove
Vicky - Describe The Sky
Danielle - Danielle Bevan

Do YOU want to be involved?
Go on, I dare you ;) If you think this sounds like fun you can send me an email or tweet or just leave your email/twitter handle below and I will get in touch and then add you to the list above! You don't need any experience or any qualifications, just one small creative idea to get you started.

25 Mar 2015

A Spring In Your Makeup Step

The weather has been beautifully sunny here for the past few days, and myself [and penny] are loving it. The flat is warm!! I'm actually dreading summer a little because our huge window makes me feel like an ant under a magnifying glass, fun.

I gave my makeup bag a little spring clean the other day and it was awesome. I got rid of my last remaining un-natural makeup bits that I never used and gave everything a little dust and polish because we all know makeup bags can be pretty grubby places. I then took the opportunity to have a little switch around and bring some unloved pieces to the top of the pile (it literally is just a pile of makeup in a very unhappy and far too full bag) to see the light of day and actually grace my face.  I also have a few new releases in my grasp that are almost too beautiful to touch... almost.

I nearly always tend to forget about my cheeks when it comes to doing my makeup and have to really make an effort to use some of my beautiful products, the first being the Jing Ai Sierra Glow Duo. This creates such a pretty flush to the cheeks but I always worry colour on my cheeks will draw attention to my acne scars which are conveniently placed just below. I am partial to a little highlight though and love my ILIA Polkadots and Moonbeams as it's a nice and subtle pale gold without a tonne of shimmer.

For lips I have two similar colours that seem very appropriate for any hint of sun and I feel are pretty different from my go-to pink & berry shades. The first being Kjaer Weis Sweetness, the prettiest coral shade you're likely to find. I find these lip tints to be really lovely and moisturising and can be built up to have some serious pigment. I just wish I didn't have to dip my fingers in the pan, but it still won't stop my purchasing the two new shades rapture and beloved, hello beautiful berry shades! and I'm SO excited to hear that KW are bringing some lipsticks to the table soon (and a whole host of other sweet things - a beauty oil, a powder, bronzer and makeup remover!!).
My other lip-love is the new Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip & Cheek Stain in Forever Peach*. Everyone knows I'm a smitten kitten for Jane Iredale, I adore her base products, they're the best I've tried and this new shade of lip tint is a beauty. It adjusts to the PH of your skin and on my lips looks incredibly similar to the KW Sweetness, with a little less gloss and vibrancy. They make the perfect pairing for a long lasting coral lip.

Lastly.. it's eyes! I simply can't stop staring at this beautiful palette, the Getaway Eye Shadow Kit* from Jane Iredale is a thing of beauty, with a perfect selection of neutral shades to create a range of looks. The larger shade is actually a powder primer too, so it's really all you need. I really need to up my eyeshadow game and this is the sort of palette that's great for even a beginner like me.

Do you switch up your makeup for a new season?
Psssst. Don't forget to enter my Kahina FEZ balm giveaway!

24 Mar 2015

A Love Letter To The Humble Honey Mask.

Whereas once you wouldn't catch me dead smothering my skin in this sticky stuff, it's now a once (or even twice) a week treat for the skin that I'm calling a staple for any and all.

Raw, unpasteurized honey is the beautiful Bee's life work, why heat it & treat it? If you want this sweet stuff for your face you're going to have to hunt down some good stuff, it doesn't have to be Manuka honey but make sure it says "raw" or "unpasteurized" somewhere on the packaging. If you can't find any in your local supermarket try a health food shop instead!

But what's so good about honey?
So. many. things. Honey is a natural humectant (meaning it draws moisture into the skin) it softens, cleanses, naturally lightens skin, exfoliates and is incredibly moisturising and soothing. It is also naturally anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, and these properties are increased even more so if you pick up manuka honey.

You can use honey as a natural gentle option for cleansing your skin, I like to do this when my skin is feeling particularly dry or inflamed. There's no need to worry about a sticky face either as honey emulsifies with water leaving no residue on your skin, amazing!
My favourite way to use this jar of golden nectar though is as a soothing, nourishing, acne fighting face mask. I take roughly a 20p sized blob and add just one or two single drops of water to loosen the consistency before massaging over skin. A thin even layer is key or else you'll find it sliding off your skin and dripping onto your clothes!

You literally can't leave this mask on too long, my record is probably nearing 3 hours, the longer the better! Once I finally decide to wash it away my skin feels incredible - so soft! I never feel the need to apply a moisturiser or face oil and just let my skin do its own thing for once as the honey has given my skin the ultimate detox - removing dead skin cells, moisturising and battling redness and acne. One ingredient and a million skin benefits? I'm sold.

Have you tried a honey mask?

20 Mar 2015

Five Faves Friday

It's pronounced Fri-YAY.

Baldwins Revitalising Balt Salts. I reviewed these in full just two days ago (here) so it's pretty obvious they're a fave. They just smell so good. Just opening the jar and taking pictures for 5 minutes had my whole living room smelling like a lavender and pepperminty spa.

Josh Rosebrook Moisturising Cleanser. This cleanser has one of the most delicious ingredients lists I've ever seen and smells amazing to boot. Vitamin infused aloe, raw honey, jojoba, evening primrose, white willow bark and even sea minerals to name just a few. I keep reaching for this over my other cleansers so it must be love, it leaves my skin so soft and calm, I also really like that it's a gel consistency but doesn't foam at all, you don't need bubbles to clean your skin!

Leahlani Mermaid Mask. The mask of THE moment, I think it's the name... who wouldn't want to be a mermaid for the evening? This green honey based mask is oh so dreamy and I find myself looking forward to the days when I can take 15 minutes to myself and indulge in a little (me)rmaid time. Who knew spirulina could smell so good?!

Nairn's Ginger Oat Biscuits. A bit of a jump from face masks but I am so obsessed with these ginger biscuits from Nairn's! They're SUPER spicy and best enjoyed with a cup of milk (my favourite is the Rude Health Almond) to take the ginger heat away, but that's why I like 'em ;)

Mint Chocolate Smoothie. Another foodie fave, who knew chocolate could be so healthy?! I've had to actually restrict myself from having one of these every day because I go way too OTT on the Raw Cacao and it is pretty addictive stuff, it gives you a real caffeine buzz! There's vegetables in there too and it's dairy and refined sugar-free so it can't be that bad. I will share my secret recipe next week!

What are you loving this week?