Keto Brownies

My Keto Cookies were a success! In the same Keto Baking magazine, there are lots more recipes, so I will be making many more sweet treats in the near future! As for this week, I made my own variation of their Brownies. Instead of adding walnuts I used cacao nibs, which are a favourite of Ed’s.

These brownies were moist, rich and full of flavour! I made them twice this week, as the first time, they went a bit wrong (you’ll see later!). The second time they came out a bit thinner, but were still nice and gooey!

The Ingredients:

60g Cocoa Powder

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

6-8 tbsp Hot Water

2 Eggs

6 tbsp Vegetable Oil

170g Sweetener

96g Almond Flour

85g Chopped Walnuts (I used Cacao Nibs instead)

The Method:

Preheat your oven to 180° C / 160° C fan assisted, and line an 8 inch square baking tin with baking parchment. I greased my tin with a little butter to ensure the parchment stuck to the sides, making it easier to put the mixture in later.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cocoa powder, salt and hot water. Start with 6 tbsp of hot water, and if the paste that forms is uneven or has a lumpy texture add one tbsp at a time (up to 2 extra tbsp) until the paste evens out. You can always add the extra water after adding the eggs if it hasn’t smoothed out.

In a glass jug or medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the vegetable oil, making sure the egg yolk have broken and the oil and eggs are fairly well mixed.

Once the cocoa paste has cooled down, which shouldn’t take long, add the egg mixture slowly, adding it in four parts. This allows for an even mixture and makes it easier to mix the oil into the rest of the ingredients. Give this a good stir, making sure the mix is nice and runny, effectively like melted chocolate.

Add the sweetener and almond flour to your mixture and stir. Using a silicon spatula (or just an ordinary one if that’s what you have), scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure all the dry ingredients are combined.

Finally, add the extra bits and bobs, like nuts, cacao nibs, raisins, etc. whatever you choose to add… if you want to add anything that is!

Pop this mixture into the pre-lined tin, smoothing out the surface of the batter and getting rid of most air bubbles. If you wish to add anything (bits and bobs) to the top, sprinkle these on top before baking in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

You want the brownies to be cracking at the edges but still be gooey in the middle. A kebab skewer should come out clean when pulled out of the middle of the brownies when they are ready. If not quite ready, bake for an extra minute, checking each time. If you bake for too long, they will begin to burn around the edges and the ‘burnt’ flavour will come through.

Once you have taken them out of the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from tin and pop on a wire cooling rack until cool. Finally, slice the brownies into squares, triangles, whatever shape you choose! Just be careful! They are soft and gooey and will fall apart if you try and pick up the block in one go! (see below!)

I found them better once they had been in the fridge for a while, as they held their shape nicely, but were still lovely and gooey!

The were a success (the second time round anyway!) and tasted very yummy. Personally, I would suggest popping a scoop of ice cream in a bowl with one of these and enjoying it as a dessert, but Ed has been liking them as a snack all the same! I would highly recommend giving these brownies a go. They taste just as good as ordinary brownies, Ed thinks they are the best he’s ever had! Maybe he’s just being nice, but they were very tasty so you make up your minds once you’ve tried them!

Thank you for reading and I hope you come back soon for more Keto baking adventures with me and Ed!

Keto Cookies – Chocolate and Chilli

I love baking, and since I’ve been home from uni for summer, I’ve been experimenting with new recipes, instead of remaking the same Victoria sponge recipe over and over. Finding a ‘healthy’ sweet treat can be tricky. This can be made even trickier if you add carbs and sugar to the list of things you can’t bake with. This knocks out pretty much any type of flour, gluten, sugar (obviously!) etc. Unfortunately, for a diabetic, this is the reality, and although eating a cookie wouldn’t kill you on the spot, eating high levels of carbohydrates and sugar can be detrimental for your health in the long run.

There are several diets that focus on cutting carbohydrates, one of the most popular being the Keto Diet. As such, when I saw the magazine Keto Baking in the newsagent, I picked it up, hoping to find something I could bake for Ed that he could eat guilt-free. And sure enough, there was a huge selection of recipes for me to try out! From cakes, biscuits, breads and sweet bites, the magazine has given me a bunch of ideas for for experimenting with.

To start off, I tried making some cookies, as I haven’t made a batch of cookies in years and I have been baking quite a few cakes recently, so this sounded different and fun! Ed loves chocolate and he loves chilli even more, so I had no doubt he would like them! Here’s the recipe and how my Keto baking adventure went!

The Ingredients:

340g Unsweetened Chocolate/ Dark Chocolate of a high percentage

115g Unsalted Butter

4 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Extract/Paste

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 tsp Chilli Flakes

144g Almond Flour/Coconut Flour

400g Sweetener

A note about the ingredients:

I swapped a couple of my ingredients (listed next to originals) such as the almond flour, as when I was making these, I didn’t realise that almond flour is the same as ground almonds so I couldn’t find any. However, there is nothing wrong with using coconut flour, it will just taste slightly of coconut and it may have the slight ‘gritty’ bite to it that often comes with coconut flours or dessicated coconut.

Most recipes for Keto baking will be using a lot of eggs, and I mean a lot. But don’t worry, the finished product doesn’t taste ‘eggy’ and you can take special measures such as cooling it in the tin for about 10 minutes and then removing it- this helps with the possible ‘eggy’ flavour.

Be careful which sweeteners you use. For example, I use Xylitol or stevia. However, something like Truvia (a brand of stevia sweetener) claims that 1/3 tsp of Truvia = 1 tsp of sugar. Meaning, if you use 1 tsp of Truvia that’s the equivalent of 3 tsp of sugar! In Keto recipes, the amount of sweetener will often be quite high, because you require more sweetener than a normal amount of sugar because it isn’t as sweet. But, as I mentioned, some sweetness are sweeter than sugar, so you won’t need as much. If you’re not sure, just ask Google, but sweeteners like Xylitol are readily available at most major supermarkets.

The Method:

Firstly, preheat your oven to 180°C and line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment or reusable liners. Put the trays to the side until later.

Next, melt the chocolate in a glass bowl with the butter. You can either do this by heating it over water in a saucepan using a hob or in the microwave. I used the microwave and did 30 second intervals, keeping an eye on it once it begins to melt.

In large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and spices and give them a quick mix so they are all incorporated together. Whilst doing this, let your chocolate cool slightly, no need to put it in the fridge, it just needs to be cool-‘ish’.

Once the chocolate is cooler, add one egg at a time, whisking them into the chocolate and butter mixture between each addition. Then add the sweetener and mix together into the chocolate. A word of warning- the mix is going to get noticeably thicker when you start adding the eggs, so just be prepared for a little arm workout!

Next, add the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl. Mix these together and scrape the bowl, making sure all the dry ingredients are mixed in thoroughly. You will be left with a thick cake-like batter, but it is so liquid that it won’t hold its shape.

Lay a large sheet of clingfilm over your kitchen worktop or table and place the batter in the middle. Wrap the batter up, I double wrapped mine to prevent leaking, and leave in the fridge for an hour to harden.

After an hour, remove your batter from the fridge and unwrap it. The mixture makes 12 cookies, but if you want to make them smaller or bigger, then that amount will change. For 12, section off the batter either using a spoon or just grabbing a handful of dough and mould/squash into a rough cookie shape with your hands. Repeat this for each cookie. This can be messy so I’d recommend taking off any jewellery!

Bake them in the oven for 10 minutes. I put mine in for 10 and they were still a tiny bit too soft when I put a skewer in, so I gave them another 3 minutes and they were perfect. Baking time will vary depending on oven strength etc. but they should be harder at the edges and still slightly soft and gooey on the inside.

Leave them on the baking trays for 15 minutes, then remove them and transfer them to a wire cooling rack. And you’re done!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and you give this recipe a go! I’m pleased to report they were a great success and Ed loved them! Finally a treat that we can both eat together! They’re not too spicy, but there is definitely a kick there, so you can try the recipe and then adjust as you like!

Thank you for reading and come back again for more Keto recipes soon!

Summer Berry Viennese Whirls

Whilst at university, when I’m not studying or working, I enjoy cooking and baking to fill my spare time, and when I’m home for holidays, I enjoy sharing my cakes and sweet treats with my family. Recently, I have been experimenting with recipes that I haven’t tried before and one of those was from the Waitrose recipe magazine for Strawberry and Raspberry Viennese Whirls! It was a little messy and I was juggling five different pots and pans most of the time whilst baking four different batches of biscuits but they were sooo yummy and totally worth the work! Here is the recipe and my cooking process for these yummy afternoon biscuits!

The Ingredients:

The biscuits –

200g Unsalted Butter (needs to be very soft)

75g Icing Sugar (sifted), you’ll need extra for dusting later

1 tsp Vanilla Paste

20g Custard Powder

200g Plain Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tbsp Milk

The filling –

100g Unsalted Butter (softened)

1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste

200g Icing Sugar (sifted)

75g Fresh Raspberries (crushed)

1/2 tsp Lemon Juice

2 tbsp Strawberry Jam

The Method:

Preparation-

Preheat your oven to 180° C or gas mark 4. Then, line 2 baking trays with parchment or a reusable tray liner, like this one from Lakeland. Make sure you have a shelf positioned in the middle of the oven.

The Biscuits-

Beat the butter using an electric handheld mixer for 5 minutes until it’s pale and soft. You can do this by hand, but be prepared for a work out! Add the icing sugar and vanilla paste and beat for a further 2 minutes. I chose a hand held mixer rather than a food processor so I had more control over the ingredients. Swapping to a metal spoon, use it to fold in the custard powder, flour and baking powder, adding a small pinch of salt if you wish. Finally add the milk and finish stirring the dough.

Fill a piping bag with the dough mixture using a star nozzle at the end of the bag, in order to get the swirled effect on the top of the biscuits. I put the piping bag over a medium pyrex jug so the bag stayed open whilst I filled it with the mixture. If you don’t have a piping bag, then using a sealable sandwich bag works just as well. Once the bag is full, pipe a spiral of the mix from the outward edge inwards, about 10 – 12, 5cm diameter spirals. My mixture made more than this, so perhaps I made some too big or too small, but I just ensured I had an even number of biscuits so they could pair up later on. To make the biscuits exactly the same size, find a circular shape that is the right diameter and draw around this on the baking tray liners. This may be easier if you are using paper baking parchment. This will ensure all your biscuits are the same size!

Chill your biscuits in the fridge for 20 minutes before you bake them. Once they’ve been cooled, bake your biscuits in batches of one tray at a time on the middle shelf in your oven. Bake for roughly 13 minutes, but keep an eye on them, ensuring they don’t burn; they can turn in a matter of seconds. They should be golden at the edges once done. Leave them to cool at room temperature for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack for the remaining time until fully cooled. Do not try to fill them until they are cool, otherwise the buttercream won’t set and will ooze out.

The buttercream-

Use an electric beater to beat the butter for the buttercream for 5 minutes, again until pale and soft. Next, add the vanilla paste and icing sugar and beat again until fluffy and light. Using the same method as before, move the buttercream into a piping bag with a star nozzle at the tip. Again, a sandwich bag is a suitable replacement for a piping bag if you don’t have one.

The jam filling-

Crush the raspberries either with a pestle and mortar or just in a glass bowl with the back of a spoon. Add them to a small saucepan with the lemon juice and let them simmer for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl. Add the strawberry jam and mix together. Set aside too cool. Again, don’t attempt to put the jam in the biscuits until it is fully cooled, as it won’t stay put, and you’ll have a big mess on your hands!

Filling the biscuits

It is recommended that you don’t fill the biscuits until you want to serve them, as they can get soft and soggy overtime. However, I filled mine straight away and kept them in a tin in the fridge and they were absolutely fine. It meant they kept some structure rather than being a squashy mess!

Pipe the biscuits leaving a small border between the filling and the edge. Half of the biscuits should have jam spread on them using a teaspoon and the other half piped with a swirl of buttercream. Make sure you put the filling on the underside of the biscuits, on the flat side without the pattern. Squeeze the two halves together, one side buttercream and one half jam. Just before serving, dust with icing sugar and enjoy!

They turned out great and they were super yummy! I really enjoyed baking them as well, even though I was covered in biscuit dough at the best of times, but that’s just because I’m clumsy and am always being messy! I would absolutely recommend this recipe, and I hope you can have fun making them yourselves!

Thank you for reading and I hope I’ve inspired some of you to get your hands dirty and get baking! Have fun!

MooGoo Skin Cream: Review

MooGoo Irritable Skin Balm, the skincare ‘miracle cream’ that I introduced you guys to about a month ago, has been my go to for a month now and I want to share with you my thoughts.

Here is my skin before (left) and after (right) using MooGoo for a month. I am wearing no makeup whatsoever in either of the photos and, as you may have noticed, my hair is now blonde. This might have a tiny effect on how brunette contrasted with my skin compared to the blonde now, but I am noticing differences in my skin’s redness in general even with my hair up.

Straight away, I am noticing less all over redness, so where my face was red sort of under my skin, it added a general rosiness to my face all over. I would say this has toned down and there is more of ‘uni-colour’? over my face now.

On my forehead the redness has completely disappeared and around the lower half of my cheeks, it is also noticeably less. Around my nose, which is where I am most red, you can still see some redness, especially where I have a couple of blemishes and spots at the moment. This is the same on my chin, which is still a little red but this may be down to individual differences of this morning.

Other things to note is that your diet changes a lot of your body’s physical appearance, not just weight wise but skin quality too. I cant remember what my diet was like before but I would say as the warmer weather (or not as the rain seems to be proving) has come in, I have been eating less stodgy carbohydrates and more salads and protein. This may be having an effect on my skin. Another thing is I am still using the Medik8 Calmwise Serum every morning and every evening with the MooGoo so this could be a joint effort. However, previous to using the MooGoo I was not noticing such a dramatic difference.

One more thing to point out is that I am noticing most difference after washing my face in the morning or evening, before I reapply MooGoo and my serum. So, my suggestion for application and use is that if you have a favourite moisturiser and you still want to use this, you could use MooGoo overnight and your moisturiser in the morning as I think the effects of it are seen several hours later when your skin isn’t inflamed or irritated by rubbing oils and moisturisers all over it.

Overall, this skin cream has seriously made a difference in the quality of my skin and I have had comments on the improvement of the redness from people that I know. Unfortunately this cream doesn’t come with SPF, however, MooGoo does a suncream, anti-aging SPF cream and a moisturiser with SPF in it, so they are definitely worth looking at.

I will carry on using the MooGoo and hopefully it will continue to improve my skin as I use it more. Thank you all for reading and coming back to find out how the product performed! New recipes will be up soon (in the next week!) of cookies and cakes I have been busy making!

Anthropologie Cheltenham Store Opening

Anthropologie, founded in 1992 is a store which takes inspiration from around the world and combines fashion, beauty, home decor and gifts to create a quirky and stylish, personalised style for each individual. They work with small local brands including beauty products and jewellery, as well as their own range of clothing and home furnishing.

Their most recent store, in Cheltenham, opened this Friday and I popped in to look around, as well as pick up a couple of bits for myself, obviously!

Image result for anthropologie cheltenham
The front of their store is absolutely gorgeous, with Wisteria-esque plants hanging down over the entrance.
Upstairs is a mixture of beautiful free floating shelving displays with candles and kitchen bits and bobs, and furniture examples such as armchairs, bedding, side tables and even door handles and door knobs!
In the centre of the square balcony hangs a spherical art piece of dipped candles hanging upside down. These are beautiful and such an eye-catching centre piece, really separating upstairs and downstairs nicely.
The store is full of beautiful summery clothing, interesting stationery and kitchen accessories and a stunning collection of jewellery, hair bands and accessories!

I thought the store was beautiful and really nicely laid out. There was plenty of space for the many customers that were in which is a good sign, due to the fact it was opening day!

All weekend they held an array of activities and free events such as hand massages courtesy of a local beauty company based in Oxfordshire and G&T tastings!

Of course, I purchased a couple of things and I am really looking forward to using my new items! Here they are!

They have a beautiful selection of fashionable sunnies and I picked up these cat-eye tortoise shell frames. They came with a free cotton bag/case which is so handy for my handbag so I don’t scratch them!

These hair clips were in their hair accessories section and are beautiful natural shades, complimenting blonde or brunette hair. The orange and neutral beige have glitter throughout them so add a shimmer to your hair in the sunlight. I can’t wait to wear these all summer long!

These little (I say little but they’re actually rather big!) hair clips are covered in faux pearls and can dress up an outfit easily! You can use them to secure your hair off your face or pop them over some plaits to add some detail! They are on yellow gold clips which looks so summery, especially in blonde hair! These would be perfect with a summer dress and curly hair!

There is so much more to look at and I would absolutely recommend a visit if you are near the area. They also have other locations across the UK and USA, so it’s worth checking if there is a store near you! And of course, there is an online store too, so they can ship wherever you need!

What would you pick from the store? New earrings? A gorgeous scented candle? A new throw for you bedroom? Take a look at their website and get inspired for a new look this summer!

References:

https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/gallery/first-look-anthropologie-store-cheltenham-2918812

Anthropologie.com

MooGoo Skin Cream

Hi everyone, just a quick post today! I have just finished first year of university, so hopefully I will be posting more frequently and maybe shake it up a bit!

Some of you may remember I spoke about the Medik8 Calmwise Colour Correcting serum and moisturiser, which I have been using and really enjoying! The serum is working really nicely to calm the redness on my skin overtime, and the moisturiser does a great job of reducing redness instantly for a temporary fix.

My boyfriend was reading through the news the other day and found an article by a gentleman who had been using chemotherapy cream, which had caused extreme redness and irritation. He was commenting on how good the MooGoo Irritable Skin Cream is and called it a ‘miracle cream’ after the results took his dry, red irritated skin back to his original condition.

Although the cream is originally used for eczema, the company MooGoo have commented on how brilliant it is that people can use it for other issues, especially when suffering from something like cancer.

I have only just received the MooGoo cream, but I will post an update after 3 weeks of applying it every evening, and I will wait for the results! I am very excited to see how it works and see if there is any difference in my skin!

Thank you for reading and I will keep you all posted with how it goes!

References:

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/grandad-hails-1250-miracle-cream-15316060

https://moogooskincare.co.uk/skin-problems/irritable-skin-balm.html

Eat your way to Mindfulness

I have been trying to spend a little less time on my phone recently and more time relaxing, away from the pressures of modern day social media platforms. I have been taking some time to myself, either reading, listening to a podcast or doing a lot of gardening with the good weather recently.

Caroline Foran, author of no.1 bestseller of Owning It: A Bullish*t Free Guide to Living with Anxiety, has begun a podcast this January: Owning It: The Anxiety Podcast. I have been listening to the odd episode here and there and from an episode in April they were discussing how important diet and healthy eating is for a healthy mind.

This I already somewhat knew, as I am very aware of the effect blood sugars have on your mood, due to my boyfriend having Type 1 Diabetes. In March 2019 I did a ‘Live Like a Diabetic’ for the month where Ed and I reduced to the minimum amount of carbohydrates and eliminated sugar from our diets. After only a month, I could feel the incredible impact that reducing artificial sugars and simple carbs (the bad ones!) has on your mood. You feel less groggy and tired – I found I was sleeping better and falling asleep faster.

Sugar in food either comes as ‘added sugar’ or ‘natural sugar’ and for a normal person’s healthy diet, there should be a balanced amount of natural sugars. Added sugars can be eaten but this should be as a treat or the odd occasion. Added sugars will have a larger effect on your blood sugar levels, and this can make you feel jittery and shaky which will contribute to feeling anxious.

That said, if you blood sugar levels are on the low side, then you might experience what is close to a ‘hypo’ (hypoglycaemia). This, again, feels very jittery and shaky, struggling to string a sentence together and feeling very dizzy and out of place. If you have ever had a panic attack, some of these feelings may sound familiar. As someone without diabetes, you are unable to experience a genuine hypo. If your blood sugars are low-ish then you may, however, begin to feel panicky and anxious. This can be controlled and negated by eating a healthy balanced diet.

So what should we be eating to balance our diets?

Fruit and Veggies:

The NHS and numerous health organisations recommend 5 portions of fruit and veg everyday. This could be all fruit, all veg, or a mixture, and the latter is probably the easier and better option. I know, however, that it isn’t easy and I can’t remember the last time I consumed 5 portions of these even once. That said, I do eat more vegetables and fruit than a lot of people my age, so as long as you are getting some form of fruit or veg at least once a day then that is a good start.

Carbohydrates:

These are often described as ‘starchy’ foods and should be about one third of your daily diet. These include things like potatoes, pasta, bread, rice, etc. These are all great sources of fibre, and when choosing, try to go for wholewheat or wholemeal alternatives, such as brown rice or wholemeal bread. These will be a big chunk of where your ‘all-day’ energy comes from. As someone with anxiety, you can often suffer with a feeling of low energy or tiredness, so eating a healthy source of carbohydrates could impact this brilliantly.

Dairy:

Dairy is something our generation probably doesn’t eat enough of, due to the ever increasing numbers of dairy allergies and intolerances. But, soya milk and other dairy alternatives do have the nutritional values that ordinary milk would contain, so don’t panic if you don’t drink dairy milk. Other good sources are yoghurt and cheese. Be careful not to go overboard with your dairy intake though, as it can be very high in fat! Moreover, excess amounts of dairy have been linked to heightened levels of adrenaline which may lead to a feeling of higher anxiety. So although dairy is important, we need a balance.

Protein:

A good source of protein can come from meat, fish, beans, pulses and eggs. I found when I cut down on carbohydrates, I replaced them with a lot of protein, as these give energy and are good at helping the body heal and repair itself. For this reason I eat protein before and after going to the gym or doing exercise, as not only does it give a slow release of energy throughout the exercise, but it helps my muscle repair after stretching them. Anxiety can be hugely helped by doing a small amount of exercise everyday. Just a walk down to the shops, or with a dog (if you have one!). Or, if you’re feeling particularly energetic, you could for for a run or go to the gym! It is recommended that everyone gets 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, so thats about 20 minutes everyday!

Fat:

Although you should try and stay away from saturated fats, like meats, dairy, butter, biscuits and cakes, as well as many others. These can be eaten (obviously!) but in small quantities and your sources of fat should come from unsaturated fats such as oily fish, nuts, seeds and healthier cooking oils. There are not too many papers linking anxiety to fatty foods, but it has been linked to heart conditions and poorer health as you get older.

Of course, there isn’t an out and out list of foods that can cure anxiety! But, I cannot stress enough that a balanced diet can help your mental health improve! Your brain and your body are linked and that means the more you take care of your body, the more it will take care of your brain!

This has been my first post for my new topic on my blog, and I hope that you have enjoyed reading and it may have given you some insight on your diet and how it might be affecting your mind and mood. I am not a healthcare professional, neither am I a dietician or a chartered psychologist (yet!) so my words are not coming from a scholarly background as such, but more experience, Caroline Foran’s book (The Confidence Kit: Your Bullsh*t Free Guide to Owning Your Fear), her podcast (which I would H I G H L Y recommend listening to, whether you have anxiety or not!) and just reading online!

Thank you again for reading, and I hope to be adding some more posts including some of my favourite recipes which I will be sharing!

Imogen ❤


Clarisonic Mia Smart

For my birthday I was gifted a Clarisonic Mia Smart! I had done some research before asking for this and I had seen Stephanie Toms’ YouTube review on the device which she had been sent in PR. I liked the look of it and I wanted to try it!

The Clarisonic Mia Smart:

The Clarisonic Mia Smart is the big sister of the Mia Prima, and although this means it comes with a bigger price tag, it also means it boasts some pretty funky features that the Mia Prima cannot.

The Mia Smart describes itself as the “one device that does all” with multiple attachments that can cleanse, massage, and even blend out your makeup. It comes in three colours, white, pink or mint and comes with the standard Daily Radiance Brush Head.

When unboxing your Mia Smart, it recommends that you charge it fully before its first use. For 100% charge which lasts for 10 hours of use, they recommend a charge time of 18 hours. But, there is no need to guess, as with this smart little device comes a smart little app!

The Clarisonic app shows your battery life, number of cleanses, and other statistics. It can send you reminders at specific times that fit with your routine for when you want to cleanse and shows your achievements such as cleansing streaks, completing a full foundation blending routine and (impressively) when your device has completed 300K oscillations (it has gone round 300,000 times)! You can also sync your own personalised skin routines to your device, so when you are cleansing it will beep when its time for you to move to another part of your face.

I own the Daily Radiance Brush Head and the Sensitive Brush Head. The Daily Radiance is gentle as it is, but after a few days of using the device, once in the morning and once at night, you can feel how a sensitive brush head would be more gentle. Using the Mia Smart twice daily may be too much for your skin, so the app can customise its notifications and how intense the brushing is. As you can see from the screenshot, I have mine at intensity level one but it can go up to level four, which from what I have tried is a more ‘abrasive’ yet still gentle cleanse. If you are wearing stubborn makeup or have a lot of dry, dead skin, this may be suitable for one off use, but I’m not sure I would recommend using it on level four for extended periods of time. I have fairly sensitive skin and although there’s nothing I love more than freshly exfoliated skin and scrubbing hard, I also am very gentle with my skin as I know it can only take so much harshness.

Cleansers and Skin Products:

My favourite cleanser at the moment is the Clinique Liquid Face Soap in Mild. Reasons I love this; there are no harsh chemicals and it is gentle on the skin meaning I can use it twice daily and it won’t be too harsh. It also comes in Extra Mild, Mild and Oily, meaning there are different soaps to suit your skin type.

I am also testing the Clinique All About Eyes eye cream at the moment, and I haven’t really used it for long enough to report long term results, but instant effects show less puffiness and brighter under eyes. The great thing about this is even though it’s a small pot, it takes the smallest amount for each eye, so the pot will last for a long time!

I am also experimenting the Medik8 Calmwise Serum, which targets and combats redness and soothes irritated sensitive skin. I have a fair amount of redness, especially on my nose, cheeks and between my brows, so I am using this to see if any long term effects will come from it! I love the consistence, although it is an oil, it doesn’t leave my skin oily, just smooth. It also doesn’t use a lot for a full face application, so although it is a bit pricey, you can be economical with applying it!

From the same company, I am also using the Calmwise Colour Correct moisturiser, which comes out green and combats redness directly by being the contrasting colour of red. This blends so beautifully into the skin, I just use my fingers to apply this and rub it in. Unlike some colour correcting concealers or primers, it is a moisturiser so it really leaves your skin hydrated and on top of that, it also instantly combats redness, reducing the pigment in your skin, to even out your skin tone. Again, although a little pricey, a little goes a long way, so it should last you a while!

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post, and I will keep you updated with the different routines I experiment with using the Clarisonic. I hope to get one of the massaging brush heads and the foundation brush at some point, so hopefully I will review those as and when I get them!

In the mean time, check out some of my other posts, where I have recommended some skiing skincare (because the season isn’t over quite yet!) and some fab cocktails which I loved!

Thank you for reading!

Imogen ❤

All Shook Up Cocktails!

Hi there everyone! So tonight I’m posting something a bit different, and it’s only going to be a short one.

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Image taken from www.allshookupcocktails.co.uk

I recently tried the All Shook Up pre-mixed cocktails and I just wanted to share how cute I think they are! They only have three cocktails out for sale at the moment, as they are a fairly new brand. But, here are the three they have available!

Images taken from www.allshookupcocktails.co.uk

Flamingo Colada:

This cocktail is great for you if you like Pina Coladas (and getting caught in the rain!) The Flamingo Colada is a gorgeous pink colour matching the design of the can (which is also just the cutest!) and replaces the traditional pineapple juice with Grenadine. Add natural coconut, lime and fruit juices, all shaken together with white rum, this cocktail is a delicate take on the classic and gives just as much of a taste of paradise!

Passion Fruit Martini:

This one is my favourite of the three! It takes the classic Pornstar Martini and adds passion fruit juice to make it that little bit extra fabulous! Shaken together with vodka, sugar syrup, natural flavourings and fruit alcohol, serve with a shot of prosecco on the side, you’ve got yourself a fruity and fabulous Passion Fruit Martini!

Espresso Martini:

This one is my least favourite (not to say it’s bad, by any means!), just because I prefer fruity cocktails. It still tastes great – A take on the classic Espresso Martini, this takes the hassle out of making your favourite cocktail! Simply pour into a martini glass and add espresso beans atop your ice cold beverage and you’ve got the easiest espresso martini you’ll ever drink! With coffee, sugar syrup, natural flavourings, all shaken together with fruit alcohol and vodka… you can’t go wrong with this simple classic!

 

These three cocktails are perfect for a low-key catch up with your friends, or for pre drinks before a huge night out! They would be ideal for taking to festivals, and I’m always on the look out for new and exciting drinks! These three are available in Tesco and independent convenience retailers, best to check with your local stores! At Tesco, these little cans are selling for £1.25 each and until 7th March 2019, they are 4 for 3! These are perfect and, as the website points out, the adorable cans are the perfect accessory for any outfit!

Thank you for reading! If you like this sort of content, give it a like and comment with any suggestions for new posts! I really like posting about things that are a bit different and quirky, and these have been so fun to review! I hope you’re all having a fabulous new year! Thank you again!

Imogen ❤

Skiing Skincare

So, in just under two weeks, I am heading off skiing for the first time ever! Whilst I have been worrying about ski gear, the long journey, and most importantly how to actually ski (as I have no idea!) it has also been on my mind that the harsh cold weather is going to have an effect on my skin and body. So I have done some research into brilliant super strength products and am going to list some below for you budding skiers out there! I am also going to include some of my recent favourite skin care products that I have been really enjoying!

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser – £15

This cleanser has been YouTuber’s and social media influencer’s favourite for several years and a star product for the brand since it was founded in 1995. It is sold in multiple stores around the country, most easily found in Boots or John Lewis, including the respective websites. It has won over 100 awards and has been no. 1 skin cleanser, according to QVC beauty awards, for multiple years, including 2018. Containing ingredients such as cocoa butter, chamomile and eucalyptus extracts and beeswax, this cleanser leaves your skin feeling, smelling and looking gorgeous.

 

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I love this product. I had been meaning to try it out for years, but always thought it would be quite expensive! After looking at the modest price of £15, I thought it would be worth a go!   I am so pleased I tried it! It cleans my skin beautifully, not only after I have been wearing foundation or a lot of makeup, but also from all the everyday grime and dirt that it encounters from just living in a busy city! it moisturises your skin and leaves it feeling baby soft and smooth. I use it with the Liz Earle muslin cloth which delicately exfoliates and washes away the cleanser, taking with it the dirt and dead skin. I can’t wait to try this when I go skiing (not that the air in the isn’t the cleanest in the world!) but with the everyday freezing temperatures, my skin will need a little love, and the Cleanse and Polish™ is the best way to do it!

 

 

Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser™ – £21

Following on from the previous product and sticking for the moment with Liz Earle, I have recently purchased their moisturiser and I LOVE it. It leaves my skin really soft and smooth, the same as the cleanser, and it smells heavenly!

 

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With extracts of Echinacea, a naturally smoothing and conditioning and avocado oils brilliant for nourishing the skin, this moisturiser leaves the skin suitably moisturised without an oily or sticky residue. It is available for normal/combination skin and dry/sensitive skin, and although my skin has been described as combination to normal, I chose the sensitive formula to battle the extreme cold temperatures in the snow. Although I’m not skiing yet, I have been using it over the past couple of weeks, and I have had multiple comments on how ‘glowy’ and healthy my skin looks! It really is great, and I would recommend, if you’re not certain to pop into a Boots and speak to the experts at the Liz Earle counter, as they can advise you on which product might be right for you.

 

 

Liz Earle Instant Boost™ Skin Tonic Spritzer – £15.50

Again! Back at it with Liz Earle! But seriously, this tonic spritzer is my favourite thing to have in my handbag at the moment. The best way I have found to use this is to apply my moisturiser and then whilst it is still soaking into my skin, I spray this four or five times over my face and it seals the moisturiser into my skin and forms a protective layer against harsh weather and air conditions!

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In the snow this will be perfect and I have found my skin to be bouncier and plumper when I use these two in combination! It has a similarly dreamy scent to it, and when spritzing this, don’t hold back! The more you apply, the better! I haven’t tried this over makeup yet, but I’m not sure that it has any makeup setting power within it, so it may not work as a replacement for your everyday setting spray!

Containing organic aloe vera, cucumber and chamomile, it really gives your skin the very best care!

 

 

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub – £9.95

Onto another one of my newer brands that I have recently begun to use; Nip + Fab! This brand is brilliant! I have also used their Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme, which you can find here. The Glycolic Fix range features many products with the main ingredient of glycolic acid, no surprise! Now, I have always been a bit wary of products containing any acids, so for example, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid or glycolic acid. However, I have discovered these products are completely safe for use on your skin! The one thing I do note is to be careful around sensitive areas of your face, such as under and around the eyes, and to generally go quite gently with these products, as I just don’t like using too much of them. Another thing I have found is that the acid tends to clear my pores out so well that it strips them of excess oil, therefore meaning your skin produces more oil. So, around oilier areas of my skin I will only use these products lightly as I don’t want an overload of oil the next morning.

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That said, I really like using the Glycolic Fix Scrub. In a face scrub, I look for two things; a soft, finely ground exfoliant and a result that I can see and feel after one use, making my skin visibly clearer. This face scrub is both of these and clears my face of any dry or dead skin leaving behind a fresh, clean base for me to apply moisturiser. I exfoliate twice weekly and am desperately trying to stick to a continuous skincare routine, rather than sporadically applying products if and when I feel I need them. When skiing, this scrub will come with me and be part of my snow skincare routine, as I feel it will do an excellent job of removing dry skin from the cold weather.

Nip + Fab is widely available, I have found them in Waitrose, Superdrug, Boots and obviously online on their website nipandfab.com.

 

Patchology Restoring Night CloudMasque™ Sleeping Mask – £35

This moisturiser… what can I say? Although it’s called a mask, I use it as a nightly moisturiser, and it is amazing. The first time I used it, the morning after I could see instant results. My skin was more plump, bouncy, youthful and glowing with moisture. When using this, I usually complete my cleansing in the evening and then apply a thin layer, avoiding my oilier areas (I’ll explain why in a moment’s). Then I go to bed, go to sleep etc. and wake up the next morning with beautifully moisturised skin. Now, in the morning I like to wash my face by just splashing some water after using this, as this mask can leave an oily ‘moisture’ residue on the skin. Of course, this would make sense with this being a mask, as it is designed to be washed off I would imagine, although I’m sure I read somewhere it can be left the next morning throughout the next day. Overall though, this mask is brilliant.

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Its active ingredients include Hyaluronic acid, Retinol and Peptide complexes, which combined work towards hydrating your skin, restoring your skin cells and reducing fine lines and wrinkles (if that’s an issue you are particularly conscious of). With a peaceful and dreamy scent of jasmine, this moisturiser helps you to fall asleep and get your skin the well needed rest and repair time that it needs. Whilst skiing this will be great for an overnight fix after a long day on the slopes and an easy way to ensure my skin is ready to go the next morning.

 

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips – £12

Yes, you read that right! Nipple Balm! So the story goes; the founder of Dr. Lipp (Pontine Paus) had eczema and researched online for the best moisturising and nourishing product and found nipple balm contained this miracle ingredient called Lanolin. This ingredient dates back to 90AD?! and mimics the skins oils and moistures perfectly. So she   decided to create her own nipple balm, which she promotes for ‘Dry Skin, Luscious Lips & Glossy Bits’. Since then, her Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm has become widely popular among celebrities and makeup artists and my attention was drawn to it after I walked into Space NK asking for the lady’s recommendation on the best lip balm they sell, and she pointed me to this! I haven’t looked back since, neither have I used anything else. It is moisturising, glossy, high shine, nourishing… it has it all. I use it as an overnight intense lip balm to help restore the skin on my dry and chapped lips in these cold conditions (perfect for skiing!) or as a lip gloss when I’m wearing makeup, or just simply, as my go to lip balm.

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The company prides itself on 100% natural ingredients, with one sole ingredient, Lanolin. This means there are no nasty chemicals, no acids, no harsh ingredients, just Lanolin.  If you want to read up on this completely natural and miracle ingredient head to the Dr. Lipp website! This will be perfect for my ski trip, where I will probably apply it as much as I possibly can, bearing in mind, the temperatures in England cause dry and cracked lips easily, so temperatures down near -15ºC are guaranteed to!

 

So there it is! My favourite products for the cold, wintery season we are currently in, and the products I will be taking with me skiing to battle the freezing temperatures! Remember, if you are going outside, wrap up warm and take good care of your skin! It needs more love than you think and taking a little extra time to look after it can make a world of difference in the long run!

Thank you so much for reading my blog, and I will hopefully be posting more frequently, so keep an eye on my Instagram and Facebook for when I announce new posts!

Imogen ❤