Friday, 3 June 2016

REVIEW // EARTH FRIENDLY BABY



We had a bit of a debacle this week when for the very first time the wee lady reacted to her bath products - an own brand hair and body wash.  It wasn't a bad reaction but her desire to get out of the bath (something she usually loves) made me think I should try another brand pronto.

After shifting over to organic somewhat with my own skincare I decided to give Earth Friendly Baby by Lansinoh a go - a range of products free from SLS (detergent), parabens (man-made preservatives with a nasty reputation for disrupting hormone levels) and artfical fragrances. 

Instead these products are natural, organic, bio-degradable, not tested on animals and most importantly for baby, feel and smell amazing.  Here's the round up:

Calming Lavender Shampoo & Bodywash // This body wash I'm sure hardly needs our approval - it has already been awarded the Mother & Baby Gold Award and it's so easy to see why!  The main ingredient by volume in this wash is Aloe Vera which makes it super rich and luxurious as well as making it go a long long way when spread with either a sponge or a hand.  It's also infused with lavender, mandarin and grapefruit essential oils which are renowned for their relaxing and calming properties - perfect for use before bedtime. We love it and...the whole house smelled beautiful after we used it too! 

Moisturising Shea Massage Oil // This little bottle of massage oil is an absolute dream! A 100% natural blend of super moisturising oils including Jojoba, Apricot, Sweet Almond and Shea Butter it was so lovely to use after bath time and our little lady sat quietly (not a usual thing) while I massaged it into her feet and legs before bed.  Again it contains Lavender essential oil which is so relaxing and it sank into the skin quickly - the bottle is also fabulous for dispensing just the right amount onto the hand too minimising waste and mess! 

If you haven't already, I urge you to give these products a bash.  They are so reasonable priced (around £4-00 each) and are so much nicer to use than other bog-standard baby bath products.  The massage oil is great as a body moisturiser for Mum too!  

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

FAMILY // MAKING FOOD GO FURTHER



As a society we throw away 7 millon tonnes of food and drink away every year*.  It's an inconceiveable amount and I am as guilty as the next person for wasting food usually due to the fact that I hadn't planned my meals properly or used up leftovers.  And it really annoys me.  Living, as I do, on a farm, I see day in, day out the effort and resources that go into producing good food - something that we so easily take for granted. 

So, I'm on a mission to reduce the amout of food I waste.  Time for a little planning - and to think outside the box.



PLAN MEALS 

 I have only just started to do this and it had a phenomenal impact on not only the amount of food we waste but what we spend.  Both have reduced dramatically.  Because I eat at home (and have a toddler and farmer to feed) five lunchtimes a week, where I can I make extra portions at tea time and have it as lunch the next day. It's timesaving and makes sure everything is used up.

SHOP LITTLE & OFTEN

Like so many families we ditched the weekly shop a long time ago.  Yes, we still do a stock up on store cupboard items every now and again but we generally now buy milk, bread and fruit and vegetables every other day or so.  Again, this has slashed the amount we waste and we only buy what we need.

USE STUFF UP

This sounds so obvious but it's a phrase to remember.  I have seen me have caramelised houmous on toast for breakfast just to use stuff up.  Just think outside the box - if a recipes calls for one ingredient but you only have another, try to adapt the recipe a little and see how it goes.   And don't restrict certain meals to certain times of day.
  • Ready to bin it?  Old milk makes the best scones & bruised fruit is great heated with spices and frozen as a compote for later - beaut on porridge. 
  • Sunday roast leftovers make for amazing midweek lunches.  I love left over mash potato and green veg fired up into bubble & squeak with cold meat.
  • Pick the meat off and then boil up chicken carcasses to make stock.  You can make soup or a pie with the meat and can freeze the stock for when you need it.   The stock from a boiled ham also makes a super tasty base for pea and ham soup!
  • Cold new potatoes are delish sliced and fried with a salad or make Spanish omelette for a quick meal. 


USE THE FREEZER

Alongside my slow cooker, my freezer is my new best friend.  I freeze everything - seriously EVERYTHING.  Here's some of my favourite cheats:
  • Make breadcrumbs from the heel of the bread and freeze them.  When you come to make fishcakes, burgers etc you'll have them to hand and homemade is wayyy better than shop bought (and cheaper).  
  • When I  buy ingredients for making green juice I freeze then right away.  Spinach and kale especially freeze really well and blend well from frozen.   I absolutely hate going to the fridge to find things have gone off before I come to use them.
  • Buy reduced meat and stick it in the freezer, beef mince is especially good for this as you can make meatballs fro it first.  Unless I am going to eat meat on the day I bought it I always (portion it up if need be and) stick it in the freezer anyway.  If you see meat or fish reduced as its coming up to its best before date, buy it and freeze it to use later.  
  • There came a time recently when I was getting so fed up of wasting food that I started buying preprepared frozen veg.  Chopped onion, butternut squash, mushrooms, baby carrots, sliced peppers, peas (obvs) and spinach are ones I regularly buy as well as frozen parsley.  Buying fozen is sometimes just as cost effective as buying fresh and there is zero watse.
  • Freeze leftover pasta sauce in portions for a super quick weeknight tea. 
  • Grate and freeze cheese that has maybe gone hard or is looking a but ropey.  It's great to add to sauces from frozen to add richness.  Butter freezes fine too and homemade herb butter is a fantastic way to make fresh herbs go further.
  • Sarah Wilson, author of I QUIT SUGAR & SIMPLICIOUS blogs about using the freezer - check out this post as a good starting point and... 
HAPPY COOKING! XX

* Accoding to LOVE FOOD, HATE WASTE NI Website.

Monday, 25 April 2016

GIVEAWAY // WIN TICKETS TO THE OM YOGA SHOW, MANCHESTER 20 - 22 MAY 2016


Calling all Yogis!

So the lovely people at the OM Yoga Magazine are giving two lucky readers the chance to win a pair of weekend passes to the OM Yoga Show at Event City in Manchester on 20/21/22 May.  

The biggest yoga gathering in Europe*, the show promises 
"...free open yoga classes, where you can try your hand at something new, to intensive yoga workshops, where you can take advantage of the world’s leading teachers being available
to help you perfect your poses. In addition, a meditation area, stage performances, an inflatable hot yoga pod, and a dedicated children’s yoga studio, not to mention over a hundred exhibitors, providing all you need for your yogic life."
To enter click the link below - entries close 23:59 on 8th May 2016.  Open to UK residents only. You must make your own way at your own expense to the show.  Two prizes of one pair of tickets for the event are available.  No cash alternative is offered.  Prizes will be issued by OM Yoga Show. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 24 April 2016

A WEEKLY ROUND-UP // 24.04.2016


I love looking back over the week and inspired by Aly Harte over at Darling Edna I thought a wee weekly round up might be a nice way of finishing off the last seven days.

Plate wall inspiration at Titanic Belfast Cafe.

DAYS OUT

We have had visitors this week so we have been busy packing everything in.
  • We made our first visit to TITANIC BELFAST on Wedsnesday.  It's an amazing building telling the story of both Belfast and Titanic.  A wander around the surrounding area too  is worth an hour or two to take in the slipway where it was launched and also, if you can find it, take tea and cake in the beautiful Belfast Baking Company on the dock side.
  • Making the most of the sunshine, we decided to sample the menu at the tea room at Glenarm Castle on Thursday.  The food was stunning and  Eva loved being able to roam around the outdoor space while we ate. 
    Glenarm Castle Gardens
BEAUTY
  • I have been swooning over Neal's Yard Products this week after signing up to become an Independent Consultant.  I'm not overly bothered about doing parties and really pushing product sales but I love the company ethos and the prospect of 25% off some of my favourite beauty goodies (Wild Rose Beauty Balm & Orange Flower Facial Oil) was too good an offer to miss.  If you love Organic products the starter pack (currently £80) is a fantastic way of getting your mits on a great selection of products.  There's no targets or pressure to sell either so you can do as much or as little as you like.  Find out more here.


NEWS
  •  I was totally gutted to heard about the deaths of both Victoria Wood and Prince.  Both were absolute masters of their craft and had a major place in my childhood.  Their passing reminded me of all of the amazing times I had had with my family dancing and singing and laughing.  I read a tweet the evening of the day he had died reading: "She's teaching him 'two soups' right now...".  

I hope so...xx 

Prince at the O2 in 2007.

Friday, 22 April 2016

BEAUTY REVIEW // NEAL'S YARD WILD ROSE BEAUTY BALM



WHAT IS IT? // On a basic level this is a multipurpose balm that will cleanse and moisturise your skin.  However, it's so much more than that!  Celebrating its tenth birthday this year this little pot is jam packed with skin nourishing goodness that, in my opinion, will improve your skin overnight.   

Neal's Yard say it: "Nurtures and revitalises all skin types.  Our award-winning Wild Rose Beauty Balm can be used as a rich cleanser, gentle exfoliant or deeply nourishing balm – to quench areas of dry or dehydrated skin."

WHAT'S IN IT? // Rosa canina (Wild rose) seed oil*, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil*, Cera alba (Beeswax)*, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea butter)*, Cannabis sativa (Hemp) seed oil*, Borago officinalis (Starflower) seed oil*, Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) flower oil*, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf oil*, Boswellia carterii (Frankincense) oil, Cymbopogon martini (Palmarosa) herb oil*, Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) leaf oil*, Ascorbyl palmitate, Tocopherol, Citral, Citronellol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.  

99% Organic.

WOULD I RE-PURCHASE? Yes

WHY? To be honest, I had heard about this product before but the price tag of £38-00 for 50g jar put me off.  Don't let it do the same to you!  This balm is great at taking off heavy make-up when used as a hot cloth cleanser (an organic muslin cloth is included in the box) and works really well into the skin for a nightly face massage.  

What I love most about it however is it it's thick emollient texture which melts into my skin when used as a nightime treatment after retinol and before my moisturiser.  It's packed with antioxidents thanks to the Rosehip Oil and with essential oils of Geranium, Frankinsense and Rosemary and skin softening jojoba, starflower oil and  hemp it calms the skin quickly taking down any redness overnight.  A multi-tasking masterpiece of a product.

**I am a Neal's Yard Independent Consultant and have the potential to make money from selling NYR Organic Products.
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