30 July 2016

Sabai Soaps Handmade Mangosteen Bar Soap

Sabai Soaps Handmade Mangosteen Bar Soap*, £4.95/100g

After being invited to take part in this blog post by Sabai Soaps, I had the opportunity to try one of their bar soaps. I chose the mangosteen variety, as the scent described - a mix of strawberry, peach and vanilla - sounded gorgeous! In Thailand, Mangosteen is known as a super fruit and is well-known for its health benefits throughout Asia. I must say how much I loved the pretty packaging - each soap is wrapped in Thai print newspaper, which is biodegradable and recyclable. All soaps are organic and vegan-friendly, handmade in a small, family-run factory in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand.

With ingredients such as rice bran oil, olive oil and mangosteen oil, this soap is rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins and natural moisturisers. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties. I found this soap to have quite a strong, fruity scent with musky and floral undertones. The soap lathered well and has retained its shape really well. I brought it with me on my summer holiday and it seems to be pretty long-lasting! It felt lovely to use and kept my skin feeling soft and nourished, without leaving it feeling dried out. I'd definitely recommend trying one of these lovely soaps for yourself!

Elaeis Guineensis Oil (Palm Oil), Aqua (water), Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut Oil), Elaeis Guineensis Kernel Oil (Palm Kernel Oil), Oryza Sativa Bran Oil (Rice Bran Oil), Sodium Hydroxide (Lye), Fragrance, Garcinia Mangostana (Purple Mangosteen), Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive Oil), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E).
Emma xxx
*items kindly sent for review purposes; all thoughts and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

24 July 2016

DIY Household Cleaning Made Easy

I have been using natural cleaning products for quite some time now, but have recently been branching out into DIY cleaning products. Today I am going to share some really simple and easy DIY cleaners you can make and use in your home.

DIY Laundry Detergent Powder
This laundry detergent requires just three easily obtained ingredients and takes mere minutes to put together.

1 cup soda crystals
1 cup borax substitute
1 5oz. bar natural soap (grated)

Using a food processor/blender, place all ingredients inside and blitz into a fine powder. Let it sit and settle for a few minutes before transferring to an airtight container. Use a recycled glass container if possible. A tablespoon measurement spoon/scoop will also come in handy.

To use:
Place your required measurement of powder into your washing machine's detergent compartment. Add a small amount of fabric softener if you wish. Run your chosen cycle. Simple!
(1 tbsp of powder for small loads, 2-3 tbsp of powder for normal-heavily soiled loads.)

DIY Washing Machine Cleaner

You should deep-clean your washing machine on a regular basis - every 1-3 months, depending on how much it's used. This simple method requires just two ingredients and will help to eliminate odours and limescale build-up. Remember to regularly clean out your detergent drawer, door seals and the filter, which collects debris.

300g soda crystals
500ml white vinegar

To use:
Place the soda crystals into the empty drum and run the machine on the longest, hottest wash, reducing the spin speed to a minimum. Once finished, place the vinegar in the empty drum and wash on the longest, hottest wash, reducing spin speed to a minimum.

DIY Mattress Deodoriser
You should clean your mattress at least once a year to help eliminate the build-up of bacteria, odours and dead skin cells. This simple and quick DIY aims to deodorise and refresh your mattress without the use of liquid cleaners.

1/2 cup bicarbonate of soda
10 drops of essential oil (I love peppermint!)

Mix the ingredients in a small container and using a teaspoon, sprinkle the powder all over your mattress and leave for at least 30 minutes. Then simply vacuum the mattress all over and leave to air a little longer if you wish. Dress the bed as usual. You can also use this recipe to deodorise carpets.
(I have a memory foam mattress and use this method with the removable cover in place - this can be machine washed first - as I prefer not to use anything directly on the foam itself.)

DIY Air Freshener
This is so simple and easy, you'll wonder why you've never made it before!

150ml distilled water (boiled water, cooled)
10-15 drops of essential oil (again, I love peppermint!)

Add ingredients to a spray bottle and shake well. And you're done!

Do you DIY any of your household cleaning products?
Emma xxx

21 July 2016

The Power Of Mighty Matcha Green Tea

Mighty Matcha Organic Green Tea*, £12.50/30g

I was really excited to try Matcha green tea, as I'd heard so many great things about it! Mighty Matcha's Japanese green tea is organic and foil-sealed for freshness. It's housed in a practical, reuseable, screw-top metal tin and it can be used in a wide range of recipes!
Matcha green tea powder contains over 137 times more anti-oxidants than regular green tea, contains L-Theanine which reduces anxiety and helps release an even flow of energy and it can help you to detox your body, loose weight and generally feel better in yourself! Compared with other available brands, Mighty Matcha is priced very competitively and is therefore an affordable option to add to your daily diet.

So far, I've enjoyed using this in green teas, green tea lattes and smoothies. You can even add it to baking recipes such as cakes and cookies! One serving is just a quarter of a teaspoon, so this tin should last quite some time. I've found that implementing this product into my diet helps to prevent and ease headaches and makes me feel generally brighter without the energy slump that other caffeine sources can give you. I'd definitely recommend adding this into your diet! I'd also recommend getting yourself a whisk specifically made for Matcha tea, as without one the powder can remain a little lumpy and doesn't dissolve completely. One thing I was rather surprised about was that it tastes absolutely fine! And I can be rather fussy, so that's saying something.

Have you tried Matcha green tea before?
Emma xxx

19 July 2016

My Summer Holiday Beauty Essentials

I should now be a couple of days into enjoying a 12 day holiday near North Berwick with my family. Unfortunately Dean couldn't get the time off, so I was travelling solo for the first time... yikes! And while I'm away, Dean will be taking part in the Oxfam Trailwalker Challenge!

I thought I'd share with you the beauty products I'd be taking along with me. I've tried to be minimal where possible, although it looks like a lot! Let's hope I haven't forgotten anything!
I'll be taking a bottle of Faith In Nature Coconut Shampoo, as well as their new Brave Botanicals Coconut Conditioner and I'll also be taking my Giovanni Flat Iron Styling Mist to protect my hair from heat-styling tools. My new wooden hairbrush will be coming along, too.

I'll be cleansing with my Tisserand Tea Tree Soap, but also have a little sample pot of The Rose Tree's Carrot & Mango Cleansing Butter for a more nourishing cleanse. I'll tone with Skin Blossom's Facial Toner and moisturise with Skin Blossom's Nourishing Facial Moisturiser. I've got Neal's Yard Remedies' Purifying Palmarosa Facial Polish to exfoliate my skin and Lovea's SPF 50 Facial Moisturiser to protect it from the sun. I'll be using Neal's Yard Remedies Eye Make-up Remover to remove eyeshadow and mascara and Hurraw!'s Coffee Lip Balm to keep my lips hydrated.
I will be using Sabai Soaps' Mangosteen Soap* as a body cleanser, but will also have Dr. Bronner's Rose Liquid Castile Soap on hand if I want a change - this is coming along as my laundry detergent! I'm bringing two Deep Steep body lotions to act as hand and body lotions and Dr. Bronner's Lavender Shaving Gel for hair removal. Lovea's SPF 30 Body Moisturising Spray will be keeping my body safe from the sun and Earth Conscious' Citrus Hippy Paste will be my deodorant of choice. My hands are very sensitive, so I'm bringing my own Faith In Nature Coconut Hand Wash.

I've got Dr. Bronner's Lavender Hand Sanitizer for out and about, JASON's PowerSmile Toothpaste to keep my teeth clean and Balm Balm's Face Balm* for any extra dry or irritated areas. Pacifica's Indian Coconut Nectar Roll On Perfume will be my fragrance of choice. A sifter pot of cornflour will act as my dry shampoo.

Do you think I've chosen my selection sensibly? By the time this is published, I may have down-sized my selection slightly!
Emma xxx
*items kindly sent for review purposes; all thoughts and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

17 July 2016

My Week In Pictures

On Monday, we went into Yeovil to pick up a few bits. We sat down in Greggs for lunch, which was really nice. I was in a weird, emotional mood again that day! We had our friend round in the evening, had snacks, including a cream cake selection, and watched The Hallow. We had some new soft drinks to try, including this John Crabbie & Co.'s Scottish Raspberry with a twist of ginger drink, which was so good!

I had work training from 10-1pm, then did some housework when I got back. I had lunch, then watched The Killing while I did some ironing. I enjoyed a vanilla slice in the afternoon! I had a chilled evening bath and then we watched the last episode of Gotham with our dinner.

On Wednesday, I spent some time sorting out the beauty products which will be coming on holiday with me. I tried to go with the minimal and essential theme, but it still looks like too much! I made some lovely halloumi and Quorn chicken wraps with red onion and pesto hummus for lunch. I also made cherry and coconut cupcakes, which were lovely. Three of us went for a brief walk after Dean finished work and it was nice to get some fresh air. We had Dean's parents round for dinner and we watched Attack The Block. I finally put up our new solar-powered LED lights!


Oh dear; on Thursday I woke up feeling really poorly again! I stayed in bed till 10am and started the day with Matcha green tea and a raspberry leaf tea with honey. I had a small bowl of granola and watched the latest episode of Agatha Raisin. I made some carrot, onion, garlic and ginger soup for a late lunch to boost my immune system and it tasted delicious! I went back to bed in the afternoon and got up again at about 9:30pm and then I had to go into work at 11pm.

What did you get up to this week?
Emma xxx

15 July 2016

The Weekly Wish List

1. Joyye 9 Piece Floral Motif Tea Set, £16.99
I really love the grey and teal colour scheme here and I love the pretty motif detail! I've always wanted a cute, little tea set like this.
H&M Conscious Patterned Shorts, £14.99
Made from partly recycled polyester, these monochrome shorts would look great day or night!
3. TK Maxx Wooden Storage Chest, £79.99
I love the style and colour-way of this storage unit and I think it would look great in multiple rooms.
4. NEXT Heart Clock, £45
With a grey, distressed finish, I think this wooden heart clock would look great in the living room!

What's at the top of your wish list this week?
Emma xxx

12 July 2016

My Weekend In Pictures

Usually I'd be telling you that I got home from work in the morning and went to bed for a few hours, but I didn't go to work on Thursday night - I called in sick. I've probably had less than 4 or 5 sick days in the 6.5 years I've worked there - it's not something I do lightly. But when I got home on Thursday morning, I was so stressed out and I just didn't feel right at all. At the time, I thought I had the flu, but I feel it was more down to stress and anxiety from work. I spent most of the day and night in bed asleep and I barely ate.
So, I felt marginally better on Friday and had small meals throughout the day to entice my appetite back. The fresh strawberries went down a treat with breakfast. I was really dehydrated, so made sure I drank lots of water. I caught up on various TV shows and just took it slow. I felt better as the day went on, but decided not to go out with my (work) friends that evening, as previously planned.
I was thinking about lots of future decisions, such as wanting to hand my notice in at work without having another job lined up and re-locating. I did enjoy looking at rental properties in Cornwall and Wales - lots allow pets and in Wales you get much more for your money! I went to bed quite early and watched the latest Most Haunted episode and then I read more of this book (review coming soon) and applied the Tisserand Sweet Dreams rollerball before reading more Harry Potter.

I felt pretty much back to normal on Saturday and much more positive. It was a sunny morning and apart from my stomach muscles feeling rather stretched and delicate, I felt good. I did some housework, laundry, showered and watched Coronation Street. It had turned a little dull and grey outdoors by early afternoon and I decided to film my latest haul video. We went to our friends' for the evening and they made us a veggie curry and we sat and listened to music for hours, which was fun! I'm really getting back into music and discovering new loves. We got home after 11pm and I stayed up late reading.

Dean was up early to embark on a long walk for his training, but then someone cancelled and a group of us decided on an impromptu trip to West Lulworth and Tyneham Village! I've wanted to explore the ghost town for ages. It was rather eerie driving into Tyneham, as the thick fog rolled in, but the village itself had a pleasant atmosphere.
It's pretty small, so there isn't a whole lot to see, but it was pretty interesting and I captured some good photos. We walked down to the beach and then drove over to Lulworth Cove where we had some food - I had cheesy chips followed by an ice-cream cone with Caribbean Coconut and Coffee Mocha ice-cream! So delicious and it's made on an organic farm. It was lovely to spend so much time outdoors and it was such a warm day. We relaxed in the evening and I began season three of The Killing.

What did you get up to over the weekend?
Emma xxx