{A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog}

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Favourite Cookbooks For Healthy-ish Eating

I’m sure we all have times when we look into our fridges and can’t think of a single decent meal to make. And this happens to me more often than not. Even if I have a freshly stocked fridge, I’m clueless about what to make nine times out of ten. My husband is an incredibly picky eater and he doesn’t share my love for stews and soups, so this makes it all the more difficult for me. When I run out of ideas for my throw-something-together experiments, I rely on these cookbooks to help me rustle up delicious, healthy meals that cater to both our tastes and preferences. 

‘Ready, Steady, Glow’ by Madeleine Shaw: Nothing gives me more joy than rifling through this cookbook. It’s packed with no-nonsense recipes that are wholesome and easy to follow. I like that the book is divided into two sections – ‘fast’, and ‘slow’, with a handy time guide to show you how long it takes to prepare each dish. There’s a great selection of ‘fast’ recipes and I make them all the bloody time. My top favourites are the savoury beetroot crepes, the sumptuous chicken cashew stir-fry and the hearty chickpea curry. Oh, and the pictures are lush!

‘The Louise Parker Method: Lean for Life’ by Louise Parker: Healthy eating can sometimes come across as a little too preachy and pretentious, but this fitness guide-cum-cookbook offers a refreshing take on it. In Louise’s words, this book is all about the ‘anti-diet diet’. She stays away from anything too faddy and focuses on dishes that make the most of the fresh, local produce. I like to start my day with something sweet and thankfully she has a great mix of sweet and savoury breakfast ideas that are faff-free and unobtrusively healthy. The oat bran bircher with berries is something I have for breakfast almost every single day; it’s simple and deliciiiooousss!

‘A Modern Way to Eat’ by Anna Jones: Now, I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t think I’ll ever give up meat, but this book *might* make me my change my mind. That’s saying a lot considering how much I love my greasy bacon fry-up. Anna’s book is all about simple, wholesome veg-led fare with a focus on in-season produce. She has a conversational style of writing and each recipe comes studded with little essays, which give the book a sweet personal touch. Her one pot mushroom and bay biryani is what I make when I don’t I want to spend hours at the stove. Also, the tomato and coconut cassoulet is a husband-approved midweek staple that's quick and oh-so-delicious.

‘Travelling Diva: Recipes From Around The World’ by Ritu Dalmia: I’ve had this book for over three years now and I’ve only just realised how good it is! There’s a smorgasbord of recipes from around the world, all explained in a way that makes me feel like I could nail every single one of them. She has some great options for midweek dinners, which are easy to rustle up and don’t take longer than the time it takes a chug a glass of wine. When I’m craving for some comfort food, I make her Chicken with lime and thyme. It’s quick, filling and keeps the husband happy! 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Skincare Diary//Travel Edition

I'm pretty useless at maintaining a consistent skincare regimen when I'm on holiday and I always come back looking a little worse for wear, so skincare was a top priority when I was packing for my trip to Budapest. I packed as many serums and masks as would fit in the clear sandwich bag in the hopes of returning with glowy, sun-kissed skin as opposed to looking like a shrivelled prune.

Wednesday, 14 June
I don’t know if it’s the heat or the products I’m using, my skin’s been flaking around my mouth and chin, so I use the Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial to exfoliate and follow it up with a thick layer of the Glossier Mositurising Moon Mask before going to bed. I’m completely obsessed with the Ren mask, as it has stabilised vitamin C that works to buff away dead skin cells without causing any irritation or redness. It’s gentle, effective and perks up dull and grey-looking skin in a matter of seconds.

Thursday, 15 June
I have an early flight, so I wake up at 4 a.m. and groggily make my way to the bathroom. I use the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser to cleanse my face and slather on the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream mixed with a few drops of the Pai Rosehip Oil. I top it off with a light layer of the Neutrogena Dry Touch Sunscreen and head to the airport.

It’s almost noon by the time I get to the hotel. It’s bright and sunny in Budapest but I’m feeling super icky, so I put on the Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask and get into the bath. What I particularly like about this mask is that it’s very soothing and has an instant cooling effect. I leave it on for ten minutes and take it off with a washcloth. Next, I apply a few drops of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Serum all over my face and neck. Though I’ve been using this serum for a couple of weeks, I can’t seem to make up my mind about it. While it’s nice and hydrating, I find the formula a little too gloopy. It sticks to the pillows and doesn’t sink in quickly – I guess you get what you pay for.

Friday, 16 June
I barely drank any water yesterday, so I make a mental note to carry a bottle of water to keep myself hydrated throughout the day. I start by using the cleansing balm from the Pixi X Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse. I smooth it onto dry skin and massage in gently before taking it off with a washcloth. It removes everything from makeup, dirt and impurities without leaving the skin feeling tight and dry. Next, I dot a little Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm under my eyes and complete the routine with the Ordinary serum and the Neutrogena sunscreen.

Saturday, 17 June
As someone with dehydrated skin, I need to keep my skin well hydrated or it starts to act up. I just cleansed my face and went to bed last night, so I wake up with my skin feeling like a dried-out crumb. Fresh Rose Mask is always the one I reach for when my skin needs a moisture boost. I follow it up with my all-time favourite Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum. Of all the serums I’ve tried, I can happily say that this one does everything it claims to do. It’s deeply hydrating and leaves the skin looking plump and radiant after every single use.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

GRWM: The Beach Holiday Edition//Video

My ideal holiday look is slightly sun kissed skin with a touch of blush and nude lips. You know me, nothing new or adventurous there. I filmed this look while I was in Dubrovnik and it was a gloriously warm day, so I didn’t want to put on too much makeup. I skipped using any base makeup and stuck to using a concealer to even out my skin tone. The Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer offers a fairly full coverage but glides smoothly onto the skin and leaves behind a velvety matte finish. I always pack this when I’m travelling as it’s long-wearing and doesn’t settle into the lines.

After that, I dusted a light layer of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light under my eyes to set the concealer. Some setting powders can be chalky and just too matte, but this one imparts a radiance like no other, thanks to the presence of light-reflecting particles that help to create a natural soft-focus finish. I’m not an everyday eye shadow wearer, but occasionally I like to do up my eyes. Mac Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Constructivist is a deep taupe-y, bronze shade with just the right amount of iridescence. I applied a sheer wash of colour and blended it out with a fluffy brush, but this creamy colour can easily be built up to something more opaque. No look of mine is complete without smudged out kohl-rimmed lids, so I used MAC Teddy to define my eyes. It’s is a beautiful bronze shade that looks good on its own or can be used to smoke out a look. 

To add some subtle definition to the face, I applied the Clinique Chubby Stick in the shade Curvy Contour to the hollows of my cheeks. This is one of my all-time favourite cream bronzers – it’s wonderfully light, blends in beautifully and leaves behind a faint hint of colour. Next, I used Glossier’s Cloud Paint in Dusk to add a wash of colour to my cheeks. It's almost impossible to define the texture of this blusher; it falls somewhere between gel and cream. Housed in a dinky tube, this blusher is sheer, super chic, and easy to travel with.

I’m not a big fan of highlighters as they look extremely unnatural during the day and emphasise any textural issues, but the Glossier Haloscope completely changed my mind. Designed with an oil core, this highlighter is translucent, non-greasy and imparts very ‘je ne sais quoi' glow to the face. I swiped it onto the tops of my cheekbones and blended it out with my fingers for a natural finish. 

Finally, I applied a swipe of MAC Retro to my lips and patted it in to sheer it out. While I love a bold lip as much as the next person, I find that they require constant touch-ups or they end up fading quite unevenly. On most days I prefer to wear a lipstick that’s a shade or two darker than my natural lip colour and Retro is the kind of lipstick that you can apply without a mirror.

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