Living with chronic health problems, my hair is always my giveaway. I can put on as much makeup as I like and a big smile, but the condition of my hair is hard to disguise. Shampoos that boast about high shine results just don’t do it for me, a lot of curly girls have the same problem. My hair is lacklustre, dull and not very happy.
Described as a deeply penetrating and conditioning treatment, the all natural Jojoba, Murumuru and Coconut oils have certainly been put to the test on my hair and I must say I’m impressed. I’ve tried a few hair oils before, but the only results I saw was product build up. This however is a different story. I’ve been using 3 pumps as an intensive night treatment twice a week and my hair is already glossier, my curls more defined and my frizz is almost history.
Much like their fragrance oils that I used to make my reed diffuser, this smells divine. Patchouli and Ylang Ylang make a sophisticated scent that I enjoy so much that I’ve started using a tiny bit as a serum in the day time.
Everything about this brand shows a phenomenal attention to detail and real care. The frosted glass bottle really showcases the luxurious packaging that I expect from high end labels like this. Instead of directions, Aromatherapy Associates products have rituals. There really is something quite ceremonial about using products like this. I can see this easily becoming a staple of mine.
I was in two minds wether to share this post, it has been sat in drafts for about 4months now because it’s almost too easy to blog about. Most of you will probably know how to make bolognese, and if you don’t you’ll probably just buy it in a jar. If you’re in that second group, this post is for you. I want you to see just how simple it is to make these things. I promise it will cost you less than the ready made version, it will taste better and just for bonus points you’ll actually know what you’re eating.
Technically this is a beef ragu, it’s much saucier than an authentic style bolognese but it’s the consistency I’m pretty sure most of the UK would expect when they think of a good bolognese.
To feed 6 adults you’ll need:
1 large onion
2 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 Celery sticks
1.5 Tsp oregano
1 Tsp basil
500g minced beef
800g tinned tomatoes (I like to use tinned cherry tomatoes)
2 Tsp tomato paste
Start by dicing your onion, carrots and celery (if we’re being fancy this is your mirepoix).
Add a glug of olive oil to a large pan and start to sweat your mirepoix and garlic down on a medium heat. You’re looking for the veggies to soften and the onion to turn translucent, it will take about 8 mins, there should be no browning at this stage.
Add your mince, stir to break up any clumps and cook until it starts to brown.
Now it’s time to add the remaining ingredients – tomato paste, herbs and tinned tomatoes.
Cover and allow to simmer for around 30mins or until the sauce has reduced to the consistency you’re looking for. At that point you need to taste it. Does it need more salt? Add plenty of ground black pepper.
This is best made in a big batch and split in to portions for the freezer. That way you always have some handy for Spagetti Bolognese or Lasagne and it’s just as convenient as a jar from the supermarket. It’s one of your five a day and because you cooked it, you know there are no hidden nasties.
So how does this work out cost wise? Asda tells me that to feed six, this is £2.19 (without mince), the equivalent in Dolmio’s would be £3.50. I think we have a winner.
Add a teaspoon of marmite to your sauce. It has an amazing quality that enhances savoury flavours and it will help give your sauce that lovely rich colour.
Try adding a glug of wine – there’s much debate over whether white or red goes best in bolognese, which do you prefer?
Throw in a handful of smoked bacon to add a lovely smokey tone.
On the 16th January I started my test of Nisim Fast Shampoo & Conditioner (you can head back in time and read about it here), my hair had recently been cut in to a bob and I wanted it all back quickly! From my scalp, my bottom layer measured 26cm when straight. I’ve come to the end of my shampoo now so I thought it was time to update you all and let you know where I am three months on. Drum roll please…
As you can see I’m in need of a good trim, but what do you think? Nisim boasts that it can increase hair growth by up to 45% – I experienced a boost of 33.6%. All in all I’m pretty impressed with the Shampoo, my hair feels in better condition and it’s actually got a little bit of shine back. Is an extra 5cm growth a year worth it? I’d say yes. If you want to try some, the Nisim Fast set is available on Amazon for £24.99 including delivery.
These roasted chick peas are the perfect opportunity to show off my beautiful new spice rack from John Lewis, so before we get down to the recipe LOOK:
Is that not the most swanky spice rack you’ve ever seen? I was so excited when John Lewis told me they were sending me this, it’s a complete bargain. The 20 glass jars come pre filled with pretty much every spice a cook needs to get started. If you bought the spices at the supermarket you’d have spent almost £40 and you’d be left with some kind of sadistic cupboard treasure hunt each time you needed the cayenne – much like ours used to be. The rotating base makes it so easy to find what you need and packs a lot of ingredients in to a small space.
I’d be made up if I received this as a gift, it’s the perfect kit for a new home. My Dad liked it so much he tried to buy it off me the second he saw it! As you’d expect from John Lewis, it’s really good quality and built to last. There’s plenty more spice racks to choose from if you’re in the market for a new one. Anyway, I best get on with it…
For a bowl of this delicious crunchy goodness in a barbecue spice mix, you’ll need:
400g tin of chickpeas (about 200g drained)
1/4tsp Dried garlic
1/4 tsp Onion salt
1/4tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4tsp Caster sugar
A pinch of cumin
A pinch of cayenne
If barbecue isn’t your “thang” there are plenty of other flavour ideas at the bottom of this post, you’ll find them in the experiment section as always.
First of all, preheat your oven to 175 degrees C. Now drain your chick peas. They’re always in super starchy water so make sure you give them a good rinse before patting them dry with some kitchen paper or a tea towel.
Now it’s spice time. Spin your swanky new spice rack an unnecessary number of times (just me?), add your spices to a bowl and toss your chickpeas in them and spread on a baking tray. As always, I have my trusty non stick sheet underneath, but you can use greaseproof paper instead.
Pop them in the oven for about 15mins then give them a jumble around. After another 15mins in the oven they should be ready. Check one as you take them out, they should be crisp on the outside but don’t worry if they aren’t super crunchy yet, they will be once they’ve cooled.
Let’s face it, two of you are probably going to eat them all in one sitting, but don’t feel guilty – there are only 204 calories in the entire batch and 19grams of protein. If by some miracle these don’t disappear in the same day they’ll happily keep in an air tight container for a week.
I’ve been wanting to try out a tea subscription box for quite some time. I had a brief look for a suitable company last year but concluded they were too “normal” for me. Earl Grey was about as adventurous as some of the companies got but what use is that to me, a girl with a cupboard full of the stuff?
Don’t get me wrong I love Earl, but I wanted a subscription box that was going to bring some discovery through my door and let me try the teas I can’t get from just any old shop. Then, out of the blue in a romantic “swept off my feet” kind of way, appeared Tea Horse.
They were everything I’d been looking for in a subscription box. Well thought out, carefully selected teas from a company that really know what they’re talking about (their tea taster was Director of the UK Tea Council).
This lovely Mr tea taster had put together a box of bold & bright teas for me to try. The came lovingly packaged and it felt like a real treat to open. I had a 2nd flush Darjeeling, a rare yellow tea, a green tea scented with Japanese flowers and an oxidised Silver Kandy Ceylon. Each tea has it’s own story that’s told in a little booklet – a touch I really appreciated.
Included in my box was a pack of 40 paper tea filters, but I like to call them “make your own tea bags” – much more exciting. I really do think these are genius. No more messing around with tea infusers, emptying them, washing them out; just put your tea leaves in one of these filter bags, brew up and throw it in the bin (or the compost heap) once you’re done. Tea Horse also sell these separately (£1.90) here.
First in to the bag for me was the very special Yellow Sun tea. Picked at a world heritage site more than 1200m above sea level in the Anhui Province of China, this tea is something to savour. The process is so long and complicated that very few tea makers make it. It’s withered, roasted, wrapped, cooled, roasted and wrapped again and again.
The result is a beautifully golden yellow tea that’s naturally sweeter than you’d expect a tea to be. It’s nutty, bright and full of glorious apricot flavours. As I sit and drink it, I’m amazed at the journey that these leaves have been on to get to me. Somehow it makes this rare tea even more special because like magic it dropped through my post box this morning.
If you fancy trying a Tea Horse subscription box, or maybe just a one off selection as a treat head here. The lovely team have offered readers 10% off your first payment with the code 10SUBLOG (monthly or 3 month subscriptions) making a single month’s box just over £10. There’s no sneaky hidden bits – you can cancel at any time.
Boxes are sent out on the 26th each month so you’d need to subscribe by the 23rd to receive April’s selection. Each box has enough for at least 40 cups and they promise to keep you exploring the world of teas with each new selection. I’m off to put the kettle on…