Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Good-bye greys, so-long silvers!

Meet my new best friend... the Josh Wood Blending Wand.

Never thought I’d hear myself say this, but a couple of weeks on from my last colour appointment at the salon, I found myself actually willing my usually unwanted, and what I call, ‘natural silver highlights’ to begin their cruel onslaught.

So, have I decided to grow old gracefully and embrace the pesky little buggers? No, I certainly have not.  Don’t get me wrong, some ladies really rock the silver look and I think, cut into a chic bob or a cheeky pixie crop, it can look absolutely fabulous, it’s just not for me... not just yet.

Actually, the reason I’ve been looking forward to the appearance of my re-growth this time, is that I found a new product which I just couldn’t wait to try out.

Let me introduce you to the Josh Wood Blending Wand.  This little beauty is, apparently, a worldwide first and is most definitely a product I thought I would only ever encounter in my dreams.

It’s a non-permanent, instant colour that hides grey hairs and blends re-growth.  You can use it on wet or dry hair and it lasts for up to three shampoos. It comes in four shades - Light Blonde, Dark Blonde, Light Brown and Dark Brown (I went for the Light Brown) which can be easily blended into your own base colour - although I’m not sure how any of these shades would work if you’re a gorgeous red-head?!

Anyhow, sure as the Pope’s Catholic, my greys finally revealed themselves and I got to try this wonder product, which had the potential of being the answer to my prayers.  The excitement was almost unbearable, which should I try first... on wet hair, on dry hair?  Being a bit  a lot impatient, I couldn’t wait until hair-wash day (I only wash mine every two or three days and any further delay in getting acquainted with my potential new BFF would have been unbearable), so my first trial was on dry hair.

And what did I think?.. fabulous! Did exactly what it says on the tin (the shade was a little darker than expected, but my hair has so many tones it blended well anyway).   It was easy to apply too, just press the button a few times until a small amount of product appears on the perfectly sized brush, and you’re away. Smells quite nice too!

If you have a head full of silvers, this product is probably not for you.  However, if it’s just a parting or a scattering of re-growth you want to disguise in between salon visits, then look no further.

Be careful though when first applying, as the consistency is runnier than you may expect.  If you do spill, be sure to mop it up straight away as it does stain (surfaces, fabrics and skin!)

As well as no fuss application, this product is also no fuss purchase... I ordered mine on-line from Marks and Spencer and had it delivered to my nearest store for collection within 2 days. On top of that, at just £12.50 for 28ml, it's a no fuss price tag too... you just can't not try it!

Click here to view demo video and place your order... what are you waiting for?!

My Blogger stats say I have loads of readers, which is great! :-)
However, not many of my readers seem to be leaving comments, not so great :-(

It would be fantastic to hear what you think of this and any of my other posts.
All you need is a Google account. Don't have one? click here

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Fish, Chips n Mushy 'Peas'... Guilt Free!

Not possible I hear you cry. Well actually, yes it is, read on to find out how.

It’s true, you can enjoy this wonderfully British dish without an ounce of fat or grease in sight (well, apart from a little Olive Oil, but that’s perfectly acceptable in my book).

Not only that, this version of the good old seaside favourite (based broadly on a recipe by ‘the Medicinal Chef’ Dale Pinnock) has positive health benefits and is, according to Dale, good for type 2 diabetes, anxiety and stress, digestive health, workout recovery and muscle growth... WOW!

This tasty dish is fresh, clean and nutrient packed.  It provides easily digestible protein, fibre, and oodles of minerals, plus it’s really easy to make – what’s not to love?

The ‘star’ ingredient of this recipe is Parsley, which contains a unique group of essential oils that actually stimulate kidney output, increasing urine volume (perhaps too much info!).  Apparently, Parsley is also used by herbalists to reduce water retention.

So, if you fancy giving this one a go, here’s how...

Serves 4
4 skinless cod fillets
2 x 400g tins broad beans (drained), handful of frozen peas, plus 2 tablespoons chopped green olives OR use whatever green veg you like here
(I used a couple of leaks instead of the olives – play around a little!)
Olive oil, for cooking
1 onion, finely chopped
6 tablespoons breadcrumbs (ideally home-made but shop bought fine)
2 tablespoons green pesto
Large bunch of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
Approx 16-20 small potatoes, washed and cut into wedges (skin left on)
Sea salt and black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 200°c (gas 6)
Place potato wedges on a pre-heated baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper – pop in the oven for around 20 mins
Line a baking tray with foil.  Place the cod fillets on the tray and bake for 8-10 mins, until almost cooked through
Meanwhile, place the broad beans (and any other green veg you decide to use) in a small pan and top with boiling water. Simmer for 5-10 mins (or longer and until cooked if you’re using fresh / firmer greens) - once cooked, drain
Heat a little olive oil in a separate pan, add the onion and cook gently for 4-5 mins, until softened
Mix the breadcrumbs and pesto together.  Remove the cod from the oven and top with the pesto crumbs - return to the oven for another 5-6 mins
Return the drained veg to the pan along with the cooked onion and parsley, then mash to form a course mash.  Stir in the chopped olives (if using) and season with a bit of salt and pepper
To serve, place a dollop of the mash in the centre of a plate and top with the cod fillet – serve your potato wedges on the side

I guess it would be okay to add a bit of vinegar and/or ketchup if you absolutely must, but my guess is you won’t need, or want to - a simple lemon wedge and sprig of Parsley will finish this dish off just nicely.


If you have a healthy, nutritious version of an old classic dish, why not share it right here?

You’ll need a Google account to leave a comment. Don’t have one? click here

Use any 'mushable' greens of your choice - play around!

Green pesto and breadcrumbs

Chips... and not a deep fat fryer in sight!
Chopped Parsley... 'star' ingredient
Delicious... and good for you!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Battle of the Cleansers

Lotion v Gel  v Balm – Find out which is my winner.

I’m sure many of you are lucky enough to have a lovely old granny, great-aunt or elderly neighbour who always smells of lavender and talcum powder, and who has super-soft skin to die for. And, when you compliment her on having the face of a woman 10 years her junior, and ask if she'd be willing to reveal the secrets of her trusty beauty routine, she explains, with a smile, “well my dear, it’s simply down to good old fashioned soap and water”.

All I can say is, there must have been something pretty special in the water back then! If I were to use “good old fashioned soap” on my face, even once, the result would be very tight, itchy, red, and quite possibly spotty, skin.

I think I’ve always been reasonably good at sticking to a regular skin-care routine, although never in an excessive or expensive way, with cleansing, toning (sometimes), and moisturising (always) being pretty much consistent staples – I’ve also been known to throw in the odd masque or exfoliator for good measure.  I have to admit though I am, very occasionally, guilty of crashing into bed with the remains of the day’s make-up still on my face. This isn’t something I make a habit of though... I know, it’s very, very naughty!!

So what is the secret of wonderful skin? If only I knew!

I’ve tried and tested many, many products, on my generally normal but with sensitive tendencies skin, including creams, gels and lotions, of the scented and unscented, coloured and colourless varieties - mostly mid price range, some cheap and cheerful, but never really high-end (that is until recently, when I discovered Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm... bear with me, I'll tell you all about it in a mo).

Also, having tried the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser a couple of years ago (which I really loved), I now use the ‘hot cloth’ method with whichever cleanser I use – it just leaves my skin feeling so very cleansed and fresh.

I’m never really sure if you get what you pay for when spending a small fortune on skin care products, and although I know some of the more expensive stuff can feel and smell really special, I also know that some of the much cheaper alternatives have served me well over the years.  And, let’s face it, it’s not just about the lotions and potions. If you’re  not eating your fruit, veggies, and oily fish or drinking plenty of water and getting a good night’s sleep, your skin’s not going to look great is it?... no matter how much you spend on your cleanser!

So, I guess, it’s really just a matter of trial and error, to find out what best suits your skin (not to mention your pocket).  You could even try the good old soap and water method – like some of those lovely old grannies and great-aunts, it might just work for you (but it’s not something I would recommend personally!)

Anyhow, here are three different products I’ve tried out recently, all very lovely and ranging from a very reasonable £8 to a not so reasonable £35.  I have to say, all three put up an extremely good fight, and there really is very little between them.  However, there can only be one winner of my Battle of the Cleansers... which will it be?

The Lotion

At just £8 for 200ml, this cleansing lotion is pretty hard to beat on value for money, and is a really lovely and effective cleanser.  It also claims to haveOXYGINSENG™ TECHNOLOGY - an amazingly effective, organic complex that helps increase circulation and cell respiration (which then turns up blood supply and toxin removal), and also speeds oxygen and nutrient delivery to fight aging and re-energise skin”.

Don’t know about all the sciencey stuff, but it does effectively remove make-up (even water-proof), and left my skin feeling super soft, super fresh and super clean – smells gorgeous too!

My daughter (who has a slightly oily skin) says this one’s great when she has a break out of spots.

The Gel

What can I say, at just £9.50 for 150ml, this one's another very reasonably priced product offering excellent value for money.  I love the texture of this gel as it glides across your skin, feeling as though it is literally melting as you go.  Very effective cleansing too.   The manufacturers claim: “develops into a non-drying oil to protect the skin’s natural moisture levels and hydrate dry areas at the same time. It then changes into a light milk formula for easier rinsing, so skin is left residue-free and totally refreshed. What’s more, it’s enriched with rosehip oil to really lock in moisture and offer a fuss-free approach to truly tailored skincare.”

Yep, I guess I’d agree with most of that, and would highly recommend this for anyone with normal or slightly dry skin.

The Balm

At around £35 for 100ml, this is the single most expensive skin care item I’ve ever used! I’m not sure whether that makes me tight-fisted, too thrifty for my own good, or whether it’s just plain sad that I’ve worked and earned all my adult life but have never felt justified to be so self-indulgent (as I’ve said in previous posts, this is an affliction I’m trying to overcome!)

Well, actually, I must fess up and admit that I didn’t actually buy this one myself.  You see, my beauty-blogging daughter bought it for herself, but as it didn’t agree with her very sensitive skin, she gave it to me (get in!)

Anyway, enough of that, on with the review.  So what did I think of this one? Did I save the best ‘til last? You bet I did! Beautiful, beautiful, absolutely beautiful... what more can I say.

This one claims to be “a balanced daily cleanser that thoroughly cleanses and moisturises. It calms sensitive skin and revitalises dull and mature skins, and also doubles as a soothing and hydrating mask if left on the skin for ten minutes”.

As well as all of the above, may I add that it smells gorgeous, leaves my skin feeling and looking a version of clean and fresh that I have never known, and has such a wonderfully luxurious texture that I actually look forward to cleansing. Clearly it’s not for everyone (I think it contains lemon oil, which is possibly what didn’t agree with my daughter), but for me... this one is the outright winner of my Battle of the Cleansers.

I have to say, second and third place are pretty close and, considering the vast difference in price between the two of them and my winner, I reckon you wouldn’t be disappointed with any of these products.

Do you have a favourite cleanser or other skin-care product? I’d love to hear about it!
You’ll need a Google account to leave a comment.  Don’t have one?  click here