Simple Summer Skincare Routine

 Don't get me wrong, 15 step skincare regimes are great, but when its 30 degrees outside and an ice-cold drink is patiently waiting outside for you, the last last thing you want is to be spending half an hour by a sink. You want something that's quick, effortless and protective, whilst giving you the radiance mistakable of that of the gods of glowing skin themselves. Luckily, I have just the skincare routine for you. 




1. PreCleanse




2. Vitamin C Serum/ Melting Moisture Masque (whether you simply want to treat dry skin, or add the glow of the century, both of these will have your back!)





(optional) Skinperfect Primer (with spf 30)





3. Invisible Physical defence (SPF 30)



4. Protection Sun Sport spf 50




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Hello Fresh - is it worth the hype? (Review)

 You've seen it on Instagram. You've watched it advertised on the t.v. You've heard it raved about by friends and family. Hello Fresh - the meal kit delivery service that offers weekly shipments of recipes and fresh ingredients to your door - has got its name well and truly known in recent years.

Hello Fresh is marketed as the solution for those who enjoy cooking a variety of tasty and nutritious meals from scratch but don't want to waste precious time grocery shopping and meal prepping each week. Each box will prep you with the correct portion of ingredients, seasonings and sauces needed for each recipe so that you can get straight to cooking and avoid unnecessary food waste. There is a 31 meal menu from which you select 3-5 recipes per week (for 2-4 people) and can either choose each meal yourself or allow Hello Fresh to pick for you, making each week a surprise. You can cancel your Hello Fresh subscription at any time, or simply skip a week if you won't be in.

The concept of Hello Fresh sounds amazing - I mean, who would turn down receiving fresh ingredients with new and exciting recipes each week and saving time grocery shopping and meal prepping? But, could Hello Fresh be a little bit too good to be true? Is there a catch? 

As if almost by fate, a 60% off voucher for Hello Fresh arrived in my recent delivery of Vogue Magazine, prodding me to discover the answer to my last question: is Hello Fresh worth it?. With a 60% off code, I managed to save over £40, paying just £26 for a box including 5 recipes for 4 people, which would normally cost £67.99 with delivery. This worked out at about £1.30 per meal which is incredible value for the food of the promised quality. However, without a discount code, that each meal averages at around £3.24 (excluding the £3 delivery cost) and so it is worth noting that you are paying a premium to have the benefits of avoiding time spent grocery shopping and planning out a variety of nutritious and tasty meals. However, even full-priced, compared to other popular food box services, Hello Fresh is very moderately priced. The price also seems reasonable when you consider that the ingredients promised by Hello Fresh are naturally more expensive, fresh vegetables, natural yoghurts and sources, herbs, garnishes, etc, and lacks the added preservatives present in a lot of store-bought food: 

My Hello Fresh Box arrived at half 9 in the morning. The box was sealed tight and every item was packaged well for delivery, the meat came armoured in bags of ice-cold water and in its own separate insulated bag (which succeeded in keeping everything cold). Overall, I was super pleased with the delivery process and I have to praise Hello Fresh for how effectively they packaged everything.

On your first box, Hello Fresh preselect all of your meals, and any other box you order afterwards you can select all of your meals from their monthly menu. Admittedly, I found the website a bit misleading as it seems to indicate that you can 'select your meals', and they don't make it clear that this doesn't apply to your first box. Here are the 5 meals that Hello Fresh picked for me:

Meal 1: Mango Chutney Glazed Spiced Chicken Breast With Cumin Bulgur Wheat and Roasted Carrots

Ingredients: red onion, carrot, natural yoghurt, mint, garlic, ground cumin, chicken stock paste, bulgur wheat, pasanda seasoning, chicken breast, mango chutney

Verdict: This was one of my favourite meals of the box - the flavours were delicious and the mango chutney added a nice touch. All of the ingredients were fresh and of high quality. The recipe was easy to follow and the entire meal took me about 40 minutes to make. Would definitely select this meal again!




Meal 2: Thai Larb Style Pork Salad with Sticky Rice
Ingredients: Jasemine rice, baby gem lettuce, cucumber, ginger, garlic, mint, lime, salted peanuts, pork mince, thai style spice blend, ketjap manis, soy sauce, honey

Verdict: I absolutely loved this, and so did my entire family! It was nice to get a Thai recipe like this that we wouldn't typically make for ourselves. The sticky rice was made by mixing the rice with honey, lime and soy sauce, and this is definitely something that I'll be making again in the future as it was delicious.





Meal 3: BBQ Sausage Cheeseburger With Slaw and Wedges

Ingredients: Potato, pork and oregano sausage meat, panko breadcrumbs, spring onion, lime, coleslaw mix, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, seeded burger bun

Verdict: This recipe was incredibly simple to make and tasted very flavoursome. The coleslaw, with its creamy freshness, acted as a nice balance to the BBQ cheesiness of the burger. 




Meal 4: Colcannon Cottage Pie

Ingredients: Potato, kale, beef mince, carrot, onion, garlic, spring onion, cheddar cheese, red wine jus paste

Verdict: I didn't actually eat this meal (because I was sick of meat by this point - I don't usually have it!), however, my family really enjoyed this and mentioned how delicious the flavours were.









Meal 5: BBQ Sausage Skewers With Cheesy Chips and Rocket Salad
Ingredients: Wooden skewers, potato, bell pepper, red onion, honey mustard sausages, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, honey, cider vinegar, rocket

Verdict: I decided not to add the cheese to the wedges for this meal as I didn't really think that it was necessary! My family really enjoyed this meal, not only because it was something that we wouldn't normally make but also because the flavours were amazing (particularly of the honey mustard sausages). However,  I was slightly disappointed that this box contained two meals with 'sausage' meat because I'm not a great fan of sausage and it would also have been nice to have more variety. 


Pros:

- offers a variety of flavourful, nutritious and easy to prepare meals

- reduced-calorie, quick and easy and vegetarian options are available

- fresh, good quality ingredients and easy to follow recipes with  generous portion sizes

- convenient and time-saving

- reduces waste

- flexible subscription

- moderately priced/ cheaper than competitors

Cons:

- doesn't meet all dietary requirements 

- no meal plans for stricter diets like vegan

- £3.99 shipping fee


Hello Fresh is a great option of you want a moderately priced meal kit that provides a variety of fresh ingredients for you to make appealing meals with easy cooking methods. If you value convenience and want to save time meal planning but still have a budget, it is certainly worth considering. However, if you

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Your one stop solution to dry skin

Dry skin can be genetic, however, it is becoming increasingly more bought on by environmental stresses, such as pollution and free radicals. This compromises the skin's barrier, which allows water to escape, causing dryness and a loss of the skin's natural glow. 

Fortunately, Dermalogica has released a new product: the  Melting Moisture Masque - an extremely moisturising mask that helps to restore dry skin by transforming balm into oil. 



This may sound like any moisturiser to you, and so this is when I should tell you what makes the Melting Moisture Masque so unique. Many moisturising products are solid at room temperature, however, for better absorption of their actives into the skin's surface layers, they should melt. This is exactly what the Melting Moisture Masque does; it's MeltingPoint Complex allows the product to be activated by the skin's natural heat, generating a satisfying melting sensation as the masque penetrates the skin's surface layers to deeply nourish and hydrate. The MeltingPoint Complex also provides a vitamin-rich, buttery texture to the masque which transforms from balm to oil upon contact with the skin.

The heart of the Dermlaogica Melting Moisture Masque' uniqueness also lies in its ingredients. Plankton Extracts allows the skin to be soothed and guarded against the drying effects of pollution, whilst Linoleic acid nourishes and Vitamin E helps to protect against the skin-damaging free radicals surrounding us on a daily basis.

The masque is so deeply hydrating that only a pea-sized amount of product is required, and the effects are so long-lasting that it is recommended to use the Melting Moisture Masque only once or twice a week.

The final result? Smooth, intensely hydrated and glowing skin. When I want to achieve the ultimate summer glow, I like to pair this product with the Dermalogica Vitamin C Serum. Warning: if you do try this combination of products, you will immediately go to skincare care heaven. Use at your own peril...

How to use Melting Moisture Masque 

ApplyDispense and apply a pea-sized amount onto clean skin. Press and hold the applicator and release once the ideal amount of product has dispensed. 

Massage: Spread and lightly massage evenly into the skin focusing on areas of intense dryness.

MeltAllow the masque to melt into the skin to help restore and protect skin’s lipid barrier.  

                             



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Want to live more sustainably? Here's your A-Z guide

Becoming an eco-warrior is as easy as ABC...

Avoid single-use plastic

And, where possible, avoid plastic altogether (you'd be surprised at how much '100% recyclable' plastic doesn't end up fulfilling its optimistic fate). As a replacement for single-use plastic, try to purchase items in biodegradable packaging or, ideally, with no packaging at all. However, don't beat yourself up if you can't avoid plastic in every situation. Remember: it's impossible to be perfect in a world dominated by industries that aren't yet willing to mirror the public's desire for progress.



Bamboo is your best friend

If Bamboo had a middle name, I'd put all my money on it being 'sustainable'. If you're considering making some plastic-free product swaps then say hello to bamboo - the perfect material for toothbrushes, dish brushes and much more. Growing 1-4 inches per day, bamboo is about as renewable as it gets.


Source: www.gardeningknowhow.com


Cow's milk alternatives

Plant-based milk has a lighter environmental impact than dairy in terms of land and water use, as well as greenhouse emissions (cow's milk is aproximately 3x more emissions-intensive than plant-based varieties of milk). Fortunately, there are a plethora of excellent substitutes for regular cow's milk, available in pretty much every supermarket.

The two most popular and versatile cow's milk alternatives:

  •  Oat milk (my personal favourite - great for cooking and baking)
  • almond milk (most common nut milk, a slight marzipan flavour but an overall neutral flavour)
For more on alternatives to cow's milk, check out the 16 best milk alternatives.

Image source: shutterstock.com/Julia Metkalova


Ditch fast fashion

The fast fashion industry is probably more synonymous with climate change and ethical issues than any other industry. The very word 'fast' mirrors the willingness of these retailers to flippantly discard materials; their chief objective is to continuously churn out cheaply manufactured clothing in order to keep up with weekly fashion trends. Ditching fast fashion is possibly one of the best decisions that you can make for the environment, and - thanks to the abundance of affordable second hand and vintage retailers - it's a decision that also doesn't entail that your future fashion purchases have to come at a high economic cost.

Source: pixelpool.com


Efficiency is key

Aside from the more costly green energy schemes, there are many low-cost investments that can improve the efficiency of your home and, in turn, improve the sustainability of your household. This can simply be done by switching to LED light bulbs, conserving water by turning the tap off when brushing your teeth, installing a water-saving showerhead, washing only at full load and buying more energy-efficient appliances. 

source: greentechmedia.com


Follow 'sustainability' bloggers and social platforms

This guide will give you a basic outline of the steps you should consider in order to live more sustainably. However, for more in-depth information on environmentalism and for a regular supply of innovative sustainability tips, there are myriad sustainability bloggers and pages on social media to follow. 

Check out:The top 'eco' influencers and bloggers we should be following

Source:econsultancy.com


Gardening

What better time than spring to throw on your gardening gloves and get digging. With the average mature tree absorbing around 48 pounds of carbon each year, we could all do with spreading a little bit more greenery around.

source:www.gardengatemagazine.com


How about a plant-based diet?

Going plant-based is arguably one of the best things that you can do for the planet. This doesn't have to mean cutting out meat from your diet altogether, but perhaps limiting your consumption of it to once a week. 

Why is the agricultural industry contributing towards climate change? Why go plant based? Check out: 10 reasons to go plant based



Invest in eco-friendly technology

How about investing in eco friendly technology? I'm talking green energy (e.g renewable electricity), electric cars and even solar-powered phone chargers. None of this is cheap, but if you're in the financial situation to afford more eco-friendly tecnhnology, it is worth considering.

source: blueandgreentomorrow.com


Join a local environmental club or discussion page

Maybe your town or city has a local 'clean up' project or perhaps a discussion forum on Facebook? Do some research and see if there's anything you can do for your local community. If there are not currently any environmental groups in your local neighbourhood, why not create one? Alternatively, there are more generic ways that you can get virtually involved in environmental discussions and discover new sustainability tips (Brightly, available on the App Store, is a great example of this).

source:opensecrets.org


Keep an eye out for greenwashing

When making a conscious effort to live more sustainably, it can be easy to fall into the trap of greenwashing (where companies project vague and misleading information or design their packaging in earthy hues to paint a greener picture). For more information on the problem of greenwashing and how to avoid it, you can check out my blog post on it here.

source: flymalaysia.org


Less is more

As a general rule, buying less and cutting out unnecessary purchases is good; conscious consumption is paramount for a sustainable lifestyle. This isn't to say that you should go full-on Marie Kondo and discard everything that's not sparking joy, but instead to reflect on how much you want or need something and whether this justifies its environmental impact.

source:inc.com


Make product swaps 

If you haven't previously paid much attention to whether the items you use most often throughout your daily life are sustainable, then now is the perfect time to question 'is it reusable?' when deciding whether to buy a product. When I say products that are not reusable, I am typically referring to commonly disposable things: face wipes, plastic toothbrushes, plastic bottles and straws, etc.

Fortunately in this eco-age, there's a generous choice of sustainable products beginning to emerge onto the marke to challenge some of the less planet-friendly alternatives that currently dominate shop shelves. 

source:goodhousekeeping.com


No to silence

Disappointed in the efforts towards sustainability that your local council or supermarket is currently making? Use your voice. Reach out by sending an email or letter to outline the issues you've identified and suggest methods that they could take to improve them. Nothing could result from it, but then again, so might everything.

Source: blog.knudge.me


Order from local businesses 

The reduction in waste and product miles is at the heart of local businesses. They also tend to use more locally input materials which are often sustainable and renewable. Offering more support to local businesses is undoubtedly a step in the right direction with regards to sustainability. Besides, in these times, local businesses need our help more than ever. 

source:wordstream.com


Pack light when flying

When the travel industry springs back to life and our passports have finished gathering dust, the message for sustainable travel is simple: pack light. The more luggage you bring means the more fuel that the aircraft requires, therefore, the most sustainable way to fly is to pack light. Plus, how often do you end up wearing that 'what about if I suddenly get invited to a movie premier?' outfit anyway?

source: tortugabackpacks.com


Quarantine

For those of us that are still in lockdown, now is a great time to read up on sustainability, climate change and the environment. In 2021, we are spoilt for choice with books, articles, podcasts, films and documentaries surrounding the topic of sustainability, and there are even a number of free and paid courses that you can register for if you'd like to learn about a specific area of sustainability (e.g fashion or sustainable management).

For more on how you can devote time to learning about sustainability in quarantine, check out this post.

source: connexionfrance.com


Recycle 

You've heard of the three r's: reduce, reuse and recycle. So far in this guide, we've covered 'reduce' and 'reuse' with the ideas of conscious consumption and switching to renewables, but what about recycling? Well, I'd suggest giving the recycling guide for your local council a  read since, although rules generally remain the same, the district that you live in could have varying recycling rules to elsewhere. 

For extra information, visit: 7 tips to recycle better

Source: Getty Images


Shop for local and seasonal produce

Cutting down on food miles is key for a more sustainable future. To achieve this, we should aim to buy more locally sourced produce that hasn't been on a tour of all seven continents just to make it on our plate.  Additionally, ensuring that the produce we are choosing to buy is in season is equally important; it takes vast amount of energy and resources to create the conditions needed for out of season produce to grow. Unfortunately, in some cities, it can be a challenging task to find locally sourced and seaonal food, so it is worth doing a little bit more research into how you might be able to achieve this.

For extra info, visit: How to eat more seasonal and local food

source: ebootwithjoe.com


Try meal prepping

Meal prepping is a great sustainable lifestyle tip if you often gravitate for meal deals or shop-bought lunches when on the go. Meal prepping puts emphasis on preparing homemade meals in advance, and in bulk. Meal prepping is a great solution if time is an obstacle in allowing you to consume home-cooked, nutritional meals and it also prevents unnecessary packaging being wasted. 

sources:goofhousekeeping.com


Use natural cleaning products

One thing we've all been using a lot of this past year (and hopefully also before!) is soap. The soap and body wash market has seen a 194% growth in sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The problem, however, is that the majority of soaps, detergents and cleaning products come armoured in single-use plastic packaging, and so the question of how we can keep clean whilst conforming to our environmental morals naturally arises. The answer is simple: plastic-free cleaning products. To make a start, you can find a selection of eco-friendly dishwashing soaps, dish brushes, cleaning chemicals and dishwasher tablets on Friendly Turtle, and browse through the incredible scents of The Washclub's handmade and plastic-free soaps and shampoo bars.

Veganism

Going vegan can be a major lifestyle swap, especially if you're not already vegetarian. Therefore, veganism is definitely something that, if you choose to pursue, you should do a significant amount of research on to ensure that you are getting all of the sufficient nutrients your body needs (something that veganism is entirely capable of achieving, but may require more careful meal planning and preparation in doing so). For a comprehensive guide on veganism, check out this link.

source: theconversation.com


Walk more

Of course, there will inevitably be some places too far away to walk to, however, if you find yourself regularly opting for your car in situations where it isn't needed then consider only using your car/public transport for destinations that are outside of walking distance.

source:www.self.com


X...  turns out that finding a relevant link to sustainability that begins with  'x' is harder than I initially 'x'pected.

Yoga

How does yoga relate to sustainability, you ask? At the beginning of your transition into a more sustainable lifestyle, you may find yourself vulnerable to caving into retail therapy compulsions. Yoga is a great remedy for this - reminding you of what values are really important in life (which hopefully includes the health and happiness of yourself and the planet you live on over the new Spring 2020 Zara collection). Furthermore, in an age where we are seeing the devastating effects of climate change more than ever before, yoga can act as a calming retreat from those dealing with eco-anxiety.

source: nytimes.com


Zen

Hopefully, you are feeling a little bit more zen after reading this A-Z guide (and maybe from implementing the yoga from the last step!). Feeling a moral duty towards sustainability can certainly be stressful, especially when it feels as though sometimes you are fighting this eco-war alone. However, if there's anything that you take from this guide, it should be that what matters the most (more than whether you can tick off 1 of these ideas or all 25) is that you are making an effort towards living more sustainably. That you should be proud of.

source: Ryanmillar.com



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Turtle Bay At Home

{PR meal - thoughts are all my own!}


Have you been craving the rich flavours of Turtle Bay's fiery jerk chicken and sweet plantain? Missing their legendary cocktails and juicy playlist which transports you to the white, lively beaches of the Caribbean? Perhaps you've been yearning for the buzz of a restaurant on a Friday night to give you the best possible embrace into the weekend? I know I have.


Image Credit: www.fusiondna.co.uk

Image credit: www.fusiondna.co.uk

Image Credit: www.fusiondna.co.uk

However, thanks to Turtle Bay's At Home Menu and Spotify Playlist, you can recreate the classic Turtle Bay social feel and indulge in the warmth and flavours of the Caribbean straight from your sofa. Whether you crave their notorious jerk chicken, aromatic curry, comforting soul food, or, a classic burger with a Jamaican spiced twist - Turtle Bay has you covered. With some impressive vegan options, too (even a devoted meat-eater's head would turn to the vegan curry with fresh aubergine, sweet potato, blistered tomato and coconut cream in Jamaican curry sauce), nobody has to miss out.

What's on the menu?

From jerk and west Indian curries to burgers, soul food and Bay Bundles, Turtle Bay's At Home Menu offers a range of meals to satisfy everyone's cravings. There is also an impressive array of tempting starters and sides available to accompany your meal (in fact, they're all a little too tempting, so if you want some help narrowing down your options I'd recommend the sweet plantain and Caribbean dumplings!). 

What Turtle Bay locations are currently open and what times are they open?

  • Bristol Broad Quay
  • Chelmsford
  • Ealing
  • Nottingham
  • Southampton

Wednesday - Sunday

2pm-10pm

Service, ordering and collection

Ordering from Turtle Bay was simple; I just had to call them (you can find the number of your local branch on their website), place my order and collect from the store at my preferred time. My phone completely shut down midway through ordering and the waiter called me back super promptly  - my first insight into how friendly the customer service is at Turtle Bay. My second insight also came at the expense of my embarrassment; turns out I'm completely incompetent at opening restaurant doors and need personal assistance in doing so (my server was super understanding and possesed a very admirable talent of making people feel like less of an idiot). My unique door-opening incapability aside, the ordering and collection process was easy, the food was packaged tightly and it remained hot during the trip home. 


The Food

I opted for one of the four available 'Bay Bundles' - the Share The Love Bundle for Four - to treat my family on Valentine's day. This bundle costs £50 and includes 4 mains (half jerk chicken, BBQ Babyback Ribs, Trini Chicken Curry and Curry Aubergine), and plenty of sides (2 portions of Coconut Rice & Peas, Spiced Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Sweet Plantain and Sunshine Salad). 


Left to right: BBQ Babyback Ribs, Trini Chicken Curry and Half Jerk Chicken

Aubergine Curry 



Trini Chicken Curry


BBQ Babyback Ribs


Spiced Fries (I defenitely had way too many of these - so, so good!)


Sides: sweet plantain and sunshine salad


Summarise the food in one sentence? It seriously tasted as good as it looks. My favourite was probably either the Aubergine curry (the perfect combination of flavours and just the right amount of sweetness) or the Trini Chicken Curry (who knew that tangy mango was curried chicken's partner in crime?). I didn't have any of the ribs, but going off my family's verdict, they too were just as delicious - 'tender pork' and 'flavoursome sauce'. 


Overall, I am really impressed with the Turtle Bay 'At Home' experience - the ordering and collection was both quick and simple, and the food was beautifully cooked, spiced and flavoured. If it's the restaurant atmosphere you're craving then, of course, it's not the same as being in the buzz of one of Turtle Bay's restaurants, however, the Turtle Bay Spotify playlist certainly does a good job at making the at-home experience feel as close to the restaurant's iconic Caribbean social feel as possible.


Have you tried anything from Turtle Bay's 'At Home' menu? Let me know in the comments!

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