Tuesday 19 April 2016

A touch of coral

Spring is in full swing and I am finding myself being drawn to brighter colours and flowery scents. If the sun is a little shy about making an appearance, I am compensating for it with my choice of wardrobe and makeup.

Their is still a chill in the air, so even on a nicer day layering has been key. I swapped my heavier knits for cotton. People tree Kelly v-neck jumper* is becoming a bit of a staple this April. It has this cosy feel, but is light enough on warmer days. I have a feeling it will be used a lot this summer. I am partial to corals as it is, and I love the casual loose cut of this jumper. It is slightly longer on the back than at the front, so you can experiment with tucking it in at the front if you fancy styling it up a little.  So far I have mainly being pairing it up with jeans, biding my time for a change of weather when I can bring out my shorts. This jumper is made with certified cotton that is also fair trade. If you are asking #whomademyclothes during Fashion Revolution week, People Tree are not hiding the answer. I am keeping a close eye on the latest additions to their range, I think this Spring/Summer collection is one of their strongest. Beautiful colours, prints and some distinct tailoring. Use discount code RF10 to get 10% off full priced People Tree collection.

When it comes to body care there has been one particular oil I have been reaching for, Lani. The gorgeous scent and the silky smooth skin that it leaves behind have made it one of my most used products this spring. Of course the cheery coral colour of the bottle has also been making me notice it above others (I have reviewed it previously here).

    From left to right: Ilia Karma Chameleon, La bella figura Frida Fabulosa, Itha Orange Bloom, W3ll people #1 Coral

My makeup has been pretty minimal, I have been using La Bella Figura Frida fabulosa blush and going between 3 lip colours: w3ll people nudist #1 coral, itha london orange bloom, and ilia crayon in Karma chameleon. Nudist #1 is a tinted lip balm, it gives just a hint of colour, perfect for no fuss low key look. Itha lip conditioner is a non sticky gloss, with a gorgeous creamy feel. Karma chameleon is a long time favourite, full on punchy coral. Frida Fabulosa gives a lovely, natural looking flush of peachy/coral blush and works really well with all three lip colours.

What colours are you most drawn to this spring?

*PR sample, all thoughts expressed are as ever my own.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Sweet and Sour Aubergine dip

As someone who always seems to be having a working lunch and grabbing bites here and there, having a well-stocked fridge with different home-made dips and spreads means I'm not eating rubbish all day long.

This is one of my most favoured aubergine recipes, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days and it goes amazingly well with rice or buckwheat and some greens. Personally, I love spreading it thick on a slice of sourdough bread.



1 aubergine chopped into 1cm cubes

1 celery stick finely chopped

1 medium red onion finely chopped

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons date syrup

1/2 teaspoon coconut oil

3 tablespoons tomato paste

Salt and pepper to taste

A couple of pecans, optional

Step 1. Heat up the coconut oil in a large frying pan, add celery and onion, cook on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add aubergine, and cook until tender for about 15 minutes.

Step 2. Add tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, date syrup and a tablespoon of water. Stir and cover to cook for 15 minutes, turn down the heat slightly.

Step 3. Remove the lid, and cook for 1-2 minutes further, stirring continuously. Add salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with crushed pecans before serving.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Elijah Choo | Bodhi and Birch

The power of scent is undeniable, it can take you on a journey, bring up long forgotten memories and instantly change your mood. No one understands this better than Elijah Choo, founder of Bodhi & Birch. His collection is designed not only to take care of your skin, but to relax your mind with an incredible array of fragrances. One of the best things about interviewing Elijah is that I always learn something new. Here is his take on all things Beauty.

What is your favourite skincare ingredient, and why?

This is a really tricky one, I have a current favourite and an all time favourite. Ingredients come and go: they are in fashion, or on trend, and then all of a sudden they are out. The one that is truly tested, and the one I will always go with is rosehip oil, it is my all time favourite. Rosehip oil is a very reliable ingredient, it is great for all skin types and for various skin concerns. My current favourite is plum kernel oil. It features in only one of our products, Lime Blossom Hand Serum, but it is a very interesting oil. It is extremely emollient, however, the key thing about it for me is that it is quickly absorbed by the skin and doesn't leave a greasy feel. What blows me away time and time again, is its gorgeous aroma, it smells like  a cherry bakewell.  Not many carrier oils have this property.

What is a big skincare no no for you?

 I do not go down the road of "you can't do this", "you must do that". I believe that we all need knowledge and balance. If you know you shouldn't do something, it doesn't mean it is the end of the world if you do it once, just don't do it often or to the point that it would damage your skin. That being said, it is quite evident that if you wear make-up, remove all the make-up before you go to bed. I have people asking me "Is it ok to use just a face wipe?". No! You can occasionally, but not all the time! The other thing, and I am equally guilty of forgetting this, is: SPF, SPF, SPF. On holidays I always apply SPF, but when I am rushing around day to day I do forget to use it.

Where do you see green beauty industry heading in the future?

Into the mainstream. I think more and more people are being educated, weirdly enough not necessarily by the green beauty community, but by the mainstream brands that are trying to jump on the bandwagon. Yes there is some 'green washing' going on, but it is what's starting the conversation for people who would not normally be interested in green beauty. Taking this into consideration, these brands are in a way doing their bit by encouraging people to ask questions, and find out for themselves what ingredients they want in their products. I think more and more people are accepting that when it comes to skincare, it has to be to a certain extent green. Be it green in terms of ingredients, testing on animals, or the damage that it does to the environment.

What would you say is the secret to having glowing, healthy skin?

Most skincare brands would tell you that it is the skincare, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. We indulge in good skincare, it provides the finishing touches to the skin. Fundamentally for great skin you need three things. One of these, unfortunately, you cannot choose: it is your genes. If you have good genes, you have good skin. The second thing you can do a lot about is your diet. You are what you eat, your skin merely reflects how healthy your diet is. Eat good food, choose meals that are balanced and have lots of vegetables. If you eat meat, don't have huge amounts, but make sure it is good quality meat. Basically aim for quality not quantity, and enjoy yourself! If you have a good diet it reflects on your skin. The third part is to look after your skin. I personally do not believe in using 10,000 products on your skin. I think it is confusing. Our skin, like nature, balances itself out, but if you keep bombarding it with changes unfortunately it will struggle. When you are younger you are able to experiment, because your skin rate of renewal is pretty high. As I get older I stick to a core of versatile products.

Do you juice at home or make smoothies? Any favourite recipes?

Not as much as I want to. The reason is very simple, I have what we call a "temporary, permanent kitchen". We are still renovating our home, so I don't have a lot of space, I ended up moving my juicer. It is annoying because I can't juice as much as I would want. I have discovered a very simple recipe in Thailand that I am really loving, it is just two ingredients: pineapple and holy basil. Pineapple contains bromelain and it helps with reducing inflammation, but on its own the pineapple juice is sickly sweet, adding fresh holy basil (also known as tulsi, or Thai basil) transforms it. You are looking to add a whole handful of the herb, but add a little bit at a time and taste it, to get the balance right.

pineaple and holly basil juice

What does your beauty routine look like?

I keep things simple, and that is why I created products that are not too fussy and quite versatile. For example the bath and shower therapies: because I have short hair, I can get away with using these as a shampoo, especially Rosemary Chi is great as a hair wash. For skincare I tend to use a cleanser, followed by a face oil. I use Rosa Rosa Cleanser, or Therapy Orange Blossom in the summer, and I wash my face in the shower. In the evening, when I take more time to cleanse, I alternate between Rosa Rosa Cleanser, Balmology, or a super secret product I am still working on. I don't use toner in the mornings, I tend to use mists as a refresher. I apply Desert Rose Face Oil to skin that is still damp after cleansing. There is one other product that I may use as an alternative, and that is Lime Blossom Hand Serum. Most people don't know this, but originally I wanted to create three face oils, in the end I decided not to launch the third face oil and recreated it as Lime Blossom Hand Serum. It is actually facial oil quality, and was created as a blend for oily skin types (do patch test it before trying it as a face oil).

Can we expect any new exciting additions to the Bodhi and Birch line up?

There are a few products that have been in development for a while that are just waiting for the right time to launch. There are other products that I am just starting to work on. I don't want to give too much away, but there are definitely new things in store.