L’Occitane and the scent of Lemon Verbena

L'Occitane Verbena perfume

L’Occitane’s Vervine Verbena is a sparkling scent that always lifts my spirits.

It’s especially refreshing in the summer, I love its lemon zesty aroma first thing in the morning as it wakes me up the moment a spritz of the perfume hits my skin. It’s like a kick of caffeine without the side effects.

Of course layering the scent with the delicious range available means that the scent lasts all day.

The little tube of hand gel is handy for travel and feels instantly refreshing when rubbed into your hands. I was a little worried that the gel formulation might not be as good to keep my hands moisturised, but it keeps both the scent and moisture. Better still, just a little of the gel goes a very long way and the gorgeous scent has a way of surrounding my desk just after I put some on to make me smile and lift my mood.

It really does feel as if I’m bringing a walk in a lemon grove into the office every time I wear this scent.

In fact, the scent of lemons can have a positive effect on productivity at work. Research findings found that the citrus scent of lemons improved moods and raised levels of a brain chemical linked to executive decision-making and motivation. And whilst it is a little luxury, it is a

great reason for me to use this scent every day.

Spring clean your skin with Grapefruit 

Sunshine and spring weather has finally emerged and is making me feel it’s time to give my skin a spring clean.

I love the scent of Grapefruit and on a recent trip to the high-street, I purchased this lovely tube of refreshing Grapefruit skin sorbet from The Body Shop. The scent is uplifting and energising. Since my budget did not stretch to getting any further skin treats, I decided to make my own refreshing bath soak and skin scrub in one.

This is the simplest way to get the scent of grapefruit to fill your bathroom and give skin a refreshing spring clean.

All you need is half a grapefruit. Just squeeze the juice into a bowl and mix in a large helping of rolled oats (I had porridge oats in my store cupboard), next add in a teaspoon of Green Tea leaves, since I’d received a gorgeous tin of White Peony Tea, I used this to ensure the antioxidant benefits found in Tea would make its way onto my skin.

To add moisture, I added half a teaspoon of Jojoba oil to the mix.

To boost the scent of the grapefruit, I added Bergamot essential oil. You can add any citrus-scented essential oil that you have to hand if you don’t have grapefruit.

Add the zest of the grapefruit skin by grating it with a fine grater.

By now this mix looks clumpy and can the smell of Grapefruit and the citrusy scent has already filled my kitchen with its wonderful aroma.

You can now use it as a skin scrub or use it as a bath soak.

So that the small bits of the porridge do not float around the bath, I filled some empty tea bags. You can order these empty tea bags online or use a tea infuser.

These tea bags with fresh ingredients will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

Just hang the tea bag under a hot running tap in the bath and the aroma of Grapefruit and all the lovely ingredients that have been used in this mix will infuse the bath water with its scent and goodness.

There’s just nothing like a good soak, except perhaps smoothing over the Grapefruit souffle body lotion to complete the experience.

January detox

January detox

 

After what I can only describe as two weeks of indulging in lots of food and drink, my body feels bloated and my skin feels itchy from the dry heat of central heating.

White Peony Tea

I received a tin of this lovely Wheat Peony tea for my birthday last year and it has become a favourite of mine, since it it not just refreshing, but has many health benefits as it’s packed full of antioxidants.

The tea is reputed to help kick-start a sluggish metabolism, protect from free radicals and therefore promote healthy glowing skin.

If you want to try this tea, the one I’m drinking is from Whittards.

Just follow the brewing instructions on the tin. The temperature should not be boiling, but around 80 degrees Celsius, so as not to destroy any of the goodness from the tea.

Charcoal Face Mask

Since my skin is in need of some help, I’m also treating it to a deep cleanse with L’Oreal’s Pure Clay Detox Mask. Whilst it would be great to get a beauty treatment facial, my bank balance, post-Christmas is definitely needs reigning back. So whilst this is a budget buy from the high-street, I think it’s very effective and the treat is the time it takes to sit back and relax while the mask takes action.

This charcoal based face mask, has a deep cleansing action on my pores, and because it’s quick drying, you can almost feel it drawing out the impurities as it dries and has a light refreshing floral fragrance.

Orange Ginger & Cinnamon Skin Scrub

This is a lovely home-made recipe which is so easy to make, you can use brown sugar if you don’t have Dead Sea salts, follow the recipe here .

Lush Yuzu and Coca Shower Cream

I love the scent of oranges and this shower cream is filled with the citrusy scent of yuzu and Coca. Waking up and getting myself to work has taken a huge amount of effort last week, so this shower cream has been the perfect way to wake up to a zingy start to the day. You can find out more about the benefits of yuzu fruit here.

With this little cleansing routine, starting from inside and out, it’s the perfect way to feel energised for the new year ahead. Wishing everyone reading this post the very best for 2017!

 

Home Made Gentle Eye Make-up Remover

DIY Eye Make-up Remover

This is a quick and simple recipe for making your own gentle eye make-up remover.

All you need is some good quality oil, Rosewater and Glycerin.

Make it in small batches as the ingredients are all natural and there is no preservative so it is best to make it fresh every few days, 50ml should last between 3-4 days if you plan on using it every morning and night.

Ingredients:

20ml Rosewater

20ml Jojoba oil

10ml Vegetable Glycerin

How to make:

Pour the Rosewater, Jojoba Oil and the Glyercin in a small bottle. Shake vigorously to combine the ingredients. This recipe is very similar to the home made Micella Water recipe which I wrote about a while ago. You can see the post by clicking this link.

As you can see from the test below, I applied a very dark colour pallet of eye shadow, eye liner and mascara and used the home made version on one eye lid and compared this to the Clinique Eye Make-up remover that I occassionnally use.

Home Made Eye Make-up remover test

I was surprised as the Clinqiue remover was good, I’ve always used this as it’s non-scented and wipes away Make-up with only a couple of swipes. But the home-made version took off much more make-up with just one swipe. Result!

Better still is that it cost considerably less and smells lovely because of the Rosewater.

I’ve been using Rosewater for many years now and I don’t think there is anything better than this gorgeous smelling scented liquid.

Nespresso machine for Coffee and Walnut Cake

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We bought a Nespresso machine, an offer which really was too good to miss and now we have two coffee machines that sit on opposite sides of the kitchen.

The Dolce Gusto machine makes great coffee, it also makes lots of other great drinks which my kids enjoy, particularly the iced Cappuccino and iced tea, drinks which if we were going to Starbucks would cost a small fortune.


The Nespresso machine however, makes coffee an experience and I wish we had gotten around to getting earlier. If you are thinking about getting one of these machines, this month there is an offer too good to be missed. Not only is the machine on offer but the Aerochino machine is free. Yes that’s right free as long as you purchase their coffee pods from the website.

We’ve been in coffee heaven, and what better way to enjoy a cup of rich intense coffee, but with Coffee and Walnut cake.

This is a simple recipe – just use the Muffin mixture from this recipe and use just walnuts instead of the blueberries and cinnamon, add an espresso shot of coffee to the mix and bake.

That’s it. I used these cute cardboard mini loaf cases which I spotted in M&S, which were a perfect size for individual portions to serve for a tea time treat.

Refreshing herb tea foot soak

This is the easiest recipe to make at home which will revive and refresh tired aching feet. I had all the ingredients in my garden. Better still, the only cost involved was just the use of the pre-made little tea bag pouches which I got online. One hundred of these little pouches ready to fill with tea leaves, herbs or anything which you want to infuse or soak in hot water.

For this refreshing herb tea foot soak, I simply picked a small bunch of mint leaves, a few sprigs of rosemary and some lavender buds which were still flowering in the last days of summer.

A dash of Dead Sea salt, which I already had in my cupboard and a few drops of Peppermint and Lemon Essential Oils, and Orange Blossom Water all mixed roughly together in the tea bag pouch.

Soak in a bowl of boiling water for as long as you want and pour into a warm bowl of clean water. Ready to soak tired weary feet.

I know this seems like quite a bit of effort, but after a long day at work, I like the idea and ritual of preparing something a little indulgent, a little bit of me time to indulge in. The scent is uplifting and has this magical way of transforming the  room into a scented retreat.

Feet are now soaked and feeling light and refreshed. Hmm now for that pedicure, a colourful treat for my toes.

The Marzipan that turned into Blueberry Muffins

 

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The month of May is almost over. In fact most of April and May has been filled with work, a decorating and a DIY project for my youngest, all of which has meant I’ve not written as regularly as I’d like for a while.

Its also meant a few ingredients that were meant for Easter were left as I didn’t get around to much in the way of baking. In previous years, this usually means I find them lurking in the back of the cupboard until one day, when I am looking for something else I come across it and it’s past its sell-by date and too late to do anything but throw it way. I then kick myself for the wasted food.

So, this year, when my youngest said she needed some photos to cakes to bring into school, so she could apply to join the baking club.

I decided not to repeat the mistakes of previous years. With the Marzipan that I bought, I looked for a simple cake recipe to turn it into something quick and simple.

There were loads of recipes which included ground almonds, which I didn’t have, I’d almost given up until I came across this one. A simple bake with cherries and poppy seeds.

Ok I didn’t have the tinned cherries, but I had some fresh blueberries that were destined for a fruit salad instead.

With sugar, eggs, self raising flour and some milk in the fridge, this would do the trick.Photo of ingredients such as Marzipan

Muffin Ingredients:

255g self raising flour
115g caster sugar or soft brown sugar. (I used a 50/50 mix of white and brown as I had this in my cupboard)
2tbsp poppy seeds
150g fresh blueberries or canned cherries without pips
115g golden marzipan, chilled in the fridge and grate coarsely
1 medium egg, beaten
50g butter or margarine, melted
175ml whole milk

To make:

Pre-heat oven to 190°C/375°F/Fan 170°C/Gas Mark 5.

Put some  muffin cases in a muffin or cupcake tin, to keep the shaped of the cakes.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, and stir in the sugar, poppy seeds, blueberries (washed) and the grated marzipan. I find that chilling the marzipan makes it a lot easier to grate.

You’ll need to either chop the marzipan or grate it so it can be distributed evenly in the cake mix. It will infused the cakes with the most lovely scent of almonds. Hmmm heaven.

Make a well in the centre.

Mix together the egg, melted butter with the milk. I used Soy Milk.

Pour into the well and mix to form a thick, rough batter. My youngest insisted at this point to put her hands into the batter to mix the batter.

We made a lot of mess by this time and she could tell that I wasn’t impressed with this technique as by this time she had lost interest and had gone to find something else to do.

Now that we had the batter, the mix was spooned into the muffin cases and put into the preheated oven for 22-25 mins, until risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

This part of the cooling process is tricky in our house, firstly it’s hard to resist the tempting smell of the cakes as they cool, but they also summon our two cats, who are also keen on the taste of freshly baked cakes. This means we have to guard them until they are ready to serve.

We took photos of the muffins and printed them so my youngest could take them to school. They were eaten for tea that afternoon.