Read | My current favourite cookbooks

I turned vegan at the beginning of this year which was a fairly easy transition for me as I had been a vegetarian for 4 years and didn't eat very much dairy (Minstrels, Mini Eggs and feta cheese were my main weaknesses). Being vegan doesn't automatically equal healthy and my emphasis when cooking has been to cook wholesome, healthy meals packed with lots of fresh veg, herbs and spices (then I don't feel quite so guilty for sneaking in some M&S veggie percy pigs..)

The books I've been turning to are Anna Jones' A Modern Way To Eat & A Modern Way To Cook, whilst both books are vegetarian most of her recipes are easily adapted for vegans. With recipes like 'Dhal with crispy sweet potato and quick coconut chutney' and 'Carrot and chickpea pancake with lemon-spiked dressing', leave these books on your coffee table and even the meat-loving carnivores will find something up their street. 

The River Cafe Cook Book Green is an oldie but a goodie. Again, not strictly vegan but there are tons of recipes that are and any others are easily adapted. The book is a dedication to all that is great about the humble veg and it's organised by month and what is in season in each month. Some of my favourites recipes are the simple salads like the  'Mint and lentil salad'.

The Mildreds cookbook is the highly anticipated cookbook from the vegetarian restaurant Mildreds in London (well worth a visit if you're in London), all recipes are vegetarian but have clear labels if they are vegan or gluten-free, any others can again be easily adapted to a vegan diet. Some of my favourites from this book are the 'Sri Lankan sweet potato & cashew nut curry' and the 'saffron & pea risotto cakes'

Last but not least the two newest additions to my book shelf are Aine Carlin's Keep It Vegan & The New Vegan. I'm so happy my hubby discovered these for me, all my latest dishes have come from these books. The recipes are simple, fool-proof and delicious. Her 'Macaro-no cheese with crispy kale' blew my mind and I haven't yet made a dud dish from her books. I'm excited to try her 'Swedish-style vegballs with mash and creamy mustard sauce' this evening. 


Laser Hair Removal | Consultation & First Treatment

At the beginning of this year I made the decision to try Laser Hair Removal. Following years of painful waxing, monotonous shaving and eye watering epilation, I decided to give Laser the go-ahead. 

I did some research and decided to use SK:N as my zappers of choice. SK:N are in partnership with the NHS and have over 25 years of dermatological experience. They offer good deals on laser hair removal when buying bulk sessions (most people will tend to need 6-8 sessions) and also offer finance payment options. 

The areas I was interested in getting the hair removal was my underarms and other - shall we say - delicate areas! 

The consultation lasted around 30 minutes, you will need to show them hair growth so don't remove before the consultation. The practitioner looks at the colour of your hair and skin to ensure that the hair removal will be safe and efficient. They also do a quick test patch to ensure you do not have a bad reaction to the laser. I booked 6 sessions in total. You have to let them know if you have any holidays planned as any tanning will affect the hair removal process. 

Happy with the consultation I booked in for my first treatment session for the following week. 

The areas that are being lasered will need to be shaved the night before being treated and I avoided using any deodorant the day of the treatment. 

The actual treatment itself is ridiculously quick - each underarm takes less than 2 minutes! Much quicker than I was expecting. And for the pain? Not as bad as I thought it would be. Underarms were almost painless, bikini line was a little more painful but not intolerable, especially if you're used to waxing. The best way to describe it is as a very quick hot pin prick. The laser also gives out cold air so it's not a completely uncomfortable experience. For me, the fact that it is so quick makes up for any discomfort. 

I was given a water spray and some aloe gel to use on the areas over the next few days, I also avoided deodorant and body wash for the following 24 hours. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect following the treatment, for the first few days my hair grew back as usual however after the first week I noticed that the hair was falling out and you could also pull it out (not going to lie, this was incredibly satisfying!) Over the next week I would estimate about 80% of the hair had come out. 

You have to wait 6 weeks in between each sessions, my second session is due at at the end of next week and I have only had to shave my underarms once in between the first and second session. As a contrast before laser I would have had to shave underarms every 2-3 days. 

So far so good, looking forward to seeing the results following my second session!


Review | Botanicals Radiance Serum

The Botanicals White Grape & Avocado Radiance Serum* (£25.95 30ml) is a little gem. This serum is full of oils leaving my skin soft and radiant. 

I've been really getting into my serums recently having never realised the benefits before. Sometimes moisturisers just don't cut it and using a serum before my moisturiser gives my skin that added oomph that it craves, especially in the winter months.

The key ingredients in this serum are apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, rosehip oil, jojoba, evening primrose, lavender, mandarin, chamomile.

The serum absorbs surprising quickly and has a pleasant natural scent. 

I apply the serum in the evenings (and occasionally morning) after I've cleansed and toned. I use about 3 drops which I push onto the skin rather than rubbing in and I then follow with my usual moisturiser. 

The serum is not tested on animals, suitable for vegans and uses 99% organic ingredients. 

Ingredients | Prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil*, helianthus annuus seed oil*, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil*, rosa canina fruit oil*, buxus chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil*, camellia sinesis leaf extract*, tocopherol***, (lavendula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower oil*, citrus nobilis (mandarin orange) peel oil*, geraniol**, limonene**, linalool**. (*Certified organic ingredients. **Natural constituents of essential oils. ***Natural origin.)

*PR sample

Review | NUDE Radiant Day Moisturiser

NUDE might just be one of my favourite brands at the moment. I've tried a few products from them and love them all. The Radiant Day Moisturiser (£42) was the catalyst to this little love affair I'm experiencing.. 

This moisturiser is gorgeously lightweight and absorbs almost instantly. Suffering from oily and spot prone skin for the first time but which was still susceptible to dry patches proved very tricky in getting the right day moisturiser but this has worked wonders. Whilst lightweight it is still hydrating enough, although now we're coming into the colder months, I may need to look for something with a little more moisture. 

The moisturiser contains hyaluronic acid and antioxidants. It also contains omega 6, zinc, magnesium and copper to further hydrate and revitalise. 

The pump dispenses the perfect amount, my only negative with the packaging is that it is not a clear bottle so you can't see how much product you have left. I bought this around May/June and have been using it every morning and I haven't got to the bottom yet. I hope to get about 5/6 months use out of it  to feel like I've got my moneys worth. 

All NUDE products are without Parabens, Sulphates, Pegs, Tea, Dea, Proylene Glycol, Phthalates, Petrolatum, Synthetic Color, Synthetic Fragrance, Mineral Oil, and Silicones


Have you tried anything from NUDE?


Tips on dealing with PCOS skin & hair

I have found out the hard way that PCOS plays absolute havoc with your skin and hair, the massive hormonal imbalance unfortunately affects many women in lots of different ways but for me the hardest has been dealing with oily/spot prone skin and hair loss. 

I have been very fortunate with my skin growing up, I've always had a good diet and drunk plenty of water - I was lucky to only ever have to deal with the occasional chocolate-binge induced spot! 

That all changed about 6 months ago, I have since experienced small under the skin spots that will just not budge and painful large cyst like spots. I also lost a lot of hair from around the hairline, which is slowly growing back but until it's fully grown back leaves me with a nice little halo of frizz. 

Luckily with PCOS your hormones should get back in balance eventually but to ride out the storm here are a few tips for your skin and hair that I've learnt along the way..


  • Drink water like it's going out of fashion - an obvious point but an absolute must. Avoid sugar filled fizzy drinks like the plague, I've always thought that it's a waste of calories to drink them. Water is free and it hydrates you. The link between good skin and water is a pretty obvious one!
  • Eat well - that old 'you are what you eat' chestnut is pretty accurate, load up on plenty of fresh fruit and veg. For more information on how your diet can affect PCOS click here
  • Clean your make up brushes regularly, at least once a week
  • Clean/change your pillow case regularly, simple but really effective if you're got a particularly nasty cyst like spot.
  • Get a good skincare routine - cleansers, toners, serums, moisturisers, oils. I've found ditching thicker moisturisers for lighter versions and using oils in the evening very effective
  • Spot treatments - when you have a large spot or a patch of spots using an effective spot treatment will help - I'm waiting for the Indie Lee Blemish Lotion to come back into stock but I've used La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo in the past which is quite effective. 
  • When you have a large spot brewing hold an ice cube to it whilst it's at the 'feels like a bruise' phase, do this a few times a day. Holding a hot flannel to it once it is a more obvious spot I find helps to reduce the inflammation. 
  • Try to avoid over-styling. Heat from straighteners or tongs will make any of the grow back frizz look more obvious
  • Keep your hair in loose styles, down is best but if I need to have it up I try to keep it in a loose bun or ponytail. 
  • Treat your hair with a hair mask weekly - I like to just use coconut oil, I leave it on for as long as I can and make sure I wash it out thoroughly - a double shampoo should be enough. 

Bear with me | PCOS & Puppy!

Just a quick little post to apologise for the lack of posting recently. Blogging for me is such a fun hobby but I can't write posts when I'm just not feeling' it.

There are a few reasons that my mind hasn't been in the blogging vibe, firstly and most excitingly, we picked up a puppy last week. She's utterly adorable and cute but as any of you with dogs will know they take up absolutely all of your time!

Secondly, and more related to the beauty side of things is that I found out I have Polycystic Ovaries. My hormones have been absolutely all over the place for the last few months resulting in the worst skin I've ever had, thus not really feeling up to writing about makeup and skincare. Along with my skin, I've also suffered a lot of hair loss, a lot of hair growth on my face (it just gets better..!) and I've put on weight (cherry on top..!) All in all I feel and look like a mess! 

Please bear with me whilst I get my hormones back on track and under control and I hope to be feeling more myself shortly :) 


You Beauty Discovery Box | July 2015

Another great box from the You Beauty team, this months selection included:

  • St Tropez In Shower Tanning Lotion - The PR for this product has been impressive, I've seen it everywhere. But an in-shower tanning lotion? I'm not convinced, happy to be proven wrong though..
  • Emma Hardie Protect and Prime Cream - As a loyal fan of Emma's cleansing balm I'm looking forward to trying something else from her. 
My selections were
  • Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Shampoo & Conditioner - Always handy having travel size Shampoo and Conditioners, this is designed for medium textured, wavy hair types so could be perfect for me.
  • Hairy Jayne Hair Freshener - Firstly, amazing brand name! Love it. This is a spray that calms frizz, adds shine and protects from heat styling. Really look forward to using this!
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