I don’t know if you’ve heard of Graze before but I think it’s a fantastic idea! Graze is a website which was set up by people from LoveFilm and it’s a similar idea but this time with food – they send a box of healthy but tasty snacks straight to your door. You can update your profile by rating the food they send you so that they begin to learn your preferences and can send you personalised boxes. The boxes fit through your letterbox so there’s no signing for deliveries or missing the postman. It’s a very convenient way to make sure you eat healthily and I really wish I’d thought of it!
All of the food Graze sends out is free from artificial colours, flavourings and preservatives. When I heard that they sent out healthy snacks, I immediately thought seeds! But don’t worry, there are plenty of other snacks to choose from – nuts, dried fruits, focaccia, olives and even some flapjacks and chocolaty fruit and nut mixes.
The box I received contained four snacks and a personalised card telling me exactly what was in each snack with all of the nutritional information so I could see exactly what I was eating. I really enjoyed three of the snacks included in my box but wasn’t so keen on the ‘Beach Bum’ which includes banana, mango and coconut. This isn’t a problem though as I can update my profile to say that I don’t want to be sent it again.
Graze boxes cost £3.49 each and there is no delivery charge. There are a few different delivery combinations and you can cancel your boxes at any time. It is also really easy to move your deliveries around if you are going away or just want to change your delivery schedule. Anyone who finds themselves snacking on rubbish throughout the day should definitely consider trying a Graze box!
I love the colour of this Body Collection Midnight Blue nail varnish. It is really hard to photograph below as it looks much glitterier in real life! In some lights there you can also see some dark purple flecks.
I found the nail varnish quite hard to apply as the brush is quite thick and even though I’m usually quite good at putting on nail varnish, this time I managed to make a massive mess, getting blue on the skin all around my nails! I had to apply it very slowly! The nail varnish dries pretty quickly but you need at least two coats so that it doesn’t look patchy. Before I applied the top coat, the varnish was really glittery but quite a dull navy blue colour. Once the top coat was on, the blue seemed to get darker and looked much shinier. The photo shows the nail varnish with a top coat. I really liked the effect without the top coat but I always manage to chip my nails really quickly so a top coat is essential for me as it means I don’t have to redo my nails every day!
Even though I found this varnish a little tricky to apply I would buy it again as it is such good value at £2.99 and I really do love the colour. It just isn’t the nail varnish to use when you’re in a rush!
Arnicare Bath & Massage Balm is made from organic Arnica Montana which is grown in the Scottish highlands. Arnica Montana is an alpine plant with bright yellow flowers which has natural anti-inflammatory properties. There are no parabens, lanolin, mineral oil, SLS’s or PEGs so should be ok for sensitive skin.
I’m not sure why it’s called Bath & Massage Balm as I always think of balms as solid whereas this is much more of an oil. You can apply it to damp skin as an intensive moisturiser and although it takes a while to sink in, it’s definitely worth the wait! You have to be careful when getting the oil out of the bottle though as it’s so runny so you can easily pour out far too much. The oil can also be used as a massage oil for stiff muscles or you can use it instead of bubble bath. I’ve got to admit that when I tried this, the bath didn’t look very appealing – no bubbles and the water looked milky and a bit grubby. However the flowery smell is gorgeous and not overpowering and when I got out of the bath my skin felt so hydrated that I didn’t even need to use any moisturiser!
It’s a reasonable price at around £8 and I’d really recommend it to anyone with dry skin. You can buy Arnicare Bath & Massage Oil from Boots as well as some pharmacies.
On the weekend I went in to Build-A-Bear Workshop to find the perfect bear for my cousins first birthday. I’ve never been in before so wasn’t really sure what to expect. Nick came with me grudgingly but I think he ended up having a good time helping to customise the bear!
The first step in the shop is to choose your bear. As you can see from the photo there are lots to choose from and not just bears either – rabbits, sheep, dogs, owls…. The prices seemed to be between £9 and £15 depending on the type of bear you went for. We ended up choosing the Lil’ Chocolate Cub who has such soft strokeable fur!
Next we moved on to the sound station where you can choose a sound to go inside your bear. These cost extra and the prices vary with the type of sound. You can get anything from a bear roar or owl hoot to a personalised message.
After that it’s on to the big machine which they use to fill your bear up with fluff. I actually managed to forget to take a photo of this but it’s quite impressive. You are able to hug your bear after it’s been filled to see whether you more stuffing or not. When that’s done you pick a heart for you bear and the member of staff who’s stuffed your bear does a heart ceremony for you which involves spinning round, making a wish and kissing the heart. I think this is great fun for little people but I did feel a bit silly!
Once the bear was stuffed we moved round the shop to the clothes section. There are so many outfits to choose from! We ended up going with a cute pair of denim dungarees.
The final stage of the Build-A-Bear experience is to get your bear a birth certificate. Scanning in the bar code of the bear gives you the colour, height and weight of the bear and then you just need to give it a name. The birth certificate also says who the bear belongs to and who the bear is from. You had to put in your address and email address to get the certificate so I hope I don’t get endless messages from them now asking me to buy stuff!
Anyway, here are some photos of Dylan the bear. I really hope my cousin loves him as much as I do!
The 5 people randomly selected to win the First Aid Manuals are…….
You should have an email from me to find out your addresses so please can you let me know them asap! Thanks!
I really love the summery tin this Spa Paradisa Sweet Coconut lip balm comes in and I also love the lip balm itself! It smells delicious and is really moisturising – it works really well on dry, chapped lips. There are no parabens in the lip balm which is always a good thing and it contains shea butter and vitamin E. Now I really want to try some other Spa Paradisa products! There are lots in the range – body butters, body scrubs, bath soaks and more. You can buy Spa Paradisa products from Boots and Next.
Energys Resonance is a range of natural skincare products. They don’t contain chemical emulsifiers, aggressive chemical preservatives, SLS, mineral oils, silicone oil, polyethylene glycols or parabens. I’ve been trying out the following products:
From looking at their website, it seems as though the Energys products are suitable for pretty much any skin type. I’ve got quite dry skin and I’ve definitely noticed an improvement since I started using the range. All of the products of much more than I would normally pay which may be why I’ve actually seen an improvement in my skin!
The cleanser is really good and has a lovely fresh smell. It also removes eye makeup which is something I look for in a cleanser as I can’t really be bothered using two products when I could use one. The Gentle Exfoliant is in fact gentle, unlike lots of other so called ‘gentle’ exfoliators which make your skin feel as though you’ve rubbed it with sand paper.
The Youthful Skin Elixir is basically just a toner but it comes in a cute glass bottle which looks pretty smart. Instead of using the skin elixir you can use the Energy Gel which does a similar thing but can also be used during the day to sooth headaches, tired feet or tense shoulder muscles.
I really like the face mask which can be used 2 to 3 times a week. It leaves my skin feeling really soft and clean! The moisturiser is good as well although it doesn’t smell quite as nice as some of the other products in the range. It feels quite greasy when you apply it but it skins in faster than you would expect and makes my skin so smooth. I really love it but I don’t know whether I could put up with the smell for more than one tub?
The only product I haven’t been impressed with is the eye cream. This just seems to sit on the skin under my eyes and not sink in at all. It feels greasy hours after I apply it and makes my under eye area look a bit shiny. That being said, I really wish I wasn’t a student and could afford to buy the other products from this skincare range!
Here is the recipe for the chocolate chip cupcakes I made today. They are really easy to make and you can get the icing to look really good if you use a piping bag. The recipe makes 12 cupcakes.
100g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
75g chocolate chips
a few drops of vanilla extract
200g icing sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
bright blue food colouring
green food colouring
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4 and put 12 cupcake cases in a cupcake tray.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
3. Whisk the eggs together in a mug using a fork and then add gradually to the mixing bowl. Beat each time you add more egg.
4. Mix in the vanilla extract.
5. Sift the flour if needed and then fold gently into the mixture along with the chocolate chips.
6. Share out the mixture evenly into the cupcake cases and then bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. To make the icing, cream the butter and then gradually mix in the icing sugar. Separate the icing into two bowls and then add the blue food colouring to one bowl and the green to the other.
8. Put the icing into an icing bag – one spoon of blue then one spoon of green etc. This gives the icing a marbled effect (it’s not very clear in the photos but it is there really!). Decorate the cakes however you like. I did some swirly patterns and then topped the cakes with yellow glitter.
This weekend I finished reading Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna which I thought was brilliant. I’ve got to be honest, the main reason I picked up this book in the shop was because I liked the front cover but after reading the blurb I decided I had to read it.
Set in Coorg, India at the end of the 1800s, the story follows the life of Devi who was the first girl born into her family for over 60 years. Through her childhood she is inseparable from her friend Devanna but that starts to change when she meet the Tiger Killer Machu. Even though she is still a girl she vows that one day she will marry him. However, she doesn’t realise that Devanna is in love with her and in the end a tragedy changes all of their lives. I don’t want to spoil the book so won’t tell you any more than that!
The book really is a wonderful read and the way it is written truly draws you in and paints such a vivid picture you almost feel as though you’re there. Tiger Hills is Mandanna’s debut novel but I’m really looking forward to reading other books by her (I don’t think any more have been published just yet so I’ll have to keep an eye out!).
I love the way this Simple Vital Vitamin Cleanser foams so much! I find that if I use it every day it tends to dry my skin out but I’ve been using it two or three times a week which seems to be perfect for my skin. The cleanser contains the following vitamins and nutrients:
- pro-vitamin B5 which ‘actively restores, softens and smoothes’
- vitamin E which ‘moisturises to improve skin condition’
- glycerine which ‘hydrates and nourishes’
- chamomile which also ‘softens and smoothes’
- geranium which ‘conditions and regenerates‘.
There are no perfumes or colourings but it’s not completely natural and I think that’s why it’s cheaper than lots of the 100% natural cleansers around. At about £4.50 I think I would buy this again.