Sunday, 31 July 2016

A few Dr Bronner's favourites

It's a little while since I wrote about some beauty favourites on here but that doesn't mean I haven't been super busy trying out cruelty free brands and products, especially as I'm FINALLY using up some old products and getting to the stage where I can start buying some new, cruelty free alternatives.
I've used the Dr Bronner's 18 in 1 liquid soaps for ages, mainly as make up brush cleaners but also when we went travelling a few even came with us and were an absolute godsend, being used to wash clothes, a shower gel, dishes and probably for more that I can't even remember! However, once I started on my little cruelty free journey, I hadn't ever taken on board that the products were all organic, cruelty free, fairtrade and lots are also vegan. 
The brand isn't yet widely available in the UK though, so I had no idea how many other products there were in the range, I snap up what I can when I spot it in T k Maxx, but they usually only have the liquid soaps and the bar soaps, and it's been so long since we went to the States that I'd all but forgotten how many other products they did. I was so delighted then when I was sent these goodies by Dr Bronners, and had to share them with you.
Now you all no doubt know their famous castille liquid soap, as I mentioned above, it has 18 uses making it a staple holiday essential, as you can sub it in for so many other things you might have forgotten to take! I tried the Eucalyptus soap, it has a really strong menthol scent which I love as it's scented with organic eucalyptus oil. For the first time, I even tried this one diluted in hot water and breathed in to clear congestion, as I get really congested during the summer and it worked a treat!
I also tried the almond bar soap, this has the mostly lovely scent, its tastes like something you could eat, which weirdly enough is something I love in a soap (and candle)! Now I tend not to use bar soaps anymore, preferring always the liquid ones, and so I will say we didn't get through this almost as quickly as we did the liquid one. The only thing that prompted me to use it as much as I did was the smell as I love my hands smelling nice. I passed it onto my sister however who's a make up artist and she informed me that she was using it to clean make up brushes and she loved it, and has used it before. This one, like the liquid soap can also apparently be used to clean your hair, but I must say I've not tired that yet either...
One thing I did try on my hair, however was the peppermint hair creme. This contains lots of organic oils including coconut oil, jojoba and hemp oil and I put it on my hair after washing it and it made my hair look and feel amazing! It was so so soft and really shiny. This one isn't available in the UK yet but for all my US readers, you need this in your life! I would repurchase this over and over again as I'd been really struggling to find good cruelty free hair care and this one has literally answered all my wishes. After browsing their website, I see they also do this in a lavender, coconut scent, which sounds amazing and is definitely on my wishlist!
Next, the peppermint toothpaste, now they say the liquid soap can be used as toothpaste but I can't quite get my head around that one.. This one has 70% organic ingredients, and is vegan as well as being cruelty free (as all products are). It doesn't have fluoride, which took some getting my head around, after years of having it drilled into my head that I must use a toothpaste with fluoride in. It also hardly foams, but does leave your mouth feeling really clean and fresh, and my teeth felt lovely and clean. I'm not sure I'd dare take the leap completely from a fluoride containing toothpaste, but I do love the way this one made my mouth feel, so watch this space.

Last but not least, the ginger lip balm, these pop up from time to time in T K Maxx as well so I've tried them before. Made with organic beeswax, these made my lips lovely and soft and contain lots of organic oils including avocado oil, jojoba oil, orange oil and ginger root oil so as you can imagine they make your lips feel rather lovely without any of the synthetic ingredients you would usually see in lip balms. The fragrance is lovely, zingy but not overpowering. Another one, I'd definitely repurchase! 
And that's the lot, there was a couple more products but I didn't want to talk about them until I'd used them, which I haven't yet. Have a browse on their website though, so many products I bet you didn't know they did. The hand sanitizer, body balms and shaving soaps on next on my list to try.
I'll be back soon, with some more cruelty free beauty as I've discovered lots more beauties recently and can't wait to share them. Hope you've all had wonderful weekends!

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Thursday, 28 July 2016

One pot low carb zoodles




I love a 'one pot' dish, in fact most of what I make is often made in one dish as I'm not very prescriptive with how I make things and often like to just throw things together and see what happens. Zoodles are no exception. One of the many, many things I love about zoodles is that they're so so easy to make, easier Id say than pasta, as even though you do have to get a spiralizer out to make them (and wash it which is a pretty fiddly affair), they require basically no cooking which means all in all they're much quicker. If you make the rest of the sauce as you go in one pot they become even easier. What more could you want?!

I've adapted a one pot pasta dish here that I used to make all the time, where you basically just get a hot pan and all your ingredients and just add them in in stages depending on how much time each one needs to cook. The result? A huge pot of food that's so filling it feels like comfort food but is actually good for you! These are a week night favourite!

You'll need (enough for two):
  • one onion
  • a couple of cloves of garlic
  • 6oz cherry tomatoes - roughly chopped 
  • 2 courgettes/ zucchini- spiralised, reserving the centre (bit that's left over once you've finished spiralising)
  • a good glug of olive oil
  • a handful of basil and a few leaves to garnish
Then to make:
  • Heat a deep pan and add the oil
  • Add the onion, garlic and chopped cemtre portion of courgette/ zucchini and stir until brown
  • Add your cherry tomatoes 
  • Add your basil, ripping it with your hands as you toss it in
  • Top with your zoodles and toss so combined but be delicate as they'll break. It'll look like you have way too many but they'll reduce once they cook! Do this for only about 5 minutes, you don't want them to overcook as  they'll go watery and limp
  • Remove and serve, scatter with the basil, top with cheese if you'd like, and enjoy!





This really the quickest and yummest dish, I just chop the tomatoes and do my spiralizing as the onion and garlic are cooking and can make it in literally about ten minutes start to finish.



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Saturday, 23 July 2016

Asparagus and scrambled egg low carb weekend breakfast

This is one of my favourite weekend breakfasts, I say weekend because the week is a much different affair, I try too get up as late as I possibly can and breakfast is either my mini quiches which I make in bulk  and keep in the fridge, or recently, I've been trying intermittent fasting, where you fast for 12 hours a day which actually means missing breakfast. Not sure how long I'll keep that one up for though!
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Sunday, 17 July 2016

Low carb burrito bowls at Barburrito

Barburrito has long been a guilty pleasure of my sister and I- it's the ultimate comfort food, so filling, yet tastes so fresh and not fast food-y at all.

Mexican food has always been one of our favourite foods to make when people are coming over- it's really easy to make most of it in advance, and I love filling the table with food and letting people just pick and choose what they want. Saying that, though, we hardly ever make it at home for just us so I have it most when eating out generally, which is a shame because it's one of my favourite foods, and also because eating it out usually means having a massive calorie/ carb splurge.


Barburrito turns the cheat meal aspect of eating Mexican on it's head as it's perfectly possible to enjoy their meals minus the carbs as they serve naked burritos- basically the burrito minus the wrap. To be honest when you're stuffing a wrap with that much flavour, you're hardly tasting the wrap anyway. 
I'll cut to the case then- what we had, we both had a naked burrito, my sister popped rice and beans in hers, while I opted for lettuce, fried fajita veg, grated cheese, sour cream, mushrooms, pico de gallo salsa, and of course lots of guacamole! Delicious!

They're so filling, yet they don't sit as heavy as a normal burrito as you're not having the carbs, plus I think you end up getting far more when you're filling up a tray rather than a wrap, and I'm all about the value for money!

These are obviously so easy to recreate at home, and I have done a couple of times, so I'll be sharing those as well, just as soon as I get home early enough to not have to rush them, and take some photos worth sharing!
I'll be back soon with some more cruelty free beauty as I have some amazing new finds that I've been dying to share with you! Hope you all had a lovely weekend.


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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Bettys tearoom in York

A few weeks ago we made the trip up North to York for a friends wedding and had the most lovely weekend, so I thought I'd share a few pictures, especially from our little jaunt to Bettys tearooms. 
If you haven't been, York is such a beautiful city, with the perfect mix of quaint buildings, grand architecture and of course the lovely river. 


No trip to the North East would be complete without a trip to Bettys tearooms, though the preference is usually to go for Afternoon tea, I'm trying to eat really well in the run up to summer, so opted for the first time for something savoury.
I did eye up these lovely looking macaroons on the way in though...



I opted for the heirloom tomato and goats cheese salad while Mr Vatkinary had sandwiches and chips- he's not watching the carbs!
I have to say when the food came, I felt I had definitely made the right choice, the plate was piled high with all manner of colour and shaped tomatoes, olives, huge chunks of goats cheese, sweet pickled red onion, mixed leaves and micro herbs. 


Now the pictures aren't the best because after queuing on the very steep stairs for a table, when one was available there was no room to be selective and we had to take the one we were offered which was not by a window. This meant sadly no natural light for photos, which in all honesty was probably a good thing as it meant I just snapped these few quickly on my iPhone and then focused on enjoying the food!


I'll be back soon with another recipe, but also have eaten out a lot recently and have quite a few more eating out posts and some beauty ones to share with you, posting has been a bit scarce as we've been moving house so life's been rather hectic but things are hopefully all settling down now. As an aside, do you prefer the eating out posts or would you prefer more recipe ones? 
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