Friday, 30 December 2016

Two low carb Christmas canapes


Well Christmas is now almost over (sob) and I am busy thinking of ideas for tomorrow evening. I shared some ideas for low carb canapes for parties after my little New Year party last year but thought now might be a good time to revisit them. I think at first glance when you think about the festive season and parties your instinct is to think that it's not possible to stay on the wagon and socialise etc at the same time. Now don't get me wrong, there was lots of off plan eating for me this Christmas but I also tried to stay on plan as much as I could, mainly because it's also a time for lots of photo taking and seeing people and I didn't want to balloon just because I'd let everything slip.

When I host parties, which I typically do a few times over the festive period I actually find it quite easy to stay on plan; I make lots of little canapes and nibbly bits and these are actually quite easy to do on a low carb plan. I'm sharing here two which pretty much only really require cucumber and cream cheese and which are amongst my go to ideas when entertaining.
The first one just needs cucumber, cream cheese and you can use pomegranate seeds, though I have't this time. The recipe is a Lorraine Pascale one and you can find it here. Last year I did use the pomegrante seeds and you can see how they looked here. They keep for ages in the fridge so you can make them in advance and whip out once the guests arrive! In the original recipe they peel the cucumber but I don't bother, as I think they look just as nice with skin and it saves time and it less wasteful, the option is there though...
Looking at them now I can see I perhaps did rush them and could have cut them a little straighter, not sure you'd really notice though if they were's being photographed and enlarged on a screen! #lifestooshort
I decorated them with a few snips of chives, edible flowers (more of which below) and some micro leaves. You cam also buy micro cucumbers in a quite a lot of shops now so you could make even smaller versions, though might be a bit fiddly- I'll get back to you on that one!

The second requires only cucumber, cream cheese and a garnish- not essential of course but worth it in my book. Essentially it's not even a recipe, just peel a cucumber lengthways, then place a dollop of cream cheese on one end then roll up and scatter with micro leaves and edible flowers if you have them! FYI I did a post on growing my own microgreens here and plan to do lots more of this in the new year.

Now of course for any festive/ entertaining occasion, edible flowers seem to make everything look better and more polished. Don't be thinking you can only get them in the warmer months, I was sent these beauties from Nurtured in Norfolk and have used them to garnish food and cocktails as well as in ice cubes and they always attract lots of attention and compliments. They last far longer than you'd expect too, especially the more hardy ones like Amaranth which seemed to keep forever!

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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Cruelty free Christmas beauty gift guide

In hardly any time now Christmas Day will have already passed and needless to say I still have lots of Christmas gifts yet to buy! I have seen gift guides all over the place (I read a lot of blogs!) but not seen many cruelty free ones so though I'd chip in with my offerings. I think all the beauty brands have upped their game this year and there are some amazing gifts around so if you do stick completely cruelty free the days of obscure hippy brands are over. I've tried to include a few different priced options from a few brands so there should be something for everyone, and these are all readily available in shops so you don't need to worry about missing the last postage dates!

Liz Earle

Liz Earle is one of my go to cruelty free brands, it's ethical and cruelty free but it doesn't feel it. It's And while lots of people have probably tried Cleanse and Polish it might be a surprise to some to try the fragrances.

This fragrance set, beautifully boxed and wrapped with a lovely festive red ribbon, contains three deluxe mini eau de parfums with the idea being that you layer them to achieve your perfect bespoke scent. I love this idea as once you've worked out your perfect formula you can literally own and wear a scent that no one else has.



The second gift is their Superskin hydration heroes.This contains a 30ml face serum and a 50ml moisturiser (you can either choose unscented or Natural neroli), and at £59 but containing £87 worth of products you have enough left over to treat yourself to a new cleanse and polish guilt free! It also comes in a huge, beautifully decorated gift box so definitely feels like a present you'd be very proud to give. Serums are always a great idea, but even more so in winter when cold wind and central heating mean you really have to step the moisturising game up several notches (just me?!)



Neals Yard

Aromatherapy diffusers were pretty much a gamechanger for me in 2016. They release so much more scent than a candle and you can mix the scents up to suit the occasion. I have a few in a couple of different rooms and use them pretty much daily. I have always used the oils in them but recently was introduced to the idea of sing a room spray which opens up the fragrance possibilities even further! You just fill the well with water and the spray about 10 sprays of your fragrance in which then diffuses the fragrance into the room continually and seems to make the spray go so much further. Some of the oils are very subtle and don't obviously smell like fragrances they just make the room smell fresher. Pretty much everyone I know likes their home to smell good so I think this would make a lovely present for most homes.



This aromatherapy gift set is beautifully packaged and would be a joy to open on the big day. It's only £20 but contains 6 products; 3 bath oils and 3 massage oils. They are all highly scented, and a long bath in one followed by a massage with the corresponding massage oil would be pretty much my favourite way to spend an evening.



Failing that, and a very affordable option, everyone would be happy with a big pot of coconut oil, or two- one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen! Its's the perfect stocking filler as it's so versatile whether you prefer it for cooking or removing eye make up, or for the more adventurous among us- oil pulling, no? Look it up! I get through jars and jars of the stuff and would love to open up a new jar of it on Christmas morning!


Lush

Last but not least, if you enjoy a pamper session it's pretty hard to beat Lush and nearly everyone I know loves even just walking past their shops as the smell just hits you whenever you walk past. They're gift sets are all wrapped up and ready to go, so make perfect last minute gifts if you're going past a shop.


Most people associate Lush with bath bombs but they do so much more, in fact I prefer to get other things than the bath bombs (though I love those to) as while bath bombs are gone after one bath (or a couple if you're mean like me and only use a small amount at a time, the other products go and go.

They have a huge range of gift sets for a huge range of budgets. I've chosen two here, with one just under £10 and the other just under £14.

Sweet Christmas contains three products; the Rock Star soap, Snow Fairy shower gel (which has the nicest bubblegum scent) and the Snow Fairy body conditioner which is sweet smelling, made from avocado, cocoa butter and mango, and is so hydrating it makes your skin feel amazing!

Ice Ice baby contains two products; the Turkish delight scented Igloo soap and the lemon and bergamot scented Snowman shower jelly- they even suggest you can pop it in the freezer for an extra fresh hit, though at this time of year I think I'll give that amiss and wait til summer!

So, that's the lot! I hope you've seen something here that you fancy? I'd love to hear your favourite cruelty free picks! Have a lovely lovely Christmas and good luck with the rest of your shopping!

** Contains PR samples **

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