Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Cruelty free complexion makeup lifesavers



In a world where everyone always seems like they're trying to downsize or streamline everything, including their makeup collection, I am currently doing the opposite. I work super long hours and have what you could definitely call a capsule collection where I use very few items day to day. In fact the only guaranteed make up I wear daily to work is eyeliner, lipgloss and something on my face ie bronzer or foundation or a cc cream. I do mean to wear much more though, I am aware I look better with a bit more, as the side effect of working such long hours is that I am often very tired so rarely look my best day to day. I have also been making an effort to start wearing more bits to give my make up the extra edge, for example primer to make it last longer and highlighter to make it all look a bit glowier and healthier.


I am trying to go through the house and make everything a bit more Pinterest so went through my make up collection and have tried to put together my essentials that I will make more of an effort to wear day to day now.
  • Primer. I am loving the Marc Jacobs beauty range at the moment-the beauty range is cruelty free btw but not the perfumes. This primer evens out your skin so well, and sometimes I use it on it's own just to give my skin a boost. When used under make up though it really does make my make up stick and last all day. As an aside, the packaging is so lovely, the sort you want to leave out so everyone can see it! 
  • Foundation. The Iconic foundation stick is my current foundation of choice, it's actually quite a high coverage one but I've manged to get a great match for my skin tone which means that despite it being high coverage I only put it on a few parts of my skin where I really need it, and blend it in well and it all evens out really well. There isn't a massive range of shades available but if you do find one that's a great match for your skin it's a lovely product that looks really natural. My only one drawback is it is ever so slightly dry, I always put a bit on my face then dot some moisturiser or highlighter around and then use my foundation brush to blend it all in together. 
  • Foundation brush. I never used to over think what I put foundation on with, as I often just put it on with my fingers but I got this brush from Iconic about a year ago and I have never looked back. It really is the softest thing and it literally airbrushes your skin to perfection. That sounds rather cheesy but I cannot sing it's praises highly enough. I have washed mine so many times and always worry that when it dries it won't be as soft or the bristles won't hold together as well but it seems to bounce back as good as new each time. You need this in your life. they do a range of sizes, I use the largest one. I did really want to try the Artis ones but I am not sure they could be any more expensive for the price so haven't got one, not sure if other people have tried them though? 
  • Highlighter. The By Terry Sun designer palette, is great if you prefer powder rather than liquid highlights. This is a great palette which has quite a few shades in so is great for eyes as well as highlight. It is so highly pigmented and has such a beautiful combination of colours, with a good mix of nude/ neutral shades and some which are a bit more exciting to take you from day to evening. The powders are lovely and soft as well so they blend like an absolute dream, Definitely worth checking out! An honourable mention in the category also has to go to the Iconic illuminating drops which definitely need a post of their own one of these days... 
  • Lastly is the Mario Badescu facial spray. I saw this online everywhere last year and so eventually buckled and bought it, and I haven't looked back. I keep one in my car and midway through the day when I'm starting to look dull and tired spritz some on for a big hit of moisture. It literally lifts your skin and also feels super refreshing and smells lovely. I've seen some people spray it onto their foundation brush before using it to give skin a bit more radiance. I haven't tried this yet but keep meaning to.

So that's all I have for now, I hope you've enjoyed this little make up ramble. I'd love to hear your make up saviours! x

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Monday, 4 December 2017

Five ways of enjoying low carb cauliflower rice

Now I have to confess to doing a post very similar to this ages and ages ago and to be honest I've been making it ever since. Cauliflower rice is pretty much a staple I make all the time now and I'm not the only one, for ages on Instagram I could see people in the US posting pictures of Green Giant frozen cauliflower rice and I was super jealous that we didn't have it here. Last week however I noticed that actually frozen cauliflower rice (along with other veggie rices like broccoli) are available in the UK and I couldn't be more excited! Made right you really barely can tell the difference from regular rice and even if you're not watching the carbs, there's no denying how good for you it is to have a big portion of cauliflower!



Now lots of the supermarkets do sell frozen and fresh cauliflower rice which is so easy and convenient, but don't forget that making your own does literally take minutes and is so easy. As with a lot of my cooking/ food prep, I have been making mine in my Blendtecand it's not even a 5 minute job, you just roughly chop a cauliflower, drop it in, blend for a minute and it's done!
  1. Egg fried rice this really is my favourite way. It tastes so good, I really don't think you miss the usual rice, follow this recipe and don't look back! 
  2. Risotto- follow any of your usual risotto recipe and just sub in the cauliflower rice for the risotto rice. Now it does need less time than risotto rice but just follow your recipe in terms of the other ingredients etc then knock a bit of time off at the end once it seems fully cooked. I have made mushroom risottos as well as veggie ones and they work every time. Bear in mind you do want to go quite flavour heavy if you're not to keen on the cauliflower taste. 
  3. Bolognese. Now this sounds weird but you really do have to trust me on this one. I am obviously veggie and usually only have quorn/ soya mince in a bolognese so I instead sub in the cauliflower rice, I often blend it a little less so it's slightly more chunky and it really works, especially if you add lots of red wine :) 
  4. Tabbouleh salad. This is one of my fave salads and when you sub in the cauli rice for the couscous you barely tell the difference! Just follow your usual tabbouleh recipe subbing the cauliflower in instead of the couscous and then than me later!
  5. Cauliflower mash Starting from cauliflower rice, I just steam well until its really tender then mash or blend in my blendtec. It's far quicker and tastes so good. Now, you do taste the caulilflower so it's not the same as regular mash (though it's pretty close), adding in some garlic and cheese masks the cauliflower taste though and is so so good. It also reheats really well! 
That's it for now, I would love to hear your favourite ways for using cauliflower rice. Do you make it yourself or buy it in? 
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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Quick and easy tomato and basil sauce

So would you believe that it's November and despite not having a very good summer, there are still tomatoes in my garden? We've had no frost yet and while most of the tomatoes we have left are green or yellow, I keep bringing them inside and putting them in the window and they do keep ripening. that means that I am still in that summer scenario where you're constantly trying to think of things to make with tomatoes as there's so many to use up!
One of my very favourite ways to sue tomatoes is to make sauce with them as it's so so quick and easy and so versatile as you can use it with so so many things. This is barely a recipe as it is so simple but I thought I'd share it with you as I make it all the time and don't think I have shared it before. 
This one here is a simple tomato and basil sauce, so you course they;re really the only two ingredients you need, you can add a few extras in to make it more interesting such as garlic, but you can still make a perfectly good sauce with just these ingredients. I have made mine in my Blendtec just because it's so so quick, but you can do this in a pan and use a hand held blender as well. You can hopefully see from my pictures that some of my tomatoes are also a bit past their best, so they're not the tomatoes I would always use if I was making a salad for example, so those tomatoes really are great for this sort of thing as you can be just a little bit less selective than you might for other recipes. 
I'll get on with it then, like I said if you have a high powered blender such as a Blendtec then you can do this from start to finish in a few minutes, I will then pour the hot sauce over some zoodles and sprinkle with cheese for the quickest meal ever. I have mentioned before that I don't usually cook my zoodles as they can go soggy so this sort of thing where you make the sauce and then add it to the zoodles while it's still hot is perfect. 
Quantities aren't really important here, but I've added some rough ones just to get you going. you will need (makes one jar, enough for a big bowl of zoodles)
  • About three big handfuls of tomatoes, any size or color works I've used a complete mixture 
  • A handful of basil 
  • Some salt and pepper 
Then to make it:
  • Throw all the ingredients into the blender and turn onto low setting and blend for around 1 minute
  • Slowly turn the speed up until you're on the maximum and blend until hot 
  • remove and either serve immediately over zoodles, mixing well to warm the zoodles through, or dispense into a jar and save for later. You can also freeze it and it will keep for ages!

That's it then, told you it was easy! I'll be back again soon, got some great Christmas posts coming up, I can't believe it's so soon now, I am so excited! 

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Friday, 13 October 2017

Low carb, vegan cashew coffee


Well autumn seems to have well and truly hit so I thought I'd pop something slightly more warming than the frozen cocktails I've been posting about more recently. This is a great option for a lovely frothy coffee that's low in carbs and high in energy! It happens to taste pretty lovely too.

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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Three luxury cruelty free room sprays

It's been a little (long) while since I last wrote a beauty post, and while this isn't strictly speaking a beauty post, it's more related to beauty than it is to food and I had a few products I really liked and wanted to tell you about. 

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Sunday, 10 September 2017

Two quick and easy low carb dips


One of my all time favourite snacks is chips and dips, or anything dippy and dips for that matter. It'd the perfect things to throw out if you've got people over and one of my favourite things to eat when I'm at home alone and can't be bothered to cook. Luckily there are quite a few dips that are naturally low in carbs though you do always have to check as unexpected ingredients can sometimes throw a spanner in the works and cause the carbs to rocket so as is often the case, making your own is best when possible as you know exactly what you're getting.

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Low carb pizza soup

I have been getting so so into pizza things recently. What are pizza things you might wonder? Well by pizza things I mean anything that tastes anything like pizza, for example aubergine pizzas, pizza bakes (which I plan to share with you very soon) ad so on. Now of course I would always rather eat actual pizza, but when the craving hits sometimes something with the taste of pizza is enough to satisfy it.

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Sunday, 13 August 2017

Low carb mint julep cocktails



While wandering around T K Maxx the other day I picked up some julep cups and it occurred to me that apart from the sugar in Mint Juleps, there are no other carbs in there. Meaning you can very easily make them low carb, which inevitably got me feeling extremely excited and obviously buying the julep cups which had now become essentials- well as essential an item can be when it's primary purpose is to house a drink that you have never before made.


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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Asparagus noodles with homemade pesto



Summer is finally happening in the UK and I am loving it! I love eating with the seasons and that's pretty hard in the UK because not so much grows in the colder months. During this time of year however seasonal eating really comes into it's own and there's so much fresh food around. Asparagus, in particular has been in season and that really is one of my faves as it's usually so expensive but for a brief time each year it is a bit cheaper and more readily available and sometimes it's even possible to forage for your own if you're lucky!

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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Cooling low carb cucumber soup

So Well summer has well and truly hit the UK and we've had a few weeks of lovely weather (one and off), As always, when the weather gets hot I get in the mood for colder food like salads. When we're away I always love gazpacho but never tend to have it in the UK, today when it was so so hot I got a bit of a craving for it but without having enough tomatoes I had to think of an alternative which is how this came about. 
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Monday, 5 June 2017

Espresso Proteini- low carb Espresso Martini with Blendtec


Hello and firstly apologies for the long long radio silence on here, it's been a mad mad time but I have lots of content to share with you so will be positing much more frequently from now on, I promise! thank you also, to everyone who e-mailed/ messaged me checking I was ok!

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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Charlotte Tilbury magic cream-worth the hype?

Hello and so sorry for the long gap since my last post. If you follow me on Instagram you may know that I have been battling with a bad back which has put me out of action for much of the last month. As a result I haven't been feel overly motivated to post, or do very much in fact. I had thought I would achieve lots if I was ever off work but in reality I did very little: sat and watched a lot of YouTube, read lots of blogs and felt jealous that other bloggers are doing so well while I feel stuck in the same place that I was last year, and was generally clingy and waiting each day for Mr Vatkinary to come home from work so I had someone to make me cups of coffee. Oh I also did a LOT of online shopping. 

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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Huge cruelty free, luxury beauty International giveaway!

Hello! I've been promising a giveaway for a while, I've spent a bit of time thinking about what exactly to give away. My beauty posts have been so popular recently and I have a few PR samples going spare so I ordered a few more bits, all products I love, and have put together this bundle of goodies for you!


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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Three high end beauty brands you probably didn't know were cruelty free


As I spoke about before here, I've been trying to make a big effort to use only cruelty free make up and skincare and I won't lie, it is hard. It's been hard finding brands that are completely cruelty free in terms of their practice but are also not being owned by a bigger brand who isn't, (hello Body Shop). It is also hard finding brands that don't look like they'd only be sold in Holland and Barrett or similar- no offence to Holland and Barrett, I love that shop, but it isn't where I want to go to spoil myself with new beauty treats. Also I had a few cult favourite products that have been almost impossible to find cruelty free alternatives for. That being said though, there have been a few pleasant surprises along the way, mainly in the form of brands who I never thought were cruelty free but was then pleasantly surprised to find were, so surprised, I couldn't resist sharing them with you.

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Saturday, 25 February 2017

5 minute very low carb pizza bites


Last weekend when I was playing about with these parmesan crisps, which btw you simply must try if you haven't already, I had the idea for these little babies. They're pretty much an extension of the crisps, though they're made a different way- incidentally you could also make the crisps this way it turns out.

These will make the perfect canapé, but are equally lovely for a cosy weekend treat or for when you don't have the energy/ inclination to make a big meal. I've topped mine with tomato and basil but you could go mad and put anything on that you'd normally put on a pizza, I'm thinking of goats cheese for next time, cheese on cheese has to be the ultimate treat!

Anyway, enough of that let's get onto how you do them. You will need (makes 8 mini pizza bites):
  • 50g finely grated parmesan
  • Sundried tomato puree- you can use normal tomato puree but sundried is lower in carbs, and more intense tasting
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • a few basil leaves

You can make them right before you want them if you're having them hot, but they equally work well cold:
  • Heat a large flat frying pan*
  • Put spoonfuls of the cheese onto the pan and leave for a few minutes until starting to come together and harden
  • Use a spatula flip over and pop a teaspoon of the tomato puree, followed by your cherry tomato and leave for a further 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove, season, top with basil and enjoy!
*If you use a large enough frying pan you can do about 5 at a time.

I can see we'll be making these a lot they feel like such a treat because you get the strong cheesey taste and really do feel like pizza, but actually as well as being very low in carbs, they're low in calories as well because you're hardly using any cheese each time, a little really does go a long way.


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Sunday, 12 February 2017

Boil in the bag omelette


For all of February I have been low carbing hard, I am desperate to get the last of the weight off now and this is the very best way I know to do it. One of the most difficult things about eating this way is the preparation that goes into everything I eat. it's essentially a pretty much non processed diet as nearly every meal has to be made from scratch and when I arrive home ravenous sometimes that presents as a pretty big hurdle. As a result, I'm all for anything that saves me time and this post is all about something that will do just that!


 Let me introduce you to, boil in the bag omelettes. Now I know omelettes are exceptionally quick to make, in fact I saw a bit of Saturday kitchen live the other day where people were making them in about 1 second but these are quick in a different way... Basically you make up a huge omelette mixture divide it into bags and boil when desired, or boil several bags up in one go and eat later. I know an omelette isn't typically something you can eat later as a flat eggy cold pancake isn't desperately appealing but the shape that these come out as means they're slightly different. Once boiled they come out as a sort of sausage, stay with me, which you can either eat straight away, or you can cut up into little slices and snack on, or top a salad with, the choices are endless.


You can of course also make one big mixture and then as you divide it into the bags add extra ingredients into each one, I'm thinking goats cheese, blue cheese, some caramelised onion, then you'll have lots of different options to play with. We have been especially loving these as post gym snacks as we've just rejoined the gym and these are the best protein hit to have waiting to enjoy on the way home. You could of course also make these just with the egg whites if you wanted. They don't require any oil so you can make them super low calorie if you want, by using just egg whites and spinach or kale etc.


Let's get to it then:
You will need (makes two omelettes- just double/ multiply/ divide the ingredients depending on how may you want to make)
  • Four eggs- now you can stop here if you want to make a plain omelette or keep going if you want something more 
  • A handful of grated cheese 
  • A chopped tomato
  • Half a handful of basil
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Two freezer bags- make sure they're ones that can withstand high temperatures 

careers I don't have to fall back on: hand model

To make them:
  • Open the freezer bags and pop them into cups- this will make it easier to put the ingredients into without everything falling out
  • Add whatever your other fillings are, using the ingredients above you'd add half the cheese, tomato and basil into each bag.
  • Remove the bag carefully from the cup and seal the bag, if there's lots of air in the bag, open the bag slightly and squeeze it out before sealing again.
  • Squeeze the bag with your hands several times so the eggs sepaerates and it all mixes together 
  • Heat a really saucepan of water until it's simmering, you don't want the bags to touch the size of the pan as it will melt the bags
  • Add the bags to the water and boil for around 8 minutes or until the mixture has completely come together and you can't see any runny mixture left
  • Remove and either enjoy immediately or leave to cool
  • You can boil lots at a time- my record so far is 7 but I'm open to try more!
You will end up with something that looks rather unappealing at first- much like this!



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Sunday, 5 February 2017

One ingredient low carb cheese taco shells

Since January hit, mid January to be precise, I have tried to implement a few New Years resolutions that I wasn't quite ready to tackle on New Years day. The first was to get back on the low carb thing in a big way and shift the rest of the weight I want to lose.
The next was to declutter my life, specifically my home and my phone. My phone currently has over 6000 photos on it and a lot of those are screenshots of recipe ideas I see when scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram (ps I know the point of Pinterest is to pin things but I often worry that they'll get lost if I just pin them so screenshot them as well, where they invariably get lost in my massive photo album), All that is relevant because I decided to try some very low carb recipe ideas and to use some inspiration from the many screenshotted pictures on my phone. These cheese taco shells are the result. desperately low in carbs, and something I'd screenshotted over again as I thought that if they worked they could just be the best idea ever! 
The shells themselves require only one ingredient- cheese and take mere minutes. Even better, they keep for at least 2 days (the longest I've been able to last without eating them all), so they make the perfect 'getting home from work and need to immediately eat something because you can't wait for tea', solution. 
They are essentially a variation on my parmesan crisps just larger, and folded to make the taco shape. I did these ones in a frying pan but next time I would do them in the oven in the same way that I did the crisps as I think you'd be able to do more at a time- in my large frying pan I could only do two at a time which probably isn't bad but I am impatient and like things done fast!
You will need- makes 4 tacos

  • 2 cups of parmesan or other vegetarian hard cheese 
  • that's it!
Method:

  • Take a large frying pan and line with non stick paper 
  • Heat to a medium heat
  • Put 1/2 cup of cheese in a littel mound on the sheet, use a spoon to tidy the edges so it;s a perfect circle. You're aiming for a circle that's about 15cm in diameter. Leave to cook for about 6-7 minutes or until golden. If yoiu have a large frying pan you may be able to fit two in and cook two at a time,
  • While it's cooking, take a large saucepan or bowl and place two wooden spoons across the top
  • Once golden, remove form the heat with a big spatula, and drape it over one of the wooden spoons so it's in an upside taco shape
  • Leave to cool and harden
  • Remove and enjoy either immediately, filled with your face taco fillings, or save in an airtight box for later. I filled mine here with roasted veggies- mainly peppers in fajita style spices. 
You can add more low carb toppings as well, like grated cheese, shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa etc. the beauty of these in that most of a fajita/ taco is very low carb apart from the tortilla or taco so these mean you can enjoy it all, carbs removed!
We had a little Mexican themed evening the other night and I made a few Mexican sides so I will be back very soon to share those. Hope you all had a lovely lovely weekend! 

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