Thursday, 28 April 2016

Lush | Yoga Bath Bomb

Lush bath bombs and I go a long way back. I remember being excited as a kid about getting a Lush bath bomb. If my memory is correct, I remember that some of the first bath bombs that I tried were 'Ickle Baby' which is no longer available (but they do have 'Ickle Baby Bot') and the 'Titsy Totsy' bath bomb.

I recently went into Lush where I bought one of their new bath oils (you can read my thoughts here) and a bath bomb. I decided to go for a bath bomb that I haven't used before as I normally stick to the same ones so I picked the 'Yoga' bath bomb.

Lush's website says: "We take bathtime seriously - seriously fun that is. Settle in for a good soak with an original Lush invention, exploding with essential oils, flower petals and tons of fizzy fun. Whether you're after a relaxing , petal-laden floral soak or an invigorating multilayered explosion of colour and scent, there's a bath bomb perfect for every bathing experience."

 The 'Yoga' bath bomb that I decided to try is described as: "Designed to be slow frothing, with a medative blend of colour and earthy, grounding oils, this bomb creates a sanctuary of calm in the tub. Drop this seemingly simple orange bomb into a warm bath and watch as it froths up in slow fizzing layers of mesmerising colour. Inhale the deeply relaxing scents of sandalwood, olibanum and ho wood oils and take a journey of the self."

The 'Yoga' bomb is $8.95 so a little bit more than most of the other bath bombs but it is huge and slow frothing so it lasts longer.

Sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, fragrance, cream of tartar , cassie absolute, olibanum oil, ho wood oil, sandalwood oil, water, sodium laureth sulfate, lauryl betaine, benzyl benzoate, euegonel, limonene, linalool, snowflake lustre; frosty Holly and gold shimmer lustre (potassium aluminium silicate, titanium dioxide, yellow 5, blue 1, synthetic fluorphlogomite, iron oxides, silica), red 28, blue 1, yellow 6.

One of my favourite things about bath bombs is the colour that they turn the water. This bath bomb didn't disappoint. First it released orange, yellow and blue, it reminded me of a sunset and was really beautiful. As you can see in the image above of the full bomb, there are little gold specks of glitter. The glitter didn't bother me as I love it but just a heads-up in case you don't want to have to clean it from your bath after. It did leave my skin with a few specks of glitter but nothing over the top.

I also found that out of all of the Lush bath bombs that I have used previously, this one created the most bubbles. A lot of the ones I have used before haven't created any but I think the 'Yoga' bomb does because it froths slower. Overall it took around 10 minutes for the full thing to disolve.

I adored the scent of this product. I love the more earthy scents that Lush have been doing and sandalwood is one of my favourite smells. It smelt citrusy and earthy, in fact the smell reminded me a little of the much loved pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks. It is a very relaxing scent and it definitely helped me to unwind.

I would repurchase this bath bomb although I have so many others I want to try!

Have you tried the 'Yoga' bath bomb, what did you think of it? What is your favourite Lush product?

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Canadian Brand | Little Tucker

I mentioned in a previous post how one of the things I love about Canada is the push to support local Canadian brands. I decided to reach out to some local Calgary brands because I would love to feature them on here! The first brand I reached out to is Little Tucker, a brand I have been aware of for about a year. I first discovered their delicious treats when I went to Junction 9 and since then I have noticed them popping up more and more. I was delighted when founder, Laura, was happy to answer my questions.

How and when did you start Little Tucker?
I was born and raised in beautiful Perth, Australia where I graduated with a master's by the time I was 21. However, there was always something in the back of my mind telling me that the path that I had chosen wasn't for me. After doing some travelling I fell in love with Canada and decided to make a permanent move, taking up a "temporary" job at a cafe while I settled. After working at the same cafe for a year I started to become extremely frustrated at my lack of direction, I realised it was time to make a change.

Little Tucker began a mindless idea mid-2015 as I began brainstorming things I was passionate about. I grew up in an Italian household where my mum was constantly cooking. My dad was either always found in his veggie patch or at the markets first thing every Sunday. Special memories include my Nanna teaching me how to make home-made pasta from a very young age and my mum yelling at me when I told her I was going out to grab a pizza with friends; "don't be stupid - I'll just make you one!"

As much as I grew up around food, I was always taught to live a healthy and active lifestyle and follow a nutritious diet. This whole idea began by making little not-so-naughty treats for my boyfriend and I to snack on. With the paleo diet having a big influence on the content of our fridge, I started to learn about different food types and ways of eating, which lead to my interests in superfoods, nutrition and raw eating. After experimenting with so many new ingredients - I felt like I had missed out on a whole tonne of delicious things for so long, not to mention that my energy levels sky-rocketed. It made me feel like I held some extraordinary secret that I wanted to share with everyone who is sceptical. My purpose is not to convince people that a certain way of eating is better than another because I myself do not follow a particular lifestyle or diet. I just want people to explore what simple ingredients can offer, how amazing they can taste and how different they can make your body feel.

Where did the name "Little Tucker" come from?

"Tucker" is actually a slang word in Australia that simply means food or a meal. When I first began the idea of Little Tucker and started making the energy bites, I wanted to make them as nutritious and satisfying as a small meal would be - hence Little Tucker, or small meal.

What are your three favourite raw ingredients?
Choosing three is tough!

I would say my go-to in the kitchen would be cacao powder. I love how simple making raw chocolate is and how deep and delicious the flavour of cacao is! Whenever I'm really craving a treat, a simple raw cacao bar topped with fruit and nuts always does the trick - as does a cacao and banana smoothie!

The ingredient I love telling people about most is Lucuma. People get excited about how exotic it sounds and are often blown away by its subtle caramel maple syrup flavour. Lucuma is a favourite of mine if I want to sweeten up my smoothie or coffee. It's the perfect natural sweetener, without the sugar high and without the guilt.

Lastly, I can't walk past a box of dates without throwing one in my mouth. They're so versatile and a huge staple in making raw desserts. My favourite way to eat them is by simply stuffing them with almond butter or coconut oil. It's the yummiest snack, just like a natural candy!

What tips do you have for people who want to start incorporating more whole and superfoods to their diet?
The good thing about incorporating superfoods is that most of the time it is in powder form and can be snuck into your everyday foods without changing the flavour. A smoothie for breakfast is the perfect example of this. Depending on what I feel like, a spoonful of spirulina, activated charcoal and maca are often thrown into the mix. The colour may not be super appealing- but as soon as you mix in some berries, pineapple and banana, the superfoods are disguised so you can simply sip on a yummy smoothie while absorbing all that goodness. You can make other easy changes like simply making your morning oatmeal with buckwheat groats instead of oats, or sprinkling chia and flax seeds on your yoghurt.

In terms of incorporating whole foods, there are so many snack alternatives that I love having around the house instead of salty sugary snacks. Like, for example, the almond butter stuffed dates I mentioned. Going to the Farmer's Market in the summer are always great too because it's inevitable that you will come home with a bunch of beautiful local produce which, if you're anything like me, will excite you more than any bag of chips ever will! Don't be scared to just get in the kitchen with a new recipe book and start trying new things.

What is the most popular Little Tucker treat?
The snicker cups are definitely a favourite. It's basically a peanut butter cup made from natural nut butter, cacao, maca and a date caramel topping. People go crazy for them! They're the perfect mix of salty and sweet, and who doesn't love peanut butter!

What does 2016 have in store for Little Tucker?

There is a lot of exciting things happening for Little Tucker this year. Within the next month, Little Tucker will have a flagship store in Inglewood with Well Juicery which we are incredibly excited about. I also have some amazing new vendors lined up.

I'm really trying to concentrate on bringing Little Tucker to grocery stores, to make eating real foods an easy everyday option for people. I get so frustrated when I go down the aisle at the store that stocks all the power bars and granola bars. It's impossible to find one these days that doesn't have sneaky ingredients in them. I want to make Little Tucker a brand that people can rely on to be full of real, whole ingredients so that reading the ingredient list in search of rice syrup and palm sugar isn't even necessary.

I'm also excited to continue to bring popular raw food trends from Australia over to Calgary. I draw so much inspiration from amazing food vendors back home that I know people in this city would absolutely love, so I'm excited to have more opportunities to do that.

WebsiteLittle Tucker
Instagram: @LittleTuckerYYC 
FacebookLittle Tucker

Amaranth 4th Street Market
1407, 4th Street SW, Calgary

Blush Lane @ Calgary Farmers Market510, 77 Avenue SE, Calgary

Blush Lane Organic Market3000, 10 Aspen Stone BLVD, Calgary

Monogram4814, 16th Street SW, Calgary
420, 2nd Street SW, Calgary

Studio Revolution: 313, 17th Avenue SW, Calgary

Junction 9 Yoga: 715, 5th Avenue SW, Calgary

Juice & Java: 715, 5th Avenue SW (Level 2), Calgary

Odyssey Coffeehouse: Sait Campus - Carpenter Street NW, Calgary

Wild & Raw Superfood Bar: 1119, Kensington Road NW, Calgary

Vitality Tap: 420, 2nd Street SW, Calgary

Have you tried Little Tucker before?

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Coconut Oil Hair Mask

Everyone knows that coconut oil can be used for basically everything. As a moisturiser, eye make-up remover and to help clean and whiten your teeth. I have tried all of those but the one I had been a bit sceptical of trying was to use it as a hair mask. I was worried that it would leave my hair a lank, greasy mess...well because it is an oil.

However, over the past few weeks I have been putting the hair  mask to the test and I am so happy with the results and it doesn't leave my hair feeling greasy. Before I share with you the method for the hair mask, I want to share some of the benefits of coconut oil for your hair.

Coconut Oil Benefits For Hair
Helps damaged hair: Coconut oil is known to help prevent protein loss in the hair. Full of lauric acid, the coconut oil easily absorbs through the hair shaft.
Moisture retention: Has a high moisture retaining capacity meaning that hair stays moist and soft, preventing breakage.
Anti-Dandruff: The fatty acids in the coconut oil help to fight against dandruff and coconut oil is anti-fungal.

I love how my hair feels after a fresh cut (who doesn't). It feels healthy, soft and bouncy but I find that feeling doesn't seem to last long. After a few weeks, the ends of my hair starts to feel dry and a little unhealthy.

I decided to bite the bullet and try coconut oil on my hair. I have only used it on the ends of my hair so I can't say how it will be if you add it all over your hair. The first night I did it I was pretty nervous as I had work the next day and I didn't want to wake up the next morning with a greasy mess. 

This is the steps I took to using the coconut oil on my hair:

1. I took a tiny bit of coconut oil, like a slither, and rubbed it in both hands so that it melted. You really do not need a lot of the oil as when it melts there is plenty.

2. I applied the coconut oil to the ends of my hair and tied my hair up. I left the oil on overnight.

3. In the morning, before I washed my hair, I applied conditioner to the oiled ends of my hair while they were dry. The conditioner helps remove the coconut oil. I left that on for about 10 minutes.

4. I then washed my hair as normal but used an anti-residue shampoo and normal conditioner. I feel like the anti-residue shampoo helped to remove any little bit of coconut oil left in my hair.  (I only use anti-residue shampoo once a week as you don't want your hair to be completely stripped).

5. I then dried and styled my hair like I normally do.

I was delighted with the results. My hair didn't have a hint of grease to it, instead, the ends felt really smooth and healthy. This is a treatment that I have incorporated into my haircare and I only do it once a week. It really is a cheap and easy way to take care of your hair if you feel it is a bit dull and dry.

Have you tried coconut oil? What is your favourite way to use it?

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Monday, 18 April 2016

Floating Island | Luxury Bath Oil | Lush

I went into Lush the other day as it had been a while since I bought any bath treats for myself. I picked up three bath products. The Comforter bubble bar (a favourite of mine). Yoga bath bomb (one I hadn't tried before). And one of Lush's new luxury bath oils.

The new bath oils seemed like a big deal and the sales assistant was going on about how amazing they are. There are four different bath oils: Mmmelting Marshmallow, Razzle Dazzle, Floating Island and You've Been Mangoed. The store I went to had all three apart from Razzle Dazzle. You've Been Mangoed and Floating Island was previously part of Lush's much loved Bath Melts range.

Lush's website says:
"When it comes to bathtime luxury, we don't hold back. Our solid bath oils deliver an enchanted bathing experience for those times when you truly want to transform your body and mind. Decedant natural butters and loads of gorgeous essential oils melt into the water and then into your skin, creating a supremely softening and scented sanctuary."

The Floating Island bath oil that I picked up is described as a "creamy sandalwood luxury": Sink into the tub and escape to your own fragrant, soothing island of tranquility. Fair trade vanilla bean, sandalwood and lemon oils create a dreamy scent to soothe the soul while organic cocoa butter and shea butter transform bath water into a silky softening sanctuary. Lie back and slip away to an island of luxury, and emerge ready to take on the real world."

With a description like that and a price of only $3.50, I couldn't resist picking one up! I went for the Floating Island Oil. It smelt amazing and I think it looks like a white chocolate truffle with coffee sprinkled on top, haha!

Floating Island ingredients:
Organic shea butter, fair trade organic cocoa butter, sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, PEG-6 caprylic/capric glycerides , laureth 4, extra virgin coconut oil, almond oil , sandalwood oil, lemon oil, labdanum resinoid, fair trade vanilla pod seeds, fair trade vanilla pod, limonene.

With ingredients such as shea butter and coconut oil, I felt this would be perfect for my dry skin. These solid bath oils are easy to use, you just pop it into the bath and it will melt. Another great thing about these bath oils is that they are self-preserving meaning you don't need to use them within a certain amount of time!

I just used the bath oil by itself so there weren't any bubbles. It melted fairly quickly and did leave a film of oil on the water but that is normal with oils and didn't bother me. The scent wasn't as strong as when it was solid and it didn't do anything exciting like change the water colour. However, the oil did feel luxurious and made my skin really soft.

I probably wouldn't purchase the vanilla again but I am definitely going to try the You've Been Mangoed and Mmmelting Marshmallow oils. I have heard that they both change the water to nice colours and they both smell amazing.

Although Floating Island isn't my favourite product from Lush I would recommend it if your skin is dry and you want a product to help soothe and hydrate it.

Have you tried any of Lush's new bath oils? What one are you looking forward to trying?

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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Canadian Brand | Rich Skin | Moisturiser

One of the things I love about Canada is the push to support local, organic Canadian brands. I have noticed it in blogging in particular that smaller organic brands reach out to me to review their products instead of just mainstream brands and I think that is great. I am all for using products with natural ingredients instead of the nasty chemicals in some.

Nancy from Rich Skin reached out to me asking me if I would like to talk hear about her products. We had a really lovely phone call in which she talked me through the products that she makes and why she believes in natural ingredients. She said her products are great for use on psoriasis and this really pleased me as the dry climate here irritates psoriasis on my legs.

The first product from Rich Skin that I have been using is the body moisturiser.

Ingredients: water, emulsifying wax, grapefruit seed extract, coconut oil, rose water, carrot macerated oil, frankincense essential oil & patchouli essential oil.

Grapefruit seed extract: rich in natural ingredients that nourish and protect the skin, including vitamins A, C and E. (Source)
Coconut oil: Full of saturated fats which help to retain the moisture content of the skin. Has vitamin E in it which helps protect against the cracking  of skin. (Source)
Rose water: Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties that help to treat irritated skin (i.e. psoriasis). The antioxidant properties of rose water help to strengthen skin cells and regenerate skin tissues. (Source)
Carrot macerated oil: Full of beta carotene which is the precursor for vitamin A. It helps to promote healthy skin tissue and is an antioxidant. It also helps soothe irritated, dry skin. (Source)
Frankincense oil: Helps soothe irritated skin, can help fade stretch marks. (Source)
Patchouli oil: Helps reduce inflammation and cellulite. (Source )

Before I started using this moisturiser I felt like I was at a little bit of a loss. I had been using Palmer's Cocoa Butter consistently and it worked great for around a month, then sometime in March it just didn't seem to be enough for my skin. I am not sure if Calgary got a bit dryer but my skin was shedding so much. My legs and hips were the worst areas, it was like I had dandruff on them. I kept using Palmer's Cocoa Butter until it was finished then I started using Rich Skin's moisturiser.

What a difference. My skin seemed to be instantly hydrated and not as flaky when I used this moisturiser for the first few days. I have been using it daily since and I am so happy. My skin feels so smooth and isn't flaky anymore. This moisturiser has also helped clear up a patch of psoriasis that I had on the front and behind my knee.

This moisturiser doesn't take a long time to take to sink into my skin which is a huge benefit. I also love the smell. It smells very natural and herby(?). I can't think of the correct word to describe it but it is lovely.

I keep this moisturiser in the shower and use it twice a day. I use it in the morning straight after I have showered and then before I go to bed. I would love if there was a travel size of this product as the bottle is quite bulky to take away!

I also have more lovely products from Rich Skin to use and review which will be on the blog in a few weeks.

Thank you to Nancy for introducing me to her wonderful skin-care range.

Are you a fan of organic skincare? What are your favourite brands?

*Product sent to me but as always, the opinion is 100% my own.*

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Friday, 8 April 2016

Dove Refresh+Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo

Recently I have been trying to get back into the routine of only washing my hair every second day and using a dry shampoo in-between.

I have always been a loyal user of Batiste dry shampoo but when I saw that Dove's dry shampoo was on offer I decided to give it a try.

Dove's description of their dry shampoo says:
"Our weightless formula absorbs oil to transform hair from lifeless to bouncy so you enjoy style that looks and feels refreshed with a freshly-washed scent, even when you skip regular wash."

* Absorbs oil between traditional washes so that hair looks and feels refreshed
*Hair stays fresh and volumised between regular washes
*Freshly-washed scent

It sounded good to me and I was looking forward to trying it out. The instructions direct you to shake and spray the product 20-25cm away from the hair, rub and brush for refreshed hair.

As always when using dry shampoo, I apply it before going to bed and then I wake up in the morning with fresh volumised hair. I don't love how this spray applies, it almost has a wet or cooling sensation to it and it also leaves a white residue, unlike the Batiste one that I normally use.

To be honest I was quite disappointed with this product. It didn't make my hair *feel* refreshed. I felt like it added a build up of film to my hair rather than absorb oil up. It made my hair feel like it had a lot of product left over in it and it didn't feel clean or volumised. With Batiste dry shampoo I can even get two days without washing my hair and it still feels fresh. I found that with the Dove product by the end of day one without washing, it did feel like it needed to be washed.

The one redeeming factor of the product was the scent. It smelt really nice and fresh and I would catch whiffs of it throughout the day. Unfortunately,  that isn't enough for me to repurchase it.

Have you tried a dry shampoo? Which one is your favourite?

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