Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Toner 101

I have to admit, using a toner (after cleansing) hasn't been part of my beauty routine until very recently, but I'll let you in on a little secret of mine, toner is set to make a HUGE comeback in the world of skincare right now.

For a long time I associated all toners with my experience of them as teenager - when all you could buy was alcohol-laden mixtures of water and witchhazel that burnt your face off!

A tingle however, I've learnt, is okay.

So, if your skins been feeling a bit under par recently, this toner trend is a bandwagon you should get on.

Do remember though, not all toners are created equal, I'm not talking about the perfumed waters peddled as the "essential" step two in a skincare regime, no no no. I'm talking about liquid exfoliants.

What you need to know…

Toners stimulate circulation in the skin, remove any remaining dead skin cells or greasiness, and give the skin a smooth texture. They can be especially helpful if you have very oily skin or wear a lot of makeup. A good toner will help to restore your skin's natural pH balance.

My favourite's are 'acid' toners aka liquid exfoliants - such as AHAs (glycolic and lactic acids; for most skins except very sensitive) and BHAs (such as salicylic acid; better on spotty, oily and sensitive types). I find them to be the most effective way to exfoliate my skin - without having to resort to harsh beads, grains, and those god awful apricot kernels - that all ultimately ravage your skin, rather then do it any good.

This extra skincare step will also help aid the absorption of any products put on top of it - it basically makes the rest of your skincare more effective.

Sign me up I hear you say… but how/when/and in what order?!

Well… start with your usual cleanser to remove all of your makeup and clean your face...

Next... apply an exfoliating toner first, on cotton wool or with the pre-soaked pad.

Then... spray or cotton on a hydrating toner before you apply any serum/oil/moisturiser.

The hydrating toner, should contain things like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, algae or aloe vera. A mixture of softening and moisturising/hydrating. I like the The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner, £8.50.

The exfoliating toner will contain acids - the strength of which is up to you depending on what your skin feels like on the day.

* It's worth noting that you can use toners on your d├ęcolletage too.

These are my top six alcohol-free picks … 

Pixi Glow Tonic £16 - An oxygenating and exfoliating facial glow tonic. For normal to dry, aging and sensitive skin. 

REN Clarimatte Clarifying Toner £12 - A clarifying toner that helps to unclogs pores, with antimicrobial benefits. Best for breakout prone skin.

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner £25 - Feels soft and comfortable, best fort dry, dehydrated skin.

P50 - Is the holy grail of exfoliating acid toners, it is incredibly hard to get hold of in the UK, you can find it in store at EF Medi Spa, for around £50. It's well worth the investment if you suffer from seborrheic and/or hyper-keratinized skin, but is also recommended for most skin types.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Cheesey Chicken and Bacon Rolls

I couldn't stand pork before I got pregnant, and now I will happily gobble up anything wrapped in bacon! How weird is that. When dealing with cravings, you can (and should) indulge, just be sure to include some good stuff too. A balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats forms the foundations of our diet. I like to serve these Cheesey Chicken and Bacon Rolls with seasonal vegetables. Root vegetables are naturally sweet and nourishing for the spleen (great in the first trimester of pregnancy), while dark greens are rich in iron, an so are good for nourishing the blood and liver.


8 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
30ml (2 tbsp) Wholegrain mustard
100g (4 oz) Gruyere or cheddar cheese
8 Slices of smoked streaky bacon
8 Cocktail sticks

With Seasonal veg of your choice, we opted for minted peas & asparagus, with sweet potato mash...

Minted Veg - shell peas, slice asparagus, leave tops whole, steam for 4 mins, chop mint, mix with butter.

Sweet Potato Mash - peel sweet potato, boil in salted water for 10 mins, drain, mash, with butter, salt and pepper.

Preparation method

1. Spread the mustard over the rolled out chicken thighs and place a thin slice of cheese on top. Roll up the highs.

2. Stretch the bacon with the back of a knife and wrap tightly around each thigh. Secure with cocktail sticks.

3. Place in the roasting tin and cook in a pre-heated oven at 220c until thoroughly cooked and golden.

4. Serve with seasonal vegetables. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wildfox Maternity Wear!

How gorgeous is this Wildfox range for a Pea in the Pod Maternity? Or is it just the gorgeous Amanda Booth, who's deliciously pregnant, that I'm loving so much? Either way I figured these pictures were well worth a share. 


If you want to see more of Amanda (and no one could blame you!), she's sharing loads of pregnancy pics here on her Instagram.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Recipe of the Day: Yum Salad

I LOVE Papaya. I ate a lot of it when I was pregnant. Eating this salad salad the other night brought back some lovely memories. The reason I don't eat it all the time now is that it can be quite expensive to buy in UK supermarkets. I used to treat myself to the biggest, ripest one I could get my hands on, chop it up and eat it all in one go! This salad only calls for a small one - so fear not - and it's super healthy too!


Serves 2

1 Large carrot, pealed and thinly sliced
1/2 Cucumber, de-seeded and thinly sliced
1 Small papaya, de-seeded and thinly sliced
1 Red chilli, de-seeded and thinly sliced
10 Radishes, thinly sliced
4 Spring onions, thinly sliced
Handful of bean sprouts
Small bunch of coriander, chopped
Hanful of toasted peanuts, crushed

For the dressing…

Juice of 1 lime
1Tbls of fish sauce
1Tsp of soy sauce
1Tsp Palm sugar

Preparation method

1. Combine all ingredients together in a serving bowl and add the dressing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Losing the last LBs

Here are some general guidelines - that even nursing mummies can safely follow - to help loose those last few pounds.

These tips are rooted in nourishing your body, whilst aiding your digestion to help beat the bloat naturally. They're a great way to kick-start healthy habits for life, and to feel your best post-pregnancy -at those all important 1st Birthdays, beach holidays, and BBQs.

1. Aim to start every day with warm water and lemon. It will wake up your digestive system, assists in flushing out toxins, and it's alkalizing for the body.

2. Increase water-containing, alkaline vegetables and vegetable-based juices, particularly in the morning. When aiming for an alkaline diet, dark leafy greens and most green vegetables are great choices.

3. Drink lots of water (room temperature, ice water will hamper digestion) and herbal tea to assist in
flushing out toxins and keep you hydrated, but try not to drink water during meals. Add cucumber, lemon or mint for extra flavor and alkalinity.

4. Try to cut out alcohol, sugar, and dairy. If you're worried about not getting enough calcium, there are plenty of non-dairy calcium rich alternatives to milk. These include (but are not limited to) hummous, peanut butter, sardines, almonds, raw carrot, and green beans. Plus there are plenty of fortified nut and grain milks on the market.

5. Aim to stay raw until lunch or dinner. I find avocados help satiate hunger, just don’t overdo it.

6. Try to eat the raw ingredients on your plate - like salad - before cooked food to help aid digestion. Avoid raw cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts as they tend to create gas.

7. Eat fruit alone or leave it alone.

8. Take Omega-3 daily. You can strip abdominal fat by consuming omega-3 on a regular basis. Omega-3 helps improve insulin sensitivity, which shrinks fat from your waistline. It also activates the thyroid hormone for a faster metabolism.

9. Eliminate every day. If you're not eliminating on your own, amp up your exercise - a brisk buggy walk will do - or try a natural supplement such as Tejaswini.

10. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Orange Marmalade Cake

Ever since I had a slice of orange cake at a village fair in Winchelsea I've wanted to recreate the taste. I'm really pleased with how this attempt turned out, it's my best sponge to date, and the addition of marmalade makes it extra special in the taste department.

I'm really enjoying learning to bake, and recipe's like this one are perfect for beginners. It's a lovely light sponge, always very popular, and is especially good on the day it's made.


175g (6oz) Softened butter - if mixing by hand like me, be sure that the butter is a creamy spreading consistency before mixing the ingredients together.
175g (6oz) Caster sugar
3 Large eggs, beaten
175g (6oz) Self-raising flour
1 1/2 Level teaspoons baking powder
Grated rind and juice of 1 large orange

To finnish

about 2 tablespoons marmalade
110g(4oz) Icing sugar
Finely shredded rind and juice of 1/2 orange

Preparation method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm (8 in) deep round cake tin.

2. Measure all the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat until thoroughly blended. Turn into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.

3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35 minuets until well risen and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minuets then turn out, peel off the parchment and finnish cooling on a wire rack.

4. Measure the marmalade into a small pan and gently warm through. Brush over the top of the cake. sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in the orange juice to a coating consistency. Pour over the top of the cake and gently spread out with a small palette. Leave to set and then decorate with the shredded orange rind.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Lately in pictures

Hello English summertime!

£4 paddling pool = hours of fun!

Our beautiful friends came for a visit.

Good times were had at the Eridge horse trials.

Walking is fast approaching.

a month away from turning 1...

To be continued!