Sunday, 26 April 2015

Healthy Fruit Smoothies

Bananas provide energy in their high content of carbohydrates and potassium, which makes them great if you've got an active day. Adding  bananas to your smoothie also helps to restore the electrolyte balance in your body which is important after a workout. Diets high in foods containing potassium (such as bananas) significantly lowers the risk of  a stroke. Drinking fruit smoothies can help you reach the recommended intake of fiber, which is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.  

Banana: To make this berry last longer (yes, banana is a type of berry)  you can freeze them, or just use them straight from fresh. Bananas are great for smoothies because they provide a creamy base without the fatness of dairy. Their flavor complements a variety of fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, pears, apples and pineapple.
Complementing fruits: Berries are a wonderful, cheap way to add great flavour to smoothies as in Summer they can be picked locally. They can be bought frozen all year round, which can bring a refreshing chill to your drink. As well as buying, or keeping them frozen, you can grow your own right in your back garden! Strawberry plants can be bought at garden centers. We have a small plot of Alpine strawberries growing, but these rely on sunny weather. If you're living somewhere in the world with hot weather, then these might be easier to grow.
Liquid: Our favourite liquid base (because you know I'm all about that bass) is any type of organic fruit juice, which can be bought super cheap anywhere. Spring water, almond milkcoconut milk and fresh squeezed juice are also good options. However, be careful when using dairy milk, I felt it made the texure too thick, and contrasted with the tartness of the berries we chose. Don't be afraid to experiment with new flavours, the whole point of smoothies is to try new combinations and find what you like best. You could try using fruit yoghurt instead of milk for a thicker texture. 

 Adding a  handfull of porridge oats transforms the smoothie into a very balanced breakfast, as they nutritious whole grains and are rich in natural fibre. They promote a healthy bowel and are also slowly digested, which means they keep you going for longer.

Step 1 
It is good to have at least one frozen ingredient, because it chills the smoothie, but too many frozen fruits blocks the blender. If all your ingredients are fresh, then a few ice cubes will have the same effect. We chose to use a handful of frozen, mixed berries (blackcurrants, blackberries, cherries, grapes and cranberries), and one ripe banana. The base we used was 200 ml of orange juice.
Step 2:
We put the liquid in first, then the banana and other berries. This way the banana doesn't clog the blade. The blender we use is George Home Twist & Go Personal Blender. They didn't have the one we were looking for in stock, so we gave this one a go as it was cheaper anyway. It blends nicely, and it so easy to clean! It's good for running too, and it's small and durable. 

Step 3:
You can only blend the smoothie for 30 seconds at a time, or the motor will overheat. We find it takes about 2 minutes to get the consistency even, but it's all down to personal preference. After blending, pour a small amount into your glass and see if you like it. Is the banana too over powering? Are there still lumps? Add more fruit if needed.  We find our smoothies to usually serve 2. Our smoothie turned out a soft shade of magenta, but don't feel all smoothies have to be fruit. There are a wide range of green smoothie recipes online, which you should check out online, which you should check out.      

The average shop smoothie has about  10 teaspoons of sugar in it.  A large McDonald's Bananaberry Bash Smoothie has the equivalent of 20 teaspoons of sugar. By making your own, you can control what you put in it. Me and my sister have never found it needed extra sugar, due to the natural sugars found in fruits, but it's your choice. 

My favourite thing about making smoothies is learning, and experimenting with new flavour combinations.  I'd love to hear any thoughts and tips you might have! 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Review: Benefit Primping with the Stars

It's been a while I know, but I've been struggling with inspiration on what to blog about. After I ordered this little gift set from Feel Unique, I thought it was the perfect opportunity.
Let's begin! The packaging is a small box (about 15 cm, I'd say) and is really cute and almost looks like a book. Inside there is a mirror which is really useful for on the go, with a tips and tricks booklet which folds out for advice about how to apply the products.

The first product is a 2.5 ml bottle of Benefit Stay Don't Stray Stay-Put Primer for concealers and eye shadows. The bottle doesn't actually say the shade, but I'm assuming it's light / medium as it fits my skin tone. I like this product because it helps eye shadows and concealers stay for longer, hence to term 'primer'. This product can also double up as a concealer as it disguises eye lid discoloration and under eye circles. For the price of £20.50 I doubt I will be purchasing the full sized any time soon as I have other high street eye shadow primers which are of equal quality, but I will continue to use this for travel as it fits compactly into my makeup bag. 

Next up is the Professional (7.5 ml). 
This product is my new holy grail.
When I wear this under foundation it makes my other makeup apply so much more smoothly, and stay put all day. It also minimises the appearance of pores and fine lines, which is why I tend to focus on applying this around my nose. It is suitable for all skin types as the texture is not oily or dry, it's a happy medium. 

Third is Some kind a gorgeous foundation faker.
 The packaging for this product is shaped like a vintage record and is a 3.5g small pot. The product applies like silk, and feels great on skin. It is a creme to powder product making it handy for midday touch ups.  I do however, have a few problems with this product. Firstly the colour is too orange toned for my skin. Benefit, please make a box of these products available for people with pale and dark skin. It was however a good match for my mum who has medium toned skin. Also, having dry skin, It soon became too powdery, and flaked. I  recommend this to people with medium toned, normal/oily skin. 

Cheeks next, with Benetint Lip & Cheek Stain (4.0 ml).
This product is perfect for a pretty, subtle everyday look and is easy to build up. I love this as a blush, but as a lip tint, I don't really see much change in the colour of my lips, unless I pair it with Santa Baby lip tint from Lush which I find a beautiful combo. The blush creates a natural glow and when paired with Girl Meets Pearl creates a more versatile colour,as it is build-able. The smell is very floral and reminds me a lot of the perfume laboratory set I had when I was younger. The price is £24.50, which my sister would say is ridiculous, but if you're in need of a quality cheek tint I'd check it out. I'd like to try this with Benebalm as a lip product to see if it brought the colour out some more.

As mentioned previously Benefit Girl Meets Pearl Liquid Pearl for Face (7.5 ml) is great paired with Benetint, or it can be worn alone on the cheekbones for a glittery, dewy glow.

Finally is They're Real mascara, which is not everyone's cup of tea, but I  like it. The wand is shaped with small brissles at the end to coat the smaller lashes basic mascara wouldn't touch and the texture is thick and not overly clumpy which is always a bonus. The only negative I've picked up on is that the mascara is very dry. I'm not a fan of wet mascaras, so I usually opt for something in between. After applying one coat of this mascara, it's already dried, meaning if you want to apply another coat, you'll just cause it to clump. This also makes it difficult to remove at the end of the day. 

This box cost me £25, but on sale now at £23.85. It's a great way of testing out new products, without breaking the bank when paying for the full sized.
Let me know what your favorite Benefit products are and what you recommend in the comments, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your Easter Holidays!