TABAC Shaving Soaps

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At The Amazing Blog we love to rediscover grooming classics, and it’s time to pay due homage to a shaving classic. TABAC have been giving us boys a no-nonsense, smooth as you like, close shave, since the 1950s, and like most of the design classics from that era, the complete range stands the test of time, with the Original Shaving Soap taking their jewel in the Tabac crown... The woody, masculine fragrance is instantly recognisable, and evocative of so much male grooming history - the chances are somewhere in all our ‘shaving journeys’, this pot of sumptuous lather has played a part, even if it was from our father’s, or grandfather’s tutorials when puberty began knocking on the bathroom door.

The lather really is the key here, to protecting the skin as we scythe off those unwanted hairs, and TABAC have consistently given us this. So much so, it is quite easy to overload the shaving brush and find ourselves deep in Christmas cake icing territory, which can be totally counter-productive. Loading up the brush, however, with a generous head of cream, should be plenty to ensure a decent first and second attempt. As a lot of water is kept in the bubbles, continuous hydration is easily achieved and is important in avoiding the dreaded drag of a blade, which inevitably leads to irritation and possible soreness. Used in the right way, this shaving soap will not only give many effective shaves, but also helps to prepare the follicles for harvest time, and as we all know, prepped skin will always yield a calmer result following the onslaught of a razor.

Granted, there may indeed be slightly cheaper options on the market, but when it comes to putting our best chin forward, who is going to quibble about £13.10 for a whole 125g tub or perhaps £8 for a 10g stick. The TABAC range is a staple of the male grooming industry, you will find their goodies in most high street shops, local chemists and online from The English Shaving Company.

 

Friday Favourites - Face Oils

Including a face oil in our daily beauty routine has become somewhat of a ritual for us at The Amazing Blog. This week, we’d like to introduce you to four of our favourite luxury face oils that will enchant your senses, revive your skin and keep your complexion feeling supple and hydrated, even as the temperatures drop.

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Our first pick is Replenish, a night oil created by the award-winning aromatherapy brand Beatitude. As a brand that we know and love, we have previously written about their Peace Bath Oil. Founded by Rebecca O’Connor, the name of the brand itself represents supreme happiness and blessedness, and according to Rebecca, the brand aims to bring “a sense of happiness, calm and well-being”. We can certainly vouch for this, as the Replenish Oil has become a much-loved part of our wind-down evening routine.

It’s a profoundly nourishing oil that awakens your senses and skin cells, to give your complexion a radiant and healthy glow. With powerful ingredients like rose, neroli and immortelle, it is also anti-ageing, working to combat fine lines and dehydration. Anti-oxidants and vitamins are mixed in a unique formula of rosehip, vitamin E, evening primrose and many more natural plant ingredients. These make our skin feel nourished and rejuvenated, and as the texture is light on the skin, it doesn’t leave the greasy look that most of us fear when considering facial oils. Instead, it absorbs quickly and has become a firm favourite in our nightly beauty routine. It can be used under night cream or stand-alone; apply to the décolleté, neck and face with light upwards massage movements, but be careful to avoid the delicate eye area. Click here to purchase a 30ml bottle of anti-ageing magic for £38.

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Up next is a deeply nourishing and natural facial oil, known for its premium anti-ageing properties. Created by experts at Lumity, a brand committed to proving that ageing is more than skin deep, their Natural Anti-Ageing Facial Oil is equally rejuvenating and balancing. The brainchild of Sara Palmer Hussey, Lumity’s products are designed with busy lifestyles in mind, combining vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids to create simple skincare and supplement products. In fact, we reviewed Lumity’s Anti-Ageing Supplements back in 2017, click here to view the post.

This time, we tried the Facial Oil and were pleased to discover that the formula contains 32 different botanical oils and extracts, including passion flower seed oil, known for stimulating skin cells, and marula oil, known for healing powers. Alongside this, the mixture of argan and jojoba seed oil make this a unique and plant-based blend, full of the nutrients that are welcome as winter approaches. This luxurious oil provides smoother skin, and in just 4 weeks, 73% of users noticed a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. These are statistics we can back, as members of the Amazing Blog team (not naming any names) have noticed similarly smooth and younger complexions. Lumity's Facial Oil (30ml) is available on their website, standalone for £60 or at a discounted rate of £48 if purchased as part of their monthly subscription.

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Our third find this Friday is from Botany Blend; a brand celebrated for combining green beauty and luxury, offering us a range of oils that indulge our minds and bodies. With expertise in aromatherapy products that satisfy your senses, and revitalise the skin, each batch is handmade and all ingredients are sourced sustainably. We love the use of certified organic ingredients and were excited to discover that the products are all made in a small studio on the Devon coast.

We tried the Aceso Oil, which like Botany Blend's other products, is free from essential oils. The formula contains numerous potent antioxidants, alongside Co2 extracted sea buckthorn, rosehip berries, apricot kernel, safflower and Japanese camellia. These are all rich in plant-based fatty acids, helping to nurture even the most sensitive of skin. We found that the oil was easy to apply, and was soothing, yet non-greasy, ideal for use both morning and night. It even acts as a smooth base for makeup, something we would often steer clear of with other oils. If you have sensitive skin or are merely looking for an organic oil that does not contain essential oils, then this will be for you. Purchase your own 30ml bottle of Acesco for £35 here.

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Last, but by no means least, we came across Vetivert & Co, a London based brand, founded by Aanu Oduyeni to provide plant-based oils to nourish and repair the skin. Suffering from acne, and dreading scarring, she envisaged a brand that would be free from synthetic fragrances, nut oils and parabens, and suitable for vegans. These goals are something that she has very much achieved, so we were excited to try the Balance Oil.

As with Vetivert & Co's other products, Balance Oil is cruelty-free, and 100% natural, containing a blend of tamanu, seabuckthorn, palmarosa and lavender oils. We found these ingredients not only helped to avoid future breakouts by neutralising and calming the skin, but that they also helped to repair it, aiding with the scarring that many of us are availed with. This oil helps to defy the stereotype that oils will clog pores and worsen acne, as many of us here have been suitably impressed with the long lasting effects. As a lighter oil, this can be used twice daily (morning and evening) and should be gently patted onto damp or dry skin. Combat your acne worries by purchasing a 30ml bottle here for £35.

Face oils often have a reputation of only being necessary for dry or older skin. While there is truth in this statement, we hope to have opened your eyes to the uses of facial oils for all skin types. Whether you have sensitive or acne prone skin, we're sure one of these products will be suitable for you.

Mount Olympus - Lemon Goat's Kefir + Mojito Water Kefir

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We’ve found searching for an alternative to traditional cow's milk kefir somewhat difficult, and the ever saturated kefir market is a minefield for both new and old kefir drinkers. Add to that the plethora of other healthy drinks, and you're probably equally as confused as us, at The Amazing Blog. Personally, I’m a goats milk drinker; therefore I was very happy to discover that Mount Olympus, a brand that prides itself on produces a range of different kefirs, also include a goats milk one! They kindly sent us two of their signature products, the Lemon Goat's Kefir and also a Vegan Water Kefir.

Conceived on the slopes of Mount Olympus (hence the name) by Greek founder Kostas Kapelas, whose background is as a holistic health therapist. Kostas' ethos is to work with small-scale and family-based Greek manufacturers, to produce the finest organic, natural and sustainable kefirs. Mount Olympus is against artificial stimulating hormones and antibiotics or any other additives. Additionally, while many kefir products on the market contain non-vegan ingredients, Mount Olympus provides kefir waters for the vegan consumer too, so here there is something for everyone.

If you’re not sure what kefir is, then you're probably not alone. Kefir is formed from lactic acid bacteria and yeast which is fermented (more commonly in milk), to provide a consistency similar to thin yoghurt. Milk based kefir is rich in fatty acids and has lower lactose levels than traditional cow's milk, making it easier to digest for our lactose intolerant friends. Typically, kefir of the dairy variety is made from cow, sheep, and goat's milk. It has been proven that goat's milk is easier to digest, and makes a smoother curd when fermented. So what is the added bonus? Drinking kefir restores microbiomes, which know to help heal troublesome skin conditions, such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.

We tried the Lemon Goat's Kefir which is delicious with its zingy flavour with a light citrus twist. We particularly like that the 100% natural ingredients come from local producers and suppliers and that this kefir contains Greek free-roaming goat's milk, kefir cultures, frozen lemon juice, stevia with inulin (a prebiotic). Many argue that this beverage is better for you than yoghurt, as goat's kefir contains live probiotics, billions of active bacteria, and is 100% preservative-free. We recommend keeping it refrigerated, as kefir is best enjoyed when chilled. Ensure that you shake it well before opening, to enjoy the full benefits of this healthy and tasty drink. For stockists of Mount Olympus’ Lemon Goats Kefir 300ml in the UK visit here.

Alternatively, as some members of our team are dairy intolerant, the Mojito Water Kefir 310ml proves to be a great alternative. As Mount Olympus explains, there are two kinds of kefir, water and milk. Water kefir is made from ‘good’ bacteria and as the name suggests, it’s fermented in water. We tried the ‘Mojito’ flavour, made from filtered water, sugar, frozen lemon juice, spearmint, mint & lime aroma, and vegan kefir cultures. It’s a refreshing taste with all the added benefits of 29 strains of live probiotics and billions of active bacteria, all critical for a healthy gut. It is also low in calories, 100% preservative-free, and contains 100% natural ingredients. Other beneficial ingredients include a wide range of organic acids, lactobacillus bacteria, vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants. The ‘Mojito’ Water Kefir has a natural fizz, making it a fun non alcoholic drink to sip on. As with the Lemon Goat's Kefir, the ‘Mojito’ Water Kefir is best served chilled, for optimum probiotic power. For stockists of Mount Olympus’ ‘Mojito’ Water Kefir 310ml in the UK visit here.

Myroo Skincare - Gentle Cleanser + Cloth

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As colder temperatures have set in, our skin at The Amazing Blog is beginning to suffer. As much as the crisp air and colourful leaves are a welcome element of the changing seasons, many of us are subject to heightened dry skin as a result of the colder climate. We were therefore pleased to discover Myroo Skincare, a brand that is formulated for sensitive, allergic and problem skin, and gentle enough to solve October woes for any skin type.

Myroo Skincare, based in Harrogate, Yorkshire, was founded by skincare expert Rachael Dunseath. Using her own experiences of allergies, Dunseath sought to create a range of products that leave you "comfortable in your own skin" and "confident in the ingredients". This ethos is embedded in the 100% plant-based products, which are handmade in small batches to preserve nutrients and guarantee freshness - a commendable philosophy that we were keen to try for ourselves.

We tried their Gentle Cleanser, an organic and vegan cleanser that is free from gluten, nuts and dairy ingredients. We found the nut-free formula particularly interesting, as this includes inedible traces which are often found within other 'nut free' products. The cleanser is also free from all common food allergens, and the use of known synthetic irritants (including parabens), is prohibited. Quite an impressive list of considerations I'm sure you will agree! Equally as impressive, however, are the ingredients themselves, with the use of apricot kernel oil, starflower oil and orange blossom, which are packed with vitamin E and omega 6. These work together to create a silky and luxurious formula that helps to protect and repair the skin's natural barrier, encouraging it to regenerate, for a fresher and softer complexion.

Alongside the plethora of carefully considered ingredients, the cleanser is also cruelty-free, free from animal testing and available in a fragrance-free version. The Fragrance-Free Gentle Cleanser doesn't contain any of the common 26 cosmetic allergens, ensuring that even the most sensitive of skin is left looking refreshed and radiant. To use either product, we recommend utilising the double-sided organic cloth that is included in the packaging. When used alongside the cleanser, we found that our skin was both gently cleansed and exfoliated (without the use of microbeads), which encouraged brighter and fresher skin, as well as acting as an environmentally friendly alternative to other exfoliating products. It also allows the product to become a 2 in 1 solution, something we are always keen to promote! If you're continuously searching to simplify your skincare routines, then this may well be the answer.

To try this star product for yourself, massage 3-4 pumps over the face and neck, and remove with the hot cloth (use warm water for maximum effect). Do this twice a day to reap the full benefits. We found that a little goes a long way, so we recommend being economical with the amount applied. If you're suitably impelled to try Myroo Skincare, then click here to buy your own Gentle Cleanser + Cloth, or here for the Fragrance-Free version, both priced at £27. Happy cleansing!

Devon Distillery - Gin and Dappa

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When the chance of a trip to Devon is on the cards, we at The Amazing Blog never need to be asked twice … our bags are packed and our walking boots are in place to explore the not so little piece of heaven we have here on the South Coast. When such a trip is centred around the world of Gin and Dappa, then we are there in a heartbeat.

Yes, you did read that correctly - Gin and Dappa, which like the inspiredly named Devoncello, sit proudly as the creations of The Devon Distillery, the first and only micro-distillery based here on our very own English Riviera. How refreshing to discover a company which extols the virtues of their British heritage, and celebrates the grapes grown from our own soil, in vineyards such as Sharpham, Bolney and Three Choirs? Although the original tipples may be from the Veneto area of Italy - notably Grappa and Lemoncello, our friends at The Devon Distillery have created something uniquely British and are offering their wares up as a new take on the after-dinner drink or cocktail. They also slipped us a limited edition Sloe Gin to try, which at this time of year certainly helps to ‘warm the cockles of one’s heart’.

Perhaps the only part which isn’t British made is the original and handcrafted Italian copper pot still which is placed firmly at the centre of this industrious team. At a time when we Brits are getting a bit of a bashing (which we can take btw) on many fronts, The Amazing Blog reckons a bit of unashamed boasting about a real success story for our country is certainly in order.

Cosmo Caddy founded the company in December 2012, and their first vintage of Dappa was completed the following October, and as with any venture of this kind, a huge amount of development and research has gone down in bringing each product to the marketplace. They should all be justly proud as punch in fact, for taking what is essentially a waste product of the winemaking process and turning it into something rather glorious for us all to enjoy. They also have a Devon Gin School Session that peaked our interest! Here you can make your own delectable concoctions they have 2 Sessions Per Day 7 Days a Week. All Sessions Start at 11am & 3pm, 4 Still Slots for up to 2 people per still per session. From £65 a session we think that this is the perfect gift for all aspiring distillers.

The Dappa is a particular favourite, and fits so effortlessly into the range, being offered up to us at various food festivals. You can, of course, find it through the Devon Distillery website here, where various sizes and gift sets are available. These range in price from £6.50 to £40, for which you're guaranteed something truly special.