Tenax Hair Pomade

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Anyone who knows the team at The Amazing Blog knows that the chance of a sojourn to the haven that is Florence is always greeted with a less than dignified scramble to the front door … sadly this time it was all in vain. However, we were placated with the next best thing, as a little bit of Firenze came to visit us in the form of a rather attractive tin from the Tenax team with something special to keep our tresses in tiptop shape.

Shape being the operative word here; this is serious styling ground as the rhinoceros on the packaging suggests - however, no rhino was harmed in the process of bringing this gem to market, we are assured. Tenax have clearly gone to a lot of trouble in developing a brand which can be recognised as Italian, and as trusted as the Vespa scooter. However, the power of such brand recognition is being used to the fullest here as lifting the lid of this delicious pomade immediately transports us to the romance of that incredible place, conjuring up powerful images of suavely turned out ‘Italian gentiluomo’ going about their lives with no hair out of place … and if there is, it’s probably meant to be there, such is their relaxed confidence.

The beauty of this Tenax range is the strength of hold it provides without the cloying clagginess which can be the disappointing by-product of lesser brands. There’s nothing worse than a gentle run-through of the hair turning into a tussle to free the digits whilst trying to retain some semblance of composure! Fortunately the Tenax Matte Pomade saves us from such misery, as when it says it will give you long-lasting hold for whichever style you are going for … well to coin a phrase … it does exactly what it says on that tin! A light masculine fragrance, the water-based wax is simplicity itself to apply by rubbing a small amount between the palms and styling at your own pace - with quality like this, you too can enjoy the suave confidence that our italian friends who make look so completely effortless. For your Tenax Pomade - Matte in 125ml for £14.50 see here Bellissimo!

 

The One Skin Range

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If you are a skincare aficionado like us at The Amazing Blog , this newly launched skincare brand One Skin has a range of products that are just for you! One Skin prides itself on creating skincare made for specific lifestyles, focusing on long-term skin health rather than short-term results. If you live in a heavily polluted area or if you regularly exercise (yes, this can also affect your skin), then One Skin offers products to target all your specific concerns.

In 2005, British skin expert Noele Hammett, officially launched her exclusive skincare range One Skin to her salon clients. Moving forward to 2018, she finally unveiled her full collection of tried and tested, gentle but efficient, cosmeceutical skincare range to the public. What makes this range special is that contains only the finest results driven bioactive ingredients. All these products are free from sulphates, parabens, fragrances and colours, making the line perefect for everyday use.

I met Noele at a trade beauty event in London, where we engaged in conversation about my skincare needs and she very kindly gave me three of her products to try.

Let start with the cleanser PH Cleansing Wash. Like in any good skincare routine, the first step is always to prepare the skin in order for serums and moisturisers to perform their job correctly. One Skin’s sulphate-free pH Cleansing Wash removed grime, oil and make-up while still hydrating and soothing my skin in the process. One of the key ingredients is Lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes, which helps to protect against any damage or build up, without irritating the skin. Other surfactants in the wash like the sunflower and coconut oils gently yet deeply cleanse while still leaving skin soft and not feeling uncomfortably tight. I noticed that this cleanser left my skin feeling soft, not taut as some other cleanser have done. I used a small amount of the wash mixed with water to lather and cleanse both in the morning and evening. The pH cleansing wash is available here for £17.60 for the 50ml bottle and £32.00 for the 100ml bottle.

The next step is to repair any damage which skin the has received from living a fast-pace, polluted life in the city (i.e. me in London!) One Skin’s City Repair Serum does just that by stimulating collagen synthesis, protecting your skin in the process. The serum ‘s key repair ingredients are built around a soothing seaweed extract containing minerals such as sulphur, iodine, calcium, magnesium and selenium to maintain collagen generation. Not forgetting the major ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerine, which further condition and protect the skin. After cleansing, I applied 1-2 pumps of the serum morning and night and allowed for a few minutes to get complete absorption. To purchase the 30ml serum for £60 click here. If you aren’t living the city life like me, don’t worry One Skin has five serums targeting different lifestyles like the Stress Repair Serum, Holiday Repair Serum and even a Party Repair Serum. Check the full Repair line here.

Finally, after the City Repair Serum, I then applied my last skincare step with Noele’s amazing Wonder Age Cream. This rich moisturiser helps to lock-in the serum’s skin protective properties. The Wonder Age Cream is just one of the five moisturisers offered in the range. The Wonder Age Cream is the anti-ageing cream in this range and I noticed that combining this with the City Repair Serum that it not only hydrated and nourished my skin, but also it brightened my complexion. The Wonder Cream is made with resveratrol, hyaluronic acid and a variety of muscle-relaxing peptides, these ingredients work together to improve the complexion and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. For best results I applied two pumps morning and night, and then in the morning went ahead and applied my foundation and make up. To purchase the 30ml bottle of Wonder Age Cream for £74 click here.

All of these products and the rest of the One Skin line are available at their Skin Clinic located in Essex or online on their website here. Not sure where to start? There is a skin consultation questionnaire on their blog here that will help you to choice the right products for you and to understand your skin better. Finally to say, that we were THRILLED to see that our new discovery, One Skin, has won 3 x Editors Choice Awards in the prestigious 2019 Beauty Shortlist Awards for their Wonder Age Cream, Eye Repair Serum and The Cosmeceutical Apothecary Set. We say don’t miss out on trying this new result driven skincare!

Nunaïa's Nourishing Radiance Serum

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Spring has sprung, and the year seems to be flying by! This provoked a question in the office, how often do we take the time to switch off completely? It seems we do so very infrequently at The Amazing Blog, a revelation that has pushed us to think more consciously about including wellbeing rituals into our daily routines. When Nunaïa introduced their brand to us, we quickly realised it was the perfect way to do so with our skincare. Sharing our concerns for living in the fast lane, founder Nicola Connolly has created a brand focused on ritual, wellbeing and health – so you can imagine that we were eager to try their philosophy for ourselves. Not only that, but this seedling company are truly a great discovery, as they were recently awarded ‘winners’ in the category of The Best Facial Oil for Dry Skin in the prestigious 2019 Beauty Shortlist Awards.

Nicola believes that there are means and ways of bringing greater meaning and balance. Through travels to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes Mountains of Peru, she discovered a unique and balanced way of life; one in which nature, wisdom of the land and oneself could live harmoniously. More simply, she realised that her work/life balance was somewhat out of sync, driving her goal to create a skincare brand that would bring intention and meaning into people’s lives (and glowing skin as a result of this). This is where Nunaïa was born – providing raw, living and superfood products from ‘Soil to Skin’.

We couldn’t wait to try their star product: Nourishing Radiance Serum; a vegan, cruelty-free and dermatologically tested serum, containing top-notch ingredients. These include sacha inchi, maracuja, chia and avocado – rich in essential plant actives and sourced uniquely from both the Peruvian Rainforest and Andes Mountains. We particularly love the texture of this oil; it has a perfect juxtaposition of a rich oil with a non-greasy finish, helping to soothe redness and inflammation simultaneously. Thanks to the use of vitamins A, B, C and E, our skin felt smoother and nourished after use, and if that’s not enough, the concoction of ingredients also protects against pollution, and both UV and blue lights. The packaging is also eye-catching, the serum itself is in a delicate glass bottle, encased in a mint green box. Nicole has thought of everything!

To use this oil, we recommend using every night after cleansing. If you have dry skin (or are taking the time to pamper yourself one weekend morning) then it is also a treat for a dehydrated complexion. You can purchase Nunaïa's bottle of goodness for 79 Euros Here. Enjoy!

Mitomo's Face Masks

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Most of The Amazing Blog team swear by a weekly face mask. It’s our (not so) secret method of maintaining a clear complexion, but equally, is a ritual we don’t always have the patience for. This was until we discovered Mitomo, a brand producing sheet face masks packed full of goodness. For the past month or so, a weekly face mask has been firmly back in our regime!

Mitomo provide high-quality beauty and healthcare products, with ingredients sourced from Japan. We tried their innovative Eye Masks (see here) in January, so were keen to see whether our face masks would live up to the hype. The verdict? We were highly impressed, and although we don't like to speak for others, we know we’re not the only one in the office to have snaffled a few extras to take home! We tried three of their face masks: Hyaluronic + Lithospermum, Q10 + Lithospermum and Collagen + Lithospermum - all part of their Essence Mask collection.

The Hyaluronic + Lithospermum Essence Mask is a hydrating and anti-ageing solution for your skin. Hyaluronan is a highly moisturising ingredient, injecting your skin with much-needed plumpness, thus decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Lithospermum, on the other hand, is a plant extract well documented as soothing and antiseptic. The combination of these two ingredients left our skin feeling supple, less inflamed and smoother; making for a brighter and clearer complexion. We were also big fans of the Q10 + Lithospermum Essence Mask, a profoundly anti-ageing mask, enriched with Coenzyme Q10. It regenerates the skin, working well on deep-set wrinkles, and as with all three masks, it cools and soothes even sensitive skin. The added bonus? They are eco-friendly and all masks are made solely from bamboo.

Finally, the Collagen + Lithospermum Essence Mask proved effective at making skin more elastic, promoting skin renewal and smoothing imperfections. We noticed a decrease in mild acne scarring from the first use, as this masks help to plump up the skin; simply apply for 20-30 minutes (the same with all three masks) and once removed, pat any excess product into the skin. We recommend using each mask before bed, for a glowing and refreshed complexion. To try these anti-ageing gems for yourself, visit the Mitomo website here, where a pack of 10 masks are from £27 and an individual mask is available from £2.99.

Friday Favourites: Cookbooks

Regular readers of The Amazing Blog will know that when it comes to cooking, we’re almost a perfect split. Half of us are foodies, while the rest would rather exhaust a basic recipe, than slave away in the kitchen. That said, it is universally agreed that a good cookbook can make all the difference, encouraging even the most unenthusiastic amongst us to don an apron and wooden spoon. Luckily for you, we’ve taken one for the team, correlating four new recipe books worth a try. We’re sure you’ll find one just for you!

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Firstly, many of us are trying to introduce meat-free meals into our weekly diets, meaning a good cookbook can prevent the need to exist solely on a nut roast or vegetable curry. Our cookbook of choice is The Modern Vegetarian, designed to inspire even the most uninspired, encouraging delicious vegetable-based meals packed full of exotic flavours and textures.

Written by world-renowned chef, Maria Elia, this cookbook aims to prove that cutting meat out of a meal doesn’t cut out the flavour; instead, it is a gateway to try new flavour combinations and techniques. Elia’s experience is reputable; she has a Michelin recommendation and has earned 2 AA rosettes. Viewers of Sunday Brunch and Saturday Kitchen may also recognise her, having appeared as a guest chef on both. We don’t know about you, but we feel at ease knowing that recipes have been tried and tested by an expert – because whether an avid chef or not, few have the patience for a disastrous result! The book itself covers everything from ‘Sophisticated Starters’ to ‘Sofa Suppers’, but we were most pleased by the ‘Stylish Sides’ section. All too often, we’re faced with plain boiled rice or pasta to accompany dishes – something Elia has challenged and avoided. Instead, you can transport yourself to India with a Red Lentil Dhal (page 114) or try your hand at an Aubergine Houmous (page 113). Whichever recipe takes your fancy most, you’ll be sure to enjoy the conversational element of the book, with personal notes written by Elia, substantiating the authenticity of the dishes and making for an enjoyable evening read.

To explore innovative vegetable based dishes for yourself, then The Modern Vegetarian can be purchased here for £16.99.

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There's no doubt that the smell of food entices you into the kitchen, but what about our other senses? This is something we hadn't contemplated, so we were intrigued by Sybil Kapoor's Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste, Sound cookbook. This book recognises the combined importance of all five senses, dedicating a chapter to each, filled with delicious recipes, and reliable advice, from layering flavours, to using temperature and sound.

Kapoor has a wealth of knowledge in the realms of cooking; as the author of eight books, she is one of the most respected food writers in Britain and continues to propel her knowledge through a variety of publications. Each chapter is based around one of the five senses: Taste, Flavour (smell), Texture (touch and sound), Temperature (touch) and Appearance; however, our favourie part of the book, is the integrated feel. Each chapter is intertwined, with theory and advice allowing the reader to establish the links between senses. Kapoor aims to prove that by using a little theory and practical testing, you will be able to produce simple, yet delicious dishes. Now this all may sound a little complex to a less than enthusiastic chef, however, even ready meal lovers in the office were taken by the carefully designed recipes, especially the Stir-fried Squid with Chilli and Black Bean Sauce (page 144) and the Sticky Asian Beef Kebab with Cucumber Dip (page 92). For those with a sweet tooth, the Sticky Spiced Lemon Gin Cake (page 75) also proved to be a big hit - so whether you're interested in the links between the senses or not, you'll be sure to learn new tips and tricks to create delicious dinner party worthy meals.

To tempt your own senses, Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste, Sound is available here for £24.00.

If you're looking to be transported to more exotic lands this Friday, then Baladi Palestine - A Celebration of Food from Land and Sea by Joudie Kalla is just the cookbook for you! Taking equal inspiration from her historical background and personal experience of Palestine, we were struck by how little we knew about this exotic and varying landscapes. These conditions create diverse and new flavours, all of which are included in Kalla's recipes. With twists on traditional dishes, this book has an authentic yet innovative feel to it. Better still, it is jam-packed with stunning photography, from food images to landscapes and the people of Palestine. We were sold before even trying the recipes - quite an accolade!

With over 250 pages, this visually interesting book is equally colourful in terms of culinary delights. Flicking through the pages, you're met with everything from spiced lamb, to filled speciality pastries and watermelon juice. One of our favourite elements of this book is the splitting of chapters, not merely by dish, but by the areas in which the ingredients are sourced. Varying from Markets and Village Life to The Bakery and The Farm, a quick flick through this cookbook tempts the senses, but equally gives a quick snapshot of the Palestine lifestyle. We recommend the chapter: From The River To The Sea, in particular, the Saffron Monkfish and Vegetable Skewers (page 177), delicious as the weather picks up.

To inject a little bit of culture into your cooking, you can purchase Baladi Palestine - A Celebration of Food from Land and Sea here for £26.

Last but by no means least, we discovered The RAF 100 Cookbook. Created to celebrate the centenary of the Royal Air Force, this cookbook contains 100 recipes from 100 countries, split by chapter, into monumental moments of RAF history. We love the concept behind this cookbook, drawing inspiration from the saying that "an army marches on its stomach" and taking the research from acting and former servicemen and servicewomen to create authentic and delicious recipes from around the world. Additionally, this cookbook contains the recipes of top household chefs such as James Martin, Tom Kerridge and Cyprus Todiwala, emerging a plethora of knowledge to inspire your weekly menu.

We often find that cookbooks are very niche in their flavour combinations, and while this is certainly no bad thing, we like the variety of this cookbook. Each of the 100 countries are covered in a sensitive and informative manner, with a detailed explanation of the RAF's involvement alongside each recipe. It is clear just how much time and effort has gone into this book, spreading as far as to include eye-catching photographs of the dishes, alongside black and white images of the RAF in past years. The way in which the chapters are segregated stays true to the inspiration behind the book, from The Early Years to The Modern Age, conflicts are addressed through the medium of cultural dishes. Additionally, a percentage of each sale is donated to one of five RAF charities, directly supporting the inspiration of the cookbook. It is very difficult to pinpoint certain dishes here; however, the likes of the Ascension Island's Saint Helenian Fishcakes (page 300) and Maldivian Fish Curry (page 288) stand out for their exotic nature. The point here though, is that this is a cookbook for all occasions - whether you're looking for a local dish or one from further afield, you need only flick through to the country of your choice for an authentic and delicious recipe.

To inject 100 new recipes into your repertoire, you can purchase The RAF 100 Cookbook here for £25.