Lifestyle

Oumph!

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With the average global temperature at an all-time high, at The Amazing Blog we’ve made it our goal to be more conscientious in the products we use and consume. We’ve already begun the shift towards using paper straws, reusable shopping bags and even reef-safe SPF but now we’ve taken on the challenge to switch to a more earth-friendly, plant-based diet that’s tasty yet easy to cook. That’s where the vegan company Oumph! comes along.

Based in Sweden, Oumph! has aimed to make meat substitutes and other vegan frozen foods that are low-impact to the environment. All of Oumph’s six plant-based frozen foods are made with a mixture of soya beans and organic herbs and spices combined into a flavourful vegan substitute. In addition to being gluten and dairy free, Oumph!’s high protein and fibre levels along with its sources of iron and folic acid make sure you’re getting your daily nutrients without having to eat animal by-products. We got to try all six of Oumph!‘s food varieties which we can say made our goal towards plant-based eating much easier (and tastier).

The first product we tried was the award-winning Oumph! Kebab Spiced. Seasoned with spices classically found in kebab, the plant-based strips are a great alternative to the English favourite. Next, we tried the Pulled Oumph! to spice up our weekly Taco Tuesday. Marinated in a vegan BBQ sauce, these Oumph! chunks placed in a taco shell with veggies and some salsa had us feeling moreish. Want a basic Oumph! to add your own seasoning? The Chunk only contains soya beans, water and salt for a perfect base to any dish you want. We tried The Chunk by using one of their recipes for a Tikka Masala on their website, and all we can say is yum! Oumph’s other two plant-based meats Thyme & Garlic and Salty & Smoky were an excellent substitute for a just ass hearty breakfast. If you’re craving a more cheesy alternative, Oumph!’s brick-oven Pizza topped with veggies, vegan cheese, herbs and pieces of Oumph! is a easy and tasty Friday dinner. To join the #greenproteinshift, see Oumph! for stockists, it can be found in the frozen food section at your nearest Whole Foods Market or Tesco.

Les Parfums de Rosine - Bois Fuchsia

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We have to admit that at The Amazing Blog, due to the inclement weather, we’ve not been tending to our gardens as regularly as we’d like. We love the fragrance that an English summer garden gives, with the freshness from budding flowers and fruits. So when we received Les Parfums de Rosine with their latest floral and fruit creation, we couldn’t wait to spritz and try.

This French perfume brand was founded by Marie-Hélène Rogeon, whose heritage comes from a long line of perfumers in the family. She is also truly passionate about growing and nurturing special breeds of roses. She has merged these two passions by creating her own brand Les Parfums de Rosine, which specialises in making and designing luxurious and beautiful perfumes all with natural essences. Mme Rogeon wanted her fragrances to be ‘immediately understandable and readable’, something unmistakable in the perfume we tried, Bois Fuchsia.

Created in 2019 by iconic French perfumer Michel Almairac, Bois Fuchsia (translated to ‘fuchsia wood’) immediately gives an uplifting fragrance with top notes of black currant and iris. Heart notes of rose, raspberry, and lychee pack a sweet smell that immediately follows. The colourful fruity scent takes inspiration from Rosa gallica (one of Mme Rogeon’s favourite roses), which is famous for its use in French preserves and jams. Although it is the patchouli, musk, and sandalwood base notes that add a classic and timeless feeling to this perfume. The woody masculine base notes add depth and complement the fruity and feminine notes to make you feel as sophisticated and fashionable.

The special Rosa gallica also inspired the packaging of Bois Fuchsia, which is in an elegant fuschia pink bottle. It is simple with no extraneous writing except a cursive ‘R’ and fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. This scent is truly evocative of a summer garden and allows you to close your eyes and reminisce, bring a ray of sunshine even on a damp and grey English day! You can purchase Bois Fuchsia (100ml) here for £142.

Skin Academy - Pure Range

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While there are many paraben, sulphate and cruelty beauty products out in the market, there aren’t many skincare brands that are both colour and fragrance free. For The Amazing Blog readers that have a sensitive skin, we have found an entire skincare range that is free from any irritating chemicals and scents. Manchester-based beauty brand Skin Academy has developed the six-product Pure range that leaves your skin feeling replenished and nourished - all at an affordable price.

Skin Academy’s Pure range contains products for every step in your skincare routine and that are great for all-skin types. The range contains a Cleansing Facial Scrub, Cleansing Facial Wash, Moisturising Eye Cream, Daily Moisturiser, Cleansing Micellar Water and two Soothing Sheet Masks. All six products contain two key non-irritants: Aloe vera and green tea extract, that soothe, cool and protect the skin. Skin Academy prides itself on offering ‘incredibly high quality skincare at extremely affordable prices’ and after trying the Pure range first hand, we can completely recommend their products for anyone who is looking for a brand that is gentle to your skin and kind to your wallet.

The first product of the line, the Cleansing Facial Wash is gentle cleanse for everyday use that provides great results.  In addition to cleansing the skin, this gel-based facial wash can remove all make up as well.  If you want something more exfoliating, the Pure Cleansing Facial Scrub removes any dead skin or impurities to reveal smoother skin. Since the facial scrub is a little harsher, Skin Academy recommends only using this scrub for a maximum of twice a week.  After cleansing the skin with the wash or the scrub, apply a thin layer of the Daily Moisturiser to your face and neck. In addition to the aloe vera and green tea extract, the moisturiser contains Glycerin, Shea Butter, Pro-Vitamin B5 and even SPF 15 and UVA-UVB filters that work together to moisturise and protect skin from any sun damage.  Next, the application of their Moisturising Eye Cream which soothes any puffiness while hydrating the skin around the eyes. After those long days that leave you too exhausted to do your full skin care routine, the Pure Cleansing Micellar Water is the perfect solution to do a ‘one swipe’ to remove the day’s makeup and grime, while softening the skin in the process.   The last product of the range doesn’t need to be used daily, the set of two Pure Soothing Sheet Masks are a great pick-me-up to lock-in moisture and leave you feeling pampered.  After removal of the mask after 20 to 30 minutes, the Soothing Sheet Mask leaves your skin feeling glowing and fresh without the added redness.

If you’re wanting to pamper your skin but not wanting to break the bank in the process, Skin Academy’s Pure Range is available to purchase here products price range is from £4 - £14 each.

Mindful Bites - Nut Butter

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Who doesn’t love a good snack? Yup and it’s generally naughty little things like crisps that are our bad habit at The Amazing Blog We have been looking to substitute this potato addiction with ‘good snacks’, which is where Mindful Bites comes in. Founded in 2014 by Stephanie Peritore, Mindful Bites aims to change the way people snack, not on empty calories but on protein rich butters ‘one bite at a time’ they want to promote intentional eating.  We are finding that Mindful Bites' Nut Butters are the perfect vegan and gluten-free solution to our snack cravings.

Mindful Bites is built on the company’s four pillars of mindful eating (Intention, Attention, Gratitude, and Pleasure) and these pillars are reflected in the Nut Butter. The thick and creamy texture of the product slowly releases delicious flavours, which allow you to savour what you're eating. The carefully selected ingredients, including a blend of superfoods and high-quality nuts, also have you actively thinking about what you put into your body. However, it's not just the tasty and nutritious flavours that have us drawn to the Nut Butter; it is the way it makes us feel after eating it. The plant-based protein, made with no added sugar or sweeteners and palm oil, is a game changer for reinvigorating yourself during a mid-afternoon slump. Spread sparingly on some oatcakes  (in our case) it is filling and delicious and has made our cravings disappear resulting in a better, more energetic mood here in the office.

We had the chance to try all four of their  Nut Butter flavours (Hazelnut & Berries, Brazil Nuts & Cacao Nibs, Almond & Maca, Cashew Nuts & Baobab). Our personal favourite was Hazelnut & Berries. It has a rich taste of hazelnut, not dissimilar to Nutella, but with a yummy hint of a berry flavour which stays gently with you. However, if you want a more intense chocolate flavour, we suggest trying Brazil Nuts & Cacao Nibs. While nut butter is traditionally eaten on toast or straight from the jar with a spoon (not so good for an office share!) Mindful Bites suggests adding it to a smoothie, porridge, or yogurt for a protein boost.

You can purchase a single jar (185g) of their Nut Butters here for £6.99 or a box of all four for £25 here.

Voya Men's Grooming Range

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We head over to the glorious the isle that is emerald, for this post, indulging in, without apology, Voya’s dreamy range of men’s skincare- with such a deliciously smelling combination of clove and lime, it certainly wasn’t a hardship - indeed more an exceptionally unrestrained bout of serious pampering. Such a start to the day really sets you up perfectly for what may lie ahead - good or bad (the day we mean!) the skin is certainly going to be in tiptop shape. The girls at The Amazing Blog have already experience the gorgeousness of this organic Irish brand with a few of their goodies including their Hydrating Body Lotion  So now it’s my turn!

The provenance of this range stems from a formidable heritage, rooted in the luxury spa marketwhich originated in the indigenous bathhouse tradition of Co. Sligo. The bathhouses which opened in 1912 may have since closed, but the essential ingredient which continues to provide it’s magic of course remains in bucketfuls … well vat-fulls really. And this essential ingredient which provides such incredibly healing results is of course seaweed. Naturally, the benefits of seaweed have long been known to soothe and heal, but more thorough investigation continues to throw up advantages not simply in deep detoxification, but also in aiding weightloss amongst other things. As nature’s most powerful anti-oxidant from the vegetal world, it’s hydrating and nourishing properties come from it’s plethora of minerals and vitamins, which have proven to effectively treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis and acne, and is particularly good for sensitive skin. It also naturally moisturises, whilst reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by improving skin’s elasticity and stimulating the renewal of damaged cells.

The Voya Men’s grooming range is totally focused on organic seaweed and the following two scientifically proven and 100% natural active ingredientsSpeci’MenTM derived from the Baobab tree, and DEFENSIL®-PLUS: A complex of Blackcurrant Seed Oil and Balloon Vine extract. Here we have a three step routine to savour: An Invigorating Face Wash, (recently awarded Winner in the 2019 Beauty Shortlist Awards) Cooling Shave Gel  and Rejuvenating Moisturiser. These Seaweed-based products use the highest-quality botanical elements and aromatherapy oils in sustainable and historical processes to attain their high level of quality. The organic seaweed itself is harvested by hand to help protect the delicate coastline of West Ireland and no artificial colours or fragrances are used, with all products adhering to the strict COSMOS standard. All this science could easily overshadow the fundamental treat that comes with using this Voya For Men range -  but  we enjoyed, and enjoyment is certainly the route we took! It must also be added that they are perfect for fighting signs of aging, reduce enlarged pores, calm inflammation from shaving and soothe dehydrated skin.

Available here priced at £27.00 for the 125ml Invigorating Face Wash, £23.00 for the same sized Cooling Shaving Gel and £45.00 for the  50ml Rejuvenating Moisturiser … For the level of luxury on offer here, and the chance to bathe in some Irish magic, trust me the cost is well worth it.