Jersey

Christmas Spirits

It’s just four days until the big day - our trees are up, the food is ordered, and both children and adults are suitably excited. However, if you’re like us at The Amazing Blog, then you may still be on the hunt for some last minute presents, or a few Christmas tipples to add to your festive drinks cabinet. For our final blog post of 2018, we bring you our top Christmas spirits, helping you to become a stellar host, whether that be for Christmas Day itself, or perhaps even for the New Year.

FINAL.jpg

Firstly, we came across Pedrino, the brand bringing Mediterranean flavours to the aperitif market. Taking inspiration from Spain, Portugal and Italy, Pedrino’s three tonics are the ideal gift for an aperitivo lover or a great addition to your dinner party drink’s cabinet. We tried all three - Sherry & Tonic, Ruby & Tonic and Vermouth & Tonic, and were pleasantly surprised by their light and refreshing nature. Thanks to their low alcohol content, at 5.5%abv, these drinks are perfect as a pre-dinner tipple; only strengthened by the use of all-natural and carefully proportioned ingredients.

While they are delicious when consumed on a hot summer’s afternoon, we found these tonics particularly apt for the Christmas period too. Given that sherry and port are often consumed in the colder and darker months, we were pleased to find a lighter alternative. All three are handmade with citrus botanicals, giving freshness and depth. Equally, only the best and award-winning fortified wines are used, alongside good quality tonic to ensure that your guests (and yourself) will not merely be given a watered down spirit. Our favourite? As port lovers, we loved the Ruby & Tonic, especially when drunk over ice and served with a garnish of lime. That said, it was hard to choose, and the other two closely follow. The bonus though, is that they need only to be served over ice (with a garnish if you’re feeling fancy). If this sounds just the tipple, then you can purchase these aperitifs from Waitrose at just £1.95 per bottle. Click here to see for yourself.

40779067_324847684952218_3435659969179942912_n.jpg

If you’re more of a rum lover, then let us introduce The Duppy Share. Founded by George Frost, the brand brings the essence of the Caribbean back to London, with a focus not just on the Jerk seasoned food and reggae music, but on the nation’s love for rum. Made from a unique blend of fiery Jamaican rum and smooth Barbadian rum, this spirit is both bold and tropical. For those less inclined to go for rum, rest assured that this was a hit across the office, so much so that we were flipping coins for who could take the remainder of the bottle home! We’re also not the only lovers of this brand, as The Duppy Share was the official sponsor of the infamous Notting Hill Carnival in the summer, testament to the brand’s ethos and high-quality product.

The use of a traditional copper pot still gives the Jamaican rum its poignancy, aged in old white oak bourbon barrels and utilising the perfect weather conditions to increase the rate of ageing. On the other hand, the Barbadian method of continuous and pot still distillation gives notes of caramel - which when combined, gives this dark rum a deep, yet refreshing flavour. We like to drink this 3-year-old rum with the classic lime and soda, allowing the rich flavours to take over. However, for a more fiery approach, we also enjoyed it with a high-quality ginger beer and wedge of fresh lime. To bring the Caribbean to your Christmas, then visit The Duppy Share website here where you will find a 70cl bottle for £27.50. Alternatively, you will find this product in many good supermarkets, well worth the crowded rush!

47581075_270796736891433_6714889769081372672_n.jpg

For many of us, the festive season means it's time for bubbles, so we were thrilled to discover Sparkle Drops. This brand brings a vast range of fruity flavourings to your alcoholic beverages - particularly effective when added to something bubbly. Adding a lovely shimmer to your drinks, these drops are equally effective when mixed with gin and vodka, also giving cocktails a little extra pizzaz.

We were fortunate to try two of their sets, the Unicorn Collection and the Gin Collection. The Unicorn Collection contains three 10ml bottles, with Golden Passionfruit, Blue Raspberry and Pink Cherry flavourings. Our favourite was the Golden Passionfruit, which is pleasantly fruity, and thanks to the gorgeous shimmer, will not look out of place on your festive dining table. That said, the other flavours were close contenders, the Blue Raspberry is particularly striking, and the Pink Cherry adds a pop of sweetness to drier proseccos.

Equally, as gin lovers, we were thrilled to try the Gin Collection. This consists of a further three flavours: Silver Elderflower, Green Lime and Rose Gold Rhubarb. It's difficult to choose a favourite here, but as the Rose Gold Rhubarb transported us back to our rhubarb and custard days at the local sweet shop, this perhaps edges above the others. That said, the Silver Elderflower adds a classic flavour to our standard G&T and the Green Lime brings a much needed citrusy zing to combat rich Christmas foods. To use either collection, add a couple of pipette-fulls to your glass, and top with something bubbly. Each bottle will make 6-8 125ml glasses sparkle, and they need not only be mixed with alcohol, as we found the Silver Elderflower worked particularly well with sparkling water. To add a bit of shimmer to your festivities, then visit the Sparkle Drops website here, where each collection is available for £10.

Finally, we discovered the perfect after-dinner tipple from La Mere Wine Estate. Based in Jersey, and established in 1972, La Mere provides heritage products with the use of local ingredients. The company is also established as a Green Tourism Gold standard attraction, in line with adhering to 20 specific actions, designed to promote sustainable tourism. These include controlling energy consumption and water usage, so we were intrigued to try their Jersey Apple Brandy Cream Liqueur.

Blended with the use of Jersey dairy cream from local island herds, the Jersey Apple Brandy Cream Liqueur also consists of locally distilled Jersey Apple Brandy - creating a deliciously creamy and rich combination. Thanks to the use of aged brandy, the flavour is warm and uplifting, ideal for the festive period. Equally, with the use of dairy cream, the texture is smooth and velvety, adding depth and thickness to this tipple. We found this is best enjoyed over ice, however, we’ve become quite partial to this liqueur when drizzled over a vanilla ice cream - perhaps it may even work well with Christmas pudding! To try the 17% ABV Jersey Apple Brandy Cream Liqueur for yourself, then click here, where you’ll find this tipple for £17.50.

So there you have it, four new brands to try this Christmas or New Year. Whether you’re looking for a pre-dinner aperitif, a warming rum, or an after dinner night cap, we’re sure you’ll find something to encourage a little extra festive spirit. As our last blog post of 2018, there is nothing left to do but put our out of office on, wish you all a Merry Christmas and grab a glass (or two) of something nice!

Friday Favourites - Natural Cleansers

What’s more important to you… A skincare regime in the morning to pep up your skin? Or perhaps in the evening, to help get rid of the daily grim? When we did a quick poll in the office and found that we all tended to lean towards an evening ritual. Although maybe one or two of us might admit to having fallen asleep with our make up on - oh what a sin! Of course, when this is the case we’ve paid the price; you know the look of dark panda eyes, streaky cheeks and an irritated skin breakout. Today we at The Amazing Blog explore four natural, cruelty-free and gentle cleansing products to help you up your cleansing game - whether its for the day, night or both.

picture.jpg

First and foremost, we all know that we’ve got to remove our make up. Nadur is an Irish natural and vegan skincare brand that has a wonderfully gentle and effective make up remover. Nadur was a Pure Beauty Global Awards 2018 Finalist, and they are committed to crafting non-toxic and well-designed products that are safe for the environment and the user. The name ‘Nadur’ means nature and comes from the ancient celtic/viking alphabet ‘Ogham’, with their 20 symbols that represent sacred trees. They focus on the ‘acid mantle’ (the skins natural defense mechanism) and their products are a careful blend of science and artistry using ‘green chemistry’.

We tried their Genie Rinsable Oil Cleanser & Makeup Remover and were pleased to find the naturally ethical formula is non-greasy and hydrating. This cleanser and make up remover hybrid works well for normal, oily, combination, and dry skin. To use it, smother over dry skin, wetting the face to emulsify it, and gently work it in. Give your face a rinse, and you’ll feel squeaky clean, without the tight sensation. This water-soluble solution is gentle on the skin’s natural protective barrier because of the inclusion of organic jojoba oil, which means the skin’s moisture levels are restored. We particularly like all the antioxidants and minerals, such as pomegranate seed, that help to rejuvenate the skin. The Genie Rinsable Oil Cleanser & Makeup Remover is vegan, gluten, cruelty-free, non-toxic, and 100% natural. Its faint floral, nutty fragrance comes from the sweet almond oil and ylang-ylang flower extract. Purchase Nadur’s Genie Oil Cleanser & Makeup Remover 200ml here for £25.00.



Nakin_Natural_Anti-ageing_Advanced_Cleansing_Milk_150ml_Outofpack.png

Let’s move from Ireland to Britain, to explore Nakin Skincare. We’re particular fans of this new British brand which focuses on natural anti-ageing products, and recently featured their Active Dew Face Cream here. As a nominee for Best New Skincare Brand in the Pure Beauty Awards, founder Cris Beetham said: “Our whole ethos is about effective natural skincare, for people who want great skin without the use of harsh chemicals.” And we certainly do! Hyaluronic acid, seaweed and plant extracts, healing butters, and reviving oils are some of the powerful ingredients in Nakin’s products that help to enhance your skin’s natural beauty. All of their products are cruelty-free and are without parabens and artificial colour and fragrances.

We took their Natural Anti-Ageing Advanced Cleansing Milk for a spin. This cleanser is 98% natural and wheat and gluten-free. We particularly enjoyed using this product because of how gentle it is on sensitive and dry skin, and it proved to be a great hit with our Exec Editor. The Cleansing Milk is easy to apply, simply massage in circular motion before removing with a cotton pad - it’s brilliant for removing stubborn make up. The hyaluronic acid and pomegranate fruit extract help to fight the key signs of ageing. The seaweed extract also helps to even skin tone. The completely natural, light floral fragrance is refreshing but more importantly we liked that this cleanser was effective. If you’d like to try Nakin Skincare’s Natural Anti-Ageing Advance Cleansing Milk, it can be purchased 150ml here for £15.00.

product pic.jpg

If you’re in the mood to try something different, then Speak Skin Beauty has got you covered. They are a natural skincare company founded by Nisa and Tiara, who wanted to make a difference. Their mission is to empower women with fair and reliable information on skincare ingredients, to allow them to make an informed decision; and wishing to make a positive impact on their community and environment. Both had struggled on their journey to find a suitable skincare for their complexions; Nisa with dermatitis and Tiara for her ever-changing, hormonal skin. This skincare brand is all about advocating good clean and conscious products. They carefully choose their ingredients to ensure that their products are appropriate for even the most sensitive skin. We love how they are minimising waste by getting rid of unnecessary packaging. We received their 01 Cleansing Powder in a charming fabric mini tote all made from recycled material. This packaging makes the product all the more meaningful in our eyes. They’re strictly cruelty and paraben-free, and make all their products in small batches.

Speak’s 01 Cleansing Powder system was new to most of the team here, as they hadn’t used a powder cleanser before. It is a gentle, soap-free cleansing powder that has only four ingredients: organic oats, lavendar extract, kaolin clay and sweet almond oil. It’s simplicity at it’s best. The scent is particularly enticing, the fragrance of this almost poultice-like texture is lead by the combination of lavender and oatmeal. The oats help to soothe the skin; the lavender calms redness; the sweet almond oil prevents dryness and hydrates, and the kaolin clay diminishes sebum production. This cleanser proved very popular with those of us who have more oily skin with frequent breakouts, as it helps to calm and stabilise. Mix the powder in the palm of your hand with warm water to make a paste, then apply by gently massaging the paste on the face, rinse off, et voila! You too can purchase Speak Skin Beauty’s 01 Cleansing Powder 60g here for £8.88.

FINAL.jpg

Last but by no means least, we found Skincare with Compassion, an organic skincare company founded to be entirely cruelty-free and vegan. Based on the Island of Jersey, founder Emma Froch explains that the brand is “dedicated to changing the way in which people think about skin care” by advocating natural and animal-friendly products. Emma’s thirst for expertise in the skincare industry began over nine years ago when she realised that cruelty-free and vegan products were in short supply. She made it her mission to formulate 100% natural and non-animal derived products, working with beauty experts to discover ethical ingredients without nasty additives. We certainly admire the ethics of the company and were thrilled to try the Geranium and Thyme Purifying Face Wash.

This face wash is designed for those with oily or spot prone skin, a welcome discovery for certain members of The Amazing Blog team who suffer from hormonal blemishes. It contains 83.7% certified organic ingredients, including four superpower botanicals: geranium, thyme, lavender flower and rosemary. The geranium provides the benefit of minimising the look of wrinkles whilst still leaving your face feeling moisturised and supple. The thyme is a powerful force against bacteria, helping to eliminate and calm sebum levels. Similarly, lavender flower has antibacterial properties, reducing blemishes and fighting against the dark spots and scars that we are often availed with (as if having the spot in the first place wasn’t bad enough!) Finally, rosemary is antiseptic, helping to reduce redness and puffiness, by balancing congested skin. All in all, a robust set of ingredients that not only soothe our skin, but smell light and fresh.

To see the results for yourself, apply a small amount of the cleanser to wet skin (we suggest opening your pores with warm water first) and gently massage. You’ll be met with a silky foam, which needs only to be rinsed with warm water to remove. To purchase a 100ml bottle of Skincare with Compassion’s Geranium and Thyme Purifying Face Wash for £18, then click here.

There is a natural cleanser here to suit almost every skin type. We think that all four of these cleansers are fabulous alternatives to the plethora of chemical-infused cleansers, that are so readily available on the high street. Please let us know if you get try out some of our new finds, otherwise we hope that we’ve inspired you to go and search out new cleansing alternatives.

A Little Slice of Island Life

At this time of year we are all feeling the need for a bit of cheering up and a little something to look forward to. After the Christmas and New Year comedown we are now well immersed back into the daily grind and facing a long stretch of nothingness until the Easter Bank Holiday and the Royal Wedding hoopla. Perfect time for a mini-break we feel! We are hankering for something a bit different, Paris has been done to death, and as we are watching our budgets long-haul is out of the question. Suddenly inspiration was provided by a helpful friend when she suggested the unique charms of the island of Jersey. This French/English hybrid combines the best of both in our eyes; a more temperate climate, with leafy country lanes and the adorable juxtaposition of French street names with English as the language of choice.

So if like us you are feeling the need to get away from it all for a few days, here are a few suggestions from those in the know about Jersey:

The Club Hotel and Spa is a luxurious boutique hotel which offers all the things you crave on a short break, after all isn’t it the perfect time for a little spoiling? Sleek, stunning design, a spa featuring both indoor and outdoor pools, a Michelin starred restaurant and bar, all located in the heart of St Helier. This townhouse hotel is the perfect base from which to explore the breathtaking beaches and winding streets of Jersey.

Doubles from £130

 

For long lazy lunches or stylish evening dining the Oyster Box is located on the one of the most beautiful places on the island, St Brelade’s Bay. With the beach just a few steps away you can see your food has not had far to travel. This place is truly local, drawing on the island’s resources and talent, both culinary and artistic. With mouth-watering offering such as grilled Jersey lobster, whole Chancre crab and obviously oysters every way you could imagine (there are also options for any fishphobics, though we cannot condone you with seafood this good!!), this place is a must-visit.

 

You shouldn’t leave the island without taking a little bit of Jersey back with you and the products from The Jersey Cow Company are the perfect reminder of the unique charm of this island.  Inspired by and developed using natural resources from local suppliers, this range of bath and body products and candles are made using Jersey milk, lavender, honey and herbs. Founders Patrick and Bianca aim to showcase the best of Jersey produce and are passionate ambassadors for the island and all it has to offer.

They have recently teamed up with Jersey Pottery to develop a ceramics range featuring the signature Jersey Cow Company ‘cow series’ print. The range includes cake slices, cups, milk jug, plates and a cake stand. We are dying for the whole set, perfect for a grown-up tea party with a kooky twist.

If you can’t make it over for a visit why not order up some of The Jersey Cow Company Unwind Bath Foam, lie back and dream yourself away to the Jersey seaside...

KM