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Alchemy Organic Super Blends

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Brace yourselves, boys and girls for a stunning range of goodies that The Amazing Blog are offer up to you this week for your delectation in the form of The Alchemy Organic Super Blends - unmissable in their brightly designed packaging as we peruse the shelves of Planet Organic or Wholefoods, and bursting with  essential nutrients to help boost our health from the inside out.

The thinking behind this fabulous brand is not so much about adding supplements to your daily calorie intake, but more with working naturopathically with your body, and understanding the ways in which we process the nutrients we need and those which, in the modern world we should be looking to reduce. The philosophy here is very much more along the lines of boosting the good, and reducing the not so beneficial. Take stevia as an example - many see it as a worthwhile wholly natural alternative to the dreaded sugar, however Alchemy make the very valid point that the foods we eat, taken in their original state should ultimately satisfy our taste buds without the need to sweeten things up at all, because it is those highs and lows which make us crave the mid-morning or afternoon snacks and jolt our systems into nourishing said cravings, rather than allowing our metabolism to control the natural balance, individual to each of us.

As we have evolved, nature has done a spectacular job of keeping our systems responsive to the environment around us, but this was more along the lines of ‘fight or flight’ when our physical survival depended on our bodies converting the calorific intake into ready energy as and when the adrenalin kicked in, warning us of danger. Of course, in most of our daily lives now, the threat of coming across an aggressor is significantly reduced we hope. However, something is making those cortisol levels to rise and thereby increasing our blood sugar levels … and of course many of us unfortunately know the modern-day aggressor to be that insidious invader known as stress. We cannot defeat it by simply taking it head on in conflict, or fleeing from it and thereby burning off those heightened sugar levels, so we have to accept its presence and work around the challenges it brings.

Fortunately for us, we have these delicious sachets from Alchemy Super Blends to arm ourselves with as we go into battle to sustain our equilibrium. There are four blends to choose from: Morning Elixir , Energy Elixir ,  Beauty Elixir and Sport Elixir - we are literally Elixir rich in our choice! The option which made most impact here at The Amazing Blog was the Energy Elixir, but it was a tightly run race, as everyone had their individual favourites, however, we all could agree that the extra boost that the Energy Super Blend gave each of us, was undeniably effective. Available in handy Voyager Packs which contain four servings priced around £15, or the more cost effective 300g packs giving us 30 servings and priced around £40, they have a range which will fit seamlessly into anyone’s daily routine. Get your skates on though, and head to their shop here to enjoy some sale reductions of up to 50% in some cases of the Voyager packs and begin the process of that well-being reboot now!

 

Friday Favourites – Indie and craft London Dry Gins

Doing a quick poll around the office, we found that the most popular summer alcoholic refreshment here is the classic ice cold and zest gin and tonic. An ideal accompaniment to sitting out on the terrace on a warm and balmy evening. This week at The Amazing Blog we would like to share with you three of our exception #amazingfinds all centred around international indie and craft London Dry Gin brands. The first thing to note is that a London Dry Gin doesn’t have to be made in England. Instead, London Dry (also known as London Gin) refers to that which is made under a series of mind-bogglingly complex EU regulations that were put in place in February 2008. (definition quoted from Ginfoundry.com  )

Something else that you might not know, is that although gin has become somewhat of a British staple, its origins are actually from 17th century Holland, where it was originally used for medicinal purposes. During this period, British soldiers fought alongside the Dutch in the Thirty Year’s War, where they would imbibe in a glass or three of gin before battle, to help them acquire ‘Dutch courage’ - a popular phrase that stills carries through today.

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We’re going to start by going ‘down under’ to the wine region of the Yara Valley, with the Australian brand Four Pillars and their collaboration with Swedish brand Hernö creating their Dry Island Gin . This all started in October 2017 when Swedish Hernö ‘s founder Jon Hilgren visited founder Cam Mackenzie at his Four Pillars distillery. Hernö came to market first in 2012, exactly one year before Four Pillars, and by 2014, they were both appearing on global lists of the ‘new gins to watch’.  The collaboration began by both of them tasting each other’s range of gins, gaining inspiration and then together creating this rather special 42.8% vol Dry Island Gin.

This Aussie x Swedish collaboration includes particular botanicals given to native Australia such as river mint, roasted wattle seed, strawberry gum, lemon myrtle, and meadowsweet. Although the base is made up European juniper (of course), coriander and fresh lemons. This international gin fusion is definitely one not to be missed.  We think best enjoyed as a dry martini with a lemon twist and a sprig of thyme to bring out all these beautiful citrus notes and a lovely floral cut-grass character.  Or as per their suggestion as a Dry (Island) Martini which consists of 60ml Dry Island Gin, 20ml Cocchi Americano (a quinine-laced aperitif wine) and a dash Angostura Orange Bitters. Stir the ingredients over plenty of ice until appropriately diluted (about 15 seconds of stirring). Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel, twisted to express the oils. Delicious! But be warned as we found that this cocktail really packed a potent punch!  You can purchase the 70cl of Dry Island Gin for £37.75 here .

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Next, we go to the emerald isle, for an Irish craft gin, Dublin City Gin.  Launched in 2016 by the couple Jim O'Connor and Sheila Cooney, two gin enthusiast who came up with the idea that Dublin needed a hometown gin, hence Dublin City Gin was born. Their efforts have certainly paid off with awards such as Gold ‘Super Premium’ at Global & World Gin Masters and a Gold medal as the overall Best European Craft Gin 2018 at ICSEA in Netherlands – great accolades for such a new contender.

What we love about this gin, is that it is Irish to the core, with their Irish milk spirit as the base, which helps to give it their smooth and silky finish, and the organic rhubarb grown along the Grand Canal in Dublin.  All loving prepared by hand in small batches of 600 with only a total of seven different botanicals. As they say this is their “Irish gin with a Dublin accent” In summary, they suggest pouring their gin over ice, with tonic “…all with a soft citrus ruby-red grapefruit, orange or slice of fresh ginger to make it sing!”  So popular is Dublin City Gin, that the Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin has even created three signature cocktails exclusive to them. Given the botanicals we decided to try this gin in a Negroni, 30ml Dublin City Gin, 30ml Campari and 30ml Vermouth Rosso. Add all ingredients together, shake well with cracked ice, strain into glass over cubed ice and garnish with a twist of orange peel. Very moreish, so much so we all just had to have another! To buy your 70cl bottle of 42 % volume Dublin City Gin for £37.95, see here .

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Back to the UK with Fatty’s Organic Gin , this is amongst only a handful of certified organic gins that are now available here in the UK. The brain child of former sports agent Phillipa ‘Fatty’ Gee, who self-funded her start-up: “I knew if I was struggling to find a certified organic gin that was uncompromising on taste, others would to.” Cleverly she saw a gap in the market and took her inspiration for her key ingredient from her native Dulwich, which means ‘meadow where dill grows.’  Organic Soil Association approved, they also believe in Fair Trade Produce for sourcing all their 100% organic ingredients. Even their bottles are sprayed with organic ink and screen printed at low temperatures in order to be kinder to the environment. It is also an award-winning gin, achieving a Gold at the Global Gin Masters 2018, and the only organic gin to achieve this.

 

Apart from the dill it also has the finest organic grain and botanicals all carefully selected from around the world. A combination that creates a full flavour and a crisp refreshing finish and noted for its herbaceousness with the dill and citrus. We found it to be the lightest of all three featured London Dry Gins on the palate. We also think that it lends itself perfectly to slightly more subtle flavoured cocktail. So, we tried their recommended Cucumber & Dill Gin Mojito: 50ml of Fatty’s Organic Gin, four lime wedges, two slices of cucumber, two springs of fresh dill and one teaspoons of sugar.  Add the Fatty’s Gin, sugar, dill and lime wedges in to glass and muddle. Dice one slice of cucumber, half fill the glass with crushed ice and diced cucumber. Stir well and top up with soda. It was bottoms up all round and we’re ashamed to say that it didn’t touch the sides! Get your 40% Volume 70cl bottle of Fatty’s Organic Gin for £45 here .

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Finally, we’d like to round off by introducing you to The Gin Dictionary. This 256 page A-Z compendium of gins is an indispensable guide for all gin drinkers. With more than 200 of entries covering everything from history, ingredients and distilling techniques to flavour notes, cocktails and the many popular varieties of gin from all around the world. All researched and penned by the award-wining gin expert David T Smith. Covering the explanation of ABV to the history and instruction of making a Zanzibar cocktail; we found it comprehensive without being overdone or pedantic. Published by Octopus books and available for £15 here .

With the current ‘gin revolution’ sweeping the world, there has never been a better time to explore craft gins and their new botanicals. We hope that these featured three London Dry Gins will give inspiration be a great starting point for you. Bottoms up!

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.

Hydranure - Dry Skin Cream

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Unfortunately, The Amazing Blog team are no strangers to dry skin and eczema, and it seems to us to be a bit of a modern-day epidemic. So you can imagine how glad we were to learn about this new product Hydranure, which is specifically designed to help heal skin issues ranging from acne to dryness, infant eczema, and psoriasis.


Scottish founders, Paul and Laura McGregor, welcomed their first baby who arrived with dry, rough, red skin. The couple grew frantic as they tirelessly searched for products that would calm their child’s incessant itching. The doctor’s prescribed short-term fixes that temporarily would relieve irritated skin. However, after finding a cream in America, the couple thought they had solved the problem. That was, however, until their son grew out of it. Then, when they welcomed their second child who also had eczema, that’s when their third child was born, their company Hydranure. In their hunt for help creating their formulation, they found a botanicals expert in south of Aberdeen, who helped them design their unique emollient and dry skin healer Hydranure. It contains only natural ingredients aloe vera, calendula, grapeseed, shea butter, sesame seed, vitamin E, all preserved in an olive oil derivative.  Finally, they had found a solution not only for their child but a product to help other children and adults who were tormenting with eczema and dry skin problems. In fact, after conducting a brief survey amongst Hydranure users, 94% of respondents saw skin improvement – some within 24 hours. Obviously, hearing this we were eager to try.


It is great to find a product that avoids using any harsh chemicals which are far too often found in commercial dry skin emollients; it also derives its ingredients from botanicals and the product is preserved naturally. The Hydranure Dry Skin Cream, a 2018 Beauty Shortlist Mama & Baby Awards Winner, was formulated with the intent to help those dealing with dry skin, including infant eczema, eczema psoriasis and rosacea. It cools the skin, reduces redness and itchiness, repairs the top layer of skin and builds a protective layer. And, if you think this is too good to be true – 96% of 141 respondents are said to have had softer skin after using it. We found it to be very gentle, it absorbed quickly, was fragrance-free and it provided excellent skin nourishment. It is also not tested on animals. If you’d like to try Hydranure Dry Skin Cream 100ml, it can be purchased here for £14.99. Hydranure offers free delivery within the UK.

 

All That Jazz: Cuticle Oil, Cuticle Balm & Bee Bar Lotion

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This past January we raved about All That Jazz’s hand and foot care products in one of our blog posts. We know that their products are amazing, and now we are excited to announce that the brand has finally received the recognition that we think it deserves. At the prestigious 2018 Beauty Shortlist Awards, All That Jazz was awarded the Winner of the Best Nail Brand category, meaning that out of all the brands entered in the competition, they have the best nail care products. In addition, All That Jazz was ranked as a Finalist in the Best Nail Product category for their Cuticle Balm. They also won Editor’s Choice Awards for their Bee Bar Lotion, Baseline Base Coat and Top Note Top Coat. Talk about sweeping the board and taking home the gold!

We at The Amazing Blog know how day-to-day tasks can take their toll on our hands, especially in this wintery weather. So we wanted to feature some of our favourite hand care products from the brand with their Cuticle Oil and Cuticle Balm, and the incredible Bee Bar Lotion


All That Jazz’s Cuticle Oil has a coconut oil base which helps to deeply moisturise the dead skin on nails. By using this product twice daily, you reap the benefits of vitamins A, C and D and carotenoids that are in this oil and create a protective barrier on the skin. We used the oil in the Apple Cucumber scent, a fresh, crisp and invigorating fragrance which left our fingertips feeling revitalised. This oil also comes in the other fragrances, Captivate, Chocolate Orange and Maple Spice. We hear X Factor Judges Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger are also big fans of Maple Spice!


All That Jazz’s Cuticle Balm also comes in the same 4 scents; we used the balm in Captivate. Captivate has a soothing aroma of lightly perfumed musk and coconut oil, a refreshing and relaxing fragrance. The special ingredients in the balm include beeswax and cocoa butter that naturally lock in moisture as they are natural emollients and humectant. We found that the balm works amazingly alongside the cuticle oil, our nails have never looked better!


The Bee Bar Lotion is one of our favourite multi-taskers. It is our go-to product as it's incredibly moisturising and nourishing with a little going a long way. It is filled with shea butter, golden jojoba and natural antioxidants; it is ideal for any dry or damaged hands offering fast hydration and protection. The lotion comes in 7 different scents, we received ‘Hawaiian’ which has a deliciously fresh and tropical aroma. Used sparingly this lotion can last up to 6 months and doesn’t dry up or lose its fragrance. However, if you like it as much as we do then we doubt you’ll manage to keep yours that long!


All That Jazz is an award-winning nail care brand with high-quality products that have fast become our special must-have products. You too can purchase the All That Jazz Cuticle Oil here for £7.99, Cuticle Balm here for £8.99 and Bee Bar Lotion here for £7.99