Raw Cacao

Zuii Organic – Certified Organic Flora Gradual Tan Body Lotion and Self Tanning Foam

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In the summer, at The Amazing Blog we not only like to sport a healthy tan that looks like we’ve just returned from some exotic clime, but we also don’t want to spend hours roasting in the sun risking getting skin cancer! We’re big fans of self tan products particularly if they are certified organic. Enter the 2019 Beauty Shortlist award winning Australian brand Zuii Organic’s  with their Certified Organic Flora Gradual Tan Body Lotion and Self Tanning Foam (in both Dark and Medium). Both products offer a great way to get a sunless tan, plus their organic ingredients give you a fabulous golden and glowing skin.

The Australian brand was founded in the 90s by beautician Rose Bessey, who wanted to create “organic products that have you looking incredible, while your skin benefits from wearing them”. This mission led her to create products that are all vegan and cruelty-free and have certified organic ingredients. The company’s tagline ‘wear flowers on your face’ stems from Zuii Organic using real flowers like roses, sunflowers, and jasmine in its products, which have lots of skin benefits and of course smell delicious.

The first product we tried was the Gradual Tan Body Lotion. Infused with organic bamboo juice, raw cacao, shea butter, and sunflower oil; the lotion hydrates and softens the skin so much so that you can use it alone as a body moisturiser. However, be advised that it does not contain sunscreen if you go out during the day. These nourishing ingredients leave your skin glowy while the product creates a gradual tan on your skin. We were very impressed with the colour that it gave, as it was extremely natural looking and is customisable by you. After using the product 1-2 times per day (morning and evening in our case) the gradual colour begins to emerge on your skin, and what we liked was that you can build the product up, until you achieve your desired tan. Have no fear, this lotion will not leave your bed sheets an ugly colour the next day and has a light citrus scent. Also it was long lasting and faded evenly.

The second product we tried was the Certified Organic FloraSelf Tanning Foam which they very kindly sent us both their Dark and Medium versions, but it also comes in four shades: Light, Medium, Dark and Ultra Dark. Having had basal carcinomas, I’m a regular all year around self-tanner, so my choice was the Dark version. I was impressed with the ease of application and performance.. I am extremely fussy about my tanning products and this truly gave me just the darker sun-kissed colour that I like! Unlike the lotion, this foam has a colour guide, so as you apply you have an instant tan that when dry will last for a week or more. The unique foam texture is lightweight and dries quickly. However, make sure you apply this product on evenly with a mitt to avoid streaks. The formula has bamboo juice, raw cacao, and grape skin, and doesn’t leave you feeling sticky. With its smooth application and rich colour, we can see why it is a winner achieving awards from Pure Beauty Global Awards Finalist too. It is perfect for achieving an optimal tan, with minimal effort. Exfoliate your skin before applying the lotion or foam. You can purchase the Gradual Tan Body Lotion (250ml) here for £31.50 and Self Tanning Foam (200ml) here for £36. Certainly one of my #amazingfinds for this summer and I can’t wait to try more from Zuii Organics

Christmas Food

We love the festive period at The Amazing Blog - the time for twinkling lights, mulled wine and time spent with loved ones. As if that’s not enough, Christmas is also the time for gourmet food choices, from the classic roast, to the after dinner cheese board. Tis’ the season for overindulging and treating ourselves, and with the New Year diet looming, it seems only right to make the most of the festive treats on offer. There are also few things we love more than to receive a selection of foodie treats on Christmas morning, so we thought, why not compile some of our favourites, so you too can give the gift of food!

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Firstly, we came across Cottage Delight, a brand based in the Staffordshire moorlands, bringing hand-crafted and innovative flavours to the condiments market. Established in 1974, the vast amount of experience helps the brand to lead the way in providing delicious additions to our meal (which more often that not, are even more delicious than the foods they are paired with). We were therefore excited to try their Gin & Fizz Set, compromising of two jams, a curd and marmalade - perfect to spice up any scone, crumpet or piece of toast.

Firstly, we tried the Raspberry & Prosecco Jam - a delectable treat to jazz up any morning. Made with 43g of fruit per 100g, this jam is characteristically tangy, but with a depth of flavour thanks to the addition of prosecco. Similarly the Lemon Curd with Gin has a zesty kick, yet an almost buttery texture that is not only indulgent, but also delicious. The addition of gin cuts through the tartness - ideal for any gin lovers in your life. For those who gear towards orange, the Marmalade with Gin has a fruity and juicy flavour - we love it spread across freshly made bread. Finally, for those who like a traditional strawberry jam, the Strawberry Jam with Marc de Champagne is a great option. Made with whole strawberries, this reminded us of our Grandma’s homemade jam. The champagne adds a luxurious aftertaste, solidifying this set as the ideal Christmas present. If that’s not enough, then the box itself is ready made for present giving, so there’s less hassle with wrapping, and more time to indulge in a glass of mulled wine (or two). Purchase a Gin & Fizz Gift Set here for £9.95.

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Secondly, for any chocolate lovers, we recommend Elements for Life. We tried their Yummy Scrummy Brownies not so long ago (see here), and more recently, their Raw Chocolate Making Starter Kit. Founded by Dan and Paula Knowlson, experts in raw chocolate, this brand continues to ensure products are suitable for vegans, diabetics and coeliacs, as well as those with lactose intolerances. This is something particularly difficult to find at Christmas, so we’re sure this set would be popular with anyone who suffers from a dietary requirement. That said, we all equally enjoyed this set, whether intolerant to common allergens or not.

The Raw Chocolate Starter Kit contains 100g raw cacao powder, 100g raw cacao butter, 100ml Sweet Freedom syrup and a reusable silicone chocolate mould. You can also choose your mould design, picking from the spiral swirls (which we went for), or the Valentine’s hearts. Using Peruvian Criollo raw cacao powder and butter, the ingredients are the best of the best, providing a rich and smooth chocolate that has a low GI. This makes it suitable for diabetics, furthermore displaying the inclusive nature of this brand. In terms of making the chocolate itself, we found the process incredibly easily. Simply melt the cacao butter, add the cacao powder and Sweet Freedom syrup and you’re done - pour into the moulds, pop them in the fridge and return to professional looking chocolates. To purchase a Raw Chocolate Making Starter Kit for £17.99, click here.

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Although we’re big sweet lovers at The Amazing Blog, we’re equally enticed by flavoursome and spicy dishes. For the spice lovers in your life, we present SteenbergsMediterranean Mini 8 Spice Box, a set packed with numerous spice blends, heavily influenced by the Arabic side of the Mediterranean. Having tried their Botanicals for Cocktails in October (see here), we were keen to try this set for ourselves - and can confirm that it will indeed be well received by any foodies in your family.

Founded by Axel and Sophie Steenberg in 2003, Steenbergs is passionate about providing top quality and organic spices, with over fifteen years of experience to draw from. You can therefore be safe in the knowledge that by gifting their Mediterranean spices set, you’ll be helping your foodie recipient to create delicious meals, with ingredients they can trust. This set compromises of organic tagine, ras al hanut, za’atar, organic harissa with rose, organic Italian herbs, organic Lebanese 7 spice blend, organic paella spice blend and organic chermoula spice blend - a vast array of flavours to create a multitude of dishes. Our personal favourites are the organic paella spice blend, which helps us to create an authentic taste of Spain, and the chermoula spice blend, which we were admittedly less familiar with - but now cannot be without. To purchase your own Mediterranean Mini 8 Spice Box for £15.99, click here.

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Finally, for something a little more luxury, we came across Haupt Lakrits, a Swedish liquorice brand aiming to bring gourmet products to the market. Having tried a variety of their products, we can confirm that these are far from the packet of slightly squashed liquorice wheels in your cupboard, but instead, provide a new take on a traditional classic. Even those less enthusiastic about liquorice were found sneaking these on our lunchbreak - testament to their scrumptious flavours.

Firstly, for those of us with a penchant for liquorice, SÖT (€9.00) proved to be popular. Thanks to being cooked for 8 hours and stored for 10 weeks, this liquorice is soft and sweet, and has a pleasantly chewy texture. Secondly we tried the Hallon (€9.00) flavour, liquorice dipped in 60% Belgian milk and dark chocolate and coated with raspberry and vanilla. These proved very popular amongst those will less of a liking for traditional liquorice, and we found they work well with rose wine. Thirdly, we tried the limited edition God Juhl: Merry Christmas (€11.00) jar. Coated in Belgian white chocolate and flavoured with a Swedish Christmas spice mix, this liquorice is undoubtedly festive, even covered in a glittery outer layer. Finally, we tried the slightly lighter God Helg: Happy Holidays (€11.00) liquorice. Dipped in Belgian white chocolate, the additions of lingonberry and saffron add sweetness, yet the fruity nature helps to cut the sickliness often associated with white chocolate. Like God Juhl, this Christmas edition liquorice is best paired with a glass of mulled wine. Visit the Haupt Lakrits website here to purchase your own liquorice delights - some flavours are also available as gift sets, smaller jars and refill packs.

So there we have it - four foodie treats guaranteed to put a smile on your receiver’s face. And if you’re thinking ‘I’ve already finished my Christmas shopping’, then why not treat yourself instead? After all, we think the festive period is the perfect excuse to indulge!