Sustainable

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.

Esse Protect Oil

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When the weather is bitingly cold, our skin begins to suffer. Coupled with London’s pollution and the pre-Christmas fatigue, we are always searching for new ways to protect our complexions. Esse is a brand that we know and love, having previously featured their Repair Oil, here. We were therefore intrigued to try their Protect Oil The Amazing Blog, an oil that boosts skin immunity and claims to hold in moisture without leaving a thick film of oil on the skin.

Founded by Trevor Steyn in 2002, Esse is a South African skincare brand known for using prebiotics, and producing vegan and sustainable products that cater to bespoke skin types. Esse was certified organic in 2005, and they haven’t looked back since. Their Protect Oil assists the growth of beneficial microbes, providing respiratory and antiviral support to our skin, as well as much needed moisture.

Protect Oil permeates deep into the epidermis and works with your own skin cells keep your skin looking radiant. As oils go, this one is very lightweight – although as characterised by a face oil, there is a glossy finish (for want of a better word). When you squeeze it out of the pipette, you’ll find it’s incredibly fluid, making for easy use. Additionally, it generates a tangible layer of prebiotic nutrients such as ximenia American oil, tocopherol, ascorbyl palmitate, vanillin and sunflower seed oil, all of which help to feed the skin. To get the elusive ‘dewy glow’ just apply a few drops in your hands, and spread evenly over the face, neck and décolleté before moisturising. To give you a heads up, a little really does go a long way!

We definitely recommend this to our fellow city dwellers, for protection on the daily commute. That said, we would equally recommend this oil to those of you who are simply looking for a little extra moisture as the temperatures drop. Suitably convinced? You can purchase Esse’s Protect Oil here for £49.00 (15ml).

Forty Hall Vineyard's Sparkling Brut

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We at The Amazing Blog appreciate how much passion and dedication goes into nurturing healthy vines, growing luscious grapes, and making good wine. Additionally, the admiration has to expand further still, when such production is to be organically certified and sustainably executed. When you add the often unreliable climate of North London, which is so vital to the whole process, then a truly intriguing story emerges. And that story begins with Forty Hall Vineyard…in Enfield, North London where it rains, a lot!

Enter Sarah Vaughan Roberts, who founded Forty Hall Vineyard in 2009. She asked the question ‘If Paris and New York can accommodate a vineyard, then why not London?’ This was a question that sparked her to dig deeper, and coupled with her interest in wine, Sarah’s entrepreneurial nouse perhaps determined the end result to be inevitably positive. But what of that slight fly in the ointment of our Great British Weather? Well, Sarah explains, the very fact that we are now seeing the effects of climate change, is precisely why our environment is becoming so effective in the wine making process. With temperature zones rising and moving north, some Champagne Houses are already looking north across the channel for potential vineyards in Kent, The South Downs and South Hams, where the cooler climate can be more hospitable to the vines. Something particularly vital in the production of sparkling wine.

However, the intrigue does not stop there, as Forty Hall Vineyard, is also a not-for-profit organisation. They aim to promote community health and wellbeing, which is just as well, as they need all the manpower they can muster, since they also don’t use pesticides. Their volunteer programme enables members of the local community to remain socially and physically active, developing new skills and confidence within themselves.

The fact that the end result of this incredibly inspiring process is a delicious bottle of bubbles has to be the most perfect conclusion to their story. And their 2016 London Sparkling Brut is the perfect bottle to try, to get a flavour of the toil and patience that has gone into it’s creation. Made in the traditional Champagne method, we have a mix of Forty Hall Vineyard’s Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes; the Pinot variety giving a rose-blush hue to the enticing bubbles.

The result is a very refreshing blend of citrus flavours - very clean on the palate and fruity - perfect for the Christmas season which rapidly approaches. And when we talk of gifts, surely there can be few more ‘ideal’ than this, with it’s pedigree, this is not simply a bottle of wine you will be handing over, but something much more. Priced at £28.99, and available on The Forty Hall Vineyard website, you can also read up on Sarah Vaughan Robert’s amazing story here. We recommend checking out their other goodies too - especially the 2017 Bacchus. Cheers!

Friday Favourites - Face Oils

Including a face oil in our daily beauty routine has become somewhat of a ritual for us at The Amazing Blog. This week, we’d like to introduce you to four of our favourite luxury face oils that will enchant your senses, revive your skin and keep your complexion feeling supple and hydrated, even as the temperatures drop.

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Our first pick is Replenish, a night oil created by the award-winning aromatherapy brand Beatitude. As a brand that we know and love, we have previously written about their Peace Bath Oil. Founded by Rebecca O’Connor, the name of the brand itself represents supreme happiness and blessedness, and according to Rebecca, the brand aims to bring “a sense of happiness, calm and well-being”. We can certainly vouch for this, as the Replenish Oil has become a much-loved part of our wind-down evening routine.

It’s a profoundly nourishing oil that awakens your senses and skin cells, to give your complexion a radiant and healthy glow. With powerful ingredients like rose, neroli and immortelle, it is also anti-ageing, working to combat fine lines and dehydration. Anti-oxidants and vitamins are mixed in a unique formula of rosehip, vitamin E, evening primrose and many more natural plant ingredients. These make our skin feel nourished and rejuvenated, and as the texture is light on the skin, it doesn’t leave the greasy look that most of us fear when considering facial oils. Instead, it absorbs quickly and has become a firm favourite in our nightly beauty routine. It can be used under night cream or stand-alone; apply to the décolleté, neck and face with light upwards massage movements, but be careful to avoid the delicate eye area. Click here to purchase a 30ml bottle of anti-ageing magic for £38.

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Up next is a deeply nourishing and natural facial oil, known for its premium anti-ageing properties. Created by experts at Lumity, a brand committed to proving that ageing is more than skin deep, their Natural Anti-Ageing Facial Oil is equally rejuvenating and balancing. The brainchild of Sara Palmer Hussey, Lumity’s products are designed with busy lifestyles in mind, combining vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids to create simple skincare and supplement products. In fact, we reviewed Lumity’s Anti-Ageing Supplements back in 2017, click here to view the post.

This time, we tried the Facial Oil and were pleased to discover that the formula contains 32 different botanical oils and extracts, including passion flower seed oil, known for stimulating skin cells, and marula oil, known for healing powers. Alongside this, the mixture of argan and jojoba seed oil make this a unique and plant-based blend, full of the nutrients that are welcome as winter approaches. This luxurious oil provides smoother skin, and in just 4 weeks, 73% of users noticed a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. These are statistics we can back, as members of the Amazing Blog team (not naming any names) have noticed similarly smooth and younger complexions. Lumity's Facial Oil (30ml) is available on their website, standalone for £60 or at a discounted rate of £48 if purchased as part of their monthly subscription.

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Our third find this Friday is from Botany Blend; a brand celebrated for combining green beauty and luxury, offering us a range of oils that indulge our minds and bodies. With expertise in aromatherapy products that satisfy your senses, and revitalise the skin, each batch is handmade and all ingredients are sourced sustainably. We love the use of certified organic ingredients and were excited to discover that the products are all made in a small studio on the Devon coast.

We tried the Aceso Oil, which like Botany Blend's other products, is free from essential oils. The formula contains numerous potent antioxidants, alongside Co2 extracted sea buckthorn, rosehip berries, apricot kernel, safflower and Japanese camellia. These are all rich in plant-based fatty acids, helping to nurture even the most sensitive of skin. We found that the oil was easy to apply, and was soothing, yet non-greasy, ideal for use both morning and night. It even acts as a smooth base for makeup, something we would often steer clear of with other oils. If you have sensitive skin or are merely looking for an organic oil that does not contain essential oils, then this will be for you. Purchase your own 30ml bottle of Acesco for £35 here.

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Last, but by no means least, we came across Vetivert & Co, a London based brand, founded by Aanu Oduyeni to provide plant-based oils to nourish and repair the skin. Suffering from acne, and dreading scarring, she envisaged a brand that would be free from synthetic fragrances, nut oils and parabens, and suitable for vegans. These goals are something that she has very much achieved, so we were excited to try the Balance Oil.

As with Vetivert & Co's other products, Balance Oil is cruelty-free, and 100% natural, containing a blend of tamanu, seabuckthorn, palmarosa and lavender oils. We found these ingredients not only helped to avoid future breakouts by neutralising and calming the skin, but that they also helped to repair it, aiding with the scarring that many of us are availed with. This oil helps to defy the stereotype that oils will clog pores and worsen acne, as many of us here have been suitably impressed with the long lasting effects. As a lighter oil, this can be used twice daily (morning and evening) and should be gently patted onto damp or dry skin. Combat your acne worries by purchasing a 30ml bottle here for £35.

Face oils often have a reputation of only being necessary for dry or older skin. While there is truth in this statement, we hope to have opened your eyes to the uses of facial oils for all skin types. Whether you have sensitive or acne prone skin, we're sure one of these products will be suitable for you.

Mount Olympus - Lemon Goat's Kefir + Mojito Water Kefir

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We’ve found searching for an alternative to traditional cow's milk kefir somewhat difficult, and the ever saturated kefir market is a minefield for both new and old kefir drinkers. Add to that the plethora of other healthy drinks, and you're probably equally as confused as us, at The Amazing Blog. Personally, I’m a goats milk drinker; therefore I was very happy to discover that Mount Olympus, a brand that prides itself on produces a range of different kefirs, also include a goats milk one! They kindly sent us two of their signature products, the Lemon Goat's Kefir and also a Vegan Water Kefir.

Conceived on the slopes of Mount Olympus (hence the name) by Greek founder Kostas Kapelas, whose background is as a holistic health therapist. Kostas' ethos is to work with small-scale and family-based Greek manufacturers, to produce the finest organic, natural and sustainable kefirs. Mount Olympus is against artificial stimulating hormones and antibiotics or any other additives. Additionally, while many kefir products on the market contain non-vegan ingredients, Mount Olympus provides kefir waters for the vegan consumer too, so here there is something for everyone.

If you’re not sure what kefir is, then you're probably not alone. Kefir is formed from lactic acid bacteria and yeast which is fermented (more commonly in milk), to provide a consistency similar to thin yoghurt. Milk based kefir is rich in fatty acids and has lower lactose levels than traditional cow's milk, making it easier to digest for our lactose intolerant friends. Typically, kefir of the dairy variety is made from cow, sheep, and goat's milk. It has been proven that goat's milk is easier to digest, and makes a smoother curd when fermented. So what is the added bonus? Drinking kefir restores microbiomes, which know to help heal troublesome skin conditions, such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.

We tried the Lemon Goat's Kefir which is delicious with its zingy flavour with a light citrus twist. We particularly like that the 100% natural ingredients come from local producers and suppliers and that this kefir contains Greek free-roaming goat's milk, kefir cultures, frozen lemon juice, stevia with inulin (a prebiotic). Many argue that this beverage is better for you than yoghurt, as goat's kefir contains live probiotics, billions of active bacteria, and is 100% preservative-free. We recommend keeping it refrigerated, as kefir is best enjoyed when chilled. Ensure that you shake it well before opening, to enjoy the full benefits of this healthy and tasty drink. For stockists of Mount Olympus’ Lemon Goats Kefir 300ml in the UK visit here.

Alternatively, as some members of our team are dairy intolerant, the Mojito Water Kefir 310ml proves to be a great alternative. As Mount Olympus explains, there are two kinds of kefir, water and milk. Water kefir is made from ‘good’ bacteria and as the name suggests, it’s fermented in water. We tried the ‘Mojito’ flavour, made from filtered water, sugar, frozen lemon juice, spearmint, mint & lime aroma, and vegan kefir cultures. It’s a refreshing taste with all the added benefits of 29 strains of live probiotics and billions of active bacteria, all critical for a healthy gut. It is also low in calories, 100% preservative-free, and contains 100% natural ingredients. Other beneficial ingredients include a wide range of organic acids, lactobacillus bacteria, vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants. The ‘Mojito’ Water Kefir has a natural fizz, making it a fun non alcoholic drink to sip on. As with the Lemon Goat's Kefir, the ‘Mojito’ Water Kefir is best served chilled, for optimum probiotic power. For stockists of Mount Olympus’ ‘Mojito’ Water Kefir 310ml in the UK visit here.