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Essence of Harris – Huisinis and Losgaintir Glass Candles

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One of our favourite things about the summertime at The Amazing Blog is being able to chill out under an umbrella at the coast. We love hearing the waves crash against the shore and feeling the sand between our toes. It can all feel so cosy and vibrant at the same time. Unfortunately, jetting off to our dessert island paradise for now will have to remain a bit of a dream; but, we can make our homes smell like one as Essence of Harris ’s candles offers us the perfect evocative aroma.

Essence of Harris was co-founded in 2015 by Deenie MacLeod, who was born and raised on the Isle of Harris located in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. The rugged landscape, golden beaches, and clear blue waters inspired MacLeod to partner with Jamie McGowan, a Glasgow native, to design candles and home fragrances. Their mission with Essence of Harris is so ‘everyone who visits the island can take away a small piece to cherish’.

We tried two of the five candles from the company’s Classic Collection inspired by the Isle’s beaches. The first was the Huisinis Glass Candle, which has a very evident sweet and citrusy scent. It’s bubbly, taking after notes of champagne, and has grapefruit, Brazilian orange, and pink pomelo. It also has hints of rhubarb adding to its tartness and watermelon packing freshness. We found this candle was perfect to light during the late morning and afternoon for an uplifting smell. The second one we tested was the Losgaintir Glass Candle. It has an exotic mix of fresh bergamot (green citrus fruit), orange, and amber, which give the candle tangy top notes that jump out at you. However, the scent has warmth due to its coconut, vanilla, and almond base notes. We recommend using this one in the late afternoon or during sunset to create a snug atmosphere before eating dinner.

The candles are hand poured on the island and made of 100 per cent ethically sourced soy wax and natural ingredients. While MacLeod’s hometown has enormously helped and influenced her, Essence of Harris is committed to supporting a sustainable community on the Isle. The brand is ‘consciously considering the environment, investing in the local community, and creating a prosperous local economy’. Each candle comes in a simple and sturdy yet elegant glass jar and should burn for approximately 30 hours.

When we typically think of island getaways, Scottish beaches are not at the top of our lists, but after smelling these candles, we’re ready to book a ticket on the next flight. You can bring the aroma to your own home by purchasing the Huisinis and Losgaintir Glass Candles (20cl) here, each for £12.95.

SLIXIR - Hand & Polish Cream

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We love treating ourselves to an hour of timeout at the nail bar or just putting on the radio and doing a quick home mani pedi. At The Amazing Blog our biggest gripe with regular nail polish is that it always seems to chip after only a few days of wear. That’s why we were thrilled to try the Hand & Polish Cream from SLIXIR that we heard makes nail polish last longer, nourishes cuticles, and acts as an anti-ageing hand cream.

Helen Gilmore founded the British brand after having worked in the nail industry since 2002. She was previously the UK and ROI Head of Marketing for CND (Creative Nail Design, Inc), the company that made the popular gel manicure CND Shellac. Having had experience with consumers all over the world in nails and nail care, Gilmore found that the general feedback and biggest moan was about wanting a long-lasting nail polish. Having seen a niche in the market, she began her journey in creating a unique hand and nail product, Helen commented:  “Each day I focus on creating effective and luxurious ways to make this happen; solutions that fit easily into women’s lives and make great hands and nails a readily understood science.”

What stood out to us about SLIXIR is that it eliminates the need for both a hand cream and a cuticle oil with its unique blend of natural plant oils while improving the appearance of your nails and nail polish. We love multi-taskers! It doesn’t make your hands feel greasy and leaves them feeling heavenly soft. Honestly? Our hands felt smooth and hydrated, almost as though we ‘d put a primer on. For this kind of hydration, the formula includes avocado oil and jojoba oil as well as copper active, which specifically soothes and targets the nail beds. Colloidal oats further protects your hands from dryness and environmental stresses.

We cannot emphasise enough about the importance of giving your hands extra care. This is because the dermal layers are thinner, more exposed to the elements, which in turn reveals ageing faster than the face. SLIXIR is one step ahead and equipped with anti-ageing ingredients. This cream is packed full of  antioxidants and multivitamins which neutralise free radicals, helping to hold back visible age-related changes on your hands such as wrinkles and lack of elasticity. We also like that this cream doesn’t have any parabens, mineral oils, or animal cruelty. You can use it on all skin types and nail polishes and they recommend applying it twice a day, paying careful attention to nails. SLIXIR Hand & Polish Cream (75ml) is available here for £21.95 and offers free shipping within the UK. This all-in-one cream now has pride of place by our desks!

FITCH Brew Co - Cold Brew Coffee

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We are heading up to Yorkshire for The Amazing Blog this time - and happily so, for some of the best things come out of this glorious part of England AKA ‘God’s own country’, and we are never slow in jumping forward to celebrate it. But we aren’t talking ubiquitous puddings, or dales here, but coffee - deliciously smooth, and naturally sweet, cold brewed coffee to be exact! The secret of cold brewing we learn, is that it takes longer for the flavours and aromas to extract, and therefore keeps the acidity low. The Fitch Brew Co have taken this concept and added their own roasting technique and grind profiles to create a superb range of refreshing and totally delicious coffees for us all to enjoy.

Founded by young pioneers Andy and Emily who knew that there was more to soft drinks, more to flavour, more to brewing techniques and more to transparency! All coffee used in cold brew here is from using single origin, Rainforest Alliance coffee where they apply their own specific roast and grind profile. The cooler the water the slower the flavours and aromas will extract. It also has a limited acidity thus providing a naturally sweet and smooth taste. The names of each coffee are themselves a magnet for our tastebuds. Here are our favourite three: Coffee Infused With Sicilian Lemon, or perhaps the Blood Orange Infusion  will tempt you? Delve a little deeper and we find Dark Fortune Cold Brew Coffee with Amber Tonic which definitely gives a good zing! It is well worth checking out to see their full range, and to read the background story to this creative team, who also pride themselves on their sustainability through a collaboration with Bio-Bean to recycle their coffee waste into high performance products, displacing conventional fuels and chemicals.

Each coffee is brewed in-house, with all-natural ingredients, no refined sugar and all vegan friendly - giving every one of us a drop of Yorkshire magic in each can, along with the required caffeine hit to brace us for the morning. Each can is 330ml, and depending on the flavour, they range in price from £1.99 - £2.20, but let’s face it, none of us will be opting for ‘just the one’ option, so obviously there are multipacks at £8.50 for a pack of four cans. All the ranges and much more merchandise besides are available here.  

 

 

Flux ‘n’ Flame Jewellery Course

With summer in full force now, we’ve been looking for new ways to relax and rewind for our weekends at The Amazing Blog, which had us stumbling upon the Flux ‘n’ Flame Jewellery School. While we love our makeup, skincare, and wellness products; but we also like sourcing and designing gorgeous jewellery. So, we were excited to learn about the many jewellery-making classes that this school offers. Located in Dorset, just 20 miles off the coast, Flux ‘n’ Flame provides the ideal countryside escape for the weekend or a day to relax, put aside your phone, and bring home a piece of one-of-a-kind jewellery at the end.

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Since its founding in 2003, Flux ‘n’ Flame has grown to become one of the top independent jewellery schools in the UK. Jesa and Al Dickson joined their combined 45 years of experience as professional jewellery designers and makers to create an experience like no other. Classes are kept at a maximum of eight people to ensure an intimate, friendly, and comfortable atmosphere in Flux ‘n’ Flame’s professional and fully equipped workshop.

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In the class, you learn the many practical skills of jewellery making such as soldering, sawing, and filing. You also learn different techniques from the best while being given the freedom to work on your own project at your own pace. No matter your skill level, a complete beginner like us or an expert, the teacher provides support and guidance during throughout the process. For more advanced jewellery makers, you can perfect your existing skills and learn new ones. Endless tea, coffee, and biscuits are also provided to stimulate the creative process. Let’s not forget at the end of the course you get to take home a piece of jewellery (necklace, rings, bracelets, and more) that you’ve worked hard to make and will have your friends asking where you bought it.

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Whether you want to do anything to escape our bustling city, learn a new skill, or build up an existing talent, Flux ‘n’ Flame offers the perfect class for you. Each class is seven hours long and prices vary depending on how many days of classes you would like. A one-day course is £115 per person, a two-day course is £225 per person, and a three-day course is £315 per person. You can find the class calendar here and book a class hereWe can’t wait to book in and show off our new designs!

Curlee Box

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For any regular readers of the Amazing Blog it’s obvious that we love discovering new beauty products. There’s nothing more exciting than receiving a box at your door and opening it to see new products for you to try. That’s why we couldn’t resist the Curlee Box.

Curlee Box is the perfect way to try new hair products without breaking the bank. Designed especially for women with curly and kinky hair, Curlee Box delivers a minimum of 4 full-sized hair care products to your door each month. The best part? It’s only £20. It’s so much fun every month to receive a surprise box of goodies, and the day that The Curlee Box came, we gathered around to see what products we received.

We received five products from the Curls Professional Cashmere + Caviar Collection (try to say that 5 times fast) in our July Curlee Box. Let’s talk about the The Cashmere + Caviar Hair Bath is a luxurious hair bath that gently cleanses with active charcoal while conditioning at the same time with cashmere + caviar extract. Caviar is a rich source of vitamin A and vitamin D along with omega-3 fatty acids which all strengthen and nourish the curls. Now you can feel rather grand by saying you have Cashmere + Caviar in your hair! The Cashmere + Caviar Hair Silk is a great leave-in conditioner for curly hair. We love how it melted through the hair like butter and left it feeling as soft as cashmere. It can be used on dry or wet hair, but we prefer running it through when the hair is damp. Followed by the Cashmere + Caviar Hair Masque  this is a great deep conditioning masque infused with antioxidants and vitamins to strengthen and smooth the hair, ideal as a treatment once a week to help scalp damage an promote faster hair growth.  Next, we used the Cashmere + Caviar Hair Gelle, which provides a light hold to your locks while adding sheen. Cashmere emits high wattage shine, stops frizz and makes tresses more controllable! Last but certainly not least, we used the Cashmere + Caviar Hair Serum, which is a growth enhancing and hair strengthening treatment. It smells delightful and leaves the hair with a natural shine.

Now we feel like queens with the mixture of Cashmere + Caviar in our hair products. The Curls Professional line left our hair feeling nourished, strengthened and like a million dollars. We love how fun the Curlee Box is and how each month we can discover a new favourite brand.  If you’d like to receive new hair care products to your door every month, you can subscribe to the Curlee Box here for only £20 a month.