Lifestyle

Nunaïa's Nourishing Radiance Serum

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Spring has sprung, and the year seems to be flying by! This provoked a question in the office, how often do we take the time to switch off completely? It seems we do so very infrequently at The Amazing Blog, a revelation that has pushed us to think more consciously about including wellbeing rituals into our daily routines. When Nunaïa introduced their brand to us, we quickly realised it was the perfect way to do so with our skincare. Sharing our concerns for living in the fast lane, founder Nicole Connolly has created a brand focused on ritual, wellbeing and health – so you can imagine that we were eager to try their philosophy for ourselves. Not only that, but this seedling company are truly a great discovery, as they were recently awarded ‘winners’ in the category of The Best Facial Oil for Dry Skin in the prestigious 2019 Beauty Shortlist Awards.

Nicole believes that there are means and ways of bringing greater meaning and balance. Through travels to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes Mountains of Peru, she discovered a unique and balanced way of life; one in which nature, wisdom of the land and oneself could live harmoniously. More simply, she realised that her work/life balance was somewhat out of sync, driving her goal to create a skincare brand that would bring intention and meaning into people’s lives (and glowing skin as a result of this). This is where Nunaïa was born – providing raw, living and superfood products from ‘Soil to Skin’.

We couldn’t wait to try their star product: Nourishing Radiance Serum; a vegan, cruelty-free and dermatologically tested serum, containing top-notch ingredients. These include sacha inchi, maracuja, chia and avocado – rich in essential plant actives and sourced uniquely from both the Peruvian Rainforest and Andes Mountains. We particularly love the texture of this oil; it has a perfect juxtaposition of a rich oil with a non-greasy finish, helping to soothe redness and inflammation simultaneously. Thanks to the use of vitamins A, B, C and E, our skin felt smoother and nourished after use, and if that’s not enough, the concoction of ingredients also protects against pollution, and both UV and blue lights. The packaging is also eye-catching, the serum itself is in a delicate glass bottle, encased in a mint green box. Nicole has thought of everything!

To use this oil, we recommend using every night after cleansing. If you have dry skin (or are taking the time to pamper yourself one weekend morning) then it is also a treat for a dehydrated complexion. You can purchase Nunaïa's bottle of goodness for 79 Euros Here. Enjoy!

Friday Favourites: Cookbooks

Regular readers of The Amazing Blog will know that when it comes to cooking, we’re almost a perfect split. Half of us are foodies, while the rest would rather exhaust a basic recipe, than slave away in the kitchen. That said, it is universally agreed that a good cookbook can make all the difference, encouraging even the most unenthusiastic amongst us to don an apron and wooden spoon. Luckily for you, we’ve taken one for the team, correlating four new recipe books worth a try. We’re sure you’ll find one just for you!

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Firstly, many of us are trying to introduce meat-free meals into our weekly diets, meaning a good cookbook can prevent the need to exist solely on a nut roast or vegetable curry. Our cookbook of choice is The Modern Vegetarian, designed to inspire even the most uninspired, encouraging delicious vegetable-based meals packed full of exotic flavours and textures.

Written by world-renowned chef, Maria Elia, this cookbook aims to prove that cutting meat out of a meal doesn’t cut out the flavour; instead, it is a gateway to try new flavour combinations and techniques. Elia’s experience is reputable; she has a Michelin recommendation and has earned 2 AA rosettes. Viewers of Sunday Brunch and Saturday Kitchen may also recognise her, having appeared as a guest chef on both. We don’t know about you, but we feel at ease knowing that recipes have been tried and tested by an expert – because whether an avid chef or not, few have the patience for a disastrous result! The book itself covers everything from ‘Sophisticated Starters’ to ‘Sofa Suppers’, but we were most pleased by the ‘Stylish Sides’ section. All too often, we’re faced with plain boiled rice or pasta to accompany dishes – something Elia has challenged and avoided. Instead, you can transport yourself to India with a Red Lentil Dhal (page 114) or try your hand at an Aubergine Houmous (page 113). Whichever recipe takes your fancy most, you’ll be sure to enjoy the conversational element of the book, with personal notes written by Elia, substantiating the authenticity of the dishes and making for an enjoyable evening read.

To explore innovative vegetable based dishes for yourself, then The Modern Vegetarian can be purchased here for £16.99.

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There's no doubt that the smell of food entices you into the kitchen, but what about our other senses? This is something we hadn't contemplated, so we were intrigued by Sybil Kapoor's Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste, Sound cookbook. This book recognises the combined importance of all five senses, dedicating a chapter to each, filled with delicious recipes, and reliable advice, from layering flavours, to using temperature and sound.

Kapoor has a wealth of knowledge in the realms of cooking; as the author of eight books, she is one of the most respected food writers in Britain and continues to propel her knowledge through a variety of publications. Each chapter is based around one of the five senses: Taste, Flavour (smell), Texture (touch and sound), Temperature (touch) and Appearance; however, our favourie part of the book, is the integrated feel. Each chapter is intertwined, with theory and advice allowing the reader to establish the links between senses. Kapoor aims to prove that by using a little theory and practical testing, you will be able to produce simple, yet delicious dishes. Now this all may sound a little complex to a less than enthusiastic chef, however, even ready meal lovers in the office were taken by the carefully designed recipes, especially the Stir-fried Squid with Chilli and Black Bean Sauce (page 144) and the Sticky Asian Beef Kebab with Cucumber Dip (page 92). For those with a sweet tooth, the Sticky Spiced Lemon Gin Cake (page 75) also proved to be a big hit - so whether you're interested in the links between the senses or not, you'll be sure to learn new tips and tricks to create delicious dinner party worthy meals.

To tempt your own senses, Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste, Sound is available here for £24.00.

If you're looking to be transported to more exotic lands this Friday, then Baladi Palestine - A Celebration of Food from Land and Sea by Joudie Kalla is just the cookbook for you! Taking equal inspiration from her historical background and personal experience of Palestine, we were struck by how little we knew about this exotic and varying landscapes. These conditions create diverse and new flavours, all of which are included in Kalla's recipes. With twists on traditional dishes, this book has an authentic yet innovative feel to it. Better still, it is jam-packed with stunning photography, from food images to landscapes and the people of Palestine. We were sold before even trying the recipes - quite an accolade!

With over 250 pages, this visually interesting book is equally colourful in terms of culinary delights. Flicking through the pages, you're met with everything from spiced lamb, to filled speciality pastries and watermelon juice. One of our favourite elements of this book is the splitting of chapters, not merely by dish, but by the areas in which the ingredients are sourced. Varying from Markets and Village Life to The Bakery and The Farm, a quick flick through this cookbook tempts the senses, but equally gives a quick snapshot of the Palestine lifestyle. We recommend the chapter: From The River To The Sea, in particular, the Saffron Monkfish and Vegetable Skewers (page 177), delicious as the weather picks up.

To inject a little bit of culture into your cooking, you can purchase Baladi Palestine - A Celebration of Food from Land and Sea here for £26.

Last but by no means least, we discovered The RAF 100 Cookbook. Created to celebrate the centenary of the Royal Air Force, this cookbook contains 100 recipes from 100 countries, split by chapter, into monumental moments of RAF history. We love the concept behind this cookbook, drawing inspiration from the saying that "an army marches on its stomach" and taking the research from acting and former servicemen and servicewomen to create authentic and delicious recipes from around the world. Additionally, this cookbook contains the recipes of top household chefs such as James Martin, Tom Kerridge and Cyprus Todiwala, emerging a plethora of knowledge to inspire your weekly menu.

We often find that cookbooks are very niche in their flavour combinations, and while this is certainly no bad thing, we like the variety of this cookbook. Each of the 100 countries are covered in a sensitive and informative manner, with a detailed explanation of the RAF's involvement alongside each recipe. It is clear just how much time and effort has gone into this book, spreading as far as to include eye-catching photographs of the dishes, alongside black and white images of the RAF in past years. The way in which the chapters are segregated stays true to the inspiration behind the book, from The Early Years to The Modern Age, conflicts are addressed through the medium of cultural dishes. Additionally, a percentage of each sale is donated to one of five RAF charities, directly supporting the inspiration of the cookbook. It is very difficult to pinpoint certain dishes here; however, the likes of the Ascension Island's Saint Helenian Fishcakes (page 300) and Maldivian Fish Curry (page 288) stand out for their exotic nature. The point here though, is that this is a cookbook for all occasions - whether you're looking for a local dish or one from further afield, you need only flick through to the country of your choice for an authentic and delicious recipe.

To inject 100 new recipes into your repertoire, you can purchase The RAF 100 Cookbook here for £25.

The Bakedin Baking Club - Lemon Drizzle Loaf

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Hands up if you like to indulge in a sweet treat…or two! We certainly do at The Amazing Blog. However, it has to be said, when it comes to baking, some of us are less Mary Berry, and more inclined to visit the local supermarket instead! We were therefore pleased to re-visit the goodies from Bakedin, having tried their Mug Mixes in December (see here). This time, they presented us with their Lemon Drizzle Loaf, part of their monthly Baking Club, and we were more than happy to oblige!

The premise of Bakedin’s Baking Club is a simple (but delicious) one, to provide new recipes and ingredients each month, allowing you to create both easy and tasty sweet treats. Those of us less inclined to bake from scratch are often found in the ready-mix baking section in the local shop, and are sadly more than not, disappointed by our results which are - ahem - less than satisfactory. This is where Bakedin is different, their ingredients are top notch with recipes that are reviewed and approved by Michel Roux, himself. A chef with no less than 3 Michelin stars and a wealth of experience – you can be safe in the knowledge that the result will be a scrumptious one.

Upon opening our box, we were pleased to see each ingredient is individually weighed and packaged in numbered sachets. To follow the recipe, you need only follow the step by step (numbered) guide, with visual images for reference, and tips and tricks from Roux himself. Nutritional information, skill level and timings are all covered in a handy card, alongside written measurements and methods for future baking. We tried the Lemon Drizzle Loaf and were thrilled to find a recipe mix that doesn’t merely help with the cake mixture, but also with the buttercream and icing recipes too. Although the box only contains dry ingredients, the instructions are written detailing everything, including a list of additional wet and refrigerated ingredients you will need. The best part? The finished product tastes like a professional cake.

Pricing wise, each box is £7 per month (for pay monthly plans), with the bonus of free delivery, and a box easily posted through a letterbox. To get started, simply choose your method of payment (monthly, quarterly or every six months), and your box will be delivered around the middle of the month you signed up in. Each plan auto-renews, and you can cancel anytime (although we’re sure you won’t feel the need once you've tried the recipes). To see for yourself, visit the Bakedin website here. You’ll be a baking pro in no time!

Morris & Co Travel Wallet

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Amid all the political hoohaa that we are currently having to wade through on a daily basis, one issue that seems to be taking on an increasing amount of importance is … of course, what colour are our passports going to be post-Brexit? The burgundy red leather will clearly be phased out, and the suggestion is we will have to start co-ordinating our kit with something blue - but what kind of blue? Have these choices been made already? Perhaps the powers that be, have one or two more issues higher on the national interest list, but for those of us wanting to be prepared, it is important.

Which is where we at The Amazing Blog think that this rather glorious wallet from Morris & Co. comes in, which by-passes all the potential shades of blue/red/pink or even purple hues that may in fact be ultimately chosen for our pocket books of identity verification. As with all things Morris, the trademark printed packaging perfectly presents this travelling must-have - we have the ‘Acanthus’ version here which is then replicated in the lining of the wallet allowing the essence of design to flow through this product from beginning to end.

This William and Morris design wallet is just one of many gift sets that are available from Heathcote & Ivory who’s style embraces the world of interior design and the great British outdoors, simply making it part of everyday life. Every product is designed or formulated in London, and their collections are a confident mix of bright colours, floral patterns in both vintage and modern styles; with attention given to every detail - which is the distinctive hallmark of this brand. With spaces for your credit cards as well as the all-important passport, we can edit down those bulky travel companions of days gone by which end up needing extra overhead locker space once we have squeezed all the essentials in. This version is streamlined elegance which can happily nestle in your bag or suit pocket without screaming to the world ‘it’s in here somewhere!’

William Morris of course was one of the greatest figures of the Arts & Craft Movement and, should we choose to, we can be greeted with exceptional examples of his work and design philosophy at every turn, from houses that he designed, to the vast archive of wall coverings and fabrics which went inside them. Synonymous with a game changing time period in Victorian Britain, the work and values, which he pushed forward. All of which can be seen being reinvented and adapted to our modern way of life, thanks to the exciting path the Morris & Company team are following.

This little wallet represents so much more than just a pretty cover for our passport - it is a symbol of some of the best creativity in our design heritage. And whoever said that good design must cost the earth needs to eat their words, as at £24 or thereabouts, this is a steal! Available from here at Heathcote Ivory, or from stockists like John Lewis & Partners.

Far Side Cold Brew Coffee

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Do you ever get the feeling that the very human need to enjoy some of our simple daily pleasures, is being slowly eroded away by reports that we shouldn’t be eating this or applying that because if it isn’t destroying the planet, then it is probably destroying us? Take the glorious indulgence of our routine grabbing of the 'first thing in the morning skinny latté with an extra shot’ - and judging by the desperation on some faces at The Amazing Blog we should perhaps make that ‘the glorious addiction…’ whichever noun applies here, the concept remains the same.

However, what if we were to tell you of a coffee company that could sweep away any feelings of guilt in one delicious and prolonged gulp, meet Far Side Coffee. For with every sip that is savoured, we are supporting an incredible initiative, engaging with members of The International Women’s Coffee Alliance which brings ‘every woman together in the coffee sector from Crop to Cup, by transforming their lives and wellbeing through strong relationships at regional and global levels’. However, maybe some background on Far Side Coffee would be appropriate here, as the company clearly shares their mission with this global movement of the empowerment women across the board. Founded by Kadie Regan just two years ago, Far Side Coffee began from a need to swig a really good brew … does that sound familiar? Some of us, simply pop in to grab a cup from our favourite barista, but Kadie went a whole other route further, brewing her libation from fresh, and distributing it locally throughout the South West of the UK. In order to expand to further markets, Kadie needed to prolong the coffee’s shelf life, but without compromising the cold brew process or adding any ‘nasties’. In 2018, the process was completed, giving a stable shelf life and no changes to the process or indeed flavour.

The results speak for themselves, and at our fingertips, we have a choice of two to enjoy - the Peruvian Cold Brew which offers up some intriguingly bold flavours and the Rwanda Cold Brew, which is an altogether more mellow journey with hints of maple nectar and a burst of lemon. However, the Peruvian probably nudges to the top of our chart for it’s darkly bold taste, with an unexpected top note of orange peel. For those who believe their coffee can only come hot in a cardboard cup, we urge you to give one of these two beauties a try. Despite their very different flavours, with each bottle containing the equivalent of 3 shots of espresso in caffeine content,.they are wonderfully refreshing (obviously drunk cold), which gives us the hit we need at whatever time of the day.

Priced at around the cost of our aforementioned latté, these goodies can be purchased in a pack of 12 for £36, or a pack of 4 for £13 from their online shop here where there is also an option to order a box of 12 containing a handy mix of origins. And in case the Taste Police are watching, they are all vegan, sugar, dairy AND gluten free, meaning a hit of the rich stuff comes without the pangs of guilt.