Roasted almonds and raisins chocolate treats


I decided to make these little chocolate treats for easter, as I am still trying to make healthier food choices. Now they are not healthy in them selves, but they are maybe just a bit more healthy than most of the chocolate easter treats you find in the supermarkets.


Ingredients:
200g dark dairy free chocolate of choice
25g coconut oil
2 tablespoons of sweet freedom or agave
pinch of salt
100g almonds
100g raisins


lightly roast the almonds in the oven for about 5-8 minutes, until they get a more golden colour inside the almond when cutting it in half. Set aside to cool, then chop roughly.


Melt chocolate, coconut oil, sweet freedom or agave, and salt on a low heat while stirring. Once all melted and incorporated, turn the almonds and raisins into the chocolate mixture.


Spread into a small dish or baking pan lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for a few hours or over night, then cut into bite size pieces.

Keep refrigerated until serving. 


Enjoy
Mia
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Paper decorated Easter eggs decorations.


Easter decorations since living in London the past 6 years, I thought it was about time to make them again.
They are quite easy to make and are really great if you have made the whole in the eggs a bit to big when blowing them out, as they will be covered with paper anyway.


What you will need:
Eggs that are blown out and sterilised. Click Here to see how.
sheets of handmade paper
string or thin ribbon
PVA glue, that dries transparent 
and a small brush



Start by looping through the string or ribbon and making a big enough knot for the ribbon not fall out of the top. tip is to use a match in the loop, so the ribbon doesn’t fall out while you are tying the knot.


Tear the paper into small pieces, making sure you don’t have any straight edges. This will make the pieces seem seamless when applying to the egg.
Then just start gluing a piece of paper at a time onto the egg, brushing from the middle of the piece of paper towards the edges of it. Add a little bit of water to the glue if to thick.


Once the whole egg is covered, leave to dry and then add a second layer if needed.


End with brushing on a layer off glue to seal it all in.  


Happy Easter
Mia
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The end of Eco Friendly March


So my eco friendly March challenge is now over, but hopefully I will carry on with most of my challenges and it has certainly made me think a lot more about things every day.
I don’t feel like last week was so successful though, I did end up using the dryer twice and with our current shower, it was impossible to shut off the water in-between shampooing, as it would talk forever to get hot again, wasting the same amount of water. But it has definitely made me more conscious about things, like being conscious about what water appliances we will be installing in the new bathroom, the fact that we probably should have more than one set of beddings, so when washing, it doesn’t have to be dry before having to be put back on in the evening.
I have also started looking on all of the food packaging of what is recyclable, making sure I have recycled everything I could this week. But currently we have to bring our recyclables to our supermarket, that has a recycling area, so I went online to order new recycling bins from our council, where I found out that there is a lot of help with recycling in our area, so I have put it on the agenda for our next neighbour meeting and hopefully they will all be on board with a few recycling changes. 
And for energy I actually found, that we were already doing what we can in that area. Most of our light bulbs are energy saving ones and we are quite good at shutting of unnecessary lights and appliances. 


All of March as a whole I think has been quite enlighten for me, there were definitely areas I feel like I have improved on and I have become a lot more conscious about being eco friendly in every day life. But some of the things I will defiantly keep doing, is using my bike more and the car less. Within a very short time, I can already feel a big change in my energy and I have gotten back to actually like taking the bike.
I have also found it extremely easy to bring my own bags to the supermarket and on the days where I have forgotten to bring, I actually get annoyed with the plastic bags after putting the groceries away.
But the biggest change I think is going organic, even my husband has really gotten on board with it and we pretty much only buy organic now. Our favourite being organic strawberries, that just have so much more flavour despite not being in season and we have been having them raw every evening as an evening snack.
The only thing that I find quite strange (and a bit difficult with my height) is that most supermarkets put their organic on the top shelf. I mean wouldn’t it make more sense to have it on the middle shelf, as they are the products that go of the fastest, so from a business side, those would be the once you would want people to grab for, not put them up where people can’t reach them!


I have actually really enjoyed this month and I really hope I will be able to continue with most of my changes, as this has definitely been an educational month for me, where I feel like I have learned a lot. 


Mia
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More natural hair colouring


Working as a hairdresser I developed a little bit of a sensitivity to a lot of products you use when working in a salon, actually a lot of hairdressers do, despite using rubber gloves and having good ventilation. 
One of my biggest problems to date, is hair colouring, which leaves my scalp itchy for a few weeks after and makes me break out in little red and dry bumps in my scalp and on my forehead. Not really something that I feel like I want to inflict on myself if possible, but since I don’t really feel like it is time for me to show off the few grey hairs I have now acquired, I have been searching to find a brand that works for me.
So far I have found two more natural brands that works for me personally and they are both shop brands. Despite being a big believer in salon hair colour, in these cases I will make an exception, as they are not colour heavy like most store brands. 
First is an English brand called Tint of nature, that uses Organic ingredients for their natural ingredients. This was the first one I started using and the one I find most gentle on my scalp, but this one isn’t as easy to get a hold off any more, since the place I used to get it from closed down. So I have switched to Naturtint, as pictured above, which is a Spanish brand that is available at Holland and Barrets and Whole Foods. 


They are both very similar in the end result. Both are ammonia free and have a very gentle scent to them, though I would advice still colouring your hair where there is good ventilation and to use gloves.
With both colours you get an amazing shine to your hair after colouring and the hair feels very soft and nourished, almost like after a hair treatment.
The colour stay is a bit different than normal shop brands, in that they fade a lot quicker, but this is actually a good thing in my opinion. This means the colour isn’t colour heavy in your hair, so if you ever want to go lighter or even blond, it will be a lot easier, plus it won’t weigh down your hair.
The colour starts to fade around the four week mark, which is where most hair colourist, if getting your hair coloured in a salon, suggest that you get your hair re-coloured again anyway.
And for covering greys, I will say it covers around 98%, like most salon colours.
All in all these hair colours would get full stars from me if I was rating them in that way.


On more information on both brands visit:
www.tintofnature.com
www.naturesdream.co.uk/naturtint 


Mia
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The Organic Pharmacy Discovery Kit



Because I am doing Eco Friendly March, I wanted to try going all organic with skincare again. It has been around 14 years since I used all organic products and back then it was the Dr.Hauschka series. Despite not being that impressed then, I thought things must have changed in the last 14 years, and organic skincare products must have become a lot better since then, so gave them a go again.
I had heard quite a few people talk about The Organic Pharmacy and after looking on their website and seeing a Discovery/Travel kit, I decided to try that one out, as it gave me a chance to try out most of their products all at once.


It is quite an expensive Discovery set at £45, especially if you do the math, as product wise, you are actually paying £9 more for the products per ml all together. Plus the sizes of the products are a bit to small to really try out the products, as I am a very big believer in the 3 week rule when trying out products, but with these sizes there simply wouldn’t be enough for 3 weeks.


The Carrot Butter Cleanser, I found very difficult to wash off, it almost felt like trying to wipe off vaseline and it left to much residue for my skins liking. It only lasted me a week as well.
The Herbal Toner was wonderful and smelled really nice and fresh, I did find it a bit drying on my skin though.
The Antioxidant Face Gel, is probably the only one I would purchase again, as I really liked the way it absorbed into my skin and it had a really lovely citrusy smell but in a light and fresh way. I do however think there are a lot better antioxidants on the market that are far less expensive.
The Antioxidant Face Firming Serum I actually had to stop using after a week, as it was way to rich for my skin. It didn’t really get absorbed by my skin, just laid on top of my skin, making my skin feel very oily all day and clocking up my pores.
The Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream, this smelled lovely and was very nice when applying on the skin, but again, I feel like there are a lot better products on the market for that price.


I think a lot of the problems I have with organic products, is that they are just not formulated well enough to penetrate deep enough into the layers of the skin and to develop it so it does, would mean it would no longer be qualified as organic.


So all in all I wasn’t a big fan and sort of wish I had spent my money on something else, as £45 is a lot of money for not even two weeks worth of products.


Mia
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Eco Friendly March, week four


Week three went really well, I have definitely used my bicycle a lot more and the only times we have used the car was for my husband to go to work and a trip to the home improvement store for supplies for house renovations. There are just things you can’t bring on a bicycle, and big planks of wood would be one of them, but instead of going to the store when ever we needed some supplies, we made a list of what we would need for the whole week and bought it all in one go. This not only made us be more organised and use the car less, but it also meant that we didn’t waste time going to the store, that we could use working on the house. But doing all my errands on the bike or on foot, has also meant that I have been getting more exercise in during the day just by doing errands, a win win in my book. 

Not getting plastic bags while doing my shopping has also been going really well and we only forgot to bring our own bag once during the week. We even made a “romantic” walk, out of going grocery shopping, by putting on bag packs and walking together to the supermarket a bit further away. When you walk there isn’t really that many things to distract you, so it just seems easier to have a long talk about things you sort of forget to talk about during the day. So not only did we get some exercise, did our shopping, saved money on fuel, but we also got some quality time together, just by leaving the car at home. 

I have also found this genius eco friendly shopping bag from www.trolley-dolly.co.uk that I will be getting in the near future, just waiting for new designs to come out. As I think this will work really well to bring on the bike or when I am out for a walk.


Week four:This week I will be trying to change some of the little things at home , like becoming better at recycling, not using the tumble dryer, saving water and energy.

Mia
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Different take on a victoria sponge cake


I came up with this recipe for mothers day, for any mother who might want a bit more of a healthier cake (not in the diet fat free way though) or who may be struggling with some food intolerance’s. 

It is super easy to make and will make any mothers Mother’s Day extra special I think.

Ingredients:
300g fine spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
200ml unsweetend apple sauce (click here on how to make yourself)
100ml flavourless oil (light olive oil, vegetable oil, groundnut oil)
150ml agave or sweet freedom 
4 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste


Strawberry jam with no added sugar (I use St. Dalfour, click here for more info )


Fresh strawberries


125ml whipping cream (I use Lactofree, click here for more info)
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste


Preheat oven to 175C. Line cake tins with baking paper.


Separate the eggs and whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until white and fluffy, and holding their shape.
Sift all flour, baking powder and salt in a big string bowl.
Whisk together, egg yolks, apple sauce, agave or sweet freedom and vanilla paste together in a different bowl.
Then slowly pour into the flour mixture while string together, until everything is incorporated.
Slowly turn in the stiff egg whites 1/3 at a time, being careful not to beat out the air.
Divide into the two cake tins and bake for about 30-35 minutes.
Leave to cool on a cake rack. Cakes will deflate a level out while cooling, so don’t be afraid if this happens, it is quite normal.


Once cakes have cooled and you are ready to serve, whisk whipping cream and vanilla paste until wanted thickness.
Then layer a layer of strawberry jam, cut strawberries and whipping cream on one cake layer and place the other cake layer on top.


p.s. Can be made completely dairy free by substituting the whip cream with vanilla coconut yoghurt (click here for more information) or skimming a can of coconut milk (click here to see how) and whisking in some vanilla paste and a bit of sweet freedom to taste.


Enjoy.


Mia
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