Mellow Mummy : Taking life as it comes...

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

World Vegan Month - Lavera Cleanser and Toner Review

You know me, I love a good cleanser and toner combo and what better way to celebrate World Vegan Month this November than with a Vegan Society registered skincare routine from online eco retailer, Big Green Smile.

The Lavera Gentle Cleansing Milk is a creamy cleanser but it isn't thick - just thick enough to stay put on a cotton pad.  It is a very mild cleanser so is suitable for sensitive skins; I've found it effective at removing the general grime of the day from my face but I've yet to give it the challenge of a full face of make-up.  The active, soothing ingredients include organic almond milk and organic mallow flower.  I like it, its everything I look for in a cleanser and, combined with the Lavera toner, makes a perfect first step in my daily cleansing routine. This cleanser currently costs £7.50 at Big Green Smile for a 125ml bottle.

The Lavera Purifying Facial Toner is intended for oily to combination skin but I think it is gentle enough to use on most skin types.  This toner is packed full of ingredients known for their soothing and cleansing properties - ginkgo bilbao, witch hazel, aloe, grape and calendula.  It has a soft, planty scent and leaves my skin feeling gorgeous afterwards.  A great toner like this always leaves your skin feeling a little tighter than normal after its astringent properties (probably the witch hazel in this case)  closes down the pores to protect against dirt. Lavera Purifying Toner currently costs £7.90 for a 125ml bottle at Big Green Smile.

If you are looking for vegan-friendly skincare products then Big Green Smile have a whole host of products from moisturisers and make up through to toothpaste and deodorant.  There are also lots of cleaning products in the Vegan Society registered range of products that includes soap, laundry detergent and dishwasher powder.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Christmas Dinner Dry Run

This weekend we had a bit of a Christmas Dinner practice!  Waitrose thought we would be the perfect people to try out their Christmas Dinner Calculator which can recommend how much food to buy for the big day.

Last year was the first time we had ever hosted Christmas at our own house and we had nooooooo idea how much food to buy, especially when it came to turkey.  As it was, due to the rather early arrival of my tiny neice, our Christmas day plans went a bit wonky but I would say that there were some foods we didn't have enough of, and others that we could have fed the entire street with (namely turkey).  The idea of the Waitrose Christmas Dinner calculator particularly appealed after last year's mistakes so I gave it a whirl...

You enter the number of people attending for Christmas day and the calculator will tell you how much of each of the common festive foods you should aim to buy.  The calculator can link you straight through to the page on the Waitrose groceries website filtered to those festive items.

We planned an early Christmas dinner as a bit of a practice.  Turkeys aren't yet available for non-Christmas deliveries so we ordered a chicken of the recommended size along with Brussel sprouts, cabbage, potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing (we couldn't decide which to try!) and 'pigs in blankets'.  Of course, we also ordered a few other festive bits and bobs just to make it feel especially Christmassy!

The girls spent the afternoon making their own Christmas Crackers and tree decorations.  They had an absolute whale of a time getting into the Christmas mood.

Dinner was great.  The amount of veg was spot on, saying that, I could ALWAYS eat more sprouts.  The potatoes were spot on as well; I'm generally eating less potatoes these days... in previous years it may not have been quite enough.  The girls don't eat red cabbage (but they did at least try it) so we didn't need anywhere near as much as the calculator recommended.  The only food which seemed to be a lot more than we needed for one meal was the meat; a 2kg bird was recommended.  We have plenty of meat left over but I guess that's exactly what you want at Christmas so that you can have cold turkey sandwiches on boxing day.  Woop.  It is making me hungry just thinking about it.

I'd say that our Waitrose Christmas Dinner Calculator experiment was a great success and I will definitely be using it for a larger party when it comes to Christmas day.

Monday, 24 November 2014

#Streamteam - Just Staying In

These last few weekends have been very unusual for us - very little planned. No weekends away. No jobs that HAVE to be done. Just simple, scrumptious family time for us to do more or less nothing. Our Saturday afternoons and evenings have been spent snuggled up on the sofa watching television and this, according to Netflix, this is how the top celebrities like to spend their evenings too. Staying in is the new 'going out'.

Even supermodel mum Claudia Schiffer admits to enjoying a night in with the family watching TV box sets on the sofa and, just like me, once the kids go to bed, she sneaks in a few episodes of Breaking Bad with the other half!

Homemade popcorn

And of course, if we're not having a weekend away, or not having to go to the DIY shop to buy MORE stuff for jobs around the house then we're saving a few pennies as well. With a Netflix subscription costing from £5.99 a month, chilling out with a box set or a family movie is a great way to save cash you would otherwise spend going out. Today the girls made a bowl of chocolate popcorn using our popcorn machine, a tablespoon of corn kernels and a tablespoon of melted chocolate hazlenut spread. With cinema prices going up by a greater percentage than house prices this year - why go to the cinema and spend pounds on popcorn when you can spend pennies at home?

Our favourite family viewing this month has been:-

For the girls, the perennial favourites such as Bubble Guppies, Lazy Town and Fireman Sam but this month they have also tried a couple of new series' such as Dinosaur Train and Pocoyo.  Lara was excited to see that Monsters Inc is now available to watch on Netflix.

And in the evenings, Mr. B. and I have enjoyed The Hunger Games : Catching Fire (which we both watched from our own devices in small manageable chunks when the other one was out of the house!) and also House, starring Hugh Laurie which is something we used to watch together many moons ago - there are 177 episodes on Netflix so I think we've got plenty of nights in ahead of us!!!

We have also noticed a few festive favourites starting to pop up on Netflix, especially with the kids specials such as christmassy Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar.  I'm sure we will be spending plenty of time watching festive films and TV on Netflix over the coming weeks as we get into the Christmas mood.

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