Thursday 27 November 2014

New Website

Hey guys!

I'm so busy at the moment, and I completely forgot to post here about my new website.

I will no longer be writing here, and instead all my posts have been moved over to:

I'm so much happier with the layout and overall look of this page, and I hope you enjoy it too.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts over on the new site!

Sinéad x

Sunday 9 November 2014

DIY Makeup-brush Cleanser

Happy Sunday everyone!

Sunday is always my favourite day of the week. I love to just relax around the house in my pyjamas, watch some documentaries, go for a nice walk, cook some food, and do some preparation for the week ahead. One thing I always do on a Sunday is wash my makeup-brushes, to have them nice and clean for the week ahead. For a long time, I was using store bought brush cleansers, but I was going through them quite fast and therefore the cost was beginning to add up. I became determined to create a simple DIY cleansing method for brushes and I finally have one I'm really happy with. It leaves my brushes soft, clean, and most importantly gets rid of any bacteria and build-up!

Why do we need to clean our brushes and how often should we do it?
This may seem a little obvious to say, but when you use your make-up tools bacteria, oils and dirt will build up on them if they are not cleaned regularly! If you continue to use the same brushes on a daily basis without ever washing them, this bacteria and dirt is getting transferred onto your skin, which can cause breakouts and/or irritation of the skin. I try to clean mine now every two/three days, and with this DIY method it's so simple that you can do it in a few minutes.

DIY Brush cleanser
You only need two ingredients for this, and as they are two of the most common things found in the kitchen, the chances are you already own them!

What you'll need 
Anti-bacterial washing up liquid
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pour equal measure of the washing up liquid and olive oil onto a plate.
Swirl the brush/beauty blender around the plate.
Massage the liquid into the brush with your fingers and then simply rinse.
Repeat with the same brush until the water runs clear, meaning the brush is completely clean.

After you've washed your brushed, simply squeeze the excess water out of them and leave them lying flat on a towel to dry.

The anti-bacterial washing up liquid will thoroughly clean the brushes and get rid of any bacteria and residue build up. Using olive oil ensures that the bristles will not dry up and are left lovely and conditioned.

Enjoy the rest of your afternoon!

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Food for Beautiful Skin: Turmeric

If you read my last post, about how to make your very own turmeric face mask, you will be aware of some of the reasons this bright yellow powder is so great for topical application on our skin! So now let's looks at it's health benefits and the ways in which it can improve your complexion.

Can help to lower cholesterol
Obviously this is a big claim to make, and eating turmeric alone will not give you such benefits! But, if you include turmeric in your diet, as well as eating well and exercising, you can really reap these rewards as it has a positive effect on cholesterol buildup in the blood vessels.

Fights colds and flu
Turmeric is great for the immune system. Therefore, it's a great ingredient to include in dishes for the coming chilly months!

Combats inflammatory diseases
Turmeric's natural anti-inflammatory qualities mean it may work as well as some anti-inflammatory meds, without the side effects. If you google 'turmeric and pain relief' or 'turmeric and arthritis', you will see a number of stories about how it has helped in cases of people having severe strain or pain in their joints. Pretty amazing!

Fights the symptoms of acne
Again, because of it's anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is the perfect ingredient to include in your diet if you suffer from acne. Acne results in inflammation of the skin, so including turmeric in your diet (and applying it topically) can help to calm down this inflammation.

Controls oil, brightens skin
Turmeric is great to include in your diet and apply topically to the skin as it both controls oil and brightens the skin, reducing any pigmentation marks or redness.

And now for my favourite part of this post, how to include turmeric in your diet! Recently, I've simply been adding it into many things I cook, such as stir fries, casseroles, soup, curries. Here is one recipe I've been absolutely loving that features this bright yellow gem!

Coconut and turmeric veggie curry

What you'll need
1 can coconut milk
Tomato puree
Chopped tomatoes (optional)
Curry powder
Mixed herbs
Fresh chilli (dried is fine too)
black pepper
sweet potato

Fry your onions and garlic in a large sauce pan
Add in 2-3 teaspoons of turmeric and 1-2 teaspoons curry powder, stir.
Grate a thumb sized cube of ginger and add to the pot.
Next, add your tomato puree and the chilli. I use a whole chilli (or two!) but add according to your taste.
Shake the can of coconut milk and then pour into the mixture. Add in half a can of water too.
Once this boils, I like to add in a few tablespoon of chopped tomatoes.
Now, you will have a bubbling saucepan of liquid. Add in chopped sweet potato, peppers and chickpeas and simply leave to simmer (not boil) for about 30 mins.
You can choose your own quantity for the veg and liquids, depending on how much curry you want to make. Its tastes even better the next day, so I recommend making a lot!
Serve with fresh basmati rice.

This dish is truly delicious and it's the perfect healthy comfort food for when the weather is colder, like it is now.  In fact, I'm off to make some!



Saturday 25 October 2014

Turmeric Face Mask

Happy Saturday everybody! I hope you are enjoying the weekend. I have such a busy schedule during the week teaching here in Barcelona. From Monday to Friday I am running around the city all day as each class I teach is in a different location, so by the time the weekend comes around, I can't wait to just kick back and relax. Today I am chilling out listening to music with my new favourite DIY skin recipe, my turmeric face mask!

My next post will delve deeper into the reasons that turmeric is so great for us, but for now I will simply tell you that it is amazing to include in a face mask for the following reasons:
  • Turmeric is antiseptic
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties (will help to heal and reduce acne, rosacea, and any redness/irritation of the skin
  • It helps to lighten pigmentation marks/scars
  • It controls oil
So let's get to it!

What you'll need
- Turmeric powder
- Sweet almond oil (you can also use coconut oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil...)
- Cooked oats
- Organic honey (use Manuka honey if you have it!)
- Small Plastic container/glass bowl
- Teaspoon

  • Add one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of sweet almond oil to your container. Mix well. Then, add in two heaped teaspoons of cooked oats.

  • Top this off with a teaspoon of turmeric and mix everything together really well. The mixture should be more on the thick side. You don't want this to be runny as turmeric will stain everything! If your mixture is too liquidy, add more cooked oats.

  • Make sure to wear an old t-shirt as turmeric will stain if it drips onto your clothes. Apply to your cleansed face with a clean foundation/small paintbrush. Or, if you're lazy like me, simply use the back of your teaspoon to apply the mixture all over your face!
  • Don't be afraid to use this paste right below your eyes. It'd be great for lightening dark circles and will not irritate the delicate eye area.
  • Leave on for about 20 mins and rinse off. There will probably still be slight yellow residue left on your skin, so I cleanse again with cooked oats and wipe my face with rosewater on a cotton pad.

I've been using this mask twice a week and it makes my skin so soft and helps to keep it clear. It can be a little messy the first time you try it, but once you get used to making the mixture its a piece of cake! The honey, oats and sweet almond oil help to moisturise and soften the skin, while the turmeric will combat any bacteria or redness, as well as stimulating the growth of new skin cells and improving skin's elasticity.

Let me know if you try this mask, I'd love to hear your opinions on it!

Sinéad x 

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Wednesday 8 October 2014

Food For Beautiful Skin: Sweet Potato Fries

I'm excited to show this recipe to you lovely readers, as it's so very simple to make and so very tasty! I'm someone who eternally craves unhealthy foods, but when I give into temptation too often, my skin pays the price. Greasy/unhealthy food for me = acne. I used to be so envious of my friends who could eat anything they wanted and still have clear skin, but now in a way I am thankful, because the reaction my skin gets has motivated me to find healthy and skin friendly alternatives to my favourite treats! And of course, I also strive to be healthy on the inside, and to have more energy from wholesome foods, so i'm happy to switch to a healthier alternative. Check out my previous post about the reasons why eating this versatile vegetable is good for your skin!

 So why not follow this recipe and give delicious sweet potato fries a try!

Paprika & Black Pepper Sweet Potato Wedges

What you'll need
Sweet potato
Coconut Oil (Or Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Black Pepper

Oven Temperature
220 or 240 if you prefer crispy wedges!

Choose a sweet potato that is medium sized and narrow. It's easy for cutting into wedges and the really large sweet potatoes have less flavour!

  • Chop your sweet potato into wedges, like in the above picture. You can half each wedge if you like, but I like to keep mine this size.
  • Add in a good amount of coconut oil, 1-2 tablespoons. Alternatively, you can olive oil. I just love the taste and health benefits of coconut oil, which I will write about soon! Next, add some paprika and black pepper. I love spicy food, so I add in very generous amount of both of these! The flavours work so well together with the sweet potato.

  • Mix well!

  • Spread out evenly on a pre-heated oven tray. (Make sure it's really hot, you should hear a sizzling noise when you transfer them onto the try/foil!)  The timing really depends on the oven and how much your try has pre-heated, but on average I would say that these take about 20/25 mins to cook. Make sure you flip them over half way through to ensure that they are cooked evenly on both sides.

Et Voila, delicious healthy and golden sweet potato fries! I always serve mine with hummus, which people seem to really enjoy. All of the flavours just work so well together. In fact, writing this post has made me hungry so I'm off to cook some myself!

Happy cooking!


Tuesday 7 October 2014

Food for Beautiful Skin: Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are one of my favourite healthy snacks to eat and they are also one of the most skin loving foods out there! This tasty and versatile vegetable is a delicious natural way to boost the health of your skin. Let's have a look at how incorporating sweet potato into your diet can help you to achieve a healthy complexion!

Sweet potatoes are packed with the anti-oxidant beta-carotene, which converts to Vitamin A in your body. One medium sweet potato provides your body with the complete recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A, which helps to keep skin smooth and soft. Beta-carotene also helps to internally protect your skin from sun damage cause by excessive UV exposure

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is great for the skin. It is involved in the production of collagen, keeping skin firm and helping it to maintain it's elasticity. Vitamin C also helps to accelerate wound healing, so if you suffer from acne, getting foods containing this vitamin into your diet will speed up the skin's recovery process.

Complex Carbohydrates
Sweet potato is a fantiastic source of complex carboydrates, which are the best form of fuel for the body! Eating complex carbs results in slower digestion, keeping you full for longer and ensuring that insulin levels do not spike, which can cause acne.

As well as being great great for controlling blood pressure, recovering muscles and giving us energy, potassium also has the ability to reduce swelling. This is great for anyone suffering from blemishes, rashes, or any kind of condition where the skin becomes irritated.

Anti-Stress vitamins and minerals
Vitamin C, Potassium, Iron, Manganese and Magnesium promote relaxation and all play a part in helping the body and mind to cope with stress. People often complain of stress being something that causes skin issues to flare up.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog post, when I'll be writing about my favourite way to eat sweet potato, with a delicious and simple recipe!



Monday 22 September 2014

Food for Beautiful Skin: Avocados

Following on from the Skindividual post about my avocado face mask, I thought it would only be right to talk about how amazing this fruit is (yet I always think of it as a vegetable!) when incorporated into your diet.

Anti-Inflammatory properties
The phytonutrient compound found in avocados, such as polyphenols and flavonoids have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. This will help to reduce any sort of rashes or acne on the skin's surface

Antioxidant Carotenoids for healthy skin
Alpa carotene, beta carotene, beta cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein are free radical quenching compounds found in the avocado. These compounds provide significant protection for your skin from the environmental damage that can lead to fine lines, wrinkles and other visible signs of ageing. They have also been thought to improve skin's density, thickness, tone and general appearance. 

The 'good fats'!
The monosaturated fats in avocados help to regulate blood sugar levels. These fats, along with the fruit's high fibre content will ensure that that blood sugar levels stay steady throughout the day when incorporate regularly into your diet!

If you're new to avocados....
Personally, I can be a little scared when introducing new foods into my diet, especially when I'm not exactly sure what dishes I can throw them into!
One thing I like to do with avocados is simply mash them up (basically guacamole!) which I serve with various things I eat, like omelettes, fajitas, sandwiches, etc.

  • Scoop out half the flesh of a firm (so it's easy to mash) avocado 
  • Mash on a chopping board with a fork (it's fun!)
  • Sprinkle in some black pepper and the juice of half a lime, tasting as you add them. (Add whatever other seasonings you like!)
  • Scoop into a bowl and serve as an accompaniment to any dish!