The things that have caught my attention this month | January discoveries

1. Micellar Water

I’ve heard of micellar (in French, pronounced “me-sellaire”) water for a while now, but (I don’t know why), I’ve only just tried it this month. “MODELS swear by them, every make-up artist has one in his or her kit and with their no-rinse, three-in-one formulas they’re perfect for travelling and late nights.” (Vogue). So what exactly is micellar water? Well, in a nutshell, it’s a soap free product that removes make-up and cleanses the skin without the need for rinsing, and also tones and moisturises it. It gets its name from micelles, that is, tiny balls of molecules that are made of fatty acid esters, which according to Bioderma, “are similar to the phospholipids of the skin cell membranes and naturally help rebuild the skin’s hydrolipidic film.” Sounds complicated, I know. I suppose, what’s important is that, I gave it a try and I absolutely love it. It’s very gentle yet very efficient in everything it claims it can do. It’s also really easy to use – I just have to soak a cotton pad with it and sweep it across my whole face, that’s it; I don’t have to rinse it off with water, I don’t have to tone my face after – perfect for lazy old me. Okay, I won’t replace my main cleanser with it; I still like to properly cleanse my face (especially at night) with my natural and organic product, but I use it most mornings and as a second cleanser (in place of toner) to wipe away any residue / dirt / make-up left by my first cleanser. So yeah, it’s definitely a product that I will continue using. I’m using Bioderma – a celebrity favourite and one of the first companies that came up with micellar water, but there are plenty of other brands out there you can try.

2. Nourish Kale Enzymatic Exfoliating Cleanser

This was one of the samples I received from my Love Lula January 2015 Beauty Box. I was (still am) really glad that I got this – it’s definitely one of the best cleansers I’ve tried so far. It’s 81% organic, which is a good start, and I absolutely love the smell – it’s very fresh – and the way my skin feels after using it. I like the fact that it’s multitasking – you can use it as a gentle cleanser, a daily exfoliating mask or a weekly revitalising facial mask. I’ve tried them all and I love them all, but I particularly like using it in the morning because, as I’ve said before, it’s very refreshing.

3. James Read Sleep Mask Tan

I first saw this product on board British Airways in one of their duty free magazines and I thought… hmm… that’s interesting – tan whilst you sleep and wake up to a golden glow in the morning. I almost bought it but a few things stopped me: (1) I was worried that it would have a strong smell (from my personal experience, self tan products can have an overpowering smell); (2) I was worried that it would stain my linen; and (3) I was worried that it would clogged my pores (I mean, we all know that skin cells do their repair work most effectively at night, and so I really don’t want to load my face with chemical-laden cream before going to sleep). However, on their website, they say that the formula is infused with skincare essentials, like aloe vera, cucumber, hyaluronic acid, red algae, etc. Sounds comforting enough. They then go on to say that you can also apply it in the morning to build a healthy glow throughout the day. Now that might actually sway me towards buying the product.

4. Priv: The On-Call Beauty and Wellness Professionals

Elle calls it “the beauty app equivalent of the taxi service Uber.” It’s an app that allows you to bring a trained professionals of your choice (be it hairdresser, make-up artists, masseuse, manicurist, etc) to wherever you are. I’ve downloaded the app but haven’t tried it out yet, or rather, I couldn’t, because there isn’t a single registered trained professionals within my area. I suppose the success of this app will depend on how many trained professionals they can recruit, but it’s still early days, so let’s see what happens. Priv is available to download from the App Store and Google Play.

5. Daisy Chakra Bracelet

Again, I saw this bracelet on board British Airways in one of their duty free magazines. It’s designed by London jewellery label Daisy and it’s worn by a number of celebrities, including Katy Perry, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Kanye West, etc. According to Daisy, “the Chakras are the manifestations of spiritual energies on the physical level, responsible for well-being and a happy, healthy life.”; and “The Chakra bracelets are designed to balance your Chakras and ensure your life force and vital energy.” Well, that’s lovely, but for me, I just think it’s pretty, and if it really balances my Chakras, then that’s a plus. Regardless, I’d love to have one.

6. Nutribullet

Of course, the superfood extractor! Which my husband and I received as a gift from a very good friend this month. I love it, we love it, and we highly recommend it! Enough said. I wrote a review here if you’re interested.

Nutri bullet review and recipe: banana blueberries smoothie with chia seeds

I’m sure you’ve heard of Nutribullet – the superfood extractor that is so in right now. It claims to “completely break down your food to get all the essential nutrition” (that you don’t even get by chewing) with its “super high powered motor” and “bullet cyclonic action”. So, no, it’s not your usual blender or juicer… it’s much better than that. My husband and I were very lucky to have been given one of these as a gift recently. We tried it for the first time last weekend and it was amazing. “Releasing essential nutrition” aside, it’s a very powerful blender, yet it’s smaller (and much more good looking) than most regular blenders. I like the fact that it’s easy to set up, use and clean. And I also like the fact that the jugs serve as cups, so you can use them to drink your smoothies (or whatever it is you made) on the go or store them in the fridge – they come with handles and lids, so it’s very convenient. With most of us leading a very busy lifestyle these days, we tend to forget to eat healthily, let alone get our 5 a day. But with Nutribullet, I believe I’ve found my shortcut to a healthier lifestyle!

Anyway, here’s the first smoothie we made with Nutribullet – we mixed two popular superfood (blueberries and chia seeds) with bananas and almond milk to create a smoothie that’s just full of goodies (that is, high in antioxidant and work as an immune system and energy booster):

angeliquelee-nutribullet-bananablueberries-01

angeliquelee-nutribullet-bananablueberries-02

If you’re interested, here’s what you need:

2 bananas
A handful of frozen blueberries
A pinch (or 2) of chia seeds
Almond milk (filled to the line)

Serves 2

Disclosure: this is a non-sponsored post; all opinions are completely my own based on my personal experience.

3 natural and organic beauty products every girl should own

Natural Products | www.angeliquelee.co.uk

1. Organic fine oatmeal

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that oatmeal has many health benefits, and I’m sure you also know that it’s very good for your skin. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, you can treat and soothe a lot of minor skin issues with it, and it’s particularly good for sensitive skin – you know the type: skin that can easily become dry, red, inflamed and itchy (like mine). I can’t even begin to tell you how much money I’ve spent (or rather, wasted) on expensive skin care products that never seemed to deliver what they promised. I began using oatmeal a couple of years ago and I’ve never looked back since. Unlike all the other products I’ve tried, it actually works, and it’s so much cheaper as well. That goes to show that you if you treat your skin kindly with natural goods, your skin will thank you for it. Don’t provoke it with lab-produced chemicals; you’ll just make things worst.

So, anyway, I use oatmeal mainly as a facial wash and as a face mask. You need colloidal oatmeal (that is, very finely ground oats) so that you can easily create a smooth paste when you mix it with warm water. I buy mine from Minston Good Food on Amazon UK. It’s £12.48 for a box of 10 (500g each) – I think it’s really good value.

To make a facial wash or a face mask, all you need to do is pour a small amount of oats into your hands, add a bit of warm water (not too much at first; you can always add more if the mixture is too thick) and mix with your fingers to create a paste. Gently massage the mixture over your face, then rinse thoroughly if you’re washing your face, or leave it for 5-10 minutes if you’re using it as a face mask before rinsing it. It’s that simple! Now, what I like to do at night (particularly in winter and on days when I’m wearing more make-up) is add 6 pumps of sweet almond oil and 2 drops of pure essential oil (tea tree and lavender are my two favourites) into the oats mixture – I promise it’ll remove all traces of your make-up and you’ll wake up with soft and supple skin the next morning. Go on, give it a try.

2. Organic floral water

I’ve heard of floral waters for quite sometimes now, but only fairly recently I replaced my usual toner with it, and I don’t have any regrets. They’re basically distilled water infused with the essence of flowers; so, it goes without saying that you should use the kind of floral waters that’s suited for your skin. Rose water, for example, has a calming effect and is used to nourish and hydrate the skin; lavender water, on the other hand, has powerful regenerative effects and is used to repair damaged skin. You can (and probably should), of course, use different floral waters at different time of the year since your skin reacts differently to changing climate condition anyway. One of my favourites is geranium water, which is famous for its balancing properties, and particularly good for problematic skin that suffers from hormonal problems (like mine). Floral waters are also very versatile; I use it as a toner, as a base for my face mask (by spraying it over my face before I apply my mask), to set my make-up (by spraying it over my face after I apply my make up), and as a facial mist in the summer.

If you want to make your own floral water, you can just simply add a few drops of pure essential oil of your choice to distilled water. Otherwise, buy an organic one, and the reason I say that is because I noticed a lot of synthetic ‘floral waters’ out there, which smell very nice, but because they’re made from synthetic compounds (read: chemicals), not only they’re more expensive, I doubt they’re also as effective as natural floral waters. My favourite brand of floral waters is Kats Kalma. I discovered her products one afternoon when I was strolling around Greenwich Market. Kat’s a market trader and she made all her products from her own studio nearby. You can’t miss her stall; it’s very pretty, it smells wonderful and it just draws your attention. I bought my first floral water from her just before I set off to the South of France for the summer, and I loved it! I used it all day, everyday – it helped keep my skin feeling refreshed and hydrated, particularly when I was at the beach; needless to say, I never left my hotel without it. When I came back to London, I bought another bottle (the one in the picture above), and I think I’m going to visit her again very soon (not just to buy another bottle of floral water, but I’d really like to discover her other products as well). Oh, the water costs £5 – I think it’s very reasonably priced.

3. Organic sweet almond oil

For me, this is a miracle product; it’s one beauty product I absolutely can’t live without. It’s rich in vitamin A, B and E, which are great for the skin; highly nourishing; and it gets absorbed so fast without blocking your pores! I have dehydrated and very sensitive skin that’s prone to breakout, dryness, redness, itchiness – you name it, and this oil is the only thing that helps keep my skin normal. I  use it as a facial wash – together with the oats mixture above, or on its own on days when I’m not wearing too much make-up (I simply massage a few drops over my face and remove it with warm damp cloth or cotton wool), as a face mask (again, together with the oats mixture above), as a night face moisturiser, hair oil, body oil, nail and cuticle oil. Not bad for one product, huh? I buy my sweet almond oil from Naissance at Amazon UK. It’s £6.99 for 1 litre – seriously, best beauty buy ever!

Disclosure: this is a non-sponsored post; all opinions are completely my own based on my personal experience.

Your guide to staying active in pregnancy

“Why should I exercise when I’m pregnant? What kinds of activities are safe for me to do? What precautions should I take? Is there anything in particular I should avoid?” This infographic on staying active during pregnancy from Tommy’s should answer all your questions and reassure you that exercising when you’re pregnant is absolutely safe, healthy and beneficial to both you and your baby. You can also download the pdf copy on their website.

Staying Active in Pregnancy | www.angeliquelee.co.uk

Yoga for pregnancy: my first session

“Don’t get me wrong, I love yoga! But my first pre-natal yoga experience was just awful.”

Pregnancy Yoga | www.angeliquelee.co.uk

I went to my first session this weekend. To be honest, I’m quite disappointed. I mean, yes, I expected to do a lot of breathing exercises, but I thought there was going to be a lot of stretching as well. Maybe it’s just me; I’m a beginner at pregnancy yoga after all. But the session that I went to didn’t leave me feeling amazing or revitalise (which is so unlike all the yoga sessions I’ve been to before I was pregnant). It certainly didn’t relieve any tensions in my muscles; in fact, it made my lower back pain worst (which, again, never happened before). The studio itself wasn’t great – it was dirty and didn’t have a relaxing feel to it. Anyway, I didn’t feel good. There are quite a few more other places that offer pre-natal yoga in my area; I’m going to try another one next weekend and I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I found this YouTube video and the routine looks pretty good – I might just try it out before the weekend.