I keep insisting that I’m not a beauty blogger, and yet I keep coming across beautiful products that I want to try and tell you all about. Organic & Botanic offered to send me some of their all natural skincare products for me to try, and when I saw their range of products I couldn’t say no.
I’m completely addicted to citrus scents at the moment – the two perfumes I’m alternating between at the moment are Soap & Glory’s Orangeasm (which they don’t seem to do any more) and a lemon verbena one from L’Occitaine. So when I was sent two items from their Mandarin Orange range, and was so excited. I don’t know whether it was the excitement of something new to try, or the heady scent, but I was a happy Maggie.
Everything at Organic & Botanic is, well, organic. All of the packaging is recyclable – cardboard boxes and good old fashioned glass jars. The products are all made with natural ingredients, and everything is animal friendly and completely vegan (which is getting hard to find in certain cosmetics). I don’t have a skin care regime to speak of, and that’s served me okay so far. Whenever anyone has asked what I do for my skin, I’ve always glibly said “water, sun cream and not smoking”. But I’m trying to treat myself kinder, look after me a bit in among caring for the spoonie husband, so it’s been nice to set time aside to do this.
Of course, I’ve not stuck to it rigidly – I’m very forgetful – but I’ve been applying both the Enhancing Day Moisturiser (£57.06) and the Restorative Eye Serum (£58.77) in the morning after washing. The moisturiser goes on nicely – I was relived it didn’t leave a sticky feeling to my face and my sensitive skin didn’t react by going blotchy like it sometimes can. What’s particularly great (as this is a rather pricey product) is that this spreads well so I’m only needing a wee dollop of cream per application and the jar is going to last me a good long time.
The eye serum was a completely new product to me, and I had to look up online how to apply it. Apparently it’s best to use your ring finger because it makes you have a lighter touch. I put a few drops of the serum on my finger and smoothed it over the skin around my eye, then did the same on the other side. This felt very refreshing, so was especially nice to apply on tired morning eyes.
My full verdict – both lovely products that felt like a real treat to use even as everyday items. And walking around all day with a face that smelled of mandarin was basically a dream for me!
** The products were kindly send to me by Organic & Botanic to try out and give my honest opinion which I have done. All photos and thoughts are my own and I have not been paid for this blog post **
Chocolate and beetroot is not as weird a combination as you might think. As well as replacing the eggs, butter and/or milk, the beetroot enhances the chocolate flavour of the cocoa, and lets you keep the whole thing vegan too. I’ve tried making chocolate cake with beetroot in it before, but the results were a little… earthy. Turns out I had seriously underestimated how much pre-cooking beetroot actually needs. But I’ll let you in on a little secret – buy the pre-cooked beetroot from the supermarket. You get three vacuum packed bulbs already perfectly cooked and ready to go for about 50p. Plus you don’t end up with pink fingers, worktops, kitchen.
I decided to focus on brownies – this recipe delivers the cracked top and fudgy interior I crave. These will keep for at least a week in an airtight tin and are great eaten just as they are, warm with a scoop of ice-cream, or I’ve been taking a piece in my lunchbox each day to enjoy with my afternoon cuppa.
(makes 24 squares)
250g pre-cooked beetroot
200g self-raising flour
150g soft brown sugar
60g cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
- Pre-heat your oven to 200oC and line and grease a brownie tin – mine is 20cm by 30cm, different sizes will just mean different sized pieces
- Tip your beetroot in to a food processor and blitz until you have a purple mush (puree). If you don’t have a processor, mash the beetroot down to as smooth as you can.
- Sift the flour, sugar and cocoa powder in to a large mixing bowl.
- Stir the vanilla and salt through your pureed beetroot, then tip the beetroot in to the mixing bowl and stir to combine with the flour mixture.
- Gradually pour in the oil, stirring in to your mixture until you have a smooth wet batter that almost looks grainy (see my pictures) and more or less sits together in one ball
- Tip the batter in to your lined tin and spread out level using a pallet knife. Don’t worry if some oil rises to the top at this stage – this is what gives the brownie its crust
- Bake in your pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes. You’ll know the brownies are done when the top is cracked and dry and an inserted skewer comes out with just a little bit of mixture sticking to it.
There are really rich and fudgy and a gorgeous colour – almost akin to Red Velvet cake. And because the beetroot performs the job of an egg here (binding the mixture together), these are ‘accidentally’ vegan. So whether you’re baking for a vegan friend, trying to sneak more vegetables in to a diet or just looking to enjoy a bloody good brownie I hope you give these a try!