Friday, 20 June 2014

Fresh Fridays #1: Green Smoothies by Ascension Kitchen

Welcome to Fresh Fridays, a new fortnightly series I'm trialling out to introduce some natural/healthy choices to my life. About a month ago I heard about an app called "Green Smoothies by Ascension Kitchen" created by Lauren Glucina. I was very interested because I love smoothies, they're so easy to make and you can whip one up fairly quickly when you're hungry. It's great to just chuck in whatever you have in your fridge but sometimes it doesn't always taste the best.. nor look the most appealing.. So I thought this app would be a great guide next time I'm feeling the munchies.

There are over 30 recipes split into seven categories so there's definitely something for everyone, whatever you happen to be craving. Lauren, app developer, author of "Raw and Sexy Sweets", and founder of Ascension Kitchen was kind enough to answer some questions I had in regards to why she created the app and some advice on living holistically.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what motivated you to create an app full of smoothie recipes?

Sure. I am a Holistic Health Coach and Raw Chef, and am currently expanding my knowledge further by studying Natural Medicine. I run a website called Ascension Kitchen where I share a lot of my plant based, raw and herbal recipes and remedies. After working in the corporate world for over ten years, I was run down, burnt out, and navigating my way through some chronic auto-immune conditions. Green smoothies were the first step in a return to wellness, so as you can imagine, I am really quite passionate about the benefits this simple breakfast ritual brings to the table. My little brother was the one that had the brainwave, he could never think of anything to put in his smoothies and defaulted to the same concoction every morning. He said an app would be so useful, so away we went!

Q. What’s your take on superfoods, and do you have any favourites?

I must say I do love superfoods although good health certainly does not depend on them. I actually believe these foods are best suited to those who live in that particular climate, though today we have such huge stressors in our lives that there is a place for them. I am more inclined to turn to what I call the ‘supersessibles’ – the everyday unsung heroes of your own backyard vege garden. Foods that are nutrient dense, and don’t cost the earth. However – if I did have to pick a favourite superfood I would say spirulina and hemp seeds :)

Q. What is the one ingredient or ingredients that you must have on hand at all times?

Dark leafy greens (my favourites are spinach and watercress), wild edible weeds (nettle and chickweed) and berries if we are talking smoothies.

Q. Do you have any plans to expand your app with combinations for juices or recipes for dishes, like the ones you have on your blog?

I will be adding some more yummy recipes in at some point, but it will stay a Green Smoothies app.

Q. The two occasions I really struggle to eat healthy are at restaurant with friends and on holidays. Do you have any tips for staying on track or ways to counteract the damage from giving into temptation?

Restaurants are an easy one – generally I find wait staff really accommodating if you ask nicely, I always seek out the dish prepared in the simplest way, and if something is deep fried I ask for it be steamed or roasted instead. I ask for simple dressings like olive oil and balsamic over creamy dressings or those full of sugar, and a basic garden salad can be dressed up if you ask for extra avocado and some olives for example. I love going out for pizza – a vegetarian pizza without the cheese is one of my favourites. Simple is always best. Ethnic cuisine generally has some lovely healthy plant based options. When traveling, you can take a bunch of healthy snacks with you on the plane – dates, raw nuts, vegetables with hummus, nori sheets, bliss balls for example. I always pack my blender (a little Nutribullet) and make a smoothie in the mornings with local produce. If you start your day on a good note like that you’re more likely to continue the theme for the day. You must remember though – balance is key – and holidays are about having fun and indulging a little!

Q. We know good skin must come from within, but this is a beauty blog so what skincare products do you swear by? 

Your skin is your biggest organ and will absorb anything you put on it – so I only ever use organic products to limit the amount of chemicals I am exposed to. I really love the Nude mineral range.

Q. Finally, what advice can you give to anyone thinking about adopting a holistic lifestyle?

Start with small little changes rather than trying to change your entire diet and lifestyle overnight. Small changes are far more sustainable. It is more about adding the good things in, and eventually crowding out the things that no longer serve you. And of course, starting your day with a green smoothie really is the simplest way to start your journey. Trust me – after a while you will start to crave greens when you walk past them in the supermarket! It’s good stuff :)

Lauren Glucina from Ascension Kitchen Q&A at PeachsBeauty

Green Smoothies by Ascension Kitchen APP               Raw & Sexy Sweets ebook

P.S. Here's my attempt at the Double Dragon smoothies, except I ran out of frozen berries yesterday which is why my bottom layer is just plain white instead of purple.. "/

My personal touch: add a few frozen mint leaves in the top layer for a seriously refreshing and delicious smoothie. YUM.

xo peachsbeauty

Monday, 16 June 2014

My Fortnight Face - #FOTF #1

I'm starting a new blog series called The Fortnight Face to try and force myself to rotate the makeup products that I use on a daily basis and make sure that nothing goes to waste or forgotten and also remind myself to try new products that I've hauled because I have a very bad habit (and people who know me IRL actually know this about me) that I get super excited when I buy stuff, I take it home, swatch it, put it back in its box and it'll sit there for some time.. until I force myself away from what I'm familiar with to try the new products. I'm a Taurus so we don't like change and I'll often have conflicts with the makeup addict/hoarder side of me..

So for the past two weeks I have been trying out the products above, listed below. Some are oldies (as you can tell by the pan) and some are new. I'll give a mini review on what I think about them and if they will remain in my next fortnightly face routine or if they have been eliminated.. but may be brought back as a wild card. (I Obviously watch too much reality tv..)

- Kosmea Replenishing Moisture Cream - 3/5 - [link]
I like to use a moisturiser before I apply my makeup, even though I already use a moisturiser as part of my skincare routine because my normal/dry skin will just absorb my foundation if I don't. This was a good product for this purpose but not enough hydration for me to use as just a moisturiser. Finished this so it's sitting in my Empties bin at the moment.

- MAC Prep + Prime Face Protect Protection Visage SPF 50 - 4/5 - [link]
I really noticed the benefit of using a primer with this product. One day I was totally late and didn't use this and my base all around my mouth and where my glasses sat had just disappeared. Of course the SPF 50 is a great bonus. Definitely going to the next round..until I get bored of it.

- Urban Decay Primer Potion - 4/5 - [link]
(Not shown) because it is so grungy looking. All the purple colour on the outside had disintegrated and it was on its way out so another one in the Empties bin. It was a great lid primer, lasted me a looong time and it really did stop shadows from creasing and fading.

- NYX 10 Colour Eyeshadow Palette: Bubbles & Caviar - 3.5/5 -
Simple, affordable, versatile neutral palette which is unfortunately discontinued now but they have so many new palettes I'm sure you can find something similar. I change my shadows regularly (even though they're the same colours..) so moving on.

- Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal: 012 Bronze - 3.5/5 - [review - link]
Really great pencil liner, especially for tightlining and smudging but once it sets, it won't budge. Read my review to see the proof! Liked it but I'm bored, moving onto something else for the next two weeks.

- Revlon PhotoReady Concealer 003 - 4.5/5 - [link]
Probably my favourite concealer and the only one I have a back up for. I think it's for under the eyes which is what I mainly use it for but I'll still use it on redness and spots. Super creamy, blendable, non-creasing and this colour is very yellow and a touch too dark for me which really helps to cover the darkness under the eyes when blended out. Trying out a new concealer palette for the next two weeks and stay tuned for a review ;)

- Australis Makeup Finishing Spritz - 3.5/5 - [link]
Basic makeup spray that I use to slightly moisten my brush/sponge to help blend foundation and after application just to avoid powder face. I have about a quarter left so I'll keep using this until I'm done.

- Etude House BB Cream Bright Fit W13- 3/5 - [link]
I'm very on the fence about the two Etude House BB creams I have tried. I won't get into it here but this one had good coverage with a satin finish which I really liked but the lasting power was not good at all without a primer and it may have clogged my pores a little bit. I'm going to try a foundation again for two weeks and see how I go.

- Lacura Minerals Powder: Transparent - 3.5/5 -
I picked this up from Aldi a while ago recommended by my mum and I actually really like it except it's really messy because the packaging isn't great so you could never take it with you. It really sets my makeup so it's smooth to touch and there are tiny tiny shimmer particles that you can't see on the skin but just reflects light to blur imperfections. Definitely staying in the routine (although I do have tonnes of powder I need to use..)

- Milani Baked Blush: 08 Coralina - 3.5/5 - [link]
This blush is my way of holding on summer.. I place it just above my bronzer and blend it in so it's like a bronzy coral that's not that bright. It's also super shimmery but most of the shimmer falls away so it's not that scary. Love it but I will be delving into my cream blushes in the next few weeks.

- Revlon PhotoReady Bronzer - 4/5 - [link]
I've loved this since Emily Noel first raved about it and I was so excited when I hit pan but I'll be using some different bronzers in the following weeks to compare and maybe hit pan on them too! It's a really great matte bronzer for contouring and versatile too because I often use the colours in my crease.

- Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless: 001 Black - 4.5/5 [link]
Absolutely love this mascara, creates the appearance of a million lashes and of course gives length. I really need to do a review and compare this with my current HG, Maybelline Falsies. I'll be trying out a different mascara in the next few weeks.

- Daiso Styling Eyebrow Pencil - 2.5/5 -
I really like Daiso eyebrow pencils because they're just super affordable. I wanted to try a grey one because sometimes brown warms can come up too warm for my black hair but I felt like this was maybe too grey if I used too much product.. like I had ageing eyebrows. So I'll finish it but I won't repurchase.

- L.A Colors Auto Lip Liner: Mauve - 3/5 - [link]
I'm using this because I lost the lid.. as I do with so many of my products.. It's like a mauvy mlbb colour which works well with nude/mauve/pinky neutral lipsticks so it's fairly versatile and great for winter.

- NYX Round Lipstick: Summer Love - 3/5 - [link]
A nude lipstick that doesn't make you look dead is my kind of lipstick. Really getting back into the nudes lately and this one has a bit of shimmer to add some dimension.

- NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss: Sweet Heart - 3.5/5 - [link]
Finally I topped it off with a lipgloss for some extra shine and this one smells lovely and is super pigmented and creamy so you could actually wear it by itself.

Leave me a comment telling me what you've been using lately and tag #FOTF on instagram or twitter!

xo peachsbeauty

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

DIY: At-Home Pedicure

If you follow me on instagram or twitter you would know that I spent the Queen's Bday Long Weekend alone at home enjoying all sorts of at-home diy spa treatments. My feet are probably what gets neglected the most, especially during Winter, so when I have a special pamper weekend, I make sure that they're the first things I take care of.

Step 1. Soak your footsies in some warm water with one teaspoon of tea tree oil (anti-bacterial) and two teaspoons of witch hazel (cleanse & tone). I happen to have this one I use as a toner with rose petal and aloe vera but you can use any witch hazel. Soak for about 5-10 minutes, just to soften the dead skin.

Step 2. Make your own foot scrub with jojoba oil and sugar.. or sea salt if you like a more aggressive exfoliant. Don't use too much oil, just enough coat the sugar/salt and provide some lubrication against the grains. I like to start on the heels, the toughest area and work my way to the balls and tops of my feet.

Step 3. To get to the really nasty callouses we're going to need a pumice. I just have this one from Daiso, which I actually use in the shower on the days I remember so my feet don't get super hard and crackly.

Step 4. Clip those toenails because long nails + high heels = pain.

Step 5. Moisturise with a thick foot lotion or just shea butter. Give your feet a massage while you're at it. I'm not a pro but I like to kneed the middle of my feet and then in between the toes. Feels so good after a long walk.

Step 6. Apply a bright polish and a top coat to keep your pedicure long-lasting and shiny. No toe-separators? No worries. Just weave a piece of folded up tissue between your toes.
Step 6. Slip your feet into a pair of soft comfy socks, take a nap, and wake up to beautiful moisturised footsies.

Products mentioned:
- Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera [iherb link]
- Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil [iherb link]
- Now Solutions Jojoba Oil [iherb link]
- Daiso clippers
- Daiso artificial pumice
- Maybelline ColourShow Nail Lacquer in Coral Crush
- Manicare Cuticle Oil
- Now Solutions Shea Butter [iherb link]
- Aldi socks

NB: Use code BNC512 for up to $10 off at iHerb (:

xo peachsbeauty