Wednesday 24 December 2014

Elf's Kitchen | Festive Gingerbread Cookies

Happy Christmas Eve!

Here's a yummy Gingerbread Cookie recipe to give a go if your stuck for something to do!


350g Plain Flour
1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2tsp Ground Ginger
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
125g Butter
175g Light Soft Brown Sugar
1 Egg
4tbsp Golden Syrup

~ Start by sifting the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon together in a big bowl. Add in the butter and mix together with your finger tips until you get a crumbly consistency. Then stir in the sugar.

~ Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together then add to the mixture and combine until a dough begins to form. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. The longer the better as this helps the dough keep together when you roll it out later.

~ Line some trays with grease proof paper and pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Next up cover the side with flour and roll out the dough with your rolling pin. Use cookie cutters to cut out your cookie shapes and place on to your lined tray leave a little gab in between as they will expand while cooking. Place in the oven and bake till golden. Remove and allow to cool.

~ You can decorate them with a dusting of icing sugar or make an icing using sifted icing sugar and water. I chose to leave mine naked as I find the icing can be a bit too sweet for me and my family. And this made about a bazillion cookies (40)! 

Hope you try and enjoy! And have a very Merry Christmas! 

Jeni x

Tuesday 23 December 2014

DIY | Whipped Coconut and Peppermint Body Butter

Hi Guys! Merry Almost Christmas!
Can you believe its almost D-Day? I can't!
Today I have for you a very quick & easy DIY gift idea! 
All you need are 2 ingredients Coconut oil and Peppermint oil.
Whats great about this body butter? 1, its 100% raw, organic and good for you, meaning no harsh chemical are going to be absorbed through your skin and there is no packaging left to dispose of. 2, it smells amazing, good enough to eat, and in fact you can eat it! And 3, it makes your skin feel super soft and moisturised!
A perfect present for anyone !

In addition to your coconut and peppermint oils you will need a storage jar, an electric whisk and a bowl.


The amount of coconut oil you will need to use, really depends on the size of your storage jar. In general you will just have to eye ball the amount but for this size jar, I used about 5/6 regular table spoons full. 
Once you have your coconut oil scooped in to your bowl (you can always add more later) you want to begin whipping the oil up with the electric whisk. What this does is gives the coconut oil a lovely soft light texture, great for smoothing on to the skin.
Next you want to add in your peppermint oil. You can of course use different essential oils but I fancied peppermint. Then whip that in with your whisk. 
Once all whipped you simply need to spoon into your jar and voila! Your DIY body butter is complete! 
If you are giving it as a present you can decorate with a bow ^^.

Come back tomorrow for a recipe for Festive Gingerbread Cookies !

Jeni x

Friday 19 December 2014

Review | The Body Shop's Rainforest Nutrition

Hi guys! Hope everyone is doing well! If you read my last post you will know that this will be my last 'Regular Shampoo/Conditioner' review (I also have a Lush hair mask review to come) because as of the 5th of December I decided to go No Poo. Its been two weeks and going well! I will do a full up date I think in the new year.


Brand | The Body Shop
Product | Rainforest Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner
Size | 250ml
Price | £4.50 each
Made in | UK
Would I re-purchase | Yes (if I wasn't a no-pooer)

Shampoo Ingredients

Aqua, Sucrose, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Lauryl Betaine, Laureth-5 Carboxylic Acid, Mel, PEG-55 Propylene Glycol Oleate, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Parfum, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Sodium Benzoate, Sucrose Laurate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-6, Salicylic Acid, Citric Acid, Schinziophyton Rautanenii Kernel Oil, Pentaclethra Macroloba Seed Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopherol.

Conditioner Ingredients

Aqua, Cetearyl Alcohol, Distearoylethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate, Cocos Nucifera Oil, Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Citric Acid, Cetyl Esters, Sodium Benzoate, Parfum, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Schinziophyton Rautanenii Kernel Oil, Salicylic Acid, Mel, Pentaclethra Macroloba Seed Oil, Tocopherol.

**Key Factors | No Silicones, No Parabens, No Sulfates, No Colourants

What I love about these two products is that they are Eco-Conscious, which means that they have a much less damaging affect on the environment, they use less harsh chemicals as other shampoo's and conditioners by cutting out silicones, sulphates, colourants and parabens which means they are better for you body also, and they contain Community Fair Trade honey which makes them smell divine!

Cutting out the sulphates mean that you don't get the usual lathering effect you would do normally meaning you have to work at it. It says to mix the shampoo with water in the palm of your hands and then work in to hair and scalp. I found putting a little puddle of water in your palm first then adding a reasonable size dollop of shampoo in and rubbing well in between my hands gives the best foaming result. With the conditioner you don't have to worry about doing this.

The consistency of the shampoo itself is very runny and clear, while the conditioner is a little thicker but not by much. As I mentioned earlier they both contain Community Fair Trade honey, and its the honey that gives these two an amazing scent. They smell so delicious and the scent really stays in the hair. As for general cleanliness and moisture-fullness my hair feels clean, soft and not stripped.

In general I have really enjoyed using these two products, and for £4.50 they are a great buy if you wish to try products that genuinely have no sulfates. When picking up a 'Sulfate Free' shampoo always check the ingredients list and look out for * as I've seen many brands use the * to say 'Sulfate Free*' and then it still contains a type of sulfate, just not the obvious ones.

Jeni x

Wednesday 10 December 2014

The Hair Diaries | Going No Poo?!

Whats no poo I hear you ask?
And no its nothing to do with going to the loo. No Poo, or No Shampoo is basically saying bye bye to regular chemical filled shampoos and conditioners and hello to more natural alternatives.
Predicted results is the hair you have always dreamed of! So yes I want some of that!

A little bit o'history.
Up until the late 1800's people were recommended to only wash their hair once a month. Decades later when the first synthetic shampoo's were invented, people began washing their hair every two weeks. Sounding gross yet?
In 1970 it became the norm for people to begin washing their hair every day thanks to clever marketing and sales pitches and since then (I don't know the exact statistic) many, many people, including myself (for years till recent) wash their hair every single day. And all these modern day shampoo's that tell us that they can fix dandruff, dryness, etc can in fact be the very thing that is contributing to all your hair and scalp problems. After all shampoo's strip all our natural oils away leaving our hair and scalp dry therefore we must use condtioners to put back a little of what we just washed out.

How do you wash your hair?
The traditional method is using a solution of water and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda as your shampoo. This is called a baking soda rinse. And then using a mix of apple cider vinegar and water as your conditioner. This is the ACV rinse.

So your going no-poo then..
I first heard about the no poo method a while ago and at that time I had been quick to dismiss it thinking how could I possibly not use shampoo? My hair gets so greasy I ain't no hippy! And the thought of putting something as abrasive as bicarbonate of soda on my hair didn't really appeal to me.
But about a month ago I stumbled back across the no-poo method and decided to really research it.
After reading many success stories about how amazing other peoples hair had become, how healthy their hair and scalp were, and how their hair had even begun to grow quicker I finally decided I would do it myself! I'm all for experimenting and not only would waving good bye to chemical laden shampoo's be great for my body but would also be great for the environment. Well, at least I will be contributing my own little bit.
I'm still not sold on using baking soda, so as an alternative I have chosen to use a shampoo bar.(its not cheating I checked) The particular one I have chosen is the J.R Liggett's Virgin Coconut & Argan Oil Shampoo bar which is made with only natural ingredients and sodium hydroxide which is a binder that many soaps use and I will be using a ACV rinse infused with Rosmary Oil to help condition.

So where is my hair at the moment and what is my current routine?
I currently was my hair every other day, so if I wash on a Monday I'll wash it again on Wednesday. I've been using the Body Shop's Rainforest Nutrition Shampoo and Conditioner which is classed as a low-poo shampoo as its free from silicone's, sulfates and parabens, I will do a review on this very soon.
My hair type is mostly fine hair with the odd thick coarse strand through in for fun. My hair is naturally pretty straight with a slight flick at the bottom. It not overly dry and can get very greasy by the end of day 2. I don't think my hair is particularly strong and I do have a lot of split ends due to length and old abuse. I also have a lot of fall out, and my hoover hates me.
My natural colour is dark blond but over the last 4 years I have lightened it with Sun-In which I won't be doing again, time to grow it all out! (I want my natural colour back)

Here's a close up of my hair at them moment. It actually doesn't look too bad if a little dry at the ends.

Over the coming weeks and months I will be doing updates on my hairs progress. I have to go through a transition stage which can last anywhere from 1 week to a couple of months as my hair gets used to its new regime. I will also stretch my washes out longer now to help speed up the transition period favoring lots of up do's to hide all that grease.
From this moment on I will not touch my hair with anything with a chemical in it. So no more areosole dry shampoo, no hairspray, heat protector or styling products. As I find natural alternatives I will share them. 
I am so excited about this no-poo journey!
Have you ever done no-poo? Plan too? Think its just weird? Let me! also follow me on instagram @elfsbeauty to keep up to date with my no poo journey before I blog about it!

Love Jeni x 

Friday 5 December 2014

Review | La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo


Brand | La Roche-Posay
Product | Effaclar Duo [+]
Size | 40ml
Price | £15.50
Purchased from | Boots
Made in | France
Would I repurchase | No

If you read my review of the LA ROCHE-POSAY EFFACLAR A.I the you probably know that when I originally bought that product I had actually wanted to buy this one. So about 3 months ago I was feeling flush and finally decided to buy this a give it a try.

Ingredients |


Like the Effaclar A.I targeted spot treatment it has a very light fragrance and a gel like consistency. I use this as my second step in my skin care regime after I use my witch hazel. It smooths in to the skin really nicely and leaves the skin looking nice and matte and clear. I follow with a moisturiser in the morning and at night a 'miracle oil' (review to come!) 
To be honest since using this I haven't noticed a massive difference. In the first week I did, mainly I think because I wanted to see results. I felt as though my chin was clearer, I have these under the skin spots that aren't really visible unless you stick your tongue in the area around your lower lip and push the bottom lip out, that sounds really gross and wrong I do appologise but I'm sure you probably know what I mean.
And after the first week I felt that these had got much better and had reduced.
But throughout my use they are still present, although marginally better. I had also hoped that as this is an unclogging product, my black heads would be reduced also, but alas I genuinely think that no product can fully remove them. So there was no difference there.
As well as an unclogging product, the Effaclar Duo is meant to help with reducing marks left from bigger face beasties. My skin has been immensely better of late so I've only suffered with a few bigger pimples but this didn't seem to help in speeding up the healing process of those marks.
I have used this product every day, morning and night for the last 3 months and I am now down to the last spattering of product so I think I have a solid opinion of it. And I have to say I am sadly disapointed in it. I absoloutly love the Effaclar A.I formular, but this doesn't hit the mark for me and for the price I won't be re-purchasing it. I'm glad that I tried it out and sad that it didn't work as well as I had hoped but atleast my purse will be happy I won't be shelling out £15 for a new tube.

Jeni x