Lifestyle and fashion.

Monday, 29 August 2016

I love a Cup O'Coffee in the morning

Don't you love the smell of coffee in the morning? Me too. Although I am far from being a 'morning person' I am more than happy to get up if it means slathering a Cup O'Coffee onto my face. You heard, I put coffee onto my face - and it's great! To be more specific, I use a vegan coffee based face mask from Lush Cosmetics which you can view here.

150g pot

As today was my first day back at work after two weeks off on holiday, I needed something to perk me up and get me feeling fresh for the day ahead. That's why I used this mask. Although I'm not new to this product, it certainly doesn't get old for me. I'm a big advocate of it and usually use it once a week in conjunction with Don't Look at Me.  Cup O'Coffee was one of the first products I ever bought from Lush along with a few other goodies which you can view here. After hearing from a friend how good it was, I gave into temptation and purchased it. Standard Liam. Not normally a fan of coffee (guilty), I am repeatedly blown away at how good this product smells. Although it's not a subtle scent, I find myself opening up the pot just to bask in the beautiful coffee aroma. It's really, really good. But there's more to this product than just it's scent.

As a kaolin based mask, Cup O'Coffee is great for cleansing the skin deeply and absorbing impurities, so if you leave this mask on your face or body for around 10 - 15 minutes your skin will thank you. Many Lush masks have kaolin in them so if the scent of coffee just isn't to your taste, you're sure to find one that you like if you pop into any Lush store, alternatively take a look on their website. But hey that's not my favourite thing about this mask. What I really love is the ground up coffee pieces you find in it, which act as great exfoliators.  After letting this mask sit on your skin for the recommended time, you rub the ground coffee pieces into circular motions; going harder for rougher areas like the nose. What you are left with is super smooth and soft skin. Who knew coffee could do more than just wake you up? I've used many different exfoliators but nothing beats this one and as it is full of mainly natural ingredients it shouldn't cause any irritation to you. Having said that, I would advise going in-store and asking for a free sample just so you can get the feel of this product before purchasing, it is especially important if you have sensitive skin.

It's very thick so a little goes a long way.

As someone with oily-combo skin, this mask has been an absolute treat at absorbing excess oils and clearing away rough areas for me so I plan to continue using it. If you have dry skin, I would advise using this mask very occasionally to exfoliate away flaky dead skin cell, but use it along with a moisturising mask like Oatifix.

Ingredients:

Organic Agave Syrup, Kaolin, Glycerine, Coffee Infusion, Talc, Ground Coffee, Bentone gel, Perfume, Vetivert Oil, Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, Roasted Cocoa Extract, Coriander Oil, Caffeine Powder, Coumarin, Limonene, Linalool

Face mask rating: 
Price: £6.75 for 150g l £12.25 for 325g


What's your favourite face mask? Let me know in the comments.

Related links:
https://uk.lush.com
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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Aloha Granola *Food*

Is it just me, or is granola just the best?  I recently made it for the first time after putting it off forever. I thought it would be very time consuming to make, but I proved myself wrong. It's so quick and easy to do, I don't know why it took me this long.


A few days ago I was craving something sweet but wanted it to be healthy. I was also out of cereal which is what I was craving most but I had all the ingredients to make it.  Although I'm 10 minutes from the nearest shop which is super close, I have recently been reading the ingredients on cereal packaging and it's a little scary! So many of them have added sugars, salts and preservatives and ingredients I can't even pronounce. I wanted to make something which had organic ingredients and no processed gunk.

I hate to toot my own horn but the vegan agave based granola I made knocked my socks off and my friends and family found it very tasty too, which is why I have to share it with you. The granola is packed with protein, fibre, omega 3s and energy so you can't go wrong - and most dried fruits such as the ones I used are classed as 1 of your 5 a day so it's a guilt free meal.

Would you like some granola with your milk, Sir?
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
*Lasts for around 3 weeks so long as it is in an air tight container

Ingredients:
1. Walnut oil (can use coconut) 2. Vanilla extract 3. Powdered cinnamon 4. Powdered nutmeg
5. Agave syrup (can use maple) 6. Rolled oats (jumbo) 7. Chia seeds 8. Flax seeds 9. Pumpkin seeds
10. Pecans 11. Almonds 12. Walnuts 13. Hazelnuts 14. Dried cranberries 15. Dried pineapple
16. Raisins

*For nut allergies, try experimenting with an array of seeds such as chia; flax; pumpkin; sunflower and hemp as a substitute.
*For gluten allergies, use gluten free rolled oats instead which are available at most supermarkets.

Freshly out of the oven. It took some serious will-power to not eat it straight away.
Breaking it down:

  • Start by gathering your ingredients and then a large glass baking tray; a mug; some baking paper; a scissors (or a sharp knife), and, a large mixing spoon. Next preheat your oven to gas mark 6 or 200 degrees Celsius. This is the temperature you will use to bake this nutty delight.
  • Using a mug for measurement, start by counting 4 cups of rolled oats and place into your glass bowl.
  • Next measure out 1 to 1 and a half cups of mixed nuts and then chop them up with a scissors or a sharp knife if you prefer. As a general guide, cut up the walnuts into 4 parts; pecans into 4 parts; almonds into 3 parts; and, hazelnuts into 2 parts. 
  • After adding the nuts to the oats, add the seeds for some more crunch. Measure out 6 tablespoons of chia seeds; 4 table spoons of flax seeds; and, 2 heaped tablespoons of pumpkin seeds.
  • Now the spices. Add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and two teaspoons of nutmeg. If you really love cinnamon like me, add 3 teaspoons instead.
  • For the last of the dry ingredients you'll be using your dried fruit. Using a mug, measure out half a cup of raisins (50%), followed by less than a half a cup of dried cranberries (40%) and then the dried pineapple (10%). You should now have a full cup which you can mix well with the rest of the ingredients in your bowl. Be sure your dry ingredients are mixed well before the agave syrup is added as it will become more difficult to mix afterwards.
  • If all has gone to plan, it is time for the wet ingredients. Add 4 table spoons of walnut oil to the mixture and stir. If using a hard oil like coconut oil, melt 1 table spoon and then mix.
  • Now add two tea spoons of vanilla essence followed by 125ml of agave syrup. Mix all the ingredients the best you can.


Time's up. Let's bake!
  • Spread the mixed granola onto a lined baking tray and spread evenly before drizzling some more agave onto the top. If you're happy with it, place it into the oven. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 7 minutes to get a more crumbly texture. 
  • Once done, remove it from the oven but be sure to allow the granola to cool completely before digging in. The dish will continue to crisp up whilst cooling.
  • It can last for up to 3 weeks, but make sure to keep it in an airtight container so it doesn't go stale. Keep it at room temperature.
  • Now bon App├ętit! An almond or soy yoghurt tastes great with the granola for a snack or breakfast, alternatively a coconut or almond milk is tasty too.
Let me know how you get on. Would you do anything differently?

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Friday, 26 August 2016

Hello World *First Post*

Hey World, I'm Liam. Welcome to Liam J Havard.  This is a new outlet for me to discuss ideas and keep you all updated on the life of Liam, and I'm very excited about that. I'm not new to blogging, but I certainly haven't done this thing in a long time. Excuse me if I'm rusty. I've been wanting to blog again for so long, but I've become a bit too comfortable in binge watching Netflix on my evenings.  I can't be the only person guilty of that though, right? So for my first post, I thought I would tell you a bit about myself. Now go get a cup of tea and we'll get to it.


Me.
So I'm a 23 year old male from Wales, UK and a trainee assistant store manager. I enjoy what I do, but it's probably not what I aim to do forever. Retail can sometimes be a bit soul destroying especially when you have customers shouting at you for little things like, being too energetic, or something in the store not being up to their standards...hmmm #RetailProblems.  Although it's a fun and challenging place where I work, I think my passion lies in writing/the arts/the media which is actually what my background is in. I studied a BA degree in Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (with communications) at Cardiff University and graduated from them this summer of 2016.  I passed with a 2:1, phew. It was such a good few years but damn I am glad to not be writing anymore assignments and doing 'all nighters'.

Just like in uni, I am still a night owl. I find myself up at 2am most nights, except now I don't have a glass of vodka in my hand. Most of my posts will be written in the evenings and nights as that's when my brain is functioning the best. I think uni got me into the habit of staying up late, so the thought of sleeping at 10pm every night just seems unnatural. Maybe I'm just a student 'wannabe' and that's why I stay up so late.


Here I am at graduation 2015 with the world's cheesiest smile.

As mentioned in my 'about' page, I will be writing about a whole bunch of areas, but my main focus is on travelling; food; lifestyle; opinion; Lush products, and the occasional chat about fashion. I'll publish most of my blog posts in the evenings and aim to do every 1-2 weeks. As a massive foodie, I will be sharing with you all the different places I eat at and all the different foods I make so expect lots of food posts. For those of you that eat meat and dairy, I'm afraid I will only be sharing vegan inspired recipes, but if you have an open mind you may see something that takes your fancy. I spend around £100 a week on food shopping, and that's without all the different places I eat at (this is why I'm broke 24/7) so you will have a good variety of food posts to lust over.  I'm hoping when I start my travels around the world that vegan food will be easy to find, but I'm not counting on it with dairy being in so much food - but hey, I love a challenge! Food is a big part of why I want to travel, but it's not the primary reason. I also want to see new places and experience different cultures.

I travel a little now, around the country and bits of the UK mainly, but my heart wants the world; to see it all. I aim big as you can tell #WanderlustProblems. I'm most likely going to travel late 2017 - early 2018 when I have saved up enough money. If anyone wants to fund my travels though, I'll be happy to jump on the next flight. Oh one can dream!  As a massive fan of adventure, I honestly cannot wait to go. Some places I'm looking forward to travelling around are Fiji, Vietnam, Bangkok, Thailand and Australia and I would love to see bits of South America too. Is there anywhere you would recommend going to? I think because I've been brought up in such a small country it just makes me want to see more. Wales really is a beautiful place though, so if you are ever in the UK you HAVE to come see it.

And that's a little about me and my blog, but before we wrap this all up here's some random facts about me:
- I NEVER used to listen to music. People always used to tell me about songs and artists, but up until 2013 my iTunes was free of any songs so I was clueless about the music scene. And now? Yes I listen to it, but it should never be the first conversation of choice with me as I could not keep it flowing. Your grandma would probably be better than me, seriously.
- Although I listen to music now, there isn't a single song in the world I know all the words to. HONESTLY I SWEAR. So on nights out or in the car I completely make up my own words. Having said that I do know all the words to the Pretty Little Liars theme tune, does that count for something?
- I am terrified of spiders so badly that if I see one in my room, I have to sleep with the light on for that night, just in case it invades my space. I used to get my mother to put them outside for me when I lived with her, but now that I don't live with her I have to...get my house mate to do it instead. Guilty.
- When I was a child, I was crazy. I was that grumpy evil uncontrollable child nobody really wants. I used to head-butt my mum to the point we both had bruises (sorry Mum), and once (this is the bad one) I flooded my aunt's and uncle's house on purpose. I was a devil child. Again, guilty.

And that's a wrap. If you have any questions for me, big or small let me know as I would love to answer them. Until next time everyone...


Have you got any random facts about yourself? Let me know in the comments section!

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