Quinoa Salad lunch to get you going until dinner

Posted by Carole

Summer is definitely here (yes!!) and the heat makes you crave for a light and fresh salad for lunch… the only problem is that a salad might leave you starving by 4pm!

That’s why today, I want to give you a Quinoa Salad recipe I’m eating on a regular basis, which, on top of being super easy to prepare and a delight for the taste buds, is also very nutritious and should get you going until dinner… and serenely stay away from not-so-healthy late-afternoon snacks.

And it’s all thanks to quinoa; a “king ingredient” high in protein and fiber, packed with nutrients that are good for you (iron, magnesium, manganese to name a few) but with a low glycemic index helping your metabolism to stay up and running for a while.

Ingredients

  • One portion of cooked quinoa
  • Coconut oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Soy sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil
  • Spirulina or curcuma powder
  • Roasted sesame grains or roasted sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper

Pour the quinoa (previously cooked) in a large mixing bowl.

Add a table spoon of coconut oil and stir well then add approximately 4 table spoons of lemon juice, 1 table spoon of soy sauce, 2 table spoons of balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper and stir.

Add 2 tea spoons of spirulina or curcuma powder (depending on your mood and needs) to the quinoa and stir well once again. Reserve.

Wash and halve the cherry tomatoes, slice some fresh basil and sprinkle on top of the tomatoes along with a tea spoon of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sea salt, mix the all with your fingers directly on your chopping board.

Plate your quinoa and add the seasoned tomatoes on top, sprinkle a few grains of roasted sesame on your dish (or a few drops of roasted sesame oil if you don’t have grains) and serve!

Tip: You can incorporate avocado, beetroot or celery to your quinoa salad, the possibilities are countless!

I also like to sprinkle freshly chopped ginger to my dish to add a little kick and additional freshness.

Bon appétit!

QUINOA

Thanks for reading! Like and leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article!

 

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Anti-Pollution Beauty Routine…

Posted by Corine 

Sadly we hear the words dangerous high peak of pollution too often these days and as much as we would all like to avoid its nasty effects on our health, most of us have no choice but to brave it on a daily basis. Add to that the fact that pollution not only has devastating consequences on our health, it also plays havoc with our glowing skin and hair! Common sense is to avoid highly polluted areas but how is that even possible in a large city like our sweet London town?! No, I am afraid avoidance is not an option here! Thankfully there are a few steps you can add to your beauty routine that will help you battle this invisible enemy!

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Whether you are wearing make up or not during the day, make sure to clean your skin before you go to bed. Your regular face wash will do as long as it contains gentle ingredients that will not disrupt the skin neutral pH any further. If you have a very sensitive skin, the Clarins Anti-Pollution Milk will be your savior as it cleans and moisturizes the skin at the same time. It costs £20 for 200ml which is a reasonable price for a high quality product that personally lasts me a few months. Go green if you want by removing make up and excess oil with coconut oil before massaging a thin layer of natural yogurt on to your face. You may feel like a fool but the protein and lactic acid contained in yogurts are the perfect way to gently unclog your pores and detoxify your skin from pollution. Whatever cleansing method you go for, do not forget to add a barrier of protection to your skin by moisturizing your face and body especially when you are about to leave your home and head to those polluted streets and always add a UV protection even if it is cloudy out there!

Same goes for your hair! Think about it, what is the point of carefully cleaning your face if you are about to rub it all night on a pillowcase covered with dust and particles of pollution! Indeed whatever dirt your hair have collected during the day will end up on your pillowcase so you might want to wash your hair before bed by using a deep cleansing shampoo. Its clarifying formula will remove most build-up and impurities. If you prefer to wash you hair in the morning, make sure to gently brush your hair with a bore paddle brush to remove some of the dust accumulated during the day. Oh… and change that pillowcase as much as you can… like every other day… well at least every week… OK, OK… don’t keep it for more than a month then!

agua do mar aerosolClean your nose! You are about to think that I am a complete nutter (which is probably true!) but nasal hygiene is a real thing and you should start considering it now. Think about it for a minute and you will probably realize how dry and congested your nose sometimes feel after a busy day in town. Well here comes the marvelous Sterimar isotonic nasal hygiene spray! It is 100% natural, has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties and it is suitable for the whole family, babies included. A 100ml bottle will last you months and cost you a very reasonable £7.99. Nasal hygiene has become as important as washing my hands when I get home and I am always stunned by the amount of black dust that comes out of my nostrils after being out and especially after riding the Tube! Plus my congested nose is a thing of the past at bedtime and I definitely catch a cold less often than in the past!

Ventilate your home everyday, especially your bedroom! With all the synthetic materials we have and the chemicals we use on a daily basis (cleaning products, hairspray, perfumes, etc.) the inside of our homes is sometimes as polluted as the outdoor! Allowing fresh air in every room by opening your windows for 15 minutes everyday will improve the air quality of your home drastically and you may quickly notice that your skin is less dry and irritated. Make sure to reduce your use of chemicals by replacing your house cleaning products by bio and natural options. Also, why not invest in a air-purifying indoor plant? A NASA research has shown that the Garden Mum does a fantastic job at absorbing nasties like ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and xylene from indoor air. If like me you find it difficult to keep anything alive inside your home, try the Spider Plant, it is pretty, easy to care for and cheap!

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Last but not least, protect yourself by staying hydrated to flush the toxins out of your system and keep that healthy glow! If you find drinking a few litres of plain water everyday difficult, consider buying or making your own tasty herbal infusions. Fresh mint is available in most shops and all you have to do is throw a good bunch of it in to a teapot with boiling water for a delightful after dinner brew. It goes without saying but please stay away from sugary drinks, they are nasty and will do you no good! And don’t forget that vegetables and fruits not only contain water, they are also a fantastic source of antioxidants that will  help prevent and delay cells decay caused by pollution.

Please leave a comment and let us know how you feel pollution affects you and your skin/hair on a daily basis. And of course, please share your tricks and tips with us!

5 Tips for Better Sleep

Posted by Carole

There are two kinds of people on this big blue planet of ours – those who fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow and those who cannot help but switch to full-thinking mode as soon as the lights are off and start reviewing all the things they have to do, or have failed to do for that matter, as well as their worries, plans, hopes etc. and all this instead of sleeping of course!

I used to belong to the first group but it seems that growing older made me become one of these night-time worriers and I now often find myself ruminating for an hour or so before I can finally go to sleep. And it’s not always a bad thing as I often stay awake because I’m too excited thinking about my next blog post or holiday but it can quickly become stressful when the excitement turns to exhaustion as I realize I only have a few hours of sleep left and I’d better fall asleep soon if I don’t want to be an irritable zombie in the morning.

I know I’m not the only one in this situation so today I want to give you a few easy and natural sleeping-aid tips I’ve tried myself and which could be useful to you too!

But first I need to add that if you suffer from severe sleep issues or insomnia you should talk to a doctor as health professionals can offer solutions so don’t be shy and go get help!

  1. Relaxing music

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Because I love everything that is health & wellbeing related, I often find myself looking for new studies and a few years ago I came across an article about the power of music claiming that some tracks can slow down your heartbeat, breath and mental activity and therefore induce relaxation and sleep.

That’s is based on these facts that, in 2011, a British band and sound therapists decided to create “The Most Relaxing Tune Ever” by carefully arranging harmonies, rhythms and bass lines to help slow heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and Oh-my it does work!

This tune is Weightless by Marconi Union and I’ve been listening to it since I made its discovery, at night of course but also in the middle of the day when I’m in need of some comfort or calm or just in the background when I’m working (I’m actually listening to it as I write this blog post!)

Many studies have proved its exceptional calming effects so do listen to it as this tune is a relaxation marvel and should make you feel as peaceful and calm as ever, especially at night.

And if you ever get tired of it, scientists have established a playlist of the 10 most relaxing tunes on Earth, topped by Weightless of course, and here it is:

  1. Weightless by Marconi Union (also available as an extended 30 mins and 10 hours version)
  2. Electra by Airstream
  3. Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix) by DJ Shah
  4. Watermark by Enya
  5. Strawberry Swing by Coldplay
  6. Please Don’t Go by Barcelona
  7. Pure Shores by All Saints
  8. Someone Like You by Adele
  9. Canzonetta Sull’aria by Mozart
  10. We Can Fly by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)
  1. Essential oils

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I’m a big fan of essential oils and in awe at how they can help induce and maintain sleep, a fact that has been backed up by science! My fav essential oils are Lavender, Bergamot or Ylang Ylang which are well known for improving sleep quality but many others pack the same benefits such as Roman Chamomile, Vetiver, Sandalwood and Cedarwood. Depending on the essential oil (check with one as some of them cannot safely be applied on the skin), you can apply them topically by gently massaging your skin or use a diffuser that will keep your room beautifully scented while you fall asleep.

I also sometimes use a lavender pillow-mist that I spray on my bedsheet. It smells wonderful, can be found in most drugstores, is a hassle-free way to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy and it works wonder as the smell of it makes me instantly sleepy!

  1. Bed-time routine

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I try to stick to a bed-time routine as much as possible as going through the same habits and moves right before bed send messages to my brain that it will soon be time to sleep and that it should start slowing down in preparation for it.

You can adopt any kind of routine as long as it involves quiet, peaceful and relaxing habits such as

  • gently stretching your body, especially the hips and back, making sure to make slow and flowing movements
  • cleaning and moisturizing your face with your favourites beauty products to give yourself a relaxing moment
  • giving yourself a quick facial or hands massage
  • taking a lukewarm shower
  • indulging in a soothing lemongrass infusion (avoid any caffeinated beverage of course!)
  • putting on your most beautiful pyjamas
  • staying away from the screen of your phone or laptop as it emits a blue light that disrupts sleep-inducing hormones
  • banning TV from your bedroom. Bedrooms are here for two things, sleeping and… well you know!
  1. Keep the thermostat down and your bedroom dark

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I hate being cold and always loved my bedroom as cozy and warm as possible but things changed when my boyfriend and I moved together as he gets incredibly hot at night and has to turn the heating off. He also enjoys sleeping with the window open even though it’s cold outside. I took me a few weeks to get used to it but it does work and I feel sleeping in a cold room helps me have more peaceful, non-interrupted nights. Plus, feeling a fresh breeze on my face in the morning while I’m still hidden in the warm cocoon that is my duvet is a delectable sensation.

I must admit that total obscurity can make me a bit anxious and that I’d rather see lights from the streets or better the moon projected on my bedroom walls but I have noticed that the darker the room is the faster I’ll go to sleep. Full moon for instance can make your bedroom a lot brighter and keep you awake for longer so it’s well worth investing in curtains if you have issues falling asleep. Worth case scenario they will make your bedroom look a lot more fancy!

  1. Invest in your bedroom

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I might sound old fashion saying this but I a firm believer that quality mattress and pillows, adapted to one’s morphology and weight, are key to a good night sleep and in the long run to overall health & wellbeing.

Thankfully, reasonably priced mattresses and pillows can be easily found nowadays and a quality purchase shouldn’t leave you bankrupt. Also bear in mind that you will keep your mattress for years so you’d better add that extra cash if you don’t want to regret your purchase after a couple of months and pay the consequences for years to come.

I also find that good quality bedsheets make a difference when you find it difficult to fall asleep, a silk and soft touch on your skin being a lot more soothing than gritty and scratchy bedlinen.

I hope these tips will work for you! As for me, just talking about it made me sleepy so good night all!

Thanks for reading! Like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your tips with us!

DIY Beauty

Posted by Carole

A few weeks ago I realized that I ran out of facial mask so I went through every cupboard of my bathroom as I know that, for some reason, I never throw away empty beauty products but instead store them somewhere in a corner, hidden under samples I gathered from previous shopping session but almost never use. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that there was no facial mask to be found in there as I had already exhausted my stock after a few months spent in Switzerland, where everything is so expensive I can’t afford any waste and have to harvest every last drop of my fav beauty products.

I was upset for a moment as I knew I had to wait for my next trip to France to stock up on facial masks (Aroma Cleanse Clay and Herbal Mask + Life Radiance Flash Radiance Mask by Décleor are favourites) but then decided to face adversity and prepare my very own facial mask. After all, I had read many articles on the Internet from girls concocting their home-made beauty products so why not me? Determined, I went to the kitchen to look for miracle ingredients but again, my stock was running low and I soon realized that I didn’t have coconut oil nor rose water nor plain yogurt so my choices were quite limited. Luckily, I finally set my eyes on one of my favourite ingredient and one that is as tasty as it’s beneficial for your body… and your skin! That is honey of course!

Honey is a marvelous ingredient that one should always have home for multiple reasons.

This super ingredient is

  • Rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants
  • Has antibacterial properties and helps reduce allergies
  • Helps fight acne
  • Is a healthy and natural sweetener

There are so many things you can do with honey! It’s the ideal sweetener for your deserts, it’s fabulous in warm water to calm irritations coughs and sore throats or as a balm to appease superficial burnt or some types of skin conditions but honey is also one of the purest and most effective ingredient you can use to prepare homemade facial masks and today I’ll give you very easy recipes adapted to each skin type.

I must admit that I was a bit skeptical at first but lacking other options, I decided to give it a try and put some music on, poured myself a bath and applied the sweet mixture on my face. When I woke up from a little snooze twenty minutes later, I washed my face and was amazed at how soft and replenished it felt. My pores were clearly more refined and my skin smoother! I was surprised to notice such visible results and tried again a week later but this time with a higher quality honey and Whoa! I was stunned to see that on top of making my skin smoother, honey also made my skin tone a lot brighter and luminous, a result that latest for days.

So my tip is really to try and opt for a higher quality honey as the results will be even more spectacular!

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For sensitive skin

  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of aloe Vera gel

Mix the honey and aloe Vera and apply a thin layer on your face (avoid the eyes area of course!) Let dry for 10 to 20 minutes then rinse.

Aloe Vera will appease sensitive and irritated skin.

For dry skin

  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of avocado paste (just crush or blend a bit of avocado)
  • 1 teaspoon of plain yoghurt

Mix the honey, avocado and yogurt until you obtain a smooth paste. Apply on your face (avoid the eyes) and let dry for 20 minutes then rinse.

Avocado will hydrate your skin while the lactic acid present in the yogurt will refine your pores giving your skin a smoother look & feel.

For oily & combination skin

  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • Half a teaspoon of nutmeg

Mix the honey and nutmeg and apply a thin layer on your face (avoid the eyes). Let dry for 20 minutes then rinse.

Honey and nutmeg have strong antibacterial properties that will help significantly with acne and inflammation.

For normal skin

  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of plain yoghurt

Mix the honey and yogurt until you obtain a smooth paste. Apply on your face (avoid the eyes) and let dry for 20 minutes then rinse.

The lactic acid present in the yogurt will refine your pores giving your skin a smoother look & feel.

You can also apply honey on its own and let dry for up to 30 minutes for a mask that will reduce inflammation, pimples and red marks and give your skin a boost.

For marked skin

  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • Half a teaspoon of lemon juice

Mix the honey and lemon juice and apply a thin layer on your face (avoid the eyes). Let dry for 20 minutes then rinse.

Lemon juice will exfoliate your skin and whiten dark marks and old scars. You will need to apply the mask on regular basis (once a week for instance) to start noticing its whitening properties.

I hope you’ll enjoy your homemade facial mask (and saving money too!) and I look forward to your comments.

Until next time Frinnies!

Thanks for reading! Like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own tips with us!

Frozen Avocado

Posted by Carole

Pictures of avocado toasts have invaded Instagram and for a good reason. Avocado is one of the most affordable super food you can find out there and it tastes delicious! Win-win situation!

And because it is Oh-so-trendy, I won’t tell you more about the benefits of avocado in this blog or what you can make with it – smoothie, toast, salad, guacamole etc. I’m sure you’ve heard it all already!

However, there is one thing I’ve learnt while doing some researches on the benefits of freezing food that I never suspected and it is that you can actually freeze avocados! What a delightful news, right?!

To me, it means:

  1. You can say good-bye to food waste as, if you’re like me, you have to throw away your avocados as soon they are a bit too ripe and take on that brownish mushy texture that makes me shiver!
  2. It is the perfect way to easily incorporate avocados to your early-morning smoothies without leaving a green mess on your chopping board, which you know will be waiting for you all day for a good scrubbing session. Lovely!

So without further ado, let’s get started and learn how to freeze avocados!

Option 1 – Frozen avocado puree

Most foodies say puree is the best way to freeze avocados so here’s how to proceed:

  1. Choose ripe avocados and wash them with clear water or soap and water.
  2. Cut each avocado in half around the seed and twist gently to open. Lift out the seed using your fingers or a teaspoon then peel off the skin.
  3. Cut the avocados in large chunks then blend with a food processor or use a fork to smash the chunks into a smooth paste. Add a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice for each avocado to avoid the paste turning brown.
  4. Place the puree into zipper-style freezer bags or freezer containers then freeze!

Tip: You can also freeze your avocado puree in ice cube trays to create cubes that can be easily added to your morning smoothies.

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Option 2 – Frozen avocado chunks

You can also freeze your avocados as chunks or slices:

  1. Choose ripe avocados and wash them with clear water or soap and water.
  2. Cut each avocado in half around the seed and twist gently to open. Lift out the seed using your fingers or a teaspoon then peel off the skin.
  3. Slice the avocados in chunks, line them on a tray and sprinkle with lemon or lime juice then place into the freezer.
  4. When the chunks are frozen, place tem into  zipper-style freezer bags or freezer containers then freeze!

To thaw frozen avocado, place freezer bags or containers in cold water for a couple of hours or thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Use frozen avocado puree or chunks within four months for the tastiest result!

Please like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own cooking tips with the Frinnies community!