30 May 2016

LUSH Oatifix Face Mask

LUSH Oatifix Face Mask for dry sensitive skin - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Okay, okay, I know I promised you guys that I would be working on my photography in the latter half of this month and in coming months, BUT I took this a little while ago. So sozzles about that. I almost ended up not even posting this because let's face it, this picture is kind of spectacularly fail-worthy. However, LUSH's Oatifix mask is kind of becoming my absolute favourite mask of all time (I also promise I'll stop saying this about every new product I like!), so, you know, it needed to be done. 

If you've read my recent post about LUSH's BB Seaweed face mask, you'll already know how much of a fan of their facial products I am. Or any of their products really. And no, I'm not some kind of LUSH brand ambassador. But if that was a thing, I would totally be first in line to apply. I really just love the fact that everything is cruelty free and that they really do make genuine, sustained attempts to help the environment. 

So, as you'll all know from my hundreds of rants about it, my skin used to be oily - combination sensitive skin, and now has become dry-combination ultra sensitive skin. So, I've really needed to re-organise my skincare regime to fit in with my skin type. LUSH's Oatifix has honestly been a godsend. It specifically targets hydrating and exfoliating sensitive and dry skin, which is fab for me: not only does it get right into my pores to scrape out a fair few toxins, but it then ensures that that process doesn't leave my skin feeling raw or tight. YAY. There really is nothing to hate with this one. It smells good enough to eat as it's full of banana, oatmeal and vanilla. If you've got skin like mine I would 100% recommend this. I can't wait to pick up a new tub soon!

What's your favourite face mask at the moment?

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29 May 2016

How to Dutch braid your hair: a step by step guide

A step by step guide on how to Dutch braid your hair. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

A step by step guide on how to Dutch braid your hair. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

A step by step guide on how to Dutch braid your hair. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

A step by step guide on how to Dutch braid your hair. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

A step by step guide on how to Dutch braid your hair. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

A step by step guide on how to Dutch braid your hair. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Most days all I want to do is shove my hair up into a messy bun (potentially having brushed it beforehand, but who knows), yet there are days when I want to feel a little more girly. Now, I've had standard braids down pat since about the age of eight, but French braids and Dutch braids have always eluded me. So, I made learning how to do them part of my 2016 'bucket list'. Which I'm pretty sure grows by the day, but I AM completing things ... eventually.

The difference between French and Dutch braids is effectively that the latter's plaits sit on top of the hair, whilst the former has it's plaits woven in a little more. I hope that made some sense! So, here's my little guide on how to do Dutch braids. Pre-warn: your arm will ache whilst you try to do this, unless you have pro arm skills (I definitely don't). Before you start I would recommend to ensure that you dry and straighten your hair. My hair's fairly unruly and without doing this, there are baby hairs flying everywhere and everything tangles within about two seconds of tackling it. I use the John Frieda Frizz Ease Serum to make everything a little smoother. If you want to know a little more about my hair care routine, then check out my post on it here

Step One:

- Ensure that you have brushed your hair thoroughly. Spray it with water, or a light hair spritz. This makes it a little easier to manage. Part your hair exactly down the middle all the way from the tip of your head to the base. Tie or clip one half of it up so that you don't get the separate halves tangled.

Step Two:

- This is the hardest step. Take a small section of the front of your hair nearest the scalp. Separate it into three sections with your fingers. Take the left section over the middle section, and then the right section over the new middle section. Then take a new piece of hair from the front left of your remaining hair and add it to the left section. Take this over the middle section. Take a new piece of hair from the front right of your remaining hair and add it to the right section. Take this over the new middle section. Repeat until all of your hair is included in the braid. 

Step Three:

- Now you should just have the ends of your hair free. Continue the plait down to the ends and tie with an elastic band or hair tie.

Step Four:

- Do the same to the second half of your hair.

Step Five:

- Clip back the extra 'puffy' bits of hair and stray baby hairs to finalise the look as something neat and slick. Spray with hairspray to keep everything in place.

I really hope you enjoyed this post! 

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27 May 2016

How to get your own domain name (and why you ought to!)


Over the past couple of months, I've been making a couple of changes here at Nourish ME. I've really been attempting to up my blogging game, and create more varied and generally better posts for you guys. Although getting your own domain seems like a fairly menial change, much like creating your own blogger media kit, it can really make a difference if you want to start monetizing your blog. 

Why do I need my own domain name?

When PRs and brands consider bloggers for collaborative posts, they will often request a certain DA (or domain authority) score. If you still have a blogspot.com or wordpress.org site, or something along those lines, then you don't actually have a DA. Telling them this can come across as unprofessional, and they are likely to therefore look for a blogger who has organised their own domain name. Having said this, I have successfully completed collaborations with brands from my blogspot address, so it by no means totally rules you out

It's also a chance for you to rejig your blog name a little if you wish. My old URL was http://nourishmeclean.blogspot.com because initially my blog was all about clean eating. However, in the past year(!) or so of blogging that's become really irrelevant. So, when I switched to my own domain it became www.nourishmeblog.co.uk.

How can I get my own domain name?

I'm not going to lie, when I first started looking into this I was totally stumped. I didn't know how I was going to set one up - would it involve a lot of tricky coding? Or mess up my Google analytics? Would my old address come up as a 404 and lose me tonnes of pageviews? Don't worry, it was a lot easier than I had imagined, and none of these things *touch wood* has happened in the past month or two that I have had my own domain name. Note: what I'm about to tell you only applies to blogger sites (I really have no idea how I would do it on Wordpress, but I imagine it's not too much more difficult). 

You will have to buy your own domain name, but there are a whole variety of websites with different prices and packages that you can do this from. I opted to go with Go Daddy because they had an offer on, which gave me a year's worth of my domain name for 99p. On top of the straight up yearly or monthly cost, you can also opt to buy protection. I did this as well and ultimately I think it came to around £8 for the year altogether. You will have to renew it each year, so be warned: buying it does not mean you own your domain forever.

Here's where we get a bit technical. Once you've bought your domain and are happy with the name, it's time to actually get it connected to your blog. I was going to attempt to write you guys a step-by-step instruction for this but honestly I don't want to have written something wrong that could potentially destroy your blog! Instead, here is a link to Blogger's own really detailed explanation of exactly how to set your domain name up correctly and with ease. It probably took me about an hour in total - you do have to leave it for 24 hours and then come back to make sure everything is set up correctly.

Once you've got your new, sparkling domain name all set up and connected to your blog, you then need to let people know about it! I updated my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook page, Pinterest, Youtube and Bloglovin to show the new URL. However, if people click on your old URL, as long as you've set everything up correctly, it will direct to your new domain anyway!

I really hope this was helpful!

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25 May 2016

LUSH Solid Shampoo and Conditioner Myth Busting + VIDEO

LUSH solid shampoo (Jason and the Argan Oil) and Conditioner (Jungle) Myth Busting and Youtube video - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

LUSH solid shampoo (Jason and the Argan Oil) and Conditioner (Jungle) Myth Busting and Youtube video - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

LUSH solid shampoo (Jason and the Argan Oil) and Conditioner (Jungle) Myth Busting and Youtube video - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

We all know I'm a bit of a LUSH-oholic (am I ticking all of the blogger stereotype boxes yet in this post?), and their hair care products are something that I really believe in. If you've had a peek at my hair care tips post for people with long, thick hair, then you'll know that LUSH is pretty much my go-to if my hair needs a little bit of TLC.

I know most of you guys aren't fans of solid shampoos and conditioners, which is why I've dedicated this post to a little myth busting and information about them. I'm currently using their Jason and the Argan Oil shampoo bar (which is targeted at making your hair softer and shinier) and their Jungle solid conditioner (which is all about helping keep your wild, tangled hair under control). 

Myth #1: They're obviously going to break up instantly. I've never had one break on me, unless it had reached the stage where it was about a millimetre thick. I'm pretty heavy handed too, so you don't need to worry about it suddenly splintering into a million pieces if you're not uber delicate with putting it on your hair. I've even dropped mine in the bath a couple of times (not recommended) and it hasn't broken up, so they're fairly sturdy. Myth = busted.

Myth #2: Solid conditioner is never going to hydrate my hair as much as liquid conditioner. I've found that this isn't quite as hydrating as my normal liquid shampoo, so this one sort of sticks. However, if you've ever done a coconut/avocado face mask you'll know that solid beauty products can be hydrating. I've stripped the ends of my hair and generally don't use any post-shower hair care products, and my hair is still soft to the touch, so it's by no means drying. Myth = true (in my experience).

Myth #3: I'm never going to understand how to use solid shampoo and conditioner. I'm not going to lie to you guys, I'm a bit of a klutz, but even I can deal with using these. With the shampoo I tend to rub it all over my hair, then lather some up in my hands to apply. The conditioner does feel a little bit weird at first, but I basically rub it over my hair in long strokes, paying careful attention to my roots. Honestly after a couple of tries you'll have perfected your method. Myth = busted.

Myth #4: They're only going to last a couple of washes - they're not going to be worth the price. This one is seriously untrue. I expected this at first, and was pleasantly surprised to realise that my shampoo bars last a good two or three months (I only wash my hair twice a week, but as I have mentioned it's pretty darn long). I even do two rounds of shampooing in each wash. You end up using less than you would from a bottle because it's pretty hard to over shampoo when you're applying it directly to your hair. They last me way longer than a standard bottle of shampoo does, and I feel happy knowing that they're impacting the environment less negatively. 

Finally, here's the video:



What do you think of solid shampoos and conditioners?

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23 May 2016

Kiwi and Pear Vegan Smoothie Recipe

Kiwi and pear vegan smoothie recipe - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Kiwi and pear vegan smoothie recipe - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Smoothies are possibly my favourite 'everyday' breakfast. I'd love to have pancakes everyday (who wouldn't?!), but they take forever to prepare and make me feel a little groggy. I find that a good smoothie with a cup of lemon and ginger tea is the perfect remedy for turning a grumpy morning Steph into somebody who is actually a functional human being. I love experimenting with smoothie recipes, but usually end up coming back to the same basics that involve berries and salad. The recipe I have for you guys today however veers a little off of my beaten track, and is totally berry free *cue shocked face*. It's a completely green smoothie, but still contains a lot of fruit, so you can drink something sweet whilst all of your friends stare in envy at your green goddess smoothie Instagram posts

I love how quick and simple smoothies are for when you need to make breakfast in a rush. You can even chop everything up the night before and put it in the fridge, so that all you have to do in the morning is drop everything into your blender and hit the power button. I've actually posted a TONNE of smoothie recipes here on Nourish ME, but not in the past few months. If you're looking for more smoothie inspiration, here are just a couple more of my recipes:

- Mango vegan smoothie
- Strawberry and basil smoothie (this is one of my all time favourites!)
- Antioxidant green smoothie


So, without further ado, here's how to make a yummy kiwi and pear smoothie:

Ingredients:

1 kiwi
1 conference pear
1 large handful baby spinach
3 romaine lettuce leaves, or about 2 handfuls
1 small apple
150ml rice (or other alternative, e.g. almond, oat) milk

Method:

1.) Chop the kiwi, pear, apple and romaine lettuce up into small pieces.
2.) Place everything in the blender and whizz for a few minutes!

What's your go-to smoothie recipe?

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20 May 2016

My Top 5 Stationery Picks of 2016 (So Far)


Top 5 stationery picks of 2016 - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Top 5 stationery picks of 2016 - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Top 5 stationery picks of 2016 - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
Confession time: I am a TOTAL stationery hoarder. Post it-notes, pretty pens, notebooks, you name it, I probably have a stash of it somewhere in my house. So, I figured I'd share the love a bit with you guys by showing you my current stationery favourites in a quick Youtube video! If you've read my current stationery crush post then you'll already know how much I love to pick up cute (and totally necessary of course) pieces to add to my collection!

Here's the video!

Here's where you can find the pieces:




That Lame Company insulting incentives post cards

Start Where You Are journal

I hope you enjoyed this post! What's your favourite stationery piece at the moment?

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19 May 2016

10 Things you can do to Help a Child with Cancer

10 Things you can do to help a child going through chemotherapy and cancer - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

10 Things you can do to help a child going through chemotherapy and cancer - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

10 Things you can do to help a child going through chemotherapy and cancer - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
 
My sister Sophie is back with another guest post today all about things she would have found helpful whilst she was undergoing chemotherapy. In the past few years, she's spoke to several other childhood cancer survivors and done a lot of research into it, so we thought we'd share some really important ideas that could help make a child's chemotherapy journey a little less painful. I've chosen the above photos to show you a before (she's the slightly grumpy-looking one with the wild hair), during and after her chemotherapy, albeit with a few years in between. This is the second installment in a kind of mini series I've been doing on the blog - you can read Sophie's post on the mental impact of being a cancer survivor here.

-    Bring their favourite foods
Their tastes buds will probably change throughout treatment, but favourites will probably remain favourites. I would take a favourite food of each flavour type, e.g. sweet/savoury/fruity/sour, in the hope that they would crave one of them. Also, if you’re visiting during chemo; bring mints! Certain types of chemotherapy give you an strong metallic taste out of nowhere and it’s awful. Really bad. Soft mints are the best because you can spread them around your mouth in the hope of combatting it. Even the nurses carry around mints for times of desperation.

-    Hug them
As with all children, physical affection will help to calm them. A hug is the best thing to do when they are upset because it literally reduces stress levels (as oxytocin is released into our bodies, which reduces heart rate and cortisol in our blood) it’s science. The child is also around a lot of medical professionals who aren’t really allowed to give hugs etc, so they are really needed from family and friends. This will also hep to combat feelings of loneliness for you both.

-    Ask them how they’re really feeling and let them explain
This is really important for children, especially when all their medical decisions are made by their parents. They need to have control over some things, because they have none a lot of the time. By asking them how they feel about it and letting them explain why they feel this way, it not only allows them to become a more emotionally developed individual, but it lets you understand how to work through problems with their view in mind (which may understandably be very difficult to hear, but at least they know you’re on their side). It will also make you feel like more of a team when fighting this disease and make them feel less isolated, especially if you relate to how they’re feeling and work out how to improve their negative feelings. Note: ask them in a safe place where you know you can talk to someone straight after, as it will be difficult for you to hear from them.

-    LISTEN
I understand that this point is very similar to the last, but it is the most important thing to do. A child’s life has just been completely disrupted and so has yours. They have to listen to you tell them what treatment they need and how their life will change from now on. And thats a really impossibly difficult thing for you to do, and most children know this. They will be able to sense how devastated you are, and this might result in them not talking to you so that they don’t upset you; and this is very emotionally damaging long term. To avoid this distant relationship forming, it’s imperative that you listen to them. Try to really take it in what they’re saying and react well to it; its the most valuable knowledge you can get. This is also true for any siblings. You must just listen, without trying to force an opinion on them or complete their sentences, just sit and absorb.

-    Use charity websites for first-hand advice
The fact that this is something I can advise is amazing in itself to me. When I was diagnosed, there was little to no help out there that we could easily access. Now there is a wealth of information available, the most valuable I feel being personal stories and blogs. Online medical journals are something you should avoid at all costs, whereas personal stories of hope are a very positive resource that can really help you to feel less alone and can even open up communication lines between you and people going through the same ordeal/people who have come out the other side. Even though no two cancer journeys are the same, many elements are shared and you can always find general tips and tricks to deal with these things, especially with the same chemotherapy type. There are often support line numbers on these sites, which would be really useful in times of helplessness and emptiness.

-    Adapt family days out to include them/siblings
This is something that often gets pushed to the sidelines when times get really tough and chemotherapy affects your child’s abilities/immune system/appetite. However, special day activities are really important in keeping the family unit strong; especially because of the impact on the siblings, who often get far less attention and can become redundant members. This can be inexpensive, which is such an advantage due to the financial strain cancer treatment can cause, you just have to get creative with it. I’m sure there are plenty of websites and magazines about having fun family days on a budget, and these will be starting points that can be adapted to suit your child’s capabilities. Often childlike ideas are the best, such as building a duvet fort and watching Disney films in it. Although, it’s important to try and let any siblings have their own time with parents and their own time with their sick brother/sister, as they did before. Both this ‘alone time’ and having family days will help to maintain a level of ‘normality’ in the child’s life, which is so important considering everything that’s happening to them.

-    Celebrate small victories
When life is really hard, it’s important to realise how much you’ve had to fight your way through. I feel that the most positive way to do this is by celebrating a win. Whether that win is getting good blood work back or making it through a whole school day, it is important to recognise it. When the world hasn’t given you much to be thankful for, be thankful for how much work you’ve all put in to making these little things happen. It’s again important to do this for siblings/parents as well to recognise the fact that it is difficult for everyone right now, and achieving more than getting out of bed is a feat in itself. Celebrations can be so simple, like a family selfie or a ‘cheers’ at the beginning of dinner.

-    Keep a diary/sketchbook
This might seem a completely ridiculous thing to take up at such a time, but it really would help everyone in the immediate family (especially siblings). Writing down feelings is a really useful tool for processing your emotions, and getting them out of your head and on to paper is a proven form of therapy. This will help to stop bursts of rage in front of others, because you will be confronting your thoughts instead of ignoring them, which is psychologically damaging (especially in the long term) and causes emotions to emerge uncontrollably. A diary would also help you to keep a timeline of this time in your life, which might allow you to keep more structure and organise your time better- as you will be able to keep track of appointments etc. Alternatively, if you are not inclined to keep a diary, a sketchbook would be a good option. You don’t have to be an artist to do this at all, just doodling little comics of something funny that happened that day would be good as a mindfulness tool. This will also be really useful to see how your moods have been and whether there are any patterns you could try to ease, e.g. organising a coffee with a close friend the day before the child’s chemo bout because you know that you feel really depressed on this particular day.

-    Maintain self-care
It’s so easy to ignore your own needs when a child is facing chemotherapy, because you feel that they are much worse off and that you cannot feel bad for yourself because of what they’re going through. This attitude will only help for a very short space of time. You can’t ignore how hard this is for yourself, and getting help with this is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of- would you think another parent/friend of a child having chemotherapy would be ok? Getting help is the best thing you can do for you and your child/children. This can be talking to friends/family, going to the gym to burn off some steam, or talking to a councillor online/in person (although making another set of appointments may feel like too much hassle). I would encourage taking some time for yourself at the end of the day when you’ve put the child/children to bed to practice mindfulness, which comes in plenty of forms- you simply find one that you click with naturally. Meditation might seem pointless to you, but going for a jog might seem like something you could incorporate somewhere.

-    Learn to accept the post-cancer survivor
This will be the most difficult thing to do on this list. There’s a global misconception that after treatment your child will go back to their ‘old selves’, and believing in this will be very psychologically damaging for the whole family. It is a life-changing event, and it’s awful; but you can’t pretend it hasn’t happened. You will have a lot of ‘what ifs’ and these will often turn into negative thought cycles, which is exactly what happens when you mourn someone. It took me a long time to realise that we were all in mourning of the ‘pre-cancer’ me. Everyone was, we just didn’t realise it; because of the pressure to be happy that I has survived. But a new version of me was born after cancer, how could it not? After all the treatment and emotional turmoil, everyone would change; you have to to cope. And it’s crucial to accept the new version of the child, because they will try to please you by pretending to be their old selves and eventually lose who they actually are. It’s important to remember that any child would change quite a bit during the actual duration of treatment, which for me was an entire year. So, you will have to mourn, but at least understanding this will allow you to eventually stop trying to get their/your ‘old/normal’ life back. This will be a lot better for you long term, and help you realise why you’re often feeling the opposite to how you think you should, e.g. devastated instead of appreciative.

Is there anything you would add? We really hope this was helpful! Here is a link if you wish to donate to the Bone Cancer Research Trust

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17 May 2016

Things to do in Plymouth on a Budget

Things to do in Plymouth, UK on a budget - Nourish ME, www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Things to do in Plymouth, UK on a budget - Nourish ME, www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Things to do in Plymouth, UK on a budget - Nourish ME, www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Things to do in Plymouth, UK on a budget - Nourish ME, www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Despite having lived in the UK all my life, I haven't actually travelled much around our little island. This is something I really want to change in the next couple of years. My sister is currently studying at university in Plymouth, and my boyfriend knows just how much I miss her, so a couple of weeks ago we made the four hour trek down there to stay for a few days. Whilst he drove I provided the entertainment of shouting 'road trip, road trip' every few minutes, and making up my own lyrics to songs on Radio One (a standard long journey process for us). 

As we're both currently job hunting and saving for a flat, we really didn't have much cash to spend, and thankfully, we really didn't need to. We stayed for four days and spent hardly anything, despite drinking on a couple of nights and going out for dinner. The first evening we hit up Revolution Bar, and had some awesome cocktails and surprisingly really tasty food. I posted a whole review of it a couple of weeks ago. Side note: if you go, get the nachos - they have vodka salsa and it's really damn tasty. This was a great place to go to enjoy a nice atmosphere and yummy food and drinks without a massive price tag.

The best thing to do when you're low on money and visiting Plymouth is definitely to go to the Hoe and the Barbican. The Hoe is not only glorious because you get to take pictures with road names like 'Hoe Approach', but because it's basically the main seafront-y area. Plymouth doesn't really have a formal beach (correct me if I'm wrong), and this is really where the centre of everything is. it's got the awesome lighthouse as well, which you can go up if you pay a couple of pounds. We opted not to do this, and instead we bought some picnic bits, and sat in the sunshine to eat a (slightly hungover), but really picturesque lunch together. 

Next up was the standard night out. We honestly probably spent about a tenner each on this (including food) after pre-drinks, aka it was my kind of night out! As my sister is a first year student, we hit up all of the bars near her that turned into clubs later on in the night and had a whirl. The best part of the night? The fact that there was a cafe called Caffeine Club open 24/7. I mean, guys, I GOT NACHOS AT 4AM. The town I live in has nowhere open at 4am for food, let alone somewhere that will actually serve you food on a plate. I was basically in Steph food paradise, and the price of the food at Caffeine Club is astounding. Plus, for all you tea lovers out there, you can walk in at any time of day or night and get a pint of tea.

Anyway, these were basically my favourite parts of heading to Plymouth for a few days on a budget. let me know in the comments what you would include!

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16 May 2016

Vegan Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Vegan Blueberry Muffin Recipe - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Vegan Blueberry Muffin Recipe - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
I LOVE to bake - it's my favourite form of procrastination and I turn to it every time I'm feeling super stressed out. Usually my bakes are calorific chocolate-dense pieces of gooeyness, but this time I decided to give something new a go. This was met with horror from my boyfriend - 'oh Steph are you making one of your weird-ass recipes again, can't you just make cookies?!'. My answer of course was a firm no and I'm so glad. In the end even he loved them, and the whole household ended up snaffling them up within a day or two. I've really enjoyed sharing some vegan recipes with you recently, and you all seemed to love my tomato and basil risotto as well as my pear and raspberry oatmeal so here we are!

These were so moist and tasty that I couldn't not share them with you. Just a top tip: make sure you have muffin cases BEFORE you start making the mix. Mine was already made before I realised I didn't even have proper cake cases, let alone muffin cases, so I ended up with these tiny paper ones which made muffin eating much more tricky than it should be!

Blueberries are currently my favourite fruit. If you follow my Instagram, you'll probably already know this as they feature in so many of my recipes and fruity pictures. I only discovered blueberry muffins a couple of years ago and ever since then I've absolutely loved them. I would even say they're tastier than chocolate ones (say whaaat?!), because I just love coming across the little pockets of moisture and sweetness that the whole blueberries in them bring. 

Ingredients:

For the topping:

Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons caster sugar

For the muffins:

225g frozen blueberries
75g fresh blueberries
170g caster sugar
375g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 flax eggs
40g melted coconut oil
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
235ml milk alternative (I used rice milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Method

1.) Mix sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl for the topping and set to one side.
2.) Create the flax eggs. Mix 2 tablespoons flax seeds with 6 tablespoons water and leave to set. 
3.) Preheat oven to 200 degrees (celsius) or 180 for a fan oven.
4.) Heat 150g of the frozen blueberries and a tablespoon of sugar (you can swap to agave nectar if you prefer here) in a saucepan for around ten minutes. Once cooked, strain through a sieve, ensuring you mash the berries as you go for maximum flavour. You can choose to add the 'bits' here if you want or leave them out. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
5.) Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl. 
6.) Melt the coconut oil.
7.) Add the sugar, flax eggs, coconut oil and vegetable oil. Mix until everything is combined. 
8.) Add the rice milk (or other milk alternative) and vanilla extract. Give a quick stir. 
9.) Gently fold in the rest of the frozen blueberries as well as the fresh ones. 
10.) Place mixture in muffin cases in a muffin tin.
11.) Place a teaspoon of the blueberry jam mixture you made earlier on the centre of the top of each muffin and swirl around. I used a wooden skewer for this, but a cocktail stick or knife tip works equally well.
12.) Sprinkle the lemon sugar mixture over the top and place in the oven for around 18 minutes.

I really hope you enjoyed this recipe, I've been loving sharing more of my creations with you recently! If you give this a whirl tag me in your pictures so I can have a peek!

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12 May 2016

Beginner's Guide: Using Pinterest

Beginner's Guide to using Pinterest for bloggers - by Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.ukBeginner's Guide to using Pinterest for bloggers - by Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk


Beginner's Guide to using Pinterest for bloggers - by Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

I was a teensy bit late to the Pinterest game, I'm not going to lie, But once I got here about a month and a half ago, I found it really damn hard to find any blogger advice on how to use Pinterest. After a shaky first week or so I eventually found some interesting pieces of advice, ironically, on Pinterest, about how to use it, and how to optimise my use of it for the blog. So, I've gathered my top tips for those of you who have never used Pinterest, or still don't *really* know how to get to grips with it. In the first few weeks I did consider giving up on it - it seemed like wayyyy too much effort to keep up with whilst I had no clue what was going on. But now that I know more, I've totally fallen in love with it and I'm pretty much 100% obsessed. I've learnt masses about blogging, found new countries and cities to fall in love with, and created tonnes of recipes from it!

Getting Started

The first thing you need to do is (obviously) set up an account. You need to choose a name, and, like choosing one on any kind of social media, this is pretty important. I've gone with Stephanie | Nourish ME as I wanted it to represent my blog and include a little bit of my own self too. I would definitely recommend considering using your blog name somewhere in your Pinterest name as it ensures that you carry your brand across to that social media platform. Alongside a name, you'll also need a short bio. This should contain some of your interests so that people will know what kind of things they can expect to see you pinning as well as a little bit of information about your blog. Mine looks like this: "UK based health, lifestyle, fashion and beauty blogger. All round foodie and lover of developing new recipes". I'm still tweaking it, but this basically summarises most of my blog post topics and my main hobby (FOOD haha). A final part of your setup is to connect your Pinterest with your blog domain or blog address. You simply add this in, and once you've verified that it's yours, it will appear as a link on your Pinterest. This way you can drive traffic straight from your Pinterest account to your blog every time someone finds your account.

Following Accounts

At first Pinterest will do the standard social media thing of getting you to pick areas of interest (yayyyy, can we not just skip this already). So once you've sorted out your five or so things that you would like to hear about, you can get down to the real nitty gritty of finding what you want to see on Pinterest. I did a little call out on Twitter to discover some blogger friends who were on here to start, but my main sourcing of followers came from finding Dork Face Blog's Pinterest. I absolutely LOVE Jemma's style and enthusiasm for all things colourful and pretty, so I decided to follow a fair few people she followed - if they were good enough for her then I was sure to fall in love with their pins, right?! After following a few of those lovely bloggers, I then basically searched key terms like 'baking', 'lifestyle', 'blogger', lifestyle blogger', 'food', 'recipes', 'travel blogger' and so on. For the first few weeks I followed 20 people a day and this seems to have really helped in terms of securing a decent following so far!

Dealing with your feed

Okay, this one had me really stumped at the beginning. I was mindlessly staring at the screen with 'what is a pin?' and 'how do I even pin things?' and 'good lord, what is this dashboard thing and how do I control it?!'. Basically, if you've ever used Tumblr (hello my 17-year-old obsession), then getting to grips with Pinterest is going to be a LOT easier for you! Basically your dashboard is where everything that people you follow have pinned or repinned will appear. You can click on any picture on your dashboard and it will enlarge. If you click again you will be taken to the website that the post originally appeared on (hopefully - occasionally you get taken to a different page than what the image suggests, argh). Once you click back onto Pinterest you then have the option to either 'x' out of the enlarged image, or pin it to one of your boards. 

Pinterest Boards

So, you've decided to pin something and now you're faced with 'choosing a board', say whaaaat?! This had me a teensy bit baffled, to say the least, at first. A board is basically a category to put your pins into. Mine range from baking, to yoga, to blogging inspiration, to cocktail recipes, with about 20 more in between. Having a whole range of Pinterest boards makes it easy for me to find an article or recipe quickly without having to trawl through hundreds of irrelevant pins. When you save a pin you get to choose to put it in an already existing board, or create a new one. This is one of my favourite aspects of Pinterest, as it makes creating new boards really easy and convenient. 

The way you organise your boards is also pretty important. Pinterest simply places them in the order in which you created them, but it's really easy to move them around. To get the greatest number of hits on your blog, it's best to have it in your top row as you can see that I've done in the pictures above. In that row should also be the boards you're most proud of, and ones that you think will draw people to your Pinterest. I've got my Happiness, Travel Bucket List and Home Inspo boards up there alongside the Nourish ME one. 

Making your Blog Pinterest-able

So, once you've got everything set up you really need to make sure that you can actually use your blog posts on Pinterest, and that other people can too. The first thing you really need to do is install a hover pin button to put over your photos. That way people can simply click and add the post via the photo to their board. Then, you need to create an 'alt tag' for each picture that sums up the post. On blogger you do this by clicking on your image, then clicking on 'properties' and adding text in to both boxes. For example, my ones for this post are 'Beginner's Guide to using Pinterest for bloggers - by Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk'. This is the summary people will see underneath your image on Pinterest. Finally, when you publish a post pin it yourself so that hopefully people will see it and repin!


I know that was a massively long post, so kudos to you if you're still here! If you've got any more questions, comment below or tweet me @stephhartley4.

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11 May 2016

Coconut Lane Wishlist - Stationery, Jewellery and Homeware

Coconut Lane Wishlist post including stationery, home ware, jewelry and accessories - Nourish Me www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Since graduating, I've been determined to get more 'adult' about things (HA). Getting myself more organised and having a pretty house fill the top two spots in my adult-y agenda, so Coconut Lane is a pretty good place to start looking. If you've read my blog prop heaven post, you'll already know how much I love Coconut Lane's products. Me and my boyfriend are currently on the hunt for our first ever flat together aka HOORAY NO MORE STUDENT HOUSING, and I really want to take this opportunity to make the flat somewhere I genuinely enjoy spending time.

Coconut Lane's cushion collection is absolutely astounding, but my favourites from it have to be the Luxe Silky Gold Marble cushion cover and the Pancakes and Prosecco cushion cover. I can imagine the former sitting on our sofa and adding a splash of elegant colour to the room, whilst the latter will take pride of place in the centre of my bed. Pancakes and prosecco are some of my two favourite things, and once we have everything sorted with our flat I'll definitely be eyeing some up to celebrate with! The only cushion cover we own at the moment is a Heinz Baked Beans one, which was nice and quirky when I first moved in to student halls almost four years ago, but now just sits on our sofa looking a little sad and out of place.

We all know how obsessed I am with stationery as well, and I really want to get some nice prints to set up over my new desk (once I've saved up for one!) at the flat. I'm so sick of having bare walls, so this will really make the place feel at home for me. I'm also hoping to get some photos to hang up in pretty frames as well to give the place a bit of character. The 'I'm a Blogger' wall art is probably my favourite of the two. This will take pride of place above my desk and remind me that the blogging I do really empowers me and allows me to do things I once thought were impossible. The 'Born Sassy' wall art is something that I really want to hang up in the spare room, which will be my sister's room whenever she comes to stay as she  was definitely born with a bucket-load of sass.

Now to move on to another one of my loves, phone cases. I've spoken more about this in my Caseapp phone case review, but basically I have a rather large horde of them at the moment. You can never have too many phone cases though, right? The Luxe Magic Feathers case is effectively a pastel dream. I'm always a big fan of going boho as the warmer weather creeps in, and this seems like the perfect accessory to do so! My second favourite is the Peacock Feather case. Peacocks are such beautiful creatures, and I really think Coconut Lane has captured this well with such a stunning design.

Finally it's jewelry time. Rings are something that I tend to wear much more often during summer, mostly because I'm not having to wear gloves everywhere and I feel like putting more effort into my outfit before I leave the house. At the moment I can't wear rings to work (boo) but as soon as I get my new job sorted I can get back into the swing of taking time to enjoy creating outfits for the day, and adding a bit of pretty jewelry to the look. The knot ring is available in three colours, but I'd definitely go with silver, just because I prefer wearing jewelry of that colour. This is such an elegant design and I fell head over heels for it. The arrow ring was another piece that really stuck out for me. The design is quite subtle, and I love the fact that it's not too traditional as the end don't meet but instead lie above and below one another. 

You can get 20% off everything at Coconut Lane with the code 'nourishme20'

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9 May 2016

LUSH's BB Seaweed Fresh Face Mask Review | Nourish My Skin

LUSH BB Seaweed Face Mask Review - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

LUSH BB Seaweed Face Mask Review - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

LUSH BB Seaweed Face Mask Review - Nourish ME www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

It is absolutely sweltering here in the UK at the moment. Summer has legitimately popped out of nowhere and a simple stroll to the shops basically has everyone looking like a puddle. My skin and I were totally unprepared for this (why did I throw away all of my shorts without repurchasing any new ones?!) and my facial skin care is more important now than ever

I've got dry to combination skin, and for the past couple of months it's been leaning towards the dry side, and I've really felt the need for moisturising all the time to keep it from having horrible dry patches that just LOVE to cake my foundation, argh. But, now, a new issue has arisen: the heat has made my skin way more oily than I'm currently used to. This is where LUSH's BB Seaweed comes in. If you've read my April favourites post, then you'll know that this is what I've been reaching for recently, but after the weather broke it's become more important. This is a fairly thick mask, and I tend to apply a fair amount to my T-zone, and then a slightly thinner layer to the rest of my face. 

I actually realised when I came to write this that I wrote a review of this face mask almost a year ago and it actually shocked me to see just how much my photography and blogging in general has improved since then! Over the past nine or ten months I really started to fall in love with photography, and since then I've read countless blog photography improvement posts in the hope of making it something I can be proud of. 

Anyway, this is a product I ALWAYS come back to because it doesn't aggravate my sensitive skin and is very affordable for the amount you get in each pot. I probably get about six uses out of each tub, which works out as just over £1 per use. For a vegan, cruelty free and largely natural beauty product I think we're on to a winner here!

What's your favourite face mask at the moment? 

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