Put your back into it!

Put your back into it!

Over the past 6 weeks, I have been seeing lots of arm and shoulder problems in yoga classes and in my massage treatment room. I was blaming the long, cold winter, which has seeped into everyone’s bones – hunched up, shoulders rolling forward in an effort to keep out the weather – not surprising really.

I recently had two cases, both fit active people – one a life-long tennis player, the other a competitive rower – both tall and therefore a tendency to stoop, and the arm problems had got so bad that one couldn’t serve a ball, the other couldn’t take her t-shirt off! So it’s not just about building strength; something else was going on and the common thread was posture.

pexels-photo-88654Whenever someone comes to me with frozen shoulder, it’s often preceded by an activity like moving house, lifting heavy things up or down, or spring gardening, holding tools above shoulder height for long periods cutting hedges. The sort of strenuous activities one doesn’t do very often. It’s not just that we need to be stronger – as I said, these people were already strong, in both cases. What we need is much better postural awareness when we’re doing these activities so that we don’t hunch up, roll the shoulders forward, and end up trying to do them with our delicate neck muscles instead of using our much stronger backs.

Try this: stand up. Imagine your posture is slightly stooped. Notice how your shoulders roll forward, your chest drops, and your shoulder blades lift up. Now, exaggerate the slouch a bit and SLOWLY try to lift your arms upwards and outwards. (Don’t go quickly – you will hurt yourself.) Notice how your chest drops further, shoulder blades lift more, and your neck and shoulder muscles become ‘bunched up’.  It’s painful and your arms feel incredibly heavy – they won’t lift very far.

So, when lifting our arms up, especially above shoulder height ,we must learn how to change which muscles are involved by moving the shoulder blades DOWN
and lifting the chest UP first.

How do we learn that action? 

Clasp your hands lightly behind the back. Focus on the upper arm bones and roll them very slightly back. Observe how your shoulder blades move down and become firm into your back ribs. Notice how your chest lifts and your shoulders roll back. Do this a few times to really understand – it’s only a small movement.

Do it again and HOLD IT. Notice how your lower back muscles are also activated by this action – you need these to provide stability when taking your arms above shoulder height, otherwise your neck has to do all the work.

Clasp hands behind again for a few moments, stretch your pectorals, take your shoulder blades down, and engage your lower back muscles. Now release your hands and try again to slowly lift your arms out and up whilst MAINTAINING this action. See how the arms feel lighter and move much more easily?

As we say in Iyengar Yoga – Alignment before Extension, if you want to avoid A&E!

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What bloggers are saying about L.E.

What bloggers are saying about L.E.

To shop Lovegrove Essentials products, visit their online store HERE.

To shop Lovegrove Essentials products, visit their online store HERE.

 

Creamy Porcini Mushroom Pasta

Creamy Porcini Mushroom Pasta

Last week we tried out our pasta machine (purchased from a charity shop over a year ago) for the first time, and made buckwheat pasta. It was a great success, and it was much easier than I thought it would be. We used two eggs, buckwheat flour and a little bit of water, then rolled it through the pasta machine in the usual way. After this, we left it to dry for about 5 mins, then rolled again through the spaghetti cutter, and blanched in boiling salted water for maybe 5-6 minutes. Then we rinsed it in cold water and drizzled olive oil over it and set aside to be heated in the pasta sauce, which I will get onto now. You can obviously just use normal dried pasta, as you probably have better things to do, especially on a weeknight. Also shop-bought dried egg-free pasta makes the dish vegan.

I’m not vegan, but I don’t eat meat or dairy, and I can’t eat wheat. I had been eating a lot of shirataki noodles and pasta, in order to keep my carb intake down, but because they come shrink-wrapped in plastic, we have decided to stop buying them and try to also reduce our plastic consumption. This sauce idea came to me after craving a creamy-tasting risotto. I thought I would experiment with trying to create a vegan version of a rich, Italian dish.

Ingredients:

Dried Porcini Mushrooms (I got these from Lidl), soaked in hot water for 40 mins

Chestnut Mushrooms, sliced

One Onion, finely chopped

Three garlic cloves, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

Sea Salt

Olive Oil (or similar)

Splash of White Wine (optional)

The Mushroom Water (from the dried mushrooms)

200ml (ish) unsweetened Soya Milk

2 Tablespoons of Vegan Protein Powder

One Teaspoon of Gluten Free Flour (or similar)

 

Method:

Gently fry the onions until they are soft, and then add the garlic and fry for a further 3 minutes. Cook them on a medium heat and make sure you don’t let the garlic catch or burn. Once they have softened, remove them from the pan and put them to one side.

Using the same pan, fry the chestnut mushrooms in a little more oil or vegan butter, with the salt and pepper (to taste) until they have a nice golden brown colour to them. Set these aside with the onion and garlic while you prepare the rest of the sauce.

In a jug, mix together the soya milk, protein powder, flour, white wine and some of mushroom water (about 100ml but make sure it’s not hot). Beat the mixture until it’ is smooth with no lumps, then heat the mixture in the frying pan and whisk it gently as it heats. It should start to thicken into a creamy-looking sauce. Once it has started to thicken, add in the cooked mushrooms, the softened porcini mushrooms, and the onion and garlic mixture, and continue to heat the sauce. Once you are happy with the texture (it will continue to thicken the more you heat it) then you can remove it from the heat and stir in the cooked pasta. Allow the pasta to heat up in the sauce before you serve it, and be sure to check the seasoning.

Serve on warm plates, with freshly chopped basil, more black pepper and truffle oil for extra flavour and richness.

 

HDB xx

 

Breathing for a better immune system

Breathing for a better immune system

Over many years as a Yoga teacher, I’m often surprised by how little we know about our breathing and how closely connected it is to the way our brains and bodies function.

When our bodies respond to danger and stress through the ‘fight or flight response’, the release of adrenaline triggers changes in our bodies which speed up the heart rate and breathing. This sudden burst of adrenaline gives our bodies increased abilities and heightens sensory perception. However, it’s not a pleasant state to be in – we feel stressed, frightened and anxious – some people can ‘freeze’ under these circumstances, like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

Deep breathing is also vital to the correct functioning of our lymphatic system, which in turn has a powerful effect on our immunity. As your body moves from the inhalation to the exhalation, the diaphragm acts like a pump to move fluid in the lymph system back into the blood through the heart. Stress tightens all our muscles, including the diaphragm, and so it inhibits the natural flow of lymph around the body.

Studies have shown that we humans can encourage our bodies to release chemicals and brain signals that make our muscles and organs slow down, relax our muscles and increase blood flow to the brain, the opposite of ‘fight or flight’.  And we know that meditation and breathing can bring down our stress levels, release tension and so help all kinds of health problems that are caused or exacerbated by chronic stress.

What’s so marvelous about this, apart from the fact that it’s incredibly simple, is that it has the effect of changing the way we look at our problems and at the situations causing us the stress in the first place.

In order to learn this, you need to find a quiet place and time to focus on your breathing. The best time to practice is first thing in the morning for ten to twenty minutes. By practicing just once or twice a day you can learn to access relaxation and a more peaceful state of mind, which in turn reduces the heart rate so you will feel more relaxed and comfortable in potentially stressful situations.

  1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position. Close your eyes.
  2. Allow your body to relax, soften your muscles, starting with your feet and progressing up to your head.
  3. Relax your tongue. Take it away from the roof of your mouth. Your thoughts become quieter and you are more aware of your breathing. Breathe through your nose: mouth closed, jaw relaxed.
  4. Let the breathing become slow, soft and steady. Each time you breathe out, say the word “one”* silently to yourself.
  5. Continue for 5 minutes, eventually building up to 15 with practice**. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few minutes.
  6. Try to ignore your thoughts – they will come and go – you can see them as clouds across a sky, not attaching to them, just letting them drift away. Return to repeating “one”* with each exhalation.
  7. Practice the technique once or twice daily, on an empty stomach. (Digestion interferes with the process.) Soon, the response will come with little effort and you won’t feel quite so sleepy!

*Choose any soothing, mellifluous sounding word, preferably with no meaning or association, in order to avoid stimulation of unnecessary thoughts. I often use “Soooo” for the inhalation and “Haaaa” for the exhalation.

** If you use a phone alarm, choose a soothing sound to ‘wake up’ to.

Hannah & Hayley’s FAQ

Hannah & Hayley’s FAQ

How long has Lovegrove Essentials been up and running, and why did you decide to set up the business?

HDB: The brand had been an idea we had discussed for a number of years, but the company as you see it now is about 3 years old. We wanted to create a beautiful range of skincare that harnessed the natural therapeutic properties of essential oils, but still looked stunning and felt luxurious to use. Something that would sit alongside the big-dogs of skincare quite easily.

HML: After many years as a body and facial therapist, I wanted to create a range of natural products for professional therapists to use, products that support the body’s own capability for healing and regeneration.

 

Why did you decide to focus on luxury and natural products?

HDB: For me, having worked with many luxury brands, I felt there was a huge gap between luxury and natural. So many luxury customers associate natural with something not “backed by science” and that might not work as well as a more chemical-based product, and that’s simply not the case with Lovegrove Essentials. I think we fill this gap.

HML: I agree – I have seen much better results on the skin from naturally active ingredients, and of course their aromas can benefit the psyche through the olfactory system.

What was the first product you made and how did you set about selling it?

HDB: The initial selection of products we had made was huge! Such a big range. We actually didn’t sell any of these, but mum used them for her treatments.

HML: I think the first were the massage balms and an after-wax soothing lotion.

 

How did the range of products grow from there?

HDB: We looked at each product and worked out which ones we liked best. I wanted to start with a much smaller range, like a ‘core-line’ and expand from there.

HML: We realised that we were both happily using the same four key products, but because of the difference in our age and our skin, we were using them in slightly different ways. This proved to us that the intelligent use of good-quality natural ingredients is the key to long-term skin care.

 

Why did you also decide to produce a professional range? What’s the difference between this and your main line of products?

HDB: Hannah? I think this is your area of expertise!

HML: The key products are the same, but there are therapeutic techniques that I incorporate into my treatments, and active natural ingredients that you can’t produce and sell in a pot because they have to be used immediately, things like strawberries, cucumber, papaya and oatmeal.

 

Do you actually make the products yourselves? Where are the products made and packaged?

HDB: Yes – we actually make the products ourselves. We have a small team to help with manufacture, and everything is made at our HQ in Thorncombe. We have a production lab which has been hygiene and safety checked where we make and package everything.

HML: We’re very particular about quality and like to check each product before it goes out. We can also keep an eye on each batch of ingredients, which being naturally produced can vary in smell or colour.

 

Are you constantly coming up with new ideas for products?

HDB: I definitely am, I love blending new things and trying them on myself. I love finding a new ingredient and working out how we might incorporate it into our next product. We try to listen to our customers when it comes to New Product Development.

HML: It’s perhaps not obvious how much has to go into product development, the rules and regulations involved in getting it formally certified and onto the shelves. But we enjoy the trial and error, refining the texture and smell to get just the right effect for the whole body.

 

What has been your best-selling/signature product and why?

HDB: It’s difficult to say – perhaps the Cleansing Balm or the Moisture Cream. They are the two best-selling individual products. Also the Mini Essentials is great, our starter kit.

HML: Yes, certainly the Cleansing Balm, but people beginning to realise how fabulous the Moisture Cream is too!

 

How has it been working as a mother/daughter team? Do you have the same visions or is there sometimes a clash?!

HDB: Hahaha! Well, of course its been hard. Our relationship is very strong, luckily, so we always work things out eventually. My main thing is to be really vigilant about separating work and play, as otherwise we just end up talking business all the time and we forget to have fun as mum and daughter.

HML: And I missed her so much when she was up in London! I’m really pleased we can finally work together now, instead of at a distance.

 

What’s next for Lovegrove Essentials?

HDB: Lots more events next year, and new product launches. We will be bringing out our fabulous Aromatic Face Mask as a retail product, after some amazing feedback from our most recent round of user surveys.

HML: And I’m refining the body massage and facial treatment courses for therapists, and of course running the Yoga and Wellness Retreats.

 

Anything else you particularly want to mention?

HDB: We are looking for super-star therapists, massage therapists, boutiques and salons that might like to offer our treatments or retail range as of 2018. If this is you, or if you know of anyone who might be interested, send an email to info@lovegroveessenials.com

 

Quinoa Bread – low carb/high protein

Quinoa Bread – low carb/high protein

Quinoa Bread – super quick to make and delicious drizzled with olive oil.

If you’re low-carb AND wheat-free, you might be missing your bread, so this is a welcome addition to your staple diet.

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl:
100g Oat Bran
150g cooked quinoa (cover grains with water/boil ten mins. Always keep some cooked in the fridge as a stand by.)
50g seeds – any of sunflower/sesame/pumpkin
Pinch of sea salt
Half a tsp of Baking Powder

Whisk up the wet ingredients separately:
1 Egg whisked up with 2 Tablespoons of almond milk (or equivalent) and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Method:
Pre-Heat your oven to about 180 degrees C.
Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
Mix the dry ingredients together.
Whisk the wet ingredients, then mix well into the dry.
Pour into loaf tin and press gently down.
Drizzle some olive oil on top.
Bake at 180 degrees C. Check after 15 mins and see if you want the top to colour more.  Once it’s golden brown, remove it from the oven and leave in the tin to cool a little then onto a wire rack (in the paper) to cool completely. It doesn’t slice very well when it’s still warm, so you’ll have to be patient before you eat it!

 

Top 10 Reasons & 101 Foods for a Low-Carb Lifestyle.

Top 10 Reasons & 101 Foods for a Low-Carb Lifestyle.

The low-carb lifestyle is not just ‘another fad diet’. It’s a method of enjoying your food, staying healthy through your life, and eating in a way that supports your mental and physical well-being.  We all want to look and feel our best, and so much excellent research has been done now into this that we think it’s really important to understand a  bit about the science behind it.

And to help you make a start, here a list of 101 low-carb foods (approx – we haven’t counted!)

Top 10 reasons for low carb living:

1. The low-carb lifestyle.
First point, this isn’t about a ‘diet’ in the old, weight loss sense of the word. It’s about salmon-dish-food-meal-46239.jpegyour lifestyle choices. You can manage your health by keeping your carb intake at a sensible level, and manage your weight by reducing that a little further.

2. Eating low-carb foods reduces your appetite.
Because of its effects on blood sugar levels and therefore cravings, one of the best things about eating low-carb is that it leads to a natural reduction in your appetite. Gradually, your appetite tends to go down and you often end up eating much fewer calories without trying. To manage hunger pangs at key points in the day (11, 4 and pre-dinner snacks) we have developed some easy and quick little recipes for sweet and savoury stopgaps HERE.

3. Managing your weight with a low-carb lifestyle.
Studies show that people comsuming low-carb foods lose more weight, faster, than people restricting their fat intake… even when people are actively restricting calories. One of the reasons for this is that low-carb diets tend to get rid of excess water from the body. Because they lower insulin levels, the kidneys start shedding excess sodium, leading to rapid weight loss in the first week or two (1, 2). In studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, the low-carbers sometimes lose 2-3 times as much weight, without being hungry (3, 4). (It’s true – we’ve been there!) So if you find you’re losing weight, add in a portion of healthier carbs when you have reached your goal weight.

4. A low-carb lifestyle should lead to a drastically reduced risk of heart disease and tdiabetes-blood-sugar-diabetic-medicine-46173.jpegype 2 diabetes.
A large percentage of the fat lost on low-carb diets tends to come from the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that is known to cause serious metabolic problems. We have both subcutaneous fat (under the skin), and visceral fat (in the abdominal cavity). It this visceral fat is fat that tends to lodge around the organs and can cause serious problems. Having a lot of fat in the abdominal cavity can trigger inflammation, which leads to and exacerbates all kinds of ailments. It also increases insulin resistance, believed to be a leading driver of the metabolic dysfunction that is so common in Western countries today (5). So a low-carb lifestyle should lead to a drastically reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

5. The low-carb lifestyle is better for your heart, triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
A low-carb lifestyle is very effective at lowering blood triglycerides, which are fat molecules in the blood and a well-known risk factor for heart disease. It will also increase the levels of HDL (High-density lipoprotein), one of the lipoproteins that carry cholesterol away from the body and into the liver, where it can be reused or excreted. The Triglycerides:HDL ratio is another very strong predictor of heart disease risk. By lowering triglycerides and raising HDL levels, low-carb diets lead to a major improvement in this ratio. (6, 7, 8).

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6. And has a tendency to lower blood pressure.
Having elevated blood pressure (hypertension) is an important risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Studies show that reducing carbs leads to a significant reduction in blood pressure, which should lead to a reduced risk of many common diseases.

7. The effects of low-carb on Type 2 Diabetes is amazing!
When we eat carbs, they are broken down into simple sugars (mostly glucose) in the digestive tract. From there, they enter the bloodstream and elevate blood sugar levels. Because high blood sugars are toxic, the body responds with a hormone called insulin, which tells the cells to bring the glucose into the cells and to start burning or storing it. For people who are insulin-resistant this can lead to Type 2 diabetes, when the body fails to secrete enough insulin to lower the blood sugar after meals. By cutting carbohydrates, you remove the need for all of that insulin – both blood sugars and insulin go way down (9, 10).
According to Dr. Eric Westman, who has treated many diabetics using a low-carb approach, he needs to reduce their insulin dosage by 50% on the first day (11).
In one study in type 2 diabetics, 95.2% had managed to reduce or eliminate their glucose-lowering medication within 6 months (12).
***If you are currently on blood sugar lowering medication, then talk to your doctor before making changes to your carbohydrate intake, because your dosage may need to be adjusted in order to prevent hypoglycaemia.***

8. It can help Metabolic Syndrome.
The metabolic syndrome is a collection of symptoms that is highly associated with the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

  • Abdominal obesity
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated fasting blood sugar levels
  • High triglycerides
  • Low HDL levels

Amazingly, all five symptoms improve dramatically on a low-carb diet (13). Unfortunately, the government and major health organization still recommend a low-fat diet for this purpose, which is pretty much useless because it does nothing to address the underlying metabolic problem.

9. Low-Carb Diets Improve The Pattern of LDL Cholesterol.
Scientists have now shown that it is the type of LDL that matters. Low-density lipoproteins, often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, are not all equal. It is the size of the particles that is important.

  • Mostly small particles = high risk of heart disease.
  • Mostly large particles = low risk of heart disease (14).

When you eat a low-carb diet, your LDL particles change from small (bad) LDL to large LDL – which is benign. Cutting carbs may also reduce the number of LDL particles floating around in the bloodstream. Who knew?!

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10. Several Brain Disorders respond well to the low-carb lifestyle.
We need a quick recap of the Ketogenic diet here:
Glucose is necessary for the brain and that’s why the liver produces glucose out of protein if we don’t eat any carbs. But a large part of the brain can also burn ketones, which are formed during starvation or when carbohydrate intake is very low. This is the mechanism behind the ketogenic diet, which has been used for decades to treat epilepsy in children who don’t respond to drug treatment (15). Very low-carb/ketogenic diets are now being studied for other brain disorders as well, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (16).

Few things are as well established in nutrition science as the immense health benefits of a low-carb lifestyle. Which makes it even more amazing that we can still find sweets at the checkout, fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolate in vending machines in sports halls, hospitals, schools, blah blah blah! After 40 years preaching this I feel like a stuck record…..

Print out this list of 101 low-carb foods and get going. What have you got to lose?

This is a synopsis of the article written by Kris Gunnars BSc for www.healthline.com. (For more information and some of the research, click on the hyperlinks.)
For more excellent medical information, visit http://thenoakesfoundation.org
For help with diet and recipes, see https://www.dietdoctor.com

 

Detox your skin… Before January!

d3b177_a38b24c6323f40fcb0658d45f1c440b7~mv2It’s all very well waiting until the new year to start taking better care of yourself, and indeed it is the season to indulge. Remembering to take care of yourself in between all the parties doesn’t have to take up too much of your time, and will make all the difference in how you view yourself come January.

In summer we take extra care in protecting our skin with SPF and aftersun, but very often similar precautions are not taken during winter, unless you have very dry skin. The combination of cold weather (particularly cold at the moment!) and a few too many boozy nights out can have a drastic effect on your skin’s balance and lustre, leaving it a rather limp combination of dehydrated but still quite oily, with accentuated lines and wrinkles and the odd spot or blemish. Add to this the week long bender that is Christmas and New Year (enter goose fat roasties and daily cheeseboard) and by the time January comes around, you are ready for a three week juice cleanse and a week-long stint in a Harley Street Clinic.

All this got me thinking about which products I would recommend for this busy time, and so I decided to launch our newest addition to the Lovegrove Essentials range before Christmas. May I present the Clean & Natural Kit – a travel sized companion that will keep all skin types clean, balanced and hydrated throughout the party season. It contains one of my favourite things in the world. A clay mask. But not your average clay mask, as many can be very drying, particularly if dryness is already an issue for you.

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The Aromatic Face Mask from Lovegrove Essentials (previously only available in the professional range) contains coconut oil, which is blended into the Kaolin and Bentonite Clay base by hand, helping to stop the dry, cracking feeling that clay can often cause. The essential oils are Geranium (nature’s balancer, will detox even the most congested skin), Sweet Orange (deeply cleansing and brightening, lots of Vitamin C) and Neroli (great for regeneration at cellular level, antioxidant and reduces inflammation). As well as the powerful skincare benefits of this blend, the heavenly fragrance will soothe and relax you in the evening, promoting restful sleep. If you used this once a week during December, taking one night off just for yourself, you’d wake feeling refreshed and energised, and totally ready for the next Christmas drinks party. We’ve included a mask brush (cruelty-free, of course) for super-easy application, and a soft cloth to remove it.

The other product in the kit is the ever popular Cleansing Balm – a hydrating and luxurious blend of Organic Beeswax (vegan version also available), Shea butter, Sweet Almond and Apricot Kernel Oils. It melts to a liquid at body temperature, allowing you to perform a little massage when cleansing. This will boost the circulation in your face, reducing puffiness and softening lines and wrinkles. It removes all forms of make-up, and comes off easily with the muslin cloth that’s also included with the kit.

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So if you, like me, have not much amount self control (and several birthdays in the run up to Christmas, including my own), combat hangover skin with the Clean & Natural Kit. Take at least one night off each week, catch up on sleep and look after yourself. Your skin and your body will thank you! Read Hannah’s PRE-SOLUTIONS too, and make January that little bit easier…

 

The Clean & Natural Kit is now available on the Lovegrove Essentials  website at £24.95 plus postage. Get your order in ASAP, as we expect these to sell out before we have a chance to make more!

Gluten free, low GI Christmas pudding cake

     

This recipe substitutes low GI apple, prune and apricot for the traditional high GI currants, raisins and sultanas, so it may help people who suffer from digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, which is notoriously sensitive to sugar-laden dried fruit.IMG_2548-1

If you want to reduce the carb content, substitute 100g of the flour with oat bran.

You could serve this recipe warm with double cream or crème fraiche, as a lighter alternative to Christmas pudding. It also keeps extremely well, if you can resist it!

Ingredients
250g            gluten-free self-raising flour
1 tsp            baking powder (Supercook do a gluten-free version)
150g            xylitol (Total Sweet is the one I use)
250g            butter, softened
3                 eggs
1 tsp            vanilla extract (buy good quality – lasts for ages)
150g            dried apricots, stoned (organic/unsulphured)
200g            prunes, stoned
one large or 2 small Bramley apples, peeled and chopped (should total about 200g)
150ml          orange or apple juice or (replace 50 ml with brandy)
grated peel of 1 orange and 1 lemon
3/4 tsp         ground ginger
2 tsp            cinnamon
1 tsp            mixed spice
100g            ground almonds

Instructions
Grease a 22cm (9”) cake tin and double-line with baking paper.
Heat oven to 160 degrees c
Boil prunes, apricots and chopped apple in the juice for seven minutes, then blitz in a food processor, or chop very finely before you boil.
Beat the softened butter and xylitol with a spoon or electric hand mixer.
Beat in eggs singly, then vanilla extract. (Don’t worry if it curdles.)
Sieve in flour, baking powder and spices, and mix gently.
Mix in fruit, then ground almonds. Spoon into tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 60 minutes. Don’t hang about – the heat from the fruit will activate the baking powder so get it in the oven! It’s ready when a skewer comes out clean. Cooking time will vary – you might need more if you have conventional oven, less in an Aga. Cover the cake to prevent browning – I used butter paper. Cool it in the tin – it’s quite fragile when it first comes out but firms up when cool.

www.hannahlovegrove.com

Make-Up and beauty for sunburn

A few tips on make-up and pre-wedding skincare, that can be applied all year round!

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Whether you’re jetting off to a hot country, or having a glass of wine in the in the garden, please remember to ALWAYS put sunscreen on your face AND DECOLLETE! The skin on your chest is the same as the skin on your face, so it should be treated the same. It often gets forgotten about for most of the year, whereas the face is usually taken care of with your day cream or foundation’s SPF. This causes major sun damage, and over the years the décolleté can prematurely age, making it look very different to the skin on the face – blotchy, pink and wrinkled. So cream up ladies and gents! Face, chest and arms are all areas that are likely to be on show on if you have an event coming up, and lobster red is hard to cover. If you do happen to toast yourself, here are my top tips for treating and disguising your sunburn:

Care & repair

We all know about using aloe vera as an after-sun treatment, because it’s great for cooling the skin, but 10 times better is lavender oil. It treats all kinds of burns, and mixed well with a good quality facial serum or body cream, it can dramatically tone down the redness of sunburn overnight. Try using a serum that is formulated for repairing sun damage – look for ingredients like rosehip oil, sea buckthorn and pomegranate seed extract. Lovegrove Essentials Healing Touch Serum (lovegroveessentials.com) contains all of these, and with a few drops of lavender added will make a perfect overnight treatment for the face and chest.

Sunscreen

Many day creams and BB creams now contain an SPF, but they’re not always particularly high or broad spectrum, meaning in strong sun, you may still get burnt. Look for a tinted cream that has SPF 30 or above, or apply a light facial SPF before applying your make up. Be sure to let it soak in properly before applying anything on top, and don’t forget your décolleté!!

Cooling primers/sprays

There’s nothing worse than trying to apply make-up to someone who is hot and sweaty! Whatever your primer of choice, pop it in the fridge overnight. It will glide on just the same, and will cool your hot skin down before make-up application. For a refreshing boost throughout the day, try a cooling spray. Urban Decay Chill Cooling and Hydrating Makeup Setting Spray (www.urbandecay.com) can be applied over make-up, and used during the day to cool and refresh your skin.

Heat-resistant make-up

For the big day, look to use something that will resist high temperatures. Full-coverage foundations can often feel heavy in hot weather, so focus on getting your skin looking great, 3 weeks to a month before the big event, so that you can go for a lighter coverage, particularly if you’re getting married somewhere hot. Sunburn can often peel and look shiny, but too much powder can make it look even dryer. Go for a dewy, hydrated finish and embrace the shine! You can always dab a little powder on for the photos.

Bronzing and colour correction

If all else fails and your skin is still looking red, you need to balance it out by neutralising the high colour with something yellow or green toned. Lots of companies do a green tinted primer, so try one of these and hope for the best. Redness can also be toned down by bronzing, and wasn’t that what you were going for when you went out in the sun in the first place?! Try a couple of coats of a self-tan moisturiser on your face and body. The yellow pigments in this should help to balance out the redness a bit. Remember that the most likely areas on your face to burn are also the most likely areas to tan, so if you carefully bronze the forehead, nose and cheekbones it could give you a really natural-looking glow and cover up the sunburn.

Obviously there are different levels of sunburn, and I hope for your and your make-up artists’ sake that if you do get burnt, it’s not bad. If it is bad, take great care of it. Take cooling showers, use the lavender oil trick, lots of moisturiser and after sun, and don’t exfoliate until it’s beginning to heal.

Or just take mine and Baz Luhrmann’s advice and WEAR SUNSCREEN.

Xx HDB xX

First published on weddingvenues.com in Summer 2017