Maiiro Organic Lip Salve*

Now that we’re in the middle of (another)lockdown, my makeup routine has taken a serious backseat. Yes, every time I need to attend a Zoom meeting, I’m fully mascara’d up, but the rest of the time? I’m taking the opportunity to let my skincare routine take centre stage. I’m babying everything from my hair to my skin and nails, so hopefully, everything looks and feels 100% once we’re allowed back out and about.

One of my must-haves in my newly paired-back routine is a great lip balm. Having dry or cracked lips is my idea of utter hell, and with cold temperatures outside, and the heating on indoors, it’s easy for things to start feeling dehydrated. When Maiiro sent over their gorgeous Lip Salve, it felt like perfect timing. Formulated with Kelpogen5™ and a special blend of protective natural antibacterial oils and butters, this salve not only hydrates, but it also helps delicate lip skin restore itself from within.

The result is lips which feel silky soft, and I’ve been keeping it at my desk so I can top up as needed throughout the day. It’s completely tasteless, and applies to a matte finish, which is great for my no-makeup days. The formula has been designed to be as effective at hydrating in the heat as it is in the cold, so I know I’ll be keeping it handy as we (finally) move into summer, and it even works perfectly as a base for heavier lipstick formulas!

Maiiro Organic Lip Salve is priced at £21.95 and is available here.

Natural Family Co. – Natural Oral Care*

About three or so years ago, I found out that I needed to eliminate SLS from my daily regime. Normally found in most drugstore toothpastes, it was causes breakouts around my mouth which were a complete pain (both figuratively and literally). Rather horrifyingly, SLS is used as a foaming agent in cleaning products, so it’s no surprise that my skin reacted badly to it.

Since swearing off SLS, the breakouts I used to get have completely cleared up, which is a dream, but I’d never really found any products which I’d fallen in love with, until I stumbled across the Natural Family Co. With a range of toothpastes, mouthwashes and even toothbrushes to choose from, The Natural Family Co. makes buying an effective and enjoyable dental routine super simple. The toothbrushes are available in a range of shades (I’m obsessed with this chic aqua), and everything from the packaging to the brush itself is completely biodegradable. A zero-waste product, it performs perfectly, and I love the fact that it comes with a matching stand too, so it stays tidy (and hygienic) in the bathroom cabinet. The toothpaste is similarly impressive – 70% of its ingredients are Organic, and the paste works to both whiten and strengthen teeth. Last (but not least) is the alcohol-free mouthwash. I can’t stand when they’re way too strong, and this one is just nicely fresh and minty – exactly what you need in the mornings!

The Natural Family Co is available here

One Night in Shanghai with Mamasan Glasgow*

The past year has, unsurprisingly, seen the rise of the ‘at home’ box. I’m not sure I’d even heard of the concept prior to 2020, but since restaurants have been closed on-and-off for the best part of a year, they’ve pivoted to providing these experiences which bring your night out ‘in’. This weekend we were very kindly treated to ‘One Night in Shanghai’ from Mamasan – one of Glasgow’s most popular restaurants. Delivered in a slick black box, you get everything you need for a delicious night in.

With three courses to enjoy, Mamasan have even included a snack to enjoy whilst you get everything ready in the form of a delicious Lobster and Prawn Toast, served alongside a burnt chilli jam. Filled with seafood, and crisp from the oven, the toast was the most delicious way to start the evening.

We had barely finished the Lobster and Prawn Toasts before it was time to tuck into our starters of Aromatic braised duck leg spring roll which came served with a rich hoisin sauce. These were such a treat!

What I love about boxes like Mamasan’s is how they get you out of your comfort zone. I don’t usually order pork when I’m dining out, but the main course of Sweet and sour iberico pork served with pineapple, banana shallots and dragon fruit was a dream. I crisped up the strips of iberico pork in the oven, before stir frying the vegetables, and combining the sauce. The result was a dish which was equal parts rich, sticky and delicious.

We enjoyed the pork alongside egg fried rice and green papaya & carrot salad. I’ve been dying to learn how to make egg fried rice, so finding out it’s so easy (and seriously good) was such a win. The salad was gorgeously fresh and crunchy, and we finished off the whole bowl!

We were, admittedly stuffed after such an indulgent set of starters and main course, so we took a couple of hours before enjoying the dessert – Asian pear sticky toffee pudding. Consisting of a richly spiced moist cake, and a spicy sauce, this wasn’t like any other sticky toffee pudding I’ve tried before!

As if three courses (plus snacks) wasn’t delicious enough, we washed the whole thing down with some delicious cocktails. Curated by Mamasan’s director of mixology and designed to enhance the meal, the Shang-hai-tea was absolutely divine. A mix of green tea infused gin with lemon, peach infused chartreuse served with lychee pearls and Sichuan pepper, it wasn’t overly sweet, and was such a treat to enjoy.

Mamasan’s One Night in Shanghai is priced at £65 per box, and deliveries are available in both Glasgow and Edinburgh

Gin1 Seltzer*

Now that we’re nearing the end of Dry January, I thought it was the perfect time to share one of my newest discoveries – Gin1 Seltzers. I don’t tend to drink too much (or too heavily) at home, but sometimes I just want to enjoy a cosy evening in, usually with a book or a few great movies. Having a drink as delicious as Gin1 Seltzers just makes the whole thing feel even more indulgent.

With only 58 calories per can, the drinks are sugar-free, low-calorie, low-carb and are even gluten-free. Mixing together award winning Declaration Gin with Number1 Sparkling Water and a twist of Orange, the cans are super refreshing. I like to have mine poured over crushed ice, with a slice of orange – and I’m already looking forward to enjoying them in the warmer weather too!

Gin1 Seltzer is priced at £30 per case and is available here.

An evening in with Pasta Evangelists*

With lockdown around for the foreseeable future, I’ve been thinking about ways to enjoy the weekends, and basically celebrate not being locked to a laptop for the majority of my waking hours, and apart from taking myself out for our recommended exercise jaunts, it’s been pretty humdrum. So, when Pasta Evangelists offered me the chance to enjoy restaurant-quality pasta at home, I absolutely jumped at the chance.

I’d seen the brand in Harrods, and been intrigued to how the whole idea works, but in a word – it’s genius. The brand have a seasonal, weekly menu, where you choose a couple of dishes, you choose your delivery day, and then sit back and wait for your fresh, handmade pasta to arrive. It’s super simple, and it arrives perfectly chilled, and the pastas and sauces are all labelled, so you can easily tell what goes where.

I cook ragu and similar sauces pretty regularly, so we wanted to try a couple of dishes I don’t make at home, so we went for the Fettuccine with Black Truffle Alfredo and the Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Crispy Pancetta.

I think what impressed me the most was the pasta – it was incredibly fresh, and came coated in semolina to prevent sticking, and obviously it was delicious. Between crisping up the pancetta and heating up the sauces, dinner was ready within a matter of minutes, and honestly, it was divine. Rich and cream, the fettuccini was rich and studded with morsels of savoury truffle, whilst the Carbonara was deliciously salty. We had ours at the weekend, and it made for such a wonderful treat – we’re already planning our next order!

You can save 30% when you order from Pasta Evangelist when you use the code LUXEPASTA here

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