Archives for February 2014

Chocolate syrup, refined sugar free


I invented this recipe a few years ago, as my husband really likes his chocolate milk, but reading on the back of ready made chocolate milk I found them to be filled with a lot of sugar and other not so good for you things. So I looked on the internet to figure out how to make my own chocolate milk and the easies way it seems, was by using a chocolate syrup. So I started experimenting with some recipes, to make one without white sugar and this is the end result.
My husband loves this syrup, he actually says it taste a lot like his favourite chocolate milk when added in milk. But it can also be used on other things, like on ice cream, desserts or even a teaspoon in coffee to make a mochaccino. 

Ingredients: 
½ cup pure cocoa powder
½ cup water
½ cup agave or sweet freedom
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla paste


In a small pot mix the cocoa powder, water and salt together and bring to a boil. Whisk until there are no lumps.
Ad the agave or sweet freedom, and boil until it stars to thicken a bit (like syrup).
Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Let it cool for a bit, then transferee to container of choice (I used an empty agave bottle that I had cleaned, as it makes it easy to dispense).
Store in the fridge for about a week and give it a little shake before use.


Mia
X

Kikos ready-to-go art nail patches


I really like these ready-to-go art coats for when you are in a hurry, as you can literally have cool looking nails in 10 minutes before you have to be out the door for an event. 
I Picked up a pack in the Kiko store after having looked at them online. I thought I had picked up the 03 Taupe lace, but actually I had picked up 302 Lace Cover by mistake. So when applying them, I realised they were transparent. Downside of this is that you have to use it with a nail polish as a background (tried it without, doesn’t look great), but upside is that you can choose any background for the lace affect, making it match to any outfit. I paired it with the Kiko polish in 303 Beige Chrome, which makes it a perfect parring with a simple black dress I think.


They are super easy to apply, they do take a bit longer than 10 minutes when you have to apply a base colour however, but the instant dry effect is still a life saver when having to apply just before leaving for an event. You can watch Kikos own video on how to apply them by clicking Here.

A few tips I have picked up during the years with these nail patch arts are:

  • Make sure to have completely clean nails before applying 
  • Flatten down the middle of the nail, then down the sides, helps prevent creasing.
  • Use a glass nail file to remove the excess, as it will make a smoother edge.
  • Use  top coat to cap the end of the nail, if your natural nail is prone to chipping.
  • And don’t forget to save the leftover nail patches, as they can always be cut to size and used as an accent nail effect.

Having worn them for a week, even though they didn’t really worked with all my outfits during the week, but I truly believe in testing a product out properly before reviewing. I have to say they still look amazing with no chips only a microscopical wear at the tips of the nails, so will say that these nail patch arts have truly lived up to what they claim to do, I am truly impressed.


Mia
X

www.kikocosmetics.co.uk

Danish Fastelavns Buns (custard filled bun)


Being Danish living in the UK, I am actually quite lucky that I get more holidays to celebrate as Denmark and the UK don’t have all the same holidays, but I quite often forget. For instance in Denmark we have a day where we eat duck/goose, called Saint Mortens eve and a day where we eat a bun/roll called a Hvede, called big Hvede day.
Where as here in England there is pancake day, St. George day  and Halloween. 
The Danes have however started taking on Halloween, though it wasn’t around when I was young. We do have another very old traditional holiday where kids dress up, called Fastelavn, normally celebrated around February. Going back to the origin of this holiday, it was to celebrate the beginning of the fast, that would then end with easter celebrations. 

It is very much like the Halloween, in that kids dress up and go door to door singing a song saying, if they don’t get buns, they will make trouble, where then people will give them money (not buns like in the old days).


But the buns are still a very big part of fastelavn, called fastelavns boller (fastelavns buns). Now I can’t actually remember ever making these myself and we haven’ t had any for the six years we have lived in England now, so thought it was about time that I started taking up this tradition again.


For the buns:
275g flour
75g butter
25g fresh yeast (I get mine by asking the bakery department in my Sainsburys and they will sell me some of theirs)
100ml milk 
1 egg
pinch of salt
15g sugar


For the custard filling:
2 egg yokes
200ml milk
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste


For frosting:
100g icing sugar
2 tablespoons pure cocoa powder
about 1 tablespoon of water


You want to make the custard filling first, you can even make it the day before if that works better for you, as you want the custard filling to have completely cooled and set before assembling (I was a bit short for time when I made them, so that is why mine is a bit runny on the pictures, as it hadn’t cooled completely).


Whisk together egg yolks and sugar well, in a pan off the heat. Then add the milk, corn starch and vanilla. Whisk until it is all incorporated and the corn starch has completely dissolved. Then place the pan over low to medium heat and bring to a boil, while constantly whisking. 
Transferre the custard to a bowl, cover and place in the fridge. 
Tip is to cover with cling film, but press the cling film down on top of the custard, so no air is between the custard and the cling film. This way you the custard won’t get a layer of skin on top.


For the buns, you want to heat up the milk just a little, just above room temperature. Then transferee to a bowl and crumble in the yeast, stir until completely dissolved.
Stir in butter, egg, salt and sugar. Then add the flour a 1/4 at the time, until everything is incorporated. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and kneed for about 5 minutes. Transfer back in a bowl and cover, letting the dough rise to double the size, about an hour. 
Beat down the dough and roll out until 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick. Then cut into 10×10 cm (5×5 inch) squares. 


To assemble, add a small tablespoon of custard in the middle of a square cut dough, tugging a bit at each corner to stretch, then fold over the custard, then repeat with opposite corner and then the 2 others. Make sure to squeeze together all holes, as you don’t want the custard to escape. Turn over the bun and transfer to a baking tray covered with baking paper.
Let the buns rise again, about 30 minutes or until they have doubled in size. 
Brush with a bit of water and then bake the buns at 200C for about 13-15 minutes, until golden brown.


Transfer to a cooling rack. When almost completely cooled, mix together icing sugar, cocoa powder and water, but adding the water a little at a time, you want a very thick consistency, where you can just about spread it. Then spread out a dollop of icing on each bun.
Alternatively, leave out the cocoa powder and just add more icing sugar for white icing.


Hope you enjoy and happy fastelavn


Mia
X

Kérastase Biotic and Resistance


Once again it seems I have a new Kérastase post, click Here to read the others, but this truly is one of my favourite hair care brands.
I was looking on Kérastase website, reading about some of the new’er products and for some reason I didn’t seem to be able to find the Specifique Bain Vital Dermo-Calm that I wrote about not long ago, but instead there were some new (probably not that new though) Specifique products called Bain Bio-Recharge. Now I don’t know if it means that the Bain Bio-Recharge has replaced the Bain Vital Dermo-Calm and I have tried contacting Kérastase about it, but with no response so far, but it seems to be aimed at the same thing the Bain Bio-Recharge just targeting a few more areas.

First time trying it definitely has a very different scent than any other Kérastase products, a bit more clinical, that I wasn’t a big fan of first time around. But now that I have tried it for a month, I now really like the scent, as it leaves the hair with a very clean scent.
I paired it with an old favourite Ciment Anti-Usure, as I know this is great for damaged hair and as I am trying to grow out my hair a bit, I want to keep my ends in tip top condition.
After first wash my hair felt extremely clean and scalp felt very nourished. I let it air dry that first time and was quite surprised to find my hair looking like I had blow-dried it, when normally it looks a bit frizzy when I let it air dry. 
Now after a month of use I still find it amazing at giving shine at the same time as giving my hair a bit of volume and body. I will actually go as far as to say that it might be working a bit to well, as the other day while looking in the mirror I literally had a little sparkle at the roots of my hair, that turned out to be a grey hair that was so shiny that it sparkled. So downside is, I suppose I will have to start colouring my hair a bit more often with this shampoo! But besides that I can’t say anything bad about this shampoo, I am just so impressed.


Mia
X

The month of March


So in January I did post mostly with the tag Healthy January, click Here to see, and in February my post have mainly been focused on Valentine, click Here to see
So continuing in the theme of themes and because this is something I have been thinking about as a personal thing to do for a long time, I thought I would make March Eco friendliness, natural month or something….if you have a good name, please let me now.
Not waisting and mending instead of buying something new, has always been a part of my childhood and some of the things I was brought up with still sticks to this day. But I also think that now a days things are very disposable and it is very easy to fall in to that way of life, I know I do that all the time. So lately I have been thinking a lot about how I could make some small changes in my life to be more eco friendly and natural, so what better way than to blog about it to keep me motivated.


I have a few products I have been wanting to make a review about that is more eco friendly and natural, and I want to try out more in the month of March, to review and see how they stand up to other products.
But I also want to set myself some challenges during the month, like small or big things I can do in my every day life to be more environmentally aware. My plan is, that I will try out things for a week, then do a “review” on how I got on and if it was something I would easily be able to continue with.


Now this isn’t an idea to convert others or a way to force people to be more eco friendly, this is simply me thinking “I should really find out what else I should recycle other than glass and cannes” or “I wonder if this is good for me” way to many times without doing anything about it. So thought if I find this interesting, the people who are reading my blog might also?


So if you know of ways to help the environment with everyday things and you want me to try it out, please let me know and I will try my best to try them out for one of the weeks……if they are not to crazy! Also if you know of any products that fits into this category that you want me to try, then also, please let me know.


Write any suggestions in the comments down below or send me a tweet @mia_olander 


Mia
X

Pub lunch with one of the best views in London


Today I had lunch in the kind of pub you see in detective series, the ones with assorted light and chairs, low ceiling, furniture all in dark old wood and I liked it!
On top of it being a very cosy and old fashioned pub, with a great atmosphere, this pub must have one of London’s best views, located on the top of Richmond Hill in Richmond and overlooking the Themes.
Now today wasn’t the best of days for pictures, as grey skies just makes everything look miserable, but you can just imagine how beautiful it will look on a sunny spring day. 
Also a perfect place to rest you feet after a visit to Richmond Park, located about 300 yard from the park, like we did today.


So besides the interior, location and view, the food was excellent as well, actually one of the best chicken burger I have ever had. One of my favourite dishes are a grilled chicken breast burger, but quite often the chicken is dry and sometimes burnt, the bun is stale or there is no green stuff in sight. But this burger had done all tree things perfect, moist chicken, soft and warm bun and lots of lettuce and tomatoes. Plus lets not forget about the chips, I am normally not a big chip person, but these were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside and I ate them ALL!
And last, this pub gets big points on the little things, like the staff wishing you a good day as you leave. 

I can’t wait to come back to this place to try the Sunday roast or on a sunny day to have a drink and enjoy the view.

For more information visit http://www.taylor-walker.co.uk/pub/roebuck-richmond/s5628/ 

Mia
X

Effect top coat from Formula X for Sephora


I did a review on the Formula X for Sephora back in December, click Here to read, but I had sort of forgot about the impulse buy, the Effects top coat in Chaotic that I had also bought from the line, so thought I would do a quick review on it now.
I don’t normally go for effect top coats, actually you will rarely see me with anything other than a plain colour on my nails. I don’t really know why, because I like effect nails or nail art on others, but when it comes to my nails I am just very plain an boring I suppose. So why I picked up this effect top coat from Formula X, I don’t really know, I must have been sucked in by the whole loveliness off it all I suppose. But I clearly didn’t think rationally when picking this up, because in my head I thought it might give a cool effect on the black colour I picked up from the line as well…….I know, clearly a malfunction in my makeup brain, as obviously when their is both black and white dots in it and actually mainly black ones, it won’t really show up on top of black base. It still gives an effect, but just wasn’t what I had in my head.
After having tried it out on black polish, I just sort of put it in with my other nail polishes and forgot about it. But then seeing a picture of a chunky gold glitter top coat on a nude nail polish, it gave me an idea and as you can see from the picture this is the result.

Despite not being a big nail effects person I kind of like this nail effect, it sort of reminds me of sixties art for some reason.
I am not sure I like the little straight confetti that are in there, I sort of wish it was just different sized dots, but never the less I still like it. 
I layered it with the starter system also from Formula X and on top of BarryM Gelly Hi Shine in Lychee.
The staying power is just as good as the black polish I bought from the range, actually a bit better, in that if you get a chip, you can’t really see it in the camouflage of the dots.


Mia
X

Romantic pampering for one


So today is Valentines day and I am going to be sitting alone tonight as my husband is working. Now we don’t really celebrate Valentines day in a big way anyway, but for some reason it sort of feels wrong not to celebrate it a little bit despite being alone. Kind of like when I was on the couch alone being sick this new year, it just didn’t feel right to waist a perfectly good celebration.
So I have come up with a plan for tonight to have an evening of pampering, so if you are alone this evening or having a girls night, this might be for you. But don’t let this be just a pampering night on valentines day, make sure you always make some quality time for your self, because if you are not nice to your self, then why should other people be.


Now I am still trying to be more healthy, so I have found a few snacks that are still a treat, as no good pampering night is any good without treats, but these are just a bit more on the healthier side. I will be having Booja Booja ice-“cream” that is a good alternative to dairy ice-cream, that is organic, soy and gluten free, made without refined sugar and taste incredibly yummy. There might also be a few of BeyondDark chocolate buttons involved in tonights pampering…….or not might, there will be! (read more about them by clicking Here).

That is the treats sorted out, now on to the pampering part of the evening. 
I have planned:
A relaxing bath with The Eco Bath London, Muscle and joint pain Epsom salt bath soak, this stuff is so good and really relaxes all my muscles and my back, making me very relaxed.
Apivita, express beauty with pink clay mask, with is a gentle cleansing mask. 
A few candles and dimmed light is a must to get really relaxed 
And to keep hydrated and taking care of beauty from the inside, a green lemonade, click Here for recipe.

Time for  pyjamas 
Followed by Origins Drink Up Intensive mask, for ultimate hydration 
Then a little pampering manicure with my No.7 polishes in the colour Beanie. This is actually one of my favourite high street nail polish brands, as the base coat and top coat make the manicure last a long time, the brushes are rounded making them easy to apply, and the Beanie colour is the most used colour during winter, as it just seems to go with everything.  
My current favourite hand cream from Raunsborg.


For tonights entertainment, I have picked out 3 of my favourite romantic movies to choose from, Amélie, Chocolat and Roman Holiday. They are all perfect if you are having Valentines alone, because it all involves women who are independent, but who finds love, might be in different ways, but love non the less.


Hope you all have a wonderful Valentines day.
Mia
X

Thoughtful gifts


A few days ago I posted a Valentines day gift wish list, click Here to read, but maybe you don’t celebrate Valentines day in a big way and just want to give a small thoughtful gift, maybe your budget don’t stretch to a big present or maybe you just want your valentines gift to be a bit more personal. Either way, a thoughtful gift is special because it is thoughtful, not because it cost a lot of money, so here are five ideas that can work for both men and women that you can get for under £10 or maybe even just costing some of your time…….and they don’t just have to be given on Valentines day, they can be given all year round.

I just did a blog post reviewing The five Love Languages (click Here to read), so I think the obvious first thoughtful gift idea would be to learn someones love languages. Now Valentines day isn’t far away, so if this was something you wanted to do for this valentines, it might be a bit of a squeeze time wise to read the book. But it could simply be giving the book as a present with a card or a card on its own, saying you will learn their love language and speak it, to make them feel extra loved.


Second is a little “care” package involving an activity they love, like if a man likes watching sport, a package with their favourite drink and snack, with a card saying “promise I won’t disturb next time your favourite team is playing”. Or if for a woman that likes to take baths, maybe a bath bomb and a candle, saying “I will draw you a bath next time you need a bit of pampering”.


Knowing someones favourite cake and baking it for them is another great way to show you know them, plus a cake baked with love always taste the best. My husbands favourite is Lemon drizzle cake.


Doing something for them they don’t normally like to do them self. Like in our house, my husband hates ironing his work shirts, so ironing all his work shirts for him and giving him a card saying I had done that for him as a valentines present, would probably mean more to him than an expensive gift. But it could also be vacuuming the car or cleaning the kitchen cupboards.


Planing a day or afternoon out, which sounds expensive but doesn’t necessarily need to cost a lot of money or any at all. Finding out what the other person likes to do outside the house, it could be bringing a thermos flask of tea and going to your local park to feed the ducks. A lot of museums and galleries are free to visit and some even have a picnic area, so you can bring a romantic homemade lunch for when you need to rest your feet. My personal favourite is V&A and having a picnic by the Diana memorial fountain, but my husbands would be to visit the London Imperial War Museums.


There are so many thoughtful gift to be given, this was just a few. I think the key to any successful gift is finding out what the other person likes and why they like it and then you can`t really go wrong, or at least you should be getting points for effort.


Mia
X

Valentines gift wish list


Valentines day is just around the corner now, so here are my classic Valentines day gift ideas with a bit of a difference and things I would be dreaming of. It might give you some ideas for what to get the lady in your life, a list for you to pass on as a hint to someone or maybe for you to buy yourself a gift this Valentines day.


For the women that loves Jewellery, there is only one option in my opinion, the beautiful Chelsea bracelets from Carat are so dainty and beautiful and would make any girl very happy I think. Carat’s stones sparkle like no other, and it is where I got my wedding ring from, which you can read more about, by clicking Here. There is a design for any style, but my personal favourite is the Arrow white gold finish, which is actually 50% off right now and the Cross white gold finish, both extremely beautiful. 
£26.00(sale)-137.00 www.carat.co

Second is because I love the sent of this and taking baths, so a good one for someone who likes baths and pampering. It is the Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil. I used to have the body shower and body lotion, that literally makes you smell like you have been rolling around wild roses, so this couldn’t be more fitting as a valentines gift. 
£30.00 www.renskincare.com


I love chocolate like most people, but Booja Booja is one of my favourite chocolate truffle brands. Not only are they organic, dairy free and gluten free, but they are also the best tasting chocolate truffles I have ever tried, especially the Hazelnut Crunch. So for this Valentines I am dreaming of the Booja Booja Special Edition Gift Collection Truffle Selection No.2, containing Rhubarb and Vanilla Fool, Hazelnut, Banoffee Toffee and Almond Caramel. 
£13.95 www.boojabooja.com 


Now if you like your bubbly or the women in your life does, then Nyetimber Classic Cuvee would be an excellent choice. We had this wine at our wedding, mainly because we thought it be perfect to have an English sparkling wine at our wedding, now that we got married in England with Danish guests (click Here to read the story). We had heard so many good things about this English sparkling wine and it did not fail, I will actually go as far as to say that this is the best sparkling wine (champagne) I have ever had.
But I think the one I would put on the Valentines gift wish list would be the Nyetimber Rose, as it couldn’t be more appropriate for Valentines than this.
£29.99-45.00 www.nyetimber.com

I am personally not a big fan of red roses, but an obvious choice, if the one you are giving flowers to for valentines loves red roses. But for me it is all about the white flowers, also the reason I am doing an all white flowered garden in our new home. My favourite flower scent is gardenia, I have always been drawn to the beautiful and magical scent. I have tried having potted house gardenias several times, but they are a very sensitive/temperamental plant, so I have never been able to get very many flowers to bloom on them. But at a visit to a gardening centre last fall, I discovered that you can get a garden gardenia, that should be a bit more hardy. So the perfect flower to give me this valentines would be a Gardenia Jasminoides for my new garden, reminding me of love every time it flowered. 
£18.99-50.00 depending on size. for online purchase www.crocus.co.uk

Mia
X