How to have a green Christmas

Sunday 29 November 2015

Today is first of advent and time to talk about Christmas. This time of year is often a time of excess and waste. Maybe it's time to rethink and change the way we do Christmas and have a green Christmas. Celebrating a green Christmas isn't about going without. It's about being thoughtful and considerate of not creating waste at a time of celebration. Here are my tips on having a more eco friendly Christmas. 

"It's time to slow down and consider the true cost of choosing quantity over quality" 
                             - Kate Fletcher 

1. Make your own presents
Making your own presents are not only fun and personal but also saves you money. It can also ensure that your gifts are eco friendly and using as little waste as possible. 

Pinterest is full of ideas of homemade presents. I love making bath salts and scrubs to people. Or knit a scarf. Just get creative.

2. Buy eco friendly gifts if you're not making them
There are plenty of choices of online eco focused shops. It's also a great way is to introduce others to your favourite organic beauty products. 

3. Make your own decorations
Making your own decorations is so much fun, especially if you have kids. Make them personal to you. There are lots of things you can do and again Pinterest is a great source to find ideas. 

I used to love making edible decorations to hang in the tree and you can eat them when it's all over.

If you're buying your decorations. Make sure you reuse them. 

4. Be considerate about all that paper
Reuse wrapping paper and recycle when possible. There is lots of great things you can do with old Christmas cards or decorate your presents. Also think of alternative ways to wrap your presents, like for example fabric. 

5. Buy locally grown and organic food
Christmas is a great time to buy locally. Visit your local farmers market. The food will be fresher and the shorter transportation distance from field to fork will significantly cut down on carbon emissions. Try also to minimise your food waste. 

6. Turn out the lights
Christmas lights are great. It looks beautiful and feels like Christmas. But they don't have to be on at all times. Turn them off when you're not at home or asleep. 

7. Get an Eco friendly tree
There are many debates whether a real tree or an artificial tree is the best option. Many prefer an artificial tree as it can be reused. But it all depends on the life span of the tree as it is often made by non renewable resources. If you buy a real tree try to find one from an Eco friendly farm. Another option is to buy a living tree that you can plant in your garden later. 

What are some of the ways you make your Christmas greener? 


Thursday 26 November 2015

A perfect balm for the cold winter months when your skin needs a little extra TLC and hydration. 

My love affair with botanicals continues. A while back I reviewed Botanicals revitalising mask. Since then I've tried their face balm. Such a gorgeous, perfect and they work perfectly together. 

On the label:

"A deeply conditioning, natural balm to help soften and enhance the texture of your skin. Infused with Wild rose and rose geranium, renowned for their nourishing and revitalising properties."

When applying the balm feels similar like a oil. It easily melts into your skin and makes it easy to apply. Therefore you only need a very small amount and will last you a long time. It makes my skin feel hydrated and silky smooth. 

It has a gorgeous smell from rose and lavender. The other key ingredients are Shea butter, grape seed oil and jojoba. 

I have found since using botanicals my skin has improved. I normally have dry patches on my cheeks and recently I haven't been as dry. Especially in the winter I need a more moisturising face cream. The cold weather mixed with central heating can be devastating for my skin. I find that Botanicals nourishing face balm is exactly what my skin needs. It's perfect for night time and I wake up with perfectly hydrated skin. 

Botanicals are approved by the soil association, the face balm has 

• 89% organic ingredients
• 100% natural active ingredients

It's £27.95 for a 50g glass jar. Botanicals also do some gorgeous gift sets for Christmas. To find out more, visit their website

Have you tried any products from Botanicals? Which product is your favourite? Or which would you like to try? 

*disclaimer: I received the Botanicals face balm for free to review. All views are my own. 

How To... DIY Coffee Scrub | Sara Steele

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Christmas is coming closer and today I thought I show you how to make your own natural coffee scrub. A perfect present for friends and family.

What do need:

1 cup coffee grains
1 cup sugar
2 cups coconut oil

Mix it all together with your hands. The heat from your hands will melt the coconut oil and make it into a paste.

Put the paste into a jar and pimp it however you like.

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Review | Living Nature summer bronze pressed powder

Friday 20 November 2015

It's time to review the gorgeous bronzer from New Zealand brand Living Nature. A 100% natural mineral colour for a radiant sun kissed complexion. 

I'm not a typical bronzer kind of girl. I rarely use them. I'm often happy to stick to my normal blusher. Most of my life I've always been afraid of adding any warm shades to my face. No orange tanned looks for me. The paler the better. But I've decided to embrace the bronzer. 

I did fall for the beauty that was Living Nature summer pressed powder. It comes in a gorgeous compact case with a mirror. I almost didn't want to use it because I then ruin it. Eventually I couldn't resist. 

The summer bronze powder is a 

• natural mineral powder.
• vegan 
• fragrance free

It has been highly commended in the Blusher Category of the UK's Natural Health Magazine's prestigious Natural Beauty Awards 2014. 

Living Nature statement on their website 

We are passionate about the benefits of natural skincare, and committed to our philosophy of 'nature works' as the basis for developing skincare and cosmetics products that work in harmony with our skin.

Summer bronze pressed powder gives my skin a healthy glow. It's subtle and looks natural. It gives a sun kissed healthy look, which impressed me. As I'm often worried to overdo my makeup, I'm glad it has a natural look as many bronzers are too brown/dark. 

My skin is fair and the summer bronze is not too dark on my complexion. It gives it a healthy glow. I believe it would work well on a more toned skin complexion too. 

The bronzer has a good lasting power, it still looks great hours after application. I've used it on days/evenings where I had it on for 5-6 hours and it stayed on my skin well and looked great until I took it off. 
It works great on top of foundations, tinted moisturiser or by itself.

Key ingredients:

Olive fruit oil - containing fatty acids to deeply moisture skin.

Soybean oil - an antioxidant and full of fatty acids to keep skin looking youthful. 

The Living Nature summer bronze pressed powder is of great quality. It's the first Living Nature I've tried but I'll be definitely buying more of their products, because they've impressed me. 

It's £21 which might be more than you pay for a bronzer. But it's worth it. It's of high quality and it's a safe product being 100% natural with no toxic ingredients. 

Have you tried any of the Living Nature range? 

How To: Braided Updo Hairstyle Tutorial | Sara Steele

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Today I'm doing a braided updo hairstyle. It's perfect if you want to put your hair up for a party or any special occasion. It's easier than you think.

First clip away the front section of your hair. Depending on how much you want to the side. If you like it loose and messy you'll need more hair or if like me I mainly will have my fringe and just a small section of hair to the side. It's all personal preference.

Then do a section of the side of your hair and clip away rest of the hair for now.

With your side section make a Dutch plait adding more hair as you work yourself down the plait. For more detail of a Dutch plait watch my video here:

To make the plait look bigger pull the sides of the plait from top to bottom.

Make three pony tails and back comb in small sections to add extra volume.

Take each small section and  roll  it around your finger and pin them up. Leave the ponytail nearest to the plait for now.

Now pin the plait to the back.

Then to pin up the last section to cover the end of the plait.

Lastly we are now pinning the front section to the side. Make sure you don't pin the hair over the braid. You can make the hair hanging loose or tight. It's up to you and how you like it.

Finish off with some hairspray man feel free to accessorise.

For this hairstyle I used

  • Bobby pins from hair tools
  • Pin tail comb from Lotus
  • Elastic bands from Sally's

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What are Parabens and should you avoid them

Saturday 14 November 2015

We often hear Parabens are bad for us and we should choose Paraben free products. But why are they bad and why should we avoid them? Today I'm looking in to Parabens with a magnifying glass and hopefully make things a bit clearer. 

What are Parabens?
Parabens are cheap and effective preservatives. Parabens are used to make products last longer. They kill mold and fungus for longer and that way dramatically extend the shelf life of many beauty and health care items and stops them going bad too quickly. 

Why are Parabens bad?
Many studies have been done on the most common Paraben chemicals like

• methylparaben
• ethylparaben
• propylparaben 
• butylparaben 
• isobutylparaben

According to the studies parabens may be bad to your harm health. By contributing to the development of cancerous tumours. There are differing views on this subject from a range of medical researchers.  There is the question that these chemicals are found in some cancerous tumour tissue. The links between Parabens and cancer (specifically breast cancer) are of concern to people.

There is a worry that Parabens can be stored in the body and over time they could have a cumulative effect and damage health over time.

While there is currently no scientific evidence to confirm that Parabens directly causes cancer. It's right to be mindful. Do you want to take the risk? I know I don't. 

Where do I find Parabens?
Parabens are found in over three-quarters of beauty and health care products. Almost any typical beauty or health care aide. May contain these chemicals, unless it's specifically labelled "Paraben-free".

Parabens are found in most haircare and skincare products like 

• Shampoos & conditioners
• Moisturisers
• Sunscreens
• Toothpaste
• Mascara 
And many other cosmetics. 

Alternatives to Parabens
Paraben-free products may contain ingredients, such as organic-acids, that help to preserve formulas without harmful side effects. Examples of organic acids used in the place of Parabens include

• diazolidinyl urea
• sodium benzoate
• potassium sorbate

Always read the labels on products. But safest is always to go for products that are labelled Paraben-free. 

If you want to play it extremely safe, use a few oil-based organic products that don't contain water (which calls for a preservative). They often come in dark containers with a pump so that light and air don't degrade them quickly. Just make sure you use them within their use-by date. 

While the evidence is not completely satisfactory regarding the safety of Parabens in cosmetics. I think it's important to be aware and make choices of avoiding these toxins for your own health. Choose Paraben-free products. 

My favourite Paraben free brands


Are you concerned about Parabens? Or do you believe it's nothing to be concerned about? What are your favourite Paraben-free products?

How many beauty products I use in a day and the importance of choosing organic and natural

Thursday 12 November 2015

Today is a short post to just remind you of how important it is to choose organic beauty products. 

Yesterday I counted how many products I put on my body in one day. So everything from shampoo, cleansers, lotions, serums etc.

Guess how many? 

21 products. In one day I put 21 products on my hair and skin. I was surprised myself. I don't even see myself as a product junkie. I know some days I use less and some days more depending on the day. When I realised I was so happy I only use natural and organic products.

Our skin is our biggest organ and it absorbs everything we put on it. This is why it's so important to use natural and organic ingredients. Avoid all toxic products. Your skin absorbing all these harmful ingredients that's not good for your health or the environment. If you want to read more about why choosing organic beauty products read my post about it here

This is the products I used in one day! 
Hair serum
Body scrub
Shower gel
Lip balm
Face mask
Argan oil

How many products do you use in one day?

My birthday in Pictures

Monday 9 November 2015

It was my birthday last week and I thought I share some of my favourite highlights of the day. 

     Waking up to presents

     and cards.

     Breakfast at Garrissons

     We went to see suffragettes.

     For dinner we had a tasting menu at Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden. It's such s stunning and romantic place. The chef made a special vegan menu for me and it was delicious. 

I had such a lovely day and felt very spoilt. Especially by my wonderful husband.

What do you normally like to do on your birthday? 


Benefits of using Argan oil

Saturday 7 November 2015

Argan oil, also known as the golden oil from Morocco, is a great oil with many benefits for both hair and skin. 

Argan oil is the purest form of the oil found in the Argan trees, that grows in the southwest region of Morocco. Argan oil is extracted from the Kernels. Because the tree is found only in a limited area, the oil in itself is quite rare and this is why Argan oil is more expensive than other oils. But because it's highly concentrated you only need couple of drops. 

Argan oil is beneficial for both the hair and skin. Some of those benefits are

for hair
- tames frizzy hair 
- prevents dry scalp
- promotes hair growth
- mends split ends
- adds shine 
- protects agains heat
- softens hairs

for skin
- anti inflammatory 
- improve elasticity
- reduce appearance of wrinkles, lines and blemishes. 
- hydrates dry skin
- fade sunspots
- strengthen nails

Argan oil is a dry oil and not as greasy as coconut oil for example. 
Some easy ways to use Argan oil are

Body Moisturiser
 - apply directly to your face and body or add couple of drops to your regular moisturiser for extra glow. 

For Your hands
 - apply to your hands for a nail conditioner and cuticle moisturiser. 

Hair treatment
- work a good amount into hair and leave it overnight to calm dry, frizzy and split hair. Wash it off in the morning. 

Hair serum
- smooth a drop over hair after styling to tame flyaway or static hair. 

Some of the key ingredients that Argan oil naturally contains are 

Vitamin E
Which is great for 
- treating and preventing acne
- anti-ageing
- anti-wrinkle
- reduces under eye circles. 

Omega 6
That will help prevent hair breakage

That will soften hair and skin.

Argan oil is such a great oil, but unfortunately there's a lot of fake ones out there. Many products labelled as Argan oil hair treatment. They are actually made almost of silicone (dimethicone) and its derivatives. Many containing less than 1% of Argan oil. These products are not adding the beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants of Argan oil. To make sure you got the real deal, this is what you should look out for. 

- organic 
- cold-pressed 
- the ingredient should be Argania spinosa or Argan oil. 

I use John Masters organic 100% Argan oil. It's harvested and produced in Morocco by hand in the Argan forest. It is cold pressed and extra virgin. The production is carried out by a women's cooperative, which has established an ecosystem reforestation project to ensure sustainability and to protect the rare endangered tree. The income generated is providing healthcare and education for the entire community.

Have you ever used Argan oil? What do you use it for? 

31 facts about me

Thursday 5 November 2015

As today is my birthday I thought I'll be selfish and talk about myself. Here is 31 facts about me, one fact for each year.

1) My biggest wish every year growing up was that is would snow on my birthday. Most times it did. 

2) I've moved house 13 times.

3) I'm the youngest out of 4 siblings.

4) I was born in Sweden 

5) I moved to London when I was 19. 

6) I'm 163 cm (5.4 ft) 

7) Growing up my biggest dream was to become a journalist or a writer. 

8) My favourite animal are cats. 

9) I became an aunt age 12.

10) I met my husband when we both worked in a record shop together. That was a long time ago.

11) We've been married for 4 years.

12) I love tea and my favourite tea is the Swedish Söderblandning.

13) I'm slightly obsessive with big jumpers and cardigans. Unfortunately I'm always really hot so can hardly ever wear them. 

14) I love Care Bears.

15) My favourite Swedish place in London is Scandi kitchen. 

16) My favourite sweet is salt liquorice as the true swede that I am. 

17) I became a vegetarian when I was 13. 

18) My shoe size 5.5 or 6 (39)

19) My left foot is slightly bigger than my right. A reason to why I always prefer to wear comfy trainers. 

20) My favourite tv show as a teenager was "My So-Called Life" 

21) My favourite fruit in the summer is watermelon and in the winter it's satsuma. 

22) I photograph everything. 

23) I did work experience at greenpeace when I was 15.

24) Part from my family and friends the thing I missed the most from Sweden is probably snow. 

25) I went to Santa school (more than once).

26) The lead up to Christmas is my favourite time of the year. 

27) I'm really rubbish at deciding on my favourite thing is (film, song, book) because it always changes.

28) My favourite activity is to relax. I like to have a massage. 

29) My next holiday is Iceland and I'm so excited.

30) I always read a book that's based in the country of where I'm on holiday. 

31) I love having clean bedsheets. 

That was 31 facts about me. If there's anything else you ever wanted to know about me feel free to ask me in a comment below. 

I'm off to enjoy my birthday! 


October Favourites Organic & Natural Products | Sara Steele

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Where did October go? Oh well here is my favourite things in the month of October.

Ultra balm - Lush
Dark red lipstick - ZAO Makeup

Revitalising mask - Botanicals

Nail Polish - Zoya in shades Autumn and Payton.

Deep moist conditioner - C/o Gerd
Cinnamon for my cinnamon buns

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Love Sara
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