Shake it up

I know how to live on a Saturday night, so clearly a meal-replacement shake and a face mask are top of the list of things to do….

I dug out my much under-used blender and mixed up the Forever Lite Ultra Shake vanilla powder, 3ooml of skimmed milk and a handful of blueberries and raspberries.  I’ve done meal replacement shakes many moons ago and they were not the most pleasant thing so I wasn’t expecting much (hence the fruit addition).  This was surprisingly okay – I’m not going to pretend it was the best dining experience ever – but it didn’t taste too synthetic.  The vanilla was sweet but not overpowering and the texture was fine.  The powder all dissolved pretty easily.

I think I could manage one of those a day for a week if I was looking to shed a few pounds quickly.  The pack makes 15 shakes, and is priced at around £20 so seems fairly reasonable.  Each serving contains 200 calories, and around half of the daily recommended intake of protein and also half of the major vitamins and minerals.

I also have the chocolate version to try, so may do that one this evening.  Chocolate on Valentine’s is the way to go, right?

I also had the Aloe Mask from the Aloe Fleur de Jouvence Collection to try.  That translates to the Flower of Youth, and the mask offers to rejuvenate by smoothing, conditioning and cleansing the skin.  The range contains collagen and elastin as well as camomile, apricot kernel, jojoba and of course aloe vera.

To make the mask you have to mix a powder with an activator solution.  There is meant to be a measuring/mixing spoon included but that was missing from the trial pack so I had to improvise.  The instructions say to mix until a “lotion consistency” is reached, and then to apply with a brush.

I think it was a bit runny and so was a bit of a performance to put on, but the quantity was good to cover the face and neck.  I’d been warned that it’s nicknamed the “botox facial” as it sets solid – and that’s definitely true.  You leave it on for around 30 mins before removing with a hot cloth.   After 30 mins it was solid and my face was smooth and shiny (before taking it off!) as you can see from the scary photo below!

It was easy to remove, although I had got some of it stuck in my hairline.  I was as bit pink and blotchy afterwards but that wasn’t unexpected.  My skin can be a bit sensitive and I had already done the marine mask this week. I put on some aloe gelly and left my face to calm down, which it did relatively quickly.  My skin is very soft and smooth (but not shiny!) this morning and looks refreshed.  Not sure I look youthful but definitely improved.

All in all, I’ve had worse Saturday nights!

Facing up

The trial continues…. I’ve always been interested in beauty products and skin care and always try to use good quality products which deliver results rather than those that are at the cheaper end of the market with lots of synthetic ingredients.

I worked for a premium skin brand for several years which was developed by a consultant dermatologist based on many years of medical research which increased my knowledge and broadened my understanding of the science of skincare.  One of the reasons for volunteering for this trial was to try another range of naturally derived products with some research behind them.

I’d always followed the cleanse-tone-moisturise mantra, but after working for Murad I realised the benefits of adding in a treatment step between the toner and moisturiser stages. I usually have a mix of Murad and Elizabeth Arden products in my bathroom cabinet for my skin care regime.  For this trial I’ve replaced my usual serum and day and night moisturiser with these two Forever products.

I love the nourishing serum. It’s from the more premium Sonya range which has completely different packaging to the other products I’m trying.  It has a great texture and glides on well over toned skin (tip: leave a few minutes after applying toner before applying a treatment product for better results) and smells gorgeous; a bit like lemon meringue. It’s subtle though so you won’t smell like toilet cleaner or anything else that smells artificially of citrus!  I’ve been using this morning & evening for a few days now and it’s keeping my skin texture smooth and reducing visible poor size. I’m definitely a convert to this one.  Although it’s around £34, that’s really good value for the amount you get when you compare price per 100ml with equivalent products from other brands.

I was a bit more dubious about the propolis cream; as mentioned before, the packaging doesn’t really sell it to me and the name is frankly weird!  It’s a fairly thick product when you squeeze it out, and is the consistency of a cream-gel. It’s a bit of an odd colour but applies easily, particularly over the serum. It is fairly rich so is good as a night cream and definitely left my skin feeling nourished.  For the trial period I have been using this in the morning as well, although I wouldn’t usually as it doesn’t contain an SPF. It’s protected my skin nicely though during the biting cold morning walk to the train so I can’t complain too much.  Not convinced this will feature permanently in my regimen as anything other than a night cream but I would definitely say it’s worth a try.


Last night I tried the Marine Mask. It was great! You apply to damp skin & leave for around 20 mins. It’s clear but sets firm so your face looks really smooth while its on. It also set my eyebrows solid which required lots of “hilarious” mugging in the mirror while it did its stuff. 
It washes off easily with a warm cloth and my skin was beautifully smooth and soft afterwards. It doesn’t have much of a scent, but isn’t unpleasant.  They recommend using it about twice a week.

The previous night I tried the Aloe Scrub which says it is gentle enough for daily use. This was a good product too, and I noticed this morning that between the two products my pesky milia had disappeared. Result!

I liked them both; although I think the packaging lets them down a little. They are as good as premium products with quality ingredients, but the packaging doesn’t give that impression. I realise they are an American company that also supply the UK and European markets so it might be the packaging & presentation is tailored for their North American client base.

Regardless, these two are definitely worth a try.


From the bag of goodies these were the first I tried. The scent is gorgeous – aloe & lavender – and reminds me of something that I can’t quite place.  The shower gel lathers really well and made my skin feel really soft with no tightness.  The moisturiser is also quite luxurious and keeps its scent on the skin for hours, but not in an overpowering way.

This part of the range definitely isn’t cheap (at around £20 each) but would make lovely gifts for friends who appreciate pampering.  The packaging looks good too; I’d definitely recommend the relaxation range & will be sad to give them back at the end of the sampling week!! 

Aloe aloe, testing…

A former colleague of mine works for Forever Living selling their health & beauty product range from home. She recently asked for volunteers to try products for free in return for some reviews.

I agreed and yesterday I took delivery of this little lot.  

Lots of aloe based goodies to try & review, including skin care, dietary supplements & health care.  My next few posts will be on these. Hope you find them interesting.

Absolute Beginners

Well, that’s been a bit of weird week.  Losing both David Bowie and Alan Rickman in the space of a few days seemed really shocking.  They were both artists I admired greatly and the world is a poorer place for neither of them still being in it.

I did play with the Sirtfood diet – I didn’t follow it to the letter –  the amount of juicing required for the week while working full time just wasn’t manageable, and it recommends not eating after 7pm – I’m lucky to be home by then!  So instead I tried to incorporate Sirtfoods into my usual diet to see if that would help.  However there was a spate of birthdays and associated cakes in the office and my willpower deserted me at times.

I did do some juicing – the first batch I made using a juicer a friend lent me – and it was quite tedious.  I had to juice the greens about three times to get anywhere near enough juice, and the time to clean the machine… zzzz…..  The second batch I made in my lovely new slow juicer and it was great!  I only needed to juice the greens once and I got loads of juice out of it.  The pulp was really dry and it’s not too awful to clean either.  I have been juicing all sorts of things since!

I was highly surprised to find I’d lost 3.5lb this week.  The book reckons if you follow the plan properly you will lose around 5lb, but improve your muscle mass making a ‘muscle gain adjusted weight loss’ of 7lb, so I am really pleased.  I will continue to incorporate Sirt foods into my diet and I will include the juice – just not every week!  I have ordered some buckwheat and sobu noodles to be able to do some of the recommended recipes properly as well, rather than doing random substitutions.

If I have time off I will try and do the full week one and with associated juicing, but for the moment I shall make sure to follow the principles and incorporate more sirtuin rich foods into my diet.





Green day

So the book arrived, delivered by the Amazon elves while I slept, and I’ve made the first juice.

It is made from kale, rocket, parsley, apple, celery and lemon juice, plus matcha green tea.  It doesn’t taste too bad, but I can see why on other forums people have advised against using a nutribullet or blender rather than a juicer as there’s a lot of pulp left from the greens.   You’d have to do an awful lot of sieving to get rid of the bits.

The book says there should be about 50ml juice from the greens – I didn’t get quite that much but it wasn’t far off.  The recipe does use handfuls so it’s clearly not an exact science.   However my kitchen does now look as though I had a slight explosion with the grass collector on my lawn mower. The celery and apple give a lot more volume of liquid.

It is a bit of a faff, and for the first three days you are meant to have 3 juices dropping down to 2 for the rest of the week.  The book says you can prepare them in advance and it keeps it’s nutritional properties for 3 days, so I’ll definitely be making this in batches.

I doubt I’ll be following this precisely as the volume of juicing while working full-time will be a bit tricky, however the meal recipes look interesting I’ll definitely be incorporating them into my repertoire.

If these sirtuin-rich foods are really wonder foods, then eating more of them must have health benefits, even if I don’t get the associated weight-loss with following the plan religiously.  I’ll keep you updated!