Aurelia Probiotic Skincare – Miracle Cleanser review

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Eep! Nearly time for a new jar!

I recently spent a week away without my jar of Aurelia skincare Miracle Cleanser, which was a perfect reminder of just how much I love it. I first tried this as a sample and while I loved it right away, I thought spending €45 on a cleanser might just be an indulgence too far.

I was already a big fan of using creamy balm cleansers with muslin cloths and while tempted by the Miracle Cleanser, I wasn’t sure how much of a difference it would make to my skin.

Well, obviously I gave in eventually and 3 jars in I’m pretty besotted with this stuff. My week away from it only served to remind me why – familiar skin issues such as clogged pores on my nose and dry patches either side of my chin had returned and I realised I hadn’t seen either of these since I’d starting using Miracle Cleanser regularly.

Aurelia Miracle Cleanser Sample

The absolutely adorable sample that got me hooked

I don’t know what exactly it is about this cleanser that makes it work so much better than other cleansers in the natural/’free-from’ category I’ve always preferred. Aurelia’s probiotic and peptide technologies that promise to balance stressed skin and aid the skin’s self-defence mechanisms surely have something to do with it. But whatever its secret is, Miracle Cleanser manages to cleanse deeply without irritating or drying my skin out and leaves it feeling soft and smooth (it’s actually so hydrating that it makes a great mask too).

And I haven’t been using it alone – I’ve been using many other Aurelia skincare products (reviews of those to come later, lest this turn into a novel) and so it’s definitely a result of all of this that my skin looks better than ever recently.

But if you’re looking for an indulgent, creamy cleanser that is a pleasure to use and that really works, this is it. Fragranced with a head-clearing (but not over-powering) blend of eucalyptus, chamomile, rosemary and bergamot, the evening ritual of massaging the cleanser in and then removing with the bamboo muslin cloth (seriously the prettiest muslins I’ve used and very effective despite their delicate appearance) has become a very welcome, relaxing step in my skincare routine.

Buy from Space NK in Dublin, €45, or online from aureliaskincare.com, £34.

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Winter blues at COS

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My neutral-loving self is loving this new shade to add to the reams of grey, navy and black in my wardrobe.

cashmere hat, €39; silk bra, €39; leather clutch, €39; silk vest top, €39 – all by COS

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How much is that doggy in the doorway?

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We have finally moved! Looking for a place to rent right now is not fun, to say the least. But we did it and we are now in the new house and at least partially unpacked. I like to remain optimistic and imagine we’ll unpack fully before we actually have to move again, but who knows.

In the meantime, there was the pressing issue of the doors in this place, very few of which seem to close properly and when left open most like to gradually swing wide open. Not very convenient when we need to leave bedroom doors slightly ajar to accommodate small people who might wake in the night.

And so we came to bring this little fella (and a pal just like him) home to help us prop open the uncooperative doors. And possibly act as guard dogs. We love them – do you?

Dog door stop, €7 in Penneys

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The new IKEA catalogue is coming!

Do you know what tomorrow is? It was supposed to have been today, but I’m getting one more sleep of excitement before the NEW IKEA CATALOGUE drops!

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For me it’s the grown-up equivalent of the Toymaster catalogue dropping through the letterbox every year before Christmas. Oh the hours of fun we had making fantasy wish lists of the toys we’d get if we had free reign. Now I play the same game with the IKEA catalogue, still working from fantasy as I imagine how I’d furnish and decorate my small but perfectly proportioned Scandinavian apartment if I had one.

This year I have the joy (not really) of a house move to look forward to and the even greater joy (this time really) of the subsequent trip to home shopping nirvana for those 5 things I’ll really need and the other 59 I won’t know I need til I get there.

This year, I’m mostly looking for all the yellow things (expect more of this later). And you?

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Objets – Tiger Multicoloured Whisk (№ 1 in a series)

Tiger Multicoloured Whisk 1

I finally ventured into the wonder that is a Tiger store recently. If you’re not familiar with the concept, try to picture the €2 shop crossed with Ikea and you’re partway there. Their design-led products are not just good-looking; they’re well-priced too (nothing costs more than €30 and you’ll find plenty for below a fiver) and if you’re looking for some random bits and bobs, you can bet you’ll find them here. Spice, envelopes and an alarm clock? Check, check and check. Some glitter gel pens and cocktail umbrellas? Well, why not?

I had nothing in particular in mind when I wandered into the Nassau Street store, but when I saw the multicoloured balloon whisks I had to have one. And I actually did have a silicone whisk on my shopping list, so it wasn’t even a frivolous non-necessity. At €2, who could blame me either way? But I do love it when a piece of useful, but not too exciting kitchenware becomes something fun to look at. This bright, cheery whisk makes pancakes at the weekend an even happier experience and works up a mean bechamel for macaroni cheese.

Find it at a Tiger store near you and don’t blame me if you come out with a cake stand (€4) and some neon straws (€1) too.

Tiger Multicoloured Whisk 2

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The search for a new bag – the COS shopper

COS shopper

I’m on the hunt for a new everyday bag. It needs to be roomy enough for the usual suspects (wallet, phone, sunglasses, lipbalm) plus a few random kid-related items (nappies, raisins, muslins, toys), but not so vast that I can’t reach what I need in a hurry and with only one free hand. It needs a cross-body strap as I never have a hand free for carrying a tote and shoulder bags always have a tendency to slip off at just the wrong moment. It also needs to be light enough when empty that it doesn’t become a lead weight around my neck when filled with the contents listed above. It’s going to get knocked around a bit, so it can’t be too precious for a few scuffs and marks.

Option 1 – this COS wide leather shopper (€150). It ticks the roomy and light boxes and has the cross-body strap, though I wonder if it’s wide enough not to dig in when weighed down? It’s slightly limited in only having one interior pocket, unfortunately. I like to have a separate phone pocket that can be reached in a hurry and a zipped one for keys and other small items. But I do love the colour for summer and the slouchy look. Hmmm…

What do you think? And what’s your ideal take-everywhere bag at the moment?

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Hemsley & Hemsley Miso Carrot Soup

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I’ve been meaning to make this Hemsley & Hemsley Miso Carrot Soup since first spotting the recipe a few months back and I finally got around to it last week. It was an easy way of getting through a bag of carrots I wasn’t otherwise inspired to use and as both kids love soup it’s a good way of getting vegetables into them.

To be honest, I wouldn’t usually go for a carrot-based soup as I sometimes find them a bit bland, but the blend of flavours from the garlic, ginger, miso, coriander and lime really made this something special – the big girl requested multiple refills of her cup and despite a high temperature and general sadness, the baby happily lapped up spoonful after spoonful from my bowl (I added only 1 litre of stock to keep the texture thick enough to make it easy for them to eat).

The toasted sesame seeds were an inspired touch – so easy to do as you don’t need an extra pan for them and both the flavour and texture added something special to what was already a delicious soup.

Feeling virtuous about what you eat is easy when it tastes this good. Now to decide what to try next from the lovely Hemsley & Hemsley blog…

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Silver and gold

I’ve been ever so slightly obsessed with this delicate Shooting Star ring by Natasha Sherling from Cold Lilies recently. I don’t usually wear yellow gold – white metals work much better with my cool skin tone – but limiting myself to one or the other suddenly seems rather old-fashioned. And this ring is so fine that I think I could make it work even when combined with my other white jewellery.

What do you think? Do you stick to one colour only or does it depend on the piece?

Image from coldlilies.com – Shooting Star ring by Natasha Sherling, €600

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Steam Cream does cherry blossom

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Browsing through Image magazine, I came across this lovely Steam Cream Japonisme. With cherry blossom still on the trees, I fear resistance may be futile…

Incidentally, the newly-relaunched Image Daily site is well worth a visit if you’ve got a moment or ten to spare.

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Banana bread, Hummingbird-style

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When I first tasted this banana loaf the day I baked it, I must admit I wasn’t overly impressed. My usual banana bread recipe contains chocolate chips and mixed spice, where this one is a bit plainer, with no chocolate and only cinammon and dried ginger to flavour it. I missed the depth of flavour from the mixed spice and though the ginger was an interesting twist, it tasted too one-dimensional. The next day, however, it was better and by the third day, even better. So definitely one of those recipes where you want to wrap it up and leave it to sit a day or two before tasting.

Did I mess with the recipe? Yes. It calls for 200g of mashed banana – I had 4 small bananas that came to about 330g, but I chucked them all in. I did have to let it bake about 10 minutes over the recommended hour, but apart from that it didn’t cause any problems.

I think this was actually the first recipe I tried from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, not counting the buttercream icing. I’ve a tendency to read my cookbooks for inspiration, discover I’m missing vital ingredients and then look up an alternative online to use instead. Based on the success of the banana loaf, I’ll be trying more soon.

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