Events, x Skin Food x

Skin Food: part 1

Given that our body absorbs 60% of what we put on our skin, I think my skincare has inadvertently become part of my diet.

And yours has too.

*silent gaping*

Take a look into your bathroom cupboard. Grab your favourite product, and Google the ingredient list. Go on!

Freaked out? Let’s change that. I’m here to help.

I ditched nasty skincare and junk food over a decade ago. The biggest surprise of all? I look and feel younger now, than I did when I was 25, and I’ve a heck of a lot more energy too.

Rethinking your skincare regime is much easier than reformulating your diet. It’s a quicker journey with fewer steps, and involves complete indulgence. Score! If you’re worried about a pal’s health, skincare is the quickest way to convert them to a wholefood diet. Crazy, right? It’s the great gateway drug my friends. Once you start to glow from the outside, imagine what food could do for your body from the inside?

There are amazing green companies and indie brands revolutionising the beauty industry right now. I wanted to give them some credit here, and to share with you my favourite finds since I first loafed my cheap skincare regime.

With retrospect, I must have smelled like a dirty brothel during my twenties. When you make the change from conventional, mass-produced skincare products to organic, mindfully crafted products, you’ll see what I mean. It’s like comparing Peter Andre with Damien Rice. Once you find the latter, you’ll wonder what in the name of Goofy did you see in the former.

So here we go. A suite of skincare blog posts, with kickass small companies treading lighter on the planet and genuinely giving a toss about your skin. They deserve our support. So does your body.

Let me know what your favourites are in the comment section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

xxx SJW

susan jane beauty reviews


> Carrot & Sweet Almond Oil by Fushi <

Crazy cool experience, and a very reasonable beauty fix for €13. Strong taste of carrots – pretty trippy (yes, this is an oil used for dressings, just like avocado oil and olive oil. But perfect for the face).


… its stash of super powers. This specialised oil is practically humming with carotenoids, considered Mother Nature’s retinol. Luckily, plant derived vitamin A (beta carotene) is always much safer and softer than the synthetically derived vitamin A. Albeit a much more diluted form.

Fushi is very reasonable too, and do a range of other venerable raw ingredients to make your own personalised skincare range including shea butter and argan oil. Here’s the link.


Can stain your pillowcase if it’s not thoroughly absorbed into your skin at night. Good excuse to stay up and read the latest Caitlin Moran though.


Mature or sun damaged skin. Sweet almond oil has a moderate comedogenic rating, which means it doesn’t block pores like you might expect, nor does it actively clear pores.



> Skin Food body butter by Weleda <

It’s on the cheaper side of the natural green skincare range, available at your local health food store or savvy pharmacy for €14.


Feels deeply nourishing like a margarita after a long day at work. Flipping brilliant stuff. Absorbs quickly, leaving a glorious sheen. Great overnight foot treatment this time of year too.


No drats.


Everyone, from nipper to grandpa.


weleda skin food review


> Absolute Jasmine by Neals Yard <

I’ve been wearing this neat (erm, apparently you’re not supposed to use it neat) for over 10 years now. And I levitate when I smell me. So too, does my hubbie. You can add it to shea butter to create a perfume salve for necks and wrists.


The whiff. Peerless stuff.


Neals Yard don’t have branches in Ireland. Despair! However, I find their online service is very swift.


Hot blooded felines



> Children’s Chest Balm for coughs and colds by Neals Yard <

It’s posh Karvol, that really works. No un-pronounceables in the ingredients list. Organic, natural, and pure – exactly what you want for your little nippers. Does the job beautifully to help decongest snots and chesties.


The absolute integrity behind the product, and the effectiveness of the balm. This is also true of Neal’s Yard’s portfolio of other products.


Online only for Ireland (although there are select pharmacies across Ireland now stocking NYR, see comment section below).


Our little kiddies and their vulnerable immune systems



> 100% Barbary Fig Oil (prickly pear oil) by Poppy Austin <

Prickly Pear has even more vitamin E and antioxidant powers than argan oil. Thunderous hurrah!

Vitamin E is hailed as one of the most hydrating and important beauty vitamins. Particularly good for my sleep-deprived peepers. Costs around 150€ here but currently cheaper on with Poppy Austin.


The serum glides on very easily, soaks in immediately, and doesn’t block pores. These are great virtues for a face oil. Prickly pear seed oil has started a crazed frenzy among the green beauty industry. It’s the new argan, apparently. So I had to try it. I’m a little bored of it now, so I’m hoping this oil will freeze until I resuscitate my enthusiasm. Besides, I’m hooked on something else right now (more on that in September!)


It honks. And it’s pricey. Best to go “halvers” with a pal and share the bottle. Combine with your favourite facial serum like cold-pressed organic avocado oil, hemp seed oil, argan oil or rose hip seed oil. You might need a few drops (maximum) of top class frankincense essential oil to distract from the woof. Or jasmine. Or neroli. Bergamot good too.


All skin types. Especially new mamas and sleep deprived sistas.




goji heart


And finally, from the Department of Disclosure:

1.     I will only review products I like, and whose work ethics I dig (ingredients derived by nature, organically or mindfully, with no hidden nasties). My grandma always says “if you’ve nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” While generally this advice can be very unhelpful in many situations, especially if you count yourself as a modern woman or feminist, I think it’s probably spot on for my blog post.

2.     I do not receive freebies, payment, nor contra in any form for the products that I review on my website.

3.     If I receive sample products to review for my site, you will be the first to know. Full disclosure. You are my friends. I have no intention to mess with your mind.





Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

Peaches & Rhubarb with buckwheat cream

This is good enough to straddle. Sweet, succulent spoonfuls of rhubarb happily collapsing from the heat of the oven, and cavorting with a sticky orange and star anise nectar.

We serve it with buckwheat cream which probably sounds like a wank too far, so just swap it out for cold clouds of Greek yoghurt. Criminally tasty.

There are not enough days in the year that I can fill with rhubarb. It’s one of the only fruits on Irish soil that remains seasonal – most fruits are imported all year round which significantly detracts from their excitement. But not rhubarb. It’s a May to August orgy, so get your fill.

We make a kickass cordial to go with gin for lazy summer evenings. We’ve found two exceptional new gins on the Irish market, both hand crafted with local botanicals: Bertha’s Revenge from Co. Cork, and Shortcross from Northern Ireland. I’ve convinced my liver that the botanicals are likely medicinal in nature. And so long as I sip it in the sun, I’ll be getting a healthy dose of vitamin D3 as well. Right? Score.


buckwheat cream with ginger and lemon


Rhubarb cordial goes so well with sparkling water and freshly grated ginger too. Roughly chop a kilo of fresh pink rhubarb and simmer with 300ml of water for 15 minutes. Strain through a sieve to catch the rhubarb juice, and refrigerate the cooked flesh from the sieve as we won’t need it for the cordial. Add 200g of coconut sugar or rapadura sugar to the collected juice and boil for 10 minutes until syrupy. (White sugar gives the purest rhubarb flavour, if the earthiness from rapadura ain’t your fancy). Add a squeeze of citrus to lift the cordial while it’s cooling down. Once chilled, this rhubarb cordial can be stored for up to 4 weeks provided nobody knows about it. (Or your stash of gin).


Peaches & rhubarb with buckwheat cream

Serves 6


For the buckwheat cream:

1 cup whole buckwheat groats

100ml preferred milk (I used oat’s milk)

1 vanilla pod, seeds only

1 tablespoon maple syrup or 1/2 banana

Pinch of sea salt

Squeeze of lemon

Up to 1 teaspoon, freshly grated ginger (optional)


The fruit:

4 sticks of rhubarb, chopped

3 peaches, sliced

4 tablespoons good honey or maple

Juice of 2 medium oranges

2 star anise, snapped (optional)


Start by soaking your buckwheat in hot water overnight. Soaked grouts can sometimes turn into something that a sneezing bulldog might produce. Don’t worry – you’re on the right track.

In the morning, drain and spin in a blender with the remaining ‘cream’ ingredients. Blitz until sumptuously creamy and not grainy. Taste, and decide if it needs a smidge more lemon or salt. Once you’re happy with your tasting session, chill in the fridge until required.

For the fruit, fire up the oven to 170C, gas mark 4.

In an oven dish, tumble the rhubarb and peaches with your choice of sweetness, orange juice and snapped pieces of star anise. Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes until delicate and tender.

Serve hot with a clad of buckwheat cream and a good cuppa.


rhubarb susan jane



11:30 free cookery demo, Saturday @ Avoca

Let me feed you.

I’ll be doing a free cookery demonstration and tasting in the gorgeous Kilmacanogue Avoca Store (just outside Bray, between Dublin and Wicklow. Click here for directions).

You can do your entire week’s food shopping in their glorious food hall, grab some brunch or coffee, then head over to me for superfood lollies and craic.


peanut butter cookies


This Saturday

@ 11:30

May 28, 2016

Avoca Kilmacanogue


I’d love to see you, and answer any questions you might have on kitchen adventures and conundrums. (Here’s a taste of what I’ll be making from my latest cookbook The Virtuous Tart).