x Skin Food x

Winter Skin: skin food part 6

That’s a jade roller. We go together like owls and tanning salons. It ain’t a natural fit.

But boy do they work. And they’re 100% pain free.

Let me explain. I feel dirty, valuing “looks” especially when it has very little to do with how I value myself and others. That’s why my books are not airbrushed – I flipping love character creases and laughter lines. They’re real. They’re Mother Nature’s way of telling 20year upstarts not to f&%k with us. So it’s not likely I’ll set aside time to jade roll my mug every morning.

However, I also value the health of my body, my skin (aka our body’s largest excretory organ) and my mind.

So … for me, then, it makes sense to submit to a relaxing Chinese face massage from time to time, when I am in a deep stress zone (queeeeeen, I hear you shout). It’s called Gua Sha and involves minor torture tools plus a dinky jade roller. The deadly Amanda at Dublin’s Holistic Centre does them. I fall asleep during the face massage, blissed off my face.

In theory, jade rollers should be one of the easiest and least expensive DIY skincare tools available to men and women. Jade rolling can help to lift that leathery-winter-skin vibe that scorches into our skin this time of year.

How so?

Gentle application of a jade roller stimulates our intricate lymphatic system from the neck up, and helps to shoo our system of toxins and puffiness. It’s a very simple concept, with very effective results. Right under our skin lives a complex highway of vessels and tissue that work to eliminate toxins. Score! Help them, help us (click on the video below).


If all this seems too heavy, here are the balms and salves I urge you to support. #notsponsored. All are hand crafted in small batches, using only raw unadulterated ingredients and a deep respect for nature. Each one supports your winter skin, while also supporting dedicated craftsmen in the beauty industry – an industry dominated by chemical junk, lies, and toxic messages about what “beauty” means. We have an opportunity to try and change the tide on these corporate beauty giants. Stop giving them our money. And start channeling our support into mindful skinfood wizards, like these ones, who celebrate the aging process with open arms.

Don’t get me wrong – I still have a lot of crap floating in my cupboards. Stuff I’m not proud of. I find it easier to start gently – when one thing runs out, I try to mindfully replace it.

This love and thought can be different for everyone – you have a rhythm of your own, and it’s best to listen to it. Don’t let skinny fascists on Instagram tell you what to buy! What do YOU want? Where do YOU want your money to go? That’s no one else’s business but yours.

My BF for example doesn’t care what she puts on her face, so long as it’s not in a plastic tub. She spends her weekends litter picking in London, and campaigning against plastic-overuse in supermarkets. She’s incredible, and her radiance shines from her face and touches everyone around her.

Another pal only uses Irish products in her home. Another, makes all her own products from face masks to cleaning products.

Me? I channel my money (if I have any at the end of the month that is) into people like Laurel, Kapua, Sarah, Fiona, and a myriad of other kickass women I found through Jeannie who pour their life’s energy into hand crafting little pots of lovebombs. A wise dame once said “if you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”




Dublin Herbalists

Dry skin patches, toodleloo. This is serious skinfood. My five year old puts this on his lips every day too.

My husband bought me a range of Dublin Herbalist products for Christmas. My favourite? A tube of All-Healing Salve comes in at under a tenner, and as the name suggests, is as local as I can possibly get. Love it.


Kari Gran

Serum is not enough for my demanding skin during the winter months. My face is almost comically thirsty. The trick is not to go for a water-based moisturiser. Look for a salve with a small amount of beeswax or shea to lock in moisture. Always works for me.

This Essential Balm from Kari Gran is exceptional, comes in a large pot, and lasts 5-6 months. I use it on my lips too. This isn’t skin food, it’s a skin smoothie. Find it here. 


Maya Chia

What chicken stock does for the soul, Maya Chia does for the face. Here’s a pressed serum that went into waiting list mode this January! I can understand why. Warm, affectionate and earthy, like a little pot of hugs. It’s deeply nourishing and winsome.

The alchemist behind Maya Chia, Susanne, started off her career as a political speechwriter having graduated from Harvard University. She is the snazzlejazzle. On sale here from Beauty Heroes. 50ml goes a very long way – I was sent a sample sidekick, and am still working my way through it.


Conscious Skincare

Any of Conscious Skincare’s mature range will do the trick for wintry months. They are called moisturisers, but that’s an understatement! They behave like a supersonic balm in my opinion (check out the buttery consistency below). Organic shea successfully locks in moisture and gives your skin a goddamn gorgeous glow. It’s the vegan version of beeswax. Take a look at their glorious building blocks – all beautiful, vegan, organic, cold pressed plant ingredients. I received a number of samples to play with during 2017. Every pot was licked clean. I’m certain you’ll love them.



And finally, from the Department of Disclosure:

This is a Skin Food series. I care about our skin and how we are feeding it.

I will only review small scale producers whose products I love and admire; whose work ethics amaze and astonish; and whose genius deserves a wider platform. Small scale producers cannot afford a PR unit or fancy advertising. They rely on word of mouth.

I do not receive payment, commission or contra for the products that I review on my website. That ain’t my Feels. If I receive samples to trial, I’ll always tell you (see above).

As a Beauty Heroes ambassador, I receive their monthly discovery box in advance of its release, to trial-run the product as a member of their beauty council. There is no obligation to write about Beauty Heroes, in any form whatsoever, but I choose to do so from a place of love, admiration, deep respect, and incorrigible excitement. NONE of the links from my website result in commission.



Breakfast, Treats & Snacks

How to make Kefir at home

Kefir is yoghurt’s low-maintenance, tarty cousin. She’s got a gutsy attitude and is addictively refreshing among a sea of shiny, clean eating accessories. I have a feeling 2018 is going to be her year.

When can you meet? Today! Find kefir grains in the refrigerated section at your local health store or trendy café. We got ours from The Hopsack in Dublin 6. Failing that, a quick Tweet thankfully sorts out most bourgeois problems in Ireland. Kefir grains look very similar to cooked rice pudding. Nothing too freaky, I promise.



The grains burp and feed on whole milk, gobbling up the natural milk sugars and lactose. All those gorgeous good bacteria multiply faster than grass through a goose. What you’re left with is a funky ferment more potent than natural yoghurt.




Makes 500ml

Use organic milk, raw milk, goat’s milk, even coconut milk. I drink kefir straight up on ice, but yogi types like to flavour their kefir with second ferments using honey and vanilla pods. Kefir is also really great with spicy curries, to help your tastebuds and mascara survive the heat. It makes a rather brilliant marinade for meat, replaces buttermilk in baking recipes, and sings with soft cheese as a last minute mash-up for spreads.


2-3 tablespoons milk kefir grains
500ml full fat organic milk (goat’s, cow’s, nut milk)


1 Using a clean mason jar or 500ml glass bottle, pop the kefir grains in with your preferred type of milk.

2 Cover with kitchen paper, secure with a band, and leave on your kitchen counter 24-36 hours to ferment.

3 When the desired tang is achieved, remove the kefir grains with a plastic sieve and pop the live grains into fresh milk to start the process all over again. You’ll know the grains have doen their work when you see the milk split a little.

The fresh kefir can be refrigerated or guzzled straight away to pimp your flora.

If you aren’t reusing the kefir grains straight away, they can be stored in a little whole milk for 1 week in the fridge. The milk be will perfectly good to use – the chilled temperature merely slows down the fermentation process. It’s okay to keep extra kefir grains in the freezer too.

One final point – if you are using plant milk, the kefir grains tend to benefit from a little cow’s milk every 4 or 5 batches of kefir-making. This is because the kefir grains like lactose as a source of go go juice.


Taking the hell out of healthy.

Hit “BOOM” at the top left corner with your email address my friend, to receive new monthly recipes direct to your inbox.  Here’s hoping 2018 will be your most exciting year yet!


Treats & Snacks, x For Freezer x

Malted Rye Chocolate Cake

I care about my body and my mind. The thrill of them both feeling ace when I wake up, is really very special.

I used to feel like I had woken up underneath a lawnmower. I hate feeling like shit.

Being consistently under par is not good for me (or for, erm, society). Nah-aw. I can’t be a good human on a diet of processed junk. It’s just not possible. I deserve to feel amazing, and have learned just how easy it is to maintain.

The first step is to start lovebombing your kitchen space. Pick some podcasts to make your dimples hurt with laughter. Own that zone. This is where the magic happens. So much of our diet is contingent on mood and convenience. If we curate both of these in our very own kitchen, then we stand a chance of giving our body the grub it so desperately needs.



The second step is to ditch diets. Anyone notice that dieting doesn’t seem to be a terribly effective route to losing excess weight?

An industry does not grow into a $60 billion bonanza by permanently solving the problem it is designed to address. Guh! If you’re going to count something, count nutrients, not calories.


Malted rye chocolate cake

Can be frozen in slices


Here’s one way you can start switching out processed white flour and white sugar, for something more wholesome. The ingredients in this cake are totemic of a modern, wholefoods whore; barley malt, rye, home-made ghee, and dark chocolate. When I am poofing my final breath, and my life flashes before my eyes, there is no doubt that this chocolate cake will loom large like an illicit peep show portal. You’re about to find out why.


200g ghee or butter
200g dark chocolate
3 eggs
100ml malted barley
100g coconut, rapadura or muscavado sugar
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
100g whole rye flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
nip of lemon juice


Whack up your oven to 150 Celsius. Now let the chocolate and Irish ghee party over a pot of simmering water, until gorgeously glossy. This is called a bain marie. If you’re not into ghee, you could use butter.

Measure the barley malt, sugar and eggs into a bowl and beat until bubbly. Whisk in the melted chocolate and ghee. Now add your flour, salt, lemon and raising agent.

Find a 23cm (9inch) circular springform tin, or something similar. Line with baking parchment to prevent tantrums and sticking. Pour the cake mixture in, and bake for 30 minutes. Let it cool before looting.


Taking the hell out of healthy.

Hit “BOOM” at the top left corner with your email address my friend, to receive new monthly recipes direct to your inbox.  Here’s hoping 2018 will be your most exciting year yet!