Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Product Review : PDC Liftarna Masks

Adorable Snoopy marketing aside, anything that promises to minimise pores immediately gets my attention!

This was the second of two packs of Liftarna masks I'd picked up while in Japan. The first pack was their Deep Cleanse Mask.

Both pack contain 7 masks which I think you're supposed to use in a week but the package just says to use within 30 days of opening. The first pack I used over a couple of weeks.

The Snoopy ones I used over about 3 and a half weeks, with a couple of other sheet masks in between, along with a long haul flight!

I feel like they actually do minimise pores a bit, especially on my nose but the masks also seem to draw out little spots on my chin.

They feel a bit tingly on and instructions say to only leave on for 5 to 10 minutes which feels quite long when the tingly feeling translates to a slight stinging around the eyes.
Which brings me to my main problem with Lifterna masks. The fit. Mainly around the eyes. The length above the nose was nowhere near enough for the mask to sit flat between the eyes and the eye holes were too small and too close together, meaning the mask sat awkwardly over the corners of my eyes. I did like that they were quite long in the forehead though.

Although the picture on the front implied the deep cleanse masks would sit snugly around my nose (for maximum impurity drawing action) they didn't.. no matter how much pressing down around my nose, the mask never sat snug against my nose!

Overall I wasn't hugely impressed with either pack of masks and wouldn't buy them again. I think I'd stick with clay masks for cleansing and there's just so many other sheet mask options out there than to suffer through a bad fit.

Not to say the masks can't be a perfect fit for someone's​ face, just not mine!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Om Yoga Show, Glasgow 2017

This is the second year I've attended Om Yoga Show in Glasgow. Both times I've had the company of Rachael from Panda Yoga Edinburgh, who has been gracious enough to offer a lift to the SECC. Saving me from schlepping it across on public transport.
Last year we'd each booked workshops but we weren't as organised this year and decided to just join free classes that took our fancy once we arrived.

We attended 'Functional Fascial Approaches for Movement Therapists with Ruth Duncan' which we both struggled with as we each have restrictions of movement due to injury. It's always difficult when there is a big group involved for hands on therapy workshops.
There was a lack of eating options which was a shame. There wasn't a lot last year and seemed even less this year.
After a wander around and a quick break for lunch we attended 'Freedom for Feet! With Mark Russell' which we both really enjoyed as we both like a good foot workout; Rachael especially!

We noticed there were fewer Glasgow Yoga Studios (almost none!) at the show this year and a lot more people offering Teacher Training programmes and yoga retreats.

Both of us have been curious about the blow up Hotpod Yoga hot yoga dome but without somewhere to shower and change, having to spend at least an hour in sweaty kit to get back to Edinburgh isn't so appealing.
Kitty treats for Rachael for driving. She loves Pandas & Kitty in equal measure...

We'd planned to pick up Yogi Tea on our way out to save us having to carry it around but they were pretty much sold out by the time we made our way back around, so word to the wise, buy Yogi Tea on arrival if you want to make the most of their show deal!

The show felt much more busy last year when we went on the Saturday than Sunday when we went this year.

There were a few monthly subscription boxes on offer as well, some containing trinkets and some containing vegan or veggie snacks.

This year seemed to have more massage options as well, most of whom were offering 15 minutes for around £10.

We loved visiting all the chocolate stalls for tasters and picked up a few treats along the way. We also each got a henna tattoo from the Henna Den.

Neither of us have picked up any clothing, though there were plenty of stalls to choose from. Lululemon were there, although with no discounts or show prices, it seemed pointless to buy something in Glasgow that we could get from the store in Edinburgh. I got some grippy toe sox to try at the show last year and picked up a few more pairs this year as I love them.
I'd love to check out the show in Mancheter or London as comparison, as I feel the show in Glasgow is just a little lacklustre. Other yogi friends who went along all felt similar, it's a show you'd spend a morning or afternoon at rather than attend for an entire day. Which is just that little added effort if you're travelling an hour to get there.

I was a guest of the Yoga Show this year and they were also kind enough to give me tickets to give away! Thanks Om Yoga Show!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Yin & Gin!

It was bound to happen.. combining two major loves of my life and helpfully, they even rhyme! 😂

I finished my Yoga Teacher Training, focusing on Yin Yoga... so what better than to mix it up with some Gin tasting?!
The lovely Rachael from Panda Yoga Edinburgh, who has been a driving force behind me finally doing my YTT and getting me started on the road to teaching, was once again the motivation to make Yin & Gin a reality. (It helps that we did our YTT together and she also loves gin!)
I reached out to Solid Liquids (they're the people behind Juniper Festival in Edinburgh and Glasgow) to ask if they might know someone I could approach to help with some gin tasting notes and they offered to work with us and host the gin tastings! Never one to turn down help from experts in the field, I jumped at the opportunity.

So on a slightly grey chilly evening at the end of March, a group of gin loving yogis got together for an hour of chillaxin' yin.
Followed by 45 mins of gin tasting with Jamie from Solid Liquids.. We even managed to make a non-gin lover admit she liked the gin!

Our inaugural event was such a hit, we've decided to hold these classes monthly and hope to expand to other spirit tastings in future. We know not everyone​ shares our love of gin! (Though we think gin is like whisky.. there's so many out there, there's bound to be one you like.. You just need to try more gin! 😃)

You can find my yogi antics on Instagram under @yogawithcaz. I'll hopefully get some regular classes up and running once I'm back in Edinburgh, keep an eye on IG for updates!
Solid Liquids also hold Juniper Cruises, Beer Union Cruises and Whisky & Cheese cruises along the Union Canal. I've yet to check out the Whisky & Cheese cruise but have had two fantastic days out on the Juniper and Beer Union Cruises!

Read about my day out on Juniper Cruise here.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Ticket Giveaway! Christmas Foodies Festival 2016 at EICC

**We have FIVE pairs of tickets to give away for Christmas Foodies Festival**
Check twitter @cazmonkeysround to win!

Shared Items:0Foodies at the Festival:FOODIES 2016:Showguides:9. Alexandra Palace:Editorial:Chef Images :Jane Devonshire  images 2:Jane - crop press.jpgShared Items:0Foodies at the Festival:01 Foodies Magazine: 082 October 2016:Images:CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL:resize michael brem.jpg

Following up on last year’s success, Foodies Festival Christmas returns to Edinburgh’s EICC on the 25th, 26th and 27th of November.

This festive season the Chefs Theatre boasts a stellar line up, including Masterchef 2016 Winner Jane Devonshire, who’ll be cooking up her favourite family Christmas recipes for guests for the first time. Plus, Great British Menu star Michael Bremner will prepare his beautifully executed mackerel dish, ‘A Message to the Lode Star’, which earned him an unequivocal 10/10 on the show and left veteran judge and two Michelin-starred chef Daniel Clifford in tears.

Acclaimed chefs sharing their top tips for a tasty Christmas alongside Jane and Michael include:

Michael Bremner - Scottish Regional Champion Great British Menu 2016
Jane Devonshire - MasterChef Winner 2016
Marcello Tully – Michelin-starred Chef at Kinloch Lodge in Skye
Brian Grigor – Michelin-starred Chef at Number One at The Balmoral
Jamie Scott – MasterChef: The Professionals Winner & The Newport
Adam Newth - Scottish Young Chef of the Year Winner & The Tayberry
Scott Davies – The Three Chimneys
Mark Greenaway - Restaurant Mark Greenaway
Stuart Ralston - Aizle
Tony Rodd - MasterChef Finalist 2015
Neil Forbes - Cafe Marlayne
Three Sisters Bake - Authors, Bakers & Chefs
Paul Wedgwood - Wedgwood Restaurant
Fraser Allen – The Pompadour by Galvin

In the Cake & Bake Theatre, Burlesque Baker Charlotte White will create a modern showstopper of a Contemporary Christmas Cake in just 30 minutes (with not a plastic Santa in sight!), while master chocolatier Fiona Sciolti showcases a new selection of chocolate desserts and treats, as well as introducing her newest seasonal delights including Churros with delicious festive toppings.

In the Drinks Theatre, Champagne expert Neil Philips and wine experts Charles Metcalfe and Brian Elliot introduce their favourite tipples for Christmas, while Melissa Cole gives guided craft beer tastings. There’s also gin, whisky and Christmas Cocktail masterclasses on offer, so there’s a workshop to suit every taste!

To get in the festive spirit, visitors can also attend one of the brand new series of 12 Christmas Top Tip practical masterclasses which cover a range of activities, from learning the perfect way to curate a festive cheeseboard, to whipping up a Christmas spiced ice cream, and mastering the best techniques for curing salmon.

An Artisan Christmas Market introduces top producers selling a whole host of locally made delights, including cheeses, chutneys, oils, Christmas hampers and gifts, while the Pudding Hall offers up artisan macaroons, cupcakes and sweet seasonal treats.

To keep you satisfied while you explore, there will be range of international and award-winning Street Food stalls showcasing tasty snacks including calamari, steamed pork buns, macaroni cheese and Creole delights.

For younger foodies, the Elves Cookery School offers tutorials in Gingerbread man baking and Christmas Cookie decorating to keep everyone entertained.

The party spirit will be kept up all day long with vintage-style singers and Christmas Carollers providing entertainment on the Live Music Stage. Plus, to add to the fun, daring visitors can take part in daily events like the Chilli Eating Competition and test their sweet tooth with the Mince Pie Eating Contest, as well as team up to compete in the Christmas Quiz and Charades Relays.

Tickets are on sale now at foodiesfestival.com or by calling 0844 995 1111
All children aged 12 and under go free to all Foodies Festivals when accompanied by an adult.

Date, Venue & Opening Times:
Edinburgh EICC, Friday Nov 25th, 5pm - 9pm
Edinburgh EICC, Saturday Nov 26th, 10am - 6pm
Edinburgh EICC, Sunday Nov 27th, 10am - 5pm

xx Caz

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Review: Edinburgh Coffee Festival 2016

Having missed the inaugural Edinburgh Coffee Festival last year, I was excited to get along to this year's event held at Summerhall as it had outgrown Mansfield Traquair. Previous engagements meant I arrived quite late and had missed all the talks and workshops which was a shame.

I was assured the coffee cocktail workshop involved many delicious cocktails, so will have to look out for that returning next year!

It was great to chat to some familiar faces, such as Mr Eion and the folk at Burr & Co. where I'd recently been for a lovely lunch. As well as get to meet some new faces, such as the folk behind Alfie, who are using an air drum roasting technique. It was one of the cleanest cups of coffee I've tasted, will definitely be ordering from the website when I next run out of beans!

Really enjoyed chatting to the folk at Johan & Nystrom from Sweden. Their limited edition Gigisa Lot5 was fantastic as was their bottled iced teas! Their loose leaf tea tins were adorable but unfortunately not for sale at the festival.

They weren't the only ones there offering both coffee & tea, Edinburgh Tea and Coffee Company also had their wares on show. Tea lovers were not left wanting though as Pekoe Tea and Shibui Tea both had impressive selections to taste and choose from.

Tasty Buns Bakery were pretty much sold out of treats by the time I got there, but I did sneak an amaretti biscuit which was divine! Luckily Pinnes & Poppyseeds still had a healthy supply of Pumpkin Spice Caramel Cups to satiate my sweet cravings. The Chocolate Tree and The Marshmallow Lady were also on hand to supply sweet treats.

Rost were there with their food truck but I couldn't pass on a burger from Jones & Sons!

Overall, I had a fantastic couple of hours at the festival, even if my companion did throw a cup of coffee over me! Will hopefully have more time to explore next year. Although it was apparently much busier earlier in the day and it was difficult to actually stop and speak to exhibitors, so maybe arriving late had its perks!

xx Caz

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Solid Liquids Juniper Cruise

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know a few weeks ago on an insanely sunny Sunday I was drinking gin on a canal boat.

That's because I'd been invited as a guest on a Juniper Cruise by Solid Liquids.
They're the people behind Edinburgh's Juniper Festival if you need reassurance of their qualifications!

It was a great opportunity to find out about some new gins!

Really enjoyed the Martin Miller and Rock Rose is already a firm favourite. Nice to taste Crossbill Gin with the new Walter Gregor tonic and ginger was a nice twist.

First time tasting the lo-cal Minus 33, not a very robust gin on its own, but certainly good in a cocktail. Sometimes even if the gin is familiar, the tonic gets to be the new kid and this was the case with Daffy's paired with Fentiman's 19:05 Herbal Tonic.

 Lovely Day for a cruise. My first trip this far down the canal!

There's a small pitstop after they turn the boat around and a chance for a quick walk to stretch the legs or for a cheeky smoke break.

Solid Liquids are great hosts and really know their stuff when it comes to gins.
The menu will change so even if you're thinking, well I've tried all those gins before, you might get something different on another cruise!


No complaints about drinking gin on a canal boat on a sunny day!
They run the cruises regularly, so check their website for details and get booked on soon!!
xx Caz

Monday, 27 July 2015

Film Review: The True Cost

Earlier in the week, I tweeted that I'd managed to buy a maxi dress at a high street 'fast fashion' store for £1. Yes, ONE singular pound. While part of me congratulated myself on scoring a great bargain, another part of me thought, that's barely worth the piece of cardboard the price tag's printed on. HOW is it possible that I'm able to buy this for a pound?!?

On Saturday, I saw "The True Cost" at the National Museum as part of Edinburgh Fashion Festival and was blown away by how little I knew and how little I'd thought about where my clothing comes from. I've always been aware of the social/ethical aspect of clothing with regard to sweatshops and cheap labour but I really had limited knowledge about the environmental impact.

I was aware that we throw away a lot of textiles from conversations with my friend Yaz, who has started up Awkward Chat in Australia and is all about up-cycling and getting people to initiate conversations and start thinking about where their clothing comes from, the people who have made it and where it ends up when we're done with things. But I was still surprised to see it in visual terms. The sheer amount of textiles that are sitting in landfills... slowly releasing toxic chemicals into the air over the 200 years it takes to break down and 'biodegrade'.

The most surprisingly thing for me was the cotton farms and growers. This is a part of the manufacturing process I think very few people think about. Where the fibres actually come from that make our clothing. Many of us are all very aware of buying organic fruit and veg and locally sourced meat etc. and we feel these things are important because we're physically putting these things into our bodies. But how have none of us thought about the origins of the things we put ON our bodies? I'm sure most of us have seen 'Organic Cotton' tags on clothes in certain shops, but like me, you've probably never stopped to think about what that actually means.

I never realised that cotton farms are blanket sprayed with pesticides from airplanes in many parts of Texas (and one has to assume it's the same the world over). Which may not mean a lot but when you think of all those chemicals being absorbed by the soil which grows food and leeching into the water supply, it starts to get a bit scary. That so many people are getting sick in those areas cannot be unrelated.

Another shocking thing for me was the statistic about the suicide rate of cotton farmers in India. It's absolutely staggering that no one knows this is going on. The health issues of people who live close to the tanneries in India where there is just no regulation about the chemicals which are dumped into the water is heart-breaking.

Of course there was also talk about the tragedy at Rana Plaza and the abysmal conditions that people are forced to work in, with argument on the other side that 'if these people didn't work in these factories, they could be doing a lot worse things'. Well, although that may be true, is that really good enough?

How do we hold these large corporations accountable? Is the solution to just boycott these stores? Does losing one customer or one hundred customers even make a difference to their bottom line? How do we tell them that it's time to start making some changes because how things are today is not acceptable?

I was in the throws of discussing the above and how helpless I felt about the whole thing and that my only course of action was to go home and feel like a bad human being for fallen victim to fast fashion and my love of a bargain when someone joined the conversation and said, at least now you're thinking about it and talking about it, and that's the first step to making a change.

I sincerely hope so and I really hope I can seek out alternative places to shop and support businesses like People Tree who are really doing their part to pay proper living wages, trade ethically and giving back to these communities.
xx Caz