Christmas cooking the fun way

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This year, why not impress family and friends with homemade biscuits and snacks, and as well as saving yourself some money, you can have festive fun too? We have several tried and tested recipes we love, and hope you will too!

Christmas tree cookies
These cute cookies look good, taste great, are easy to make and even the youngest members of the family can get involved and help you to decorate them!

For these winning treats, you will need:

470g of plain flour
1 level teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of table salt
225g of unsalted butter
300g of caster sugar
Two medium eggs
Two teaspoons of vanilla extract
A Christmas tree cuter
Colouring icing sugar pens
Silver balls

Sift together the baking powder, flour and salt. Cream together the butter and sugar until you have a light and fluffy mix, then beat in the eggs (one at a time) and finally stir in the vanilla. At this point you can then slowly add the flour mix, and when you have a ball of dough, wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for around an hour.

When you get the dough from the fridge, pre-heat your oven to 200 C / gas mark 6 /180C fan and line two baking trays with parchment paper – this means the cookies will slide off once cool and you won’t have any nasty pan scrubbing to do.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out your cookies.

Bake for about eight minutes or until the edges are just turning light brown, and transfer from the baking trays to cooling racks.

Decorate with the icing pens when the cookies are completely cool and put on the little silver balls for an added touch, then either eat them (fast) or put them in pretty boxes with tissue paper and give them out as presents!

Cheese Stars

For the school party, or drinks with friends, these easy to make cheese stars are winners.

You will need:

A pack of pre-made puff pastry
One mug of grated cheese – a mild cheddar / mozzarella mix works well
Flour for dusting
2 table spoons of whole milk
A star cutter

It is best to make these on the day of eating, so when you are ready, preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas mark 6 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or grease them with a little butter.

Next roll out the sheet of pastry and put your grated cheese on half of it, fold it over and then on a floured surface, gently roll to around double the size. At this point just make sure no cheese is escaping from the sides as this can get messy in the oven! Next, cut out star shapes from the folded sheet and place on the baking sheets, brush with milk and cook for around ten minutes. You can add some herbs or salt to the tops of the stars if you like! They will last for a couple of days in a tin, but we don’t think they will be around that long!

Veggie Tree

For something super healthy for the party table, you can’t go wrong with savoury festive tree made with goodness and love.

For this you will need:

Lots of cherry tomatoes – cut in half
Green grapes – cut in half
A yellow pepper with a piece of the flesh cut into a star shape
Half a cucumber
Salsa
A large silver foil platter

Chop a 5cm piece of cucumber and place it at the bottom of the foil platter to make the tree trunk. Then you need to make a row of tomatoes and grapes to make the first part of the tree, and then add more layers, each one shorter than the last so you end up with a cute Christmas tree shape. At the top you can add your yellow pepper star, then serve with the salsa and the rest of the cucumber cut into sticks! This looks fun and jolly and also help to keep up your five a day!

Got a recipe you love, let us know about!

Team Pure Beauty

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Buy your Secret Santa at Pure Beauty

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Elemis Exotic Frangipani Monoi Hand and Nail Cream

The office is buzzing, the staff room is full of glitter and gossip, Last Christmas is on play 24/7, and people all over the country are wondering what to buy for that all important Secret Santa present.

At Pure Beauty we are sure that we will have something that Sam from accounts, Rosie from PR and Penny the company PA, will just love.

The Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel is a favourite with our customers, and the handy travel size version makes the perfect Secret Santa present for pretty much anyone. Suitable for all skin types, this lovely soap-free, foaming gel removes make-up and leaves skin clean, without disturbing the natural moisture balance, which is especially important in the cold winter months. Balm Mint cools and calms skin, while Lavender Extract purifies it which means complexions are left feeling comforted and loved.

If you want to give your Secret Santa something special, how about the Elemis Exotic Frangipani Monoi Hand and Nail Cream? This is luxury hand cream not only nourishes skin but leaves it delicately scented too. Shea Butter has been blended with Macadamia Seed Oil as well as Frangipani Flowers, and we think it is a stunning combination. Perfect for any desk drawer, handbag or wash bag, this is a gift that will keep on giving long after the decorations have come down .

Although most people know the mantra of cleanse, tone and moisturise, many miss out the middle man, the toner. Why not give someone the gift of toning this Christmas and wrap up the Dermalogica Antioxidant HydraMist as your Secret Santa gift? White Tea, Liquorice and Vitamin E fight damaging free radicals, Vitamin C and collagen-stimulating peptides, encourage firmness and elasticity so that fine lines are smoothed, and with the help of Rose and Clove Extracts, skin feels soft and refreshed.

If Dave in IT is your Secret Santa, you can’t go wrong with the Dermalogica Shave Essentials Trio gift pack. This is a complete set of products that offer a smooth shave and healthy skin for under a tenner – what’s not to like? The Dermalogica Daily Clean Scrub (44ml), Dermalogica Soothing Shave Cream (74ml) and the super cooling Dermalogica PostShave Balm (10ml) equals a month’s supply of products that we think the Dave will love.

Last, but by no means least, we want to mention the Decleor Luxuriant Nourishing Lip Balm. This would make a gorgeous Secret Santa for anyone and will leave their lips feeling loved all Christmas long. With a luxe feel, this balm has been enriched with Marjoram Essential Oil, Shea Butter and Macadamia Oil and simply sinks into lips leaving them feeling soft, smooth and totally smoochable under the mistletoe.

If you’d like any more details about these Secret Santa ideas, or any of the products we sell, get in touch and we would love to help you make the right choice.

Team Pure Beauty

Add a gel product to your basket

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Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Gel Mask

Gels used to be saved for those sticky hair products that kept quiffs in place, but took an age to wash out!

Today there are a whole multitude of cool gel products on the market that help your skin look and feel better than ever. At Pure Beauty we sell some gorgeous gel offerings from iconic brands that really work, and today we are bringing just some of them to you.

The Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Gel Mask helps refine the skin’s surface, something we often need in the middle of winter. The highly active gel-based mask targets fine lines and helps balance sebum levels without upsetting your skin’s natural pH balance. After the very first use, your skin will feel instantly smoother, it will be shine free, firmer and you will look more radiant.

When you think about night products, you generally go for a rich cream, but this isn’t the case with the Dermalogica Sleep Sound Cocoon Night Gel-Cream. Relatively new to the site, this gorgeous treatment not only cares for your skin, but promotes sleep too. Tamarind Seed Extract promotes natural hydration, Persian Silk Tree Extract reduces signs of fatigue and Wu-Zhu-Yu Extract means your skin looks alive when you wake after a good rest.

Hours spent looking at a computer screen, scrolling through social media and long nights can leave our eyes feeling a little tired and looking a little sad. To get to the heart of the matter, we suggest you try the Elemis Anti-Fatigue Eye Gel which instantly refreshes and soothes the eye area. Sugar Beet Extract, Yeast and Golden Root have been help reduce tiredness, and thanks to Olivine Extract, which is rich in the Magnesium that helps to reduce the effect of stress on the skin, you are left looking revitalised!

Skin needs to be clean, to be healthy, and one way to do this is to use the Jan Marini C-ESTA Cleansing Gel. This potent Vitamin C cleaner, can be used on all skin types and the cool gel turns into a luxurious lather that washes away make up and dirt, to leave you with noticeably softer, more refined skin and a healthy glow.

In the winter, a hot bath might sound great, but a warm shower with the Elemis Revitalise-Me Shower Gel is way better for your skin. Elemis have mixed a blend of Thyme, Basil and Neroli essential oils to create an uplifting shower gel that takes care of your body and senses.

It might be winter but the air is full of dirt and grime, so why not try the Decleor Anti-Pollution Hydrating Gel-Cream? Enriched with Moringa Olifeira Extract, this easy to apply gel-cream not only hydrates skin but also creates a protective layer against pollution particles. The gel has added oils as well as extracts of anti-inflammatory Centella Asiatica so you are left with a beautiful, smooth, luminous complexion which has to be something to smile about.

For more information about these, and all our gel products, get in touch and we would love to help.

Team Pure Beauty

Healthy meals the slow cooker way

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Far from being old-fashioned, slow cookers are the cool kids on the block when it comes to making healthy, wholesome food, The brilliant thing about these culinary beauties is that you don’t have to slave in the kitchen for hours to make a wonderful meal for all to enjoy.

From soups and stews, to casseroles and curries, we have a feeling that if you make the move to the slow side, there will be no looking back.

Bolognaise
The days of splashing tomato sauce everywhere when you make a bolognaise are over, because the slow cooker will keep it all contained. You might want to brown off your mince and onions first, then you can add this mix to your pot, together with two tins of tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, mushrooms, tomato purée and herbs. Put the lid on and let it cook for around six hours and the magic will get to work. When meal time comes around, cook up some pasta, pile onto plates, add some parmesan and enjoy.

Tofu curry
With more and more people choosing a plant-based diet, the slow cooker is a ‘must have’ for vegans. Put some diced tofu, a blend of spices, curry paste, some peppers, green beans, and diced onions together with coconut milk and a little water, into the pot and leave to slowly simmer. In just a few hours you will have a healthy, totally tasty meal that you can eat for dinner, and pack for lunch the next day. Just add rice, and you are good to go.

Spicy sweet potato and lentil stew
Lentils are a really great source of healthy protein and are also cost-effective when it comes to cooking. Mix a few tablespoons of red lentils, with diced sweet potatoes, sliced carrots, and celery as well as peeled leeks, a thumb of crushed ginger, and a small teaspoon of curry powder. Place it all in your slow cooker with a cup or so of water, put on a low heat for around six hours and you will have a delicious, nutritious meal waiting for you when hunger strikes.

Mean meatballs
You might not have thought about the slow cooker for meatballs, but this dish is perfect for exactly that. Either buy pre-made beef or turkey meatballs, or you can make them yourself, and as with bolognaise, brown the meat and onions before adding them to the pot with tinned tomatoes, tomato purée as well as frozen peas and mushrooms. Put the lid on, press go and let the flavour of the ingredients get to work as you get on with your day. This dish is perfect with rice or pasta and a side of broccoli, and the leftovers are great cold in sandwiches the next day!

Mushroom soup
Mushrooms are jam-packed with B vitamins, potassium, iron and copper, and make a brilliant slow cooker soup. Slice a good-sized pack of mushrooms and put them in your slow cooker together with vegetable stock, browned onions, garlic plus salt and pepper, and cook on high for about three hours. If you want the soup to be thick and full, add some cream, then serve with crusty bread and a cheese board.

Lasagne
You heard it right here, you can totally make a delicious lasagne in a slow cooker. Once the meat and onions have been browned, mix with a couple of cans of tomatoes, tomato purée and a dash of Worcestershire sauce, then layer this with your pasta sheets and cheese sauce. Put the lid on and cook for around six hours on low. Once piping hot, serve with a green salad and garlic bread and we think you will be pleasantly surprised at how good it tastes.

Lentil soup
There is nothing boring about lentil soup if you add in chickpeas, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper as well as any veg you have kicking around in the fridge. Cook on slow for a few hours and you will have a filling lunch or late supper waiting for you when you are feeling peckish.

If you have got a recipe you think we would like, drop us a line as we would love to know what it is.

Team Pure Beauty