Review: Cocoa Tries Curly By Nature Luxury Hair Care Products

Curly By Nature Moisture Shampoo, Hair Repair Oil and Intensive Conditioning Mask www.curlybynature.com

Curly By Nature Moisture Shampoo, Hair Repair Oil and Intensive Conditioning Mask www.curlybynature.com

I am no hair care guru. Nor am I by any means a natural hair blogger. I am not even a product junkie. When it comes to my hair, I like to keep it simple and keep it moving.

My hair is natural. This simply means that I do not use chemicals to relax or straighten my hair in an attempt to alter its natural texture. In it’s natural state it is big, it is curly and sometimes it can be unruly.Since going natural nearly three years ago, I have consistently used the same 2 products…an oil and a conditioner. I admit that I get LAZY with my hair. I don’t want to take the time to detangle it after washing and I simply put it into a ponytail and leave it. BIG MISTAKE. This week was a lazy week for me. I am so ashamed to say that I can not recall the last time that I ran a comb through my hair and admittedly it has been an embarrassingly undisclosed amount of time since I have given it a good wash:(. Having a baby, being able to take the time to do my hair has become a luxury. Needless to say I wanted to kiss the courier that delivered a package of Curly By Nature (www.curlybynature.com) hair care products to my door. He was right on time. My hair was in need of a wash and I was able to carve out some time to put the products to the test. This is what laziness looks like: (Nevermind my strands of graylights!)

Tangled, Dry, and in need of a good ole fashioned wash!

Tangled, Dry, and in need of a good ole fashioned wash!

Curly By Nature is a line that caters to genetically curly hair types of all kinds. It’s natural and free from sulphates, parabens, petroleum, mineral oils and alcohols which are the culprits contained in many hair care products that leave hair brittle and dry.

Founder, Klerissa McDonald has personally invested her time and expertise into making Curly By Nature a dynamic luxury hair care line for those that need it (that would be ME). Teaming up with cosmetic scientists she has carefully selected each formulation to contain an array of oils (pumpkin seed, avocado, grapeseed, coconut, and rosehip oil to name a few).

I hardly ever use shampoo to clean my hair. I do what is called a co-wash which means that I use conditioner to wash my hair instead of shampoo. It seems that every shampoo that I have tried always leaves my hair feeling stripped, super dry and dehydrated. That’s the last thing that I need when dealing with a head full of hair that is already bordering on the edge of unmanageable. So in the package… Curly By Nature Moisture Shampoo. I give it a go.

Immediately I put a dollop on my hands and rub it into my hair. The first thing that I notice is the amount of lather that I was able to get from such a small amount of the product. Full of suds. My hair was loving this! I proceeded to wash my hair and it felt soooo good.  It is coconut and sugar based so I am sure you can just imagine the smell! My hair felt clean without feeling lifeless. It felt like it had been rejuvenated. I was able to detangle while washing which is something that I haven’t been able to do in ages with my now nearly bra strap length hair.

The Curly By Nature Moisture Shampoo did exactly what it was supposed to do and more. It cleaned the unmentionable number of weeks worth of gunk out of my hair but most importantly  it  took the crunch out of my curls, leaving them bouncy, full and revived.

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After rinsing out the shampoo I smoothed Curly By Nature Intensive Conditioning Mask through my tresses and let it sit for a while. The Intensive Conditioning Mask makes for a great hair treatment and can be used as a deep conditioner when coupled with heat.  This really works. I  wanted to see what my hair would look like blown out and if my hair would react positively to the products when I use heat on it.

After blow drying

After blow drying

I applied Curly By Nature Hair Repair Oil and dried my hair a bit more. This stuff smelled great! It has such a natural aroma, a really fresh scent.  It left my hair feeling soft and easy to brush through. It tamed my mane and I was back in business!

WP_20131012_03320131012133315I’ve noticed that my bottle of shampoo is getting low and I have serious suspicions that “P” is using it. His head full of curly hair is looking a lot shinier than usual! Two words for Curly By Nature….Highly Recommend! 

For a list of Curly By Nature’s products and services go to  www.curlybynature.com.

**Curly By Nature Moisture Shampoo, Curly By Nature Hair Repair Oil and Curly By Nature Intensive Conditioning Mask were gifted by Curly By Nature. This Review is the unbiased opinion of Cocoa of Cocoaonthegogo**

Cocoa’s Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash Soup with Brown Butter Bananas

Since getting my shipment of 10kgs worth of Spaghetti Squash I’ve been thinking of different squash dishes  to make. Not just because I really need to eat them all but it’s also the season where a good pumpkin, squash or warm dish is welcome after coming in from the cold.

I wanted to make something hearty but not chunky. Something sweet with a kick of heat. I decided to try a banana butternut squash soup. It just sounded like it would blend well together so I tried it out and it was DEEEELIIIIICIIIIOOOOUUUUSSSS!

butternut_squash

**I don’t measure, so this is not a “proper” recipe. I cook to taste**

Ingredients:

1 Butternut Squash

Bananas (however many you want- I used 1 per squash)- Can be substituted for apple

Butter

Brown Sugar

All Spice (the kind used for pumpkin pies)

Salt

Pepper

Optional-Cinnamon

Prep:

Preheat oven to 350F

Cut the Butternut Squash in half.

Season the flesh of the squash with sprinkles of salt, pepper, and spread on melted butter (add cinnamon if you like)

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, place the squash on the pan flesh side up

Place in the oven for about 20-30 minutes or until it is easily pierced with a fork

Bananas in Brown Butter Sauce

Slice one banana

Melt butter in a pan and stir in sprinkles of brown sugar and All Spice.

Place sliced bananas in the pan and brown them on all sides

Once brown, place on the side

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Remove the squash from the oven and peel off the skin

Cut the squash into chunks

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The Soup

Place the chunks of squash and banana/brown butter sauce mixture in a food processor/blender adding in a bit of water  to get your desired consistency.  Salt and Pepper to taste.

Blend.

Put into a saucepan and stir until piping hot.

Top with grated cheese and cinnamon if you so desire.

Goes great with a classic grilled cheese sandwich  or French bread.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Spaghetti Squash Haul!

I’ve had a terrible craving for Spaghetti Squash. For those that aren’t familiar, it is a great alternative to pasta. You can eat it just the same. I usually have my portion with tomato sauce and vegetables (mushroom, onion, garlic, zucchini and spinach). This is what it looks like:

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I’ve craved Spaghetti Squash so much so that I’ve dreamed about it on one occasion. I wanted it so bad that I even had my father in law on the lookout for it. I eyeball every vegetable stall that I pass on my commute into work. I’ve asked vendors at several markets and many had never even heard of it. I just can’t find it on the shelves anywhere in London!

I was so tired of looking but my craving didn’t cease. So sometime in July I discovered that it can be ordered online from Holm Select (www.holmselect.co.uk). Through Holm Select you can purchase fresh, organic vegetables from their farms in Cambridgeshire. They have asparagus, beans, artichokes, rhubarb, and blueberries. The squash was out of season during the highest peak of my craving and the new harvest wouldn’t be in until September sometime. Happiness and disappointment all in one!

Needless to say, I ordered some at the first chance I got which was on Monday and here it is, Wednesday and what do I have waiting for me when I get home? A 10kg box of spaghetti squash. That’s a heck of a lot of squash, 11 to be exact. They assured me that if it is stored properly it can last for months. It cost me £20.50 but I really didn’t care that it put me back a little over $30 US, I NEEDED this squash.

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So, on this particular night I’m ‘allowing’ “P” to step foot into MY kitchen and I walk him through preparing and cooking one of my favorite meals.

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Ingredients:

1 Whole Spaghetti Squash

Mushrooms (however many you like)

A few tomatoes

Chopped Onion

Spinach

Tomato Sauce if you wish

Any other vegetables that you like

Prep:

Preheat the oven to 3

350F or 180C

Cut the Spaghetti Squash in half and take out as many seeds as you can without ruining the flesh of the vegetable

Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder if that’s what you fancy

Line a baking tray with aluminium foil

Place the Spaghetti Squash flesh down on the baking tray

Bake for 30-40 minutes-until soft

Take out the oven and allow to cool

Scrape the flesh out with a fork and discard any excess seeds

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While your Squash is baking prepare your vegetables by sauteing in a pan.

Plate up your Spaghetti Squash, top with your vegetables and grated cheese

It looks and tastes a lot like angel hair pasta but without the heaviness.

You now have a low carb alternative to pasta! Tuck in!

The finished product!

The finished product!

Want to Slap Someone? Go See Donde Carlos.

I’m a true to the heart Southern girl and in the Southern United States when you have a good meal it’s not unusual to say, “This food tastes so good that it makes you want to slap your Mama”.  Well, today marks my one year anniversary and to celebrate our marital bliss “P” took me out for what was supposed to be a romantic dinner. He also knows that the road to my heart is paved with food so he took me to Donde Carlos which serves up THE BEST authentic Colombian cuisine. Seriously, this food was so good that it made me want to slap Carlos himself! This was our first time visiting Donde Carlos and we were more than pleased.

Donde Carlos is situated in Shepherd’s Bush, West London just down Goldhawk Rd. It has been at this location for less than a year but you wouldn’t know it judging by the steady stream of customers. Donde Carlos fits right into the neighborhood which is home to many ethnic restaurants that include Traditional English, Moroccan, Jamaican and Ethiopian cuisines to name a few.

Donde Carlos, 143 Goldhawk Rd, Shepherds Bush London, W12 8EN

Donde Carlos, 143 Goldhawk Rd, Shepherds Bush London, W12 8EN

I know that I was there to celebrate my anniversary and I should have been staring into my husbands eyes but I don’t remember taking my head up from my plate until it was clean! How is that for romance? I can’t even recall if we had a conversation outside of “Mmmm”, “This is phenomenal”, and  “Oh… my… gosh”.

The atmosphere was perfect. Small, intimate, family friendly, music playing. The staff where extremely nice and professional. This place is everything that I needed.

“P” ordered the fried Tilapia and when it came to the table we were both shocked and amazed.  The portions were ginormous, practically spilling off of the plate and the prices were even better.  I had the vegetarian option that came with red beans and rice, fried plantain, salad, cornbread and 2 eggs. Not only did the food arrive promptly after ordering but it was well cooked and seasoned perfectly.

Fried Tilapia, Green Plantain, Rice and Salad

OMG, now that is what you call fish! Fried Tilapia, Green Plantain, Rice and Salad

Fried Plantain, Rice, Red Beans, Cornbread, Salad and Eggs

Fried Plantain, Rice, Red Beans, Cornbread, Salad and Eggs. One word. Delicious.

donde carloss

The downstairs portion of the restaurant houses a shop selling small grocery items and other goodies. I highly recommend Donde Carlos when you are in the mood for some truly wonderful, Mama slapping, good food!

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