Friday, 28 November 2014

On Going Cruelty Free

I'd never really though about the process that took place to check that my make-up and skin care products were safe to go on my face until Lex brought it up her videos. After that, I began to view make up differently.

If you don't already know, and I certainly didn't, but many high street and high end make-up and skin care companies either a) test their products on animals or b) use ingredients in their products which have been tested on animals. There are some who don't, but a surprising number do. Sometimes, even if the company themselves don't test on animals its parent company will do (ie. The Body Shop, who are against animal testing, are owned by makeup giants L'Oreal, who definitely do test on animals) . Also, if a company sells it products in China and states that it 'does not test on animal except where required by law' that means it tests on animals, as China requires them to do so by law.

With all that said and done, there are multiple lines in the sand for how far you want to go with supporting cruelty free/ vegetarian/ vegan make-up, hair-care and skin-care. 

Personally, I make an effort to only buy totally cruelty free make-up, preferably vegan. I see it as when you buy a cruelty free product where the parent company tests on animals you are ultimately giving money to that company.

However, when it comes to skin care and hair care I have a slightly different stance.

With skin care, cruelty free products are often out of my price bracket, however I've recently tried out some B. skincare products and have been loving them (there will be a review up at the end of next month), so hopefully that has sorted out my cruelty free skin care.

Hair care, I'm slightly more precious about. My hair is a huge part of my identity - if anyone talks about me I'm always referred to as 'the curly one', and the other day my housemate said I had the most interesting hair out of any one she knew - so I'm very nervous about doing anything that might damage it. It took me five years to dye my hair, and I spent most of my life using the exact same hair products. I've started to change things up a bit now, but so far every cruelty free hair product I've used has left my hair feeling dry and flat. I would love to use Lush products, but on my student budget I can't really warrant spending £10 on 250ml of shampoo, so I'm a bit stuck for affordable options. I also mousse my hair daily, and even though I intend to pick up a Superdrug own brand mousse, so far every mousse I've tried (both c/f and not) haven't been up to the standard of my Wella Shockwaves mousse.

Ultimately, its up to each individual how they choose to live their life. I see make-up as a non-essential part of my life, so I'm willing to sacrifice using certain products in order to live my life in a way that I'm morally comfortable with. I see skin care as semi-essential, and provided I can find cruelty free dupes for my favourite products I will happily make the switch, even if it means paying a pound or so extra. Hair care is essential for me, so I'm reluctant to spend lots of money on a product which might not work for me.

Like I said, I also try not to buy from companies whose parent company tests on animals, however when it comes to skin and hair care I'm more lenient again and would buy from companies who are against animal testing but their parent company is not.

For me its all about searching around before I buy, and whilst it might seem confusing or a lot of effort here is a great list of brands who do not test on animals, and this is the BUAV website - home of the flying bunny logo - where you can search for companies who have been legally proven not to test on animals.

All of the decisions I make are purely personal ethical and moral choices, so please don't think I'm trying to persuade you to act in the same way as me. I'm fully aware that living an 'ethical' lifestyle is more expensive (unfortunately) and many people (especially young people) don't have the kind of expendable income to be able to live the way they would want.

If you are interested in changing to cruelty free (not suggesting you throw out all your non-cruelty free make-up), here are some links to brands:

E.L.F, Barry M, GOSH B., Sleek and Superdrug Own Brand are all relatively reasonably priced and cruelty free. Soap and Glory is slightly more expensive but also cruelty free.

Let me know your opinions on going cruelty free by leaving a comment below or tweeting me @VickiMaitland. I'm contemplating doing Blogmas, so there may be a post on December 1st (Monday!), but if not there will be a standard post on Tuesday - On Presents, Generosity and Christmas.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Fifteen Festive Favourites Tag

It's the last week of November, so I think I'm allowed to get a little festive, especially considering Tom created this tag at the beginning of the month! So sit back, take a sip of Mulled Wine or Nog, and join in the Christmas Cheer!

1) Festive Food - Brandy Butter. I love it on everything - especially a warmed mince pie or Christmas pud!

2) Reindeer - I always liked Vixen, mostly because its the nearest sounding to my own name!

3) Day of Christmas - I like the four calling birds, but only after the long five gold rings, and when I was little I would sing it as quickly as I could.

4) Christmas Song - Mine is a tie between White Wine in the Sun by Tim Minchin (which I weirdly identify with even though my Christmas is more like 'Mulled Wine in the Cold'), Parade of the Wooden Soldiers by Harry Connick Jr. (which I have loved from the Disney Christmas Sing A-Long VCR (that is really taking me back!)) and It Feels Like Christmas from The Muppets Christmas Carol. As a rule I prefer the classics (The Christmas Song, Deck the Halls, Winter Wonderland) to the new tunes, although I have a strange place in my heart for Only You by The Flying Pickets. Controversially, I cannot stand All I Want For Christmas Is You - it is so overplayed.

5) Christmas Present - Even though I love getting socks, books are always my favourite gifts to give and receive.

6) Film - The Muppet's Christmas Carol! My family watch it every year and it never gets old, and, as I've mentioned, It Feels Like Christmas is up there with my favourite Christmas songs! It has to be the English VCR version though, as the DVD copy cuts out The Love Is Gone - which is a sad but beautiful song. The Polar Express is a close second though.

7) Cracker Toy - Like, Tom, I love getting the screwdrivers. They always come in handy!

8) Cracker Joke - What do you call a cat in the desert? Sandy Claws!

9) Decoration - BAUBLES EVERYWHERE. My mum hangs them from gold string off curtain rails and piles them into glass vases. It makes everywhere look so festive, and I love them in classic gold and red.

10) Candle Scent - I love Yankee Candle's Christmas Memories and Candy Cane Lane scents. Anything with cinnamon and nutmeg - and a hint of peppermint - works for me though.

11) TV ad - I loved the M&S one with Antonio Banderas in it - even though its a bit sexist I loved the production value and it has stayed with me for the last 7 years!!  John Lewis never fail to disappoint either.

12) Tradition - For me its watching The Polar Express and The Muppet's Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve with my family.

13) Place to spend Christmas - At home with the family. Boring, I know, but its my favourite thing to do! Even spending it at my relatives doesn't feel quite right!

14) Christmas Fact - I don't think I have a Christmas fact, let alone a favouite one!

15) Snowman Accessory - The scarf. I love the snowman film, and his scarf is the classic symbol of Christmas.

There we go! I tag Katie-Kins Duncan to do this, along with anyone else who wants to join me in the festive spirit. Let me know if you take part by leaving a comment or tweeting me @VickiMaitland. My next post will be on going cruelty free, as I promised after my Herbal Essence Review.

Friday, 21 November 2014

How to: Defeat a Cold

I am writing this post from my sick bed today as I have a cold - although hopefully by the time this post goes live I'll have made a full recovery thanks in part to some of these tips and tricks that I'm going to share with you today. Theses are a mixture of home remedies and old fashioned common sense. If you have any of your own tips to share, you can tweet me @VickiMaitland or leave a comment below!

1) Recognise the signs. A cold rarely arrives without warning, so as soon as you start to feel the start of a tickley throat or a running nose take precautions.

2) Rest. I cannot stress this one enough, but taking the time out to do nothing is the best way to allow your body to recover. This might means missing the odd night out, calling in sick from work or school, and spending an inordinate amount of time in your bed/on the sofa. I didn't listen to this advice, and even though I knew I was getting a cold I still went out for the weekend - and have been suffering badly ever since.

3) Fresh air. This might appear contradictory to what I've just said, but taking a few deep breaths of lovely fresh air can really help you feel better - even as a placebo.

4) Vitamins. I'm not suggesting taking supplements, but make sure you're packing yourself full of leafy greens and citrus fruits. I tend to go into what I call 'scurvy mode' and eat endless oranges in search of a vitamin C kick.

5) Water. Keeping on top if your fluid intake is essential at any time of the year, but its even more important when you've got a cold. I've found that drinking thyme water (infusing a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme or a teaspoon of dried thyme into hot water) is a great way to aid recovery. Thyme is full of vitamin C, and you know how I love my VitC!

6) Honey, Lemon and Ginger. Perfect for a sore throat and with a ginger kick to clear out a blocked nose, this is a perfect mixture. You can mix these wonderful fresh ingredients and (weirdly for honey, I know) store this in the fridge ready to be stirred into hot water for your own makeshift tea. Lovely.

7) Steam inhalation. Pour a kettle full of freshly boiled water into a heat-proof bowl and sit over it, tking deep breaths in through your nose and out your mouth (with a tea towel over your head to trap all that lovely steam). Be careful not to sit with your head too close to the water at first, as the steam can burn. This is my mum's tried and tested way to help clear out a blocked nose or loosen phlegm on the chest and throat. Just make sure to have a box of tissues nearby!

8) Balsam tissues. This won't help your cold get better quicker (although frequently clearing out your sinuses will help - as disgusting as this sounds always blow rather than swallow!!) but using a tissues with built in balm will protect your poor nose and stave off the Rudolph look for as long as possible.

9) Shower or bath. This might sound odd, but having a shower always makes me feel a little healthier. The hot water warms the bodies extremities, and the steam it produces is like a mini steam inhalation and helps clear out your blocked sinuses.

10) Food. Whenever I get a cold I lose my appetite immediately, and as my blood sugar drops I feel more and more poorly. To stop this from happening, eat little and often. You may not be able to manage big meals (although I'm always surprised about how hungry I really am) but keep up your blood sugar.

11) Drugs. Don't be afraid of taking paracetamol or ibuprofen. They can be taken at the same time, so I normally take one, wait two hours, then take the other as they both have four hour turn around so I'm always topped up. Don't rely on these, but, if you have a busy day that you can't get out of, these can really take the edge off your illness. You might still be snuffling and coughing but at least you won't feel so disgusting.

12) Salt Water. If you think you've got some kind of throat related illness, try gargling some warm salt water two or three times a day. It has antibacterial properties, so is a great way to ward off illness.

I hope this helps some of you! As for me, this has tuckered me out, so I'm going to go have a nap. Tuesday's post will be my answers to Tom Fletcher's Fifteen Festive Favouite's Tag, so you can check that out whilst you wait.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Night-Time Routine

One of the most important things you can do for your body is to get a full nights sleep. However, if you're like me and your brain just won't stop whirring this is easier said than done, so getting into a good night time routine is vital.

I always try and give myself one hour of wind-down time before I go to bed. This means I must stay away from the laptop (or any other bright screens) and let my eyes chill out. This isn't always possible, particularly if I'm going on a night out or have evening plans, but I always try.

Even if I don't manage to get the full hour to wind down, I always give myself the amount of time it takes to make and drink a cup of tea - specifically Pukka Night Time tea. It's made with lavender and chamomile, so as well as being caffeine free it is the perfect way to settle down. I give it a big sniff whilst I drink as it smells as delicious and as soothing as it tastes. Its also great to make sure you're fully hydrated before bed, and a warm drink is the best way to do this. Warm drink naturally relax you as they are closer to your body temperature so are less of a shock on your system. That's why you're given warmed milk as a baby!

If I do have the whole hour, I usually start of by washing my face and taking off any make-up I might have put on. It would be awful to feel really sleepy only to have to wake myself up by splashing water all over my face!

Having to entertain myself for an hour without a laptop or phone can be tricky - particularly as my laptop is usually my down time zone. There are a number of different things I like to do to keep myself occupied:

- Tidy my room. I'm a firm believer in the phrase 'a cluttered room is a cluttered mind', and living in a student house means that my room is the only real space I have any control over. As you'll have seen from my Home Hygiene post a few days ago, I don't always manage to keep my space clean (although, I did write that post three weeks or so in advance, and my room has stayed pretty tidy ever since). Waking up to a clean room is much less stressful than waking to a messy one.

- Paint my nails. I'm really bad at my nail upkeep. They're either splintering, cracked and stubby or huge great talons. I also bite the skin around my nails (disgusting, I know!) so they always look a bit of a state. I love it when other people wear nail polish but I rarely bother with my own. I'm trying to change that. A bit like wearing matching underwear, having painted nails also tricks me into thinking that I've got my life sorted!

- Write up a to do list. As you probably would have seen in my 'On Honesty' post, I am a firm believer in to do lists. It's so nice to go to sleepy knowing that you've got at least part of your day planned out, with achievable goals. Living a self-motivated life (like all students) its really helpful to plan things and set goals, however small, as it stops me from wasting days.

- Do any non-laptop based writing. This might sound ridiculous, but I find it so much easier to start writing with a pen and a blank sheet of paper in front of me rather than a huge white wall of screen. I think something about the word count freaks me out - and I'm much more likely to want to self-edit if I can backspace and shift words around rather than handwriting. I actually wrote this post up by hand in one of my hour chill out sessions. It can often take me between half and hour and an hour to get a post up, especially if it is particularly text heavy like this one! Its a great and productive way to fill my free time.

I always listen to podcasts to get to sleep with. Despite all of this wind-down, 9/10 my mind is still too awake to drop off, and I get frustrated lying down with my eyes shut not sleeping, which wakes me up even more! I can stress out about how long it is taking me to get to sleep, so knowing my podcasts are a set length takes that worry off my shoulders. I can't listen to music as I mentally sing or hum along, so background chatter is perfect for me. My current favourites are:

- Welcome to Night Vale. Set in the fictional town of Night Vale, this is a 20-30 minute long radio show. Its a bit like listening to one chapter of an audio book, and the narrator/main characters voice is really soothing. It is a little strange though, and gave me weird dreams for a while!

- BBC Radio 4's Friday Night Comedy. This series switches between The Now Show and The News Quiz, both of which are topical comedy shows about the weeks news.

- BBC Radios 3's Arts and Ideas/Free Thinking. They keep yo-yo-ing between what they call this programme, but basically it a discussion show which covers anything from political ideologies, plays, novels, art, and any bog concept. For example recently they had a show discussing the nature of Jewish identity, and previously they have had interviews with Sheryl Sandberg about her book Lean In. Sometimes the subjects are really interesting and I go back and listen to them while I'm awake, other times they're dull, but either way they send me to sleep!

Finally, I've started sleeping with my blind only 3/4 drawn. Waking up with natural light is so much healthier than being jolted awake by an alarm in the dark. At home I have thin curtains and an east facing window so I'm used to being woken by the sun. At Uni I have a small west facing Velux window with a blackout blind, so I've really missed out on the sun.

That's all from me! For more night-time tips and tricks, check out Emma Blackery's video (which was the inspiration for this post). Let me know if you have any tricks, either tweet me @VickiMaitland or leave a comment below. My next post will be tips and tricks for defeating a cold - I hope none of you have come down with the snuffles yet - and will be up at 9:30 am on Friday.

Friday, 14 November 2014

University #11: Home Hygiene

By this point in the university semester the crazy freshers parties are long over, the work load has kicked in, and your room is probably looking a bit like mine:

Looking at all that mess not only makes me feel very annoyed at myself, but it also makes me feel very apathetic. It's not a space I want to do work in. Uni rooms are small and easy to make messy - although my mess is taking the biscuit slightly! - but they can be spruced up really quickly. There are also another couple of things you can do to keep your whole house looking and feeling fresh - so here are my top tips for keeping your uni house feeling homely.

1) Towels. Change tea towels every couple of days, bath towels once a week, and bed sheets every fortnight. Not only does this keep things smelling nice and fresh, but it will keep your skin clean too -there is nothing worse for it than drying off with an old towel and sleeping in a sweaty or oily bed. If you're not changing and cleaning tea towels regularly you can also get food poisoning from drying up with a manky towel. Not nice at all! Wash all of these on a high heat to kill any germs.

2) Hoover. You should really be hovering your room once a week, but if that's too much effort then try for at least once a fortnight. Not only will it deter spiders and other creepy crawlies, but its also not good for your lungs to be breathing in dusty air. Remember to hoover any stairs or landings too - they are often forgotten spaces as you only pass through them - and change the hoover bag if you notice things getting smelly.

3) Washing. Try to use the correct washing up liquid for your clothes. My rule is purple top for colours/darks, green top for lights/whites. It will really help your clothes last, When you can, dry them outside on a line. Not only does it give them a lovely fresh smell, but it stops your house getting manky and damp too. It doesn't have to be super sunny for them to dry, so long as its not raining you should be fine. Remember to take them in before it gets dark though, as they'll just get damp again through the night and that isn't good for them. Use the half load setting if you need to, your wash won't take as long and you'll be more economical if you've only got a mini load.

4) Airing. Whether or not you have to dry your clothes inside, its a good idea to open your windows once a day. Uni houses are famous for their damp build up, so getting fresh air in really helps prevent this as much as possible. Always shower with the windows open, cook with the windows open, and keep your bedroom window open for a couple of hours each day. Obviously it won't do anything if its damp outside, but on a nice day open them up.

5) Life. Have living things in your room - and I don't mean mould build up from a plate you've had under your bed for the past month! A nice green plant or two will really brighten your room up and stop it from feeling dark and dingy. Just make sure you've got a plate under it to catch any excess water, and put it in a spot which gets some light.

6) Light. My uni room has very little natural light, so I put candles in my room to make it feel cosier. A lamp or two are also nice touches. I've also started sleeping with my curtains open so I wake up to natural light, but this won't be an option for some people - especially if you have a ground floor bedroom.

7) Storage. Most uni rooms have little to no storage space, so buy some boxes and tuck things under your bed where you can. It stops clutter build up on surfaces and the floor, and prevents you from loosing things too.

8) Bed. Make it every morning as soon as you've got up. Not only does this air your sheets to give them more life, but its instantly makes your whole room feel tidier. It also stops you from wanting to crawl back into it and have a nap once you've showered.

9) Drawers. They don't have to be tidy themselves, but keeping them shut leaves them dust free and also makes your room look instantly better. Putting away your clothes as soon as you take them off helps too. Either hang them back up or put them for washing so you don't have to sort through a floor-drobe every day for a crinkled top!

10) Decorate. Check with your landlord or letting agency before sticking stuff on or into the walls. Most places won't let you use blue tack or sellotape in case it stains the walls or peels off the paint. If you don't have any hooks to hang things off, ask them if they can put one in, then pop up a pin board. Now you've got somewhere to stick all your pictures up!

After an hour or so of cleaning, this is what my room looks like now:

Its still not perfect - my surfaces are pretty messy and there are a couple of things under my bed and over my bantiser which isn't great, but it is ten times better than what I started off with! I'm going to try and keep on top of it this time - wish me luck! Send me your before and after uni room pictures so I don't feel so bad. You can either tweet me @VickiMaitland or leave a comment below. My next post will be my night time routine - so look out for that on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

#reviewsdaytuesday: Herbal Essences Naked Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner

Recently, Herbal Essences (my current go to brand) brought out a range of 'Naked' hair products. 'Naked' here means it is free of silicone, parabens and colourant - and I haven't done any research to check out why these things are bad for you or your hair, but I'm assuming that the fewer artificial chemicals the better. As you saw in my empties post, I ran out of my shampoo and conditioner and needed a new one, so I thought I'd give this one a go.

As far as a moisture giving product, it does a decent job. I don't think its any more moisturising than other herbal essences products (in fact, I think the Beautiful Ends and Tousle Me Softly products are actually more moisturing) but equally for me it doesn't need to be. As long as its not drying my hair out, I'm good with it!

This product is meant to have a minty smell, and it almost does. It smells a lot like a neutral men's shower gel (if that makes sense), so the mint isn't fresh and crisp but dull and ... I want to say itchy? It doesn't 'burn' like other mint products do, its a much more muted scent.

My biggest criticism is the packaging - and this is more of a criticism of all Herbal Essences products rather than just this specific one. I love that both the conditioner and the shampoo are in see-through (or at least transluscent) containers, but the shape of the containers themselves are awful. I get that they are meant to be sexy and curvy, but having a top heavy product means its always falling over. I used to stack shelves at a supermarket and hated doing the Herbal Essences products. Its also really hard to get any of the conditioner out of the bottle (I've found this more of a problem with this specific product). I've started taking the cap off and shaking it like a glass ketchup bottle rather than squeezing it, which is slightly inconvenient.

All in all, its a pretty decent product. I won't be rushing to buy it again, but it does the job.

As an aside, I am aware that Herbal Essences aren't cruelty free. I am still looking for an affordable, high quality, cruelty free shampoo and conditioner. I'm going to write a more expansive post about my relationship to cruelty free and my hair care, so look out for that later in the month!

If you have any suggestions for affordable cruelty free hair care then tweet me @VickiMaitland or leave a comment below. Also, let me know what you think if you've tried this product. My next blog post will be part of my University series - this time on home hygiene.

Friday, 7 November 2014

University #10: Booze and Hangovers

** Disclaimer: I am not condoning the excessive drinking of alcohol in any way, shape, or form. You can find more information about why excessive alcohol is damaging here. If you believe you have a problem with drink, please speak to a doctor and seek professional help**

If you are, or have been, a university student, then the chances are you will have drank excessively and woken up the next morning feeling like death warmed up after taking a kick to the head and been spun round for a few hours. Not a pleasant experience. So, how can you avoid feeling like this the morning after (besides not consuming the alcohol in the first place)?

1) Water. Drink as much water as you can. Whilst on your night out, order water with every drink, and when you get in have at least one pint of water.

2) Eat. Have a good meal before you start drinking and when you get in have a nice and carby snack. My housemate loves supernoodles, I always have cheese on toast, but chicken and chips from the dodgy kebab shop works just as well. Make sure you eat a good breakfast the next morning too.

3) Green tea. Rather than trying to drink water when you wake up the next morning, get some green tea in you (although you might have to sweeten it a little). The antioxidants are great for helping your body recover.

4) Banana. Not only is it a great source of sugar, the potassium in it will stop your muscles from feeling achey.

5) Dark Chocolate. Again with antioxidants, its great for a pick me up.

These aren't fool proof, and have very little medical evidence to back them up, but they are all things that I think work and have helped me out in the past. What are your top tips for beating a hangover? Tweet me @VickiMaitland or leave a comment below!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Cooking For One: Two Night Chilli

This is the start of a new series called Cooking For One - few of these recipes will be revolutionary but if they help you mix up your diet, remind you of something you haven't had in a while, or even teach you a new dish then I'll be very happy. I'll write out the base recipe, then below will add serving suggestions. Let me know if you try any of the dishes in this recipe!

200g Mince (usually cheapest to buy in a 400g pack)
½ Tin Beans (baked or other)
½ Tin Chopped Tomatoes (if you’re using beans without a sauce then you'll need the whole tin)
Squirt Tomato Puree
1 Small Red Onion
½ Teaspoon ‘Very Lazy’ Garlic/ 1 Clove of Garlic Chopped
½ Teaspoon ‘Very Lazy’ Chilli/ 1 Teaspoon of Chilli Powder
1 Teaspoon Agave Syrup/ Sugar / Sweetener
Slosh of Vinegar (I used Balsamic)
Handful Frozen Peas*
Handful Kale*
3 Mushrooms*
3 Broccoli Florets*
1 Carrot*

*Replace with any veg you fancy!

Base Recipe:

1) Open the packet of mince and split it in half. You can freeze or fridge the spare half depending how soon you think you may use it. Pop our half into a hot frying pan and break it up with a wooden spoon as it browns.

2) Whilst the mince is browning, chop your onion and pop it in with the mince.

3) Add the garlic and chilli. By this point most of the mince should be browned, and you can turn the temperature down as low as it can go.

4) Add the half can of chopped tomatoes and the half tin of baked beans. If you’re not using baked beans then you’ll probably need the whole can of tomato.

5) Add a squirt of tomato puree, the agave and the balsamic (or your alternative) and put the lid on the pan.

6) Chop up your carrot, mushrooms and broccoli. Dice the carrot as small as you can, but keep the mushrooms chunky. Add these in. Leave for 15 minutes.

7) Taste and season as required (adding more chilli to add heat or add a small amount of milk/yoghurt to cool).

8) Add peas and kale. Once the kale is wilted and the peas cooked the chilli is good to go!

This should make enough chilli for at least 2 main meals. I got three meals out of this as I had a lunch too.

Chilli with Rice and Pitta

Extra Ingredients:
1 Serving Brown/White Rice
1 Pitta
Grated Cheese (to top)

If you're cooking this as your first dish, add the brown rice on to cook between stages 5 and 6. I usually get the pan heating with a small amount of water whilst boiling the kettle to get the water hot quickly. You'll need to cook it for at least 25 minutes.

If you're using white rice, put this on for the last 10 minutes of cooking (just before step 8).

Toast your pitta after you've added all of the ingredients.

Spaghetti Chilli

Extra Ingredients:
1 serving spaghetti (or other pasta)
Grated Cheese (to top)

If you're cooking this as your first dish, put the pasta on just before step 8 as it needs 10 minutes to cook.

Chilli Jackets

Extra Ingredients:
1 Baking Potato
Grated Cheese (to top)

You can either microwave or oven bake your potato. If you oven bake it, it will need 40 mins - 1 hour, so put this on at least 10 minutes before starting your chilli (you'll want the oven temp to be about 180 degrees or gas mark 6). Turn the potato when you add the first of your extra ingredients.

If you microwave it, put it on just before step 8 as it needs about 10 minutes (in two 5 minute bursts, turning in between.) Mircowave needs to be on high.