Tag Archives: rose

Moisturizing Avocado Face Mask

2women2cats: Moisturizing Face Mask DIY

In the wintertime my skin often needs a bit more care, especially here in Finland. The changes of temperature (coming from the cold and going to a heated apartment) stress the skin and often leave it a bit dry. This selfmade avocado mask is a great treatment for dry winter skin. Avocado contains lots of unsaturated fats and vitamins and will make your skin soft and nourished. Honey and ghassoul clay are great against blemishes, the rose water and aloe vera will add extra moisture. If you suffer from super dry skin you can also add a mild oil like sesame or grapeseed.

If you have the chance, use the mask in the sauna. The heat and steam will open up the pores on your face. If you don’t have a sauna, put the mask on right after a shower.

2women2cats: Moisturizing Face Mask DIY

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado
1 tsp honey
2 tsp ghassoul clay
rose water
pure aloe vera gel

Puree the avocado or mash with a fork. Add the honey and clay and as much rose water and aloe vera gel as needed to make the mask smooth but not too thin. Apply to clean skin and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Wash off with lots of warm water.

Leftovers can be stored in a jar in the fridge. The mask will stay good for around 4 days.

Stef

2women2cats: Moisturizing Face Mask DIY

2women2cats: Moisturizing Face Mask DIY

2women2cats: Moisturizing Face Mask DIY

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

2women2cats: Lemon Poppyseed cake

I made this cake on Christmas Eve because I didn’t want a heavy cream cake this year as a dessert. There is usually so much food that eating cake afterwards becomes a challenge. I wanted something a bit lighter with a fresh lemony taste and immediately thought about a lemon poppyseed cake.

The dough is basically the same as my Frankfurter Kranz recipe with added lemon and of course poppyseeds. I used a loaf baking pan for it but I am sure it would also look wonderful as a Bundt cake.

Ingredients
250 g softened butter (add a bit of salt to the batter if you don’t use salted butter)

200 g sugar
1/ 2 tsp ground vanilla
4 eggs
zest of 1,5 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
125 g plain flour
125 g potato or corn starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
50 g poppyseeds

For the glaze
100 g powdered sugar
water or lemon juice
elderflower syrup (optional)
sugared flowers or other decoration

Preheat the oven to 180°C, grease the loaf pan and sprinkle with bread crumbs to prevent the cake from sticking to the sides.

Beat the butter with the sugar and the vanilla until it’s white and fluffy. Add the eggs and the lemon zest.  Beat until the batter is thick and fluffy.

Combine the flour, starch and baking powder in a bowl and slowly add to the mixture until everything is incorporated and the dough is shiny.

Add the lemon juice and mix slowly until everything is smooth, then add the poppyseeds and pour the dough into your baking tin.

Bake for around 60 minutes. If the crust gets too brown, cover the cake with aluminium foil. Let the cake cool down in the baking pan and wait with the glaze until it’s completely cold.

If you want to use elderflower syrup for the glaze, add around two teaspoons to a bowl of powdered sugar and add as much water or lemon juice as needed to make a runny paste. Don’t make it too thin or else it won’t cover the cake but instead run down the sides completely. Decorate with sugared flowers, sprinkles or leave it plain. Enjoy!

Stef

2women2cats: Lemon Poppyseed cake

2women2cats: Lemon Poppyseed cake

Cats, Flowers & Summertime

The grey rainy November is at its end, the dim winter sun is hiding behind thick rain clouds and I am having a cold. This is one of those days when it’s okay to feel a bit melancholic, drink some hot blackcurrant juice and look at pictures of summertime while being lazy on the couch with a package of tissues.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

As it seems, I have barely posted any summer pictures. I guess I was too busy enjoying the warmth – or maybe looking through hundreds of pictures and editing them just didn’t seem that appealing. Looks like I had a recurring theme in the summer photography: cats and flowers.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

I am obviously a huge summer person and one of my biggest enjoyments are flowers. The bright colours, pleasant scents and the quiet buzzing noise of bees are simply relaxing. In the future I’d love to get my very own garden, but in the meantime I’m happy with my mini balcony and having my mother with her garden nearby.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats
We found some amazing apothecary bottles and equipments from a university laboratory trash!

To me summer has always been about looking around at the nature and observing it; the dandelions are blooming, the lilacs are blooming, the lupines are blooming… Time to pick nettles, time to pick clovers… And so forth.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

At least I’m not the only one in this house who is a summer-fanatic: the cats love warming themselves up in the hot sun and looking at people and bugs on the balcony.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Have I mentioned photography yet? It is just so satisfying to take pictures that actually have colour and light!

Tiia

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats
Spot the other silly person.

Cats, Flowers & Summertime - 2 women 2 cats

Natural Soaps: An Introduction

Recently I have been starting to use only natural soaps for wasching my body, face and even hair. The difference to regular soap is that natural soaps are almost completely made out of oils. No harsh chemicals, preservatives or detergents. While normal soap often leaves your skin dry, natural soap can moisturize it. It comes it hundreds of different variations. With salt or clay, herbs or essential oils, the possibilities are endless and it depends on the skin type you have.

I have mixed skin on my face. While my forehead is often shiny, my nose, chin and part of my cheeks suffer from big pores and blackheads while being dry at the same time! I have tried lots of products but nothing really made it better. When I heard that natural soaps might help with that I was willing to try immediately.

Compared to my face, the skin on my body is really dry so I wanted a soap that was superfatted a bit more. The term is explained quite well on Chagrin Valley‘s page:

Superfatting is the process of adding extra fats (oils or butters) when formulating a soap recipe, so there is more fat in the mixture than the lye can react with during the chemical reaction.

Superfatting leaves a portion of unincorporated oils in the finished soap. Superfatted soaps have superior moisturizing and emollient qualities.”

2women2cats: Natural soaps - Rizodermol
Rizordemol by Savion with coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, tea tree oil, clove oil, argan oil, walnut oil. 80 g.

This Rizodermol soap is for dry skin as well as itchy skin and skin that suffers from eczema and acne and is superfatted at 10%. It has a really pleasant smell and feels great on the skin. I sometimes also use it for my face. Since the skin on my legs is really dry at the moment I oil it after the shower with coconut oil. The soap itself is quite soft so you can easily cut of a piece if you don’t want to use the whole bar at once.

2women2cats: Natural soaps - Flow Cosmetics
On the right: Clay and Marine Algea soap with shea-and coconut butter, coconut oil and rosemary. 60 g. On the left: Gardener’s soap with shea butter, coconut oil and lavender. 60 g.

Another body soap is the Gardener’s soap (left) by Flow Cosmetics, a Finnish brand. It is antiseptic and peels the skin. To me it smells a bit like fresh laundry. Unfortunately the soaps from Flow don’t indicate the superfat percentage. Just by trying, I would say it is less superfatted than the Rizodermol but that might be just the ingredients working differently on my skin.The bar is hard but you can still cut it well without crumbling.

Another soap by Flow that I own is the face soap Clay and Marine Algea (right) for mixed and oily skin. The smell is difficult to describe but it’s pleasant. It takes my make up off (I use mineral make up) quite well but leaves the skin a bit dry afterwards. At the moment I am still experimenting if my skin is lacking fat or moisture. So for more moisture I put on aloe vera gel after washing and oil with coconut or sesame oil (cold pressed) afterwards.

2women2cats: Natural soaps - Aleppo soap
Aleppo soap with 60% olive- and 40% laurel oil.

My main face soap for the evenings is an Aleppo soap with a high percentage in laurel oil against impure skin. It takes aways my make up easily and develops a nice foam. This soap is made after a traditional recipe from Syria and comes as a big bar of 200 g which was a bit difficult to cut. You can use it for your body, hair and face. I quite liked it as a hair soap. Only used it a few times since I am trying the Only Water method at the moment but my hair didn’t get greasy as fast as before. As a conditioner I used a vinegar rinse which left my hair soft and shiny.

I bought it at Genuss im Bad which has lots of lovely soaps. For the shipping to Finland I paid only 4€ (up to 500 g)! You can contact them beforehand if you want to order to a different EU country but that should always be possible. They replied immediately and soaps were here quickly.

2women2cats: Natural soaps - sea salt soap
Sea salt soap with 50% salt. Also with coconut-, olive- and rapeseed oil. 110 g.

In the mornings I either use ghassoul clay by Logona or a salt soap for my face. Salt is also great for blemishes and acne prone skin but with some people it tends to dry out a lot. My sea salt soap contains 50% salt and smells like lavender and rosemary. Because of the salt it is more difficult to cut and will easily crumble. Although the salt content is high, is still foamed up well in my hands.

Summary: My face cleaning routine contains washing my face either with a natural soap or lava earth. In the evening I use mostly the Aleppo soap. In the morning either the salt soap or ghassoul clay as a mask or face wash. I always wet my face first and make the soap foamy in my hands since I don’t apply the bar directly to my face. While that is certainly possible with most soaps, it’s not recommended for salt ones.

The ghassoul clay can be mixed with honey, tea tree oil or other oils and leaves the skin really soft but in my case a bit dry on certain areas. After washing my face in the morning I put on aloe vera gel and add a few drops of coconut or sesame oil which is really mild. In the evening I pat my face with rose water as a toner before the aloe and oil treatment.

For my body I use mostly the Rizodermol soap and apply coconut oil afterwards. Under the shower I use the bars directly on my skin.

Conclusion: I am still in the testing phase so before I will change anything I want to observe changes to my skin a bit more. I really like the feeling of the soaps on my skin and the thought of doing something good to it without using all those unnecessary chemicals in most skin product. The blemishes are a bit better at the moment but there is still lots to improve. Next I will test some soaps without olive oil because I’m not sure yet if that might be comedogenic for me.


Yesterday I made some whipped shea butter for dry winter skin that also can be used for atopic rashes. Check the instagram box on the right for a preview! A tutorial on the blog will follow soon.

I also plan on making my own soap these days. One body/face soap and one highly superfatted on (maybe 20%) for the body. As you can see I am quite hooked on natural soaps and want to test a few more. Which are you favourite ones?

Stef

 

Grandma’s Frankfurter Kranz

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

This cake has always been one of my favourites. Grandma has been baking it on lots of occasions like birthdays and holidays for probably decades now and the whole family just loves it.

Now that I am living in Finland and rarely get to taste grandma’s cakes I just have to do them on my own. For the second year in a row now Tiia wanted it for her birthday so I also decided to put it up on the blog. If you want to have a look at last year’s Frankfurter Kranz check out our first blog post from last year.

A traditional Franfurter Kranz is a Bundt cake made with buttercream and decorated with caramel covered brittle nuts. Grandma always uses vanilla buttercream and decorates with chocolate sprinkles. The layers are also filled with buttercream but instead of jam she puts sliced bananas in it. So technically I have no idea if it is still a Frankfurter Kranz but that is just how she calls it, so I will stick with the name.

For the decoration I used sugared rose petals. Those are really easy to make. If you have unsprayed roses you can use a pastry brush and coat one by one with egg foam sprinkling with sugar afterwards. Let the petals dry on a baking sheet and then store in an airtight container. They taste really great!

Ingredients for the Bundt cake

250 g softened butter (add a bit of salt to the batter if you don’t use salted butter)
200 g sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
4 eggs
zest of one lemon
125 g plain flour
125 g potato starch (or corn)
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a Bundt tin. I usually also add home made bread crumbs so the cake won’t stick to the sides.

Beat the butter with the sugar and the vanilla sugar until it’s white and fluffy. Add the eggs and the lemon zest. Most recipes say to add one egg at a time but to be honest I don’t think it makes a difference in the end. Beat until the batter is thick and fluffy.

Combine the flour, starch and baking powder in a bowl and slowly add to the mixture until everything is incorporated and the dough is shiny.

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and even out with the back of a tablespoon.

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

Bake around 60 minutes and let it cool down before taking it out of the tin.

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

When it’s cooled down enough, cut the cake into three rings, set aside and prepare the frosting. If you want to make the frosting the next day, don’t cut the cake beforehand.

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

For the frosting

200 g butter (not too soft)
250 g powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 bananas (depending on size)
Decoration of your choice (I used sugared rose petals)

Open the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds out. Take a big bowl, add the butter and the vanilla. With a hand mixer carefully mix it with the powdered sugar while sifting it into the bowl. You don’t want any lumps in it. If you want it sweeter or firmer you can always add more sugar to the buttercream.

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

Cut the bananas in slices.
Take the bottom ring of the cake, spread a nice amount of buttercream onto it and top it with banana slices.

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

Then place the next cake ring on top and repeat. The top part of the cake won’t have bananas so you can spread the rest of the buttercream on top and in the middle of the cake.

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

I always make a thin layer at first, then put the cake in the fridge until the buttercream is a bit firm and add the rest of the buttercream afterwards. I do that because I always get a bit of crumbs into the frosting and I don’t like the looks of that. So once the first layer is firm enough you can add more buttercream and it will look a bit cleaner. You can smooth it out or leave it a bit rustic looking. If you want it really smooth you can also put it back in the fridge and once the buttercream is firm you can scrape a bit of to make an even layer.

Add sprinkles or other decoration. You can eat the cake when the buttercream is still a bit soft or when it has firmed up the fridge. Enjoy!

Stef

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz

2women2cats: Grandma's Frankfurter Kranz