. WHAT WE'RE MADE OF . ALMONDS .

We like to think of Qnola as much more than just a breakfast granola - we see wellness as an all-encompassing lifestyle that supports the mind, body and soul, much like our range of superfood breakfast goods. We only ever use the purest, most natural ingredients in our granolas to deliver a delicious AND nourishing snack - morning, noon and night.

This week, we're exploring the history and health benefits of one of our favourite nuts: the almond. As one of the main ingredients in our best-selling original Almond & Vanilla flavour, this versatile little nut is one of the best out there...

Almonds are the edible seed of a tree typically native to the warm climes of the Middle East, India and North Africa. Spread by humans during ancient times, almonds are now widely grown in California, Spain, Australia, Iran and Morocco. In 2014, California accounted for a whopping 57% of the worlds almond production - that's a whole lot of nuts. 

Here are just a few reasons why we love the humble almond and why it will always hold a place in our heart as part of the original Qnola gang:

- Used frequently in both sweet and savoury dishes, almonds are incredibly versatile: they can be ground into flour for gluten-free sponge cakes or macarons, sliced and toasted to enjoy with a tagine or ice-cream, chopped and roasted for homemade granola, pan-fried with rosemary and salt as a dinner party nibble or simply eaten straight out of the bag as a healthy snack.

- A highly nutritious nut, almonds are a rich source of vitamin E - which helps maintain healthy skin and strengthen the body's natural defence against illness and infection. Research shows that people who ingest high levels of Vitamin E are 30-40% less likely to contract heart disease.

- Almonds are a good natural source of magnesium, a mineral that allows us to Wake Up Well each day feeling restored; magnesium is needed by the body to help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease and regulate blood pressure. 

- Owing to the amount of highly processed foods currently on the market, people in most countries aren't getting enough zinc or iron in their diets. Zinc is needed by the body for immune function, wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid function whilst iron is essential for muscle movement, growth, brain functionality and maintaining an active metabolism. Thankfully, our nutty little friend is a great way to up your intake of both.

- Almond milk is one of the best alternatives to cows milk and if you're vegan or lactose intolerant, it's a great source of calcium. Our favourites are Plenish and Rude Health

- Good for the brain, almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine which have been proven to increase brain activity. Riboflavin is also good for energy levels - another reason to grab a handful of almonds before or after your workout!

- If you struggle to regulate your gut, just four or five almonds a day will help contribute to a healthier digestive system - they're high in fibre so be sure to drink a lot of water. Dehydration is not a good bedfellow for smooth bowl movements.

. HAPPY EARTHDAY .

April 22nd 2017


In 1970, the Earth Day movement was inspired by a devastating oil spill in Santa Barbara, and 46 years later, billions of people all over the world are still uniting to celebrate one of the most environmentally conscious movements of our time.

Earth Day stands as a way to remind us that we live on one hell of a precious planet, and boy do we need to be careful with it. Earth Day raises awareness of all the serious threats our planet, and ourselves, have been facing for some time. Climate change, deforestation, pollution, rising sea levels - and the list don't stop there. Earth Day, though, has become more than just a day, and has inspired and encouraged all kinds of mini-movements across the World to ensure support, protection and appreciation is enforced wherever and however it is needed. Although action is being taken constantly, as we become more conscious and more careful, this particular day comes as a reminder for us to tune into what is really happening to our habitat, and to consider ways in which we can do our bit to help create a better and safer place in which to exist.

Each year, festivals, rallies, talks, public demonstrations and activites are held in over 192 countries to encourage people across the world to become more environmentally friendly and considerate. So this year, channel your energy towards doing something to help, and potentially save, the planet on which we live. The Earth provides us not only with a home and space to live, but also essential substances for survival, such as water, plants, heat and each other. Take some time today to think about how you could be gentler with the Earth, how you can help to make a change and how you could make more friendly decisions and habits during your time here. Together, if we take more care of the Earth, it will in turn take more care of us, and become a safer place in which generations to come can thrive.

. NEW STOCKIST . CITIZENM .

What better way to start your Sunday than with a hearty brunch at citizenM? With three locations across central London - Shoreditch, Bankside & Tower of London - citizenM has the vibe of a boutique hotel without the hefty price tag.

The ultimate in affordable luxury, each hotel has been artfully designed; contemporary bedrooms with superfast WiFi and Insta-worthy interiors come as standard but the best part? Their food offering is available 24 hours a day. Whether you're a guest at the hotel or simply fancy a change of scenery, our range of quinoa granolas are currently available to enjoy as part of the brunch buffet at their Shoreditch site on Sunday's (Expansion to other locations tbc)

Kickback on the sofas, #workwell in their loungey laptop area, or make your way onto the terrace, accompanied by hot or cold drinks, unique snacks and a bowl of the good stuff.

. RECIPE . RAW CAPPUCCINO CHEESECAKE .

After discovering that our range of quinoa granola goes with Plenish nut milks better than avocado goes with eggs, we came up with a dreamy raw cheesecake recipe using their creamy milks in the filling and our crunchy cereal as the base. Throw in some coffee and voila! You've got one decadent pudding bound to impress any discerning coffee lover. 

INGREDIENTS
Makes 4 - 5 small cakes or one 8-inch cake

BASE
50g macadamia, cashew or brazil nuts
60g pecans
90g dates
4 tbsp raw or activated buckwheat
30g desiccated coconut
20g coconut oil
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp maca
⅓ tsp Himalayan salt
4 tbsp Cacao & Cashew or Almond & Vanilla Qnola

FILLING
350g soaked cashews
100g coconut oil
110ml Plenish almond or cashew milk
15g vanilla paste
1 tbsp maca
60g coffee extract (or add 60ml water to 4g coffee powder)
35-45g coconut syrup or date sweetener
1 tsp Himalayan salt
2 tbsp cacao powder
Cacao nibs to serve

METHOD
For the base:
1. Place the nuts in a food processor or blender and blend on a high speed for one minute until fine and crumb-like.
2. Add the dates and blend for a further 30-60 seconds.
3. Add all of the other base ingredients apart from the Qnola and 10g of coffee extract, blend for a further minute until combined.
4. Add your Qnola flavour of choice to the mixture and stir together with a spoon.
5. Spread the mixture onto the base of your cake tin (or equally between individual ramekins or glasses), pressing down with the back of your spoon so it is compact. Place in the fridge to set.

For the filling:
1. Place all of the filling ingredients apart from the cacao powder in a food processor or blender. Tip – start with a little less sweetener and coffee, as you can increase these to taste.
2. Blend on a medium speed and gradually increase the speed of your food processor until it reaches its highest setting. It should run smoothly. Blend for a further 2-5 minutes depending on the power of your processor. If some of the mixture sticks to the side of your processor, scrape down with a spoon and add a little more nut milk.
3. Once smooth, pour three quarters of the mixture into a bowl.
4. To the remaining quarter, add the cacao powder and about 10g of the reserved coffee extract or powder (to taste). Whisk together with a fork and set aside.
5. Remove your cake tin (or individual ramekins) from the fridge. Take the main portion of your filling mixture and pour it onto your base. Top with the cacao mixture – either work in layers, pouring the cacao mixture evenly on top, or create a marble effect by spooning a small amount of the cacao mixture on to the top of the cake and swirling it in with the handle of a teaspoon. Return to the fridge to set.

To serve – drizzle with any leftover cacao mixture and add a sprinkling of cacao powder and cacao nibs.

. MOON JOURNAL . FULL MOON IN LIBRA .

April 11th 6.08am 2017

A full moon in Libra inspires us to see our lives through a new perspective, as we are encouraged to review, re-evaluate and refresh.

Aligned with Jupiter, the feminine and emotional aspect of this moon leads us into the heart to engage a new vision of the world and our place in it. No matter what is happening in our lives, even if we are amidst great upheaval, we are being encouraged to engage a new perspective. And in doing so we learn how to hold on to a strong sense of self which is rooted and balanced.

To assist us in times of great change and transformation, we can focus on the beauty that exists in the world around us – whether this is through our connection to nature, art, music or the friendships we nurture. By focusing on beauty, we are able to see the gifts and guides supporting us within our everyday lives.

This is a perfect time to look inward to see what it is that truly excites us. Rather than being overwhelmed or afraid of the unknown path that lies ahead, we can use this time to follow our intuition, and inspire a dream for ourselves that is in harmony with our global family and the planet. 

. WAKE UP WELL WITH HOTPOD YOGA .

On Sunday 23rd April, we're collaborating with Hotpod Yoga Hackney for our latest Wake Up Well event. Join us for an energising morning yoga session followed by a nourishing Qnola breakfast and treats from Nut Blend - Coconut Macadamia Butter, to be precise - all for free! Our Wake Up Well events are designed to help you wake more positively and more grounded; we believe that if you give yourself a little more time in the mornings to focus on thinking positively, you're more likely to think openly about each new day. 

WHERE - Hotpod Yoga, 9-15 Helmsley Place, London, E8 3SB
WHEN - Sunday 23rd April from 8 - 9.30am

Tickets are free but spaces are limited so be sure to book your place in advance to avoid disappointment. Just email us on hithere@qnola.co.uk with Hotpod Yoga in the subject line and we'll reserve your spot.

Image credit - Sinem Erdemli 

. WAKING WITH . EMINÉ RUSHTON .

Since joining Psychologies magazine over seven years ago, Eminé Rushton has written her debut book, launched her own conscious consultancy company and raised a family - not to mention maintaining a busy day-to-day editorial schedule. Like us, Eminé holds a balanced, natural and holistic approach to health and wellness and encourages seasonal eating whenever possible. With over 15 years experience in the wellness industry under her belt, we wanted to tap into Eminé's wealth of knowledge and discover her Wake Up Well secrets and tips.

"I’m usually woken at 7am by one or both of my children… I have my phone turned off and downstairs, and wake with natural light (we have thin curtains), or my Lumi light in winter, and then sit up in bed, have some water, and try to meditate for 20 mins before the day really begins. My morning meditation does not always happen, and if it doesn’t that’s cool – I know I’ll have time for at least one before bedtime, and that helps to keep me on an even keel. I don’t engage with work, or my phone, at all until after I’ve had breakfast (around 8.30am). The mornings are for stillness, followed by family. My best piece of morning advice? Before you do anything – even open your eyes – bring yourself into your body, feel what you feel, think what you think, and just be still for a few moments.

We always get up as a family, I get the girls dressed and readied and my husband heads down to the kitchen to make something wholesome for breakfast – we make almost all of our food from scratch at home, and grow 75% of our veg and herbs at our allotment. Some mornings it’s eggs and greens on homemade sourdough, others it’s oaty-coconut-chai waffles… we always have a really good cooked breakfast, after a warm glass of water with a squeeze of lime in it, to kickstart digestion. I’ve also been taking a morning probiotic and enzyme complex, as part of a great healing gut protocol, prescribed by Eve Kalinik.

On a lazy morning with no plans (blissful!) I would wake naturally without an alarm (mechanical or human i.e. my children) I would scrape my tongue, oil pull with coconut oil, have some fresh warm water, and then meditate for 20 minutes. I would then stretch and walk out to the garden, feed Pip (my rabbit), and boil the kettle. My husband and I would eat breakfast outside, making easy plans for the day. We’d sit and read, and talk, and laugh. We’d do a short yoga session in the garden and then plant some new flowers and herbs… we might then go for a sunny walk through the local woodland…

Our average family breakfasts tend to look quite indulgent to an outsider – waffles, pancakes, halloumi bread etc… but we make it all from scratch, with wonderfully healthy batters, using organic spelt, or rye, or buckwheat, coconut flour, or oat flour… we mix things up, as variety is crucial for good health, and add lots of lovely spice – my children are obsessed with cinnamon! We also add baobab, maca, ginger, cloves, cardamom to our batters, and use organic goat’s milk or nut milks… topping with berries, nut butter, raw honey, bee pollen, coconut… it looks indulgent, because it’s filing and generous and wholesome – but wholly nourishing too.

The best breakfast I've ever eaten is fresh Turkish hellim (halloumi), with black olives, watermelon and toasty sourdough bread, by the sea, in Cyprus; I eat it over and over again every summer. Recently I’ve been enjoying savoury Qnola on scrambled eggs with wilted spinach, chard and rocket from our allotment – lots of good olive oil, black pepper and a pinch of chilli… perfect!

One thing I need to do more of in the mornings is stop my mind racing from 'wake up' to ‘must do’ within seconds. I’m getting better… and now often wake up slowly, a few blinks, taking in the light, and giving thanks for the things that come to me that morning. A healthy family, a safe home, a wonderful working life… it gives the mind a positive pep-talk and helps the day begin with optimism.

One thing I need to do less of in the mornings is rush. When my lunch, work bag and clothes are all organized from the night before, I have a far more relaxed start to the day. When none of the above is done, I can be flying around, while my husband is making breakfast, trying to get girls ready, myself ready… chaos! I’ve also learned that a busy inbox is not a good breakfast guest… I leave my phone off until I know I’ll have the right amount of time to deal with whatever I may encounter. Occasionally I’ll line up a social media post from the night before too, so that I won’t have to expend extra energy on that upon waking.

When in comes to winding down well, I love magnesium baths, or I spray the soles of my feet and between my toes with a transdermal spray which really helps absorption; I mist my bed with Neom Tranquility Spray or This Works Pillow Mist, every night; I curl up with a really comforting read – a great cookbook, a warm novel; or I lie on my back, in bed, with my feet up on the wall, to encourage my body to shut down and blood to rush back down if I’ve been on my feet a lot. I’d ideally do an online yoga class with Movement for Modern Life an hour before bed too. I opt for very relaxing classes such as Yoga Nidra (if I’m exhausted), or slow flow if I’m tense, which really prepare you for sleep.

My idea of weekending well is feeling happy, blessed, optimistic and excited about life. Feeling that my family are all in a good place and we are all enjoying each other. Having lovely plans for the days ahead and a spring in my step. Getting time to rest, read, meditate, do yoga really help me feel sane and centred. If I have to cut back on all of these, I sense a shift in myself, and I know I need to remedy it, sooner rather than later.

Eminé on careers:
I’ve always consulted for natural brands ‘on the side’ of my job at Psychologies, but formalizing what I do felt right, and good. The green community is growing, and filled with such brilliant, passionate, authentic women – and bringing people together is such a joy. Whether creating content, sound-boarding, planning events, building partnerships or reaching out to fellow editors, LEAF takes a really organic approach to growth. You can’t force it, but you can put down strong, nourished roots and build on good stuff… that’s the best way to bloom!

I believe you cannot separate body, mind, spirit, and that it’s all very well to eat well and work out, but if you’re not taking the time to strengthen yourself spiritually, and do things that buoy you up psychologically, then you’re ignoring some important parts of your whole, beautiful picture – YOU.

. WHAT WE'RE MADE OF . QUINOA .

We're proud of the fact that Qnola was the first quinoa based granola in the UK. Created as a solution to the lack of genuinely healthy cereals available in stores, Qnola is made using only the purest, most natural ingredients including superfoods and powerful adaptogens designed to nourish the body and mind, and, of course, quinoa.

We'll be exploring the benefits of each ingredient involved in the production of Qnola and sharing them on Qnola Life over the next few months - let us know in the comments section below if you have any questions you'd like answered.

Quinoa has long been enjoyed by ancient civilisations including the Incan's, who called it the 'mother grain' and believed it gave them superpowers. Though we can't claim that our breakfast goods will give you wings, they do have incredible health benefits and are natural, wholesome sources of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, providing functional and sustainable energy.  

Here are just a few of the reasons we love quinoa and why we will continue to champion this super seed in all of our ingredients and recipes (watch this space for a brand new range, launching this Summer):

- Quinoa is a complete protein and contains all nine essential amino acids; perfect nourishment for those enjoying a plant-based diet, and also perfect for the more active customers to fuel intense workouts and to help pick up the pieces after them.

- Due to its incredible nutrient profile, NASA has considered attempting to grow quinoa in space.

- A natural source of antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol, eating quinoa can help to reduce and prevent inflammation, viruses and even depression.  

- Quinoa is high in magnesium, a mineral that allows us to Wake Up Well each day feeling restored; magnesium is needed by the body to help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease and regulate blood pressure. 

- With so many processed foods currently on the market, many of us aren't getting enough iron in our diet. Essential for muscle movement, growth, brain functionality and maintaining an active metabolism, quinoa is a rich and natural source of iron for the body. 

Thanks to Cooking Detective for sharing their top tips about quinoa and extending our knowledge!

. DAIRY FREE EASTER CHOCOLATE .

We've compiled a little edit featuring some of our favourite dairy-free (and in most cases refined-sugar-free) chocolate options so that you can have your egg and eat it this Easter. 

. RECIPE . CUCUMBER COCONUT MILK .

Our homemade cucumber coconut milk is super refreshing and one of the simplest recipes you'll come across this year. Great for flushing out toxins in the body and packed with vitamins (A, B & C) and minerals (magnesium, potassium and silicon) we like to enjoy ours straight up (preferably chilled). If you're feeling adventurous, you can also use it as a base for chia seed puddings and porridge or instead of milk with your morning Qnola granola.

INGREDIENTS
2 - 3 cucumbers
1 cup water (if you don't have a juicer)
1 1/2 cups fresh almond or coconut milk (preferably homemade)
Fresh mint

DIRECTIONS
1. If you have a juicer, juice the cucumbers until you have 1 cup of juice. If you don't have a juicer, grate the cucumbers and blend them on a high speed in your blender.
2. Once the cucumber has broken down completely, pour the juice through a sieve or muslin cloth into a jug.
3. Blend 1 cup of cucumber juice with your choice of milk.
4. Add chopped mint to taste and enjoy!

. GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS WITH HIP & HEALTHY .

Founder Danielle Copperman recently caught up with online health & wellness destination Hip & Healthy to talk all things business, breakfast and new product development.

Danielle Copperman

WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL INSPIRATION TO START QNOLA?
My main inspiration actually came from an authentic and organic demand and requests from people who saw my personal photos and recipes of Qnola on my blog and social media. I was inspired by the response from these people and in realising I wasn’t the only person frustrated by the lack of healthy, quick breakfast options on the market. Then, as I learnt more about nutrition, diet and commercial food, I was inspired to offer change and alternatives for the masses. I guess I was mostly inspired by the lack of healthy options and honest food products on the market, and also by the opportunities that large food & drinks manufactures and the media have been taking to trick consumers into buying falsely advertised foods. I was shocked to discover many things about commercial food products and this instantly ignited a passion within me to do something about it.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEBODY WITH A BUSINESS IDEA WHO HAS A FEAR OF FAILING?
Be strong, believe in yourself, and know that there is no way to fail if you try your hardest and do what you want to do. The only way to fail is if you have too high or unrealistic expectations or absorb the pressures of the business world and let them determine whether you are successful or not. Whenever I come up against this barrier of feeling worthless or not doing a good enough job, I ask myself what success is, and who defines it, and who decides whether something is successful or not. In reality, there is no one-way to measure success, so the best thing to do is set our own personal goals and focus on them, not the external forces around you. Success for me is being proud of my product, producing something honest and empowering and living a happy and full life, whilst for many entrepreneurs it might be making a certain amount of money, landing a specific retailer, hitting certain growth % increases. It depends what the individual views as a success or as a fail, and it is down to the individual to achieve and avoid those things. Fear is an illusion, and you often fear things that never even end up happening, so don’t let non-existent ideas prevent you from making your first moves.

IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE, WHAT FLAVOUR QNOLA IS YOUR ULTIMATE FAVOURITE?
The Beetroot is my favourite full time flavour, and when we launch our seasonal limited edition flavours throughout the year, the Vanilla Chai and the SniQkers flavours become my favourites!"

Read the full story on Hip & Healthy here.

. AEVI WELLNESS .

Like us, Natalie and Marie from Aevi Wellness believe in being kind to yourself and others in the hope of living a less stressful, more natural and simply beautiful life. Aevi curates seasonal, luxury boxes with wellness products that are natural and free from toxins and synthetic compounds.

Wellness is so much more than just food and exercise, it is a holistic lifestyle based on our physical, emotional and mental needs and the ways in which we can help create and maintain a balance in all areas of our wellbeing.

We're thrilled to announce that our exclusive blend for Aevi is now available to enjoy as part of the Spring Wellness box. Made using a nourishing combination of organic quinoa, coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and chia seeds - our limited edition blend is not to be missed.

Spring Wellness Box by Aevi - £130
- Qnola . Vanilla Seeds & Spice
- Earth Tu Face . Honey & Coconut Mask
- Living Libations . Frankincense Face Tonic
Karmameju . Ionic Body Brush
- ZenBunni . Organic Incense

. MOON JOURNAL . NEW MOON IN ARIES .

March 28th , 2.57am 2017

A new moon in Aries brings a surge of energy to usher in a new cycle and the beginning of the astrological year.

This is a perfect time to pause, find stillness and from here begin to carve out a new direction with clarity, letting go of any inner struggle to create space and feel into the new path that awaits us.

The fiery spirit that rules over Aries rushes forth to burn away the past and clear the way for the new to arise. Perfectly aligned with the new season, we are invited to create space within and without, allowing ourselves to ride on the wave of opportunity, connecting to the vast ocean that lives within and connects us to all of life.

Using the strength and courageous spirit of Aries, we can set clear and firm boundaries that honour our highest selves, and in turn serve the greater good of our planet.  It is a beautiful time to write a list of priorities and set intentions from the heart. With inner truth as our guide, we can walk freely through the gateway to a new chapter.

. COME RAIN OR SHINE .

If you live in England, you won't need reminding that the weather is temperamental - even at the height of Summer we'll be subject to sunny peaks followed by wet blustery troughs, often within minutes of each other.

With that in mind, April's infamous showers are on the horizon so we've rounded up some of our favourite products to help keep your body dry, your hair smooth and your skin soft.


Hunter
Wearing wellie boots in a big city when it's raining has become something of a 'fashion faux-pas' in recent years; isn't that what Uber's for, after all? Despite the funny looks (and let's be honest, we've all seen stranger things than someone in a pair of rubber boots) we love Hunter's sassy pink boots and would proudly don a pair next time the heavens open.


Rains
Danish brand Rains have cleverly reinvented the traditional rubber raincoat with bright, playful rainwear that is as sartorially cool as it us practical. Gone are the days of sweaty, oversize Peter Storm anoraks (in either navy or black) - Rains range comes in a host of dreamy colours including yellow, rust, moon and rose. 

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Cambridge Satchel Co x Melissa
What happens when a traditional British accessories label meets a playful Brazilian brand? The latest Cambridge Satchel Co collaboration with Melissa ticks all the boxes for a fun April wardrobe update: adorable waterproof bags to keep your essentials dry in a host of bright, candy inspired colours. 


Converse
If you're not 100% on board with the whole wellington boot idea, Converse have created a fun rubber version of the classic Chuck Taylor high-top to keep your feet warm and dry. Unlike their canvas counterparts (that definitely don't keep your feet warm or dry) the rubber shoe is lined with French terry for ultimate comfort.

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Baby G
During formative school years, the only watch worth owning was a Baby G; if you didn't have one, you begged your parents to splash out for your birthday and if you did, well let's just say you were one of the cool kids. This navy number is a simple, grown-up version guaranteed to still work when you get soaked on the journey home.


Original Duckhead
At the end of the day, there are always going to be times when you can't coordinate your outfit with the weather. The only thing that will save your barnet and your clothes from becoming sodden is a good quality umbrella. This geometric design from Original Duckhead gets our vote on both practical and stylish terms. 

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Ere Perez at Content Beauty & Wellbeing
Formulated with organic avocado and mamey oils to nourish your lashes, Ere Perez's waterproof mascara will keep you looking fresh and smudge-free after a dousing from Mother Nature. 


TWELVE Beauty
Designed to help remedy the effects of high-pollution levels in big cities on the skin, The London Mask can help repair skin damage and eliminate toxins. Made using a combination of moisturising organic rice, purified kaolin and natural squalene - this mask will soothe and soften your skin after a stressful day.

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Original Mineral at Glasshouse Salon
If your hair is more Mowgli than Mariah, you'll need something to tame the frizz when it's humid out. Made using Argan and macadamia nut oil, this Frizzy Logic serum calms, smoothes and protects your hair. That's one less thing to worry about when you're soaked to the bone and you've left your umbrella on the tube...


. HOW DO YOU WAKE UP WELL? .

. HOW DO YOU WAKE UP WELL? .

We're fascinated by your #WakeUpWell rituals and love hearing and seeing your stories each new day. Keep us posted for the chance to be featured on our feed and on the Qnola Life blog.

. SPRING EQUINOX .

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The Spring Equinox (March 20 2017) is the time when the light and dark, the yin and yang and the masculine and feminine energies of the cosmos are in perfect balance and alignment. The Universe and all its beings are reborn, refreshed and restored after a long and restful Winter, and as we transition into Spring, we leave behind us what no longer serves us, and welcome the new - manifesting what we want the present and future to hold. 

This phase of the year is a powerful time to come together with those around you to celebrate and welcome the lighter, brighter energy, fresh produce and opportunities that Spring brings. It is about reassessing and manifesting the things that you desire, and now is the time to sow the seeds that you want to flourish. 

Gather with friends to release the past and share and set intentions for things you want to see, do, feel or simply be this season. Having a clear and focused but also open approach to these things will help draw them towards you, and will ensure you feel grounded, aligned and filled with faith. And it wouldn't surprise us if you felt more excitement day to day too, as you open up to both the experiences that you manifest and also those that come to you unexpectedly as a result of this alignment. Connecting to and trusting in the Divine, you will handle the unknown much more openly and with much more understanding and inspiration. Now, go and enjoy the Spring time and all it has to offer!

. WAKING WITH . ANNIE CLARKE OF MIND BODY BOWL .

Annie Clarke of Mind Body Bowl holds a pure and realistic approach to wellbeing. Like us, she believes that living well depends on much more than just the food you're eating. A trained yoga teacher, Annie teaches classes across London, hosts retreats, and also runs a blog offering nutritious recipes and self-love advice. She has just released a book too, bringing each of these topics together in one place as a collection of lifestyle tips and tasty treats. Below, she shares her transformational journey, leading from her past to where she is now, and how she stays in the present moment day to day and handles the waves of life.

"I am usually up with or before sunrise. It sounds poetic but it is actually because work calls. I teach first thing in the morning most days. I used to use that time for my own yoga practice or to work out, but I actually love holding that space for other people now, to help them get their day off to a good start, even if it does mean setting my alarm for 5.30am! What I love about yoga is that every practice is different. You could do the same flow every day and always feel something new. It gives me a way to connect with myself and to learn and understand more about my mind and body and of course to be able to facilitate that for my students too is really special.

If I am teaching, I get up, take a probiotic, jump in the shower and then rush out the door as quickly as I can get dressed. It doesn’t feel panicked though – it is my little routine that feels quite lovely. I’ll always fill up a big bottle of water to drink on my journey or while I teach. And I love to cycle if the weather allows, as it helps me to feel refreshed and energised when I get to the studio. If I’m not teaching, I still try to get up early, make a hot drink and then get myself to a class. It makes me feel productive while taking time for myself! Breakfast during the week usually consists of porridge, a smoothie or avocado on toast. Oh, and on Tuesday’s, we often make pancakes! The five essential morning ingredients you'll usually find on my breakfast table are oats, almond milk, nut butter (almond, cashew, or peanut), frozen berries and coconut oil (think bulletproof coffee, coconut porridge or even scrambled eggs). My healthiest idea of breakfast is to create something balanced. Something like a smoothie with protein powder, porridge with nut butter, granola and hemp seeds on top, or scrambled eggs and spinach on toast. Qnola is also the perfect addition to any breakfast, especially sprinkled on top of porridge or a smoothie bowl. It tastes delicious, looks beautiful and you know you are being good to your body! My favourite way to enjoy it is sprinkled over a bowl of porridge with a spoonful of nut butter and coconut yoghurt. Heaven!

My most indulgent breakfast (but still usually made with natural ingredients) is pancakes, made with banana, oats, protein powder, sometimes eggs, and almond milk - topped with anything any everything!

If I'm teaching or practicing in the morning, I tend to start with something grounding and relaxing, then move through a gentle but dynamic flow, finishing in a way that makes my students leave feeling really relaxed, to set the nice tone for their day.

To wake up well myself, I start each day by thinking about my day the night before. Even if I don’t get my bag packed, it always feels good to have an outline of timings and what I need to take with me for the day. My ideal morning, though not very realistic, especially during the week, would involve food, yoga, friends and family.

One thing I need to do more of in the mornings is meditate and do a short yoga flow, but this doesn’t really happen when I’m teaching as I’m already up so early. But I would like to do more of that. And staying off my phone for as long as possible! One thing I need to do less of in the morning is press snooze. The days where wake up and get up on my first alarm are always the best.

The best place I’ve ever woken up is actually in my own bed, where I feel most cosy and warm. But also, nothing beats a beach hut!

The first thing I see in the morning is the view over the Olympic Park. We tend to sleep with the blinds open and have big windows, so when it’s light enough, that’s my view. In the summer I watch the sun rise from my bed every morning which is a pretty great way to begin the day!

The favourite breakfasts are pretty much anything 26 Grains makes. Oh, and I would love to go back to my Yoga School in India where I did my training, for the breakfasts there. The fresh fruit was so delicious!

If I'm travelling a lot, it is important for me to stay active. I love to try yoga studios in new cities or will do my best to get moving in the hotel gym. I always check before I book to make sure there is somewhere I can at least go for a run or find a gym in the hotel if I am staying for more than a couple of nights.

This morning I: got up and made a warm turmeric and apple cider vinegar tonic, then went off to work out with my best friend Lotte which felt amazing. And then I ate porridge, drank a chicory latte and popped to buy a yoga bag before sitting down to write these answers in front of a fire!

Tomorrow morning I will: be up early to teach! And probably hit snooze a couple of times.

A closing piece of morning advice from me? Never skip breakfast and smile at strangers"

For ongoing inspiration, follow Annie's blog, instragram and twitter, and take a look at her book here.

MOON JOURNAL . FULL MOON IN VIRGO .

March 12th, 14.53 pm 2017

The Virgo moon makes her way into fullness on Sunday, empowering us with the strength of the feminine spirit and encouraging us to take inspired action to make our dreams a reality.

Supported by the wisdom of Virgo, we are invited to turn our gaze inward to the vast space of our being, where we are met with infinite love. The message is one of setting heart-felt intention into everything we do. Recognising that we must attend to the small details of daily life and our work, if we are going to live in the light of our dreams.

So often we avoid or dismiss the mundane tasks or chores of daily life, but to do so is to miss out on the simple joys that contribute to the richness and beauty of life.

With the approaching Spring Equinox on the 20th March, we can look to the gifts of nature and the signs of new life for inspiration and encouragement. Beginning slowly and letting go of the need for perfection or control, we can focus simply on the tasks that lie in front of us, allowing us to clear the space for the new to arise.

Listen to the voice within and follow what is right for you. There is no need for a destination or an end goal. Enjoy creativity in its purest expression as a celebration of all that you are in this moment.

Happy Full Moon

Image source unknown

. WHERE WE'RE WAKING . RAWDUCK .

On our last visit to Rawduck in Hackney, we indulged in the incredible five-course Christmas dinner menu - leaving us incredibly full and desperate to return for another slice of the action.

In anticipation of an afternoon spent browsing Columbia Road flower market, we couldn't wait for brunch at Rawduck this weekend. We arrived around midday without a reservation and although the restaurant was packed, there was just enough space to squeeze us onto one of the long communal dining tables. 

Before we'd even had a chance to browse the food menu, the drinks caught our eye - particularly a thick almond & fig smoothie and homemade kombucha. Both were delicious. Now on to the food: with a focus on simple seasonal food inspired by the Mediterranean, standout brunch dishes included the Beirut Breakfast (with sweet dukka & labneh), Sunny Fried Eggs (with coconut rice & the best chilli samba we've ever eaten) and Tarka Dahl (with a charred naan & poached egg).

The food was the obvious highlight but attentive (not pushy) staff and the ultra relaxed dining atmosphere made it a hugely enjoyable place for a laid back brunch with friends. It's the sort of place you want to recommend to your friends in the hope that they suggest going there on your next date together. If you did need an excuse to coerce your pals into a visit, the restaurant also hosts events so it's worth keeping an eye on their Instagram. Kombucha class anyone?!

. WAKING WITH . OLIVIA CRIGHTON OF GLASSHOUSE SALON .

Olivia is the owner and director of Glasshouse Salon in East London, specialising in organic colour and care, with a focus on long-term hair health and modern cuts and colour. Alongside the salon, Glasshouse also run an online journal and shop stocking a range of cult natural skin, hair and body brands.

We caught up with Olivia late last year before the birth of her daughter Sadie to discover her beauty secrets to healthy hair and skin...

Olivia Crighton

“I split my time between appointments, running the business and managing my team as well as journal shoots and creative work for our journal.

I moved to London from New Zealand in 2008 and during this time, I started working with more natural and organic hair products, to use something safer for myself but also for my clients. I began working as an Organic Colour Systems head trainer and was noticing a huge interest in hairdressing that put the client’s health and hair condition first. Organic hair colour options had been viewed as ‘alternative’ and there was a lot of misconceptions regarding its performance. I couldn’t keep up with the demand; setting up Glasshouse Salon in 2013 seemed like the obvious step.

I also felt like there was a lack of natural brands considering an ethical and natural approach, but also a strong aesthetic and style. I wanted to combine both elements and create an environment where hair condition was at the forefront of everything.

The major benefits of Organic Colour Systems in particular is the fact that it powerfully treats the hair on the inside, rather than simply working cosmetically. The organic ingredients and lack of chemicals and harmful ingredients like ammonia and resorcinol, all mean that damage is minimised and condition is prioritised. From an ethical perspective, organic ingredients are sourced sustainably and are also cruelty free, which is very important to me.

The morning is often the only bit of quiet time in the day before it all gets very busy, so I like to try and not start answering emails straight away (though often break my own rules). These days I wake up earlier than I used to - normally before 7am. Breakfast is important and a chance to get some proper sit-down time before the busy day begins, so if I can I’ll take my time with it.

If I’m not heading straight to the pool for a pre-work swim my routine goes like this: after giving the cat her breakfast, I’ll make a pour-over coffee in my Chemex with freshly-ground Union coffee and half a teaspoon of coconut oil stirred in - this helps to level the caffeine. Though lately I’ve been getting into Matcha tea as an alternative; it’s much easier on the stomach and a more consistent caffeine release. If it’s a nice morning, I’ll sit outside on the terrace to start the day well and with some peace and quiet. I find that even a few minutes of quiet time sets me up well for the day. One thing I’d never skip is my shower, cleanse, tone and moisturise routine - I don’t feel awake without doing it. The rest of my routine is often quite chaotic and rushed, especially when I try and gather all my possessions before I leave the house. A few outfit changes later (I never plan my outfits the night before) and I’m ready to start the day.

Glasshouse Salon

The first thing I do every morning is drink a big glass of water or two. My current favourite breakfast is Beetroot & Pistachio Qnola served with goats kefir that I get delivered from The Chuckling Goat, who make kefir from their free-range goat farm in Wales. I like to sweeten it with banana and add a teaspoon or so of Sacha Inchi oil for an extra omega boost. My five most essentials breakfast items are: a soothing hot drink, water with lemon, free range organic eggs, avocado and hash browns.

The most memorable breakfast I’ve had was when I was on holiday in Hawaii and had an amazing acai bowl - I love the chocolate-y flavour of the berries combined with their antioxidant and Vitamin A properties; I’ve never found one in London that tasted as fresh and delicious.

I have my best mornings when I’ve practised a relaxing evening routine the night before. A soothing bath with Epsom salts, 10 minutes of meditation, and a little self-reflexology before bed usually does the trick. I tend to sleep better if I do this and so naturally wake up feeling more refreshed. I also take liquid magnesium, which is great for sleep and muscle relaxation, as well as de-stressing.

During my teenage years, you couldn’t get me out of bed before midday. I miss those days. I’m a pretty light sleeper unfortunately and the more I have going on the more likely I am to have restless sleeps. The best place I’ve ever woken is when my best friend and I did a little weekend road trip in a beaten up Volkswagen camper van. We arrived in the middle of nowhere with no accommodation, no idea where we were allowed to park or sleep over night. We parked up and fell asleep and when we woke up in the morning we were right on the seafront with the ocean right in front of us. It was honestly the best waking up experience I’ve had to this day.

On an ideal morning, I’d take my time with breakfast, turn my phone off and spend some quality time with my husband (ideally on a tropical island). One thing I need to do more of in the mornings is to get more organised. Easier said than done… One thing I need to do less of is check my phone and emails.

Olivia on beauty…

A lot of people advocate that beauty comes form within, and that diet is even more important than products in achieving and maintaining good skin. What are you views on this?
I would definitely agree with this. I believe most major skin issues are related to digestive and internal problems going on. I completely believe that it’s mostly to do with the bowel, liver and elimination process. However I often find very simple things can make a big difference, for example staying well hydrated and getting in enough fruits and vegetables.

Do you think the same applies for achieving and maintaining strong, healthy, shiny, hydrated and voluminous hair? If so what foods do you believe to be beneficial?
Often severely weak and fragile hair can be down to low B12 and iron levels, as well as ongoing medications. Another interesting thing that I notice in my clients is that their hair grows very fast in summer, I believe this is due to the increase in Vitamin D in the system, as well as often a more well balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that comes with the warmer weather. I’m also a big fan of the omega oils – there are some great alternatives out there to traditional fish oils for vegans and vegetarians.

What is your best morning product for face, body and hair?
For hair it has to be Organic Colour Systems Power Build Shampoo. It’s our bestseller in the salon and can be used everyday - it’s got a refreshing scent that’s great for a little morning revitalisation. It’s so gentle that it can also be used as a body wash, so I use it all over to wake me up in the shower. For my face, I’ve yet to find anything better than the RMS Beauty Oil. It’s lightweight enough to apply generously and still put makeup over the top and is packed full of good oils like jojoba and buriti, as well as natural Vitamin A and UV protection.

What is your favourite natural ingredient for hair or beauty maintenance, and why?
I would have to say protein. In the salon we work a lot with protein ingredients, such as organic quinoa and hydrolysed wheat protein. It works by repairing the internal structure of the hair and we wouldn’t achieve the kind of results we do without it, particularly when it comes to colouring.

And lastly, why Qnola?
I’m a big fan of Qnola - firstly because it’s gluten free, and in the past I’ve found it really difficult to find good gluten or grain free cereals. It also a nice feeling to know that you’re getting in all your protein and amino acids right at the start of the day - regardless of how the rest of your diet pans out across the day. Unlike a lot of granolas, it’s lightweight and easy to eat - ticking all the boxes!”