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olive oil

If certain health publications are to be believed, we should all have sworn off cooking with olive oil long ago in favour of coconut, sunflower or other "safer" cooking products.

While olive oil has always been considered a heart-healthy oil when used in salad dressings or as a dip for bread, many foodies wrote off using the oil for cooking as it was believed to develop dangerous toxic compounds when used with high heats.

Now though, new research says olive oil might be a much safer choice than previously thought, and it is actually more resistant to heat than other plant-based oils like sunflower, corn, and soybean. 

"I have found no evidence that high-heat cooking with olive oil is unhealthy," says US clinical nutrition director Rebecca Blake to Prevention magazine. "There's no proof."

All oils (including your beloved coconut oil) will break down, lose nutrients and can even develop harmful compounds when heat is applied. However olive oil is relatively resistant to these changes given its high antioxidant content.

The key when cooking with olive oil is to avoid the "smoke point", i.e. the temperature at which the oil begins to break down. Olive oil has a fairly low smoke point, so you should avoid it when cooking on very high heats eg. when searing or using a wok.

The smoke point for a standard extra virgin olive oil starts at about 190 degrees Celsius, but gets higher for lower quality olive oils.

If you do plan on cooking with high heats, Ms. Blake recommends using corn, soybean, peanut oil or sesame oil, all of which have a high smoke point.


We all love summer and any bit of sun we get, but on the downside, it can leave your hair feeling a little bit worse for wear.

We went on the hunt for some easy DIY hair masks, and found some that contain ingredients that you definitely have lying around the house.

1. Coconut oil

This mask is literally what it says on the tin. Covering your hair in coconut oil is a great way to get it’s moisture back. You can get coconut oil in any health food shop or opt for a cheaper option from Tesco.

Wear an old t-shirt or pjs and warm up the coconut oil between your hands Apply to damp hair and leave for about half an hour – or an hour if your hair is seriously dry!

2. Olive oil & honey

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants which will give your hair a gorgeous shine and it can be found in almost every household. Honey is great for sealing in moisture and will give your hair mask a much nicer scent.

Mix 60ml of olive oil and 40ml of honey together and apply to your hair. Pop on a shower cap and let the mixture soak in for about 20 minutes.

3. Avocado, olive oil & honey

This one is especially good for extremely dry hair. Mash up one avocado, one tablespoon of honey and two of olive oil. Massage into your hair and cover with a plastic bad or cling film, leave for an hour to get the full effects.

4. Strawberry

This is one that will smell great and give your hair lots of shine. This strawberry mask is great for oily hair as strawberries are good at regulating oil production on the scalp. A handful of strawberries mashed up will do the trick, but it you suffer from dry ends be sure to pop some conditioner on them to your hair doesn’t dry out too much.

5. Beer Mask

This one is for adding some body to limp lifeless hair. All you need is half a cup of flat beer, 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and 1 raw egg mixed together. This one just needs to be left in for about 20 minutes before washing out with cold water. 




If you suffer from skin problems like acne, you’ve probably spent a fortune on lotions and potions that promise to turn your life around. Unfortunately, they don’t often work, and you just end up scouring the shelves of the chemist for the next miracle cure once again.

This vicious circle of try, fail, try again, can get tiresome, so perhaps it’s time you came up with your own miracle cure. And hey, if it doesn’t work, at least you didn’t spend a fortune!

How to make your own cleanser
This is really easy to do. All you need is:

  • Olive oil or sunflower seed oil (organic, preferably)
  • Castor oil (you’ll get it in natural food shops)
  • A clean, empty bottle

While applying oil to oily skin may sound absolutely ludicrous, it actually makes perfect sense. Like cancels like, so if you put good oil onto your face, your skin will stop producing so much of it itself.

Both sunflower seed oil and olive oil are good for moisturising your skin. Some people prefer sunflower seed oil as it absorbs into the skin more quickly, but since you’ll be washing it off anyway, it doesn’t really make a difference.

Castor oil has many anti-bacterial qualities, but if you used it on its own, you’d be shedding skin for days. This is why you only need about a teaspoon of castor oil for every seven teaspoons of olive or sunflower seed oil. Of course, it depends on your skin, so you kind of have to try it a couple of times to get the ratio right.

For an extra kick, you can add a few drops of patachouli oil which is great for reducing swelling, speeding up the healing process and fighting infection.

Using your home-made oil cleanser is really easy too, just follow these steps:

  • Splash some warm water on your face to open up your pores
  • Put about half a teaspoon of the mixture into your hand and massage it into your face  
  • Leave it for a minute or two to sink in
  • Wet a clean face-cloth with warm water and get to work washing the oil off (it won't just rinse off with water)
  • Splash your face with cold water to close your pores back up

See? So easy! You can use sunflower seed oil as a moisturiser too, but do not do this if you‘re going to be heading outside, as it will attract the harmful rays from the sun, which won’t do your skin any favours at all.

Good luck!


Everyone loves pizza but sometimes it can be difficult to know what is going into your pizza – especially if you are watching your weight.

Making pizza is so simple and far more gratifying than throwing something into the oven, why not have a go?

It can also be made from many kitchen staples.

What you’ll need:

For the dough:

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 1 x 7g packet fast-action yeast
  • 280-300ml of lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar

For the toppings:

  • Tomato sauce – homemade or ready-made
  • mozzarella/feta/cheddar cheese
  • pastrami/salami/prosciutto
  • mushrooms/tomatoes/rocket

What you’ll need to do: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Combine the sugar, yeast and water and leave for a few minutes.
  3. In a large bowl or on a clean surface mix the salt with the flour and create a well in the middle.
  4. Pour the liquid into the well and using your hands work the mixture into a dough.
  5. Knead the dough until it forms a good, elastic quality. Place in a bowl cover with a teatowel and set aside for up to one hour.
  6. After an hour, knead it another bit and divide it into equal parts of your desired size for pizzas.
  7. Shape each size and using a rolling pin create a nice, flat, pizza shape.
  8. Brush with olive oil, add your tomato sauce and toppings.
  9. Place in the oven for 10-20 mins or until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbling.




Removing your make-up the right way is more important that you think. If you don’t do it properly, you could end up going to bed with traces of product on your face – the perfect way to invite acne.

Here’s how we take off our make-up after a long day:

  • Use a cotton pad to remove any eye make-up you have on. If you don’t have a gentle eye make-up remover, you could use olive oil or coconut oil.
  • Use a different removal cream for the rest of your make-up and gently wipe it over your face with a new cotton pad.
  • Drape a warm towel over your face to open your pores and make it easier for cleansing.
  • Gently wash your face with your usual cleanser.
  • You might have some eye makeup running at this stage. Use a cotton bud dipped into oil to remove this.
  • Close your pores by splashing cold water over your face.
  • Pat your face dry with a towel.

You must feel pretty good now!