Friday, 4 December 2020

nknaturals season specific skincare - mini complete autumn collection

As you'll know I'm a huge fan of nk naturals season specific skincare having reviewed the seasonal range(s) a few times on my blog. I picked up their cute and cost effective new mini complete Autumn collection (£55 - it includes two full sizes and the rest half sizes) when it first launched and I've been enjoying the range very much.

Inside the Autumn collection is:

Concentrated Cleansing Balm 30ml - a true little pot of goodness! It's got a beautiful scent (petitgrain, rosemary and juniper berry) and is stuffed full of hydrating, balancing and calming ingredients which turn cleansing into a real ritual on cold autumnal nights. To use: massage a small amount of the balm over face and neck before removing with a warmed damp cloth. Skin is left comfortable and clean.

Copper Distilled Botanical Mist 50ml (full size) - having totally fallen for summer's blend I knew I was in for a treat with this one! A soothing and nourishing mist which can be used on the face and body to provide relief for dry, itchy and sensitive skins as well as soothing and revitalising dull autumnal skins. To use: spritz throughout the day or use as a toner.

Deep Steam Salt Infusion 60ml - having loved Spring and Summer's version I knew I'd love this one! See my previous review (it's exactly the same concept) HERE.

Nutrient Rich Facial Oil 15ml rollerball (full size) - another star of the collection. This easy to use (and great for travelling) the slim rollerball bottle is full of hardworking oils - sea buckthorn and pumpkin seed oils, here's looking at you! The blend is enhanced with the same beautiful essential oils which run throughout the collection (petitgrain, rosemary and juniper berry). To use: massage onto the skin before bed.

Rounding up the collection is a light as air and deeply nourishing Enriched Protecting Moisturiser 30ml which provides a daily protective base. To use: apply to face, neck and decolletage every morning after cleansing. This rich and aromatic whipped cream is an absolute delight and lovely to use.

The set is presented in a branded cosmetic bag and I got a lovely note from founder and formulator, Nicola! 

I've really enjoyed adding these products to my autumn routine. I've loved the sizes too - the perfect size if you use other products also or essential for travel/try me. Pick yours up HERE.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Oskia Safe Hands Hand Gel

I'm always on the lookout for a new hand sanitiser and have found that Oskia's Safe Hands Hand Gel (£8 - 80ml) is perfect for popping in my handbag pocket for use on the go!

It's formulated with 62% alcohol, moisturising glycerine and anti-bacterial essential oils (Lavender & Rosemary). Oskia donated the gel to local hospitals and care homes before it's general release. Just spritz a small amount of hand gel onto your the hands, rub together ensuring all areas, including inside fingers are covered and you're good to go!

The hand gel has a gorgeous herbal scent, is easy to use and I feel it keeps me safe. Definitely one of my favs. What hand sanitisers do you use?

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

*Love Lula: Dr Hauschka Advent Calendar Day #1

*partly gifted Today's the day for opening the first door of the Advent Calendars! (I received some lovely edible ones from my friend, Nardin which I shared on instagram and a beauty one from my friend Magi). I also picked up a couple of wax ones and my husband got me a Fortnum & Mason's tea one - so I've been truly spoiled!

I shared my initial musing on the Dr Hauschka Advent Calendar* which I chose for my November pick as a Love Lula Accredited Blogger (I put £35 towards the calendar to enable me to get it). See my thoughts HERE. Today, I'm sharing what was in box no.1! (I'm planning a weekly round up of the items in the calendar and you can check out my socials for daily updates!)

In box no.1 there is a 10ml tube of their Quince Hydrating Body Milk which has a very light milky texture making it easy to absorb onto warm skin. Quince Seed extract helps to improve elasticity, regulate moisture content of the skin and maintaining pH balance. The lotion has a pleasant fruity/herbal scent. 

To use: apply to warm skin after a bath or shower, use after shaving or as a cooling aftersun

I do love a multi-use product so chances are this one will make the full size wishlist. Are you a Dr Hauschka fan?

Monday, 30 November 2020

November Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in November. If a book is marked * I very kindly received it free of charge for review purposes either from Netgalley or the publisher direct.

*Sixteen Horses by Greg Buchanan - this isn't published until May next year so I'll share my review then. Can I just say the story and characters truly gripped me & I so highly recommend! (isn't the cover superb!)

*One August Night by Victoria Hislop - I took part in my first readalong on Instagram for this book which was a bit of a learning curve while quite enjoyable. Having loved The Island it was nice to go back even though I sort of wish I'd re-read The Island before embarking on the sequel. 

We meet up again with Maria, Anna, Manolis and Andreas. It's 25th August 1957 and the leper colony is closing at Spinalonga as a cure has been found. Anna is happy that her sister is cured but sick with worry at her return. She's now married to Andreas, wants for nothing and has a much longed for child.

At the celebrations for the homecomings in Plaka something happens which changes the lives of all concerned forever. As the story develops we learn more about Manolis as a person and I must say I warmed to him despite everything. As ever the Greek setting is so easy to read about and its easy to find yourself back in the village and their lives. A story of families, feuding, love including forbidden love, friendships and growing up.

*The Mersey Estuary - A Travel Guide by Kevin Sene - I took part in the blog tour for this very enjoyable and informative read. See HERE.

*How to Belong by Sarah Franklin - I took part in the blog tour for this fantastic book. See my review HERE.

*When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott - The story is set at the end of WWI, is richly drawn and based on true life events. A soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. He is questioned and finds he doesn't know who he is or why he was there. He's transferred to a rehab home and Dr James Haworth, a young doctor with war demons of his own is enthusiastically hopeful of helping "Adam" remember.

Adam finds he doesn't want to remember and is happy to spend his days walking the grounds and later turning the walled garden back into it's former glory. When it's decided to feature him in a newspaper article, hundreds of women turn up to claim him as their own - he's their son, brother or husband. There are three possibles who slowly get to know him although he doesn't feel a real affiliation or connection to any of them.
It's the woman he meets when he's out walking that he has the deepest feelings for. Why can't he remember? When he finally does remember it's very bittersweet. A stunning novel which stayed with me long after I finished reading.

*Christmas Island by Natalie NormannI really enjoyed this sweet romantic tale. Doctor, Holly is suspended from the hospital where she works following an argument with a colleague and takes herself off to visit her brother and his family on their island home in Norway. They're away visiting her wife's mother in Spain when she arrives in the dark and cold off the ferry. She takes a wrong turning and is saved by a yellow eyed cat called Froy. His abrasive and unfriendly owner, Tor berates her for standing so near to the cliff. He grudgingly offers to help her and she stays the night on his sofa before making her way to her brothers the next day.

The story is steeped in Norwegian traditions and friendly island folk. Tor can't get Holly out of his head and keeps doing thoughtful things for her. She really likes him too but realises it can only be a holiday romance as they live such different lives. Her romantic fairytale ends when she's called back to work and reality but there's a surprise in store! I absolutely loved the story and characters. So recommend!

*The Therapist by B A Paris - oh I absolutely adored this twisty tale which isn't published until next year. I'm taking part in the blog tour in January, so catch my review then.

From previous months (awaiting publication):

*Deadly Cry - DI Kim Stone #13 by Angela MarsonsOh how I love a Detective Kim Stone novel! I found I instantly slotted myself back into the lives of Kim and the Team, such brilliant characters I've grown to love. A little girl is found alone in a shopping centre. Where is her mother? She's later found murdered nearby. A second murder follows quickly on its heels, what is the connection to two seemingly innocent women? And where is the second woman's son.

Detective Kim Stone and the Team are quickly on the case but are struggling with leads. Stacey is working on an unsolved case regarding rape and she feels something is amiss. Penn is mourning the loss of his mother and seems unable to reach his younger brother Jasper.
The killer reaches out to Kim by letter begging for her assistance in making it stop. What are the connections? What do the scratch marks represent? I love how everything is very cleverly interwoven. I must admit though I never guessed! Twisty and as unputdownable as ever! Highly recommend.

*A Girl without a Name by Suzanne GoldringThe story opens in the present day and Billie's father suffers a stroke, seemingly after something he's seen on a newsflash. She discovers a photograph in his wallet and tries to ask her father about it. He becomes agitated and she makes out the word Ruby. She decides to ask her aunt if she knows who this Ruby could be...

Ruby and Stevie met when they were evacuated with his sister Joan to sleepy Devon during WW2 and became friends. When Ruby's mum is killed by a bomb, she finds her perfect life with Mrs Honey in Devon is over. All her aunt and uncle want is a slave to help them run their London pub. Ruby gets a job in a local department store and meets Stevie again. She has some moments of joy before he's sent overseas to do mandatory work in the Armed Forces. When he returns he's a changed man and Ruby has to make a choice.
Meanwhile, Billie, with the help of her Aunt Joan is trying to track down what happened to Ruby and what connections she had with her father after he married her mother. What is the connection to the devastating flood and her dad, and why does Ruby mean so much to him.... There are some twists in the book which I never expected at all. It's a brilliant read which I so recommend.

What have you been reading this month?

November: Lately I've Been Loving

I ran out of time in October, so didn't do a lately I've been loving post (there also wasn't much I'd been loving back then!)

I've been really enjoying nknaturals mini complete autumn set (£55) which I treated myself to. It contains smaller size of the range, although the facial oil and Copper Distilled botanical mist are full sizes. Expect a review of this beautiful range early next month. 

See my thoughts on the Summer seasonal collection* HERE (gifted).

Petra at late skin party occasionally sends me little parcels of books. In my latest pile are all brand new to me books. Such joy!

An order from Tea by the Sea - a Welsh small company I discovered on instagram. The handmade tea I chose is perfect for November/December and truly delicious!

A parcel from Blended by Mama never fails to disappoint. I chose "Under the Light of the Christmas Tree" aka five gold rings! The beeswax melts are exquisite and these ones are scented with essential oils of clementine, mandarin, fir needle and patchouli finished with a shimmer of plant based biodegradable glitter. To me they smell of a pot of orange marmalade bubbling on the stove! Gorgeous! 

My lovely Advent Calendar (one of many, I've been truly spoiled this year) from Dr Hauschka at Love Lula (which was partly gifted through their very generous blogger program). See my initial musings HERE.

The gorgeous Christmas Box from Olfactory Candles. Look how stunning it is! Remember you can get 15% off your first order with SANDRA15 (excluding burners). Go on, treat yourself!

A little bit of Christmas time, autumn leaves, holly berries and sunrise. The Dome on George Street in Edinburgh always looks so nice and festive - they pull out all the stops.

What have you been loving in November?

Sunday, 29 November 2020

*Potion Paris: The Discovery Sample Set

*PR sample I was very kindly gifted Potion Paris's sumptuous The Discovery Sample Set* which has 10% off until midnight tonight! (making the set a very affordable £22.99 instead of £24.99). It'd make the perfect gift for any perfume lover! It also includes a £20 gift voucher for redemption on the one which makes your heart sing!

The samples are presented in a luxurious velvet lined box, making it perfect for gifting - even as a gift to yourself! 

The cruelty and toxin free fragrances are formulated with naturally derived ingredients, are vegetarian and paraben and phthalate free. If you are buying a full size you're advised to start with a starter set which contains the luxurious iconic vial (in rose gold or black) which you use to transport each scent as well as 2 x 10ml fragrances and a vial case. Potion Paris's motto is Return - Refill - Repeat. See the photo below (courtesy of the brand) of the vial.

Inside the Discovery Sample Set are 7 x 2ml EdP which I always think is more than ample to know if you love a scent or not.

ADDICTION: Peony & Nutmeg - with top notes of pink pepper, bergamot, pear and redcurrant. A heart of damask rose, jasmine peony and violet with base notes of Bourbon vanilla, benzoin, tonka, patchouli, woods, ambroxan and nutmeg.

CREATION: Vanilla & Musk - with top notes of orange, pear and green notes, a heart of white flowers, orchid and toffee with base notes of vanilla praline and musk.

DECEPTION: Jasmine & Patchouli - with top notes of ginger and rose, a heart of jasmine bud, Rangoon creeper and tuberose with base notes of patchouli, musk and osmanthus.

SEDUCTION: Amber, Praline & Wood - with top notes of citrus, plum and bergamot, a heart of vanilla, toffee, tonka bean and coumarine with base notes of musk, almond, praline, amber and balsamic.

SENSATION: Precious Oud & Oriental - with top notes of lime, plum, saffron and rose, a heart of agarwood, incense, amber and lavender with base notes of cedarwood, patchouli, vetiver and musk.

TEMPTATION: Rose, Peony & Wood - with top notes of pomegranate, bergamot and peony, a heart of rose, jasmine and peach with base notes of sandalwood, vanilla and musk.

I've loved trying them all but my standouts are CREATION and TEMPTATION. Browse the shop HERE.

Friday, 27 November 2020

*NeuroSkinFeeds The MicroOil + 10% off for Black Friday!

*PR sample I've been testing out NeuroSkinFeed's The MicroOil (£49 - 50ml)* which has been created and formulated by founder, Tatu Cutillas, a Spanish Counsellor and Addictions specialist to treat your skin, your mind and your mood. It's a unique blend containing Camelina Sativa Seed Oil which calms and relaxes both the skin and mind.

It's presented boxed in a pipette bottle, is Vegan, Natural, Cruelty Free and suitable for all skin types, even sensitive. 

At it's heart is calming Camelina Sativa Seed Oil which is a strong antioxidant high in Vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids. Plukentia Volubilis Seed Oil helps with sun damage, regenerates and smoothes out fine lines and wrinkles. Sweet Almond Oil conditions while Squalane firms and plumps. The oil has a neutral sort of scent and is really lovey to use.  I've found it really does calm my mind and make my skin glow!

To use: apply 2-4 drops to cleansed face and neck AM and PM before moisturiser.

Get 10% off with GIFT10 which is valid until 30th November. Pick yours up HERE.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Raven Botanicals 24 Carat Oil to Milk Cleanser

As you'll know I'm a huge fan of Raven Botanicals having first tried one of their products - their best selling and first product in the range Skin Savior Facial Oil in my July Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box which was entitled Summer Vibes (REVIEW). The girls kindly gifted me a few bits to try - see HERE. As soon as I saw the cleanser I knew I had to snap it up! I love how beautifully presented parcels are - making them such a joy to open.

I'm also a huge fan of the less is more in the packaging stakes - there's no unnecessary outer boxes and all the packaging is recyclable or reusable. Their 24 Carat Oil to Milk Cleanser (50ml - without pump £15, with reusable pump £16) comes in an aluminium bottle.

The oil to milk cleanser easily removes make up and daily grime (and smells amazing - citrussy). It turns cleansing into a real ritual. The oil turns to a milk when rinsed with water, leaving no oily residue - just fresh and clean skin!

Formulated with a range of magical plant ingredients including raspberry and papaya seed oils which dissolve impurities, absorb excess sebum and naturally exfoliate dead skin cells.

To use: massage onto the skin, inhaling the beautiful aroma before rinsing off with water (I like to use a muslin cloth/face cloth).

Another beautiful and effective product from Raven Botanicals - what are your favourites from the range? This is moving instantly into my Top Products 2020!

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

November Empties

I think this is the smallest amount of empties I've ever had. I did think of saving them for next month but, here goes! If a product is marked * I very kindly received it free of charge for review.

Schmidt's Jasmine Tea Sensitive Skin Formula Deodorant - this is my all time fav deodorant. Unfortunately, they sold out to Unilever. I've got a couple of the other scents to use up before I try to find something I love as much! 

Palm of Feronia Moonstone Sleep Spray sample size - I picked this up a while ago before they rebranded (the prices have gone up slightly too since my blog POST). I felt it really helped to have a restful night's sleep and I'll pick up the smaller 30ml spray at some point.

nknaturals Summer Daily Protection Moisturiser 60ml* - I thoroughly enjoyed this pot of goodness. See my review HERE. I'm currently loving my mini Complete Autumn Collection - expect a review soon! I adore this seasonal skincare range.

Rounding up my empties is Absolution's fabulous Le Gommage Corps Body Scrub 208g which I received in Naturisimo's Summer Vibes Discovery Box. I simply adored this scrub which had a texture of soft wet sand encased in a skin loving oily formulation. Amazing! See my review HERE.

What have you been using up this month?

Monday, 23 November 2020

*Blog Tour: How to Belong by Sarah Franklin

*I received an ARC free of charge to enable me to take part in the blog tour. I absolutely loved How to Belong by Sarah Franklin.

In the follow up to her acclaimed novel Shelter, Sarah Franklin returns to the Forest of Dean, this time exploring what it means to belong to a rural community in a rapidly changing world.

Jo grew up in the Forest of Dean, but she was always the one destined to leave for a bigger, brighter future. When her parents retire from their butcher's shop, she returns to her beloved community to save the family legacy, hoping also to save herself. But things are more complex than the rose-tinted version of life which sustained Jo from afar.

Tessa is a farrier, shoeing horses two miles and half a generation away from Jo, further into the forest. Tessa's experience of the community couldn't be more different. Now she too has returned, in flight from a life she could have led, nursing a secret and a past filled with guilt and shame.

Compelled through circumstance to live together, these two women will be forced to confront their sense of identity, and reconsider the meaning of home.

My thoughts?

Having loved Shelter I couldn't wait to read How to Belong. We are back in the Forest of Dean. Jo was brought up here and has returned, leaving her high flying career as a Barrister behind. She's hoping to take over the family butchers shop as her parents are retiring. She thinks it'll be easy to slot back in to life in the village with her old friends, doesn't she? Jo finds life back home is a lot different than coming back for visits. Her lifelong friend Liam is off with her and she's not sure why, her colleagues at the butcher's who worked for her folks are awkward, unhelpful and seem to want her to fail...
She decides to rent a room with Tessa, a loner who works as a farrier and has a cottage in the forest. It's a learning curve for both of them with Tessa being terrified that Jo will find out about her illness. Meanwhile, Jo's struggling with being back and finds her landlady a bit strange.
Tessa is hiding a lot of things, is abrasive and unfriendly at times. She's hurting from recent and historical things which have happened to her, as well not understanding why she feels unwell at times. I loved how Jo helps Tessa even after they have fallings out. I loved this story of belonging, friendship, starting over and finding a sense of self. It's one of my favourite reads this year.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Zing Organics: Sustainable Subscription Club: November: Love Came Down At Christmas

November's Zing Organics Sustainable Subscription is entitled "Love Came Down At Christmas" and includes items to cozy up, relax and enjoy (this is my last one as I'm cutting back on spends going into December and next year). Although I'll likely to be back to pick up some of my favourites from the store!

As you know, I'm a huge soy wax melt fan and was delighted to see two Russian Doll soy wax melts in Clementine & Clove which are perfect for this time of year. They smell glorious on cold sniff! Also inside is a large classic candle in Christmas Tree aroma which has a very subtle freshly cut tree scent (these aren't supplied with lids to make them more eco friendly).

Also inside is Love You Forever blend Body Oil 25ml which is a limited edition scent. It's a blend of skin loving oils along with Frangipani, Patchouli  and Cedarwood. Rounding up the collection is a little gift tag embossed with a glittery gold angel. I'm so going to miss this monthly treat!

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Latest Buys: Screaming Mandrake Perfumes, Olfactory Candles, Elm Rd & Kari Gran

I'm planning to restrict my spending in the New Year (I'm getting rid of most of my subscription boxes) and going to try very hard not to buy things I don't need (I'm sure I'll succumb to a Naturisimo Discovery box or two, or must-have wax) but my spending has gone out of control these last few months! *gifted product

After having tried Screaming Mandrake Perfumes Limited Edition Autumn Fire Perfume Oil (lush) REVIEW when they were having a 20% off Friday 13th sale I knew it was time to pick up their Mini Perfume Oil Sampler Collection, which had been on my wishlist for like forever! Inside this exquisite little set are the 13 perfume oils from the main collection, a beautiful crystal and the much loved preserved moss packing! Really looking forward to trying them all out. I've a few favs so far!

I've recently become an Olfactory Candles Ambassador and you can get 15% off your first order (excluding burners) with SANDRA15. My latest order was their The Botanical Collection which you can see above. These are formulated with their soy wax blend and essential oils. Catch my review for them over on Instagram soon! (these cost £5.50 each).

I couldn't resist the new discovery sets (Studio & Wellbeing) from Elm Rd. I adored their award winning candle - Happiness which I judged for the Beauty Shortlist Awards this year. I also had the real pleasure of trying Petals* see my review HERE

Inside each discovery set are five scents - they aren't supposed to be full blown candles but to give you an idea of how each scent smells. Each set costs a fiver, with the fiver being redeemable on a £15+ spend. I've only tried one so far - Courage - which is an exquisite woody smokey blend - cinnamon, patchouli, birch tar, vetiver, cedarwood and clove bud (full size is on my list!)

Naturisimo are the UK stockist for US Kari Gran and I had to have a lip whip (£23 - 7ml). This delectable, creamy and minty scented treat for the lips gives them a sheer wash of colour. I chose Cora Gold which is orangey-red (it gives the lips a subtle and sheeny pop of colour). I like this a lot.

What have you been treating yourself to lately?

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Odacite 552M Argan + Coconut Soap Free Shampoo Bar 35g

 I received a trial size (35g) of Odacite's 552M Argan + Coconut Soap Free Shampoo Bar in my Naturisimo Earth Day Exclusive Discovery Box back in April (see here). Naturisimo's Discovery Boxes always seem to tempt me, although this product had been on my wishlist.

"552 million plastic shampoo bottles end up in landfills every year".  This bar is formulated to care for the environment and your hair. The box is recyclable/compostable making this truly a zero waste product. 

This soap free shampoo bar leaves the hair feeling clean, deeply nourished, silky smooth and shiny and I found I didn't need conditioner. It's formulated with Coconut oil which provides the rich foamy lather, Cupuacu butter nourishes while Argan and Castor oils seal moisture into each strand. 

To use: rub the bar directly onto wet hair before lathering up and rinsing

This is one of my favourite shampoo bars. It's easy to use, kind the the environment and gives great results. What's your favourite Shampoo Bars?