Monday, 9 December 2019

*Ancienne Ambiance: Special Edition Tuberosa Tuberose Scented Candle

*gifted I was gifted a gorgeous Special Edition, Award Winning Tuberosa Tuberose Ancienne Ambiance Scented Candle recently (£44 - 200g) which has a burn time of 60-65 hours. It also featured in my recent Christmas Gift Guide.

I absolutely adore the Tuberosa Tuberose scent - creamy and deeply floral with intoxicating tuberose flowers. It really is a delight. I had the real pleasure of trying the matching tealights the minute they launched. I met founder, Adriana at the London store during a visit to London. She's lovely! She also very kindly gave me some treats to take away! See my post HERE.

burn for 2-3 hours to get an even burn & prevent tunnelling - I took this photo just about immediately after I'd lit it.

I'm looking forward to continuing to burn this deeply aromatic and gorgeous candle. The scent just lasts and lasts. The throw is absolutely fantastic (I can still smell it the next day). Each candle is hand poured in the UK using a slow burning wax blend with a lead free wick. The special labels pay homage to the artistry of ancient Roman mosaics.

The glass candle pot can be reused, recycled or returned to Ancienne Ambiance who will for every 6 returned candle glasses give you a free candle in return!

What are your favourite products from the range?

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Latest in Beauty: Grazia Beauty Advent Calendar: The first eight days

I hummed and hawed about picking up a Grazia Advent Calendar in association with Latest in Beauty. During their Halloween sale it was marked down 20% (was £85) and I thought I was getting a real bargain until Black Friday week tipped up and it went down to £42! (next year I'll be waiting!) Here's what I received during the first 8 days:

Day 1 - Anastasia Liquid Lipstick in Ashton, which I'd received before. It looks like a nice pink shade in the tube but in reality it's a matte brown. Not for me, I passed this one along.

Day 2 - Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cell Repair Night Oil 15ml which I've used before and my skin loved. It's a decent size too.

Day 3 - System Professional Reconstructive Elixir 30ml which I use all the time. My hair loves it. A very welcome addition to the calendar. This is worth £17 and was one of the reasons I had to have the advent calendar.

Day 4 - bareMinerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Infusion - again, I've used this serum before and it's lovely. 

Day 5 - St Tropez Self Tan Purity - Face Mist - I don't use self tan so I'll pass this one along also.

Day 6 - Omorovicza Illuminating Moisturiser - another product I was really excited about. Expect a review on the blog soon!

Day 7 - NARS Satin Lip Pencil - ooh I love this one! Gorgeous wearable shade.

Day 8 - Darphin Vetiver Aromatic Stress Relief Detox Oil Mask mini - I love the scent of vetiver. I'm looking forward to trying this out.

In the first 8 days there are 5 products I'm really excited about - which is not bad going! What advent calendar are you opening? (I've also got a lovely tea one I got from my friend Magi).

Saturday, 7 December 2019

*nknaturals Season Oils Collecton

*productsample As you'll know I'm a real fan of nknaturals having first tried a couple of the products (REVIEW) after spotted the brand on Lynda's instagram feed - you know the drill, the blogger made me buy it..

The Season Oils Collection (£55, or £15 individually)* comes in it's own little pouch making it perfect for gifting (if you can bear to give it away that is!). The oils are handblended with love and care by founder and formulator, Nicola Kidd.

The 4 x 15ml rollerballs are nestled inside with full ingredients details for each oil.

spring oil has a glorious uplifting scent and is perfect to rid the skin and mind of winter. I'm looking forward to bringing this out again early next year! Formulated with healing coconut, regenerating & hydrating oat kernel oil, soothing & cooling blue chamomile, balancing lavender and soothing & antiviral palmarosa. It's perfect for the transitioning period when the dark nights and colder weather makes way for lighter Spring days. 

To use: apply to the face and neck in the evening after cleansing and toning.

My bottle of spring oil has been made in a batch of approximately 10 bottles and is best before June 2020. I'll review spring oil more fully next year.

summer oil has a gorgeous golden hue and will protect summer parched skins. Formulated with natural UV protecting sesame and red raspberry seed oils which will nourish and reduce inflammation, a double hit of nourishing & regenerating sea buckthorn (fruit and seed oils) and scented with the exotic oils of brightening patchouli and anti-inflammatory ylang ylang. 

To use: apply to the face and neck at night after cleansing.

My bottle of summer oil has been made in a batch of approximately 10 bottle and is best before September 2020. 

autumn oil is richer and will help to protect, hydrate, repair and revive and leave you with glowy and nourished skin. Formulated with pumpkin seed which is high in essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals and vitamin rich sea buckthorn oils which regenerates the skin, with naturally antiseptic rosemary, rebalancing petitgrain and anti-inflammatory and uplifting benzoin. 

To use: apply to the face and neck at night after cleansing and toning.

My bottle of autumn oil has been made in a batch of approximately 10 bottles and is best before December 2020.

winter oil is the perfect festive green and has a deeply herbal scent. It's a nutrient rich viscous oil and perfect for cold harsh air and central heating. Formulated with jojoba and cacay oils calm and soothe dry winter skin while blue yarrow and rosemary soothe and heal dry and chapped skins creating a resilient barrier, patchouli meanwhile uplifts and cleanses.

To use: apply to the face and neck at night after cleansing

My bottle of winter oil has been made in a batch of approximately 10 bottles and is best before April 2021.

nknaturals offer a recycle - refill - reuse scheme - return your empty jars with your email address and Nicola will send you a special discount code to receive a 20% discount off your next order. 

I've loved trying (and still trying) these wonderful oils - I highly recommend them all! Have you tried any of the season oils? If so, what are your favourites?

Friday, 6 December 2019

NISKAMA Skincare: Dry Skin Relief Body Balm

Cornish NISKAMA Skincare had been on my radar but I'd never got round to trying it until their luxe Dry Skin Relief Body Balm 50g worth £6.50 appeared my my November Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box (link)

The range is lovingly handcrafted by founder and formulator, Sylwia, a pharmacist and natural skincare lover and the ranges are made in Cornwall. Packaging is recyclable or re-useable and the range is free from SLS, SLES, methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazolinone, parabens, lanolin, phthalates, propylene glycol, alcohol (ethyl alcohol, ethanol), harsh foaming agents, irritating emulsifiers, synthetic fragrance, PABA-sunscreen, colourants, petrochemicals, urea, DEA, TEA or PEGs.

The body balm is an absolute delight! It's formulated with organic butter, raw coconut oil, Vitamin E and lavender and ylang ylang essential oils and melts instantly on contact with warm skin. The scent's incredibly lovely and the balm is perfect for dry skin. 

To use: massage over the body for an instant nourishing boost, you can also melt it in your palm before applying the the skin. Use as a lip balm or on cuticles. I've also used a small amount to tame flyaways.

I'd asked Sylwia on Social Media if there was a chance of refills and she said she'd definitely investigate that! 

I picked up their Mini Starters Kit which is currently on buy 2 get one free! It would make an excellent small gift or secret santa! A review will be forthcoming. Sylwia is taking a well earned break so get your orders in before the 14th!

What are your favourites from the brand?

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Frédéric Malle: Dominique Ropion: Carnal Flower

I first tried Frédéric Malle via Les Senteurs sampling service (Lipstick Rose) and of course a trip to London isn't complete without a trawl involving perfume shops (post). Frédéric Malle is a publishing house for the industry's best perfume designers. Expert, Mr Malle "guides them through their creative process to ensure they're always transcending their limits".

Carnal Flower by Dominique Ropion (from £48 - 10ml) is an absolutely sublime. It has top notes of water fruits (melon), vegetal notes and fresh aspect of Tuberose with base notes of Tuberose (milky aspect) and musk. It took the perfumer 18 months to perfect. 

It's a really beautiful scent which lasts and lasts and keeps evolving. It starts off quite fresh and floral before developing into a rich and decadent tuberose then mellowing to a creamy woody floral. I love it!

Do you have any favourites in the range?

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

*Blog Tour: The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson

I'm on the blog tour today for the fabulous The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson. I received a free e-copy from the publisher in order to take part in the tour.

Having loved Gill's first book The Oceans Between Us (REVIEW) I couldn't wait to read her second book and am thrilled to take part in the blog tour this month.  The e-book came out on 1st December.

Inspired by the real-life escape of thousands of Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Europe on the Kindertransport trains to London, the new novel from the author of The Oceans Between Us Gill Thompson. For readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz Heather Morris, My Name is Eva by Suzanne Goldring and A View Across the Rooftops by Suzanne Kelman.
'OH MY HEART! Moved me DEEP FROM WITHIN. I cannot recommend it enough' The Writing Garnet
'I was RIVETED... I LOVED the book *****' I'm Hooked on Books
Prague 1939. Young mother Eva has a secret from her past. When the Nazis invade, Eva knows the only way to keep her daughter Miriam safe is to send her away - even if it means never seeing her again. But when Eva is taken to a concentration camp, her secret is at risk of being exposed.
In London, Pamela volunteers to help find places for the Jewish children arrived from Europe. Befriending one unclaimed little girl, Pamela brings her home. It is only when her young son enlists in the RAF that Pamela realises how easily her own world could come crashing down.
My thoughts?
Young mum Eva has a secret from her past which she's kept hidden from her husband. When the Nazis invade Prague she knows she must send her young daughter Miriam away to England on the Kindertransport train. Even if it heart breakingly means she'll never see her again she feels she's got to put her safety first. 
Pamela who is married to Hugh, who works in the war office volunteers to help find homes for the Jewish children arriving on the trains. She befriends one little girl and brings her home. Her beloved son, Will secretly joins the RAF which while heroic means months of anguish for her.  
Eva's husband Josef works as a scientist, which gives them flimsy security but when he's asked to do a special job for the Nazis he refuses. They know it's only a matter of time before they come for them.. Life in camp is hard and Eva's parents who have spend 50 years together are heart breakingly torn apart. Life is a constant struggle. Surprisingly, music is allowed and Eva, a talented pianist joins the group where she meets truly gifted Hana, a young girl to whom she's drawn to. Eva sees someone from her past who she hopes will be able to help Hana when the time comes.  
The stories are very cleverly intertwined and based on real life. I just couldn't put it down - it made me happy, angry, sad and there are also some incredibly joyful moments within the pages (it also made me cry). An incredible read which I thoroughly recommend. 

Monday, 2 December 2019

Looking Back: Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box

What a wonderful year it's been! After the July '19 box Paula, founder of Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box decided to go bi-monthly which means if you sign up today your first box will be January's (subsequent boxes will be in March, May, July, September and November). 

January's theme was Regenerate (REVIEW) and inside was loads of lushness! 

There were 2 new to me brands nestling inside - CACTI Cosmetics and Pure Lakes. I really enjoyed everything from this box. See my review of OKKO here and Clockface Beauty here.

Coming into February the theme was Pure Bliss (REVIEW) and squeals there were three new to me brands - that's what beauty boxes should be all about!

Cocorosa Beauty was totally new to me. I loved the Egyptian Neroli Cleansing Oil so much I rushed out and bought full size! Also new to me was Belenos Skin Botanique. I loved their Repair Serum so much (REVIEW). Also new to me was Farryn Amber and I already adore the glorious Micheline Arcier. This was one of my favourite boxes from the whole year.

March brought us Awaken (REVIEW) and inside was one new to me brand - Kushboo Soaps.

See my Skin Alchemists Apothecary review HERE.

Coming into April, the theme was Inner Peace (REVIEW) and inside was three new to me brands!

I totally fell head-over-heels for ku.tis's gorgeous and lush Grounded Body Butter with Orange & Patchouli (REVIEW) and INKA Botanicals Marmalade Mist with it's lush orange blossom and honey notes. I also loved Therapy On-the-go Tranquil Roll-on by Wildheart Organics. This is another box which is high contender for fav of the year!

In May, the theme was GLOW (REVIEW) and inside were three new to me brands.

Danish Jorgobe is totally new to me and their Award winning Hydrating Glow Serum is gorgeous! Danish Grums, also a new to me brand. Their 2-in-1 Raw Coffee Hand Scrub is fab! Avocadeau is also a new to me brand! I reviewed Bowe Organics lovely Lip Balm here. Another top box!

In June, the theme was Luminosity (REVIEW) and inside was three new to me brands, yet again (this seems to be a recurring feature for the last few boxes!) 

I totally adored Bumi NaturalsKurly Sue (REVIEW) and 34.4. The other two I'd tried before. Another fabulous box.

July's box was entitled Bon Voyage (the last monthly box) (REVIEW) and inside was one new to me brand - Bain+Savon.

I loved trying out all of these and took the Badger Balm after sun balm on holiday.

September's theme was Organic September (REVIEW) and inside was two new to me brands.

The new to me brands this month are Lovegrove Essentials and Verdant Alchemy. See my reviews of the Terre Verde HERE, Casa Mencarelli HERE and the Botanicals product HERE.

November's box was totally decadent and luxurious. The theme was Sleep Retreat (REVIEW). Inside are three new to me brands..

WOW! I've used the decadent ila spa bath salts many times and they were quickly used up!  I loved the NISKAMA Body Butter so much and have since went onto explore the range more when I picked up their dinky but gorgeous mini starter kitHaoma and Lunar & Lux are also new to me. Ezape Naturals I've got three of these body oils having bought one, then got 2 in beauty boxes!

It's been nice to look back! Inside the boxes this year were 20 new to me brands - that's what beauty boxes should be about - discovering newness! Are you a subscriber? What's been your favourites or new tries this year?

Sunday, 1 December 2019

November Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in November:

*I will make you Pay by Teresa Driscoll - Journo, Alice Henderson receives an unpleasant anonymous phone call an hangs up dismissing it as a crank call. However the next again Wednesday something happens which seems to be connected to the phone call.

Who wants her to suffer? The police aren't much use and her boyfriend Tom insists on hiring a private investigator to look out for her on a Wednesday. Her stalker seems to want to target those dear to her - her ailing mother and only sister.

She's working on a local story involving a campaign to tear down a block of flats which is riddled with damp - it seems like everyone is over the moon that the campaign has been successful.

There's a story running alongside about a small boy who lives with his much loved gran. Initially I couldn't connect where this tied into the story but it's very cleverly interwoven and a real part of the overall story.

We find out a little about Alice's past which makes for surprising and unpleasant reading - is her stalker from that part of her past? It's a fast paced read which had me questioning everything and that twist, wow, I never saw that coming for a moment. A brilliant read which I so recommend.

*Safe House by Jo Jakeman - Charlie has bought a run-down house in a remote Cornish village. She's starting again with a new name and appearance. Nobody apart from one person knows who she really is and where she is.

She's not long out of prison for providing a false alibi for her controlling partner, Lee Fisher, a man she believed was the love of her life and not capable of what they said he did.

She's there to start afresh and begins to make friends but feels someone is always watching her. It spooks her (and me!) out. She makes friends with her elderly neighbour who lives next door and a gaggle of women around her age. Life is good. 

But who is out to make her pay? I read this story in a day. I thought it was absolutely fantastic and seriously creepy. Highly recommend.

*I Dare you by Sam Carrington - The story opens in sleepy Mapledon in 1989 when two young girls are playing a game of (what I knew it as, of knock, knock, run away). Of course, local weirdo, Billy Crawley, or "Creepy Crawley" as he's known is the chosen one the local kids torment.

It's told in the past and the present and is super twisty, un-put-downable and for me it was always just one more chapter...that twist, I never for one minute saw it coming..

One day when out playing Anna's (or Bella as she was known then) friend goes missing. Precious moments are lost and her body has never been found. Billy Crawley was the prime suspect and he went down for 30 years.

It's nearing the 30th anniversary and Anna's mother telephones her begging her to come home as there has been some strange happenings. There's also an inquisitive journo with links to the village poking her nose in. Anna who has not set foot in the village since that time has no desire to return.. 

It's a tale of intrigue with a healthy dose of meddling and was Billy really to blame? Highly recommend!

*The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue - this isn't published until next year so I'll share my review then. It's absolutely un-put-down-able with interesting characters and storylines. I loved it.

*The Dilemma by B A Paris - WOW I just loved this twisty read! Again, it's not published until next year so I'll share my review in my January book round-up. It's brilliant.

*The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson - I just devoured this incredible read in two sittings. Absolutely wonderful. I'm taking part in the blog tour on the 3rd so catch my review then.

What have you been reading this month?

Saturday, 30 November 2019

November: Lately I've been Loving

Here are my November loves:

I adore hard back books and I think these ones would make excellent Christmas gifts. These are the ones in my current TBR pile (though I'm half way through the excellent Living with Coco Chanel:The Homes & Landscapes that Shaped the Designer by Caroline Young). It's such an interesting read.

I randomly came across Mark Peters Glass and had-to-have this gorgeous Tunnock's Teacake fused glass decoration. It's so sweet and I adore it. Check out the rest of the designs (including gorgeous Christmassy ones HERE).

One of Madara's latest make up launches had to be mine. Their new Skin Equal Soft Glow Foundation (£33 - 30ml) is absolutely fantastic. It blends really well and leaves the skin with a glow. 

I just love mince pies and was thrilled when I spotted them on the shelves of Sainsbury's in early November.

The Portobello Bookshop which is local to me (and wonderful) has a great selection of Indie mags. I picked up my favourite Bloom Magazine which is full of inspiration for the garden, nature lovers, allotments and the great outdoors. Such a treat!

Discovering Nudge Boutique's gorgeous soap free shampoo tablets that actually work! I picked a two pack which retails at £5 (one I kept and one I gifted to my hairdresser - so I'll hear her thoughts next time I'm there!). So far so good, my hair is loving these and I love that they are the perfect palm size. Review is to come!

 top one is the one I've been using - bottom one brand new

What have you been loving this month?

Friday, 29 November 2019

*Petits Rituels: Orange Gourmande Aromatherapy Candle Two Wicks

*gifted It was such a delight when Nathalie, Founder and Artisan Perfumer of Petits Rituels got in touch to ask if I'd like to try reformulated Orange Gourmande Aromatherapy Candle with two wicks (£36 - 200g - 40hrs burn time). I'd tried some of the candles previously - see HERE and HERE. The candles are beautifully boxed making them perfect for gifting (keep your eyes peeled for Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals!)

The candles are presented in recyclable branded boxes and glassware and the candles are lovingly handcrafted in England, 100% natural and cruelty free with 100% cotton wicks.

The double wick is definitely decadent and the Orange Gourmande scent comforting, stress-relieving and relaxing. The artisan candle is hand poured using 100% natural waxes and pure essential oils of Sweet Orange & Rose Geranium. 

When you first light the candle you should allow it to burn for at least 2 hours to ensure a good melt pool is established and to prevent tunneling - before burning for a second time make sure to trim the wick.

This is a beautiful candle with a fantastic throw (I could still smell it in the room I'd been burning it the next morning - which is always the sign of a good quality and lovely candle).

There are 6 different fragrance ranges available - Christmas, Citrus, Floral, Minty, Spicy and Woody and these come in a range of candles, wax melts and essential oil blends.