Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Saint Iris Adriatica: On-The-Glow Bliss Pack

*I was very kindly gifted Saint Iris Adriatica's Vitality Spritz Radiance Spray 30ml mini saint (£14)* and mini saint Wake-Up Droplets Brightening Serum 30ml (£16)* for review. I purchased the three others in the range and received the gorgeous branded bag free (Energy Cleanse, Face & Body Cleanser, 30ml - £8, Purity Paste 3 minute express Mask 50ml - £15 and Serenity Salve resilience building moisturiser 50ml - £15). The mini saints are great for try-me size/holidays. Or buy the whole set for £65.

The sizes (pretty big for travel size, but still small enough to take in hand luggage) and branding is pleasing. I love the green bottle/jars which are recyclable or re-usable.  Founder, Sanela Lazic created the range in tribute to her Croatian heritage and the range is absolutely superb. The scent of the products is beautiful zesty and uplifting and the products are created in small batches in the UK, naturally formulated and Leaping Bunny approved.

Vitality Spritz Radiance Spray* is a deliciously refreshing hydrating mist which will uplift both the mind and skin. Anti-oxidant rich Adriatic fermented lemon peel brightens while it's zesty scent makes you happy! Seaweed protein aids collagen and elastic formulation while 20 wildplant oils and wildflower essences hydrate, nourish and restore radiance.

To use: spritz onto clean dry face or body or use as a cooling and uplifting mist after exercise or on the go.

Wake up Droplets, Brightening Serum* smoothes, brightens and balances the skin. "These Award Winning silky, gel-in-serum drops feel dry to the touch, yet soothing and cooling on the skin. Hydrating and deeply nourishing, they polish parched, sun-damaged skin instantly, while gently promoting a brighter more even tone". Formulated with Adriatic mountain daisy extract which is rich in skin brightening arbutin, Stabilised Vitamin C concentrate is converted in the skin into Vitamin C helping to reduce photo-ageing. Prebiotic fermented Pomegranate enzyme exfoliates, smoothes and strengthens.

To use: apply a few drops over clean dry skin daily.

Award Winning Serenity Salve soothes, hydrates and regenerates devitalised skin. I must admit I was expecting this to be more balm like in texture so was a bit surprised to open it up and find a lotion! Pea peptide encourages collagen synthesis and protects cells, Seaweed proteins regenerate, improving elasticity and comforting. Salicylic acid improves cell turnover and smoothness while Hyaluronic acid hydrates and plumps, 10 essential wildplant oils including borage & rosehip, naturally rich in retinol, essential fatty acids, Vitamins C, D and E.

To use: massage all over the body for lightly hydrated skin.

Also award winning, is Purity Paste which is a 3-minute power pack to brighten and retexturise dull skin. It has a glorious texture and colour. It's naturally warming and gently exfoliating. Skin is left glowy and rejuvenated. Mediterranean cedar micro-dust works with willow bark extract to gently exfoliate and detoxify the skin. Omega rich olive, seaberry, seaweed protein plus 20 wildplant oils revitalise and nourish. Cherry kernel oil softens and smoothes.

To use: smooth onto dry skin all over the body or targeted areas. Leave for 3 minutes, then shower off. It's also great to use on hands and feet in-between manicures and pedicures.

The final product is Energy Cleanse which nourishes and enlivens dull skin. It'll uplift the mood as well as clean both the face and body. Fruit enzymes and plant seed oils clarify, hydrate and soften the skin.

To use: use daily in the shower or bath.

I've been really impressed with the whole range and would buy all again. My absolute favourites were Vitality Spritz* and Wake Up Droplets*. Pick yours up HERE. Remember you can buy all mini saints for £65 or buy them individually (buy 3 and you'll received the branded bag). What are your favourites from the range?

Monday, 6 April 2020

Connock London: Limited Edition Travel Collection Minis

*the set doesn't come with a bag - it's just for illustrative purposes. Connock London's Limited Edition Travel Collection Minis are on sale for a bargainous £8! Inside the quartet you'll find:

Andiroba Oil Hand & Body Wash 75ml
Andrioba Oil Hand & Body Lotion 75ml
Manuka Honey Hand & Body Wash 75ml
Manuka Honey Hand & Body Lotion 75ml

It's a great try me set (or for travel when that is allowed again!). I've enjoyed both the scents - Andiroba Oil is fresh and green with notes of bergamot, lemon, Brazilian orange, iris, violet, sandalwood, cedarwood, musk, lavender and Peruvian pink pepper. It has a beautiful floral woody scent and the lotion leaves the skin delicately scented. You can check out the whole Andiroba Oil range HERE (some of the products are in the end of line sale - so grab a bargain!)

Again, some of the Manuka Honey range is in end of line sale - see HERE. It's a warm honey based scent with notes of citrus, Egyptian jasmine, rose and Calla lily with a base of vetivert, amber and musk. It's perfectly uplifting and the perfect pick me up. Both the body care products are gentle and leave the skin nourished and delicately scented.

What are your favourites from Connock London?

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Latest in Beauty - The Glow Down Edit - March 2020

I picked my monthly Latest in Beauty box up at the Post Office yesterday (this is my last one for a while as I've got lots I need to use up). March's theme was The Glow Down Edit

I picked 2 x 10ml tubes from Jurique - their simply stunning Moisture Plus Rare Rose Gel Cream (worth £7) and their Nutri-define Supreme Restorative Rich Cream (worth £15). I'm really looking forward to these!

My third pick (on the £9 subscription) was Australian Bodycare's Lavender & Tea Tree Wet Wipes x 24 (worth £4.99) which are infused with Lavender and Anti-Bac Tea Tree Oil (perfect for hands while out and about!) They can also be used on the face and body.

The extra treat was £10 off SpaBreaks (not something we'll be able to do anytime soon!).  Reviews will follow.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

*Blog Tour: Sister by Kjell Ola Dahl

*e-copy of the book sent to me free of charge for review purposes. Today I'm on the Blog Tour for Sister by Kjell Ola Dahl (Oslo Detectives).

The Oslo Detectives are back in another chilling slice of Nordic Noir … Frølich searches for the mysterious sister of a young female asylum seeker, but when people start to die, everything points to an old case and a series of events that someone will do anything to hide…

‘Impossible to put down’ Guardian

‘Absorbing, heart-rending and perfectly plotted’ Denzil Meyrick

‘A masterclass in plotting, atmosphere and character that finely balances shocking twists with the coppers’ complicated personal lives’ Sunday Times

Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death.

Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…

A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart, cementing Kjell Ola Dahl as one of the greatest crime writers of our generation.

My thoughts?

Sister is the ninth book in the Oslo Detectives series (and my first). It can however be read as a standalone (you know the drill, I now need to go back and start at the beginning!)

Frank Frølich, is an ex-cop turned Private Investigator and while stalking out a case of stolen goods meets his girlfriend, Matilde. She asks him to help a friend of hers who works with asylum seekers. One of them, a female is desperate to trace her sister who she believes to be in Norway.  He takes on the case.

He's then approached by an author, who is in the midst of writing his second controversial book on immigration. His first involved a tragedy where the police came out very badly.

Both cases take him back in contact with former colleagues who don't want him messing in what they see as police business...

I found the storylines carefully plotted, the characters interesting and the story had enough twists to keep the reader interested. Would highly recommend.

About the Author:

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers (Oslo Detectives series) featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. 

In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Blue Labelle - Les Voleurs (Four Thieves) Essential Oil Blend/Diluted Blend

I recently picked up two brand new products from Blue Labelle (I blame the newsletter - it piqued my interest and I knew I had to have!) in the form of their Les Voleurs (Four Thieves) Essential Oil and diluted plant oil blend. Both are currently on introductory prices - £9 for the neat Essential Oil (10ml) and £12 for the 30ml diluted plant oil blend.

They are a potent and powerful blend of essential oils based on the legend of the Four Thieves - a band of thieves robbed the possessions of dead bodies during the bubonic plague in 15th century France - they didn't however catch the infection. When arrested the judge wanted to know their secret - for a more lenient sentence the robbers told him they blended botanicals in vinegar which helped ward off infections. The extracts used were cinnamon, clove, rosemary and lemon - Pascale, at Blue Labelle adds lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree - a blend which purifies the air and invigorates the senses - it really has a heady aromatic punch!

The Essential Oil can be used in diffuser/oil burner or add a few drops to hand wash, make up a cleaner with water and vinegar in a spray bottle or add a few drops to floor cleaning water or to deodorise a bin while the Diluted Plant Oil Blend is best used to refresh hands and feet or add a small amount to a running bath (it's not for face/whole body use).

I love the "story" behind the products as well as finding them very effective. Pick yours up HERE (the physical shop at Ventnor is temporarily closed but the online shop is open!)

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

*Live in the Light: Pure Anada Balancing Shampoo & Conditioner Bars

*sent to me free of charge for review purposes. The brand new Shampoo & Conditioner Bars by Pure Anada (£9.95 each) which are available to buy at Live in the Light are well worth a look!

Balancing (Patchouli & Lemongrass) is suitable for all hair types and both bars - Shampoo & Conditioner are 115g giving you at least 100 washes/conditions each (the equivalent of 2-3 bottles of normal shampoo/conditioner!)

left - conditioner, right - shampoo

The pH balanced Balancing shampoo bar is made with Eco-cert approved, biodegradable, non-toxic surfactants and is infused with nourishing cocoa butter which cleanses and nourishes.

To use: dampen hair and then either rub to a lather between your palms like a soap bar before massaging onto the hair or rub the bar directly onto damp hair to create a foaming lather. Rinse. 

I've been so impressed with the shampoo bar - it leaves my hair super shiny and luminous and it's got a gorgeous lingering aromatic scent. Hair feels clean, light and full of volume.

The deeply nourishing Balancing Conditioner Bar detangles, smoothes and deeply hydrates the hair leaving it smooth, non-frizzy and conditioned with a delectable aromatic scent.

To use: after shampooing lather up the bar between your palms before applying a generous amount to mid-lengths and ends. Leave for a few minutes before rinsing.

The conditioner bar is super nourishing and the hair is left feeling super soft, shiny and in perfect condition. I'm totally in love with this duo. Pick yours up HERE.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

March Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in March. I sort of lost my reading mojo mid month, just with everything going on but I'm hoping I get it back to it as I've lots of amazing books on my kindle/taking part in some great blog tours. Books marked * I very generously received from the publisher via netgalley/direct from publisher.

*Waiting for Lindsay by Moira Forsyth - this was my first book by Moira Forsyth - I'll definitely go back and check out her others!

At the heart of the story, the main character is thirteen year old Lindsay Mathieson who goes missing when everyone else is playing on the beach. All her brother and cousins can say is that she walked up the beach, went round the rocks and disappeared..

The story jumps from the past to the present (30 years later) and we find out how the others have coped with her disappearance. On the main, they have pretty much kept in touch with each other and found myself totally engrossed in their stories and lives. A great read which I really enjoyed and would recommend.

*The Switch by Beth O'Leary - having adored The Flatshare I was thrilled to read The Switch. It's not published until the end of April so I'll share my review in my April book-round-up! Highly recommend though - it's a brilliant read (I wished for it on netgalley and the publisher very kindly granted my wish!)

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell - Vanessa Wye was just fifteen and at boarding school when her English teacher, Jacob Strane starts grooming her. The story flips back to then and the present. In the current day he's been accused of sexual abuse by a former pupil and Vanessa has to dissect her feelings - he was after all the love of her life, her awakening, her teacher... A dark and disturbing tale which gripped me to the very last page.

*Sister by Kjell Ola Dahl - I'm taking part in the blog tour in early April so catch my review then. 

The Donor by Clare Mackintosh - Meg, Lizzie's daughter receives a life saving heart transplant and they are all hugely grateful to the donor. After Meg appears in the local newspaper the donor's mother Karen gets in touch and asks to meet Meg. They feel it's the least they can do....but will they regret it? It's a twisty tale which was easy to read and which I devoured in one sitting.

The Little Dreams of Lara Cliffe - I loved this sweet tale of female friendship and love. Lara Cliffe is about to get married to the sweetest man who would do anything for her. She's on her hen-do with three of her best friends to Amsterdam when on the boat over she comes face-to-face with her ex, the guy who jilted her and the one she never forgot.... It's a great wee heartwarming story which I really recommend.

The Barn on Half Moon Hill by Milly Johnson - after having enjoyed the previous story I picked up another short read by Milly. Cariad Williams has been writing to movie star, Franco Mezzaluna since they were kids but he's never written back... She's just found out he's coming to the theme park where she works and has told her catty flatmates they are an item.. they don't believe her so can't wait to see her trip up on the day. Luckily Franco rises to the challenge and takes her out for lunch. They have so much to talk about and have a fun time and... he makes her dreams come true.. a nice short read which I recommend.

From last month:

*Little Doubt - DI Kelly Porter #7 by Rachel Lynch - I absolutely adore this series and Kelly Porter! Ella Watson is a wealthy mum of two who is randomly stabbed in broad daylight when out running in a nearby park. Later that same day, Keira Bradley, who lives on the Estate meets the same fate. Who is behind it? DI Kelly Porter is running the two cases side by side. Her boss, is obstructing her at every turn and no one on the housing estate feels able to speak to her for fear of reprisals.

As ever, she is determined to seek justice and it blows her for six when she finds a traitor in the ranks. I couldn't put the book down. It's fast paced and riveting and I can't wait for book #8. So recommend this book and the series.

What have you been reading this month?

Monday, 30 March 2020

Book-ish Book Club: A Book Subscription Service: March 2020

I randomly came across the Book-ish Book Club on Twitter and signed up for one month to try it (paperback £12 a month - check out the subscriptions available HERE). My letterbox friendly box arrived on Friday and here's what was inside...

Inside the box is a tissue wrapped book of the month along with some other treats.

This month you get a code for 15% off at the online-bookshop, a cute little pen from Legami, an info sheet and a bookmark (always useful).

Inside is Ali Smith's book Spring (which I haven't actually read!)

"What unites Katherine Mansfield, Charlie Chaplin, Shakespeare, Rilke, Beethoven, Brexit, the present, the past, the north, the south, the east, the west, a man mourning lost times, a woman trapped in modern times?"

"Spring. The great connective"

"With an eye to the migrancy of story over time, and riffing on Pericles, one of Shakespeare's most resistant and rollicking works, Ali Smith tells the impossible tale of an impossible time. In a time of walls and lockdown, Smith opens the door. The time we're living in is changing nature. Will it change the nature of the story?".

"Hope springs eternal"

I'll let you know my thoughts on the book in a monthly book round up. Are you a #BookishCrickBookClub subscriber?

Sunday, 29 March 2020

March: Lately I've Been Loving: My Chronicle Book Box, Pure Anada, Kiss the Moon, Bloom+The Simple Things mags

Everything changed so much in March with the coronavirus - I hope everyone is staying well and safe. *Means I've received something free of charge for review. Here's what I've been loving in March:

Hubby made Kedgeree, a delicious mix of basmati, smoked haddock, onion, curry paste and boiled eggs with a sprinkling of chopped parsley. We had it for brunch (but would have it for dinner too!)

My first My Chronicle Book Box which I reviewed HERE. It's such a carefully thought out subscription.

*I fell head-over-heels for Pure Anada's Peppermint Cream Effervescent Bath Soak* and Cocoa Body Butter*. The scent is almost good enough to eat - sugary mint with a touch of vanilla. Just sublime. This duo is fabulous for a non-calorific treat. See my review HERE and pick yours up HERE

*A truly decadent box of treats from Award Winning Kiss the Moon. The luxe packaging, beautiful scents with effective formulas just make my heart sing. Perfect for a moment of calm before bed. You can see my review of their GLOW Bedtime Bath Salts* HERE and their CALM after Dark Face Face Oil* HERE. A review is coming shortly for their gem CALM After Dark Sleep Balm*. The range is perfect for some me-time and to calm and relax both the body as well as the mind.

Lovely lifestyle magazines - my favs being Bloom and The Simple Things - with two gorgeous covers! I adore the 'lil' birds on a branch!

What's given you joy throughout March?

Saturday, 28 March 2020

*JOIK Organic: Matcha & Green Clay Detox Facial Mask & Rejuvenating Day Ceam

*Sent to me free of charge as a member of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program for an honest review:

I recently tried two of JOIK Organics other products - their Lemon & Geranium Natural Mineral Deodorant* and their Sweet Orange & Mint Body Butter* which were both fantastic. See my review HERE.

Today I'm sharing my thoughts on their Matcha & Green Clay Detox Facial Mask (£23 - 75ml)* which purifies, clarifies, refreshes and detoxes the skin (my oily t-zone loved this herbal-minty-fresh scented clay mask). It's especially suited to normal, combo and oily skin types (get 15% off at Love Lula when you spend £30 or more (exclusions apply). This code - SPRING - is valid until midday on 1st April - perfect time to stock up on some treats!)

Green Clay penetrates deep into the pores to dissolve impurities, detoxify and balance oiliness. Vitamin rich Matcha Tea hydrates, calms and pampers the skin, reducing irritation and redness. Nordic herbal extracts of Yarrow, Lady's Mantle, Peppermint, greater plantain and Melissa brighten and regenerate, evening the skin tone and making it glow. Serenoa palm and Juniper berry extracts have anti-bac properties which helps to refine pores. Organic Shea butter and Safflower oil nourish and hydrate while Organic Peppermint essential oil cools and refreshes the skin.

To use: apply a layer to cleansed skin leaving on for 5-10 minutes before washing it off (I tend to use a warmed damp cloth). Skin is left looking bright and refreshed.

I've also been really impressed with their Rejuvenating Day Cream (£35 - 50ml)* which is presented in a pump action glass bottle and has a lotion type texture. The scent is herbal and the "cream" absorbs instantly, firming and hydrating. 

The skin is plumped and smoothed by plant derived skin identical moisturising complex which binds to the skin's surface like a magnet locking in moisture and strengthening the skin. This powerhouse formulation also includes moisturising and hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, patented active Calcium 2 Ketogluconate which protects from moisture loss and promotes skin renewal. Polysaccharides rich in fern tree extract give a natural lift and tightening action while Organic Argan oil moisturises and softens. Extracts from Watercress, Nettle, Field Horsetail, Budleia Davidii & Thyme protect. Organic Sacha Inchi oil renews, improves elasticity while Caper Flower, Mulberry and Rhodiola Rosea extracts boosts skin's energy supplies and improves radiance. Skin is younger looking, energised and radiant.

To use: apply to face and neck in the morning.

I've loved using this day cream which brightens, nourishes and plumps the skin.  Pick yours up - HERE (Mask) and HERE (Day Cream).

What are your top picks from JOIK?

Thursday, 26 March 2020

March Empties

I actually used up the hand washes just before the Corona Virus became very real for us in the UK. Hope everyone is staying well and safe. Products marked * I received as a Beauty Shortlist Judge.

Olverum The Body Oil 10ml - I love the bath oil by the same brand so my interest was piqued to try the body oil which came, I think in a Latest in Beauty Box. Lovely to use, I'd definitely pick up again.

Tom Daxon Sicilian Woods 4.5ml EdP - which I received in a sampling box last birthday as a gift from hubby. See my thoughts HERE. This and Resin Sacra were my hands-down favourites and I'll definitely buy full size of both at some point.

As you know I was delighted to be asked to be a judge again at the recent Beauty Shortlist Awards and fell head-over-heels for the stunning Award Winning Desavery. I especially adored STELLAR Daily Serum* (it's scented with truly uplifting Bergamot Essential Oil) and SMOOTH Hyaluronic Acid*. A truly wonderful range which I'll buy again soon as I can.

Walden Natural Perfumes Castles in the Air EdP 15ml was an absolute delight. It featured in my project 10 pan (which I'm still slowly working through - see HERE and HERE (that's me now used up 4, so it's def a long process!)

I loved trying Evolve's Daily Apple Hair & Body Wash 50ml which was the perfect try-me-size/for travel. I loved it's light apple scent and how well it worked as a hair and body wash (full size is on the wishlist).

I'm a huge, huge, huge fan of Molton Brown's Christmas scent Frankincense & Allspice Hand Wash 350ml - I normally pick some up in the sale - but it sold out really quickly. I'll definitely be picking some up when it launches next October. See my review HERE.

I also adored Noble Isle's Tea Rose Hand Wash 250ml which has a delectable rosy scent (I want to try more from this range!). See my review HERE.

Corinne Taylor Spirit Room & Linen Mist 100ml - I love this award winning brand and I adored Spirit! It's an earthy and grounding blend with sage, palo santo and cedarwood and I was pretty upset when I used the last drop! Adds to wishlist once again..

What have you been using up this month?

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

*Love Lula: REN Bio Retinoid Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate Oil

*Sent to me free of charge as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. 

REN's Bio Retinoid Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate Oil (30ml - £47)* has piqued my interest for a while. It was when I spotted it in a magazine as a Beauty Expert's pick for glowy, plumped and smooth skin I knew I had to jump right in and try it for myself.

Their Bio Retinoid range is anti-ageing: it'll reduce wrinkles and age spots, leaving the skin look radiant, brighter and younger looking. Formulated with Retinoid analogue (a flower extract), Vitamin A and Hyaluronic Acid. I've found the oil to be very gentle with a slightly herbal aroma. It hydrates, protects, smooths and helps to even the skin tone. (I also love that you can recycle the packaging easily (minus the pipette).

To use: AM & PM before moisturiser. Warm 4-5 drops between your hands and gently pat over the face, neck and chest. 

I've found the oil brightens my skin and smoothes out fine lines and wrinkles, absorbing instantly and leaving my skin hydrated and glowy. It's a buy again product for sure! What are your favourites from REN? (I also adore Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil!)

Monday, 23 March 2020

Shopping My Stash #113

I've not been purchasing as much just now in these uncertain times (I've sort of lost my beauty and reading mojo - though I'm hoping they come back!) I'll be doing lots more shopping my stash posts/reviews of products I already have. Products marked * I've been gifted for review.

I absolutely adore Lush's Sleepy Body Lotion which really is a hug in a jar. It's perfect to use before bed for restful sleep. It's creamy, comforting and soothing with an oaty and lavender scent. NUXE's Huile Prodigieuse Riche has the same scent as the original best seller but with a richer texture. It's good for dry skin and hair leaving them nourished and luminous. Balm Balm's Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm* (which I received in December's* Love Lula Beauty Box) makes short work of make up and daily grime and has a delicious Frankincense scent.

From Award Winning 100 Acres Apothecary (which came in January's Skin Organic Clean Beauty Box) is their Rose & Lavender Bubble Bath which is a soothing and relaxing treat with plenty of frothy scented bubbles.

A while ago I spotted that Revolution Beauty had a lovely new skincare range and I've been trying their very affordable and gentle 12.5% Vitamin C Serum which brightens and helps make the skin glow! It's a very affordable £10 (there is a 3 for 2 offer on their website for skincare currently).

I adore Walden Natural Perfumes and Live the Life Natural Perfume Oil* is a beautiful blend of bergamot, orange, tuberose, sweet violet, sandalwood, Brazilian rosewood and China jasmine. It's a fruity floral with a hint of spice. A fuller review will follow.

My final item is from gorgeous JOIK - their Organic Pink Grapefruit Body Lotion* which has an uplifting and joyful citrus scent. See my review HERE.

What have you been reaching for lately?

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Old Faithful Makers' Balm Hand Balm

Old Faithful's Makers' Balm Hand Balm (£10 for 15ml - size above is 60ml - £27). I picked this hand balm up at sale time, I think it was £22 (but I'd pick it up again at full price). I love the simple, stylish and recyclable/re-usable packaging too.

The balm is sumptuous and deliciously hydrating. It was originally made for ceramicists whose hands dry out when they are working. I have to say right now the scent of the balm is an absolute delight - Vetiver and Patchouli with a touch of Elemi and Bergamot making it earthy, woodsy, slightly citrus and spicy (it's lush) and perfectly unisex.

Founder and formulator, Gareth (former sales & marketing professional) was recovering at home with a prolapsed disc and while housebound began reading about and playing with oils. He discovered that his shave oil which he formulated himself was a lot better than what was out there. He completed an aromatherapy diploma, continued to self-learn and started formulating products for himself and friends and family. The said friends and family loved the products and urged him to take it further - and luckily for us Old Faithful was born!

It's stuffed full of nourishing, protecting, wound-healing, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and regenerating ingredients such as shea, mango and cocoa butters, beeswax, infused carrot oil, macadamia and calendula oils.

To use: scrape a small amount out of the pot and massage into hands and nails.

I definitely want to go back and try some of the other unisex products such as: Réunion CleanserSole Salvation Foot Balm and Hamman Moisturising Serum.

What are your favourites from the brand?

Friday, 20 March 2020

*JOIK Organic: Sweet Orange & Mint Body Butter & Lemon & Geranium Natural Mineral Deodorant

Sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program for an honest review.  I'm a huge JOIK fan, having tried a number of their products in the past. The range is created in Estonia and is effective and affordable. Pick yours up at Love Lula (there's a great offer on until 1st April - get 15% off when you spend £30 or more (conditions apply) with code SPRING - see more info HERE.

Their lush Sweet Orange & Mint Body Butter (£14.90 for 150ml)* is a delectable and luxe blend of nourishing butters and oils and is scented with essential oils of Sweet Orange, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang and Spearmint which give the body butter a fresh and zesty scent. It really is a delight, has a velvety feel on the skin and is a perfect pick-me-up/feel good treat. It melts easily onto warm skin leaving the skin feeling hydrated and delicately scented. 

Their Lemon & Geranium Natural Mineral Deodorant (£15 for 50ml) is formulated with natural mineral salts, which help to act as a pH adjuster creating an environment where bacteria can't grow thus ensuring a safe and natural freshness. It's scented with Lemon and Geranium which gives the deodorant a zesty/floral scent. I did find it initially quite wetting (I normally use a stick deodorant, although I've used roller-balls in the past). It is however very effective, smells good and I've found I've stayed fresh all day. It may be a little bit pricey for a deodorant but it's one I'll pick up again as it just works.

What are your favourites from JOIK?

Thursday, 19 March 2020

*Blog Tour: The Unreliable Death of Lady Grange by Sue Lawrence

*I received a paperback copy free of charge to enable me to take part in the blog tour. I absolutely loved the book which is based on a true story.

Edinburgh, January 1732: It's Lady Grange's funeral. Her death is a shock: still young, she'd shown no signs of ill health. But Rachel is, in fact, alive. She's been brutally kidnapped by the man who has falsified her death - her husband of 25 years, a pillar of society with whom she has raised a family. 

Her punishment, perhaps, for railing against his infidelity - or for uncovering evidence of his treasonable plottings against the government. Whether to conceal his Jacobite leanings, or simply to `replace' a wife with a long-time mistress, Lord Grange banishes Rachel to the remote Hebridean Monach Isles, until she's removed again to distant St Kilda, far into the Atlantic - to an isolated life of primitive conditions, with no shared language - somewhere she can never be found. 

This is the incredible and gripping story of a woman who has until now been remembered mostly by her husband's unflattering account. Sue Lawrence reconstructs a remarkable tale of how the real Lady Grange may have coped with such a dramatic fate, with courage and grace.

My thoughts?

I absolutely loved this richly drawn novel (based on a true story) which is set in Edinburgh, London and the Hebrides in 1732. 

Lady Grange very much has a mind of her own and will say exactly what she thinks, regardless of it being appropriate or not, much to her husband's disgust. She's not one for holding back and tells Lord Grange she's annoyed by his infidelities and Jacobite leanings. She even goes so far as to tell him, the pillar of society that he is, that she's minded to go to the authorities and smear his good name.

He's having none of this and arranges to have her removed to a remote Scottish island, meanwhile letting their children believe their mother has died. She find island living hard at first, although her claret helps her through closely followed by her friendship with the island Minister...

She makes contact with her daughter, "her Angel" without her husband knowing and they hatch a plan to get her off the island. But disaster strikes and she finds she really is unable to outwit her husband.

I really enjoyed this historical tale based of true facts and would highly recommend it.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

*Love Lula Beauty Box: March 2020

*I receive the Beauty Box free of charge for an honest review as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. 

I didn't receive the info card in my box this month but the contents are worth £75! 

Inside this month is a duo from newish brand at Love Lula - Biovène Barcelona and inside is a Citrus Dream shampoo and conditioner duo (£5.99 each) which hydrate and balance the hair. Looking forward to putting them to the test!

From FoM London there is 10ml of their Anti-Pollution GLOW Serum which feels lovely on the skin. It'll hydrate, plump and even skin tone and has a beautiful floral scent. Expect a review shortly.

We have Purifying Foam from Madara (150ml which is currently on special offer of £15.72). I'm looking forward to trying this foaming cleanser out! Again, expect a review for this one.

The final item this month is Kathleen Natural's Sensual Rose Body & Massage Oil (100ml - £34) which smells deliciously rosey with a touch of citrus. I love it's multi-use element in that you can use it in for massage or as a body oil. 

For me, it's a great box and reviews will follow. Are you a subscriber? What are your thoughts?