Friday, 10 July 2020

Ffern Organic Small Batch Perfume: Summer20

It's always a happy day when my new Ffern Organic Small Batch Perfume arrives! It costs £69 a quarter (32ml) and Summer20 is sublime (it arrives for the summer solstice (it arrived just slightly after). You can see my review of Spring20 HERE and Winter20 HERE. As you'll know the perfumes are created for the names on the ledger, which gives the perfume an edge of exclusivity - join the waiting list HERE.

As ever, the packaging makes my heart sing - it's a real joy to open a Ffern delivery. Inside the letterbox friendly box you'll find your full size vegan, natural EdP perfume and a sample - try the sample and if you fall instantly head-over-heels in love you're allowed to open the full size. If not, you can sent the full size back intact for a refund/the next quarter. Of course, I loved mine on very first sniff!

The sample bottle has changed to be a normal spray vial (I kind of liked the quirky little dabber bottle). As ever, there's a very informative leaflet listing the notes and story behind the scent. My bottle this time is numbered 169 and as ever the names of the noses are there too (which is a nice touch!) Thank you Elodie Durande & Francois Robert for another exquisite creation. 

"Baked earth. Midsummer heat. A heady Tuscan afternoon
An early evening walk through the orange grove
Scorched earth harbouring the heat of the day"

Top Notes: Sicilian Lemon rind, Somalian Olibanum, Iranian Ferula Gummosa root, Green Mandarin, Brazilian Bitter Orange, Sri Lankan Cinnamon Leaf, Key Lime rind from Peru

Mid Notes: Calabrian Bergamot rind, Indonesian Nutmeg, Russian Coriander seed, Nepalese Jasmine, Tunisian Neroli and Egyptian Basil

Base Notes: Haitian Vetiver root, Virginian Red Cedar and Benzoin Siam from Laos

It really is a stunning summer scent which evolves as you wear it. It's citrus with spice and herbal notes as well as being slightly floral too (I love that it contains my favourite neroli). Love it Ffern!

I'm also sharing a little pic of my collection (which brings me so much joy).

Are you on the Ledger? If so, do you love Summer20 as much as me?

Thursday, 9 July 2020

*Blog Tour: The Secret of Creek Cottage by Tina M Edwards

*ARC sent to free of charge to enable me to take part in the blog tour. Today I'm on the blog tour for The Secret of Creek Cottage by Tina M Edwards.

1916: While the Great War rages through Europe, in the small coastal village of Trunrowan, Cornwall, life for Loveday Nance could not be more different. With her husband Will away fighting, the reality of having a longed-for child of her own seems to be slipping away with each day that passes.
Present-day: Kitty and Ben Gridley decide to leave their busy lives in Bristol hoping for a quieter way of life in the pretty village of Trunrowan, Cornwall. Little do they realise the impact that moving into Creek Cottage will have on them. When Kitty begins to experience strange things happening at the cottage, she is certain there is a secret harboured within its stone walls.
'The Secret of Creek Cottage' is a tale that follows the lives of two families, almost a century apart.

About the author:

Tina M Edwards is an internationally published writer of poetry and flash fiction. She is editor of The Beach Hut, an online writing platform that encourages writing for wellbeing, particularly words that have been inspired by the coast and nature. The Secret of Creek Cottage is her first novel.

My thoughts?

I loved this story set in two timelines. In 1916 we meet Loveday and Will Nance who stay in a lovely wee village in Cornwall in Rowan Cottage which has it's own cove. Will is away fighting in the Great War. She misses him terribly and longs for a child of their own. 

In the present day Kitty and Ben Gridley have left the city and set up home at Creek Cottage. Ben's the local dentist and Kitty is studying to be a Medical Herbalist - she's started to grow flowers and herbs in the garden and is clearing out the old shed to dry her flowers and blend her elixirs.

We learn about Loveday's daily life and work and the horrors Will witnesses in the trenches. When he send her the King's Shilling with his letter she instinctively knows she'll wear it close to her heart. The local wise woman makes contact as she knew Loveday's mother and tells her that she must come to her if she needs help. 

Kitty and Ben come across a fraying ribbon which has been tangled around their cat's paw which bears a tiny coin. While clearing out the shed she finds things from the past and finds she has an urge to research the former inhabitants of the cottage. There's strange noises in the house that only she seems to be able to hear until her old friend and family visit and their daughter Ruby sees something unexplained... 

Will returns from war a different man. Wounded and angry. Loveday finds she can do nothing right (today Will would be treated for PTSD) again, she turns to Mrs Comp and then things happen which change Loveday's live forever...

I loved the connections which are interwoven between the two stories which connect the past to the present.  A beautiful read which I really enjoyed and would recommend.

Pick your copy up HERE (from 10th July)

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

*Love Lula: July Accredited Blogger Picks

I very generously received this selection free of charge as a Love Lula Accredited Blogger. I've decided going forward to do an initial post of my monthly picks and then, where necessary do fuller reviews later in the month when I've had a chance to test the products more fully (my post contains one affiliate link).

This month, my first selection was a product I've wanted to try for ages - Rahua's Enchanted Island Salt Spray (£32 - 124ml)* which is gorgeous! It's truly luxe and smells wonderful. I'll be testing this out over the month and reporting back. So far, so good.

My second pick this month was from a totally new to me brand - Yin Yang Skincare's MSM Cream for Joints and Muscles (£10.95 - 60ml)* which smells of fresh limes. It's a soothing cream which contains sulphur rich MSM which soothes tired and overworked muscles and joints. I've got muscular issues and an old knee injury so I'm looking forward to testing this out. Again, a full review will follow.

I love Crazy Rumors Vegan Lip Balms and couldn't resist one of their quirky Zodiac balms. ARIES is my star sign, so that's the one I picked up! The lip balms cost a very affordable £4.49 (4g) and a mini review will be forthcoming. Lush!

As you'll know Love Lula offer samples with a purchase over £10. I've tried a few of Inika's new skincare items but not all so picked up a selection of samples. So far, I know I want their Phytofuse Renew Resveratol Serum full size! I'll let you know my thoughts in my monthly empties post.

Occasionally Love Lula offer their Accredited bloggers an extra product if they can commit to reviewing it that month. After having loved EarthKind's Tea Tree & Eucalyptus Shampoo Bar for Improved Scalp Health* last month - REVIEW I was more than happy to try another in the range. Enter their Bergamot & Sage Shampoo Bar for Dry & Coloured Hair (£6.95 - 50g). I've tried this once so far - and I'm suitably impressed - I even felt it brightened what colour I have left in my hair (roll on my visit to the hairdressers later this month). It left my hair feeling nourished and hydrated. Again, expect a review later this month.

Have you tried any of these products? If so, what are your thoughts?

Monday, 6 July 2020

*Terre Verdi Organic Skincare NeroliPom Moisturiser

I was recently very kindly sent a product of my choice to review by Terre Verdi Organic Skincare. I chose their deluxe Award Winning NeroliPom Moisturiser (£41 - 50ml)*. 

Pick up yours with a very generous £7 off an order of £30 or more with code BeautyBalm7

"NeroliPom is the first water based face moisturiser made in the UK to gain COSMOS Organic Certification by the Soil Association"

Formulated with antioxidant and hydrating Organic Pomegranate oil along with gorgeous uplifting Neroli Essential Oil. Organic Aloe Vera and Camellia oil soothe. It's best for dry/mature skin types but all skin types can enjoy it (and it's unisex, if you are able to share!)

To use: apply to the face and neck after cleansing

My skin has been loving this beautifully fragranced silky moisturiser which absorbs instantly and leaves the skin feeling comfortable, soothed and nourished.

See my previous Terre Verdi review:

FranchouliPom Body Oil & Balancing Face Oil HERE

What are your favourites from the brand?

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Absolution Le Gommage Corps Body Scrub

I received Absolution's Le Gommage Corps Body Scrub in my Naturismo Summer Vibes Discovery BoxIt's a product I'd have been unlikely to try as it costs £36 for 208g. Of course, now I've fallen head-over-heels for it! 

It has a beautiful texture (almost like soft wet sand) and a fresh fruity/floral scent. The Body Scrub gently but effectively exfoliates the skin leaving it cleansed, detoxified and silky smooth. Formulated with natural softening and emollient ingredients including Aloe Vera which exfoliates the skin gently and naturally, Diatomaceous earth provides the fine granules which buff dead skin cells, Volcanic rhyolite is a exfoliating lava powder which detoxifies. Safflower, Coconut and Meadowsweet oils soothe, nourish, repair and detoxify while Arnica helps to stimulate circulation.

To use: use in the shower, I like to use it on dry skin for a scrubbier scrub.

This is the must-try of the summer! It's one of my favourite scubs this year. What Body Scrubs you are currently reaching for?

Friday, 3 July 2020

Teeny Bobeenie Boutique Wax Melts

As you'll know, I've got a slight obsession with wax melts at the moment! Teeny Bobeenie Boutique is a Fife based small business founded by Nicole Allen who hand makes all the products with love, care and attention to detail in her little workshop. I picked some items up at Market Night (plus p&p) (a limited amount of items offered for a lower price than normally and allocated on a first come, first served basis on the VIP Facebook group) as well as a Small Mystery Sample Box (£4.80 plus p&p) which contains 9 soy wax melt shapes (Nic kindly added two extra shapes free of charge to my order).

You can tell the boxes are hand packaged with love - such a gorgeous box to open. I love the branded tissue and the little stickers. It brought me lots of joy on Tuesday afternoon.

You get 9 shaped "mystery" wax melts in the smallest mystery sample box (the two freebies are also in the photo). Lots of newness! (I'll let you know my thoughts to the scents and how long they last, if I like or not in an empties post). In the photo above - Cherry Blossom & Peony (this is lush!), Chocolate Orchid, Thai Orchid, Jelly Sweets, French Lime Blossom, Replenish, Velvet Orchid, Raspberry & Sandalwood, Bliss, Duvet Day and Flamingle.

From Market night I selected: 2 x packs of Dippy Philosykos shapes which is similar to a perfume of the same name (this has a nice gentle fig scent - I like it), Snap Bars of Basil & Neroli (similar to Jo Malone), Dippy Du Son (similar to the perfume of the same name) and Black Tea & Jasmine. Rounding up my order are babies of Light Blue (similar to D&G perfume) and Coco Sandalwood (similar to Molton Brown). I'm looking forward to trying everything out!

What are your favourite scents from Teeny Bobeenie Boutique? 

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Shopping My Stash #115

Products marked * I've been kindly gifted for review. Odylique's unscented Ultra Rich Balm* provides deep hydration to very dry skin (dry hands, knees and elbows, here's looking at you) and it also soothes skin prone to eczema. The balm protects the skin from heat, cold and wind making it the ideal holiday companion.

I bought Trilogy's Vitamin C Polishing Powder in early JUNE. I've got a slight obsession with Vit C at the moment. See my review of their Vit C Brightening Duo* HERE. This fine grain powder exfoliant (reminds me of Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant, although it's finer) is activated on contact with water turning it into a gentle foaming milk which will help to remove dead skin cells and brighten the skin. I've been enjoying using this and feel that my skin is definitely smoother and brighter.

I adore Klorane's Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk (which was initially a Latest in Beauty Pick+in a LIB collection box). I just find it works and I've always got it in my stash.

My hair is the bane of my life at the moment (needs a cut and colour badly). I do have an appointment booked in for the 24th July - can't wait! I was looking for something to give my hair a bit of oompf and discovered a travel size of ORIBE's Supershine Moisturising Cream in my stash - oh my goodness, it's wonderful - it give the hair much needed moisture and huge glossy shine. Luckily you only need a teeny bit (full size 150ml is a whopping £54.50). 

I adore Love Lula's Ooh! Oils of Heaven and their latest launch Organic Plum Conditioning Face Oil is amazing! See my review HERE. It's one of my favourite skincare products this year. So lovely.

I picked up Madara's Acne Acute Spot Roll on in the 40% off sale at Naturisimo recently. It's great for zapping occasional spots (of course as soon as I got it I was spot free!) It's a handy size to pop in a bag or pocket for instant relief on the go.

My final pick is Walden Natural Perfume's A Gentle Rain Perfume Oil* which I received in a Love Lula Beauty Box. This 10ml size is great to travel with, whether on holiday or to the office (if we ever get back there!) It's a beautiful scent with notes of oak moss, labdanum and patchouli - it's woody and spicy and is really easy to wear.

What have you been using this week?

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Elemental Herbology: Lemongrass & Nutmeg Body Wash

I picked up Elemental Herbology's new Lemongrass & Nutmeg Body Wash (290ml - £19) earlier in JUNE. This rejuvenating SLS free blend gently cleans the skin. The scent is woody with a whisper of citrus.

Lemongrass is an anti-inflammatory and helps to clear the mind while woody Nutmeg invigorates, improves circulation and eases aches+pains. A touch of Black Pepper recharges, energises and helps to improve mental alertness.

To use: apply to damp skin, massaging over the body before rinsing.

I've really enjoyed this body wash, it's got a nice scent and a gentle lather (and could quite easily be unisex - if you want to share!)

What are your favourites from the brand?

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

June Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in June (books marked with * I've been kindly given by the publisher direct or via Netgalley).

*The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson - I loved this richly drawn tale set in Cornwall. I took part in the Blog Tour - see my review HERE.

The Curator by M W Craven - this was a long awaited read and thankfully, worth the wait! 

DI Stephanie Flynn is having a baby shower hosted by her sister. Poe didn't want to go but Tilly dragged him along anyhow. At the end of the party they are rushing back to Cumbria to assist DSI Jo Nightingale and her team. Three pairs of fingers have been discovered in different locations with #BSC6 beside them. They've got to quickly find out what that means.

The race is on to find the bodies and the reasons why these people died. It's a fast paced and edge of the seat read, it was always just one more chapter. As they piece together the case they find things that just don't make any sense...

What a page turner, my heart was truly in my mouth throughout and that ending. Just WOW. So very highly recommend this. Roll on book #4 is all I can say.

*From Venice with Love by Rosanna Ley - I took part in the blog tour for this magical read. See my review HERE.

*How to Disappear by Gillian McAllister - omg I was on the edge of my seat throughout this novel which drew my attention from the very first page. I absolutely loved it and it's my favourite read so far this year. Absolutely brilliant. I'm taking part in the blog tour next month so I'll share my review then (this is the one to pick up as it's truly gripping).

*The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff - A bittersweet coming of age tale set at the family's beautiful summer home by the sea where they indulge in the sunshine and summer traditions. We are not told if the narrator is male or female so the reader is let to come to their own conclusions. The author cleverly makes you feel as if you are there watching the summer unfold...

The same people are there year after year and this year they will be celebrating Hope and Mal's marriage. Distant relatives arrive from LA - the glorious Godden boys. Kit just mesmerises the narrator and so it seems a few of the others. He's just drop dead gorgeous while his brother Hugo seems angry and sullen. Kit changes everyone's lives that summer...

The narrator silently watches Kit, who toys will all of their emotions including that of his loved up sister, Mattie. It feels afterwards that Kit thought he could take whatever he wanted regardless of who he hurt along the way. I really enjoyed the story, which flowed easily. Would recommend.

*They Came Like Swallows by William Maxwell This short novel is set in 1918 during the Spanish Flu pandemic and we learn how it disturbs and changes the lives of the Morison family. It's told in three parts - from eight year old Bunny's perspective, to his older brother, Robert and his stern father, James.

I really warmed to Bunny during his chapters - he needs his mother's love and presence to make him feel safe. He absolutely adores her and this comes through in his part. Robert his brother had an accident and lost part of his leg - they quarrel as siblings do. The third part is told through the eyes of James, Elizabeth's husband.

The story is beautifully told with family, love, friendship, unhappiness, sadness, illness and grief. I really recommend it.

*When we Fall by Carolyn KirbyOnce I picked this book up I couldn't put it down. I was instantly drawn to the two brave and plucky women in the story. England 1943 and Pilot Vee Katchatourian is lost in the fog. She makes an emergency landing and meets RAF airman Stefan Bergel, who is gorgeous. Vee's smitten from that very first meeting.

Meanwhile in occupied Poland, Ewa Hartman serves German Officers in her father's guest house while secretly working for the Polish resistance on the side. She misses her lover, Stefan who is a POW or so she believes.

The story is based around the little known Katyn massacre and Stefan uses both women to his own ends and to help to enable the world to know the truth. Later in the book we find out the connection to the German Officer Beck. I loved the story although I found it bittersweet in places. It's a really good read.

*The Harpy by Megan Hunter - this isn't published until September so I'll share my review then. I read it in two sittings and I found it a compelling if slightly disturbing read. 

From last month (awaiting publication):

*Breakfast At Bronzefield by Sophie Campbell - Sophie very kindly gifted me a copy via netgalley. 

Sophie, a young black woman is remanded in custody after being charged with GBH involving Police Officers (she doesn't go into details of her crime) and is remanded in custody at HMP Bronzefield, the UK's largest women's prison.

The book is her story of her experiences of her time inside two women's prisons. She also shares facts and figures as well as her own thoughts on why prisons are failing on so many levels.

She's a fighter and due to poor family life she organised her own education including attending a fee paying school on a scholarship. She's desperate to take her education further although has to put it on hold inside as education for women falls short during her time in both prisons.

Like other real life prison books I've read you could really feel the tensions bubbling between the inmates and with the prison officers. I was slightly surprised at some of the things she did to get attention although she states she'd never do these things on the outside. On leaving prison she rebuilds her life by starting to study for a degree and buying her own house. Would recommend as it's an interesting read.

*Highland Fling by Sara Sheridan - Oh how I love this series! In this tale Mirabelle Bevan is on holiday with her fiance Superintendent Alan McGregor at his family home in the Scottish Highlands. It's 1958 and Britain is awash with Cold War anxiety. A break is just the thing they need. The Robertson's welcome them with open arms and are very hospitable.

When a body is found in the Orangery, Mirabelle is unable to stop herself getting involved in the case and what follows is a fast paced mystery which she's determined to solve. When another body turns up thoughts turn to an inside job making all the residents in the house very anxious.

She learns some things about Alan's past, meets an old friend from her previous working life and finally lays to rest anxious feelings about getting married. It was nice to see a more personal side to them both in this episode. As ever, I highly recommend. 

What have you been reading this month?

Monday, 29 June 2020

*Love Lula: Ooh! Oils of Heaven - Organic Plum Conditioning Face Oil

*received free of charge as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program - see my initial thoughts on the June Beauty Box* HERE. I've always been a fan of the beautiful Ooh! Oils of Heaven and did a spotlight on them way back in 2016 (although there have been a lot of additions to the range since then!)

I was very excited to see their latest launch, *Organic Plum Conditioning Face Oil 30ml (£19) in June's Beauty Box. 

The cold pressed oil has a high omega 9 content and is great for dry skins. I adore the marzipan-y scent of plum oil but know it won't be for everyone. The silky oil absorbs instantly leaving the skin feeling nourished and deeply hydrated. It's absolutely beautiful and would be perfect for summer months.

To use: apply 2-3 drops on cleansed skin. It can be used AM and PM or as a treatment. Pick yours up HEREWhat are your favourites from the range?

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Latest Buys:Balneaves, Melts Make Scents, Olfactory, Lovely Melts, Smelts & Melts, Winter Hill Wax, The Little Mcleans, Olaplex

I've gone a bit cray-crazy buying wax melts from various vendors this month! (wax melts orders mainly incur various postal charges).

I picked up a trio from Balneaves, Vetiver, Cedarwood & Fir (lush) had come back in stock so I had to try it! 

I also picked up a sample box (£5) from Melts Make Scents which gives you a selection of scents to try out. Inside this box I received - pina colada, fizztastic, midnight blooms, pink quartz, lunar eclipse and fairy laundry.

My first order from Campbeltown based Olfactory was MiSi melts which cost 75p each - these are great for try-me before going on to buy full size. I chose Black Orchid (just like the perfume of the same name with a lush rich scent), Freshly Squeezed Oranges which is again another highly scented summery melt which smells exactly like freshly squeezed orange juice. My third pick was Fresh Coffee which has a light coffee aroma (I'd have liked this to have been slightly stronger). Simone very kindly added two extras in the form of Perfectly Chantelle and Hope.

My second order was the fantastic The Laundry Box which is perfect if you love these fresh washing type scents. My favourite from the box is Pink Cashmere closely followed by Luxury Linen. I'd buy this box again for sure!

And of course I had to buy some more MiSi's! 

Simone kindly added a couple free of charge - Perfectly Chantelle again and lush Raspberry Slush. I bought Blue Coral & Sea Salt, Watermelon and Whisky by Fire (I'll let you know my thoughts in empty posts).

I've bought from Lovely Melts before and have enjoyed their wax previously. This time I picked Portofino Bay (like Tom Ford) and Lemon & White Rose (like Jo Loves). It's also nice to receive a free wee sample - this time - Cassis & Black Vanilla.

I spotted this beautiful Festival Vibes burner on Smelts & Melts so picked it up along with their #waxcident - broken pieces of wax or discontinued scents. I was expecting to get a few broken bits so was quite surprised to receive a mini wax bar which is nice enough but not a scent I'd choose - suppose that's the chance you take when you opt for a surprise!

My friend Sam was raving about Winter Hill Wax's Strawberry & Parsley so I picked up a snap bar of it and a Large Ring of Sandalwood Moss & Palo Santo. I've tried Strawberry & Parsley so far, and it's lovely.

I love the branding and packaging of the wax melt bars from The Little Mcleans. I picked up Simplicity & Duvet Day. I love the brown paper packaging and the little branded bag which comes with your order to store your melts in. These are lovely.

And yes, a final beauty item - OLAPLEX's new Hair Repair Trial Kit (I had a 15% off code). I've used No.3 both at home and at the hairdressers before so I was keen to try the others. 

What have you been buying this month?

Saturday, 27 June 2020

June: Lately I've Been Loving

Here's what I've been loving in June (if an item is marked * I've generously received it free of charge for review).

As soon as I got notification of the summer Cult Beauty goody bag I ran over. I decided not to #sadface but did pick up a treat in the form of Jo Loves's Discovery Collection (years ago this was available to buy on the Jo Loves website before it became part of a set). I'm already a fan of Jo by Jo LovesWhite Rose & Lemon Leaves (the first one I bought) and Pomelo (I'm now on my 3rd bottle of this!) Also inside the kit are four new to me ones: Pink Vetiver, Orange Butterflies, Rose Petal 25 and Green Orange & Coriander. I'm adding full size bottles of Pink Vetiver and Rose Petal 25 to my wishlist.

A selection of wax melts (and soap!) from my pal Sam, who is a fellow soy wax melt addict! We send each other parcels periodically which is so nice!

Dining at home deals - we've had some good 'uns this month - we especially have loved Aizle At Home. That little chocolate tart was to die for!

*I've been having scalp issues and this little bar of joy has really saved the day! See my review HERE.

I've gone over the score buying lots of soy wax melts - it really is an addiction haha. I received a gorgeous RAOK from Lauren at Facebook Group - Wax & Sniffs, Fun, Games & Chat. So kind!! 

I loved NorthburN's Gift of the Month - a beautiful set scented with juicy Mandarin & Bergamot - see my review HERE. I don't know how I lived without their beautiful Room Mists - I'll definitely be back for more!

I've also upped my reading game (at the beginning of lockdown I couldn't concentrate on anything). See my goodreads challenge HERE - which I'm hoping to smash this year! I'm currently reading this...

and this..

What have you been loving in June?