The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani - I simply loved this book! It tells the story of two brothers Ciro and Eduardo, young Italian brothers who grow up in a Convent in the Italian Alps. One day, Ciro meets Enza a local girl and they find they have a great connection. Enza falls instantly in love. Ciro discovers something he shouldn't and is sent away from Italy to America where he becomes an apprentice shoemaker. Eduardo takes the path to become a Priest. Enza never forgets Ciro and one day she and her father take the voyage to America in order to make money so that the family can build their own house in the mountains. Ciro and Enzo's paths keep crossing but always at the wrong time. Enzo works as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House. Finally when they seem to be getting together at last Ciro heads off to fight in WW1. "As their destinies intertwine, and the world they know is changed irrevocably by war, the two must decide if their future lies together or apart.." Simply loved this book - if you enjoy a story you can get lost in you'll love this book. Also recommend Lucia, Lucia and The Big Stone Gap Trilogy. My second book is Taking Minutes of Meetings by Joanna Gutmann - a really informative book if you have to take minutes. I recently went on a one day course run by Joanna which was really valuable. See the courses here. The book covers arranging meetings, preparing the Agenda, style, structure and layout, the Minutes, sections of a meeting, taking notes, writing up Minutes, recording decisions and actions and different types of meetings. What have you been reading this month?
In August when I was off work we had a day out in Leith. We went to The Vintagefor a delicious lunch - we ate off the grazing menu and everything was really tasty. You can see the menu here.
That same afternoon we stopped by Roseleaf for a Pot-Tail - a yummy cocktail served in a teapot with cups and saucers. We chose a Mad-Hatter which was a mix of Koko Kanu Coconut Rum with homemade Fiery Ginger Beer and Lime - delicious! Also available are a selection of fancy dress hats to wear while supping your cocktail!
OV Naturals Rose Geranium Harmonising Organic Artisan Face Oil 10ml* - Lucy very kindly sent me this new face oil to review (a full review to follow in the next couple of weeks). Simply lovely to use, smells amazing and I'm sure this will be the one to knock Triple Rose Luxury Organic Face Oil off the top spot! See my review of the Triple Rose face oil here.
Homemade Piccalilli - made with some of the glut of marrows in the garden! Delicious with cold meat, pork pies or cheese.
I'm a huge fan of hearts and I love this little one I picked up atCOVE a while back.
Finally, I'm a huge magazine lover and especially like Red and The Simple Things. Currently I'm also loving Psychologies mag - I love the articles, quizzes and that it makes me think more. I adore both Sally Brampton's and Catherine Turner's columns.
Blossom & May Deep Cleanser 50ml* - quite simply one of the best cleansers I've ever used! Smells simply gorgeous with a hint of lavender. I've been using this in the evening to remove daily grime and make up. Remove with a warmed damp muslin cloth. It's turning into one of my favourite evening rituals. Full review to follow.
Blossom & May Honey & Calendula Moisturiser 50ml* - a light and easily absorbed moisturiser made with calendula flowers and honey - smells slightly sweet and floral. I'm really enjoying using it. Again, full review will follow. Illamasqua Freak EDP 30ml - simply love this scent! With top notes of Black Davana, Opium Flower and Night Blossom, a heart of Poison Hemlock, Datura and Queen of the Night Blossoms and with a base of Frankincense, Oud and Myrrh. It's quite heady when it is first sprayed but mellows out to a sweet floral. RODIN Olio Lusso Lip Balm 5ml - simply love this moisturising and luxe lip balm. See my review here. Rituals Volume Mascara mini in Black - this came free with InStyle magazine recently. A great volumising mascara. Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie - my first lip butter and still my favourite. It came all the way from USA before they launched here. See my post here. Have you used any of these? *PR samples
Danny at Holistic Green Beauty is a huge fan of Live Native products. You can see his fantastic reviews here.
I chose three samples sizes from the website to try out - see here.
Vicky Ewbank grew up on Skye and began to make her own skincare products in 2005. She drew on 20 years experience working in the natural health industry as a homoeopath and nutritionist.
Products are handmade using clean, fresh and pure ingredients. They are blended in a raw state - cold pressed or squeezed directly from living plants. Heat free blending ensures that active enzymes, Vitamins, Minerals, Essential Fatty Acids, Phytonutrients and Antioxidants remain intact.
Products are free from mineral oil, hydrogenated oils, colouring, phthalates, parabens, petroleum, alcohol, water or stabilisers. No animal products or animal testing.
Live Native supports Fair Trade - for example, they buy Virgin Coconut Oil from Sri Lanka which in turn helps families rebuild their lives following the 2004 Tsunami. Seaweed is harvested responsibly - it's cut in such a way that it encourages regrowth.
This cleanser contains Rhassoul Clay which removes dirt and oil, Silica rich oats which exfoliate and Lemongrass which regulates oil production. Can be used morning and evening and regular use will help cleanse clogged pores.
To use: hold a warmed wet cloth to your face to relax pores. Do this step three times. Mix a little of the cleanser in the palm of your hand with a little warm water and then roll the paste onto your face. Make sure you keep rolling and don't scrub. The clay will attract and absorb daily grime. After a minute rinse.
I've really enjoyed using this cleanser - it is different from anything I've ever used before! It has a lovely lemongrass scent and leaves the skin feeling clean and fresh.
100% raw and organic and high in antioxidants. It rejuvenates, replenishes and restores suppleness. Suitable for all skin types. Packed full of organic oils including Argan, Sea Buckthorn and Sunflower and scented with a mixture of essential oils including rose otto, chamomile and sandalwood.
To use: after cleansing and toning apply 3 drops to the skin massaging it all over your face and neck. Can be used alone or follow with moisturiser.
I simply loved this oil. I found it nourishing and I enjoyed using it. Leaves the skin radiant and renewed. This was my favourite of the three and one I'll definitely buy at some point.
I found it fascinating that Steve Benbow decided to keep bees in Central London. Fourteen years ago he started keeping bees in the outside space (a flat roof accessed via a fire escape) at his London flat. The first hive was behind the lift-shaft and the bees produced "incredible honey". By the following year Steve had hives in lots of locations around London.
The empire continued to grow and Steve manages hives throughout the UK. You can find out more about Hive Management Schemes and Green Consultancy on the website - see here.
Here's what I bought -
British Summer Honey (£5 for 227g) - a selection of the best honey from Steve's hives and trusted bee keepers. This is simply delicious honey.
I also bought Lip Balm (£3.50) which comes in a cute tin. Inside is London Beeswax which is blended with shea butter, cocoa butter, lavender and a touch of honey. Leaves the lips super soft and delicately scented. Love that this is easy to pop in a pocket or handbag for nourishing lips on the go.
A while back Megan sent me some Forever samples* to try out. The company has been around since 1978 and operates in over 150 countries. You can become a distributor and effectively have your own business.
Here's what Megan sent me -
Forever Bright Toothgel sachet* - this has a strong minty and clean taste and is suitable for all the family. Contains peppermint and spearmint. It benefits gums and fights plaque. Contains aloe vera and bee propolis. This was one of my favourite samples.
Forever Aloe Jojoba Shampoo sachet* - a mild but concentrated shampoo which leaves the hair shiny and smooth. Suitable for all hair types. Again, this was a favourite.
Forever Aloe Jojoba Conditioning Rinse sachet* - a light conditioner which is enriched with Vitamin B Complex and Hydrolysed Protein. Leaves the hair smooth and nourished. I loved this.
Forever Aloe Moisturizing Lotion sachet* - this keeps the skin moisturised and smooth. Can be used on face, body and hands. I didn't love the scent of this although the moisturizer had a nice texture.
Finally, Aloe Heat Lotion sachet* - good for aching muscles after sports and gardening. I just hated the smell of this - just like "deep heat". I'd definitely purchase the toothgel, shampoo and conditioning rinse. Have you used anyForever products before?
I haven't used as much as usual this month! Here are my August empties -
LP Skin Therapy Overnight Replenish Cream 15ml - this came in a Latest in Beauty box and was really nice to use. Would maybe purchase. bodhi Jasmine Falls Relaxing Body Moisturiser 40ml - one of my favourite bodhi scents. See my review here. Therapie Boost Hair & Body Wash 250ml - have loved all of theTherapie products I've tried and I'll definitely buy this again. A great morning wake up call. See my review here. Kerastase Bain Satin 1 Shampoo 250ml - one of my favourite shampoos. See my review here. Will pick this up again. Accorelle Day Cream 2ml - hard to tell if I liked it as it was such a small sample. Nice enough but probably wouldn't buy. Nuxe Body Fondant Shower Gel 30ml - this was nice to use and left the skin clean and fresh. I've a few more of these to use up.
Bohemian Naturals Perfume Samples - see my review here. I'll maybe pick up Amber Rose which was my favourite.
Bamford Botanical Geranium Bath Oil 30ml - one of my favourite bath oils ever! Have a few of these to use up that I got in swaps.
Abahna Frangipani & Orange Blossom Bath & Shower Gel 50ml - my favourite Abahna scent. Sure to buy this again at some point.
Caudalie Vinexpert Serum Eyes & Lips 1.5ml - nice to use and I'd maybe purchase full size.
Creme de la Mer The Eyebalm Intense 3ml - gorgeous! Would love full size!
Aurelia Revitalise & Glow Serum sample* - an amazing product and one I'll definitely buy when I reduce my stash. See my review here.
Gielly Green Repair Shampoo 50ml - one of my favourite shampoos. Will buy again at some point.
Gielly Green Classic Conditioner 50ml - nice to use but probably would buy the repair version.
Pai Rice Plant & Rosemary BioAffinty Toner 50ml - a gorgeous (if pricey) toner. See my mini review here. I'd probably only purchase this again if it came in an offer.
Lucy Annabella Organics Argan & Bergamot Organic Treatment Oil 10ml - this came in my August Amarya box. Have since bought the full size.
Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser 30ml - nice to use I think this came from a Latest in Beauty box. Got another to use - I'd maybe purchase.
Taaj Eau Micellaire de L'Himalaya Water 500ml - a huge bottle I bought from Joliebox. I had a love/hate relationship with this one as sometimes it stung my eyes and other times it didn't. I've got a smaller bottle to use up but I wouldn't buy again. Dr Bronner's Magic Soap 18-in-1 Castile Soap Almond 59ml - this was nice to use but Peppermint is my favourite scent so wouldn't buy this. Korres Guava Body Butter 50ml - love this fruity scented body butter. Would buy again.
Oh! Organics Rose Moisturiser 60ml* - I really enjoyed using this. See my review here.
I was recently sent a luxury scented candle in Verbena & Clary Sage* to review from Melt. The candles are hand poured and made with blended quality wax along with a high level of pure fragrances - there are 30 scents to chose from - so something for everyone!
The workshop and main retail outlet is at Backridge Farm, in Lancashire's Ribble Valley, 5 minutes drive from Clitheroe. Here you will find the complete range of candles, handbags, perfumes, body care, fashion accessories and jewellery.
The luxury candle is beautifully presented in a luxury gift box making it a perfect gift.
The scent is simply gorgeous - with top notes of verbena leaves, silver lavender and clary sage. Heart notes are clary sage and fresh ozonics with a base of cashmere woods, white cedar and moss. A scent which will appeal to both men and women. This scent is a favourite with customers and with the Melt Team.
Burn Time 70 hours.
You can also buy this candle in a range of sizes -
I picked up these lovely Merionwen goodies - Turkish Delight Lip Balm (£3.50 for 52g) and Vintage Rose Bath Treat (£2 for 5g). See my post here.
Look how gorgeous the bath treats are - made me smile when I opened up the package - these would make a fab small gift.
A lovely Caudalie hand cream - in Feuille de Cassis (£6 - 30ml) - a rich hand cream scented with blackcurrant leaf, wild blackberry and Bergamot. See my review here.
I'm nearly finished my first bottle of Skinvelop Cleanser (£10.50 - 120ml). See my review here. This is one of my favourite cleansers and I'll always have it in my stash! Jean also very kindly popped me in a couple of samples - Bamboo Glow - a facial exfoliator and Daily Rose Balm which smells gorgeous! You can get further details about the products here.
I forgot to show you earlier two products I picked up on holiday - we stopped on the way home at Tarbert and I popped into theLoch Fyne Gallery a lovely shop with artwork, books, cards, jewellery, beauty products, candles etc. I simply love Isle of Skye Soaps and I picked my favourite - Lemongrass Scrubby Soap. I also bought Gigha's Natural Skincare Organic Coconut Body Butter 30ml - which I thought looked quite interesting.
I simply loved the Lucy Annabella Organics Argan & Bergamot Organic Treatment Oil I got in my August Amarya box that I took advantage of the very generous 20% off any of the product featured in this month's box and bought a full size bottle (125ml). This also came with a Trial Size Treatment Oil (10ml) which came free with any Lucy Annabella order (while stocks last) and if your order is over £5 you can choose three samples - I chose A'kin Macadamia & Wheat Conditioner (8ml), Estelle & Thild Facial Serum Rose Otto (2ml) and Lavera Beauty Balm 6-in-1 Tinted Moisturiser (1ml).
A'kin Lavender & Anthyllis 24 Hour Intensive Moisture Leave-in Conditioner 150ml - for normal, dry and textured hair - simply love this, leaves the hair moisturised and healthy looking. A snip at £8.40 at Naturisimoas it lasts for ages. It featured in my top products of 2012 see here.
KMS Free Shape Quick Blow Dry 200ml - this is great to use if you've not much time as it cuts down blow dry time. I'm on my second bottle and I'd buy it again.
amie Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturiser 100ml* - this leaves the skin matte and fresh. Every amie product I've tried I've loved. Full review to follow.
Jo Malone Red Roses Body Creme 175ml - received this from hubby as a present. Simply lovely, smells gorgeous and a treat to use. Leaves the skin deeply moisturised and scented with red roses.
bareMinerals Eye Shadow in shades Vanilla Sugar and Renew - just love these wearable shades.
ila's Little Face Treats* (£60) is a gorgeous luxury travel size set of skincare items - ideal for holidays or weekends away. I've previously tried the Face Oil for Glowing Radiance - one of the first face oils I tried. See my review here. Founder, Denise Leicester who is a qualified nurse, aromatherapist, yoga teacher and yogic healer researched and travelled the globe to source the purest ingredients from the most ethical international farmers and growers. The artisan skincare products are hand blended in the heart of the English countryside.
The luxury travel sized products are packaged in an ila branded white pouch.
Included is: Face Oil for Glowing Radiance 10ml* - "packed with skin repairing fatty acids and wrinkle fighting antioxidants this heaveny little miracle face oil nourishes and heals at the deepest level". You know I already adore this face oil - see my review here. Cleansing Milk for Natural Beauty 30ml* - "A gentle yet luxurious cleansing milk that moisturises as it cleans revealing a new softness and a gentle radiance". This is a light milk which smells of roses. Apply onto the face and neck avoiding the eyes and remove with a damp warmed cloth. Hydrolat Toner for Hydrating the Skin 30ml* - "the purest of toners comprising distilled water from deeply healing rose damascene petals - to refresh and hydrate". Apply to the skin with a cotton pad after cleansing. This is really lovely to use and one I'd definitely buy. It leaves the skin clean and fresh. Day Cream for Glowing Radiance 20g* - "a light and fluffy day cream imbued with fresh cells and oil from deeply regenerative rosa damascene". It has a rich texture which leaves the skin hydrated and renewed. Use after cleansing and toning. Face Mask for Revitalising Skin 20g* - "a deep acting mineral rich green clay mask with Himalayan salt crystals, rose water and essential fatty acids to heal and hydrate and antioxidants to fight wrinkles". A rose scented mask which dries onto the skin. It nourishes, hydrates, revitalises and smoothes the skin. Apply onto cleansed face and neck. Allow to dry for 15 minutes and then remove with warm water. See the website here Follow on Twitter @ila_spa *PR sample
I first heard about Bohemian Naturals during #greenchat on Twitter (Thursdays at 8pm). I'm a huge fan of natural perfumes - see my review of Patricia's scent Embrace here.
I decided to try a sample pack which consists of vials of all three perfumes with enough in them to try them two or three times (1/4ml). You also receive a voucher for £5 off a full size bottle.
Shannon Victoria, an American who now lives in Scotland has been inspired by her travels when creating her perfumes. The perfumes are made using Organic alcohol, Orchid extract and 100% natural botanical essences. No animal testing and they are suitable for Vegans.
The full size roller-ball bottles (4ml) are presented in silk bags, the material having been picked up at Parisian Markets on Shannon Victoria's travels (£30).
Indian Davana - a blend of Indian flowers, Grapefruit, Patchouli, Soft Amber, Incense and Woods. A spicy scent.
Thai Sunshine - with Lemongrass, Lime, Exotic Spices, Cedarwood, Neroli and Sweet Resins. This is a fresh and uplifting scent.
Amber Rose - Roses, Amber, Sandalwood, Blond Tobacco Leaves and Italian Bergamot. A deep and exotic rose scent. This is my favourite.
I was recently sent two Aurelia Probiotic Skincare samples to try and review. I know Danny from Holistic Green Beauty and Ana from Ana Goes Green are fans so I was really pleased to be able to try a couple of products myself.
The products are made using Probiotic technology combined with BioOrganic botanical ingredients. You can read more about the science behind the products here.
The range is being launched at Liberty in September which is exciting - means next time I'm in London I can go see (and buy).
I was sent samples of the Miracle Cleanser* and Revitalise & Glow Serum* and a Bamboo Muslin* cutely tied with a pink bow.
There are five products in the range - Miracle Cleanser, Day Moisturiser, Night Moisturiser, Revitalise & Glow Serum and Cell Repair Night Oil. Suitable for all skin types including sensitive. Products are free from synthetic fragrance, parabens, mineral oil, silicones, sulphates, GMO, PEGS, TEA, DEA and there is no animal testing. The Bamboo Muslin must be the softest facial cloth I've ever used! Miracle Cleanser*: a rich and creamy cleanser which smells divine! Scented with Eucalyptus, Chamomile, Rosemary and Bergamot Essential Oils. It easily lifts off make up (including waterproof mascara) and daily grime. It leaves the skin radiant, clean, luminous and fresh. Apply the cleanser to dry skin, massaging it in and remove with a warmed dampBamboo Muslin* (£18 for 7). Revitalise & Glow Serum*: a light serum which is easily absorbed it hydrates and soothes leaving the skin radiant and dewy. The serum smells simply amazing! The fragrance is a blend of Jasmine, Plumeria, Tuberose and Mandarin. Apply two drops onto the fingertips and massage onto the face and neck using patting and sweeping stokes. Can be used AM/PM. Ideal for use prior to using Cell Repair Night Oil. I absolutely loved these products and will definitely buy them at some point. They left my skin looking radiant and renewed and the products smell gorgeous. Love the luxe packaging of the full size products which you can see on the website here. See the websitehere Follow on Twitter @AureliaSkincare *PR Samples
I first came across Helen's business Merionwen on Twitter and upon browsing her website came across a delicious sounding lip balm - Turkish Delight!
Helen has a background in Holistic Therapy and she specialises in Phytotherapy. She offers a range of massages and facials see here. Helen will come to your home - so you can sit back and relax after your treatment. She also has a online shop which is full of gorgeous natural products.
There are four ranges to choose from - Vintage (classic aromas like rose and lavender), Eastern Spice (sweet florals to exotic scents), Country Garden (flowers and fruit) and Botanics (the herbs from natures medicine chest).
You can chose from bath salts, bath treats, lip balm, massage bars, whipped body butter, hand made soaps, cleansing scrubs and hand & foot balms.
I chose Turkish Delight Lip Balm (£3.50 - 52g) - this is simply gorgeous. Scented with Rose Absolute and packed full of nourishing cocoa butter and Coconut Oil. It has the exact aroma of Turkish Delight!
The second item I chose was Vintage Rose Bath Treat (£2 - 5g) - it comes wrapped in pretty paper (I've not used this yet but it smells divine). The bath treat is made by blending Shea Butter and Coconut Oil and scenting it with Rose Absolute. Look how pretty they are - made me smile when I unwrapped them.
The products are quite simply lovely - I've just placed my second order!