Sunday, 31 January 2016

A Month of Samples: Perfume

I've got so many sample vials of perfume I decided to wear a different perfume every day for the month of February. I literally put my hand in my samples box and selected at random! I'll let you know which ones I love at the end of the month.

Week 1: 

1. Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Cologne
2. 4160Tuesdays Sleep Knot EDP
3. Etat Libre d'Orange Jasmin Et Cigarette
4. Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier eau Fraiche
5. Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel
6. Connock Kuku EDP
7. 4160Tuesdays Inevitable Crimes of Passion Parfum

Week 2:

8. 4160Tuesdays Tart's Knickers Drawer EDP
9. Ormonde Jayne Sampaquita EDP
10. .vero.profumo Rozy EdP
11. Bond No.9 Central Park West
12. Armani Myrrhe Imperiale EdP intense
13. 4160Tuesdays Midnight in the Palace Garden Parfum
14. Moschino Fresh EdT

Week 3:

15. Phaedon Oliban
16. Narciso EdT
17. Le Labo Rose 31
18. 4160Tuesdays Dirty Honey EdP
19. 4160Tuesdays Who Knew EdP
20. Agonist Vanilla Marble
21. 4160Tuesdays Rome 1963 EdP

Week 4:

22. Carner Cuirs
23. Robert Piguet Fracas
24. L'Artisan Mure et Musc EdT
25. 4160Tuesdays Centrepiece EdP
26. Chantal Thomass EdP
27. 4160Tuesdays Doe in the Snow EdP
28. PG 15 Ilang Ivohibe
29. 4160Tuesdays Sex Goddess EdP

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Cîme Skincare Rosée de Roses Cleansing & Toning Lotion

I've recently been trying Cîme Skincare's Rosée de Roses Cleansing & Toning Lotion (£22 for 150ml)*. You can see my thoughts on their lovely hand cream HERE.

The brand is really fab and one I hadn't heard of until Shubana started stocking them on her online store Sujet de Vert.

You'll know I love a multi-use product and this 3-in-1 product can be used to remove eye make up, lightly cleanse and also be used as a toning spritz. It has a delicate rose scent and is really effective at both cleansing and toning.

No synthetic perfumes, parabens or phenoxyethanol are used in production. Products are certified by Ecocert Greenlife and 98.98% of the ingredients are from natural origin. 95.58% of the ingredients are from organic farming.

Have you tried any products by Cîme?


Friday, 29 January 2016

January Books

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

We are All made of Stars - Rowan Coleman* - Stella works nights in a hospice and writes letters for her patients of their final wishes, thoughts, feelings and advice to those loved ones left behind.

Her husband Vincent has returned home from Afghanistan a broken man with PTSD and guilt that his best friend and comrade died because of him. They are unable to communicate any longer.

A letter Stella writes for a mother to her son and she decides she's going to deliver it to him allowing Hugh to make peace with his mother before she dies.

Stella decides Vincent is worth fighting for and they learn to live and love again. A brilliant read. Would recommend.

Those we Left Behind - Stuart Neville* - Twelve year old Ciaran Devine confesses to killing his foster father. His brother tried to stop him. Seven years later he's back on the streets which set an unstopable chain of events in motion.

DCI Flanagan was involved in solving the case all these years ago as an ambitious DS.  Probation Officer Paula Cunningham thinks there is more to the case than was uncovered at the time.

Flanagan is a great character who goes beyond her superiors' orders if she thinks she can solve a crime. Fast paced and un-put-downable with a nice little twist at the end.

The Sea Between Us - Emylia Hall* -  Robyn Swinton has recently moved with her parents to Cornwall and is out surfing when she nearly drowns. She's saved by local boy Jago Winters and from that moment on they share an unbreakable bond.

Their lives take different paths but they are forever in each other's thoughts. We find out if their bond is strong enough to bring them back together. I thought this was a beautiful read with believable characters with the story being set in Cornwall, London and America.

The Theseus Paradox - David Videcette** - This is David Videcette's first novel and is set around things that happened in real life. Sometimes you are not sure what is fact and what is fiction! David is a former Scotland Yard Investigator with the Metropolitan Police.

A fast paced read with short punchy chapters. Each chapter has a time frame which I liked. 

It's a story about the 7/7 terrorists attacks and Operation Theseus. DI Jake Fletcher doesn't always abide by the rules and likes to go on his gut feeling. We meet him in Yorkshire trying to foil what he thinks is a terrorist plot which lands him in hospital unconscious. He wakes up to learn that terrorists have blown themselves up on the London underground and on a bus.

His girlfriend Claire, who works for the security service passes him some information which he decides he'll investigate without letting his bosses know a decision which ends up in suspension.  But he can't let it go..

One of my favourite reads this year so far.

Standing in the Shadows with the Ghost of Emmett Till: A JT Ellington Mystery - M P Wright** - A short story featuring JT Ellington, West Indian ex-Policeman who we first met in Heartman.

Set in Bristol in 1967. A clergyman asks via Rank Barrett if JT can help return a member of the parish to the flock. Solomon is having an inter-racial relationship and it is frowned up from all sides. As ever the story is highly descriptive and easy reading.

Look out for All through the Night the next book in the trilogy out in April.

Blood Ran Cold - Sten Ostberg - Marte Vollan is pregnant and her husband Karl is taking her to the hospital. They are stopped at their isolated farmhouse in Norway by a man with a bloody hatchet. It's really creepy and fast paced and a great short read.

Circle - The Diary of Stella Moore - Peter Dudgeon - this is the sequel to Chance which I read August and is not intended to be a stand alone read.

Seven years on and Cassie Janus has grown up away from London after her mum died and has been brought up by her Social Worker, Laura. DS Frank Simmons needs Cassie's help and vision in solving a crime.

A missing persons case has developed into something a lot more sinister involving S&M and an abuse 'circle'. The story has chapters which are entries in Stella's diary although we aren't aware who Stella is at the beginning.

Fast paced with many twists and turns and it kept me on the edge of my seat although I didn't like it quite as much as Chance. Unsure if this is only a sequel or if there will be a series.

Crooked Heart - Lissa Evans*** - Noel Bostock lives with Mattie, his eccentric suffragrette godmother in a rambing house in Hampstead.

He finds himself evacuated to St Albans to escape the Blitz while mouring Mattie. He ends up being billeted with Vee Sedge, a single woman in her 30s who goes from one mad money making scheme to another.

She looks after her dependent mother who writes letters to the Government about the war effort and her lazy son, Donald.

Noel and Vee cook up money making schemes which see them criss-cross London meeting a variety of unsavoury characters.  Absolutely loved this book. Great story and characters.

The Red Letter - Kate Riordan - this is a very short story about a woman who finds out her husband is having another affair after telling her it would never happen again. She finds a red letter 'A' written in his diary. Instead of getting too upset she decides she's going to broaden her horizons and even has a romantic moment of her own.

The hidden legacy - G J Minett* - The story jumps between 1966 where a boy commits a hideous crime in a school playground to 2008 where we meet Ellen, a recently divorced working mother of two.

Ellen is invited to Cheltenham to hear the contents of an old woman's will, a woman called Eudora Nash who she's never heard of before. She finds out Eudora has left her a beautiful cottage in a charming village.

With her friend Kate they seek to find out who Eudora is and why she bequeathed her something worth so much money. Others are also interested in the cottage and Eudora especially an inquisitive and nosy journalist.

The two stories are so cleverly weaved together with an ending I didn't see coming. I simply loved it.

Cut Short (A DI Geraldine Steel Mystery Book 1) - Leigh Russell - DI Geraldine Steel who has recently relocated to sleepy Woolsmarsh after the breakup of a long term relationship. Before she has time to settle in she's thrown into a murder investigation.

A serial killer is on the loose and the race is on to find him before he strikes again. A local woman's group is enraged that the police have been unable to catch the killer and the locals are afraid to go out at night.

A witness comes forward but only has a vague recollection of the strange man she met in the park when she stopped to ask for directions. The killer has been watching her and she's in danger...  Easy reading and I enjoyed the book. Will pick up more from the series to see how Geraldine and her colleagues develop.

Behind Closed Doors - B A Paris* - WOW what an amazing debut novel which I read over two days. It is a terrifying but compelling read and I loved it.

Jack and Grace are the perfect couple who are never apart. They've been married a year, have a beautiful house, lots of money and plenty of holidays. Jack's circle of friends are delighted he's met "the one". He's a hot shot lawyer who represents the victims of domestic violence and he's never lost a case.

When alone behind closed doors life is very different from the idyllic picture they paint when in public. Jack controls every aspect of her life.

The story is told one chapter in the past (before Grace met Jack) and when she was living a fulfilling life with a job she loved and one in the present.  They are due to have Grace's sister come to live with them when she leaves her residential school. Jack's looking forward to controlling Millie too while Grace is looking for ways to make sure this doesn't happen...

Packed with twists and turns and an absolute rollercoaster of a read.

The Courtesan - Alexandra Curry* - the story is inspired by a real woman Sai Jinhua. It is the year 1881 and seven year old Jinhau is an orphan after her father, a Mandarin was executed for speaking the truth.

She is sold to a brothel keeper for a few coins and her life changes forever. Her feet are bound and she is taught how to pleasure a man. She is sold to the highest bidder around about her twelfth birthday. Her only ally is her friend Suyin, a maid at the brothel.

Sub chancellor Kong rescues her and she becomes his concubine eventually travelling with him to Vienna where he undertakes diplomatic duties with the west. She struggles with her husband's authority and when they return to China she's a changed woman.  I really enjoyed the first four parts of the story but found the final two a bit drawn out and not quite as interesting.

The Ballroom - Anna Hope*It's 1911 in an asylum on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. The men and women are kept apart coming together once a week to attend the dance in the splendour of the Ballroom.

Dr Charles Fuller leads the orchestra. He's quite a strange character who I hated! He has odd ideas, can be harmful to the patients and quite mad himself. The story is told from his point of view, Ella's and John's.

Ella and John meet at the dance and find themselves attracted to each other. They try to snatch moments together and when Ella's released before John escapes he deeply misses her. Down the years he keeps searching for her. He just can't stop looking.

The ending ties the story together and is beautiful. A really captivating read and another favourite this year. 

What have you been reading this month?

*Copy from Netgalley
**Copy from Author
***Copy from Love Reading

Thursday, 28 January 2016

MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion

I received MOA's Fortifying Green Bath Potion 100ml (£27.50) in my recent Love Me Beauty box.

MOA make a range of natural skincare products "inspired by old herbal folklore with a sprinkling of magic". The products use yarrow, which is found in hedgerows across the UK. It's been used for centuries to heal and repair the skin.

The company are probably best known for their multi-use The Green Balm.  The bath potion smells really powerful (reminds me a bit of cough sweets!). It is made with nourishing oils along with toning and refreshing peppermint, detoxifying fennel, calming fir needle, healing yarrow and ache reducing sweet birch.

To use: pour a couple of caps into a full bath, ease yourself in and lie back and let the potion work it's magic! 

It will de-stress both the body and the mind, relieve aches and pains and revitalise the body. It's the perfect product to use when you've got the flu or after exercise.  I'll definitely buy it again as it just works! 

100% natural with no parabens, perfume, alcohol, lanolin or animal testing.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

January: Lately I've been Loving

Here's the things I've been loving in January:

I'm absolutely obsessed with Clipper's Organic Indian Chai Tea. I like it with a splash of milk. A spicy, aromatic and warming drink.

Staying on the tea front I stocked up on the best green tea I've found - Sencha Green from Bellevue Tea. See my review HERE. It was nice also to get a few samples to try - I may find another favourite!

I picked this Aromatherapy Associates set up in the 50% off sale. Huge fan of these lovely bath and shower oils.  Love the cute packaging too!

I've been enjoying Maddi Alexander's Mistletoe Kisses diffuser*. It's really gorgeous. See my review HERE. I'd definitely be tempted to pick a few up for presents as it's absolutely exquisite. You can also buy Serene Floral Diffuser - see HERE which has notes of Lavender and Geranium and I think there may be a rose one for Valentines Day.

I know I'm on a diet but these biscuits and sweets from Crabtree & Evelyn are just divine! The biscuits are lightly dusted with crystalised rose petals - yum!

Glasgow based Mobros, a living wage employer makes gorgeous soya wax candles in delicious scents. I'm currently loving Black Pomegranate and Black Raspberry and Vanilla.

My pal Julie gave me this lush Oskia Renaissance Hand Cream (which I've lusted after for ages) for Christmas. It's really luxurious and scented with rose. It keeps my my hands supersoft and nourished.

My Honey Tree Publishing The Stationery Lovers Box arrived at the beginning of the week and it's stuffed full of wonderful things which are beautiful as well as useful.

The Holborn magazine which celebrates a well made life which I came across via twitter - I picked up issue 1 and issue 4 - from these I loved - issue 1 (High Holborn Pub Stroll, The Jim Dandy cocktail recipe, The Art of Writing and Ten Lessons from a Maker).

And from bumper issue 4 (oh so many - The Duppy Share, A Pub Stroll: New York (there is a pub which only sells own brewed light or dark beer!), a cocktail using Gosnells Mead (which I sampled at Maltby St Market in October), Tinder is the Night, Hackney Downs Studios, The London Artisan Market, Trevor's Tale, The Scent of Floris, You got Any Pie On Ya? and Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers. Have loved reading these mags and know I'll go back to them again and again...and try out the cocktail recipes! I definitely think a subscription is on the cards.

What have you been loving this month?

*PR sample

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

January Empties

I'm not going to use anything else up this month so here's my January empties:

HealGel Eye 15ml* - I really liked this and would consider buying it in the future when I reduce my stash. See my review HERE.

Kai Body Wash 2oz* - I'm a huge fan of the kai perfume oil and this wash was lovely to use. See my review HERE. One I'd definitely consider treating myself to.

Weleda Arnica Muscle Soak 200ml - I reviewed this back in August*. Absolutely loved it and have since re-purchased it a couple of times. It was one of my favourite products last year.

Blue Labelle Body Oil with Ylang Ylang & Frankincense 100ml - again love this and will purchase when I reduce my stash a bit. See my review HERE.

Mio Liquid Yoga 53ml - this came in the M&S Advent Calendar. Really enjoyed using it. Would buy full size.

Just Be Happy Hand & Body Lotion 15ml* - really enjoyed using this. Full size is on the wishlist. See my review HERE.

Aromatherapy Associates Breathe Bath & Shower Oil 9ml - this worked wonders when I had the flu over New Year. Maybe not my favourite scent but it worked when I was feeling ill. 

Jane Iredale Smell the Roses Hydration Mist* - absolutely loved this and would buy. See my review HERE.

Dr Bronner 18-in-1 Peppermint Castile Soap 237ml - my favourite Dr Bronner's scent. I've already stocked up.

Living Nature Kelp Extract Nourishing Body Wash 200ml* - a gorgeous nourishing body wash which I'd definitely consider buying. It featured in Lately I've Been Loving in November.

Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts 100g - love these and have already stocked up. They just work!

Evolve Tropical Blossom Body Butter 30ml - I simply adored this gorgeous body butter. See my review here. Full size is on the want list!

Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil 9ml - this is one of my favourite scents. I'd buy full size.

Korres Citrus Shower Gel 50ml - this came in the recent Bath & Unwind bag. I prefer the Guava and Mango scents. Probably wouldn't buy this.

Diptyque L'Eau de Tarocco cologne sample vial - I simply loved this fruity scent with orange, rose, cinnamon and saffron. I'm going to buy the scent for summer. It's just so lush!

Molton Brown Hand Wash with Frankincense & Allspice 100ml - this came in the YOU Beauty Advent Calendar. Loved it and will buy next Christmas.

Lucky Cloud Body Balm with Sweet Orange and Vanilla 60ml - loved this. See my review HERE. Will buy again.

Bodhi & Birch Mint Thé Bath & Shower Therapy 200ml - one of my favourite scents from the brand. Will definitely buy again once I use up some of my stash.

L'Occitane Verbana Shower Gel 75ml - this came in my M&S Advent Calendar. Was nice to use and refreshing. Would be good for holidays. Would maybe buy.

What have you been using up this month?

*PR samples

Monday, 25 January 2016

Update: FaceGym: Odacité

I've now been using the Odacité products FaceGym sent me for a month or so. See my initial post HERE.

Vital Glow Booster 5ml is fantastic for adding a glow and firming the skin. It contains Wild Carrot Seed Oil which is hand pressed in a small French village. The serum can be used alone for an intensive treat or added to your moisturiser both AM and PM.

Radiance Effect Booster 5ml which smells heavenly. Made with Lemongrass and Green Tea which helps to help add radiance and make the skin look luminous as well as tightening and firming.

I love that you can mix and match the serums depending how your skin is feeling. See the range HERE.

The two samples (2 uses each) are Dull Skin Booster (with passionfruit and orange) which brightens and revitalises the skin and Youthful Glow (with Acai and Rose) which helps to smooth and firm the skin.  I've been really impressed with these serums and have noticed a marked difference to the look and feel of my skin.

Olesomes Time Release Delivery Creme 50ml* is a super lightweight cream which can be used on its own or with a few drops of serum added to it. Olesomes are real energy storehouses found naturally in seeds. A high performance formula which delivers actives and hydration to the skin over the whole day.

Organic Aloe Vera boosts hydration, Organic White Tea extracts help to slow down ageing, Hyaluronic Acid plumps up wrinkles and Organic Calendula and Carrot Seed Oils soothes, revitalises and refreshes. I've been enjoying using this both alone and with a serum concentrate.

Jojoba Beads Exfoliant 50ml* is quite probably the gentlest and most effective exfoliator I've used. The beads are made from 100% pure and biodegradable natural Jojoba wax.

The exfoliator helps to remove dead skin cells and encourage cell renewal. Skin is left super soft and clean. It helps to prepare the skin for better absorption of moisturisers. Apply to dry skin massaging in circular motions before removing with lukewarm water. Leaves the skin clean, healthy and renewed.

See more information about FaceGym HERE.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Avalon Organics Clarifying Lemon Shampoo

I put a shout out on twitter for a good clarifying shampoo and Ria at NatuRia Beauty suggested this one by Avalon Organics.

I picked it up at Lucy Rose, a fabulous online Organic Beauty Boutique. You can choose 3 samples (more with a bigger spend) with your order and collect loyalty points. The store has a huge range of brands.

The shampoo costs £5.99 (325ml) and is fantastic. I used to use REDKEN's Nature Rescue Refreshing Detox Shampoo (review) but unfortunately it was discontinued.

It removes build up and restores brightness and shine and smells gorgeous. Containing plant derived cleansers, lemon essential oil, Vitamin E, quinoa protein, aloe and chamomile.

To use: apply to wet hair, massage into a rich lather and rinse. You can then use the matching conditioner if you desire.

Free from parabens, sulphates, synthetics and phthalates. The bottle is made with 100% recyclable materials.

I'm really pleased with the way the shampoo makes my hair feel - clean with lots of volume and shine.

What's your favourite detox shampoo?

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Di Blasi Cosmetics

Just before Christmas founder, Tatiana Puglisi got in touch to see if I'd like to try her range of products. Di Blasi is Tatiana's mums maiden name.

The formulas have been developed, researched and refined with a team of cosmetic lab artisans and high quality raw ingredients are used such as Etna Prickly Pear, Manna and Etna Lava Stone.

I was sent all three products in the range to try and review - Multi-tasking Butter Make Up Remover* (£35), Prickly Pear & Manna Cream* (£32.70) and Olive Oil Handmade Soap with Etna Lava Stone* (£7.00).

The products came beautifully packaged in a box with native greenery! You can also choose to get your purchases wrapped which is an indulgent treat.

The stand out product of the trio for me is the Multi-Tasking Butter Make Up Remover*. It is a seriously rich butter (you only need the tiniest amount) and is scented with lemon. It deeply cleanses the skin removing all daily grime and make up and leaves the skin fresh and clean. It can also be used as a face cream, to soothe sunburn or as a hand cream (I do love a multi-use product).

Prickly Pear & Manna Cream* absorbs quickly and has a fruity-nutty-herbal scent. The cream is suitable for combination, dry and oil skin types and you can use it both morning and night. Prickly Pear hydrates, soothes and softens the skin while Manna moisturises.  This is nice to use and helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and nourish the skin.

The Olive Oil Handmade Soap with Etna Lava Stone* exfoliates and remineralises the skin leaving it silky soft and smooth.

Products are free from petroleum, lanolin, PEGs, parabens, silicones and artificial colours.

See the website HERE
Follow on Twitter @DiBlasiCosmetic 
On Instagram HERE


Friday, 22 January 2016

ReCover Correct & Conceal Red

I've been testing out ReCover Correct & Conceal Red (5ml - £28)* a solutions based concealer which corrects facial redness. I chose 3 - Beige and it really is the perfect match for my skin tone (1 - Light, 2 - Fair, 3 - Beige, 4 - Mid Tan and 5 - Deep Tan). 'Very light' is coming soon.

The product has been developed and formulated by Annabel Jardella, a make up artist with 25 years experience who has worked on film sets such as Evita, Gladiator and Sense & Sensiblity.  She also teaches at Delamar Academy the UK's leading make up school.

I'm really impressed with this product as it totally covers the broken capillaries around my nose and helps to even out any redness on my cheeks. The gold plated nib applicator is cooling against the skin.

You can use it where needed, all over the face as a light base or with foundation.  It's great for on-the-go retouching.

To use: apply a small amount where needed blending outwards with a make up brush or your fingers to create a naturally balanced finish.

Correct & Conceal Under Eye and Correct & Conceal Pigmentation is launching in the Autumn.

Have you tried this concealer?

*PR sample

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Miller Harris Rose Silence EDP

I first tried this beautiful scent when in London in October and dropped some serious hints to hubby. I never for a moment thought he'd remember or buy it so I was absolutely gobsmacked and thrilled when I opened my Christmas gifts from him.

Rose Silence is simply divine "A beam of light streams in through the curtains and you wake slowly, breathing the scent of a fresh white pillow. An unexpected embrace: faint, fresh rose with undertones of sandalwood and patchouli. Untouchable yet crisp, possessing an intoxicating magic. An intimate thrilling moment".

It has top notes of mandarin and blackcurrant, a heart of rose and base notes of patchouli and cashmere musk.

A feminine true rose scent and one I'm very happy to have in my perfume collection.

What's your favourite Miller Harris scent?

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

de Mamiel Winter Facial Oil

I've now come the full circle having enjoyed all the seasons - SpringSummer and AutumnWinter is all about restoring, cocooning and elevating.

The packaging is so exquisite too - a real joy to open.

I bought this just before Christmas and the oil is hand blended in time for the equinox on 22 December.

A rich and nourishing blend it is rich in Vitamins, Minerals and Fatty Acids essential for healthy and glowing skin.  The blend is nurturing and replenishes tired and dull winter skin.

It contains anti-ageing Argan and Seabuckthorn Oils along with Rosehip Seed Oil which is high in essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Rose Geranium (as well as smelling divine) increases circulation and Frankincense is great for fine lines and wrinkles. Nurturing Vetivert and grounding Neroli are great for the skin and the senses and six hand made flower essences work on the emotions.

To use: place 4 drops in palm and warm in the hands before cupping around your nose and breathing deeply. Massage over face and neck until absorbed.

As ever, I'm really enjoying this beautiful blend and know I'll be happy to start the cycle again in Spring.  Have you used any of the seasonal blends?