Tuesday, 28 February 2017

February Books

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

The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher* - Lara and Maggie are both second wives. Lara is married to Massimo and they have a young son, Sandro. Sandro, just wants his dad to praise him but finds him overbearing at times. Lara has a controlled life - it's very ordered and she doesn't like to lose control.

Easy going Maggie and her son from a previously relationship live with Massimo's brother Nico and her stepdaughter, Francesca. Both women find their mother-in-law hard work. Nothing is ever right or good enough for her boys. Maggie's mum is down to earth and says it like it is..

Maggie finds something in the attic which sheds a different light on Nico's perfect first wife, Caitlin.. The story is told in alternating chapters through Lara's and Maggie's eyes and it makes compelling reading. I loved it.

Sister Sister by Sue Fortin - sisters Clare and Alice were separated when they were young children when their dad took Alice off to America. Clare, a partner in a law firm has looked for her sister throughout the years and felt like a part of her was missing despite having a loving mother, husband and children.

When their father dies Alice makes contact again with her mum and returns home. Clare doesn't however feel a sisterly connection to her at all. In fact, she feels uncomfortable around her when everyone else seems to be totally smitten.

Alice manipulates the situation and Clare feels shut out. Her husband, Luke also seems to be taking Alice's side and when things start to slide she feels out of control.. She heads to America to try and find out more about her sister and whilst there finds out a lot more than she bargained for...

An absolute edge of the seat read which I devoured in two sittings. I loved it.

The Damselfly by SJI Holliday - this is the third book in the Banktoun trilogy (but it could be read as a stand-alone novel). Katie Taylor can't wait to leave Banktoun and her small town life behind and really start living. She wins some money on a scratchcard and believes this is the way out for her and Neil, her boyfriend but it's not to be for Katie as DS Davie Gray and DC Louise Jennings are summoned to investigate her death.

Polly McAllister the new guidance teacher speaks to those pupils who may be able to help piece together Katie's last movements. A teacher also makes a startling revelation...

A Facebook group is set up and those on it decide to take matters into their own hands and mete out a punishment to someone they believe is involved. Wrongly, I may add! A fast paced and twisty story...with an ending I didn't see coming! Highly recommend.

Sealskin by Su Bristow** - Donald, a fisherman lives with his widowed mother Bridie in a croft on the West Coast of Scotland. One night he makes a terrible mistake and their lives change forever. The story is based on the legend of the selkies, seals who transform themselves into beautiful young women.

Bridie names her Mairhi and welcomes her into their home and lives. Villagers are suspicious but the children love her childlike and simple ways. Donald's aunt forms an unlikely bond with her and Bridie keeps her best interests at heart.

An absolute gem of a book. It's totally absorbing, easy to read and by far one of my favourites this year so far.

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola - the story is set in London 1837 and the moment you start reading you are right there in Victorian London. The novel is based on a true story.

Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother is sentenced to hang for aiding and abetting James Greenacre with the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding. 

Sarah is sent straight to prison, a dark and terrifying place to await her fate. She pleaded for mercy and Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate the case. He feels that Sarah is hiding something and he plans to find out what and why. The story has a twist which I didn't see coming! I absolutely loved this stunning debut which is totally absorbing. It has extracts from real newspapers which give the story a sense of time and place. Highly recommend.

My final read this month is a quick read. One False Move by Dreda Say Mitchell - Hayley is determined to turn her live around. She never wants to go back inside and be separated from her young daughter. She finds a job collecting cash and one night gets mugged.

Her employers are not at all understanding and with no place to turn gets back in touch with her criminal ex. He says he'll help her only if she comes back to work for him but she wants nothing to do with that life anymore. A fast paced short read which I enjoyed.

What have you been reading this month?

*copy from netgalley
**copy from the publisher, Orenda Books

Monday, 27 February 2017

February Empties

Here's what I've been using up in February:

Lavera Lavender Bath Salts (single use pack) - these make for a relaxing soak and I'd buy them again.

Bodhi & Birch Siam Ginger and Ylang Ylang Incensa Bath & Shower Therapy 200ml each - unusual to finish two of these beauties in one month! I love both these scents and will buy again.

Aromatherapy Associates Support Equilibrium and Deep Relax Bath & Shower oils - again, love both of these. Will buy again.

Therapie Himalyan Detox Salts 500g - a staple - these are always in my stash. I'll be stocking up when Cult Beauty offer their goody bag with purchase next month.

Balm Balm Balance All Over Balm 30ml - with peppermint and lavender. This was lovely and uplifting as well as deeply nourishing. Would buy again.

Balm Balm Balance Bath & Shower Oil 5ml - this lavender scented oil made for a relaxing bath. 

Bodhi & Birch Flora Paradiso De-Stress Massage & Body Oil 30ml - a beautiful oil which I'd definitely buy again. It's perfect for pampering.

Make Skincare Face Smooth 15ml* - I recently reviewed this fab moisturiser (link). I'll definitely buy when I use up some of my stash.

Isla Apothecary Blood Orange & Vanilla Sugar Scrub 220g - this scrub had the perfect scrubbiness and the scent is amazing. One I'll definitely buy next time I need a scrub. See my initial thoughts HERE.

Molton Brown Coco & Sandalwood and Rosa Absolute Bath & Shower Gel (both 30ml) - I love these scents. Sure to pick up full sizes at some point.

Pureology Hydrate Shampoo 50ml - loved this and will buy full size soon.

Cowshed Knackered Cow Shampoo & Conditioner 10ml sachets - I got two uses from each of these. Very nice. Added to the wishlist.

Redken High Rise Volume Shampoo & Conditioner 5ml sachets - nice to use but not really sure they improved volume.

Neom Daily De-Stress Burst Capsule - these are amazing! I wish they sold them in a full size jar!

What have you been using up this month?


Sunday, 26 February 2017

Naturisimo Discovery Boxes

Just recently Naturisimo have had some fab Discovery Boxes. I've managed to pick up all three! Unfortunately, they have all now sold out! Sign up to the newsletter to be one of the first to hear about these try-me boxes.

First up, is their Clean Fragrance Try Me Box which cost £12 and was worth £32. It's absolutely jam packed with perfume samples:

Inside is:

Bamford Splash One Evening 10ml
Acorelle Fragrance sachets 5 x 1.5ml (Energising Tea Garden, Balancing Silky Rose, White Orchid, Intense Cherry and Soothing Neroli)
Honore des Pres Vamp a NY 2ml
Honore des Pres Love Coconut 2ml
Tazeka Tension Tonic 2ml

The second try me set was by Weleda and cost a bargainous £6.95. Inside the cute little make up bag are 4 trial sizes:

Inside is:

Skin Food 10ml
Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil 10ml
Lavender Creamy Body Wash 20ml
Sea Buckthorn Replenishing Body Lotion 20ml

The final box I've picked up recently was the fabulous Vegan Beauty Discovery Box which cost £13.95 and was worth £68. It's absolutely jam packed:

Inside is:

Barefoot SOS Repair & Renew Daily Replenishing Cream 30ml

Madara Time Miracle Total Renew Night Cream 20ml

Evolve Lip Treat 5ml
Skin & Tonic Calm Balm 5g
Pink's Boutique Hydrating Deep Cleansing Melt 5g

Kiki Health Organic Pea Protein Powder 5g
Green People Age Defy SPF15 DD Tinted Moisturiser - Ivory 2ml
pai Head to Toe Buriti Balm 2ml
The Beauty Chef Glow Inner Beauty Powder 5g

The final item is a gorgeous Inika Vegan Full Sized Lipstick in Flushed, a pretty pink shade.

Did you manage to pick up any of the recent discovery boxes? Still available is their New You Health Kit which costs £29.95 (13 items - worth £60) which you can pick up here.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

February: Lately I've been Loving

Here's what I've been loving this month:

I got a beautiful box of goodies* from Tropic Natural Skincare which as well as being very generous made me smile! Expect a review of their GOOD SKIN DAY Resurfacing Serum* early in March - it's fantastic! You can see my review of SUPER GREENS Nutrient Boost Serum* HERE and their Limited Edition SO SLEEPY Pillow Collection* HERE.

I've also loved a few books this month including Susi Holliday's The Damsel Fly which you can pick up from Amazon where it's currently 99p for the kindle copy.

Sealskin* by Su Bristow is one of the most magical books I've ever read - see my review of this next week. 

I've also been testing out a beautiful Face Oil* from Silvan Skincare again a review is forthcoming!

I love trying new brands and when Herbal Forest approached me and asked if I'd like to try some of their products* - of course I jumped at the chance. Again expect reviews soon! Chai flavour Lip Balm is amazing!

I'm going to embark on a healthier March so I'll be kick starting my regime with Pukka's Clean Me Green Organic Wellbeing Kit*.

So it's just as well I got a lovely lunch in yesterday at our local Tapas Restaurant Malvarosa before the diet kicks in!

What have you been loving in February?


Friday, 24 February 2017

Ermana Natural Skincare: Mini Balms Travel Gift Set Review & Giveaway - it's over!

I've got a review and Giveaway today which can be won by one of my UK readers. Ermana Mini Balms Travel Gift Set (£24)* is a great try me set and is also ideal for travel.

Inside the set you'll find 3 x 15ml balms - Cleanse, Comfort and Refresh.

I've been testing the set out (if you are the lucky winner you'll get a lovely boxed set - the ones in the photos are mine).

Cleanse Balm 15ml - I've had the pleasure of using this cleanser before (review, and updated review here).

Refresh Lip Balm 15ml - is a pot of rich goodness for the lips and it's scented with grapefruit which gives the rich balm a zesty freshness. Natural cocoa, shea and coconut butters are blended with sweet almond oil and beeswax which soothe and hydrate the lips.

The final balm in the trio is Comfort Balm 15ml - which is a cozy comfort blanket. It's a blend of natural butters infused with lavender, geranium and ylang ylang which comforts and relaxes both the skin and senses. Use it where you need comfort - dry skin patches, chapped lips, dry heels, knees and elbows (it's also good for flyaways!)

Please enter via the Rafflecopter below and Good Luck!

*complimentary and giveaway prize courtesy of Ermana

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Elemental Herbology Trial Sizes

I've been testing out some try-me size products from Elemental Herbology which you can buy at Naturisimo.  The range "combines high performance, bio-active ingredients with sophisticated technologies and exquisite plant oils". The range helps with ageing skin and is free from synthetic fragrances, colours, mineral oils, sulphates and parabens.

Vital Cleanse Facial Cleanser 25ml* has a gel texture and I like to use it in my morning shower. It deeply but gently cleanses the skin while stimulating cell turnover, improving texture, radiance and vitality. The cleanser contains ingredients such as manuka honey, Organic sea buckthorn, green tea, grapefruit and papaya extract (it smells delicious).

To use: massage onto damp skin before removing with warm water.

Facial Souffle Overnight Cream 15ml* (this size retails at £9.50) the cream has a fluffy rich texture and deeply hydrates the skin. It will soothe, plump, nourish and repair.

To use: apply to the skin after cleansing waking up with dewy and plumped up skin.

Moisture Milk Facial Hydrator 15ml* this is an ultra-light moisturiser which is perfect for combination/oily skin types. It's also great to use in summer or in humid environments as it lightly nourishes the skin.

To use: apply to the skin in the morning for light moisturisation.

Facial Detox Purifying Mask 15ml* (worth £9.50) this mask is fantastic! It deeply cleanses and purifies the skin and is ideal for an oily T-zone. It helps to reduce sebum and helps to decongest the pores. The mask can be used regularly or as a target treatment for spots.

To use: apply to dry skin, leave on for 10 minutes before removing with a warmed damp muslin cloth. The mask dries on the skin but is never tight.

I've been really impressed with all the products. From the four I'd buy Vital Cleanse Facial Detox.

What's your favourite Elemental Herbology product?


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Kiss the Moon: LOVE Night Cream for Hands

I knew I'd find it hard to resist Kiss the Moon's latest launch - LOVE - Night Cream for Hands (intro price £25 - 90g) which is an exquisite rose scented fluffy rich cream which you massage into your hands and nails just before bed - I can assure you it's every bit as good as it looks!

LOVE is a blend of Rose, Frankincense, Palmarosa and Ylang Ylang and it's richly fragrant and decadent.

The packaging is super luxe and is perfect for gifting (if you can bear to give it away!) 

Rich shea butter is whipped together with rosewater, LOVE fragrance and Vitamin A rich rosehip seed oil which deeply nourishes and helps to repair the skin overnight. Skin is smoother and softer and the cream can also help with wrinkles and age spots.

To use: massage into hands and cuticles before bed.

Have you tried LOVE Night Cream for Hands? What's your favourite Kiss the Moon product?

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

ARgENTUM l'étoile infinie

ARgENTUM's founder Joy Isaacs used collodial silver to treat grazes, burns and scratches on her skin when she was growing up in South Africa. She, along with her friend Stephanie decided to create a special anti-ageing cream which repairs, fortifies, intensely nourishes, smoothes, helps to reduce lines and wrinkles and which leave the skin feeling soft and healthy. La potion infinie was created using Silver Hydrosol and DNA HP (marine based polymer).

I've been trying ARgENTUM's very fabulous l'etoile infinie (£82)* which is one of the most luxurious products I've tried. The elixir is super lightweight and absorbs instantly. Suitable for all skins and ages it's 100% natural and has 75% organic ingredients.

The elixir can be used alone but works best with the la potion infinie (and now the new le savon lune* (150g - £104) which I've just started using (I will be reviewing this shortly - it's gorgeous!)

Made with Organic non-comedogenic dry oils (Argan, Abyssinian, Kukui Nut and Vitamin E) which are ethically sourced and have powerful antioxidant properties. The elixir can help with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis and leaves the skin looking radiant and youthful.

To use: apply after la potion infinie or add a drop to the cream. Use AM and PM.

It's one of the most exquisite skincare products I've ever tried. I also love the simple but beautiful packaging. Check out the new le savon lune* below.

*complimentary - sent for review

Monday, 20 February 2017

Aster & Bay: Rosewater Mist

I was absolutely over-the-moon when I discovered Aster & Bay at Northern Ireland based Red Ruby Rouge (you can also buy direct from Aster & Bay, as they are now Edinburgh based).

The brand was founded by Erin Hammond in the USA. She studied Architectural Conservation at Edinburgh University and when she returned to the states began to study botany, plant folklore and herbal alchemy. The range is natural and made with the highest quality plant ingredients. The products are also unisex (as if you'd want to share!) and packaging is simple but beautiful and recyclable.

There are no preservatives in the products, no animal testing, no parabens or phthalates and ingredients are ethically sourced.

The Rosewater Mist (100ml - £25) is absolute heaven. You can use it on your face, hair or body and it smells divine. Scented with Bulgarian rose water which has been hydro-distilled as well as Ylang Ylang floral water. The blend calms, relaxes and replenishes both the body and mind.

Honeysuckle extract is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and has anti-oxidant properties which help to inhibit bacteria on the skin or scalp. Epsom Salt helps the skin hold onto it's own moisture as well as moisturising and detoxifying the skin. It also helps to add volume to the hair and remove oil build up. Himalayan Pink Salt hydrates and contains 80+ skin replenishing minerals.

To use: spritz onto the face after cleansing and before moisturising, spray onto damp roots before styling for rose scented beachy waves or to give the hair volume. Alternatively, spritz into the palm and mix a few drops of facial serum for a light and hydrating treatment.  The mist is also good to relieve sunburn or any skin irritations.

Have you used the Rosewater Mist? What's your favourite Aster & Bay product?

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Latest in Beauty: Le Fashion Fetish Beauty Box

The Le Fashion Fetish Beauty Box from Latest in Beauty is in collaboration with blogger Anna Shearer and features some of her favourite products (the box costs £60, although I bought it with a tenner off - thanks for the code LIB! And the box is now down to a bargainous £45!) I adore Tada & Toy earrings so that kind of swayed me!

So what's inside:

Tada & Toy Crescent Moon Studs
Chantecaille Bio-Lifting Cream 10ml
Rosalena Rock & Rose Radiance Boosting Face Oil 5ml
Maria Nila Luminous Colour Masque 250g
Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream 50ml
Smith & Cult Lip Gloss 5ml
OM Konjac Sponge
OM Pure Glow Cleanser 5ml
NIP+FAB Viper Venom Micro Blur 40ml
Skimono Mask
Nails Inc. 14ml Colville Mews
Strip Wax Bar Brow Wax (London)

My favourites:

Pick your box up (while stocks last) at Latest in Beauty.