Thursday, 31 August 2017

August Books

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

England Expects by Sara Sheridan (A Mirabelle Bevan Mystery #3) - I'm a huge, huge fan of the series (and had the real pleasure of hearing Sara speak last week - I also picked up books 5 and 6) (happy face). In this adventure which is set in the heatwave of 1953 Mirabelle and Vesta investigate the murder of a racing journalist and a cleaning woman. Are the murders connected? Their investigations lead them to derelict Brighton Pavillion, Cambridge college and the mysterious underworld of Brighton's freemasonry. A great plot with lead characters I've grown to love.

British Bulldog by Sara Sheridan (A Mirabelle Bevan Mystery #4) which sees Mirabelle on the trail of an RAF pilot who went missing during the war and never came home. Her investigation takes her to Paris where she discovers an espionage operation. She also finds out things about her "perfect" lover Jack which surprise her and in turn she feels she can finally take him down from his pedestal that she's put him on, get on with her life and maybe find romance with Alan McGregor. Full of twists and turns and un-put-downable. Now can't wait to get stuck into books #5 and #6!

What she Lost by Susan Elliot Wright* (thanks very much to Susan for a copy of her book). Eleanor and her mother have never really bonded and as such have a difficult relationship. Marjorie has Alzheimer's and finds she needs to have Eleanor near to help her so Eleanor uproots her life and moves back home. Also a strong character in the book is neighbour, Peggy who has always been there for both Marjorie and Eleanor. 

Her mother tells her "there's something I have to tell you" but she just can't remember and with her memory fading will Eleanor find out the truth about what happened that day..or not. The storylines cover dementia, teenage pregnancy, mental health, families, love, heartbreak and friendship. A really moving read which I recommend.

Jo Malone - My Story - WOW what a read! A fascinating memoir of this inspirational lady's life. I just couldn't put it down. We learn about young Jo, the family business and all she does to make it successful, heartbreak when she leaves to set up on her own, the early years as a facialist, making products for select clients and being inspired to create her own range of perfumes and Jo Malone, the company being born. 

There are harrowing sections when Jo describes going through cancer treatments but her son and husband keep her strong and she comes out the other side. Selling the company to Estee Lauder and her frustrations about not being able to work in the industry for 5 years and then the creation of the amazing Jo Loves. It's an absolutely fabulous read and I highly recommend it. 

Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett** Singer/Songwriter Cass Wheeler is making a greatest hits album and taking a trip down memory lane - she's picking the sixteen tracks which have defined her life.

She's understandably a bit scared as she's had her fair share of heartbreak and sadness as well as intense happiness and love. Each chapter captures a period in her life and includes song lyrics. I was totally engrossed and found it a fascinating and interesting read. Highly recommend.

Robbing the Dead by Tana Collins which is the first in a new series featuring DCI Jim Carruthers. The story is set in a small Scottish University town.  

A young man who seems to know too much is brutally murdered. A lecturer at the University with a link to Northern Ireland and an interest in Welsh Nationalism was supposed to die when his car exploded but due to fate he wasn't there at the time he was expected to be. Was it a terrorist attack? And if so, who is behind it... 

The cases seem to be linked in some way and it's up to DCI Jim Carruthers and DS Andrea Fletcher along with terror expert McGee, Jim's old enemy to find out why.. An interesting, fast paced and enjoyable read. Looking forward to seeing the characters of Jim and Andie developing in book #2.

Cartes Postales from Greece by Victoria Hislop Postcards start arriving at Ellie's flat addressed to someone she doesn't know. They are always signed with an initial - A. She starts to fall in love with Greece and she looks forward to receiving the "cartes postales". After a short while they cease. She decides she must go and see this country for herself.

On the morning she leaves a notebook arrives which tells the mysterious "A's" story. We learn of his travels all over Greece and the stories he hears from the locals both real and mythical. While in Greece Ellie finds peace and realises she can live a different sort of life. An enjoyable read.

What have you been reading this month?

*copy from the author
**copy from netgalley

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

JoJo Co: Rocks & Roses Soy Wax Candle

I recently came across JoJo Co. candles at Stockbridge Market in Edinburgh (on the 1st Sunday of the month) and at Leith Market (on the last Saturday of the month) and of course I couldn't resist! I love new to me candle brands and especially ones from Scottish small businesses. The candles are simply but prettily packaged. I chose Rocks & Roses (£12 - 45hrs burn time) as it was the scent which appealed to me most (I now want a diffuser!)

Jo's husband bought them a candle kit to experiment with. Through trial and error they perfected the candles and gave them to friends to test out - they all loved them and Jo started selling them at markets. The candles (and reed diffusers) are now available to buy in several stockists which you can see on their Facebook page.

The scent is really beautiful it's rosey and floral and the candle burns well. Have you tried a Jo Jo Co Candle?

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

August: Lately I've Been Loving

So many August loves..

A little bee spotted feasting on this sunflower at the allotment #simplepleasures

I bought these gorgeous melts from The Botanical Candle Company which smell divine! I picked their mix & match pack which contains 2 each of the whole range - Seville with dried orange & lemon peel, Darjeeling & Tea Rose with black tea and rose petals, Almond Grove with roasted almonds, Lavender with dried Yorkshire lavender and Laundry Day with dried Cornflower petals.

The incredible Skin Organics Beauty Box - August's theme was Self Care* and the box contained 3 new to me brands (how exciting). See my initial thoughts HERE.

This amazing new skincare duo** from Lucky Cloud which is available at Love Lula - see my review HERE.

Last week I went to the final #WritersOnTheFringe at Blackwells, Edinburgh. It was great to meet Sara again and pick up a book of a new to me author, Mason Cross. I do love a signed book!

After Foodies Festival we went down to the pond at Inverleith Park and met these friendly pigeons!

We had a few days holiday in beautiful Fife and enjoyed eating and drinking!

We had some amazing cocktails at The Adamson in St Andrews - my colleague Peter had recommended the Zombie! (delicious).

 Halibut - Spiced Israeli Couscous - Goats Cheese - Spinach
Rose Infused Panna Cotta - Sorbet - Meringue - Summer Fruits

We had lunch at Craig Millar @ 16 West End in St Monans which was delicious! Highly recommend. I especially loved the amazing bread and the divine rose pannacotta!

While in St Monans I picked up a couple of locally made products - which featured in my recent post HERE.

Dinner at The Cellar in Anstruther was amazing! Here are some of the courses we enjoyed (yes, and that bread was delicious!)

Rabbit Leg - Pea Mousse - Tomato Jam

Local Crab - Black Garlic - Courgette - Almond Foam

Cured and Torched Mackerel - Pickled Cucumber - Dill - Yoghurt

Heritage Tomato - Chive Oil - Aged Beef Fat Dressing - Goats Crowdie

Halibut - Baby Gem - Bacon - Mussel Juice - Charcoal Oil

Gartmore Duck - Carrot Puree - Pickled Elderflower - Gooseberry

coffee and petit fours (the seabuckthorn jellies were delicious)

What have you been loving in August?

**sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program

Monday, 28 August 2017

Shopping my Stash #91

Here's what I've been reaching for:

Fabulous new to me brand help me organics (I received their "help me it's way past my bedtime" Room Spray) in the brilliant Skin Organics Beauty Box see my thoughts on the August Self Care Box* HERE. The spray contains melissa, lavender, eucalyptus and ginger in a witch hazel base. It calms and destresses and is great to use before bed for a restful and peaceful night's sleep.

From John Masters Organics is something I always have in my stash - their fabulous Rose & Apricot Hair Milk which I reviewed HERE.

I recently tried some try me sizes from OKKO which I loved. I've been enjoying their delicious coconut & lime lip balm which is available at Love Lula.  The balm is super moisturising and smells delicious. My only bug-bear is that you have to be careful not to push the balm up too much (as it won't go back down again!) I do however love the recyclable packaging.

This new lipstick (South Pacific Coral) from Antipodes is absolutely gorgeous! The colour is a beautiful long lasting coral shade. It deeply nourishes the lips and the shade is perfect for summer and coming into autumn. I can't wait to pick up some more!

I love the range of perfumes from Balm Balm. Rose Geranium is a sweet rosey scent which can be worn alone or layered with a mixture of the others from the range.

I just adore calm-inducing Isla Apothecary Reset Ritual Pulse Point Therapy* (10ml - £12)** which helps to reset "thought patterns that no longer serve you, clear stagnant energy and introduce calm". 

It's a blend of Roman chamomile, eucalyptus and lavender and is great to use to de-stress and clear muddled thoughts. It's also great to bring relief to hayfever, itchy eyes, sneezing, congested sinuses, headaches and drowsiness. It helps me when I'm needing a helping hand with things like travelling or for a moment of calm.

What have you been reaching for lately?

*complimentary - sent for review
**received as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Programme. All thoughts are genuine and my post contains one affiliate link

Saturday, 26 August 2017

August Empties

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

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Botanical Cream Deodorant 5g - I absolutely adore this deodorant. Full size is very, very firmly on the wishlist. It featured in shopping my stash #85. It's fantastic!

ishga Hebridean Marine Toner 150ml* - which I loved. See my review HERE. I loved the range and it's one I'd buy when the toner stash reduces a bit.

Skin & Tonic Rose Mist 20ml - huge fan of this brand and product. See my review HERE. I've got another of these in the stash thankfully!

Molton Brown Frankincense & Allspice Hand Wash 300ml - I simply love this and stock up in the sales to last me all year. See my review HERE

Madara Time Miracle Cellular Nutrients Toning Mist 100ml* - loved this. See my review HERE. I'd buy this once my current stash reduces.

Connock Kukui Oil Nourishing Hand Cream 50ml - I enjoyed using this hand cream. It's got a nice scent and I'd maybe try and pick it up again.

bodhi & birch Lime Blossom Protecting Hand Serum 5ml - huge fan of this. See my review HERE. This is one of my favourite bodhi & birch products so highly likely I'll buy it again soon.

By Terry Baume de Rose Hand Cream 30ml - lovely to use with a rosey scent. It left the hands feeling soft and nourished.

Tropic Skincare Wild Mint, Lime & Pineapple Body Wash 250ml* - I loved this beautiful tropical scented wash. See my thoughts HERE. It's one I'd buy when my stash reduces a bit.

Juno Reviving Cleanser sample* - which was lovely to use. See my thoughts HERE. It's one I'd buy full size when my stash reduces a bit. Juno Skincare Mon Ami Rejuvenating Hand Cream sample* which was deeply nourishing and nice to use. Would buy full size.

Tom Ford White Suede EdP 4ml - I love these dinky perfumes which you receive when you buy a full size Private Blend perfume. This one's on the wishlist!

Thalgo Cold Cream Marine Deeply Nourishing Body Cream 5ml - this was a teeny sample (one use) but it was a lovely cream with a sea inspired scent. I'd maybe buy full size.

Palo Santo by Carner EdP 1ml sample - I adored this and full size is on the wishlist.

Matis Reponse Premium The Night Regenerating Caviar Face Cream 5ml - nice to use and I got a few uses out of the sample. Would maybe buy full size and Matis Response Premium The Eyes Precious Caviar Black Gel 5ml - this was lovely and I'd buy full size.

Sanoflore Rosa Angelica Morning Rehydrating Concentrate Serum sachet - the scent of this serum was amazing. Unfortunately, the sample was teeny tiny and I only got 2 uses from it.  It felt lovely on the skin however.

What have you been using up this month?


Friday, 25 August 2017

[M] Botanicals Geranium Toning Body Oil

I'm a huge fan of [M] Botanicals having tried their mini skincare box (REVIEW) and their exquisite Rose Oud Soy Wax Candle* (REVIEW) so I was delighted to try and review their Geranium Toning Body Oil* (100ml - £25).

The body oil is lovingly handcrafted using a rich and indulgent blend of skin loving oils including Olive, Borage, Tamanu and Blackseed oils. The body oil is scented with Geranium, Frankincense & Bergamot essential oils and is simply heavenly!

It helps to fights cellulite and deeply hydrates the skin leaving it feeling nourished and smooth.

To use: apply generously to the skin after your bath or shower.

What's your favourite product from [M] Botanicals?


Thursday, 24 August 2017

New Finds in Fife: East Neuk Candle Co, Essential Aromatherapy, Tea Lovers' Company, Balgove Larder

We had a few days away in St Andrews last week (and ate lots of amazing food!) I love searching out new to me companies and products and came across some fab ones.

east neuk candle co, a mother and daughter team who handcraft a beautiful range of candles in quirky & unusual scents. I chose Granny's Rhubarb Crumble which is a delicious warming fruity blend. Expect a review shortly! I love the simple packaging and a new to me candle brand excites!

As you'll know I love anything rose and this Himalayan Rose Tea from Tea Lovers' Company is truly delicious. It's great to know that you can order online too! I love that they give back - with all profits going to educational charities. Read more here. I picked mine up at the fabulous Balgove Larder (which is total foodie heaven - with farm shop, cafe and steak barn).

Essential Aromatherapy was a find in St Monan's at The Diving Gannet - a cafe and shop selling local crafts and gifts (well worth a visit if you are in the area). I picked up their Room Spray which is a delicious blend of Lavender, Peppermint and Clary Sage. You can also pick up Linda's products from her online SHOP.

And back at Balgove Larder I picked up a mini Noble Isle Handwash in Sea of Green (huge fan of their Summer Rising scent) and a Balgove Larder mini branded Tuberose Candle (lush).

Have you picked up any new to you brands on your summer hols?

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Love Lula Beauty Box: August 2017

I'd been away on holiday for a few days last week so only picked up August's Love Lula Beauty Box* on Monday. This month the contents are worth £55. Sign up HERE.

The first item to jump out at me was delicious Energy (Passionfruit & Ginger) Beauty Brews Tea (£9.50) - I've tried Poise before which I loved (Strawberry & Ginger) (REVIEW). It smells mouthwatering - I'm so looking forward to brewing up!

Also inside is Balm Balm's Chamomile Floral Water (30ml - £8.50) - which is good to mist over sore, inflamed or itchy skin, for rashes or any areas which needs some TLC. You can also spritz it over bedlinen to induce sleepiness. Looking forward to trying this out.

New & Exclusive to Love Lula are two GLOSSWORKS products - a beautiful polish in "Name of the Rose" (9ml - £12), a 9-free polish which leaves the nails with a glossy shine and 3-in-1 base coat (9ml - £12) which works as a base coat, a top coat and hardner in one!

The final items this month is a Natural Eye Liner from PHB Ethical Beauty in Brown (4g - £10.95) which I'm looking forward to testing out. I absolutely adore their All-in-one Black Mascara* which we received last month.

Did you get a box this month? What are your thoughts on the contents?

*Sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. All thoughts are genuine and my post contains a few affiliate links

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Tropic Skincare Face Masks

I've totally fallen for Tropic Skincare's fantastic face masks. The trio* (50ml -£16 each) are designed to be mixed and matched over your face and neck depending on how your skin is feeling that day. The Mask Spatula* is great to spread the mask over your skin.

I've got an oily T-Zone so Award Winning CLEAR SKIN Blemish-Fighting Mask* is just perfect to slather on my forehead, nose and chin. It's a fantastic mask and one I'll definitely buy. It has a glorious fresh scent and contains Willow bark and Ginger extract which helps to kill blemish-causing bacteria, Green clay and Spirulina draw out toxins and tighten pores while Charcoal and Goji berry extracts reduce redness and calm the skin. It's great to reduce sebum and prevent breakouts.

To use: apply a thick layer to the skin leaving on for 10-20 minutes before rinsing. It can also be used as a spot treatment.

I use DEEP HYDRATION Soothing Cooling Mask* either on my cheeks or neck depending how my skin is feeling that day/evening. The mask has a cream/gel texture and instantly melts onto the skin. It's great to soothe and hydrate dry or irritated skin.  It's formulated with antioxidant-rich wild Australian superberries, Resurrection flower extracts hydrate and restore vitality. The mask also contains anti-inflammatory allantoin and bisabolol.

To use: apply to dry skin areas leaving on 20-30 minutes before rinsing.

Award Winning, FACE LIFT Brightening Tightening Mask* tightens and regenerates to firm and brighten. Agave nectar and Seabuckthorn extract hydrate and nourish. Turmeric and clay brighten while Electric daisy extract plumps and tightens fine lines. I use this mask on my neck.

To use: apply an even layer twice a week concentrating on areas prone to ageing such as the neck and forehead. Leave on 10-20 minutes before rinsing.

Have you used any of the masks? If so, what's your favourite(s)?


Monday, 21 August 2017

Love Lula: Lucky Cloud Skincare

I'm a huge Lucky Cloud Skincare fan having locally bought their bodycare products (the company is Edinburgh based). See my review of their Hydrating Body Milk (Sweet Orange & Vanilla) and Coconut Lip Butter HERE. The body balm in Sweet Orange & Vanilla featured in shopping my stash #68 (I kind of like this scent!)

I've been testing out their two new facial skincare products* which are absolutely fantastic!

The Nourishing Cleansing Balm* (60ml - £20) is simply gorgeous! The balm melts upon contact with skin making it easy to remove daily grime and make up.  The balm has a gorgeous luxurious spa like scent and contains neroli, geranium and sandalwood essential oils along with organic jojoba and macadamia nut oils. The macadamia oil along with castor oil attract dirt which help to give the skin a deep clean at the end of the day.

Skin is left feeling clean, balanced and nourished. It's perfect for dry, sensitive and mature skin types.

To use: fill the basin with warm water and soak a cotton face cloth, squeeze out excess water and hold against the skin for a few seconds before scooping a small amount from the jar. Warm in your fingertips before massaging over your face and neck. Remove with the warmed cloth.

The Nourishing Face Oil* (30ml - £20) is one of the best I've used this year! It's formulated with CoEnzyme Q10, rosehip seed, Evening primrose, jojoba, avocado, kiwi seed and rice bran oils which regenerate and rejuvenate the skin, smoothing fine lines, softening and making the skin look and feel both glowy and healthy. Again, this oil is best suited to dry, sensitive and mature skin types and has the same beautiful scent as the cleansing balm.

To use: after cleansing and misting measure out 4-8 drops onto fingertips and massage over the face and neck concentrating on your driest areas. Wake up to bright and nourished skin.

I've been so impressed with this duo and can't recommend them highly enough. If you've tried the brand what are your favourites?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. All thoughts are genuine and my post contains a few affiliate links.