Tuesday, 31 October 2017

October Books

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

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - I loved the TV series and watched it before I read the book. The series is very true to the book and I'd recommend it. The Republic of Gilead offer young women like Offred one function - to breed.  If women refuse they will be hanged at the wall or banished.

Offred used to have a job, a life, friends, a husband and a child. She is now only allowed to leave the house accompanied by another handmaid, who is not a friend. The shops are signposted with pictures as the women are not allowed to read.. Their every move is monitored by "eyes" and they are forced into the oppressive lifestyle. Once a month the ritual is performed with the Commander and his wife Serena Joy where they hope that Offred will fall pregnant. She randomly meets her friend from her life before who is working as a jezebel in the club the Commander frequents.  The book like the TV series leaves us with more questions than answers. A book I'm still thinking about (and may read again).

Erotic Stories for Pujabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswall* - Nikki is a modern Indian girl who has shunned traditions and lives alone above the pub where she works. She dropped out of University which cased rifts between her and her dad. When her dad dies suddenly she's sad they never made up. Her sister is searching for the perfect husband via an arranged marriage (something which Nikki thinks is wrong).

She takes a job teaching creative writing to Punjabi widows in Southall and finds out early on that they are illiterate and were expecting to be taught how to read and write. Instead they share their stories, fantasies and memories. The stories are shared far and wide and more and more women want to join the group but they need to be careful and keep the brotherhood at bay...I found the story a little slow at first but was soon totally absorbed by the story and characters within.

The Angel in the Stone by R L McKinney - Calum now lives in the cottage where he was brought up on the west coast. There are constant reminders of his brother Finn who fell to his death in a climbing accident 20 years before. He tends to live a solitary life although has an on-off relationship with the woman who lives next door.

His mother Mary, has Alzheimer's Disease and after a fire at her flat of her making comes to live with him. A short while later his estranged daughter, Catriona turns up looking for a place to stay until she comes to terms with something which happened to her.. I really warmed to the wonderful characters and setting. Highly recommend.

Second Life by S J Watson - Julia lives with her husband and her son, Connor. Her sister is murdered in Paris where she lives and she'll stop at nothing to find out why. She visits Kate's friend and flatmate Anna and she finds out that her sister went online to meet men for sex. She decides to sign up to the site to try and find out her sister's last movements. 

What happens next is unexpected She meets a man called Lukas who is not what he seems. She's quickly drawn into a secret and obsessive affair. She suddenly finds that her past is about to catch up with her second life..

I found the book slowish to begin with however the second half is a lot better with twists and turns some of which I didn't see coming. The story doesn't have a definite conclusion which makes you think about the book long after you turn the last page.

If only you knew by Cynthia Clark* - Elizabeth has a secret which she's kept to herself for many years. As a student one wrong decision shaped her whole life. Even her loving husband Miles doesn't know. Someone however does know and lets her know by sending anonymous letters. Can she keep her secret, having to look over her shoulder forever or is the past slowly catching up with her?

An absolutely enthralling read which I couldn't put down.

Broken Bones - DI Kim Stone #7 by Angela Marsons* - A young prostitute is found dead and a baby abandoned on the same night. Are the cases connected? Three more sex workers are murdered and the team wonder if this is the work of a serial killer or a brutal pimp.

Kim and her trusty team - Bryant, Dawson and Stacey pull together to put those responsible behind bars. What is the connection to the handbag factory and the immigrants who work there? And will Ellie get out alive? There's a twist which I didn't see coming. Highly recommend it's a fast paced and exciting read.

My final read this month is the fabulous It started with a tweet by Anna Bell* it's not out until the beginning of December so I'll post my review in my November roundup.

What have you been reading this month?

*copy from Netgalley

Monday, 30 October 2017

Amphora Aromatics: Reed Diffuser Kit: Orange & Clove

I'm a huge fan of reed diffusers and the new ones from Amphora Aromatics are fantastic. The scent is very long lasting, the packaging pretty and at £13.50 excellent value for money.

I've been testing out festive Orange & Clove (100ml essential oil blend and reeds - £13.50)*. Inside the box is:

I'm really impressed with how pretty the diffuser kit looks, how long lasting the beautiful scent is and the incredible value. I think they'd make a great Christmas present.

The natural reeds draw the scent up into your room. If you feel the scent needs a refresh take the reed out and turn them over.

I'm also testing out their Incense Stickswhich are fantastic value at £3.00 a pack. I think they would make a great stocking filler! Expect a review soon! 


Sunday, 29 October 2017

October: Lately I've Been Loving

So many October loves! We were in London for the American Football at the beginning of the month and we shopped, ate out, drank cocktails and met up with friends, Nardin and Sam.

Hubby treated me to a bottle of my favourite Jo Loves Pomelo (see my review HERE). I also tried the fragrance paintbrush and have dropped some hints for Christmas (I'd love it in Pomelo). So good for use on the go instead of lugging the 50ml bottle around with me.

I picked up a Stella Says Rosewood & Geranium Hand Rescue Balm at Maltby Street Market (and Stella popped a little treat in - her best-selling Lavender & Chamomile Lip Rescue Balm*. Expect a review of this duo soon!

We were staying at our favourite London Hotel - Taj St James Court Hotel and they very kindly upgraded us to a Executive King which was a lovely spacious room. 

It was great to visit Shay & Blue again, and get to try out all the new perfumes. The friendliest welcome was from Adriana at Ancienne Ambiance it was so, so lovely to meet her (and she very generously gave me some treats to take away). The Tuberosa Tuberose Tea-Light candles launched on Thursday - they are gorgeous! With a really good throw and a 6hr burn time each.

The shop I was most disappointed in was one I was keen to visit. As you'll know I had a Bloom Perfumery perfume subscription for two years and I'm a huge fan of the shop. The assistant couldn't have cared less and I felt like I was annoying her speaking to her.  So not a good experience!

Little Bird Gin Negroni is a must at Maltby Street Market oh and I loved a Rose & Lavender G&T at Tuttons Covent Garden.

The American Football was very disappointing but I did pick up a pretty necklace from an American girl in the bar beforehand! (the guys were all jealous haha).

We went to local Edinburgh Gastropub, The Ox and my two standout dishes were a divine Avocado Houmous with pitta bread and Chocolate, fruit and nut brownie with rum & raisin ice cream. Looking forward to going back!

I attended the brilliant Portobello Book Festival and heard some amazing authors speak. Oh course I had to get a signed book or two! (and The Angel in the Stone is brilliant!)

I've been trying more and more artisan candles and this one by Samuel & Paris is just divine. It's got a gentle seaside scent and a woodwick. Love!

The usem note cards* are such a clever invention. They slip easily inside your wallet or pocket and are fab for jotting down a quick note or shopping list.

What have you been loving in October?


Friday, 27 October 2017

October Empties

Here's what I've been using up in October (I don't have much as I chucked all the samples and trial sizes I used up in London rather than bringing them home!)

Esse Probiotic Gel Cleanser 10ml* - I simply love this cleanser. See my review HERE. I took this to London earlier in the month and it was more than enough for a few days break. Huge fan of the brand. I definitely want to try more products from the range.

MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion Shot 10ml - absolutely love this bath treat. See my review HERE. Will definitely re-purchase.

Schmidt's Rose+Vanilla and Bergamot+Lime Natural Deodorants - I love this brand. Bergamot+Lime is my favourite scent. I wouldn't pick up the Rose one again as although nice I didn't love it.  Just opened a new B+L one.

Dr Bronner's Peppermint 18-in-1 Pure Castile Magic Soap 236ml - this is a staple for me in this scent. I use it to clean my make up brushes and sometimes the bath! I've just picked up a new one.

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet SPF15 - 30 Beige - I love this foundation and I'll buy it again. It gives good coverage and I find it suitable for my combination skin.

MAKE Skincare Face Glow 30ml** - which was beautiful. See my review HERE. I'd consider buying when my stash reduces a bit.

Dafna's Personal Skincare Recovery Cleanser 50ml** - I simply loved this beautiful cleanser. See my review HERE. I'll definitely buy when my cleanser stash reduces a bit.

Molton Brown Coco & Sandalwood Body Wash 300ml - this is one of my favourite Molton Brown scents. Sure to buy again at some point.

Isla Apothecary Neroli Body Oil 100ml* - this body oil is divine! It has a beautiful scent and deeply nourishes the skin - what's not to love! See my review HERE. I'm sure to buy this again as I just love it! I do however have a mini one to use which came in the Discovery Set which I mentioned HERE.

My final item this month is a Reed Diffuser* from The Handmade Soap Company. I loved the scent - Lemongrass & Cedarwood and found it lasted round about three months. Would buy for sure. You can also buy refills. See my review HERE

What have you been using up this month?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program
**complimentary - sent to me from the founder

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Review: Alexa Sky Botanicals: The One Balm Original English Lavender

I've had the real pleasure of testing out The One Balm Original English Lavender (50g - £30)* by Alexa Sky Botanicals.

The range of products are created and formulated by founder, Alexandra Paulino a qualified Aesthetician who previously worked with well-known brands as a skincare specialist.  In 2000, she was diagnosed with psoriasis and found it difficult to find suitable products so she decided to create her own alongside training in product development. Before long the beautiful Alexa Sky Botanicals range was available for the public to BUY - there is a range of skincare, bodycare and a wellness tea.

The One Balm deeply cleanses and nourishes the skin and is suitable for all skin types including sensitive.

To use: warm a small amount of the balm between your fingertips before massaging onto the face and neck (including eye area). Remove with the warmed damp Organic Hot Cleansing Cloth* which gently exfoliates the skin.

The One Balm can be used as a deep cleanser, to moisturise dry skin on the face and body, for elbows and hands, cuticles and lips. It really does it all!

It's infused with rose quartz "which is believed to stabilize blood circulation, improve blood flow and calm red complexions". It can also boost self-esteem and self worth.

The One Balm contains 60% organic ingredients* and is handmade in small batches with love and passion in Surrey using the best natural and organic grade oils and butters which are carefully selected from organic farmers, family run business and local communities all over the world. 

Packaging is recyclable and there are no parabens, synthetic dyes, colours, fragrance, mineral oil, GMO ingredients or animal testing used in formulation of the products.

The One Balm* leaves the skin feeling clean, never tight, smooth and deeply nourished.  I love its versatility and beautiful aromatic scent.

ingredients: *shea butter, *jojoba seed oil, *kiwi seed oil, *hemp seed oil, *beeswax, *castor seed oil, *calendula oil, *lavender oil, *geranium oil, *bergamot oil, rosehip fruit oil, honey, carrot tissue oil, kaolin clay and French pink clay.

Have you used The One Balm or any other products from Alexa Sky Botanicals?

*complimentary - sent for review

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Love Lula: Kiss the Moon: GLOW Bedtime Bath Salts

I'm a huge fan of lovely Kiss the Moon having tried several of their products before - LOVE Night Cream for Hands (REVIEW) and Mini Moment of GLOW After Dark Face Oil & LOVE Sleep Recovery Set (REVIEW).

I've been testing out their new Kiss the Moon GLOW Bedtime Bath Salts* (400g - £20) which make for a beautiful and relaxing soak before bed. The restorative blend of Orange & Geranium soothe and relax both the body and mind (the scent is exquisite - uplifting and calming at the same time!) while detoxifying Magnesium and Dead Sea Salts ease the muscles and nourish the skin. The salts are in a user friendly pouch which easily seals back up after each use.

To use: add 1-2 tbs to a warm bath, jump in, lie back, close your eyes and relax.

I absolutely love the Bedtime Bath Salts and I truly do believe that they help me to have a more restful night's sleep. What's your favourite Kiss the Moon product?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. My thoughts are genuine and my post contains 1 affiliate link.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Love Lula Beauty Box: October 2017

I'm a bit late posting my thoughts on October's Love Lula Beauty Box due to mine getting lost in the post! The total value of the box this month is £44. Sign up HERE for November's box.

And now, onto the contents:

The first thing to jump out at me was ooh! oils of heaven Tamanu Oil (15ml - £9.50). I'm a huge fan of the oils - see my Spotlight HERE. I think the green colour is interesting and the scent is green, nutty and herbal. It's rich in Omegas 6 and 9 and deeply nourishes the skin. Looking forward to testing this out!

From Glossworks there is Nail & Cuticle Oil (9ml - £12) which was already on my "to-buy" list.  The oil deeply replenishes and nourishes the nails and cuticles. Again, looking forward to testing this out.

There's a Soapberry Body Wash from Greenfrog Botanicals (100ml - £3.90) in Geranium & Peppermint scent which is an unusual scent combination which works!

The final two items are by PHB Ethical Beauty an Eye Shadow Brush (£7.95) which seems a lovely addition to the box and a Pressed Mineral Eye Shadow in Almond (3g - £9.99) which is a versatile shade (I'm actually looking forward to trying this out - I don't wear eye shadow a lot but I'm definitely going to check out some of the other shades too!)

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

Monday, 23 October 2017

Poppy's Natural Skincare: Super Moisturising Organic Chia Seed Hand Butter

I received this divine hand butter (worth £10) from Poppy's Natural Skincare in my October, Autumn Glow Beauty Box from the fabulous Skin Organics Beauty Box

It's one of the loveliest hand care products in my stash and can I honestly say it's one of my favourite beauty products this year!

Founder, Poppy has always had a passion for natural and organic skincare. She has a background in Molecular Cell Biology which has helped her to create her amazing skincare line which is suitable for all skin types and which helps to address a variety of skin conditions.

The hand butter is a rich blend of Organic Chia Seed Oil, Mango Butter, Rosehip Oil, Coconut Oil and with the uplifting gorgeous scent of Neroli & Orange Essential Oils.  The texture is light as air and the butter instantly melts on contact with warm skin deeply nourishing the hands and nails. I know I'll buy this again and again! It's just fantastic!

Have you tried any products from Poppy's Natural Skincare?

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Recent Buys: Enchanted Plants, Isla Apothecary, Minyara, Samuel & Paris, Stella Says, Therapie

Here are some recent buys:

I discovered gorgeous Enchanted Plants quite randomly on Instagram. After reading about Jemma and her passion for hand crafting beautiful, artisan certified organic skincare in small batches I knew I had to buy something. The product which spoke to me the most is Blossom Hydrating Facial Mist (£27) which is seriously lush! (I also loved the email message just after I ordered which made my heart sing "thanks so much for your order, when you buy something from a small maker a real person does a little dance of joy!"). Expect a full review soon!

I'm a huge, huge fan of Isla Apothecary and this newly launched Discovery Set (£21) is absolutely fantastic. It's a great try me set as well as being really good value and it would make a brilliant Christmas gift too. Inside is travel friendly sizes of:

60g Blood Orange+Vanilla Sugar Scrub (review)
15ml Neroli Body Oil (REVIEW)
20g Refine+Radiate Beautifying Face Mask (this is new to me!)
60g Relax+Recover Bath Salts (this is also new to me!)

Expect reviews of Refine+Radiate Beautifying Face Mask and Relax+Recover Bath Salts soon! 

This zesty lip balm by Minyara is just fab! Again, review forthcoming!

I first discovered a beautiful range of candles from OSMOLOGY (Bristol based). They didn't have any Samuel & Paris Candles in stock when I stopped by so went direct. The candle has a crackly woodwick and has a coastal/seashore type of scent which I love. 

When in London I had to stop by Stella Says at Maltby Street Market. I picked one of Stella's soaps up when in London in 2015. Both of these balms are amazing - so expect a review soon!

I absolutely adore Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts and couldn't resist this little Serenity Duo from Naturisimo (which currently is still available!) See my review of the Detox Salts HERE

What have you treated yourself to recently?

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Giveaway #6: ooh! Oils of Heaven & Love Lula - it's over!

Love Lula has very generously been collaborating with me with some of my Blog Birthday Giveaways. This is the final one and open is world wide. I'm a huge fan of the lovely Ooh! Oils of Heaven and one of my readers can win their Natural Cacay Anti-Ageing Face Oil (30ml - £39)*.

You can see my spotlight on Ooh! Oils of Heaven HERE (although there have been a couple added to the range since I wrote my review).

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 20 October 2017

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box: Autumn Glow

I've only been getting the Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box a few months now and it's definitely my favourite beauty box! This month I've only tried one product before. I'd already heard of three of the other brands and there's one totally new to me too! Costing £21 plus £3.95 P&P a month it really is great value for money (there are also money off codes included for most of the brands).


One of the items which I knew was going to be in the box (Paula gives us a few little spoilers in the run up) was the MONO Radiance Facial Oil (20ml - £44) which doesn't disappoint! It smells beautiful and I tried it for the first time last night. The oil is crystal infused and amplified with the high vibrational energy of citrine. Expect a full review soon! There is also a little try me sample of their Radiance Face Cleanser & Mask.

From Poppy's Natural Skincare there is deliciously scented Organic Chia Seed Hand Butter (50ml - £10) which is light as air and absorbs instantly upon contact with warms skin - LOVE!  It has a beautiful neroli scent and I know I'm going to keep reaching for this both in autumn and coming into winter. In fact it might be my new favourite hand product! So lush.

THE WILD MIX has been on my radar for a while but this is my first try (the Regeneration Nourishing Body Balm melts if the central heating is on so I've popped my pot in the fridge for a little while) It does smell beautiful and I'm looking forward to trying it.

I've also been aware of XO Balm (45ml - £12.50) which soothes and nourishes the skin. It can be used on the face, body and hair to moisturise and protect. Again, looking forward to testing it out.

The final item this month is one I've tried before Southsea Bathing Hut's Botanical Facial Steam (8g - £5.00).

What do you think of the contents this month?

See my previous reviews - August (Self Care)* and September (Revive).

*complimentary August Box

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Zil Nature: Starter Kit

A while ago Zil Nature Luxury Baobab Hair Treatment was a pick at Latest in Beauty. I unfortunately wasn't quick enough to pick one up! I did however pick up their starter kit which contains 3 decent try me sizes.

The products are hand crafted in London in small batches. The British brand is made with natural ingredients, with no animal testing, no parabens, petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, sulphates, silicones, propylene glycol and alcohol.

The set is cutely packaged and the bottles can be recycled after use. Inside is:

Luxury Baobab Hair Oil Treatment 20ml - which combines a blend of 13 oils packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals to care for, stimulate and nourish the hair and scalp. The ingredients include Baobab oil which is high in vitamins and essential fatty acids which regenerate and boost moisture. Castor oil promotes hair growth while Argan oil softens and adds shine. Macadamia oil moisturises while Jojoba oil helps with hair growth and Shea Butter oil strengthens. Broccoli Seed oil leaves the hair super glossy. The hair treat is scented with Cedarwood, Rosemary, Patchouli and Peppermint Essential oils which makes for a zingy uplifting treat.

To use: Shake before use. Apply to the hair and leave for at least 1 hour before washing. Use at least once a week. It can also be used to smooth the hair after blowdrying. I'm a huge fan. It's a luxe treat, smells great and leaves the hair feeling nourished and in control!

Cleansing Oil for Normal, Combination & Oily Skin 10ml - the cleansing oil deeply nourishes and cleans the skin. It contains Castor, Baobab, Jojoba, Argan, Rosehip and Tamanu oils and is scented with Lavender and Geranium essential oils. It has quite a nutty slightly floral scent.

To use: massage 2-3 pumps onto the skin before removing with a warmed damp muslin cloth

Rejuvenating Face Oil 10ml - which is a rich blend which melts instantly onto the skin (and is the star of the trio for me). It's good for combination/normal and mature skin types and has a nutty and woody scent (and is lush!) Inside this little bottle is a powerhouse of skin loving ingredients - Apricot Kernel, Argan, Avocado, Olive, Rosehip, Sea Buckthorn, Macadamia, Tamanu, Sweet Almond, Carrot Seed oils along with Pomegranate seed extract, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Geranium, Wild Rose, Sweet Fennel, Lavender, Neroli and Jasmine oils and Vitamin E.

To use: apply 2-3 drops onto cleansed skin AM and PM for glowy nourished skin.

The set is a great try me and would be the perfect stocking filler or gift. Pick yours up HERE.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

My Top 6 Natural Deodorants

These are the six natural deodorants which I've found work the best for me. I absolutely love Schmidt's Bergamot+Lime deodorant which I buy again and again from a beautiful world. I also love the Jasmine Tea (Sensitive Stick) which is formulated without baking soda. See my reviews of Schmidt's deodorants HERE and HERE.

From lovely Awake Organics is their super effective Aura Clean Natural Deodorant. I've gone through loads of travel size pots. The deodorant is very long lasting and smells gorgeous. See my review HERE. I'll definitely pick up full size when I use the mini pots up (they are great for travel as they don't take up much room!)

From Indigenous Beauty I have their gorgeous Uplifting Natural Deodorant Cream which has an uplifting citrus scent. It's easy to apply and leaves me feeling fresh and clean all day long. A full review will follow.

Latest launch from Evolve Beauty is their Cotton Fresh Deodorant which has a gentle fresh laundry scent. The deodorant is made with Organic Shea Butter, Coconut oil, Kaolin, Bicarbonate of Soda along with Sage oil and natural essential oils. It really is lovely and keeps me fresh all day. Again, a fuller review will follow.

I first tried Aurelia Probiotic Skincare's Botanical Cream Deodorant as a sample size pot and fell in love! It featured in Shopping my Stash #85 (see HERE). I totally fell for it and I'm now delighted a full size pot is mine!

The final natural deodorant in my line up is from The Ohm Collection - Deo Dorant Neroli Powder which is available to buy at Love Lula. It's a powder deodorant which is easy to use and long lasting. See my review HERE.

Do you use any of these natural deodorants?