Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Giveaway: Amphora Aromatics Aromatherapy Blend - it's over!

One of my lucky UK readers can win their very own Amphora Aromatics Aromatherapy Blend 10ml which is worth £7.50. See my review of their Energise* blend HERE.

If you are the lucky winner you can choose from:

Sleep: relaxing and soothing: Juniper, Patchouli, Lavender, Orange, Marjoram, Howood - helps combat insomnia, calms and helps with restlessness. Use in a diffuser, burner or steam inhalation. 

Revive: uplifting/raise the spirits: Clove, Cardamon, Lime, Peppermint and Grapefruit - boost confident and positive thoughts. Use in a diffuser or burner

Focus: clarifying: clear the mind and stay sharp: Eucalyptus, Clove, Rosemary, Bergamot and Lemon helps to reduce anxiety and say focussed. Use in a diffuser or burner

Relax: calming and grounding: overcome stressful situations and unwind: Bergamot, Rosewood, Lavender, Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang and Cardamon. Use in diffuser, burner, steam inhalation or diluted with a carrier oil for massage

Festive: Spicy and warming: Orange, Cinnamon and Clove. Use in a diffuser or burner

Energise: stimulating and reviving: Lime, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Geranium, Cypress and Cedarwood. Use in a diffuser, burner, steam inhalation or diluted with a carrier oil for massage

All you need to do enter via the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

*thanks to Amphora Aromatics for the giveaway prize

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

February Books

Here's my February reads:

Everything Love is by Claire King - I loved this sensitively written book which beautifully draws us into Baptiste's live - from the moment he is born in tragic circumstances although he's deeply loved by his adoptive parents, to later as an adult and life on the houseboat with his beloved piano.

He helps people find their happiness although he shuns love himself until he meets new client, Amandine who he finds is constantly in his thoughts. He finds out he is in the early stages of dementia and decides to live a little while he can. I highly recommend this book.

Unbroken - My Story of Survival, from 7/7 bombings to Paralympics Success by Martine Wright - WOW Martine is some woman! She suffered horrifically in the 7/7 bombings and was determined to re-build her life and live it as fully as possible with the help of her family and friends. It's well worth a read.

Anna - One Love, Two Stories by Amanda Prowse* - this is one of my fav books this year! Oh, i just loved Anna's story (and can't wait to read Theo's) What a wonderful story. Anna is such a strong and loveable character. I got totally engrossed in the story and Anna's life almost instantly and couldn't put the book down. She's had a hard life with more than her fair share of tragedies but she's picked herself up and has made the best of it.

When she meets the love of her life, Theo she feels her life is complete. He's truly perfect...but is he? I loved the supporting characters - Shania, who Anna meets in the care home, her half brother and sister, Micky and Lisa and even frosty posh Stella. It's an absolute triumph of a book and I loved it.

Clean Break by Tammy Cohen - this short read has an almighty huge twist I didn't see coming! Katie and Jack's marriage is over but Jack won't accept it, making them attend marriage counselling even though she's seeing someone else. He believes Katie does want to be with him and will stop at nothing to make sure that happens.. A great short read.

Bring Me Back by B A Paris* - I just loved this fast paced read with that twist I didn't see coming. WOW.

Finn and Layla are coming back from a skiing holiday when he needs to stop for the toilet. When he returns to the car Layla has vanished. Twelve years on he's in a relationship with her sister Ellen, getting ready to marry her and is happy.

Suddenly, Russian dolls are being left outside the house which have a connection to Ellen and Layla's childhood. Finn starts to receive emails supposedly from Layla. It's a fast paced and twisty read which had me on the edge of my seat throughout. Oh and that twist which I didn't see coming. Just loved it.

Anything for Her by G J Minett* - I absolutely loved this twisty-read which also had a twist I didn't see coming!

Billy Orr returns to spend time with his sister at the request of his brother-in-law and quite by accident (he believes) he bumps into his ex-girlfriend who he's still holding a flame for. In fact, he'd do anything for her... Aimi tells him she wants to leave her abusive husband and asks Billy to help.

What follows is an absolute roller-coaster of a read where you think you've worked out what's happening before you are hit with a new angle to the story. I absolutely loved it.

The Trick to Time by Kit De Waal* - Mona has just turned 60 and lives on her own near the sea. She is a doll maker and sells lovingly handcrafted dolls and toys which are made by a local carpenter. She worries about being on her own as she gets older. She has tragedies which happened to her in the past which she finds hard to let go of. She has a sideline where she helps grieving women who have lost babies come to terms with their loss.

She had a real love of her life, William who lost his way forcing Mona to start again. She meets a man locally called Karl whom she likes but can't take it any further as her heart still belongs to William. There is a twist I didn't for one moment see coming which took my breath away. Would recommend however.

The Missing Ones - DI Lottie Parker Book One by Patricia Gibney - this is a brilliant debut (I can't wait to read books #2 and #3). Detective Lottie Parker along with DS Mark Boyd and the team are looking for a killer. Three people are dead which seem to be connected although the team are struggling to find the connection.

St Angela's was a home for wayward children run by the local Priest and nuns. Some of the children went missing never to be seen again. Lottie keeps a folder in her desk which has the photo of a young boy who stayed for a while at the home and we do find out the connection to her later in the story. The team however have to dig deep to find the truth. A fast paced and disturbing tale which I couldn't put down. I also loved the character of DI Lottie Parker.

What have you been reading this month?

*copies from the publisher via Netgalley

Monday, 26 February 2018

February: Lately I've Been Loving

So many February loves...

I love to make my own marmalade using beautiful Ave Maria Oranges which I buy at Waitrose - they really are the best! I made this at the very end of January but have sneaked them in as a February favourite.

Lunch at Ondine was amazing - that roasted shellfish platter delicious! Can't wait to go back!

This square mini bag from Cathrin Brodie is simply gorgeous! You can pick one up onsale just now for £10 - be quick! Only when stocks last. Made with Scottish Linen which is woven in Kirkcaldy with a cheeky sheep lining. Perfect for small change or for make up on a night out!

February's Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box is just amazing. See my review HERE.

I love sample size for try me or holidays and this sample size 3ml RMS Beauty Beauty Oil** (£6). Full size is £74 so this is the perfect try me size. The potent oil balances, adds nourishment and leaves the skin feeling comfortable and looking radiant and can be used AM or PM after cleansing. It feels really light on the skin and absorbs quickly.

I'm just loving my Formula Botanica Diploma in Organic Skincare* see my what I think of it so far HERE.

What have you been loving this month?

*complimentary **picked as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Programme credits for February (I added £4.75 to my monthly allowance to allow me to try this oil).

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Jan de Vries: Take 5

You'll know I'm a huge fan of Feel Unique's Pick 'n' Mix so I was keep to try Jan de Vries Take 5 which is available on a monthly basis for £2.99 - you can chose from a selection of beauty sachets, beauty trial sizes, superfoods, tea bags, A Vogel products and supplements.

Here's my selection this month:

I picked a Lavera hair Duo both 10ml, Kinvara Active Rosehip Day Cream 2ml, Natura Siberica Volumising & Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner both 6ml. My final pick was Dr Bronner's Orange Lavender Organic Hand & Body Lotion 10ml.

I'm a huge fan of trying samples before buying so I'm looking forward to testing these out. Pick yours up HERE.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Formula Botanica: Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation

As you'll know I recently embarked on an exciting online course with Formula Botanica - their Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation*. You can see my initial thoughts HERE.

I'm now ready to start formulating so I thought I'd now take the time to run through the modules and coursework up to that point. It really is a brilliant course - very informative and interesting.

First up we learn about Skin Science and our learning outcome is to understand the Anatomy and structure, function and physiology. There are course notes, videos and a skin poster which allow you to understand the skin and what it needs to remain healthy. At the end of the module there is a test (which I had to take twice before passing!)

We move onto Holistic Care of the skin and then (exciting) formulating skills: getting started. This module teaches us about ingredients and encourages us to research all the ingredients available to us. We are encouraged to start our formulating journey small with a few ingredients. Here are some of the ones I've selected so far:

Amphora Aromatics very kindly sent me these carrier and essential oils*:

And I've either been given or bought these ones:

We then learn how to safely create a formula, what ingredients make up a product, what equipment we'll need and dermal restrictions for essential oils. There is lots of reading and research which needs to be done.

You need to decide what product you want to create and who it is for. There is a formulation flow chart which helps you design your product and then you can create your formula! We also learn about natural preservation, shelf life, packaging and calculating senitisers.

I'm just about to start formulating a cold blended and warm blended formulation. So hopefully on my next round-up I'll be able to share some of my creations!  Thanks again to Formula Botanica for the lovely apron and tea towel!


Friday, 23 February 2018

February Empties

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

Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts 100g - which are a staple for me. See my review HERE. I always have these in my stash.

Micheline Arcier Enchantement Bath & Shower Crystals 200g* - amazing! See my review HERE. I'll definitely buy these at some point as they took bathing to another level!

Jo Malone Red Roses Body Creme 175ml - which was lovely to use and seemed to last forever. I'd maybe buy it again (this one was a gift).

MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion 100ml - again, an absolute staple and I went through loads when I recently had the flu. See my review HERE. I've just cracked open a new one!

Ravenscourt Apothecary Blood Orange Hand Whipped Body Butter 60ml - just gorgeous! I can't wait to buy it again. See my review HERE.

Ezàpè Naturals Rosemary Body Butter 25g - which I totally fell for, so much so I rushed out and bought full size. See my review HERE.

Lola's Apothecary Delicate Romance Balancing Body Souffle 30ml - which again I totally fell in love with. Again, rushed out and bought full size. Review to come!

Poppy's Natural Skincare Supermoisturising Organic Chai Seed Hand Butter 50ml - I've not bought it yet but I will. A light as air neroli scented butter which is totally exquisite. See my review HERE.

JOIK Luxurious Bathmilk Citrus* - which came in the JOIK Advent Calendar. The plastic pot didn't have a seal on it so had covered most things in a fine layer of powder (sad face). It was nice enough to use but I wouldn't buy.

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion 20ml - huge Weleda fan and this orange scented lotion is lovely. See my mini review HERE. I've got a full-size of this waiting to open.

Green People Ho wood and Red Mandarin Hand Cream 30ml** which had a gorgeous scent and was really moisturising. It was a Limited Edition so isn't available anymore. See my mini review HERE.

Tata Harper Rejuvenating Hand Cream 50ml** - which was a real treat-y hand cream. I'd maybe pick it up again.

Jane Scrivner Skin Drink Frankincense Hydrating Mist 100ml* - oh I just loved this. See my review HERE. It's one I'll definitely buy at some point.

Apple & Bears Bergamot & Green Tea Body Silk 50ml** - this is my favourite scent in the range. See my review HERE.

What have you been using up this month?

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

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box: February: Love Yourself

So much excitement in my house when my Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box lands! February's theme is "Love Yourself" and is packed full of wonderful things. Isn't it gorgeous. Founder, Paula carefully curates each box with love and care (it's my favourite beauty box and such a treat each month).

There is one totally new to me brand this month and four brands I've tried before. There are three new to me products and one product I've tried a sample of. 

And now for a closer look...

From Inner Senses there is a bespoke Limited Edition Sensual Body Oil 50ml which has been created especially for Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box (how nice is that!) It has notes of Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage and Patchouli. I'm looking forward to trying this! I'm a huge fan of their gorgeous Rose Precious Face Oil* (see my review HERE).

From new to me brand, Seed of Life Holistic Health is their Eternal Rose Bathing Salts 100g (worth £3) which are a luxurious blend of Epsom and Himalayan Pink Salts and essential oils of rosa damascena, neroli, grapefruit, bergamot, palmarosa and frankincense. Can't wait to have a soak.

Exciting to see a Make Skincare product nestling inside! I'm a huge fan of the brand having reviewed their Face, Hands & Feet Skincare Set II* and Lip Revive* (HERE) and their Face Glow* (HERE).

I'm looking forward to trying their Face Refresh Floral Mist & Toner (100ml - £10) which can be used as a toner or to spritz and refresh the skin. It smells beautiful. A review will follow.

From Juno Skincare is their Illume Lip Glaze (full size - £16.50) which I've previously tried a sample of. You can see my mini review HERE.

The final item is from Guiltless Skin - Rosehip Cleansing Gel (50ml - £12). I recently tried a trio from the brand* (REVIEW) which I enjoyed so I'm looking forward to trying out this cleansing gel.

As ever, there are generous discount code from the brands. Be quick and sign up if you want March's BOX.

There are a couple of days left to enter my GIVEAWAY to win your very own now sold out box - UK only!


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Love Lula: Elsa's Organic Skinfoods Dew Deodorant

Since hearing that my favourite natural deodorant brand was selling to Unilver I was on a mission to find a replacement. The one which comes really close is Elsa's Organic Skinfoods Natural Deodorant Stick in Dew (Bergamot & Lime) £10 - 45g*.

The award winning brand is 100% natural and comes in a range of gorgeous scents - Love, Ocean and Sensitive, which is fragrance free. The deodorant is free from aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens, toxins, bicarbonate of soda, alcohol, animal by products and any synthetics.

I've found the Vegan deodorant to be very long lasting and fast drying - all you need are a couple of swipes under each underarm for all day freshness and the scent's beautiful - zesty, fresh and uplifting.

Organic Coconut oil has disinfectant and anti-microbial properties, the essential oil blend minimises odour while Arrowroot powder absorbs wetness. Magnesium and Himalayan Pink Salt neutralises odour quickly while Kaolin clay detoxifies.

Absolutely Love! What's your favourite natural deodorant?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Programme. My post contains one affilate link.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Amphora Aromatics Aromatherapy Blend: Energise

Amphora Aromatics have recently brought out an exciting range of Aromatherapy Blends which can suit your mood - Sleep, Energise, Revive, Focus, Relax and Festive. As ever the blends are great value (10ml - £7.50).

I've been testing out Energise* which is a blend of Lime, Peppermint, Lemon, Geranium, Cypress and Cedarwood. The blend can clear your head while revitalising and de-stressing the body and mind.

To use: use in a diffuser, burner, for steam inhalation or diluted with a carrier oil for massage.

I've found it perfect to energise and revitalise both the body and mind.

The others in the range:

Sleep: relaxing and soothing: Juniper, Patchouli, Lavender, Orange, Marjoram, Howood - helps combat insomnia, calms and helps with restlessness. Use in diffuser, burner or steam inhalation. 

Revive: uplifting/raise the spirits: Clove, Cardamon, Lime, Peppermint and Grapefruit - boost confident and positive thoughts. Use in a diffuser or burner.

Focus: clarifying: clear the mind and stay sharp: Eucalyptus, Clove, Rosemary, Bergamot and Lemon helps to reduce anxiety and say focussed. Use in a diffuser or burner.

Relax: calming and grounding: overcome stressful situations and unwind: Bergamot, Rosewood, Lavender, Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang and Cardamon. Use in diffuser, burner, steam inhalation or diluted with a carrier oil for massage.

Festive: Spicy and warming: Orange, Cinnamon and Clove. Use in a diffuser or burner.

Which would you choose?


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Love Lula: Inner-Soul Organics Silk & French Lavender Snooze Mask

I'm a huge fan of Inner Soul already having tried most of the skincare and body care products previously. I couldn't resist picking up the ultra luxurious and treat-y Inner-Soul Organics Silk & French Lavender Snooze Mask (£22)* as one of my accredited blogger picks this month (it's fantastic). I think it would make the perfect gift (if you can bear to give it away that is!)

The soft, brushed cooling and healing silk mask contains lavender buds which help to calm and relax, slowing down both the body and mind. It's ideal to use for a calm 5 minutes or during meditation. 

The mask helps with reducing fluid retention around the eyes and as silk contains protein cellular albumen which has anti-ageing properties making it a real treat for the eyes.

The mask is sourced and created in London and France using 100% organic Soil Association certified silk and 100% organic lavender flowers. The mask should be hand washed periodically (remove the lavender flowers before washing) before drying flat. I like how you can swap around the flowers for say rose petals or chamomile flowers.

To use: squeeze the mask between your fingertips to release the scent and place over closed eyes for a moment of tranquil calmness.

I absolutely love it. It calms and de-stresses and 10 minutes of calm and relaxation is all you need to feel renewed! It would make the perfect Mother's Day gift (11th March in the UK).

Buy Now

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Programme. My post contains 2 affiliate links. 

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Shopping My Stash #98

Here's what I've been reaching for lately:

Every Antipodes product I've tried I've loved and this beautiful Deliverance Kowhai Flower Hand Cream is just a delight. See my mini review HERE. It smells gorgeous (Sweet Orange, Tonka Bean and Sandalwood) and deeply nourishes the hands and nails.

Not one but two lip products - one which gives the lips a rosey glow - Albus & Flora's Tinted Lip Balm SPF30 in Mountain Rose* (it's featured a few times on the blog). The nourishing pop of colour is great for a natural make up look (and perfect for the ski slopes!) My second is by Minyara (again I've mentioned them a lot on the blog) and they are deeply nourishing and come in a great range of flavours (I've got one by my bed, one in my handbag, one in my desk drawer...)

From nknaturals is their gorgeous life restoration mist* see my review HERE. As well as smelling beautiful it calms, refreshes, soothes and hydrates.

Bright and citrussy sweet Mrs Gloss & the Goss Lemon Sherbert EdP was created by Sarah at 4160 Tuesdays for the Facebook Group of the same name.

What have you been reaching for this week?


Friday, 16 February 2018

Love Lula Beauty Box: February 2018

February's Love Lula Beauty Boxis worth a whopping £65 and includes 3 full sizes. Sign up HERE (£13.95 UK rolling month-per-month, 3 months International - £52.50).

The first thing to jump out at me is new ooh! Oils of Heaven Avocado Face Oil which is worth £19. I absolutely adore this range (see my spotlight HERE - although there are new ones in the range since I wrote the post). I'm very happy to try this nutty and green scented oil. A review will follow.

The second item which piqued my interest is award winning Pure & Light's Essential Face Cream 15ml which contains 27 active ingredients. Again, a review will follow.

From Madara we have their full size Exfoliating Oil-to-Milk Scrub (60ml - £24) which is lovely. See my review HERE.

The final item, another full size is UrbanVeda's Hydrating Toner (150ml - £9.74) which is formulated to Ayurvedic principles. I'm pretty sure I've used this before and enjoyed it.

The two products I'm most looking forward to trying (as they are new to me) is the Ooh! Oils of Heaven Avocado Face Oil and the Pure & Light Essential Face Cream. What do you think of the box this month?

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

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Love Lula: Lucky Cloud Botanical Skincare Mini Balancing Face Oil 10ml

I'm a huge fan of Lucky Cloud Skincare having previously loved trying their Nourishing Cleansing Balm* and Nourishing Face Oil* - see my review HERE. I'm an absolute sucker for mini products so had to pick up their Mini Balancing Face Oil (10ml - £9.50)* as part of my Accredited Blogger Picks for February.

As with the whole range this face oil is fantastic. It's the perfect try me size or for holidays and weekends away or it would make a great small present/stocking filler.

Organic Calendula heals while St John's Wort and Borage soothe. Lightweight Squalane moisturises. Acai and Andiroba help with acne prone skin while Jojoba, Rosehip and Evening Primrose oils nourish and rejuvenate. Lavender calms while Bergamot uplifts and Frankincense heals. The blend is lovely - calming and restoring.

The oil absorbs quickly leaving the skin feeling nourished and calmed. It's suitable for combination/oily skin types.

To use: apply a few drops to your fingers after cleansing and massage onto the skin. Can be used AM and PM.

Buy Now

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

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Tropic Skincare: Valentine's Day Treats

I got a total surprise and a half when I received these gorgeous treats from Tropic Skincare to help me celebrate Valentine's Day in style. Nestling on the wooden bath rack is:

Tropic's Soothing & Awakening Bath Soaks* (£38 for 260ml Limited Editions) which I can't wait to test out. Soothing is formulated with exotic Frangipani flower extract and Cedarwood while Awaken is zesty and uplifting with Neroli, Basil, Lime, Lemon, Mandarin & Sweet Orange (reviews to come). They both smell incredible & I can't wait for my next bath!

Rosewood Lip Plumping Lip Conditioner* (£12 for 10ml Limited Edition) is a pot of gorgeousness. The tinted mint balm deeply nourishes the lips leaving them with pop of natural colour. I totally fell for the clear version (link) so know I'm going to love this one too.

Rounding up the treats is Orange Blossom Tea, fudge and a cute Valentine's Day card. Thanks so much Tropic!

What's your favourite product(s) from Tropic Skincare?

*complimentary - thanks so much Tropic Skincare!

Valentine's Day Lips

These are my picks for lips for Valentine's Day:

From Botanical Brands we have Living Nature's Lush Tinted Lip Hydrator* £15 which launched last Autumn. It give the lips a natural pop of nourishing colour. The shade is a subtle coral red and perfect for a natural make up look. Active Manuka Honey nourishes and hydrates, Vitamin E protects. The hydrator also contains Jojoba Ester, natural waxes, Cupuaca butter and Calendula oil.

Refillable compacts like this Lip Tint from KJAER WEIS is total luxury (I also love the refillable aspect which saves on waste and is more eco-friendly). This lip tint is in Passionate and is gorgeous. It gives the lips a glossy raspberry hue.

My final pick is Studio 78 Liquid Lipstick in Rose Wedding which is a very long lasting highly pigmented lippy in a bright pink shade.

What will you be wearing on your lips on today?


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Ezàpè Naturals: Rosemary Body Butter

I received this gorgeous Ezàpè Naturals Rosemary Body Butter in my January Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box and also in January's Natural Beauty Box*. And of course I loved it so much I rushed out to buy full size with the discount code Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box had negotiated.

The products are created by Vanessa, a qualified Beauty Therapist who created the range initially to help soothe her daughters eczema. The products are great for sensitive and dry skin types and are formulated with natural certified organic ingredients where possible, are handmade in small batches with love, care and attention to detail.

I just adore Rosemary Body Butter (25g - £6.50, 150g - £27) which deeply nourishes the skin. It has a subtle rosemary scent and the whipped butter melts easily on warm skin. It's made with just 5 ingredients - Organic Shea Butter, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Rosemary Essential Oil and Vitamin E.

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