Saturday, 31 March 2018

March Books Round-Up

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

The Stolen Girls - DI Lottie Parker #2 by Patricia Gibney - which is action packed and un-put-downable! Lottie and the team have to find out if the murder of two young women is connected. The story is harrowing in places and involves human trafficking. Why did that woman and her son turn up at Lottie's home asking for help and what is the connection with Adam's Tour of Duty in Kosovo. An absolutely brilliant read. Highly recommend.

The Art of Not Being Dead - A Health of Strangers Short Story by Lesley Kelly - I loved the first part in the Health of Strangers series and this short story is great! It's fab to meet well loved characters again and be involved in a mini mystery involving a missing nurse and an art dealer (I especially loved the description of the get-away from the art gallery!) Looking forward to reading the second full size novel in the series - Songs by Dead Girls (which is out in April).

The Lost Child - DI Lottie Parker #3 by Patricia Gibney - I just love this series so much! Lottie is finding it hard to cope with work, her three teenage kids, her mother and being a granny. She and Detective Boyd and the team are flung into an unusual murder - an older lady is found dead in the house of her daughter and her daughter is missing... It's a fast paced story which I couldn't put down.

No Safe Place - DI Lottie Parker #4 by Patricia Gibney*I just love the characters of DI Lottie Parker and her sidekick Boyd and am a huge fan of the series.

As ever, it's a fast paced read which I couldn't put down. A girl has gone missing and is found half covered in an freshly dug grave. Another young woman goes missing and the team race to find her and the killer before it's too late. There seems to be connections with a ten year old case and the train station at Ragmullan - girls are being abducted from the Dublin train and then suddenly it all becomes a little too close to home for Boyd..

Annoying McMahon, is back as Lottie's temporary Boss and sparks fly. He's determined to bring her down when all she wants to do is solve the case. As ever Lottie is juggling work with her family and romantic entanglement with Boyd (I'd like to see them get together for real in book #5). A great read and fantastic series.

Forget Me Not - Detective Jess Bishop Series Book #1 by Kierney Scott - I found this book a little slow to begin with but before long I was totally engrossed in the storylines and the character of Jess Bishop.

The first body is washed up in a Louisiana swamp which has strange markings on it. In rather quick succession more bodies turn up with the same marking which means a serial killer is at large. Jess is worried her past is catching up with her as she feels the case may be linked to something which happened in her past.

I didn't immediately take to Jess, I found her prickly, annoying and with little personality but as the story develops we learn more about her and why she's the way she is. Jamieson, her partner is back after a spell undercover. He knows her better than anyone and she's upset he's back with a pregnant soon to be wife in tow. I loved this fast paced story and Jess Bishop. Would highly recommend.

Star of the North by D B John* - I just loved this incredible and fascinating read which I keep thinking about. The book is published on 10 May so I'll let you know my thoughts next month. It's just brilliant and everyone should read it!

The Stranger by Kate Riordan* - I absolutely loved this twisty story with interesting characters and storylines with a setting in beautiful Cornwall in 1940. Three very different women arrive at Penhallow Hall to work as Land Girls. We learn at the beginning of the story that Diana, beautiful, headstrong and rather cruel goes missing and the story goes back in time both in the days leading up to her disappearance and life before the war at the Hall. 

Rose stayed nearby as a teenager and has fond memories of her time there while Jane feels like she's never fitted anywhere. Eleanor who lives at the Hall with her aging mother is still caught in the past. A hauntingly beautiful story which I loved.

Bloody Sisters by Julie Shaw - I received this book from Lainey at So many books, so little time.  Vicky and Lucy are best friends and become blood sisters. They'll do anything for each other until Vicky meets and falls head over heels for local bad lad, Paddy. Lucy and her boyfriend Jimmy can't stand Paddy and will do anything to stay out of his way.

Paddy is an abusive partner who likes to control Vicky and as she's so in love with him will turn a blind eye to whatever he does. When he tries to put her in the frame for murder will Lucy be there to help her no matter what? 

Deadly Secrets - Erika Foster #6 by Robert Bryndza* - OMG this is a brilliant read. I so recommend. It's not published until the middle of April so I'll review it in my April roundup. It's just SO good!

Hide & Seek by Richard Parker - this was a fast paced thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Lana is in the kitchen and her son Cooper is playing in the back garden. She sees a man grab him and does everything she can to get her son back. Lana becomes obsessed mum and doesn't let Cooper out of her sight. Her husband Todd feels she's being a bit OTT and that they need to forget about the attempted abduction and move on.

They win a trip to an adventure park and decide to go. Disaster strikes when Cooper is snatched and Todd is out cold. Lana believes it's a serial killer who has her son and Todd believes it's his fault and everything is much closer to home... An edge of the seat read which I loved! Can't wait to read more by Richard Parker.

*copies from the publishers via Netgalley

Thursday, 29 March 2018

March Empties

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

Briogeo Repair Shampoo & Conditioner (both 59ml) - I received these in a set with a fabulous Leave-In Conditioning Spray (from my friend Julie at Christmas). I liked both the products and I'll maybe repurchase at some point in the future (I'd probably say I preferred the Conditioner to the Shampoo).

Narloa Jasmine & Neroli Body Oil 125ml - I just loved this beautiful body oil. See my review HERE. It also featured in my Top Brands & Products of '17. Sure to pick it up again when my body care product stash reduces a bit!

Bodhi & Birch Mint Thé Bath & Shower Therapy 200ml - this is one of my all time favourite B&B shower scents. I know I'll re-purchase at some point. See my review HERE

Bodhi & Birch Neroli Luce Revitalising Face Oil 15ml - I love the exquisitely scented facial oil coming into late spring and summer. Sure to pick it up again and soon!

Jane Scrivner Firm Believer Definitive Body Serum 100ml* - which I loved (every Jane Scrivner product I've tried I've loved!) A rich and luxurious skin firming body serum which I really enjoyed using. See my review HERE. This one's on the to-buy list!

Pureology Hydrate Conditioner 250ml - which performed really well. I really like this brand and I'd buy this again.

Lola's Apothecary Breath of Clarity Bath & Shower Oil mini - I've tried this before and loved it. Full size is on the wishlist.

Aldi Reed Diffuser No.1 Lime, Basil & Mandarin - very impressed with this diffuser from Aldi. The scent is really lovely and the whole package (glass pot and diffuser reeds) looks great. Will buy again for sure.

KINN Beauty Body Oil 100ml** - I loved everything about this beautiful award winning range. See my thoughts on it HERE. I'll definitely buy this when my stash reduces a bit. Just love.

Sisley Black Rose Precious Face Oil sample - which came in my recent "In the Name of the Rose" beauty subscription. Oh yes, full size is on the wishlist!

Dr Teals Pure Epsom Salts Lavender 1lb - these made for a super relaxing bath and I had the best sleep ever afterwards. Will definitely pick these up again.

Dr Bronner's Orange & Lavender Lotion sample - this lotion absorbed instantly leaving the skin delicately scented. I really liked this and I'd buy full size when my stash reduces.

Botanico Vida Omega Oil 3 x 3ml sachets*** - this skin loving oil is gorgeous! I've just been sent a full size bottle so a review will be coming!

What have you been using this month?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program
**sent to me as a Beauty Shortlist Awards Judge

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Lola's Apothecary: Delicate Romance Balancing Body Souffle

I first tried this exquisite Lola's Apothecary Award Winning Delicate Romance Balancing Body Souffle in the recent Naturisimo Self Love Box (see HERE). I totally fell head over heels and rushed out to buy full size.

The product is luxuriously boxed and it's nice to receive (once). I'd really prefer to pay a little less and forgo the box nice that it is (it went straight in the recycling bin).

Inside that huge box is a delicious 200ml pot of gorgeous-ness (I did pick it up when it was discounted) but just now it's full price (£34).

The souffle is light as air and smells of roses! It's truly a luxurious treat. Formulated with Shea and Coconut butters, Camellia oil and Rosehip C02 extract. The texture and scent is simply sumptuous and very decadent. It's scented with citrus top notes of Sweet Orange and Lemon with a heart of luxurious Rose and Geranium with base notes Vanilla, Patchouli and Sandalwood.

The body souffle is such a pampering treat both for the body and mind. I just LOVE! 

To use: apply liberally onto the skin after a bath or shower. What's your favourite product(s) from Lola's Apothecary?

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The Natural Beauty Box: March: Almost Good Enough To Eat

March's The Natural Beauty Box is entitled "Almost Good Enough to Eat.." and there is an extra edible treat tucked inside. The box costs £24.95 per month including p&p. There are also discount codes included for most of the brands. Join up for April HERE.


The reason I signed up this month was mainly for Skin Alchemist's The Gorgeous Soldier (100ml) which is a nourishing body scrub which quite honestly smells good enough to eat! It's seriously chocolatey! This is a full size product which is worth an eye watering £34! I'm looking forward to testing this out and a review will follow.

Yet another full size product! From Pink & Green we have 100ml of their 'Marzipan' Body Souffle (£16) which has a sweet and edible marzipan nutty scent. It's a blend of Shea Butter and Plum Kernel oil and is a delicious treat for the skin. Again, a full review will follow.

Kokomelt is a new to me brand (exciting) and inside the box this month is a tin of their mini Lavender Sugar Cubes (£3.50). I love the quirky but pretty packaging. Again, looking forward to trying these out.

The final two items are new to me brands too (happy face). First up, is Heavenly Organics Organic Peppermint Foot Balm 15g (£6.99 - you can buy a refill at £3.99). The rich peppermint scented balm is shaped like a flower (it's the little things), melts on contact with warms skin and leaves the feet nourished and sweetly scented. Again, a review will follow.

From Aura Organics we have their Vegan Organic Chocolate & Orange Lip Balm £4 which is made with dark Cacao Butter and other butters and scented with Sweet Orange oil. It has a nice texture and feels moisturising on the lips.

A final edible sweet treat extra is a mini bar of Vegan Coconut Milk Bar from Glasgow based, Raven Chocolate which is worth £1.95 (I tried this yummy brand at last year's Foodies Festival in Edinburgh). As well as being Vegan the chocolate is dairy and gluten free and GMO free.

It's a fabulous box this month. What are your thoughts?

Monday, 26 March 2018

March: Lately I've been Loving

My favourite beauty subscription box is Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box. See my review of March's Rebalance box HERE. Remember if you are tempted you can get 10% off your first box with BEAUTYBALM10.

I had the real honour of being a Beauty Shortlist Awards Judge this year. See all the winners HERE and see my top picks HERE. It was a wonderful experience and I just loved taking part.

The sweet little honeycomb earrings I picked up in the sale at Nectar & Bumble. I loved the pretty packaging's the little things.

My new Sisley Beauty Subscription makes my heart sing! A great way to try products which are normally out of your price range! See my review HERE.

Being sent a copy of Lesley Kelly's new novel in the Health of Strangers series which is called Songs by Dead Girls which is beyond exciting! You can pick up a copy for yourself from publication date which is the 19th April. You can see my musings on The Health of Strangers HERE.

I picked up this sweet little hanging heart with all the "Portobello" street names from Claire at Claire Kirkpatrick Art

I've been creating a variety of warm and cold blended creams and face oils as part of the Formula Botanica Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation which is fascinating. I've been creating creams with different formulas and ingredients (mainly with successful results!) I'll be sharing some thoughts in a forthcoming blog post.

I'm a huge fan of diffusers and I've been testing out this lovely one by Willow & White Candle Company in Lemongrass & Ginger (£21.50) which is zingy, zesty and spicy.

What have you been loving this month?

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Exuviance AF Vitamin C20 Serum Capsules

I've been testing out Exuviance's new AF Vitamin C20 Serum Capsules (£59)* and I have to say they are absolutely fantastic. They contain 20% maximum strength Vitamin C (plus 1% Aminofil) and visibly transform the skin. It's left radiant and plumped with brightened dark spots, nourished and silky smooth.

To use: twist open a single use capsule and apply to the face, neck, decollete and back of the hands. They can be used alone or mixed with moisturiser. Best used at night. I've found they absorb quickly and are nice to use.

L-Ascorbic Acid works as a powerful antioxidant helping to reverse the signs of skin damage caused by over-exposure to the sun. It also stimulates collagen production which in turn tightens and firms. The skin's left luminous and brightened.  Aminofil penetrates the skin's layers and stimulates collagen and hyaluronic acid production which smoothes out lines and plumps the skin.

I've found my skin looks brighter and more radiant after use. Pamela Marshall from Mortar & Milk says use on the "back of your hands to help reduce pigmentation and premature ageing".

Pick yours up HERE.


Friday, 23 March 2018

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box - March - REBALANCE

It's always an exciting day when my Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box lands! This month the theme is #REBALANCE. As ever, there are a selection of money off codes from some of the brands in the box (which is a great added extra especially if you fall in love with something and want to buy full size!)

So what's inside?

I've tried a different salt & sulphur scrub from The Salt Parlour previously which featured in my May Loves. Inside the box is a mini tin of Rose & Shea Butter CALM Salt & Sulphur Scrub which is worth £5.90. It's a mix of Dead Sea Salt, Pink Himalayan Salt, dried organic Rose petals and Rose Oil (and smells glorious). I love the quirky re-usable packaging and I'm looking forward to testing it out.

I follow NorthburN on twitter but haven't tried any of their products..until now! I'm looking forward to a soak in their Revive - Orange, Lavender & Palmarosa Luxury Bathing Salts (£4). The blend won a Beauty Shortlist Award in 2017. The salts will revive you and give you a boost. Bring it on!

I've been aware of Apothaka but until now not tried anything from the brand. I love the extra touch that all subscribers will receive an email from the founder with a personal consultation on how best to use the face oil - how nice is that! (and also the handwritten card is so nice). Inside the box is a 10ml of their Rejuvenating Face Oil for normal/combination skins (worth £19.50). I'm really looking forward to trying this and a full review will follow (and this is another Beauty Shortlist Award Winner in 2017).

The final two items in the box I've tried before. We've got recently launched Beauty Kubes Shampoo for Normal to Dry Hair (sample pack worth £1) which I reviewed HERE and highly recommend and from nknaturals their delicate healing cleansing balm 30ml (£15) which I reviewed HERE.

As ever, it's a great box! Sign up to April's box HERE. Remember if you are tempted you can get 10% off your first box with BEAUTYBALM10

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Love Lula: Lucky Cloud Skincare Super Balm

As you'll know I'm a huge fan of Lucky Cloud, Edinburgh based skincare brand. I've tried and loved their mini balancing face oil* (Review), nourishing cleansing balm & nourishing face oil* (Review) and hydrating body milk in sweet orange & vanilla and coconut lip butter (Review).

As part of my Love Lula Accredited Blogger picks for March I selected their Mini Soothing Super Super Balm* (15ml - £6.50).

It's the perfect try-me size or for taking on holidays. The rich heavenly scented balm (lavender+rose geranium) is stuffed full of good things for the skin including sweet almond oil, evening primrose oil, Vitamin E, shea and cocoa butter and arctic oat botanical extract.

Use on dry patches including heels, elbows, knees, hands, feet, legs (I've even used it on flyaways!) Apply a small amount to an itchy scalp to calm and cool, use it to remove eyebrow make up, apply a small amount of balm to your lashes before sleep. It can also be used as an eye balm, to calm sunburn, a sore nose after sneezing and wind chapped skin. It really is a do-all product!

To use: Apply as often as needed for deeply nourished and calmed skin.

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

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Kiss The Moon: Love After Dark Bath Oil

I'm a huge fan of Kiss the Moon having totally fallen for their exquisite and sumptuous Award Winning LOVE Night Cream for Hands - see my review HERE. I've tried other bits along the way including their fabulous GLOW (and DREAM) Bedtime Bath Salts* (REVIEW) and some other treats which you can see HERE.

I've been testing out their LOVE After Dark Bath Oil (£38 - 100ml)** which received an Editor's Choice Award in the recent Beauty Shortlist Awards.

The packaging is decadent and luxurious and would make the perfect gift (if you could bear to give it away that is!) It's the perfect treat to set the scene for a romantic night home or away! (you can also pick up sample sizes or a Discovery Set (with face and bath oils which are perfect for a weekend away).

LOVE blend is rejuvenating and supportive and is a blend of Rose, Frankincense, Palmarosa and Ylang Ylang. The sleep inducing essential oils are blended with Coconut and Jojoba oils. I'm a huge fan of anything rose so have been really enjoying this relaxing blend.

To use: squeeze two full pipettes into a deep warm bath before stepping in. Alternatively, smooth the oil over the body before stepping into the bath and "step out lightly moisturised from top to toe and ready for a perfect night's sleep".

What's your favourite product(s) from Kiss the Moon?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program
**sent to me as a Kiss the Moon Ambassador

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Cathrin Brodie: Come up Smelling of Roses! Rose & Cardamon Soap

I've had the real pleasure of trying out Cathrin Brodie's, Come up Smelling of Roses! Rose & Cardamon Soap* £9 (the branding has now been updated). Pick yours up HERE.

The soap is made in Scotland by Fife company, Willow & Plum and has been personally selected by Cathrin Brodie founder, Pauline Randall. The scent is beautiful rosey with a hint of spice (there are more fragrances to come!) as well as being deeply nourishing.

The soap is made using the cold method process and is free from palm oil, parabens, SLS and other chemicals. 

Pick yours up HERE (there are also bags and earrings in the shop). Get 10% off code NEWFRIEND with free UK standard shipping.


Monday, 19 March 2018

Shopping my Stash #99

Here's what I've been reaching for:

Stella Says Rosewood & Geranium Hand Rescue Balm which deeply nourishes dry hands. See my review HERE. I'll buy this again as it just works! From nknaturals London is their new whipped Raspberry Lip Balm which melts upon contact with warm lips. It's truly lush and perfect for the current wintery weather. See my recent review HERE.

From Less is More their beautiful Rose Serum which repairs, nourishes and de-frizzes hair. See my review HERE. Staying on the rosey theme we have Jane Scrivner's Rose Gold Utimate Facial Serum* see my review HERE.

I'm just loving Awaken the Senses Bath Soak Nourishing Oil to Milk** (260ml - £38) from Tropic Skincare. The scent is uplifting neroli, basil, bergamot, lime, lemon, mandarin and sweet orange. It's the perfect product to awaken and pamper your skin.

What have you been reaching for lately?

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

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Sisley Beauty Subscription: March - In the Name of the Rose

The Sisley Beauty Subscription has been on my radar a while. I couldn't resist taking the plunge this month when I saw the sample selection was entitled "In the Name of the Rose". What you get each month are 5 samples - these could be travel size, sachets or perfume vials (a six month subscription is £35 including p&p or for a year £70 including p&p). The samples come in a slim black box which easily slips through the letterbox.

The samples were enclosed in a Sisley branded clear pouch (ideal to re-use for hand luggage/holidays or even storing samples) along with a card featuring a list of the products inside. 

Here's what's included this month:

Floral Toning Lotion 30ml
Black Rose Cream Mask 10ml (I've used this before and loved it)
Black Rose Precious Face Oil 0.5ml
Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream 4ml 
IZIA  EdP 1.4ml (this is exquisite, very rosey)

I'm looking forward to trying everything out (and I think I'll be buying full size of the perfume - it's beautiful!) It's also a great way to try products you may not normally be able to afford to buy.

Is the Sisley Beauty Subscription something you'd subscribe to, or do you already? I'm already looking foward to next month's Hair Rituel selection!

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Love Lula: Ere Perez Skincare

I'm a huge fan of Ere Perez skincare having recently tried their Australian Blue Cypress Face Nectar as a Beauty Shortlist Awards Judge. See my post HERE. I was excited to see more of the skincare range now available at Love Lula.

I'm a huge fan of the simple but pretty recyclable packaging. The Herbal Face Tonic (100ml - £20)* is a luscious drink for the skin which smells herbal/floral and is very pleasant. Spritz the skin after cleansing or throughout the day for a very welcome balancing boost.

The herbal face tonic is a blend of green tea witch hazel, citrus, geranium, aloe vera and rosemary. Hyaluronic acid reinvigorates tired skin. You can spritz to refresh, to tone, to set make up and revive.

Papaya SOS Marmalade (30g - £23.50)* is a neutral scented multi-purpose balm which deeply nourishes the skin and hair. Use it as a lip balm, face and body moisturiser, for cuticle and hands, heels, elbows and knees, flyaways, insect bites, scrapes and bruises - I do love a multi-purpose product!

Formulated with coconut, hemp, chia and grapefruit oils, fermented papaya and Calendula. It deeply repairs and nourishes and melts upon contact with warm skin. It's just personal preference but I'd have preferred the product to be scented.

What's your favourite Ere Perez product?

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