Friday, 31 August 2018

August Book Round-Up

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

How to Fall in Love Again - Kitty's Story by Amanda Prowse - I loved Kitty's story almost as much as Anna's and it was great to read the third book in the trilogy from Kitty's point of view. The tale is stuffed full of memories, love, sadness, heartache and friendship. 

I hadn't been so keen on Kitty when she featured in Anna & Theo but I was rooting for her every step of the way in book 3! She was Theo's first love who she met at school and the story follows her idyllic childhood, growing up, falling in love and her own fair share of unhappiness and heartache. Just brilliant.

The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola* - it's 1857 and Audrey leaves her home in London and her controlling father to take up a job with Lady Buchanan on the Isle of Skye collecting folk tales. The Highland Clearances are taking place and the crofters are more suspicious of strangers and prefer to keep themselves to themselves.

One of the reasons Audrey's drawn back to Skye is to find out more about her mother's death many years before. She's also keen to follow in her mother's footsteps as she too collected the stories.

She finds a dead girl on the beach and others go missing. She's determined to find out what's happened to them and why. Easy to read and a descriptive book which I enjoyed.

Stitch Up - A Best Defence Mystery by William McIntyre** - I took part in the blog tour for this book this month. See my review HERE.

Just Before I died by S K Tremayne* - I raced through this spooky read set on desolate Dartmoor. Kath lives with her husband, Adam and their autistic daughter Lyla. Kath wakes up after a car crash in hospital and can't remember a thing. Adam is furious and upset and their daughter acting more oddly than usual.

Kath is horrified to learn she brought the accident upon herself and she questions everything she does. She's determined to unravel the mystery no matter what. She can't believe she'd do the unthinkable to her family and it shocks her to the core. Her daughter keeps telling her mother she's seen a man on the moor watching them...

I loved this twisty and atmospheric tale which had an ending I for one would never have guess. Would recommend.

the party by Lisa Hall* - I was totally gripped by this book from the very first page. Rachel wakes up in her neighbour's after their New Year's Eve party and feels like she's got the hangover from hell, her body is aching all over and she's missing some of her clothes.. The most worrying thing is, she can't remember a thing. Why did her husband Gareth not make sure she was ok?

She contacts the police and they start an inquiry but Rachel feels they aren't going fast enough and starts an investigation of her own. The story jumps between storylines before the party and after the party. It's a fast paced and twisty read which I really enjoyed. I jumped between who I suspected throughout the book but near to the end I had an inkling of who they were looking for. Highly recommend.

The Photograph by Debbie Rix*What a fabulous story set in the 1950s and the present day. The stories are interwoven and the book is an absolute joy to read.

The stories are about two women who are related - Rachael in the 1950s and her grand daughter Sophie in the present day.  We learn the hardships and heartache faced by Rachael and her father when they have to leave their beloved Hungary and start again in London and Sophie is facing heartache of her own which her husband just doesn't seem to understand.

Rachael, her daughter Angela and her father spend one glorious summer in Italy, her father at an archaeology dig he was in charge of.  Rachael experiences real love, passion and heartache that summer. 

Sophie is an anthropologist and is studying for her PhD in Roman Burials and is drawn back to Italy with a photograph of a young man and a handcrafted seasilk bracelet along with her parents and uncle. She finds glorious family connections with her grandmother Rachael's past and finds joy in her own life. I absolutely adored this beautiful read. So recommend.

The lion tamer who lost by Louise Beech** - I'm taking part in the blog tour next month so I'll include my review in my September round-up.

The Fake Date by Lynda Stacey*** - this un-put-downable read isn't published until 18 September so I'll have my review up then. It's brilliant!

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi* - Tom Knelston was always going to rise from his humble beginnings and be a star. It didn't matter who he hurts along the way like his loving wife Alice and one-time mistress Diana. He's never forgotten his lost love and is unable to share with anyone how special she was. He's a rising star in the Labour Party and determined at all costs to make a name for himself.  He has to turn his back on his ideals to save his son with devastating consequences..

Alice's friend Jillie, a female surgeon is unlucky in love and finds it hard not to forgive Ned, lovely passionate Ned. He stands by his principles both in his work as a paediatrician and everyday life. The characters are brilliant although not always likeable but the story flows and grows around them. Absolutely loved this book.

Old Haunts - A Simon Serrailler Short Story by Susan Hill* - This is my first read of this character and series and surely won't be my last. A short read which delves into the past of Simon Serrailler, starting out his career as a PC in the Met. 

It's the 1990s and London is in the midst of IRA bomb threats and the police need to be on their guard at all times. Simon is asked to go undercover which both thrills and confuses him. An enjoyable short read.

Your Closest Friend by Karen Perry* - Cara is caught up in a terrorist attack and saved by an unknown young woman. She pours her heart out to her telling her things even her husband doesn't know.

Amy and Cara meet up again and Cara offers her a temporary job looking after her young daughter. This is when things start to go wrong in Cara's life. She starts to receive texts and messages that are sent to her work signed "your closest friend". She believes her ex Finn is behind it...but is he?

A fast paced and twisty read with that ending I just didn't see coming. Loved it.

My final read this month is After he Died by Michael J Malone** which is a fantastic twisty and un-put-downable read which I read in a day. I'm taking part in the Blog Tour next month so I'll share my thoughts in my September Book round-up.

What have you been reading this month?

*copy via the publisher from Netgalley
**paperback copy from the publisher
***copy from the Author

Thursday, 30 August 2018

AA Skincare: Jasmin, Mimosa & Rosehip Moisturising Face Cream

As you'll know I love award winning brand, AA Skincare. The products are effective, smell glorious and are excellent value for money. I've been testing out their Jasmin, Mimosa & Rosehip Moisturising Face Cream (£7.98 - 50ml)* which recently won a Best Buy Skincare Award with The Green Parent and is perfect to use as an everyday moisturiser.

The cream has an exotic and aromatic scent of Jasmin and Mimosa and is gorgeous. The cream absorbs instantly leaving the skin feel nourished, hydrated, firmed and feeling comfortable. It's packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Chamomile and Lavender calm while anti-ageing ylang ylang plumps fine lines and wrinkles and tones, Green Tea protects and Acacia gum soothes. It's suitable for all skin types and the packaging is recyclable.

To use: apply a small amount onto the face and neck massaging it in (tip: it can also be used as a body moisturiser).

What's your favourite product from AA Skincare?


Wednesday, 29 August 2018

August: Lately I've Been Loving

So many August loves..

We attended Foodies Festival in Edinburgh at the beginning of August and enjoyed a day in the sunshine and ate and drank some delicious food and drinks. (my pictures all seem to be of drinks...hmm)

I've been testing out a selection of healthy treats from Clearly Scrumptious** which I've really been enjoying. They are great for the afternoon slump at work and save me reaching for chocolate!

My favourites have been crunchy dried apple wedges and juicy dried strawberries - I'll definitely have to source some more of these and they are one of your 5 a day!

I've been trying the glorious Be In Blossom Ocean Flower Multi-Complex Serum+Creme (30ml - £46.80)* which my skin is loving. Expect my review early in September.

I've got Amanda at A.S Apothecary to thank for introducing me to the exquisite Tinkture Rose Gin. I just picked up "The Little Guy" but a full size bottle will be mine and soon. It's the most delicious gin I've ever tasted and the packaging is makes me squeal with delight - isn't it so pretty (and reusable!)

Of course I couldn't not mention Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box for August. The theme was Refresh and inside were four new to me brands - this is what beauty boxes should be all about - it really makes my heart sing. See my initial musings HERE.

What have you been loving this month?

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

Monday, 27 August 2018

Tropic Skincare: Awaken the Senses Bath Soak

Awaken the Senses Bath Soak (260ml - £38)* from Tropic Skincare is absolutely fantastic. The scent is uplifting and awakening (bergamot, lime, lemon, mandarin, sweet orange and neroli). It really is a gorgeous scent.

The soak will revitalise, restore and nourish the skin while uplifting your mood.

Add 3 capfuls to a running bath where it'll be turned into a nourishing milk making it the perfect potion for a relaxing soak.

Pick yours up HERE.


Sunday, 26 August 2018

BAO Skincare: Body & Face Sample Boxes

I discovered BAO Skincare after spotting it on Hannah Rose's Instagram and went to investigate! I decided to pick up the two sample packs - Body Sample Box (7 x 5ml samples - £10) and Face Sample Box (5 x 5ml samples - £8).

Founder, Beth grew up in Poole in Dorset and traveled the world living in Australia and South Africa in her 20s. She studied a Diploma in Natural Beauty and Nutrition and worked in the industry for over a decade before developing and formulating her own brand.

The products are made with plant based ingredients including organic butters, plant and flower oils and essential oils. The range is nourishing, healing, repairing and cleansing and handmade in small batches with love and care in England.

I found the skincare samples to be my favourites from the selections and would buy full sizes of Face Recovery, Avocado Orange Face Polish, Orange & Bergamot Face Wash and Apricot Rose Face Polish (I received a full size pot of this in my August Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box).

Orange & Bergamot Face Wash (full size £14 - 150ml) has an uplifting scent and easily removes make up and daily grime. I like to use it in my morning shower to refresh and clean.  Avocado Orange Face Polish (full size £14 - 50ml) which smells incredible. Bamboo exfoliant creates a gentle scrub which is suitable for all skins. I'm also loving Apricot Rose Face Polish (full size £14 - 50ml) which gently removes dead skin cells leaving the skin looking bright and radiant. Face Recovery (full size £20 - 50ml) which is a rich cream suitable for all skin types. It'll moisturise, plump out fine lines and wrinkles and leave the skin feeling hydrated and comfortable (this cream featured in Natural Health Magazine). Best-selling Nourish Urself (full size £25 - 60ml) is a multi-purpose product - use it as a cleanser, moisturiser or treatment balm. It will cleanse, nourish, smoothe, hydrate and repair (it featured recently in Brides Magazine).

From the bodycare selection I would buy Shea Mandarin Body Moisturiser and Foot Rescue.

Detox Bath Salts (full size £10 - 200g) and R&R Bath Salts (full size £10 - 200g) a mix of Himalayan Salts, Epsom Salts and essential oils designed detox or calm.  Coconut Grapefruit Body Scrub (full size £15 - 200ml) this scrub smelled gloriously exotic but I found it slightly too sticky and the particles a little large for my liking (it featured recently in Natural Health Magazine). Cocoa Butter Body Butter (full size £20 - 200ml) blended with rose water to hydrate. Great for sensitive skin types. Stretch Away (full size £20 - 60ml) which is great to use on stretch marks both new and recent.  Shea Mandarin Body Moisturiser (full size £20 - 200ml) I loved this zesty moisturiser which absorbed instantly, hydrating and comforting the skin and leaving it with a delicate citrus scent. Foot Rescue (full size £12 - 50ml) again, this was one of my favourites from the set. A minty treat for the feet! Soothing and nourishing it'll help transform tired and hot feet.

I've loved trying the samples and have some firm favourites which will be added to the groaning wishlist! Have you used any products by BAO Skincare? What are your favourites?

Saturday, 25 August 2018

August Empties

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

Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil 2ml* - a teeny sample but I liked the scent (always a big thing) and the oil seemed nice. I'd maybe pick up full size.

Sisley Izia Moisturising Perfumed Body Lotion 8ml - I loved this. Would love full size but I'm guessing it'll stay on the wishlist a while as it's pricey!

Iles Formula Haute Performance Shampoo & Conditioner 9ml sachets - this haircare is amazing - it smoothes and nourishes and the hair is left looking and feeling amazing. Full sizes are on the wishlist!

Dr Teal's Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution with Lavender 1lb - huge fan of this soothing and relaxing soak. Sure to pick up again at some point.

Dr Bronner's 18-in-1 Peppermint Pure Castile Soap sample - my favourite scent from Dr Bronner. Will buy full size soon!

The Body Deli Coconut Creme Soap - nice to use with a coconut scent (the soap is brown in colour and not really pretty). Enjoyable to use but I wouldn't re-purchase.

ISUN Rosemary Sage Body Scrub Sample - with enough scrubbyness and a herbal scent. This was nice to use but not sure I loved the scent enough to buy full size.

Schmidt's Jasmine Tea Deodorant - this is my favourite Schmidt's scent. Since they sold to Unilver I'm just using up my stash (sadly) as this is my all time favourite natural deodorant.

bodhi & birch Botanic Dew Hand & Body Wash 50ml - I found this really refreshing to use in my morning shower during the hot summer days. See my review HERE. I'll pick this mini size up again for my travels later in the year. I also used up a mini of Ylang Ylang Incensa and Camomile Sky. See my reviews HERE and HERE. Sure to pick these up again at some point too.

Apple & Bears Bergamot & Green Tea Hand & Body Wash 30ml* - lovely to use would maybe buy full size.

Dafna's Personal Skincare Nutrition 50ml** - absolutely loved this. See my review HERE. Will definitely buy when my stash reduces a bit (cried it was finished!)

Lucky Cloud Skincare Soothing Super Balm in Lavender & Rose 15ml* - huge fan of Lucky Cloud! This balm is a delight. See my review HERE. Definitely buy when my balm stash reduces a bit.

Sol Janeiro Brazillian Bum Bum Cream 24ml - a rich vanilla scented cream which I loved trying. Just opened another pot (thanks Julie!).

Bespoke Aroma Refreshing Facial Mist 30ml - which was created especially for Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box in June. See my thoughts on the Hydrate Box HERE and my review HERE. It's one I'd pick up again.

Olio E Osso Lustero Body Oil 15ml - loved this. See my review HERE. Full size is on the wishlist!

Kiss the Moon CALM After Dark Face Oil 3ml* - loved this. See my review HERE. Full size is on the wishlist

Isla Apothecary Neroli Body Oil 15ml - a firm favourite. See my review HERE. This little one came in Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box 1st Birthday Box which I collaborated on (total honour!).See the box and my picks HERE. Will pick this little beauty up again when my body oil stash reduces!

Zing Organics Velveteen Facial Serum 16ml - a beautiful serum which I loved! Love that they offer refills either in person or by post - more companies should do this! See my review HERE.

Kat Burki Ilume Brightening Serum 5ml - this came in a mini set (magazine freebie with subscription). It was ok. Wouldn't buy.

ISUN Rose Quartz Oil sample - gorgeous to use. Full size is on the wishlist (edit: I've just been gifted full size to review - expect that on the blog soon!)

What have you been using up this month?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program
**sent to me by the Founder & Formulator

Friday, 24 August 2018

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box: August: Refresh

August's Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box's theme is Refresh and inside are five gorgeous products (and four new to me brands - amazing!) Full reviews will follow.

OMG I'm so excited to delve in..

And for a closer look..

From new to me brand Eden Days is a 60ml pot of their Hawaiian Haven Whipped Body Butter (£6.50) which smells gorgeous. It's a blend of organic green tea, ylang ylang, neroli, lavender and geranium essential oils along with quality natural oils. I'm looking forward to trying this! I love too that it's housed in a reusable/recyclable tin. 

And another new to me brand (such joy) is Butter Bar Soapery and inside this month is an exclusive product from the brand (it's not yet available to buy online). This mouthwatering Revive Body Polish (200g - £15) is almost good enough to eat. 

From Delune is their Coconut+Rose Facial Mist (100ml - £18) which smells glorious. I'm looking forward to trying this hydrating, delicately scented treat! 

I love how Paula finds these artisan small brands. From new-to-me Casa Mencarelli is a 12g pot (£8) of their Lemon & Clay Face Mask & Scrub which is made with pure Sicilian Green Clay and Lemon Peel Powder. Simply mix with water, honey or hydrosol to activate the mask. 

From BAO Skincare, a brand I very recently discovered (I'm currently trying their sample sets) is their Apricot Rose Face Polish (50ml - £14) which gently polishes the skin.

As ever some of the brands have offered generous discount codes. I'm absolutely thrilled with my box - 4 new to me brands - this is what a beauty box should be about. Absolutely love it.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

NURA Skincare Mini-Me Skin Essentials

As you'll know I just love minis, travel sizes and sachet and this little Daily Essentials Set by NURA Skincare is just gorgeous! It's beautifully packaged and makes the ideal present/try me kit (it's great value at a tenner!)

You can see everything is carefully and lovingly packaged and put together. So for a closer look at what's inside:

Skin Radiance Cleansing Cream (10ml) - a 3-in-1 cleansing cream enriched with plant oils and botanicals which gently removes make up and daily grime. Along side it is an Organic Bamboo Face Cloth which is perfect to use alongside the cleansing cream. The cleanser is easy to apply and nourishes as well as deeply cleansing the skin. 

Vitamin C Serum (5ml) which is suitable for all skin types. The serum helps to boost collagen and helps with sun damage, smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles and nourishing.

Pro-Vitamin B3 Moisturising Cream (5ml) (Normal/Dry) is rich and the perfect day cream packed full of anti-oxidants, botanical extracts and plant oils. Vitamin B3 helps with pigmentation issues, increases moisture and collagen production.

Pro-Vitamin B3 Balancing Cream (5ml) (Normal/Combo) is light and balancing and is rich in anti-oxidants and botanical extracts. It's formulated to balance and tone the skin, helping with pigmentation and increasing collagen production.

Renewal Night Oil Complex (5ml) which is suitable for all skin types and blended with 6 anti-oxidising plant oils rich in Omegas 3, 5, 6 and 9. Vitamin A and Co-enzyme Q10 help with ageing. Wake up with luminous and soft skin.

I've been pretty impressed with all of these products. Pick up your set HERE. 

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Sisley: My Buys

As you'll know I've been enjoying Sisley's Beauty Box Subscription for the last six months (£35 including p&p). Here are the products I'd buy full size:

I'm already a fan of their Black Rose Cream Mask and have it currently in my stash. Ones I'd love full size from March's selection are Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream and Izia EdP.

April - Hair Rituel

It was SO good to try the new haircare range! I totally fell head over heels for their Precious Hair Care Oil. I also fancy their haircare Discovery Kits.

I'm already a fan of their Express Flower Mask so it was lovely to try it again. My top pick from May was White Ginger Contouring Oil for Legs.

I fell totally head over heels for glow inducing Supremya at Night which is an eye watering £475 full size (If I ever win the lottery...) A beautiful night cream. Wake up with luminous soft skin. Love! My second top pick this month was Eau Tropicale Moisturizing Perfumed Body Lotion which is truly summer in a bottle.

In July, I loved Izia Moisturising Perfumed Body Lotion and Purifying Re-Balancing Lotion with Tropical Resins which mattifies and balances the skin.

August - The Cascade

I'm popping the After Sun Care Tan Extender in my holiday bag. I loved Energising Foaming Exfoliator for the Body which was nice to use on wet or dry skin for softer and smoother skin. I also would buy Eau Efficace, a 3-in-1 make up remover for face and eyes.

And guess what? I couldn't resist signing up for another 6 months!