Sunday, 30 September 2018

September Book Round-Up

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

The Katharina Code by Jørn Lier Horst* This is my first read of Chief Inspector William Wisting and I'll definitely go back at some point and read the series. Twenty-four years ago Katharina Haugen went missing. She left no clues apart from mysterious numbers scribbled on a bit of paper that no-one has been able to solve.

Every year on the anniversary Chief Inspector Wisting visits her husband, who has become a friend of sorts. He can't let go of the case (and even keeps the case files in the bottom of his wardrobe!)

Cold Case detective Stiller is convinced Martin Haugen is involved in the case he's investigating of the disappearance of a young woman....and wants Wisting to get close to Haugen.

I found the story interesting in parts and slow in others. All in all a good read which I enjoyed.

Tell Nobody DI Lottie Parker #5 by Patricia Gibney* - an absolutely amazing read. I love this series and Lottie. I'm taking part in the Blog Tour in October so I'll share my thoughts in my October round-up.

The Fake Date by Lynda Stacey*** - I just love Lynda's books. I reviewed it on publication day - see my review HERE.

The Relentless Tide - A DCI Daley Thriller by Denzil Meyrick** - such a brilliant read. See my review HERE.

Down to the Woods by M J Arlidge (DI Helen Grace #8)* - oh how I love this series! The story is set in the New Forest and a young woman camper awakens to find her fiancee gone. There is another similar incident where a young woman goes missing. Why is this happening? Are they connected in some way? Two new forest ponies are found dead with the same injuries and DI Helen Grace and the Team are on the case to find the twisted killer before he strikes again.

Annoying journo, Emilia Garanita thinks she's one step ahead of the law and publishes news articles that aren't helpful to the case. There's a new DS on the team who is attracted to his boss and makes this known on more than one occasion.... As ever, a fast paced, gripping and twisted read which I devoured in two days. Absolutely loved it. Highly recommend.

The Lingering by SJI Holliday** - oh this is a creepy read! Jack & Ali Gardiner leave the rat race behind and all their problems...or do they? The atmosphere seems to change the moment they arrive at self-sufficient Rosalind House, a former psychiatric hospital.

One of the residents Fairy Angela who is obsessed by ghosts is desperate to be friends with Ali but Ali's not so sure. Why is it only Ali's who can see the ghosts and what does it mean? A spooky read with an ending I never saw coming! Brilliant.

From last month:

The Lion Tamer who Lost by Louise Beech** - I was on the blog tour this month. I just adored this book. See my review HERE.

After he Died by Michael J Malone** - again I was on the blog tour for this un-put-downable read. See my review HERE.

What have you been reading this month?

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

Friday, 28 September 2018

September: Lately I've been Loving

So many September loves...

Nothing I like more than homemades. This jam is one of many things I've made with the glut of plums from my plum tree at the allotment. Delicious!

This Oblepikha hair mask* by Natura Siberica is just amazing. See my review HERE - it's one of my favourite hair care products this year.

My fav breakfast ever - avo on toast with poached eggs (with feta & chilli too). Delicious.

I've just started testing out the beautiful range of products** by new Glasgow based brand Casa Mencarelli, who are also Formula Botanica graduates. Expect reviews soon! Thanks to Paula for including a trial size from the brand in August's Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box. It really is a gorgeous and very luxurious range.

I picked up this delicious duo by aye pickled at our local monthly market. The strawberries are seriously yummy! 

This gorgeous calming NYC CALM candle from Wildheart Organics which I picked up in the summer in North Berwick is glorious. I've been having some stressful days at work so I've been lighting this in the evenings to de-stress and relax. It has notes of Lavender, Mandarin and Sandalwood. The candle is handcrafted using soy wax and pure essential oils and is one of the nicest candles I've used for a while.

Being invited again this year to be a Beauty Shortlist Judge for the 2019 Awards is an absolute honour and I'm absolutely thrilled. I'm currently putting some amazing products through their paces. Brands can sign up until Friday 2nd November - see more information HERE.

What have you been loving this month?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program
**complimentary - sent for review

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Odacite Black Mint Cleanser

I'm a huge Odacite fan having tried some of their skincare previously. I also received a mini of this cleanser in the Naturisimo Healing Make Up Discovery Box in June. See HERE.

The Black Mint Cleanser deeply cleanses combo, oily and acne prone skins. The black liquid cleanser foams up on contact with a little water making it easy to massage onto the face and neck. It really wakes me up in the morning with the zingy fresh mint scent.

It'll eliminate excess oil, get rid of impurities, environmental toxins and make up. I use it in my morning shower for a burst of freshness. 

Formulated with Activated Charcoal, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Rhassoul Clay and Apple Amino Acids it will leave the skin refreshed, clean, comfortable, mattified and invigorated.

To use: wet face and hands, massage onto damp skin in upward movements avoiding the eye area. Rinse.

What's your favourite Odacite product?

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

September Empties

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

Sisley Energising Foaming Exfoliant 15ml - I really enjoyed this refreshing and slightly exfoliating cleanser. I'd probably not buy full size but it was nice to try.

Estelle & Thild BioMineral Healthy Glow Foundation 121 2ml sachet - I really liked this foundation which gave light everyday coverage. I'd buy full size.

Miller Harris Lumiere Doree 10ml - I never finish perfume! I loved this light neroli scent which I'd buy again in a heartbeat.

Luxe Botanicals CAMU Brightening Serum 2ml - I love trying new brands but I just wasn't keen on the scent of this serum so wouldn't buy.

BAO Skincare - Face Recovery - loved, would buy full size, Stretch Away - wouldn't buy, Coconut Body Scrub - wouldn't buy, Shea Mandarin Body Cream - loved, would buy and Cocoa Body Butter - wouldn't buy. See my review HERE.

Sisley Floral Toning Lotion 30ml - nice to use but probably wouldn't buy.

REN Flash Hydro Boost Instant Plumping Emulsion 10ml - a light and easily absorbed moisturiser which I'd maybe buy when my stash reduces a bit.

Weleda Wild Rose Body Oil 10ml - loved this. Would buy full size. See my review HERE.

Kat Burki Complete Eye Creme Complex 5ml - which came as a magazine freebie. It was ok but dried out before I had a chance to use it all. Wouldn't buy.

bodhi & birch Super25 Botanical Serum 5ml* - from a stunning range launched this year. I've got a new one ready to crack open. See my review HERE.

Tropic Hair Feast 50ml* - oh how I loved this so! So much so I cut open the tube to get every last bit out! See my review HERE. Will buy this again. My hair just loved it.

Antonia Burrell Bright+Light Eye Cream 15ml* - which was amazing. See my review HERE. It's one I'll buy when my stash reduces a bit.

ORIBE Gold Lust Dry Shampoo 43ml - I'm a huge fan of these mini dry shampoo cans. I've just opened another.

REN Atlantic Kelp & Microalgae Anti-Fatigue Bath Oil 110ml - I received this from my pal Julie as a pressie and I loved it. Would buy again as I loved the seashore scent and it was nice for a relaxing dip.

P&G "Marzipan" Body Souffle 100ml - I just loved this. See my review HERE. I'll buy this again when the stash reduces in size.

BAO Skincare Orange Face Wash 5ml - loved. Would buy full size.

Weleda Sea Buckthorn and Evening Primrose Body Oils 10ml each - again, beautiful to use and I'd buy both of these full size.

ISUN Celestial Body Silk Sample - this is a really runny milk which absorbed quickly and had an exotic scent.

ila Bath Soak for Pure Relaxation 150ml - I just adore this soak. It's featured a lot on the blog. See mini review HERE. Bound to buy it again. And soon.

Jo Browne Natural Facial Cleansing Balm 50g* - which I judged in last year's Beauty Shortlist Awards. It was one of my top picks (see HERE) and I'm very sad that's my pot now done! 

What have you been using up this month?


Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Juno Skincare

A couple of months ago I received a beautiful and unexpected parcel from Julie at Juno Skincare and inside was three skincare essentials. I'd tried a few samples in the past (REVIEW) so I knew the brand was gorgeous as well skin loving and effective (it's also award winning too!) You can pick up the Beauty Shortlist Winners Bundle HERE.


Pure Purifying & Reviving Cleanser 200ml (£39) - which comes in a huge pump action bottle. The cleanser is a rich cream with a light aromatic scent which easily removes make up and daily grime. 

To use: pump out a small amount of cleanser, massage onto the eyes, face and neck and remove with the warmed damp muslin cloth.

Elan Face Tonic Spritzer (100ml) is my favourite of the trio (I'm now more than half way through it). 

The spritz will tone, hydrate and refresh the skin. Use it after cleansing or as a pick-me-up throughout the day.

To use: Spritz onto the skin as needed.

The final item in the trio Julie very kindly sent me is her Eternelle Moisturiser for Face (50ml - £43) which has a delicious rich texture and feel on the skin. This aromatic cream deeply nourishes plumping and firming.

To use: apply a small amount AM and PM alone or layered with Joie.

What's your favourite product from Juno Skincare?

Monday, 24 September 2018

Review: The Relentless Tide DCI Daley #6 by Denzil Meyrick

When Professor Francombe and her team of archaeologists find the remains of three women on a remote Kintyre hillside – a site rumoured to have been the base of Viking warlord Somerled – their delight soon turns to horror when they realise the women tragically met their end little more than two decades ago. It soon becomes clear that these are the three missing victims of the ‘Midweek Murderer’, a serial killer who was at work in Glasgow in the early 1990s.

DCI Jim Daley now has the chance to put things right – to confront a nightmare from his past and solve a crime he failed to as a young detective. However, when Police Scotland’s Cold Case Unit arrive, they bring yet more ghosts to Kinloch.

A tale of death, betrayal, Viking treasure and revenge set in the thin places where past, present and future collide.

My thoughts?

It's always an exciting day when you hear there's a new Jim Daley book about to be published!

There are two stories running parallel to each other - back in Glasgow in the 1990s and Kinloch in the present day.

The archaeologists led by Professor Francombe are hoping to discover ancient bones and artefacts instead uncover the bodies of three women killed more than two decades ago.  This brings back to the fore the "Midweek Murders", a Glasgow case never solved.  Jim was part of the investigating team. It also brings back Jim's arch enemy who is now a civilian investigating cold cases. Jim's also wondering if he'll finally find out who killed his mentor and friend, something that's been bothering him for many years. 

How are the cases linked and where is the missing nurse whom Daley finds familiar.. 

It was great to meet up with DCI Jim Daley and his sidekick DS Brian Scott. Not forgetting the wonderful Annie. We also meet up again with Hamish, with Ella, Brian's wife and for a more prolonged time James Daley Jnr.

It's a real twisty story with an ending I just didn't see coming! Just brilliant. Highly recommend.

*complimentary copy from the publisher

Saturday, 22 September 2018

MOA The Green Fairy Hand & Lip Balm

I'm a huge fan of MOA (as you'll know I've done several reviews on the blog which you can see HEREHEREHERE and HERE - so I can safely say I'm a huge fan!) I was chosen as most helpful member over on the Love Lula Natural Beauty Club over on Facebook (made my day) and this latest launch by MOA was one of my picks!

The packaging is super-cute (and would make the perfect small gift or stocking filler). It costs £13.50 for 12g and comes in a cute little reusable tin with a recyclable cardboard outer sleeve. 

"summon the spirit of The Green Fairy with this absinthe dual-purpose salvation balm, a non-greasy formula to soften dry cuticles, hands and lips".

Formulated with caster oil, shea and cocoa butters which smoothes and soothes, candelilla wax which nourishes, stevia leaves a sweet taste on the lips, absinthe, yarrow extract and a blend of essential oils of grapefruit, lemon peel, peppermint, fennel and aniseed. It's got a lush herbal fruity flavour (it seems kind of like what I'd imagine absinthe to taste/smell like!)

To use: apply a small amount to lips, cuticles, dry hands and flyaways. It's super rich and deeply nourishes and cares for the hands and lips.

The pot's a handy size to pop in your desk drawer, pocket or handbag.

Thanks again, Love Lula! I love it!

Friday, 21 September 2018

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box: September: Serenity

It's always a happy day when my Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box arrives. This month the theme is Serenity and inside are 6 products all of which are new to me - this is what beauty boxes should be about. I have tried other products from 3 of the brands and 2 are brand new to me.

And... one brand is from Denmark and the other Canada which are great to see in the box. WOW!

From one of my favourite brands A.S Apothecary is their Body Elixir #33 25ml (£12) which smells glorious. It's really exquisite and is scented with rose, bergamot, labdanum, clary sage and benzoin. I'm looking forward to testing it out and a review will follow soon.

The second brand to jump out at me is new-to-me Danish brand o.Moi and inside is a 10ml pot of their All in One Balm (worth £15) which won Best Multi-Tasking Balm in Beauty Shortlist Awards in 2017. You can use the multi-tasking balm all over the face and body and it's also good for flyaways. Again, a review will follow.

A brand which I've seen on Instagram but not had the pleasure to try yet is Canadian brand, Bella Aura and inside is two 10ml trial sizes of their Gentle Purifying Cleanser (£3.40) and Night Cellular Renewal (£24). I'm looking forward to trying these!

From a brand I've not used for ages, and not since they re-branded is lovely Pure Thoughts and inside is 10ml Serenity Pulse Point roller-ball (worth £8). It will balance, calm and encourage positivity.

The final item is from Kathleen, Tranquil Fields Bubble Bath & Shower Gel 150ml (worth £18) which is scented with Lavender, Vanilla and Frankincense. It'll help you unwind relax.

As ever there are some discount codes from the brands in the box and I may be tempted.. Did you pick up a box this month?

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Organic House Skincare: Cleansers Gift Bag

I've been testing out a few products* from Organic House Skincare. The ones which I'm reviewing today is the fantastic Cleansers Gift Bag* (£28, 100ml & 60ml). Inside is Soothing Cleansing Milk (100ml) and Clean & Bright Morning Cleanser (60ml).

Foaming Morning Cleanser - formulated with papaya extract, a gentle enzyme peel which will remove dead skin cells unclog pores, brighten and soften the skin. The cleanser has a fresh fruity scent and will brighten and refresh the skin.

To use: pump a small amount onto damp palms and massage over the skin before rinsing.

Soothing Cleansing Milt with Oats & Orange Essential Oil - formulated with coconut oil and oats. The scent is of uplifting and calming fresh oranges. 

To use: massage over the skin before removing with a warmed muslin cloth.

I've been really impressed with the performance of both these cleansers. Pick yours up HERE.

The products are free from parabens, synthetic fragrance, mineral oils, silicone, sulphates, propylene glycol, phthalates, GMO, PEGs, TEA, DEA and are cruelty free.

See my reviews of Cleanse & Calm Hot Cloth Cleanser* HERE and Wake Up Revitalising Room & Car Spray* and Relax & Sleep Room Spray* HERE.


Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Trish's Honey Products

I've been testing out two of Trish's gorgeous products including Award Winning, Body Balm* (100ml - euro 22 approx £19.54) and Rosehip Facial Balm* (30ml - euro 19.95 approx £17.72).

Trish is a third generation bee keeper. Salves and balms were in her mother's first aid kit for calming and soothing irritations immediately. She decided to create her own products with her own unique personal touch.  The range is handcrafted with love, care and attention to detail and the pots and tins are recyclable or re-usable.

Rosehip Facial Balm* is deeply moisturising (you only need the smallest drop). Formulated with organic rosehip, shea butter, rice bran and jojoba and honey. It's the "queen of balms" and is perfect to use as a night time hydrator (if you have very dry skin you could use it AM too).

To use: after cleansing warm a small amount between the palms before massaging over the face and neck

The Body Balm* won a Free From Skincare Award Silver this year - well done Trish, it's a stunning product! A rich and luxurious balm the honey/herbal scented balm deeply nourishes and cares for the skin. 

To use: apply after your bath or shower to nurture and care for the skin.

Pick yours up HERE. There are also beeswax candles, hand cream, intensive body butter, lip balm, muslin cloths and samples available to buy (which are great to try before you buy). Have you used any products from Trish's Honey Products?


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The Fake Date by Lynda Stacey

As you'll know I'm a huge fan of Lynda's books - I thoroughly enjoyed The Fake Date* and today's publication day! Congratulations Lynda!

Nine hours and eleven minutes … 
That’s how long it’s been since Ella Hope was beaten to within an inch of life and left for dead. 

She lies, unable to move and praying for somebody to find her, as she counts down the minutes and wonders who could have hated her so much to have hurt her so badly. 

Was it the man she went on a date with the previous evening, the man linked to the deaths of two other women? Or somebody else, somebody who wants her out of the picture so much they’re willing to kill? 

Whoever it is, they will pay. All Ella has to do first is survive…

My thoughts?

Journalist, Ella Hope is brutally attacked and left for dead. She'd been investigating Rick Greaves, local hard man and gym owner whose two wives died in mysterious circumstances. She's always been keen to quickly scoop that elusive story at whatever the cost.

She slowly recovers finding it hard to trust and be around men. Her folks buy her a gorgeous little pup to help her feel more secure. She slowly rebuilds her life with the help of her new neighbour, kind, friendly and handsome Will. Will has secrets however..

When Rick's found not guilty this sets her back and makes her more anxious that her attacker is still at large and could be coming back to finish what they started... A brilliant read (which I read in two sittings) with a few explosive twists I didn't see coming. Highly recommend.

*e-copy from the author

Monday, 17 September 2018

Miel Botanicals: Rose Balm

As you'll know I'm already a fan of East Lothian based, Miel Botanicals having recently fallen for their amazing Prosecco Shave Soap*. See my review HERE.

I bought their exquisite Rose Balm (25g - £8.50) which is simply but prettily packaged and the pot's recyclable or reusable.

The rosey scented balm has a multitude of uses - as you'll know I adore a multi-purpose product.  The range is hand made in small batches with skin loving ingredients. Oils such as golden jojoba and sweet almond are infused with organic rose petals before being hand blended with beeswax, shea butter, rosehip oil, rose absolute, rose geranium and Vitamin E.

The Rose Balm is suitable for all skin types but especially sensitive, dry/combination and mature and is cruelty-free with no animal testing. The beeswax comes from formulator and founder Karin's own beehive of happy and carefully looked after bees who forage in the orchard and wildflower meadows in East Lothian.

To use: as a cleanser: apply a small amount of balm with your fingertips to dry skin. Massage into skin with circular motions before removing with a warm muslin cloth.  As a steam cleanse: apply as a face mask and relax in a warm bath for ten minutes or lay a hot flannel/face muslin over the face for 5 minutes to gently draw impurities and grime from the pores. Remove using a warm muslin cloth. As a moisturiser: apply a small amount to any dry skin areas - eyebrows, lips, neck, decollete and cheekbones. As a hand balm: massage onto the hands paying particular attention to each nail and cuticle, For body: apply onto any dry areas such as elbows, knees and feet.  I've also used a small amount on flyaways.

Pick yours up HERE (there are now a few new products online and I couldn't resist picking a couple up!)

*complimentary - sent for review

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Sisley Beauty Subscription: Beauty Harvest

I thoroughly enjoyed my first 6 months Sisley Beauty Subscription I signed up for another (£35 for 6 months, £70 for a year). You can see my top picks March-August HERE.

This month, the theme is Beauty Harvest and inside is:

Gentle Eye & Lip Make Up Remover 15ml - which will dissolve eye and lip make up. The gentle formula is suitable for sensitive eyes and will leave the eyes feeling clean and refreshed.

Eau de Sisley 2 EdT 1.4ml - this perfume is beautiful! A white floral with green notes.

Global Perfect 10ml - a beautiful skin concentrate which will refine and smooth leaving the skin looking flawless.

Instant Correct 1.5ml - a colour correcting primer which will rebalance and smooth.

Eye & Lip Contour Balm 5ml - a smoothing and moisturising balm for the eyes and lips which will nourish and refresh.

I'm looking forward to trying them out. Do you subscribe to Sisley Beauty Subscription?

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Love Lula: Beauty Box: September 2018

It's always a happy day when my Love Lula Beauty Box* arrives. This month the value is £65 (monthly recurring UK - £13.95, 3 months international £52.50).

So what's inside:

There are 4 full sizes this month! Plus 4 very handy sachets from John Masters Organics (which will be put in my travel bag for later in the year).

From a new brand at Love Lula The Castilian Soap Company is 250ml of their Fragrance Free Natural Castile Soap which is worth £8. I'd been looking at this brand recently so I'm looking forward to trying it.

Kathleen is a brand which have been on my radar but this is my very first try. Inside is their Tonifying Mist 150ml (£23). It will hydrate, soothe, heal and revitalise. Expect a review of this once I've had the chance to try it. 

From Inika there is Loose Mineral Blush in Blooming Nude 3g (£23) which is made from pure pigment meaning your blush will last all day! This seems a nice neutral browny shade and it's good to see a make up item in the box.

From Macho and Bling, another fairly new brand at Love Lula (the range is unisex) is their Anti-Pollution Face Scrub Grapefruit 30ml (£6.50) which smells amazing! The scrub itself is fairly gentle and will slough off dead skin cells leaving the skin refreshed and brightened.

The final items are 4 x John Masters Organics hair care sachets (each 10ml) which are perfect for try me or travel. We have: Evening Primrose Shampoo for Dry Hair, Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner, Citrus & Neroli Detangler and Rose & Apricot Hair Milk (REVIEW).

As ever their is a very generous discount code (20%) for use against any of the brands in the box this month.

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. All thoughts are genuine. I think the box is great this month!

Friday, 14 September 2018

That Natural Hygge

Lou from The Beauty Bank has recently set up her very own online boutique called That Natural Hygge - a destination where you can choose natural beauty and lifestyle items to create a feeling of wellbeing and calm at home. If you sign up to the newsletter you'll get 10% off your first order.

Lou very kindly sent me a box full of goodies which are available instore to try and review. These are just my initial thoughts - reviews will be forthcoming.

Inside the box are little rosebuds and lavender flowers which are a lovely touch and make the box smell glorious.


With candles currently available from Mage and 100 Acres, Lou selected me a gorgeous Mage Rose Geranium Candle (£14 - 250g) which comes in a pretty recycled glass pot. The 100% natural candles are made with beeswax and vegetable wax and the wicks are 100% cotton ecological. The intensely rose geranium scent is instantly calming. This size candle has a 28hr burn time. A review will follow!

I'm always intrigued by face tools and also inside is a Rose Quartz Gua Sha Tool (£15) which helps to create the perfect facial massage (used along with a facial oil). I'm looking forward to trying this out!

The final two items Lou very kindly sent me are skincare & bodycare samples by ISUN and 100 Acres.

From ISUN is a sample of their Ultra Sapphire Facial Oil Moisturizer which is suitable for normal/sensitive skin types and will balance and nourish and from 100 Acres is a trial size (50ml) of their lovely Rose & Lavender Bubble Bath (Review).

Thanks so much for the beautiful box of goodies Lou and lots of luck with the shop! Catch up with the blog to help you create your own natural hygge.