Wednesday, 31 October 2018

A.S Apothecary: Body Elixir #33

I received a 25ml bottle of A.S Apothecary's Body Elixir #33 (worth £12, full size 200ml - £65) in my September Skin Organic Clean Beauty Box. I'm a huge fan of the brand already and was excited to try a new-to-me product.

The elixir is luxurious, deeply nourishing and delicately scented. The Vegan blend is packed full of skin loving oils including Jojoba, Grapeseed, infused Pumpkin and Borage to name a few. 

The blend is scented like a perfume with top, heart and base notes and is sensual and aromatic. With romantic and floral Rose, fresh citrus Bergamot, earthy Labdanum and sweet Benzoin.

The elixir absorbs almost instantly leaving the skin feeling moisturised, comfortable and sweetly scented. It really is an exquisite product which I'm really enjoying using (I'll be adding the full size bottle to my wishlist).

To use: apply a few drops onto damp skin, massaging until absorbed. The blend can also be used for massage.

What's your favourite product from the brand?

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

October Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in October (I thought it was going to be a slow month but I've overwhelmed my expectations!)

Bad Girls - A History of Rebels and Renegades by Caitlin Davies - this is an absolutely fascinating account of the history of HMP Holloway and it's inmates.

From the suffragettes who were force fed (awful to read about), to socialites and sporting stars, prostitutes and nightclub queens as well as normal people who were imprisoned for things like "treason and murder, for begging, performing abortions and stealing clothing coupons, for masquerading as men, running brothels and attempting suicide". 

We hear about those who were hanged and those who were reprieved. Stories about Ruth Ellis, Edith Thompson, Myra Hindley, Annie Walters, a German Spy along with ordinary prisoners who lived in appalling conditions to those who could live in relative luxury if they could afford it. The author herself actually worked as a teacher within the prison walls. Would recommend as it's an interesting read.

Home by Karen Dionne (when I bought this I didn't realise it was the Marsh King's Daughter under a new name - I already had Marsh King nestling on my kindle!)

Helena's childhood was very unusual and she's managed to keep it from her husband and daughters until the day her father, escapes from prison and she knows he'll come looking for her... She was born in captivity. Her father kidnapped her mother and they lived in the remote marshes. She loved her father - he was the one who taught her all she knows - to hunt and survive.

The story goes between the past and the present and we learn about Helena's childhood and her relationship with her parents to her current happy married life with her own business and family. She knows she'll have to hunt for her father if he's to go back to prison where he belongs.... a fast paced and exciting read. Would recommend.

One Dark Night by Tom Bale* - I took part in the blog blitz last week. See my review HERE.

Five Days of Fog by Anna Freeman* - I absolutely loved this! It's not published until the beginning of November so I'll share my review in my November roundup.

Dead End - DI Kelly Porter #3 by Rachel Lynch* - oh I just love this series! 

The 7th Earl of Lowesdale is found hanged in his study at the Hall with his safe missing. DI Kelly Porter and the team need to find out if this was foul play. There's another case running alongside - could they be connected?

Two young female hikers go missing and when digging for clues the team find that another two women have disappeared. 

Young Zac was distraught to find his grandfather and is pleased to have the support of the local woman who cooks and cleans at the Hall and the gardener. Are they who they say they are? Secrets hang over everyone at the Hall.

Kelly finds out that her mother is connected with the Hall and parties that the Earl and his wife had in the 70s. She also finds out something about herself she's not sure she likes (I'm looking forward to this being explored in the next book). We also take off where we left off with Kelly's boyfriend, the lovely Johnny. Their relationship seems to be getting more serious (love). Her sister is still being the proverbial pain - they just can't get along as they are so different.... 

A great story full of twists and turns (I'd decided who was guilty) for the story to flip around once again. Just brilliant.

Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland - the story follows eccentric Mac, a historian who is writing stories based on folklore and employs Lucie as a Girl Friday type assistant. The story is told in alternating chapters.

They both have secrets which start to unravel and Mac's son Arthur, a baker is caught in the middle.  Why is the old mill out of bounds, what happened there? And what is Lucie hiding from her sister.. 

A darkly addictive and creepy read which I really enjoyed.

Forget My Name by J S Monroe* - A woman turns up at Tony and Laura's home convinced it's her home. She's forgotten her name and has lost her bag at the airport with her keys, purse and passport inside. She knows the quirky layout of the house and all about the village.

Tony thinks she's got amnesia and invites her to stay the night, even cooking her dinner. Laura's a bit apprehensive about it all but gives in and arranges an appointment with the GP in the morning.

Tony decides to name her until she remembers her own name and this in itself brings it's own problems... it's a real twisty read which had me on the edge of my seat throughout and so cleverly written. There are so many twists which I didn't see coming. Loved it.

Fatal Promise - DI Kim Stone #9 by Angela Marsons* - this series keeps getting better and better. 

A man is discovered in the local woodlands brutally murdered and Kim and the team quickly get to work to find out why and by whom. They surprisingly discover he's known to them as he was connected to their previous case. His son is suddenly involved in a car crash - can the cases be connected? A woman's body is found in strange circumstances and there seems to be a link which involves all the cases...but what..

Kim and the Team are still suffering after one of their own died and are finding it hard to adjust to a new officer working with them.  Stacey is running her own investigation alongside regarding a missing teen as well as working with Penn on data and CCTV analysis. He's not Dawson and never will be but she grudgingly finds she can work with him.

The race is on to find the killer and the links between the cases before more innocent victims die. An absolutely amazing read. Roll on book #10.

What Happened to Us by Faith Hogan* - I just devoured this fabulous read.

Carrie finds herself dumped by her long term partner. Kevin's her partner in both life and business but he's just announced he's in love with their young Columbian waitress and he's leaving her.

Life is hard for her seeing them everyday at the restaurant and Carrie is understandably heartbroken. The pain is softened however by gorgeous little pup Teddy she found at the back of the restaurant and the mysterious stranger who becomes her friend. He has connections with her friend Jane who owns the pub across the street.

When things go wrong for Kevin he thinks he'll be able to get Carrie back but she's moved on and wants to start afresh with the new and happy life she's forged for herself. An absolutely brilliant read. I loved it.

The Doll Collector by Joanna Stephen-Ward* - oh my this is a real creepy read. It's not out until near the end of November so I'll share my review in my November Book Round-Up.

The Orchid Girls by Lesley Sanderson* - which is published in the middle of November. Again, I'll share my thoughts in my November book round-up (it's brilliant).

Displacement by Anne Stormont - this had been nestling on my kindle for some time (shame on me!). I've accepted a spot on the blog tour for Settlement, Anne's follow-up book so I felt I needed to read the first book (although they can be read as standalones).

Rachel has just lost her mum having nursed her at the family croft on the Island of Skye. She's divorced, estranged from her daughter and still mourning her son. She feels lost. She's got her good friend Morag and her husband down the road but it's not enough.

Her new neighbour, Jack, an ex-cop helps her when she really needs it and becomes her friend. I loved Poppy, Jack's little granddaughter who comes to stay and you see what a warm hearted and kind lady Rachel is. Poppy is over the moon that Rachel writes and illustrates her favourite story about Seamus the Sheep.

Her brother is settled in Israel with his family and after counselling she decides to pay a visit to learn about the Jewish side of her family. She also meets her brother's attractive artist friend Eitan who brings her out of her shell and helps her live a little. On a trip with her sister-in-law to Palestine she meets a wise innkeeper who advises her.

She knows she wants more with Jack, a real relationship but doesn't know if he feels the same way... It's a story of love, friendship, loss and heartache and I absolutely loved it.

What have you been reading this month?

*copy from the publisher via netgalley

Monday, 29 October 2018

October: Lately I've been Loving

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

I picked up this gorgeous wee book by local artist Peter Jones. It may be a little book but it's the sweetest thing and perfect for any lover of Portobello.

I had the real pleasure of trying gorgeous Casa Mencarelli, a beautiful new skincare line. See my review HERE. The products are beautiful (I also love that you can buy trial sizes as well as full sizes).

I loved attending the 10th Portobello Book Festival - I normally go to a few things but only managed along to the fascinating discussion by Sara Sheridan and Alex Nye - "no place for a woman" and of course I had to get signed books. The Ice Maiden I'd already read and you can see my mini review in my July book round-up.

I'm testing out the latest launch from Dafna's Personal Skincare - Active Mist* which is incredible - expect a review on the blog soon!

Being a tester for Triyit - I was delighted to receive a box of wonderful new products* from Beauty Kitchen - I've already got some favourites - expect reviews up on the blog soon.

What have you been loving this month?


Saturday, 27 October 2018

October Empties

I'm not going to use anything else up this month - I think this must be my smallest amount of empties...ever!

Omorovicza Refining Facial Polish 30ml - I'm a huge fan of this exfoliator. I think I've got another in my stash. Would buy full size. 

Butter Bar Soapery Soothe Bath Salts 40g - which I received in my October Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box (link) which was beautiful. It made for a relaxing soak and had little lavender flowers combined within the salts. Full size is on the wishlist!

Organic House Clean & Bright Morning Cleanser 30ml* - which I liked to use for my morning shower. See my review HERE. I was sad to finish this and will add to my buy-again list.

Sisley Hair Rituel Revitalising Straightening Shampoo 8ml - which came in my October Beauty Subscription. I really liked this (it worked) and is one to save up for!

This duo from Rahua Voluminous shampoo 22ml and Voluminous conditioner 22ml are my favourites from the brand (I first received them as samples in various beauty boxes). It was nice to revisit and I may buy full sizes at some point.

Odacite Black Mint Cleanser 30ml - I absolutely adore this charcoal based cleanser (I've got a activated charcoal obsession just now). See my review HERE. I've got another of this size to use up but will buy full size soon.

Beatitude Joy Bath Oil 10ml* - I adore the scent Joy by Beatitude. It's just such a happy and uplifting scent. See my mini review HERE

What have you been using up this month?


Friday, 26 October 2018

Love Lula: Madara Volcano Scrub Soap

I've been trying Madara's Volcano Scrub Soap (£8.95 - 90g) from Love Lula. I recently was "most helpful member" on their Facebook Group and received £50 worth of points to spend on whatever I pleased (how nice is that and how lovely to pick some new treats!)

I'm a huge bar of soap fan and of Madara products so knew I'd have to pick one of their new-ish soaps. Volcano is amazing! It's got finely ground black lava sand in there along with energising volcanic minerals and the soap is scented with cedar-lime. 

It makes my morning shower uplifting and revitalising (did I say how much I loved the natural scrubbiness? It's perfection!)

To use: lather onto wet skin (it creates a great woody-lime scented foamy lather) before rinsing.

Absolutely love & can't wait to try the others.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Blog Blitz: One Dark Night by Tom Bale

Today I'm on the Blog Blitz for One Dark Night by Tom Bale*.

He sees his wife’s eyes watching him in the rear-view mirror, the kids up on their knees to get a better look. That’s when he hears the scream… 

You’re driving home from a family outing one afternoon, when a speeding car cuts you up, nearly causing you to crash. Like anyone would, you pull over to confront the driver. 

But a glance into the backseat of the speeding car reveals a woman fighting to escape. She is terrified and she’s screaming for your help: these men have murdered her husband… 

What would you do? 

An addictive thriller with plenty of twists – fans of Harlan CobenJames Patterson and Robert Dugoni will be completely hooked. 

My thoughts?

Driving home from a day out with his wife, Katy and their children Adam is infuriated when a car cuts him up and causes a small amount of damage to his car. On impulse he decides enough is enough and he confronts the driver. 

Inside on the back seat being restrained by two men is a terrified woman who says "these men murdered my husband". Now Adam is in a quandry he's worried about his family but also feels he can't abandon this woman to her fate whatever that may be...

The gang believe they are a liability and kidnap them... what follows is a twisty tale which will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat! I found some bits a bit slower but it didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book. Would highly recommend.

*e-copy sent to me by the publisher

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box: October: Unwind

It's always an exciting day when my Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box arrives. This month the theme is #unwind and inside are three new to me brands and two brands which have been inside the boxes before.


From new to me brand No Secrets is 30ml of their No.4 Shower Cream, a rich and nourishing wash scented with geranium, ylang ylang, neroli, patchouli and lavender. I'm packing this one in my holiday bag. It's worth £5.

From Ethically Organic (another new to me brand) is their Anti-Ageing Facial Oil 30ml - £14 which is packed full of good things for the skin. It absorbs quickly leaving the skin feeling comfortable and nourished.

The Wild Mix has featured in the box before. This time we have an exclusive sized Blue Camo Cooling Mask which has been made especially for the subscription box (and is worth £7). Looking forward to trying this!

Another new to me brand is Vee Beauty LDN and inside is a full size bottle of their Hair & Scalp Treatment 30ml (£18.95) which can be used as a treatment or to tame flyaways.

The final item is a try-me size of Soothe Bath Salts by Butter Bar Soapery 40g (£5) which contains soothing lavender. 

It's a brilliant box this month, thanks Paula for curating it with love and care as always. As ever there are discount codes from all brands which is a nice added extra.

Are you subscribed to Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box?

Monday, 22 October 2018


Liz at a beautiful world always sources amazing brands like KHUS+KHUS Modern Herbal Fusion. I've been trying the KHUS+KHUS BLEU Body Serum (£82 - 200ml)*. The brand, created by Kristi Blustein, a herbalist, yoga expert and Ayurvedic medicine specialist who formulates products "to increase Ojas and create a healing synergy within the body + mind". 

Products are formulated with 100% botanical ingredients and are packaged in miron violet glass bottles. Non-GMO, 99% organic and 100% plant based and made with love. The body serum is in the "treat" price range but the bottle is a huge 200ml.

The healing blend is formulated with Helichrysum which slows ageing by blocking UV light. It's a great anti-inflammatory and cell regenerator. Borage Seed Oil has the highest concentration of gamma linolenic acid and is a strong anti-inflammatory. Blue Yarrow and Blue Tansy soothe while Baobab is high in Vitamins A, E and F and high in sterols making it great for anti-ageing and stretch marks. Marula helps with anti-ageing and is high in anti-oxidants. It protects against free radicals and smoothes out lines and wrinkles.

The blend soothes and uplifts, balances energy and reduces nervous tension and stress. It's great for dry, inflamed, irritated, combo, normal, sensitive skin type and eczema sufferers. 

To use: apply to the body in long strokes towards the heart to stimulate lymph. It can be used throughout the day to receive therapeutic benefits.

This is a truly luxurious body oil which is beautiful to use and has a luscious earthy-sweet-floral-herbal aroma. Oh and I love that packaging too (it's the little things..). What's your favourite KHUS+KHUS product?

*complimentary - my post contains one affiliate link

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Love Lula: ZOJO Beauty Elixirs: The BIKINI BODY Formula

I've been testing out ZOJO Beauty Elixirs The BIKINI BODY Formula (£17 - 35g - 7 days worth)*. I can honestly say it's fantastic (I love the packaging too!) It has easily become a morning ritual and I'm excited to try others from the range too - GORGEOUS* and SUPERGREENS (expect reviews soon!)

I've never personally found a supplement which suits my lifestyle or I take regularly. The ZOJO Beauty Elixirs are easy to fit into your daily life. Formulated with organically grown adaptogens, potent plants and superfoods and 100% organic. They also taste great and are easy to blend into juice, milk or smoothies.

ZOJO say "introduce this beauty elixir into your daily diet and you'll be able to unveil your body with real confidence".

It'll improve your metabolism, support your digestive system, speed up fat burning, increase collagen production, decrease your appetite and regulate blood sugar levels. 

I think I'd need to take the supplement for a longer period of time to see huge differences but I'm impressed with the improvements in my gut health and overall vitality.

Mix 5g of powder into your chosen liquid and enjoy! 

Have you tried ZOJO Beauty Elixirs yet?

*complimentary - sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. My post contains one affiliate link.

Friday, 19 October 2018

New In: Kiss the Moon Pure Essential Oil Soap

I've had the real pleasure of trying Kiss the Moon's latest launch Pure Essential Oil Soap*. This weekend is their 4th Birthday - Many Happy Returns! There's 25% off this weekend so now's the time to grab your soaps and other necessities! (£6.75 instead of £9 - I may be stocking up!)

I was sent GLOW Pure Essential Oil Soap with Orange & Geranium 100g*. I love how beautifully wrapped the soaps are and they'd make the perfect small gift if you can bear to part with them! I love that they are wrapped in compostable glassine paper too. 

The soaps are made by hand in England using traditional methods and contain no artificial colours, perfumes or preservatives.  I've found the one I tested to be a totally luxurious treat, it smells glorious, lathers well and leaves the skin delicately scented and nourished.

To use: massage onto wet skin, lather and rinse.

Pick yours up HERE.


Thursday, 18 October 2018

Review: Yellow Gorse

I recently came across Yellow Gorse, a beautiful handcrafted range of luscious products handmade in small batches in Dorset formulated with ethical, vegan, natural and nourishing ingredients and of course I couldn't resist a small purchase! 

The packaging is exquisite and all recyclable or reusable and carefully put together. I picked 3 products:

Chai Tea Scrub (£3.50 - 45g) is almost good enough to eat! With a rich and aromatic scent the scrub is a joy to use. This invigorating scrub is perfect to use in the morning for a wake up call. With just the right amount of "scrubbiness" and a delectable scent of rosemary, orange, ginger grass and cinnamon.

To use: dampen scrub with warm water before massaging it onto the skin.

Frankincense/Bergamot Calm Balm (£4.80 - 20g) is presented in a vintage style tin and can be used to de-stress and calm on the go. The uplifting and relaxing balm contains frankincense which helps to slow down breathing, bergamot which eases stress with a drop of calming lavender. Nourishing botanical oils, butters and beeswax soften and feed the skin.

To use: apply as needed on temples and wrists throughout the day.

The third item I selected is Chamomile & Calendula Sleep Balm (£6.80 - 15ml) which is formulated with soothing roman chamomile, calming & healing azulene and calendula and safflower oils to aid sleep and nourish the skin while sleeping. It's got a beautiful gentle and calming scent. 

To use: apply to pulse points, hands, bottoms of the feet and face and neck.

The products are simply exquisite, have been carefully and lovingly formulated and I can't wait to try more from the RANGE.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Review: Casa Mencarelli

I've had the real pleasure of trying Casa Mencarelli which is certified organic by the Soil Association. The range is created and formulated by founder Lucia. She personally developed multiple chemical sensitivity and started to make her own organic range.

Formulated with clean and organic ingredients the range will care for and nourish your skin leaving it looking glowy and healthy. Ingredients are inspired by the founder's childhood in Italy include Olive Oil, Tomato Seed Oil, Lemon, Sea Buckthorn Fruit Oil, Honey and Green Clay Powder to name a few. The products have a "natural" and "earthy" type scent.

SICILIA Lemon & Clay Face Mask & Scrub (12g - £8, 80g - £25)* the smaller of size of which came in my August Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box (it was my first try of this gorgeous brand). 

Formulated with pure Sicilian Green Clay and Lemon Peel Powder the mask/scrub will gently remove dead skin cells, impurities and leave your skin looking glowy and cared for.

To use: to activate the mask mix 1-2 tsp of powder with a teaspoon of mineral water or Honey & Orange Toner to make a paste. Apply to the skin leaving on for up to 10 minutes before rinsing.

SOLE E MARE Sea Buckthorn Serum (15ml - £18, 100ml - £65)* and is one of my favourites from the range.  The serum is very rich in anti-oxidants such as Beta Carotene, Vitamin E and Essential Fatty Acids Omegas 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 which help to repair and regenerate.

Deeply nourishing the serum hydrates, plumps out fine lines and wrinkles and increases collagen production. Soothing and repairing it will help to restore suppleness and radiance.

To use: rub a pump between your palms before pressing it onto your face and neck.

ACQUA DI MIELE Honey & Orange Toner (15ml - £8, 100ml - £30)* which instantly refreshes the skin. Formulated with Organic Orange Blossom hydrosol and fine Italian Organic honey. It has a sweet floral scent.

To use: apply to a cotton pad, sweeping over the face and neck (avoiding the eye area).

CREMA DI POMODORO Nourishing Tomato Night Cream & Cleanser (15ml - £15, 60ml - £45)* as you'll know I love a multi-purpose product and this one can be used as a night cream or cleanser.  It'll hydrate, protect and nourish. Rich in anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins and carotenes, lycopene and phytosterols. 

To use: as a cream cleanser with a warmed wet cloth to remove make up and daily grime or as a rich and nourishing night cream. 

It has a fruity, earthy and herbal aroma. Wake up with beautiful soft skin!

The final item in the range I've been trying out is their BELLISSIMA BALM Sea Buckthorn Balm (15ml - £15, 60ml - £45) which is perfect if your skin needs a little bit more nourishment. Ideal for dry, mature and sensitive skin types (it's also great for knees, elbows and feet). It's packed full of good things for the skin making it ideal if your skin needs some TLC.

To use: apply a small amount to cleansed face and neck. Can also be used for other dry skin areas, as a lip balm or moisturising mask.

I love that the whole range is available is smaller sizes which are great for try me or for holidays. Pick yours up HERE. I've been so impressed with this beautiful new brand.  Have your  tried any products from Casa Mencarelli? If so, what are your favourites?