Monday, 31 December 2018

Blog Highlights 2018

Last year I did a month by month highlights. See HERE. With being away for two weeks in December (Miami, here's looking at you!) I haven't really had the time to do do a month by month review. This year I'm picking magical moments to share which occurred throughout the year.

I was absolutely over-the-moon to collaborate with Paula, at Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box in May for their 1st Birthday Box. The theme was Beauty Balm Curates... which was so much fun to do and an absolute honour. See the contents and my review HERE.

Inside was a range of products (including an edible) which I'd found to be hard working and lovely products to use (the links are to my reviews) - A.S Apothecary Wild Beauty Balm Concentrate #30Lucky Cloud Nourishing Cleansing BalmBodhi & Birch Desert Rose Facial Oil, a sample of Botany Blend MERU Face OilIsla Apothecary Neroli Body OilTherapie Himalyan Detox Salts and Just Be Loved Dark Choc with rose oil & rose petals.

I love being one of Love Lula's Accredited Bloggers*. Through the program I've discovered some amazing brands such as Kathleen Naturals (REVIEW), NĀDŪR (REVIEW), ZOJO Beauty Elixirs (REVIEW), Planted (REVIEW) and Natura Siberica (REVIEW) to name a few.

In 2018 I was a Beauty Shortlist Awards Judge which was an absolute honour. I was delighted when Fiona asked me to take part again for the 2019 Awards (I'm currently testing out a wide range of beautiful products for the Awards - the results will be live on Friday 1 March 2019). See my top picks from the 2018 Awards HERE.

I'm currently taking a Formula Botanica course, which I'm behind with due to the day job and other things. I'm planning on finishing it early next year (hopefully) and I'll share with you my creations along the way. See my posts about it HEREHERE and HERE.

Both me and my husband celebrated big Birthdays this year and I spend 4 sunny April days in Jersey (Channel Islands) celebrating mine. And, for hubby's we had 2 amazing weeks in Miami in December! I'll be doing some posts on Miami but you can see my first one HERE.

St Brelades Bay, Jersey, Channel Islands

South Beach, Miami 

Blue Skies and Palm Trees

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog - it really means a lot and here's to a fantastic 2019!

*products are sent to me as a member of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program for genuine and honest reviews.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

My Top Reads: July - December 2018

You can see my top Reads for January-June HERE. In the July-December period I read 51 books and, with difficulty, chose my top 20.


The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware* - I just loved this atmospheric and un-put-downable story.

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys** - every Rachel Rhys book I read I just love. 

Island in the East by Jenny Ashcroft* - I was absolutely captivated by this story and can't wait to read Jenny's other books.

The Ice Maiden by Sara Sheridan* - I simply loved this historical story with it's huge twist which I think divided many.

See my July Reviews HERE.


The Photograph by Debbie Rix* - I totally fell head over heels for this book and can't wait to read more by this author.

The Lion Tamer who Lost by Louise Beech** - If I had to pick my top five books this one would be there. Absolutely loved it. I took part in the blog tour. See my review HERE.

After he Died by Michael J Malone** - again, an amazing read. I also took part in the blog tour. See my review HERE.

See my August Reviews HERE.


The Relentless Tide - DCI Daley #6 by Denzil Meyrick** - I just love this series so much! See my review HERE.

Down to the Woods - DI Helen Grace #8 by M J Arlidge* - just love Helen Grace! This series just keeps getting better and better and this is a fast paced and twisty read.

See my September Reviews HERE.


Forget My Name by J S Monroe* - this was a twisty read and when I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it.

Fatal Promise - DI Kim Stone #9 by Angela Marsons** - this series just keeps getting better and better. Roll on book #10.

What Happened to Us? by Faith Hogan* - I just loved this read and devoured it in two sittings.

Displacement by Anne Stormont - A brilliant start to a fabulous trilogy (I also loved book #2).

See my October Reviews HERE.


Bitter by Francesca Jakobi* - this one would make my top 5 also. Just brilliant (I loved Gilda!)

The Broken Girls by Simone St James* - a twisty read set in two timelines. Amazing.

Five Days of Fog by Anna Freeman* - loved the setting and characters.

The Doll Collector by Joanna Stephen-Ward* - a super creepy read with a character which scared me half to death (here's looking at you Gloria!)

See my November Reviews HERE.


Attend by West Camel** - WOW what a book! I took part in the blog tour. See my review HERE.

Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton* - an exquisite read which I thoroughly enjoyed (it's not published until next year so it'll be featuring again on the blog in January).

The City of Second Chances by Jane Lacey-Crane* - a feel good Christmassy book which I loved.

See my December Reviews HERE.

*copy from the publisher via Netgalley
**copy from the publisher

Saturday, 29 December 2018

December Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in December -

Sins of the Dead - Rhona MacLeod #13 by Lin Anderson - I absolutely love this series and feel like I'm catching up with old friends.

Ellie, DS McNab's girlfriend and some friends are illegally riding their motorbikes in a disused railway tunnel when they come across a body. With the body is some unexplained items. Professor Pirie is called to the scene and believes they need to look closer at some aspect regarding sin-eaters depicted in an old drawing. A second body is found in similar circumstances near to the lab and when Rhona is taken off the case she decides to keep looking for answers and finds herself in grave danger... A brilliant read with lots of twists and turns which kept me on the edge of my seat.

Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton* - this exquisite tale isn't published until January so I'll share my review in my January Book Round-Up. 

On Starlit Seas by Sara Sheridan - I love that Sara bases some of her books around real life events/people. On Starlit Seas her female lead is based on a real person. Widowed Maria Graham is an independent and strong willed lady who isn't afraid to travel alone often through difficult conditions. She finds that she needs to get back to England, firstly to present her books to her publisher and secondly, to pick up reading materials for her new post as a Governess.

Unable to get a passage on a naval ship or passenger ship she finds herself being transported back to England by cocoa bean smuggler and rogue, Captain James Henderson on the Bittersweet. She, despite her reservations finds him interesting and knowledgeable and even.. a little bit attractive.

She argues with him that he should become an honest trader and declare his cargo, a cargo that is not his but which belongs to a group of English gentleman smugglers. An enjoyable read which swept me away to far off lands with interesting storylines and characters (even though I wish the ending could have been a little bit different). I thoroughly enjoyed the book however and would recommend.

The Songbird Girls by Richard Parker* - I didn't actually realise this was the 2nd book in a series (although it could be read as a standalone). 

Detective Tom Fabian is summoned by the serial killer he put away. Christopher Wisher asks to see him and Tom goes to the prison. He gifts Tom a diary and the very next day commits suicide. Tom thinks he's now got closure but things are just heating up. Someone out there is working on Wisher's behalf as they are leaving his trademark at each murder site. Tom and the Team look more closely at the diary and kind of wish they hadn't.... Then something happens which is meant to hurt (and infuriate) Tom as well as leave him feeling helpless. It's a fast paced read which I enjoyed and that "twist" at the end. Just WOW.

The City of Second Chances by Jane Lacey-Crane*This is the perfect Christmas read - set in New York City in December. I just loved the storylines and character of Evie (there are some laugh out loud moments throughout the book as well as sad times).

Evie is 45, has two kids at University and is a widow. She makes out she's happy in life but she hates her job and sometimes feels lonely. She feels if she even looks at another man she's betraying her dead husband Tom.

Her long-time pal, Rachel suggests a trip to NYC to see if they can get closure as to what happened to their friend Olivia when she disappeared all those years ago when they first visited the city (as well as to have a bit of fun!) They stay with Evie's sister in her beautiful apartment. Evie bumps into one time boyfriend, Daniel Roberts a Hollywood heart throb. Will she let her feelings for Tom stop her finding love again? A gorgeous story which I loved. Would recommend.

From last month:

I took part in the blog tour for Attend** by West Camel. See my review HERE. I can honestly say it's one of my books of 2018.

What have you been reading this month?

*complimentary - e-copy sent to me by the publisher via netgalley
**complimentary - e-copy sent to me by the publisher

Friday, 28 December 2018

Naturisimo: Sleep Clinic Discovery Box

I can never resist a Naturisimo Discovery Box and Sleep Clinic Discovery Box is worth £107 and costs only £17.95 including p&p. Inside are products to help unwind, relax and sleep.

Inside is:

Absolution La Solution+Eclat Radiance Boosting Serum 15ml
Jurlique Rejuvenating Overnight Cream 15ml
Lavera ReEnergising Sleeping Cream 1ml
Pukka Night Time Tea Bag x 1
Tisserand Sleep Better Rollerball 10ml 
Scentered De-Stress Therapy Balm 1.5g
Lola's Apothecary Bath & Shower Oil Tranquil Isle 10ml
REN & Now to Sleep Pillow Spray 10ml
Skin & Tonic's Calm Balm 20g
Weleda Lavender Relaxing Body Oil 10ml

I'll share my thoughts in either posts or empties as I start to use the products. Did you buy this discovery box?

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box: December: Merry Christmas

It's always an exciting day when my Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box arrives! Inside are 6 treats including a delicious looking bar of chocolate!

I'm currently testing Guiltless Skin's Illume Moisture Serum (30ml - £26) so know already this is a fab item and great addition to the box. It's also a full size item.

KONJAC Sponge Blitzen's Nose (£6.99) is a fun but useful item. It contains oil-absorbing bamboo charcoal which will be great to use on my oily T-zone especially around my nose.

I've had a Help Me Organics Candle before which was lovely. This one - Help Me Get into the Festive Spirit (£7.50 for 75g) has a gorgeous festive scent with Fir, Clove, Ginger, Sweet Orange and Lemon in a soy wax base. I'm looking forward to burning it!

ClockFace Beauty is a new to me brand and inside is their Enhanced Recovery Body Oil Spray with Clary Sage & Geranium 30ml (£25) I've already tried this out and I adore the scent. A review will follow!

I'm a huge bar of soap fan and inside is Christmas Cwtch (£4.50) from Celtic Herbal which has a delicious cinnamon/orange scent.

The final item is an edible - delicious looking vegan Chilli Dark Chocolate from Choc Affair which is worth £2.75.

As ever, it's a well thought out and good value box. What do you think of the contents? Do you subscribe?

Sunday, 23 December 2018

My Top Products of 2018

Like last year I'm going to take you on a month-by-month journey of what products I fell had the WOW factor this year. These are products I'd buy again or already have (I'm trying to chose one product a month but some months this is just impossible!)

In January, I tried a load of beautiful products but the stand out for me was Award Winning Botany Blend and in particular their gorgeous MERU Omega Rich Luxe Face Oil* see my review HERE.

Coming into February I tried Ezàpè Naturals Rosemary Body Butter (which I'd received in my January Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box entitled Restore, Soothe & Repair). See my review HERE. This butter is perfect for dry winter skin as it melts onto warm skin. I love the Rosemary scent too.

In March, I totally fell for innovative Beauty Kubes, the zero waste and plastic free way to wash your hair. See my review HERE.

In April I discovered Georganics, natural and zero waste tooth care. I particularly love the mouthwash tablets but everything I've tried so far has been great. See my review HERE.

Coming into May there are four brands I loved and I can't decide so just going to share them all! First up is Polish brand, D’ALCHÉMY which I first tried via Love Lula as one of their accredited bloggers. Everything I've tried from the brand I've loved and I want to explore it more in 2019. See reviews of their Age Cancellation Booster Travel Pack* HERE and their Body Balm HERE.

Next up, is the fabulous MÅNGATA Baume de la Rose** which is one of the most luxurious products I've tried this year. See my review HERE.

Vanderohe No.1 Nourishing Serum** is one of the most exquisite facial serums I've ever tried. It's not cheap but has the wow factor (and I want it back in my stash in 2019!) See my review HERE.

Last but no means least is the fabulous mixable Superfoods Series** from Bodhi & Birch. The range of products are essential oil free and fantastic. I was honoured to be part of the tester panel earlier this year before the launch (and bought the Mini Discovery Kit to take on holiday). See my review HERE.

In June, I discovered Rook Perfumes, an exciting niche perfume brand with interesting scents on offer. I picked up a discovery set (REVIEW) and fell head over heels for FOREST and SUEDE.

Coming into July (there may be more than one top pick this month too!) I discovered East Lothian based, Miel Botanicals and tried their fabulous Proscecco Shave Soap** which has totally changed the way I shave and I've found my legs stay hair free longer. See my review HERE.

I also tried A.Florence Skincare** a beautiful range of skincare and one of my favourite finds this year. See my review HERE.

Third up this month is award winning Sofia Latif Face Oil** which is an exquisite skin loving blend scented with Jasmine. I love that Sofia used to be a blogger and is now formulator and entrepreneur. See my review HERE.

And I can't do a favourites without mentioning Palm & Soul. Founder, Kathy created me a beautiful Beauty Serum Cocktail** with ingredients I'd selected. See that post HERE.

In August, I discovered the best Cuticle Oil I've ever used - KURE Bazaar's Organic Cuticle Oil* is just fantastic as well as being cutely packaged. See my review HERE.

From budget friendly AA Skincare I had very good results from their Award Winning Jasmin, Mimosa & Rosehip Moisturising Face Cream (£7.98)**. My skin was left nourished and plumped (and the cream smells amazing). See my review HERE.

Coming into September I loved Be In Blossom Ocean Flower Multi-Complex Serum+Creme* see my review HERE.

Odacite's Black Mint Cleanser is one of the best cleansers I've used. See my review HERE. Full size will be being bought very soon!

In October I fell for Guiltless Skin's Nourish Organic Body Oil with Citrus Fruits** see my review HERE. (I've got reviews and a giveaway coming up with this brand in early January - keep your eyes peeled!)

Another love was Madara's Volcano Scrub Soap which has the perfect amount of scrubbiness and a delicious lime/cedar scent. See my review HERE.

Everything Amanda at A.S Apothecary makes is exquisite. Her Body Elixir #33 is divine. See my review HERE.

Coming into November my top product was Awake Organics new launch Sea Quartz Crystal+Algae Cleanser**. See my review HERE.

And finally December (although it's not quite finished yet I'm not expecting to do any more beauty reviews for the remainder of the month). My top product is Kathleen Naturals Tranquil Fields Body & Massage Oil* see my review HERE.

Do we share any favourites? Which products have you loved this year?

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