Thursday, 31 January 2019

January Book Round-Up

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

Vox by Christina Dalcher - Dr Jean McClellan is married with four children, one of them a girl. With the election of a new Government, women and girls are no longer allowed to work, own a passport, read or write and are limited to speaking 100 words per day. If they go over this the band on their wrist emits a strong electric shock.

They are now homemakers with no freedom. Jean is a leading doctor in her field and finds it frustrating to have to obey her husband and even her sons!  She's called in to help the President's brother after a skiing accident (and is allowed her band removed for the period) and finds that others are a equally as frustrated as her and have formed resistance. It's a fast paced read (which although made me mad) I enjoyed.

When I had a Little Sister by Catherine Simpson* - a moving memoir about the life and death of Catherine's younger sister. It's published next week so will share my review in my February book round-up.

The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne*oh wow I just loved this fast paced and thrilling page turner! Nicola and Rebecca have been best friends for years. They may not see each other often but are always there for each other. When Richard, Nicola's husband whom she met and married quickly phones her to tell her she's committed suicide Rebecca can't believe it. Although she knows Nicola has had a tormented past she doesn't believe she'd kill herself...

Rebecca gets to know Richard and his scheming daughter Olivia planning to get to the bottom of what drove Nicola to take her own life. She finds herself falling for Richard and believes he can't have done anything wrong but as she delves deeper she finds things that shock her to her core... A brilliant, brilliant novel which I just loved.

The Familiars by Stacey Halls* - which isn't out until early February. I'll include my review in my February round-up.

Betsy & Lilibet by Sophie Duffy - oh I just loved this sweet tale. Betsy Sunshine is born on the same day as Queen Elizabeth. Betsy, is an Undertaker's daughter and born into a family with no sons (her sister Marge is an airhead only interested in boys and beauty) and so it's Betsy who carries on the trade. 

We follow Betsy (and Lilibet is woven into the story too with Betsy actually meeting her several times) through her life, up and downs, loves and heartaches. She reflects back over her life which is a social history of some of the most poignant moments which have happened over her life and also in ours.  It's an absolutely stunning novel which I absolutely adored (it also makes my top books of '19).

Call me Star Girl by Louise Beech** - an amazing read which isn't published until April. I'll share my thoughts with you then.

The Hidden by Mary Chamberlain* - this is published in early February and is brilliant (I know already it makes my books of 2019). I'll share my review in my February book round-up.

Bitter Edge DI Kelly Porter Book Four by Rachel Lynch* - which is also published early next month and again, I'll share my review in my February round-up. I just love Kelly Porter!

The Good Friend by Jo Baldwin** - I'm taking part in the Blog Tour on 1st March so I'll share my review then.

Dead Memories DI Kim Stone #10 by Angela Marsons* - which is truly gripping! It's not published until 22nd February so I'll share my review in my February round-up.

From last month (was awaiting publication):

Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton* - I just loved this exquisite read. The story is set in the late Eighteenth Century at that time of the Huguenot silk weavers in Spitalfields in London's east end.

Sarah Kemp on arriving in London is tricked into becoming a whore in a brothel. Esther Thorel comes across her being mistreated and pays off her debts for her to become her maid. Sarah although slightly grateful is jealous of her employee and when the situation presents itself has no qualms in telling Esther's husband untruths and half-lies about her.... which leads to devastating consequences.

Esther has dreams and ambitions of her own to design the silk. Her husband quickly puts her down and says no. She goes behind his back with the help of his journeyman, Bisby who weaves her beautiful "blackberry & wild rose" design. Bisby's feelings for Esther grow although he knows it can go nowhere.. A richly drawn historical novel which I devoured.

What have you been reading this month?

*complimentary copy from the publisher via netgalley
**complimentary copy from the publisher

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Living Sea Therapy: Calm Bath Salts

I picked up these Calm Bath Salts by Living Sea Therapy in the Anthropologie sale for a bargainous £8.95 (400g). I'd been wanting to try the brand for some time so this was the perfect opportunity.

The products are created with sister businesses, Cornish Sea Salt Co and Cornish Seaweed Co, a team of marine biologists, environmentalists and therapists. Formulated with sustainable hand harvesting and processes based on natural science they've created Living Sea Complex which combines three vital elements to harness the restorative powers of the sea for you and your skin.

I love when companies give something back. Living Sea Therapy donate a percentage of their profits to the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) to help turn the tide on the destruction of our marine habits. 

Calm Bath Salts are formulated with Living Sea Complex (distilled sea salt minerals and Cornish seaweeds), Cornish Sea Salt flakes and a blend of calming and relaxing essential oils.

To use: pour some salts into a warm bath, jump in and relax. They can also be used as a facial sauna steam.

I've been enjoying these relaxing salts very much and would buy again. Will definitely explore the rest of the products in the range. What's your favourite product?

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Beauty Pie 3 month Subscription

I was swayed by Beauty Pie's offer of first month free (normally £10 a month) at the beginning of January (you are tied to a 3 month subscription). What this means is you pay your tenner and then the cost of what products you choose that month (plus p&p). I was also impressed with the luxurious packaging boxes with lots of tissue (recyclable boxes and biodegradable tissue).

Memberships start at £5 a month with £50 spending limit but the most common one is £10 with a £100 spending limit a month. If you don't spend it all it'll roll over to next month. The products are made in leading labs who create the best formulations for Beauty Pie members with plainer (but still stylish) packaging.

I chose 2 foundations (30ml each which are similar to £30 foundations) - Great Skin Foundation in shade Fair 150 (Shell - yellow undertone) £6.95 and Micro-Mineral Foundation in 300 (Beige - neutral undertone) £6.48.  They offer a handy online foundation matching (and got it pretty much spot on!) and my third pick was One Powder Wonder (8g) £5.32). Postage and Packaging is £3.36 and my total bill (remember I didn't pay my membership fee this month) was £22.11 (even at £33.11 it's great value!)

Top in photo: Great Skin Foundation Fair 150 (Shell), Bottom: Micro Mineral Serum Foundation Light 300 (Beige).

I loved the texture and feel on my skin of the Great Skin Foundation. The colour is just about perfect and lasts pretty much all day. The Micro Mineral Serum Foundation's colour is good but I found the texture too light.  

My third pick was their One Powder Wonder (which I've read so many great reviews on!) it'll mattify and has a sheer coverage which sets foundation in place. I've nothing bad to say about this as it does all it says it will.

Very impressed with month 1. Looking forward to choosing some new products on the 1st! (I've already started a wishlist on my account). What are your favourites from Beauty Pie?

Monday, 28 January 2019

January: Lately I've been Loving

So many January loves! I was very down this month (not sure if it was just a case of the holiday or January blues or both!). But I did have some sparkling moments and times..

I attended an amazing event last Tuesday - Headline New Voices 2019 Tour which kicked off in Edinburgh. I had a serious fan girl moment meeting Emily Gunnis, who wrote The Girl in the Letter which I read as an ARC last year. It was also great to meet up with fellow bloggers, the other authors and the team from Headline. Such a good night! If you are London based their final event takes place on Wednesday (see below). Pick up tickets HERE.

Photos by Kelly at Love Books Group

It was lovely having a photo taken with Emily and Joanne from Portobello Book Blog. The second one is me and Lainy from SMBSLT (yes, the photobombing by mistake still makes me laugh out loud).

And of course I've a wonderful pile of books* to read! And will look forward to Rhik's in August.

I do love a signed book!

Other things which have made me smile in January are..

Receiving a proof copy of Louise Beech's wonderful Call Me Star Girl* which isn't out until April. It's a joy to read and you'll be able to read my review in my April Books Round-Up. Turning to the acknowledgements I was so thrilled to get a mention. It's the little things..

I've totally fallen for new to me brand CACTI Cosmetics which was in my January "Regenerate" Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box (link). The products are beautiful and expect a review soon.

I also have been loving newly launched Revitalise Night Oil (£38 - 30ml)* by Beatitude which my skin is loving. Again, expect a review very soon.

What have you been loving this month?


Sunday, 27 January 2019

Love Lula: Dr Hauschka Spruce Warming Bath Essence

I've been testing out Dr Hauschka Spruce Warming Bath Essence (30ml - £10)* which is only available in the winter months.

It'll soothe and invigorate the skin and is perfect to use during the cold and dark winter months to comfort and restore. The bath essence has a fresh pine-y evergreen scent which I kind of like! 

It's great to use when you are feeling run down or stressed and fatigued. It's blended with Norway spruce for warmth and vitality, Jojoba oil to make the skin soft and supple and sulphated Castor oil to help with dispersal in the bath. 

To use: add 1-3 capfuls to the bath making sure to keep the bathroom door closed to keep the aroma inside. Jump into the bathtub, lie back and relax and let the cares and worries of the day melt away. For a refreshing facial rinse after cleansing add a small amount to a basin of warm water.

I just LOVE this soothing, relaxing and calming bath essence and will be sure to stock up very soon.

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

Saturday, 26 January 2019

January Empties

I didn't do a December Empties post as I was in Miami for two weeks (and threw away things I'd used up there) and what I did have wasn't much so here are my January empties:

NUXE Nuxuriance Ultra Body Cream 30ml - my pal Julie gave me this just after I came back from holidays. I actually wish I'd had this on holiday as it was super rich and deeply nourishing. Would definitely pick up again. 

Molton Brown Russian Leather Bath & Shower Gel 30ml - which I got with purchase. Loved this slightly masculine scent and would buy full size.

The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Face Gel 5ml* and Antioxidant Face Firming Serum 5ml* - I absolutely loved this duo. See my review HERE. I would buy both of these.

Odacite Black Mint Cleanser 30ml - love this. See my review HERE. Have recently bought full size.

Sisley Velvet Nourishing Cream with Saffron Flowers 4ml - which came in November's Beauty Box. Loved. Would buy.

The Organic Pharmacy Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream 10ml* - this is a beauty which I want full size! See my review HERE.

Evering Botanique GIGI Body Balm 15ml - a delicious body balm which my dry winter skin loved. See my review HERE. Will buy when I get my body care products under control!

Dr Hauschka Sage Purifying Bath Essence 10ml* - I quite liked this herbal bath which I found soothing. I'd maybe buy full size.

Weleda Wild Rose Body Lotion 20ml** - I love this rosy lotion. See my review HERE. Will buy at some point.

The Rose Tree Soothing Body Oil with Geranium, Cypress & Lavender 30ml** - lovely to use just before bed. Wake up with soft and smooth skin. Loved.

Palm & Soul The Beauty Serum Cocktail Bar** - which was formulated using ingredients I chose. See my review HERE. I loved this. Would buy when my serum stash reduces.

Humble Rose & Frankincense Bath Honey 275ml - I picked this up in Waitrose. Gorgeous. I'd used it previously. See my review HERE. Will buy this again no doubt.

Elemis Tan Accelerator 125ml - I always use this a couple of week before holidays. It helps to give a more even tan and prevents (well for me) prickly heat. I didn't in the event do much sunbathing on my last holiday! Will buy again.

Inika Micellar Cleansing Rosewater 100ml - I actually found this had gone off! I hate chucking out products. I had been keeping it for good when I should just have used it and enjoyed. Might or might not pick it up again.

Avalon Clarifying Lemon Shampoo 325ml - this is my fav detox shampoo. See my review HERE. Sure to buy again.

Blue Labelle Organic Soaps - Moroccan Chamomile & Rose, Rhassoul Clay & Orange Blossom and Eucalyptus & Charcoal which I absolutely adored. Can't wait to buy again. See my review HERE.

The Organic Pharmacy Rose Diamond Exfoliating Cleanser 2ml* - nice scent and product but sample too small to get a real feel of the product.

What have you been using up this month?

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

Friday, 25 January 2019

Giveaway: PHB Ethical Beauty with Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box - it's over!

I've got a fab UK Giveaway* in collaboration with PHB Ethical Beauty and Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box

Inside the Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box this month there were 3 sachet samples from PHB Ethical Beauty (the winner will get these, as well as 2 full size new skincare products*). You can see my review of January's Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box which was to #Regenerate after the excesses of Christmas HERE

The giveaway prize is very kindly provided by PHB Ethical Beauty in collab with Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box*.

And so onto, the prize:

3 x sachet samples
1 x Full Size Bio-Gel Skin Perfector 50ml (£25)
1 x Full Size Superfood Brightening Serum for Face & Eyes 30ml (£36)

The giveaway is open to UK residents and you can enter via the rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box: January: Regenerate

It's always an exciting day when my Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box lands! This month the theme is "Regenerate" and the box is stuffed full of pampering goodies including 2 new to me brands, 5 brand new products and 1 product I've tried before (there are also sachet samples from PHB Ethical Beauty). I'll write reviews when I've had the chance to test the products out.

So what's inside...


CACTI Cosmetics is a totally new to me brand which are zero waste (love). The little mini Regeneration Face Oil bottle (£8.95) is re-usable (and the Avocado Lip Balm (£6.95) is presented in a cardboard recyclable tube. I'm very excited to try these out.

From Clockface Beauty we have their divinely scented Hand & Cuticle Roll oil (£12.50) which is beautiful. It's scented with Frankincense and Rose and deeply nourishes the hands and cuticles. I love it already!

Next up is new to me brand, Pure Lakes and inside is their Grapefruit & Lemongrass Shower Gel (£5) which makes for an uplifting shower. It's a beauty!

From NorthburN we have a beautiful Lavender & Vetivert Candle (£12.50) which has a 30-35 burn time. This candle will help you relax and unwind. Looking forward to lighting it up!

The final items are Okko Skincare Foot Balm mini (£3) which I've used before (REVIEW) and three PHB Ethical Beauty skincare sachets.

I just love the box this month. Did you pick one up? What are your thoughts on the contents?

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Sisley Beauty Subscription: Beautiful Beginnings

My January Sisley Beauty Subscription is entitled "Beautiful Beginnings" (and is my second last one). "New year, new chapter, cheers to a beautiful beginning with this selection that will ensure your 2019 starts with soft skin an a radiant complexion".

Inside is:

Soir de Lune EdP 1.4ml
Botanical D-Tox 5ml
Neck Cream 10ml
Black Rose Cream Mask 10ml
Phyto-Cernes Eclat No.2 0.5ml

I'll let you know what I think of them when they appear in empties posts. I do love Black Rose Cream Mask already however! 

Monday, 21 January 2019

Sandwick Bay Candles: Subscription Corner: January: Cucumber, Ginger & Mint

My January Sandwick Bay Candle Subscription arrived at the beginning of the month. This month it's a delicious blend of Cucumber, Ginger and Mint which is refreshing and uplifting. The extra this month is a Mint Soap from Little Duckling Soaps which smells gorgeous.

The last few months the candles have been fairly sweet (but deliciously scented) so it was great to get something different for January. In October, we got creamy and sweet Toasted Marshmallow, in November, creamy & almost edible Salted Caramel. December saw us get Roasted Chestnut, another sweet and slightly spicy one with vanilla & chestnut notes (I didn't end up having time to review this one in December due to being on holiday for 2 weeks and then going straight into Christmas). Our extras were a Christmas decoration saying Merry Christmas in Gaelic from Sarah at Lewisian Nice.  There was a second treat in December, a tiny Christmas themed cookie from Rebecca at Honeywell Biscuit Co.

The hint for February is Roses & Chocolates - can't wait! See more information on the subscription HERE.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Review: Organic House Skincare Lift & Glow Facial Serum & Rosehip Treatment Balm

As you'll know I've really enjoyed trying out products by Organic House Skincare see my previous reviews HEREHEREHERE and HERE. The branding is maybe not the most exciting but the products inside are just wonderful - very effective, with gorgeous scents and carefully created formulations. They really are worth checking out.

I've been trying their Lift & Glow Facial Serum* (£43.50 - 30ml) which absorbs quickly onto the skin and is lightly scented with Neroli. It's a beautiful skin loving blend with Organic Rosehip and Pomegranate Seed oils along with Macadamia Nut and Argan oils.

To use: a few drops AM/PM for revitalised and glowy skin.

Treatment Balm (£29 -30ml) with Rosehip and Pomegranate Seed Oils* is suitable for all skin types and has a multitude of uses (you know how much I love a multi-use product!) The balm is rich, nourishing and soothing and formulated with Organic Shea Butter, Rosehip, Pomegranate Seed, Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Beeswax and scented with Lavender, Neroli & Geranium.

To use: use on dry patches of skin over the body, lips, cuticles and flyaways.

I've been really impressed with both of these products. They are seriously lovely and very effective. Have you tried any products from Organic House Skincare? If so, what are your favourites?


Saturday, 19 January 2019

Zing Lover's Subscription Club: January - On the Rise

I've wanted to subscribe to Zing Organics Zing Lover's Subscription Club for ages. When I spotted that inside January's hamper 'On the Rise' was an 80ml bottle of ELEVATE Organic Body Oil I knew I had to sign up! (the body oil retails at £25 which makes the subscription box a bloody bargain!). There are also two other gorgeous products inside the box this month - a small Cheery Not S.A.D Aromatherapy Candle (£8) and Award Winning Aromasoar Solid Organic Perfume Travel Size (£17.50) as well as a fir cone picked from the forest's floor.  The subscription costs £29.50 a month and new subscribers are tied to a three month subscription - see more info HERE.

And that's not all, there are even more treats for subscribers - a personal discount code for 10% off workshops or therapies which can be shared with friends, 25% discount code for items bought which can be shipped with your monthly hamper box and a £10 discount for new subscribers for their first box (if you want my code give me a shout!) Alternatively, if you fancy this as a one-off box you can buy it HERE (limited numbers available).

And so onto what's inside..

This selection so makes my heart sing!

ELEVATE Organic Body Oil will boost your mood (and chase away the January blues) and is handcrafted with immune boosting, cheery and grounding Frankincense & Clementine. It's formulated with oils usually associated with high end skincare and is totally luxurious. My dry winter skin is lapping up this gorgeous potion.

Also inside is Award Winning Aromasoar Solid Perfume in Cheery (not S.A.D) Bergamot, Geranium & Lavender. It's presented in a pocket/bag friendly tin so easy to tote about. It has a gorgeous uplifting scent and is perfect to perk up your mood during long winter days. I reviewed one of the others in the range HERE.

The final item this month is a small Cheery (not S.A.D) Aromatherapy Candle which has a 10 hour burn time. It's scented with relaxing and calming Green Mandarin, Geranium and Lavender. Looking forward to lighting this!

What are your thoughts on this month's Subscription Hamper? Are you a subscriber?