Tuesday, 30 April 2019

*The Urban Smallholders: Lavender Gift Bag

*Gifted I've been testing out some beautiful handcrafted products from Scottish based, The Urban Smallholders. The artisan products are formulated and created by Sue, a beekeeper who handcrafts natural, cruelty free and ethical beeswax beauty products. The packaging is recyclable, re-useable or compostable.

This Lavender Flower Beeswax Soap is what dreams are made of! It smells simply glorious and the care and attention to details is so obvious. A beautiful handcrafted soap made with love. You can pick it up individually or in the Lavender Gift Bag (which comes with the Whipped Lavender Hand Balm and Honeybee Lip Balm).

Lavender balances and cleanses (making it great for soap bars). The scent is subtle but distinctive and the bar is made using Organic ingredients - Shea Butter, Coconut oil, Sweet Almond oil and natural Beeswax (with some lavender buds sprinkled on top). The soap range is handcrafted in small batches with love. 

To use: can be used as a face or body soap. Rub over wet skin to form a creamy lather before rinsing.

This is a really beautiful soap which really brightens up my day!

Whipped Lavender Hand Balm is a delicious blend of Lavender, Beeswax, Cocoa Butter, Almond oil and Coconut oil. The luxurious balm melts instantly on contact with warm skin. It deeply nourishes the hands and nails (and feet, elbows and knees). I must also admit I've also used a small amount for flyaways.

To use: apply sparingly to nourish and hydrate.

A gorgeous nourishing and caring product which I adore.

Honeybee Lip Balm (oh I love the compostable cardboard tube!) The lip balm is formulated with Beeswax, Organic Sweet Almond oil, Organic Coconut oil and Honey and is a delicious and natural treat for the lips. 

To use: apply as often as needed to dry lips.

A must-have product which deeply nourishes the lips.

What are your favourites from the RANGE?

Monday, 29 April 2019

*Guiltless Skin: Illume Brightening Serum & Timeless Daily Moisturiser

*gifted/AD As you'll know I'm a huge fan of Guiltless Skin's beautiful range. See previous reviews HERE and HERE.

I've been testing out their Illume Brightening Serum (£26 - 30ml) and Timeless Daily Moisturiser (£20 - 50ml) and can honestly say both are fantastic! (I've used the photos from the website as my bottles are from the old branding - see bottom photo).

Illume Brightening Serum adds a glowing luminosity to the skin, is lightweight and absorbs instantly. Formulated with Vitamin B3 which is a powerful anti-inflammatory which helps to strengthen the skin's barrier, reduce redness and pores. It helps to protect the skin from urban pollution. Hyaluronic Acid revives and improves elasticity. Organic Lingonberry extract is rich in antioxidants and will help with uneven pigmentation while Organic Pomegranate extract stimulates elasticity and encourages cell turnover.

To use: apply a few drops of this fragrance free serum to cleansed face and neck. Gently pat around the eye area. Follow with moisturiser or oil.

My skin's been loving this skin loving serum. It's looking brighter with fine lines and wrinkles plumped and it has a glowy healthy look.

Timeless Daily Moisturiser is lightweight and instantly mattifies the skin making it perfect to use before applying make up.  Formulated with skin loving Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil which helps to retain moisture, provide skin protection and stimulate cell production. Kalahari Watermelon Seed Oil balances, softens and smoothes. Vitamin B3 strengthens and helps protect the skin from UV, blue light damage and Urban pollution while Hyaluronic Acid locks in hydration and revives.

To use: smooth one pump onto the face and neck after using Illume or Hydrate Serums. 

I've been impressed with this lightweight and effective moisturiser which is perfect for combination skin types.

What are your favourite products from the Collection?

Sunday, 28 April 2019

April Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in April (books marked with * I've been gifted direct from the publisher or via Netgalley).

*Death at the Plague Museum by Lesley Kelly - I took part in the blog tour for this brilliant read. See my review HERE.

On the Frontline with the Women who Fight Back by Stacey Dooley - we follow Stacey's journey from working in fashion retail to appearing on Blood, Sweat & T-shirts where she lived and worked with Indian factory workers making clothes for the UK High Street.

What follows is an insight into the documentaries she went onto make including sex trafficking in Cambodia, Yazidi women fighting back and domestic violence in Honduras. We meet courageous women who all have their stories to tell. An absolutely fascinating and sometimes horrifying read which I do recommend. 

*Down to the Sea by Sue Lawrence - I'm taking part in the blog tour early next month for this smashing read so catch my review then.

*Bold Lies DI Kelly Porter #5 by Rachel Lynch - this series keeps getting better and better. It's not published until May so I'll share my review next month.

*The Sun does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin - This is an absolute triumph of a book. It'll make you cry but also laugh and has hope laced throughout the pages. 

Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and falsely imprisoned for murder. He was sentenced to death and spent 27 years on death row. We learn how he coped (could anyone really imagine what it would be like?) through the dark days and nights when hope had gone and in his despair Ray turned to god. He also had the support of his mum, who always believed he was innocent along with his best friend, Lester who travelled miles each week to visit him without fail.

Throughout the book there are smiles, sad times, lightness, despair and hope. Eventually Ray hires a lawyer who believes him. Bryan Stevenson helps him become a free man. An amazing read which I highly recommend (you'll need a box of tissues handy).

*Breakers by Doug Johnstone - I'm taking part in the Blog Tour next month so catch my review then.

*The Lives Before Us by Juliet Conlin - It's 1939 and two Jewish women from very different backgrounds meet on board a boat bound for Shanghai.

Esther is travelling with her daughter having left her ageing parents behind in Germany while Kitty, an Austrian is heading to be with the man she loves. When they leave the boat they go their separate ways and things don't turn out quite as expected for them but they are both strong women and forge their way ahead.

I found the story so very richly drawn that I felt I was there with Esther & Kitty suffering with them through the Japanese occupation and their finding each other again. We meet Wing, a servant boy through Kitty and understand what it's like for locals in China as the Japanese move in. A story of friendship, hardship, resilience, loyalty, courage, survival and love. I absolutely adored this un-put-downable read.

*You will be Safe Here by Damian BarrWOW! What an incredible book which is based on a true story.

The stories are set in South Africa over one hundred years from the Boer Wars. We meet Mrs Sarah van der Watt and her young son. The British have been burning Afrikaner farms and Sarah and her son find themselves in a concentration camp where they suffer appallingly. She keeps a diary and hopes her husband will find her there.

Willem is a different sort of lad and is sent to a harsh military camp by his mother and her overbearing husband. He's very close to his grandmother, Rayna and she's horrified when she learns what they've done.

The stories are intertwined so cleverly. A museum visit and history lesson for Willem and his classmates tell of the horrors of life in the concentration camp during the Boer Wars and Willem's time at the New Dawn Camp is mirrored with life then.  In both stories they are told "you will be safe here". I absolutely loved this story and am still thinking about it now.

And from last month...

*The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary - Leon Twomey needs to find a flatmate as he's saving as much cash as possible to help his brother get out of jail after he was wrongly convicted. As he works the nightshift as a pallative care nurse he doesn't need to be in his one bedroom flat during night time hours.

He advertises for a Flatshare with a difference - they'll be sharing his bed (just not at the same time). His girlfriend meets with Tiffy and believes she'll be the perfect match... Tiffy has just been dumped by her lousy ex Justin again and needs somewhere to live. She works in publishing and is low paid. Staying with Leon seems like the ideal solution...

The converse via post-it notes and soon the flat is covered in them. One morning Tiffy oversleeps and meets Leon for the very first time in the bathroom...

An absolutely brilliant story, full of laugh out loud moments, love, sadness and friendship. I just loved it.

*Final Betrayal DI Lottie Parker #6 by Patricia Gibney - I have to say straight away I am a huge fan of Lottie Parker and this series.

Two friends leave a nightclub separately and don't make it home. Eyes turn towards a guy recently released from prison who hates one of the girls who gave evidence against him. He believes she put him behind bars 10 years ago but he's got a strong alibi.

Detective Lottie Parker and the Team are put on the case after two bodies are found. The girls each have something in their hands. Lottie's annoying superior wants the case solved yesterday as one of the girl's is daughter of a local Councillor and this bundles the stress onto her.

Lottie's two daughters appear to be in danger and she's terrified. Loyal and faithful friend and colleague Boyd is hoping things will move forward romantically. Come on Lottie, you know you want to (we all want you to!) A fast paced, twisty and exciting story which I couldn't put down. Highly recommend.

What have you been reading this month?

Saturday, 27 April 2019

April: Lately I've been Loving

Items marked with * I've been gifted for review. I've been loving the sunny days which April has brought as well as:

N.dulge birthday treats as a SpaceNK cardholder. It's the little things which make you smile. I've been enjoying testing my April Birthday treats out.

A one-off or subscription from Cosy Wee Reads. See what book was in that package HERE.

A little keyring which made me smile from Sam, a colleague and friend at work for my birthday (you'd never guess we are both gin lovers!)

Beautiful soaps from The Soap Mine which are very long lasting. These ones smell beautiful. Reviews up very soon!

I've totally fallen head-over-heels for Inner Senses Greenhouse Tomato & Carrot Seed Oil Cleanser (love that you can now pick up minis which are perfect for try-me or travel). The scent is sun ripened tomatoes and so uplifting! Beautiful! Expect a review soon.

The stunning Tom Daxton 13 Vial Complete Collection set which hubby bought me for my birthday (I did drop some hints!). So far, I've fallen head over heels for Resin Sacra and Sicilian Wood.

I received this cute little Anna Wright coin purse and Burt's Bees cuticle butter from a friend, Gillian for my birthday. It's ever so sweet and makes me smile.

I embarked on a Spring Cleanse* with Weleda this month. You can see my initial post HERE.

I was ever so chuffed to be Love Lula's most helpful blogger member on their Facebook group and below are the items I chose. Reviews to come!

I was sooo pleased to feature in Top Sante's My Super Six series (May issue - out now!)

I'd bought some of Claire's products before and couldn't resist a wee lucky bag (limited edition run of 15 bags for £15). I was thrilled that I managed to nab one.

What have you been loving this month?

Friday, 26 April 2019

April Empties

Here's my April empties (*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program):

Molton Brown Suede Orris Bath & Shower Gel 30ml - I loved this new scent from Molton Brown which had a luscious floral scent. I'd buy this full size.

Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil 9ml - this is one of my favourite scents from AA. Sure to pick up again.

Volition Turmeric Brightening Polish for Face & Body 45ml - nice to use with just the right amount of gritty-ness. I picked it up in America unsure if you can buy it here.

Better You Magnesium Flakes Foot Soak 150g - huge fan. Sure to buy again.

Sisley Eye & Lip Contour Balm 5ml - nice to use. Probably won't buy as the range is out of my price range.

Rohr Remedy Honey Myrtle Body Wash 500ml - this seemed to go on forever! See my review HERE. It was lovely to use so I'd maybe buy it again.

Saskia's Flower Essences Rose Beauty Mist 100ml - I simply loved this gently scented rose mist which was a Limited Edition run. The bottle was really luxurious and to me was like a perfume bottle (it's currently still available if you fancy picking one up!)

Miller Harris Tea Tonique EdP 14ml - this is the second bottle I used up in my Project 10 Pan. As I'm now seeing this is going to be a long process! I loved this and would pick up again.

*Dr Hauschka Spruce Warming Bath Essence 30ml - gorgeous. Just available in the winter months - I'll definitely pick up later in the year. See my review HERE.

Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist 30ml - a deliciously rosy spray which balances and tones. I think I've actually got another of these in my stash.  What have you been using up this month?

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box:April: Inner Peace

As you'll know it's always an exciting day when my Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box lands! This month the theme is Inner Peace and it's also #StressAwarenessMonth. Squeals....inside is 3 new to me brands! Remember you can get 10% off your first box with BEAUTYBALM10.


The brands which are new to me are 'Ku.tisMaison Meunier and INKA Botanicals

Inside the box this month:

Inner Senses Awakening Meditative Body Oil 10ml (£3.50) which won Best Body Oil in the recent Beauty Shortlist Awards. It also featured in my top picks from the winners/finalists (I was very honoured to be a judge again this year (link). It's the perfect try me or to pack for a weekend away (trust me, it's a beauty).

From new to me brand, Maison Meunier is their Silk Face Lotion Aloe Vera & Chamomile 30ml (£12) which I'm looking forward to trying. It absorbs almost instantly (and I think would be perfect for summer).

INKA Botanicals Marmalade Mist (£6) is simply stunning! Think Orange Blossom with a touch of honey. Instantly refreshing and calming. Love!

'Ku.tis Grounded Body Butter Orange & Patchouli 60ml (£8) is fabulous. A rich deeply scented and fluffy butter which melts instantly on warm skin. Love!

I was soooo happy to see Sofia Latif Eye Oil 10ml (£20) inside the box this month. Having loved the face oil (link) the new eye oil was on the wishlist. A review to come!

The final item this month is from Edinburgh based, Wildheart Organics and is their Therapy on the Go Tranquil Roll on 10ml (£8.95). I'm a huge fan of neroli and already love this calming treat! I'm a huge fan of this brand's candles too (their NYC CALM Candle featured in my September LOVES).

As ever, reviews to come! It's an amazing box this month - every single item makes my heart sing.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

*Ancienne Ambiance: 10th Anniversary: Goddess Argan Beauty Oil

*gifted/AD Ancienne Ambiance's Award Winning Goddess Argan Beauty Oil (100ml - £40) has turned pink to celebrate it's 10th Anniversary. The company were ahead of their game bringing this luxurious oil to their customers long before Argan oil became popular.

It's a beautiful multi-use blend of rare organic Argan, Grapeseed and Squalane oils with a delicious, slightly exotic amber scent.

As you'll know I adore a multi-use product and this one really does it all! 

To use: as a face oil - apply 5-6 drops to the fingertips and massage over the face and neck AM and PM. As a cleansing oil - gently massage a small amount onto the face before removing with a warmed damp cloth. Apply liberally to the hands, body and cuticles and as a scalp and hair treatment - massage onto the scalp to moisturise and soothe, use as a pre-shampoo hair treatment and to tame flyaways

A fantastic product which I highly recommend. Here's to the next 10!

Monday, 22 April 2019

Weleda Spring Cleanse

*gifted Weleda recently sent me an array of items so that I could have a Spring Cleanse which is perfect to detox both the body and skin after winter.

Inside the box of goodies is:

*Organic Birch Juice 200ml - £10.95
*Birch Cellulite Oil 100ml - £25.95
*Citrus Bath Scrunchy
*Weleda Branded Water Bottle

I also bought their Birch Body Scrub to enable me to enjoy the full Birch experience...

I'm going to be keeping a diary as to how I'm feeling and how I'm enjoying the products. My initial thoughts are below. I'll let you know how I'm liking the products (mini reviews) as well as how they are making me feel (for instance, more energy, less sluggish, body smoothing etc.)

Have you tried any products from the Birch range?

Sunday, 21 April 2019

*Live in the Light: Mellow Hydrator Mango & Tea and Wild Raspberry Delectable Cleanser

*gifted Live in the Light, a fab online store (for Easter you can get 25% off everything which ends on Monday 22nd at midnight) which has brands like Carina Organics, Pure Anada, Fat & the Moon and AnnMarie Gianni to name a few on its online shelves.

I've been testing two products from Canadian brand, Pure Anada which are fantastic!

Their Wild Raspberry Delectable Cleanser (240ml - £15) is presented in a pump action bottle and I've been using it every morning for a fruity and uplifting morning wake-up call! The raspberry scent really is delicious.

To use: pump out a small amount and massage onto damp skin before removing with warm water.

My skin has been loving this gentle wash which smells amazing. My skin's been left feeling clean, comfortable and nourished.

The second product from the brand I've been loving is newly launched, Mellow Hydrator - Mango & Tea (60ml - £15) which is presented in a pump tube. The moisturiser is COSMOS certified organic and oil free which makes it great for combination/problem skin types.

To use: apply to the face and neck after toning.

My skin is loving this uplifting and happy scented moisturiser. It really is a joy to use, is light and absorbs quickly, leaving the skin feeling nourished and looking matte (it's the one I'll be packing for my summer holidays).

I'd highly recommend both of these products - I'm off to check out what other skincare items I can pick up in the Easter sale! What's your favourites from the brand?

Friday, 19 April 2019

*EXFOLIN Cleansing Pink Clay Face Mask

*Gifted I've been testing out EXFOLIN's Cleansing Pink Clay Face Mask (£10.99 - 100g)* which is formulated with Pink Clay, Rice, Rosehip, Hibiscus and Cucumber Powders. I was also gifted a masking brush (the mixing bowl is mine).

Also available is their Herbal Face Elixir Oil which can be used AM or PM or a few drops can be added to the mask for extra nourishment. See the shop HERE.

Products are handcrafted in small batches in Scotland and their Cleansing Pink Clay Face Mask balances acne prone, combo, sensitive and oily skins. It'll gently exfoliate, cleanse pores and remove blackheads as well as, soothing spots and blemishes.

The mask is rich in vitamins and helps accelerates skin regeneration. It'll also help to minimise pores and balance the skin.

To use: blend a couple of teaspoons of powder with water or hydrosol to a firmish paste. You can add a drop or two of facial oil to hydrate. Apply to the skin using the brush provided 2-3 times week before removing with a warm damp face cloth. My skin is left glowy, radiant and looking really healthy.

Pick yours up HERE.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Maya Njie Perfumes Discovery Set

I first discovered Maya Njie Perfumes on British Beauty Blogger and had to rush out and buy the Discovery Set (5 x 2ml - £17). Swedish founder and formulator, Maya moved to London in her late teens and studied surface design and photography at the University of Arts in London. She found that she loved experimenting with different raw materials and taught herself perfumery. After getting lots of positive comments about the perfumes she wore she decided to set up her own niche perfume brand - Maya Njie. You can buy online or directly from Liberty.

The unisex perfumes (EdP) are created using essential oils, aroma compounds and resins making use of both natural and synthetics.  The blends mixed in small fresh batches with care and precision and the bespoke packaging incorporates colourways extracted from family photographs. 

I like the concept of returning a full size empty bottle for re-filling (15% discount). You can see more information about this HERE.

I totally fell head-over-heels dizzy for the glorious Les Fleurs (50ml - £85) which is a sensational floral inspired by Minnie Ripperton's song "Les Fleurs" which graced our radio airwaves in the 1970s. 

It has fresh green floral notes and is perfect for Spring and Summer and is really, really special.

"Bergamot, the fresh citrus top note, provides a green and vigorous opening. Beneath lies fruitful, bright heart notes of sweet fig, neroli and Magnolia. It is rounded off with subtle base notes of Floral Musks and Woods".

I also enjoyed Tobak, a smokey and spicy scent which has notes of Tobacco Leaf, Vetiver, Cinnamon, Tonka, Musk and Leather. It's slightly more masculine but still very wearable.  Vanilj, is a light as air vanilla scent, so sweet with a hint of cardamon, patchouli, cedar and amber - delicious! 

Nordic Cedar contains fresh notes of cardamon along with patchouli, musk, cedarwood and amber while Tropica (think summer holidays) is a lush blend of pineapple, coconut, fig, citrus, ambergris and sandalwood. 

There's an offer running until 23 April to get 15% off your order CELEBRATE15 to celebrate 1,000 online orders to date.

And so.... I had to pick up my absolute favourite from the collection in single pocket perfume size (7.5ml - £22). You know, I will buy this full size next time!

Have you tried Maya Njie Perfumes yet?