Friday, 31 May 2019

May Book Round-Up

*e-copy from netgalley for review. I seem to have slowed down a bit again this month. Here's what I've been reading in May:

*Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson - I found this an atmospheric trip back in time. The author has so cleverly captured the sounds, smells, horrors, poverty, crime and darkness of the era. The story opens in 1781 with a death. A body has been left hanging from a hook at the dock, tortured and branded with a slaver's mark.

Captain Harry Corsham, a war hero hoping to embark on a Parliamentary path is visited by the sister of his dear friend, lawyer and abolitionist Tad Archer. She's worried he's come to some harm as he's not come back from a recent visit to Depford dock. He was on the cusp of exposing a secret which could have brought down a lot of important people and ended British slavery for good. 

Harry takes it upon himself to go and search for Tad and delves into what Tad was relentlessly pursuing. He's warned off time and time again and finds himself in some downright scary and threatening situations. His future career hangs in the balance and his family could be threatened but he finds he can't let go until he finds out what happened to Tad...

I was totally immersed in the story which was deeply descriptive, so much so, you could smell the stench and deprivation and feel the total fear of the slaves and the horrors of the slave ships. A great first novel which I recommend.

*Those who are Loved by Victoria Hislop - I'm taking part in the blog tour for this brilliant read (tomorrow!) so I'll share my review in my June Book Round-Up.

*Dreaming of Rome by T A Williams - a feel good and deliciously romantic tale. I took part in the Blog Tour for this book. See my review HERE.

*The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell - as ever, a brilliant "Lisa Jewell". It's not published until early August so I'll share my review in my August round-up.

*The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey - I simply loved this deeply enthralling story which was published yesterday (I so recommend it!)

Selina Lennox is a bright young thing who has a glittering future ahead of her. Right now though she's enjoying parties, drinking champagne and hanging out with her two dearest friends making sure to have as many laughs as they possibly can. One night having got separated by her friends after caring about what happens to a cat which was run over she randomly meets Lawrence Weston, a man who will change her life forever. He's a penniless but gorgeous artist and she finds they have an instant connection and she has an intense need and desire to see him again.

The story is set in two timelines - the 1920s and 30s and in the 30s we meet Alice, Selina's 9 year old daughter, who is staying with her frosty grandparents at the family pile while her parents are in the Far East. 

Selina sets out to make things more fun for Alice and concocts a treasure hunt, with the help of her old maid, Polly. Searching for the clues take Alice all over the house and garden where she meets the old gardener, Patterson. The story Selina hopes to tell Alice is about her life and how she came to be...

The chance meeting with Lawrence changes her life forever however Selina is expected to marry well whether she loves the man or not..

It's an absolutely amazing read which constantly pulled on my heartstrings (yes, you'll need tissues) I totally and utterly adored it.

Indian Summer by Sara Sheridan (Mirabelle Bevan #7) - such a fan of plucky Mirabelle Bevan! I raced through the latest edition which is a great read.

Mirabelle Bevan comes across a little girl sitting on a beach near the sea. She finds out she's from a convalescent home and takes her back. There she meets a nurse called Uma who she feels is acting strangely. The local priest is murdered closely followed by the disappearance of a nurse. Of course Mirabelle can't help herself and investigates further...

She's just getting back on her feet after her relationship with McGregor ended and meets a handsome doctor whom she's very attracted to. It seems though everyone on the force knows about it however! Vesta doesn't seem to have the time for Mirabelle these days since she had the baby and Bill seems distracted.

What follows is a fast paced and twisty read which I highly recommend!

From last month (had been awaiting publication):

*Bold Lies by Rachel Lynch (DI Kelly Porter #5) - I just love this series and the wonderful DI Kelly Porter. A murder in the Lake District appears to be connected with a double murder and a missing person in London. Kelly has to return to the Met and work alongside her ex, DCI Matt Carter. She's got mixed feelings about this but puts them aside to work with him and his Team on the case. 

People who assumed they were untouchable due to their place in society are found to be suspects and the race is on to find them and make arrests..

As ever, a fast paced and exciting story. It was also great to catch up with Ted and to see how Kelly is getting on with him. Their relationship is developing with mutual affection and love and Johnny, Kelly's lovely boyfriend. Thankfully in this book, Kelly's nippy sister doesn't feature too much! Roll on book #6.

What have you been reading this month?

Thursday, 30 May 2019

*Weleda Spring Cleanse Update

*productsamples I started my Spring Cleanse with Weleda back in April and I'm back to update you as to how I've got on.

*Birch Juice is perfect to use for a spring or autumn cleanse. It's tasty (either love or hate I'd reckon - earthy and herbal) and can be diluted in water, added to smoothies or stirred into yoghurt and should be taken 2-3 times a day. It'll detoxify, cleanse and purify the body leaving it feeling alive, bright and glowy. The branded Water Bottle is made from BPA free plastic and ideal for sipping on the go!

Birch Body Scrub very gently exfoliates and smoothes the skin. Natural plant wax pearls and pure plant oils remove dead skin cells while supporting cell renewal. Massage onto wet skin in circular motions paying special attention to thighs, hips and bottom before rinsing.

*Birch Cellulite Oil has a delicious lemony scent and is a rich oil which absorbs quickly onto the skin. Organic birch leaves which are rich in flavonoids purify and encourage metabolic activities while Rosemary leaves stimulate circulation and metabolism. 

*Bath Scrunchie Citrus helps to create a sudsy lather with your chosen body wash or use it with the Birch Body Scrub to whisk away dead skin and leave the skin glowy and healthy looking while the *Body Brush is best used dry before your bath or shower to stimulate circulation and help to assist with flushing away toxins (a full review on the body brush is forthcoming!)

I've really enjoyed the ritual of a Spring Cleanse. It's made me feel more energised and revitalised.  What are your favourites from the Birch Range?

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

May: Lately I've Been Loving

So many May loves..

The gorgeous Dook Luxury Handmade Salt Soaps have to get a mention! I fell head over heels for them this month. See my review HERE.

A new Armchair for me from NEXT.

An amazing lunch at Le Roi Fou one wet and cold Saturday. The food was simply stunning and I can't wait to go back!

The excellent invention of de Mamiel samples - perfect for try me or weekends away. See my review HERE.

Edinburgh Gin's latest invention - full strength Rhubarb & Ginger Gin. Totally delicious and very moreish.

Jo by Jo Loves 50ml which is a very unexpected and lovely gift from my friend Julie. We both have April birthdays but just caught up this month (reviews will be upcoming for all the gorgeous pressies she bought me - I was WELL spoiled!) I'm a huge fan of Pomelo (and Smoked Plum & Leather). This is the scent Jo Malone created for herself. It has notes of Grapefruit, Bitter Orange, Lime, Spearmint, Guaiac Wood, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Hedione and Black Pepper. It's simply stunning! 

I jumped for joy to receive an e-copy* of Black Summer by M W Craven (Washington Poe #2) via Netgalley. I fell head over heels for characters Tilly and Poe in the first book in the series, The Puppet Show. So far I'm loving it! (You can pre-order your copy HERE).

What have you been loving this month?

*complimentary e-book

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

*Blog Tour: Dreaming of Rome by T A Williams

*complimentary e-copy 

Today I'm on the Blog Tour for Dreaming of Rome by T A Williams:

Jo has had enough of handsome men. After a painful break-up, she’s decided she doesn’t believe in love.
Then, while on a professional trip to the magical city of Rome, she meets Corrado, a scientist and her brother-in-law to be, who doesn’t believe in love either. To him, it’s just a biochemical reaction. So what’s the problem?
Well, he’s gorgeous for a start, as well as charming, generous, intelligent and attentive, and she feels herself immediately falling for him, despite her new outlook.
The majesty of the Eternal City brings them ever closer together. But is their relationship doomed, or will love conquer all?
Heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure, Dreaming of Rome is a joyous and uplifting read from T.A. Williams, perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant and Jenny Oliver

My thoughts?

Jo and Corrado meet when she's over on her dad's behalf to help with preparations for her sister's marriage to Corrado's brother. It's just her luck her soon to be brother-in-law is drop dead gorgeous. She's sworn herself off men however due to a recent painful breakup with an equally gorgeous man.

They hit it off and become friends although Jo does have romantic thoughts about him. He's just too good to be true, quite literally the perfect man. Plus she's fallen head over heels for his dog, Daisy and it seems the feeling is quite mutual.  Environmentalist Jo does want to meet her soulmate but is happy to be friends for now...

Unexpectedly, she returns to Rome to give a lecture (her boss had an accident and he sends her in his place). She's the star turn and even appears on local TV. She meets up with Corrado again and realises she's got strong feelings for him which aren't going to go away...

He invites her for a friends only no strings attached holiday on his yacht and what follows is one of the best holidays of her life. She's forever hoping for more and when her hopes are dashed she decides to take the amazing job offered to her by a Professor she met at the Conference in Rome and try her hardest to forget Corrado....

She goes back for Christmas and things happen which make you realise there could be a happy ending for Jo.. 

A gorgeous, totally feel-good romance which I devoured. 

Previous Books - Dreaming of Venice, Dreaming of Florence, Dreaming of St Tropez, Dreaming of Christmas, Dreaming of Tuscany

Genre: Women's fiction

Release Date: 6 May 2019

Author Bio: T A Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He's taught Arab Princes, Brazilian Beauty Queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake,still-alive fish and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box: May: GLOW

Inside my May Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box are products to help make you GLOW. 

It's an absolutely fabulous selection this month - three new to me brands - which is always mega exciting! 


From new to me brand Avocadeau is their Facial Cleansing Bar which is worth £5. I'm looking forward to testing it out and a review will follow!

I'm a huge fan of lovely bowe organics and inside is their Lip Rescue Balm which is worth £6. I just reviewed it the other day - see HERE.

From Danish Grums (another new to me brand) is their 2-in-1 Raw Coffee Hand Scrub which is worth £14. This is delightful - scrubby and nourishing at the same time. A review to come!

From Danish brand, Jorgobe we have their Hydrating Glow Serum £34 which is fabulous. It really does make the skin glow! A review will be coming once I've had the time to test it out (first impressions are good!)

The final item is from known-to-me brand Lily Lolo and is a full size lipstick in shade Scarlett Red (I'm just getting into brighter colours and this is gorgeous!) It's worth £9.50.

An absolutely fabulous box again, are you a subscriber, what are your thoughts?

Friday, 24 May 2019

May Empties

*productsamples I'm not going to use anything else up so here's my May empties:

INKA Botanicals Marmalade Mist sample which came in my April Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box. I just loved this - the scent's totally uplifting and the mist a real treat. Full size is on the wishlist.

Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil 9ml huge fan of these and no doubt will buy this again (and again).

de Mamiel Spring Seasonal Face Oil sample so lovely to be back in the world of this exquisite range. I loved this and definitely will do all four seasons again. See my reviews of the samples I selected HERESee my year in 2015 of Seasonal Oils SpringSummerAutumn and Winter.

Beauty Kitchen Seahorse Plankton Brilliance Hand & Nail Cream 6ml I just loved this little pot of goodness. It's a hand cream I'd buy full size.

A.S Apothecary Body Elixir #33 25ml which came in my September Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box. See my review HERE. It's one I'd definitely buy once my body care products stash reduces in size!

Noble Isle Willow Song Bath & Shower Gel 30ml which came in my Feel Unique Pick 'n' mix recently. It was nice to use and I'd buy full size (although Summer Rising scent is my absolute favourite).

Belenos Skin Botanique Feng Shui Love Body Oil which I adored. See my review HERE. Will buy again when my stash reduces a bit.

Cocorosa Beauty Egyptian Neroli Cleansing Oil mini which came in my February Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box. I loved it so much I rushed out to buy full size. Review to come!

*The Organic Pharmacy Rose Shower Gel 65ml which I received as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. See my review HERE (it's part of a travel kit). I absolutely loved this rose scented wash and I'd buy it full size.

Schmidt's Jasmine Tea Natural Deodorant which is my fav scent from the brand. I adore the deodorant and will buy this again.

Aldi No.14 Velvety Rose Luxury Hand Cream 30ml deeply nourishing with a gorgeous scent. Would buy again.

*Tropic Skincare Wildmint, Lime & Pineapple Body Wash 50ml which is one of my favourite scents from the range. See my review HERE. I think this one would be perfect for summer holidays.

*Wild & Precious Shampoo/Skin Wash 01 300ml which I reviewed on 1st January this year! See my review HERE. Nice to use and very long lasting making it great value. I'll maybe pick it up again.

*I received this product as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. I think the Natura Siberica brand is excellent - very affordable, lovely and effective. Their Revitalising Bath Soak 600g is a gorgeous product. See my review HERE. Sure to buy again when the stash reduces a bit!

My final empty this month is the very lovely Molton Brown Festive Frankincense & Allspice Liquid Hand Wash 300ml which I simply adore. I buy enough in the sales to last me all year! See my review HERE.  As long as they keep making it, I'll keep buying!

What have you been using up this month?

Thursday, 23 May 2019

*bowe organics lip balm

*productsample I've been trying out award-winning bowe organics lip rescue balm (6g - £6) which is a nourishing lip treat created and formulated by Diane Bowe, a freelance hairdresser living in London. She started using organic hair colours in her work and this launched her passion for all things organic.

Her range (so far there's the lip balm but also available is her award-winning lash oil) are presented in covetable black recyclable packaging with a stylish but simple logo. Ingredients used are the finest quality organic and natural and the range is Vegan and cruelty free.

The Lip Rescue Balm is a luscious and deeply moisturising treat for the lips and is formulated with raspberry seed, almond, jojoba,rosehip, coconut oils with shea and cocoa butters and carnauba wax and Vitamin E.

To use: apply as often as needed for nourished, revitalised and deeply hydrated lips.

I'm suitably impressed. This is a deeply nourishing balm which is nice to use an the perfect size to pop in your handbag! (I've also used it for flyaways and cuticles).

Pick yours up HERE.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Dook Luxury Handmade Salt Soap

I've had the real pleasure of discovering gorgeous dook luxury handmade soap. I spotted it in a local shop (closed at the time grr) and went straight home and onto the website. Helen, who lives not far from me creates the most glorious hand poured and handcrafted salt soaps which are free from parabens and palm oil, are cruelty free and vegan.

I picked the one which most appealed to me online (and of course I want to try them all now!) Mandarin, Bergamot, Rosemary & Cedar (120g - £8) is an aromatic delight - fruity, herbal and woodsy, the scent of which really lingers on the skin after washing. The soaps are wrapped in recyclable paper and card which is fully biodegradeable (and very stylish).

WOW what a stunning soap!

The larger salt grains give the soaps an artisan boutique-y feel and I think they wouldn't be out of place in shops like Harvey Nichols, SpaceNK or Content Beauty & Wellbeing. Formulated in small batches using organic ingredients, essential oils and natural colours. Each batch is mixed and poured by hand with love and attention to detail. Himalayan Salt is added to the formulation which gives the soaps a scrubby feel, beautiful colour, texture and helps create a long lasting firm bar.

Ingredients include Himalayan Salt - 50% of it's weight and which will detoxify, exfoliate and rejuvenate. Organic Coconut Oil gives the soap it's wonderful lotion-like lather while Raw Organic Shea Butter nourishes and feeds the skin while French Green Clay removes impurities. 

The soap is an absolute delight, it gives a rich and creamy lather, has a glorious scent and is a pleasure to use. Have you tried Dook Luxury Handmade Salt Soaps yet? Pick yours up HERE (and if you live locally you can go and pick up your order and enjoy a chat with Helen! Or alternatively, postage is free for orders of £20+).

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Beauty Pie: Month #5

And of course, the product I'd been waiting to come back into stock was there when I came to chose my May picks (happy face). The Super Healthy Skin range is created by six skincare experts, one celebrity facialist, lots of testers and a cadre of genius cosmetic chemists. A high-performance range for gorgeous, glowy and healthy skin.

Amazing Sleep Oil 50ml (typical price £75 - members pay £15.56) is a super light oil which is suitable for all skin types. It absorbs instantly leaving the skin feeling nourished, hydrated and smooth and has a pleasing floral/herbal scent.

It's formulated in Switzerland with anti-ageing algae extracts which firm and help with elasticity and suppleness, apricot kernel oil is rich in linoleic and Vitamin A while carrot oil soothes, purifies and hydrates.

To use: massage a few drops onto your skin after treatment serums or retinols or alone.

I'm pretty impressed with how lovely my skin is looking - nourished, glowy and healthy. It's a keeper!

The second item I picked was NEW IN: Superdose Vitamin C Oxygen Boosting Moisturiser 50ml (typical price £50 - members pay £10.06). I must admit I've only tried this a couple of times so far. It'll refresh and brighten tried and dull skin giving you a "totally fresh face".  Formulated with the most powerful form of cosmetic vitamin C, an oxygen booster for exhausted skin, Ridulisse C Bio which helps make skin more elastic, supple and firm, Brightenyl which helps with pigmentation and Lemon Butter, an antioxidant, tonic and which contains natural Vitamin C.

To use: massage a small amount into face and neck each morning after toning and before SPF or foundation, repeat in the evening. You can also use in conjunction with super retinol or glycolic products for best effect.

I'll update you in a later post as to how I'm getting on with it. This month my buys cost £10 membership + £15.56 + £10.06 + £3.36 p&p = £38.98 (instead of £125!) (I also received a £20 free booster for sharing my haul with #postyourpie on Twitter).

Are you a member of Beauty Pie? Do you have any suggestions of what I should choose next?

Sunday, 19 May 2019

*Love Lula: Alteya Organics New Rose & Mullein Collection - First Impressions

*productsamples/one affiliate link (apart from Gentle Brightening Cleanser which I bought myself). These products are sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program.

These following thoughts are my first impressions. Don't you just love the stylish packaging of the new Alteya Organics Rose & Mullein range!

The Gentle Brightening Cleanser I bought myself in order that I could test out the full range (£15 - 200ml) which comes in a plastic pump bottle and is boxed. The products have a rosy/slightly herbal scent.

The cleanser is a cross between a cream cleanser and a low foaming cleanser and unfortunately found I just couldn't get on with it - I think I prefer one or the other! 

Formulated with illuminating Bulgarian Rose Otto, Mullein flower extract helps to brighten while skin reviving Candeia Bark extract calms, softens and smoothes out fine lines and wrinkles. Soothing Aloe Vera is a natural exfoliant and Hyaluronic Acid replenishes.

To use: massage onto the skin (I couldn't work out if you were meant to use it on wet or dry skin - and although I tried both methods it just wasn't for me) before rinsing.

The Hydrating Flower Toner* (£13 - 120ml) was in the love category! It's a cooling and soothing mist which refreshes and tones the skin.

Formulated with illuminating and toning Bulgarian Rose Otto, Mullein flower extract brightens, Candeia bark extract soothes and blurs fine lines and wrinkles, youth preserving Rose Water and deeply hydrating Hyaluronic Acid. It'll make sure your skin is really clean before nourishment.

To use: spritz onto the skin after cleansing or throughout the day to refresh.

Iridescent Light Serum (30ml - £19)* is white in colour and slightly thicker than I was expecting but it absorbs quickly and is nice to use. 

The serum contains the same ingredients are the rest in the range and is infused with their proprietary iridescent light phyto-complex which fights dull and tired skin encouraging it to glow! 

To use: apply AM/PM before moisturising for brighter, tighter and more luminous skin.

My favourite product from the range is Pure Moisture Face Cream (£18 - 50ml) which is a light and fluffy cream which absorbs instantly onto the skin leaving it feeling nourished and hydrated. It provides a perfect matt base for make up.  Again, it contains the same ingredients to promote younger looking and glowy skin.

To use: apply AM/PM after the serum.

The jury is out as to the range's brightening qualities (I haven't really noticed any difference to my skin in that sense) but the range is lovely to use and very affordable. For me, the star of the range is Pure Moisture Face Cream.

Have you used anything from the Rose & Mullein range?

Saturday, 18 May 2019

*Love Lula Beauty Box: May 2019

*productsample/sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program for an honest review What a brilliant Beauty Box this month! Inside are 4 full sizes and one sachet sample. WOW! The box is worth £67!

The Madara RE:GENE Lifting Mask is full size (60ml) and worth £35. It had been on my wishlist so I was delighted to see it nestling inside the box this month. It will lift, plump, smooth and firm the skin. Expect a review soon!

I'm a huge fan of the aromatic Seascape Island Apothecary range and inside is their Refresh Hand Lotion which is in a huge pump bottle (300ml - £16). The lotion is perfect for coming into summer for a lighter hand treat (and it smells glorious - Lavender, Lemongrass & Geranium). I think this one may make it's way onto my desk at work!

From new to me brand (and to Love Lula) there is exotically scented Sandalwood & Ylang Ylang Body Scrub by Ayumi (200ml - £6.99). Again, a review will follow!

Last but no means least is JOIK's Pastel Pink Silky Lip Balm (7g - £6) which will nurture the lips leaving them with a pop of pinky-peach colour. I think this would be perfect for summer and holidays. Also inside is a sachet of Vestige Verdant Peat Mask.

What do you think of the contents this month?

Friday, 17 May 2019

*Live in the Light: Pure Anada Bronzing Body Shimmer Lotion

*productsample Until Sunday at midnight, you it's buy one get one free for *Pure Anada Bronzing Body Shimmer Lotion (£9.50 for 125ml)

It's the perfect product to add shimmer and sparkle to your skin and is the perfect holiday companion as it has a delicious certified organic tropical coconut scent - it would be so good with a suntan!  But it's perfect to use for nights out or just because!

Formulated with skin loving plant oils and butters the skin is left glowing, sparkly and nourished. I'll definitely be packing it for my summer holidays!

To use: apply to your skin wherever you'd like a warm shimmer.

Pick yours up TODAY.

*Giveaway: Ancienne Ambiance Goddess Argan Beauty Oil to Celebrate it's 10th Anniversary! - it's over!

*gifted for giveaway I've got a really special giveaway for one of my readers. You could win a bottle of the glorious Award Winning Limited Edition Pink Goddess Argan Beauty Oil (100ml - £40). See my review last month HERE. All you need to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below (this is a UK giveaway). Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway