Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Amaranthine: Body Crème with Seabuckthorn & Neroli

I'd been lusting after Amaranthine's Body Crème for ages (£17.95 - 100ml) (I picked this one up and met founder, Sarah at Leith Market in Edinburgh a while back). The crème has an exquisite scent, neroli (here's looking at you!) along with organic sweet orange, in fact it almost smells good enough to eat! It will however brighten your spirits if you are feeling tired or run down, bringing joy and happiness. 

Formulated with skin loving organic and fairtrade shea butter which intensely moisturises the skin and helps with elasticity, raw organic coconut oil is rich in antioxidants while sweet almond oil softens and soothes. Organic sea buckthorn berry extract gives the crème its beautiful orange colour as well as being the richest plant source of Vitamin C and rare Omega 7. It'll also firm and protect. Neroli essential oil is exotic and sweetly floral and will uplift and relax both the body and mind. Sweet orange helps with stress and tension. Vitamin E, an antioxidant protects and repairs.

To use: apply a small amount to your fingertips and apply to the skin. It'll melt into an oil on contact with warm skin.

Packaged in blue PET plastic jars which is 100% recyclable or re-usable. 

As you'll probably have guessed I've fallen head-over-heels for this beautiful product which was shortlisted in the 2018 Free From Skincare Awards. It's an absolute joy to use, smells wonderful and leaves the skin feeling nourished, calm and sweetly scented (and yes, it makes my top products for 2019)

Have you used any products from Amaranthine Beauty before?

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

July Book Round-Up

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

*copy generously provided by the publisher via netgalley/direct from the publisher

*The Last Stage by Louise Voss - I took part in the blog tour for this un-put-downable read. See my review HERE.

*The Closer I Get by Paul Burston - oh my! Again, I took part in the blog tour. Amazing read. See my review HERE.

In the Silence (Anna Scavolini #1) by M R MacKenzie - this book is set in Glasgow and being from the West I recognise many of the places within it's pages. 

Anna, a criminology lecturer returns to Glasgow from Rome during the coldest winter in memory. She's there to catch up with her oldest pal, Zoe. They head to the pub to celebrate Zoe's birthday and while there she meets a guy she had a huge crush on at school. They chat and catch up for a while before he disappears while she's at the toilet. Later, when the pair are walking back to Zoe & Victor's they hear a scream from inside Kelvingrove Park.. 

Anna can't let it go and is shocked by what she discovers. She sets out to investigate even though the Police want her to drop it. Soon, there are other tragedies which seem to be connected... A fast paced and exciting debut novel which I loved. 

*A Sinner's Prayer by M P Wright - this is the last book in the JT Ellington series. I took part in the blog tour. See my review HERE.

Cruel Summer (Anna Scavolini #2) by M R MacKenzie - this second book in the Kelvingrove Park trilogy features Anna's pal, Zoe. 

Zoe's in a job she hates, her relationship is all up and down and the memory of the Kelvingrove Park murders still in the forefront of her mind. When a neighbour, who works as a prostitute is badly beaten by a politician she decides she's going to bring him to justice. She finds herself on the wrong side of the law and some dangerous people. What follows is a fast paced, sometimes humorous and sometimes scary read which I raced through. Would recommend. 

*The July Girls by Phoebe Locke - Once I picked this book up I just couldn't put it down and read it in just over a day. The story is set in London against a background of real life events at the time including 7/7 London bombings and the riots of 2011.

Addie is celebrating her 10th birthday on 7th July and it's the date the first woman goes missing. Her family presume she's been caught up in the tube bombings. Some time later Jessie and Addie go to the Emerson's house on some pretence and Jessie integrates herself into the lives of the missing woman's husband and child, for reasons that aren't clear at the time.

Addie saw something she wish she hadn't on her 10th birthday and can't get it out of her mind. Her sister, Jessie who works part-time at the wig shop with Laine looks after her like a mum, since their mum moved abroad and encourages her to forget it.  

Another woman goes missing the next year on the 7th July and then the next... The police are looking closely to see if there are any connections. They find out Addie's been receiving something on her birthday from the man they believe can help with their enquiries.

I had of course accepted who the Magpie was for the story to head off on another curveball. A twisty read which I enjoyed (and I never saw that ending coming!)

*Expectation by Anna Hope - I was immediately drawn into the story about three friends. The story is told in the heady and carefree days of the past and the more sensible present. Lissa and Hannah met at Uni and Hannah and Cate at school where they were forever rivals but always friends. After Uni they lived in a rambling old house on the edge of the common, paying low rent and having no worries that a bottle of Rioja couldn't sort.

In the present day life is hard for all three girls. Cate rushes into marriage with a man she met online when she falls pregnant and struggles with the baby and her life. Hannah is desperate to have a baby and she and her husband, Nath have gone through several rounds of IVF, he wants her to give up but she's determined to start a family no matter what. And Lissa, the struggling actress who still blames Cate for her loosing out on the starring role which woud have made her a star. One of the women betrays her friend so deeply you wonder if there is any coming back from it...

However there are happy moments, dark times, disappointment, love, choices and the usual highs and lows of life. I simply loved the stories and the girls. It's so beautifully written and one of my favourite reads this year.

What have you been reading this month?

Sunday, 28 July 2019

July Empties

Here's what I've been using up in July:

Rodial Pink Diamonds Magic Day Gel 2ml sachet - my skin loved this deliciously scented gel. So much so I rushed out and bought a 9ml travel size. It's perfect for summer as it's so light and absorbs instantly.

Neal's Yard Remedies Frankincense Intense Lift Serum 2ml - again, my skin loved this. I'd love to try full size and will maybe pick it up in autumn.

As you'll know I'm doing project 10 pan for perfumes - see my posts HERE and HERE. This Shay & Blue Dandelion Fig Perfume 30ml is my third empty in the project 10 pan. I've got another bottle of this but it's one I'll buy again and again. 

As you'll probably know I'm obsessed with Beauty Pie. This is my first empty from them - their Great Skin Foundation in Fair 150 Shell 30ml. See my review HERE. This foundation lasted just under six months (I'd also been using some other ones during that period). I've now got back ups of back ups!

D'Alchemy Neck & Decolletage Wrinkle Refill 1.5ml - which was quite a small sachet for the area it's to cover. I liked it but only got one and a bit uses from the sachet so not sure (I adore the brand though!)

REN Atlantic Kelp & Microalgae Anti-Fatigue Bath Oil 10ml - nice to use, not sure I noticed much difference with reviving tiredness but would buy again.

Micheline Arcier Aromatherapie Harmonie Bath Oil 15ml - the creme de la creme of bath oils! You only need the tiniest amount for a richly scented relaxing bath. I received this one in my February Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box. It's always on the wishlist!

Dr Hauschka Regenerating Hand Cream 15ml - which was gorgeous! I'll definitely pick this up full size when my stash reduces a bit.

Clockface Beauty Cuticle & Hand Oil with Frankincense & Rose Otto 10ml - totally fell head-over-heels for this. See my review HERE. I'll definitely buy this again.

Innersenses Pure Harmony Hair Bath 59.15ml - nice to revisit this brand which can be bought at places like Naturisimo and Content Beauty. 

YTTP Superfoods Cleanser which I first tried via A Beautiful World. See my review HERE. I've got another of these stashed away which I bought in Sephora.

Molton Brown Fiery Pink Pepper Bath & Shower Gel 30ml - nice to use, maybe not my fav MB scent so wouldn't buy.

Belenos Skin Botanique Repair Serum - loved this. See my review HERE. Would buy when my stash reduces a bit.

*Laouta Beach Body Oil Fig SPF6 100ml - loved this summer inspired low SPF which I used mainly as a body oil. See my review HERE.

What have you been using up this month?

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

Saturday, 27 July 2019

July: Lately I've Been Loving

So many July loves...

Getting a signed & numbered Limited First Edition of the amazing Black Summer by M W Craven. I was lucky enough to choose which number and I chose the age I was/am when I read the book. Catch my review in my June Book Round-Up. I just love Tilly & Poe (and Edgar!). Roll on book #3.

Really chuffed!

*gifted for review I'm thoroughly enjoying beautiful NorthburN's Rebalance Luxury Bathing Salts (review of two of the other scents - HERE) and their gorgeous matching Room Spray. The ranges and scents are wonderful and very affordable. A review will be forthcoming of this exquisite duo.

Discovering Nibble Protein, yummy low sugar protein bites for snacking on the go or to boost your energy during that mid afternoon slump at work. I've now tried all the flavours and my favourites are the Brownie Bites.

mussels - edible shell - seaweed - taramasalata 

crispy chicken skin sandwich - hake - confit duck egg

the menu depicts ingredients in each course

Dining at newish Condita which was an amazing dining experience. I can't wait to go back! These two pictures were our snacks. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner with exquisite food, impeccable service and I think the best matching wines I've ever had - one to save up for!

Trying more and more products by glorious Beauty Pie (obsessed). You can sign up to get your first month free using my link HERE. I'm suitably impressed with their perfumes and a review is forthcoming (I'd buy 2 out of the 3).

*Blue Tea Box is a newish tea subscription and I'm totally impressed with how delicious the teas are and what a wide selection there is to choose from. All you need to do is let them know what flavours of tea you like and they'll carefully curate a monthly box of one (75g - 30-60 cups - £6.99) or three (45g x 3 - 54-108 cups). See more info HERE. My review is forthcoming!

Stopping by wonderful Haworth which is in Bronte country (we were down in Bradford for a family funeral sadly earlier this month). I loved checking out the lotions and potions at The Cabinet of Curiosities.

We are so lucky to have a lovely new independent book store called The Portobello Bookshop, on the high street in Portobello which just opened this week! I was very excited to see the rack of luxe magazines you normally only see online! I picked up the very lovely Bloom Mag which is a total joy!

*e-copy from Netgalley - I raced through The July Girls by Phoebe Locke, an incredible read which I read in 24 hrs! Absolutely brilliant and one of my fav books this year. It's perfect to pack for your summer hols!  I'll share my review in my July Book-Round up.

What have you been loving this month?


Friday, 26 July 2019

July: Latest Buys

I've had a mad few weeks buying more than I should...

This is my second Les Fleurs EdP 7.5ml by Maya Njie Perfumes one day I'll buy full size. It's a beaut!

I had a little extra PIE in the form of one of the new shampoos & conditioners at Beauty Pie. I'm currently trying these out (so far, so good) and a review will be coming!

My gorgeous Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box landed at the weekend. This month (last monthly box before it goes bi-monthly) is entitled Bon Voyage and is stuffed full of beautiful things with holiday time flavour. See my initial thoughts HERE.

Madara's new Booster Ampoules in Antioxidant Energiser which I picked up via Love Lula's very generous beauty box discount. A review will be forthcoming!

I can never resist a Naturisimo Discovery Box and Extreme Purity is stuffed full. See my initial thoughts HERE.

The Organic Pharmacy Tan Accelerator which gives an instant glow and helps to develop a rich deep tan stimulating melanin production naturally. I'm packing this one in my suitcase! 

A couple of minis from Bodhi & Birch it'd been a while since I'd tried beautiful Neroli Lucé Revitalising Face Oil (it's still love). Founder, Elijah Choo recently gifted me one of their beautiful Alchemy Bowls* and so I bought Renshen Root Exfoliant & Mask (12ml) in order to have a little play.. (review to come).

I also picked up Ezape Naturals latest launch their Ylang Ylang & Lavender Body Oil (review forthcoming).

And of course, I couldn't resist Latest in Beauty's collaboration with Grazia mag. See my initial thoughts HERE.

I tried a sachet sample of Rodial's Pink Diamond Magic Gel Day and fell head-over-heels in love. I wanted to try more so picked up a mini 9ml size from Look Fantastic. A review will follow.

Feel Unique were offering 20% off Caudalie so I snapped up this SPF duo (I also had a fiver off voucher) making me glad I'd waited!

And yet more PIE! I had to have another of the latest launches at Beauty Pie. I'm seriously in love with this pot of goodness. Expect a review soon! (as a member this cost £11.59 instead of £50). Sign up using my link to get your first month of membership free HERE.

I spotted an offer on Facebook for this little try me Dry Skin Kit (£2.50 - with a code for free p&p). I thought it would be ideal to pack in my holiday bag. Pick yours up HERE.

What have you been buying this month? Do you think I should have a spending ban?

Thursday, 25 July 2019

*Blog Tour: The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

*complimentary e-copy Today I'm on the Blog Tour for the amazing The Closer I Get by Paul Burston.

Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone. Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.

When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing. But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk just one ‘like’ away…

My thoughts?

WOW. I was hooked from the very first page and found I was reading it wherever and whenever I could (it also made me look more closely at my own twitter use!)

Evie is an opinionated book blogger (with a healthy twitter following) who meets Tom, a bestselling author (who had his debut novel made into a Hollywood blockbuster with a leading actor as it's star) at a book launch. 

He writes a message in her book which she takes to mean something more than it is and believes that they're kindred spirits. She becomes totally and utterly obsessed by him. He does however slightly encourage her by offering to read the book she's working on and meet her for a drink.

Things take a turn when she begins to follow his every move on social media and in real life..she just won't let go. The story is very dark and chilling and it makes you wonder how many people you "really" know that you "talk" to on social media. 

Evie ends up in court charged with harassment and is handed a restraining order. Tom still doesn't feel safe and heads to Hastings to continue to write the book he's stalling on. Only his dear friend, Emma knows where he's gone. Emma, who has always stood by him even when he's brushed her off for caring too much.

Evie has many tricks up her sleeve and she seems to be one step ahead of the game. The dramatic twist at the end had me going OMG - I just never saw that coming! A truly brilliant read which I highly recommend.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box - July 2019 - Bon Voyage

My July Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box arrived at the weekend and it's stuffed with things suitable for summer and holidays. This is the last monthly box. You can sign up for a bi-monthly box (next one's September - £25 every two months) HERE

Remember you can get 10% off your first box with BEAUTYBALM10. Inside this month are 3 new to me products and 1 new to me brand. As ever, it's a cracker!

And for a closer look...

I'll be packing that tin of Badger Balm Organic Aftersun Balm with Blue Tansy & Lavender (56g - £9.99) for my summer hols. It smells glorious. A review will follow.

From Skin Alchemists Apothecary we have a 10ml travel size (£30) of their Sesenne Luxury Renewal Elixir which is a blend of 26 skin loving oils (this also appeared in Love Lula's July Beauty Box).

I've tried No Secrets Beauty before via the Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box and also as a Beauty Shortlist Judge. It's a beautiful brand and this new Bath Jelly in "one" scent (15ml - £7.50) is definitely in the treat category! Apply it over the body before sinking into a warm bath/or use it in the shower. The jelly will transform into a luxurious oil. I just love this one! So luxe with a exquisite scent.

From new to me brand Bain+Savon we have their gorgeous Peony Salt Foot Scrubs (£5) which I love the look of - so sweet! Perfect to get your feet sandal ready!

Rounding up the box is a fab facial mist by AA Skincare their Frankincense & Rose Face Toner (50ml - £3.95) which I reviewed HERE.

As ever, it's a fabulous box with carefully curated products and brands suitable for summertime use.  Are you a subscriber, what are your thoughts on the contents this month?

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

*Blog Tour - A Sinner's Prayer by M P Wright

Today I'm on the Blog Tour for the final book in the JT Ellington Series - A Sinner's Prayer #4 by M P Wright*. As ever its a fabulous action packed read as well as lovely to catch up again with characters I've grown to love.

When the past comes calling, you can run, but you can't hide
'Saying farewell to the dark side doesn’t mean the dark side wants rid of you. And I was about to be reminded of that fact.'
1970, St Pauls, Bristol. A new decade, and JT Ellington has stepped away from the private-eye game to scratch a living, respectable at last, as a school caretaker.
His nights are full of torment – guilt and ghosts that no prayers will banish. But it's not until the past comes calling in the unwelcome form of Superintendent Fletcher that JT's resolve is truly tested.
Fletcher has a job for JT – one that can’t be refused. A young man, Nikhil Suresh, has disappeared hours before his wedding; rumours abound and his family is distraught.
With blood money in his pocket, JT is plunged into a demi-monde of vice, violence and forbidden passion. An extraordinary, malevolent enemy is intent on destroying him. Now, seeking survival and redemption, JT must play as dirty and dangerous as those who want him dead.

My thoughts?
I simply loved the fourth and final book in the JT Ellington series. I first discovered him randomly in Heartman when I picked up a copy on Amazon (way back in November '14) and he's come a long way since then..

JT's living and working quietly (having thrown in the towel as private-eye) at a local school as a caretaker and looking after his six year old niece, Chloe. It's now the early 70s and discrimination and racism is still rife.

A face from the past in the form of Superintendent Fletcher asks him to investigate the case of a missing Asian man, who disappeared just before his arranged marriage. A young boy is found murdered and the two cases seem to be connected..

Who has it in for JT? And will he get out alive this time... A fast paced, edge-of-my-seat read which I devoured. I also loved catching up with feisty Loretta Harris, Aunt Pearl and Uncle Gabe and cousin Vic.  There's even a glimpse of love and romance for JT (bring it on!)

A brilliant read which I highly recommend (I'm kind of sad this is the last we'll see of JT and the other characters I've grown to love).

*Thanks to Black & White Publishers for a copy of the book.