Wednesday, 30 June 2021

June Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in June. If a book is marked * I very kindly received it from the publisher directly or via Netgalley.

*The Cursed Girls by Caro Ramsay - I took part in the blog tour for this atmospheric read. See my review HERE.

The Thames Path Killer by Biba Pearse - I came across Biba Pearce and her books while browsing on Amazon. Having liked the sound of them I snapped them up. The Thames Path Killer follows the story of what seems to be a serial killer who is targeting engaged women. A young woman is brutally attacked whilst taking a shortcut home by the river on a dark rainy evening. DI Rob Miller who is leading his first case as SIO and his team believe it could be a personal attack, that is until it happens again....

The race is on to find out the killer. Rob's fiancee, Yvette is very needy and hates his job. When someone close to home goes missing the race is on to find her before it's too late. I found this story gripping, fast paced and twisty.

The West London Murders by Biba Pearse - I went straight onto read the follow up. We meet up with DCI Miller who is now married to Yvette. A married father is stabbed in a frenzied attack and the Team are on the case. When a second man is murdered they know they need to catch the killer pronto. 

Detective Jo Maguire, Rob's ex lover, whom he still has feelings for goes undercover which helps the investigation but puts her in danger... I found the story gripping and my heart was in my mouth. Would recommend. Can't wait for the next one in the series.

*Mrs England by Stacey Halls - I very happily won a copy of Mrs England by Stacey Halls over on twitter. The story is set mainly in West Yorkshire in 1904. Norland Nanny Ruby May leaves her current post in London when her employers embark on a new life in the States. 

She finds herself at remote Hardcastle House looking after the children of Mill Owner, Charles and his vacant wife Lilian. The children are a delight and Ruby easily slots into their lives. 

Ruby finds the other servants cold and finds it odd that Mrs England doesn't concern herself with the day to day wellbeing of her children. Everything has to go through her controlling husband. Things happen which have no explanation and Ruby feels more and more alone. 

She's desperate to hear from her sister Elsie and why doesn't she open the letters from her father? What happened in the past that no-one must know?  I absolutely loved the story which was both chilling and sinister in parts. Highly recommend.

The Missing Husband by Natasha Boydell - Kate & Pete have been together since Uni and seem just as much in love fifteen years on with 2 young daughters and a picture perfect house. They've even got a nanny! 

Pete leaves one morning and doesn't come home. Kate is distraught and as her life, or her life as she knew it unravels she finds she didn't really know Pete at all. She discovers a note and a young lover called Claire whom he's gone to be with.

Trying to get in touch she finds he's disconnected from all his socials and left his mobile phone behind. How is she going to cope?  He's the breadwinner, she's not worked since the children - her skills are rusty but she finds she has to start work in order to survive until he comes back...

There was a massive twist in the tale I never saw coming which I'm still reeling from now. Highly recommend.

*Risk of Harm by Lucie Whitehouse - I'm taking part in the blog tour early next month for this cracking read so catch my review then. I didn't realise it was the 2nd book in the series so I'm currently devouring book 1!

What have you been reading this month?

Monday, 28 June 2021

*STEAMCREAM Original Cleansing Balm & Japanese Citrus

#PR samples - AD 

It was a real blast from the past discovering STEAMCREAM again! This is their 14th Anniversary year and they've brought STEAMCREAM and some complimentary products back. I first tried the brand via beauty boxes back in the day. 

STEAMCREAM is handmade in small batches in Japan using their unique STEAM Emulsification Manufacturing Method. The use of high powered steam minimises the amount of emulsifier needed. The products are packaged in pretty reusable/easily recyclable tins. 

I was sent their new Cleansing Balm* which has the original STEAMCREAM scent (Lavender, Chamomile, Neroli & Rosa Damascena) (70g - £19.95). The cleansing balm glides easily over the skin and makes short work of make up and daily grime. 

To use: apply a small amount of the balm onto your skin. It'll turn to an oil as you massage it into the skin, easily cleansing off make up and daily grime. Adding water turns it milky making it easy to rinse off. I used a warmed damp face cloth at this stage.

I've found the cleansing balm lovely to use. It smells heavenly and makes short work of make up. The skin is left feeling clean and comfortable.

The second item I was kindly sent is their new Japanese Citrus STEAMCREAM* (75ml - £15.95). This is part of the 7 seasons seasonal line. It contains ingredients chosen to support the skin in early and mid summer.  It's got a gorgeous light fluffy texture and delicious citrus scent. Sugar Squalane hydrates while Citrus Sudachi Peel extract softens. The skin is left feeling hydrated and plumped.

To use: use as a facial moisturiser both AM and PM and also as a moisturising mask. As a hand and body cream. I do love a multi-use product and this one is perfect for summer/great for holidays.

I've really been enjoying my re-introduction to STEAMCREAM and would highly recommend! You can also buy this duo as a bundle for £32.32. Check out the shop HERE.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

June: Lately I've been loving

I can't believe we're nearly at the end of June! Time sure is flying. Here's what I've been loving in June. If it's marked * I've very kindly been gifted for review.

I've been trying new to me Scottish Brand, Deerieo Skincare* and love the packaging and formulations. Expect a review on the blog really soon.

I went Cult Beauty crazy in June picking up 3 orders!! I can never resist an affordable goody bag. So their Cult Conscious Goody Bag, free with £65 spent went right in my basket. I'm really enjoying exploring the contents and especially love de Mamiel's First Fix Stress Response Serum. Thumbs up too for Cult's reusable black bamboo cotton pads.

We got the flat redecorated in June by local firm AW Decor who did an amazing job. It was nice to get all my bits back in the kitchen too!

First visit to Dunelm saw us pick up a few bits including these cute tie backs which theme in with our doorstop.

Beautiful Butterwhips. I've fallen head-over-heels for this gorgeous brand. See my review HERE.

My friend Celia gifted me a beautiful limited edition pink copy of M W Craven's latest book in the Tilly & Poe Series - Dead Ground. I'm a huge fan of the series. She also arranged a signed bookplate - it's the little things! Totally over-the-moon to add this to my collection.

Oops yet another Cult Beauty Buy! I couldn't resist their The Skindie Edit which cost an amazing £35! At time going to press these beauties are still available. So far I've fallen for the Laneige and Rose Petals Rosewater. Still lots to try.

An online Dunelm buy of their Lina Rope Table Lamp which matches my tiebacks!

Seriously overspent! Yes, another Cult Beauty Goody Bag which was free with £70 skincare buy. I chose 3 Pai Skincare products (reviews for them to come). This was their Skindie Goody Bag which was worth £105. Again, lots of goodies to try!

Olfactory Candles newest wax melt scent is the delicious The Jam Pot*, a intensely fruity scent with notes of raspberry and strawberry with a touch of vanilla. It's absolutely gorgeous and on my to buy again list. Super strong too.

As part of my picks as a Love Lula Accredited Blogger I chose two SOiL Essential Oils* in Sweet Basil & Rose Geranium. They blend beautifully together and I've been diffusing them in a burner with water. See my review HERE.

Hubby made Camembert, Jersey Royal & Asparagus Fritatta last week for tea. It was delicious. From a recipe card picked up in Waitrose.

A trip to the Hairdresser's and a scoot round the new St James Quarter Shopping Centre in Edinburgh yesterday. What joy going shopping!

Rounding up my June favourites was a lovely lot of samples* in the whole range of  Ezape Naturals body butters. Such a treat. I'm going to enjoy trying them all. I only "know" the original Rosemary and Chamomile. They celebrated their 4th Birthday on Thursday and are offering 40% off until Sunday. Go on, treat yourself!

What have you been loving this month?

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

June Empties

I'm not going to use anything else up this month so here are my June empties. If a product is marked * I very kindly received it complimentary for review.

I fell totally head-over-heels for Butterwhips when I tried them recently. Warmly Relaxing Body Butter with Bergamot, Lavender & Vitamin E is simply exquisite. See my review HERE. This is the brand which will be replenished again and again. I also love the eco-friendly reusable or easily recyclable tins.

Typology Orange Blossom Hydrolate 100ml* which I loved using. See my review HERE. It's on the wishlist for when my stash reduces a bit.

I love Beauty Kitchen and fell in love with their Seahorse Plankton Superglow Active Mist 100ml. Again, on the wishlist when I use up some of my stash.

Dr Hauschka Moor Lavender Calming Body Oil 75ml is an absolute delight. Creamy with a lush lavender aroma. I was sad to use this one up! Check out my review HERE. Will be bought again when I use up more stuff.

I do love a bit of Molton Brown and loved both of these bath and shower gels 100ml - Vetiver & Grapefruit and Geranium Nefertum were both great scents which I enjoyed with a rich foamy lather. I'll definitely buy both again.

I've loved trying Africology products this year. Their Rose Absolute Tonic 25ml* was a joy to use. See my review HERE.

From Heavenly Organics I enjoyed their Lavender Hand Balm 15g* which is presented in a recyclable/re-usable tin. See my review HERE.

As you'll know I'm a huge fan of Sol de Janeiro's Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. I was pleased to try a mini 25ml of their new Bom Dia Bright Cream recently which brightens and smoothes the skin. It gently exfoliates and retexturises with fruit AHA's as well as smelling lush. Full size is firmly on the wishlist.

Rounding up my June empties is my hands-down-favourite bar shampoo - EarthKind's award winning Tea Tree & Eucalyptus Shampoo Bar for Improved Scalp Health 50g*. I use this once or twice a week and this bar has lasted over a year!! See my review HERE. I've just opened a new one and have a couple more in my stash! 

What have you been using up lately?

Monday, 21 June 2021

Latest Buys: Pai Skincare, Oribe, Therapie, Cult Beauty, Herbfarmacy, Can-to-Candle, Miller Harris, NorthburN

Well, I failed miserably with my £100 spend for June... I blame Cult Beauty's great offers! Will try better next month... 

The Impossible Glow by Pai Skincare had been on my wishlist. The drops make the skin glow! Pai say that it's your "post holiday glow, bottled". Add a couple of drops to serum or moisturiser or use alone for an intense hit. I've been enjoying using them and have found my skin looks more healthy and glowy. I picked mine up at Naturisimo.

I can never resist an affordable Cult Beauty Gift with Purchase. I picked up their recent The Cult Conscious Goody Bag free with a £65 spend (see contents below). I picked up a new Oribe Obsessed kit, my fav Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts and my third item was for a birthday gift.

I picked up Herbfarmacy's Sweet Orange Body Oil (another item ticked off the wishlist) when they had a bank hol sale recently. It's as beautiful as I'd imagined it to be!

A candle from Can-to-Candle's new Elegance collection which has a double wick and is presented in a clear glass jar. I chose "Coast" a stunning floral marine. I'm looking forward to lighting it soon.

I did sleep on this one! Cult Beauty's The Skindie Edit is absolutely stuffed full. It only costs £35 too and is jam packed full of goodies (at time going to press, there were still some available). 

I was desperate to try Miller Harris's latest launch - Reverie de Bergamote so picked up 4 x 2ml sample vials. You get free shipping if you pick 4. I'd also wanted to try their Leather Rouge (stunning). Tea Tonique is a fav and Poirier d'un Soir another new try.  You also receive a voucher to save on a full size bottle if one steals your heart.

I couldn't resist NorthburN's Gift of the Month in their brand new Hotel Collection scent. No.4 Blackcurrant Leaves is simply stunning. Fruity, floral and aromatic. Inside the gift (now sold out) was goodies worth £21 (wax melts, votive candle and room mist) which was offered at £12 plus p&p. It's truly lush and might nudge my fav Mandarin & Bergamot off its pedestal!

Another Cult Beauty buy (whoops). Yet another affordable Gift with Purchase. Spend £70 on skincare. I chose 3 x Pai Skincare products, two of which had been on the wishlist - Carbon Star Detoxifying Overnight Facial Oil and Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil. My splurge was the gorgeous Century Flower, Lotus & Orange Blossom Soothing Tonic, which I've used before. Feast your eyes on the beauties!

We're hoping to move house later this year so this MUST be my last splurge. What have you been buying lately?

Sunday, 20 June 2021

*Love Lula: GROW: Organic Works, Lucky Cloud Skincare + SOiL Organic Aromatherapy

Sent to me as a member of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program for an honest review - AD.  

This year I've been theming my blogger picks:

January - SLEEP,  February LOVEMarch - AWAKENApril - BLOSSOM, MayFORAGE. This month I chose #GROW.

All the products contain ingredients you can grow in the garden or greenhouse. I'm a huge fan of Organic Works, having reviewed several of their products already on the blog (I especially like their Bergamot range). I picked their Cleansing Face Wash with Rose Geranium Flower which comes in a huge 300ml pump bottle (£15)*. It's gently foaming and has a delicious rosy scent. I use it in my morning shower to refresh and clean. I like this a lot - it's a keeper!

I love Edinburgh based Lucky Cloud Skincare and chose two of their wonderful soaps - Lemongrass* and Peppermint & Green Clay* £5.95 each. They are hand cut and packaged in recycled kraft boxes. I've been enjoying both of these soaps. They lather well and have delicious scents as well as being nourishing and hydrating. 

I rounded up my picks this month with two essential oils from SOiL Organic Aromatherapy - you can use them for massage and adding to bathwater (in a carrier oil) or to diffuse. I chose Sweet Basil 10ml (£6.20)* which is enlivening, comforting and uplifting and Rose Geranium 10ml (£16.50)* which helps to lift the spirit and calm the mind. I've been diffusing them in a burner with water. The blend is gorgeously rosy with a hint of herbal and peppery basil - I'm going to enjoy this one all summer long!

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Herbs for Healing Bath Oil with Saskia's Breathe Deep Seek Peace Flower Essence

I'm always a sucker for nice bath products and Herbs for Healing's Bath Oil with Saskia's Breathe Deep Seek Peace Flower Essence 100ml - £12.50 is gorgeous! It's presented in a blue glass bottle which is easily recyclable or reusable. The family run business is based in the Cotswolds where they grow and sell herbs as well as making natural cosmetics and healing ointments. 

The Bath Oil is perfect to use after a long day to calm and relax both the body and mind. Relaxing lavender is blended with stimulating rosemary and stress relieving geranium. The blended oil base (including nut oils) nourishes while Saskia's award winning "Breathe Deep Seek Peace Flower Essence" will help you feel at peace (I'm a huge fan of Saskia's essences already - see my reviews HERE).

To use: pour a small amount under running water, jump in and relax

A lovely artisan handcrafted bath oil which smells glorious, and helps to relax and calm the mind before bed. What are your favourites from the range?

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

*Book Tour: The Cursed Girls by Caro Ramsay

Today I'm on the Book Tour for The Cursed Girls by Caro Ramsay*. I received a copy of the book free of charge to enable me to take part in the tour.

Megan Melvick has spent years avoiding her inheritance, the dark and disquieting family estate Benbrae, now home only to her distant, aristocratic father, and her sister Melissa, dying quietly in an upstairs bedroom. Trapped behind her unreliable hearing aids and vulnerable to what others want her to see, Megan is unable to find the answers she wants: why is there a new woman on her father’s arm? And why has their absent mother not returned to say a final goodbye to Melissa?

Benbrae has always been a place of loss and misfortune for Megan, but as the Melvick family diminishes still further, she must ask one final question. If there is a curse on the house, will she be its next victim?

About the Author: Caro Ramsay is the Glaswegian author of the critically acclaimed Anderson & Costello series, the first of which, Absolution, was shortlisted for the CWA's New Blood Dagger for best debut of the year. The ninth book in the series, The Suffering of Strangers, was longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize 2018.

My thoughts?

Megan Melvick has returned home to her grand home - the Scottish country estate she left three years ago. Her sister, Melissa is dying and their father has demanded her presence. 

Coming back brings lots of memories to the fore. It seems the family is cursed. With Melissa dying, Megan being deaf, her mother missing and her papa committing suicide on her 4th birthday many years before.

Her sister says something to her just before she dies and Megan wonders if what she said was for her benefit or someone else's. She casts her mind back to Melissa's wedding five years before when tragedy struck and she lost someone close to her. What is it Jago and her father are hiding from her? Why is her mother's friend, Heather eager to take her friend's place in her father's affections and why is Carla's mother always hanging around. 

The story is told from the alternative views of Megan and Carla and I found the story twisty, atmospheric and un-put-downable. I highly recommend it.

Monday, 14 June 2021

*Love Lula Beauty Box: June 2021

*I receive the Love Lula Beauty Box complimentary as a Love Lula Accredited Blogger for an honest review. This month the box is worth £37 and contains 4 full sizes, including a Limited Edition and a sachet sample.

From Ayumi is their Fairness Daily Facial Day Cream, which is a full size item (100ml - £8.99) which I've used before. The cream adds radiance to dull complexions making it glow and add luminosity to the skin.

Also inside is Balm Balm's Fragrance Free Face Balm 30ml (£9.50) which is formulated with shea butter, sunflower, beeswax, jojoba and calendula. I must admit I prefer a scented product. On trying however, I'm suitably impressed. A review will follow for this one.

I've used a few products from Lamazuna, the eco-friendly and zero-waste brand. Inside the box is a Solid Shampoo Bar (assorted). I received their Oily Hair (Wild Grass) version which is worth £8.99 (55ml). This will last as long as two bottles of shampoo! My roots can be oily so I'm looking forward to trying it out.

From The Castilian Soap Company is their Limited Edition Peppermint Castilian Soap (250ml - £8). I'm always happy to see soap in a beauty box as lately I've been going through it fairly quickly. We received the Tea Tree version recently. Use for hands and body (or cleaning the bathroom!).

Rounding up the June box is a sachet from Dr Hauschka (1.5ml - worth 80p) of their Soothing Day Lotion.

What are your thoughts on the contents this month? I like that I'll easily use everything inside. 

Saturday, 12 June 2021

*Ermana Natural Skincare: GLOW Exfoliator + CLARIFY Clay Mask

*gifted - AD As you'll know I'm a huge fan of Ermana Natural Skincare having reviewed products from the range several times the blog. Founder and formulator, Claire recently sent me two new products to try out.

GLOW Exfoliator (£18 - 60ml)* has an intensely orangey scent and the perfect scrubby texture. Formulated with sugar, a natural source of glycolic acid which helps with cell turnover and in turn fresher and younger looking skin. It's also a humectant. Sweet Almond Oil moisturises, conditions and smoothes while Vitamin rich Apricot oil is perfect for sensitive and mature skin types. Vitamin E supports new cell growth and helps to minimise fine lines and wrinkles. Sweet Orange Essential Oil, while smelling glorious also boost circulation, promote cell and collagen growth. 

To use: apply to damp skin massaging in circular motions before rinsing. Use twice a week.

I love this scrubby scrub which smells like marmalade! It's nice to use and helps to make the skin glow. 

CLARIFY Clay Mask (£18 - 60ml)* is for me the star of the duo although I love GLOW. It comes with it's own little spoon for measuring and mixing. The mask has a strong lavender/chamomile scent which I love. It deeply cleanses the skin (dries hard, but feels comfortable on the skin) and draws dirt, impurities and absorbs excess oil from the skin. White Clay draws dirt and build up from the skin as well as acting as a mild exfoliant. Aloe Vera hydrates and soothes, anti-inflammatory Green Tea can help with skin irritation and redness while nourishing and firming. Chamomile soothes while Lavender protects and balances.

To use: use wooden spoon to mix 2 spoonfuls of clay with water to make a thick paste. Apply to the skin, avoiding the lip and eye area. Leave on for 5-10 minutes and then remove with a warmed damp face cloth. Dry Skin: leave on 3-5 minutes, Normal/combo: leave on 5-8 minutes, Oily Skin: leave on 5-10 minutes. Use weekly. There are approximately 10 applications per jar.

I've absolutely loved using this clay mask which is nice to use, effective and makes my skin glow. My skin is combo so it's really helped to balance my t-zone and reduce pores. Highly recommend! I'll definitely be adding this regularly to my skincare routine.

What are your favourites from the brand?