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Friday, 31 January 2014

#NoBuyJanuary - January Empties.

  It seems very fitting to finish #NoBuyJanuary with my empties post, although I don't seem to have as much to show for it as I thought I would. I have really enjoyed doing these posts. I feel like their has been a great sense of community. I have surprised myself by managing to stick to it, even when there has been some fantastic special offers and sales. I am going to have a little treat, but am setting myself a budget of £30. I still have a few opened products I am working my way through and that stash of mine is still pretty enormous. I think it's time I established a new set of rules to help me, but I will cover these in a later post.

BareSkin Beauty Radiance Restored Face Serum (15mls) is just a lovely skincare product. I am really sad to have finished this, but I definitely feel I have had my money's worth from it. On my wish list to repurchase but I have a couple of other serums I need to use first.
Blanc Cachemire Crème De Jour Protectrice (15ml). This was a sample I wanted to use up from a BirchBox. Pleasant enough to use, but I won't be repurchasing.
Botanicals Rose & Camellia Facial Oil (5ml). Another product I loved and am sad to have finished. This is a beautiful facial oil, and the star product of the range in my opinion. Added to the wish list as I have other oils to use up first.
Botanicals Rose & Camellia Cleansing Melt (5g) and Skin Polish (5g). I liked these a lot. I found them really gentle yet effective on my skin. Would possibly repurchase.
Freya Luna Skin Support Cleansing Cream (sample) and Skin Support Facial Tonic (10ml). The cleanser felt rich and luxurious, and the tonic was lovely and refreshing without stripping my skin.
Freya Luna Embrace Your Age Moisturiser (sample). I have really enjoyed using this as my night cream. It really suited my skin and has helped keep the drying effects of Winter at bay.
Freya Luna Shed Your Skin Facial Tonic (10ml). From all the Freya Luna products I have tried, I feel that the Shed Your Skin range is the one the meets my skins needs the most. I think I will be coming back to this range once my stash is under control.
Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash (125mls). I love the smell of this facial wash. It's very gentle on the skin. I would happily buy this again in the future.
Korres shower gel in Fig (250ml). I really like Korres products. I have a couple more shower gels in different fragrances to be using up.
Dead Sea Spa Magik Silky Smooth Body Lotion (20ml). I wasn't all that fussed on this one. I wouldn't buy the full size.
Roseisle Skincare Nuts & Berries Oil Blend (20ml). I really like this oil. It smells great, absorbs well and is very moisturising. I really want to try more from Roseisle skincare. They offer sample size versions of quite a few of their products too.
The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter (200mls) I do like this but I am keen to find a more natural version of this. I won't be buying a replacement for this.
Botanicals Rose & Camellia Body Lotion (5g). I am very impressed with this range. Lovely light texture that is very moisturising. A little goes a long way.
BalmBalm Relax Bath & Shower Oil. I love these little BalmBalm oils. Beautiful fragrance. It always makes my skin nice and soft. Will be repurchasing in the future.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Natural Brands I Want To Try in 2014.

  Last week,  I saw Taylor over at Simply Joy calling all green bloggers to reveal which natural brands we wanted to discover in 2014. A lot of the brands and products I want to try  have been at the recommendation of other bloggers. So I though I would combine the two and share some of the products on my current skin care wish list. I will do another post on the make up I would like to try.

Neroli Lucé Revitalising Face Oil
 My first choice is Bodhi neroli luce revitalising face oil as recommended by Jen at jensgreenskincare
 This facial oil contains neroli, sea buckthorn, frankincense, jojoba, apricot kernel, grapeseed and evening primrose oils. I love frankincense and sea buckthorn, for their fragrance as much as their therapeutic properties. I am always looking for products to maintain that much desired glow and ward off the dreaded wrinkles for as long as I possibly can.

Amaretto Lip Balm

Next on my wish list is Crazy Rumors Lip Balm recommended by Evelyn at wewereraisedbywolves A girl can never have too many lip balms right? Amaretto is my tipple of choice and so this sounds right up my street. These lip balms are making there way to Holland and Barrett stores and they are only £3.49.

Raw Gaia raw chocolate face pack is something I wanted to try for a while thanks to Annie at Hello purple clouds This is made with red clay, organic turmeric and organic amla fruit powder, and so is rich with antioxidants. Who doesn't want smooth, clear skin, and the chocolate is sure to smell good too.

 MULondon White Chocolate Elbow Knee & Heel Cream  is  I really want to try courtesy of Amber at Amber's Beauty Talk This is another product where my sweet tooth comes into play, but it receives an awful lot of love from beauty bloggers for it moisturising abilities.                                          

Himalayan Detox Salts

 My final choice is a luxury bath product, as we all like a bit of luxury in our lives. Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts are something which I have seen on Sandra from Beauty Balm
A soak in the bath is the ultimate me time and even better if it helps to get a good nights sleep.

 So there you have it, things I am currently lusting after. I hope you enjoy it, as well as posts from the list of lovely bloggers. What is on your wish list?

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Crystal Spring Salt Of The Earth Natural Deodorant.


  Crystal Spring's Salt of The Earth Natural Deodorant was one of the products that came in December's SoukSouk box. Made with just potassium alum, this is a 100% natural crystal deodorant. It is completely free of any nasty you could possibly think of, suitable for vegans and is not tested on animals. To apply this to the skin, either the deodorant needs wetting or your skin needs to be dampened. This leaves a thin layer of natural salts which Crystal Spring say prevents body odour from forming. They also say that it doesn't leave white marks on clothes and gives long lasting protection.

 Since I started replacing my beauty products with cleaner alternatives, finding an effective deodorant was one of the things I was most nervous about. Let's be honest, nobody wants to be the stinky or sweaty one.

  I have had this for about 6 weeks now and have been using it daily since. Firstly I hardly feel like any of the product has been used, so this will last me forever and a day. It is completely fragrance free, so does not interfere with any other scent you may choose to wear. Salt of the Earth does not leave any trace of white residue on clothing at all. I have found it comfortable to apply, it hasn't irritated my skin, and it doesn't have that horrible sticky feeling that some roll on deodorants leave. Most importantly, I can honestly say that it works. It really does leave me whiff free and dry all day long. I am very impressed with this deodorant. I think it is really good value for money, it costs just under £5 and will last for absolutely ages. You can buy it from the website or from Holland and Barrett,                          

Friday, 24 January 2014

#NoBuyJanuary End of Week 3


 I can't believe we are almost at the end of #NoBuyJanuary, just one more week left. I have spent quite a lot of my time dodging emails about some fantastic offers and sales that have happened over January and am pleased that I have managed to resist up to yet. I have really enjoyed these posts and have picked up some fantastic tips from fellow bloggers.

 This week I thought I would share what I am currently using in my night time skin care regime.
After finishing my Botanicals samples I have moved over to using Manuka Doctor Hydrating Facial Cleanser. I tend to keep to the same cleanser for day and night time use. I have to confess this is something I took away with me over Summer and forgot to take out of my travel bag. I have only been using this since the beginning of the week but I am really liking it. This is made with Purified Bee Venom, Manuka Honey, Rosehip Seed Oil, Blackcurrant Seed Oil, Vitamin E, Monoi Butter, Olive. I have found this to be very moisturising and gentle on my skin. It removes make up easily and has a lovely fresh fragrance. It's nice to go back and rediscover forgotten products.

 I have been using Freya Luna's Shed Your Skin Facial Tonic as my toner. This is another lovely product on the skin. It is lovely and refreshing and is very gentle. Made with essential oils of benzoin, palmarosa and neroli, this is really good for dry skin.

 Bare Faced Beauty Radiance Restored Face Serum. I have already told you how much I love this earlier in the week, so I won't go on. It is really very good though.

 At night I do like to have a richer moisturiser and at the moment I am using Freya Luna's Embrace Your Age. This contains carrot seed, frankincense, sandalwood and rosehip oil. This feels very luxurious and smells lovely. I really like this moisturiser.

 I have been keeping my dry lips at bay with Bloom Remedies Organic Caramel Lip Balm. This really does smell good enough to eat. This is very moisturising without feeling heavy or sticky and is quickly becoming a favourite product.

   How have you been getting on with #NoBuyJanuary ? Have you rediscovered any forgotten gems?

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Essential Care Mascara

 I really want to find cleaner alternatives for my current make up. A little while ago I bought an Essential Care Mascara in Brown to try, so I thought it would be a good time to share my findings.

 The Essential Care Mascara is 88% organic and was the first mascara to receive certification by the Soil Association and sells for £17.50 here. Essential Care say that it's natural formula is kind and gentle enough for contact wearers.

  The mascara comes with a medium thickness brush which feels soft to the touch. I hate it when a mascara brush is hard and you can feel it pulling on your eyelashes. The formula is nicely balanced, not so dry that it is difficult to apply, and not too wet that it takes a long time to dry.

 I find that this gives lovely length to my eyelashes but not quite as much volume as I would like. My eyelashes are very fine and difficult to see without mascara. I have found that if  I leave a moment between each coat, then I can build up a thicker effect. I haven't had any problems with the formula irritating my eyes, even when I wear my contact lenses. I find his mascara to give good wear time too, it doesn't smudge, run or flake. It gives a lovely natural look which is perfect for daytime wear. For a night out I would look for something that gives a little more volume, but I am more than happy with this for everyday wear.

          Have you tried the Essential Care mascara or would you recommend something different?

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Radiance Restored Face Serum.


 In October's SoukSouk box we were sent a sample of Bare Skin Beauty's Radiance Restored Face Serum. Since I have very nearly finished my sample, a review is long overdue.

 I was lucky enough to be sent some of Juliette's lovely products to review previously. You can see my thoughts on them here, here and here. Bare Skin Beauty products are created with the finest natural products and are free from parabens, mineral oils, artificial fillers or fragrances.

The Radiance Restored Face Serum is intended to be used at night time. One pump has been enough to apply to my face and neck. I have used this almost every night since it came, so this 15ml sample has lasted me 3 months.

            I have taken a photograph of the ingredients which is found on the back of the label.

For those of you who need a clue (you can find the information on the website) the main active ingredients are Evening Primrose Oil, Jojoba Oil, Neroli Oil, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Buriti Oil. It is rich in fatty acids, B vitamins, Omega 7 and Beta Carotene.
I have found this to be a highly nourishing serum, and my dry skin loves this. The Sea Buckthorn Oil gives it a beautiful orange colour. The serum feels rich and luxurious. Fragrance wise I would say it is sweet with spicy undertones, but it isn't overpowering. The fragrance is one of the things I really love about the serum. I have found it to absorb well within a minute or two and it makes my skin feel lovely and soft. I always find Winter very hard on my skin, but I feel that this has made a real difference. My skin feels softer, smoother and looks healthier for using this.
The full size is £36 for 100mls and can be found here

Saturday, 18 January 2014

SoukSouk Box January 2014


 This morning I had a parcel waiting to be collected and I am very pleased to say it was my January SoukSouk box. Tucked underneath this month's Little Green Magazine are my goodies.

                                                         Here are this month's contents.

3 products from Urban Veda. There is a 20ml sample of their Exfoliating Facial Polish, a 20ml sample of their Purifying Facial Wash and a 10ml sample of their Purifying Day Cream. I have seen Urban Veda online and I am really curious about their products. The brand uses the benefits aromatherapy in their products and I am sure these samples will appeal to a lot of people.The purifying range is aimed at combination/oily skin so I am a little cautious about how they will fare on my dry skin. I do however really want to try their radiance range and may have to have a little splurge after #NoBuyJanuary.

A full size Avril nail polish in French Rose. I have had one of these nail polishes in a previous SoukSouk box and really liked it. I love the 7 free formula and they apply well. This is a really pretty colour too.

A full size Xenca Organic Lipstick in the shade fudge. The lipstick is lighter than the photo shows. It is more of a caramel based nude. I have always been a bit nervous of nudes, they tend to make me look like I have had a brush with the grim reaper. This actually looks lovely on. I have never said that about a nude lip, ever. The formula is creamy and moisturising. I like this a lot. The other thing I am really impressed with is that the packaging is made from cardboard and will be completely recyclable. I think a few other companies need to follow suit.

As an added bonus there are two Pukka Detox Tea samples. I love Pukka tea and like their detox tea, so will happily use this.
Overall I am really pleased with my box. I will see how I get on with the samples from Urban Veda. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and found a lovely new lipstick and a pretty nail polish.

Friday, 17 January 2014

#NoBuyJanuary - Organising My Stash.

Halfway through the spending ban already. How have you been getting on? I am very surprised at how good I have been. The only thing I have bought are some supplements (wheatgrass and spirulina), which I classing as a health food rather than a beauty product. There are so many tempting sales and offers at the moment, I am trying so hard not to look.
When I showed those pictures of my stash, I have to say I felt quite overwhelmed with everything I had amassed and didn't really know where to start. I have had a good route through everything, checking if anything had been opened and trying to figure out how old everything is.
I have come up with a box of things that are my first priority to use up, and it has a bit of everything in it. There are a few bits that are half used, quite a few things I have had a while and some newer additions that I can't wait to try.
Looking at my overall stash there is enough to keep me supplied for a good few months, and to be able to work my way through them I need to curb my long term spending. So after #NoBuyJanuary I plan to allow myself a little treat, and then no more purchases until this box has been used up.

Monday, 13 January 2014

My Prize From Sophia's Choice

Before Christmas I entered an online giveaway run by the lovely Charlie from Sophia's Choice. I was delighted to find that I had actually won it. On Christmas Day I was notified and shortly after received by wonderful package. I am sorry to say that I am a little late in writing this one up.
Sophia's Choice began life as a Green Lifestyle Blog which has evolved to see the creation of an online shop. Sophia's Choice sell a range of organic & natural skincare, bodycare and nutritional supplements. For me blogging is a hobby, a bit of fun, but it's fantastic to see where your blogging journey could take you. The products you see in my prize are all available in the shop. Charlie takes great pride in trying and testing many of the products she sells, and I have to say she has very good taste.
My prize contains a full size Green People Gentle Cleanse and Make-up Remover. I have used a sample of this before and loved it. It's rich and creamy, it removes makeup well and it's very kind to the skin.
In the little brown box are two lip balms by Bloom Remedies. There is an organic strawberry and an organic caramel. Bloom Remedies are a new brand to me and these are lovely lip balms. I can't tell you how good these smell. The kids really like these too (drat and double drat).
The packet with the blue label on contains a Pop Fabulous effervescent foot reviving tablet by Bathing Beauty. I am really looking to using this as it sounds the perfect antidote to a long day on your feet.
In the pink bag are a travel size shower gel and body moisturiser by Bodhi in the fragrance Ylang-Ylang Incensa. These smell amazing. I am keeping these for when we go away later in the year.
In the little pot underneath is a sample of Herbfarmacy's Skin Rescue Balm. As you know I love the Mallow Beauty Balm so I am  really pleased to be able to try this.
The big pot is a full size Mary Elizabeth Frankincense and Rose Moisturiser. I have seen this on line but not previously had the opportunity to try it. Frankincense and Rose, what's not to like.
I feel very lucky to have won this competition and to receive such lovely things. You can find all these things online at Sophia's Choice here and the blog here

Friday, 10 January 2014

#NoBuyJanuary End of Week 1.

#NoBuyJanuary is really making me take stock of all the products that I have squirrelled away. I seem to have lots of mini pots and samples and is definitely time I paid more attention to them. With that in mind I thought I would show you the skin care products I have been using in the morning. Although I have an enormous amount of products I do like to keep my routines fairly simple. With 3 kids to sort, I really don't have the energy or time to mess about. I also try to introduce one new product into my routine at a time.
I have had the little pots of Botanicals Rose & Camellia Skin Polish and Cleansing Melt since buying a try me set in September. Both are 5g samples. I think the Cleansing Melt should last about a week of daily use and the Skin Polish 2-3 week as I only use this 2 days a week. Enough to get a feel for, but not quite enough to see the long term benefits.
For me the star of this range was the facial oil I reviewed earlier in the week, but I do like both of these products. The Cleansing Melt removes my make up well and leaves my skin nice and soft. The Skin Polish is very gentle on the skin. First impressions are certainly positive.
I love a serum, it just gives that little extra to my skin care routine. Herbfarmacy's Mallow Beauty Balm came in November's LoveLula box and I have used it most morning since. I love the fragrance, it melts into my skin and gives a nice extra layer of moisture. I like to apply a thin layer of this before I go out for a run when it's been really cold, and it just stops my skin from drying out. This is very good stuff and it lasts for ages. Nearly two months on and I have only used about a third of the jar.
My current day time moisture is a sample of Freyaluna's Shed Your Skin moisturiser. This is a rich moisturiser aimed at dry skin.  It also helps to tone the skin and with cell regeneration. I have been using this for just over a week and so far so good. This is made with the essential oils of benzoin, palmarosa, and neroli. It has a such a lovely fragrance, and despite it's richness I don't find it in the least bit heavy. This is a really good Winter time moisturiser.
What products are you using at the moment?

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Love Lula Beauty Box January 2014.

The first of my subscription boxes arrived today. Here are my first impressions of my January 2014 Love Lula box. It has a nice selection of facial, body and hair care products.

The first product is a Konjac sponge by the Konjac Sponge Company. I received one of these sponges in my September 2013 SoukSouk box and have been using it since. These little sponges are fantastic and I am really happy to receive a replacement. I think my current one is nearly ready to be replaced so this has come at a good time

A 10ml sachet of John Masters Organics Blood Orange and Vanilla Body Milk. I have used this product before and really like it's sweet fragrance. My one grumble is the size of the sample.

BiOrganics Perfect Balance Shampoo (50ml). I haven't used this natural shampoo before so I am more than happy to give it a go. It certainly smells very nice.

BiOrganics Salon Secret Elixir Hair Perfecting Oil (exact size unknown). I have had a sample of this oil before and whilst it left my hair really soft and manageable, I felt that it was a bit too heavy for my fine hair. This is better suited to those who have thicker hair. This one will be given to a friend.

The final product is a 30ml sample of Balance Me Rose Otto Body Cream. I haven't tried this before, but I am really looking forward to trying it. I have not been disappointed with anything I have tried from Balance Me in the past. I love the smell of rose, so this is perfect for me.
Overall I am really happy with this month's box. When you subscribe to a couple of boxes it isn't uncommon to end up with multiples of a product, or to have tried things previously. Having said that, these have mainly been products that I have liked. Other than the hair oil, I will use and enjoy everything in the box.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Sachets #1


 Sachets are something I seem to hold onto forever. I don't know why, but I never seem to get around to using them. As part of #NoBuyJanuary it is time to make more of an effort to use them up. I though I would just post when I had used a few up, rather than including them in my empties post at the end of the month.

 My first product is a sachet of Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream which contains Olive oil, Beeswax, Honey, Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly and Propalis extract. This is a good all round cream. It's texture is more like a balm, and melts with the warmth of your hands. I have found it really useful for patches of eczema, and am very impressed with it.

 Sante Verde Aloe Vera Crème was something I found to be a very nice moisturiser and the full size is now on my wish list. As the name suggests this contains aloe vera juice. It sinks into the skin very quickly and I loved the way it made my skin look.

Madara Sunflower Tinting Fluid in Golden Beige. Unfortunately this was just too dark for my skin tone, so not something for me. The texture of this is lovely and it feel comfortable on the skin. Shame it doesn't come in a wider choice of shades.

Mendill Organic Towelletes. These are completely organic towelettes that are antibacterial, antiseptic and made with essential oils. The sample I had was in tangerine, and it smells absolutely beautiful. Whilst this was a lovely product to use, they cost £10 for 20 wipes so it isn't a product I would buy myself.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Botanicals Rose and Camellia Facial Oil

I got this little sample of Rose & Camellia facial oil by Botanicals ages and ages ago in a little try me set. I have been applying this a couple of times a week before bed and so am only just coming to the end of my sample.
Botanicals are a company which I was pleased to discover are pretty local to me. All their products are made in small batches and aim to remain as close to nature as possible. This facial oil contains apricot, jojoba and camellia oils and is aimed for dry or mature skins. Their products have been certified by the Soil Association.
The fragrance is more camellia than rose, and is light and pleasant. The facial oil itself has been a real joy to use. It is a very moisturising oil, but feels surprisingly light when applied to the skin. It leaves my skin with a wonderful silky feeling and is readily absorbed. There is no greasy residue left after this. I have found this to be a great pick me up for my skin when it is looking a little lack lustre. I can't speak highly enough of it, this is a lovely, effective product to use.
A 50ml bottle sells for just £15.95 which I think is incredible value for money. Once I have whittled down by stash of facial oils I will repurchase this. You can find it here

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm.


 It seem that everyone and his dog had tried this cult classic except for me. Emma Hardie's Moringa Cleansing Balm has to be one of the most blogged about products I have come across. Curiosity got the better of me and I needed to know if it is as good as everyone says it is and if it would work for me. When I saw a 15ml sample on sale on Latest in Beauty over the Summer I bought it and put it to one side to use over Winter. I thought that this would a good product to inject a little more moisture into my Winter skincare regime.

So, what did I think?
Firstly, this is a very luxurious product, the packaging is beautiful. The balm itself is soft, melts very easily into the skin and is great at removing makeup. With something that feels so luxurious to the touch, I expected it to feel very moisturising on my skin.
Unfortunately it didn't. This is a very good cleansing balm, it definitely brightens the skin. However, there is a but and for me it was a big but. This left my skin feeling tight and uncomfortable, and I mean really tight. To be completely honest my already dry skin felt stripped by this. I needed to us a lot more of my serum and moisturiser after using this. I have to say I didn't see that one coming. Maybe if I had used this over Summer it would have been alright, but at the moment no. I won't finish the sample because it is too drying on my skin.
Note to self, do your research better before jumping on the band wagon.
If your skin is leans towards the oily side this probably would be a good product for you, but for my dry skin this unfortunately didn't work.

Friday, 3 January 2014

#No Buy January - Beginings of a Stash.

 Here we are a few days into #No Buy January. I have already seen some of the post other bloggers have put up, and I have quite enjoyed having a snoop through other people's stashes. Now it's my turn to come clean and reveal some of my collection. This is by no means everything. This is just some of the things that were closest to hand.

 Of course some of these have been recently received as Christmas gifts, but not all of them. Quite a few items have come with my beauty box subscriptions.

         I have to be honest and say a lot of these I have bought with my own money.

                                        I did say I owned enough products to beautify a city.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year, Happier Me.

New Years Resolutions, you either love them or you hate them. I like them, I like to have a focus. That isn't to say you can't change direction midway through the year. Sometimes things change and you need to move with that change, but I do like to begin the year with a plan.

 Last year my goal was simple, it was to change jobs. Working nights for a long time solved a lot of my child care problems, especially when my twins were babies, but it was taking it's toll. It took most of the year to find the right job, with the right hours, but finally I am back to working days again.

 This year I have a few more goals. Following on from yesterdays #NoBuyJanuary, I need to be a little more grateful for the things I all ready have in my life. Hopefully this will help me declutter a little, as well as taking off some of the strain on my purse.

 I want to replace more of the conventional makeup I use with cleaner alternatives. I began this journey with skincare last year, but now is the time to tackle the cosmetic stash. Any recommendations you have would be helpful and gratefully received.

 I want to improve my running. I have found running to be a wonderful release from everyday stresses and it is something I wish I had done sooner in my life. It isn't about times for me, I am never going to be the fastest. What I want to do is build on the distance, and I want to get past that 10 mile barrier. So, I have found a half marathon plan, and later in the year I want to have a go at my first half marathon.

 Committing to this, will also mean I have to manage my time a lot better, especially when the longer runs kick in. I also need to focus on my diet and curb my sweet tooth.

 My final goal is to read more. Again it's another thing that helps me unwind, and so I am aiming to read one book a week, and will be doing 50 books in 2014 with Goodreads.

                           Are you a fan of New Year's Resolutions, what are yours?