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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

What's in Your Back Yard

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 Over the weekend, I saw a post on twitter that made me think. The lovely people from Bodhi were asking us Brits what percentage of our beauty and skincare is British.

 My answer to this would be about 60%, but I would like it to be higher. I am as guilty of lusting over products from further afield as the next person, but it is easy to overlook the wealth of talent we have on our own doorsteps.

 When I first began taking a closer look at the products I was using, there were a number of things I wanted to address. I want to be able to understand what is in my products and I want to know a little more about the brand that is making them. I want to know where products and ingredients are sourced from. I do want to know that what I am putting on my skin is produced in a responsible way, and not to the detriment of the environment, or animals. I also want to know that my products are fairly traded. I feel that some of the larger mainstream brands hide behind their reputation. They tell us that research proves their product is the next best thing since sliced bread, but that research is withheld from us as it is a trade secret. If the evidence is really there, why can't I access it?

 Increasingly I find myself drawn to smaller, artisan brands. They seem to be much more forthcoming about what they use and why it is used. Much more care and attention seems to be paid to using sustainable ingredients and to making a more ethical product.

 So, where am I going with this? What am I rambling on about? I think it is important to support the little guy and to celebrate the wealth of talent we have locally. I thought it might be nice for as many of us as possible to post about a few brands that are local to us. As well as giving us new brands to lust over, it is always nice to know a little more about the person behind a blog.

 Although the question was originally posed to a British audience, I extend the invitation to you where ever you are. I would love to know "What's in Your Back Yard"

 Let me know if you are up for the challenge, I think it will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Bath Time Treats.

I think most of us would agree that a long soak in the bath is a great way of unwinding. I am of course very guilty of hoarding lots of products, and definitely gravitate towards certain ingredients and fragrances. One of my favourite fragrances is Rose, so I thought I would share a few things I like.

I add a couple of capfuls of Dr Hauschka Rose Nuturing Bath Essence to my bath, and it gives such a depth of fragrance. This creamy bath essence is made with rose water, rose essence and rose petal extracts. It does not contain artificial fragrance, preservatives, colouring, mineral oils, parabens or silicone. I find that the jojoba and almond oil soften the bath water and leave my skin nice and soft, and always helps me feel calmer after my bath.

Melvita Rose Shower is a super gentle, creamy shower gel. I think it has been repackage since I bought mine. This is a 98% organic product as certified by Ecocert. I have loved everything I have tried by Melvita and this shower gel is no exception. It is very kind to the skin and has a lovely delicate fragrance.

My final product is Lavera Rose Garden Body Oil. This is perhaps the product with the strongest fragrance, but is by no means overpowering. I think this is very good value for money (£8.95 for 50mls) and a little goes a long way. Made with wild rose oil, almond, jojoba and olive oil, it is extremely light. I find it absorbs quickly and love how soft and silky it leaves my skin. It also leaves a subtle fragrance that I can smell after a good few hours.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Love Lula beauty Box April 2014.

 This month I am a little late with my Love Lula beauty box. Firstly I would like to thank Love Lula for sorting it out for  me, after a cock up with my paypal account. I can honestly say their customer care is first rate. Onto the contents ...
The first two items are 5ml sachets of Sante shower gel in coconut dream and Bio-Goji & Lemon. I have heard of Sante before but am yet to try anything by the brand. Their products are very affordably priced too.

 A 2ml sachet of Jane Iredale's Glow Time BB Cream. This is another brand that I am yet to try, but am looking forward to doing so. Very pleased to see a sample of this in my box.

A full size Figs & Rouge Mocha Orange Lipbalm. I have a hand cream in this fragrance and really like it. My daughter has laid claim to this, so I won't be getting a look in.

A full size Une Kohl eye liner in black. I am really impressed with this eyeliner, it is the perfect consistency. It applies nicely and is very long wearing. I haven't tried anything by Une before, but I think I will be buying more in the future.

The final product is the one I am most excited about. A 50ml sample of Ren Rosa Centifolia Express Makeup Remover. This is a very generous sample size and will allow me to really test the product. I have loved everything I have tried by Ren so have very high expectations for this.

Overall I am very pleased with this box. Although I am familiar with all the brands it is nice to get the opportunity to try these products. Everything in this month's box will get used, even if my daughter is helping me out.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

SoukSouk Beauty Box April 2014


 Today I picked up my SoukSouk box. Firstly Happy Birthday to SoukSouk as they are celebrating their first birthday. As always there is a copy of the little green magazine, which I always enjoy reading. I would like to see the little green magazine expanded as this is one thing the green community seems to be lacking.

The first products are a full size BalmBalm Rose Geranium Face Balm and the bonus product of a muslin cloth. I received this recently in a LoveLula box, but am happy to have another. This is a lovely multi-purpose balm, although my favourite use for it is as a cleanser. The inclusion of a muslin cloth is a nice touch.

The next products are all by Kris D'Amour and are 10ml samples of the soothing Face Treatment, Body Oil and Body Butter. I have tried some of the Rejuvenating range by Kris D'Amour previously and so look forward to trying these. I think that the 10ml sizes especially of the oils is a decent sample size.

The final item is a Lip Pencil by PHB Ethical Beauty. I have seen PHB Ethical Beauty on twitter, but am yet to try anything by them. I can't find the actual colour on the pencil. but I think mine is in the shade Dusky pink. I am wearing it as a lipstick and really like the colour. It feels lovely on. I am very pleased to have been introduced to this brand. Rumour has it that their mascara are pretty good too.
I think this is a really nice box. Some of the products are familiar too me, but they are all really good products that I am happy to have a backup, or try a different range from a brand. Everything in this month's box will get used up.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

S5 Skincare Restore Cream.


  S5 Skincare Restore Cream is on of the items I featured on my recent post Currently Using. Now that I have finished my sample I though it was time to review it in a little more detail.

  The range S5 Skincare (Source5) was developed by the team behind NUDE Skincare. It is certified organic by EcoCert and addresses specific skin concerns such as blemishes, sensitivity, dryness, pigmentation and fine lines. It uses bioactives from 5 ecosytems, which have been sustainably sourced. Products are not tested on animals. The range is free from Parabens, SLS/SLES, PEGS, DEA, Mineral Oil, Silicon, Propylene Glycol, GMO and synthetic fragrances.

  Restore Cream contains desert and marine bioactives and is designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines, hydrate and protect and firm. This is the kind of product I actively seek out. My skin is dry, I have some fine lines and one or two deeper lines creeping in. It very easily looks dull and tired.

Ingredients list taken from the website:-
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Olus Oil, Coco-Caprylate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Glyceryl Stearate, Isostearyl Isostearate, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil*, Ectoin, Glycerin, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Aqua (Water), Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Salicylic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Cellulose Gum, Candelilla Cera, Tocopherol, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Parfum (Natural, Low Allergen Fragrance), Potassium Sorbate. *ingredients from organic farming

 My sample of Restore Cream lasted me about 5-6 weeks of using each morning. I found one pump was enough for my face and neck. It has a light, sweet smell, which reminds me of red liquorice. I liked the smell, but if this puts you off, it isn't noticeable once on the skin. I found it moisturising enough for my dry skin at the end of Winter and liked the matte finish. It evened out my skin and and made me look much healthier. I think this is such a lovely moisturiser and enjoyed using it.

 I am really impressed with S5 Skincare as a brand. I think they produce such good quality products, I have their Nourish cleanser stashed ready for when it warms up a little and I put my cleansing balms away. I also bought a sample of their Replenish serum so will report back on those in due course. I always get a little excited when brands do sample sizes and there is a good selection of samples to choose from on their website.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

March Books

I am so late with this post, after completely forgetting about February's books too. Oh well, better late than never. All images have been taken from Goodreads website  
                                                                     My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper by Bill Benners is the story of a brother (Richard) and sister (Martha) who is left disabled after being brutally attacked. Richard acts as Martha's legs in her search for finding the person responsible for her attack. Ultimately Richard becomes dependent on Martha when he is set up murder. Although this has lots of twists and turns it's extremely far fetched. It was an average read.


I enjoyed 48 Hours by J Jackson Bentley a lot more. The main character Josh receives a text from Bob demanding £250 000 to be paid up in the next 48 hours or else he will die. Josh soon realises the threat is serious when he is attacked and someone else is murdered. The hunt is on to catch the blackmailer.


Hushabye by Celina Grace is a good old whodunit. Baby Charlie is kidnapped and his nanny is murdered in his wealthy parents house. The case is being led by newly appointed DS Kate Redman, and this brings up things in her own past she would rather not revisit. I thought this was well written and enjoyed this one the most.


Friday, 11 April 2014

VitaBella Anti-Aging Serum


 Last month I was given the opportunity by Vitabella to test one of their products and I was sent a bottle of their Anti-Aging Serum to try. I first came across Vitabella when I received a face mask in a Birchbox. You can see my thoughts on it here. I have also used the Anti-Aging Moisturiser before and loved them both, so as you can imagine I was very excited when I received this in the post.

 Vitabella products are made in Italy and are based on aloe vera gel which has been infused with essential oils. The serum is designed to reduce wrinkles and fine lines by improving the skins elasticity and hydration. Below are the ingredients in the Anti-Aging Serum.

Onto my thoughts. I have been using this serum in the morning for about a month, and have probably used just over a quarter of the bottle. The packaging is simple but tastefully presented and the bottle itself feels robust. It has the most beautiful silky texture that quickly sinks into the skin, and leaves it ever so soft. This feels lighter and fresher than the moisturiser and I imagine it would be wonderful layered underneath the moisturiser.
It definitely helps perk my skin up and gives a nice fresh faced look. I feel that the fine lines around my eyes are much less noticeable, and so am genuinely pleased with the overall results. I have a couple of deeper lines across my forehead that I think I need to be using it for longer to really get the full benefit from. What I would like to say is so far so good, my skin is really responding well to this serum. Big thumbs up from me.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Sachets #3

 I tend to hoard a lot of the sachets that I have for some strange reason, so I am making a real effort to use more of them up. These are the latest to be finished.

John Masters Spearmint & Meadowsweet Scalp Stimulating Shampoo (10mls) I loved how soft and manageable this made my hair. It also gave my dreadfully fine and limp hair lots of volume. Unfortunately I really didn't like the fragrance, and if I were to pay £18 for a shampoo I would want to like the smell of it.

Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Face Cream (3mls) I used this as my day cream for nearly a week, and loved it. This has a sweet citrusy fragrance and is extremely light. The full size of this is definitely going on my wish list.

Living Nature Deep Cleansing Mask (5mls) Although this is really intended for oilier skins, I found this surprising gentle on my dry skin. I like that the full size comes as sachets rather than one mask, so good if you don't use it regularly. I would like to try more from the brand, but don't think I will repurchase this product.

Madara Tinting Fluid Moon Flower Rose Beige (1.5ml) was kindly sent to me by Sandra. This gives a lovely sheer finish and is a very good match for my skin tone. Although I really like this I probably won't buy the full size as I don't wear tinted moisturiser/foundation often enough to justify it. I will however buy a few sachets to keep for the odd occasions that I do.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Bodhi Desert Rose Rejuvenating Face Oil.


The Desert Rose Rejuvenating Face Oil is something I had on my wish list for absolutely ages, and recently Bodhi were kind enough to send me a 5ml bottle. A review of my findings is long overdue.

I am sure that many of you will be familiar with Bodhi as it is a brand that is well loved by many a blog. Bodhi take a very holistic approach to the products. Their products are designed to balance the mind as well as skin concerns, by using high quality essential oils and absolutes. Bodhi use naturally derived ingredients so are free from artificial, preservatives, fragrances and colourings. Ingredients are ethically sourced, packaging is made from recycled products and nothing is tested on animals.

I have taken the following ingredient list from the website.
Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil**, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui) Nut Oil, Prunus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheatgerm) Oil, Fragaria Ananassa (Strawberry) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Santalum Spicatum (Sandalwood) Oil, Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citral*, Eugenol*, Geraniol*, Linalool*, Citronellol*, Farnesol*, Limonene*

Bodhi sell their Desert Rose Rejuvenating Face Oil for £38 for 15mls or £14 for 5mls. Obviously this is not a cheap and cheerful product to buy. However, I think in this instance you get what you pay for, and this is undoubtedly the real deal. When I opened the box Bodhi sent me, I could smell the essential oils before I unwrapped any of the products. Bodhi pay great attention to detail, the bottle has a removable protector for the pump, making it much safer in your travel bag. To me, this care and attention to detail demonstrate how much love and passion  are behind the brand.

The fragrance of the oil itself is a combination of rose and citrus notes. Although this is a very luxurious and decadent oil, it absorbs quickly and evenly. From the fragrance and texture of the oil, it is apparent just how high quality the ingredients used are. One small pump is enough for my face and neck. I have loved using this as part of my night time routine, as it feels calming and helps to unwind before bed. Most of all I love how soft and fresh faced my skin has looked the next morning. I can honestly say I understand all the excitement around this, because I am so pleased with the way it makes my skin look. I will be buying the full size of this, and can whole heartedly recommend this for anyone with dry skin.