Travel Size Beauty: This Works 24hr Skin Solutions Kit review

Monday, 24 April 2017

This Works 24hr Skin Solutions Kit review
Travelling can take its toll on your skin, but this new kit from This Works is here to provide a helping hand for your next trip away. 

This Works are widely revered for their innovative skincare, especially when it comes to creating formulas that are targeted at common skin problems like battling the first signs of ageing or helping to brighten up a dull complexion (one of my favourite products from them that I use regularly is their Energy Bank Skin Glow which does just that!). I also have a lot of respect for their company ethos based on wellbeing and using clean, natural based ingredients where possible, as none of their formulas contain parabens, sulphates, GMOs, or phthalates. 

It's no surprise then to see This Works launch a new kit like this which focuses on 'skincare that works with your body clock', and it makes a fantastic introduction to the brand for anyone who is interested in trying out some of their bestselling products.
This Works 24hr Skin Solutions Kit review
What's inside?
Inside the This Works 24hr Skin Solutions Kit, you'll find five travel-sized products:-

  • This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (5ml) - A good skin day starts with a good night's sleep and I've mentioned this Deep Sleep gem a couple of times in the past. It's composed of an award-winning natural aromatherapeutic superblend of Lavender, Vetiver and Camomile, and to use it, all you need to do is spritz it onto your pillow before you go to bed. I always recommend it to anyone who struggles to get to sleep like I do as it works a treat!
  • This Works In Transit Skin Defence (20ml) - For daytime use, this protective moisturiser is enriched with hardworking botanicals to help protect your skin against the elements all day long. It's also formulated with broad spectrum SPF 30 to further protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays.  
  • This Works Light Time Skin Plumper (3ml) - I was surprised to see this packaged in a sachet as you can get multiple uses out of this sample, so I'd suggest decanting it into a mini plastic container before you go on holiday. This is a wonderful brightening serum that you can use both day and night, that helps to rehydrate the skin and plump out any fine lines and wrinkles.
  • This Works Light Time Cleanse & Glow (20ml) - Described as a one-minute miracle wash and moisture boost', this cleansing balm contains Vitamin C that's activated when you add water to it, giving you a noticeably brighter and more refreshed look after just one use. I really like using this at night after I've taken off my makeup!
  • This Works No Wrinkles Midnight Moisture (15ml) - Lastly, there's a sample pot of the bestselling No Wrinkles Midnight Moisture which completes the skincare set. This night time moisturiser is packed full of Hyaluronic Acid, Shea Butter, Jojoba and Evening Primrose Oil to deeply nourish and hydrate the skin overnight, leaving you with soft, smoothed out skin come the morning.

This Works 24hr Skin Solutions Kit* retails for £24 and is available from various stockists including direct from thisworks.com


Are you a fan of This Works? Do you use any of their products?

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Foodie Friday: How To Make A Thai Red Curry From Scratch (Vegan recipe)

Friday, 21 April 2017

How To Make A Thai Red Curry From Scratch (Vegan Recipe)
Thai Red Curry is one of my favourite meals to order as a weekend takeaway, but it's also incredibly easy to whip up a healthier homemade (and much cheaper!) version, with the right key ingredients. 

When I was in the my first year of Uni living in halls, the girl who lived across from me had recently come back from a gap year around South-East Asia, and she made an awesome Thai Red Curry from scratch for one of our society meetings that everyone loved. Since then, I've subtly tweaked her recipe to make it suitable for vegetarians and vegans, as most traditional Thai Red curries contain some element of fish sauce, so I've simply removed this. I've also used less sugar and swapped white refined sugar for coconut sugar instead to make it healthier. 

Making a Thai Red Curry (or any curry for that matter) is much easier than you might think, and once you've made one from scratch, you'll never want to make one from a packet or a jar mix ever again! This Thai Red Curry tastes so fresh and vibrant, and makes a wonderfully warming meal to enjoy for lunch or dinner.

The first thing to do is to the make the paste, and the recipe below serves between 3-4 people, depending on how hungry everyone is!
How To Make A Thai Red Curry From Scratch (Vegan Recipe)
Ingredients for Thai Red Curry Paste:-
  • 1 stalk of Fresh Lemongrass (pick it up from an Asian supermarket if you have one close by - they're so much cheaper than regular supermarkets!)
  • Red Chillies
  • 1 small thumb-sized chunk of Fresh Ginger
  • 3 or 4 cloves of Garlic depending on your personal tastes
  • 2 tbsp of Tomato Puree
  • 1 tsp of Coconut Sugar
  • 1tsp of Ground Cumin
  • 4 tbsp of Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp of Fresh Lime Juice
  • Pinch of White Ground Pepper
  • 2tbsp Coconut Milk (regular variety if you're making the curry straight away, or thick if you want to store the paste for later use)

Method for Thai Red Curry Paste:-
  1. Roughly chop up the Lemongrass, Red Chillies, Ginger and Garlic and add these to a Food Processor or Blender. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until it's a paste consistency. And that's it!
Storage for Thai Red Curry Paste:-
You can store the paste in an airtight jar in the fridge for a week or freeze it in a zip locked freezer bag for up to a month. If freezing, ensure that it's fully defrosted before using.


To Make a Thai Red Curry:-
Once you've made the paste, you can then make the actual Thai Red Curry whenever you fancy. 
  1. In a large saucepan over a medium heat, add your paste to a whole tin of Coconut Milk and stir until everything is combined.
  2. Add whatever ingredients you like into the curry - protein like Tofu is great or a meat-free substitute like Quorn Chicken Pieces works really well too. I also like to add a mix of vegetables, for example Red and Green Peppers, Onion, Cauliflower, Spinach, Tomatoes, Sugar Snap Peas and Courgettes. If you like your curry especially hot, you can of course add some more Red Chillies if you want! 
  3.  For extra flavour, throw in a Cinnamon Stick.
  4. Cook everything over a simmering heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve with Basmati or Wholegrain Rice, and enjoy!
Have you made Thai Red Curry before?

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Easy Spring Makeup: Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm & Precious Metal Eyeshadows - Review & Swatches

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm & Precious Metal Eyeshadows - Review & Swatches
For me, Spring Makeup is all about achieving that coveted 'glow' - the one which instantly perks up a dull, Winter worn complexion. And for eyes, you can't beat a good old dose of shimmer to brighten up those peepers! Step forward these three Spring ready, high-end makeup treats from Ciate.
Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm - Review & Swatches
Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm* (5g, £22, link)

Ciate's newest product launch is this rather nifty Dewy Stix which comes packaged in a cute twist-up tube adorned with stars. Dewy Stix is a clever highlighting balm that gives you an instant sheer, wet-look glow without any glitter or shimmer (see a swatch further down), so if you love more subtle, 'no makeup makeup' looks, this is the highlighter for you.

It glides on super smoothly thanks to the soft balm texture that's infused with Hyaluronic Acid and Murumuru Butter, but it doesn't feel sticky or tacky. In fact, it doesn't really feel like you're wearing anything at all when you've got it on. As the balm technically has no 'colour' (it goes on clear - imagine Vaseline but without the heavy or greasy feeling), it's suitable for all skin tones and looks universally flattering on everyone which is pretty cool!

Where to use it: I've been swiping it onto the tops of my cheekbones, underneath the brow bones, on the cupid's bow and down the nose, plus you can use it on the collarbone and the tops of the shoulders for a subtle but sexy sheen. So easy and foolproof!
Ciate Precious Metal Eyeshadows - Review & Swatches
Ciate Precious Metal Eyeshadows in Lincoln Road & Washington Ave* (£18 each, link)

If you're looking for some new eyeshadow shades for your Spring makeup bag and fancy treating yourself in the process, look no further than Ciate's gorgeous Precious Metal Eyeshadows. I'm a sucker for some good quality metallic shimmer and these are just beautiful!

Each Precious Metal Eyeshadow comes complete with a mini eyeshadow brush and a pot of eyeshadow primer that twists off at the top to reveal the loose eyeshadow pigment at the bottom. The primer itself is pretty good, but you do have to warm it up with your fingertips before applying it (if you live in a hotter country, this probably wouldn't be an issue) to get it to go on smoothly as it's quite hard and solid in texture otherwise. It provides some good grip for the loose pigment to adhere to and helps the eyeshadow to stay put for most of the day.

The two shades of Precious Metal Eyeshadow that I've been trying are called Lincoln Road (a stunning warm bronze with a rosy pink undertone) and Washington Ave (a pale golden shimmer). The shadows are buildable and can be used both wet and dry, with a wet application offering a much more intense and shiny foil-like finish. As with all loose eyeshadow pigments, you don't need a lot of product to get the look that you're after so these pots will last you a very long time, and are really cool staples to have in your makeup collection.
Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm & Precious Metal Eyeshadows - Review & Swatches
Swatches! Ciate Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm & Precious Metal Eyeshadows in Lincoln Road and Washington Ave.

Are you a fan of Ciate makeup?

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Haircare Review: Tints Of Nature Hydrate range + Rep-Hair Supplements

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Tints Of Nature Hydrate range + Rep-Hair Supplements
The latest haircare range that I've been trialling recently comes from Tints Of Nature, a homegrown, eco-friendly, British brand who offer fantastic SLS-free formulas.

Tints of Nature are perhaps best known for their natural based hair dyes (I personally love their Semi-Permanent Hair Colours that I've reviewed in the past here), yet I've somehow managed to overlook their actual haircare range until now. Admittedly, their range is quite limited in terms of the product choice available, however, what they do sell is pretty damn good and I'd much rather shop from a smaller but effective range, than a massive one full of disappointing formulas!

As my hair is naturally dry, I decided to test out Tints Of Nature's Hydrate Shampoo, alongside the matching Conditioner and Treatment. I've also been trialling their popular Rep-Hair Supplements which I've mentioned towards the end of this post.
Tints Of Nature Hydrate range review
 Tints Of Nature Hydrate Shampoo & Conditioner* (250ml & 200ml, £6.98 each, link)

The Hydrate range has been specially formulated to 'nourish, plump and moisturise' your hair, whilst locking in colour and protecting against colour fade for those who dye their hair. If you regularly dye your hair, you may already know that ingredients such as SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulphate) and Sodium Chloride (Salt) are terrible for stripping away colour and leaving hair feeling dry. This Hydrate range from Tints Of Nature doesn't contain either of those and instead uses a special complex of natural and certified organic ingredients to keep hair looking and feeling its best. 

The hydrating formula contains the likes of Coconut, Aloe, Comfrey, Camomile, Wheat Proteins and Vitamin B5, which deeply nourish and strengthen dry or damaged hair. Both the shampoo and the conditioner won awards last year in the Natural Health International Beauty Awards so I was excited to try them.

I found that both of these worked really well for my hair and they smell good too - kinda fruity and fresh! The shampoo was easy to apply and rinse out, without leaving my hair feeling 'squeaky', and the conditioner is lovely and light to use for every day as it doesn't weigh down my fine hair. After using these two together, my hair was left feeling silky soft, bouncy, looking shinier and much healthier, and I also noticed that my often naturally frizzy hair had calmed down significantly - win win!
Tints Of Nature Hydrate range review
 Tints Of Nature Hydrate Treatment* (140ml, £8.98, link)

For an extra conditioning helping hand, Tints Of Nature's Hydrate Treatment is another award-winning product that delivers some impressive results. Like the matching shampoo and conditioner above, the Hydrate Treatment is also free from sulphates and parabens, and is colour safe for dyed hair. It uses key ingredients such as Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Aloe, Camomile, Comfrey, Wheat Proteins and Vitamin B5 to give even the driest or most damaged hair, a serious shot of hydration.

To use it, I applied 4-8 pumps as instructed to clean, towel-dried hair, combed it through and left it on for around 15 minutes. You can use less or more depending on how long or thick your hair is - I used around 6 pumps for my long, fine hair. After 15 minutes, I rinsed it out and left my hair to dry naturally to properly see the benefits. My hair was noticeably softer and totally swish-worthy with lots of glossy shine. It was also a lot more manageable and sleeker than usual which I loved. I think this would be a great treatment to use once a week to keep your hair in tip-top condition.
Tints Of Nature Rep-Hair Supplements review
Tints Of Nature Rep-Hair Hair and Nail Supplements* (60 capsules, £13.99, link)

Whilst topical products are all well and good for keeping your hair clean and soft, if you want to maintain healthy and strong hair, a specialist supplement may well help as a way to ensure that you're getting all the correct essential nutrients that your hair needs. 

Tints Of Nature's Rep-Hair Supplements are free from Gluten, Yeast, Sugar, Lactose and they're suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. They contain a range of naturally derived ingredients such as Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Biotin and Pantothenic Acid, which all help to maintain healthy hair and nails. Each bottle contains 60 capsules (you only need one a day), and I found them easy to swallow with a glass of water in the morning.

Did I see any difference in my hair and nails? To be honest, it's hard to say. I took them every day for 60 days and I think that my nails, in particular, have been feeling stronger but I'm not entirely sure if I've seen any change in my hair. As with all supplements, I think they're more useful to take on a longer-term basis, so if you've tried these yourself, let me know as I'd love to hear what you think!

To check out the full range from Tints Of Nature, visit their website: tintsofnature.com

Do you use natural SLS-free haircare products?

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Beauty Box: LoveLula Beauty Box - April 2017 review

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

LoveLula Beauty Box - April 2017 review
If you're a fan of natural and organic beauty and you enjoy higher-end skincare and pampering products, I have a feeling that you'll simply love this month's LoveLula beauty box.

April's LoveLula beauty box contains five products and features a good mix of brands, all of which are available to buy from the LoveLula website. These boxes are a really great, cost-effective way to try out some new products, as the contents of this month's box are worth £44, so without further ado, here's what I found inside!

Madara Brightening AHA Peel Mask (full size, RRP £20)
I was really pleased to see a full-size tube of this fantastic face mask in this month's box as I'd just finished up a travel size sample of it the other day, and I've been very tempted to purchase it! This mask is one of Madara's bestsellers and it uses a complex of active AHAs derived from natural fruit acids to gently, but effectively, exfoliate the skin. It always leaves my complexion looking brighter and clearer, so it's a fab mask to have in your skincare routine. 
LoveLula Beauty Box - April 2017 review
Greenfrog Botanic Soapberry Handwash in Geranium & Peppermint (100ml travel size)
This is an interesting handwash as it's made from Organic Soapberries which are grown sustainably in the Himalayan mountains, and they're renowned for their natural antibacterial properties in Ayurvedic medicine. SLS and parabens free, it thoroughly cleanses your hands but doesn't make them feel dry or stripped afterwards, and this scent Geranium & Peppermint is just lovely.

Marlenha Petal Delicate Eye Serum (2ml sachet sample)
Marlenha are a luxury anti-ageing Italian skincare brand who I haven't heard of before, and this sample of their Petal Delicate Eye Serum is a great way to try out one of their most popular products. I'll be popping this into my travel bag and look forward to giving it a go.

FOM London Antioxidant Hydra Plump & Firm Cream (15ml travel size)
Another popular anti-ageing skincare product comes from London based brand, FOM, and this is a generous travel size sample of their Antioxidant Hydra Plump & Firm Cream. It contains the brand's signature anti-ageing silk complex, which promotes collagen and acts as a 'skin-like moisture veil' to protect against environmental skin ageing. It's a little too rich for my skin type though, so I'll be passing it onto my mum to use instead.

Apple & Bears Pomegranate & Aloe Vera Body Wash (50ml travel size)
The last product in this month's LoveLula beauty box is a travel size sample from English brand, Apple & Bears' luxury body wash in the scent Pomegranate & Aloe Vera. It smells great and would be perfect to take with you for a long weekend away.

LoveLula Beauty Box* is a monthly subscription box priced at £12.50 with free postage in the UK. Visit lovelula.com to find out more.

Have you subscribed to LoveLula's Beauty Box?

Hit or Miss: ModelCo One Hour Tan Mousse, Natural Tan Sensitive Self-Tan Lotion & Self-Tan Back Applicator review

Monday, 17 April 2017

ModelCo One Hour Tan Mousse, Natural Tan Self-Tan Lotion & Self-Tan Back Applicator review
The Easter Bank Holiday has been a bit of washout weather-wise in my neck of the woods, so it's been the best opportunity for me to test out some new self-tanners from ModelCo!

ModelCo are a cruelty-free Australian brand who I've tried a few of their makeup products from in the past, but I'm not overly familiar with their range. They do seem to be one of those brands that frequent the world of beauty boxes and Glamour magazine freebies quite a lot (in fact, I believe their Contour Stick is in this month's Glossybox), though they're not a brand that I see many people talking about.

However, this may be all set to change as their new self-tanning range launched in the UK in Superdrug recently, and they've got some big name celebrity ambassadors on board including Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Elle Macpherson and Dannii Minogue. ModelCo's self-tanning line features a whole host of products including mousses, lotions, wipes, body scrubs etc, and with the campaign promising a 'supermodel worthy' tan, I just had to try some! 
ModelCo One Hour Tan Express Dark Tan Mousse review
 ModelCo One Hour Tan Express Dark Tan Mousse* (200ml, £14.49, link)

Self-tanning can be a long process, what with all the shaving, scrubbing and general prep work involved, and that's before you've actually applied the tan. This is why self-tanning products that develop in just one hour are so popular, and as I've been a long-time fan of Cocoa Brown's One Hour Instant Tan, I was interested to see how ModelCo's version would compare.

ModelCo's One Hour Tan comes in one colour, Express Dark, but don't let that worry you as this tan allows you to control how dark you want to go. If you prefer a light tan, just leave it on for one hour, whereas a medium tan requires two hours, and with three hours, you'll get a proper dark brown shade. 

The first thing that I noticed when I used this tan was how thick the mousse was - I think it's the thickest texture that I've ever experienced from a self-tanning product. It smells pleasant enough (like subtle coconut with a bit of the traditional biscuity fake tan smell there), and the initial guide colour is very dark. I applied it as usual with a tanning mitt and thought it went on well smoothly, but this tan is SO STICKY! It doesn't seem to fully dry and felt tacky for the whole three hours that I left it on for which made things awkward as I didn't want to get dressed or go to bed with it on as it does transfer slightly onto things. In the end, I put my dressing gown on and made sure that it went straight into the washing machine afterwards.

However, after three hours and a quick shower, I was left with a beautiful dark, but still natural looking, tan and it lasted around 5 days before starting to fade. I didn't have any streaks or anything like that, and I had lots of compliments from family and friends. I've since tried it for one hour for a light tan and two hours for a medium one, and both turned out really well with gorgeous natural tan colours. I only wish it didn't feel so sticky/tacky when it was developing as I imagine that will put a lot of people off, but I do love the end results. 
ModelCo Natural Tan Sensitive Self-Tan Lotion review
 ModelCo Natural Tan Sensitive Self-Tan Lotion* (170ml, £12.49, link)

If you have sensitive skin, it can be really difficult to find a suitable self-tanner, as many can be very drying, but ModelCo have developed one just for sensitive skin types that won't dry out your skin. Their Natural Tan Sensitive Self-Tan Lotion uses a range of natural ingredients such as Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter, Macadamia Oil, Coconut Oil, Goji Berries, and Aloe Vera, to ensure that skin is kept moisturised, soothed and protected. The formula is also free from parabens, PEGs, sulphates, silicones, glycol, mineral oil and synthetic colours to avoid irritating the skin, and like the rest of ModelCo's self-tanning range, it's suitable for vegans to use. Another thing that I found interesting about this formula is that the DHA tanning element is derived from sugar so it doesn't have that common drying feel like a lot of other self-tanners have.

I applied the lotion with a tanning mitt and it had a very similar scent to the One Hour Tan Mousse above. Thankfully, it was a lot less sticky, and absorbed much better than the mousse. Applying it was really easy as it just feels like a regular body moisturiser, but be aware that it goes on clear as there's no guide colour.

This tan takes around 6-8 hours to fully develop to a medium shade, and I left it on for the full eight hours overnight (it didn't stain any of my white bedsheets or clothes). I showered it off and was left with a really beautiful natural looking tan - not as dark as I expected, but a good light-medium colour nonetheless. Best of all, my skin didn't feel dry or irritated, and the tan lasted 3-4 days before it started to fade. I did see one or two patchy areas where I'd miss applying it, so if in doubt, I'd recommend adding an extra layer to make sure that you're properly covered. Definitely a good one to try if you have sensitive skin!
ModelCo Self Tan Back Applicator review
ModelCo Self Tan Back Applicator* (£9.49, link)

Now this is pure genius! Honestly, I don't know why every fake tan brand doesn't have one of these in their range! It's a large, rectangular shaped self-tanning mitt that you can use for your back and those hard to reach areas which means that you can apply fake tan whenever you want - no more having to wait for one of your friends to turn up to help you! I found it very easy to use, especially with the mousse formula, though the material does seem to absorb more product than a regular tanning mitt does. 

I absolutely love the sheer convenience of this applicator, and the mitt itself feels very smooth and soft, plus those handles allow you to make sure that every angle is covered. It's brilliant!

Have you tried anything from ModelCo's self-tanning range?

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