December Empties: Products I've Used Up

Saturday, 30 December 2017

December Empties: Products I've Used Up
There's nothing more satisfying than collecting together a bunch of empty beauty products, and it's even more satisfying when it's for the last blogpost of the year! Let's round off 2017 with my December Empties, which includes a lot of travel sizes that I've used up over the Christmas break.

December Empties: Products I've Used Up
BetterYou Magnesium Flakes Original Foot & Body Soak 
If you suffer from any soreness after exercise or get a bad case of the monthly cramps, magnesium products are an absolute godsend (check out my original feature on them here for more info about their benefits). I've tried a couple of different brands, but my favourite are these Magnesium Flakes from BetterYou which I always stock up on during Holland & Barrett's penny sales. Repurchase? Already have!  

Kneipp Pure Bliss Mineral Bath Salts 
Another bath product that I enjoy using are Kneipp's Pure Bliss Mineral Bath Salts, which are super relaxing and ideal to use before going to bed if you have any sleep or stress problems. They're enriched with Poppy and Hemp Oils and they smell SO good. Repurchase? Yes.  

STARSKIN Hydrating Mask*
I love STARSKIN's Bio-Cellulose masks because they feel like a 'second skin' and do an excellent job of locking in all the goodness from the serum, plus they're a good fit! This Hydrating Mask is one of my favourites from them and is perfect for this time of the year. Repurchase? Yes.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum
You know when you finish a really expensive skincare product and feel incredibly sad because you know you can't afford to buy another one? That's how I feel right now!  I absolutely loved this serum and it's one of the few that I've tried where I really saw a difference in my skin. The downside? It's £80 *sobs*. Repurchase? Way out of my budget at the moment sadly!

Bodhi & Birch Ylang Ylang Incensa Bath & Shower Therapy*
If you're a fan of Ylang Ylang and you haven't smelt this yet, you need to get a bottle pronto. It's seriously heavenly and feels like such a pampering treat whenever I use it. Repurchase? Will do once I've used up some other bath products first.

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer
Lost count of how many of these I've gone through over the years, and I love these 30ml sizes for travelling with. A really great toner spritz that you can also use over makeup to refresh it during the day. Repurchase? Already have another one in my stash.

December Empties: Products I've Used Up
Tisserand Sweet Dreams Bath Oil*
Last month, I used up a big size bottle of this and I just had to finish off this travel size afterwards! One of my favourite relaxing bath oils, especially for those evenings when I feel like I'm not going to get any sleep, this really does help. Repurchase? Yes.

Evolve Organic Beauty Satin Leg Gloss*
If you're into shimmery body oils, Evolve's Satin Leg Gloss is a must-try and is 99% natural. Despite the name, you can use this all over your body, but it looks especially good on arms and legs to give them a sexy and healthy looking sheen. Perfect for the party season and it smells incredible! Repurchase? Yes.

This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray
Another relaxing/stress relieving favourite of mine and something that I always travel with. Used up a lot of these over the years! Repurchase? Currently using a full-size bottle that's on my bedside table.

Wabi-Sabi Botanicals SAGGA Rose Cleansing Grains
This is one of those dry blends of exfoliator that you mix with water or a base oil/cream to create your own cleanser/scrub/mask. I liked it and it was fun to mix up, but there are other exfoliators out there that do a better job for my skin type. Repurchase? No.  

Herbfarmacy Calming Face Cream*
One of the best moisturisers for combination skin on the green beauty market, I was sad to see this end. It's wonderfully calming and balancing, plus I found that I needed to use less of it compared to a mainstream moisturiser, so it lasted ages. Repurchase? Definitely will after I've finished up some other moisturisers.

Caudalie Divine Oil
Oh, how happy I was when I found this in my stash as I thought I'd used up my last one last month! I've raved about this multi-purpose oil so many times and can't recommend it enough. It smells divine and is brilliant on hair and body. Repurchase? Yes.

December Empties: Products I've Used Up
Ila Bath Soak for Pure Relaxation
There's a definite 'relaxing bath' theme going on in this post isn't there?! Here's yet another favourite of mine from a lovely Cotswolds based company. This bath soak is pure bliss and always makes me feel relaxed afterwards. Repurchase? Yes.

Balm Balm Petitgrain Single Note Eau de Parfum*
It takes me forever to use up a bottle of perfume so it always feels like such an achievement when I get to include one in an Empties post. I love the Balm Balm Single Note fragrances and Petitgrain was a delightfully fresh and woody scent. Repurchase? I think it's been discontinued sadly.

Kneipp Herbal Bath Back Comfort Devil's Claw
This is the last bath product I swear! Another Kneipp favourite of mine is their Back Comfort Herbal Bath. Very relaxing and a great way to temporarily reduce back pains and tension. It does turn the bath water red though which is a little strange, but it doesn't stain anything. Repurchase? Yes.

Skin & Tonic Steam Clean
I've used a couple of these travel size pots from Skin & Tonic and I'm still not sure whether I like this balm cleanser or not. It does a fantastic job of removing makeup and gives a really deep clean, but it stings a little if I get it anywhere near my eyes which puts me off buying the full size. Repurchase? No.

Weleda Skin Food*
Skin Food needs no introduction on my blog as my regular readers will have seen this iconic green tube featured on here many, many times! I always get through a tube during the Winter months and I highly recommend it for anyone who has very dry skin as it can be used anywhere and everywhere. Repurchase? Already have!

Which beauty products have you used up this month?

Healthy Lifestyle: Unboxing LOWTOXBOX - December 2017

Thursday, 28 December 2017

LOWTOXBOX - December 2017
I hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas? Just before the festive break, I received December's LOWTOXBOX which is packed full of treats to keep those Christmas vibes flowing!

Last month, I had the pleasure of introducing LOWTOXBOX to my readers (check out that feature here if you missed it), so I was thrilled when they offered to send me another box to review. The subscription box market in the UK has grown enormously over the past few years, and the choice out there is literally insane, but there hasn't been much on offer for the more eco-conscious consumer until recently. I've now seen a big increase in the number of companies popping up with all manners of green beauty themed and healthy living boxes, and LOWTOXBOX are one of the ethical companies helping to lead the way.

Their monthly boxes are aimed at those who want to live healthier, greener lives, so you can expect to receive up to 8 products from categories such as Organic, Cruelty-Free, Vegan, Fairtrade, Healthy, Natural and Eco-Friendly. To keep the environment happy, all of their box packaging is fully recyclable and uses only non-toxic inks. In addition to this, LOWTOXBOX will plant a tree for every box sold to offset the carbon footprint of making the box and delivering it you, which is something that I'd love to see more subscription boxes do!

December's LOWTOXBOX has a lovely Christmassy feel to it and contains a whopping 10 products. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

 I AM By Nature - Medhini Face Scrub
 Iam By Nature Medhini Face Scrub

Certified organic by Eco Cert and Cosmos Organic, this kit from Iam By Nature contains everything that you need to make a natural brightening and exfoliating facial treatment in the comfort of your own home. There are three individually sealed pods (to keep the ingredients as fresh as possible) that you mix up, and then you simply apply the all-natural mixture directly to your face for a pampering skincare treat. All of the packaging is made from 100% recycled paper and can be recycled again to ensure zero waste. Neat!

Bubby Badger Large Bath Bomb in Apple Pie & Custard
 Bubbly Badger Large Bath Bomb in Apple Pie & Custard

I love bath bombs and this one is handmade by a British vegan-friendly company called Bubbly Badger. Oh, and it's HUGE! Scented with Apple Pie & Custard, it's not as sweet as you might imagine (or that might just be me as my nose is more used to the sickly sweet scents from Lush!), but I enjoyed using it nonetheless. Check out my current Instagram Stories to see its fizzy, bright green and yellow goodness in action! 

Seedbom Cornflower Fairy Lights
 Kabloom Seedbom Cornflower Fairy Lights

Seedboms are a genius product idea as they are so easy to use, and are a great way to attract more bees and other pollinating insects into your garden. The 'bomb' is made from recycled paper which can be recycled/composted after use, and inside there's a mix of organic compost and wildflower seeds which you can just throw onto bare soil and water. Easy! This Seedbom contains colourful 'polka dot' cornflowers and I can't wait to plant them next March. 

Veda Soul Awaken Lemon & Ginger Oat Delights
 Veda Soul Awaken Lemon & Ginger Oat Delights

Amongst the green beauty and lifestyle products, you'll also find some edible treats in your LOWTOXBOX and my-oh-my, these are a wonderful discovery! Made by Veda Soul, these chunky Oat Delights are 100% vegan, organic and free from refined sugar. Beautifully presented in a resusable rose gold tin, they have a deliciously light spicy zing thanks to the Lemon and Ginger, and are topped with a generous layer of dark 75% raw chocolate. Heavenly!

Soapy Skin Holistic Lemongrass Soap
 Soapy Skin Holistic Lemongrass Soap

Next up, I found a Soapy Skin Holistic soap in a wonderfully uplifting and refreshing Lemongrass scent. Free from 'nasties' such as SLS and parabens, the formula is handmade from only natural ingredients, making this vegan-friendly, cruelty-free soap a lovely addition to your bathroom. I'm currently using it as a hand soap and it smells so good.

 Emily Fruit Crisps in Crunchy Red Apple
 Emily Fruit Crisps in Crunchy Red Apple

I've had the pleasure of trying out a couple of flavours of Emily's Crisps, and these Crunchy Red Apple fruit crisps are deliciously moreish, plus they're only 62 calories per pack and count as 1 of your 5 a day. The packaging is beautiful and they really add a touch of luxury to your lunchbox!

Real Handful Fruit, Nut & Choc Mix in Blood Orange & Dark Choc
 Real Handful Fruit, Nut & Choc Mix in Blood Orange & Dark Choc

It wouldn't be a December box, without a bag of fruit and nut, and this Real Handful mix gets it bang on with some Dark Chocolate thrown in for good measure. Yum! It's also under 170 calories per bag, so if like me, you find portion sizes including nuts difficult to stick by, these bags are ideal for popping into your desk drawer to keep those hunger pangs away without ruining your diet.

Stoats Apple & Cinnamon Porridge Oat Bar
Stoats Apple & Cinnamon Porridge Oat Bar

The last edible treat from this month's box is a scrumptious Apple & Cinnamon Porridge Oat Bar from Stoats. Handmade in Scotland, these Oat Bars are perfect for those who have to eat their breakfast on the go, or are a fan of hiking/camping to keep those energy levels up!

Help Me Organics Thought Calming Candle
Help Me Organics Thought Calming Candle

Made exclusively for LOWTOXBOX, this Thought Calming Candle from Help Me Organics contains a super relaxing blend of organic Frankincense, Geranium Bourbon and Lavender essential oils to ease away the stresses of the holidays. Handmade in Cheshire, it has a 100% organic soy wax base to ensure that it burns cleanly without any black soot or harmful toxins, and uses an unbleached cotton wick. Definitely, a brand that I'll be looking further into come the New Year.

Eco Glitter Fun Biodegradable Glitter
Eco Glitter Fun Biodegradable Glitter

Proving that living sustainably or 'green' doesn't have to mean dull and boring, this little pot of Eco Glitter Fun is made from a type of certified biodegradable cellulose film so that it doesn't impact on the environment. This colourful mix is another exclusive for LOWTOXBOX and I love it! Comes with a pot of Aloe Vera gel to apply it with - bring on New Year's Eve!

LOWTOXBOX* is £18.75 per month, plus P&P. To find out more and to sign up, visit lowtoxbox.com

What's your favourite eco-friendly subscription box?

Foodie Friday: Pistachio, Lemon & Rose Drizzle Cake (Waitrose recipe / Vegetarian)

Friday, 22 December 2017

Pistachio, Lemon & Rose Drizzle Cake (Waitrose recipe / Vegetarian)
As much as I love a lot of traditional Christmassy things, I have to put my hand up and say that I'm not much of a fan of Christmas Pudding. If you're the same, why not try this interesting twist on the classic Lemon Drizzle Cake instead?

Pistachio, Lemon & Rose Drizzle Cake (Waitrose recipe / Vegetarian)
Baking during the Christmas holidays is one of life's little pleasures, and it's a great time to try out some new recipes for your family and friends to enjoy. I stumbled across this recipe from Waitrose during a recent clearout of some old newspapers, and I knew that I had to give it a try because it looked so beautiful! 

I adore Lemon Drizzle Cake anyway (who doesn't?), so this version which features Rose and Pistachios, gives the much-loved classic recipe a bit of a Middle Eastern twist, for something different to share on the table this festive season. The combination of flavours works incredibly well, with the Pistachios giving the cake a little distinctive nutty crunch, and the Rose adding some delicate floral hints, as well as that gorgeous decoration.

Pistachio, Lemon & Rose Drizzle Cake (Waitrose recipe / Vegetarian)
My main tip to ensure that a cake like this turns out lovely and soft in the middle, is to make sure that your butter has been softened. It can be all too easy to try and skip that step, but if you attempt to cream and blend butter that's still too hard, you'll simply end up with a disappointing cake that's thick and stodgy inside. 

Instead, I suggest following Mary Berry's advice and soften the butter by cutting it into large cubes and placing them in a lukewarm bowl of water for around 10 minutes. All you need to do after that is drain off the water and you're good to go with perfectly softened butter that will give you a great base for a delicious cake.

Pistachio, Lemon & Rose Drizzle Cake (Waitrose recipe / Vegetarian)
Ingredients:
(for the Cake)
  • 175g Butter, softened
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • Zest and Juice of 2 unwaxed Lemons
  • 3 Large Free-Range Eggs
  • 200g Self-Raising Flour
  • 50g Pistachio Nuts, chopped
  • 2tsp edible Rose Petals

(for the Lemon Drizzle & Garnish)
  • Juice and Zest of 1 unwaxed Lemon
  • 2tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 1tsp edible Rose Petals, plus extra to garnish
  • 1/2 tsp Rose Water
  • 1tbsp Pistachio Nuts, chopped

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4. Grease and base line a 900g Loaf Tin.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the Butter, Sugar and Lemon Zest until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the Eggs, one a time.
  • Next, lightly stir in the Flour, Rose Petals and Pistachios. Add the Lemon Juice and gently mix to combine everything together.
  • Spoon this mixture into the prepared Loaf Tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until it's golden on the outside and a skewer comes out clean when pressed into the centre.
  • While the cake is baking, make the Drizzle by gently heating the Lemon Juice, Sugar, Rose Petals, Rose Water and Pistachios in a saucepan, until the sugar has dissolved, Allow to cool slightly.
  • When the cake is done, allow it to cool, then pour over the Drizzle and Garnish with a sprinkle of Rose Petals - enjoy!

[The original Waitrose recipe can be found online here, where you can make an additional Rose Cream to serve, for a spot of extra indulgence.]

Pistachio, Lemon & Rose Drizzle Cake (Waitrose recipe / Vegetarian)
What cakes are you baking this Christmas?

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Christmas Gift Guide 2017: The Last Minute Edit (Online & Highstreet)

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Christmas Gift Guide  2017: The Last Minute Edit (Online & Highstreet)
Still on the hunt for some Christmas Gifts and Stocking Fillers? Forgot someone's Secret Santa? It's not too late! Here's my handy Last Minute Edit filled with beauty treats and featuring a wide range of brands and stockists.

Masque Bar Pretty Animalz Reindeer Calming Sheet Mask
 MasqueBAR Pretty Animalz Reindeer Calming Sheet Mask* (£4, link) & iN.gredients Cream Masks* (£3 each, link)

For a super cute stocking filler, MasqueBAR have released a range of festive Animalz Sheet Masks which feature the animal printed onto the mask itself for the ultimate Christmas skincare selfie! Each one has a different purpose and this Reindeer mask is perfect for hydrating and soothing. Available online from ASOS or from your local House Of Fraser. Also available from ASOS are the festive-themed face masks from MasqueBAR's iN.gredients range which include the delicious Hot Cocoa (hydrating), Candy Cane (purifying), and Egg Nog (anti-ageing). These are all cream masks that smell exactly like their names!

Skin79 Golden Snail 24k Hydro Gel Mask
 Skin79 Golden Snail 24k Hydro Gel Mask* (£5.90, link) & Venetian Carnival Shiny Star Mask* (£3.90, link)

If you're looking for a sheet mask stocking filler that's more luxurious, cult Korean brand Skin79 have a massive range of different masks for all skin types and concerns. Two of my favourites are the Golden Snail 24k Hydro Gel Mask which is fantastic for anti-ageing and extra radiance, and the Venetian Carnival Shiny Star Mask that's a great pre-party mask for a gorgeous hydrating glow. Both available online from HQ Hair

KISS Looks So Natural Iconic Lashes
 KISS Looks So Natural Iconic Lashes* (£4.99, link), Lash Couture Strip Lash Adhesive* (£4.99, link), Kiss Gel Fantasy Nails* (£6.99, link) & imPRESS Press-On Manicure* (£7.99, link)

Popping into Superdrug or Boots? Head straight to the KISS stand and pick up some of their beautiful lashes and nail kits. I love their Looks So Natural Lashes for a pretty, fluttery, easy-to-wear style and a tube of their Lash Couture Strip Lash Adhesive would make a fab stocking filler for any girlie girl who is always wearing fake lashes! Their Gel Fantasy and imPRESS nail kits are also a must-buy for DIY mani-fans with lots of shades and styles to choose from.

 Brushworks HS Midi Sponge Set
 Brushworks HD Midi Sponge Set* (£9.99, link) & HD Oval Brush Set* (£12, link)

Makeup accessories and tools are huge Christmas gifts this year and Brushworks have something for everyone. Their HD Midi Sponge Set contains four high-quality, latex-free blending sponges that can be used with a variety of liquid and cream based products, whilst the HD Oval Brush Set is a brilliant affordable dupe of the popular Artis brushes that have dominated Youtube tutorials this year. Best of all? These sets and much more are currently in the 3 for 2 offer online at Feel Unique - win win!

MUA Matte Supreme & Cashmere Collective Eyeshadow Palettes
 MUA Matte Supreme & Cashmere Collective Eyeshadow Palettes* (£8 each, link)

Eyeshadow palettes are also insanely popular this year and MUA's latest 25 Shade Eyeshadow Palettes are a budget-friendly way to gift the makeup lover in your life with a whole bunch of new colours! There are several colourways to choose from, but my personal favourites are Matte Supreme (this really is the ultimate neutral matte palette) and Cashmere Collective (a selection of beautiful matte and shimmery, neutral and smokey shades). Available online from MUA direct and Superdrug

Joan Collins I Am Woman Eau De Parfum
Joan Collins I Am Woman Eau De Parfum* (12ml, £15, link) & Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré* (£15, link)

Some stocking filler ideas that I think mums/aunties/older female relatives and friends will enjoy, include Joan Collins' popular I Am Woman fragrance (a classic feminine scent with citrusy top notes layered over a woody and musky base with hints of floral), and the French skincare guru's favourite, Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré, which is an ultra-rich multi-purpose cream that's perfect for Winter and currently available in a ready-to-gift, Limited Edition Paris design.

 Know Cosmetics No Bleeding Lips
 Know Cosmetics No Bleeding Lips Secret Lip Liner* and No Dark Shadows Complexion Enhancer* (£12.50 each, link) & Carmex Skinny Dip Limited Edition Lip Balm* (£3.95, link)

Your local Lloyds Chemist might not be the first place that you think of when it comes to shopping for Christmas gifts, but my local one is a great place to find some beauty bargains from bestselling brands. If your local stocks Know Cosmetics, look out for the No Bleeding Lips Secret Lip Liner (a clear lip liner that can be used with any lipstick) and No Dark Shadows Complexion Enhancer (a cheeky YSL Touche Eclat dupe that provides more coverage for pesky dark circles). 

If you need a cutesy little stocking filler for a teen or young daughter, I think they'd love the new Limited Edition Carmex collab with Skinny Dip which has been given a festive twist with a yummy Sugar Plum flavour, and it features a unicorn! Available from Superdrug.

Superdrug Studio London Metal Hair Accessories
 Superdrug Studio London Metal Hair Accessories* (£2.99 each, link)

Also from Superdrug, you'll find these new, on-trend metal hair accessories from their Studio London range which make brilliant stocking fillers, especially if you have teens or young girls to buy for. Plus they're in the current buy one, get the second half-price offer on Superdrug hair essentials so now's the time to stock up! 

Clipper Snore & Peace Gift Caddy
Clipper Snore & Peace Gift Caddy* (£10, link)

Tea lovers will adore this beautifully presented and reusable Gift Caddy that contains Clipper's bestselling Snore & Peace blend in 30 enveloped tea bags. This relaxing infusion of Chamomile, Lemon Balm and Lavender will help to send your recipient off to the land of nod so that they can get a restful night's sleep during the busy festive season. Certified organic by the Soil Association and available from Amazon.

Image Skincare Forever Young Gift Set
US ONLY! Image Skincare Forever Young Gift Set* (link)

Lastly, as I've had some requests from a few of my American followers for gift recommendations, I wanted to include the Forever Young Gift Set from Image Skincare. Available in the US only, this set contains a great travel-size selection from Image's Vital C range (Hydrating Facial Cleanser, Anti-Ageing Serum, Repair Creme and Moisturiser), alongside a gorgeous Silk Eye Mask designed by DANNIJO. 

What last minute Christmas gifts are you buying this year?

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Unboxing: LoveLula Beauty Box - December 2017 review

Monday, 18 December 2017

LoveLula Beauty Box - December 2017 review
December's LoveLula Beauty box arrived last week, and although it's not Christmas themed like a lot of the other boxes around at the moment, it does have a nice mix of Winter-friendly skincare and party-ready makeup in it!

This month's box boasts three full-size products and is worth a whopping £58, so shall we see what's inside?

LoveLula Beauty Box - December 2017 review
Madara SOS Instant Moisture + Radiance Mask (full size, RRP £35)
Madara are a regular feature in the LoveLula beauty boxes and they're one of my favourite natural and organic skincare brands. For December's box, they've included a full-size SOS Instant Moisture + Radiance Mask which is absolutely perfect for the colder Winter months. This hydrating mask has been scientifically proven to rehydrate skin and can be used by all skin types whenever your complexion needs a moisture boost. You can leave it on for 20 minutes and wipe it off, or for a more intensive treatment (which is especially useful if you have dry skin), you can leave it on overnight. I've used this mask in the past and it always makes my skin feel amazing; so soft and plumped up every time! 

PHB Natural & Organic Lip Crayon in Peach (full size, RRP £8.95)
Makeup fans will love the fact that there's not one, but two makeup products in this month's box, both of which are from PHB. The first one that I tried out was the Lip Crayon which comes in the shade Peach. It's a much brighter shade than what I expected for this time of the year, but if you're not into the typical reds and berry colours of the season, Peach is a lovely alternative. I've worn it twice since it arrived and I quite like it - it works best when applied all over the lips as it has a little bit of golden shimmer to it. Goes on smoothly and feels very comfortable on the lips which is a must during Winter. 

Mossa Skin Perfector 5-in1 BB in Soft Beige (sample)
There's been a big buzz around Mossa (Madara's little sister company who are also more affordable - yay!) in the green beauty world lately, so I was very pleased to see a sample of their Skin Perfector BB cream. I haven't used a BB since Summer, but I felt compelled to try this over the weekend and I really like it! It has a typical sheer/very light tinted coverage with a mattifying finish, and it looks very natural - like your skin, but better. It did oxidise a little on me though, so I'm going to pick up a few more samples to test it out further to see if it still does this with a primer underneath or not.

LoveLula Beauty Box - December 2017 review
Dr. Hauschka Hydrating Cream Mask (sample)
Next up, I found another sample, this time from Dr. Hauschka and their newly reformulated Hydrating Cream Mask. I haven't tried the original formula so I can't compare this new one against that I'm afraid, but I can say that my skin loved this mask. It gives the skin a serious hydration boost in just 20 minutes and is easily removed with a warm face cloth/flannel afterwards. I'll definitely be looking into the buying the full-size of this at some point!

PHB Natural Liquid Eye Liner in Black (full-size, RRP £12.95)
This is the first time that I've tried a 100% natural liquid eyeliner and I have to admit that this one from PHB is very hit and miss. Starting with the positives though, I like the packaging as the skinny flexible applicator makes it easy to draw a precise thin line, and the formula is neither too thin or thick in consistency - it's just right. It's suitable for vegans and doesn't contain any of the potential 'nasties' that can irritate sensitive eyes, so if your eyes water or go red whenever you use mainstream eyeliners, this is definitely one to try. The liner is also incredibly easy to remove and doesn't require heavy duty eye makeup removers to take it off at the end of the day. 

The not so good points then? Well, the pigmentation isn't the best and although it's in the shade called 'True Black', it's not as richly pigmented and black as most of my other non-natural eyeliners are. This means that you need to layer it if you want to achieve a thicker line or a bolder look. It also takes forever to fully dry - I'm talking a good 5 minutes or so of not blinking/moving/doing anything else, unless you set it with a little black eyeshadow powder which is what I've had to resort to doing to make this workable. And that waterproof claim? Absolutely not - I got caught in the rain with this on at the weekend and immediately turned into a panda - not a good look! That said, some of the pros definitely outweigh the cons, and if my eyes are feeling sensitive, I'll probably still reach for this, but I'll definitely make sure to set it with eyeshadow (and check the weather forecast first!).

Urban Veda Skincare (samples)
The final items that I discovered at the bottom of the box were three skincare samples from Urban Veda; Reviving Facial Oil, Purifying Protecting Night Cream and Reviving Day Cream. Only the Purifying one is for my skin type, unfortunately, so I'll be passing the others onto my mum to try out instead. 

LoveLula Beauty Box* is a monthly subscription box priced at £13.95 with free postage in the UK. Visit lovelula.com to find out more.

Have you subscribed to LoveLula's Beauty Box?

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Winter Skincare: Organii Intensive Organic Face & Body Oil and Soothing Cream review

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Organii Intensive Organic Face & Body Oil and Soothing Cream reviewWith the recent snow and freezing temperatures, Organii's newest Intensive range couldn't have arrived at a better time to save dry skins everywhere!

Organii are a fantastic natural and organic brand. I recently featured their Argan Shower Gel in my Cold Weather Skincare post, and the brand were kind enough to send me two of their brand new Intensive products to try when they found out that I had eczema. 

Specially developed by Hannah Pearson, (a fellow eczema sufferer, natural health consultant and herbalist), Organii's latest Intensive range currently comprises of two beneficial products designed to help soothe, moisturise and protect very dry, sensitive and eczema prone skin types.  I've had eczema ever since I was a young child, so I'm always on the lookout for natural products that will help, especially as my flare-ups tend to get aggravated by the colder weather. When these two newbies landed on my doorstep last month, I couldn't wait to slap them on!

Organii Intensive Organic Face & Body Oil and Soothing Cream review
Organii Intensive Organic Face & Body Oil* (100ml, £29.95, link)
Oils are amazing for dry and sensitive skin types and I frequently use many oil-based products all over my body and on my face. This one can be used anywhere and everywhere and is free from a long list of common 'nasties' and irritants, so it's as gentle and kind to your skin as possible.  It's also been formulated without nut oils which is interesting to see as many natural brands regularly use Argan or Almond Oils as a base ingredient, and whilst I have no problems with these, I can appreciate that they can't be used by those who have a nut allergy. 

Instead, this Face & Body Oil is made up of just five ingredients; cold-pressed Sunflower Seed Oil, cold-pressed Rosehip Seed Oil, Nettle Leaf extract, Chickweed extract and Ribwort Plantain Leaf extract, making the overall composition 100% natural and 100% organic (certified by the Soil Association and Cosmos Organic). The oil feels very light and is easily absorbed into the skin with a quick massage, bringing instant relief to itchy areas and helping to reduce any inflammation. Being free from essential oils means that it doesn't really have much of a scent to it, and I find that this product is particularly beneficial for people who have larger areas of dry skin and eczema to cover, as the oil spreads so easily over these without leaving the skin feeling sticky or greasy.

Organii Intensive Organic Face & Body Oil and Soothing Cream review
Organii Intensive Organic Soothing Cream* (50ml, £29.95, link)
If you prefer a super rich cream to treat your eczema or dry skin, the new Intensive Organic Soothing Cream is a wonderful concoction of cold-press hypoallergenic oils and plant-based butters. This award-winning formula is exactly the same formula as the well-known Gentle Green Soothing Cream and has now been made especially for Organii's Intensive range, so you know it's one that can be trusted to work! It includes a range of ingredients which have been proven to have natural anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it suitable for those who have eczema, psoriasis and rosacea, plus you can use it on any rashes, stings, burns, scars, stretch marks and wrinkles to treat and nourish.

It really is a powerhouse multi-purpose cream that's packed full of some of nature's most skin-friendly ingredients such as Shea Butter, Avocado Butter, Coconut Butter, Chamomile, Manuka, Sunflower Seed Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Hemp Seed Oil and Seabuckthorn Oil to name but a few. It's perhaps no surprise, but a little of this goes an incredibly long way and it hydrates and soothes like a dream. I like using this on really sore patches and leaving it on overnight to do its magic - it works a treat!

Have you tried anything from Organii?

Christmas Gift Guide 2017: Budget Friendly Green Beauty Stocking Fillers & Gifts Under £15

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Budget Friendly Green Beauty Stocking Fillers & Gifts Under £15
Need some stocking fillers or looking for some smaller, affordable green beauty gifts? This is the Gift Guide for you and everything featured is under £15!

 Lyonsleaf 100% Natural Body and Face Gift Set
 Lyonsleaf 100% Natural Body and Face Gift Set* (£14.99, link)

Lyonsleaf are one of my favourite British skincare brands and they always have these amazing value for money giftsets where you can try out their bestsellers in smaller jars. This particular set features two of my personal faves; the multi-purpose Beauty Balm (30ml) which can be used as a cleanser, exfoliator and moisturiser, and their super-rich and intensive Body Butter (30ml). Both of these products are 100% natural and waterless, meaning that they're free from preservatives. You also get a soft white cotton face flannel and two muslin face cloths to complete your skincare routine with. A fantastic introductory set to this wonderful brand! 

Nizou Scented Candle in Luscious Fig & Amber
 Nizou Scented Candle in Luscious Fig & Amber* (190g, £14.90, link)

I love receiving candles as gifts at any time of the year, but they are of course absolutely perfect for Christmas and Winter time! You can't beat Nizou for affordable luxury candles that come boxed and ready to gift. Theirs are made from pure, natural, biodegradable, soybean wax, have a cotton wick, and are hand-poured here in the UK. They have a range of beautiful scents available including this Luscious Fig & Amber fragrance which I love burning at this time of the year.

JOIK Vanille et Noisette Scented Candle
 JOIK Vanille et Noisette Scented Soy Wax Candle* (145g, £13.50, link)

Another company that does exceptionally good affordable luxury candles are JOIK, who make all of their products by hand. This Estonian brand has a mouthwatering selection of scented candles in sweet and foodie scents, as well as some gorgeous classic fragrances, so there's something for everyone. I've been enjoying their Vanille et Noisette Candle which blends together heavenly sweet notes of Caramel, rich Maple and Chestnuts in a warm buttery base. It smells good enough to eat! 

Madara Hand & Body Soap in Cranberry Juniper
 Madara Hand & Body Soap in Cranberry Juniper* (150g, £6.50, link)

Soap lovers will adore these luxury Hand & Body Soaps from Madara which are made of 99% natural ingredients, of which 71% are certified organic by Ecocert. My favourite is the festive Cranberry Juniper soap because it's fresh and fruity, and makes my skin feel so soft afterwards. A perfect Stocking Stuffer!

Green People Spice & Root Hand Cream
 Green People Spice & Root Hand Cream* (30ml, £7.95, link)

Hand cream is always a popular gift with many people and Green People's festive Spice & Root Hand Cream comes beautifully boxed for an easy Secret Santa or Stocking Filler gift. Boasting a formula of 91% organic ingredients, it smells subtly of Ginger and Lemongrass and is a wonderful pampering treat for dry hands. 

Dr. Hauschka Invigorating Lemon Body Trial Set
 Dr. Hauschka Invigorating Lemon Body Trial Set* (£11, link)

For a complete pampering body set that's just over £10, Dr. Hauschka's Invigorating Lemon Body Trial Set features four travel size/try me products (all 10ml) from their incredibly popular Lemongrass Vitalising range. Inside, you'll receive the Bath Essence, Body Wash, Body Milk and Body Oil, which are suitable for all skin types. I love this refreshing and zingy Lemongrass scent so much!

Conscious Skincare Amyris and Vetiver Organic Body Lotion
 Conscious Skincare Amyris and Vetiver Organic Body Lotion* (250ml, £14, link) & Rhubarb and Cinnamon Organic Hand and Body Wash* (250ml, £13, link)

If you're shopping for singular luxury organic body care gifts, look no further than Welsh brand, Conscious Skincare who have recently introduced several new products to their eco-friendly ranges. Their Amyris and Vetiver Organic Body Lotion features a Christmassy blend of Amyris, Vetiver and Frankincense essential oils in a hydrating moisturiser base, and their equally festive Rhubarb and Cinnamon Hand and Body Wash is formulated with added Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Mandarin essential oils for extra Christmas spirit!

JOIK Orange & Cinnamon Bath Truffles
 JOIK Orange & Cinnamon Bath Truffles* (set of 6, £10, link)

A hot bath when it's freezing cold outside is one of life's most appreciated little pleasures, so give the gift of luxury bathing with JOIK's decadent Orange & Cinnamon Bath Truffles. Packed full of nourishing ingredients such as Cocoa Butter and scented with Orange and Cinnamon essential oils, these bath truffles come in a set of six generous portions and cost just £10.

Balm Balm Limited Edition Christmas Cracker
Balm Balm Limited Edition Christmas Cracker* (£12, link)

It's not Christmas without a cracker and this Limited Edition Cracker is stuffed with four mini Balm Balm skincare products and a muslin face cloth - now that's better than a plastic toy and a naughty joke isn't it?! Inside, you'll find travel sizes of their bestselling Super Light Coconut Cleanser, Rose Floral Hydrosol, Little Miracle Rosehip Serum and Beauty Balm. A fun and festive way to introduce this lovely brand to a friend or loved one!

What's on your Christmas list this year?

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Christmas Gift Guide 2017: Gifts for Tea Lovers with Adagio Teas

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts for Tea Lovers with Adagio Teas
For all your tea gifting needs this year, head over to the specialists Adagio Teas, who have something for everyone!

Regular readers will know that I love my tea and I've featured Adagio Teas on here many times in the past because they offer such an incredible selection of high-quality teas in a vast range of flavours. They specialise mostly in loose tea, but they do have some pyramid bags now as you'll find out below. 

I was thrilled to work with them again this year for this little Gift Guide selection to show you some of the presents that they have to offer - enjoy!

Adagio Teas Holidays Cheer Stocking Stuffers Set
 Adagio Teas Holiday Cheer Stocking Stuffers Set* (£12, link)

One of my favourite gift sets from Adagio are their popular Holiday Cheer Stocking Stuffers sets which contain six flavours of loose full leaf black tea in decorative tins. They are super festive and they all taste delicious! In this set you'll receive the following flavours; Gingerbread, Candy Apple, Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry, Chestnut and Candy Cane. It's hard to pick a favourite, but I'm particularly partial to the Gingerbread and Candy Cane flavours! Great to give as it is or you can split them and pop a tin into numerous stockings.

Adagio Teas Sweet Tooth Teas
 Adagio Teas Sweet Tooth Teas* (£6, link)

If you know someone who loves sweet flavoured teas, this Sweet Tooth set is a fantastic way for them to try out four different loose leaf Ceylon black tea flavours. Comprised of four sample bags, it includes Caramel, Cream, Tiger Eye and Chocolate Chip, and there's enough in this box to make 40 cups of tea (10 of each flavour). Yum!

Adagio Teas Chai Teas
 Adagio Teas Chai Teas* (£7, link)

For the chai tea lover in your life, you can't beat this amazing sample set of Chai Teas for something different. The set contains four flavours featuring unique chai blends such as Masala Chai (spicy and bold), Chocolate Chai (rich and sweet), Spiced Apple Chai (sweet and fruity), and Thai Chai (a mix of coconut, lemongrass and masala spices). Like the set above, this one also makes up to 40 cups of tea. 

Adagio Teas Holiday Cheer Gourmet Teabag Set
 Adagio Teas Holiday Cheer Gourmet Teabag Set* (£14, link)

As I mentioned earlier, Adagio Teas also stock blends of full-leaf tea which come in pyramid tea bags and this gourmet Holiday Cheer set is a great way to try out their festive blends without the need for an infuser. It contains the same flavours as the Holiday Cheer Stocking Stuffers set above (GingerbreadCandy ApplePumpkin SpiceCranberryChestnut and Candy Cane), and you get 30 gourmet pyramid tea bags that are individually wrapped for ultra-convenience (5 of each flavour). 

Adagio Teas toastTEA
Adagio Teas toastTEA* (£28, link)

In addition to their tea blends, Adagio Teas sell a range of tea-related accessories and their bestselling toastTEA is a must-have for commuters and eco-friendly people who still want to enjoy their loose-leaf teas on the go. This handy travel infuser is made from stainless steel and will keep your tea hot or cold for several hours. It has an infuser section to perfectly brew your loose leaf tea and can hold up to 500ml. Available in three colours, this is one of those gifts that will be appreciated over and over again!

Lastly, I wanted to give a quick mention to Adagio's Storage Tins (£8 for a set of three, link) because they are great quality, keep your loose tea airtight and come in a range of colours. Very handy to have in your kitchen and I love how you can stack them if you're short on space.

To shop the full range of Adagio Teas Christmas Gifts, visit adagiotea.co.uk

Are you a tea lover?

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