UK Giveaway: Win a full set of 7th Heaven Spa Range Pamper Treats - 3 Sets to Giveaway!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

7th Heaven Spa Range Pamper Treats
We've finally made it through the longest, greyest month of the year (hooray!), and to celebrate surviving January, I've teamed up with 7th Heaven to give three of my lovely UK readers the chance to win a full set of their Spa Range products.

I've been using Montagne Jeunesse 7th Heaven face mask sachets since I was a teenager, and I've been excited to see the brand grow over the years with new products coming out all the time. Their Spa Range is the latest development and it currently features three pamper-friendly products in their iconic sachets. These are:-
  • Softening Glove Masques - A 15-20-minute moisturising treatment for dry hands, enriched with Shea Butter and scented with Rose Petals.
  • Softening Sock Masques - Similar to the gloves above, these are a 15-20 minute moisturising treatment for dry feet which feature Shea Butter, Almond Oil and refreshing Peppermint.
  • Strengthen Nail & Cuticle Fingers Masques - Weak, brittle, damaged nails? Give them some TLC with these clever little finger masques which get to work in just 15 minutes. Enriched with Pomegranate extract, Argan and Macadamia Oil. 

Each of the 7th Heaven Spa Range products is a one-use, sheet mask style application. I've tested all of them out recently, and my favourite is the Strengthen Nail & Cuticle Masques (pictured above) which have been helping to sort out my ridiculously dry cuticles and nails. They did get some funny looks from my housemates (especially the socks and gloves - no surprises there!), but the results were worth it! 

These products are cruelty-free, Vegetarian Society approved, and are currently priced at £2.99 each. You can find them in your local Primark, ASDA and online from ocado.com

Want to win a set?
I have 3 x full sets of these to giveaway to 3 lucky UK readers. If you fancy entering, just enter your details into the Rafflecopter below, making sure to include an email address or Twitter handle so that I can contact you if you win. Optional entries are also available if you'd like more chances to win! Giveaway ends on next week on 7th February and winners will be drawn via random.org - good luck!


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New In Green Beauty: Antonia Burrell Biotech Supreme Pressed Serum, Nourish Kale 3D Cleanse & Tropic Super Greens Nutrient Boost Serum review

Monday, 30 January 2017

Antonia Burrell Biotech Supreme Pressed Serum, Nourish Kale 3D Cleanse & Tropic Super Greens Nutrient Boost Serum review
New and innovative skincare products are emerging from the green beauty world left, right and centre at the moment, and there's plenty to be getting excited about. Here are just a mere handful of the latest releases from three key British brands, Antonia Burrell, Nourish, and Tropic, who are flying the flag for effective, natural skincare. I've been testing them all out for about 4-5 weeks now, so here are my thoughts!
Antonia Burrell Biotech Supreme Pressed Serum review
 Antonia Burrell Biotech Supreme Pressed Serum* (50ml, £85, link)
Antonia Burrell is something of a green queen superstar in the skincare industry, and I love her holistic approach to skin health, as well as her sheer passion for what she does. Her new Pressed Serum has been five years in the making and is described as a 'skin perfecting elixir' which can be used by everyone regardless of your skin tone, skin type or skin condition. It's a true multi-tasker as it can be used as a standalone moisturiser, primer and a serum. The formula boasts four plant-powered biotechnologies (Plant Stem Cell, Natural Peptides, Fermentation, and Olesome) which work in synergy to deliver the best possible results for your skin, and also includes a range of plant actives such as White Bird of Paradise Flower (brightening/evens out skin tone), Amaranth Oil (rich in Omegas 7 & 9 to calm, soothe and nourish), and Poria Cocos Root Extract (popular fungus used in Chinese medicine to reduce redness and irritation). 

I first tried this out in place of my regular moisturiser and whilst I liked the instant plumping effects, it wasn't quite hydrating enough for me during this freezing cold weather. I swapped it around in my skincare routine to use as a serum instead, and I've been loving it! It pairs well with any day and night moisturiser that I've tried with it and really helps to brighten up my skin, as well as reducing redness. I also feel like my skin has become less sensitive since using this as it doesn't seem to get as irritated as easily anymore. It does take a little longer than most of my serums to absorb, but for the sake of an extra minute or so, it's truly worth the wait. If you've got the cash to invest in a new clean, green, effective serum, be sure to check this one out.
Nourish Kale 3D Cleanse review
 Nourish Kale 3D Cleanse* (100ml, £25, link)
I've been a long time fan of Nourish and two of my favourite products from them come from their popular Kale range. I'm currently on my second or third tube of their Kale Biomimetic Anti-Aging Eye Cream, and I used up another Kale Enzymatic Exfoliating Cleanser last month which you can see in my December Empties post here. It's safe to say then that I was pretty excited when I heard the news that they were going to release a new Kale related product, and I couldn't wait to try it!

Nourish's Kale 3D Cleanse contains a blend of key ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, Probiotics, Oxygenating Extracts, Kale and Griffonia, to remove makeup, impurities and daily grime, and it helps to protect the skin against pollution which helps to minimise the signs of ageing. It comes out as a clear cream, but when you start to massage it into your skin, it transforms into a light green colour which is strangely satisfying to watch. I really enjoy using this as a morning cleanser because I feel it 'wakes up' my skin as it's very refreshing, and makes my skin thoroughly clean without leaving it tight, dry or stripped. 
Tropic Super Greens Nutrient Boost Serum review
Tropic Super Greens Nutrient Boost Serum* (30ml, £42, link)
We all know that green smoothies are great for our health, but how about utilising the benefits of greens into a serum?! Tropic have done just that with their new Super Greens Nutrient Boost Serum and as you just read above, I'm a big fan of kale in my skincare, so I was eager to try something like this to see if it lives up to the hype.

Hailed as a 'green juice for your skin', this Super Greens Serum is packed full of vitamin-rich and skin nourishing ingredients such as Chlorophyll, Kale, Maca Root extracts, Green Coffee, Marula, Tamanu and Kendi Oils. It has a nice lightweight texture that sinks into the skin quickly, and don't be alarmed by the green coloured composition - this soon disappears once it's absorbed. I didn't see any immediate results when I started to use this, but it seems to be one that gets better the more you use it as after the second and third weeks, I began to notice some differences. My skin has started to look more glowy and healthy in the mornings (I've been using this in the evenings), and the overall texture of my skin was much smoother. So far so good then!

Have you tried any of these?

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Beauty Box: Love Me Beauty - January 2017 review

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Love Me Beauty - January 2017 review
My Love Me Beauty box/bag appeared to have gotten caught up in the post somewhere, as it's arrived super late this month, but it's finally here!

January's Edit had a good selection of brands to choose from, with the likes of Ecotools, Tangle Teezer, Nuxe, Make Up For Ever, and Caudalie to name a few. They do chop and change the products almost every week, so it's nice to have the option to search through the updated edit if you miss out on something, or if your membership renewal date falls on a later date in the month. For more info on how it works, check out my review from last month (here) which goes into some detail about the credits that you're allocated, as it's quite a different setup from most other beauty boxes on the market.

So then! Here's what I chose for January:-
Love Me Beauty - January 2017 review
Nuxe Reve de Miel Hand and Nail Cream (30ml)
You guys know that I'm a bag fan of the cult lip balm from the same range, and as I love the scent, I decided to pick up the matching hand cream to try out. My hands have been seriously dry all Winter long, so this travel size tube will come in very useful in my handbag! You can never have enough hand creams anyway right?!

Make Up For Ever Excessive Lash Mascara (2.5ml)
Sticking with the theme of adding to stashes, you can never have enough mascara as well right?! As always, I couldn't resist trying out this deluxe travel size mini from Make Up For Ever. I've been seriously impressed with several MUFE products and I have high hopes for this one too.

Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm (5ml)
I've gone through a fair few samples of this much raved about cleansing balm, but I'm still not sure whether I want to splurge on a full size of it yet as it's rather pricey. However, I won't say no to using another sample, and this mini pot is the perfect size for my travel bag.

Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask (5ml) 
A friend of mine was recently recommended this mask by her dermatologist to help clear up her acne (it seems to be working well so far for her, though it has only been a few weeks yet), so I was curious to give it a go myself to see if it would be useful for dealing with those annoying 'time of the month' blemishes and breakouts. We shall see! Let me know if you've tried it?

For more info on Love Me Beauty, check them out here.

Do you subscribe to Love Me Beauty?

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Health & Lifestyle: New Year’s Resolutions and Beginners to Running #Ad

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Words by Dan Chabert: 2017 started running ahead of us and now is a great moment to start running along with it. Prepare your New Year’s Resolutions and tie your shoes, it’s time to run.

Challenge yourself this 2017 for a healthier, more active and exciting year. Whether you’re looking to run extra miles, drop some seconds from your personal record, or just get started in running; setting goals will give you something to look forward to. 

Consider running as your first option for achieving your goals this year. Losing weight, increasing overall health, enhancing durability and staying fit are all goals that can be achieved by running.

Basics of Running: Gearing Up and Starting
One the many great aspects of this activity are the few requirements it has. Probably the largest investment a novice runner will have to make is that of a good pair of sneakers and regular sportswear. For the shoes, I recommend that you buy decent running sneakers that fit you comfortably. You don´t want to come across with a sprained ankle or sore feet later on due to poor quality equipment. Quality goes over quantity when it comes to running shoes. 

Once you got your gear sorted out, it´s time to set the plan in motion. Choose a place to start is completely up to you. You should select an ambient where you feel comfortable with. A park should be an excellent option for initial training. Some people prefer to start on the treadmill, which is a good idea if you have access to one. While treadmills offer features such as speed and inclination, running outside is completely fine as well. Don’t feel obligated to join a gym; remember running is a free sport. However, if you’re already in the gym, adding weight training your routine is a plus.

Getting Stronger Every Day
So, your gear is set, your laces are tied, and you’re ready to run. Don’t forget that everyone is a beginner once. Some people expect to be able to complete a triathlon in a week, and are hugely disappointed to find out exercise requires effort.

20 minutes for your first cycles should do the trick, three times a week so your body catches the rhythm. You can gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your training sessions; however, be aware of your limits. You’re not trying to get yourself injured within the first month. Increase your mileage or speed at a controlled rate.

As you progress, you will get stronger and more confident in your capabilities. You´ll start to need fewer walking rests and notable changes will appear. Not only will you to start to look better, but you’ll also start to feel better. If you’re going serious on your running goals, start measuring your progress. Keep a record of your times, mileages and other aspects of your running. Keeping track of your progress is a great source of motivation. 

You started running, and you can’t help it but to feel awesome (and healthy). You’ve already got used to the feeling of your feet striking the floor; keep on it!

Toe to Toe with 2017
Imagine yourself by the end of the year when you have finished your 2017 running program. Not only you will be noticing the changes, those around you will also be able to notice them. When they ask you for your secret, you’ll tell them how awesome running is.

Don’t think of running as a hobby. Making it one of your priorities will give a healthy turn to your life. It’s not just losing weight; you’re doing your body a favour. Let running become a part of your lifestyle.

Ask yourself how badly you want to accomplish your goals. Most people don’t want it badly enough, and that’s where they fail. Many beginners quit under the excuse that they’re not physically fit; truth is they’re not psychologically fit. Determination can compensate for the lack of physic condition, and running is an activity that can be performed by almost anyone. Kids, seniors, men and women are all perfectly capacitated to run.

The hardest obstacles to overcome will be in your mind.
Writer Bio: Dan Chabert - Hiking addict, ramen eater, trail runner and entrepreneur. Currently handling several websites such as Nicershoes, GearWeAre, RunnerclickMonica’s Health Mag and Runners101.

[This is a sponsored post]

Currently Loving: Balm Balm Single Note Eau de Parfums - Ylang Ylang & Mandarin review

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Balm Balm Single Note Eau de Parfums - Ylang Ylang & Mandarin review
My experience with organic and natural perfumes has been composed of more misses than hits in the last few years, but that's all changed since I discovered these delightful beauties from Balm Balm. These are a definite hit in my opinion!

It can be easy to overlook organic perfumes when you're bombarded every day with expensive, celebrity-endorsed adverts for designer fragrances. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of Chanel or D&G as much as the next person, but it's equally as exciting for me to find something different and more niche. I get a thrill when someone compliments me and asks what fragrance I'm wearing, and I can reply with the name of a smaller brand that they may not have heard of before. 

Balm Balm's Single Note Eau de Parfums are my newest fragrance discovery. They don't have any expensive advertising or fancy names, and their packaging is clear and simple, but I absolutely love them. Sometimes less is more, and that's the case with these as they're based around just a single scent note - that's all. No complex blends, no scary ingredients that you can't pronounce, no fussing. These are blissfully simple single notes of fragrance made from one organic essential oil and blended with pure grain alcohol.

Balm Balm currently have seven single notes in their range, and I've been using these two all throughout January. 
Balm Balm Single Note Eau de Parfums - Ylang Ylang & Mandarin review
Balm Balm Single Note Eau de Parfum in Ylang Ylang* (33ml, £22, link)
Ylang Ylang is truly my favourite essential oil in the whole world, and I can't get enough of its beautiful scent. It has such a unique, heady and exotic fragrance that's hugely addictive and equally alluring. I find myself being drawn towards lots of bath and body products that have Ylang Ylang in them, and I've dabbled with a lot of perfumes where it's been a dominant feature, but you really can't beat a high quality, straight up version like this. A gorgeous, sensual but delicate floral that I love wearing in the evenings. It lasts on me about 3-4 hours, but I do find that organic and natural perfumes tend to have a lot less staying power than their mainstream equivalents, simply because they don't contain certain chemicals that adhere to the skin like others do. 
Balm Balm Single Note Eau de Parfums - Ylang Ylang & Mandarin review
Balm Balm Single Note Eau de Parfum in Mandarin* (33ml, £22, link)
For an everyday fragrance, I always lean towards perfumes which are fresh and uplifting. Anything that can help to wake me up first thing in the morning is a massive bonus! Balm Balm's Mandarin is an ideal everyday scent for me. It smells exactly like its name, and has a wonderfully happy, juicy and zingy quality to match it. If you're suffering from the January blues, this is a great scent to reach for as it reminds me of warmth and sunshine even on the greyest, coldest day. Like Ylang Ylang, I found that Mandarin lasted on me for around 3-4 hours before it needed a quick re-spritz.

Balm Balm's Single Note Eau de Parfums can be worn alone or layered to create your own unique, signature scent. With these two, I always wear them on their own as they don't really go together, but I imagine Ylang Ylang would be great with something like Lavender or Petitgrain, and I think Mandarin may pair well with Bergamot as Balm Balm suggest. It looks like fun to try out different combinations and there are sample packs available if you fancy giving them all a go!

The full range of Balm Balm Single Note Eau de Parfums are available from LoveLula.com

Have you tried any of these?

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Mid-Week Pamper Treat: Temple Spa Trufflesque Ultra Hydration & Radiance Masque review

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Temple Spa Trufflesque Ultra Hydration & Radiance Masque review
This week's Pamper Treat is a seriously luxe affair as it features a high-end face mask that contains truffles, champagne, silk and gold - intrigued? I've been testing out Temple Spa's Trufflesque Ultra Hydration & Radiance Masque for the past month to see if it's really worth the hype.
Temple Spa Trufflesque Ultra Hydration & Radiance Masque review
What is it and what does it claim to do?
The Trufflesque Masque is the latest addition to Temple Spa's award-winning, anti-aging Premium Truffle Skincare Collection. As the luxury spa brand is based around pampering and spoiling yourself, it made perfect sense for them to release a face mask into this range, and I was eager to try it out as I've seen a couple of raves from other bloggers who love Temple Spa's Truffle products.

Trufflesque promises "to help create an appearance of instant youthfulness, with plumper and more lifted skin that's super hydrated and silky smooth". It contains some interesting key ingredients such as:-

  • Black Truffles (a natural antioxidant to brighten skin tone)
  • Champagne Extract (gently exfoliates and regenerates)
  • Syn-col (a trademarked complex of collagen boosting peptides to treat fine lines and wrinkles)
  • Micronised Precious Gems (diamonds, rose quartz and sapphires to illuminate)
  • Gold & Silk Actives (to fight free radicals and protect against skin stress)
  • Happybelle-PE (a trademarked endorphin complex which gives a 'good news' glow to the skin)
  • Kombucha (enhances skin smoothness and radiance)
  • Strawberry Fruit Extract (tones and purifies)

The masque is an amazing gold colour, and it's insanely shimmery! I had a closer look at the ingredients and found that it contains a lot of Mica (it's fifth on the list) which explains all this bling. It's also heavily fragranced (again Parfum is about half way up in the ingredients) with a classic spa-like scent, so it's not something that I would recommend to those who have sensitive skin as this may be too much for you. Do a patch test first if you fancy trying it.
Temple Spa Trufflesque Ultra Hydration & Radiance Masque review
How do I use it?
After cleansing, simply apply a generous layer over your face and neck (avoiding the eye area). The masque comes with a little brush which works brilliantly as you can just 'paint' it directly onto your face, without getting it all over your hands - it's quite difficult to spread evenly if you try to use your fingers. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes, and then massage it in. Temple Spa have a dedicated Facial Ritual online which you can watch here for guidance on how to use it. After that's done, you can leave it on for another 2-3 minutes before removing it was a warm face flannel or muslin cloth. Recommended to use as a weekly treatment.

What does it feel like on?
At first, there was a slight cooling effect, but this quickly disappeared after a minute or so. From the anti-aging/lifting claims for the masque, I was expecting it to feel like it would tighten at some point, however it didn't. It felt sticky to the touch and didn't fully set towards the end of the application time, which made removing it a little messy. 
Temple Spa Trufflesque Ultra Hydration & Radiance Masque review
Results and overall thoughts?
When I removed the Trufflesque Masque with a warm flannel, I saw a slight difference in how much brighter my skin looked, but no real changes in how firm or lifted it was overall. However, the biggest positive difference for me was in hydration and smoothness - my skin was left feeling incredibly soft and smooth like silk, and it was also thoroughly hydrated and plumped up.

Due to the pricetag, this is the kind of face mask that I'd tend to reserve for special occasions only, but it's a lovely, luxury, pampering hydration skin treat to use during the cold winter months, and it helps to re-balance and restore the skin's moisture levels within a mere 20 minutes. I'm not sure that I would repurchase it for myself, but it's something that I'd love to receive as a gift if you know what I mean?!

Temple Spa Trufflesque Ultra Hydration & Radiance Masque* (75ml, £50) is available from Harrods and online from templespa.com

Have you tried any Temple Spa products?

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5 Vegan Beauty Products To Add To Your Makeup Bag

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

5 Vegan Beauty Products To Add To Your Makeup Bag
Thanks to the popularity of Veganuary this month, I've seen a lot of people discussing vegan beauty products on my social media feeds recently, with many of you looking for recommendations and reviews. So here are just five vegan beauty suggestions that I've rounded up that would be great additions to anyone's makeup bag - vegan or not!
Pür 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup
Pür 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup
Pür 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup
Pür 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup* (8g, £30, link)
Mineral makeup is one of the easiest areas to find vegan alternatives in, and a well-known, highly praised brand are Pür. They have a large selection of vegan-friendly makeup available, and their 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup compact is one of their bestselling products. Late last year, the brand celebrated their 10th Year Anniversary (a seriously impressive feat when you think about how many makeup brands seem to come and go these days), and they released a special Anniversary edition of their bestselling hero product in the most amazing bling-tastic packaging to mark this important milestone.

The crystal encrusted compact houses a pan of pressed mineral powder foundation which is infused with a plant-based Ceratin Complex that has anti-aging benefits, as well as Waltheria Extract that helps to naturally lighten and brighten dark spots and an uneven skin tone. It's also free from harsh chemical dyes, petroleum-based oils, fragrance and fillers, so it's ideal to pick up if you have sensitive skin, and has the added bonus of SPF 15.

The pressed powder is super silky to the touch, blends beautifully and makes it easy to achieve a light-to-medium coverage that looks natural, yet flawless (think 'your skin but better'). It wears extremely well throughout the day, doesn't cling to any dry patches or accentuate pores, and it feels practically weightless on the skin. I can see why this is such a classic bestseller! I have the shade 'Golden Medium' which is a good match for me, and there are 8 shades in total to choose from. Pair it with your favourite buffing/kabuki brush, or treat yourself to the matching Pür 10th Anniversary Edition Chisel Brush* (£15, link) which has soft, cruelty-free, synthetic bristles.
Living Nature Eyeshadow & Compact
 Living Nature Eyeshadow & Compact* (currently on offer for £9, link)
Although I use both pressed and loose mineral foundations, when it comes to natural eyeshadows, I much prefer them to be pressed as it can be a little messy fiddling around with an extra small pot of loose powder! If you're the same, check out Living Nature's range of cruelty-free makeup which includes these easy-to-use, mess-free, mineral based eyeshadows. 

The shade pictured above is 'Slate', a soft matte grey/black that makes a killer base for a powerful smokey eye. This shade is currently on offer via Botanical Brands, and comes with a handy compact that you can fill with four eyeshadows to make your own bespoke palette. There's a double ended sponge applicator in the compact, but I never use these - get your hands on a proper brush like the MUA E10 Precision Eye Blending Brush* which is cheap as chips for less than £2.
 PHB Ethical Beauty Botanical BB Cream
 PHB Ethical Beauty Botanical BB Cream* (30g, £18.95, link)
For days when you're short on time or want an easy fuss-free, 'no makeup makeup' look, a BB Cream is the base that I'll always reach for. One of the best that I've tried in a long time comes from PHB Ethical Beauty, who are an inspiring British family run business with a primary focus on creating products that are handmade from 100% naturally derived ingredients. Everything is also certified vegan, cruelty-free, and halal (no alcohol), and they donate 20% of their net profits to helping to improve the lives of animals and people in the UK and abroad. How cool is that?

Their BB Cream is packed full of skin-friendly ingredients such as Rosehip, Aloe Vera and Grape Seed Oil, so it won't clog pores and is suitable for sensitive and acne prone skin types to try out. I love the lightweight texture as it essentially feels like a high quality tinted moisturiser, but it has a little more coverage than most making it a trusty base option for days when I don't want to wear a lot of makeup. Available in four shades.
 Know Cosmetics No Bleeding Lips Secret Lip Liner
 Know Cosmetics No Bleeding Lips Secret Lip Liner* (0.25g, £12.50, link)
Love lipstick, but hate rummaging around in your makeup bag trying to find a lip liner that'll match it? Or worse still, finding one that you think matches, but in natural light makes you look like you've got a thin caterpillar perched on your upper lip (trust me, we've all been there!)? Stress no more, all you need is this lip liner and you're good to go! 

No Bleeding Lips Secret Lip Liner is basically a silicone-based clear lip liner which forms an invisible barrier that stops your lipstick from feathering/bleeding. I used to use one from The Body Shop a few years ago, but since trying this one out, I can confirm that it's much more effective and actually does what it says on the label. The ingredients aren't natural based unfortunately, but there's nothing animal derived in it, so it's a good choice for vegans who want to avoid beeswax which is commonly found in a lot of lip products.       
Lippy Girl Vegocentric Lipstick in Goddess
 Lippy Girl Vegocentric Lipstick in Goddess* (5g, £12.50, link)
When it comes to finding vegan lipsticks, some brands only offer a small, limited range, but Lippy Girl currently has 14 shades available, ranging from demure nudes and everyday neutrals to on-trend wintery reds and 90s browns. I particularly love the shade Ski Bunny, so much so, that I had to repurchase it immediately last year when I accidentally lost it! All of their lipsticks are eco-friendly, natural, organic, and suitable for vegetarians and vegans as they only use natural mineral pigments, alongside organic and wildcrafted natural waxes and oils. 

Their newest shade is called Goddess which looks like a dark, vivid purple in the bullet, but translates to a pretty dark berry/wine colour on the lips. The formula is a little stiffer than mainstream lipsticks, but after a couple of swipes, it does soften slightly, and it doesn't feel drying on. Goddess is a versatile shade as you can wear it as a subtle tint (as shown below), or build it up for more vampy coverage. It does have some blue/purple shimmer to it that I'm not 100% crazy about, but I wanted to include it to show that not all vegan lipsticks are safe neutral shades!
Lippy Girl Vegocentric Lipstick in Goddess
What are your favourite vegan makeup products?
Have you tried any of these?

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Beauty Campaign: Save The Bees with Apivita & Friends Of The Earth + Review

Monday, 23 January 2017

Save The Bees with Apivita & Friends Of The Earth
The global decline of the bee population is one of the most worrying issues that we, as a human race, need to address and try to resolve as a matter of urgency.

Why Are Bees Important?  
Bees are one of nature's most vital pollinators, and we heavily depend on them to pollinate around 75% of the food that we eat. It's been estimated that if all the bees died out, the UK alone would have to spend upwards of £1.8 billion a year, just to pollinate all the crops manually or artificially. That's an enormous amount of money for any first world government to account for, and the financial impact upon poorer countries would be catastrophic. The Guardian has an interesting article on how much we rely upon bees here if you want some more information on the topic.  

Why Are The Bees Dying? 
There are multiple theories that scientists and environmentalists are currently studying to figure out exactly why the population of the world's bees are in decline. The three most popular ones are based around habitat loss, climate change and toxic pesticides such as neonicotinoids. Due to growing evidence linking neonicotinoids to bee deaths, the EU imposed a partial ban on them in 2013 whilst more research is carried out.

What Are Apivita & Friends Of The Earth Doing?
Natural Greek brand Apivita decided to celebrate the launch of their new UK online shop with a pledge to support Friends Of The Earth's 'Bee Cause' campaign. They are donating 20% of sales from their honey-based bath, body and hair range to the environmental charity to fund important research projects, and to raise public awareness of the bees decline. The brand's very name (Apivita or Apis Vita) means 'the life of the bee' in Latin, so it's a cause very close to the eco-friendly ethos of the company. I've tried out a number of Apivita products in the past, and I'm thrilled that more brands like them are highlighting this issue by donating some of their profits towards finding an answer. Below are just two products from Apivita's honey based range where a 20% donation will be made to Friends Of The Earth:-
Apivita Royal Honey Rich Moisturising Body Cream
 Apivita Royal Honey Rich Moisturising Body Cream* (200ml, £20.60, link)
Suffering from dry winter skin? This super rich body cream will instantly hydrate and soften, yet doesn't feel sticky or greasy. It absorbs easily and has a lovely pampering texture that makes it feel like a luxurious treat to apply after a hot bath or shower. Key ingredients in this 98% natural formula include Greek Thyme Honey, Olive Oil, Beeswax, Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Aloe Vera and Cocoa Butter to thoroughly moisturise and nourish dry skin, whilst Organic Orange and Rose essential oils have been added to give it a sweet and fresh natural fragrance. I love using this during a pampering session at home - it feels very spa-like and makes my skin feel so soft and smooth afterwards.
Apivita Natural Soap with Propolis
Apivita Natural Soap with Propolis* (125g, £5.60, link)
This was the brand's very first product which was launched back in 1979, and it has retained the same 99% natural tried and tested formula ever since. Designed to be used on both the face and body, it offers a deep, purifying cleanse thanks to the mild natural antiseptic properties of Propolis. I don't personally use soap on my face, but I like it in the shower as it produces a nice SLS-free lather and does an excellent job of leaving you clean without feeling stripped or dry. Great to use after a sweaty Hot Yoga or Pilates session! 

To find out more about Apivita's support for the Friends Of The Earth Bee Cause campaign, visit here and you can shop the full range of honey-based natural products which include the 20% donation here. For those who are interested, I'm already a member of both Greenpeace and Friends Of The Earth, but I will still be making a personal donation to the Bee Cause campaign to cover the costs of receiving these products free of charge :)

Have you tried any Apivita products?

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Guest Post by Amy: My New Year's Resolution To Quit Smoking Cigarettes (and How Vaping Has Helped)

Sunday, 22 January 2017

KIK Vape review
Words by Amy / Photos by Evelyn: When I was younger, I was always very anti-smoking. My parents didn't smoke and neither did any of my friends, so it was something that never appealed to me. It was only when I was in my last year of University that I started smoking as a coping mechanism for the amount of stress that I was experiencing with my finals. Smoking helped to calm my nerves, and I was soon puffing away on a pack of 20 cigarettes a day.

Fast forward four years and I found myself chain-smoking constantly due to the pressures of my new job as a Social Worker. I knew that this career was going to be challenging and difficult at times, but I found myself struggling with the stress of it all, and I used smoking as a way to take my mind off things. All of my work colleagues smoked as well so I was constantly surrounded by it.

After a particularly bad chest infection four months ago, I decided that 2017 was going to be the year that I quit the cigarettes for good. I've tried to quit many times through various methods such as nicotine patches and gums, counselling to reduce my stress levels (which definitely helped with the stress, but I still found myself smoking anyway), and even hypnotherapy, but nothing seemed to work for longer than a week or so. I was always back at the off-license the next morning on the way to work buying another a packet of cigarettes.   

I saw an advert for vaping, and thought that it looked like a good way to cut down on my nicotine use, so when Evelyn got in touch with me to ask if I'd like to review a vape kit that she'd been offered by KiK, I said yes straight away. I've been wanting to try my hand at writing a blog post with the intention of starting up my own blog in the near future, so this sounded like a good opportunity to get my thoughts together on a topic that I hope will help other people who are also wanting to quit smoking.
KIK Vape review
Trying Vaping for the First Time
The KiK Vape 02 Starter Kit* (£19.95, link) is the first vape kit that I've tried, and I instantly liked how easy it was to set up and use. The Starter Kit comes complete with everything that you need; a rechargeable 900mAh battery, the KiK ProTank Clearomizer and a USB charger. Some e-cigarettes require you to build them up first, but the KiK one came ready-made and already had a charged battery. All I needed to do was add some e-liquid, and it was ready to go.

The KiK e-cigarette feels nice in your hands. It's slim, feels high quality, and comes in a variety of colours. To fill it with the e-liquid, I carefully unscrewed the ProTank (the clear glass part) and added the e-liquid at a 45-degree angle as instructed, and then it screwed it back into place. To switch it on, you just press the silver button on the front a couple of times and then you can 'vape'.  

I have to admit, it took me some time to get used to vaping. I imagined it to be the same as smoking, and whilst it is in a way, it's also quite different. With cigarettes, you don't have to inhale as much, but with vaping (or certainly my first experience with it), I had to change my inhaling technique to get used to it.  It's hard to explain but after a few days or so, I quickly got the hang of it. Vaping is very satisfying because you still feel like you're smoking, just without all the toxic chemicals and that horrible smell. It doesn't stain your fingers, clothes, bedroom walls, and I haven't noticed it staining my teeth either.
KIK Vape review
The E-Liquids & Lowering My Nicotine Intake
With the starter kit, I was sent three flavours of Kik e-liquid to try out alongside it. These were Energy Drink, Blackcurrant and Super Bubblegum (all 10ml, £3.95 each, link). The bottles are hard to open as they have a child safety lock on them, but a little strategic squeezing here and there finally pops them open. Each e-liquid is made from 100% natural and organic ingredients (with a base of Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycol). Each of the KiK e-liquids taste just like their names, and the Super Bubblegum is my favourite. 

They come in different nicotine strengths and as I wanted to eventually quit nicotine for good, I started off with the Energy Drink e-liquid in 16mg which is the middle strength (for reference, one 10ml bottle of e-liquid is the equivalent of around 200 cigarettes, although strengths vary). It gave me the same satisfaction as an ordinary cigarette, and after only a week, I decided to downsize to the 11mg strength in Blackcurrant and Super Bubblegum. 

Have I managed to quit smoking cigarettes?
I'm proud to say that my last cigarette was on 1st December 2016, and I'm intending to keep it that way. I'm current vaping with 6mg strength e-liquids with the intention of moving to nicotine-free e-liquids by the end of this month which isn't far off. I feel a hundred times better health-wise (NHS states that vaping is 95% better for you than smoking cigarettes) and I've saved an absolute fortune as the costs of cigarettes continue to go up. I'm so happy that I tried vaping and look forward to being nicotine-free by February. 

Thank you to Amy for sharing her experience in this guest post for We Were Raised By Wolves, and thanks to KiK for providing the products for review. For more information on vaping and how it can help you to quit smoking, visit NHS Smokefree here

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