New In Beauty: Alex Steinherr X Primark Skincare review

Monday, 12 November 2018

Alex Steinherr Primark Skincare review
Launched last month, Alex Steinherr's collaboration with Primark has caused a big buzz in both skincare guru circles and amongst budget-conscious beauty shoppers. But is it any good and which products are worth trying?

Alex Steinherr is a well-known beauty journalist, and many of you will know her from her former job as Glamour's Beauty Editor. She has amassed over 184k followers on Instagram alone, and I had the pleasure of meeting her at a blogger event a few years ago (she was so nice!). This woman loves her skincare and even back then, lots of people were talking about whether she was going to bring out any of her own products in the future.

Well, after two years of research and development, Alex has created a skincare range with Primark which I must admit surprised me, as she's better known for creating sponsored ads for luxury brands such as La Mer and Elizabeth Arden. Although it seems like a strange fit at first, Alex wanted to create a high street skincare range which was affordable and accessible to everyone. In addition, all of the products are fragrance-free, cruelty-free and don't contain any animal derived ingredients, so they're suitable for vegans to use as well - nice one Alex!

The 20 piece skincare collection features some of Alex's favourite active ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, Squalene and Niacinamide, and instead of focusing on traditional skin types, the collab is split into five different ranges based on your skin's 'needs' instead, such as Maximum Moisture, Pore Balance, and Plump & Glow etc. This allows you to mix and match everything to create your own skincare routine and with prices starting from £3, with nothing over a fiver, I was keen to see what they were like. I managed to get my hands on five products to try out, so here are my thoughts.

Alex Steinherr Primark Sleep Spa Sleeping Face Mask review
 Alex Steinherr Primark Sleep Spa Sleeping Face Mask* (50ml, £5)
With the weather turning colder, I've been reaching for a lot more moisturising products to use in the evenings, and the Sleep Spa Sleeping Face Mask caught my eager eye. Although it's described as a face mask, think of it more as a hydrating cream/treatment that you leave on overnight. It contains Hyaluronic Acid, Willowherb and Chamomile extract to moisturise and revive tired and stressed skin, but there's also Dimethicone which is higher up in the ingredients list, and I strongly suspect it's this that gives the mask its silky feel on the skin. I also sadly suspect that it may be the cause of a lot of clogged pores that I started to get after using this mask just twice a week, as I generally avoid silicones in my skincare, so if you're the same, you may want to give this one a miss. 

Alex Steinherr Primark Skincare review
 Alex Steinherr Primark Pore Balance Super Detox Clay Mousse Face Mask* (100ml, £5)
The Pore Balance range is an interesting one that my fellow oily/combo skin ladies will enjoy, and I'm happy to say that I got on with the Super Detox Clay Mousse Face Mask a lot more than the Sleep Mask above. Enriched with Kaolin Clay, Charcoal, Niacinamide and Raspberry Leaf, it promises to purify and balance the skin, whilst also unclogging pores and helping to prevent future breakouts. The pump dispenses a greyish-green coloured mousse that feels much lighter than traditional clay-based masks and was easier to spread onto the skin (2-3 pumps was enough for my whole face). It was fully set within around 20 minutes and wasn't a hassle to remove. My skin felt very clean afterwards with no redness or irritation, though I did notice that it wasn't as powerful at drawing out impurities as some other masks that I use, it still did a great job for this price point.

Alex Steinherr Primark Pollution Solution Daily Skin Starter* (34ml, £5)
Daily Skin Starter from the Pollution Solution range is a primer that contains AHA (Lactic Acid), Peach Flower and Lychee extracts, and these work together to create a brightening, smooth and supple canvas for makeup to adhere to. It also has something called 'an anti-pollution active', but it doesn't go any further to mention what this actually is on the packaging? Anyhow, as a makeup primer it works very well and kept my makeup looking fresher for longer, so if you're in the market for a budget-friendly primer, Daily Skin Starter is definitely one to check out - it's a real bargain at just £5.

Alex Steinherr Primark Plump & Glow Plumping Lip Gloss review

Alex Steinherr Primark Plump & Glow Plumping Lip Gloss* (4.3g, £5)
For an enviable pout just like Alex's, the Plump & Glow Plumping Lip Gloss is a quick and easy way to subtly achieve bigger lips. Formulated with key ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, Cactus Flower and Dragon Fruit extracts, this gloss glides on smoothly and has a gorgeous tinted sheen to it which makes the lips look younger, fuller and juicier! It does have a tingling sensation when you first apply like like most lip glosses of this nature, but I didn't find it irritating or bothersome, and I loved the overall effect.

Alex Steinherr Maximum Moisture Supreme Sheet Mask review
Alex Steinherr Maximum Moisture Supreme Sheet Mask* (1 mask, £3)
Last but not least, I was very keen to try the Maximum Moisture Supreme Sheet Mask because it's been hyped as the 'jewel' of the whole collection, and is apparently Alex's personal favourite product. The mask features 'a potent blend of humectants that help to increase hydration levels in the skin', which sounds great, but the ingredients are a bit disappointing with silicones cropping up again. There are some good ones though such as Glycerin, Amino Acids, Red Algae and Lotus Flower extracts, and I liked how the mask was completely soaked in essence as some cheaper brands can be on the dry side. My main bugbear though? It just didn't really do anything for me. My skin felt very soft immediately after I removed it and massaged in the rest of the essence, but 30 minutes or so later, it reverted back to its original state and it felt like I hadn't used anything at all. Strange!

Overall thoughts?
From the products I've tried above, I've found some hits and misses, as is often expected from such a large budget-friendly skincare collection. I love the fact that it's cruelty-free, fragrance-free and suitable for vegans, but I was hoping that some of the formulas would have slightly better ingredients for general skin health. However, if you fancy trying out some of the products, everything is cheap as chips so if something doesn't work for you, it's not the end of the world (or your bank balance!). 

Find Alex Steinherr's collection exclusively in selected Primark stores.

Will you be buying Alex's collection?

Budget Beauty: Trying Out Perfect Shade Disco Makeup - Review & Swatches

Friday, 9 November 2018

Perfect Shade Makeup - Review & Swatches
Every now and then, there's a makeup range that I come across which literally grabs my attention because the packaging is so awesome, and Perfect Shade is that current brand. I mean how cool does this new Disco line look?!

Perfect Shade is an online-only makeup brand, and if you're a savvy beauty shopper, you may have heard of them before as they're the same people who are behind the comparison website, myperfectshade.com. Having a wealth of experience in the beauty industry, they've decided to launch their own makeup range named Disco which features a core collection of 8 products and over 75 different colours, so there are shades to suit and flatter everyone's skin tone.

This inclusive brand has such a fun vibe to it and I was immediately drawn in by the colourful disco-themed packaging, as well as the fact that everything from Perfect Shade is cruelty-free and suitable for vegans. Best of all though, their makeup is super affordable with prices starting from just £6!

I was kindly sent some products from Perfect Shade to have a play with, and I'm thrilled to say that the performance of this makeup is just as good as the packaging. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Perfect Shade Makeup - Review & Swatches
Perfect Shade Makeup - Review & Swatches
Perfect Shade Disco Solo Of Sugarcoat Blusher in Hollywood* (10g, £7, link)
The Solo Of Sugarcoat Blusher in Hollywood is a bit of a strange product because, on first inspection, all of those glimmering metallic hues bring to mind a glow-tastic highlighter, but if you blend all of the waves of colours together and miss out the silver part at the top, you'll actually get a very pretty, albeit very shimmery, peachy blush tone as you can see in the swatch below. Clever huh? The powder compact formula is very soft and blends nicely for a quick and easy way to add a warm glow to your complexion. Very pretty!

Perfect Shade Disco Ice Cream Tide Pressed Powder in Cover Page* (12g, £6, link)
As far as Pressed Powders go, this Ice Cream version looks the most interesting in my whole makeup collection. With a cute Ice Cream imprint in the pan, this silky soft powder has a little shimmer to it, but once blended into the skin, it provides the perfect finishing touch to your look. It absorbs excess oil and helps to keep your makeup in place for longer, as well as making sure your T-zone looks shine-free for the rest of the day or night. I was quite surprised by this as I usually have to reach into my bag for a cheeky touch up after a few hours, but this lasted considerably longer than some other much more expensive brands and it didn't dry my skin out either.

Perfect Shade Makeup - Review & Swatches
 Perfect Shade Disco Playful Musician Liquid Lipstick in Plum* (8ml, £9, link)
Liquid Lipsticks are often best when they're richly pigmented and have a matte or semi-matte finish and the Playful Musician range from Perfect Shade ticks all the right boxes. There are currently 24 shades to choose from and it's a particularly good one to look into if you're looking for a vampy red or darker colour for Autumn and Winter. The shade above Plum is a stunning deep red-berry that dries down to a matte finish, and it looks amazing paired with a simple clean eye and perhaps a little flick of black eyeliner, to allow the lips to do all the talking. These liquid lipsticks are seriously long-lasting too and remind me of the Kat Von D and Bite Beauty formulas.

Perfect Shade Disco Swinging Lipstick in Psychopath* (4.5g, £9, link)
Ensuring that those who prefer traditional lipstick formats aren't left out, the Swinging Lipstick range boasts 24 shades and they have everything from nudes, darks, everyday pinks and even some interesting vivid purples. Like the rest of the Perfect Shade Disco range, the lipsticks have really cool packaging that stands out in your makeup bag - I've had so many questions and compliments from friends who have seen this recently! The semi-matte formula is also brilliant with a smooth and creamy application that makes it easy to get an opaque block of colour in just one or two swipes. I was expecting this shade Psychopath to be more of a brick red shade from what it looks like in the bullet, but on my lips and in the swatch it definitely leans a lot pinker, but it's still a gorgeous lippie nonetheless.

Perfect Shade Makeup - Review & Swatches
 Perfect Shade Disco Rocking Eyelashes Mascara in Pitch Black* (8ml, £9, link)
The last product that I tried out from this range is the Rocking Eyelashes Mascara which comes in both brown and black options. It features an interesting curved bristle brush wand which grabs onto the lashes easily and coats them evenly, without any clumping issues. I'd say that this mascara is better for volumising than it is for lengthening, so if you already have long lashes but just want a fuller look, it's certainly one that I'd recommend trying. It provides a smudge-proof formula that doesn't flake, and is nice and inky black for extra definition. 

Perfect Shade Makeup - Review & Swatches
Swatches! From top to bottom: Perfect Shade Disco Playful Musician Liquid Lipstick in Plum, Swinging Lipstick in Psychopatch, Solo Of Sugarcoat Blusher in Hollywood and Perfect Shade Disco Ice Cream Tide Pressed Powder in Cover Page.

Perfect Shade Makeup - Review & Swatches

Discover the full range at perfectshadebeauty.co.uk

Have you tried anything from Perfect Shade before?

Introducing: Alteya Organics - Active Vitality Energizing Eye Cream & Rose Otto Face Wash review

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Rose is without a doubt one of my favourite flowers and I absolutely adore the scent, plus it's something that I often look out for in natural skincare products as it has some amazing properties. 

When I came across Alteya Organics I immediately fell in love because they make all of their products in the famous Rose Valley in Bulgaria (their distillery and manufacturing facility are situated in the very heart of the valley). The region is well known around the world for its beautiful Rose Otto Oil, and Alteya Organics have been a part of its heritage for a long time. Originally founded back in 1999, the family-owned business has been growing roses on its own fields for over a century and to this day, they still grow and harvest Rose, Lavender, Chamomile and Calendula for use in their award-winning skincare.

Organic farming requires a high level of investment and careful management, so it's great to see that all of Alteya's products are certified USDA and NaTrue organic, and everything is free from parabens, petrolatum, paraffin, dyes, mineral oil, and any other chemical preservatives. 

This cruelty-free, luxury natural brand has a large range of skincare available which includes lip balms, hand creams, toners, facial oils, baby products, sunscreens, body lotions, cleansers, serums and more, so there's plenty to discover. To whet your appetite, you can read my thoughts on two of their bestsellers below; the Active Vitality Energizing Eye Cream and the Rose Otto Face Wash.

Alteya Organics Active Vitality Energising Eye Cream review
 Alteya Organics Active Vitality Energizing Eye Cream* (15ml, £25, link)

I have very dry under eyes so I always look out for an eye cream that will deeply hydrate, yet not overload the delicate eye area, as too much moisture or heaviness can cause puffiness which is not a good look! Thankfully, this one has got both the consistency and the formulation spot on with its expert blend that features key ingredients such as Alteya's Rose Jasminium Rejuvenating Complex, Blue Algae Concentrate, Hyaluronic Acid, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Rose Damascena Flower Oil and Cocoa Butter to name but a few.

It feels very rich and luxurious, yet absorbs easily and like most eye creams, a little goes a long way. An excellent one to try if you're looking for something to use in the mornings that will rejuvenate, smooth out fine lines and make your eyes look a little brighter and more 'awake.' 

Alteya Organics Rose Otto Face Wash review
Alteya Organics Rose Otto Face Wash* (250ml, £17, link)

Suitable for all skin types and gentle enough for sensitive skin, the Rose Otto Face Wash is a sheer joy to use, if like me, you love natural rose scents because it really does smell beautiful! Specially formulated with an award-winning blend of natural ingredients and essential oils (such as Bulgarian Rose Otto Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and Olive Fruit Oil), this cleanser is rich in fatty acids and nutrients, which help to effortlessly dissolve makeup and remove all traces of daily dirt and impurities. It has a light gel-meets-oil consistency that's similar to a runny honey in texture (minus the stickiness of course!), and one pump is all you need to use each time. 

This face wash leaves my skin feeling clean, soft, nourished and thoroughly pampered, so if you love luxury rose-based skincare, Alteya Organics is definitely a brand to try out.

Are you a fan of rose in skincare?

Health & Lifestyle: ZOJO Beauty Elixirs - The Beauty Pageant Formula & The Supergreens Formula review

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

ZOJO Beauty Elixirs - The Beauty Pageant Formula & The Supergreens Formula review
If you're on the lookout for a high quality, organic food supplement that you can easily add to your breakfast smoothie every day, ZOJO's Beauty Elixirs will be right up your street.

I love it when I discover a new-to-me healthy lifestyle brand that not only looks good on the outside (that black and white packaging is very cool), but is filled with goodness on the inside too. After all, the very concept of most elixirs is all about beauty from within right?! 

ZOJO was founded by Marta Ravensdale, a busy businesswoman and mother who was concerned about the negative impact that her often stressful lifestyle was having on her health, wellbeing and family life. Working with a team of experienced nutritionists from the UK, Marta created ZOJO, a range of plant-based beauty, fitness and health formulas made from 100% organic ingredients. There are currently seven different formulas which are suitable for vegans and all are GMO-free, lactose and gluten free, plus they don't contain any artificial nasties such as preservatives, colourings, artificial sweeteners, bulking agents, fillers or taste enhancers.

I was kindly sent ZOJO's The Beauty Pageant Formula and The Supergreens Formula to trial, and I've really been enjoying using them in my morning routine.

ZOJO Beauty Elixirs - The Beauty Pageant Formula review
 ZOJO The Beauty Pageant Formula* (35g, £17, link)

Whether you're chasing an actual beauty queen crown or simply want your skin, hair and nails to look their best, The Beauty Pagent Formula is a delicious blend of eight organic ingredients. Carob provides essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, B2, B3, B6, Copper, Calcium, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, Selenium and Zinc, whilst Lucuma is rich in beta-carotene, antioxidants, fibre and minerals such as Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus. 

Camu Camu is an incredible superfruit which has one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C of any food source recorded on the planet, and Cinnamon is included for its antioxidants that help to protect from free radical damage and slow down the ageing process. Elsewhere in the blend, there's Turmeric, well known in Ayurveda for its powerful properties that support a healthy liver and boost the digestion system; Ginger, another useful digestive aid for a healthy gut, and Blueberries which are packed full of antioxidants and are high in fibre, Vitamin C and Vitamin K.

How to use: Simply add a tsp (5g) to your favourite smoothie or a glass of juice and enjoy. It tastes sweet and fruity, with a little bit of a chocolatey flavour thanks to the Carob - one of the nicest powder food supplements that I've tried in a while!

ZOJO Beauty Elixirs - The Supergreens Formula review
ZOJO The Supergreens Formula* (35g, £17, link)

Food supplements that are based around super greens are incredibly popular and I have no doubt that this is likely to be one of ZOJO's bestsellers in their range. As the name suggests, this formula is a potent mix of powerful plant-based organic superfoods which include Psyllium Husk, Spirulina, Linseed, Wheatgrass, Baobab, Moringa and Chlorella. Each ingredient has been carefully selected for its unique health benefits and combined, this formula is ideal for those are looking to improve their gut health, are doing a detox or cleanse to remove excess heavy metals/toxins from their system, and it's particularly useful as a daily supplement for vegetarians and vegans because it's rich in vitamins and minerals, and also high in essential amino acids which supports healthy muscle  growth and maintenance.

How to use: Add a tsp (5g) to your morning smoothie or glass of juice. It certainly tastes better than similar supplements that I've tried in the past, but it is quite 'earthy' in flavour, so I'd recommend blending it in a green juice/smoothie or a mixed fruit/veg drink for the most palatable results.

Discover the full range of ZOJO Beauty Elixirs at LoveLula.com

Have you tried anything from ZOJO?

October Beauty Favourites

Friday, 2 November 2018

October Beauty Favourites
Another month has flown by so it's time to reflect on some beauty favourites! This edit showcases the products that I've been reaching for the most often during October. Spot any of your own faves here?

Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam in Dark
 Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Foam in Dark* (200ml, £14.99, link)
Summer is sadly over, so if you still want a gorgeous bronzed tan, it's time to hit the bottle! Regular readers will already know that I'm a huge fan of the Australian brand, Bondi Sands, and their Self-Tanning Foam in Dark is by far the best formula in their range. It's easy to use, doesn't streak or go patchy when you're applying it, and it has a yummy coconut scent. Whenever I use this, I find that I can usually get about 5-7 days worth of tanning goodness before I need to re-apply, and the colour is incredibly realistic and natural looking - no hints of orange at all! Highly recommended for anyone who is new to fake tanning or who just wants something easy and foolproof to use.

October Beauty Favourites
 Botanicals Gentle Cleanse Melt* (30g travel size shown, full size is £26, link)
Cleansing balms are a staple in my skincare routine but they really come into their own when the cold weather starts, as I always find that my skin needs something 'extra' at this time of the year than just a gel or light cleanser. The Gentle Cleanse Melt from Botanicals contains a simple but effective blend of natural and certified organic ingredients such as Shea Butter and Coconut Oil, which effortlessly removes all traces of makeup and daily grime in one sweep. I love the semi-solid consistency because it melts quickly when massaged into the skin and it doesn't leave any greasy residue afterwards. Lovely stuff and suitable for vegans too.

Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel Off Mask with Spiriluna* (200g, £23, link
Featuring two of the year's big superfood ingredients, Algae and Spiriluna, this peel-off mask comes in a powder format that you mix with water to create a thick paste. Now, usually I find these kinds of masks a bit of a faff, but I've been pleasantly surprised by this one because the consistency is just right each time and it's easy to apply with a face brush or mask spatula. Once on the skin, it begins to harden and after 20 minutes, it's ready to be peeled off. This mask is brilliant for anyone who has dry, dehydrated and/or skin that's showing the first signs of ageing, as it helps to firm everything up (albeit temporarily), and makes you look instantly more glowy and revitalised. A good one to use if you have a hangover or have had a busy week and need a quick fix!

October Beauty Favourites
Leighton Denny Modern Bohemia in Vintage Chic & Bohemian Spirit* (12ml, £12 each, link)
For nails, I've been enjoying embracing all of the quintessential Autumnal shades, and Leighton Denny's new A/W18 Modern Bohemia collection is simply stunning. Two of my personal faves from the range are Vintage Chic, a dark purple-red that's beautifully rich and glossy, and Bohemian Spirit, a very chic muted lavender-grey that goes with everything. The formula is fantastic and long-wearing with plenty of shine - definitely worth checking out if you're in the market for some new nail polishes.

Illamasqua Antimatter Lipstick in Asteroid* (4.15g, £20, link)
Lastly, I just had to include Illamasqua's Antimatter Lipstick in the shade Asteroid, which I've been smitten with ever since I discovered it in last month's Cohorted beauty box. Not only is Asteroid the most beautiful, wearable mid-toned vampy red that I have in my makeup collection, but the brand's Antimatter formula is one of my favourites for when I want a longer lasting semi-matte finish. Super pigmented, it goes on creamy and it doesn't dry out my lips - win, win!

What beauty products have you been loving lately?

October Empties: Products I've Used Up

Thursday, 1 November 2018

October Empties: Products I've Used Up
Lots of Empties again for last month - the beauty stash in my bathroom is slowly being decluttered - yay! Here's everything that I've used up recently, and my thoughts about whether I'll be repurchasing them again or not.

October Empties: Products I've Used Up
The Soap Shop Peppermint & Cornflower Sugar Scrub
If you're looking for a hardcore body scrub that's also plastic-free, this is a really good one to try. It's almost identical to the PHB Sugar Scrubs and does an excellent job of removing dead skin, especially on your feet! Repurchase? Yes.

Naobay Oxygenating Moisturising Cream
I think this is my second or possibly even third bottle that I've gone through and it's one of those face moisturisers that I keep going back to. Great for combination skin as it feels hydrating and balancing at the same time. Repurchase? Will do once I've used up some other moisturisers first.

Aurelia Miracle Cleanser
Another skincare fave that I've used on/off for the past few years is this wonderful Miracle Cleanser from Aurelia. It has lots of probiotics and peptides to give your skin a lovely glow and it works particularly well as a first or second cleanser in the evenings. Repurchase? I think I might have another travel size from a GWP somewhere!

Westlab Supersalt Body Cleanse Himalayan Bathing Salt*
I love using bath salts and these ones from Westlab are a firm favourite. They're delicately scented with Lemon and Rose, and always help me to relax after a stressful day. Repurchase? Definitely.

Hope's Relief Formula 2 Scalp & Hair Conditioner*
If you have a dry scalp that's prone to dandruff, eczema, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, this stuff is a must try. It's gentle enough to be used every day, but I tend to use it just once a week or fortnight and find that it really helps to keep my scalp hydrated and happy. Repurchase? Yes.

Bloomtown Botanicals The Spring Soothing Mask*
This is a beautiful fragrance-free face mask that I often used when my skin was feeling congested or overly sensitive. There are lots of natural anti-inflammatory ingredients in it which help to calm down irritation and redness, plus it doesn't dry out the skin as the clay in it doesn't set. Brilliant stuff! Repurchase? Yes.

Weleda Wild Rose Body Oil*
I'm a huge fan of all of the Weleda Body Oils, but this Wild Rose one is definitely one of my favourites and I absolutely love the scent. Formula-wise, it's very rich and moisturising - just the kind of product to use during the Winter months if you have dry skin. Repurchase? Will do once I've used up some similar products in my stash.

October Empties: Products I've Used Up
Green People Daily Aloe Shower Gel*
Whenever my eczema flares up, I'll switch my shower gel to something like this and use it until my skin calms down, so I've had this in my bathroom for a while now. It's super gentle and SLS-free. Repurchase? Yes.

Skin & Tonic Coco Mask*
I've got a bit of a love/hate relationship with this face mask because it's a powder that requires mixing with water before you can use it. I love the hydrating results, but I simply found that I didn't reach for it very often because I'd always pick a mask that didn't need mixing over it, almost every time. It's a great product, just not for me. Repurchase? No.

Elemental Herbology Vital Cleanse Facial Cleanser
I enjoyed using this light gel cleanser but it's definitely more of a Spring/Summer product for my combination skin, now that the weather has turned much colder. Repurchase? Will consider next year.

Elemental Herbology Moisture Milk Ultra-Light Facial Moisturiser
Same as the above for this one too - liked it a lot but it would definitely be better suited for my skin in Summer than it would in Winter, as I need some more hydration from my face moisturiser right now. Repurchase? Possibly next year.

Barefoot SOS Daily Rich Body Lotion*
Fantastic product for eczema and very dry skin. I always have a tube or two of this on hand in my bathroom to deal with flare-ups, although you can happily use it as an everyday body moisturiser if you just have dry skin. Repurchase? Yes.

Hurraw! Papaya & Pineapple Lip Balm*
I've tried so many different flavours of these Hurraw! Lip Balms and I loved this fruity Papaya & Pineapple one, it's very Summery! These lip balms have brilliant moisturising formulas and I often go back to them when I need a new one. Repurchase? Yes.

What have you used up recently?

Introducing: Guiltless Skin - Rosehip Cleanser, Illume Moisture Serum & Revive Organic Face Oil review

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Guiltless Skin - Rosehip Cleanser, Illume Moisture Serum & Revive Organic Face Oil review
For those who are seeking a simple, but effective, natural skincare routine, Guiltless Skin is a brand that you should definitely be looking into.

Made here in England, all of Guiltless Skin's products are cruelty-free, vegan-friendly and use organic ingredients (certified by the Soil Association) that are sustainable and biodegradable. You won't find any fragrance or essential oils in their range either - everything has been stripped back to create fuss-free formulas that are easy to use and which are also suitable for sensitive skin. 

The packaging reflects this minimalist, practical approach, and whilst Guiltless Skin doesn't have the luxury fanfare of mainstream brands, the sleek glass bottles do have a rather wholesome vibe about them that's refreshingly clean and uncomplicated. After all, it's what's inside that counts the most when it comes to skincare anyway! With this in mind, I was keen to put Guiltless Skin to the test, and have been trying out these three products as part of my evening skincare routine for the past couple of weeks.

Guiltless Skin - Rosehip Cleanser, Illume Moisture Serum & Revive Organic Face Oil review
Guiltless Skin Rosehip Cleanser* (50ml, £14, link)
Formulated especially for sensitive skin, the Rosehip Cleanser is a very gentle, pH-balanced cleanser that has a light gel consistency which emulsifies when you add water to it. The formula is 100% natural (80% of which is certified organic), and it uses a blend of Glycerin, Rosehip, Camelia and Almond Oils, as well as Lactic Acid, to remove everyday dirt and impurities. I've really enjoyed using this recently as it's perfect for my combination skin now that the weather has turned colder, and it leaves my skin feeling soft, nourished and thoroughly clean, with any redness or irritation significantly calmed down. The pump dispenser is great and a small amount is all you need, making it one of the most cost-effective organic cleansers that I've used in a long time.


Guiltless Skin Illume Moisture Serum* (30ml, £26, link)
Serums are a great way to 'sandwich in' moisture, which is especially important for your skin's health with Winter coming up. The Illume Moisture Serum contains Hyaluronic Acid to plump the skin and keeps that moisture locked in for longer, organic Lingonberry Extract which is rich in antioxidants to help fight against free radicals, and organic Pomegranate Extract to encourage cell turnover and improve elasticity. There's also Lactic Acid and 5% Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) included in the formula which is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help to reduce redness, smooth out fine lines, reduce the appearance of large pores and strengthen the skin's natural barrier.

This serum is lovely and lightweight, sinking in quickly once massaged into the skin. I use a lot of serums with Hyaluronic Acid in them, and this worked just as well as some of my favourite products from various bigger brands. It layers beautifully underneath the face oil below too, for the perfect evening skincare combo.


Guiltless Skin Revive Organic Face Oil* (30ml, £30, link)
Winner of the Editor's Choice at the Beauty Shortlist Awards earlier this year, Guiltless Skin's Revive Organic Face Oil has been created for mature skin types, but I would say that anyone who wants to benefit from the anti-ageing ingredients will enjoy using this as a daily staple. The 100% natural formula boasts a 'powerhouse of super seed oils' such as Prickly Pear, Pomegranate, Sacha Inchi, Nigella and Perilla, each carefully chosen for their unique properties, as well as their abilities to work together to create a natural anti-aging facial treatment to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve elasticity and soothe redness and irritation.

Although this face oil is fragrance-free like all of the other Guiltless Skin products, it does have a subtle woody scent that's a bit earthy, but this soon dissipates once fully absorbed. Revive certainly lives up to its name as it gives the skin a good moisture boost and helps it to get its natural 'glow' back which is ideal for those who find that their skin looks a bit dull and feels drier during Winter. Like all facial oils, a little goes a long way and I feel that the price point is excellent for this product given that it's 100% organic.

Shop the full range at guiltless-skin.com

Have you tried this brand before?

Foodie Friday: Homemade Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni (Vegetarian recipe) #WorldPastaDay

Friday, 26 October 2018

Homemade Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni (Vegetarian recipe) #WorldPastaDay
OK, so technically it was #WorldPastaDay yesterday, but that wouldn't fit with Foodie Friday would it?! Being the massive pasta fan that I am, I didn't want to let the occasion pass me by, so this week I'm sharing how easy it is to make one of my all-time favourite vegetarian pasta dishes; Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni.

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni is a staple ready meal in the vegetarian aisle at the supermarket, and whilst I've been known to pick up one or two when I've been shopping, nothing quite beats a good homemade meal does it? And of course, being homemade, you know exactly what ingredients are going into it (those ready meals are usually loaded with excess salt and sugar), so you can adjust the calories and macros to suit your personal needs. This popular veggie pasta dish is wonderfully comforting during the colder months and it's also incredibly easy to make. It takes less time than you might think too.

The recipe below makes one individual serving, but you can make a larger dish to serve more people by tweaking the number of ingredients - just add additional filled Cannelloni rolls and pour over more tomato sauce - easy!

Homemade Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni (Vegetarian recipe) #WorldPastaDay
Ingredients: (for 1)
  • 2 Fresh Lasagne Pasta Sheets
  • 75g Ricotta Cheese
  • 100g Fresh Spinach
  • 150g Passata Sauce
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Oregano
  • 10g Extra Strong Mature Cheddar Cheese (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper (to season)

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 180'C / Gas Mark 4.
  • In a frying pan, lightly sauté the Spinach and sprinkle over the Nutmeg and Oregano.
  • On a clean work surface, make the Cannelloni by laying out the Fresh Lasagne Sheets and spooning over the Ricotta Cheese evenly. Add the sautéed Spinach and roll up the pasta sheets.
  • In an ovenproof dish, pour in half of the Passata sauce. Add the now filled Cannelloni rolls and pour over the rest of the Passata on the top.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove and add the grated Mature Cheddar Cheese if using. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. 
  • Serve immediately - enjoy!

Storage tip: This dish can be frozen (after it's been cooked and fully cooled) for up to 3 months in a freezer-proof container, or any cooked leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Homemade Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni (Vegetarian recipe) #WorldPastaDay
What's your favourite pasta dish?

Health & Lifestyle: Getting A Good Night's Sleep with Utmost Me - Neuro Rest Supplements review

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Utmost Me Neuro Rest review
Struggling to get a good night's sleep can be annoying when it happens once or twice, but when it's a regular occurrence, it can have truly debilitating consequences for many aspects of your daily life. 

I've been a notoriously bad sleeper for as long as I can remember. It takes me a long time to be able to relax and actually fall asleep, and when I am asleep, I find it difficult to stay asleep, often getting up numerous times in the night. Needless to say, these poor sleep patterns leave me feeling tired for much of the next day, and come night time again, the vicious cycle repeats.

Before anyone asks, I've seen my GP about this problem many times and I've been referred to a specialist Sleep Clinic in the past, as well as enduring countless sessions of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and regular counselling to try to get to the bottom of it. I've been put onto various prescription medications, nearly all of which had horrible side effects, so I currently don't take anything. What's the root cause of my sleep problem? For me, it all seems to be linked to Stress and Anxiety, which is something that I've been dealing with since I was a teenager. I'm a terrible worrier and have had a particularly difficult past couple of years trying to deal with too many problems all at once; it's no surprise that I find it hard to get to sleep.

When Utmost Rest contacted me to ask if I'd like to try out their Neuro Rest supplements, I was hesitant at first. I've used a lot of similar natural products in the past with varying degrees of success, but after reading the info on their website, I was curious to try them to see if they would work for me. 

Utmost Me Neuro Rest review
Utmost Me is an entrepreneurial start-up which focuses on improving sleep, and reducing stress and anxiety. It was founded by Richard Turnbull back in 2016, a father and stressed out city worker who was becoming frustrated by the number of sleepless nights that he was enduring which left him exhausted. He began to research brain energy and after working with a wide range of health experts for over 12 months, Utmost Rest came to life.

The brand currently has two natural supplement products available; Neuro Focus Plus and Neuro Rest. Both have been developed by a team of bio-scientists, doctors and expert nutritionists for a fully science-evidenced approach which has seen positive results from customers. Since the launch of Neuro Rest, over 100,000 bottles have been sold and the brand enjoys a 75% customer retention rate - something is clearly working here!

What's in Neuro Rest?
Neuro Rest is a food supplement and two capsules contain 112mg of Magnesium, 90.9mg of Griffonia Seed Extract (providing 5-HTP 90mg), 70mg of L-Tryptophan, 72mg of Montmorency Cherry, 25mg of Grape Skin Extract, 17mg of Watermelon Extract, 70mg of Chamomile Extract, 10mg of L'Taurine, and 50ug of Biotin

What Does It Do?
The brand's unique MagneRest® blend is made up of three different types of Magnesium which helps to relax the mind and contributes to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue. 5-HTP has been proven to increase the production of serotonin (often referred to as the 'feel good' hormone), which also helps to reduce symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. The addition of the natural sources of melatonin (found in the fruit extracts) aids the body in regulating itself for natural sleep, whilst the remaining ingredients work in synergy to help you switch off for a good night's rest.

Who Can Use It & Who Shouldn't?
This supplement can be used by adults who are looking for a natural way to reduce anxiety and help them to sleep. However, it's not suitable for children, pregnant or nursing women, and anyone who is currently taking any type of medication or has a medical condition should consult their GP first. Neuro Rest is vegan-friendly.

How Do I Take It?
Take 1 capsule per night with a glass of water for the first 4 nights, 30 minutes before you to go to bed. After that, you can increase to 2 capsules per night for as long as you need it.

Did It Work For Me?
Like many supplements, I didn't see any immediate differences and found that it took at least three weeks of nightly use before I began to notice any changes. I did, however, find that they helped my mind to switch off a lot better than before (I'm one of those people that constantly has a million 'to-do' thoughts in my head before I go to sleep!) and I was able to fall asleep faster than I previously did. That said, I still struggled to stay asleep and this aspect hasn't changed much for me, although I certainly appreciate the extra helping hand in reducing some of my anxiety/anxious thoughts before bedtime. I would still be interested in taking Neuro Rest on a regular basis for the positive effects that it has had on my anxiety alone, and I imagine that if your sleep is mostly affected by stressful periods, and not a longstanding issue like mine is, you would likely see a much better result in your sleep improving by taking these.

Utmost Neuro Rest* (60 capsules) retails for £24 and is available utmostme.com

Do you take any natural sleep aids for insomnia or anxiety?

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Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - October 2018 review

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

This month's LoveLula Beauty Box arrived about two weeks ago and it features some amazing green beauty skincare gems! The total contents are worth £54, so shall we take a closer look at what's inside?

Madara Smart Anti-Pollution Charcoal & Mud Repair Mask
 Madara Smart Anti-Pollution Charcoal & Mud Repair Mask (travel size, full size retails for £24)

One of the biggest skincare trends this year has been anti-pollution formulas and Charcoal has frequently popped up as a key detoxifying ingredient. This new mud mask from Madara harnesses those natural properties of Charcoal and combined with Black Northern Mud, has created a powerful and effective treatment that removes impurities and pollution build-up. You can use it 2-3 times a week, though I would only really recommend it once a week max as I found it to be quite drying, so it's one that needs a good hydrating moisturiser or face oil as a follow-up step after using. That said, it did a brilliant job of unclogging my pores!  

I forgot to photograph them, but there's also a pack of Madara skincare samples included in the box; City CC Cream in Light and Medium Beige, and Age-Defying Sunscreen SPF 30, which I'm looking forward to trying out shortly.

Kathleen Tranquil Fields Body And Massage Oil
 Kathleen Tranquil Fields Body And Massage Oil (RRP £34)

Worth £34 on its own, this full-size Kathleen Body And Massage Oil is undoubtedly the star of this month's LoveLula box, and you guys know how much I adore a luxury multi-purpose pampering product like this! 100% natural (97% organic) and vegan-friendly, Tranquil Fields is a heavenly blend of plant oils such as Sweet Almond, Sunflower Seed, Argan and Rosehip, mixed with essential oils of Lavender, Vanilla and Frankincense. It's perfect to use before bedtime to help you drift off to sleep and it leaves my skin feeling wonderfully soft. 

Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm & Muslin Face Cloth
Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm & Muslin Face Cloth (travel size duo)

Regular readers will know that I've been a fan of Lyonsleaf's Beauty Balm for a few years now, so I was very happy to see this travel size duo which is ideal for holiday and weekend bags (as well as trialling the balm if you've yet to try it of course!). Beauty Balm is an incredible multi-purpose, water-free formula, and it can be used in so many different ways such as an intensive moisturiser for dry skin, an exfoliator and a cleansing balm, the latter of which is how I use it the most often. A must-try for anyone who loves green beauty skincare!

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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Autumn Skincare: 3 Serums & Oils To Try From Antipodes

Monday, 22 October 2018

Autumn Skincare: 3 Serums & Oils To Try From Antipodes
It might not be time to put the central heating on just yet, but if you've been feeling like your skin could use some extra TLC now that Autumn is here, why not try one of these products from Antipodes?

Autumn can be a tricky time for skincare as your normal routine may require some little tweaks here and there to help prep your skin for the colder weather. One easy way to instantly upgrade your morning and/or evening skincare routine is to add a more hydrating product, and this can be beneficial for all skin types to keep it looking its best against the colder elements.

Below are my three top picks from the popular organic and natural skincare brand Antipodes, which I've been enjoying using lately.

Autumn Skincare: 3 Serums & Oils To Try From Antipodes
Best For Oily, Combination & Acne Prone Skin: Antipodes H20 Hosanna Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum* (25ml, £27.99, link)
For those of you that have oily or acne-prone skin, you may choose to skip a serum or a face oil for fear of it breaking you out, but a high-quality serum with the right ingredients and formula can give your skin the essential moisture that it needs, but without overloading it or clogging pores. Antipodes' H20 Hosanna Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum is a brilliant example of a product that can work for these more troublesome skin types because it's oil-free and wonderfully lightweight. This serum helps to boosts the skin's natural production of Type l and lll collagen and elastin by up to 72%, plus it contains plant-based antioxidants to plump up and repair damaged skin, making it ideal for those who are looking to improve the appearance of acne and blemish scars.


Best For Early Signs Of Ageing & Anti-Ageing: Antipodes Worship Superfruit Antioxidant Serum* (30ml, £33.99, link)
If you're after something that's on the next level up when it comes to powerful and effective antioxidants, Worship Superfruit Antioxidant Serum is the one to try as it's packed full of them! Featuring Antipodes' unique Vinanza Oxifend Plus® superfruit complex which combines Boysenberry, Blackcurrant, Kiwi Fruit and Vinanza Grape Seeds, Worship gives the skin a real boost which helps to fortify the natural barrier against free radical damage, thus preventing some of those telltale early signs of ageing. I really love using this water-based serum, which has a great lightweight texture and is easily absorbed, because it layers nicely underneath other moisturisers and face oils, and makes my skin feel fully protected.


Best For Dry, Stressed & Dehydrated: Antipodes Divine Face Oil* (30ml, £18.99, link
I always find that I use more face oils during the Autumn and Winter months than at any other time of the year, and once again, I've been reaching for the Divine Face Oil which I've been a long-term fan of for many years now. Divine contains a superb blend of plant-based oils that are rich in fatty acids such Omega 9 that keeps the skin moisturised and strong, no matter what the weather throws at it. Avocado, Macadamia, Jojoba and Rosehip Oils all work together with added Vitamin E to make sure that your skin is hydrated, feels soft and looks more radiant. There's also a small amount of Ylang Ylang, Sweet Orange and Jasmine essential oils which give it a thoroughly luxurious and pampering subtle fragrance, that makes this face oil such a pleasure to use, especially before going to bed.

Have you tried any of these?

Foodie Friday: Apricot & Coconut Energy Ball Recipe Kit review #MixRollLove

Friday, 19 October 2018

Apricot & Coconut Energy Ball Recipe Kit review
Energy balls are everywhere in the supermarkets at the moment, but they are one of my favourite healthy snacks to make at home and I love having a tub of them in the fridge for when I'm feeling peckish! If you'd like to make some too, why not try an Energy Ball Recipe Kit?

Following a successful Kickstarter funding campaign earlier this year, Energy Ball Recipe Kits were created by Victoria Prince, who has been experimenting with making lots of versions of these wholesome tasty snacks at home since 2014. Fast forward to the present day and Victoria's delicious Energy Ball Recipe Kits are now available as a subscription box, where you'll receive an exciting different flavour to create every month in the comfort of your home.

All of the high-quality ingredients used are vegan-friendly, and I was very happy to see that all of the packaging is also eco-friendly; the ingredients are portioned out into plant-based plastic bags which are 100% biodegradable and compostable, and the cardboard box is FSC Certified (Forest Stewardship Council) which can, of course, be recycled after use.

Victoria very kindly sent me her latest Energy Ball Recipe Kit to try out and the box slipped through my letterbox nicely. Opening up, I found a welcome card, plus all the details for this particular recipe. As you can see above, this kit is for Apricot & Coconut Energy Balls which sound amazing!

I received the following ingredients to make these:-
  • Pitted Dates
  • Ground Almonds
  • Milled Linseed
  • Coconut Flour
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • Peanut Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Dried Apricots
  • Desiccated Coconut

Making these energy balls is incredibly easy, and the enclosed leaflet provides handy step-by-step instructions based on the Mix, Roll, Love concept. There's no baking involved and all of the ingredients are provided for you in the kit - it's really that easy! 

I decided to make these in my food processor as it's the fastest method, but you can simply mix the majority of the ingredients into a bowl instead if you don't have one. 

I found the mixture to be a little dry, so I added a bit more Coconut Oil to mine to make them slightly more malleable when it came to the 'Roll' stage. This was definitely the fun part and I enlisted the help of my niece who was visiting to help me out. 

The finished product!

These Apricot & Coconut Energy Balls tasted amazing and have quite a strong Nutmeg flavour too, so they're a good one to try for this time of the year when things are getting a bit more seasonally spicy. Each recipe kit makes around 30 energy balls and can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for 7 days, or if you don't think you'll eat them all by then, you can pop them in the freezer to enjoy at a later date. In my house though, they were quickly devoured and barely lasted the week!

To find out more about Energy Ball Recipe Kits visit energyballrecipes.com

Do you like making Energy Balls?

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