Luxury Mid-Week Pamper Treat: Tropic Body Smooth Refreshing Polish review

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Tropic Body Smooth Refreshing Polish review
Happy snowday! If you're getting fed up with the weather as much as I am, it's time to treat yourself to a mini pamper and indulge in some me-time in the bathroom. This week's pampering treat of choice is Tropic's luxurious Body Smooth Refreshing Polish.

What Is It?
Tropic Body Smooth Refreshing Polish is a high-end, all-natural body scrub that gently but effectively exfoliates, buffing away dull dead skin cells, to reveal brighter and smoother skin all over the body. It's the first product that founder Susan Ma created when she was just 15 years old and has been a bestseller for Tropic ever since. 

Ingredients
Organic Sea Salts, Organic Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Macadamia Oil, Rosehip Oil, Vitamin E, Essential Oils of Australian Lemon Myrtle, Eucalyptus, Lime, Lemon, Bergamot and Peppermint. Tropic is certified cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. Products are made in the UK.

How Do I Use It?
Scoop out a handful and gently massage it into dry skin, focusing on any particularly rough or dry areas like elbows, heels, knees etc. Rinse off in the bath or shower and massage any excess oils into the skin to thoroughly hydrate and soften.

Tropic Body Smooth Refreshing Polish review
Overall thoughts
The scent of Body Smooth is so incredibly addictive and wonderfully uplifting thanks to all of those amazing citrusy essential oils in the formula. Texture wise, it has an almost whipped mousse style consistency, with lots of fine but scrubby sea salt crystals mixed in throughout. This body polish definitely does the job, but it doesn't feel scratchy, irritating or abrasive. It leaves my skin feeling beautifully soft and smooth afterwards, and I particularly like using it before applying fake tan for the most flawless results possible. 

I must admit that I was surprised when I saw that the jar is plastic and not glass, given it's price point, though this does it make it easier to use in the bath or shower so I can see why they've chosen to package it in this way (Tropic have since gotten in touch to say that they use plastic packaging for this product to ensure safety to their customers due to the oils in the scrub which could cause handling to be slippery). It's definitely a luxury product with the price tag to match, but if you have the cash to splash and fancy treating yourself, it's a really beautiful pampering product and makes you feel like a million dollars whenever you use it! Maybe something to also consider gifting for Mother's Day?

Tropic Body Smooth Refreshing Polish* (200ml, £24, link)

What's your favourite body scrub?

February Empties: Products I've Used Up

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

February Empties: Products I've Used Up
Despite being the shortest month of the year, I've somehow managed to use up a ton of products recently, and there are some seriously good products in this empties stash. So without further ado, here are my February Empties.

Botanicals Hands & Nails Replenishing Serum*
I featured this in my November Favourites last year, and I've used it on a regular basis since then to give you an idea of how long it's lasted. It's been an absolute godsend for my nails during this colder weather and has definitely helped to strengthen them, whilst keeping my cuticles in good shape as well. Repurchase? Yes.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
A staple in my skincare routine for years, I always seem to use up a bottle, use something else, and then come back to this! If you haven't tried this iconic beauty before, it's basically a thick cream cleanser that removes makeup in seconds and is nice to use as a quick morning cleanser when it's cold outside. Repurchase? I'm currently trying out a popular high street dupe for this (review on that coming soon!), but I have no doubt that I'll be buying this again at some point.

Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Multi-Benefit Hair Masque
Regular readers will have spotted this pink tub in my previous Empties, and it's still one of my favourite hair masks that's affordable and always gives me great results. If you have dry, coloured or damaged hair, I highly recommend it. Repurchase? Will do once I've used up some of my other hair masks.

Antipodes Saviour Skin Balm
Can you tell it's been Winter lately with all the moisturising products that I've used up?! Antipodes Saviour Skin Balm is definitely a saviour for anyone who has dry and irritated skin, anywhere on their face and body. It instantly hydrates, soothes and locks in moisture to keep your skin healthy and happy. A little goes a long way! Repurchase? Yes - it's since been re-packaged in a smaller tube.

Antipodes Grapeseed Butter Cleanser*
Another Antipodes favourite of mine, and I think this is my second jar, is their Grapeseed Butter Cleanser which is amazing for destroying makeup and feels so nourishing on the skin. This thick balm cleanser is also brilliant for dry skin and ideal to use as either a first or second cleanser in the evenings to remove all traces of pollution, dirt and impurities for a really deep clean. Repurchase? Yes.

February Empties: Products I've Used Up
Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Mask
These ultra-hydrating sheet masks contain Hyaluronic Acid and are a really good quick fix if your skin is dehydrated, dull, stressed or if you're just feeling under the weather and need a skincare boost. Gets to work in just 15 minutes. Repurchase? Already have some more in my stash.

Superdrug Simply Pure Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
My favourite basic eye makeup remover that actually works on waterproof mascara - I've gone through a few bottles of these in the past. Cheap as chips as it's usually on offer for about £1.50, and as it's from Superdrug's own brand range, it's also cruelty-free. Repurchase? Yes.

This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray*
Many of you will know that I have a lot of problems sleeping, so I love using products like this to help, and this one really does work! Lost count of how many bottles I've used of this now. Repurchase? I'm testing out some other brands of pillow sprays at the moment, but I have a feeling I'll be going back to this one.

S.W Basics Makeup Remover
Despite having used this in the past, I'm still not convinced by it as I always feel like it leaves a slightly greasy film on my skin, even after rinsing thoroughly. I've never had any breakout issues as a result luckily, but there are lots of other oil-based makeup removers that I definitely prefer over this one. Repurchase? No.

S.W Basics Cinnamon Lip Balm
I have a tiny, tiny bit of this still left that I'll dig out of the tube later, but I wanted to include it as I know it'll be done by the end of the week. Made from just five natural ingredients, this is a lovely lip balm that gets the job done, and if you like cinnamon, you'll love it even more. Repurchase? Yes.

Batiste 2-in-1 Invisible Dry Shampoo & Conditioner
I picked this up as an 'emergency' when I ran out of dry shampoo whilst staying at my sister's over Christmas, and I have to admit that this stuff is just terrible! It did absolutely nothing for my hair and left lots of residue and build up instead. Repurchase? No!

JOIK White Chocolate Bath Truffle*
I've mentioned these chocolate bath truffles from JOIK before, and they are so nice to use when your skin is dry and it's freezing cold outside. Rich in cocoa butter, they always leave my whole body feeling so soft and pampered afterwards. Repurchase? Already have some more in my bathroom.

Which beauty products have you used up this month?

Introducing: Alchemy Oils - Grapefruit & Alma Hair Remedy review

Monday, 26 February 2018

Alchemy Oils - Grapefruit & Alma Hair Remedy review
When it comes to the world of hair treatments, hair oils have long reigned supreme thanks to their ultra-nourishing properties that can transform the driest and frizziest hair into a mane worthy of a Disney princess. My latest obsession comes from Alchemy Oils, and their travel-size bottles are perfect for those who are in the market for a new hair oil to try out.

Alchemy Oils are a simple and honest brand that specialises in creating amazing natural hair oils. They despise the short-term, quick fix approach of heavy chemical/silicone laden hair treatments that are all too common to find in the mainstream, and instead, have decided to focus on the tried and tested natural ingredients that have been used for centuries in places like India, where hair oils are used in Ayurveda-based scalp massage practices. They've utilised this age-old knowledge and have succeeded in creating formulas that are not only good for the long-term health of the hair, but also help to promote and stimulate hair growth, whilst providing those instant styling results that most of us are looking for to make our hair more manageable on a day-to-day basis.

How I Use Hair Oils & How Often
I mostly use hair oils as an intensive scalp treatment (applying a few drops directly to the scalp, massaging it in and leaving it on for a few hours or overnight before shampooing as normal), a pre-shampoo treatment (applying a tiny amount to the ends and lengths of dry hair for an hour before washing), a pre-blow dry protector (a few drops through towel-dried hair before blow-drying to make it more manageable), and as a leave-in conditioner (just 1-2 drops) to smooth away frizz and flyaways, and help keep my hairstyle sleek, moisturised and shiny all day.  As I have dry but fine hair, I use oils as a treatment probably 1-2 times a month, and only once a week as a leave-in conditioner or blow-dry protector. If your hair is a lot drier, more damaged or thicker, you can use them more often if needed, but fine hair can get weighed down easily if oils are used too regularly.

Alchemy Oils have just five products in their whole range; three different types of Hair Remedy oils, and two oil-based formulas for beards. Naturally, I've been trialling two of their Hair Remedy oils to see if they can help my notoriously dry and frizzy hair.

Alchemy Oils - Grapefruit & Alma Hair Remedy reviewBest for Strengthening Hair & Combatting Dandruff - Alchemy Grapefruit Hair Remedy*
The first thing that you'll notice upon opening this bottle is a gorgeous uplifting scent from the Grapefruit Essential Oil which instantly reminds me of Summer and sipping fruity cocktails on the beach! This Grapefruit Hair Remedy is made from just five natural ingredients, each of which brings it's own unique properties to the blend; Coconut Oil (helps to strengthen the hair and keeps the scalp healthy), Avocado Oil (brilliant for damaged and brittle hair), Castor Oil (packed full of fatty acids and proteins, as well as being naturally antibacterial and high in Vitamin E), Almond Oil (contains lots of polyunsaturated and mono fatty acids as well as vitamins E, D, B1, B2, B6 and A which all help to deeply condition and soften the hair), and Grapefruit Oil (a natural cleanser that fights dandruff and prevents product build-up).

Best for Hair Growth & Conditioning - Alchemy Alma Hair Remedy*
The Alma Hair Remedy is an interesting one as I haven't tried anything with Alma in it before. Also known as Indian Gooseberry, Alma is mostly famous in India thanks to the high levels of antioxidants and carotene that's naturally found in the fruit. It's often used as a powerful hair tonic to promote healthy hair growth by strengthing the scalp and roots, so it's a popular ingredient in many natural hair loss products. Alongside Alma Oil, you'll also find Lemon Essential Oil (to naturally cleanse and add shine), Sesame Seed Oil and Coconut Oil (to strengthen and condition the hair), Avocado Oil (to soften and strengthen) and Argan Oil (to deeply nourish).

Overall Thoughts
I really like these Alchemy Hair Remedy oils and have seen good results from both of them. They're both similar in consistency and these are definitely a lot heavier than some other natural hair oils that I've tried, so you only need to use the tiniest amount, otherwise, they'll make your hair look greasy (especially if you have fine hair!). The Grapefruit one is definitely useful for helping to clear up dandruff or a dry scalp so brilliant for scalp massages, and I like the Alma one as a conditioning treatment on my lengths and ends to stop them from feeling dry. My only bugbear with these is the packaging, as they really need to have a pipette because it's easy to pour way too much into your hand, so I use a pipette that I bought off eBay with mine to help control the amount that I use. Other than that, these are definitely worth a try!

Alchemy Oils Grapefruit & Alma Hair Remedy (30ml travel sizes are £8 each, full-size 100ml bottles are £27 each) are available from LoveLula.com who offer free worldwide shipping on orders over £15.

Are you a fan of hair oils?

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Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - February 2018 review

Thursday, 22 February 2018

LoveLula Beauty Box - February 2018 review
LoveLula have a real treat in store for their beauty box subscribers this month, as February's edition is an all skincare lineup that's worth £65!

Inside the box, you'll find four products, three of which are full-size:-

Urban Veda Radiance Hydrating Toner (full size, RRP £12.99)
Designed to naturally brighten, balance and even skin tone, this toner is from Urban Veda's popular Radiance range and contains a blend of Ayurvedic herbs and botanicals which the brand is well known for. I've used some Urban Veda products in the past and always find them a little hit or miss due to the ingredients that they use. I was disappointed to see that this toner contains Alcohol Denat as its third ingredient, as I find that too drying for my skin so won't be able to personally use it. However, if your skin is more tolerant, then this could be a great toner for you to try out.

Madara Exfoliating Oil-To Milk Scrub (full size, £24)
Moving onto something that I do absolutely love, and that's this gorgeous Madara scrub! I've been using this on and off for a while now (you can read my original review of it here), so I'm really happy to have a full-size back up for my skincare stash as you can never have too many exfoliators, am I right?! This facial scrub has an interesting oil-to-milk formula and magically transforms into a rich milky texture when water is added. It has lots of tiny non-abrasive natural scrubby bits to buff away dull dead skin cells and unclog pores, but it always feels very gentle so it's a fantastic exfoliator for anyone who has sensitive skin or wants to use a manual scrub on a more regular basis.

LoveLula Beauty Box - February 2018 reviewOoh! Organic Avocado Hydrating Face Oil (full size, RRP £19)
I've had the pleasure of trying out many of the face oils from Ooh!, but this is the first time that I've used their Avocado Hydrating Face Oil. The scent of it is a little off-putting I'm not gonna lie - this is quite a stinky oil and I can't exactly pinpoint what it smells like. Luckily though, my nose is getting used to it and I'm loving the moisturising benefits! This is an excellent high-quality, cold-pressed organic oil that's packed full of fatty acids and vitamins to give a real boost to your skin. I particularly like using this after a detoxing clay face mask to replenish moisture levels, but it's just as nice to use a few drops as the last step in your regular evening skincare routine.

Pure & Light Essential Face Cream (15ml travel size, full size retails for £34)
The last product in this month's Love Lula box is actually something that I've currently been testing out the full size of, so I'm going to gloss over this one and make you all wait for the proper review which will be up shortly - sorry! Spoiler alert though: it's really good ;)

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?

New In Beauty: Nanshy Brushes review

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Nanshy Brushes review
There's something about receiving a brand new set of makeup brushes that makes my heart skip a beat, as I'm sure it does the same for many beauty junkies out there. Getting to open pristine, perfectly clean and untouched brushes for the very first time is almost as exciting as unwrapping a brand new lipstick or palette, so I was thrilled when this amazing package from Nanshy dropped through my letterbox earlier this month.

Longtime readers of mine might remember that I first reviewed a set of Nanshy brushes a few years ago (and you can read that original review here), and I still use many of the brushes from that set to this day, though I must admit that some have held up better than others. With this in mind, I was excited to hear that the brand has recently decided to reformulate and redesign the look and feel of their brushes, and I was kindly sent one of their new sets to have a play with.

Nanshy Brushes review
The new Nanshy brushes have improved in several ways for a much sleeker and more contemporary update overall. Firstly, the ergonomic handles feel slightly smaller than before and more manageable to hold. The larger base and face brushes still feel chunkier than most other makeup brushes that I own, but they feel nicer to grip. The brushes now feature clearly labelled, modern text on the handles so that you can easily see which brush is which (perfect for beauty beginners and busy makeup artists alike), and the metallic copper ferrules have a tighter and more robust design to them, which gives the brushes a more luxurious and stylised finish.

However, it's the bristles that have changed the most, and definitely for the better. They're still cruelty-free (PETA approved) and antibacterial, but they now feel a million times softer and are a sheer delight to work with. I've put all of these brushes to the test over the past couple of weeks so that I can share my thoughts about each one with you today.

Nanshy Angled Contouring Brush
 Nanshy Angled Contouring Brush

If you love the contouring trend, then an Angled Contouring Brush is a must-have in your collection. I always find that angled brushes work amazingly well for things like bronzers and blushers as you can apply the product exactly where you want it to go and blend it out beautifully at the same time, so there are no streaks or hard edges/awkward telltale lines anywhere. The shape of the head allows the brush to fit perfectly around and under the hollows of the cheeks to create depth and shadow in a matter of seconds. I especially love using this one with powders, but it works well with cream and liquid blushers and bronzers too.

Nanshy Stippling Brush
 Nanshy Stippling Brush

I never used to bother with Stippling Brushes until I saw a Charlotte Tilbury makeup artist apply a foundation on my friend a few years ago, and I instantly fell in love with the flawless results! Nanshy's Stippling Brush has a flat head that features two different lengths of duo-fibre bristles which lets you tap and effortlessly 'stipple' any kind of liquid base into the skin. I still prefer using a sponge for full coverage foundations, but I'll often use a Stippling Brush like this when I want a lighter and fresher looking coverage - it's great with BB creams, tinted moisturisers and light-medium coverage foundations. 

Nanshy Conceal Perfector
 Nanshy Conceal Perfector

This pointy-headed Conceal Perfector looks a little strange at first, but it's ideal for getting in those tricky little nooks and crannies like around the nose, to ensure that you're not left with a patchy base. I suffer from some redness around my nose, especially during the colder months, so it's nice to have a brush like this that will completely cover everything up. The tip of the head is surprisingly more precise than it looks, so it's good for blending in concealer for larger areas if you have acne or pigmentation.  I've also been using this one underneath my eyes with a bit of translucent powder to bake or set my concealer as it's so soft to use.

Nanshy Concealer Brush
Nanshy Concealer Brush*

Another brush that seems a bit strange looking is their Concealer Brush. Most concealer brushes that I own look like lip brushes, but this one has a uniquely sculpted flat edge so that you can achieve very precise results with your concealer underneath the eyes (it's great for creating those big triangle shapes that you see on Instagram) and around your nose. I actually prefer using this brush for contouring my nose though, as the straight angle allows you to draw thin lines down the nose easily and then gently blend them out for a seamless finish. Great with both powder and liquid/cream formulas.

Nanshy Eye Crease Brush
 Nanshy Eye Crease Brush*

This little Eye Crease Brush is perhaps my favourite of the set as it makes doing a smokey eye so easy and effortless. The shape is just right for getting into the crease to add some depth and shadow, without going overboard and looking like a smudgy mess (which can easily happen with brushes that have a larger head!). The bristles are lovely and soft so they don't irritate the delicate eye area, and it works a charm with any pressed and loose powder eyeshadows.

Nanshy Large Shader Brush
 Nanshy Large Shader Brush*

The Large Shader Brush is a classic short square-headed eyeshadow brush that has slightly rounded edges for a softer finish. It's perfect for packing on a base colour, especially if you're using loose eyeshadow, and the rounded edges lend themselves well to be used underneath the eyes if you want to use your shadow as a liner for a smokey/grungey look.

Nanshy Liner Brush
Nanshy Liner Brush*

Finally, the last brush that I tried was the Liner Brush, and this is another excellent staple to have in your brush collection if you're a winged eyeliner fan or simply enjoying using liquid eyeliner straight from a pot. This brush is very precise and has a super thin and tapered end so that you can get a really skinny line or flick. It's flexible enough to use at any angle, but also dense enough to be able to keep the shape of the line on track. 

Overall thoughts?
I'm very impressed with these new Nanshy brushes as they're a clear improvement on the older ones and will definitely help to catapult Nanshy into more hands of makeup junkies around the world. If you're looking for high-quality, cruelty-free makeup brushes on a budget, these are ones to definitely check out!

Nanshy Brushes* are available individually or as a set - visit nanshy.com for the full range

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Introducing: Elsa's Organic Skinfoods Natural Deodorants review

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Elsa's Organic Skinfoods Natural Deodorants review
Natural deodorants can be incredibly hit and miss, and I've tried out countless brands over the years in the quest to find 'the one' that works for me the most. But I think I've finally found it! Meet Elsa's Organic Skinfoods.

Deodorant is something that most of us use every single day, and I never really thought much about what goes into the average pit roller until I had a reaction to a Nivea one several years ago. It set off a nasty eczema flare-up straight out of the blue which took a long time to calm down, and I've been reading the ingredients lists ever since to try and avoid any future incidents. After some trial and error, I pinned it down to a sensitivity to aluminium which is a common ingredient found in nearly every mainstream antiperspirant. 

Aluminium is usually combined with alcohol in deodorant formulas, and the two work together to stop sweat in its tracks by blocking the sweat glands in your armpits. You might think this is a good thing, after all, you use deodorant to stop unsightly sweat patches and body odour right? Well, the problem is that constantly blocking those pores can leave your armpits incredibly dry, and in some people like myself, it causes irritation or an allergic reaction. It's also not a great idea to stop your body doing something so natural such as sweating. There are also the more pressing concerns about the volumes of aluminium and parabens in deodorants being linked to breast cancer, but more research needs to be done in this area.

With all this in mind, I decided to switch to aluminium and paraben-free natural deodorants and it's been an eye-opening journey ever since! Natural deos come in all shapes and formulas, and finding the one that's right for you may require some patience and money. As I mentioned earlier, I have tried a LOT of natural deodorants from various brands and I've had varying levels of success. The best ones that I've used though come from Elsa's Organic Skinfoods.

Elsa's Organic Skinfoods Natural Deodorants review
Elsa's Organic Skinfoods was created by a mother who was concerned about scientific studies that showed that the underarm area could have an absorption rate of up to 100%, which means that anything you apply to it could be absorbed into your bloodstream and stored in fat cells (hence the reported links to breast cancer etc). She spent 18 months trying out different formulas and finally Elsa's was born; a natural deodorant that she was happy to use on herself and her children.

Elsa's deodorants are 100% natural and contain certified organic ingredients such as Arrowroot Powder, Coconut Oil, Castor Bean Oil and Cocoa Seed Butter. They are free from the most common underarm irritants such as Aluminium, Propylene Glycol, Parabens, Bicarbonate of Soda and Alcohol, are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and also gluten-free.

What I like the most about Elsa's is that they just work! Many natural deodorants seem to work for a few hours at keeping body odour at bay, and then let you down when you need them the most, but I found that Elsa's have been keeping me as fresh as a daisy all day long which is super impressive. They are very absorbent and I haven't yet had any problems with worrying about sweat marks peeking through during a normal day's activity. You will obviously sweat when you're doing a work out as natural deodorants are free from aluminium, so they're not antiperspirants, but these do a fantastic job of ensuring that body odour isn't an issue.

Elsa's Organic Skinfoods Natural Deodorants review
I especially love how easy these are to use - they have normal twist-up tubes and feel like a standard cream/stick deodorant - there's no messing around with sticking your fingers into pots or anything like that, which I know puts many people off trying natural deodorants in the first place. The formula feels a little stiff at first but quickly warms up with your body heat, and as its concentrated, you only need 1-2 swipes and you're good to go.

Elsa's Organic Skinfoods Natural Deodorants are currently available in four different scents and I've had the pleasure of trying out all of them over the past two months. Dew is a lovely one to use first thing in the morning as it has Bergamot and Lime, so smells very fresh, citrusy and uplifting. Ocean is literally like a sea breeze with strong notes of Peppermint and Tea Tree, and is the most 'typically' unisex scent of the bunch. Sensitive is the one to opt for if you're looking for a fragrance-free deo and it feels very gentle on sensitive skin with a blend of Aloe Vera and Green Tea. 

My personal favourite though is Love as it has Rose Geranium and Patchouli, which combine to make a warm, sensual and floral fragrance that's very feminine - I absolutely adore it!

   Elsa's Organic Skinfoods Natural Deodorants* (45g, £10 each) are available online from LoveLula.com who offer free worldwide delivery on orders over £15.

Do you use a natural deodorant?

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3 Finishing Touches for Your Valentine's Day Date Night Look

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

3 Finishing Touches for Your Valentine's Day Date Night Look
You've picked out your outfit, your shoes, bought a new bag and know how you want to do your hair, but there's still something missing? If yes, add these finishing touches to your V-Day evening look, and go out there and have some fun!

 KISS True Volume Lashes in Spicy
 KISS True Volume Lashes in Spicy* (1 pair with glue included, £5.99, link)

A pair of glamourous falsies will give your smokey eye look that extra va-va-voom oomph that it deserves for a special occasion like Valentine's Day, and these ones from KISS tick all the right boxes. These 'Spicy' lashes are from their True Volume range and are made from 100% natural hair for an ultra fluttery and soft feel. They've been designed with tapered ends to give your look more volume and sex appeal. Ooh la la!

 imPRESS Nails in Night Fever
 imPRESS Nails in Night Fever* (1 set with 30 nails, £7.99, link)

If you want to get your nails done for Valentine's Day, but don't have the time or lots of money to spend, head straight to the high street and pick up a set from imPRESS. These press-on-manicure false nails have a gel-like finish and are so easy to use - you simply size them up, peel off the dual-layer adhesive part and stick them on - no extra glue needed. I use these a lot as they don't damage my natural nails and many of their styles are much shorter than other brands which I prefer. These nails in Night Fever are gorgeous with a deep purple base and pretty silver glitter splash effect, plus the set has some silver glitter accent nails so you can play around with how they look.

KITSCH Headband/Choker Set
KITSCH Headband/Choker Set* (£11.50, link)

Can't decide on what accessories to add to your outfit? Most of the time you can't go wrong with a 90s style skinny black choker and if you want more options, these sets from KITSCH are absolutely perfect. They do various sets, but I particularly love this one as it covers all bases; you get a skinny black choker, a studded one for a more rock chick look, and a thicker lace one for some extra glam. Each choker is fully adjustable and stretchy, plus they also double up as headbands - how neat is that?!

What are your plans for Valentine's Day?

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New In Beauty: B. Face Mask Pods review

Monday, 12 February 2018

B. Clay Pod Face Masks review
Looking for a new face mask to try out? These cute mini Face Mask Pods from B. are cruelty-free and suitable for all skin types, and they're vegan-friendly as well!

I've been a long time fan of B. who are an exclusive brand to Superdrug. They have a fantastic range of affordable makeup and skincare, so I was excited to see them branch out further into the world of face masks with the launch of these adorable Face Mask Pods. There are four newbies in this line and each one serves a different purpose, making them easy to mix and match to suit your personal skin care needs.

Individually packaged into single-use sealed pods makes them perfect travelling companions, especially as each one is 10ml. I've tried out all four over the past few weeks and found that each pod provided a generous amount to fully cover my face for one mask, so you could easily use half and transfer the rest to a little plastic pot if you wanted to keep the mask to just a specific area like the T-Zone. You can even multi-mask with different pods and get additional uses out of them if preferred!

B. Clay Pod Face Masks review
B. Glowing Clay Face Mask*
Designed to brighten, exfoliate and refine the skin's texture, the Glowing Clay Face Mask contains a base blend of three natural clays and uses Red Seaweed extract to help get rid of impurities. This mask also has tiny ground Apricot granules that buff and polish the skin to remove dull dead skin cells, leaving the complexion visibly brighter. I found it did a good job at giving my face a much softer feel and it delivered a noticeably brighter result, even if it was just temporary until the next day.

B. Purified Clay Face Mask
If your skin is more on the oily side, this Purified Clay Face Mask is the one that I would recommend to try the most. It refreshes, deeply purifies and cleanses thanks to a Kaolin clay blend and Eucalyptus Extract, and it also helps to minimise excess sebum and shine. I was worried that it might be a little too drying for my skin, so I was really happy when my skin felt more refreshed and balanced afterwards instead.

B. Detoxed Clay Face Mask
For blemishes, blackheads and stubborn clogged pores, the Detoxed Clay Face Mask will definitely come to your rescue! It has a rich clay formula that's blended with plenty of Charcoal powder (hence it's natural grey colour), which does an excellent job of drawing out dirt and impurities from the skin. This one was a bit drying afterwards as it has quite a powerful detoxifying formula, so I'd suggest following it up with a good moisturiser afterwards.

B. Hydrated Leave On Face Mask*
The only one out of the four to not feature a clay base is the Hydrated Leave On Face Mask. This creamy treatment feels like a rich moisturiser and uses key ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Squalene and Babassu Oil, to give all skin types a good boost of moisture when it needs it the most. It's perfect for this time of the year when most people's skin is suffering from the cold weather, and it's also ideal as a follow-up mask after using the Detoxed Clay Face Mask above, to replenish and restore moisture levels.

B. Clay Pod Face Masks review
B. Face Mask Pods* are £2.49 each, or you can purchase larger 50ml pots for £7.49 each. Available exclusively at Superdrug, both in stores and online at superdrug.com

Have you tried these yet?

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Weekend Style: Cosy Up on Valentine's Day with Bolsius Candles

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Cosy Up on Valentine's Day with Bolsius Candles
The big loved-up V-Day is just around the corner and if you're on the lookout for some home products to create a cosy evening in, why not pick up some of these beautiful candles from Bolsius?

Candles are one of the easiest ways to create a welcoming and warm environment in your home, and there's something mesmerizing about flickering candlelight- it's almost magical isn't it? I have candles dotted all over my house, and I like to use them to not only offer an inviting fragrance, but to add a pop of colour or style to a room.

I usually opt for scented candles, but when I saw these mid-sized, chunky ones with a pretty metallic detailing from Bolsius, I couldn't pass up on the opportunity to feature them in a Weekend Style post.

Cosy Up on Valentine's Day with Bolsius Candles
Cosy Up on Valentine's Day with Bolsius Candles
Part of Bolsius' Rustic range, these un-fragranced Faded Metallic block candles are available in several different colours to suit a range of home decors and you can pick up different ones to suit the change in seasons. They feel very substantial and good quality, with a graduated metallic finish towards the bottom of the candle that looks very contemporary and stylish.

I was kindly sent a pair in cream and a pair in pink, and I love them! I have a lot of neutral themes throughout my home so the cream ones work in any room as they go with everything, whilst the pale pink pair makes a nice central feature for a subtle hint of colour on a table or windowsill - perfect for Valentine's Day.

Shop the full range of Bolsius Rustic Candles* online here.

Do you have a lot of candles in your home?

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Foodie Friday: Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bites recipe (Dairy-Free/Vegan/Gluten-Free)

Friday, 9 February 2018

Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bites recipe (Dairy-Free/Vegan/Gluten-Free)
If you're a fan of the salted chocolate trend and you love Nutella, you'll want to try these seriously moreish Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bites, which are made from just 4 ingredients!

Whoever decided to first sprinkle a teeny amount of salt onto chocolate is a flavour-genius, and I'd like to buy this person a drink (honestly, DM me!). It's one of my favourite flavour combinations when it comes to experimenting with chocolate, but you know what else I also love? Nutella. That classic chocolate hazelnut spread was a childhood favourite of mine, and I always still have a jar of it in the cupboard for those moments when you just need to get a spoonful of it into your mouth. 

I was browsing Pinterest the other day and came across lots of variations of these Chocolate Hazelnut Bites which combine chocolate, salt and hazelnut butter, all together in tempting bite-sized pieces of heaven. Best of all, they're made from only 4 ingredients and help to satisfy a Nutella craving in a much healthier way - just skip the salt if you want! 

Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bites recipe (Dairy-Free/Vegan/Gluten-Free)
Ingredients: (makes 8-10)
  • 1 tsp of Coconut Oil
  • 3 tbsp of Hazelnut Butter (I used Meridian)
  • 50g of Dark Chocolate
  • Tiny sprinkle of Sea Salt Flakes (optional)

Method:
  • Melt the Coconut Oil and allow to cool slightly. In a small bowl, mix together the Coconut Oil with the Hazelnut Butter and pop into the freezer for a few hours to set.
  • Next, break up the Dark Chocolate into small chunks and slowly melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering hot water. Set aside to cool.
  • Remove the set Hazelnut mixture from the freezer, and using two teaspoons, mould small chunks into balls until you have around 8-10 balls.
  • Dip the balls into the melted Dark Chocolate, getting a good even coating all over, and place on a small plate baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle over a tiny amount of Sea Salt Flakes. Return to the freezer to set for another 2-3 hours.
  • Take them out of the freezer 5 minutes before you want to eat them and enjoy! 

Storage: They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month and may start to go soft at room temperature depending on which brand of Hazelnut Butter you have used, so it's best to keep them frozen until you want to eat them.

Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bites recipe (Dairy-Free/Vegan/Gluten-Free)
Are you a fan of Salted Nutty Chocolate?

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Currently Loving: 4 Vegan-Friendly Skincare Favourites from Antipodes

Thursday, 8 February 2018

4 Vegan-Friendly Skincare Favourites from Antipodes
Antipodes are one of my favourite natural and organic skincare brands, but did you know that many of their products are also suitable for vegans to use? Here are my top 4 vegan-friendly picks from the popular luxury New Zealand brand. 

Best for Sensitive Skin: Antipodes Grace Gentle Cream Cleanser* (120ml, £24.99, link
One of the most annoying things about the mainstream skincare industry is the prevalence of products that are targeted at sensitive skin, which are anything but gentle. The mind truly boggles! Luckily though, sensitive skin types can enjoy this Grace Gentle Cream Cleanser from Antipodes which is fragrance-free and dermatologically approved for sensitive and irritated skin. The ultra-soothing formula uses a natural but powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient called Vinanza Oxifend, which is extracted from sustainably grown Pinot Noir Grapes. It also contains Avocado Oil and Marigold Bloom to nourish and soften, making this cleanser suitable for both morning and evening use. You can use Grace as a makeup remover too, but I prefer it more as a second cleanser in the evening, as it struggles with waterproof and stubborn liquid foundation formulas. However, if you wear light or mineral based makeup though, this will work a treat!

Best for All Skin Types: Antipodes Reincarnation Pure Facial Exfoliator* (75ml, £21.99, link)
If you're looking for an extremely gentle manual exfoliator to add to your skincare routine, Reincarnation is a must-try. Key ingredients include Avocado Oil, Kaolin, Apricot Oil, Calendula Oil and Marigold Flower Oil, which results in a thick and creamy formula that's studded with tiny, natural Jojoba beads. These minute scrubby particles expertly lift away dull, dead skin cells, leaving your complexion looking much clearer and brighter in a matter of minutes. The beauty of this exfoliator is that it's so gentle and feels very nourishing, so if you suffer from blackheads or clogged pores, you can use this on a more regular basis than most other manual face polishes, without worrying about it being too harsh or abrasive for your skin. 

4 Vegan-Friendly Skincare Favourites from Antipodes
Best for Oily, Sensitive & Combination Skin: Antipodes Rejoice Light Facial Day Cream* (60ml, £25.99, link)
I've used this moisturiser on and off for many years now and it's one of the best light day creams that I've found for oily skin. In fact, it's one that I use the most during the Summer months when my combination skin is at its oiliest because it does such a fantastic job of helping to balance those excess sebum levels. I think Rejoice works so well for me because of this awesome balancing formula - it doesn't strip the skin and it doesn't mattify, which is the most common downfall of most moisturisers that are aimed at oily skin types (stripping and mattifying only leads the skin to produce even more sebum as it tries to compensate for this moisture loss, so you end up getting stuck in a vicious cycle!).  Alongside Avocado, Macadamia and Jojoba Oils, you'll find Organic Manuka Flower Oil which is revered for its natural healing properties and I feel like this plays a part in helping to keep blemishes at bay. If all that doesn't sound good enough, this moisturiser is also clinically proven to boost the skin's natural production of Type l and lll collagen and elastin by up to 59%, so it's great for anti-ageing too.

Best for Everyone: Antipodes Immortal SPF 15 Face & Body Moisturiser* (60ml, £28.99, link)
Although Summer is a long way off, if you're starting to think about SPF protection for the coming Spring months, swapping your moisturiser for one that contains SPF 15 like Immortal can be a very beneficial skincare step to take. Formulated with a hero plant-based Hyaluronic Acid that locks in moisture, it also has the likes of Vinanza Grape, Kiwi Extract and Reishi, the latter of which encourages healthy cell growth, so this moisturiser is ideal for those looking for anti-ageing and firming benefits. Suitable for both face and body, Immortal has a slightly thicker than I was expecting consistency and feels a bit greasy when first applied, however after a few minutes or so, it absorbs and creates a nice smooth canvas for applying makeup afterwards. A hidden gem in Antipodes' skincare range!

Have you tried any of these?

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