Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - July 2018 review

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

LoveLula Beauty Box - July 2018 review
This month's LoveLula beauty box is an absolute corker and my favourite box from them this year so far! Worth £53, it features a fantastic selection of organic and natural skincare and haircare

Here's what's inside:-

CHOBS Aloe Sheet Mask (RRP £4.10)
I love a sheet mask every now and then for an indulgent pampering session, and I was pleased to come across this new skincare brand called CHOBS when they recently launched on LoveLula. They're one of the few properly natural and organic Korean beauty brands that I've come across and their sheet masks are amazing! This Aloe one is incredibly soothing and ideal for sensitive or irritated skin as it helps to calm down any redness, and makes your skin feel really soft and smooth afterwards.

LoveLula Beauty Box - July 2018 review
Ooh! Oils Of Heaven Hemp Oil (RRP £19)
Ooh! are a regular brand that features in the LoveLula beauty boxes and they have a great range of all-natural facial oils, many of which I've tried in the past and enjoyed using. Their Hemp Oil is a new one to me and although I've only been testing it out for a week, I'm really liking it so far. It contains just 100% pure hemp oil which is packed full of natural fatty acids but maintains an ultra-low comedogenic index, so it's a good choice for acne and oily skin types. Nicely balancing, it gives the skin a good dose of hydration without going overboard and won't clog pores.

Apple & Bears Bergamot & Green Tea Hair & Body Wash (30ml travel size)
Next up, I found a travel size bottle from Apple & Bears and this is their Bergamot & Green Tea Hair & Body Wash. It has a lovely citrusy fragrance which smells very fresh and summery to me, and although I usually like to keep my shampoos and body washes separate, I could definitely see myself using this on a weekend trip away to save space in my hand luggage.

LoveLula Beauty Box - July 2018 review
Infuse My Haircare Colour Treat Conditioner (RRP £18)  
I've had my eye on this conditioner since I tried out the Infuse My Colour Washes (read my review on those here), so I was was very happy to see a full-size bottle included in this month's box! Specially formulated for colour treated hair, this conditioner has a unique vegan, silicone-free formula which helps to protect your hair colour from fading, and also adds nourishment and essential hydration. It gives my hair a lot of bounce and shine too so it definitely gets a thumbs up from me!

Balm Balm Face Balm (RRP £8.95)
Another full-size product is the wonderfully multi-purpose Balm Balm Face Balm and you can use this in so many different ways. It's great for any extra dry areas that need some TLC like cuticles,  nails, heels and elbows, as well as doubling up as an intensive lip balm and taming unruly eyebrows. A little goes a long way with this super thick formula so this tube will last you ages.

Finally, there are two sample sachets and I've seen a variety of these on different blogs. In my box, I received the D'Alchemy Age Cancellation Booster and John Masters Organics Rosemary & Arnica Body Milk - both of which have gone straight into my travel bag!

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?

Summer Beauty: Zelens Body Defence Sunscreen SPF 30 review

Monday, 30 July 2018

Zelens Body Defence Sunscreen SPF 30 review
Zelens are well known for their innovative skincare formulas, but did you know that they have some rather clever sunscreens in their range as well?

Considering that the man behind Zelens, Dr Marko Lens, is a specialist in skin cancer (he's your go-to-guy if you're a celebrity that's concerned about a mole), it should come as no surprise to discover that his sunscreens are some of the most advanced on the market. Forget sticky, greasy, pore-clogging, thick sun creams and instead, get ready to embrace something completely different!

I was incredibly excited when the Zelens Body Defence Sunscreen SPF 30 arrived a couple of weeks ago from Feel Unique because this is the first time that I've tried a sunscreen which is an oil, so I couldn't wait to see how it performed during one of the hottest days on record in the UK recently.

Zelens Body Defence Sunscreen SPF 30 review
Zelens Body Defence Sunscreen SPF 30 is truly like no other sunscreen that I've used before. This silky oil formula is enriched with Vitamin E, Squalene (derived from Mediterranean Olive Oil), Sesame and Grape Seed Oils, which deeply nourishes and moisturises parched and dry skin, whilst also helping to promote elasticity. In addition, there's a vast range of plant extracts included to further heal and protect the skin, making it stronger and more resilient against the elements. 

The sunscreen protection is SPF 30 and it's broad spectrum so it protects against both harmful UVA and UVB rays, but the real magic is in the way that this is delivered. Using an innovative formula which utilises silica-encapsulated organic sun filters, this helps to create an invisible 'force field' between the skin and the sun's damaging rays so that free radicals are deflected, preventing you from getting burnt and fighting against the formation of wrinkles and fine lines at the same time. Having tested it on the hottest day of the year (and since records began!), I can say with 100% confidence that it works.

Aside from the formula, what I like the most about this sunscreen is that it's super lightweight, easily absorbed and it's basically invisible once applied to the skin. It doesn't have any of the problems that people typically hate about sunscreens (it's not greasy, sticky etc) and you can even use it on your hair as a protective sun oil. If you have the cash to splash and you hate thick sun creams with a passion, this is the sun protection for you. It's completely different, does what it says on the bottle and makes your skin feel incredible. What's not to love?!

Zelens Body Defence Sunscreen SPF 30* (125ml, £55) - shop Zelens at feelunique.com

Have you tried any sunscreens like this before?

Summer Holidays Edit: Practical Essentials for Festivals & Weekend Trips

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Practical Essentials for Festivals, Camping Trips & Weekends Away
With the Summer holidays officially off to a roaring start, make sure to pack some of these practical essentials before you head off on your next weekend away. Let the good times roll!

Practical Essentials for Festivals, Camping Trips & Weekends Away
Always Pack Sunscreen First
I'm sure you don't need another beauty blogger to tell you to slap on the sunscreen before you go outside, but judging by the amount of painfully sunburnt people that I've seen recently, the message is still not getting through to some members of the public (sigh). So don't be an idiot - protect yourself and your family with a good quality sunscreen and reapply it every two hours. One of my faves is Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF 30* (200ml, £22, link) which protects against both UVA and UVB rays, is fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin.

Samples Save Loads Of Space
If you're a skincare or beauty fan, chances are you'll already have a stash of samples hiding away at the back of a drawer somewhere. You know the ones - they pop up in beauty boxes, GWPs and are often added to your online orders, but are easily forgotten about. Dig them out and take them with you! You'll save loads of space in your travel bag and have more room for the important stuff like duty-free bottles of booze ;) Don't have any samples? Check out LoveLula's sample selection here

Practical Essentials for Festivals, Camping Trips & Weekends Away
The Multi-Purpose Antibacterial Saviour
One holiday essential that I always pack is a multi-purpose wound gel which is basically like a natural first aid assistant in a tube. Comvita Antibacterial Wound Gel* (25g, £9.98, link) can be used on minor burns, cuts, grazes, insect bites and ulcers, as it contains sterilised medical grade Manuka Honey which promotes wound healing and reduces the risk of infection. You can also use it on eczema and scratch wounds to prevent them from getting worse.

Say Farewell To B.O
Keep yourself smelling sweet and fresh all Summer long with a natural deodorant like Native Unearthed Coconut & Vanilla Natural Deodorant Balm* (60ml, £6.99, link). This concentrated formula has a blend of Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Arrowroot and Vanilla to neutralize underarm odour, without blocking your pores with nasty chemicals.

Don't Forget Toothpaste!
It might just be me, but I've lost count of the number of times that I've remembered to pack my toothbrush but forgotten the toothpaste, so take this as your reminder to pack a tube. I'm enjoying using Lavera Basis Sensitiv Toothpaste* (75ml, £4.95, link) which has been specially developed for sensitive teeth and is ultra-gentle, plus it's minty fresh!

Tell Insects To Buzz Off
A lot of mainstream insect repellents contain deet which is an ingredient that some people, especially children and babies, can have allergic reactions to, as well as other undesirable side effects. Eco By Sonya Organic Personal Outdoor Spray* (100ml, £14.04, link) is 100% deet-free and instead is made with only organic and natural ingredients. It utilises the properties of several essential oils such as Citronella, Basil, Lemon and Eucalyptus that have all been proven to repel biting insects, and it smells lovely and fresh which is a pleasant added bonus.

Keep The Conversation Going
Holidays and festivals are often the best times to catch up with friends and family that you haven't seen in a while, so make sure that you keep those conversations going long into the night by packing some soothing throat sweets. These ones from Grether's Pastilles* (110g, £7.49, link) are made to an original recipe that's over 150 years old and features a unique formula which coats your throat with a protective layer, keeping your voice strong and preventing a dry mouth. They're available in a range of flavours, and I can vouch that the Blackcurrant ones pictured above are particularly yummy.

What are your practical travel essentials?

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New In Beauty: Inner Senses Deep Blue C Facial Oil review

Friday, 27 July 2018

Inner Senses Deep Blue C Facial Oil review
Facial oils have been a permanent fixture in my skincare routine for many years now, and I tend to have a couple of different bottles on rotation for helping with various skin concerns. At the moment, my skin has been feeling congested, irritated and sensitive due to the heatwave, so I've been reaching for this soon to be released newbie from Inner Senses.  

I was only introduced to Inner Senses about six weeks ago, but it's been love at first sight. Founded by an aromatherapy teacher and practitioner, Lisa Basso has used her extensive knowledge and love of plants and nature, to create an organic aromatherapy and wellbeing brand that contains an array of award-winning products. Oils are Lisa's speciality, so you'll find an interesting selection of Face Oils, Body Oils and dedicated Maternity/Pregnancy friendly products within the Inner Senses range.

All of the products are blended by hand and contain only pure and natural plant-based ingredients which are organic and ethically sourced. Free from parabens, synthetic colours, artificial fragrances and preservatives, everything from Inner Senses is also cruelty-free and vegan.

I've been lucky enough to get my hands on their Deep Blue C Facial Oil ahead of its release date, and have been testing it out for the past couple of weeks.  

Inner Senses Deep Blue C Facial Oil review
Specially formulated and developed for problematic skin that's prone to acne, breakouts and sensitivity/irritation issues, Inner Senses Deep Blue C Facial Oil is an ultra-soothing treatment which helps to calm everything down.  Think of it like a super nanny that's able to comfort a screaming toddler - if your skin is feeling irritated and resembles that exasperated bright red hue of a child in full tantrum mode, this is the facial oil for you!

The calming and cooling properties are all down to the ingredients which have been expertly chosen to soothe, repair and regenerate troublesome skin. The first ingredient is Jojoba Oil which creates a nourishing base, but the main miracle workers in this blend are Blue Tansy and Helichrysum Flower Oils, Prickly Pear, Baobab, Tamanu, Black Cumin and Pomegranate Seed Oils. There's also extracts of Turmeric root, Tomato Leaf, Chamomile, Calendula and Rosemary, who all bring their own spectrum of soothing properties to the mix.

I feel that the term 'powerhouse' is overused in the marketing world of new beauty launches, but this facial oil really does have all the hallmarks of a powerhouse formula and is certainly worthy of such a title. Since using this about twice a week in my evening skincare routine, I've noticed a pleasant decrease in the number of new blemishes and breakouts, so something is definitely working here, and I love how easy it sinks into the skin without making it feel greasy. Definitely, one to keep your eye on if you have blemish-prone, easily irritated skin as it can be difficult to find products that'll work. Inner Senses are onto a winner with this one!

 Inner Senses Deep Blue C Facial Oil* (30ml, price TBC) will be released later this year so keep an eye on innersenses.co.uk

What are your favourite facial oils?

Mid-Week Pamper Treat: Kiss The Moon Love Sleep Recovery Set review #SleepBeautifully

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Kiss The Moon Love Sleep Recovery Set review
Looking for a luxury beauty treat to gift to a friend or loved one? Kiss The Moon's Love Sleep Recovery Set is the perfect present for anyone who's struggling to get a good night's sleep in this heatwave.

Kiss The Moon are an English natural beauty and wellness brand who I haven't mentioned a lot about on here before, which is quite shocking as everything about this company is very 'me'. From the beautiful chic black packaging to the luxurious natural formulations of their products, Kiss The Moon are one of those go-to brands for when you're doing some gift shopping or just fancy treating yourself to something special.

As the sultry name may suggest, Kiss The Moon's products are focused on helping you to get a good night's sleep and their range encompasses all manner of luxury beauty sleep products such as Pillow Mists, Candles, Bath Oils, Sleep Balms, Night Creams and more. To give you a taster, I have Kiss The Moon's Love Sleep Recovery Set which perfectly sums up the brand and would make a wonderful gift or pampering treat.

Kiss The Moon Love Sleep Recovery Set review
Packaged in a reusable black velvet, zip-up pouch (this would double up as a great little makeup bag for a weekend away), the Kiss The Moon Love Sleep Recovery Set comprises of four travel-size products which are from the brand's bestselling Love rang. These all feature a decadent blend of some of my favourite essential oils; Rose, Frankincense and Ylang Ylang.

There are three mini bottles of Kiss The Moon Love After Dark Bath Oil, an award-winning product which was a finalist in this year's Beauty Shortlist Awards. This bath oil is pure pampering heaven as it's composed of natural skin softening oils such as Coconut, Jojoba and Camellia Seed, which are blended with Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, Rose Damascus and Palma Rosa essential oils. To say that it smells amazing is something of an understatement!

In addition to the bath oils, there's also a mini Kiss The Moon Love After Dark Face Oil to keep the pampering experience going long after you've finished bathing. Enriched with Rosehip Seed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Camellia Seed Oil and those heavenly trio of Love essential oils (Rose, Frankincense and Ylang Ylang), this face oil is not only a relaxing sensation for the senses, but is a real treat for your skin too as it helps to boost circulation, stimulate cell renewal and plumps up the skin to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. It's light and easily absorbed so if you're new to face oils, this is a lovely one to try.

Finally, to complete the set, there's a gorgeous Black Silk Eye Mask to help you get your eight hours of beauty sleep, so that you can start the new day fully refreshed and looking your best. Bliss!

Kiss The Moon Love Sleep Recovery Set* (£28) is available from LoveLula.com

Have you tried anything from Kiss The Moon?

Women's Health: Spatone Liquid Iron Supplement - 6 Week Trial review

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Throughout most of my adult life, I've struggled with having low iron levels and have suffered from bouts of anaemia and fatigue as a result. Iron supplements though are very hit and miss, but I think I've finally found some that work for me!

Why Is Iron Important?
Iron is one of the most important minerals that the body needs a good supply of every day. It's essential because iron is a vital component in making the red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. This helps to maintain normal energy levels, reduce tiredness and fatigue, keep your immune system healthy and stabilise normal cognitive function.

However, most of us struggle to get enough iron from our daily diet alone, and women under menopause age and young females are especially prone to iron deficiencies as most of us have periods or extra nutritional demands, such as those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Vegetarians, like myself, and vegans are also at risk because although iron is found in many green vegetables such as Broccoli and Spinach, the body does not absorb it as easily as it does with iron that's found in red meat.

Not All Iron Supplements Are The Same
When I first had some blood tests done as a teenager, I was immediately prescribed some heavy duty iron supplements which came in a tablet form. These were not only hard to swallow (they were HUGE!), but they caused me to have the most unbearable stomach cramps, which were so bad that I had to stop taking them. I was put on a lower dosage which I put up with for a few years, but these still gave me a lot of stomach problems and although it's TMI, I had constipation issues as well which isn't fun, let me tell you! So, after getting fed up with the side effects of prescribed iron tablets, I tried out a bunch of different brands and formulas that I purchased from health shops, all with varying degrees of success until I tried Spatone.

Over the past six weeks, I've been taking part in a trial of Spatone Liquid Iron Supplements, where I have been consuming one packet per day. Spatone is made from 100% natural iron-rich water that's sourced from the Trefriw Wells Spa in Snowdonia, North Wales. They have two versions available; an Apple flavoured one that contains added Vitamin C to enhance absorption and an Original one that's just iron-water.

As it's a liquid iron supplement, it's a lot more gentle on the stomach than iron tablets and has been scientifically proven to be a highly absorbable source of iron with an average absorption rate of 40%. This might sound low, but as the body only absorbs around 5-20% of the iron that's found in foods, it can help you to reach your daily iron requirements as part of a varied diet (each Spatone sachet contains 5mg of iron).

How To Take Spatone
Spatone is packaged in individual sachets and it's recommended to take one a day as a top up for your body's iron levels. The brand suggests mixing it with fruit juice and I would highly recommend doing this because it doesn't taste good on its own (I tried it just to see what it was like and the Original flavour is like drinking liquid metal - the Apple flavour is much more palatable!). However, once mixed with juice, you can't really taste it. 

Iron supplements are best taken on an empty stomach, and the Vitamin C in your juice helps the body to increase the absorption of the iron. If you absolutely can't take it on an empty stomach, avoid consuming it with carbonated drinks (phosphates), tea (tannin), coffee (caffeine), dairy, raw cereal (phytates) and any supplements that contain calcium, as all of these will inhibit the absorption rate. Allow a 30-45 minute gap from when you take it to eating a meal for the best results.

Overall thoughts?
Spatone is by far the best iron supplement that I've ever taken. I have had no problems with any side effects such as nausea or stomach cramps/complaints, no issues with constipation, and after six weeks of taking it daily, I have noticed a slight increase in my energy levels - which for someone who regularly suffers from fatigue, this is a really big deal! 

I'm so happy with it that I've since purchased another four months' supply, as I feel it may well be a long-term daily supplement for me, and I'm curious as to whether I'll start to see any more differences in my overall health in the future from taking it on a regular basis. I'll be sure to update this post if I do!

Spatone* is available in packs of 14 or 28 sachets and can be found in the Original flavour and an Apple flavour which has added Vitamin C. I'd recommend the latter! Prices start from £6.99 and Spatone can be found in major retailers such as Superdrug and Holland & Barrett. Full stockist info at spatone.com

Do you take iron supplements?

Introducing: Zenon Kition - The Healing Body Moisturiser, Floral Beauty Mist & Hemp and Grapeseed Face Moisturiser review #OrganicBeauty

Thursday, 19 July 2018

The Healing Body Moisturiser, Floral Beauty Mist & Hemp and Grapeseed Face Moisturiser review
Discovering independent beauty brands that are made right here in the UK, is one of the many perks that comes with being a beauty blogger, and this latest introduction shines a spotlight on the London based organic skincare company, Zenon Kition.

They say that the best marriages are formed on shared interests and passions, and if that's right, Zenon Kition are definitely onto something. This natural cosmetics brand is a proud husband and wife venture that demonstrates a clear mutual love for all things natural, clean and environmentally friendly. Drawing upon their strengths, the two have created something which showcases their knowledge and talents. 

The husband Tas, has been working as a high-end hairstylist for over 22 years and owns a beauty salon in North London. He understands that gentle products are beneficial to the hair and scalp which inspired him to want to make his own products. His wife Dori, is an experienced herbalist who has always enjoyed working with organic plants and medicinal herbs, which she uses to treat her clients' dry skin conditions. After some courses focusing on natural formulations, Zenon Kition was launched.

The range is small but sweet, and they currently have several different types of Body Moisturiser, alongside a Beauty Mist, Multi-Purpose Oils, and some new products in the shape of a Shampoo, a Hair Styling Pomade and a Face Moisturiser. I was kindly sent a couple of their products to try, which you can find discover more about below.

Zenon Kition The Healing Body Moisturiser review
Zenon Kition The Healing Body Moisturiser* (120ml, £44.95, link)

Having read about Dori's experience with treating dry skin conditions naturally, I was very keen to try out one of Zenon Kition's Body Moisturisers. They currently have seven varieties available, each one blended with different essential oils, and I decided to choose 'The Healing' as I absolutely love anything that has Ylang-Ylang, Patchouli and Geranium in it.

Packaged in a weighty glass jar, this body moisturiser is super rich, but it has a lighter, whipped texture thanks to a base composition of three skin-loving organic ingredients; Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter and Coconut Oil. There's also Sweet Almond Oil and Vitamin E added, as well as those lovely essential oils which I mentioned earlier, all of which combine beautifully to form an ultra-hydrating body moisturiser that sinks into the skin nicely. This is a brilliant moisturiser to use after a shower or bath, or whenever your skin feels dry, and the delicate scent is very relaxing so it's a good one to use before going to bed to help you to sleep.

Zenon Kition Floral Beauty Mist review
Zenon Kition Floral Beauty Mist* (100ml, £9.99, link)

I don't know about you, but I've been spritzing myself silly since this heatwave of a Summer started! It's no surprise then to tell you that I've been thoroughly enjoying this Floral Beauty Mist which contains just 100% pure distilled Rosewater, made from carefully extracted rose petals that are grown in the famous Rose Valley in Bulgaria. 

Most pure rosewater mists are quite samey to me as I've tried so many from various natural brands over the years, and this one is no different if I'm honest, but it is wonderfully refreshing to use on a hot day. A great product to add to your daily skincare routine to keep even sensitive skin hydrated and happy for longer. My fave tip for using it? Pop it into the fridge for a cooling spritz whenever your skin feels thirsty - it always works a treat!

Zenon Kition Hemp and Grapeseed Face Moisturiser review
Zenon Kition Face Moisturiser* (60ml, £23, link)

I'm very fussy when it comes to face moisturisers because I have oily/combination skin that's prone to breakouts, but I was curious to try Zenon's newbie which is their first face moisturiser product. Developed for all skin types, this 100% natural facial moisturiser has been specially created with the skin's pores in mind, and the ingredients have been chosen to reflect this.

Now, I do have to disagree a little here because the first ingredient is Shea Butter and I know a lot of people can't tolerate Shea Butter in their face creams because it breaks them out, but luckily, I haven't had any issues with it. Instead, it has a lighter than expected texture that absorbs quickly so this would be ideal to use in the mornings underneath makeup, as well as the evenings. In addition to Shea Butter, there's Hemp Seed Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Clary Sage Oil, Rosemary Oil and Vitamin E - and that's it, making it a good choice for those who are looking for an all-natural face moisturiser that's definitely on the more balancing and soothing side of things.

All the products above are available from zklondon.com

Do you use organic skincare?

Mid-Week Pamper Treat: Absolute Aromas Relaxation & Lavender Epsom Bath Salts review

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Absolute Aromas Relaxation & Lavender Epsom Bath Salts review
Happy Humpday! If this week hasn't been treating you too kindly and you're in need of a budget-friendly, mid-week pamper, these Epsom Bath Salts from Absolute Aromas will have you de-stressed and relaxed in no time at all.

I'm a firm advocate of self-care and the many benefits that taking some time out for yourself has on your overall mental health. You don't need to spend hours in the bath with a million candles and glasses of wine either (although they can certainly help!) - a quick 20-minute soak in the tub can definitely help you to unwind and leave all the stresses of the day back at the office, instead of in your home. I always find that I can mentally re-focus and enjoy my hobbies more after a bath too, so it's worth making the time for a little pamper whenever you can.

Epsom Salts
I've written about my love of Epsom Salts many times on here before, and they are the key ingredient in several of my all-time favourite bath treats. Epsom Salts are naturally rich in Magnesium which is essential for many of the body's daily functions. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a magnesium deficiency which can lead to problems such as muscle cramps, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia and poor memory, so relaxing in a bath of Epsom Salts can help to boost your magnesium intake as you can absorb it through your skin (this is why a lot of athletes and regular gym goers use Magnesium sprays to help their sore muscles to recover faster)

I was recently introduced to Absolute Aromas who are one of the UK's leading aromatherapy brands and have been testing out two of their Epsom Bath Salts from their wide range. All of their products are 100% natural, cruelty-free and free from parabens and sulphates.  

Absolute Aromas Lavender Epsom Bath Salts review
 Absolute Aromas Lavender Epsom Salts* (300g, £4.50, link)

Anything Lavender scented is my go-to for when I need to help to get to sleep, and these Epsom Salts are infused with pure Lavender Essential Oil. They dissolve easily and you only need two generous handfuls to feel the full benefits. I loved the simplistic scent of these and they definitely helped me to get a good night's sleep after I used them. I've also tried these as a foot soak after a busy day, and they made my feet really lovely and soft afterwards, so that's another way that you can use them.

Absolute Aromas Relaxation Epsom Bath Salts review
Absolute Aromas Relaxation Epsom Salts* (300g, £4.50, link)

If you're not keen on Lavender, but still want a relaxing natural fragrance to help you unwind, the Relaxation Epsom Salts offer a more complex mix of essential oils which have been expertly blended to give you a blissful pampering experience. Although it still contains Lavender, the mix of the other essential oils means that it's not the dominant scent. Instead, this blend of infused Epsom Salts features Tangerine, Bergamot, Lavender, Petitgrain, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Clary, Patchouli, Lime, Vetiver, Clove, Chamomile and Ylang Ylang essential oils, and it's a much more potent scent that's wonderfully relaxing and fills the whole bathroom with fragrance. Perfect for those times when you really need to de-stress and take your mind off the world!

Shop the full range at absolute-aromas.com

Are you a fan of aromatherapy and Epsom Salts?

Summer Beauty: Tropic Sun Care Discovery Kit + Sun Balm SPF 50 review #MineralSunscreen

Monday, 16 July 2018

Tropic Sun Care Discovery Kit review
Jetting off on your summer holidays soon? Need some sunscreen for yourself and the family? Don't forget to pack this super handy Sun Care Discovery Kit from Tropic before you go if you're looking for the best in mineral-based sun protection.

Chemical vs Mineral
Most big brand sunscreens that you'll find in the shops are called 'chemical' sunscreens because they absorb UV rays which are converted into heat energy on the skin. 'Natural' or 'mineral' sunscreens on the other hand, use minerals such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to reflect the UV rays, and this acts as a physical barrier which stops them from penetrating the skin. Both methods have been scientifically proven to be effective against sun damage, however, I have noticed a trend in more consumers wanting to go natural with their sunscreens because they don't contain certain ingredients which are harmful to the environment, and are less likely to cause allergic reactions in sensitive skin types.

A recent study by National Geographic found that a staggering 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers into the oceans worldwide every year and this has been causing a problem because Oxybenzone, a common ingredient in chemical sunscreens, has been linked to coral reef bleaching which causes them to die. When you think about how vital coral reefs are to our ecosystem, it makes sense to switch to a sunscreen that doesn't contain Oxybenzone!

Tropic Sun Care Discovery Kit review
Thankfully, there are plenty of natural/mineral sunscreens out there, including this cruelty-free, vegan-friendly Sun Care Discovery Kit from Tropic which is perfect for the whole family to use. The kit contains a full set of travel-sized, mineral sun protection products and I've been enjoying testing these out recently during these wonderfully sunny spells that we've been having here in the UK. 

Inside the sunny tropical print, cotton drawstring bag, you'll find the following contents.

Tropic Skin Shade Mineral Sun Protection SPF 30 & SPF 50 (100ml each)
This water-resistant, broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen will protect against both UVA and UVB rays so you have the peace of mind that you're fully covered, whether you're in the UK or holidaying abroad. As mentioned earlier, the mineral sun protection in this formula comes from Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, and there's also Kahai and Roucou oils included to keep your skin feeling softer and hydrated for longer, whilst extracts of Kakadu and Illawarra Plum have been added for their natural antioxidant properties. 

Both of these have the same kind of texture and once fully rubbed in, don't leave a white residue on the skin. I have also tried these on my face and haven't had any problems with breakouts, but I do prefer using the specialised Tropic Tinted Skin Shade Mineral Facial Sun Protection (reviewed here), just because I like the tinted finish that it gives.

Tropic Sun Care Discovery Kit review
Tropic Sun Soothe Cooling Aftersun Lotion (100ml)
Even with the best of intentions, it can be all too easy to want to stay out in the sun for longer than you know you should, which is why I always, always pack an aftersun product in my suitcase. Tropic's Sun Soothe Cooling Aftersun Lotion ticks all of the right boxes that I look for in a high-quality aftersun that I can trust to work when I need it the most, and with Aloe Vera as its first ingredient, you know it's going to be good! 

In addition to Aloe Vera, it also has Argan Oil, Vitamin E, Bisabolol and Eucalyptus, to instantly soothe redness and irritation, as well as hydrating and repairing the skin at the same time. Needless to say, it feels absolutely lovely on and also helps to prolong your tan which is a welcome bonus.

Tropic Sun Balm review
Tropic Sun Balm SPF 50 (20ml)
This convenient travel-sized balm has been specially designed as a top-up sunscreen, and comes in especially useful as a way to keep those tricky areas that are prone to burning (such as ears, noses, cheeks, shoulders etc) fully protected whilst you're out and about. I was expecting this to be quite thick but was pleasantly surprised by how light it actually feels. As well as the water-resistant SPF 50 factor, key ingredients include Tamanu Oil which helps with healing the skin, Vitamin E, and Rosemary Leaf Oil to protect the skin from free radicals. Worth £16 on its own, you can add Tropic's Sun Balm SPF 50 to the Sun Care Discovery Kit for an extra tenner and given how much use I've gotten out of it recently, it's something that I would definitely suggest spending the extra money on!

Tropic Sun Care Discovery Kit* retails for £40 or £50 with the Sun Balm added. Available from tropicskincare.com

Do you use mineral sun protection?

Foodie Friday: Summer Chocolate Ganache Cake with Strawberries & Rose (Vegan/Dairy-Free recipe)

Friday, 13 July 2018

Summer Chocolate Ganache Cake with Strawberries & Rose (Vegan/Dairy-Free recipe)
Since I've been on a bit of a fitness kick lately, I've had the most insane cravings for chocolate, so earlier this week there was only one thing that I could do - make a chocolate cake of course! This one's vegan-friendly, dairy and refined sugar-free, but this is no low-fat version as it's still seriously rich and utterly decadent. 

Out of all of the cookbooks that I own (and I own quite a lot), the Deliciously Ella books are the ones that I keep going back to again and again. Not only are they packed full of healthy, plant-based recipes, but there are some seriously indulgent ones in there as well, so it made sense to have a browse when I was looking for something to satisfy my chocolate craving.

Summer Chocolate Ganache Cake with Strawberries & Rose (Vegan/Dairy-Free recipe)
I stumbled upon the following Chocolate Ganache Cake recipe from the Deliciously Ella Every Day book and I just knew that I had to make it! Luckily, I already had most of the ingredients at home as this cake is made from seven ingredients that I use on a regular basis, so it was mostly a case of simply blending everything together and popping it into the oven - super easy!

This cake is incredibly rich and satisfying. It's wonderfully chocolatey and fudgey, and one small slice with a cup of tea is more than enough to put a smile back on my face after a long and busy week. As it's Summer, I decided to add some fresh Strawberries and a sprinkling of edible Rose Petals over the top to finish it off (these work so well with the chocolate flavour too), so this would be a really beautiful cake to share with friends and family over the weekend.

Summer Chocolate Ganache Cake with Strawberries & Rose (Vegan/Dairy-Free recipe)
Ingredients: (makes 1 cake)
  • 3 ripe Avocados
  • 7 tbsp of Almond Butter
  • 8 tbsp of raw Cacao Powder
  • 11 tbsp of Maple Syrup
  • 140g Ground Almonds
  • 3 tbsp Chia Seeds

(For the frosting)
  • 4 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 4 tbsp Cacao Powder
  • 4 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • Fresh Strawberries & edible Rose Petals (optional)

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.
  • Scoop out the Avocado flesh and discard the stones and skins.
  • Add the Avocados to a food processor with all the other cake ingredients and blend until smooth. Gently scoop out the batter into the cake tin and smooth out the surface.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife pressed into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool and bind together for at least 20 minutes before turning it out of the tin.
  • To make the frosting, warm the Coconut Oil in a saucepan over a low heat until it melts, and then stir in the rest of the frosting ingredients (minus the Strawberries & Rose Petals if using).
  • Apply a generous layer of frosting all over the top of the cold cake and leave to set. Add some chopped fresh Strawberries and sprinkle over a handful of edible Rose Petals to finish. 

Summer Chocolate Ganache Cake with Strawberries & Rose (Vegan/Dairy-Free recipe)
Have you baked any cakes recently?

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New In Beauty: PMD Clean Smart Facial Cleansing Device review #SkincareRoutine

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

PMD Clean review
Skincare fans listen up! There's a brand new facial cleansing gadget in town, but is it worth the money? Let's meet the latest innovation from PMD and put it to the test.

Whilst I'm utterly addicted to trying out new skincare products, I don't have quite the same enthusiasm for skincare gadgets. Why? When all the hype around the Clarisonic saturated the blogosphere several years ago, I rushed out and bought one along with everyone else, hoping that it would somehow magically transform my skin. Want to know what happened next?

I ended up selling the damn thing on eBay less than three months later because it ruined my skin. The combination of too-harsh bristles and over-exfoliation was too much for my poor complexion to handle, and I was left dealing with more breakouts than I've ever had in my whole life. Needless to say, I avoided all facial cleansing gadgets for a long time afterwards until a facialist friend of mine used a Foreo Luna on me, and my skin loved it. I've been eyeing up buying one for a while now, but when I received this package from PMD for their latest launch called the PMD Clean last month, I think I changed my mind.

PMD Clean review
At first glance, the new PMD Clean looks suspiciously similar to the Foreo Luna in that it vibrates and is made from silicone, but that's about as far as the comparisons go. When I was playing with the Foreo Luna, I thought it was rather fiddly to hold and it's only since using this that I realised how satisfying it is to hold something that has an actual handle, especially when your hands are wet.

The PMD Clean uses 'SonicGlow' technology' which basically means that it vibrates over 7,000 times per minute. This allows the device to really break down any embedded dirt and impurities trapped within the pores, thus giving the skin a deep down clean and leaving it feeling much softer and smoother afterwards. The vibrations/pulsations also allow you to indulge in a nice anti-ageing facial massage, so it's one to look into if you're after a cleansing device that can also help to tone and boost the overall circulation of the skin. 

PMD Clean review
Looking closely at the head, you can clearly see that there are two types of bristles, all of which are short, but one section has chunkier and bigger bristles than the other. This section can be used to target more troublesome areas like the chin and jawline, though I found it worked just as well when I used it in circular motions all over my face.

This device has four settings so that you can change the speeds according to your skin's needs. I've mainly been using the first mode at it's the gentlest, so I'd recommend starting with that one, especially if you have sensitive skin, and then working your way up to the more intense mode two.  Flip the head over and you'll see three wider ridges (see the first selfie photo above). These can be used with the modes three and four to massage in serums and moisturisers after exfoliating, and they have more of a 'pulsing' sensation, rather than a vibrating one.

As the PMD Clean is made from silicone, it's waterproof, anti-bacterial and far more hygienic than the bristles that you'll find on the Clarisonic. It's also much easier to clean, plus you don't ever need to replace the head so it's more cost-effective in the long run.

PMD Clean review
Overall thoughts?
Having tested out the PMD Clean for about six weeks now, I can say that it's something that I can imagine myself continuing to use on a regular basis in my skincare routine. As I have combination/ sensitive skin, I've only been using it once or twice a week, but it's been doing a great job of blitzing some stubborn blackheads and helping to make my skin look and feel a lot less congested. The ease of using it and how gentle the silicone is has really won me over, and for hygiene freaks like me, I much prefer using something that I know I can clean properly after every use!

It's certainly an investment, but it's not as hideously expensive as similar cleansing devices on the market, so if you're looking for an effective, relatively budget-friendly option, the PMD Clean may just be what you're after.

PMD Clean* is available in three colours and retails for £89 (link)

Do you use a facial cleansing device?

Home Decor: INFINI London Pink Roses review

Monday, 9 July 2018

INFINI London Pink Roses review
Fresh flowers are one of life's little luxuries and a beautiful way to decorate your home, but if you've ever been disappointed by how long they last, INFINI London offer an interesting alternative option.

When I can afford to, I love buying fresh flowers. There's just something so satisfying about bringing home a bouquet, trimming the stems and arranging them in a vase - I'm sure I was a florist in a previous life! However, watching the flowers wilt and wither over the next couple of days is always depressing, and I've never personally liked the plastic gaudiness of fake flowers. 

So what's a girl to do?

INFINI London Pink Roses review
Whilst searching for alternatives to fake plastic flowers, I came across INFINI London who specialise in real roses that last up to a year. I know it sounds cliché but roses are one of my favourite flowers, as they always remind me of the rose garden that my grandparents used to tend to near their retirement home. I have many fond memories of running around the garden as a young child, often stopping to breathe in that classic floral fragrance (this is also why I still love rose-scented beauty products!), admiring the delicate structures of the petals and appreciating the various hues of red and pink.

INFINI London Pink Roses review
Presented in various gift-appropriate ways (the Signature Black Cube box is shown above), INFINI's roses are picked and cut at their most prime state, and each one is carefully treated with a special eco-friendly solution which perfectly preserves them in all their glory for up to a year.

When the box above arrived, I was absolutely enthralled by how perfect these pink roses are. The preservation treatment is truly outstanding as they have managed to maintain their delicate petals and structure, and even their natural rose scent is still detectable - my mind is blown as to how they do this!

With no watering required and only a light dusting needed every once in a while, you can place these INFINI roses anywhere in your home, making sure to avoid exposure to direct sunlight and high humidity so that they stay in tip-top condition. They are so beautiful and would make a wonderful housewarming gift. 

INFINI London Pink Roses review
P.S Although INFINI recommends that you don't remove the roses from their box, I couldn't resist picking one up to provide a better close-up photo!

INFINI London Signature Black Cube Pink Roses* (£59, link)

Have you ever bought any preserved flowers like this?

Colourful Haircare: Infuse My Colour Copper & Ruby Wash review

Friday, 6 July 2018

Infuse My Colour Copper & Ruby Wash review
A couple of months ago, I started to experiment with dyeing my hair with henna (see what I used and read about my experience here) and have since re-henna'd it a further two times. I love the results with henna, but find that like most hair dyes, it does quickly fade within a few weeks, so I've been looking for something to freshen up the colour in between dye jobs.

There's been a lot of hype surrounding the Infuse My Colour Washes when they launched on LoveLula recently, so I decided to pick two of them up and give them a go.

Created by two globally celebrated hairdressers, Rob Forgione & Denis Kovalyov, the Infuse My Colour range offers a variety of shades to refresh, revive and tone your coloured hair. These types of products are nothing new as many women use purple shampoos to banish the brassy tones that can build up on coloured blonde hair, but what I did find interesting is that the Infuse My Colour Washes are all free from sulphates, silicones and parabens, as well as being cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, which naturally gets a massive thumbs up from me. With this in mind, I was excited to jump into the bathroom and put them to the test!

Infuse My Colour Copper Wash review
 Infuse My Colour Copper Wash* (250ml, £14.95, link)

First up, I tried the Copper Wash which helps to maintain the brightness of Strawberry Blonde, Copper, Auburn and Warm Brown Hair. As my henna'd hair colour has a rich brown, reddish tone to it, I was hoping that this would perhaps revive some of the warmth of colour that tends to fade after a few weeks, and I'm pleased to say that it did help to brighten it up.

I used it in place of my regular shampoo and found that the consistency was a little thinner than I was expecting, however, it created a light foam and was easy to spread over the hair and massage in. The instructions say to just wash and rinse, and then apply again if required, so I used it twice to see what the full effects would be like. After conditioning and drying, my hair looked noticeably shinier and definitely brighter with a greater depth of warmth coming through, especially when it caught the sunlight. It didn't change my hair colour (not that I expected it to as it's dark to begin with), but I loved the extra brightness and life that it brought back.

Infuse My Colour Ruby Wash review
Infuse My Colour Ruby Wash* (250ml, £14.95, link)

As my henna'd hair has a deep red tone to it, it made sense to opt for the Ruby Wash which has been specially formulated to boost Red, Red Brown and Burgundy hair colours. The formula felt identical to the one above when it came to shampooing with it, and I followed it up with my regular conditioner, then allowed my hair to air-dry. I was a little disappointed when I checked my reflection in the bathroom mirror as I couldn't see any immediate difference, but once I was outside in the sun, I could see that it had successfully revived the red tones and added a lovely glossy shine which made it look like I had just freshly henna'd my hair. 

Overall thoughts?
I was hoping that these Colour Washes would add a bit of warmth and brightness to my hair, and I'm pleased to say that both delivered a subtle, but noticeable result which is really impressive on dark hair. I'll definitely continue to use them alongside my trusty henna!

Do you use colour infusing shampoos?

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