September Empties: Products I've Used Up

Sunday, 30 September 2018

I had a feeling that I was going to have a bumper load of Empties this month, so I wasn't surprised to see my Empties box overflowing with products today! Let's jump straight in then, as there's a lot to chat about.

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels
I've had a rough time this month with about two weeks of flu and let me tell you - when I have the flu, I literally look like death warmed up. Seriously, it's not pretty! Luckily, I had a pack of these in my skincare stash and they are fantastic for quickly depuffing your eyes and making you look like you've had a full eight hours of sleep. Repurchase? Definitely!

RMS Beauty Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipe
I don't use a lot of wipes these days, but I like to have some handy for travelling. These ones from RMS Beauty are basically coated in pure Organic Coconut Oil and don't contain anything else, so they're very gentle on the skin. They worked well with removing mineral-based makeup but struggled with shifting waterproof mascara, and given how expensive they are, I don't think I would bother picking these up again. Repurchase? No.

September Empties: Products I've Used Up
Green People Hydrating After Sun Soothing Moisturiser*
This is one of my favourite after-sun formulas and I really enjoyed using it all Summer long. It isn't sticky or greasy, and feels wonderfully hydrating - just what you want to soothe the skin after too much fun in the sun! Repurchase? Yes.

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Acid Daily Cleansing Pads
There are so many budget-friendly options out there if you want to add some Glycolic acid to your skincare routine, but I'm a big fan of these cleansing pads from Superdrug as they feel gentle, do a good job, but don't irritate my skin. I always stock up when they're half price. Repurchase? Yes.

B. Effective Stubborn Makeup Remover
Another cheap-as-chips favourite of mine is this eye makeup remover from Superdrug's B range. This works a charm and is on the same level as much pricier brands in terms of performance, yet you can often pick it up for a mere £4 when it's on offer! An absolute bargain and massively underrated. Repurchase? Yes.

Esse Probiotic Serum*
For something much, much more expensive, Esse's Probiotic Serum was a real pleasure to use and my skin fell in love with it. Due to its hefty price tag, I didn't use this every day and instead rotated it with some of my more affordable serums so that it lasted longer. If you're into luxury probiotic skincare, Esse is a worthy brand to look into. Repurchase? It's out of my budget at the moment, but I would be tempted if I saw it on sale. 

September Empties: Products I've Used Up
Weleda Wild Rose Pampering Body Lotion*
I've yet to come across a Weleda product that I don't like, and I'm a big fan of their Wild Rose range which smells beautiful. Their Body Lotions have a gorgeous formula and absorb easily into the skin - I loved using this after a long hot bath. Repurchase? Yes.

Nuxe Reve De Miel Face Cleansing & Makeup-Removing Gel
Received this in a recent GWP and I hated it. It left my skin feeling tight, dry and not very clean (like there was still some residue left behind), plus it didn't remove all of my makeup. Repurchase? Nope!

Evolve Organic Beauty Hyaluronic Serum 200*
Oh, it was a sad day when this ran out because it's one of the best Hyaluronic Acid based serums that I've ever used! It feels virtually weightless on the skin, absorbs rapidly and it really plumps everything up, making your complexion look more refreshed and rejuvenated. Repurchase? Will do once I use some other serums up.

Antipodes Juliet Brightening Gel Cleanser*
I love a gel cleanser in the Summer months and this one from Antipodes served me well when it was hot and sticky outside. Great for oily and combination skin, it gives a deep cleanse without stripping the skin and helps to clear up blemishes as well. Repurchase? I'd happily buy this again next Spring/Summer.

September Empties: Products I've Used Up
Weleda Evening Primrose Revitalising Body Oil*
Lovely body oil, very rich and nourishing so perfect to use for a pampering session and another great product to apply after a hot bath to rehydrate the skin. Repurchase? Yes.

Jung & Schön Cleansing Milk*
This came to me in a European beauty and lifestyle box and is from the Austrian brand Jung & Schön which translates as 'young and beautiful'. It's a nice and gentle light cleansing lotion/milk with a fresh and slightly fruity scent to it - it was very nice to use. Repurchase? Would pick it up again if I saw it in the UK.

A'kin Brightening Rosehip Oil*
A'kin do the best rosehip oils in my opinion - there's just something about their formulas which feels very refined and high-quality.  I mainly use it as a facial oil in the evenings to help lighten any old acne scars and brighten up pigmentation areas. Repurchase? Already have another bottle in my stash.

LUSH Snow Fairy Shower Gel
I'm a sucker for the sickly sweet, candy-floss like scent of Snow Fairy and always overdose on it in the Christmas sales. This is my last bottle from last year's haul and I'm looking forward to treating myself to another bottle this Christmas! Repurchase? Yes.

Have you tried any of these? 
What have you used up recently?

Introducing: Spark Beauty by Feel Unique - Discovering Luxury Indie Beauty Brands from the USA

Friday, 28 September 2018

Spark Beauty by Feel Unique - Discovering Indie Beauty Brands from the USA
I love to support indie beauty brands so I was over the moon when I found out that Feel Unique have a new dedicated section on their website showcasing a range of luxury indie brands from the USA - how exciting!

With so many amazing places to shop for makeup and skincare online these days, it can be all too easy to skip past the smaller, niche brands (or not even find them to start with), so it's fantastic that Feel Unique have launched Spark Beauty - an easy one-stop shop for discovering the best high-end indie brands from the States. 

There are currently twelve brands listed which include skincare, body care, fragrance and makeup, and I imagine many more are on their way soon. To give you a little taster, here are some of the most coveted products that are available from Spark Beauty to whet your appetite. 

Ogee Sculpted Lip Oil
 Try If You Love Luxury Organic Skincare: Ogee Sculpted Lip Oil* (3g, £18, link)

Ogee are a high-end organic and natural, cruelty-free skincare brand whose products have some pretty luxury price tags attached to them (their Seeds Of Youth Serum is around the £120 mark to give an example). Their products feature high percentages of certified organic ingredients, are free from a long list of 'nasties' such as parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, synthetic fragrances and artificial colours, and they are proud supporters of OFRF, the Organic Farming Research Foundation, which fosters widespread adoption and improvement of organic farming systems.

Ogee's Sculpted Lip Oil is a chunky lip balm crayon and contains 95% organic ingredients which include Olive Fruit Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Vitamin E and Sunflower Seed Oil. It also has a little Peppermint Oil so it feels hydrating, cooling and instantly refreshing on the lips. I love applying this before lipsticks, especially matte formulas, so it's a useful product to have in my makeup kit.

O'o Hawaii Bird Bath Antioxidant Cleanser
 Try If You Have A Big Budget For Clean & Organic Skincare: O'o Hawaii Bird Bath Antioxidant Cleanser* (sample shown, full size is 100g for £110, link)

Another exciting luxury organic brand to check out if you have a large budget for skincare is O'o Hawaii. Their products are seriously high-end though with prices starting from £100-£158, and the high-performance formulas use an array of anti-ageing and antioxidant-rich superfoods, many of which are sourced from Hawaii. The brand is cruelty-free, and everything is strictly free from Wheat, Gluten, Palm Oil, Soy, with no unnecessary fillers of artificial fragrance in any of their products.

I've had the pleasure of trying out a sample of their Bird Bath Antioxidant Cleanser which is a rich, thick cleansing balm that removes all traces of makeup, including waterproof, and provides a deep and thorough cleanse for the skin. Key ingredients include Sea Buckthorn oil, Coffeeberry Extract, Hawaiian Red Algae, Hawaiian Strawberry Guava, Tamanu Oil, Murumuru and Cupuaco Seed Butter, Need Oil, Pineapple Enzymes, Green Tea, Papaya Seed Oil and Hawaiian Kukui Nut Oil, and it smells really uplifting and fresh.

Clove + Hallow Lip Velvet in Fiesta
 Try If You Want Luxury Cruelty-Free & Vegan Makeup: Clove + Hallow Lip Velvet in Fiesta* (5g, £30, link)

If you're searching for luxury cruelty-free and vegan-friendly makeup, Clove + Hallow is a brand that is starting to build up a cult following, especially after Allure magazine called it its '2018 Valentine' earlier in the year. Their bestsellers are the Lip Velvets and these are seriously amazing. There's a limited shade range at the moment, but the colours that they do have are absolutely gorgeous. These include nudes, everyday pinks and brights, plus one or two more 'out there' shades including a dark midnight blue, so there's already something for everyone.

I have the shade Fiesta which is a killer bright red. The pigmentation of this liquid lipstick is incredible and the Lip Velvet formula boasts a creamy, kissable and comfortable smudge-proof matte finish. It does take a little longer than some other brands to completely dry down, but once it has, it's not going anywhere! The Clove + Hallow formula is also called 'Clean 15' so it's free from fifteen undesirable ingredients such as parabens, talc, animal by-products, synthetic fragrance and artificial flavours. 

RealHer Highlighter in The Spotlight Is On Me
Try If You Enjoy High-End Indie Makeup: RealHer Highlighter in The Spotlight Is On Me* (link)

California is home to a plethora of emerging indie beauty brands and RealHer are one of the brands making a name for itself. Although it's not natural or organic like the brands above, it is cruelty-free and there are no parabens, gluten or sulphates in their cosmetics.

RealHer are most well known for their Lip Kits and Palettes, but this standalone Highlighter is a real beauty gem that demands to have some attention thrown at it. Packaged in a sleek black compact with a large mirror, this shade is called The Spotlight Is On Me and it's a gorgeous gold that looks flattering on a range of skin tones for some instant glow wherever you want to apply it. I've had so many compliments from friends recently when I've been wearing this and it lasts well throughout the day or night!

Shop Spark Beauty exclusively at FeelUnique.com

Have you bought anything from Spark Beauty yet?

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Mid-Week Pamper Treat: Vestige Verdant Organic Peat Mask review #OrganicSeptember

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Vestige Verdant Organic Peat Mask review
For the last week of #OrganicSeptember, I have an incredible face mask to show you from the luxury organic skincare brand, Vestige Verdant

Vestige Verdant is a Nordic skincare brand with a small but impressive range of products in their repertoire.  Not only are the finest ethically sourced, natural and organic ingredients at the heart of the brand, but there's also a very sophisticated element of luxury which is seen in both the formulas and in the sleek black packaging of the products themselves. This is a definitely an Insta-worthy brand that demands to be a part of your #shelfie snaps!

I was kindly sent their bestselling Organic Peat Mask to test out and with my skin suffering from the very worst of a bad post-flu breakout, I've been able to properly see the impact and results of this intriguing formula which has a decade's worth of research behind it.

Vestige Verdant Organic Peat Mask review
What is it and what does it claim to do?
Vestige Verdant's Organic Peat Mask is a highly potent facial treatment that utilises the natural bioactive properties in peat to deeply detoxify, draw out impurities, rejuvenate and brighten the complexion overall. It also promises to tighten and smooth fine lines and wrinkles, boost blood circulation, control excess sebum and acne, and restore the natural pH levels of the skin.

Ingredients?
This mask is made from just two ingredients; Peat Moss Extract and Water. So no parabens, animal ingredients, mineral oils, sulphates or anything else.

Who can use it?
Vestige Verdant say that all skin types can use this, but I wouldn't personally recommend it for sensitive skin as it is very potent and drying. Oily, combination and mature skin would get on best with this one, and dry skin types can use it with plenty of moisturising follow up afterwards.

How to apply & how often?
The mask is supplied with a spatula in the box that you can use to apply a thick layer onto clean skin. Leave on for 3 minutes and then rinse off with cold water. Use once or twice a week.

Vestige Verdant Organic Peat Mask review
Overall thoughts and results?
The first thing that you notice about this mask is that dark brown, almost black and mud-like colour. It looks almost whipped and bubbly in the jar, and you may expect something like this to have a strong earthy/herbal scent, but I was surprised (and perhaps quite glad!) as it doesn't really smell of anything. I applied it with the spatula and found it very easy to smooth on - it didn't drip or go gloopy on me, despite the thick layer that I put on.

Once applied, this mask gets to work in no time at all and after 3 minutes you definitely want to take it off! I wouldn't say that it felt irritating, but it sets quickly and feels incredibly tight on the skin - if you've tried the GlamGlow masks, it's a similar feeling to those, but even tighter. I was relieved when my timer went off to say that the 3 minutes were up!

Due to the tightness, I thought the mask was going to be a pain to take off like a clay formula, but it wasn't and it came away easily with a flannel and plenty of cold water (due to the colour, I would recommend using a dark coloured washcloth of course). Checking in the mirror afterwards, my skin looked instantly refreshed with no redness or irritation. In fact, my breakout areas looked significantly less angry with any redness and inflammation immediately gone. My skin felt smoother, stubborn blackheads from my nose and chin had been de-clogged/vanished, fine lines were visibly reduced and my pores looked clear and smaller. I'd say those are some pretty good results!

If you're looking for a multitasking facial treatment, this is definitely one to try.

Vestige Verdant Organic Peat Mask* (50ml, £39) is available from LoveLula.com

Have you tried a peat face mask before?

Autumn Colours: CND Vinylux Wild Earth Collection A/W 2018 - Review & Swatches

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

CND Vinylux Wild Earth Collection - Review & Swatches
The nights are already getting darker, there's a chill in the air and the ground is covered in crunchy fallen leaves; Autumn is officially here and CND's Wild Earth Collection for A/W 2018 has all the on-trend shades that your nails are craving right now. 

Inspired by ‘Mother Earth’s endless array of textures, magnificent colour palette and breathtaking landscapes’, this shiny new collection from CND has colours to suit everyone's skin tone and there's enough variation in these six shades to keep things interesting all Autumn and Winter long. All of the below are available in the brand's Shellac and Vinylux formulas too, so let's jump into the swatches!

CND Vinylux Nail Polish in Spear
 CND Vinylux Nail Polish in Spear*

Spear is a beautiful muted terracotta peach that will instantly appeal to those who like to stick with more neutral/nude shades - in fact, this would be a stunning nail polish for a bride that's looking for something chic, but different. It's very elegant and applied smoothly in just two coats.

CND Vinylux Nail Polish in Element
 CND Vinylux Polish in Element*

For something much louder, Element is a bright warmed toned red that looks amazing on both fingers and toes (I'm actually wearing it on my toes as I type!). I usually stick to these types of reds during Summer, but there's something very cheery about applying a fresh slick of bright red to the when it's cold and raining outside. Two coats is all you need. 

CND Vinylux Polish in Brimstone
 CND Vinylux Polish in Brimstone*

Ooo now this is an unusual shade! I'm not quite sure what to call Brimstone - it's kinda like a pale beige with a hint of yellow and grey thrown into the mix. I didn't immediately fall in love with it, but the more I wear it, the more it grows on me. This took just two coats to reach full opacity.

CND Vinylux Polish in Arrowhead
 CND Vinylux Polish in Arrowhead*

Arrowhead is one of my favourites from this Wild Earth collection and it ticks all the right Autumnal boxes for me. It's a really beautiful rich and earthy, deep chocolatey mauve colour that applies so smoothly like all of the other polishes in this range. Simply stunning. I could have gotten away with two coats, but I did three thin coats to really seal the deal.

 CND Vinylux Polish in Dreamcatcher
 CND Vinylux Polish in Dreamcatcher*

Despite purple being one of my favourite colours, I don't actually own many purple nail polishes so Dreamcatcher has quickly become a new obsession. It's such a pretty shade of light purple/plum and has a very youthful and fun element to it. Two easy coats again.

CND Vinylux Polish in Blue Moon
CND Vinylux Polish in Blue Moon*

I'm a sucker for a deep, glossy navy blue, especially during the colder months, and Blue Moon has totally stolen my heart. It is drop dead gorgeous in every way, from the silky smooth application to the high-shine, gel-like finish, I just can't enough of these inky blues! Excellent two coat coverage too.

Shop the full range at NailPolishDirect.co.uk where all of these polishes are currently on sale for £6.95 each (RRP £9.95)

What are you wearing on your nails today?

Currently Loving: Tropic Tamanu Healing Balm + 10 Ways To Use It

Monday, 24 September 2018

Tropic Tamanu Healing Balm - Top 10 Ways To Use It
Apologies for the lack of blog posts recently - I've been stuck in bed fighting off the flu, but on a more positive note, it's given me the perfect opportunity to test out a rather intriguing product from Tropic.

I don't know about anyone else, but whenever I have the flu or a really bad cold, my skin likes to play up at the same time. It breaks out, gets incredibly dry and tight, my eczema flares up and I generally look like a complete mess for about two weeks. Not fun

Luckily, this wonderful pot of Tamanu Healing Balm from Tropic arrived at just the right time and it has been a real skin saviour for me, so much so, that it's barely left my bedside table. I have been using this practically daily since September started and I can see myself using it on a regular basis all throughout Winter too. 

So what exactly is this strange looking green balm? 

Tropic's Tamanu Healing Balm is a multi-purpose skincare balm that's made from an expert blend which features just twelve natural and effective ingredients: Organic Tamanu Oil, Soy Wax, Coconut Oil, Macadamia Oil, Candelilla Wax, Organic Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Vitamin E, Blackcurrant Seed Oil, Cranberry Seed Oil, Raspberry Seed Oil, Monoi Oil (Tiare Flower Infused Coconut Oil).

The light green hue of the balm comes from the star ingredient, Tamanu Oil, which has been used for centuries in the Polynesian Islands as a remedy for all manner of skin problems. It's highly revered for its natural abilities to repair damaged and scarred skin, and is combined here with plant-based butters to hydrate and soothe, whilst Blackcurrant Extract and Raspberry Seed Oil are also included for their antioxidant properties.

Tropic Tamanu Healing Balm - Top 10 Ways To Use It
Tamanu Oil has a rather distinct natural scent to it which is hard to describe - it's kinda earthy and herbal, but it's blended with enough other ingredients here to not be as strongly scented as pure Tamanu Oil on its own, so I don't think it would bother too many people.

The Tamanu Healing Balm comes packaged in a luxurious white frosted glass jar that feels satisfyingly heavy in your hands, and the balm itself has a very thick and rich texture to it. Once the balm makes contact with the skin though, it quickly melts and is easy to rub it without feeling greasy or sticky. As with many products of this nature, you only need to use a tiny amount each time, so expect this jar to last you for a long time (I've been using it for about three weeks every day and have barely made a dent in it, other than to show you a close up of the texture in the photos above).

So what can you use it for? Here are my top 10 ways to use this awesome 'green gold':-

  • 1. Apply to it to any dry area on the face and body to instantly soothe and hydrate - I've been using it on my sore nose so it's great if you have a cold or flu!
  • 2. Use it on Eczema as a natural emollient barrier to promote skin recovery.
  • 3. It can also be used on Psoriasis in the same way.
  • 4. Apply to chapped lips before going to bed as an intensitive lip conditioning treatment.
  • 5. Thanks to the antibacterial properties in Tamanu Oil, you can dab it onto blemishes and breakouts to help reduce inflammation and redness.
  • 6. You can also use it on any old acne scars to speed up the skin's healing process and reduce the appearance of them.
  • 7. Going away on holiday? Pack the mini Tamanu Healing Balm and use it as a soothing after-sun.
  • 8. It's also perfect for relieving irritation from bug bites too!
  • 9. Pregnant ladies can use the balm on any new stretch marks to help them fade.
  • 10. Due to the natural green colour of Tamanu, you can apply a little to any red areas on your face before applying makeup to colour correct and balance out your complexion.

Tropic Tamanu Healing Balm* (60ml, £32, link, also available as a mini/travel size - 20ml, £16, link)

Have you tried Tamanu Oil?

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New In Beauty: Noughty Haircare at Feel Unique + Wave Hello Set Instagram Giveaway!

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Noughty Haircare at Feel Unique
Have you heard the latest beauty news? Noughty Haircare are now available on Feel Unique - hooray! To celebrate, you can win a set of their popular Wave Hello range over on my Instagram page.

When it comes to affordable haircare that's both cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, Noughty Haircare is your hair's BFF. This budget-friendly brand has products which are 97% natural and everything from them is free from a range of common 'nasties' such as Petrochemicals, Parabens, Sulphates and Silicones. I've been using SLS-free haircare for many years now and it's been one of the best things that I've done for my sensitive scalp, so seeing a brand like this, that has effective products which won't break the bank, is definitely worth looking into if you're wanting to make the switch to a more natural alternative with your hair care.

Noughty Haircare Wave Hello range
Like most haircare brands, Noughty have different ranges to suit different hair types and styles, so you'll find something for everyone. One of their most popular ranges is called Wave Hello which has been specially formulated for curly and wavy hair. Its main aim is to help define your curls and enhance any natural wave texture to your hair, whilst also softening and adding essential moisture. My hair is naturally wavy and very frizzy when left to its own devices, so I was interested to try out the range to see if it would work for me.

Noughty Haircare at Feel Unique
Noughty Haircare Wave Hello Curl Defining Shampoo* (250ml, £6.99, link)
As I mentioned earlier, this shampoo is SLS-free and instead contains SLMI (Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate which is naturally derived from coconuts. It provides a much more gentle and subtle cleansing lather, but it still does a great job of cleaning your hair, although you may need to use a little more product than what you normally would with a regular shampoo. It smells very fresh and also contains vitamin-rich Avocado Oil to strengthen, Sea Kelp extract to soothe sensitive scalps (which is brilliant for mine) and Chlorella extract which contains amino acids, vitamins and minerals to replenish the overall health of your hair. 

Noughty Haircare Wave Hello Curl Defining Conditioner* (250ml, £6.99, link)
The matching conditioner is just as good as the shampoo and shares the same ocean fresh scent which I love. In addition to Avocado Oil, this conditioner also boasts a range of other plant-based oils that work their magic on dry, frizzy locks, whilst Sea Fennel extract is included to further hydrate and smooth the delicate hair cuticle and Irish Moss helps to replenish and lock in moisture. Combined with the shampoo, this duo leaves my hair much softer and sleeker, with a noticeable definition to my natural wave texture so it gets a thumbs up from me, plus the price is fantastic as you get a lot of bang for your buck!

Noughty Haircare Wave Hello Curl Defining Taming Cream* (150ml, £6.99, link)
To complete the Wave Hello range, there's a Taming Cream which acts as an additional anti-frizz treatment so that your hair stays sleeker for longer. Packed full of Wheat extract to detangle, Camelia Oil and Linoleic Acids to keep the hair moisturised all day long and pesky flyaways at bay, and Mango Butter to deeply hydrate and soften, this product can be used every day without any worry about buildup problems. A little goes a long way with this leave-in cream and it's great to use as the last step in your styling routine.

Giveaway & How To Enter
Head on over to my Instagram page here to enter to win a set of Noughty's Wave Hello products, as featured above, worth £20.97. Simply follow me, Noughty Haircare and Feel Unique and tag one of your best friends - easy! Giveaway ends on 25th September 2018 - good luck!

Shop Noughty Haircare at FeelUnique.com

Have you tried any haircare from Noughty?

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Green Beauty: 5 Everyday Essentials From LoveLula.com

Monday, 17 September 2018

Everyday Essentials From LoveLula.com
One of my favourite places to shop online is at LoveLula which is a haven for some incredible green beauty brands! Not only is it a great place to treat yourself to something special, but it's quickly become my go-to for everyday essentials as well. Here are my top five daily products that I like to pick up from LoveLula.

Supplements
Regular readers will know that I'm a big fan of taking natural supplements to help keep your health in tip-top shape and LoveLula stock an excellent range from Terra Nova and Kiki Health. Both of these brands don't use any cheap fillers, bulking agents or additives in their products so you're getting a much higher quality supplement. The Terra Nova Magnesium Calcium Complex* (100 capsules, £13.25, link) is something that I take on a regular basis, as well as their B-Complex (100 capsules, £16.75, link).  

Toothpaste
If you're looking for a more natural alternative to mainstream toothpaste, LoveLula has some good options from Weleda, Green People and Lavera that you can try out. Each one features different ingredients, but they're all free from the main 'nasties' such as SLS and parabens, and there are fluoride-free formulas available too. My top pick is the Lavera Basis Sensitive Toothpaste in Organic Mint* (75ml, £3.95, link) which has a lovely refreshing flavour.

Everyday Essentials From LoveLula.com
Deodorant
Finding a natural deodorant that works for you often requires a bit of trial and error - I know I've tried out a lot of different brands over the years! Thankfully, LoveLula has a wide range available from the likes of MadaraLaveraElsa's Organic SkinfoodsWeledaDr HauschkaSukinNeal's Yard RemediesBen & AnnaGreen PeoplePacificaOhm and Benecos. I particularly love the Native Unearthed Deodorants and Elsa's Organic Skinfoods Deodorant in Ocean(45g, £10, link) as it keeps me smelling fresh all day long. 

Cotton Essentials
For your everyday cotton based essentials, you can't beat Organyc whose products are all made from 100% certified organic cotton and have a hypoallergenic composition with no perfumes, no colourants, no synthetic materials or SAP (Super Absorbent Powders). They have sanitary/femcare products, wipes and post-pregnancy items, as well as two staples that I always buy; Cotton Pads(70 pads, £2.79, link) and plastic-free Cotton Buds(200 buds, £2.99, link).

Everyday Essentials From LoveLula.com
Soap
Finally, if you love a good solid bar of soap as much as I do for baths, showers, washing your hands etc, you'll find lots to choose from at LoveLula. In addition to well-known green beauty brands such as John Masters OrganicsWeledaJOIKMadaraPacifica and Odylique, you'll also discover some smaller, more niche companies like Ruth RomanoGK Natural Creations and The Handmade Soap Company, so there's something for everyone. I tend to chop and change between different brands, but two firm faves of mine are the Organii Cream Soap in Almond(100g, £2.95, link) and PHB Ethical Beauty Natural Soap in Lavender* (100g, £3.95, link).

Do you like to buy any essentials from LoveLula.com?

Foodie Friday: Chunky Apple & Spelt Soda Bread (Vegan recipe) #GBBO Bread Week

Friday, 14 September 2018

Chunky Apple & Spelt Soda Bread (Vegan recipe)
I'd been planning to try out some sourdough recipes for the GBBO's Bread Week challenge, but this monster cold that I've been fighting against has been zapping all of my energy, so I've mustered up a quick and easy Soda Bread instead! 

Soda Bread is by far the easiest type of bread to make as it requires minimal ingredients, no kneading or proving, and is out of the oven ready to be served within 30 minutes. This awesome quick bread is something that I often make with lots of seeds (check out my post earlier in the year on that recipe here), but this time I fancied trying something different.

The base of a classic Soda Bread is usually a simple mixture of some kind of flour and buttermilk, however, I've had many requests for more vegan food features so I decided to experiment with some non-dairy buttermilk alternatives and I'm pleased to say that it's turned out pretty well! 

The recipe below features Spelt Flour which gives the bread a slightly milder wholemeal taste, Unsweetened Almond Milk with a little Lemon Juice as the vegan buttermilk alternative, and a chunky Bramley Apple thrown in for a fruity seasonal twist. This bread is delicious served warm or cold in thick slices with your favourite nut butter, jam or dairy-free butter slathered on top.

Chunky Apple & Spelt Soda Bread (Vegan recipe)
Ingredients: (makes 1 loaf)
  • 500g Spelt Flour
  • 1 tsp of Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 tbsp Agave Syrup
  • 400ml Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Bramley Apple
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 200C / Gas Mark 6 and line a loaf tin with greaseproof baking paper.
  • Peel and core the Bramley Apple and chop into bite-sized chunks (or smaller if you prefer). Dry any excess moisture from the apple pieces with kitchen paper.
  • To make the vegan buttermilk, mix the Unsweetened Almond Milk and Lemon Juice together in a bowl and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes. Add the Agave Syrup and whisk until combined.
  • In a separate large bowl, add the Spelt Flour, Bicarbonate of Soda and Salt and gently mix them together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk mixture, mixing quickly.
  • Transfer the mixture into the lined loaf tin and make some scores across the top with a knife. Bake for 30 minutes or until the bread has risen with a golden crust. 
  • Serve warm from the oven or allow to cool and enjoy on its own or with your favourite toppings. Enjoy!

Storage tip: Keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Best consumed as fresh as possible.

Chunky Apple & Spelt Soda Bread (Vegan recipe)
Do you like Soda Bread?

New In Beauty: 4 Products To Buy & Try This Month

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Looking for some beauty shopping inspo? Here are four products that you should treat yourself to this month. This edit includes a bit of skincare, body care, makeup and some very realistic temporary tattoos, so there's something for everyone! 

Try Hempz Milk & Honey Herbal Body Moisturiser
Dry skin? Try Hempz Milk & Honey Herbal Body Moisturiser* (500ml, £23.99, link)

Hempz have recently launched their brand new Milk & Honey range which is just as delicious as it sounds! Comprising of four products (a Body Wash, Exfoliating Body Whip, Hand & Foot Creme and a Herbal Body Moisturiser), the range features the brand's famous 100% natural Hemp Seed Oil and combines this with ingredients such as Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Aloe Vera, Jojoba Seed Oil, Oat Extract, Avocado Oil and Sunflower Seed Oil, for a softening and hydrating body moisturiser that you can use as often as needed to keep dry skin at bay.

It's not as natural as I was hoping it to be, but I've been enjoying slathering on this Body Moisturiser after baths and showers and it makes my skin feel so soft and comforted afterwards. The Milk & Honey scent is fresh and not too sweet which I just love. For those curious, there's no actual milk or honey in the formula (it's just fragranced that way) so it can be used by vegans and is also free from gluten and parabens.

STARSKIN 100% Camellia Nourishing & Anti-Wrinkle 2-Step Oil Sheet Mask
 Luxury sheet mask fan? Try STARSKIN 100% Camellia Nourishing & Anti-Wrinkle 2-Step Oil Sheet Mask* (£9, link)

If your complexion is in need of a luxury pampering treat, STARSKIN's 100% Camellia Nourishing & Anti-Wrinkle 2-Step Oil Sheet Mask will not disappoint. Featuring a two-step complete skincare treatment, it has a capsule of 100% Camellia Oil as the first step which is packed full of natural antioxidants, vitamins and essential fatty acids to nourish and soften the skin. The second step is then the Benitsubaki Sheet Mask itself which is soaked in a rich essence that contains Hyaluronic Acid, Arginine and Amino Acids to transform dull and dry skin. 

It also has a temporary effect to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a more youthful and glowy finish. Definitely one to try for a special occasion or night out when you want to be looking your best!

Esquido Waterproof Gel Eyeliner Pencils in Black & Brown
Esquido Waterproof Gel Eyeliner Pencils in Black & Brown
Need new eyeliners? Try Esqido Waterproof Gel Eyeliner Pencils in Black & Brown* (0.5g, $16 each, link)

Whether you wear eyeliner on a daily basis or just like to have a high-quality waterproof one on hand for those occasions where you want some extra definition to your look, these Gel Eyeliners from Esqido are amazing! I wasn't expecting them to be anywhere near this good because the brand are better known for their gorgeous false lashes (check out my review on those here), but these have really hit the ball out of the park and impressed me!

The twist-up white pencils look very chic in your makeup bag and the waterproof gel formulas are intensely pigmented and apply like a dream; they are so easy to use and really nice and creamy. Once on, they don't smudge or fade for at least 8-10 hours, so if you're looking to invest in some new eyeliners, why not try these?


Tattooed Now! Realistic Temporary Tattoos
Tattooed Now! Realistic Temporary Tattoos (various prices from £2.60, link)

Aside from golden glitter tattoos for festivals, I usually steer clear of most temporary tattoos because, to be frankly honest, they look a bit naff and often peel or flake off when you least expect it - not a good look. However, I like to be open-minded, so when I was introduced to Tattooed Now! I was curious to try them out as they're made by Hollywood makeup artists and are a million times more realistic looking than any temporary tattoos that I've ever seen before. So much so, that A-list actors like Gerard Butler, Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek have happily worn custom designs by Tattooed Now! and the brand's work have been featured in everything from Game of Thrones to Cloud Atlas and Black Sails. 

Tattooed Now! are certainly a completely different level of temporary tattoo, and I've managed to trick friends with both their Sphynx Cat and Skull Butterfly designs recently. I appreciate that they may not be to everyone's personal tastes, but if you are looking to experiment with body art and want something temporary (or even just to try out a design to see if you like the placing of it before getting properly inked), Tattooed Now! are well worth checking out.

What beauty products have you bought this month?

Skincare Review: Odacité Black Mint Cleanser, Black Cumin Pimples Serum, Rose & Neroli Treatment Mist, Peach Cypress Combination Skin Serum + Aventurine Kiss Lip Serum

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Skincare Review: Odacité Black Mint Cleanser, Black Cumin Pimples Serum, Rose & Neroli Treatment Mist, Peach Cypress Combination Skin Serum + Aventurine Kiss Lip Serum
Odacité are one of those amazing cult skincare brands that I've been wanting to try out for absolutely ages, so you can imagine how excited I was when this package arrived from the US! 

Odacité are based in California and have become world-famous for their innovative formulas which are cruelty-free, clean, organic and natural. These attributes are truly at the core of this luxury green brand as the founder, Valérie Grandury, was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2004. Following her diagnosis, Valérie wanted to create a skincare range that was both healthy and beautiful, with 'freshness' being one of the main inspirations. It's no surprise then to learn that all of Odacité's products are entirely free from synthetic ingredients and boast some of the freshest, organic natural ingredients that are sourced from around the world. 

After years of experimenting and perfecting various formulas, Odacité was launched to the public in 2009 and has enthralled skincare junkies and green beauty fans ever since. I've been testing the following products out in a full skincare routine for about four/five weeks now and wanted to share my current thoughts on this interesting range. 

For reference, my skin is combination, prone to blemishes and can sometimes be sensitive.

Odacité Black Mint Cleanser
 Odacité Black Mint Cleanser* (100ml, £39, link)

Packaged in sleek black glass and featuring a handy inbuilt pump, Odacité's Black Mint Cleanser is an exceptional purifying facial cleanser that would suit anyone who has oily, combination and blemish/acne-prone skin. The texture of this cleanser has a thin gel-like consistency which turns into a light foam for a deep clean that feels instantly cooling and refreshing - it's a delight to use during the warmer Summer months! My skin feels super clean but without any tightness or dryness afterwards.

Key active ingredients include Activated Charcoal and Rhassoul Clay to draw out impurities, and there's Peppermint and Tea Tree to refresh and wake up a tired complexion, whilst also helping to reduce the appearance of pores. Although this cleanser can remove light makeup, I've kept to using it exclusively in the mornings, mainly due to the price tag and the fact that I really enjoy a properly refreshing cleanser to make me look more alive first thing. If that sounds like something that you need in your life and you have the budget for it, I certainly recommend it.

Odacité Black Cumin Pimples Serum
Odacité Black Cumin Pimples Serum Concentrate* (5ml, £27.50, link) 

Odacité are most well-known for their range of Serum Concentrates, and having tried two of them for myself, I can say that if you only buy one product from the brand, make it one of these. They have a product for every type of skin-related problem or concern, and their Black Cumin Pimples Serum Concentrate is one of the brand's bestsellers.

Specially formulated to really get deep down into the pores, this serum has a very clarifying and purifying effect and manages to blitz away blemishes quickly, whilst still not drying out the skin like most other acne/spot treatments do. The superstar main ingredient is the highest-grade, cold-pressed certified virgin organic Black Cumin Oil which is revered for its abilities to tackle clogged pores and draw out embedded impurities, whilst Cajeput Oil is included to help fight the source of the bacteria which often causes blemishes in the first place.

As the name suggests, a little goes a long way so don't be put off by the small size of the bottle. You can either use 2-3 drops mixed in with your daily moisturiser, or apply a few drops directly to the skin as a blemish treatment which is how I've been using it. I've definitely noticed a decrease in new breakouts and it's helped to clear up some of those stubborn under-the-skin bumps that appear during that 'time of the month'.

Odacité Rose & Neroli Hydra-Vitalizing Treatment Mist
Odacité Rose & Neroli Hydra-Vitalizing Treatment Mist* (50ml, £39, link)

Rose and Neroli are two of my favorite essential oils, so I had a gut feeling that I was going to enjoy using this Hydra-Vitalizing Mist, and it did not disappoint. Made from an expert blend of some of nature's most soothing and moisturising ingredients, this wonderful spritz contains the likes of Rose Water to balance sebum, Aloe Vera to keep the skin protected and moist, Neroli to banish blemishes, and Aspen Bark which acts a potent astringent to help minimize the appearance of pores.

The mist is distributed lightly with the pump applicator and feels so amazingly refreshing and hydrating on the skin. It's brilliant to use in your everyday skincare routine, as well as whenever you feel that your skin needs a revitalising pick me up. I don't personally feel that you ever need to spend much on a toner/spritz, but if you are in the market for a really luxurious organic one and have the cash to splash, this is certainly a product to treat yourself to.  I'll definitely be decanting some of this to take with me on my next plane trip!

Odacité Peach Cypress Combination Skin Serum Concentrate
 Odacité Peach Cypress Combination Skin Serum Concentrate* (5ml, £27.50, link)

Effective serums for combination skin types can be difficult to find because they essentially have to do at least two jobs; balance the skin's sebum production to keep the oily parts under control and provide moisture to the drier areas. Fortunately, Odacité's Peach Cypress Combination Skin Serum Concentrate manages to do those two jobs perfectly. 

In this serum, you'll find a blend of Seabuckthorn Oil to smooth and even out the skin's texture, Peach Oil to minimise excess sebum and make pores appear smaller, and Cypress and Grapefruit Oils to keep shine at bay and the skin soft with their natural astringent and antioxidant properties. The result is a super lightweight serum that absorbs easily without any stickiness, and gives the skin a nice matte finish without making it feel tight or dry. 

I find that the Serum Concentrates are best used as treatments applied directly onto the skin, as and when you feel that your skin needs them, but you can add a few drops to your daily moisturiser if desired.

Odacité Aventurine Kiss Lip Serum
Odacité Aventurine Kiss Lip Serum* (2ml, £44, link)

The newest release from Odacité is their Aventurine Kiss Lip Serum and this is something that I was a little sceptical of at first. I mean £44 for a lip serum - do I really need this in my life?! Whilst it's by no means a skincare essential, I have to admit that it is a beautiful product that has made a difference to the overall appearance and texture of my lips, so I'll give it all the credit that it's due - this stuff works.

Open it up and you'll find an Aventurine green crystal rollerball applicator which completely seals the deal as a luxurious Princess product and it'll make you feel like a million dollars whenever you use it. Described as a 'triple-action' serum, the formula targets the vertical lines of the lips, deeply hydrates and helps to restore the natural plumpness that can be lost through ageing. Key ingredients include the super antioxidant CoQ10, Vitamin C, Cacao Butter, Shea Butter, Moringa Oil and Jojoba Oil, plus there's a little Mint and Capsicum to give it a tingly, warming feel, and no doubt helps to plump up those lips! 

Although the plumping effect is temporary (I'd say it lasts a few hours at most), I have seen a noticeable difference in how smooth and soft my lips look and feel. If your lips are your best feature and you want to give them some serious luxury TLC pampering, the Aventurine Kiss Lip Serum will be right up your street.

Odacité can be found in the UK via various stockists including Naturisimo, Cult Beauty and Content Beauty.

Have you tried any cult products from Odacité?

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