Introducing: D'ALCHÉMY Anti-Ageing Holistic Skincare review

Monday, 22 July 2019

Introducing: D'ALCHÉMY Holistic Skincare review
Who can resist the effortlessly chic black glass packaging of holistic skincare brand, D'ALCHÉMY? These shelfie-worthy products not only look good, but they're at the forefront of some interesting anti-ageing formulas being developed in the green beauty world right now.

This Polish luxury natural and organic skincare brand have chosen to focus their products on what can be called the most 'bothersome' aspects of ageing skin, to deliver effective results without compromising on their strong eco-friendly ideals. Instead of flooding the skin with harsh chemicals, D'ALCHÉMY has chosen to invest in breakthrough anti-wrinkle formulas using key natural active ingredients which are proven by clinical studies.

All of D'ALCHÉMY's products are free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates (SLS/SLES), mineral oils, petrolatum, paraffin, silicones, lanolin, glycols such as PEG, MEA/DEA/TEA, synthetic dyes, synthetic Fragrance, and animal by-ingredients, making the range fully vegan and cruelty-free.

But can D'ALCHÉMY really compete with the big mainstream brands? I decided to test out some of their most popular products with my mother to see what results could be achieved.

Introducing: D'ALCHÉMY Holistic Skincare review
 D'ALCHÉMY Hydrating Dew Toner* (100ml, £34.49, link)

I always notice a difference in my skin when I don't use a toner which is how I've gotten into the habit of using one every day in my skincare routine (morning and night). Toners are brilliant for instantly soothing or hydrating whenever your skin needs a quick fix, and they also help to prep the skin to better absorb any following products such as serums and moisturisers. If you feel like something is missing in your routine, it may well be a toner you're looking for.

D'ALCHÉMY's Hydrating Dew Toner comes packaged in black biophotonic glass (like all of the brand's products) to protect the natural active ingredients inside from the elements. This ultra-gentle formula features a combination of Rose Hydrosol, Sea Algae extracts and Damask Rose Oil to hydrate, soothe, de-stress and revive tired and mature skin. The Sea Algae extracts also help to regulate sebum production which can be useful for those who are tackling problems with adult acne and breakouts - something that you don't always see that often in anti-ageing skincare.

The toner has a good pump mist action with a fresh and uplifting natural fragrance - both my mum and I have been enjoying using this straight out of the fridge on a hot day! It feels wonderful and I've noticed that it's particularly helpful for soothing any redness or irritation.

Introducing: D'ALCHÉMY Holistic Skincare review
  D'ALCHÉMY Loss Of Elasticity Skin Renewer* (50ml, £45.45, link)

Wrinkles and a loss of suppleness/elasticity in the skin are common bugbears that many have when you reach a certain age, so if these issues bother you, help is on hand with D'ALCHÉMY Loss Of Elasticity Skin Renewer. Doing what it says on the jar, this potently rich moisturising cream boasts a breakthrough formula that promises to lift up, nourish, thicken and firm the skin, thus reversing the most prominent skins of ageing. Can this be possible?

Packed full of active natural ingredients such as Damask Rose, Witch Hazel, Crocus Bulb, Apple, and Ginseng extracts, along with Shea Butter, Argan Oil and Linseed Oil, the Renewer has a thick and heavy consistency, yet once massaged into the skin, it absorbs well and has a pleasant scent. You can use this product all over the face or it can be used on targeted areas, whichever you prefer. My mother, who is nearly 60 years old, has been testing this product out for the past month and states that the Renewer has left her skin feeling the softest and smoothest it has been in years and she has noticed that many of her more prominent wrinkles have been vastly reduced in their appearance and severity. 

However, she hasn't noticed any differences with lifting any sagging areas, especially around the mouth which she was a little disappointed by, though she has commented that her skin feels much more plumped up and hydrated as a result of using this product.

Introducing: D'ALCHÉMY Holistic Skincare review
  D'ALCHÉMY Age Defence Broad-Spectrum Remedy* (50ml, £50.80, link)

For an all-round anti-ageing product that covers all bases, you can try D'ALCHÉMY Age Defence Broad-Spectrum Remedy which is based on a comprehensive formula that aims to reduce the most problematic symptoms of hormonal skin ageing. This includes the likes of wrinkles, discolouration, loss of firmness, uneven skin tone and loss of density so it's great to see one product that tackles lots of different things, rather than trying to use a specific item for each symptom.

Key ingredients in the Remedy include the African Flower Acmella (also known as herbal botox), Guarana, Cranberry and Acerola extracts, Damask Rose, Verbena, Camu Camu fruit extract, Electric Daisy extract and Undaria Pinnatifida brown algae extract, the latter of which has natural properties that target hyperpigmentation and discolouration.

My mum's skin has many of these aspects, so she was the ideal candidate to put it to the test. Like the Renewer above, the Age Defence Broad-Spectrum Remedy felt similar in the respect that it had a rich texture, felt incredibly moisturising and it did a fantastic job of smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles, with the addition of creating a more even skin tone overall. She preferred it to the Renewer as she stated that it 'did more for her skin', so perhaps try this one first to see if it also works for you.

Discover the full range at dalchemyskincare.com

What's your favourite skincare brand for anti-ageing products? Have you tried anything from D'ALCHÉMY?

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Project Pan #7: 6 Months Of Makeup Empties

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Project Pan #7: 6 Months Of Makeup Empties
I think it's time for another Project Pan post, don't you think? I love doing these with my makeup products. It's a fun way to 'shop your stash' without needing to buy anything new of course, and it's oh-so-satisfying when you finally use something up!

Regular readers will know that I've been doing Project Pans for a number of years now and they still remain one of my most requested posts. But if you're new to all of this and have no idea what a Project Pan is, let me quickly go over some details to help you catch up.

A Project Pan is where you choose a number of products to either completely use up or 'hit pan' on, within a certain timeframe. I first heard about the concept from several makeup community groups, but they have since grown to incorporate any type of beauty product from skincare, haircare to body care and even items like candles - you can basically do a Project Pan for anything that you like! 

I tend to focus mine on makeup as I like to include other beauty products in my monthly Empties posts (which are you can check out here). For this latest PP, I set myself the goal of using up 15 makeup items in 6 months, which sadly was a little too ambitious as I ended on 11, but nevertheless, I'll count it as an achievement anyway ;)

Here's what I used up:-
Project Pan #7: 6 Months Of Makeup Empties
Tropic Tinted Skin Shade SPF 50 in Medium/Dark*
The only base product that I finished up was this Tinted Skin Shade from Tropic which is a fantastic tinted mineral facial sunscreen and one of my favourite products to use on a hot and sunny day - I think this is the second or third tube that I've gone through. I really loved the light-medium coverage, the SPF 50 sun protection and the fact that it didn't feel greasy or heavy on the skin. It's cruelty-free and vegan-friendly too. Repurchase? Definitely.

NYX High Definition Eyeshadow Base
I have quite oily eyelids so an eyeshadow base/primer is a must-have to prevent shadows from creasing. I decided to pick this one from up from NYX after reading so many positive reviews, and whilst it worked very well and is a much cheaper alternative, I still don't think it's as good as the Urban Decay Primer Potion, unfortunately. Repurchase? Probably not.

Lily Lolo Big Lash Mascara*
After being somewhat disappointed by Lily Lolo's Natural Mascara, I didn't have high hopes for their Big Lash Mascara, but I was pleased to be wrong! This is one of the best natural mascaras that I've ever tried, and I've tried a LOT! It lengthens, darkens, adds volume, doesn't flake or smudge and gives you big, full lashes. Amazing stuff. Repurchase? Yes.

Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Creme in Butterscotch
Words cannot describe how much I love this concealer and it must be the third pot that I've used up since discovering it a couple of years ago. A little goes a long way as it's so thick and pigmented (I've had this pot for well over a year), and I find that it covers up practically everything, but it's especially useful for stubborn blemish and acne marks thanks to its full-coverage abilities. Repurchase? Definitely.

Project Pan #7: 6 Months Of Makeup Empties
bareMinerals Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara (travel size)
This was a great mascara - it separates, lengthens, adds volume, doesn't smudge or flake, but I only managed to get about two or three uses out of it before it dried up. I'm not sure if this happened because it was a travel size that I received in an online GWP, so I'd need to research reviews of the full-size to double-check before purchasing another. Repurchase? Not sure.

PIXI Lash Line Ink
Another product that dried up very quickly (in less than a month of opening it) was this liquid eyeliner pen from PIXI. I loved the richly pigmented formula and the skinny nib for creating easy cat-eye flicks, however, there are other liquid eyeliners out there that last considerably longer! Repurchase? I have another one so I'll use that up and see if the same thing happens.

B. Sculpt & Highlight Contour in 02 Medium*
It takes me forever to use up products like blushers, bronzers and highlighters so I was very pleased that I finished off this dual-ended contour stick from B. One end has a nude highlight and the other has a medium-toned contour shade (see swatches here), both of which are matte and cream formulas which blend effortlessly into the skin. Super easy to use and very convenient to have in your makeup bag, especially if you travel a lot. One of the best budget makeup products that I've ever used. Repurchase? Yes.

Project Pan #7: 6 Months Of Makeup Empties
Living Nature Lipstick in Bloom*
I'm a creature of habit when it comes to lipsticks and will often carry a couple of different shades in my handbag and basically wear them to death! It's no surprise then that I used up this beauty from Living Nature. Bloom is a gorgeous everyday pink that looks particularly amazing in the Spring and Summer months. You can see a swatch of it hereRepurchase? I'm tempted but I have so many similar lipsticks that I'd like to finish off first.

NEEK Skin Organics Natural Lipstick in Come Into My World*
This lippie is more of a pale/nude pink that had a lovely matte formula. It's one that I would reach for when I wanted to pair it with a smokey eye for a night out and it looks equally as pretty just worn for every day - see a swatch hereRepurchase? Again, I have too many similar shades to use up!

Pacifica Devocean Natural Lipstick in Tenderness*
Another easy to wear, gorgeous everyday shade is Pacifica's Tenderness which is part of their Devocean Natural Lipsticks range. It's a little lighter than my natural lip colour but not as pale as the NEEK lipstick above, so it provided a good 'in-between' colour option. Repurchase? I'd definitely buy this again at some point in the near future!

Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes (travel size)
Despite loving pretty much everything else from Charlotte Tilbury, this mascara was sadly a bit of a let down as I found it very clumpy and it gave me smudgy panda eyes (not a cute look!). Not for me. Repurchase? No.

Have you ever done a Project Pan?
Have you tried any of the products that I used up?

Foodie Friday: Crispy Oven Baked Polenta Fries (Gluten-Free / Vegan recipe)

Friday, 12 July 2019

Crispy Oven Baked Polenta Fries (Vegan recipe)
Potatoes will always hold a special place in my heart, but sometimes, a girl has just got to try something different. Case in point, these gluten-free Crispy Oven Baked Polenta Fries are a great alternative and really hit the spot when you have a craving for chips!

Polenta is a popular staple in its hometown of Northern Italy and you've probably seen it most commonly served as a creamy, thick and oh-so-comforting bowl of goodness like this. But this cheap and cheerful cornmeal substance is actually a lot more versatile than you might think, as it can be used to create all manner of sweet and savoury delights such as soft gluten-free cakes and as an alternative to potato fries/chips. 

I really enjoy using Polenta in Chocolate Orange Polenta Cupcakes (recipe here) and as Porridge with Cardamon and Maple Syrup (recipe here). However, it takes on a whole new dimension when it's set and baked in the oven to create these tasty Crispy Oven Baked Polenta Fries - try them for yourself and let me know what you think!

Crispy Oven Baked Polenta Fries (Vegan recipe)
Ingredients (serves 2 as a side)
  • 150g Polenta, plus extra for coating
  • 350-400ml Vegetable Stock
  • Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to season

Method
  • In a large saucepan, add 350ml of the Vegetable Stock and bring to the boil. Add the Polenta and stir or whisk so that it dissolves and creates a smooth texture. Depending on the type of Polenta that you've purchased (fine, coarse or quick-cook), you may need to add some more of the Vegetable Stock to get the right consistency. After a few minutes of cooking, the Polenta will start to thicken and at this point, remove the pan from the heat.
  • Pour the cooked Polenta into a square baking tin (I used a standard sized brownie tin), allow to cool and then pop it into the fridge to chill for about an hour.

  • Once chilled, preheat the oven to 220C / Gas Mark 7 and transfer the Polenta to a greased baking tray. Cut into chips and add a generous drizzle of Olive Oil all over. Sprinkle on some uncooked Polenta to create a crunchy coating and season with plenty of Salt and Pepper.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the fries look golden and have a crisp texture. Serve immediately - enjoy!

Have you tried Polenta Fries before?

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New In Beauty: Benecos S/S19 Makeup - Natural Face Primer, Foundation Stick, Eyebrow Gel & Refillable Makeup Palette review

Thursday, 11 July 2019

New In Beauty: Benecos S/S19 Makeup - Natural Face Primer, Foundation Stick, Eyebrow Gel & Refillable Makeup Palette review
Need some affordable natural and organic makeup for your Summer holiday bag this year? Check out these shiny new releases from the budget-friendly brand Benecos.

It's been a busy Spring and Summer so far for Benecos with several new products being added to their ever-expanding cosmetics line, and below are some of the latest newbies that you can now pick up, just in time for your Summer holiday! For those who are new to the brand, they are cruelty-free, vegan and use natural and organic ingredients which are certified by BDIH and COSMOS Organic.

Benecos Natural Face Primer
Benecos Natural Face Primer* (25ml, £6.95, link)

Let's start things off by taking a look at some base products. This new Natural Face Primer has a gorgeous lightweight texture that glides onto the skin to create a smooth base for makeup. Featuring key ingredients such as Organic Aloe Vera Juice and Squalene, it helps to not only keep makeup looking fresh and intact for longer, but also hydrates and plumps up the skin. It's 73% organic and an absolute steal at less than £7!

Benecos Natural Foundation Stick
Benecos Natural Foundation Stick* (6g, £9.45, link)

Benecos' Natural Foundation Stick is nice and compact, and comes presented in sturdy cardboard tube packaging to help reduce the usage of unnecessary plastic (the inner core that holds the foundation stick itself is still plastic but at least it's been minimised). Twisting it up, the Foundation Stick is super easy to apply as you can just swipe it directly onto the face and blend with your fingertips or a makeup sponge/brush if desired. It has a creamy formula that melts into the skin for buildable coverage - it's easy to go from light-medium coverage without it looking cakey or mask-like. You'll still need a separate concealer for any dark circles/blemishes as I found that it struggled to cover these, however, it wore well throughout the day with just a touch of mattifying powder needed to keep my oily T-Zone in check. 

I'd say it's definitely better suited for young, oily and combination skin types as I noticed that it clung a little to some drier parts of my face, especially around my nose which required more primer/moisturiser underneath, so drier or more mature skins may not find it suitable for them. It's available in only three shades which is very disappointing in 2019, but still, it's certainly worth a try if you happen to find a match (for reference I have light olive skin and opted for Sand which is good match when I'm wearing fake tan - I would probably try Ivory for the Winter months).

Benecos Natural Eyebrow Gel
Benecos Natural Eyebrow Gel* (3ml, £5.65, link)

Coloured eyebrow gels are a great product to use in the Summer months when it's hot outside and you don't want to run the risk of using pencils that may smudge or melt off in the heat. I also like using them for a more natural look which again, I personally think looks better in Summer for a fresher and more youthful finish. This Natural Eyebrow Gel comes in two shades, Ash Brow and Brunette, the latter of which I've been testing out. It has a small brush which makes it easy to apply, adding definition and subtle colour whilst keeping unruly brows in their place.

Benecos IT Pieces Refillable Makeup Palette in Pretty Cold
Benecos IT Pieces Refillable Makeup Palette in Pretty Cold
Benecos IT Pieces Refillable Makeup Palette in Pretty Cold* (£26.45, link)

One of my most popular blogposts last month was a review of Tropic's new customizable makeup palette (check it out here if you missed it), so if you've been looking for a more affordable and organic alternative, Benecos has the answer. Their brand new IT Pieces Collection offers a range of makeup refills (from £3.95 for eyeshadow, £5.65 for the palette itself) so that customers can build their own bespoke palette, plus there's the option of purchasing a ready-made palette as you can see above.

The Pretty Cold Refillable Makeup Palette comes complete with a highlighter, blusher, and four shades of eyeshadow. I found the Highlighter to be a little on the chalky side, however, the blusher and eyeshadows blend much better and feel smoother too. I'm absolutely smitten with the three metallic eyeshadow shades, Blue GalaxyMuddy Olive and Lilac Light  - they are so beautiful!

Benecos IT Pieces Refillable Makeup Palette in Pretty Cold swatches
 Swatches- Benecos Pretty Cold Refillable Makeup Palette - From Top-Bottom: Refill Eyeshadow in Blue Galaxy, Muddy Olive, Lilac Light and Ballerina Glam, Refill Blush in Rose Please and Refill Highlighter in Shooting Star

What do you think of the new makeup releases from Benecos?

Adulting 101: How To Quickly Get Your Finances Back On Track #AD

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Most of us try to manage our money. But, sometimes life just gets in the way and things go wrong. When that happens it is all too easy to go down the wrong path and end up deep in debt. 

If it has been a while since you last looked at your finances, I suggest you set aside an hour or two to do so, as soon as possible. That will enable you to identify any issues and remedy them before they turn into bigger problems. Here is how I suggest you approach the task. 

Identify and quantify what you are spending 

First, use this budget calculator to quickly identify where your money is going. It is best to open your banking app when you do this so you can identify your costs accurately. The more accurate the data you put into the calculator is the easier it will be to see the true state of your finances. 

Work out if you have a problem 

That particular budget calculator asks you to enter your income in at the beginning. This is great because it enables you to instantly and accurately identify how much spare cash you have to play with. 

Sometimes the results will be good and you will have more disposable income available than you thought. Other times, things might not look so good. A lot of people that go through this exercise discover that they are spending more than they earning. Without really realising they are doing so they are gradually relying more and more on credit to get them through life. When that starts to happen, serious debt is just around the corner. But, there is no need to panic. As you will see, there is plenty that you can do to quickly remedy the problem. 

Work to reduce your outgoings 

The easiest step is to review your outgoings and identify areas you can save money. It could be as simple as skipping one or two nights out, cancelling your gym membership and maybe buying slightly fewer clothes. Pretty much everyone will be able to find ways to live on less. This article contains 50 effective yet simple ways to do just that. 

Changes, like cancelling your gym membership or switching to a cheaper mobile phone contract, will benefit your bank balance immediately. So, don’t hang around, take this step as soon as you can. 

Try to earn more money 

It is also worth considering taking on more work to fill the gap. You could work more hours at your current job, take a 2nd job or join the gig economy. There are lots of opportunities out there. Unfortunately, most of them are not that well paid, but, whatever you earn will make a difference. Plus, if you are busy working you can’t be out spending. So, that helps too. 

Install and use a budgeting app 

Lastly, install a good budgeting app on your phone and get into the habit of using it. That way the minute you start to go off track you will be told so that you can take remedial action.

[*This is a sponsored post - Photo by Emma Matthews via Unsplash]

Green Beauty News: Persephone Beauty - A New Online Place To Shop For Natural Beauty

Monday, 8 July 2019

Green Beauty: Persephone Beauty - A New Online Place To Shop For Natural Beauty
Calling all green beauty fans! There's a brand new online shop called Persephone Beauty which has been set up recently by fellow blogger, Laura Franklin-Hollier from Laurzah.com

Founded by Laura and her husband, Persephone Beauty offers a small but carefully selected range of independent natural beauty brands which adhere to Persephone's strict ethos that's based on three main principles:-

  • Natural beauty without compromise
  • Picking sustainable products that are kind to the planet and the skin
  • Only offering products that Persephone loves that contain ingredients that meet their high standards.

This means that every single product that you can purchase from Persephone is free from the following 'nasties' and for full transparency, INCI lists are provided alongside the listed products.

  • All Parabens
  • Mineral Oil
  • Phthalates
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Silicones
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Artificial Fragrance
  • Diethanolamine
  • Hydroquinone
  • Toulene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Oxybenzone

There are currently six natural beauty brands stocked on Persephone and I anticipate that more will be added soon as the brand continues to grow. Laura very kindly gave me a gift voucher to use on the site to help promote it and I chose the following products to give you all an idea of what you can expect. 

persephone beauty
The package arrived quickly in a small cardboard box with biodegradable packing peanuts, and the contents were delicately wrapped in hot pink tissue paper. On the top was a lovely thank you card from Laura and a 10% discount code to use on your next order.

Here's what I picked:-
Evolve Organic Beauty Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum
Evolve Organic Beauty Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum* (30ml, £22, link)

Evolve Organic Beauty have been a longtime favourite natural beauty brand of mine for years, so I was delighted to see several of their products stocked on Persephone. If you're new to Evolve, they're a cruelty-free and vegan-friendly skincare company who make all of their products by hand in small batches here in England.

I've been lucky enough to try out many of Evolve's products in the past and can highly recommend their Daily Defence Moisture Mist, Radiant Glow Organic Mask and Hyaluronic Serum 200 as good places to start. When I saw this new Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum, I knew I had to have it!

Specially formulated for oily and combination skin types, this treatment serum is composed of 99.7% natural and 82% organic ingredients, and uses key actives such as Willow Bark, Acai and Copaiba to reduce sebum production and treat existing blemishes. Willow Bark, in particular, is a very useful ingredient as it's a natural source of Salicylic Acid which I always find works well for my skin when I'm tackling a breakout and indeed, this serum has definitely been helping to clear up my complexion since I've been using it.

What I like the most about the Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum is that it doesn't irritate my skin when I apply it (no stinging) and it doesn't dry it out either like so many anti-acne products have a hideous tendency of doing. Instead, it's gentle but effective and you should see noticeable results within two weeks of using it daily.

Skin & Tonic Lip Balm in Peppermint
Skin & Tonic Lip Balm in Peppermint* (4.3g, £3.50, link)

Skin & Tonic are another amazing British natural skincare brand and I feel like I don't sing their praises enough! To remedy that, I wanted to give a cheeky shout-out to their range of Lip Balms, which like the rest of their products, are 100% natural and organic, as well as being handmade in London. 

I believe that they have around three or four different lip balm varieties to choose from, but my personal favourite is the Peppermint one as it reminds me of the classic Burts Bees formula, and I know that so many people struggle to find an independent and organic version to replace a mainstream beauty fave so now you can try this instead!

This lip balm is made from just four ingredients; Shea Butter, Beeswax, Coconut Oil and Peppermint Oil, and it's this no-fuss simplicity which originally attracted me to Skin & Tonic in the first place. It does what it says on the tin by keeping my lips moisturised and soft for longer and has a pleasant zingy mint feeling - what more do you need?

Discover these products and more at persephone-beauty.com

Do you enjoy online shopping?

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Introducing: Yen Candles - 100% Organic Soy Wax Candle in Lemongrass review

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Yen Candles - 100% Organic Soy Wax Candle in Lemongrass review
I was thrilled to discover a new company called Yen Candles via Instagram recently, and you are going to want to add this brand to your gifting wishlist ASAP.

I love to give luxury handmade candles as gifts, mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, virtually everyone that I know always enjoys receiving them, and secondly, there's that old shopping mantra of 'buying one for someone else means that I can buy one for me', right?! 

Needless to say, my home is filled with candles from various brands, but over the years I have begun to seek out more of these wax-based beauties from smaller, independent and niche companies because they often specialise in creating candles that are 100% natural. I'll never forget the day when a friend brought me a ludicrously expensive Diptique candle and I had to hide my disappointment when I found out that it was made from cheap paraffin wax and synthetic fragrances (both of which contain known carcinogens, so you know, not the kinda stuff you want to be breathing in or have floating around in your living room atmosphere...).

So if you're looking for a healthier alternative, natural soy wax candles are the way forward. They burn 'cleanly', so no nasty black soot or harmful toxins will be emitted, allowing you to fully enjoy the mindfulness benefits of lighting a candle, or just the simple pleasure of scenting your home.

Yen Candles - 100% Organic Soy Wax Candle in Lemongrass review
Yen Candles are made from 100% natural, organic and GMO-free Soy Wax and are hand-poured in my hometown of Stoke-on-Trent. They are also cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, as well as being environmentally sound too; all of Yen Candles' wonderful plastic-free packaging is made from recycled and recyclable materials, and their wooden wicks are sourced from FSC managed forests.

I was kindly sent their Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil Candle and I've been besotted with the scent ever since. Lemongrass has always been one of my favourite Summer fragrances due to its uplifting and zingy nature - it manages to make me smile whenever I smell it, even if I'm having a bad day!

The candle's fragrance is composed entirely from essential oils (so no synthetic fragrances here) and it has an impressive scent throw, even when you take into account its large 340g size. Lifting the lid and lighting the two wooden wicks was such a pleasure, especially as wooden wicks produce a rather satisfying crackling sound which I'm sure is popular amongst ASMR fans. 

Currently, Lemongrass is the only scent available from Yen Candles, but I'm sure more will be in development shortly, so keep an eye on their Etsy shop below.

Yen Candles - 100% Organic Soy Wax Candle in Lemongrass review
Yen Candles Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil Candle* (340g, £18 with free UK delivery, link)

Do you only buy natural wax candles?

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Self Care Beauty: An After-Sun Pamper with Nature's Kitchen, Gallinée and Antipodes

Monday, 1 July 2019

Self Care: An After-Sun Pamper with Nature's Kitchen, Gallinée and Antipodes
It's been a glorious scorcher of a weekend here in the UK, but despite regularly slapping on the sunscreen, my skin (and hair) has started to feel really parched and dry. Not to worry though - these three products that I picked up from LoveLula are here to help for an after-sun pamper session!

Step 1: Remove All Of That Sunscreen
Sunscreen is designed to stay on your skin so that it can protect you from the sun's harmful rays. This means that it's important to make sure that you take a little extra time in the evening to properly remove all of your sunscreen, otherwise it can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Fun fact - a lot of people think that sunscreen itself is the leading cause of breakouts in Summer and whilst this can be true in some circumstances (e.g a sensitivity or reaction to a certain ingredient), most of the time, it's because it hasn't been properly removed.

To remedy this, I've been enjoying using Nature's Kitchen Oat Milk Cleanser & Makeup Remover* (100ml, £12.99, link), a natural budget-friendly, fragrance-free cleanser that effortlessly removes every single trace of sunscreen, as well as daily grime, pollution and makeup. Packed full of organic plant-based ingredients such as Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Oatmeal, Kale, Green Tea and Cucumber extracts, it's easy to apply and feels really gentle on the skin. 

Self Care: An After-Sun Pamper with Nature's Kitchen, Gallinée and Antipodes
Step 2: Don't Forget Your Hair And Scalp
My hair is naturally dry most of the time, but when I've been out in the sun, it can soon start to feel incredibly parched and straw-like. On top of that, I often find that the sun and any kind of heat can aggravate my sensitive scalp, so in addition to a hat, I like to use a dedicated hair mask at least once a week during the Summer months. My current go-to rescue treatment is Gallinée Hair And Scalp Care Mask* (150ml, £28, link) which is my first time trying out the French brand's haircare range. 

I've been a fan of their prebiotic infused skincare for a while now, and this specialised treatment also features a unique complex of beneficial prebiotics and probiotics to support the scalp's delicate microbiome. The mask is thick, rich and creamy, yet somehow 'melts' into the hair's fibres to restore and deeply nourish. 5 minutes is all you need for it to work its magic and afterwards, both my hair and scalp feel immediately soothed and softened.


Step 3: The After-Sun Face Mask
No pamper session would be complete without a face mask thrown in for good measure and I've recently found myself going back to an old tried and tested favourite of mine; Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask* (75ml, £26.99, link). I cannot sing the praises of this face mask enough; it hydrates, it soothes, it fights against blemishes and breakouts, and it always makes my skin feel and look rejuvenated again.

With its deliciously creamy texture and sweet natural scent, this mask's hero ingredient is Manuka Honey Active 20+ which is prized for its antibacterial and antifungal properties that helps to clear up the skin, and it acts a natural humectant that draws and holds in moisture for longer. I like to apply a thick layer all over for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse with warm water and a flannel for baby-soft, happy skin every time.

What are your favourite after-sun products?

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