June & July Empties: Products That I've Used Up

Wednesday 31 July 2019

June & July Empties: Products That I've Used Up
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that I didn't do an Empties post last month as I only had about four finished products in my basket, but I've made up for it now with a bumper collection of Empties today! Here's everything that I've used up over the past two months.

Weleda Citrus Hydrating Body Lotion* (travel size)
I've been trying to use up more of my minis and Weleda has such a great selection that you can try. Their Body Lotions are brilliant and I loved this Citrus Hydrating one which smells really uplifting and summery. Repurchase? Yes.

Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil (travel size)
One of the few topical 'anti-cellulite' products that actually seems to make a difference to the texture of your skin when used alongside body brushing. Highly recommended if this is an area of concern for you. Repurchase? I already have a full-size bottle that I've recently reviewed here.

Weleda Birch Body Scrub
I bought this to use when I was doing the Spring Cleanse 30 Day Challenge but sadly, I just didn't find it scrubby enough for me as I prefer a lot more 'grit' in my body exfoliators. I imagine that it would be great for sensitive skin though. Repurchase? No.

LUSH Happy Hippy Shower Gel
It's been a long time since I finished up a product from LUSH! I received this in a Christmas gift set and it's still one of my favourite products from them - the scent is really fruity and juicy! Repurchase? Yes.

June & July Empties: Products That I've Used Up
 Zenon Kition Floral Beauty Mist* (reviewed here)
I've had this in my travel bag for about a year and have only just used it up. It's a brilliant, straight-up rosewater facial toner without anything else added and feels wonderfully refreshing to use on a hot day. Repurchase? Will do once I've used up some other toners first.

The Library Of Fragrance Spray in Baby Powder (travel size)
Another travel bag item that I've had for a while - this smells exactly like Baby Powder so if you like clean, comforting fragrances like that, definitely try it. Repurchase? Already have!

Antipodes Joyful Hand & Body Cream(reviewed here)
Regular readers will know that I adore this as it's one of my favourite luxury body care products and I've gone through several tubes of it in the past. If you have a shop that sells Antipodes near you, you must pop in and smell it - it's divine. Repurchase? Yes.

Handmade Naturals Ultra Light Face Cream(reviewed here)
Yet another travel bag essential from earlier in the year, this Ultra Light Facial Cream is perfect for oily and problematic skin types, especially during the Summer months as it's very balancing and easily absorbed. Repurchase? Will do once I've used up a few other face moisturisers.

June & July Empties: Products That I've Used Up
Bilou Cotton Candy Gentle Cream Foam*
This is such an unusual product for me to mention because I typically hate and very rarely use anything that's foaming as it dries out my skin, but I've been able to use this for shaving my legs and it's worked a treat! The Cotton Candy scent is way too sickly sweet IMO though. Repurchase? Probably not.

Dr. Hauschka Lemongrass Vitalising Bath Essence (travel size)
Dr. Hauschka do some incredible bath oils and this Lemongrass Bath Essence was no exception. Ideal for an early morning bath on a relaxing Sunday morning to help you recharge after a busy or stressful week. Repurchase? Yes.

Tropic Clear Skin Blemish-Fighting Mask(reviewed here)
My go-to face mask for when any blemishes have popped up over the past couple of months, I've really enjoyed using this dedicated treatment from Tropic. It draws everything out so great for stubborn blackheads and unclogging pores. Repurchase? Yes.

Tropic So Sleepy Pillow Mist(travel size)
I'm a terrible sleeper as many of you know so I regularly use calming aromatherapy based products like this to help put my anxious mind to rest. I liked this pillow mist but I don't think it's as effective as the one from This Works. Repurchase? Probably not.

June & July Empties: Products That I've Used Up
Esse Eye Contour Cream(reviewed here)
I was over the moon when I won this in a Christmas giveaway because I've used it in the past and absolutely loved it, but the price tag was just too expensive for me to repurchase. If you have a big budget for luxury natural skincare, I guarantee that you will fall in love with this brand! Repurchase? Sadly out of my price range at the moment :(

infuse My Colour Copper Wash(reviewed here)
If you're looking for a shampoo treatment that will add colour and life back into your hair between hair dye sessions, I strongly recommend checking out the range from infuse My Colour. I use henna every 4-5 months and use this about once a week or fortnight when I want to freshen up my colour. Repurchase? I'm currently using the Ruby Wash for a change.

Baija Green Tea Jasmine Body Oil (travel size)
A friend brought me this back from Paris last month and oh my, it smells incredible! Gorgeous silky formula and the fragrance is to-die-for. Repurchase? If I can find it in the UK, I will!

MOA Dreamy Mineral Soak(reviewed here)
Last, but not least, I have an empty pouch of MOA's Dreamy Mineral Soak which is a beautiful blend of infused Himalayan and Sea Salts. Super relaxing for mind and body, so perfect to use before bedtime for a peaceful night's sleep. Repurchase? Yes.

What have you used up recently?

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Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - July 2019 review

Tuesday 30 July 2019

 LoveLula Beauty Box - July 2019 review
Worth over £100, this month's LoveLula Beauty Box is a huge treat for skincare fans with products from Madara, Kathleen Natural, Skin Alchemists Apothecary and Dafna's, oh my! Here's what's inside.

Madara Plum Plum Lip Perfection Balm
 Madara Plum Plum Lip Perfection Balm (RRP £10)

I didn't even realise that Madara did a Lip Balm until I saw this in the box, and with an ultra-nourishing base formula of Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil Shea Butter and Coconut Oil, this is a fantastic lip balm to keep dryness at bay. What sets it apart from the rest is the addition of Plum Oil which is rich in vitamins and nutrients that help to repair and rehydrate chapped lips, and I love the fruity sweet flavour that it has.

Kathleen Natural Cleansing Lotion
 Kathleen Natural Cleansing Lotion (RRP £29.50)

From British brand Kathleen Natural, there's a full-size bottle of their popular Cleansing Lotion which can be used morning and night to gently cleanse, soften and hydrate your complexion. Featuring six active botanicals such as Tamanu Seed Oil, Avocado Oil and Rosewater, I've found this cleanser to be effective at removing impurities, whilst never stripping or drying my skin out. It's suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, and the 100% natural (80% organic) composition is ideal for vegans to use thanks to the absence of any animal-derived ingredients.
Skin Alchemists Apothecary Sesenne Facial Elixir
 Skin Alchemists Apothecary Sesenne Facial Elixir (10ml deluxe sample)

Skin Alchemists Apothecary are a new brand discovery for me, so I'm really excited to have the opportunity to try out this Sensenne Facial Elixir. Described as a 'tropical rainforest in a bottle', the elixir boasts a superstar blend of 26 skin-loving natural elements which combine to form a powerful treatment that repairs, nourishes, rejuvenates, lifts and brightens the skin, whilst also calming any sensitivities and leaves your complexion glowing.

Dafna's Summer Heroes Set
Dafna's Summer Heroes Set (RRP £34)

The star of the box for me this month is this amazing Summer Heroes Set from Spanish luxury brand, Dafna's. Worth £34, it contains four deluxe travel-size products; the Purify Cleanser (which I've recently reviewed the full-size of here), Active Mist, Moisture Light and Eye Care (full-size review here). I'm a huge fan of the brand and this is such a great way to try out some of their bestsellers!

LoveLula Beauty Box* is a monthly subscription box priced at £13.95 with free postage in the UK. Visit lovelula.com to find out more.

Have you subscribed to LoveLula's Beauty Box?

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Currently Loving: Summer Skincare Favourites for Oily/Combination Skin Types

Monday 29 July 2019

Currently Loving: Summer Skincare Favourites
What do hydrating, soothing, balancing and purifying all have in common? They're the main benefits of my current Summer Skincare Favourites.

Keeping your complexion in check when the mercury rises can be a tricky challenge, so let's make it as simple and fuss-free as possible. In Summer, I use SPF every single day, and I like to add a self-tanner to my routine once or twice a week for a healthy bronzed look. I always stick to the same daily principles no matter the weather though, with cleansing, toning and moisturising at the top of my skincare agenda.

Here are a couple of products that I'm currently loving:-

Currently Loving: Summer Skincare Favourites
Dafna's Purify Cleanser* (100ml, £36, link)
Dafna's is such a beautiful, luxury natural skincare brand and I adore their Eye Care and Revival Bio-Active Beauty Mask (check out my review on those two here). I was excited to try out the Purify Cleanser for Summer as I tend to switch from a cream to a lighter gel-based cleanser, and this has been working so well for my oily/combination skin type. This cleanser is 100% natural and features nourishing Olive Oil, Ayurvedic Pomegranate extract which is rich in anti-ageing Vitamin C, and an interesting complex named MelaCare TM Oil that's composed of three different types of plant-based oils to help photo-ageing symptoms. I find it really refreshing to use and it balances my oily skin without leaving it tight or stripped.

Alteya Organics 100% Pure Bulgarian Lavender Water* (100ml, £9.85, link)
For years, I've automatically reached for Rosewater toners and spritzes without giving much thought to the benefits of other infused waters, but when I came across Alteya Organics' 100% Pure Bulgarian Lavender Water, I decided to test it out for a change. Made from fresh, hand-picked organic Lavender flowers which are steam-distilled for purity, this fine mist gently soothes, tones and clarifies the skin thanks to Lavender's antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Use it morning and night as part of your routine, or pop it into the fridge and enjoy a cooling and calming spritz anytime you feel that your skin needs it.

Currently Loving: Summer Skincare Favourites
Zuii Organic Flora Gradual Tan Face Water* (150ml, £22.50, link)
We all know that the only safe way to get a tan is to fake it, and if you've been looking for a natural and organic self-tanner that's specifically for the face, this is it. Zuii Organic's Flora Gradual Tan Face Water is an amazing product that offers a really natural-looking finish without any hints of orange. It's surprisingly easy to use too as it looks and feels just like water - simply apply with your hands or a cotton pad after cleansing and the colourless fluid will quickly absorb into the skin. The active natural tan ingredients will then start to work gradually, giving you a gorgeous healthy glow!

True Skincare Certified Organic Balancing Safflower & Basil Facial Oil* (30ml, £13.50, link)
One of the best budget-friendly, natural and organic skincare finds that I've recently discovered comes from True Skincare, a British brand who specialise in making affordable and effective products. Not only is everything organic, cruelty-free and suitable for vegans to use, but their products have been winning awards left, right and centre, so I couldn't wait to try out this Balancing Safflower & Basil Facial Oil

Formulated for oily and combination skin types, this facial oil won a Beauty Shortlist Award earlier in the year and it's easy to see why! It has a wonderful, ultra-light texture that almost feels like a dry oil and is infused with Safflower Oil (high in omega-6 rich Linoleic Acid) and Basil (known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties). The two combined perfectly balance fussy, acne-prone skin conditions, helping to fight off breakouts, unclog pores and keep the skin moisturised without overloading it. I've been using 2-3 drops in the evenings to keep pesky spots at bay throughout the hot Summer months.

What are your current favourite skincare products?

Foodie Friday: Sponge Vegan Carrot Cake review #CakeDelivery

Friday 26 July 2019

Foodie Friday: Sponge Vegan Carrot Cake review
Something a little different for this week's Foodie Friday feature, as I haven't wanted to switch my oven on thanks to the blistering hot weather, I've decided to review a cake instead! Meet the latest addition to Sponge.co.uk's tasty range of homemade cakes - the Vegan Carrot Cake!

Special occasions call for cake, but if you can't personally make it to the event for whatever reason, there's always the fuss-free and stress-free option of letting someone else do all the hard work and make a cake for you. Better still, why not have a cake delivered straight to the recipient?

Sponge offers a wide variety of delicious cakes which are all handmade at their bakery in Holt, Norfolk, and they can send a cake to any address in the UK with next-day delivery as standard. The cakes are made using high-quality local ingredients and they have something for everyone, with classic favourites such as Victoria Sponge, Bakewell, and Coffee cakes, alongside contemporary flavours like Gin and Tonic and Rocky Road. You can even make your own personalised cake, order a gluten-free cake, or try a cake with lots of different flavours - yum!

Foodie Friday: Sponge Vegan Carrot Cake review
Foodie Friday: Sponge Vegan Carrot Cake review
So when Sponge got in touch to ask if I'd like to review one of their cakes, I had to say yes of course (I mean, who would say no, really?) and after some umming and ahhing, I decided to try their new Vegan Carrot Cake

The cake arrived on time and was delivered via a DHL courier in sturdy packaging that protected the cake perfectly during transit. There was only one piece of plastic film which covered the cake itself to keep it fresh, and the rest of the packaging materials were recyclable cardboard. 

Opening up the box, I quickly realised that the cake was a lot bigger than I had initially expected - it was huge and had a hefty weight to it! The Vegan Carrot Cake serves 8 people but the portion sizes are definitely on the generous side as I was able to cut some pretty big slices so it could certainly serve more.

Foodie Friday: Sponge Vegan Carrot Cake review
But I know what you want to know - how did it taste? AMAZING.

Sponge's Vegan Carrot Cake is perfectly soft and moist, with lots of Walnuts and Sultanas throughout adding some extra flavour and texture. The blend of spices was spot on with Nutmeg coming through the strongest and I could taste subtle hints of Vanilla too. I really enjoyed the tangy Lemony frosting, and perhaps my only criticism is that I wished there was a layering of frosting in the middle of the cake to break up the sheer density of the sponge (and also to ensure that vegans don't miss out as the regular Carrot Cake from Sponge includes this).

Overall, the cake received many compliments from family and friends who enjoyed helping me to taste it and everyone said that they couldn't tell the difference with it being vegan and dairy-free, so I look forward to seeing additional flavours added to Sponge's vegan cake range in the near future!

Sponge Vegan Carrot Cake* (for 8 people, £14.75, link)

[N.B: All of Sponge's cakes are made in the same bakery and whilst they do everything that they can to minimise the risk of cross-contamination, this cannot be 100% guaranteed]

Have you ever ordered a cake online?

Summer Beauty: 3 Moisture-Boost Natural Lipsticks To Try From Antipodes - South Pacific Coral, Golden Bay Nectar & Piha Beach Tangerine - Review & Swatches

Wednesday 24 July 2019

3 Moisture-Boost Natural Lipsticks To Try From Antipodes - South Pacific Coral, Golden Bay Nectar & Piha Beach Tangerine - Review & Swatches
It's way too hot to be wearing a full face of makeup this week (hello UK heatwave!), but I can't resist how good a bare face looks with a bright lippie and I've been loving these summery shades from Antipodes. Not a fan of brights? Don't worry, I've also included a neutral option to cover all bases ;)

I've been wanting to try out these Moisture-Boost Natural Lipsticks from Antipodes ever since they launched about two years ago, and now I've finally gotten my hands on three of them, I can say that they were definitely worth the wait!

Antipodes Moisture-Boost Natural Lipsticks in Golden Bay Nectar, South Pacific Coral & Piha Beach Tangerine
From L-R: Antipodes Moisture-Boost Natural Lipsticks in Golden Bay Nectar, South Pacific Coral & Piha Beach Tangerine

With a catchy 'I'm so healthy you could almost eat me' tagline, these lipsticks are made from mainly natural ingredients and only have very low levels of colour pigments which have been included for vibrancy aesthetics. The Moisture-Boost formula features a blissfully hydrating blend of Castor Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Candelilla Wax, Beeswax, Carnauba Wax, Avocado Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Argan Oil, Shea Butter, Jojoba Seed Oil and Vitamin E, to keep your lips kissably soft and moisturised for longer.

They glide on easily and the brighter shades, in particular, are richly pigmented with an intense colour payoff. The combination of the plant-based oils and waxes that I mentioned above also delivers a glossy sheen finish that I really like and surprisingly, they lasted a lot longer than I expected them to before a touch-up was required which is always impressive for a natural lipstick.

There is a wide range of shades available, and here are my top three to whet your appetite!

Antipodes Moisture-Boost Natural Lipstick in Golden Bay Nectar
Antipodes Moisture-Boost Natural Lipstick in Golden Bay Nectar
If you only wear neutral shades or are looking for something that you can wear every day to work, Golden Bay Nectar is the one for you. It's a classic shade with hints of nude and peach and although it's the least pigmented out of the three, it has a great tinted lip balm feel to it, but with buildable coverage. Absolutely gorgeous, it's such a very easy shade to wear!

Antipodes Moisture-Boost Natural Lipstick in South Pacific Coral
For a pop of hot coral-pink, you can't go wrong with South Pacific Coral which has quickly become one of my favourite Summer lipsticks to reach for this year. I always get a lot of compliments when I wear it and I love how it helps to brighten up my whole face.

Antipodes Moisture-Boost Natural Lipstick in Piha Beach Tangerine
Antipodes Moisture-Boost Natural Lipstick in Piha Beach Tangerine
How bright and juicy is this one?! Piha Beach Tangerine is a straight-up orangey-red that really pops against dark skin or if you have a tan. It's a shade that pulls me out of my comfort zone and demands to be worn on a beach with a bare face for a fun and youthful look!

3 Moisture-Boost Natural Lipsticks To Try From Antipodes - South Pacific Coral, Golden Bay Nectar & Piha Beach Tangerine - Review & Swatches
Swatches! From L-R: Antipodes Moisture-Boost Lipsticks - Piha Beach Tangerine, South Pacific Coral and Golden Bay Nectar

Shop Antipodes Moisture-Boost Natural Lipsticks* (4g, £19.99 each) at antipodesnature.com and lovelula.com

What are your favourite Summer lipsticks?

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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

  • 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?

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