Budgeting For Weddings: Four Cost-Saving Wedding Ideas

Monday 31 January 2022


Weddings are expensive, take months of planning and yet the day itself goes by so fast. If you’re planning a wedding and have a small budget, there are some ways to make the most of your special day and make it as memorable as possible.

Getting the perfect ring

Getting the perfect wedding ring will ensure that it is comfortable to wear for many years, looks amazing, and is a proud reminder of the love and commitment you share with your partner.

Chisholm Hunter wedding rings offer all of this and more. Your wedding ring is one thing you shouldn’t cut corners on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find one which fits your budget. With a selection of gold, white gold, and platinum, available for the bride and groom to choose from, you can both get the ring you prefer and at a price that doesn’t have to break the bank, with the option to pay in installments.

Choosing an intimate meal over a big party

Choosing a meal at a restaurant with just your closest friends and family means you don’t have to worry about the cost of venue hire, and catering for dozens or even hundreds of guests. If you’re worried about the alcohol bill, you could order a limited number of drinks or bottles of wine for the table, then ask guests to pay for any extra drinks they want to purchase themselves. Although, quite often, you will find some guests drink little or no alcohol, so this can make up for the few people who drink a little more.

Remember, it’s your wedding day, so don’t feel pressured by distant friends or family to invite them, if that doesn’t fit with your budget!

Make use of your home

If you have a large home and/or garden, you might be able to make use of that to lower your wedding costs. You could get married in your garden and hire a marquee. Or you might cater to guests in your home after the ceremony. This leaves you to pay for catering but saves on venue hire.

If you have children, you can let them help with wedding decorations and light household chores, to ensure your home is ready for the big day.

Consider a second-hand dress

It might feel odd to wear a wedding dress somebody has already been married in, but this can save a lot of money. A wedding dress can be the most expensive dress you ever buy, but if things go to plan, you can only expect to wear it once. So, if you can use a dress from another family member and get it adapted to fit and suit you, it could work out much cheaper. Alternatively, you can buy a second-hand wedding dress, and because most are only worn once, it’s likely to be in almost new condition. A simple dry clean can ease any doubts you have.

If your budget feels stretched as you plan your wedding, try scaling back your plans. Make a list of what is important and what doesn’t matter as much. The main thing is to get married surrounded by the people you value the most in a place you feel comfortable.

Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - January 2022 review

Sunday 30 January 2022


LoveLula has created a lovely beauty box this month which is filled with natural, organic, and cruelty-free skincare that's worth £60! 

Let's check out what's inside, shall we? And don't forget to take a look at my previous LoveLula beauty box reviews here.

PHB Ethical Beauty Pink Clay Cleanser

A gorgeous cleanser infused with Vitamin C, Rosehip and French Pink Clay, this is a real hidden gem in PHB's range. It gently removes all traces of daily grime and impurities, and you can also use it to remove makeup as well. Brilliant for brightening and detoxifying your complexion, and I love the chic glass bottle which looks stunning on your bathroom shelf.

Ooh! Oils Of Heaven Cacay Face Oil

Next up, I found a travel size of Ooh! Oils Of Heaven Cacay Face Oil. I've mentioned this brand many times in the past (check out my Face Oil For Every Skin Type and Concern post), and the Cacay Face Oil is something I've enjoyed using in the past. This one contains three times more natural Retinol than Rosehip Oil and 50% more Vitamin E than Argan Oil, so it's definitely one to try if you're looking for your typical anti-aging benefits.

Madara SOS Hydra Mask

Winter skin always requires a bit more TLC than normal, so treat yours to this gorgeous SOS Hydra Mask from Madara. With a velvety texture, it's an easy mask to work with and you can either wipe it off for a quick fix, or leave it on overnight for a more intensive hydration treatment depending on what additional moisture your skin requires. 

Balm Balm Rose Floral Water Hydrosol

Exclusive to Lovelula.com. Balm Balm's range of natural and organic skincare is always a winner and their bestselling Rose Floral Water Hydrosol is a simple but effective product to include in your daily routine. Spritz after cleansing or use throughout the day for a refreshing pick-me-up for your skin.

Ayumi Samples

To finish off the box, there's two sachet samples from the natural Ayurvedic-inspired brand, Ayumi. Here you can try their Turmeric & Bergamot Face Cream and Face Mask.

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?

Health & Lifestyle: Top 5 Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Tuesday 25 January 2022


Deciding to live a healthier life is about much more than just losing weight. Going on diets and creating short-term exercise plans can work for quickly achieving weight loss goals, but while losing weight can be beneficial for your health, improving your lifestyle in the long term is the best option. By improving your lifestyle with these tips, you can stay at a healthy weight consistently and also feel more energized and positive day-to-day.

Start exercising

Exercise is incredibly important for your health because it can lower your risk of serious complications such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and even cancer. Additionally, exercise increases flexibility and mobility, making it easier for you to complete certain physical tasks. Since exercise releases endorphins, it can also improve your mood and reduce stress, and this is all in addition to the aesthetic benefits of exercise such as becoming slimmer and more toned.

Regarding this last point, many people take up exercise in order to improve their confidence by getting in shape. However, you may find this difficult if you have a lot of excess skin from previous weight loss as exercise can’t completely tighten up this extra skin. In this case, you may benefit from abdominoplasty (a tummy tuck) to remove this excess skin if it becomes an issue for you.

Eat a balanced diet

Crash dieting may help you lose a bit of weight before an important event, but it’s not sustainable or good for your health. Although it doesn’t produce the instant results that many people crave, a balanced, healthy diet that you can stick to in the long term is much better for you. This means that instead of cutting out unhealthy foods entirely, you simply reduce your consumption of them and replace them with healthy cooked meals and snacks like fruit between meals if necessary. Banning foods often just leads to cravings and a lower chance of sticking to a healthy diet, so make sure you eat appropriate amounts of each food group instead.

Get more sleep

You should aim to get around 8 hours of sleep per night if possible as this is the amount recommended by doctors. Plenty of sleep will allow your body enough time to rest and recover each night so that you feel energized the next day. Sleep can also reduce stress and regulate your hormones and blood sugar levels, which are important health benefits. It has even been proven that chronic sleep deprivation can shorten your life expectancy!

Drink water

Water is absolutely essential for our bodies. Water carries nutrients around our bodies and helps to get rid of waste and toxins, and since we are constantly losing water through sweating and urination, we need to replace it throughout the day. Rather than drinking sugary drinks that are bad for your health, try to drink more water instead.

Focus on mental health

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. To improve your mood and reduce stress, it’s important to practice mindfulness and take time each day to do some self-care and things you enjoy. A healthy mind and a healthy body go hand in hand.

Living a healthy lifestyle can help you avoid diseases and live a long and happy life. Try following the advice listed above to see how this can help you!

The Best Cruelty Free Cleanser For Sensitive Skin: REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk review #WinterSkincare

Thursday 20 January 2022

 REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk review

Whether you find that your skin feels more sensitive during the Winter months, or if you simply live with sensitive skin all-year-round, REN's Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk is hands down the best cleanser I have tried (and I've tried a LOT!).

Sensitive skin is not fun, especially if you're a blogger or someone who absolutely loves skincare. Whenever my skin is suffering from an eczema or seborrheic dermatitis flare-up, I get the most insanely itchy red patches all over my face, neck, chest, arms - it can be everywhere. Along with the constant desire to want to scratch your skin off, there's a tight dryness that also occurs with it and this is certainly exacerbated in colder weather thanks to indoor central heating and cold dry air conditions outside.

Thankfully, there is always one cleanser that I turn to when my skin is throwing a tantrum and being difficult to treat; the amazing REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk.

REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk review
Why REN's Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk Is The Best Cleanser For Sensitive Skin

I have used this cleanser on and off for around five years now and I always have one in my skincare stash. My sensitive skin is mainly triggered by seasonal changes, allergies, eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis and often my skin will be in a 'difficult' phase for anything from a week to three months at a time; it varies so much.

I love REN's Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk because it's ultra-gentle, yet still effective enough to thoroughly cleanse my skin and remove all traces of daily dirt and impurities. There are three key plant-based actives at play here; Seabuckthorn Berry Oil which is rich in Omega 7 and helps to soften the skin without overloading it with too much moisture. Secondly, there's Blackcurrant Seed Oil with high levels of natural Omega 3 that soothes away any redness and irritation, and thirdly, Fennel Seed Extract which adds another extra layer of protection for the skin's barrier against environmental aggressors such as pollution (a common trigger for sensitive skin)

The creamy formula of the cleansing milk is just the right texture to easily rub into dry skin without dragging or pulling, and it rinses just as easily off with a wet flannel. My skin is left clean, redness and irritation is gone or vastly reduced, and I can get on with my day. Please never stop making it REN!

REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk* (150ml, £22, link)

Do you have any sensitive skincare favourites?

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Worth The Hype: Do You Need A Sustainable Waken Mouthwash In Your Daily Routine? Apple & Mint review

Tuesday 18 January 2022


The consumer quest for more sustainable and eco-friendly everyday products is never-ending, and today I wanted to share a quick post about Waken Mouthwash as they have been popping up in my social feeds a lot lately. Are they worth the hype?

It may seem odd to be reading (or in my case, writing) an entire blog post about just one particular mouthwash, yet Waken has been causing quite the stir online since they launched here in the UK two years ago. 

A celebrity favourite, Waken has a luxury range of sustainable products which include mouthwash, toothpaste, lip balms, and associated eco-friendly accessories. The brand is the brainchild of Simon Duffy (founder of the famous Bulldog skincare company) and promises gentle and effective everyday products that also tread lightly on our planet earth.

But is Waken worth the hype? I tried out one of their 'hero' products, the Apple & Mint Mouthwash to find out.


For an eco-friendly brand, you might be wondering why their signature mouthwashes are packaged in plastic, right? Well, this is a pretty interesting discussion point because Waken's mouthwashes were originally packaged in aluminum bottles before the brand decided to make the switch to plastic last year. 

It may sound like a backwards move, yet the switch to these new plastic, BPA-free bottles has actually helped to certify the brand as Carbon Neutral due to the aluminum packaging requiring a lot of external packaging during transit to prevent denting. The change to plastic has also helped to bring the price point of these luxury mouthwashes down from a hideously expensive £8, to a much more reasonable £4.50. In addition, this new PCR plastic is made from a blend of recycled old plastic milk bottles and sugar cane plastic which is better for the environment, and the end product is fully recyclable again. 

Waken has kept the aluminum lid as it is though as plastic tops are notoriously difficult to recycle due to their smaller size.

Waken's mouthwashes are formulated alcohol-free so they don't have that nasty stinging burn that a lot of mainstream mouthwashes possess, and they are cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. The ingredients are mostly natural with the exception of PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (a synthetic emulsifier/surfactant) and Sodium Fluoride. I know that the Sodium Fluoride debate continues to divide people, yet from my own research I personally don't have a problem using it and I often look for it in more natural dental care products as I believe it's useful to keep teeth strong and healthy. Overall, this is not a 100% natural mouthwash, nor does it market itself as one, so it's worth bearing in mind that the 'sustainable' aspect here is purely focused on the packaging.

Flavour & Performance
There are nine different mint-based flavours to explore in Waken's mouthwash range and the one that caught my eye the most was the Apple & Mint. The flavouring is crafted from natural ingredients and it really does have a refreshing zing to it! I was pleasantly surprised and absolutely love waking up with this in the morning. My mouth feels wonderfully fresh and clean which is exactly what I want a mouthwash to do.

Overall Thoughts
Whilst Waken's mouthwashes are not as natural as many would expect, for those looking for a refreshing mouthwash that works well, comes sustainably packaged, is cruelty-free and vegan, and looks very fancy sitting by your bathroom sink, you'll love it. But if you're after a purely natural and fluoride-free option, this isn't for you.

Waken mouthwashes (£4.50, 500ml) are available from various stockists and online via wakencare.com

Have you tried anything from Waken?

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A Natural & Cruelty Free Alternative To Vaseline: Beauty Kitchen Natruline Lip Treatment Will Rescue Dry Lips (And More) This Winter

Thursday 6 January 2022

Beauty Kitchen Natruline Lip Treatment review
It's time to step away from those ubiquitous tins of greasy petroleum, and instead, make a more sustainable and natural swap to Beauty Kitchen's wonderful Natruline Lip Treatments.

With temperatures plummeting across the UK and snow on its way, you may be noticing that your skin is feeling drier than usual and needs a little more TLC. Lips especially are at risk of cracking and chapping throughout Winter, but it's easy to keep them happily moisturised thanks to Beauty Kitchen.

Although not a new product, Beauty Kitchen's Nattruline Lip Treatments are new-to-me and they caught my eye in the recent Holland and Barrett sale where I immediately added two to my basket. 

Beauty Kitchen Natruline Lip Treatment review
I know what you're thinking; these look uncannily like a certain non-natural brand that has been pushing cheap and nasty mineral oil products onto consumers for over a century, and I doubt that the striking resemblance is a *wink wink* coincidence (well played there Beauty Kitchen!)

The differences, however, are numerous as Beauty Kitchen is a British brand with all of its products being made here in the UK. They are cruelty-free and pride themselves on their innovative formulas which are created from natural and sustainable ingredients. On top of all that, Beauty Kitchen is a certified B Corporation that is widely seen as one of the highest accreditations when it comes to businesses that adhere to strict social, ethical, and environmental standards of performance, accountability, and transparency.  

So back to this natural and cruelty-free Vaseline dupe. Is it as good? No. It's better!

The problem with petroleum/mineral oil is that it doesn't properly moisturise the skin - it just sits on top and long-term use of it can actually make your skin worse by becoming more sensitive and dry. 

I love the Beauty Kitchen Natruline Lip Treatments because they look and feel like Vaseline, but thanks to their all-natural ingredients, they actually hydrate, soothe and help to protect dry skin. And just like Vaseline, you can use these in exactly the same ways, so apply to lips, cuticles, dry elbows etc.

A note on the ingredients; the original Natruline (blue tin) contains two types of Castor Oil, Carnauba Wax, and Beeswax, whilst the vegan version (green tin) contains all of the above minus the beeswax. Testing them out side by side, I honestly couldn't tell much of a difference between the pair!

Beauty Kitchen Natruline Lip Treatments* (20g, £2.99 each, link)

Is your skin struggling this Winter?

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December Empties: Products I've Used Up

Monday 3 January 2022


Happy New Year! Before I dive into January's shiny new content, I want to take a quick step back to December for a cheeky Empties round-up because I know how much we all enjoy a good declutter to celebrate the new year's arrivals.

Alteya Organics Tea Tree Oil*
I've been keeping blemishes at bay with this lovely Tea Tree Oil from Alteya Organics. It's one of the few properly natural options that I've found which is blended with a base oil (in this case it's Apricot Kernel Oil) so it's quick and safe to apply directly to your skin without any messy pre-mixing. Repurchase? Yes. 

Sukin Aloe Vera Gel* (reviewed here)
I've used Sukin's Aloe Vera Gel for a couple of years now and I'm not sure if the formula has changed recently, but I found this latest bottle to feel a lot more drying than usual so I'm unsure if I'll repurchase it. It does contain a small amount of alcohol so I think I'll look for an alcohol-free gel in the future instead. Repurchase? Probably not - I have my eye on the Holika Holika Aloe Vera Gel which has great reviews.

Weleda Citrus Deodorant* (reviewed here)
A long-time favourite of mine that I've been buying for years, I just can't get enough of this wonderfully zesty and citrusy natural scent! This is a good natural deo to try if you're after something light to freshen up with, or are working from home etc. Repurchase? Yes.

S5 Purity Serum* (reviewed here)
One of the best ever serums for oily/combination/blemish-prone skin. I won't mention it too much though as sadly S5 skincare is no more, but a new brand called Adaptology took its place last year which I'll need to look into at some point. Repurchase? Discontinued :(

Neal's Yard Remedies Bee Lovely All Over Balm* (reviewed here)
A staple in my skincare stash for almost a decade, Neal's Yard Remedies Bee Lovely All Over Balm is one of those genius multi-purpose skin saviours that can be applied everywhere and anywhere to instantly soothe and hydrate dry skin. Brilliant for sore noses during cold and flu season too! Repurchase? Yes.

Dr. Botanicals Hemp Infused Natural Nutrition Moisturiser*
Found this in a beauty box and I liked it enough to use up the full jar, but I didn't love it. There are much better natural moisturisers out there with more innovative formulas and ingredients in my opinion. Repurchase? No. 

Ooh! Oils Of Heaven Organic Jojoba Face Oil* (reviewed here)
I'm a big fan of the Ooh! Oils Of Heaven range of face oils as they specialise in single-based oils so it's easy to swap them in and out of your daily routine depending on what your skin needs at the time. This Jojoba Face Oil is great for oily/combination skin types as mimic's your own natural sebum, making it useful for balancing oil levels and preventing clogged pores. Repurchase? Yes. 

What beauty products have you finished up lately?

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