26 June 2016

Natural & Cruelty-Free Beauty For Beginners: Back To Basics

Read the introductory post to this series here.
Today I am talking about your everyday, essential beauty basics and where to find the natural alternatives.

Face:
Tisserand Tea Tree Clear Skin Facial Soap, £3.95/100g
A bar soap is one of the cheapest options when it comes to a facial cleanser. This vegan-friendly tea tree soap is perfect for blemish prone skin types, yet the ingredients are delicate enough for sensitive skin. This soap is practical, deep-cleansing, moisturising and boasts soothing, anti-bacterial properties.
Skin Blossom Nourishing Moisturiser, £7.95/50ml
Rich in anti-oxidants, this organic, vegan-friendly moisturiser leaves skin nourished and hydrated, without being oily. Housed in a practical airless pump bottle, jojoba oil and shea butter help to rejuvenate and restore skin.

Hands:
Faith In Nature Coconut Hand Wash, £4.19/300ml
This creamy hand wash has an earthy coconut scent and cleanses hands without stripping them. It leaves skin soft and moisturised. This product is vegan-friendly and contains certified organic ingredients. You can often pick up Faith In Nature products for a reduced price in TK Maxx.
Sante Goji & Olive Hand Cream, £1.95/100ml
If you're anything like me, a good hand cream is a daily essential! This very purse-friendly hand cream is organic and vegan-friendly. Boasting nourishing ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter and goji berry extract, this cream leaves hands deeply hydrated with no greasy residue.

Body:
Deep Steep Argan Oil Sugar Plum Body Wash, RRP $11.95 £3/502ml
I managed to pick up this huge bottle of body wash in TK Maxx and these last forever! Most natural shower gels are priced around £5-£6, so you can either pick them up for a discounted price, in the sales or go for a better value option such as a bar soap, like Bentley Organic's Honey, Bran & Oatmeal Smoothing Soap, £2.85/150g.
Avalon Organics Ylang Ylang Body Lotion, £6.99/340g
This smells incredible and is really long-lasting. It's great for hands and body, plus it's certified organic.
Earth Conscious Hippy Paste Deodorant Balm, £5/60g
Deodorant should be a priority when switching to natural deodorants. Ingredients are easily absorbed through sweat glands. Sweating is natural, therefore anti-perspirant deodorants are not. They block pores and contain toxic ingredients. Aerosols in particular are really harmful to you and your environment. These balm deodorants are super affordable and long-lasting. They come in a range of scents and are really effective at keeping nasty odours at bay. They are kind to your underarms and contain minimal ingredients.

Hair:
Faith In Nature Coconut Shampoo, £5.50/400ml and Faith In Nature Coconut Conditioner, £5.50/400ml
These hair products contain organic coconut and are vegan-friendly. These are great everyday products that are long-lasting and leave hair cleansed, soft and hydrated.

Dental Hygiene:
JĀSÖN PowerSmile Whitening Toothpaste, £4.99/170g
So, £5 may seem rather extravagant for a toothpaste, but this is the closest I've found to a mainstream toothpaste, in terms of taste, texture e.t.c. and it really works for me. You can often pick this up for a discounted price with a voucher code and it really does last ages!
JĀSÖN PowerSmile Brightening Peppermint Mouthwash, £5.99/480ml
Again, this is the closest I've found to a mainstream mouthwash in terms of taste; it's lovely and pepperminty, without being super strong. It is refreshing, freshens breath and it's free from alcohol and saccharin.

Feminine Hygiene:
Do you know what the average sanitary towel or tampon contains? A conventional sanitary towel contains the equivalent of four plastic bags! You may find this article very enlightening! This should be a priority when switching to natural products.
For a safer and just as effective alternative, turn to Natracare. Their product prices start at £1.65 and are chemical-free, additive-free, organic, biodegradable and natural. If you purchase your sanitary products from Ethical Superstore, you will not have to pay the usual 5% VAT "tampon tax", as they pay the difference.

I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you have any questions! What else would you like to see covered in this series?

Love,
Emma xxx

25 June 2016

What I'm Watching: Current TV Show Favourites

Game Of Thrones
If you don't already watch this, then go and watch it right now. Even if you don't think you like it, you do. We watched a couple of episodes, left it a few months and then started over again and loved it. We are now into season six and everything is uncertain for our favourite characters. "Hold the door" was heart-breaking! I won't say too much, as I don't want to spoil anything for anyone that hasn't caught up yet, but this fantasy drama is a must-watch! Excellent story and cast, but not for the faint-hearted.
11.22.63
This American drama, based on the Stephen King novel, follows English teacher, Jake Epping (played by James Franco), who is set the task of travelling back in time to prevent the JFK assassination. Being predominantly set in the 60's, I love the style of this drama and James Franco delivers a great performance. The past has ways of reminding Jake that he shouldn't be there and many diversions are placed in his path to distract and disrupt his true task of saving JFK.
Agatha Raisin
This new TV series is based on books by Marion Chesney, following Agatha Raisin, a semi-retired PR guru and wannabe detective. I am in love with Agatha's character; a rather high-maintenance woman, played by the quirky Ashley Jenson, who chooses fashion over practicality and tries to adapt to living in the Cotswolds, a world away from her former busy London lifestyle. Agatha encounters a series of mysterious murders that are just asking to be solved, so she takes it upon herself to do just that!
Love, Nina
This new British TV series is also based on a book, Love, Nina: Despatches From Family Life by Nina Stibbes. Narrated by Nina though the letters she sends her sister, this fun and slightly profound comedy-drama follows young Nina, who arrives in 1980's London to work as a nanny.
Love,
Emma xxx

22 June 2016

The Weekly Wish List

1. Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar Soy Candle, £14.95/160g
My favourite Pacifica scent! I have the roll-on perfume and the reed diffuser. I obviously need the candle...
2. PHB Lipstick in "Camelia", £14.50/10g
Isn't this a pretty shade? It's a bestseller and suitable for most skin tones. I think it would be great all year round.
3. Living Naturally Dark Chocolate Lip Balm, £4/13g
Oh, this sounds so good! How would you stop yourself from eating it...?
4. Ethletic Fairtrade Trainers, £49.95 £39.96
I'm after a pair of casual trainers that will be easy to wear and comfortable. These cotton canvas shoes are vegan, organic and Fairtrade!
5. Clipper Skinny Vanilli Tea, £2/20 teabags
I've been wanting to try this tea for so long! Strawberry and vanilla? Yes, please!

What's at the top of your wish list this week?
Love,
Emma xxx

20 June 2016

Pretty In Pink: Summer Essentials

Pink screams summer to me, especially when it comes to make-up! I've picked out my favourite  pink and pink-packaged summer essentials:
Living Nature Lipstick in "Bloom"*, £19.50/3.9g
This creamy, petal pink lipstick gives a matte finish and is long-lasting. The vintage carnation shade is one of which that would suit most skin tones and it is perfect for summery make-up looks. This lipstick contains nourishing waxes and oils to keep lips looking lovely!
PHB Organic Lipgloss in "Grace", £14.50/10g
This icy pink lipgloss is great worn alone for a minimal make-up look, or worn over your lipstick to enhance the finish. This shade is the perfect pink-nude neutral and is really easy to wear. PHB lipglosses are very well-pigmented and contain no carmine. With nourishing oils and shea butter, this is a real treat for the lips!
INIKA Mineral Blush Puff Pot in "Pink Pinch", £17/3g
This coral blush has a slight shimmer and is perfect for creating a radiant, sun-kissed finish. The puff pot packaging is adorable and travel-friendly.
Little Ondine Nail Polish in "Honeymoon", £9.50/
This hot pink nail polish with blue undertones is the epitome of a gorgeous summer - in a bottle! The Barbie-pink shade will compliment your tan and there is no need for toxic nail polish remover, because these awesome little polishes can be peeled off with ease!
Botanicals Rose & Camellia Cleansing Melt*, £24/60g
This cleansing melt is such a gorgeous product and does an excellent job of removing the day's make-up and grime, leaving skin feeling soft and cared for.
Sweet Cecily's Pink Clay Mask, £5.95/45g
This pot of mixed red and white clays is perfect for sensitive skin; the clays gently draw out impurities and toxins from the skin, leaving a clearer and brighter complexion behind. You can really have fun with powdered masks like this and try out different DIY combinations!
ilā Pure Relaxation Bath Soak, £9.60/150ml
Who said you can't take a long soak in the bath during summer?! I find baths the perfect way to relax, especially after a long week of night shifts. This fragrant bath soak, housed in a hot pink bottle, will ease all your troubles away with the delicate aroma of apricot, vetivert and petitgrain.

What are your pink summer essentials?!

Love,
Emma xxx

*items kindly sent for review purposes; all thoughts and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

19 June 2016

What I Bought This Week... Andalou Naturals, Skin Blossom + Tisserand

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, £8.99
2. Acorelle Eau De Parfum Rose sample, 50p/3ml
3. Acorelle Eau De Toilette Intense Cherry sample, 50p/3ml
4. Dr. Bronner's Rose Castile Liquid Soap, RRP £5.99 £3.99/237ml
5. Organic Surge Deep Cleansing Face Mask, RRP £8.75 £3.99/50ml
6. Ecocare Organic Facial Wipes Apple & Honey, £4.90/25 wipes
7. Tisserand Tea Tree Clear Skin Facial Soap, £ 3.95/100g
8. Skin Blossom Facial Toner, £5.95/150ml
9. Andalou Aloe + Willow Bark Pore Minimizer, £8.99/178ml
10. Andalou Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask, £9.99/50g

What have you been buying this week?
Love,
Emma xxx

18 June 2016

My Week In Pictures

Monday:
I started my day with a yummy Starbucks chilled coffee and muesli. We went to Yeovil late morning and popped in Tesco, Waterstones, TK Maxx and McDonald's for lunch. We also picked up a salad each from Morrisons' salad bar for a light dinner.
In Waterstones, I purchased Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (complete with the new cover design), as we didn't have it in our collection. The cover art is so pretty. Dean warned me that if I bought this one, I'd want all the others with the new covers, too... I also pre-ordered parts I & II of The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, at half price! Although, I didn't realise it's the script book for the play, so I'm not sure if I'll enjoy the format. I picked up a couple of items in TK Maxx, too.
When we got home, I enjoyed a coffee and a Krispy Kreme lemon cheesecake doughnut. I started watching new British drama, Love, Nina. I finally cleared my BlogLovin' feed, woo-hoo! We had our salad bowls and a flatbread each for dinner and watched The Green Inferno, followed by an episode of American Dad. We also watched the first episode of new show, Outcast.

Tuesday:
I had a slow start on Tuesday, as I didn't feel great. I had a late shower after breakfast and then we watched an episode of 11.22.63. Dean went off to work at 1pm and I watched the fourth episode of Love, Nina. I had a crisp sandwich for lunch, as I really fancied it! And a free-from strawberry ice-cream cone, because why not?! I watched more American Horror Story: Freak Show and worked on blog posts. I did some ironing while watching an old favourite, Little Women.
I received our Tesco grocery order at 4:30pm and once I'd finished putting that away, I enjoyed some strawberries and a cappuccino. I kept Weleda's Skin Food close by throughout the day, as my hands were particularly dry and irritated. I was busy working on blog posts until around 6pm, when the skies were threatening a storm! We had a few rumbles of thunder and a shower, but nothing spectacular. After dinner, I watched a couple of YouTube videos.
I had a lingering headache that wouldn't go away, so I sought out my tin of Badger's Sleep Balm and applied it to my temples and wrists. I also had a lavender candle burning, so this helped relax me a little. Dean watched Macbeth, but I couldn't concentrate on it, so went to bed and finished my book!

Wednesday:
I still had a bad head when I woke up, which was disappointing. I decided I'd try and be really healthy throughout the day! I received my latest Naturisimo order, which cheered me up a little. I watched Coronation Street before going for a shower. I took some blog photos, had a midday snack of fresh peaches with vegan vanilla yoghurt and watched another episode of Coronation Street. I did some browsing of the conscious range on H&M to see if there were any items I needed for my summer wardrobe.
I had an organic egg mayo sandwich for lunch, plus a matcha green tea latte, sweetened with organic honey. I watched the second episode of Agatha Raisin and then prepared to film a haul video. After filming, housework and laundry kept me busy for a while and then I edited my video and had a quick catch-up on BlogLovin'. I had stuffed (with stuffing...) peppers for dinner, which weren't all that nice, and then we went to meet our friends to go to the cinema. I was going to drive us, but my car went CRUNCH and now I have the troublesome task of getting it to a garage somehow and wondering how much it's going to cost to fix it...
We went to see The Conjuring 2, which showcases the Enfield haunting. It was really good, but not as good as the first film, as this one relied a lot on jump-scares.

Thursday:
My morning was based around my car; a mechanic from a local garage came to look at it and they couldn't safely take it to the garage, so they worked on it where it was. One of my front suspension springs had gone, luckily not puncturing my brand new tyres! I worked on blog posts for a while and baked a cherry and coconut sponge cake. I had a BBQ sauce and cheese baguette for lunch, followed by a slice of my homemade cake. Dean was home for lunch, so we watched an episode of 11.22.63.
I then curled up on the sofa to read my current book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. We had thunder and rain, which I love! Our friend came round in the evening to watch the latest Game of Thrones episode.

Friday:
I spent my morning catching up with laundry and housework, and getting the car finished. It's all sorted now and luckily cost under £100. I watched Eastenders and American Horror Story: Freakshow in the afternoon. I took Dean and his friends into Yeovil to get a few last minute items for their weekend trip - three of them are climbing Snowdon in Wales! Cue a lonesome weekend for me, but at least I'm working during the night. We had a snack at KFC and then drove home. We watched a couple of episodes of the new season of Orange Is The New Black and then I went to bed for an hour before work, which turned out to be a very busy night!

I hope you had a lovely week! Let me know what you got up to.
Love,
Emma xxx

16 June 2016

Grandma Agafia Strengthening Burdock Hair Mask

Grandma Agafia Strengthening Burdock Hair Mask*, £4.99/300ml

I recently had the opportunity to choose something to review from the Eco Natural Products website and I decided to go for a hair mask, as my hair condition is not at its best right now. Grandma Agafia is a Russian brand with a large range of natural hair products. This frosty-pink hair mask features oats, cloudberry and sage extracts, along with burdock and blackcurrant seed oils.
The scent is a little old-fashioned; a classic sort of floral scent with musky undertones, but pleasant enough. The formula is not very thick, but does spread evenly through hair with ease, and you don't need a lot of product per application. I like the traditional-looking packaging and the product is housed in a plastic tub with a screw-top lid.
It is suggested you leave the treatment on for 10-15 minutes, which is definitely long enough for the mask to do its job! Leave it on longer for even better results. I find that this hair mask leaves my hair feeling nourished, glossy and soft, helping to tame frizzy fly-aways. The scent subtly lingers all day, which is really quite nice. I'd definitely like to try more from this brand!

Ingredients:
Aqua with infusions of: Avena Sativa Oat, Betula Alba Juice; enriched by extracts: Salvia Officinalis, Rubus Chamaemorus, Rhodiola Rosea, Cetrionium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Guar Gum, ; cold pressed oils: Arctium Lappa Seed Oil, Ribes Nigrum Seed Oil, Linum Usitassimum Seed Oil, Pyridoxine(wit. B6), Panthenol (wit.B5), Niacinamide(wit.PP), Citric Acid, Parfum, Benzoic Acid, Sorbic Acid.

What's your favourite hair mask/treatment?
Love,
Emma xxx
*items kindly sent for review purposes; all thoughts and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

15 June 2016

The Weekly Wish List

1. Trevarno Lavender & Geranium Cleansing Oil, £21/100ml
Lavender and geranium is a favourite scent combination of mine and this luxurious cleansing oil sounds beautiful. Isn't the purple glass bottle pretty?!
2. Balm Balm Rose Geranium EDP, £22/33ml
Rose geranium is another favourite scent of mine and Kate from Wild Organic Beauty says this EDP smells like Turkish Delight, so I'm lusting after it now!
3. Illume Farmer's Market Rhubarb Verte Soy Candle, £16
This hand-crafted soy candle features a fresh mix of cucumber, green rhubarb, melon, gardenia, grapefruit and vetiver. The packaging is really pretty, too.
4. Zao Pearly Lipstick in "402 pink", £15.50/3.5g
With multiple summer holidays to look forward to and with hopes of the sunshine returning till much later in the year, I'm looking forward to all things summery, including dusky-pink lip shades, such as this pearly lipstick by Zao. The lipstick itself is housed in a chic bamboo tube and placed in a cotton pouch - so lovely!

What's at the top of your wish list this week?
Love,
Emma xxx

13 June 2016

My Weekend In Pictures

Saturday:
I worked an extra night duty, so I was more than happy to be finishing my 60 hour, 8 night stint on Saturday morning! I had some light housework and laundry to attend to and I ate breakfast whilst catching up on Eastenders. I didn't go to bed, so I was craving sweet things and snacky foods all day. Cue breadsticks with reduced fat sour cream & chive dip for lunch! Plus two homemade, vegan chocolate muffins from the freezer stash. And a dose of American Horror Story: Freak Show.
Outfit Details:
People Tree Heart Stripe Coral Tee
H&M Abstract Leopard Print Trousers

I caught up on some blog-reading and YouTube-watching, then took some photos for an upcoming post. The in-laws were coming for dinner, so I had a joint of beef slow-cooking for the carnivores, while I was looking forward to a meatless roast (my favourite vegetarian meal, because I can have ALL the roast potatoes!). We watched Absolutely Anything and had ice-cream for dessert. We also booked a two night stay in Devon in August with our friends! I went to bed at 9:45pm (by this point, I'd been awake for over 30 hours), didn't feel that tired - until I tried to read my book, then fell straight to sleep!

Sunday:
I got up around 9:30am and had muesli with rice milk for breakfast. I also made a smoothie with banana, strawberries, Mighty Matcha green tea powder*, rice milk and coconut & peanut butter. I had some washing-up to do and then finally got in the shower, as Dean took his time! We were meant to be going for a walk near Shaftesbury with Dean's Trailwalker buddies, but the weather turned stormy on the drive there, causing a horrific downpour and flooding on the roads. We popped into Tesco, who had to close their main entrance as it was flooded! We picked up some snacks and headed back to our friend's house and watched TV, deciding against the walk!
We headed back home for 6pm and had some more friends join us for a Chinese takeaway and a "shit shark night" movie night, where we try to find the worst shark-themed movies to watch and laugh at! We watched Shark In Venice and Swamp Shark - both were suitably crap, but funny.

How was your weekend?
Love,
Emma xxx

12 June 2016

Natural & Cruelty-Free Beauty For Beginners: Where To Start

So, you're interested to hear what the natural beauty world has to offer, but you're not sure where to begin? I'm here to help! I want to show you how simple and easy your transition into the natural, organic and cruelty-free beauty world can be.
Firstly, you should know that a product which has not been authentically certified as cruelty-free, probably isn't! Don't fall for the "our products are never tested on animals, unless required by law" statement that many brands issue - this means they are knowingly selling their products in countries which test on animals; this means more money for them and to hell with the consequences for those poor animals! Simply putting "against animal testing" on a bottle does not mean it is cruelty-free, plus there are also non-official bunny logos, which are not at all affiliated with any cruelty-free certifications.
There are a few main companies whose certifications you can trust:
PETA
BUAV/Leaping Bunny
Choose Cruelty Free
The Soil Association
The Vegan Society
The Vegetarian Society
Research is key! And keeping yourself up-to-date with brand policies is important, as they often change and lose their certification. There is absolutely no excuse not to be using cruelty-free beauty and lifestyle products - there are so many options and it can be done on the smallest budget! Amongst many others, Superdrug's own brand, Original Source, Faith In Nature and Method are all certified cruelty-free and many are vegan-friendly, too. These particular brands are easily accessible and most can be found in local stores. The question is, do you stop at cruelty-free, or will you go the whole way to natural, organic beauty? Often, the expense of changing to natural beauty is used as an excuse not to switch, but there are lots of budget-friendly options out there!
When looking at product ingredients, you should be looking out for minimal ingredients which you can identify easily. If you can't pronounce the names of the ingredients and have no idea what all of those long names mean, you shouldn't be using it. It has been proven over and over again that these synthetic, toxic ingredients are completely unnecessary and there are always natural alternatives available.
The best way to transition into natural beauty is to do so slowly. Don't be wasteful and throw away your whole stash! When you are coming to the end of a product, replace it with a natural alternative. This is a much more budget and eco-friendly way of transitioning.

Check out my 5 reasons you need to switch to natural beauty! You should also check out these helpful links, which will aid you in your decision to make the switch:
https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/what-you-can-do/go-cruelty-free-leaping-bunny
http://www.peta.org.uk/living/easy-way-go-cruelty-free/
http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/cruelty-free-101/the-revolution/
http://happybunnybeauty.co.uk/go-cruelty-free/

My next installment in this series will be taking you back to basics and giving you budget-friendly, natural alternatives to your everyday essentials.

If you have any questions, please ask! By switching to natural beauty, you are helping yourself, your environment and helpless animals. Stop supporting the big brand names supporting cruel, unnecessary animal testing today!

Thank you so much for reading and for your interest in switching - this is the first step in your exciting journey to a greener lifestyle.
Love,
Emma xxx