31 August 2015

My August Purchases

Along with my usual household cleaning and laundry products, I also purchased some new beauty products while placing my Ethical Superstore order. Luckily there were lots of discounted products at the time and I also got free delivery:
Avalon Organics Ylang Ylang Hand & Body Lotion, £6.99 £5.59/340g
I really love ylang ylang as a fragrance, and I was in need of more hand cream, so I got this hand and body lotion. It smells lovely and it really moisturising.
Avalon Organics Facial Cleansing Milk, £7.49 £5.99/200ml
I wanted a cream cleanser that I could apply and wipe off, but this requires water, so it's not exactly what I wanted in that respect, but otherwise it's a lovely product which I will review soon.
Avalon Organics Exfoliating Enzyme Scrub, £8.45 £6.76/100ml
I'm yet to try this out, as I'm finishing up another product first, but it sounds like a great product and I'm eager to test it!
Badger Sleep Balm, £4.25 £3.40/21g
This was featured in a recent wish list, and I decided to purchase it this month. I just thought it would be nice to have a product to help relax me before going to sleep - or help aid me getting to sleep! It's a nice, moisturising balm, but the scent fades within seconds, so I'm not sure how it's meant to help.
Giovanni 2Chic Flat Iron Styling Mist, £8.99 £7.19/118ml
This is actually a re-purchase; this styling mist is a haircare staple for me, as now that my hair is shorter, if I want to wear it down, I need to straighten it - only if I'm going out, though. I try to keep hair straightening to a minimum, but I do always blow-dry my hair after washing. This product ensures that my hair is protected against the heat, plus it smells pretty good, too! This lasts me ages, so I feel it's great value for money.
JĀSÖN Powersmile Whitening Toothpaste, £4.99 £3.99/170g
This is only my second venture into natural toothpaste. My first one was awful (I'm pretty sure it was Green People's peppermint toothpaste, which actually made me gag), which put me off trying others for a while. Up until now, I've been using Superdrug's own brand, cruelty-free offerings. But I wanted something more natural.
JĀSÖN Powersmile Brightening Peppermint Mouthwash, £5.99 £4.79/480ml
I think natural mouthwash is pretty hard to come by, so I thought I'd try this peppermint offering. This is really minty, without blowing your head off, and keeps my breath fresher for longer.
Earth Conscious Natural Deodorants, £12/three pack (60g each)
I recently finished my first Earth Conscious deodorant, and decided to purchase all three! I'm currently using the citrus version which is really nice and still as effective as the men's mint one. I did experience some irritation with the mint one, but so far none with the citrus!
I was in need of a handbag-friendly hand cream, so picked up this Fair Squared Almond Hand Cream, £4.50/100ml. It smells lovely and it absorbs quickly!
The Konjac Sponge Co. French Green Clay Konjac Facial Puff, £7.99
This is my third Konjac sponge; I loved the French pink clay version, wasn't so keen on the bamboo charcoal sponge, so I went with the French green clay this time, which is aimed at combination skin.
Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation in china doll, £13.99
I used up my pot of this in "porcelain" recently and decided re-purchase a different shade as porcelain was actually too pale for me. I went for "china doll" which is just a smidgen warmer and seems like a great match. This foundation blends really well and evens out skin tone. It also helps keep shine at bay! I always forget that this contains SPF 15, which is a big plus!

What did you purchase this month?

29 August 2015

Fair Squared Almond Hand Cream

About the brand:
Fair Squared is an organic, natural beauty brand who strive to use great quality and Fair Trade ingredients whenever possible. They use minimalistic packaging to reduce waste and most of their products are vegan-friendly!
Fair Squared Almond Hand Cream, £4.50/100ml

Housed in a recyclable plastic tube with a flip-top lid, the cream is easily dispensed. The formula is quite thin, so it spreads really easily and you only need a small amount per application. It absorbs really quickly so is perfect for daytime use. It doesn't irritate my sensitive skin and it helps keep my hands moisturised and soft. It's the perfect size to keep in my handbag while out and about or at work. This cream is also vegan-friendly and uses Fair Trade ingredients! The packaging is simplistic and functional, allowing for competitive product prices. Oh, and it smells wonderful! If you're an almond/marzipan fan, you'll love it.

I now need to try their coffee body lotion!

Ingredients:
Aqua (Water), Olea Europaea (Olive Oil)*, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Mel (Honey)*, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ceteareth-20, Dimethicone, Betaine (Natural), Urea, Potassium Lactate, Sodium Polyglutamate, Hydrolyzed Sclerotium Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Parfum (Fragrance), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Sodium Benzoate, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Triethanolamine, Coumarin.
* Fair-trade ingredient.

Have you tried any Fair Squared products?

27 August 2015

5 More Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Beauty Products

Back in June, I shared with you 5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Beauty Products, and today I'm back with five more tips:
1. Cool rinse your hair. Reducing the amount of heat used on your hair while washing will help to reduce frizz. I always cool rinse my conditioner out, but you can also do the same with shampoo.
2. Exfoliate lips before applying lipstick. Body scrubs are a well-known beauty product, but lip scrubs? Not so much. But they are important - especially if you want flawless lip make-up! Exfoliating your lips regularly will get rid of dead, dry skin and reveal smooth, soft lips. With smooth lips, your lipstick with apply like a dream!
3. Re-purpose products. If a product doesn't work for you, try using it for a different purpose; i.e. if you find a face scrub too harsh, use it for your body instead, and if you have a heavy hand cream you don't like, use it as an overnight foot treatment instead.
4. Use your fridge! Products such as face masks and eye treatments feel even more refreshing when they've been stored in a cool fridge - just keep them separate from edibles!
5. Use the correct make-up brushes. Using the right brush can really enhance your make-up and give you that flawless finish. For example, I find a small kabuki brush best for applying mineral powdered foundation and a buffing brush best for applying liquid foundation.

What are your top tips for getting the most out of your beauty products?

26 August 2015

The Weekly Wish List

1. Mango Pebbled Shopper Bag, £29.99
Unless I find something even better in the next 17.3 seconds, I'm probably going to buy this. It's almost exactly what I'm looking for at the moment. The wine red colour is perfect for the up-coming season, and the shopper tote style is what I'm after.
2. Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm, £12.95/55ml
I've wanted to try this brand for ages and what better place to start than their beauty balm? It boasts a great ingredients list, including shea butter, macadamia nut oil and sweet almond oil.
3. F&F @ Tesco Diamond Jacquard Mini Skirt, £12
I love the teal colour and the print on this skirt. It'll look great with tights and ankle boots in autumn!
4. Sukin Antioxidant Eye Serum, £16.30 £7.99/30ml
I'm really tempted to buy this as it's heavily reduced on the TK Maxx website. I'm still looking for the perfect eye treatment and this sounds great; with aloe vera, cucumber and burdock extract, this promises to reduce fine lines and improve texture and elasticity.

What's at the top of your wish list this week?

24 August 2015

Acorelle Vanilla Blossom Eau De Parfum

About the brand:
Acorelle is a French beauty brand, created in 2005. With aromatherapy at the centre of the brand, they have created a collection of products specifically designed to create a sense of harmony and balance throughout the cycles of life. Their focus is to tackle women's specific needs such as hair removal, anti-ageing, fragrances and baby products. They strive to use only the best natural, organic ingredients, obtaining them in an ethically responsible way.
Acorelle Vanilla Blossom Eau De Parfum, £30/50ml

In my quest to switch to completely natural beauty products, I recently bought my first natural perfume! I am a huge lover of vanilla as a scent, so this one instantly appealed to me (plus I got it with 50% off!). The perfume is housed in a domed glass bottle with a spray pump which distributes the product in a fine mist. Clear, simplistic white labelling with a silver finish completes the classic yet luxe look of the product. The outer boxed packaging is also really pretty and fully recyclable, as is the perfume bottle. Even the protective film that the perfume box came wrapped in is biodegradable!

This cruelty-free perfume is vegan-friendly, gluten-free and free from nasties such as parabens, phthalates, artificial musk and fragrances and synthetic chemicals. It uses 90% organic ingredients and is certified organic by EcoCert. It also has a pretty impressive shelf life of 36 months from opening.

Scents can be difficult to describe, plus they often smell differently to each individual wearer. This is how I would describe this gorgeous scent:
"A warm, subtly sweet vanilla scent with musky undertones which will work all year round, adding a sweetness in summer and a comforting warmth in winter!"

This is how Acorelle describes it:
"Acorelle Eau De Parfum Amber Vanilla is a 100% natural eau de parfum which is velvety and earthy all at the same time, with feminine top notes of mimosa flowers, distinctive heart notes of almond, patchouli, and vanilla, and base notes of Peruvian balsam. Amber Vanilla stands out from other fragrances of the same olfactory family. Recalling buttery caramel, powdery amaretto, and a faint hint of mossy woods, Amber Vanilla has both seductive and energising properties. This is a captivating, dynamic perfume, and is not to be missed."

I wouldn't describe this as a particularly strong perfume; it's not over-powering at all, and it gives just that lovely hint of fragrance, most noticeable to the actual wearer, as in, it doesn't waft around and fill a room with a lingering fragrance that almost chokes you! Honestly, I was at a cinema recently and the place was really full, yet only one perfume could be detected and it was so over-powering and off-putting.

The longevity will also differ for the individual wearer; I find that this perfume lasts up to approximately 8 hours on my skin. As it fades, it becomes a little sweeter and reminds me of cream soda - delicious! This perfume suits my personal taste extremely well.

Ingredients:
Alcohol**, Centaurea Cyanus Water*, Perfum, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Cinnamate, Cinnamyl Alcohol.
* Ingredients from organic farming. ** Made using organic ingredients.

Have you tried any natural perfumes yet?

22 August 2015

When Life Springs A Leak

Earlier this week, I had a dream where I turned off a tap, only for water to come gushing out of every orifice of the washing machine! There were other components to my dream, just as strange and unsettling. I often like to google my dreams to interpret their meanings. I already knew what this "water leak" dream meant; there are emotions building up, ready to burst. And metaphorically speaking, I can tighten that tap as much as humanly possible, but it won't hold forever.

This is my current job situation: I hate it and I want to leave, but it's not that simple. I feel trapped because I have an enviable week on/week off rota and earn a decent hourly rate. But. I'm unhappy. It was only ever meant to be a "temporary" job. And here we are, five years on. During the last year or so, I've found that working seven consecutive nights is taking its toll on my health and well-being. My body, mind and soul are just not feeling it anymore!

When you say you are unhappy in your job, a lot of people just shrug it off, claiming that nobody is happy in their job, just deal with it. I disagree. I think we should all strive the find that dream job that we actually look forward to - something fulfilling and genuinely enjoyable. But I'm not quite sure I know what that job is, for me. Then again, perhaps we don't really know until we unexpectedly find ourselves in that place.

So, it is my aim to pursue my "dream job" and not give up on finding something better. I would love to just walk away from my current situation, but financially that is just not an option.

However, I do have a little side project in the very, very early stages, taking shape inside my head. I'm quite excited by it and hope you will be too - more on that soon...

Do you find happiness in your job?

19 August 2015

The Weekly Wish List

1. PHB Pumpkin & Mango Butter Hand Cream, £10.95 £5.47/50ml
This mild hand cream sounds perfect for my sensitive skin!
2. Forever 21 Cable Knit Turtleneck Sweater, £21
Doesn't this look so snuggly and warm?! Getting me excited for autumn and winter already!
3. Dorothy Perkins Lace Hem Jersey Knit (Tall), £18
I love the festive gold stripes on this pretty jumper. Love the delicate lace hem.
4. George @ ASDA Gold Spot Rectangular Plate, £5
I haven't decided where I would place this is my home, but I know that I want it, now! It would be perfect for displaying special jewellery pieces on my dressing table, candles on the coffee table, or luxe beauty products in the bathroom!
5. Balm Balm Baby Balm, £6.99/30ml
I'm yet to try a balm and this one sounds great! It has a wonderfully natural ingredients list including shea butter and jojoba oil.

What's at the top of your wish list this week?

18 August 2015

A Week In Breakfast Photos

I thought it would be fun to write a few food diary posts, starting with the all important breakfast! Since turning vegetarian, breakfasts haven't really changed as I wasn't ever one for many fry-ups! I'm planning on sharing a week of lunch and dinner photos as well, which will show my progress of turning veggie. I've already found some great meals to share with you.

Day One:
Coffee with organic milk and one sugar.
Peppermint tea.
Organic vanilla yoghurt topped with Jordan's country crisp strawberry cereal, blueberries and raspberries.

Day Two:
Peppermint tea.
Organic vanilla yoghurt topped with granola, sliced bananas and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Day Three:
Coffee with organic milk and one sugar.
Peppermint tea.
Organic vanilla yoghurt topped with Jordan's country crisp strawberry cereal, fresh strawberries and raspberries.

Day Four:
Twinings Fudge Melts green tea.
Quaker Oats Oat So Simple golden syrup porridge made with coconut milk and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.
Small orange.

Day Five:
Coffee with coconut milk and one sugar.
Peppermint tea.
Organic vanilla yoghurt topped with muesli and blueberries.

Day Six:
Mango & lychee green tea.
Special K with coconut milk.

Day Seven:
Coffee with coconut milk and one sugar.
Organic vanilla yoghurt topped with Jordan's country crisp strawberry cereal and fresh strawberries.

What's your typical breakfast?

17 August 2015

Organic Surge Gardeners Hand Cream

About the brand:
Organic Surge focuses on using only natural, nourishing ingredients in their many products. They are a cruelty-free, certified organic brand. They never use harsh chemicals such as parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate, artificial fragrances or colourants and genetically modified ingredients.

Organic Surge Gardeners Hand Cream, £7.99/75ml

This vegan-friendly hand cream has a smooth cream formula which is easily dispensed from the squeezy tube with a flip-top lid. The cream spreads evenly over skin and is absorbed quickly, leaving no greasy residue behind.

The scent reminds me of a dentist's office; it's almost minty with a herbaceous undertone. With lime, basil and rosemary, it may not be to everyone's taste. Marine algae extracts and aloe vera ensure your hands are protected and soothed, fighting irritation and redness. The cocoa and shea butter leave hands soft and hydrated.

I've found this cream to be perfect for my sensitive hands as it has caused no irritation whatsoever, even when applied to broken skin. I love that it's lightweight enough for daytime use and the size is perfect to pop in my handbag.

I'd love to try their lavender hand & nail cream next!

Ingredients:
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Coco-Caprylate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Coconut Alkanes, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil*, Benzyl Alcohol, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Cetearyl Glucoside, Parfum (Fragrance), Aqua (Water), Sodium Phytate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Salicylic Acid, Limonene, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Geraniol, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Citral, Tocopherol, Linalool.
*Ingredient from organic farming. Naturally occurring within essential oils.

Have you tried any Organic Surge products?

16 August 2015

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Ice Lollies Recipe

I've been enjoying nut butter smoothies with a frozen banana base recently, and I thought I'd tweak this recipe to make some healthy ice lollies, perfect for summer! These cute ice lollies have a slightly grainy texture and a definite peanut butter/banana taste. The chocolate chips add a nice crunch and added sweetness. You'd never know they were healthy!
Ingredients:
1 frozen, sliced banana
6 chopped halawi dates
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
250ml coconut milk
A sprinkle of milk chocolate chips
(makes 6 ice lollies)

Method:
  1. Set up your ice lolly moulds on a level surface, placing some kitchen towel underneath to catch any drips.
  2. Place the banana in a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides a couple of times.
  3. Add the dates, peanut butter and coconut milk and blend until smooth.
  4. Sprinkle some chocolate chips into each mould, then slowly add the smoothie mixture. There may be a little leftover mixture.
  5. Secure the lids of your moulds and gently place in a freezer overnight. Enjoy!

13 August 2015

Monochrome & Tassels

I really love this new dress of mine; it's really comfy yet super stylish and versatile enough for day or evening wear. I love the delicate monochrome print and the cute tassel belt! Also, I cannot stop wearing this necklace! It's just the perfect finishing touch.
Outfit Details:
Forever 21 Monochrome Brushstroke Pleated Tassel Dress
NEXT Black Leggings
Dorothy Perkins Red Flats
Forever 21 Faux Stone Necklace

12 August 2015

The Weekly Wish List

1. Pintail Elderflower Champagne Tin Candle, £4.50 £3.60
I adore elderflower cordial and I bet I'd love this scented candle!
2. Tisserand Tea Tree Anti Blemish Roller Ball, £5.50/10ml
I'd love to try a new blemish treatment and I know tea tree is great for this purpose. With 100% natural ingredients, this handy roller ball should deep cleanse and soothe blemishes.
3. Ecoffee Widdle Birdy Travel Cup, £7.99 £6.79
This pretty travel cup would be perfect on the go, and best of all, it's made from organic bamboo fibre and is biodegradable!
4. H&M Biker Jacket, £29.99
I haven't got any transitional jackets and would love a faux leather option. This biker-style would be great!
5. Dorothy Perkins Mono Paisley Joggers, £24 £20.40
I really love light, loose trousers in the hot weather and these paisley print ones are gorgeous!

What's at the top of your wish list this week?

11 August 2015

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Muffins Recipe

Ingredients:
110g sunflower spread
250g caster sugar
250g plain organic flour
2 free range eggs
125ml organic semi-skimmed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g fresh blueberries
handful milk chocolate chips
(click ingredient links to see exactly what I used)

Method:
  1. Prepare your muffin tins and/or muffin cases. Preheat oven to 180 °C.
  2. Cream sugar and butter alternative until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add milk and vanilla extract.
  3. Sieve in flour, baking powder and salt. Beat until combined. Stir in blueberries and chocolate chips.
  4. Fill muffin cases 2/3 full. Pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden.
  5. Serve while still warm with a cup of coffee and enjoy! Store for up to 3 days in an air-tight container.
My cute baking cups* and silicone cup and saucer* are available from Cake Mart.

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

10 August 2015

Arm Candy Picks For AW15

I know summer is not over yet, but I can't help thinking about my favourite season for fashion - autumn! You all know about my love for the odd handbag or three, and there are lots catching my eye at the moment. I've picked out just five of my favourites which will be perfect for the next season:
I think the oxblood shade is the epitome of autumn fashion! I adore this piece. The zips and buckles really add that perfect finishing touch. This bag will inject style into any outfit.
New Look Pocket Front Mini Tote Bag, £17.99
This yellow tote bag is sure to brighten up a dull day! The darker shade fits in perfectly with the autumnal colour palette. This is a great everyday bag and is also perfect for work.
I really love the khaki colourway of this bag! And I really like the little details. This bag would be great for shopping trips and days out when you want to be hands-free.
River Island Winged Tote Bag, £45
This gorgeous (almost) monochrome bag offers an everyday choice without compromising on style and elegance! The black/off-white colourway is really classic and perfect for winter.
This vintage-style bag is really ladylike in style but a little edgy with the black/burgundy colourway. This is perfect for your workwear wardrobe and will take you from the office to stylish bar with ease!

08 August 2015

Living Naturally Rosemary & Marshmallow Soapnut Shampoo*

About the brand:
Living Naturally are completely nuts - soapnuts that is! Soapnuts have endless uses, and this company, founded in 2009, is making it their mission to get the word out about soapnuts, with their lovely products! Handmade in small batches in the UK, their cruelty-free products are natural, organic and the ingredients ethically sourced. They are free from SLS, parabens, mineral oil and artificial additives or fragrances. From shampoos and soaps to natural laundry stain removers, there's a soapnut product for everyone!
Living Naturally Rosemary & Marshmallow Soapnut Shampoo*, £7.49/200ml

After featuring it in a wish list, I was kindly sent this soapnut shampoo to try out recently. This product is 100% vegan and is housed in a recyclable bottle. The formula is quite watery, so I apply to small sections of my hair at a time to reduce the chance of wastage. This foams up pretty well and needs to be worked into the hair well to ensure it is evenly distributed.

With botanical extracts of rosemary, nettle, chickweed and marshmallow, this shampoo has a pleasantly refreshing scent. Soapnuts are known for their softening and anti-bacterial properties and they are perfect for those of us with sensitive skin. This product is actually multi-functional as it can also be used as a body and face wash - although I am reserving it solely for my hair.

I fell in love with this shampoo after the very first use! My hair feels so clean and refreshed after using this. It leaves my hair super soft and smooth, reducing frizz and adding shine. It's a really wonderful product. I use a conditioner on the ends of my hair as they are currently quite dry, but I think you could omit this from your routine if your hair is in good condition. You could probably get away with just a weekly conditioning treatment. I can see this shampoo becoming a staple product in my haircare routine, although I bet I'd love the other variety even more - bergamot & ylang ylang! They also sell a variety of shampoo bars, which I'd love to try, but I've heard that shampoo bars don't perform well in hard water areas?

Ingredients:
Aqua, Organic Stellaria media (Chickweed) Extract, Organic Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract, Organic Sapindus Mukorossi (Soapnut) Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Flower Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Mipa-Laureth Sulphate*, Cocoamidopropyl Betaine*, Decyl Glucoside*, Coco Glucoside*, Glyceryl Oleate*, Aloe Barbadensis*, Benzyl Alcohol & Salicylic Acid & Glycerin & Sorbic Acid**, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Linalool***, Geraniol***, Limonene***
*Sourced from coconut and other plant derived sources.**Eco-friendly preservative. ***Occurs naturally in essential oil.

Have you discovered the world of soapnuts yet? I'm really eager to try their laundry products!

*items kindly gifted to me; all thoughts and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

05 August 2015

The Weekly Wish List

1. French Bedroom Company Quatrefoil Side Table, £195
This brass side table with glass top is truly gorgeous! I think it would be a great feature table for displaying flowers or a pretty lamp.
2. Forever 21 Marbleised Pendant Statement Necklace, £9
I love the blue/silver colourway and the shape of the pendants. This would be a great addition to my statement necklace collection!
3. Naissance Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil, £1.99/100ml
I've heard apricot oil is great for sensitive skin and I'd love to try oil cleansing. This variety is really affordable!
4. LaBante London Avenue Colour Block Bow Tote Bag, £59.90
Minus the handle, I am in love with this pretty bag! I'll be keeping an eye out for it in the sales.
5. Pull&Bear Sequins Necklace, £9.99
This sequin necklace is quite unusual and I love the pop of coral!

What's at the top of your wish list this week?