Friday, 5 February 2016

Review & Giveaway: Antipodes Moisture Boost Minis

I recently picked myself up Antipodes Moisture Boost Minis from Lucy Rose Organic Beauty Store. I've used Antipodes's Divine Oil before and loved it but was keen to try their Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream (so glad I did).

Inside the duo kit is:

Divine Face Oil (10ml)
Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream (15ml)

It's an absolute great try me kit or for travel. I know for sure I'll be picking it up again!

Divine Face Oil 10ml - a nutrient rich oil which is great for anti-ageing and also contains a natural sun filter and deeply hydrates the skin. Collagen boosting Avocado oil helps with fine lines and wrinkles while rosehip targets scars and wrinkles.  Apply a few drops to the skin either alone or under moisturiser.

Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream 15ml - for me this is the star of the duo. A super rich cream containing manuka honey active 20+, Vinanza Grape, Avocado Pear Oil and Shea Butter which absorbs easily and has the delicious scent of Vanilla and Mandarin. Can be used alone of with the face oil.

Anyone can enter this International giveaway - just please don't add it to competition websites

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 4 February 2016

balance me: Restore & Replenish Cream Cleanser

This cleanser from balance me came via a magazine freebie last year and I've only now got round to trying it. You can pick this size (50ml) online for £11. A trial size (15ml) is £3.75 and full size (125ml) is £18.

A supercharged unique peptide complex smoothes and firms the skin helping to boost collagen levels as well as soothing the skin and removing dirt and make up.

Apply on dry skin massaging into the skin with your fingertips. Add some water if desired before removing with a warm damp muslin cloth. 

I just love this cleanser and wish I'd used it sooner. It's a real luxe pampering treat. The cleanser is gentle on the skin and leaves it clean, radiant, soft and hydrated.  It will be a re-purchase!

Have you used this balance me cleanser before?

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Latest in Beauty: Build Your Own Box

Just last week I spotted that Latest in Beauty had new items in the "Build your own Box" section. Of course, I couldn't resist! I went for the 9 items box which cost £16.99 plus P&P.

Here's what I chose:

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser 5 x 5ml sachets - I love this cleanser and thought these would be great for holidays/weekends away. See my review of the cleanser HERE.

Kneipp Pure Bliss Mineral Bath Salt with Red Poppy & Hemp 60g (1 bath) - I'm a fan of the Kneipp Herbal Baths so thought these would be nice to try for a change.

Dr Organic Royal Jelly Eye Serum 15ml (full size worth £9.99) - I'm currently using the one I received in a YOU Beauty Box and I can honestly say it's lovely. I may use this one for a gift (or backup!)

Kneipp Lavender Herbal Bath 20ml - I've used this before and loved it. See my mini review here

The Library of Fragrance Gin & Tonic Cologne Spray 15ml (worth £10) - this smells just like a G&T when you first spray it mellowing down to a light and refreshing scent.

Roger & Gallet Gingembre Rouge Energising Sorbet Body Lotion 50ml & Bois D'Orange Invigorating Sorbet Body Lotion 50ml - I picked these as I'd received a body lotion by R&G in one of my advent calendars and had really enjoyed using it.

Mio Double Buff Dual Action Exfoliator 50ml - I'm a fan of Mio but not tried this scrub before. It has particles of Pumice, Lava and Bamboo blended with Papaya and Pineapple enzymes to slough away rough skin.

Melvita L'Or Bio Extraordinary Oil 17ml - which is suitable for use on body and hair - a handy size which I may keep for travel.

Have you Build Your Own Box recently?

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

There are so many lovely things out there for Valentine's Day gifts. Here are a few of my top picks:

Ancienne Ambiance Colonia Collection Gift Set (£60)* this is a gorgeous trio and would make a lovely luxury gift. See my review HERE.

Lippy Girl Snog Me Vegocentric Vegan Lipstick (£6.25) which is currently on special offer at Botanical Brands. A matte poppy red shade perfect for Valentines Day as it has a long lasting finish as well as nourishing and smoothing the lips.

4160Tuesdays Seven Small Crimes (2.25ml atomizers 5 x parfum, 2 x EdP £40) which includes all 7 crimes of passion scents in sample size. Included is: Midnight in the Palace Garden, Goddess of Love & Perfume, Inevitable Crimes of Passion, Be Careful What You Wish For, Maxed Out, Raw Silk & Red Roses and Dirty Honey.

Viridian Ultimate Beauty Topical Organic Rose Oil (15ml - £32)* a rich and lush facial oil which is scented with Rose Damascena and other oils essential for dry and mature skin types. The perfect present for a skincare lover. A full review will follow.

Charles Farris Garden of Eden Signature Reed Diffuser (£32) I've recently become a huge fan of reed diffusers and I think this one would make the perfect gift. It's scented with Tuberose, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine and Ylang Ylang.

The Valentine's Box coming soon to Letterbox Gifts (£22.95 plus P&P) I'm a huge fan of these exquisite boxes. See my review of The Signature Box HERE and The Christmas Box HERE. There is also a new box out now called The Alice Box. See more info on the website.

Swizzels Love Heart (£22.99) from Find Me A Gift, a fab online store which has everything you could ever want to buy! I think this little heart is super cute and would make a nice token of your affection to a loved one!

Also from Find Me A Gift is this "Ring for Prosecco" bell (£3.99) which would be right up my street! A jokey and fun gift. You can see all the Valentine's Day Gifts HERE.

Love Bath & Candle Duo (£38) from Bodhi & Birch which contains a 200ml bottle of Ylang Ylang Incensa Bath & Shower Therapy and a Heartwood Candle in Bergamot & Geranium. I treated myself to the Joy duo. See my review HERE.

A bouquet of flowers from Serenata Flowers there is a huge range to choose from. The ones pictured here were ones I received to review and you can see my post HERE. The bouquet* was simply stunning and lasted well.

Craft Gin Club subscription (£40 a month) - pay monthly, Bi-monthly or Quarterly and receive a bottle of craft gin with some extras. February's is now sold out (sob). It contains a bottle of Edinburgh Gin's special Valentine's Day gin with Rose & Hibiscus. (I also like that the company uses Royal Mail rather than courier).

What would be your ideal Valentine's Day present?

*PR samples

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Joy Book Club

Julie at The Joy Book Club got in touch to see if I'd like to review her first subscription box* which was funded via IndieGoGo Crowdfunding. As an avid book lover I jumped at the chance. You can subscribe to February's box HERE (from 10.00am today).

Julie's a lifelong book lover and studied creative writing and drama at University before going on to Ad School and various jobs including copywriting and media for a luxury furniture company. It was while here she attended an Instagram for Business event and became more acquainted with subscription boxes.

The Joy Book Club is a subscription box with a book club running alongside. Books will be discussed by members on all social media channels -Twitter and Facebook and on Instagram and Pinterest.

My box arrived on Friday and is cutely wrapped in brown paper with string. All packaging is recyclable or reusable and a £1 from every box sold goes to a book related charity, chosen to tie in with that months book - which I think is a nice touch.

Inside you will find a welcome letter from "Miss Joy Books" which introduces you to the box.

The book of the month is The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Armin which Julie spotted in her local Waterstones while browsing for book choices. I think it looks like an interesting book and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Book picks will be great reads which have slipped under the radar and gone unnoticed by most people. There will also be a range of genres so you might get something you wouldn't chose normally. #ReadDifferently #ShareTheBookJoy

Also included is some treats which are themed around that month's book, a playlist of music suited to the book etc.

In the January box:

Playlist, The Joy Book Club's Guide to Italian, a poster of San Salvatore, a few Italian Macaroons to eat during Chapter 13 and two tealight candles "for those who appreciate wisteria and candlelight".

I think it's a wonderful box and would make a fantastic monthly treat - especially as you don't know which book you'll be getting each month! 

Subscriptions will be live from today! You can sign up HERE.


Sunday, 31 January 2016

A Month of Samples: Perfume

I've got so many sample vials of perfume I decided to wear a different perfume every day for the month of February. I literally put my hand in my samples box and selected at random! I'll let you know which ones I love at the end of the month.

Week 1: 

1. Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Cologne
2. 4160Tuesdays Sleep Knot EDP
3. Etat Libre d'Orange Jasmin Et Cigarette
4. Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier eau Fraiche
5. Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel
6. Connock Kuku EDP
7. 4160Tuesdays Inevitable Crimes of Passion Parfum

Week 2:

8. 4160Tuesdays Tart's Knickers Drawer EDP
9. Ormonde Jayne Sampaquita EDP
10. .vero.profumo Rozy EdP
11. Bond No.9 Central Park West
12. Armani Myrrhe Imperiale EdP intense
13. 4160Tuesdays Midnight in the Palace Garden Parfum
14. Moschino Fresh EdT

Week 3:

15. Phaedon Oliban
16. Narciso EdT
17. Le Labo Rose 31
18. 4160Tuesdays Dirty Honey EdP
19. 4160Tuesdays Who Knew EdP
20. Agonist Vanilla Marble
21. 4160Tuesdays Rome 1963 EdP

Week 4:

22. Carner Cuirs
23. Robert Piguet Fracas
24. L'Artisan Mure et Musc EdT
25. 4160Tuesdays Centrepiece EdP
26. Chantal Thomass EdP
27. 4160Tuesdays Doe in the Snow EdP
28. PG 15 Ilang Ivohibe
29. 4160Tuesdays Sex Goddess EdP

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Cîme Skincare Rosée de Roses Cleansing & Toning Lotion

I've recently been trying Cîme Skincare's Rosée de Roses Cleansing & Toning Lotion (£22 for 150ml)*. You can see my thoughts on their lovely hand cream HERE.

The brand is really fab and one I hadn't heard of until Shubana started stocking them on her online store Sujet de Vert.

You'll know I love a multi-use product and this 3-in-1 product can be used to remove eye make up, lightly cleanse and also be used as a toning spritz. It has a delicate rose scent and is really effective at both cleansing and toning.

No synthetic perfumes, parabens or phenoxyethanol are used in production. Products are certified by Ecocert Greenlife and 98.98% of the ingredients are from natural origin. 95.58% of the ingredients are from organic farming.

Have you tried any products by Cîme?


Friday, 29 January 2016

January Books

Here's what I've been reading in January:

We are All made of Stars - Rowan Coleman* - Stella works nights in a hospice and writes letters for her patients of their final wishes, thoughts, feelings and advice to those loved ones left behind.

Her husband Vincent has returned home from Afghanistan a broken man with PTSD and guilt that his best friend and comrade died because of him. They are unable to communicate any longer.

A letter Stella writes for a mother to her son and she decides she's going to deliver it to him allowing Hugh to make peace with his mother before she dies.

Stella decides Vincent is worth fighting for and they learn to live and love again. A brilliant read. Would recommend.

Those we Left Behind - Stuart Neville* - Twelve year old Ciaran Devine confesses to killing his foster father. His brother tried to stop him. Seven years later he's back on the streets which set an unstopable chain of events in motion.

DCI Flanagan was involved in solving the case all these years ago as an ambitious DS.  Probation Officer Paula Cunningham thinks there is more to the case than was uncovered at the time.

Flanagan is a great character who goes beyond her superiors' orders if she thinks she can solve a crime. Fast paced and un-put-downable with a nice little twist at the end.

The Sea Between Us - Emylia Hall* -  Robyn Swinton has recently moved with her parents to Cornwall and is out surfing when she nearly drowns. She's saved by local boy Jago Winters and from that moment on they share an unbreakable bond.

Their lives take different paths but they are forever in each other's thoughts. We find out if their bond is strong enough to bring them back together. I thought this was a beautiful read with believable characters with the story being set in Cornwall, London and America.

The Theseus Paradox - David Videcette** - This is David Videcette's first novel and is set around things that happened in real life. Sometimes you are not sure what is fact and what is fiction! David is a former Scotland Yard Investigator with the Metropolitan Police.

A fast paced read with short punchy chapters. Each chapter has a time frame which I liked. 

It's a story about the 7/7 terrorists attacks and Operation Theseus. DI Jake Fletcher doesn't always abide by the rules and likes to go on his gut feeling. We meet him in Yorkshire trying to foil what he thinks is a terrorist plot which lands him in hospital unconscious. He wakes up to learn that terrorists have blown themselves up on the London underground and on a bus.

His girlfriend Claire, who works for the security service passes him some information which he decides he'll investigate without letting his bosses know a decision which ends up in suspension.  But he can't let it go..

One of my favourite reads this year so far.

Standing in the Shadows with the Ghost of Emmett Till: A JT Ellington Mystery - M P Wright** - A short story featuring JT Ellington, West Indian ex-Policeman who we first met in Heartman.

Set in Bristol in 1967. A clergyman asks via Rank Barrett if JT can help return a member of the parish to the flock. Solomon is having an inter-racial relationship and it is frowned up from all sides. As ever the story is highly descriptive and easy reading.

Look out for All through the Night the next book in the trilogy out in April.

Blood Ran Cold - Sten Ostberg - Marte Vollan is pregnant and her husband Karl is taking her to the hospital. They are stopped at their isolated farmhouse in Norway by a man with a bloody hatchet. It's really creepy and fast paced and a great short read.

Circle - The Diary of Stella Moore - Peter Dudgeon - this is the sequel to Chance which I read August and is not intended to be a stand alone read.

Seven years on and Cassie Janus has grown up away from London after her mum died and has been brought up by her Social Worker, Laura. DS Frank Simmons needs Cassie's help and vision in solving a crime.

A missing persons case has developed into something a lot more sinister involving S&M and an abuse 'circle'. The story has chapters which are entries in Stella's diary although we aren't aware who Stella is at the beginning.

Fast paced with many twists and turns and it kept me on the edge of my seat although I didn't like it quite as much as Chance. Unsure if this is only a sequel or if there will be a series.

Crooked Heart - Lissa Evans*** - Noel Bostock lives with Mattie, his eccentric suffragrette godmother in a rambing house in Hampstead.

He finds himself evacuated to St Albans to escape the Blitz while mouring Mattie. He ends up being billeted with Vee Sedge, a single woman in her 30s who goes from one mad money making scheme to another.

She looks after her dependent mother who writes letters to the Government about the war effort and her lazy son, Donald.

Noel and Vee cook up money making schemes which see them criss-cross London meeting a variety of unsavoury characters.  Absolutely loved this book. Great story and characters.

The Red Letter - Kate Riordan - this is a very short story about a woman who finds out her husband is having another affair after telling her it would never happen again. She finds a red letter 'A' written in his diary. Instead of getting too upset she decides she's going to broaden her horizons and even has a romantic moment of her own.

The hidden legacy - G J Minett* - The story jumps between 1966 where a boy commits a hideous crime in a school playground to 2008 where we meet Ellen, a recently divorced working mother of two.

Ellen is invited to Cheltenham to hear the contents of an old woman's will, a woman called Eudora Nash who she's never heard of before. She finds out Eudora has left her a beautiful cottage in a charming village.

With her friend Kate they seek to find out who Eudora is and why she bequeathed her something worth so much money. Others are also interested in the cottage and Eudora especially an inquisitive and nosy journalist.

The two stories are so cleverly weaved together with an ending I didn't see coming. I simply loved it.

Cut Short (A DI Geraldine Steel Mystery Book 1) - Leigh Russell - DI Geraldine Steel who has recently relocated to sleepy Woolsmarsh after the breakup of a long term relationship. Before she has time to settle in she's thrown into a murder investigation.

A serial killer is on the loose and the race is on to find him before he strikes again. A local woman's group is enraged that the police have been unable to catch the killer and the locals are afraid to go out at night.

A witness comes forward but only has a vague recollection of the strange man she met in the park when she stopped to ask for directions. The killer has been watching her and she's in danger...  Easy reading and I enjoyed the book. Will pick up more from the series to see how Geraldine and her colleagues develop.

Behind Closed Doors - B A Paris* - WOW what an amazing debut novel which I read over two days. It is a terrifying but compelling read and I loved it.

Jack and Grace are the perfect couple who are never apart. They've been married a year, have a beautiful house, lots of money and plenty of holidays. Jack's circle of friends are delighted he's met "the one". He's a hot shot lawyer who represents the victims of domestic violence and he's never lost a case.

When alone behind closed doors life is very different from the idyllic picture they paint when in public. Jack controls every aspect of her life.

The story is told one chapter in the past (before Grace met Jack) and when she was living a fulfilling life with a job she loved and one in the present.  They are due to have Grace's sister come to live with them when she leaves her residential school. Jack's looking forward to controlling Millie too while Grace is looking for ways to make sure this doesn't happen...

Packed with twists and turns and an absolute rollercoaster of a read.

The Courtesan - Alexandra Curry* - the story is inspired by a real woman Sai Jinhua. It is the year 1881 and seven year old Jinhau is an orphan after her father, a Mandarin was executed for speaking the truth.

She is sold to a brothel keeper for a few coins and her life changes forever. Her feet are bound and she is taught how to pleasure a man. She is sold to the highest bidder around about her twelfth birthday. Her only ally is her friend Suyin, a maid at the brothel.

Sub chancellor Kong rescues her and she becomes his concubine eventually travelling with him to Vienna where he undertakes diplomatic duties with the west. She struggles with her husband's authority and when they return to China she's a changed woman.  I really enjoyed the first four parts of the story but found the final two a bit drawn out and not quite as interesting.

The Ballroom - Anna Hope*It's 1911 in an asylum on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. The men and women are kept apart coming together once a week to attend the dance in the splendour of the Ballroom.

Dr Charles Fuller leads the orchestra. He's quite a strange character who I hated! He has odd ideas, can be harmful to the patients and quite mad himself. The story is told from his point of view, Ella's and John's.

Ella and John meet at the dance and find themselves attracted to each other. They try to snatch moments together and when Ella's released before John escapes he deeply misses her. Down the years he keeps searching for her. He just can't stop looking.

The ending ties the story together and is beautiful. A really captivating read and another favourite this year. 

What have you been reading this month?

*Copy from Netgalley
**Copy from Author
***Copy from Love Reading

Thursday, 28 January 2016

MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion

I received MOA's Fortifying Green Bath Potion 100ml (£27.50) in my recent Love Me Beauty box.

MOA make a range of natural skincare products "inspired by old herbal folklore with a sprinkling of magic". The products use yarrow, which is found in hedgerows across the UK. It's been used for centuries to heal and repair the skin.

The company are probably best known for their multi-use The Green Balm.  The bath potion smells really powerful (reminds me a bit of cough sweets!). It is made with nourishing oils along with toning and refreshing peppermint, detoxifying fennel, calming fir needle, healing yarrow and ache reducing sweet birch.

To use: pour a couple of caps into a full bath, ease yourself in and lie back and let the potion work it's magic! 

It will de-stress both the body and the mind, relieve aches and pains and revitalise the body. It's the perfect product to use when you've got the flu or after exercise.  I'll definitely buy it again as it just works! 

100% natural with no parabens, perfume, alcohol, lanolin or animal testing.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

January: Lately I've been Loving

Here's the things I've been loving in January:

I'm absolutely obsessed with Clipper's Organic Indian Chai Tea. I like it with a splash of milk. A spicy, aromatic and warming drink.

Staying on the tea front I stocked up on the best green tea I've found - Sencha Green from Bellevue Tea. See my review HERE. It was nice also to get a few samples to try - I may find another favourite!

I picked this Aromatherapy Associates set up in the 50% off sale. Huge fan of these lovely bath and shower oils.  Love the cute packaging too!

I've been enjoying Maddi Alexander's Mistletoe Kisses diffuser*. It's really gorgeous. See my review HERE. I'd definitely be tempted to pick a few up for presents as it's absolutely exquisite. You can also buy Serene Floral Diffuser - see HERE which has notes of Lavender and Geranium and I think there may be a rose one for Valentines Day.

I know I'm on a diet but these biscuits and sweets from Crabtree & Evelyn are just divine! The biscuits are lightly dusted with crystalised rose petals - yum!

Glasgow based Mobros, a living wage employer makes gorgeous soya wax candles in delicious scents. I'm currently loving Black Pomegranate and Black Raspberry and Vanilla.

My pal Julie gave me this lush Oskia Renaissance Hand Cream (which I've lusted after for ages) for Christmas. It's really luxurious and scented with rose. It keeps my my hands supersoft and nourished.

My Honey Tree Publishing The Stationery Lovers Box arrived at the beginning of the week and it's stuffed full of wonderful things which are beautiful as well as useful.

The Holborn magazine which celebrates a well made life which I came across via twitter - I picked up issue 1 and issue 4 - from these I loved - issue 1 (High Holborn Pub Stroll, The Jim Dandy cocktail recipe, The Art of Writing and Ten Lessons from a Maker).

And from bumper issue 4 (oh so many - The Duppy Share, A Pub Stroll: New York (there is a pub which only sells own brewed light or dark beer!), a cocktail using Gosnells Mead (which I sampled at Maltby St Market in October), Tinder is the Night, Hackney Downs Studios, The London Artisan Market, Trevor's Tale, The Scent of Floris, You got Any Pie On Ya? and Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers. Have loved reading these mags and know I'll go back to them again and again...and try out the cocktail recipes! I definitely think a subscription is on the cards.

What have you been loving this month?

*PR sample