Saturday, 31 May 2014

May Books

Here's what I've been reading in May. I read 7 books!

Screams in the Dark by Anna Smith - this is the third book in the Rosie Gilmour series.  Crime Reporter Rosie is drawn into researching the case of missing refugees. A torso with body parts missing is found in the Clyde and Rosie throws herself into finding out more putting herself in danger..

Two Turtle Doves by Alex Monroe - a sweet and memorable book which jumps between the past and present.  Alex shares with us his childhood where he spent lots of time having fun with his siblings - go carts, booby traps, boating and lakes.  He shares with us family life with his wife and daughters, ideas for his jewellery, shows and in the workshop. There are lovely stories which stay with you, like when he sees Sophie Dahl and then a stranger on a train wearing his jewellery.  It made me laugh out loud lots. One of my favourite books this year.

The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales by Kirsty Logan - I read one of Kirsty's short stories in The Simple Things magazine and just loved it. I don't tend to like short stories as I find them too short! This is a mix of tales of love, loss and lust.  Some I liked better than others with some staying in my mind long after I finished the book like the boy with the tiger tale and the girl with antlers and a girl who seeks out Baba Yaga, a witch as a dare which fables have warned to stay away from and the twist in the tale.

The Book of You by Claire Kendal - Rafe works beside Clarissa at the University. He invites her to his book launch and the next thing she knows is he is beside her in bed.  He starts stalking her, following her and sending her gifts.  Clarissa is on Jury Duty and thinks this will keep Rafe away from her but he just won't take no for an answer.  The case is parallel to what is happening to her now. Super Creepy.

Betrayed by Anna Smith - the latest Rosie Gilmour instalment and I think her best yet! I raced through this book.  The case is a missing barmaid and Rosie is determined to find her.  It leads her to the dangerous world of the Ulster Volunteer Force and drug dealing.  The story goes to Utrecht and Seville and Adrian and Matt (who we have met in previous books) are there to help.  Can't wait for the next one.

Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson - the story is set during the Second World War. Saba is working overseas for ENSA - Entertainments National Service Association and meets Dom a young fighter pilot who is recovering in hospital after being shot down. Mysterious Mr Cleeve asks Saba if she will help the war effort as she is half-Turkish and can speak the language. A easy read with many twists and turns. You keep hoping all will turn out well for Saba and Dom.

Return to Mandalay by Rosanna Ley - Eve, an antique dealer is asked to go to Mandalay on a buying trip by her employer.  Her grandfather was in Burma during the Second World War and has fond memories of his time there.  He asks her to return a mysterious artefact - a chinthe - to its rightful owner. There are lots of twists and turns, memories, history and love. A great read.

What have you been reading this month?

Friday, 30 May 2014

May Empties

MVO Face Oil sample size* - simply loved this. See my review here.  Sure to place an order one of these days as every MVO product I've tried I've loved!

Caudalie Vinexpert Eye & Lip Serum 1.5ml - quite a small sample but lovely to use. Would maybe buy.

ESPA ProSerum 8ml* - a lovely light treatment oil.  See my review here. I've got another in my stash to use.

Marble & Milkweed Spring Tonic Serum vial - this came in the a beautiful world box. Was nice but teeny tiny sample so hard to tell if perfect for my skin or not.

Green & Spring Relaxing Shower & Bath Foam 50ml - this was really lovely to use. Huge fan of the G&S range.  See my review here.

Lucy Annabella Organic Argan & Bergamot Organic Treatment Oil 125ml - simply love this oil and sad that it's finished! I'll definitely buy again.  See my review here.

Dr Organic Rose Otto Body Wash 250ml - a gorgeous rose scented wash. I received this one as a gift but sure to buy again as the rose range is one of my favourites.

Aestelance Mud Mask 5ml - this was nice but a small sample. Did make my hair look and feel good.

Dr Organic Pomegranate Deodorant 50ml - this is a staple for me. Love the scent and it's effectiveness. Will buy again.

Ojon Rare Blend Infusion Shampoo 30ml - I loved this shampoo. Sure to buy full size at some point.

Ojon Rare Blend Deep Conditioner 30ml - loved this. Again, sure to pick up full size at some point.

Ancienne Ambiance Rosa Bath Salts sample* - smells of roses and contains rose petals. I got two baths from this sample.  See my review here. Would purchase.

TEWC Lemon & Geranium Body Melt 6g - a rich butter which is easy to apply to the skin. I wouldn't buy this particular one again as the scent was too light for me.

TEWC Lavender & Sweet Orange Body Melt 6g - a perfect travel size. I loved the scent and full size is on my wishlist.

Inner-Soul Scandinavian Hand & Body Salve* - This was lovely, melted into the skin and smelled gorgeous. Would buy.  See my review here.

Neom Complete Bliss Bath & Shower Oil 5ml - one of my favourite Neom scents.  Huge fan of the brand.

Naked Rescue Repairing Hair Treatment 20ml sachet - love this! Helps make the hair look glossy and sleek. Sure to buy again.

Mendill Organic Wet Towelettes - Lavender, Orange*, Eucalyptus* and Tangerine* - huge fan of these wipes. See my reviews here and here. Sure to buy again as they are so handy.

John Masters Organics Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructing Shampoo 10ml & Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructor 10ml - love these and sure to pick up these samples again. I get two uses from each sachet making them great for weekends away.

Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts 2 x 100g - simply love these salts.  See my review here. I've still got a packet in my stash but know I'll definitely buy again as they work.  If I could only use one bath product again - it would be these!

Naisture Collagen Mask Pack - a single use super moisturising sheet mask. Got a few of these in my stash. Lovely.

Forever Aloe-Jojoba Shampoo 4.5ml & Conditioning Rinse - made my hair feel clean, conditioned and shiny.  

Giovanni 2 Chic Ultra Sleek Shampoo & Conditioner both 7.4ml - a good sized sample giving two uses. These were really nice to use and I'd buy.

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser 5ml - this little sachet gave me four uses. A huge fan of this product and the brand. I've got a full size pot of this and I'd buy again.  See my review here.

Argan Dew Miraculous Argan Oil 3.5ml* - a fantastic oil which you use on damp hair before blow drying. Makes the hair smooth and healthy looking and smells gorgeous.

Bodhi Mint The Refreshing Bath & Shower Therapy 10ml sachet - my favourite shower gel.  Great size for travel.

Ancienne Ambiance Ambra Reed Diffuser* - this really brightened up my hallway. A beautiful scent. See my review here. I want to try the rose one next.  This one last 5 months making it great value for money.

*PR samples

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Yours Truly Organics

Kelita Bignall, founder of Yours Truly Organics recently very kindly sent me her skincare range which is suitable for Combination/Oily skins.  She suffered mild acne in her teens to early twenties and decided to create her own range. 

I love that she is so passionate about her natural and organic skincare range which is EcoCert certified, Vegetarian Society and Cruelty Free approved - "these products work they really do".

Take it away! Gel Cleanser (150ml - £22)* - the cleanser is enriched with Vitamin C and Sandalwood Oil. It removes impurities and leaves the skin soft and clean.  I initially found this a little bit drying on my skin but with continued use it has balanced my oily t-zone.  It comes in a pump action bottle and it is my favourite morning time face wash. The cleanser has a fruity scent.

Balancing Toner (150ml - £19)* - this is my favourite product from the range. A refreshing mist which contains soothing aloe vera and Witch Hazel. It helps return skin to its optimal pH level. It has a citrus scent which is lovely.

Fix Me! Repairing Serum (30ml - £28)* - the serum smoothes, repairs and tightens the skin (you can really feel it working!) It contains oat kernal, sesame seed extract and and saw palmetto which reduces inflamation and keeps blemishes at bay. You only need to use a small amount of the serum. Again, I really like this product.

Face Base Face Balm (100ml - £25)* - rather than a balm this is a rich moisturiser which absorbs easily into the skin. First time I tried it I used too much. Like the serum you don't need to use a lot.  It contains Pea and Daisy Flower extracts which improve elasticity, regulate sebum and brighten the skin.  Again the scent is lovely and refreshing and it leaves the skin nourished and calm.

Have you tried anything from the range?


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

May: Lately I've been Loving

The Rose cocktail - a simply delicious rose cocktail which contained Rosewater, Tequila, Rhubarb, Lime, Rhubarb bitters and topped with a fresh rose petal. So good I drank two! See my review of dinner at Aizle here.

I picked up this selection of Palmer's Coconut Hair products at Superdrug which are scented with coconut.  They leave the hair feel shiny and healthy (and smelling gorgeous!). Full review to follow.

I really enjoyed a weekend away with mum, dad and hubby.  You can read more about it here.

I've been loving delicious popchips* - the lighter alternative to crisps. They have less than half the fat of normal crisps and come in at around 95 calories and taste delicious - my favourites are salt & vinegar and barbeque flavour.

My mum gave me some new gardening gloves. You can read a gardening update at BodhiLuxe a new online magazine which savours life's luxuries - see here.

Neom's Refresh Organic Bath Oil is my absolute favourite at the moment. Uplifting and refreshing. The scent cheers up my day.

Lastly, I'm just loving Marble & Milkweed's Nourishing Body Oil*. You can see my review here.

What have you been loving this month?

*PR samples

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

LJ's Natural Solutions: Organic Deep Cleansing Balm

I'm a huge fan of LJ's Natural Solutions products and I've featured them on the blog a couple of times. See my review of the Soothing Organic Handbag Handlotion and Very Indulgent Organic Face Oil here and you can read more about the Monthly Beauty Box here.

Lisa very kindly sent me the Organic Deep Cleansing Balm* (50g - £8.95) to try and review.

The balm is super rich and is stuffed full of good things for the skin - Shea Butter, Vitamins and Avocado Oil.  You only need the smallest amount. As you massage the balm onto your face and neck it melts to an oil cleanser. It has a really gorgeous scent. The balm contains Rosewood & Geranium Essential Oils.  It draws out impurities, daily grime and gets rid of make up easily.  Remove with a warmed damp muslin cloth. It's one of my favourite cleansing balms and great value.

There is no animal testing, no parabens, petrochemicals and artificial colours and fragrances.

LJ's Scratchy Balm is in the shortlist for the Free From SkinCare Awards 2014 - see more details here.


Monday, 26 May 2014

Cult Beauty Wishlist #2

I did my first Cult Beauty Wishlist back in November last year - here's my latest wants!

Erno Laszlo Introductory Cleansing Duo (£24.50) - I recently tried the pre-cleansing oil and simply adored it. I've heard great things about the cleansing bar. This is a perfect little try me set.

Laboratory Perfumes Gorse EDT (£55) - I recently tried a sample of this via Roullier White and I adore this coconut, citrus green scent.  A bottle will be mine - and soon!

Therapie Awaken Skin Rehab Scrub (£28) - a new Therapie product! It sounds amazing! A powder which you massage into dampened skin which melts away dead skin cells, refreshes and regenerates the skin. It also comes in a 30g size which is £8.

Lea Journo Hair Care range (£10 upwards) - an exciting new hair care range which contains French Plum Oil. The range of products sound gorgeous. I'm tempted by Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner and the Revive French Plum Oil.

Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask (£32) - this popped up via an email recently and I thought it sounded right up my street!

Costes Bath Flakes (£21 - 10 x 10g) - I've wanted to try these for like..ages! Hotel Costes is where the world's top fashionistas stay during Paris Fashion week. A spicy woody scent with a touch of rose.

What's on your Cult Beauty Wishlist?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Shopping my Stash #52

Here's what I've been reaching for this week:

Argan Dew Replenishing Hair Mask 10ml* - a super rich mask made with pure Moroccan Argan Oil. It moisturises and replenishes dry and damaged hair types and Argan Dew Miraculous Argan Oil 3.5ml* - a rich oil which nourishes and strengthens the hair leaving it shiny and healthy looking. Both products don't contain any SLS or SLES and there is no animal testing. You can pick up both these samples for the price of P&P see here.

Suti Rose Water Organic Facial Spritz 100ml - since I got this recently I can't stop using it. It refreshes and tones the skin as well as being uplifting. See my review here.

Aromatherapy Associates Hydrating Triple Rose Renewing Moisturiser 5ml - this came free with Marie Claire Magazine this month. Of the three products this one's my favourite. A light cream which is deeply moisturising and is scented with rose.

Dr Organic Rose Otto Body Scrub 200ml - I'm a huge fan of Dr Organic products especially the Rose Otto range.  A gentle scrub which leaves the skin radiant and smelling of roses.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Skinscent 100ml - I've not treated myself to a bottle of this since Tom Ford's version many moons ago.  Estee Lauder bring this scent out every summer and it's always a sell out.  It reminds me of summer holidays and suntan lotion. It has notes of mandarin, bergamot, lemon, orange, tiare flower, jasmine, magnolia petals, orange flower buds, amber, coconut milk, sandalwood and vanilla.

What are your favourites this week?

*pr samples

Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Dream Box by The British Beauty Blogger & Latest in Beauty

I first saw that Jane, The British Beauty Blogger was launching her third beauty box in association with Latest in Beauty on a Facebook group. I was lucky enough to pick up her first box - see my thoughts here.

The Dream box cost £19.95 including P&P. The item which caught my eye the most was Bee Good Honey & Wild Water Mint 3-in-1 Cleansing Water (100ml) worth £10 - half the box!  I reviewed Bee Good's Intensive Hand Repair this week - see here*.

So what's inside:

It's absolutely packed full of goodies and worth over £100!

My second favourite item is the Kneipp Herbal Bath in Mandarin - Orange 100ml - this is a full size bottle and it is said to relieve stress and make you happy. Smells gorgeous and looking forward to trying it.

I love the Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick Kisses - I got Marilyn a bright red shade. Inside the envelope is a little card with lipstick lips which you apply directly as if you are kissing it. Cute.

Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara 8ml (this is worth £19!) - I've heard great things about this collagen infused deep black mascara which is paraben free. Looking forward to try it out.

Janjira Hand Wash in Argan Oil 50ml - this is paraben and sulphate free and smells refreshing. Not heard of this brand before.

REN Satin Perfecting BB Cream 3ml - huge REN fan. This is silicone free and non-oily. I've used this before and the shade doesn't quite suit my skin tone. I'll maybe get to use it in the summer.

L'Occitane Immortalle Divine Lotion 50ml - this is a new product and you use it after cleansing to soften the skin before moisturiser.  Looking forward to trying it out.

Roger & Gallet Gingembre Rouge Fresh Fragrant Water 1.5ml vial - this is really nice with ginger, mandarin and pomegranate notes. Perfect for spring and summer.

Lola Kabuki Brush - this is a lovely soft little brush and I'm looking forward to trying it out with my bronzer.

Bourjois Cream Blush in shade 01 2.5g - received this in the first box. Perfect shade for summer.

Benefit it's potent eye cream 3g - I've used this before and liked it.

Make up Revolution Awesome Eyeshadow & Eyebrow Palette in Disappear till Tomorrow - this has nice neutral brown shades with a few sparkly shades. Looking forward to trying it out. 

Elemis Treat Your Feet Foot Cream 20ml - huge Elemis fan and have used this foot cream before. Highly moisturising and smells nice. Perfect to get feet sandal ready.

Essie Polish in hide and go chic - this is a full size bottle in a pretty blue shade.

La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water Spray 50g - the perfect size for popping in your handbag to cool down and refresh the skin on hot summer days.

So there you have it - 15 great items. Did you pick up the box? What are your thoughts?

*PR sample

Friday, 23 May 2014

Helenere Perfect Neck Lifting 30ml

I was recently sent Helenere's Perfect Neck Lifting (30ml - £62)* a lightweight serum which deeply moisturises and reduces the signs of ageing on the neck and decolletage. It is essential to moisturise your neck as it is one of the first places to show signs of ageing.

Helenere is a luxury Swiss brand which was founded in 1987 by Helen Rosato-Rossi, a passionate beauty entrepreneur. The range is high performance with active ingredients and state of the art technologies.

Perfect Neck Lifting is a moisturising serum which helps to reduce signs of ageing while firming and toning the delicate neck area.  Warm in the palms and apply to the skin before day or night cream.

I was also sent best seller Maitrise du temps serum (10ml)* an extra rich serum which nourishes, restores firmness and brightness as well as reducing lines and wrinkles.  Apply a few drops AM and PM massaging into the skin. It's also good to use around the eye and lip area.

I also tried samples - Seroxome Serum 5ml* - a regenerating and restructuring serum which brightens and fights ageing, Hydralia Day Cream 5ml* - a day moisturiser which hydrates and protects the skin. This was one of my favourite samples.  Eye Contour Cream 5ml* which fights against ageing and nourishes the delicate eye area reducing dark circles and wrinkles and Perfect Eye Lifting 5ml* a serum which lifts the eye area, brightens and reduces fine lines.

Keep a look out for my June Helenere Giveaway!

Follow on Twitter @Helenere_Intl

*PR samples

Thursday, 22 May 2014

TEWC Mini Haul

After having tried TEWC Face Moisturiser for Normal or Combination Skin* - see my review here I was tempted into trying some more products. I picked up a full size (40g) and some trial sizes. The trial sizes are 6g and 10g making them an ideal size to try or take on holidays.

Here's what I chose:

Virgin Coconut & Lime Body Butter 40g (40g - £8 or 80g - £12.50) - which smells delicious (reminds me of chocolate lime sweets!). Super sweet and deeply moisturising this butter melts upon contact with warm skin leaving the skin with a zingy lime scent - just perfect for summer.  A blend of Shea and Cocoa Butter, Virgin Coconut Oil and Vitamin E.  One I know I'll be purchasing again and again!

My trio of trial sizes were all £2 each which I think are great value.  I chose:

Lavender & Sweet Orange Body Melt and Lemon & Geranium Body Melt - I took these with me for my weekend away. Packed full of good things for the skin and scented with essential oils. I simply loved the Lavender & Sweet Orange one.

Grapefruit Facial Exfoliator an uplifting grapefruit scented exfoliator which featured as top facial scrub in Natural Health magazine. Fine cornstarch removes dead skin cells leaving the skin radiant and renewed.  It also contains Castor Oil which draws out dirt, Sweet Almond Oil to soften and smooth and Grapefruit Essential Oil which helps to ease stress and anxiety. Massage over the face before removing with a warmed damp muslin cloth.

Remember you can get a very generous 25% off with code BB25.

Have you used any TEWC products before?

See the website here
Follow on Twitter @TEWC1

*PR sample

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Bee Good Honey, Borage & Echium Intensive Hand Repair 50ml

I was recently sent Bee Good Honey, Borage & Echium Intensive Hand Repair* (50ml - £12) to try and review.  Bee Good was founded by husband and wife team in 2008, with Simon being an experienced beekeeper and Caroline keen to make natural skincare.

Finest ingredients are used - bee ingredients (some sourced from fellow British beekeepers), plant oils and natural active botanicals sourced in Britain. There are no synthetic colours, mineral oil, silicones, SLS, SLES and parabens used and no animal testing.  The products are BUAV certified.

Bee Good donate a share of profits to beekeeping causes and apprenticeship and education of young beekeepers.  Each purchase helps to protect British bees.  A nice touch I think is the label which contains wildflower seeds to plant in your garden which will grow and be a source of nectar for the honeybees in your garden.

The hand cream is really rich, intensive and nurturing so it is great for dry hands (feet, elbows, knees too!).  It contains moisturising British Wild flower honey, Echium oil to replenish the skin, Cocoa & Shea Butter to deeply moisturise, antioxidant Vitamin E, strengthening Borage and Antibacterial British Propolis.  It has a light slightly herbal floral scent which I love! To use: massage into the skin as often as needed for beautifully soft and moisturised hands.

I am super excited to be able to try Honey & Wild Mint 3-in-1 Cleansing Water 100ml (worth £10) when my BBB Beauty Box III (£19.95 for 15 items with free P&P) arrives!

See the website here
Follow on Twitter @BeeGood_UK

*PR sample

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Souk Souk May Beauty Box

My Souk Souk Beauty Box arrived yesterday afternoon.  It includes some brands I've never heard of before.

Mistral Verbena Petit French Soap (50g - £3.50) - a shea butter soap which smells gorgeous! It contains mint, lime, marjoram and jasmine and is a perfect size for travel. 

Mistral Verbena Extra Rich Body Lotion (60ml - £4.75) - this body lotion is deeply moisutrising and has the same scent as the soap. Looking forward to trying this out.

SpaRitual Handprint Hand Serum (7.4ml - £2) - I'm a fan of hand care products so looking forward to trying this out. It has a nice fresh and fruity scent.

Essential Care Organic Avocado Replenishing Cream (15ml - £7.50) - a day and night cream made with cold pressed avocado, olive oil, shea butter and nettle to moisturise and restore.  This is suitable for dry skin.

SpaRitual Nail Lacquer (15ml - £9.75) (Eye of the Beholder) - certified Vegan and free-from.  This is a vibrant green shade. I'm not a polish fan so I'll pass this on. 

A great value box considering a subscription is £10 plus P&P each month.  Did you get this box? What are your thoughts on the contents?

Monday, 19 May 2014

Weekend Away: North Berwick

I'm just back from two night's away at the Macdonald Marine Hotel in North Berwick with hubby and my mum and dad. We had a really nice stay - had lovely beach walks, hit the boutique shops in North Berwick and ate great food.

North Berwick is a seaside town approximately 25 miles from Edinburgh. We regularly come here for day trips and normally stop for lunch at The Lobster Shack.

Our rooms were way up on the top floor with wonderful sea views (my dad loved watching the golfers on the course between the hotel and the sea).

And in the bathroom nice Arran Aromatics toiletries.

We ate some lovely meals including goats cheese with ratatouille, market fish which that day was plaice and vanilla pannacotta with pineapple and mango. The food was really delicious and the staff friendly and welcoming with the service being excellent.

We also ventured to Gullane and visited Falko for coffee and cake - raspberry gateau for me with a mocha.  Yummy. There is also a Falko in Bruntsfield. See more details here.

I bought some Root candles which smell amazing and have a wooden wick (Westgate Galleries) and outerhebrides soap (Old Smiddy in Gullane).

Here's the beauty products I took with me..

and the make up..

Had a really nice trip and can't wait to go back!  Have you been on a short break recently?