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27/12/13: Green Beauty Characters Tag!


The tag was created by the beautfiul Sonja from lifeinblush.com and I was tagged by  the lovely Leanne from Lass and Lipstick and the fabulous Liz from Smells Like Green Spirit (awesome blog name).

1. On my nightstand you’ll find...  I don't have a nightstand, but I always have some kind of lip balm near my at night-time - quite often tucked up by my pillow.  Currently I'm using bodhi Cacao Cocoon and Yaoh Blueberry balm.  Sometimes this is a dangerous habit, as the other day I woke up, reached for the Cacao and had slept on it all night... cue warm lip balm, sleepy opening, orange bedsheets - gah!  Thankfully I only lost a little and it's reformed now.  Should probably invest in a nightstand.

2. The literary character I’m most like?  According to this quiz, I'm Hermione Granger.  I loved these books growing up, so I'm happy with that!

3. I’m currently obsessed with:  The Foreo Luna.  So obsessed that I think I've mentioned it three times already this week and bored the pants off anyone who will listen to me talk about it.  

4. My favourite superhero is: She-Ra.  By the power of Greyskull!!  Plus, I loved Catra and Clawdeen - who doesn't want a pink lion? 

5. Favourite beauty product of 2013:  Oh wow, tough question... I've enjoyed a lot of different products this year, and I think my favourite is always going to be the simple lip balm - today this is Bare English Mint Chocolate.

6. If I could have dinner with anyone dead or alive it would be:  Freddie Mercury (love Queen, wish I'd been around to see them in concert), Margaret Thatcher (as was - regardless of what I think of her politics, she was undeniably a character I'd be interested to have a conversation with), Mindy Kaling (started as the only woman in a staff of eight writers on The Office and ended up Exec Producer and star - now has her own brilliant show - amazing), Sarah Millican (because she's fab) and Miranda Hart (ditto).

7. Winter is coming – how do you prep your skin for battle? Honestly, I have such a time trying to prep my skin any time of year!  I try to make sure that I'm keeping up my water intake with all the extra indoor heating and outdoor chills.

8. My perfect date night makeup consists of: The same as most have said: light foundation, balmed lips with a hint of a tint and good mascara.

9. My go-to skin-beautifying snack/drink is: Water.  I keep meaning to try the whole hot lemon in the morning too - someone remind me?

10. My tv boyfriend is: Using Liz's edit - "TV boyfriends - polygamous when it comes to TV"... Nick Miller (New Girl), Harvey Specter/Mike Ross (Suits), Aidan Matthas (Revenge), Danny Castellano (The Mindy Project) and Detective Lupo/Billy Chenowith/George Altman (L&O/Six Feet Under/Suburgatory's Jeremy Sisto).

11. If my evening clutch could only hold one beauty item it would be: Lip balm - my lips get sooo dry.  
12. One beauty tip I would pass on to my real/fictional daughter is:  Don't worry.  People really don't care - just be yourself.

13. The most nostalgic item from my childhood is:  My teddy, who stills sits on my bed.

14. My favourite tv show of the moment is: It's just finished, but Borgen.  Looking forward to Bron/Broen/The Bridge starting again next year now plus a couple of extras that BBC4 has picked up.

15. My favourite quote is: "A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step".

I tag: anyone else who would like to do it!

Here are the House rules:
- Be sure to tag other bloggers
- Title your article : Green Beauty Characters Tag!
- Mention the tag started at lifeinblush.com


22/12/13: December Empties!

1.  Pai Rose and Camellia Cleanser (GWP RRP £14.00 50ml travel size)
When I bought my rosehip oil a few months back, Pai were offering this 50ml pot of cleanser as a gift with purchases over £20.  I was excited to try this out as I had heard a lot of good things and had liked the samples that I had tried of their moisturiser line.  I really liked the product, so much so that I was kinda upset to find out that the packaging is so efficient that if you crack it open in the hope of cadging a last little drop out, you will be disappointed...!  It's a cream cleanser, and I found that I never needed more than half to one pump to cleanse my face.  It's gentle around the eyes and didn't give me any adverse facial reactions.  Something I like about this is that I could use it with minimal fingertip to face contact.  
Repurchase?  Quite possibly.

2.  ila Rose Hydrolat (Prize) (RRP £37.00 200ml)

16/12/13: Blog Love

In the absence of a blog roll (it's on my to-do list!), I thought that I'd share a few of the blogs and particular posts that I'm especially enjoying at the moment.  I always like to see what other people are reading, and hope that you enjoy checking out some of the below:

I tried these last week, and set a-googling them when I got home.  Jess (Spoilt Face) is one of the co-owners of Samsara and as well as offering it to us at their blogger Christmas party also reviewed this powder at the beginning of the year.  I'm fascinated by the concept, and enjoyed reading her thoughts on it.  Jess has a back catalogue that I'm also enjoying reading through.

14/12/13: Samsara Beauty Bloggers Christmas Party!



So, it's taken me a while to write about it, but last weekend I made my first solo trip up to Birmingham to a Christmas party being hosted by the lovely Andy (Pampered Prince) and Jess (Spoilt Face) at Samsara Skin clinic.  It was also the first blogger meet up of any kind that I've attended, so it's fair to say that  I was more than a little apprehensive...but I needn't have worried, it was a brilliant day!

On arrival at the Lakeside Gallery we were greeted with a drink of Collagen Shot with raspberries. I was a bit bamboozled when it was offered, but readily gave it a go and found it was very tasty!  Apparently it helps to plump the skin from the inside out.  I don't know if it was mixed with anything else, but I'm definitely intrigued by the concept and might invest in a pack to try for myself.   The gallery had been split into two halves to make the setting more intimate, and had been decked out in Christmas-sy decorations, metallic writing and customised furniture.

05/12/13: The Vegan Kind II



Last month I posted about The Vegan Kind, a new subscription box for vegans that was just in the final stages of launching their first box.  Roll on today and their second box is landing on doorsteps around the country, including mine.  I received my TVK2* today and wanted to share with you my first thoughts of what's inside.  Click through to find out!

30/11/13: Just a little Winterlust



I haven't done a wishlist in quite some time, but here are a few of the things that I'm dithering and lusting over at the moment!

I've read really good things about this, but I'm dithering as the spots I had are now raw red patches that are hopefully healing.  From the colour, it reminds me very much of calamine lotion, and looking at the ingredients I'm thinking it is similar.  I'm happy with the roll-on I've been using, but I will definitely be keeping this little pot in mind if I get any big breakouts again in the future.

The White chocolate scent of this is just amazing.  I recently received a little sample of it from Tania and have been using it liberally at work since.  A gorgeous mix of bourbon vanilla and cocoa I'm not looking forward to running out of it!

27/11/13: Interview (& giveaway!) - Heartwood Candle Co.


Hello, Laura and Dominique! Thank you for agreeing to answer some questions. 

So, for anyone that isn’t familiar with soy candles, what makes them different to regular candles?  And do they come from the same beans that make the milk I use in my cereal?
Yes they do! Soy wax is a vegetable wax made from the oil of soy bean. The main advantage of soy is that it's renewable & sustainable; making it an eco-friendly wax choice. The benefit is that it's clean burning. By that we mean that when you burn a soy candle you won't be inhaling any toxins; therefore better for both your health and the environment.

The Heartwood Candle Company is such a great name, was it always the frontrunner?
You know coming up with a name was so hard; practically every name we thought of was taken! Then one day, on one of our regular power walks in our nearby Heartwood Forest, we had a moment of enlightenment, and Heartwood Candle Company was born.

25/11/13: Forget Daddy or Chips, it's Black Cherry vs Cinnamon




One of the first posts that I ever published here was on Hurraw!'s Black Cherry Tinted Lip balm, and I mentioned at the time that I was considering buying their other tinted balm, Cinnamon.  Well, finally I have both in my hands!  So, as I couldn't find a post comparing the two when I was working out which to try first, I thought I'd share a few swatches to help anyone else with the same question.

20/11/13: Rooted Beauty New Releases

A little while back, I did a post about a company called Rooted Beauty.  I was so impressed by their company and how they put money from each of their purchases towards helping women across the world that I bought a lip balm trio to try out.  At the time, they were just starting to expand their line and had launched their Raspberry Citrus Facial wipes - which sound like they smell great and are bio-degradeable to boot (although I know quite a few people avoid wipes on their face where possible).

But if you are a no-wiper, you can still get in on the brand spanking new product excitement, as Rooted Beauty are just on the cusp of releasing two new items in their online shop:  Mango Passion Facial Cleanser and Mango Passion Facial Moisturiser.

mangopassioncleanser
[Photo credit:  www.rooted-beauty.com]

17/11/13: Eden Be Natural Part II

Several months ago, I reviewed a few items from the lovely skincare brand Eden Be Natural and promised to do part II soon after.  Well, it's a little later than planned, but as I'm coming to the end of some of them now I thought it would be a good time to post.

Eden Be Natural Grapefruit Cleanser 100ml* RRP £13.95
Although I had already tried out the oil cleansing method, before receiving this I had no experience of a pre-blended oil cleanser.  This one is for normal skin and contains a heady mix of Grapefruit, Rose water and Frankincense water.   

#greenbbloggermeetup

So, a little bit earlier on twitter I got to thinking about the fact that there are a whole load of green beauty bloggers around, and a load of meet ups going on, but so far I hadn't seen a specific green beauty blogger meet up.  

14/11/13: Jacava Nail Polish



"Eight-free??  What's eight-free?"  That was my first thought when I read about the line of nail polishes by Jacava London.  I've heard of three-free and even featured a couple of four/five-free polishes on this blog, but eight-free was something unknown to me.  

So what is it?  Jacava London claim to be free of -deep breath - DBP, Camphor, Formaldehyde, Toluene, Cellophane, Parabens, Phthalates and animal ingredients.  They're a relatively new brand, and before their introduction, I hadn't heard of them.  Described as luxury nail polishes, the colours are made in the UK with a design headquarters in (not surprisingly, given the name!) London.

I chose to review Jacava Nail Polish in City Heights*, described as a smoking hot taupe.   I was initially drawn to some of the amazing pinks they have, and an ocean green, but looking at my collection I decided a taupe was probably a more interesting addition.

09/11/13: Barefaced beauty

A few Souk Souk boxes ago I received a Barefaced Beauty eyeshadow in black.  The colour is great for eyelining, but it's not an everyday use kind of product.  Interested to be introduced to a new brand I went searching about on their website and happened to do so in the middle of a little sale.  

Barefaced Beauty do mineral foundations, shimmers, bronzers, lip colours and a whole range of eyeshadow colours - plus the brushes you'll need to apply them - all 100% natural, vegan and cruelty free.  So, I picked up two items, another eyeshadow in Rose Quartz and a bronzer in Fairy Princess.

04/11/13: The Heartwood Candle Company

I've never really been a candle person.  I appreciate a pleasant waft of incense from time to time, and I like the flickering flames in the autumn and winter darkness, but I've never gone out and bought a candle specifically just for me to enjoy.  And now I think I've been missing out.  The Heartwood Candle Co. are a relatively new business selling natural soy candles, fragranced with gorgeous essential oils.  I was lucky enough to win this outdoor duo earlier on in the year via a twitter competition and have been using them ever since.  

02/11/13: TVK - a new subscription service

Recently browsing through various google pages and twitter feeds I came across a new monthly subscription box called The Vegan Kind.  It immediately caught my interest as vegan skincare was the first step I took in changing up my beauty routine.


[Image of TVK sample box is one used on the Vegan Kind w/site, the letters and writing are not]

The Vegan Kind will be delivered to your door for £10 a month (+2.95 P&P) and promises to have five to eight items inside.  Rather than a purely skincare and beauty subscription, this service is a lifestyle package and reminds me of some of the vegan American boxes I've drooled over in the past (ie Vegan Presence, Vegan Beauty Cuts...).

31/10/13: The I Love Fall/Autumn Tag

I was tagged to do this by the lovely Tania from Bow Tied Beauty.



Favourite Fall lip product?
At the moment I'm switching between Rooted Beauty in Razz Lime (I keep it on my desk at work) and Bare English in Vanilla Coconut (keep it in my bag).

Favourite Fall Nail Polish?

28/10/13: Zoya swatches - Drew, Neely and Erika

After admiring various Zoya polishes from afar, I finally decided to treat myself to a few during the Lucy Rose sale that was on a little while ago.  Although I dithered over which colours to choose, I settled on Neely, Drew and Erika.  


Zoya is a polish brand that is free from formaldehyde, toulene, dibutyl phthalate and camphor.  It's not as free-from as the water based polishes out there but it's still pretty good, and the selection of colours is amazing.  

25/10/13: Canadian goodies!

A few weeks ago, I received a box.  Not just any box, but an unexpected box - all the way from Canada!  Caitie from Naturalla Beauty had very kindly sent me a couple of bits and pieces to try out after I sent her a few more UNE eye pencils [Caitie's review/my review].  It was such a lovely surprise and I can see why bloggers get so excited about beauty swaps - it was so fun to unbox, and she had included a sweet note too.  I was grinning like a mad thing!


Green Beaver
I had never heard of any of these brands before, but I love the look of these little samples.  There is a Green Tea facial cream, Grapefruit facial cleanser and Boreal Body lotion (with Labrador Tea in). Of the three, I've so far tried the body lotion and it is gorgeous.  I have a soft spot for anything with Cinnamon in and this has cinnamon bark oil in - smells amazing.  I don't know what Labrador tea is - clearly it's relating to the area and not the dog, but I've never seen it in a product before.  Apparently it's more of a herb you can use to make a tea than a true tea, but whatever it is, it smells great.

22/10/13: Vegan Faces Sample Pack (Lips)

Vegan Faces was set up a few years ago when the founder Metala became aware of eczema sufferers (particularly children) having to forgo the enjoyment of having their face painted because of the risk of irritation. After searching around for something suitable and not suceeding, she decided to set up her own business making paints that could be used on children and adults alike with a reduced risk.  With the success of the no-beeswax no-lanolin paints, in 2012 Vegan Faces expanded into a cosmetic line - and this line is currently rolling out a new selection of lipsticks and eyeshadows.

I saw a sample pack of the new shades being offered on their facebook page, and as I had been eyeing up the brand for a while, jumped on the opportunity.  The sample pack I received contains all 9 new shades of lip colour and all 16 - yes, SIXTEEN! new eyeshadows for just £13.  Bargain + samples = happy me.  So, as there are so many, these are the lip colours to start with:


Within the nine shades it seems to me that there are three pink leaning colours, three red leaning and three brown/orange leaning.  I organised them like this when I first got them, but they don't display them in the same order on the website. 

Top row: Purple Pansy, Orchid, Pink Rose
These three are my favourites of the nine:  Purple Pansy is a strong purple that can be built up from a relatively sheer colour/stain to a deep lip colour.  I like this colour but on me its a bit too strong, especially for everyday wear - this would be great for a night out.  Orchid is such a pretty colour, a muted pink nude colour that I would feel comfortable wearing in public.  Pink Rose was initially my favourite, but as it gets colder and darker, it seems like more of a summery light colour.  I do still like it, but will probably save it for when sunnier days come around.

19/10/13: My worst skincare habits

Flip-flopping
One of the reasons that I started my eco-green journey was that I wanted to see if I could clear up my skin.  I've always suffered from spots, varying from a spot here and there to break-outs that made me wish I owned a balaclava.  So, when I started trying to go green I had this idea that I would suddenly have beautiful skin free from all the nasty bits and pieces that were in the conventional skincare items I was using.  Of course, I forgot that for the last ten years I've been using basically the same cleanser, toner and moisturiser on my face and launched into trying all these new wonderful products with all these different ingredients.

17/10/13: Rooted Beauty Lip Balms

Rooted Beauty is an amazing company selling lip balms that are not only in bio-degradable packaging, but  support women around the world in getting the education, supplies and counseling that they need.  There are three main flavours, and at only $4.99 (£3.09) each I decided that with shipping I might as well order all three!  

Each balm came with its own backing card explaining a little about the Woman2Woman project and a QR code that you can scan to read more about the women that your purchase is supporting.  Many of the women supported have abusive backgrounds, ranging from sex trafficking, suicide attempts, prostitution or domestic violence. Each balm is linked to a specific woman and when the goal is reached, the balm is re-linked to a new woman so that there is on-going support.  

Although the first element that drew me to these butters was their programme of supporting women, following straight behind was the eco-angle.  Each butter when finished can be popped into the compost to degrade as the tube is made out of 100% paper.  I've lost track of how many empty lip balm containers I've chucked out in the past and although now recycling is now more accessible, what could be easier than shoving this in your compost bin - and they even dedicate a page to creating the perfect compost for your tube.  

Due to the cold weather, the balms have been quite hard, so when opening them I have crushed the cap slightly, but so far it has easily re-formed and slotted back on.  I am slightly concerned that being paper they might get a bit mucky before I finish up the tube, but so far they are holding strong and I think the fact that they can be composted means I'm a bit more forgiving with little nicks.

The three flavours are Passionfruit, Razz Lime and Orange Vanilla.  They are all clear balms with the same packaging but there is a difference in ingredients between them with the Passionfruit butters main ingredient being Beeswax rather than the Shea in the other two.  This is slightly noticeable as it feels heavier on the lips, and I like to use it at bed time for a thicker barrier while I sleep.  

Passionfruit: I wouldn't identify this balm as Passionfruit, I can't quite place what it does smell like but I think I would call it Sherbert.  It's very nice :).
Cera Alba (Beeswax), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower Oil), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Theobroma Cocoa (Cocoa Butter), Natural Passionfruit Flavor, Tocopherol (Vitamin E).

Orange vanilla: Subtle sweet tangy smell, very pleasant.
Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea Butter), Cera Alba (Beeswax), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Butter, Honey, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Oil, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Oil.

Razz Lime:  I can smell more of the lemon than the lime, but enjoy the zing regardless!
Butyrosperum Parkii Butter (Shea Butter), Cera Alba (Beeswax), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Butter, Honey, Natural Flavor, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil.

Good for me? 
Very happy with my purchase.  For the three plus shipping it cost $23.76 (~£14.00) which makes each balm about £4.90.  They're also extending their line, starting with face wipes in Raspberry Citrus.  I also really like the name - Rooted Beauty makes me think of both the eco and human root in every product.  Finally, I contacted the company a while back when I was interested in purchasing balms and couldn't seem to select international delivery - and they were very kind and helpful - always a good sign!  

Good for you?
Simple ingredients, lovely scents and a great cause - you can now also get all three for just $12.99 plus shipping ($21.78 ~ £4.49 per balm).  Check out www.rooted-beauty.com to read more about each women currently being supported and to see more about this lovely company.   

Which scent would you go for?


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13/09/13: Bathed and buffed

I have a few little bits and pieces that I'm using all-over at the moment, and rather than bore you with a post on each, I decided to lump them in together and give you one (hopefully awesome!) post about all the things I've been using recently to wash, buff and smooth on a regular basis.



I am a huge fan of Thai curries, I love the tofu, the awesome flat noodles, the sauce, the herbs, spices... so this lemongrass body wash is a huge winner for me.  I think this is the full sized version, but I'm not sure as it only refers to Lemongrass on the packing.  I am loving using it.  It's got the zing and punch of the old original source products I used to use and has also gone pretty far as I've used it in more than three baths and still have some left.  I'm eek-ing it out!

So, I couldn't resist this dinky pot from Balm Balm when it was on offer at LIB.  I know I could probably just chuck some Geranium in and get a similar fragrance, but that wouldn't feel quite as luxurious as using a special little pink bottle to spread a few drops of scented oil loveliness into my bath.  Although I like it, I don't know that I will buy the full size when this one runs out, so I'm using it sparingly.  It's crammed with different flower oils and comes in a couple of other scents.

03/09/13: Getting to know Souk - Interview with Victoria Wright!

I am beyond excited to share this interview with everyone.  We've had the wonderful Lindsey and the fab Suzanne and today we're rounding out the trio with a Q and A with the founder of the little green beauty box aka SoukSouk, Victoria.


Hello!  Firstly, the interesting name – what made you decide to call your beauty box SoukSouk?
I visited Morocco a few years ago and ended up spending most of my time there exploring the Souks. They are covered markets selling spices, clothing, lanterns and jewels. I liked the connotations of discovery, excitement, indulgence and the exotic.

That sounds fantastic; is that when did you decided to set up a beauty box scheme?
It was a couple of years ago, when I first came across mainstream beauty boxes. I thought the concept of receiving a regular box of beauty treats was utterly fantastic. However I personally wasn’t comfortable with the contents of those boxes. The majority of products within them would have involved animal testing at some point, or would have been owned by corporate giants that sell into China where animal testing is mandatory in many instances (so therefore I wouldn’t want to try products associated them.) I was also uncomfortable with the level of synthetic ingredients in a lot of the products.

02/09/13: Fresh Therapies Eden Nail Polish Remover vs Chanel & Mavala


Today I wanted to share with you a little video I made about the natural nail polish remover by Fresh Therapies. I'm sure some of you will have already read about this product, and I'm thankful to those that have reviewed it previously as I never would have come across it otherwise. But rather than writing a full review I thought that it might be useful to see it in action, showing that it really is rather good - so click below to have a look and a listen!

28/08/13: Temptations - Mavala Rouge Rubis


So, as I haven't been able to bring myself to spend close to £14 on one water-based nail polish (sorry, they're so pretty but I just can't!) and I'm seriously missing having painted nails, when I saw this Mavala polish on sale for just £2.00 on Latest in Beauty, I couldn't resist.

26/08/13: Little bit of an UNE splurge...!


After Caitie at Naturalla Beauty mentioned there was a huge sale on UNE cosmetics at the moment, as a brand I've never tried before I couldn't help picking up a few bits and pieces - and I thought I'd share some swatches for anyone else interested in taking advantage of the sale.  

21/08/13: Interview - Akamuti's Lindsey!

You might have heard of this company, a lovely lot called Akamuti.  I've only mentioned them, well, quite a few times!  A little bit in love with their website and quite a lot in love with the butters and oils they have on offer.  So, really happy to be able to share with you this interview with the creator and founder, Lindsey.

Even before I bought their products, Lindsey was happy to converse via email to help me decide what products might work for my skin - and when someone takes the time to do that, I can't help but be impressed.  I really enjoyed getting to know more about the brand and a bit more about Lindsey herself.  I hope that you do too!  


Hi Lindsey!  Akamuti is such an interesting name for a brand, how did you come up with it?  (And, importantly, am I saying it right - ak-a-moot-ee?) 
Yes, that’s right! I wanted to pick a name that reflected our connection to Africa and our passion for plants and healing. A lot of our ingredients come from Africa and my mum was born there too. Akamuti is an African word (Bemba language) from Zambia. It has two meanings, ‘Little tree’ or ‘A little bit of medicine’, where tree and medicine are synonymous. In African cultures, trees are revered as sources of healing. We really feel this evokes our philosophy and ideals. We’re very passionate about healing, trees and herbs so it describes us perfectly! 

Excellent, glad to hear I've been pronouncing it correctly!  I read that you started the brand over ten years ago, what inspired you to begin creating skincare? 

15/08/13: Summer SoukSouk Box - first impressions!

I love it when I come home for lunch and there's a parcel waiting. Today, that box had the lovely SoukSouk logo on it!  After wolfing down my sandwich, I quickly tore off the sellotape to see what was inside this month.  Firstly, you're greeted by the magazine and the list of items (I like to hide the list until I've had a look, so as not to spoil the fun of looking through the paper).


Gorgeous picture as always on the cover of the little green magazine.  But if you'd like to see what's hiding below, pictures and thoughts are after the jump!

10/08/13: August Beauty Bargain Round-Up!

Although I have been known to splash some cash, throw down some coins and break the bank with my beauty purchases, I still love a good bargain.  At the moment, there are quite a few little gems that I've come across and as I can't indulge myself in all of them I thought that I would share what I've found with you.  Maybe there will be something to take your fancy!

[Photo credit:  www.lushduck.co.uk]

I only recently came across this site, so it's a shame that it's already leaving me!  However, this does mean that there are quite a few bargains to be had.  Quite a lot of the stock seems to have gone already, but there are still a few bits and pieces.  Plus, there's free delivery when you spend over £20.00

Pai Chamomile and Rosehip Organic Moisturiser RRP £24.00 - Lush Duck £16.80

08/08/13: Beautiful Benecos - Mascara and Lipstick

Benecos has been on and off my radar for a while, but I finally took the plunge recently when searching for a new mascara.  Honestly, I primarily chose this because the packaging is so cute.  I love the slim tube and feather detail.  And when I picked it up, I was attracted to the lipsticks they have - some really lovely nudes - and so ordered a pink honey shade.

02/08/13: Essential Bodycare!



Like most people, deodorant is something that I will use day in and day out even if I'm hanging around the house in sweatpants with a face like Gollum.  So it is probably the most important item that was on my excellently titled "Products-to replace-with-more-natural-ones-but-only-if-they're-actually-any-good" list.  I started off with the Salt of the Earth Crystal spray and used up the travel bottle I had, but wasn't overly impressed with its efficacy.  So, I moved on to the Incognito crystal stick which has citronella in it - and as I'm fairly cheese like (stinky if left in the heat) I thought this might be a good direction to head in.  However, to apply it, you need wet armpits, which is more time consuming to set up than one might think, and I couldn't actually ever smell the scent. 

31/07/13: The Konjac Sponge

The Konjac sponge is a nifty little cleansing sponge made of a kind of potato - it's been popular in Asia both for cleansing and as a weight loss aid for quite a while, but the hype only hit these shores relatively recently.   I can't actually remember where I first came across this, but after seeing videos of it in action and hearing that it's a gentle way of exfoliating and cleaning your face, I was interested to see if it worked for me.

Although it's hard and hollow sounding when dry it has a completely different texture when it's wet - like a very soft sponge.  

28/07/13: Interview - Suzanne Speed (Eden Be Natural)

Hi everyone! I reviewed some products by Eden Be Natural recently, and was really impressed with the quality and thought that had gone into each product. So when I contacted them and they agreed to answer a few questions for me to share with you, I was pretty excited for the opportunity to hear more about the brand and the work that went into it from the person who started it all, Suzanne Speed. I hope you enjoy reading her answers as much as I did. 

Hi Suzanne!  For anyone who hasn't heard of Eden Be Natural - please tell us a bit about you and your range.
Hello! Many thanks for the opportunity to tell you a little more about who we are and what we do. We are a family run business based in Lincolnshire and we have been producing our current range of skincare since 2010.

Before this time, I made soap and skincare for myself, family and friends for many years. I actually started making soap for my daughter Eden, who really did not want to use palm oil in her products due to the devastation it’s production caused to the rain forest and its Orang-utan population. Upon using the soaps regularly, I noticed her skin had cleared of eczema, and it was at this point I learnt how to make other products and the adult acne that had plagued me for years also started to clear up. It was the realisation that perhaps what was in my conventional skincare products was actually contributing to mine and my families skin problems.

So the brand has evolved into what it is today, pure, organic, natural, vegan, palm oil free, affordable skincare, beautifully designed and packaged. We think we have designed a brand which is totally effective and luxurious and a real treat to use. It’s rather pretty to look at too!

So what made you want to take the leap from making your own skincare to producing it for others?
As interest in what we were doing grew, I became increasingly aware of how many people had not made the connection between what they were putting on their skin and the skin problems they were experiencing. I really wanted to share what I had learnt and the experiences I had had with others. It is our mission here to spread the word that natural skincare is just as effective, (if not more so!) and as easy to use and attainable as mainstream products.

What was the first product you came up with?
I started out with soaps and the first soap I created was the Minty Heaven Bar, this soon became one of our most popular bars and remains a best seller today.

21/07/13: Mint Foot Balms

In this hot weather, my feet are suffering.  Although I have finally invested in some good open sandals, the last week or so has been nasty - sweaty, stinky and super-hot toes!  And during this time, I've been turning to two particular items in my growing collection of goodies to soothe and treat my feet after the day is over.

16/07/13: Riddle me this, Batman (aka The Skincare Maze)

When you're trying to move away from conventional brands, there are suddenly a lot more categories, certifications and ethics being promoted and it can get a bit confusing.   Here are a few of the terms you might come across.


Green
A wide-ranging term that is used a lot - for me, green should mean that the product and brand is eco-conscious, but I think different people have different concepts for the word so it's not something I rely on when purchasing.

15/07/13: July SoukSouk Box First Impressions



See after the jump to find out what's inside!

12/07/13: Eden Be Natural (Part I)

Eden Be Natural is a relatively new brand offering high quality organic and natural skincare. The line was started in 2010 to cater for problem skin, using natural ingredients.  I came across them on Twitter and was excited when Suzanne offered me the chance to test out a few samples.  A week or so later, I had the tell-tale Royal Mail "You were out" slip on the mat when I arrived home and soon I was in possession of a little parcel.

[The minty heaven soap is actually the same size as the other, I stupidly sliced some 
off to try before I got around to photographing them!]

I was pretty blown away by the selection that was included - all carefully boxed up with recycled paper and a few dried rosebuds sprinkled throughout.  Also included was a leaflet about the brand and a personal letter.  It was lovely to unbox and you could see thought had gone into it.

Overall, there were six products in the parcel, which I've split into two posts.  The first is the body stuff!

09/07/13: Dr Hauschka vs Madara

A little while ago, after I'd tested out the sample pots that Dr Hauschka kindly sent to me, I decided that I would order the full size.  I didn't want to go trying out tonnes of samples and I was almost out of the mineral foundation that I had been using and the 00 shade had served me well.

However, when I went to order it, I was able to pick up a small sample of the Madara Moonflower Rose Beige which has also been on my radar for a while.  



Now that I have them both here to test, I thought I would share a few comparison swatches.

08/07/13: Barefaced Beauty



This Barefaced Beauty eyeshadow in Graphite came in my SoukSouk box this month.  Initially I wasn't sure about it, as it's very dark and I would have preferred a lighter shade, but after trying it with my new brushes, I'm really impressed with the quality of colour and how it can be used as an eyeliner.

07/07/13: The Skincare Tag

This tag was started by Kat at Tales of a Pale Face, and I saw Sarah of Sugarpuffish do it recently - in her post she did a universal "you're it", so here's mine! :)


06/07/13: The Holistic Detox Pledge

The Holistic detox pledge is something I came across when browsing through some of my favourite websites the other day.  Run by Dana, Live Green Beauty is a blog about beauty (of course!) and skincare but also about generally applying the same sort of natural and good for you stuff throughout our life.  For instance in our food and our mind.  Dana came up with the idea of the Holistic Detox pledge when trying to think what category best described her blog - I think she chose well! :)  



05/07/13: Mary Jean Lavender Body Butter

Last week I signed in to Twitter on my phone while waiting for someone and I managed to re-tweet to win a Lavender Body Butter* by the lovely Mary Jean.   Based in Scotland, the range includes Body Butters, Soaps, Face Masks and Bath Bombs.  It was a fab surprise to win, and I was pretty excited when a box arrived a couple of days ago.   Inside I found this sweet pot.


Ingredients are simple (only in INCI on the packaging - but in plain English on the website):
Shea butter*, Macadamia nut*, Cocoa butter*, Beeswax*, Vit E and Lavender Essential Oil.


Initially I wasn't sure about having a Lavender scented product as it's a fairly standard smell, but I've actually been pleasantly surprised.  It's a treat to massage it in to the skin in the evening after work and let the scent relax me.  Texture wise, it's a silky balm that melts into the skin - although I love my Extra Virgin Shea butter I sometimes find it can be quite sticky after application - this one melts in completely and the only residue sinks in quickly.

Good for me?  
Calming relaxing scent and a smooth application. When I first looked at the ingredient list on the pot, it didn't show what was Organic so I assumed that the product wasn't, but I just checked out the website and the list there shows that the items above marked with * are in fact Organic.  Although I received this as a gift, I would happily repurchase. 

The only negative is that the label isn't shiny (not sure of the proper terminology) and so if you pick it up with oily fingers it will stain.  But for the price and the lovely butter inside, what's on the outside of the product isn't particularly important.

Good for you?
With a price of just £7.99 you won't need to live on beans to afford it and if you're already a fan of lavender it'll be right up your street.  To see more, visit www.maryjean.co.uk or find them on Twitter @maryjeanuk

Have you tried Mary Jean products before?  



01/07/13: June Empties!

I'm quite slow to accumulate empties - plus I quite often forget about saving the wrappers!  But here's a short round up of some of the products that I've finished up over the last month or so.


1.  Aspalls Cyder Vinegar - £1.55
For a while I tried out Baking Soda and Cyder Vinegar for hair washing, and this was my ACV of choice.  Some people don't like the smell, but I like it enough to leave it in as a rinse. I haven't stuck with the BS and ACV washing but I do like apple cyder as a rinse every so often as it leaves my hair feeling soft and sleek.  At under two pounds, I'll probably be repurchasing.  

2.  Salt of the earth - travel spray - £1.99
This was one of my initial purchases when I was trying to replace items that I use come rain or shine - I quite liked it, but when it ran out I replaced it with a crystal stick - unfortunately I don't think the stick is quite up to  tackling my sweat... plus you have to wet it before application.  It just eats into my morning routine.  So, I'm thinking about replacing the stick with the full size spray.  It works using mineral salts to neutralise the bacteria in sweat that creates a bit of a stink.  I am going to repurchase this.

3.  Urtekram Rose Shampoo - £4.95
I love the Rose scent of this.  It doesn't go too far as it has no foaming sulfates, but I enjoy using it.  I've found that if you make sure your hair is really really soaking, it lathers better.  I should probably branch out, but I'm not sure what other brands to go for.  I have quite a dry scalp so anything moisturising would be great.  But for the moment, I love the smell and the price.  

4.  Moa the Green Balm - sample pot 3ml
I was so happy to see this in my June SoukSouk box - it's been on my list of want-to-try for a while.  I've already used up this little pot and gone on to buy the large version.  I'm in love with the healing properties it has - it has been really good at soothing spots and inflamed areas on my face.  I can see this being a huge part of my daily routine for a while yet.  One thing I do wish is that you could buy the bamboo cloths they make for their sets, separately as I like the look of them.

5.  Oskia Eye Serum - full size 15ml £58.00 - estimated sample retail £7.70
I've had this sample for a while, and in all honesty, I haven't actually finished this sachet.  I used it a few times but forgot to keep on with it.  The times that I did use it, it felt like it tightened the eye area -  but there wasn't anything amazing about it that meant I wanted to keep applying it.  I have problems with dark circles but didn't feel that this would be the best way to tackle them.  I gave the other sachet I had of it to a friend, and although they liked it, I don't know that they would repurchase.  

Is there anything here that you would buy or have already bought?



30/06/13: Give and Makeup #2 - a little help

As you may remember, as short while ago I did a post about Give and Make-up, an organisation that distributes contributions to refuges for women (and often their children) who have been subject to domestic violence.  So, I went back to their site today to grab one of their buttons and came across a post asking for help.  

They are struggling with space requirements and looking for more in order to carry on helping to co-ordinate and provide some of the essentials that the women in these shelters need.  So, if you know of someone, or think you know of someone that might know someone, please share this post or share their link.  Hopefully they'll find somewhere and be able to keep going.  Fingers crossed.


Thank you! 


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