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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.

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 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?

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