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27/12/14: The Winter Essentials Tag

Sarah from Sugarpuffish tagged me to do this in a recent video - and as it is FREEZING and I'm definitely indulging in about four of the five items below today, I thought it would be a good time to do this tag.

Five items that I love and use in Winter:

1.  Lip Balms!  The more the merrier.  Even though I only have one set of lips, I must have upwards of 20 to 30 lip balms in various pockets, drawers, glove-boxes and desks.  Bare English are my current faves, swiftly followed by the gorgeousness that is Hurraw!.  To be fair, I like lip balms all year round, but when its cold and dry outside, a good lashing of balm makes me feel a little more presentable in my numerous socks and scarves.

2.  Fleece Blankets/Fleecy Socks.  I have recently acquired a bright red full-on-polyester-super-flammable-but-ever-so-soft fleece blanket.  I think one of the seams has already undone, but it is so warm and cosy that I don't care!   And as its technically the same sort of thing...fleecy socks keep my paws warm during winter.  I have horrendously cold feet a lot of the time, but fleecy slipper socks from Marks and Spencers and cabin fleece socks from Seasalt are getting me through.

3.  Warm Baths.  When a fleece blanket isn't cutting the mustard, a warm bath is heavenly.  I've been using the Vital Touch Bath Soak that we received in the Green Beauty Meetup goody bag recently, and it's been great.  (Side note - not so fun when the water starts to cool and you realise you left your towel in another room.)

4.  Facial oils/Moisturiser.  My usually dry skin turns into proper scales during the winter, so good moisturisation and oiling is an even more essential element of my skincare routine than usual.  As always Desert Rose by Bodhi and Birch is included, but I will more often than usual then follow it up with a moisturiser like Antipodes Rejoice or Bodhi and Birch's Rosa Rosa.

5.  Herbal Tea.  Since a severe bout of gastritis earlier in the year, I've gone right off my usual tea with soya milk and have replaced it with various herbal concoctions.  I'm currently really enjoying a Jasmine Green Tea and drink one or two a day.  The warm mug and gentle scent is a lovely experience and warms me through when it's cold.  

I think quite a few people have already done this tag, but if you haven't already... I tag:

Hope you enjoyed reading - what's your all-time favourite Winter essential?
Let me know down below!

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14/12/14: Ten Minutes with... Elijah Choo

If you've read more than a few of my blog posts you'll probably have heard me mention Bodhi, now known as Bodhi & Birch.  They're an eco-luxury range created by the wonderful Mr Elijah Choo.  Since I first tried his Desert Rose Face Oil, kindly sent to me by Ana via a giveaway, I've been addicted to that sleek packaging and the amazing scents contained within.  So, when I was thinking of people that I wanted to include in this series, Elijah was a no-brainer!

[Photo credit Bodhi and Birch]
Last thing you do at night?
That depends on where I am. If at home, it would be a goodnight kiss for my Chocolate Labrador. Otherwise, it'll most likely involve forcing myself to put away my phone.

Top tip for being happy and healthy?
Take life easy. We get so caught up in modern life, juggle numerous activities and worrying about perfection in every aspect that we forget to take it easy. Don't get me wrong; always aim to be the best you can be and do your best, but make sure you allow yourself to unwind and de-stress after.

Brands/bloggers/people that inspire you?

12/12/14: Three ways to make a difference

Every year in the run up to Christmas, I get sucked in to all the gifts and the food and the wine (oh, the wine!), and the chocolate and the spending...and basically all the material craziness that consumes us all from time to time.

But when I strip away the crazy lust for the best deal or the newest flashing whatnot, the real pleasure often comes down to the process of thinking about someone, what they might like or use or enjoy, and making the effort to be able to give that to them. This year I want to take that process a bit further, so I've come up with three simple ways that I might achieve this (and that you might like to take part in too).

30/11/14: #slowstreetstyle

Reading through the blogosphere tonight, I came across this post by Amber, highlighting a collaboration between Consciously Sartorial and that encourages people to create a look using eco-friendly, sustainable, fairtrade clothing - or "slow" fashion pieces - to prove that shopping mindfully doesn't have to mean compromising on  looking good.

I aim to buy Fairtrade food and drink wherever I can and am more likely to purchase products that I can see are fairly traded - but quite often I don't seek out "slow" fashion and usually go for the easy high street options... so I enjoyed looking across the internet to find these pieces, and am actually pretty tempted by a few of these items... time to hide the bank card...!

If you want to take part to, all you have to do is create your own look by the 1 December and share it with the tag #slowstreetstyle.

There are two links for each item - to find out more about the brands credentials, click on their name, and to see the product in their store, click on the item name!

The only problem I had when sourcing these items was that I didn't know off-hand any local companies to include!  No issues with finding items that I liked, and I think I'm going to have a hard time keeping the Parka, Bag and Shoes out of my shopping basket.  My Converse have recently fallen completely apart after about ten years wear, the bag is just brilliant and the parka has some awesome pattern detailing that I think just makes it a bit less utility wear than your run of the mill long jacket.  

Read Consciously Sartorial's post here and sogoodsocute's here - or create your own!

Do you know of any good eco/ethical/fairtrade/sustainable brands local to you?


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26/11/14: Ten minutes with... Sarah from Sugarpuffish

Chances are that if you follow me, you will also have come across the brilliant Sarah from Sugarpuffish.  Sarah is one of the most well-known green gang, and I remember scouring her site several times before I started my own blog, looking for information on the natural products I was considering as replacements for my previous skincare routine. I now not only read her blog regularly, but have had the pleasure of meeting her twice - so she was an obvious candidate for this series... read on to find out more about her favourite products, books and where the Kardashians come into it all.

23/11/14: Everyday jewellery + wishlist

Although I'm always on the lookout for new jewellery, and spend forever drooling over various rings and necklaces online, I tend to wear a variation on the same set most days.

Ola Gorie Aikerness Necklet  This was a Christmas present last year, and I love it!  I originally thought it was by Kit Heath, but it turns out that the shop had sold it in a different box after moving and losing its original case.  I only found this out yesterday, but it explains why I could never find it on Kit Heath's website!  A bit naughty of them but I love that it's a little different and also looks a bit like this one that one worn by Mariska Hargitay, who I adore.  

Dyrberg Kern Lucinda Watch  I bought this for myself after falling in lust with the brown version a few years back.  Unfortunately after that one stopped working and I returned it, I could only find the black one for sale.  Sadly at the time I wasn't being conscious of my leather purchases, so the straps aren't ideal.  They are starting to wear, so as soon as they break I'll be replacing them with animal friendly ones. 

Celtic Ring   My dad bought this for me when I was about thirteen, and although I wore it a little bit when I was younger, I have rediscovered it in the last few years and regularly wear it on my middle finger or thumb and sometimes my index.  It was from Past Times, and as you might notice, follows the silver theme we've got going on.  

Cameo Ring  This was gifted to me by my grandmother.  It was given to her by her father when she was younger.  Despite the silver frontage it's actually got a gold loop to the back, making it a bit quirky which I like.  

And finally, on the left we have two silver rings that my brother actually made at school.  I tend to wear the top one more than the bottom one as it has a habit of sticking into my skin.  And on the right is one that I featured back in my March Favourites - a Kit Heath Pebble ring.

I'm currently obsessed with two Etsy shops called Purana Jewellery and Arken's Jewelry Box.  There are several items there that I would love to try, but I haven't yet taken the plunge as I'm a bit nervous about buying made-to-order rings when I'm not confident about what sizes I need/fingers I would want to wear them on!  They both have a tonne of sterling silver rings, Purana made in London and Arken in Los Angeles - so be sure to check them out if you're a silver fan like me.  (They do also do gold ones.) Here's a few that I'm dithering over at the moment.

Do you have any pieces that you wear day in day out? 
Or are you a sterling silver fiend and have any recommendations?
 Let me know! 

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19/11/14: Ilia Beauty Giveaway!

Ilia Beauty is a luxury green beauty brand, founded in 2011 (!) by Sasha Plasvic with just six lip conditioners that came into being after she had dreamt up and created the sleek silver gold packaging that features so heavily in green beauty lustings across the continents.  Just three years later the line now extends to almost forty lip colours, several face multi sticks, mascara and the also recently launched tinted moisturiser and concealer. 

About two weeks ago I was able to get my hands on some samples of the new Ilia Beauty colours via the excellent Amazingy sample service.  If you read my quick swatch post then you'll know that I was immediately taken with Strike It Up, the new cool toned red lipstick and planned to purchase it.   I was aware that as a lipstick it would be drier than the Shell Shock Conditioner in my collection, but as I love the colour so much I was willing to give it a go.  

I'm a little bit obsessed with their existing lip colours and have a wishlist as long as my arm for various Blossoms, Karmas and Bang Bangs, but I delayed all of those purchases to get my hands on this beautiful red.  I think it will suit a variety of skin tones, hair colours and personalities - I'm not a glamourpuss by any means but I think it will be perfect for a pop of colour during the winter months and I'm very happy to have it in my collection as my first "grown up" lipstick!   

The good news is that not only do I still love it in the full size but (as I not so subtly hinted on Twitter) I bought an extra one to share the love with you!  I was going to wait to review this fully before sharing, but I just couldn't wait! So, the highlights:

- High organic content
- No carmine
- Creamy formula
- Thick pigmentation
- Drier lips may require a bit of balm
- Standard red lipstick advice - exfoliate!
- Worth £22

For your chance to win a full size Ilia Beauty Lipstick in the gorgeous red shade Strike It Up, just fill out the Rafflecopter below.  Every option is worth a point, and the winner will be picked at random using their program.   I've tried to cover various platforms so that even if you don't use Facebook/Twitter there's an option for you.

I'm also really happy to say - this is open internationally!  

Good luck!

(PS 1. Hopefully it's obvious, but the one pictured above is mine, yours will be completely wrapped and sealed as it was bought. :) and 2. The lip swatches are the most accurate, the hand swatch is reading a bit brighter than in real life.)

Ingredients:  Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil*, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis) Seed Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Beeswax (Cera Alba)*, Triisostearyl Citrate, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Manihot Esculenta (Tapioca) Starch *, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil, Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide (CI 77499, CI 77492, CI 77491), Red 7 CI15850, Red 28 CI45410, Yellow 5 CI19140. *Certified Organic Ingredients. Ingrédients Certifiés Biologiques.  

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15/11/14: Ten minutes with... Vicky from Lyonsleaf

Lyonsleaf is a brand that has gone from strength to strength in the last year.  I first spotted them on other green bloggers sites, but only recently tried two samples of their line.  Spoiler! - I enjoyed the Beauty Balm so much that when I ran out that I immediately ordered a full size pot.  They're based in Mendip and run by the Lyons duo: Vicky and Ben. Read on to find out more about Vicky and their business!

Last thing you do at night?
Let the dogs out and clean my teeth (My rock and roll days are gone!)

Top tip for being happy and healthy?
Eat mountains of fruit and veg (vibrantly coloured ones especially), and drink 2 litres of water a day –
I think most of us also need to take omega 3’s and some sort of mineral supplements. I don’t think you can get the minerals you need from supermarket veggies these days, as they are mostly grown in depleted soil, so a lot of people are lacking essentials like magnesium, which, I think, causes all sorts of un-diagnosed ailments. Also, try not to stress (looks at oneself in absolute disbelief at the, pot, kettle, black, nerve of that statement!) and get outdoors, somewhere beautiful as often as possible.

Brands/bloggers/people that inspire you?
Oh there are, thankfully, too many choose from. People that spread information to help us all negotiate the potential minefield of modern life.  From Jamie Oliver (school meals) and definitely Hugh Fearnley-Whittinsgtall, to bloggers like Skinsmatter and Sarah at Sugarpuffish (for their insatiable appetites for iingredient scrutiny), and Ana Goes Green, who in between posts about natural cleansers and body butters occasionally pops out the most profound wisdom and makes me cry – I love that.

Favourite TV series?
I’m not a massive telly addict, but my life is actually a bit empty now Peaky Blinders has finished. Can’t wait for the next series.

Product you wish you'd invented?
The jigsaw puzzle polygon lampshade. (Here is a pic so you know what I mean).  Awesome simplicity.

11/11/14: Marshmallow Love (Freedom Confectionery) [+ giveaway]

When I first came across the Freedommallows I couldn't wait to get my hands on them.  Cue lots of excitement when in my first The Vegan Kind box they included a pack of their first release, the Vanilla Mallow.   Almost a year later and they've gone from strength to strength and now feature in many shops across the country, including (most importantly :P) my local health food store.  

Starting out with just the vanilla flavour in a regular size, they now also produce a strawberry flavour and a mini size (also available in catering quantities... how do I get my hands on one of those bags?).  And this month they have rebranded from Freedommallows to Freedom Confectionery and given the bags a fresh new look while keeping the sugary goodness inside the same.  

9/11/14: Butter London Macbeth, Goss, Yummy Mummy

Butter London were on my radar soon after I discovered Zoya.  They are one of the bigger brands out there promoting themselves as "free-from", vegan and cruelty free - and are widely available in major retail outlets from £12-14 RRP.  Although they are only three-free in a world of seven and eight-free, nail polish is an area where I am willing to be a little bit more lax.  And once I'd got started, I couldn't stop... so today I'm going to share some quick swatches of my collection.

2/11/14: My skincare drawer (video)

Hello everyone!  Today I thought I'd try something a bit different and make a video for you so that you can take a look at my collection of skincare.  This is just my primary drawer, there are other bits and pieces that are floating around the house and other drawers but it gives a general idea of  the stuff that I'm using.  One thing I didn't mention is that  the empty bottles are all Akamuti orange blossom or rosewater - I love that stuff and have currently run out, otherwise there would have been a bottle in my drawer.  Hope you enjoy - please do watch and let me know what you think! 

*Bodhi and Birch Neroli Luce sent as a sample.  Freyaluna sent as a pre-sale tester for feedback.  The rest all bought by myself/gifts/store samples.  All opinions, as always, are my own!

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31/10/14: Ilia New Releases - Swatches & First Impressions

A very short little undrafted post to show you some of the new products and shades that Ilia have releaseed.  You might have seen me on Twitter banging on about the new tinted moisturisers that I was eager to try out.  Well, thanks to the excellent sample service that Amazingy provide, I was able to get my paws on two tinted moisturiser shades and the new lip colours (€7.95 for 5).  Amazingy also add samples to your sample order(!) and on this occasion kindly rounded out the selection with two of the Ilia concealers.

30/10/14: "Lawyered!" - INCI Labelling

So, today is going to be a little bit of a different post.  I'm not going to be reviewing anything or talking about any particular brands or products.  Instead, I'm going to take a look at the legislation surrounding the sale and integrity of cosmetic products.  (So if that's not your bag, feel free to move along.) As a natural/green blogger, I already take an interest in what's on the labels of my products - and as a student studying law, I'm also interested in the legislation that is in place across the EU to protect consumers when purchasing cosmetic items.  

Disclaimer time!  I'm studying towards my LLB but in no way am I a qualified legal expert or anything close.  I still struggle with understanding legislation sometimes, but hopefully I can set out the basics surrounding what is required to sell cosmetics in the UK in particular in relation to ingredients and labelling.  I did also check my understanding was correct with Europe Direct, a helpful source for questions relating to the EU.

28/10/14: Move over Caspar, a bronzed goddess is in town...!

Okay, so perhaps not a bronzed goddess.  A slightly darker normal lady?  I received this product quite a while ago, after Green People put out a request on Twitter.  Being permanently pale I have dabbled in the past with bronzers and self-tans, but not found anything that was worth sticking to.  Also, that bloomin' curry smell was always off-putting.

27/10/14: Green Beauty Meet Up!

Yesterday, as you may have seen on twitter, a few green beauty bloggers met up in Reading.  

We met in the morning for a little stroll around the Oracle before landing at Pizza Express for lunch and a chat.  We'd been told by Rach, Jen and Sarah that we couldn't arrive before 12.30, so we were all curious as to what they were masterminding and even more so when we were quickly shoo-ed out after turning up a bit early!

Quite often when meet ups involve bloggers there will be a little goody bag offered as a thank you for coming, a little like the party bags you got when you were children.  However, as this was a gathering of friends (albeit green bloggers ones) I hadn't really considered the possibility that I might be taking home more than I planned!  

But, we walked in to find bags on the table.  Wow!  And a gift voucher? And bags on the seats!?  And then after ordering, a hamper!!?  I think we were all blown away by the generosity of the brands, people and companies that contributed and it went to show just how well thought of the lovely Jen, Rach and Sarah are.

Thank you to:  Bloom Remedies (Serenity Oil Set), Viridian (Beauty Oil and Capsules), Ann Marie (A.Vogel Herbmare, Jan de VriesVitality Essence,Crystal Springs Deodorant and A Vogel Soothing Neem Cream), Nom Foods (Oat Bar), Frank (4 x fruit and chocolate bar), Bathing Beauty (Shy Face Tea, Miracle Soap), Herbfarmacy (Just Face Cream, Wash Off Mousse Cleanser), Pure Thoughts (Winter Wonderland Soap, Candy Cane Soap), Botanical Brands (Living Nature Cleanser and Samples, Pulpe de Vie Samples, discount code), Pravera (Benecos Day Cream, Lavera Concealer), Lyonsleaf (Soap), ABeautifulWorld (Bag and Chocolate Sun Tanner), Balmology (Three piece sample pots, Cleanse, Nourish and Comfort), Suti (sample set), Niki's Organic Balm (All purpose balm), Mypure (Hurraw! balms, Madara sachets),  Sophia's Choice (gift voucher!), Weleda (Rose Soap and Calendula Massage Oil), Lulu & Boo (Melissa and Mallow Foot Balm sample, Multi Vitamin Balm sample, full size Rose and Vanilla Balm), Red Apple Lipstick (sample pod), Vanessa's Choice (The Earth Works Grapefruit Exfoliator sample and discount!), Brija Cosmetics (Full size eyeshadow, sample eyeshadow, discount code!), Fresh Therapies (nail remover wipe sample and sample pot), Aedos (discount voucher), Vital Touch (Bath Soak), Rebel Kitchen (not pictured, Chai and Chocolate Milk), Beeutiful (B-balm and Honey Lip balm)... and last but not least from the Bodhi and Birch surprise hamper I chose the Ginger Brew Body Oil and Lime Blossom Hand Serum!   I am sure that you will be seeing bits and pieces from this lot on here over the next few months.

So obviously that was a wonderful unexpected amazing surprise, but (hopefully without sounding like a dork) honestly my favourite part was spending time with 9 other lovely ladies.  I've not written about it much on this blog before but most of my life I've suffered from severe anxiety and a few years ago I wouldn't have even considered taking myself across the country to meet up with people I've only seen a few times before and not at all in some cases - but every time I have done it the people waiting at the other end have made it so very worth it.  So, thank you Rachel, Malin, Jen, Carrie, Annie, Liz, Katie, Sarah and Amber or being such fun and friendly company!  I'm already looking forward to seeing you all again. :)  

And if you're loving the look of that goody bag, stay tuned as Rach has a giveaway up her sleeve!

P.S Apologies for the utter fail of no photographs of the day, but please accept this picture of a few of us back in August as a token gesture!

[Annie, Jen, Rachel, me]

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23/10/14: Vegan Cuts Mini Review #3

After VCMR#1 and VCMR#2, we're now halfway through the mini reviews and onto our first full size product of the box:  Gourmet Body Treats Finishing Powder Pot!  I've tried quite a few mineral foundations and none of them turned out to be anything that I was willing to repurchase.  However, this seemed to be something that rather than replacing anything I used already, could be used over the top of any foundation or tint I was already using and supposedly will help set and finish my make up for the day.

18/10/14: Living Nature Illuminating Foundation

 Living Nature is a brand from New Zealand that I've seen around on a few of my online natural beauty stops over the last year.  Founded in 1987 they're committed to using natural ingredients, preservatives and fragrances and if there are doubts about the safety of an ingredient they don't use it.  In their range they have several lines of face products which confused me a bit at first, but essentially there's seems to be a Foundation, an Illuminating Foundation, and a Tinted Moisturiser.  In July I was sent the Illuminating Foundation Soft Lights* (30ml RRP £29.50) in the lightest shade, Dawn Glow.  And does it glow? 

09/10/14: Bin, Gift or Re-purpose?

I really struggle to throw things out.  You never know when I might need that 6cm bit of ribbon, an old stick (yes, really...a stick) or a broken walkman from 1998.  And unfortunately this same approach also applies to my make up and skincare.  

This meant that when I recently rounded up products that I hadn't been using because I either didn't like them/they didn't work I couldn't just snap them quickly for a failed items post and shove them in the bin.  I started to think about what else I could do with them to avoid just chucking them out and realised I might be able to either find a new home for them or repurpose them.  And therefore we have my very first (dramatic pause) Bin, Gift or Repurpose!

05/10/14: Vegan Cuts Mini Review #2 - Tallulah Jane

Following on from my VCMR#1 (I'm a lazy typist...), here's number two - featuring another never-heard-of-before-to-me-brand, Tallulah Jane.  

28/09/14: Kosmea Purifying Cleanser and Daily Facial Exfoliator

Kosmea was a brand I hadn't heard of until recently, but they've started popping up here and there, most notably perhaps on mypure.  They're an Australian brand that's actually been around since the early 90s with a focus on using rosehip in their products and making goodies with no mineral oils, artificial colours, fragrances, SLS or animal ingredients.  They also don't test on animals and the packaging is recyclable.  I've been using their cream cleanser and daily exfoliator and thought it was about time to let you know what my thoughts are. :)

21/09/14: Vegan Cuts Mini Review #1

A few months ago I was kindly sent a Vegan Cuts beauty box to try out.  Unfortunately it got lost first time around and the second box arrived in the middle of packing up the house.  So instead of an unboxing, I thought I'd do some mini reviews on each product, now that I've tried them all out.

19 September 2014: Cleansing Cloths

So, I've been laid up this week with a stomach infection - but on the plus side I'm starting to feel a little better and able to relax my mind with a bit of blog writing.  Hopefully I'll be here regularly again from now on - and maybe venturing into some new internet realms not too far into the future.  For now, I hope you enjoy!

A little while ago I did a post on my skincare routine and at the time I mentioned that I had left out a crucial element as I would be reviewing it later on.  And finally, it's here!

The items that I left out were the cleansing clothes/pads that I've been using.  I wanted to leave it a little longer before reviewing them as a key part of their appeal is whether or not they last the recurring washes needed to make them sparkle between each use.  I've been using two different types of cloth:  the Spiezia Cotton Cloths and the Love the Planet Cleansing Pads.  I was intially planning to do a smackdown with them, but actually I've found that I like using them in conjunction with each other and I would struggle to pick a winner.

16/07/14: Field Trip Tour (aka Green Beauty Bloggers Gone Wild)

So, in case you haven't spotted it on Twitter or Instagram, a group of green beauty bloggers descended on London this past Saturday.  Organised by the gorgeous ladies from Call it Vanity, we all enjoyed a day of green beauty sightseeing and shopping - the field trip tour!

I found myself in Group A, headed up by Mayah and comprising a fantastic bunch of people:  Tania from Bow Tied Beauty, Sarah from Sugarpuffish, Rachel from All Natural Aspirations, Liz from Smells Like a Green Spirit, Jen from Jens Green Beauty and Kate from What Katie Rates.  We met at Marylebone, which was a bit of an experience for me - definitely not used to London!  Thanks to Mayah for the directions :) ) and then set off for our first visit, which was...

Content Beauty/Wellbeing
Where we all squeezed into this Aladdins cave of goodness.  Where ever you turned, a nook or cranny was filled with Dr Bronners, Tata Harper, Lotus Wei, John Masters, Rahua, Well People...Vapour, Ilia, Studio 78, One Love Organics, Hurraw and more!  For a shop boasting such a small square footage, they've really made every inch count.  Magda and Imelda (totally didn't realise it was Imelda until afterwards...) were really welcoming, happy to chat and tell us about the products - you could tell that they were just as interested in all the stock as we were.  

This was probably the most exciting shop purely for the inclusion of the beautiful Ilia Beauty products.  I dithered over which lip item to splash the cash on - torn between the Karma Chameleon lip crayon and the lip conditioner in Shell Shock - cue lots of hand swatching and eventually a last minute Shell Shock swing vote with the help of Magda.  I knew I would have to purchase the One Love Organics sample set as anything in mini bottles calls out to me, and the Hurraw Balms were always going to be a challenge to pass up as I seem to lose as many as I buy!  This time it was the Kapha ayurvedic balm (meant to get the Pitta but got wrapped up in the pretty shiny pink packaging).

When we reached the checkout there was an extra bonus with a goody bag.  I managed to refrain from having a proper peek for about twenty minutes or so, but couldn't stop myself once we'd sat on the bus.  Content were seriously generous with this one - a full size Vapour concealer in 010 which seems perfect for my skin, travel size Rahua conditioner/styler, Suki balancing day cream, Tata Harper floral essence, Twelve moisturiser sachet, an Abel Organics sample (so glad to have a little bit more of this to use up!) and a totally unexpected Content VIP discount card which is safely tucked away while I draw up a shopping list... 

Nature & Co
Next up was a relatively new store, Nature & Co.  They're not yet running their online shop, but watch out for their shop launch as they stock some new and interesting brands like SLA, Alima Pure and Hadalys. I really enjoyed being in this shop (so cool after the heat of London bus!) and the calming layout.  The lady working the shop, Frances, was very kind and provided refreshments for us all and allowed us to spray the perfumes to our hearts content.  

I didn't purchase anything at this store, despite being very tempted by some of the fragrances.  I particularly was interested in a Violette scent and some of the Honores de Pres bottles.  I was on the very edge of purchasing one of the Honores scents but because I stupidly doused myself all over in a variety of smells, not expecting to be that interested in purchasing a perfume, I couldn't for the life of me work out which one it was that I was drawn to... it was the one halfway down my right arm, but beyond that... who knows!

Whole Foods Kensington
Possibly the place I was most looking forward to... or perhaps joint number one with Content.  I live near to the Cheltenham Whole Foods, so it wasn't going to be an entirely new experience, but knowing how much I love visiting that relatively small branch - this massive store was always going to be an enjoyable experience.  It didn't disappoint.  First of all we stopped by the amazing food hall to grab some lunch and meet up with the rest of the pack:  Ana from Ana Goes Green, Evelyn from We Were Raised By Wolves, Amber from Ambers Beauty Talk, Liz from Well Meaning Being, Tamara from Rainbow Feet, Katie from Katie Vibes, Annabel from Fragmented Splendour and of course, Sabrina from Call it Vanity.  Although we didn't get to chat with them for too long, it was really nice to have a little chat with Amber, Liz and Sabrina - and I inflicted hugs on anyone else I could get my hands on on the way out!  

Then Group A hit the beauty hall.  And it was brilliant.  Inika, Living Nature, Terre d'Oc, Lavera, Weleda, Zoya, MyChelle, Antipodes... and loads more.  Plus, a crazy looking machine that turned out to be one of those facial analysers.  A lovely lady from the store gave us the opportunity to try it out - I was pleasantly surprised with my results - the only major element I need to focus on reducing is sun damage, boo.  I have another image of how my face looked on screen, but I'm saving it for another post.  :)

Whole Foods is where I did the most damage to my purse, as I bought Antipodes Rejoice light facial moisturiser, Butter London in Macbeth, Avalon lemon conditioner (meant to buy the shampoo but oh well...!), John Masters sample set, Dr Bronners lavender hand sanitizer, Weleda pomegranate body lotion mini, Whole Foods bath salts... Hectares piri-piri sweet potato crips, Freedom Mallows, Goody Good Stuff strawberries and cream, Peppersmith Tingz and spearmint gum... oh, and a Whole Foods straw bag :)

By this time, Sarah Tania and Liz had had to leave, so our now little group quickly hopped a few stops on the tube to our final destination in Shoreditch, at the Boxpark pop up shop.  Unfortunately they've recently stopped stocking Ilia, so I was very glad that I made my Ilia purchase at Content!  And the only other purchase I was interested in making there would have been a blush brush by Real Techniques, having never tried their items before... but sadly, they only had a few RT brushes for purchase.  

However, it was still an interesting stop - especially listening to the lady running it that day talking about Ilia and RMS, plus getting to try the cool grownup temporary tattoos from Seekers of Sun.  Pretty Peaushun was an item that has had a lot of chatter in the blogosphere and Twitterena, so I gave it a swatch while we were there... but honestly, not bothered.  It gave a slight tingling and smelt alright, but didn't seem amazing enough for me to part with £18.  I'm still interested to see what others think of it though.

Phew!  The shops and their hosts were brilliant, Mayah and Sabrina rocked and the other ladies were such good company. I had been really nervous in the run up, but needn't have worried in the slightest as everyone was super friendly and welcoming.  I really can't wait to do it all again!  

Look out for a separate post coming up with a little run down of my purchases and first impressions, but honestly the best part of the day was experiencing each shop with a bunch of people just as excited as you to be there!  Thank you all :) xx

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The Next Few Weeks

You might have noticed that I haven't been posting recently - and unfortunately due to personal circumstances I won't be posting for a little while.  Hope to be back soon.  

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What's in my make-up bag?

I always like seeing what other people use on a daily basis, so I thought I'd share what I'm using at the moment.  I tend to stick to what I know day in and out until one day I decide I hate that look and absolutely have to change to a new look which I then stick with until... well, you can guess.  

(It actually took me quite a while to round up these products, as for some reason I can never keep them all together.  Sometimes I don't want to drag it around in my handbag, but I need one or two items for a quick touch up during the day, or even to do quickly at work if I run out of time over breakfast.  Any ideas on how to minimise the make up spread??)  


1.  Clockwise L-R:  Bdellium Tools various, Eco Tools Foundation Brush
The Eco Tools brush I first bought about two years ago - I had been using a sponge and found that it was absorbing a lot of the product.  Plus it got grubby really easily.  And using my fingers was a no-no with the spotty problem.  A friend recommended a brush to apply foundation, and I've been doing it ever since.  

The Bdellium tools - the larger one I bought when I was experimenting with mineral foundation.  I didn't want to buy a traditional Kabuki in case I didn't end up using the minerals.  After a bit of advice from the company, I chose this compact face brush that I use to swirl my foundation on with.  The smaller (and in need of a thorough washing) brushes are a few from the Eye brush set that the company do.  Before using these I would use the little ones that came with some shadows, or my finger.  But as I've progressed to using more than just one colour on my eyelids, it just wasn't practical anymore.  Although the middle brush is a crease brush, I actually prefer the wider one on the right.  When flipped around, this wide but thin brush is perfect for all over, crease and corners.  

2.  Clockwise L-R:  Eyelash curlers, custom pot, Elemental Beauty (Temptation), Dr. Hasuchka 00 Translucent Make up
Eyelash curlers are a staple in my make up bag.  I have this set from the SoukSouk box, and another that I had prior.  I use these every day regardless of whether I'm wearing mascara or not.  I don't know how much of a difference it makes from afar, but I feel like I'm not quite finished with my make up until me lashes are bent into pretty curls.  

The custom pot was an experiment that I was doing at the time.  I was just running out of my foundation and tried out a mineral moisturiser mix while waiting for my new tube to arrive.  I'll be getting rid now.  

EB Temptation - I use this in my crease to give a bit of depth to the all over shade I use. 

Then, my third tube of Dr Hauschka Translucent make up.  I really like that this is pale enough for my skin tone, but it's not my HG foundation.  I'm still looking for that!  On my radar at the moment are Living Nature and REN BB cream.  I hopefully have a small sample of the BB cream winging its way to me from the kind people at REN, so I'll be interested to see how the very orange looking cream fares for me.

3.  Elemental Beauty (Champagne, Smoke and Wink Wink), Barefaced Beauty Bronzer
Champagne I use in the corners to brighten up my eyes, Smoke is a matt pale grey-purple that I use all over and Wink Wink is a golden brown.  Champagne, Smoke and Temptation are my everyday look.  

Barefaced Bronzer is a replacement to the old Sunkissed Rimmel pressed bronzer I used to use.  It looks too dark in the pot, but tapped out it's very flattering on my skin.  There's a slight hint of shimmer that sparkles in the sunlight, so I use it on my chest as well as face.

4.  Bodhi Neroli Luce, Custom Pot, Antipodes Rejoice Light Facial Cream, Ilia Tenderly
Phew, getting there!  Neroli Luce I use under moisturiser in the morning alternating with the Desert Rose.  A lovely start to any day.  

The next custom pot is my homemade RMS un-cover up dupe.  I can't remember exactly the formulation but I used bits of coconut oil, castor oil, cocoa butter, mango butter and a touch of jojoba, along with the rest of a few mineral samples I had from Elemental Beauty.  I love this for under my eyes as it does such a good job of brightening (if not covering) my dark cricles.  I'll be really sad to finish this! 

The Antipodes moisturiser I use in the mornings after my Neroli/Rose application.  Ilia Tenderly I rarely use, but have it in my make up bag for occasions when I need a little dash of colour other than tan on my cheeks!

5.  Custom Bodhi workshop perfume, Ilia Polka Dots and Moonbeams, Lancome Pencil (Black Coffee), Benecos Long Lashes Mascara, Boots Bronzing brush
Not to blow my own horn, but I love love love the perfume I created last year at the Samsara party.  So much so that I'm now trying desperately to find anyone from the event that has photos where they might have captured my formulation sheet!  I remember the constituents, but can't quite be sure about the amounts.  Rats!  If you're reading and you attended... please let me know if you have any snaps!

Ilia Polka Dots I keep for days where I need a little glow.  However, I don't know whether it's just that my cheekbones are prone to flare ups, but having used it a bit more I do feel like it clogs me up a little.  
The Lancome pencil I think is the least green product in there.  I've had this for a while, and it's the perfect shade for my eyebrows.  I have a little thinning towards the end of each and a little swipe with this fills them in perfectly.  When I get around to finding a matching shade, I'll be ready to chuck this out.

Since taking this photo, I've actually moved on from Benecos Long Lashes - which I loved - to the Avril Mascara from the same SoukSouk box as the curlers.  The Avril tube is just as good and I'm more than happy with the application.

So... that's my make up bag!  I have a few other bits and pieces - generally balms - hanging around but that little lot is the main show.

Anything in there that you have, or want to try?  Any suggestions for how to keep it all neat and tidy?  Let me know down below!

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The Vegan Kind #TVK7

So, last week saw the arrival on my doorstep of the seventh "The Vegan Kind" box.  Seventh!!  I can't believe how time has passed since I first heard of this subscription and since receiving my first box.  I've really enjoyed all my boxes, but I think this is in the top three.  

How cute are these little bags that arrived in the box for us to fill up with Dormouse Tea Company loose tea? I received the Jasmine tea, but I think that Green Tea and Keemun Morning Tea sachets also went out. Honestly I'm usually a Builder's (Organic Clipper Fairtrade) Bum cuppa kind of person and I don't often branch out. However, I did enjoy the cup I tried and it's gone down well with others in the family. The sachet is the perfect size for trying out a new type of tea.

No/Low-Buy Wishlist

At the moment I'm on life-imposed no/low-buy.  I'm always lusting after various brands and products but knowing that I can't currently buy anything has sent my lusting impulses into overdrive!  To ease them slightly I thought I'd put together a wishlist that I can hopefully start to tick off in a couple of months time.  Most of these products are items that I plan to buy, so it's a wishlist/shopping list combo. :) 

1. Dalit Candles:  I have these gorgeous candles sitting in my Sophia's Choice basket for when we're all moved in to our new place.  I'm astounded that these aren't marketed at much higher prices as for a similar price you can get your standard tealights - which are not a patch on these beautiful hand-crafted beeswax candles that support the founders' work in India amongst some of the poorest people.  Dalit is the name for the lowest caste in India's class system, otherwise known as the untouchables - to find out more, you can read the PDF info booklet put together by Life Association, the Charity that sells the Dalit Candles.  These will be my first purchase.

Bodhi beautiful

With the announcement that Bodhi are rebranding from Monday 12 May to become Bodhi and Birch (read Ana's post here for more information) I thought it was about time that I featured a few of the Bodhi products that I've been using.

ILY Ilia? Tenderly and Polka Dots & Moonbeams

In the recent Beauty Bay mega sale, I ummed and aahed over the goodies on offer, but finally settled (in part through not acting fast enough!) on two Ilia Beauty chunky make up sticks:  Tenderly and Polka Dots & Moonbeams.  Each retail normally at £30.00 each, so the chance to try them both for the price of one was an opportunity that doesn't often come along.

02/05/2014: In My Back Yard

[Please feel free to use the image above if you decide to write a #mybackyard post!]

Over the weekend I spotted a post from Bodhi on twitter talking about how much British Skincare features in our collections - which then turned into a conversation about the brands and products that are available locally to us.  In Gloucestershire, I'm lucky to be surrounded by quite a few smaller natural and green businesses, as well as some bigger names, so I thought that I would share with you what can be found near to me and began to jot down a list.   Karen at In my humble opinion who also participated wrote her own post inspired by this theme, titled "What's in your back yard", inviting others to post about their local brands. After reading that, I thought rather than doubling up, I'd combine my original post with a response post - so, without further do...

Okay, maybe a little ado.

Drum roll please...

01/05/14: Spotlight on Ochre Body and Skin!

I came across Ochre Body and Skin on Twitter a short while ago and the lovely founder Julia Uttley offered me the chance to try out her Awaken range (the Body Scrub featured in my recent Scrub-down smackdown).  Julia has been hard at work since creating the brand and with her efforts recently culminating in a commendation at the Free From Skincare awards it seemed like a great time to find out more about this natural skincare company.

27/04/14: Coconom Cookies

When Aprils The Vegan Kind Box* arrived, one of items that I was most interested to try was Coconom.  It's a coconut sugar that is lower in calories than your regular sugars.  As someone with a bit of a sweet tooth I'm always pleased to discover new ways of sweetening food without adding lumps of the white stuff.

Opening the package, it looks a little like a cross between flour, sugar bits of it are chunkier than others, but some parts are very fine.  It smells slightly caramelised and sweet and passed the dip and lick test, so on it went to my next bowl of morning porridge.  It melts easily just like normal sugar would and tastes really good.  So, next up - cooking with it!

To make I used a recipe that required: 175 g plain flour, 1 finely lemon, grated zest only, 110 g soft butter
50 g sugar, but based on what I had in the cupboard at the time, I used a different mix to follow the same recipe.
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