Thursday, 23 January 2014

Chainbridge honey farm lip balms

    Quite a while back I was lucky enough that Jenny Red Head Beauty Diaries introduced me to the brand Chainbridge Honey farm when I won a beautiful gift set with their products (see post here) in a give away she hosted, since then the products have been firm favourites of mine especially the lip balm which is just heavenly and hands down one of my most used. 

    Chainbridge Honey farm is a family run business which was founded back in 1948 by Bee Keeper Selby Robinson, the business now consists of 1500 hives which produce beautiful honey and of course other bee products such as honeycomb and beeswax. The farm is based close to the historic Union Chain Bridge which links England to Scotland and the surrounding area is rich in Heather and Wild flowers making the honey beautifully fragrant. 

    When Chainbridge honey farm contacted me and offered to send me some of their newly packaged lip balms* (£2.95 for 12 grams) I was over moon and look how gorgeous they are. The lip balms now come in a slightly smaller screw container which is lighter and more practical for travel. The larger glass jars are still available and I have been using mine for months now without making much of a dent in it meaning they are fantastic value for money. These lip balms are made up of just a few well chosen ingredients, sweet almond oil, Beeswax, honey, oat oil and vitamin E. I love the fragrant smell of honey when I pop these on my lips but my favourite thing about these lip balms is the amazing staying power, you only need to apply these once a day and your lips are taken care of, they are protected and left soft and supple, these lip balms have been perfect during even the coldest of temperatures. The lip balms are available in Lavender, Heather honey, unscented and Tangerine and I love them all however Heather honey hasn't left my side since I got it, I can't resist the beautiful sweetness it has. 

    Amazing quality, affordable products and a lovely handmade family run business I can't recommend Chainbridge honey farm enough, honey enthusiasts will love Chainbridge Honey farms products, I know I do. I can't wait to try out some other products including the very tempting looking body butter and of course the fragrant honey and very pretty looking beeswax candles. You can find the full range here

Ana x

*PR samples

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Salcura skincare review

The green beauty world is bulging with brands but there are not many that cater for specific skin conditions and sensitive skin, I have been testing some products from the brand Salcura recently which I think fill that gap well and I am very pleased to have discovered them.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Conscious skincare hand cream for hard working hands

    My hands have been having a hard time this week, since we bought our new house I have had extra cleaning to do and plenty of gardening which has taken it's toll on my skin. For that reason now is a great time to tell you about the Conscious skincare soothing hand cream for hard working hands* (£14.99 for 50 ml) which is the perfect hand cream for anyone needing a deeply hydrating hand treatment. Before we get on to the hand cream itself I have to say Conscious skincare have been on my list to try for some time, their ethos is exactly what I look for in a brand and their products always look and sound appealing to me, they have been getting rave reviews on lot's of blog's too. The products are handmade in small batches in Wales with great attention to the ingredients used and the environment. They carry the leaping bunny symbol too which shows they are cruelty free. They use lot's of organic ingredients and they are all listed fully for each product on the site, which makes choosing products really easy. On a side note I just love the name of the brand, Conscious skincare reflects so well what the brand stands for and for that reason alone they grabbed my attention. 

   This hand cream is not what you think of when you think of a traditional hand cream, it has absolutely no water added so is a pure mix of butters and oils. The first two ingredients are Shea Butter and Avocado oil, so you are already off to great start in terms of moisturising and nourishing then beeswax, rosehip seed oil and evening primrose oil are next to further add to the skincare benefits, there is not a single ingredient in this product that I don't love and due to the fact that no water is added you have a gorgeous concentrated product that needs only a small amount to really make a difference to the skin. It is scented with Rose Geranium and Frankincense essential oils and it smells slightly herbal and floral, very natural and not at all overpowering for my taste. 

    Due to the richness of the ingredients this has a whipped body butter type texture and is very pleasant to use, as it feels like a real treat. If you are looking for a hand cream that you are able throughout the day with no greasiness then this may not be for you, having said that I find that if you use a very small amount and massage it in well my skin has been very grateful for the extra nourishment this provides. My favourite way to use this however is a night time treatment, I apply a generous layer followed by cotton gloves and it heals and soothes the hands overnight reducing dryness and soreness. 

    This is perfect for anyone who works outdoors or who does a lot of gardening and as Conscious skincare has some lovely gift wrap options I think their products would make a lovely gift too. You can find their full range on their site here, although I warn browsing their site is addictive, I have already added their Sweet orange and Frangipani bath soak to my wish list. Have you tried Conscious skincare, if so what did you think? 

Ana x 

*PR sample

Monday, 13 January 2014

Essential care: Refillable eye shadow palette review.

    I am particularly fond of Essential care make up, their Lipsticks, their concealer and their eye liner are all make up bag staples and the concealer in particular goes everywhere with me, so when I saw they had an eye shadow palette that allowed you to choose your own shades I was quick to jump on line and place an order. Essential care is a Soil Association certified organic range which has skincare, body care and make up. The empty Palette costs £13.50 and you get the colour sand with it, sand is just a neutral beige good as a highlight or for blending. The other colours I chose are Slate, seaweed and Shell they are all fairly matte with Shell and Slate having a very slight sheen to them, definitely no glitter in sight. The refill pans for the palette are priced at £8.50 so the total cost of the palette was £39, although I remember I picked it up on special offer so I think I paid slightly less than that. The shade range is still quite small and I already have quite a few brown shades in my collection so I tried to choose colours that would compliment what I already have, I don't have any green shades so Seaweed in particular looked interesting although it is more green in the pan than it appears on the site.  

    These eye shadows didn't unfortunately live up to the other items in the make-up range for me, I found these to be quite hard and difficult to get the colour on to the brush in fact as you can see above I couldn't even swatch them on my arm and had to swatch them on my fingertips by rubbing really hard on each shade. Slate is my favourite and most used out of the palette and if you have the patience to build it up then it makes a pretty taupe look. I find these useful for blending out other eye shadows rather than using them all that often on their own. All in all I am afraid for me they are not worth the hefty price tag, if you want to build your own eye shadow palette more natural companies are offering refill pans so personally for me a Z-Palette is a more sensible and purse friendly way to go as you can add a variety of brands. In terms of ingredients I always admire Essential Care's purity and these are no exception, they are talc and mineral oil free, Vegan and the Packaging is all recyclable. 

    These may workout for you if you are really interested in talc free make up and are after a light wash of colour, the wear time is fairly good especially with a primer underneath. You can find the full Essential care range here and I would highly recommend some of the other items in the range. 

Ana x 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Interview with Colleen Harte founder of Lucy Annabella organics

    I am really excited today to bring you an interview with Colleen Harte Aromatherapist and founder of Lucy Annabella organics, a beautiful luxury range based in the countryside of Ballygawley, Northern Ireland. These products are simply exquisite and the detail that goes in to them from the packaging to the scents and ingredients makes the experience of the products incredibly special. If you are looking for an authentic organic brand that combines style and substance Lucy Annabella is one of my favourites. I was lucky enough to sample the Argan and Bergamot Treatment oil which is a gorgeous and uplifting treat which I highly recommend. Colleen herself made it to number four in the Natural Beauty yearbook "Who's who" list of Natural beauty which is a fantastic achievement. 

Photo courtesy of Lucy Annabella

What inspired you to create Lucy Annabella organics? 

The story behind Lucy Annabella is very simple!  I decided to create the brand when I realised that ‘being organic’ is as much about what we put on our body as what we put into it. I am a Complementary Therapist and a Clinical Aromatherapist and I have been an organic health enthusiast for years.  Through my work I lived by the ethos that ‘Our health is paramount to our happiness’.  

So in 2011 after travelling all over the world in search of knowledge and the finest ingredients from organically dedicated farmers I felt the time had come to actively combine all aspects of my life’s loves and pursue my passion to formulate and blend beautifully organic ingredients and share them with the world.

The beautiful name Lucy Annabella was my sweet grandfather’s fond pet name for me.  ‘Lucy Annabella’ has great sentimental attachment for me and it sits close to my heart therefore I knew it was the perfect name for my cosmetics.

What do you think set's Lucy Annabella apart from other organic brands?

Luxury. I don’t believe we have to lower our packaging and brand standards and desires for organic, Lucy Annabella gives you both organic and luxury in equal measures. We give you permission to indulge while also intentionally caring for your body 

Organic ingredients are an essential element to the range, what do you think the benefits are of organics? 

Organic cosmetics take this to a whole new level. Thorough certification organic cosmetics guarantee that the natural ingredients have not been treated with any harmful chemicals!  The certification process, which cosmetics go through, is very rigid and can be trusted.  This does not mean that if a product says it is organic it truly is.  If the packaging says ‘organic’ make sure there is a certification body stamp on the product otherwise you have no assurance that the product is free of harmful chemicals.  Certification bodies like the Soil Association, USDA and Eocert are three of the most popular within the cosmetics industry.  If you want a product that is 100% organic ensure to read the information on the pack as sometimes the organic percentage within the product is tiny.  Misleading claims like this are unfortunately very common. Be aware!

Security, you can rest easy that when a company is certified organic they even have their labelling inspected so that all the products claims are true and proven.  When you are starting to explore the scary world of chemicals in our daily products its comforting to know that there are so many natural and even better again, organic alternatives out there for us all to use which are not harmful.  We are becoming more informed and with that we are being supplied with a healthier option.  At Lucy Annabella Organics we always recommend taking the safer, healthier better option.

What are your plans for Lucy Annabella in the future? 

Lucy Annabella's future is very exciting we have plans to bring out Aromatic Range, Home Range and Mum and Baby Range. 

The scents in the Lucy Annabella range are exquisite, what inspires you when creating products? 

Every different scent was inspired by something or someone unique.  I have included a few examples below.

Spearmint & Lemongrass Aromatic Candle – I created this scent for my sister whilst she was studying for her exams to keep her mind alert and to keep her motivated. 

Rose, Niaouli & Ylang Ylang Candle – I wanted to create something very sensual with an exotic hint for romantic nights in.

Niaouli & Lavender Aromatic Candle - I created this scent to bring me straight back to wonderful Provance this is my emotional connection to the place I learnt my aromatherapy. 

Bergamot & Palmarosa Aromatic Candle – is a unique blend ideal for the Living Room or Bath Room I wanted it to be relaxing but also unusual.

   I would like to say a big thank you to Colleen for telling us more about her wonderful range, I can't wait to see what happens in the future for this amazing brand. You can find Lucy Annabella here

Ana x 


Saturday, 4 January 2014

Naturalmente haircare Review

    For many people myself included greener haircare that works is one of the most difficult things to find, I have tested countless shampoos and conditioners but very few become regulars in my routine. I have been testing out Italian Naturalmente haircare which has been getting great reviews since it arrived in the UK and I am pleased to say I am impressed with the products I have tried. 

    Naturalmente's green credentials mean that they use sustainable ingredients that are wild crafted or sourced from organic or biodynamic agriculture. The products are free from Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, animal ingredients, parabens, petrochemicals and synthetic fragrances. The packaging is completely biodegradable and can of course be recycled. 

    The Rosemary and Lavender shampoo* is beautifully scented and foams wonderfully, foaming agents can be an issue for my sensitive scalp but I had no issue whilst I was using this sample. I will be investing in the full size at some point to see how my hair likes this longer term. This leaves the hair really nice and clean and is easy to work in to my long hair something which was great, it was also enjoyable to use which can't be said for too many natural shampoos. 

    The Conditioner with Fruit acids* has quite a unique scent a mix of orange and mint and is quite thick, it leaves the hair really soft and smooth and makes the scalp tingle slightly due to the mint essential oil is is quite pleasant but took me by surprise the first time I used it. Despite it's thick texture this was easy to wash out and the combination of both products made my hair look great. 

   You can find Naturalmente exclusively at Gentle Body care in the UK and at £9 for 250 mls or the sample sizes starting at just £2.60 my interest has certainly been piqued enough to go back for more. 

Ana x 

*PR samples 

Friday, 3 January 2014

Vapour Aura multi-use blush swatches and review


    Vapour organic beauty is an organic make up line from the US that uses a high percentage of USDA certified ingredients and has a very pretty on trend colour palette. I do think the UK and Europe is behind in the organic make up stakes as much as I love to champion local skincare brands, when it comes to make up the most beautiful ranges seem to hail from across the pond. The line is free from mineral oil, parabens and silicones and instead the products have a great selection of ingredients including plant oils and beeswax. 

    Today I wanted to show you some of the beautiful blushers from the line, I have samples of each of these colours and they are so useful for trying to work out which colour may be best for you. The blushers all come in a stick format, they are different from some other cream blush brands such as RMS and Revolution organics because they are free from coconut oil, instead opting for sunflower oil, castor oil and beeswax in the formulation. In terms of consistency these are in my opinion perfect, not too dewy but they have a nice slip to them, hydrating without being too oily and with good lasting power. They are also cruelty free and leaping bunny approved, even though some shades do contain carmine so the range itself is not vegan. 

 In natural light with no flash
In artificial light, the beautiful shimmer of starlet is much more obvious. 

    Vapour organic multi use classic blush in Spark: Spark is described as a sheer pinky peach and is such an easy tone to wear for light to medium skin tones. This is a classic colour therefore it has no shimmer, whenever I wear this I become more convinced this is perhaps one of the most perfect daytime colours in my collection, a little of this blush brightens up the complexion instantly. 

    Vapour multi use classic blush in courtesan: Courtesan is a a classic rose pink, again very easy to wear and for me very close to my skins natural flush. This is a classic colour and the most pigmented of the three so may be suitable for slightly darker skin tones. 

    Vapour multi use shimmer blush in Starlet: This colour was the big surprise of the three, in the sample pot this looks incredibly dark almost like a burgundy shade but it sheers out on the complexion and turns in to a plummy pink shimmer. I love the fine gold shimmer, it is a very pretty shade for when you want some extra sparkle to your look. 

    I am really taken with all of these shades but I have added Spark to my spring wish list as it is so easy to wear. You can find Vapour at Naturisimo and Being Content samples start at £1 and the full size blush comes in at £29. Have you tried any Vapour products, if so what did you think? 

Ana x 
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