Thursday, 29 May 2014

Paula's choice Earth Sourced moisturiser review


Paula Begoun otherwise known as the cosmetic cop has made a name for herself for her no-nonsense skincare and beauty advice, with several best selling books under her belt and years of working hard to debunk some of the myths of the industry Paula finally launched her own range of products.
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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Disappointing products #3




It has been such a long time since I have done a disappointing products post that I thought I would do a little round up of products I have not got on with for the last couple of months, there aren't many but most of them are big big fails in my book. 
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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

New Launch: Bee Good skincare


Bee Good are a new British brand that have exploded on to the the beauty scene with their beautifully packaged range of skincare which has honey and propolis as it's main ingredients. I love a brand that loves the bees so I was keen to delve in and give this one a try.
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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Why we love to grow our own

A bit of a departure from the norm today on the blog but I wanted to share with you why we like to grow our own food as a family and a little bit about our grow your own journey. We moved last year in to a new house, one of the main reasons we chose the house we did is because it had significant space as a garden and for growing veggies and plants, previous to buying the house we had a flat but were lucky enough to have an allotment so growing our own is something we have done for some time. 

The main benefit of growing your own is that you have constant supply of fruits, vegetables and herbs which are delicious and healthy, we never ate as well as we did when the allotment was in full bloom and it seemed we had an endless source of beetroot, chard and cauliflower which tasted far better than anything I have ever bought in the supermarket. There are, I think so many other benefits to growing your own, it is a very satisfying and relaxing hobby which makes you feel connected to nature and makes you so much more aware of the world around you. For children the benefits are even better than for adults I think, it is so important for children to grow up knowing about food and where it comes from, it makes them less fussy more willing to try new things and more inclined to be healthy when they are invested in the process of where the food comes from, it also teaches them about how plants grow and they inevitably take an interest in all the ladybirds, bees, caterpillars and all the other creepy crawlies they find as they potter about.

Even if you don't have a lot of space you can grow herbs and things like tomato plants in pots on a small balcony or windowsill, allotments are wonderful but there is a very long waiting list, it took us two years to get ours, but as soon as we knew we were moving we handed the keys back straight away to let someone else have a chance as they really are such a precious commodity. You really don't need to be a gardening expert to grow your own food, everything we know was learnt from a couple of books and the internet is full of great information, seeds are very cheap so grow from seed where possible, you need a handful of tools to get started but it really is easier than you would think. One of things I loved about the allotment was the sense of community, we would swap veggies and fruits and we always left with amazing produce every time we went, grow with friends and swap food to save on money. 

We still have a huge amount of work to do on both the house and the garden as when we bought it it was in a bad way, but it has been so much fun to do, we reuse anything we can and have tried to do the house up on a shoestring budget, yes we have some new things but there is something really satisfying about using something second hand and making it your own. Here are some photos of things we are currently growing:


 Our Cherry tree is covered in fruit and it will be a real battle with the birds to pick as many of these as possible before they get them all!

Courgettes are very easy to grow and you will have more than you can eat.

 A peek inside our greenhouse, this was actually already in the garden but we have replaced some of the glass. It is nice and warm so a great place to start off your seeds and young plants.

 Pea plants are some of my favourites they look beautiful and they taste amazing, we never cook ours, raw straight off the plant is the only way to go! 

 Soft fruits like blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are so expensive in the supermarkets and if you are buying organic you are looking at a small fortune, I always like to grow these myself wherever possible and look pretty in the garden too. 

I don't tend to share more personal pictures on the blog as it just doesn't feel right, however I couldn't resist this photo of my son and I pottering around the plot with his pretend wheelbarrow! He is a lot bigger now but this photo is my favourite.

Do you grow your own? If so what is your favourite thing about it? 

Ana x 
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Saturday, 24 May 2014

Mel Millis Organic skincare review




Every now and again you discover a line that is so special that you know that you will be buying the products for years to come, that's exactly how I felt when I received a beautiful parcel from Mel Millis. My humble camera couldn't begin to capture how stunning these products are, everything about them from the slick dark miron glass bottles to the intricate attention to detail just absolutely blew me away. Mel Millis has a quintessentially English feel to the branding, it reminds me of beautiful cottage gardens and they are based just a stones throw away from me in the Cotswold's. The brand was founded by Tracey Foy who is experienced in the skincare industry and the philosophy is simple but powerful, skincare that works in harmony with nature and it's science. 

All the skincare is Artisan made in micro-batches and the ingredients themselves are very high quality, Tracey has chosen all of the organic extracts and oils for their different properties such as antioxidants, essential fatty acids and probiotics and put them together to create a line that is honestly quite breath taking, it feels like a true celebration of plants and their benefits. Tracey uses a lot of CO2 extracted oils, these are very good quality and they allow the properties of the plant to remain intact, all ingredients are sustainably harvested. The paper packaging has wild flower seeds sown in to it, so when you open your products you can tear up the cardboard and plant it and wait for your wild flowers to grow, I am looking forward to doing this really soon. 

I have been testing three beautiful products: 

Organic Rose Hydrolate Mist tonic This is a beautiful Rosewater spray with Organic Rosewater and Rosa Damascena, it is beautifully hydrating and prepares the skin for any products that you are going to use. This is a true rose toner, it is a classic rose that has real depth to scent thanks to the rose water and the rose essential oil and it smells wonderful. This is a real treat for the skin, I love these types of sprays and this is up there with the nicest ones I have tried. I would definitely repurchase this as a special treat. 

Organic Rose and Pomegranate Rebalancing face oil This is where I go from just being impressed to being blown away, I am partial to the odd facial oil... by that read that I have something of an addiction, but my skin loved this blend from the first moment I applied it. With Rosehip, Argan, Pomegranate, baobab, geranium, rose, bitter orange and chamomile there are no cheaper carrier oils in this blend, you get such high quality for such a good price and this is well worth investing in if you have dry skin in need of rebalancing and nourishing. I use a few drops in the morning under moisturiser, the scent is gorgeous, difficult to describe but slightly sweet and floral but not at all overpowering. My sensitive skin loved the extra nourishment this provides and it helped to heal some dry patches I had been struggling with. 

The Baobab and Immortelle Age defying serum I have left the best until last... this blend was stunning! I have been using this at nights and most days I haven't needed to add any moisturiser on top, it is deeply nourishing. My skin can't get enough of this product and before I know it has been absorbed and I am just left with nourished glowing skin that is calmed and soothed. Much like the previous blend this is just full to bursting with great ingredients Rosehip, Pomegranate, Baobab, Sea Buckthorn, Jojoba, Carrot oil and finally the prized Immortelle. Immortelle is not an ingredient I had used before although I had heard great things, Immortelle is a beautiful golden flower from the daisy family, the myth goes that the gods graced mere mortals with this flower. The lists of benefits for this essential oil is a long one, but the main ones that caught my eye were anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing which are both things that my skin is grateful of at the moment. Both of the oil bottles has a built in dropper in the lid and were very easy to use, more so that the usual squeezy droppers you get with facial oils, I will be reusing all of the glass packaging as it is simply too nice to waste!

If you are looking for a more niche organic brand with impeccable ingredients then I would highly recommend Mel Millis, Tracey has created a line that really feels like it truly works in harmony with the skin and one which I can't get enough of, artisan skincare at it's best.  

Ana x


Post may contain PR samples or affiliate links please see my full disclaimer for details.
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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

How to save money on your beauty shopping



As a massive beauty addict I have to keep a tight rein on my beauty budget because it can easily get out of hand, I thought I would share with you some of my best tips on how to save money and in some cases even get things for free:


Sign up to newsletters for offers and discount codes, there is a lot of competition for our money these days especially on-line so by signing up to the newsletters for your favourite shops you will be sent all of their latest offers to lure you in to spending, this is both good and bad and I have to add to this tip that when you have spent your beauty budget you need to be ruthless at deleting any emails that may tempt you in to spending money you don't have. People tend to automatically sign up for newsletters at the time of making their first purchase however I always sign up slightly before I intend to buy something as you often get sent a discount code or offer as a thank you. 

I never ever by anything on-line without googling to check if there is a discount code and checking to see if it is available somewhere else cheaper, it really is amazing sometimes the differences in price, also I have found discount codes for some of my favourite sites that you can use again and again, always check, it takes two minutes but can save you lot's of money. 

Enter competitions, I know people can get a little annoyed with the RT's and competition entries but honestly I have had some great products from competitions on Facebook, Twitter ect... Follow your favourite brands and companies and spend a few minutes each week entering and you could win lot's of lovely things you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford, I know I have! Don't forget blog's often have lovely competitions too, I do have a rule that I only enter the competition if I already follow the blog or if I have just discovered them if I love the content and intend to continue reading. 

When it comes to natural beauty you need to remember that the products are often more concentrated and so you may not need as much, read your labels and decide where to spend your money more effectively, I love waterless and multi-purpose products which give you great bang for your buck! 

You can get some bargains in places like Ebay or TK maxx and Homesense but there are some rules I now follow as I have been caught out by thinking I had a bargain when I really didn't. I always buy products on Ebay that are described as new, anything in an airless pump or sealed is always best but use your discretion and check seller feedback. When it comes to TK Maxx and Homesense always check the best before date, often they have things reduced for a reason, I am now the proud owner of a 400 ml bottle of moisturiser which was a bargain price but I only have a month to use it, doh!


I adore Latest in Beauty for budget friendly samples and beauty boxes which you can view before you buy, they often have lot's of green beauty brands at really great prices, I have recently seen Therapie, Green People and Essential on there so it's well worth taking a look at what they have.

Samples are your friend when it comes to trying new products, lot's of brands offer sample and trial sizes but if you are after a sample and the brand doesn't offer it green boutique Being Content has a sample service where you can order four samples only £3, it's a great way to try products before committing to a full size. If you are in the US Spirit of Beauty Lounge also offers a sample service, be warned though for UK girlies you can order but will probably get charged a customs fare so look in to that first, I loved my samples but they were more expensive than I would have liked.

Have you got any tips for saving money on your beauty purchases?

Ana x
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Saturday, 17 May 2014

Skincare love: Lulu and Boo Organics

   
    I am not sure why I haven't tried Lulu and Boo organics until now, but they have been on the list of brands that really interested me for some time. How I actually came to make a purchase though was a bit random, I was searching for the perfect cleansing balm, I was after something very gentle and soothing, something with Chamomile and Calendula and low on essential oils, when I did a Google search and read about Lulu and Boo's cleanser it sounded perfect and I was very excited at the thought of maybe finding the perfect "one". I am a really big cleansing balm fan and I have tried quite a few that I really like, my big annoyance with some organic brands is that they make a wonderful cleansing balm and add essential oils that my skin just can't tolerate such as Eucalyptus which sets off my Rosacea like nothing else I know, after reading the ingredients list and having lusted after the brand for so long I was sold and before I knew it there were some items in my shopping cart. 

    Before talking about the products themselves it really is worth pointing out some of Lulu and boo's green credentials, the majority of the products in the range are Soil Association certified organic and registered with the Vegan Society. All the products come housed in beautiful glass packaging which is easily reusable or recyclable and the products are all free from SLS, parabens, artificial scents and colours and instead filled with botanical ingredients and therapeutic essential oils. The founder of Lulu and Boo organics Claire Edmonds used to be a make-up artist and was forced to leave her job due to ill health, like many others when she started to evaluate her lifestyle choices Lulu and Boo was developed and born. 

    Chamomile Cleansing balm (£24.75 for 50 mls) Is a gorgeous rich balm with 99% organic ingredients. Just like any cleansing balm you don't need a lot of product, as soon as the oils make contact with your skin it melts beautifully and you can give yourself the most perfect facial massage. The fact that you can really spend some time working it in for me separates cleansing balms from other types of cleanser, if you have dry skin and redness like me this product has the ideal ingredients list, Hemp oil is a good source of GLA, Macadamia oil is very nourishing for dry skin, Calendula and Chamomile extracts are both soothing and anti-inflammatory, these are the hero ingredients that I wanted in my cleansing balm and I am so happy to have found them. The list goes on and on but I couldn't find anything I didn't like. The scent is very subtle herbal scent, compared to most of my other cleansing balms up to now this one is lighter on the essential oils but I have to say I like that about it as it is very gentle, is has Rose oil which is very good for redness but the scent is a combination of the oils and isn't overly floral. I couldn't love this product any more if I tried I would happily buy again and again it suits my dry skin to perfection, it's a keeper.  

    Aloe and Eyebright Gel (£19 for 15 mls) I don't tend to use eye gels consistently as I tend to prefer creams and balms as I suffer from dryness, however lately I have been suffering from puffiness which is not a problem I have had before and this gel has really come to my rescue. This has Aloe vera, eye-bright and Arnica, to target puffiness and dark circles, I don't think I have been using it long enough to comment on whether it doe anything for dark circles but I keep it in the fridge and apply when I am looking puffy and it works wonders. You only need a pump and I like to gently circle around my eyes towards the ducts to help with drainage, as the warmer weather is coming I am very pleased to have this as an alternative to creams. 

    I am sure these won't be my last Lulu and Boo Purchases, I noticed they have a Vanilla and Jasmine scented body collection which sounds like my idea of heaven. If you have any recommendations for me from the brand please leave them in the comments below. If you are after gorgeous organic ingredients and well made products so far I can't recommend Lulu and boo enough. 

Ana x 
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Green Beauty news #4



I will keep this weeks green beauty news brief, because with this sunshine everyone should be outdoors enjoying themselves rather than tapping away behind a computer. There are a few worthy mentions to be had however: 

New to the UK this week is brand Kadalys recently launched at on line boutique A beautiful world. Kadalys takes fruity beauty to a whole new level with their range of products, Kadali means banana in Sanskrit and the range uses a range of extracts from bananas and the banana tree, already a hit in France now we can see what all the fuss is about too. Unsurprisingly I have found myself drawn to the oils, the range is off to a great start as they offer three beautiful oils including the sublime oil which is a shimmering oil, great for summer evenings, other products worthy of a look is their cult banana balm which is packed with waxes and butters to leave your lips smooth and cared for. When you buy any two Kadalys products A Beautiful World is currently giving away a gorgeous Moleskine notebook for all those important to do lists.

Bloom remedies are offering a gorgeous 30 ml size of their Serenity slumber bath oil with any order over £25 for the month of May, Bloom remedies are my go to brand for great quality, purse friendly organic products, the moisturisers, Shea Butter body lotion and body oils are all highly recommended. Find the offer and the page to sign up to Bloom Remedies newsletter here.

Organic superstore Planet Organic are offering 10% off all orders over £50 in the month of may, they have such a good selection of food and lifestyle items as well as a lovely beauty section, I have been a happy customer for years now and this offer is too good to miss.

Ana x

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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Fruity favourites for summer


    Something about the sun shining makes me want to get out all my fruity scented products, as much as I love more herbal and floral scents at this time of year fruity is the way to go. Here are the fruit scented products I am loving at the moment: 

    Deep Steep Passionfruit Guava Hand-wash (£6.95 for 237 mls) After trying a couple of Deep Steep scents I was a little unconvinced by what they had to offer, however this Passion fruit guava scent has totally won me over. It is a true fruity and sweet scent that is totally delicious, the hand wash comes out of the pump in a foam format which is fun and the formula is totally non drying. I have no idea what deep steep use exactly to scent their products, on the labelling it just says "Organic and wild crafted aroma blend" which is vague at best, however this product smells soo good I am willing to forgive that and I will be buying this hand wash again and again. Also worth pointing out that Deep Steep are very well priced so they won't break the bank, this get's a thumbs up from me. 

    One Love Organics Skin Saviour waterless balm (£30 for 51 mls) This is my first One Love Organics product and I am sure it won't be the last, I love the scent of this balm it is easily one of best smelling products I own, with Orange peel and Vanilla this has a beautiful exotic smell. The balm itself can be used for cleansing, moisturising, on dry patches of skin and even to tame fly-away's if you are having a bad hair day. I am on to my second trial sized pot of this and I will buy the full size when it runs out. 

    Bloom Remedies Strawberry lip balm* (£3.95) Since I have had this lip balm it has been a faithful companion at my bedside table, I love the texture and the scent as well as the price of these lip balms, I personally want my lips to taste like strawberries everyday and this balm will make that happen for you. Silky smooth and smelling sweet, yes please!

    Organic Surge Tropical Bergamot Shower gel* (£4.35 for 250 mls) Organic surge make some great budget friendly products and this Shower gel has a beautiful fresh and fruity scent that is perfect for this time of year. Sweet Orange and Bergamot give this SLS and Paraben free shower gel a tropical twist that I absolutely love and I will be sure to repurchase, at under £5 this is also an absolute beauty steel! 

   Which fruity scents are you loving at the moment? 

Ana x

*PR samples, all opinions my own and based on my experiences. 

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Monday, 12 May 2014

Nom Nom skincare: Body oil


Pregnancy is a time when a lot of people, myself included take a closer look at some of the products they are using, which is why I was so excited to discover Nom Nom a beautiful Soil Association certified organic brand which caters to the most precious moments for Mums and babies. Nom Nom was created by Jayne Russell who is also experienced providing nutritional, massage and weaning advice to mums, the skincare range was developed around the feedback she was getting and so Jayne set about making a range that is gentle, effective and nourishing.
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Saturday, 10 May 2014

Ishga Skincare Inspired by the Sea



    I say it again and again but there are so many brands I never would have discovered if it wasn't for blogging and I feel completely spoiled for choice these days when it comes to my skincare regime. A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to win an entire skincare range from the brand Ishga Scottish Seaweed  courtesy of the amazing Beauty Shortlist which is a treasure trove of beauty finds run by Fiona Klonarides who in my opinion is also one of the nicest people in blogging. As a lover of seaweed skincare and of course natural products I was jumping for joy and incredibly excited to find out I had won, and that excitement continued with the opening and testing of the products. 

    The name Ishga comes from the Gaelic word for water, the healing and soothing properties of Seaweed and sea water are very much at the heart of this range. The Seaweed and sea water used are sourced from the Hebrides which has some of the cleanest waters in the world, the reason these ingredients are included in the Ishga range is due to the high levels antioxidants they have which can anti-ageing properties. Whilst it is essentially an anti-ageing line I think Ishga is accessible to all age groups and in my case works well as a preventative line rather than purely for treating the signs of ageing, so if you are yet to see any signs of ageing don't be put off you can still enjoy the range. There is a whole team of people behind Ishga, which is based on the Isle of Lewis, the backgrounds of the team are varied and cover science, beauty and seaweed harvesting itself, you certainly get a feel for this variety of experience in the quality of the products themselves and the attention to detail that they have put in to the range. 

     The products themselves were a pleasure to test and use and a few have made it in to my regular skincare routine and have now become a permanent feature, considering the amount of products I test that isn't easily done so it gives you an idea of how good they are. The results of these products are good straight away but it's not until after a few months of testing that you realise just how good they are, the products in the range compliment each other well and each step enhances the next. 

    Active cleansing lotion (£30 for 100 mls) Is a very light and fresh creamy cleanser, an absolute joy to wake up to and use in the morning. Jojoba oil, cocoa butter, seaweed and Hebridean sea water are all included. The cleanser has a beautiful light citrus scent from the lemon oil and bergamot oil, really nice. I love this as a morning cleanse or a second cleanse after using a balm, it isn't stripping but it is light so I can imagine combination and oily skins would like this a lot. 

    Exfoliating Face mask (£35 for 50 mls) Sadly I wasn't able to test this product properly as it was just a little bit too active for highly sensitive skin (with the beginnings of Rosacea), I was extremely disappointed but I do these days have to be extremely careful about how I exfoliate my skin and these types of masks are generally a no go, so it's not just this one I can't use but most products if it's kind. It is a really interesting product, it is a dark green/black colour due to the Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed powder, I used some on my chin and it left the skin very soft, it looks like a spa treatment at home so perfect for a spot of pampering. 

    Hebridean Marine toner (£25 for 150 mls) I love a good spray toner and this one didn't disappoint. It has Hebridean spring water, Aloe vera and cucumber extract and is scented with lemon and mandarin oils. This is my go to spritz if I ever get a blemish, have you ever noticed that when you go to the beach your skin is always clear, the combination of sea salt and sun work wonders, well this is the closest thing I have found to be being on the beach but in a bottle, it helps the skin to heal that bit faster and it lovely and hydrating too. 

   Antioxidant Marine cream (£70 for 50 mls) There is an element in this review of me leaving the best until last, these last two products are the ones that honestly now I feel I wouldn't want to live without. The anti-oxidant Marine cream has a very unique texture for a natural product it is almost a gel cream incredibly light but also very nourishing. This cream has some great organic ingredients, Shea butter, apricot kernel oil and macadamia nut oil to name a few and they are of course enriched with the signature seaweed extract. This leaves the skin so supremely soft and with a gentle glow, it has a fairly matter finish but despite this my dry skin loved it, it also layers well with other products. It improves the luminosity of the skin so if dullness is an issue for you I think this is a very good investment. There is no getting away from the fact that it's pricey but it is a very high quality product and one that is lovely to use. 

    Regenerating Face serum (£60 for 50 mls) This is the product in the line that surprised me the most and the one that I would be hard pressed to remove from my routine now, I am big fan of oils but don't use as many water based serums, however using this product has made a really big difference to hydration and smoothness of my skin, I mix a pump of this with a pump or two of oil mornings and evenings and apply after toner and before moisturiser. This works beautifully with the Anti-oxidant Marine cream and both are pure luxury to use but with great results. This serum comes out as a brown looking gel, quite thick but easily absorbed, as you would expect this product is all about the seaweed itself, it is showing off it's benefits in a really simple but effective way. There is some great information about the benefits of seaweed on the Ishga site which I recommend you read, but it is a fantastic ingredient for soothing and repairing the skin and is very popular in spa treatments for this reason. This serum is for me the star of the show, can't say enough good things. 

    A quick mention for the packaging which manages to be both functional and beautiful, the deep purple colour looks great on any dressing table. Although the packaging looks completely opaque there is a small clear strip on the sides of the cleanser and the serum so you can see how much product you left, when you test a lot of beauty products it's details like this that make all the difference and I thought it was a really great touch. Lot's of lovely organic ingredients with Seaweed at it's heart, a commitment to sustainable sourcing and a real passion for the Scottish sea sums up Ishga for me. Using the products I couldn't help but feel the range was missing an oil, you know how much I love my oils and low and behold Ishga have now added a facial oil and some gorgeous looking body care products to the range which is wonderful to see, of course they have gone straight on my wish list too. Ishga are highly recommended by me if you after a luxury line with great results and ethics, big thank you to both Ishga and the Beauty Shortlist for my amazing prize. 

Ana x 
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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Green Beauty news #4



It's that time of the week again where I round up the green beauty news and deals, I am going to keep it fairly brief this week because I have been blogging almost every day and catching up on reviews. I still wanted to write this post because there are some great things to share with you, so I shall get straight to it: 

British brand Bodhi is soon to be re-branding as Bodhi and Birch, it feels like a natural progression for the brand which launched three years ago, don't worry though the brand is keeping it's natural ingredients and ethical stance as well as continuing to be inspired by Eastern and Western well being philosophies. In addition to the new name the range will be expanding, starting with the gorgeous Lime Blossom protecting hand serum, which is packed with lovely active botanicals including a naturally antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic blend of Lime and Green Mandarin essential oils all in a nourishing base of olive squalane, sweet almond oil, rosehip oil and plum kernel oil to delivery nourishment to hands in a serum form, moisturising and protecting much quicker than a hand cream could. This serum joins the other products in the Artisan collection and makes for a very welcome addition in my opinion and launches on the 12th of May.




On line retailer Love Lula have launched their Love Lula Boutique, showcasing smaller harder to find brands. Some of the recent additions are Suti, Ochre body and skin, Inner Soul organics and Kelly Edwards skincare to name but a few. Since the merger of sites Love Lula and Amarya, Love Lula have established themselves as the largest on line retailer for natural and organic cosmetics, I am excited to see the addition of some of the smaller, less well known brands alongside the well established names, some are already firm favourites and some I have yet to try. 

Deal of the week comes from Abahna who have recently moved premises and are celebrating by giving you a whopping £10 off any purchases over £30, all you have to do is subscribe to the newsletter to receive the code. 

Another great deal also from Irish site Wapo Beauty who are offering 20% off all body care purchases until the 11/05/2014 with the code "body2014", the site stocks great brands such as Matarrania and Trilogy. My choice would be the Matarrania cellulite oil (review) as it's definitely not too late to get summer ready!

Last but not least if you are in London over the weekend skincare brand Pai have a pop up shop off Marylebone called the Little shop of beauty. The event is all about bringing together the best natural health and beauty as well as exclusive event discounts and shopping opportunities, the event starts Friday and will be running until Sunday. Other brands taking part include Pacifica and Giovanni for cosmetics but there will also be a Fitness Q&A with Barry's Boot camp on Sunday. To kick start the event Pai's founder Sarah Brown will be giving a Breakfast talk entitled "How I took control of my sensitive skin" If you are a fan of the brand or simply have sensitive skin it is well worth taking a look, more details can be found here



Ana x 

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My favourite Bodhi scents: Bath and shower therapies review.


    If ever there was a day when I felt the need to warm up in a lovely bath full of bubbles, today would be it. I got soaked on the on way back from the school run, silly to chance it and walk I know but I fancied the exercise, so here I am cold, wet and very much looking forward to my bath time treat later which will consist of a bubble bath with one of the Bodhi bath and Shower therapies. If you have read this blog before you will have heard me talk about this brand again and again, they are a British, luxury, aromatherapy line that also happen to use gorgeous natural, organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. I have nearly reviewed every product in the line, there are few products that are instant repurchases the minute they run out, such as the amazing Rosemary chi Himalayan detox salt scrub of which I am scraping the last bit  out of my second pot now and couldn't imagine living without it, needless to say this is a line I really really like and use a lot of. 

    Today's post will be concentrating on three of my favourite Bodhi scents and the Bath and Shower Therapies, when chatting with the brand owner Elijah Choo about his products he has told me that it is unusual to find someone who enjoys all of the scents he creates because they are all so different, but everyone will have a scent that appeals to them in the line, I think because scent is such a personal thing he is right to certain extent, whilst I found all of the scents to be very pleasant these three are the ones that really appeal to me and my moods. I have tried all of the scents at some point and my least favourite without a doubt is Mint the, my nose just can't detect the depth in it that other people seem to find, lot's of people love it though so you really need to test these before making up your mind. Because these fragrances are all natural and made from essential oils they have a therapeutic and aromatherapy element to too, these products are perfect for pampering and deep relaxation but some of the scents can also be uplifting. This is a two in one product because they can be used in the Bath or the shower, I like to use them in the bath because of the lovely gentle foam they create, surprisingly for an SLS free you get a really impressive amount of bubbles that last until the end of the bath, nothing more disappointing than a product that disappears half way through. Because of the high essential oil content I would advise to avoid these on already irritated or broken skin, but the formula itself is very gentle, the bubbles come from ingredients derived from coconut oil and fruit sugar and is incredibly effective. When I do use them in the shower they pair perfectly with the Bodhi bamboo cloth for a gentle exfoliation. 

    On to the scents themselves, I have three clear favourites that I buy again and again, I also buy the corresponding moisturisers and find it lovely to be able to layer the scents. I find the products tend to last a long time as they are so concentrated: 

    Rosemary Chi reviving bath and shower therapy (£23 for 250 mls) Is an uplifting scent and is my all time favourite product for a Weekend morning bath or shower, this blend always makes me feel happy and encourages me to get up and on with my day. The fragrance consists of top notes of Mandarin, Petitgrain and sage, middle notes of Rosemary, geranium and Clary sage and base notes of Cedarwood, Galangal and Vetyver. As you can see these are constructed like perfumes, they are not your average bath and body product, they are incredibly special. This blend is beautiful and fresh, if you forced me to pick a favourite I actually think this would be my most used Bodhi scent now, very closely followed by Jasmine falls. 

    Ylang Ylang Incensa sensual bath and shower therapy (£23 for 250 mls) This was the first Bodhi product I tried quite a few years ago now and a scent I still love, this has a Feminine edge to it but I know it still appeals to men, incidently Bodhi is designed to be unisex. The fragrance blend starts with Honeysuckle and Hyacinth as the top notes, Ylang Ylang, Roman chamomile, Pink peppercorn and Neroli are the heart notes and Patchouli is the base note. This reminds me a little of incense burning as it seems to have a smokiness to it which adds a sensual edge, it is still however 100% glamorous without a trace of hippy in sight and would appeal to lot's of people. 

    Jasmine falls relaxing bath and shower therapy (£23 for 250 mls) Is a gorgeous blend deeply scented with Jasmine, this one encourages relaxation and a good nights sleep. The top note is red mandarin, heart notes of Jamine Absolute, Lavender and Ylang Ylang with base notes of Vetyver. Jasmine absolute is one of the most expensive essential oils in the world because jasmine flowers have to harvested at night which is when they are at their most aromatic. This is a very intense floral scent and it has an instant calming effect on my mood, this is perfect for evenings when you are tired and in need of a something to help you unwind. 

   So those are my favourite Bodhi scents, I have some news about Bodhi in tomorrows post so look out for that too. My Bodhi bath is calling me...

Ana x 



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Monday, 5 May 2014

Bare Biology Omega 3 oil review



    Supplements are one of those topics that tend to divide people firmly into two camps, those that like them and those that don't. I personally fall in to the first category and have written a few times on this blog about the supplements that I take to enhance my well being. I am also pretty realistic about them, they are not a cure all and do not replace the need for a good diet but I think if you choose your supplements carefully they can definitely help you to target specific concerns. For me my main concerns are around my skin, I have the beginnings of Rosacea and I suffer from psoriasis on my scalp and occasionally elbows and knees, all of my issues tend to be inflammatory in nature and so I have been making real effort of late to follow an anti-inflammatory diet with Omega 3 being known for anti-inflammatory effect.

    Supplementing with  Omega's is not something that is new to me and I have been doing it for a while the main difference here is the type, up until very recently I had been using a Vegetarian Omega blend and I whilst I had been getting good results I wasn't thrilled with the taste or the amount I had to take and I had been looking for an oil that was purely Omega 3 and from fish oil. I connected with Melanie Lawson founder of Bare Biology Omega 3* and she kindly offered to send me a bottle of her Clinical strength Omega 3 supplement which is quite honestly the most concentrated fish oil I have managed to find on sale in the UK and I have been looking for a while. 

    The fish oil is sourced from Norway, just one spoonful is equivalent of the same amount of DHA and EPA that you would get from 10 capsules from other brands. EPA and DHA are both sources of long chain fatty acids, they are the ones commonly found in high quality fish oil, there are vegetarian sources of Omega 3 but these tend to be short chain fatty acids and you have to take a lot more of these to get the same health benefits  This is perhaps the key to how good this supplement is because you are only getting the best quality and therefore only need a teaspoon a day for an adult (although you can take more to increase the results), when I was taking the Vegetarian oils I was having to take a couple of tablespoons to get the same benefits.

    The other clear benefit to this oil is the taste, it is very fresh and easy to digest, it has some added lemon oil and although you can tell it is fish oil, it is by far the nicest tasting product of it's kind I have ever used. Bare Biology only use really fresh high quality fish oil sources all from responsible and sustainable sources. If you are concerned about mercury contamination of fish then there is no need to be with Bare Biology as they are stringently checked and approved by IFOS which is the International Fish oil agency. If you want details about the fish oil there is lot's of great advice and information on the bare biology website.

    So on to my results, I have been using the oil for just over two months now and I noticed a dramatic improvement in my Psoriasis, in fact I can't remember the last time I was miserable about my scalp which previously was something that made me miserable on a daily basis. I also noticed a smoothing of the skin on my upper arms and the unsightly bumps you get there, those have all but disappeared just in time for summer. The other unexpected effect has been what I can only describe as a boost to my mood, it's given me an extra spring in my step which was certainly not there before as a well as boost in confidence as my skin has improved. My skin is perhaps the best it has been in a long time with regards to breakouts and hydration, and I definitely think this oil plays a part. It is important to consult your doctor before deciding to take any supplements and considering carefully what is right for you, but if you have similar skin issues to mine I highly recommend Bare Biology and will be replacing this bottle shortly. 

    Bare Biology costs £47.50 for a 150 ml bottle yes this is definitely not an inexpensive product but one which I think justifies the price with the high quality, for me personally when I think about the amount of money I spend on beauty products especially special shampoos and oils to help my scalp then it puts the cost of this in to perspective. How long a bottle with last you will depend on how much you take daily, I managed to get mine to last a full two months, admittedly I did miss the odd day here and there but you get my drift, I think this is a very good investment in your health and treating your skin from within, I loved it and it is worth mentioning it is suitable for children too in a much smaller dose of course, so I share this with my son. 

barebiology.com

Ana x

*Sample generously provided, the information provided is based on my experience, if you have any health concerns please see a qualified medical professional. 
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Sunday, 4 May 2014

Current make up bag favourites


    It's Bank holiday weekend here in the UK and the sun is out which is both refreshing and very welcome. I thought I would show you some make up items I am really enjoying at the moment for the warmer weather. There is a mix of creams and powder formulas as I like to keep things varied.

    Starting with my base I am still very much enjoying the Ren Satin perfection BB cream, I bought this last summer and don't have much left, REN have thankfully changed the packaging for a squeezy tube as I had problems with my pump so I am looking forward to repurchasing this again now. This comes out as a scary looking orange cream but the colour adaptive technology is very clever and after a couple of minutes it settles down and matches to your skin tone, I love the light texture and dewy but not shiny finish, full review here

    Next up is eyes and I have been testing these lovely eye shadows* from NATorigin, for those of you who read my blog regularly you will know that I love the brand and I am big fan of their mascara and lipsticks. These eye shadows didn't disappoint and are really pretty, slightly shimmery with a nice soft finish perfect for a soft summery look, I will review these fully with swatches very soon. Whilst I am trying to inject some colour in to my choices I am still very much a neutrals girl at heart and this duo from Lily Lolo (review) is still a firm favourite for a neutral eye, I have also added this little sample of W3LL People eye shadow to my list of favourite things, a sparkly champagne colour I received this as a sample in an order and it has wet my appetite for more of their products. To add some definition I have been using this purple Kohl pencil from Terre D'oc as a nice alternative to brown and black. Lastly for eye's I am trying out the Essential care mascara, another brand that get's a fair few mentions and that I like a lot, so far so good with this mascara, it is still early days but it gives a very pretty natural look which manages to stay put, it doesn't quite give me as much volume as I would like for my lashes but as an everyday mascara it is very nice and the staying power is impressive. 

   For my cheeks and lips I am enjoying pinks, RMS Lip2cheek in smile (review) is a firm favourite and such a pretty colour, a corally pink which is very wearable and brightens your face. I am big fan of Lily Lolo's blushes and this one is called candy girl* and is a perfect bright, fresh slightly blue toned pink, if used with a light hand gives the prettiest flush of colour and lasts all day, I have been loving this one lately. For lips I think Kjaer Weis Romance* (review) is one of my favourite all time colours, a sheer wash of colour that is very wearable if you are not confident with a bold lip, these are comfortable to wear and that packaging... well it's just stunning!

Ana x

*PR samples as always all opinions my own. 
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Friday, 2 May 2014

Greenwood organics Shea butter and Frangipani body butter



    I love great body products, I am not someone who finds moisturising my body a chore, in fact it is the exact opposite, having five minutes to myself after my bath or shower to make sure my skin is the best it can be is all part and parcel of taking the best care of myself I can and I actually find it very relaxing. Meet my latest moisturising treat the Greenwood Organics Fragipani and Shea Butter body cream* (£28 for 200 mls), I had discovered Greenwood organics some months ago and had loved the look of the products so I was delighted to try this body cream which is a new addition to the range. 

    Greenwood organics are a brand that create organic products to nourish and nurture the skin, the company blends and formulates all their products by hand independently. They are working towards their organic certification on their products and currently use certified organic suppliers, all the organic ingredients have a little * next to them on the ingredients lists so you can clearly see how organic the products really are, I went through a lot of the ingredients lists on the site and was very impressed. A lot of the products are packaged in Violet glass which is easy to recycle and you can return to Greenwood organics if you wish, the body cream comes in a plastic tub which I will be reusing, the company are environmentally conscious and try and reduce waste where possible. 

    This cream is deeply scented with Frangipani, it is a very unique scent, both sweet and floral at the same time, I am fascinated by it and as the months have gone on it has become one of my personal favourites. The scent is one that lingers on the skin for hours after application and as such I have found that I only need a small amount of this product before bed for a relaxing treat for the senses. The formula is simply one of the nicest I have found in a body product, it has great slip, feels silky smooth and is a joy to apply as well as being deeply nourishing without being greasy, I love the formula so much I think it would be lovely if it was available in some different scents as some people may not find Frangipani to their taste, however if you love it I really highly recommend this product as the quality is superb!

    Greenwood organics have full ingredients listings on their site and they have a lovely looking selection of skincare and body care products, I can't find any fault in the ethics or ingredients, some of the water based products contain phenoxyethanol but a lot of the products are water free and have antioxidants added to help them preserve the goodness, so I think they have something that would suit most peoples ingredient standards, I love that most of the ingredients used are organic, it's always nice to encourage organic farming as it has so many benefits for wildlife. Greenwood organics are another lovely company that is British, independent and making wonderful products by hand, all the things I love and look for in a brand and I think is well worth bookmarking the site. I already have my eye on some more products and will probably make a purchase at some point in the future, I really like to support smaller artisan businesses and Greenwood Organics ticks all the boxes. 

greenwoodorganics.co.uk

Ana x

*This product was provided as a PR sample, all opinions are my own.
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Green Beauty news and launches #3



Here's this weeks green beauty news, I have been really enjoying writing these posts so thank you to everyone who stopped by to comment on the previous ones, the response was really lovely! 

I have used the Organic brand Botanicals for years and I was thrilled to see that they have had an amazing make over to celebrate their 10th anniversary, I am completely in love with their Apothecary style labels and can't wait for the new packaging to be available, which will happen some time mid May. The range will be changing over gradually so stay tuned for that! I love the Rose and camellia range and always have the face balm on hand, the cleansers are also highly recommended. in fact I have loved everything I have tried!


A brand that has sparked my interest recently is Pulpe de Vie, it is Ecocert and Cosmebio certified and is interestingly for a natural brand essential oil free. Pulpe de Vie use fruits to create fun, fresh products that are fully traceable in their origin and free from silicones, parabens and GMO's. Whilst I love my essential oils there are times when they are best avoided and so far this has been fairly difficult if you like natural cosmetics. Aside from that all the products just sound delicious and fresh so perfect for the summer season ahead! 

Gorgeous British brand Suti have launched a new face cream, the Honour Coconut and Rose Face cream (£48 for 50 mls) with Organic rose otto, Coconut oil and date seed extract this cream has 80% organic ingredients. I ordered a pack of lovely samples from Suti and I have a sachet of this so I will report back on it soon. 

The latest addition to Oskia's luxury skincare offering is the beautiful Restoration oil (£60 for 30 mls) as usual for Oskia they blend active ingredients with botanical oils, some of the more unusual ingredients include African Acmella flower and Alaria Esculenta Algae, all housed in very sleek looking green bottle. I am a really big fan of the Renaisance cleansing gel for brightening and smoothing the skin so this latest product looks very promising. 


Lastly a great offer from Green People who have free shipping and double reward points on their website this weekend, it is the perfect time to stock up on sun cream and I also highly recommend their eye shadows and sensitive skin line, such a great green brand so you can enjoy shopping knowing you are in safe hands. 


Have a great (and green!) weekend everyone!


Ana x 
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