Wednesday, 19 July 2017

My Top Reads: January to June 2017

I'm picking one book a month this year (or two if I really can't decide) which has been my top read. Here's my January - June picks:

January:

In January, I read 6 books (review) and my top read was Secrets we Keep by Faith Hogan.



February:

In February, I read 6 books (review) and my top read was Sealskin by Su Bristow. I also adored Sister Sister by Sue Fortin.




March:

In March, I read 6 books (review) and this month again I can't choose! I adore M J Arlidge's DI Helen Grace series and have happily found a love of the Mirabelle Bevan series by Sara Sheridan.




April:

In April, I read 8 books (review) and my top book was The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve.


May:

In May, I read 8 books (review) and my top book was The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie. I also loved A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys.




June:

In June I read 7 books (see here). My top book is Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. I also loved Amanda Prowse's The Idea of You.




Are any of these in your top reads of 2017?

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Bliss Botanicals


I first became aware of gorgeous Bliss Botanicals when I spotted them on Ali's Instagram. Being a lover of all things rose I knew they had to be mine too! So I think it was definitely a case of the blogger made me buy it! Check out Ali's blog HERE.

Rebecca (blogs at The Sparkle Nest) is the creator and formulator and the products combine her love of plants, fragrance and organic natural skincare. She's been making candles, soaps and skincare products for over 10 years.

She's currently studying for qualifications in Holistic Herbalism & Aromatherapy. All the products are charged with healing energy, comply with EU safety regulations and are handmade with love in small batches.

The products are absolutely exquisite as well as great value for money. For £4.50 you get 10 soy wax melts. The Vanilla & Rose ones come in a little bag with rose petals (making them perfect for gifting if you can bear to part with them that is!) I also love the sparkles which become more apparent when you pop the melt on the burner.  The scent is very rosey with a warm vanilla edge, has a good throw and I just love them!


The weekend I ordered Rebecca was offering free samples of the other melts so I'm looking forward to trying them also. See the range HERE.

She also sent me a new product which isn't available in the shop yet - Rose Geranium Lip Balm which deeply nourishes the lips and leaves them smelling of roses (it's one of the best lip balms I've ever used!)

I also picked up a soap - Happiness Soap - Lavender & Clary Sage (£4.75 - 90g) which is a cold process soap made with olive and coconut oils, shea butter and essential oils of lavender and clary sage. This is so beautifully gift wrapped. I've not tried it yet - review will follow!


Have you tried any products from Bliss Botanicals?

Monday, 17 July 2017

Love Lula: The Handmade Soap Co: Lemongrass & Cedarwood Essential Oil Diffuser

I'm a huge fan of The Handmade Soap Co. I first tried some of their products back in April last year (review) and I was delighted to see recently that they'd created Reed Diffusers as I'm always looking for the perfect natural one. These ones are made with a solvent which is made from a renewable source with excellent solubilising power, low evaporation rate and low odor.

I chose Lemongrass & Cedarwood Essential Oil Diffuser* (200ml - £24.95) which comes packaged in a sturdy recyclable box. The other scents available are Sweet Orange, Frankincense & Basil, Grapefruit & May Chang and Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme & Mint.





Inside the box is the Diffuser oil with 10 reeds.


It's a beautiful blend of fresh lemongrass with a hint of woods. The scent is calming and fragrant with a good throw. The oil is very long lasting - I've been using it since 5th July and only a small amount of the oil has been used - I'm very impressed with it and I'd buy one in the future either in this scent again or one of the others.

Do you have a favourite natural diffuser?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. My post contains two affiliate links

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Sister & Co: Apricot, Lemon & Vanilla Body Melt

I find it hard to go near Anthropologie without buying something. I recently picked up a beautiful 17 month planner by ban.do which I can't wait to use (roll on August!) It's going to be so perfect for blog planning and is a handy size too.

Last time I was there I bought Sister & Co's almost edible Apricot, Lemon & Vanilla Body Melt (100g - £26).


I just love everything about it - the packaging, the scent, the feel on my skin and the ingredients. It's great for dry skin types as it deeply nourishes and leaves the skin feeling comfortable and smelling gorgeous! 

Cold-pressed raw apricot and almond oils are combined with shea butter and coconut oil and the melt is infused with the scent of summer - Sicilian lemons and Madagascar vanilla. It really is a luxurious treat and is suitable for all skin types. 

To use: warm a small amount of the melt between your palms before applying to the skin.

Have you used this body melt before? What's your favourite Sister & Co product?

I recently bought their Jet Set Kit from Supernatural Cosmetics so expect a review of that shortly.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Love Lula Beauty Box: July 2017

Yesterday my Love Lula Beauty Box* landed! It's absolutely brilliant this month and worth £60. I'd already seen what was in the box via the fabulous new Love Lula Natural Beauty Club on Facebook.


So what's inside?

The first product (which I'd actually had prior knowledge that it was going to be in the box this month) is a new launch by Lyonsleaf Marshmallow Soften & Rejuvenate Facial Oil (30ml - £14.99) which I'm excited to try! It absorbs instantly and has a woodsy, vetiver earthy scent - expect a review soon!

And yet another new launch from Madara Smart Fine Line Minimising Cream 20ml luxury trial size (full size retails at £35 for 50ml). I'm a huge Madara fan so I'm looking forward to testing this out!

From PHB there is a full size All-in-One Mascara in Black (10ml - £15.95) a make up item in a beauty box is always very welcome and this one seems fab! It's an award winner which lengthens, thickens and volumises and is also water resistant. I tried it out yesterday and was suitably impressed!

I adore John Masters Organics and this month we have a 60ml bottle of Spearmint & Meadowsweet Shampoo (worth £6) which purifies, helps to remove build up, stimulates the scalp and hydrates. 

The final item this month is from REN a 3ml trial size of their Satin Perfection BB Cream (which I've tried before and enjoyed).

As ever there is a very generous 20% discount code for any of the brands in the box this month. A brilliant, brilliant box this month. Did you pick one up? What are your thoughts on the contents?

*the beauty box is sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. All thoughts are genuine and my post contains affiliate links

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Blog Tour: ICE LAKE by John A Lenahan (Harry Cull Thriller #1)

Today I'm on the blog tour for ICE LAKE (Harry Cull Thriller #1) by John A Lenahan*. You can see all the other bloggers taking part on the poster below:




"…WHERE EVERYBODY LIES. AND SOME PEOPLE KILL…
An electrifying debut crime novel and the first in a new series featuring psychologist Harry Cull. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham and Peter May.
AN ABANDONDED BODY
Deep in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the body of a man is found – shot three times, dumped under the trees where the local kids will find him.

A HAUNTED PSYCHOLOGIST
Psychologist Harry Cull, tormented by his past, arrives in the picturesque town of Ice Lake to help with the murder investigation. There he unravels a web of lies and deceit that leads to the dark heart of a community torn apart by fracking, drugs and murder.

A DESPERATE KILLER
It’s not long before the second corpse turns up, this time a lawyer left for dead in the forest, and Harry finds himself on the trail of a twisted killer – who will do anything to keep the town’s darkest secrets buried".


My thoughts?

I especially liked some of the characters in the story (and hope to see them in book #2!) and the humour laced throughout the book made me giggle.

A body is found in the forest in Northeastern Pennsylvania shot 3 times. State Trooper Eric Cirba decides he needs some help with the investigation and invites Psychologist Harry Cull (whom he met at a conference in Vegas) to join the team. He's good at finding out the truth with the help of his trusty lie detector machine.

I instantly liked Harry who is tormented by his past (we find out more about this as the book progresses) and MK, his attractive female neighbour at the lake who's not afraid to speak her mind. I also liked gossip Todd who runs the local store.

When a second body is found the team realise that the two deaths are connected. The story also deals with serious issues like drugs and fracking and has some factual and historical information at the start of each chapter which I found interesting.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters within it and am now really looking forward to the second in the series (oh and I didn't guess who the killer was!)

*complimentary proof copy sent by the publisher

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Bloom Perfumery: Yearly Sample Pack: June 2017: Smell to Taste - Fruit

This is my final Bloom Perfumery sample pack over a two year period (sobs). This month the theme is Smell to Taste - Fruit.

"Fruit is mostly a fantasy in perfume as distilling something like apples, raspberries or mango is quite impossible (essentially one would get jam in the process). However, the aromachemical producers by now have a huge library of molecules that will smell fruity and recipes of how to mix them to create a certain fruit effect. These compositions are called 'smell-to-taste'. The current selection covers straightforward fruity perfumes and formulas where a fruity nuance has been used to present a natural raw material in some unusual way".


Pear:
Huitième Art Ciel d'Airain EdP (50ml - £88, 1ml - £2) is the one which jumped out at me first. The perfumer wants you to feel like being in an orchard before the rain, taking refuge under a pear tree. With notes of ambergris, olive tree twigs, pear tree bark and pear tree leaves.

Mango:
Again from Huitième Art is Manguier Metisse EdP (100ml - £115, 50ml - £88, 1ml - £2) is a gentle honeyed floral built around Frangipani. With notes of frangipani, mango tree bark and tea. It's lovely.

Coconut:
Olfactive Studio Still Life in Rio EdP (100ml - £124, 50ml - £84, 1ml - £2) - with a coconut water accord. With top notes of ginger, lemon, mandarin, yuzu and mint with a heart of black pepper, pink pepper and coconut milk with a base of copaiba balm, leather and rum. Love!

Wild Strawberry Jam:
PG Cruise Mojito Chypre EdP (100ml - £116, 50ml - £80, 1ml - £2) which we received in the very first sample pack in July '15. Think Strawberry Margarita built up with vetiver, patchouli and labdanum. With top notes of lime, mint, strawberry aldehyde and rum, a heart of patchouli, vetiver and labdanum and a base of vanilla and oakmoss. I can't remember liking this so much first time round! 

NEW IN: Nikkos-Oskol No 34 HYDRO which is a water based fragrant body mist. It's a honeyed fruit floral blend with top notes of grapefruit, raspberry, pear and lime with a heart of violet, rose, jasmine and lychee with a base of plum, white cedar and musk.

The only one I'm not so keen on this month is Ripe Morello Cherry Brocard Modern Classic Noir EdP (£21 - 100ml, £17 - 50ml, 1ml - £2) which is reminiscent of black forest gateau. With top notes of almond, cherry and red berries with a heart of licorice and rose and a base of musk, patchouli and vanilla.

I'll be doing a round-up of my favourites from my two year subscription at a later date.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Shopping my Stash #89


It's been a long time since I did a #shoppingmystash post! So here's what I've been reaching for:

I received Madara's fabulous Daily Defence Cream (60ml - £15)* in June's Love Lula Beauty Box. It's absolutely fantastic and now one of my favourite Madara products. It's an ultra-rich all over balm - use it on the body, hands, face, lips, heels, elbows, cuticles and even for flyaways. It really does it all! I think it would be the perfect winter-time product so I'll be sure to stock up during autumn.

I love try-me sizes and these ones by OKKO Skincare are great - see my review HERE. I'll definitely pick up the natural face balm stick full size.

I adore Laidbare's Butter Me Up Body Butter (review) but I've not really tried any other products in the range until I received them in Love Lula boxes. I've been loving their DIY! Two in One Cleanser & Toner (125ml - £6.99)* which I received in the May Beauty Box. I've been using it mainly in my morning shower. It lathers up well and leaves the skin feeling clean and comfortable.

I'm a huge fan of bodhi & birch as you'll know and I love their bath & shower therapies. I recently treated myself to their two travel kits (review). Siam Ginger blend is one of my favourites - see my review HERE.

Helen, a friend on Twitter was heading to America and asked if I wanted anything. She picked me up this beautiful Bite Beauty Prismaic Pearl Creme Lip Gloss in Pink Pearl, a metallic pink with pink and red shimmer which is lovely and unlike anything in my collection (and the range is free from parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates and phthalates).

What have you been reaching for lately?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. My post contains a few affiliate links.

Monday, 10 July 2017

The Perfume Society: The Travel Edition

I ordered The Travel Edition as soon as it was offered to VIP Subscribers and then waited 14 days for it to be delivered! The Perfume Society really need to sort out their courier problems as this is not the first time I've had issues with an order.

As ever the box is fabulous and stuffed full of gorgeous perfumes and other goodies.



This little set surely is the cutest! It contains a mini soap (30g) and perfume spray. Fragonard Pivoine 4ml EdT is from the FLORAL family. With top notes of redcurrant, rhubarb and mock orange, a heart of pink, red & white peony, jasmine and mimosa and a base of musk, powdered iris and amber. It really is a beautiful feminine summer floral.


The next perfume to jump out at me is the quirky Moschino Pink Fresh Couture 5ml EdT mini in the shape of a bottle of flash!  It's from the FLORAL FRUITY WOODY family and has top notes of pink grapefruit, cassis and lily of the valley with a heart of pomegranate, pink jacinth and wild rose and a base of cedarwood, ambrox and musk.


I'm already a huge fan of Etat Libre d'Orange's You or Someone Like You 2ml EdP (having received it my May Bloom Perfumery Sample Pack). It's from the FRESH family and has notes of roses, mint and wild grasses and is a really luscious and mouthwatering scent. Full size is already on my wishlist.

From Atelier Cologne we have Cedrat Enivrant Cologne Absolue 2ml which is also from the FRESH family (and is beautiful). With top notes of cedrat, lime and bergamot, a heart of mint, basil and juniper berries with a base of tonka bean, vetiver and elemi. It's a really beautiful sparking citrus (I also love that the samples come with a pretty postcard).


From Weleda is Onagre 1.5ml eau naturelle which is from the GREEN FLORAL family with top notes of magnolia, a heart of cardamon and a base of sandalwood. This is a really nice spicy scent.

I've tried Annick Goutal's Eau D'Hadrien 1.75ml EdP before and loved it. This perfume is from the FRESH family and is bursting with zingy citrus. It has top notes of Sicilian lemon, bergamot, citron and grapefruit with a heart of cypress, galbanum, basil, juniper berry and ylang ylang with a woods base.

Azzaro Chrome Pure 1.2ml EdT is from the FRESH family and has top notes of bergamot, mandarin and pepperwood with a heart of Akigalawood and orange blossom with a base of tonka bean, cedar and musk. This is a male scent so I'll pass it on!

Issey Miyake's Nuit Bleu Astral 1ml EdT is from the WOODY family and has top notes of lime and coriander with a heart of gentian and leather accord with a base of amber and vetiver. I really like this unisex scent.

Narciso Rodriguez For Her Fleur Musc 1ml EdP from the ORIENTAL family which is a really pretty feminine scent. It has top notes of bergamot, mandarin, tuberose, pimento leaves, ginger, saffron, honey accord and rum with heart notes of orange blossom, orchid rose and heliotrope with a base of myrrh, sandalwood, suede, tobacco and vanilla. 



The two extras this month:


30ml Molton Brown Costal Cypress & Sea Fennel Bath & Shower Gel
30ml Philosophy the microdelivey exfoliating face wash

It really is a fabulous box. Pick yours up HERE.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Love Lula: Esse Probiotic Skincare Gel Cleanser 100ml


As you'll know you can buy 5 samples from Love Lula with an order of £10 or more. I picked up a sachet of Esse Gel Cleanser recently (and got 4 uses from it - making it a great try me!). I loved it so much that last month I selected full size (100ml - £21.69)* as one of my picks as a Love Lula Affiliate.

The cleanser is packaged in a glass pump bottle (and box) both of which can be recycled after use and is suitable for all skin types including acne affected skin.

Esse Probiotic Skincare uses probiotics to help slow the ageing process and nourish and support the skin's good bacteria. You can read more about the skin science HERE.

The cleansing gel* has a gorgeous uplifting minty scent - peppermint and spearmint essential oils (along with caraway and rosemary) refresh and awaken as well as helping to improve micro-circulation helping to eliminate toxins on the skin. It foams up well and deeply cleanses the skin leaving it feeling comfortable never dry. African aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties while antioxidant rooibos and honeybush repair and protect.

To use: wet skin and massage onto the skin before rinsing. Can be used AM and PM and also as a shaving gel.

I absolutely love it and can't wait to try more from the lovely Esse Probiotic Skincare Range. If you've tried it what do you recommend I try next?

*sent to me as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger program. My post contains a few affiliate links.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Zing Organics: Zing Lover's Subscription Box

As you'll probably already know I'm a huge fan of Zing Organics (see my recent review HERE). I'm loving their newly launch Zing Lover's Subscription Box - a new monthly subscription (£29.50 including P&P with the value exceeding £50! and my readers can get a fiver off their first subscription box with the code BBALM)

This month the theme is Yogi and Zen and inside the hamper you'll find:


Yogi's Crown Chakra Balancing Perfume with Ylang Ylang, Geranium and Patchouli (see my review of Sacral Chakra HERE).

Yogi's Chakra Balancing Candle in Sacral Chakra with Cardamon, Patchouli and Lemongrass. The candles are beautiful - I've tried a couple of samples.

Limited Collection Yogi's Room & Linen Mist in 'deep heal' with Palo Santo, Frankincense & Rose. I'm currently testing out the seductive blend which is absolutely exquisite (Ylang Ylang, Patchouli & Rose).

1 crystal chosen at random 'cleansed' in the local Argyll seawater by founder Kirsty at her favourite local beach - I think this is a lovely added extra!

My readers can pick up their first subscription box with £5 off 
with code BBALM (limit to first 20) 
Pick yours up HERE

Friday, 7 July 2017

The Soap Kitchen: Gardener's Natural Hand Made Soap & Hand Cream

As you'll probably know I've got an allotment and am always looking for hard working products to look after my hands. I've been testing out two products from The Soap Kitchen, a fabulous online shop which as well as selling finished products is the place to go for soap, toiletries, cosmetic and candle making supplies.




The Gardener's Natural Hand Made Soap (75g - £4.50)* is wrapped in fair trade handmade paper. It's made by the cold process method and is textured with ground almond shell and scented with essential oils of cedarwood and orange to deodorise and cleanse.  It's great for getting rid of mud (which I always find becomes ingrained in my fingers and nails).


Gardener's Hand Cream (50ml - £6.25)* is a rich cream which deeply nourishes the hands and nails. It sinks in almost instantly. The cream is scented with lavender, cedarwood and orange essential oils.

I've been really impressed with the performance of both these products. Pick yours up HERE.

*complimentary

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Love Lula: Ooh! Oils of Heaven Natural Marula Replenishing Face Oil


As you'll know I'm a huge Ooh! Oils of Heaven fan having spotlighted the brand HERE. Way back in February I received a 15ml size (£9.50)* of Natural Marula Replenishing Face Oil in my Love Lula Beauty Box*.

It really is a lovely oil (extracted from the kernels of the fruits of the Marula tree) which has a neutral sort of scent.  The oil absorbs really quickly and contains nourishing Vitamin E and C as well as being stuffed full of anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids. Love Lula's Marula Oil is cold-pressed and sourced ethically. It's suitable for all skin types including sensitive and oily.

To use: warm a couple of drops in your fingertips before massaging onto the skin. Follow with moisturiser if desired. It can be used day and night and as a special treatment oil.

Have you tried this oil or any of the others in the range?

*The Love Lula Beauty Box is sent to me on a monthly basis as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program. My post contains some affiliate links.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Blog Tour: Exquisite by Sarah Stovell

Today I'm on the blog tour for Exquisite by Sarah Stovell*. You can see who's been taking part below:




"Bo Luxton has it all - a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name.

Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend.

When they meet at a writers' retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops....

OR DOES IT?"

My thoughts?

WOW, I just couldn't put this book down! I devoured it in two days and I'm still thinking about it now.

Everyone wants to be Bo Luxton's friend - she's pretty, has the perfect husband, two wonderful daughters and lives in a beautiful house in the Lake District. She's also a successful author.

She meets Alice Dark, a young woman adrift from her life at the Writers' retreat she's running and is captivated by her. The attraction is mutually instant.

The story is creepy and obsessive and it made my heart race. It's told from both women's perspective and you find yourself wondering who's telling the truth and which woman should you believe. I jumped from rooting for Bo to being on Alice's side and it has the perfect twist. I just loved it!

*many thanks to Orenda Books for the copy of the book.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Scentered Mini Balms


I've been testing out two of the new mini balms from Scentered (£5.50 - 1.5g)* which are great for try-me, popping in your handbag or travel. See the full range available HERE - you can choose how you want to feel - for example, refreshed, confident, inspired and focused.



Scentered was launched in 2011 by Lara Morgan. She was looking for something to keep her "balanced and sane" when she built her business and raised her family.  She was keen to create something effective and portable. She partnered up with Fay Pottinger and together they created Scentered.

The range help to tackle a range of needs from lack of focus to fatigue. They can be used together to provide a "support tool kit".

The balms are made in England and packaging is kept to a minimum (and recyclable). 10% of net profits go to Women for Women International, an organisation which empowers women to improve their lives and rebuild communities in war torn regions.

Be Happy Therapy Balm* is my favourite from the two. It's a limited edition, summer inspired scent "sunshine in a stick" and is great for down days when you could do with some extra oomph. It helps to brighten your day and mood.

It's a blend of zesty pink grapefruit and green mandarin with floral notes of tagette and neroli. Lemon myrtle, spearmint and aniseed bring an effervescent note to the blend while petitgrain and cedarwood add depth.

A real sunshiney pick me up! 

The ritual is: STOP - apply to pulse points, INHALE - deeply and RESET - your mood.

The second mini balm I've been testing is Sleep Well* which helps to ensure a perfect night's sleep. It helps to relax the mind and body and helps to prepare for the best sleep.  

It contains lavender, chamomile, palmarosa, ho wood, bois de rose, geranium with patchouli, clove and ylang ylang at the heart. It also an award winner - as it was commended in the Best Natural Product category in the Pure Beauty Awards.

Pick yours up HERE.

p.s. there are also lovely therapy candles available (I received a travel sized one at my birthday in April so expect a review soon!)

*complimentary

Monday, 3 July 2017

REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask


Beauty Expert offer a expertly curated selection of luxury brands. You can see these HERE. You can also receive help regarding choosing products via an advice line.

I've been testing out REN's rather fabulous Evercalm Ultra Comfort Rescue Mask (50ml - £28)* which deeply comforts and calms sensitive skin.

"Formulated with REN's exclusive active complex it will strengthen the protective moisture barrier, aid recovery and increase the skin's ability to cope with stress, leading to long term well-being of your skin".

It contains bio-extracts of:

Albarellus Ovinus Extract: naturally derived painkillers which block messages for pain and itchiness helping to calm the skin.

Beta Glucan: balances, strengthens, restores and regenerates.

Arnica: soothes irritations, inflammation, redness and burning "acts as a potent free radical scavenger, too".

It really is a beautiful mask to use as it softens, soothes, calms, evens skin tone and nourishes. The skin is left feeling comfortable and deeply moisturised.

To use: apply a thick layer to clean skin avoiding the eye area. Leave on the skin for 10-15 minutes before removing the excess with a cool damp cloth.

*with thanks to Beauty Expert for the complimentary product sent for review.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Latest in Beauty: The Beauty Box: Beauty & The Beast


Latest in Beauty launched a box in March to celebrate the release of Beauty & the Beast. Worth £80 and when launched costing £20. I picked one up last week for £7 with a voucher code. Absolutely bargainous! (some items I'll keep and some I'll gift). See the collections currently available HERE.

The item I was most interested in was the Burt's Bees Lipstick in (Sunset Cruise 523) which is a full size item and worth £9.99! The colour is a bright coral shade which I love and it feels really moisturising when on!

The Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage is full size (75ml and worth £35!). This exfoliator has a balm like texture which transforms into a oil as it gently dissolves the top layer of the skin, clearing pores and refining the skin leaving it looking radiant and glowy.

From Caudalie there is a sample size 10ml of Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet which I'm sure I've tried before. This is a great size for travel.

I love the little compact 'Latest in Beauty' branded mirror (I've got something similar from the early days in my make up bag). I'll pop this one in my desk drawer!

There is a beautiful full size nail polish from SOIGNE worth £11 in Betteraves Rouges a gorgeous deep red. The formula doesn't contain any harmful carcinogens and each polish contains up to 85% plant sourced raw ingredients.

I'm a fan of ORIBE's dry shampoos and inside is 43ml size of their Gold Lust Dry Shampoo which revives your style for another day. This is also a great try-me size or for holidays.

The final item is L'Occitane's Roses et Reines Hand & Nail Cream 10ml which is the perfect handbag size. The cream deeply nourishes and leaves the hands smelling of roses.

This box is currently still available (at £15). Check out the collections HERE.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

AA Skincare Botanical Boost & Zing Fresh Shampoo Bars + Giveaway!



I've been trying AA Skincare's latest launch - their fabulous Shampoo Bars* which are totally brilliant and are great for travel/gym or for use at home. They last for ages making them really cost effective.

I chose to review the two which most appealed to me from the range:

Zing Fresh (50g - £5.94)* which is suitable for oily, dry and damaged hair. It contains Peppermint essential oil and Coconut oil which refreshes and rejuvenates. It's also cooling if you have an itchy scalp. It removes excess oil and leaves the hair super shiny, smooth and nourished. The shampoo bar has a gorgeous minty scent.

Botanical Boost (50g - £5.94)* is suitable for all hair types and has a beautiful rosey scent.  Frankincense rejuvenates while Vitamin-rich Avocado oil stimulates hair growth. Antioxidant rich Argan oil and aromatic Rose oil revitalise flat, dry and damaged hair. Rose Geranium oil strengthens.

To use: wet hair and then either run the bar along your parting or foam up in your in your hands before applying to your hair. Massage into the hair before rinsing.  Follow with conditioner if needed.

The others in the RANGE:

Almond - dry, dull and damaged hair
Brilliantly Balanced - greasy and oily hair
Illuminate Blonde - dry and damaged hair
Intense Coconut - dry and damaged hair
Life Style - itchy and dry hair
Twilight - dry hair

One of my readers can win one of the shampoo bars. Please enter via the rafflecopter below and good luck!

*sent for review



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 29 June 2017

June Books

Here's what I've been reading in June:


Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell* - I couldn't put this book down and raced through it. It's very easy reading and a great (but sad) story. Ellie, Lauren & Paul Mack's youngest daughter goes out to the library to study for her exams and disappears... Ten years pass but Lauren never gives up hope of finding Ellie who was the light of her life. Her life has fractured in this time with her marriage having broken down and she's never needed her other kids as much as she needs Ellie.

She randomly meets a handsome stranger called Floyd who sweeps her off her feet. Lauren has an unexpected whirlwind romance and meets his daughter, Poppy who looks exactly like Ellie. She starts to question who they really are and why they've come into her life so unexpectedly.. I found the book hard to put down, it made me cry buckets and it was so heartbreaking but hopeful too. It's one of my favourite books this year.



Mariah's Marriage by Anne Stenhouse - Anne is part of our Authors & Book Bloggers in Scotland on Facebook and I've had the pleasure of meeting her a couple of times.

The story totally drew me in. Mariah teaches the alphabet to a group of urchins. Like her father Jerome she believes everyone should be allowed an education. She meets Tobias Longreach quite by accident when he saves her from a runaway pig.  He's totally captivated by Mariah and sets out to make her his countess. Sir Lucas Wellwood has other ideas as he wants his sister to marry Tobias so he can clear his debts.  It's a richly drawn historical story which I loved.


The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse* - I absolutely adore Lesley's storytelling and I simply loved this one. With interesting characters and storylines which were harrowing at times.

Twins Maisy and Duncan are sent to live with their grandmother at the family home, Nightingales when their mother is admitted to an asylum. At first they are scared and lonely, missing their mother and all that they know. They soon discover that they love the countryside and playing in the nearby forest.

They spy on the local "witch" who lives in a cottage deep in the forest. They quickly come to realise that Grace's bark is worse than her bite and Duncan forms a friendship of sorts with her. One day Duncan goes missing...and when young boys bodies are found Maisy feels the police aren't doing enough to find her brother. Maisy with Grace's help investigates... As ever very unputdownable.



The idea of you by Amanda Prowse* - this is my first Amanda Prowse book and it definitely won't be my last. I absolutely loved "the idea of you". 

Lucy is finally happy with her life. She loves her work and has a fabulous husband Jonah (who adores her). She met him at a friend's baby's christening and they just clicked. She loves him with all her heart and can't wait for the day when they have a baby of their own.

Things don't work out as planned and Lucy has a couple of miscarriages which are devastating for her. All she has ever wanted has been her own child to love and care for.

Jonah's teenage daughter, Camille is coming to stay for the summer and Lucy finds her prickly and difficult to get to know. Camille is offhand with her and always has a barbed word at every turn. No matter what Lucy does she can't seem to bond with her.

The story has a twist which I didn't see coming which in turn is connected with the present day.  An absolute joy of a read (with a little heartache too). I just loved it.



Nailing Jess by Triona Scully** - I took part in the Blog Tour yesterday for #NailingJess. See my review HERE.

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell** - this was an amazing read which I couldn't put down. I'm taking part in the blog tour on 5 July - so read my review then. 



The Betrayed by Casey Kelleher* - this is the first book I've read by Casey and I absolutely loved it! I thought it had great characters and storylines and I raced through it in a couple of days..

Jimmy Byrne, is one of the biggest faces in London and a self-made man. His mother Joanie has always been there for him. He's the love of her life and she will do anything for him. She's not happy when he decides to marry shy and quiet Colleen (as is his partner Alex). They both try to get him to change his mind. Something happens on Colleen's wedding night which changes her life and peace of mind forever but by now she's in too deep...

A fast paced story which I just devoured with interesting (and sometimes loveable characters). Nancy, Jimmy's daughter is a chip off the old block. Her brother Daniel is quieter and more like their mother. When her beloved father is murdered in cold blood Nancy vows to make whoever killed him pay. When the story ends we know who the murderer is but not why.. So now I can't wait for book #2!

What have you been reading this month?

*copy from Netgalley
**copy from the publisher