Friday, 21 August 2015

Zkin Hydrating Mist

 

I can not imagine my beauty routine without a toner. Cleanser is a key to having healthy balanced skin, face oil or moisturiser is what provides extra nourishment and protection from the elements, but somehow without a decent toner it all falls apart for my skin. It is that bridge that makes the transition between cleansing and moisturising work. There are different types of toners, some you would use to wipe off the remnants of a cleanser or a face mask, others are sprays packed with a cocktail of powerful ingredients. This is the type that I use to give my skincare routine a boost, often instead of a serum, my skin can not handle a lot of product layering, but a hydrating mist has always been a welcome addition. Choosing the right mist in the summer is often the difference between having clear skin or breaking out like crazy.

 

Zkin hydrating mist* stands out from the crowd for summer use in particular as it has been developed to target UV damage. It has an interesting combination of ingredients:

Aloe barbadensis (Aloe vera) leaf juice*, Lavandula angustifolia (Lavander) flower water*, Leuconostoc/Radish root ferment filtrate, Glycerin*^, Parfum (natural preservative), Fucus vesiculosus (Brown seaweed) extract*, Lavandula hybrida (Lavandin grosso) oil *, Linalool#, Vanilla planifolia (Vanilla) fruit extract*, Cananga odorata (Ylang Ylang) flower oil*, Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) leaf oil*, d-Limonene#, Benzyl benzoate# (natural from Ylang Ylang), Geraniol#, Coumarin#. (*certified organic, ^palm oil free, #natural component of essential oil)

97.45% organic of total

 

Aloe Vera is something that most people are familiar with as a treatment for sunburn, it speeds up healing and has moisturising properties, making it beneficial pretty much to all skin types, but I feel like it is an especially good friend to someone with oily skin that is prone to breakouts. This toner has lavender flower water, a by-product of lavender essential oil production, and lavender oil has wound healing properties with probable benefits of countering UV damage (ref. Tisserand). The reason for the claims of targeting UV damage on the front of the bottle however is Fucus vesiculosus extract, a brown seaweed, under the proprietary name of Maritech® Bright. It has been specifically developed as a brightening treatment to even skin tone and reduce age spot pigmentation, it also has Cosmos organic certification ( so does the toner as a whole).

Parfum is listed with an explanation of being a natural preservative, the reason for this is that in this product Naticide is used as a preservative. It is a proprietary name of what is effectively a blend of vegetal derivide fragrances that under INCI rules has to be listed as parfum. It has been reviewed by Australian Certified Organic and found to be natural and safe.

I have been using Z'kin mist* for about two months, and for the most part it has been replacing a moisturisier and serum for me. Following the directions, I shake the bottle, spray on face and neck, and then gently press the toner into my skin. I guess that this is done to make sure that everything is absorbed and doesn't just sit on top of the skin. The only time I do it differently is when I'm following it up with a face oil, on those occasions I will press a few drops of face oil while the skin is still damp, effectively pressing toner and oil into the skin at the same time. Most days I follow the mist with sunscreen in the mornings, and use it on its own at night. My skin has been incredibly happy with this routine.

 

The scent to me is predominantly lavender, despite other essential oils present, lavender is the note that my nose picks up the most. If you are a regular reader of this blog you probably picked up on the fact that I'm not really a fan of the lavender scented products, and it is no different in this case, I don't like the scent. It is not however offensive enough to my nose that I would stop using a product on this basis alone. This hydrating mist has earnt it's place amongst my most loved skincare solely based on its performance. I have no problem admitting that I can be shallow when it comes to beauty products, scents and packaging matter to me. I guess this particular toner is the exception that proves the rule. I am not a fan of the scent, and the packaging while perfectly functional is also not appealing. What attracted me to this product was the ingredients, and what has won my affections is the performance.

 

When I started using it I was replacing a toner that worked really well, and I thought it would be a tough act to follow. In fact the transition has been very smooth indeed. I find it a little difficult to judge claims of radiance from beauty products, having skin that tends towards oily, lack of glow has never been an issue, however the overall appearance of my skin has definitely improved. It looks smoother and has been less prone to congestion. When it comes to active mists I'm looking for topical hydration that won't exaggerate my pores or cause blotchiness, an antioxidant boost to help defend against UV damage and something that would work on evening out skin tone. I feel that Zkin hydrating toner* delivers on every single one of these points, making it an excellent choice year round and not just during summer. It is supposed to be really good for sunburnt skin, while I'm prepared to go far for this blog, it didn't seem sensible to burn on purpose just so I could test it. I do find that my skin feels a lot calmer straight after I use it. My skin can be touch sensitive, it will go very red in places after I use a towel, it has been a lot less frequent since I've been using this mist. I can report no breakouts this summer, and even though my skin can get a bit overwhelmed by sunscreen it has not happened this year, and I do attribute it to this toner. I have been more than a little negligent with my weekly treatments, aka scrubs and masks, so I know for sure that my basic skincare routine is behind my happy skin. Since my routine has been consisting of cleanser, Zkin toner* and sunscreen, it is not very hard to see why I think so highly of this toner. I am very much looking forward to seeing how it will perform once the seasons change, I have a sneaky suspicion that it will continue to be an excellent treat.

 

*PR sample, all opinions are my own, honest and based on personal experience with the product

 

 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The Choosy Chick fun in the sun bag

I love summer, I count days until I get to wear sun dresses and shorts. Days are long, evenings are warm, I spend as much time as humanly possible outside, and of course since my skin is on show it needs protection (yes even if it's cloudy). Normally around April, I start hunting down body care products that will work for both Mr RF and I. This year I did not have to work as hard, the Choosy chick did most of it for me with their Fun in the sun bag.

 

What you get is a cute jute bag, made with recycled sari fabric, filled with full sized and travel sized goodies. There are some variations that are clearly outlined in the description of this bundle. In my bag I found following products:

 

Raw elements broad spectrum SPF 30. This sunscreen is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, a perfect companion for a beach holiday or for a day out at an outside pool. Because of this the consistency is on the thick side, I normally use an antioxidant body oil before applying sunscreen anyway, and I've noticed it does the trick for this particular one to spread easily. There are a few things that make this sunscreen stand out in my eyes. Firstly, it is stated that it is reef safe, if you read any of the articles that talk about the effects of sunscreens on marine life, reefs in particular, you might feel the same way as I do about being careful as to what you use on a beach holiday. Secondly, it is the combination of ingredients in this product that I find pretty impressive. Organic green tea, organic black tea, organic hemp seed oil, organic coffee bean, mango butter, cocoa butter, to name a few. It is like an antioxidant power house, mixed in with skin nourishing butters and of course the broad spectrum protection comes from 23% non nano zinc oxide. This product is also non gmo project verified. It seriously ticks all the boxes for me, plus Mr RF has not complained about it, and that's a huge thing since he is unusually fussy with sunscreens.

 

Raw elements Eco tint SPF 30 stick. This is almost identical to the above sunscreen but is in a stick form and has a slight tint. For the life of me I can't figure out what gives this product a tint, but it is very light. I wanted to take a picture but you can't actually see anything, it subtly evens out the skin tone if you are very fair, otherwise it is your solution if you are not a fan of white cast that most zinc based sunscreens leave behind, this one doesn't. I don't feel like I need a moisturiser under it, it is very nourishing and more than plenty for my oily summer skin. Happy to report no break outs or irritations after use.

 

Badger sport stick SPF 35. Ever since I discovered this stick, about four years ago, it has been my summer must have. This was the first natural sunscreen I was able to use on my face without my skin going haywire, it is a real shame that due to the new EU regulations it is no longer sold in UK. I believe I have reviewed this sunscreen, but it was awhile ago. I like that the ingredients list is pretty short, in addition to zinc oxide this stick is made of extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, Shea butter, sunflower vitamin E. Based on this list I was originally worried that it might be too thick for me, but I guess combined with zinc it just works. My face stays matte all day long, and since I'm already pretty pale, it evens out my skin tone and I'm more than happy to roam makeup free.

 

Badger sunscreen lip balm SPF 15. This is exactly the same as the sport stick but with a lower percentage of zinc oxide. It smells exactly the same, light scent with a faint hint of chocolate, but feels a little smoother when applied. I think if you forgot your sport stick but needed to reapply sunscreen, you could easily use this on your face and ears. It does make my lips look as if I applied one of those flesh toned/nude lipsticks, the effect is not unwelcome. All in all I do like this lip balm better than other SPF lip balms I have tried. People often don't bother with SPF on the lips, but skin here is thinner than everywhere else, you do need to look after your kissers.

 

Badger balm anti-bug spray. I like to spend time by the water in the summer, and so do all the bugs. I am a favourite mosquito snack, so before an evening stroll in the park or by the river, I take precautions. I have yet to find a bug repellent spray that would smell nice. I know it's not exactly on the cards, this is definitely the least offensive I have come across. More importantly I haven't had a reaction to it, and these sort of things often irritate sensitive skin (there is a warning on the bottle saying that allergic reactions in some individuals are a possibility). It is DEET free and made with all organic ingredients. In this kit I have a travel sized bottle of 79.85ml, I'm expecting it to last all summer since I don't use it all that frequently. Happy to report no bug bites yet this summer.

 

Solavedi healing calendula day cream with EPF. EPF stands for ecological protection factor, there is some zinc in this cream, approximately 8 SPF, but it is not specified on the bottle as I am guessing it has not been tested or designed as a sunscreen type product. I am a diehard face oil fan, and it's so rare for a face cream to suit me that I can count the ones that do on one hand. This little 15ml travel sized bottle is pretty much the reason why I haven't touched a bottle of face oil for almost a month. It is so good, sinks in like a dream, I only need about a pump, and it makes my face feel super soft. My big problem with moisturisers is that most of them make my skin look blotchy and my pores appear ginormous, none of that with this beauty. Extremely tempted to get a full size, I think it has potential to become a permanent part of my collection, time will tell.

 

Buttercup & Jake cocoa calendula balm. This little dinky 0.5 oz sample sized pot is the last piece of the puzzle. This multipurpose balm for dry or irritated areas smells like white chocolate cupcakes. It's fairly warm at the moment and the consistency of this balm right now is super soft. It goes on like melted butter and absorbs really well. If it was a bigger pot, I would be tempted to use it all over as after sun. For the time being I have been using it on my elbows from time to time, and on my under arms after shaving irritated them. A very useful product to have around.

 

I am super happy with this kit, I think it is a really good selection. If it did have an after sun product I think it would go from amazing to epic, but I did have fun choosing one on my own, and the kit is called "fun in the sun" not "fun in the sun and after", so I will let it slide. I absolutely love the jute bag, and have been keeping all the products in there when not in use, just in case I need to quickly grab and go, the whole shebang easily fits into a back pack or a larger shoulder bag. I hope these kits are available next year as well, I am most definitely planning on repurchasing.

 

 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Kae shimmering oil

The sun comes out, my legs are out. It's just one of those things, when the weather is hot I practically live in my shorts. That means a lot of skin being exposed, that doesn't really get to see the light of day the rest of the year. Taking into account that I don't spend time on the sun-lounger, I am pretty pale, during the day I am also pretty liberally covered in sunscreen. I love the look of tanned skin, however self tanning products are not for me. To have a great fake tan, the first key step is to exfoliate well, second step is even application. To put it simply I fail at the first step. I do however have a trick for glowy summer skin, shimmering oil. For me it is a summer must have, and something I would not go on holiday without.

Kae beaute scintillante* is an all in one beauty oil, suitable for face, body and hair. It works to enhance your tan, or if you are like me, and have no tan to speak of, it gives your skin luminosity, a sort of soft focus effect. This oil is certified by Ecocert to be 100% natural and 56% organic. Having a quick look at the ingredients I can see that the first ingredient is the only organic one, and it happens to be argan oil, so putting two and two together I figure that this blend is 56% argan oil. Some of the other ingredients are coconut derived emollient, castor oil and castor oil derived ingredients.
Ingredients: Argania spinosa kernel oil*, coco caprylate caprate, ricinus communis seed oil, castor isostearate succinate, hydrogenated castor oil, tocopherol, parfum, mica, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, citronellol, limonene, eugenol, linalool.

So this is not a carrier oil blend with shimmer (some ingredients are processed) and it doesn't exactly feel like one. In the bottle it looks super shimmery, and if you are not a big fan of glitter you might pass this product by, but you guessed it, it looks a lot different on the skin. The sparkling particles are super fine and are only picked up when the light hits them. I tend to use this in the evening on my body and a few drops through my hair whenever I feel like it. The oil looks lovely on my legs in the evening light, so if dining Al fresco this is what I use without fail. When having a candlelight dinner I make sure to put some on my shoulders, I know everyone likes to highlight their collarbone, but I really like the look of bronzed face, with some shimmering oil on the shoulders and a few drops of it in my hair.



These are the times when I think this oils works especially well, however I don't wait for a special occasion to use it. It feels really silky going on and spreads easily, so while it does absorb well, it is not a dry oil and I don't really need a lot to reach the desired effect. There is no stickiness or feeling like an oil slick afterwards. I have been using it a few times a week as all over body oil, and after about a month I have 2/3 of the bottle left. I have not been using face oils lately, so I have not tried it in that way yet, but I am definitely curious. Despite looking bronze in the bottle, it doesn't impart any colour, just luminosity. This is your "summer glow without a tan" in a bottle, but of course if you happen to have a tan it will make it look even better.

The scent is very light, you would need to have your nose practically next to your skin to notice it. I am struggling to describe it, it is a little on the sweet floral side and just makes me think of beach holidays. This is one of those products that you could use all year round, but you really need to have it during summer. Especially if you like to have something that will make you shine in a good way.

PR sample, as always this is my own honest opinion, the whole point of this blog is to share what's out there, good or bad. It would have no meaning without me being truthful.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Spring/summer Green beauty swap 2015

 

I love doing swaps with other bloggers. You get to pass on some of your unloved items to someone who will actually appreciate them, and get a chance to try something new and exciting in return. Green beauty swap, masterminded by lovely Ria, is a little bit different. First of all, who you get paired up with is a luck of the draw. Instead of rummaging through your stash in hopes of finding something that your swap partner will enjoy, you come up with the budget together, find out eachother's likes/dislikes, and then go shopping for presents.

 

This is the third time I have taken part and while I love getting a surprise goodie box, it is also pretty wonderful to connect with another blogger. My partner in this swap was Annmarie.

 

I just have to point out that without prior arrangement we both sent eachother cards with Echinacea on them, clearly this is some sort of sign. Annmarie had a bit of a difficult task ( when she emailed me, after having a browse of my blog, saying that it seems like I tried a fair few things, I felt a bit bad), but she was determined to find things I haven't used before. She succeeded admirably.

 

 

I haven't opened everything up as I'm trying to be sensible, but obviously some things I just couldn't resist ( would you think I lost my marbles if I said I could hear them calling my name? Joking of course, that is insane... Or is it?). The first thing that I opened was the earth works cosmetics orange and lavender body oil. Lavender is not really a scent that I consciously go for, it's not that I don't like it, but it just seems to be used a lot in natural beauty products (and it also makes me think of elderly ladies, lining their linen drawers with lavender bags). Orange and citrus scents on the other hand I absolutely adore, can't get enough of them. I have never ever used a product that combined the two as the main fragrance, I was very intrigued. I absolutely love the texture of this body oil, when it first arrived it was almost solid, but after the heat wave it is completely liquid. It feels so silky, my skin just laps it up and the scent happens to be both refreshing and soothing. The lavender is less noticeable to begin with, but comes into its own once the citrus fades, like a piquant layered perfume, but at no point is it overwhelming to the senses.

 

 

 

Next thing to be opened was bloom remedies foot balm. In all fairness I should not have opened it as I'm using up another foot balm, I just couldn't resist. I have been wanting to sample something from this brand for ages, just never got round to it. I haven't actually tried it yet, I just had a sniff and yes it smells fab.

 

 

 

Now with this next product I'm starting to think that Annmarie has some sort of psychic powers. Obviously she picked up on the fact that I like aromatherapy, that is not what is surprising, it is the scent that she chose. Clear vitality from Bloom remedies. This is a pure essential oil blend especially designed for use with an aromatherapy diffuser. As I still haven't fully joined the 21st century, that is not something that I posess. Straight away I asked Marie (aka the Bloom Remedies Magic-woman) if there were other ways to use it. She gave a few different options, one of which is to use a few drops in a bowl of hot water as steam inhalation to ward off a cold. I immediately put it in my stash for winter use. But what do you know, a few weeks later I'm coming down with sniffles, at a very inconvenient time might I add. Of course it's never good to be sick, but this was the worst timing ever. You can only imagine how crazy I looked emptying up boxes, trying to find the one that held the little bottle of what I hoped would save my behind. Thankfully I found it, and it did work like a charm. The trick of course was timing, if the dreaded cold got its full hooks into me, the blend would not have been nearly as effective.

 

The rest of the beauty products I have yet to open: fig and rouge multi purpose balm in super cute packaging, organic surge shower gel with lovely sounding scent, scented candle with a wooden wick and a sachet of body scrub are all patiently waiting their turn.

 

 

 

As Annmarie works for A Vogel she very generously sent me some of their goodies. I will be doing a separate post on those.

 

I want to say thank you again for being an amazing swap partner, and choosing things that I would have never tried otherwise but absolutely love. If you are curious to see what I got for Annmarie here is her post.

 

 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

In pursuit of perfection...

Lately I have been coming across lots of statements advising to stop chasing perfection, that it is something unattainable and only leads to misery. We should be more content, focus on the things that we have and be grateful. It is so important to be happy with what you already have, not to neglect things that already work in your life, but why should I give up on perfection? After all, everything I have, everything I am so grateful for, it did not come about because I was content with things at the time, if you are so happy with the status quo where will progress come from? Wanting to perfect things is what drives incredible inventions, the first brick of a mobile phone was groundbreaking at the time, maybe everyone should have been grateful and content with that. Rethinking perfection however, is not such a bad idea. Just like beauty, perfection is in the eyes of the beholder. It's not something that is constant, it is fluid. What seemed to me perfect ten years ago is something entirely different than what it would be now. My perfect night out used to be dancing all night, and competing with my girlfriend as to who could collect more numbers from the boys. Now it is an evening spent catching up over delicious food and a bottle of wine. To me something perfect, doesn't mean it is flawless. A string of man made pearls, that are completely identical, might look perfect to the eye, but to me this is not the kind of perfection that I am looking for. I like seeing some irregularities between the pearls, then I know they are unique and real.

 

I am not aiming to be perfect, I am not looking to achieve flawless skin, I am searching for skincare that will suit my skin perfectly, for things that fit my personality like a glove. This doesn't mean that I spend every second of every day, obsessing about having those perfect products, those perfect moments, creating perfect memories. That's just unhealthy, and like those flawless fake pearls: not real, and not for me. Sometimes (actually a lot of the times) perfection finds you when you are not looking. It could be an unexpected gift, something that you would never think of getting yourself, but it turns out to be the best thing ever. It could be an unplanned day out, or being dragged along to some place you don't want to go, and it ends up being an absolutely fabulous experience.

 

 

I was not planning on getting Lina Hanson global face serum. I thought it sounded interesting but I did not feel like I simply had to try it. In fact, I spent hours looking at ingredients list for a different product, which I ordered, and when that oil arrived, I was reading ingredients again and spotted jojoba oil, which I am sensitive to on my face, and try to avoid as much as possible (especially in something I'm planning on using daily). So while on the phone, arranging to send it back, I was asked if I wanted to get something else instead. At the time I actually genuinely needed a face oil (I know shocking, I wasn't always surrounded by bottles of beauty products), and I just said Lina Hanson, as that was the one I was sure didn't have any ingredients that did not agree with me. If you find yourself browsing beauty pages of a magazine, you will more than likely come across advice of using your skincare products on neck and chest area. I remember my mom always saying that you often can not tell a woman's age by looking at her face, but you can by looking at her neck. Yet a few years ago we were having a conversation along those lines, and she said that since everyone started using beauty products on their necklines she rarely can tell any more. Well everything I have tried to put on my neck and chest was making my skin on that area itchy and blotchy, be it body or face products. I was resigned to the fact that my décolleté would tell the true story, let the skin on my face and neck not match. Global serum came out of nowhere and sorted that for me, I can happily use it on this part of my body. I'm not sure if I found this serum or it found me, but I know perfection when it lands on my lap. This oil is a permanent part of my collection, luckily a bottle lasts ages so I don't have to repurchase too often.

 

When I saw Lotus Wei for the very first time I was very intrigued by the concept, I had great success with Neals Yard study kit that had herbal tea and aromatherapy remedies inside it, so I was curious to explore this type of products. Just to save myself a big headache of choosing, I wanted to get the mini selection, it was out of stock. I can't remember what made me choose Infinite Love, it was not the name, I remember thinking it sounded a bit like a name of a potion you would get from a fortune teller's tent. It was not because of the flower test on their website, it recommended a different mist. It could have been something as ridiculous as the fact that the label for this bottle is red (yeah I am that person that chooses a book based on the cover, don't pretend like you don't, and you know a lot of the times the outside matches the inside too). The point is, I had no idea if I would even like it, and it turned out to be not only a brilliant aromatherapy mist but also that illusive perfume I have been looking for. It smells of real flowers, has a sweetness, but is also fresh.

 

I remember finally deciding to start swapping all my makeup to natural. Of course that is when Clinique decides to release their chubby stick crayons. Oh how I wanted one, I was having internal debates with myself, I came so close to getting it. In the end I stuck to my guns, and what do you know soon enough Ilia had crayons too. I don't know what it is about this product that was making me feel like I had to have it. There was no doubt in my mind that it would be perfect, and no doubt what colour was the one for me, Karma Chameleon. And it was. It is. Perfect. I like to have a lot of options when it comes to lipstick, yet if I couldn't, this would be my one and only. I often get compliments on my choice of lip colour, but when I'm wearing Karma Chameleon, I get more than ever. Corals suit me, they work with my complexion and make my blue eyes pop, this particular shade does it better than others. Even if my lips are a bit on the dry side, and I can't find a lip balm for the life of me, it works without it. A little bit of the colour lingers after a meal, so when I don't get a chance to a reapply, my lips have a touch of coral tint. You think it doesn't get better, but it does, it looks beautiful on cheeks too.

 

I feel like ever since I have decided to give up those weekly visits to a department store makeup counters, I have been searching for that perfect gold powder. Not that it was easy to find there, but I did, and then I had to give it up. There is gold, and than there is gold that works for me. It has to have a glow, a pearlescent sheen, it can't be glittery, it can't be overly pale or too yellow. It has to be something I can use as an eyeshadow and as a highlighter. You see, I don't want much. One of my birthday presents from my parents was Alima pearluster eyeshadow in Camel (they might have been given a nudge in the right direction by yours truly). It is not that perfect gold I was searching for, yet it is a perfect caramel bronze that I didn't know I was missing. It looks so unbelievably good that I even forget that I hate loose powder (Alima is one of very few brands that does that for me). Rest assured this is not the last mention of it on this blog.

 

I like to have a representation of each type of cleanser on my bathroom shelf. A cream, an oil, a clay based powder, lightly foaming gel and a balm. They all serve different purposes and which one I will use depends on weather, how my skin is and time of day. I have to say that balms are generally my least favourite type. I don't like using face cloths, hate having them hanging around as they are drying after each use (I guess if we had more space it wouldn't be an issue), and it took me forever to come across the ones that wouldn't irritate my skin (most muslin cloths are far to abrasive for me). I mostly use balm cleansers in the shower, I give myself a quick face massage with a small amount of balm prior to jumping in, and then let it protect my skin from hot water while I'm washing my hair. I had a balm that I really liked and was planning on repurchasing (I still might at some point). So why did you see De Mamiel botaniques restorative cleansing balm in the photo above? Because I was curious. I adore De Mamiel seasonal oils, in particular the summer blend. When Botaniques range was released I couldn't afford to get everything, so I bought the Cleanse and Exfoliate. When I had a bit more cash I added this balm to my collection. And it set there unopened, for ages. I did open it of course, and it blew me away, no other cleansing balm compares to this. This is the one that made me not want to try anymore. I cannot stress how rare that is. You see for me skincare is like dating. Sometimes you go on a date and within the first hour you know it isn't going to work. Other times you need to have a few more to see where it is going. Occasionally you have it good, and even though you are not sure if it is ideal, it works and feels safe, and well better than not having anything at all. Yet once in a blue moon it's like that mythical unicorn, love at first sight, when every fibre of your being screams that it is for you, and you just know that this is it, your holy grail.

 

 

I am most definitely never giving up on pursuing perfection, to me it is part of feeling alive. When I don't find it or achieve it, I don't feel defeated because of it. It is about the journey. I set the bar high, for my beauty products and for everything I do. It's something to aim for. When you don't get perfection, you either move on to something else or try harder. Perfection, like so many other things, is subjective, but that doesn't make it unattainable, just unique to each individual. Maybe overall perfection is impossible, but there are plenty of little things that are perfect. Like when the bath water is just right, watching the sunset with someone that you love, and yes that lipstick that brings out your eyes.

 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

LNLO 2015: highlights

X

 

I have been looking forward to Love Natural Love Organic (and the sister shows) for ages. I had a plan of action all figured out, and for the first hour I even managed to follow it. As soon as Amber made it to the show, however, method gave way to madness and we just wondered around stopping whenever something caught our eye, or we remembered a stall we wanted to visit. While not very efficient, it was a hell lot of fun, and we also met up with Katie and Ailish later in the day to wonder together and share our best finds. That ment some of the stalls were visited several time, while we never made it to others.

 

For me the day started at the Organisers office, where I was given a press pack (which I'm still going through, lots of interesting information in there) and names of a few brands that wanted to have a chat with bloggers. My next port of call were two neighbouring stalls: Bathing Beauty and Bloom remedies.

 

 

 

I finally got a chance to play with Bloom remedies vast array of products, while Marie did not bring the whole range, there were still a fair few things. I was very excited to smell her three signature scents for the body care range, and it turns out I am a huge fan of Serenity Slumber, I originally thought that I would be all about Clear vitality ( that is also very good of course, I guess I just need a bit more relaxation at this point). I was so pleased that Bloom Remedies won the overall best product FreeFrom skincare award for the men's moisturiser ( just for the record, ladies that have combo/oily skin and are partial to a more masculine scent, there is nothing to stop you from using this, I asked and it is just as suitable for the ladies). I also made a note of the toner for the future, I have no idea why I didn't take the advantage of the show discount (oh wait I remember, I'm trying to cut down on my toner stash, what bad timing).

 

Bathing beauty was showing off new, artsy packaging and the latest addition to the range, makeup brushes. Those brushes are simply fabulous. As soon as George did that pressure trick with an eye brush on the tip of my finger, I knew they would soon be mine (what do you know, I resisted for a whole of two hours before getting them, and I completely blame peer pressure). Rest assured I will be talking about these brushes and some other Bathing Beauty goodies much more thoroughly in the near future.

 

 

Terre Verdi, one of the brands I keep promising a review for (honestly there must have been a hex on my laptops) has picked up a silver for their Yoga body oil. I also learned that Alessandra has just been certified by Cosmos, so you can expect some packaging changes in the next few months.

Itha, my latest obsession, had a buy one get one free offer, so I added two more colours to the previous PR samples. The post with all the colours is coming, promise.

 

 

Amber and I also came across a super cute stall Wood-Knit-Bee. They had beeswax candles, soaps and skin balm. I have been looking for beeswax candles for ever! They have a lovely mild honey scent when they burn. As I'm impossibly terrible at these shows, I did not grab a candle, but I will make use of their website.

 

 

The favourite new brand find has to be Savon Stories. They had such an incredible display, and the scents of the soaps are fantastic. The fact that soap making tradition has been passed down through generations is making me feel like we are not only getting a lovely product, but are allowed to be part of a beautiful heritage as well.

 

It was pretty exciting to come across a brand that was launching on the day, The Organic Balm co (their website doesn't seem to be up just yet). I was particularly intrigued by the fact that they used hemp seed oil in all of their products. Not an oil I see often but it is a great one for balancing skin. We also came across a new online shopping destination for natural and organic skincare, however I misplaced the leaflet and I can't remember the name (argh I know it's here somewhere, will tweet about it as soon as I find it).

 

 

On the food side we missed a good 70% of what was out there but the stalls that left an impression were: coconut merchant with their coconut jam and lots of coconut related products , chi coconut water is the best I have tried that is out of the bottle, InSpiral have a new range of kale chips and coconut bites, Anandas marshmallows and wagon wheels are vegan, gluten free and delicious with it.

 

On the beauty side I only purchased the Bathing Beauty brushes and Itha lip glaze. I still left with a whole lot of products that were generously given for a review.

 

 

 

When it came to food I simply had to have those marshmallows, wagon wheels and chi coconut water. The coconut merchant goodies were kindly given.

 

 

 

In the press pack along with lots of info on brands I found lots of food goodies, and I am especially looking forward to trying Rebel Kitchen.

 

All in all it was a fun day out, although a little hectic. It was so good to catch up with the girls and get their opinions on what's exciting in the green beauty world. I left completely bit but also pretty stoked. Did I mention my new brushes? Those are rather spectacular.

 

Massive shout out to the girls, it would not have been nearly as fun without you!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Instructions for a heatwave


This was in no way a planned post, but as I am sitting here in my pants, furiously waving my old school fan to keep myself cool (my electric travel fan has gone mia, and yes I know technically the effort of fanning oneself technically makes you hotter not cooler because of the heart produced by performing a physical activity, but it's mind over matter type situation). I simply can not focus on anything else but the heat.

Don't get me wrong as much as I love to complain about the weather (I mean what self respecting British person doesn't?), I actually like it when it's hot. That doesn't mean I always handle it well, I find it hard to focus, my brain refuses to be task oriented and if I am lucky to have time off, I know it is simply pointless to force myself to finish projects. I end up having to redo everything anyway, so I might as well relax.

Clearly it is not just me who can't handle the heat, my back up laptop has given up the ghost in a rather spectacular manner, with white smoke and everything. I'm taking it as a sign that I'm cursed, just joking, I decided to take a few days for myself and suspend my previous blog schedule until next week. It was either that or succumb to despair. Frankly I'm in far too good a place for despair, but I could do with some pampering and book reading.


The biggest obstacle for me is that when it's hot I loose my appetite, the only thing I crave is watermelon. Obviously watermelons are awesome as 92% is water, keeping you hydrated. The lycopene content helps your skin boost the UV-defense properties that work together with your sunscreen. Watermelon reduces water retention and cools the body. It also happens to be a source of iron. Regardless of all the watermelon powers, it is simply not enough to nourish ones body if that is the only thing that you eat (and as always too much of a good thing becomes bad). Luckily I have been sent Ambronite* to try and it arrived right at the start of the heatwave. This is a drinkable supermeal, made with organic real-food ingredients and while I'm not quite ready for a proper review, this has proven a lifesaver in this weather.

I love my herbal and green teas, and yes I'm still drinking some of them hot (hot drinks keep you cooler under certain conditions, check this article by smithsonian), but I am also using them in slightly different way. When I have time, I make a fresh mint infusion in a caffeterier, freeze the liquid in an ice cube tray, and than just pop a few cubes in a glass of water whenever I fancy a refreshing drink. When it comes to chamomile, I have these convenient bags from tea pigs, so I just infuse it in a large cup, and again freeze it in an ice cube tray. These cubes, however, I use on my skin. After washing my face, I use it instead of a toner (I also like to use one on the neck and décolletage). Chamomile soothes my skin that, the cold from the ice cube helps with any puffiness and generally feels refreshing after a hot day.


Generally my skincare routine has not really changed, I have stopped using face oils until the heatwave passes, and just use sunscreen after spraying liberally with May Lindstrom Jasmine Garden. I also spray myself with it last thing at night. When it comes to body care, I decided to take a leaf out of May's book, and skip the towels. Straight after a shower, on fairly wet skin, I have been using Laurel whole plant organics Sun: before and after body oil. This is a seasonal product only available during the summer months. It is an amazing cocktail of antioxidant oils, that help with boosting your sunscreen and repairing some of the damage after sun exposure (obviously this is not a magic cure, it doesn't mean that just because you use this you can fry in the sun all day long and everything will be dandy, it really won't).

To cool down when I'm at home I have been using Deep Steep passion fruit-guava body mist. I love the product, but really not a fan of the scent. Made a major snaffoo when choosing it, it reminds me of Fa fruity soap (Anyone remember those deos? Do they still exist?) that I was fond of in my early teenage years. I will repurchase in a different version, as I love how fresh it makes my skin feel, just wish I could have a sniff in a store before I do...

As luck would have it, I ran out of the only deodorant that actually works well for me when it's hot, and it will be another week until it gets here since I realised it too late. That means I was forced to rummage through my stash, and what do you know, I fished out body Brana sensitive skin deo. They make it in two versions summer and winter, the difference is how hard the formula is, not how well it protects you from becoming pongy. Being true to myself, I forgot to specify that I need a winter version, and I'm sort of stuck with the summer one. Hence why it didn't really get any use, as the only time this is usable is when my coconut oil is completely liquid. Well it happens to be this week, and it has been happily traveling with me to work and having a great steam room experience in my locker, without breaking a sweat (see what I did there? Now you know why I simply can't write an adult post right now).


Outside, my BKR bottle has become my best friend, I really don't want to be drinking from your standard water bottles, which leach plastic into your water when they get hot from the sun. My jean shorts, that I have been wearing every day (obviously not during the work hours, but as soon as my shift is over I'm in them faster than Superman), and my massive sunglasses have become a sort of heatwave uniform of choice. I have also been bringing tatcha blotting papers everywhere with me in case my face gets oily. What is great about them is they will only absorb oil, leaving your moisture levels intact as well as whatever products you have on your face undisturbed. Ooh La Lara hair bands are in constant use. My hair is super long at the moment, and these have been amazing at keeping it on top of my head in a messy bun (hair style that is hands down the winner this week), without falling apart or damaging my hair.

As I can't really wind down without doing something I have been listening to my iPod (often to Summer Jam by the underdog project on repeat), or reading. It seemed appropriate to start a book by Maggie O'Farrell "Instructions for a Heatwave". Not my usual choice of sci-fi or fantasy, there are no dragons or unicorns in this as far as I can tell, but I like to do that from time to time, read something completely different to widen my horizons.

London might not be the nicest place to be during a heatwave, unless you manage to snag yourself a nice spot in the park. But it is where I am, and I am loving every minute.