Thursday 30 May 2013

Summer essentials

Every time summer comes around I like to get some colourful lip products and nail varnishes. But they are different every year. What doesn't change is my summer essentials, these are the things that I would struggle without during this season.

Badger sport sunscreen stick SPF35. I have done a review of this recently. I really like this spf product, the stick is easy to reapply and I have not had any break outs or irritations from it. Fits easily even in my small handbag and is great for tricky areas like nose and ears.

Green people scent free sun lotion spf25. This is the first natural sunscreen that my husband hasn't been complaining about. The formula is not heavy and is easy to spread. You can get a travel sized version to pop in your bag. I am very happy with it and for UK weather spf level is sufficient. I have used it on my face with no problems, when I have forgotten my badger stick at home, so you could easily use this as an allover sunscreen.

Lily of the Dessert Aloe Vera gelly. All store bought aloe vera gels have some sort of additives to keep them fresh and this has been the first one that I have been able to use on my face as well as on my body. I mix it with a little oil in my palm and then apply to my face/body after sun exposure. It feels very cooling and doesn't leave that slick film that some heavier body oils do.

Z-gel. This is an all-purpose soothing gel for bruises, minor cuts, itchy or irritated skin, insect bites, sunburn. I try to have in my house at all times just in case but especially so in the summer when I tend to accumulate scratches (I have no idea where they come from), sunburn is always a possibility and mosquitoes do find me irresistible. Z-gel is very helpful with all of those and even as a spot treatment (not the best spot treatment but it does help especially if you forget to pack a proper one whilst on hols). Oh and you can also use it for emotional stress and anxiety, but I have not tried. It is EcoCert certified.

Hurraw sun lip balm. Skin on the lips needs protection just like anywhere else and if you ever experienced sore, sensitive lips after a day in the sun you will really appreciate this. It has zinc for spf but when you apply it, feels just like the other hurraw balms. Smells like a fruity lollipop, very summary.

Do you guys have any go to summer products?

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Intelligent nutrients anti-aging serum review

Intelligent nutrients probably has one of the largest ranges of organic beauty products out there. I have been very pleased with everything that I have tried so far. The products are USDA certified organic and are cruelty free, plus it doesn't hurt that the packaging is pleasing to the eye.

I have been taking my time with this review, as I think it took me a little while to truly appreciate the beauty of intelligent nutrients anti-aging serum.

I have found it to be a nice product from the beginning ( I have been using it on an of for about 8 months now) but it didn't feel special until I had a bad case of flu and my skin just started to look dry (a bit of a shock with my naturally oily and at best normal skin type) but after two applications of this my skin was back to normal.

About the product: This is an oil blend, safflower and argan oil being the first two ingredients. Both are light wonderful oils but the reason why this serum is so excellent are all the antioxidant oils that follow (Intelligent Nutrients even a have a special name for this blend of oils, they call it Intellimune seed oil complex). The ones that catch my eye are red grape seed oil that has anti-inflammatory properties as well as antioxidant that is more powerful than vit C and E; red raspberry seed oil that is again an antioxidant, has natural SPF properties and can help with rashes and eczema; pumpkin seed oil is rich in zinc and magnesium, and helps skin to regulate its own sebum production; carrot seed oil helps with UV damage and wrinkles.

Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil,1 Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil,1 Vitis Vinifera (Red Grape) Seed Oil,1,2 Rubus Idaeus (Red Raspberry) Seed Oil,1,2 Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil,1,2 Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil,1,2 Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil,1,2 Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Oil,1 Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Oil,1 Helichrysum Angustifolium (Everlasting) Flower Oil,1 Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil,1 Canaga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil,1 Rosa Centifolia (Rose) Flower Extract,1 Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil,1 Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil,1 Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil,1 Cistus Ladaniferus Oil,1 Beeswax/Cera Alba,1 Limonene,1,3 Linalool,1,3 Geraniol,1,3 Citronellol,1,3 Farnesol,1,3 Benzyl Benzoate,1,3 Benzyl Salicylate,1,3 Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
1 Certified Organic
2 Antioxidant Intellimune® Seed Oil Complex
3 Naturally Occurring Component of Organic Essential Oil Blend

The consistency is light and it absorbs well (I normally need just the one pump smoothed over damp skin) yet leaves the skin feeling silky smooth. On those occasions that my skin looks drier, I can see an almost plumping effect after applying this. I don't have visible wrinkles yet so can't be a good judge about that but it does make my skin feel much smoother than any other serum/cream that I have tried.

It has really dark colour in the bottle (label covers most of the bottle but there is a little gap) and once out it looks green, but there is no colour transfer when the serum is massaged in. I think that it smell wonderful, ever so faintly sweet but mostly herbal, sometimes reminds me of dry cranberries when I apply it. The fragrance does not linger.

It is suitable for all skin types including mature/dry, sensitive and oily. I was a bit apprehensive with it at first as it does have a lot going on, but I have not had any sensitivities to it. For oilier skin types you will not need any additional moisturiser, drier skin types will (as it is a serum and would most likely be too light on its own). Oily skin types should use it only once per day (am or pm your choice) other skin types can use it twice a day.

It has been really good under make-up. I tend to use it most during cold weather, but it is also great after long periods in the sun. It just seems to be great at keeping skin in balance during weather extremes. This and the Stark oil has been the most effective oils I have ever used with visible results.

It is the most expensive skincare product in Intelligent Nutrients range but the bottle is 50 ml and it stays fresh for a year after opening, plus it has a pump with very good control that always gives me just enough product, so there isn't any waist.

If you are under 25 you don't need this yet (I honestly think you shouldn't start with anti-ageing products until late twenties unless you are seeing some signs of premature ageing) but if you are in your thirties you really should add this to your routine, even if you will be applying it just a few times a week (but obviously you will get more benefits from using it more regularly).

Saturday 25 May 2013

Time for a cup of tea

This weather has not been at all spring like and some days I think that the only thing that keeps me going is a warm blanket and a sweet cup of tea.

Today I will be talking about my two most recent discoveries one of which is a health tea.

Teapigs liquorice and peppermint. I have been getting teapigs for a few years now. The bags are completely biodegradable (you can pop them in your compost if you have one) and a honestly think that this type of  tea bag improves the taste. I really like that you can sea all the herbs inside as well.

Now I can be funny when it comes to peppermint tea. I really love the fresh mint taste, and when I get the dried peppermint tea bags they somehow don't taste nearly as good, so I just get fresh mint from the herbs section and use that. But when I saw this liquorice peppermint blend on my last trip to whole foods I was intrigued.

Once you brew your tea the peppermint scent is dominant, at first I was thinking hm there isn't any liquorice in this. But when you have your first sip you know it is there. It is freshness of the peppermint instantly followed by delicious sweetness. It is nothing like what you expect liquorice candy to be (which can be an acquired taste), it is much more subtle, like what I would imagine a flower nectar to taste. Every time I have this I feel relaxed and happy. My favourite thing to have after a stressful day. This is great for people who like the idea of herbal teas but find them to be not sweet enough or bland, honestly you will not need any honey with it. And you really don't need to like liquorice candy to enjoy this.

Content skin tea. Now this is a health tea. It is a blend of herbs (red clover, marigold, alfalfa, cleavers, hibiscus, orange peel) to help your body be in balance (from digestive and hormonal perspective) and because of that, it could help promote healthy skin function.

HOW TO USE: A heaped teaspoon in a cup of boiling water will do the trick. Leave it for at least 5 minutes to steep and enjoy. If your skin is going through an break-out phase, steep the tea for 15-30 minutes for a more potent medicinal effect.

I used to buy different herbs from Neal's Yard and make my own tea blends for skin health. As I have mentioned before I don't do detoxes per se. I try to eat healthy all the time and when I feel that my body needs extra help I will have a few more vegy juices, and will drink more cleansing teas. I do not have a sweet tooth (I do enjoy deserts but I can easily skip them), my weakness is salty and fried foods. Obviously that is really not good for you (and I don't have them very often) so the teas help keep the balance.

What I notice with content tea is whenever I have it, I just somehow feel much better (a lot more alert and relaxed). I haven't really had any major break outs for about a year now so I can't say how helpful it is in that respect, but judging by the herbs used (and my previous blending experience) I would say it would be beneficial (especially if it is digestive related skin problems that you have).
I wouldn't say that this is a delicious tea, but if you have tried a few health teas you would know that some of them taste truly awful. This one doesn't, it is most definitely drinkable and actually enjoyable after a fashion, once you are used to it. It is my go to when I haven't been sleeping well, eating well or had a few late nights (or maybe an extra glass of wine on someones birthday, alcohol is really not good for your skin regardless of the antioxidant in wine).  Also if you suffer from hormonal break outs this would be a great thing to try to balance them. I've grown to like it much more than any of the health blends I ever made. I wouldn't advise sweetening it (after all you are trying to cleanse your system) but if you really need a sweet blend you can add a little bit of honey.

You can also use this as a warm compress on your face or chill in a spray bottle and use as a toner in the summer.

Friday 24 May 2013

Bottom of the jar

A post about the products that I have finished or the products that are nearly used up...

I don't know why but I feel ridiculously pleased when I finish a product, and I love the fact that my beauty shelf gets some free space (it is rather cluttered at the moment).

I managed to get to the bottom of some hair care, skincare and even one make-up item. I will go through them one by one.

Giovanni vitapro fusion leave-in hair treatment. I am pretty sure I had this for longer than I should have (a few months over the stay fresh limit) but it still worked fine. It is just a very light spray leave-in conditioner. All the ingredients seemed great yet somehow this smells slightly chemically to me (yet there was no added perfume or anything) it wasn't a strong smell though. The packaging of this product has changed a little. I got it from a natural health store, but you can get it from Amazon. I do have other leave in treatments that I prefer to this one, so will not be buying it again.

Aubrey organics Swimmers shampoo. This is a great product. It is meant to restore balance to your hair after overexposure to chlorine in swimming pools or too much salt from the ocean/sea. And if you live in areas of really hard water (like London) and are finding it hard to find a natural shampoo that will work, try using this every few washes. It does not look great, sort of brown gloop but it smells like cherry bakewell so that works for me. The one thing I don't like is the bottle. I find that with all Aubrey products though, I just think that packaging looks cheap and when shampoo is ten pounds a bottle I prefer it to look nicer. I am pretty happy with the way acure shampoo is performing right now, but would repurchase this if I notice that the harder water is effecting my hair again. There is an offer on for buy swimmers conditioner and get the shampoo for free, so I linked up to that.

Organic glam liquid shimmer highlighter warm gold. This is one of my favourite highlighters. I like the colour, texture and how it performs.

 It is a size of a liquid liner bottle, and has the same type of brush. So you can use it as a gold eyeliner or dot it along the cheekbones (or any area that you want highlighted) and blend. Texture is a very light gel, shimmer is very subtle and it stays on all day. Colour is similar to RMS solar but solar is more bronzed than this. My only hesitation about repurchasing is that it does have some synthetic ingredients (I don't have the packet any more so can't double check what they are and they do not have the ingredients on their website). I will have to get my butt down to one of their shops and take a look at the box before deciding. Organic glam is a make-up line from The Organic Pharmacy.

Pai Camelia and Rose cleanser. I got this because I wanted a cheaper alternative to the MV cream cleanser and this had great reviews from everywhere I looked. I also tried a sample before getting it. However after using my full sized product for a week my skin would become really itchy. I don't know if it was reacting with something else I was using, but I just couldn't deal with it so I used it as body cream cleanser (worked great but not something I would like to do again). It did not cause break outs or anything just really itchy skin every time I used it, but if I used a different cleanser my skin was fine. I can't think of why it happened as I am not sensitive to any of the ingredients in this product. It does smell lovely of roses and I do like the cream texture, not too thin yet not overly thick.

Suki exfoliate foaming cleanser. This is a travel sized version. I used to get this all the time and use it as once a week/2 weeks scrub. It tends to dry out once it has been open for a coupe of months (even though it is good to use for a year after opening) that is why I always get a smaller travel size version. It is a foaming cleanser which could be used up to once per day depending on skin type (personally I think that would be overly drying). It took me almost a year to finish this little pot simply because I was using other products (like May Lindstrom clean dirt) much more. I won't be getting it again simply because there is no need for it in my routine anymore, but it is still a very nice product if you enjoy a scrub that will leave your skin feeling very clean without any oily residue. Smells fresh of lemongrass, the sugar granules melt quickly with water.

Evolve balance and protect detangler. I absolutely love how this product smells! Like an apricot when it isn't ripe yet (I used to climb apricot trees when I was a kid and eat the fruit when it was still a bit green to the horror of my mom, it really isn't good for you to eat fruit that isn't ripe). Absolutely delicious smell, very fresh and not at all synthetic. I had this as a shampoo and conditioner duo that I got on offer. It really is not designed for my hair type (it is meant for normal to oily hair) so my hubby used the shampoo and he liked it, and I got the conditioner. It is a bit too light for me and if I used more product to try and make it more moisturising it didn't work (my hair would just feel greasy). If you are looking for a very light conditioner give this a go, not suitable for drier hair on its own (you could combine it with a light leave in, but that is just too much effort for me). I am tempted to get it again because of the smell though.

Saturday 18 May 2013

No make-up days

I guess for a lot of women the idea of a no make-up day in public can conjure up an image of a washed out photo. Like some how you are less visible (this is how I felt sometimes in the past).

My relationship with make-up is a funny one. I honestly think that you can get addicted to make-up like you do with alcohol, the difference being is that make-up addiction is not bad for your health and doesn't change your behaviour.... or does it?

Every one who made a change to cleaner skincare/make-up realises that your health, health of your skin can be affected by what is in the products that we use. But even after you make a swap does make-up really not affect how we behave? I don't think that I am the only one that gets this extra boost of confidence from wearing a great lipstick or flattering eye shadow, some powder that makes my skin appear more even toned and without shine, concealer that hides blemishes and dark circles. And that is a big part of why most of us use it, to be happier with our selves.

This is where the problem for me started. You see I always liked make-up because it was fun. Green or blue mascara, outrageously bright shadow, pink and red lip glosses. It was an extension of my mood, a fashion statement as much as my wardrobe.

As much as I love it I am also very fond of my sleep, so spending an hour doing my make-up was never me. Completely flawless foundation look, also not me. Yes I had a period of pretty bad skin, dealt with by some concealer and powder, yes you could probably still see the spots but they weren't as red so that was fine by me. And there were a few non make-up days due to not waking up on time. But those were quiet rare.

There was a point in my life that even though I wouldn't use much I would not leave the house without a concealer or a bit of powder, and when I realised this... I didn't like it, you see it felt like make-up instead of a fun friend became a crutch, like I was dependent on it. The fact is I decided that is not how I want this relationship to go on and that I am going to change it.

Before I continue with what it is I do on my make-up free days, there are a few things I would like to say.  Everyone is different and this is just the way I feel happiest and at the end of the day you should always do what makes you feel good. I have had women tell me that I should wear make-up and I have had guys tell me that I should stop wearing make-up. Both irritated me equally, it is my choice weather or not I wear make-up and only my mom has a right to give me unsolicited advice (well my dad too but he normally does it through my mom).

If you want to have a no make up day but don't feel confident here some things to keep in mind: when you pass people by they normally look at you for about 3 seconds, a little longer if something caught there eye (which is more likely to be an item of clothing or your over all appearance rather than some skin imperfection). Most of your interactions in the shops or restaurants are going to be with people who you will never ever see again. And most people will be a few meters away from you, so take a big step back away from the mirror, that is what they will see.

Don't you think that a make-up free day is an easy way out, alot of prep goes into it!

You should start from the night before.

 I normally wash my hair in the evenings and than let it dry while I sleep. Your skin looks its best when your hair is clean. However I wash my hair every 3-4 days so if I decide to have a no-make up day in between my shampoos I will use a face scrub or face mask before I go to sleep. Lately I have been alternating between comvita manukacare manuka honey, S.W. basics exfoliant and Stark green tea mask. All of them are mild but effective, so no unexpected break out in the mornings just clearer looking skin. After the mask/scrub (or washing my hair) I will spray my face with the S.W. Basics toner and while my skin is still damp I will put on the S.W. Basics cream. The toner really calms my skin down and the cream is really light ( I only need a half a pea size amount for my face) makes it great for night time use in my book (I am strongly in the DR Hauschka camp that you really shouldn't use heavy products at night and leave your skin to breathe, especially in the summer). When I wake up my skin looks pretty normal and not shiny. The best thing you can do for your skin is to have a good night sleep. I am a restless sleeper and often struggle with that, so I have turned to aromatherapy for help. I find that Lotus Wei quiet mind has been a great help with that and once I run out I'll be trying the badger sleep balm.

In the morning.

 I don't use a cleanser in the mornings (very rarely once a week or every two weeks I will use a face soap during warmer periods) so I either wash my face with water or wipe my face with some rosewater on a cotton pad. As you can see my Pukka rosewater is peeling, that is because when I was mixing a face mask I forgot it in the bathroom and the steam causes that layer (of plastic I guess?) on top of the glass to get loose and it comes off when you hold the bottle. After that I will spray my face with S.W. Basics toner and while it is still damp I will use either a drop of Stark cypress oil or a very small amount of Balance Me balancing face moisturiser. For me an eye cream (or an eye gel to be more specific) is a must on a no make-up day. I use Oskia eye wonder. Technically you don't need an eye specific product if you have a basic/light face moisturiser, but I find that an eye gel feels very refreshing and makes the eye area look brighter without needing make-up (plus I would not put most of my skincare full of essential oils near my eyes!). Lip balm is a must (even if you just use it once in the morning), I like to apply suvana first thing and than use hurraw during the day, at the moment I am obsessed with the almond version (yummy marzipan). If you have oily skin like me, mattifying papers are your best friends on a day without make-up. With this routine I find that my skin stays pretty good but, depending on how warm it is, I probably will need to use blotting paper once. I have a selection Jane Iredale ones are my favourites at the moment, but I have not tried Tatcha yet.

Hair routine.

 If you don't have perfect skin (which if you do I am super jealous of  you, you lucky thing) making sure your hair looks great on a no make-up day is a priority. Generally people will be noticing how good your hair looks and there for will have less time to concentrate on any skin imperfections you might have. I have had lots of compliments about my hair on my non make-up  days (now they might have been thinking boy but you could use some foundation, but it doesn't matter as they still said something positive, compliments always make you feel more confident, and you know that is what counts). I use acure shampoo and less is more protein spray the night before. For in between days I use either Intelligent Nutrients Volumizing spray or John Masters Sea salt spray (yes you can make your own but was being lazy). Both work similarly and I use it as a dry shampoo substitute in the summer. This is the application process that works for me: brush my hair really well (good hair brush is a must, I really like the tangle teezer), flip my head upside down, spray onto the roots evenly so at the back and at the front (this is a fairly heavy spray, you want to feel it on your scalp but not so heavy that you hair is wet) than a very light spray on the lengths of the hair. Sea salt is drying for the hair and the other spray contains alcohol so you don't want much of it on the areas of your hair that are already dry, but it really helps with the oilier parts.

Nail routine.

The same principal as for hair goes for nails, a pretty manicure is another positive thing for people to concentrate on. I would file them with a glass nail file (seriously get one if you don't have it, the best thing for your nails) and than massage a cuticle nail treatment I have always like Burt's bees but there are loads out there and you could use neem oil or coconut oil and most skin or lip balms. In the morning I would paint them with what ever colour I feel like (I think have about 20 to choose from at the moment).

If  you are going make-up free your choice of clothes is very important. Generally with the right make-up you could get away with wearing pretty much any colour you want but if you don't the colour you wear makes a huge difference to how your skin tone and your eyes come across, certain colours will at best do nothing for you, while others will just make you look washed out. A block colour is more flattering than patterns.

One other thing (I don't really do it but it does make a difference) is shaping your eyebrows.

Ultimately it is always making sure that you yourself feel good. Put on some matching undies (according to some study that boosts confidence in women, seriously people do studies about these things?). Spray your favourite perfume  on and just have a good day.

Friday 17 May 2013

Tata Harper Be Adored lip treatment

I have been using Tata Harper Be Adored for a few weeks now. You can read my first impressions here.

There is just something about Tata Harper's products that keep drawing me to them. The price point is so high and I don't even know if it is that ingredients that are so expensive or the mark up is huge, what ever it is, unfortunately for me I actually like this lip balm.

Be Adored is very lightly tinted, just a hint of rose colour, it is not a sort of product that will stay all day, it is a lip balm with a hint of colour (I do wish it had a bit more pigment). What got me hooked is the smell. Just like a delicious fruity tea, I have gone a bit weird and was sitting there sniffing it for a good few minutes (all for the sake of the review of course). I do tend to apply it about as often as my other lip balms so about 3-4 times a day, but my lips feel more hydtrated when I use this.

I find the texture to be really unusual, it is light but not thin like my hurraw balms, and if I apply a little extra to get more colour it feels almost a little jelly like, similar to a lip gloss yet it is not at all sticky. And it makes lips feel really plump.

I adore how the packaging looks, really stylish but like I mentioned in my first impressions my one only pushes upwards not down, so I make sure to only extend it a little at a time.

It has become the lip balm that I reach for the most (at first it was because it smells so good, now it is because of how good my lips feel). So yeah it will be getting repurchased once I run out (I think I can hear my wallet crying in the corner). For me this is an indulgence rather than a necessity, but I have not a lip balm quiet this good before.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

My first Souk Souk box

When I came home today my souk souk box was patiently waiting (so pleased I sort of forgot it was coming). I have been wanting to join one of these box schemes for a while, but the only one the liked the sound of was the No More Dirty looks one. Souk Souk box had their first box out last month and as I liked the look of the April box I decided to sign up for the 3 month trial.

This is what is in the May box.

Mini Green People Moisturising shower gel.
Mini Green People Nurture body lotion.
Mini Dr Bronner's castile Rose soap.
Full size inika brow pencil 02.
Full size Balm Balm lip balm fragrance free.

Small souk souk magazine.

I have used balm balm in the past and enjoyed the lip balm very much (although it was a rose version). Dr Bronner's soap contains jojoba so I don't use it on myself but I do use it to wash silk items and make-up brushes, and a small bottle is great for travelling. The other items I haven't used before and I am looking forward to trying them out.

In the description it mentions that the brow pencil can double as an eyeliner, will be playing around with it soon.

I actually really like the magazine, it is short about 15/16 pages but it has little profiles on natural products and some diy recipes. And it is really well presented.

Now how long till the next one?

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Neal's yard Remidies concentration aids.

This post is about two remedies that I use to help me when working on projects, preparing for exams (anything requiring reading for a long period of time). On certain days I find it really hard to concentrate, like my brain just refuses to process large quantities of information. Normally if I feel like that I give myself a break and on the next day I feel fresh and able to deal with it. However with dead lines it isn't always possible to give yourself a much needed break. There are only so many cups of coffee or tea you can have before you start running to the toilet every five minutes (so counter productive). When I need extra help this is what I use.

These two little beauties came as a part of a study set by Neal's Yard. I sort of used everything else up and conveniently deleted the photos somehow. So what was meant to be a review of the whole set now is going to be a review for just two products. They don't do the sets any more but I'll give you details of the products that used to be in this one at the end of this post (just in case you want to recreate your own).

Remedies to Roll - Study.
First of all don't be put off by the title "study", you don't have to be a student to benefit from this aromatherapy treatment. It is meant to help you cope with large amounts of information, or reading for a prolonged period of time. So anyone who is doing some sort of paperwork, research or project involving lots of information that needs to be remembered could benefit.

I normally use it when my head starts feeling foggy and things don't make sense. It sort of gives me this burst of "I am awake" energy. It isn't very long lasting unfortunately but on the other hand I just roll it on my pulse points when I feel like my mind is wondering again. This is a base of sunflower oil with essential oils. Primarily citrus. Citrus oils are really great at clarifying your mind and making you feel refreshed. Also sometimes it can be hard to feel motivated to start a daunting project. People associate smells with certain things, if you keep using this for studying or research, when you put it on your mind sort of recognises what you are about to do and what is needed of it. Puts you in the zone so to speak, where it is much easier to find the focus needed for the task.

 I find it that on my temples it seems to stay the longest and on the wrists the smell disappears much quicker. If you are using it on temples make sure to clean that area at the end of the day, although sunflower oil is very light and generally not comodogenic, with frequent applications the chances increase, it is better to wipe the oil of than wake up with tiny spots on your temples.

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) oil*, clove (Eugenia caryophyllus) oil*, orange (Citrus dulcis) oil*, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) oil*, bergamot (Citrus bergamia) oil*, grapefruit (Citrus grandis) oil*, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) oil*, spearmint (mentha viridis) oil*, basil (Ocimum basilicum) oil*, tocopherol, citral, citronellol, eugenol, geraniol, isoeugenol, limonene, linalool.
*organic ingredients

Focus flower essence blend (bach flower essence blend)
Honestly sometimes everything is super distracting. I keep thinking about what to make for dinner, who's birthdays are coming up, what should I wear tomorrow. anything but what I am supposed to be doing. This is where the focus remedy comes in. Basically I use it when my study roll on is not doing the trick (or the effect doesn't last very long before I have to reapply). It tastes truly disgusting. You need to put 4 drops under the tongue 4 times a day. This is  a flower tincture in water and brandy (I really do not like brandy) and it totally stings, it has Alc. vol 26%. But it really works! I can feel my eyes widening and I can instantly think more clearly.

Indicated for: exam formula, interviews, cramming, mental tiredness, overwhelmed, fear of failure, revision, distracted, fuzzy headed, mental chatter, uninspired.

You can also add a few drops to a small amount of water and sip it through out the day (it would help with the taste, but I have not tried it as I feel like it won't be as potent?) I have never tried any other flower remedies before this one (or after) and I am so pleased at how well it works.

Water, organic brandy, larch, elm, white chestnut, hornbeam, gentian, clematis.

When I have to get through a lot of reading and writing I use the combination of the two, but if I can get away with it I just use the roll on. The focus remedy is definitely the one that has a much stronger immediate effect but is not as enjoyable to use. Comes down to this: if I need motivation I use the roll on, if my brain is refusing to work I use the focus flower blend (or both which is frequently the case).

What was in the original kit (as well as the above products): lemon balm tincture, rose and lemon balm uplifting tea, tea strainer, and a lemon body/space spray they don't do it any more but any energy spray will have similar properties (I personally really like the Lotus Wei one).

Do you guys have favourite tricks to help you stay focused?

Friday 10 May 2013

What is in my Badger Hamper

So I recently won a Badger Balm hamper on twitter (no it wasn't me dancing for joy when I realised I won, it was someone who looked suspiciously like me.....ok fine it was me, I am easily excitable).

Even though I saw the picture of the hamper there wasn't a description that I saw, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

For some reason I didn't think that they would actually send me the badger toy and the basket even though they were in the photo (I just assumed it was done for props and that I would just get the products inside?) but I am really pleased that I got them too. I really do have a soft spot for baskets.
I loved the hand written cute card that I received as well.

Now to the main point of what is inside!

There are 4 lip balms (I am a huge lip balm junkie and surprisingly I haven't actually tried the badger lip balms before) in pink grapefruit, tangerine breeze, vanilla madagascar, ginger & lemon. I am saving these for when I run out of some of my current lip balms, but it is ridiculously hard not to open and sniff every single one of them. Especially looking forward to trying the tangerine breeze and ginger & lemon as I have never had any lip balms with those scents.

I also got seven tins (I love these designs, I have a couple empty ones from the balms purchased in the past, they are just too cute to throw away, and yes I can be a bit of a hoarder). I haven't used any of these balms in the past either.

Four of them are what I would refer to as aromatherapy balms: yoga & meditation balm, cheerful mind balm, tension soother, sleep balm. I am most looking forward to trying cheerful mind (it sounds like it would smell delicious) and the sleep balm as I do have troubles falling asleep frequently and the sheep need a rest from being counted.

The other three tins are more classic body care: muscle rub, cuticle care, for hard working hands. All of them will be very handy.

 Mr Badger toy is made of organic cotton and I think I will have to do some photos around London featuring him.

I am ridiculously pleased with this hamper, all the products are new to me, it is just an awesome unexpected present!

Wednesday 8 May 2013

How I organise my make-up

I feel that I should start with a warning. There will be a lot of make-up in this post (more than what one person needs). I do have a magpie syndrome when it comes to beauty products and even though I don't use a lot on day to day bases my stash is significant. Believe it or not it used to be much worse and I am working on reducing it further.

This is what I have right now.I have a bunch of make-up bags that I keep in a basket and each bag is organised by category. I will go through each one in turn.

Ilia beauty and unopened. I use ilia very often and it was just easier for me to have it all in one place. Also this bag opens in such a way that everything is visible so it makes it easy for me to find particular shade of ilia that I am looking for.

 All the unopened items I keep at the bottom and Ilia on top.

Products that will expire soonest. If a product will be expiring in the next 4 months or less it is in this bag. To make sure that I don't forget to use them up.

At the moment most of my RMS is in this bag and Organic Glam by organic pharmacy. With rms there isn't much product left in most of them (I have a fair amount of magnetic still) and not much organic glam. But the lavera tinted cream is almost full and so is the Neal's yard lip gloss.

Products that I use least. At the moment this has majority of my eye make-up, powders and lip glosses.

 I just haven't been using much of them lately I like all the product in this bag just at the moment they are not my go to make-up.

Products that I use most. I keep these in a see through bag so it is easier to find what I want. This is the bag that has everything for an easy day time look and this is what I go for when I am in a rush (so a lot of the time). Here I have my W3ll people collection (old and new). Two mascaras, one black one brown. Two bronzers one with shimmer one without. And my Une foundation that I absolutely adore (this is the first and only liquid foundation that I have ever liked, I have always used powder in the past).

"Dirty" make-up. I had a little relapse last year and purchased Guerlain Sun in the city powder. I prefer the way powder highlighters look on me and I just haven't been able to find a clean version of a gold pressed powder. If you know of one pleas tell me. And I also got one of there kohls at the counter (very bad especially since I do know a good alternative).

The rest have been presents that after some deliberation I have decided to keep (most haven't been opened).
Oh once I needed a concealer when I was out and there wasn't any stores with natural make-up around, that is how I got the Body shop one.

Perfume. Not make-up, but I do keep it in a make-up bag. I haven't actually found a lot of perfumes that I like ( I was fussy even before going "clean"). I always liked fresh scents and something a little spicier for the evenings. So I just don't use perfume very often any more.

 I also buy samples of the more expensive ones that I like. Choice of perfume for me strongly depends on my mood and with prices of some having more than one bottle is not possible for me so I get sample sizes if they are available to buy. I also have intelligent nutrients Jasminas in my hand bag as it is in favour at the moment.

Sample organisation. I also categorise my samples. In one bag I have those that I haven't tried yet.

 The red bag is for the samples of products that I like, those I normally try and keep so I can take them with me when travelling.

And the smallest bag is for make-up samples that I haven't tried.

Most of the samples I have are the ones that have been included with orders. I occasionally request a specific product that I am thinking of buying to make sure that I don't have a reaction. I only tend to keep the ones I like or am curious about the rest I give away.

The reason that there aren't many lip balms in my make-up bags is because I have them strategically placed around the house and in each handbag that I use frequently (I used to forget to put a lip balm in after swapping a handbag and ending up either with dry lips or an extra balm that there was no need for!). I also have some lipsticks that seem to live in certain handbags too. I do have 2 or 3 more make-up items that don't fit into the bags at the moment and I just keep them with my skin care.

As a last thing I wanted to make a point about organic glam. I am fairly fond of them because of the way the products perform, but they do have synthetic ingredients and preservative seems to be honeysuckle exctract , also they don't actually have the ingridient list for the make-up on their website, I find that odd and inconvenient. The only product that I will consider repurchasing is the golden highlighter the rest will be replaced by other brands.

Monday 6 May 2013

Rms beauty make-up review

Rms beauty 'un'cover up was the first natural make-up product that I have purchased (that was about 4 years ago). My skin care and body care were mostly clean by then but my journey with clean make-up was only just beginning. There was a few things that were appealing about the brand: Dr Alkaitis endorsement (that was how I found out about it), the whole idea about make-up that is good for your skin, and the fact that the products were not meant to mask but enhance.

At the time I was not aware of my sensitivity to jojoba so you can imagine my frustration with Rms products (all of them apart from Living luminizer have jojoba). Because of that it was a love hate relationship. Now I know what can go where and am much happier. The only product that is multi tasking for me (not counting the coconut oil) is the living luminizer.

I will be reviewing all the Rms products that I have in my kit at the moment.

Rms beuty cream eye shadow in solar and magnetic. I am not actually a fan of cream formulations (I have always been a powder girl for blush, eye shadow and foundation). I think these ended up in my possession simply because even though I prefer powder, I am not the biggest fan of loose powder and the colours are absolutely beautiful. Also the idea that eyeshadow would double up as a moisturiser for the lid seemed intriguing.

I go through phases with these. Some days I absolutely love them. Really quick to add a hint of colour, they don't irritate my eyes and they really bring out the colour of my eyes. Other days I wish I could make them look more intense without them creasing. They are meant to be worn lightly but when I dip my finger into the pot and see such an intense colour I can't help but wish that I could replicate it on my eye lid too.

 The only way I have managed that is if you use it like a liquid liner, that way it works but for all over lid application you really do need to stick to instructions (take a little on the tip of you your finger and massage in like you would a moisturiser) if you want to avoid creasing.  It does crease a little on me when applied on the whole eye lid (but it is only visible when my eyes are completely closed and you have to be ridiculously close to my eye to notice).

Solar. Is a bronzed gold colour and my absolute favourite. It is very shimmery but the size of the shimmer particles is not overly big  and I find the whole effect very flattering. If you have no sensitivities to the ingredients it would make a great all over highlighter. One of my favourite products to use in the summer evenings. A little of this on my lid, red lip, and I am even happy to skip mascara.

Magnetic. I got this colour because it is meant to look great with blue eyes. In the photo it looks silver/grey but when you swatch it there definitely is more brown. I would've preferred it to be more grey for all over lid application (I only ever use brown shadow like a liner, just don't like it on me in any other way). As a liner it looks great.

Rms beauty lip products. I have a little collection lip2cheek, lip shine, lip and skin balms. As previously mentioned I only use them on the lips but I am sure they could be great multi-tasking products for someone else.

Lip2cheek in smile and modest. These used to be my go to products before I had Ilia. I still like them but it is much easier to apply lipstick out of the tube and as I don't use these on my cheeks I seem to be reaching for them less. Rms beauty is looking to unveil her tubed lipsticks in the fall and I am really looking forward to that.

Smile. This a lovely coral shade it is a little muted (more orange than pink) coral. This is the only product in the line that has some synthetic colour (very little). It is quiet moisturising.

Modest. This is my favourite colour. In fact I didn't even like it when I saw it on line. It was once I tried it in  the store that I fell in love with it. Really brings out my eyes, just a gorgeous shade that is a mixture of pink and and orange and a hint of red. This one also leaves a stain behind so I don't really need to reapply very often. It is a little more drying than the smile formulation, I always apply lip balm before a first application, afterwards I just top up without lip balm and I have not had any problems with lips drying out.

Lip shine in bloom. This was actually a Christmas present from my hubby (no idea how he came up with that one since he doesn't know the names of any of the brands I use, must have been going through my make-up stash when I wasn't home). I really like the texture it is very creamy maybe even a little gel like, very hydrating and has a lovely slightly glossy look. The colour is very close to my natural lip colour, light rosy/nude pink. I mostly use it on low key days and if I am playing up my eyes (not very often lately). It won't be the colour that I will get again but I really like the product itself so I will get Sacred once this runs out (to be fair to my other half when he got it, there was only choice between Bloom and Moment, for me Bloom is a better choice). I prefer applying lip2cheek with fingers but lip shine looks best when applied with a lip brush.

Lip and skin balm in vanilla and cocoa. These are really good matt lip balms. Absolutely wonderful under lipstick. I don't have these in my hand bag because they need a finger application (let's face it hands are not very clean when you are out and about). Admittedly having both is a little excessive (I wasn't sure which one to go for). The are exactly the same apart from one has vanilla extract and the other one doesn't. The fragrance is very subtle from the ingredients themselves. One is light vanilla and the over is a hint of cocoa. They are not at all heavy just moisturising, don't feel any product on once it absorbs (1-2 minutes). I can see this being a great multitasking product for some one who has dry areas as the it doesn't add any shine.

Rms beauty Living Luminizer. This was the last product that I have tried from the range. It took me a while because I prefer warmer highlighters.

But it was getting so much "must have" feedback that I ended up getting it. What I like about it is the pearlescent effect. I don't like highlighters with large glitter chunks and this gives a wonderful iridescent glow.

 In the pot it looks like it could have some light gold tones to it but on my skin it is definitely more towards white. For that reason I do not love it.  It is great as part of a make up look (dark liner, rouge, bright or nude lip) but I don't like the way it looks on me on it's own (it just seems to accentuate my paleness). If it was more golden it would be my holy grail product.

Just as an idea this is one of the ways I like to wear Rms. Solar and magnetic as eye liner (solar on the inner corner extended half way on top and bottom eye lids, magnetic the rest of the way and the outer corners both top and bottom) and modest on lips, you can see how different the colours look in different light.

At the moment my favourites from the line are Solar and Modest. I like the way the packaging looks yet I would've preferred if it was in tubes like Vapour. Rms is very easy to use and performs well if you don't try to use too much. I would like to try 'un' powder at some point and of course the upcoming lipsticks.

You can get them in a few places including Naturisimo and Cult Beauty.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Time for a cup of tea

I am some what obsessed with the herbal and green teas. Therefore I decided to do  a series of posts on some of my favourites. I absolutely love discovering new tea blends so please share your favourites in the comments.

I think my love of tea began with my first pot of jasmine tea in a small Chinese restaurant. Up until then I only had black tea (and although I always liked it it wasn't something that I would crave). Nowadays I don't even drink black tea apart from occasional earl grey in a cafe.

There is just so much choice! You have fruit teas, herbal teas and flower teas (technically infusions as they don't come from a tea plant). Some taste great others have health benefits. There seems to be a blend of tea for everything: to help you detox, to help you sleep, to keep you energised, to keep you balanced.

My cupboard is full of different varieties and depending on how I am feeling I make my choice.
The two teas that I would like to start with are my special occasion teas. I don't mean that I have them only on celebrations, I just don't have them very often, mainly on days that I feel that I need extra motivation.

Solaris botanicals flowering tea. This is an Irish company that has a range of speciality, therapeutic and organic teas. They have a wonderful selection of teas. The flowering teas are made by hand using silk thread to connect tea leaves and flowers (they look gorgeous and you can imagine how much craftsmanship is required for each pod). Each variety is made from white tea needles and flowers for example: Butterfly Loves tea is white tea and clover; Unity is white tea, jasmine and Dendranthema Morifoilium (it is a pink flower I do not know the common name for it).

I like to have a variety pack. Each flower tea comes individually wrapped. In its dry state it looks like a ball which opens once you add hot water.

Each one looks different once the flowers are opened. The taste is not as intense as green tea. White tea actually comes from the same plant as green tea, but is harvested earlier and there is differences in the way the leaves are processed. Because of that white tea has more antioxidants and less caffeine and milder flavour. Although I like both I do prefer white tea. Out of all the flowering teas my favourite would be Sunrise.The picture shows Embrace.

In the variety pack of 5 that I had there were 2xUnity, 1xCelebraition and 2xEmbrace. On the website they are showing a different selection right now, they do change them from time to time. These are energising teas and each flower makes about 2l of tea so they are great when you have guests, one flower is enough for about 8 cups.

Whole rose buds infusion tea. I think I have mentioned rose tea before. I like this one specifically because of the look of rose buds (you could achieve the same taste with rose petals from a spice store). I first bought tea like this in Turkey and loved it ever since. It has a sweet flowery taste and is just really refreshing. You need to allow one teaspoon per cup, so about 3 maybe 4 flower buds per cup depending how strong you want it, use freshly boiled water and let it infuse for 5-6 minutes. I like to make mine in a glass tea pot.

I love rose buds because they are very versatile, you could make your own blends (adding dried fruit, dried orange or dried lemon peel). Home made rose water for cooking or skin care use. And refreshing ice tea in summer. Just add honey to it while it is warm if you would like some added sweetness, lemon or orange slices and let it cool down before popping it in the fridge, I also like to put sliced strawberries. A rose tea with addition of fresh mint leaves is also very refreshing as a chilled drink.
We are tea is an independent London based company, their teas are packed by hand in UK and they are a member of Ethical tea partnership.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Ere Perez eye pencil and beetroot cheek & lip stain review

Ere Perez is an Australian natural make-up brand, one of their most famous products is the Almond oil mascara. That was what led me to them in the first place a few years back, but for some reason I still have not purchased one (I honestly don't know why, as I am sure I was planning to).

I have heard good things about their make-up range in general, I think my choice at the time (a year ago maybe a little more) was guided by what was lacking in my make bag.

Ere Perez natural jojoba eye pencil in brown. One of the first make-up items that I had as a teenager was an eye liner pencil. To this day if I am doing eye make-up that is what I prefer to use. They are just so versatile and easy to use. What attracted me to this particular pencil were all the reviews that said how soft it was. My eyes have been becoming more and more sensitive, to the point that I couldn't use conventional mascara even if I wanted to (eyes become seriously itchy). A gentle eye liner that wouldn't pull sounded perfect.

Texture is really very soft and it glides on smoothly. I like to apply eye liner to the top and bottom lid. I find that on the top eye lid it stays all day without budging, however on the bottom lid there does seem to be some smudging. To prevent that you either need to set it with powder or blend it in a little with a q-tip after application, as long as you do that it will last all day. If you only use eyeliner on the upper lid you don't need to do anything.

The colour is a very dark chocolate brown, almost black.

Packaging wise it comes with a lid that has a sharpener inside, if you want to use it then just pull top part of the lid off (it is a lid within a lid type scenario). It is a good sharpener if you are in a rush or travelling, however if you want to get a fine point use your normal one.

As this is a really soft pencil it is really great for having that slightly smudged, rock n roll smokey effect. My only problem with it is that it doesn't come in more colours.

Ere Perez natural beetroot cheek & lip stain in Joy. I was rather fond of benetint back in the day, so when I saw this, it was inevitable that I would be getting it. Joy is the original colour, some time last year they introduced two more.

It smells like rose water (probably from dog rose as I can not see any added fragrance in the ingredients). Dog rose is the plant (flower) from which rose hip fruit comes from.

dog rose (rosa canina)extract
beet ( beta vulgaris) extract
potassium sorbate
polysorbate 20
sodium chloride
Despite the fact that it has beetroot, which tends to look more red purple, this stain is definitely on the coral side. It is very bright and it dries fast, so you really need to watch the quantity and make sure to blend immediately (it is waterproof you will need to remove it with an oil based cleanser). I did apply a little more than what I usually would wear for the pictures (you can get it to look very natural).

Here is the low down: make sure your skin is well moisturised as it will give you just a little extra time for blending; it has a roller ball but I would suggest rolling it on to your finger and then quickly tap and blend, making sure not to press harder in different areas or you will have patches of colour that look darker and lighter on your cheeks; repeat for more colour if you want. If you do find that you overdid it or have edges that you couldn't blend out because it has dried do not panic, take a little bit of you normal foundation or concealer and go over those areas (you are not trying to mask it, just dull some areas down, so just a little on the fingertip is enough).

For the lips: apply a lip balm, have it on for 5 to 10 minutes then wipe off; you can apply straight witha roller ball then blend or with a finger (whichever you prefer just make sure to blend after or it can dry unevenly). You can apply lip balm or gloss over it just be careful as the oils in those products can potentially remove the colour (as long as you are gentle it is fine). It does stay on all day until you use an oil to remove it.

I really like both of these products although the cheek stain can take a little time to get used to.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Ilia beauty lipstick crayon review

When I have decided to start using natural beauty products (that was about 6 years ago) make-up was one of the hardest things to give up. I like bright colours and pretty packaging and at the time there weren't that many brands that did natural make-up, let alone did it in the way that was appealing to me.

Ilia has got it right every single time. They have great formulations, products look great and the selection of colours is just beautiful. Every time I wear one of their lipsticks I get questions like: what it is I am using and where can they get it (I even had a case of bathroom envy, I thought poor girl was going to break her neck trying to look at the name on the tube of  my lipstick).

Ever since Ilia came into my life I never even looked at a lipstick counter in a department store. But there was one product that I was secretly wishing that I could have, it was Clinique chubby stick. Somehow having a lipstick in a shape of crayon was just hugely desirable to me (no I never got it, I have been pretty good in sticking with natural products)

You can imagine how over the moon I was when I heard the news about the latest Ilia launch. It has finally arrived and as soon as I opened the package it went on my lips.

Ilia beauty lipstick crayon in Karma Chameleon. Obviously I love the packaging. Shaped like a fat crayon, twists up at the bottom to bring the product out. The ingredient list seems to be shorter and a little different from the other lipsticks.

Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Trisostearyl Citrate, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnuaba) Wax*, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil*, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil*, Carica (Papya) Seed Oil. May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI77891), Red 7 (CI15858), Iron Oxide (CI77499, CI77492, CI77491). *Certified Organic Ingredients. Ingrédients Certifiés Biologiques.

My lips felt very comfortably moisturised. It is a matte finish more similar to their lipstick rather than the lip conditioners, but it still has a little bit of the lip balm shine so lips do not look dehydrated.
Karma chameleon is a coral colour. It is very similar to Shell Shock but it is more pigmented, shell shock tends to look a little pink on my lips, karma chameleon stays coral.

It looks most intense for the first hour and then it just stays the same. I find that I do need to reapply after eating if I used a napkin, otherwise it seems to hold up pretty well. Even when wiped off there is still a little colour (not as much as when I use wild child or crimson and clover, but that might be because red colours are stronger).

If you are trying to choose between Shell Shock and this, I would say go for Karma chameleon (unless you prefer a more subtle effect as it does look very bright).

I have read a lot of blogs and books about greening up your make-up and there seems to be a theme: Change the products that you use most and don't worry too much about a bright lippy that you use for special occasions. The thing is with ranges like Ilia available I think you really should make the change, honestly the way they look and feel on your lips I wouldn't swap them for anything else.