Saturday 29 March 2014

Dahliana seabuckthorn berry creme review

I first mentioned Dahliana seabuckthorn crème in my spring routine post. My routine has somewhat changed and I will do an update on it very soon.

Initially I was using seabuckthorn crème as a daytime moisturiser, but now it is a night treatment in my routine. I first introduced this crème in to my skincare rotation mid February. So at this point, I have been using it somewhere between a month, and a month and half.

The product comes in a heavy plastic jar, which does look simple and elegant. The crème itself has a pale yellow colour and light consistency. It smells deliciously fruity and citrusy. Very fresh, and the scent disappears quickly enough after application, which is my general preference with face products.

I really love how the formula feels on my skin, it is hydrating and not at all heavy. It doesn't feel like I have a layer of product sitting on my face. It seems to slightly even out my skin tone and my pores appear less noticeable after use. On the box it mentions that sensitive skin types may experience slight flushing and tingling during initial use, and to use less frequently until skin becomes accustomed to the product. And indeed I did experience those effects, it normally goes away after about 15 minutes. However after over a month of getting used to it, I still can not use this crème more frequently than every other day (actually every other night, since I no longer use it during the day).

I always take the anti-ageing label on products with a grain of salt, what I am personally looking for, is for a product to help maintain the look and feel of well hydrated skin, as dehydrated skin always makes you look older (of course hydration comes from within, but topical products do help). I also want my skincare to provide a glow, without making me look shiny and not to exaggerate the look of my pores (it is surprising how many moisturisers do just that). Generally I believe in pro-aging, i.e. in maintenance and prevention rather than reversal. And I feel that this is a great product in that respect, it almost ticks all the boxes. When it comes to performance I absolutely love it, it really does deliver on the promises.

But there are some issues that I do have with it. First of all due to the active ingredients, for best results. you need to use this creme up within 3 months of opening. It says so on the Dahliana website, but not on the box or the jar. They also mention in their general Q&A area, that all jar products should be used within 4 months of opening, but the pump serums are ok until expiration, which is a year after you receive them. Since I bought this from a third party, and not directly from Dahliana, I don't really have any way of knowing when this product expires, as there is no expiration on the packaging.

And my last concern is about the Grape fruit oil in the product (just as a side note the full ingredient list for the products is not available online). Grapefruit essential oil has a low risk of phototoxicity, and is considered safe to use in that respect if it is used in a concentration of 4% or below, for products that will be left on the skin (anything above that level and skin must not be exposed to sunlight or sunbed rays for 12 hours).

When I contacted Dahliana with regards to the method of extraction of their grapefruit oil, and my concerns over it being phototoxic, I received a very prompt reply (within 30 minutes), which left me a little baffled. First I was assured that they used only the smallest amount of grapefruit oil in their products, that made me feel pleased, but the next sentence sort of threw me. They pointed out that they use cold pressed oils, and that cold pressed oils do not have problems with photo toxicity. Well that is simply not true, essential oils that contain certain types of furanocoumarins are photo toxic (bergapten happens to be one of the phototoxic FCs, and is a component of grapefruit oil), FCs are generally found in expressed (cold-pressed) citrus fruit oils, but not in distilled citrus fruit oils.

I was also directed to a post about citrus oils and phototoxicity, which I was already familiar with, and advised to always wear daily SPF when outside. I will address my personal SPF policy in an upcoming post, but when I wear SPF, I do not have a moisturiser underneath, as my skin just doesn't like it when I try to layer a lot of different products. I was inclined to believe their statement about the low levels of grapefruit, but followed by a sentence that made no sense and after looking at the ingredients list a little closer, I am not so sure. Grapefruit oil is listed number 8, and there are 14 further ingredients that follow after, that are supposed to be listed in diminishing quantity (and seabuckthorn is listed 10th). Assuming that grapefruit oil is at 4% level, that would mean that the other ingredients are even less than that (which yes is entirely possible), since I have no access to their formula I just decided to veer on the side of caution and use it only at night.

I purchased the Seabuckthorn Berry Crème when a beautiful world were having their Pink Friday  flash sale, and I also had a ten pound voucher, so I paid £19 instead of the usual £54. With my every other nightly use, it is not very likely that I will use it all up in the 3-4 months period that is recommended, however I do feel that results that this product gives are very good, and I would not hesitate to purchase it again, if it was on offer, but I can't really justify getting it full price every 3 months. I only need about a pea sized amount for my entire face (I couldn't use it on my neck, which seems to be super sensitive to most products), and after more than a month, the jar still looks barely touched. I am normally not that bothered about products in a jar, but if it would help with prolonging the freshness of this crème, I would rather it came in an airless pump container. It uses phenoxyethanol as a preservative (as I have mentioned before, I don't completely avoid this ingredient, but I do try not to use too many products that have it).

Have you guys tried Dahliana? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Let's talk chocolate

When I was a kid I swear there was no better food than chocolate. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't really get to eat it all that often was what made it more special, or maybe it really was a different recipe back then. Because I still remember how good a plain milk chocolate bar tasted when I was six, and the thing is, it really doesn't taste the same to me now that I am older.

Nowadays I have chocolate once in a blue moon, not because I am on a diet or deny myself sweets, I am just not that bothered. When I do have one, I prefer it to have some sort of filling, like a lemon mousse, or pieces of strawberry.

When I came across sacred chocolate I was very intrigued, it has quiet a few different varieties with one thing in common, organic raw chocolate made out of the whole bean, nibs and husks included. A little heart shaped bar will set you back £6.95, but promises an indulgent experience like no other plus an antioxidant boost. I have to say I did like the idea of a sweet treat that can also be a supplement, so I chose to try the bars in Twilight and Immuno Mushroom variety.

As I was munching on my chocolate bar (which are just a single portion, the heart fits comfortably in the palm of my hand), I decided to do a little research on the benefits of raw chocolate. And of course what I found made me want to crawl under the duvet and hide away forever, because as usual it is not straight forward. Some think that chocolate is an amazing super food, yet others argue that it is something to be avoided and that it is addictive like a drug.

I do not want to paraphrase people, as nutrition is not a subject that I feel I have a lot of knowledge in, but there seems to be two camps, those who are strongly for it and those that are against.
So here is a link about the founders of sacred chocolate, the whole website has a lot of information on the virtue of raw chocolate. And here are links to a different view on the subject:  number one and number two.

After reading everything ( I did read a lot more than just the links above), I came to a conclusion that I will carry on as normal. I will continue to eat chocolate when I feel like it, the whole chocolate is good for you reminds me of those articles about the benefits of red wine. As resveratrol is an antioxidant it appears that drinking red wine is great for you, but the alcohol part is not good though, which leaves a question: how much is beneficial and how much is actually harmful? I do enjoy an occasional glass of red wine and I do enjoy an occasional piece of chocolate, but I don't think over indulging in anything is a good idea. Yet the argument against having chocolate ever makes me feel like I should put on a space suit, as everything is bad for me and germs are everywhere and out to get me (ok I am being a bit melodramatic here). It just gets a little tiring having to think about how everything we eat, or put on our skin, or clean our house with can be potentially harmful, even if it is organic. It feels like I need to have a degree in chemistry, and nutrition, and medicine just to do my weekly shop.

Back to the topic at hand.
The sacred chocolate bars taste very creamy, to be honest I have tried a few organic chocolate bars and these are the first ones that I actually liked. The immuno mushroom is dark chocolate with a slightly earthy after taste ( I am guessing the mushrooms?). The twilight chocolate has a faint vanilla note instead, but otherwise they are both equally as smooth. I think that twilight is more traditional and the immuno mushroom could be for an acquired taste.

However Mr. RF, who considers himself to be some sort of chocolate connoisseur, did not like the twilight bar, he said that the blend just did not work, and he point blank refused to try the mushroom one.

I find the bars to be quiet rich, I can only have half of one at a time. I would be interested in trying the milk chocolate version, but overall it is a pleasant but pricey treat. I guess it all depends how much you like your chocolate, generally I prefer papayas and watermelons any day, and sacred chocolate is no exception.

Which shade of red?

Red lipstick has become a classic, it is never really out of fashion and it is my go to for an evening look. You can let your lips do the talking and leave your eyes completely bare, or pair it up with a little flick of a liquid liner or even go for a dramatic cat eye to make a statement. It really depends on the occasion and your personal preference.

If super bright red lip is something you prefer to admire from afar, there are plenty of toned down reds that look absolutely gorgeous.

Kjaer weis in passionate and burt's bees tinted lip balm in rose are your perfect daytime reds. Kjaer weis is slightly less glossy and I do prefer the texture of it, but otherwise they are really close to each other (practically interchangeable).

Ilia bang bang and lily lolo French flirt are muted down reds, they look different on the lips. Bang bang is glossier and slightly see through, and a little brighter. French flirt is more pigmented, the sort of colour that is not out of place during the daytime, but would also look good when having cocktails.

Now to my favourite bright reds. Rms beloved and Ilia wild child are similar in shade, but beloved is a little more versatile. It goes on sheerer, therefore you can vary the intensity of the colour. Wild child on the other hand has the ease of the tube application. They are not exactly the same, Beloved is just a little bit more poppy red. I do feel that they are somewhat interchangeable, but I like this  particular colour so much that I feel the need to have both.

Ilia Crimson and clover is a slightly deeper red, that leaves an absolutely gorgeous clover/raspberry stain behind. This is a bit of a chameleon lipstick and an absolute staple for me. This is the lipstick that I go for when I feel indecisive. I normally put on just a little bit of mascara, crimson & clover, and I am ready for an evening out.

Xenca cherry is the latest addition to my reds, and I feel that the picture does not do it justice. The hue is a little cooler than the other colours, it is a true cherry red and it is so so vibrant. It is the most long lasting out of all my lipsticks ( as long as I am a little careful when eating/drinking, I don't even need to reapply at all).

My collection is almost complete, I feel that it is missing a darker red, I have been using rms diabolique and beloved to achieve that colour, but once diabolique runs out, I'll probably try to find a single product to fill in the gap.

The following lipsticks have carmine: burt's bees in rose, kjaer weis in passionate, lily lolo in French flirt.

Rms, xenca and ilia do not contain carmine.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Sample to purchase: Vapour

So not so long ago I did a little Vapour beauty trial, with all the samples that I have collected, and of course after realising how good the products were, I decided to get some of the colours I most enjoyed. But being true to myself, the shades that I actually purchased were not the ones I tried. Why get something that you know you like, when you can get something brand new, which can turn out to be completely awesome or entirely unsuitable (hey it made sense at the time).

I am now the lucky owner of two vapour mesmerize eye shadows and two siren lipsticks (one of the lipsticks will be in a different post). I really love the texture and the performance of the eye shadows, and nothing has changed since the acquisition of these colours in that respect.

Mesmerize eye shadow in sugar is described as a golden peachy pink shimmer. Well it is definitely pink, and when it goes on it looks like very light pink shimmer, which does look lovely. However I wanted the part with the golden peach too, and I just see pink. I loved the effect of cinder, which is described as smokey pink, and comes across as a lovely beige shimmer on my skin, I just wanted something with a little more gold, well sugar was not it. Once this tube runs out I will be sticking to cinder (unless they come up with a gold shade).

Nightfall eye shadow does not have the benefit of the added sparkle, and is described as a soft grey brown. I think this is pretty accurate. It does look more grey in the tube and more brown on my skin. This colour is gorgeous and a real keeper. I like to use it both as a little wash of colour from the middle to the outer corner of my eyelid, mixed with something sparklier in the inner corners, and a more intense concentration of colour close to my eyelashes, applied with a brush. Just warm up the eye shadow on the back of my hand, pick up pigment directly from the tube with a flat angled brush and apply close to the lash line.

As I was obsessing over the nude lips in anticipation of spring, I was buying lots of lipsticks that would go well with certain nail polishes (not very successfully might I add). Siren lipstick in desire was one such colour. It is a warm light pink, that looks completely different on my arm to what it looks like on the lips (but I found that true of other vapour lipsticks), and is also a dupe for the Alicia Silverstone by Juice Beauty, that has been discontinued. On the plus side now I don't have to search for a replacement when AS JB runs out, on the downside I have two colours that are practically identical. One thing I want to mention is that the siren lipsticks smell amazing! It did not come across on the samples, those smelled of nothing. The full sizes smell like fruit and berry smoothies ( I do find myself sniffing the tube after I already applied my lippie from time to time, I just can't help it). Lipsticks are really moisturizing and I love how they look on the lips, I do need to reapply after eating/drinking.

Now I had a look at my makeup collection, and there is no way I am adding anything to it until I use somewhere between 10-20 products. Hopefully, when do end up making another makeup purchase, I will remember to pick the colours I originally planned to get, and request samples of the ones that caught my eye, but somehow that seems completely out of character.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Spotlight on: Osmia

I have been dropping Osmia products in some of my posts here and there, I feel that it's time (drum roll please) to put this brand in the spotlight!

If you are an avid lover of bees, you might think that is where the name for the brand came from, however the real origins are a little more subtle. The founder of Osmia comes from a medical background, and the words describing different conditions involving sense of smell (hyperosmia, anosmia, parosmia), all have one common part. I guess you can see where this is going, the name and the products revolve around the importance of taking your time to notice your surroundings, and enjoying the therapeutic benefits of different scents.

For people who enjoy their showers:

My love for soaps is rather obvious, I do normally like very creamy bars, the ones that feel like they could possibly melt in your hands (of course if they actually melted it would not be good). Osmia bars are a little harder than my normal preference, but nothing about this brand is quiet as what it seems at first glance. The soaps come wrapped in partially recycled watercolour paper, and apart from looking super cute, it is compostable and biodegradable, including the label.

Zucca spice is a pumpkin orange slice of freshness (only botanical colourants are used). I find this bar to be exfoliating even though it doesn't have any granules like I would normally see in an exfoliating soap. If you look closely you can see little red specs, that would be the rosehip powder that helps to slough away dead skin cells. After each use my skin feels really clean, almost as if I used a sea salt scrub. This bar was brought out especially for winter, but I can see myself loving it all year round. It did come in a generous chunk, which I cut in half. To me the scent is not at all overpowering, there is a little of spice to it, but mainly it reminds of fennel. Regardless I can not get enough of it. It turns my morning/evening showers into a mini spa experience.

Milky rose soap is your ultimate indulgence. It is just a smidgen more moisturising than Zucca spice, and it makes my skin feel marvellous. My skin on the upper chest and back can be a bit on the sensitive side, this soap always calms things down. It doesn't have rose oil in the mix (you can read about it here), but the rose petals on the top of the bar are still fragrant. The scent itself is a little difficult to pin point, it is definitely feminine, but not overpowering, and it doesn't smell overly floral.

Evergreen shea is the one soap I would happily get for my man (and then use myself when he is not looking). From the first sniff you get transported to a pine forest, skin is left feeling clean and soothed. I have to say that all the soaps I have tried are fabulous, and really good for sensitive skin.

The one product I was really excited about is the Soap travel bag. I like to take my soap with me and it can be tricky to transport after you have used it, for some reason it is hard to find a good travel case. What is great about this bag is that you can put your wet soap in it and since it is breathable, your soap will be able to dry. Also it will make your clothes smell fantastic, when you pop everything in a suitcase.

For people who enjoy their baths:

I do love a good soak, there is just something so relaxing about it. However it doesn't feel like a proper bath unless I add something to the water, it is like a compulsion.

Organic milk bath was a bit of a surprise. I would normally add some salts, or a bath bomb, not a powder to my bath. Oh I didn't realise how much I was missing out. The milk bath has a slightly sweet, pleasant scent. It turned my bath water completely opaque ( I felt very excited about that). But most importantly it completely transformed the water. My skin felt so soft, and I didn't even have the dreaded crinkled hands and feet bath syndrome after my soak (well maybe a little but hardly noticeable in comparison to the usual). And what's more my skin felt nicely exfoliated, I mean baby soft, with no effort from me.

After washing:

Your instinct would be to reach for a towel, but what you really should do is grab a bottle of Osmia body oil instead. The oil is best applied to wet skin (or at least damp, if you can't help yourself), yes it takes a little getting  used to, but the results are really worth it.

The oil I have is water lily, which sort of smells like a beautiful pond in the middle of a forest. Very sensual yet refreshing. I honestly have not come across such a wonderfully zingy smelling oil before. Again I don't feel overpowered by  the scent, but it does linger, so I would think that perfume is optional.

The base for all the oils is the same, and it is only the fragrances that differ. There is also an unscented version, for those who prefer no fragrance. Because the base contains jojoba, I was being very careful to only apply on my arms and legs (I tend to use face products on my upper chest anyway, so it is not really different to normal). It doesn't leave a film and just feels like super soft skin. The scent combined with how it affects the skin, makes this a truly unique product.

For your face:

There is a lot of information about how you shouldn't use soap on your face, my experience  has been completely different. No I don't think you can use just any old soap, but hand made facial soaps are absolutely fantastic.

I have a little sample of Rose clay facial soap, but as I spotted it contained jojoba I just did not want to risk it. What I can tell you is that it smells a little like rose geranium to me, and that the lather is very soft. I have been using it to clean my Jane Iredale magic mitt, after removing makeup.

They have introduced a new Luz enzyme facial soap which does not contain jojoba, and I am sure I will be adding it to my shopping basket next time I order.

I like to think that I take good care of my skin, but sometimes I don't drink enough water, or don't sleep enough, or use something that doesn't agree with my skin. That is when I start getting spots. Now is the time to bring out the emergency treatment.

When I first saw the spot treatment, all I could think about was how small the bottle is. The truth is, after using it a dozen times over the last few months, it still looks untouched, so I really should not have judged it based on the size. What can I say, it really works, it works quicker on the red spots than the ones with a head, but that is quiet normal for products that don't dry out your skin. For me it has worked a lot better than any other treatment I have tried in the past, and more importantly it doesn't have tea tree, which can be a little too much for my skin. It is a very concentrated product and smells fairly potent, mainly of lavender. The roller ball applicator is small, which makes it great for target application.

When your skincare routine is finished and you feel like giving your lips a break, but you still want a little bit of colour, lip luster gloss is here for you. It is one of the nicest smelling lip products, it smells of pure deliciousness, like a honeyed edible flower. It is a berry shade that looks dark in the tube, but goes on with just a hint of colour. There are some new additions to this lip gloss, simmer - a flattering looking orange, and whisper, which is a lighter pink than luster. How I am itching to get my hands on simmer!

With every order that I have received from Osmia, they kindly included some samples without me asking for them. That is how I got to try some of their wonderful products. When I order from outside of the UK, I always try to consider how much the import tax will be, which means I normally order fewer products than I would have wanted. And that is why it is so fantastic that Osmia is generous enough to let you discover other things in their range, it gives me an opportunity to choose products that I know I will love when I order next.

I also really like how elegant and simple the packaging is, opening a package from them feels like receiving a thoughtful gift. There is so much information on their website and Sarah's blog is totally worth a read.

P.S. if you are wondering why I didn't mention the deo in this post, well it is because I am working on something that will be up very soon and it will be included in there.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Behind the scenes: the konjac sponge company

I started using Konjac company sponges pretty much as soon as they launched, I have tried a different brand before and did not enjoy them as much. Despite the fact that I have been using them on and of for ages (has it been 4 years now, or more?) it wasn't untill this winter gone that they have become a more prominent part of my routine.

Simple reason is the event that that Konjac company held last summer, where as a bonus I got to meet lovely Mayah from Call it Vanity. I liked the sponges already and I though I already new everything there was to know about them, obviously I was wrong.

Let us start from the begining.

Konjac sponges are made from the edible Konjac root, that has been ground into powder.

The powder itself looks very smooth, but feels a little gritty to the touch ( looks like normal flour, yet doesn't feel as smooth). It actually is food grade Konjac flour, however I wouldn't advse eating your sponge.The sponges are made on the Island of Jeju, and all the water used in production is filtered through volcanic rock.

Here is the production process in full detail:

1. Prepare refind konjac powder and Jeju pure water.

2. Mix specially processed refind Konjac powder with drinking grade of pure water using a stirrer.

3. After mixing them by stirrer the materials become jelly form.

4.Put the jelly form into plastic molds and then put them in to the mature room at room temperature for 24 hours.

5.After maturing process, sort out any faulty shape products by QC team. And then put those molds in a steamer.

6.Cooling those jelly forms of product at room temperature after the steam process.

7. Place them into a freezer for freezing for more than 3 days. Repeat freezing and de-freezing process for many days to get natural form of Konjac puffs or sponges. And then cleaning the sponges using water and spinner.

8, Dehydrate these products in a dryer for more than 36 hours. After the dry process, the sponges turn into completely dry types of Konjac sponges. Check any faulty products by QC after the dry process.

9. For dry type sponges, go to #10 packing process. In case of wet type sponges, do the wet type process with antibacterial liquid and then dry the sponges using spinner. In case of new dry types, wet the dry sponges with water and then place them into a Freeze-dryer machine for 24 hours.

10. Processing the hot seal packing or shrink wrap packing while checking any faulty products by QC team.

11. Place the individually packed sponges into inner boxes and cartons.

The range of products consists of facial, body and baby sponges. Baby sponges are made from pure Konjac without any clay additives, and the slim round sponge can also be used for makeup application.

One of the face sponges is also pure konjac, the rest have different clays added to benefit specific skin types, and there is a bamboo charcoal variety for oily and spot prone skin. At the time of the event the most popular type of sponge in UK was the pink clay for sensitive skin, and it is the one I also prefer. Yet in Spain the most popular variety was the french green clay for combination skin. Now I do wonder, are there more people with sensitive skin in UK? Maybe it has something to do with the climate.

Using the sponge is pretty straight forward. You drench it in water, making sure that it is fully hydrated, gently squeeze the water out and rinse it. Squeeze out excess water and massage the skin in small circular movements with the damp sponge. Let your skin air dry, like you would after using a toner (or if you are using a face oil, take advantage of slightly damp skin). You don't need to use a cleanser with the sponge, but it really comes down to personal choice.

The ridge of the sponge can be used for gentle exfoliation of the eye area, so for people that get milia this is a really good option, since the way to get rid of milia is with exfoliation, but you can't really use exfoliators on your eye area. You have to be very gentle and make sure not to rub hard, personally I prefer to use the plain version of the sponge for this, as my eyes are super sensitive.

After you are done cleansing, rinse the sponge, squeeze out the excess water and hang it up somewhere it can air dry (preferably not the bathroom, especially if your bathroom does not have windows). You need to let your sponge dry after each use to keep it in good condition. Sponges should be replaced every 3 months or as soon as they start to tear up. They are completely biodegradable including the string, so chuck it in the compost or take it out with your food waist when you can no longer use it.

The wave body sponges act exactly the same, however they do not have a string (they are bigger, because of that the weight of the sponge and the string simply did not work together). So between uses you can pop it on a bamboo type soap saver, that way air can get to the bottom of your sponge.

The konjac sports sponge, is smaller than the wave sponges and comes with a travel pouch. This product is slightly different to the others as it is dry-frozen, and feels completely solid to the touch.

How I use my sponge:

I have tried all the facial sponges apart from the red clay one, and at the moment the pink clay feels more appropriate (however their was a point when I thought that the bamboo charcoal was the best). In the past I used to use it a couple of times a week as a gentle exfoliator, and it does work well in that capacity. However the best results I have noticed were this winter, when I started to use my sponge daily, my skin feels smoother, and the pesky hormonal break outs on the jaw line seem to be a problem of the past. I do get complacent and flake on  my routine, and that is how I know that the sponge is largely responsible for my skin looking better.

I do use it with a cleanser a couple of times a week ( May Lindstrom honey mud), but the rest of the time I use it on its own. I very rarely use it twice a day, even though the sponge is not abrasive and won't damage the lower layers of skin, it is still not good to overexfoliate. Using the sponge actually helps your other face products work better, but once a day is all your skin needs.

When I am done I hang it up on the wash line, and it really helps to preserve my sponge. It still looks like new, but it is probably time to replace it. Good job I have a little stash of them from goodie boxes.

The sponge that I have been using lately was a PR sample from the event, but I have purchased them on numerous occasions myself. As usual the review is my own opinion.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Sunday brunch

This Sunday the sun was shining, the birds were singing and there was no way we were spending the day indoors. However I also realised that a family birthday is coming up in just over a week, and I still don't have a present for the lovely lady. I had a grand idea of making a trip to Teddington, with its myriad of quirky shops, I was sure to find something. Completely forgetting that all those lovely independent shops are closed on Sundays!

Nothing could dampen my mood though, so we had a slight change of plans, instead of a shopping trip this was changing into brunch. We walked the length of the high street (it is not that big but really lovely), and the coffee shop that caught my eye was The Fallow deer. This is a small place with a vintage vibe, and it was absolutely packed with people.

Having never been there before, I think I must have looked a little lost trying to figure out weather or not they only served cake. Within thirty seconds one of the girls approached us and explained what all the cakes were and also mentioned that they have a full savoury menu. At this point we grabbed the last available table.

The menu is compact, yet there are choices for breakfast and lunch (after 11 am). Some of the cakes are gluten free and they also have gluten free bread. When I came home I was happy to find that they have a website, that explains about their suppliers and has the full menu printed.

I was in the mood for fruit tea, and the blend that they had was wonderfully fragrant, I could especially taste rosehips.

As for food, I chose a grilled goats cheese and beetroot salad. It was scrumptious, the cheese was lovely and warm, and surprisingly, so was the beetroot. You could really tell that the food was freshly prepared then and there. The sprinkled pumpkin seeds gave my salad a little extra nutritious boost.

Now even though I don't have an especially sweet tooth, those cakes looked just too good. I opted for the summer fruit frangipani cake, and Mr. RF chose golden plum frangipani.

The summer fruit slice came with a saucer of cream. It was absolutely lovely and indulgent, the sponge was a little on the dryer side and the cream complemented it perfectly.

As golden plum was the one I hesitated over, I was really frilled that I would get to try it too. Yet Mr. RF was trying to persuade me that it wasn't good, whilst clearing his plate with a speed of a panther. I did manage to steal a bite in the end, and of course it was absolutely delicious. I think I have to say that I preferred golden plum, but both cakes were a real treat.

The Fallow deer really turned what could have been a wasted trip into a pleasant Sunday outing. And since I do like my eggs I am hoping to come back soon, the breakfast choices were pretty impressive. I also noticed a few people ordering things to take away, oh if it was my local I fear I would go there everyday. The food was simple and delicious, service friendly and knowledgeable and to top that with a wonderful atmosphere, a gem of a place.

Saturday 8 March 2014

Fresh and spring

Flowers are in bloom, air smells sweet yet fresh, it really is starting to feel like spring has arrived. While I was enjoying warm, spicy scents of clove and cardamom in winter, I am ready for change, now is a good time to switch to a lighter fragrance.

Pacifica french lilac perfume is a perfect representation of spring. A very fresh and playful floral scent. Historycally purple lilacs signified first love and white lilacs represented youthful innocence. Lilacs botanical name is Syringa, which is also a name of the nymph from Greek mythology. The beutiful nymph turned herself into a fragrant bush in order to escape advances of Pan, god of the forest.

When I was little we had a lilac bush, where all the neighbourhood kids loved to play. Scent of lilacs have always been special to me, I was allways on the lookout for this scent, but the closest I have come in the past was a floral perfume from aqua allegoria range by Guerlain. It can be challenging finding fresh scents in the world of natural beauty, I think Pacifica have managed it very well.

This particular perfume smells exactly like the purple lilac bush from my childhood. Pacifica perfumes come in liquid and solid forms. This time I have chosen a roller ball, and I love the convinience of it. I would say it lasts about 5-6 hours on me, the size of the bottle is very travel friendly, and I am more than happy to reaply when I feel the need. More importantly, it is £12.00, so for someone like myself, who likes to have a few different scents on hand, it is a very good option. There are a lot of other choices if lilacs do not float your boat, for me however, this perfume is very special. If you like your scent to smell like actual flowers or fruit that it represents, give pacifica a try. I purchased mine from a health and beauty store, but they are now available on LoveLula.

What perfumes will you be wearing this spring?

Let's talk lip balms

I don't think I am quiet ready to tell you how many lip balms I have lying around ( a girl has to keep some secrets, right?). I  love to have a choice and also different lip balms are good for different things. Some lip balms get forgotten after I finish the tube, while others are religiously replaced. The following list is of the ones that are currently in favour.

Best under lipstick:

A matt lip balm that has a thinner consistency, that quickly softens the lips is always best under lipstick. If your lip balm is quiet heavy or glossy, lip colour will just slide off it. In my opinion Eos lip balms are perfect for this. They are exactly the right texture, really easy to apply quickly, plus I love the way they smell. The one I have currently is summer fruit and it smells like peach tea. I will tell you a little secret, this is my third eos balm, and I haven't actually bought any of them. Naturisimo does them as a gift with purchase every so often, and also love lula stocks them, so you can use your points to get one.

Best for year round wind protection:

Dizao lip balm* forms a sort of barrier on your lips that will not budge. If its really windy outside (especially cold wind), my lips will get chapped unless I use this. It is a good all round lip balm, but it really shines when it comes to protecting your lips from the elements. The one I have is delicious cinnamon, and it has been the first cinnamon lip balm that did not make my lips tingle, I was really pleasantly surprised. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to variety with dizao organics, I have my eye on a few other flavours.

Best for winter and chapped lips:

Yes it happens, I forget my lip balm at home or I don't drink enough water and end up with chapped lips. Then S.W. basics is the one I reach for, it seems to sort my lips out by the end of the day. It feels like butter on the lips, the most hydrating and nourishing lip balm. But because of this wonderful texture it melts easily when its really warm, I would not keep it in your pocket and would be careful not to twist up too much product if weather is warm. I got mine with a beauty box in the cocoa flavour, and it smells absolutely delicious, just like cocoa butter.

Best for summer:

Most of the lip balms I have are from Hurraw and I have liked all of them apart from grapefruit. These are on the glossier side which makes them perfect for no makeup days (just to add a little something). I love the shape, and I always have one in my pocket in the summer. These are a little bit harder in texture than most over lip balms, and that makes them perfect as they don't melt too easily. The current flavour in rotation is chocolate, which I find smells more like fudge than chocolate, but I love it anyway.

Tinted lip balms:

I have decided to exclude the more pigmented lip balms like Ilia and W3ll people from this category, as I find that if your lips are a little on the dry side, colour exaggerates and settles in the cracks, in my head I think of them as moisturising lipsticks. The following two products have just a hint of colour, which doesn't make the matters worse.

My ultimate love is Tata Harper be adored. I can not get over how delicious it smells. I have noticed that when my lips are dryer there is actually better colour payoff. It makes my lips feel really plump and hydrated, so much so that I am considering to try the non tinted versions. Now the price is high for this product, so it is definitely an indulgence. I think it is quiet different to other lip products and the more I use it, the more I like it.

Rosy lip tint from Marble and Milkweed has fairly little colour payoff on my lips, it just makes them healthier looking, as lips tend to look a little pail when they are dry. What is different about this product, is that it is quiet matt and feels quiet thin, so if you are one of those people that generally does not like the filling of lip balm, this one is for you. It makes my lips feel like velvet, and I did not expect it at all based on the texture, It has a delicate rose and honey fragrance. I have been getting a little fed up with all the rose scents ( I know shocking coming from me), but this one somehow is still a winner.

Am I the only one who has lip balms for different occasions? Let me know in the comments.

* PR sample, the review is my own opinion

Wednesday 5 March 2014

de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate review

The latest edition to Annee de Mamiel fantastic selection of teas and seasonal oils is the Botaniques range.

Although I would have loved to have sampled absolutely everything, thankfully not all my senses have abandoned me, and I still have some control over my compulsive spending on new beauty products.

After some deliberation I have settled on the Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate. It is a clay based, powder cleanser that gets activated with water. This type of cleanser is close to my heart, and something that normally works really well with my skin type.

It comes in a dark glass bottle, the cleanser itself is a very fine, pastel pink powder. It has a very subtle, slightly sweet, milky scent. The whole product from look to feel, comes across as gentle.

This cleanser is meant to be used once daily only (1-3 times a week for super sensitive skins), and my personal preference is to use it in the evenings. I had no problem using it every day, but eventually settled on a couple of times per week, because of my regular use of the Konjac sponge.

When regularly using this cleanser, I found myself not needing to use the clay masks ( I still do occasionally out of habit, but not nearly as often as I used to).

The main ingredient is Moroccan Rhassoul clay, which is the gentlest and most beneficial clay for the skin in my opinion. In fact this cleanser is full of very beneficial ingredients: pink clay is great for sensitive skin, buttermilk powder is a gentle exfoliant, sea salt is wonderful for keeping skin clear, rosehips powder for brightening the complexion, pearl powder is thought to be effective at fading acne scars.

You only need a tea spoon at a time mixed with water drop by drop, until it forms a cream like consistency, therefor it looks like a bottle will last awhile ( I think I have a bit over 2/3 of the bottle left after using it through out the winter).

It has been a wonderful edition to my routine.

I though I would add a little update on my seasonal oil review at the end of this post. I promised to do a follow up post ages ago and I just never got around to it.

The bottle lasted about three and a half months, I was testing a few other products from time to time, so if I was using the oil exclusively like it was intended, the quantity is exactly what you need for the season.

I also tested it out on my sister when she was staying with me, and it balanced out her skin nicely as well. Overall a beautiful oil.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Some of my fovourite things

While a lot of people were participating in No buy January and Frugal February, yours truly was busy spending money on new launches and upcoming trends for spring. However my bank balance is not a bottomless pit (although it seems I like to believe that it is). It is time to relax and take a back seat, and live vicariously through others.

It is officially time for Modest March and Austerity April (at this point it is a requirement for me). So in order to help me last the distance, I decided to concentrate on the wonderful things that I already have.

Home and Beauty:


Have I already bored everybody with my soap obsession? I just can not get enough of artisanal soap, not only is it pretty as a picture, it smells fantastic and is so much better than shower gels. A good soap is moisturising and there is no bottle to get rid of, let alone the fact that a bar of soap lasts for ages.

What I normally do is I cut a bar in half, one part is in the bathroom and the second half I put in a muslin cloth bag. This way there is less product waist, and the muslin bag keeps the soap fresh, but also allows it to breathe. I always seem to have a stash of soaps, and as you really need to use one at a time, the rest are kept in drawers. They make everything smell awesome, so you can see how this really is a multipurpose product (I do need to justify the ridiculous amount of soap bars to Mr. RF somehow).

Also I have noticed that a lot of soap makers tend to include little samples of their other soaps, which are great for travel (and if I don't have any on hand, it's super easy to cut a piece of one of the unused bars).

There are so many soaps around nowadays you really are spoilt for choice, but I really like to brows through etsy, as there are so many different ones conveniently grouped together.


Who doesn't like candles? Well I am sure there is someone, but if we are talking your general run of the mill candle, I guess I don't like them either. What you hope to achieve with a candle is a relaxing, possibly romantic atmosphere. And if you are using a scented candle, you are hoping for some aromatherapy benefits as well. But if you combine your desire with paraffin wax, lead wicks and synthetic fragrance, well you get yourself a pretty polluting product, which is going to be used in a fairly confined space.

I would love to try a Neom candle at some point, they seem to be all the rage. But for now I have this pretty fresh smelling Lavender and Peppermint one from Indigo Wild. I am not normally a big fan of everything lavender, but this candle smelt so good, and I would say peppermint was more dominant. I picked mine up from a local health and beauty store, but you can easily get them on amazon.


I tend to read a lot, but rarely re-read books. These to stories are the ones I turn to when I feel a little stuck. No one can beat Jane Austin when it comes to a romantic story with a feel good ending, and the prose itself is just so wonderful. Pride and Prejudice is my personal favourite.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is a book that I have loved since I was a kid. It is your ultimate epic adventure and it never fails to inspire me. Just one of those stories that transcends generations.

Both of these are from the Penguine Clothbound classics.


My dad brought me this little elephant from India. He said it was for good luck and prosperity. It really cheers me up every time I see it. I just love the design on it, the ability of people to create beautiful things never ceases to amaze me.

Arts and things:

I have so many art supplies, it can be a little difficult storing them in a limited amount of space. After I finished a box of rather delicious date I noticed that the box they came in was the right length for some of my pencils that didn't have a home yet, and as it came with handy separators, I filled the rest of the empty space with rubbers and blenders. I love this little box more than any containers sold for these purposes.

One of my favourite sketchbooks to draw in is Moleskin Folio. The paper is very smooth, and even though it doesn't allow for heavy layers of pencil, I just love how the drawings look on this type of surface.



I found this lovely compact in a little store called Mitzi B. It was full of great accessories, stylish furniture and even vintage clothes. I have a few things from them, all loved, but this mirror is truly special. It was the mirror I had with me on my wedding day.


Most of the jewelry that I make I don't keep for myself. I just couldn't help myself with this pair. It is a pretty simple design, but it speaks to my inner hippy.

Hair bands.

I don't know if I am the only one who has struggled with constantly snapping hairbands, that don't seem to hold your hair in a top bun for more than an hour, and always seem to rip out some of it when you try to take them off. Granted, my hair is fairly long, and I do have a lot of it, but surely it shouldn't be that difficult?

The search is well and truly over. These Ooh La Lara bands are absolutely fantastic, and cute to boot. There are many great choices, but I have a soft spot for Ballet collection.


It is so rare for me to buy jewelry, but I found these owls from Mikey to br absolutely irresistible. It was a fair few years ago, just before a Halloween, I spotted the ring and I just couldn't put it down. As I was walking out of the store I noticed earrings that looked pretty similar, so here we are.


I only have three brooches and this one came in a People Tree goody bag. I only wear them occasionally on my outer clothing, but I do really like this one. It just brightens everything up.


If you ever wondered about the name of this blog, it originates from my obsession with fluffy rainbow coloured socks. I would wear them so often around the house that my husband started to call me "rainbow feet". I still have some somewhere, but I don't wear them so often anymore, but all my socks are still colourful (and I don't think that part will change).