Tuesday 24 June 2014

Nourish organic fresh fig body butter review

I first came across Nourish organic when I was searching for a decent deodorant. With my love for fruity scents I gravitated towards the fresh fig. While the deodorant was not a perfect match, there was no denying that it smelt incredibly delicious. I didn't take long for me to order a fresh fig scented body cream. Unfortunately it did not smell nearly as good.

I was missing the scent so much, that I was contemplating ordering another deo, when it dawned on me that they have a body butter version, and due to the similarity in texture, I thought it might smell the same. So I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. For once my weird logic paid off, and it turned out that they do share the delicious scent that I have been lusting after.

Nourish Organic is an American, USDA certified brand (not to be confused with the Nourish skincare British brand), that uses at least 25% of post-recycled content in their packaging (and all the packaging is recyclable). They specialise in organic body care products at very reasonable prices. I absolutely adore the containers, with their cute prints of fruits and flowers.

The fresh fig body butter comes in a fairly small jar 102g, which is probably the reason for such a good price. The ingredient list is pretty simple and along the lines of what you might expect in a body butter, a blend of shea and coconut butters, sunflower and olive oils, with additional vitamin e and organic fragrance. The consistency is pretty solid at room temperature (I am guessing it will become softer when it gets hot), once you scoop a little bit out it melts into the skin. It leaves my skin super soft, but so do other similar products.

What makes this butter stand out is the relatively short ingredient list, the quality of raw materials and the absolutely gorgeous scent. Many body products have a predictable essential oil combinations of rose, lavender and peppermint, ylang ylang and patchouli, and they all have that essential oil mix smell (which I do enjoy, but it can get a little samey). This smells like real fruit, it took me a little while to figure out what fruit it was reminding me of, the smell was so familiar, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. Until I had a punnet of fresh strawberries sitting on the counter, I realised that is exactly what my body butter smells like ( I had the eureka moment, running around sniffing strawberries, than sniffing the butter). The fragrance lasts a fairly long time, but because it is light and fresh I welcome it. In fact I rarely wear perfume during the day so this is a perfect two in one, makes you smell good as a bonus to velvety skin.

The fact that the jar is small also works for me. It makes it a great choice for travelling and as I have a few products on the go, I am not worried about the expiry date (in fact I wish more companies would do slightly smaller sizes). If we are not counting a certain soap, this is the most used body product in my collection to date, and something that gets repurchased as soon as I run out. Although I am very tempted to try the wild berries version.

Monday 23 June 2014

S/S green beauty swap with Nic (Organic Obsessions)

I was so excited when Ria decided to organise a second green beauty swap. I mean who doesn't like presents? I also love picking out things for others, it is just so much fun trying to figure out what another person might like, what kind of products they normally use and what they haven't tried before.

I was paired up with lovely Nic from Organic Obsessions. She is such a sweet person, we swapped a few emails to get to know each other (not just about beauty products), and kept each other updated on the progress of our shopping. We coordinated so well that our gifts arrived within 24 hours of each other. We both have had our goodies for a few weeks now, but wanted to play around with them before posting.

The first thing I opened was the hand written note from Nic, amongst other things it explained why she chose the products that she did. I adore that she did that, it was just the thing to make the whole experience even more special.

Now to the juicy part of what I actually got. It was a clay based mask and a lip scrub both from a Swedish brand Greenhouse Cosmetics, that you can find on Etsy.

I think my love for masks is well documented, and not only was it a great choice for me in general, the Chocolate Almond mask is really a perfect summer treatment. It is designed for combination, oily or acne prone skin, and my skin, which has been becoming more normal over the rest of the year, is definitely a little oily right now. To draw out impurities this masks contains bentonite clay and activated charcoal. Almond meal for mild exfoliation, and calamine to calm and soften your skin. Cocoa powder and green tea extract are here for their antioxidant power.

You use it in the usual way of one tea spoon of powder to a little bit of water to make a paste, and then apply to your face (preferably with a brush). You only leave it on for 10 minutes, which makes it a great quick treatment that does not require you to set a whole evening aside (I mean I love a long pamper session, but I don't get to do those very often). When I applied it, I did experience some mild tingling, not sure from what ingredient, cocoa powder? However there was no redness once I washed the mask off. I have to say I was extremely happy that I only needed to keep it for only 10 minutes, it smells just like a fruit & nut bar, and it was driving me crazy. I am not a huge chocolate person, but those are a weakness and while the powder itself didn't seem to have any scent, once activated with water, the smell was just incredibly edible.

After the treatment my skin looks fresh and even toned, but I do feel you need to go over with a toner or a floral water to make sure that all of the remnants of the mask have been removed. Also the jar was very full so things could get messy, if you are anything like me, bathroom is the place to do your mixing. Overall I am very fond of this mask, and I spotted that they have a tropical mask wich contains bananas, I already bookmarked it.

It is time to confess, I have never owned or used a lip scrub. My lip care consists of lip balms and maybe once in a blue moon exfoliation with manuka honey (and those are like a once a year type things). Nic has chosen an original version of the sugar lip scrub, with no added flavour or colours (she already knows me so well).

In a nutshell this is a mixture of castor sugar and a blend of oils (watermelon, almond, coconut, vitamin e). You rub a little bit over your lips, and as it is apparently edible, you can just lick it off. I did try licking it once for the sake of the blog, and it tastes just like sugar. Since I was a kid, it has been drilled into my head not to lick my lips, it is just not something I can do, so I wash it off with water instead. Due to all the oils, only the sugar and the skin cells get washed away, leaving your lips nicely moisturised, just like a lip balm would.

Although this is my first lip scrub, I have seen them around, and this jar is a lot more generous than is usual. I think it will last me the full 6 months (that is how long it stays fresh), as you only need a tiny amount.

I really enjoyed this experience and could not have asked for a better swap partner. If you want to check out what I got for Nic, head over to her blog Organic Obsessions.

Thursday 12 June 2014

The Summer edit: body oils

My summer wardrobe is drastically different from what I wear the rest of the year. Shorts and t-shirts (well maybe a sundress) are a staple for daytime. Of course it also means that skin, that has not seen the light of day in eons, is suddenly completely exposed, with only a layer of sunscreen for protection. Even a sunscreen with high SPF will not block all the UV rays, and you need to make sure that it protects from both UV-A and UV-B rays (SPF only indicates UV-B protection). Further more most people do not apply enough sunscreen (or reapply), and don't forget that thin t-shirts also let sun rays through.

What I am leading into is that sun care is important, however people seem to forget that after care is just as important, as whenever you are in the sun, even if you cover up and stay in the shade, some sun damage is likely to have occurred to your skin. The way to help your skin recover is through use of antioxidants. Antioxidants are everywhere when it comes to face products, your Vitamin C serums, facial oils and anti-ageing creams, but they are just as necessary for the rest of the skin that gets sun exposure. This becomes a larger area in the summer.

An antioxidant rich body oil is a must for my after sun care. After washing sunscreen off in the shower, I will apply body oil straight to damp skin or mix it with an aloe vera gel, if I feel like some extra cooling. Yuli Harmony body oil is a real treat. Very light weight, and I find that I only need about three drops for each limb. Yuli use some interesting ingredients in their products, and although they don't try to make their products smell good for the sake of it, this body oil smell delicious, like oat and raisin cookies. The scent is not overpowering, just the way I like it. My skin feels ridiculously soft straight away, and stays soft when I wake up in the morning. This blend works with your skin to prevent photo-ageing as well as repair some of the damage that might have already occurred. This is a good oil to layer under sunscreen as a booster. As with all Yuli products, you can purchase a sample size.

As perfect as Harmony body oil is to me, a girl needs options. Therapie Cherish skin Repair body serum is a blend of oils and CO2 extracts. Like the name suggests it is designed to repair and support your skin. It is safe to use during pregnancy and apparently can help with prevention of stretch marks. On my skin it smells a little herbal with a slight meadow flowers undertone. In the bottle I still smell the herbal notes but also a little citrus. Again the smell is not overpowering, but stronger than Yuli's. It absorbs beautifully, with no residue left behind, just wonderfully soft skin. For me this one is an evening oil in the summer, although the texture is very light, I would not enjoy the scent in the heat of a summer's day.

One thing to keep in mind is that although topical products are great, it is important to top up with antioxidants from inside out. Luckily the amount of tasty veg and fruit is unsurpassed during the warmer season.

Monday 9 June 2014

That time of the year...

The older I become the faster time seems to move. Within a blink of an eye another year has gone by, making me hopefully a little wiser and a little more appreciative of the people that I have in my life. As you probably guessed from the slightly sentimental mood this post is about my birthday, which happened to be yesterday.

It has become a bit of a tradition for hubs and I to do something together on the day, and have a little get together with others at a later date. I could not have asked for better weather yesterday, it was sunny and it did not rain, not even once the entire day! According to Mr RF, I am solar powered, so to be able to spend most of the day outdoors is one of the best presents I could have asked for.

We started out with brunch at the Fallow Deer. A great little place in Teddington ( I have done a post on it before). Since the last time we came, they have moved premises (still on the same street, just the opposite side of the road, and a few store fronts along). Despite becoming bigger and having an outside terrace at the back, the place was packed when we came. The menu is slightly different (I am guessing seasonal changes?), and they now serve a range of cocktails.

It was a little early in the day for alcohol, but I just couldn't resist a spicy deliciousness that is a Bloody Mary (well I lie, I had a Virgin Mary). I have to say it was one of the more unusual ones that I had, with little white specs, which I am guessing were shavings of horseradish. I really enjoyed it. As for food, I had smoked haddock with poached eggs. It was absolutely delightful, just as we've come to expect.

After eating, we headed to a park and spent most of the day there hanging out, eating ice-cream and looking at animals. Your usual suspects: chickens, bunnies, geese and gofers.

 But also some of the more exotic ones: helmeted guinea fowl, huddling up next Argentinian mara and the illusive kunekune pig.

Now Kunekune is a breed of domestic pigs from New Zealand, so not all that exotic, but I think they are pretty cool and we spent a good amount of time "chasing" it around the pen. He kept eating around the bushes, but as soon as he would move, we would too. Eventually he came over really close to us, I think he was expecting food.

After the park we came home to change, and then headed over to Bumpkin in South Kensington. This is a place with no real dress code (which is great since Mr RF lives in jeans and t-shirts outside of work) and an easy going atmosphere. They serve traditional British food with  a modern twist, and their cocktail menu is pretty impressive.

For drinks I had one of their pressed juices combos of watermelon, cucumber and mint to begin with, and then a Sunshine Mary to follow. They had a few different types of Bloody Mary's (yes it is pretty much my drink of choice wherever I go), the Sunshine Mary was a blend of yellow tomato juice, ginseng spirit, some super secret spices and finished off with cucumber and lime. Now if you are not an alcohol drinker there are some pretty great sounding mocktails on offer too.

Food was pretty scrumptious, not the best I ever had but definitely worth a comeback. The starter that I ordered was asparagus with a soft poached egg (yes it seems I like my eggs) and truffle shavings. For main I had sea bass with fennel, celery and cucumber, and a side order of garden salad. Fish was really delicious, side salad came already dressed and lightly salted, which I enjoyed but if you are watching your salt in take something to keep in mind. I could not resist a desert (hey it was my birthday after all), strawberries and cream was a perfect finish to a lovely meal.

Overall I think they have a great selection and it was a perfect ending to a chilled out day. However even though there is no dressing up involved, if you are going to Bumpkin, expect London prices.

As for presents, I have received quiet a few beauty items, so I will do a separate post on them.

Friday 6 June 2014

Gaia creams argan and sea buckthorn review

My beauty cabinet is nothing if not cluttered. I have at least five types of facial oils, numerous body oils, foot balms, hand creams, and every single one of them is for different occasions. But if I am perfectly honest some times it is nice just to have one product that you could use all over, head to toe.

Argan and sea buckthorn cream by Gaia creams is one such product. In greek mythology Gaia was personification of Earth, mother of all. Gaia creams try to honour our ecosystem by making choices about not only the ingredients that they use, but also about packaging and energy sources.

The creams are blended below 30C and without any waxes or water. So what you get is a very concentrated, raw skin food. Argan and sea buckthorn cream in particular is a potent cocktail of antioxidants, full of vitamin E and Omegas, that help your skin look and feel healthy (and quiet possibly stay wrinkle free for a little longer).

It does not contain any essential oils, which can be a bonus for people with sensitive skin and makes it agreat choice for both daytime and night time application.


The cream itself has a bit of an unusual texture, it is not liquid enough to be like a traditional water based cream (not surprising since it does not have any water), yet it is not as hard as a balm. If anything it feels most like a butter, but I am not talking body butter, I mean actual butter made with cows milk. Once on the skin it melts right into it, the feeling is truly addictive.

It has a cheerful yellow colour, most likely given by sea buckthorn, and a mild scent from the ingredients. Nothing that I would be able to put my finger on though. I have to be honest I did not read the description of the product too well before purchasing and completely missed the part about the sun kissed, healthy glow that the cream imparts. Someone at work commented that I was looking tanned after I used it, so it clearly works as intended.

You really need to apply it on damp skin (I use George's aloe spray), and then massage until absorbed. I find that a pea sized amount is all that is necessary for my face, and I massage it in for about a minute. When it is fully absorbed, my skin looks dewy but not shiny, and stays that way through out the day. We have not had super hot days yet, but so far no disco ball syndrome with this cream. It works fantastic under makeup, both cream and powder.

All Gaia creams products are made to order, so it will take about a week before it they are ready to send it out. My cream has an expiry date on the label, which is about 5-6 months after it was made. You really need to order for immediate use, it is not a product that could be sitting for ages before opening and still be fine. But it is very economical. I have been using this cream 3 times a week for the past 2 months, and it looks like I barely touched it. I originally purchased it for facial use, with a possibility of using it all over on holidays, as 30 ml does not seem like a lot. However, I will start using it as a body product too, to make sure all of the cream is used up before the expiry date.

Gaia creams also has a recycling programme, where you send back 5 empty containers and get a 30ml product for free. At the moment Argan and Sea buckthorn cream is on offer at 15% lower than the regular price.


Thursday 5 June 2014

The Summer edit...

Summer is my favourite time of the year and I do find myself planning for the warmer months before winter has even begun. I am not just talking holiday destinations, I am talking makeup, skincare and fashion.To better show my love for this season I thought I would do a mini series of posts dedicated to everything summer specific from hair care to ice tea.

To start things off I thought I would share a few things that I acquired especially for Summer 2014. All the other posts will be more theme based.

Rms Beauty Buriti Bronzer. For me holidays and bronzed skin go hand in hand, however I don't really remember the last time I was actually tanned from the sun. It is just with relatively few sunny days and some serious sunscreen layering it doesn't happen. And to be honest sun tan might look good but melanoma really does not appeal in the slightest. So yes I am totally faking my holiday glow. It can be tough finding a natural looking bronzer and generally I prefer powders, but I was sent a sample of Buriti bronzer and I was pleasantly surprised.

It blends in seamlessly and just gives that fresh from the beach complexion, not orangy, not muddy,just right. It really looks great dabbed on the eyelids too. A perfect multitasker. It would work as a bronzer on light to medium skin tones. Might work as a highlighter on darker skin tones.

Lumiere D'Opale. For the past ten years shimmer oil has been my summer tradition. Every evening meal, cocktails, any excuse to use it really. And of course I would not go on holidays without a bottle. I used to use Nuxe but as I haven't been one hundred percent happy with the ingredients list, so it was time for change.
Opale shimmer oil feels a little thick when first out of the bottle, but it absorbs really well and leaves my skin super soft without any residue (well apart from the shimmer).

It smells delicious, just like pina colada, yet it is not an overpoweringly strong smell ( I need to put my arm right next to my nose to smell it). I think this might have become a new seasonal staple.

Isa's Restoratives Lilac Rouge. I am not big on make-up in the summer, and if it is day time lipstick and maybe bronzer is the limit for me. Which is why I really liked the idea of this two in one balm. It works as a tinted lip balm and blush.

 The ingredients are simple Macadamia and avocado oils infused with alkanet root, beeswax and lilac fragrance. It really does smell like lilacs, really fresh and sweet. It gives just a hint of rose colour on the lips, but on the cheeks it gives a lovely natural looking flush. Just perfect for a more relaxed daytime look.

Intensae Emmeline. When it comes to nail varnish my usual choice for summer would be bright coral or orange, but I already have quiet a few of those all slightly different yet similar. I wanted something from the other end of the spectrum, since blue is in season it seemed like a good choice. This is a sort of ocean blue colour, the finish is matt but still glossy.

I am very impressed by the quality of intensae, I only needed one coat, it goes on really smoothly and was dry in 1-2 minutes. I am not sure how many days it lasts, as I only just swatched it for the colour, but it looks great so as long as it lasts around three days I will be happy.

Now all I am missing is some actual summer weather.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

The Body Deli radiance enzyme superfood peel review

This past month of constant revision has really been tough on me, and yet surprisingly, my skin has been looking better than ever. First of all I managed to get a good basic routine going (more on that very soon), and for once I have been making sure to be consistent with using a face mask.

If your basic routine is not good, no matter how wonderful your weekly treatments are, you won't see long term benefits. However once you have cleanser/toner/moisturiser combo that works for you, a right face mask can take you from happy feeling skin to red carpet ready, within weeks.

As my skin has always been combo with oilier tendencies during the summer, the face masks I tend to go for have mostly been clay based (normally of the just add water variety). And yes they do wonders for my skin, but I was getting a little bored (and that also means not using them as often as I should).

When A beautiful world introduced the Body deli range (that has been on my wish list for awhile), I had some serious choices to make. I wanted to get most of what was on offer, but I have been doing this new thing, where you only buy what you need (I know sensible shopping is such an alien concept to me). As a non-clay based face mask was the only thing missing from my beauty shelves, the radiance enzyme superfood peel was the most natural choice.

If I am perfectly honest the word peel in the title did give me pause. I associate it with acid peels and horribly red skin of past experiences. What made me look past this was the ingredients list:

  • New Zealand +20 UMF Active Manuka Honey
  • L. Acidophilus
  • L. Bulgaricum
  • L. Leichmanni
  • L. Lactis
  • L.Caseii
  • L. Caucasicus
  • L. Fermenti
  • L. Plantarum
  • L. Brevis
  • L. Helveticus
  • B. Bifidum
  • B. Subtilis
  • B. Licheniformis
  • S. Boulardii
  • Amalase
  • Protease
  • Lipase
  • Papain
  • Bromelain
  • *Acerola Berry
  • *Camu Camu Berry
  • *Barley Grass Juice
  • *Wheat Grass Juice
  • *Oat Grass Juice
  • Spirulina
  • Chlorella
  • Dunaliella
  • Kelp
  • Dulse
  • *Carrot Juice
  • *Beet Juice
  • *Brocolli Juice
  • *Kale Juice
  • *Spinach Juice
  • Graviola
  • Goji Berry
  • Hawthorne Berry
  • Schizandra Berry
  • Nopal Cactus
  • Citric Acid

I absolutely love cleansing with Manuka honey, especially in the summer, it makes a huge difference to my skin, but this mask is so much better than just pure honey.

First of all the jar is not huge, I have been using it twice a week for close to 3 months and I am about half way through. If you decide to use it once weekly it will last you longer, but for me I will need to replace it every 5-6 months. Personally I think that is about right for non-powder masks, and with the a beautiful world loyalty scheme, there is always a chance that I will get to save some money of the product.

The texture is thick and sticky, just like you would expect honey to be, apart from the fact that it is green. Be prepared to look like a swamp monster. The first time I used it, I could only detect the scent of honey, until I started to wash the mask off, then I noticed a subtle green juice smell (like if you just juiced some leafy vegetables). Now I always smell both scents at the same time, and it is very tricky not to lick my face, I would not use this mask if I was hungry.

Application is simple, you scoop some product out and spread it over clean skin (you want the layer to be fairly generous for best results), keep it on for 15-20 minutes and wash off with warm water. I use it in the evenings before washing my hair, that way I am not too worried about how closely the mask got to my hair line, and I let the shower do the honours of removing it.

Unlike what you could normally expect from a peel there is no stinging during use and no redness once you remove it. My skin looks fresh like after a spa treatment. I also noticed it is very good at preventing blemishes, I had one forming that completely disappeared overnight after a session with the enzyme peel. And overall my skin has been very clear, probably partly due to the rest of my routine, but nothing to do with my diet (my diet the past month has been terrible, far too many takeaways and unhealthy snacks)

I find it difficult to comment on whether or not my complexion has become "illuminated", however it really does look much healthier and more even toned. I don't attribute all the changes solely to the mask, but I feel that it has been a big part of it and it is now an essential part of my routine. Plus it helps that I enjoy using it, means I don't skip any days. The enzyme peel is full of antioxidants, which should help a little with reversing some of the sun damage, making it a great choice for summer weekly treatments.

I was so impressed with this product that I have added a few other body deli goodies to my collection, and even more to my wish list