Tuesday 29 July 2014

My first youtube vid!

Ok so this is a little bit of an experiment. I have just finished my very first video (unrully hair, silly faces and all), I probably should've kept it to myself but hey, this took time and I am sharing it regardless!

The video is about the forgotten stash, inspired by the no spend challenge. I was just going through the bathroom cabinet trying to see what I can use up quickly, or what has been sitting there without use.

The products from the video in no particular order:

Kae argan oil. Not something I will be buying again, just not particularly remarcble, however nothing wrong with it either.

Dr Alkaitis soothing gel. I am rediscovering my love for this thanks to all the recent posts. I forgot I had it (yes absolutely terrible of me), but there was time when I could not have gone through the day without using it. This gel is like an old favourite t-shirt, everything about is just right, just has not been used for awhile.

Hei Poa frangipani. This used to be a staple, but it is not quiet clean enough ingredient wise, and clearly has not been getting much love from me lately, it will not be getting repurchased.

Oskia micro exfoliating balm. I have reviewed this in the past and it made a comeback into my stash even though I did not think it would. It has been neglected due to the hot weather but not really forgotten.

Lovea argan leave in conditioner. I'm not too keen on the scent but everything else about it is great. This has been repurchased a few times, but not so sure about the future, purely because I don't think it will be needed. Otherwise this is a pretty solid product.

Soapwalla deodorant cream. We just are not getting on that great, but I am slowly getting through the jar.

Organic pharmacy Jasmine night conditioner. This smells so good, but it is not a perfume, and unfortunately, it did not work for me as intended. I am loving it as a body spray, however it will not be a repurchase. I was wrong in the video, this product does not have alcohol in it.

I hope my first video was not a complete disaster. Do tell what you think.

Monday 28 July 2014

Interview with George Jones (Bathing Beauty)

When I met George the creator of Bathing Beauty, the first thing that struck me was her energy. You can tell this is not a lady that sits still. As we were talking I just could not get over how glowy and radiant her skin was (without makeup as far as I could tell). Immediately I wanted to know all her beauty secrets.

From talking to her, I got the feeling that George doesn't hold back any punches when it comes to something she believes in. And after trying a few of her products (anoint oil for shy skin being a firm favourite), I strongly suspect that the secret ingredient is passion.


RF: What are the origins behind your brands product names? Why bathing beauty?

GJ: When it comes to names behind the products, like my children's names, I usually have the name first. I wanted every part of the product, from ingredients, labelling, graphics and packaging to reflect my ethos: to be functionally effective, to accept no compromise, to never sacrifice the purity of the product on the alter of profit margins.

I have a ridiculously busy life and I hate "flannel", unnecessary ingredients, and the "green washing" that surrounds the natural beauty industry. I like subtle humour. For example, My skin healing shave oils for men and women are called Up Close, And Personal. I feel it describes the purpose well, where you apply it, with the bonus of making me smile.

My company name Bathing Beauty, which I am delighted is now a registered trademark, follows that need for directness, honesty, and clarity. Plus I like a little alliteration!

RF: The legendary oat and honey soap was the first product you created for bathing beauty, but which one was the most fun to come up with?

I love all my products they are created in direct response to a need: mine, a family members or a patient. And I get such satisfaction when the positive feedback comes in.
Gauntlet, sock, soothe, jones the bones to name a few.

RF: Not all soaps are made equal, what sets yours apart?

GJ: My soaps are fantastic. Made by hand( mine!). They take a minimum of 4 WEEKS to make
It goes without saying that I do not use parabens, sulphates, or fragrance oil in my soaps.
I also do not use cheap bulking oils found in many natural soaps such as Palm oil. Or cheap nut oils such as sweet almond oil.
The Legendary Oat and Honey Soap now renamed Miracle, is my natural alternative to the petrochemical based eczema products.I use spring water from St Dyfnogs Well. A fifth century pilgrimage site and reputed to have skin healing properties. I use organic coconut, olive and sunflower oils. To this I had healing local honey, and calming organic oats. Miracle looks like flapjack, smells like butterscotch and lathers like a dream..

Like all my products, each soap has a purpose. Some even have a waiting list!

Every winter I make Seville, a fabulously Festive soap with cinnamon and orange essential oils. It is a limited edition soap that is only on sale from the end of October - January. I usually post on Facebook as the first batch goes to cure, within a couple of days the first batch has been reserved!.

Another soap that takes some making is Rosebud. I add melted Shea butter ( organic and Fair trade of course) and this creates a super luxe finish, which takes 5 weeks to cure. So special, Each bar is crowned with 10 rosebuds- Sandra from Beauty Balm loves it.

3 Kings is another seasonal soap. A wonderfully heady scent from pure frankincense and myrrh essential oils.Each bar is topped with 22ct gold leaf - It takes a very steady hand!

RF:You are one busy lady, do you have a morning ritual that helps you start your day? 
GJ: Ideally I like to have a glass of hot water and a slice of lemon. I used to drink it religiously when I was a model in Milan. My mother recently told me that her Italian grandmother also used to drink it in the morning to keep her complexion clear. Always wear sunscreen, at least SPF 30. I always apply it to my chest, like hands, this area is often overlooked and over the years can start to show signs of sun damage.
Without fail I always apply Balaclava protective face salve before going out in the mornings. It's an amazing product, like many of mine, it's anhydrous, water free, therefore doesn't chill against your skin. It's used by riders, runners, cyclists, gardeners. I fact anyone who needs climate control for their face.
I keep Sock foot Salve and Gauntlet hand salve on my bedside table. I try to rub some on whilst lying in the dark getting to sleep. I've recently added Rose Quartz Facial Rollers to my routine.I have a double ended roller. I find you have best effects by keeping them in the fridge. I use them as a toning and decongesting tool. In fact, I'm about to start stocking them - watch this space

RF: When life gets hectic skincare routines tend to be less strictly followed. Which beauty steps would you never skip?

GJ: I never skip sunscreen and skin nourishing (using Balaclava, or Anoint facial oil for Wise Skin depending on the time of year). I'm not championing any particularly natural sunscreens at the moment. That said I have been trying Lavera and want to try Josh Rosebrook's nutrient day cream with SPF 30.

RF:If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, what products do you turn to? 

GJ: When stressed or exhausted I use Soothe Body Oil Infusion. The Infused St Johns Wort oil, is incredibly calming, it has a good neurogenic effect. The High Altitude Lavender is very soporific and soothing.

RF: Most importantly are you a tea or a coffee gal?

GJ: I have real trouble controlling my energy levels,  I have an underactive thyroid ,and if I'm anxious coffee can send me round the bend! likewise if I'm on an up and creating products, coffee will make me really hyper. That said I do appreciate a good coffee!I like a good cup of tea, made in a teapot, using Clipper Organic Tea. I get quite into Tick Tock Rooibos Tea in January when we do our annual detox!

End of interview

I think it is time for a little confession, I have been all over the Bathing Beauty website reading up on all the ingredients and descriptions of George's products. I have to say that if you ever saw her products in person, I pretty sure you would be just as obsessed as me. After thinking about it for hours I came up with my very own Bathing Beauty wish list of the products that I want to try the most.

The Mount Olympus body scrub stole my heart after the first sniff, I was trying out this alien thing to me, self restraint, at the LNLO show, and that is why I did not get it then and there. I am sort of kicking myself because every time I am in the shower I am imagining how fantastic it would be to have some of the fresh smelling goodness. George grows her own rosemary for this scrub, need I say more?

Face masks for Shy skin and another one for Troubled skin made it onto the list for obvious reasons. I love face masks! Well while the previous statement is true, it is not the only reason, not even the main one. Both of these are a sort of two in one: scrub and face mask, and they come in four individually sealed pots for freshness. The shy skin version consists of white clay, ground outs and freeze dried bananas. The troubled version is a mixture of my favourite rhassoul clay and freeze dried raspberries. I feel that between these two versions all my skin reincarnations would be covered.

One other product that has me intrigued is the Face tea, it also comes in the three versions like the other face products: for shy skin, for wise skin, for troubled skin. There was no picture but it is a mixture of loose dried herbs, so it is not hard to imagine what it looks like. I used to do these facial steams with chamomile flowers way back, and they were always great followed by a clay mask. Would be definitely interesting to see what a mixture of herbs could do.

Also how about that limited edition Seville soap? My soap obsession has no bounds and when you throw the magic words 'limited edition' into the mix, well my eyes light up and the little want monster gets out of control.

So have you guys tried Bathing Beauty, and if not what would your wish list look like?

Sunday 27 July 2014

The Sunday Sample Files

This is proving to be harder than I initially anticipated. As Monday rolled by I made my picks, but I did not start using most of the until the middle of the week, and of course I found finishing them up a struggle. For that reason I gave myself an extension of an extra week for this batch of samples, but I do have a bit of the mask and soap left.

Last weeks picks:

Yuli Halcyon cleanser. I think Yuli has become my latest obsession, but I am not too sure about the cleanser. The sample I had was small, I managed to stretch it out to three uses, but it was not long enough to decide. I liked the gel texture, and that it only foams slightly. But I am not the biggest fan of the scent. Yuli don't create products based on how they smell, but so far I really enjoyed all the others, not this one though. Halcyon goes in to the maybe pile.

Weleda cellulite oil. Luckily this particular issue is not a major concern for me, while I do notice some imperfections you really need to be up close and personal to see it. I am not sure if this oil has any real cellulite busting abilities, as I have not used it long enough, but it did make my skin very soft and it smells lovely. A maybe.

Red apple lipstick Vogue. Using this up just did not happen the first week. It is a nice colour, but because I could not take the sample with me to reapply during the day, it took forever to finish. Texture is superb, moisturising yet pigmented, Vogue also happens to smell delicious like sugar coated fruit.

I am not looking to buy any more lipsticks at the moment and by the time I do, I am simply not sure that it would get purchased, despite how lovely it is, it is just not a colour that I am very excited about. It goes to the no pile

Dr Bronners magic soap solid bar. I am not even going to guess how long I had this. I thought I would open it to give my brushes a clean. Normally I would use the liquid version, but since I use a solid product to clean my painting brushes, I thought i would try it out. It works just fine. I wet the brush, swirl it on the soap gently, then rinse. I did not use it up yet, but it is a start. I will be sticking to the liquid version in the future. The no pile.

S.W. Basics hibiscus mask. I absolutely adore this mask, it is one of the scariest looking when it is on, but it leaves my skin radiant. It is also very economical. I did experience some tingling, but my skin did not look red or irritated after I washed it off. This gets a green light.

The tally at the end of the week:

Thursday 24 July 2014

The Summer Edit: beauty accessories

During summer I tend to have minimal makeup, and that means I actually do the things that I should really be doing all year round, to give my skin a helping hand. All these beauty accessories are not exactly summer specific, however in this household they only seem to see the light of day in the summer

If you have ever experienced a good facial, you realise that half of the reason for glowing and fresh looking skin is the facial massage incorporated in the procedure. Not only is it remarkably relaxing, it creates a rush of new blood, that helps to rejuvenate your skin. I am absolutely terrible at massaging my own face. I know all the techniques, yet the experience of self-massage leaves me frustrated and not at all relaxed. Jade roller to the rescue. Even if you are not a big believer in the healing capabilities of semi precious stones, like rose quarts and jade, you can not deny the benefits of a massage. The roller makes the whole process pleasant, and the initial coolness of the stone is always welcome in the summer (you can also keep it in the fridge if you like). This little gadget makes a huge difference when it comes to keeping your skin supple and toned. I noticed that there is a Rose quarts version available, and if I was getting one now, I think that would be the one I chose.

We all know that cucumber slices are great for depuffing your eyes, but I have never been keen on the idea. Instead I opted for this reusable eye mask. It has some sort of liquid encased in silicone. You can use it in two ways: popping it in the fridge and then on your eyes for the cooling effect,or immersing it in hot water and on your eyes a warm compress. I think the one I have is from Body shop, but there are a few around that you could choose from.

Every time I look at an eyelash curler I still think it is an instrument of torture. I blame Lilly from Genuine Glow for the fact that I even own one. I was debating what brand to go for but settled on Shiseido in the end. It is really easy to use and suits the shape of my eyes. Since I am not wearing mascara in the day in this heat, this little gismo gets used a lot.

I know the benefits of regular body brushing, but knowing and doing are not the same thing. In the warmer months however, I love it. It is very invigorating, and as I don't feel the need to have a few layers and a blanket on me at all times, I am more than happy to take my time doing it. I have tried a few body brushes over the years, and I really like this one from green people. It is quiet soft in comparison to some, so it doesn't create problems with my super touchy skin, and the handle is good length, plus the brush is not heavy. Everything about it is just right.

The last thing on the list is a wooden foot roller. I have had it for so many years that I have no idea were it came from. It is unbelievably helpful in releasing tension after a long day of walking around. You can even adapt it to a very light, soothing massage.

Friday 18 July 2014

Bathing Beaity Anoint facial oil for Shy skin review

My skin tends to go through periods of sensitivity, partially due to all the changes in my beauty routine, partially to weather changes and stress levels. I am always on a look out for gentle products that I could turn to when the inevitable happens. George, the founder of Bathing Beauty, kindly swapped a few emails with me (more like an in depth consultation if I am perfectly honest), and recommended a few products from her line. At the earliest opportunity (which was at the beginning of spring if I recall correctly), I purchased Anoint Facial Oil for Shy skin.

It is recommended for normal, dry or sensitive skin. I was a little apprehensive at first because my skin is combo towards oily in the summer, but it does tend to be a little more normal over colder months, in the end I went with my gut instinct and trusted George (trusting someone else to pick my skincare, that does not happen very often).The ingredient list is very simple which is a dream come true (I do love a facial oil with a super long list of all the latest  ingredients, but my skin does need a break from time to time).

INGREDIENTS: Vitis Vinefera, Borago Officinalis (borage oil), Punica Granatum ( pomegranate oil), Citrus Reticulata (mandarin oil), Anthemis Nobilis, (chamomile oil), *limonene, *linalool, *geraniol*, * naturally occuring in essential oils

 Do not be thinking that this blend is not powerful, the few ingredients that are used are all incredible for healing and keeping your skin supple. Borage oil is absolutely fantastic for sensitive skin, and it is also a lighter oil, so it does not overwhelm my skin. You might know borage by another name - starflower. It is an edible flower that is often served in restaurants. Borage oil can be taken as a supplement (the ones suitable for internal use that is), or with salads, but you should not cook with it.

Pomegranate oil is an antioxidant power house, it is supposed to help with healing skin that has been damaged by pollutants and generally beneficial for keeping your skin nourished. Mandarin oil is one of the friendliest citrus oils for skin and has a lovely fragrance, chamomile calms and soothes the skin. The blend has a very delicate light scent of the two essential oils, but you can tell by how mild it is that the concentration of the them is just right, and won't overwhelm the skin.

I almost feel bad for keeping this blend to myself for so long, because it works so well. The instructions on the bottle tell you to apply 6-8 drops to clean face at night, that is just too much for me, I use about 3-4 drops. When it was colder I was using it 4-5 times a week, then 3 times a week, and now only about once or twice a week, because my skin is getting too oily with the hot weather. I have to say that I did notice a difference after first not in how it looked, but in how it felt. When I go through a sensitive phase my skin feels super itchy, even my hair touching my face becomes a problem. After using this blend for Shy skin at night, the next morning my skin was calm, no itching, nothing. After a few weeks I noticed a difference to my complexion, it was a bit more glowy, more happy looking.

I love facial oils, and I have tried quiet a few, this one has made it into my special cabinet, reserved for most loved products. It will be indispensable this autumn, as my skin really hates the transitional seasons (i.e. autumn and spring). It is simply a product that looks after your skin and does it well, with no side effects.

A few words about the packaging: it comes in a dark brown glass bottle with a dropper. I really like the simplicity of the label, it is straight to the point and still esthetically pleasing. Apothecary style packaging happens to be my weakness, so Bathing Beauty ticks all the boxes for me. 

You get 25 ml of oil, but so far I haven't used up even 1/5 of the bottle, and I thought I was using it pretty regularly throughout spring. Luckily you can keep it for 12 months after opening, so all is not lost.

Thursday 17 July 2014

New launch: RMS Beauty

Ever since Net-a-Porter started to stock beauty products they started to lead the way with exclusive pre-launches. If you browse their selection you will notice a few natural brands that managed to crossover and become popular outside of green beauty community.

I have reviewed RMS products on many occasions, but this new summer (or is it autumn?) collection that will be available from August (and already available  exclusively on Net-a-porter), is more exciting than any other colours they have introduced (I apologise to my RMS stash, I do love you all).

Lip 2 Cheek curious orange.

My search for a truly orange lip colour is over. I like to use orange lipstick every summer, it is a happy colour, looks great daytime or evening, and if you are lucky to have a tan than it is a match made in heaven. However, I have not been able to find a natural lippie that would be actually orange, they always tend towards peachy/coral or red. Now there is nothing wrong with that, all of those are beautiful, yet not what I wanted.

I thought I would do a quick colour comparison with the other orange lipsticks that I have. Ilia Dizzy is a sort of melon orange, and due to its sheerer nature, on my lips it turns a bit peachy. Ilia Voila is more of a red orange and is much brighter.

Curious has similar texture to Beloved (possibly Diabolique too), which is a little different to the other Lip 2 Cheek colours in the RMS family. It's texture is a little harder, therefore you pick up a little less pigment initially if you are using your fingers to apply it. That also means you can go down the sheer effect rout without having to work for it. Just a little hint of orange brightens up your face, and doesn't require much courage. With a second or third layer (depending on how orange you want to go), you get the full force of Curious. Mind you this shade is not overpowering, it sort of works with you, it manages to be very orange, very intense, yet soft and flattering. It is some kind of orange miracle. If you were expecting a neon bright colour however, Curious is not it.

The lasting power of Curious is pretty decent. I can not go more then 2 hours without having a drink in this heat, and after drinking carefully, pretty much most of the colour stayed on. But it did not survive lunch. So taking all the eating/drinking in to account, I would say you need to reapply every 3-4 hours.

Eye polish Inspire.

 First thing I noticed a]is instead of an eyeshadow this is called an Eye polish. I immediately needed to know why. This comes in two colours, I chose the blue shade. Blue is my favourite colour, but it doesn't always work when it comes to make. As this polish is meant to be worn sheer, I was just too curious about the effect (and I figured that if I love it, I could maybe put some money aside for August for the other colour).

It sort of reminds me of blue ice, like in cartoons and illustrations. Once blended you don't really see the blue, it looks silver, but a silver with a hint of warmth to it. A lot more flattering than any white shimmer eyeshadow I have ever used. For those who like simple makeup looks this is perfect. This colour is really flattering all on its own, you don't need to define your eyes with a darker shade close to the eyelashes, as is often the case with pale shimmers.

Now I have not used any eye make for the past month due to hayfever related itchiness, but I felt I needed to for the review (oh the sacrifices that I make, who am I kidding nothing would stop from trying this out). The texture of the eye polish feels slightly firmer than of the other RMS eyeshadows I have, it is almost as if it is a little dryer. Which is weird since ingredients are exactly the same ( am I imagining things in my old age?), but this could probably explains why I have noticed significantly less creasing with Inspire (it still creases a little after 4-5 hours, but it was less noticeable, and it took more time before creasing). Another explanation for better performance could be that it is a lighter colour, so creasing is less noticeable, who knows...

 I did not prime my lids with powder, which is what I often do for the eye shadows, because I did not want to overload my eyes at the moment.

Intensity wise i find that after initial fade after blending, it stays the same intensity for about 4 hours, then the colour fades a little more, but all the sparkliness stays, so it still looks very pretty. The finish is see through metallic, almost glossy with super fine shimmer.

Do keep in mind that I have been testing it over rather hot days, when most eyeshadows under perform, even more so cream formulations.

I am very pleased with both of these, and keep changing my mind which one is a favourite. I would love to add the other two products to my collection (Lip shine in Royal and eye polish in Imagine), I love purple hues for autumn, and these look very promising.

As it is now almost a tradition I could not resist a few colour combos (you can have a look at previous colour combos here and here).

Mixing Sacred and Curious creates a very bright, punchy coral, which would look spot on in the evening.

Karma and Inspire makes a beautiful silver grey, which could make low key smokey eye and would look beautiful with red lips.

For those who are into their vegan ingredients, there is no carmine in these, but they do have Beeswax.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

The Summer Edit: lip care

In the body oils Summer edit I was talking about the importance of boosting your skin with antioxidants. One thing that is often forgotten is that lips also need protection from the sun. But I have yet to see anyone applying sunscreen to their kissers ( I am sure there is someone out there who does, we just haven't met yet).

Luckily there are products specifically designed for lips that do contain SPF.

Hurraw lip balm spf 15. My love for Hurraw knows no bounds, the range of different flavours is astounding, packaging is pleasing to the eye and they are made with raw unheated ingredients. The sun balm, however is the true rock-star of the collection.

Not only does it smell pretty darn delicious, it also protects your lips from the harmful sun rays. Despite being in my bag during some pretty hot days, this little beauty has never melted. And have I mentioned the adorable shape of the tube? For sun protection as well as oils of raspberry, pomegranate and seabuckthorn, this balm has non-nano zinc oxide at the level of 10%.

But of course, as was the case with body care, SPF is not quiet enough, an extra antioxidant boost is needed to truly take care of your lips, especially in the summer.

Yuli cellular lip conditioner. This brand keeps going from strength to strength with truly unique concoctions. This luscious lip oil is a perfect partner to an SPF lip balm (you can use it on its own, but I like it better layered).

Full of skin repairing oils like Rosehip, Seabuckthorn, Raspberry and Pomegranate, this lip oil is a serious force against sun damage. It does feel a little different when you first start using it, almost as if you are applying a lip balm that melted. It is not something that I would use under lipstick (if you do give it 10-15 min to sink in) but it works great layered with a lip balm (like Hurraw above) for extra protection from the UV rays. The lip conditioner has a faint scent that smells very clean, reminds me of grass for some reason. Now this product has a short shelf life of 5 months after opening, so if take of the lid make sure you use it all up, it is way to precious to waste.

If I am going to be spending the day outdoors I will apply Yuli lip conditioner first, than Hurraw SPF balm. Reapplying the SPF balm regularly throughout the day, and then in the evening I use Yuli again as after sun care.

Sunday 13 July 2014

The Sunday Sample files

As I was trying to get a little more organised with my stash of samples I decided to allocate a good sized box for them. However, I ended it up filling two boxes (one slightly smaller than the other) and a small basket. The worrying thing is that I am sure I have a few more samples stashed in different draws and after bringing a few more samples from the LNLO show, my stash is out of control.

I have had a pretty steady beauty routine going for quiet some time, and my skin has been pretty happy. I am not really testing anything at the moment that would require me to keep track of what I am using, so now is the perfect time to mess things up by using lots of different products! I am kidding of course, I will still be careful, but something needs to be done about this ever growing mountain of samples.

So I have decided to pick five samples from the stash at the beginning of the week. Do my best to finish them off (some are bigger than others) by Sunday and report my results. At the end I will enter the names in a file to help me keep track of what I liked and disliked, in order not to keep testing the same products over and over again (yep it has happened before). I will be also using a traffic lights system to distinguish between things: red for a definite no, yellow for the maybes, green for future purchases.

This week's picks are:

Ren eye gel. I am always a little on the fence when it comes to Ren because of their ingredients, however my eye area is super sensitive and only very few products seem to work. Gel formula for eye care is what works best for me in general, this particular one has been surprisingly good so far.  I am not 100% sure that I will repurchase, definitely maybe.

W3ll People Universalist #3. I have epically failed to use this up. It has a little sheen to it making it illuminating, and the colour tends towards plum. When blended on my skin it looks almost like a reddish bronzer.

 It seems to be ok if I put it on with the lightest touch, but honestly not my colour. I have Universalist in #6 & #8 and love them, #3 will not be joining my collection, a resounding no.

Tata Harper resurfacing mask. I have had a few of these samples and I really like this mask, I was really close to purchasing it on the field trip tour. Someday I will, a reassuring yes. It has a gel like consistency and has a light pink colour. My skin always feels fresher and brighter after I use it.

Pure thoughts mint & avocado foot balm. I love the packaging and this balm smells just like peppermint. The consistency reminds me of a salve.

 It is an overall pleasant product and I was thinking of putting it in the maybe category. The truth is I do have a foot cream that I am obsessed with, so I doubt I will ever purchase this balm, so it has to be a hesitant no.

Kahina serum. I adore Kahina argan oil and was excited to give this a go. The smell is lightly floral and very pleasant, consistency is also light and it left my skin nicely hydrated yet not oily...for the first 3 times. After that my skin was becoming itchy as soon as I used it. Now I do try to be careful with expiry dates and so on, but I couldn't recall how long I had this sample for. So there is a small chance that I am reacting to it because it is old, regardless, for now it is a no and it has been used up on my elbows.

The tally so far:

I feel like I only just scratched the tip of the iceberg, but I suppose it is a start. Tomorrow I will be choosing five new samples, and starting this process all over again.

Hopefully by the end I will have a clearer idea of what I have tried and what is actually worth purchasing.

Saturday 12 July 2014

Field Trip Tour Group B

You might be aware of  this awesome event that took place today called the Field Trip Tour, consisting of hopping around London's natural beauty stores. It was organised by the awesome ladies from the Call it Vanity blog (you guys rock!). As the shops are small the bloggers on tour were split up into two groups, I happened to be in Group B. The other members of the group: Katie (Katie Vibes), Amber (Amber's Beauty Talk), Ana (Ana goes green), Annabel (Fragmented Splendour), Evelyn (We Were Raised by Wolves), Liz (Well Meaning Being), Sabrina (Call it Vanity).

I mean seriously, what a fantastic bunch of people, it was just wonderful to be able to talk to everybody and get recommendations whilst browsing the shelves.

The first stop for me was Wholefoods Kensington highstreet ( girls met up at the Beauty Mart, I skipped it as it would have been too long a day for me). Mr. RF dropped me off and as he went about his business, I also asked him to pick up a few food related items for me. So technically I spent my money only on one thing: Zoya nail varnish.

The colour I picked up is Cole, and it is a muted nudy peach. It is glossy but has no shimmer. It looks gorgeous even with the shoddy trial paint job.

The wholefoods damage: £11.99

Next stop: Nature & Co.

This boutique is so light and airy despite the small size. Everything is so nicely presented, it was hard to pick what to go for. I was determined to be sensible and stick to a budget. I also picked up only one thing, even though we were all given a discount, I just wanted to get the things that I really lacked. The choice of brands is spectacular, many of them hard to find.

La Sultane de Saba is not a brand that I was previously familiar with, but I really like the simplicity and the beautiful packaging of this brand. I left with a jar of their Rose scented Shea butter. I think I made everyone smell it after trying it out, that is how much I liked it.

Katie and I split a goodie bag from the store between us, as there were some products she couldn't use, and some of the products I have tried before.

I am really looking forward to popping in to this shop when I am next in the area, maybe even make use of the Spa facilities.

The Nature & Co damage: £26.55

Last stop: Being Content.

I think it is pretty clear that I am a huge fan of the store. When all of us got in together I did realise that it is smaller than I originally thought, it is amazing how many products they stock, and it looks so well organised.

I managed to snag the last Lotus Wei Quiet mind perfume (the brand is reformulating, that is why there is low stock of their products in the shop at the moment, but it will all be back), this was a real bargain as it was already discounted, plus the discount we were given on the day on top of that.

I had to stock up on Content's own tea. A hayfever one that I promised to a friend and a brand new faux Coffee (so excited about this), which should be on the website soon. I also couldn't resist a few sachets of Amazing Meal ( I really like it, but I always spend my money on beauty stuff, so never have enough for the full size of this).

The last item is W3ll People Nudist colour balm #1. It is a sheer peachy coral, it looks lovely on, my preferred product for low key days, very hydrating too.

As we were in the shop some horses randomly pulled up, I wish I could take one home.

The goodie bag contents are rather spectacular, really looking to trying it all out.

The Content damage: £55.18

This makes the Field Trip Tour damage £93.72, and what do you know, I managed to stick to my budget, I can honestly say that is a first for me.

Today was such good fun, I only wish we got to hang out with the girls from Group A a little more, we saw them at lunch but only briefly. I also got completely distracted and did not take any photos of the girls. Although Sabrina was totally on it, so not all is lost.

Now can we make The Field Trip Tour an annual thing? I already have a wish list...

Friday 11 July 2014

May Lindstrom the honey mud review

I have been a huge May Lindstrom fan ever since she launched on Spirit Beauty lounge. The clean dirt still has a special place in my beauty cabinet three years after I got my very first bottle. Last autumn I was so excited about the two new products being added to the line that I pre-ordered them from May's website.

Only about eight months later I am finally ready to do my review of the honey mud (well at least you can't say they I don't test my products thoroughly). To be perfectly honest I was ready to do this quiet some time ago, however I did want to see how it performs in different weather and so on. Without further delay, here are my thoughts.

 After looking at the ingredients list I was a little apprehensive due to the fact that one of them was colloidal silver. I decided to shoot May an email and received a very prompt reply. You might be familiar with Argyria (a condition that causes a blue tint to the skin due to excessive consumption of silver), and the fact that it is irreversible, the reason why it happens is that our bodies can not get rid of silver, and it just accumulates. The cases that got media attention were due to internal consumption, but there are a few cases of localised argyria from silver acupuncture needles penetrating the skin. The point being we are talking prolonged use, huge quantities, and not from topical application of products. While I did suspect that my unease might be a bit of an overreaction, I still had the image of smurfette at the back of my mind, hence the e-mail to May. Obviously after talking to her I decided to go ahead and get the honey mud.

If I lived in America I would only order from May directly, her packages come so beautifully presented, and there is always a card. As usual with her products it comes in a beautiful miron glass jar (miron offers greater protection from UV light), you get 100 ml worth of product.

The honey mud smells absolutely incredible, like creme brulee, I have to remind myself that it is skincare and under no circumstances should I eat it (my wallet would not thank me). The cleanser itself is quiet dense, but the consistency is very smooth, if you use it over damp skin it just glides. You can use it both as a daily cleanser or a treatment mask.

Initially I was using it solely as a cleanser. You only need a little bit, massaged over damp skin, and then rinsed off. I don't always get on with cream cleansers, so this is a great alternative for me. It leaves skin very soft and soothed. I do feel that it is best to go over with a toner afterwords, to make sure all of the cleanser has come of, alternatively I have been using in a conjunction with the Konjac sponge, and the two work brilliantly together (no need for toner if you removing honey mud with the sponge).

As I wanted to stretch out the contents of my jar as long as possible, I only recently started using it as a mask. Now that it is no longer my daily cleanser, I feel that it is ok to apply it a bit more liberally, which is required if you want the benefit of a treatment mask. I spread it over dry skin, and after about 10 minutes wash it off in the shower. This way I find that it also gives my skin a little protection from hot water at the same time. I have to say I've been missing out, honey mud makes an exceptionally good mask. As the ingredients suggest, you get the benefits from both clay and honey, which means thorowlly clean, detoxed skin, that is also soft and hydrated.

Now, May Lindstrom makes luxury products, and I am not going to pretend that they are anything else. They are expensive, which is reflected in the top quality packaging, ingredients and presentation of the products. You get a full on sensory, aromapheraputic experience as well as skincare in her products. The honey mud in particular is something that I look forward to using (very important for me, as to this day I find it difficult to stick to a skincare routine). Personally I find that it is worth the price tag, and you can absolutely make this jar last. By my calculations if you use it every day as a cleanser it should last about 4-5 months. However if you are more careful, and alternate it with other cleansers or use it as a weekly mask it could last much longer. I have been alternating mine as a cleanser for 3-4 month, and then using it as a mask every other week for the rest of the time, and I have just under half a pot left after about 7-8 months.

To the most important question, will I be buying honey mud again? Without hesitation Yes! This is a great cleanser for my combo skin during colder weather, gentle yet very thorough. As my skin gets a bit more oily during warmer months, I do feel that it needs a different approach, and in the summer this makes a perfect mask.

Tuesday 8 July 2014

The Summer Edit: soap

When it comes to soap it is hard for me to pick favourites. There are more than a few that I adore, yet some really do stand out for summer use.

When looking for a good all rounder for travel, Kahina Argan Rosemary Lavender soap would be my top choice. This is the ultimate multi-tasker that you can literally use head to toe, as it is suitable for use on hair, face and body. One of the ingredient is dried rosemary, which as well as giving this soap a lovely fragrance, provides some very gentle exfoliation.

 I am not always the biggest fan of lavender, but in this instance it works and I just can not get enough. The only drawback is that you have to buy a box of three bars as it this soap is not sold individually, which makes it on the pricey side. I do feel that it is well worth the money, this is one of the creamiest and most addictive soaps out there.

If you find that hot weather has been making the skin on your face and body oilier, or even causing breakouts then Soapwalla glycerine Activated charcoal and Petigraine soap is the one to go for.

This humble black square is a miracle worker when it comes to detoxing your skin without drying it out. As well as relying on the purifying power of charcoal it contains tea tree for antibacterial purposes, and salt that has wonderful cleansing properties.

When you are looking to save some time in the shower a soap with added exfoliation is just the ticket. Bulles et Molleculles Spring florals soap with rosehip and cucumber powder, is what I am favouring right now.

 I noticed that it is not available at the moment (they have now added some of these to their etsy store), so an even a better option in terms of exfoliation is the Coffee and Chocolate soap (I don't have it at the moment, but I have tried it previously). Ground coffee can really help with cellulite, making this bar pretty special, plus the scent is just epic.

A perfect partner for super sensitive sun ravaged skin is Bathing beauty Legendary organic honey and oat soap. Oats and honey both are incredibly soothing, while still working on gently slowing away dead skin cells.

 This soap has a very mild, maybe faintly sweet smell, to me it smells like coming home after a long day, incredibly relaxing. This is what I reach for after a day outdoors to wash away my sunscreen and sooth my skin. When you hold this bar in your hands you can be tricked into thinking that it could melt, all this creaminess ensures that your skin will not be loosing any moisture after bathing with this beauty.

While I concede that you do not need to have all of these soaps at once, having one of them will go a long way towards happier skin during the hot and often humid summer season.

Sunday 6 July 2014

LNLO show recap.

Today was the very last day of super exciting Love Natural Love Organic event. As well as meeting up with lovely Katie (Katie Vibes), Mayah (Call it Vanity) and Tania (Bow Tied Beauty), I spent the day chatting with creators of some great brands and sampling yummy food. Mr RF was the designated bag carrier ( I give him extra props for being uber patient).

The event took place in the Grand hall of London Olympia, and was divided into three sections: Free from, Vitality, LNLO. Obviously my main interest was the natural beauty stalls but a few food stalls also caught my eye.

Even though I only spent about £20, my bag was full of goodies that I am looking forward to trying out.

What I spent my money on:


I simply had to get Neal's Yard remedies to roll the Energy version. I somehow managed to loose the one I had and I simply can not survive without it (cutting down on coffee and all that). I was tempted to get the travel one, but sensibility is my motto nowadays.

I also treated myself to a pot of Rhassoul clay. This has to be my favourite clay, you can use it on your face, body and hair. The ultimate multitasker. It can be a bit tricky to find a reputable seller for this stuff and it is always pricey, so I took advantage of the show discount.


I simply could not resist the exotic fruit on offer. I got a fresh coconut to drink, a tamarillo and a fruit that begins with an m ( I can not remember for the life of me what it is, and this was the one seller that I did not ask for a leaflet, so silly of me).

I also got a Banana breakfast cup cake/bread type thing from Ruby's, it was absolutely scrumptious.

Samples and freebies:

There were lots of people walking around giving out samples of things, as I was waiting for the girls, someone came up to me and gave me a jar of Seville orange marmalade. In this case a picture is worth a thousand words so here are all the goodies that I picked up.

The highlights of the show for me were Bathing Beauty, Lyons Leaf and Kris D'Amour.

Bathing Beauty. A few months prior, George (the founder) kindly gave an online consultation and I have purchased some of the products that she recommended. What I thought of them will have to be a secret for a little while longer as I am currently working on the review.

 I was really looking forward to meeting her and this was the first place I went to. I loved the way she organised her stall and George even brought some flower pots from her garden, to demonstrate that she grows a few of her own ingredients. I am really looking forward to sampling more of her line.

Lyons Leaf. I have not tried anything from this line before, but some of the products did really well in the Free From awards on Friday, I simply had to check them out.

Behind the company is a dynamic husband and wife duo, who are really passionate about what they do. They have a working farm, with really awesome looking sheep, they grow their own calendula (marigold), the star in a few of their products, and I hear they are looking to incorporate some other plants that they grow into the future products. The range is waterless as they want to avoid the use of preservatives. I am really looking forward to trying Lyons Leaf and super excited for what they come up with next. Maybe even something for the other half (shhh you did not hear it from me).

Kris D'amour. The stall looked fantastic and a few products were created specifically for the event ahead of the launch. We really got to test out some brand new, previously unseen treats. Everything smelled fantastic. I was too busy chatting and completely forgot to take pictures of the stall. But I left with a range of sample goodies to try and a full sized product to review (which I am totally keeping a under wraps until I am ready).

The whole experience was fantastic, I am glad I had an opportunity to walk around with the girls and now I can not wait for the #FieldTripTour.

Friday 4 July 2014

Content summer wellbeing festival collection

If you are a regular shopper at Content you would have noticed that they started doing these little sampler wellbeing and beauty kits from time to time. This particular collection goes together with their second Summer Festival (they have a wonderful selection of events so if you are in London it is well worth checking out).

I am a huge fan of selection boxes and as have been on a little bit of a health kick this was doubly appealing.The amount of products and brands are the same for everybody but there is some variation in what type of products from a brand you will get.

Everyone will get this:

The Wellbeing Guide to London Is a pretty awesome compilation of different places serving healthy organic food, yoga retreats, spas and other cool wellbeing destinations like a cafe and bicycle workshop two in one. The book is divided by destinations into Central, West, East, North, South and there is also a section called "words of wellbeing" which is pretty cool (it has short essay type writings by different people on fitness, yoga, meditation, nutrition). I am very pleased to have this, as I am only aware of very few of these places I would say about 80% of what is in this guide is a revelation. The size is very compact and there is even a foldout map at the back,

Superseeds meet your maca by Punch foods is a mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seed, coconut sugar and maca (all the ingredients are organic). I already tried these and they are really tasty, not overly sweet, would be perfect mixed with some yogurt in the mornings, but I am more then happy to eat them as they are as a snack.

Sun warrior raw vegan protein 25g sachet (mine came in chocolate, but I know there is a vanilla version, not sure if that would vary between kits). This is a protein supplement that you add to water, rice milk or your favourite beverage. Amongst other things it is supposed to be a good source of energy. That is really important for me at the moment, as I am not sleeping too well due to stress (and probably not having enough protein), so energy levels are a little low. I tried it mixed with coconut milk and it works really well. I have one of those glasses for protein mixes, but you could also use a blender to mix it up.

 It tasted a bit like liquid chocolate cookies, I think I would prefer the vanilla version as there is only so much chocolate I can handle, but I would not mind having it again. It is much nicer than some other protein shakes that I have tried in the past.

Pai Camellia & Rose cleanser 50 ml. I have had a full sized bottle of this cleanser awhile back and we did not get along. I ended up using it as a shower cream for the body. I think I will give it another go, my skin seems less reactive now, we will see if it works better for me second time around.

Aurelia firm & revitalise dry body oil (sample dropper bottle I think around 7,5 ml). This smells similar to their facial oil. It feels quiet light, a very pleasant oil to use. Good first impressions.

Specific to my kit:

Ambre botanicals Cupacu and Nut oils body butter 15 ml (the other options were body oil or hand balm). Oh my this stuff smells amazing! Very fresh, a little citrus zestiness and a slight peppery undertone, just beautiful. It sinks in well, but I think it would be best applied to damp skin. I am a huge fan of ambre and I have been wanting to try this for awhile, rather pleased to get this.

Four sigma foods Sport sachet (you would either get sport or mind). So this is an herbal mix of schisandra, goji berries, rhodiola and eluethero. This power mix is supposed to help with strength, energy, increase burning of fat and help with fatigue during and after workouts. You can use this as a pre-workout booster or as a sports drink during exercise. I have not tried it yet, but I am very curious about it.

Therapi Lemon Myrthle honey gel cleanser 5ml  and moisturiser 5ml (I believe you would get a cleanser and moisturiser but the type would vary between kits). Lemon Myrthle collection from therapi is for oily skin types which is exactly what I need in the summer. I have heard lots of good things about this range so I am looking forward to testing it out.

Tata Harper Irritability Aromatic treatment sample possibly between 1-2 ml (you could get bedtime or stress versions). Honestly it is like the guys at Content know me! I can get quiet irritable at times and although I would love to try all the options, this was the one I was secretly hoping for. It is not the biggest sample so I will only open it when the need arises.

The wellbeing festival collection will set you back £18.00 and I have attempted to calculate the actual value of the kit. After combining the book ( £10), pai cleanser ( £12.50), ambre body butter ( £3,12), superseeds ( £3.99) and sun warrior blend ( £1.25), I arrived to the value of £30.86 and gave up on trying to figure out the value of the remaining 4 samples. I think this is a really well rounded selection of goodies and very good value for money. It is available until the end of the festival (19th of July), so if you want it you only have two weeks to get your hands on it!