Monday 30 November 2015

The Glow Getter Gathering

I love going to events, they are a perfect opportunity to meet people who are interested in green beauty and of course get better insight into natural/organic brands. I have always felt that beauty is not just about what we put on our skin, and the Glow Getter gathering has been the first event I attended  that shared the same philosophy. Alongside fantastic skincare brands, raw juices and superfoods were showcased. The three hours went by really fast, I did see lots of familiar faces and discovered some interesting products. I can not promise to remember everything that happened, but let's start at the beginning.

Here I am, sitting at Wagamama's furiously texting Amber, trying to figure out how is it possible for her, Sarah and Liz to take so long to find each other in Leicester square. Wait did I go a little too far back? I am guessing you guys are more interested in the Glow Getter event, and not so much in what green beauty bloggers gossip about. Ok, let us fast forward a couple of hours, and we are at Kettners in Soho. After collecting a badge with my name and blog details, having a quick chat with Ailish, the hostess, I finally proceeded to 'work' the room. The brands had stands with their products displayed, so basically I just walked to the first stand and carried on until I spoke with everyone, obviously having I quick chat with anyone who happened to come over at the same time. 

The first point of call was Herb pharmacy, I really like this brand and reviewed some of the products as part of Organic September. I know they have some exciting things happening next year so I would definitely keep an eye on them. My next stop was Blend & Press, the organic juice and smoothie company. They have a shop in Neal's Yard Covent garden, I have no idea how I missed them last time I was there, hm maybe I need a little more green juice to improve my powers of observation. I thought that what they had on offer was pretty incredible, my particular favourites were No 7 Purifying juice and No 10 Glow Smoothie. Yeah I did try every single drink on offer, because I have no shame. I was told that their range of raw foods is scrumptious, I look forward to sampling it next time I am in the area.

Moa balm have recently introduced two new products: a face oil and a bath oil. They also have rebranded with new packaging. I think the illustrations are quirky and fun. The oil formula felt really nourishing. The bath oil is apparently really concentrated, and you only need to use a few drops for the aromatherapy benefits. Probably most of you guys are familiar with Neal's Yard, however, instead of showing off their beauty products, the stand was all about the new range of superfoods. Amazingly, they had some raw vegan food made by the Neal's Yard representative earlier that morning (again I did try everything, like I said no shame). The first thing I had was a seaweed smoothie. You guys probably already know that I love my seaweed, yet I did raise an eyebrow, it is not exactly something I would think to put in a smoothie, but oh wow was it delicious. All the recipes are on their website, and I was reassured that they are simple, but I do wonder how simple could chocolate with physalis filling really be? It did taste incredible.

The next station was Aurelia, famous for their use of peptides and probiotics (so only the oils do not contain milk derivatives). I have never reviewed their products, but I have tried them. They are really good quality and give results. This was the first time that I had a closer look at their bamboo cloth, and I really liked how soft it was (even though I am not a huge fan of face cloths in general). Right next to them was the Chuckling Goat stand. This brand was completely new to me, from what I could tell it seemed quiet fun. It is a small family run business, and products are based on the kefir made from goat's milk (yes they actually keep their own goats, around 30 and the goats are free range, and no they do not become food). 

Therapi honey skincare made some drinks with their toner, a little bit out their but hey it's a party (although no, do not do it at home, toner should be sprayed on your face not your tongue). I love that Tanya, the founder, is so passionate about bees, and I am actually testing the above mentioned toner as we speak, so stay tuned. My next stop was Antipodes, here is were my hands got introduced to more cream than they ever experienced in their life. The textures and scents of the products are absolutely fab, it is not surprising that it is so popular with green beauty bloggers (I haven't really tried much from the range, but it is now on the wish list). Jason is not a brand that I use a lot, but they do have some really decent products in the line up. Not everything is up to my personal standards ingredient wise, but if you are on a small budget they do have some really good options.

The last stand was from Angela Langford, who is a chef. She was passionate about natural skincare for a long time, and after initially deciding to make her own products to save money, it eventually led to her taking courses and training to be a skincare formulator. All the products are made in house and are often inspired by what can be found in the kitchen. I must admit I only found about the brand a few weeks ago when the news of their rebranding reached my inbox, but I was immediately attracted to their philosophy. I am very excited to try some of the products that I was given.

I left with a generous goodie bag and an inspirational print (I got the print because I was one of the first people to purchase the ticket to the event). It was a mixture of fab people, delicious food and wonderful atmosphere. Now I just want to do it all over again.

Friday 27 November 2015

Nutrition | Facts and fiction

This post is about a sensitive subject of nutrition and diets, I am not a trained nutritionist or a health care professional and everything that follows is based on personal experience. Use your common sense, if you have serious health issues seek advice from a qualified person.

It feels like nutrition is becoming a bit of a hot subject lately. While dieting for weight loss is not new at all, there has been more and more focus on the wellbeing aspect. More and more people don't want to just look good, they want to feel good. But what is the best way to achieve it? Well depends on who you ask doesn't it. There are so many dietary solutions that it can make your head spin, and every single camp is adamant that their solution is the only correct one. In the words of agent Mulder "the truth is out there", but boy is it hard to figure out. The frustrating thing is that the field of nutrition is moving at a fairly fast pace nowadays, and things that used to be considered as best practises no longer are. Yet the results of newest studies are often slow to be picked upon. In a way some of them are challenging peoples beliefs, and sometimes they are challenging experts. No one really likes to admit that they are wrong. Some studies can be really questionable in the way they manipulate statistics, or there maybe queries about their sources of funding. Even when several experts read the same study they seem to somehow come up with different conclusions, and cherry pick the statistics that support their argument.

Instead of trying to figure out who is right or wrong I decided to find what different approaches had in common. Obviously if you look hard enough you will likely find someone who disagrees with these points as well, but this is the theme that kept coming up from a bunch of different nutritional experts.

Our bodies use food as a fuel for energy but also to make cells and tissues, so there is no two ways about it: you are what you eat. Just because someone is slim does not mean that they are healthy, the "skinny-fat" is a thing, it describes people who are not overweight but have fat around their internal organs. Calories is not what matters most, it really is about the quality of those calories. Having the same amount of calories from soda or from broccoli will lead to completely different results where your body is concerned. The focus really is on real food, i.e. fruit, veg, whole grains not candy bars and crisps. Putting semantics aside of how far you can take the word 'processed', the main idea is to buy ingredients rather than ready meals and cook at home. Our bodies need a balance, so yes they need carbs, proteins and fats. Not all sources of these, however, constitute good building blocks for our bodies, and not everyone will need the same ratio of these macronutrients. There is no 'diet' that will work for everyone. 

It is a fairly recent phenomena that we have access to so much food, but also all this variety is often not something that can be grown in our own climate. It is not necessarily a bad thing but people tend to tolerate foods that their parents and grandparents grew up eating, and what they had as kids growing up (again we are talking real food here). Climate that a person lives in will play a huge role: an optimal diet for someone based in LA is not going to be the best thing for someone who resides in Reykjavik. Food looses it's nutritional content once it has been picked. Some things like beans and nuts store well, but your greens do not. Your spinach, two weeks after you bought, is not going to have much to offer you in terms of nutrients. So you can imagine that the longer it takes to get to you, the less of the good stuff it will have. 

Seasonal produce is always higher in nutrients, but there is no exact way of knowing the exact quantity of certain vitamins each particular carrot contains, these are just approximations. You need to eat a variety of foods for optimum wellbeing and to get the full range of nutrients. Even if you have the best diet in the world it does not mean you get all the nutrients if your body is not absorbing them. For a healthy gut probiotics are your friends, but we are not talking yogurt drinks from the store, we are talking quality fermented foods or supplements.

Vegetables, especially leafy greens, is something that is lacking in most peoples diets and should be at the heart of what we eat. Supplements are exactly that, they supplement your diet, they do not replace it. There are certain things that most of us need to supplement with because of lifestyle, like vitamin D (it is best to be tested to check if you do need it), B12 for those who are on a plant based diet, and most people could benefit from Omega 3 EPA & DHA, which are now also derived from seaweed and not only fish (these are essential fatty acids found in fish, but with overfishing and contamination of oceans there are questions about ethical and health implications of fish consumption). Still, what supplements will benefit you will depend on your indidvidual needs and there is a huge difference in terms of quality.

The most important thing to keep in mind is what we eat now, and yes I am talking fruit and veg here, is nothing like what people used to eat even a couple of hundred years ago. So you can forget about going on the bases of what people 'were meant to eat'. People adapt to what is available, which is not necessarily what is best for us. There are no short cuts, if you want to feel the best you need to stop dieting and start eating well, and yes you will have to be the one who figures it out for yourself. There are some great nutritionists who can guide you, but they can not do that without working with each person individually. It does not mean that everyone needs expert help, you can learn how to find the best way of eating for yourself. I really like the following books: 'Skin cleanse' by Adina Grigore, 'Eat pretty' by Jolene Hart, and 'Eat, nourish, glow' by Amelia Freer. The first book's main focus is skin, so it does not only talk about nutrition but also beauty products. All three books have certain points in common but have slightly different approaches with what foods they consider healthy (again we are not talking processed junk food), yet they all give you tools to find your own way of eating rather than giving you a step by step cookie cutter diet, which is never going to work for everyone.

I will be doing more posts on nutrition in general. Is there something in particular you would like me to write about? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

New and upcoming launches



While I do not love cold weather and the early onset of darkness, when it comes to green beauty the pre Christmas time is pretty amazing. Not only are there loads of discounts floating about but there are always some fantastic new product launches and limited edition gift sets. Also a few intriguing green beauty goodies are on the verge of being released. There have been so many things that caught my eye, but I managed to whittle it down to just a few that I am personally most excited about.


Leahlani Skincare are having a complete makeover. If you follow them on social media, you probably have been waiting for this since spring, it looks like we won't have to wait too much longer. Not only is all the packaging getting a face lift, there will be not one but three new products. Two new face masks and a multipurpose balm. I have been waiting to get my hands on this magical balm for oh so long, but now I am absolutely torn because Leahlani's masks tend to be pretty epic. I give up, I have no idea which of the three upcoming launches sound more exciting.

Kari Gran has teamed up with Jolene Hart (the author of "Eat Pretty") to create a limited edition lip colour. It is the most beautiful vibrant pink, and as soon as I saw it my heart was beating a little bit faster. It is already available for purchase, and is even stocked at one of my favourite online boutiques the Choosy Chick (who will be have 15% off the entire store between 27th-30th of November with the code THANKS15). I absolutely love Kari Gran lip whips, the texture is heavenly and this colour in particular is simply stunning.



Itha London seem to have a lot going on. Not only are they working on stunningly beautiful new colours, it also looks like there will be products in tube packaging as well. I have reviewed the line in the past, and I absolutely can not wait for them to release their new goodies. This promises to be seriously good. I am definitely keeping a watchful eye on them.


Terre Verdi is a small UK brand with Italian roots. They already managed to win a number of awards and just recently made a big change with their packaging. Some of the products are also different in their formulations, and they have brought out a number of single oils. Most of the line is certified organic with Cosmos (at the moment only 2 products are not certified). I am particularly excited about the Orange coffee cleansing mask which is not yet available online. I had a play with it at their pop up shop in South Kensington. I thought it sounded really interesting and I will be giving it a test drive shortly. Terra Verdi have a 20% off with the code BLACK20 valid until midnight GMT on Friday 27th of November.



So these are my top current and future launches, however I feel there are a few more that deserve a mention. La Bella figura has just released two beauty creams. Gressa have brought out a gorgeous purple colour. There is a brand new kid on the block, Holistic Green beauty. I am currently testing a couple of products, so you hopefully it won't be too long before a review. Content beauty have released a gorgeous limited edition well being box that would make a fabulous Christmas present (seriously if anyone got this for me I would be bouncing from happiness like a three year old hyped up on sugar). Also while these are not new products they have just now become stocked in UK: Vintner's daughter is available at Naturisimo ( until 1st of December you can enter BLACK15, or BLACK20 if you are spending over a hundried pounds, for some money off ) and Kypris is now available at Selfridges.



What products are you waiting for to get released? Any exciting new launches that you have come across? Let me know in the comments.


Friday 20 November 2015

Fom London event

Last year I found out about a new natural beauty store, Janna Organic. Obviously it went on my must visit list. You can imagine my excitement when it turned out that Fom London was holding an event at this exact venue. I do love it when things work out that way, getting to spend time with the face behind the brand and explore a new to me green beauty store, perfection.

Janna Organic has a wonderful range of brands, with a lot of more budget friendly choices. I spotted some of my personal favourites: Lyonsleaf, Suvana and Pukka. It is not just beauty for the outside, there are plenty of delicious things to boost your glow from within on the shelves too. Of course Fom London is also stocked here.

I feel like I have been aware of Fom for a few years, yet I never tried anything from the brand until last night. When approaching the table I spotted three aromatherapy bottles, yeah you know it, one of those was the very first thing I opened up. I honestly was not expecting to be blown away, I have tried so many blends, and anyone who follows me on social media is probably aware of my favourite brand. Well, I was rather shocked to find that I thought these were just as good. At the moment the blends come as a trio, and are not available individually, but all three are seriously worth having. The mood booster could easily double up as a perfume, so delicious. Zaga, the founder of Fom, suggested that the best way to use them was not on the pulse points but rubbing a little bit between the palms of your hands, cupping your hands in front of your face and then inhaling. This way you will get the most aromatherapeutic benefits from the blends.

I was pleasantly surprised by the scents and textures of all the products, but of course a few things stood out. The cream cleanser for one. Not only does it double up as a makeup remover, it does not have any essential oils that could potentially irritate your eyes and it rinses off cleanly with just water. You do not need to mess around with a wash cloth (you know I do not love dealing with cloths). The eye cream felt super light, and definitely piqued my interest. With my latest body scrub obsession it really is not surprising that I was curious about the one from Fom. The whole body range has the same fresh almost lemony scent, so it is not just the scrub that smells this heavenly, the body oil and butter do to. But the most interesting thing about the scrub was that Zaga assured everyone that it does not leave an oily film. The scrub looked completely set, there were no particles floating in oil or anything like that. It is sugar based but it has some salt in there too. I was very intrigued, apparently I am not the only one since it is sold out on their website! It is still available on Love Lula.

I loved finding out about the brand. It was very reassuring to hear that Zaga worked with cosmetic chemists to ensure the potency and efficacy of the products. They did not purchase any base lotions, all the formulas are completely unique to the brand. I could not find the full lists of ingredients on their website, I did read them for all the products at the event but my memory recall is far from that of good Will Hunting unfortunately. I did not spot anything that I personally found problematic, the preservative used in the water based products was phenoxyethanol (I know not everyone's skin agrees with it, but I have not had issues so far).

Fom is about to undergo rebranding, so once things sell out they are likely to stay that way until all the new packaging is ready to be rolled out (this will be at some point in the new year). In the meantime if you would like to try some of the products out for yourself I have a code for you guys. You can get 20% off on all the products purchased directly from Fom by using EVENT20. The code expires at midnight on Monday (23 of November) so you don't have that much time. Another perk is that they have free worldwide delivery.

Are you guys familiar with this brand? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Seasonal Gifts | Green people

There is no denying it, the season of gift giving is so close that I am starting to panic a little. Normally I love getting presents for people, but generating ideas year after year for my nearest and dearest (who already have pretty much everything that I could afford to buy) is undeniably getting harder. A gift box of beauty products is always a good fail safe, especially when it is wonderfully presented.

Green people dialled up the cuteness factor with their limited edition collection in support of woodland trust. There are four different selection boxes: for face, body, hands, and even one for the guys. Each one is represented by a different animal and the illustrations on the packaging are absolutely amazing. I have been testing the hand care gift set* for the past month, which is represented by the badger.

Inside the box there are two differently scented 50ml tubes of hand cream. Lavender and rose geranium smells fantastic, sweet and lightly floral, it is fairly strong fragrance but not to the point of becoming of putting. The texture is light and the lotion sinks in like a dream, there is no stickiness or residue left behind. The size makes it easy to chuck into a handbag for use  through out the day. Ho wood and red mandarin has a slightly thicker texture, I tend to use it when my hands are feeling extra dry. It still doesn't leave any residue, which I find very impressive. The scent is not as strong and a little unusual, there is a mixture of sweet fruit, green leaves and a subtle woodsy note. Both creams are quiet concentrated, I only need a tiny blob for my hands to feel nicely hydrated. I only tend to need to reaply after washing my hands, the creams do a fab job at combating dryness.

From every purchase of this gift set Green people donate 50p to the woodland trust. If you are not familiar, Woodland trust are a UK conservation charity that protects forests from destruction, restores ancient woodlands and protects the wildlife who inhibits them. The hand creams are also made with 91% organic ingredients. The quality of the products, the sentiment behind them and creative illustrations make it a truly wonderful gift. After getting acquainted with the badger set, I find myself being very tempted by the fox.

Did any of the green people gift sets catch your eye? Let me know in the comments.

*PR sample, all opinions are honest and my own based on my personal experience with the products. That is just how I do things.

Monday 16 November 2015

La Bella Figura | Happiness Therapy

As much as I would like for the opposite to be true, not every day is awesome. Some days are just average, and others can be truly disastrous. Yet no matter what life throws at us, we still have certain responsibilities. Even though hiding from the world under the duvet is what I want to do on occasion, facing difficult circumstances head on is the only real choice. On occasion, there is nothing to face really, I'm just not feeling chipper and doing my best impression of the grumpy cat. Regardless of the cause for my bad mood, I don't particularly enjoy being in it, no matter how justified. My first point of action is rubbing an aromatherapy treatment on pulse points, followed by closing my eyes and doing a yoga breathing exercise.  These two things complement each other so well, and while controlled breathing is amazing all on its own, paired up with a therapeutic blend takes things to another level.

La Bella Figura are becoming more and popular because of their skincare potions, but let us not forget that the founders original passion also involved perfume. Their scents Istanbul and Barcelona are still some of my favourites, so it was no surprise I wanted to get my hands on the Happiness Therapy mood booster pretty much as it came out. 

The ingredients:
Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Gardenia Tahitensis (Tahitian Tiare), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Pulp) CO2*, Psidium Guajava (Guava Leaf), Citrus Aurantium (Bergamot), Rosa Damascena (Rose Otto) Essential Oil* and Therapeutic Clinical Grade Essential Oils Blend. 
*Certified Organic

The essential oils that have been listed promote feeling of relaxation and bergamot in particular is supposed to help ease anxiety. Rose Otto is one of the most expensive essential oils on the market (come to think of it, it well may be the most expensive), it has a magnificent delicate scent that helps keep you calm through emotional or tense times. The blend as a whole has a bit of a tropical vibe, yet despite being on the sweet floral side, it is very fresh. There are no powdery notes at all, and the whole combo reminds me a bit of a ripe papaya. Every time I open the Happiness Therapy I'm definitely thinking sunshine and holidays.

Not only does this mood booster work like a charm, the bottle travels really well in my handbag. I haven't experienced any leakages. I keep it with me at all times just in case I need a little cheering up, you never know what the day will bring you. I like to be optimistic but prepared.

What your favourite aromatherapy blends? Have you tried anything from La Bella Figura? Let me know in the comments.

Friday 13 November 2015

Bookshelf | Naked Fashion

I always find that a good book makes you think. There is definitely plenty of food for thought in "Naked Fashion" by Safia Minney. The way it is presented makes me think of a magazine: lots of interviews, photos, and info graphics. It is very visually engaging, no doubt about that, yet the message in the begging is not so pretty.

The opening pages ask you a simple question: Why are the clothes you buy so cheap? I mean who doesn't love a bargain, and personally I love to take advantage of a good sale. Yet if the cost of a garment is seriously low from the get go, not only is there not much further to fall, but surely it raises some eyebrows, how is it even possible? When you consider the chain of production starting from the raw material, that is made into fabric, sewn into your garment, and only than is presented in the store, at each point there are people involved. Taking into account that everyone, including the shop staff, needs to get payed, surely someone is a looser? In the very first chapter you get to see some of the people who got handed the short end of the stick from the fast fashion industry, and read their stories.

However, this book is not just about pointing out what is wrong,  it presents solutions with real life examples. Safia Minney is the founder of People Tree, not surprisingly the brand features in the book, but it is far from being the main focus. There are interviews with artists, photographers, industry insiders, people who not only chose the ethical way of doing business, but also have done so successfully. Some of the more familiar names are probably Orla Kiely and Emma Watson. I loved all the interviews, one of the most entertaining in a way was with Adam Harvey, an account manager at a creative agency. He let a picture of himself, wearing an unbuttoned shirt, be used to demonstrate what a difference photo touch up creates. There are three photos side by side: the untouched original, a 'natural' touch up, and one with a lot more work (which sort feels like the industry standard judging by some magazine pictures). You can see just your sort of decently built guy from the first picture, get transformed into someone who is sporting a six pack and somehow lost all body hair (not that there was loads to begin with). Also suddenly his shoulders were seriously wider. With editing programs at our fingertips possibilities are endless, it is so easy to reconstruct photos to the point that they are nothing like the original, and it is a little bit sad. Of course it is absolutely amazing the potential creative force of graphics, but should it be at the cost of our self esteem, or the actual art of photography? 

This book looks at the impacts of the fashion industry as whole: from the effects of growing cotton, to the treatments of models. It is beautifully put together, and printed on FSC paper. Even though it was published in 2011, and some things have changed, unfortunately the message is still painfully relevant. There will be a new book, "Slow Fashion", coming out in January 2016, I can not wait to get my hands on it.

I would love to hear what you guys think! Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

The Body Deli blueberry fusion micro-scrub review

I find facial scrubs to be a super awkward category of beauty products. People get really excited about exfoliation, with most decently formulated products you see pretty immediate results: smoother, more even toned skin and your other products suddenly work so much better. As is human nature, there is a temptation to exfoliate more often in the hopes that it will be even better for your skin. Doing that isn't really a great idea, it could interfere with your normal skin function and make it sensitised. To top it all up I don't believe that everyone even needs to exfoliate, and most definitely not all the time. If you are using konjac sponges or muslin cloths daily, you are not likely to need a weekly scrub as you are in away already exfoliating your skin. Generally speaking exfoliators are more useful when we get older, because the rate at which our skin regenerates slows down. If you do decide to go down this route, there are two types: physical or chemical. Here is where it gets even trickier as physical scrubs require harder particles, and depending on what is used, could be abrasive as they effectively use the rubbing action of these particles to buff away the dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants involve acids (in this case AHA, BHA, and LHA) and instead of you physical polishing off the dead skin cells, they do their business over time by just sitting on the skin (that is probably why most effective products are supposed to be the ones you can leave on, i.e. toners, face creams, and things like acid face washes aren't considered effective as they simply don't stay long enough on the skin). I tend to go on what is happening with my skin day by day, so I end up exfoliating a couple of times a month (let us not forget I am in my thirties), with a mild physical scrub. I don't really like leave on products with acids and as the wash off products are supposedly a waist of money, they just did not seem relevant to my skin care.

So how on earth did I end with The Body deli blueberry fusion micro-scrub? Well because it has blueberries, obviously! On a more serious note, I tried several Body deli products, which I really liked, curiosity and a discount code did the rest. What is very interesting about this product is that it is a sort of fusion, it contains AHAs in the form of lactic, malic, and citric acids (from milk, fruit, and citrus fruit respectively), but it also has a physical exfoliator in the form of diatomaceous earth (remains of oceanic unicellular algae). The presence of puree from blueberries and acai, plus juices from pomegranate and black cherries, also made this product extremely interesting to me. As a rule, since AHAs are water soluble, products containing them are recommended for people with normal skin, as it won't dissolve oil plugs. I am not too in love with the idea of a static skin type, your skin changes with the season, climate, stress levels, so unless you are in a country with pretty constant weather, and everything else in your life is rather constant, chances are you will experience your skin going through several reincarnations. Judging by the info on the jar it claims to effectively remove dull, dry, and damaged skin cells (am I the only one who slightly cringes at the word dull when used to describe skin?). So clearly this was not designed to help combat blackheads. I do find that I enjoy using the blueberry scrub a lot more during the colder months, but even in the summer when my skin is more oily I do find it to be effective.

It is pretty easy to use, once you have cleansed your face, apply a quarter amount and gently massage in circular motion. Do not leave it on the skin, wash off straight away, this stuff is pretty potent and you will do more harm than good if you don't. I find I have to be pretty speedy, I'm not massaging my face for 5 minutes with this one, it is pretty much, put it on wash it off. The result is very smooth skin and an even complexion. So I don't know if it is the combination of all the ingredients, and not just the AHAs (or possibly the strength used), but I see a real difference. The only time I have experinced a slightly negative reaction was when I got distracted by a ringing phone, and did not wash of immediately, skin was pretty red for almost half our (and I'm talking serious here, I was considering if I should go see someone, but thankfully it went away). It is recommended to be used 2-3 times a week for best results. For me, I don't feel that it is necessary, once a week is plenty. It smells awesome, I definitely detect blueberries, sort of reminds of those berry smoothies, that you know aren't really the healthy kind, but they do taste nice. 

The jar is 2oz (60g), at my level of use it is pretty good value for money. Especially since it stays fresh for 12 months after opening, means I don't have to rush to finish the jar. If you did use it 2-3 times a week, my guess is it would last you somewhere around the 3 month mark. It has definitely made it to the list of my top 2 exfoliators, yet still I don't think it is a necessary product for anyone who is much younger than myself (effective basic skin care routine and an occasional face mask is more than plenty for most).

In UK the body deli is exclusively available at the a beautiful world, unfortunately at the moment this scrub is out of stock, but you can join a waitlist.

Have you tried this scrub? Anything else from the body deli? Let me know in the comments.

Monday 9 November 2015

Stepping back

This post is very random. On my to do list I had a review of a face scrub scheduled, but clearly I'm not writing about that at all right now. In the past few months there have been a lot of changes in my life, which I guess have been partly reflected in the content of RF blog. I have this terrible character flaw is that once I get excited about something, like a new subject or a hobby of any sort it becomes almost all consuming. I will research it to death, getting my hands on as many books as I can, reading blog posts and watching videos with different view points so I get a better understanding of a subject as a whole. The downside is that not only am I not noticing the passage of time and spending most of my free time glued to the computer, while still in my pyjamas, I'm completely exhausting myself.

The weirdest things is when reading books about nutrition and suddenly realising that I am hungry, instead of making myself a proper meal, in my eagerness to get back to it all I'm more likely to just grab myself several slices of bread topped with marmalade. Which isn't really how I would normally eat. It's like I loose all sense of perspective. I firmly believe that we should never stop learning, but when it comes to my own self-education I'm not at all patient. I have so many questions and I want to have all the answers straight away. It's great having all this information at the touch of the button, trouble is trying to figure out the quality of knowledge. It is rather frustrating when so many opinions are presented as facts, and sometimes really flawed arguments can appear rather convincing due to the charisma and charm of the speaker. 

After spending yet another day of watching You Tube videos in hopes of finding what I am looking for, I realised I need to take a step back. Not only am I not getting anywhere fast, my brain is pretty much giving up. Mr RF often makes fun of the shows that I watch on TV or Netflix, he thinks they are, to put it politely, not very intelligent. That might be true, but honestly they are one of very few things that let my brain stop working overtime. As ridiculous as it sounds, even when I'm walking in a park deer spotting, at the back of my mind I'm coming up with blog ideas, schedules, shopping lists, so while my body is enjoying a leisurely stroll and my eyes are getting a rest from the computer screen, my brain  is still going a thousand miles per hour. 

There is a lot of emphasis on working hard, being active, planning for the future. There isn't much focus on simply being and experiencing the present. It is so crazy how quickly time moves regardless of what it is you are doing, but if you never stop and take a step back to have a look at the picture as a whole, you never really notice if what it is you are spending your time on is really worth while. I know today has been a complete waist in the sense that I did not achieve anything I was hoping to, nor was I able to get any of the answers I  was looking for. But I did learn something, that I don't need to devote any more time to this particular dilemma. It just isn't relevant. It is such a relief to be able to move on. Now my brain can work overtime on something entirely different. All I had to do to come to this conclusion is having a walk in the park, while I was enjoying the scenery my mind was processing everything I was exposed to through the day, and things just became blindingly obvious. However, if I just carried on researching undoubtedly it would have taken me many more hours to come to the same conclusion.

Have you ever experienced something similar? Do you consciously try to give yourself time to reflect without distractions? Let me know in the comments.

Friday 6 November 2015

Wild Food Cafe

A few years ago Mr RF and I decided that when it comes to our wedding anniversary, instead of exchanging presents we will make it an event and do something together instead. As the date in question is in July, most of the time we luck out with decent weather, so as often as not we take this opportunity to explore the city. This year it just happened to be my turn to plan the outing (I mean after 7 consecutive years of planning I thought it was time to give Mr RF a break). When it came to choosing a place to eat, I took this opportunity to finally visit one of the cafes I have been stalking on Instagram.

Wild food cafe is located in the Neal's yard in Covent garden. It reminds me of a posh canteen, the place is a decent size by London standards, but it fills up so quickly that sharing one of the bigger tables with strangers is likely to happen. Food is vegan and most of the menu is raw, with the exception of things like soup and sweet potato chips (everything is sourced from local independent suppliers and is organic whenever possible). The atmosphere is super chilled and friendly, you don't have to ask for water it is already on the table. The place is ridiculously busy, we came at opening and within 5-10 minutes of sitting down pretty much all the tables were taken. Things do move fast so I doubt you would need to wait too long in a queue if you happened to come when there wasn't space available. Despite the fact that the cafe is clearly popular, no one rushed us or made us feel like we were taking too long (which let's face it I most definitely do, not only do I eat super slow, I also talk a lot).

I took forever deciding what to get, pretty much the whole menu looked appealing, but I was hesitating. Whenever I had things like raw vegan burgers and pizza in the past they always turned out super sweet, and my taste buds definitely veer towards savoury (unless its a smoothie, those mostly get a pass, as long as it doesn't taste like liquid sugar). In the end I settled on the Wild C.U.L.T. sandwich made with cashew and coconut 'mozzarella', young coconut 'bacon', umeboshi plums, watercress, tomato, truffle, homemade grain-free multi-seed super bread. Served with kale chips. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water. I have never had a coconut cashew mozzarella before, but my experience with coconut yogurt was not great, so I was very curious. While it doesn't really taste exactly like buffalo mozzarella, the texture is somewhat similar, however, I found it to be delicious in its own right. The sandwich was ridiculously good, and the Kale chips just made it that little bit better. These were proper big, crunchy leaves with a barbecue topping. Now I am not a fan of your regular BBQ sauce, but this stuff is clearly not even from the same universe of condiments. The dish was very well put together and tasted amazing.

I can't resist a good juice or a smoothie when eating out, pretty much all the ones on offer would have made me happy, in the end I settled for the Incredible Green. A blend of apple, celery, cucumber, kale, dates, celery, avocado, banana, lime, and superfood green powder. As you can imagine it is sweet thanks to the dates, but I found it to be well balanced and rather delicious. Unfortunately for me, I no longer felt hungry by the time I finished my food, so I couldn't try any other dishes. Hopefully it won't be too long before I'm in the area again as I am definitely planning to go back.

Generally speaking I love good food, and it is easy enough to do in the comfort of your own home. When it comes to eating out, I want it to be exciting (I'm not talking about grabbing lunch from a corner shop when you are at work, but when you make an effort to go somewhere specific). It doesn't mean complicated or elaborate dishes, but you do want them to be a little creative and obviously taste good. Saying that, when you go to a restaurant with nice food but with terrible ambiance, it doesn't make for a pleasant outing. Wild food cafe has got the balance perfectly right, they manage to have quality food, remain super friendly and relaxed, despite the crowds. A winner in my eyes.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Pamper rituals | Bathing beauty

When I had my first ever facial it involved popping my head into this weird contraption, a face steamer. While technology has moved on, and the equipment in most spas has gotten a little more fancy, still some form of steaming is very likely to be part of the treatment. The reason is very simple, it is effective. The hot vapours soften your skin, loosening up all the trapped dirt and bacteria. The heat also increases blood circulation to the face. Steaming is the easiest way to aid the removal of blackheads without having to use harsh peels. However, you really don't need any special equipment to reap the benefits, all you need is a bowl of freshly boiled water and a towel. Most people could benefit from an occasional steam, but if you have rosacea or any skin condition that is triggered by perspiration, fungal infection or severe acne, it is not for you.

I must admit I don't have these full on pamper treatments more than twice a month, I think once a week would be perfect but I just can't find the time. First thing I do is cleanse my face properly, making sure there is no traces of makeup or oily residue from the makeup remover, as I want to get the full benefits of my at home facial.  After boiling a kettle, I pour the contents into a large heat proof bowl and pop a facial tea bag from Bathing beauty in the mix (I have been using the face tea for shy skin*, but it isn't currently available on the website, hopefully it hasn't been discontinued). After letting it infuse for a about 5 minutes, I pop my face over the bowl, and make a mini tent with the towel, making sure the steam doesn't escape (or very little of it escapes). It is quiet important to leave a few minutes straight after boiling the water before going ahead, not only does it give a chance for your herbs to work, but you also need to be careful as steam can burn your skin, you don't want it to be too hot.

If you have ever come across a book Smart face by Goodman and Young from 1988, they are of a mind that adding herbs to a steam doesn't have any direct skin benefits apart from making it smell nice. I haven't been able to find any real evidence for or against using herbs in this way, but my thinking is a long the following lines: if the pleasant aroma is relaxing it is already a benefit in itself, stress shows up on the skin so anything that is relaxing to you, indirectly benefits the skin; this herb infused steam is effectively touching your face, and I have seen benefits of washing my face with herbal infused water. Also steaming with herbs does benefit your sinuses, and that is great news if you have a blocked nose. The bathing beauty tea for shy skin* contains chamomile, calendula and chickweed. Calendula, aka marigold, has antibacterial properties and is a good antiseptic. Chamomile is probably one of the most popular steaming herbs as it is supposed to help a number of skin problems like acne, rashes and inflammations amongst others, so with such a variety of uses, it really isn't surprising. Chickweed is good for itchy skin conditions. The fact that these herbs come incased in a tea bag makes the clear up so much quicker and easier.

After steaming for about 5-7 minutes (you really don't want to do it for a lot longer than that as too much heat is not good for your capillaries), it is time for a mask. Now that the top most layer is all softened up your mask should work so much better. As I'm prone to blackheads I like to use a double duty product that has some scrubbing action, to help get rid of everything that the steam loosened up. I absolutely love Bathing beauty draw mask for shy skin*. It is a mixture of white clay (one of my favourite clays), organic oats and spray dried banana. This mask comes in 4 individual glass pots for freshness, and you are meant to empty the entire pot and mix it with water, tea or yogurt, you can add a few drops of oil if you feel like it. I don't use the whole pot, I use about a quarter. I find that it is plenty for my face and I see great results so I don't feel like I need to use more. After about 10 minutes it is time to wash it off, the left over steam water is perfect for that. First I use just a little water to dampen my face, this reactivates the mask allowing me to get the mild scrubbing action from the oats. At this point I just use it like you would any facial exfoaliant, and rinse it clean once I'm done. 

I finish the whole thing with a few spritzes of floral water or toner and apply a couple of drops of face oil, taking this opportunity to give my self a short massage. My skin is left looking fresh and properly pampered.

Have you guys tried Bathing Beauty masks or face tea? What do your pamper rituals look like? Let me know in the comments.

*PR samples, all opinions are based on my personal experience with the products and are completely honest, I take the integrity of this blog very seriously. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing for me to gain by not sharing the truth.

Monday 2 November 2015

Autumn/Winter | People Tree

Anyone who has been following me on instagram or twitter is probably aware that I have been reorganising my whole living space. My wardrobe has been the greatest victim of this drastic clear out. Everything that did not look flattering or wasn't really me absolutely had to go. I have been fairly lucky in respect that my shape hasn't greatly changed since I was in my 20s, but my taste has not stayed the same in the past ten years, so hopefully my unloved items will find a good home elsewhere, because there was 0 point in them hanging in my closet. So while this little experiment has left me only the pieces I absolutely love, there was one little problem. My absolute favourite item of winter clothing was missing from this collection.  I don't know what it is, but I just have to have a pair of checked trousers for the colder months. The right ones are ridiculously hard to find, so I was not holding out much hope.

When People Tree offered to send me two pieces of clothing of my choice, I was more than a little excited. I absolutely adore them and have been a customer for many years. Some of my most favourite dresses and knitwear are from PT, the quality is amazing and they wear so well, but also what is pretty important, I love the designs. To me they are the epitome of stylish ethical fashion. After looking through the catalogue there was no doubt in my mind, I knew exactly what I wanted. The Alyssa Check trousers*. These are carrot shaped trousers, made with the softest brushed cotton. The band is elasticated on the back, and the trousers sit on the waist. I did a happy dance when I first put them on, not only do they look super flattering, they are ridiculously comfortable. In fact I have been wearing them every chance I get. The check itself is beautiful, with grey, black and purpley violet hues. Let's not forget one other very important feature, pockets. I always find trousers without pockets a little disturbing, like they are missing something essential, well these have 2 pockets, so all is good.

The second item I chose was Beth jumper in navy*. While I have a comfortable amount of knitwear, all of it is mostly bright colours. I thought this jumper would go well with the checked trousers, and lots of other clothes in my collection. I'm delighted to say that it does. It is a hand knitted open stitch wool jumper. The thread used is on the thick side, so the jumper has some substance, but still isn't super bulky. Like with most wool when I first put it on it was a little scratchy on my skin, but I haven't felt it at all the other times I have worn it. I am so pleased with it, you can easily layer it with long sleeve t-shirts, or tank tops for extra warmth.

What do you guys think? Do you have your eye on something else from People Tree's A/W collection?

If you do, don't forget to use RF10 discount code to get 10% off all People tree AW15 full price pieces.

*PR samples, all the thoughts are my own and as always completely honest. That is just how I do things.