Monday, 30 November 2015

May Lindstrom - The Honey Mud Cleansing Silk

may lindstrom honey mud cleansing silk

I often write about wanting to eat beauty products but this one takes the cake. See what I did there? Food. May Lindstrom The Honey Mud Cleansing Silk is quite simply the most scrumptiously scented cleanser or mask I have ever had the pleasure of sniffing. Fact.
Not only does it smell like an indulgent chocolatey-caramel pudding, but it looks like one too. You know those wobbly, calorific treats cleverly disguised as 'yoghurts' that you find in the dairy aisle? The Honey Mud Cleansing Silk is pretty much one of those. Except it's packed full of ingredients designed to feed your skin rather than your belly box.

The Cleansing Silk contains raw honey, white clay, plant oils and butters that combine to create a luxurious cleanse that exfoliates, decongests and nourishes. In case you were wondering (which I was), the difference between 'raw' honey and normal honey is that raw honey still has all of its natural enzymes, nutrients and anti-fungal properties intact. This is because raw honey still contains pollen, whereas more often than not, your average store bought honey has had the pollen filtered out. Every day's a school day...

The Cleansing Silk is designed to be used as either a cleanser or a mask - because it's clay based, the formula dries if you apply a thin layer and leave it for five minutes or so.
As a cleanser, I feel that it does a pretty decent job and it feels very, very nice on the skin. To use, you just scoop out a little dollop with your finger tip, spread over your face (wet or dry - I prefer it on dry skin), work it in gently using circular motions and then rinse. Now, while this cleanser does rinse away easily, I have trouble just rinsing it off of my face because I am such a cloth cleanser type, so I use a flannel or a muslin cloth afterwards to remove any traces that might be left behind.

I need to mention the consistency of the honey mud cleanser because it's just so weird. Weird in a good way of course. It's deceptively thick, almost like smooth peanut butter and has an almost putty-like quality. By this I mean, when you scoop some out, what's left in the jar 'self smoothes' and the surface evens itself out again. If that makes sense.

Holy mackerel I love this stuff.
May Lindstrom The Honey Mud Cleansing Silk is £64 for 100ml from Cult Beauty. The pot you see in my picture is a much smaller sample size.
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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

L'Occitane Black Soap

It's not often that I feel like blogging about soap (unless it comes from Lush, obviously) but this one is a little bit different. L'Occitane Black Soap has been available for a good few months now and it's proved to be a very popular addition to the Aromachologie range.
loccitane black soap review

I love balm- type products so I knew when I first saw the black soap in a L'Occitane store it would only be a matter of time before it took pride of place in my bathroom.
Because I'm a bit impulsive (just a tad), I took this home without even looking inside the tin so it really was a complete surprise once I opened it up and was met with the sight of semi-transparent black balmy sludge stuff and the scent of eucalyptus.

The black soap is essentially an olive oil based paste ('paste' sounds marginally more pleasant than 'sludge') with the addition of eucalyptus essential oil and is part of the L'Occitane 'Rebalancing' collection. The Rebalancing collection also includes a massage cream, exfoliating shower gel, bath infusion and a face mask but there's just something a bit extra special about the soap that got a lot of people interested.

Because of the consistency of the soap, it took me a while to figure out the best way to use it. I realise how ridiculous this sounds. My fail safe method is just to scoop a little bit out with my finger and spread it over wet skin before going to town with the loofah and getting all sudsy. It leaves me feeling clean but maybe wanting a little more in terms of fragrance? It just smells like eucaplyptus really, which is lovely of course but the scent doesn't tend to linger on my skin once I've rinsed the soap off. I suppose the fact that the scent doesn't stick around makes it suitable for pretty much everyone, after all, eucalyptus is quite a medicinal scent and might not be the kind of thing you want to walk around smelling of (especially for those of us who grew up in Australia with parents who used eucalyptus oil to remove ticks from the dogs). That said, if you're feeling a bit under the weather or as if you're coming down with a case of the winter lurgies, the eucalyptus in the black soap should help you breathe a little easier, which is never a bad thing.

Overall, I do enjoy using the L'Occitane soap. It is quite refreshing and sort of fun to use and has garnered a load of positive feedback on the L'Occitane website. As an end note - L'Occitane advise that you use the soap once or twice a week as a treatment, which I don't really adhere to. To me, it's just soap - and a pretty good one at that.

L'Occitane Black Soap is £16 in store and online.

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Monday, 23 November 2015

Champneys Cracker Collection

champneys christmas crackers review

Christmas crackers are such a pretty way to present gifts aren't they? You can just pop them under the tree as ready wrapped presents or add them to your Christmas table setting for an extra special touch. Over the years we've seen quite a few brands get on board with this festive concept but what really stood out to me with this Champneys offering is the value, quality and affordable price point.

The Champneys Cracker Collection is only £10 and includes four large crackers in a pastel colour scheme, each containing a 50ml product - perfect for splitting up and using as stocking fillers or secret santa gifts or of course just keeping the packaging intact and gifting the whole thing.

This set was actually my first taste of what Champneys have to offer and the rich scents and perfectly pampering feel of the products have now made me understand why this is such a well loved and respected brand.
champneys christmas crackers review


Inside the crackers:
Heavenly Day Relaxing Shower Cream
A calming shower cream infused with the relaxing scents of geranium, lavender and chamomile.
Summer Dream Rewarding Shower Gel
A rich shower gel with summer fruit fragrances Grapefruit, Orange and Lemon Peel oils combine with Peach, Mango and Passionfruit scents rounded off with a touch of Sandalwood. Zingy and refreshing, especially for this time of year!
Citrus Blush Enlivening Shower Gel
A zesty shower gel with Mandarin, Lemon Oil and Cardamom.
Citrus Blush Enlivening Body Lotion
A refreshing blend of Mandarin, Lemon Oil and Cardamom with a Sweet Almond Oil and Vitamin E base.
champneys crackers

Champneys have also created a range of gift sets and hampers to suit virtually any budget this Christmas including:  The Bag of Delights (£12) which features three body butters and a body soufflĂ©. Bubble Heaven (£16) that includes three delicious Bath Soaks. The Relaxation Hamper that's brimming with bath and body goodies and a candle and socks! (£60)  - and the Bath Basket Collection (£30) that includes a Bubble Heaven, Shower Cream, Body Lotion, Face Cloth and Towel.
Personally I have my eye on this Luxury Throw (£25), probably because it looks so warm and fluffy and it's freakishly freezing right now.
champneys luxury throw

The Champneys Cracker Collection and all of their other gifts are available at Boots in store and online.

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Saturday, 14 November 2015

Kahina Fez Perfume and Body Serum

I'm a mega fan of the Kahina Giving Beauty brand. I was first introduced to the natural brand via their iconic Argan Oil back in 2012 (which was actually the first oil I ever intentionally put on my face!), then I sampled Kahina Prickly Pear Seed Oil and now I've had the pleasure of experiencing the Fez Body Serum and Fez Perfume Oil.
Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Serum

The Body Serum was recently featured in a Vogue edit of Top 10 Body Oils and now that I've tried it myself, I totally get it. Fez Body Serum is a clever concoction of skin nourishing goodness with an aroma-therapeutic edge that is equal parts unusual and beautiful.  The serum features key moisturising ingredient Argan Oil combined with Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil and Watermelon Seed Oil for an exceptional dose of hydration.
Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Serum

The formula is finished off with a blend of steam distilled essential oils to calm, relieve stress and stimulate circulation.
Oils include:
Vetiver Root, Clove, Rosemary, Cumin, Geranium, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Pink Grapefruit, Neroli, Lemon Myrtle and Rose.

The oils combined create an exotic, spicy and sort of smoky aroma to evoke the Moroccan city of Fez. Think earthy and smoked with a hint of sweetness and a touch of citrus and you're half way to knowing what I'm trying to describe here. I admit, when I first tried a little of the Fez Serum on my hand I was a bit confused about the scent. I didn't know how I felt about it, simply because I'd never smelled a body product quite like it. However, after smoothing it over still damp skin after an evening shower, it was a whole different experience altogether and I now love the depth, complexity and comfort of the aroma.

Fez Perfume Oil was created after the serum (because feedback on the fragrance of the serum was so good!) and features the same smoky, mysterious scent as its predecessor. Featuring a certified organic Jojoba Seed Oil base, the perfume is presented in a weighty 15ml recyclable violet glass bottle with a rollerball applicator, making it conveniently handbag/ clutch/ pocket friendly. Inspired by Moroccan tiles, the outer packaging was designed by Amira Marion of Brooklyn based textile company Archive New York, for an extra special touch.
Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Perfume Oil

The perfume oil is a concentrated blend of the steam distilled oils found in the Fez Body Serum and has rather exceptional staying power. It just lasts and lasts and then lasts some more really. To me, this is a real cold weather fragrance. It's earthy and cosy and sexy and comforting all at the same time. I don't know how that's possible but it is. One of the reviews on the Kahina website had me giggling and agreeing at the same time- "It's not 'pretty' or 'floral' - rather it's spicy and earthy with a side of 'let's make out.'

Yep. That pretty much sums up Kahina Fez.
The Fez Body Serum is £85 for 200ml (the one I have is a travel sized 30ml bottle) and the Fez Perfume Oil is £67 for 15ml which I can see lasting me a good while.
You can find Kahina Giving Beauty at www.beingcontent.com

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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Dr PawPaw Balms

Dr PawPaw Balms

If you grew up in Australia, it's almost a given that you used pawpaw ointment at some point. My mum and every other mum I knew used it on our mosquito bites, knee scrapes and pretty much everything else until we grew up and found other, more fun uses for the ointment. PawPaw balm is one of those things I always had in my glovebox, first aid kit and handbag and used it for everything from a lip balm, to a cracked heels treatment and as a quick eye brow tamer.
PawPaw is making quite an impression on the UK market these days too, most notably in the form of Dr PawPaw.

Dr PawPaw was co founded by an Aussie here in the UK with the intention of making PawPaw ointments more readily available over here and so Dr PawPaw was born! Dr PawPaw balms are created and distributed in the UK but still retain the same qualities of their Australian counterparts - packed with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
The base of the unscented balm is, you guessed it - PawPaw. A nutrient rich fruit, PawPaw contains a load of vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which aid in skin repair (hence their inclusion in first aid kits). These ingredients also add moisture and have a smoothing and tightening effect on the skin.
Dr PawPaw balms also contain Olive Oil, which is anti-inflammatory and moisturising and Aloe Leaf Juice which retains and restores moisture, promotes cell regeneration, can minimise the appearance of pores and is cleansing and toning. Phew.

Like the balms I grew up with, Dr PawPaw formulas also contain medicinal grade Petrolatum and Potassium Sorbate as a preservative.

The real kicker with Dr PawPaw balms and what I think really sets them apart, is the fact that they have two tinted balms available, so you can have a kick of colour and still enjoy the benefits of the balm. Its a little bit innovative really!

I have the original balm, which is good for putting pretty much anywhere and is particularly handy as our extremities start to dry out and go a little nuts as we get closer to Christmas and the two tinted versions - Peach Pink and Ultimate Red.
Dr PawPaw Review

Both balms provide a nice wash of colour and I was surprised by how densely pigmented they are. Ultimate Red reminds me a little bit of Benefit's Benebalm/ Benetint in terms of colour and the pink is very pretty and feminine. I think the pink might be my favourite which is odd for me as I'm such a red lipstick girl but I'm fond of this shade and think it would look pretty great against tanned skin.
The tinted balms can be used on the cheeks too (or anywhere really) for a quick pop of subtle colour.

You can find Dr PawPaw Original and Tinted Balms here for £6.95 each.

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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

4 Ways to Feel a Little Bit Better this Winter


Autumn is well and truly here in the UK and soon it will give way to winter. Personally, these two seasons are my favourite and cold weather is still a bit of a novelty to me- after all I did grow up in Queensland, which is warm for 98% of the year! The distinct lack of sunshine lately can be a bit of a downer though can't it?
Since I moved to London nearly 6 years ago I've gradually devised my own plan of attack to make myself feel just a little bit more human when the days start getting shorter and the temperature starts falling to single digits. They're probably very obvious tips, but I digress...

Run a Bath
And stay in it. For as long as it takes. Cold weather is the best excuse to laze about in a deep, bubbly bath. Adding an uplifting bath oil, such as Aromatherapy Associates' Revive Morning Bath and Shower Oil gives you a little bit of a mental boost while you soak. Otherwise, add your favourite Lush bath bomb (go for an amazing colourful one for added happiness) and watch it fizz and bubble. I like to apply a face mask while I'm in the bath too. If I'm feeling a bit bleugh I reach for something exfoliating for a bit of glow, like Nude Skincare Miracle Mask.

Get Outside
Even if it's snowing or blowing a gale. Going outside usually makes me feel better and it's especially important if you work from home. It may sound silly but I actually quite enjoy getting caught in a sudden downpour - it sort of awakens my senses and refreshes me, even if it does ruin my hair and destroy my makeup. Just take yourself on a little walk to the shops or to the park if you're lucky enough to live close enough to one. If you have a dog, that's even better, you can take him/ her along too. If you don't have a dog (but you like dogs, obviously) borrow one from a friend. If you have no friends (which I'm almost certain you do) or your friends don't have dogs, try a pet-lending scheme like Borrow My Doggy. I've heard great things about it.

Make your Bedroom your Sanctuary
Turn your bedroom into the cosiest nesting place possible. We like our beds the most when it's cold so put in a little extra effort to make it your own personal kingdom of snoozery. Get yourself a lovely room spray or pillow mist for extra comforting goodness. I've tried everything from Boots own brand to Neom and all have given me the same warm and fuzzy feeling. Try a lovely aromatherapy candle for your bedroom too - even if it just sits on your bedside table unlit, if it's a good one you should still be able to smell it slightly as you drift off.  As a side note, try to separate where you sleep from where you stress as much as possible. I'm not going to say anyone should eliminate all technology from their bedrooms - I know I can't get to sleep unless I've got Law and Order on (shhh)- but just say no to things like bills and work emails. That kind of junk has no right to be in your place of sleep.

Invest in a SAD Lamp
Lamps and lights to relieve the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are increasingly popular and now that I actually have one of my own, I can understand why. They come in all different sizes and strengths and I've come across a variety to suit pretty much any budget. The theory is that the white or blue light emitted by the lamps improves well being, especially when there is such a distinct lack of natural light. I have a small one from Tesco that I tend to turn on at about 3pm when it starts to get dark and so far it has reduced eye strain and generally kept me awake so I can finish work! So not a bad thing by any means. I've read that people use SAD lights in the morning when they're eating breakfast to give themselves a boost first thing while others just keep theirs on all day while they go about their business. Tesco seem to have sold out of the SAD lamp that I have, but you can find it here.

How do you stay happy and positive in Autumn/ Winter? Tips welcome :)
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Monday, 9 November 2015

Lush Yog Nog Soap

You know those rare occasions when your soap or shower gel is so moisturising that you can forgo moisturiser altogether once you're out of the shower? Lush Yog Nog is pretty much that. And a whole lot more.
Lush Yog Nog Soap

Now I know that Yog Nog is not a new Christmas release but I only tried it for the first time last night. Late to the party? Yes. Disappointed in myself for not trying it when it was released last Christmas? Bitterly disappointed. Bitterly.

Lush describe Yog Nog as: A creamy Christmas tipple of a soap made with moisturising soya yoghurt and a dash of spicy clove bud. Indulge your senses in a fudgy lather with ylang ylang, moisturising Fair Trade cocoa butter and stimulating nutmeg. Dusted with a generous amount of aromatic fair trade cocoa powder, after one wash you’ll be ready to don your best Christmas knitwear.

As is always the case with Lush, this description is pretty much spot on.
The creamy soya yoghurt base of the soap combined with nutmeg, clove and cocoa butter do all kinds of glorious things to my nostrils and evoke everything I love about Autumn/Winter and the festive season. The scent reminds me of spiced chai, crunchy leaves, Starbucks Eggnog Lattes with a hefty dollop of cream and all the Yankee Candles that smell like they're freshly baked and ready to eat. The scent lingers  for a while afterwards, so the party continues for a few hours after I've lathered up with it.
The consistency is just what you'd expect from a Lush soap- creamier and more melty than your average- I can almost feel my skin drinking it in. 
Also, just look at the design. LOOK.
lush yog nog soap

So festive. I think it's safe to say that Yog Nog has replaced Snow Fairy as my top Christmas product from Lush. Now I just need to get my hands on the bath bomb.
As a final note, Lush, if you are reading this (which you are almost certainly not) please make a Yog Nog body cream so I can smell like Christmas whenever I like. Thank you.
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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Rodin Facial Cleansing Powder

Rodin is just such a luxurious brand and I'm yet to try a product of theirs that I don't like. Fact. It's been a while (years in fact) since my precious sample bottle of the cult Olio Lusso Face Oil came to an end so I am enjoying rediscovering the brand with the latest offering - the Facial Cleansing Powder.
Rodin Facial Cleansing Powder Review

It seems that this has really been the year of the facial cleansing powders and I myself have tried different versions from Givenchy, Nude, Indeed Labs and DHC and each have had significantly different formulas and selling points (foaming, exfoliating etc). The Rodin powder, however, is in a whole different ballpark and for me takes the crown for the most luxe of the bunch.

Fistly, let's talk about this packaging. While glass may not be the most practical packaging for the bathroom, the weight and feel of this bottle really adds to the whole luxurious ritual of using the contents. The bottle comes with a little stopper that fits very snugly in the top and effectively stops moisture getting in and spoiling the product itself.

The powder is granular and can be used in two ways - for an extra exfoliating cleanse, pour a small amount of the powder into damp palms before massaging over the face. For a richer lather, add more water and work with your hands until it reaches your preferred level of foam.
Rodin Olio Lusso Facial Cleansing Powder Review

You then just rinse your face clean and away you go. I use a facial cloth to remove this but have used the rinse away method too and there was no residue left behind - just soft, clean feeling skin.
The Rodin Facial Cleansing Powder contains rice bran and moisturising sea algae and doesn't leave the face feeling stripped or tight. It just feels clean and smooth. And that's what we want, isn't it?
The real cherry on top is the scent - the cleansing powder has the same aroma as the facial oil thanks to the addition of the signature Olio Lusso blend of jasmine and neroli. It's just a gorgeous cleanser/ exfoliator that feels fantastic on and leaves my face feeling perfectly clean and rather blissed out really. It's got me lusting after a new bottle of Olio Lusso Face Oil now.

Rodin Facial Cleansing Powder launched last month and is £32 at Liberty.

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Monday, 2 November 2015

Garnier miracle wake up cream

Garnier Miracle Wake Up Cream sounded so good on paper and I was very excited to get it on my face. If you're a regular reader, you'll know I love my skincare and I was so hopeful that I would enjoy this little bright pink pot of day cream. But alas, I am not a fan.
Garnier Miracle Wake Up Cream Review

The cream is Garnier's latest launch and is designed to make your face look less tired. This obviously sounds great in theory but I found one major flaw (in my eyes) and that is this: it has an oddly matte finish.

When I think 'awake' I think dewy. I think refreshed. I think glow. I don't think matte.

Garnier Miracle Wake Up Cream contains rice-micro peptides and apple extract, though I can't seem to find any information about the importance of these ingredients in the product so I'm not completely sure what role they play.
Notably, one of the cream's key ingredients is Dimethicone (listed as the 2nd ingredient after water), which is a silicone based polymer commonly found in makeup primers and some foundations. This sits on top of the skin and gives a smoothing effect, which is why it's so widely used in primers - it creates a smooth canvas to allow foundation to glide on smoothly.

Now, I am not anti-silicone by any means but I am not keen on the fact that it's so high up on the ingredients list. Especially coming from a brand called Garnier Skin Naturals. I'm sure I own some skincare products that contain silicones but it's like I can really feel it in this cream. I am too aware of the silicone! I am just a bit confused by this product I think.

On a positive note, this cream does make skin feel instantly soft and sort of silky (even if this is down to the addition of silicone) and would make a perfectly fine primer. Also, if your skin is on the oily side, you will probably like this more than I do - equally if you prefer a matte look to a dewy one.

Personally, I just don't get on with this cream - to the point that I felt the need to wash my face after putting it on because I felt strangely itchy!
I could not find the Garnier Miracle Wake Up Cream on the Garnier website (why?!), which is annoying because I wanted to dig up more info but it is on Boots online for £12.99. I'm yet to see it instore, which is a shame because I really think it's something you should try before you buy. This is not a horrible product but it's just not to my tastes. If you've tried it, I'd love to know what you think!
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