Monday, 27 January 2014

Apple & Bee Compact Cosmetic Case

I first came across Apple & Bee on Twitter thanks to, once again, the lovely Ana from Ana Goes Green.

Apple & Bee are a carbon neutral company based in Australia. They support environmental organisations and even started The Bee Foundation to raise money and awareness about the decline of honey bees.
They use biodegradable materials, recycled PET plastics and organic cotton, hemp & jute to create a brilliant selection of bags in all shapes and sizes.

Apple & Bee are stocked in the UK by Sustainable Accessories and they have a good selection of washbags in lots of lovely prints.

I picked up the Compact Cosmetic Case just after Christmas for £34.99 in the Star Daisy Midnight print. They have five different prints in this range, some of which are in the sale for £24.99. When I received the bag, it come within its own Apple & Bee branded dust bag.
The bag is made from organic cotton with an organic hemp lining. The case has a bio-degradable TPU coating which is made from natural polymers to protect the bag and make it easy to wipe clean.

I just love the print and have already added a few other Apple & Bee items to my wishlist.

Have you heard of Apple & Bee before?

Friday, 24 January 2014

#NoBuyJanuary Week 3 What I've been using (up) this week

Only a few things this week but I feel like next week might be a big post as I am so close to the end of a few full sized products.

Madara Time Miracle Day sample- After a successful run with the night cream, the day cream was really underwhelming. I got about 3 days use of it and by midday my skin was super oily. It just wasn't suitable for my skin type.

Neals Yard Remedies Remedies to Roll Night Time full size- I bloody love the remedies to roll and the night time is my favourite. I use it on my wrists and behind my ears just before climbing into bed for the night. The blend of essential oils include lavender, neroli, chamomile and rose. 

Caudalie Vinexpert Night Infusion Cream sample- I felt this was quite a thick cream and I might usually be weary of it it being too heavy on my skin. However I used this after a serum which made the product really easy to apply to the skin.

The Organic Pharmacy Double Rose Rejuvenating Cream sample - A good sized sample, I got about a weeks worth out of it. I go through phases with rose scented products and unfortunately this one just didn't smell nice to me. The cream was light on my skin but as with the Madara, it didn't combat my oily skin.

Update on my spending ban - not bought anything this week. I'm finding that using up my stash really rewarding, I don't feel like I am missing out on anything and while I have added things to my wishlist I haven't been tempted to just buy what I want. It has also meant that I have has more money to spend on other things such as updating my wardrobe and going out for meals.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Review: Celtic Herbal Rose, Grapefruit & Lavender Bath Oil

Back at the end of November I entered a give-away for a chance to win a Celtic Herbal Bath Oil on one of my favourite blogs, Ana Goes Green.
I was very excited to find out mid-December that I had actually won! Cue lots of big cheesy grins.

The bath oil is fragranced with rose, grapefruit and lavender - perfect for an evening bath to help calm and relax the mind. The first time I used this was after a pretty traumatic day - 10 hours of driving and an emotional funeral. I slipped into the bath and after taking some very deep breaths, promptly fell asleep for half an hour!
Even after this time, the gorgeous blend of essential oils were still in the air and were having a positive effect on my mood. Rose essential oil is an effective anti-depressant and the lavender really helped ease my tense muscles and prepare my mind for a deep sleep.

I pour between three and four cap-fulls into a fully drawn bath and love watching the oil turn the water a soft milky colour. I have a small bathroom and so the steam from the bath builds up a really good amount of fragrance that lasts for the duration of my bath. 

I love using this bath oil, especially on these miserable cold, wet, dark nights. 

A very big thank you to Ana, Celtic Herbal and to Adore Naturals who supplied the bath oil.

Have you used a Celtic Herbal Bath Oil before?

Friday, 17 January 2014

#NoBuyJanuary Week 2 What I've been using this week

It's been a much quieter week here in terms of empties, three have been on the go for months and just one sample.

Myroo Lemon Body Butter full size- I've used this on and off over the last couple of months as it's brilliant for when my skin has been in need of an extra moisture hit. I truly love this! The lemon really packs a punch and it smells really clean and zingy. The butter is whipped into a beautifully soft texture that is so easy to apply. Sure, because its a butter it takes a bit of time to fully absorb into the skin but it is totally worth the wait. Full review here.

Dr.Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Serum full size- I've had this bottle since August and used it every time I have washed my hair since so I have to say it was fantastic value for money (and was on a buy one get one half price deal at the time!). I actually grew to like to spicy clove scent and it certainly conditioned my hair well and left it feeling silky without any residue. My main concern is the ingredients list (see my full review here) so I'm undecided whether I will buy this again. 

An empties post of mine is never complete without a Neal's Yard Remedies product! This time it is the Nourishing Melissa Nail Balm full size- Another zesty lemony balm for promoting healthy nails and cuticles. This has been wonderful to use on both my hands and feet over the dry wintery months where my feet are hidden away in socks all day and my hands are exposed for cold, wind, and rain. I think I'll shop around for a different branded nail balm next but that doesn't mean I didn't love this one.

Madara Time Miracle Night sample- For a 1.5m sample, this gave me about 6 nights worth of cream so another really good sample. I found the cream to be easy to apply and absorbed well into my skin without feeling heavy, like some night creams can do. I would definitely be interested in trying out a bigger sample, just to make sure of the longer term effects.

I'm really enjoying working through what I already have and using things that have been put to one side and forgotten about. So far I have yet to break my #NoBuyJanuary rules - I put it that way because I did buy some Himalayan Bath Salts (didn't have any and they were £3.99 for 1kg!) and I also bought an Abahna Mandarin & Sicilian Bergamot Eau de Parfum (only a little 10ml) as I had finally used the last of my Miss Dior (waaaahhhhh) and didn't have any perfume.

If anyone can suggest a more natural version of something similar to Miss Dior, I am all ears!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Salcura - DermaSpray and Zeoderm Moisturiser Review

I posted about a week ago about some products from Salcura and promised that a new post would be up soon. Well here is it and for those who didn't read the previous post, my husband Simon will be taking over from here and reviewing the following products ...

For a few years now I've noticed that my hands get very dry in cold weather, particularly in the finger webbing area. The skin gets red, rough and flaky, which can get pretty uncomfortable. When it gets really bad the skin actually cracks and bleeds. My Doctor prescribed me some barrier cream when I went to see him about it but it wasn't particularly practical. It just didn't soak in which meant I couldn't really do anything without transferring the oily gunge onto everything around me. I've found off the shelf moisturiser better, the two most useful products being Aveeno hand cream and the Body Shop's Hemp moisturiser, which is almost a paste and could be easily applied to just the affected areas.

Over the last month, I've been trying Salcura Dermaspray Intensive liquid moisturiser* and Salcura Zeoderm skin repair moisturiser*. Two separate products however it is recommended they are used in conjunction.

Firstly, the Dermaspray Intensive liquid moisturiser comes in a 100ml spray bottle that should be good for 800 sprays. The idea is to apply it 3 or 4 times a day initially and then as skin condition improves to reduce the frequency and use as necessary to keep skin supple.

I imagine the spray application will be really handy if you're applying to a large area of skin, somewhere like your back, as the spray has a wide range and the instructions say you don't need to rub it in. I've found that for doing the backs of my hands it does benefit from a quick wipe to get it everywhere I need it. It's got a nice, clean, almost clinical smell that I really like – I can certainly smell the tee tree oil in it. Having said that, it soaks in really quickly and doesn't leave any residue. My hands are fine for typing a couple of minutes after application and the smell has doesn't last very long.

I noticed a definite improvement to my hands within a couple of days of trying the product – the red patches in between my fingers were fading and weren't nearly as itchy. Throughout the day I was needing to reapply it, though, and for that the spray bottle wasn't the best thing to be carting round with me. That's where the second product came in handy.

Salcura Zeoderm skin repair moisturiser is a more traditional creamy moisturiser. I was using it on my hands but it is suitable for all over the body. I was finding that even with the Dermaspray, my hands got dry throughout the day and this helped keep the chapped skin at bay on the go more easily than the spray bottle. Like the spray, it goes on very nicely and soaks right in rather than lying on the skins surface. It doesn't smell much but what fragrance it does have is similar to the spray, although less sharply antiseptic – it's got a lot of plant oils in it – olive, linseed, geranium, rose and lavender, and I think these come through more than in the spray. Still, it's a clean smell, not cloying or sweet at all, which is good for me as I don't want to smell too pretty.

Anyway, together the two products have left my hands in better condition than anything else I've tried; they soak in nice and quick, they're not strongly scented and they do all this whilst being free of nasties. They were kindly supplied for review by Salcura but both products retail online at around the £10 mark. At this price I consider them good value. I've spent almost as much on hand cream that wasn't green and didn't work nearly as well.

I think that if I keep using the cream I'll only need to apply the spray occasionally, if at all. It was brilliant when my hands were bad – I thought of it like an antiseptic wound wash that also moisturised and the cream is keeping my hands in the good condition the spray left them in. When the cream does run out, though, I'll certainly be replacing it.

So there we have it - a review by Simon. 
Both products can be purchased from the Salcura website here.

* PR Sample

Friday, 10 January 2014

#NoBuyJanuary Week 1 What I've been using this week

Instead of doing a post at the end of the month with all my empties, I thought for #NoBuyJanuary that I would do a weekly post of what I have used up to break it down. I'll post them on a Friday to tie in with the rest of the #NoBuyJanuary clan.

This post will mostly see the end of some of the products that I haven't really been keen on. We all get them sometimes, those creams that just aren't suitable or just never seem to end!
Quite a few for the first post but January did start almost two weeks ago, they are all samples and I have been using some of them longer than this time.

NYR Frankincense & Mandarin Shower Cream full size- I love the combination of these two scents and really liked the body lotion from the same range however this shower cream was just a bit rubbish. I didn't know how to use it (yeah yeah, in the shower!) What I mean is that it didn't work with a shower puff as it doesn't lather and when I applied it straight to my hands or to a flannel, I found I had to use loads in order to get clean! Anyway, I'm so glad that I have used this up now.

No7 Beautiful Skin Night Cream travel size- Another product that I am glad to be finished with. It was something I received in a set last Christmas and I honeslty haven't seen any improvement to my skin. On the plus side, it smelt nice and it lasted well- just a small blob each night lasted for about 3 to 4 weeks.

Dr.Hauschka Rose Body Moisturiser trail size- I can sometimes be a bit funny with rose scented products and will swing from loving the scent to really going off it. Fortunately this moisturiser was a total delight to use and I made sure to squeeze every last bit out.

Dr.Bronner's Unscented Pure Castile Soap sample- Everyone loves Dr.Bronner's - a true multi purpose product. I kept this one by the sink for hand washing and washing make-up brushes. I will always buy more Dr.Bronners!

Inner-Soul Organics Circulation Boost Skin Oil sample- Really enjoyed using this body oil in the mornings to get me moving. Made with geranium & rosemary, it absorbed really well and it would be something I would possibly buy in full size.

Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser trail size- Lasted a few evenings but too small to be able to tell if it did anything positive for my skin. I've gotten so used to using balms to cleanse that it felt strange to use a cream!

Sweet Cecilys Almond & Avocado Face Cream sample- Well... I didn't really get on with this either! Ended up using it as a body moisturiser as it made my face really oily towards the middle of the day.

Dr.Alkaitis Day Cream sample - I think I might have used this beyond it's best buy date. I have had it since August and it just didn't smell that nice or feel that good. The pump was also broken which meant I had to scoop the cream out of the tiny tube which wasn't great. Didn't use more than twice.

REN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel travel sized- A really gentle facial cleanser that left my skin feeling refreshed and clean. I love that REN make really good sized samples, this 30ml lasted me for weeks!

Jurlique Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Face Oil sample- I've never tried anything from Jurlique before so I was keen to use this face oil. I loved it! I don't think it will take over my Neroli Luce but it gave it a good run. Even though it was just a sample size at 1.5ml I used it morning and evening for 6 days so feel that it was a good trial.

001 Pure Active Peel travel size- I really loved using this peel. I didn't use it as regularly as the recommended once a week but more like every other week. It made my skin look and feel smoother and with lasting hydration.

What have you been using up this week?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Ciaté - Mini Mani Month

I had seen so many beauty advent calenders during December that I became a little bit sulky as I really, really wanted one. I had been trying not to buy anything new knowing that I would be getting lots of goodies for Christmas so resisted buying a calender for myself. 
Well... that was until the Boxing Day sales started and I spotted the Ciaté Mini Mani Month Advent Calender on the John Lewis website for £21 rather than the £42 RRP. It took me all of three seconds to add it to my basket and checkout.

I love the Christmas Jumper style packaging! Behind each door was a mini Ciaté nail polish that included a base coat, top coat, caviar pearls, glitter, sequins and a lovely range of coloured polishes.

I'm so glad I managed to get this in the sale. I'll get so much use out of the colours, the only thing I wish there were more of were darker blues and purples.
 I think they are still available so click here to go through to have a look.

Monday, 6 January 2014

December Empties

I want to say that I haven't used that much this month but actually it is only just "not much" compared to what I might usually go through!

Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Shampoo & Conditioner - Loved the scent of this but click here for my full review

REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash - I really liked using this shower gel, it has such a delicate rose scent which made it a pleasure to use. I have so many shower gels backed up so I probably won't buy this one again for some time

NYR Ginger & Vanilla Body Lotion - This sweet, spicy lotion was perfect for Christmas. Full review here

NYR Palmarosa Facial Wash - This 100ml bottle must have lasted me 6 months. Just one tiny pump was enough to wash my face and leave it feeling clean. Again, I have so many face washes stashed that I won't need to buy again for a long while

bodhi Neroli Lucé Face Oil - A stand out product for me this past year. This small bottle made a huge improvement to my skin. Review here

Herbfarmacy Lip Conditioner - I have loved using this lip balm, it feels good and it smells good. Will buy again

VMV Hypoallergenics Know-It-Oil 100% Organic Virgin Coconut Oil - I have used the super oil for everything and althought I have used coconut oil before, I have never had the same results (not even close) than I have with this brand

Indie Lee 100% Squaline Oil - A small sample but one that lasted ages as I needed such a small amount. Easily absorbed and great at reducing wrinkles. Will buy again but not just yet

Caudalie Divine Oil - Boy oh boy, this body oil was just as described - divine! A beautiful scent and so easily absorbed. I want to use it again already

Gwdihw Nail Wizard - Perfect size pot to keep by the bed and give my nails a bed time treat. Really liked this product but wont buy again at the moment as I have loads of hand balms to use up

S.W. Basics Shea Butter Cream - Super rich cream that was actually too much for my skin. I used it at night on my legs but won't be buying again

Peppy Galore Diva Face Moisturiser - a light an airy moisturiser that seemed to last for weeks! I would buy this again

Freyaluna Shine Control and Soothe the Sensitive Facial Tonics - These are perfect travel sized toners and both of them worked well

Freyaluna Soothe the Senitive and Regain Your Balance Facial Moisturisers - These were both a bit too heavy for my skin, even with it being Winter so I don't think I will use them again

Celtic Herbal Company Soap sample - a lovely little soap that lathered well and left my hands feeling clean but without drying them out

 During this month I am taking part in #NoBuyJanuary so I imagine that my empties post for January will be full of sample sized products!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Exposing my Stash for #NoBuyJanuary

For my first post for #NoBuyJanuary I am going to expose my collection of built up face and skin products.
It probably doesn't look like much to some of the more experience bloggers but it is enough to have me worried about things going out of date before I use them up!

Without further ado - my stash...

I'm going to hit the sachets, samples and trail sized products first and then work through things in order of how long I have had them for.

Well that's it- I'm looking forward to seeing what you have built up stocks of!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Salcura - Bath Oil, Body Hydrator, Hand Hydrator

Salcura was launched just over a decade ago with a range of products for those wanting an effective, natural alternative to chemical based products. Salcura offer ranges for specific areas of problem skin - including Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis and Dermatitis. In their statement regarding ingredients, Salcura use no artificial chemicals, cortisones, peroxides, parabens or paraffins. They choose their ingredients based on their scientifically proven ability to deal with infection, inflammation and tissue damage. 

They state that:
They never test on animals
Go Organic where they can
All products are suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans
They only use naturally sourced preservatives
None of the ingredients are genetically modified or engineered

I was contacted at the end of November by Salcura to see if I would be interested in trying out some of their range. I hadn't hear of the brand before this so I went and had a look at their website. After seeing that their ranges were primarily aimed at people with skin conditions, I responded and said that I didn't actually suffer with any skin complaints but that my husband did and would they be interested in sending something through for him to review on my behalf. 

The company actually sent me through 5 full sized products - two specifically for my husband to review (post will be up in about a week) and three for me. These included a Bath Oil*, Body Hydrator* and Hand Hydrator*.

Bath Oil* 225ml for £12.99 - Rich in Omega 3,6, 7 & 9 with Safflower, Olive, Borage, Wheatgerm, Flax Seed, Cumin Seed and Sea Buckthorn Oils. This oil works perfectly well as both a treat for a moisturising bath or applied directly to the skin. I found it to be light and easily absorbed into the skin with a very faint earthy scent.
My skin was left feeling rehydrated and my dry elbows feel less like sandpaper now!

Body Hydrator* 200ml for £12.99 - Another Omega rich formula that is quickly absorbed, non greasy and deeply moisturising. Ingredients include Sea Buckthorn, Avocado, Safflower, Lavender, Wheatgerm and fractionated Coconut Oil. This has become my daily moisturiser of choice after my morning shower as it is so nourishing without feeling heavy and I can get dressed straight away without having to wait for it to be absorbed. I have been trying to figure out what this smells like and the best I can describe it as a spicy coconut! 

Hand Hydrator* 75ml for £10.99 - This has a very slightly different formula to the Body Hydrator, with more focus on Wheatgerm, Sunflower, Marigold and Jojoba Oils. The Hand Hydrator soothes and restores sensitive and dry skin. I've kept this in my bathroom so I can apply after washing by hands. It does a lovely job of moisturising my hands and again, is really quickly absorbed.

I must add that I am a frequent visitor to Sarah from Sugarpuffish "Ingredients to Avoid" page as I feel this is a brilliant resource for those pesky chemicals. I checked each of the products I have sampled above against this list was happy to find that none of them were on it.

You can find the Bath Oil, Body Hydrator and Hand Hydrator on the Salcura website here.

*PR Samples

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