27 February 2014

Hand Cream Amnesty with Crabtree and Evelyn

This is just  a quick post to let you know about a sneaky way to get your hands on one of the fabulous Hand Therapy creams from Crabtree and Evelyn

At the minute and up until the 12th March (stock dependent), you can get yourself a new 25g tube (worth £5!) of cream by taking in another brands hand cream to swap for! It doesn't have to be a full one either... any scrappy half-done tube you have lying around will do nicely!

hand cream swap

I can only imagine the reason that Crabtree and Evelyn are being so generous is that they are very confident that any comparison between their hand cream and another brand will lead to theirs coming out on top. A bold assumption, but not entirely an unfounded one - the Crabtree and Evelyn hand creams are definitely among my favourites! 

So when I heard about this offer I obviously made sure I headed to store to take advantage of it! 

best hand creams

It was hard to narrow down my choice from the ones on offer, but I've tried and loved other products in the Tarocco Orange range so thought it would be a good time to add the hand therapy to my collection. 

Once again, I wasn't disapppointed: As well as being really moisturising and leaving my hands totally soft and lovely feeling, it smells incredible... a very welcome addition! 

I recommend you run run run to your nearest Crabtree and Evelyn Store and get your hands on one (and then get it on your hands, oh ha ha!).... Which one would you go for? 

26 February 2014

Accessorize - Bags of Style

It appears Accessorize are celebrating their 30th Birthday the way most of us would like to - with a carful of bags! Yup, their latest video shows off a huge selection of their newest bag releases (as well as some of their other lovely accessories and jewellery) - a little something  for every one and every occasion. You can have a little sneak peek at some of their latest offerings here:

How jealous am I of all that lot? Unfortunately I think the other half would be less than impressed if I turned up with that many new bags, but maybe I could sneak one or two in past him? It is nearly a new season after all...... and here's a few I have my eye one!
cute novelty bags!

Since a camera is a must-have tool of bloggers and holiday makers alike, this Cara Camera Bag (£25) stylishly celebrating our favourite bit of kit, definitely had to make it onto the list! I've always been partial to a bit of tweed and so the Tweed Charm Saddle Bag (£25) was another natural addition, as I'm sure this would make a pretty addition to many a springtime outfit. But if there is one thing the above video says to me, it's 'trips to London!', and the London Sights Weekender Bag (£36) is perfect for that!

Did you spot anything in the video you wouldn't mind adding to your collection?

*Sponsored Post

25 February 2014

Nail Art Weekly Project - Glitz and Glam

This is the last week of Danni's Nail Art Weekly Project, with a project title of 'Glitz and Glam' - and a suggestion to 'go wild with glitter'. I'm a glitter lover and have a whole bunch of sparkly polishes to my name. I was tempted to just pull them all out and go a bit crazy but there's a fine line between 'glam' and 'disco ball disaster' and I managed to reign myself in a little! 

really glittery nail polish

Yup, I managed to limit myself to a single polish (raising the question for the third week in a row of whether this actually constitutes nail 'art' but Shhhhh!) - Ciate's the Hamptons. My reasons for choosing this one were nothing more complex than it's very glittery and I've not worn it yet, but it really is a lovely thing! 

ciate hamptons swatch

It did admittedly take four coats to get such a thick covering, though would look grand with less as sparkly addition over another colour. I love it on its own though, the fat silver pieces really standing out on a blue-green bed of finer glitter for a really luxurious look.

And that I believe is it for the Nail Art Weekly Project, so big thanks to Danni for organising and all the other girls for taking part! 

I'm ruminating on a little nail based project of my own in the near future, so if you've finished with this one and think you'll be at a loose end otherwise, or just  fancy joining in and being nail buddies let me know below with an email address and I'll get some details sent out! 

23 February 2014

Lola's Apothecary Bath Oil - Eucalyptus and Mint

I seem to have come under attack from a rubbish cold this weekend, which is never fun. But I'm a silver-linings kinda girl and while ruminating on my bath time treat I remembered a little something I had stashed away for just such an occasion! 

The Lola's Apothecary Eucalyptus and Mint bath oil smelt like just the thing to clear and freshen a fuzzy head.

eucalyptus and mint bath

The little bottle - a decent baths worth - is adorable, such a pretty little thing and hopefully when my brain is working a little better I'll be able to think of something fun to do with it now its empty. 

The bath oil contains eucalyptus, rosemary, marjoram and mint, and it smells absolutely wonderful. I wouldn't say that it did make a massive difference to my general stuffiness long term, but the fact that I could smell it while sat in there is quite an achievement in itself. 

luxurious bath that makes you feel better

One of my favourite things about bath oils, especially when you are feeling a bit wiped out anyway, is they negate the need for additional moisturising - a step I definitely couldn't have mustered the energy for today! 

Overall, it's not a miracle worker health wise, but certainly made for a gorgeous bath! A gorgeous big bottle of this is £18 here and you can fine Lola's Apothecary on twitter too! 

22 February 2014

Memebox 5 - Korean Beauty Box

I got another jolly delivery of beauty treats this week, the fifth memebox - a beauty box featuring a host of skincare and beauty items all the way from Korea. After getting the third box, I missed out on the forth that sold out in the blink of an eye so I was very happy to get my mitts on this one! And here's what I got in it:

Korean Beauty Box

A couple of face friendly bits - a Nuganic Customize Pore Control Essence - a lightweight gel that apparently reduces the appearance of pores, I'd love for this to actually work! And a CNP Laboratory Cleansing Perfecta, a cleansing gel for removing stubborn waterproof makeup and sunblock.  

korean pore control essence

I also got some of these Lipozone Body Ampoules, that increase skin firmness, reducing cellulite and fat cells. Like the 'pore refiner' above, this is something I have doubts about the likelihood of it performing as promised, but that's just cynical old me. Would be nice if it did anyway! There's also a DermaB Body Lotion.

koren bikini ampoules

The Espoir Lip Gloss is the only make up product in this box which is a shame as the Korean buts are usually quite fun to play with, but this is quite a pretty lip gloss. 

I've been using a lot of soap recently but I still think it'll be weird using it on my face, as I've been limiting it to hands and body so far, bit I am intrigued by this Sella Soap which is apparently great for anti-aging and pore-minimising. 

espoir lip gloss

The final full sized product in the box is an Aromatica Tasteless Aromatherapy Roll On, for applying to temples and pulse points. This says it 'enhances yoga techniques', so maybe I should get some yoga done! 

Along with all these came a bunch of little samples, cleansers, cc creams, and other bits and pieces! 

Despite coming from Korea, the meme boxes are available all over the place and this one took less than a week to get to me from shipping - I've had things take longer from within the UK! The one currently on sale here is box 9, which is on sale for $23 dollars plus shipping but its worth keeping an eye on the site as they sometimes do deals on multiple buys etc! I got a bit carried away on one of these deals and pre-ordered a whole bunch of these so have a few more coming - can't wait to see what comes in them! 

Let me know if you want to peek inside the rest of my boxes! 

21 February 2014

A Shoe Wishlist

Since I'm still having camera trouble it's making blog posts a little tricky, and as I'm coming to the end of a backlog of photos I have I figured it wouldn't hurt to utilise some of those already existing on the internet in the form of a little ole shoe wishlist.

I've always loved pretty shoes, the difference is now I actually wear them on occasion rather than collect them like a creepy miser while wearing my battered old Etnies everywhere - and I think that kind of development should be rewarded - with new shoes!

It wasn't 'til I got all the pictures of my desired footwear together that there were a couple of kitty based shoes - but then who doesn't love kitties?! The Tuk ones, available from Debenhams (£49.95), are just adorable and the black white and red colour scheme is always a winner, and the Irregular Choice pair, a Schuh exclusive (£69.00), are about as sophisticated as shoes with cats on are ever likely to get.

Rounding out my top three are these sweet Babycham anchor-printed beauties. I'm usually a big fan of Babycham's skyscraper-esque Fern shoes but I can pretty much only wear those while sitting down - the Kimberly Anchors (£60) are just as pretty but a lot more foot-friendly!

The black and blue brogues I'll confess are mens shoes... I was having a quick peek through the Ted Baker SS14 Lookbook and though there are some gorgeous womens shoes included there, it was these that really caught me eye. I thin it's that lovely blue - gorgeous! I know they weren't designed with me in mind but I'mm pretty sure I could rock the heck out of them! 

If there's any doubt about that though, the Gabor Cher lace ups £(61.99)from Mozimo make for a pretty decent more feminine alternative. They're described as trouser shoes, though trousers would be the last things I'd wear with them, further concreting any existing notions about me not having the first clue about fashion. Ah well! 

Then, at the bottom of my pile for interest levels, comes the trainers. My brother, who I love and admire for his honesty if not his tact, has informed me this week I really need to start going to the gym (though to be fair his reasons are based on finances rather than meanness). This means I need some new trainers and it's so hard to find a pair that aren't just ugly! The Puma Classics (£55) are one of the least offensive-to-the-eyes pair I've spotted on my little look around before I got distracted by pretty shoes with cats on them. Sadly, it looks like that if I were to treat myself to one of the above pairs, these would be the most necessary!

Anything you've got your eye on, shoe wise? Which would you get if you were me? 

19 February 2014

Bluebird Teas - Mowgli's Spice Chai & Monkey Chops

From first reading about the Bluebird Tea Co an age ago on Steph's blog, I knew it was only a matter of time before I placed an order. That time finally came, and faced with too much choice I panicked and bought everything.

Ok so I didn't actually buy everything, but I did get a very healthy selection of teas to be working through. I saw on the site they do various 'experience packs', containing smaller 'try me' pouches of different teas - available in pre-selected themed collection (so five green teas, or chai teas for instance) or as a 'pick n mix' pack. My difficulty in narrowing down the long and exciting list led me to ordering two of these taster packs - making choices based on the product description or the ones I liked the names of!

Don't worry I'm not gonna try to write about all ten teas in one go - I know I waffle too much anyway so it'd be neverending! But I luckily seem to have acquired teas that fit into natural pairings, and so here's my first - jungle-themed - pairing!

Mowgli's Fire Chai

Really hot spicy tea

I had these delivered to work where I occasionally share an office with my tea-loving brother. On pondering where to start he asked 'got anything spicy?'. Based on the name alone I figured Mowgli's Fire Chai would fit the bill nicely. I opened the packed expecting that lovely chai aroma, but this.. this was so much more!

Pineapple and coconut, amongst other juicy ingredients, have been added to the tea mix for an extra tropical punch and this smells incredible from opening the packet.

Chai from Bluebird Tea Co

The magic really though is in the finished brew. A lovely fiery red colour to match the heat of the taste, this really does have a kick to it. Not in an unpleasant, burn your mouth out kind of way, but a warmth you can feel in the back of your throat from the first sip. Little brother got a bit obsessed with this tea and unfortunately it's all gone now - this is truly marvellous and is definitely on the repurchase list!

Monkey Chops

Banana flavoured Tea

Monkey Chops definitely had an intriguing name, which should give a big clue as the the unusual addition in this tea - banana! This is a flavour combination that had just never occurred to me, but it really wonderful! 

As well as dried banana chunks this black tea also packs a hefty vanilla flavour, leading to a very smooth and creamy brew - even more so if you add milk! 

unusual tea flavours

I didn't love this as much as Mowgli's Fire Chai, but it was still very lovely - like a warm banana milkshake (but much nicer than that actually sounds!) and I'd certainly consider it again in the future! 

A 50g pouch (which will do about 35 cups) of the Fire Chai is £5.25, and the same sized pouch of Monkey Chops is £4.95, both available from Bluebird Tea Co. The chaps down at Bluebird are also dead friendly on twitter, so do go say hello! 

I'll be back soon with my cakey pair! What's the most interesting tea you've ever tried? 

18 February 2014

Nail Art Weekly Project #4 - Month of Birth

This weeks challenge in Danni's Nail Art Weekly Project was to create a nail look inspired by the month you were born in. My birthday is in December but despite all the more obvious associatons, I just couldn't bring myself to do anything Christmassy. It's too soon, I've only just finished taking down the decorations (literally, I found one hiding on Sunday that I'd somehow missed when the rest of them went away!)

So for that reason, its another pretty simple one from me this week I'm afraid. I started off by coating my nails with Diva into the Pool from OPI's Nicole range, a pretty turquoise shade that corresponds with Decembers birthstone.

turquoise nail polish

And then I made it snow on them.

models own effect topcoat

This is Models Own Snow Flakes over the top (which I have as one half of one of their Artstix), which I do think gives a very pretty blizzardy finish. The pictures haven't quite caught the glitter coating at its best, as the silvery flakes are really quite striking if you get them in the right light (though the polish its a bit gloopy and not the easiest to apply well!). The colour and the snowy effect remind me of Elsa's dress in Disney's Frozen! 

Nicole OPI

I suppose really its a bit of a nail art cheat, but I like it! Will try to do something a bit more artistic next week! 

17 February 2014

An Outfit for a Tea Date

Since the last time I attempted an outfit post amid much discussion of the difficulties of taking such photos without a fancy equipment/a competent adult camera operator, I had a most unfortunate setback in which my precious little camera has... well lets just say its fallen out with me a bit. Hopefully its only a temporary issue but was one more setback on the route to getting these outfit photos taken (other setbacks include, but are not limited to, car accidents, dropped lollipops and the dark) that it feels like a real achievement to finally be able to present them! 

This outfit is the one most recently worn for a lovely little tea and cake date with blogging buddies Hayley and Faith at the weekend. We visited the wonderful Jeanettes Cakery in Saltaire. Unfortunately I didn't get nearly enough pictures to eke out a whole post on my visit (though you can read about it in Hayley's post here) - which just means I have to go back again soon! 

Anyway, the outfit: The dress is Yumi Direct; it's no big surprise, a lot of my dresses are - they have so many pretty things! This one, the Check and Rose Print Dress, was a birthday present from my dad - didn't he do well?! 

In fact, thinking about it - the cardigan was also a Birthday preset, this time from my Grandad - the men in my family really stepped up this year! It's a New Look one and is so snuggly I've practically lived in it since I got it! 

But really the best bit about this outfit, the reason I wanted to chuck it all on and get it snapped, my favourite shoes! 

I snapped these up for the bargain price of £25 in TK Maxx last year but have only just started wearing them as they got a bit 'tidied away' when getting ready for Christmas! They were described by one of the lovely ladies at the weekend as 'Vivienne Westwood meets Alice in Wonderland' and I love that idea! They're remarkably comfortable for something so ridiculous looking and I can even walk in them without wobbling all over the place! 

Am I crazy or are these brilliant? 

16 February 2014

Sunday Soak - Lush Star Light, Star Bright Bath Melt

During a conversation yesterday with Hayley about bath products, it came up that we both have some of the Lush Christmas things lying around. When I realised this morning that the bath stuff I had brought home on Friday for use over the weekend was still in the car (which meant I had to go into the cold outside world to get) I remembered our conversation and figured that a much more handily placed Lush thing would do in its place for now! 

Christmas products lush

The first one I came across (and nearly the last of my Lush Christmas stash - gulp!) was this pretty little thing - the Star Light, Star Bright Bath Melt. I've never used one of the bath melts before from Lush, as I usually can't resist the big showy bath bombs but I'm always a fan of anything that promises luxury bathing and moisture boosting in one.

silver bath bomb

The shiny silver coating came off on my fingers with the slightest touch leading me to be a tad wary of the potential glitterball-esque after effects the bath, but I don't appear to have come out of it looking too shimmery! (There is a hint of left over glitter though so maybe not one for everyone?) The silver dispersed pretty quickly on hitting the water leaving a creamy looking star with a bright blue blobby bit in the middle. 

Lush bath melts christmas

As this all melted away I was left with the most beautiful milky blue water, with just a touch of sparkle. Best of all though was the scent! I often find that while Lush products smell really strong in their complete solid form, that this often disappears quite quickly. Star Light, Star Bright on the other hand was one of the strongest and long-lasting scents I've come across from the brand, and one of the nicest! Zesty lime with a hint of warming ginger, a real mood lifter!

what lush products make my bath blue?

This all led to one of those baths I just didn't want to get out of, I loved it and its just a real shame that this was only a limited edition product - fingers crossed it'll be back next year! 

(I'm not entirely sure how much this cost on its own as it's showing an 'unavailable' on the website and I got it as part of a gift set in the sales rather than buying it on its own!) 

14 February 2014

Lots Of Love Always - Keep Calm Soap

Before about a year ago I never really used proper bar soap. Too many associations with the old white perfumey blocks that dried my skin right out and looked so cracked and uninviting after the first use. It took me a long time to shake off those negative connotations and embrace the beauty and wonder of good soap.

Lots of Love Always Soap Company

I was recently send this gorgeous slice of Keep Calm soap from Lots of Love Always, a company who really do understand the value of presentation - their products are absolutely gorgeous!

Everything made by Lots of Love Always is hand crafted (in small batches for freshness!) and designed for ultimate aesthetic appeal - from the cupcake soaps to the bath souffl├ęs, everything not only looks good enough to eat, but like you should be eating at an elaborate tea party at a fairy tale castle!

hand made soap gifts

The soap bar I received was beautifully presented in a little cardboard box wrapped up in a pretty and patriotic ribbon in to match the red, white and blue colour scheme of the soap bar itself. Also included was a very prettily folded note explaining how best to store and use the soap to get the most out of it.

Keep calm soap

The actual soap - The Keep Calm Soap Bar - avoids those 'skin drying' problems buy including nourishing Shea Butter as one of its main ingredients. I washed my hands with this about 15 minutes ago and haven't gone running for the hand cream yet which for me is pretty impressive as it's usually the natural next step! It has a lovely fragrance designed to help you 'keep calm' - sandalwood, jasmine and lily of the valley to 'seduce the senses' and the scent lingers around a while after being used too which is nice!
I definitely want to try out some of their bath products next! You can find Lots of Love Always on twitter and on facebook for updates of exciting new products!

13 February 2014

Tea at Bettys, Ilkley

The Ilkley branch of Bettys Cafe was my latest stop-off on my Yorkshire Tea Trail Project and one that I've been looking forward to! 

best tea shops in yorkshire

As I imagine is common at Bettys, we had a bit of a wait to be seated, but here we were waiting inside in a weather proof corridor leading from the lovely little shop to the cafe (I've seen them queuing in all weather outside the York branch!), and we only had to wait about ten minutes to be shown to our seats.

Bettys wall decorations

As there are six Bettys locations on the list, I made the executive decision that the full afternoon tea at each would not be necessary (as it would financially cripple me, as well as possibly giving me diabetes). A nice pot of tea and a tasty treat at each should do nicely!

I did spy the cake trolley on my way in which had some of the most perfect too-pretty-to-eat cakes on it, but as I'd not eaten much by this point I thought I'd lean towards something a little heavier, that perfect balance between savoury and sweet - the Fat Rascal.

Best scones ever

For those not familiar with this very Yorkshire baked delight, a Fat Rascal is like scone on steroids. It's huge and juicy and fruity and delicious, and this was served warm with butter that just melted right into it so the whole lot just tasted like heaven. There's a good reason this is a Bettys bestseller (even inspiring its own range of Fat Rascal merchandise!), and it speaks volumes that I didn't take a second look at the dainty tarts on display after eating this!

smiley scone

The tea was also a delight, with Bettys having by far the most extensive tea list of any of the places I have visited so far on my tea travels! I opted for the China Rose Tea, which was really lovely - a great rose flavour without being 'flowery' - but there were plenty to choose from and I will do my best to try one of the other varieties at my next Bettys though this will be hard to resist! It was all of course beautifully served - oh, which reminds me to mention the authentically vintage adorableness of our lovely waitress! The uniform I imagine is mandatory but the extra touches of the old fashioned hair and make up really added to the nostalgic atmosphere.
With it being a surpisingly sunny day, we also tried out the Orange Juice which was out-of-this-world good!

afternoon tea in ilkley

I did notice that when it came time to pay the card machine was automatically handed to my male companion though I was paying, but you can't expect such old-fashioned charm without at least a touch of casual sexism! Not a big deal obviously but just something we both noticed.
The place was an absolute delight and I can't wait to get to the next Bettys venue on my list! Does anyone have any particular recommendations from their cake trolley for my next visit?

12 February 2014

Nail Art Weekly Project #3 - Valentines Nails

I'll admit (though I don't need to as I'm sure it's obvious) that I didn't put as much time and effort into this weeks #nailartweeklyproject challenge as in the previous couple of weeks. I was going to use for my excuse that the topic for this week, Valentines Day, doesn't greatly inspire me as I'm generally apathetic to it, but mainly I just really wanted to try out a couple of polishes I've got recently and not had chance to use yet!

sweet valentines nails

I don't really do a lot of pink nails, but I did get the Strawberry Tart Fruit Pastel polish in the Models Own half price sale recently - I think I've had strawberry milkshake on the brain a lot so I couldn't not get this! It's a bit weird though - I don't know if its just me but it seems to be mega-streaky so that by the time I get it all evened out a good three coats in it's so thick and soft that it seems easy to just knock chunks out of it even when its dry? It is pretty though. It does smell like strawberries when its dry on your nails (the wet polish in the bottle just smells like nail polish to don't sniff too hard!), which is lovely most of the time but a bit weird when eating anything other than strawberries!

models own strawberry milkshake polish

The plan was to then top it off with a good coating of OPI's Nothin' Mousie 'Bout It, figuring it would be easier than painting my own little hearts on. And it would have been if it wasn't virtually impossible to get those blumming hearts out of the bottle!
The bottle looks full of them but it took a great deal of shaking and coaxing to get them out of the bottle and onto my nails and I dare to say that if I'd just painted them straight up with the topcoat I wouldn't have got more than one heart at best 'by accident'. Still, we got there eventually and I ended up with the most sickeningly girly pink nails ever.

pink glitter hearts

Not very original I know, but then neither is a lot about Valentines Day!

Whatd'ya think? A bit too pink?

11 February 2014

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

I know that 'how to do blogging' posts are highly contentious at the best of times, even when the blogger in question has been round for years and has actual helpful knowledge and experience to share. And I also know that I am far from being in this position. I won't tell you what you should and shouldn't write about, what your pictures should look like, I can't offer any SEO advice or tips on how to get followers. Instead this is just a polite urging for people to be nice. (Apologies in advance, it's probably a bit all over the place!)
Dealing with PR
This is nothing to do with whether or not you should accept PR products, whether you should contact companies or wait to be contacted or anything like that. It's just a reminder that when you are dealing with a PR person you are dealing with A PERSON, and you should be polite. Thankfully I've never worked in PR/blogger relationships/whatever you want to call it but I know people who have and I've heard some right horror stories! Obviously each interaction/relationship is different but I think a couple of basic rules that should be followed goes something like this:
Do not demand free things.
If you are offered a free thing, do not ask for two free things instead.
If you request a free thing that is showing on a website as 'out of stock', do not expect that your importance as a blogger can magic one up out of nowhere.
If your free thing does not come as fast as you like do not complain loudly and publicly that you are 'losing your patience' with the brand.
These are not steps on the path to more free things.
Also, I find that things like 'please' and 'thank you' go a long way.
* I am using 'free things' for lack of a more accurate/diplomatic phrase, but you all know what I mean.
(This doesn't mean that you should let companies exploit, dictate or be rude to you either. Everyone should be polite.)
What kind of blogger am I?
I never really noticed 'til the weekends chat that some folk have very strong ideas about what subjects different kinds of bloggers should post/chat about. I'm referring specifically to the #lbloggers chat that was supposed to be on 'blogger influence'. I didn't read everything in the chat - those things go way to fast for me - but I got the impression there was some #lblogger dissatisfaction with the chat being about 'pr and how to get free products'. This wasn't really the set topic but these things are organic and you never really know where the conversation is going to go and that's relatively unavoidable (unless, y'know, people stopped bringing up the things they don't want to talk about?), but I was a bit confused by the insistence by some that lifestyle bloggers shouldn't talk about products, that kind of thing was just for beauty bloggers.
I write about products and do product reviews - so I'm not a lifestyle blogger (by the definition of some?), but I write about cake, so I guess I can't be a beauty blogger either? It just all seems a bit 'you can't be in our gang', and I don't really see the need for it. I'm going to set myself up as a #wifblogger, so I can write about What I Fancy with no one telling me I'm wrong to do so!
If everyone is happy with the content they write for their own blogs, then fantastic. If you don't like things other people write about, don't read it. If you don't want to join in a chat because you don't like the subject, then don't whine and complain about it and don't take it out on the chat organisers - you can join in and make the best of it, quietly wait 'til a another week when a topic you are more interested in comes up, or host your own. Unconstructive criticism doesn't help anyone.
(Just a couple of quick related points - liking make up doesn't necessarily make you shallow, accepting pr products doesn't necessarily make you greedy, writing sponsored posts doesn't necessarily make you a sell-out, deciding you aren't interested in any of these things doesn't necessarily make you ... whatever the perceived implication of that decision is. We all decide for ourselves what works for us on our blogs).
Giveaways, Compers and the ASA
This I suppose is a bit different, and I considered putting it in a separate post but I don't rant often and figured I might as well get it all out of my system in one go so I can get back to writing about tea and bath bombs and other cheerful things.
 A blogger I know and admire has come under a lot of fire for declaring that entries to her giveaway from 'comper' accounts would be disqualified. This has upset a lot of people, and a lot of those upset people have been very vocal about it.
Now, I'm not at expert on the ASA guidelines, I don't have a clue about how these things have to 'officially' work. But even if you think you have been severely wronged by being denied an opportunity to win a free lipstick - insulting and threatening someone about it just isn't cool.
My nephew had a birthday party last month. The kids played pass the parcel, and the main prize was a book and some colouring pencils, with sweets under each layer of paper. The only people allowed to win this prize were the small handful of children in attendance that afternoon. I'm sure most people wouldn't consider it appropriate to knock on my nephews door and demand to be allowed to play, or call him names because they weren't invited.
This wasn't a big company sponsoring a giveaway to gain loads of exposure, it was a girl (woman, sorry) using her own hard earned cash to buy a present for one of her readers as a thank you. There's no need for a lynch mob, it's not a huge injustice... let's all just get on with our lives!
Anyhows, I've written a whole lot there and should probably finish up soon. For anyone that's just skipped to the end, I basically used a lot of words to say 'people on the internet are still people and it'd wouldn't kill to be nice'. Would love to hear your thought on anything I've rambled about!  

9 February 2014

Sunday Soak - Ruby Red Lavender Bath Soak

I like baths, some of you who have known me a while may be aware of this. And this means that I tend to buy a lot of bath products - whenever I hear about a new brand or stumble into a previously undiscovered shop, it's always the bath stuff I head to. 

Unfortunately though this does occasionally lead to one or two of them going astray. I have a place for all my bath bombs, oils, etc but if a product for some reason hasn't made it to this place then it's likely to be overlooked in the selection process an be sadly ignored. 

Yesterday I discovered one of these lost gems and decided it was time to put it to the test. I've explained this because unfortunately it appears I've had this kicking around so long that it actually doesn't seem to be available anymore - oops! 

help sleeping

Anyway, the product in question is the Ruby Red Lavender and Palmarosa Organic Bath Soak. Because of the delay in getting this product out, and my awareness of the fact it was a nice fresh natural product and wouldn't last forever, I figured there was no time to waste and ended up pouring in a lot more of the soak than the recommended teaspoon. 

This is made with Shea Butter as well as French Lavender and Palmarosa organic essential oils for a bath that is really moisturising as well as completely relaxing. I haven't been sleeping brilliantly this week and the fabulous lavender in here just knocked me right out, I slept like a baby last night! My skin feels great too. 

bath powder for relaxing

I honestly can't remember how much I paid for this, but the little tub should be enough for around 7-10 baths apparently ... or would be if you can find it anywhere. It does however look like Ruby Red have rebranded and you can buy their products (but not including this one at the minute) here

I'd love to try some of their other stuff but I think this has taught me to sort through the stuff I already have and get the older ones used up before I do any more bath shopping! (Lets see how long that lasts!) 

What do you hoard? Or am I the only one who forget to actually use up the products I buy?

7 February 2014

Korres Wild Rose Valentines Set

Firstly, I'm going to admit to completely cheating today - this is a old posted that went up elsewhere last year. But I've just heard that the same set is available again this year (with a new funky makeover) so thought it might be worth re-sharing. This is the gift set that made me fall in love with this brand and if no one is likely to buy you it for Valentines Day you should just get yourself one! And now I shall commence with my recycled ramblings:
As we've just hit February, it might be time for some of us to start thinking about Valentines day.

My parents have never celebrated Valentines day. I was brought up to believe, as they do, that it's essentially nonsense. I've always agreed that couples should not need to be told when, or how, to show their affection, and that a spontaneous romantic gesture means so much more than a prompted one.

That being said, I am getting softer. Though I'm still not a Valentines fan as such, it no longer inspires in me the disdain it once did. Maybe I'm getting more romantic, maybe I'm just getting lazier. Maybe I'm just shallow and like the excuse to buy and receive nice presents?

 And as far as Valentines gifts go, I don't think you could go too far wrong with this beautiful Korres Special Edition Gift Set.
Valentines Roses gifts

The Korres Valentines Gift, comprising of a shower gel, body milk and lip butter, is a great alternative way of giving Roses, and last longer than the more traditional dozen stems too!

For a start, the gift set looks beautiful. The lovely deep reds are perfect for Valentines and the labels signify the quality of the products, while still being fun. I love how clearly the ingredients are listed in a way that is easy to understand.

The Japanese Rose Shower Gel is gorgeous - thick and creamy, it foams up a treat and smells delightful, capturing the 'velvet, sweet essence of rose buds'. Rose scented or based products are one of my current obsessions anyway so this is right up my street. It also contains some fabulous ingredients, so the results of washing with this go further than just being clean: Active Aloe - which has plenty of vitamins C and E, Zinc and antioxidant enzymes - great not only for the skins immune system but also helps minimise and signs of aging!

 Great shower gel though it is, one of my great loves in life is a good bath, and this doubles up wonderfully as a bubble bath.
Shower gel ingredients korres

If I had one point slight complaint here, I do with that lovely smell would linger slightly more on my post-showered skin, but this aroma can be re-captured by coating myself in the matching Body Milk.

This stuff is incredible. I'm a big fan of body butters usually, quite a strong scent and very moisturising, but you can tell when you've applied it - more often that not you can feel the product on your skin, often with an accompanying dampness or stickiness. I've never used a product that soaks in like this. Your skin doesn't feel like anything is on it, but is left soft and smooth, and I find the scent of this does last a few hours. I'm a bit in love, and thought that this would definitely be my favourite of the three products, but that was until I tried the Lip Butter in Wild Rose.

Rose scented body cream

This was probably the product of the three I was most excited to try, having heard so many wonderful things about them from some of my favourite bloggers. Opening it up I was a little nervous about the colour as it looked very dark, but this leaves the most beautiful colour on my lips. It feels wonderful too. The Lip Butter contains Shea Butter and Rice Wax which are both great for the condition of you lips, which is perfect as mine are definitely feeling the effects of the cold weather/central heating double hitter they've been going recently. I can completely see why these are as well-loved as they are, and I'm definitely planning on building up my collection.
Lip care in a pot

tinted lip care

I would be one happy lady if I received this set for Valentines day (or any other equally romantic but not-quite-so-commercialised day). Though of course that's no excuse for not providing chocolate as well!

There's two weeks left to start dropping hints, and Korres products are available from a number of online retailers such as ASOS. The RRP of this set is £20, which is great value considering the individual prices of the full size products included.

6 February 2014

Betrousse Absolutely Fabulous Beauty Kit

Its always exciting when Betrousse release another one of their fabulous beauty kits, I've loved the previous boxes and was thrilled to receive their latest offering, the Absolutely Fabulous Beauty Kit

French beauty box

For those not already familiar with Betrousse, they are a French company who periodically release these 'beauty kits', boxes full of fabulous and full sized beauty products at a heavily discounted rate. No mystery monthly subscription or tiny samples here! 

This current box, for example, is on sale for £19 (+ postage) but has a whopping £119 value. Here's how they came to that amount: 
Organic Surge Face WAsh

Duck Island Sensuous Shampoo (£14.98) - This paraben and mineral-oil free shampoo has the most wonderfully invigorating Mandarin and Bergamot scent. I love the cute packaging and the pump dispenser! 
Organic Surge Pure and Clean Face Wash (£5.49) - Often in these boxes the brands (usually French) are unknown to me, but I'm already familiar with Organic Surge and have used their shower gels and bath foams for a while now. The face wash smells great, is suitable for sensitive skin and doesn't include any nasty chemicals. 

helenere hedelweiss

The Helenere Hedelweiss 24 Hour Cream (£30) and Intensive Serum (£32) are where a lot of the boxes value lies, so I'm hoping that the quality shows itself on my face! These use a 'pure and exclusive complex of extract of Edelweiss' to moisturise and protect the skin.
The Leor Facial Exfoliate Creme (£11) is, as you'd imagine, a facial exfoliator. I know a lot of people aren't sold on the scent of lavender but I love it, which is a good job as this is very strongly scented! It does feel very luxurious though, and the exfoliation is very gentle. 
cream to make you thinner
Finally is the Spa Find Inchwrap Firming Gel (£25.30) - this is supposed to tone and firm wobbly skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite, and contains caffeine, dead sea minerals and hyaluronic acid amongst other ingredients to help achieve this. I haven't used this enough yet to comment on any long term effects, but it certainly does make your skin feel tighter immediately after use as the gel dries. 
So that's it for another Betrousse Box, I can't wait to try everything out a bit more thoroughly! I think these kits are fantastic bargains and this one, along with a couple of the previous ones, is available here

*PR item provided for review purposes