Monday, 1 December 2014

Yankee Christmas 2014: My Top Picks


Some animals hibernate during the winter... I hoard Yankee Candles. There's nothing better to me, when it's cold outside, than snuggling under a blanket with a good book and something sweet in my wax burner. Winter scents have always been my favourite. I love anything woody, spicy and comforting. I'm also a sucker for food-themed scents. 

Normally, come November, I'll hunt out a selection of wax tarts that tickle my fancy, try them all out and then decide which scents are worthy of a larger jar purchase. This year, Yankee Direct* have saved me the hassle of choosing and provided me with a gorgeous selection of this year's seasonal scents.


Christmas Garland: Pine and Cranberry
Silver Birch: Dry, spicy and woody
Bay Leaf Wreath: Bay leaves, orange and cedarwood
Candy Cane Lane: Peppermint, sweet cookies and vanilla icing
Icicles: Winter forest with pine and cinnamon
Angel's Wings: Spun sugar, flower petals and smooth vanilla


This was a really well thought out selection. They've included a bit of everything. Candy Cane Lane is brilliantly fresh and sweet, Silver Birch is everything I expect from a woody fragrance and Bay Leaf Wreath carries wonderfully through the house. I wasn't as convinced by Icicles (perhaps a bit 'soapy' for me) and Christmas Garland (I used to clean pubs so pine is usually a no-no for me hehe) but I didn't find any of them unpleasant. Angel's Wings is definitely this year's winner. It's fresh, floral and sweet all rolled into one and I MUST get the biggest jar I can find of it IMMEDIATELY! Other favourites from last winter include Snow In Love, Christmas Eve and Snowflake Cookie, all of which are still available this year. 

Yankee Direct are a discount stockist of all your favourite scents and have some great offers throughout the year, as well as at Christmas. Their wax tart bundles are amazing value and they're always super quick to ship so there's plenty of time left to order before Christmas. Yankee products make fantastic gifts! 

More info at www.yankeedirect.com

You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook
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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Vegan Kind #TVK10 Unboxing


Not one, but TWO offerings from The Vegan Kind this month!! Last week I brought you the contents of their debut beauty box and now I'm back with an unboxing of their August #TVK10 box. Regular readers will know that I love getting my TVK boxes every month. They've been a real treat and introduced me to a whole world of new, cruelty free products and treats. 


For those not in the know, The Vegan Kind were the first to offer a 100% vegan monthly subscription box service in the UK and they're now onto their 10th box! It's been a pleasure to watch their business grow with more and more vegan (and non vegan) subscribers every month. It really is a great way to introduce more cruelty-free, eco friendly and wholesome products into your life and discover just how delicious vegan treats can be. This month's box, for me, is one huge snack attack! Here's the run down of what's in the box...





I'm munching on my bag of Sweet & Salty Propercorn as I type. I've had a bit of an addiction to this for a long time so was delighted to find my favourite snack when I opened the box. This box is all about the snacks. There are also strawberry flavour Freedom Mallows, which I have been keen to try for quite a while, a Pulsin Vanilla Choc Chip protein bar (remember how much I loved the Pulsin Brownie I got in my first ever TVK box) and some super-healthy Nothing But Mange Tout and Red Pepper snacks. Literally, all they are is dehydrated veggies so it's actually one of your 5-a-day! 

The two non-food items in the box have got me very excited indeed. I have so much trouble sourcing cruelty free laundry detergents so I'm over the moon with the Living Naturally soapnut laundry tabs. These are a world first product and are organic, hypoallergenic and completely biodegradable. Yay for the planet!! And how cute is this "Fuelled by Compassion" wristband from TeenVGN? They even matched the colour perfectly with my blog theme hehe. TeenVGN are an amazing vegan youth organisation aimed at helping compassionate young people connect with each other and inspire others. 

*****

This month's TVK featured charity is Nut House Hen Rescue who, since opening their coop in 2011, have rescued almost 5000 ex battery hens. TVK are a wonderful, compassionate company who also have great fun on social media so make sure you connect with them on Facebook and Twitter

For more info and to subscribe to The Vegan Kind, visit
www.thevegankind.com




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Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Month In Manicures - July/August 2014


Hello beauty seekers! First off, apologies that the quality of the photos for this post may be slightly under par. I'm hurrying to try and schedule a couple of posts for while I'm away next week and this was a last minute addition with photos snapped on my phone. I haven't done a Month in Manicures post in AGES because my nails have been going through a bit of a difficult phase, but they've started to improve now so over the latter part of July and beginning of this month I've been painting them with pride once again. So this is a kind of mid-month edition. As always, these polishes are featured in chronological order with oldest first...



1) Nails Inc 'Sheraton Street'

You've all seen this one before on this blog and you know how much I adore it. It's my dream pale blue polish so, of course, it was my first choice when the time came to start painting my nails again after a little break. I got this as part of their In The Nude colour collection at the beginning of this year and I've been getting use out of all the shades, but this one is my secret favourite. 

2) Barry M Limited Edition Nail Paint (no shade name)

I have such a love/hate relationship with this polish. I picked it up as a freebie last summer as part of a Superdrug promotion and was instantly sold on the acidic, neon green. As beautiful as the shade is, it's a BUGGER to apply and stains quite badly, even with basecoat. For some reason though, I still can't resist it when the weather is as glorious as it has been recently. Neons are mandatory at this time of year!



3) Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine 'Dragonfruit'

I hardly ever go for pink on my nails. Not sure why, but it's just not my favourite shade to paint them any more. I think I spent so much time as a teenager painting my nails nothing but pink that I just went off it. However, I felt like something different last week and plumped for Dragonfruit, finished off with Barry M's new matte topcoat. 

4) Mavala 'Bamako'*

Another summer favourite from last year brings us bang up to date. Also a continuation of the summery green theme, but entirely different from the Barry M polish above. This shade is a deeper take on the aqua green polish trend (Barry M Greenberry and suchlike) and is almost earthy whilst retaining just the right amount of bright for summer. I've fallen in love with it all over again!

*****

It feels brilliant to be out of my nail-painting slump! My nails are such that they stay long and strong and gorgeous for so long, then after a period they all seem to break at the same time and go through a sad phase. I think I'm over the worst now and praying they will be back in all their former glory in time for Autumn so that I can bust out all of my berry and neutral shades once more. 

What colours are you wearing on your nails lately??


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Thursday, 7 August 2014

MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquer


Matte lips are EVERYWHERE on the high street at the moment! It seems that every drugstore brand has taken their cue from Limecrime and brought out their own take on the velvet, matte lip. I'm a huge fan of the Limecrime Velvetines, however, my bank account really isn't. Imagine my joy one afternoon, mooching around in Superdrug (a regular occurrence for me) and spotting the MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquers on 3 for 2! After a little studying of ingredients, I deemed them vegan friendly and picked up one of each shade they had in stock...


These really are a great budget option if you're looking for a long-lasting matte lip. Very easy to apply and, once dry, perfectly matte. The longevity is fantastic as well. One tip though... I did find that after several hours, it did become a little 'grainy' on my lips but this was fixed by a quick wipe with a tissue followed by a touch up. The swatches below might as well have been a tattoo. It took washing up liquid and a scourer to shift those badboys once they had dried! As you'll see, the pigmentation is fantastic and the colours range from raspberry red, to hot pink, to nude. There's even a Limecrime dupe in there (more on that in a future comparison post).

  L-R: Halcyon, Atomic, Reckless, Funk


The only lip swatch I did was for Halcyon, which is a nude shade that can't seem to decide whether it is pink or peachy in tone. Depends on the light I suppose. It's definitely the one I've been wearing most and is extremely versatile. I think if I'd tried to lip swatch them all, my lips would have been raw. They really do take some removing! This isn't even all of the shades. There are nine in total (really rather gutted I haven't been able to get my hands on the purple shade). 

These lip colours are great for summer as you can just apply it and forget about it for hours and because they're matte, they're not going to melt off your lips at the faintest hint of heat. I'd say they're worth every penny of the £3 price tag and a very worthy budget competitor for the higher end versions. 

Check out the full shade range and shop MUA online at
muastore.co.uk


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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Summer of Skincare


This post was supposed to be a July Favourites... but when I got to picking out the products, they turned out to ALL be skincare. So now it has evolved into yet another summer skincare round-up. I posted a summer skincare post a little while ago with a few new products I'd acquired, but my skin is being so evil just lately that I seem to have switched everything up again. I've discovered even more new products and repurchased a couple of older favourites. I think I'm finally onto something here as my skin is finally starting to behave itself again! 


Amie Skincare 'Morning Light' Hydrating Moisturiser

Whenever Amie bring out a new moisturiser I just have to have it and, as this one is a hydrating day cream, I knew I had to give it a whirl. I'm a huge fan of their mattifying moisturiser as well as their Skin Shield. This one doesn't have the SPF that Skin Shield has but my skin has been so smooth and touchable (without getting greasy) when I've used it, that I can forgive it. Amie products are affordable, cruelty free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Full review coming soon!

Superdrug 5-in-1 Skin Perfecting BB Cream - Medium

If you're a long time reader of this blog you'll know that I go bonkers for BB creams during the summer months when I can't be doing with a heavy foundation that's going to melt off my face as soon as the weather heats up. This Superdrug budget version is fantastic and contains vitamin c, hyaluronic acid and caffeine with mineral pigments and SPF15. There is also an Anti-Age SPF30 version in the range. 

Indeed Labs Hydraluron

You have my permission to scold me. I've only just got around to discovering the magic of Hydraluron. What kind of a blogger am I?? Hydration is a huge issue for me, even though I have combination skin, and I need products that will quench my thirsty face without turning my t-zone into an oil slick. This product acts as a supercharger for any moisturiser you team it with, allowing the skin to retain the moisture more effectively. I NEED to get my hands on their new Moisture Jelly to go along with it because it's LOVE! This product is currently a third off at Boots.


Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner

I posted about this product and the Lime Blossom cleanser that goes along with it quite a while ago now. I can't believe I've only just got around to repurchasing it! It's been a godsend while the weather has been warmer. I've been keeping it in the fridge and spritzing my face with it and it feels soooooo good!! The lavender fragrance won't be for everyone but I particularly enjoy it at the end of the day, after removing my makeup just to freshen my skin up and prep my skin for moisturiser. It's very soothing.

Una Brennan Superfacialist Neroli Brightening Cleanser

This popped up in my last skincare post as another product that I'd forgotten I loved and I'm loving it again for very similar reasons to the Elemis toner. It's just wonderfully freshening with a floral scent and leaves my skin feeling firmed up and smooth. I mainly use this product in the morning before I've put on any makeup to wake my skin up. 

White Rabbit Skincare Lime and Coconut Cleansing Water

I received this product in my The Vegan Kind Beauty Box last month and it was instant love. This product is completely handmade using spring water, orange blossom water, coconut oil and lime essential oil. The scent is out of this world! It's milkier in texture than your usual micellar-type cleansing waters, and I'd go easy around the eyes with this one (lime oil - yikes) but it does an amazing job of removing makeup whilst cleansing the skin. The lime and orange blossom are also great antibacterial ingredients and the coconut oil helps to smooth. 


Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins

Last but not least... I loved this product to death in the new year and the latter half of Winter, but my skin seemed to get sick of it after a while so it has been sat in my stash waiting for another chance to shine. It got that chance a couple of weeks ago after I felt that the Superdrug cream I'd been using was starting to leave me a little oily. Sure enough my skin welcomed it back with open arms and they are friends once more. Read my original review here.

*****
Those were my current summer skincare crushes. I'm hoping this love affair will carry on into Autumn/Winter as the harsh elements seem to take it out of my skin every bit as much as the summer sun. I haven't felt great about my skincare routine for a little while now so it's great to finally have a winning set of products... until the next time my face gets bored and demands something else. I guess we shall see. 

What are your skincare must haves?? Is hydration an issue for you?? What products can't you live without during the summer months??
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Saturday, 2 August 2014

Smells Like Nostalgia: Impulse Vanilla Kisses


No P.E kit was complete without it. Every girl in my form reeked of it. We were ALL obsessed with it. Any 90s teenager will need no introduction to classic Impulse fragrance, Vanilla Kisses*. This stuff was like crack in a can to teenage girls. Fast-forward almost two decades and, at the age of (almost) 32, I once again find myself marinating in it! Surreal to say the least. To celebrate Superdrug's 50th Birthday, Impulse have relaunched Vanilla Kisses and, just as we've all matured a little since those good old days, this iconic fragrance has been given a grown-up, designer makeover...


The 90s revival seems to be in full swing this summer. Scrunchies, jelly shoes and chokers are popping up all over high streets and catwalks. What better than a nostalgic scent to go along with them? Vanilla Kisses has been reformulated with real perfume oils by the fragrance experts behind Dior and Calvin Klein. It still has that signature sweet vanilla base with notes of apple and peach, just with added grown-up chic. These quality ingredients means that the fragrance lasts longer making it a great, on the go, handbag (not school bag) essential. 

Vanilla Kisses is a limited edition release and is currently available exclusively at Superdrug and

superdrug.com


Did anyone else go mental for this fragrance back in the day? I used to team mine with 17 Heatherberry lippy and my Morgan school bag. Oh the memories!
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Sunday, 27 July 2014

#TVK Does Beauty!


Yes, yes, I know. Slap my wrist, I've been a bad blogger. 
I do have a legitimate excuse for my absence. Interning has had to take priority over the last couple of months. I've spent so much time researching and drafting for the PETA UK blog that I've been totally zapped for inspiration for my own! However, my time there has now come to an end (sad face) so maybe I can find some focus and crack on with more personal projects. I'm here today to bring you an exciting new box by the lovely people at The Vegan Kind... They've only gone and done a BEAUTY BOX!!! 


The Vegan Kind, who have been providing me with such wonderful, yummy vegan treats for the last few months have gone one better and brought out a one-off TVK Beauty Box! Needless to say I was all over it. My own quest for quality cruelty free, vegan cosmetics has had its ups and downs, to say the least, and I was hoping that TVK could help point me in the right direction. 

Here's a little peep at what's inside...





My Thoughts....

I'm thoroughly delighted with everything in this box. So many wonderful, natural and organic ingredients and everything, as always, is 100% cruelty free and vegan. I'm particularly taken with the Furless stippling brush by Furless Cosmetics. It's super soft and I can't wait to try it out. I have a feeling it will be perfect for powder. Another product that has got me excited is the Lime and Coconut Cleansing Water by White Rabbit Skincare. It smells so lovely and fresh and mixes spring water, coconut oil and orange blossom water with essential oils which sooth both skin and mind.

Inika are a brand that beauty box devotees will be familiar with, but did you know that as well as being organic they are also cruelty free and vegan friendly? I'm still using up the dregs of my pre-vegan eyeliner stash (seriously I have loads) but it's great to know that I have a trusty cruelty free option to fall back on. Beautiful Movements are a completely new brand to me but apparently they also sell in Holland and Barrett. Their loose mineral eyeshadows are free from parabens, synthetic dyes and animal products and come in a variety of beautiful colours. According to the product list there should have been two shades in this box, but I only found one, Adobe Brick, which is a lovely muted golden shade. Not that I'm complaining. TVK can't do much wrong by me at the moment.

Last up is a great sized Orange Cocoa bath melt by Simply Soaps. This bar has the freshest citrus orange scent and is made with raw cocoa butter and essential oils. I'll have to keep reminding myself not to eat it. TVK promise me that it will make my skin feel silky soft as well as leaving me with that pampered feeling.
*****

TVK keep consistently wowing me with their monthly offerings. To read my thoughts on their July #TVK9 box head over to my other blog Thirty-Something Vegan. It really was a BELTER! Ever heard of Coconut BACON??? This Beauty Box is currently just a one off, but for £10 a month (plus P&P) you can subscribe to receive monthly vegan treats, which also include cosmetics and toiletries. They've never managed to disappoint me yet! You also get discount codes and monthly vegan recipes.

For more information on TVK and to subscribe visit
thevegankind.com



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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Holiday Beauty Favourites: June 2014


I'm completely failing as a blogger just lately aren't I...
I guess there isn't a simple explanation for my absence. I'm spending so much time on blogging and social media for work that I've let myself slip a little. Being painfully skint really doesn't help matters either but I'm doing my best! Hopefully I can get back to a more regular posting shedule once my internship is over and I can focus more on personal projects. 

I've spent the last 10 days, however, taking a well deserved break in the Peak District with my family. I suppose my parents' house isn't really the most exotic and exciting of destinations but to me it was definitely a holiday. I spent a lot of time out in the sunshine, strolling along the river and eating ALL of the food (for a taste of my holiday food diary see my other blog). I thought I'd pop this post up today in honour of a few lovely products that I've really enjoyed while I've been away.


Una Brennan Super Facialist: Neroli Firming Cleanser
I've been using this product on and off for a little while and this is my second tube. If I'm honest its never been my No1 go-to cleanser and I've tended to favour Elemis and my Micellar waters over it in the past but, for some reason, it's been a hero product this last week and a half. It smells so fresh, gets rid of makeup and leaves my skin feeling really clean and supple. I think a full review will be on the cards soon. 


GOSH  Pressed Powder in Warm Sand
My other powder compact managed to get smashed during the journey to Derbyshire so this was an emergency Superdrug purchase on arrival, but one I've been very impressed with. I don't usually rave too much about powders as I don't always use them and find them a bit unremarkable but this one has a lovely, soft finish and sets my foundation really well. 

Sleek Powder Blush in Life's a Peach
This blush is well established on this blog but, for some reason, it got a bit lost during my last house move and I only found it again recently so thought I'd take it away with me. It gives the most gorgeous, warm, peachy glow which is perfect for sunshiny days. 


MUA Velvet Touch Lip Lacquer in Halcyon
I'm loving the recent trend for matte lip colours and you really can't go wrong with the MUA offering at £3! I actually have ALL of the shades (which will be coming to you in a swatchfest post very soon). I find this particular shade extremely versatile and a great day-to-night colour. 

Lavera Cosmetics Quattro Eyeshadow in 01 Oriental Brown
I only discovered that Lavera did cosmetics very recently. I'd seen their skincare in Holland & Barrett but wasn't aware of them other than that. Their range is organic and gluten-free. This palette is a great combo to take away on holiday as you can go as subtle or as smokey as you like. I especially love the deep green shade. 


Superdrug Solait Wear Off Bronzing Mousse (Medium/Dark)
Couldn't not include a couple of Superdrug staples, could I. I love their Solait tanning lotion so I grabbed this mousse version to take away with me as it said it was longer lasting. I only had to apply it twice over the course of the week and it dried really evenly. Great colour pay-off too so I'd definitely recommend this as an affordable product to top up your holiday tan. 

Superdrug Caring Coconut and Sweet Almond Shampoo/Conditioner (Dry Hair)
I hate coconutty scented things as a rule. Hate hate HATE! My heart sank when I found that Superdrug's offering for dry hair was a coconut scent but.... guess what.... It's really not all that bad! The almond seems to bring it down a bit. This was another emergency purchase as I arrived at my parents' to find that I didn't have any shampoo there (I usually leave some there so I don't have to cart it around in my suitcase). It did leave my hair lovely and soft with a shine to it. 

*****

Those were a handful of products that I've loved while I've been away. It's nice to be able to mix old favourites with new finds and rediscover products that I hadn't appreciated fully until now. 

What are your holiday beauty staples?? 
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Sunday, 1 June 2014

OCC Lip Tar: Divine


Today is a happy happy day!
After admiring them for so long but never actually getting round to actually ORDERING some, I've finally got my hands on some OCC Lip Tars! They were my little post-exams treat. I haven't bought any new lipsticks since I went Vegan as I find it a bit of a minefield with searching ingredients and can't always tell what's legit and what isn't, but then I was reminded that OCC are completely cruelty free AND vegan and my mind was made up. I needed summer lip colours and I needed them NOW! I ordered a couple of shades but I'm here today to tell you about Divine...


Believe me when I say that these photos don't do this colour justice. It's more in-your-face in the flesh, but not too much so. It's a gorgeous mid-toned summer pink with just a hint of a coral touch to it. I had already heard tales of the pigmentation of the Lip Tars and they were definitely accurate. You only need the slightest blob on the end of the brush for a single application. As someone who isn't used to applying lippy using a brush, it took a little getting used to but I love it. 


As I said before, this colour seems to have mellowed in front of my camera lens. It is a little brighter in the flesh. Quite similar to MAC Viva Glam Nicki, but slightly more peachy. It will be perfect with a summer tan or toned down by mixing with a nude shade for more everyday wear (which I do happen to have and will be featuring in a future post). I'm a bit obsessed with it. I'm finding the Lip Tars to be pretty long lasting too. They take a couple of minutes to truly dry properly but, after that, you're good for a few hours. The finish has a slight sheen to it but isn't glossy. I'll be interested to try their newer matte shades at some point as well. 

I purchased my Lip Tars at cocktailcosmetics.co.uk where they retail for £11.95 each. They also stock a range of OCC brushes, pigments and other cosmetics (all vegan and cruelty free, cos that's how OCC roll). Considering how little product you need, I think the Lip Tars are extremely good value for money. I must have them ALL!

What are your favourite Lip Tar shades?? Are you a fan?? What's your perfect Summer lip colour??


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Monday, 26 May 2014

A Few Recent Summer Skincare Changes


Its that time of year again when my skin begins to completely reject my Winter skin routine and demands a fresh start for Summer. Not to mention the fact that Summer skincare is an entirely different kettle of fish to Winter with a whole different set of considerations. Add to that my 2014 switch to Veganism and a commitment to cruelty free products and you get a serious 'Alice in Wonderland' type of scenario. I thought I'd post a few of my recent skincare changes to prep my skin for the warmer months ahead. My skin has been a little unruly of late and can't seem to decide whether it wants to break out or shrivel up so I doubt these will be my only purchases this Summer, but here's the story so far...



Oqibo Purifying Cleanser and Toner*oqibo.co.uk 
A completely new brand to me, Oqibo were kind enough to send me a huge bottle of their Purifying Cleanser and Toner earlier in the year. I was promised cruelty free and no animal ingredients so I can use this product with absolute confidence. I'll probably do a more in-depth review after I've been using it for a little while longer but this is a lovely, freshening product and does a great job of getting rid of dirt and oil. It's designed to regulate and balance the skin, which is great news for combination girlies like me. It has quite a strong scent of mint and leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed. 

DHC Pore Lotion - dhcuk.co.uk
I'm a huge fan of DHC. I emailed the Japanese-based brand to confirm a few ingredients with them recently and was delighted to discover that none of their ingredients are animal derived so now I adore them even more! I've been particularly enjoying their pore range of products lately as they're really gentle, alcohol free  and are really good for clarifying and minimising pores and creating a smooth canvas for makeup. I use this as I would a toner in between cleansing and moisturising (I also have their Pore Milk which is a lovely, light moisturiser for daytime). 



Superdrug Naturally Radiant Renewing Night Cream - superdrug.com
It seems that even my beloved Origins Night-a-Mins isn't good enough for my face lately so I'm having a rest from it. I was scratching my head trying to find an affordable, cruelty free substitute (I'm truly skint) and I spotted this in Superdrug and thought it would be well worth a try for £5.99. This cream smells so good! I can't stop sniffing it. It is infused with extracts of kiwi and mulberry with sugar beet and other fruit acids to nourish and resurface skin overnight. For the price I've been very impressed. My skin definitely feels smoother and softer upon waking. 

Organic Surge Blissful Daily Moisturiserorganicsurge.com
I've been using this for a little while as a light daytime moisturiser for my combination skin. I suspect I will need something more intensive with SPF as we continue on into Summer but this really has been lovely. Extremely gentle and perfect for normal/combination skin types. It keeps my skin hydrated whilst also keeping oilier areas at bay and sits well under makeup. I also love how it absorbs so quickly. Organic Surge, like Superdrug, are 100% committed to no animal testing and no animal ingredients.


Amie Pure & Natural Beauty 'Spring Clean' Clay Mask amieskincare.com
I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Amie Skincare products!! They've been a favourite for a couple of years now and I've tried most of their products. What I particularly love about them are their natural ingredients and Leaping Bunny certification which means no animal testing and virtually no animal ingredients (except beeswax, which it turns out this product does actually contain - serves me right for assuming - but most of their products are 100% Vegan friendly). This is an old favourite of mine from way back and I've started using it again once a week to purge my skin of any excess oiliness for a really deep clean. It has an gorgeous fresh lime/mint scent and an added bonus of making me closely resemble a White Walker for 10mins a week... HA!!

Those are a handful of my recent skincare switch ups. It's felt a little like I'm fighting a losing battle with my skin recently as it's been so unpredictable. I thought vegans were supposed to have perfect skin?!?! To be fair I was a little neglectful with my skincare routine whilst I was battling my way through exams so that might have something to do with it. Time to get back on it and treat my face right! 

What are your skin saviours?? Do you switch up your routine when the weather gets warmer?? What are your recommendations for Summer skincare??

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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Review: theBalm Betty-Lou Maniser


First post of my Summer Hols! It feels amazing to not have assignment deadlines and revision clogging up every waking minute of my time (at least for a couple of months) so I'm going to attempt to do as much blogging as possible over the Summer months. Today's post was a bit of a mishap, if I'm honest. Not that the product itself isn't STUNNING, but the purchase itself should not have happened. 

Here's the story... I'm struggling like hell to source cruelty free cosmetics that also don't contain any animal ingredients (carmine, fish scales, beeswax, tallow and the like) and discovered the cutECOsmetics website via a recommendation. They only stock cruelty free brands and list which items are suitable for vegans. One of those items was theBalm Betty-Lou Manizer....


As it was listed on the website under the Vegan category, and I was desperate for a new bronzer for Summer, I snapped this up. Unfortunately, when it arrived, I looked at the ingredients and was extremely disappointed to find carmine listed there. Obviously, I've informed cutECOsmetics and they have promised to re-list the item to avoid any future confusion. 

The saving grace of this situation, of course, is that the product is GORGEOUS. This is my first experience of theBalm. I've always admired their products from afar. Their packaging is ridiculously cute and I've heard amazing reviews of their Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter so was excited to receive this (until the bug-powder disappointment). I know not all of you are as bothered about such things as I am so I decided that it is still a product worth sharing. Supporting brands such as theBalm, who refuse to test on animals is so important. 


If you're looking for a seriously glowy bronzer this Summer then this product is for you! You only need the slightest sweep of product to produce an amazing, illuminated golden sheen. I've tried it in most of the ways you would use a bronzer; swept over the cheekbones or to highlight over the temples, bridge of the nose etc.  If you're planning to jet off anywhere exotic in search of a tan over the Summer then this would set it off like a dream! The texture is soft and buttery and a little goes a VERY long way. You might also try using a big kabuki style brush and sweep it over your shoulders and decolletage. 

Whilst I'm sad to admit that this will probably never be my go-to product, I will still be keeping a watchful (but slightly cautious) eye on cutECOsmetics.co.uk for other similar products. They also stock a range of OCC, Sugarpill and Limecrime products including Lip Tar (more to come on these very soon on this blog) and the famous Velvetines. 

What's your perfect Summer bronzer?? Have you ever tried theBalm products?? Are cruelty free cosmetics important to you?? 
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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Unboxing: The Vegan Kind #TVK7


I'm back again!!! Hopefully I'll be getting back to a regular blogging schedule now that my 2nd year of Uni is officially OVER! I've spent almost all of my time over the last few weeks finishing up my final assignments and revising my little heart out. I have quite a few things I want to share with you now that I have the freedom to do so but first I really wanted to show you what I got in this month's The Vegan Kind #TVK7 box seen as I never got to post about last month's. 

For anyone unfamiliar with TVK, they are a monthly subscription box service specialising in Vegan and Eco friendly snacks, toiletries and household products along with monthly recipe cards and discount codes on featured products. 10p from every box sold goes to benefit featured charities and this month the donation will be made to Give a Dog a Bone - And an Animal a Home. You do NOT have to be a vegan to enjoy this service but it's a great [place to start if you're looking to make more compassionate and eco friendly choices.

Here's what's in the box!!!




First of all, I know what your immediate thoughts were.... ERMAHGERD VEGAN CHOCCY FUDGE! It was my initial reaction too and it took a little while for me to acknowledge the rest of the contents of the box, I was that preoccupied with it. True to form it only took me a day and a half to snaffle all of the delicious Scoff Sweets fudge and it gets a massive thumbs up from me! 

I'm so excited to try the WholePlus Vanilla Spice Hot Pot. I am a long time porridge disciple and I love that you can just add water to this and munch away. It's made with coconut milk powder so completely cow and calf friendly. I'll definitely let you know what it's like. I must admit I'm a loose leaf tea virgin and I have visions of this fresh looking Keemun Morning Tea by The Dormouse Tea Company ending up all over my kitchen surfaces. They've cleverly provided some empty bags with it though so I will have to apply some serious concentration and get it packed up and ready to brew. 

I've had an overwhelming urge lately to make a big batch of vegan Tzatziki dip and these Golden Apple raw biscuits with Hazelnut and Peppermint will be the perfect thing to dip into it. I'm yet to fully embrace the whole 'raw' thing so I'm looking forward to giving these a thorough taste testing. I'm not a huge pepperminty person if I'm honest but TVK have a habit of making me like things I wouldn't normally. One thing I DO like however, is sweet potato and give me a packet of crisps and I will always be happy. The Piri Piri Sweet Potato Crisps from Hectares lasted about as long as the fudge did. Wonderfully crunchy and with a lovely spicy kick.

Lastly, TVK always seem to know when I'm running low on household things. They predicted my washing up liquid shortage with my first box and now they've come to my aid with some concentrated Non Bio Laundry liquid by Bio D with no nasty chemicals, fragrance free and made from sustainable, naturally derived raw ingredients. Winner! 

I'd definitely recommend the TVK service. I always feel like I've had my money's worth and they're always super chatty and friendly on social media. Check out their Facebook Page for Vegan and cruelty free chatter, recipes and giveaways. To subscribe to their service you can visit 
(£10 per month with £2.99 UK postage)



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