Sunday 31 January 2016

Caudalie Gift Sets

I've been spoilt with Caudalie and will be reviewing these products soon. 

Back row - set 2 and set 3
Front row - set 1

SET 1 - Beauty Grows Here 

My sister bought me for Christmas the Caudalie gift set with travel size products.    This set contains:

*  Gentle Cleansing Milk (30ml)
*  Vinosource - Moisturising Sorbet (10ml)
*  Divine Oil (15ml)
*  The Des Vignes - Shower Gel (30ml)

I tried the oil and fell in love.  It truly smells divine.  They have a perfume in the same scent that's now high up on my wish list along with the oil j promptly used up.  

The other products in the set are being saved for a vacation away in May.  

Set 2 & 3

I told my husband to not get me anything for Valentines Day because I'm indulging in the January Sales.  I had to wait until the end of the month to treat myself but it gave me plenty of time to find some bargains.

Set 2 - Vine body luxury set 
£16.50 @ Bath & Unwind

This contains:

* Vine body butter (225ml)
* Hand & nail cream (50ml)
* Lip conditioner (4.5g)

I'm holding fire or trying these products as I still have my Figs & Rouge hand cream & lip balm and I recently bought the Alba nut body oil & leave in conditioner (reviews to come). 

Set 3 - Moisture essentials set 
£23 @ Bath & Unwind

This contains: 

* Vinosource moisturising sorbet (40ml)
* EAU Micellaire cleansing water (100ml)
* Lip Conditioner (4.5g)

I'm going to use this skincare set exclusively throughout February and then review.  I'm hoping it will be a moisturising as the sets band suggests.  


This online shop offers free P&P for orders over £40.  I was about 50p short. Instead of being charged £3.99 I threw in a sample size bottle of Trilogy Rosehop Oil which I've always wanted to try.  This bumped up my order sufficiently.  

I placed my order on 27 Jan.  Estimated delivery was 2 Feb but it arrived early on 29 Jan.  Early is generally a good thing. 

The items were well packaged.  I would definitely use their site again to purchase products. 

The only thing that would hold me back is the hefty minimum spend got free P&P.  If I was only buying something small for £5 or under then adding £4 to it makes it almost twice the price.   

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Summary for 2015 - Cosmetics

<this post has been written on my mobile and will be formatted better when I get to my PC>

I love make up.  I enjoy playing with colours and the way it makes me feel good.  Last year, I tried to make more ethical choices with my cosmetics.  With a tight budget it was difficult to choose what to try as nowhere locally stocks these products to see before you buy.  

Thanks to Skin Maze I was able to buy samples of the products to see what I though before buying a full size.  I haven't been disappointed by anything I have tried.  

I have tried: 

* Glow Time BB cream (shade 1 & 3) 
* Pure Pressed Bare Mineral (shade Ivory) 
* Just Kissed Cheek & Lip stain (shade Forever Pink, Forever Peach, Forever Red)
* Honey Bronze 

Glow Time is my main foundation now.  Sometimes I use a little as concealer or a full face.  I did find my shade is right between 1 & 3 but they don't do a number 2 so I mix them both together in an old Lily Lolo foundation pot.  

I love the lip & cheek stain.  I was looking for something to replace my Benefit Benetint and this is even better.  This stain is hydrating, lasts well (no reapplying) and gives a gorgeous soft shade that is unique to you.  Peach is my favourite and once I've bought more ill do a full review on all three shades.  

Lily Lolo was the first mineral foundation I bought and first natural cosmetic brand.  

I have tried: 

* Mineral Foundation (shade Porecelain) 
* Finishing Powder (shade Flawless Matt)

This brand is so affordable.  The pots have screw top lids so they won't leak when travelling. The pots are reusable.  I've used them to mix my Jane Iredale BB shades, to store a lock of my sons hair and for stashing some hair accessories.  You can buy samples of shades from them direct or from Lucy Rose.  

I'm hoping to try their BB cream as I found the powder a bit drying for me.  The also have two eye shadow pallette stage I've been eyeing up for months.  

After my terrible experience with BWC I was determind to find a good organic waterproof mascara.  My search took me to Australia.  

I tried: 

* volumizing Waterproof mascara (black) 
* Natural Almond Oil mascara (black)
* Rich Olive Oil lipstick (high tea) 
* Oat Milk foundation (light)
* Oat Milk foundation (medium) 

The waterproof mascara has been great and I use it every week when I go swimming with my son.  It also survived the tears at my Gran's funeral.  I've been using it for 6 months without irritation.  I have found that it can smudge if I'm wearing my BB cream without powder so I usually add a bit of powder around my eyes if I'm wearing that. I wouldn't say I noticed it adding much volume but I bought it more for its underwater effectiveness.  

The other mascara was actually a gift for my best friend who has very sensitive eyes and can't wear mascara.  She was really pleased with it and now wears it for nights out and dates.  

The lipstick was a free sample.  At first I wasn't keen and found it drying as i usually wear balms but I have grown to like it and it's a really good neutral day colour.  

The foundation was a sample I purchased from Flora & Fauna as I loved what I read about it.  However, their idea of light was too dark for me. So, I didn't even need to try medium.  

I wanted to try an organic nail varnish and this brand had good reviews and was a reasonable price.

I have tried:

* Nail Polish (shade Elodie) 

I was impressed how nice this looked and lasted without a base or top coat.  It didn't chip for about 3 days.  

I'm encouraged to try more natural polishes as they are just as good as conventional polishes but without the nasties.  I bought mine from Naturismo.

I have Sparituals protein basecoat and some shades on my Lucy Rose wish list.

I took advantage of its Black Friday deal to get two lip and cheek tints for just £7.  I liked the idea of the products using fruit extracts but couldn't find many reviews.  

I tried: 

* lip & cheek stain (cranberry glow) 
* lip & cheek stain (pink grapefruit) 

I kept the cranberry one and gifted the grapefruit to a friend.  

The chubby stick is too big to apply directly to your lips so I ended up rubbing it onto my finger and then onto my lips.  My cheeks I applied it to directly and then smudged with my finger.  The product lasted a good while and wasn't too drying.  

The cranberry gives that flushed cherry colour you get when you've just been kissed or come in from outdoors after a brisk walk on a cold winters day.  

I wasn't in love with this product enough to purchase again at full price but the brand is good quality and I'd be interested in trying more.  They have beauty sets where you can get a lot of products to create a look at a subsidised price.  

I discovered this brand when hunting for a good hand cream for my dry winter hands.  On Naturismo, I spotted their lip balm on sale.  I bought the hand cream from Feel Unique. 

I tried: 

* Tinted lip balm (mocha orange) 
* hand cream (vanilla) 

The lip balm squeezes out the tube like a gel tooth paste.  You can't apply it directly to your lips.  You need to use your finger to smudge it in which then leaves you with a sticky finger.  It does have a lovely subtle orange taste and sparkle.  

The hand cream is very moisturising.  It feels like my skin is drinking water.  It's refreshing but not wet.  It dries quickly but doesn't dry out my skin.  The product is amazing.  My only gripe is that the scent is too sweet.  I love vanilla but this is too sweet like ice cream and makes me crazy hungry.  

Performance wise both products have rescued my dry hands and lips from the cold and made my winter much more enjoyable.  I will buy both again but I'll try a different scent...

This is not an organic brand and I bought it believing it was - whoops, I strayed. 

I have tried: 

* concealing concerntrate (shade Adaptable Beige) 
*. Mesmerising mineral pallette (shade Emerald Gold)
* endless silly eye pen (shade black noir)
* tinted brilliance balm (shade rosy red, unique pink) 

I bought the pallette and rosy red balm myself but the other products were a free gift from either Cult Beauty or Beauty Bay.  

The eye shadows are perfect colours for redheads.  The unique pink was a gorgeous colour that was individual to each person but sadly no longer appears on their website.  The concealer was too orange for my pale skin.  I love the eye liner, it was so soft and creamy.  The rosy red was a lovely bright red, not a natural shade.  

I ordered this brand because I was looking for a waterproof mascara and a concealer.  The make up was very affordable and I purchased it from Animal Aid so got to support a good cause too.  

I tried:

* waterproof mascara (black)
* liquid foundation (sheer)
* concealer - chubby pencil (fair)

Sadly, the chubby pencil was out of stock but Animal Aid had excellent communication and customer service and my money was promptly refunded.  

The mascara was in a cellophane wrapper and I had to break the seal to open it so I could tell it had not been opened before.  Unfortunately the fluid had dried up and it was like applying crumbly dust to my lashes.  I was so disappointed.  My much didn't improve with the foundation - the shade sheer lived up to its name.  It should be called tinted moisturiser because it had no effect at all at evening my skin tone - it looked as if I was wearing nothing and not in a beautifully natural flawless way. 

Since my dissappointing experience with this brand I have not bought any more product from them and have no wish to do so. 


At first organic products seemed like a gamble because there is no way to test them out but I've found some helpful online companies that have helped me identify the products that are right for me.  I shall do a post soon reviewing the online shops I have used.  

At first I thought the change would be expensive but I've replaced things gradually and done my research and mostly I've been impressed with what I've found.  

Here comes the long lust list for cosmetics for 2016:

This year, I hope to try more Jane Iredale and have my eye on their spf face powder and facial mists.  I really would like to get some organic eye shadows and like the look of both the Lily Lolo palletes and their shade witchypoo.  I like the Bellapiere palletes on Naturismo too. I have long list of products I want by brand Pacifica - I may have to get one of their collections but currently they only seem to be available on their American website.  I will probably start with their waterproof mascara and eyeliner and see if it beats importing Ere Perez (it's a long wait to be shipped in from Australia). I need to get better at doing my nails so I'm desperate to buy the Sparitual protein top & base coat and some pretty polish colours but I struggle to choose shades. I also liked Kure but they are very expensive so keeping my eye out for a sale.  RMS illuminzer is £30 so it's always in my basket but never makes it to checkout because I that's my whole budget gone on one item.  I've tried lots of Vapour samples and never been disappointed - their primer, foundationd and concealer were a close second to Jane Iredales BB Cream.  Ilia has some lovely looking kits for lips and eyes that I'm hoping to treat myself to, one day...

<this post has been written on my mobile and will be formatted better when I get to my PC>

Sunday 3 January 2016

Summary for 2015 - Skincare.

Over the course of 2015, I have tried to convert to more ethical beauty products, mainly trying to switch to more organic and natural brands.  Here is a very brief rundown on the brands that I tried.

I have ranked them in order of my favourite, with number 1 being the top spot.
  1. Moa:
  2. Antipodes:
  3. Lyonsleaf:
  4. Balm Balm:
  5. Balmology:
  6. Organic Surge:
  7. 100% Pure:
  8. Evolve Beauty:
  9. Trevano:
  10. Pixi:
I have awarded them hearts based on the following.  However, some of these brands also donate to charities too, so buy purchasing their products you are supporting a worthy cause - wow!
  • Red:  Great British brand
  • Green:  Organic/Natural
  • Blue:  Cruelty free
  • Yellow:  Purse friendly
  • Purple:  Effective

1.  MOA - Magic Organic Apothecary

Products used:
  • The Green Balm
I got the little 15ml pot for £4.99 to try it.  I used it as a cleanser and it had a lovely earthy natural
smell that would be suitable for men and women.  As this can also be used as a moisturiser, I never was too worried whether I got every trace off.  When I was using this product I was moisturising with antipodes as part of my skincare routine.  My skin looked it best.

My son cut his thumb pretty bad.  Once his bandage was off and the hospital said he no longer needed a dressing or a plaster, I would apply this balm to his wound as it can be used for that too.  My son loved the special green healing balm and his cut healed lovely and he felt loved. 

I must buy some more of this EVERYTHING miracle balm in 2016!  They also have a facial oil that looks promising but is more on the pricey side. 

 2.  Antipodes

Products used:
  • Divine Face Oil Organic Avacado Oil & Rosehip
  • Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream
  • Joyous Protein-Rich Night Replensih Serum
  • Avacado Pear Nourishing Night Cream
These were travel sizes in their Anti Aging Minis (night) set and Moisture Boost Minis (day) set.  Brilliant sizes to trial the products and lasted me about a monthfter a bad experience with Glow Tonic I needed a major moisture boost and abandoned my gentle Organic Surge. 

At the time I was started cleansing with MOA.  My skin improved drastically.  It kept getting better and better.  It had never looked so good.  I wanted to buy the full size but each product is about £20 and I couldn't afford all four at once and I couldn't decide.  It has inspired me to include a serum in my skincare routine as I suspect that is the secret to the power of this bundle. 

I would love to try their kiwi eye cream and their immortal (spf) moisturiser.  I would love to try this cleansing balm.  The whole range looks amazing and very high quality. It is worth the price tag.  This brand deserves its cult following. 

3.  Lyonsleaf

Products used:
  • Beauty Balm
  • Calendula cream
  • Body Butter
The beauty balm can be used to moisturise, exfoliate and moisturise.  I really enjoyed it.  It was slightly firmer than MOA.  Again, I loved how I wasn't worried that it would irritate my skin if traces remained after cleansing.  It can even treat acne. 

This beauty balm is right up there with MOA due to its versatility.  The Calendula cream was really moisturising, I used it as an eye cream and to heal acne. 

The body butter was the only one that really didn't float my boat.  It was nice but I found it tricky to apply, but I prefer an oil for my body so this could just be personal preference. 

These products are great value and high quality.  The sample tins are suitable for travel.  The scent is unisex but sweeter than MOA. 

You can see my full review of here:

4.  Balm Balm

Products used:
  • Coconut Cleanser
  • Muslin Face Cloth
  • Hibiscus Face Mask
  • Little Miracle Rosehip Serum
  • Witch Hazel Toner
I got this as a gift set (for myself) in the January sale before I tried Organic Surge.  The mini facial set of travel size products came to a grand total of £13.25.  That's an absolute steal if you ask me!

I really enjoyed the cleanser.  The muslin cloth wasn't anything special.  The Toner went really fast and was really good.  The face mask didn't work because it is a powder and I mixed too much water - whoops!  The rosehip serum was really good.  The set lasted about two weeks.

I easily could have bought full size of these products. I wanted to try other brands rather than settling for the first one I tried.

5.  Balmology

Products used:
  • Neroli & Sweet Neroli Cleansing Balm
  • Calendula & Chamomile Comfort Balm
  • Neroli & Frankinscense Beauty Balm
I ordered samples from Naturismo to see how I got on with these.  Samples are a great way to test if a product suits you without having to spend a lot of money on a full size that might need to be thrown away.  The samples were £1.50 a pot and lasted me a couple of weeks whereas a full size would have cost over £20 each. 

The hot cloth cleansing balm was lovely and smells beautiful.  It was a little harder than MOA so I had to warm it up first.  I was aware that I needed to make sure I washed it all off .  The beauty balm was nice to put on before bed.  I found I didn't use the comfort balm very much - I still have some of this left.

6.  Organic Surge

Products used:
  • Daily Care Refreshing Face Wash
  • Eye Gel
  • Orange Flower Toner
  • Blissful Daily Moisturiser
  • Overnight Sensation Night Cream
  • Perfecting Face Polish
This was the first brand I bought full size products because it is so affordable. They do bundles so you can bulk buy your products at an even cheaper rate.  I bought one of their mystery bundles which is great value for money and encourages you to try products you wouldn't ordinarily try. You do get a lot for your money. 

This brand is ideal for sensitive skin as it is very gentle.  Unfortunately, I felt I needed something more moisturising as I have quite dry skin.  I loved the Orange Toner and it was the first product to run out.  I wasn't a fan of the face polish but I'm not a face scrub type of girl.

7.  100% Pure 

Products used:
  • Organic Cucumber Juice Facial Cleansing Foam
  • Charcoal Konjac sponge
I got the pair in a Black Friday deal for £7 (RRP £27).  It is really nice how the cleanser comes out already foamed.  The cucumber scent is quite refreshing.  I have been using it to remove my Evolve cleanser.  I also really like the little sponge, its firm but gentle against the skin. 

The cleanser is very mild and I think it would struggle to remove waterproof or long wear make-up.  My son usually washes his face with just water but over Christmas I have let him squirt some of this foam on his flannel and it has helped him feel whether he has done both cheeks and his nose and mouth.  It is gentle enough for a toddlers skin and he finds it fun to use.  I'm going to have to look for a cheaper organic alternative for him when it runs out. 

8.  Evolve Beauty

Products used:
  • Gentle Cleansing Melt
  • Multi Action Double Cream

I got these full size in a sale (both for £10).  Sadly, I'm not in love with the products at all and now I am stuck using them until they are used up.  It is good at removing long wear/waterproof make up. 

The cleansing melt smells gorgeous but I struggle to remove all of the product from my face and end up with more blackheads than I've ever experienced in my life.  The double cream is the least moisturising moisturiser that I have ever used.  However, the products I bought were in a purple candy coloured tub.  The melt looks like a put you'd by a Body Shop body butter in. 

However, when you visit Evolve's website, their products are in their scientific looking brown bottles.  I wonder if I have got an out of date product that isn't cutting the mustard like a brand new fresh designed version.  Their website have got some travel size versions of their products available enabling you to buy them for as little as £3 to try out.

9.  Trevarno

Products used:
  • Rose & Jojoba Cleanser
  • Rosewater & Camomile Skin Toner (ingredients include lavender) 
  • Rose & Jojoba Moisturiser (ingredients include lavender) 
  • Overnight Replenishing Cream (ingredients include lavender) 
  • Organic Revitalising Facial Oil
The cleanser toner and moisturisers all came in a Skin Starter Set.  I added the facial oil due to my positive experience with the Anitpodes. 

I should start with a positive note which is how immediately you will identify how aesthetically pleasing the products look.  Everything I received was in frosted purple glass bottles and looked beautiful. 

I kept the oil, despite my frustration with the poorly designed bottled.  Anitpodes has a droppler that enables you to suck the oil out of the bottle and then apply to your face.  Trevarno have a vinegar bottle style stopper that is designed to let next to nothing out.  I was shaking that bottle like a frustrated teenage boy who didn't get laid on prom night.  Eventually, I pulled the stopper out and I have to very carefully pour the oil into my hand and apply to my face.  Forgetting the poorly designed bottle, the actual product is amazing.  The oil smells divine and feels good on my skin. 

The other products I had to give away to my best friend.  The names of the products is not clear that they are going to have a strong lavender smell.  My friend fortunately loves the smell of lavender whilst I on the other hand hate it.  It made me feel like I was being suffocated by an old lady in my sleep.  I very rarely refuse to use up a product as I can't stand wasting money. 

I made the mistake of buying Pixi Glow Tonic.  It had amazing reviews and a huge cult following.  This product has AHA which it does warn can make you more sensitive to the sun and as a redhead I should have known better than to apply this to my face and go out without sun protection, in the summer!  My nose got vert dry and crusty and looked terrifyingly like skin cancer!  I stopped using it and ordered some high moisturising products (hello antipodes to the rescue).

10.  Pixi
This is not an organic/natural product

Products used:
  • Glow Tonic
I made the mistake of buying Pixi Glow Tonic.  It had amazing reviews and a huge cult following.  This product has AHA which it does warn can make you more sensitive to the sun and as a redhead I should have known better than to apply this to my face and go out without sun protection, in the summer!  My nose got very dry and crusty and looked terrifyingly like skin cancer!  I stopped using it and ordered some high moisturising products (hello MOA/antipodes to the rescue).

I love how this product can get every last grime of dirt off your skin.  It was addictive and I was using it every morning and evening.  Little did I realise that I was striping my skin of its natural protection.  If you have sun sensitive skin like me then it is probably best to use this as an evening treatment and perhaps only once or twice a week.  If you use it in the morning, be sure to team it with spf protection. 

I have tried some of their make-up products which I do love. 

Wish list for 2016
I definitely want to buy MOA cleaner and Lyonsleaf beauty balm again.  I want to try more Anitpodes as well as purchasing those golden products that saved my skin.

I received Caudalie for Christmas and I'm looking forward to trying their cleanser, moisturiser, shower gel and divine oil.  I'm going away in May so may save them for then... but the oil smells so good, I just don't know if I can wait.

The top three brands on my "wish to try" list are:
  • Speiza
  • Aurelia Probiotic Skincare
  • Alba Botanics 
I also am tempted to try A'Kin, Grown Alchemist, Lavera Skincare, Jason Naturals, Juice Beauty and Jurlique.  If I saw them on offer they might take precedent over the top three on my "wish to try" list.