Saturday 23 October 2021

Collaborative / Partnered Post - Turning Your Garden Into Your Own Private Sanctuary*

Every now and then you get an email that arrives at just the right time. After several years of neglect (cheers COVID!) this week we eventually managed to get someone local out to start transforming our all be it, very small garden space into our own personal safe space. 

Like so many modern ish houses, we don't have a lot of garden space, but we do have a nice conservatory and improving the view from it is our main priority. Stage one involved some serious hedge trimming, and some tree and bush removal, and hopefully in the Spring we'll be able to get the main raised bed sorted out and by then we'll hopefully be well on the way to creating our own little outdoor sanctuary.

With all that's happened over the past two years, it is pretty normal to still feel pretty stressed and overwhelmed with life, and as Covid-19 seems to rear its ugly head again, many more people have found themselves dealing with trauma. Even though a lot of the restrictions on travel, and social distancing have now been relaxed, a lot of people are are still really conscious that a third wave is just around the corner, and as a result it's still difficult for a lot of people to concentrate on their own self care and well being.

While not everyone is comfortable with visiting a spa or a wellness centre these days, there are other things that you can do to to practice a bit of self care in the safety of your own home. From cozy movie nights, to creating your own spa experience in your own bathroom, or even turning your garden a safe and private space, there are lots of things we can do to to help us switch off and relax.

Use Your Green Fingers To Create A Mindfulness Garden

I've got to admit that when it comes to gardening, I didn't inherit my mams green fingers. She knows the names of plants and everything she plants be it bulbs, seeds or random cuttings grows. That said I actually did get a GCSE in Agricultural and Horticultural Science, so I do know how it all works, and one project that we did as class was to create a sensory garden. If you love gardening, you should consider using your skills to create mindfulness or sensory gardens. The good thing about gardens like is that you don't need a huge amount of space, you could plant some pots or some tubs or even some hanging baskets with a mixture of scented plants such as lavender, lots of brightly coloured flowers, and even a few pots of herbs for scent and taste. You do need a bit of gardening equipment and a few skills but even the task of planting and weeding can help your to focus and relax. Creating a sensory type garden can be a great way to create an area where you can relax, focus and meditate. If you don't have the skills or if you have a larger space, then you can either buy ready planted tubs, or you can so what me and Mummy Lou are going to do and speak to a professional landscaper who can help bring you vision to life.

Create a Covered Area

One of the best ways to enjoy your garden throughout the year is to do what me and Mummy Lou have done and invest in a covered area. If you've got the space, and the finances you could go for a conservatory, summer house, or even a luxury cabin or shed. If you don't have that sort of money, or like so many modern houses, the space, then you could just add a removable or permanent awning, or a small gazebo to extend your indoor space, outside, and to create more space for entertaining and socialising no matter what the weather.

Use Sound To Relax and Unwind

There are plenty of tools that you can use to create the right atmosphere in your garden, but sound is certainly one of the best ones to use. Again depending on finances, you could install an outdoor sound system, or you could just use a cheap bluetooth speaker - or if you would prefer a more natural or relaxing sound then you could try a singing bowl or my mams favourite, wind chimes! Thanks to the healing power of sound, sound therapy is possibly one of the most important therapies offered as part of today’s wellness therapies. Using sound in your personal indoor or outdoor spa can help you relax more quickly and promote a sense of calm and serenity.

Invest In A Luxury Feature

Each garden is unique and it should reflect your personal preferences. However, adding a luxury feature to your garden does not only elevate the atmosphere in your personal outdoor spa space but it can also increase the overall value of your home. Again dependent on space, and cash flow, some options could include a hot tub, jacuzzi, swimming pool, fire pit, bar, or even a water feature such as a fountain, or a statue with trickling water which can also help create a relaxing environment through sound.

Use Light To Create The Right Atmosphere And Increase Security

To enjoy a moment of relaxation and self-care, you will need the right atmosphere, and how can your garden’s atmosphere be complete without the right lighting?! Make sure you use outdoor lighting to your advantage to create a dreamy ambience and a powerful led floodlight to increase security. Obviously a lot of lights do need to be installed by a professional electrician but solar lights have really improved in the last few years and you can now find solar lights to suit most budgets, you can get lamp posts, lights that change colour, net lights for fences and even solar light wind chimes. Something else to consider to add interest, and light effects to your garden, as well as making it look bigger is to add a mirror to a wall or a fence, to create reflection, and depth.

Obviously a lot of these suggestions are dependant on the space that your have and the amount of money that you have to play with but have a little search online, and there is lots of advice on how to make over even the smallest garden on a budget so there really is no reason not to create your own perfect outdoor space. Alas we're going to have to wait till next year now to get ours sorted but already it looks better than it did last week, and do you know what? If and when it snows every single garden will look the same, and who doesn't like watching the snow fall when you're warm and cozy indoors, if that it's relaxing I don;t know what it x 

*Collaborative / Partnered Post 

Friday 8 October 2021

AD / PR / AFF. - Foodie Friday - Quick. Healthy And Easy Meals With Love Yourself*

I love cooking, I love being in the kitchen and I love the sense of accomplishment that you feel when you've just made a fabulous meal for scratch. If I had time and energy I would be working my way through every recipe book that I own, but let's be realistic life gets in the way sometimes and you don't always the time or the energy, to prepare a meal or to even go to the supermarket. I don't know about you but when I'm having one of the those days and even weeks, I just grab the first thing in the freezer, the fridge or the cupboard, to fulfil my need for food, and 9 times out 10 the things that I pick aren't that healthy or nutritious.

Now you've probably heard of one of the many food boxes that you can that contain all the ingredients that you need to make a few days worth of main meals, I personally subscribe to one and I think that they are really good for meal planning, and for solving the age old dilemma about what to have for dinner, but whilst you can select quicker recipes on average each one takes about half and hour to make, and for most of them you do actually need a few culinary skills, not only that but as I say they generally only contain the ingredients for a few main meals so you still to brave the supermarket for your other two meals and the other things that help you feel satisfied.

They are still good, and they definitely have their place, but did you know that you can have a full days worth of freshly prepared meals delivered straight to your door - no work and barely no preparation needed? Well you can, and it's all courtesy of a company called Love Yourself, who deliver freshly cooked, nutritionally balanced, healthy, gourmet standard meals direct to your kitchen.

They full comprehensive, and easy to understand and use website gives you the choice of around 15 different plans based on nutritional needs are dietary requirements, including Vegetarian, Performance, Keto, Dairy Free, Pescatarian, Halal Balanced, Gluten Free, and a basic Balanced diet option.

Once you've selected your meal type - on most diets you can then select a calorie option depending on whether or not you want to lose weight or just eat an average days calorie intake. Once you've selected that you can then decided when your want to receive your food, you can choose anything from one days worth, to five, to six days worth, to Monday to Friday, for four weeks, and eight weeks and Monday to Saturday for both both four and 8 weeks. You can buy a day or two to try the plan or you can cut out the stress and the meal planning, and order yourself a full 8 weeks of food.

Most boxes contain a breakfast, a lunch, a dinner, and two snacks and whilst you don't have the option of selecting individual meals the menus are posted the week before, and if you contact Love Yourself both when your placing your initial order and after with dislikes or allergies etc. providing they have at least 48 hours notice they will try their best to substitute unwanted meals.

Now the lovely people at Love Yourself kindly sent me two days worth of meals to try. The meals I was sent were from the Vegetarian range, and I was send the 1500 calories a day option, which was priced at £25 a day. Created by a chef and a nutritionist, all of the meals in the plan contain fresh locally sourced ingredients, and none of the food is processed and none of it contains preservatives. They also contain all the nutrients you would need for one day and slow release carbohydrates for increased energy

If your lucky enough to live in certain areas of London or Bristol then you can get your meals delivered freshly every day, but don't worry if like me, you live elsewhere in mainland UK, then your meals will be delivered via DPD, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Now I received my box on a Tuesday, and as you can it was very well packaged. My meals came in sturdy outer box, which was lined with thick corrugated cardboard, and contained some ice packs. Once you've received them the meals should be be put in the fridge and should be eaten with 2 or 3 days. Some of the meals can be frozen but Love Yourself say they won't taste as good or as fresh as they should. 

All of the outer packaging is recyclable, and the meal containers which are made out of a fibre like, cardboard are fully recyclable and compostable.

This is the menu that I received and as you can see below, the food packaging features full ingredients, and nutritional information and if you use My Fitness Pal, you can scan the meals directly into the app. I actually use Nutri Check, a calorie counting app, and a lot of the meals are already on the but it's also really easy to add them yourself. I did switch the order of the meals around and I tended to eat the lunches in the evening, and obviously I got my meals on a Tuesday, but I going to just leave the Monday and Tuesday headings, and the other placements to avoid confusion x 



Baked Apple And Oat Cake With Blueberry Yogurt

First meal, first breakfast, and it was something familiar for me yogurt! I eat yogurt pretty much every morning, so this was a usual start to the day. The yogurt itself was a nice thick, blueberry flavoured greek yogurt, with real fresh blueberries mixed in to it. There was no real sweetness like you get with a lot of mass, supermarket yogurts, it tasted natural, and you could really taste the flavour of the blueberries.

Alongside the yogurt there was a piece of apple and oat cake. It was a very dense, very moist piece, of gluten free cake, it contained gluten free oats, apple, coconut, agave syrup, eggs and sunflower seeds. Agin it wasn't overly sweet, you could really taste the ingredients particularly the real apple, and the coconut, and the sunflower seeds gave it a nice crunch. 

I've got to say that I not normally that full after eating my breakfast but this was a really filling and tasty start the day, and it was fun dipping the cake in the yogurt.

Morning Snack

Sweet Potato Hummus

I've got to admit that I wasn't quite ready for the mid morning snack, and I was still a bit full from my breakfast but this really was a revelation. Using sweet potatoes instead of chickpeas, blended with red pepper, and the usual hummus ingredients of garlic, salt, oil and tahini. This smooth textured dip was amazing! It was slightly sweeter than normal hummus, but you could really taste the garlic, and sesame paste. Despite been packaged for around 24 hours the carrot sticks were real still fresh and crunchy. This would normally be a lunch for me instead of a snack but again it was really fresh and tasty, and I'm definitely going to be trying to recreate this in my kitchen.


Tofu Tikka Masala With Rice & Goji Berries 

Now, although this was officially a lunch, I prefer to eat my main meal at night so I switched this one. Although the majority of meals can be served as it, some like this need to be heated. So although you can put them in the oven for speed I popped this the microwave for 3 minutes. First thing it smelled really good and it contained tofu and I love tofu! It contains big chunks of tofu, that had held it shape and hadn't gone mushy, as well as onions, peppers, courgettes, tomatoes, goji berries, and cashews, all in a mildly spiced, subtle coconut sauce, served alongside some white rice.

I probably overly microwaved so the rice was a touch dry, but the masala itself was perfect, with a slightly sweet, mildly spicy tomato forward sauce, it was a really nice mix of textures with softness of the tofu and the veg, and the slightly chewy, tartness of the goji berries, and the crunch of the cashews. Size it was about the same as an average ready meal, but it tasted so much fresher and again I felt full.

Afternoon Snack 

Chocolate Brownie

Ah chocolate! As as self confessed chocoholic - I was so pleased to see something chocolate related in my box. Now this is a brownie but not what would you probably expect in terms of sweetness and texture. This is a healthier brownie, and it's gluten free. Containing eggs, coconut milk, dark chocolate, almond flour, and dried dates, again it was very moist, very solid, very dense, very small and almost fudge like in appearance.

It had a really good dark chocolate flavour, and at the same time it had a slightly fruity flavour from the dates. Again it wasn't too sweet, but it was very rich, and it delivered that perfect chocolate hit. If you've ever eaten something like a Naked bar, or a chocolate protein bar, then this is pretty similar taste wise. I actually saved this for my evening snack because I like something sweet before bed.


Nectarine, Mozzarella & Broad Bean Salad

The one thing that I was slightly, worried about with this box was the salads and vegetables - just how fresh would it actually be! Well I needn't have worried, instead of the soggy salad expected, everything was fresh and crunchy. Containing grated mozzarella, fresh broad beans, nectarine, mixed salad leaves, and cherry tomatoes, the salad came with a little separate pot of dressing which contained raspberries, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, basil, and xylitol (a sweetener).

The nectarine was a touch underripe which actually worked really well with the salad, everything was nice and fresh, but by far the star was the dressing sweet yet tart because of the raspberries, with an almost pesto hit, it had a really good flavour but oddly enough it didn't overpower the freshness or flavours of the rest of the salad.



Scrambled Eggs With Homemade County Style Bread

Day 2, and it started with one of my favourite food, scrambled eggs with homestyle bread. The tray contained a small portion of scrambled eggs, which was just eggs, egg whites, olive oil, salt and black pepper, and three smaller end pieces of a country style, brown loaf.

I heated the scrambled egg up in the microwave, and I toasted the bread under the grill, as the pieces were a bit small and thick for my toaster. The eggs were really good, they were well seasoned, and not too dry, and too wet, just the way I like them. Now I shouldn't really be eating wheat but there was so little in both days worth of meals that it wasn't a problem. The bread itself was nice, and slightly sweet, with a dense and chewy texture.

Compared to what I normally eat first thing, this seemed like a lot but I really enjoyed it, and  it made me think that I should really switch up my breakfasts a bit more.

Morning Snack

Sweetcorn & Feta Muffin

Day 2, or egg day as I came to call it, contained with a mid morning snack, and it was what was described as a Sweetcorn and Feta Muffin. Containing sweetcorn, onion, eggs and egg whites, feta cheese, coconut oil, cumin and salt, you could eat it as it was, or like what I did warm it in the microwave for around 20 seconds.

It wasn't a muffin in either of the traditional senses of the word, instead it was more like a crustless quiche, a savoury pudding, or a heavier souffle. It had a lovely creamy texture with pieces of sweetcorn and it had a lovely savoury taste. It wasn't what I expected but I actually really enjoyed it.


Meatless Bolognese With Pasta And Cheddar

 There is nothing I love more than a good veggie bolognese, and the lunch (which again I switched with my evening meal) was a good. Accompanied by gluten free penne pasta, the meat free bolognese was full of veg includes tomatoes, onions, carrots, and chickpeas, as well as chunks of vegetable fibre, and soy based, meatless meat, and it was sprinkled with cheddar cheese and sunflower seeds.

With all the traditional Italian herbs, the sauce had a nice sweetness, and a touch of smokiness, and again the textures were a real bonus. It was more of a chunky meat based bolognese than a mince, and the meatless meat was good and added some nice texture, as did the sunflower seeds. As a gluten free pasta aficionado this was a decent pasta, it will never be the same as wheat pasta but it was decent texture wise, it wasn't soggy, it was al dente which was perfect. I really enjoyed it was tasty and filling.

Afternoon Snack

Apple And Banana Slice

Afternoon snack time, and it was another yogurt and cake combo. Again a small piece of very moist, very dense cake made from bananas, apple, coconut milk, eggs, coconut milk, buckwheat flour and agave syrup, alongside a portion of natural yogurt.

As I say it very moist, almost wet, but solid at the same time, you could really taste the nuttiness of the buckwheat flour, with a hint of fresh apple and a lot of real banana flavour. Again the cake worked really well with the tart yet creaminess of the yogurt. I've been thinking while I've been writing this post about how to describe the cake, and the only thing I can think of is if you've eaten any raw desserts, solid, damp, and full of natural flavours.


Cumin-Spiced Lentils & Brussel Sprouts

I know it trendy to hate them, and I do know that some people genuinely dislike them, but I'm a huge Brussel sprout fan, I love them steamed, stir fried, roasted, and I even put raw ones into salads so I was really to see them served in another way. This one was another heat and eat meal so I removed the egg and popped it into the microwave for a couple of minutes.

Containing a boiled egg, some nice al dente lentils, Brussel sprouts, onions, leeks, this meal had a lovely slightly tangy flavour coming from the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. It was a really unusual but really flavourful, tasty meal, and again it was really filling.

So they were my two days and they were my meals and snacks. All the food have to say was really fresh tasting and the lack of processed food was really evident.

Of the sweet thing, all of the sweeteners were natural, and there wasn't any more added than what was needed, and as a result you could really taste the ingredients, and the fresh fruits. The cakes could possibly be a bit on an acquired taste and texture (Mummy Lou wasn't keen on the textures of the bites that I gave her) but I really enjoyed them as a more healthier, filling alternative, to chocolate, biscuits or even fresh fruit, and it really made me realise just how much sugar I eat even in the savoury thing that I eat.

The main meals and savoury items were very flavourful, again they weren't overly salted, and the seasoning and flavours were perfect for me personally. Something I really I really enjoyed about all the savoury dishes in particular was all the different textures, the crunch from the seeds and berries, to the different textures of the vegetables and pulses.

As I say purely based on food, and ignoring drinks etc. my total calorie count was 1500 or there or there abouts. What really surprised me was just how filling all of the meals actually were, I would normally eat more than 1500 calories a day, and I would usually feel a lot less full, and a lot less satisfied then I did over the course of these two. The quality of the food was really good and every aspect of each meal was really well thought out and I honestly didn't feel as though I was on a 'diet'.

The one drawback of Love Yourself unfortunately is the price,  as I say one days worth of vegetarian 1500 calorie meals is £25 but the more meals you order the more you save, and you can get 5 days worth for £115 and 4 weeks Monday to Friday for £460. You can cancel with 48 hours notice at anytime so you aren't tied in to any contracts, and you only get what you pay for.

It is pricy but you probably could say goodbye to that weekly shop, and the temptations that it brings. If you really are time poor, or energy poor, or if you're unable to cook for yourself though this is a really great idea to get good healthy, fresh food with the effort. I personally found that those two days really helped to think about food in a slightly different way, I still love cooking things from scratch but it's made think about ways that I can improve my own diet and way of eating, and it's a really good kickstart to a new healthy eating regime for me.

The Love Yourself website is full of advice, and information not only on how their plans work, but also generally on how to live better, and eat more healthily and more consciously, and if you want to try it for yourself you can use my link or quote Louise H at checkout for 20% off your first order. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll be back soon with another post x 

*This Post An Unpaid Advertisement For Love Yourself. Meals Were Provided For Review And Promotional Purposes. This Post All Contains 2 Affiliate Links And An Affiliate Discount Code

Monday 4 October 2021

Trimming My Stash - August 2021 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews*

Hi all, I hope you all had a good weekend x Mine to say the least was mixed, it started off on Friday when I had a whole host of technical problems, and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend!

Never mind though, my productivity increased as the weekend went on, and even though I didn't manage to post what I wanted to, I still managed to get my nail post up on Saturday night, and I managed to get this one, my August empties post, drafted yesterday.

Lanolips Antibacterial Hand Cream - 50ml
Nivea Q10 Multi Power 5 In 1 Firming + Cellulite Gel - 200ml
EOS Evolution Of Smooth Essential Hand Lotion - Berry Blossom - 44ml
Soap & Glory Melty Talented Dry Skin Balm - 30g
AVON Senses Winter Treasure Raspberry And Vanilla Liquid Soap - 250ml
BYBI Strawberry Booster - 15ml
Nair Wax Strips - Face - 12 Wax Strips
Beauty Pie Soul Providers Re-Energizing Dry Oil Sugar Scrub - 475g
Naobay Detox Illuminating Micellar Water - 200ml
Creightons Cocoa Butter Softening Hand Cream With Vitamin E - 50ml
Total - 10 Items

I know I hinted at it in my July empties post, but yes in August I secured the hat trick, and I managed to finish another 10 items! Again a nice mix of body and skin care products, with a few products that you've seen before and a few more bargain buys.

1. Lanolips Antibacterial Hand Cream - 50m

First up, the first of 3 hand creams in this post, and this one is from the dry skin specialists, Lanolips. If you haven't heard of this cult brand, where have you been? Lanolips is a beauty brand that is based on the power, and the healing properties of pure grade, cruelty free, lanolin.

Particularly famous for their lip balms, they've now branched out into skin care and body care. I think that I got this particular hand cream in a previous edition of Glossybox UK, and sadly, based on my own research, I think that it's now been discontinued.

This wasn't just a hand cream though, it was an antibacterial hand cream, so it was perfect for these germ obsessed times. Designed to condition and protect, this hand cream claimed to kill 99% of all germs whilst at the same time moisturising and protecting the hands.

With a creamy texture, this white hand cream had a really fresh, clean green, herbal scent that reminded me a bit of pine needles and fresh rosemary. It was fairly easy to massage into the skin, and it almost seemed as though it was coating the skin. It was a touch tacky at first but it did eventually absorb in to skin leaving the hands smooth and protected.

This really was the perfect hand cream for a COVID winter so it's a real shame that it seems to have been discontinued.

2. Nivea Q10 Multi Power 5 In 1 Firming + Cellulite Gel - 200ml

Okay, I can almost hear the words that you're currently shouting at your screen right now - something along the lines of "anti cellulite products are a scam" and you can't firm your thighs by rubbing in a cream" and yes I hear you, but I do actually really like this product!

Did I notice a visible difference in my cellulite within 3 weeks like Nivea claim? To be honest not visually but my skin on my bottom and thighs certainly feels smoother and softer, and I love the fresh, fruity scent of this turquoise gel, so I've bought a couple more tubes and I'm going to keep using.

The RRP of this product is £11.99 but I didn't pay that I was suckered in on a half price offer, so if you fancy trying this for yourself then keep an eye out in Superdrug, as this is often on offer for around £5.99 or on a buy one get one free.

3. eos - Evolution Of Smooth Essential Hand Lotion - Berry Blossom - 44ml

Next up another hand cream, and this one was another £1 bargain buy from Poundland. From another cult brand eos, Evolution Of Smooth, this is one of several different types of hand cream in their range.

Packaging innovators, this hand cream comes in an almost ergonomic style, easy to hold pod shaped tube, with a flip top cap.

Containing shea butter, aloe vera, cocoa and oat extracts, this fruity / floral scented hand cream is yellow in colour, and has a light, creamy texture. It's super quick to absorb and it leaves the hands feeling silky smooth and smelling heavenly.

I really loved this hand cream and I particularly loved the soft floral combined with fruit berry notes of the Berry Blossom scent, but whilst it feels good in the palm of your hand, the pod style packaging does make it quite difficult to get the product out. It's made of quite firm plastic so it isn't the easiest tube to squeeze, and it's also pretty hard to cut it open and get the last dregs of product out,

I do have another one of these also in Berry Blossom to use up, and I also have another one in the Fresh Flowers scent to try, but I would definitely consider buying it again in the future.

Despite seeing a few other eos products in Poundland recently, I haven't seen this particular hand cream for quite a while now, but if you fancy trying this one for yourself. you can pick it up for around £2.99 from various places including eBay, Amazon, Direct Cosmetics, and Beauty Outlets.

4. Soap & Glory Melty Talented Dry Skin Balm - 30g

With Christmas on its way, it shouldn't be too long before the Boots Christmas Gift Guide is out. It's definitely one the signs for me that Christmas is on its way, and I love nothing more than reverting back to childhood and circling the things that I want, and trying to work out what this years Star Gifts are going to be.

The next empty that I am going to share with you is a product from one of the famous Soap & Glory Star Gifts, and like so many of the original Soap & Glory products this one too appears to have been discontinued.

Packaged in a retro style, metal tin, this multi use dry skin balm contained a combination of coconut and almond oils, mango butter, and vitamin E as well as wheatgerm and castor seed oils.

With a semi solid texture, this natural yellow balm, with a subtle vanilla / coconut scent, melts on contact with the skin. Being a multi use balm you could pretty much use this anywhere that needed a bit of extra moisture, from your lips, to your knees and elbows, the ends of your hair, and to your hands and cuticles.

I mainly used this as a cuticle treatment and as a hand moisturiser. You only needed a tiny fingernail size amount for all 10 nails, a little went a very long way. It felt very moisturising, and obviously a touch oily, but at the same time it didn't feel too heavy or sticky. It took a little while to absorb but the skin immediately looked more hydrated and glowy.

This was a really nice hand and cuticle product, and I can imagine that it would have been great for dry patches or for people with generally drier skin. I know this particular product retailed at around £5 but as I say it's out of stock on the Soap & Glory website, and I can't find it at all on the Boots website, so it look as though it's gone for good. 

5. AVON Senses Winter Treasure Raspberry And Vanilla Liquid Soap - 250ml

Next up another hand care product and this time it's a liquid hand soap. Although I've been using a lot of Carex hand washes lately, I'm a huge fan of a lot of the seasonal fragrances in the AVON Senses range, and also of their Care range, and this one Winter Treasure Raspberry And Vanilla, was I think for either last year or the year before.

Bright red in colour, it wasn't the most outwardly festive scent that I've ever smelled, instead it had more of a warm fruity scent.

Alas this particular scent has now been discontinued (although you might still find the odd product on eBay) but I just had a look at the latest AVON book and this years festive shower gel and hand wash scent is Gingerbread. I do love me some gingerbread scents so I'm definitely going to be ordering myself both a hand wash and a shower gel.

6. BYBI Strawberry Booster - 15ml

The next item on the list is the first of two products that I received in the January 2020 edition of Glossybox UK, and you can read my full review here

I don't really have too much to add to my original review - I still feel that it was very much a seasonal product for someone like me with a more oily skin, and I'm still disappointed that it didn't have more of a strawberry scent, it smelled quite oily, and that scent only got stronger the longer the bottle was open. Personally I don't think that I'd repurchase this product but if you have a drier skin especially in the winter months that this could be something to try.

7. Nair Wax Strips - Face - 12 Wax Strips

If you read my June 2021 empties post then you'll have already seen me raving about these bargain priced wax strips, and about what a revelation they've been in my life! Again not too much to add other than I still love them and I'm going to keep buying them for as long as Poundland stock them!

8. Beauty Pie Soul Providers Re-Energizing Dry Oil Sugar Scrub - 475g

Now I'm not going to go into too much depth about Beauty Pie here as I have a few first impressions posts coming soon, but if you aren't familiar with it, it's basically a membership service, that allows you to buy high end products under the Beauty Pie brand, without the marks ups, and advertising costs of designer and high end brands.

After a friend bought me a few bits for Christmas, I signed up for my own membership at the end of December, this is one of the first products that I bought.

I'm a huge body scrub junkie and I'm obsessed with trying new ones, so it made perfect senses that I would try one of the two body scrubs that Beauty Pie offer as one of first items.

The one that I went for was the Beauty Pie Soul Providers Re-Energizing Dry Oil Sugar Scrub, which contains Demerara sugar, sea salt, lemon peel sweet almost oil, apricot kernel oil, evening primrose oil, Indian gooseberry extract, holy basil, black pepper, and cedrat lemongrass fragrance.  It also cruelty free and vegan.

It comes boxed and as well as the tub of scrub itself, you also get a lovely Beauty Pie branded, wooded scoop to stir and scoop out the scrub,

Peel back the protective seal and you're greeted with quite a coarse sugar and salt scrub containing smaller darker particles, including tiny pieces of lemon peel, with a layer of oil on top. You need to give it a stir first to mix the oil into the sugar mix, then you just scoop it out and massage it into the skin in circular motions before rinsing it away.

On the Louise scrubby scale this is quite a scrubby scrub, there is a lot of texture to it, and you really feel as though you've had a thorough spa like exfoliation every time you use it. The high oil content stops it from being too harsh though, and when you've rinsed the scrub away the oil almost turns into a milk, leaving the skin feeling almost glass like smooth and moisturised.

Oh and did I mention the scent? Look at the ingredients list and imagine the scent and you're probably thinking along the right lines; it smells beautifully spa like with a real citrus hit of lemongrass - gorgeous and both refreshing and relaxing!

This is by one of the best, if not the best body scrubs that I've ever used, it smells gorgeous. it's really scrubby, and it leaves the skin super soft - it therefore goes without saying that I've already bought another pot. In fact I love this product so much that this scrub alone has justified my Beauty Pie membership.

Beauty Pie members pay £10.37 for this 475g tub, which has a typical recommended retail price of £50. If you want to try Beauty Pie for yourself then you can use my personal recommendation link here or type LOUISE_HOLLOW into the recommended by a friend box when you sign up, for £10 off your first order, and because Beauty Pie are nice like that I'll get £10 off my next order too, so I guess that's an #affiliatelink :)  

If you're interested in finding out more about my experience so far with Beauty Pie then make sure you stay following my blog to see my first impressions make up hauls, which should be up sometime in the next few weeks x 

9. Naobay Detox Illuminating Micellar Water - 200ml

Next up another skincare product, and like the BYBI Beauty Strawberry Booster, this product also came in the January 2020 edition of Glossybox UK, and again you can read a full review here

This product I guess sums up one of my frustrations with Glossybox, I potentially would have repurchased quite a few more products that I've been introduced to by Glossybox, including this one, but so many things are just too hard to find, even with the entire internet at your disposal, which is a real shame.

10. Creightons Cocoa Butter Softening Hand Cream With Vitamin E - 50ml

Finally we have another hand cream, and this one was another bargain buy, this time from Home Bargains. Established in 1954, Creightons are an award winning British company who design, create and manufacture a wide range of 100% cruelty free, skin care, hair care, body care, and wellbeing products.

As you know I love me some cocoa butter, so I couldn't resist giving this hand cream a try. Containing cocoa seed butter and vitamin E, this hand cream comes packaged in a metal look, plastic paint style tube. The product inside is creamy white in colour, and it has a light but dense creamy texture. Rather than the true chocolate, vanilla scent of cocoa butter, this hand cream has a much subtler almost vanilla yogurt type scent.

It was really easy to massage into the skin and it seemed to absorb quite quickly, leaving the skin smooth, and looking and feeling more hydrated.

For around £1 I would definitely consider buying either this one, or one of the other fragrances in the range such as argan or coconut again. I got mine in Home Bargains for around £1 but you can also buy it direct from Creightons for around £1.29.

So they were my August empties, and it was another solid performance with 10 empties. Could I do better in September? Well believe it or not I could! My September empties post will be up in a week or so, but in the meantime if you have any questions on any of the items in this post then please leave me a comment and I'll see you later this week with another post x 

*This Post Contains  Automatic Affiliate, Added Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links And Promotional Codes

Saturday 2 October 2021

Nails Of The Day - Morgan Taylor Platinum - Disco Days

Okay, slight change of plan! The Foodie Friday post that I promised you will now go live next Friday, and in the meantime I will have another empties post that will go up on Monday, and today I've got a nails of the day post for you and it's another holo!

Although I think I've showed you a few Morgan Taylor polishes in previous haul posts and advent calendar unboxing this is the first time I've tried one properly on the blog. If you haven't heard of them before, Morgan Taylor is a US based professional nail polish brand, with other 30 years of experience in the nail business. As well as been known for their innovative colours, and textures, they are also cruelty free, and formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP free.

From their 2018 Platinum collection, this polish, Disco Days, like all of Morgan Taylor's other lacquers comes in a custom designed bottle, which is specially designed with deeper and clearer glass so you see the colour bottle and you can see exactly what you are buying.

Inspired by radiant gems and minerals from the earth, all of the polishes in the platinum range were infused with rare and precious elements which is exactly what this polish reminds me of.

Officially described as 'green holographic' for me it's more of a blue / green, almost turquoise shade which is crammed full of fabulous multi coloured holographic sparkle, which changes in the light and when you move your hands. It's almost impossible to capture just how beautiful this polish actually is but the above photographs are taken in natural light, and all of the photographs below are taken with the camera flash, so you can hopefully just some of the shifts in colour and sparkle.

Like all Morgan Taylor polishes Disco Days, has a lightweight, easy to control, and easy to hold cap but  since this colour was from a special and more luxurious range, it has a gorgeous shiny, chrome, silver lid. The brush inside is quite short, which again makes it easy to control, it's quite a wide brush and it has a curved top which fits the cuticle perfectly.

It was really easy to paint with and to control, and it only took one or two stripes to cover my nails. The first coat was a little bit streaky on some nails, so I went for my usual two coats. The finish as you can see is super smooth and shiny even without a top coat.

When it comes to wear time, holographic polishes can work in one of two ways, like the original GOSH Holographic they can only last for around 24 hours without chipping, or they can go on for ever, and thankfully this particular lacquer fell in the second category. Even with no top coat I got a full week out of this polish before I started to see the odd chip and a bit of tip wear, and I've currently got it on my toes and despite being nearly two weeks in, it still looks decent!

Is there such a thing as the perfect nail polish? I'm not sure if there is but for me this one is pretty damn close! It was a dream to paint, the brush and formulations was perfect, the wear time was fantastic, and the colour and finish was to die for. I'm so, so happy with this colour that I've already ordered another polish or two from the Platinum collection, and I'm going to be digging out a few of my previously ignored Morgan Taylor polishes to try. Although it's a few years old now Morgan Taylor Platinum - Disco Days is still available online - although the RRP is £11.50 for a 15ml bottle, you can get it for around £8.63 from eBay, Amazon, and from Nail Polish Direct. If you love holographic polishes like I do then you need this one in your life! I've currently got two awful nails on my main photograph hand, but once they grow up a little bit more, I've got a whole load more nails of the day posts planned including some more holos from Maggie Ann, OPI, Nails Inc, and A-England, as well as a whole load of other creams, shimmers and glitters x So if you like nail polishes and nail posts make sure your subscribed x