Monday, 23 May 2016

My one simple trick for drinking tons more water...

Tiresome but true, drinking tons of water is good for your skin. But, considering you need water for your survival, it's incredibly easy to forget to drink water throughout the day. 

So here is the one thing that's keeping me gulping down H20 at the moment: steel straws. Of course, you could use any kind of straws, but these will hopefully last for years (if I look after them). They were a gift from my sister after I enviously coveted her's. I planned to make Instagram worthy green smoothies artfully adorned with these eco reusable straws. But my Mason jar fantasy didn't really translate to everyday life, so they remained in the cutlery drawer, untouched, for several months (sorry Sarah!). 

But after Dan became sick, a huge glass jar filled with water and a metal straw seemed like a viable option, and I started thinking about using them properly. Turns out, drinking water with a straw helps you to drink lots more. You can make it as pretty as possible: read this post on my tips to make water more interesting. Or you can just keep it simple. 

My other two top tips for drinking more water: huge glass jars and steel drinking bottles. Glass jars have a hipster reputation, but they're about three times bigger than a regular tumbler, and that means you drink more water, without realising. I take a steel bottle to work and refill it throughout the day.

Oh, and a squeeze of fresh lemon makes everything better, too. 

My new favourite balm deodorant looks like avocado mousse...Living Naturally review

I love a good balm deodorant, but sometimes it can be a little tiresome rubbing in a cream into your armpits first thing in the morning, whilst still half asleep and with a mouth full of toothpaste. 

That's why I love this organic deodorant cream by Living Naturally. The texture is like a whipped avocado mousse - so incredibly light, and actually a pale pistachio green too! It is really soft and moisturising on the skin, and the scent is quite unisex: the citrus tone is made deeper and more herbal with the ylang essential oils - I love it, and Dan commented on how much he liked the fragrance too. If you're more into sweet florals you might not love this - opt for the fragrance free version instead.

It's a blend of coconut oil, sesame seed oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, soapnut fruit extract, olive oil, sodium bicarbonate, arrowroot powder, rosemary extract, vitamin E, lemon essential oil, grapefruit essential oil and ylang ylang essential oil. Bicarb of soda won't work if you have really sensitive skin, but a kind reader told me that if you apply a layer of coconut oil first, then it can help with the sensitivity. This may sound like a lot of faff, but if you're the type of person that showers in the morning, then a balm deodorant is perfect just after you step out of the shower - it will melt into your skin instantly. As a formula, I find it smooth rather than sticky, but I would still leave it on for a few minutes before dressing. It also comes with a little wooden spatula, if you are concerned about dabbing your fingertips into a pot of cream.

Living Naturally are a wonderful British brand that infuse their products with soapnuts. They are cruelty free and vegan, and have some real hidden gems - this is one of them. 


My Weekend in Pictures....our first summer picnic, cacay face oil and halva

I've spent lots of time last week leafing through The Sartorialist book - it's a collection of street style photography and I find it endlessly inspiring. 

I had a really good weekend - on Friday I went out with a couple of friends and had pizza with grilled aubergines and lots of red wine. I've discovered a great wine bar in Oxford - it's decorated like a coffee shop - lots of exposed walls, copper tables and retro light fittings. 

Saturday was a grey sort of day, so I did lots of ironing, and watched My Week with Marilyn.


After a breakfast of berries - our cupboards are bare - we decided to walk along the river into town and have a picnic. 

I wore a lilac linen cardigan by Massimo Dutti (eBay) and a loose navy vest top with copper bead embroidery and coral jeans. I'm also wearing gold hoops and my Rodgers & Rodgers necklace with my vintage rucksack. 

Our picnic! Well, this was mostly my half, as Dan had a less than photogenic sandwich, carton of milk and chocolate croissant. I had wholemeal pitta with hummus, coconut and water melon juice, and fresh strawberries. 

I also popped into Holland and Barrett looking for some sweet treats. We both tried this Coco Libre dairy free chocolate - I was mostly enticed by the packaging. It's okay, but not quite as creamy as regular chocolate, so it's probably not worth it unless you can't have dairy. 

Don't you think that daisies are the friendliest flowers? 

Our feast! I also picked up some honey Halva from Holland and Barrett - this is a Greek dessert that I've never tried before. The only ingredients are sesame seeds and honey - it's so delicious! If you like sweet things and tahini then you'll love this. 

As we were walking home I saw this college - I love the contrast of coloured glass with the older building behind.

I also love this wisteria.

I've been really into clay masks at the moment. This is a new acquisition from iHerb - it's the European Clay Powder by Now. This is a really tightening mask, but I think I need to mix it with a face oil - it made my skin really flushed afterwards. 

During the week Love Lula sent me a sample of this Ooh Cacay Face Oil - it's gorgeous and I've been slathering my skin in it every night. I love the nutty scent. 

The good thing about running out of milk? Rediscovering my current favourite herbal teas - this English Tea Shop calming blend is Soil Association organic, and has liquorice and lavender, so is really sweet and aromatic. 

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

If you're not into cleansing balms yet, this one might convince you: Botanicals Cleansing Melt Rose & Camellia review

I completely understand why cleansing balms can see somewhat alarming. If you have blemish prone skin, smearing the texture equivalent of butter into your face seems contradictory. 

But trust me. It a) feels amazing and b) is wonderful for most skin types and c) is fantastic at taking your makeup off. 

Botanicals are a British vegan brand, who are certified organic by the Soil Association. Their  Cleansing Melt with Rose & Camilla has a base of sunflower, coconut, sesame and castor oil mixed with green tea leaf extract, corn flour, rose geranium flower, lavender and ylang ylang flower oils, with palmarosa. It has a gorgeous texture: think of a softer version of coconut oil. Botanicals also suggest mixing with a little floral water (such as rose) if you prefer a milkier texture. It's also worth knowing whether coconut oil works on your skin or not - some can find it comedoenic - however it works perfectly for me. 

My favourite way to use a cleansing balm is to remove makeup after a long day in the city. I spritz my face with rosewater, then massage a small amount of the balm into my skin. I soak a cotton flannel in hot water, and wring it out. I then place the flannel over my face, so that the steam and cleansing balm can mix, before finally removing the rest of the product. It's like a mini facial and makeup remover in one, and afterwards my skin feels so soft.

Finally to the packaging: a little glass pots and bottles with labels in ice cream shades. I've received the smaller size (55g) and I think I prefer it to the full size version - it's so cute, and would be prefect for travel.

So: cleansing balms. Are you a complete convert or still reluctant?

£19.50 for 55g

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

April Favourites: natural beauty, skincare & strawberry tea!

The five natural and organic beauty products that I would buy from Waitrose

Waitrose is my spiritual home. I love the wide aisles, gentle lighting and healthy hipster foods. I also love scouring natural and organic beauty treats: and there are a wealth of hidden gems on their shelves. 

1. The Little Soap Company Pure English Lavender Organic Bubble Bath - this is a new find. I really like their simple bar soaps, and this bubble bath is a wonderful weekday treat: the scent is classic lavender and it gives you proper, lavish bubbles, and because it is so affordable (£6.99) I don't feel guilty about putting a generous glug into my bath tub. 

2. Child's Farm Organic Strawberry and Mint Shampoo. I discovered this range through Rachel from All Natural Aspirations - she has spoke highly of them for ages. I bought this on whim, because I wanted an affordable shampoo (which they are:£3.99). The packaging is perhaps slightly more suited to children, but I absolutely love the scent - it's the sweetest strawberry, and reminds me of the Loreal No More Tangles range I used when I was a child - but better. The only downside is that I feel I use lots of product and zip through the bottle too quickly. 

3. Green People Gentle Cleanse & Make Up Remover. I've only seen the Green People range in selected Waitrose stores, but I love their skincare and suncreams, so would always pick up a bottle. One of my firm favourites is their Gentle Cleanse & Makeup Remover: it has a gentle scent and formula, but is creamy and rich enough to feel luxurious. It's a wonderful skincare basic, and comes in a 200ml bottle, so will last for ages. 

4. One of my most well used and versatile beauty products is this bottle of food grade Olivado Avocado oil. I've been raving about this stuff on my blog for years, and I still use it daily. It's fair trade, organic, and six pounds will buy you a huge bottle, which is much better than prettily packaged face oils from other organic brands. My favourite ways to use this are mixed in with natural liquid soap as a D.I.Y shaving gel, and mixed in with conditioner as a leave-in hair mask. But you could also use a cleanser, or a moisturiser. 

5. Natracare tampons. I see no reason not to use organic tampons - there's hardly any different in price, and it just makes sense (read this post for a more detailed review). Natracare are one of my favourite brands, and it's handy to be able to pick them up in the supermarket.

Even if it's a supermarket I can't afford to shop in.