AA Skin Care Products

I’ve not come across AA Skincare before but I’m glad I have as they have over 30 years experiences of sourcing essential oils and natural ingredients and their products are cruelty free (of course) and affordable.

Seaweed & Aloe refreshing Eye Gel £6.96 50ml

 

image

When I read that this contained seaweed and Aloe – two of my favourite natural and effective ingredients – I couldn’t wait to try this. I also love the fact that this is a cleanser as well as just an eye gel. I’ve been applying it to under and around my eyes with gentle taps using my ring finger (I keep the bottle in the salad crisper in my fridge) for four days and here are the results.

Before on the left and after on the right.

P1050932 P1050887

I haven’t noticed a difference on the firmness of the skin on my brow bone (I guess that’s just the shape of my eyes) but as you can see it’s definitely helped my saggy bags! Who else besides me has ‘cheek bags’ seriously? I still have little grooves in the corners put no where near as much puffiness. I’ve started using this gel as a face cleanser when wearing very light make up and I like the overall effect and refreshing feel. The cleanser wiped away my (non waterproof) mascara easily and didn’t sting my very sensitive eyes at all.

  • The pump dispenses the perfect controlled amount
  • Refreshing, soothing and toning
  • Removes light makeup and mascara
  • Huge value for money
  • Gentle for sensitive eyes and skin

Rating 5/5

Bergamot & Chamomile Cleansing Face Gel £5.94 for 100ml

I used this with my electric facebrush and I was pleased to see that it cleansed without massively foaming up. I noticed that I had less redness and dryness than I have in the past after using some other cleansers.

Rating 5/5

P1050811

Bergamot & Chamomile Moisturising Face Lotion £6.96 for 100ml

I used this after the cleansing face gel. This is a very light lotion which I really liked as it didn’t swamp my pores or make my skin feel tacky, plus I could apply foundation over the top as it sunk in quickly. It also combatted any remaining redness I had. The only problem I found after using the two products together in this humid UK Summer weather, was that by teatime my skin looked and felt greasy. The next day I used a primer on my T-zone and the problem was solved. Best for normal or mildly combination skin but not in humidity!

Rating 4/5

 

Get Some Kicks Out Of Life

Get Some Kicks Out Of Life
Even the token white pair has some colour on it, ha! Never boring!
Which one’s are your faves?

Posh Pickles and Preserves yummm…

If you look in my fridge you will find that’s it’s 80% full of sauces and pickles. I get a lot of takeaways or fresh food that I eat that day so I’ve ended up being a bit of a condiment queen instead! So I was pleased to review a big selection of little jars from independent company Posh Pickles and Preserves.

Posh Pickles and Preserves Posh Pickles and Preserves

The company consists of Steph and Rob who grows some of the ingredients on his allotment. The range includes jams, chutneys, pickles and sauces with 12oz & 80oz jar sizes available, plus they also do delightful little wedding favours with traditionally printed cloths and bows.

Posh Pickles and PreservesPosh Pickles and Preserves

Sa va Turong ot (I’m sorry I’ve massacred the pronunciation but I don’t know how to do the accents over the letters) this is a Vietnamese sauce that would work brilliant as a base for stir fry or a marinade. The complex flavour is tangy and unique, yet traditionally Vietnamese.

Raspberry and Redcurrant Jam OMG this is heavenly! Ate it all, with a spoon – yup.

Salsa Borracha – Drunken Sauce This a classic Spanish cooking sauce which is seriously hot! I love hot food but oh my gosh! I would only use a little of this in place of an actual chilli. I think The Bloke best handle this one.

Claret, Red Onion, and Balsamic Relish For a moment I thought this relish was rather plain and then a wonderfully deep and rounded flavour became apparent. Not too sweet and not too sharp. Perfect on my spinach and riccotta pizza!

P1050918

Balsamic Shallots Tiny onions in balsamic vinegar, perfect for posh salads, with cheese and crackers or on a sandwich. The balsamic vinegar is sweet and less harsh on the tongue compared to some other vinegars used for pickling.

Fiery Chilli Extra Jam I love the name ‘Extra Jam’ and it is definitely extra. The Bloke asked me if this was more fiery or more jam. I’d say it’s a 50/50 split. This reminded me of a spicy sweet tomato chutney. Steph and Rob suggest this will go well with mature stilton or as a base for sweet and sour sauce.

Bloody Mary Chutney I got as far as putting this on one piece of toast and then I just had to dive in with a spoon! This tastes exactly like a Bloody Mary cocktail and not a virgin one either. I loved the big chunks of tomato in this – I just wish that I’d had some celery to dip.

P1050902

 

Steph has had kidney failure so Posh Pickles and Preserves donate a £1 from the sale of each Tangy Braeburn Apple Chutney to the National Kidney Federation. I think is a wonderful idea, one which more companies should do in their own way.

I’ve been gifted these items for review, which in no way effects my opinion – as always.

Which one’s do you fancy trying?

Chrissie xx

Competition & Review of Clariel by Garth Nix (fantasy)

Clariel is the fourth book in Garth Nix’s popular Old Kingdom trilogy. I haven’t read the others but as this is a prequel to the other three so I found it didn’t matter. Scroll down to win a copy of your own!

 

 

About

Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. In Belisaere Clariel is forced to follow plans, plots and demands so she must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her – and it is herself she must question most of all. It seems that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating. With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape.

My thoughts about the story and characters (no spoilers)

I read Clariel for five hours with only tiny breaks in between. This is the longest a book has ever captured my attention! I love fantasy as long as it’s not too cliched with cheesy dialogue and too many elves and dwarves running about the forest. Clariel is set vey much in it’s own time and land so the characters, the city and the story have a timeless – at times almost contemporary feel. Nix has a way of effortlessly creating a scene in the readers mind that does not interfere with the pacing of the dialogue or the progression of the narrative.

P1050905

Clariel is a strong and determind protagonist but she also has her flaws (some of which she is even aware of) so she becomes an increasingly complex character. At first I wasn’t sure if the book had a fairly week premise: Catch creature, return home a hero but I was as naive as Clariel at that point! The supporting characters range from the sweet and surprisingly brave Bel, the cold hearted Guildmaster Kilp, Clariels strong willed mother and the slithery Moggart. There is magic all through this book which lies within people, swords and stone rather than wands which I was pleased about if I’m being honest. I also liked the way this book dealt with good and bad intentions and how the line between such opposites can easily become blurred. Here’s what other fans thought.

To sum up

Warning: There are no ‘real’ dragons featured – the cover is cleverly deceiving. This is a YA (young adult) book but I’ve leant it to my bloke who’s really looking forward to reading it. I really don’t think it matters what age you are as the narrative doesn’t stay in the classroom for very long before it escapes outward to places far beyond.

Win a copy of Clariel below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I was gifted this book to review which does not shape my opinion of it.

Dr Cabello Argan Oil Treatment

If you regularly read this blog you will know that I have thick, coarse and rather wild hair, if not, you do now. Dominican Haircare were kind enough to send me a big tub of Argan Oil Treatment to try out, which as you can see looks rather like custard but smells wonderful! It contains essential fatty acids, Omegas 3 & 6 as well as Vitamin E.

P1050719

You can use this as a deep conditioner and leave in for ten minutes with hair wrapped in a turban or shower cap as I did and you can use a little sparingly on very damp hair as a curl cream. I did both. I used a blob a quarter the size of my palm in the shower, then a slightly smaller amount worked into very damp hair where it’s dyed as it’s naturally frizzier anyway.

Before using the treatment

(It was due for a wash so there’s some natural oil, rather than the usual fluff I get straight after washing)

P1050851 P1050829

After using the treatment

P1050763 P1050774

I couldn’t believe how defined my waves looked (my hair is completely dry in these photo’s) and it was so soft and shiny! I’ve also noticed that I’m not shedding as much hair as I used to throughout the day so my hair must be stronger after just one treatment. I only need to wash my hair every two weeks so this 16 oz tub will last me ages!

PicMonkey Collage

Rating 5/5 

 

Chrissie xx

 

Simple ‘Mexican Hummus’ Recipe

I know that lemon humous is really refreshing with salad on hot days but for anyone experiencing cold or cloudy weather, here is some spicy ‘comfort hummus’.

Gluten and Dairy Free

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 15.37.31

Image Donovan Govan

Ingredients

200g Chickpeas (standard tin when drained but save water for later)

1 small Lime

1 teaspoons of Garlic Paste

1 teaspoons Ground Cumin (not essential)

100ml Tahini

5 tablespoons Chickpea Water

4 tablespoons Virgin Olive Oil

2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika

1 1/2 Pinches ( measuring spoon ‘pinch’) of Salt

1 Pinch of Sugar

Method

Chuck everything into a blender and blend until smooth.

Scrape hummus of the blender and put into a container, which will take longer than making the actual humous!

To Serve

With bean falafel, roasted yellow peppers and tomatoes, warm pita, crackers, bread sticks or biscuits. Basically anything that’s heavy on the carbs or your version of comfort food.

Enjoy!

Do you have your own version of hummus?

Chrissie xx

Wedge You Say?

Wedge You Say?
If you want a little lift there’s a wedge here for every occasion. The flowery one’s are my faves because they are cute, quirky and I could walk in them!

20 Things That Make Me Happy

So this post was going to be called ‘Shizzle I’m The Bizzle At’ but then I figured listing shit I’m the business at was a bit narcissistic and not very relatable so I’m going down a more Pollyanna route. th

  1.  Sunshine! Even if it’s the deceiving kind that’s really weak and it’s cold, I don’t care so much if it’s sunny.
  2. ‘Foreign’ take-aways which ignore most English bank holidays and even Sundays and stay open until 11.00am.
  3. Silly TV series. Reading makes me incredibly tired as does trying to store and compute complicated things which I’ve read. Jane The Virgin, Bob’s Burgers and The Mindy Project are much less challenging!
  4. Flowers, wether they are in a vase, in a forest or along the side of the motorway, they genuinely brighten my day. I’m resisting the urge for bad poetry here.
  5. That camera’s exist. My memory is so bad that I find it wonderful to look back on all the fun times I’ve had with people and the details of places that I would have forgotten about otherwise.
  6. Animals. I think it’s amazing that there are so many other species on the planet. Imagine if somehow it were just us – urgh!  It’s also very relaxing adding cute animals to my Pinterest board before I go to sleep.438834252a6ca6128725e9995279baad
  7. A great big bear hug from a bloke – one that I’ve met several times obviously! A backwards one especially when my back or shoulders are aching as it kind of straightens me out.
  8. My wonderful friends, family and the bloke. I couldn’t have done it without them, and by ‘it’ I mean life so far. They can be supportive, annoying and make me laugh all in one sentence!
  9. My laptop and the internet. As I don’t have a smart phone I’d feel rather cut off from ‘the outside’ world, which is ironic as I spend hours indoors using it, more than I probably should. As a teen I always envisaged I’d be writing away on a laptop on my knee eventually.
  10. The sea air or how the countryside smells after it’s rained.
  11. Waking up before my alarm goes off so it seems like I’m having a little lie in.
  12. Kindness – when a stranger goes out of their way to help me in any way.
  13. Feeling exhausted and going into the bedroom expecting to have to make the bed and realising I made it all neat with fresh sheets that day.
  14. Halloween, as there’s always a chance that I’ll get to dress up and do crazy makeup!
  15. Successfully making the perfect pizza and not dropping any into my cleavage.
  16. Writing, especially looking back at my newly published blog post and finding that it’s exactly the way I planned it in my head and replying to lovely comments. Also writing a successful pitch to a brand and getting an email from them asking me to choose an item – yay! See Christmas below…
  17. Christmas. Nostalgia, fairy lights, presents, cards, lots of comfort food and more fairy lights!
  18. Thunder and lightning storms when I’m in a cozy room with big windows.
  19. Being high up in a safe environment and looking down/across a landscape. So peaceful.
  20. Making lists :oD

Which one’s strike accord with you? 

Chrissie xx

OOTD Breezy Summer’s Day

It was breezy , it was sunny, there were big patches of cloud and frankly I had no idea what the weather was going to do from one minute to the next. All I knew was that I was determined to look summery.

P1050724

 

Earrings – Nude Jewellery 

Shirt – Matalan (old but similar from M&Co. here)

Vest – M&S

Bag – Florence and Fred

Skirt – Matalan (old but similar from New Look here)

Shoes – Topshop

P1050730

P1050727

The Chain Reaction earrings were kindly handmade for me by Nude Jewellery. I love how contemporary they look and how versatile they are. The linked up chains obviously work well with a tough urban look but they also look elegant paired with a little black dress and also add an edge to simple daytime outfits like this one. What would you wear them with?

Chrissie xx

Pore Tightening Vitamin C Facial Toner by Insta Natural

When I read the name Pore Tightening Vitamin C Facial Toner (£17.95) it definitely got my attention! Like so many other women as a teen I used harsh toners that stripped any natural oils my skin had and as an adult I’ve used gentler toners that smell fresh and zingy but don’t do very much. I’ve never used one which is so pro-active, gentle and with a delicate rose scent.

insta natural vitamin C facial toner

Info

Vitamin C to renew skin and neutralise free radicals to minimize UV damage

Witch Hazel’s for it’s astringent properties which reduces the oil and tightens your pores

Sulfur which works with other ingredients to increase skin’s elasticity.

Balances the PH levels of skin so it’s primed to absorb facial oils and moisturisers.

Pro’s

  • I used this product for a week and found after the first time that my skin broke out a little but this was because of the witch hazel drawing out underlying impurities, which I was glad about.
  • After a week my pores do look tighter and my skin is balanced. My skin could have easily gotten freaked out after a mixed week of sun cream applications one day and drying central heating the next!
  • I’ve noticed my facial oil is sinking in quicker and not just sitting on the surface or pooling in my pores.
  • My skin goes to bed happy and refreshed rather than dry or red after using this toner.
  • It’s so refreshing and uplifting to use if you feel hot and tired and/or stressed. My Mum kept on nicking it throughout the day and even used it on her feet!
  • Thanks to the witch hazel it also removes daily grime, tinted BB creams/very light foundation and even toned down my over zealous application of fake tan! If you are going to be lazy and use it as a quick cleanser (be honest, we all do it when we are really tired and ready for bed) I suggest four close sprays and then wiping with a cotton pad.

Con’s

  • You might want to avoid if you don’t like your face products scented. I wouldn’t say I have very sensitive skin but it can get irritated and this was really neutral.

To be honest, sometimes I’d wonder if using toner was really a necessary step in my skincare regime. Now I get it! As you know I’m a big fan of Insta Natural products, here’s a review of their Retinol moisturiser, their Vitamin C moisturiser and Rose water toner, their Eye serum and Retinol serums.

Chrissie xx