I cannot quite believe that this is the last beauty box for 2016! After that it will be 2017! Crikey!
This last LoveLula Beauty Box - the December box* thankfully has ended the year with a bang by being my personal favourite of all the boxes I've had this year! Why? Well because it had the most varied of products.
Coming from a beauty blogger I know it probably quite weird to admit I've never used a sugar scrub before so this has me really intrigued. Also peppermint is one of my favourite scents. I think this sub will be quite refreshing and revitalising, ideal to prep before fake tanning. PHB is a brand that features quite heavily in the LoveLula boxes and has offered quite a range of different products to explore. This scrub is another part of they wide range.
How super exciting to receive a natural perfume in this box! I've never actively bought a natural perfume as I'm always conscious that I might not like it and feel like it was a wasted purchase. However getting it in a box, forces your hand and make you more adventurous. I could have chosen my scent but I decided to have it as a random surprise. I got the Bergamot scent, which I think is more of a grower than an immediate hit with me, but it's opened my mind up to trying more natural perfumes.

This is a nice little mini to have included in the box. I'm never wowed by argan oils, but miniature samples like this are always handy to have to take travelling. Argan oil is a good all purpose product to have in your stash.
A really interesting product for a beauty box. I love when different products like this pop up unexpectedly. I'm not sure how much faith I put into 'beauty teas' but I do love a good cup of tea and this blend of strawberry and ginger smells incredible - I hope it tastes as good too! Beauty Brews are a new addition to LoveLula and it's great to see the brand introduced in the box. I also love to see the word of organic teas expanding.
I'm a huge fan of MADARA and their Time Miracle range so one more product added to my stash gets no complaint from me! I've been focusing a lot lately on using night creams and treatments as I feel like it's the best time to give my a skin a pamper seeing as I'm not wearing makeup throughout the night. I'm almost at the end of my current night cream so this will be the next product on my night stand.
Update: This product wasn't actually part of the December box- it was a lovely little extra!
PHB NATURAL EYELINER - BROWN
Last but not least, this is my favourite of all the products included in this box. I have the PHB liquid eyeliner in Black and really love it and to get the brown version is brilliant. It's surprising how a colour can really change up your look and I have a lot of makeup ideas planned for this little beauty. Natural liquid eyeliners are notoriously are to find so this is a real winner of a product to receive.

LoveLula Beauty box // December

Christmas has come and gone in a blink of an eye and New Years is fast approaching! I actually can't believe how fast time flies sometimes! I'm not a huge fan of New Years in terms of resolutions or fresh starts but I do love an excuse to get all glam. My everyday makeup is pretty neutral and lately has been simplified even more, however for New Year I feel like I have the perfect opportunity to go bold and brave with my makeup. 
I was kindly sent the Living Nature Smokey Eye Kit*, which, as its name suggests is the perfect set of products to create a super smokey eye. Now, I was intending to create a subtle smokey eye demonstrated in the Living Nature demo video on YouTube, but then things took a turn for the more dramatic. 
I'm no makeup artist and thought I should use some tutorials for guidance but I just kept finding that all the tutorials using 'green/ clean' makeup were subtle and I wanted more 'glam'. So somewhere along the way I threw caution to the wind and went pretty all out on the eye makeup. This is what I ended up with...
As I said I'm not a makeup artist, guru or even very confident in my makeup skills so I just gave it a go and hoped for the best. I kept this look all about the eyes and paired it with a neutral lip, but I also think this would look really striking with a bold red lip too, or vamp it up with a dark cherry / berry hue.
The Living Nature Smokey Eye Kit that I used includes three eyeshadow shades in Slate (matte black),   Glacier (shimmery grey silver) and Sand (matte warm toned nude) along with their Jet Black Thickening Mascara and Midnight Eye Pencil.
To create this more bold version of a smokey eye I started with an eye primer and then swept the matte nude eyeshadow in Sand over my whole lid. To guide the shape of the wing I wanted I traced the outline with the Midnight eye pencil through my crease and winged it out to the sides. I buffed and blended this out to remove the harsh line. This pencil has both strong colour payoff and staying power along with ease of blending without it being so creamy that it just smears away. 
Next I filled the inner third of my eye with the Glacier shadow and the outer third with Slate. To make the wing bolder and darker I used the Midnight pencil to create and fill in the outer wing then smoked it out with a fluffy brush and topped with Slate again to build up the colour. 
I slowly blended the Slate shadow more into the centre of the eye and then really built up the silver Glacier shadow to give more impact. To make the silver Glacier shadow really pop, I used a damp brush to apply it which gave the shadow a lot more pigment and colour payoff. Using these shadows damp makes them very versatile, they are still easy to blend and apply but give a heavier application of colour.
Lastly I smudged a hint of Slate under my lower water line on the outer corner and used Glacier for the inner corner highlight and under the lower  water line too. I finished the look with a sweep of Midnight pencil on my upper lash line, tightline and lower waterline. A couple of coats of Jet Black Thickening Mascara is all I needed to make my lashes stand out against all the drama without the use of false lashes (falsies would make this look even more glam though) This mascara is a slightly wet formula and make my lashes look very long and luscious. It is quite lightweight and doesn't make the curl of my lashes drop and there is no flaking. It also dries really rapidly so I didn't need to worry about it printing and ruining my eyeshadow.
And there you have it, my very shaky first step into a makeup look for New Year. 
A bit more about this Living Nature Smokey Eye Kit*:
My kit was created with three shadow shades in Slate (matte black), Glacier (shimmery grey silver) and Sand (matte warm toned nude). All shades can be bought individually and popped into the Living Nature Eye Shadow Compact which has room for four of your fave eyeshadows which can be easily changed and also includes an applicator. This compact is completely recyclable and each shadow comes in it's own eco recyclable envelope to help reduce packaging waste. 
All of these lovely makeup bits can be bought online from Botanical Brands who have a huge range of Living Nature products from skincare to bath and body and makeup.
All of Living Nature's Cosmetic products are certified by BDIH, free from synthetic ingredients and their ingredients are all sustainably sourced.

New Years Make Up // Smokey Eye with Living Nature

Welcome to the brand new green beauty box in town - the Vertue box*! 

Vertue are the latest company to hit the green beauty market with a subscription box. 
Founded by MUA Laila Sanderson, the aim of this box is to provide beauty addicts with green and clean beauty options as well as healthcare products too. These boxes will provide both well-known and smaller artisanal brands to give you the widest range of choice possible from the best of brands.
They also have  strong focus on brands and products that are better for the environment too and are part of the Real Beauty Manifesto. Even better is that Vertue donate 10% of their profits to charity.

The Original: 5-7 products for £30 (inc delivery)
The Mini: 3-5 products for £18 (inc delivery)
Boxes are sent out every two months at the end of the month.

This boxing day Vertue will also be launching their brand new shop! As a special celebration they are offering an amazing 20% off all products with the code: SHOP20 so make sure you head on over for some bargains. For the early birds the shop will be open from 6am. 

So lets dive into this November box!
For me personally the box couldn't have opened with a better offering. First off it includes a FULL size of my most cherished MOA Green Balm. I've raved about this product before so I'll not go into it again but just know that in my eyes this balm is the King of all multi-purpose products. Next included is a KIKI Health Nature's Living Superfood supplement which is bang on time for me as I've almost run out of my beloved Spirulina. I've been really intrigued about KIKI Health since seeing them on other blogs and retailers and exploring some of their videos too. The bottle is 20g which is the ideal size as there is plenty enough to give this a decent trial without worrying about wasting it if I find it's not something I can work with.
Next up is an interesting new brand to me; Bloomtown Botanicals. 
Bloomtown Botanicals are a handcrafted brand offering soap and bath products and included in the Vertue box is the 3 Soap Sampler pouch. This includes three mini soaps to trial. I received:
The Rose Garden - Shea & Coconut (Musk Rose & White Florals) which is from their Nourishing Soap Bar range 
The Woods - Shea & Coconut (Vetiver, Cedar & Bergamot) again from their Nourishing range
The Clearing - Black Clay & Tea Tree from their Speciality Soap Bar range
I'm very into my soaps (after hating them for many years) so I'm going to enjoy have these small ones to test and try out. 

Also included in the box is a very big brand- Terre Verdi. Terre Verdi are very well known in the green beauty world so it's very cool to get it in a box alongside other small brands like Bloomtown Botanicals. I have a collection of Terre Verdi products but this Yoga and Sports oil is a new addition to my collection.
Last but by no means least is a Green People's Quinoa and Artichoke conditioner. It's really refreshing to get a haircare product in a beauty box, especially a full sized one. I have used this product before and loved the range so this is another real winner for me.

Final thoughts on the box? I know in the past they had a few hiccups with their boxes but for me personally this December Vertue box was a big success. The blend of smaller and bigger known brands is a big part of the appeal as is the range of products. More often than not I find I like a box, but it's always all skincare. This box however has a great mix of skincare, haircare and health combined which makes it that much more interesting and much more of a discovery!
Definitely recommend it's worth you give this box a try if you are looking for a box with a hint more variety in it. Plus there are the two size/ price options so it can work with anyone's budget.

Don't forget that Vertue are also launching their shop on Boxing Day with the SHOP20 code for 20% off!

Also - don't know if i'm right about how i've interpreted this but it fits with their slogan 'Live Green, Live Good- but I love the play on words with the name 'Vertue' - like 'Virtue' as in goodness and wholesomeness but spelt like 'Vert' as in the colour green. Clever!

A New Beauty box has landed // Vertue Box


One week countdown to Christmas- time to get those last minute bits sorted, panic wrapping and decorating galore!
Christmas is a time for giving and receiving, but we often think more about ourselves and loved ones than we do about the environment and earth. This year I decided to focus a little bit more on making this festive season a little more eco and green friendly!

 Wrapping Paper: 
Firstly the majority of wrapping paper is not made from recycled resources. Secondly the majority of wrapping paper is also non-recyclable!
Most conscious people make an effort not to chuck out the paper, but instead recycle it (also shout out to all the grannies who simply un-crunkle and re-use sheets of it!) but sadly due to many wrapping papers being laminated, glossed, painted and blended with plastic and metals, glitters and dyes. Plus add in sticky tape that gets left on there, and very thin cheap paper that has little to no fibrous use, they actually cannot be recycled and end up in landfill. Not great.

Is there a better alternative? There sure is. Choose paper that is first made from recycled paper or other material such as cloth pulp etc and make sure it is also 100% recyclable. This paper doesn't have to be boring and plain. It can be beautiful just as much as other papers. I headed onto notonthehighstreet.com and found a whole plethora of beautiful, funny and unique prints and designs. I chose this beautiful white snowflake print paper from the seller Sophia Victoria Joy who creates recycled Christmas gift wrap using recycled brown or white paper and screen prints her designs using water-based inks. This paper is very high quality, thick and heavyweight and the design is printed perfectly. There's also loads of other designs and prints on Sophia's section of NOTHS.

I love the idea of using NOTHS because it's important to support small businesses and personal creativity. The website also has an option to filter searches by 'eco-friendly' status making it much easier to find the more green alternatives.

 Gift Tags: 
It's not just wrapping paper either the very same thing applies to gift tags. My tags again were from Sophia Victoria Joy on NOTHS and arrived beautifully printed, and extremely high quality. I chose this star print to have something slightly different but still within my colour scheme for gift wrapping.

 Wrapping Extras: 
We all love chucking glitter, bows and those metallic looking star-bow sticky things on our packages to give them extra festive cheer but again more often than not they simply can't be recycled. Plus add in the yards of sellotape (although I have read that their manufacturing processes are actually quite eco friendly!) that must be used every year- all going into landfill.

With these again there are several options to make them better for the environment:
Tape: 
- NOTHS seller Lollipop Designs offer a range of Eco parcel tapes made out of recycled paper, including with pretty print designs. Check it out HERE.
The Green Stationary Shop also offer eco friendly paper tape alternatives.

Ribbon:
- Avoid the plastic ribbon and opt for twine (check that it's paper  or cotton twine as sometimes it can be made from plastic) like this candy striped one.
- Choose hessian/ burlap to make bows and ties. You can find it just about anywhere. I got some potato sacks in the garden centre and cut it into strips.
- I found some very pretty compostable ribbon on Little Cherry who make all kinds of eco party essentials like bags, wrap, napkins etc.

Charms:
Choose little wooden charms that haven't been treated or painted with anything. Your giftee can keep them for something else or if they do end up in the bin they will be completely bio-degradable.

Gift Boxes:
It sounds obvious but try to reuse your old beauty boxes - decorate with offcuts of your eco wrapping paper or with anything you want! Or who about using a hessian/ burlap sack instead of a box- looks festive and is biodegradable.

Packing Filler:
Again it may be obvious but re-use all your old fillers from previous parcels. I have a bag where I pop all my filler to save it for when I need to pad out a box of goodies.

 Decorations: 
How about avoiding the plastic decorations and choosing wooden ones instead- if any break they will be much easier to recycle or less harmful in landfill.
You can also make your own paper decorations or buy paper decorations and bunting from Little Cherry.
Real greenery is also a lovely alternative to fake wreaths and garlands - I live in London and I can still find plenty of places to snip a few bits of holly here and there - just as long as it's not from someone's garden. Pinecones make lovely decorations and are dotted about all over the place. Give them a rinse, pop in a warm dry place and they'll poof open. Dot them about the place, wire them into wreaths and garlands or make a line of bunting. They look great.

 Christmas Trees: 
It's a tough one knowing which is better for the environment, a real or a fake tree and it's one I still haven't made my mind up about. 
I've not as yet come across any eco artificial tree options but here are a few ideas for a more earth friendly real tree.
- British Christmas Tree Growers Association: if you're based in the UK, find a retailer that is approved by the BCTGA so ensure your tree is UK grown in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
- Rent a Tree: Yep, rent your Christmas tree. Many places such as Forever Green Christmas these days offer tree rental, you buy it and they pick it up in January and keep on caring for it for someone else the next year. 
- Buy a potted tree: Choose a potted tree so you can keep on growing it throughout the year and have it bigger and better for next year! Christmas Forest offer great potted tree options and are even part  of Tree Aid which plants a tree in Africa for every tree that is bought from them. Read more about it here.

And of course, if you are disposing of your tree after make sure you recycle it. Your local council will have a system in place for this or there are other alternatives such as

 Extras: 
Batteries: If you're anything like me you'll love nothing more than a bunch of glittering lights festooned on every available surface. If these are battery operated try to opt for rechargeable ones as you will get more use out of them. Shockingly a lot of people still throw batteries in the bin which, while not technically illegal, is NOT the right way to be going about it. Use rechargeable ones or recycle your old ones - any large shop selling batteries has to be law provide a recycling box for them.
Timers: For any other lights buy a timer and plug that in to make sure your lights aren't burning bright all night and through your day. Timers are easy to get hold of, inexpensive and save you money and reduce fire risk!

There's probably a gazillion of other ideas for a more eco Christmas that I could talk about but this has turned into an epic post so perhaps next year there will be a part 2!

Have yourself a very eco Christmas

Who doesn't love a stocking? No matter what age you are I think there is nothing more exciting on Christmas morning than discovering lots of mini goodies tucked into a festive stocking! I've complied a few little gift ideas that I think make the perfect little stocking fillers.

This kit is the perfect little skincare stocking filler (or tree gift) for any man in your life. It includes three travel friendly sized products to cover all basis:
Face Wash (30ml) - Orange & Aloe Vera
Exfoliator (30ml) - Grapefruit & Bamboo
Face Serum (30ml) - Seaweed & Green Tea
What makes this gift perfect for any man is that Green People's formulas are designed to be gentle on the skin so this kit will be good for even guys will sensitive skin.
The added bonus is that this set is part of Green People's Butterfly Gifts range which is in support of the Butterfly Conservation. For every Butterfly gift they sell they make a donation (with this gift set it is 30p) to the Butterfly Conservation to help the protection of butterflies and moths and their habitats within the UK. 
Price: £15.95

Peas In A Pod is the famous The Green Balm in miniature form times by three. That's right three ultra dinky pots of the most amazing multi-purpose balm. Keep them together in this handy little tube or pop a pot wherever it is needed. The best kind of stocking filler for anyone, this balm can be used for nearly anything - it's like multiple gifts in one!
(3 x15ml pots)
Price: £11.50
Stockist: www.moa.london 

Another little marvel from MOA. This is again  tiny version of a hero product. They've created a perfect one shot sized version of their incredible Fortifying Bath Potion. So mini it fit in a stocking or a handbag but big enough to pack a punch when added to the bath. This is relaxation a bottle! At this price you could even pop in a couple!
(10ml)
Price: £2.75
Stockist: www.moa.london 

A tinky tiny gift set from Burt's Bees called Nature's Kiss that includes two great lip products:
Lip Shimmer (in the shade Peony) (2.5g)
Lip Crayon (int he shade Sedona Sands) (3.11g)
This gift set would be great for a younger girl who is just starting out with makeup or simply a lip balm junkie like myself! The colours are suitable for most skin tones swaying very much towards a my-lips-but-better effect. The minty scent also reminds me of Candy Canes!
Price: £9.99

Something a little bit different if your giftee is not as mad about beauty as they are fashion! These are the Kitsch Elevated Hair Accessory, in other words super cool hair ties. These hair ties come in a range of colours and very importantly are completely vegan! They come with a wire insert so you can use them any way you like while avoiding the dreaded hair dent and also being comfortable in knowing that although they look like leather, they are in fact completely vegan.
Price: £14.16
Stockist: www.mykitsch.com 

Let but no means least another great Butterfly Gift from Green People. The same principle applies with this gift with 15p form this one going toe the Butterfly Conservation. This Indulge Night Treat night cream would make a lovely stocking filler for your mum in my opinion. Mums are always so busy so it's nice to give a little something to give her a bit of a pamper without her having to do anything but pop it on and hit the hay. 
Additionally if you are interested in trying more of the range you can pop the code BUTTERFLY into the checkout and receive a cheeky 10% off your purchase.
(30ml)
Price: £8.50

*this post features products that were kindly gifted to me as PR samples

Christmas Stocking Fillers! // Beauty & Beyond


Hello again lovely people. Ready for round two of my Christmas Gift guides? I'll just jump right on in...you guys know the drill by now. Stockist links and pricing down below!
 STOCKISTS & PRICING 

BARE REPUBLIC NATURAL MINERAL SUNSCREEN TINTED FACE SPF 30
Price: £17

THE ENGLISH MINERAL MAKEUP COMPANY BRONZER & GOLD KABUKI
Price: £25 / £22

ECOTOOLS STARTER SET
Price: £15.99
Buy it: Boots

SUKIN SUPER GREENS
Price: Starts from £6.63
Buy it: Boots

URBAN VEDA BODY RITUALS GIFT SET
Price: £37.99

BRAINTREE BAMBOO SOCKS
Price: £4.90
Buy it: www.braintreeclothing.com

*this post features products that were kindly gifted to me as PR samples

Christmas Gift Ideas // Beauty & Beyond No.2

Ok, you might be thinking 'A Christmas gift guide? Bit late for that isn't it?' Well my friends, if you are anything like me, then this will in fact be pretty good going time-wise to be thinking about Christmas presents. Heck there's still over two weeks to go! You still have time!

This year I wanted to feature beauty bits as well as a few lifestyle bits and bobs, just a choice few pieces that can on the most part be adaptable for both men and women.  Below is a quick snappy guide of a few products that are suitable for anyone aiming for a more natural, green and eco Christmas. Just a few choice ideas and products from some interesting brands. Head to the bottom for direct stockist links and pricing!

 STOCKISTS & PRICING 

ANDALOU NATURALS BRIGHTENING GIFT SET
Price: £14.99
Buy it: Planet Organic /Whole Foods Market (stores)
www.thehealthstore.ie

CHLOE HAYWOOD LONDON HAT
Price: £25

BURT'S BEES NATURALLY NOURISHING BEESWAX GIFT SET
Price: £9.99

RICEWAY TRAVEL CUP
Price: £13.95
Buy it: www.amazon.co.uk 

*this post features products that were kindly gifted to me as PR samples

Christmas Gift Ideas // Beauty & Beyond No.1

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