It's that time of the month again where I get a super exciting parcel land on my desk! This months instalment of the LoveLula box* has arrived!

This month's box arrived with 5 skincare products with a value of over £40, including the brands John Masters, PHB, REN, Bon Natural and Barefoot SOS.
Let's take a look at the products:

NB: if you're not sure what any of the specs labels mean, click on the specs bar and it will take you to the specs key page which outlines all the details of the specs and costs.
So glad to get a cleanser in this box, and a full sized one no less. Lately I've been using up small samples and my skins not overly happy about the repetitive changes. I've heard and read great things about Barefoot SOS as a brand so I have high expectations. The ingredients list is as long as my arm, chockablock full of oils and extracts so it will be really interesting to see how powerful a cleanser this is and what benefits it has for my poor skin.

I have never come across Bon Natural before. To me this Pure Tissue Oil sounds the the natural alternative to BioOil. I have very very bad tiger stripe stretch marks so they should but this oil through it's paces! The ingredients look exactly as I would expect from a scar oil; Rosehip, Grapeseed and Tocopherol (Vitamin E) so I'm not sure how much it will out shine any other scar oil I've tried. Plus oils like this require time and this sample is so tiny. We will have to see!

I'm sure I wasn't the only person to do a mini fist pump when I spotted this in the box! Massive love for REN as a brand, and I get on really well with their products. The application of the product is really intriguing, not a method I've used before so I'm an eager beaver to get trying this. Especially after a late night or an early morning when my face needs a bit of a sprucing!

I always associate JM with haircare so to get a Lip Balm in the box from JM was a nice surprise. I'm a lip balm hoarder! There's a lot of citrus oils packed into this balm and to begin with it tastes incredible, like key lime pie or a lemon cheesecake, but after a bit it takes on a slightly rubber-like taste. Nothing too horrible though. First impressions are looking good, (i'm wearing it as I type this.)Also it is USDA certified organic. 

Again a brand I associate with other products, namely makeup in this case with PHB. I used to hate bars of soap. However we've been using one instead of a liquid soap for over a year now and have been converted a bit! The timing is perfect as our old one is on its last legs and this is all lined up to be it's replacement. I'm looking forward to using this as I reckon it will be a lot less stripping and more hydrating than my old one due to the coconut and olive oils blended in with the rosehip. Double points for it being palm oil free!

What do you think of this months LoveLula beauty box?


Probably not the most exciting post, and not one you were expecting, but an important post nonetheless.  I love showers, much more than baths if I'm honest. Showers get me up in the morning, they make me feel clean and fresh and full of vitality...healthy. But what if they aren't actually that healthy?

This is something I've been thinking on for a while whether to write about or not. The topic first crept into my mind when I desperately needed a shower curtain replacement in my flat. I popped to the local shop and ended up with a choice between a garish patterned affaire that cost as much as a cinema trip for two or a plain white one that was cheap as chips. Obviously I scooped up the latter and thought to myself 'cheap and cheerful, it'll do!' Then I got it home and whipped open the packet, immediately I was assailed with a slap in the face wave of plastic stink and it set alarm bells clanging in the back of my mind.

As you can imagine, that smell is quite the indicator of things not being at all that healthy. Reason being was this shower curtain was made from pure PVC (Polyvinyl chloride). PVC is one of the most toxic plastics out there, and this innocent looking but deathly stinking PVC shower curtain was off-gassing up a storm in my bathroom. I did a bit of research on this and everywhere you get the same scary figures. My one little curtain could have been off-gassing up to 108 different chemicals or VOCs (volatile organic compounds), some of which are classed as unsafe at certain levels in indoor spaces and most of which can stick around for up to a month! Oh and some of those chemicals, such as this old nut which we've all come across before - Phthalates - well they can be release even more in warm conditions. I'm betting that like me you like your showers hot rather than cold? Yah.

That shower curtain didn't last a day. After some research I found some better shower curtain alternative ideas such as:

Hemp // While not at all waterproof, hemp is said to be both quick drying and have it's own natural anti-mildew properties. It's also able to be grown organically and is considered very eco-friendly. Sounds swell! The problem... cripplingly expensive. We're talking about £60 for a shower curtain people - not to mention hard to find!

Cotton // Cotton seems like the next best alternative, best if you opt for an organic one. Cotton doesn't have the benefits of being mildew resistant but that can be tackled with frequent washing. Depending on the thickness, this would effect the drying time as obviously again this would not be water-resistant.  Again we're looking at a steep price tag and limits availability.

Linen // This one runs along the same lines as cotton but also has the typical crumpled effect that linen takes on after the merest of movement. Again expensive and hard to source.

(Side Note: I actually came across a handy but non-vegan tip to waterproof fabric curtains- beeswax, melt it down paint it all over your fabric. Hey-presto waterproof fabric curtain. I'm tempted to try it, but I imagine it takes a heck of a lotta beeswax, at cost...)

Polyester // This is the option that I settled for. Not the most toxic-free option but nowhere nearly as nail bitingly bad as PVC. Polyester is obviously a form of plastic, but it doesn't off-gass and doesn't contain chlorine etc. It isn't waterproof but dries in a flash. It's easy to wipe down and rinse in the washing machine to tackle mildew and mould.

Nylon // Pretty much on the same level as Polyester, however it tends to absorb more water and take longer to dry out. Also sometimes they may be treated with water repellant chemicals to counteract this which may lead to more VOCs.

PEVA/EVA // The least favourable of all the options as again these are made from petrochemicals (polyethylene vinyl acetate and ethylene vinyl acetate) and they can still produce a bit of off-gassing. However they are chlorine-free which makes them better than PVC as the off-gassing is considerably reduced.

Out of cost limits and availability I've made sure that I've got a polyester shower curtain. While not the best option it still means I can rest a little easier knowing that I'm not filling my tiny flat with all sorts of unknown chemicals. Personally I would ideally like a glass door shower but considering I'm renting and don't have this option, this is the best option for now.

Will you be checking your shower curtain next time you pop into your bathroom?

Is your shower curtain toxic?

When I was a teen I thought nothing of whacking on a bright turquoise or purple eyeliner to match with my top of choice that day. Back in the late 90s / early 00s it was perfectly acceptable. Somewhere down the line, a few years later I've find myself both stuck in a makeup rut and too chicken to try anything different than my standard black cat eye. Even days without winged eyeliner are a bold step for me, it's definitely become my comfort blanket of makeup. I thought it was about time I at least tried to step outside my comfort zone and gave a my usual makeup look a bit of a shake up. 

My first foray into 'daring makeup' and product of choice to experiment with, is this beautiful green eyeliner. This eyeliner is the SoulTree Kajal in shade Fern Green (001)*

SoulTree is a completely new brand to me and I was intrigued by the design of their products and the colours available. These Kajals are made with a  blend of organic Ghee and oils such as castor and sweet almond. This blend of oils and butter make the formula very smooth, soft and creamy and it's very easy to apply without any drag on the eyes. Colour payoff is incredible, opaque bold colour is achieved in a second with a light hand. The final effect is a flat matt without any hint of shimmer or wetness. On the other hand it's not at all chalky. Due to the formula being so creamy it applies on really smoothly and crisply but it can smudge quite easily but it doesn't crease. 
This shade 'Fern Green' is quite an emerald green colour and is the right balance between bold without being too bright.
When trying this out I opted for my fail-safe winged liner with very natural eyes and natural face. I wanted the green to be the focal point of my look without anything else detracting from it. To see pics of it on my eyes, scroll below.
I was not expecting to like the look on me and while at first I was unsure I actually grew to like the look over the day. I think the green draws out the slight tint of green that i have round the edge of my eyes, usually they look very brown but they are actually flecked with green hazel tones too. I have to admit this isn't a look that I'd be reaching for everyday but I wouldn't be too nervous wearing it out every now and then for a bit of variety. I've been playing with this a fair bit and I think green eyeliner has more potential than I first thought. 
Would you give the colourful eyeliner trend a try?

SoulTree Kajal (3g) - £13.90 . BDIH certified natural.

Stepping out of my comfort zone with: SoulTree

Catch your breath, this bottle of gold gloriousness is Zoya's Nail Laquer in 'Goldie'* holy cow it is stunning! I'm so used to seeing cool toned golds, that when I saw this richly yellow based gold nail colour, I had to have it. It was a gamble but it sure did pay off!

I tried to take this polish in a number of different lights so you can truly appreciate the colour. It was tricky but hopefully you get the full scale of how incredible this colour is!

Now I love Zoya as a brand and I have several of their polishes. They have a huge range of colours and are free from Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP and Camphor.
I find Zoya to be really high quality in their formulas, long lasting quite chip resistant and they always have great colour and coverage.
This Goldie polish is no exception. One coat give a good patch-free finish with strong colour, but two coats really makes the colour pop and  make an impact.
Goldie as I said and as you can see, is a very yellow based gold shade, so unique and unusual. When I first applied this polish I really wasn't keen but after letting it dry and spending time doing that hand-out-in-front-wiggling-fingers-in-the-light thing we girls always seem to do to admire our nails, I fell for it. Hard.

I love the super metallic look it has, and it is a slight shimmer effect. It's shimmery, metallic and has a slight shine all in one. Gorgeous! It's not glittery though which is good. On my nails below I'm wearing two coats- badly applied, I'll admit but it is quite easily to apply, I just have zero skills or patience. There is a tiny bit of streaking in the effect, but not streaking so badly that it leaves gaps, simply there's a brush stroke effect in the polish, I know partly due to my appalling application and I think just due to the metallic nature of the polish. It doesn't detract from the overall effect though.

For the wear, this polish holds up as well as any of the other Zoya shades. It lasts a good 4-5 days with a slight hint of tip wear after day three and chipping after five if you have it without a top coat. Another great factor about this polish is that it doesn't have a very strong scent which is great for me and for anyone in the room when I'm painting my nails.

In short this polish is exactly as luxurious as i hoped it would be! It's become rather a staple on my nails now. Oh and i is also worth noting that it doesn't stain your nails at all, even when you wear it without a base coat. See it truly is perfection.

The specifics: This polish really is worth it's weight in gold! It's £10 and available from LoveLula. Currently as I write this, it is sadly out of stock, but I feel sure that this will be back in stock soon -if you are really an eager beaver, you can sign up to be notified when this pot of gold comes back into stock. I would highly advise getting one. You'll just fall in love. Really you will.

The Pot of Liquid Gold // Zoya 'Goldie'

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut of only using certain brands, so lately I'm making a really conscious effort to step out of my comfort zone and explore other brands, both new ones and others that have been around for sometime. 

Laidbare may be a brand you guys are familiar with, but to me, they are completely new. If I'm honest it was 50% the gorgeous packaging and 50% the brilliant product name that drew me to them and made me pop this Laidbare Clean As A Whistle Body Wash* in my cyber shopping basket!

I know I am a total packaging geek...but uh how lush is it?! So classic but quirky, white and clean and simple but colourful and vibrant and fun. I LOVE this packaging design. And as for the product names. Brilliant. Not pictured but this body wash also has a double lid. It has the main applicator clip open-close mechanism, but there is also a larger clear cap that clips over the top which protects from any spills etc. Nifty design work.

Anyway enough of the packaging love, onto the product inside:

It's quite hard to talk about a body wash as it's not designed to have long last effects or dramatic results. I like this very much. I will buy it again. The end. No no I  joke, I do have much more to say. This is a great all-rounder body wash, and by all-rounder I mean it works well for both me and my BF without causing him to whinge as he can sometimes do over 'natural' products (he famously once said about a natural product, 'I don't trust it, I don't know what's in it' and proceeded to use some horrendous traditional 'manly for men with manly masculine muscles' type of brand. Oh the irony!) The scent which is described as the Laidbare Unique Tranquil Flower  100% Natural Fragrance is very much a typical natural peppy earthy scent that I can never quite put my finger on and both the boy and myself really like it. I say it's peppy as it is, I guess what you would describe as quite an invigorating scent, ideal for waking me up in the morning. Actually, It's quite a warming scent, if that makes sense.  

The formula is almost gel like liquid that has an almost honey like texture to it, without the stickiness. You don't have to use too much of this, but I find I actually use a lot because I really enjoy the formula. It's surprisingly hydrating and after checking out the ingredients I put that down to the Aloe Vera content which is the first ingredient listed aside from water. Definitely doesn't strip your skin at all but you do still feel lovely and clean after using it. The added Grapefruit seed extract adds in extra anti-bacterial properties to give you a super dose of clean.
This body wash also has a lot of different coconut-derived surfactants so it does have a slight lather to it, but no major foaming. I would say that perhaps it doesn't really need the lather at all, but I'm no chemists so who knows.

Overall, in terms of body washes, this one is a good'un. It's comes in a just under the £10 mark for 250ml which is perhaps on the slightly higher end of mid-range pricing. 
It's been a great introduction to a brand and I'm keen to explore more of the brands offering, they have quite a wide selection of products and a few surprises in there too, so watch this space.

NB// this product is cruelty free and free from: petrochemicals, parabens, synthetic fragrances, TEA, DEA, synthetic colours and glycols.

Discovering a brand // Laidbare

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