Christmas Gifts with Cheerz

Saturday, November 18, 2017
It's been quite christmassy on my blog and social media this week with lots of gifts coming in and I've posted two Christmas gift guides this week! The first was a Lush Gift Guide and the second was a Botanicals Gift Guide For Her so you can check them out if you want more gift ideas.

However, today's post is a little different as we're focusing on personalised and photo gifts from Cheerz. I've been lucky enough to work with Cheerz a few times already this year and I've adored all of the items I've received and this one is no different! You can use the discount code HEANI3 to get £4 off your Cheerz order (I'll also get £4 credit).
*Cheerz Grrrr Photo Box (from £14) 
They have so many wonderful products including magnets and calendars but I opted for one of the photo boxes. You can choose the outer packaging design, I have the 'grrr' design but there are others to choose from including a gorgeous Christmas design that I love!

The box is well made, sturdy and a great keepsake in which you can add 30 to 45 photographs - the more you include, the more expensive it will be but I think for what you get, the price is fantastic. I chose to include lots of photos from our amazing trip to Norway this summer and I love how well the photos were printed.

Your photos will be printed onto premium photo paper, you can add a caption or place name to your photos and they look like cute polaroid photos! They'd be great to pin onto a memo board, hang up around the house, add to a scrapbook, stick to the fridge or keep them in their cute box.
Here are a couple of other gift suggestions from Cheerz such as their magnets (from £10) which can also come in an adorable Christmas box as well as a personalised photo calendar (from £18). I've made one using family holiday photos from the past few years and I know my mum will absolutely love it!

Don't forget to use the code HEANI3 to get £4 off your order! 

Have you bought anything from Cheerz? What do you think of these Christmas gifts?

Mini Book Reviews #6

Friday, November 17, 2017
I haven't posted one of these mini book review posts for a while but there will be a few more coming soon as well as this post because I was lucky enough to receive quite a lot of ARCs and books from a few lovely publishers. Today's post feature three book reviews of some of my latest reads, all of which I liked and I'd definitely recommend if they sound like your kind of book!

*The Secret Of Vesalius by Jordi Llorbregat (582 pages - available Nov 2017) ★★★ (3.5)
I was very kindly sent an arc of this book by the lovely people at Quercus Books (thanks!) and the tag line the sold me on it was 'Frankenstein meets Sherlock' which sounded amazing! However, I think that tag line and the blurb gives away far too much and as a result, the book was a bit predictable for me anyway, besides a couple of twists at the very end.

We follow Danial Amat, who after fleeing Barcelona, his family and his fiancé years ago, returns for the funeral of his eminent father. Barcelona isn't as he remembers it due to the chaos of the 1888 world fair, raw previous relationships and a spate of gruesome murders of young women in the city.

This book is a debut and it's so impressive as the characters felt so real and fleshed out, I liked the relationships throughout the book, I adored the setting of Barcelona in the late 1800's and I also loved the medical side of the book - it was also quite atmospheric and I absolutely adored the action scenes. I watch a lot of documentaries and I studied medical history in college years ago so I was familiar with the work of Versalius which again, gave away a lot of the book so the surprise and conclusion wasn't that shocking to me and I spent most of the book wondering when the characters would catch on to what was happening as it was so obvious to me but if you don't have an medical history knowledge or knowledge of who Vesalius was then it will be a surprise and so much more enjoyable.

However, despite the slightly spoilt surprise on the whole, there were some twists and turns towards the end of the book that I enjoyed even though it gave me whiplash! I felt like some of the conclusions and how the characters ended up was a little convenient but I think it's a fantastic debut novel and even though it is almost 600 pages, it was such an entertaining and fairly quick read. If you like historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers then you'll love this (unless you have certain knowledge with regards to medical history as I do the it could be a little predictable). I'd definitely recommend it!
*There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins (304 pages - available now) ★★★
I started this book last month and for the first 20% I thought that I'd have to DNF it sadly but I'm so glad that I carried on reading as the book developed and the mysteries unfolded which made it far more interesting than the very YA and gossipy start to the book.

We follow a small community in the Midwestern United States, in particular the cliques within the local high school including some of the more popular students and the outcasts and misfits after there's been a murder (that's not a spoiler as it happens within the first chapter or two). We then discover the relationships between certain students, the secrets the students are harbouring and the ramifications of the events that shock the students, school and community.

The writing was quite quick and easy although I really didn't like the very YA feel of the book as at times it seemed a little ridiculous and very cheesy but thankfully the mystery and more gruesome, horror elements of the book as well as the cute romance saved the book for me! It won't be for everyone as it's very YA but I would recommend it as the mystery was great, it was entertaining and cute at times. Thank you Pan Macmillan!
*The Apothcary's Shop by Roberto Tiraboschi (327 pages - available now) - ★★★ (3.5) 
I was very kindly sent this book from the lovely people over at Europa Editions and it sounds amazing! It was translated from the Italian by Katherine Gregor. I started this book for the 'historical fiction' challenge as part of the #AutumnReadthon recently as it's set in Venice 1118AD. It is such an unusual book with a crippled former monk, a dwarf apothecary, Venetian nobles and so much more. 

We follow a fairly large cast of characters in particular, a former monk turned scribe for the Grimani family, an influential noble family within Venice and an eccentric female physician. I adored the setting of Venice as not only have I been there but it's such an incredibly atmospheric, eerie and vivid setting as well which fits the book perfectly as it too is dark, mysterious and unusual. I loved the writing and story on the whole, even though at times it is very disturbing and the author seems to like graphic descriptions when it comes to dead bodies, sex and medical examinations which may not have been needed in such detail... I liked the mystery, even though at times it was a little predictable; I also liked the characters, especially Kallis, Abella, Sabbatai and Edgardo who were all vidid and interesting characters. The ending was great, if a little disturbing, yet again.

I would definitely recommend it especially for this time of the year but maybe not if you aren't comfortable reading about overly detailed and unusual descriptions of human genitals, medical topics or dead bodies...I would rate it higher but it was a little slow at times and it took me a while to get into it. It definitely reminded me at times of The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland so if you're interested in this book but want a similar read with less disturbing themes, then check it out - I'd highly recommend both and I was very close to rating The Apothecary's Shop four stars!

Check out my latest giveaway on twitter to win cinema tickets and snacks!

Have you read any of these three books? What are you currently reading or planning to? 

Christmas Gifts For Her: Botanics

Thursday, November 16, 2017
Today's post is another festive gift guide (I've been loving writing them and reading them on other blogs!) but it's a little different as I'm focusing on natural, floral or botanical inspired products which is related to a post I recently published in collaboration with The Hut Group about AW17 beauty trends of which botanicals is one.

I was very kindly sent the products in this gift guide from the lovely people over at DHC, Bodhi & Birch, Bolsius and Bloomtown so thank you! I already have posts featuring a few of these products on my blog already if you want to see more.
*DHC Double Cleanse Set (£19.95)
Skincare, especially skincare with a good reputation and some fantastic, natural ingredients, are great gift to give. I think gift sets like this one are great opportunities to try new brands and products for a fraction of the cost and this one comes with a free gift of the DHC Olive Virgin Oil Swabs (there are 50 in the box so it's a substantial free gift). 

The set also contains the famous DHC Deep Cleansing Oil which always receives rave reviews from bloggers and apparently one of these cleansers is sold every ten seconds worldwide! The cleanser contains olive oil, rosemary leaf oil and it's rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It's a double cleanse set so along with the oil cleanser, the DHC Mild Soap is also included to complete the double cleanse. Additionally the DHC Olive Virgin Oil Swabs can be used for eyeliner or mascara touch ups or for cleansing delicate areas such as the eyes using high quality cosmetics grade, ultra-gentle olive oil. This set would be great for teens or anyone really, who's new to the world of skincare and in need a good but also simple skincare set to start with. 
*Bolsius Frosted Garden Candle 
I've already reviewed a couple of Bolsius candles and tea lights, both of which are fantastic especially for the low price point. This candle smells so subtly fresh, wintery and floral that would be perfect for this time of the year and I think the colour of the wax and packaging could fit with our living and kitchen decor perfectly. 

It's a three wick candle which I haven't tried many of but they're be great for reducing tunnelling and wasted wax. The candle is part of the new limited edition range from Bolsius including other scents such as autumn walk, celebrate and home comfort, the latter I definitely want to try. Candles are such safe and easy gifts and they'd be ideal for a cosy Christmas hamper too. 
*Bloomtown Limited Edition Luxury Christmas Bauble (£9)
I obviously don't have a favourite product out of the items in this post but one that I think looks amazing and festive is this cute geometric bauble from the wonderful Bloomtown. It's a fantastic, natural and ethical brand with lovely products that are perfect for self care and pampering Christmas hampers! 

There are three baubles available in a range of three colours including navy, kraft and plum as well as marbled versions - I have the marbled plum bauble. You also have a choice of three products from a lip balm, sugar scrub and roll on infused oil, the latter is the option I have and it's the one I hoped I'd receive.

I adore the packaging, it's so photogenic and beautiful especially with the ribbon. The infused oil I have is in The Hedgerow scent which is sweet and fruity containing blackberry and honeysuckle to brighten a dreary winters day. The oil is a massive sample size of 9g so it will last a while and it's a great introduction to the brand and their amazing natural products. I cannot recommend this brand enough so definitely check out their Christmas gifts. 
*Bodhi & Birch Mini Body Oils Collection (£20)
I've reviewed a gift sets and products from the wonderful Bodhi & Birch and their Christmas gift sets are some of my favourites as they look so pretty, the products are all natural and it's a great way to try a range of their products and product scents. This set contains three body oils in the scents: 'Sicilian Rose', 'Chinois Blue' and 'Nordic White', all of which are 15ml so they're great sizes to trial each product. 

I've tried these three scents previously and I adore all three although if I had to choose a favourite then it would be tied between Nordic White and Chinois Blue but they're all so gorgeous. Body oils are such an overlooked product category; however they can be fantastic at this time of the year to give your skin some TLC and you can't go wrong with Bodhi and Birch body products! 
*Bodhi & Birch Bath & Shower Oils Collections (£30)
Last but not least is another heavenly set from Bodhi & Birch containing three 15ml bath and shower oils in the scents: Rosa Verde, La Botanics and Jasmin de Lune, none of which I've tried before. They are all natural, made in England and over 90% of the ingredients are organic. 

The Rosa Verde scent to me is a really unique rose scent as it's floral and rose scented but it contains lime, geranium and frankincense as well so it's floral, musky and rich. Next up, the Jasmin de Lune option which is a very unisex scent and I love it as to me it is so rich, deep and musky as well as a little floral. The final scent, La Botanica, might be my favourite as it's a very sweet and uplifting scent containing lemon, juniper, rosemary and eucalyptus. A wonderful set that would be great for men or women in need of a little pampering and TLC this Christmas.  

Have you tried any of these products or brands? 

Lush Christmas Gifts 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Christmas is such a magical and wonderful time of the time *one the whole* and one of the companies that can match that wonder is Lush. Lush has been a favourite store of mine for at least the past five years and I'm always justing at least one Lush product everyday. I'm currently using the gorgeous Get Closer dusting powder and the Santa Baby lip scrub.

The Lush Christmas collection gets better and better every year and this year the gifts are all so beautiful! I was very kindly sent three of their gift sets thanks to the amazing and super generous people over at Lush PR *thank you* and I love all three!
*Lush Rudy Gift Set (£12.50)
Let's start with the cutest gift set I was sent which is this adorable Rudolph inspired gift which features the lovely Butterball bath bomb and the new Christmas Sweater bath bomb as well as the Rudolph knot wrap. It's a beautifully pre-packaged gift that is made of 100% organic cotton made in India and I think all of the items included are vegan too.

I tried the Butterball bath bomb years ago and loved it, especially when it's moulded into the Butterbear shape, the latter is available now as a bath bomb and wash card (both look so adorable!). As far as I know the Christmas Sweater bath bomb is new and to me it smells like the quintessential Christmas combination of ginger and cloves. It also looks very cute with it's fairisle sweater design! I think this set would be perfect for children and adults alike.
*Merry Christmas Gift Set (£22.50)
Next up is tied as my favourite of the three with the Ruby gift set as it contains two of my favourite Christmas bath bombs and it looks so festive! The Merry Christmas gift set contains the Shoot For The Stars bath bomb, Golden Wonder bath bomb, Christmas Sweater bath bomb and the Thundersnow bath bomb. I adore the Shoot For The Stars and the Golden Wonder bath bombs, both of which I've bought a least a couple of times.
I can't wait to try the Christmas Sweater bath bomb as it's one of the most festive scented bath bombs in the set and I also can't wait to try the Thundersnow bath bomb which contains peppermint extract, cocoa absolute and popping candy! The Thundersnow bath bomb smells like candy I had growing up but I can't place it. I think this gift set is a great all round set that would be ideal for so many people, from hard working mums, aunties or cousins to work colleagues, partners and friends - you really can't go wrong with this gift set.

*Winter Garden Gift Set (£18.50)
This set is also so beautifully packaged with a golden ribbon, tag and pretty floral paper so if you are like me and you cannot wrap presents to save your life then these sets from Lush are ideal as they are wrapped far more beautifully than I could ever gift wrap a present! I can think of so many of my cousins and friends who would love this set and it would be great for colleagues as you might not know if they have a bath at home or even if they like taking baths so they could definitely use everything in this gift set.

I can smell, what I think is the Golden Pear soap through the paper and cardboard and it smells incredible! The Rose Jam shower gel also sounds amazing although my favourite Lush shower gel so far is definitely The Olive Branch scent. Overall, I cannot recommend these three heavenly gift sets enough as Lush is such an incredible brand, there's something for everyone and all three are wonderfully packaged.

What do you think of these Lush gift sets? Would you like to receive these sets under the tree? 

Autumn + Winter Essentials ft. Lasula

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Recently I've found quite a few new clothing sites that I've been loving, one of which is Lasula! Lasula kindly offered to sent me a couple of items of my choice to try out and review and I'm really happy with both. They have such a wide range of autumn/winter essentials from coats, jumpers, jackets and loungewear to jumper dresses, festive dresses and boots.

*Lasula Corset Jumper (£24)
Some of their items have specific sizes but others are just 'one size' which this item is. I can't find the grey option online anymore but the link above is for the mustard version which is equally as gorgeous. I love how incredibly cosy, soft and warm this jumper is so it's perfect for the chilly weather we've been having recently in Manchester.

Usually I wouldn't go for something like this but I actually really love the corset detailing and design of the jumper as it makes it a bit more structured and interesting. The bottom half of the jumper is more structured but the top is very loose and me so if it did come in sizes then I would have wanted a small size but sadly it's just 'one size fits all'. I'm a UK 8/10 so if you are around that size too (maybe an 8-12) then it will fit well.
*Lasula Faux Fur Collar Belted Jacket (£35)
Now onto my final but favourite item I was kindly sent and it's no surprise that it's a jacket as I love them and always have to pick up a new one every year - hence why half my wardrobe is filled with cardigans, jackets and coats...

I chose the 'wine' colour option but there is also a red option too. I adore the colour as it's a very autumn/winter burgundy shade! I like the faux fur collar which keeps me so warm in the chilly Mancunian weather and it's a great length on me - I was worried that it might be too long as I am very petite but it fits me really well and as it has a belt, the size is very adjustable. Again, I'm a UK 8/10 and it fits nicely when the belt is tied.
Overall, I'm so happy with both items I was sent from the lovely people over at Lasula and I cannot recommend them enough. The quality is great for the price, there's so much choice and I know that I'll get so much use out of both items this autumn/winter. I now have so many items on my wish list, specially the teddy and faux fur coats and all of the gifts are so cute too!

What do you think of these items/outfits? Have you visited or bought anything from Lasula? 

5 Natural Ingredients That Work Wonders for Your Hair

Monday, November 13, 2017
Image from Pinterest
Before the creation of the most well-known and loved hair products and styling aids, mother nature offered a host of simple and effective ingredients to help a range of ailments. These wonder ingredients didn’t just help treat common conditions, they became the basis of many of the products we know and love today, from antibiotics to skincare and beyond. Natural ingredients provide a balanced and kind way to treat our skin and hair, and there are a few firm favourites topping the list for must have beauty buys.

So forget shopping in the skincare section this winter, head to the fruit and veg aisle and start stocking up on natural products that will work wonders for your hair and complexion this season. 

If you’re bored of snapping your favourite brunch treat for Instagram, consider this famous fruit a must have hair miracle. Once loved by Egyptian women who used it to strengthen and condition their locks, this super fruit is still known for working wonders with both complexion and hair condition. Its skin can be used as a DIY hair mask by mixing the pulp with some olive oil and applying to your lengths. Pop your hair up and leave for approximately 20 minutes and rinse, voila, silky smooth tresses in no time. Another highlight to your brunch favourite is the oil it produces. Avocado oil is packed full of healthy fats, proteins and vitamins which are all perfect for your hair and skin.

Coconut oil
We all know coconut oil can be used for just about anything so it comes as no surprise that it also is the ultimate treat for our hair. Coconut flesh is packed full of fatty acids and vitamins which help smooth hair cuticles and aids in the fight against frizz. Another of its superpowers includes its natural SPF, so not only are you benefitting from strong, healthy locks, you can take advantage of better protection against the sun’s harmful rays.

There are tons of products available that have natural coconut oil included and using this sweet smelling fragrance will make you feel like you are showering in exotic climes. Resources such as Dry Scalp Gone also offer plenty of advice on how natural ingredients such as coconut oil can help treat everyday scalp and hair conditions.

This natural ingredient has a long list of fabulous attributes that not only help our complexion but health too. From its bacteria fighting properties and antioxidant enzymes, there is a little bit of everything to keep you looking and feeling great. Honey is the perfect natural remedy for dry locks as its properties mean it can draw moisture from the air and gives the ultimate in long lasting hydration for both hair and scalp.

There are many products that incorporate natural honey to give you that much needed hydration boost but you can also create your own DIY mask at home. Just mix honey with olive oil and warm slightly and apply to hair. Be sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards as it can be a little sticky if not fully removed.

Argan oil
Another of the famous names on the hair circuit is Argan oil. Originating in Morocco, this natural oil is squeezed from the nut of the argan fruit and is still a manual extraction process. Although this process can be quite long, it is certainly worth the wait as the natural properties including vitamin E, fatty acids and linoleic acid of this wonder ingredient makes hair super silky, soft and management with just a few drops. If you have an irritated scalp or particular dry areas, argan oil is also perfect for distressing your scalp. You can find argan oil in a range of products including shampoos and conditioners but also in serums and styling products.

Green tea 
This superfood has been on our radar for quite some time and has lots of detoxing benefits for both skin and hair. Green tea works wonders for the scalp too as it is packed with antioxidants and vitamins which help to boost circulation to your hair follicles. This healthy drink also has other benefits and can aid people suffering from hair loss as the DHT blockers found in the tea can help reduce baldness and the caffeine properties act as a stimulant to encourage hair growth. Green tea can be incorporated into DIY hair masks and is found in a range of intensive treatments. Green tea is also combined with other ingredients such as tea tree oil, Aloe Vera and wheat protein to help treat irritated scalps and promote stronger, healthier hair.