Ultimate Easter Gift Guide

Monday, April 06, 2020
Easter is just around the corner, although with the chaos that is happening all over the world right now in terms of the corona virus, it doesn't seem like a moment to celebrate but I think that trying to bring back a sense of normality and festivity into the upcoming week is something everyone needs, especially as the weather is gorgeous (although obviously stay at home if you can)!

This time of the year is usually filled with spring, Mother's Day and Easter posts galore but sadly that hasn't been the case. However, I hope today's post will give you a few gift ideas for Easter (or a postponed Easter, if you can't fully celebrate with all of your loved ones just yet) or maybe a little treat for yourself, I'm not judging!
*Feather and Down Ultimate Sleep Set (£15)
Let's start with some of the gorgeous gift sets I was very kindly sent by the lovely people over at Feather and Down. I've been very lucky to receive a few of their products over the past couple of years and I have genuinely adored every single one, especially their award winning pillow mist (which I've been using for the past few weeks and it has definitely helped me sleep better amidst the stress).

The Ultimate Sleep Set contains some of their best selling products including the pillow mist, shower cream (which is probably my second favourite product of theirs after the magical pillow mist), body lotion and soap bar. All of their products look amazing, they are instantly relaxing and the gift set is well presented so it would make an aesthetically beautiful gift and every item smells utterly divine too.
*Feather and Down Perfect Sleep (£8)
They have a fantastic range of gift sets available, from larger and slightly more expensive options to smaller and very affordable gifts but no matter the price, they all look beautiful and perfect for yourself or a loved one who is having trouble sleeping and relaxing. This set contains a sleep mask, the heavenly pillow mist and a mini roll on, the latter two are mini sizes so they're great for trialing the products or for travelling. I think this set would make such a lovely little Easter gift for tired mums, frazzled friends or struggling colleagues.
*Pure Anada Hand and Body Wash via Live In The Light (£9.50, 300ml)
I love to receive pampering products all year round but I think that the change of the seasons is a great time to switch up your products and routine. The Pure Anada hand and body wash in the 'Woodland Citrus' scent is the ideal winter to spring scent as it is fresh and vibrant but it is still a little woody, musky and rich. I personally love the scent and I think many people will although there are lots of other gorgeous scents to choose from including tropical coconut, fresh cucumber, vanilla bean, wild raspberry and more.
*Pure Anada Cocoa Body Butter via Live In The Light (£8 125ml)
There are many products within the 'woodland citrus' scent range from Pure Anada such as a sugar scrub, bath salts, hand cream, room mist and more, including this body butter. The products contains organic ingredients, they are vegan friendly and cruelty free which is fantastic and makes the range an easy gifting option for friends, family and colleagues. As with the hand and body wash, the body butter has a richly woody and citrus scent that I love and the product itself is lovely to use. I think that a couple of products from the range would make great, practical gifts this Easter.
*ASDA Photo Book (from £6)
If you're looking for a more personalised gift this Easter, why not check out the wide range of photo gifts on ASDA photo, including mugs, cushions, canvas prints, cards and more, including their easy to make photo books. Their books range in price depending on the size, style and finish; I have the hardcover (20cm by 20cm) photo book (£20). I've been lucky enough to work with ASDA photo previously as I made one of their wall calendars for my Christmas 2019 gift guide and as with the calendar, making this photo book was such an easy, stress free process!
The process is very easy to follow and you can customise the physical aspects of the books such as the size, cover and finish as well as the number of pages, the layout of the photographs and the number of photographs within the book. I always try to include as many photographs as I can as there are more for the gift recipient to look through but you can alter the number per page depending on the size of each photograph you want to add.

I have made a few photo books in the past using various other companies and they are fantastic but the process of making this one was very easy and although it wasn't very quick (as I couldn't decide which photos I wanted to add!), it was a process that anyone could follow easily to create a lovely and thoughtful gift that your gift recipient will treasure for years to come. I also think it's even more appropriate to consider more meaningful and special gifts as I think we all miss members of our family and our friends during our current lockdown.
*Marks and Spencer Marbled Truffle Egg (£15)
Last but not least is an Easter egg as you cannot have an Easter celebration or a belated one, without an Easter egg so why not choose the biggest and most decedent Easter egg! This egg from Marks and Spencers is the largest I've ever received and it looks amazing too, as pretty much everything from Marks and Spencers does! The egg is made of a mixture of Belgian milk chocolate, white and dark chocolate as well as a hidden hazelnut truffle layer inside - what more could you ask for!
I hope you found some gift ideas within today's gift guide, whether it's for a loved one's birthday, for an Easter celebration (at home!) or as a belated Easter gift. I feel very torn during our current global situation as I want to try and have some sense of normality and to treat loved ones by sending them gifts (via online shopping and safe distances) but it also feels a little strange to do so. Let me know what you think in the comments below.


Will you be celebrating Easter this year? What do you think of my Easter gift guide? Will you be sending any gifts to friends or family for the Easter weekend? 

*gifted

*Eco Friendly Choices + Tips

Thursday, April 02, 2020
Image from Burkatron
*This is a sponsored post 
One of my 2020 goals was to reduce my plastic use and to make more mindful environmentally friendly choices and while being vegan definitely helps, I think I have made a few more switches that have made my lifestyle more environmentally friendly but there's always more everyone can do, even during our lockdown.

Clearing out all of beauty products, kitchen supplies, wardrobe, books and bathroom at the start of the year helped to sort out the products that I actually use so I now know which items I need to buy so I'm not making as many unnecessary purchases. It also means that I have lots of items to donate and to sell in the future. If you are using your free time currently to clean up your home then hopefully these tips and ideas might have to also help you make more environmentally friendly choices and to know what you can/can't find alternatives for.

Plastic Swap 
The first thing I did was look at the amount of plastic I was using, from 'disposable' water bottles and plastic razors to shampoo, among other items. There are certain items, like cleaning products, that I can't fully switch to plastic free alternatives yet but I have opted to use shampoo bars more often, metal razors (which I cannot recommend enough as single razor blades are very effective) and re-useable water bottles. I would also have a canvas bag for groceries, especially loose fruits and veggies so I don't have to buy items that are stored in plastic.

Eco Friendly Appliances, Natural Cleaning Products & Repurposing 
Another swap (and one that I need to address soon) is natural cleaning products for the home and clothing. There are so many natural skincare, body care and haircare alternatives but I don't see too many natural household cleaning products in main stores so if you have any recommendations, leave them in the comments below. Switching to eco friendly and more efficient appliances is another option to consider along with repurposing items, whether it is altering clothing for new uses or using ingredients in a different way instead of wasting them.

Cardboard Alternatives 
Lastly, for those with small business (it is important now more than ever to try to support small business if we can), purchasing bulk cardboard boxes and packaging might be a great eco friendly solution to plastic packaging. Lil Packaging currently supply large companies such as Hotel Chocolat (their vegan batons are incredible), MoonPig (I cannot recommend their personalised card enough) and many more. They have so many options to choose from, including envelopes and bags to boxes of all styles and sizes. Their entire mailbox range is FSC certified (so it is sourced sustainably) and is 100% recyclable.

Have you made any environmentally friendly changes in 2020? 

March Beauty Favourites

Monday, March 30, 2020
March has been a bit of a strange month to say the least, especially as towards the end of March the UK went into lockdown which has been such a bizarre and surreal experience. I was unsure what to do when it comes to blogging as most of my freelance work and blog related emails have decreased dramatically but my blog has always been an escape for me (my blog's 8th birthday is coming up in May - be prepared for a birthday giveaway) and I hope it can be for those who read my blog as well.

Today's post is my short favourites post featuring the main skincare and haircare favourites I've loved over the month of March. I have an upcoming post including a plethora of items that I have loved using throughout the winter months including so many makeup favourites so say tuned for that post which should hopefully be live on my blog at the end of the week or early next week. You can always follow me on instagram (@ofbeautyand) to see sneak peeks of my upcoming posts and my blogger mail.
*SKN-RG Diamond Blue Cleanser (£29, 60ml)
Let's start with the cleanser that I've been using and loving for the past couple of weeks. SKN-RG is a  brand I have tried previously as I reviewed their fantastic Evolution Serum (£65) back in 2019 which I highly recommend so I was excited to try another product from the brand especially as I love their ethos and focus on cruelty free products and sustainability.

The Diamond Blue cleanser hasn't launched yet but here's a little information about the product and its ingredient list. It contains diamond blue plankton, botanical enzymes, soapberry and hyaluronic acid which combine to trap pollutants without stripping the skin, gently cleanse, resurface the skin and provide hydration.

The product itself is blue in colour and it has a gel-like texture which feels very refreshing and smoothing on the skin. It is a lovely cleanser to use, especially for the spring and summer month as it leaves my skin feeling throughly cleansed and smoother without it feeling dry or stripped. If you are looking for a luxe and effective cleanser, check out the SKN-RG Diamond Blue Cleanser when it is launched. I'm sure you'll be seeing this product on my blog again in the upcoming months. Don't forget to use the code: SKN15 to get 15% off at the checkout!
*Botanicals Nourish Moisturiser (£24.50)
My second March skincare favourite is a lovely natural facial moisturiser from Botanicals which is another brand I've been lucky enough to try on my blog a couple of times before. The moisturiser contains lots of organic ingredients including shea butter, green tea, rose geranium, rosehip and palmarosa oil. The ingredients are all cruelty free and sustainable as well as being suitable for vegans; for more information about the brand itself and the ingredients used, check out their website.

The moisturiser is minimally but beautifully packaged and designed; I love the pump dispenser as it makes it more convenient to use. It has a gorgeous spring-like floral scent that I adore and it makes me want to use the product constantly! The moisturiser itself has a silky texture and it feels very nourishing on the skin without making it feel very greasy or heavy. My skin has been loving this gentle, hydrating and fast absorbing moisturiser so much and I would highly recommend it.
 *Joico Weekend Hair Dry Shampoo (£16, 255ml)
Last but not least is a dry shampoo that I've gone through a couple of bottles of over the past few months and it's one of my favourites for March as I've been trying to wash my hair a little less (to slow down colour fade) and this dry shampoo has been a staple recently. I have a few dry shampoo recommendations but I think this one is fantastic for all hair colours and types. I never used to like dry shampoo as it either left a white tone to my hair or it wasn't very effective but thankfully this one ticks all of the boxes for a great dry shampoo for second, third and sometimes even fourth day hair.

Those are a few of the products I've been loving recently but stay tuned for my rather massive winter beauty favourites post which will be live soon! 

Have you tried any of these products? Which beauty products have you been loving in March? 

*gifted

DegustaBox - March 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020
I always look forward to receiving my DegustaBox every month and especially so for the month of March with all of the current madness in the supermarkets across the UK! The boxes are always filled with a few essential products that can be used as cooking ingredients as well as various drinks and lots of delicious snacks, the latter is is something we all need right now. Last months box contains so many heavenly vegan friendly snacks but the March box also contains lots of useful cupboard items too. The March box is currently sold out but you can sign up to receive the April box which will be dispatched from the 8th April.

*DegustaBox - March 2020
The theme for the box is 'hello spring' and it contains a variety of alcohol free drinks, sharing snacks and cooking ingredients from a range of brands including: Homepride, Knorr, Cadbury and more. As a DegustaBox ambassador, I am lucky enough to receive not only a few of the flavours for each item but I also receive the alcoholic/non-alcoholic items too; however, that is changing from the March box onwards as now there will only be one box rather than an alcohol vs non-alcoholic box. Everyone will receive the same items and the alcoholic products will only be included occasionally in the boxes.
*Galaxy Oat Drink (£1.50)
Let's start with the drinks as there were so many within the March box! First up a vegan Galaxy chocolate drink which doesn't contain added sugar and it is registered with the vegan society. I never loved eating chocolate before switching to a vegan diet last year but when I did crave chocolate, I always wanted Galaxy as it was the smoothest and the creamiest so I was very excited to try this drink! Sadly, it was quite artificial tasting but I think others will enjoy it more than me, especially if you like milkshakes.

*Jubel Elderflower Beer (£2.39)
Another vegan drink is a beer from Jubel which is a world beer awards winner! The beer is gluten free and vegan friendly. This brand was included in a previous box and I liked it then so I think I'm going to love this one too as elderflower is one of my favourite flavours. It is going to be the perfect floral beer for the gorgeous spring weather we are having now!
*Seedlip Garden 108 (£3 for 6cl)
Next up, the first of the two non-alcoholic drinks within the box. The Seedlip Garden 108 is the world first distilled non-alcoholic spirit. It 'captures the essence of the English countryside with notes of peans, hay, spearmint, rosemary and thyme'. It sounds like such an interesting and delicious drink that would be great paired with the tonic water from the box.

*Cadbury 30% Less Sugar Hot Chocolate (£2.49)
Hot chocolate is such a nostalgic and comforting drink that so many people love but I personally always find them too sweet and sugary or it has too much sugar in it, in terms of calories. Thankfully Cadburys have created a 30% less sugar version which still has the same creamy flavour. My mum loves hot chocolate and she adored this new version!
*Merchant's Heart Tonic Water (£1.30)
The final couple of drinks include a aromatic tonic water that would be perfect for the spring months and also to combine with the Seedlip Garden 108 drink for a refreshing and herbal drink for hot spring days in the garden. You could have received either the pink peppercorn or the floral aromatics tonic water and I'm glad I received the latter.

*Highball Alcohol Free Pink G&T (£1.99)
Last but not least is an item my mum was very excited about - the alcohol free pink ginned tonic from Highball. There are six flavours including G&T, pink G&G, cosmopolitan, mojito, Italian spritz and ginger dram. They are all made with natural ingredients and contain half the calories of a standard cocktail. I've never had a gin and tonic before and I found it too bitter but my mum liked it and I think many others will too.
*Naked Noodle Singapore Curry (£1.20)
Moving onto some of the snacks, the first is a noodle pot from Naked Noodle. Before switching to a vegan diet I used to love noodles pots like this for a quick and very easy lunch - I hope they bring out a few vegan options!

*Wotsits Flamin' Hot (£1 each)
Potentially my favourite snack, although not my favourite item overall, from the box had to be the flamin' hot flavour of Wotsits. In the 90's I used to eat so many crisps as they were in everyones primary school lunch box and Wotsits were definitely up there with my favourite crisps but I haven't had any in about ten years. The flamin' hot version is vegan and delicious so I will be buying more if I can find them.
*Smarties Buttons (£1.59)
One of the things I love about the DegustaBox selections is the variety and the snacks as there's something for everyone, including snacks that can be shared. The Smarties Buttons are a new product that combine smooth chocolate buttons with crunchy mini smarties. They'd make a great picnic (a self isolation picnic) or movie snack to share!

*Nudie Snacks Broad Beans (£1.59)
As well as the Wotsits crisps, another favourite snack has to be the soup cream and chive flavoured broad beans. I didn't think they would be vegan based on the flavour but they are (yay). Sour cream and chive is my favourite crisp or snack flavouring and these didn't disappoint. I will definitely be looking out for these in the future.
*Marmite Crunchy Peanut Butter (£2.50)
Speaking of favourites, we've reached my favourite product from the box and if I'm honest, the past couple of boxes. I adore peanut butter but until I received this box I'd never tried marmite and I didn't want to but I'm so glad this jar of deliciousness was in the box as I love it! I'm haven't tried Marmite individually but within peanut butter it makes for an even more salty and savoury version of peanut butter that I can't get enough of! I need another jar ASAP!

*Knorr Stock Pots (95p each)
The penultimate item are a couple of flavoured stock pots from Knorr. There were two in the March box - kaffir lime and ginger as well as paprika and sundried tomato. Thankfully they are both vegan and gluten free. I haven'r tried them yet but I can't wait to try the kaffir lime and ginger stock pot in a curry very soon.
*Homepride Superior Sponge Flour (£2)
Last but not least is an item that hasn't been included in a previous DegustaBox - flour. The Homepride 'superior sponge' flour is a premium milled flour that is made from 100% British wheat. It is ideal for creating light and fluffy sponges for a classic Victoria sponge cake, for example. I've used it for cooking recently but I need to bake with it very soon.

Don't forget to use the code: DTPL4 to get £5 off your first box!

Have you tried any of these products? Will you be signing up to receive the April box?

*gifted

Latest In Beauty: March 2020

Monday, March 23, 2020
It's that time of the month again for my review of the new Latest In Beauty subscription box. I'm lucky enough to be sent the boxes each month to review. I receive the 'beauty enthusiast' box (£22 for a one off box) which contains six items, all of which you can choose from their monthly selection. There are three box options which contain differing numbers of products and prices, so you can choose the box for your preferences and budget.

*Latest In Beauty: March 2020 - The Glow Edit 
There are so many aspects of the Latest In Beauty boxes that I adore, from the packaging, selection of products and the amazing value limited edition boxes to the new products added daily, the luxury brands in their monthly selection and the variety of box options. However, I think I love the themes each month as well as the wide selection the most. The theme for the March box is 'the glow edit' which is perfect for the time of the year when we are finally emerging into spring!
*Yardley London Lily Of The Valley Fragrance 
Within last months box I chose the Yardley London rose fragrance so I had to opt for the lily of the valley fragrance in March. It isn't a brand I've really tried anything from until the February and March Latest In Beauty boxes and that's one of the reasons I keep recommend this subscription. I think I love the lily of the valley version more than the rose fragrance but I enjoy both as casual fragrances that are perfect for spring.

*Ogario London Hydrate & Shine Conditioner 
I haven't tried this brand before but I needed a new conditioner as I wasn't loving any of the hair care products I've been using recently. Thankfully, I love this conditioner! It claims to be a deeply moisturiser conditioner for those with dry and damaged hair; the conditioner feels very nourishing and moisturising! I will be looking out for more products from this brand in the future!
*Cetraben Natural Oatmeal Cream 
Back in 2017 I tried a few Cetraben products for the eczema on my face and hands and loved all of them but especially the lotion so when I noticed a product from the brand on the monthly selection, I had to choose it. I thankfully don't have any eczema on my hands or face anymore (due to switching to a dairy free diet) but I still wanted to try the product as my skin can still be a little dry at this time of the year, eczema or not. The cream definitely has a medical lotion scent which isn't a scent I love but the cream itself is fantastic. It is a thick and nourishing cream that absorbs quickly, leaving my skin feeling smoother, softer and moisturised without a greasy feeling. I've been using it as a hand cream at my desk or as a cream on my legs after showering and it significantly helps the dryness of my skin.
*Pixi Glow Tonic 
The star product for the March box was the Pixi Glow Tonic which is now such a cult skincare product, I'm sure most people who are interested in skincare and beauty have heard of it or tried it. I bought a mini bottle just before Christmas and I do like it so I had to pick up another. It is an award winning facial toner that deeply cleanses and exfoliates the skin. I've been using it on and off for a few months now and I think it helps my skin but I personally think that the First Aid Beauty pads are more effective as I notice an instant difference in the texture and clarity of my skin after using them; whereas this toner is a product that you need to use a little more consistently for noticeable results.
*Australian Bodycare Lavender and Tea Tree Oil Wipes 
I'm personally not an advocate for facial wipes so I chose these wet wipes as hand and body wipes for travelling or keeping in my car for emergencies. I haven't tried anything from this brand but I've heard good things and I can never resist a product that contains lavender! The wipes have a gorgeous menthol and lavender scent that I absolutely love and they are great as hand wipes. There's a body lotion to accompany the wipes, in the same scent, that I would love to try!
*Sanctuary Spa Nourishing Hydrogel Sheet Mask 
Sanctuary Spa is such a nostalgic and well loved brand but I haven't tried any of their masks before! I love their body care products especially the shower gels and scrubs so I was interested to try this sheet mask, even though admittedly sheet masks aren't my favourite type of face mask. It is infused with natural extracts and rose petals to boost moisture levels and soothe the skin. I cannot wait to try this mask!

Have you tried any of these products? 

*gifted

#NationalBedMonth Favourites with Feather & Down

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
March is National Bed Month and to celebrate, the lovely people of Feather and Down have very kindly sent me a few of their gorgeous gift sets. I'm reviewing one set within today's post but I will also have my second and final Mother's Day gift guide live on very soon which will also include a few gift sets from Feather and Down so stay tuned.

*Feather and Down Gift Of Sleep Set (£8)
The lovely gift set that will be the star of today's post is the 'gift of sleep' set from Feather and Down which contains their award winning pillow spray and calming candle. Unfortunately, this set is currently unavailable on the website but hopefully it will be available again very soon. As with all of the products from Feather and Down, the packaging is utterly gorgeous and they'd all make wonderful and relaxing gifts for either Mother's Day (which is this Sunday in the UK) or as an Easter gift.
The pillow mist is the product I've tried the most, either via subscription boxes or from the brand and it is genuinely the best pillow mist I've ever used...and I've tried a fair few over the years. The mist contains a blend of lavender and chamomile essential oils that are incredibly relaxing. I cannot stop using this mist everyday and not just before bed but also while I'm writing at my desk - the scent is just that calming and intoxicating!

The candle is equally as heavenly scented and I love the packaging as it's very minimal but it still looks quite luxurious. It has the same scent as the pillow mist, although it much more subtle compared to the pillow mist. I wish the candle scent was a little stronger, just because I adore the scent. Overall, such a lovely and relaxing set that would make a great gift or a treat for yourself.

To celebrate National Bed Month, Feather and Down are offering 3 for 2 on all of their products!

Have you tried any products from Feather and Down? 

*gifted