Wedding Guest Dresses ft. Goddiva

Friday, July 31, 2020
Images from Goddiva
Collaborative post (not paid)

Lockdown may still be in place, especially if you are based in Greater Manchester as I am but if you do have any formal events, weddings or parties to attend in the next few weeks or months, then you will be sure to find a dress (or two) to dazzle from Goddiva. As well as wedding dresses, they also offer a wide range of bridal, eveningand bridesmaid dresses. Additionally, you'll find a huge selection of maxi, midi, cocktail, evening, summer, work and casual dresses, in a range of prices, colours and styles.  

Maxi Dresses 
Unless the bride has requested a specific dress code, style or colour scheme, there aren't too many rules when it comes to wedding guest outfits. Make sure your dress isn't white and you should be fine! I think maxi dresses or longer evening dresses are the perfect mix of formal and sophisticated but also comfortable, light (ideal for a summer wedding or a celebration abroad) and elegant. I wore a maxi fitted dress as a bridesmaid a couple of years ago and not only was it comfortable to wear all day but it instantly looked elegant and fitting for the occasion. There are a few of my favourite maxi dresses from Goddiva above which I think would make gorgeous wedding guest or evening dresses

As well as maxi dresses, I think that anything with a little sparkle in the form of sequins makes any outfit or dress look wedding ready! Although I think there is such a thing as too much sparkle so perhaps keep the sequins to a minimum (the dress above as a great example of well placed and simple sparkle) or make sure they are specific to one area of the dress such as the bodice. Goddiva has a wonderful array of sequinned and sparkly dresses, from full on 1920's flapper-style fringe dresses to elegant diffused sequinned maxi dresses. 

Cocktail Dresses
Lastly, if you are unsure of what to wear to the ceremony or the evening party, a simple but elegant cocktail or party dress might be the answer. Ideal for warmer climates or a hot English summers day, a cocktail dress can be sequinned and glamorous, floaty and sophisticated or it can be figure hugging, there are so many opinions to choose from. It is also the style of dress that can be worn to multiple occasions!

What do you think of the Goddiva dresses I've chosen? Do you have any wedding guest advice or wardrobe recommendations? 

DegustaBox - July 2020

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
It's almost the end of July (where has July gone!) so that means it is time for my review of the July DegustaBox. I am lucky enough to be a DegustaBox ambassador so I receive their boxes to review on my blog, although all opinions are my own. Also, as an ambassador, I may receive extra items or more flavours (so I can try more than one of the opinions available) than you will receive if you subscribe. 

*DegustaBox - July 2020 
Each box contains a wide range of snacks, drinks and cooking ingredients for a variety of tastes and diets. Additionally, each box has a theme and the theme for July was 'summer'. The items in the July box are mostly sweet items, rather than the usual mix but they're all great opinions to share as part of a socially distanced summer picnic or snacks for a summer staycation. While this box isn't my favourite of 2020 so far, there are a few items that I loved! 
*Bebeto Part Mix Tub (£2)
There are so many sweet treats within this box so if you have a sweet tooth then you'll have loved this months box. I don't typically have a sweet tooth as I prefer savoury food but I do have one weakness...gummy sweets! I have been ordering from Vegummies during lockdown which has been fulfilling my vegan sweet craving. Sadly the huge tub of sweets within the July box aren't vegetarian or vegan so I passed them onto my mum as she shared them with all of the children in her class as a leaving treat and they loved them. 

*Golden Creek Maple Syrup (£2.49)
I'm reviewing the super sugary options first and my favourite of the sugary treats has to be the Canadian maple syrup blended with sugar syrup. I absolutely love the adorable packaging and I love maple syrup so this item was always going to be one of my favourites from this months selection!
*Natvia Natural Sweetener (£5)
The most expensive item in the July box is a tub of natural sweetener from Natvia which is a brand I haven't tried before. It is composed of naturally sourced GMO free ingredients and can be used not only within hot drinks but also cooking and baking. I have only tried one sweetener before and it wasn't too pleasant but thankfully this one is much better. It isn't sugar but it is sweet enough within hot drinks (I haven't tried it in baking yet) and it doesn't have much of an aftertaste, thankfully. 

*Nesquik All Natural Milkshake Powder (£1.89)
Sticking with more 'natural and healthier' sweet treats is a milkshake powder which contains five natural ingredients including raw sugar cane. It doesn't contain artificial sweeteners or flavourings and the paper packaging is fully recyclable - that is something I hope more manufacturers opt for. I personally don't like milkshakes but I know that so many people love Nesquik!
*Manilife Peanut Butter (60p each)
Two of my favourite items from the box are the two mini tubs of peanut butter. They've been including in a previous DegustaBox and I loved them so I was very happy to receive more! I love peanut butter on toast, within baking and most of all, in thai peanut noodle dishes! I love the original but my favourite of the two is the deep roast crunchy peanut butter. 

*Premier Protein Chocolate Brownie Protein Bar (£1.49)
Usually there are a few snack bars within each box but this month there's only one and it sounds delicious; sadly it isn't vegan though. The bar contains a whopping 20g of protein and only 1.3g of sugar so it is a healthier snack for work, school or on the go. 
*Skinny Food Co Samples 
Moving onto the more savoury options and the first is a mix between savoury and sweet. They are listed as a 'gift' on the leaflet which is something DegustaBox include every so often. You will find a surprise bag of four samples from The Skinny Food Co in your box. Within mine I received the mayo, garlic mayo (obviously the one I was most excited about), ketchup and white chocolate syrup. They contain zero calories which definitely intrigued me and I had high hopes but sadly they were not for me. I didn't read the packaging before trying them after seeing the vegan label and they all (even the mayo and garlic mayo) contain added sweeteners which makes them far, far too sweet for me - not impressed. 

Plant Pops Popped Lotus Seeds - Peanut Butter (£1.50)
Let's get the other disappointing product out of the way and sadly it's the popped lotus seeds snack. I haven't tried lotus seeds before so I was interested to give them a go, especially as they are peanut butter flavoured and we all know how much I love peanut butter. Sadly, they had quite an unusual flavour that we didn't enjoy unfortunately. 
*Pravha Lighter Tasting Pilsner (£2)
The last category and the final three products are all drinks, including the alcoholic item in the box. I personally don't love beer or lager but my dad does so I'm going to pass on this pilsner (a type of lager from the Czech Republic) to him to see if he likes it. 

*Wunda Milk Alternative (£1.99)
The penultimate item is a dairy free milk alternative which is high in protein, low in sugar, low in fat and it is fortified with vitamins including A, D, B2 and B12. I have personally never really consumed cows milk even as a child and over the past five or so years I've only been using oat and almond milk, both of which I love, so I'm interested to try a new alternative. 

Minor Figures Nitro Cold Brew (£1.95)
Last but not least is a cold brew coffee that comes in the most instagram-worthy packaging! I've seen this brand online but haven't tried any of their products. I have the mocha flavour but there are two others you could have received instead. It is a light, dairy free drink that has no added sugar. I really liked this drink and I definitely want to try the other flavours. 

Have you tried any of these products? Don't forget to use the code: DTPL4 to get your box for only £9.99!

The Taste of Italy with Independent Wine

Sunday, July 26, 2020
Happy Sunday! Today's post is a little different as I'm reviewing a selection of Italian wine from Independent Wine which is a new-to-me online wine shop that offers a range of red and white wine, rose, sparkling wine and whisky. I'm featuring Italian wine within today's post but there are options from France, Spain and Argentina available online too. If you follow me on Instagram (@ofbeautyand) then you'll have already had a sneak peek of this post!
No matter which variety you are interested in, the majority of the wine available within their e-shop are award winners so if you are a beginner to the world of wine, you know you are choosing from a great selection. I was very kindly sent two bottles to try, both of which award winners from Northern Italy. Italy is famous for many things, from the delicious cuisine and epic history to its glorious sun-kissed landscape and of course, wine. 

I've been lucky enough to visit a range of cities within Italy from Venice, Florence and Ravenna in the north to Rome, Naples, Bari and the Island of Sicily in the south. So I've indulged in delicious traditional Italian dishes, however I haven't tried had the pleasure of sampling much of their world famous wine. Thankfully, Independent Wine have a great range of awarding winning Italian wine to bring the taste of Italy to your door. 
*Ridolfi Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2018 (£19.90)
I'll start with the red wine which contains the Sangiovese grape variety; harvested between September and October, the wine is then aged for one year within oak barrels to maintain a rich but fresh and floral flavour. The aromas and notes include dried red cherries, chocolate, raspberries, strawberries, red currant and sweet cakes, among others. I personally prefer light and sweet rose or white wine but I'm always happy to try other varieties as I am very much a beginner when it comes to wine tasting so I'm glad I was able to try an option I wouldn't have otherwise tried. I have to admit that it is a little strong, rich and more acidic compared to what I've tried previously but I do love the rich berry flavours. 
*Malvirà Saglietto Arneis 2016 (£19.90)
Last but not least is my favourite option of the two I was very kindly sent from Independent Wine. The white wine is produced in an organic winery and is carbon neutral so if a more environmentally friendly option is something you are interested in then Malvirà is the winemaker to keep in mind. The winery is constructed deep underground with geothermal heating and cooling systems which sounds like a James Bond villain's version of a winery! Composed of the Arneis white grape variety and matured using both oak barrels and stainless steel vats, the wine has a high acidity but a light, refreshing flavour. With lingering notes of tropical fruits, lemon and pear, I also get a moreish cooked apple flavour. I think both options would be great summer alfresco dinner with family and friends, while socially distancing, of course. 

I also wanted to mention Zzysh, the wine preserver I use, which I've reviewed previously on my blog. 

For more information, check out their e-shop or their knowledge base!

Are you a wine lover? Will you be visiting Independent Wine to browse their selection? 

Sanctuary Spa Limited Edition Summer Gift Bag

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Sanctuary Spa has been a staple in my bathroom cabinet since I was a teenager, which was too long ago and it's not something I want to think about as I approach my 30's. Without fail, every birthday or Christmas I would very happily receive a Sanctuary Spa gift set from my parents, friends, cousins or aunties as it was a firm favourite with everyone, myself included. There are more photos of the set including the towel and bag on my Instagram stories!

I was very happy to receive their new limited edition summer gift set which includes the watermelon shower gel, watermelon body scrub, watermelon jelly in-shower body moisturiser and the watermelon mist, all of which are full sized products. As well as all of the summer scented bath and body products you also receive a large gift bag (that would be an ideal beach or pool bag) and a cute watermelon print beach towel. I think this gift would be perfect for a coast or beach staycation this summer. 
*Sanctuary Spa Watermelon In-Shower Radiance Jelly 
I'll start with one of my favourites from the set, the radiance jelly which is an after-shower moisturiser that is very similar to their existing moisture miracle which I reviewed as part of a Latest In Beauty box last year. I have received a couple of the smaller sizes of the moisture miracle and I loved them so I knew I'd like this version too. 

I love the packaging of all Sanctuary Spa products and these are no different but the scent is. I personally adore the original Sanctuary Spa scent as it is not only lovely but it is also very nostalgic and almost comforting. I do like the new summery watermelon scent as it is very refreshing but I do prefer the original scent overall. I love using products like this as I am quite lazy when it comes to body moisturising so in-shower and quick options are always what I'll reach for over a traditional body lotion. 

*Sanctuary Spa Watermelon Body Scrub
Even though I tend to skip body lotion out of laziness, I always love to use a body scrub as who doesn't love the feeling of squeaky clean and smooth skin! I do have a few favourite body scrubs, however, I find that most just aren't...scrubby enough. If the body scrub doesn't feel like it is sanding my skin then I'm going to be disappointed. Thankfully, the Sanctuary Spa scrub is a great combination of scrubby particles and shower gel. The scrub leaves my skin incredibly smooth and soft but with a subtle fruity scent that I like more with each use. While I love the radiance jelly, I think the scrub might actually be my favourite product from this cute summer set. 
*Sanctuary Spa Watermelon Shower Gel 
I think that out of all of the Sanctuary Spa products available in their range, the shower gel and the salt scrub have to be their most beloved and famous products. I know that both the scrub and shower gels are my favourites from their extensive range, closely followed by the beautifully designed gift sets! The watermelon shower gel is just as lovely to use and effective as their original but again it has the new summery fruity scent that I thought I wouldn't love but I'm enjoying more and more. 

*Sanctuary Spa Watermelon Face and Body Mist
Last but not least is the smallest item in the set and it is an item I haven't tried from Sanctuary Spa previously. I don't think I've tried any of their skincare before but I definitely want to especially the masks as if you've been following me on Instagram (@ofbeautyand) you'll know that I've been loving using face masks much more during lockdown. I don't use face mists very often, unless we have a rare but glorious heatwave in the UK so I wasn't sure if I'd like this product but it actually surprised me. The spray is incredible fine unlike others I've tried that have felt like a water gun to the face! It's such a light, fine and refreshing mist with a lovely scent that would be great for cooling down on a hot summers day. 

Have you tried any products from Sanctuary? Will you be picking up this great value limited edition set? 

Summer Jewellery with Daisy London

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Daisy London is my favourite jewellery brand so I was very excited when I received an email about reviewing more of their utterly gorgeous pieces! I first came across Daisy London when they created their first collection with the adorable YouTuber Estee Lalonde and I instantly fell in love but as I wasn't typically a jewellery or accessories wearer, I didn't purchase anything at the time. 

However, after receiving two of their gorgeous necklaces back in 2019, both of which were from Estee's collection, I began regularly wearing both necklaces which is something I've never really done before. I am a very design led person, I like my style and purchases to look a certain way (if that makes sense) and the aesthetic of everything from Daisy London just ticks all of my jewellery design boxes! 
I was very happy to receive one of their rings, of my choosing, as I do wear both necklaces constantly and I think pairing them with one of their rings would look gorgeous. I chose this unique but very simple stacked rope ring in the size small. I am roughly a ring size J and it fits really well but I would recommend checking out their sizing guide as well as buying (or printing off, you can find them online) a ring sizer to make sure you choose the correct size. The sizes range from XS to XL, however many of the sizes are currently unavailable but hopefully more will be back in stock soon. 
I received the ring a few days ago (if you follow me on Instagram @ofbeautyand you may have seen my unboxing) and I've been wearing it constantly since. I don't typically wear rings as I find them a little uncomfortable or clunky but this one, even though it is a little on the chunky side, is very comfortable and easy to wear. Considering it is a fairly large and chunky design, I was surprised at how I didn't notice it too much throughout the day and how gorgeous it looks when paired with nude pink nails!

Whenever I wear my gorgeous pieces from Daisy London or if I see images of their jewellery online, it instantly makes me think of summer, I'm not sure why. I adore the simple but striking designs, the quality and the comfort of wearing such lovely, high quality and well-fitting pieces. I will be wearing the ring constantly along with the necklaces and I cannot recommend them enough, especially as gifts because they are presented so beautifully with a gift bag, box and pouch. I now have my eye on the new and utterly divine flower inspired necklaces, in particular the beautiful lavender and rose designs, both of which would be ideal for summer. 

Have you tried anything from Daisy London? What do you think of this ring? 

Seasonal Organising Tips + Ideas

Friday, July 17, 2020

Image from Pinterest 
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Organising my personal space and possessions is one of the most anxiety reducing tasks I can do so naturally during the past few months, I've been sorting through older blog posts, re-organising my books, wading through my plethora of half-used products to try and finish them and sorting through my beauty collection, wardrobe and accessories. I personally find that having a tidy and organised home, especially as I work from home, is essential for me to have a clearer, organised and more productive mind. Today's post features some of my tips and ideas for organising your home!

Organise Seasonal Items
St the start of every season I like to go through my beauty, skincare, clothing, desk drawers and bathroom cabinets to not only bring out my more seasonal items to use but also to cull the items I'm not enjoying (I either find another use for them, pass them on or throw them away - recycling when I can) and to better organise for the new season ahead. For example, winter clothing is packed away in boxes above my wardrobe, winter appropriate skincare and cosmetic shades are added to another drawer rather than my daily rotation and seasonal items I want to use again are brought out. I think having a seasonal cull and organising your home (or just that one perpetually messy room everyone seems to have) is a great way of keeping account of the items you own and to re-organise your storage more efficiently. 

Space Saving Storage Ideas
If you have a small apartment or a limited amount of storage, you need to make the most of the space you have! For example, storage under the bed, stacked storage boxes, wall hanging organisation, fitted wardrobes, wall shelves, mirrored cabinets and trolleys are just a few options to consider. Utilise spaces that are usually forgotten (such as under desks or above cabinets) and search online for stackable storage boxes to better use the current space you have. I highly recommend the stackable drawers from Muji which I've used for years. I've also found invisible wall shelves a handy storage idea for my excess books and storage boxes within larger drawers is an easy way to organise the drawer more efficiently for the space you have. 

Self Storage Solutions 
Another option to choose if you have a number of larger items or more than your home can comfortably contain are self storage solutions near you. Now Storage Swindon is an option to consider, along with their other self storage solution facilities throughout the country. Head over to their website to get an instant quote online and to find out more about their storage options, all of which are secure with 24/7 CCTV and offer flexible access to your storage. I think self storage options would be a great option not only for those in the process of moving house or for small business needs but also if you don't have the storage in your own home for excess items or larger objects. We currently have an attic absolutely full of items to sell and donate so a self storage unit would be great for us!

Have you tried any of these ideas or have you tried self storage near you? Do you have any organising or de-cluttering tips? 

Talking Tropics: Bringing Holiday Inspired Interiors into Your Home

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
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2020 has almost certainly taken a strange turn, with many of us confounded to our homes more than ever before. With the majority of holidays to far flung destinations cancelled or rescheduled, it’s looking like this year’s summer holidays will have to be spent in sunny old England, which I have to be honest, isn’t quite the destination I had in mind. 

Despite the somewhat questionable weather, looking to our home interiors to inspire that all-important holiday feel is a great way to bring the tropics to us. And whilst sitting in your living room isn’t quite the same as sipping a rum cocktail in Cuba, injecting some sunshine into the space in the form of tropical-themed interiors is a great way to bring our holidays home to us!

A new, modern take on tropical interiors is having a real moment in the world of interior design right now, with trendy styles popping up in many a home renovation Insta-post. If you’ve browsed the likes of Pinterest and Instagram for some serious home-inspo over the past few months, you’ll have no doubt seen an abundance of beautiful nature-themed room sets, with everything from muted nude and green colour palettes to macramé and rattan all proving particularly popular. I recently wrote about how ironmongery can really change the overall aesthetic of a room, and the tropics trend is no different.

I for one absolutely love this new take on the trend, it adds a sense of relaxation to a space without being overtly “themed” and is super easy to achieve in your own home with just a few simple steps.
Image from Pinterest

Palm Print 
Prints are always a big trend, but palm print is particularly hot right now. With celeb fans such as the likes of Stacey Solomon, it’s no surprise that so many home furnishings retailers are jumping on the palm wagon. The ultimate in tropical-style, the addition of a palm print roman blind in this simple bathroom takes the entire space from drab to fab in a matter of moments. Add a potted plant or two and you’re good to go!

Natural Fibres 
The likes of rattan, bamboo and wicker furniture and accessories are also huge, you only need to step into Primark home to find that out! Natural fibres are a huge trend, not only because going back to nature is more supportive of the environment, but because fibres that have not been dyed go seriously well with a muted colour palette. If you’re not wanting to invest in a whole new set of furniture, the addition of natural storage baskets or planters is a great way to bring that tropical vibe home.

Cacti and Palms 
Adding greenery to your home has long been a great way to bring life, and literal oxygen, into your space. Most holidays are synonymous with the great outdoors, tropical plants and palms galore so it makes sense that by incorporating such things into your own home will help create those all-important destination vibes. There’s a particularly beautiful hotel in Mexico, the Copal Tulum Hotel, which nails this trend in each of their uber modern yet tropical guest rooms. Take inspo from the muted colour palettes and greenery for a cool take in your own home.

Though it reached peak popularity way back in the 70s, macramé is making a huge comeback and is one trend that literally screams tropical holiday. The new macramé trend has a modern and rejuvenated feel, with wall hangings and hanging planters proving particularly popular.

Pampas Grass 
A huge trend that’s popped up this year, the rise in pampas grass as a home interiors decoration is hard to miss. Pampas grass has become particularly popular thanks to its neutral colour palette and long shelf-life, most pampas is dried so will stand the test of time (and doesn’t require watering – a bonus in my book!). Originating in South America, the plant screams boho chic, simply pop some pampas grass into a wicker vase and you’re transported to a far flung destination in a matter of moments.

Do you have any tips to bring holiday inspired trends and vibes into your home? 

New In: Vegan Haircare from Shrub

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Throughout lockdown I've been trying to not only use up as many products as I can (I have far too many samples and half-used products) but I've also been trying a few new items. The new haircare brand I've tried is Shrub which is a more ethical and vegan brand that doesn't contain liquid plastics and the ingredients are all sourced from local British farms. One of my goals for 2020 was to make more ethical and environmentally friendly choices so I think this brand is perfect to help tick off that goal for me, in terms of haircare. 

I'll start with the hair primer which is a product I haven't ever tried before! It contains lots of plant based ingredients such as nettle, elderflower and willow extracts; all of the products I've tried have a lovely subtle 'green' scent. The primer can be used on wet or dry hair to smooth the hair, make it shine and help with manageability. 

I don't tend to use too many products on my hair, apart from hair masks and treatments but the look of all the Shrub products has made me want to use more haircare - I love the packaging design! I like this hair primer, on wet hair or dry hair, although it seems to work best on wet hair. It leaves my hair smoother, softer and a little more manageable, in terms of tangles and frizz. 
*Shrub Detangling Spray (£9.99)
My favourite product from the three I've tried is a tie between The Wonder Oil and the Detangling Spray. My hair is naturally wavy, dry at the ends with occasionally greasy roots and more often than not, frizz and tangles. Therefore I'm always looking for items to help not only with oily roots but frizz and awful tangles so I was excited to try these last two products. 

The detangling spray has a pleasant scent, it doesn't weight my hair down or make it greasy, it is very easy to use and it does help to detangle my hair, particularly when combined with The Wet Brush - no more painful hair brushing! If you also have dry and tangled hair then I'd definitely recommend trying out this detangling spray. 
*Shrub The Wonder Oil (£14.99)
Last but not least is the hair oil from the range which is the item I've been using the most, closely followed by the detangling spray. One of the suggested uses of the oil, on the box, was to apply it to the scalp to help soothe a dry, flakey scalp which is a hair issue I struggle with. I have been applying a few drops of the hail oil onto my palms then distributing it onto my scalp on the morning before I wash my hair so the product has a few hours to moisturise the skin. I'm happy with the oil, both when used on the scalp to reduce dryness and on the ends to tame frizz. If you're looking for a vegan, cruelty free hair oil, I'd recommend this lovely option from Shrub. 

Have you tried anything from Shrub? 

FFS Rebranding + Review

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Back in April I created a post all about the subscription boxes I recommend to help you get through lockdown and within it, I included my Friction Free Shaving kit that I was very kindly sent but now they've rebranded and I love the new designs! I was sent a kit including their natural deodorant, all of which came in their new rebranded packaging. 

*FFS Kit (from £9)
The basic kit you can buy starts from £9 which includes the rose gold handle as well as a set of four blades. The blade heads feature a diamond coating and a soothing vitamin E strip to reduce irritation and time spent shaving. The rose gold handle can be re-used which is much better for the environment and saves plastic waste being added to landfill - yes to making more environmentally friendly choices! 
I've been using my razor along with the accompanying blades on and off since April and I love this razor. Since my teens I've been using plastic disposable razors which always left me with razor burn and cuts; however I did start using a single bladed razor at the end of 2019 which is far better than the disposable plastic options, in terms of the environmental impact and performance. As much as I love the single bladed razor, I do have to use a shave gel with it, it's a little more time consuming and I think it can be a little nerve wracking to use, if you aren't used to it. 

So the FFS razor with it's very effective, super sharp blades and moisturising strips is a fantastic balance between the two as it has the speed and efficiency of the single bladed razor (or safety razor) but it also has the familiarly, ease of use and convenience of a plastic razor. I find that I do still get razor burn and ingrown hairs with this razor but definitely not as much compared to other razors I've tried in the over ten years I've been using razors. 
*FFS Natural Deodorant (£5)
In addition to the basic kit, you can choose optional extras to add your your kit such as wax strips (£3), shave cream (£6), shave scrub (£6), post-shave balm (£6), an additional rose gold handle (£6) or one of their three natural deodorants. I have been using the rosemary and bergamot scented deodorant for a few months now and I love it! I was kindly sent the tea tree and orange scent this time around and while I do love the scent, I think I refer the rosemary and bergamot option more. 

Overall, I think that the FFS shaving kit is a fantastic opinion not just in terms of how effective, convenient and easy it is to use but it is cruelty free, the blades are recyclable and the handle can be re-used so it's far better for the environment. While I loved the original packaging, I also love the new rebrand and I cannot recommend FFS products enough!

Have you tried anything from FFS? Are you trying to make more environmentally friendly choices in 2020?

Lockdown Empties

Thursday, July 09, 2020
Lockdown has been difficult in many ways but for me, there have been a couple of positives including having more time for relaxing, reading and pampering which has been necessary for stopping my anxiety from taking over! So during lockdown I decided to try and read as much as I can and use up some of the plethora of face masks, hair masks, bath bombs, samples and the many half-used products I have. 

Thankfully I was able to use up a lot of products that I'd half finished as well as samples; some of the products were surprising favourites and others were more than a little disappointing unfortunately. When I first started my blog, I used to write regular empties posts as I think they're much more valuable and thorough compared to mini reviews or initial impressions. I will be posting a summer empties post at the end of September and I might make it a seasonal series! 
I'll begin with the category I have the most empties from and that's skincare! I didn't realise how many skincare products I'd used up until I started gathering them together to photograph all of my empties. From May to April I used up five face masks, one face mist, one moisturiser and two serums, although I think I did throw away a few products before I started collecting my empties at the end of May. 

I won't go through all of my skincare empties individually but my favourite products have include: the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (a gorgeous gentle moisturiser), First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads (instantly smooth and exfoliated skin in a tub) and the Shangpree Aroma Blend Calming Mask (a heavenly Korean sheet mask). I will be buying all of three items in the future as my skin adored them all! 

I also used up a few sample sizes from Glamglow and Kiehls which were part of a limited edition box from Latest In Beauty: the Kiehls Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask (which my currently blemish prone and congested skin loved) and the Glamglow BerryGlow Mask (which was ideal for helping my skin look a little less...awful due to the stress of lockdown). If you're looking for a great value for money beauty box then I cannot recommend the Latest In Beauty boxes enough. 

Last but not least I wanted to mention the Beauty Laundrette Sheet Mask which was a great post-sun skincare treat to add hydration and soothe the skin. During lockdown I've been using up not only my half-finished products but the mountain of sheet masks I have too and this mask was one of my favourites. I've finally jumped onto the sheet mask bandwagon and I'm not getting off. 
Bath & Body 
I was surprised by how few body products I'd used up in during lockdown as I only have two! First up, the gorgeous Molton Brown Ylang Ylang Body Scrub which has to be one of the most effective and heavenly scented body scrubs I've ever used. I'm a huge fan of Molton Brown products and I've loved every single one but this body scrub is at the top of the list so far. The second and final body product was the FFS Post-Shave Balm which I loved to soothe and hydrate my skin after shaving. 

Lush Empties
Within April I started to have pampering Sundays as I've been feeling quite anxious and it was also an opportunity to use the Lush bath bombs I needed to use up before they were too old. The first bath bomb I finished was one of my favourites, Twilight, as it smells absolutely heavenly! I also used up Intergalactic which I used to love but now I can't stand bath bombs that contains tonnes of glitter as it just means more cleaning up afterwards. 

My final bath bomb is by far the worst Lush bath bomb I've ever used and others might agree with me as it doesn't seem to be on the website anymore. What is this bath bomb I hear you frustratingly ask? It was the Lush Dark Arts Jelly Bomb. It was my first jelly bomb and I think it's safe to say that the concept of jelly bombs kind of...bombed as there's only one on the website. I do still have the Snow Fairy Jelly Bomb to use but sadly I don't have high hopes for it now. 

As well as bath bombs I also used up my Lush Olive Branch Naked Shower Gel which has quickly become one of my favourite products from Lush as it not only smells lovely but it lathers well, leaves my skin feeling moisturised and it doubles up as a shaving cream too. I will definitely be buying another naked shower gel from Lush as soon as I can. 
The next category is haircare and I'm not surprised that I only have three items as I tend to be quite fickle with my haircare products and it usually takes me a while to finish products, especially full sized items. My favourite haircare product from lockdown was the Schwarzkopf Color Expert Dye in Dark Brown which is another item I received as part of a Latest In Beauty box - I told you they were fantastic boxes! The dye was one of the easiest, quickest and fuss-free dyes I've ever used and the grey coverage was great. 

I also used up two mini hair masks recently and my favourite of the two was the Living Proof Restore Mask which was a fantastic, effective and deeply nourishing hair mask that my tangle-prone and dry hair seemed to love. Sadly I didn't quite love the Wella Nutri-Enrich Mask as it was just quite average, in my opinion. 
Home Fragrance
Home fragrance, whether in the form of candles and wax melts or room sprays, are some of my favourite items to buy and use as I love a clean and fresh smelling home. I used up the lovely Feather and Down Candle during lockdown and while I loved the scent, it wasn't as strong as I would have liked it to be unfortunately. 

Thankfully I have more than a few room sprays that were very strong including the: Puressential Rest & Relax Spray (one of the strongest room spray I've used), the wonderful Feather and Down Pillow Mist (which I spray at every opportunity) and the Mio Liquid Yoga Spray (a relaxing room spray). I would highly recommend both the Feather and Down as well as the Puressential sprays!
Lastly, the makeup items and I have not one, not two but three brow pencils within my lockdown empties stash! I didn't know that I used up brow pencils so frequently but I do fill in my brows almost everyday so I think I'm quite the brow pencil expert by now! I think all three brow pencils are fantastic and I've bought them multiple times over the past year or so and I'd recommend them all. 

The Maybelline Total Temptation Brow Pencil is ideal for those just starting out using brow pencils or those who want a subtle, natural effect. The Barry M Brow Wand is pretty much the opposite as it's fantastic for very bold, thick and unruly brows. Lastly the Maybelline Brow Precise is a great balance between the previous two as it can be built up for dark, bold brows but it can also be brushed out for more natural but precise brows too. 

The final makeup item I finished during lockdown is the Kat Von D Go Big Or Go Home Mascara which is a mascara I've raved about on my blog previously (it was yet again an item I've loved from a Latest In Beauty box). I have started to get into the habit of throwing away makeup when it is quite old which I think is a good habit to get into and something I should have been doing years ago...oops. 

Have you tried any of these products? What have you used up during lockdown? 

June Beauty Favourites 2020

Tuesday, July 07, 2020
I've starting loving writing my monthly or bi-monthly favourites posts as well as a lockdown empties post (that's coming soon) so today's post is a short and sweet review of some of my favourite products from the month of June. I could have included many more products but you'll hear about some of them in my lockdown empties posts and my very long overdue winter and spring favourites post. I hope you all like reading about favourite products, empties and mini reviews as there are quite a few coming soon on my blog. You can always get a sneak peek of what I'm using, loving and receiving on my Instagram stories (@ofbeautyand). 
I am very lucky to receive lots of lovely products from the amazing people over at Bubble T Cosmetics and I recently received their new hand sanitisers in the post. I have four of the six that are available including: gin and tonic, lemon, pina colada and mango, all of which have the cutest packaging design. The Bubble T Cosmetics hand sanitisers contain 70% alcohol with a fruity scent. As with their other products, the sanitisers are cruelty free which is fantastic!

I've been using the gin and tonic option the most as they are perfect sizes to keep in my handbag or the car and they have a pleasant scent unlike some of the other hand sanitisers we've been using during lockdown. Over the past couple of weeks I have developed little eczema again on my fingers (maybe due to stress) but thankfully it isn't too bad and if I avoid using the sanitiser on those tiny areas then I have no irritation. I think they're fantastic little hand sanitisers that I definitely prefer them over all of the others I've used since lockdown began. 
*COSRX Clear Fit Master Patch (£4.80)
As well as a little eczema on my fingers, I've also been having trouble with my skin as I've now developed a few areas of many spots and redness on my cheeks which have annoyingly been a constant on my face for the past couple of months. I've never really experienced spots or blemishes before (probably because I had eczema over half of my face for more than ten years until January 2019) so I haven't known what to use. Thankfully I was very kindly sent a couple of spot and acne patches from the Korean brand COSRX which as far as I know is cruelty free and vegan friendly!

The Clear Fit Master Patch set comes with 18 small patches that are a great size for smaller or individual spots. They are 'invisible' and absorb impurities as well as oil throughout the day. The patches also provide a barrier against external irritants as well as makeup. I find that they are relatively 'invisible' and not very noticeable from a distance but they become apparent if you look closer or from a certain angle. I've been loving using these little patches and after keeping a couple of patches on my spots overnight, I do notice that they are flatter in the morning. 

*COSRX AC Collection Acne Patch (£7) 
As much as I love using the previous patches from COSRX, my favourite set of the two has to be the acne patches. I don't think that the collection of persistent spots I have is acne but these patches have been the most effective out of the two sets for my skin. The patches act as a protective barrier, they absorb oil and impurities and they are formulated with Centella Asiatica extract which is a well known medicinal plant that is used to treat small wounds, burns and psoriasis. 

The set comes with 26 patches in small, medium and large sizes and they are much more noticeable compared to the others so I've only been wearing them overnight or in the evening. I've been using the largest patches to cover a larger area of spots and my skin is significantly better the next day although I find that I have to use them consistently to get the benefits. If you're looking for effective spot patches from a cruelty free and vegan friendly brand then I cannot recommend these from COSRX enough. 
Last but not least is my current razor and holder from Estrid that I've previously reviewed on my blog so check out that post for more in-depth information about the kit. The razor and wall mounted holder from Estrid is just so convenient, from the super handy holder to the comfortable handle and the lovely moisturising strips, it's one of the most convenient, easy and fuss free razors I've ever used. I get a very clean and close shave each time without having to use shave gels. What could make the razor even better? It is vegan friendly, what more could you ask for! 

Have you tried any of these products? What items have you been loving throughout the month of June?