Thursday, 30 December 2010

Elysambre Long Lash Natural Mascara Review

Image borrowed from
Rating: 3.5/5, available from Lovelula for £12.99 (+ p&p) - as of posting it is on offer for 1 week and is selling for £9.74 (+ p&p, and mascara packaging).

"Elysambre is a gentle yet specialised, all natural, mineral based refillable make-up range. Elysambre pledges to offer an innovative, original skin-care make-up line that combines natural ingredients and up-to-date technologies and to respect the quality, the environment, human relations and animals while bringing total comfort and full satisfaction." (Official Elysambre blurb from Lovelula).
Sounds pretty special, right? The refillable make-up idea is brilliant, why don't more brands do this? It's a bit tricky when you're trying to sort the lid out (my Elysambre lipgloss still doesn't have a properly attached lid - review later, promise!) but it was pretty simple.

Application is not as messy as my Honeybee cosmetics mascara, but it's not as long lasting either. It also needs a lot of layering, and while I don't mind spending an extra few minutes getting ready in the morning, I do worry about poking myself in the eye because I'm applying mascara in a rush. In life there are plenty of things that should be savoured; spending time with your nearest and dearest, taking the first bite out of a piece of cake, sitting in the sunshine, dancing along to music in the copy room....but mascara application should not be one of those things, in fact it should be one of the many, teeny components that make up a lovely day.

I tried minimum application and the effect was as if I wasn't wearing mascara, so much so that Sarah - my desk buddy - complimented me for not wearing make-up to work. It was appreciated, sometimes I don't and in that moment I forgot that I had applied mascara. But then I realised that I most definitely had. Blurg.

So, then I tried heavy application which worked. This mascara is nice but it's a labour of love. I bought it in plum in the hopes of recreating the effects of my old Guerlain mascara, and it does so long as you have plenty of application and tweaking time.

The flaking is not consistent, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't - this probably has more to do with my application skills or the amount of times that I've rubbed my eyes than the mascara itself.

Have you used any of the Elysambre range? What did you think?
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Acacia Senegal Gum, Stearic Acid, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Carnauba Cera (Copernicia Cerifera Wax), Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, Candelilla Cera (Euphorbia Cerifera Wax), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Glyceryl Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxymethyl Glycinate, Citric Acid, Parfum (Fragrance). May contain: CI 77510 (Ferric ferrocyanide), CI 77491 (Red iron oxide), CI 77492 (Yellow iron oxide), CI 77499 (Black iron oxide), CI 77007 (Ultramarine), CI 75470 (Carmine).
* Synthetic products

Dairy free or not?

We've touched upon tummy issues and we may have mentioned that we are largely dairy free. But when we came across fresh unpasteurised milk at a farmer's market 6 months ago, we were all intrigued.

We bought a few pints (even though there's a health warning on the label), brought them home and did a bit of research. Apparently, it's all a bit controversial.

It's illegal for shops in the UK to sell it which is why you can only find it at farmers markets or straight from suppliers. Some people have labelled it a panacea and some think that drinking unpasteurised milk is both a ludicrous and dangerous pasttime.

We had heard that it has helped some people with lactose intolerance and we only chose to give it a go after doing a lot of research; if you choose to do the same you should research it very well (and that includes talking to your GP or health practitioner) before taking the plunge! We're not going to talk about the nutritional benefits or potential dangers involved with fresh milk, we're just going to tell you what we've found.

Firstly, this milk is far creamier than shop bought milk and (quite magically) we haven't put on a pound since introducing it into our diet. But, we don't drink it often because it's a bit pricey and we don't want to tempt fate too much!

We were initially concerned about the transition back into dairy products but it was surprisingly smooth; after a weekend of chocolate-induced stomach cramps, a glass of fresh goats milk helped soothe L's tummy (we also found that fresh cows milk has the same effect, this could be due to the fact that milk is alkaline...but we aren't sure).

We've suffered no ill effects, but we did do our research and we are very aware of when our body says 'no'. This isn't due to a magical connection with our bodies, we've honed our skills after years of trial-and-error and, as evidenced above, we still suffer from mishaps.

We've tried fresh goats milk and fresh cows milk and we have been converted to both, we've not suffered from the pain or discomfort that we have when we drink pasteurised milk and it seems that drinking fresh milk has helped boost our tolerance to dairy products.

We source our fresh goats milk from Hollypark Organics in Sussex who can be contacted directly (and are very friendly) or orders can be placed through Red23 who also stock other unpasteurised dairy items along with health foods. Our fresh cows milk and cream (super yummy) comes from Beaconhill farm. We've ordered with all of the places listed and we've always been happy with the results!

If you are interested in finding fresh milk suppliers in the UK this site has a fairly comprehensive list! I haven't yet found resources for the EU, US or elsewhere. But I vow to keep on searching! If you know of fresh milk suppliers near you please leave their details in the comments section for others!

Thanks so much for reading, we hope you've had a lovely day!

Christmas Sales Round-Up!

Lovelulas christmas sale is on and they are offering everyone who orders before the 3rd January 2011 VAT free shopping. Ok, they don't phrase it like that but that's essentially what they're doing, all you need to do is enter the code VATOFF on the basket page (scroll down and you'll find it)! Which is exciting and is a fab way of picking up lots of bargains!

Feelunique not only offer free worldwide delivery but now have their sale on, although they're not known for selling natural products they offer a huge range with brands like evolve, fushi wellbeing, trilogy, neals yard, balm balm, comvita, Dr Red, Jurlique, Nature's own supplements, Rio Amazon supplements, Pukka, Seagreens, Synergy Natural, Udo's Choice and many more!

Being Content have a teensy sale in the skincare section, if you're into bargains it's worth checking out.

Naturisimo offer free UK delivery and currently have their sale on, there are some great bargains in there! I think their U.S site offers free U.S delivery, but can't be sure!

Good Luck!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Cioccolatina Argan & Cocoa Butter Liquid Shampoo Review

Image borrowed from
Rating: 5/5, available in 30-100ml bottles from Shea butter cottage for £2.85-£5.35 (+ p&p)

This shampoo is from Akua Wood's Cioccolatina range. If this is your first time stopping by we wrote a review about Sheabutter cottage a few months back, if you are interested in learning a bit more about them click here.

This product is not tested on animals, is fair trade and is handmade. On top of that it is free from sulfates, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocamide DEA and Borax, making it a lovely addition to our natural and healthy bathroom pantry.

One mistake that you shouldn't make with this shampoo is to use it after using a hair mask. This shampoo is very nourishing, if you use a hair we may have done, will leave your hair greasy. It is strictly wash-and-go. It even mentions it in the product description. Now, if you use this as directed - without a hair mask - then it will leave your hair bouncy and clean, and we've found that it intensifies your hair colour.

You only need a small amount, it doesn't lather up as much as an Urtekram shampoo but that is no matter once you have seen the results! Atlas cedarwood and lavender are listed as the ingredients, which makes this a brilliant unisex shampoo. The resulting scent isn't too overpowering and your hair maintains a lovely sheen until the next wash.

Warning: the site states that this is not to be used during pregnancy.

If you've ever ventured into the land of Cioccolatina products, let us know how you found them and whether there are any products that you would recommend!

Ingredients: Water, Argan Oil*, Cacao Butter, Potassium Cocoate*, Potassium Palm Kernalate, Castor Oil, Panthenol, Soya Lecithin, Agave*, Atlas Cedarwood  Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Bay Rum Leaf, Eugenol**, Linalool**.
**components of essential oils.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Time for tea: ChocolaTree Cafe Instant Raw Porridge

image borrowed from
 Rating: 9/10, available in 184g packs from Vivapure for £5.50 (+ p&p) for our UK and EU readers and ChocolaTree Cafe for $5.65 (+ p&p) for our US readers.
(N.B. Right now, I can't find the listing for the instant porridge we had on vivapure or chocolatetree cafe, instead they offer a chai version and one with lemon peel).

ChocolaTree Cafe are a U.S. based raw organic food company that, luckily for those of us in the UK, are sold by Vivapure! We've been tempted by their nori nachos and maca*roons, so this porridge caused quite a stir in our house.

After a bit of researching, this is what wiki has verified about 4 of the ingredients in this raw porridge:
  • Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, phosphorous, manganese and dietary fibre. They can help to control blood sugar levels and ease digestion.
  • Cacao contains very high levels of antioxidant flavonoids, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, copper, sulfur and potassium
  • mesquite contains high levels of protein, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and the amino acid lysine. Mesquite's high protein and dietary fibre levels means that it can help to stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Maca is reportedly beneficial for energy levels and libido, but no large scale trials have shown this.

I'll be honest, we weren't blown away by the taste to begin with, but we didn't add a sweetener which is recommended in the instructions. When we added a dash of cinnamon, the flavour of this porridge came alive. One small serving managed to keep us all full for 6 hours and it was great for stabilising Em's blood sugar.

 Also, if you're not familiar with chia seeds they are similar to flax seeds in the way they become gelatinous when put in liquid. Chia seeds take less time to do this than flaxseeds do, which means they're a useful snack. But, the texture is something some people might need to get used to.
We were pretty pleased with this porridge once we'd learned to add cinnamon, we had it with warm water, warm and cold milk, hempseed milk and nut milk and each time it was quite delicious!

 If you've ever tried any of chocolatree cafe products or experimented with chia seeds let us know in the comments!
Ingredients: Organic Chia Seeds, Organic Goji Berries, Organic Cacao Nibs, Organic Cacao Powder, Organic Coconut Flakes, Organic Coconut Flour, Organic Mesquite, Organic Peruvian Maca Premium,  Sea Salt.

Time for tea: Aimee's Livin Magic Spicy Pumps Review

Image borrowed from
Rated: 10/10, available in 85g packets from Vivapure for £3.95 (+ p&p), and Aimee's Livin Magic Store for $5.25 (+ p&p).

Cruncy and delicious, these seeds did not last long here at treasure boxes and trinkets! They made the perfect snack in the run up to christmas and we only wish that we had had more for the christmas break. Despite listing chipotle pepper in the ingredients list, they weren't spicy - even L loved them.

High in zinc, a trace mineral that supports a number of functions including immune function, libido,  growth and development during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence, and wound healing. Interestingly, the body has no zinc storage system so a daily intake of zinc is required to maintain optimum health*.
Ingredients: Sprouted pumpkin seeds, garlic granules, onion powder, cumin, chipotle pepper, Maine sea crystal salt

* reference

Time for tea: Aimee's Livin Magic Dill Kimchi Crackers Review

Image borrowed from
Rating: 9/10, available in 145g (16 crackers) packs from Vivapure for £6.49 (+ p&p), and Aimee's Livin Magic store for $8.50 (+ p&p).

Before we get into the review we'd like to give you a bit of info about Aimee's Livin Magic. ALM are a U.S. based small company that sources their ingredients locally ensuring that everything is fairtrade and organic.
One of the things that we LOVE about Vivapure is that they stock a lot of great items that are hard to get hold of in the U.K. and these crackers are no exception.

Comprising of cultured vegetables (a great source of enzymes, beneficial bacteria and B vitamins), sprouted sunflower seeds and almonds (take a look at this wiki entry for the low down on sprouting), flax seeds, dill and two members of the allium family, it is safe to say that these crackers are good for you.

Kimchi is a spicy Korean pickle that has many variants, and can be quite spicy. For those of you like L, who has trouble with spicy food, then these crackers might not sit too comfortably. But Em and I thought that the crackers were mild, we ate them with some olive tapenade and soup for dinner and tahini as a snack.

The overall taste of these crackers is mild and savoury with a slight cayenne pepper kick, which makes them quite versatile. We only had 1 problem with these crackers and that was they were quite crumbly, not very much so, but it was noticeable. We're more accustomed to making our own buckwheat crackers and we prefer that crunchy texture. We tried dehydrating these crackers a bit more, but there was no getting away from the crumblyness (now officially a word).

Now this is not to say that we wouldn't eat them again, but it is something that we would have to consider before buying them. L adds that they are too spicy for her, but she hates spicy foods.

If you are interested in learning more about cultured vegetables and how to make some of your own (as well as learning how to make cultured fruit mixes, beers, wines and dairy products) check out Sandor Ellix Katz' "Wild fermentation". It's a fab book that we use on a weekly basis. Dr Ben Kim's website includes recipes for kimchi (we love his cucumber kimchi recipe), and this post over at the nourished kitchen lists a number of cultured food recipes.

Vivapure seems to be the only place listing these crackers as "sprouted dill kimchi crackers". These are the same crackers as listed above, we checked!

Ingredients: Sprouted sunflower seeds,flax seeds, sprouted almonds, garlic, kimchi (cabbage, leek, garlic, ginger, unrefined sea salt, cayenne, fresh chili), dill, onion granules, garlic granules, Maine sea salt.

The Vivapure haul; tri-food review

After we wrote our coconut nectar review, we placed our sunflower lecithin order in with vivapure and they were kind enough to throw in a few freebies for us to review (see below). In this instance, we're going to post them separately purely to make finding them that bit easier!

Freebie # 1: Aimee's Livin Magic Dill Kimchi Crackers.
Freebie # 2: Aimee's Livin Magic Spicy Pumps.
Freebie # 3: ChocolaTree Cafe Instant Raw Porridge.

We will always tell you when we are sent things to review and we promise to give an unbiased opinion!
Posts to Follow!

P.s. If you are interested in ordering anything from vivapure their site says that currently ship to the UK and EU (Costs can be quite high and they are striving to find better delivery rates).
If you are based outside of the UK and EU and would like to order from them, they ask that you contact them at

Monday, 27 December 2010

Time for tea (no, really): Dr Red Spearole Tea

image borrowed from
Rating: 5/5 for taste, effects will be reviewed in 1 month! available from Revital, £14.99 (+p&p), and feelunique, £13.49 (With free international delivery, and they currently are offering 10% off as part of their january sales).

If someone had told me that one day I would drink a cup of tea comprising of spearmint sprouts, spearmint oil, olive leaves, grape skin and grape seeds then I would have laughed in their face fiercely and run away fast. But here I am post christmas excess guessed it, I am sipping some yummy leaf-sprout tea.

So, what of this? you ask. Why do this? you ask. There are many answers to those questions, and in truth I don't think that I could answer them without veering off into some sort of I'll just give you the good stuff. Put the kettle on, pop your shoes off and get comfy. We got some 'splainin to do:

First, here's the info from Dr Red (the bits in brackets are my interjections):

Dr Red (now Dr Purple) spearole tea is a green tea blend that boasts a high concentration of antioxidants; 1 cup of this tea contains the same amount of antioxidants as 3 cups of tea and 1 glass of red wine.  The added benefits of drinking a tea containing olive leaves is that they have antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, which adds to the digestive properties of the tea as a whole; mint is traditionally used to aid digestion and any accompanying anti-inflammatories is bound to benefit you. (TBT interjection: It's basically a superhero of the teaworld. They should amend the packaging to include a cape and some inspirational catchphrases).

Researchers at the University of Queensland tested individual antioxidant beverages and combinations of these beverages to "determine the optimal formula". In lab tests on rats, they found that when rats ate a high sugar, high fat diet, their waist size doubled and their blood pressure increased, but when the tea was introduced into their diet the fat around their waists and their blood pressure returned to normal.
So,  do I have high blood pressure? No. Will it help me lose weight? Maybe. Most importantly, am I in fact a rat? If I were that would make this blog pretty spectacular, ahem, No. The truth is, spearole tea is a tasty minty fresh tea that tastes just as good cold as it does hot and has some major health benefits. Add a drop of stevia and you have a 0 GI guilt-free party on your hands.

If any of you have any experience with any Dr Red (or Dr Purple) products let us know! We are intrigued by their grape-blueberry-elderberry-raspberry-green tea-olive-tarragon-turmeric-citrus mix called "blueberry punch"! We hope you're all having a wonderful holiday, thanks so much for reading!

Ingredients: Green Tea, Olive Leaf, Oil of Spearmint, Grape Skins, Grape Seeds, Spearmint Sprouts.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Sweetleaf Stevia Liquid Extract Review

Image borrowed from
Rating: 10/10, available from vivapure, £9.95 + p&p.

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a herb native to South America from the sunflower family that is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia is a sweetener with anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to balance the pancreas, which aids digestion, regulates blood sugar levels, and increases energy.

OK, this stuff is magic! It tastes sweet has no impact on blood sugar levels, and you only need 1 or 2 drops per serving. Stevia leaf extract is also heat stable, apparently is best used in biscuits and flat baked sweets to boost a main sweetener, but we used it in place of agave nectar (we've not used the coconut nectar yet) for Em's Granola and it was perfect.

We have used it to sweeten lemonade, tea and porridge, and I have to say that we are very impressed with it. We'd heard that it can leave an aftertaste, but we've not experienced it. All in all it's pretty perfect.

Up until recently, stevia was not sold for human consumption in the UK and EU but now it has been deemed safe for all to share!

Ingredients: Inulin Fiber (Fructoligiosaccarides, FOS), Stevia Extract (standardized to a minimum of 90% Steviosides, including 40% Rebaudioside A).

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy holidays!

We hope that you have a lovely day today, whatever you're up to!
Lots of Love,

Friday, 24 December 2010

LoveRawFoods Sunflower Lecithin Review

Image borrowed from
Rating: 10/10, available from vivapure, £13.95 for 453g (+p&p).

Oh yes, today we are looking at cold-pressed sunflower lecithin. I think it's fair to say that sunflower lecithin isn't your everyday ingredient, but this wonder food is packed full of choline, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, iron, zinc and copper (and it's worth mentioning that it has a greater nutritional value than soy lecithin).

Soy lecithin, Sunflowers nemesis, is predominantly used in raw uncooking and sunflower lecithin is set to replace it. Because we are soy free, I've been making raw cheesecakes without lecithin and have found that they come out fine. But when I discovered that vivapure were stocking sunflower lecithin I ordered two jars and set to work. Lecithin gives the cakes more of a creamy texture and even helped L with her sore throat. But try not to do what she did and gobble down a teaspoon of the stuff on it's own, it's not very tasty and will have you reaching for the nearest drink.

We used it in soup and it thickened it up perfectly. All in all, we are very happy with the results and it has caused us no digestive problems!

Lecithin in either form acts as an emulsifier, eases the digestion of fat, and can help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels as part of a healthy diet. According to the vivapure site it can be used as a replacement for eggs in recipes that require mixing of oil or fat and water-based components. But we've yet to try it, I suppose Christmas is the perfect excuse!

Update: it works perfectly as a replacement for eggs, and has no aftertaste.

Ingredients: Lecithin extracted from Raw, Organic Sunflower Seeds.

Nairn's Gluten Free Porridge Oats

Rating: 10/10, available from Tesco's, goodness direct and other online stores, from £2.99.

Here at Treasure boxes and Trinkets we are gluten free, dairy free, soy free and (as you probably know by now) sugar free. We strive to be healthy, love finding and creating new treats and enjoy new discoveries like coconut nectar. But that doesn't mean that we don't miss our old staples. Sure, we'd buy regular oats for face masks and body scrubs but never to eat, and that didn't cut the reminiscing about flapjacks or grandma's porridge made with cream and butter topped with cinnamon and sugar. Mmmmm.

Up until September of this year we were all weary of gluten-free oats thanks to a not-so-gluten-free experience with lying "safe" oats. There is nothing like bonding over the pain of a food-that-doesn't-agree to really cement your friendship.

But after years of suspicion L gave in to a promotion at Tesco's and, well, the rest is history. Following our initial tentative testing we've fallen in love with this product. We don't eat starchy foods that often, choosing to have it as a special treat or when we are feeling as if we need a bit of extra support, but this has widened our repertoire of starchy foods which had previously consisted of squashes and cassava.

If you are gluten free and in the market for some oats - especially over the holiday period - then these are safe for you to eat! There's not much to review beyond that, but it has our stamp of approval!

L is still our resident bargain hunter and even as I type this she is trying to push me off the machine in the hopes of getting some early bird sale shopping in. Bless her impatient little socks.

We hope you've had a lovely day,

Rediscovering Howies

Image borrowed from

Howies are a UK based company, nestled in Cardigan Bay with an ethos long lost in most shops.

They aim to make people think about the world that we live in, to have a minimal impact on the environment and they have pledged to give 1% of their turnover or 10% of pre-tax profits -whichever is greater - to grass-root environmental and social projects that are displayed on the website. And they hope to give more as they grow.

In line with their aims, they produce high quality clothes for men, women and kids, because higher quality products will last longer and will therefore consume less valuable resources than poorer quality products. It's a logic that you can't disagree with.

They ship worldwide and are currently offering 50 items for under £50 so get over there and see what you can find, I am in love with the custard cardigan, if you get a chance take a look at their summary of the Levi saga.

Next time you feel like doing a bit of clothes shopping, pop online and go here. And if you just end up admiring the photography? Absorb some of the goodness, take it with you and try and make a change wherever you are, even if it's as simple as making someone smile.

Happy Christmas Eve!

Time for tea: Conscious Chocolate

Rating: 8/10, 40g Conscious Chocolate bars available from health stores all over for £2.88+

So, my lack of posting has been awful and in this instance can be blamed on being hauled up in London without a charger. But fear not!! While I was there, I encountered these cute chocolate bars that I've been considering for a while now.

When it comes to chocolate I either make my own or stick to dark chocolate. Raw chocolate is a rare treat because it's expensive and there's no way to know whether it will taste nice; raw chocolates range from delicious and smooth to cardboardey and dusty. With that in mind, we were a little apprehensive about commiting £9 to 120g of chocolate. But Em and I took the plunge and picked up two bars of plain chocolate and one bar of chilli hot chocolate.

Aside from the price the first thing that struck me about these bars was the packaging, not only is it 100% biodegradable and compostable, but they look cute and could easily be given as a gift without any of the awkwardness you might get if you were to hand over a bar of cadbury's. Conscious Chocolates are handmade, sugar free, dairy free, raw chocolates sourced from sustainable, fertilizer and pesticide free crops which are all fair trade. They offer a healthy alternative to normal chocolate and are suitable for people on sugar free or gluten free diets, raw foodies, vegans and some diabetics.

Because of the raw factor, Conscious Chocolate is high in antioxidants and is a great source of magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, sulfur, potassium and zinc. Which was enough to make Em giggle with glee, "so you mean to say that if I eat this, I'm actually doing something very good for my body?", "I guess" I replied,  but before I had finished my sentence one bar had mysteriously disappeared.

The disappearing bar was the plain chocolate bar, which we agreed had a really deep chocolatey smell. The chocolate was smooth textured with a mild taste of carob and coconut butter. If you aren't a fan of either of those two flavours, then this is not the bar for you. While mild, a whole bar tastes a lot of carob and coconut butter. It was also very sweet, so sweet that Em and I bought 2 cartons of coconut milk to make sure her blood sugar was stabilised afterwards. I'm sure that it would be fine in small portions, but if you are a type 2 diabetic you might want to think twice about this particular bar.

The chilli hot bar had a much milder smell and was grainier than the plain chocolate. The most notable thing about this bar was the lingering kick that was in no way apparent during the actual eating of the bar, which was surprising but not wholly unpleasant. Regardless, Em found my facial expression hilarious and wandered round calling me donkey for the rest of the day.

These raw chocolates are easily the nicest raw chocolates we have had, but there is room for improvement which is why we've awarded them 8/10.

Let us know what you think of raw chocolate in the comments!

Plain chocolate ingredients: Cacao solids, cacao butter, agave nectar, cacao powder (Ecuadorian), coconut butter, wild carob, cinnamon and Himalayan salt. 60% cocoa solids in the chocolate. Free from pesticides, dairy, soya and gluten.

Chilli hot chocolate ingredients; Cacao solids 60%  minimum, cacao butter, agave nectar, cacao powder (Ecuadorian), coconut butter, wild carob, cayenne chilli powder, cinnamon, himalayan salt.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Time for treats: Rose & Lavender Salt Scrub

If you are stuck inside because of the weather or just need a bit of pampering then this is the treatment for you!

Body scrubs are as good for you as body brushing, and give us a yummy way to nourish our skin! If you're not too sure about using salt, sugar is gentler and won't sting if you've scratched yourself. If you want to make it gentler add some fine oatmeal to the mix.

Rose & Lavender Salt Scrub

There really are no hard and fast rules with this one. Em loves to cover her salt scrub with oil, this really depends on preference. These recipes are easily mixed up to suit whoever is making it, feel free to switch up the amounts or types of oils, salts or even dried flowers. Some people choose to use fresh flowers or even the contents of their favourite herb tea teabags, it's all a matter of preference. Once you get into the hang of it you'll see what we mean.

155g sea salt
A big handful of dried rose petals (enough to mix in with the salts, so they're dotted around the place)
125ml sweet almond oil or any other cold-pressed carrier oil
10 drops lavender oil
5 drops rose oil

Mix the salt and the rose petals together and put them into a jar.

Add the essential oils drop by drop, close the lid, and shake it up to distribute the oils.

Open the jar and pour the sweet almond oil over the salt. Seal the jar and shake again.
This will keep for up to 3 months.

Body Brushing - An Easy Way To Boost Detoxification

I'll admit it; I love body brushing. It is one of the best - and simplest - things you can do for your body. Not only does it help you feel energised, it also helps get rid of cellulite through detoxification.

I've told you about Em's diabetes, but I've not yet touched upon my own health issues. I have a myriad of food difficulties even though I've always had a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. A food reaction can range from something like bloating and distension to my face swelling up and a touch of muscle paralysis (which, according to my doctor, is technically an allergic reaction).

A few years ago I had a really difficult time, I was in an abusive relationship (we weren't together, but we lived together and to this day I can't find a word better than 'relationship' to describe that time), the authorities were no help at all, and the people around me at that time chose to ignore my situation and edge me out of their social group. And I'll be honest with you; when you're in that sort of situation the last thing that you need is people turning their backs on you or choosing to ignore you. I didn't have stockholm syndrome and I had no desire to stay in the house with that person, but for a brief time I had no choice.

Prior to that experience, I was on top of my food reactions and was in tune with what foods my body could and could not handle. Unfortunately all of the trauma from that period messed things up for me. Although I've dealt with a lot of it, I still get moments of anxiety and I'm trying my best to work through that but I understand that these things take time. And I'm grateful that I have such wonderful friends and family, and that I made it out of that experience.

How does bodybrushing fit into all of this, you ask? It was part of a routine that I had lost after the "situation".  It has taken me a while but I have finally re-incorporated it into my routine, and it has helped so much. I'm not the kind of person who worries about cellulite and weight. But if I were, body brushing would be my first port of call.

Body-brushing boosts circulation, buffs away dead skin cells (and as a result, helps keep in-grown hair at bay), encourages cell growth and stimulates the lymphatic system. Which is the body's detox-er. All you need to do is invest in a brush, those massage pads that look like a hedgehog and  manage to trick everyone, or a loofah.

Things to look out for when purchasing your body brush
  1. Try to find one that has a long handle, or has a strap over the back that you can slip over your hand. This will make the whole process easier, especially when trying to brush your back!
  2. Make sure that the bristles are not too sharp or too soft. You don't want something that will leave fine scratches but you do want something that will have an effect.
How to Body Brush                                                                                                                                
Try and aim to bodybrush twice a day, spending 2-5 minutes in each instance, bodybrushing once in the morning and before you go to bed. Start at your feet, brushing upwards in brisk circular motions.  Focus on any cellulite prone areas you might have, to encourage circulation and the lymphatic system brush towards the heart.                                                             

 As always, thanks so much for reading!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Kimia Glow; The Kimia Exquisite Rejuvenating Facial System Review

Image borrowed from
Rating: 5/5, available from Lovelula, £69 + p&p, and Kimia, £69 + p&p.
I'm not going to bore you with meaningless platitudes and metaphors like "if god was a bee, this would be his/her nectar". Lol, I just can't do it. I'm going old school instead.

The Kimia Exquisite Rejuvenating Facial System is a two part moisturiser that comprises of a face oil and a hydra-activator made from floral waters and grain fermented alcohol (which acts as a preservative). It's been designed to assist cell renewal, refinement and nourishment. So far, so fancy.

Let's do a brief overview of some of the ingredients:
Cranberry seed oil
Cranberry seed is full of antioxidants, nutrients and it contains essential fatty acids (EFA's) omega 3, 6 and 9 which are not produced by the body but are, as their title would suggest, essential for normal functioning. It's also a better option than grabbing the nearest oily fish and attempting to use it as a moisturiser.

Calendula a.k.a Marigold
We've mentioned this medicinal flower in our live native cleanser post, not only is it a powerful anti-inflammatory, it is also astringent, contains high levels of tannins and is a powerful skin healer. Calendula/Marigold is so soothing that is used to treat a myriad of skin problems and can be applied topically to mend inflammation arising from infection or physical damage. It is a lifesaver in our house!

Marula oil
High in vitamin C and antioxidants, marula oil works to help repair scars and nourish skin tissue. We've used it as a quick fix moisturiser here and it is fab!

Neroli essential oil 
Neroli oil is fantastic for mature, dry and sensitive skin, as well as reducing thread veins and broken capillaries.

Rosehip oil
Full of antioxidants, trans-retinoic acid (vitamin A) in the form of unsaturated EFA's which reduce the effects of aging, regenerates damaged skin, stimulates cell renewal and diminishes fine lines. Like magic in a bottle.

Witch hazel
A wonderful astringent and antiseptic with powerful healing properties, witch hazel contains tannin and when used along with calendula they reduce wrinkles. Witch hazel is also a vaso-constrictor which means that it can narrow blood vessels and reduces thread veins!

Ok, not so brief, but we tried :)

We scored a few samples of Kimia with an order a few months back, you're only meant to use a few drops of the oil and a few sprays of the hydra-activator with each application and boy have we made that last. It does have a gorgeous effect, rendering your skin dewy (what the folk at Kimia refer to as "the glow") for most of the day. It has got rid of some annoying thread veins that appeared on my cheek, has reduced a few of fine lines that were bothering L, and it smells gorgeous. £69 does seem steep but given the effect and how long the samples have lasted the three of us we think that it is well worth the money.

Thanks so much for stopping by, we hope you've enjoyed reading :)

Ingredients:Exquisite 100% Natural Facial Oil: Sweet Almond Oil, Witch Hazel extract, Grapeseed Oil, Calendula Oil, Rosa Damascene Essential Oil, Clary Sage Essential Oil, Vitamin E, Marula Seed Oil, Rosehip Oil, Cranberry Seed Oil, Neroli Essential Oil.
Hydra-Activator: Water, Alcohol*, Peppermint Water, Rosemary Distillate, Lady's Mantle Extract, Witch Hazel Distillate, Aloe Vera, Lavender Water, Lemon Balm Distillate.

* Naturally fermented grain alcohol

Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Nectar 354ml - What we've found so far

Image borrowed from

We bought ours from vivapure for £7.95 + p&p, and with our U.S. readers in mind I found that whole foods stock it. The coconut secret site also has a list of stockists for anyone interested!

Today we're looking at a lovely and natural low GI sweetener. I might have mentioned before that one of us has type 2 diabetes, and that is Em. The most frustrating thing about the diagnosis is that L and I have known her for years and she is a savoury person; she only ever ate cake on birthdays and barely touched any of the sweets at christmas or Easter. So it's fair to say that she was shocked and then hugely frustrated by the diagnosis.

Being the house that we are, L and I have given up sugar so Em doesn't feel like she's all alone. She manages her diabetes through diet and we have wised up to all of the possibilities out there. But we are also very careful about introducing new foods and have a strict vetting process. It is always best to research and check with your doctor before trying any new foods if you have a medical condition.

Coconut nectar is made from the sap of coconut palm tree blossoms, rates 35 on the GI scale and has high levels of Frucctooligosaccharide (that's FOS to you and me) which is a prebiotic inulin that promotes digestive health and supports a healthy digestive system. FOS is  And, for all raw foodies out there, it is completely raw.

It tastes like a cross between maple syrup and caramelised sugar, and has a lovely thick consistency which isn't as heavy or sticky as golden syrup. It's not quite the same as agave nectar, which has a lower GI (between 11 and 19) but has much higher levels of fructose, in that you don't need to use as much when cooking/uncooking. Coconut nectar also needs to be warmed up in a bain marie and mixed with coconut oil or vanilla extract to get a smooth consistency ready for chocolate making...or pouring over waffles and pancakes. So far we've made cakes, chocolate bars and Em's breakfast cereal with coconut nectar and they've all come out beautifully.

After the Lavera mascara mishap we're going to postpone rating. We've still got a bit more testing to do...

Friday, 17 December 2010

Live-Live Bee Yummy Skin Food Review

Image borrowed from
Rating: 3.5/5, available from glowgetter, £45 + p&p (eeek!!)

This summer L won a 28ml jar of Bee Yummy Skin Food! It was an exciting moment for us all, we aren't competition winners and ended up sitting with her (and guiding her along) as she wrote the long thankyou e-mail that, in hindsight, would have been better suited to some kind of awards ceremony. We were all thrilled, we'd heard rave reviews about this hand-blended, cold-processed raw cream and were looking forward to getting in on all the lovely enzyme action!!

Bee Yummy is made from raw honey, honey cappings, bee pollen, propolis, st john's wort oil, royal jelly, purified water and balsam fir needles. The Honey, propolis and balsam fir are strong natural preservatives and have antibiotic properties. Honey also has moisturising and cleansing properties as a result of its high enzyme content, bee pollen is packed full of nutrients, enzymes and antioxidants, and shares antibacterial properties with propolis and royal jelly. And finally, the cream is anti-inflammatory and astringent thanks to the St. John's wort oil and propolis.

Because of all of these properties, Bee Yummy Skin Food has reportedly* been used to help speed up healing wounds and problem skin.

Bee Yummy Skin Food has risen in price as a result of ever-decreasing natural resources, given that it uses bee products I think we can all see where they're coming from with that one...

to the review cave!!!!

Ok, not the cave, but sometimes I wish I was a batman styley blogger....

anyway, lol, in all seriousness this cream is yummy. It's smooth, is non-greasy and is in no way sticky. But when I checked on google a lot of people mentioned suffering from breakouts if they used it repeatedly. I have to say that I noticed a mild breakout after we started using it, so I cut down applications to every few days which resolved any blemishes.

L's skin responded really well to the cream, she gets stress-induced dry skin patches (not quite excema level, but they really bug her.) and Bee Yummy cleared it up really well. But she also uses the cream sparingly, some sites have suggested applying it 2-3 times a day but I can't say it's something that we would recommend!

Em suffered from a few breakouts as well, so she cut down applications to every few days and, as with me, all breakout madness was resolved.

All in all, it is a good product but it is pricey and if you follow the instructions you may well end up with a breakout and nobody wants a breakout! Apart from, maybe, prison folk....but Bee Yummy doesn't roll that way.

*I can't find any sources other than shop summaries for this! So if anyone has seen where this info comes from please let us know :)

Ingredients: Wildflower Honey, Bee Pollen, Propolis, St. John’s Wort Oil, Royal Jelly, Purified Water, and Balsam Fir Needles.

Thanks so much for stopping by!! See you tomorrow :)

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Herbfarmacy Organic Rose Face Oil 25ml Review

image borrowed from
 Rating: 4/5, available from Herbfarmacy, £17.50 (excl. p&p), and Lovelula, £17.50 (excl. p&p).

Created by botanist Dr Paul Richards, Herbfarmacy grows and produces handmade batches of their products in their Herefordshire based farm. Certified organic, all herbs grown have been lovingly selected to moisturise, protect and nourish the skin.

Every girl should carry around an all-purpose oil for make-up slip ups, warding off the effects of air conditioning, for under-nourished skin, or just to be used as a boost on a bad day. In truth, everyone should carry some face oil around, but convincing the guys I know to use moisturiser or to step away from their 3for2 Nivea cream is like trying to switch football dates on the calendar. It's just not happening.

The thing about face oil is that it has to be used sparingly, in the instance that you use too much you end up with a sheen that won't budge and angry skin threatening to break out if you don't get it some air! With that in mind, this face oil has lasted me ages and has saved me from make-up mishaps (see lavera revisited),  has woke my skin up on the train ride home after a long day at work, and of course has helped to nourish my face on grey days.

The only niggly difficulty about the product is that because there's just a screw cap on the top, it's easy to pour out more than you had meant to and oily hands are not your clothes best friend.

!!Allergy warning: Not suitable for nut allergy sufferers, this product contains macadamia nut oil!!

Ingredients: Sunflower oil*, Evening primrose oil*, Apricot kernel oil*, Hemp oil*, Rosehip oil*, Macadamia nut oil*, Jojoba oil*, Marshmallow*, Vitamin E oil, Calendula*, Damask rose essential oil*, Rosemary extract*, citronellol*/**, geraniol*/**
* Organically grown/produced
** Essential oil ingredients.

Thanks so much for reading!

Zoya Nail Polish Review

Just over a week in and I fall off the blogging wagon! On the plus side, that means two posts for today!!

Introducing Zoya nail polishes! I love nail polish but so many sparkly colours from many favourite brands are packed full of chemicals like formaldehyde, which tends to scupper my desire to stack my shelves high with colour.

Thankfully, I discovered Zoya nail polishes in January. And it's safe to say that a percentage of my money has gone towards buying bottles of the stuff. Before we get on to the review, let me give you a teensy bit of history.

Made in the U.S., Zoya nail polishes were created in 1984 by one woman who wanted a safer alternative to the products available. They now stock 300 nail colours, along with 4 seasonal collections released each year. They won the 2009 Natural Health and Beauty Awards and

Zoya nail polishes are vegan friendly and are free from Toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate) and camphor. It should be noted that formaldehyde is a potential carcinogen and can be a skin, nose and eye irritant, it is also snuck into products like bubble bath, shower gel and shampoo - so keep an eye out next time you go for your weekly shop.

Review time....
Rating: 5/5

I own 8 bottles of Zoya polish and it is AMAZING. Application is easy, a lot of the time you can get away with one coat (but I tend to like dark and vibrant colours) and there are some awesome blogs showcasing Zoya swatches that are currently beyond my reach! If you're interested, Scrangie's blog, All lacquered up, and the polish addict all feature lots of lovely swatches. How gorgeous are their nails?? I'll try and post some photos of my own later on tonight!

Zoya have a huge selection of colours and they wear really well, I do the washing and cleaning with my nails done (sometimes wearing gloves, sometimes not) and the chipping has been minimal, the only trouble colour has been Astra which is a glitter polish that flakes if you don't put the top coat on, otherwise it's fine.

Zoya polishes soothe my sparkle obsession, I tend to trawl eBay looking for them because they're not widely available. My sister has a nail polish allergy and was thrilled when I introduced her to Zoya earlier this year. If you love nail polish and prefer not to slather chemicals on then this is for you, even so the Zoya colours are amazing enough to turn the most ardent chemical nail polish fan! So get to it; unleash your inner magpie!!!

Thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Online Store Review # 2: Sheabutter Cottage

image borrowed from
Sheabutter cottage is the brainchild of Akua Wood; an ethical entrepreneur who began selling her handmade toiletries (Cioccolatina) in 2002, buying all of the raw ingredients from farmer co-operatives in Ghana. Fast forward to the present day and Sheabutter cottage stocks everything from raw products sourced from farmer co-operatives and indigenous communities across the world to chocolate, hand-crafted fabrics and beads!
Sheabutter cottage have a set of commitments that include ending world poverty, buying fair trade, supporting sustainable farming methods and providing farmers co-operatives with financial support. They are against animal testing, the use of chemical additives, and the use of child labour, researching each product to ensure that child labour is not used at any stage of production.

And on top of that, 10% of all sales go towards providing public facilities in Ghana; financing 2 Shea co-ops and building a public place of convenience for the Gumu community.
Basically, Sheabutter cottage embody what all brands should work towards.

For a full overview of Sheabutter cottage's brand history and stock do take a look at their site!

Sheabutter cottage ship to the UK, EU, USA and Canada.

so, to the review!!

Rating: 5/5

My experience with Sheabutter cottage has been top notch! Delivery is very fast and fairly priced, there are regular order updates, and when you receive your order you get a card showing you how much money from your order goes towards supporting their efforts in Ghana.

The prices aren't sky high - which is what some people have come to expect when buying fair trade - and are actually quite competitive. The product quality is the best that I've come across in terms of raw ingredients, unlike a lot of other suppliers, they label all raw ingredients with a best before date. Which is incredibly important.

If you do have any concerns about any of the ingredients used in the products then the FAQs section will quickly put your mind at ease.

We love their African black soap & the Cioccolatina range! I've just bought a bottle of the Argan and cocoa butter liquid shampoo (free from sulfates, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocamide DEA and Borax). Which I'll be reviewing later this week!

Akua Wood's blog can be found here

The Sheabutter Kiva community can be found here. In case you were wondering, Kiva provides microfinancing to the "working poor". Offering users the chance to choose the cause that they would like to support.
And, once more Sheabutter Cottage can be found here
Thanks so much for reading - I hope you've all had a lovely day :)

Monday, 13 December 2010

Lavera Intense Volumising Mascara Revisited

I know, I know, I rated it too early. First applications are rarely a true test and I should have at least stuck it out for a few days...So let's get rerating:

Lavera Intense Volumising Mascara is rated at 1/5.

That's right, my friends, it's actually gotten worse! It's nigh on impossible to remove it all so you wake up with dark undereye patches in the morning, despite using every cleanser in the house to try and get the stuff off the night before. And instead of flaking the pigment transfers to the place where eyebags live and is, again, impossible to scrub off with ease.

What has led me to this damning review? Today is my third day of mascara camp, it's also the first day that I wore this to work. I stumbled out of bed at an ungodly hour, made my way to the bathroom, and saw my inner panda staring back at me. Check again. Nope, that's my face.

So I pulled out every face cleanser we had in; trilogy, a lize earle hot cleanse sample, and my old trusty almond oil. I lined them up and got to work. The liz earle hot and polish cleanser seemed to smear it to the extent that I looked like a victorian chimney sweep, up stepped the trilogy face cleanser which managed to get rid of most of the coal tint but my eye sockets were still looking very dark, so warm cotton wool and oil came to the rescue. Finally clearing up the mess.

After the rest of the morning prep, I tentatively picked up the lavera mascara wand and took to work. I owe it to you lovely readers, I told myself, and I really do - thanks for reading! Still no visible signs of mascara, but I powered through. Until lunch, when my boss walked up to my desk looking concerned...apparently I looked awful and shouldn't have come in, I protested but she thought this was a reflection of my work ethic. She insisted I go home and we finally agreed that, if, after lunch I was still looking so terrible then perhaps it would be best to go home.

I was sincerely concerned......until I walked past a mirror. There was a huge shadow under my eyes, so dark that I looked a ghostly shade of pale. I grabbed my handbag from under my desk, headed for the ladies and pulled out a bottle of my all-purpose face oil, after 10 minutes the shadows had gone.
I'm afraid this is going to be my last day with this product, I'm sorry I couldn't stick it out longer but enough was enough!

Now I'm going to hold my head over a bowl of hot water and chamomile in an attempt to help it forget today's abrasive tactics!!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Dr Alkaitis Organic Eye Cream Review

Image borrowed from

Rating: 5/5, available from being content for £39 + p&p.

Hailed by Sarma Melngalis and health aficionados this eye cream falls under the raw skin food variety of skincare. Which means that none of the ingredients have been heated above body temperature so all of the goodness is maintained.

Given that we're in our mid-to-late twenties, we like to think that prevention is better than cure when it comes to the effects of aging on the delicate skin around the eyes. So we pooled our money together and invested, once it arrived we all scrambled to the mirror, applied sparingly and waited for the magic to happen.

The effects were immediate; all puffiness disappeared and we looked far more bright-eyed than before. It absorbed into the skin quickly, leaving a slightly greasy residue that was easily resolved by massaging into the skin. Next came the mum and grandma test....which was so effective that L's nanna has refused to give the cream back promising us financial reimbursement *ahem*.

Lol, our testgroup are now converts to the wonders of this eye cream, each swear by it's effects and have even discarded their old stead fasts. A definite success!!

So, how is it so good at what it does?
Basically this cream is packed full of nutrients and anti-oxidants that nurture and protect the skin, because the cream is cold-blended it has more beneficial properties than cosmetic counter favourites and is far more effective.
As always thanks for stopping by!! Let us know what you think in the comments!

Ingredients: Into an organic aloe vera gel base*, the following herbals are blended:
Herbal Eye Renewal Complex (Wild rose buds*, linden blossoms**, roman chamomile flowers, quince**, st john's wort blossoms*, green tea*, cornflowers & mate*).
Eye Rejuvenation and Support Complex (virgin cold pressed jojoba*, andean mountain rose hip seed oil*, borage oil*, virgin cold pressed organic shea butter*). Vegetable lecithin. Natural complexes of vitamin A (from carrot* and aztec marigold*), Vitamin C (from camu camu** and acerola cherry*), and vitamin E (D-alpha, beta, gamma, delta tocopherols and tocotrienols from sunflower and palm oils). Citrus seed extracts.
* organically grown.
** wild-crafted.

Make-up review: Lavera Intense Volumising Mascara

************Update: Please go here to see how badly this mascara panned out**************
Rating; 3/5, available from lovelula for £11.90 + p&p

After finishing my beloved honeybee mascara I was on the lookout for something new that could fill the void and, potentially, usurp it. No. Such. Luck. The first application of this mascara was less effective than gently pressing my eyelashes and willing a dramatic curl while standing at the bus stop at 8am in the freezing cold after sleeping through my alarm . . . so, I waited for it to dry and layered, and repeated the process. . .

After 5 minutes of my apply-and-dry process I noticed an ever so slight difference but that observation may have been a result of staring at my own eye for 5 minutes. . .

To be honest, I wouldn't be so down on this mascara if it were advertised as a simple mascara. But it is called Intense volumising mascara. The packaging is fine, the mascara's easy to remove if you smudge, but the adjectives only go so far as the product title and there is no dazzling lift. But this is a preliminary review, maybe future applications will be more inspiring??

Allergy alert!! : One thing to note is that olus oil is listed as one of the ingredients and after a bit of web research it turns out that it's a vegetable oil than can be derived from a number of sources, including peanuts, so it's one to watch out for if you have allergies!!

Ingredients: Water, alcohol*, stearic acid, beeswax*, hydrolyzed jojoba esters, algin, argan oil, liquorice root extract*, silk, shellac, jojoba esters, sea buckthorn extract*, shea butter, tocopherol, cocoa butter*, coconut oil*, sunflower oil, olive oil*, camelina oil, olus oil, hydrogenated lecithin, winter orange extract*, french rose extract*, mallow extract*, ascorbyl palmitate, parfum, citronellol, geraniol, limonene, linalool. May contain iron oxides (CI 77499) and ultramarines (CI 77007).
* from organic agriculture.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Our house, cosmetics and you

Around here we're not to keen on plying ourselves with chemicals in our attempts to master the art of beauty....we're also not about to turn our backs on the sparkles, and as a result our inner magpies, because the market place is full of products using words and phrases like "organic" or "herbal extract" only to find that the herbal extract is at the bottom of a long list of chemicals.

We make our own face creams, lip balms, hair conditioners, face masks and bath oil. But when it comes to make-up we can't make much more beyond cheek & lip tints and tinted lip balm. We've tried, but our mascara comes out runny or far too solid and crumbly to be comparable to mascara cakes.

So we put this blog together to share our love of make-up, trying to be healthy, shopping and bargains with people who feel the same! If there are any products or shops that you'd like us to review then leave a message in the comments and we will try our best to do so depending on finances!!

for the purposes of full disclosure, we have to admit that we are weak and on occasion we have succumbed to our inner magpie screaming for the pot of Barry M loose powder or the highly pigmented mac shadow glaring at us from across the make-up counter. But we try hard to resist...honest!

Lots of Love,

Fresh network 10% off promo code!

The lovely people at the Fresh Network are offering 10% off all buys until Monday the 4th January 2011. Just type christmas in to the coupon code box at checkout!

The Fresh Network sell raw food, supplements and beauty products along with equipment like dehydrators, juicers, blenders and other kitchen bits and bobs. And for people who want to know more they hold talks and seminars about the raw lifestyle, have their own magazine & run a blog and ezine.

I've shopped with them a few times and I've never had any problems with them. They've always dispatched the shopping as soon as possible & will ring to tell you whether one or more of your items are out of stock and whether you are happy to continue with the order or opt for a refund.

Have you ever shopped at the fresh network? what did you think?

Thanks for stopping by!!

Time for tea: Chocmas cake review!!

Rating: 7/10
(The rating system for foods is out of 10 as opposed to 5 purely because there's so much more to consider with foods).

This week a lovely package arrived!! I'd been lusting after Kate Magic's chocmas cake from raw living for some time and a few days ago I took the plunge, opting for half a cake!
I've tried Dedicakeshun (easily a 10/10) and the famous Quantum cake (which I'd give a 9/10, maybe it's because I ate it with dedicakeshun, or because i got confused by the taste of hemp seed), and I was not disappointed! I've got to admit that I'm not 100% raw, I love raw foods and I think that the innovation involved in so many of the dishes is amazing. But alas, I have food issues that don't permit me to commit to the raw lifestyle.

Back to the cake; chocmas is a superfood packed raw cake that smells just like lebkuchen. And I LOVE lebkuchen. It's covered in raw chocolate and topped off with cherries (I think) and almonds. It's suitable for type 2 diabetics as it uses a combination of low GI sweeteners such as agave, lucuma and xylitol (which has the added benefit of fighting dental plaque), but it's best to check this with your doctor if you are unsure! Anecdotally speaking, my housemate who has type 2 diabetes had a slice and suffered no spike in her blood sugar, which is pretty fantastic if you ask me.

The texture is unlike Dedicakeshun and Quantum cake in that it's a bit drier and as a result is more crumbly, my friend compared it to the halva slabs they used to sell in health stores, which are also made from tahini (sesame seed paste).

The one difficulty with the cake was that the raw chocolate topping/surround was really hard, and we had to give up after managing to cut the first bit for fear of slipping and slicing a limb off (we're quite clumsy around here). On the plus side, this means it will last longer than dedicakeshun or quantum cake would in our household!

Another thing to mention is that despite being delicious the clove can get a bit overpowering and the combination of clove and ginger can make your mouth burn a bit (sort of like when you have cayenne pepper or chilli) but this could be because of the suma...maybe?
It also costs £7 more for half a chocmas cake than a dedicakeshun or a quantum cake and is £9 more for a whole cake, with both the dedicakeshun and quantum cakes costing £36 and the chocmas costing £45. This might be because the combined cost of sesame seeds, tahini, he shou wu and the flavourings (spices & orange oil) comes to more than the other recipes, or it could be a christmas marketing supply-and-demand issue
It is for those reasons that I decided to give it a 7/10.

Ingredients: Sesame seeds, Cacao nibs, Lucuma, Olive oil, cacao butter, Cacao powder, Maca, Xylitol, Tahini, Agave nectar, Suma, He shou wu, Purple corn extract, orange oil, cinnamon, ginger, cloves.

If you sign up to Kate's magic bubble not only will you be offered 10% off all orders you place with raw living, but if you sign up by tomorrow then you will be sent the recipe for the famous quantum cake! According to the site you can cancel at any time, monthly membership is £10 and yearly membership is currently £95 which is 20% off the usual price!!
*** I don't know whether the offer of the recipe has changed, no change has been advertised but my friend says that the offer is ongoing for all members, instead of being sent to you when you register you're invited to e-mail something to them like a recipe or a piece of writing and then they will send the recipe back to you....has anyone got any ideas??***
Kate Magic runs raw living with Chris and their team of loyal helpers, they specialise in all things raw and dabble in some awesome looking fitness equipment, check out the Om gym. . . does anyone else have visions of themselves getting stuck in it and having to wait for their housemate/boyfriend/parents to get home and rescue you?

Thursday, 9 December 2010

RMS beauty: Living luminizer & Lip2Cheek reviews

"Remember you wear your skin - and your health - the rest of your life"
Rose Marie Swift,

Living luminizer, 4.25grams.

Rating: 5/5

This year, this product won the US Elle Approved Award for The World's Best Beauty Products and it is well deserved. Why? you ask...well, let's discuss:

One of the best things about this product is that it goes on as a sort of neutral colour so it's suitable for all skin tones. But it does look like a pearly white in the jar, if you apply a lot of it then it will look whitish.

It applies smoothly, with no greasy residue I might add, and can be used all over! I tend to use a little on the bow of my lips, collar bones, inner corners of the eyes, cheek bones, brow bones and down the bridge of my nose. Obviously not all at once - I might blind someone! The effect is a gorgeous soft glow that really amps up your look without being too obvious. And, as an added bonus, it leaves the skin feeling moisturised.

It has also lasted ages, I've had it for 6 months and I've barely made a dent! According to the cafemakeup review this is probably because living luminizer contains no water and is just good stuff.

How to wear: put over lip2cheek and use as a lipgloss, or as mentioned above

Ingredients: Castor seed oil*, Coconut oil*, Beeswax*, Rosemary extract*, may contain Titanium dioxide (CI77891) and Mica (CI77019).
* Organic

Lip2Cheek in Illusive, 4.25 grams.

Rating: 4/5

Ok, this gets a little less because of application. A few reviews have mentioned that it's very dry, so here are a few tips:

  1. If you're going to use it as blusher, I've found that if you moisturise just before applying it goes on smoothly. If you don't moisturise then it can look a bit streaky/patchy.
  2. Another option is to mix it with a drop of face oil in your palm before applying, which gives a lovely sunkissed effect on the cheeks.
  3. And if you're going to use it as a lip stain apply dry for a bitten lip effect, or apply some lip balm and then blend it on.
back to the review! As with the Living luminizer, Lip2Cheek leaves the skin feeling moisturised despite being dry, and the colours range from subtle to intense (below borrowed from being content:

  • Muse - sheer nude-beige with a soft pink hue
  • Smile - sheer modern coral/pink
  • Promise - sheer fresh cherry pink
Pigmented stains
  • Modest - warm pink with very subtle golden shimmer
  • Illusive - matte burnt rose with a hint of plum
  • Rapture - deep brown based red suitable for all skin tones

I've only used illusive, it's very flattering and is suitable for daytime and evening wear. Providing a warm glow for the daytime and a vampy plum for night-time!

Ingredients: Coconut oil*, Beeswax*, Jojoba oil*, Cocoa butter*, Tocopherol, Rosemary extract*, may contain Titanium dioxide (CI 77891), Iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Mica (CI 77019), Carmine (CI 75470).
* Organic

I ordered both RMS products from being content, they arrived the following day in two recycled cardboard packages. The living luminizer and lip2cheek are packaged in small frosted glass pots that are roughly the same size as lip balms.

A bit about RMS

The RMS beauty line was developed by make-up artist Rose Marie Swift after a lifetime love affair with make-up. After a long period of ill health she found that she had high levels of heavy metals and pesticides in her body which had led to a weakened immune system.

She completely restructured her lifestyle, took her health into her own hands and researched cosmetics ingredients. Still in the cosmetics industry, she decided to take her health into her own hands and was shocked to find that so many chemicals are put into our cosmetics. This all led her to develop her own range of raw cosmetics.

As always I'd love to hear your comments!!

Images borrowed from

Make-up review: Honeybee Cosmetics Truly Natural Mascara

image borrowed from

Rating: 4.8/5, available from Lovelula for £11.25 (+ p&p).

Having just finished a tube of this mascara I've got to say that as far as natural mascaras go it was quite good

Truly natural mascara isn't clumpy and it applies well, but there were a few nagging problems:

1) The packaging is cheap and after a few applications the brush detached from the lid which made for very messy application - try finding mascara smeared on your shirt just as you take off your coat at work, not a good look!

2) The mascara also got a bit clumpy, it was easily remedied but coupled with the messy application it all got a bit too fiddly.

Those issues aside it is quite a good mascara - just make sure you have enough time to sort out any mess!

How has your experience been with natural mascaras? let us know in the comments!

Ingredients: Purified water, Vegetable glycerin, Beeswax, Carnauba wax, Vegetable glyceryl stearate, Lecithin, Vegetable stearic acid, safflower oil, Soybean oil, Aloe barbadensis leaf extract, jojoba oil, silica, cellulose gum, tocopherol, xantham gum, german chamomile extract, rosemary leaf extract, cucumber fruit extract, phenoxyethanol, may contain: mica, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 774980).