I've missed you, autumn.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

There are two kinds of people: the spring and summer songbirds that relish the longer days, the smell of freshly cut grass and the warmth of sunshine on their skin, and the autumn and winter souls that blossom like snowdrops as the cold weather creeps in. I can understand why so many people are sad to see the warmer weather leave us behind (especially given what a short and lacklustre summer we saw this year) but I’m one of the many that spends May through to September just counting the days until the leaves start to change and I can smell the shifting seasons in the crisp, morning air.

Most of the autumnal things that us bloggers like seem so cliché now, but there’s no shame in enjoying the festivities and the comfort of warm blankets, cinnamon-scented candles and curling up with a good book and a pumpkin spiced latté on chilly evenings. Spring and summer and the warmth and buzz they bring with them are so often associated with hustle and bustle, enjoyment and making the most out of life and the ever-fleeting good weather. But, for those of us slipping on our knit jumpers like a new skin, it’s autumn that provides the fresh start and new beginnings. Autumn may be the end of mild evenings sipping cider in pub gardens or spent barbequing with friends and family, but it’s a harbinger of change that brings with it new experiences to enjoy that those of us who appreciate all things hygge welcome with open arms.

I’m never one for restricting what I wear throughout the seasons – I’m a three shades of black kind of gal – but I’m always so excited to greet the cooler weather and the trends it brings with it time and time again. I’ve been loving using darker nail polishes and Maggie Anne’s Inga*, a deep warm plum colour, has been the perfect shade to channel my inner seasonal goddess. Being able to browse shops and finally see colour palettes and styles of clothing that actually suit me and that I adore again is a joy, and in my quest to shop more ethically I’ve managed to find a few good bargains and have been living most of my days in my new favourite second-hand grey and forest green knit sweaters. Ever the blessing when that time rolls around each year, I’ve also been thrilled to finally return to wearing boots with every outfit again.



Dark greens, reds, plums and rusty oranges and yellows inspired by nature are some of my favourite colours; it’s like picking a pleasing shade from a piece of autumn foliage. The most frustrating thing to find as a vegan are the dark, vampiric lipstick shades that come back into style every year, but I’ve already got my eye on some. Nabla Cosmetics do a wonderful range of all vegan makeup products, and this year released their Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipsticks, of which Unspoken is the perfect deep, ruby red and Coco the perfect dark chocolate brown, both of which I’ve been coveting since they were first released. When it comes to eyes, I’ve been enjoying using a wash of PHB Ethical Beauty’s Grape mineral eyeshadow* to add a subtle reddish purple that suits the season to my everyday makeup looks.

Contrary to what many might think of vegans, I’m not much of a salad person – rather I much prefer the hot, wholesome one-pot dishes that are staples of cold weather cooking. Now is the ideal time to live off cheap, filling stews like my smoked paprika, butter bean and fennel stew that I mentioned in this post, roast dinners, spicy curries, and anything and everything with squash or pumpkin. I’m already preparing to make a pumpkin pie, and have been bringing homemade vegan cinnamon rolls into work, much to the delight of my colleagues. People can be as uppity as they like about pumpkin spiced lattés and those that live for them, but even as someone who tends to avoid spending money on takeout coffee, I was over the moon to see that Pret a Manger have released their own pumpkin spiced drink that – unlike Starbucks’ – is possible to veganise.

The colder, darker evenings also bring with them the perfect opportunity to enjoy quiet, reflective candlelit nights wrapped in faux fur blankets. It should go without saying that anything musky, earthy and spiced make for a perfect autumnal fragrance; cinnamon candles and essential oils, for example, are in frequent rotation in my household, and Joik’s Cinnamon Bun Soy Wax candle is top of wishlist at the moment. Scented candles don’t have to be heavily spiced to evoke a cosy, fall feeling though – Harper’s Candles Wolf Wood is one of my absolute favourites and is crisp, clean and subtly sweet but still somehow feels woody and autumnal. Skandinavisk Koto is also a perfect hygge scent with its soft vanilla and mandarin fragrance with notes of amber and spice.

As the leaves start to wither and fall, giving way in preparation for new life next spring, my subdued summer self gives way to a more vivacious me with a greater lust for life. It may not be everyone’s favourite time of year, but even as I start to feel the chilly winds and darker mornings eat away at my energy and motivation, like clockwork I still always come into my own during autumn. What are some of your favourite things about this season?

* This post is not sponsored and has not been paid for, however this product was sent to me free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

5 vegans you meet when you go vegan

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Like most communities, the vegan community is one that can seem quite homogenous from the outside, but once you’re a part of it you start to realise just how diverse the different people in that community are. It probably goes without saying that vegans get a pretty bad rap and are viewed quite stereotypically by the ‘outside world’, but funnily enough once you’ve been vegan for a little while and had a few weeks of exposure to other vegans, you start to notice types.

After two years of being vegan and interacting with a variety of different vegans online, I’ve started to be able to class a lot of us into different categories, and thought I’d share some of those with you today! As usual, there’s been a few wee controversies in the vegan world over the past few days, resulting in certain subgroups of veganism turning on the others, and as much as it sucks to see people who support your ethical and moral beliefs be complete and utter bellends, sometimes you just have to step back and laugh.

So, in the interest of looking on the bright side and learning to poke fun at ourselves, here are five types of vegan you meet after you’ve made the switch!

The Raw Yogi

For those of us who are super into food, one type of vegan is very quick and easy to identify – the Raw Yogi. Although there’s more to vegan food than acai bowls and colourful, vibrant salads and fresh vegetables, the Raw Yogi’s diet is almost exclusively these kinds of food and, as the name suggests, most of what they eat is raw, earthy goodness. There isn’t anything bad about that in and of itself, but for the rest of us mere mortals munching on our vegan chocolate chip cookies it seems a bit daunting and unobtainable.  Plus, they give omnis a skewed idea of what vegans actually want to eat - it’s thanks to the Raw Yogis that the rest of us have to suffer menu after menu of raw cheesecake as a dessert option instead of proper junk food puddings!

The next level Raw Yogi vegan doesn’t just eat raw of course, but embraces part of the hippy-style stereotype that non-vegans often assign to the movement. They’re chilled out, they practice yoga, they meditate, they probably own a few pieces of jewellery with a hamsa on ‘em and may or may not dabble in Buddhism and/or some forms of appropriation from ‘exotic’, ‘enlightened’ cultures in the Far East.

The Know-It-All Nutritionist

Sadly, it’s not just non-vegans who feel the need to quiz vegans when it comes to nutrition. The Know-It-All Nutritionist is that vegan we all know and love who is super into ‘clean eating’ and, while they may not have exclusively gone vegan because of the health benefits, just loves to preach what a positive impact a healthy vegan diet can have on you. This isn’t a problem until they decide to impart their wisdom onto others uninvited; it’s the Know-It-All Nutritionist who you’ll often see getting into spats with other vegans over their love of processed foods and refined sugars, let alone lambasting omnivores for eating cheese.

Some of us just want to sit and eat our Oreos and pizzas in peace, others expect all vegans to be model representations of pristine, vegan health and assign far too much value to nutritional content of snacks and meals than is really recommended. Oh, and while many, many types of vegan can be guilty of fat-shaming, it’s most likely to be the Know-It-All Nutritionist, because haven’t you seen What The Health, don’t you know you’re killing yourself with meat and dairy and a wholefoods vegan diet could save your life?!

The Anarchist

We’ve probably all encountered the Anarchist on many, many occasions. You know the type – they’re the ones who are vegan for the animals, but to them, the animals are everything. And I mean everything. They’re the people who get into Twitter arguments with vegetarians and omnivores at the drop of the hat, who post graphic images of slaughterhouses and animal abuse on the social media feeds and who loudly equate animal agriculture to rape, slavery and yes, even the Holocaust. Goes without saying that such comparisons are problematic at best, but good luck calling them out without getting your head bitten off.

They might mean well at their core, but the Anarchist creates such an offensive, intimidating and unobtainable image of veganism that it’s just down right off-putting, and they do a great job of alienating not just omnivores but other vegans, too. To them, there’s a standard of veganism you’re expected to meet, and if, for example, you buy from cruelty free brands with animal testing parent companies, or choose to buy vegan products from food brands that aren’t 100% ethical, then you’re you’re not a real vegan and should be ashamed of yourself.

The #Goals

A favourite of bloggers, social media and magazines alike, the #Goals vegan is everything we aspire to be and more. They seem to live a picturesque life in either a beautiful modern or shabby chic apartment, grow their own herbs and plants and they’re slim, effortlessly beautiful and fashionable. All of their clothing (or at least what they choose to show us) is ethically sourced, and most of the time they live a zero waste, minimalist lifestyle with a classy monochrome capsule wardrobe and collections of upcycled kilner and mason jars filled with all their kitchen perishables lining their shelves.

Putting it simply, these folks are the vegans that make veganism fashionable to your average person.  The #Goals is the vegan ideal brought to life and their artfully arranged marble flat lays and food photography put the rest of us to shame. Of course, for most of us mere mortals their way of living isn’t actually achievable, and while their carefully curated blogs and social media platforms are gorgeous to look at and full of aesthetic inspiration, their content can encourage us to doubt ourselves and believe we’re somehow not ethical enough to really call ourselves vegan.

The Tesco Vegan 

Named so because ‘every little helps’, the Tesco Vegan is seen as realistic, inclusive and approachable by some or a slacker and a cop-out animal abuse apologist by others. Unlike the Animal Anarchist who is very much all-or-nothing, the Tesco Vegan believes that even small changes like giving up dairy milk in our cereals or simply reducing our consumption of meat will make a positive difference, even if we don’t all go vegan. They’re the vegan that, rather than trying to scare their omnivorous friends with gory photos or health statistics, simply leads by quiet example and lets questions be asked without judgement. While this might be seen as a great thing by omnivores who’re tired of feeling attacked by vegans, other vegans would argue that coddling ‘carnists’ and making them feel less guilty for still contributing to animal abuse and environmental destruction is foolish and counter-productive.

Although I’d definitely class myself as one of these, whether or not the Tesco Vegan’s approach actually makes a difference remains to be seen, but they pride themselves on their positive advocacy and the impact they can make by being intersectional and inclusive rather than frightening and exclusionary.

So, if you’re vegan, what type are you? Got any others that I might’ve missed?

Review / Phee's Makeup Shop Trance Unicorn Highlighter

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Phee's Makeup Shop Trance Unicorn Highlighter

Phee's Makeup Shop Trance Unicorn Highlighter
I never used to be a highlighter kind of gal – back when I first started getting into makeup, I was all about matte products. I still am, to an extent, because my preference for eyeshadow and lipstick always leans towards the matte end of the spectrum. Over time though, my tastes in base products have evolved and I now thrive on dewy finishes and looking like a gleaming, iridescent moonbeam.

Enter, Phee’s Makeup Shop. I blogged about some of Phee’s loose highlighters about a year ago, but for those who aren’t familiar with her makeup, beauty blogger Phee of Phee’s Makeup Tips hand-makes her own high quality, mineral makeup up in Sheffield. Because her looks are vibrant, bold and enchanting it’s only to be expected that the products she makes are just the same.

Phee’s Makeup Shop was one of the first brands to start stocking pastel and colourful highlighters, and some of the latest in her range of unicorn highlighters are extremely bright, holographic and intense. They come in single shade compacts in a variety of colours with different kinds of reflect, but when Trance, a combination of three, came out I couldn’t say no.

Phee's Makeup Shop Trance Unicorn Highlighter

Phee's Makeup Shop Trance Unicorn Highlighter


Phee's Makeup Shop Trance Unicorn Highlighter
Trance Unicorn Highlighter is £20 for a 59mm compact, and contains the pressed highlight shades Gloaming (purple), Buzz (turquoise) and Glo Up (yellow green) that can be used separately, or swirled together for an intense and truly unique glow.  (Badly) pictured above is each shade swatched individually.

I also have and frequently use Phee’s pastel rainbow highlighter, which sadly no longer appears to be in stock, but is a beautiful combination of all of her pastel shades and The Original Glow Highlighter. The pastel highlighter is colourful and eye-catching yet soft and still subtle depending on how heavily you apply it. Trance, on the other hand, is almost always a bold as hell statement in highlighter form.

On first dabbing your finger or brush into the product, the texture is a little bit chunkier than most traditional powder highlights and almost seems as if it’ll be glittery and awkward, but once applied and blended properly into the skin, it almost immediately melts into a holographic wet-look. This texture pre-application does make it prone to fall out (I sometimes end up with little highlight powder chunks glistening all over my face), but as Phee’s Makeup Shop is a small-scale, independent and hand-made brand I wouldn’t personally expect the products to be factory fine-milled powders.

And besides, the result speaks for itself.

Phee's Makeup Shop Trance Unicorn Highlighter

Phee's Makeup Shop Trance Unicorn Highlighter


To be honest, whenever I try to take photos of Phee’s highlighters and eyeshadows, they never really do the products any justice. Trance in particular is so multi-dimensional that I find it difficult to really capture its essence; depending on how the light catches it, it can appear a number of different colours and gives you a stellar, ethereal sheen visible from space. So, trust me, it looks even better in person than it does in my photos.  If I want to turn heads and get complimented on my highlight (or make people wonder why I want to obnoxiously glow brighter than the sun), this is the beauty I always wear.

Of course, you don’t have to be as bold and brash as I choose to be with it. Without a doubt, it’s a unique and interesting highlighter no matter how you wear it, but you can still use it with a lighter hand for a subtler look, or use it to highlight your inner corners and really draw attention to your eyes and make them pop. It looks incredible on all skin tones, not just my paper white complexion (the incredibly talented Lima of Fashionicide regularly slays the highlight game using Phee’s highlighters) and is one of the few highlighters I’ve ever seen that’s capable of a true metallic finish. Not just glittery or shimmery or dewy or glowy, actually made-of molten-crystal-unicorn-rainbows metallic. You can use it dry or wet and, yeah, using it wet really packs an extra punch.

Phee's Makeup Shop Trance Unicorn Highlighter


Phee’s Makeup Shop highlighters continue to be my absolute favourite highlighters, and are cruelty free, vegan and made from simple ingredients with no added nasties or other bullshit that waters down the pigment. The products are also much bigger than your average highlighters – 59mm is pretty huge and will last for ages, especially given that you need very little product to achieve a perfect glow. Plus, by buying them, you’re not only going to bless yourself with an incredible highlight, but you’ll also be supporting an independent, British brand.

 9 times out of 10, if I’m doing my makeup to experiment or impress I’ll be using one of Phee’s products, and they’re some of the first that I always jump to recommend whenever I get the chance.  So, if you love a good glow, definitely check Trance out!

Have you ever tried Phee’s Makeup Shop before? Are you into the holographic trend?

All products used:
Inika Organic Primer with Hyaluronic Acid
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion*
Sleek Makeup Colour Corrector Palette
The Body Shop Moisture Foundation SPF15 in Shade 01†
The Body Shop Lightening Shade Adjusting Drops
Illamasqua Skin Base Lift Concealer in Light 2†
Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Dark Brown
Lily Lolo Mineral Eyeshadow in Black Sand†
Barry M Take a Brow Brow Gel in Brown
ColourPop Super Shock Eyeshadow in Sailor
B. Pro Duo Eyeliner in Black
Pixi Extra Eye Bright Liner
PHB Ethical Beauty Natural Mascara in Black
Ardell Scanties Falsh Lashes in Black
theBalm Cabana Boy†
Phee's Makeup Shop Unicorn Highlighter in Trance
Lily Lolo Finishing Powder in Translucent Silk
ColourPop Lippie Stix in Wet ?

* Parent company is not cruelty free. 
† Product is not vegan.
? Unsure if vegan, product & ingredients list no longer available.

Review / Sukin Oil Balancing + Charcoal Facial Masque & Facial Scrub

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Sukin Oil Balancing + Charcoal Masque & Scrub
When I was a teenager, I was blessed with near perfect skin. I still had a collection of immovable blackheads on my nose of course, but I never had blemishes or breakouts and I had barely any hint of dark circles under my eyes. So, you can imagine as my skin has got worse and worse into my twenties, it’s been a little bit hard for me to deal with – your skin, spots and so on are ‘supposed’ to improve with age, not deteriorate.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that my skin isn’t the same as it used to be for the most part, but the changes have nonetheless played a part in my resolve to treat my skin better and properly nourish it. Bre of Brianne Etc. recently shared on her Instagram that she’s been going makeup free, and inspired me to go back to basics and start doing the same (she even published a post recently on the best plant-based foods for good skin). I’ve never been one of those people that feels like they need makeup to leave the house, but I’d fallen into a habit of putting it on every morning for work as part of my routine again, and it’s not really a routine that I wanted.

This post isn’t about makeup or going makeup free, though – it’s about skincare. I’ve cut out some of the nasties I’ve been putting on my skin (I’ve even been wearing full eye makeup and highlight without a hint of base products recently) but I’ve also been trying to concentrate on putting some good things onto my skin and into my body too. One brand that I kept seeing come up time and time again over the past few months has been Sukin, so I was excited to give them a try after seeing so many other bloggers singing their praises.

I settled on Sukin’s Anti-Pollution Facial Masque* and Pore-Refining Facial Scrub*, both part of their Oil Balancing + Charcoal range. Although I’m not a particularly oily person, the charcoal in these products was what won me over, as it’s long been associated with beauty benefits due to its ability to draw oil, dirt and micro-particles out of pores, resulting in a clearer complexion and better cleansed skin. I’d only ever tried one other charcoal mask before, and I had high hopes for these two products after the positive reviews I’ve read about the brand.

Sukin Oil Balancing + Charcoal Anti-Pollution Facial Masque


The Anti-Pollution Facial Masque is a beautifully smooth mask that hardens very slightly as it dries, but doesn’t dry completely stiff like a clay mask. Sukin say that the bamboo charcoal, rooibos tea and willowherb in it lift impurities to help clear your pores, while the bilberry, white tea and pomegranate are high in anti-oxidants to give your complexion a healthy glow. It doesn’t smell strongly, and it’s almost cooling once applied and doesn’t feel harsh or heavy on the skin.

The instructions say to apply to damp skin, leave on for 15 minutes and then rinse off with a wash cloth, but I’ve left it for up to 40 minutes so far with no ill effects. Because it feels so gentle and nourishing on my skin (albeit not as hydrating as PHB Beauty’s masks), I like to leave it on and go about my business, and then use my muslin cloth to gentle rub it off with warm water so I can use it to exfoliate too. Immediately afterwards, my skin feels softer and looks a little brighter, and it’s a mask that I’ve really enjoyed including in my beauty routine because it’s nice and fuss free to prepare (it’s just a soft, grey cream in the tub) and isn’t a pain in the ass to remove like others I’ve tried.

Sukin Oil Balancing + Charcoal Pore-Refining Facial Scrub


I’ve also loved incorporating the Pore-Refining Facial Scrub into my daily routine. The bamboo charcoal and jojoba beads in this scrub help to exfoliate and deep clean, keeping pores clearer, and it also contains gentle, calming ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile and cucumber to soothe the skin (I love to see things like this in scrubs as they can sometimes lean a lil’ on the harsh side). I tend to use this in the evening, and will either apply it to damp skin or I’ll start gently massaging it into dry skin until it feels mostly absorbed and a bit sticky, then I’ll re-introduce water and scrub it away.

Sukin’s facial scrub is, to me, the perfect formula for an exfoliating scrub – there’s not too much ‘gritty’ texture, but there’s just enough to feel like I’ve given my face a proper good clean, and the other ingredients compliment this well and leave my skin feeling soft, glowing and hydrated rather than completely stripped of moisture. As for the pore-refining qualities, I’m pleased to say that after using this product at least once a day (sometimes twice) for several weeks now, it has actually been working wonders for me! It’s not often that I can categorically say that a product is doing what it claims it will, but using Sukin’s facial scrub in combination with the mask has reinvigorated my skin and minimised the steadily expanding pores around my nose that I was starting to get a bit concerned about. They’re still visible, of course, but are much smaller than they were before I added these items into my beauty routine.

I’m really happy to have tried these two out and the scrub is now a staple that I’ll be refusing to travel without, and it’s great to see that, at least based off of these products, Sukin is a brand that lives up to the hype!

Sukin’s products are all natural, vegan, cruelty free and, as their tagline says, don’t cost the earth both when it comes to financial and environmental costs – they’re an affordable, 100% carbon neutral brand. The Oil Balancing + Charcoal Anti-Pollution Facial Mask is available from LoveLula for £11.95 (a bargain as you don’t need to use a lot of product to fully coat your face), and the Oil Balancing + Charcoal Pore-Refining Facial Scrub is around £9.99 but unfortunately seems to be out of stock at the moment. I’m definitely going to be ordering some more of their charcoal products, and they do a variety of other ranges for different skin concerns, so there’s bound to be something for everyone.

Have you ever used a charcoal-based skincare product before?  What did you think?

* This review is not sponsored and has not been paid for, however the product was sent to me free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Review / KiteNest Organic Dry Shampoo

Saturday, 26 August 2017

KiteNest Organic Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair Tones
Is there anyone these days who doesn’t love a good dry shampoo? To be honest, I’m surprised there haven’t been any baby boomer articles about how millennials are held together by layers of dry shampoo and have killed the art of hair washing (please prove me wrong I want to laugh at this if it exists). Still, finding a dry shampoo that actually suits you and your hair can be challenging, and more challenging still is finding one that’s cruelty free and vegan.

Since I discovered that Batiste isn’t cruelty free, I’ve been on the hunt for a good dry shampoo to replace it, as I am one of those greasy gals who tries to avoid washing her hair for as long as I can get away with. Better still if it’s a natural dry shampoo; after a while, I’ve started to notice that aerosol and chemical-based ones have been leaving my scalp irritated and my hair in worse condition than I’d like.

So, when someone from KiteNest got in touch with me to ask if I wanted to try out one of their organic dry shampoos*, how I could I say no? KiteNest is a brand of 100% natural creations all handmade in Lincolnshire, and nothing they produce contains parabens or other nasties, nor has anything been tested on animals. As well as their dry shampoos, they also do ranges of lip balms, body butters and more, although many of these products are non-vegan as they contain beeswax.

They offer two options for their dry shampoos: one for light hair, one for darker hair. The only difference in these is the type of clay used in the product, with Kaolinite (white clay) used in the lighter hair version and Morrocan lava clay and Illite (clay) in the darker hair one. This makes sure that, being a powder rather than a spray, the product isn’t too noticeable sitting on your scalp or in your hair. Getting stuck with weird white-ish silver roots after using a dry shampoo isn’t great, am I right fellow dark-haired folks? Other than the clays, the ingredients lists aren’t extensive or full of anything that seems unfamiliar. Arrowroot powder, essential oils etc. make up the bulk of the rest of the ingredients list, including various citrus oils that give it a zesty, fresh scent.

KiteNest Organic Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair Tones


The packaging is pretty cool – the branding and design is vibrant and interesting looking, but the tube is also made from recyclable cardboard for less waste. One thing that I don’t like about the packaging however, is that I cannot for the life of me break the plastic seal so that I can use the sprinkle lid in the way that it’s supposed to be used. I can see that there’s a little bit on it that you must be supposed to pop out in some way, but no amount of pushing or prodding or bashing it with a knife seemed to make any difference, so I’ve had to resort to just popping the whole lid off and using my fingertips to collect and apply the powder! I’m not sure if anyone else had this problem, as everyone I spoke to who’s also tried it did manage to get the lid open in the end. Maybe I just got a faulty one? Even if I could get it open, I can’t see it being super secure though, as it’s not airtight and there’s no way to fully reseal it so I’d imagine it’s vulnerable to leaking.

The dry shampoo itself however, I like a lot more than the lid. I gather up some of the product on my fingers and try to sprinkle it into my roots, massage it in a little bit and then leave it to sit for a minute or so. This, so they say in the instructions, allows it to soak up the excess moisture. Do make sure that you give it that time to settle; otherwise you might accidentally end up topping yourself up with more powder than you need. After 30 seconds or more, they recommend brushing it though, but I tend to just use my fingers for this as my thick, wavy/curly hair doesn’t respond well to hairbrushes. The result is pretty darn great! After use, my hair no longer looks or feels oily, and my scalp feels much better using KiteNest’s dry shampoo than it has vs other dry shampoo brands.

KiteNest Organic Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair Tones


Extended use of this product doesn’t start to dry out or irritate my scalp like other dry shampoos can, and the smell of it is lovely and leaves you feeling like your hair is refreshed and clean again, without having to actually wash it. My hair also doesn’t feel to dry and brittle after using this, either. I don’t know about you, but the super dry, almost slick texture that my hair goes after using traditional dry shampoo is really unpleasant to me and also makes it nasty to touch and difficult to style, but I don’t have that problem at all with this. After using KiteNest’s dry shampoo, my hair just feels like hair. You do need to be careful of how much product you use (too much and you’ve basically just got clay sitting on your head until you wash it out again), but once you find the right balance for you and your hair, it’s can be a great little addition to your haircare routine.  Oh, and try to remember that you’ve used it because if you scratch your head you might end up with some clay under your fingernails and get a lil’ confused like I did!

If you’re concerned about nasty chemicals, this is a great alternative to high street dry shampoos that doesn’t break the bank. One tube of KiteNest’s is only £10 for 150g, and so far it’s lasting me much, much longer than my aerosol dry shampoos ever did. You don’t need a lot of product to do the job, so the 150g will go a lot further than sprays tend to. This baby is also 100% natural and organic, vegan friendly and cruelty free, plus you also get the bonus of supporting a local, British independent brand.

After trying this out, I’m definitely converted to natural, powder dry shampoos and I’ll definitely be repurchasing this for myself! What are your favourite dry shampoo brands?

* This review is not sponsored and has not been paid for, however the product was sent to me free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Review / Inika Certified Organic Primer

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Inika Certified Organic Pure Primer with Hyaluronic Acid
Primers, primers, primers. Second only to concealers, primers are probably the beauty staple that I’ve struggled with the most since going cruelty free and vegan. Finding one would be a relatively simple task if it wasn’t for the fact that I also try to avoid silicone-based primers – I can use them occasionally, but regular use doesn’t really do my skin any favours. My Neve Cosmetics primer does a pretty great job and I would still recommend it since it’s an affordable vegan, cruelty free and silicone-free option, but I’m not a fan of the fact that it has a colour to it and I’ve still been left wondering if there’s something else out there that might be better for me. I only really discovered primers after I went cruelty free, so I hadn’t really had the chance to test many out and to be honest, I wasn’t always aware of what I was missing or what really makes a high quality primer.

Needless to say, when I discovered that Inika do a pretty good looking primer that seems to tick all of the boxes for me, I was dying to try it. Inika is an organic, natural brand that’s gentle on the skin, so their Certified Organic Pure Primer with Hyaluronic Acid* seemed like a good bet for someone like me who currently has sensitive, break-out prone skin.

Inika Certified Organic Pure Primer with Hyaluronic Acid


Hyaluronic acid is pretty well-known in the beauty world for its moisturising properties, and the idea behind a primer containing it is that as well as creating a smooth base for foundation on top of your skin, it also helps to turn your skin into a better base by increasing hydration, plumping it up and evening out some fine lines and wrinkles. As I’m currently trying to put more time and effort into caring for my skin and focusing on improving my complexion without makeup, the idea of a cosmetic product that can help nourish and improve my skin on the occasions that I do choose to wear makeup is certainly an alluring one.

As with all Inika products, their primer is hypoallergenic and alcohol free, and boasts cruelty free, vegan and organic status. The packaging is the same look and feel as all of the other Inika products I’ve seen – simple, sleek and black, and this particular item comes with a lid and handy pump (which I much prefer for the sake of good hygiene).

The primer itself looks and feels much more like a moisturiser than the other couple of primers I’ve used; it’s just a soft, white cream in texture. It rubs in similarly to a moisturiser too, and feels extremely light on the skin. When I first tested it out, I wasn’t too certain that it did much for me, but when I tried one half of my face with the primer and one without, I noticed that the primed side actually felt quite a bit softer and looked plumper and more hydrated, and on closer inspection my fine lines and pores appeared ever so slightly reduced (but bare in mind, this isn’t a miracle worker, they didn’t vanish completely). And, because it’s so soft and light, I’ve found that a little goes a long way and you don’t need much to blend over your entire face.

Inika Certified Organic Pure Primer with Hyaluronic Acid


When it comes to foundation, Inika’s primer does a great job working alongside that too. Using this primer, my liquid foundation holds up much better and thanks to the hydrating properties of the primer – which seem to give me skin a more dewy, natural glow – I find that I don’t need to go quite as heavy with my foundation as I might without it. Except for lip products, I never touch my makeup up throughout the day, so any items that can help it to wear a lil’ better and last a lil’ longer are winners in my book, and this primer has made the list. Particular around my chin (that I have a terrible habit of touching constantly), my nose, and other areas that can be a little troublesome by the end of the day, I’ve noticed that I tend to have a little bit more foundation left at the end of the day than I do when I haven’t used the Inika primer.

Be warned, though! This is a hydrating primer and although it gives my foundation a bit of extra staying powder and has definitely be great for my skin, it does mean that my skin looks a tad oilier once I hit the afternoon or evening. This is a primer that better suits people like me who want a more natural finish and don’t mind a bit of a sheen as it’s not mattifying at all, and if you have oily skin it may contribute to further oil build-up throughout the day.

Having said that though, in addition to it adding to how long my foundation lasts and its skin-replenishing properties, the fact that Inika’s primer also feels virtually weightless on my skin is a huge, huge bonus. I used to use a lavender tinted primer by KIKO that, although it helped to neutralise blemishes and smoothed out my skin really well, it also had a sort of unpleasant feeling on my face that I was always acutely aware of.  Primers are supposed to create a barrier on the skin, and, well, it definitely felt like I had an extra layer of something on. Even my Neve primer, despite containing no silicones, has a certain presence on my skin that I’m very aware of even directly after application and throughout the day, but that isn’t the case with the hyaluronic acid primer at all. As I said, it applies like a moisturiser and feels like a moisturiser – you can whack it on and forget that you’re even wearing a primer!

I can only think of two things that could be improved upon: 1. It’s a minor niggle, but having used a lavender-tinted primer before, if Inika’s had a lavender element to it to brighten the skin and neutralise discolouration, it would really take it to the next level for me and make it pretty much everything I want in a primer. 2. It ain’t cheap. At £29.50 for a 50ml bottle over on LoveLula I would consider this a high end product, although it does deliver great benefits and high quality for the price.

Inika’s products are known for being great quality, vegan and cruelty free alternatives to other brands and their Pure Primer with Hyaluronic Acid is no different. Even with the expensive price tag, I would recommend this and repurchase it in a heartbeat, because everything it brings to the table is well worth the cost. It’s smoothing, compliments my foundations well and increases their lasting power, and it also helps to nourish and hydrate so that my skin is improved too. It hasn’t broken me out, it doesn’t clog my pores and it doesn’t irritate or feel heavy on my skin either.

If you need a cheaper primer, I’d still point you in the direction of Neve Cosmetics or, if you aren’t fussed about silicones, then drugstore brands like B., Barry M and GOSH are super cheap and accessible and do some great, more affordable primers. But, if you are willing to invest in a product that will last you for quite a while and will help your skin as much as it helps your makeup application, then definitely give Inika’s Certified Organic Pure Primer with Hyaluronic Acid a try!

What are your favourite cruelty free and vegan primers?

* This review is not sponsored and has not been paid for, however the product was sent to me free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

Fitness shouldn't just be about aesthetics.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

It’s summer, and we’re well into ‘bikini body’ season. That means plenty of companies are clambering all over each other to try to get us to pay to work out or hit the gym or do whatever it takes to be skinny and svelte and, apparently, not feel embarrassed to chill in a swimsuit.  Bleh.

Encouragement to exercise is overwhelming focused on aesthetics and the pursuit of visual ‘progress’; anyone like myself who follows fitness influencers will no doubt see before and after photos on a daily basis. Images like these and the rhetoric that surrounds them and other campaigns to get fit place so much emphasis on achieving a nice-looking ‘result’ when, really, there are plenty of great benefits to exercising beyond changing our appearances.

Exercise doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym, ‘working hard’, running on treadmills or lifting weights. It can be anything from doing a little yoga sesh at home, going to a pilates class once in a while, deciding to cycle to work or just trying to walk a bit more often. It’s easy to feel intimidated by the time, effort and dedication that others put into working out, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you for in order for you to feel positive about it – we’re all unique, and we have to find what works for us.

So, what are some of my favourite non-aesthetic pros of working out?

It can be good for your mental health. If you’re lucky enough to have a good relationship with exercise, it can do wonders for your mental health. For me, working out is part of my self-care and is one of the only times when my anxiety switches off and my mind finally goes blank – all there is is me and whatever I’m doing at the time. Even just going out for a walk on your own to take in the sights and sounds around you can be therapeutic, uplifting and give you some time to get away from some of your daily struggles.

Of course, take this with a grain of salt, because contrary to what others might love to tell you, going for a walk isn’t going to cure your mental illness. Exercise can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle for many people, but it won’t negate any mental health difficulties you might face.  Oh, and never feel like you need to try working out if you’ve struggled with things like disordered eating, over-exercising and so on before. You are never obligated to make yourself do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or at risk.

You get to wear cute workout clothes. Ok, maybe this is kind of an aesthetic point but, oh well.  I never used to be that into gym clothes, but honestly, I’m obsessed with sportswear now. Being really into the gym and going on such a regular basis, I now get to wear comfy, cute athletic-wear basically all the time and it’s great. Sorry uncomfortable jeans, I’m ditching you for some cute workout leggings that are functional and comfy as hell so I can go straight from lounging on the sofa to out and about around town to killin’ it at the gym! I am 100% on board with the athleisure trend and spend very little money on anything that isn’t sportswear these days.  Bliss.

It can be good for your physical health. Kind of a no brainer, but according to the NHS 150 minutes of moderate exercise (i.e. exercise that raises your heart rate, and makes you feel warmer and breathe quicker) is enough to dramatically reduce your risk of all kinds of different illnesses, from giving you a 20% lower risk of breast cancer to a 30% lower risk of dementia to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture. Assuming you’re physically able to, then doing small spurts of physical activity on a regular basis can contribute to living happily, healthily and independently into old age.

This won’t be the case for everyone (and, again, never force yourself if you’re injured, unwell or struggle mentally or emotionally with fitness) but taking up regular exercise has dramatically increased my energy levels. Although my body is obviously tired after weight training, I’m also positively buzzing and raring to go. The thought of going to work, then the gym, then out on the town used to seem utterly impossible to me in the past, but nowadays it’s something that I’m not only more than capable of, but actually do sometimes and feel amazing!

You can make or find great playlists. I don’t really listen to music in the gym anymore, but back when I did it was a great opportunity to find cool new music and curate my own badass playlists that got me motivated and excited to kick butt – all the more so when I rarely, if ever, listened to music any other time.  Some of my favourite songs and remixes I discovered through my old gym playlists I used to get off 8tracks (before it went to shit and stopped letting me stream through the app in the UK, R.I.P.). Since working out is a nice little slot of ‘you time’, it’s also the perfect opportunity to dedicate to listening to tunes you enjoy without worrying about anyone or anything else.

It can be fun. If you find something you enjoy, it can become something you look forward to each week instead of a punishment you dread every time it comes around. When I first started getting into fitness, I loved circuit training classes and the buzz of being in a group environment with all kinds of different people, and the positive atmosphere made it super enjoyable and kept me coming back for more. Things like swimming, team sports, dance classes, exercise classes, cross fit, hiking, dog walking and more are all vastly different and can be wonderful once you find the right one for you, and can be even more fun if you find a buddy to do them with and turn it into a social activity too.

Exercise may not feel enjoyable until you find something that actually suits you, but it takes time to figure out what gets you pumped. Fitness isn’t ‘one size fits all’, and it’s important to remember that you don’t have to love what everybody else loves. Just because fitness gurus or your friends are doing something, doesn’t mean you have to!

You can get stronger. A lot of us, sadly namely women, have the misconception that exercise = running or some form of cardio, but that doesn’t have to be the case at all. There are tons of different things that you can do instead of just hopping on a treadmill or cross trainer, and many of those things (like weight lifting or body weight exercises) make it really easy for you to feel how far you’re progressing in terms of strength. When I first started using dumbbells I could only do bicep curls with 2kg, but now I can do 7-8kg on a good day and I’m getting stronger all the time!  10 squats might be tough work for you the first time you do them, but within a few weeks it will seem like a piece of cake and the confidence and pride that can give you is pretty amazing.

It reminds us of what our bodies can be capable of. It’s easy to feel negative about our bodies when so much emphasis is put on how we ‘should’ look day in, day out. If you approach exercise with the right frame of mind though, it can become a great demonstration of how powerful you are and remind you of how magnificent your body and all bodies really are irrespective of how we look or what others think we should be. Whether you’re a competitive powerlifter, an average person who ran a new personal best or someone who struggles with chronic pain and simply managed to get up and out and about, all of those things – no matter how big or small – are physical and mental feats worth celebrating.

You don’t have to have a lean, muscular physique or a perfect peach booty to be a proud, powerful fitness badass. The images and accounts we tend to see when we peruse fitness communities online are only a small sub-section of people who actually exercise, and these communities are plagued with the same preferential treatment of thin, white, cis, able-bodied and conventionally attractive people that we get everywhere else. Strong, fit people who look like you exist, they just don’t get pushed to the forefront as often as they should be. ‘Strong’ and ‘fit’ don’t look the same on everyone.

You can learn to exercise for the simple joy of movement. Once you’ve picked out your cute clothes, found a good playlist and figured out what your favourite fitness activities are, you can learn to just enjoy exercise for the sake of enjoying it. Pure and simple movement, getting your heart rate up and doing fun, cool things with your body should be what fitness is all about; not grinding away, bored and frustrated, in pursuit of an aesthetic goal. At the end of the day, exercise should be loved as an activity in and of itself, not as a means to an end. If you don’t love it, then no matter what anyone else says, you don’t have to do it!

What are some of your favourite parts of working out?

You don't have to be perfect to be cruelty free.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

A selection of cruelty free beauty products
It’s funny sometimes being part of little pockets of the blogging ‘community’ – it’s easy to forget that not everyone is as into (so called) ethical living as it might seem in our little echo chamber. Every now and again, something squeezes its way into the bubble and shatters the illusion that… well, that people actually give a shit.

Despite it being 2017, if you tell other folks that you don’t buy cosmetics tested on animals, they’ll likely still look at you as if you’re some kind of hippy weirdo. When your average Joe reacts to this apparently shocking news, the tone of their voice and the look on their face often says it all and they may as well just tell you straight: “What? You don’t buy from brands that fund unnecessary, cruel animal experiments?! That’s pretty extreme.” It’s not surprising, therefore, that there are still scores of people who, while they might not admit it, quite simply can’t be bothered to go cruelty free and more still who feel they shouldn’t bother because it will never be ‘enough’.

There are a number of valid reasons why someone may not be able to buy exclusively cruelty free cosmetics, such as their income being dependent on it (i.e. small MUA businesses), skin conditions that mean they can only use certain brands, living in areas where few, if any, cruelty free brands are affordable or accessible, and so on. Can you guess how many people who aren’t cruelty free cite any of these reasons as why that’s the case? Hint: it’s a very, very small number. In fact, the majority of people who aren’t cruelty free who ever openly talk about why they’re not cruelty free often simply say that either a.) they feel like there’s no point, because they can’t go vegan or vegetarian or be fully ethical or go zero waste or blah blah etc. or b.) they like their favourite, animal-tested products too much to give them up.

Now, let me cover point b. in one quick swing: that’s some selfish bullshit. Yes, you read me right! I’m sure that might ruffle some feathers but, at the end of the day, if the only reason why you won’t even consider cutting animal-tested cosmetics – which aren’t even a necessity – out of your beauty routine is because you like the products too much or boo you won’t be able to wear your favourite lipstick anymore then yeah, that’s a load of shit. To prioritise lipstick and blush and nail polish over reducing the suffering of animals in laboratories who are tortured and killed in order to produce them makes you, quite frankly, lazy and extremely selfish. If there are no other circumstances like those I mentioned above that might make it more difficult for you to buy cruelty free, but you still choose not to in spite of the wealth of excellent quality alternatives at your fingertips, then I say it again: you are selfish. If that stings to read or bothers you in some way, then consider why. Take a seat, take a long hard look at yourself, do some research and try fucking harder.

With that out of the way, back to point a: “I can’t be a perfect cruelty free, ethical consumer so why even bother?” I get it. I really do – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the different ways to be ‘ethical’ and the different and increasingly demanding expectations that ethical lifestyle gurus seem to have of everyone. We don’t just have buying cruelty free cosmetics after all, we have being vegetarian or vegan, we have being minimalist and zero waste, we have buying organic and non-GMO and local, we have supporting independent brands, we have giving up fast fashion and much, much more. These requirements for being an ethical consumer just stack up and up and up to the point where it starts to seem completely impossible to actually be a good person, and makes you doubt the impact of even trying. Further still, it makes you doubt how well you’ll be received by the rest of that community – if I’m not seen as doing ‘enough’, there’s going to be people who don’t like that and will criticise me for it. If I don’t try at all, at least I won’t be seen as a hypocrite for claiming to be cruelty free but not being cruelty free ‘enough’, right?

Almost everything we buy presents a choice and an opportunity to pick the ‘more ethical’ one, but that simply isn’t possible for everyone. I’m vegan and cruelty free, and I’m trying to make an effort to reduce my waste and to stop buying from fast fashion retailers, but I also still use a lot of plastic and packaging. I still drive and use petrol. I still have to buy some things from fast fashion shops, because I need certain professional, office-appropriate clothes for work. Sometimes I still buy non-vegan clothing or animal tested brands for relatives who asked for them for gifts and wouldn’t take kindly to being presented with anything other than exactly what they wanted. I sometimes slip up and accidentally eat non-vegan things, or forget that some home accessories contain wool and buy them without realising. I will never be zero waste, and I will never be able to live off the land and be carbon neutral or anything like that.

And that’s okay!

There seems to be this common misconception among non-veggies and non-cruelty free folks that if you can’t go the whole hog, you’re not wanted and you may as well not bother. Honestly, I’m kind of tired of hearing that as an excuse. If you weren’t guaranteed that your hard work would get you a good grade or perfect score at school, did you just not bother? “Well, I know I’ll never be perfect so I’m not even going to try!” You can’t avoid accidentally stepping on a snail at some point in your life, so do you just make a point of stomping on all the snails that end up in your path because there’s ‘no point in trying when you can’t be perfect’?

This ‘all or nothing’ approach seems totally ridiculous when you put it into any other scenario, and whether you realise it or not, at the core of it you’re essentially saying: ‘I can’t completely wipe out all pain and suffering and bad things in the world, so I’m just going to carry on inflicting as much suffering as everybody else rather than make some small changes that might have a positive impact.’

The problem is, being cruelty free or vegan or vegetarian or trying to simply be a more ethical consumer has never been about being perfect. We know that we make mistakes, or that small animals might die when the vegetables we eat are harvested or that yes, the chemicals in our beauty products may have historically been tested on animals even if they aren’t anymore. We weren’t disputing that. No one is perfect, and if any other cruelty free people try to tell you that they are, I promise you that they’re full of shit and need to get in the sea. The point isn’t and has never been perfection; it’s reduction. Either we can be causing as much devastation as absolutely everybody else, or we can try to drop it down a few pegs and do what we can to make a difference. If we can all take small steps, within our means, to reduce animal suffering and the demand for animal testing in cosmetics, then we can begin to send a message to big businesses that they need to change.

That change is already happening. The Body Shop’s ethical principles had been heavily criticised since they were bought by L’Oreal (a brand notorious for its animal testing) a few years ago, and recently they were purchased by a new cruelty free parent company. This is at least in part down to the impact of cruelty free consumers challenging their supposed anti-animal testing views while simultaneously contributing money towards animal testing at their parent company.  In spite of their attempts to show that they were still an ethical brand, they simply couldn’t shake the backlash of being owned by L’Oreal.  Years ago Urban Decay had planned to start selling in China, where animal testing is required by law, but pulled out after heavy criticism and boycott threats from buyers who called them out for abandoning their cruelty free morals for the sake of extra cash.

Each time you go makeup shopping, you have a choice. Cruelty free products are not difficult to find, and they’re no more expensive than their animal tested counterparts. You cannot, in good conscience, claim to be against animal testing while still willingly purchasing from brands that test on animals. When you are informed and empowered and financially or geographically able to choose cruelty free products over animal tested ones but still chose not to, your decision is directly funding the torture, suffering and death of lab animals. It isn’t a complex ethical dilemma or a personal opinion – it’s a simple, empirical fact that your money is going towards animal testing, and that your continued custom will reassure businesses that they can carry on animal testing with no consequences to their profits.

Is your favourite lipstick worth the life of the innumerable number of rabbits or mice or dogs (yes, dogs) that suffered in order to produce it or to legally sell it in China? Is your favourite mascara worth the life of the animal who was repeatedly poked, prodded, burned, injected, had scalding chemicals dropped into its eyes and was finally ‘humanely’ euthanised once it looked to be in ‘too much’ pain? Sounds pretty extreme and very grim, right? Well, that’s the reality of beauty brands that aren’t cruelty free.  And all for what, right?  Makeup?  Really?

Next time you go shopping for your usual beauty products, consider trying out a new cruelty free brand instead of the animal tested giants like Rimmel, Revlon, L’Oreal, MAC and so on. If the thought of animals in pain when they don’t need to be strikes a chord with you, consider spending your money elsewhere instead of on NARS, who have now committed to selling in China and will begin testing on animals in order to do so. If you’re not sure where to start, there’s tons of online resources out there that can offer up a wealth of exciting, wonderful brands with ethics as lovely as their products – give them a try! Ask cruelty free beauty bloggers for their tips or suggestions, check out cruelty free reviews on YouTube.

No, we’re not perfect – none of us ever, ever will be – but you have so much more power than you realise, and the choices you make can help to change the world.

If you’re interested in going cruelty free, check out some of the cruelty free directories/blogs below and, as always, feel free to get in touch with me!

Review / Nabla Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipstick in Sweet Gravity

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Nabla Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipstick in Sweet Gravity
When I first heard about Nabla Cosmetics, I knew I was going to have to order from them sooner or later. They do an amazing range of eyeshadows that you can have both as pots or refills to create your own palette, they even have cream eyeshadows and everything is vegan and cruelty free. When they announced that they were releasing a line of matte liquid lipsticks… that was it. Let the order commence.

In terms of shipping times, customer service etc. Nabla was pretty fantastic. I ordered a selection of eyeshadows and one of their Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipsticks in the shade Sweet Gravity, and was lucky enough to get express shipping half off during a special offer. Although based in Italy, delivery was attempted (but sadly not received as the courier only delivered on weekdays and I work full time…) within three days which is a hell of a lot quicker than some companies based even within the UK. And, although possibly for a limited time only thanks to Brexit, since the company is based within the EU we don’t have to pay extortionate customs fees in the UK to order from them!

The eyeshadows I’ll be reviewing in a separate post; today I just wanted to share my thoughts on the – spoiler alert – lovely liquid lipstick.

Nabla Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipstick in Sweet Gravity Ingredients
Nabla Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipstick in Sweet Gravity

Nabla’s Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipsticks are described as having an intense pigment that dries to a true matte finish, and is both long-lasting and non-sticky. They’re supposed to be ‘dreamy’ soft on the lips, so won’t feel heavy or be one of those liquid lipsticks that you’re acutely aware of on your lips as you go about your day. They’re also coconut and vanilla scented!

Sweet Gravity is one of their nude shades, and is described as a warm, rosy brown that looks like a great ‘my lips but better’ colour in their swatches. I was extremely tempted to order some of their bolder berry and red shades too (it’s hard to find a great matte vegan liquid lipstick in red) but I decided to just go for a nice natural shade to test them out, plus I’ve just plain been feeling nudes recently. If you’d like to read a review of one of their other shades, Vivi of Sammy Sans Cruelty did a great review of a pinkier shade called Roses that you can check out here.

Nabla Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipstick in Sweet Gravity



Nabla Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipstick in Sweet Gravity
The packaging for this lipstick, while pretty, does feel a little bit excessive. I don’t think the extra plastic and paper it comes in is really necessary, even if it does look lovely. The tube itself has a sort of frosted matte finish, but you can still see the colour through it, plus a nice, classy-looking gold lid and detailing. The doe foot applicator is one of the better ones I’ve used; it’s stiff but not too stiff, and very precise.

In terms of formula, I’m a real fan. The smell is lovely (but obviously wears off relatively quickly), and it is quite loose and easy to apply. One swipe is enough to get a nice, opaque coat, it dries quickly and, as promised, dries to a true matte finish that doesn’t transfer. On the lips, it doesn’t exactly feel weightless, but it certainly feels a hell of a lot more inconspicuous than other liquid lipsticks I’ve used. As it’s a matte lipstick, it does still slightly dry out the lips, however it’s light and airy enough to not feel unpleasant at all. As it fades, it fades subtly and doesn’t clump or flake, meaning that it both wears out in a flattering way, and is easy to re-apply without either taking it all off and starting from scratch or looking like a hot mess with 12 layers of chunky lipstick. As far as lasting power goes, it isn’t as long lasting as my Colourpop Ultra Mattes, but for the most part it still holds its own against them and lasts for most of the day and even through non-greasy meals.

The shade is one that I really like on me. I am always wary of warmer brown and nude shades, as I don’t always feel like they look the best on my skin, but this is a winner. On my lips and with my complexion, it just looks like a nude with a little more substance, and adds a bit more warmth to my face. Like any good nude lipstick, it draws a makeup look together and makes you look polished with minimal effort, and can be used with bolder and more natural looks. I think this could potentially look great with a variety of skin tones, but cooler toned folks may be better complimented by one of their other shades.

Nabla Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipstick in Sweet Gravity Swatch


Sweet Gravity has become one of my favourite nude liquid lipsticks and one that I find myself regularly reaching for nowadays. It’s a great all-rounder, and with plenty of shades to choose from I already know I’m going to be doing another order for more! Each Dreamy Matte Liquid Lipstick is €14.90, so around £13.10 with the current exchange rate (damn it, Brexit), which is on the slightly higher end of affordable but much cheaper than most other accessible, long-lasting liquid lipsticks. As much as I love Colourpop’s Ultra Matte’s and how cheap they are, with the cost of shipping and customs fees it’s much more economical for me to order my liquid lippies from Nabla for the foreseeable future. Their current shade range is an exciting and unique collection for a first release – as well as more standard reds, pinks and nudes, they also have a more mauve-y greige shade, a powder blue, a black and a petrol green that all look incredible. I can’t wait to order that green and some of their glam red shades.

This lipstick has been super impressive and has definitely left me wanting more! Have you ever tried anything from Nabla before?

Review / PHB Ethical Beauty Liquid Eyeliner in Black

Saturday, 24 June 2017

PHB Ethical Beauty 100% Pure Liquid Eyeliner - Black
PHB Ethical Beauty 100% Pure Liquid Eyeliner - Black

I’ve been a fan of PHB Ethical Beauty for a very long time now. I think I first started using their skincare products in 2013 or 2014, and those and their mascara in particular have been staples of my skincare and beauty regimes ever since. When I saw that they had come out with a liquid liner a while back, I knew that I was going to have to try it at some point!

The PHB Ethical Beauty 100% Pure Liquid Eyeliner* comes in two shades, black and brown, and of course I went for black because that’s just who I am. As well as claiming to be long lasting and water-resistant, the PHB liquid eyeliner also advertises major benefits for people like myself with sensitive eyes – they say it’s great for eyes that water easily, and is also PH balanced and made from botanical oils and minerals that are kind to skin. Over the past several years, my eyes have grown increasingly sensitive and I’ve found that they can get quite irritated when I use heavier eye makeup, so a natural alternative to liquid eyeliner that won’t leave my eyes a bloodshot mess was certainly appealing to me.

PHB Ethical Beauty 100% Pure Liquid Eyeliner - Black

The eyeliner comes in a little tube with a thin, brush tip applicator. When I first took it out of the box, I could see at a glance that it isn’t quite like other liquid eyeliners – it isn’t as jet black, and there’s just something about the consistency in the packaging that seems different.  It also somehow almost seemed glittery in the tube and on the brush, even though it isn’t at all!  The brush itself is decent, but I personally feel it would have benefited more from a sponge-based brush or felt tip applicator like many other liquid liner pots like this tend to have. Although the brush does still manage to achieve thin, sharp lines, if you’re not careful it also has a tendency to leave little bristle lines that you can see in the swatch below.

The formula is a great consistency – not too liquid-y, not too thick, but it doesn’t give you a swipe of perfect, opaque colour and if you want a darker, more intense liner you do need to go over it a couple of times to achieve a bolder look. One thing to also be aware of with this product versus other liquid eyeliners is that, as I suspected, it isn’t a true opaque black. It looks a little bit like a dark, charcoal grey on the lids which I don’t dislike, but obviously won’t be to everyone’s tastes.

PHB Ethical Beauty 100% Pure Liquid Eyeliner Swatch

When wearing this, I can definitely feel its sensitive eye benefits. My eyes didn’t go bloodshot, they didn’t get irritated and they didn’t water after applying this or throughout a day of wear. Often it’s a challenge for me to just get my winged eyeliner done without my eyes freaking out and looking awful afterwards, but that wasn’t an issue at all with PHB Ethical Beauty’s liquid liner. At least for me, this is clearly an excellent option for those days when I want to wear more dramatic eyeliner but my eyes might not be feeling up for being plastered in irritating products.

Throughout the day, I don’t really notice a lot of wear or fading when wearing this and it also doesn’t flake as some liquid liners I’ve tried in the past do (even more of a plus for my sensitive eyes). I can also rub it a lil’ bit and it doesn’t smudge or transfer. However, I will warn you that although it says it’s water resistant, it’s not nearly as waterproof as other liquid eyeliners on the market. It will withstand minor eye-watering, but if my eyes start streaming it starts to smudge in my outer corners and I don’t think it would stand a chance if I started crying or decided to wear it to a sweaty gym session. On the plus side, it’s quick and gentle to remove without ending up with panda eyes or black streaks across your face while you’re taking your makeup off.

Okay, it may sound from the above like this eyeliner doesn’t have tons going for it, but I actually really, really like it (and as you can see from my Instagram, it looks as bomb as any other eyeliner). Compared to other liners there are certainly some criticisms, but it’s also worth noting that none of the other liquid eyeliners I’ve ever used are natural – I’ve only ever used things like NYX, theBalm, Stila and (back in the day when I was still using animal tested stuff) L’Oreal. As a natural product that contains zero harsh chemicals and is designed to be gentle, this eyeliner actually holds up really well. For people like me who suffer from dry, irritable eyes it’s kind of a godsend. The eye makeup I want to do is no longer quite as dependent on how my eyes are feeling – if I want to wing it out and my eyes are feeling sensitive, now that I have PHB Ethical Beauty’s eyeliner I can!

If you live for a bold, sharp, blacker-than-the-abyss wing that will last all day even if you go swimming then, no, this product probably won’t be your jam. But if you’re like me, enjoy a good wing but don’t expect it to face every single trial life will through at you, and have problems with dry eyes or find that traditional liquid liners tend to irritate them or you’ve ever had a reaction to them, then this is probably a perfect alternative for you. This is also a great product for all you green, natural beauty lovers out there, because it’s cruelty free, vegan and contains none of the usual nasties that can end up in liquid eyeliners.

The PHB Ethical Beauty 100% Pure Liquid Eyeliner is available from LoveLula for £12.95, and on PHB Ethical Beauty’s website.

Do you have any liquid liner recommendations for sensitive eyes?

* This review is not sponsored and has not been paid for, however the product was sent to me free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

New B. Makeup First Impressions

Saturday, 17 June 2017



A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to B. Makeup’s relaunch event in London. B. is a brand owned by and exclusive to Superdrug, and I had wondered why it seemed to disappear off the shelves for a little while – as it turns out, it’s because they were undergoing a complete rebranding and had some exciting new product releases lined up!

The event was great fun (any event with vegan donuts gets my thumbs up) and I even got to meet some wonderful vegan bloggers for the first time, which was really the icing on the cake. While we were there, we got a sneak peek at what they were going to be releasing and a goodie bag featuring some of their new range to try out too.

After checking out their displays at the event, I was very pleased by what they have to offer now they’ve rebranded. Although I love many of B.’s skincare items, I was never thoroughly impressed with their makeup. One good thing going for them at least was that everything was cruelty free and vegan, and that’s something that they’ve really uplifted and embraced with their relaunch. I like to think they’ve seen how well-received the brand was for being cruelty free and vegan-friendly, and are responding to demand - they even added a small snippet at the back of the promotional booklet we received, explaining the rise of veganism in the UK, demand for items free from animal products and how they continue to avoid any ingredients containing them that don’t fit with the vegan promise.

The first thing we noticed about the makeup is that it has a new look and I’m loving the direction they went with it. There wasn’t really anything that stood out about the old B. packaging (if anything it looked a bit cheap before), but their new packaging is all about sleek, matte blacks and simple, white logos that make everything look chic, luxurious and much more expensive than it actually is. The quality of their brushes has also gone up dramatically – I had a feel of a few of their new ones and they’re by far the softest, nicest high street brushes I’ve ever felt.

Since the event, I’ve been testing out the makeup bits and bobs that I received and wanted to share my first impressions*

Sculpt & Highlight Contour Pen in Dark (£8.99)

Okay, so obviously this is not the shade for me and my white bread complexion, but this is nonetheless an impressive little product. This is a soft, creamy pen with a dark end for contouring and a light end for highlighting, and it glides on and blends like a dream. It comes in four shades – light, medium, dark and universal (whatever that means?!) and although I’m not getting the best use out of it with it being too dark for me, I have still had a little play around with it and was impressed by the results. The formula gives a beautiful natural, dewy radiance that doesn’t look too stark when blended out and at £8.99 is a perfect product to try if you’re new to contouring and prefer cream products.

Velvet Matte Lipstick in Boom Shakalaka (£6.99)

I don’t really use traditional lipsticks much these days, but I can I get a holla for B. for coming out with a range of matte red and berry shades that are all vegan!? I swear, a good vegan red lipstick is hard to come by. This particular lipstick is a lovely true red shade with a matte finish that still retains a bit of sheen, and although it isn’t as long-lasting as I’d prefer it also doesn’t bleed or smudge around too much either. Despite it being a matte lipstick, the formula isn’t drying at all and it’s a perfect cruelty free, vegan alternative to other high street lipsticks. I much prefer to use nude coloured bullet lipsticks to bold shades, and having used this I’m really excited to give their two natural colours a go!

Defining Duo Liner (£6.99)

Another product that I was thrilled to see B. was releasing was this liquid liner pen. Again, decent felt tip liquid eyeliners that are cruelty free and vegan are very hard to come by, and this one has not one but two tips – one slightly thicker, and one thinner for sharper, finer lines. So far so good with this product; I’m always wary of pen eyeliners because I find the tip can start to dry up relatively quickly but I haven’t been using this long enough to know whether or not that will be a problem with this one. As far as colour goes, this is a true, opaque black, glides on like a dream and even produces some great, sharp flicks. My only minor complaint with the colour would be that it does sometimes look a bit glossy, as is the case with several liquid liner pens I’ve used in the past. While it isn’t waterproof (seriously, do not expect it to stay on if you’re really sweaty or cry) it is smudge proof to an extent – rubbing it only causes a bit of greyish transfer and wear but doesn’t smear it all over your face.

Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick in Ravenous (£6.99)

Matte liquid lipsticks are pretty much my life, and I’m so excited that B. have released a range of colourful vegan ones. The one I received, Ravenous, is a lovely berry shade that applies smoothly and dries to a matte finish relatively quickly. It isn’t sticky and it isn’t as drying as other liquid lipsticks I’ve used, but you do still feel its presence on your lips. It isn’t as long wearing as my Colourpop liquid lipsticks (I can eat even greasy foods carefully in those, but this wouldn’t stand a chance against that), but still lasts a while and when it does wear out, it’s easy to touch up without having to remove the lot and start again. For £6.99 I’m pretty impressed with these – there’s currently 8 shades to choose from (including a great looking 90s brown called 1995) but I really hope these take off and they expand their shade range.

Lip & Cheek Tint in Frivolous (£6.99)

I feel like I don’t really see too many multi-purpose products on the high street, so it was nice to see that B. have created a range of cream lip/cheek products. This soft, lightweight tint is easy to apply and to blend and when used on the cheeks creates a lovely, natural flush once blended out. Although this isn’t a shade I’d have chosen myself, I still like it, it still suits me and the formula is great. This is a perfect product to take out in your handbag for a blush touch-up or to add a quick bit of no fuss colour to your lips on the go. As a lover of dewy finishes, I also love a good cream blush so these are perfect for me.

In addition to the above, I also received a few skincare items but I won’t go into any detail about those as, save for a few new products (including a great Beard Oil for men) their skincare line remains largely the same and has always been great quality for the price. Included in my goodie bag but not pictured, I also received one of their new eyeshadow blending brushes and it’s quickly become one of my favourite brushes, though not for its intended purpose! I’ve been wanting a new highlighter brush for ages but never really had a proper one before; I used to use my Real Techniques eyeshadow brush, my fingers and I had a brief foray into using a fan brush for a while and really didn’t get on with it. B.’s eyeshadow blending brush however, is the perfect soft, fluffy brush that’s still dense enough to give me a blended but bold highlight and I’m pretty much in love with it.

I’m super impressed by B.’s relaunch so far and looking forward to trying out more of their new range. Most importantly, they have fully embraced their vegan appeal and are actively providing an affordable vegan, cruelty free, high street option and have been the first high street brand to really commit to doing this.

The new collection is available on Superdrug.com and in some stores – I’ve heard from other bloggers that not every shop is stocking the new range yet, but fingers crossed and keep your eyes peeled.

* All of the products featured in this post were given to me free of charge, however this post is not sponsored and all views are my own.

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