Sunday, 31 March 2013

Munio Candela Natural Soy Wax Candle with Wild Flowers

I've never really been one of those people who bought expensive scented candles.  I always thought, why would I want to buy one candle for £20 or £30 when with the same amount of money I could buy a few of my usual Ikea scented candles and have plenty change leftover for a nice lipstick or eyeshadow.

Well I changed my mind pretty quickly when I was in a little organic shop in Leeds and got a whiff of this particular scented candle, the Munio Candela Natural Soy Wax Candle with Wild Flowers.

A picture of a soy candle with wild flowers visible
Despite the shop being full of beautifully scented things, this candle caught my attention straight away, the smell coming from it was so pure, fresh and summery (but still subtle) that I couldn't resist.

Without a doubt the greatest thing about this candle is that I very rarely have to light it; it sits on my bedside table and the fragrance from it is enough to gently scent the whole room; my bedrooms honesty smells like a meadow at times.  It also looks beautiful with the wild flowers that scent the candle being visible throughout the entire bottom half.

Not only does it look nice, but burning a soy wax candle as opposed to a paraffin wax candle has environmental and health benefits too.  When it burns it doesn't release as many toxins, soot or carcinogens into the air, it can burn up to 50% longer than a traditional candle, it contains no animal products whatsoever and the soy from which it is made is a renewable resource and makes the candle completely biodegradable.

At anywhere up to £20 (I think you can find it on Amazon
for £18 (here), the Munio Candela Natural Soy Wax Candle with Wild Flowers doesn't exactly come cheap, but it's definitely worth it to me.  I've had mine for over three months now and only felt the need to light it twice.  It's pretty impressive if you ask me, and has maybe started me thinking about other 'luxury' scented candles I can try. NEOM anyone?

Do you love to light scented candles?  What's your favourite scent?

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Neal's Yard Remedies Event

Neal's Yard Remedies, Low Petergate, York
On Wednesday last week I was lucky enough to get to attend a blogger event at the Neal's Yard Remedies store and therapy rooms on Low Petergate in York.  I was so excited about this event happening in my home town as so many blogger events seem to only ever take place in the south or in London.  I was also pretty darn thrilled that the event was for an organic beauty brand and one which I've only ever tried one or two products from.

Neal's Yard Remedies (or Neal's Yard Apothecary as it was originally named) started life as one small shop in Covent Garden in 1981, and although the company has grown considerably in the 30-odd years since that first shop opened,  its 'eco-principals' and ideals have remained.  The company is clearly committed to creating high quality, effective natural skincare that has as little negative impact on our planet as possible.  They really have been pioneers in this in the UK, becoming the first organic health and beauty company and now offering the UK's largest range of certified organic health and beauty products; and still all of the products on sale are made in small batches in NYR's very own eco-factory in Dorset.

Neal's Yard Remedies, Low Petergate, York
On arrival at the shop I was offered a drink (non-alcoholic for me as I'm on a health kick) and introduced to Jane, the brand's Social Media Manager and Molly, the Regional Manager.  After a brief chat with them both, and the rest of the team (more on them below) I was whisked away for what can only be described as the full five star treatment!

Neal's Yard Remedies, Energising Aromatherapy Candle
Oliver, the Assistant Manager at the shop guided me expertly through each of the product ranges available; after a few questions back and forth we agreed that my main interest was skincare and that much of the Frankincense range (here) would be perfect for me, with perhaps a little of the Rose range (here) thrown in for good measure.

Neal's Yard Remedies, Skincare
After my 'tour' I was delighted to learn that not only would I be getting a 30 minute massage, but I would also have a 30 minute facial!  Avril, the resident Clinical Aromatherapist, gave me perhaps the best massage I have ever had, she used a blend of Ylang Ylang and Clove essential oils and by the end of the 30 minutes I was the most relaxed I have been for a very long time (I will definitely be going back for more treatments, and will write a full review then).

Neal's Yard Remedies Treatment Room York
Charlotte, the Beauty Therapist at the treatment rooms, gave me an incredibly luxurious facial using products from the Frankincense range, I was treated to a deep cleanse, exfoliation, mask and moisturisation.  My skin felt amazingly soft and glowy by the time the facial ended, so once I made it back down to the shop floor to look at the Neal's Yard makeup range, I felt like I barely needed to apply any.  The makeup that was applied was actually very pleasantly surprising, all very light and breathable (and organic like the rest of the range); the standouts for me were the mineral foundation and the mineral blush.

Neal's Yard Remedies, Organic Makeup
The rest of the evening was spent happily talking more about Neal's Yard Remedies, its' history and products, and of course plans to visit the shop much more regularly.  I eventually left the event feeling thoroughly pampered and was even given a very generous goodie bag, including the Beauty Sleep Concentrate (here), Beauty Sleep Body Butter (here, released on 27th March) and an organic lipgloss in the shade 'Natural' (here).

Neal's Yard Remedies, Beauty Sleep Concentrate, Beauty Sleep Body Butter, Lip Gloss
I had the best time attending this event, and have already been back to the shop to pick up a tub of the Wild Rose Beauty Balm (here).  Fiona, the Manager of the shop was really helpful so I have no doubt I'll be back again soon.

Do you have a Neal's Yard Remedies shop near you? What's your favourite Neal's Yard Remedies product?

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Book Review - The Beauty of Color by Iman

Welcome to the first post in a new series I'm trying, about some of the beauty, lifestyle and foodie books I own.  As someone who has a pretty extensive book shelf, you can probably appreciate I have lots to talk about, so I hope you enjoy!  I think I should have a proper name for the series, but so far I'm drawing a blank; if you have any suggestions, I'd love to read them in the comments below.

The first book I've chosen to talk about is The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Guide for Skin of Color by the amazing Iman.

Beauty of Color Iman

I'll get the negative over with straight away on this one and say that as an 'instructional' beauty book, The Beauty of Color is honestly a little on the basic side for someone who is as beauty obsessed as I am.  The sections on choosing the right skincare and makeup would have been great for me to read as a teenager, but as someone older and with a little more beauty knowledge, I was left a little cold.

There are plenty of reasons why I still love this book though, the key of which is a little on the nostalgic side.  Growing up as a mixed-race girl in the north of England in the early-mid 90s (I'm part black and part white if you're interested), I felt very different to my friends and I really looked up to stunning women of colour like Tyra Banks, Vanessa Williams and of course the flawless Iman.  Books like this one, featuring all of these women looking so beautiful, along with many other women of different races and skin tones, didn't really exist in my formative years, but would have really appealed to my teenage self if they had!

Beauty of Color Iman

I also love The Beauty of Colour because sitting down with this book you're treated to little bits of information about Iman's experiences in the modeling and beauty industries.  Having to mix her own foundation and bring it to shoots (because the makeup artists didn't have any shades to suit her) eventually led Iman to create her own makeup line for women of all skin tones.  It sort of makes you realise that without groundbreaking women like Iman, younger women like myself would probably still be stuck with makeup that was too pink/too orangey/too red/too grey and just plain wrong.

Other reasons I adore this book include the photography which captures the diversity of skin tones so beautifully, the selection of make-up looks (my favourite is the 'Dominatrix Diva pictured below), the rather inspirational foreword by Salma Hayek, and finally the photographs of wonderfully diverse modern celebrities.

Beauty of Color Iman

Honestly I wouldn't suggest purchasing this book if you want a lot of in depth information about skincare, or instructions on how to create a range of make-up looks for different occasions, but if you're interested in Iman, or having a book with a collection of beautiful images like this one, then it's not a bad one to have on your bookshelf.

Comment below if you have a favourite beauty book.  Or let me know, who was your beauty inspiration growing up?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+

Oh Trilogy, how I love your wonderful, high performance, natural products!  They look good, and they're effective too! What more could a girl ask for?  OK, you can probably tell already this is going to be a positive review can't you?  It might be a long one too!

Back in July last year I purchased my first ever Trilogy product, the Certified Organic  Rosehip Oil (you can read my review post here), and promptly fell in love. This beautiful oil not only worked really well for me, but lasted an age, so much so that I only finished my original bottle a few weeks ago.  Not long after I purchased the first oil, I was very keen to try some more products from the Trilogy range, and after emailing some lovely ladies at the company, was delighted to be sent a couple of sample sizes of the newest addition to the Rosehip Oil family, the Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+

Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+

Now you may remember that around August/September I was preparing to move house, and unfortunately my little samples got misplaced; luckily I found them again once we settled into our new home I was able to incorporate the Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ into my skincare regime.

Like it's sister product, the Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ is certified organic, but in addition to the main ingredient, rosehip oil, contains a formulation Trilogy calls Rosapene™.  Essentially this is a blend of additional ingredients (including lycopene, tomato seed oil and acai oil) which not only moisturise very thoroughly but also protect the skin against against the damage caused by free radicals. Trilogy have subjected this product to independent clinical studies and found that in using this product skin tone and brightness was improved by 75%, fine lines and wrinkles by 33% and elasticity and firmness by 25%.  Pretty impressive results if you ask me, you can read more about these results on Trilogy's website (here).

Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+

This new oil is very similar in texture to the first oil, light golden in colour, but is perhaps slightly lighter in weight, and with a faint but very definite smell of tomato (must be all that tomato seed oil and lycopene).  In my initial testing I used the oil every evening, applying to my face, neck and décolleté in upward strokes, after my usual moisturiser.  A few drops, were just the right amount and absorbed quickly and the 2x2.5ml samples I received lasted me quite some time.

I didn't expect the results from using this oil to be much different to those of the Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, but I was surprised to see that my skin (which leans towards normal, but dehydrated) looked definitely brighter and smoother after only a couple of weeks of use.  I also found that the scars which the original oil had somehow smoothed over slightly, looked smoother still.  Bonus!  When I eventually did use up my samples, I was quick to buy another bottle, so that I could continue to enjoy the benefits (this bottle was recently claimed by my mother, who also loves it, so I need to get myself some more!)

As the Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ is a little more expensive (£26.50 for 30ml direct from Trilogy) I haven't started using it all over my body as I did with the first oil, so I will probably continue to purchase this as a staple in my skincare regime.  When they both have such great results I don't mind purchasing both at all.  I've really fallen for these lovely Trilogy oils and can't see myself being without them.

After experiencing the benefits of two great Trilogy products, I don't even have to question whether I'd try other items from the range.  In fact I already have quite an extensive wish list including the Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream, the Hydrating Mist Toner the Nutrient Plus Firming Serum and CoQ10 Eye Recovery Concentrate.  I'm pretty sure I'd have lots more to add to this list if I spent another few minutes looking!

Have you tried any Trilogy Products?  I'd love to hear about your favourites.

Monday, 11 March 2013

50 Follower Giveaway!

I was so pleased that my blog reached 50 followers a few days ago that I wanted to celebrate, and say thank you, by having a little giveaway!

When I first started my blog, a year ago today, I blogged a little sporadically and almost stopped blogging completely towards the end of the year! This year I've enjoyed posting so much and love that my followers here and the people I chat to on Twitter are enjoying what I post.

Although this is only a small giveaway (and is UK only I'm afraid), I've chosen a few of my skin and body care favourites, and hope that the lucky winner of the giveaway enjoys them!  Anyway, without further ado, here is what you could win...

Soap and Glory and Lush Giveaway

  • Soap & Glory Scrub of Your Life (50ml)
  • Soap & Glory Clean Girls Body Wash (75ml)
  • Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter (50ml)
  • Lush Eau Roma Water (100g)
  • Lush Mint Julips (25g)
  • Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm (4.25g)

Please read the rules before entering...
  1. This giveaway is being run on Rafflecopter, and will be open for 2 weeks from today
  2. To enter, you must follow this blog via GFC
  3. You can get extra entries by commenting on this post, following me on Twitter and tweeting about the giveaway
  4. Sorry, this giveaway is open to UK residents only, and you must be over 16 years old or have your parent/guardian's permission to give me your address if you win the giveaway
  5. Should you win I will contact you within 3 days of the giveaway ending and will post out your prize as soon as possible afterwards
  6. I cannot accept any responsibility for items becoming lost or damaged in the post and the items in this giveaway are not returnable
  7. Finally - good luck!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Shopping My Stash

StargazyEyes - Shopping My Stash
Like many beauty bloggers, when I get a little tired of wearing the same blusher or eyeshadow, or even just when I'm in the mood for it, I love to go out and buy something new, and even post a little haul about it (one of my favourite types of post to read on other blogs).  Since I'm doing the 100 Day Spending Ban however (read my last update here) that's not really possible! So what I've decided to do instead, is another of my favourite posts to read, the 'Shopping My Stash' post.

This morning, before I got ready to head out for the day, I went through my make-up stash and pulled out a few lovely looking products that I hadn't touched in a while; here's what I've rediscovered...

Stila In The Light Palette

Stila 'In The Light' Palette - I got this back in October/November last year in a sneaky little ASOS order.  I used a few of the shades, namely Bare, Kitten & Bliss (the lighter of the shades), but after a few weeks I seemed to completely forget about it.  How daft could I get?  As you can probably tell, the shades are beautiful and so very wearable, I could create lots of different daytime and evening looks with it.  I'm going to do my best to use eye shadows from this palette every day for at least the next couple of weeks, and then I'll even get around to posting a full review with swatches.

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint SPF15

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint SPF15 - This tinted moisturiser became my absolute favourite over the summer months, it's beautifully moisturising and has light coverage, but gives my skin such a healthy looking glow.  I've veered more towards heavier coverage foundations over the winter months, but now the days are brightening up again, I feel like I could easily wear this on 'good skin' days.

Bobbi Brown 24 Karat Shimmer Brick

Bobbi Brown 24 Karat Shimmer Brick - I received this highlighter as a Christmas gift from my Mam, but because I'm addicted to highlighters (and was obsessing over Illamasqua's Gleam) I just never got around to trying it out properly. I'm so pleased I picked this out today though, as the name suggests its quite gold, but not glittery and gives a really subtle glow on the skin.

Sleek Blush by 3 Palette in Lace - I remember buying this palette way back in May (I also posted about it here) and while I used it a bit over the summer, and even included it in a favourites post, it got pushed to the back of my blusher drawer in favour of MAC Springsheen and Illamasqua Ambition.  Whilst I can't imagine myself using the two brighter colours in this palette for the moment (I feel a bit pale for that) I'll definitely use the centre colour, which is a great dupe for Nars Orgasm.

MAC Lipstick in Syrup

MAC Lipstick in Syrup - You might ask why such an obviously well used lipstick is included in a post like this - the answer is a simple one. I haven't used this lipstick for a little while (as I've been totally vamping it up with MAC's Rebel and Dark Side lipsticks) and I'm just really happy to find it again, it's a perfect every day shade for me and as a Lustre it's really comfortable to wear.

So that's it for my stash picks for the moment.  I hope I get some good use out of all of these products.

Have you posted a haul recently?  Leave me your link in the comments if you have, I'd love to have a read!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

100 Day Spending Ban: Update #3

So it's pretty much been an age since I last posted an update on my spending ban.  The main reason being, that there really hasn't been that much to update on.  Now that I'm at the halfway point however, I thought it was time for a post regardless.

I've done well in the weeks since my last update (you can read my last post here); I must admit to buying some hot drinks and a bottle of water on a day out in York City Centre the week before last, but otherwise I've been keeping a tight hold on those purse strings.  I've had my bigger moments of weakness of course, particularly when I was doing shopping with my birthday vouchers, but otherwise I've remained positively resolute!  Even ASOS didn't tempt me with the goodies they have available, although I did add everything below (and a few little extras) into my basket (I'm still quite obviously in a dark, wintery mood!)...

Beautysets - March ASOS Wishlist

Now I've passed day 50 on the spending ban, I'm hoping the rest of the days will pass relatively quickly; I've got a couple of things I'd like to treat myself too at the end of the 100 days (some of which are on my 'temptation' Pinterest board), but I will by no means go on a mad spree like I used to in the past.

If you're still doing the 100 day spending ban I'd love to hear how you're getting on!

Until the next update...

Monday, 4 March 2013

A New Look at StargazyEyes

Have you noticed my blog has had a little makeover?

I've wanted to have something done on the design for a while, but didn't really know where to start, or who to ask.  I'd sort of vaguely had a look at a few designers but it was only during a #bbloggers chat on Twitter recently that I stumbled across the Baggle Web Design website owned by the lovely Abby (incidentally Abby also has her own blog - Un-Observed - which you should definitely check it out).

I checked out Abby's portfolio of designs and really liked what I saw; her designs all feel quite wistful in a way and I could tell almost immediately that I'd get something I really loved.  Anyway, I filled in the enquiry form, Abby contacted me quite soon afterwards, and we got started on the design.

My aim was to get something very simple, clean and restful, but I wasn't exactly sure how to achieve that; Abby was an absolute saint when it came to asking me questions, playing with the design, listening to my ideas about fonts and colours and sending me drafts to look at.  In the end the final design is something I'm more than happy with and something I could also build on in the future.  Another bonus was that the design didn't cost the earth!

I'd absolutely, 100% recommend Abby's design services and if I do want to add more features I wouldn't hesitate to ask her.

What do you think of the new design?
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