Monday, 20 May 2013

It’s time to get your Light Bulbs ‘Into the Groove’

The day after my birthday (the 5th May in case you were wondering!), I had a lovely email from Rebecca Hemming from Groovebulb. They make LED low energy light bulbs which last 25 years. Rebecca asked me if I’d be interested in an 'Upcycling Challenge' using the packaging from one of their light bulbs. I said I’d love to and Rebecca kindly sent me one of their bulbs to try out at home. You can find out more about our upcycling challenge and what we make in early June on the Groovebulb blog, but I thought it would be really nice before then to actually introduce you to them and their great LED energy saving bulbs.

They come in 2 shades of white; warm white with a yellow tinged glow which is great for living rooms and bedrooms. I chose a warm white bulb for our dining room and it is a lovely subtle light with a cosy feel. Then there is the bright white which gives off a cooler, clearer light well suited to kitchens, studies and bathrooms where a brighter, cleaner light is required. Click here to see what each shade of white looks like.

A few facts about the Groovebulb:
  • They use LED technology which is the future of low-energy lighting.
  • There is no warm up, no delay; Groovebulbs light up at the flick of a switch.
  • They are long lasting; 25 years or more.
  • They are clean and safe as they are free from toxic chemicals and can be recycled.
  • They are money savers, saving you up to 85% on your lighting bill as they use a fraction of the energy of tungsten bulbs.
  • Groovebulb make 6 and 9 watt bulbs which are the equivalent of 40 & 60 watt bulbs,
  • They come in screw or bayonet fixings.
  • Groovebulbs use 6 watts per hour which is a tenth of a 60 watt bulb.
  • They come in a really funky, colourful tube (great for our upcycling challenge!).
Below is a comparison chart showing you more information on how each light bulb compares to the Groovebulb.

Photo Credit: Groovebulb

Groovebulb come across as a fun and creative company and in the lead up to the London Literature Festival have put together these great ‘Guess the Book’ posters. Their 'bright white' shade of Groovebulb is the perfect reading light, so what could be better than treating yourself to a Groovebulb and a great new book from one of the best selling authors from the festival.

So lovelies, can you guess which book each of the following posters are? There are 4 in each category; fiction, fantasy and children's books. Let me know in the comments section if you think you know any of them. I was pretty useless at guessing !

Which Fiction Books do these posters represent?

Which Fantasy Books do these posters represent?

And which Children’s Books do these posters represent?

Do you think you guessed any of them correctly? Don't forget to leave me a comment if you do.

Once we've completed our upcycling challenge using our Groovebulb packaging I’ll be sure to let you know. I’m really quite excited about what we've decided to make. We’ll be involving the girls and hubby has had lots of ideas to add to the pot. Watch this space !

If you’d like to find out more about Groovebulb then pop across to their website. They also have a Facebook page and you can follow them on Twitter.


If you've enjoyed what you've read then you can keep up to date with future posts by subscribing by email, BloglovinGoogle+FacebookPinterest or Twitter. Thanks for reading. Until next time xx



Thursday, 16 May 2013

Amazing Enlightened Organic Sumptuous – My definition of AEOS Skincare

Since my blogging journey began back in October last year I've been under no illusions that I've been given some amazing opportunities to try out some fabulous products to share with you. I still have many more to share that we as a family have bought and experienced too but the chances to try out and share with you other products that we may not have come across or known about makes me feel very blessed.

I want to share with you one of those opportunities which came about in February this year. I was able to link up with Sam Sargent from AEOS - Activated Energised Organic Skincare. I had wanted to try this skincare range since I read a post on Miss Eco Glam and decided to approach the company. Sam was so lovely and helpful, and offered to send me some samples to try out from their range. What arrived was the most amazing package. It was like my Birthday and Christmas had come at once. What greeted me was the most fabulous array of beautifully packaged products in beautiful glass bottles. When I opened each one the smell was intoxicating. To say I was excited to try out this range was an understatement. There have been certain skincare ranges I've wanted to try and when you get the opportunity to finally sample one of them, I’m a bit like a child in a sweety shop; bouncing around, not quite sure which sweet to try first.

I've therefore decided to split my review of AEOS into two posts. This one will focus on the skincare products which were sent to me and the second will be about the make-up samples and biodynamic nail & cuticle oil.

The first thing to say about this range is that a little goes a long, long way. I've been using the products exclusively for the past 6 weeks and I’ve only used about a quarter of each product, if that. The range is definitely value for money.

AEOS stands for Activated Energised Organic Skincare. The active refers to the fact that the ingredients they use are “alive”. They come from the soil, from Mother Earth herself. They have been nourished and activated for optimal performance. The energised refers to the Aura-Soma process they use to energise and enhance each element contained within the products. The main intention within all of their products is that they will only activate the ‘greater good’ of the person who uses them. I so love that concept. The organic relates to the ingredients used in their products. They grow as much of their ingredients as possible on their bio-dynamic farm, sourcing other ingredients from organic and bio-dynamic farms across the world where necessary. Using these methods means the plants have more vitality, and a positive effect on the raw materials made from them. And skincare; this is a new concept in skincare. They use crystal energies together with waveforms in colour making this skincare range unique. It feels so much more than just a skincare range. The people who create these products make them will love and intent. For me that is so important. Their range of skincare contains spelt oil which is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids. It has wonderful antioxidant, moisturising and regenerative properties and is particularly beneficial for premature ageing and dry skin.

So what did I have in my box of goodies then?

Cleansing Oil Dé Maq – 75ml bottle

This is an oil based cleanser and it smells divine. It has citrus overtones and I just love taking my make-up off with it at the end of the day. You don’t need a lot for it to work and it cleans off foundation, eye liner, mascara and the build up of dirt from the day. I was unsure at first using a cleansing oil, but I am won over by its effectiveness.

Its key ingredients are: Spelt Oil, Jojoba Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Sesame Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Vitamin E. Colour Natural Green - 100% Natural and Plant Derived.

Dew Facial Wash – 100ml bottle

I love facial washes particularly as my skin is combination / oily. I loved this one too. You are supposed to use it with their facial cloth but I have used it by spraying some in my hand and gently applying it to my face. It slightly foams as it comes out of the bottle and smells delicious. Mornings have seriously begun on an aroma high note in our house since using this range. Even Sophia comments on how lovely everything smells. This facial wash leaves my skin feeling cleansed but not stripped of its natural oils. I love this product.

Its key ingredients are: Spelt Oil, Honey, Lemon Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Orange Extract. Colour 100% natural and plant derived blue extracted from gardinias.

Crystal Essences: Opal, Amethyst, Charoite, Turquoise, Emerald, Quartz, Chrysoprase

Gentle Exfoliant (Blue) – 30ml tube (Also available in pink & yellow)

This is a lovely gentle exfoliant. It’s not gritty, and my skin felt lovely and clean after using it. It left my skin in a good position to absorb the moisturiser I applied afterwards. Lovely aroma and lovely creamy texture.

Its key ingredients are: Spelt Oil, Jojoba  Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Avocado Oil, Argan Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosewater, Calendula Extract, Lemon, Mrytle Oil, Lavender Oil. Colour 100% natural and plant derived blue from blue chamomile flowers

Energising Conditioner – 30ml bottle

This skin conditioner is applied to damp skin. It encourages hydration and moisture leading to the skin’s natural balance. I found this a great skin balancer. Being oily on my T-zone, this skin conditioner has really helped to balance the excessive sebum production in this area.

Its key ingredients are: Spelt Oil, Rosewater, Rose Extract, St John’s Wort Extract, White Birch Extract. Colour 100% natural and plant derived blue extracted from gardenias.

Crystal Essences: Opal, Amethyst, Charoite, Turquoise, Emerald, Quartz, Chrysoprase

Refreshing Hydrating Mist – 100ml bottle

I love this hydrating mist. I don’t normally use a toner because of the faff of application but with the hydrating mist you just spritz and it’s done. It smells lush and feels so refreshing first thing in the morning. It also prepares your skin for the application of the moisturiser.

The key ingredients are: Rosewater, Lavender Extract, Orange Extract, Spelt Oil, Lemon Myrtle Oil. Colour 100% natural and plant derived blue extracted from gardinias

Crystal Essences: Opal, Amethyst, Charoite, Turquoise, Emerald, Quartz, Chrysoprase

Enriching Moisturiser – 50ml bottle (Also available in pink)

This is a creamy moisturiser but it’s not greasy or overly rich. My skin loved it and it made a great make up base. By the time I’d gone through the cleansing, exfoliating, conditioning, misting and then moisturising routine, it’s fair to say my skin felt very loved indeed. I don’t think my face has had quite so much love and attention in a long time and you can tell it’s agreeing with me. My pores are smaller still and my face is looking so much clearer and deeply cleansed without having had a facial. I’m chuffed.

Its key ingredients are: Spelt Oil, Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Argan Oil, Rosewater, Lavender Extract, Chamomile Extract, Arnica Extract, Sweet Orange Oil. Lemon Myrtle Oil, Lemon Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Oil. Colour 100% natural and plant derived blue from blue chamomile flowers.

Crystal Essences: Opal, Amethyst, Charoite, Turquoise, Emerald, Quartz, Chrysoprase

The AEOS range also includes a Gentle Cleansing Lotion, Realive Serum, Beauty Body Shower and Beauty Body Lotion.

This range of skincare really has to be experienced to be understood. It is wonderfully indulgent yet a little goes such a long way. Would I buy this range for myself again? Yes, definitely. I will be trying out the serum and body lotion to experience a little more of this super selection of products.

If you’d like to take a look for yourself at the AEOS Skincare range then their website is: They have a Facebook page and you can follow them on Twitter too.

In another post I will share with you their mineral loose radiant eye colour, organic liquid foundation, illuminator stick and their biodynamic nail and cuticle oil.


Don’t forget you can keep up to date with future posts by subscribing by email, Bloglovin, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. Thanks for reading. Until next time xx

Disclaimer: I was given a 75 ml bottle of Cleansing Oil Dé Maq, a 100ml Dew Facial Wash, a 30ml Gentle Exfoliant (Blue), a 30ml Energising Conditioner, a 100ml Refreshing Hydrating Mist and a 50ml Enriching Moisturiser (Blue) to try out and keep for this review. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are honest, true and my own feelings on the products I tried.



Saturday, 4 May 2013

Does Your Skin “Live Native”? Mine Did and Now I’m a Convert

Live Native.......have you heard of them? If not you have now! And I'm pleased to be blogging about them because their range of skin and bodycare products are fabulous; seriously. I’m not one to gush but I've been really impressed with what the lovely Vicky Ewbank, founder of Live Native sent to me to try out.

It all started on Twitter, which seems to be THE place to hang out these days, particularly if you are into meeting fab new people. It always scared the life out of me, all this tweeting malarkey, but I have to say that if I did indeed have more time on my hands, I’d been permanently glued to my keyboard and I’m not sure my two girls would appreciate that. I get enough grief from Sophia these days on the lines of “Mum, you’re not on the computer AGAIN are you?!” Oh dear, Mummy’s been swallowed up by cyberspace. Note to self; I must tweet less, I must tweet less !

Anyway, one Friday I was spreading the Follow Friday (#FF) love on Twitter (as you do) and included Live Native and Living Naturally Soapnut Shells. I’d bought a sample pack of soapnuts and a natural stain remover bar to try out for the blog and mentioned this in another tweet to Living Naturally. I mentioned that I was looking forward to trying them out. The lovely Vicky tweeted her thanks for the #FF and added “Have a great weekend playing with your soapnuts! x” This tickled my sense of humour and so a twitter chat began that ended in the lovely Vicky offering to send me something from their range to try out. I was chuffed to bits as I’d heard great things about Live Native.

I am very interested in raw, live foods and through this interest I’d come across Raw Gaia's skincare range before. Live Native was another “live” skincare range I’d briefly come across, so to have the opportunity to experience something from them was very exciting indeed.

As described on their website:

“Live Native living SkinFoods embrace a return to the elegant, traditional and the fundamental by excluding any refined, processed, toxic or cooked ingredients above Fahrenheit 115°. Our clean, pure and fresh ingredients have been skilfully selected, simply because long-term health and well-being are our first and foremost objectives.”

All their products are lovingly handmade, toxic-free, vegan, cold pressed, organic and are made from the purest of ingredients.

Vicky kindly sent me a 15ml pot of Frangipani Fresh Moisturiser and a 15ml pot of Fresh Feet Moisturising Balm to try out. I’d recently been using a Bio2You skin serum which you can read about here, and it had really helped to start closing up my pores. If you've been reading the blog you’ll know that I had acne as a teenager and my skin is still oily on the T-zone area. Due to generally having problem skin over the years, my pores tend to be on the larger side which can be frustrating. I decided to stop using the Bio2You serum whilst I tried out Live Native’s moisturiser to get the full effects of something new on my skin. I’m glad I did.

I opened the pot and wasn't sure if what I was seeing was correct. I was expecting a cream. However, what greeted me when I opened the pot was more like a firm butter. My first thought was this is wrong, it must be “off”. I read the instructions and it said the product would melt into my hands and should be patted onto the skin. This made me rethink my initial thoughts and I realised that this is exactly how it was supposed to look. It made me start to think a little more “outside” the box!

The Frangipani moisturiser smelt lovely, really unusual. I applied it to my skin and as it was quite rich I wondered if it would just leave my skin feeling all sticky and greasy. But no, my skin drank it up and I was left with silky skin which had a lovely glow to it. My foundation went on well over it too, so it was a thumbs up so far.

I used nothing else until the pot was empty. I forgot to photograph the full pot of loveliness but did capture the last bit in the pot for you – sorry ! Got carried away using it every day. When I did try to photograph some of it on my hand it kept melting, so I gave up as I didn’t want to waste any! It had become too precious to me and my skin.

My pores closed up even more whilst using Live Native’s moisturiser. That means so much to me. It’s made me realise that your skin needs “feeding” just as much as you do. This journey I’m on, finding new products to share with you in addition to what I've already found is a great learning curve for me. I’d place Live Native in your upper end of the skincare market. Yes, it’s a little more pricey than most, but without reservation you get what you pay for. This is the Esteé Lauder  Clarins, Clinique end of the free-from market but even better. In fact I’m probably doing Live Native a disservice here as there is very little like this I've come across out there. It’s pretty unique.

The Fresh Feet Moisturising Balm has gorgeous overtones of lemongrass and rosemary. It is made for tired, sore, overworked feet. It massages well into the skin and doesn't leave any greasy residue. Your feet are left feeling silky soft and well moisturised. Before having the girls, Reflexology was one of the therapies I offered as a Holistic Therapist, and this would have been a lovely balm to end my treatments with. It melts into the skin and is like nothing I've come across before. It is another pot of raw, living loveliness.

The Live Native range spans cleansers, skin masks and moisturisers to deodorants, and hair repair balm. It has definitely made it onto my “must have” list. If you would like to know more and try this delightful range of loveliness for yourself, then hop across to Live Native’s website: You can also follow them on Twitter and they also have a Facebook Page too.


Thanks for reading and do leave me you comments. I love to hear what you think. Remember if you would like to keep up to date with future blog posts, then don’t forget to subscribe either via email, Bloglovin, or Google+. I’d also love you to follow me on Twitter @SophiasChoiceUK and perhaps you could give me a Like on Facebook too.

Until next time x

Disclaimer: I was given a 15ml pot of Frangipani Fresh Mosituriser and a 15ml pot of Fresh Feet Moisturising Balm to keep and review for this post. All thoughts, feelings and opinions given are my own and no one else's. I always give my honest feedback.


Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Ever Thought About Home Education? Ross Mountney Tells Us More

I have always loved the idea of home education and there have been times when I have contemplated it with Sophia, particularly as she is a very sensitive child. She has often struggled in the state primary school system and I’m sure she would thrive in a home schooled environment. I think however, that I would struggle to take on that challenge but have always admired those who do.

Ross Mountney is one of those parents who did take on that challenge when both her and her husband took their 2 daughters out of their primary school to home educate them. They thrived and Ross has written 2 books on her experience; 'A Funny Kind of Education' and 'Learning Without School' in addition to writing her blog, ‘Ross Mountney's Notebook’.

I've always wanted to know more about home education and how it can empower us in what we teach our children at home, so I approached Ross Mountney to see if she would write a guest post on the subject for Sophia’s Choice. She kindly agreed and has also given me a copy of ‘A Funny Kind of Education’ to read which I will review for you all in a later post. But for now, I have great pleasure in handing over to the lovely Ross to tell you more about what it is to home school. Enjoy x


I’m thrilled that Charlie has given me the opportunity to tell you a little bit about home educating as it’s been such a natural and uplifting experience for us and worth considering.

But I’m not advocating home education for all, just showing how this approach to learning can also be helpful to those who have school going children.

We ended up home educating our two children after a short spell in Primary school because their desire to learn, and their good health, was increasingly destroyed there. The learning process in schools has become so stressful, both for teachers and children, we thought there must be another way – and there was.

Thousands of families home educate in the UK and each has a slightly different approach to their children’s learning. But nearly all of those approaches tend to make use of the fact that children, through their natural curiosity about their world, have a very strong and inherent desire to learn, experiment and experience. And through providing lots of stimulation, activities, visits, outings, active play and interaction with others, that curiosity is preserved and becomes the motivation for them to learn all they need.

They are then guided towards more formal learning as they progress. And families find that because of those relevant and stimulating experiences children accumulate all the skills and knowledge they need to go forward to a happy and productive life whether through work or further study at University.

I appreciate it’s quite difficult for people to understand this, conditioned as we are to believe that children need classrooms, teachers, academic exercises and strict direction to learn anything. But actually they don’t.

Take as an example all the things your child learnt to do at home with you pre-school just through your natural interaction with them, through talking to them about the things you see and do together, through your encouragement and support. They will have learnt how to walk, how to wash and dress themselves, use technology and tools, name things, behave appropriately – well, some of the time anyway!

Through your natural connection with your child you will have taught them so much already about living in the world. When home educating, this natural process just becomes extended, eventually to incorporate skills and knowledge needed for more formal work or exams perhaps, or for going forward through other routes.

One thing that home education does is really make you think seriously about what education is, which can sometimes be masked by the schooling process. Education is not simply for achieving lots of grades, although this might be a part. It is instead to enable a young person to lead a life in the world outside school and to do so they need to be stimulated to go on learning throughout all of their lives, as we all naturally do. Sadly the grade-getting tends to dull kids’ motivation for education or even to do anything sometimes.

Learning in schools has become such a one-track process, rather than the more holistic development of a young person, their strengths and interests, their character and desires. But it is your character – knowing yourself well and what you can do – which takes you forward to a successful life. And to develop a rounded character you need rounded experiences, not single-track ones.

Some parents have told me that reading about approaches that home educators use has helped them even though their child is in school, because it shows what other experiences they can provide, as well as a school one, which will help their child grow and develop. So below I briefly describe some of those experiences:


Now you probably immediately think ‘what’s play got to do with education?’ But play is one of the most educative aspects of a child’s life. Through play children learn all sorts of skills; manipulative skills, language skills, thinking skills (essential for education), coordination, interaction, understanding of the properties of objects and materials, increased confidence, understanding of important concepts from science to maths. Play needs to be varied, in a variety of settings – many outdoors – and physically engaging.

Creative activity

This is another activity whose importance is underestimated. Any creative activity develops thinking activity which in turn affects intelligence. Creative and imaginative play, any kind of art or craft work, with all sorts of materials especially those to hand (don’t just provide kits – be imaginative), building, model making, constructing, etc., stimulates the children to think, problem solve, invent and experiment, all valuable mental skills which aid academic ability later on.

Conversation and social occasions

One of the most valuable tools to develop learning and understanding, speech and language development, is your child’s interaction with others and the conversations you can have with them. Chatting about what you see, what people are doing, what you’re buying, cooking, doing, posing questions (like; I wonder why/how that happened?) and answering their questions, all stimulates a child’s mind. A mind that’s stimulated is a mind that’s learning. Social occasions and family gatherings are great opportunities to engage and stimulate your children’s education through conversations.

Physical activity

You don’t just need to get kids off the play station and moving about for their physical health. It is essential for their mental health too. In fact it affects their general well being. Physical activity improves blood flow to the brain and therefore helps stimulate the brain. It increases a child’s confidence, it improves moods and consequently behaviour, it lifts everyone’s spirits so it’s best to join in and make it a habitual part of your family life.

Outings and holidays

Just as with social gatherings, outings and holidays provide the same opportunity to stimulate children through conversations and engaging them with their world. When they are engaged they’re going to be learning something. If they’re going somewhere new it’s the best experience of all. It doesn't have to cost anything; a park or a riverbank or city centre provide things to look at and talk about. You can just walk down a street, see plants in a wall or ants on a pavement, and observe and question.

Everyday life

Sorry if I’m stating the obvious but kids learn about life from being engaged with life. Home educating families have the opportunity to engage their children in all the everyday activities that we need to do to lead a life and therefore children see how relevant learning is, how skills and knowledge empower them. They see how they need maths to budget their pocket money, they need language to text, they see the need to be able to read stuff, science is all around them all the time in; Why does that happen and how? The more you can involve your children in what you’re doing whether that’s choosing what’s for dinner (nutrition lesson), putting out the rubbish (lesson about the planet’s needs), going to work (the value of earning and contributing), cooking (science and maths) – the more they understand and the more they want to work for the life they want. Which is basically what education is for!

These are the kinds of activities that home educators use to facilitate their children’s learning in a relevant and life-rich way and because of that the children continue to be engaged with education and learning and that’s why it’s so successful. It maintains a positive and relevant attitude to education and that’s the best thing you can give your children wherever they are educated.

You can find lots more about the activities home educating families do with their children in my book ‘Learning Without School’. And for an entertaining story about how it worked for us read ‘A Funny Kind Of Education’.

For details, extracts, and other information visit my website:

And whichever path you choose; enjoy your children and enjoy your journey into their education.

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