Friday 18 October 2013

Celebrating Our 1st Blogging Anniversary Today !

Today Sophia’s Choice celebrates its first blogging anniversary! Wow, where has that year gone?

It was a year ago to the day that I jumped into the blogging world feet first and took the plunge to set up my very first blog and wrote this blog post. The concept for Sophia’s Choice had been whirling around my head for years and my husband finally commented that if I didn't do it now I never would. And he was right.

We’d lost my mother 13 months beforehand to lung cancer and it was the day after what would have been her 70th birthday that I finally realised it really was now or never. As the saying goes, “time and tide wait for no man” and if I really wanted to write and share what I had whirring around in my head which was taking up much needed storage space, then I just had to jump straight in and give it a go.

What I didn’t anticipate was gaining a loyal following of readers, and finding a circle of like-minded individuals and fellow bloggers to share with, some of whom I now call my friends. I have had an immense amount of fun and have learnt so much too.

When you first begin your blogging journey you really aren’t aware of the vast Bloggersphere that awaits you. It’s only when you start connecting with people and realise that many of them are indeed reading your posts (and sometimes even commenting!) that you understand that this blogging malarkey actually carries a level of responsibility with it too. What you put out there matters and I’ve come to respect a great many of my fellow bloggers particularly in the area of Green Beauty and parenting.

I’d like to do a little shout out to those bloggers who have helped me in my first year of blogging for Sophia’s Choice and whose blogs I have come to enjoy reading, respect and learn from. The first person is Sarah from Sugarpuffish. I love Sarah’s no nonsense approach to what she writes and tweets. I also love the fact that Sarah’s specialist subject relates to free-from skincare for those like herself who suffer with eczema. If is a fabulous resource, and Sarah also writes a few posts on free-from food too. She has been involved with the Skins Matter Free-from Awards as a stage 2 judge last year and it was then that I found out she knew Alex Gazzola, one of my tutors on my Writers Bureau course which still lies unfinished ! What a small world it is.

Then I met the lovely Ana Green who writes the beauty and lifestyle blog, Ana Goes Green. Again this has been a great source of information for me but more than that I have forged a great friendship with Ana and would class her now as a friend more than an acquaintance. She is a prolific blogger and I wonder how she finds the time to write so many blog posts. I’m lucky if I get one written for you every 2 weeks so I take my hat off to this Mum who is able to blog at that intensity.

After some months of blogging I then met the gorgeous Danny Stokes from Holistic Green Beauty and the beautiful Galina Achkasova-Portianoi, who writes the fabulous Lifestyle blog, A Curious Russian in London. A wealth of information is imparted from these lovely people; Danny was recently referred to as an encyclopedia on natural skincare and beauty and he truly is a wealth of trusted information who also happens to write a great blog too.

And Galina, who like me, is slightly more diverse in the subjects she writes about but who also covers natural, free-from skincare and beauty. This is one lady I definitely now call a friend. I love reading her diverse blog which covers everything from culture and fashion to travel and women’s issues. You really must take a look at this lady’s musings.

All the above bloggers have been a fabulous sounding board for me particularly with regards to Sophia’s Choice becoming an online retail shop. I never imagined that just one year on I’d be launching a business on the back of this blog and I feel I have acquired some great friends in the process. How blessed am I?

I would also like to mention the brands that I connected with almost a year ago, who even from the beginning trusted in me enough to link a competition giveaway to my musings about them and their products, not really knowing who this Charlie from Sophia’s Choice was at first; Green People, Shea Mooti, John Crane Toys, BecoThings, BabyCalm, Calming Colic, Sotto e Sopra, Orico London, EllaPure London. It means a lot that you took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to try out and review your great products.

There have been many other brands and PRs (Tracey from Vert PR and Louise from Babushka Communications) who have given me opportunities to try out products for review that I may not have found otherwise. I would like to thank you all for getting in touch. Aside from what we as a family buy ourselves, without other relevant opportunities coming my way this blog would be far less diverse than it is.

And lastly I’d like to thank my Mum. Without her belief in me and what I felt I had to share, this blog would probably never have materialised. It was her and my husband who championed my idea and it is her that I dedicate this post to today. It would have been her 71st birthday yesterday, so Mum, Thank you and Happy Birthday. I hope I’ve made you proud xx


I truly hope you have enjoyed reading my musings so far and fingers crossed you will stay with me for another year. I think I worked out that I have enough bits on my blog list to write a post once or twice a week for the next year ! I think I better get myself organised if I’m going to get them all on the blog. Have a lovely weekend my lovelies. Until next time x


Thursday 17 October 2013

Aime Natural Skincare Range - Review

Back in August I was given the opportunity to try out a couple of products from the Aime Natural Skincare range. I had briefly come across them via Twitter and remember thinking when I looked at their website how pretty their packaging was.

I was sent their Morning Clear Purifying Facial Wash and their Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturiser to try out.

Aime was created by leading beauty expert and ex-Estee Lauder executive, Fiona Parkhouse and was created initially for her own daughter, Samantha. As most teenagers find out extra-oiliness and breakouts on their skin are common place and Samantha was experiencing these concerns along with sensitive skin. Not wanting to aggravate this with products that stripped the skin and made it dry and itchy, Fiona worked with leading dermatologist, Dr Susan Mayou to create an effective  natural solution which became Aime.

Although initially created for young skin, Aime have found that women of all ages have benefited from their range. Just because we aren’t still in our teenage years doesn’t mean we don’t get breakouts or spots and oily areas. I can vouch for that having had oily / combination skin since my teenage years. I think that’s why I have a passion for finding effective natural skincare for this age group that works. Your teenage years can be stressful enough without feeling the need to hide your face away from the world too. And now I’m heading towards my menopausal years, hormones will start to rear their ugly head once more to test my resolve, so skincare ranges like Aime can be welcome relief to those of us who still suffer from those annoying oily t-zones.

Aime’s products are made using 95% natural ingredients and are pH balanced and dermatologically tested. Their skincare range does not use parabens, mineral oils, petrochemicals, SLS, GMOs. They do not test their products on animals and do not use any animal ingredients. All their products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

So, what did I think of the products which I was sent to try out?

Morning Clear Purifying Facial Wash

This cleanser comes in cute pink packaging which will definitely appeal to the teenage market. It has harmonising natural extracts of orange blossom, mayblossom, elderflower and raspberry. The facial wash is a cream facial wash cleanser rather than a gel. It doesn’t foam in any way. You add water and massage into the skin, then rinse off. It left my skin feeling lovely and clean, with a slightly matt feel to it. Over a period of weeks I noticed my pores were clean and smaller. Overall it was good but I wasn’t sure of the fragrance. I will go into this subject a little later on in this post.


Aqua (water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Theobroma Cacoa (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Cetyl Esters, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Stearate, Synthetic Beeswax, Phenoxyethanol, Elthylhexyglycerin, Parfum (fragrance), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil), Betaine, Panthenol, Citrus Auranthium Amara (Bitter Orange), Flower Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract, Crataegus Monogina Fruit Extract, Benzophenon-4, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzyl Salicylate, Citronellol, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Sorbic Acid, CI 15510 (Orange 4), Cl 17200 (Red 33).

Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturiser

This moisturiser comes in lemon packaging and again is very appealing. If you buy with your eyes as well as other factors, then I think you will be drawn to this range. It uses harmonising natural extracts of vitamin E, bilberry and rosehip.


Aqua (water), Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Myristyl Myristate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Arachidyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Nylon-12, Parfum (Fragrance), Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Betaine, Xanthan Gum, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Biosaccharide-Gum-1, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzophenone-4, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitonellal, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylproppinal, Limonene, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDRA, Cl 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 15510 (Orange 4).

Now for the purpose of this review I used this moisturiser for a few weeks, but I found it hard. I am not a big fan of synthetic fragrance (parfum) and I have a nose which can pick it up a mile off. Before I transitioned to natural and organic skincare, I used the ‘Simple’ range because I found most of the other mainstream ranges too overpowering with their scents.

Sadly the fragrance used in this moisturiser did not agree with me (the one in the facial wash was less overpowering) and because it was on my face, the aroma lingered. However, it’s all about preference and what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. The moisturiser itself was effective and left my skin with a nice matte finish. It was a good base for my foundation and on that point I cannot fault it.

I asked Aime about the ‘parfum’ issue and also about the fact that they use colour in their products. I personally don’t see a need to have colour in skincare products. For me how they feel and smell is more important. Also, it’s about how they nourish my skin above all else which is key.

Aime explained that where they do use colour it is Food, Drug & Cosmetics approved colours.  With regards to their fragrance, they have relied either on the natural fragrance of their plant, fruit and botanical ingredients, or else used very low levels of fragrance, each hand-picked to have as few potential allergens as possible. Amie believe that synthetic fragrances are safer for sensitive skin as they contain the least amount of potential allergens (citronellol, limonene, linalool, etc) as all other fragrance types carry a risk of allergic reaction.

I have to say that I’m not sure I agree with Aime on the fragrance issue here particularly for sensitive skin. So we will have to agree to disagree on that one. I prefer harnessing nature’s own fragrance through essential oils where possible. I understand that not everyone can use products with them in, and personally I would therefore go for a range which was either fragrance free or used other gentle botanicals, like Neal’s Yard Remedies’ Starflower range for sensitive skin.

However, I think if you are looking for a range of skincare to transition yourself from mainstream products to a more natural range then Aime is a good place to start particularly if you like the more typical synthetic fragrance mainstream products have. It will also appeal to the teenage market because of the very appealing packaging. On this one Aime score highly. I love the fresh, colourful feel of the range.

If you’d like to find out more about Aime’s skincare range then you can pop across to their website, follow them on Twitter or find them on Facebook.

Have any of you used Aime’s range of skincare and if so, what has been your experience. I’d love to know your thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time x


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Disclaimer: I was given a 150ml tube of Morning Dew Facial Wash and a 100ml tube of Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturiser to use and review for this post. All views, thoughts and feelings are my own and no one else’s.

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