Sunday 31 August 2014

Make Your Own Lip Balm with Sweet Cecily’s

As time goes by and little Jess gets older, my ability to afford myself more time to do things I love is getting easier. I enjoy making things and since my journey with natural skincare began when Sophia was born 8 years ago, I’ve thought more and more about making my own home-made skincare products. Life and its events have tended to get in the way of that thought until now and I’m keener than ever to have a play with ingredients and make my own natural goodies.

Watch out family and friends – you may just be getting hand-made gifts this Christmas !

As Sophia grows up, her want to have lip gloss, creams, lotions and make up grows ever stronger and I am left with a dilemma as to what I will or won’t allow. For me it’s important that I educate her in using more natural products but it can be hard when your little ones are comparing with their friends. I therefore think that getting her involved in making her own creams, lip glosses etc will help shape her future choices as she matures.

With that in mind I was chuffed when I connected with Sweet Cecily’s in North Yorkshire via Twitter and they kindly sent me one of their “make your own” lip balm kits and a Sea Buckthorn Berry Hand Cream to try out. The kits have Shea butter, Beeswax, Cocoa butter, Almond and Calendula oil, your chosen fragrance, 5 empty pots, 5 labels, and instructions.

I have had the lip balm kit waiting in the wings for a month or so just biding my time for the right opportunity to bring it out so Sophia and I could make them together and our summer family holiday to Cornwall was that opportunity.

We took our trusty caravan with us but don’t let the fact that we were in a small, confined space with limited kitchen equipment make you think that making lip balms was an impossibility. Oh no, hubby and I are lovers of food and we love to cook, so our little caravan kitchen is equipped with most things we are likely to need. We can make an awesome Sunday lunch if we want to. Making lip balms therefore was child’s play – literally !

We used a Pyrex bowl and pan of boiling water as our double boiler and Sophia was then able to get to work on her lip balm making under Mummy’s gentle guidance. Everything you need to make the balms is in the kit, including ingredients, instructions and the lip balm tins. The balms are easy and straightforward to make and Sophia was chuffed to bits with her creations. She set to work on what she wanted to put on her labels and even allowed her sister and I to have one too.

This is a great kit to allow children to make lip balms for their friends and at £15 per kit it is a lovely gift to give an adult or child alike. We give this kit a big thumbs up and I believe Sweet Cecily’s have just finalised some more “make your own” kits too which will lend themselves as ideal Christmas gifts.

Now on to the handcream.

The sea buckthorn berry hand cream was very unusual in texture. It is almost like a soufflé texture; light, airy and moussey. It is easily absorbed into the skin and smells fruity, yet earthy. It’s not sticky in texture and my hubby has enjoyed using it on his builder’s hands and likes it.

The hand cream contains the following ingredients:

Aqua, Prunus dulcis (Sweet Almond) oil, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Stearyl Alcohol, Vegetable glycerine, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Caprylyl glycol, Phenoxy ethanol, Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Oil, Parfum, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin) oil, Citrus sinensis (Orange) oil, Cananga odorata (Ylang Ylang) oil, Citrus paradisi (Grapefruit) oil, *Limonene, *Linalool, *Citral, * Benzyl Salicylate, *Benzyl Benzoate, *Farnesol. *Naturally occurring in essential oils

I’d really love to try out more from the Sweet Cecily’s range and love their packaging. If you would like to find out more, you can pop across to their website here, follow them on Facebook, or connect with them on Twitter.

Have any of you come across or used any of the Sweet Cecily Natural Skincare range? If you have, let me know what you think.

Until next time xx


Disclaimer: I was kindly given a Sweet Cecily’s “make your own” lip balm kit and a 50ml pot of sea buckthorn berry hand cream to try out. All opinions given are my own honest thoughts and feelings on the products that I tried.


Saturday 30 August 2014

PHB Ethical Beauty – Pure, Natural and Ethical

As you’ll know by now from reading some of my recent posts, I am slowly but surely transitioning my make up to more natural options. I tend to wear a light foundation base, mascara and eyeliner. Anything more than this is saved for when I go out of an evening or to an event that lends itself to an application of lippie !

Because I’m not one to wear much on a day to day basis, I have started my hunt with my most used items; mascara, eye liner and foundation.

PHB Ethical Beauty connected with me recently to introduce me to their natural and ethical range of beauty products. I hadn’t heard of them before but having spent many a moment scrolling through their website I am really impressed by the wide range of products they have.

PHB Ethical Beauty is a British family run business founded by entrepreneur Rose Brown. All their products are free from alcohol, animal ingredients and harmful chemicals & allergens such as parabens and SLS. Their products are vegan, cruelty free, and Halal. They use organic ingredients (some certified) in their products and are packaged in eco-friendly, recyclable packaging.

They kindly sent me one of their brown mascaras (£15.95) to try out and I also decided to buy 3 of their sample size mineral foundations, their blonde eyebrow powder and one of their Kabuki brushes at the same time.

So what did I think?

Their award winning mascara claims to lengthen, thicken and volumise. It never flakes or smudges, and nourishes and strengthens lashes. It is also water resistant and great for sensitive eyes. Free from nano particles, parabens, bismuth oxychloride, talc, formaldehyde, mineral oils, fillers, gluten, fragrance, preservatives & GM ingredients, Vegan, Cruelty Free and Halal. Wow, that’s quite a list !

And I have to say that I loved this mascara !

It did all of the above and managed to transform my almost non-existent lashes (without any help) into ones with some length and volume. It didn’t irritate my eyes and was also really easy to take off with my natural oil or cream cleanser at the end of the day.

I know it’s the done thing to take piccies of your eyes before and after using products like this to help you, my readers, see the difference, however I forgot and when I did think, “oh I really should take some pictures for this post”, I’d finished it ! So, when I repurchase – which I will – I will be sure to edit this post with some before and after pics for you. For now you’ll just have to trust me when I say that for me at least this mascara works and is a keeper.

Now on to the mineral make up and Kabuki brush.

You can tell I really don’t wear much make up and it’s normally been a liquid foundation because this is the first Kabuki brush I have owned ! I kept seeing them mentioned and thought perhaps it would aid in my mineral foundation application as I’ve struggled to make this type of foundation work for me so far.

Well, PHB’s kabuki brush definitely made applying their mineral foundation so much easier and the coverage I got was great. It is a very soft brush and lovely to use. What I also noticed was the mineral foundation didn’t itch or irritate my skin like other mineral foundations have and I loved the natural coverage it gave. I bought fair rose, fair beige and medium rose, and found them all great but the fair rose was probably more to my natural fair tones on a day to day basis.

I love the fact that you can purchase sample sizes to try and they are a reasonable £4 each or £10 for 3. You get a lot for your money too and if needs be you can mix them to get your ideal colour match. Their mineral foundation has a SPF of 15, is water resistant, free from nano particles, parabens, bismuth oxychloride, talc, formaldehyde, mineral oils, fillers, gluten, fragrance, preservatives & GM ingredients.  Their full size 10g pots are £18.95 each.

My eyebrows are fair less defined than they ever were. Sadly, I made the mistake in my twenties to agree to having them waxed to tidy them up ! Sadly, they never grew back in the same way and what did grow back was much more sparce. I now struggle to get back the fab eyebrows I once had. My tip; only ever pluck rogue hairs. At least then you are in full control of what goes and what stays.

Because of this dilemma I thought I’d try a sample pot of PHB’s eyebrow powder for blondes. It was the right colour for me but if I’m honest I’m not sure if I like eyebrow powder or not. I normally dye them to get some definition in colour however with practice I think eyebrow powder has its place in filling in the gaps and giving further definition. Maybe I’m just too lazy ! It went on well, didn’t irritate my skin so I cannot fault this at all. I would certainly recommend it if you use eyebrow powders. They retail at £11.95 for a 3g pot.

Photo Credit: PHB Ethical Beauty

Overall, I am really impressed with PHB Ethical Beauty and I’m so pleased they connected with me. I will definitely be trying out more of their make-up range and I’m also keen to try out their skincare too. I love their colourful packaging, I love their ethics and so far I’ve loved their products.

If you’d like more information on their extensive range then you can pop over to their website, follow them on Twitter or connect with them on Facebook.

Have any of you come across or used PHB Ethical Beauty? Let me know if you have in the comments below. I always love to hear from you.

Until next time xx


Disclaimer: I was sent a Brown All in One Mascara from PHB Ethical Beauty to try out. I also purchased 2 sample sizes of their mineral foundation and one of their kabuki brushes. All opinions are my own, honest thoughts and feelings on the products I used.


Sunday 24 August 2014

Harnessing the Diversity and Power of the Vitamix

I’ve admired the Vitamix Power Blender for a long, long time. It began about 6 years ago when I started reading about eating a more raw food diet. At the time I was doing a 12 week alkaline course with Energise for Life. I’d never really come across the raw food diet before and it was the introduction of this and eating more alkaline foods in my diet that meant I kept coming across the Vitamix being mentioned a lot. It appeared to be a handy piece of kit to have in your kitchen. Whether it was in conjunction with making your own almond milk, homemade humous, or even making soup, this machine kept coming up on my radar time and time again. 

I was lucky enough to be given the chance to trial a Vitamix Nutrition Center for a few months and I have to say that I now understand all the hype. They are great machines and very versatile in what they can cope with. They are a high speed, industrial type blender but made for the home. They have a much larger jug capacity so you can make a lot more in one go. You can blend nuts and other food items that an “average” blender would struggle with. I have always wanted to make my own almond milk, however, our small blender would struggle to make it as well as a Vitamix.

The Vitamix Nutrition Center comes with a comprehensive instruction manual including lots of tasty, healthy recipes. They also supply an informative DVD which is a great addition. I never realised that a Vitamix can make soup from scratch by just adding the ingredients to the blender. The heat generated from the blades whizzing around heats the liquid after about 4-5 minutes. This is a great piece of kit if you want to make quick, healthy meals, smoothies, nut milks, salad dressings, soups etc. I’m catering trained and have always had a love of food and creating tasty, healthy dishes for myself and my family so I’ve really enjoyed the short time I’ve had with this machine. It’s a shame I have to give her back !

I’ve made the smoothest humous I’ve ever managed using the Vitamix and it tasted pretty good too using Vitamix’s recipe. I also tried out their beetroot, salmon and mascapone pâté which was delicious on seeded crackers. My strawberry yoghurt freeze went a bit awry but like all machines, this was down to user error in the early learning stages. It did end up being a fabulously tasty smoothie though so nothing was lost. I have managed to make lots of tasty almond milk which makes yummy, healthy chocolate smoothies! 

There are other high power blenders on the market now and they are all pretty pricey, what I’d call an investment. That’s probably one of the reasons why I’ve not bought one just yet. I’d love one for my kitchen. I have a dehydrator, sprouter etc but this is one piece of machinery I’m missing. Having tried one out for a couple of months and now that I am studying my naturopathic nutrition, I know that I need one of these fabulous blenders in my life. I will be saving hard for one. There’s a part of me that perhaps wishes I hadn’t asked to try one out, because now I have to give her back ! However, what it has done for me is reaffirm why I would like one in my kitchen and all the amazing, quick and  healthy meals I could make quickly and simply with this great piece of equipment. 

Thank you Vitamix for kindly letting me try out one of your versatile machines. I will be showing you how to make homemade almond milk in another blog post but for now if you’ve been wondering if a Vitamix is a worthwhile investment then I would say it is. I’ve loved using mine and I’ve had lots of fun with it too. I’ll be sad to see her go but I’m now on a mission to get myself one of my own.

If you’d like to find out more about Vitamix UK, you can take a look at their website, follow them on Twitter, or give them a like on Facebook.

Have any of you got a Vitamix? What healthy recipes do you make with yours? Do share in the comments section, as I’d love to know your thoughts.

Until next time xx


Disclaimer: I was kindly lent a Vitamix Blender with Instruction Book & DVD to use and try out for a couple of months. I have loved using it and would like to thank Vitamix for the opportunity. All opinions, thoughts and feelings are my own and no one elses.

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