Sunday, 23 November 2014

Balmology Discovery Set (Trial/Travel Size Collection)


Balmology Discovery Set
Exactly three years ago I published a review of Balmology Comfort Balm (click here). I have been in love with this balm ever since and it is always top of my recommendation list. I was thrilled that Balmology agreed to provide a sample for the Green Beauty meet up we had in October. We received The Discovery Set, a fabulous way to trial the range and it is NOW available for purchase on their website (balmology.co.uk). The set includes Neroli & Sweet Basil Cleansing Balm, Neroli & Frankincense Beauty balm and Calendula & Chamomile Comfort balm (3 x 12g).  I think everyone needs to add the set to their Christmas Wishlist or perhaps buy for a loved one.

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Free From Food Christmas Gift Ideas 2014


Sugarpuffish Free From Food Christmas Gift Ideas 2014


Buying for people with restrictive diets can be a struggle if you are not knowledgeable about Free From products. I have put together some ideas which I would be happy to receive so I hope that is useful for others.

Nakd Bar Cracker – I love the idea of a party mix cracker, perfect for those who avoid gluten, wheat and dairy (spotted in Tesco (£5) also available direct from naturalbalancefoods.co.uk)

Moo Free Selection Box - I am already a fan of Moo Free so I think the selection box would make a great gift. Free from gluten, wheat and dairy (vegetarian and vegan friendly). I have spotted these in supermarkets and local stores so that should make them easy to find (unless you live in the outback!)

M&S Classic Claret with Gluten Free Festive Treats - I spotted this food hamper online and thought it was worth noting. It contains wine, Christmas pudding, mince pies, cake and cookies (£30) marksandspencer.com

Food Subscription Box – depending on your budget you could buy a 12 month subscription box or a one off. This year I tried services from Saviour Snacks and Vegan Tuck Box both offer Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten free options.

Magazine Subscription – a 12 month subscription to Vegan Life Magazine veganlifemag.com

Jealous Sweets – 100% vegetarian and gluten free jelly sweets in fancy packaging thejealouslife.com (£2.50 - £11.99 not suitable for vegans)

Cook books – I have a selection of free from and vegan cookbooks which I own and recommend (blog post). I suggest -
  • Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World & Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar - Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero 
  • Ms Cupcakes The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town - Mellissa Morgan
  • The Oh She Glows Cookbook - Angela Liddon
  • The Intolerant Gourmet - Pippa Kendrick
Pippa Kendrick released a 2nd book this year titled Free-From Food for Family and Friends. All of the above books can be found on Amazon.



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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Gaia Creams Coconut Mousse - 2 in 1 Make Up Remover & Moisturiser



Gaia Creams Coconut Mousse - 2 in 1 Make Up Remover & Moisturiser
I first discovered Gaia Creams back in 2011. Time flies when you are blogging and I recently decided to revisit the brand. Gaia Creams stands out from other brands I use because the ingredients are raw, 100% organic, ethical and vegan. This is a company that cares greatly about the environment and the impact of ingredients on our skin. I decided to buy the Coconut Mousse which is a 2 in 1 makeup remover and moisturiser. The attraction to this product, aside from ingredients, is the fact that it is customisable for skin type. I selected the one for sensitive skin which includes almond oil and calendula. 

My first observation on receiving the Coconut Mousse was it is more like a soft light balm than a mousse. In my mind the word “mousse” conjures up a whipped and airy texture. I probably was also expecting something similar to a Herbfarmacy cleanser I tried a while back. Despite this, the cleanser is easy to use, it is extremely soft. You just need to scoop a pea size amount from the jar, massage across dry skin and remove with a cloth. The balm melts into oil with the warmth of skin. 

Gaia Creams Coconut Mousse - 2 in 1 Make Up Remover & Moisturiser

I know not everyone is a fan of coconut because some people consider it comedogenic . I do not appear to experience this problem. The issue that is apparent with this ingredient is it will turn to liquid in warm temperatures. Currently in my home it remains a balm but when I travelled with this, it melted. No major issue, you can use as oil (although messy from the jar) or refrigerate to solidify. My regret is I forgot this and ended up with cleanser across the sink, toilet and bathroom floor (sorry Mum!). The result was my brand new jar ended up half empty. A rookie error but one I feel is worth mentioning. 

Overall, Gaia Creams 2 in 1 Coconut Mousse is a nice product. The use of raw ingredients and their environmental ethics gives them a unique selling point over other brands. In terms of performance I would suggest Coconut Mousse is on a par with Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm, although different ingredients it shares the multipurpose aspect.

Have you tried products from Gaia Creams? Do you have a favourite?



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Monday, 17 November 2014

Can we claim a skincare product to be chemical free?


I find natural and organic skincare fascinating, a never ending journey of discovery and education. In my eyes, mainstream beauty (the stuff normally found in Boots/Superdrug) was never this exciting. Bloggers and brands show great passion in their aim of living a "greener" lifestyle. I am always learning and my opinions are forever changing and evolving. When I first started trawling the internet looking at ingredients and natural skincare, I noticed it was popular to advertise products as "chemical free or non toxic". It was (and still is) a blanket term referring to cutting out SLS, parabens, petrochemicals and similar ingredients that raise concerns. I always felt that unless you are following a holistic lifestyle this phrase probably means very little. It requires you to have an understanding of certain ingredients.

I recently questioned Human & Kind (on Twitter) on their use of the term "chemical free". You can see the conversation we had below.

Can we claim a skincare product to be chemical free?

I appreciate the limitations of twitter and 140 characters is restrictive but Human & Kind also use the term on their website (it's right there on their home page). Of course, they are not the only ones doing this but for the purpose of this post they drew the short straw as my example. I'm sure that will come back to haunt me. I could spend all day picking apart their ingredients. Yes, products do contain ingredients of natural origins, like aloe vera or shea butter but can you really claim "chemical free" when I spy ingredients like Butylphenyl methylpropional (a synthetic liquid with a floral aroma) or Parfum? Lets not forget water is a chemical.


I am aware that the environment around us and our bodies are made up of chemicals. Ingredients that are derived from natural sources can often go through laboratory processes. One example is Cocamidopropyl betaine which is derived from coconut but classed as a synthetic surfactant. 

As for “toxic free or non toxic”, Alex from Skinsmatter.com, made an interesting point in a recent article (link), “What too many appear to forget or ignore is that toxicity is not a characteristic of a chemical, but of a chemical at a specific dose.” That sentence pretty much sums up why I think marketing non toxic is a grey area. Even natural ingredients can pose health risks, not all mushrooms are safe to eat and sunlight can cause cancer.

I would like to see companies drop the tag lines "chemical free and non toxic". I would rather we turn our attentions to ingredients that matter, the ones that benefit our skin and are better for the environment. I am perfectly happy for companies to mention that products are free from synthetic ingredients and identify which ones they avoid. You'll often see me referring to "undesirable ingredients" not sure if that works for marketing but I am comfortable it is suitable for blog posts.

Can we claim a skincare product to be chemical free? For me the answer is no. I will leave you with this food for thought. 
ingredients of all natural blueberries



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