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25 June 2023

‘Little Bottle of Italian Magic’ wins 2023 Free From Skincare Awards
As many of you know I decided to retire the blog at the end of last year. So why am I posting again? well I thought it was only right that perhaps the final blog post should go to the one skincare awards that I have supported since 2012. 

I've given my time to the Free From Skincare Awards because they have always encouraged and rewarded manufacturers of skincare products that are ‘free from’ some of the allergens, ingredients, additives and artificial fragrances. I'm the type of consumer that these awards help. Many of you know I have been managing eczema and allergies since childhood.

So this year it's an Italian skincare brand by the name of OliPhenolia that has been crowned overall champion and awarded Best Free From Skincare Product 2023 for their Intensive Serum.

“Became a go-to product,” said one delighted product tester. “It was soothing, comforting, anti-inflammatory, and helped calm areas that were irritated, red and patchy. Kind to the skin and a pleasure to use.”

The hypoallergenic formulation — dubbed “a little bottle of Italian magic” by another tester — is based on polyphenol-rich ingredients produced from olives grown at Fattoria La Vialla, a Demeter-certified biodynamic farm in Tuscany, with added skin-beneficial compounds such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
The Best Free From Brand Award was successfully defended by 2022 winners, North Wales’s Rhug Wild Beauty
The Best Free From Brand Award was successfully defended by 2022 winners, North Wales’s Rhug Wild Beauty, who repeated their feat of last year in winning two golds and three silvers in the individual product categories.

Free from fragrance, animal-sourced ingredients and food allergens, OliPhenolia’s winning serum beat stiff competition from other category winners, including products by first-time participants Plantopia and Latvian brand Etide.

“It is rare for a few-ingredient product which is essentially allergen-free to perform quite as strongly as the Intensive Serum did,” said Awards Director, Alex Gazzola. “One of the highest scorers with testers and with some of the strongest ‘free from’ attributes across the entire competition … Judges felt it was the clear champion.”

All winners and medallists can be seen at

26 December 2022

Green Beauty Brands that stood the test of time: A look back at 2011 Blog Posts

As 2022 draws to a close I thought it might be interesting to look back on my first year of blogging. It all began in May 2011 and I was curious to see how many of those early posts had stood the test of time. Sadly there a several brands that no longer exist but there are some products that remain staples in my home.

Whilst the Faith In Nature Cacao Body Wash has long since disappeared I'm still using their products. Currently in my collection I have the Jojoba and Avocado body washes and Dragonfruit hand wash. I've always found Faith in Nature to be a reasonably priced brand and these days you can find on the high street and local refill stores. I had paired up my original body wash review with a post about Nakd raw fruit & nut bars. I'm still a loyal customer and eat them on a daily basis. Current favourite flavours are Bakewell and Peanut.

I don't use Dr Bronner's as often as I once did but you'll still find it in my home as it's the best liquid soap to use for washing out makeup brushes. Over the years I found it a little too drying on my skin so for me, its main purpose is now household cleaning.

I'm still using Naturtint Hazelnut Blonde hair colourant but honestly I'm now contemplating whether it's time to ditch it and embrace the grey; only time will tell.

I can safely say that I'm still bitter that Alpro still haven't launched the Macchiato drink which I had on my trip to Amsterdam.

Konjac Sponges have remained in my life but I now only use the body sponges. Over the years I tried out several brands but we (my husband and I) are currently re-purchasing from Friendly Soap.

I'm still sadden to this day at the loss of Brownearth body butters. They were a favourite for a long time. You can of course find lots of decent green brands offering different variations of shea body butters either with this standalone ingredient or combining with others such as coconut or cocoa butter.

I'm can't quite believe that I first discovered Evolve Organic Beauty back in 2011. I remember the branding was very different back in the day. Evolve is definitely one of those brands that I revisit over and over again, dipping into products as the range has expanded. Currently I'm trying out the Bio-Retinol + C Booster and I've placed an order for the Bio-Retinol Gold Mask in the Boxing Day sales!

I remember using Organic Surge shower gels regularly back in the early years. I thought they were lost forever but recently discovered they re-branded to Organic Works (OW).

Oh my the photo on this post about TK Maxx is terrible but I wanted to say that I still visit stores looking for beauty bargains.

In my first month of blogging I wrote about my struggles with sun cream that was suitable for eczema prone skin. I just wanted to say that through many trials I eventually settled on Green People. This is a brand I had been using long before the blog started. It is very much a staple to this day. I am a fan of their scent free moisturisers and of course facial sun cream.

I hope that you have enjoyed this look back over 2011 and comparing it with 2022. At this time I'm not sure whether I'll continue blogging into 2023 but you can always find me over on social media if you'd like to connect.

Happy New Year to you all!

Sarah x

23 November 2022

Review Q&A Skincare Grapefruit Cleansing Balm

(I purchased this item)

I'm sure many of us are feeling like we need to watch the pennies and at times like this I've feel a little bit more mindful about my skincare budget. I was on the hunt for a new cleanser and stumbled across Q+A Skincare with a rather attractive price point.

You definitely don't have to compromise too much when it comes to budget friendly plant based skincare. Q&A promise to not test on animals, they don't distribute to places that require animal testing, majority of their products are vegan friendly, their ingredient partners are COSMOS certified and products are free from artificial fragrances and mineral oils.

The Q+A Oat Milk Cream Cleanser had initially caught my eye but I ended up ordering the Grapefruit Cleansing Balm because I prefer balm over cream. You may be wondering about the consistency of this balm cleanser as it's in a tube. It is very easy to squeeze from the tube as the consistency is more like a liquid but it has a silky texture which you'd associate with a balm. I think this is a very clever formulation which makes for an interesting experience.

The Q&A Grapefruit cleanser is super easy to use, simply apply to dry skin, massage in and then wipe away with a damp cloth. I always like to mention that during the day I wear an SPF and tinted CC cream so my nightly cleanse needs to remove daily grime alongside light tinted makeup. I have found the Grapefruit cleanser handles this easily and I don't feel the need for a second cleanse. I'm sure you can imagine the fragrance is fruity and refreshing. For those concerned about allergens it does contain *limonene but not linalool. 

I've been really impressed by this first experience of Q+A Skincare. I have been using the Grapefruit Cleansing Balm daily since mid October with no noticeable reactions to my complexion. That might be a weird comment to some but I have super sensitive skin so I think it's important to note how well I am able to tolerate new products. We are all different but it may be reassuring to some readers to know this little fact. For the price this is a good product and I'm keen to see what else I might be able to try from this brand. 

If you'd like to purchase this Grapefruit Cleansing Balm then note that I ordered directly from their website. I have also spotted a limited selection of Q+A products in Holland & Barrett. 

Sarah x

*Please check ingredients before ordering to make sure formulations haven't changed since publishing this review

10 November 2022

Christmas Gift Ideas inspired by Winners of the Free From Gift Awards 2022
Long time readers will no doubt be familiar with
Free From Skincare Awards but did you know about their 'spin off' The Free From Gift Awards? I'm unlikely to put together a personalised gift guide this year so I'm going to point you in the direction of the winners from these awards.

You may be interested to know that Winners and Medallists in The Free From Gift Awards are brands who manufacture products that are ‘free from’ some of the allergens, chemicals, additives and fragrances associated with skin sensitivities, allergies, and ethical, environmental and health concerns.

Congratulations go to Rhug Wild Beauty who took the Overall Champion prize for their Hand Wash & Hand Lotion Duo in Gift Box.

“A beautifully elegant duo in a chic box,” said the judges. “Gorgeous products, both of which include wild foraged ingredients from the Rhug Estate. A gift set which anyone would enjoy and would feel very spoiled and delighted to receive.”

Many of the medallists are brands I have supported over the years but it's always great to discover new ones. Let me recommend checking out the following -

Blue Labelle, Moroccan Spa Set
Made By Coopers, 'Sleepy Head' Sleep Kit
Silvan Skincare, Hands and Feet Gift Set
BEAM natural body care, Six half sized luxury soap gift set
Eco By Sonya Driver, Hydration Skin System
Green People, Be Kind
Bowe Organics, Get Glowing Face Mask
Sknfed, Rose Trio Gift Set
Lyonsleaf, Natural Skincare Solutions 04 & Hot Cloth Cleansing Revitalising Kit
Obvs Skincare, Well-Being Gift Set

There are more Gold, Silver and Bronze winners (in all categories) to discover so head over to

Sarah x


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