Urban Jungle

I live in the city, and I whilst I do love it, my heart lies in the desert. This was my way of bringing a little bit of the desert to my city vanity.

Working in a lab, we had some plastic bottles that were surplus to requirements, so I instantly thought YES - tiny flower pots in the making! You can do this out of any old milk or juice bottle! All you'll need is the following:

1. Bottles/Cartons for cutting
2. A sharp Stanley knife
3. Some soil/compost
4. Plants of your choice
5. Tray to keep things tidy (if these will be inside)

Get creative! I'd love to see your photos of your urban jungle! Together we can create more inner city green space. Share this with your friends and family!

All My Love!

Less Is More

Having struggled with pretty awful breakouts on one side of my chin for about 6 monthly from September-February, I was almost ready to give up. Almost. I couldn't understand why the majority of my face was looking radiant, but my jawline and one half of my chin was constantly plastered in spots. I assumed it was something odd happening with one of my ovaries, so I saw a doctor, changed pills, changed my diet, and took up more exercise. The clear parts of my face only continued to get clearer and more radiant, but the breakouts in that pesky little spot just kept on coming. It affected my self-confidence and mood big time. And then it clicked.

I spent a few days at home, sick from work, wearing no make-up. I looked a bit tired, but at the end of those few days I realised that I hadn't had any new spots pop up. Overall that poor broken-out area was looking much clearer. It was at that point I decided to go back to basics. I got rid of the foundation and concealer and re-introduced two products that had fallen by the wayside since the summer.
The Mádara is for days I don't want an SPF. It is matte, golden and beautiful. The VitaZing is for days I want an SPF and something more moisturising - this one is a skincare product first and foremost. If I want concealing on a couple of blemishes, I'll use a concealer just in those areas.

The result is clear, happy skin. I'm just kicking myself that I didn't realise the trigger soon. Back to basics, Kat...back to basics... If you are having the same problem, I could recommend either of the above products. Or even if you decide to go with something else, it is more the advice to take a step back from what you are putting on your face. All the vegetables in the world can't make up for skin which is suffocating.

Supporting Local....Skincare!

We're told that one of the best things we can do for our bodies and our environment is to purchase our groceries local & seasonal. There's a lot of truth to this; buying local reduces the miles food has to travel in order to get to your shop shelf, thus reducing carbon emissions. It also means that you're getting the freshest possible produce. After all, if you live in London and just bought a mango...are you really sure how long it's been since that mango was plucked from the tree?

So on a similar wave length: why not shop your cosmetics locally too?

For English Roses, consider the following beautiful brands:

  • Balance Me 'Balance Me uses innovative naturally active botanicals, hi-tech natural formulations and pure grade essential oils powerful botanicals to deliver a skincare range that offers the customer sophisticated textures and aromatherapy-inspired exquisite active aromas that can be used daily across all skin types.'
  • Dr. Jackson's 'Dr Jackson’s is a niche cosmeceutical company created from 21 years of pharmacognosy research, utilising the best from nature.'
  • Emma Hardie "I believe in treating the skin with the utmost respect. Just as we need to nurture the natural ground cover that protects the earth’s surface from erosion, so we need to nourish and nurture our protective cover, our skin. This way we can be assured of a life-long vibrant complexion that radiates the vitality of youth"
  • Sarah Chapman 'Luxury with efficacy, softness meets strength, Skinesis is a solutions driven skincare range that combines high potency cosmeceutical ingredients with nurturing naturals and ultra luxurious packaging.'
  • Aromatherapy Associates 'Aromatherapy Associates have been the leading experts within aromatherapy for over 30 years.'
  • Ren 'Since its launch in 2000 REN has become a cult favourite amongst beauty editors and consumers and is now available in department stores, pharmacies and spas in over 50 countries around the world.'
  • LUSH - I couldn't write this list without including this classic fun, natural, innovative brand. They stand for what they believe in, make bath time fun and sell some cracking skincare.

I hope you found this informative! Please share your favourite British brands below. There are so many more that I equally adore.

The Latest Product Reviews

These have been the latest things I've been trying, and overall it is a massive POSITIVE booty wiggle from me!

1. A'kin Orange Blossom & Chamomile Refreshing & Soothing Toner - I just wanted something to swipe over the skin after cleansing to refresh. This is a beauty. Great ingredients and lovely orange blossom scent; only downside is that I think this formulation better suits a pump-bottle packaging so that the product can be spritzed onto the face and patted in with the hands. This is designed to be used with a cotton pad, but I think product gets wasted this way. Ingredients: aqua (purified Australian water*) *BP 2007 standard glycerin (botanical source) sodium gluconate (from GMO free corn) panthenol (pro Vit B5) sorbitol (from GMO free maize) ethylhexylglycerin citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) flower water phenoxyethanol chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract mannitol (and) ammonium glycyrrhizate (and) caffeine (and) zinc gluconate (and) aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) extract rosa centifolia flower extract

2. Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Overnight Detox Oil - I'm not such an avid believer in the 'detox' claims of this, just because I think that the whole 'detox' bandwagon we're all on at the moment is a load of bollocks. Don't put ten tonnes of sugar and caffeine and alcohol and nicotine into your body then expect a face oil to solve your problems, entiendas? However, this has some lovely ingredients in it, and I find leaves me with lovely, glowing skin in the morning, so I'm happy. Ingredients: CAPRYL IC/CAPRIC TRIGLY CERIDE, VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) SEED OIL, PRUNUS AMYGDALUS DULCIS (SWEET ALMOND) OIL*, ROSA CANINA FRUIT OIL*, CITRUS AURANTIUM AMARA (BITTER ORANGE) LEAF/TWIG OIL*, DAUCUS CAROTA SATIVA (CARROT) SEED OIL, SANTALUM ALBUM (SANDALWOOD) OIL, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, CITRUS AURANTIUM AMARA (BITTER ORANGE) FLOWER OIL*, LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA (LAVENDER) OIL*, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY) LEAF EXTRACT, LINALOOL, GERANIOL, LIMONENE, FARNESOL. (07-49-5) * Origine biologique - Organic origin.

3. Green People Firming Eye Gel - I'm only 24 so I'm not in need of a miracle worker at the moment, but this gel is lovely and light with a water-base. I use it at night, though it would be perfect for the morning as well. It absorbs quickly, leaves no residue and wouldn't interfere with eye-makeup or concealer. The gel formula is great at relieving puffiness too. I can't speak on the anti-aging properties, but the ingredients are solid and it will definitely help you along the way at de-puffing (chicory root, algae and tara extracts), soothing (aloe), hydrating (marshmallow) and gently exfoliating (salicylic acid) the eye area, all of which make the skin appear aged. Ingredients: AQUA, GLYCERIN (VEGETABLE DERIVED), CICHORIUM INTYBUS (CHICORY) ROOT OLIGOSACCHARIDES, CAESALPINIA SPINOSA (TARA BUSH) GUM, ENTEROMORPHA COMPRESSA (SEAWEED) EXTRACT, ALOE BARBADENSIS (ALOE VERA) LEAF JUICE POWDER*, OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) FRUIT OIL*, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL*, PERILLA FRUTESCENS (PERILLA) SEED OIL*, ALTHAEA OFFICINALIS (MARSHMALLOW) ROOT EXTRACT*, AROMA [ANTHEMIS NOBILIS (CHAMOMILE) FLOWER OIL*^, SANTALUM AUSTROCALEDONICUM (SANDALWOOD) WOOD OIL*], XANTHAN GUM (CORN STARCH GUM), CHONDRUS CRISPUS (IRISH MOSS) POWDER, BENZYL ALCOHOL, SALICYLIC ACID, SORBIC ACID, LIMONENE*. *86.7% ORGANIC, ^FAIRLY TRADED

4. Aveda Pure Abundance Volumizing Hair Spray - I'm a bit fan of pump hair sprays as opposed to the traditional kind in a can. I'm not a fan of adding CFC's to the atmosphere and generally don't like inhaling all that product! My old favourite hairspray was the TIGI Love, Peace & The Planet Cherry Almond Hair Spray, but sadly that's been discontinued and I had to go on the search for another. There are definitely cheaper ones than this, but I've never given anything from Aveda a go and thought I'd throw my dollars to the wind and take a chance. This product features acacia extract to add mega volume to hair as well as strong hold. I'm a big fan! The big test for me is how well a spray holds my faux-hawk for 12 hours of partying and this surpassed all my expectations! The smell isn't the greatest, but then again I don't think anything will compare to the sweet scent of cherry marzipan from TIGI in the past *sheds tear*. If you want to spend the money, it's a great product. 

5. Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm - Ohhh sweet Moses. I'd heard every beauty blogger and their dog talk about this but I was very hesitant to part with £30+ for it. I think it retails for about £36, but Feel Unique have currently got it in their sale for 15% off here and I took the plunge. It is incredible; it really does deserve all the praise it has received. I take my makeup off with a cleansing oil, pat dry, then massage a bit of this into dry skin before removing with a flannel/muslin cloth. It is perfect for facial massage, cleansing and softening the skin, but equally removes make-up if you are happy to use it for that. I honestly don't think I can ever be without this from hence forth. Favourite. Cleanser. Ever. Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-8 Beeswax, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Sorbitan Stearate, Palmitic/Stearic Triglycerides, Limonene, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Silica, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Juniperus Virginiana Oil, Aqua (Water), Lecithin, Linalool, Butylene Glycol, Octyldodecyl PCA, Menthyl PCA, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Disodium Phosphate, Citronellol, Citric Acid, Geraniol, Citral.

The Best in Beauty Deals

If you're anything like me, you'll hate the mad mobs, claustrophobic crowds and hectic hysteria that is most shops this time of year. If you get in now, you can do the ordering online. Bye bye madness, long queues and aggravated shop assistants, hello warm feet, warm beverage and time with your loved ones on your days off!

Below are my top beauty discount websites and the great deals they've got going on:

FEEL UNIQUE - a classic. Feel Unique currently have a £10 discount when you spend £50 or more on Fragrance with code SCENT50. Plus, Christmas delivery guaranteed for the UK if ordered by the 18th of December.

SALON SKINCARE SALE - If you're lucky you'll find some of your favourites in the sale going on over at Salon Skincare!

LOOK FANTASTIC - You can currently save 15% if you buy 2 products over at Look Fantastic. Use code TWINKLE15. They also have 25% off 'must have' gift sets for Christmas.

HQ HAIR - Currently have 10% off on selected items with code PARTY10, as well as 20% off Kerastase, 50% off selected electricals and 25% off on electricals

BURT'S BEES - for the natural beauty babe, Burt's Bees currently have some amazing 'grab bag' deals that I personally would LOVE for Christmas!

L'OCCITANE - with limited free shipping and discounts on some incredible gift sets, this site is not to be missed!

Please share any other great deals you've found! I hope this spares some of you the aggravation of fighting an old lady over the last gift set in store!