UncommonGoods.Com – an unusual gift givers delight!

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My favourite item on the site so far – this set of four Agate Coasters – beautiful!

For those organised people who are already thinking about this year’s Christmas gifts – if you are stuck for ideas or fancy something really different this year then I have got a brilliant website for you!

I start my Christmas shopping really early, not just because I have so many people to buy for, but because I am not one of those people who leaves it until the last minute and then hits the stores with a massive list and basically grabs whatever is left on the shelves! I like to give each present I buy some significant thought to ensure I am buying something the person will love and either use regularly or treasure forever!

As the years go on it is becoming harder and harder to find such unusual gifts for people. Trends change really quickly and as soon as someone has introduces a great idea, it is not long afterwards that the market becomes flooded with copycat ideas and everyone ends up with one of these latest gifts or gadgets under the tree.

This is where Uncommon Goods comes in!

The website is an American website but they make it incredibly easy to shop online from the UK. All prices are quoted in Pounds sterling and all the duties and taxes are calculated at the checkout – so you know exactly how much something is going to cost and aren’t left with any outstanding fees surprises when the item is delivered! Uncommon Goods also keep the international shipping rates as low as possible so you aren’t stung on delivery costs which, on some websites I’ve used, end up costing more than the item itself!

I’ve spent lots of time searching through this brilliant website – there are hundreds and hundreds of amazing gifts to choose from, it was really hard to whittle it down to just a few but here are some of my favourites from the following Uncommon Goods collections:

Perfect Christmas gifts for her

I love this necklace which reads “do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and make a trail” because I first came across this quote on a plaque in Las Vegas at the New York New York hotel in 2009 – I loved it then and I’m so pleased I came across this!

Travel Stub Diary – ideal for storing tickets, maps, postcodes and any other memorabilia you’ve collected from those special places you’ve visited.

I LOVE snow globes – how beautiful is this cherry blossom snow globe?! My sister adores cherry blossom so she might find one of these hiding under the Christmas tree this year!

Bath salts are always a firm favourite – I love these Chakra bath salts in these bright cheerful colours!

How elegant is this wine tasting flight? Ideal for a girls night in to give guests the opportunity to sample different wines!

I’m not normally a fan of mugs but how cute are these little owl mugs?? I hosted a Harry Potter themed party recently – these would have been ideal for it!

Check out this amazing Elwood unicorn mug! There’s also a matching bowl! You can’t go too far wrong with anything unicorn themed as a present at the moment!

This woven wine tote with glasses is a great idea for picnics or even when just sitting in the garden – no more knocked or kicked over wine glasses when they are put safely back in this woven tote!

These cocoa butter truffles bathtub soaks look good enough to eat but you will have to settle with using them in a nice hot bath instead! Ideal for relaxing with during those cold winter months!

I love this set of three loofah scrubbers! The embedded loofah is made of dried gourd which is a natural skin polisher.

Perfect Christmas gifts for him

Check out this whiskey wedge! Simply make the “ice slope” from the mould to keep drinks cold but with minimal dilution.

This bottle loft is brilliant and definitely something hubby will be adding to the Christmas list! It looks really impressive and saves space too!

My father in law loves guitars and has built up quite a collection over the years so these coin guitar picks and guitar themed socks will probably end up in his stocking this Christmas!

Carrying on with the music theme – these two are great for music lovers! Check out the record clock and record bowls! There’s also a matching doormat if you’d prefer…

If you want to avoid having ice in your drinks altogether then these nautical whiskey stones are brilliant! Simply freeze them and add them to your drinks to keep them cool and prevent watered down drinks.

How unusual is this stone drinks dispenser?? I’ve never seen anything like it before! Probably why it appears on the UncommonGoods website though!

If food is more of a perfect gift for the man in your life, how about this brilliant beer jelly? It comes in a set of four preserves which are infused with craft beers!

Or these boozy Jonboy caramels? A set of three in absinthe, whiskey and fleur de sel flavours!

Perfect Christmas gifts for Mum

I was really looking forward to rifling through this section of the website because I love choosing special presents for my Mum!

I really love these birthstone wishing balls – each one comes with 52 slips of paper for you to write down your wishes, memories or accomplishments every week of the year! Coil them up and put them in the tiny hole near the base and they become a permanent part of the display! Stunning!

Continuing with the birthstone theme (this features a lot in my choices I’ve noticed!) is the birthstone jewellery dish – ideal for Mum’s dressing table!

I also love this Nordic tea light trough – really cosy looking and relaxing!

I love this molten sculptural bowl – probably more for myself than for someone else! The base is the root of a gamal tree and it can be used as anything from a vase to an unusual wine decanter. Absolutely beautiful and utterly striking.

I thought these wine cork candles were a brilliant idea! Really effective, they come in a pack of 12 to keep you going for a while.

How unusual is this real sugar maple leaf night light?? It is preserved in 24 karat antique gold so it retains its delicate shape and veins, and is stunning as an ornament in the day and a night light in the evening.

Sorry… birthstone related gifts again! But believe it or not these are SOAPS! Aren’t they great? They are all handmade and look just like gemstones, I would like one of each in my stocking please Santa!

My Mum loves her herb garden, and so these brass herb plant markers are a perfect present for her!

Or how about this slow brew iced tea maker?! A great idea if your Mum enjoys her iced teas whilst working in the garden!

 

If this hasn’t been enough to convince you, UncommonGoods also have a really admirable mission statement, and are working hard to make sustainability a key part of their business. They are constantly working to make UncommonGoods more environmentally friendly and more socially responsible.

Here are just some things UncommonGoods focus on as part of the everyday running of the business:

Handmade, Recycled and Organic Products –

“We’re committed to offering you a creative and exciting merchandise assortment and are working with our suppliers – from artists to small manufacturers – to make their products in a more socially and environmentally responsible manner. Since our founding, we’ve featured products that contain recycled components and have not sold products containing leather, feathers or fur – we’re committed to selling products that do no harm to people or animals.”

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

“We understand that by producing a catalog we use the earth’s resources. We try our best to minimize that impact by shifting more business online, limiting how many catalogs we mail, and printing our catalogs on either recycled paper (virtually all of which is from 30% post-consumer waste) or paper sourced from FSC certified forests (which are harvested in a sustainable manner).”

Better To Give

“Giving back is important to us and we want to share this passion with our customers. That’s why we created the Better to Give Program in 2001, which allows you to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation from us at checkout. UncommonGoods has donated over $1,000,000 since we created this program.” Learn more about this here

B Corporation

“UncommonGoods is proud to be a founding member of B Corporation, an organization created to help customers understand the social and environmental impact of their purchases. The B seal means that a company has met the standards outlined in a comprehensive screening questionnaire, which evaluates a company on issues ranging from providing a living wage, to lessening their impact on the environment, to giving back to the community.”

So as  you can see, they are a wonderful company to purchase from!

Happy shopping – I’m sure you will find some truly amazing gifts for your loved ones from UncommonGoods! I would love to hear from you about your fantastic finds! Don’t forget to sign up to their website – secret sales are available to their email subscribers only!

Lush Cosmetics – the jelly edition!

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Hello fellow Lushies!

I couldn’t wait to try the new jelly range from Lush and ordered all of the items as soon as they were released! The jelly masks are long-lasting and easy to store and transport because they don’t leak everywhere, and I couldn’t wait to try out this new found phenomenon known as the “jelly” bomb!

I actually used all the products a couple of months ago but had so many scheduled blogs, I’ve only just got round to publishing this one! Here’s what I thought of all the products in the new range –

Fomo Jelly Face Mask

Fomo was the first of the five new Lush jelly face masks I tried – no particular reason why I tried this one first, it was just the first one I grabbed out of my stash!

The main thing I love about these masks is that they are far more longer lasting than the other Lush face masks currently available – you soon find that the use by date on the fresh face masks comes around very quickly!

Fomo has been designed for all skin types and is ideal for those fans of the floral scented masks. The mask features calamine powder and rose absolute and a tiny bit of neroli to give it a little bit of sweetness. The calamine powder ingredient makes this mask ideal for people who have sensitive skin, as it acts as a calming ingredient. It is also ideal if your skin is suffering from a little bit too much time in the sun. The mask also contains kaolin clay, which is designed to absorb any excess oil.

To use the jelly masks, tear off a grape sized piece of the jelly (to be fair, I do use more than this as I like a nice thick mask) and work into a paste in the palm of your hands (with a tiny bit of water you wish) and then apply to your skin, leave on for 15 to 20 minutes and then wash away! Simple!

I found my skin was lovely and clean and smooth after using Fomo, and I am surprised at how many uses you can get out of a single 65g pot, I am estimating around 15! So very good value for money and of course, as they are long lasting masks, you don’t have to rush to use them up!

Dark Arts Jelly Bath Bomb

I couldn’t wait to try this! A new jelly style bath bomb named after Harry Potter! Brilliant! (Although after writing this blog, the name of this jelly bomb has now been renamed “Secret Arts” not “Dark Arts” – I assume there were issues copying the Dark Arts name!?)

These new jelly bath bombs feature an ingredient called sodium alginate, which is what causes the jelly like substance in your bath water. This ingredient is really rich in minerals and is known for its moisturising properties, so is an ideal ingredient to use in a bath bomb.

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Dark Arts has some of my favourite scents in it – cinnamon, orange oil and almond oil which create a really lovely warming scent. It’s a definite autumnal/Halloween style scent, and not a scent I would go for in the hot summer months!

As soon as it hits the water, Dark Arts begins to fizz away and thick black gloopy mounds begin to fill the bath. It didn’t take long to fully fizz away and before long the bath rather resembled an oil slick! Not joking!

As soon as you climb into the bath, the jelly like substance almost clings to your skin, but after you have been settled in the bath for a while, the jelly begins to dissolve. After around 15 minutes, all the jelly should be completely gone.

A word of warning – be careful when first stepping into the bath when using a jelly bomb as the base of the bath is VERY slippery!!

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Once I got out of the bath I was impressed at how soft and moisturised my skin was without it being greasy or oily! I have to admit I didn’t stay in the bath as long as I would have normally because I was worried about the black gloop staining our bath tub (we are moving out in a few weeks so I don’t think the new owners would have been best pleased!) I also didn’t feel comfortable washing my hair in the bath with a jelly bath bomb – I’m sure you understand why!

Due to its extremely dark colour, it did make a mess and leave marks in the bath tub which needed a good scrub, and you have to make sure it is all washed off your skin before wiping your skin with a towel – especially if you have white towels!

A very novel experience – it’s almost like a mud-bath style of relaxing – your skin feels really moisturised and hydrated afterwards but you don’t feel as clean and refreshed as you would do after a normal bath bomb experience in my opinion!!

Birth of Venus Jelly Face Mask

The Birth of Venus jelly mask sounds very exotic and contains fresh sea water, lavender, chamomile, frankincense and myrrh!

I found the lavender scent to be the most prominent in this mask, and the scent is one of my favourites so far. The mask left my skin soft and smooth and with a really lovely glow about it which I didn’t get with the other jelly masks. Some fellow Lushies have found this mask to make their skin quite oily, but as I have quite dry skin it seems to match my skin type perfectly. A couple of friends have used this mask and really loved it as well!

I came across a tip from a fellow Lushie which gave me some thought – she said to use a spoon to get the amount of face mask you need out of the pot (both jelly masks and normal masks) as this stops you adding bacteria to the pot and contaminating it! She said since she changed to using a spoon to get the product out of the pot she has found her Lush fresh face masks last a lot longer after their sell by date too – I’m definitely going to do this from now on!

The Big Sleep Jelly Bath Bomb

This was the second jelly bomb I tried and to be honest, after using the Dark Arts jelly bomb, I wasn’t too sure what to expect! The bath did take a lot of scrubbing after using that little rascal!

Anyway, although I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I am an insomniac, I do really struggle with sleepless nights and spending hours on end trying to wind down and relax and go off to sleep, so anything which helps me with this is a welcome addition!

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The Big Sleep jelly bath bomb is lovely smelling and contains scents of lavender, neroli, tonka and chamomile – its making me feel more relaxed just writing about those ingredients!

As you can see this jelly bomb is another fast fizzer, but didn’t seem to be as aggressive or “gloopy” as the Dark Arts jelly bomb had been – maybe it was because the colours are far more subtle? I did find, even after around 15 minutes, that not all of the bomb and the jelly had dissolved in the bath and they needed to be crumbled up to finish them off.

I did find that the jelly didn’t stick to me and need to be scrubbed off as much as it had with the Dark Arts jelly bomb, in fact it seemed there was less jelly in The Big Sleep. Again, maybe this is just due to the fact that the colours aren’t so obvious?

This jelly bomb is very moisturising and I did find the lovely scent of lavender and chamomile to be very relaxing. Did I have a better nights sleep that evening? Yes. Was it due to The Big Sleep jelly bomb? Not sure, but I would definitely buy it again regardless! I’ve already added a couple more to my Lush stash!

Bunny Moon Jelly Face Mask

Bunny Moon was the mask I was looking forward to using most, basically because it looks so pretty! An added dash of sparkle on top made it all the more appealing!

Bunny Moon contains honey which is antiseptic and moisturising at the same time. It also contains rose oil to help soothe and balance the skin and chamomile and marigold to calm. Throw in a dash of vanilla and I think I may have found my favourite smelling mask!!

I found Bunny Moon was easier to apply than a couple of the other masks (I found Just To Clarify quite grainy and difficult to work into a paste for example) and found it to be just the right amount of cleansing and moisturising. My skin felt amazing straight after removing the mask but this seemed to wear off after a couple of hours. Definitely one I would use again though – probably on a daily basis I think.

Green Coconut Jelly Bath Bomb

I’m not actually a big fan of coconut scented things but I was pleasantly surprised when the Green Coconut jelly bomb when it arrived. Coconut is the overall smell but it is much more subtle and is not over powering and gives off an almost musty smell. The bomb also contains cinnamon leaf oil and lemongrass, however it does not have any kind of a citrusy aroma about it.

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This jelly bomb fizzes immediately but in my opinion slightly more slowly than the Dark Arts jelly bomb. It is not long until thick green blobs of jelly are floating across the surface of the water. I found that Green Coconut didn’t give off as much jelly as the other two, and I also found that Green Coconut and The Big Sleep take a lot longer to dissolve, and the last remaining chunk needs to be crushed up to dissolve it all.

I cannot state this enough – please be careful stepping into the bath – the bottom of the bath is SO slippery! I guarantee it won’t be long until someone has a bad slip on this stuff, and it catches me off guard every single time, even after using the third jelly bomb!

As with the other jelly bombs, when you step into the bath the jelly sticks to your skin and you can feel how moisturising it is. After around 15 to 20 minutes, all of the jelly has completely dissolved and you are left with a lovely green “slimer” coloured water which feels incredibly moisturising and is not at all oily! Plus this jelly bomb didn’t leave any mess in the bath, unlike the Dark Arts bomb. This one is a very close second favourite after The Big Sleep jelly bomb!

1000 Millihelens Jelly Face Mask

Another lovely jelly face mask but I am not a fan of the smell of this one as it contains witch hazel which I am not keen on! Each to their own though – my sister loved the smell of this mask!

I was looking forward to trying this one as although I am not keen on the witch hazel smell, it is well known for soothing irritated skin. As an added bonus it also contains kaolin clay to remove grease and green tea to detox the skin. To top it all off it contains lemon oil to brighten the skin – a brilliant all rounder really!

After using it I found my skin to be smooth and soft and a little dry to start off with, but after around an hour my skin felt even better than it had when I had first washed the mask off. This is definitely a mask I would use again but probably not on a regular basis purely because I dislike the smell! I wouldn’t find it relaxing wearing a facemark which I don’t like the smell of!

Marmalade Jelly Bath Bomb

I had to wait a long time to get my hands on this one as it wasn’t released at the same time as the other jelly bombs – I had heard this was due to Lush having problems obtaining one of the ingredients they required to make the bombs but how true this is and what ingredient it was they couldn’t get hold of I really don’t know.

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This was the one I was most looking forward to trying because it has grapefruit and orange oils in it and I really love citrusy smells, but I can’t explain how disappointed I was when it arrived and this was before I had even got it out of the box!

The smell is really hard to explain and, in all honesty, is not very nice. I could smell it before I even opened my Lush delivery! It isn’t citrusy at all although you can detect the scent of orange flower, however it is very bitter and far too potent for my liking. So much so in fact that I wasn’t looking forward to bathing in it at all!

It was a shame I didn’t like the smell because I think it was actually the best performing bath bomb of all of them – it was a fast fizzer which left lots and lots of lovely moisturising jelly. It did however leave quite a few hard chunks which I couldn’t even crumble up and had to be thrown away which did seem a bit of a waste.

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Despite the weird smell, Marmalade was very moisturising and left my skin feeling lovely and soft. Would this be enough to persuade me to buy another one and to try and ignore the smell? No, I am afraid not. Always the way – the one you look forward to the most ends up being the most disappointing!! The worst smelling Lush product I have come across I am afraid!!

Just to Clarify Jelly Face Mask

Forget the smell of all the others – this scent is my absolute favourite! This one is a lovely citrusy mask containing Enzymic papaya juice to brighten, Bamboo stem to exfoliate, Grapefruit and bergamot oils to lift your mood and finally Fresh orange juice to perk you up!

When rubbing this one into a paste I did find this one to be far more gritty than the others I had tried – I didn’t find anything wrong with this, it was merely an observation, and to be honest the texture being slightly grainy only made me think what a great exfoliant it would be.

Absolute favourite mask out of the five new jelly masks – my skin felt cleansed and refreshed and revitalised after using it – I love citrusy scents, this would be an ideal mask for first thing in the morning to perk you up and get you ready for the day!

So to sum up my jelly products experience, out of the jelly bombs my favourite is the Big Sleep (which I have already bought several times), followed by Green Coconut, Dark Arts and Marmalade. I would probably buy all of them again at some point, apart from Marmalade!!

Out of the jelly masks, my favourite is Just to Clarify, followed closely by Birth of Venus, Bunny Moon, Fomo and 1000 Millhelens.

I really enjoyed using all the jelly products despite my concerns that they would just be a gimmick and not as good quality as the existing Lush range, but although there aren’t any jelly products which are my absolute favourites over the existing Lush products, there are several from this range which I would definitely buy again! Give them a try and let me know what you think!

When in Rome…

I have always wanted to visit Rome, it is definitely another place I need to re-visit so I can spend more time exploring (and to take better quality photos than the last time I went!)

It was only when I was researching Rome to write my blog that I realised how much I had missed during my short trip. I think, unlike other places in Italy like Venice and Florence, it is partly due to the fact that many of the attractions are quite a distance apart, and not within walking distance of each other. Here’s some of the amazing places I visited during my time in Rome –

The Colosseum

The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city. It is built of concrete and sand and is the largest amphitheatre ever built. It is certainly very impressive to look at! Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72, and was completed in AD 80 under his successor, Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81–96). These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named in Latin for its association with their family name (Flavius).

The Colosseum is estimated to be able to hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. It was originally used for gladiatorial contests and other public spectacles, however it ceased to be used for entertainment purposes during the early medieval era.

It is easy to see why the Colosseum is one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions! 

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Arch of Constantine

I can’t believe I took such an awful photo and didn’t get in a better position so the arch wasn’t blocked by the trees! I’m so annoying sometimes!

The Arch of Constantine was built on the order of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, in 315 AD. The arch was built to honour the victory of Constantine following the Battle of Milvian Bridge that took place in 312 AD.

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The Domus Augustana

The Domus Augustana is the modern name for the so-called domestic wing of the Roman Palace of Domitian (92 AD) on the Palatine Hill.

This was the principal residence of the emperors in the city from the late first to the third centuries A.D.

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Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is a beautiful fountain in the Trevi district which was designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. Standing just over 26 metres high and 49 metres wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.

In January 2013, it was announced that the Italian fashion company Fendi would sponsor a 20-month, 2.2-million-euro restoration of the fountain – the most thorough restoration in the fountain’s history. Restoration work began in June 2014 and the fountain was reopened on the evening of November 3, 2015. The restoration included the installation of more than 100 LED lights to improve the night time illumination of the fountain – the main reason I want to re-visit Rome is to see the results of these amazing restorations! I bet the night time photos of the fountains with these LED lights will be spectacular! 

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Vatican City

Vatican city (Citta del Vaticano) was built over the tomb of Saint Peter and is the smallest state in the world.

Inside the Vatican city you can find 11 Vatican Museums which include Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Gardens – a place full of large and small gardens, fountains, a fish pool and an enclosure for rabbits!

Arguably the most important building in Vatican City is –

St Peter’s Basilica

The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, more commonly known as St. Peter’s Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church designed by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and one of the largest churches in the world. 

Catholic tradition claims that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, one of Christ’s Apostles and also the first Pope – Saint Peter’s tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the Basilica. Construction of the present basilica, which replaced the Old St. Peter’s Basilica from the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

St. Peter’s is famous for its public worship functions, especially those attended by the Pope. These events have been known to attract audiences of between 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Basilica or the adjoining St. Peter’s Square.

St. Peter’s is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of Major Basilica – all four of which are in Rome!

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The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel was top of my list of the places to see when we visited Rome but the queues were so long we just didn’t have the time to fit it in so I was really disappointed. I do hope to see this beautiful creation one day!

The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope. The fame of the Sistine Chapel lies mainly in the Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michaelangelo between 1508 and 1512, and particularly “The Last Judgment” which was painted between 1535 and 1541.

Many people visit Rome for a long weekend but after doing all my research I don’t think a weekend is long enough to see everything that this amazing place has to offer! Definitely one for the “re-visit” list  – I’ll have to ask hubby if he fancies paying a visit!

Addicted to Lush Take Three!

Hello fellow Lush cosmetic fans!

The Lush cosmetics experiments and reviews continue! Here’s the latest batch of products I’ve been sampling over the last few weeks –

Sex Bomb Bath Bomb

This was the first bath bomb I ever tried from Lush – my friend bought me one for my birthday a few years back and I have been a fan of the Sex Bomb bath bomb ever since!

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This lovely bath bomb is a swirly combination of pink and purple, with a lovely pink rice paper rose in the top. It contains jasmine which helps ease stress and ylang ylang and clary sage. It also contains soya milk which has soothing and conditioning properties for the skin.

Not a very strong bath bomb, Sex Bomb is a slow and gentle dissolver which creates beautiful pink swirls and releases the rice paper flower which floats around the water. I love the smell of this bath bomb and would buy it again for the scent alone, although I don’t find it very moisturising when compared to some of the other bath bombs.

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A lovely relaxing and calming bath bomb – ideal for a cosy night in and one I would definitely buy again!

Avobath Bath Bomb

This lovely bomb has a very strong lemongrass-bergamot citrusy scent. It also contains rosewood oil, gardenia extract, real mashed up avocado and olive oil, meaning it’s fantastic for dry skin. If, like me, you hate covering yourself with oils and creams to moisturise, then this is the perfect bath bomb for you!

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The scent is lovely and uplifting and perfect for the summer months. The bath water changes to a pretty shade of green with tiny gold glitter flecks which shimmer on the surface. 
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This lovely little bomb leaves your skin feeling very refreshed and hydrated and I really loved the strong citrusy smell. Even better – it’s one of the best bath bombs you can get for moisturising!

Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub

The price of the Rub Rub Rub shower scrub (£8.95) did put me off buying it for a while, as it is only sold in 330 gram pots which I thought I would end up getting through in 2 showers!

It is a product which contains sea-salt (for exfoliating) and lemon juice (for cleansing). The fragrance is a combination of mimosa and orange flower absolute.

It leaves your skin feeling silky smooth and incredibly soft and has a surprising cooling effect on the skin. You can use it gently whilst in the shower or use it on dead or dry skin before you have a shower and then hop in the shower to wash it off.

Some people aren’t fans of the smell of Rub Rub Rub shower scrub and I do have to admit the smell is rather reminiscent of toilet cleaner, but isn’t off putting or horrible in any way! The smell certainly grows on you, and even if you aren’t a big fan, it is worth putting up with the unusual smell as it is a fantastic exfoliator! You can actually feel the lemon juice tingling on your skin (and sometimes stinging slightly if you leave it on for too long!) as you rub it in!

I was pleased to discover that the 330 gram pot lasts a surprisingly long time and I have so far slathered myself in the stuff for four or five uses and reckon I’ve still got another use left in the pot. I will definitely be buying more – one thing I will say is that I have found I have used it more when I’m in the bath rather than the shower – I like to apply it and leave it for a couple of minutes to work its magic before washing it off and it is far harder to do this whilst under running water in the shower as most of the product gets washed down the plughole!

French Kiss Bubble Bar

I really love lavender scented products so was really looking forward to using this!

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Ok so I have been trawling through Instagram far too much but what all the other “Lushie’s” do with bubble bars is cut them up and crumble them, store them in a small airtight container and then use them a little bit at a time. The bubble bars don’t look much when they are all crumbled up but you can easily get three or four bubble filled baths out of one bar! If you are feeling particularly indulgent, of course you can crumble the entire bubble bar under the running bath water!

The bath is very soon filled with mounds of lavender scented bubbles and the water becomes a lovely shade of purple.

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The bubble bar is made with lavender oil, a hint of rosemary, thyme, and coconut oil, however the smell is predominately lavender  – ideal for helping you to relax and get off to sleep after a long stressful day. A lovely bubble bar which I will be adding to my regular purchase list! Anything which helps me nod off after a hard day at work is very welcome at the moment!

Golden Egg Bath Bomb

This was part of Lush’s Easter range and I loved the look of it so I ordered a few online. Unfortunately when they arrived I unpacked the box of goodies and the glitter from these golden egg bath bombs was EVERYWHERE. I got them out of the box to put them away safely and again got glitter EVERYWHERE. After that I must admit I was put off using them as I had an image of the bath tub being absolutely covered in glitter and needing a good clean afterwards which I couldn’t be bothered to do!

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This bomb is unique in a way because it is part bath bomb, part bath melt. Underneath the top shell of thick golden glitter is another shell of cocoa butter with orange oil which melts away into a lovely yellow foam when it’s submerged in the bath water. Once the middle is exposed, a thick white foam is revealed which mixes with the yellow, resulting in golden yellow shimmery bath water.

Although not at all a fan of the over the top glitter this bath bomb contains – it does give off a lovely warming syrupy scent which is very long lasting. Lush do warn that because this is part bath melt, you may find your bath bomb sink to the bottom of the bath due to it’s weight, so don’t think you have a dud if yours does this!

I’m a big fan of the scent and how moisturising it is but not the design – the glitter really is just crazy! I was pleased however that the majority of the glitter did just disappear along with the bath water, with only a small amount of glitter left at the bottom of the bath tub which was easily washed away with just water – no hours of scrubbing the bath as I had expected after all!!

Experimenter Bath Bomb

The bomb I used for these pictures was actually an Easter special version of Experimenter, known as Eggsperimenter, and it is MASSIVE! Yay!

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It’s a lovely looking bath bomb – a bomb consisting of vivid blue, pink, purple, white and gold colours! One of its key ingredients is vetivert oil. Vetivert is a tall grass with long and thin leaves which is found growing in places such as India, Java and Tahiti. Vetivert oil is obtained from the dried, chopped roots and rootlets of the Vetiveria zizanoides plant and therefore provides a smoky earthy kind of scent in this bath bomb. To even out this strong scent, vanilla absolute and tonka also feature.

The Experimenter is a loud fizzer and provides an amazing visual display of colour – vivid blue, yellows, pinks and greens all swirl to form a beautiful blanket of colour in the bath water. There’s also popping candy thrown in for added effect!

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Once the bomb has dissolved, the bath water is left a slightly disappointing grey colour but, in hindsight, with such a variety of colours contained in the bomb – I can’t see what other colour the water could possibly end up! If you are after a fantastic firework display of a bath bomb then this is the one for you!!

Blue Fun Bar

Fun bars are a squidgy versatile product (like play-dough) which can be used as a bubble bar, shampoo, shower gel, soap and you can even shave with it!

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Fun Bars consists of several different colours and flavours – Blue (lavender scent), Pink (Vanilla and Sweets flavour), Purple (Blackcurrant/Blackberry smell), Green (Lemon and Lime flavour), Red (Mandarin and Orange flavour), Orange (Orange Flavour) and Yellow (Vanilla flavour).

It is recommended that you break a bit off the fun bar to use a bit at a time, and keep the remainder somewhere cool so it doesn’t “melt”. I must admit, I use mine just like a bubble bar – pull off a chunk and crumble it under running water and soon your bath is full of lovely bubbles, an amazing scent and beautifully coloured bath water.

The third Fun Bar I tried was the Blue one – I was very disappointed with the pink fun bar but really liked the scent of the purple one. This one, I am afraid to say, is akin to the pink one in that the scent of it is incredibly weak. It is supposed to smell of lavender but I really couldn’t detect this at all! Still, it filled the bath with lots of lovely fluffy bubbles so all was not completely lost! I’m afraid this is another fun bar I will be scrapping from the regular list….in fact, I am not overly fussed on any of the Fun Bars so far so don’t think I will be investing in any more. A good idea but just not my bag baby!

My next blog on Lush products will be at the end of the month where I will be reviewing the newly released “jelly” range! Looking forward to trying these out!

Painswick Rococo Garden

We live literally down the road from this beautiful place but have only this weekend got round to visiting it! I visited here around 13 years ago when member of my husbands family got married but didn’t have the opportunity to explore it properly.

We thought about visiting after a a report was shown on the news that it was the time of the year where their famous snowdrops make an appearance. They tell you when they are all in bloom to keep a look out for the particularly tall Galanthus Atkinsii which was discovered in the 1800’s by an estate worker.

So what is Rococo? A style of art and architecture originating in France and and Italy in the early 1700’s, rococo was a development of the baroque.

The Garden’s restoration was led by Lord and Lady Dickinson and started in 1984, at which point it was a wilderness of trees and brambles. The Garden became a charitable trust in 2012.

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We visited on a Saturday and arrived at around midday. It was already rather busy by this time but we didn’t have to wait long to get tickets. Tickets are £6.20 per adult but if you choose gift aid entry tickets they are £7 each and Painswick Rococo Garden can claim much more tax back from the government if you choose this option.

They provide you with a map when you buy your tickets but to be honest you don’t need it. You follow the walk paths around the gardens and along the way you come across the following:

Eagle House

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Beech Walk and Gothic Alcove

Snowdrop Grove

Fish Pond

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Bowling Green

Plunge pool

Kitchen Garden

Maze

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and finally; the Red House which is where wedding ceremony’s are hosted.

I’ve seen mixed reviews about the on site cafe at Rococo Garden – we were willing to give it a try but it was jam-packed from the time we arrived until the time we left (which must be a good thing I suppose!) so we didn’t get the chance to try it on this occasion.

Overall a very nice day out which gets you out in the open air and gives you the opportunity to take some lovely photos. We all said when we were there that its the type of place which you could visit several times a year and it would be completely different dependant on the season.

Another thing I thought was brilliant was they hold events such as an Easter Trail and Shakespeare performances of As You Like It (30th June 2017 and 1st July 2017) and A Midsummer Nights Dream (21st July 2017). I really think my sister and I will come back for the Midsummer Night’s dream performance!

Find out more information about visiting Painswick Rococo Garden and the events they have on here.

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Sugar Bear Hair Vitamins – worth the investment?

***UPDATE 25/07/2017***

Thank you so much to Sugar Bear Hair who have sent me some free Sugar Bear Hair tablets to thank me for writing this blog and sharing my experience with everyone – this just makes me love this company even more!!!

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Freebies!!

One thing many people know about me is the fact that I really hate my hair – I’m never satisfied with its length or colour, it’s ridiculously thin and poker straight and I am completely useless at styling it. The most I can really manage is tying it into a ponytail for the gym so for the vast majority of the time I basically wear it down, and straight. How boring! Throw in several years of dye, bleach and incredibly hot GHD straighteners and the result is damaged, thin, dead hair which breaks off or falls out in clumps!

I considered having hair extensions, not necessarily for the added length but more for volume and thickness. Thing is I know I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the expense or the upkeep and I would be worried about the long term damage hair extensions would cause to my already thin and delicate hair!

I’ve tried my best to restore my hair and to try and reverse some of the years of damage by using expensive shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, leave in treatments and oils.. you name it, I’ve tried it!! All except hair vitamins…

I first came across Sugar Bear hair tablets on Instagram after seeing them advertised by Kylie Jenner. I regularly come across a wide variety of products along the same lines – products with bright, colourful adverts which make a multitude of promises about what the product can do, and urging you to purchase them as soon as possible! Some of these companies even make you sign up to regular subscriptions, and the majority of these companies often end up with very bad reviews – with examples of money being taken from bank accounts without authorisation, refunds being un-actioned and money back guarantees not being worth the paper they are written on.

I’m not usually taken in by most of the latest fads – unfortunately I’m one of those people who has invested in products in the past only to be disappointed to find they are a complete waste of money, but after seeing repeated adverts for Sugar Bear Hair tablets, one of the first things I noticed was how responsive their customer services representatives were to Facebook and Instagram comments and questions. Unlike some products I have looked into before, there were no negative comments appearing about either the product or the customer service that customers had received, which was definitely a good start!

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The Sugar Bear Hair tablets promise to “give you everything you need to grow the healthiest, longest hair possible”, they do this by:

  • Growing longer and stronger hair
  • Nourishing your hair from within
  • Improving overall health
  • Increasing hair strength
  • Improving hair elasticity
  • Stopping hair breakage

They also improve the strength and shine of your nails. The vitamins are gluten free, gelatine free, soy free and are suitable for vegetarians. They contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin B-6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Iodine, Zinc, Choline, Inositol, as the active vitamins and minerals. The gummies are made with real berries, coconut oil, and a dash of sugar. A full list of ingredients and why they are used in the vitamins can be found here.

The gummies are shipped Worldwide, are suitable for both genders and all hair types and have no side effects.

In the Sugar Bear Hair store they have three sets of products available;

  • One months supply of vitamins (60 tablets) for $29.99
  • Three months supply of vitamins (180 tablets) for $82.99 (normally $89.97). The three month supply also comes with a free Sugar Bear Hair bamboo hairbrush.
  • Six months supply of vitamins (360 tablets) for $161.99 (normally $179.94). The six month supply also comes with a free Sugar Bear Hair bamboo hairbrush and a Sugar Bear Hair makeup bag.

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International shipping from the US to the UK starts at $10 for standard delivery and increases to $20 for DHL delivery. Remember that the prices and shipping are all quoted in dollars, so make sure you calculate what the costs will be in your own currency  before you order if you are ordering outside of the U.S.

They do offer a repeat subscription service which you can opt out of if you just want the one off order, but otherwise they will send you a new bottle of vitamins every 30 days.

I began by ordering a months worth to try them – they do say you should start noticing the difference to your hair after this time. The suggested amount of vitamins is two per day so I followed this dosage for a month.

After just the first month I already started to notice a difference. My hair began to get thicker and I had far less breakage when I was brushing it. I also noticed that I had a lot less hair fall than usual and I noticed a difference in how quickly my eyelashes, eyebrows and nails were growing too! Some customers have said they don’t experience the improvement in eyebrows and eyelash growth whereas others have so it must vary from person to person, as I am sure most products do.

Before even finishing my first months supply I had decided that I wanted to continue to use the vitamins, however I was concerned about the price of them going forward, as a bottle a month would work out to be quite expensive.

I decided to order a six months supply (with which I did receive a free makeup bag and hairbrush) but instead of taking the recommended dose of two vitamins a day I decided I would halve this and take one vitamin a day. This meant that each bottle would last me two months instead of one and the six month supply I had ordered would actually last me a whole year.

I have been taking the vitamins for over three months now – one month with two tablets a day and the remaining months at half the recommended dose of one tablet a day. After three months my hair is stronger and shinier and is growing quicker and thicker than it ever has before. My hair always needed a trim when I visited the hairdressers every eight weeks but in the first three months I took the tablets my hair grew a total of six inches! That’s at least three times quicker than my hair was growing before!

The extra proof to me was one morning when I tried to tie my hair up ready for a morning’s gym session – I hate wearing my hair up so hardly ever do it, but normally when I do, a standard hair bobble will tie round my hair four times until it is tight enough so that it wont come loose. On this occasion, and since then, I have only been able to tie my same hair bobbles around my hair three times, which shows the difference in thickness that the tablets have made to my hair!

I also found my hair to be far shinier than normal, and have actually stopped using conditioner altogether because the tablets seem to give my hair enough shine. I haven’t noticed a huge difference to the overall condition of my hair other than the shine, but then I can’t expect miracles if I am using an incredibly hot pair of straighteners every single day!

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Overall, I highly recommend Sugar Bear Hair tablets and would class them as a very good quality product. I would suggest doing as I have done and ordering just a months supply to start with to see how you get on. If you have friends who want to try them at the same time you might want to order the three or six month packs to get the individual bottles and the shipping slightly cheaper than you would if you were ordering just one pack for yourself.

Any further questions about the product or shipping etc, Sugar Bear Hair customer services can be contacted by email on hello@sugarbearhair.com.

Follow Sugar Bear Hair on Instagram here.

P.S when I visited their site today and added my email address to be sent the Sugar Bear Hair newsletter they allowed me to download this really useful guide on how to grow longer and stronger hair! Find the guide here. There’s some brilliant hints and tips, great hairstyles and even hair mask recipes in this guide – check it out!

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