Little LUSH haul #3

D’Fluff – Strawberry Shaving Soap – £5.75 / 75g 
I hate how my legs feel after shaving – dry and bumpy. I saw D’Fluff mentioned on milk bubble tea a few weeks ago and Becky said it made a huge difference for her so I thought I’d test it myself. 

I used this the day I got it and it does the trick. As soon as I got out of the shower it felt like I’d rubbed body butter into my legs, they felt really soft and hydrated and there was none of that horrible bumpiness.

No Drought – Dry Shampoo – £3.75 / 50g
I had no idea LUSH sold dry shampoo. Of course I had to discover this just after I’d bought dry shampoo from Superdrug. My closest LUSH store is about 30-40 minute drive away so as this lasts a few months I thought I’d pick some up while I was there. 

The great thing about this for me, as well as it being dry shampoo, is that it’s not an aerosol (Yay environment!) and because it’s a powder it won’t count as a liquid if you put it in your hand luggage like an aerosol dry shampoo would. 

Jumping Juniper – Shampoo Bar – £5.50 / 55g
I was having a nose at the shampoo bars and saw that this was for greasy hair. Occasionally I get a greasy patch at the back of my head that looks like something Frank Gallagher from Shameless would be proud of. Nice.

I’m impressed at how well it lathers up and cleans your hair. Anyone tried their solid conditioner bars? What are they like? 

What are your favourite LUSH products? 

LUSH – Dark Angels | Review

For the past few months all other cleansers have been pushed aside in favour of LUSH’s natural offerings. 

It’s fair to say that I’ve fallen pretty hard for LUSH and I’ve been impressed with all of their products I’ve tried so far.

Dark Angels is a charcoal and rhassoul mud based cleanser. 

It’s the thickest and driest of their cleansers I’ve tried so far and you need to make sure you add enough water and mix it in your hands thoroughly before applying it to your face.

It really does the trick and you can feel the charcoal exfoliating your skin. It leaves my skin looking clean, feeling soft and it makes light work of panda eyes!

I have oily / combination skin and it seems to suit my skin perfectly.  

For some reason, and I’m not sure why, this cleanser seems to be lasting longer than the other two I’ve used. (Bouche de Noel and Let The Good Times Roll.) I’ve been using it for a couple of months and I don’t think I’m even half way through the tub yet. 

If I can give you one tip about this product, it’s to make sure you take your time rinsing it off. I keep missing bits and ending up with a black strip on the side of my face or under my chin where I’ve missed bits. Oops. 

In short: A gentle exfoliating cleanser. 

Is it cruelty free? Yes, LUSH do not test on animals.

Price: £6.40 for 100g

Would I recommend / repurchase: I would both recommend and repurchase Dark Angels.

Which of LUSH’s cleansers should I try next, any recommendations for oily / combination skin? 


6 reasons why you should try reading contemporary fiction

Wikipedia says that contemporary novels are ‘literature with its setting generally after World War 2.’. That’s a wide scope so I like to think that contemporary is about realistic situations after WW2. 

Kind of like grown-up versions of Jacqueline Wilson books. I used to love those as a kid, anyone else? 

Up until a few months ago I’d never read a contemporary book because I thought they were boring, boy was I wrong. John Green came along and showed me the error of my ways and now I can’t get enough of this genre.

If you haven’t tried it yet, here are six reasons why I think you should give contemporary a go. 

It’s not boring
For some reason I got it in my head that contemporary was a boring genre. The thing I enjoy most about reading is escaping and ‘becoming’ another person and thought that meant a book had to be action packed.

Contemporary taught me that I was wrong and you can escape and ‘become’ an ordinary person, you don’t need to be leading a revolution. All you need is a well developed main character.  

They involve real life situations
I’m a people watcher, I see people and wonder what their life is like, so reading a book with a plot that is realistic in everyday life is enjoyable for me. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before back when I thought contemporary was boring. 

It’s relatable
Though you may not go through exactly the same circumstances and situations the main characters are, you can often relate to some of their feelings and situations so you can understand the characters pain, frustration, happiness etc. 

While I love a good dystopian, I can’t often relate. Take Divergent for example: I love that book but I can’t relate to being flirted with by a hot guy teaching me how to shoot, let alone a faction system. 

Eleanor & Park however is entirely relatable because it reminds you of how it feels to fall in love for to the first time. 

They’re usually easy reads
I’m yet to come across a contemporary novel that doesn’t have me hooked straight away. I seem to get through them much faster than any other genre and they’re so easy to read, which is great if you’re sat around waiting for someone / something or to read while relaxing. 

They do quiet people justice
Most of the contemporary books I’ve read have an introvert or a quiet person as the main character. I’m quite a quiet person around people unless I know them very well so I can relate to them. I can especially relate to characters who feel awkward around people. 

I like that contemporary shows that just because someone is introverted, quiet or socially awkward, it doesn’t mean they’re boring or not friendly. 

Contemporary novels have beautiful covers
I know, I know, you should never judge a book by it’s cover but I do. There are so many beautiful covers within the contemporary genre. I don’t know if that’s just me but I’ve never noticed so many covers I love in another genre. 

So not only will enjoy a good book but you’ll have a pretty bookshelf.

Have you tried contemporary fiction?

The Geography of You and Me – Jennifer E. Smith* | Review

Title: The Geography of You and Me
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Pages: 337 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Thanks for the ARC!)

Spoiler free review.

Description from Goodreads: ‘Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marvelling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so it reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.’

I read this book a few weeks back and I did write a review but it’s disappeared from my blog. Baaaad Blogger. 

From the first page, I was hooked and I got through The Geography of You and Me in about 24 hours. I finished it about three / four weeks ago and I still find myself pondering the story now.

I enjoy books that are based on real events. I remember the news footage for the East Cost blackout so it made it much easier for me to imagine it. It also makes it feel more realistic and like it could be someone’s story. 

The Geography of You and Me was told from alternating points of view, which I always enjoy as it allows you to get to know each character independently. 

The plot was sweet and it wasn’t just about the two main characters coming together, they each had their own issues, which made the story a bit deeper and meant the characters were highly developed.  

You all know by now that I like to feel what a characters feeling and this did that. I was reminded of the excitement and longing to see a person again. 

I’ve had a bit of a nose on Goodreads looking at some of Smith’s other books and I think it’s safe to say I’ll be picking up another one of her books sooner rather than later. 

In short: A well-written romance that reminds you what it’s like to fall in love. Would be a great bit of holiday reading. 

Price: £5.99 UK Kindle / £8.40 paperback on Amazon UK or The Book Depository (Price correct on 25/06/2014)

Would I recommend it: Yes, if you like YA romance stories with some substance, rather than being sappy, then you’ll enjoy this. 

5 out of 5 

* – I was given a free copy of this from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. 


We Were Liars – E. Lockhart | Video + Written Book Review

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 212
Categories: Young adult, contemporary, mystery, suspense.

First half of the review is spoiler free – second half contains spoilers.

Description from Goodreads: ‘A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends – the Liars – whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth.’

We Were Liars has only been out a few weeks but its already attracted a lot of attention and hype. Usually I stay away from books like that until the hype has settled but it was less than £2 on Kindle so I decided to give it a go.

The first part of this review will be spoiler free and the second half will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read We Were Liars I suggest you go into it not knowing much at all because that way it will have the biggest impact. 

Spoiler free review: 
I liked this book but I didn’t love it. The writing was good and it was slightly different in a way that I can’t quite explain, you have to read it to understand it. 

At just over 200 pages it was a pretty quick read and I was hooked, I couldn’t put it down and finished it off in 4 or 5 hours. 

The world building was good, I got a really good idea of what the island and the houses looked like. There was even a map at the front and a family tree to help you, which I thought was a nice touch. 

The suspense kept building throughout the entire book which kept me hooked and kept me trying to figure out what happened. The ending was shocking, when I read what happened all I could think was OH DAAAMN. I like being shocked by books. 

I didn’t guess the ending and when I’d finished the book I looked back on it and thought how did I miss that? 

When I bought this I had no idea what it was about, I thought maybe it was like a grown-up version of Swallows and Amazons or something. I think that’s the best way to go into the book because it shocks you and I don’t think you’d feel so shocked if you knew what it was about, so don’t ruin it for yourself! 

The more I think about this book the more I realise how clever it was and the more I like it. We Were Liars is one of those books that will stick with you and have you thinking about it for days 

In short: A mysterious and gripping book that packs a punch. 

Price: £1.79 on Kindle / £5.59 Paperback on Amazon

Would I recommend it: Yes

Rating: 4 out of 5 

Spoiler review up ahead! If you’ve not read the book yet, run away now! 
Okay now it’s just us folks who read it….WOW that ending. I had no idea about that at all. Once I read it though things clicked into place, like the other three not going to dinner with the rest of the family, other members of the family not talking about it because they don’t talk about death or their feelings and them not getting in touch with her after the incident. 

I did have a couple of issues with the ending – if Cady’s Mum was so overprotective why did she not realise her daughter was off talking to ghosts or herself all day everyday? And why was she okay with it? Or was she just not willing to approach the subject because they don’t talk about things like that? 

What was the swimming off like mermaids thing about? Were they ghosts or just in her imagination? Also their logic when setting the fire was ridiculous, set fire to your exit last, it’s not rocket science! 

The metaphors used throughout the book were a bit confusing at times. At the start she says that her Father shoots her but then they go and clear his stuff out of the house. I was thinking ‘What? Aren’t you gonna call an ambulance or at least put a plaster on that?’ and after re-reading it a few times I figured it must have been metaphorical. That was the first shock of the book. 

I really enjoyed the way that E. Lockhart built the suspense throughout the book and kept us guessing. I could not put it down, I love a book that makes you think and try to figure things out but no way did I come anywhere close to guessing the ending.

By the end of the book I didn’t feel like I knew Cady but I think that was deliberate because the Sinclairs are taught to suffer in silence and keep their feelings in. So even though she’s talking about something personal and horrifying, she’s still very guarded. 

The only character I cared about was Gat, oh and the dogs, those poor dogs. I couldn’t really understand why Gat wanted to go there each summer. He clearly saw how skewed their view of the world was so why on earth did he want to spend his summers with people like that? 

The family dynamics were interesting and I can believe it. In fact I think that whether you’re from a privileged family or not, you will probably experience or witness family members fighting over inheritance at some point in your life. 

Cady’s Grandfather was a nasty piece of work pitting his daughters against each other. Though they weren’t much better because they were getting their children to do their dirty work. 

I couldn’t quite understand why they were call ‘the Liars’, they didn’t really lie. I’m still a bit baffled by that one. 

We Were Liars may have been just over 200 pages long but E. Lockhart packed a lot into that book and it’s a story that’s going to stay with me for a while. 
What did you think about We Were Liars?

Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation in Porcelain | review

I’ve never found a liquid foundation that truly suits my combination skin, after trying elf’s mineral makeup earlier this year I decided to give Lily Lolo a go. 

I picked up Lily Lolo’s mineral foundation in Porcelain, the lightest shade out of the 17 they offer and it’s a perfect match for my skin.

It has a lockable sifter to stop you tipping too much product out when you use it and to stop the product going everywhere when it’s in your drawer or bag.

To use it you tip a small amount into the lid and swirl a kabuki brush in it, tapping off excess, and apply it to your face in a circular motion and build up layers as you see fit.

The coverage I would say is light to medium depending on how much you build it up. It doesn’t quite cover the reddest part of my cheeks but they aren’t visible when I wear bronzer / blusher anyway so that’s not an issue for me.

That being said, I will try a sample of Blush Away concealer to see if it helps.

The finished result is natural looking makeup that lasts and doesn’t leave my skin looking a bit shiny and cakey come the end of the day.

Towards the end of the day I notice that it starts to wear on my chin / nose and forehead but it lasts well on my cheeks. So if you have ‘normal’ skin you shouldn’t find that an issue.

It feels lightweight and when you touch your skin it doesn’t really feel like there’s anything there.

After over a week of wearing this I’d say mineral foundation suits my skin much better than liquid foundation. So if like me you have oily / combination skin, I recommend you give it a go. Lily Lolo do offer samples, so if you’re not convinced or not sure what shade to try you can test it out first.

In short: A lightweight mineral foundation that lasts throughout the day and gives me the coverage I need.

Is it cruelty free: Yes, Lily Lolo are BUAV approved and this product is vegan friendly.

Price: £13.49 for full size 10g tub.

Would I recommend it: Absolutely, I’m not sure I will go back to liquid foundation after using this.

Have you tried mineral foundation?


My favourite cruelty free beauty brands

When I first went cruelty free last year I felt overwhelmed. So many of the brands I loved were tested on animals and I was left wondering where I could find cruelty free brands on the high street.

Here are my favourite cruelty free brands.

Superdrug: All of Superdrug’s own brand products are cruelty free, which means you can get cruelty free hair dye, hair spray, face masks, shower gel and more. Result. 

Barry M: Cruelty free nail polish anyone? I’ve tried their eyeshadow and cheek palette and foundation also and it’s all really good. 

nSPA: Exclusive to ASDA, nSPA offer a great extensive and affordable range of skincare products, my favourite is their moisturiser. 

Sanctuary Spa + Soap & Glory: Both brands say they do not test on animals, so wahay for cruelty free high street shower, bath and pampering products.

LUSH: Before going cruelty free I’d never tried LUSH before but their skincare products are amazing and not that expensive really. For example a pot of their face cleanser is around £5 and lasts me two-three months. They also produce some great fragrances too, which are a bit tricky to come across at decent prices if you’re cruelty free. 

Elf: Another brand I hadn’t tried before going cruelty free. Their mineral foundation is great (a pot doesn’t last long though) and I love their blush. They have a massive range of really affordable products.

What is your favourite cruelty free brand?