Five Great Uses for Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm

NYR Limited Edition Wild Rose Beauty BalmA couple of weeks ago I popped along to a Neal’s Yard Remedies event in Bristol, to celebrate Organic Beauty Week. I’m a big NYR fan already so I was keen to hear more about their involvement with Organic Beauty Week and NYR Organic, the home-selling arm of the brand. Essentially a pamper party where you can enjoy testing out NYR’s products in your own home, for organic beauty fans this sounds like pretty much the perfect night in!

After the event we were very kindly given a 10th anniversary limited edition pot of the brand’s infamous Wild Rose Beauty Balm to take home. The balm is the brand’s number one selling product and it’s one I’ve been meaning to try for positively yonks.

The reason Wild Rose Beauty Balm appeals to me is that it is incredibly multipurpose. In the same way that coconut oil is getting a lot of press at the moment for its numerous beauty properties, this balm also acts as several beauty products in one beautifully designed pot.

NYR Organic Bristol event
Above: Roses and scented candles enhance the pampering atmosphere, Lily gets treated to a mini facial, lots of Neal’s Yard Remedies goodies

Here are my favourite uses for Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm…

A decadent moisturiser 

Ideal for dry-skinned girls like myself, a pea sized amount of balm makes for a rich moisturiser for the face, neck and décolletage. When rubbed between fingertips the balm changes from a solid to an almost oily consistency making it perfect for soothing dry skin.

A gentle exfoliator 

Each pot of balm comes with a muslin cloth, and when used together with a little warm water, the combination makes a great substitute for bead-based exfoliators, especially if you use the muslin cloth to massage the balm off in small, circular motions.

An overnight mask

A 20p piece size of balm massaged into the face and neck makes for a simple overnight face mask. The scent of roses and high volume of organic oils (including rosehip, geranium and patchouli) are very relaxing and I’ve found that I sleep better when I apply this mask an hour before bed.

An organic make-up remover

If I’ve worn a lot of eye make up I’ll take that off first using a micellar water, but the Wild Rose Beauty Balm makes a great alternative to harsh cleansers and make up removers, dissolving foundation and leaving skin feeling clean and soft – not stripped and dry.

A lip buffer

A teeny tiny amount of balm worked into the lips using a soft toothbrush makes for a lip scrub and lip balm in one. Do this once a week to keep lips soft and free of dry skin.

Have you tried Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Balm? If so, do you have any other uses for it?

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A Rather Red A/W Style Challenge with Cabot Circus

Red acrylic sunglasses and beehiveThere’s nothing quite like a style challenge to kick off a new season in, well, style. This weekend I hit the shops then shot this look at one of my favourite Bristol destinations, the harbourside.

When Cabot Circus asked me to pick and style my favourite A/W14 trend, I knew immediately which look to interpret. Red is one of the key colours of the new season and it just so happens to be one of my favourite colours, but to wear it can be quite daunting to pull off from head to toe.

Although I did (and still do) dream of owning an Erdem S/S11 Margot dress, a much easier way to adopt this trend is to look for muted colours from the same family, such as wine, oxblood and burgundy, or wearing red accessories and patterns, as I’ve done here.

Co-ords from Mango Cabot CircusThese checked shorts and matching tunic top are both from Mango and the boxy, double zip bag is from Accessorize. The customer service in Mango was faultless when my friend Hannah and I hit the shops on Saturday, with the sales assistant even steaming the shorts when I spotted a large crease in them.

I decided to pair my outfit with these white brogues which I’ve been getting so much use out of recently, and you can’t rock the red trend without wearing a red lip. My favourite shade of the moment is MAC’s Ruby Woo, which I picked up on holiday in San Francisco earlier this year. The beehive is a hairstyle I’ve been having a stab at recently, though it does have a nasty habit of showing off my desperately-in-need-of-a-dye roots, oops!

This weekend (27th and 28th September) Cabot Circus are hosting their seasonal Fashion Fix, a two-day celebration of the high street trends we’ll be craving this autumn. Visit their website to nab yourself a pair of VIP tickets and find out how you can win £50 to spend after the show.

Navy and red check shorts and top – both c/o Mango, Cabot Circus / Red box bag – c/o Accessorize, Cabot Circus / Red sunglasses – a pound shop (!) / White brogues – Matalan

Bristol harbour at sunsetRed co-ords ootdSails on Bristol HarbourRed sunglasses and red lipstickRed Accessorize handbag and white broguesCranes on Bristol Harbourside

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Beauty Bits: The Somerset Toiletry Co.

Somerset Toiletry CoIt’s always lovely discovering a local independent company, designer or shop, and it’s what makes living in Bristol so brilliant. In the West Country we have the quaint and quirky cafes and restaurants of Bath, the longest independent high street in the country in Bristol and in Somerset there is The Somerset Toiletry Co.

Established at the turn of the millennium, The Somerset Toiletry Co. have been turning out perfumes, potions and creams for the likes of Laura Ashley, Anthropologie and Zandra Rhodes for the last 15 years. As well as this, the company also produce their own products, with the aim of using the finest ingredients at a non-eye bulging cost to the consumer.

To celebrate the launch of their new website, the team kindly sent me some goodies to try and I’ve picked out a couple of my favourites to share with you.

Laura Ashley pepermint lip balmLaura Ashley Garden Peppermint Oil Lip Balm

Mint is a scent that I’m getting into more as I get older. I used to hate mint flavoured anything growing up, but I’ve recently been enjoying several minty beauty products, including this lip balm. I’m a sucker for pretty looking beauty products (who isn’t?) so this little pot will blend in nicely on my dressing table chest of drawers. A little goes a long way but the oils in this balm feel nourishing and refreshing.

Naturally European Verbena Hand Cream

I always seem to race through hand cream and keep one on my desk at work, in my handbag and on my beside table at home. This one is made in England and free from parabens which makes it a winner for me. The shea butter makes it feel rich and like it’s actually doing something (unlike the Soap & Glory Hand Food that’s currently sitting on my desk) and it soaks in like a dream – there’s nothing worse than a product that just sits on your skin, is there? The size of the tube is huge (£6.95 for 75ml) but this does mean that this cream isn’t travel-friendly so it’s going to brighten up my desk at work.

The Somerset Toiletry Company, Kins Lane, Clutton Hill Farm Estate, Clutton, BS39 5QQ.

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Bike Rides and Bacon Butties

vintage cross stitch white blouseHasn’t the spate of warm dry weather been rather lovely? It’s stopped me from browsing all the A/W clothes that have hit the shops and I haven’t even looked at a pair of tights since May – proof if proof were needed that summer is still clinging on, in Bristol at least.

One of my favourite weekend pastimes when the weather is good is to cycle along the Bristol to Bath cycle path with Mr Ship-Shape. One day I’ll make it all the way there and back (a round trip of about 34 miles) but for this trip we settled on cycling out to Warmley, where an old station platform has been transformed into a small cafe serving tea, cake and bacon butties. It’s a brilliant and incredibly popular rest stop, especially now that a garden has opened out the back, which includes a public loo disguised as Doctor Who’s tardis…

This blouse is vintage, a new purchase that I found in RePsycho on Gloucester Road. It’s made of white cheesecloth and is covered in a cross stitched pattern of red, green and pale blue lines. It was only £10, and while it was probably owned by a hippy from Stroud, I like to think it could have been worn in 60s San Francisco during the Summer of Love.

As a side note, I’ve started using Photoshop to edit my photos and have been playing around with Actions in my last few posts. I’m wondering if a) you’ve noticed (which could be for good or bad reasons) and b) if there are any free actions you use/have used that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Embroidered cheesecloth blouse – RePsycho / Indigo shorts – clothes swap / White plimsoles – c/o Toast / Sunglasses – Primark (old)

Ebroidered cheescloth vintage blouseRelaxing in the sun at WarmleyPurple flower beds at WarmleyWhite embroidered blouse and denim shortsCake and bike helmetsBumble bee having a tasteLife is good cycle signA summer cycling outfitBikes at Warmley rest stop

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5 Modern Feminist Books to Add to Your Reading List

Modern feminist booksI used to think that feminist books involved academia and Germaine Greer, but over the last year I’ve read some fantastic books with a feminist slant from columnists, comedians and CEOs. Here are some of my favourite modern feminist books that should be on every girl’s bookshelf…

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Hand on heart, I’m a serious Caitlin fangirl. I even saw her on tour earlier this summer, queuing for an hour to meet her and babbling away as she defaced the cover of my copy of this book with felt-tip moustache. When How to Be a Woman came out in 2011 I grabbed the first copy I could find a read it within a week. Part autobiographical, part feminist manifesto, the book covers porn, motherhood and abortion with the wit and silliness that anyone familiar with Caitlin’s columns for The Times have come to expect. The main root of her questioning; ‘do the men have to worry about this?’ to decipher if something is sexist or not is so on point, and if you don’t feel like standing on a chair and shouting “I”M A FEMINIST” after reading the first chapter then there’s something wrong with you.

Vagenda: A Zero Tolerance Guide to the Media by Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Based on the popular feminist blog of the same name, Vagenda aims to highlight the inequalities and downright sexism within the media. I purchased this book when I went to see a talk by the authors as part of Bristol’s Festival of Ideas series. While I don’t agree with all of it (apparently anyone who likes floral trousers is a fashion victim), there are some serious ‘say what!?’ points in the book, particularly those centred around the link between appearance and how women are portrayed in magazines and advertising.

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

I’ve just finished reading this book (kindly lent to me by Hayley) and after finishing each chapter I would put it down and give a little (internalised) ‘woop!’ Sophia has gone from high school dropout to CEO of a million dollar clothing empire in seven years, and while she makes it clear from the outset that this book ‘isn’t a feminist manifesto’, it’s seriously inspiring. Sophia offers realistic, straight talking advice on how to make it as a #GIRLBOSS, and I guarantee that after reading this you’ll feel like you can take on the world.

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

Another book I purchased after watching a Festival of Ideas talk, Everyday Sexism is a book that I feel needs to be put on the curriculum. I wrote a full review here but in a nutshell, Laura’s book is a compilation of the entries the Everyday Sexism Project has received and charts just how women, in particular, grow up in the shadow of sexism that follows them around for their whole lives.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Tina Fey’s memoir focuses heavily on her time at Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, but it does so with a heavy helping of what it’s like to be a woman in comedy, a stereotypically male-dominated industry. Her take on beauty regimes, the notion of constantly being in competition with other women and the baffling train of thought that ‘women can’t be funny’ are all addressed with aplomb and a healthy dose of sarcasm in this autobiography.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know if you have any recommendations for similar books.

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