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23 November 2014

Herbfarmacy Pure Hydration Serum review: soothing winter skin

I always end up feeling a little sorry for my skin at this time of year.  My little face goes from the central heating in my house when I get up in the morning, to the air conditioning of my car, to a blast of cold air during my walk from the car park to work, to air conditioning in the office, and repeat.  At the moment I'm also trying to get to the gym three times a week, so I've been succumbing to a quick face wipe in the gym changing rooms, followed by sweating on the treadmill.  So no wonder that come the end of November, my skin feels tight and sore and in need of some soothing care and attention.

So it was definitely timely when a little email from herbfarmacy popped into my inbox asking me if I'd like to try their new Pure Hydration Serum.  I'm a huge fan of herbfarmacy anyway (I even visited their little shop in Hay-on-Wye in the summer, I'm such a devotee!) so I couldn't wait to try their newest product.

herbfarmacy herbfarmacy

As you can see, they were kind enough to pop in the package one of my favourite herbfarmacy products, the Mallow Beauty Balm (which I featured here) and their Temple Balm, which I I've been dying to try for ages! I'll definitely be reviewing this separately too.

One of the things I love about herbfarmacy is that they are an independent company focussed on organic, British skincare that's also cruelty free.  They are also Soil Association Certified , and all of their organic skincare products are UK grown and produced and handmade in small batches on site at their herb farm in Herefordshire.  It's always an amazing feeling when you find a company that shares your values - I'm a member of the Soil Association myself so it means a lot to me that all of herbfarmacy's growing, and products, are certified by them.

herbfarmacy hydration serum
// herbfarmacy Pure Hydration Serum, £24.50*

But onto the hydration serum.  The serum claims to hydrate, plump and protect the skin, giving antioxidant protection and a silken effect.  Its two key ingredients, are marshmallow, which softens, moisturises and soothes; and buckwheat, which has anti-oxidant properties to help protect your skin.

I've been using the serum in the morning and before bedtime, and have definitely noticed an improvement in the quality of my skin.  The serum is so hydrating - it literally sinks into my skin and feels like my dry, thirsty skin is drinking it up! It has a really rich and silky texture, and a little goes a long way.  When applied, it feels instantly soothing and luxurious, and my skin feels brighter and tighter.  Its moisture-holding properties also mean that my skin retains that 'hydrated' feeling throughout the day, especially when followed with a face cream, as it keeps the moisture locked in. This is a huge win as it really feels like a defence against the dry-skin inducing air conditioning and central heating - it definitely makes a difference to use a product that you know has organic, high quality ingredients that are protecting your skin from the hazards of the winter months - it feels like a real nourishing treat for your skin.

I would definitely recommend the Pure Hydration Serum and I know it's going to be another herbfarmacy product that'll now be a permanent fixture in my skincare collection!

Have you tried any herbfarmacy products before?

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21 November 2014

The ultimate dinner party

To me, there is something very special about holding a dinner party.  It brings all of my loves in life together - good food, friends and family, the warmth of home, and an opportunity to relax and be in good company.  I love the whole 'Kinfolk' ethos - soul food, nourishment, community - people sharing food and sharing stories.  At the moment I feel a little overwhelmed with everything going on, and I just know that holding an evening like this would really help me relax and remember what's important.

So when I was challenged by Anthropologie to blog about my 'ultimate dinner party', I couldn't help but get a little excited just thinking about it.  To me, Autumn and Winter are the ultimate times to hold a cosy family get together.  So, dig out your best party frock, and pack your appetite and a pair of slippers for later...

T h e  d i n n e r  t a b l e

For me, an Autumn or Winter dinner party has to be cosy - candles burning, fairy lights strung around, comfy places to sit and thoughtful, welcoming details.  I love the idea of interspersing nature with homely touches - the place settings and centrepieces made from wreaths or tree branches are lovely.

anthropologie dinner party


anthropologie dinner party

credit unknown // issuu.com

T h e  t a b l e w a r e

Even if Anthropologie hadn't been the ones to inspire me to post about my ultimate dinner party, I'd still have hopped right over to their website for tableware and kitchenware inspiration.  They just have the most beautiful things, and I constantly have a long wishlist of items from their site that would look perfect in my home.  I always serve food in mismatched plates and bowls, I think it's much more fun to add new kitchenware as you go along rather than buying a boring set!  Their colourful crockery and textiles would definitely bring some cheer to a winter dinner party.

anthropologie dinner party


F o o d  a n d  d r i n k

As it's an Autumn/Winter dinner party it has to be full of comfort food - hearty, warming, good for the soul type food.  A little bit indulgent, but we'll burn it off with all the board games later, right? 

anthropologie dinner party

P a r t y  d r e s s e s

Of course one of the most fun things about hosting or attending a dinner party, can be choosing the perfect party outfit.  As usual, anthropologie also have some pretty lust-worthy dresses for the party season - currently majorly coveting that embroidered neoprene shift - so fab.

anthropologie dinner party


But as it's a dinner party with cosiness at the heart of it, you're welcome - no, you're encouraged - to bring your PJs and slippers for when you want to pop on something a little more comfortable.  We take board games very seriously at our house, and you don't want anything too restrictive for some serious Cluedo or Trivial Pursuit action.

What would be a part of your ultimate dinner party? (And would you like to come to mine...?)

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20 November 2014

Under £25 Christmas gift ideas with Hotel Chocolat and Bluebird Tea

For me, the perfect present is always something that the receiver wouldn't buy for themselves - something that's a bit of a treat, a bit indulgent or beautifully packaged or wrapped; something that will put a smile on their face and make them take a little time for themselves.  I've come across two things that definitely fit this bill recently and wanted to share them here in case anyone was looking for some gift inspiration for the tea or chocolate lovers in your life this Christmas.

The first was definitely a real treat when it popped through my letterbox recently.  Hotel Chocolat are a great place to look when you want to buy a little something for the chocoholic in your life - they are always beautifully packaged and feel decadent.  This isn't your box of Celebrations or a hastily wrapped king size bar of Dairy Milk, it is the gift of chocolate, done properly.  Their Christmas Collection box features a bottle of Prosecco, Butterscotch Puddles, mini box of chocolates and a Pecan Bûche.  Trust me when I say that those chocolates taste just as good as they look.  I think this would be a great present for a Mum, sister, work colleague - anyone who deserves an evening in with a glass of fizz and some really, really good chocolate.

Hotel Chocolat Hotel Chocolat Hotel Chocolat
// The Christmas Collection, Hotel Chocolat, £25*

The second slice (or should I say cup?) of Christmas gift inspiration I wanted to share comes in the form of the amazing Bluebird Tea Co Christmas Tea Bauble Set.  These three baubles come packed with a selection of their Christmas teas - Christmas Cake and Gingerbread Chai.  I quite like to buy a few little presents for family ahead of Christmas (last year I bought my Mum a really fun Christmas cushion from H&M) and this would be a perfect little treat to give to someone to hang on their tree - I don't think they'd be able to resist cracking them open for very long though!

Bluebird Tea Bluebird Tea
// Christmas Tea Bauble Pack, Bluebird Tea Co - £10*

What do you think of these two gift ideas? Are they something you'd like to give to someone - or even something you'd like to see under your tree this Christmas?

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