Friday, 9 December 2016

A Date Night to your door


We're all busy people these days aren't we? I hear the excuse all the time "I'm just so busy" -a lot of the time this is me saying this excuse of course. The sheer number of unanswered texts or WhatsApp messages just proves how busy (or just plain rubbish!) I am. 

get-date-night-box-review

It's hard to get a good work/play balance and I struggle to make time to fit everything in. There's seeing close family, distant family, blogging friends, Mum friends, work friends, best friends, couple friends, friends who aren't in the country for long... then for me it's fitting in time with my son and some well deserved 'me time'. It can be a hard job finding the time to fit in dates with your significant other too.

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Even when you live with a person and see them everyday it doesn't necessarily mean you are actually having quality time together. Some days Sam and I don't even get to have a proper conversation at all in between running for trains, meetings, and school runs. 

Sam and I vowed to make sure we didn't lose our identities when we became parents. Our relationship started on such strong foundations, we've always enjoyed each others company whether it was having reduced Co-Op sandwiches for dinner or going out to Barbecoa. Although we could have a great time chatting away in an empty room I think finding new experiences together is part of  a healthy relationship. It keeps things exciting too, I can get really fed up if I'm stuck in the same routine for too long. 

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 We aim to have a date night once a month but when money is tight or time just won't allow it it's nice to know we've now got another simple option. I had a chat with the guys over at Get Date Night and I absolutely loved the sound of what they did. They basically send out a box full of treats each month so that you can have a unique date night at home. 


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When you sign up you enter your details and you can select if you would prefer your box to contain alcohol or not and the rest is a bit of a surprise!

Our box was the November box which had a chocolate theme. It arrived in a lovely black box (which I will definitely be keeping - I'm such a holder when it comes to boxes!)   and it was full to the brim with incredible goodies and everything was wrapped well so everything arrived in one piece. The card inside had our names printed on it which gives it a real luxury feel. Personalisation makes such a difference in my opinion, I just love it! That evening  when Sam got in we lit a few candles, put on some music, snuggled down on the sofa and got started. The easiest preparation for a date night ever! I didn't even have to do my hair or dig out a pair of tights that didn't have a hole in them! 


Each box contains an A4 print, I love that ours says "I love you more than chocolate". In this house that is big! I'll be adding that to my print wall as soon as possible. 


There was also loads of little chocolate treats with activities to go with them. I was expecting to just like... eat them but that's the great thing about these boxes, they don't just give you a load of treats, you can just get a tesco delivery for that! But Get Date Night actually plans a date night for you and supplies you with everything you need. This was more than just a hamper of goodies, it's an experience.


So as I said this box had a chocolate theme so it was all for an at home chocolate tasting experience. To do something like this out of the house would cost over £50 alone and that's without travel and the effort of actually going there. 



get-date-night-chocolate-tasting

The activities involved were great fun and really interesting. One activity we tried was to try and guess the flavours of the chocolates.  It sounds easier than it actually was! The chocolates were wrapped in different coloured papers, we tried one each and on our score boards we guessed the ingredients and described the taste, texture and smell. It's nothing nasty - nothing like some sort of bush tucker trial if that's what you were expecting, all the usual ingredients you'd find in high end chocolate shops. Think vanilla, chili and rum. There was a sealed envelope with the list of answers and it was a lot of fun seeing how close we got (in my case, not at all).


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The games got us talking for a good few hours an it was nice to have a glass of fizz to go with it all. It was a really good excuse to make sure we put aside time for each other and I think that is so important. I think especially when you become a parent it gets harder and harder to make time for quality time together.  The brilliant thing abut the date night box is that there's no need for a babysitter, this can be done when the kids are in bed and it goes a step further than just watching a film together. 

Everything you need is in the box delivered to your door and you can cancel at any time. For £39.95 a month I think that is pretty decent and much cheaper than going out. If your stuck for an idea of what to get a couple for Christmas I think this is a great idea!


*I was kindly gifted this but all views are 100% my own








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Monday, 28 November 2016

Lush Error 404 Bath Bomb #KeepItOn


I decided to brave the high street on the dreaded Black Friday, I had images of people fighting over toasters, Mum's ramming buggies into people's legs to get a new steriliser and crowds everywhere. 
Mayhem, I predicted mayhem. 
I headed into town after dropping Mason to school and I was surprised to see it wasn't actually that bad. Maybe I just went early enough or maybe this year the majority of people decided to do their shopping online.

...which brings me on beautifully to this great little exclusive I picked up in Lush. 


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Although Lush weren't taking part in Black Friday they did have a very limited edition bath bomb that was released that day and is only around for 5 days.

I noticed a display at the front of the store, something sparkly caught my eye (nothing new there). Resembling a large golden egg was the Error 404 Bath Bomb, on closer inspection it's got a bit of a futuristic feel about it with 404 printed across the front and metallic gold finish. This particular bath bomb is raising money for a good cause. Profits from the sales of the Error 404 go to the Digital Fund, supporting activist group Access Now who are dedicated to fighting government enforced Internet shut downs. 


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Internet shutdowns occur when governments cut off public access to online communication. It usually occurs during things like protests and elections. Not only is silencing people like this is a huge violation of our freedom of speech and expressing ourselves online but it costs countries all across the world billions. 

Deji Bryce Olukotun, Senior Global Advocacy Manager at Access Now says “Internet shutdowns are early warning signs of atrocities. They block emergency services and prevent people from communicating with their loved ones. They also harm economies — shutdowns are like avalanches that shear through the foundation for economic growth, wrecking lives and businesses along the way. Governments need to send a strong message by holding officials accountable for ordering them, and companies should step up by speaking out and sharing more information.”

Shutting down WhatsApp fro just one day in Brazil last year cost the county $39 million USD due to being cut off from their businesses.

In some countries governments are controlling what people see so they're only getting half the picture, in dangerous situations it would be difficult to find out if their families were safe, they could even be unable to share information about world events that they feel people should know about.

This actually happens around the world to millions of people. Could you even imagine it? It's only fair that the Internet is equal for everyone. Access Now defend the digital rights of users everywhere by telling world leaders to treat people equally  You can take part using the hash tag #KeepItOn to spread the word.

The bath bomb itself smells lovely. It's a wonderfully soothing vanilla scent and fizzes away leaving layers of blue and gold bath water and reveals a printed text message in the middle. Although it has a metallic look to it you don't end up covered in gold like a lot of the shimmy/glitter bath bombs. For me this is  a big plus as I hate cleaning all the residue from around the bath. 
Ew isn't residue a horrible word...? 

By purchasing the Error 404 you'll add to the Digital Fund to support digital activity who are working to keep the Internet free, open and safe. You only have til 30th November to pick one up and help a good cause so head down to Lush!

You can also sign the petition here to help countries around the world #KeepItOn 


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Monday, 21 November 2016

Autumn Nail Shades 2016

Is it still Autumn? When does it officially change to winter? I know it's been bloody freezing the last couple of days but there was also a day last week where it was 14 degrees which can be seen on a Spring day. The weather confuses me. 

Either way I've picked out some nails shades that have an Autumn feel about them and I wanted to share them with you.


autumn-nails-barry-m-golden-sands-no7-foxglove-essie-max-factor-candy-rose-Rimmel

There's a bit of a mixture here and I feel like all of the shades are really versatile.

On my thumb is Rimmel Super Gel by Kate Moss 071 Guilty Pleasure topped with GOSH Girls on Film glitter. Guilty Pleasure is beautiful worn alone but I do love to add a bit of sparkle and Girls on Film is one of my favourite glitters ever. 

On my index finger there's another favourite, No7 Foxglove which may just be my favourite pinky-berry shade ever. If you have one of those No7 vouchers you can pick this up for £3! Do it!



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Next, Barry M  Golden Sands which is a limited edition  shade  and exclusive to Boots. It's a nude but the tiny golden glitter makes it a lot warmer. It's so unique and great to add a little sparkle to every day - isn't that what this season is all about? It actually has a matt finish but I have used a top coat on all of my nails so they are all nice and glossy.

The next shade is my hidden gem, Max Factor Glossfinity in 50 Candy Rose. I always get compliments when I wear this and I love surprising them when I say it's Max Factor. I never think to look for nail polish at the Max Factor counter but I'll pay more attention after using this. 



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On my little finger, the infamous Bahama Mama by Essie. I have a love-hate relationship with this one, I just wish it was a tiny bit lighter. It works well in this combination though so I'll let it go. It also makes me think about  Galaxy Minstrels and I bloody love those things.

Winter shades are already calling me, I'm thinking cool blues, dark navys and festive reds. Bring it on. 




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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Shadow Switch Dry Brush Cleaner

I don't know about you, but I am terrible at cleaning my make-up brushes. I should really give them a proper deep clean far more often than I do. Come to think of it, I can't actually remember the last time I cleaned them! Terrible beauty blogger....

To avoid them getting built-up with product I give them a half-hearted mini-clean before I put them away. And I really mean half-hearted! Just a quick dusting off on the back of my hand or bit of tissue. I feel like I'm helping but when I come to use a brush again there's always some of the make up still there - not ideal for creating a quick smoky eye before leaving the house!


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I always believed I couldn't do the job well enough without some brush cleaner or at least some water.  

But that brings me on to the product I'm reviewing today. The Shadow Switch is a dry brush cleaner, yep - dry! There's no need to add water so it saves so much time.

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Inside the little tin there's what looks like a sponge at first but closer up it kind of resembles velcro. I guess a wiry, crispy sponge is the way to describe it.

It is used mainly for eyeshadow brushes but it could help to dust away powder or blush from larger brushes.

The Shadow Switch cleans your brushes really simply by dusting away the traces of shadow on the brush, ready for a new colour. 

It really is so easy to use. Just gently swirl the brush around in the tin  - you don't need to be heavy handed at all which is good news for your brushes. The sponge catches each bristle flicking away the eyeshadow particles. Your brush is then good to go, all ready for another shade. 

shadow-switch-dry-brush-cleaner-review 

It's particularly good for eyeshadow pallets, take the Naked 3 for example, I love so many of the shades and the brush is great, but once you've used both ends you can't use them on another shade without cleaning the brush. You either need to have extra brushes on hand or you need come brush cleaner. That's just too much hard work for me. Now you just grab your Shadow Switch and to dust off the old eyeshadow and you've got a clean brush again. Much easier!

 The tin is lightweight so it's great on the go - I think make-up artists will love this. I know when I help out with friends make-up before nights out this will come in really useful! 

I suppose you could just use the inner sponge but the tin is handy to keep it in if you're carrying it around. It also means it's kept clean too. When it's been used a few times there's some shadow build-up inside but you can clean it with water and fragrance free soap. 


It's currently available at Amazon will soon be available in Sephora too.



This doesn't replace your deep clean as you need some soap to was away bacterias that build up over time but it will keep your brushes fresher for longer and the deep clean will be much easier without a load of eyeshadow build up. 

There's new packaging on the way so look out for it, it's still the same great product but it will look like this on the shelves -

shadow-switch-new-packaging


I think it's such a great product and is perfect for anyone who loves to experiment with eyeshadow. At just over a fiver it's a great  Christmas stocking filler or even Secret Santa present. 

*I was kindly gifted this product but all views are 100% my own.


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Monday, 17 October 2016

Neal's Yard Remedies and Deliciously Ella


I can't resist a new launch, when it's a brand I love I'm right there when the new product hits the shelved. Neal's Yard have teamed up with Ella Woodward, better known as Deliciously Ella to create a couple of new skincare products. 

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Ella is known for her food and lifestyle blog she is the epitome of a healthy lifestyle and is passionate about wellness and living a healthy lifestyle. It seems perfect that she has worked with a brand like Neal's Yard who are all for looking after skin and body as well as your mind with the right ingredients. I've come to realise that looking after yourself is as much about what you're putting into your body as it is putting on to it. Your skin is very delicate and harsh chemicals are not it's friend. 

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Together Neal's Yard Remedies and Ella have come up with a facial wash and a moisturiser. They've used a unique blend of rose, lime and cucumber to create products that easily fit into your daily skincare routine. Just from hearing those ingredients I just knew the scent was going to be lovely. 

I'm reviewing the Rose, Lime and Cucumber Facial Wash today and I'm thoroughly impressed. The pretty floral box is a great start! 

In keeping with usual Neal's Yard packaging the facial wash is kept in a gorgeous blue glass bottle and the pump dispenser makes it very easy to get the right amount of product as well as keeping everything mess-free which is great for me.

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I'm a huge fan of anything containing rose oil, it takes such great care of your skin. It helps to balance the moisture levels of the skin and reduces the look of skin imperfections -not to mention the gorgeous scent! The rose oil from NYR is ethically sourced from Iran, meaning they raise money to build schools for the local children. 

Naturally it's packed full of organic ingredients to nourish your skin, organic rose oil and lime blended with cucumber water - there's some  blueberry, coconut oil and avocado oil in there too - it sounds like some kind of delicious smoothie!

The cucumber scent mixed with the rose is really refreshing and wakes you up. It's a creamy gel-like formula and you only need one pump to cover your face. 

 It removes dirt and grime pretty effortlessly and left my skin oh-so soft! It's even suitable for every skin type, so you can all achieve a natural radiant glow -if you like the scent of rose, if not, this might not be for you!

I love that brands are working closely with bloggers to come up with such incredible products and this pairing is perfect.



 Have you tried either of these from the Deliciously Ella range?

I run my own Neal's Yard Remedies skincare parties so if you're in the Surrey or London area and you want to try out a few bits and have a bit of a pamper evening while gaining a load of free skincare too then get in touch!




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Monday, 10 October 2016

A tiny little Lush haul

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Last weekend I popped into Lush to pick up some birthday presents for my bestie, when in doubt I always head there, she loves a bath as much as me and I knew what she'd love anything with the words 'Snow' and 'Fairy' in it.  I got her a gift set and after testing a little bit on my arm I've now added the Snow Fairy Body Conditioner to my own wish list. That smell is delicious! 


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It was  just too tempting to pick up a tiny treat for myself - so I did!

With the nights getting longer and colder relaxing in a hot bath is more tempting and it's always better with a new bath bomb. The Halloween and Christmas collection is out and there are some products that are completely adorable. I kept control of myself and only picked up two bits -for now anyway.


From the Halloween collection I resisted the glittery pumpkin (something I love but that glitter goes everywhere!) and I picked up the Boo Bath Melt for £3.50. I couldn't resist that little face! If the fact it contains cocoa butter wasn't a tell tale sign even just holding this I could tell it was going to be extremely moisturising. It's really soft and creamy and has a warm and  relaxing scent too. It has Ginger Oil, Geranium Oil and calming Mimosa Absolute so I'm saving this for a particularly hectic day when I really need to switch off and give my skin a treat. 


I saw that the Stardust Bath Bomb was only £2.95 and the list of ingredients sounded perfect for an Autumn evening. I love anything with Vanilla, and teamed with Rosewood Oil Bergamot Oil it was sure to have some uplifting qualities. After a few weeks struggling with sleep and not feeling myself health-wise this is just what I need. 


lush-halloween-christmas-stardust-bath-bomb-review-2016

I tried this out a couple of nights ago. I was pleased to see this one filled the bath with blue bubbles, it didn't fizz for as long as other bath bombs I've used but it did have pretty star confetti which was a nice touch. I've decided I'm going to pick one up for Mason for Christmas too. 





I'll be putting together a little Lush Wish list soon so let me know any of your favourites that I should be checking out.




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Thursday, 29 September 2016

A/W Boots 2016

So my friends, Summer is over. I'm doing ok, thanks for asking. 
I packed away my maxi dresses and playsuits (damn, I friggin' loved a playsuit this year!) and I've replaced my drawers with roll necks and sweatshirts. I have had my annual 'I have no clothes suitable for cold weather' panic, I've had a good 5 Pumpkin Spiced lattes and I'm planning cosy nights in watching reality Tv.

I seem to be in the minority when it comes to my feelings on Autumn, it's not my favourite. I actually had a little whinge before abut why I just don't like Autumn but one thing I do like is the boots we get to wear again! 

I've always loved a good pair of boots. You very rarely see me in flat shoes (and if you do I'm walking like a baby cos I'm just not used it it -it's a treat for the eyes, I assure you) but luckily there are some wonderful options with a heel that are perfect for this time of year. They sure make saying goodbye to Summer that little bit easier for me.

These are a few of my favourites that are cropping up in adds all over my web pages practically yelling at me to buy them!

A/W-Boots-wishlist-2016






1. Firstly, the New Look pointed lace-up  are a bargain at less than £30. They have a bit of a witchy feel to them so they're perfect for Halloween and have made me want to watch Hocus Pocus already. That's another thing ticked off my Autumn to-do list right there!

2. The suede over-knee boots from Asos are right at the top of my wish list. Look at that gorgeous rust colour! Boot-iful! (sorry)

3. Suede, black, over-knee, chunky heel -you can't go wrong! Annoyingly in the Aldo sale so a bugger to find in my size! 

4. The most expensive on my list are these burgundy ankle boots  at £100 which is still reasonsable for boots. They'll look very cute poking out under some jeans. Adding a nice little bit of colour on a cold, probably rainy day. 

5. I didn't know that Ravel was still around! But after a virtual window shop around the Next website I spotted these tan boots with a shearling trim. These are my Ugg boot alternatives - don't they look cosy?!

6. Black Steve Madden ankle boots are an investment and will be with you for years. Utterly timeless and so versatile. 


7. I'm a big fan of the zip detail  on these Lipsy boots. Perfect over skinny jeans with a long mac.

8. Dorothy Perkins are my hidden treasure, it's a store I used to overlook but there are some great bits in there. These Tassel Boots are only £35 and the chunky heel makes them really sturdy. 

9. Check out the two tone thing going on on these boots from Aldo! Love the buckle detail too. 




As with all wish lists of mine I now have to resist buying it all! 

So I've got boots sorted, if someone could please let me know how to dress for Autumn that would be great!


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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Wedding Day Countdown - Skincare

I thought I would combine the two things I'm most interested in at the moment -and the two things I seem to write about most... Weddings and Beauty. 


With my wedding day getting closer and closer I wanted to share another little countdown with you that might be helpful. It's pretty common for brides to be on a health kick  to get in the best shape before the day but how many take their skin care into consideration? With photographers around pretty much all day and cameras picking up every little detail these days you want to look your best. 


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There is a great way to get started and give your skin the boost it needs. Of course rule number one is to up the hydration, come January we'll all be adding it to our New Years Resolutions but to take care of your skin you need to stick to it.


Starting early is the best way to prepare. You can give yourself enough time to make it second nature.

6 Months to go
On your big day it's likely your arms are going to be on show, with the increase in shorter wedding dresses possibly even your legs too. Boost circulation with some dry body brushing once or twice a week. I swear by dry body brushing! Use long sweeping movements, always working towards the heart before showering, it helps release toxins while exfoliating. It should leave your skin a little pink afterwards (not red) and your circulation will be really improved. If your dress is strapless them don't forget the chest and shoulders, hey, give it all a scrub, it's good for you! 

Afterwards apply some Firming Body Cream which reduces the appearance of skin dimples and improves the skin texture and firmness.  


For the face try my favourite product ever, the Wild Rose Beauty Balm - it has so many uses so it's the one product I recommend to everyone! It's great for decongesting the skin and gently exfoliating while nourishing any dehydrated areas. It's won loads of awards so don't just take my word for it!

Another great product for this (and a little kinder on the bank balance) is the  Rose Facial Polish which smells devine! 


You basically want to start making sure you're giving your skin a good cleanse and get into a routine of scrubbing away impurities and dead cells. The Honey and Orange Facial Scrub gently exfoliates and really brightens the skin while toning and giving you a great base to work with. 

Using a face mask every couple of weeks is a lovely treat, you're bound to be stressed with the wedding plans so it's a great excuse to take some time to switch off. Pop on the White Tea Facial Mask for ten minutes and you'll notice a huge difference. - I really love it! It is so SO nourishing and the scent is really soothing. 
White tea is an antioxidant which helps maintain healthy skin. This mask is full of goodness such a s frankincense, evening primrose oil and aloe vera and will help with the appearance of fine lines while plumping the skin. 

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You might want to consider taking some supplements. It's not all about what you put on your body but what you put into it too. The Beauty Boost Capsules support the underlying structures of the skin, hair and nails just by taking two a day. Of course you should make sure you're drinking plenty of water and eating well too. 


Applying the Beauty Sleep Concentrate each night under your moisturiser helps replenish skin while you sleep. It actually increases the skin's moisture levels by 98% over 12 hours -pretty damn impressive! Hydrated skin is happy skin! It can even be used alone in place of your usual moisturiser if you wish. This is another one of Neal's Yard's wonder products with several awards under it's belt. 

Each month put aside some time for a pamper evening and give yourself a monthly facial. There's no need to visit an expensive spa when you have the products at home! 


Cleanse,

Exfoliate, 
Apply a mask, 

and follow with the Beauty Sleep concentrate and a good moisturiser.


3 months to go
You want to get some calm. Time is ticking, suppliers want their final payments and you have all the fiddly bits left to do. Your skin will be looking radiant after taking care of it so well over the past 3 months but the stresses might be getting to you. Take time to burn some oils, geranium oil helps with anxiety and lavender promotes a good nights sleep and is very calming. 

If burning oils aren't your thing you can apply Remedies to Roll Relaxation on your pulse points which is a good alternative and brilliant to have in your handbag after stressful meeting with suppliers, bridesmaids or in-laws! 


Up that monthly facial to a weekly facial and start to include a facial oil like the Rose Facial Oil or Orange Flower Facial Oil for drier skin. These balance moisture levels and leave the skin looking radiant. It's really nice to apply oils with a light facial massage to wind down in the evening. 


neals-yard-skincare-wedding-preperation-essential-oils-review

Also start using a serum like the Wild Rose Beauty Elixir which boosts radiance and elasticity. The moisturising hyaluronic acid and brightening turmeric really help to improve the skins appearance and work down on the layer beneath the skin we see to plump out skin and reduce lines. 


On The Day

Make sure you use a serum under your moisturiser, this will give your make-up artist a great base to work with. Definitely drink a couple of glasses of water when getting ready, you're going to be celebrating and drinking champagne most of the day so you want to make sure you're hydrated and you don't end up with a headache by lunchtime. 

I absolutely love the White Tea range. The White Tea Hydrating Facial Mist is great to spritz throughout the day to keep you fresh -it's absolutely fine to use over make up and it perks you up and soothe the skin. Get one of your bridesmaids to carry a bottle in their bag for you all to use. They'll be thankful for the lovely pick me up.


Yore likely to be a bag of emotions, it's an exciting yet nerve wracking day. Apply the remedies to roll relaxation to your wrists to control the nerves and keep you calm. 




Even without a wedding to prepare for these are great ways to keep your skin healthy while using natural organic products.

I'd love to hear about your favourite Neal's Yard products or if you are in the middle of your own wedding planning!



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