Healthy Chocolate Snacks – Graze Unboxing

SAM_1620Sometimes you just want chocolate. Especially at a certain time of the month!

But instead of devouring huge quantities of unethical chocolate bars, I’ve been demolishing the Chocolate Graze box. There are 25 snacks available in a chocolate box, and it costs £3.99 – you can choose to have it delivered twice a week, once a week or once a fortnight. I wouldn’t say these are totally healthy, but they’re a lot healthier than some other snacks that I crave. And these genuinely keep you filled up as chocolate is mixed with dried fruit and seeds/nuts.

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I received:

Chocolate Orange – orange flavoured raisins, milk chocolate buttons, jumbo raisins and orange chocolate raisins.

Florentine – dark chocolate buttons, pumpkin seeds and cranberries.

Copacabana – brazil nuts, dark chocolate buttons and milk chocolate buttons

Cookies and Cream – white chocolate buttons, mini cocoa cookies, Cornish cocoa fudge and sunflower seeds

I really loved the Cookies and Cream and Florentine snacks! I’ll definitely be getting these again – they’re not cheap, but they’re the perfect snack to stop you going for the really bad stuff.

There’s quite a few other options and you can edit it, so if you’re allergic to a nut then you can tell them so you won’t receive any boxes with that in. The website also contains all the nutritional information.

If you like the look of this you can use the code: EMMAL84YP to receive your first, fifth and tenth box free (plus it gets me £1 off my boxes!). You can cancel it at any time so it’s worth a try!

Note: Obviously this isn’t vegan.

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Review: The New ‘Yes to’ Range

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You may be aware that the ‘Yes to’ brand has released a new range of products! I’ve liked using products from this brand before, so I bought a few things to try out.

I was most intrigued by the haircare – I was running out of shampoo and conditioner so I tried one of each:

Yes to Cucumbers Volumising Shampoo £4.99 – this smells gorgeous! It’s so fresh and clean smelling. This is the most important thing when it comes to a shampoo; I just want it to take out any styling products I’ve used as well as build up of dirt and oil. I don’t know if I really noticed it adding any volume, but it certainly didn’t weigh my hair down at all.

Yes to Carrots Pampering Conditioner £4.99 – this doesn’t smell as strongly as the shampoo, but the most important thing (for me) is keeping the ends of my hair moisturised and feeling strong! I think this is a great everyday conditioner – it’s a good consistency and it leaves my hair feeling really soft. I’ll then use a deep conditioning mask once a week or so to make sure my hair has enough moisture.

I think both the hair products are REALLY GOOD value for money! I think I even got them on offer, but without that they’re not too expensive and they’re lasting me a long time. I’ve only really been testing them for a couple of weeks, but it barely feels like they’ve been used! I also think I’d get on well with the Blueberry collection which aims to ‘smooth and shine’.

Yes to Coconuts Ultra Light Body Lotion Spray £8.99 – I’ve been keeping this in my bathroom to use straight after showers! It’s really handy as I hate standing around waiting for moisturisers to sink in; this dries quickly! It is super light, so you can’t compare it to body butters in terms of hydration – I still prefer to use heavier moisturisers for feet, hands and elbows. But this has been great for the summer as I like to stay moisturised all over 🙂

I’ll probably repurchase the haircare line – when these ones eventually run out! I probably won’t repurchase the moisturiser again. It was OK, but I’ve used better ones from Lush and other brands before – if you want something light then it’s probably worth checking out, but I do like a little more moisture! I’d also like to try the new Yes to Coconuts Polishing Body Scrub £7.99 – I imagine this will be a luxurious, creamy scrub. I also need a new hand moisturiser and there’s a Yes to Coconuts one (£6.99) that I may well buy as I’ll need something super moisturising as it gets colder.

Foundation Series: Beautiful Movements

It’s been a while since I last did a Foundation Review! This is a slightly different one as it’s using a loose powder foundation; I’ve been wanting a super lightweight option for make up the past couple of weeks, and I actually won a £25 voucher from Ethical Superstore so I used part of it on this foundation.

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This product claims to:

‘Achieve a flawless finish while protecting and caring for your skin with BM Beauty’s 100% pure mineral stripped foundation. The foundation contains zinc oxide, a naturally occurring mineral which has anti inflammatory properties making it ideal for unsettled and spot prone skin. You can achieve the best skin possible whilst zapping blemishes at the same time.’ It also claims to be ‘sweat resistant’, suggesting it’ll wear well.

I applied this using an Eco-Tools Powder Brush.

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1 – No make up! 2 – Just Foundation 3 – Full make up 4 – After 7 hours of wear

Price: £14 for 10g (although I got it when it was discounted to less than £12)

Initial thoughts: ‘OMG HOW DO YOU WORK LOOSE POWDERS?!!’ I spent a while being very frustrated at the packaging of this as I couldn’t get the powder out without whacking it down. It got easier as I got used to it and now I can get enough product out with a few firm taps!

Quality: I was concerned that as a powder, this wouldn’t give me very good coverage. As you can see in the photos I don’t have loads of blemishes, but I just want enough coverage to even out my skin tone. I feel like my dark circles are a bit too dark to be covered, but everything else is perfect! I was super happy with this. Also, it was the lightest base coverage I have ever used – my skin really did feel like it could ‘breathe’.

Ethicalness: This product is vegan, cruelty free and paraben free. Perfect! It’s sold in Holland & Barrett and the Ethical Superstore which are stores that only stock ‘good’ brands.

Colour availability: There are 8 different foundation options – I’m using ‘stripped’ which is the lightest one! You can order samples here so you know which colour is best for you.

Any other comments: I’m so happy with this! You can see from the photos that it wore fairly well – my oily areas (chin and nose) faded a little, but the rest of it stayed pretty well. The colour match is great for me. I’ve been wearing this non-stop since I figured out how to get the product out! Also, this may be diet or skin care regime or something else, but I’ve had very few spots since using this – might be something else, but it has felt super light. I also love that I don’t have to use a finishing powder with this as I already get a semi-matte finish from this base.

Repurchase?: Definitely! I was wary about powder foundations before, but I’ve been changed. This is my new favourite summer base!

Review and Thoughts: The True Cost

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A documentary was released at the end of May which is all about the cost of clothing to the environment and human rights issues.

I love a good documentary! But what makes this one special is how recently it was made AND how big it is – this interviews are with incredible people like the director of People Tree, Stella McCartney and Vandana Shiva as well as people around the world who are affected by the fashion industry.

40 million people are employed as garment workers – I knew this was a big issue, but it’s just incomprehensible! It shows as individuals what difference we can make as we buy clothes.

The world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year – what?!! Again, this is incomprehensible. It’s so wasteful and shows how unnecessary most of it must be. I donate any unwanted clothing to charity shops, but that’s not a closed loop as I don’t buy ALL my clothes second hand.

There was also a load of really interesting stories and facts about the importance of organic clothing. This was something I wasn’t really aware of, so it was super interesting! I’m going to make an effort from now on to buy more organic food and clothing.

I think I knew most of the human rights issues around the fashion industry, but it’s good to get a reminder! And I didn’t really consider the environmental factor before. So while this is a great way to be introduced to the issues with fast fashion, it’s also a useful film for anyone really.

The website has 5 Tips for Shopping Smarter which I will be putting into practice!

In addition to the individual responsibility and brand responsibilities, it also touched on the economic system. Capitalism demands constant growth – this is inherently unsustainable and requires some people to forgo their human rights in order for the system to work. I think this is really important for people to recognise, as we are limited in what we can do as individuals.

However, my personal target will be to buy everything from truly ethical companies (People Tree, Braintree etc.) or second hand (charity shops, ebay etc.). I think the only time I’m going to fall down on this is with underwear, socks and tights, as I don’t want to pay THAT much and I also feel a bit icky buying it second hand… We’ll see!

Have you got any tips for avoiding fast fashion?

As for capitalism… Well, I’ll have to work on what I can do about that!

Here’s the trailer for The True Cost:

Foundation Series: Fair Squared

I’m going to include this even though it’s a BB Cream, as it has so many great ethical qualities that drew me to it in the first place! So today I’ll review Fair Squared Cosmetics BB Cream:

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‘This tinted moisturising facial cream by Fair Squared comes in two shades – BB Cream Light for fair skin and BB Cream Medium for lightly tanned or olive skin types. The BB Creams by Fair Squared are the first anywhere in the world to have achieved Fairtrade certification. They moisturise the skin and protect it against environmental stresses and signs of premature aging. They match the natural skin tone, slight blemishes vanish and the skin appears naturally smooth and even.

Both shades contain Fairtrade certified olive oil, vitamin E, panthenol and evodia rutaecarpa fruit extracts, giving you a smooth and even complexion.’

I applied this with my fingers as I’ve not yet found a sponge or brush that is any better, and I haven’t used a primer as I can’t find any budget friendly, ethical ones in the UK.

First photo is me without any make up, second is just with the BB cream on, the third is me with a full face of make up and the fourth is after almost 7 hours of wear.

First photo is me without any make up, second is just with the BB cream on, the third is me with a full face of make up and the fourth is after almost 7 hours of wear.

Price: £14.99 for 50ml (although I got this at 20% off from the ethical superstore).

Initial Thoughts: Obviously it’s a BB cream so has a lighter coverage than foundations, so this is probably better for a natural make up look. It’s very pink toned – quite unusual! It’s only just pale enough for my skin, but the pink means it doesn’t neutralise my red areas as well as other products – you can see this around my nose in the second photo.

Quality: It gave more of a blurred effect to the skin – a very light coverage to even skin tone, but not cover anything. However, it actually felt quite heavy – one of the main ingredients is olive oil, so it could be due to this. In the last photo I tried to show two spots had emerged over the day (upper nose and chin) – not huge white-heads, just small red pimples. It may be coincidence and I didn’t feel irritated, but I wanted to point that out…

Ethicalness: This is certified as Fair Trade – very unusual for cosmetics to gain this certification! This impressed me, and I read on about Fair Squared; they’re committed to switching to organic ingredients, are against animal testing and are working to make all their products vegan. This is what initially drew me to the company! All great stuff.

Colour availability: Poor!! 2 colours is obviously not enough… As I said before, it is very pink toned, so would only suit those with pink undertones. I don’t know about the other one, but I wasn’t impressed with the light shade.

Any other comments: You can see in the third photo that, because my powder also has colour to it, I look like I have medium coverage. However, it did fade fairly quickly so within 3 hours I was back to a light coverage. I think this would work better as a light, weekend base if you are the right shade!

Repurchase?: No – I would rather just add moisturiser to a foundation (like the two I’ve already reviewed here and here) to control the coverage. The shade isn’t quite right for me – too pink and a little too dark. I may take it on holiday in the summer to use it up (I wouldn’t want to waste it!), but it doesn’t contain spf so I’d have to use a facial sun cream as well.

Foundation Series: Lush, Jackie Oates

Since it’s animal cruelty prevention month, I thought this would be a great time to begin my make up testing series. Recently I’ve been researching the brands that are cruelty free or ethical in some way, and testing them out for you guys.

I’ll start with foundation as it’s something basic that’s easy to show! I have around 5 different products to test and I’ll show you how they look and what I think of them. They will all be under £15 as I want to make this budget friendly 🙂

First up is Lush’s Jackie Oates:

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This foundation claims to calm and even skin tone; it contains oat milk, shea butter, honey and aloe vera. You can either use this alone as a medium – high coverage foundation or mix with a moisturiser to create a more natural looking base.

The photos below are of me using the foundation alone – my current moisturiser contains spf, and Jackie Oates also contains Titaniam dioxide (sunscreen), so when I applied the mix it went a little bobbly. I love that it has sunscreen in it, but you might want to mix it with a moisturiser without sunscreen if you want to use it as a tinted moisturiser!

I applied this with my fingers as I’ve not yet found a sponge or brush that is any better, and I haven’t used a primer as I can’t find any budget friendly, ethical ones in the UK.

Jackie Oates

The first photo is me without any make up, second is just with the Jackie Oates foundation, the third is the rest of my make up too, and the last one is after 7 hours of wear.

Price: £9.50 for 20g

Initial thoughts: The consistency is a lot thicker than I’m used to! I was quite worried when I applied it, but it’s very pigmented so you don’t need much to cover your face. It was very pale!! I’m used to foundations being too dark for me, but this was almost too pale! You can see in the second photo that my red patches have been neutralised and I think I look a bit ghost-like…

Quality: This easily covers blemishes (although mine aren’t bad at the moment – just a few red bumps) and evened out my skin tone. I’m not really sure how the ingredients soothe my skin; it certainly doesn’t irritate me, people with sensitive skin may notice this is good for them but for me it just felt like another foundation on my skin!

Ethicalness: Lush is a fab company – they are 100% vegetarian, against animal testing, buy their ingredients ethically and don’t use excess packaging. This product contains honey so isn’t vegan unfortunately!

Colour availability: There are 4 more foundations available from Lush that are called Light Pink, Light Yellow, Dark Pink and Dark Yellow. It’s not great, but not terrible either… In my local lush store there were no testers available so you just have to guess your colour. I think I made the right decision – light pink may not have been enough to neutralise my red patches.

Any other comments: The colour is quite pale but along with a setting powder to match my skin tone, blusher and a lip colour this looks great! I think it lasts quite well – you can see in the last photo that after 7 hours it’s still going strong, with just a little creasing.

Repurchase?: Perhaps, if I get used to the texture! I’m so used to liquid that it still feels a little alien to use a thick cream. It’s more expensive than others, but I think it does look good and it doesn’t have any nasties in it. I like how you can customise the coverage by adding moisturiser, but I can only use this in winter/spring as it’ll definitely be too light for me in summer!

If there are any other points you would like me to cover in this series please let me know in the comments below!

Divine Chocolate Review

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Divine Chocolate is pretty great; it’s a Fairtrade company that is 45% owned by cocoa farmers. They’re certainly the most ethical chocolate brand that I’ve found! They have some quite interesting flavours too, so I thought I’d try out a few of them and review them for you guys:

Dark Chocolate and Mint – this tasted kind of like an after eight mint, but better! I liked this one because you couldn’t eat too much of it (the dark chocolate is too bitter), which meant I didn’t overindulge! These were perfect to have with a mug of hot chocolate (or hot drink of your choice) in the evening. 8/10

Orange Milk Chocolate – this flavour was the opposite of the mint one; so moreish! I could have easily eaten the entire bar in one sitting. It tastes like a higher quality Terry’s Chocolate Orange. I can imagine children would love this one more than the other flavours. 7.5/10

Dark Chocolate and Raspberries – this was my favourite! The raspberry flavour actually comes from tiny bits of real raspberry in the chocolate. I love raspberries so it’s no surprise that I really loved this – it tasted really different and not too artificial. Again, because it’s dark I wasn’t going to eat all of it in one sitting, but I was more tempted to because it just tasted so good! 10/10 😀

Milk Chocolate with Spiced Apples – I was intrigued by this one; I’d seen it at Christmas and wanted to try it, but just hadn’t had the money! This was a little disappointing to me, it tasted more artificial (you can’t fit chunks of apple into the bar!) and I didn’t think the flavours went as well together. Maybe if I’d tried it when Christmas was approaching I would have enjoyed it more as it’d match the season! 5/10

Both Dark Chocolate bars contain soya, but no milk so are suitable for vegans 🙂

I really want to try Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt, but it was out of stock when I ordered! The Dark Chocolate with Chilli and Orange bar also seems interesting…

The chocolate bars are obviously more expensive than other brands because of their Fairtrade commitment, I’m willing to pay a little more for this but I actually got these on offer from the ethical superstore!

If you have any flavour recommendations, please comment below 🙂