Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Lost Gardens of Heligan.


Last week I finally had my summer 'holiday' and spent a week in Cornwall with my family. Now that it's been four years since I moved away from Cornwall, I finally feel able to really enjoy it as a holiday destination again. Escaping from work and the city for a while was so refreshing, and I spent every moment I could out and about, enjoying the countryside and what remained of summer. Along with my mum and siblings I visited plenty of new places, including the absolutely beautiful Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Late summer felt like the perfect time to visit. We walked through a long tunnel of apple trees heavy with ripe fruit, filling the air with the most gorgeous scent, and the farm shop was full of seasonal produce. We explored every inch of the gardens, stopping along the way for a Cornish cream tea (jam then clotted cream - the only acceptible way!). I dressed for the occassion in my sheet music skirt from Chicwish, one of my favourite pieces of the year. I bought it for work, however I've ended up wearing it everywhere! Since I live in monochrome at work, I promised myself I wouldn't wear any black during my week off, so I accessorised with delicate pink and white accessories.

The gardens were such an idyllic, peaceful way to spend an afternoon, and one of the highlights of my week!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Little Ondine Cruelty Free Nail Polishes.


Working at Lush over the past four months has really changed the way I look at beauty. Not only am I more aware than ever of striving to use cruelty free beauty brands with good ethics, but it's also got me more excited about beauty in general. I've been having more fun with my makeup, taking better care of my skin and hair, and paying more attention to what goes into the products I use and how they're made. The one thing I've had a few customers ask about that Lush simply don't stock yet is nail polish. As a result, I've been curious to find a cruelty free nail polish brand that use natural ingredients, and Little Ondine live up to those requirements and more...

Little Ondine nail polishes are vegan friendly and made with natural resin, colourants and water that give a smooth finish whilst hydrating the nails. The formula is completely odour free as a result (I would honestly feel comfortable applying it on public transport or in an enclosed space; at most it smells like a very mild eyelash glue), and you simply peel it off when you fancy a change, meaning no damaging, dehydrating chemical removers are coming into contact with your skin/nails.

It's also incredibly fast drying. They advise you not to get your nails wet within the first hour of application, however within a few minutes I found myself able to get along with my day as normal without any fear of nicks and smudges. I felt so comfortable with the formula and quick drying that I even attempted a French manicure (as you can see in my last post) using the white polish from the 'Practical Magic' twins set. It's the first time I've ever managed to create a half-decent French manicure.

Aside from the Practical Magic set, I was sent three different shades; First Love, Copper Spark and Cuddle. The first is a bright sunny pink, the second a radiant gold glitter, and the third a warm, creamy 'nude'. Cuddle is probably my favourite, simply because it's the first 'nude' shade I've used that doesn't look completely alien on my pale fingers! However First Love is a beautiful pink for what's left of summer (and beyond!), and Copper Spark goes down as the most practical glitter polish I've ever used. As with the other shades, the glitter colours peel right off in one easy movement.

It takes about three coats to get an even distribution of colour, however the polishes dry so quickly that this is still a quicker process than doing 1-2 coats of a 'normal' polish. The end result is a glossy, gel-like finish. The instructions warn that nails can feel a little dry after removal, however mine felt fine (I did apply a little argan oil to be on the safe side though!). My only nitpick would be that I had a couple of nails start peeling off whilst I was washing my hair, however hair washing for me is quite a labour intensive process, and one very few 'normal' nail polishes can stand up to either. 

If you are on the hunt for cruelty free, natural, vegan friendly beauty products, Little Ondine are a great brand to have on your radar. Their shades are maximum colour with minimum faff, their branding is beautiful, and their ethics are on point.