2023 Second Quarter Check In

You can see the initial goals I set for 2023 by checking out my January post: https://allyaldridge.com/2023-goals/

I love doing these posts. I always feel like I’ve not done much, then I look back at the last three months and realise I have a lot to celebrate.

Publishing

Sky Heart: Book 2 in the Soul Heart Series

My editor had a health emergency that delayed her being able to return the Copy Edit. She is a Trooper, and once she was better and rested she still did it. She returned it on 4 June 2023.

I had an important event to prepare for in June, so didn’t really deep dive into my final edits until the end of the month, finishing it by 1 July 2023.

So, this technically falls into the Third Quatre of the year but I’m too excited to keep it to myself. Once I finished editing, I sent my manuscript to my Formatter to make it pretty. I then realised she needs front & back matter too, so I wrote this and sent it over by 3 July.

Due to the editing delays, I lost my Formatting slot but will get slotted in soon. Once back I’ll be able to look for ARC readers.

Seeing my publishing plan, I noticed I missed a step. Now trying to see if I Cassidy has time to proofread for me, because she’s got a good eye. When she ARC read Ocean Heart, she spotted some minor typos that got missed despite all the edits, and I was able to change those before it went on sale to the public. Fingers crossed she can help me again.

Summer Heart: Prequel of Soul Heart series

I added a little more. It’s not going to be 85k. I’ve no idea why I set that as the word count target! It’s currently at 36.5k words, and some of that is notes. It is nearing the end of the story, so it’s not going to get much longer.

  • A YA Low Fantasy prequel from The Soul Heart series. Set in the early 00s, a summer romance turns into a teen pregnancy. With a fortune telling meddling witch, Denny moves to Felixstowe believing she’s doing the right thing for her baby.

Dark Heart: Another Soul Heart spin off/sequel

I’ve had this story bubbling in my head for a few years. I tried to write it before but got too scared. This time it felt less scary, and the words poured out of me. This story is at 21k words and almost finished. It will be another novella.

  • A YA LGBTQ Fantasy spin off from The Soul Heart series. It was supposed to be a horror inspired by slender man myths and Orochimaru from Naruto, but it’s turned into a coming out story, and not as dark as I expected. It’s been fun to write.

Public Appearances: I attended both my author events.

May: Herts Book Festival

This was so much fun. I sold books. I took part on a Fantasy panel with other fantasy authors, and I met and made author friends.

June: Felixstowe Book Festival.

I have wanted to be part of this event for a long time! I was part of the Children’s events. My event was called Let’s Talk Fantasy, and it was me and a local avid reader. It created a great dynamic. Afterwards, I sold and signed some books, and enjoyed more of the festivals events.

I forgot to take pictures and videos, until after the event. I only got a photo of my signing table, and fortunately Phoebe’s mum took some pictures she was willing to let me use on Social Media.

Aug: Booked to attend Legends Comic Con on 6 Aug 2023

I have updated my website’s Events page with details. I will be three with three other local authors I have gotten to know via Instagram, including Rachel Churcher who had the stall next to me at Herts Book Festival.

Reading

12 out of 18 books: I set my Goodreads goal at 16 books and have read 12 books so far.

Reviews: All the books have a Goodreads review. I have been so busy, I’ve not posted reviews as frequently to my blog. I posted three more book reviews on my YouTube channel channel.

Social Media [UPDATE]

Felixstowe Magazine: I have fallen behind with submitting articles for Felixstowe Magazine. I’ve been so busy with my kids, my new job, and festivals, that the weeks have flown by. This is a reminder, I need to get back on that as it’s a really good opportunity.

Website: I’ve been good about updating my websites Event page with what I’m up to. I’ve not updated my book titles. I need to update Sky Heart’s progress, rename New Moon as Summer Heart, and add Dark Heart.

I’m also not happy with my current host provider, Hostinger. I paid for 2 years, so I’m stuck with them for another year but in the autumn I need to check out other providers and prepare for a migration.

Ko-Fi: I haven’t posted as frequently. Everything dropped up during chicken pox season, and busy with book festivals. I’ve started posting quick updates on my progress, and my YouTube videos. Nobody is there so it feels like I’m talking to a brick wall.

[kofi]

YouTube: i usually record when I’m off work on a Friday, but due to bank holidays and sick kids, I’ve worked a lot of Fridays and this has impacted my ability to record anything. I have made a few shorts in Canva. I’m proud of my long form Vlog video of going to Herts Book Festival.

Consistently Post: To keep the algorithm happy, I set the following schedule and included how I got on sticking to it:

  • Blog: Mon – This has definitely dropped in consistency. I usually have a few posts scheduled but right now I have loads of drafts written, waiting for the images.
  • IG: Wed (more if I feel like it) – It’s been sporadic but has met the at least once a week quota. Also, posting to Lemon8.
  • Ko-Fi: Thu – This has become so sporadic, I forgot the goal was to post on a Thursday.
  • Twitter: Sun – I rarely post intentionally to Twitter. It updates on my reading progress, and I’ve been sharing my Lemon8 posts.
  • YT: Tue (fortnightly) – No. This has trailed off since May. I will try to get back on track.
  • Newsletter: Every other month – That’s a relief. I thought I needed to send it monthly and had dropped off, but I have done this.

Followers: Eek, I was okay with no growth, but to lose followers was a shock. It’s so slight, I hadn’t even noticed. I wasn’t surprised that my TikTok count dropped as I deleted the app for a bit – I’m just not a fan and don’t trust them to respect my privacy.

I’m chuffed I have already beat my YouTube annual goal. This is encouraging as I am still trying to figure things out.

It’s good to see I am connecting with readers. I was surprised by this as I don’t always remember to post to BookBub & Litsy.

The Author Diaries: The authors that agreed to do The Author Diaries collab with me are still up for it but we still haven’t set down a time. I’m starting to worry we might never do it.

Reviews: I’ve heard from people that bought Ocean Heart tell me they are loving it, but no new reviews.

Personal

Skincare routine: Got a new face wash which I love, by Auriella Probiotics. I got a new foundation, eyebrow pencil, and lip and cheek tint.

Visit Jimmy’s Farm: I was worried with the kids keep getting ill, my hubby working weekends, and my festivals, that we wouldn’t get to go. We did.

I was having an awful weekend where the kids were driving me barmy and decided I wanted to change it. So, I took them to Jimmy’s Farm to burn their energy and we all had a great time.

Date Nights: No more date nights, but we took the day off for Sports Day and got to have lunch, just my hubby and I, on the seafront.

We almost booked a spa day at Riverhills for our wedding anniversary. We got the time off work but we were so distracted by life we never booked it. Just as well, because the night before we would have gone, the spa burned down.

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2023 First Quarter Check In

You can see the initial goals I set for 2023 by checking out my January post.

Today’s post is to look at what I have achieved during the first three months of the year (January to March) 2023.

Publishing

Sky Heart: Book 2 in the Soul Heart Series

It took me until end of March to finish the Developmental Edit which is longer than I had hoped but still good progress.

I have also finalised the cover for Sky Heart and waiting for Sky Heart to be closer to publishing to do a cover reveal.

Summer Heart: Prequel of Soul Heart series

I haven’t worked much on this during Quarter One. I have been distracted by a shiny new idea. I’m not too worried as Sky Heart was always the priority but I’d like to finish this at some point this year.

Public Appearances: I have booked two events.

May: Herts Book Festival. I will be there selling signed copies of Sky Heart.

June: Felixstowe Book Festival. I will be taking part on a panel for the Children’s events.

Other Stories: I gave some examples of some plot bunnies bouncing around in my head. However, none of these were the shiny new story I started writing during quarter one.

  • A YA LGBTQ Fantasy spin off from The Soul Heart series. It was supposed to be a horror inspired by slender man myths and Orochimaru from Naruto, but it’s not coming out as dark as I expected. It’s been fun to write.

Reading

6 out of 18 books: I set my Goodreads goal at 16 books and have read 6 books so far. I bought some ear pods and tried audio books again. I’m having more success, but, I still prefer the written word to the verbal word.

Reviews: All the books have a Goodreads review. I have posted reviews on my YouTube channel for four books so far and plan to do more.

Social Media [UPDATE]

Felixstowe Magazine: I have been fortunate enough to write for Felixstowe Magazine throughout 2022 and will continue in 2023. Check out my News page to discover the articles.

Website: I need to make sure my pages stay up-to-date. For example, whilst writing this I’ve found that “New Moon” is listed on my books page but hasn’t updated to the new title “Summer Heart”. This isn’t a biggie as I’m not marketing it yet, but I mustn’t lose sight of it.

I’m also not happy with my current host provider, Hostinger. I paid for 2 years, so I’m stuck with them for another year but in the autumn I need to check out other providers and prepare for a migration.

Ko-Fi: I have been posting more often to Ko-Fi and trying to post some content that can’t only be seen there by more followers. I am finding it hard to think of content to post each day.

[kofi]

YouTube: Despite the challenges affecting my life during the first quarter, I have managed to record, edit, and lost fortnightly to YouTube. This schedule is challenging for me but still achievable so I will keep this schedule.

Consistently Post: To keep the algorithm happy, I set the following schedule and included how I got on sticking to it:

  • Blog: Mon – This has been most Mon but I tend to forget something for the end of the month.
  • IG: Wed (more if I feel like it) – It’s been sporadic but has met the at least once a week quota.
  • Ko-Fi: Thu – I have posted each week, usually on a Thursday.
  • Twitter: Sun – I had a clear out of Followers on Twitters which improved my feed, but I don’t think I have posted intentionally to Twitter.
  • YT: Tue (fortnightly) – Yes. This has be challenging at time as I’ve had tech challenges like my video not uploading but I have persevered and kept up with it.
  • Newsletter: Every other month – Yes. I sent a newsletter in Jan, but not in Feb, and then again in Mar. I thought I’d messed up on this goal so it’s good I achieved it.

Followers: Eek, I was okay with no growth, but to lose followers was a shock. It’s so slight, I hadn’t even noticed. I wasn’t surprised that my TikTok count dropped as I deleted the app for a bit – I’m just not a fan and don’t trust them to respect my privacy.

I’m chuffed I have already beat my YouTube annual goal. This is encouraging as I am still trying to figure things out.

It’s good to see I am connecting with readers. I was surprised by this as I don’t always remember to post to BookBub & Litsy.

The authors that agreed to do The Author Diaries collab with me are still up for it but we still haven’t set down a time. In the meantime, I have been creating fortnightly content for my YouTube channel.

Reviews: Although I’ve had two people tell me they read and loved Ocean Heart, the review count has not increased.

Personal

Skincare routine: I got in a good routine and then got lazy again. I also treated myself to some Korean makeup. I used to love Korean makeup before I went organic. I got a cute foundation, highlighter, and bronzer.

Visit Jimmy’s Farm: I’m so disappointed that we haven’t been. It hasn’t been the best weather, cold and rainy. When it has been nice my husband had either been working or someone has a bad cold. Hopefully we will get to go during Q2.

Date Nights: My hubby’s best mate baby Sat so we could go watch Avatar together. This was right before I lost my job. Once I was unemployed my hubby and I went to lunch a few times when we was on his rest days.

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2023 Goals!

I didn’t really set any goals last year and it left me feeling like I didn’t achieve everything I wanted to. Having no milestones left me unaccountable.

After reflecting on this, and learning from it, I must set goals for 2023! I went back to my Jan 2021 post to use as a goal setting template.

Publishing

Sky Heart: Book 2 in the Soul Heart Series

I wanted to publish this by the end of 2021. The goal rolled into 2022, and it’s still outstanding! This is my top priority for 2023. I am halfway through the developmental feedback. Completing this step by the end of Jan is doable.

For accountability, I will post my feedback on Ko-Fi & share to Twitter.

Summer Heart: Prequel of Soul Heart series

Originally this was titled New Moon (or Denny’s Story) and it was going to be a short novella that I would offer out as a readers magnet, but… I’m not good at short stories. This is fast becoming a full length novel.

Public Appearances: I would really love to do another face to face event. They are scary but I think they are important to be seen as an author. I’m not sure what though.

Other Stories: I would like to start a new novel. I have ideas for some stand alone novels. As I struggle for time to work on my main projects, these get pushed aside. When I want a change, I will work on:

  • A YA Paranormal Fantasy Horror set in a made up town- Paranormal YouTubers crossed with Blaire Witch Project
  • A YA Sci-Fi Romance set in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk – The UKs equivalent of the USAs Roswell.
  • A Historical YA Fantasy set in Woolpit, Suffolk inspired by the local Green Children Legend.
  • A Vampire Fantasy Romance set at Birmingham university (location may change to London, Liverpool, or Ipswich) – Exploring addiction.
  • A Sci-fi Action story set at Landguard Fort, Felixstowe, Suffolk/Sealand – Drunk teens find a naked girl on the beach that has escaped a research facility, and now they are on the run. Inspired by Stranger Things and Hunted on Ch4.
  • And many more. I have tons of plot bunnies but not enough time to write. One day… one day…

Reading

12 – 24 Books: When I am working on my writing, I tend not to read. It depends on how productive I am towards my publishing goals. The last two years, I’ve doubled it but my progress in other areas were reduced.

Reviews: I wish to continue posting reviews on my blog, and Goodreads. If it’s on Litsy or BookBub, I will post it there too. In addition, I’d like to review books on my YouTube channel.

Social Media

Felixstowe Magazine: I have been fortunate enough to write for Felixstowe Magazine throughout 2022 and will continue in 2023. Check out my News page to discover the articles.

Website: I need to make sure my pages stay up-to-date. For example, whilst writing this I’ve found that “New Moon” is listed on my books page but hasn’t updated to the new title “Summer Heart”. This isn’t a biggie as I’m not marketing it yet, but I mustn’t lose sight of it.

I’m also not happy with my current host provider, Hostinger. I paid for 2 years, so I’m stuck with them for another year but in the autumn I need to check out other providers and prepare for a migration.

Ko-Fi: I joined last year, and really enjoy this site. It is now my shops home as it’s so easy to use. I need to update this more often and encourage people to follow me there.

[kofi]

YouTube: I really want to grow my YouTube channel. It’s hard because I need quiet to make videos. I also don’t want you to see my messy home, so I must tidy first (recently we had a leak in the kitchen that spread to the dining room – this is an ongoing nightmare). Then once recorded I need to edit, and my laptop is on the way out. There are lots of obstacles but this is a goal I’m not giving up on!

Consistently Post: I know this is important to keep the algorithm happy, but during 2022 I just lost my enthusiasm to post. I think it was burn out. However, this is what I will aim for:

  • Blog: Mon
  • IG: Wed (more if I feel like it)
  • Ko-Fi: Thu
  • Twitter: Sun
  • YT: Tue (fortnightly)
  • Newsletter: Every other month

Followers: I’m not too worried about building up my following as I’d rather have people I’m engaging with than big numbers. I’ve set my goal to increase by 10%, especially as I haven’t really tracked it for two years.

I barely sent out any news letters during 2022. To send one every other month would be an increase. It would be nice to get more subscribers but I won’t be pushing this.

I don’t like Facebook, so I’m going to drop this off completely.

I recently returned to Twitter. I stopped using Twitter because there was so much hate and preaching American Democrats. It pushed me to check out Parler. Parler was very American Republican and nothing else. Since Elon has taken over Twitter, it feels less political, and there is more rounded discussion. I’m enjoying Twitter again.

TikTok is an app I feel I should use more as people make book sales there, but it terrifies me. I’m not going to force myself to do it, if I feel inspired to post there I will but I’m not too bothered about my growth.

I had an idea to do a collab feature on YouTube called The Author Diaries. We found it challenging to find a time we were all free but I am still interested in doing this. In the meantime, I will create content for my YouTube channel on writing a book reviews.

BookBub, Goodreads, and Litsy are social apps for readers. I’m not very active on these except to post reviews. I can’t see that changing.

Reviews: Reviews are really important for a books visibility, so I will be tracking how many I have and – eek – remind my readers to leave reviews.

Personal

Skincare routine: I haven’t really bothered with my skincare or makeup products during 2022 as I tried to save money. It could be aging or my lack of care but my skin is in need of some attention. For 2023, I will invest in some nice products and look after my skin better.

Visit Jimmy’s Farm: My mum treated me to an annual pass so we can go whenever we like. We will be making the most of that. The pass also includes discounts at other places so we could check them out too.

Date Nights: My hubby and I are both busy working, looking after the kids, keeping up appearances with friends & family that we barely have quality time together. When we are together we are often exhausted. My hubby and I have agreed that we will try harder this year to make time for each other.

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More Organic Treats

Did you see my post about my Mother’s Day Skin Organics Skincare Box? Well that was not all I got. I was very spoilt and had two extra treats alongside my Skin Organic Box.

Niskama Skincare – Dry Skin Relief Body Balm

I accidentally used this before taking a pic – whoops! But, I don’t think you can tell.

The balm is hard and you warm it up in your hand to get an oil. It has a lovely clean smell that’s not too strong. And, guess what, it only costs £6.50!

AA Skincare – Face Toner

This is the big 150ml bottles and costs £7.98. You can buy the smaller 50ml bottle for just £3.95 to try it out or for travelling.

I started using this right away as I needed a toner and love the scent of Rose. Needless to say, I love it. And can’t believe the affordable price – woohoo!

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My Skin Organic Box (March 2020)

Why Subscribe to Skin Organics

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My Favourite Vegan Perfume

My Favourite Vegan Perfume

I am a big fan of Eden Perfumes in Brighton. One day I’d love to visit the store.

In store you can create your own perfume blend using vegan ingredients.

The Ugly Truth of High Street Perfumes

Regular high street perfumes have lots of peculiar things in them like:
  • Civet: Anal secretions from a cat like creature.
  • Ambergris: sperm whale secretion from the bile duct.
  • Musk: animal anal secretions.
  • Castoreum: beaver anal secretions (aka artificial vanilla).
  • Hyraceum: fossilised badger urine.

I don’t know about you but bile, urine, and anal secretions do not appeal. I discovered what these ingredients are whilst hunting for an organic perfume.

Welcome To Eden

Eden Perfumes are organic where possible, but 100% cruelty free and because they are vegan they don’t have any of those questionable ingredients above.

If like me you can’t get to the store they are able to recommend perfumes similar to a high street perfume you may already know. This makes buying online easier.

Chloe was my favorite perfume so the first thing I did was search for something similar. They recommended:

085: Chloey

It smells as good as the designer one, if not better. Since trying this, I haven’t looked back.

The price for all this goodness is very reasonable at only £18 for 30ml or £24 for 50ml.

If you’ve not checked them out I highly recommend you do.

They used to do mini bottles spray bottles which were perfect for trying a new scent or for travelling.I was disappointed to find they aren’t currently doing this as I thought it’d be fun to try something new.

Well, I managed to track some down on the associated shop for the Cruelty Free Beauty Box.

I bought:

015: Adore Women similar to J’Adore by Dior

017: Light Blue Woman similar to Light Blue Women’s by Dolce & Gabbana

These minis cost £7.50, full size is £18 at the associated shop for the Cruelty Free Beauty Box. They had more scents available too.

I’m a fan of both these designer fragrances so it was no surprise I liked the vegan equivalent at first whiff. It was tough to choose which to buy full size, but I went for 015 and treated my hubby to 151.

151: Light Blue Man similar to Light Blue Men’s by Dolce & Gabbana

I love Eden Perfumes and won’t buy high street again. I’m tempted to get get more minis so I have a variety.

My only complaint is that the bottles look identical so I can’t tell at a glance which scent is which.

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My Skin Organic Box (March 2020)

Why Subscribe to Skin Organics Beauty Box

My Gifted Makeup Haul

My Summer Must Have Products

My Skin Organic Box (March 2020)

This was a lovely surprise. For Mothers Day, my husband bought me a Skin Organics box. He remembered how much I enjoyed receiving this before having our daughter.

And, the timing couldn’t be better. In March the Government placed the UK in lockdown. Adjusting to this new lifestyle wasn’t easy but with the Skin Organic box being appropriately themed “Meditate” it was filled with beautiful products to help me relax.

Blue labelle Boutique – Face Oil

Blue Labelld Face Oil

This it the 10ml travel size bottle and retails at £7.50, but it is a decent size as you only need a little and can last 2.5 months if used daily. The full size is £22 for 30ml.

I really like that it has a spray. I cant help but do two squirts so my bottle will likely go faster. I don’t need two squirts but I can’t help myself. I will want to replace this when it runs out.

Help Me Organics – Room Spray

Help me have a mindful of calm

This isn’t the sort of thing I would usually buy. I wasn’t sleeping well and the virus was playing on my mind. I decided to give this a go. I’m not a fan of lavender so I wasn’t sure but it resulted in the best nights sleep ever.

I woke up rejuvenated and have started spritzing my room whenever I need a boost of calm. For £9 this is great value. I think if I re-buy I might try a different fragrance.

Refresh Tea Soap & Soap Co – Zzz Zone Out Bath Bar

Zzz Zone Out Bath Bar

This bar of soap is really big. It doesn’t fit in my soap dish! With the extra hand washing, and soap being the most effective, I am loving this bar.

I have been using it to wash my face and it’s so gentle I’ve not had any breakouts. It costs £12 and I think it will last forever.

Om Shanti Alchemy – Meditation Oil

Om Shanti Alchemy Fire Meditation Oil

This was the first product I used. I was having a very challenging day and snuck upstairs to calm down. I searched for some guided meditation on YouTube as I wasn’t sure what to do.

I enjoyed meditating and it did help me relax. Since then, I’ve tried it again. I can see how certain scents could help you get in the zone and this smells really good, but I keep forgetting to use it.

Skin AlchemistsIntense Skin Treatment (Sweet Dreams)

Skin Alchemists Sweet Dreams Intensive Skin Treatment

I’ve not used this yet. It sounds very indulgent so I’m waiting for a moment I can fully enjoy this.

What you do it light the candle and wait 15 minutes and enjoy the scent. Then blow it out. Wait 2 minutes and then use the warm oil to massage your skin or add a few drops to the bath. The full size costs £38.

I was really spoilt this mother’s day and I love how these brands are not only cruelty free but also use organic ingredients. Have you tried any of these products or brands?

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Why Subscribe to Skin Organics

My Last Skin Organics Box

Organic Facial

My everyday makeup

My everyday makeup

I’m in such a rush in the mornings that my makeup routine has to be quick. The best way to speed things up is to reduce the number of products that I use. Currently, these are the makeup products I use everyday.

Nui Cosmetics

I use their liquid foundation in the shade Intense Kanapa (RRP £42). What I like about this product is you can build it up. It also dries to give a natural matt look. 

Vapour Organic Beauty

I love all vapour products but have to budget buying them. This concealer in 010 (RRP £24) is my favourite as it gives full cover but is soft and creamy so doesn’t look dry and caked on. I think the moisture helps imperfections heal faster too.

Tarte Cosmestics

I have two palletes and this one has more subtle colours which is perfect for day time as I don’t want to look too done up for a school run. This pallette is Rainforest of the Sea volume III (RRP £30).

Pacifica

This mascara in shade Abyss is black and waterproof (RRP £15.49). With all the changing hormones post pregnancy, this has been a blessing.

Axicology

I love these lipsticks and my current shade is Noble (RRP £25). It’s a brick red (slight orange tone to it). Not only do I use this on my life but I add a little to my cheeks as a sheer blush and I’m good to go.

Here is me in my everyday make up. My hair is a mess as I’ve been running around with the kids and Aria likes to pull hair and put banana in it. A mums life is oh so glamorous -lol.

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My gifted makeup haul!

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Happy #LittleMermaidDay – Check out these mermaid beauty products!

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Ally plus text

Great products for dealing with a teething baby

At about 8 weeks old, Aria was shoving her hands in her mouth and chewing anything she could reach. It was quite obvious that with the drool, she was teething.

Here are the products I bought and the stores I bought thm from:

I had a look online for some products to help her and found a lovely website called Amber Pumpkin. I bought the following products:

Lune Hand Puppet:  £15.47

I think this toy is cleverly thought out. It is a hand puppet whicd enables you to play with your baby. The material is super soft and the little bear has tags that babies like to fiddle with and explote. My little girl likes to chew his legs, arms and nose and finds it easy to hold.

Rooba Boo the Bunny – Natural Rubber Teething Toy:  £9.65

I was looking for a teether that is made from non-toxic materials, has plenty of textures for teething, easy for a baby to hold and not ghastly looking. This ticked all the boxes for me and I know my little girl loves it as one of the few times she stays in one spot is when she is busy chewing this.

Adjustable Unpolished Honey Amber And Rose Quartz Anklet / Bracelet:  £12.60

When ordering, I was unable to find a tape measure. So I went for the design that has a clasp and you can use this to adjust the length. Every anklet on the site has a warning that it is not suitable for children under 36 months so I messaged customer support. They confirmed this is true and that some sites don’t make this clear or purposefully mislead consumers. They explained that although care is taken to reduce the risk by knotting every bead individually there is still a risk a bead could come lose and that is a potential choking hazard.

Now, don’t judge me but I decided to take the risk because her legs are usually covered by tights or a sleepsuit making it difficult for her to get her anklet. I also check her anklet everytime she has a bath to make sure there is no wear or tear.

It’s taken a little adjustment to get the knack of putting her anklet on her wriggly leg and making sure it is tight enough she can’t rub it off.

Sadly, the bracket broke just before I got to take a picture for my blog. As you can see only one bead came loose. Luckily she was wearing tights so she never had an opportunity to get the bead. The day it broke was before her third jabs and she was more upset than usual. Now she is over her vaccinations she is back to normal so I’m not sure the braclet did much, or anything at all.

Amber Pumpkin (the store)

I was really impressed by their customer service. They took their time to answer my questions and gave me information to make my own decision. I don’t feeel like they lied to make a sale.

After my purchase they sent me a code to share so my friends can get 10% of their purchases. In return, I earn money off future purchases. My friend also bought a bracket and they sent me some money off.

Here is my code so you can get 10% off and if you get a code too, you can share your code with your friends: http://amberpumpkin.refr.cc/alisonaldridge

Weleda Chamomilla Teething Granules:  £5.50

I also bought Weleda Teething Granuals from Naturismo. This can also be used to treat colic. It’s a really bizare product. The little granuals look like grains of salt and you give it to your baby on the tiny spoon provided or mix with cooled boiled water.

Like most babies, her tongure tries to push the granuals out but it does seem to calm her down when she gets really grizzly about her teeth. It either works or effectively distracts her from the pain. Either way, it’s a winner.

I’m annoyed that I lost my box as it had piece of paper inside saying I could request sample of their other baby products. I am already a fan of their baby facial moisturiser so I had intended to fill in the form and send it to them after Christmas. Hopefully, the form will be in the next box I purchase. 

Weleda Chamomile Baby Face Moisturiser

I ordered this as a treat for her after her injection. She had some redness on her face which I suspected was caused by the dribble and cold air but the Health Visitor and GP said it was normal.

I didn’t want anything harsh for her delicate skin or risk making it worse. So, I looked for a product with natural ingredients especially for babies.

I hadn’t expected it to have such a pretty smell but it is lovely. When she sees I am about to apply it, she gives me a lovely toothless grin. It think massaging her cheeks helps soothe the pain from teething as well as healing the baby acne. Very quickly her skin healed and I began recommending it to other mums.

Naturismo (the store)

This is one of my favourite online shops as it always has great deals of organic beauty products and free delivery with no minumum spend! There is also a wide range of samples to choose from.

Akamuti Petroleum Free Jelly

I bought this direct from Akamuti’s website. I love their organic products and this multi-tasker is a favourite.

I often use it for my son who gets chapped lips when he gets a cold. The extra saliva caused by teething also can result in a sore bum. Although Akamuti do a happy balm, I had this in my house and it cleared it up over night!

It’s like Vaseline but chemical free and allows the skin to breathe.

How is teething going?

Aria is now almost 6 months old and still has no teeth. She loves to chew stuff and doesn’t get too upset. She gets a little grizzly before bed and that is when her teeth bother her the most but if I give her Rooba, she is able to soothe herself.

My favourite products has been the Rooba natural rubber teether, the Weleda face moisturiser and Akamuti’s jelly. I did love the braclet until it broke and I might use my discount to get a new one but I’m not convinced it made a difference to teething.

What products have you found work for your little one?

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My gifted makeup haul!

I am one lucky girl. My husband spoilt me at Christmas to lots of makeup from my wish-list.

Here is what I got:

Two eyeshadow palettes from Tarte:

The differences between them are explained below but I wanted to cover what I love about both of them, just once.

The palettes feel very strong and sturdy. I’m not sure how deep the pans go, but potentially they could be very deep.

I love the big mirror in the lid. I think it slightly magnifies my face so I can see myself more easily.

Both palettes come with a leaflet giving two example looks that can be created and instructions on how to achieve it.

Tarte: Rainforest of the sea eyeshadow palette volume II

This palette is able to create everyday looks or dramatic evening looks. As I don’t get out much in the evenings, I’m choosing to use the darker shades to softly line my eyes. There’s a mix of matte and shimmer shadows.

Tarte: Rainforest of the sea has highlighting eyeshadow palette vol III

This palette has lighter shades and good for daytime looks only. All the shades have a shimmer. Although, I don’t find this palette as exciting, I do feel it is more practical for my lifestyle and will get used more.

Tarte: Lights, camera, lashes 4-in-1 mascara

So far, I am getting on alright with this mascara. Any mascara makes my lashes look better (or at least visable). It hasn’t irritated my eyes or left smudges or flakes under my eyes. I like it.

Tarte: Rainforest if the sea radiance drops

I had no idea what this was when I added it to my wishlist but it’s a best seller and I was curious. I’m still not sure even now I have it – lol.

It comes out on a pipette and is an oil. The oil has a gold shimmer to it. Is it skincare, makeup or a hybrid of the two?

I’ve been dabbing it on like a highlighter and like the effect. It makes my skin look healthier like I am glowing.

Two Axiology lipsticks

Before I go into the shades I want to tell you why I love these lipsticks.

Firstly, they contain no harmful ingredients. They do not support animal testing at all. They are certified vegan and don’t use palm oil.

I love the lipstick cases. You push the base and they pop up. It’s so satisfying! They look beautiful and are recyclable.

Axiology: Lipstick – The Goodness

This was my most used lipstick of 2018 and it ran out. I’m so glad to have it back. I’m sad I caught the tip in my excitement getting it out and now already looks used.

This lipstick is a shimmery nude shade. It’s just for lips but I like putting it on my cheeks too as a highlighting blush. It is very pretty and natural.

Axiology: Lipstick – Worth/Radiance

This will be my lipstick on 2019! It is an orangey red shade on me and looks gorgeous. It’s quite subtle and sadly doesn’t last long so needs to be reapplied but it is such a pretty colour. I love it.

Nui Cosmetics: Liquid foundation – Intense Kanapa

This is my favourite organic foundation. I apply it with my fingers or a sponge. You can build it up easily to get the coverage you need and has a nice smell to it.

Would I recommend?

Yes! My husband has done really well. I am so happy with this haul which will keep me going during maternity leave.

Everything feels good on my skin, doesn’t irritate and looks awesome. I feel excited to do my makeup and play with my new products.

Have you tried any of the above or get any new beauty products for Christmas?

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My top 10 beauty products of 2018!

So to wrap up the year, I am having a look back at what my favourite beauty products were.  These are the ones that got all used up and needed to be replaced.

Axicology lipstick – Goodness

This shade of lipstick gives my lips a natural but better look.  In addition, when I am in a rush, I have applied it to my cheeks as a highlighter/blush and think it looks awesome.

In addition, I love the tube of these lipsticks.  You click the bottom to pop the lipstick up.

Nui Costmetics Foundation Intense Kanapa

This foundation is brilliant. Not only is it all the good stuff and none of the bad stuff but it is also a really effective foundation. You can build up the coverage until you are happy and it has a really nice smell.

Pacifica Beauty Multi Mineral BB Cream

This can be used as a primer or just as a light product to even out your skin tone. I use it everyday for the school run as it gives a really natural look and is light on my skin.

Benecos Natural Eyeshadow – Rose Quartz

This eyeshadow is a lovely rose gold. It gives a slight shimmer but isn’t over powering.  Its a nice natural everyday shade.

Simply Redheads Henna Shampoo/Conditioner

I’ve had my eye on this shampoo for ages and glad that I finally gave it a go.  This shampoo makes my hair feel so good.  I was seriously impressed by the customer service in answering my queries.

I bought two massive bottles and they have lasted ages so they are really reasonably priced.  It is almost empty and I know I will have to repurchase.

A.S Apothacary – Wild Beauty Balm Concerntrate

Whenever my skin needs a little TLC, I reach for this moisturiser.  It comes out in a yellow colour but it is full of so much goodness and my skin really soaks it up.

Butter Bar Soapery Body Polish

As someone who finds no joy in body scrubs as they are scatchy and nasty, this one has truly converted me.  It scrubs the skin but it is so rich in moisture your skin doesn’t feel raw afterwards.  I look forward to using it as it is a real treat.

Roques O’Neil Therapie Bath Detox Salts

I saved these salts for after labour to help with healing and loved them.  I look forward to when I can find time to have a bath to enjoy these are they are a real treat.

NK Naturals Delicate Healing Cleansing Balm

Whenever hormones makes my skin play up, this cleanser brings it back to being balanced.  It is so gentle I have even used it to remove eye makeup.  I like the strong honey smell but that might not suit everyone.

BAO Skincare Apricot Rose Face Polish

I never thought I would trust a scrub on my face but this polish is really gentle and feels like a treat on my skin. 

What I want in 2019

I discovered a lot of the above products through my Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box.  If I can afford to subscribe again then I definitley will.

Other than replacing the above products when they run out, I would be interested in trying out other products by the brands.

I also enjoyed using a lot of lip balms, body oils and facial spritz but although I loved using them, I wasn’t in love with one that it was my most favourite.  I think in 2019, I would like to try more of those products to find the one.

Have you tried any of the above products?  Have you got any recomendations for me.

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