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)

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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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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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Ally plus text

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.

If you liked this post then you may enjoy:

Why subscribe to Skin Organics beauty box

Simply Redheads Review

Why subscribe to The Pip Box

Review product from my Naturismo box

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Happy #LittleMermaidDay – Check out these mermaid beauty products!

Being a redhead, I have always had a love for the Little Mermaid, ever since Disney released the movie.

https://youtu.be/ai1RlvqicrU

It was one of the first films I watched at the cinema.  It was my birthday and my mum took me and my best friend.  Before the cinema we went swimming and pretended to be mermaids.  Afterwards, we ate at McDonald’s who had Little Mermaid toys and we both got Flounder.  It was late night Christmas Shopping and the Body Shop had just opened.  Mum treated us to a bar of soap and when we got home, my best friend and I had a bath together.

I’ve continued to love mermaids and if you follow my blog you’ll know I have even written a YA novel about one.  

Today is Little Mermaid Day!

To celebrate, I thought I would share with you my wish list of mermaid themed ethical beauty products.

Captain Blakenship – Sea Salt Shimmer Spray

What could be more mermazing than a spray to add some glitz to your tresses.  It uses all organic ingredients and will add texture as well as shimmer and can be bought in gold, silver or rose-gold.  Buy the Captain Blakenship Mermaid Magic Shimmer Set from Jolie for £23.40.

They also do a mermaid dry shampoo, hair oil and face mask.  

Tropics Skincare – Blue Lagoon Blemish Prevention Skincare

This is a brand new product to this ethical brands collection!  Mermaid’s need flawless skin to capture sailor’s hearts. With a name like ‘blue lagoon’ it’s a siren call to your nearest ambassador or visit their site – costs £42.

Bellapierre – Eye Shimmer Kit in Deep Ocean

I found this gorgeous kit on Naturismo for £29.99 (worth £81). This kit makes uses of blues and complimentary shades, perfect for fans of the ocean.  The brand uses natural ingredients for their pigmented mineral products.  

100% Pure – Fruit Pigmented Mermaid Palette

If blue is not your thing then this alternative eye palette with shades of coral, gold and green might be more your thing. The fruit pigmented palette costs £45.26.

Tarte Cosmetics

This cruelty free brand has so much for mermaid lovers to choose from. Here is a small selection of their fintastic products:

I hope you have the best Little Mermaid day and I would love to hear about your MERchandise 😉 

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy my post on Halloween theme beauty products.

My last Skin Organics Beauty Box (August)

What is it?

Skin Organics Clean Beauty is a subscription box with a selection of non-toxic, cruelty-free, organic and natural products.  These may be skincare, body care or beauty products.  Their aim is to help you discover clean, green and cruelty-free products and brands.  They dispatch on 20th of the month.

Cost:  £19.00 (+£3.95 P&P) subscription, UK

*****

As I am now on maternity leave, I have cancelled my subscription so there is no new box of cruelty free products to reveal.

*****

What was in my August box?

Refresh

To see my first impressions, please click here.

https://instagram.com/p/BnETAu_BRs6/

Reflect on previous box

I’ve had a month to use the products I received. This is how I got on using the products from my August box:

De Lune Paris:  Spritz (sheet lists price at £18.00)

My skin likes this mist and I’ve been using it daily as a toner. I, however, do not like bottle. When it is screwed up, it doesn’t spray. I have to loosen it for it to work and then it is still tricky to mist.

Although I’m not keen on the bottle the product is effective. I am still interested in trying lip venom by this brand and have high expectations that it will perform well.

Casa Mercarelli: Lemon & Clay Face Mask (sheet lists price as £8.00)

When am I suppose to have time to do a face mask? I now have a few face masks waiting. I feel my daughter is starting to get a routine but I don’t want to jinx it or scare her by appearing to attend to her wearing a face mask.

Butter Bar Soapery: Revive Body Polish (Exclusive product for subscription box – not yet for sale. Expected RRP £15.00)

I’m not a fan of scrubs so it has to be pretty special to win me over and this one did. This scrub deep cleaned my skin, removed any dryness and really hydrated my skin. My legs felt so soft, like silk. I was blown away! This felt like a luxury spa treatment. I would buy this again. It is so good!

BAO Skincare: Apricot Rose Face Polish (RRP £14.00 for 50ml)

Again, I’m not a fan of scrubs but I’ve been using this once a week and I look forward to using it. It’s very gentle although you can feel it working. My skin looks better as a result. I think it gets rid of dry skin and enables my moisturiser to be more effective. I’d buy this again too!

Eden Days Body: Hawaiian Haven Whipped Body Butter (Sheet lists price as RRP £6.50)

My underfloor heating has ruined this product. After melting into a messy oil, it has partial solidified. It is not in two parts, one oily and the other waxy. I can mix it up and it’s still great a moisturise but I don’t think the product is as good as it would have been in its original state.

It is a very affordable price so I may buy it again and give it another chance. I did really like it as an oil so I may let my underfloor heating melt it again lol.

Would I recommend?

My subscription is now cancelled but only while I adjust to a ‘maternity pay lifestyle’. I can’t express how much I will miss these monthly edits. I have loved discovering new products and organic brands.

If you are interested in being chemical free then this is the beauty subscription box for you! It contains a range of organic products from brands that are high end, award winners or start ups. I have not been disappointed by the contents and it’s encouraged me to try products I otherwise wouldn’t have and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

All the products meet the promise of clean, green and cruelty-free – so if that’s something you desire, this is a great box for you. 

I shall soon be looking back at past boxes and sharing the products that stood out. Please share if you’ve tried any of these and what organic products or brands you love? Are your skin/body care products chemical free?

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Review: Skin Organics Beauty Box (August)

What is it?

Skin Organics Clean Beauty is a subscription box with a selection of non-toxic, cruelty-free, organic and natural products.  These may be skincare, body care or beauty products.  Their aim is to help you discover clean, green and cruelty-free products and brands.  They dispatch on 20th of the month.

Cost:  £19.00 (+£3.95 P&P) subscription, UK

What was in my box?

Refresh

This months theme is Refresh. Inside this box are five products.

The card has details about all the products and discount codes if you decide to buy.

First impressions on August’s edit:

De Lune Paris:  Spritz (sheet lists price at £18.00)

The Neroli essential oil in this mist has antibacterial properties to help combat breakouts and boosts skin elasticity. The Orange gives skin a vitamin C boost and is anti-inflammatory.

The brand is cruelty free, organic, vegan and uses sustainably sourced ingredients. Founder Luigi, created the first product, Lip Venom, for his sister and her friends as he didn’t agree with luxury skin care companies charging a fortune for products full of harmful ingredients and I must say, I was impressed with the prices. I never would have guessed this affordable brand is organic. I plan to return to try more, especially the debut product!

Casa Mercarelli: Lemon & Clay Face Mask (sheet lists price as £8.00)

The Lemon will exfoliate skin and remove dead skin. The uncontaminated mineral rich green clay from Sicily will draw out impurities and toxins from your skin.

This Italian brand is organic (certified by the soil association), has recyclable packaging and is free from nasty ingredients. The founder, Lucia, developed Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and had to change her lifestyle to recover from her illness. As a result, she developed this Italian inspired organic skincare brand.

Butter Bar Soapery: Revive Body Polish (Exclusive product for subscription box – not yet for sale. Expected RRP £15.00)

Packed with organic ingredients to buff & repair, cleanse & calm, boost circulation & target cellulite, and to firm & tighten skin tone. That’s a lot of promises!

I love that the products are created in a little workshops in London. The products are cruelty free, palm oil free and don’t use preservatives. They also had some beautiful and reasonably priced gift sets on the site and offer to custom make a gift set.

BAO Skincare: Apricot Rose Face Polish (RRP £14.00 for 50ml)

This product will exfoliate to reveal soft, smooth skin. It is full of nourishing ingredients so it won’t dry your skin out.

The founder has over 10 years experienced in the beauty industry and created a skincare line that actually delivers the results promised using botanicals and plant ingredients. All packaging is recyclable.

Eden Days Body: Hawaiian Haven Whipped Body Butter (Sheet lists price as RRP £6.50)

NB: think the underfloor heating has melted this product – I don’t think it should be an oil!

The Ylang Ylang is to nourish dry skin. The Neroli is to heal stretch marks and broken capillaries, and prevent scarring. It also rejuvenates and regenerates skin. The Lavender is to reduce scaring and speed up healing. It also reduces redness and blotchiness. Geranium is to fade scars and marks on the skin and improves melanin levels.

This 100% natural brand was born from a desire to go chemical free due to skin problems. This mother & daughter team handmakd all their products fresh for their customers.

First impressions on August’s edit:

I’ve recently fallen in love with face mists so I’m really pleased to have a new one to add to my collection. I’m not really a big fan of scrubs but I’ve already tried these since receiving and both the body polish and face scrub are so good I could be converted. I’ll try to find time to use the mask but I’m not a fan of the dry powder one’s as I find them messy, tricky to get right and time consuming.

Reflect on previous box

I’ve had a month to use the products I received and share my thoughts.

Skin Organics - July

This is how I got on using the products from my July “Rose theme” box:

This box arrived just before my newborn arrived. The last week of pregnancy was exhausting and once my baby girl got here on 6 Aug 2018, I forgot all about me. It was a struggle to even find time to do this post – Aghhh!

However, all the products in this box are the usual high standard I’ve come to expect from skin Organics. They meet my ethical desires and feel luxurious. For me, this is the beauty box to beat.

Lola’s Apothecary:  Delicate Romance Perfume Delux Roll On (sheet lists price as £20.00)

As pretty as this looks, I’ve not had a chance to use it.  I was fortunate enough not to get any stretchmarks whilst pregnant and that could be down to the products I use or good genes.  I will keep this in my cupboard as I do sometimes get trouble in the winter with dry skin and this helps with that too.  

Odylique:  Lip Liner – Rose (sheet lists price as £12.50)

I didn’t have time to check online how to use it so I just applied it how I felt worked and I really like it. The pencil is smooth and doesn’t drag along the skin but it has decent staying power. I used it with my …. lipstick and felt they were a good colour match.

Green PeoplePrice of sample is unknown… Damask Rose Facial Oil (full size 30ml is £29 on website) & Damask Rose Moisturiser (full size 30ml is £20 on website)

The Damask Rose duo from Green People didn’t disappoint. I don’t know if I was meant to use them together but I did. They smelt lovely and made my skin feel so hydrated which was great as I have been suffering with some dry flakey skin recently.

Weleda:  Price of sample is unknown… Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash (full size 50ml is £3.95 and 200ml is £7.95 on website) & Wild Rose Body Oil (full size 100ml is £25.95 on website)

Blame it on ‘baby brain’ but I have no idea where I put this. I’m sure it’s somewhere to prompt me to use it but I’ve no idea where. It will turn up and when it does, it’ll be a lovely surprise.

Zenon KitionFloral Beauty Mist (sheet lists price as £9.99)

This has been refreshing on the hot days and first thing in the morning. Dare I say, I found floral scent a bit heavy for me – although it doesn’t last long. I’m not sure I would buy again but I’d certainly try other products by the brand.

Balm KindAlpine Rose & Lysine Lip Balm (sheet lists price as £12.00)

Initially, I didn’t like how oily this is as I hadn’t expected that. I continued to use it each morning and I really like it. It will last a long time as you only need a tiny amount for your whole lip. It’s very moisturising. I really like it and would consider buying again.

Alteya Organics: Age Defense Certified Organic Hand Cream (sheet lists price as £6.20)

My hands are seriously neglected so this was a lovely treat and the ideal size to throw in my changing bag. It had a rich traditional rose scent. It has a runny texture but dries quickly and leaves hands feeling well nourished.

Would I recommend?

My subscription is now cancelled but only while I adjust to a ‘maternity pay lifestyle’. I can’t express how much I will miss these monthly edits. I have loved discovering new products and organic brands.

If you are interested in being chemical free then this is the beauty subscription box for you! It contains a range of organic products from brands that are high end, award winners or start ups. I have not been disappointed by the contents and it’s encouraged me to try products I otherwise wouldn’t have and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

All the products meet the promise of clean, green and cruelty-free – so if that’s something you desire, this is a great box for you. 

I shall soon be looking back at past boxes and sharing the products that stood out. Please share if you’ve tried any of these and what organic products or brands you love? Are your skin/body care products chemical free?

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