Decluttering my makeup collection and starting a ‘project pan’.

This post is a bit of a ramble. It is mostly for myself to justify my actions but I’ve thrown in a few decluttering tips in. If you are also doing a project pan then please connect with me and we can encourage and support each other!

For those who are not aware, a ‘project pan’ is a personal challenge where you select an unspecified number of makeup items and use these often enough so that you eventually see the silver pan holder at the bottom. Some people also pick haircare or skincare items to use up. My two main reasons for starting a ‘project pan’ is because I do not want to waste the products I have spent my hard earned money on and also I do not want to be a mindless consumer who buys every new release that a beauty brand comes out with.

When I was about 15-19 years old I loved buying high end and luxury beauty products. This started off as lip glosses since they were cheapest and I gradually worked my way onto foundation, blushers, eyeshadow etc. Then at some point in my early 20s my makeup spending slowed down as I preferred to buy makeup when I visited Hong Kong or Japan, which you can imagine wasn’t that often but I would purchase enough to last me until my next trip. I used to be very good and only repurchased an item if I ran out. I would walk around with super pink cheeks as I would overload on the blush so it would run out quicker and then I could get a new one.

You may not believe it but I would have one eyeshadow quad and would use this to death and only purchase another once every single pan was empty. I happily carried on this way for a long time but since I started watching beauty vloggers on YouTube a couple of years ago my strict regime has fallen to the wayside. I used to only watch Michelle Phan or Bubz Beauty every now and again on YouTube but now I subscribe to a few “beauty gurus”. It is their job to promote products so admittedly I have been lulled into buying some of their recommendations.

This year I am going back to my original policy and do a ‘no buy’ unless I use up something in my collection. I am starting a new Instagram account to record my progress and hopefully connect with likeminded people. Here are some reasons why I want to do this.

  1. I have too much makeup. It will be a waste of money if I do not use the products I have bought.
  2. Makeup expires so I want to make sure I use it before this happens. Again, it would be a waste of money if it goes off without me having used it enough.
  3. I do not want to just throw my makeup away because there is already so much waste going to the landfill. I got sucked into the consumer culture and want to try make use of the product before it goes in the bin.

Before my project pan, I did a makeup declutter. Compared to most people I think my collection is already small but I still have more makeup than I need. I only have two eyes so I cannot use too many eyeshadow palettes. Secondly, I am not a makeup artist and not that adventurous with my looks so there is no point in me having too much choice as it would overwhelm me. I also have quite a professional occupation so i am not able to do “fun” looks with makeup for work. Here are a few ways to declutter:

  1. Take out all your products and arrange them into categories eg. blushers, bronzers, highlighters, lipsticks, nail varnishes etc.
  2. Remove and throw any items that have expired.
  3. If there are any items you no longer like then give them to friends/family or donate them. In the UK you can send lightly used products to Give & Makeup London or Wales. If you don’t like it, you won’t use it.
  4. If you are transitioning to cruelty free then this is a good time to start a project pan or to give away any non-cruelty free cosmetics.

Since I am on a ‘no buy’, I have some ways to prevent me from buying more makeup that may help you too:

  1. Read/watch reviews for everything before committing to a purchase. Never buy anything on impulse, no matter how good a deal it is. You can always go back to the store or order it online. If I leave without buying something and if I keep thinking about it then it means I really want it. If I forget about it then it means I do not really care for it. Everyone reacts differently to products but items with consistent 5 star reviews are a good place to start. Test them instore before buying.
  2. Declutter who you subscribe to on YouTube. Are the vloggers you watch honest? I avoid watching people who get paid to go on brand vacations. I know beauty gurus make money by promoting products and talking bout free PR but they should tell you when they are reviewing something they received for free.
  3. Before buying something new, have a look in your own collection and see if you already have anything similar. Is it really necessary for you to own it? Is it different enough to stand out from everything else in your stash?
  4. Think of new ways to use your items. For example you could use a bronzer as eyeshadow or lipstick as a blush. You may be surprised how different one product can look if used differently.

Some people may struggle with a ‘project pan’ as they may feel limited or bored. If this is the case then I suggest ‘shopping your stash’ which involves pulling out items from your collection that you may not have used for a while. You could also do a ‘one palette one week’ challenge so you become more creative with your looks.

Do you enjoy buying cosmetics? Do you think you have too much or do you think your collection is just right? How much do you spend on beauty per month?


Review of Good Bubble cloudberry bubble bath.

I am very excited today to share with you a Leaping Bunny certified baby brand! Please can I introduce Good Bubble! Found these guys when I attended the baby and toddler show last year and I just love the ethos of the brand. And so did Deborah Meadon from Dragons Den!

Not only are they committed to formulating gentle products for babies without ingredients such as sulfates or parabens, they also manufacture within the UK and are committed to reducing their carbon footprint by using recyclable packaging and responsibly sourcing ingredients. Their products have the seal of approval, not only from Cruelty Free International, but also the Vegan Society. I also love how it is a family business.

Good Bubble do a nice range of bubble baths, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, coconut oil, and wash mits. The two “favours” they have are dragonfruit and cloudberry. How exotic! I can tell you they both smell DIVINE. The coconut oil also smells very fruity and delicious and would be great for people suffering with dry skin.

Prices start at £3.69 which is great for a product which is practically classed as totally organic.

The item I bought to try out is the cloudberry bubble bath and it definitely puts lots of bubbles in the bath tub. The scent might be too sweet for some people but I really like it and Emery didn’t mind it either. Packaging is cute and attractive to little people. The bottle is kind of chubby and bulky but that lends to its appeal.

There isn’t really much I can say about a bubble bath! It was gentle and didn’t cause any redness or any sort if irritation. A little goes a long way so a 400ml bottle should last you a while.

I wish I had also picked up something with the dragonfruit in it. I love that I can add another cruelty free brand to my baby list. The only downfall is that the brand is not stocked (yet) in major stores but you can easily get Good Bubble online.

Have you ever tried Good Bubble? Do bath products with scents draw you in or put you off?

Which style of reusable nappy is right for you?

So you’ve made the great decision of choosing reusable nappies on your precious baby and you go to research brands and the colour drains from your face because there are SO MANY options and you think you might just stick with the disposables that everyone knows about.

I know the feeling. There are so many types of nappies and they seem to run into each other. All in one? All in two? Pocket nappy? Sized? Organic? Bamboo or cotton? Which is cheapest? You can get an all in one organic bamboo one size nappy or an all in one sized microfibre nappy.

Whilst I am no expert hopefully this post will shed a little light and make the world of cloth nappies a little easier to navigate. Also note the terms “reusable”, “cloth”, and “real” are often interchanged.

Real nappies have these basic parts:

1. Waterproof outer, most often made of PUL (polyurethane laminate) but other materials also found. The outer usually has fun prints.

2. Inner absorbent “nappy” part, usually made from bamboo or cotton or microfibre. Mostly plain but some, such as Totsbots Bamboozle, may have prints.

3. Liner (optional), used to catch poo and may be flushable, disposable, or washed and reused. Fleece liners also help remove the feeling of wetness.

4. Booster/insert (optional). If you feel your nappy doesn’t provide enough containment you can add one or two (or more if you don’t mind a bulky bum?!) boosters for extra absorption. Can be made from bamboo, charcoal, hemp, cotton, or microfibre.

5. Velcro or poppers. Some nappies are made with Velcro tabs for an adaptable fit whilst some brands use poppers. It’s up to you which you prefer. Some “birth to potty” nappies have poppers to adjust the size from small to large but close at the waist with Velcro.

6. Wet bag (optional). You will need a wet bag if you plan to go out and about with cloth nappies. You’ll have to bring soiled nappies home so best to keep them in a special nappy bag! You could also use a wet bag at home instead of a nappy bucket to store used nappies until you wash them.

This is the easiest kind of nappy to use as it is just like a disposable. The inner absorbent nappy is sewn onto the waterproof outer and you put it on baby as you would a disposable. You can add a liner or booster if you wish. Since all the pieces are sewn together you may experience longer drying times.

Bambino Miosolo – prints
Tickle Tots – cute prints
Tots Bots Easyfit Star – plain or printed
Bum Genius elemental or freetime* – plain or printed
Grovia* – plain or printed
Sweet Pea all in one* – plain or printed

Pocket nappies look similar to all-in-ones but there is an opening at the back on the inside half of the nappy. You can stuff boosters into this pocket to adjust the absorption level to your own requirements. These are quite user friendly as well and dry fairly fast as the boosters can come out.

Baba + Boo – plain or printed
Little Lamb – one size or sized
Milovia – lots of prints
Wonderoos – plain or printed
Bum Genius original* – plain or printed
Sweet Pea pocket* – plain or printed

The absorbent part of the nappy can be attached and detached from the waterproof layer using poppers. The absorbent pads can be made from different materials to suit your absorbency needs. Once boosters are attached the nappy is as simple to put on as a disposable. Drying times are fairly fast since you can separate the two parts. These can be cost effective as sometimes you can reuse the outer and just replace the pad at changing time if the outer is not soiled.

Bambino Miosoft – prints
Close Pop In nappy – prints
Tickle Tots
– cute prints
Tots Bots Peenut system – plain or printed
Bambooty Basics* – mostly plain colours

This style is just like an all-in-two but the inserts are disposable so there is less washing to do.
Charlie Banana* – covers and reusable or disposable inserts
Flip by Bum Genius* – covers and various inserts
Grovia hybrid – covers and reuseable or disposable inserts

This is a two part nappy. You need to buy a waterproof wrap as well as the actual absorbent nappy part. The nappy can be made from bamboo, cotton, or microfibre. Bamboo is most absorbent but takes a long time to dry. Microfibre is least absorbent but dries quickest. Cotton sits in the middle but can feel crunchy in hard water areas.

Bambinex – bamboo or microfibre
Little Lamb – available in various materials
Tots Bots Bamboozle Stretch – bamboo material in different prints

These are similar to Terry squares used by your grandmother. They are squares of material that are pinned together. You will require a waterproof wrap to go over the top. They are the cheapest cloth nappy option and dry easily but from what I have heard, are also the trickiest. I have never used prefolds so cannot really comment.

Just like they sound, sized nappies come in sizes for example 7-18lbs or 18-35lbs. One size or ‘birth to potty’ nappies come in one size and tend to have poppers to change the sizing. Sized nappies cost more as you will need to buy a new set of nappies when baby gets bigger but this can be useful if you have two young children close in age. One size nappies should last throughout the whole nappy period but some nappies may not fit well on younger babies and you may need to use disposables until baby is bigger. You can get sized and one size nappies as shaped, pocket, all in one, or all in two styles (ie nappy size then nappy type).

Baba + Boo – pocket nappy for 5-18lb
Close Pop-in newborn – 5-12lb
Tots Bots Teenyfit Star – all in one for 5-12lb

I hope this blog post has made things a bit clearer for you! Any links to brands are not sponsored or affiliated. I have tried to include mostly UK or EU based brands. Any links with an asterisk * are brands based outside UK/EU.

What is your favourite type of reusable nappy? Do you have a few different ones in your stash? If you have never used them has this post helped at all?

Review of Baba + Boo reusable minky nappy.

Baba + Boo are a small family owned business and from reading the blog they sound like they truly care about the environment and sustainability (check out Eve’s reasoning on not giving out Black Friday discounts). They are a brand I’m totally happy to get on board with.

Baba + Boo do a smaller newborn sized nappy as well as a “birth to potty” size. I really love their “elf town” print but it’s always out of stock so I nabbed one from their “hygge” winter collection. It has a minky fabric outer which is a bit like velour to the touch. The inside has a layer of microfibre and a big pocket on the inside for the boosters. Each nappy comes with two bamboo boosters so you can use one or two depending on how much your baby wets.

This it the first reusable nappy I have used that doesn’t fasten with Velcro. There are several sets of poppers on the front to adjust the fit so it is possible to still get a snug fit. I didn’t find the poppers as quick as Velcro tabs but you get used to it. My baby is pretty wriggly and hates having his nappy changed so Velcro is definitely faster. I was surprised that the fit was pretty good as poppers mean there is a ‘set’ size. Furthermore the poppers mean the nappies don’t get stuck together in the washing machine if you forget to fold the tabs. I found the front part of the nappy sat a bit low but did not experience any leakage.

Baba + Boo nappies are a pocket style nappy which means there is an opening at the back of the nappy where you can stuff inserts which absorb the urine. You get two bamboo inserts with each nappy but you can purchase more (or use some from another brand if you already have some). I’m sure I could get away with just one insert sometimes but I’m too afraid to try!

As with all cloth nappies, you should wash these on a low temperature without too much detergent and air dry. Now and again you may need to do a hot rinse but that is true of all reusables. Since you can take the inserts out, these nappies dry extremely quickly. The inserts actually take a bit longer to dry since they are made of bamboo.

Baba + Boo nappies come at an excellent price point for reusables. One standard sized nappy is £12.95 (some seasonal prints will go on sale) or you can buy starter kits which work out better if you want several nappies to start off your stash. The newborn size starts at £10.95 but they obviously will not last you as long. Baba + Boo have some of the cutest prints I’ve seen (moonshine, toadstool). I also think they discontinue some prints each season so best get the one you like before it’s gone!

As a family we are also trying to get into the habit of using reusable wet wipes (when at home at least), not only for money saving reasons but also because they go into landfills (and sewers?!) as much as disposable nappies, so I added a pack of their bamboo wipes to my basket. They are lovely and soft and we just chuck them into the nappy wash or the regular wash. When they come out we keep them in a tub with a homemade solution and they are ready to go. We also use them in the bath or as wipes during a meal. I’ve enjoyed them so much I am planning to get more. They cost £5.95 for a pack of five, which is not the cheapest out there but they are great quality.

Although you can find Baba + Boo on various cloth nappy websites, I ordered directly from the Baba + Boo website. For orders over £40 you get free delivery, otherwise it is £3.95 for standard delivery. I paid for delivery and my order came in less than 48 hours! It came in a sturdy paper bag so could be recycled and there was no nasty plastic in sight. Their commitment to being earth friendly is 100%. I also got a lovely email from the owner Eve thanking me for my order. Now, do you want to hear the best thing?

My friend lives near their listed company address so I figured I could place an order and pick it up from them when I visited her. I emailed Baba + Boo asking if I could do this (I wanted to avoid a delivery charge) however they said it wasn’t possible but they would refund the delivery charge to me after placing the order. How great is that? It gets better though… So I really took my time placing the order. Like four months and they STILL refunded the delivery charge. Such *excellent* customer service. Please support this company if you’re thinking about starting a cloth nappy stash!

In conclusion, these are a great cloth nappy for first time users. They have adorable prints, are a good price point, are easy to use, dry fairly quickly, and the customer experience is wonderful.

Have you tried Baba + Boo nappies? Do you like their prints?

Cruelty free skincare in the UK.

Becoming cruelty free may be one of your new year resolutions. If so, good luck and feel free to message me for advice on cruelty free shopping and I’ll do my best to help. One of the things I found tougher to buy (cruelty free cosmetics was easy peasy) was facial skincare. After doing some research I’m pretty happy with the options out there. There are LOTS.

If you want to pick something easily from the high street then have a look in Lush, Marks & Spencer, or Superdrug. Their own brand skincare is all cruelty free. M&S has a lot of different ranges aimed at various skin types. Lush always has a smiley salesperson who is willing to help you out.

The brands listed below are not sponsored or affliated. I have not used them all so cannot comment on every single one. I will mention stockists but obviously you can buy them online. Most (if not all) have the Cruelty Free International ‘leaping bunny‘ logo on their products and they avoid using ingredients such as parabens, pthalates, SLS etc so there’s no need to worry about nasties.

A’kin – Australian brand where all the products are 100% vegan and cruelty free. They don’t use any ‘nasty’ ingredients and are committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Find them at Holland and Barrett, Superdrug, Waitrose.

Balanceme – tried a sample of one of their cleansers in a Birchbox which I enjoyed. The price range is mid to high and you can find them in Sainsbury’s, M&S, Waitrose. Join their mailing list to receive promotional offers.

Bee Good – UK brand that aims to source all their ingredients from home soil. Power to the British bees! I have only seem them in Waitrose.

Bryt – products with fun packaging and also do a range for men. I have only seen them in Waitrose but have read good things online.

Bulldog Skincare – British mens skincare brand that you can find easily everywhere! Prices are low and products are suitable for vegans. Check them out at Boots, Tesco, Superdrug, Asda.

Burt’s Bees – US brand that has been around for ages and their lip balms and salves are great. Can find them in lots of stores; M&S, Debenhams, Boots, Holland and Barrett, Superdrug, John Lewis. Note that their parent company (Clorox) is not cruelty free.

Dermalogica – higher end brand that is found at Selfridges, John Lewis and Harvey Nichols. As well as being recognised by CIF and PETA, they also source palm oil in a way that does not affect local wildlife.

Liz Earle – their hot cloth cleanser has won so many awards and you know it’s good when Aldi does a copycat version of your product! Prices start fairly low. Shop this brand at Boots or John Lewis.

Man Cave – obviously a brand that is aimed at the less fair sex. British company where ingredients are sourced on the isles. Pick them up at Boots or Waitrose.

Neal’s Yard Remedies – aromatherapy specialists with a great range of skincare too. They have their own stores in bigger towns and cities but are also found in John Lewis and Marks and Spencer.

Nourish – not only are all their products cruelty free, they are also organic, ethically sourced, and vegan! The range is produced by a scientist so it’s got lots of research and knowledge behind it. I have only seen them at Waitrose.

Pixi – UK brand by a makeup artist. They do cosmetics as well as skincare products. Cute chic brand that you can find in M&S or Liberty of London. They are available on ASOS and you may be able to get a discount sometimes.

Urban Veda – holistic company where all products are vegan and also certified by the Vegetarian Society. Packaging is recyclable! Find them at Waitrose or Holland and Barrett.

There are sooo many options for cruelty free skincare and you don’t have to comprise on the ingredients or price either! After doing this research I can’t wait to go shopping for my new facial cleanser but I think I have made it too hard for myself now as there are so many choices in front of me.

Have you got any cruelty free skincare product recommendations? What are your favourite cruelty free brands?

Cruelty free handmade soaps.

To be frank, I have never been keen on solid soaps as I think they leave a funny ‘squeaky’ texture on my hands. (That was a strange word to use but I’m not sure how else to describe that feeling!)

Anyway. Whilst on the search for cruelty skincare gifts I have come across several soap shops and I have just been in awe of how pretty some of the creations are. The mixture of colours and layers and textures are truly a work of art.

It’s great that many handmade soaps use natural sustainable ingredients and oils that are kind and beneficial to your skin. The mixture of scents that people have concocted sound divine. I also like how there is fuss free packaging which is better for the environment so I am going to make an effort to use solid soaps in future. Below are some creations I have found on Etsy.

Barnes and Fonseca – the designs of these soaps are just stunning! The gingerbread one looks just like a cupcake and the Himalayan pink salt of the rose and bentonite spa bar look so luxe.

Olive Leaf and Honey – from reading the blog you can see how much passion and thought goes into these soaps. I love the combination of ingredients used which are all good for the skin somehow.

Studio M Apothecary – the ‘girls and diamonds’ soap looks stunning. How do people come up with formulations like that? If you’re not vegan try the soothing and calming lavender goats milk soap.

That Charming Shop – they have a gin soap! The Earl Grey one and the lemon poppy soaps look interesting too. Based in London they also do a range of cruelty free candles and bath bombs.

Soul and Soap – it’s the cherry cake slice and the apricot cake slice soaps that first caught my eye but the shop is full of delicious sounding skincare. Awesome looking cake candles too.

The Soap Co. – if you’re not keen on solid soaps then this brand also sell their soaps in liquid form. The great thing is their packaging is made of recycled materials and you can purchase refills too. Ingredients sourced from around the UK.

How do you feel about using soap bars? Have you been converted?

Cruelty free gifts for a mum-to-be.

There are a number of gift sets available in stores for the pregnant momma in your life… but which ones are cruelty free? I’ve done the hard work and researched which sets you can give to your favourite pregnant lady. The brands below have gift sets or you can mix and match to buy any product separately.

Neal’s Yard Remedies – probably the priciest brand in this list but it’s also the only one here certified by Cruelty Free International. They have great sourcing ethics and use recyclable packaging to house its organic products. As well as having their own stores they are stocked by John Lewis and lots of independent shops as well as online.

Mama Mio – I *think* they are a US brand but I’m not totally sure. My cousin gifted me some of these products when I was pregnant and they smell delicious and made my skin feel soft and supple. They are available at John Lewis and various online shops.

Love Boo –  came across this one at the baby show. Lovely natural products using the best ingredients. There’s a range for babies as well as mothers. I’d suggest getting that perineum massage oil if you’re planning on pushing that baby out with minimal tearing! Find it in John Lewis (are you seeing a theme here with stockists?) or online.

Bloom & Blossom – made by mums for mums. Formulated with natural ingredients and none of those nasty chemicals. Find them in Space NK, John Lewis and other online retailers.

Burt’s Bees – a slightly contentious one to end with as their cruelty free status is a little hazy. They’re currently still certified by Cruelty Free International. I’ve always enjoyed using their lip balms and if you are not vegan then this could be a nice brand. You can find them at Debenhams, Waitrose, Boots, Holland & Barrett, and more.

Hope this post has helped a little if you’re buying for a cruelty free mama. Also, in case you were wondering, Bio Oil and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter are NOT cruelty free. The important thing is to use some sort of moisturiser on places where you might get stretch marks. This helps the skin retain some elasticity to prevent damage to the skin. I may do a future blog post on oils to use during pregnancy. Does that interest anyone?