Thursday, 24 November 2016

Little Bit Lavish November Box

Hi Guys,

Just to set the scene, I am currently sat here typing this with a face mask on that smells divine. I'm feeling very refreshed, as I was lucky enough to be sent the Little Bit Lavish box this month. You may have read my previous posts featuring it titled Which subscription box? or The Blogger Tiki party where I was first introduced to the box. The Little Bit Lavish box (£20 per month) is a relatively new subscription box which has been created for those of us who love to discover new brands and, as the name suggests, love a bit of luxury in our lives. If you have read my previous posts you will know I have a passion for this box and this month's definitely didn't disappoint!

The theme for this month was 'Wakey Wakey' and was exactly what I needed what with the dark mornings and early sunsets. Oh and add to that a one year old who just loves to come into mummy's bed mid way through the night.  So anything to help me wake up in the morning was going to be welcomed!

In this month's box you get exactly what you need to start you day perfectly. Firstly it includes a Skin & Tonic London 'Gentle Scrub'. This is a beautiful powder that can be mixed with water for a daily scrub or mixed with honey to be used as a mask (what I'm currently wearing). It has a beautiful scent which is largely due to the rosehip powder that is included. It is preservative and cruelty free and feels great on my face. Wondering what to mix the powder in? Don't worry the box has it covered, as another one of the products is a tiny hand made dish by Megan Louise ceramics, the perfect size to mix your mask in!

Another thing I was pleased to see in the box was a Miss Patisserie 'Shower Steamer'. We don't all have time for a lovely soak in the morning so the steamer is perfect for those of us who are in a rush. Just break it in half and place it in the shower and the aromatherapy oils will do all the hard work. The smell of the spearmint and peppermint hit me when I first opened the box and definitely woke me up in the shower.

One of my favourite picks from the box is the Balm Balm 'Rose Geranium Face Balm'. This is a multi tasking balm that can be used anywhere. When you first squeeze it out it feels slightly grainy but once rubbed in the warmth turns it into an oil which is highly moisturising. I have particularly been enjoying using this on my lips and dry knuckles in this cold weather!

Another fantastic product is the Evolve Organic Beauty, 'Citrus Blend Aromatic Wash'. This smells exactly how it sounds. Citrusy, zingy and fresh. Just what you need to start your day with a bang. It is meant for body and hands and is actually the perfect size to carry in your handbag, which is exactly what I have been doing. It's so annoying when you're in a public place and there is no soap! So this is perfect for those exact moments.

The final treat is a hand made Stoats 'Raspberry and Honey Porridge Oat Bar'. This was so yummy! Definitely going to be buying these in future for a mid morning snack!

I have to say my favourites this month were definitely the Skin and Tonic Scrub and the Balm Balm Multi Purpose Balm. It's a great box, for fantastic value. Have you tried Little Bit Lavish yet? Will you be subscribing? To tempt you even further, they are offering any first time buyers 10% off with the code: LAVISHFIRST. But if you want this month's box hurry because I hear there are only a few left!

Amina xx

*Product was gifted to me. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

My Identity crisis!


So this post is a bit of a personal one. If you're not into these, then click away now. I've been writing this for quite a while but always seem to fail at posting it. I thought it would be an interesting read as it will also allow you to get to know me a bit more. So here goes...

I remember feeling it when I got my first car and when I started my first proper full time job as a primary school teacher. I was driving and had a full time job. I felt very grown up all of a sudden. I then felt it again when I got married. But I definitely felt it the most after having kids.

If you read my blog you will know by now that I am a mum of two beautiful little girls. My eldest is nearly three and a half and youngest nearly two. I got married at 22 and became a mum at 24. This was such a blessing, but also, as you can imagine, really hard! I was so unprepared and didn't really know the depth of responsibility that motherhood would actually bring. I've documented parts of my mummy journey in blogposts such as, Welcome to motherhood, Breastfeeding 101 and To my girls on their 1st Birthday, in the hope of passing on some of my experiences.

The first few months of motherhood are a mixture of bliss and chaos. Bliss because of the miracle that has just happened and chaos because you don't know what is hitting you from all angles, be it breast milk, poo, crying, worry. It's like a battlefield. However, I found that once I started to get a handle on all of this (only around the nine month mark) I still couldn't shake the feeling - this thought that I had through all those major milestones. I knew I was doing everything I could to keep my baby safe, happy and healthy, but it just kept going through my mind... 'who am I?'. I was having an identity crisis.

I didn't think at the age of 24/25 I would be having what felt like a mid-life crisis. Am I just a mum? Am I still that person who loves to read, who loves to go to the cinema, who loves to go out with her friends? How could I hold on to all those things that defined me, when I never get the chance to do the things I love anymore!?

I had this new role that had been thrust upon me and, for the past nine months, that is all I had been. A mum. Nothing else. Was this all I was now? A mum. I kept repeating it to myself and felt a little guilty that I wasn't satisfied at being this and only this. Of course it felt amazing to be somebody's mum. To feel that unconditional love. To look into your baby's eyes and feel an overwhelming sense of love and comfort. But I needed to remember who I was before that, so I decided to get a little bit of my own self back - not just for my health, but for my baby too! By doing things like going out with my friends, going for date night with the hubby, things started to seem normal for a little while... and then baby number 2 came along!

Once again, after the initial few months of craziness, I again found myself feeling a little bit lost and confused. So again I tried doing all the things I used to love, but I wanted more. This is where my lovely blog comes in! I started this blog as something to do for myself and a hobby I could enjoy, and it really has turned into something I'm proud to say I do for me, even though I do have the odd natter about the kids. I write to express my love for the things that interest me most and to pass on any knowledge I have on motherhood, so people know they are not alone. One thing I absolutely love about blogging is the freedom and creativity it allows me to have! This is my own little space. It's a little bit like when buying your own first home. You finally have the freedom to do whatever you want and it's great.

So this was my identity crisis, but I am happy to say I am defined by many labels. Wife, Mother, Sister, Daughter, Friend, Teacher, Blogger, Make-up Artist. All labels I love.

Have you ever had an identity crisis? Do you ever wonder who you are? I would love to hear any of your thoughts below.

Amina xx

Diary of an imperfect mum

Thursday, 10 November 2016

LENA nail polish review

Hey guys,

Hope you are all well. Gosh hasn't it got so cold this week?! I always find at this time of year my hands start to dry up and I start using my hand cream constantly. To keep my hands looking pretty I sometimes wear nail polish - usually for special occasions. I am by no means the type of person who wears nail polish constantly; one, because I don't have the time to and see it as a little pamper, and two, I find that nail polish can also leave your nails feeling brittle and weak if worn for prolonged periods.

So when I heard about a nail polish that was 'breathable and water permeable' I was eager to find out what it was all about.

I was sent two nail polishes by LENA, a nail polish brand: 'My Mind's Gone Casa-blanc-a' and 'I'm Sooo Modestly Dressed' (£6.95 in sale, usually £8.95), as well as a top coat (£8.95). LENA offer nail polishes that allow oxygen and water to penetrate through them and therefore make contact with your nails, which in turn makes them healthier for your nails. So, long gone are the days of having yellow, brittle nails! Also, relevant for Muslim women, the nail polishes are Halal. This is a breakthrough, as when performing Wudhu (the cleansing process before prayer), this isn't completed properly if you're wearing nail polish, as the nails can't be cleansed. However, with LENA, because the oxygen and water makes contact with the nail, it means it is no longer a problem. Because of these reasons, and as a Muslim woman, I can justify spending the extra couple of pounds on purchasing LENA nail polishes rather than a high street brand.

I'm Sooo Modestly Dressed

LENA offers a variety of colours which are suitable for everyday use, they also have metallic colours which would look fab for a special occasion. Whilst I admire their creativity, one thing I couldn't quite get my head around when scrolling through the different shades, was the names of the nail polishes - a bit of a mouthful to say the least! Also, not having the name printed on the bottles will make it difficult for reordering. However, I really liked the shape of the brush which made application easy. Also, with the nail polishes being water absorbent, I did think that this might mean they wear and chip quicker, however I didn't notice this at all and the nail polish lasted just as long as any other nail polish I've tried. 

My Mind's gone Casa-blanc-a

Overall, I think these are good quality nail polishes that can compete with any other brand. However, what sold it for me is the fact that I don't have to worry about compromising the health of the nail. Have you tried a water permeable nail polish before? What was your experience?

Amina xx

*PR sample. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Blogger Halloween Party

Hi guys,

Last week I attended the Blogger Halloween party hosted by Kirsty (@kirstyleanne92) and Ashton (@ashtongibbs) . I really enjoy blogging events. Not just because you get to meet lots of fabulous brands but also because you get to meet lots of lovely bloggers! There are so many bloggers that I speak to on social media all the time, some daily! However we rarely get to meet because we are spread across the country or lives get in the way. So I knew when attending the event it was going to be a great one. What made it even more fantastic was everyone was in fancy dress!

The event didn't disappoint. The first brand I talked to was The Perfume Studio. They are a company that specialise in bespoke fragrances and offer the chance for you to create your own at special scent events such as a hen party or pamper day. They allowed us to create our very own perfume on the day which was fantastic, although I came to realise that I created a men's fragrance! However the longer I wear it the more I'm starting to smell the feminine side to it. Let's call it unisex. I really enjoyed getting to learn about the different notes that create a perfume. After much consideration and, well, smelling, I decided to choose Woody, Amber, Gentle Floral and Transparent notes ... and my aptly named fragrance 'Ali & Her' was made.

I think this is such a great idea for a hen party and will definitely keep it in mind for any friends' future hen parties. The Perfume Studio also allows you to repurchase your fragrance at any time and offers personalisation on bottles (£9.95). What's even better is that they sell a 'design your own fragrance' gift box which includes all the fragrances you need to create your own perfume at home. The perfect gift for Christmas.

Another brand that attended the event was Dr Botanicals - a British vegan skincare company that produce luxurious skincare products. I was lucky to be gifted their Neroli body cream which I can't wait to try out! So watch this space for my review and discount code!

My favourite part of the event was actually getting to know other bloggers. We had loads of time to sit down and chat while taking part in little games that were situated around the venue. Here is a pic of myself and the lovely NishiV. How gorgeous does she look!? 

Obviously I have to talk about the goody bags. As usual, Ashton and Kirsty spoilt us. Below are pictures of some of the things that interested me most, so watch out for some in depth reviews coming your way. I love the look of those Urban Beauty United Brushes!

@whitewashlabs, @swisseUK, @conscious_water

@loveLOLAmakeup, @sowithattitude, @sebameduk

@UBU_UK, @rosiskinfood, @jlrosieofficial

How did you celebrate Halloween this year? Have you got any questions on any of the products? Which one are you looking forward to me reviewing most? 

Amina xx

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