Dry January

Dry January

I love a new make product as much as the next person, if not more, but this January I decided to have a ‘dry’ month where I wouldn’t by any products at all!!!! Not one! Now, to be honest for me that shouldn’t be too difficult as I have a whole professional kit to use, but I tend to have a very different personal kit and this is what I have used all January. I have not dipped into my Pro kit at all. I had been given a couple of new products for Christmas so I did have those to try but all in all I did stick to the ‘use what you have’ mantra. I found it really worth while exercise and its really changed the way I am going to buy products for myself from now on. Now we are in February I am sticking with it and I will only buy a new product when I really ‘need’ to replace something rather than ‘want’ something.

Have you ever tried doing a ‘dry’ month with cosmetics? If so how did it go?



cruelty free makeup · Uncategorized

A Good Start

Go Cruelty Free2018

Well, here we are at the start of 2018 (where did 2017 go???)  and at this time of year we are all looking  to make New Years resolutions. This year why not pledge to go cruelty free for 2018. I’m not suggesting you bin everything you have straight away, no, just, as you run out of products replace them with those from cruelty free brands. Or if you are looking to buy new makeup make the decision to buy from brands that are cruelty free.

It’s never been easier to buy cruelty free products the difficulty is choosing what to buy!!! Well, I am here to give you a little help. Below is a guide to brands that are easily available here in the UK on the high street or online that are all cruelty free and a lot have vegan options.

If you have any cruelty free favourite brands that aren’t on here then please let me know!

High EndAnastasia Beverly Hills, Besame, Blinc, Charlotte Tilbury, Chantecaille, Cover FX, Delilah, Face Atelier, Hourglass, Jane Iredale, Marc Jacobs (makeup only, perfume is not) Nude StickTrinny London

Mid-Range – Bare Minerals, Cargo, Ciate, Illamasqua, Kat Von D, Makeup Geek, Nude by Nature, OCC, Pur, Smashbox, Stila, Tarte, The Balm, Too FacedUrban Decay, Zoeva.

High Street/Drug store – Barry M, Body Shop, Collection, ELF, Gosh, MUA, Makeup Revolution, NYX, Pixi, Sleek, Soap & Glory.

If you want to go a bit further and add some green/organic makeup in there these brands are worth a look at.

Green Beauty – Alima, Axioligy, Benecos, Colorisi, Couleur Caramel, Ere Perez, Fresh Therapies (nail varnish remover), Hynt Beauty, Inika, Ilia, Jane Iredale, Juice Beauty, Kjaer Weis, Lily Lolo, Neve, Nui, Pacifica, Ritual de Fille, RMS, Tata Harper, Vapour, Zao Makeup.


Beauty Bay – the only place that stocks Makeup Geek In the UK but they do have other cruelty free brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills, Blinc, Cover FX

Content Beauty –  if you are lucky enough to live in London go visit, it’s a glorious candybox of all things green and organic. If like me you don’t you will find beauties like Ilia, RMS and Vapour online.

Cult Beauty – lots of cruelty free brands can be found here from NYX to Tata Harper.

Love Lula –  everything is cruelty free and a lot is either green or organic too. They also do a fab monthly beauty box.

Naturisimo – a real department store for green beauty. Not everything is cruelty free but a huge amount is.

Glow Organic – as small boutique site run by a makeup artist. They stock some great niche brands like Zoa and Nui




Jan de Vries

Growing up in Edinburgh I was aware of the name Jan de Vries.  I would pass the clinic on York Place on the bus for many years, never crossing the door, and never really knowing what they really did even when I came to complimentary therapies years later. The name passed from my consciousness as I moved to London and even when I moved back to Edinburgh because it had gone from York Place I presumed it was no more. Then yesterday (1 May 2017) I had taken the day to come into town to see what was on offer in the way of green and organic makeup at skincare at Neals Yard and  Hanover Healthfoods . I was chatting to the  man in Hanover Healthfoods about the lack of organic and green makeup in Edinburgh (they sell Benecos which was a revelation. More on that in another post) when he told me that Jan de Vries on Queensferry Street sold some. So that’s where I headed! I could not have been more delighted when I crossed the threshold of the lovely looking shop front. I was greeted by really lovely staff (sorry I didn’t ask your names!!) and when I told them what I was looking for they directed me to the back of the shop which is just a stunning little oasis of loveliness! The added bonus for me, there is natural light!!! Hallelujah!!! Makeup wise they have just 3 brands, but this is 3 more than I thought existed in Edinburgh the day before so I was ecstatic. Inika, Pacifica and Dr Hauschka are those brands. The display of Pacifica makeup is really lovely though small, no foundation, primer etc. I don’t know if this is a licence thing but I would love to see more as it is a great brand and very affordable. The Aquaglaze mascara is a staple in my kit, along with the lipsticks and these are covered here. The Inika display seems quite comprehensive although I have not looked into the brand much so not sure if there is more than what is on offer here. Lastly Dr Hauschka who seem to be doing a bit of re-branding so there isn’t the full range of foundations but a good selection non the less.  I think these brands are a great start but I really hope that they may expand and get some more brands in over time. RMS, Vapour, Kjaer Weis & Juice Beauty would be exciting.

Skincare is much more varied and along with firm favourites like Green People, Jason, Dr Hauschka, Weleda etc, there are brands I have never come across before. Two that I am especially keen to try are Holos and Kinvara. Both are Irish and both come in at a great price point (sorry I don’t have actual prices but know that both facial oils were under £20!) feel and smell great. These will definitely be a not too far in the future purchase.

This is a comprehensive holistic health shop so there are all the things you would expect to find in one. It’s a wonderfully beautiful shop. The design is modern and welcoming and the space has a really lovely feel about it.  I can wholeheartedly say that I will be able to while away many an hour here and am looking forward to doing just that.

Jan de Vries10b Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4PG


Love Lula Beauty Box


What better way to start a month then to get some beauty products through the post! What’s even better is when they are cruelty free, green and clean. Step in the fantastic Love Lula. At the end of 2016 I started to get their beauty box and I’m so gland I did, I haven’t been disappointed yet. Like most months, March’s box was outstanding, with products from three brands I knew and one I had never heard of which is always exciting. It costs £12.50 and the value of each box is always way over that. This month’s was £40!!!

Seascape Unwind Body Wash 300ml (full size)

Containing 100% natural essential oils of Jersey Lavender to soothe and relax and exotic Ylang Ylang to balance the mind and ease tension. This was the brand I had never heard of and while excited by new brands I was a bit nervous of this one as I thought the scent may have been too overpowering as Lavender can be really strong and I’m not a fan of Ylang Ylang. I am not fond of highly scented products as they make me sneeze so I stay clear of them. I had no need to worry. This is just a really lovely delicate clean lavender that doesn’t blow your head off and the ylang ylang is faint. I really loved it and will look into the brand more.

Laidbare For Richer for Porer

Really lovely gentle mask with Kaolin Clay and Japanese Seaweed Extract . The Kaoline draws out impurities and toxins and the seaweed detoxifies and smooths the skin. It also contains Shea Butter which leaves the skin nicely moisturised. There are tiny exfoliating particles which are very gentle so don’t leave your skin red raw, just nicely sloughs off the dead and dried skin that may have built up on our face.

PHB Hand Cream

PHB is a British family run business who high beauty products made using 100% naturally derived ingredients that don’t cost the earth. Cruelty free & Vegan.

I have used a few PHB products before and have like what I have used in the past. This hand cream is a really nice texture and made my hands feel lovely.  Unfortunately the smell is just not for me. I got the neroli and ylang ylang and it is very strong. Not for me only because of the scent so I will pass this on to someone it doesn’t bother so much.

Hurraw! Papaya and Pineapple Lip Balm 4.3g (full size)

I love Hurraw! lipbalms and they are a staple in my makeup bag, hand bag and kit. This one smells amazing and as all the others is really moisturising. This is in part due to the papaya seed oil with is full of essential fatty acids. I’ll be saving this one for summer as I still have sun protection, lime and coffee ones to use up.

For all the above if you want to read more about the properties of the ingredients pop on over to the site and read all about them.


Cruelty free Beauty

2016 saw me go completely cruelty free with vegan options now in 2017 I am going back to something I have been on and off with for over 15 years, green and clean beauty. My personal makeup bag has been filled with Weleda, Lavera, Lily Lolo, Jane Iredale and more but it somehow got lost when it came to my kit. Now I am committed to bringing these to my clients. Formulas have changed and are now totally up there and smashing the big names out the park. People like Kjaer Weis, RMS, Vapour and W3ll People are just a few you will find entering my kit this year. Along with some fab skincare. I want to be as local as possible so you will also find great UK based brands in there. There don’t seem to be any makeup brands but skincare is well catered for.  I am not a big name blogger so I don’t get sent free stuff so my kit will grow slowly but I will keep you informed so come and join me on my journey.



Canongate Edinburgh Wedding

With all this horrible, cold, wet, windy Edinburgh weather around I thought today was the day to go back to a beautifully sunny day in May 2015. I spent a really lovely morning with Alex and her party at her parents house in central Edinburgh.

Alex and Hugo had gone for mixed vintage feel for the wedding with 30’s inspired dress and 60’s inspired décor so for her makeup Alex felt a modern vintage feel would work well. For foundation I used one of my hero products, Face Atelier. It gives a wonderful look to the skin, not too glowing, just the right amount of radiance, so works well for that vintage feel, with out being too flat. Her eyes were very neutral, just a bit of definition and a black liquid line to give that vintage feel. I used a very soft orange red on the lips which is a nod to vintage but softer and we felt more modern. The colour I used is one that I love for this exact look. In fact it is just a lip liner from Kiko – Strawberry Red 707 – and I pop a natural lipbalm over the top.

Hair was by the fantastically wonderful Keith Marshall

The photographer Lisa Devine took the most amazing photos so here it the link to the album on her site. Just stunning!

Alex & Hugo Wedding Photos


East Lothian Wedding

Like many of the brides who approach me to do their wedding, Eilidh told me that she didn’t really wear makeup on a day to day basis and didn’t really know what she wanted. In these occasions I tell my brides we will keep the makeup very soft and naturally radiant so that they do not feel too different from normal.  My brides should look effortlessly beautiful and the makeup should never shout.

Photography – Ashley Coombes Photography