Snaps from Attenborough Nature Reserve

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The other half’s family live in Nottingham and a couple of weekends ago we stayed over either side of his cousin’s wedding (which was in Doncaster) and had a nice time just relaxing and enjoying a normal household with a lovely garden far, far away from commuter towns and train lines and general busy-ness. One of the days we were there after the wedding, we decided to take a stroll around the Attenborough Nature Centre & Reserve, which is only a short distance from where his parents live. There are lots of nature trails and a variety of habitats on the reserve where you can spot all kinds of wildlife, and I was thrilled to get a few great shots of some of the geese, swans and - my favourite - insects while I was there!

One of the things that oddly excites and comforts us when we head back up to the other half’s family is, although it’s a huge eyesore and won’t be contributing anything decent to the environment, the big power plant there. Once we see it in the distance while we’re driving in, we know we’re not far away, and you can see it from the nature reserve too.

Hope you enjoyed the photos! If you’re ever in the Attenborough/Beeston area of Nottingham I definitely recommend going for a walk here; it’s a really lovely, peaceful place with plenty of birds and insects to see.

Review / Avril Organic Makeup & Cosmetics

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Avril Cosmetics Organic Products

 A s much as I prefer using brands that are from a little closer to home, I must admit I haven’t experienced very many independent, cruelty free brands from elsewhere in Europe. Neve Cosmetics – an Italian brand – was probably the only one until the lovely people at Avril got in touch with me. Avril is a French cosmetics brand that aims to make organic beauty products that are affordable for everyone. Their products are cruelty free and 95% of their total ingredients are natural or of a natural origin, and a minimum of 10% of those are organic. They also contain no parabens, silicones and artificial fragrances. Not all of their products are vegan, however Avril’s website is extremely helpful and has a section specifically for their vegan products to make browsing easier for vegan customers.

They even try to reduce all of their packaging down to the bare minimum, and as usual I must say, I really love the minimalist look for product packaging. (If you’ve read some of my other reviews you’ll probably be bored of me reminding you of this.) All of their items are nicely coloured with a simple but appealing design, with no extra boxes.  The only downside to the packaging is that, being a French brand, everything on the packaging is in French so I did need to keep checking back to the website every now and again.  Anywho, how are their products? I’ve been trying out five different organic Avril beauty items* for the past several weeks and it’s about time I shared them with you!

Avril Cosmetics Organic Day Moisturiser & Cleansing Gel

The first item is their Day Cream for Dry & Sensitive Skin. As I’ve said in previous posts, I’ve been struggling a lot with my skin since it’s changed from combination to dry, and I’ve been trying to find a good heavier moisturiser to wear during the day that’s nourishing but not too… much. I’ve loved my shea butter – but it’s a bit heavy for day-to-day wear without giving it time to soak in – and I love my face oils too, but until now I didn’t have a traditional moisturiser in my rotation.

This contains several gentle but lovely ingredients like apricot kernel oil (it even smells of apricots!), chamomile water and organic shea butter. It’s easy to spread and soaks into the skin like a dream, and leaves it feeling hydrated and refreshed but not drowned in product. I do find I have to sometimes give it a shake or a few squeezes before using it just because liquid occasionally accumulates at the bottom and needs mixing in again, but it’s otherwise great and only costs €7. It’s a light daytime moisturiser that rivals some of the other way more expensive products I’ve tried in the past and, yeah, that apricot smell is pretty amazing.

Their Cleansing Gel is something that I was really intrigued to try because I’ve never used a gel cleanser before – usually I’ve only seen creams, liquids, oils and so on. This is another really gentle product that contains aloe vera and calendula, so it’s perfect for sensitive skin. If you’re thinking that it will be some kind of miracle product that will transform your skin then you might be a little let down, as it isn’t a ‘blow me away and fix my blackheads’ kind of cleanser, but it is only €5 and is a great morning cleanser that removes any excess dirt and oils and leaves a nice and soft, fresh base for my other skincare products and makeup. And, like the moisturiser, it also smells amazing!

Avril Cosmetics Organic Foundation in Clair

The only makeup item I chose from Avril was their foundation in the lightest shade available, Clair. I’m not used to using oil-based foundations, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. This is a light coverage foundation that helps to even out your complexion and contains jojoba oil to nourish your skin. Because it’s so light coverage and because it’s oil based, this wouldn’t be a good foundation for people who prefer either full coverage or matte complexions, and folks with oily skin might also want to be cautious if thinking of trying this out. It does feel hydrating and does even out your skin tone though, so it’s a great foundation for those of us who prefer BB or CC creams and just want a more minimalist look. This has been one of my foundations of choice during summer when I don’t want a heavy base. It looks extremely natural on the skin (on me it creates a nice, dewy glow without looking oily) and lasts well throughout the day with a good setting powder or setting spray, and it’s only €8 for a 30ml bottle. Like many other brands, the shade range isn’t the best though, and I do need to lighten this one a little bit to actually get it to properly match my skin tone.

Avril Cosmetics Organic Body Oil & Lavender & Orange Shower Gel

Usually I’m not nearly as excited by body care beauty products, but these next two items are the exception. These are the Avril Body Oil and Lavender & Orange Shower Gel and they’re now two of my favourite things to use in the evening. The body oil is a lightly perfumed combination of argan oil and sunflower oil and it’s a dry, non-greasy oil that melts into the skin right away and leaves it feeling really moisturised but without feeling slick and gross. Because oils tend to be much better for avoiding ingrown hairs when shaving, I particularly enjoy using this on my legs, normally just after shaving. The result is silky smooth legs with minimal bumps and sore patches (although with my skin being as ridiculously sensitive as it is, it doesn’t avoid them entirely.) 150ml of body oil is €8, which doesn’t seem like much product but you do tend to need much less oil to cover the same surface area as you would a traditional moisturiser, so it does tend to last longer.

The shower gel is another new favourite, and it’s so simple! From the ingredients list, it doesn’t seem quite as natural as some other shower gels on the market – the majority of the scent is natural perfume rather than purely essential oils as I’ve seen in some other products – but it does contain aloe and orange oil, and you get a 500ml bottle for just €6. The fragrance of this shower gel is delicate but noticeable and lingers on the skin for a while after, and it’s perfect for an evening shower thanks to the relaxing properties of lavender. I wouldn’t have thought orange would be the best match for lavender either, but the two work beautifully together and I look forward to using this every night before bed.

I’ve been using all of these products for several weeks now and I must say, I’m pretty impressed with Avril as a brand! The skincare products I’ve tried are super affordable and just as good as many more expensive products on the market, and the foundation is a great cruelty free option for folks looking for a new lighter coverage foundation. All of the products I’ve mentioned are also 100% vegan and are only a small selection of the vegan items available on their website!  If you want to support a new independent, cruelty free European brand that maintains that natural and organic cosmetics should be affordable enough for everyone, I’d definitely recommend checking Avril out.

Have you tried any Avril products?

* This review is not sponsored and has not been paid for, however the product was sent to me free of charge. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

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