My Blogging Goals For 2017


With another year approaching, some of us will be starting to think about making new changes, trying something new and setting ourselves goals. If there's anything I've learnt from this year, it's that time goes too quickly. Last christmas only seemed like yesterday and it's crazy to believe that I've been working my job a year and a half! It's funny that when you're young, you wished time would hurry up and you were older. I'm 30 next year (Super old right?) and wish I could be 18 again....well without the hangovers.

I started my blog 4 months ago and if I'm honest, it's been hard! I'm sure some of you know how difficult it can be to balance a 9-5 job and keeping your blog regularly updated. Personally, I feel I use this as an excuse and when I see so many of you smashing it, I know it's not impossible. Bearing this in mind, here are my blogging goals for 2017.

Scheduling and Planning
This may be an obvious one but it's something I haven't mastered yet. I mostly use Instagram and Twitter and I plan to schedule on these platforms. By keeping a blogging diary and planning posts, I'll become more organised and scheduling should begin to fit into place.

2 weekly posts
I currently post around 2 blogs a month so I feel this is a good goal to set myself. When I get home from work in the evenings, I don't feel motivated to write and stare at a computer screen for even longer. By planning writing time on the weekends, I'll have a better chance of hitting my target.

Photography
I've got into a habit of using my Samsung S7 to take most of my blog photos. Using a camera phone can be a bit hit or miss and I find this only works for me if I have plenty of natural light or I'm taking photos outside during the day. I have access to an DSLR and a compact camera and I plan to use these more for my blog photography and create more creative and professional photos.

Branding
We all know how important branding is to a successful blog. Although I'm happy with my blog name, I'd like to work on my overall brand. I plan to re-design my blog layout and create a logo that I can also use across all of my social media platforms. Once I have this in the bag, I will work on creating a media kit which I'll then be able to send to brands and anyone I would like to collaborate with.

What are your blogging goals for 2017? I would love to hear!

Thanks for reading!

Lady Zen xo

November Oxford Street LUSH Haul


At the beginning of November, the boyfriend and I went to London to see Jurassic Park live in concert at the Royal Albert Hall which was AMAZING. If you've never been to the orchestral film performances, I highly recommend it. It was better than I expected and the architecture is beautiful. I couldn't go to London without visiting Lush Oxford Street. We popped in and must have spent at the most 30 minutes in there and ended up spending £70, which so easily done. Here's a look at what we picked up.


Lord Of Misrule Shower Cream

LOM is one of my favourite scents from Lush. It can only be purchased over the Halloween/Christmas period in regular stores or can be picked up exclusively in the Oxford Street store all year round. The two main ingredients in this product are black pepper and Patchouli which really stands out and gives it it's unique scent. As you can see, the colour is incredible and is definitely one of the brighter Lush Shower Creams. A lasting scent that will leaving you smelling yourself all day. Also available in a bath bomb, which comes with a little surprise.

Vanillary Perfume
Lush have a great range of perfumes and Vanillary is one of my favourites. If you've tried the Vanilla Dee-Lite body lotion, you'll know this scent. With a creamy vanilla, caramel and tonka scent, you'll literally want to eat it. You only need a couple of squirts and I find it does last all day. I just wish the perfumes were a bit cheaper, the 10ml is £16 and I use it so quickly. It's probably more cost effective to buy the 30ml and will definitely pick up this next time.


Boom! and Creme De Menthe Tabs
I love the whole idea of the Lush tabs. With the toothy tabs, pop one in your mouth, nibble and brush away. The tab starts to foam and leaves your mouth feeling so clean afterwards. The Boom! toothy tabs contain Charcoal, Sea Salt and Black Pepper and with a taste of cola, it's definitely one of the more pleasant tasting tabs I've tried. It can be quite messy with the Charcoal in it but as long as you're not walking around while brushing, you'll be fine.
The Creme De Menthe Mouthwash tabs are life changing. So handy, you can just pop them in your bag and they are perfect for freshening up throughout the day. Pop one in, nibble and take a sip of water. The tab starts to fizz and this is where you start swilling! It's great to find an alcohol free and cruelty free mouthwash that doesn't contain any nasties. With a little lustre added in, you'll feel like a fairy princess.


Dirty Body Spray
I've been hassling the boyfriend to try cruelty free products and with the more masculine products available from Lush, I didn't have to try too hard. I first bought him the Dirty Spring wash shower gel which he loved the scent of and so did I. It certainly has a unique scent that isn't overpowering and the body spray comes in the cutest packaging and a reasonable size for the price. This is a firm favourite of many lushies and not just guys! 

Never Mind the Ballistics Bath Bomb

I haven't used this yet but the boyfriend picked this out as he loves the scent of bananas. I'm not usually a fan of banana but I'm totally willing to give this a try. I can imagine it's going to look beautiful in the bath and the pink side is really waxy which I imagine will be really moisturising. I always cut up my bath bombs to get the more than one use out of them. I reckon I'll get a couple of baths out of this!

Don't Look At Me Fresh Face Mask
Last but not at all least. This is one of my favourite fresh masks out of the range. A fun blue mask with a lovely scent of lemons. I have combination skin and this is great for spots and dry areas. It has a gentle exfoliation and I give my face a good scrub when I'm washing the mask off. It's so good at getting rid of oil and leaves your skin feeling super soft and matte. With a use by date of just a month, you know it's fresh and working wonders on your skin.


Thanks for reading and please leave a comment and subscribe!

Lady Zen xo

Jenn Im X ColourPop - Jenn Ne Sais Quoi Review

In the summer, Vlogger Jenn Im collaborated with ColourPop to release a stunning range of makeup. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Jenn Ne Sais Quoi eye shadow palette and it's a fantastic one at that. A mix of neutral mattes, metallics and satins, giving you a great choice of looks for day and night.

If you haven't heard of ColourPop, listen in. They were founded in 2014 and they pride themselves on being bunny approved and kind to your wallet. They have a huge range of makeup with an extensive choice of shades. Unfortunately for us British folk, you can only buy from the US and with high shipping costs, it's not something you would want to order regularly. I'm keeping my eyes and ears open for a UK launch.


Shades in the set:

Un - Metallic light gold
Deux - Satin chocolate brown
Trois - Satin deep red
Quatre - Matte dark brown


This was my first experience with ColourPop eyeshadows and I'm pretty impressed. They are highly pigmented and super creamy. As you can see from the usage, I tend to go for Un and Quatre mostly. I work Un into the inner eye, blending it out into Quatre. Blending is so easy and doesn't require much work. I then use Quatre underneath my lower lashes to finish. Trois is a great shade but as it's satin, I feel it doesn't get the justice it deserves. I will always go towards metallic shades and I wish this was. Having said that, If you're looking for a autumn rusty red, this would be perfect.

Left to right: Un, Deux, Trois, Quatre (Of course!)

What are your thoughts on ColorPop? Would love to hear what your favourite products and shades! Thank you for reading and please subscribe!

Lady Zen xo

DIY Copper Home Decor On A Budget

Unless you've been living on Mars, I'm sure you've noticed that copper is the colour of the moment. Whether it's make up, homeware or clothing, copper hues can be seen pretty much everywhere. When it comes to copper home decor, it can be quite expensive and you can soon find yourself spending £40+ on just a couple of items. With copper homeware wish lists up to my ears, I went down to my local Hobby Craft to see what was on offer.

DIY Copper Letters
I picked up these Mache letters and Acrylic copper paint for just over £10. I knew these would just sit on a shelf at home so there was no need to use a hard wearing, expensive paint or to top coat them. The Hobby Craft own brand paint is £2 per tube and this copper shade was perfect.


I gave the letters a first coat of paint and let this dry for around 10 minutes. I repeated the process and gave each 3 coats in all, carefully applying each coat without leaving brush marks. I let them all dry overnight and this is how they looked the next day....


I was super happy with the final result. You really can't tell they are cardboard just by looking at them! I love how they look metallic but are still matte.

DIY Copper Plant Pots
I'd been looking for some copper pots to put my growing succulents in but all were really expensive. I had quite a bit of copper paint left over from the letters so I went to my local discount store and picked up some plain terracotta pots for 60p each, bargain! The acrylic stuck really well to the terracotta and I only needed one coat. I loved the rough, brush marks that it left and gave a really nice effect. If you want a more hard wearing finish, you can always apply a top varnish or sealer.


And here's how it all looks! We are currently decorating our front room and painting our furniture so it ties in with the copper decor. Keep an eye out for the finished look!



Thanks for reading!

Lady Zen xo

Spun Candy's 3rd Birthday And My First Bloggers Event


As a new blogger, I can say from experience that it's difficult to start up and get your blog out there. Opportunities to network seem few and far between but we all have to start somewhere right? Even the most successful bloggers out there started from the very beginning and I'm sure some would tell us how difficult it was.

Being a cruelty free blogger, I'm always looking for exciting cruelty free brands. I recently discovered Spun Candy, a vegetarian and all natural candy company based in London. The most exciting thing about Spun Candy is the ability to actually see candy being handmade and even getting your hands dirty (well, sticky) yourself by making your own. I was given the opportunity to attend their 3rd Birthday blogger/PR party and what a first blogger opportunity it was!

I was super excited to find out about the company, what they stand for and of course having a little taste myself. As this was my first bloggers event, I really didn't know what to expect. As a suffer of anxiety, the thought of meeting new people really rocked me, what happens if I don't have the courage to talk to anyone, will they think I'm rude? If I do talk, will they like me? How am I supposed to act? If you're reading this as an anxiety sufferer, it's OK to be yourself and people WILL like you. I didn't talk to everyone at the event but I did push myself and the bloggers I did talk to were so lovely. The prosecco and conversation was soon flowing and it really was a fantastic night all around. 

Onto the company itself....

Spun Candy states on their website "We are on a mission to change the candy world forever with our creative hard rock and delicious confectionery. All products are 100% vegetarian, all natural and handmade in London" and they really are on that creative mission. Their facilities on Wentworth Street include wheeled, heated stations (the candy is cooked at 155°c!) where candy makers can demonstrate up close and give you the opportunity to try your hand at it. They make it look incredibly easy and candy making is certainly a skill. I asked one of the Spun guys how they make the lettering inside the candy, thinking they used some sort of stencil/mould but was so surprised to discover they do this purely by hand. 


The awareness of a vegan, vegetarian and gluten free lifestyle is bigger than ever and Spun Candy have certainly taken this into consideration. Shop advertising and clever product packaging clearly displays their values and ethics. 



One of my favourite areas of the event were the cute bottled flavourings. I had a good sniff at some of these and the cola and skittles were to die for! It really was like something out of Willy Wonka. 

What did I make?

We had the opportunity to make lollipops in various different styles and I really loved making this rose. Each and every petal had to be cut and wrapped around one another to create this realistic look. Once cooled, we packaged up ready to takeaway.



In case you were wondering, it's a pizza slice...

Next time you're in London, go check out Spun Candy in Hamley's or on Wentworth Street for your vegetarian, gluten free candy fix or even try your hand at making your own personalised candy. You can also buy their candy online at https://www.spun-candy.com.

Thanks for reading!

Lady Zen xo

#Beautyhunter Boots UK £50 Competition Winner



If you follow me on Instagram, I'm sure you will know I was the lucky winner of the #Beautyhunter Boots UK competition collaboration with blogger, Leanne Lim Walker. I never win anything and couldn't contain my excitement when I received the word. As a new blogger with a passion for cruelty free beauty, this was a fantastic opportunity to try out a few exciting brands and products that I hadn't tried before.
Here's what I bought.


Yes to
I've seen a lot of blogs talking about this brand and lots of great reviews, even Zoella recommends the Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask. I really wanted to try this product but unfortunately it was out of stock EVERYWHERE so I opted for the Yes to Tomatoes Daily Pore Scrub. A gentle, natural exfoliating scrub for combination skin. Unfortunately since using this product (and other Yes to product I will mention later on) I've broken out. I hardly ever get spots so this is a real shame! Not the greatest of scents either so I won't be purchasing this again. It just doesn't blow me away.

Next up is the Yes To Grapefruit Pore perfection Night Treatment. Sounds intriguing right? I have terrible pores around my nose and cheeks and have tried many products over the years, with nothing really helping. This hasn't made the slightest bit of difference to my pores and could also be the culprit of my break out. Any pros? The product smells just like grapefruit. It's also very moisturising so if you suffer from dry skin, this would be great. I'm hoping I'll be able to use this again once winter comes and my skin starts becoming dry. Unlikely I will purchase again, it's really just an expensive moisturiser at £12.99.

Its all not doom and gloom though. The Yes to Blueberry range is beautiful. The magic ingredient here is Shea Butter which is a great natural moisturiser. My usual go to brands for body and hair care are Lush or Dr Organic. Dr Organic's Argan Oil Conditioner was my holy grail until the product changed (seems watered down than the original formula) and the price increased. I wanted to find something a little better value for money that would last longer. 

The Yes to tubes are 280ml in size with the Blueberry Conditioner coming in at £4.99, not bad at all. It moisturises and softens the minute it touches your hair and smells amazing. The smell lasts and I'm often caught sniffing my hair throughout the day. The tube is also lasting ages as the product is so thick, you only need a small amount. I will definitely be re-purchasing this.

Lastly from the Yes To range is the Blueberry body wash. Again an amazing product, containing blueberries and lavender, it's beautifully scented and you can smell it on your skin for ages after you shower. The product is really thick in consistency and a little goes a long way. It's really moisturising and perfect for dry skin in the winter months. Another re-purchase.

Sleek
A highly blogged about brand, Sleek offers cruelty free beauty at affordable prices. Boots were offering 2 sleek products for £12 so I thought it would be rude not to. I purchased the Sleek Solstice Highlighting Palette and the Sleek CC cream.


The highlighter is perfect for beginners and highlighter collectors. It even has a guide on the box which explains where each highlighter is best suited on the face. The little brush provided may come in handy, but I found it difficult to use. A fan brush would be better suited and gives a subtle glowing finish. The pigmentation of the highlighters is surprising for the price. You really don't need to keep sweeping at it to get the product on. I can imagine this little beaut will last a good while and I am very happy I discovered it!





I haven't tried many CC creams and the ones I have tried, haven't offered me a good enough coverage. I have a pretty uneven skin tone and I'm self conscious of it. I often resort to full coverage foundations but as it's been so hot and humid recently, I thought I would give my skin a bit of a break. This Sleek CC cream really doesn't disappoint. The coverage is surprising, definitely medium and a much better coverage than I've seen in any BB/CC cream before. If you can get past the smell of it (hard to describe other than chemically!) it's a great alternative to wearing foundation everyday. It also isn't ridiculously oily and actually stays put. Another repurchase of mine and something I hope they don't discontinue, ever.

Lee Stafford
I love Lee Stafford products and use the Argan line on a regular basis. It's saved my hair in between bleaches and certainly helped growth. I've heard so many good things about the Coco Loco line and in particular the Blow and Go. I can see why this is a firm favourite, it does actually what it says on the tube. Pop a dab onto towel dried hair and dry. It takes the frizz right out of drying process and works wonderfully before straightening. It leaves a lasting coconut scent which isn't overpowering. A little goes along way with this product so I can see this lasting a good while. Boots have offers on the Lee Stafford products pretty regularly and you can often pick it up in the 3 for 2. 

Thank you for stopping by, I would love to hear some of your thoughts or experiences on any of the products or brands mentioned. What do you recommend?

Lady Zen xo

My Favourite Cruelty Free Makeup Brands, Their Products and Why

The awareness of animal testing is greater than ever and there so many cruelty free brands on offer. Whether you want to splash out, save a few pennies or love a good dupe, there's something for everyone.

Here I talk about my favourite makeup brands and why.

E.L.F
Eyes Lips Face launched in New York in 2004 and produces good quality budget make up. They are PETA certified and do not sell any products in China (China have strict testing regulations on finish products and use animals to do this). I love their Studio line and my favourite products include the Flawless finish foundation, (£7.50) the Studio Contouring Blush and Bronzing cream (£4.50) and the Studio eyebrow kit (£4.50), sooooo cheap! 

I received an E.L.F eyeshadow palette set for Christmas and was really surprised at how pigmented they are. I'm not an everyday eyeshadow wearer so when I do wear it, I like bold colours and I really love the shades in both!

NYX
Their cruelty free statement:

"NYX COSMETICS IS CERTIFIED AND ACKNOWLEDGED BY ORGANIZATIONS, SUCH AS PETA, AS A CRUELTY-FREE BRAND. WE ARE COMMITTED TO PRODUCING 100% CRUELTY-FREE COSMETICS. WE DO NOT TEST ANY OF OUR PRODUCTS ON ANIMALS"

Obviously this is great news. Bad news is L'oreal purchased NYX and even though L'oreal they say they don't test on animals, they sell their products in China. I guess it's down to how you approach this, I choose to still purchase NYX but I certainly wouldn't purchase L'oreal.

The reason I love NYX so much? Their range of products and the shades available. Whether you prefer natural tones or love a bold lip, they have something for everyone. I love the soft matte lip creams, they are really hydrating and very different from other matte lip lines that are really drying and rigid (maybe not the best way to describe it but I hate that dry, solid feeling). There are so many shades to try and at £5 a piece you could collect them all!

My favourite products by far are the new Hydra powder foundation and Matte setting spray. Together they give a flawless matte finish which really does last all day. If I run out of the setting spray, I use the mineral setting powder (shown above) which is great but nothing beats that setting spray. If you only remember one thing from reading this, REMEMBER THIS. They are a match made in heaven.

Inika
Inika is a luxurious, organic make up brand. They are proudly cruelty free and vegan. I'm sure you know, when buying foundation online, it can be difficult to establish a match and if you order the wrong shade of a £30 foundation, its can be a waste of money BUT fear not! Inika sell a travel essentials kit which contains sample sizes of their primer, mineral powder foundation and their liquid foundation. It also comes with a handy kabuki brush (shown above).

Why do I love Inika? The fact their products are free of any nasties and are completely natural. Their primer and foundations smell INCREDIBLE and you can tell they are packed with goodness from the smell. If I could afford to buy the whole line of products from Inika, I would but I just can't justify spending £50 on a foundation and primer alone!

LUSH
Nothing more to say, really. I love LUSH and everything they stand for (if you hadn't already guessed) Their lipsticks are wonderful, so creamy and really pigmented. Have a ganders when you next go in!

Barry M
Another favourite budget cruelty free brand, Barry M have some lovely products. DID YOU KNOW THEY'RE VEGAN? Yep, apparently so. I really dig their mascaras, I only ever use Barry M ones as they're super cheap and get the job done. Barry M are known for their bright, bold colours but I actually love their natural nail polish shades and will definitely be purchasing their new coconut infused polishes. After all, coconut is god.

Urban Decay
A high end cruelty free brand, if you're a make up enthusiast, you more than likely own at least one of the Naked palettes. They are beautiful beautiful palettes. I have the old Book of Shadows Vol II and it's literally falling apart but I won't chuck it out until I've used all of shades, it's just too good! 

I love their Naked concealer (see above) as it's not too heavy under the eyes and doesn't crease. It's also easily build-able.

Last but not least.....Illamasqua
Another high end, PETA certified make up brand. I haven't tried many of their products but I love the Skin Base foundation. It's definitely an investment at £32, the tube is small but it is really thick so you only need a very small amount. Not ideal for summer but perfect for winter. It's really moisturising and give a natural dewy finish. I'm thinking of trying their lipsticks as I've seen some lovely shades. 


Thanks for reading! I would love to hear what your favourite cruelty free brands are! 

XO

Some Of My Favourite Lush Scents


I'm an avid Lushie and all that started when I received a Lush gift box for Christmas many moons ago. One of the first products I used was The Honey Bee bath bomb which is one of many favourites now. Unfortunately we don't have a bath in our cottage but I often find an excuse to go back to my family home so I can grab a Lush bath!

So let's talk about these wonderful Lush products and their beautiful scents.

Hot Toddy - Not a product that is available everyday, can sometimes be picked up in the Lush Kitchen and available around Christmas time. If you love cinnamon as much as I do, you will die smelling this, seriously, it just smells exactly like Christmas. It even warms the skin when you use it. This is the only bottle I own and I'm holding onto it for dear life. Fingers crossed we will see it pop up this winter.

Karma - Karma Shower Jelly is shown in the photo but this is not the only product Lush make that is Karma scented, they have many including perfume which I use regularly. I've had soooo many compliments from it and people seem surprised when I say it's from Lush (I guess some people think Lush just sell bath bombs). I can't begin to tell you HOW AMAZING THIS SCENT IS. Think meditating in a field, in summer, birds singing with the smell of incense burning. Seriously, it makes you feel like a hippie. Containing lavender, orange, lemongrass and patchouli oil, you kinda get why the product is called Karma, it really is one for relaxing. My favourite product in the Karma line is the Bubble Bar. If you haven't tried it, you haven't lived.

Snowman - I went on a hunt when I had run out of the first Snowman fun I bought for Christmas and found a local lady selling one, don't know what I would have done without it. Snowman fun shares its scent with other Lush products including Carrot Soap and Snowman shower jelly. I find it really hard to describe the smell other than a subtle sweetness. When you have a headache, sometimes you just want something subtle and this is perfect. Run a piece under the tap for subtle scent and bubbles in your bath.

Rub Rub Rub - Think salty, orangey goodness! This really is the scent of summer for me and it's one of my favourite products. Containing sea salt, it works as a great shower exfoliant. Be careful if you have sensitive skin or broken skin as it can sting. I suffer from Eczema and when I have flare ups, I stay away from this because it is just too uncomfortable for me, although I can imagine it would actually benefit my skin as sea salt is great for healing tool.

This is just a selection of my favourite Lush scents, I would be hear all day to tell you them all.

What are your favourite Lush products and Scents? I'd love to hear!