A fresh look at Bronnley


A couple of weeks ago I came across a brand that I had kind of discounted as not being relevant to me and my beauty needs. I had Bronnley down as the brand that makes traditional boxes of soap that you buy for your Gran for Christmas that she then donates to the church raffle. So  when this range for Christmas came onto my radar I hesitated before deciding to take a proper look and getting in touch with them. Straight away I could see that while Bronnley have retained some of their traditional English heritage products they’ve also made the brand fresh and relevant.

So I asked to take a closer look at a couple of the Christmas 2014 items:


New for 2014 is their Red Berry & Wild Blossom Fragrance .  The soap tin is so gorgeous, it contains a single soap 50g (£6 ) and is available separately or as a set with the Eau de Toilette 50ml (£25). They say:

“This winter-fruit fragrance has top notes of mixed berries that surrenders to a citrus heart and rests on a bed of spicy pink pepper, rose and musk.”

For me I find this is a warm wintery fragrance that smells of fruit at first and then settles down to a sweet candy fragrance. It’s quite different to what I would have expected from Bronnley and is lovely and fresh-  even a bit girly. Personally I prefer liquid to solid soap but I can understand that this is something inherent to the Bronnley brand that it’s hard for them to leave behind totally. I’d definitely purchase hand wash and hand cream in this fragrance if it were available.

Bronnley1If you’ve read more than one or two of my posts you’ll know that I often rate products by their packaging and this Eau de Toilette came in the beautifully designed box which was almost japanesque with its floral design and then opened up to show a gorgeous, heavy weight glass bottle with an atomiser. I love how it looks on my dressing table and I’m really pleased with it overall as a new addition to my fragrance collection.

Xmas soapI

I’ve also been gifted this cute Christmas soap which is the Heritage Red Christmas Tree Soap Box – Apple & Cinnamon (£5). Basically this little box just contains the smell of Christmas!

So what do you think? Has this made you feel differently about Bronnley ? Or have you always loved it English traditional feel? Either way I think it’s taught me to be open to revisiting brands.


These items were gifted to me for review. The views are my own.

Strand on Beauty & the Superdrug Swap Shop

Last month I went to the Superdrug Unlock AW14 Event and I filled in a Superdrug Swap Shop card which asked me some questions about the products I use each day. Superdrug then matched those products with their own brands and have worked out that if I switched to their alternatives I would save £143.34 every year.

Well of course this isn’t a perfect calculation ( I couldn’t find all the products at the prices they used). I like to select products that make me feel good and part of that is about the look of the product, the packaging and the brand image. I know I’m shallow but the price isn’t the only issue here. Of course Superdrug hope to show that they have good quality products as well as value for money.

So what was the swap?

I stated that I was using:

Colgate White ToothpasteVichy cleanser, toner and moisturiser and Rituals Shower Foam.

They challenged me to use these Superdrug alternatives:


Pro Care Whitening Toothpaste, B. Clean Melting CleanserSimply Pure Refreshing Toner, B. Ready Day Cream, and Superdrug Fruity Shower Foam.

I’ll be trying out the Superdrug products over the coming weeks and seeing if any of them match up to their more costly equivalents. You can expect to read a review or two and maybe even see some of these products in my empties posts.

Have you tried any of these products? Which do you prefer?


This post contains affiliate links

Strand On Beauty’s Top 5 Christmas Gift Sets from Look Fantastic!

I’m really sorry for introducing the C word in October but there are so many amazing gift sets available right now and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on anything!

So I’ve been rooting around on Look Fantastic and these are my favourites at the moment but there are way more than I can list here so be sure to take a good look around. They always have amazing offers and gifts with purchase too so fill your boots!

1. Benefit Sweet Tintations

benefit Sweet Tintations (Worth £44.68)

The benefit Sweet Tintations set contains benefit benebalm lipbalm 3g, benefit benetint tint 4g, benefit lollibalm lipbalm 3g and benefit lollitint tint 4g

The set cost £19.50 here.

2. OPI Gwen Trend On Ten – 10 Piece Mini Kit

OPI Gwen Trend On Ten 10 Piece Mini Kit

The OPI Gwen Trend On Ten 10 Piece Mini Kit contains:

- Haven’t the Foggiest (Metallic silver shimmer)
– Alpine Snow (White creme)
– Bubble Bath (Pale milky pink)
– Tickle My France-y (Pale/brown nude)
– Princesses Rule! (Pale sparkly pink)
– Toucan Do It If You Try (Coral orange creme)
– Cajun Shrimp (Red hue with a hint of coral)
– Big Apple Red (Bold red)
– Malaga Wine (Deep red)
– Lincoln Park After Dark (Shimmery eggplant purple)

The kit costs £29.95 here.

3. Elemis 12 Days of Beauty

Elemis 12 Days Of Beauty (Worth £113)

The Elemis 12 Days of Beauty, worth £113.00, contains 12 luxurious skincare treats. It contains:

  • Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm (20g)
  • Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream (15ml)
  • Elemis Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream (15ml)
  • Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm (7ml)
  • Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel (15ml)
  • Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules (14 x 0.21ml capsules)
  • Elemis Revitalising Babassu Facial Wipes (4 Sachets)
  • Elemis Frangipani Monoi Shower Cream (50ml)
  • Elemis Frangipani Monoi Body Oil (35ml)
  • Elemis Skin Nourishing Shower Cream (50ml)
  • Elemis Pro-Radiance Hand & Nail Cream (20ml)
  • Elemis Treat Your Feet Foot Cream (20ml)

It costs £59.50 here.

4. Ciate Mini Manor Advent Calendar

Ciate Mini Manor Advent Calendar (Worth £128)

The Ciaté Mini Manicure Manor Set Contains:

  • 22 mini nail polishes (5ml) in an array of colours, ranging from glittery and neutral shades to block coloured reds and blues
  • Fairisle Style Transfer that will add a gorgeous Christmas effect to your nails
  • Secret Full Size Ciaté Nail Polish (13.5ml)

It costs £49.00 here

5. Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Bath Jewels

Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Bath Jewels

The Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Bath Jewels contains:

- Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil (7.5ml)
– Light Relax Bath & Shower Oil (7.5ml)
– De-Stress Mind Bath & Shower Oil (7.5ml)
– De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil (7.5ml)
– Revive Morning Bath & Shower Oil (7.5ml)
– Revive Evening Bath & Shower Oil (7.5ml)
– Support Breathe Bath & Shower Oil (7.5ml)
– Support Lavender & Peppermint Bath & Shower Oil (7.5ml)
– Support Equilibrium Bath & Shower Oil (7.5ml)
– Inner Strength Bath & Shower Oil (7.5ml)

All that loveliness costs £55.00 here.

Seen anything you fancy? Tell me what you get and I may just have to pop the same in my shopping basket!


This post contains affiliate links.

Strand On Beauty’s Top 5 Beauty Picks From Neal’s Yard Remedies


Bee Lovely Handcream

This Bee Lovely Hand Cream has to be my number one pick because ….it’s the only Neal’s Yard Remedies product that I’ve ever tried! There I’ve said it. I’m a little ashamed that I haven’t tried more to be honest as this product worked so well. It smells amazing and I love the whole “Softens hands and helps SAVE THE BEES” thing.

The Bee Lovely Hand Cream as moisturising organic honey blended with energising orange essential oil to nourish the skin and lift the spirits. The 50ml size costs £10.00 here.


Frankincense Intense

In the second slot this Frankincense Intense™ Concentrate is brand new for delivery from 22 October.  If it can do what it claims then I’m sold – it’s organic and they say:

✔ Within 30 minutes smooths & reduces the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles
✔ In just 7 days boosts skin’s plumpness, firmness & tone
✔ Instantly hydrates
✔ Optimises skin’s radiance

Active ingredients include organic, wild-harvested and FairWild frankincense, plumping gardenia stem cells, a line-smoothing 3-peptide complex, nourishing organic argan oil and a synergistic blend of gums that deliver an immediate smoothing action. It costs £65 for 30ml here.


Frankincense Body polish

In the bronze spot is Frankincense & Mandarin Body Polish. I think its important to keep skin smooth and supple even when it’s covered up in the cold damp autumn weather. This sensually scented body polish contains “gently exfoliating cranberry seed and rice powders combined with cleansing green clay, nourishing olive, pumpkin and hemp seed oils, and a toning aromatherapy blend of frankincense, mandarin and bergamot oils to soften, tone and smooth the skin.”
The 150g size costs £14.00 here.


Lengthening Mascara

When it comes to cosmetics I tend to want amazing results over organic or natural ingredients. But with this new Lengthening Mascara clinically proven to lengthen lashes by up to 85% – I’m sold! They say:”Dial up the drama with our curl-enhancing and lengthening all natural mascara. 78% organic ingredients enrich the 5% natural minerals for stunning lashes that are beautifully nourished, conditioned and protected. Naturally effective. Clinically proven. No parabens. No silicones. No BHT!

This extemely promising product costs £16.00 / 7ml here.


Power Berry Wash

Finally for today it’s my number five choice the Power Berry Facial WashIt’s a gentle daily cleanser with some great ingredients to cleanse and protect. They say:

“A gentle yet effective foaming wash containing the powerful antioxidant combination of acai, goji, bilberry, rosehip and Fairtrade rooibos, that cleanses without stripping the skin of its natural oils and nutrients. Specifically formulated with gentle, skin-kind detergents naturally derived from coconut and vegetable oils and soothing aloe vera, reputed to have been used by Cleopatra as a skin cleanser to enhance her beauty and skin health.”

It’s £15.50 / 100ml here.

Would you have picked the same five products? Have you tried any of these before? I’m thinking perhaps of making the Top 5 Beauty Picks into a series. What do you think? Would you like to see more and if so what brands/websites do you think I should cover?

This post contains affiliate links

Reviews – DHC Pore Cleansing Oil & Pore Face Wash

DHC cleansing oil & pore wash

Ever since I’ve been blogging about beauty I’ve heard such great stories about products from Japan. I’d never come across any of them on-line or in the shops and so when I got news of these two new cleansing products from DHC just dropping into my in-box recently I was really excited! So, it didn’t take me long to say that I’d like to try out these two new additions to the DHC Pore Series skin care collection. They are Pore Face Wash and Pore Cleansing Oil

Not heard about DHC UK either? They are a subsidiary of DHC Corporation, Japan’s No. 1 direct skin care company. The discerning taste of the Japanese and their stringent quality standards in skin care are reflected in DHC’s carefully formulated products. DHC beauty products are a result of extensive research and development, as well as tailoring and expanding the range to suit the particular preferences and needs of its customers. Plant extracts, especially Asian botanicals, are used extensively in DHC formulations for their nourishing properties and are balanced by cutting-edge scientific research to create only the best, most effective and safest products.

These two products are aimed at minimising the appearance of enlarged pores and to leave skin feeling clean, healthy and refreshed. I’ve been trying out these two for a week now and here’s what I’ve found:

Pore Cleansing Oil (£25.00) They say:

“a luxurious make up remover that deep cleans skin using nine emollient and antioxidant botanical oils: argan, coconut, evening primrose, olive, grape seed, jojoba, avocado, sesame and rice bran.  Dirt, make-up and excess sebum are removed at the deepest levels and skin is left ultra-clean and soft.”

I was a little nervous about using an oil on my face as I thought it might not work with my combination skin. So I decided to use it to remove my make-up at the end of the day and to follow it up with the Pore Face Wash. The oil is beautifully clear and pure and as I massaged it into my skin it felt so comforting. It lifted the make-up off really easily including mascara. I rinsed it off with warm water on a muslin cloth. It came off with no trouble and didn’t leave my skin feeling greasy. But just to be sure that there wasn’t any oil left on my skin I followed it with the Pore Face Wash.

Pore Face Wash (£20.00) They say:

“a foaming daily facial cleanser that helps reduce the look of enlarged pores by cleansing and refining.  Active ingredients include two gentle exfoliants – baking soda and AHA from pear juice – to leave skin feeling smoother and looking brighter, whilst the addition of botanical humectants ensures that skin retains its natural moisture barrier and is not left feeling dry or tight.  The gorgeous natural grapefruit fragrance makes this cleanser the perfect morning wake me up.

This Pore Face Wash smells beautifully fruity and again I used it on a muslin cloth to gently rub it over all my whole face and then rinsed it off. My skin felt absolutely squeaky clean. I loved the feeling but did follow it up with my usual night-time moisturiser and eye cream to ensure that my skin got it’s night-time fix of moisture. In the morning I use the Pore Face Wash on it’s own to cleanse and then follow my usual daily skin-care and make-up routine.

When I’ve looked closely at my skin I can see that the pores are clearer and my skin feels really clean and bright. I’ve read that there are more products in the Pore Series collection include Pore Milk, Pore Lotion and Pore Essence.

I’d love to try more DHC products and there are loads to try across the whole cosmetic, beauty and hair care ranges. Just need it to be pay-day! The entire DHC range is available from www.dhcuk.co.uk

Have you tried DHC or any other Japanese or maybe Korean brands. I’m so interested to hear more!

Foot-Care Focus

Foot Care

I’ve noticed recently that I’ve gathered a fair collection of foot-care products and that I’d never reviewed any of them. That together with a focus on my feet recently – I’ve hurt my heel on one foot and my big toe on the other – mean that I’ve been thinking about feet alot more than I usually do. so I’ve now tried out all the products and here’s what I thought:

CCS Heel Balm 75ml

This product claims to be really intensive and to mend cracked heels. It’s very rich and definitely mostiurises but the effect appears to be temporary and despite regular use I didn’t see a significant improvement in dry skin. I didn’t have any cracks but I’m not convinced that this would be the one I’d choose if I did. It costs £7.49 here.

Soap and Glory Heel Genius 125ml

This was given to me as a little extra in a giveaway prize that I won a few months back. It’s a lovely rich foot cream although again I find the effect temporary rather than long-lasting. What I do have a bit of an issue with and it’s  not  just with this brand but it’s that someone appears to have decreed that foot products should be minty and this does put me off a bit. Otherwise it’s lovely so if you’d like to try this out then you can buy it here for £5.50.

Superdrug Intensive Foot Cream 100ml

This one contains aloe vera to sooth and vitamin B5, renowned for its conditioning properties. I liked the rich conditioning feel of this one but guess what it still has a touch of that minty smell. Can someone please point me in the direction of foot-care without mint? This option will cost you just £2.32 while it’s on offer!

Superdrug Exfoliating Foot Scrub 100ml

This scrub contains gentle exfoliants, jojoba seed oil and aloe vera to smooth and soften rough and dry skin. The exfoliants are very gentle and smoothed the skin rather than removing any hard skin. I found it soothing and comforting and didn’t really notice the smell too much so perhaps I’ll give this one the thumbs up!

Superdrug Comfort Insoles

Oh dear, I’m afraid this story does not have a happy ending! I was so glad to receive these and with all my foot problems I was looking forward to some extra comfort. I read the instructions carefully. I tried to follow them exactly. The first sentence told me not to cut the insoles to small. Obvious I thought, of course I won’t do that. The second sentence said follow the guidelines. This seemed easy the insoles were marked out with men’s and women’s sizes and so I cut the insole to my size and – it was too small! I should have followed the first sentence and not the second! So I didn’t get any comfort at all and had to throw them in the bin! Not too much money wasted though as you can buy them for £1.32 at the moment here.

I guess then that I’m still looking for some hard-working, comforting, non-minty products. Any suggestions folks?

Review – ARK Regenerating Skin Defence

Ark goodie bag

Ever since I got this pot of lusciousness (is that a word? spell check says no!) that is ARK Regenerating Skin Defence from  the Inside Out Beauty Event I’ve been dying to try it. I’m not sure why I waited for so long as it was the “jewel in the crown” from my goodie bag that night. I think it was because I wanted to find out what the effect of the two creams was separately and with the Anti-ageing Skin Perfector having an SPF30 and the weather being hot! hot! hot! at the time I decided to review that first. There was also a little bit of me that wanted to save the best till last.

The blurb in the leaflet told me about innovative plant-cell technology that would regenerate skin cells and reveal brighter, younger looking skin. Who wouldn’t be up for some of that? They also reckoned that it would  a silky skin feel instantly and blur fine lines and wrinkles and that over time skin would become firmer and  more supple.

It promised an awful lot and to be fair I was expecting a lot too. Firstly, this is because I was going on what I already know about ARK. Their products never disappoint and I had been exceptionally impressed with the Anti-ageing Skin Perfector Then there’s the price tag – it costs £70 here. Which is way above my normal spending limit for skin care. Finally, it’s been shortlisted for Best New Premium Skincare Product, in the 2014 Pure Beauty Awards. So you can see I was ready to be impressed!

So, what’s it done for me so far? I’ve been using it for around 10 days. So that’s not long enough to assess the long-term effects but long enough to know that this is another winner from ARK. The jar had one of those fancy twist tops that dispenses just the right amount without exposing the product to the air and also means that you don’t introduce bacteria from your fingers. The consistency is somewhere between  serum and a cream so it’s not too rich and sinks into the skin really easily. It immediately made my skin feel firm and it wasn’t sticky to the touch at all. The lovely people at ARK suggested that I use this in the evening or night-time and so I’ve been using it as a night serum. I just love how it makes my skin feel and it’s bringing back a youthful firmness to my skin. I’m banking on it getting even better with consistent use and I’ve loads more left in the pot. It contains 50ml of serum and a little goes a long way. So, if you feel like a bit of indulgence then I think you know what you need to do!

Reviews – W7 Eye make-up

W7 eye make up

Everyone loves a little treat mid week don’t they? So when I got this lovely little package of eye make-up products from W7 it really made my day. I’ve been quite a fan of W7 becuse they always manage to have just the thing you need and most times it’s under a fiver! I’ve bought brow kits and liners in the past and you really can’t beat them on value for money.

In my parcel were the three lovely pieces you can see in the picture – from top to bottom they are: Showing Out Mascara in Blackest Black, Eyeliner Pot in Black, and Perfect Eyes eye shadow in Lagoon.

I couldn’t wait to try out all of them – I have to say though that the results were a bit of a mixed bag – for a variety of reasons really.

First up I tried the Eyeliner Pot – I’m not really sure why I did. Well I do – I wanted to be able to say for sure that it’s a great product – and it is. It goes on easily and is a really black black – you know what I mean don’t you? Then it stayed in place really well. I didn’t keep it on for long, because it was way to harsh a look for me – and not really age appropriate. But when I tried to take it off it took a fair few wipes of the make-up remover before it budged – which is good right? It’s £4.95 here.

Then I tried the Showing Out Mascara. Now I’m a little bit picky with mascara because I have such teeny little lashes that it takes an amazing product to make them show at all and I also need to have a smallish brush. So for me this was a bit of a disappointment. The mascara was really runny and I had to wipe a whole load of it off the brush. Then when I applied it it hardly coated my lashes at all and didn’t make them longer or fuller. So I guess it would only be ok if you already had long, full lashes. As for the brush, they had really tried hard on the brush design. It had a rounded bobbly end which is intended to help you reach awkward places. For me, it just got in the way and made me smudge mascara under my lower lashes. It you want to give it a go though it’s a snip at £4.95 here.

The third of my treats (i’m grateful for them all honest!) was the stunning Perfect Eyes eye shadow in Lagoon. It’s a really deep rich ocean greeny-blue in the pan with a shimmer to it. I try not to wear shimmery colours as they don’t flatter crepey eye-lids believe me so I tried it on my hand. It’s rich and creamy with a strong pigment but it comes up a little lighter on application although just as intense if that makes sense. There are 10 shades, all at the teeny price of £3.95 here.

I still love W7 for those days when pay day is far away and you just have to buy some make-up but maybe these pieces weren’t quite right for me.

Have you got bits of W7 in your make-up bag?

Let me know in the comments box below.


Review – Eye of Horus Scarab Sapphire Goddess Pencil

scarab sapphire goddess pencil

I couldn’t help but be intrigued when I was given the opportunity to sample the Eye of Horus Scarab Sapphire Goddess Pencil. I hadn’t come across the brand before and the mysterious look of the packaging and advertising made me want to know more.

The Eye of Horus illuminating essential range of Goddess eye makeup is based on ancient Egyptian formulas and ingredients, including the revered Moringa Oil claimed by the gods for its beautifying and regenerating powers.

They say:

“Our pencil is an unparalleled product made from soft timber and a collection of gorgeous oils and waxes. A professional cosmetic sharpener is required to sharpen the pencil to maintain it in its perfect condition, plus a sharp point provides the most pigmentation. We like to start in the middle corner of the eye and gently glide across the lid starting with a thin line and layer to the desired thickness. You have 40 seconds til the waxes set, so can smudge to create a softer look.”

After a few minutes of wear I was a bit disappointed to see that the colour had transferred to my eye lid – I’m guessing this is because my eye cream affected it and by lunch time there was significant fading. I suppose this is a lesson learned though and I’ve noticed with other products including mascara that oil based eye creams can cause problems.

If you’re intrigued to find out more you can purchase the goddess pencils and more here. They retail at £17.00 which is a little more than I would expect to pay for a liner but I’m guessing that being a goddess is an expensive business!

Review – Bioderma Sensibio H20 make-up removing micelle solution

Sensibio H20 (2)

I can’t really decide whether I came late to the party as far as micellar water is comcerned or whether I was so early to the party that they hadn’t coined the phrase micellar yet. I certainly tried a couple of cleansing waters years ago and asked myself why I was paying so much for a  bottle of water – after all isn’t all water cleansing? Anyway, I’ve tried one or two more recently and this is the latest offering that I’ve come across.

It’s from the French Pharmacy brand Bioderma (oh how we love our French Pharmacy products ooh la la!) It’s the Bioderma Sensibio H20 make-up removing micelle solution for sensitive skin. This beauty was gifted to me by Escentual along with some lovely scent testers. (More of that here)

This beauty gets a 5* rating on the Escentual site and won a prize at the 2013 Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards. They say:

“Gently cleanse your sensitive, normal to dry skin with the Bioderma Sensibio H2O, an ultra-mild, non-rinse micellar water cleanser and make-up remover. Created to suit the needs of those who experience skin irritation and redness, the alcohol-free formula soothes and cools as it cleanses. Sensibio H2O guarantees cutaneous and ocular tolerance for the skin and the eyes with its physiological pH and soap-free base. The cleanser removes impurities using micelles, which micro-emulsify impurities while maintaining the skin’s balance. Added decongesting active ingredients prevent irritation, making the skin feel instantly refreshed, perfectly clean and free from all make-up – including water-resistant mascara.”

The way I’ve been using this in my routine is by applying it to my skin with a cotton wool pad, gently smoothing across the eye area without dragging to remove all of my eye make-up. I then swipe it across the rest of my face and neck to remove ever trace of foundation and primer. It leaves my skin feeling really clean without feeling tight. It’s also scent free and my skin feels really soft.

I’ve got a 250ml bottle which will last for ages and it costs £6.66 at the moment here – on offer from £9.99 there’s also a smaller 100ml size that you can  buy for just £3 down from £4.50.

I do sometimes use a cleansing gel afterwards for a double cleansed feel but I’d definitely recommend this product to remove make-up gently and completely.

What’s your current cleansing routine? Do you use micellar water?