A Conscious Blog

27 Jul 2012

The Woman He Loved Before Book Review

 I am an avid Dorothy Koomson fan and love all her books. Dorothy Koomson first caught my eye, when I noticed it was a bestseller at a store I used to work. I was immediately intrigued, and made a mental note to myself to look out for more of her books. I came across 'My Best Friend's Girl' at my college library, and it was love at first sight. Having read four of Dorothy's books, and loved them all, it was pretty tough to choose ONE to review. I settled on this one because it was the one I felt I could relate to most.

 Libby has a nice life with a gorgeous husband and a big home by the sea. But over time she is becoming more unsure if Jack has ever loved her - and if he is over the death of Eve, his first wife. When fate intervenes in their relationship, Libby decides to find out all she can about the man she hastily married and the seemingly perfect Eve. Eventually Libby stumbles across some startling truths about Eve, and is soon unearthing more and more devastating family secrets. Frightened by what she finds and the damage it could cause, Libby starts to worry that she too will end up like the first woman Jack loved. . . Tense and moving, The Woman He Loved Before explores if the love you want is always the love you need - or deserve.

My take on it:
 I don't want to spoil the story for those of you who are planning on reading it, so I'll keep it short and sweet. The story is told from three viewpoints; Libby's, Jack's, and Eve's (via her diaries). The narrative has a non-linear time structure and uses flash-forwards and flash-backs, which is a typical occurence in Dorothy's books. Despite the fact that Libby's chapters are told in real time, and Eve's are not, I found the time jumps were unnoticeable as the transitions were smooth and seamless.

 This is a definite must-read so I suggest you add it to your summer reading list. It's one of those page turners that you just can't get enough of. There are a lot of twists and turns in the plot, and the ending is a real shocker, so kudos to Dorothy, as she does manage to keep the reader guessing right up until the very end.

 Love, Marriage, Interracial relationships, Violence, Mystery, Romance

Key Questions:
  • Is it possible to love again?
  • What is beauty?
  • Is it better to stay in an unsatisfying marriage or be divorced and happy?
More Info:
 The book has/was/is:
  • 480 pages
  • A Sunday Time Best Seller
  • Available in both paperback and hardback

22 Jul 2012

Hollywood Style: Deep Cleansing Apricot Scrub Review

 As I’m sure you know, I’m still on the look out for a good facial scrub. Two days ago I was in Pak’s and was persuaded by the Sales Assistant to purchase the ‘Hollywood Style Deep Cleansing Apricot Scrub’.


Water, juglans regia (walnut) shell powder, mineral oil, stearic acid, glyceryl stearate SE, ceytl alcohol, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), petrolatum, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) oil, polysorbate 60, triethanolamine, magnesium aluminium silicate, titanium dioxide, prunus armeniaca (apricot) fruit extract, prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, glycolic acid, glycine soja (soybean) seed extract, polyquatemium 7, rubus idaeus (raspberry) fruit extract, tilia cordata (little-leaf inden) flower extract, fragrance, methylparaben, propylparaben, and DMDM hydantoin.

Directions for use:

Apply a small amount of scrub to wet face and gently massage in a circular motion for a few minutes. Avoid eye area. Rinse well. It is recommended that you follow up with the Hollywood Style Toner and finish off with one of our moisturizers to calm, smooth and balance skin*.

Product claims:

Our improved 2-in-1 apricot scrub is creamier and has extra, bigger scrubbers of dried walnut kernels. The formulation also contains natural vitamins, herbs and exfoliants in a rich creamy base. It will deep clean your pores of oil, dirt, debris, while gently removing dead skin layers that make complexion look dull, dry and flaky, Your skin will feel invigorated, revitalized and clean like never before; pores will look smaller, facial texture and will be smoother, softer, and have a healthy glow. Aloe vera, shea butter, apricot oil, and vitamins A and E provide moisture and healing protection. Recommended for all skin types.

Application Method: I put the mask on my fingertips and massaged the scrub unto my face in circular motions. FYI, my face was dry prior to application. Whilst massaging my face in circular motions, I noticed my face was stinging. After application, I usually like to leave my scrubs on for a few minutes before rinsing. However, the stinging had intensified, and was beginning to feel unbearable, and I knew I needed to wash this off my face immediately.

When I removed this off my face, I had red blotches across my forehead, cheeks and nose. I was really shocked, in all my nineteen years of existence, I have never seen my face so red before. After mositurizing, and about twenty minutes later the redness vanished.

Final thoughts: I would definitely not recommend this product for people with dry/sensitive/ eczema-prone skin like myself, as I feel that the exfoliating beads on this product are far too harsh on the skin.

Price-£2.99 (5/5) The price is great, and considering you pay the same price for the same mask in a smaller tube, you’d be silly not to opt for this one as it’s in a jar, so it’s deffo more value for your money.

Smell (1/5) This product smells like apricots. I find the smell sickeningly sweet. Upon first encounter with my nostrils, I liked the smell, but after a while I began to feel the smell of apricots was too overpowering, and was rather sickening.

Texture/Feel (1/5) When you put this product on your fingertips it feels super smooth. When I first touched it, I loved how soft and nice it felt on my finger tips, however when you put it on your face it’s an entirely different story. When on your face it feels like you’re in hell (literally).

Overall rating (1/5) The only good thing I can say about this product is that it did leave my skin feeling soft. However, I’m sure there is a product out there that will leave my skin feeling just as soft (if not softer) and will not have any undesirable side effects.

Side Note: This product does say you should apply to a wet face, which I didn’t do, as my face was dry upon application. I decided to retest this product, by wetting a patch of my face, and this made no difference whatsoever. I still had the burning sensation and red blotches. Therefore, I feel I can confidently say that this product is not good for people with dry or sensitive skin. If anyone with oily/combo skin would like to try out this product, then they can do so at their own risk.

Would I repurchase? Hell no.

Where can you buy one?

At your local Afro-Caribbean hair store or you can click the link below:

I’m thinking of using the remainder of the scrub as a body scrub. Does anyone else have any beauty buys that double up as other products, maybe an eye shadow that you use as a lip stain? If so, let me know below. As always, stay blessed and beautiful dolls xoxo

*Words have been paraphrased


18 Jul 2012

Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Review

 Elizabeth Arden's 'Sunflowers' has got to be one of the greatest perfumes ever created for (wo)mankind. Recently, I've become really interested in perfumes and fragrances, and anytime I pop into The Body Shop or The Perfume Shop, (or any other shop that has fragrances), I've been sampling the smellies, as I'm on the lookout for some new faves. 

 My cousin introduced me to ‘Sunflowers’, and ever since then it's literally never left my side. It's a great day scent, as it’s not too strong and in your face (or should that be in your nose?). You will need to respray this throughout the day, as it does tend to wear off quite easily. It smells so lush, and at £10 for 100 ml you can't really go wrong, can ya?
Fragrance Facts
Base Notes: Amber, Cedar, Moss, Musk and Sandalwood
Heart Notes: Cyclamen, Iris Root, Osmanthus, Pure Jasmine, and Rose
Top Notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Mandarin, Melon, Orange Blossom, Peach, and Rosewood

Price- (5/5) The price is super affordable at £10 for 100 ml
Smell- (4/5) Although it’s floral, the perfume smells like citrus fruits and jasmine. It also has a musky undertone to it, which I love, as I’m a big fan of musky scents.
Feel- (5/5) The fragrance definitely has a classy, elegant, and feminine chicness to it.

Cons ?
Durability- (2/5) It does not have the best lasting power, so you will deffo have to reapply this during the day.
Overall rating- (4/5)
Would I repurchase? Hell, yes!!!

Where can you buy one? It’s cheapest to get this online. I bought mine from Fragrance Direct, and because it was lidless and without a box, I got it for £7.99. BARGAIN!!!

I’d recommend you get yours from there too. Here’s a link to their website:

What is your fave cheap and cheerful fragrance? Let me know, in the comments section below.
Until next time dolls, stay blessed and beautiful xoxo

7 Jul 2012

My Top Ten Holy Grail Hair Care Products

Hey Dolls,

 I know it’s been a while since I last posted, please forgive me I’ve been swamped with coursework, coursework and EVEN more coursework. I am currently in the process of changing (or rather creating) a new hair care and skincare regim(in)e. Once I get that sorted, I’ll be sure to make a post all about it, so make sure you stay tuned for that.
 Now that I’m texturized as opposed to relaxed, I realised that there wasn’t that much information out there for us sisters who are texturized, yet there seems to be mammoths out there for our cousins who are relaxed. Today’s blog post is going to be about hair care products that I use for my hair which is texturized.

My go-to products have to be the following:
No.1- African Royale Hot Six Oil

This product smells lovely; it smells like sweets and fruits and I don’t even know what else but it just smells lovely. If you like fruity scents you’ll love this one. It contains seven oils (Canola, Castor, Olive, Safflower, Sesame, Sweet Almond and Wheat Germ), which is pretty amazing methinks, and obviously wonderful the hair. It is very moisturizing, and is a multi-purpose oil as it can be used on the face, body, hair, scalp, fingernails, and in the bath. It has a medium consistency, and will make a good addition to treatments/ other hair cocktails e.g. Greenhouse Effect Technique.

No. 2- LeKair Hair Cholesterol Plus Aloe Formula for Extra Dry Hair

This is a product I have been using since I was little. It is mega conditioning and can be used as a stand alone product or in conjunction with others (which is what I do). The product smells vaguely like mints and something else. This product is cheap and cheerful and silicone-free which I love, however, having had a look at the ingredients list, I can see it contains parabens which I am not in love with.

No.3-Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise

I normally mix this with No. 2, 4 + 8 for effective anti-breakage deep conditioning treatments. This does not smell like mayonnaise at all (Thank Jesus), but rather like mints. This can be used as a pre-poo treatment, leave/sleep-in conditioner (you will have to wash it out though), and whilst I can’t say it grew my hair, it definitely made my hair healthier and helped to retain my hair length. If you want to use as a stand-alone product, add an egg for extra protein and optimal results.
Some cons-It contains silicones, Lanolin Oil and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which I am not mega excited about, and because of its contents, I can’t say I think the product is very ‘organic’ as its name suggests.

No.4-Motions Critical Protection Repair Treatment Conditioner

 I don’t have this product with me right now so I can’t tell you what it smells like, (as you can see I’m very mad about smells). For a basic conditioning treatment, use this and No.3, however, if your hair is dry, add a drop of oil to it.

No.5- Fantasia IC Hair Polisher Heat Protector Straightening Serum
 This smells lush. I think this is a good straightening serum, however, as its mega oily, it might be worth investing in the spray instead, as when this gets all over your hands, when you’re tryna straighten your hair, it can be a tad bothersome. I hear the TresSemme Heat Defence Spray is supposed to be pretty good. If you guys have used that and think it’s worth me investing in/ reviewing, please let me know down below.
No.6- Olive Oil Nourishing Sheen Spray
After straightening my hair/weave, any hairdresser I’ve ever been to, always sprays this as a finishing spray, so I decided to add this to my staples list. I don’t know if this is that nourishing for the hair, I personally think it's one of those products that makes you hair 'look' nice, as opposed to actually doing something to your hair or scalp to actually make it nice, if you get what I mean.  I do like it as one of those products that adds the finishing touches to your hair, particularly after straightening. To be honest, I only use it in conjunction with straighteners, and when I use it I feel it gives my hair that glossy just-been-to-the- hairdresser sheen to it + it smells nice so that's an added bonus. Who wants their hair to smell like straighteners? Not me.

No.7- Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak

I got this in a little sachet for 99p in my local afro hair and beauty shop (which I thought was a bargain, imagine my shock and surprise when my friend told me she got it for 79p in Lewisham, talk about bargain of life). If you haven’t noticed I’m very savvy, I think it stems from having an African businesswoman as a mother. Anyways enough with the rambling, this makes a very good treatment. It makes the hair soft, smooth and silky, and I hear it comes in a bottle now, which is great news.

No.8- Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 This is a good addition for treatments, pre-poos, shampoos, conditioners etc. and just general everyday hair care. I think it is one of my top must-have holy grail items, as it can have many uses, i.e. hair care, cooking etc. It makes a good hot oil treatment, and when I recently treated my friend’s hair with this, she says after washing her hair was really soft. A good alternative is Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, however, as for me I personally can't stand the smell of coconuts, so I'll be sticking to this one.

No.9- Cosmetic Wholesale Tea Tree Oil

This smells very medicine-like. However, I am in love with this oil. I use it on my face, as well as my hair. I find it to be very effective in shampoos and treatments and I’ve heard it’s also good for sealing the hair.
No.10-Nexxus Conditioner

 I can’t remember which one my hairdresser used one me, but all I know is that I don’t think my hair has ever felt SO soft after conditioning in my entire life. Nexxus has a lovely hair care line. I wanna try out the Humectress Conditioner though, as it was prescribed to me. What Nexxus hair conditioner do you swear by (if any)? Let me know below.

Hope this post helps someone out there looking for some must have hair care products or who is currently in the process of creating a hair regimen. I know this is very long, so if you got this far, I’d like to say a big massive ‘Thank You’ for continuing to read all the way to the end. As always stay blessed and beautiful dolls xoxo