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The natural brand that's changed my mind about soap

Bars of soap get a really bad rap in the beauty world. Traditional soap can be drying, and no one likes that weird residue that gets left behind when you rinse off the lather. But when natural soap company Sabai Soaps got in touch and asked me to review their bars* - made using cruelty free, vegan, organic ingredients - I took a chance and gave it a go.

The first thing that struck me when I unwrapped the (beautifully wrapped) package was the amazing citrus smell. The main essential oil in the bar I was kindly sent to review is from the mangosteen fruit. It sounded so exotic that I had to Google it, but it turns out this stuff is great for calming the skin, especially if you suffer from inflammation or a condition like eczema. The soap also contains Rice Bran Oil to hydrate and protect against ageing and olive oil for additional moisture.

I was pleased to find out that Sabai is both an affordable brand and an ethical one - the bar I was sent retails at £5.95 and given how often I've used it so far is going to last me a good 6-8 weeks at least. With no harsh chemicals the soap is as kind on the skin as it is on the environment, and with my sensitive skin and allergies that's very good news! Inspired by Thai soaps and the small family businesses that make them, the word 'Sabai' literally translates from Thai as 'happy'. The company also support a range of charities across the world, so bring happiness not just to your skin, but to disadvantaged families and children too.

I've been using the soap for almost two weeks now as I wanted to give you guys a thorough, honest review and I can safely say I've never loved a soap this much! As I said before, the scent is amazing, but the real benefit for me is how clean and fresh and soft my skin feels after washing. A little goes a long way, as the natural oils give the lather a moisturising feel. After continuous use I'd say my skin is not only much softer but brighter, and my foundation seems to sit better on my skin. I've noticed a reduction in redness around my spottier areas like my cheeks too.

If you've been put off soap in the past then I'd definitely suggest indulging in one of Sabai's bars as a natural and non-drying alternative to gel cleansers - they'd also be lovely as a gift and can be purchased in sets. I can't wait to try some more.

*Items in this post were kindly sent to me for review purposes, but all opinions are honest and completely my own. I will only share products on my blog that I would purchase for myself.

5 simple (and easy) ways you can save more money

I don't know about you, but these days it feels like I bleed money! Rent, bills, petrol, council tax, food shopping - it all adds up, and that's before we even get to the fun stuff. We're currently trying to save for a house, and although we're now the bulk of the way there, I'm getting real tired of seeing my bank balance trickle down each month as standing orders an direct debits fly out at an alarming rate.

I've recently taken a different approach to managing my money though, and it's already paying off. Before I'd spend the weeks leading up to pay day ignoring my dwindling funds and praying I wouldn't hit the dreaded overdraft, dreading the bill if I used the credit card on something without thinking. Now I'm keeping a much closer eye on things, and while it's definitely a case of spending some time forming better habits, I thought I'd share my top tips so far.


Now, I'm not the type to spend hundreds of pounds each month on clothes and makeup, just the odd budget purchase here and there, so that's not much of an issue. If you do want to make a big but non-essential purchase I'd suggest keeping a little money back each pay day for a couple of months rather than blowing your credit card limit. Then you'll be sure you really want it, too. You don't have to scrimp and deprive yourself of everything to save money, you just have to think your purchases through a bit more.

Our household has some unavoidable expenses (rent where we live is expensive and I have a long commute to work in the car), but we also spend wisely in other areas. We've got a Netflix subscription rather than an expensive TV package, buy second-hand PS4 games and don't mind heading to the local Wetherspoon now and again over a swanky wine bar. If you feel like you're spending a lot, have a look and see where you can make compromises. Even changing where you do your food shop could make a big difference. Take it from Waitrose to Aldi and you could save a pretty penny.

Use loyalty cards and reward bank accounts

I have so many loyalty cards and points cards that I always manage to forget to use. I had a look back over them and reorganised my purse, and put the ones I use the most in easy to reach card slots. These days there are loyalty cards and points programmes for everything from supermarkets and coffee shops to swimming pools and sandwich vans so it's worth asking when you shop somewhere new for the first time. 

My Tesco Clubcard and Boots Advantage card are the two that probably pay off the most Some programmes allow you to trade in reward points for boosted vouchers for the cinema, restaurants, attractions and more. These days even bank accounts provide cashback on your direct debits and certain transactions, so don't forget to look at those too.

Hoard your change

I definitely don't use cash as much as I used too, but when I do I regularly swipe the change from my purse and throw anything smaller than 50p into a jar. You can quickly build up 20 quid or more and take it to the bank to change up. Have a good rummage in old purses, under the bed, drawers and pockets too - we found £15 in our flat just while tidying up, and plan to spend it on a treat since we didn't expect to find it!

Use things up completely before rebuying them

I've become more guilty of this since I got into beauty blogging a bit more, but having multiple cleansers, perfumes, shower gels etc just for the sake of it is a bit unecessary. I'm instead trying to teach myself to resist the urge to try the latest new thing I saw on Instagram and use up the products I've actually got before splashing out on new ones. A quick look through your drawers and cabinets could reveal some bad habits. I've put spares and unopened alternatives into a box in the spare room, and I'll shop the stash I've created before buying anything else.

Monitor your habits

Although I've tried to make a note of what I'm buying and hold on to receipts, there are always things you forget to write down or pay for with coins and have no record of. I recently discovered a super helpful app called On Trees that gives you a combined view across all your accounts (including credit cards and ISAs) and allows you to categorise and set budgets on everything going in and out.

I was a little concerned about logging into all of my accounts via an app, but it's secured with a passcode and directly integrated with most major online banking providers, so it's definitely the best option out there. It means I can keep an eye on how many times I've been to Costa, as well as how much I've managed to save. I used to avoid logging into my bank accounts because I couldn't be bothered to download and set up multiple apps, but this was a doddle. I use it every day and couldn't recommend it more!

Do you have any top tips for saving extra money?

My (spoiler free) review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - #Keepthesecrets

The weekend before last I FINALLY went to see the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! It feels like I was waiting forever to actually go since buying the tickets, and that's probably because it was. I'm pretty sure it was over a year between getting them and actually going, but once it came round I began to get properly excited.

I managed to go the entire time between the play's premiere and seeing it myself without seeing a single spoiler. I knew who the cast was of course, as it was announced to the world, but I didn't buy the script, and luckily most fans that had the privilege of seeing it before me kept their lips sealed.

I'll be doing the same thing, too. If you're a fanatic about any book, film or TV series you'll probably know how it feels to have a juicy twist spoiled for you, but I've got to hand it to J.K. Rowling and co for bringing in their #KeeptheSecrets hashtag. At the interval they even handed out badges with it written on, to encourage people not to go out into the world and spoil the play for others. I do however want to talk about how much I loved it, and how it's totally worth going to see it even if you have to wait.

The Theatre

Our seats weren't very expensive, so we were very high up, and I found myself leaning over just a little at times to make sure I had a full view of what was going on, but we weren't so far up we couldn't see things, and I hardly noticed it really. We paid £15 per person per performance, and saw both 'parts' of the play on the one Sunday. I think you do have the option of splitting it across evenings but as we're not from London I didn't fancy two trips.

That meant that this was an event of stamina! The two parts are an hour and a half EACH including a 15 minute interval per part. There was a 2 hour gap in the middle where we were able to go out and get some dinner (The Palace Theatre is close to Leicester Square), returning at 6.30pm to the same seats for the second part. The boys struggled with 5 hours in theatre seating as the leg room is limited, and towards the end I did lose feeling in my toes. BUT.... it was worth it!

The Story

I'm not going to give away ANY plot lines here as I don't want to ruin it for anyone still waiting to see it, but the play picks up where that cheesy '20 Years Later' scene at the end of Deathly Hallows leaves us. There's a lot of focus around Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny's kids, but don't worry - there's plenty of stage time for our original favourites.

The story itself is every bit as magical as in the novels. I'm so glad that Rowling herself was involved in writing it, with every word uttered on stage oozing with her style. It gets pretty dark too, with a strong moral thread throughout, as well as some comic relief. 

The Cast

I had no expectations of what the acting would be like, although I was struggling beforehand to get my head around the fact that the golden trio were all grown up and I wouldn't be staring at Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. I have to say though that the actors chosen to portray them as older did an amazing job of bringing through the characters from their teens. Even down to small gestures and tone of voice, I really did see Harry, Ron and Hermione in them.

There were a lot of young actors involved too, who were all fabulous. I want to give a particular shout out to Anthony Boyle who plays Scorpius Malfoy - He had the audience in creases of laughter one minute and put tears in my eyes the next.

The Set and Special Effects

I wasn't sure if seeing a Harry Potter production in a theatre setting would be a bit 'meh' in the visual department after experiencing years of digital magic in the films, but there was some real trickery afoot that I can't even mention without giving away a few too many details. Basically I have no idea how they did half of the stuff, it blew my mind. The set designs also had just the right Harry Potter feel and there was some very clever use of props. As a lifelong fan the attention to detail was a delight to behold.

All in all I found the play well worth the wait, and if we were ever treated to a follow-up, I'd be there like a shot!