Posts tagged cruelty free
I drink a lot of water every day, especially when I’m at work, but I really begrudge paying for bottled water when you can get it for free from the kitchen tap, especially as the bottles that bottled water comes in aren’t widely recycled, so the majority end up on landfill, littering the streets or even floating around in the ‘plastic soup’ that is our oceans! As such, I have long been on the look out for a more environmentally friendly, reusable bottle, so I was extremely pleased when I discovered Dopper on Twitter.
Dopper is a Dutch product which was invented with the aim to put a stop to the damaging effects that plastic bottles have on the environment. Dopper is a unique reusable bottle which has a zero net carbon footprint, and is BPA-free, meaning that the Dopper is free of the harmful chemical usually used in plastic production.
Dopper bottles are completely sustainable, as they can be refilled and used over and over again, and promote the drinking of free, calorie-free, thirst quenching WATER! There’s even a Dopper app so you can find out where to refill your bottle for free. The brand also contribute to water projects around the world through the Dopper Foundation, with 10% of all Dopper sales going straight into the Foundation to fund the introduction of safe, clean drinking water and facilities in countries such as Nepal.
If you want to find out more about Dopper, their work and ethos, click here.
What I love about my Dopper is that it doesn’t look like a normal bottle. It has an unusual but fashionable design which is also practical, and comes in a wide range of colours. The Dopper has a wide, flat lid which, at first, seemed a little unnecessary, until I realised why… Not only does the lid unscrew, but the white section unscrews as well, so you can use it as a drinking cup if you don’t fancy drinking straight from the bottle. An absolute genius addition to an already excellent product. Luckily, both the lid and the cup screw back on securely, so there’s no need to worry about leakage.
The Dopper holds 450ml of water, just a little less than your average bottle of water from a shop, and is the ideal size to carry with you in your bag, fit into the cup holder of your car or take with you on a run or whilst exercising. I can’t express enough how much I absolutely love my Dopper. The design is so innovative and functional, but it also looks fantastic and, most importantly, it’s so much kinder on the Earth than the bottled water you buy in shops!
In fact, I believe in Dopper so much that I have something very special to share with you… I have not one, but TWO Doppers to give away to two lucky readers – a red and an orange that both really stand out from the crowd.
To enter, all you have to do is complete as many of the tasks as you want/can on the Rafflecopter form below. The competition will run for three weeks, and will end at midnight (GMT) on 26th November. The giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and all entries will be checked. The winners will be chosen at random and announced the next day, and contacted via email, and will be given 48 hours to respond with their postal address. If no reply is received within this time, another winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!
Quite a few months ago I was sent three skin care products to try by the vegan, cruelty-free brand MyChelle Dermaceuticals. MyChelle’s tagline is ‘Seeded in science and rooted in nature’, which sums them up perfectly. Their products are all made from nontoxic, natural ingredients, which have been chosen and formulated specifically for their concentration and nutrient levels, which can help the skin look and feel healthier.
MyChelle’s products are organised into five steps which, when combined, create the perfect skin care routine – you just have to pick the right products for your skin type! Step 1 is cleansers, Step 2 masks, peels and scrubs, Step 3 serums, Step 4 mists, and finally, Step 5 creams. The three products I received, and have now been using for a while, are their Fruit Enzyme Cleanser* from Step 1, Pumpkin Renew Cream* from Step 5, and Fabulous Eye Cream*, also from Step 5. I haven’t tried any products from Step 2, 3 or 4 so cannot comment on how well the routine works as a whole, so I will share my experience of each product individually.
Fruit Enzyme Cleanser – 61ml – £8.50
MyChelle say: Gentle deep cleanser uncovers remarkably fresh, smooth skin. A special blend of natural multi-fruit Alpha-Hydroxy Acids unclog and purify pores, and increase cellular turnover for a more youthfully refined look. Strengthening and antioxidant Turmeric keeps skin calm and eases signs of irritation, while Fructooligosaccharides from sugar promote and protect skin’s health.
I say: The Fruit Enzyme Cleanser comes in a squeezy bottle with a mess-free click lid, which makes it really easy to control how much of the cleanser you use, meaning there’s no waste. MyChelle recommend using a dime-size amount to cover the whole face, which in English money is about the same size as a five pence coin. In my experience that is enough for a good cleanse, so even this 61ml bottle will last a good while.
The cleanser contains a mixture of natural oils and plant extracts, but the one that dominates is orange, so it has a gorgeous sweet orange scent, which happens to be one of my favourite toiletry scents. It also has a light gel consistency which massages in like a dream, and doesn’t feel greasy at all. The gel washes off easily with warm water and leaves the skin feeling soft, fresh and incredibly clean, without that tightness you sometimes get from facial cleansers. I’ve noticed my face has looked a lot clearer since I started using this cleanser and I’ve had far fewer breakouts which is brilliant.
Pumpkin Renew Cream – 35ml – £21.00
MyChelle say: A lightweight, hydrating formula blends antioxidant-rich Pumpkin Seed Oil with reparative Peptides to protect cellular health and maintain hydration. Astaxanthin, from Micro-Algae, neutralizes free radicals while reducing moisture loss. EGF Peptides promote cellular renewal and collagen production. Shea Butter and Vitamin E replenish skin’s lipid barrier to prevent dehydration.
I say: MyChelle’s Pumpkin Renew Cream is not orange in colour as you’d expect, but a pale minty green. It smells absolutely beautiful – fresh, but with a sweet and spicy note of nutmeg which really stands out. The formula is light, and in the pot looks a little bit oily which, I’ll admit, worried me slightly at first, but I was relieved to find that it doesn’t leave behind any greasiness on the skin. Rather, it is absorbed nicely and is incredibly moisturising and softening, and also has a calming, soothing effect on tired or angry skin.
MyChelle’s Pumpkin Renew Cream is suitable for all skin types, including combination skin like mine, and can be used as a day or night cream, so it’s a great little all-rounder. I’ve been using my pot in the morning as a base for my make up, and it hydrates dry patches and evens out oily patches for a perfect finish.
Fabulous Eye Cream – 15ml – £19.00
MyChelle say: Advanced formula nourishes the delicate eye area while minimizing the look of fine lines. Revolutionary Edelweiss Plant Stem Cells inhibit collagen breakdown and are clinically proven to reduce wrinkle depth by 15% after only twenty days of use. Hyaluronic acid binds moisture within the skin, smoothing and firming the eye area.
I say: Once again, MyChelle’s packaging prevails with this cream and the easy squeeze tube and narrow nozzle make it really easy to control how much cream you use, and you really only need a little bit of this to cover the whole eye area. The cream itself, like the Pumpkin Renew Cream, is non-greasy and easily absorbed, and gentle enough for the eye area, causing no irritation. The Fabulous Eye Cream smells different to the other two products (I love how they all have a different scent!), with a delicately sweet, almost floral aroma with hints of coconut, lavender and orange.
Being only 23, I don’t yet have many wrinkles around my eyes, but I’ve been using this almost as a preventative, and it’s doing a great job so far. After application my eye area feels smooth and firm, without being uncomfortable, and it’s definitely been helping to reduce my morning eye puffiness!
Overall, I’d definitely recommend MyChelle’s products and I’d love to fill the gaps in my routine with more of their offerings. My skin is really quite sensitive and I often have allergic to reactions to facial cleansers and moisturisers, but I haven’t had any such reaction to MyChelle. Definitely something to remember if you too suffer from sensitive skin!
You can view MyChelle’s full range here.
My parcel from MyChelle also contained two packets of Pur chewing gum, and since I am a gum addict it was a nice little surprise to receive these. The gum comes in two flavours – Peppermint and Wintergreen, and is aspartame and sugar-free, so it contains no nasties. It’s also suitable for vegans, diabetics and those who are gluten and lactose intolerant, so it’s a really inclusive product. The gum itself has a nice, powerful flavour and tastes and chews just like any other gum, so it doesn’t suffer in that respect, but the flavour doesn’t last as long as I’d like. Still, for a natural product that pretty much anyone can have, it’s impressive.
*These products were sent to me by MyChelle Dermaceuticals for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
I recently came across a hair care brand who attracted my attention for a very specific reason – they’re BUAV approved. I am always on the look out for cruelty free hair products as they are surprisingly difficult to find, so when biOrganics offered to send me a sample to review I was keen to try them out.
biOrganics was founded in 1991 as the first professional organic hair care brand in Europe. The brand claims that their products give salon results, and everything is made from natural and organic ingredients wherever possible, so they’re free from nasty parabens and synthetic chemicals. As mentioned earlier, biOrganics are BUAV approved, meaning they do not test on animals under any circumstance, and are also endorsed by the Vegetarian Society.
The sample I received is a 12ml bottle of biOrganics’ Salon Secret Elixir Hair Perfecting Oil. The oil itself is colourless and has a base of organic Argan Oil and Ylang Ylang, and can be used to smoothe frizz, add shine, and protect hair from heat. It is also said to strengthen and repair dry and brittle hair, and reduces blow-drying time.
My experiences with the oil so far have been mixed, but mostly good. The bottle says to ‘dispense 1-3 pumps into palms, rub hands together & apply directly to clean, towel-dried hair’, which is where I initially went wrong. Unfortunately, the sample bottle does not come with a pump spray, so I had to guess how much to use. I ended up applying a coin-sized amount to my hair (to the ends and mid-lengths as suggested), but after blow-drying my hair looked and felt greasy, and I had to wash the oil out again. It turns out I used too much oil for the length of my hair, but after being given some advice by the lovely folks at biOrganics I tried again with a smaller amount of oil (about a little fingernail amount), and it worked a LOT better. This time my hair did dry quickly, looked and felt incredibly soft, straightened easily and, most importantly, stayed straight all day! I usually end up with slightly frizzy locks a few hours after straightening, but biOrganics hair perfecting oil solves this problem. The lesson here is definitely LESS IS MORE!
I’ve also used the oil on dry hair. The bottle says to ‘Use sparingly on dry hair for extra smoothing prior to heat-straightening’, so I applied a very small amount to the dry ends of my hair. The oil seemed to create a protective layer between my hair and the heat, so rather than breaking and looking dry after straightening, my hair looked smooth and sleek.
Overall, once you learn how much oil your hair needs, this is a very good product if you want straighter, sleeker hair that lasts. The oil costs £3.99 for a sample bottle or £12.99 for a 50ml pump spray bottle, so it is very affordable, especially for a natural, cruelty free product, and I’d definitely recommend it. biOrganics Salon Secret Elixir Hair Perfecting Oil is available online here, and they also sell a range of shampoos, conditioners, brushes and other hair care products. Or, if you’d prefer to buy from a local store, you can also find your local stockist.
*This biOrganics Salon Secret Elixir Hair Perfecting Oil was sent to me on behalf of biOrganics for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and based on my own experience.*
Trying to find a suitable foundation for your skin can be difficult at the best of times, but when you’re looking for a natural, vegan, cruelty free foundation like I was earlier this year, your options suddenly become very slim. So, when INIKA agreed to send me a product to review I naturally chose their Certified Organic Liquid Foundation, which fits all of the above mentioned criteria.
INIKA is a certified organic brand with a focus on producing natural make up, all of which is Vegan, Halal and isn’t tested on animals. All of their products are free from synthetic substances and nasty chemicals, and to go along with their ethical image, INIKA’s tubes, pots and brushes are made of recycled materials, and are also recyclable.
The bottle of foundation I received looked different to the one pictured on the INIKA website, but what struck me about the packaging is how classy and high-end it looks. In my experience some ethical brands, particularly those with recycled packaging, tend to be lacking in the image department, but INIKA’s black, sleek packaging with its gold font looks (and feels) wonderful, and would give any luxe brand a run for its money. Also, the bottle has a pump press top, which I prefer to a squeezy tube or pour bottle as it means you can easily control the amount of foundation you want from bottle (either with a half pump or full pump), and because the hole is small there is minimal mess.
Quite usefully, the INIKA website recommends different shades to suit specific skin tones, so I was able to choose the best one for me, which happens to be Cream. According to INIKA, their Cream shade is for ‘light to medium skin tones and perfect for those with an ‘English Rose’ complexion’ – a description which suits my skin down the ground, and the foundation is indeed ‘perfect’ for me!
The foundation itself is very light in texture, almost like a moisturiser, meaning it allows the skin to breathe and doesn’t clog the pores, and it also has a slight cooling effect when it touches the skin. I always apply this foundation with a brush, starting at the eyes and nose, working down to the chin, across the cheeks and finally across the forehead and neck. In the past I have always struggled to apply foundation with a brush, but because this one isn’t too thick it blends extremely easily.
Despite its light texture, INIKA’s liquid foundation has incredible pigmentation which makes for beautiful, flawless coverage which still looks natural. As you can see, it evens out any redness or blotchiness on the skin, and due to the lack of harsh ingredients it covers breakouts without aggravating them. The foundation balances the skin quite nicely too, adding moisture to avoid drying, but also without causing any unwanted oiliness.
The above image shows the coverage that INIKA’s liquid foundation gives (with a little bit of translucent powder applied over the top). The only thing it doesn’t cover fully is the dark circles under my eyes, but that’s nothing a small amount of under eye concealer can’t fix. To top it all off, this foundation lasts a very long time. Whenever I wear it, my face looks as smooth and flawless after a day at work as it does in the morning. It even looks great after a night at a bar or a gig, which is very impressive!
INIKA’s Certified Organic Liquid Foundation is available online in four shades, and costs £29.50 for 30g. It may be a bit on the pricey side, but its top quality reflects the price and it is honestly one of the best foundations I have ever used. I think I’d struggle to find another foundation to match it, let alone an organic, vegan, cruelty free one, and I will definitely be purchasing another bottle when I run out.
*This INIKA Certified Organic Liquid Foundation was sent to me by INIKA for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
On my mission to find affordable but high quality make up brushes, I was recommended Real Techniques by several different bloggers. After doing some research and seeing how highly praised they are, the Core Collection and Starter Set went straight on my birthday list, and I was lucky enough to receive both sets for my birthday (I’ll be reviewing these at a later date). On top of this, the wonderful Lookfantastic were also kind enough to send me a Real Techniques Blush Brush, which I will be reviewing in this post.
Real Techniques’ Blush Brush has everything I look for when choosing new make up brushes. Firstly, it has a long handle which is made from light aluminium with a grippable base, so it is easy to use and gives you ultimate control. It also has a widened, flat base so it can stand alone, which makes for simple storage.
The bristles are cut by hand and are tapered, which is great for contouring, but the rounded bulk of the brush makes applying an even sweep of blusher easy. I find that the brush picks up just the right amount of product too, so you’re left with a flawless, well blended finish. Most importantly for me, the bristles are made from synthetic taklon so the brush is vegan and cruelty free, but unlike some synthetic bristles they’re also incredibly soft. They feel amazingly plush and luxurious on the skin and don’t cause any irritation, which is always a bonus for those with sensitive skin like me.
Though I’ve only used this brush for blusher so far, I think it could be quite a versatile brush. I’ve seen other reviewers say they use it for bronzer too, as well as powder foundation, which I may put to the test.
I really couldn’t be happier with this brush, and I can’t recommend it highly enough – it makes the whole process of applying blusher effortless, and it really lives up to (maybe even exceeds!) my expectations. Real Techniques brushes are extremely high quality for the price and they’re now my go-to brand for brushes. I have my eye on the Foundation Brush next! This Blush Brush has an RRP of £12.89, but it is currently on sale on Lookfantastic.com for £9.99. A serious bargain if you ask me. If you’d like to see Lookfantastic’s full range of Real Techniques brushes, just click here.
What do you think of Real Techniques’ products?
*I was sent this Real Techniques Blush Brush by The Hut Group/Lookfantastic.com for review purposes. All thoughts expressed are honest and based on my own experience.*
Yesterday evening I received a very exciting email from BUAV to say that, after over twenty years of campaigning, the EU have announced that they will be banning the sale of cosmetics which have been tested on animals. According to BUAV’s article, “the import and sale of animal tested cosmetic products and ingredients is to be banned in the EU on 11th March 2013″, meaning that any company wishing to sell new cosmetic products within Europe, must not test them on animals anywhere in the world. The ban will not just affect beauty products, but also toiletries and essentials such as soap and toothpaste.
As I’m sure you will all agree, this is a huge step in the right direction to banning animal testing worldwide, and as BUAV have said, hopefully it will send “a strong message worldwide in support of cruelty free beauty and in particular to countries such as China, who still demand animal testing for cosmetics, to also respond and ban testing on animals”. I personally couldn’t be happier with this news, and I look forward to seeing what positive changes this will bring to the cosmetics industry.
To read more about the proposed animal testing ban in the EU, you can visit the BUAV article referenced above here.
Earlier this month, not long after I decided to ban myself from spending for a while, I received an email from Illamasqua to say that they had added more lines to their winter sale, and I couldn’t resist a browse. There were so many lovely things going cheap that I had to restrain myself, but I made a compromise and let myself buy two things that I wanted the most – a gorgeous red lipstick in the shade Tramp (which I will review at a later date), and this beautiful nail varnish, Velocity.
Illamasqua nail varnish usually retails for £13.50, but Velocity cost me just £5 in the sale, which is obviously a massive saving. I love Illamasqua for several reasons – they’re British, they’re cruelty-free, they challenge conventions, their packaging is chic and, importantly, their products are amazing quality, and this varnish is no different.
Velocity is a very beautiful shade with a bit of an edge, which oozes individuality and class. Illamasqua’s website describes it as a dusky grey-purple which is spot on, and it looks fantastic no matter what level of light you’re in. In natural light it looks the colour of vibrant purple heather, with a tinge of grey which stops it being overly bright, and indoors it has a deep plum look to it, which is equally as gorgeous. The varnish also has a glossy finish which gives incredible, eye-catching shine.
The varnish itself has a lovely creamy consistency, which when paired with Illamasqua’s quality varnish brush allows for smooth, easy coverage. It’s also very highly pigmented and gives full coverage with only one coat, but I applied two for a more intense look. The varnish dries quickly too… I was playing Balderdash with my family about ten minutes after painting my nails with Velocity, and I didn’t suffer any smudges or dents!
I’m also really impressed with how long this has lasted so far. For some reason, I didn’t apply a top coat over the top, and after three days the varnish is still wearing well. One nail on my left hand has chipped a bit, but the rest look almost as good as new!
Here is how Velocity looks on the nails, in natural light, after two coats…
I really can’t put into words how much I love this varnish! The colour is stunning and you can really tell when using it that it’s a good quality product. I would happily pay full-price for Illamasqua nail varnish, so I feel very lucky that I managed to get this little gem for only £5. If you want to follow in my footsteps, it’s actually still available in the sale here, but be quick because I think the sale ends soon!
Which Illamasqua nail varnish shade is your favourite?
As I’m sure many of you will have found out the hard way, the cold, harsh winter weather can cause damage to your skin, especially your lips, leaving them sore and dry. As such, I find it is essential to use a good lip balm regularly to combat this damage, and I have found the ideal balm in Tropic Skin Care’s Lip Love Balm, as it is not only great for your lips, but can be used to protect other areas of dry skin too.
Tropic Pure Plant Skin Care was launched in 2007, and has three main principles – their products are Pure, their pricing is Honest, and they are also Effective. Everything in the Tropic range is vegan, which is great news for veggies like me, and it’s all made from completely natural plant extracts, so is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. The company is also keen to reduce its carbon footprint so they use recyclable, sustainable packaging materials wherever possible. Tropic’s ethical image really appeals to me as my aim for 2013 is to go completely cruelty free, and to top it all off their products are wonderful too. Here’s what I thought of their Lip Love Balm…
Tropic’s Lip Love Balm comes in a dainty 10ml pot, which is the perfect size to carry with you in your pocket or bag. The packaging is simple, but the orange metallic lid makes it stand out, giving it a more luxurious look than the average lip balm. The lid is also a screw top, a minor detail which is actually quite important, as it won’t fall off in your bag like press on lids sometimes do!
As you can see from the photo above, every single ingredient in the lip balm is natural, and comfortingly recognisable, meaning you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals damaging the delicate skin of your lips. Rather, each natural plant extract combines to form a beautiful, versatile lip balm. Believe me, once you’ve tried it you’ll be a convert!
In the pot the balm looks a stunning sunset orange colour, and it gives your lips a gorgeous golden tint. The balm isn’t strongly scented, but it has a sweet, subtle aroma of lemon, orange and peppermint, which is really quite refreshing as the peppermint adds a slight cooling effect.
Lip Love Balm has a soft, creamy texture and is easily applied with a fingertip. Thanks to the nourishing Shea and Cocoa butters, it feels intensely moisturising on the lips and forms a long-lasting protective layer which helps heal dry and cracked skin – perfect for this time of year! I’ve been using this for about a week now, and I have already noticed a big difference. My lips have shed their winter dryness so look a lot healthier, and feel a lot softer, which I’m very happy about. The balm isn’t greasy either, yet it makes your lips look incredibly shiny, and works really well over matte lipstick – it keeps it in place for a lot longer than usual and gives it a lovely glossy sheen.
As I mentioned earlier, Tropic’s Love Balm is also great for hydrating other areas of skin. Their website states that it can be used on your nails, cuticles, elbows and heels, but I’ve also been using it on my knuckles as they’re quite dry, and it’s been working wonders. My favourite alternative use, however, is as a cuticle cream. My cuticles have taken a bit of a battering over the past few months, what with all the nail varnish I’ve been using, and again because of the cold weather, and as a result haven’t been looking their best. Impressively, I found that within a few days of using the balm on my cuticles every morning, they were a lot neater and more supple. Carrot oil, avocado, rosehip and macadamia are known for their skin renewing properties, and for improving skin elasticity, and their concentrated levels in this balm really help it to work its magic very quickly.
Tropic Skin Care Lip Love Balm costs just £5.00, and considering the small amount you need to feel the benefits and make a difference, it really is worth every penny. If you’re looking for a high quality, multipurpose balm to take you through winter and into spring then this is definitely it – choosing natural products really does pay off! If you’d like to try this for yourself, now is your chance as Tropic Skin Care are currently offering FREE UK P&P on all orders placed before midnight on the 31st of January. Just enter the code ‘TROPICTREATS‘ at the checkout.
You can view the full Tropic Pure Plant Skin Care range here – they have such a wide range of products, from Cloth Cleansers to Body Butters to Body Oil, and its all affordable! Which Tropic product would you most like to try?
*I was sent this Lip Love Balm by Tropic Pure Plant Skin Care for review purposes. All opinions expressed in this post are honest and my own.*
You may remember that last month I introduced you all to Montagne Jeunesse’s new range of Clay Spa fabric masks. I wrote an in-depth review of the wonderful Dead Sea Mud Spa Mask, and today I will share my thoughts on the Glacial Clay Spa mask! I’d been saving this one to use on a day when I felt I really deserved a treat, so after a feeling stressed and poorly earlier this week I decided to indulge.
Like the Dead Sea Mud mask, the Glacial Clay Spa is a fabric mask, but this one is infused with ‘Real Clay, Arctic Cloudberry & Red Grape’. The active ingredients are specially chosen for their cleansing and anti-oxidant properties and are all vegetarian and animal friendly (Montagne Jeunesse are approved by PETA, BUAV and the Vegetarian Society).
Out of all the masks I have used, this is the quickest and easiest to use, and probably the most effective. It comes in one fabric piece, with eye, nose and mouth holes already cut out, so all you have to do is place it on your face, press it down and relax for 15 minutes. Who knew effective skincare could be so effortless?!
Now, I know you all want to know what it looks like, so I have put my reputation on the line to show you just how silly it makes you look!
Gorgeous, right? To be honest I find it pretty hilarious (not that it gives you much freedom of movement to laugh haha). Anyway, onto the important stuff…
The glacial clay that forms the basis of the mask is fantastically cooling and makes your face feel instantly refreshed. The coolness also tightens your skin and soothes any soreness or redness, which does wonders for your complexion. My face didn’t feel irritated at all whilst wearing the mask, so I was able to completely relax and enjoy the beautiful scent of the mask (my mum says it smells like summer). After 15 minutes, I removed the fabric and washed any excess clay from my skin with warm water, massaging in a circular motion as I did so. I didn’t even need to use any moisturiser after wearing the mask as it didn’t cause any dryness. Rather, it made my face look visibly rejuvenated.
I can’t recommend these fabric masks highly enough and I’ll definitely be purchasing some more. If you want to try anything from Montagne Jeunesse’s Clay Spa skin care range, you can purchase individual masks for £1.49 each (BARGAIN) from the Montagne Jeunesse website, or they are now available in Boots. They’ll also be in ASDA as of September.
Have you tried these masks yet?
*I was sent this Glacial Clay Spa Mask by Montagne Jeunesse for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own. Some affiliate links have been used.