Student Survival Kit Review

Amphora Aromatics Student Survival Kit Review

For those that don’t already know I’m currently finishing off a Masters in Information and Library Studies. The appearance and subsequent diagnosis of my ME (you can read all about that over here) threw some of my plans into chaos but thanks to a supportive department and understanding supervisor I was allowed to go on medical leave. But before all that I’d also graduated with two undergraduate degrees; one in Art History from the University of Leeds and one in English Literature from the University of Glasgow. So when an opportunity came about to the check out Amphora Aromatics’ Student Survival Kit I signed up straight away, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my studies it’s that it’s super important to remember to look after yourself. And that is exactly what Amphora Aromatics had in mind when they created this survival kit.

 

Student Survival Kit Introduction

The Kit

The kit features some great products that utilise aromatherapy to provide relief and comfort for students in all walks of life. Whether you’re a Fresher just starting out, a student in the middle of their course or a Masters/PhD student there is something for everyone. The products also cover a range of needs; there’s some great beauty items from AA Skincare for skin, lips and hair care, face marks by Ooh-arr, a foot lotion by Amphora Aromatics and their specially developed focus Aromatherapy Blend.

What attracted me to this kit was that Amphora Aromatics  have covered all the bases and put together an assemble of products that I would have picked myself. I’m a big fan of aromatherapy products as I’ve mentioned before and I really appreciate that they combined their knowledge of aromatherapy with the realities of student life when creating their student survival kit. While it’s great to have some excellent face care products to pamper yourself with for a self-care session, it’s even better when you’re getting the healing and soothing effects of aromatherapy to boost you too! I’ll be talking more about this in my review of AA Skincare’s Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Face Lotion below.

As every student knows it’s not always easy to splash out on products to pamper yourself, especially when you’ve got x amount of expensive textbooks to buy. All the prices in the student survival kit are reasonable and the slightly more pricey items, such as AA Skincare’s Natural Shampoo Bars and the FOCUS aromatherapy blend is something that will last for a long period of time. Prices start at £1.20 for the Ooh-arr facemasks, with most products ranging between £3.40 – £.5.60.

 

Amphora Aromatics - My Student Survival Kit

My Student Survival Kit

I was given the chance to choose three products to create my own student survival kit and then provide an honest review of them. So before I get into the review of each product I wanted to explain why these three products beat off the other contenders to make it into my personal survival kit!

First up is Amphora Aromatics’ Fresh Feet Lotion which made it onto this list because sore feet is a part of any students life. I’ve not met a campus yet that hasn’t been huge, and I know from experience how often students have to trek from one side of the campus to the other – usually in a tiny 5 minute window! Throw in the cold weather as we head into winter and it’s a horrible combination for our bodies, especially our poor feet. I’m a big fan of foot lotions especially those that are made from peppermint so this was a must for my own kit.

Next up is AA Skincare’s Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Lotion because as I said it’s important to remember to take time out to give yourself some self-care. This lotion can be used as a cleanser as part of your daily routine so if you’re super busy and don’t have time for a full on pamper session you can still actively be looking after yourself and your skin. It was the two key ingredients, lavender and tea tree, that drew me to this product and ultimately got it a spot in my kit. Lavender isn’t just great for your skin; it’s great for your well being. It’s great for stress – which lets be honest is something ALL students will suffer from at some point during their studies – due to it’s calming and sedative products. So you’re not just helping to soothe your skin, you’re also giving yourself a calming boost at the same time! I talk more about how I noticed this while using the product in my review below. Tea Tree is fabulous in skin care due to it’s natural antiseptic and antibacterial qualities, so popping that in a moisturiser alongside lavender was a win-win for me.

The final product in my kit Amphora Aromatics’ FOCUS Aromatherapy Blend, and if you’ve been keeping up with my blog you’ll know I suffer from ME. Since hearing about Focus blends I’ve been wanting to try one to see if it could help me focus when struggling with fatigue and brain fog. However, this is something that can benefit all students. If you’re having a long day with back to back lectures, or you’re stuck in a room that is too hot and stuffy, it’s really easy to start to lose focus. Early morning lectures, especially if you’ve been out the night before, can be a nightmare too. Blends like this are great for popping in your bag or spotting on a tissue to keep in a pocket. It’s also designed to be used in a oil diffuser or burner so after a long day of classes you can get back home, pop it in and feel able to focus on that mountain load of coursework waiting for you.

Now that you know why I picked these three items, it’s time to find out how they shaped up!

The Products

Amphora Aromatics - Fresh Feet Lotion

Fresh Feet Lotion

Due to my hypermobility I’ve always suffered from sore feet and being a student didn’t help with this at all. Hurrying across campus, often struggling through crowded hallways and in wet and cold weather; yep student get definitely need some TLC! And lets be honest; until it gets to the summer and we whip out the sandals we won’t really give them much love. Peppermint and Tea Tree are an ideal combination for a foot lotion because not only do they help keep your feet feeling and smelly fresh, but tea tree has lots of natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities too.

After a long day the idea of giving your feet a thorough pamper or a pedicure is not at the top of any student’s list. A lotion like Amphora Aromatics’ Fresh Feet Lotion is something that you can rub into your feet within minutes, or use as part of a longer massage to really work out those aches and pains. The fact that it’s so easy to use, and not messy means that you can use it on the go too. If you know you’re going to have a long day at Uni, followed by a shift at work or a night out then pop this beauty in your bag. No one’s going to know if you whip it out in the toilets and rub some on your feet!

The light weight lotion spreads really easily and absorbs quickly not leaving a sticky residue behind like some foot lotions, and also not leaving you with excess cream to spread. It does smell strongly of peppermint but no more so than any other peppermint product out there – pocket mints smell stronger as an example. It is a foot lotion after all so you don’t want something with a weak scent. I found that it doesn’t take much to use as it spreads so well so the 100ml bottle will keep you going for ages! And finally; does it work? Yep! I recommend putting it on overnight (and wear socks to lock in the goodness) and you’ll wake up with feet that feel nurtured, soft and refreshed.

 

AA Skincare Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Lotion

Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Lotion

I have been eyeing up the AA Skincare range for a while, and have heard great things about so many of their products so I wasn’t surprised to find that I liked this product. I was surprised, however, to find just how much I needed it. I thought I had most of my skin care routine sorted out and this product came along and proved just how wrong I was!

It’s described as being “perfect for balancing acne prone skin” in the Student Survival Kit and while I don’t have terrible acne I would definitely describe my skin as acne prone. I’m now in my 30s and I still have trouble with it. I’ve made great progress in recent years after discovering Garnier’s PureActive and SkinActive ranges, but it’s still not perfectly under control. Well, after a month of using this lovely product I can say for certain that it definitely does balance your skin.My skin felt more hydrated and refreshed, and generally it felt like a balance in my skins levels had been reached. It really did feel like I’d found the missing piece of the puzzle for my skin routine. It kept my skin free from blemishes, and any that did pop up due to hormones were soothed away thanks to the wonderful combination of tea tree and lavender.

The added bonus with this product is that it smells very strongly of lavender – and before you think, oh no, give me a moment to elaborate. Strong smells, especially lavender, can be a big turn off and I hear you on that one. When I first got a whiff of this moisturiser I did think it was pretty strong and wondered whether it was going to be too strong. What I found was that it disperses as you use it and ends up becoming a pleasant lingering scent instead. My fiancé normally notices when a product has a strong smell and when questioned he had absolutely no clue what I was talking about. So don’t worry you won’t be walking around smelling like you’ve dunked yourself in lavender! 😉 You will, however, be benefiting from the therapeutic qualities of lavender. I like to use this product before bed so that the lavender helps to calm and soothe my skin and my mind, preparing me for a nights rest.

 

Amphora Aromatics - FOCUS Aromatherapy Blend

FOCUS Aromatherapy Blend

You might be wondering what exactly is an aromatherapy blend, and why is it worth investing £7.50 in a tiny bottle of 10ml? That’s a pretty steep price, or so it seems, especially for a student. Aromatherapy blends like the FOCUS blend by Amphora Aromatics isn’t just a bunch of oils thrown into a pot. Made from pure essential oils, Amphora Aromatics’ blends are specially formulated to produce a mix of oils that work in harmony to help boost your mood or well-being. They have a whole range, but this one is specifically designed to help stimulate and clear your mind, enabling you to feel refreshed and be able to focus more.

The instructions on the product itself says for use in a diffuser or oil burner; I did not test the product in either of these for two reasons. As I am asthmatic I have to be careful when burning oils, especially those with a strong scent and that is why I didn’t try this in my diffuser either. While I was very happy with this product and it’s effects (read on) it does have a very strong smell due to the main ingredient; cloves. I have a pretty sensitive nose; I can visit candle shops and Lush without any problems, where as my mum who has an incredible sense of smell cannot even walk past them. So hopefully that can give you an idea of scale for strength of smell.

I did still use the blend though and found other ways to use it that worked for me! For example, I found it useful to spot some on a tissue and smell that, and I also used it during steaming sessions to clear my sinuses and found that it worked fantastically for that. After steaming I felt much more refreshed and focused than I would have done using a vapour rub, while also benefiting from clearing my sinuses as the blend also contains Eucalyptus (one of the main ingredients in vapour rubs!).

After using the oil I definitely felt a difference in how I felt. It helped to clear my head, almost feeling like someone had run through my mind and giving it a shower. The cobwebs were gone, the fuzziness and the fatigue that coated my thoughts had been brushed away and I could focus again! I really do recommend trying this blend if you find you are having trouble concentrating in classes, or exams. If you have ME like me, or another condition that causes fatigue or brain fog then this may also benefit you. As with all aromatherapy oils be aware of the ingredients and check that they’re safe for you to use. As this blend is made of pure essential oils it isn’t safe to use directly on skin, but you can easily dilute it with a base cream or base oil. You can out the full range of base products available at Amphora Aromatics right here.

Conclusion

Everything I tested in this review would be a fantastic part of any Student Survival Kit. They are just the right mixture of practicality and pampering mixed with all the goodness that aromatherapy has to offer. What I particularly liked about these three products was that none of them meant taking extra time out of my day to add some self care and aromatherapy into my routine. They are all items that are quick and easy to use, and also so easily portable; you can pop them in your bag and use them on campus if you need to. The whole kit listed by Amphora Aromatics fits that bill actually, and is also a great starting place for anyone who has never tried aromatherapy products.

Over to You

Although this review was aimed at students, I think that most of this was applicable to anyone and I hope that even if you’re not a student that you got something from it! For the students among you don’t forget to also check out my student advice section. It’s my way of passing on my knowledge and experience to the next generation of students. If you have any questions about student life then feel free to get in touch 🙂

Do you have a student survival kit? Or if you were a student what would be in your kit?

Personally I think everyone could do with a survival kit for those long days; how do you cope with long/bad days?

Have you tried aromatherapy before? Do you use oils and blends or do you prefer to use products like AA skincare which contain aromatherapy oils?

Let me know in the comments! And if you have any questions about anything in this review please do not hesitate to ask 🙂

Aromatherapy Sprays by The Divine Hag [Review]

The Divine Hag - Aromatherapy Sprays Review

There are those moments in life that happen when you least expect them and this review opportunity was certainly one of those! I was on the train home from London and struck up conversation with one of my fellow passengers. When a young man came on stinking of cannabis and thus, filling the cabin with the smell, she whipped out this spray and within seconds the smell was gone. I was in absolute awe. I’m asthmatic and I’m also allergic to cigarette smoke (and any recreational drugs smoked cause a reaction in me too) so the rest of my journey and evening could have become very unpleasant as a result of this one random stranger.  We started talking and I mentioned my blog, and Margaret was kind enough to offer me that particular aromatherapy spray there and then, with a promise to send me some products to review. ((Polaroid stock used in banner is from danielle-lee.))

 

The Divine Hag - Aromatherapy Oils & Sprays

Described as an “aromatherapy lifestyle concept”, the company’s creation is steeped in paganism (something that appealed to me spiritually as a pagan) and is heavily influenced by the aspects of the Celtic triple goddess.

We are a woman focussed company, creating scents for women at every stage of life.

As anyone with asthma and allergies knows it is imperative to find products that help solve the problem without causing more problems. It’s a difficult task and one that Margaret set out to do when she created The Divine Hag. As someone with chronic health conditions herself and a strong sense of smell, she’s well aware that chemical smells can cause a strong reaction and even pain for people with certain conditions. With that in mind she set about creating products that provide optimal relief through a layering of dilutions that are suitable for everyone. All of The Divine Hag products are therefore organic and hypoallergenic.

 

The Divine Hag - The three products being reviewed

The Products

Along with the original spray she sent me, Margaret sent me three other samples to review. I will only be reviewing two of them and the original room spray, however, as the third sample was the Period Ease Spray which I want to test it a bit more before offering a review.

In this review I am going to be reviewing the following products:

 

The Divine Hag - Clearing & Re-energising Spray

Clearing and Re-Energising Spray

Ingredients: clary sage, cypress, lemon, citronella, rosemary.

To say I fell in love with this spray is an understatement. This is the one that Margaret whipped out on the train and has been my constant companion ever since – it goes everywhere with me. It’s been my absolute life line this summer with the heatwaves as it’s been way too hot to cook with the kitchen window closed, but our neighbours smoke so it always floods our kitchen with the smell. Thankfully I could just spray a few bursts of the re-energising spray and hey presto, smoke-be-gone!

It wasn’t actually originally designed for this, mind you, although Margaret has been super happy to find out that it’s got another amazing use (and of course, I’m extremely happy it does too!). The spray, as the name suggests, is blended from organic essential oils known for their positive properties. When sprayed they weave together to not just boost your mood, but also clear your head – something that we all need in this busy world. The result is an uplifting, clean and positive space for you to move forward with whatever you need to do. It comes in multiple sizes so you can pop a little one in your bag and take it with you to work, so when things get a bit overwhelming you can just spritz it.

The scent is also not designed to be overwhelming either – my fiancé, Chris, is quite sensitive to strong scents and he is happy for me to spray this around. It’s very light and airy, with a very slight citrus under tone that gives it that burst of energy.

It isn’t just amazing for cigarette smoke either. I’ve been testing it on pretty much any strong smell that causes me irritation – or annoyance – and it’s been great. It really does help to disperse it and unlike most air fresheners it doesn’t leave anything hanging in the air, it literally does what it’s name for; it re-energises and clears the room. So far I have tested it on; bonfire smoke, cat urine and cat poop. If you have cats you will know how strong the smell of cat urine is and nothing, and I mean nothing, ever gets rid of that smell. So I am really happy to have found something that helps disperse that AND smoke in one bottle! I will definitely be buying a new one of these when this one is finished!

 

 

The Divine Hag - Blissful Sleep Spray

 

Bliss Sleep Spray

Ingredients: geranium, roman chamomile, rose, lavender, rosemary and ylang ylang.

I’m fortunate not to struggle with sleep that often, however, Chris suffers from chronic insomnia so we have tried a lot of sleep sprays out to try to help him. I also like to use them because sometimes when I go to bed I find that the events of the day, or the lack of productivity, catches up with me and hits me full force right before bed. Sleep sprays are naturally designed to ease your mind and relax you so they help me drift into sleep.

Most sleep sprays are chock full of lavender but as Margaret explains here that’s not a good thing as it can result in you waking up groggy or with a headache. Many people are also quite sensitive to lavender too, so The Divine Hag Bliss Sleep Spray only has a touch of lavender in it, letting the other wonderful oils do the rest of the work to relieve anxiety and help ease you into a relaxing sleep.

I certainly found that it did the trick, and I didn’t feel as groggy in the morning. As I have rhinitis as well as asthma I can get groggy quite easily, so it was a relief to not feel like that in the morning. The spray can be as strong as you want it to be depending on how much you choose to layer it, or how you use it. I prefer to spray it directly onto a pillow, whereas, other people may benefit more from having it on a tissue placed inside a pillow.

 

 

The Divine Hag - Anti-Nausea Spray

Anti-Nausea Spray

Ingredients: peppermint, grapefruit, sage, lime, and ginger.

Nausea is to put it bluntly a right pest, especially if you have a strong nose. Even the tiniest hint of a smell can set your stomach heaving so I’m always a bit unsure of any anti-nausea scents. I always find that some of them are unbearable, filled with rich scents that are far too strong when your stomach is rolling around. Like the other Divine Hag products much care has been taken to ensure that this spray doesn’t do that and uses distinctive ingredients that you may recognise from various travel sickness home remedies. There’s peppermint which I recognise from IBS and upset stomach remedies as it’s well known for settling tummies, as well as ginger, another ingredient common in many home remedies. By mixing these with the uplifting scents of lime, sage and grapefruit Margaret has created a light and airy spray that I didn’t bog me down. This was especially important for me because my nausea always accompanies my migraines so anything too strong will just make my head feel very stuffy.

I do have to admit that out of the three products this was my least favourite. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t work; I think it is probably because I’m not a huge fan of peppermint and I can smell it quite strongly in this spray. It doesn’t overpower everything else, I’m just one of those people who just doesn’t get on well with it. The lime in the spray balances off the menthol smell of the peppermint nicely, taking off the sharp edge so if you’re not keen on peppermint like me it does make it usable – unlike other products that contain peppermint and all you can smell is the peppermint!

I can certainly see this being a product much more useful for someone with nausea caused by anxiety or travel sickness. I do tend to experience it with anxiety, however, did not have any such moments during the testing period. When I breathe in the spray I feel the sense of calm relief that I associate with treatments for travel sickness that I had when I was a child. I used to suffer from terrible car sickness as a child and we tried everything, eventually I grew out of it (thankfully), but I do remember that cool sense of relief as it flooded my body and my stomach settled. This spray gives me that same feeling, so if you suffer from travel sickness I would suggest picking up a sample to try – and based on the amazing quality and results of the other products I’d vouch for it working!

 

Conclusion

Aromatherapy is one of those things that has become trendy in recent years and almost everyone has become a dabbler; The Divine Hag is not one of those. Margaret is a connoisseur and as she puts it on her website she has chosen to put her super sensory nose to good use. The result is a variety of products that also include sprays for menopause, babies and studying/concentration (something I might check out for my focus issues due to fatigue!).  The Divine Hag also runs a series of workshops in London and Glasgow for a range of aromatherapy topics so if your interested in learning more about creating something for yourself you can do that too!

 

Over to You!

I really hope you have found this review useful. I had quite a few people ask me about the Clearing and Re-Energising Spray when I posted about it on instagram so I hope that this is useful to a few more of you. A lot of people struggle with unwanted smells and finding a calm space, so it’s a great addition to any home for a multiple of reasons. If you have any questions about that or any of the other sprays featured in this review please don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

Have you ever used aromatherapy?

What is your favourite scent?

If you’ve never used aromatherapy has this review tempted you to try something?