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Category Archives: dupe

Five Friday Favourites #12

Apologies for being a day late with this but I was watching Comic Relief last night. Apart from the Love Actually bit, I was shocked at how bad it was this year – completely unfunny, awful sound quality, a disinterested audience and a general chaotic feeling…was that just me?! Obviously, I donated and still think it’s a great cause but they seemed almost apologetic about sending money to Africa with a lot more focus on UK charities which I think is a sad reflection of how they think much of the county feels at the moment. Anyway, onto my weekly highlights…

New Hair

I had a long-overdue cut and colour at the weekend and it feels great. I got quite a lot cut off which I usually do in Spring although it’s just a little too short to tie up when I’m having a bad hair day.

Thaikhun

Ian and I enjoyed a great lunch here. The Bath branch is set up like a Thai street market but the actual food is lovely too – I highly recommend the little fish cakes.

Silver Shoes

I have loved the Gucci-style silver loafers for a while but they are quite a statement piece to pull off. I spotted these in Primark so decided to give them a go. They have creased a little whilst wearing them in but I’m looking forward to wearing them as the weather improves.

The Replacement

I really enjoyed this BBC drama. I thought the actual ending was a little weak but I was captivated throughout and it raised some interesting points of view on maternity leave.

New Bedding

I have a bit of a grey, green and copper theme for our bedroom and this bedding is perfect (it was a bargain too at £12 for the set).

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Latest Purchases #109 – A Huge Sephora Haul

This is a really long time coming but these are some of my favourite posts to read and watch online so I didn’t want my photos to go to waste.

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This little haul is from October when we went to Boston. I sent Ian back to the hotel and told him I would be some time and spent a lovely hour or so pottering around Sephora, testing things on the back of my hand, blagging some freebies and eventually making a few choice purchases.

First up, a set of the Sephora Cream Lip Stains. These are mini versions of their bestselling matte lip creams and I think you get a really nice selection of shades. I got Always Red, Infinite Rose, Blackberry Sorbet and Cherry Blossom (it’s fairly easy to work out which is which) and I think I have all bases covered from a deep, vampy berry, to a bright red, to a casual nude. I have a few other shades in full size and I really like them. They are slightly drying but the staying power is worth it.

I bought a Sephora Highlight Lowlight Face Contour Duo which is a chunky crayon, in the shade Light. I know contouring seems to have had its day now but, done with a light hand, is a great way to bring some subtle definition to your face…no crazy Kim K sculpting going on here. These shades really suit my skin tone too.

I really wanted to try the CC Cream from IT Cosmetics but they didn’t have my colour. I did however pick up the Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination, a brightening concealer for the under eye area.

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I am yet to try anything by Sunday Riley (it may have something to do with the price of some of the products!) but I picked up a miniature of Martian Mattifying Melting After-Gel Toner. This is an ‘essence’, a product currently taking the beauty world by storm, and looks a great post-cleansing boost which prepares your skin for foundation.

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I was relatively restrained with nail varnish and just picked up one bottle from Formula X. This monochrome nail topper in Chaotic is similar to a L’Oreal one I have almost used up and looks great over a variety of bases.

I bought a set from one of my favourite brands: First Aid Beauty. I have tried all three products inside this set and loved them all. The Ultra Repair Cream is wonderfully hydrating, the Face Cleanser is gentle yet effective in removing make-up and the Facial Radiance Pads tone and brighten with a wash of glycolic acid.

My two final products are both from the ‘Sephora Favourites’ set which I get really excited about! These are boxes filled with a collection of themed products and allow you to try a variety of brands and items for a really good price.

The first box I picked up was called Beauty Sleep and all the products were designed to be applied before bed and left to work their magic overnight. Inside was: Blue Moon Cleansing Balm from Sunday Riley, Sleep Tight Firming Night Balm from Farmacy, Splash Absolute Hydration Replenishing Sleeping Mask from Algenist, a Sephora Pearl Sleeping Mask, Cell Renewal Night Cream from Caudalie, a Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial by Korres and an Anti-aging Power Eye CreamAnti-aging Power Eye Cream from Origins. Phew!

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I am really excited to try the Sunday Riley balm as well as working my way through the various night creams and masks. Bought individually, these items would cost almost $120 but this box was just $30 which I think is excellent value.

Finally, I bought the Trending: Beauty’s Most Coveted box which contains all the products currently being raved about on beauty blogs and websites. A lot of these products are quite high-end and expensive so this was a great way to try them out for a fraction of the price.

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I received: a nude BeautyBlender, Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in the shade Moonstone, Ka-Brow from Benefit, a Luna Play from Foreo (a facial cleansing brush in case you were wondering!), an Urban Decay lipstick in the shade 714, a GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment, a NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in the shade Custard, a bottle of Tarte’s Rainforest of the Seas Marine Boosting 4-in-1 Mist, The Edgiest Kohl Shadowstick in Black Viper by The Estee Edit, another of the Kat Von D Tattoo Liners in Trooper, a Cover FX highlighter stick in the shade Bubbly, and a pot of Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder (plus  powder puff).

The sample sizes are really good and I can’t describe how excited I am to try some of these products! I have been wanting to try the Becca highlighter, the NARS concealer and the Laura Mercier powder for such a long time but never seemed to get around to buying them.

I had no idea what the Luna Play was beforehand but am intrigued to give that a go too as well as trying out the GlamGlow mask which I have only heard amazing things about.

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The only downside to one of these sets is the colour selection. Both the Benefit brow product and the NARS concealer are a touch too dark for me. I can still use them both (maybe with a tan!) but they wouldn’t be my first choice of shades.

So, I did get a bit spend-happy but I am so pleased with everything I bought, especially the two ‘Sephora Favourites’ boxes. Now to start trying everything out and hopefully finding a few new favourites!

Latest Purchases #101 – US Drugstore Haul

The pound-dollar exchange rate was pretty poor when we were in Boston (thanks Brexit!) so we didn’t do a whole lot of shopping. I tried to only buy things that we couldn’t get in the UK and one afternoon, I had a browse around our local CVS store and came away with this little pile of goodies.

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First up, the base products. I am always on the hunt for a new foundation and I got these two from the Maybelline ‘Fit Me’ range. I went for the Dewy and Smooth and the Matte and Poreless foundations which cater for dry to oily skin. I have tried both and like them but I don’t like the fact that you have to pour the product out – I would much prefer a pump.

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I also bought this BB Cream from ELF. I liked the fact this had SPF 20 in it and will be great for those days where you just want to wear a light base. This also has a pump in the lid!

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Another ELF face product was this Illuminating Face Primer. This is very golden and definitely needs a light touch! You could actually use this as a highlighter on the cheekbones or, as it recommends, mix a little into your foundation for a bit of extra glow.

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Onto lip products now and with the colder weather, mine are already suffering! I really like the EOS lip balms and I bought the Blackberry Nectar flavour.

I also picked up a bumper pack of Carmex lip balms in Cherry and Winter Mint flavours which should keep my chapped lips at bay.

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I bought a new Maybelline mascara. I have used their Great Lash version for years but haven’t seen the Blackest Black colour before.

I also got an ELF mascara with a regular and waterproof end.

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I broke my spending ban on nail varnish with a new bottle from Essie. Metallic nails seem to be having a moment and I love this shade, Good as Gold…expect a post on Monday!

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I am a fan of the Milani blushers and picked up another one in the colour Berry Amore. This is a dusky pink shade baked with swirls of gold.

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Also from Milani is this Color Statement Lipstick in Teddy Bare. I don’t have a colour like this dark nude and I think it is quite seasonal. I have tried it a few times and it is creamy, well-pigmented and smells like watermelon.

From ELF, I bought a Matte Lip Colour in Tea Rose. It isn’t a drying matte formula and I like the long, thin ‘pen’ it comes in.

I think I was having a bit of a moment by the ELF stand as I also got an eyebrow kit. This is a gel and powder duo which I haven’t used before but will enjoy experimenting with!

Finally, I bought a Maybelline Color Tattoo cream eye shadow in Bad to the Bronze. This is quite a warm, taupe bronze as opposed to an orange-toned one and the pigmentation and staying power is excellent. I wear these eye shadows on their own or as a base colour and they don’t crease like many other cream products.

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I was really happy unpacking this selection of items and now comes the fun bit of testing them all out!

Three Beauty Dupes

As a self-confessed beauty and make-up addict, I am always scanning new releases online. I enjoy reading reviews and then, after the hype has died down, deciding whether said product is worth investing in.

I do love treating myself to some high-end items but also love it when the high street comes up with its own version which is often as good as, if not better, than its designer version.

Enter the following three products…

All are either dupes of high-end items or are just absolute bargains and have been raved about so much, I just had to try them.

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First up some skincare. I used to be a ‘cleanse, tone and moisturise’ girl but now include oils, serums and facial sprays in my daily routine and these little extras tend to be pricey. However, when Sali Hughes raves about a product, you know it’s good. This Simply Pure Hydrating Serum from Superdrug performs far better than its £2.69 price tag would suggest. My skin drinks this stuff up and I’m using it both morning and night at the moment. It is quite a thin consistency – somewhere between a gel and a liquid  – and I usually use around 3 pumps. It leaves your skin so smooth that it is a perfect make-up base as well as being a nourishing element in my evening skincare routine. Don’t let the cheap looking packaging put you off – I’m stocking up on this stuff!

Moving onto a primer now and this one is a bit of a strange one. I don’t know where this discovery started, but it gradually began appearing on beauty blogs and I was curious to try it. This is Nivea Men’s Sensitive Post Shave Balm and retails for around £5. Clearly aimed at men, this has been hailed as being better than a lot of primers currently on the market. I currently go between Benefit’s POREfessional (£25) and RMK’s Make Up Base (£28) so Nivea offers a much more cost effective option.

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So…does it work?! Upon application, it is quite watery and has an obviously masculine smell. This does however fade pretty quickly. It applies well and leaves a slightly tacky finish which I personally quite like in a primer. I have to say I have been really impressed at how smoothly my foundation goes on over this and how long it lasts. I would say it can more than hold its own amongst higher end products and high five to the beauty blogger than accidentally found out the hidden wonders of this aftershave balm!

And finally a make-up brush I have been trialling. You may have seen the range of new-style oval brushes from the brand Artis – Lily Pebbles did a great video on the whole range. I think the foundation brushes start at about £50 so are not exactly cheap to try out. I found a dupe on ebay for a couple of quid so thought I would give it a try.

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I like the idea behind this shape and do think it makes sense but at the same time, I love my buffing brush from Real Techniques and I’m also now a Beauty Blender convert so this new brush involves learning a third technique.

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I read that you shouldn’t take the brush off the face as you’re blending in foundation and this definitely felt foreign to me. The application did take me slightly longer than usual and it also felt as if my foundation was just sitting on my skin as opposed to being blended in. However, after an hour or so, everything seems to settle down and I really liked the way my foundation looked.

So far I have only used this with liquid foundations and found the densely-packed brush head has meant I only need to use the minimal amount of product. I don’t fancy using this with powders as I don’t feel I could be light-handed enough but it’s certainly a nice addition for foundation application.

I like these mini-reviews of items I’ve bought and tried out – do you have any more high-end dupes to share?!