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Beauty Review – March and April Birchboxes

I’m not sure how I managed to miss a month’s review but I thought I would do a condensed double-whammy of beauty products that I received over the past two months plus an extra purchase I made.

March’s Box


This box was rather plain and uninspiring when I opened it but there were some gems hidden inside.

First up is the Batiste 2-in-1 Dry Shampoo and Conditioner. This seems like a great idea but I just don’t use dry shampoos. I will however pass this onto my husband who does.


I was surprised to see an inclusion from Bobbi Brown. Although the product sizes are quite tiny, it is still quite a high-end brand and I am really looking forward to trying out these three mini face masks.


Next, a Balance Me Instant Lift Primer which I was pleased with as I love the brand and am always keen on testing out new primers. This smells nice and isn’t too silicone-y upon first use.


Given that summer is fast-approaching, it was good to include a tanning lotion. This one from Vita Liberata is their Ten Minute Tan and I will use this as soon as it gets warm enough to contemplate getting my bare legs out!


Finally, from Benefit I received a Double The Lip in the shade Pink Thrills. This is a lipstick and lipliner in one and although I can see the idea behind it, I just don’t think it quite works. Firstly, the two colours don’t really complement each other – I just wouldn’t use a dark purple lip liner with a bright pink lipstick! Secondly, it doesn’t really blend out very well and is quite a dry formula. With enough priming and blending I can just about make this work for me but for a product that was created to speed up application, it seems to have done the opposite!

April’s Box


This was a much prettier offering in collaboration with Boden who included a £10 voucher.

The first item I received was a Baïja Paris body lotion in Fleur De Tiaré. I know some people moan that these products are ‘filler’ but I take these mini moisturisers with me whenever I go away and this one will be coming with me to Croatia in June.


I also received Polaar’s face scrub with Arctic Cotton – an ingredient I don’t think I have used before. It’s meant to be moisturising but I’m usually quite wary of scrubs being too harsh on my skin.


Next, a bronzer and highlighter duo from Manna Kadar Cosmetics. I haven’t heard of this brand before and on first impressions, the packaging feels very cheap and flimsy. However, the formula of the products aren’t bad. The bronzer is too dark for my skin tone so I will probably try using this as an eyeshadow but the highlighter is a nice peachy colour and looks quite natural.


I think ModelCo are quite an underrated brand and I have really liked everything I’ve tried from them and use their brow gel and bronzer on a daily basis. This black eyeliner is another great product. My only niggle would be that it feels like I’ve received quite a few black eyeliners from Birchbox now so a different colour would have been nice.


Finally, a Keratin conditioner from Luseta Beauty. This looks right up my street and will be going straight in my travel make-up bag to use on holiday.


If you are a Birchbox customer, you will know they are making a few changes to their membership (free delivery, money off your orders, more opportunities to personalise your monthly box) and I realised some of my Birchbox points were about to expire so I put in an emergency order so I didn’t lose them!

An old faithful, Seche Vite, which I use on a weekly basis to give that gel finish to a manicure.


My absolute favourite foaming shower gel from Rituals. This is quite expensive compared to what I would normally pay for a shower gel but it really is amazing stuff.


I also bought a mini nail varnish remover pot from Ciate which is chocolate orange scented. These are so handy for removing nail varnish and I was in need of a new one too.


Phew – that was a mammoth post but it has left me feeling really excited about testing out all these new products!

Five Friday Favourites #16


WOW! After not massively enjoying series 2, I was optimistic about this third series. Ian and I didn’t watch each week but instead save them up and had a big binge over the Easter weekend and it was great. I also really want to visit West Bay where it was filmed.


Our local pub currently has a temporary manager who is really trying to engage the villagers. There was a bingo night this week which isn’t my usual thing but we wanted to support the pub. We ended up really enjoying it and I even won one round!


I love Lily Flame candles and I started burning this Rose Petals one this week. I think the little tins look great and the scent really does fill the room.

Spring Walks


I met up with some friends this week for a long walk and lunch in the sunshine. We saw ducklings and baby moorhens as we wandered along in the sunshine and I had a fab veggie breakfast when we reached the café for lunch!

Face Masks

I have been using two different masks this week and like them both for different reasons. Firstly, is the Balance Me Radiance Face Mask which is exfoliating yet hydrating.


I also repurchased the Sephora Lotus Sleeping Mask. This gel mask is soothing and moisturising and I love the fact that it is working its magic overnight while I sleep.

Five Friday Favourites #10

Phew this has felt like a long old week! However, there have been some highlights…



This week, I have booked not one, but two holidays for the next few months: a Spanish jaunt with Ian and a trip to Croatia with my Mum to celebrate a special birthday together. Just knowing they are in the diary has made me feel so much more positive – we even went out for burgers last night to celebrate!

Night Masks


I am a big fan of these ‘sleeping masks’ and I have been using this Rose one from Sephora this week. I manage to make one of these pods last a few days and my skin has felt softer and more plumped in the mornings.

This Country

I have discovered a new comedy and it is so spot on if you grew up in a rural setting! Ian and I have giggled non-stop at this and recommended it to several friends.

Memory Foam Slippers


These beauties from Primark have not left my feet and are so comfortable. They must be my 5th or 6th pair and I love them.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese


I made my Mac ‘n’ Cauliflower Cheese this week and it was even better than I remembered! I made a huge batch which made a couple of dinners for us and was a delicious treat.

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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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 #105 – Organic Surge Beauty Bundle

I was unusually organised for Christmas this year (well, last year now!) so when Black Friday rolled around, I avoided the mad rush to buy things online. However, when I saw an email from Organic Surge I couldn’t resist a quick browse.

Organic Surge are a lovely, all-natural beauty company whose products are free from parabens, animal testing, artificial fragrances and other harsh chemicals. I don’t have particularly sensitive skin but I can sometimes flare up and have a slight reaction if I use anything too heavily perfumed. I have tried several Organic Surge products before and I was really impressed at how gentle they were on my skin and also how wonderful they smelt.

I spotted a collection of products on offer for Black Friday so bought a set for my Mum for an extra Christmas present and a set for myself too…please say I’m not the only one who treats themselves whilst shopping for others?!

Here is the complete set of products I received:


First up, the Deep Cleansing Face Mask. I love a good face mask and I really like the fact that you can use this the traditional way for 10-15 minutes or as a more intensive treatment overnight. This is packed with essential oils which smell amazing.


Next, the Rose Whisper Hand and Body Wash. This is a really generously sized item and as you know, I am obsessed with anything rose scented. I think I will use this as a shower gel as opposed to a hand wash.


A different scent in the Tropical Orange and Bergamot Hand and Body Lotion. Although I love rose-scented products, I like the fact that another range was included and this is so fresh and summery. I use body lotion after every bath or shower and I like the pump dispenser too.


Next, the Lavender Meadow Gently Cleansing Hand and Body Wash. This is a slightly smaller sized product than the rose one. Lavender is not my favourite fragrance but I will use this as a handwash.


I have just run out of my Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cleansing Oil so was on the look-out for a new cleanser. My favourite is probably still the Liz Earle one but this Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser looks lovely. Firstly, it is rose-scented and it also has great reviews. It would have been nice to have included a flannel or muslin cloth with this but I do have loads already!


I feel like face washes are waning in popularity now but I use one every time I shower and find them really refreshing. This Refreshing Face Wash looks really gentle to use and is another beautiful-smelling product.


A real treat now with the Replenishing Facial Oil. I have made no secret of my love of face oils and this one contains argan oil which I think I have only ever used on my hair before. This can be used alone (how I prefer to use it) or mixed in with your day or night moisturiser.


I have loved Organic Surge moisturisers in the past so was really pleased to see the Super Intensive Moisturiser included in this bundle. This is a rich, daily moisturiser which feels incredibly hydrating – just what I need at this time of year.


Finally, I got a tube of Gently Does It Baby Cream. This looks like a really gentle body lotion and although I usually prefer a scented body lotion, I do have the occasional flare-up of eczema when I’m stressed so this will be good to hold onto for then.


My Mum loved this pamper set too and I can’t wait to start using everything. I’ve never made organic beauty a priority but this is a brand I really like and will buy from again.

Can you recommend any good organic brands to try? x

Sunday Summary #44 and #45


I’m back after a packed week in Boston! We had such a good time there and I am already writing up some blog posts from the trip and reliving the food and fun times. A big thank you to my parents who popped up while we were away and finished laying the tiles in our porch, put fresh sheets on the bed, left flowers and a huge vat of homemade soup for us…just what you want after a night of no sleep! It is back to reality today though as I am back to work tomorrow (no idea how I am going to get up in the morning #jetlag) and need to unpack but first, my Sunday Summary from the past two weeks.

Finally, the new series of Black Mirror is here! Ian and I love this show and it is such a cutting, dark look at society today. So far, we have seen the first three episodes and cannot wait to watch more.

I just can’t sleep on an aeroplane so I tend to binge-watch films. On this trip I managed to watch six: Finding Dory, The Shallows, The Boss, Money Monster, The Jungle Book and the new Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. I mostly picked easy-to-watch/ children’s films but Money Monster was really good (and has George Clooney in!)

Sadly I missed the final of GBBO but have now caught up and had a little cry when Candice won. I’m also still enjoying The Apprentice too.


I have most definitely indulged this week! America just goes so over the top for Autumn and put pumpkin and spices in everything…beer, doughnuts, cheesecake, pancakes.

Ian bought me a bottle of the new Pumpkin-spiced Baileys which I have enjoyed on ice, in coffee and as a milkshake. If you like the Starbucks drink, you will love this.


You can’t go to Boston and not indulge in seafood. We had great clam chowder and lobster when we were away which we just don’t really do in the UK.

We visited a couple of breweries in America and enjoyed some lovely craft beers. My favourites were a pumpkin-spiced beer from the Octoberfest beer festival we visited and a blueberry wheat beer from Salem Beer Works which came with a handful of fresh blueberries floating in it.

Finally, I tried my first ever cronut and it was goooooooood!



While we had lovely, sunny weather in Boston, there was a definite chill in the air so I lived in my ASOS parker, my tartan scarf (River Island) and my Wolf Academy beanie hat.

I have been looking at leather backpacks for ages and finally bought one when we were away. I like that it is practical yet still smart and I think it will be great for future city breaks.



I did my first autumnal manicure using this lovely deep, berry shade from Nails Inc which actually lasted the whole week with only one chip.


I suffer with dry skin after a flight so I decided to try and combat that by slathering my skin in Weleda’s Skin Food which I love. I am adamant it smells just like gin and tonic but it really works and gives your skin a real moisture boost.


I also gave myself a mini facial when I got home yesterday using REN’s Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask which I find revitalises dull, tired skin.


Finally, one of my highlights of our trip was a visit to Sephora. I actually went twice as got so overwhelmed the first time I left with nothing! I did get a bit spendy but I had budgeted for a few treats and will share them soon! Sidenote – I know we are meant to be getting Sephora in the UK soon and I kind of have mixed feelings about it. Yes, it will be great to have all the brands here but it will take away that excitement you get at visiting a store when on holiday.



Beauty Review – Origins Mix and Mask Box

I’m really getting into face masks these days, from the traditional 10-minutes masks to overnight ones to my new love, sheet masks. So, when I saw a tweet from Mikhila about a new Origins face mask beauty box, I ordered it straight away.

I have heard of the beauty boxes put together by Jane from BritishBeautyBlogger but they always sell out so quickly, I’ve never managed to get my hands on one. I love Origins and I had been eyeing up some of the products included in the box. Also, this was amazing value for money with the contents totalling £84 but costing just £20!


Firstly, the packaging is really beautiful and would make a handy storage box once the products have been used up.

Here was my first look inside…


The product I was planning on buying myself was the Maskimizer Skin Optimizing Mask Primer and a full-sized bottle was included in the box worth £18.50. This is a pre-mask spritz to hydrate and soften the skin before applying a face mask. Slightly gimmicky yes but I am excited to try it out!


Next, a type of face mask I have not tried yet – a foaming one. I got a bottle of By All Greens Foaming Deep Cleansing Mask. I usually stay away from foaming face products but this sounds intriguing.


An overnight mask now. I received Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask which I have tried before and really liked. I got a little bit sunburnt over my birthday weekend so I think my skin would thank me for this!


I was really excited to try this new mask as  I have seen it on several blogs and it is metallic! The GinZing Peel-Off Mask, as the name would suggest, is a peel-off mask to freshen up dull skin.


Another full-sized product (worth £29!) is the VitaZing SPF15 Energy-Boosting Moisturiser. I love that this contains some SPF and it has a ‘sheer tint release’ which left my skin with a lovely dewiness when I tried it.

I think this next one was a bonus product as it was listed as being a mask pod not this size. The Original Skin Retexturizing Mask contains rose clay which should give a deep cleanse.


Finally, I received three mask pods: Clear Improvement (a charcoal mask), Out of Trouble (a 10-minute rescue mask) and Drink Up (a 10-minute hydration mask). There is actually a decent amount of product in each of these and I think I will have a go at the current trend of multi-masking where you apply different masks to different areas of the face.


As you can probably tell, I am so pleased I managed to get one of these boxes. Not only was it excellent value for money but I think it has a great variety of products to try out.


Beauty Review – Tony Moly Sheet Masks

So today is my birthday and I am spending a few days with my parents, hopefully with a trip to the beach if the sun plays ball!

I decided that turning a year older would be the perfect time to talk about skincare as I’m finding it more important than ever to look after my skin as I get older and those laughter lines start to show.

Sheet masks have grown in popularity this year and I have tried quite a few. If you are unaware what they are, you usually get a sachet and inside is a thin cotton mask drenched in serum. They are huge in South Korea and I find are a really quick and easy way to enjoy an at-home facial as there is no faffing around with application or washing off a mask.

I decided to try a couple more sheet masks from South Korean beauty brand Tony Moly and bought this bundle from Amazon which worked out at less than £1 each.


Firstly, the packaging is beautiful and I think this set contains a great variety of masks – I was particularly intrigued by the red wine and avocado ones!

I decided to try the aloe vera one first and here is a photo of me looking super hot as I used it!

I have tried about 5 of these now and really enjoyed every one. They are easy to apply although do have quite a wet, slimy feel which takes a little getting used to. There is plenty of serum on the masks and I recommend patting any excess onto your face after removing the sheet. The Tony Moly masks each target a different skincare requirement and my skin has felt great after each one.

As well as being great to keep and use myself, these are also lovely to pop into a birthday card as a little present for a friend.

Are you a sheet mask fan? x

Beauty Review – July Birchbox

After a couple of pretty average boxes, I was actually starting to consider whether I wanted to continue with my Birchbox subscription. Luckily, this month’s box is pretty ace so it has rekindled my love for this monthly beauty delivery!


This month’s box is titled ‘Never-ending Summer’ and was done in collaboration with Millie Mackintosh. I’m not a massive fan but I was interested to see the lip shade she created as I do like her style.


The Ultra-Gloss Lip Pencil in the shade Bohemian Rose is from Birchbox’s own brand and is a pretty enough shade. It isn’t as glossy as the name would suggest and feels a tad greasy on the lips. It is quite a sheer consistency but a nice colour to wear over the summer.


Next, from Indeed Labs, I received a Hydraluron sheet mask. I am a big fan of sheet masks and this is a really good brand. The benefits of hyaluronic acid are well-known now so I cannot wait to use this.


I was really impressed to get a full-sized bottle of John Frieda Anti-Frizz Primer and this was an item I actually had the chance to choose before the box was sent out which I think is a great idea Birchbox have recently started doing. I have to admit I had never heard of a primer for the hair but this basically sounds like a pre-styling product to apply which should help to keep my curls under control in the heat and humidity – it smells amazing too!


Another full-sized product (worth £18!) was included in the form of an eyebrow defining pencil from High Definition in the shade Foxy. Despite the colour being ever so slightly too dark for me, I love this product! It applies beautifully and creates really natural-looking defined brows. It lasts well and even has a pencil sharpener attached to the lid so you’ll always have a sharp nib to use. I wish the colour matching was considered more, especially as the other colour (Bombshell) looks a near-perfect match for me.


Finally, a Nails Inc nail varnish which I was over the moon to see – my spending ban is still going on with nail polish! I received the shade Pall Mall, a beautiful pearlescent pinky-white which I used in this manicure. I saw some other bloggers had received different colours but I was really pleased with mine and the quality of it was great too.


This was definitely the best box I have received in a little while and I hope a sign for things to come. As well as including a really good variety of products and brands, I was also really impressed at the size of the samples which allow you to get a really good feel for them.

Sunday Summary #27


What a week it has been. I don’t feel I can move onto all the good stuff without addressing what I feel was the disastrous outcome of the referendum. For various reasons, I voted to remain as part of Europe and feel absolutely devastated at the results. I still cannot quite believe this happened and am so sad at the hatred and anti-immigrant feelings that have been provoked. I do believe in democracy but I also feel that a lot people who voted ‘out’ did so for the wrong reasons having been misinformed as to what exactly their vote would mean. I could go on but I am really struggling to understand how we are at this place and the effects it will have on future generations.

Anyway, onto the positives of the week…

I rushed home from Pilates on Monday only to be thoroughly bored by England’s performance. I hope we manage to win against Iceland tomorrow but I fear that is probably as far as we will get in this competition…happy to be proved wrong though!


Onto some TV that was anything but boring…Game of Thrones was absolutely incredible this week. Not only was the story captivating but the cinematography was stunning and I have rewatched the battle scene a further three times!

I finished Only We Know and went to my first book club meet at the local pub this week. It was great fun to discuss the read over a glass of wine and we’ve chosen two titles to read over the summer which I must download to my Kindle soon.

Finally, I have to share the beautiful roses from my garden…they smelled amazing too!



It has been a really busy week at work so although I had to skip a few gym visits, I’ve managed to keep my food pretty healthy.

Two snacks I am really enjoying at the moment are dried mango pieces and padron peppers – one for when I need something sweet and the other for when I am craving something flavoursome and salty.

I also made a huge bowl of Eton mess to use up some very ripe strawberries – summer in a bowl!


We popped for a midweek dinner at The Seven Stars in a nearby village and it was nice to enjoy a few cold beers outside before we ate. The meal itself was fine but not as nice as the previous time we visited which is always a shame.

Finally, for my best friend Lu’s birthday this weekend, we went for a bottomless champagne brunch at brace&browns in Bristol yesterday. We munched our way through bubble and squeak, pulled pork, pancakes and avocado toasts plus a fair few glasses of bubbly. It was really tasty and definitely a weekend treat.


Some weeks I really struggle to find beauty and fashion items but this week I had loads of options.

First up, a new cleansing balm: the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter from The Body Shop. I have to say that I do prefer a pump bottle for my cleanser but this stuff is fab and removes all traces of make-up easily.


Ian bought me the next item: Lush’s R&B Hair Moisturiser after a recommendation from a curly-haired girl he works with. This smells amazing and leaves my hair really soft as well as controlling frizz. After applying a bit too much the first time I used this, I realised you only need a tiny bit so this should last me a while.


I’m feeling a bit delicate today and committed the cardinal sin of going to bed without taking my make-up off last night so I decided to ‘undo’ this with a brightening sheet mask. This one from Tony Moly left my skin feeling refreshed and moisturised.


Finally, a luxury bath product: Black Iris Bath Oil from Emma Bridgewater. This smells incredible and has left my skin soft and perfumed – a good Sunday night treat.



You know I love an anchor print and my Mum came back from a recent trip to New York with this gorgeous scarf for me – thanks! x