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Category Archives: hair

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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.

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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).

Beauty Review – December Birchbox

An early Christmas present arrived in the form of the latest Birchbox. I had just got used to the new little trays the products were coming in and Birchbox have changed things up again with this new style box. The colours are festive and the idea is that the box can be used a desk tidy afterwards which is handy.

 

The ‘Merry and Bright’ box contains a selection of beauty treats to use over the Christmas period and up to New Year’s Eve.

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Firstly, I received a full size Ciaté Fierce Flicks Eyeliner, worth £15. I love these types of eyeliners – my favourite being the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner – so I cannot wait to try this out for some serious flicks. I have tested it out on the back of my hand and my first impression are good – it is a true black, very pigmented and applies beautifully. I hope it has good longevity too.

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Next, a Benefit POREfessional: Matte Rescue. This is a mattifying gel to minimise pores and create a smooth base for make-up. I used to love the original POREfessional primer but kind of went off silicone-based primers. However, I am keen to try this gel version and see if it works any better.

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I received a hair product from Percy and Reed. The Wonder Balm is a leave-in hair primer that claims to do an awful lot of things with one application! I am so fussy with hair products but will give this a go and see if it does anything for my curls.

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Next, a New Leaf Deep Pore Exfoliating Polish from Amie Skincare. This is a good sized sample and smells amazing – like peaches. I try not to use harsh exfoliators on my skin too often so I will try this one with caution.

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Finally, the product I was most excited about receiving – a Caviar Stick in the shade Amethyst by Laura Mercier. These creamy eye shadow sticks are fab. I have one other colour already and find the product to be well-pigmented and it really does last with minimal creasing. This colour is beautiful and exactly what I would have chosen myself. It is a mauve/ taupe shade with a touch of sparkle making it perfect for Christmas and New Year parties.

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I read a blog post this week about how beauty boxes need to up their game if they want to survive in 2017. I agree with this and I think this month’s Birchbox is definitely a step in the right direction after a few average boxes. I think the inclusion of Ciaté and Laura Mercier products are great and it is higher end products like these which will keep me subscribing.

Sunday Summary #50

Life

It has been a very chilled weekend which is exactly what I wanted before the crazy run-up to Christmas.

I spent most of today finishing off my Christmas shopping and I am almost done! We keep saying we are going to have a low-key one this year but it is so easy to get carried away when you spot something you know somebody will love.

We watched the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special this week – I miss that series! I plan on watching my favourite Christmas films over the next few weeks now…Home Alone, Love Actually, Elf – all the classics.

I have been making things as cosy as possible in the evenings this week. I love my mermaid blanket and candles add a warm soft light to the room. We’ve just finished burning this Jasmine and Bamboo candle and have moved onto this Caramel and Pumpkin Swirl one…my living room smells divine!

Food

My favourite Christmas cocktail made an appearance this week…the snowball. Ridiculously retro, but delicious, this is a really festive drink that tastes like sherbet!

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Ian and I went for lunch at Comptoir Libanais yesterday and I am so glad we now have a branch in Bath. We had a big sharing platter full of dips and salads followed by baklava and rose mint tea…absolutely divine!

We also enjoyed croissants and flat whites at Bertinet Bakery – my absolute favourite place to buy pastries in Bath.

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Fashion

I have been on the search for a new coat for a while now and had my heart set on a camel or blush pink pea coat but haven’t been able to find one that is quite right. I was planning on waiting for the sales but then I saw this bad boy and I couldn’t resist it!

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I love leopard print and I think that as long as the rest of the outfit is fairly neutral, a statement coat looks fab. This coat was a Primark bargain and is so soft and cosy.

Beauty

I have been enjoying this shower gel from Bath and Body Works. It smells divine and actually feels very moisturising and luxurious.

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My L’Occitance calendar is such a lovely treat every day – I think I will do a little review when I have opened them all.

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My lips have been so dry and chapped since I was poorly last month and I have been trying everything to cure them. So far, this Dr Lipp nipple balm has proved to be the most effective.

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Finally, I had a cut and colour this week so I am ready for the party season. I went for lots of white, cool-toned blondes again and plan to keep them this way with purple shampoo.

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Beauty Review – November Birchbox

Hello! Apologies for the radio silence this weekend. I caught a particularly nasty sickness bug which left me feeling rough all weekend and hardly eating for days…if you know me, you’ll know how rare this is! I’m particularly annoyed as I missed seeing my best friends but I am grateful to be back on my feet and slowly getting my appetite back.

I received this month’s Birchbox a few weeks ago and the first thing that made me smile was the beautiful box design. I love peacock feathers and will definitely be keeping this one. This month’s collaboration was with Tatler, which isn’t a magazine I read but does make you think of the finer things in life.

I have had mixed feelings on my Birchbox subscription over the last few months so I was slightly apprehensive of what I would be sent this time. Luckily, I was pretty chuffed with the contents…although they do seem to be diminishing from the 6 or so items you used to receive in the past.

First of all, I saw a bottle of Blonde Toning Shampoo from Beauty Protector. I use purple shampoos weekly to keep my hair from going too brassy-coloured so this was a perfect addition for me. It smells great and is a good size too.

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Next, a Lip Tar Primer from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. This was a small tube but you don’t need much. I wear matte lipsticks which can be drying so a product that will prime my lips as well as offering some hydration sounds fab. I haven’t tried this yet but it will come in handy over the festive period when I like to rock a red lip.

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This next gold tube caught my eye: a BB Cream Golden Glow Illuminator by Marcelle. I am always after dewy, glowing skin and will try anything to help me get it. This BB cream makes a lot of claims but does have a good luminosity to it.

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I switch between using a powder, gel and pencil on my brows and really like trying new products. I am quite fussy – it is tricky to find the right colour as a blonde and I don’t have the best eyebrows to work with anyway. I was pleased to see an eyebrow pencil from bbrowbar and the shade Cinammon Spice was a decent match for me. The formula is quite waxy and it shapes as well as adding a good amount of colour. I think I would repurchase this.

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Finally, a moisturiser from Nuxe, one of my favourite skincare brands. This is a good-sized sample and I like the fact that this is moisturising yet slightly matte, making it great underneath makeup. Another one I would repurchase with my Birchbox points.

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A really good selection of items in this month’s box which was very much needed after a poor one in October. I’m hoping for a festive offering next month…33 sleeps!

Beauty Review – October Birchbox

Another monthly treat to enjoy in the form of my October Birchbox. It seems they are sticking with the drawer format and I really look forward to seeing the design. This month was focused around star signs and seeing as I am a Leo, a fire sign, I received the FIRE box. It’s another fab design and I thought it was pretty cool that the stars on the box glow in the dark…did anyone else used to have the footprint stickers all over their ceiling that glowed in the dark?!

Onto the contents…

My first item was a Doux Me Spring Water Spray. I’m not joking when I saw that this is just a can of water. Yes, a can of water. I love facial spritzes but this is a joke! I also think the timing is odd…who needs a cooling face spray in October?! Not a great start.

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Another spray now from Oribe. Their Dry Texturizing Spray is well-loved but I don’t use hairspray or dry shampoo in my curls so sadly will have to pass this on.

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Something else for the hair from No4. This hair oil (with a really long name!) is much more up my street. Having coloured hair, I do use treatments to keep it from drying out so this hair oil will be a welcome addition.

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Next, a body cream from Rituals. I love the products from this brand (their foaming shower gel is my favourite!) and the cherry blossom scent sounds divine.

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I also received a matte lip crayon from Lord and Berry. I quite like their make-up and despite being a matte finish, this lip pencil is also quite creamy so doesn’t feel too drying on the lips. The colour is a lovely pinky-brown which I think is a great colour for autumn.

Finally, a very cheap-looking plastic eyebrow brush. I use these very rarely and this one does not scream quality at all.

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Overall I have to say I’m a little disappointed by this month’s box. The eyebrow brush and water spray are some of the worst items I have received in a Birchbox however the hair oil, lip pencil and body lotion are lovely. A friend of mine was so unimpressed with this month’s offerings that she is cancelling her subscription. I’m going to keep the faith for a little longer and hope this was just a poor month.

Despite not being completely enthralled by October’s box, I did discover that I had accumulated enough points to order a Nuxe Rêve de Miel which is a Holy Grail lip balm item that is constantly out of stock.

This will be my last post for a week or so as Ian and I are flying to Boston tomorrow for a week of sightseeing, lobster rolls and my first ever basketball game!

Beauty Review – September Birchbox

You know you are busy when it gets to the 28th of the month and you only just get around to opening your Birchbox parcel! Mine has been sat in the hallway in a beautiful pastel box for weeks so I feel it is about time I delved inside and had a good nosy…

This month sees another little drawer which I really like. The print is a pretty, geometric pattern but obviously it’s what’s inside that matters – here was my first peek at the contents.

I was firstly drawn to the Nuxe product – I love the rose skincare range from this brand but I’m not so sure about this item. I received the Precious Scented Shower Gel  and I have to say I’m not a fan. The scent just isn’t for me. I much prefer fresh, fruity scents in the shower and this is very heavy and musky. It also contains a golden shimmer which to me seems a much more summery product.

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Next, a Facial Primer and Brightener from Jane Iredale. I love testing out new primers so this is a very welcome addition. It smells good and seems to leave skin very smooth and foundation-ready.

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I have heard of this Polaar Lapland Cream – it is quite a cult product akin to Elizabeth Arden’s 8-Hour Cream. I like a rich, heavy cream as it starts to get colder so will enjoy using this. The packaging also gets a thumbs-up from me.

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It may just be me, but I really can’t get that excited about hair products. I don’t really style my hair so any sprays/ gels/ waxes/ spritzes are a bit of a waste of time. I received Amika’s Bombshell Bowout Spray which is meant to be applied before blowdrying…seeing as I don’t even own a hairdryer (much to my friend Cat’s surprise every time she comes to stay!) this will be passed on to a friend.

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Finally, a product I sort of knew about as I had pre-selected it earlier in the month. This Highlighting Trio from ModelCo is a full-size item and one I quite like on first impressions. I like this brand and regularly use their eyebrow fibre gel and their bronzer so I was pleased to see them included. This trio contains a silver, peach and bronze cream highlighter which can be used on cheekbones or eyelids for a bit of glow. The formula is pigmented and creamy and I look forward to using this.

Apart from the hairspray and the shower gel, this was a pretty good box for me. I tend to start switching up my skincare routine as Autumn arrives so shall slot these new items in to trial them.