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Category Archives: haul

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!

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Latest Purchases #112 – A Little Holiday Haul

So, I didn’t buy too much when we were on holiday in Tenerife last week. We didn’t go to a market or spend that much time shopping but there were a few cool stores near to our hotel that I couldn’t resist a little browse in as well as picking up a few staples from the supermercado.

We discovered honey rum on holiday and enjoyed it both as a mixer with coke and on its own with ice. It’s a lovely sweet liquor and a good addition to our drinks trolley.

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I discovered Canarian mojo sauce when we were away. There is a red and green variety but my favourite was the green and I had it slathered over meat, fish and salads every day. I wanted to bring home a jar and although I know the fresh version will always be better, this jar looked fairly authentic. I have since managed to get my hands on a proper recipe from my friend who lives in Gran Canaria so will hopefully be making my own soon.

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I totally didn’t need this many pins but they were just so cute, I couldn’t resist! I think I will pop these on my leather and denim jackets. Also, just note the little chain on the cactus which has a mini watering can on it!

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As always, when in Europe I buy Milka and sweets.

These adorable castanets aren’t for me but I feel I should apologise in advance to my friend whose children I bought these for!

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Finally, due to being very pale and wanting to avoid getting burned at all costs, I love a good beach cover-up. I found these kaftans and after buying one and wearing it for most of the holiday, I went back and got a few more designs.

Latest Purchases #111 – A Primark Haul

What a beaut of a weekend! The sun was out and the clocks changed which means lighter mornings and evenings which are guaranteed to improve my mood.

Last weekend, I popped into Primark to hunt out the silver Gucci-inspired loafers I have seen everywhere and of course, picked up a few more items…

Here are the silver shoes I wanted. I am still wearing them in but think they will be perfect for Spring.

I love Primark’s loungewear and pyjamas. I find they are made of super-soft cotton which hang beautifully and are really loose and comfortable. I picked up a couple of cosy tops to wear in the evenings or as pyjamas.

On the pyjama theme, I bought this silky black pair of pjs which feel quite luxurious on.

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This top was probably my favourite purchase of the lot and one that I think encapsulates a lot of this season’s trends in the embroidery and the flared sleeves. I ended up getting this a couple of sizes bigger as I wanted quite a loose, almost floaty fit.

I really liked the colours in this knitted jumper and I think it looks more expensive than it was. Again, I sized up as a I wanted a baggy, over-sized fit and this looks great with jeans.

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I am after some green leaf prints for our bedroom and this cacti one is a good start. I may collate a gallery wall of sorts and I like the colours and gold detail on this print.

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I am slowly replacing all of my old mismatched hangers with these slim, copper ones so I picked up another 4 packs of these. It’s amazing how much more I can fit in my wardbrobe and they look really nice too.

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Whilst in the home section, I picked up a candle and reed diffuser. They definitely don’t have the strongest scent but do offer a subtle fragrance to a room.

Finally, a little at-the-till purchase of these coconut chips. I am trying to snack healthier at the moment and not reach for the biscuits and these coconut chips are really tasty.

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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).

Latest Purchases #110 – A Weekend Haul

With the rise of ‘going live’ on Facebook and Instagram, I think we all are getting a taste for more real life, up-to-date content. So, I thought I would try something a bit different and share a random selection of things I picked up when I popped into Bath yesterday. I was there to get my braces tightened (they are coming off soon!) and I ended up diving into a few different shops in an attempt to avoid the sudden downpour I was caught in.

First of all, I went into Tiger and came away with some goji berries and a pair of thinner gardening gloves. I love having a mooch around this shop and I always end up buying something.

Next, I popped into Primark but I really didn’t see anything I liked. I ended up buying a couple of packs of their thin copper hangers (planning a huge wardrobe sort-out soon), a travel pillow for when we travel to Japan this summer and a new pair of slippers. I love their memory foam slippers – they are the comfiest ones I own.

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Finally, New Look had some beautiful items in store (I have my eyes on a dusky pink embroidered shirt) and I bought 4 dresses: a simple burgundy velvet one (which I really struggled to photograph!), a black ruffle-detail long-sleeved dress, a cosy navy knit with cute ruffled sleeves and hem and a mustard-yellow ruffle-detail dress.

I was a bit unsure about the last one as I read somewhere that blondes can’t pull off this shade of yellow but it fits really nicely and I don’t think that you should be confined by others’ ‘rules’ if you really like something.

So, I hope you enjoyed this mixed bag of items – I much prefer reading little snippets like this. We’re off to a pub quiz tonight after a big bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese. Happy Sunday x

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!

Beauty Review – Kiehl’s Face Oils

Being a bit of a beauty fiend, I always have a new moisturiser or cleanser to try so I have to really love a product to repurchase it. To spend almost £50 on an item, it must be part of my beauty holy grail! Enter the Kiehl’s Concentrate Oils…

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Ian bought me the Midnight Recovery Concentrate as a present and I use it religiously at night. My skin drinks it up and I associate the smell with my bedtime routine now. I love the packaging, the pipette applicator and this lasts a seriously long time.

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After falling in love with the night oil, I decided to try the daytime version: the Daily Reviving Concentrate. I always used to think that using an oil in the morning would leave me feeling greasy and affect applying foundation but this stuff is different. It applies easily and is absorbed quickly. When my bottle of this ran out, I really missed it and my skin felt drier than usual.

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Therefore, I had no gripes about repurchasing the larger sized bottles. They are priced at £49 each which I would usually baulk at but these really are worth it. I expect each bottle to last me about a year and to use it daily so cost-per-use really isn’t that bad. My brother and girlfriend were kind enough to buy me the night oil for Christmas and I treated myself to the day oil last weekend.

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Another great thing about Kiehl’s are the samples! I was allowed free rein to pick a few freebies to try. I have really loved everything I have tried from Kiehl’s but it isn’t a cheap brand so the samples are a great way to try a little bit more of their skincare.

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