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Category Archives: make up

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 #17

Blood Brothers

It feels like ages ago that I booked these tickets for my parents’ Christmas present but the weekend finally rolled around to go and see this show in Bristol. It is my favourite musical and we all really enjoyed it. We had a fab day in the sunshine walking along the Harbourside, enjoying cocktails and eating pizza.

The Longs Arms

Another mention for mine and Ian’s favourite pub! We went up here for dinner last night as, and usual, it was stunning. We shared starters of lobster and a goats meat scotch egg then I had lemon sole while Ian had the lamb. I always look forward to pudding and seeing what crazy flavour of ice-cream is on the menu and this time we sampled root beer, cream soda, Nutella, peanut butter and jam and – my new favourite – Jaffa Cake.

New Earrings

I rediscovered these earrings that my best friend Lu bought me for my birthday. They are lovely silver swallows and I have been wearing them all week.

Becca Highlighter

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This week, I have been really enjoying wearing the Shimmering Skin Perfector by Becca in the shade Moonstone as recommended by The Anna Edit. I like how natural this looks and I really do think it suits paler complexions.

Sliders

I have been after a pair of pool sliders since last summer. I saw these in Primark and I thought they looked really fun and they are actually really comfortable. It’s one of the first times that I have stopped to wonder whether I am too ‘old’ for an item of clothing but then realised I didn’t really care and headed to the tills!

Beauty Review – Burt’s Bees Box

It’s a beautiful sunny day today and I have already been to the gym, done two loads of washing and am in a very productive mood. This doesn’t strike me too often so I am making the most of it and blitzing the house!

Today’s post is all about this fab little box Ian bought me. I have a huge drawer full of skincare and beauty products so it has taken me a little while to get around to unpacking and testing these out. I always think of Burt’s Bees as being a very ‘natural’ brand and have previously used (and loved!) their cuticle cream and lip balms. This box had a little bit of everything in it…

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This Coconut Foot Cream is a little love/hate. The texture is very greasy, more like an ointment than a cream, akin to the Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream. Although I’m not too sure about the texture, I cannot deny that it smells amazing and it really does work! I tend to apply liberally then pop on a pair of socks until it has all been absorbed and it has left my feet feeling so smooth that I think I can get used to the formulation.

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I also got a Peach and Willow Bark Deep Pore Scrub. I’ve started to move away from really harsh scrubs on my face so I think I will use this as a body scrub instead. It doesn’t contain any plastic microbeads and again smells wonderful.

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I have almost used up this Intense Hydration Day Lotion. It smells glorious but, for me, is too thick and heavy to use as a day cream. I have been applying a generous layer of this at night and have been really impressed with it. It has a nice pump applicator but doesn’t absorb too quickly which is why I think it is better suited as a night cream.

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I am usually loyal to body butters from The Body Shop but this Honey and Shea one smells delicious and feels really thick and moisturising.

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Onto the lip products now which came in a very pretty tin…

This lip crayon in the shade Hawaiian Smoulder is really nicely pigmented and also feels very moisturising on the lips. This is a perfect everyday shade for me.

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I also got a Lip Shimmer in the shade/ flavour Guava. Although it smells lovely, this pale pink frosted effect just isn’t for me so I think I will pass this on.

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I already love the Burt’s Bees lip balms and this Wild Cherry one smells delicious.

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I also got a tinted lip balm which gives a really natural sweep of colour. I got the shade Hibiscus but to be honest, it leaves exactly the same colour as a different shade I have.

Finally, I received a tube of Lip Shine in the shade Spontaneity. I didn’t think I would like this and sadly I was right. Again, it smells lovely but I just really dislike the sticky, shiny lip gloss look so I will be passing this on to someone else.

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I think this is a great selections of products from the brand with some things I already loved plus the chance to discover a few new things. Are there any other Burt’s Bees items you would recommend? x

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Five Friday Favourites #13

New Brogues

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I treated myself to a new pair of brogues for work. These are the ASOS Mai suede brogues are a little more pointed than my last pair. I love the preppy look they give and they are really comfortable too which is a must when you are on your feet all day.

Nut Butter

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The humble peanut now has some competition in the nut butter stakes – I love almond and cashew butter on my morning oats and this one from Pip and Nut is delicious!

A Cream Blusher

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Not something I usually use but this cream blusher from Rimmel in the shade Radiant Rose gives a lovely, natural wash of rosy colour and blends in really well. Sometimes a powder blusher can feel like it is just sitting on top of your make-up whereas this product really feels like part of your base.

Vans Sunglasses

Now I am usually loyal to my Ray Ban collection (Clubmasters and Wayfarers being my favourite styles) but this pink pair from Vans have been my first choice recently. A gift from my bestie Lu, these are a really fun pop of colour and have a cool, retro shape too.

Midweek Wagamamas

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In the run-up to our all-inclusive holiday in a few weeks, we tried to be really good this week making healthy meals, going to the gym and limiting our treats at night. I don’t really ‘diet’ but I know we will be eating and drinking a lot when we’re away so I wanted to offset that a little bit! However, on Thursday night I was devoid of inspiration for something healthy and tasty so we popped to Wagamamas for some delicious new beef buns and a steaming bowl of noodles.

Beauty Review – February Birchbox

I thought Spring was here today as I walked into Bath in the sunshine wearing a white shirt and my sunnies. Fast-forward a few hours and I was caught in torrential rain proving you can never trust the British weather! I did however find some time for a spot of shopping so it wasn’t a complete wash-out.

I loved the design of February’s Birchbox. I got the green leaf print box which is kind of the look and colour scheme I’m going for in our bedroom. Here was my first look inside:

First up, a shaving cream by Whish. I have tried another product by this brand (a coconut body lotion) and it both smelt lovely and was really moisturising so I am looking forward to using this.

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Next, a product by Beaver (snigger – yes, I’m a child). This is their Daily Moisture Conditioning Spray which will be perfect for me. Again, I have used some things from this brand before in previous Birchboxes and found them to be quite pleasant.

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I was really impressed by this next item – Rose Absolute First Serum by Aromatica. This is a Korean beauty item and I love trying these. They are said to be seven years ahead of the rest of the world in terms of beauty innovation and are responsible for such trends as sheet masks, serums, BB creams, cushion foundations and more recently essence waters. I am actually going to South Korea this summer and plan to buy a load of beauty bits to try out. This item is a rose serum and is a really generous size too.

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Next, an Eye Contour brush from Spectrum. This is super soft and is a beautiful white and rose gold design. I like Spectrum brushes – I use another of theirs for highlighter – and find they wash well and stay soft. I may use my Birchbox points to buy a few more of these.

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Finally, a POP Eye shadow Trio in Champagne Mocha. I was a bit unimpressed by this inclusion as I received an almost identical one from the same brand less than a year ago. The quality of the eye shadows aren’t great and they are quite crumbly so not great to travel with. This was my least favourite product this month.

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So, not a bad box this month. The serum and Spectrum brush were both excellent inclusions and also the items I am most excited about using.

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 #107 – A Space NK Haul

Well, Trump was sworn in yesterday thus beginning one of the strangest eras in American politics. I wasn’t able to attend one of the #WomenMarch protests today but it was incredible to see so many people turning up to make their voices heard…with a fab selection of placards too!

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Anyway, onto slightly happier things: a little box of goodies that arrived from Space NK. Most of these items were in the sale, some of which I needed, others were a treat.

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First up, Space NK’s own brand Daily Fix Body Lotion. I like this range and use the bath soak when I need to really relax. This is very simple packaging-wise and I think the product is the same – not overly-fragranced, fresh and fast absorbing. My skin is quite sensitive at the moment so this simple body lotion is ideal for me and was actually reduced to just £1.50 for this large tube.

Next, I bought two products from luxe nail brand Rococo. Firstly, in the most beautiful packaging, was the Ultimate Nail Basecoat (£12 reduced to £3). This is meant to have dual qualities; to strengthen your nails and also to make your nail varnish look brighter and last longer. You can use this alone and keep layering on the product or as a traditional basecoat.

Also from Rococo is their Nail Varnish Remover which I stocked up on (£10 to £1.50)! This is acetone-free, which is meant to be slightly kinder on the nail, and I love the packaging. The actual bottle is great too – you simply press a cotton pad on the top of the dispenser and the perfect amount of product is released.

A bit of luxury next in the form of my first ever Diptyque candle. I have wanted to try one of these candles for years but could never quite bring myself to spend so much on a candle. However, when I spotted this one at half price (£28 down to £14) I decided to treat myself. Firstly, the packaging – in collaboration with artist Julien Colombier – is beautiful and I will definitely be keeping the glass after the candle has finished. The scent, Oliban, is not my usual choice but is a deep, sexy, spicy, oriental one. This was part of their Christmas range but is not noticeably festive-scented.

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One thing I love about ordering from Space NK is the samples! I chose a couple of acid peels and a REN BB cream to try which I just think are lovely little extras.

I feel I was quite restrained in this recent haul – there was a Laura Mercier palette I was hovering over for quite a while but I got more than enough lovely things for Christmas that I want to work my way through before buying anything else.