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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

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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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Sunday Summary #41

Life

It has been the perfect, crisp autumnal day today and I am praying this weather holds out for the rest of the week as I’m off on a residential trip with school and I am not a fan of standing about in the rain for hours on end!

This week I have been over to Bristol twice. Once to watch Bristol City with my bestie Lu (we won and we had Cornish pasties and hot chocolate with cream!) and again on Friday to watch Romesh Ranganathan who was brilliant.

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I’ve also had a hen do this weekend which involved learning the Thriller dance and dressing up followed by a girlie day with my Mum, shopping, lunching and attending a fashion show…a pretty great weekend!

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Food

Before watching Romesh, Ian and I tried out Beerd at the Colston Hall which specialises in craft beer and pizza. I had a lovely calzone and will try to write a proper review soon.

I also made a delicious apple crumble which we even enjoyed for breakfast one morning…pudding for breakfast should be a thing!

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Beauty

I finally got around to reviewing my latest Birchbox this week and have enjoyed playing around with the Model Co highlighting trio.

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I’ve also been testing a new cleanser. I picked up this one from Boscia which is an oil that emulsifies on contact with water. It is gentle but effective at removing my eye make-up and I may pick up a full-sized one when we visit the States (and a Sephora!) later this month.

Fashion

I picked up a new pair of brogues in Matalan last weekend and have been wearing them non-stop. They are quite masculine in design but are comfy, go with everything and I have had lots of compliments on them too.

Finally, I am feeling quite inspired fashion-wise at the moment as I attended the final show of Bristol Fashion Week at Cribbs Causeway this afternoon. Presented by Henry Holland, it showed you really accessible ways to wear the current trends and I *think* I may have found my new winter coat too! FYI, the trends to look out for in Autumn/ Winter include: military, sports luxe, oversized, pastels, gothic, mismatching prints, animal print (especially leopard) and velvet. I really loved this fashion show and we got a great goodie bag too!

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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.

Sunday Summary #35

Life

It has been my last full week at home before I go back to work so I have been enjoying some fairly chilled out afternoons, cooking, reading and making the most of my last few lie-ins.

This weekend, despite being rather cold, grey and rainy (autumn anyone?!), has been really fun. Yesterday, I went for lunch then to watch Bristol City play…and sadly lose. Then Ian and I watched The Martian and forced ourselves to stay awake to cheer on Mo Farah – I’m going to miss the Olympics when they finish.

We finished watching the second series of Scandal and it just got so bad we have abandoned it and aren’t going to watch Series 3. A shame, as it started well but just got so far-fetched in the end. We have started watching a British drama called The Five and so far, it is gripping.

Today, we went for burgers then to watch the new David Brent film, Life on the Road. It was hilarious and moving in equal measure – the song lyrics especially make me cringe and laugh.

I am off on holiday next week with Ian and one of our best friends so have been busy researching things to do and see. We are doing a mini-Scandinavian cruise stopping off in Sweden, Estonia, Russia and Finland and I cannot wait!

We had some sad news this week too – our village pub, The Muddy Duck, which we go to on a weekly basis is closing down. We were gutted when we read the notice on the door and Ian was on about moving as we love having a good pub in the village! I’m hoping a buyer is found soon and it doesn’t have to close but I am so sad it is changing hands and have so many good foodie memories there.

Our new bed arrived this week and it’s copper! I think it looks beautiful and I will write up a mini room tour in a few weeks when our new furniture and accessories have arrived…copper and leaf prints will feature heavily.

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Finally, I listened to Nadiya Hussain’s Desert Island Discs (last year’s Bake Off winner) and it moved me to tears. I already loved her but hearing her talk about the struggles she faces as a British Muslim and how she deals with it in such a dignified way was very moving.

Food

Is it just me, or do you find a food that you love then eat nothing but that until you are sick of it?! Well, I have discovered this honey flavoured Greek yogurt and have had it with blueberries every morning for the past week and am so obsessed I have 4 more tubs of it in my fridge.

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Alongside the yogurt, I have also been having these rose and pineapple flavoured toasted sesame seeds my friend Lucie picked up for me at a food market. These seeds are delicious and really go with my new favourite breakfast.

Beauty

I had a big clear out of my nail varnish collection this week and blogged about it. I honestly thought most people had this many bottles too but a few comments on social media have alerted me I have a bit of a problem!

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I’m not usually that fussy with shower gels – I tend to pick something that smells nice but this one from Dove is lovely to use. It is so luxurious and creamy and my skin feels really soft and moisturised after using it.

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I had managed to rack up a fair few Birchbox point (little tip – always do the quick reviews online to add to your points total!) so bought myself another tube of Model Co More Brows. I love this stuff as it not only adds colour to my fair brows but also contains microfibers to fill in any gaps.

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Fashion

I blogged about my new summer sandals this week and have been wearing them all trying to decide which are the comfiest pair to take on holiday with me next week.

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I ordered some new rings this week. I flit between gold and silver jewellery and I love these chunky, silver cut-out rings.

Beauty Review – March Birchbox

Oh hello midweek blog. Yes, these seem to have become a thing of the past and it’s a combination of a lack of time and a little bit of blogger’s block. It’s not that I’m lacking inspiration to blog – quite the opposite! I have so many ideas whizzing around in my brain that I end up getting a bit overwhelmed and write nothing. I read a really refreshing blog post this week over on Hannah Gale’s blog which really struck a chord. In a nutshell, I am going to try and take a leaf out of her book and rather than worry about things being perfect (well as perfect as it gets when you take photos on your iPhone and can’t be bothered to edit your blog photos!), I am just going to write. It makes me happy to write blog posts and send a little piece of me out in to the wider world and I want to do this more regularly…imperfections and all!

Anyway, on that note…

I received my monthly Birchbox a few days ago. As I mentioned, Ian and I have both had really awful coughs and colds lately so it was lovely to receive something for a bit of a pamper.

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The theme this month is ‘Word Up’ with a wordsearch-covered box to encourage you to search for your ultimate beauty items. Yeah, I wasn’t convinced by this concept either. However, it’s a cool graphic design and the kids in my class go crazy for wordsearches!

Here was my first peek inside the box:

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First up, a pillow spray from This Works. I received the sleep plus formula and sadly it is very heavily lavender-scented which I just can’t stand. However, I will do almost anything for a good night’s sleep so do plan on trialling this for a couple of nights before I decide to give it away. I think this was a really lovely addition to the box and is something of a cult product.

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Next, a nourishing hair mask from Amika. I love a weekly hair mask and I think I’ll pack this one in my holiday travel bag to refresh my locks when we’re away.

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I got a small tube of Doux Me’s Comforting Face Mask and Exfoliator. This smells amazing and I like the idea of a two-in-one product like this.

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After launching LOC (Love of Colour) earlier this year, Birchbox have introduced a second range called ARROW with a more on-the-go, long-wearing approach. I received the BOOST Colour Enhancing Lip Balm and I really like it. It’s really moisturising on the lips and is designed so that the pH balance of your lips determines the colour. It gave my lips a faint rosy flush of colour and has a nice minty fragrance to it.

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My favourite product of the box next! This ModelCo brow gel is great stuff. It has a fab little applicator that makes it easy to apply and the colour match is good too. My eyebrows are rather sparse and blonde and I think these two photos show the difference this product makes to them. I will definitely repurchase this when it runs out.

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Finally, a full-sized Lanolips Intense Hand Balm. The packaging is beautiful and the product is a heavy duty hand cream. I love rose-scented items but this has more of a delicate, powdery scent to it. It has already made its way to my bedside table to use on my hands and feet before bed.

For me, March’s offering was great. I discovered my new favourite brow product and I think the range of items was really good too. I think next month’s box is designed by Rifle Paper Company so I’m sure it will be a beauty!