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Category Archives: nails

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!

Mani Monday – Pink and Red Hearts

I have been playing around with a new kit. The Alexa Edit from Nails Inc came out a while ago but I have only just got around to testing the products out and am planning a more in-depth blog post on it soon.

The first combo I tried was this delicate pastel pink with mini red hearts.

The pink is part of the Cashmere range – named Cashmere Pink – and has a lovely, slightly textured and pearlescent finish. It is really well-pigmented and one that I will definitely use again.

I have had really mixed experiences with the next type of product with many of the nail decals not sitting flush to the nail meaning they ping off and last about a day. However, I was really impressed with these little red hearts. They were small enough which meant they didn’t stick up on the nail and both the nail varnish and all 10 of the hearts lasted a whole week which is a big thumbs up from me.

This was a very pretty manicure and given the quality of both Nails Inc products, I look forward to using them both again.

Mani Monday – Easter Hues

What do you do when you can’t decide which pastel shade to use over Easter? Use them both!

My nails grew so much when I was on holiday and I was in desperate need for a manicure when I got back. I trimmed and shaped my nails then chose these two shades from Ciate to apply.

I began with my Rococo base coat then applied Double Bubblegum on most of my nails and Ahoy Sailor on my ring fingers.

I finished with a Calvin Klein topcoat and I really like this pastel combination. I do however plan on furniture moving and gardening this week so I will really put their staying powers to the test!

Mani Monday – Rainbow Dots

I really love this manicure! It is subtle yet fun and really easy to do.

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I began with a nude base colour – I chose Ciate’s Cookies & Cream which is a lovely grey-taupe shade.

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Next, with a dotting pen (which you can pick up for about a pound on ebay), I added a little dot just above my cuticle in a range of different colour.

From the thumb to the little finger I wore: MUA’s Bold Blue, ELF’s Lilac, 17’s Miami, Natural Collection’s Antique Coral and Ciate’s Big Yellow Taxi.

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I love the effect a little dot of colour can give and I want to experiment more with different shades.

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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!

Mani Monday – Disco Nails

I always feel good on Monday nights, like I’ve got the toughest day of the week out of the way. I did struggle to get up this morning but once I was in the shower, I felt back in my usual routine. I went to Pilates for the first time in a few weeks today and although I will ache tomorrow, it felt really good to stretch and move again. Next step, back to the gym!

I am currently having a good sort out of all my make-up and in my nail art box (yes, I have a box for this!) I rediscovered these jazzy nail wraps. They are from Avon in the design Check You Out.

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I like the fact that you can still see the nail underneath the wraps and the colours look great too. I’m not sure whether these are losing their effectiveness as they only stayed on for a few days this time but they still looked fab while they lasted. x

Mani Monday – Frozen Yogurt

I did a bit of a lucky dip in my stash of nail varnishes this week and picked out this lovely grey-purple shade. This is Frozen Yogurt my MUA and is really good for a budget nail brand.

I only needed two coats and it lasted for a good five days before the usual weekly wear and tear appeared.

As a sidenote, I have continued using the Rococo base coat and my nails are definitely feeling healthier.