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Category Archives: serum

Five Friday Favourites #19

Dobble

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My friend Lucie came to stay last weekend and brought this highly addictive card game with her. It’s a really simple concept but is really fun to play and you can’t help but get really competitive…a definite for family gatherings!

Coffee and Tonic

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Yep, you read that correctly. Apparently the new hipster drink is a shot of espresso over ice topped up with tonic water. I was fully expecting to hate this but there is something really tasty and refreshing about the combination of the two drinks.

Rose Serum

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I received this Aromatica serum in a Birchbox and have been using it for about a week. It’s really lovely and hydrating and sinks in quickly. I wish it had a pump as it’s a bit of a pain tipping the gel-like liquid onto my hands but that’s the only criticism I have.

Red Shoes

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I love a red accessory and I have been slowly breaking in these red leather sandals my mum brought me back from Spain. They are smart enough for work and really comfortable but…they have dyed my feet red the first few times of wearing them!

Toronto

Finally, Ian and I have booked another holiday! We are off to Toronto and Niagara Falls for a week in October. I found a really good deal with BA and am really looking forward to my first visit to Canada,

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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!

Five Friday Favourites #10

Phew this has felt like a long old week! However, there have been some highlights…

Holidays

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This week, I have booked not one, but two holidays for the next few months: a Spanish jaunt with Ian and a trip to Croatia with my Mum to celebrate a special birthday together. Just knowing they are in the diary has made me feel so much more positive – we even went out for burgers last night to celebrate!

Night Masks

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I am a big fan of these ‘sleeping masks’ and I have been using this Rose one from Sephora this week. I manage to make one of these pods last a few days and my skin has felt softer and more plumped in the mornings.

This Country

I have discovered a new comedy and it is so spot on if you grew up in a rural setting! Ian and I have giggled non-stop at this and recommended it to several friends.

Memory Foam Slippers

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These beauties from Primark have not left my feet and are so comfortable. They must be my 5th or 6th pair and I love them.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

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I made my Mac ‘n’ Cauliflower Cheese this week and it was even better than I remembered! I made a huge batch which made a couple of dinners for us and was a delicious treat.

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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Beauty Review – An M&S Trio

Before I start, I have to mention how amazing M&S’ beauty halls are now. The last time I visited, there were a few new brands in but this time I was blown away at the selection available: Nuxe, Emma Hardie, Pixi, REN, Stila…it’s my new go-to place for beauty products.

However, as well as stocking some great brands, I have been hearing good things about M&S’ own-brand beauty so I picked up a couple of items to try out.

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First up, a Cleansing Face Wash from the Formula Daily Care range. This is for sensitive skin and really does feel gentle to use. I like to have a face wash in the shower to help wake me up in the morning. This is a nice enough product but not really ground-breaking to make me have to repurchase it.

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Next, I noticed this body mist near the till reduced…and it doesn’t take a genius to realise why!!! Despite the name, I love this scent. I used to wear it years ago so when I saw it, I had to buy it again. It is so fresh and light and I think the ombre packaging is really pretty too.

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Finally, I am such a convert to face oils and serums now and spend more on them than I do on a good moisturiser. My Holy Grail facial oils are the Kiehl’s ones but I love testing out others. This Overnight Recovery Elixir is actually designed for more mature skin but I am starting to notice changes in my skin as I hit my thirties. This is a gel-like formula and you only need a few drops from the pipette (hands up if you love dispensing oils and serums from a pipette!) This absorbs quickly and feels lovely and refreshing on the skin. It contains hyaluronic acid which is known for hydrating skin and its anti-aging properties.  Sadly, I think this product is being discontinued now but you may be able to grab one in-store.

Sunday Summary #43

Life

I have one more week of term left which means a mad rush to fit everything in then we are off to Boston! If you are a regular reader of this blog then you will know my love for visiting America. I haven’t been to Boston before so am planning to fit in as much as possible and have spent a chunk of today booking us in for various things and, of course, finding the best place for East Coast chowder and lobster rolls!

Ian and I have been enjoying Scandi dramas a lot lately. We are watching The Bridge and also watched the film ‘The Keeper of Lost Causes’ last night which was great…any other recommendations?

Food

I’m a real grazer so always looking for new snacks, especially healthy ones. Now these aren’t perfect but they are a bit better for you than crisps and taste delicious.

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We had a really disappointing dinner out this week at the newly renovated Dandy Lion in Bradford on Avon. I don’t like to bash local businesses but this was slow service, coupled with a really bad burger and I won’t be revisiting to make the same mistake twice.

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Fashion

I bought a new pair of boots for this Autumn/ Winter. These black leather ankle boot have  cool tassle on side to add a bit of detail and look good with jeans or tights and a dress.

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There are so many nice knitted jumpers around at the moment and I opted for this leopard print number from H&M. it is heavy enough to keep you warm, has a nice zip detail at the back and is a cool, loose boxy shape so looks great with a pair of black skinny jeans…I love it!

Beauty

My nails are finally getting back to a decent length and condition so I decided to indulge in a bit of nail art. I spotted this nude and navy spotted look on Lena Dunham and am really pleased with how they turned out.

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Finally, I have been using this Lancome duo this week and both are lovely. The serum is quite a wet formula but feels very hydrating. The moisturiser however is the real star. I think it is aimed at slightly more mature skin than mine but it leaves my face feeling as smooth as if I had applied a primer and my foundation sits well on it. I may keep an eye open for this at Duty Free next week…

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