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Latest Purchases #88 – Sephora Haul

Possibly the visit I was most looking forward to making whilst we were in America, I had a list and was a woman on a mission when I went to Sephora in Georgetown, Washington! I am so surprised this store hasn’t made it to the UK but I think that just makes it a little bit more special when you do get to visit one. I picked up a range of make-up and beauty items, some I had been lusting after for a while and others I grabbed on a whim. I also bought two lipsticks which have gone missing since returning home…I’m still hoping they will turn up one day soon!

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First up, a little bottle of Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray that I bought as a present for Ian. I don’t use anything like this in my hair but I’m told this stuff is the best so like the good wife that I am, I popped one in my basket.

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Next, a bronzer from Sephora’s own make-up range in the shade Aruba. This formula has some serious shimmer so gives a lovely glow when used. It is quite dark but with a light hand, gives a beautiful golden sun-kissed look.

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I had to pick up another one of the Instant Nail Polish Removers when I saw it. It is one of the best I have used and my nail varnish was so badly chipped, I used it as soon as we got back to our hotel room! I was toying with this and the ‘white chocolate’ version from Ciate but it was such a tiny pot for the same price, I thought the Sephora one would last a bit longer.

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Next, a Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in the shade Trooper. I had been after one of these eyeliners for so long and they are raved about in the beauty world. I have used this a couple of times and am pretty impressed. The staying power is the best I have seen in a liquid eyeliner. My only complaint is that it isn’t as deep a black as I was expecting but you can build up the colour quite easily. The tip is really unique too – very fine but you can get a thick or thin line from it. I now wish I had picked up a couple of other items from her line as the packaging seems just as beautiful as the products.

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A bit of a less glamorous purchase now – deodorant! I have read a lot lately about how harmful aerosol deodorants can be so decided to try a more natural version and see how I get on. I had read recommendations for the Pure Vanilla Healthy Deodorant from LaVanila so picked up a stick.

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I picked up these Sephora Sleeping Masks for gifts and really wish I had bought myself one too!

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Next, a cleansing oil to try out from Boscia (another one recommended by beauty bloggers). I use these type of cleansers every evening and keep finding gems so hopefully this one will prove as good!

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One reason I love/ hate Sephora is how easy they make it for you to spend more than you had planned! I wanted to try out the First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads (a favourite of Lily Pebbles) but when I saw this lovely kit with their Face Cleanser and Ultra Repair Cream included, I decided to try out a bit more from the range.

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A real treat now from Tarte. Their Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blushers are raved about but quite pricey. After not buying one the last time I was on holiday, I decided to try out the shade Tipsy, a gorgeous bright coral-pink shade. I also love products that are embossed and this pretty jungle path means I will be really reluctant to use it too much!

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I have saved the best for last as this was the purchase I was most excited about trying. I love the ‘Sephora Favourites’ boxes where they select the best items from different brands based on a theme such as ‘bronzers’ (which I have bought in the past). I picked up the ‘Time to Prime’ box which contains a variety of amazing primers. Included is a Formula X Base Coat, an Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, an Urban Decay Subversion Lash Primer, a Smashbox 24-Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer, a Bite Beauty Line and Define Lip Primer and a Living Proof Prime Style Extender for Hair. I think you’ll agree, this is a pretty awesome collection!

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Beauty Review – August Birchbox

I have to admit that I only really opened this month’s Birchbox and had a play this week – I think I have just been having too much fun testing out all the goodies I bought in America recently!

After last month’s contents arriving in a make-up bag, we are back to a box this month and what a pretty one it is…

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Covered in little beauty emojis, there was also a pack of stickers of the same design inside.

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Here was my first look at the beauty items:

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First up a Rice Scrub from Rituals. I have been wanting to try something from this brand and love a good scrub. This one has organic rice milk and cherry blossom from it so sounds less harsh than a lot of exfoliators on the market.

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Next, a clarifying shampoo from Kebelo. Although I don’t use a huge amount of products on my hair, my Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo has found its way into my weekly ritual and I love the squeaky clean feeling it gives my hair. I’m keen to try out another brand’s version.

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I also received a pale grey Grab & Go Ponytail Holder from L. Erickson. Now, I would never pay almost £12 for a hair tie but this feels very soft and is meant to avoid snagging. I have to say it looks a little chunky for someone with quite short hair but always handy to have in my handbag.

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A Cleansing Water next from BioNike. I hadn’t heard of this brand before but like that this looks very delicate and soothing on the face. I always use these type of products to remove my make up so a welcome addition for me.

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Finally, two make-up items. I love The Balm Cosmetics, especially their retro packaging. I use their blushers so was pleased to see a bronzer. I know it’s only a sample but it isn’t the best size for a bronzer given that I like to apply mine with a very large, fluffy brush – I would have preferred another one of their lovely blushers but I found this also looks lovely as a golden-brown matte eyeshadow.

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I had another multi-use product from Lord and Berry in their blusher in the shade Lotus. When I opened the box, I was really disappointed in the cheap packaging. The colour looks nice and although isn’t the most pigmented, it is very silky to apply. I like that this can be used as a blusher or eyeshadow…I just need to find a better way to store it as I really dislike the plastic case!

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I’m not blown away by this month’s Birchbox and am probably the most excited about trying out the shampoo which isn’t exactly riveting. However, I have noticed there is a great sale on their website at the moment and I happen to have racked up a lot of points to spend so that’s practically free make-up! x

Latest Purchases #86 – US Drugstore Haul

I ended up buying quite a bit of make-up and skincare items when we were on holiday so decided to split them into a Sephora Haul (coming next week!) and a kind of high street/ drugstore one. I tried to stick to brands that either aren’t available in the UK or products that I hadn’t seen on the shelves in Boots or Superdrug before. I think I was fairly restrained as I could have added a lot more into my basket!

First of all, not strictly a US purchase but one I used every day on holiday after buying it in Duty Free. This perfume from D&G is my first perfume from the brand and I really like it. I’m rubbish at trying to describe scents but I thought this was fruity and summery and every time I smell it now I think of our holiday.

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Next, a few bits I picked up in Bath & Bodyworks. I love this shop and if I wasn’t so worried about our luggage allowance, I would have treated myself to some of their candles too. I always have one of these scented hand sanitizers in my handbag so picked up some new scents – I picked some lovely summery ones but the ‘Napa Valley Sunset’ is my favourite as it is wine-inspired!

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Some Essie nail varnish next and I managed to narrow this down to three new shades; Chillato (a pastel pistachio – I blogged about it here), Where’s My Chauffeur (a turquoise-blue) and Golden Nuggets (a gold glitter).

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Another nail product from Sally Hansen, the Salon Effects Nail Stickers. I have tried these before and they are really good. They sit on your nails just like nail varnish and I loved this cool geometric pattern.

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Some lip balms next and the first one is from from Eos in Coconut Milk. I really like the formulas of these and the little egg shape it comes in!

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I also picked up a Burt’s Bees Rose Tinted Lip Balm. I thought this would be a chunky colour stick but the cardboard packaging was just for show and it’s just a regular little stick. There isn’t much colour pay-off from this but I always find this brand to be good quality so look forward to using this.

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This seemed a fun product next from Chapstick with a double ended, duo-flavoured stick.

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I wanted to try a few things from the brand Milani and read glowing reviews of their baked blushers. I picked up Corallina which is a beautiful rosey coral pink with a gold shimmer running through it. I think it looks beautiful although the lid cracked in my suitcase so I won’t be taking it in on my travels. I noticed a rattling sound when I picked this up and found a little mirror and brush underneath which is quite handy. I have swatched this and it is very glowy so can double up as a highlighter too.

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I also bought two eyeshadows in different formulas. Bella Cappuccino is a satin matte formula in a warm, medium brown with a hint of golden shimmer. I wasn’t sure what ‘satin matte’ would be like (surely it’s one or the other?!) but it’s actually a perfect description for this formula. I wouldn’t say this isn’t hugely pigmented and is slightly on the chalky side but a good ‘base’ colour for me.

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However, Bella Bronze is a different story! This is a metallic eyeshadow in a deep bronze with a beautiful coppery shimmer. The formula of this is so soft and buttery and it blends really well too. Of the two, I would definitely buy from the metallic range again.

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Another brand that we don’t get in the UK but has some real gems is Wet n Wild. I decided to try out one of their mascaras and there was so much choice! I opted for Megaplump and will let you know how I get on.

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I also picked up a blusher in the shade Mellow Wine. It may be a tad on the dark side for me – I will have to apply this with a light touch! This also contained a little brush, although like the Milani one, it doesn’t feel amazing quality.

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People seem to go mad for the Wet n Wild eyeshadow palettes so I picked up a small one named Silent Treatment. It contains three eyeshadows, embossed with ‘browbone’, ‘crease’ and ‘eyelid’ to use all three together – very handy for those less confident with a smoky eye. These are lovely eyeshadows although the darkest shade is a bit glittery so more of a night time look for me.

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I also wanted to try a lip product from this brand and am really into chunky lip pencils at the moment so picked up a Megaslicks Balm Stain in the shade Red-ioactive (I love the name!) This is so pigmented and although it applies with a gloss, after that has faded you are still left with a really strong wash of colour – I like this a lot.

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Carrying on with the lip products, NYX is another brand that was on my list to try so I bought one of their butter glosses in the shade Peach Cobbler – maybe it was just for the name?! This is a pretty peachy coral colour sitting somewhere between sheer and opaque and as it is a gloss it gives a very lush finish but is a tad sticky.

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Finally, a little trip down memory lane with a good old faithful mascara. I saw this at the till for a couple of dollars so thought why not?! It was only when I opened it that I realised I had picked up the shade Royal Blue. However, coloured mascaras seem to be having a bit of a comeback worn at the tips over black mascara so I shall give that look a go with this mascara.

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Phew – I am so excited to start using these items and seeing which ones will make it into my daily routine! x

Latest Purchases #80 – A Stila Haul

I saw another blogger use some Stila product in a recent post and thought I would hop on over to their website to see what goodies they had to offer. Their current range contains some beautiful items and I have always liked this brand so before I knew it an order was on its way to me!

Here’s what I picked up:

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First up a set of their Spring Break lip glazes in the shades Pink Ice, Sheen and Sparkle.  I have a lot of these lip products and they are great for a swipe of colour and gloss. They are slightly on the sticky side when first applied so not great for a windy day with long hair but a lovely set of colours.

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Another lip product next – an After Glow Lip Colour in the shade  Tangerine Dream. This is a chunky lip crayon that glows under UV lights. Sadly my clubbing days are a rarity now but I had been after a bright orange lip colour for ages and this is a winner for me! The pigmentation is great and the staying power is pretty good too. It is the perfect red/orange shade for my skin tone and a perfect colour for a summery bold lip.

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A blush and lip duo next. I picked up the Positively Pink set which has a chunk of the proceeds going towards Breast Cancer Awareness, a cause close to my heart. This duo contains a blusher palette in Positively Pink and a lip glaze in the shade Splendor. The blusher is a pretty pink shade and the two lighter waves of shimmer give a lovely glow and can be used as a highlighter or mixed together on a large brush and used as a glowy blusher.

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Finally, my favourite purchase – the Stila Color Outside the Lines eyeliner set. Presented in a cool silver tin, this set contains five waterproof eyeliners in a fabulous range of colours; Stingray (a matte black), Lionfish (a shimmery bronze), Aubergine (a deep purple with a slight shimmer), Navy (a matte grey-blue) and Emerald (an electric, shimmery turquoise).

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The formula of these is amazing – they just don’t budge! The fine, wind-up nib means they stay sharp and don’t need to be sharpened and the smooth formula glides on for a perfect line. I used to wear a lot of bright coloured eyeliners when I was younger (does anyone remember the ‘RU’ range at Superdrug?!) but nowadays tend to stick to a good liquid eyeliner in black. These Stila pencils have really changed my mind about coloured eyeliners and I think they are a great way to add a hint of colour, especially with the turquoise shade!

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Have you tried any Stila products? x

Beauty Review – May Birchbox

I’m a bit late reviewing this month’s box but it’s another good’un so better late than never!

My first thought when I opened the box was that it had a really cool design on it but was a bit plain…I soon realised why and how it linked into this month’s creative theme of ‘Free Your Mind’. Here was my first peek inside:

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The ‘little something extra’ in the box this month was a pack of colouring pencils, allowing you to personalise the lid of your box (there’s a mini competition running on this too). Adult colouring books are having a moment so this concept feeds in really well to that idea of making some time for yourself. I am currently into cross stitching to unwind in the evening so I’m not sure I will colour in my box but I do like the idea behind it.

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Right, onto the beauty items! I love a good hair mask and this one from Number 4 looks lovely. The Lumiere d’hiver Reconstructing Masque contains some amazing ingredients and is designed to leave your hair smooth, strengthened and shiny.

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Next a nail varnish from Wah London, a brand I am hearing more and more about after discovering their nail art. There was an option to receive a nail varnish, nail art pen or press on nails and I’m glad I got to try out one of their polishes. I had the shade The Blue Room, a vibrant yet slightly creamy coloured blue. I have just bought a similar shade so kind of wish I had another colour but that’s not their fault so I will give this a go and report back.

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A brand whose skincare I really like, I received a Caudalie tinted moisturiser. I am a big fan of these in the summer when you don’t want to wear too heavy a base on your face and this comes with a good SPF which is always a bonus. Unlike most other formulas, this smells amazing and the coverage isn’t bad either.

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I always welcome a face mask and this one from Absolution looks and smells lovely. It is called the Youth Activator Mask so sounds as though it is aimed at my skin type and aims to add a burst of moisture.

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Next a product that I wasn’t that excited about but Ian will definitely use – Parlor’s Moisturising Sea Salt Spray. I just don’t use anything like salt spray on my hair but Ian is a fan and the fact that this contains almond oils means it shouldn’t be as drying as other formulas are.

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Finally, a make-up item from Jelly Pong Pong (I love this name!) I received the Caribbean Sun Bronzer in the shade Martinique which looks perfect for my pale skin. It is a duo that contains a matt bronzer and a shimmery pink blusher. The palette is a little bit small to get a big brush into but I imagine that swirling the colours together would create a lovely glow too. I like that the compact has a mirror and on first impressions the blusher looks like the real winner – the bronzer is a tad on the chalky side for me.

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Overall, I really like this month’s box. My stand-out product is the Caudelie tinted moisturiser and I am excited to try it out properly this week.

Latest Purchases #61 – An Autumnal Haul

There is a little bit of everything in this post – some of the pieces are not particularly autumnal but I was struggling for a title! These are basically the bits and pieces I have bought over the past few weeks along with some Christmas gifts too.

First up an ASOS order. Yes, I was tempted by their 70% off email and managed to get some end of summer bargains to put away for next year.

First up, a flower-print dress because lord knows I need another one! I like these ASOS skater dresses and have a few different prints. I really like the fact that the arms on this are a little longer than a normal short-sleeved dress. I plan on wearing this with tights and boots this winter (it’s November so I am officially using the ‘w’ word)

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Next, a rather painful entry as I had to send this one back for being too big and they don’t have a smaller size! I really like the brand Pull&Bear and this pretty lace dress was reduced to £6.50 from almost £25. Although it is lace, it isn’t a light, floaty summery dress but rather a thick, brocade-style lace detail which would have been lovely to wear over the festive period. I’m keeping my eyes peeled just in case they restock my size!

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A new brand for me now and a total bargain. This beautiful pale pink scarf adorned with peace symbols is from cool Danish label Becksondergaard and was reduced from £33 to £4. It’s a gorgeous soft, lightweight cotton material and is the perfect length and size.

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Something I plan to put away for next summer is this straw hat, reduced to a fiver. My current straw hat is looking a bit battered so I have upgraded. This is simple, has a pretty plaited tie around the base of the hat and is perfect for keeping the sun off my head.

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A bit of bling next. Las Vegas will always hold a place in my heart and what better way to remember our wedding there than a Vegas necklace?! I love charm necklaces and I will get a lot of wear out of this.

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Finally, I always have a quick look at the Beauty pages on ASOS and I was pleased to see several Apocalips lip glosses reduced. I love this release from Rimmel and opted for Across the Universe, a deep red which is very wearable at this time of year.

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I also nipped into Primark when I was in Bath recently with the sole aim of picking up a few more tops. First of all, I found this floral and striped number. It is made from a sheer material but looks great layered up and is a bit different from my usual Breton-style tops.

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Next, I picked up another colour of their ‘distressed’ t-shirt. I have a few shades of this style and they are the perfect length – I love wearing mine for my Pilates class. I’m not usually a pink girl but I think the bleached, distressed look hardens it slightly.

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Finally, some more colour in the form of this mint green lace t-shirt. I also have this in white (are you sensing a theme here?!) and wear it a lot so this green one will be a nice alternative.

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Last up, I bought some beauty bits from Marks and Spencer. Have you perused this section of Marks ‘n’ Sparks lately?! They have some pretty awesome stuff in there and a great selection of brands. This time however I stuck to their own brands and picked up a blusher and two eyeshadows.

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The blusher is from Limited Collection in the shade Apricot. This is a pinky matte blusher in some very pretty animal print packaging. If I was being really picky then I would say that the formula is ever so slightly chalky but as long as you don’t get too much product on your blush and blend it in well then you’d never know.

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From the Autograph range, I bought two eyeshadows in Peach and Olive. These two satin shades have a lovely shimmer and are very blendable. I am so used to using eyeshadow palettes that it feels a real treat to buy individual shades!

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The pinky shade is a perfect everyday nude for me that I would tend to wear as a base colour. The golden shade is beautiful once applied to the eyes; a real antique gold.

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Both single shadows come with a mirror and applicator although I prefer to apply these with brushes so I can blend them in easier.

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I don’t have much from M&S but after seeing the range in their beauty hall, I will definitely be back for more.

Beauty Review – April Birchbox

It is shaping up to be a gorgeous Bank Holiday here! We have been determined to make the most of the fleeting sunshine and have been to a great new lobster pop-up restaurant (review coming soon!), saw some friends yesterday at a little beer and cider festival then popped across Bristol to see more friends and their pups and have an amazing chilli together!

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Today is looking a little more chilled out with a nice long walk to see the lambs and calves in the surrounding fields followed by a huge roast dinner tonight with a film…can we make three-day weekends mandatory?!

I’m a bit late with this Birchbox review but it is well worth the wait as yet again, I received a great box of goodies – they are doing so well with their brands and products at the moment!

Here is my first peek in the box…

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This month has a foodie theme to the box with the products being ‘Good Enough to Eat’ and a Hummingbird Bakery cupcake recipe included too. I love using nice-smelling body products so I thought this was a pretty cool theme to follow.

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First up, the foodie in me grabbed the bag of popcorn! I have tried ProperCorn before but not this flavour – Sweet Coconut and Vanilla – and it was delicious. Coming in at under 40 calories a bag meant it was a totally guilt-free treat too!

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Next up, a Laura Mercier Fresh Fig Body Butter. I love this brand so was really pleased to see another product from them and fig is one of my favourite scents so I am looking forward to using this.

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Now I don’t really need another mint green nail varnish but this one by Color Club in the shade Breakfast At… has a lovely pearlescent finish to it which makes it unlike anything I already own. I like this nail varnish brand and I think this shade will make it into my next manicure.

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I was pleased to see a new brand included in the box too. I received Yin Yang’s Skin Cleanser which smells really refreshing and is an all-natural product.

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I have used foundations by RMK before and really liked the dewy finish they gave my skin so I was happy to find another product from them – a lightweight make up base. This doesn’t provide any colour or coverage but is meant to smooth and hydrate the skin to make your base last that little bit longer.

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Finally, another of my favourite brands – theBalm! I love the packaging of their products and this gorgeous cheek and lip cream is no exception. I received the shade Pie which is a bright pinky-red shade which can be built up to achieve your desired colour. I have used this as a blusher and a lip colour so far and was impressed.

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Overall, a great little box this month!

Wishing you a lovely, food-filled and relaxing Bank Holiday weekend x