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Beauty Review – April Birchbox

Hello and Happy Saturday! It’s a sunny one and I was up and out on a run this morning to start the day. I have really been trying to get back into running lately as not only does it burn a few pounds but I just love how awake and energised I feel running through the country lanes with the sun on my face…I’ve even managed a few 6am pre-work runs this week which I never thought would happen!

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I arrived home to find this month’s Birchbox waiting for me on my porch which was a lovely surprise as I had forgotten it was coming. After a couple of average boxes in recent months, I am pleased to report that things are back on track and I think this is a really great box. I love the pink and rose gold box that this month’s goodies arrived in too! Here was my first peek at the contents:

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Now before I get into the products, I am going to have a moan about this week’s theme: ‘Royally Good’. I was slightly distracted by the beautiful pink and mint green design and thought this was a celebration of Britishness. Yet, when I had a read through the cards, I realised that the whole box was dedicated to the second royal baby?!?!

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Yes, apparently we are at fever pitch waiting for the new royal arrival so all products are introduced with the word throne/ rule/ crown/ queen thrown in for good measure. I guess this could all be seen as a bit of fun but the article that really annoyed me was the one that gave us an insight into what we could do if we were queen for a day which included lie-ins, pancakes, chocolate and a ‘pamper sesh’…hardly the most inspiring message for independent women!

Anyway, I have to admit that the reason I subscribe to Birchbox is not the for the accompanying literature but the products inside so here is what I received.

A Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. This is the third one I own and I love this item. It is a perfect base for my make-up and a cult product from a great brand.

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Next, a Bergamot Pear Body Milk by Korres. I love their skin products and think their scents are always a little bit different from what else is on the market. This is going in my travel bag for the summer.

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A foaming face wash next from Bliss. This looks like it will do a good job but I am quite wary of anything foaming as it is usually very drying. I think when I try this I will have to make sure I slather on some moisturisers afterwards.

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I am quite into a hair and skin mask treat on Sunday evenings at the moment and these single sachets are always fun to try out. I received a warming clay mask from Befine with cardamom, arnica and pomegranate. I have a few pomegranate products, which is a great antioxidant, and my skin seems to like them.

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A hair product next – Percy and Reed’s Smoothed, Sealed and Sensational Volumising No Oil Oil. A bit of a mouthful but an interesting product nonetheless! I quite like hair oils and while I don’t need any more volume in my locks, anything that can help tame the frizz is always welcome!

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Finally, a nail varnish which made me very happy! From Lola Barcelona I received a gorgeous coral shade in Rambla which brings back very happy memories of strolling down La Rambla on holiday in this city. I couldn’t wait to try this brand out so popped the polish on my toes. It wasn’t the best formula upon application and I needed three coats for full coverage but it has dried to a lovely glossy finish and looks great. I feel this is a great summer shade to wear with a tan.

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So despite a rather naff theme this month, I love April’s Birchbox. There isn’t one product I’m not excited to use and I have some welcome additions to my travel make-up bag for our July/August holiday! x

Latest Purchases #70 – More Space.NK

As Britney once said ‘Oops, I did it again’…I was sucked in by the gorgeous website and before I knew it I was leaving delivery instructions with the postman and ripping open another box from Space.NK. I really didn’t need any new products but it’s funny how you can convince yourself you do once you start looking!

First up, some new candles. I’m currently making my way through the last of my Yankee Christmas candles but have got some nice ones lined up now.

This Space.NK Smoky Rose Candle is like a grown-up version of my usual rose scent. It is richer and slightly muskier and this came in a gorgeous, sleek glass. Space.NK’s candles have great reviews in terms of the scent and burning time so I look forward to putting this one to the test.

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Still on the subject of candles, a slightly unusual choice now:

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This slightly larger Parsley and Mint candle is not a traditional candle scent but it is so fresh and uplifting. I bought this to have on our kitchen table to burn when I have cooked something particularly whiffy like kippers! There is something not quite right about a really floral or musky candle scent in the kitchen so this herbal smell will be perfect.

A few items from the Life.NK range now which is kind of like Space.NK’s own brand of beauty products.

A simple daily moisturiser first in a handy travel size. This is a really simple and light face cream which just does what it says on the tin!

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A big bottle of shower gel next which has a lovely rose, vanilla and jasmine scent.

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Finally, a tube of lip care to help me on my never-ending battle against dry and chapped lips…I am so ready for this cold weather to go away now!

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A little bit of luxury next with this huge tub of Sai-Sei Mineral Seaweed Bath Crystals. These smell amazing and will give that luxury spa-like experience to any bathtub. I have been getting the worst aching legs after a run recently so I am hoping a soak in these revitalising bath crystals will help.

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Last up, some more Laura Mercier, which is quickly becoming one of my favourite beauty brands! These Eye Canvas bases are designed to prep your eyelids by creating a perfect base to allow your eye make-up to sit well and last that bit longer. I think the shades I bought are slightly too dark but as long as I am using a bronze/ brown eyeshadow then you really can’t tell. It is one of my biggest bugbears when my eyeshadow creases so I am hoping this is the magic formula to stopping that!

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As a little extra in the box, I also received a few nice samples from Life.NK, Rodial and Eve Lom; a nice touch!

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Right, I feel like I need a self-imposed hiatus from the Space.NK website for a little bit as I am meant to be saving for our trip to the States now…Hannah, step away from the laptop! x

Latest Purchases #67 – A Space.NK Haul

Well I don’t know about you but I’ve had a pretty lovely Saturday. Despite it being freezing, we headed into Bath bright and early where I had my roots done, bought some new foundation, a lipstick and cookbook, went for burgers with Ian then went to the cinema to drink coffees, eat sweets and enjoy American Sniper…all in all a great start to the weekend, especially as tomorrow will mainly be spent finishing my marking for school!

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This evening, we are too stuffed for a big dinner so plan on just chilling on the sofa with some cheese and biscuits to nibble on.

For today’s post I wanted to share my recent treats from Space.NK. This is a store that I browse frequently but it definitely isn’t the cheapest place to go on a spree so it is in ‘treat’ territory for me. However, they have some great sales so when I spotted some goodies in their January sale, my online basket soon began to fill up!

Here is what I picked up:

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Firstly, a large and small bottle of their Milk Soak. I love a heavily scented bath but I’m not a huge fan of bubbles, I don’t like the film that oils leave behind and although they look and smell amazing some of Lush’s bath bombs leave so much residue in the bath that they can be more hassle than they are worth! Enter these milk soaks…

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They leave your skin feeling so soft afterwards and have a lovely, fresh, almost powdery scent to them. I bought a large one for myself and smaller one as a present for my Mum.

One of my favourite skincare brands next, REN. These particular products were in the sale simple because they are rebranding and changing the word ‘Mayblossom’ to ‘Clarimatte’. Personally, I think the previous title sounds better but it’s the formula that really matters and this looks to be a great purifying cleanser.

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As well as the full-size cleanser, I also bought a travel set which included the same cleanser alongside a day cream and a detox mask which I will be packing the next time I go away.

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A little present for Ian next from super-cool New York brand Kiehl’s. This included a moisturiser, exfoliating face scrub and a toning spray (which I keep telling him is not too girly to use!)

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I may have saved the best for last here with this beautiful new palette from Laura Mercier. It is their Artist’s Palette for Eyes and Cheeks and it is lovely! Encased in a black and brown zebra-print case with a satisfying metallic lock, this palette contains a blusher and 8 eyeshadows.

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In the centre the blusher in shade Rosegold Shimmer is a lovely golden peach which I will use as both blusher and highlighter, although I am loathe to use it too much as I love the embossed signature on it!

The eyeshadows are a great variety and very different to the other eyeshadow palette I use all the time, the Urban Decay Naked 3. These eight shades have 5 mattes and 3 shimmers which can be mixed and matched to create different looks. Whilst I am getting into matte eyeshadows more recently, my early favourites are Topaz and Crystal Beige and I can’t wait to have a play around with them all, especially the navy shade Deep Night.

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I think all of these products combined took me just over the £60 I needed to qualify for free delivery which is a real bargain for such high-end brands and makes me feel slightly less guilty too! x

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

Beauty Review – November Birchbox

I’m a bit late with this month’s Birchbox review but it has meant I have had an extra few days to trial these products.

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The theme of this month’s box is ‘icons’. I like that the team behind this brand put some effort into their choices each month but I don’t really see anything ‘iconic’ about the contents of the box and I think some of the articles and links are slightly tentative.

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There was however a card to fill in and share on social media which was quite fun to do and I found it interesting reading what other people had put.

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Anyway, onto the contents…

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An interesting mix this month – not one of my favourite deliveries if I’m honest but some nice products I will definitely use.

First up is a perfume sample, always a welcome addition for the handbag and this scent by English Laundry is perfect for me. I’m not keen on anything too heavy or musky and this is light, sweet and fruity. For a second, I thought ‘English Laundry’ was the scent which got me rather excited as I love the smell of fresh laundry but alas…I need to get out more!

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Next, three teabags from Pukka Herbs. I like this brand and have some of their teabags in my cupboards. I treated myself to the earl grey straight away and I think the cinnamon one sounds perfect for these cold evenings.

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A hair product next – Weleda’s Replenishing Oat Shampoo. I love this brand for skincare and didn’t realise they had hair products too. This one has gone into my ‘weekend away’ box as it is such a handy size.

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I’m really not too sure about this next product – a highlighter pencil by Chella worth almost £16. I am used to using powder or cream highlighters in a palette and I find this pencil doesn’t apply as well. You really need to blend it in well to remove the pencil lines which can be a bit of a faff. Saying that, it is a lovely creamy consistency and the ‘ivory lace’ shade is good for my pale colourings.

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Birchbox included their own double pencil sharpener. Nothing ground-breaking but always useful.

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A real skincare treat next with Matriskin’s Collagen Serum. I love that it comes with a pipette and I have been using it morning and night although it is slightly on the sticky side if I’m in a rush in the morning! Having read a few reviews of this serum, it seems to be good stuff but at £80 for a full-sized bottle I don’t think I will repurchasing it.

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Finally, a make-up item from one of my new favourite brands, Laura Mercia. I’m always trying out new mascaras and this one really lengthens my lashes and is a good size for travelling with.

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Upon reflection, this is actually a pretty good box – two make-up items, shampoo, tea and skincare but there just isn’t much to get really excited about, especially after I loved last month’s box so much…maybe I’m getting a little complacent with these beauty boxes?!

Beauty Review – October Birchbox

The end is in sight for the end of term! It was my last day with my class today and I just have one training day to get through tomorrow then have 11 days off, a hotel break and lots of time with my family and friends to look forward to. Unfortunately the weather is meant to be pretty miserable so no lovely autumnal walks but I can predict all that walking will be replaced with cooking and baking instead…fun but not so good for the waistline!

This month’s Birchbox seems to be another corker. There seems to be more and more monthly beauty boxes on the market now but for me Birchbox seems to be the best out there in terms of brands and value for money, allowing me to justify this monthly treat.

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Here was my first peek at this month’s box which has a ‘Beauty Buzz’ theme, celebrating all those products that everyone seems to be talking about. The Birchbox magazine also seems to have been replaced by a series of postcards, each with a different article, beauty tutorial or product on the back of it.

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Right, onto the goodies…

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First up is KMS California’s Curl Up Wave Foam Mousse. Being a curly-haired girl, I am always on the lookout for products that tame the frizz without leaving my hair feeling sticky or crunchy. KMS is an amazing hair brand but I have horrible memories of using mousse when I was a teenager which left me with rather fetching wet-look hair! I am hoping this gel-to-mousse product will change my mind about mousse again. I have used this once and am so far impressed and it smells amazing so I will persevere!

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Next is Dr Brandt’s Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant. This sounds harsher on your skin than it actually is. This is a face scrub to be used a couple of times a week and I really like the fresh, invigorating lemon scent it has.

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My least favourite product in this month’s box is these Birchbox eyelash curlers. Priced at £10, they are perfectly functional and do what they are meant to do but I’m sure everyone already owns a pair of these so I think it was a bit of a lazy addition.

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A product I have never heard of but am intrigued to try is this Egyptian Magic. I received three sachets of this cult multi-purpose cream, made with all natural ingredients but some rather interesting packaging! This balm is meant to be rubbed in your hands until it turns to a light oil then can be used on the skin or hair to moisturise.

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Next is Dr Lipp’s Nipple Balm which believe it or not began life as a nipple cream before someone realised it also worked wonders on your lips. This is like a thick Vaseline and is great for this time of year as the weather gets colder – a perfect size to pop in my handbag.

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The make-up item this month was Stainiac by theBalm cosmetics. I love their blushers but had never tried their lip and cheek stains. Obviously, a product like this will always be compared to Benefit’s Benetint but I do like this. It doesn’t have amazing staying power on the lips but as a cheek stain this is a good product.

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Finally, I have saved the best until last with Laura Mercier’s Foundation Primer Radiance. If I had a pound for every time a beauty blogger raved about this brand, I would be a very rich girl! Sometimes you wonder what all the fuss is about but I am truly in love with this product. The primer is slightly tinted but applies like a dream and gives you a beautiful dewy base. If you have clear skin then you could get away with wearing this on its own as it blurs any imperfections and leaves your skin looking great but without being too shimmery. Although a little on the pricey side, I will buy this product again when this tube runs out as it is really is fab!

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So there you have it for another month – a good range of products this time with some brands I love. I hear there will be another Laura Mercier product in the next Birchbox so I will wait with baited breath!