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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.


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!


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).


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.


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.


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.


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

Travel Diaries – New York (Part One)

Right, I think I’m feeling awake enough to make a start on some holiday posts! I love making a record of our adventures and when previous trips pop up on Timehop, I’m really grateful to have this little corner of the internet to look back on fun times.

In case you didn’t know, my husband Ian and I spent two weeks travelling down the East Coast of America, stopping off at New York, Atlantic City, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Today’s blog post will be part one of the five days we spent in New York.

Day One – Monday 27th July

So our holiday started with a 4:30am alarm clock although I think we were both awake before then, a bit too excited to sleep! After a big mug of tea (me) and coffee (Ian), his parents and their dog George very kindly dropped us off at Bristol airport with just enough time for me to purchase a new perfume (L’Impératrice by D&G).

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We flew with Aer Lingus, which meant having to go via Dublin. I hadn’t flown to the States via a connecting flight before and after this experience, I’m not sure I’d be in a hurry to do it again. We sat on the runway at Bristol for about 45 minutes meaning when we landed, we were really late for our connecting flight. Cue a mad dash through Dublin airport and security and arriving on our next flight a bit hot and bothered. Not the best start and I definitely needed a large G&T afterwards!

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Apart from that drama, it was a fairly uneventful flight…bad food, good films and I also read Mindy Kaling’s book ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’

We landed mid-afternoon and after a bit of hanging around at the airport, we caught our transfer and were dropped off at our hotel, The Ameritania, which was a couple of blocks from Central Park, right in the centre of Broadway.

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My first impressions of the hotel were good. I would say that the décor was not my style but it was very modern and clean, the staff were so helpful and you really couldn’t beat the location. Our room  wasn’t huge but again very clean, luxurious and modern with a lovely bathroom, really comfortable bed and good views. We weren’t sure about the ‘Lover’s Intimacy Kit’ which was included in the minibar though! I think the only thing that could have made our stay more perfect was free wifi as we had to go to Starbucks over the road for it.

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After settling in, I was quite ready for bed but knew I had to stay up and try and get on US time. We walked up to Central Park and had a leisurely stroll around, sussing out our running routes for the next morning and taking in the atmosphere. It is without a doubt my favourite space in New York; a little oasis amongst the hectic pace of the city.

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We then walked over to Times Square which was a bit of a mistake as it was packed with people waiting for Tom Cruise who was there for his latest film premiere. We finished the night with a bite to eat and of course I had to order ribs for my first meal!

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Day Two – Tuesday 28th July

Thanks to the time difference, I was awake at about 5am to see a beautiful pinky-golden sunrise from our hotel window. Ian and I both packed our running gear for this holiday as we decided we should try and balance out all the eating and drinking with a few morning runs. I never thought my running shoes would make it into my holiday suitcase but I’m so glad they did! Running through the streets of New York before everyone else was up was kind of surreal but also a chance to see a different side of the city. A near-empty Central Park was beautiful and it was refreshingly cool too.

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On my list of foodie places to go was a café called Argo Tea and I was pleased to see one on the way back to the hotel. They did an amazing iced chai tea drink which I had every day we were there!

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After a quick Starbucks, we bought our Metro passes and headed Downtown to Battery Park. It was absolutely boiling the whole time we were away and the air-conditioned trains were a godsend for getting around the city.

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The first thing we decided to do was to take a trip to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Previously when we visited New York, we got the free Staten Island Ferry past the island which was OK to see it but this time we wanted to get a bit closer. We got a ferry over to Liberty Island, had the first of many audio guides and enjoyed great views of the green lady as well as back over Manhattan.

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Next, we hopped back on the boat, this time to Ellis Island and its Immigration Centre. I found this place fascinating. It was well set out, the exhibits were really interesting and it not only told the history of immigration to America but really challenged my views on it today too.

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The grand hall was impressive and having travelled there by boat, you could really imagine how people would have felt decades ago, arriving and seeing the statue before starting a new life in America.

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After getting back onto dry land, we were really hungry so walked to South Street Seaport where I had read about some cool foodie places. We stumbled upon ‘Smorgasburg’ with lots of individual stalls selling a great variety of food and drinks. We settled on some local beers, a Vietnamese-style beef brisket roll and the best lobster roll I have ever eaten!

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Fed and watered, we walked through the Financial District and visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It didn’t feel right to take lots of photos inside but it was a fascinating and very moving, sombre experience. I didn’t think the actual exhibits were particularly well laid out (lots of waiting for the people in front to move before you could see the displays – I would recommend going early before the crowds) but it took you through the events of the day using video clips, artefacts, newspaper reports, answerphone messages and parts of the actual Twin Towers. Outside we saw the two huge memorial fountains too.

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We decided to end our day at one of my favourite places to eat in America: Bubba Gump! Yes, I know a Forrest Gump-themed restaurant isn’t the height of culinary sophistication but I order the same dish every time (Cajun-spiced mahi mahi and shrimp with a bourbon sauce) and loved it!

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Right, that’s it for Part One…the next one should be up tomorrow x

Beauty Review – March Birchbox

Beauty Review – March Birchbox

I was really pleased when I opened this bright Birchbox and saw it was a collaboration with Habitat. I love interior design so was excited to see what products had been picked.

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I always try to be honest on here as I’m not being paid to review these or anything but I was slightly underwhelmed when I first opened it. I was picturing a cool photo frame, print or candle influenced by Habitat’s designs but a flimsy notebook seems to be the extent of Habitat’s influence!


Yes, it’s a handy notebook (ideal for my weekly shopping lists) but hardly the prettiest to have on your desk.

Whilst I’m having a moan I may as well get the other disappointing product out of the way – another book preview; two chapters of Penny Vincenzi’s latest novel, A Perfect Heritage. I understand this is a good marketing ploy to lure people in to buying the whole book but I find it a really cheeky inclusion in this box and will be unlikely to read it solely because I would then HAVE to buy the book to find out what happened next and I don’t like that kind of marketing.


Onto beauty now and the product I had pre-ordered through Birchbox. I really like this option where Birchbox email you a few weeks before the box is due to be posted and allow you to pick a shade or type of product. This time, I had the selection of three different Benefit mascaras and seeing as I already had the other two, I jumped at the chance to try out their latest Roller Lash mascara which has gorgeous retro packaging and promises to curl and lift the lash.


Next up, another brand I love – Philip Kingsley. I admit I have only tried this through Birchbox samples but everything I have trialled I have loved, especially their cult Elasticiser treatment which I will buy full-sized when I finish my tube. This time, I received their Smooth Cream which is designed for curly hair…perfect for me!


A facial cleanser next by Janjira. This contains pomegranate and acai and smells lovely. I have tried a face cream by this brand before and quite liked it. This face wash will be a nice wake-up to use this week.


You can tell summer is on people’s minds when the tanning products come out! I have to say that on first look, this product from Tan Organic doesn’t grab me. I’m really not keen on the dark packaging but a quick Google revealed some positive reviews of this self-tanning oil so I will give it a go when it looks warm enough to start thinking about getting my legs out!


A perfume next from Catherine Malandrino – it’s a lovely scent and perfect handbag size. I probably won’t buy the full-sized version but I do like a perfume sample every now and then simply to try something I may not pick out myself.


So a mixed bag, well box, this month. I really like the beauty products but feel the ‘lifestyle’ items weren’t up to the same standard. Here’s to next month being a good all-rounder!

Latest Purchases #56 – Holiday Buys

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend! Back in my college and uni days that would automatically equal Reading Festival but this year it looks to be a washout so we are just going to chill at home with a new box set and I will no doubt potter about in the kitchen too…how times have changed!

We have had a lovely weekend so far. One of my best friends Lucie arrived on Friday afternoon and we spent our evening up the pub, cooking and devouring a big bowl of spag bol followed by a hilarious game of Cards Against Humanity!


Yesterday, we headed out to meet the newest member of our friendship gang, beautiful baby Ivy. Ian was a natural and it was enough to make any girl broody! Haha

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Today I wanted to share a few things I picked up when we were on holiday last week…it already feels like ages ago!

My weakness is duty free shopping. Another blogger summed up airport shopping perfectly when she said that it’s like spending Monopoly money…I thought that was quite funny as all of my airport purchases were things that I probably wouldn’t have bought had I just popped in to Boots one weekend.

Anyway, I’ll start with the booze which makes you realise just how expensive spirits are to buy in the UK. We got some vodka (for Bloody Marys) and a bottle of brandy which I may have to hide from my Dad as it’s his favourite tipple!shop16

On the way there, I treated myself to a new perfume; Eau des Jardins by Clarins. I know most people associate this brand with skincare but I have another perfume by Clarins (Eau Dynamisante) which is lovely and lasts well.shop15 shop14

I think this perfume is a summer release but I will definitely wear it all year round as it has fresh and uplifting citrus notes with a slightly musky rose base.

When we went to Palma for a day trip, I hunted down a trusty Sephora. I managed to find a nice little haul there although I didn’t have too much time as Ian was doing that man-thing where I could tell he just really didn’t want to shop!

I picked up a new nail file which kind of looks metallic but is similar to a glass nail file – always handy.shop8 shop7

Also on the subject of nails, I remember buying some nail wraps from Sephora when we were in the States last summer and they were the best I had ever used so I was keen to try a few more from here. I picked up two sets; a bright pink design with some arty squiggles on and a dogtooth print which I am dying to try out!


Finally, I wanted to try and keep my tan for as long as possible once we returned home. I use St. Tropez on my body but had just run out of a Champneys facial tanner so decided to try out Sephora’s Tinted Self-tanning Face Gel. It said on the box that it came with a brush which I was expecting to find separately but I was intrigued when I opened up the packaging and found the brush to be attached to the tube. I think this will make application easy and hopefully nice and even too. It also has a handy ‘on/ off’ click cap to avoid any make-up bag disasters.

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On the way home, we happened to have a Duty Free right next to our flight gate so I was wandering through and found a little bargain in the form of these Clinique Chubby Sticks.

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These are the Moisturising Lip Colour Balms and I bought a box that contains three of their most popular shades; Super Strawberry (07), Two Ton Tomato (11) and Mighty Mimosa (13).These lovely pencils are super moisturising with a sheer colour and being a chunky lip pencil, are really easy to apply on the go.

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I have had a quick swatch of each one and they feel amazing on the lips and I like the subtle wash of colour too – I think the red shade is probably my favourite at the moment.

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So, a few nice treats which will remind me of our lovely week away! x

Beauty Review – My Boots Advent Calendar (Days 12 – 24)

Now that Christmas is starting to wind down, I thought I would share the rest of my advent calendar goodies and my overall views on this non-chocolate alternative.

Day 12 – Boots Nail Shine Solution

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I get through clear top coats quite quickly given how often I paint my nails so always welcome a new one to try out. This one from Boots’ Salon range contains sea kelp which is meant to nourish the nails whilst finishing to a high-gloss shine.

Day 13 – Vichy Liftactiv Serum for Eyes and Lashes


A brand I love, this Vichy product is unique in that it claims to not only reduce lines and wrinkles around the eyes but also fortify and strengthen lashes. This is a lovely, hydrating serum which is great on the skin around the eyes but I am yet to see a noticeable difference in my eyelashes.

Day 14 – Couture La La Perfume Sample


A pleasant enough scent but as I mentioned in my last review I don’t think these sample are the most interesting inclusion in these calendars!

Day 15 – Seventeen Tattoo Me Semi-Permanent Liquid Eyeliner


Despite claiming to last for 48 hours (who wears makeup for that long?!), I am looking forward to trialling this. I love a sweep of black eyeliner with cute flicks and this product has received rave reviews from beauty bloggers for its longevity and true black colour.

Day 16 – Spotty Nail File


Always handy but I prefer using a glass nail file and I think this was a bit of a crap gift.

Day 17 – Soap and Glory Flake Away Body Scrub


I already own the full-sized version of this and I love it! It smells delicious and is a great exfoliator. I tend to keep a tub of it in the shower and use a handful before fake-tanning or when I feel I need a good scrub!

Day 18 – Ghost Perfume Sample


This is one of my Mum’s favourite scents so I will be passing this sample onto her to use up.

Day 19 – Carmex Lip Balm


A cult lip product and one that I have started using in the last year. I love the medicinal smell of Carmex and the slight tingle you get when you apply it. I stocked up on the cherry version of this whilst we were in San Francisco as I spotted it for 75cents a tube!

Day 20 – Mavala Pure Diamond Nail Varnish


I really like this nail brand and this clear polish is packed full of glitter pieces. At first I thought it was just silver but in the light it has a gorgeous holographic effect and I think it would look great as a topcoat.

Day 21 – Botanics Heat Protection Shine Serum


I don’t actually use any heat products on my hair but this stuff smells so lovely I will still use it up! It contains camomile which is great for blonde hair and after having my hair dyed again recently, I am keen to keep it in good condition.

Day 22 – Nails Inc Porchester Square


I do already have this shade but it is one of my absolute favourites. A beautiful grey-purple colour, I always receive compliments when I wear this and it is no surprise it is one of Nail Inc’s best-selling shades.

Day 23 – Umberto Giannini ‘Backcomb in a Bottle’


This is a good brand and sounds pretty cool but I just know this is something I will never use on my hair type.

Day 24 – Seventeen Blow Out Mascara


Another Seventeen product that has rather OTT claims, this time to volumise your lashes by up to 12 times their normal size! I can never have enough black mascaras and after a quick look online, this too has received rave reviews. I would never think to try this brand, although the packaging seems to appeal to a younger audience, but I am going to give the eyeliner and mascara a week-long trial and will report back!

Phew – that’s all 24 windows opened, plus a Boots voucher towards any of the products in the calendar! Overall, I have loved this calendar. It is great value for money when you consider it was around the £30 with £70 worth of product included. I have definitely discovered some new brands (Seventeen and Balmi) and received some items from brands I already love (Mavala and Vichy) and I have particularly loved the nail items.

I do feel there was a bit of filler, namely the perfume samples and hair products, but I think that just comes down to personal preferences as I know some people love trying out new perfume samples in beauty boxes.

I will definitely be keeping an eye out for another advent calendar like this next year. I would love the Ciate one filled with nail varnishes but I’m sure there will be a whole new range available next year as more brands jump on this bandwagon.

What do you think of beauty advent calendars? x

Beauty Review – My Boots Beauty Advent Calendar (Days 2 – 11)

I thought it was time for a little update on this year’s advent calendar. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen my daily photographs of various beauty goodies.


So far, I have to say I am loving this calendar…so much better than chocolate each morning! Yes, there have been some absolute duds (I’m looking at you Umberto Giannini hairband!) but on the whole I have really liked the products and it is so exciting not knowing what you will get each morning.

Day 2: Balmi

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I am a total convert to this lip balm. I received a lovely spearmint flavour and have used it daily. It is really moisturising and I like the little cube packaging too – I’d definitely buy another one of these.

Day 3: Mavala Nail Varnish in London

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I didn’t really need another red nail varnish but Mavala is a great brand so I’m sure it will be used!

Day 4: Nina Ricci Perfume


Not the best gift but it smells nice enough and is always handy for the handbag

Day 5: Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation


Normally I prefer a glowing, dewy finish to my foundations but this shade is perfect for me so I will give this foundation a whirl.

Day 6: Vichy Idéalia Life Serum


I’ve only used this once but it was pretty good stuff. It applied well and left my skin feeling soft and my pores minimised – a great cream to be used before foundation.

Day 7: Paco Rabanne Perfume


I was a bit disappointed to see another perfume sample if I’m honest and this scent just isn’t for me.

Day 8: Umberto Giannini Hair Band


This was one of the biggest doors (or are they windows?!) on my advent calendar so I was excited to see what was hiding behind it. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I very rarely wear my hair up but this is just really ugly!

Day 9: Seventeen Nail Varnish in Miami


Another brand I haven’t used since my teenage days but I love this hot pink colour and although I am slightly dubious about the ’10 Day Wear’ claim, I will happily put it to the test!

Day 10: Orly Bonder


This base coat has received rave reviews and it’s another brand I like so I was pleased when I saw this. It claims to be a ‘rubberised basecoat’ which helps the nail varnish adhere to it for longer – always useful to have to hand.

Day 11: Ghost Perfume


Yawn…another perfume sample!

As I said, overall I am pleased with the brands and products I am receiving, especially the nail items, but I think I’m good for perfume samples now!

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.


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.


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.


Anyway, onto the contents…


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.


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.


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.


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?!

Latest Purchases #28 – Body Shop Haul

It seems my last post did indeed jinx the weather as today it is cold, grey and wet…what a miserable way to start half term! I am meeting some old friends for dinner tonight so at least I have something to look forward to while I start our next DIY project and tackle the hallway and stairs.

Today’s post is sharing a few pieces that I picked up last week following an email from The Body Shop informing me of a 40% off offer with free delivery. I didn’t really need anything but I am never one to pass up a good deal so I popped some items into my shopping basket.


When they arrived a few days later, I realised that I had inadvertently picked a pink-themed range of products. This was done unintentionally but they do look nice when they are all line up next to each other in my photos!


First up, are a couple of fragrances. I had wanted some perfumes to pop in my handbag but am always slightly wary of throwing in my more expensive ones so these thin glass bottles are perfect for a quick spritz on the go. I bought Japanese Cherry Blossom and Pink Grapefruit. The first is one of my favourites and I also love the packaging. It is sweet, floral and slightly powdery. The second scent is pretty much how you would expect a grapefruit perfume to smell with a refreshing citrus kick.


Next, a little something for the face in the form of this moisturising serum from the Vitamin E range. I have a few items from this range and they seem to work well with my skin type. I am trying to be really good with my skincare routine in the run up to the wedding and this should fit right in. You only need a tiny amount of this serum, applied morning and night before your regular moisturiser.

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Finally, some lip products. I have written a post before on how much I liked these Lip Roll-Ons and I kept meaning to pick up the Rose flavour to add to my collection. Like the other two I have, this glides onto your lips, smells amazing and I find them great on my lips.

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I also bought a Pomegranate Lip Balm Stick which is fruity and comes in some rather fabulous packaging!



So that was my impromptu but lovely, pink Body Shop haul. I know lots of Beauty Bloggers took advantage of this offer and I have enjoyed seeing what everyone else ended up buying!

Beauty Review – March Birchbox

I decided to make the most of my early morning wake-ups by booking in a haircut and colour for 8am today. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you get rid of your roots and split ends!


I had a very special delivery this week…my very first Beauty Box!


In case you are new to this concept, there are a few companies on the market offering this service whereby you get a box delivered each month with 4-6 beauty and make-up products in it to trial before you buy the full-sized product. These products are from a combination of well-known high-end and new, independent companies so you get to try a whole range of brands. Often the contents of the box are worth around the £40-50 mark but each box costs just £10 plus postage.


Now I know these have been around for ages and are by no means a new thing, but I was very excited when this pink box arrived and I couldn’t wait to see what was inside and start testing out the products.


Included in this month’s box was the Birchbox magazine, which gives you more information on each product, tips on how to use them and various interviews and beauty articles. The theme for this month’s box is ‘Role Models’ and here was my first peek at the contents…


Obviously the first thing I spotted was the heart-shaped tin of Lindt chocolates! These are my absolute favourite chocolates and I know I will enjoy them with a cup of tea!


Right, onto the beauty stuff…

Molton Brown perfume sample in ‘Valbonne’:

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I haven’t tried any perfumes by Molton Brown before but I do like their bath and shower products. I wasn’t overly keen on this product when I first spritzed it on but it was a real grower and after a few minutes it mellowed to a sweet, slightly earthy and rose scent. I’m not great at describing perfumes but to be honest I doubt anyone would purchase a perfume without trying it out themselves first! The full-sized bottle of this retails for £65, which is more than I would usually spend on a perfume, but I may keep my eyes peeled for it in the sale!

Yu-Be Moisturiser:



Next up is a very small tube of this cult Japanese moisturiser. It can be used anywhere on the body to tackle dry skin and I tested it out as a hand cream and a lip balm. The smell is lemony with a slight medicinal edge but this doesn’t linger once applied. When I first put it on my hands it was slightly greasy but it dried smoothly quite quickly and left my hands feeling incredibly soft. On my lips, it was absorbed quickly and they definitely felt softer afterwards too. It’s a shame there wasn’t slightly more of this sample as I would have liked to try it as a body cream after a shower but I have heard it is coming to Boots and is already in SpaceNK so I will look out for it and would definitely buy this again.

Laura Geller Gel Liner in ‘Purple’:

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The only make-up item in this month’s box was this Inkwell waterproof eye liner by Laura Geller. There is a fine brush concealed in the handle and a little pot of highly pigmented colour, which makes the product compact and great for travelling. I am slightly annoyed as I have only just made an online order for another purple liquid eyeliner but you can never have too many! It is easy to get the colour on the brush and you can create a thick or thin line depending on the look you want.


The product is quite creamy in application but it dries quickly and the pigmentation and staying power is very impressive, although if you aren’t used to the gel eyeliners it may take a bit of practice to get used to applying them. I haven’t tried any Laura Geller products before and this product retails for £24.50 so feels like a real bargain!

La Sultane de Saba Body Lotion with Argan Oil:


I use body lotion once, sometimes twice, a day so I am always on the lookout for a new product to try. I was intrigued by this one containing Argan Oil as I thought this was predominantly in hair products. It has been somewhat of a trendy ingredient in recent months so I wanted to see what it would be like in a body lotion. I have to say I wasn’t blown away by the packaging, considering it is a luxe brand and it was quite difficult to get out of the bottle. There was no real scent to speak of – it actually reminded me of that delicate, powdery smell of baby lotions. Upon application, this product was absorbed into the skin very quickly, leaving behind a fresh, powdery scent. This was a good moisturiser, leaving my skin feeling very soft, and given the handy size I will be packing it for our city break this weekend!

Sanctuary Active Reverse Facial:


I haven’t tried this yet but thought it was only fair to do a quick write-up about it. I am a fan of Sanctuary products and this two-step facial claims to ‘dramatically improve the appearance of your skin’ so I can’t wait to give it a go! There is a serum to apply first then a warming rose clay mask…if it is any good I’ll let you know.

Plump ‘N’ Thick Leave in Thickening Hair Mask by Nick Chavez:


Finally, a hair product to thicken your tresses. I never choose any sort of volumising or uplifting hair treatments so I wasn’t that fussed about this product to be honest. I tried it out on dry hair first and it didn’t really have much of an effect. This spray didn’t really make much difference on my towel-dried hair either. It did smell lovely though and maybe it is a miracle product for the right hair type so this will be passed on as a gift to my Mum!

Overall, I am pleased with my first arrival from Birchbox and I have decided to give this a 3 month trial before renewing or cancelling my subscription. There was a good range of quality products, many of which I may not have come across on my own, and I love the fact that my favourite chocolates were included too!

However, there is an argument that my £10 would be better spent on one decent product that I definitely want and will use so I think I will wait and see what next month’s box holds!

The Post-Christmas Post

Well Christmas has been and gone for another year. I hope you too spent it with your nearest and dearest and received some goodies.

Ian and I spent our first Christmas playing host and hostess in our new home. As a couple, we have spent the last 7 or 8 Christmases together, alternating between our parents’ houses. Luckily, my Mum makes this decision quite easy for us because, being a nurse, she works every other Christmas. This year, we had Ian’s parents, grandad and dog to stay…and my urge to get a puppy has increased tenfold…




Even if he did wake me up at 7am on Christmas morning!


Our Christmas dinner was a success. We had duck and gammon and managed to get all the different dishes ready at the same time. It is funny how we spend 5 hours plus cooking a meal that is devoured in about 20 minutes…but it was worth every bite, and the leftovers were fabulous too!



I felt very lucky with my gifts from Santa this year. Here are a few of them:








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On Boxing Day, we headed to my parents’ house to do it all over again, which meant more food, more presents and more friends and family. We got my parents a new iPad so spent most of the time teaching them how to use it!




Now we are back home again, I am starting to get the urge to detox both my house and body. I am getting rather sick of feeling ridiculously full all day long so we will be cutting down on our portion sizes and eating a tad healthier again and I am also going to have a good wardrobe sort out and get rid of some bags of stuff to the charity shop. I have hit the sales over the past few days and am trying to impose the rule of throwing away something old for something new.

Overall, we have had a lovely Christmas and I’m happy to have spent part of it in our new home. I hope you did too and are enjoying the last few days of 2012!