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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!


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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 – 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!


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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 #69 – A little bit of Bourjois

In between getting my hair highlighted and meeting Ian for lunch a few weeks ago, I found myself with some time to spare so I wandered over to Boots to see what was new on the make-up stands.

I was after a new foundation and planning on splurging on a bottle of Chanel Vitalumière when I decided to pick up a bottle of Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation instead. Better than half the price of Chanel’s offering and with rave reviews, I was hoping this would help me on my quest for the perfect dewy base.

Along with the foundation, I also saw the Happy Light Base Serum Lumière and thought the two would be the perfect pairing.

Not one to miss a bargain, there was on offer on for a free lip product too so I picked up one of the Rouge Edition Velvet Lipsticks in Olé Flamingo; a bright raspberry pink.


Having used these three products for the last few weeks, here are my musings on them:

The Foundation

I really like this foundation!


To give this a proper trial, I first wore this foundation alone, without any base product or primer. I was pleased to see that this looked great on its own and had that dewy finish I was looking for. This offers medium coverage but it is buildable. I applied this with my Real Techniques buffing brush for a flawless, radiant finish. Also, this formula smelled amazing and comes in a nice bottle with a handy pump which allows you to control the output.

The Primer

Another great little purchase!


This primer takes the Healthy Mix Foundation to another level and together they form my ‘Dewy Skin Dream Team’! Whilst the foundation did look fine on its own, when paired with the Happy Light Base Serum Lumière, it gave my skin a ‘glow from within’ as well as giving the foundation a bit more staying power. The formula is quite gel-like but is not sticky and despite being a peachy-pink colour in the tube, it dries to a smooth, golden shimmer whilst feeling quite hydrating.

The Lipstick

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I was torn between which shade to buy but opted for a bright pink shade to rock a bold lip. The formula is the real winner here. It has the most amazing staying power and will not budge even after eating and drinking. This is also its only downside – it can be a bit of a mission to remove this and I have had to resort to my heavy-duty eye makeup remover to help out! This formula dries to a matte finish so you do need to have ‘good lips’ as a matte product can be quite unforgiving. I’m not sure what the ‘velvet’ in the name refers to but I am definitely converted to these Rouge Edition Velvet Lipsticks.

Overall, a very successful mini-haul. It reminded me of what a great brand Bourjois are and why you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a really great foundation! x

Beauty Review – Urban Decay Naked 3

Hello – I’m still here! I know I haven’t blogged for a few days but I’ve been too busy eating, drinking and making late night trips to IKEA with my parents to find the time! However, it was the last day of school today so I have two lovely relaxing weeks to look forward to with lots of DIY projects, blogging and a romantic break with my beau…I’m keeping my fingers crossed for sunshine too.

Today, I wanted to share my views on a palette that has achieved near-cult status amongst beauty bloggers; the Naked 3 collection by Urban Decay.


My lovely husband remembered me mentioning this in the run-up to Christmas and I was shocked to open it on Christmas morning as it was such a perfect gift! I have now had a few months to play around with this and try a few different looks and I have to say I absolutely love it!

The third in Urban Decay’s Naked palettes, a collection of nudes to suit almost every skin tone, I feel like this one was made for me. The colours are exactly what I like to wear and what I think suits my skin tone and there is a great combination of light, dark, shimmer and matte eyeshadows in various pinky golden taupe shades.

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It comes in a beautiful rose-gold tin which is sturdy enough to not crumble in your handbag or makeup bag and also looks good on your dressing table.

There is a good-sized mirror and a two headed eyeshadow brush. The mirror is handy but I’m not blown away with the enclosed brush; one end is lovely and soft but the other is a bit spiky against my eyelid.

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The quality of the eyeshadows are great. They are buttery-soft and very pigmented. I think this set is perfect for creating a smoky eye but I often wear one shade alone for work. I usually choose a slight shimmer to my eyeshadows but the matte ones in here have really won me over too.

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When I opened my tin, I also received four samples of Urban Decay’s famous eyeshadow primer potions (Original, Eden, Sin and Anti-Aging). They are amazing and definitely worth the hype!


This palette isn’t cheap at around the £40 mark but I wouldn’t buy it unless I liked every single shade and apart from the very darkest colour, I have worn every one. If you like these warm, golden tones, which will look even better with a tan, then I highly recommend this nifty tin – a great selection of colours, textures and wonderful quality.


Ian is at a leaving do with work tonight so I have a date with my Sky box and a sticky toffee pudding!

Beauty Review – March Birchbox

I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of this month’s Birchbox as I knew it involved a collaboration with British designer, Lulu Guinness. While I don’t own any of her designs, I do think she injects a bit of fun into them and she is an iconic figure of the British fashion industry.

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Here is my first peek at the contents of the box:


First up, an English Laundry perfume sample in No 7 for her. A nice addition to the box but I find this scent far too sweet for my liking…one for my Mum I think!


Next, a little glass bottle of AromaWorks’ Serenity Body Oil. I’m not a huge fan of body oils normally, preferring to use a body lotion after a bath or shower, but this smells so luxurious I plan to add a few drops to my next bath and use it as a bath oil.


Given how often I wash my hands throughout the day (children are such germ-spreaders!), I am always in need of hand cream and this tube by Molton Brown in Rhubarb and Rose both sounds and smells divine. I love Molton Brown products so was happy to see this addition.


I loved the Dr Brandt skin exfoliator included in the October Birchbox so I was keen to try out this Pores No More Pore Refiner. This is meant to minimise your pores and leave your face oil-free throughout the day and I do like it as it finishes to a lovely velvety consistency on the skin.


Next, a Benefit product which you can’t really go wrong with! I received Stay Don’t Stray, an eyeshadow primer in light/ medium. This colour is perfect on me and I am always a fan of anything that makes my make-up last a little longer. I am currently trialling the new Urban Decay eyeshadow palette so will use these in conjunction to see if it makes a difference to the staying-power.

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Finally, the ‘Lulu Guinness’ product which turned out to just be a stick of rock. Don’t get me wrong, I like rock and I wasn’t really expecting a Lulu Guinness product in the box but I don’t really see how the theme worked this month.


Despite the rather tenuous link, I did like the products in March’s Birchbox. I only plan to give away one item but fragrance can be tricky as it’s such an individual preference. The rest of the things have already found their way into my make-up bag and bathroom! x

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.


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.


Right, onto the goodies…


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!