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Latest Purchases #92 – A Birchbox Haul

I was looking to up my skincare routine now that the weather is getting colder and the heating is on. I suffer from quite dry skin in the winter so looked to the Birchbox website for a couple of new items to try out. Of course, my search for skincare soon led to other things and before I knew it, a large box had arrived on my doorstep full of goodies, followed by a second order using the free shopping points I had earned from the first one!

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First up, the two items I actually needed: moisturising cream.

I bought this jar of Aquaporin Plus by Bluemandarínes, a 24-hour hydrating cream. I always think a glass jar adds a little bit of luxury and this cream is rich yet sinks into the skin quickly and has a beautiful, delicate floral scent. I think this would work as a day or night cream.

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I also picked up a jar of Melting Moisturising Cream by Akane. Upon further reading, this brand uses the Akane red apple tree from Japan which has antioxidant properties and is perfect for normal to dehydrated skin. Whilst also quite a thick, rich cream, this has an almost matte finish which I think makes it perfect for use in the morning before makeup.

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On the few occasions that I wear my hair straight, I have been struggling with some fine, wispy pieces of hair that seem to want to curl up again so I was after some light hairspray that would hold these flyaway hairs down without a heavy, sticky feeling. Montibel·lo is a good haircare brand and I bought their Flexible Hold Finishing Spray. It sounds like exactly what I’m looking for and this huge bottle should last me a while!

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I really like the brand Weleda and their all-natural approach but I had a few hit and miss products from them this time. The one I loved was the Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash which smells amazing and is just a really lovely shower gel.

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I also picked up the Oat Replenishing Shampoo and Conditioner which I’m just not a fan of. The shampoo was fine and I will use that up but the conditioner was so thick and heavy and it left my hair really matted and unmanageable.

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Finally, I earned enough points to splurge on a luxury product I just love. At £28 for a little 30ml bottle it isn’t cheap but the Make Up Base by RMK is amazing. This milky formula sinks into the skin so quickly and leaves you with a soft, flawless base. I use this base with glowy and matte foundations and it really helps them last. I first tried this as a sample through Birchbox and it was only when it ran out that I realised how much I love it and it has actually replaced my silicone-based primers like Benefit POREfesstional as it feels much kinder to my skin.

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Overall, a pretty successful haul and I’m hoping my skin thanks me for it! x

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

Beauty Review – February Birchbox

I hope you had a great Pancake Day whatever fillings graced your pancakes! We opted for pesto, bacon and goats cheese for our main course and good old golden syrup for pudding and they were delicious.

I woke up very excited today – Ian and I are off to a boutique country house hotel in Buckinghamshire for a couple of days. We will be enjoying a taster menu at the hotel one night and a meal at Heston’s pub, The Hind’s Head, on the other night as well as exploring the local villages (and pubs!) together…I can’t wait!

Onto this month’s Birchbox now. After being slightly disappointed by last month’s offering, I was hoping that this month’s box would be better and at first glance, I was impressed:

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There was a Valentines theme this month full of much-loved products. Again, slightly tenuous but definitely seasonal.

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The first item I grabbed was this packet of Oats and Chia by The Chia Co. I received the mixed berry flavour and as a fan of flavoured porridge sachets, I cannot wait to try this much healthier version. Packed with wholegrain oats, chia, fruit and virgin coconut oil, this pack is ticking all the ‘trendy healthy food’ boxes!

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A Bontanical Shine Shampoo from Liz Earle next, a brand I love. This is already packed for our mini break and smells amazing – I’m looking forward to trying this out.

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I’m a bit miffed at this next product as I already received it in a previous Birchbox! I think this is really poor admin on the part of Birchbox to receive a second tube of Stainiac by theBalm. This is akin to Benetint; a cheek and lip stain that gives a good pop of colour. As I said, I already own this and don’t use it that often so this will probably be passed on to my Mum.

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A shower gel next by T London. How much can you say about a shower gel?! It smells lovely, does the job and it was a good sample size.

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I was really pleased with the next item; a Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask by one of my favourite skincare brands, REN. This is another item I am packing for our mini-break to enjoy whilst having a deep bubble bath!

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The final item is a full-sized product worth £21 from Wild About Beauty. I have to admit that I have only tried a cream eyeshadow from the brand before and wasn’t overly impressed by it but I am willing to trial this Golden Skin Glow with an open mind. This is designed to be applied either alone or before foundation to give your skin a boost and a golden glow – very handy in these winter months when we are all feeling a bit pale and interesting!

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I think it is fair to say that Birchbox has redeemed itself this month with a really good selection of products…time to start testing them all out! x

Beauty Review – Reverse Hair Washing

I have seen this term popping up a few times on beauty blogs over the past few weeks. If you aren’t familiar with it, there is a school of thought that believes that switching round your shampoo and conditioner and using them the other way round will lead to better, cleaner hair and add volume.

I was sceptical but thought I would give it a go with some new products I am trialling.

I got the Tommyguns Fig, Plum and Marshmallow Conditioner in a recent Birchbox and after weeks of searching, finally tracked down the matching Fig and Plum Shampoo – I have a weird thing about using the same brand of shampoo and conditioner!

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The theory behind this routine is that you leave too much conditioner in your hair which leaves it flat and lacklustre so switching your hair washing products around means that you get the hit of the conditioner to make your hair silky yet the shampoo will ensure all of the excess residue is washed out.

As someone who uses a leave-in conditioner in my hair, I probably wasn’t the best candidate for this trial but I tried it out on a quiet weekend (just in case the results were disastrous!)

I applied the conditioner first and left it for a few minutes. As I don’t use a hairbrush at all, I usually run my fingers through my hair when the conditioner is on to remove any knots but this was impossible! My hair was really tangled and full of knots which doesn’t ever happen.

When I wash my conditioner out, my hair normally feels lovely and silky but this time it had a weird greasy feeling to it like there was too much oil or product in my hair, despite swilling it out really well.

I moved on to the shampoo, hoping it would get rid of that greasy feeling and after lathering it up and swilling it out my hair felt awful! It was still full of knots and didn’t even feel particularly clean, which I think is the feeling this process is meant to leave you with.

Suffice to say, I think this is simply another fad that will soon go away. It left my hair feeling awful and to be honest I just didn’t get it! Like they say…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

I am writing this post at my new desk in my newly finished conservatory/ office/ blogging room – just a few finishing touches to make then I will bring you some lovely before and after photos of my new favourite room! 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?!