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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

Latest Purchases #91 – Handbags

Handbags have never really been my thing – shoes yes, stationary yes and nail varnishes oh yes! However, I decided that for my 30th birthday I would treat myself to a designer handbag to remember my birthday holiday to America and also to have a beautiful item to use on a daily basis.

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Not content with one handbag, I actually ended up buying two bags, one statement and one classic, but I have quite different uses for them.

First of all, I bought this bright blue leather bag from Nine West. I love this colour and think it will work all year round. It has a lovely slouchy style and a folded over front which I think adds a cool twist. The inner lining is also really pretty. I have been using this as my everyday handbag and find it is quite roomy.

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Secondly, I wanted a ‘timeless classic’ that I could use for years to come and I decided that a black handbag would always be in style. I had a serious shopping dilemma between a Michael Kors and a DKNY bag but the latter won and I have worn this beauty a couple of times now.

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I tend to save it for nights out or the weekend just to keep it feeling special. I think the black snakeskin leather with the gold hardware is just stunning and I love the fact is a very simple, classic shape that won’t go out of style.

Latest Purchases #90 – Dotcomgiftshop

Happy Saturday! Ian is working today so I snuck back to bed this morning with brioche and tea to read a few chapters of my new book and plan to spend the day baking, blogging, pottering and doing a little bit of marking.

A little while ago, I made another order at Dotcomgiftshop (which does the most amazing sales!) Here are a few things I picked up…

First up a fun new print for the kitchen. I like the retro style of this picture and of course the celebration of all things pudding! I was going to ask Ian to hang it this weekend but after almost falling out hanging some other prints midweek I think I may need to butter him up first!

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I have phases where I find cross stitching really relaxing to do as I watch TV (it stops me constantly checking my phone too!) and this ‘Home Sweet Home’ print is a very sweet project to have lined up.

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This metal sign made me giggle. I plan on hanging this in our utility room by the washing machine when we finally decorate it.

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I really like this next item – a pastel green herb house. I saw a similar style in IKEA recently and almost bought it but thought this was a little more unique. It comes with six plant pots with blackboard-painted signs for you to add the name of your herbs on. We always have fresh herbs on the go so this will be a lovely way to grow and display them.

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I can never have too many notebooks and this pretty pink and gold design is a happy addition to the collection.

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I also picked up this pencil box to try and keep my desk tidier at work.

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I love making my baking efforts look a little bit better by using pretty cupcake cases.

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I had to bin my old flask recently as it was leaking so this is a good replacement…perfect for filling with hot chocolate when we go on an autumnal country walk!

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We always need tea towels and I thought these apples and pears designs looked very Orla Kiely-esque.

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Clearly influenced by the same designer, I bought a new jar for storing our teabags.

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Napkins.

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Despite Ian telling me we don’t need any more tins, I couldn’t resist these pretty ones and they all fit inside the big one so they aren’t taking up too much room!

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Some washi tape in pretty gingham designs.

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Some metal candle holders that I plan on hanging in the garden next summer.

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Finally, my most middle-aged purchase (which I am secretly really excited about) is this little gardening set as my knees really hurt when I have to kneel down to dig and plant stuff!

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Latest Purchases #89 – A Paperchase Haul

It’s September and even if you are not going back to school/ college/ university, the shops are full of beautiful stationary so it’s only right that you indulge in some notebook-related loveliness.

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I think stationary shopping can be dangerously tempting. All those planners and cute to-do-list notebooks make you feel like you are getting super-organised whilst having an Instagram-worthy desk space. I popped into Paperchase, one of my favourite stationary shops, to get a few back-to-school essentials and some not-so-essential items!

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First up, an academic diary. I long for the day I can get a January to January diary but luckily there are some pretty September to September versions available. I bought this peony-covered one and used my neatest handwriting to keep it looking beautiful!

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If I don’t write it down, then it will be forgotten about so I also picked up a new notebook for my to-do lists. I love this bright, geometric print.

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I can’t get enough of nice pens and pencils to write in the aforementioned books so I bought a set of metallic gel pens and some pretty pastel pencils. I’ve already sharpened the pencils in my new electronic pencil sharpener…yes, I am that cool!

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Finally, I picked up a few birthday cards and some birthday cups too…just because.

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I think I have also discovered where my next stationary purchases may come from – I love everything in Kate’s new shop…ahhhhh those prints!

Latest Purchases #84 – Summer Sales

It’s almost the summer holidays! This is a funny time of year as I try to cram the last few things into the end of term (prom tomorrow!) and start to get ready for our American adventure, plus a weekend in London with friends on the cards…busy but good busy!

I have been picking up a few bits and bobs in various sales over the past few weeks and thought I would bundle all of the items together into a blog post.

First up, Forever 21. We don’t have one of these in Bath but we popped into a store in the Trafford Centre and I came out with one of the least summery offerings available; a pair of chunky boots!

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Despite not really needing them at the moment, I couldn’t leave these gold-plated beauties on the shelf. I love the colour (not brown or black like my other boots), the gold hardware and the straps across the front. They also have cut-out side panels which I really like and means I can start wearing them as soon as summer is on its way out as they aren’t solely winter boots.

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Whilst I was in Forever 21, I also picked up a basic black cardigan, these pretty gold and white earrings and this cute polka dot makeup bag which I will probably take with me to America.

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I needed a few boring bits from Primark recently but I defy anyone to pop in there and not pick up something new! I spotted this dark grey tshirt with an embellished neckline and bought it a few sizes bigger than my normal size as I wanted a looser fit.

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Next an ebay impulse purchase after I decided I wanted something embroidered in my wardrobe! I found this navy dress and really like the coral pink of the flowers. This is a loose, flowing smock-style dress which looks good with bare legs or over leggings.

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I also bought this shirt from H&M on a whim but have worn it loads already. I like the print and I also really like the fact that the hem is slightly longer at the back.

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ASOS did their usual thing of tempting me with some sale emails so I caved in and bought a few items; a pair of black, slim-leg trousers for work, some funky patterned trousers and a white top from Mango that I meant to photograph but is still sitting on my ironing pile!

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A duo next from TKMaxx and Superdrug which work perfectly together. I had wanted a new powder brush for a while so thought ‘why not try out a new powder too?’ This ecotools brush is my first from the brand but is soooooo soft! It’s quite chunky so maybe not great for travelling but it is lovely to use and is perfect for applying powder or bronzer evenly across the face. The Bourgois Healthy Balance Powder is a blogger’s favourite and I can see why.

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Finally, I popped into Accesorize and picked up some earrings. Both the orange and lime green pairs remind me of something you could pick up in a Mexican market and feel very summery.

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However, my favourite purchase was this gorgeous ear cuff which just about fits my tiny ears!

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Right, I’m off to binge on the new series of Veep! x

Latest Purchases #83 – A Mini Body Shop Haul

Hello! This week has been boiling hot and I have also had a horrible cold so spent the last few days feeling generally rubbish. Thankfully, it is much cooler today (but still sunny!) and after an early night, I seem to be able to breathe again. I even managed to do a spot of baking this afternoon.

Today, I wanted to share a mini haul that recently arrived from the Body Shop. I had my eye on these items and waited for one of their fab sales to save a few pounds and ease the guilt!

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First up, the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter.

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I have fallen in love with their Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil so thought I would give this solid version a go as I have been known to get the oil all down my bathroom shelf…the pump on it can be perilous! I’m sure it’s me and not the packaging but I thought this solid balm would be an interesting one to try.

Next, I blogged recently about wanting a daily moisturiser with a decent SPF to use on holiday. I was using one from L’Oreal but did a classic and managed to drop it all over my bedroom floor/ mirror/ wall/ slippers/ washing basket…yeah, that was fun to clear up! I received some recommendations for this Vitamin C Daily Moisturiser from the Body Shop and was so pleased when I saw it had SPF 30. I like this range – it reminds me of a bargain version of the Origins GinZing moisturiser and it will definitely be going in my travel washbag!

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A repurchase next – I love this serum from Body Shop’s Vitamin E range. Whilst I like trying new brands, this is probably my 3rd or 4th tube of this serum and one that is an oldie but a goodie!

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Finally, I picked up a little tub of their Elderflower Eye Gel – I think I was trying to spend enough to get free delivery but this seems like it will be perfect for puffy eyes, especially in this warmer weather.

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Latest Purchases #82 – ‘Front and Back’ Earrings

A little jewellery haul today with some pretty bangles and a new style of earrings I have been loving for the last few weeks.

First up, the bangles:

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I picked these up from H&M as I loved the gem-like look of them – my favourite is the rose gold one!

Now onto the interestingly named ‘front and back’ earrings – I’m not even sure if that’s their proper name but it kind of explains the style quite nicely. I looked everywhere for a pair of these and these two were the nicest I’d seen. Some earrings in this style are very elaborate but I like these two pairs as they are very wearable.

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First up, the chunkier pair which remind me of a bellybutton bar at first glance! I love the pale pink gem in these and think they sit perfectly in the ear.

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Next, another pink and gold pair but these have a more delicate look to them and can be worn with the 7-jewel backing or without as a simple pair of studs. If I had to choose, I’d probably say these were my favourite of the two.

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Both pairs of these earrings were from River Island and they had another few cool designs too…I may be back for more!

Latest Purchases #80 – A Stila Haul

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

Here’s what I picked up:

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

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

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

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

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

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Have you tried any Stila products? x

Latest Purchases #79 – A Summery Primark Haul

Happy Bank Holiday Monday! We were back at the Apple shop this morning to fix my smashed iPhone screen which was slight deja-vu having tried to sort it yesterday, but we headed to Bills for brunch so it was well worth the trip!

I went on a little trip to Primark recently and picked up some bits and bobs for summer: footwear, pjs, homeware, jewellery…a little bit of everything.

First up the shoes. I have to admit that I went a little bit mad here (5 pairs!) but I am operating a strict one-in-one-out policy in my shoe collection and I know I will definitely get good wear out of all of them.

Although we don’t have too strict a dress code at work, I do like to wear shoes as opposed to flip flops or sandals so I picked up a couple of pairs of Primark’s slipper-style ballet pumps in black and leopard print.

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I also bought pair of cream crochet pumps which I think are just a little bit smarter than espadrilles.

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I love these black laser-cut sandals which are flat but I think look a bit dressier than usual.

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Finally, I had been after a pair of sliders after seeing them everywhere this season and found these snakeskin-effect ones. They are so comfortable and I think they look very on-trend and much more expensive than they were.

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A few homeware pieces next. I had been after some grey and pink accessories to finish off the look of our newly-decorated guest bedroom and found this grey-striped and pretty pink one. I had been looking at similar striped ones from John Lewis so these were a bargain in comparison.

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Sticking with the pink theme, I got this Red Berry and Jasmine candle. I’m not sure how good Primark candles are but I mainly bought this for the colour.

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I went a bit mad on candle holders too and bought a set of these purple geometric ones and some white ones. I remember reading on an interiors blog that these things always look better in threes so there was a reason for buying so many! My only niggle is that the price stickers on them are so sticky they leave a really horrible patch when you try to peel them off…I hate it when products do that!

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Onto the clothes now and these bleached jeans. I wanted a pair of pale jeans that weren’t white and these fit the bill perfectly. The acid-wash look is very cool and they are light and summery.

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My bargain of the day was this pineapple t-shirt which was reduced to £1! I bought it a couple of sizes bigger and plan to wear it as a pyjama top.

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Talking of pyjamas, I picked up these trousers in the ‘loungewear’ section. I love the print on them and I don’t think they look too pyjama-esque. I have an essay to write this week and I can see myself wearing these as I procrastinate write.

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Finally, a baggy waterfall cardigan in a cool Aztec print. I actually bought this in an XS size as I wanted it to be loose but not swamp me. This is the perfect jacket to throw on in this transitional period where it isn’t quite warm enough to leave the house without a jacket but you don’t want to be weighed down by a big winter coat.

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On to the accessories now and it wouldn’t be a blogger’s summer haul without a flower crown! I jest, but I did pick up this small crown with the intention of wearing it to a summer BBQ – I think these are so pretty.

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Some bracelets next – I like this mix of gold, silver and rose gold.

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This may be TMI but I had to show you these cute pants…they have sausage dogs on them!

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A boring buy next but necessary to keep your feet smelling fresh – some ‘footies’.

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And finally, a new handbag and another item that looks so much more expensive than it is. I love the shape of this bag and the detailing in the design. It isn’t huge but that means I won’t overpack it with stuff I don’t need and I like that I can wear this on the shoulder or across the body.

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Beauty Review – May Birchbox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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