Sunday, 29 April 2012

GlossyBox - April - The Natural Beauty Box

Another month is almost at a close (where has this year gone!) and of course much anticipation has been had, in waiting for the delivery of another glorious GlossyBox...

I'm not impressed with the late postage though - April is nearly over!! But since my last GlossyBox post - the Harrod's Box - GlossyBox and Carmine (my favourite beauty box so far) have joined forces so this could explain the lateness. Ah well, better late than never eh?

Since my first box in December I have only had one 'normal' GlossyBox, the others were the Christmas, Valentine's and Harrod's special editions. So, what did this month offer? Another limited edition box of course! But this month's theme was all things Natural...

April - The Natural Box

On Friday, I found my GlossyBox package waiting for me after work and of course I got stuck straight in. the first thing I took note of was the gorgeous beige box with a handmade paper like finish. Turns out the box is 100% biodegradable (not that I will EVER throw it out, I have too much make-up that needs to be stored in these little box beauties!) and it's inner packaging was altered slightly to what I presume is eco-friendly/recyclable/biodegradable shredded paper, tissue paper and ribbon.

So what did I get? Well all things natural and ethical of course:

Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk and Honey Body Lotion for normal to dry skin - 70g sample size - full size 190g/£9.99 RRP

Another body lotion.... oh yay... OK, well I know I don't have to be quite so sarcastic, but I am getting just a teeny-tiny bit bored of them. I think I have received a body lotion sample in almost every single beauty box that I have subscribed too - I must have around 10, sitting around in one of my old Carmine boxes, just waiting to be used, so my sample stash is getting pretty big! However, Mum's interested sparked when she saw that it was Burt's Bees and thus, I will be passing this onto her. I have tried a little out though so I can give my opinion and it was much thicker than I expected, almost body butter like, and it sank in really quickly. I have to admit it does smell amazing but I think that dear old mother will get much more use out of it than I. Here's to seeing if it will break her love of Body Shop's Shea butter...
Monu Professional Skincare Moisture Rich Collagen Cream for dry, very dry or dehydrated skin - 50ml full size sample £17.50 RRP

So onto the first of three full size samples this month (aren't we lucky!) and it came in the form of Monu's Moisture Rich Collagen Cream. I have not used any Monu products before, but I have heard of the brand, so of course am intrigued to try this out. However, I was left a little disappointed when I read that it was for dry, very dry or dehydrated skin - why oh why am I 'blessed' with oily skin! I dare not try anything too heavy on my skin as I can be prone to breakouts if I use products that are too rich. Oh well, the neck and décolletage it is for this then. It smells very floral - probably the rose and geranium essential oils in it, and is quite thick in consistency but does sink in well. It claims to improve the skin's natural barrier and lipid content to help smooth out wrinkles and also claims to help pre-mature ageing (although I do think my skin is still a little young to properly test this out).
Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum for dehydrated skin - 10ml sample size - full size 30ml/£29.99 RRP

Another face serum... But unlike the body lotion, this I do not mind as I am having quite a face serum moment. In my desperate bid to find one that suits my skin and skincare routine, I have recently flitted between YSL's Youth Liberator, Lancôme's Genefique, Estée Lauder's Pore Minimizer, Clinique's Turnaround... you get the picture! I have heard of Caudalie before, and have previously tried out one of their body lotions, although I have never tried their facial skin care products. So this was a nice item to receive in this month's box. I have sampled this on my hand and the product is very smooth and silky, absorbs easily and doesn't leave a residue - so far I like! Only experimenting on the face will seal it's fate and I hold a little caution as to how well it will suit my oily skin. But I will try it none-the-less and we'll see how I get on.

Figs & Rouge Cherry and Vanilla Lip balm - 8ml full size sample £3.29 RRP

Onto the second full size product - a 100% organic lip balm by Figs & Rouge. I LOVE lip balms and frequently finish them up so I was pleased to see one in the box. I was keen to see how the combination of Cherry and Vanilla worked but I was left very confused with the complete lack of scent of either??! I had to pass it to my sister, just to double check that my nose wasn't getting confused, but she agreed, not a whiff of anything remotely cherry or vanilla like! In fact, we both concluded that this was actually more menthol scented than anything else (expected as it contains Mentha Piperita Leaf Oil) and even left the lips feeling a little tingled after application. I don't mind that it doesn't smell of cherry or vanilla (I actually prefer minty lip balms -  as the boyf doesn't get quite so put off) and it feels lovely once applied. I quite like that it's marketed as a lip, face and body balm too so I expect that this may become a little handbag staple.
Inika Cosmetics Certified Organic Eyeliner in 12 Purple Minx - 1.2g full size sample £11.75 RRP

So the final full sized product this month was an organic eyeliner by Inika Cosmetics. I have never tried organic makeup up before so am keen to give this a whirl. I received the shade Purple Minx which I am really pleased with as it's a shade that I will get use out of - purple seems to suit my brown eyes. I have yet to use this, but when I tried it out on the back of my hands, it swatched very smoothly and the pencil wasn't hard and scratchy like some eyeliners can be. It smudged quite nicely with my finger too so it will be easily blendable, but it doesn't seem to have huge staying powder - so no eye rubbing without risking panda eyes!

In all, I am very pleased with GlossyBox's offerings for April (albeit a tad late!) and is now starting to creep into the lead to replace my favourite beauty box, Carmine. With three full size products, this month has most definitely been worth the £12.95 subscription and on a slightly different note, this box struck me as being a perfect mum-to-be gift - if only GlossyBox offered individual boxes for sale instead of just subscriptions!!

If you love the idea of the GlossyBox Beauty box 
then use this referral link and subscribe now :) 

Disclaimer - I have subscribed to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Topshop Top Picks

So I was dragged kicking and screaming into the city on Thursday by my lovely friend Anna, to join her on a little shopping spree... OK, so I didn't actually need much convincing to go on a small splurge but I did surprise myself by spending much of my time window shopping and not flashing the plastic as I usually do a week from payday.

For once, I didn't make a single purchase in all! There were a few things that caught my eye though...

Topshop Limbo Suede Strappy Platforms link £65.00
Inlovewithfashion Oversized Jumper with Heart £40 (in aqua link or coral link)
Topshop Dalmatian Spot Crossbody Bag link £25
How amazing are those shoes! Perfectly on trend in a soft pastel blue suede with rose gold edging and platform/heel. I have also been after this heart jumper for a long while, although it's only in stock in aqua on the Topshop site, it is in stock in coral on the inlovewithfashion site. And finally, is this not the cutest bag ever??

I am amazed at myself and am still wondering how on earth I managed to resist these beauties??! I did have one thing that I really wanted to buy however, the Sisters of the New Moon nail tattoos that Topshop have launched, but can I find them in stock anywhere? No. Not even on the website - link. So maybe that put me off making any other purchases, ah well. A girl can always look and lust I suppose!

If anyone does know where I can get the nail tattoos from, please let me know! Thank you very muchly :)

What have you spied in good old Topshop recently? I'd love to know what you've been lusting after.

Disclaimer - photos taken by moi, in Topshop Norwich, whilst drooling ever so slightly in the shoe section....

Friday, 13 April 2012

Manchester avec Carys

Good Morning all! Alas, the Easter Holidays are rapidly drawing to a close but the two weeks were not spent without some fabulous friends. Last week, I drove to see my beautiful Carys (we met at uni 6 years ago as we lived in the same halls) who lives near Leeds and she took me out to Manchester for the day. Well, I couldn't go to Manchester without stopping by Harvey Nichols and Selfridges which of course meant shopping....
The beautiful Carys

Harvey Nichols Manchester courtesy of Harvey Nichols

First stop, Harvey Nichols and once Carys had eyed up their Easter Basket Hunt Competition, she was off... well, her theory was that no one else was likely to enter, so she was bound to win the hamper (only the last basket seemed to evade us but she entered anyway)!

Harvey Nichols Manchester Window Display April 2012 courtesy of Fashion Dotty
I couldn't not show you the fantastic window displays that Harvey Nichols exhibit... but I didn't get a good photo on my iPhone, so instead I'll show you one from the lovely Sarah at Fashion Dotty - you should check out her blog it's full of amazing posts and photos!

From there, we paid a quick visit to Selfridges in Exchange Square, well I say quick, it took forever with the bloody queue at the MAC counter, but I picked up a couple of bits anyway. I'd been eyeing up the Powder Foundation by Illamasqua for a while now as a potential replacement for my (sadly discontinued) Clinique Clarifying Powder so I picked up one of those in the shade PF120 - the consultant was so helpful in helping me choose the right shade. And I'd been curious about MAC's Studio Sculpt and decided to pick up one of those in NC15 (once I eventually found a consultant who was free to help me!). The other two pieces, Carys treated me to from her vast stash of a make-up collection - she is as much of a make-up junkie as I. And vast is definitely somewhat of an understatement as she has like 12 unopened boxes of foundations??!! Trust me, I counted! Well she does work for Estee Lauder Companies, so gets considerable discount and often finds me little things that she knows I like - such as a) my love of curled brush mascaras (hello, Estee Lauder Double Wear Curling Mascara) and b) how pale my skin is (welcome, Bobbi Brown Concealer Kit in Porcelain!)
Selfridges Purchases and Gifts from Carys
After perusing the beauty counters, we went for some lunch at one of the most nightclub-esque restaurants I have ever seen...

Vertigo restaurant and bar Manchester photo courtesy of Manchester Restaurants
Carys took me to a restaurant called Vertigo on John Dalton Street, and it is absolutely gorgeous inside! I'm talking silver glitter wall paper, velvet upholstered chairs, black sparkle granite tiles on the floor... and they do an amazing deal on their lunch menu - two courses for £10 or three for £14. I highly recommend you take a visit if you need some sustenance whilst trawling the shops in Manchester one lunchtime.

After lunch, we were in much need of a clothes shopping fix, so we headed to a few high street shops and picked up some new wardrobe additions. I got a lovely new dress from a Dorothy Perkins concession and Carys picked herself up the sell out blazer from Kate Moss' Mango collection:

Doll & Frog Mink Velour Bird Dress here £35
Mango Slim Lapel Blazer here £34.99

In all, a very successful day and it was lovely to catch up with the fabulous Carys. Au revoir for now, must try and get into school to do some last minute sorting out before Monday... ahh!!

Disclaimer - Most of the photos above are not by myself, well, sometimes the iPhone is really hit and miss! So check out the link in the caption of a photo to see where I have borrowed it from.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

SheSaidBeauty Box - April Edition

So it's a new month and that can only mean one thing, the prompt arrival of the latest offerings from SheSaidBeauty!

As many of you have heard, my favourite beauty box Carmine has joined forces with GlossyBox (God only knows why, they have actually yet to explain this to their customers!) so I am currently down to only 2 beauty box subscriptions a month - GlossyBox and SheSaidBeauty.

So SheSaidBeauty needed to pull out a good one this month to officially replace Carmine as my favourite and with their first box - that I posted about here - being such a hit, I had high hopes for their second...

Unfortunately, I was left a little disappointed - don't get me wrong, it wasn't a total disaster but as an existing subscriber I felt they could have done better. Let me explain why:

First of all, this month contained 7 products, yes 7! In addition to the normal 5 sample products, there was a bonus sample of the famous Erno Laszlo 'The Hollywood Collection' that Marilyn Monroe was supposed to have used and, as it's Easter, a Lindt Lindor egg... mmmm!

So what did April's box contain? Well the first thing to note is that 3 out of the 5 normal samples were full size too - another positive and something that pleased me, given that last month's GlossyBox had no full sized products at all.

Filthy Gorgeous London Nail Polish in Valentine - 10ml full size £9.00
A great full size product to receive, but not all that exciting. I got the 'Valentine' shade - a really rich, slightly pink-toned, glossy red. It applied really smoothly, dried quite quickly and looked lovely on (pictured with Jessica Brilliance top coat). But, I was disappointed that we didn't receive a bottle with the normal silver lace pattern on the lid, or the branding charm that hangs off the bottle neck. And after March's box had a nail polish I was kind of hoping that we didn't get yet another one - but at least the brand was different I suppose. Having heard of this brand from other bloggers but never tried it out, I was overall pleased to add this 3-free (no toluene, formaldehyde or DBP) brand of polish to my collection.

Bellapierre Shimmer Powder in Champagne - 2.35g full size £12.99
Another full sized product, but this time in the form of a shimmer powder. I have not heard of Bellápierre and it was a pleasant product to try. I received the Champagne shade - a soft shimmery pale gold/beige - and I mostly used it over the top of my cream eyeshadow to add a little extra glimmer. If I wore powder, I would use this from my crease up to the brow. The company actually recommends that you can use these Mica powders for various different applications as well as the eyes - blusher, mascara, lip liner etc. And I love that they are hypoallergenic too.

Mischa Barton Luscious Lips in Pink Pop - 8g full size £12.00
The third full size product was a lip balm from the new Mischa Barton range. I wasn't aware she had released a beauty collection so this was a nice surprise. It doesn't have much of a tint to it really (the boyfriend could wear this and no one would know!), it smells nice and moisturises the lips well. I love that it has SPF15 and will probably stick this in the car to use as and when I need to.

I wasn't all that excited about this - with all the literature that came with it, I was a little hopeful that we might have got a bigger sample than was actually present, but nevertheless, I tried it out. However, it didn't wow me, it's just an exfoliator and at the moment my Clarins one serves me well. In fact, I wanted this to have more 'bits' in it so I felt like I got more of the 'polisher' effect. It did leave my skin soft and smooth though, so something that I will use up but am unlikely to purchase again.

Comfort Zone Body Expert Kit - various samples
Last month's Comfort Zone night cream was nice, not something I'd purchase at over £50 a jar, but lovely to try. So to then find a load more samples by the same brand in this month's box meant that I wasn't all that impressed. It's also so difficult with sachets to get a true feeling for a product as the sample is usually too small! I got stuck in anyway and have so far tried the Fruity Peel Exfoliator (150ml full size £24.50) and Aromasoul Mediterranean Shower Gel (200ml full size £19.95) - both lovely to use, smelt good and left my skin soft but neither were much to rave about. And after my bath, I tried the Body Strategist + Remodeller (150ml full size £40.95) on my upper legs and Vital Leg Cream (200ml full size £32.75) on my lower legs. Again, both nice, the Vital leg cream was lovely and menthol scented, the other was just like a normal body cream for me and I didn't experience the hot-cold effect it claimed. I have yet to try the D-Age Body Cream (200ml full size £48.00) or Tranquility Cream (200ml full size £58.25). All in all, some lovely samples, but not anything that I aim to purchase more of in the future (mostly due to availability and the hefty price tags!).
Erno Laszlo The Hollywood Collection - various samples
So onto the first bonus sample of this month's box, a brand famously used by Marilyn Monroe (allegedly!). Again, I was a little frustrated by the fact that they were sachet samples - but at least these could last for two applications so I dispensed them into little sample pots. I have so far tried the Instant Eye Repair (full size £85.00), Morning Beauty Rescue (full size £95.00) and Refresh Moisture Infusion (full size £125.00). The eye cream was nice, it tightened and brightened as it claimed, but £85 is quite steep for an eye product. The beauty rescue serum was gorgeous on the skin, it left a lovely shimmer but was a little tightening - fine for my oiliness but not good if you have dry skin, I imagine. And the moisture infusion was lovely and moisturising but without being too heavy. I have yet to sample the Intensive Porcelain Veil (full size £140.00) and Velvet Night Cream (full size £175.00) but look forward to doing so. Some fabulous luxurious samples, but unfortunately that is all they will ever be as I am highly unlikely to fork out for these 'luxury' face products due to their price tag and the fact that they are only available at Harrods! 

and last but not least... a yummy Lindt Lindor Chocolate Egg - the second bonus which was of course rapidly demolished!

So what did I like about April's Box...
Firstly, I love that there were 7 samples - to me this feels very generous indeed and makes the box excellent value for money. Secondly, there was chocolate - I love that there has been something edible in each SheSaidBeauty box so far! And thirdly, the three full size products were all make-up - sometimes beauty boxes can become to skincare heavy but I think that they have got the balance just right so far.

So what did I dislike then....
Well, I am being picky here, but I want to be honest. I didn't like the fact that there were Comfort Zone products again - we tried this brand in the last box so please give us something a bit different. There was also a lot of 'sachet' samples - which becomes frustrating as you can't properly try out products when there isn't enough of it. And lastly, I got bored of another lip and nail product for the make-up - couldn't there have been a blusher or mascara? It's bad enough getting another nail polish, let alone another lip thingy.

Overall I am still happy with my SheSaidBeauty subscription and will be continuing it in eager anticipation of what future boxes may hold. I highly recommend it anyone who has yet to try a beauty box and I love that it mixes affordable, with high-end branded products. I really do think it has a little way to go if it is to be as good as the Carmine boxes were but I am still very much open to changing my mind :)

If you love the idea of the SheSaidBeauty box then use this referral link to start
your subscription now :)

 Disclaimer - I have subscribed to the SheSaidBeauty box out of my own choice and money (damn the fanciful idea of mystery beauty products delivered every month). It was my choice to review the products above and I have done so in a 100% honest manner. I am not compensated for my reviews but if you use my referral link to start a subscription then I can get a free box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!
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