Sunday, 22 December 2013

GlossyBox - December - The Christmas Edition

Free? For me?! Why thank you GlossyBox :)

I have been hoarding those GlossyDots again and have bagged myself (yet another) free GlossyBox. And what better time than right before Christmas when the purse strings are a little tighter than the rest of the year. And you lucky readers you! Not just one, but two Glossyboxes this month. Following my last post on the Limited Edition Christmas Box let's take a look at the 'normal' December Glossybox - The Christmas Edition:

Beautiful Movements Cosmetics Lip Gloss in Nude - 4ml sample size - full size 8ml £12.00 
First up is a lovely little lip gloss from Beautiful Movements - the brand founded by ex-Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt - which I also came across in the May 2nd Anniversary box. I love the ethos behind this brand as it is free from parabens and other additives as well as priding itself on being BUAV/PETA approved and vegetarian friendly. The lip gloss is one of only 6 colours that they offer but all of their colours can be custom mixed with their mineral pigments to create unique shades of your choosing. I got the Nude shade which is a soft natural beige tone (and nothing like the colour you see in the photo above - sorry the lighting makes it look coral and it really isn't). It applies well and is rich in jojoba oil to keep your pout moisturised. It's a non-sticky formula that lasts much the same as other lip glosses - essentially as long as it takes for me to chew/lick it off!

Wilkinson Sword Intuition Naturals Razor - full size £6.49
Now this was a slightly odd thing to come across in my box. I've never really considered hair removal to be part of 'beauty' and think of it as more of a chore but I can't deny that I like to be hair-free in certain areas and a razor certainly comes in handy for that exact job! As someone who regularly frequents my local wax bar (would a wax customer be a waxee...?) a razor has limited use in my shower routine, but in the name of being a good blogger I tried this out. I stuck to using it on my underarms and the built in creamy soap made the job ten times easier and much less irritating for my sensitive pits. The conditioning solid as it's called, contains natural aloe and vitamin E to smooth and moisturise and it is also paraben and fragrance free as well as being hypo-allergenic and dermatologically tested. I may actually consider a repurchase of the razor heads... but only when they're on offer. Man can they get expensive!

Maybelline New York Color Tattoo 24hr Eye Shadow in 20 Turquoise Forever - full size £4.99
Ooh first time Maybelline's appeared for me in a Glossybox. I like the color tattoo eyeshadows so was quite pleased with this selection but admittedly I would have preferred a different shade like Pink Gold or Permanent Taupe. I'm not really a bright eyes kinda gal so this will mostly be used to give a flash of colour to my lashline. I've found that the color tattoos do pretty much what they say on the tub - they're highly pigmented and as long as you don't overload your lid with product, they are crease free and smudge resistant. I have to be honest though, I've not tested the 24hr claim - I tend to remove my make up before I get to that point! I was a little disappointed that I didn't get BROWdrama like a few other subscribers but I guess that'll be another one for the shopping list when I'm next in Boots.

Seche Nail Lacquer in Take Chances - full size 14ml £8.00
This must be an ongoing theme with the Christmas edition boxes. In the 2012 box I got a not-so-lovely shade of brown of Seche Nail Lacquer so I was pleased to see a more palatable colour. I got a lovely creme darker-lilac shade called Take Chances, the website describes it as royal purple but I wouldn't say it's deep enough or rich enough to be classed as 'royal'. Seche nail colours are very smooth in formula, they apply quite easily and this particular shade is fully opaque with two coats (almost one, but not quite). I would like a slightly bigger brush but that's just me being picky. In all a nice, quick drying nail colour. 

Lipsy London Glam fragrance - 2ml sample size - full size 50ml £25
Uh oh, another controversial fragrance sample. Well as I'm sure you know by now I'm not adverse to these samples but I am a little snobbish when it comes to the brands that they send. This is pleasant but not a scent I would ever consider buying. As I could have guessed before a little test spray it's a fairly heady-fruity-sweet scent, synonymous with these typical styles of perfume (yes I'm referring to you Juicy Couture and celebrity scents). Nice, but not really me I'm afraid.

Not a bad Christmas box GlossyBox, a good selection of brands and three full items plus one good sized lip gloss - I would say that's money well spent! Just sort out those fragrance samples please... And if you want free GlossyBoxes too, you know what you have to do - get subscribing using my link below:

If you like the idea of subscribing to the normal GlossyBox, then use this referral link to sign up today.

Disclaimer - I subscribe to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money because I'm a sucker for random surprise beauty packages delivered on a monthly basis. I have reviewed the listed products in a 100% honest manner and I am not compensated for my reviews. But if you use the referral link above to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... get in!

Friday, 20 December 2013

astrid & miyu December Secret Box

Is it that time again? December means Christmas isn't far away and of course also brings round the latest offerings from the astrid & miyu Secret box - with a few little festive extras thrown in. If you haven't heard of this fab jewellery subscription service then you can check out their website or my previous posts (DecemberMarch, June and September). 

In a nutshell though:
  • Subscribe for £39 per box (with free UK and EU delivery) and cancel whenever
  • Every 3 months you will receive a box filled with astrid & miyu jewellery worth twice the value
  • Items are handpicked for you based on your likes from a style survey completed on sign-up 

This month astrid & miyu collaborated with two other brands to provide us with a couple of little extras. A Jelly Pong Pong 2-in-1 shadow/liner in Bronze and some Ubuntu chocolate (yum!) I got the Lime and Chilli flavour. They also included some little Christmassy recipe cards to get us into the festive spirit. So let's see what sparkly goodies I got in this box...

Charm It In Pink bracelet £19
First up, is the Charm It In Pink bracelet. This delicate woven cotton bracelet is part of the friendship and charms collection. It features a small gold plated cubic zirconia charm and small branded tag on the clasp. I actually already own this bracelet in black, so was a little disappointed to receive it in my box, but I am pleased to see that it now includes a little chain so that the size can be adjusted. On my Charm It In Black bracelet, I find it can be a little too tight on my wrist, so the adjustable length of this one will make it more wearable.

Dickie Bow earrings £29
Next up are these gorgeous little Dickie Bow earrings which are the perfect mix of girly and masculine in one. The picture above hopefully shows how delicate and tiny these are and I have to say astrid & miyu have got my taste spot on with this pick. They are made up of 18k rose gold plated brass and cubic zirconias shaped like a bow tie. If rose gold isn't your thing then these are also available in silver and gold and if you want to go for the matching duo then they also do the Dickie Bow ring. I think I'll be adding that one to my wishlist...

Tight Rope In Blue necklace £39
And last up is my favourite piece of this box, another gorgeous statement necklace to add to my collection. The Tight Rope In Blue necklace is also available in Red but I think they got it spot on for me with the Blue. The tribal-like necklace mixes up casual and glam perfectly with the chunky blue/black rope chain and the luxurious gold and sparkling crystal details. It is the perfect length to layer over a casual plain tee, or to jazz up a little black dress and sits nicely under the collar bone - not too short or too long. 

Overall, I'm quite pleased with this month's box. At £87 it's definitely been great value for money but I do wish that I didn't get an item I already own - even if it is in a different colour. 

At the moment I'm unsure as to whether to continue my subscription though; I've been subscribing now since the very start and have received some amazing pieces over the last year. With having built quite a large astrid & miyu collection in my jewellery box my purse strings could probably do with a little break for 2014! 

Disclaimer - I have not been sponsored for this post and I purchased the Secret Box out of my own monies. For the terms and conditions or further information about astrid & miyu's Secret box then please check out their site here.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

GlossyBox - Limited Edition Christmas Box 2013

Last month I had the opportunity to buy a limited edition GlossyBox, namely the Christmas edition. First let me clarify that this is different to, and an additional charge, to the Christmas December box for normal subscribers. Now I've been tempted by these in the past - especially the Dr. Nick Lowe one - but I have always had my reservations that I'm paying a lot more for a box (usually around £30-40) that I may not like the contents of. Don't get me wrong, you get great value for money, but I can only just about cope with the normal boxes at £12.95 a month without throwing more into the mix!

I did find this limited edition Christmas box tempting though... it was only £25 for existing subscribers (£30 if not) but I was good and I managed to hold off for most of November. And then I got an email offering 20% off and 'BAM!' Sold to the lady with the ever-loosening purse strings....

The box in question arrived last week and let's see if my moment of weakness was worth it:

Absolute! Perfume Stick in Affair 102 - full size 8.3g $14.99
I've never heard of Absolute! perfumes and I have to say that a solid perfume stick has never really appealed to me. But being a good beauty blogger, I gave this a go and I almost immediately wished I hadn't. Affair 102 is 'infused with sheer undertones of rose' - well no bloody wonder I'm not a fan! This 'delicate scent' is anything but in my opinion, so not one I'll be wearing again. And even if I liked the scent I'm not sure I'd wear a perfume that wasn't a spray, I much prefer a generous and overzealous spritzing!

Be A Bombshell Cosmetics Blush Bronzer in Tanorexic - full size 4g $16.00
I first came across Be a... bombshell in the September London Edition GlossyBox (here) and wasn't disappointed in my first experience of the brand. This time I've got a blusher/bronzer to try out in the shade Tanorexic - sounds scary but it isn't - which is a warm sunkissed bronze with a shimmer. It's a little to heavy on the brown-side of colour for me to wear as a blush, however it works great as a bronzer. If you're not a fan of shimmer bronzers though I'd stay clear. It's highly pigmented, so a little goes far and it's long lasting too which is great for my oily skin. The downside is that the brand isn't easily purchased in the UK yet.

Butter London 3 Free Nail Lacquer-Vernis in Teetotal - full size 11ml £12.00
After much dabbling in nail art, Butter London is a nail polish brand I've yet to try out. So this was a welcome product in my box. I've heard many a good thing about this brand of 3 Free polish and its abundant colour collection, and for my first try I wasn't disappointed. If I'm honest, initially I was sceptical about the colour, Teetotal is a rich, mocha brown cream colour. In the bottle it looks a little 'yucky brown' and not one I'd pick out to wear, but once swatched, it does something with my skin tone and becomes the perfect dark taupe on my nails. The brush is a teeny bit on the small side and the consistency of the lacquer is slightly wetter than I'm used to, but I really am nitpicking now. In all a very good polish that I would look to expand my collection in.

EuPhidra Pearly Lip Gloss in MP04 ruby - full size 6.5ml €14.90
I have never heard of EuPhidra before now and have struggled to find much about the company. But from what I gather they are an Italian company that specialise in products and cosmetics for sensitive skins. This pearly lip gloss for example is paraben, lanolin, fragrance and gluten free - so there should be minimal reactions for even the most sensitive of skin types! I got the shade Ruby which is a lovely shimmery pink-red shade and its glides on like a smooth balm with very little 'stickiness'. It's not a particularly gloppy style gloss which I like and the packaging is sturdy with a nice sized doe-foot applicator. Overall a lovely product in a lovely colour. It's again a pity that this brand isn't easily purchased in the UK as I'd like to see what else they have to offer.

Philip B African Shea Butter Gentle & Conditioning Shampoo - full size 60ml $8.00
I quite like trying out new shampoo/conditioner products but don't often seem to get them in GlossyBoxes, so this Shampoo from Philip B is a welcome product to trial. It is a mild and moisture-rich cleanser that is designed to protect hair colour as well as strengthen the hair against damage - perfect for me! It left my hair feeling soft and smooth but I couldn't really say much about added volume as I didn't notice any extra oomph. It's a great shampoo for daily use, suitable for all hair types and I also like that the formula is paraben & phthalate free. I'll see how this bottle goes before I decide whether to purchase the bigger size. So far so good but it will have to go above and beyond what my BedHead does for me before I consider switching up my regular haircare routine.

So Susan Cosmetics Water-based Pore Luminizer - full size 15g £25.00
And the final item is from a brand called So Susan. It comes from the founder/creator of Jelly Pong Pong, Susan Chyi, and the brand philosophy is to make your makeup work twice as hard for you. She does this by making colour meet science and offers a line of peptide-loaded colour cosmetics that regenerate your skin, solve skin dilemmas and also give great coverage and colour. Now the highlighter, or pore luminizer, is water based (a whopping 82%) and it works to provide an 'ethereal' glow and luminescence to your skin. All I can say is whoa is it shimmery - a little goes a long way with this liquid illuminator! It is loaded with micronized pearlescent pigments so you will only need to dab on a tiny amount with your ring finger and blend out with a brush. For oily skins, this is perfect for creating a gorgeous dewy glow but without overloading the skin and making it look shiny - no one likes the 'sweaty betty' look. It feels amazing on the skin and I love that it's cruelty-free as well as containing no sulphates/mineral oils/phthalates/triclosan/animal by-products. Of the entire box, this is the stand out one for me.

In all I was a little sceptical at getting my money's worth from this limited edition box, but now I can honestly say there's plenty in the box that I am going to use and I don't begrudge paying extra for it. If anything this box has introduced me to some fabulous brands and I now have a few more amazing products to add to my stash :)

If you like the idea of subscribing to the normal GlossyBox, then use this referral link to sign up today.

Disclaimer - I bought this limited edition GlossyBox out of my own choice and money after a particularly weak-willed moment reading my emails. 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 to the normal box then I can get points towards a free monthly box next time... well who doesn't want free beauty stuff?!!
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