Monthly Archives: April 2015

Birchbox Best of British: Tatler Limited Edition

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I ordered this Limited Edition Birchbox as soon as it was released at the end of March and was told that as I am already a subscriber to the regular Birchboxes it would be dispatched at the same time as my April box. However, this was not the case and after a week passed with no sign of the box and nothing by way of an explanation as to why I hadn’t received it yet I contacted Birchbox customer services myself to chase it up. I was informed that an error at the warehouse resulted in a delay in dispatch and that my box would be with me as soon as possible. I know that things like this can’t be helped but since it took around 3 weeks after my order was received (and my payment was taken!) for the box to actually arrive I feel that a courtesy email explaining the situation and apologising for the delay would not have been to much to ask for from a big company like this.

Anyhow, I finally got my hands on the box about a week ago and have since had the opportunity to try out the products inside. Here’s my verdict:

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First up I tried out the Percy & Reed Dry Instant Volumising Spray, which at a hefty full sized 200ml was too big to fit into the cute and compact specially designed box so had to be added to a larger box alongside the main package.
I have tried a few other Percy & Reed hair products in the past and have always been impressed by the cute packaging and the quality of the products so I was eager to give this a go. I always have a can of Batiste Dry Shampoo to hand for second day hair emergencies when my hair starts to look a little greasy or lacklustre but since my hair is very fine it tends to make it look flat and flyaway so I end up having to scrape it back anyway. I was pleased to find an alternative product especially since this spray promises to make my locks big, bold and beautiful! Since I prefer to wash my hair every other evening I used the spray on the morning of the day I was due to wash it and it was starting to look a bit lifeless. The spray goes on similar to a hairspray rather than the powdery formula of Batiste and other dry shampoos and you can instantly see and feel the volume that it creates. It was love at first application for me and I will definitely carry on using this product when my hair is in need of a bit of oomph. Although this spray is not specifically marketed as a dry shampoo alternative it was fit for the purpose in my case. It can also just be used on dry hair as a more lightweight alternative to wax or mousse to add volume to your style at any time. This product retails at £14 so the inclusion of a full sized can with this box is a bargain!

Next up I trialed the Bamford Body Wash:

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This is a 50ml sample so it will last for quite a few uses to enable you to get a good idea of whether you like the product enough to invest in the 250ml full sized bottle. The body wash contains Geranium, Lavender and Peppermint and has quite a heady scent when you open the bottle. I used this in the shower with my trusty body puff and a little went quite a long way. It did the job but nothing really set it apart from any other body wash in terms of results. In my opinion there are certain products that it is worth spending a little more money on and others where cheaper brands do the job just as well. Shower Gel and Body Wash is an area where I am not especially bothered which brand I choose. That being said Bamford is a London based company who use organic and botanical ingredients wherever possible in all of their products so if this is a deciding factor for you when choosing products like this then the body wash would be a good choice. I always like the idea of using natural products on my skin but in this case the price tag of £22 for the full sized product is just too steep for me to justify.

After trialing the body wash during my shower I decided to give the Aromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Body Cream a try:

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The cream smelled of Turkish Delight when I took a whiff of it in the tube but when it is applied the scent isn’t quite as nice. The instructions on the tube recommend using this only after cleansing with Rose Body Wash and applying Rose Hydrating Body Gel and since these products are priced between £29 and £36 this would be a costly skincare regime indeed! As with body wash, I don’t really see the need to spend mega money on premium body creams and moisturisers when cheaper products do the job just as well so although this was a perfectly adequate cream and I will no doubt finish off the sample bottle, I won’t be rushing out to buy the full size version.

Next up I tried Dr Jackson’s Face Oil:

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I have combination skin and I have developed a few dry patches on my face lately, no doubt from the combination of the many different face products that I have been trying out as well as one fateful evening last weekend when I committed the number one beauty sin of sleeping with my make up on so I was excited to see what this product could do for me. The scientific looking pipette applicator immediately made me feel as if this face oil would really do my skin some good but since I also have grease prone areas on my face I stuck to the lower end of the 3-5 drop estimate when applying it. I was immediately impressed with how well it was absorbed into my skin (it really must’ve been crying out for some moisture!) and although I could no longer see it I could still feel the product on my skin when I touched my face. I really liked this as it felt as though the oil was continuing to penetrate deep into my skin and work it’s magic whilst I got on with my day. Although I felt some slight itching and irritation on my skin, absolutely every product I use on my face has this effect to some degree and this oil did not cause any physical signs of irritation such as redness or spots so I was happy to continue using twice daily to really get a feel for the product. After using it morning and night for two days the dry patches on my face had disappeared and my face looked and felt soft and smooth. I am really impressed with this face oil and I will continue to use it, although probably for occasional use when my skin feels particularly starved of moisture rather than every day. Unless you have very dry skin I don’t think it would be necessary to use it daily anyway.

Next out of the box was a beautiful Ciaté Paint Pot in the vibrant shade ‘Red Hot Chilli’:

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Any Nail Varnish fan would want a bright red polish in their arsenal and Ciaté is a well known and well loved brand which is easily identified by the cute signature bow on the front of each bottle. I am the first to admit that applying nail polish is not my forté but this one turned out to be practically foolproof. After giving the bottle a quick shake I unscrewed the lid, wiped off the excess polish and set about applying it to my thumb nail, fully expecting to need about a dozen strokes and at least 2 layers to get an even vaguely acceptable result. As it was, the polish glided on like a dream even between my inexperienced fingers, and just one coat produced a smooth and flawless result. This is a super fast drying polish as well so all in all painting your nails is a pretty effortless experience using on of these polishes. I will definitely consider painting my nails more often using Ciaté shades! This is a full sized bottle worth £9 so it is another bargain addition to this box and a very impressive one in my book!

The final product in the box is the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser:

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If you have read my April Birchbox review you will already know that I adore this Cleanser. I already used it before I received a sample in that box and although I am a little disappointed that I received the same product in this box too, it will most definitely get used because it is a staple in my skincare regime. This is a more generously sized sample than the one I received in my regular Birchbox (at 50ml is is half the size of the full sized product) and it features the pump action nozzle found on the full sized bottle, allowing for precision application. I was also pleased to see a full sized muslin cloth supplied in this box, since you only got a travel sized one with the smaller sample in the April box. This is an innovative 2-step cleansing programme which leaves your skin feeling super clean and soft. All Liz Earle products feature naturally active ingredients and are suitable for all skin types.

Well that’s it for my review and though I didn’t fall in love everything that is included in this box I did discover some gems which I will definitely continue using and they more than justify the price of the box!

The Limited Edition Tatler Best of British Birchbox is still available here https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/tatler-limited-edition-box
The box costs £25 and can be bought on it’s own as a one-off purchase. You are under no obligation to subscribe to the monthly Birchbox service. However,  if you are already a subscriber or are interested in subscribing, the box can be purchased at the reduced price of £20.

So Susan Lip Love Bag: April 2015

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I’ve got to say I really am loving this subscription! As I mentioned in my previous So Susan post, I opted to receive the March bag when I began my subscription at the beginning of this month because I liked the look of the contents and didn’t want to miss out. However, I wasn’t sure whether it was being sent instead of or in addition to the April bag and I didn’t want to miss out on that one either! An email to customer services via the So Susan site was met with a quick response explaining that I would next be billed 10th May for the May bag but should I wish to also receive the April one they would be happy to process the payment and dispatch it immediately. I jumped at the chance and this lovely little package dropped onto my doormat just a couple of days later. I really appreciate a website with efficient customer service so this experience has made me love So Susan even more! Anyway, onto the contents of the bag:

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The first item that I tried out was the Colour Hybrid Velvety Lip and Cheek Mousse in ‘Marsala’. On first application I wasn’t expecting such a strong colour and I accidentally squeezed way too much out of the tube! The hole at the end of the applicator is quite big so go easy when you squeeze otherwise you will end up getting the product everywhere. Start with a little and add more if required. After a bit of tidying up with the help of my trusty Micellar water I was quite taken with the result. You definitely need to give it a bit of drying time but when it has set in place it really brightens up your face with a lovely deep cerise colour and it smells nice too. This doesn’t stay in place as well as a stain (it did leave small traces on my glass as I drank and the colour definitely faded noticeably throughout the day, though didn’t disappear completely) though neither does it suck all of the moisture from your lips like some stains seem to. I think that if you used a lip brush for a more precise application then this is a nice product in a lovely fun but wearable shade and I will definitely be adding it to my lip colour rotation. I would be wary of using it as a cheek colour though! I think the shade might be a bit too dark for that.

Next up I tried out the 8- Hour Cheek Stain:

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This cheek color takes the form of an easy to apply jumbo twist stick and is in the quite soft pink shade ‘Fiery Earth’. This is designed for quick application and it is pretty much the right size for a quick stroke over the apples of your cheeks followed by a bit of blending to soften the edges and you’re good to go. It gives a nice healthy flush of colour for a more natural alternative to bronzer. I don’t usually use blusher very often but I am planning to add this to my weekday make up routine to brighten up my face a bit on dreary mornings at work.

If you’d prefer a bronzer you are also in luck, because the generous people at So Susan have included bronzer in this bag too:

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This Jelly Pong Pong Caribbean Sun Bronzer Duo in ‘Aruba’ provides you with two wearable bronzer shades, one a peachy shade and the other a deeper, darker tone. Since this duo is a dinky handbag friendly size it is a bit difficult to get a full sized brush into it so I opted to use my fingers to apply the individual shades and also tried sweeping my usual bronzer brush over both shades to combine them. This gave a nice healthy glow and will probably be the way to go when applying the product in the future. I liked the fact that the product is matte so you’re not left with an unnatural looking shimmer that you can get with some bronzing products. This is a striking effect for a night out but can be a bit ridiculous when you are going for a more natural daytime look so I am grateful that this product contains no shimmer.

I was very excited about the next product out of the bag, Wonderlight Luminizer + Brightening Base:

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This is a double sided product which can be used as a concealer, eyeshadow primer and highlighter. The shade, ‘Pink Glow’ is perfect to use to highlight cheek and browbones and in the inner corner of your eyes for a wide awake look and the traditional looking concealer stick side can be used as an under eye concealer as well as on the lids to create a crease proof base to prime the lids and make your chosen eye colour more long lasting. This really is a wonder product and I have used it several times as part of my AM routine, disguising my dark circles a little with the concealer before I apply my BB Cream and highlighting the inner corners of my eyes to make me look a bit more well rested than I actually feel!
These are available individually on the site priced at £11.95 and I can definitely see myself purchasing a replacement when this one runs out, though it is a generous size so hopefully that won’t be for a good while yet!

The final product in the April bag is these cute hair clips:

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These cute flowers are attached to ever-useful Bobby Pins so they can be easily added to an up-do to give your usual style a bit of interest. I may give them a try during the summer months for a sweet, summery look although it’s more likely that my 3 year old niece will take a fancy to them before then and I will end up giving them to her! Likewise, if they aren’t your style personally I’m sure you will know a little girl who would be more than willing to take them off your hands!

For more information on So Susan’s Lip Love service, or to get your own subscription check out http://sosusan.com
Subscription costs £14.95 a month and shipping is included

Glossybox: April 2015

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April’s Glossybox is a special Iconic Hollywood Edition, featuring a beautifully designed box (complete with an inspiring quote inside the lid) and a line up of products which promise to help you feel confident, glamourous and basically just all-round awesome.

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Firstly I have to say that the box really is very pretty and the quote by Elizabeth Taylor really made me smile. Did the products inside give me something to smile about too? Read on…

The first product I was drawn to was the Lord and Berry crayon lipstick:

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This is a nice chunky lip crayon in the suitably Hollywood shade ‘Kiss’ which is a bold orangey red. As soon as I began applying it I was struck by how strong the colour was. I expected a pencil to be quite easy to apply but I found myself having to take extra care to stay within my natural lip line and then fill in the rest of my lips evenly because the colour was so powerful. Mistakes are going to show up! I am used to using lip products with applicators that allow the product to glide on quite effortlessly so this was an eye opener for me. Never the less, I was really impressed with the end result and the colour lasted impressively through a mid afternoon nap, several glasses of water and the homemade burger that I ate for dinner so in terms of longevity this pencil is definitely a winner! I have seen Lord and Berry products popping up in quite a few Beauty Boxes lately and based on this product I would welcome the opportunity to see what else the brand offers.

I decided to go for full-on glamour and trial the Pop Beauty Kajal Pen at the same time as the lip crayon:

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This eyeliner is in a universally useful ‘Sooty Black’ shade and comes complete with it’s own smudger on the end for an effortless smoky eye effect. I had much more success with this liner than the others that I have tried recently due to the softer, creaminess of the Kajal pencil. It glides on easily in a strong, smooth line for a simple but striking effect or can easily be smudged and blended to add dramatic colour to your entire lid. I layered an old grey e.l.f cream eyeshadow on top to create a bold wet-look smoky effect which I will definitely replicate for my next big night out.

Next up is the Color Club Nail Lacquer in ‘Barely There’:

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This really is a true nude shade and would make a lovely speedy alternative to a French manicure for everyday understated nails. You could use one coat for a nice transparent sheen if you are a pro with nail polish application but I had to apply a second coat just to neaten mine up since i’m far from an expert! The second coat resulted in a more matte look and a nice beige colour. Still nice and natural but a little more noticeable. I will definitely try a full application of this lacquer soon once I have buffed and filed my nails in preparation. The shade might just be subtle enough to get away with at work!

Next up I gave the Nougat London Soothing Bath Pearls a whirl:

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They looked adorable in their sweet little organza bag and as a lover of a long soak, I was looking forward to the luxurious and pampering experienced that was promised on the label. However, after following the instructions and sprinkling a handful into my warm bath they just dissolved into nothing and I couldn’t really tell they were there! In hindsight I realise that my interpretation of a ‘handful’ was probably a bit stingy (the instruction card within the Glossybox suggests a tablespoon full) so it was probably entirely my fault that they didn’t have the desired effect! I will just have to try them again this evening to get a better idea! Either way though, bath pearls are more of a gift item in my opinion so I probably wouldn’t rush out to buy any more for myself anyway.

The final item in my box was Darphin Exquisage Beauty Revealing Cream:

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I have noticed that many of my latest Beauty Boxes have contained anti-ageing skincare products which may be due to the fact that many of the box companies ask you to complete surveys in order to determine what kind of products you would be most interested in then tailor your box selections to your responses. Having turned 30 last year it is actually quite sweet that they are trying to help me grow old as gracefully as possible! Anyhow, I am always grateful for the opportunity to try a sample from a luxury brand whatever it may be, so I was excited to try this out. I slathered it on before bed last night and again this morning underneath my BB cream eagerly waiting for my beauty to be revealed. Unfortunately as the morning progressed all that was revealed to me was a slightly blotchy, uneven looking skin tone and patches of irritation. To add insult to injury the wrinkles around my mouth looked more pronounced than ever! Granted, I had a rubbish night’s sleep and did a bit of a rush job of my minimal make up at 6.20am before I left for work but I still expected more promising results than this. My skin is quite sensitive and I think that I just reacted badly to it personally, it may work miracles on other people! The cream was lovely and thick but it did absorb really well into my skin so if you do get hold of one of these samples and you don’t have sensitive skin yourself I think it’d definitely be worth a try!

Glossybox is a monthly subscription service that costs £13.25 a month including P&P. If you are unhappy with the product or service you are free to unsubscribe at any time. Check them out at http://glossybox.co.uk

A Touch Of Velvet

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While I’m putting the finishing touches to my April Glossybox review I thought I’d do a quick piece on my favourite lip product at the moment, the gorgeous Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet! I was first introduced to this lipstick when I received the ‘Nude-ist’ shade in a Latest in Beauty box last month (It’s on the left, the other shades are ‘Peach Club’ and ‘Happy Nude Year’). As soon as I applied it I was impressed by the colour and texture and as the day wore on it became apparent that it had pretty impressive staying power too! I am usually a no-nonsense tinted lip gloss or Clinique Chubby Stick kind of girl but this was definitely love at first application and it has encouraged me to make more of a feature of my lips these days. I love the matte effect of these lipsticks but by far the best thing about them is their longevity. The fact that you can slick them on at the beginning of the night and not have to worry about endless touch ups after every drink is a godsend (I’m still pretty low maintenance at heart!).
I’ve included some snaps of me wearing my current 3 colours to give you an idea of the true shades and effect. I have applied one layer of each shade alongside the natural make up I have been wearing all day to allow the lipstick to take central stage!

Despite belonging to the ‘nude’ end of the shade spectrum, ‘Nude-ist’ still gives a rush of colour and a striking effect without being too try-hard. In actual fact it is quite a pinkish colour:

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Sorry about the manic expression i’m still working on perfecting the selfie! Haha. As I said I loved everything about this lipstick as soon as I saw it and I became obsessed with owning more shades so when I was doing a spot of online shopping at very.co.uk the other day and I realized that they stocked them I couldn’t resist popping a couple in my basket.
Next up is another from the nude collection, ‘Happy Nude Year’:

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This one is a lighter, more candy pink tone than ‘Nude-ist’ and is lovely for a natural, pretty daytime look.

The final shade from my own collection is ‘Peach Club’:

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I have been looking for a nice coral lip colour for some time but I wasn’t sure if it would suit me so when I saw that there was a peachy Rouge Velvet shade I knew I had to try it out. Although all of my current shades are pretty subtle, this one probably gives the best idea of the potential that some of the stronger shades can have. Now I have tried and loved these I will be working my way up the colour spectrum towards the more daring ones!

The best thing about these lipsticks is the fact that they glide on smoothly without you having to worry about them clinging to any flakes or dry patches that you may have on your lips like some of the longer lasting lip stains can. I think this is due to the matte liquid lipstick formula being thicker than most stains and therefore able to disguise small imperfections rather than highlight them.

So whether you’re after a subtle but long lasting natural look or something more daring, give these lip colours a go. They retail at around £8.99 but many stockists have offers on Bourjois products at the moment! http://superdrug.com has them included in their 3 for 2 offer while http://boots.com is currently selling them at 2 for £14. They are also 3 for 2 at http://very.co.uk at the moment as well (priced at £9 each) if you already have an account!

Check out the full collection of shades here http://www.bourjois.co.uk/catalog/make_up/lips/lipstick/rouge_edition_velvet and see if any of them take your fancy…

Selfridges Agender Beauty Box: Limited Edition

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The Selfridges Agender Beauty Box is currently available as a one-off purchase, and was created by the company to launch their new Agender campaign. Its a little pricier than my usual boxes but when you get a look at the brands included inside it’s easy to see why!
The first products I tried were the Kiehl’s Ultra-Facial Cleanser and the Konjac sponge:

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I am familiar with the Kiehl’s brand but I have to admit that I have never gone quite so high-end with my skincare before so this is the first of their products that I have tried! I am really into trying out different cleansers at the moment though so I was happy to give this one a go. I had also seen the Konjac sponges around but again, I’d never actually tried one before. I slathered on the cleanser then followed the instructions on the sponge packaging, rinsing it to fully hydrate it then squeezing out the excess water. I then rubbed in the cleanser using wide, circular motions with the sponge and gave my face a quick rinse and splash of cold water afterwards. The cleanser foamed reasonably well (I sort of take that as a sign that a product will really do it’s job properly!) and I absolutely loved the thorough cleansing effect that the sponge gave me. You can even use it without a cleanser but for the purpose of the box review I decided to double the products up.
The packaging stated that the sponge would last about 3 months and I will continue using it as part of my skincare routine for that time. Since they retail for a very reasonable £7.99 I will most likely replace it when it has seen better days too!

Next I decided to trial the three make-up products, a NARS mini eyeliner, Illamasqua mascara and OCC lip tar.

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This is the NARS Larger than Life long-wear eyeliner. It is a useful black shade and I love the fact that you just twist the end to expose more lead rather than having to sharpen but I found the tip too firm to enable me to easily apply a neat line across my upper lash line. After reviewing both this and the Laura Mercier eyeliner from my April Birchbox I have come to the conclusion that luxury eyeliner brands are not suited to my personal product needs and I would be better off sticking to mid-range or cheap and cheerful brands in future!
In spite of me not being able to achieve a tidy line, when smudged the liner did a good job in achieving a strong smoky eye and looked great when used in conjunction with the Illamasqua mascara:

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Again, the product is a classic true black colour and it has a lovely luxuriously full wand brush. It was easy to apply and built up to a lovely strong and striking effect. Both products complemented each other well to achieve a good strong smoky eye effect for a night out.

Lastly was the Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar:

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I loved the dinky storage pouch and the lip brush that was included. As the name suggests, this product has a thick, gloopy consistency and might be a little tricky to apply without a brush. The shade is a light gold-peach metallic and when I first applied it I didn’t like it at all. It is was too strong a statement for me! However, when I looked at myself in the mirror later when it had worn off a bit I quite liked the subtle sheen so I think that it would look quite pretty if you applied a little of this over your regular lip colour to create a bit more sparkle and interest to it.

Also included in this box is an O.P.I Nail Lacquer in ‘Tickle my France-y’.

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It is a gorgeous neutral nude shade which would be great for an everyday manicure or even bridal nails. O.P.I really is a top quality nail polish brand and if you are after something with a strong colour that is durable then it is one of the best.

Next up, Dermalogica conditioning body wash:

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This is a well established, leading skincare brand which I’m sure most people will have heard of. I tested this out in the shower and applied it with a body puff to get a really luxurious, creamy lather but I love the fact that it can also be added to running water as a foaming bath soak. I love my long, hot baths! I could imagine this product performing really well in that context because eucalyptus, rosemary, sandalwood, lavender and sage essential oils are prevalent ingredients, giving it quite a pungent, musky scent. This would be really nice and relaxing in a bath but I prefer my shower gels and body washes to be zingy and invigorating. The product definitely did a good job at cleansing moisturising my  skin though and since the sample is a generous 75ml size I’m looking forward to continuing to use it until it runs out!

Also included in this box is a sample of Verso night cream:

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This formula contains Retinol 8, which has a soothing and calming effects on the skin. The Verso skincare website claims that regularly using this cream can help your skin produce more collagen, thus reversing existed signs of ageing as well as helping to protect it from future damage. This would certainly be a welcome effect but since this sample will probably only last me 5-7 days and the full size product retails  at around £85 I won’t get to see whether this is true! I did use it for 3 evenings though and it left my skin feeling soft and smooth so its definitely worth using up the sample.

The final product in this jam-packed box of goodies is the Lancaster Tan Maximizer:

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This legendary product may not need much introduction to many. I have fond memories of Cabin Crew on package holidays trying to flog this to all of their passengers on the return flight so that they could hold onto their hard earned tans as long as possible!
Since I do not currently possess the slightest hint of colour on my sun starved skin I haven’t had the opportunity to actually try this out yet but I will say that this lotion has been around for years and is still as popular as ever! Aside from being an effective soothing after sun lotion, it actually encourages melanin production so that your tan will last as long as possible, even without subsequent sun exposure. This also ensures that skin is better adapted when it is exposed to the sun again. Has anyone tried this? What do you think? I will be more than willing to give it a go if my skin does see any exposure at any point this year; I’ll be desperate to hang onto any hint of a tan for as long as possible!

The Selfridges Agender Beauty Box is still available exclusively from http://selfridges.com for £30 plus postage and packing or free delivery to your nearest store.

So Susan Lip Love Bag: March 2015

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If you’re particularly interested in Make Up So Susan Lip Love might well be the subscription for you! This is my very first bag and I’m really impressed with it. They are shipped from America but prices are displayed in Pounds Sterling, delivery is super quick and its included in the monthly price so if you are based in the UK like me this shouldn’t put you off subscribing.
Each month your goodies arrive in a cute little themed bag which would make a lovely gift (whether you decide to also give away the contents or keep them for yourself is up to you!) or could be used to stash your essentials for a weekend away.
When I subscribed I was given a choice of which bag I wanted to start my subscription from and since I liked the look of the contents of March’s travel themed bag I chose to start with that, hence this March review in April!
You should expect to receive a selection of products from So Susan’s own make up range as well as Jelly Pong Pong and other affiliated brands, so its all good quality stuff. First out of the bag was the so Susan Lip Dome:

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This is a plumping lip tint in the shade ‘Rhubarb’, a lovely bright pinky red. It is easy to apply, leaves a strong colour and lasts well. It also smells lovely! I have noticed that there have been other shades included in previous bags and I would welcome another of these chunky lip crayons in a future bag.
Next up is Jelly Pong Pong Fairy Lashes Curl mascara:

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It has a pretty standard looking, small brush which makes it easy to get underneath your lashes and curl them upwards. It goes on smoothly without clumping and lengthens lashes well in addition to providing a slight curl. Apply one coat for natural looking, fluttery lashes or build up the volume for a more dramatic effect. I quite like the sleek maroon coloured tube too! 

The Beauty Crop blush duo is up next:

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This little pot contains one cream and one powder blush in the shade combo ‘Papaya don’t Preach’. I love the idea of providing both options within the same compact and the built in mirror in the lid is a great touch too. Both shades are really wearable and would look good on most skin tones. I’m not much of a blush girl really but I tried a bit of the pink powder on the apples of my cheeks and it gave a nice healthy looking glow.

The next treat, a So Susan liquid powder shadow palette is described as a bonus product and it’s certainly a welcome one:

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This is the ‘Gatsby Girl’ palette and it includes both matte and sparkly shades in really wearable colours. I tried out the neutral peachy matte shade at the top and used the sparkly violet one on the bottom right as a liner. It created a lovely, summery look. I am really pleased with this compact and I can see it becoming a go-to product for me. There is a handy little strip mirror on the inside of the lid for in the go application and touch ups too!

The final item in the bag was this little bracelet:

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I always enjoy receiving bonus surprises in my subscriptions and I thought this was really cute. Its a nice chunky style and gives provides a casual look for times when you feel like there’s a little something missing from your outfit but don’t want to go too OTT with jewellery! If its not your style its a sweet little gift to give to someone else!
Well that’s it for my March Lip Love review, I’m very much looking forward to my next package from So Susan!

For more information on So Susan’s Lip Love service, or to get your own subscription check out http://sosusan.com
Subscription costs £14.95 a month and shipping is included

My Little Box: April 2015

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I love My Little Box! This is probably my favourite of all my subscription boxes due to the thought they put into the ‘whole package’. The French company who makes it, My Little Paris has their own beauty range, My Little Beauty (there is a product from the range included in the box each month), their own in-house illustrator who designs the adorable box illustrations and any other graphics found within your package, and they also include their My Little World magazine which contains interviews, product tutorials and general beauty and lifestyle features.
In addition to all of this, the products are pretty good too! Here’s a closer look at what is included for April:

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This month’s My Little Beauty product is a Repairing Mask for dry ends. All of the writing in the product is in French so it is a good job that a handy little description card was included because I assumed that this was a face mask at first! Nope, it’s a hair mask. It contains walnut oil and Shea butter to nourish dry and damaged hair and the instructions recommend leaving it for 2 minutes before rinsing with cold water to seal hair cuticles. I remember this particular tip from years ago to give hair added shine but I have since given up doing it. I’ll be giving it a try again from now on!
Since my hair errs on the side of greasy most of the time I can’t say that dry hair is a problem for me personally but since its always nice to give your hair a bit of extra TLC occasionally I will be giving this a try later.

The next product included in the cute little drawstring bag is a Lou Lesage tinted lip balm:

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Lip balm is an absolute handbag essential for me and I’ve always got at least 2 with me at all times! I especially like the option of a tinted one to give your lips a hint of colour during the day without sacrificing the moisturising effects of your balm. This little cutey is in a dinky little pot that’d fit comfortably in the smallest handbag and glides on easily to instantly add moisture and a gorgeous subtle red hue to your lips. I often find that a little flash of rouge instantly brightens your face and leaves you with an extra spring in your step!

Next up is a well known skincare brand, Cowshed:

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This Wild Cow Invigorating Body Lotion is a full-size 100ml bottle (which retails for £18) and has a really interesting and uplifting scent of lemongrass, ginger and rosemary. The lotion absorbs into your skin almost instantly so you are not left feeling sticky, and it really is super moisturising. I have tried a few other Cowshed products before and I really like the brand. Their products are free from paraben, sulphates and other nasties and that is always a plus in my book!

This month’s lifestyle product is an adorable rotating stamp and ink pad:

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With cute little sentiments like ‘made with love’, ‘choose to be…..’ and ‘Don’t stop me now!’, this is perfect for jazzing up your stationery and letters. It has inspired me to put pen to paper and send my loved ones some little handwritten notes. So much more personal than text messages!

I really love the little products like this that you get in these boxes. They are really special and obviously took a lot of thought to come up with. This is definitely what sets them apart from other Beauty Box services!

The final product this month is a little locket:

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To get to it you have to cut open a little cloud shaped package which adds an extra touch of excitement to your box! It is a small gold charm attached to a thin pink cord designed exclusively for My Little Box subscribers. The engraving says ‘Bonne Ètoile’ which translates to ‘Lucky Star’. I doubt that I will end up wearing this as a necklace but I appreciate the sentiment. I may shorten the cord and wear it as I little charm bracelet instead.

Well that’s it for April’s product line up and as always I was suitably impressed. This is my 4th My Little Box and I can honestly say that I have loved every one. The lip balm has already made it’s way into my handbag, the body lotion will be helping me prep my skin for the spring sunshine and little notes personalised with my new stamp set will be winging their way to family and friends imminently!

My Little Box is a monthly subscription service costing £14.95 per month including delivery. Subscriptions can be easily cancelled at any time by logging into your account and selecting the ‘cancel subscription’ option.

Check it out for yourself at http://mylittlebox.co.uk

Birchbox: April 2015

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This month’s Birchbox is ‘Royally Good’ and is themed to tie in with the impending birth of the second Royal baby. Birchbox has put together a luxe collection of samples and is also running a nifty competition in which you can win £250 worth of Blue or Pink themed goodies from their online shop depending on whether the bundle of joy is a boy or a girl and if you were lucky enough to receive the correspondingly coloured box. I got a blue one so fingers crossed for a baby brother for little Prince George!

     The first sample I will review from the box is the cult hot cloth cleanser Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish:

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     I have actually been using the full size product for quite some time so I can vouch for how good it is. It works as a 2 step process; firstly you massage onto dry skin as you would any cleanser, then you rinse the muslin cloth in hand-hot water and use that to ‘polish’ off the cream, finishing with a refreshing splash of cold water to close your pores again. This product really makes you feel like you are going the extra mile in your skincare routine and you are rewarded with silky smooth and refreshed looking skin.
     Liz Earle products are suitable for all skin types, even sensitive and this cleanser has a gorgeous fresh scent which makes you feel invigorated as you massage it into your skin.
     This really is a great product worthy of it’s glowing reputation and the sample tube, complete with mini muslin cloth is the perfect size to take on short trips away for luxury cleansing on the go!

Next up is Percy & Reed Volumising No Oil Oil:

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     Percy & Reed is a quality British haircare brand that produces the usual shampoos and conditioners as well as more specialised products like this oil.
Haircare is one area where I lack enthusiasm since I gave up trying to make much out of my short,  fine and naturally wavy hair years ago but when I review samples like this for the purpose of my blog it does make me think that maybe I should be trying a little harder when there are products out there that could actually help the situation! Another problem is that my hair tends to get greasy quickly, particularly if I make an effort to style it properly so I am cautious of overloading it with too much product, but since this claimed to be ‘no oil’ oil I thought I’d give it a go, albeit cautiously.
     As is the case with most hair products, a little goes a long way so I pumped one drop into my palms and worked it through my towel dried hair, smoothing from root to tip as instructed on the bottle. After blow drying as usual my hair did look and feel fuller with no ill effects from having applied oil to it so I will continue using this products to try and get a bit more ‘oomph’ into it on a daily basis.

Next up is Pommade Divine Nature’s Remedy Balm:

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I had heard of this multipurpose balm before but never tried it out so I was quite pleased to find it in the box. Possible uses listed on the back include soothing relief from peeling or flaking due to minor burns, abrasions, scrapes and bruises, a moisturiser for dry, itchy skin and a cure for rough heels and chapped lips. It clearly seems to be a wonder balm!
     Since I have been suffering with really dry skin on the back of my hands lately I decided to try it out on that. After slathering it on I realised that it has a really thick, greasy texture similar to Vaseline and it was probably not the best idea to smother my hands in it in the middle of the day! It’s a handy sized tube to pop in your handbag to use as a lip balm or to apply to small cuts and bruises though, and with the warmer weather coming an overnight heel smoothing treatment would be most welcome so I will keep trying this out on various areas to see where it is most useful to me!

The next item is the Lola Barcelona nail polish in ‘Grazia’:

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This shade has been made exclusively for Birchbox and it’s always nice to feel like you have something unique!
Sadly I don’t get to use nail polish very often since i’m not allowed to wear it for work, but as soon as I get my summer sandals out I love to paint my toenails and this vibrant Fuchsia shade is perfect to make them really pop! Two coats are required to build up a nice strong colour but once you’re done the effect is really striking, particularly against my current, sun-starved skin!

The last sample from the box is a Laura Mercier Eyeliner in Violet:

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Birchbox regularly encourage you to ‘pick your own sample’ ahead of receiving your box and this month it was a choice between the cult Laura Mercier Primer, this eyeliner and a Mascara. Since I don’t usually use a full coverage foundation (my skin is usually pretty clear so I prefer to stick to BB cream) and I have received an abundance of mascaras from other Beauty Boxes lately I opted for the eyeliner. Purple and green hues are my go-to shades for eye make up when I want a pop of colour so the suitably regal violet shade appealed to me too.
     I have to say when I tried to apply it my first impressions were not good. The pencil is unyielding and dragged across the eyelid rather than gliding like a creamy formula or kohl pencil would, so I found it difficult to build up a striking colour. In the end I turned to an old purple Gosh eyeliner to achieve the look that I had my heart set on instead! I will give it another try in the future but for now I’ll stick to my other shades and brands of eyeliner.

This month’s box also contained a bonus lifestyle product which is my case was Imedeen Derma One tablets:

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The promise of improved skin quality, moisture balance and skin radiance as well as fighting the first signs of ageing sounds amazing but since this box contains a 15 day supply and the instructions on the back recommend taking the tablets for at least 12 weeks in order to get the best out of them (they retail at £37.99 for a 30 day supply) I think i’ll have to stick to my lotions and creams to get the same effect!

Well that’s it for the April box and overall I thought it was a strong month, especially with the added fun of the competition that the site is running. The products included make it well worth the £12.95 you pay for the box!

Birchbox is a monthly Beauty Box subscription service, so you will automatically be billed and sent a new box each month unless you decide to cancel (which is very easy to do!)
Check it out here http://birchbox.co.uk

The Quest for Cohorted…

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Today was a date for the diary for me and many of my fellow Beauty Box enthusiasts. Cohorted.co.uk invited eager shoppers to pre-order their much coveted boxes up to 3 months in advance from 6pm this evening. I had a reminder set on my phone weeks ago and as soon as the alarm went off at 5.55 I logged on and watched the clock counting down. 

Finding myself faced with 3 separate pre-order buttons rather than a bulk-buy option I was faced with a dilemma. Should I go for the May box, meaning that my chance to experience one of these luxe boxes would be tantalisingly close? Or should I play it savvy and go straight for June or July, assuming that the majority  would plump for May, therefore increasing my odds of securing at least one box? I decided to be smart and try for July.

The website was maddenly slow due to the volume of traffic from like-minding beauty fiends clamouring to get their hands on the holy grail of beauty boxes, but after a lot of refreshing and reloading I breathed a sigh of relief as the July box was successfully added to my basket.

Flushed with success I decided to take a chance and try for the June box as well and my excitement was exacerbated further when the message pinged up that it had been successfully added to my basket too. This was enough for me so I headed to the checkout. A quick login, shipping address check and paypal transaction later (thank goodness I was already a member!) and confirmation was received that I had successfully pre-ordered the June and July boxes.

By the time I managed to get back onto the May pre-order page the boxes had sadly sold out but oh well, as Meatloaf said, “two out of three ain’t bad!”

Look out for my very first Cohorted Beauty Box review coming June 2015!

Look Fantastic Beauty Box: April 2015

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So here I go with my first Beauty Box review!
I am relatively new to the whole Beauty Box scene myself having only started subscribing in January but I can certainly attest to the fact that once you subscribe to one its hard not to get drawn to them all! The Look Fantastic box is a great way to dip your toes in without getting too carried away because as well as a subscription option you can also just order each box as a one-off, leaving you under no obligation to continue purchasing if you find it’s not your thing or you’re a little low on funds on certain months.
Anyhow, on to the review! This month’s box came as quite a surprise since I am used to seeing other boxes concentrate more on skincare and make up. This box contained an eclectic mix of lifestyle, hair and beauty treats and although they may not all be to everyone’s taste you are sure to know someone who would be eager to take them off your hands! First up is the Balance Me revitalizing Hand and Body Wash:

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This is a full size 100ml tube by a brand well known to contain 99% natural ingredients so you can be assured that you are being kind to your skin when using this. It has a lovely fresh, citrus scent and foams well, leaving you with really clean feeling, smooth skin. I own a few other Balance Me products and have always found them gentle and effective.
Next up, Tigi Bed Head Manipulator:

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Although the packaging says ‘mini’ this is still a decent size to get a feel for the product. Tigi is a premium haircare brand that is used regularly in many hair salons and has a strong reputation. The product can be used on wet hair to add volume as you blow dry, or on dry hair in place of a wax or gel, to manipulate your style into place. A great addition to the box.
Next we have the Korres Milk soap bar:

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Korres is another company which doesn’t use unnatural minerals or parabens in their products which is always nice to see. This soap is for use on face and body and is particularly good for use on sensitive or stressed skin due to it’s mild formula. I am yet to try it myself but I have tried other products by the brand which I have found to be effective without irritating my sensitive skin so I’d expect nothing less from this soap.

The box also contains an Inika eyeliner:

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Inika is yet another ethical, cruelty free and environmentally conscious brand which produces quality cosmetics. The shade I received was ‘Coco’, a dark brown but the shade you receive may vary. The pencil goes on smoothly without dragging and lasted well throughout the day. The brown shade is perfect for a more natural, daytime look and makes a nice change from my go-to black.
Now for the more unusual additions to the box:

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I have heard of, and indeed tried supplements from Forza before and it is certainly an established brand. The multivitamins for dieters are certainly an interesting concept but i’m certain that they won’t appeal to everyone and you have to wonder why, if you were following a healthy and balanced diet you would have the need for additional vitamins and minerals anyway. Never the less, it is an interesting addition to the box and I would certainly be willing to give them a try at some point.
The final item in the box is CB12 Safe Breath Oral Care Agent which appears to be a fancy looking mouthwash. It is a mild flavour and claims to have a 12-hour effect. The cute little bottle would come in handy for popping into your handbag for when daytime bad breath panic hits or when packing light for a short trip away.

The Look Fantastic Beauty Box costs £15.00 with free delivery. Get yours from http://www.lookfantastic.com

So that’s it, my first real in-depth Beauty Box review! I hope you enjoyed it. I have a couple more new boxes waiting at home so once I’ve had a look and tried out the products I’ll get those reviews up too!