March Favourites!

Happy Spring! I hope you’ve been enjoying our first few days of sunshine and warmer weather. I’m off to Amsterdam very soon, so I’m sharing my favourite products for March with you before I disappear!

 

 

1. PINK Wild & Breezy Body Mist ($18 via victoriassecret.com) – I’m currently hooked on body mists – easy to wear and perfect for those days where you want to wear a subtle scent but don’t want to be distracted by the smell of your perfume all day, however lovely it might be. I’ve been at home doing uni work most days, so a light body mist is all I really need. I picked this up at the Victoria’s Secret store on London on offer, looking for something a little different from my usual choices, and fresh for Spring..and so far I love it. The main notes are “red guava and passion flower”..doesn’t that sound delicious? Not to mention, the bottles are huge so they’ll last for ages. Tempted to pick up a few other scents when I next visit.

2. Lush Rose Jam Shower Gel (limited edition, no longer available) – Isn’t it funny how our scent tastes change over time? I never used to be a rose person, but here we are. This was a limited edition Lush product from over Christmas, so sadly it’s not available all year round. Everyone seems to go nuts over the sickly-sweet Snow Fairy over the festive season, but Rose Jam is where it’s at for me. Fingers crossed it’ll be back this year! It is said to contain “Turkish Rose Absolute and geranium oil”, a truly divine, luxurious scent for your everyday showering. I feel fancy every time I use it.

3. Essie ‘A Splash of Grenadine’ Nail Polish (£7.99 via Superdrug) - The shade I’ve been wearing non-stop all month – it’s rare I’m ever that into one shade! I was obsessed with YSL’s pricey ‘Rose Scabiosa’ polish; although this isn’t an exact dupe or anything, it’s still in there with the vibrant creamy pink-purple family. Perfect for that boost of happiness during the chilly weather – how can you ever be unhappy with gorgeous fuschia nails?! I can’t fault the Essie formula either – I rarely pay more than a few pounds for one polish, but it wears incredibly well and the application is flawless and gorgeous. Always worth the money, even coming from a mega-cheapskate like me.

4. MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Groundwork (£15 via Debenhams) – It all started with Maybelline Colour Tattoos and now I’ve well and truly fallen for cream eyeshadows. As much as I love my colour-coordinating palettes featuring countless combinations of looks, there is so much to be said for a good cream formula. Groundwork is a warm neutral brown, ideal for a wash of colour over the lid on a lazier makeup day, with a darker brown in the crease and maybe even a highlight if you’re feeling adventurous. The formula wears for hours and I have no problem wearing it all day – no sign of creasing whatsoever. The only annoyance is that these are £15 each! I actually find the Maybelline formula creamier and easy to apply, but MAC have by far the most stunning range of colours. They seem a little expensive to have more than a handful in my collection, which is a shame!

5. Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation (£32 via QVC UK) - I have far too many good things to say about this foundation! Everything from the ultra-smooth application, to the perfect coverage and finish. Not to mention the wear time – lasting through most of the day, even on oily skin, isn’t a problem. And did I mention that Ivory is the perfect shade for paler NW15-20 skin? I find so many foundations come up orange, or cling to dry skin/fine hairs, or turn me into a shiny glowing beacon of oiliness. It’s interesting to see that Tarte have tentatively started selling a selection of their products via QVC UK (I’ve no idea why, does anyone even buy from QVC anymore? It’s really not somewhere I’d want to buy my makeup from, but there you go) and luckily this one made the cut. Mine was bought from the US so although it was much cheaper, it didn’t come with the super-soft brush featured in the linked product. I have no problem just using my fingers to apply with no brush at all, the finish is still lovely. I’d say this would be a suit-all foundation for any skin type – if it works for my difficult skin, I can’t see anyone being disappointed with it!

6. Maybelline Color Elixir in Rose Redefined ($8.09 via Drugstore.com) – Another US buy that I’m in love with – I chose well for my ultra-selective Beauty.com haul since I’ve loved everything! I’d heard a lot about these from other beauty bloggers, praising this formula as perfection. I already own far too many lip products, so I was skeptical this would be any kind of life-changing item. Okay, maybe not life-changing, but it’s definitely a must-have lip product that everyone should have in their collection. ‘Rose Redefined’ is a very safe, neutral rosy pink – I didn’t want to choose anything too crazy and risk wasting my money. The formula is ultra-smooth, sweet-smelling (none of this old lady scented business) and non-sticky, with a gorgeous glossy finish. I rarely wear gloss for fear of getting my hair catastrophically stuck over my face in a sticky mess and thus looking an absolute state, but this is so wearable and pretty. Ideal to finish off a ‘fresh’ spring look, if you’re looking to step away from the darker plum and berry shades of winter already, but don’t want the mess and stickiness of your typical gloss.

 

HONOURABLE MENTION: Bath & Body Works Mason Jar Candle in Raspberry Peach Macaron

Is it okay to mention candles on a beauty-based blog? I feel like they’re always thrown in there with makeup collections – Laura Mercier, Jo Malone, etc, for example. I’m somewhat obsessed with the scents from Bath & Body Works, I feel like 90% of them were just made for me and I honestly can’t get enough – the concentrated scents, great throw and cute jars keep bringing me back. I tracked mine down on Ebay for a  reasonable(ish) price, since of course they’re unavailable in the UK.

Raspberry Peach Macaron is from B&BW’s ‘Sweet Shop’ collection for Spring – a mix of “ripe raspberries, juicy peach and almond cream”. This sweet fruity-almond mix is perfection and I genuinely can’t get enough of it! I wish these were more easily available, since I’ll be sad to run out. At least I can use the adorable jar as a brush holder afterwards.

I hope you enjoyed my favourites for this month! What have you been loving over March? And what are you planning to buy during April? Let me know!

A Beauty.com Haul!

Normally I make a bit more effort with my photos..but I was far too excited to tear these open & start playing with them! Unfortunately Beauty.com don’t ship to the UK, but my auntie from the US was lovely enough to receive my order & bring them over this week on her visit. How lovely was that?

In order to avoid buying All Of The Things, I restricted myself to a small amount – it was really hard to only choose a few! Here is a brief rundown of what I chose as well as some of my initial thoughts…

1. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation in Ivory ($38) – I’d been lusting after this foundation since last summer and so glad I finally got my hands on it! I’d been matched a few shades darker in Sephora, but was a little apprehensive as I’m so pale. I used the very useful Findation site to pinpoint my desired shade – by entering my MAC, Rimmel and Kat Von D shades, it came up with Ivory..which turned out to be a perfect match for me! I’m amazed at how much I love this already – the smooth, flawless application is truly the best I’ve experienced. And, wait for it..it lasted a whole day on my oily skin without needing to blot. Pretty sure this is magic, there’s no other explanation. And how much do you love the bamboo detailed packaging?

2. Lavanila Vanilla Grapefruit [Full Size] ($58) - After trying this fragrance out in Sephora last year, I quickly fell in love (and not to mention, completely obsessed ever since). I can’t imagine anyone not loving this unique fruity vanilla! So delicious and wearable for any occasion. Very pleased to have a backup, since I’m getting through my current ones ridiculously fast.

3. Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation in Buff ($13.99) – Foundation number two! I actually bought this on my last US visit, but foolishly bought the shade Ivory which is a little pale on me. Both versions of Colorstay – liquid and whipped – genuinely have the worst packaging around! This heavy glass jar makes it a small (and fragile) fortune to post, if you live outside the US, as it doesn’t seem to be available anywhere else. Hardly practical for travelling. The whipped formula really does feel lighter on the skin, not to mention easier to apply than the liquid formula. The only annoyance with my order was that I’d purchased two of the same shade as they were on offer, yet one was planned to be dispatched a few weeks later (too late for me to receive it) which wasn’t communicated at checkout. Slightly annoyed, but at least I have the one!

4. Maybelline Color Elixirs in Rose Redefined and Celestial Coral ($7.19 each) – I’d heard so much about these beauties that I really had to give them a try..and so far, I’ve been truly wowed! Both are fairly similar glossy pink shades, though Rose Redefined is the most universally flattering – Celestial Coral is a little bright on me. They apply unbelieveably smoothly and leave a light stain behind throughout most of the day. Fairly similar in design and concept to the new L’Oreal Color Extraordinaires with a much more palateable lighter scent. I picked these more neutral pinks as a safe bet, now I’m so curious to try out more shades of this gorgeous formula.

 

Hope you enjoyed my small, brief haul! Have you ever tried any of these products before? 

The Daily Nails #6

Essie ‘A Splash of Grenadine’

How perfect is this creamy, bright purple-pink for summer? I know Essie isn’t the cheapest brand around when it comes to nails, but the brushes are unbeatable for a smooth, smudge-free application. Not to mention, it’s very similar to Yves Saint Laurent La Laque Couture in Rose Scabiosa. Not quite an exact dupe, but very much like this coveted  SS14 shade for a fraction of the price.

..Did I mention I’m on Day 4 and my nails have barely chipped? For someone who’s been doing so much housework that’s nothing short of a miracle.

January & February Empties: Products I Used Up!

Clearly I’ve been ridiculously busy using stuff up these last two months! I’m so relieved to finally get this post up & get everything in the recycling bin right before it’s all collected. Read on to see what products I’ve loved & hated using up the last couple of months..and grab a snack or two, because this is a long one!

 

Bath & Body

 

 

1. Gillette Satin Care Pure & Delicate Shave Gel (£3.49 via Boots) – I only buy this on offer because it is a little expensive for a shave gel..and when you have super-long legs to shave, that stuff runs out quickly! This formula is perfect for sensitive skin – unscented and gentle, not to mention non-messy – I find some of the cheaper versions ‘foam up’ in the lid after using and leak everywhere. Repurchase? Yes, when it’s on offer again.

2. Matey Molly Bubble Bath (£1.85 via Tesco) – I’m beyond caring that this for kids! It’s gentle on the skin with a light, fruity scent and even the smallest amount creates mountains of bubbles. Love it! Repurchase? Yes.

3. Tesco Sleep Therapy Bath Soak (95p via Tesco) – It annoys me when people say “it’s only £x, you can’t go wrong!”..yes, you can go wrong. You could have a severe allergic reaction, accidentally ingest it and become seriously ill, or just never use it and waste your money. Therefore you could go wrong quite badly. But 95p is a pretty excellent price for a product that lasts a good few bathtimes. I use this when I just want something relaxing and soothing before crawling into bed – the combination of lavender and ylang ylang helps to de-stress after a busy day, as well as producing bubbles-a-plenty. Repurchase? Yes.

4. Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Soap (£7.45 via Ebay) – Okay, £7+ is a bit of a mad price to pay for hand soap when there are plenty of options in the supermarket for under £1. Rest assured I haven’t gone crazy (yet). But I really think we ignore our hands all too much – abused hands need love and care too. This formula is far more moisturising than any I’ve ever used! Which is ideal in the horrendous winter weather. I use hand cream in the evenings before going to bed, & this helped a lot to keep my hands soft and moisturised throughout the day. Not to mention, Bath & Body Works fragrances really can’t be beaten. Truthfully, I was a little disappointed by Warm Vanilla Sugar as it has an unpleasant ‘smokiness’ to it which I really didn’t like, but I’m currently trying out Black Raspberry Vanilla, which is much fruitier and uplifting. I definitely won’t be able to buy this all the time, but a must-have for when I’m next in the US with some suitcase space. Repurchase? When cheaper/In the future.

5. Lush Dream Cream (£11.25 for 240g via Lush) – An old favourite of mine, but just one I don’t use anymore! Probably TMI, but I used to get unbearably dry underarms from my deoderant and this was the only thing besides the scary prescription steroid creams that actually worked. However I’ve found coconut oil works better than either of them. I had barely used this tub and had to chuck it out because it started to smell nasty. I’d recommend trying this specifically for problem areas on any rashes, eczema, or sore dry skin, but right now it’s not something I need. Repurchase? No.

6. Deborah Lippmann Steppin’ Out Foot Cream [Sample] (£26 via Look Fantastic) – I got this cute sample sachet in my secret santa box..and I kind of wish I hadn’t, because I love it now! This divine, mouth-watering cake-scented foot lotion contains kokum butter and aloe vera, leaving your toes mega-soft by the next day. My skin absorbed it so quickly, leaving barely any residue which was impressive. This sample was enough for 2 uses. As much as I loved it, £26 for the full size foot cream is a bit of a luxury purchase for me – maybe something I’d request for a gift, or buy if it ever goes on sale. My Body Shop Hemp foot cream does a good job too, and for less than half the price. Repurchase? If I had the money.

7. Lush Bubble Bar in Dorothy (£3.25 via Lush) - One of my favourites that constantly turns up in these posts! The combination of ylang ylang & orange flower as well as blue/multicoloured bath water can’t be beaten. Not too overpowering and my skin is super-soft afterwards. Not one I’ll get sick of anytime soon! Repurchase? Always.

8. Lush Bombardino Bath Bomb (sold out!) - This was part of Lush’s extensive Christmas collection – I think I sampled almost everything! I don’t normally go for bath bombs since they’re the least economical – you can only use them once, whereas bubble bars can be cut up and used several times. However the cocoa butter scent of these was heavenly, softening my skin & filling the room with its lovely fragrance. Repurchase? Yes, when/if available again.

9. Lush Snowman Bath Bomb (sold out!) – Another Christmas exclusive and another cocoa butter themed one too – sensing a theme here?! As I type this, I actually just used my last one (oh no!). Again, lovely cocoa butter scent and very moisturising on the skin without feeling greasy afterwards. At least Lush’s Butterball bath bomb has a similar scent and is available all year round. And now we play the waiting game til the cute Christmas products come back into our lives! Repurchase? Yes, when/if available.

10. Lush Cinders Bath Bomb (sold out!) - Last of the Christmassy bath bombs! Cinders was an unusual one, different from what I’d normally pick, but I was compelled to try it out anyway. It absolutely smells like Christmas and mulled wine – there’s a strong scent of orange and cinnamon. No exciting visuals, it just turned the water a urine yellow shade, which wasn’t exactly pleasant! It was fun to try out something new, but it wasn’t really my taste. Repurchase? No.

 

Skincare

11. Lush BB Seaweed Fresh Face Mask (£5.95 via Lush) - This used to be my HG all-time favourite, but I don’t find it that effective anymore – I need something that really sucks my pores out! It feels cool and soothing on my skin, but doesn’t do a lot compared to my other masks. Not to mention, having to store it in the fridge means it’s easy to forget about and then encounter a nasty (mouldy) surprise 3 weeks later. I have so many spare black pots lying around to trade in for masks, but don’t really like anyof them! Repurchase? No.

12. White C Mask Pack ($15 for 5 via Ebay.com) - Another surprise from my very thoughtful Secret Santa! I really lucked out this year. She sent me this sheet mask which claimed to clear, brighten and hydrate the skin. It was a bit of a fuss to apply and made me look like a horror film reject for about 15 minutes. It did feel soothing and cooling on the skin, but I didn’t notice added hydration, nor clearer skin. Nothing too exciting here, unfortunately! Repurchase? No.

13. MAC Mineralize Charged Water Moisture Eye Cream (£24.50 via MAC Cosmetics) – Ouch, the price of this has gone up a whole £1 since purchasing. After reading rave reviews on this, I decided to go for it, being in the market for a decent eye cream. I hated it at first since it didn’t seem to do much, but towards the end I actually enjoyed how moisturising this was and how quickly my skin drank it up. However it did make my eyes sting and go blurry if I accidentally got it in my eye – far from enjoyable. I didn’t notice any change in puffiness or dark circles. Since using this up I’ve been enjoying the Emu Oil Well Moisturising Eye Cream – less than half the price, does an even better job of moisturising effectively and doesn’t sting my eyes! Repurchase? No.

14. Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser [Sample] (£8 for 90ml via Boots) – I was kindly given this in Boots in Oxford Street during a promotion, and after hearing plenty of good things about it I was more than happy to accept! I massaged this onto my dry skin in the evening and washed off with a damp cloth. It was satisfyingly gentle and would make a decent everyday cleanser, but I just couldn’t get over the strong, plastic, chemical smell – really overwhelming and offputting. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Philosophy products were supposed to be natural and smell good? Repurchase? No.

15. Montange Jeunesse Chocolate Masque (£1 via Boots) - Still can’t ever get over how damn delicious this smells! It reminds me of chocolate fudge cake. This is a thick clay masque that sucks out dirt and blackheads from the skin. It’s perfectly fine on my ultra-sensitive skin, so would work well for any skin type. However it is extremely messy, permanenly staining my face cloths and even my towel, which I wasn’t too happy about. And it took so long to dry – I was sat around for about half an hour before getting bored and washing it off. Repurchase? No.

16. Mudd Original Mask 10 Application Pack (£3.59 via Amazon) – My HG mask! I was so surprised to see bad reviews of this online – personally I can’t fault it at all. It’s great value considering you can squeeze at least 10 uses from this pack. It’s resealable, so no mess or drying out between uses. Another clay-based mask that sucks the nasty bits out of your skin and leaves you with baby-soft, ultra-clear skin. I love how clear and calm my skin looks after this – nothing else has done such a great job for me. And it doesn’t irritate my sensitive face at all, nor does it stain. I use this at least once a week, so I did the sensible thing and bought a load on Amazon. Repurchase? Yes!

17. Aesop Parsley Seed Cleanser [Sample] (£25 via Aesop.com) - No strong opinions on this! A gentle cleanser that didn’t irritate my skin and left it feeling clean with no residue. The fairly strong natural herbal scent wasn’t my thing. Repurchase? No.

18. Yes To Blueberries Age Refresh Brightening Facial Towelettes (£6.99 via Feel Unique) – Almost £7 is a bit more than I’d like to spend on a month’s worth of face wipes, but I was eager to try these out. The first couple of wipes had a really nasty chemical smell, but the rest smelled like citrus rather than blueberries. The wipes were thick and durable, getting the worst of my makeup off before doing a proper wash with my cleanser and warm water. They didn’t irritate or dry out my skin like many wipes seem to do. However I can’t quite justify the price for something I use and throw away so regularly. Repurchase? Maybe in the future.

19. Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel (£17 via Gorgeous Shop) - This lasted me an entire year! Yes, I do switch cleansers around, but I always reach for this when I’m wearing a lot of eye makeup, especially stubborn mascara. Spread over dry skin, this gently melts all traces of makeup quickly and easily, turning into a ‘milk’ when water is added. It feels and smells luxurious on the skin, never drying it out and leaving it clean and ready for bed. An HG for me! I ordered via Gorgeous Shop before, as they offer the best price for this product, and it arrived safely within a couple of days. Repurchase? Yes.

20. REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk [Deluxe Mini] (£18 via Look Fantastic) - Ren confuse me by constantly changing the names of their products – I believe this used to be Evercalm but has now switched to Hydra-Calm. This mini lasted my 3 weeks on holiday in September and even left me plenty to finish off at home. I love how it’s gentle and soothing on the skin, whilst cleansing effectively and removing makeup. I’ve since bought the full size and the rather large pump bottle is so easy to use – Ren’s packaging design is excellent. However when I bought the full size from Look Fantastic, the pump was broken – at least they were apologetic and able to send a replacement. Repurchase? Yes.

21. Kleenex Shine Absorbing Sheets (discontinued) - It’s such a shame these are no longer in shops! At least I managed to buy an obscene amount of them for 29p each from Home Bargains before they disappeared, so I’m well stocked up. A good alternative to the Clean & Clear blotting sheets, which are similarly difficult to find. Having oily skin, I can’t go out without any kind of oil blotting sheets in my bag. I never see similar products in the UK so usually buy in bulk from Ebay – it’s a shame these weren’t more heavily promoted, since everyone I’ve mentioned them to got very excited and wanted to know where they could get some too. Repurchase? Yes, if possible.

22. Montagne Jeunesse Very Berry Face Mask (£1 via Boots) – To put it nicely..I hated this! My skin felt like it was burning until I washed it off, most likely an allergy since I appear to be allergic to many face masks. Luckily it wasn’t too severe and settled down quickly. Really, who wants sore, painful skin? Repurchase? No.

23. Estee Lauder Advance Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex [Sample] (£48-65 via Debenhams) - I couldn’t live without my Ren Omega 3 night serum, so I’m always eager to try out new and exciting formulas. Unfortunately this only lasted me a few days, so it was hard to see any serious results. It did absorb quickly and left my skin feeling smooth and hydrated the next day, but a little sticky which was offputting. I didn’t notice anything significantly more exciting than my Ren serum, at least not enough to make me want to throw down the significant amount of money for it. Repurchase? No.

24. Johnson’s Baby Gentle Cleansing Wipes (£2.44 via Boots) - My current all-purpose wipes – I mainly use them for wiping my hands after applying foundation, and cleaning up any swatches/makeup-related mess on my dressing table. I borrowed these from my nan and wouldn’t usually spend out on branded wipes for such a mundane job – I don’t need anything too fancy for that, and will no doubt go for whatever’s cheapest next time I need to restock. Repurchase? If on offer.

 

Makeup

 

25. Boots Eyelash Curler (£4.50 via Boots) - This was long overdue for a chucking out! When I received a lovely new Shu Uemura curler for Christmas, this one went straight in the bin (or rather, the empties bag). You really do get what you pay for with eyelash curlers! This is a fine one for travelling – you really don’t want to risk losing your nice expensive curlers. It gives a bit of a noticeable curl, but the rubber pad wore out quickly and it didn’t come with a replacement. I feel I got my use out of it! Repurchase? No.

26. Benefit PoreFessional Primer [Sample] (£24.50 via Feel Unique) - I felt this was a decent primer, but way overpriced for what it was! The flesh-coloured product can be worn alone to ‘blur’ pores, or under makeup for a smooth base. This is so similar to my MUA Matte Perfect Primer, right down to the colour and everything – costing only £4, I know which one I’d go for! Repurchase? No.

27. MAC Technakohl Liner in Graphblack (£14 via MAC Cosmetics) - I bought this on Ebay as part of a big lot of makeup a long time ago, but unfortunately the mechanism was completely broken when I bought it and it wouldn’t twist up at all, so I’m just getting rid of it. At least I can Back 2 MAC it for a free lipstick! Repurchase? No.

28. Tarte MultiplEYE Lash Enhancing Primer ($22 via Sephora US) – Either this is useless or my sample was completely dried up when it arrived! Possibly the latter, since the brush seemed to have no product on it at all. I chucked it right away. However now Sephora is shipping to the UK, I’m really curious to try this after reading reviews – hopefully it won’t be so dried up! Repurchase? N/A

 

Hair & Candles

 

29. TIGI Bed Head Masterpiece Massive Shine Hairspray (£7.95 via Fragrance Direct) - As fellow Tigi fans might be able to tell, this is the practically vintage packaging! I’ve had this lying around for so long and really needed to use it up. Previously I’d only used ultra-strong hold hairspray since I was used to having shorter hair for so long, but now my hair is longer it really needs a more gentle product to avoid the undesirable crispy-headed look! As well as having the most divine fruity smell, it gives my longer hair a light to medium hold as well as a subtle bit of shine without looking greasy. Prices seem to vary wildly online, but I always buy from my hairdresser to support them, as they’re brilliant. Repurchase? Yes.

30. Johnson’s Baby Powder (£1.25-2 via Asda) – In case you hadn’t realised, I’m not a baby and don’t use this stuff to powder myself down. It’s my go-to for rubbing through my greasy roots as a dry shampoo, as it works so well to absorb excess oil – I find Batiste and aerosol dry shampoos don’t do such a good job, as well as usually having suffocatingly strong smells that completely cover up any lovely perfume you might be wearing. Just make sure to distribute well to avoid awkward white patches! This just works really well for me, especially when my hair is freshly coloured and I want to avoid washing it for as long as possible. Yes, I’m disgusting. Repurchase? Yes.

31. Bath & Body Works Gelato 3-wick Candle ($20 via Bath & Body Works) - I fell in love with this after receiving one for Christmas. Yes, they’re double the price on Ebay UK since we’re not blessed with a Bath & Body works, but I was thrilled to receive a few different flavours as part of my Christmas gifts! This one smells just like strawberry ice cream – how can you not buy it? The only issue was that the candle started tunnelling really quicky and drowned the wicks, so I had to constantly keep scooping the wax out (fortunately I’ve saved it to use on my oil burner). Usually these candles last such a long time and burn well, but this issue meant it didn’t take long to get through the whole thing – quite disappointing for something that is, for us, quite expensive. Repurchase? Yes, in other scents, & if more affordable!

32. Febreze Cranberries & Frost Candle (unavailable) - Last one! This was my Christmas candle of choice – a warm, inviting cranberry scent, costing only £2 from Wilkinsons. I’d never used Febreze candles before because I thought they’d smell overly synthetic, like the Febreze air freshener spray. This one served me well as my festive candle of choice without spending a small fortune, with a surprisingly good throw and minimal tunnelling. Repurchase? Will try other scents.

 

I really hope you enjoyed my latest empties! Some months I will have loads of products and others very little – seems this time I had rather a lot! Have you ever used any of these products before? What have you been using up lately?

February Favourites!

Hope you’ve had a beautiful February! Mine has been eventful to say the least, but I want to share with you some of the wonderful products and items that have been giving me that extra little bit of joy throughout the brutal, miserable weather this month. And did you hear, Sephora US is shipping to the UK? Life = made.

 

1. ‘& Other Stories’ Body Mist in Couture Carnival (£12 via & Other Stories) – February was the month I discovered H&M’s sister store in London, ‘& Other Stories’. I’d visited before but had arrived just as it was closing. However this time around I found myself with free time in Oxford Circus, and where better to spend your free time? Most of the clothes weren’t my style, but the cosmetics section truly drew me in. Especially the fragrances! This is my absolute favourite and I truly can’t get enough of it – it’s one of those scents where I now need it in everything. Lotions, scrubs, etc, I just want to bathe in it. It smells a little like a fruity cocktail – the name sums it up well. The website describes it as “Juicy strawberry, raspberry and guava medley sprinkled with lily of the valley while patchouli, black amber and a gourmet note of praline”. Delicious. Any other fellow fruity-floral fans will love this.

2. Eyeko Skinny Mini Eyeliner (£12 via BeautyBay) – February was also the month that I finally mastered eyeliner. Or I’m getting there, at least. I’d used gel liner with a fine brush for years but still found it difficult to get the precise line I longed for. I’d got this free with a magazine last year and hadn’t yet tried it out, but since picking it up I’ve been using it every single day. For anyone else with unsteady hands, or if you just suck at eyeliner in general, try this! The stiff felt tip nib makes it so easy to work with, and the dark non-smudge product makes sure you won’t have to spend time going over your line, or worrying about the colour transferring or rubbing. I used to rarely wear eyeliner and tended to save it for special occasions, but now there’s no need since it’s so much easier now!

3. MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadow in ‘Silver Dawn’ (£17 via MAC Cosmetics) - Can we talk about how perfect the MAC Magnetic Nude collection is? And how all of the Extra Dimension products are pretty much perfect? I dropped a small fortune on their blushes and skinfinishes in January. Oh, and I had to have this too. Normally I don’t even bother looking at single eyeshadows since I prefer the convenience of palettes, but this limited edition beauty was too lovely to pass up. It works as the perfect crease shade with my Maybelline Color Tattoo in ‘On and On Bronze’ on those days where I want my eye makeup to look finished but don’t have time for applying several powder shadows. The unique Extra Dimension finish looks beautiful on the skin: high-shine light reflecting metallic without looking glittery and juvenile. I’ve already got good use out of it and so happy I took the time to pick it up! Sadly it’s now sold out online, but it’s possible there are still some available in retail locations.

4. MAC Lipstick in Creme Cup (£15 via MAC Cosmetics) - I’m a bit behind on MAC lipsticks and anxiously trying to catch up and fill my collection over here! This is my latest: the cult favourite Creme Cup, a light neutral pink in my favourite formula, Cremesheen. Creamy and moisturising on the lips, it’s one of those colours you can easily apply without having to look in the mirror. Despite being a pale pink, it’s just dark enough to work on pale and fair skin tones without looking washed out. A must-have staple for all MAC collections large and small! I’ve been wearing it most days since my lips have been a little dry, so the formula is very forgiving.

5. Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer in Light 16 ($25 via Sephora US) - I’m thrilled Kat Von D is now available to us UK residents via Sephora! This concealer has been a lifesaver for my dark undereye circles in the last few weeks, after far too many late nights and early mornings. Like the brilliant Kat Von D Lock-It foundation, the smallest amount effortlessly covers imperfections and stays put all day, never looking cakey in the least. I apply the tiniest dot on the back of my hand and then apply and blend with my fingers. If you’re in the market for a seriously hard-wearing concealer to cover the most unsightly of dark circles and blemishes, this is by far the best I’ve tried! With Sephora’s new UK shipping, I’m bound to be getting my hands on some more fabulous Kat Von D products & I can’t wait!

6. Revlon Colorstay Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin in Buff 150 (£12.49 via Superdrug) - Revlon Colorstay is definitely one of those ‘marmite’ makeup products – some love it, some hate it. If you’ve been looking for an easily available, affordable full coverage foundation, this is a must-have. I’ve never tried a foundation that lasts all day and longer without ending up a greasy, patchy mess by the end of it. A couple of days ago I was up from 7am to 3am, applied this foundation in the morning, and only had to blot my oily patches once during the entire day, and that was only when I was sat under some particularly harsh lighting. I couldn’t believe it when I returned home expecting to look a state around 3am, yet this foundation (and my Eyeko liner may I mention) still looked flawless. Is this magic? The only flaw is the packaging: the most ridiculous packaging around. The actual product is a nightmare to get out. I resorted to taping a MAC foundation pump to the bottle, since I can’t find a pump that fits, just so I can get the stuff out. Even when I shake it vigorously I can’t remove any! The other slight issue is that it can be difficult to blend, especially if you forgot to exfoliate the night before. However despite these flaws, this is a brilliant full coverage foundation that lasts astoundingly well for the price – a worthwhile investment for anyone.

 

Thanks for checking out my favourites for the last month! What have you been loving lately?

 

 

Swap Talk: Bath & Body Works and sweet treats from Canada!

Last week I had the pleasure of receiving the most wonderful, enormous parcel arriving at my door. I knew it was on its way, sprinted downstairs and may have slightly terrified the Parcelforce man with my sheer excitement at receiving such a wonderful box of goodies that I’d been waiting on for the longest time! Seriously, if this parcel was a person it would definitely be getting a medal for what it’s been through – bad weather in Canada in January delayed shipments on their end, and the abysmal UK weather in the last few weeks must have slowed it down as well. So that’s nearly 2 months of battling its way across the ocean to get itself into my hands!

This parcel was from the lovely Victoria, fellow makeup addict and Youtuber at Pink Barbie XO. If you want to see the goodies I chose for her, check out her unboxing video here!

Living in Canada, I asked Victoria to choose some of the best Bath & Body Works products for me, as well as a selection of her most recommended sweet treats that can’t be found anywhere else. She was extremely generous and sent more than expected – I really should have taken a photo of my face whilst opening all of it up! Imagine childlike squeals of excitement with combinations of “oh my gosh!” and “holy **** this smells good!”

It’s Christmas..again!

Here’s a run-down of my first impressions and thoughts on all of the wonderful items Victoria picked out for me:

1. Golden Oreos, Gingerbread Oreos & an Oreo Brownie – I looove Golden Oreos! I actually received a huge pack in a Secret Santa box at Christmas, though of course they have long since been devoured and I’m thrilled to have more to snack on, since as far as I know they aren’t officially distributed & sold in the UK. Meaning if you want to get your hands on some, be prepared to pay a premium online! They taste very similar to Custard Creams, but better and more addictive. The gingerbread flavour reminds me of gingerbread men I used to get from the supermarket bakery as a kid, and a little similar to chai lattes – unusual & delicious! I totally kid myself that because the packaging features French translations, I’m still classy whilst stuffing my face with them. I’ve never tried the Oreo Brownie but be assured it will soon be scoffed.

Victoria also sent me a Coffee Crisp bar, which was promptly devoured shortly after its discovery. Usually I’m not a fan of anything coffee-flavoured, but it was significantly better than I’d expected. My boyfriend, the coffee addict, loved this. Needless to say, it wasn’t around for long.

2. Bath & Body Works Twisted Peppermint PocketBac – I’m a huge fan of the mega-handy PocketBacs. They’re the perfect tiny size for keeping in even the smallest of handbags, or in the car, and come in literally hundreds of different scents. They’re incredibly cheap in North America, and not too expensive on Ebay either, so naturally I have something of a collection of these. I can’t say much more other than that this does have quite a strong peppermint-y scent, and no doubt will be very useful!

3. Bath & Body Works Forever Red Vanilla Rum Fine Fragrance Mist – I’m mad about the Forever Red scent – to me, it’s one of B&BW’s more grown-up, sophisticated scents. I believe this variation was exclusively for the festive season, so it may be difficult to get your hands on. It’s described as an oh-so-delicious blend of “vanilla rum & black lily drenched in decadent créme de cassis”. The fragrance mists are ideal for those more casual days when you don’t want to wear perfume but still want to smell wonderful. I can’t wait to try this! Victoria also included a mini version of the classic Forever Red, ideal for travelling & keeping in my bag.

4. Bath & Body Works ‘Sweet on Paris’ and ‘Be Enchanted’ Shower Gels - I’m thrilled with these – I’ll be using them after I finish up my current Lush shower gels. They’re definitely more stronger scented than most shower gels and work well to complement a perfume in a similar or the same scent. ‘Sweet on Paris’ smells so fabulously edible – like a box full of cupcakes! ‘Be Enchanted’ is probably my most favourite B&BW scent ever, since my wonderful auntie uses the lotion which reminded me of spending time with her. I heard this scent was being discontinued, so I stocked up on the EDT and fragrance mist. I’m very grateful to have this so I can enjoy the scent for even longer!

5. Bath & Body Works Antibacterial Foaming Hand Soap in Iced Gingerbread, Vanilla Bean Noel, Sugar Plum Dream and Winter Candy Apple - I’m thrilled to have an entire selection of these! I’d never tried the foaming formula, always going for the more moisturising lotion option since my hands dry out in the cold weather, but I love it already. I’m already using Vanilla Bean Noel and I actually prefer it to B&BW’s popular Warm Vanilla Sugar scent, as this is more like a true delicious gourmand vanilla – it makes my hands smell sweet and delicious! I’ve yet to try the others but I’m a fan of all the scents already.

6. Bath & Body Works Medium Candle in Cinnamon Sugared Donut (not pictured) – Anyone who knows me at all knows that I’m a sucker for scented candles, especially these. I’d put this one with my candle collection so it got left out of the group photo. An absolute must-have for lovers of sweet gourmand scents – this one features vanilla as well as cinnamon, so it really does smell like a bakery. Just don’t burn it when you’re hungry. Check it out here if you’re interested!

I was blown away by Victoria’s generosity and thoughtfulness, choosing such lovely items for me! I love every single one and will thoroughly enjoy using them. Now I just need to wait til after a big meal to burn that candle, or I’ll be craving cinnamon doughnuts! Thanks again to Victoria to being a brilliant swap partner!

Hope you enjoyed! Have you ever done a makeup or beauty swap before? Should I post more ‘swap hauls’ in future?

First Impressions: Too Faced Chocolate Bar vs Lorac Pro

This week I decided to treat myself, a lot. So far this month I’ve already had two dental procedures, neither of which were a great deal of fun, so needless to say I needed something (or two things) to distract me from my tooth pain!

I bought myself the brand new Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette via Debenhams – it doesn’t seem to be available anywhere else in the UK, online or otherwise. I also spotted it at the Oxford Circus London store (though I bought mine online with free delivery plus an extra discount code – hurray for even more money off), so if you want to check it out in person I’d highly recommend it! The Chocolate Bar seems to be the palette of the moment in the beauty world, especially since Valentine’s Day is so soon. I mean, who wants flowers that’ll just die in a few weeks, or yet another box of calorie-stuffed chocolates? If any men happen to be reading this, what are you doing here  the Chocolate Bar palette would no doubt make a stunning last-minute gift that won’t die and end up in the bin in a fortnight!

The Lorac Pro palette I actually bought via a lovely Canadian lady on Reddit, who happened to have a brand new, boxed palette and wanted to find a new home for it. I ended up paying just under £30, including international postage, which wasn’t too bad at all considering it arrived just four days later! I hear this raved about on Youtube non-stop as a go-to, top-quality everyday palette, yet since Lorac is not sold in the UK it’s quite hard to get hold of their products.

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

How perfect is this packaging? If I hadn’t just devoured a Creme Egg I’d be hungry right now. Also included is a mega-useful paper fold-out featuring different looks you can use this palette for if you’re in need of some inspiration.

Undoubtledly the Chocolate Bar has huge shelf appeal – gorgeous packaging coupled with delicious-sounding names. Stop, I’m hungry again. The shades feature a good few wearable neutrals as well as a purple and pink in there for when you want to create something a bit more colourful.

The stunning shadows inside! My cousin asked me via Instagram if this really does smell like chocolate..and yes, yes it does. I was worried it would have a strong synthetic waft to it every time I opened the palette, not the most appetising thing first thing in the morning, but I could only smell it faintly when I put my nose right above the shadows. According to Too Faced, there is actual cocoa in the product, which gives it that very subtle, realistic chocolatey scent. Divine. How’s that for creative marketing?

Here are the three pre-made looks included – this would be very useful if you’re not familiar with creating different eyeshadow looks, or if you’re like me and stick to pretty much the same products every day. I’m excited to try these out on mornings when I have a bit more time on my hands.

The palette itself feels quite heavy and bulky in my hands – it definitely feels like a durable, expensive product. Maybe not the best palette to travel with if you’re tight on packing space. I really hope this isn’t too big to fit in my palette holder.

The Lorac Pro Palette

The Lorac Pro boasts a wide selection of ultra-wearable neutral shades – ideal for everyday looks. I’ve heard the quality is excellent, even better than Urban Decay, so of course I can’t wait to start using this.

Love a good neutral shadow! I shy away from anything overly orange-toned. This selection of neutrals all work well together and there are plenty of shadows in here that would complement anyone.

One of the first things I noticed when I opened the box is that the Pro is like the Motorola Razr of the makeup palettes: it’s super-skinny despite housing so many shades. I don’t know how solid the matte cardboard packaging would be for travel, especially if you have cheap suitcases like I do, so I might not be over-confident about throwing this in my suitcase straight away.

It also comes with a mini-sized eyeshadow primer! The packaging got a little battered in the post, so some of the writing has rubbed off. I’m quite happy using my cheap E.L.F. Mineral Eyeshadow Primer but I’m happy to try this too.

What would you prefer – the Too Faced Chocolate Bar or the Lorac Pro? I have nothing particularly negative to say about them: I think they’re both stunning palettes that would work as a favourite in anyone’s collection. I can’t imagine anyone hating either one of them! I’m yet to swatch them or try them out on myself, so I’m curious to personally see what the quality is like.

Fellow UK makeup addicts can get hold of the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette here and the Lorac Pro here.