January Favourites

Happy early February – I hope your January has been amazing! I’ve been keeping myself busy and have a really exciting next couple of weeks planned, but thought I’d stop by and keep you updated with what I’ve been falling in love with over the last month! 

1. Lush Creamed Almond and Coconut Smoothie (currently unavailable) – A product I didn’t think about too much previously, but now in the depths of the chilly winter months it makes a huge difference to my skin, as well as smelling truly wonderful! Unfortunately it is only available rarely in the Lush Kitchen, so I’ve had to scout the internet to find a couple of backups. I use my regular shower gel (a strawberry one goes really well with the creamy nuttiness of this!) and then apply this all-over before washing off under the shower. No need to use lotion afterwards, such a bonus when in the cold weather it’s a race to throw clothes on just to stay warm!

2. Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel (currently unavailable) – Lush’s iconic Christmas shower gel! If you haven’t smelled the unique mix that is Snow Fairy, it’s a real love/hate one – a super-sweet, fruity bubblegum / candyfloss scent. It pairs perfectly with Lush’s sweeter bath products, but if used too often (as I did several years ago) it gets a little much. However I’m currently really enjoying using it in my baths to add a burst of glittery pink sweetness to gloomy winter evenings..but just a little, don’t overdo it! I also tried adding a capful into my washing machine when cleaning my bedsheets – it doesn’t come out super-strong but enough to give wafts of the lovely cult scent!

3. Lush Twilight Perfume (currently unavailable) – Three Lush products in a row.. and three that can’t currently be purchased online or in stores! But what kind of Favourites post would it be if I didn’t tell exactly what I’ve been loving?! The Twilight perfume was available for all of a few minutes when it was released in the Lush Kitchen, as it’s enormously popular amongst Lush fans and was well overdue for a re-release. I’ve never been a lavender fan but Twilight has turned that around for me – now I want my entire life to smell of lavender-tonka scented Twilight goodness. I wasn’t even sure I’d be keen on the perfume as surely it would send me to sleep, but it’s the ideal scent for low-key, lazy winter days and evenings. I love wearing this if I’m just having a chill evening with a friend for example – it’s a delightfully cosy scent which makes a change from the typical ‘cosy’ perfumes of amber and vanilla. I can’t get enough of it and I’m so glad I managed to pick up two bottles while it was around!

4. Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Foundation (£8.99 via Boots) – My new everyday foundation! A surprising new favourite for me, I picked it up on a whim just to try out something new and I’ve ended up loving it. I prefer to use a blending sponge to fully blend it out to avoid a streaky finish, but it doesn’t oxidise on the skin and gives my face a truly natural, satin look finish without being at all oily or drying. I’d recommend it for all skin types. As the name suggests, it’s truly your skin but better. The only flaw is that I was exactly between the two lightest shades (Ivory and Light Beige) and it does lean a little dark/warm for fairer skin, so I decided to buy both and mix them together for a custom shade. A great decision, my base is looking so much better and more natural-looking, and it doesn’t cost a fortune either!

5. Paula’s Choice Clear Extra Strength 2% BHA (£19.98 via Paula’s Choice UK) – January has been the month I decided to up my skincare game and this is the number one product that’s really turned my problem skin around! This BHA exfoliant claims to do it all – reduce redness, unclog pores and keep stray spots at bay. I’d suggest it to anyone with problem combination to oily skin, sensitive or not. Especially if you feel like you’re using All The Products to tame troubled skin! Since using this in place of my old liquid exfoliator, I haven’t touched a face scrub or mask at all this month. Really! Using every other day, it keeps my skin both looking and feeling smooth, free of most blackheads or spots, whilst helping to keep it looking clear all over. I’d highly recommend checking out Paula’s Choice skincare if you haven’t already – everything is free of fragrance and essential oils that can easily irritate skin, only featuring the necessary ingredients to keep all skin types looking and feeling wonderful! I also love that they never test on animals and are not too expensive, just a little pricier than Boots favourites but 100% worth it. You can also order trial and sample sizes of any products, which is fantastic – no wasting all your money on a product that doesn’t work for you! I’m also trialling their anti-redness serum and can’t wait to pick up one or two more things when I next order!

6. MAC Lustre Lipstick in Cut A Caper (currently unavailable) – Apologies for mostly discontinued bits this month – why do they always get rid of the best products?! Cut A Caper is a shade I often hear raved about by bloggers and I was never able to get hold of one of my own until recently. This is a slight sheer, slightly glossy-looking pinkish-salmon shade that’s so flattering and wearable for pale, cool-toned skin. I do like some orange shades in the summer such as MAC’s Ravishing and Vegas Volt, but this is ideal for everyday in that it’s not too ‘WOAH, orange lipstick?!’ and a bit more subtle, perfect for swiping on every day. Why is this limited edition, and can we get it back please?!

 

Those are all the wonderful things I’ve been loving this January – do let me know if you’ve tried them before, or if you decide to pick them up yourself! What have YOU been loving this month? Link me your Favourites posts below!

September – December Empties!

FOUR months worth of empties in one go! Okay, admittedly there isn’t quite as much as usual, due to being away for 6 weeks, and using travel products instead / buying new items to keep me covered whist gone, but this is what I’ve managed to use up since September – hope you enjoy! Let me know what you’ve recently used up in the comments! And if you’ve been using any of these products, let me know if you’re loving them or loathing them – I’d love to know :)

Hair

1. Batiste Dry Shampoo in Original (£2.48 via Superdrug) – Looks like Batiste packaging has changed yet again! I only wash my hair every 3-4 days so dry shampoo is a must to prevent it looking too greasy. I use this on the mid-sections and ends of my hair to give it the illusion of being soft and fresh, and use a more volumising product at the roots. I actually prefer the smell of this one to most of the others – it’s quite clean and fresh without being too strong, I can’t stand scented hair products that compete with your perfume. An essential that does the job for me, and doesn’t cost a fortune! Repurchase? Yes.

2. Batiste Dry Shampoo in XXL Volume (currently unavailable) – Slightly worried this HG essential is being discontinued, as I can no longer find it online! All I can find is an ‘improved formula’ which contains oils – why would I want extra oils on my roots?! Lots of people seem to dislike this product, as it’s easy to go overboard on first use and end up with tangled sticky hair, but just a few small sprays at the roots gives a great boost of volume whilst also absorbing excess oil. Repurchase? Yes, if possible.

3. Boots Expert Build-Up Removal Shampoo (currently unavailable) – Sigh..another discontinued hair product?! Okay, I’ve had this one a while – the packaging is practically ancient! The latest version came in a very muted, ‘classic’ looking slim cream bottle with silver and black print – really hard to spot on the shelf, even if you were looking for it. I prefer the old packaging! Although I don’t use this much, especially with coloured hair, it’s ideal for removing excess product (I’m a big dry shampoo fan as you can see) and keeping hair clean and healthy. I always follow up with a deep conditioning mask to avoid drying my hair out. This was totally affordable and did the job – any other recommendations? Repurchase? Yes, if possible.

Bodycare

4. Vaseline Spray & Go Body Moisturiser in Aloe Fresh (£2.45 via Superdrug) – I actually just finished this one up this morning! Ideal for warm days in the summer, but this doesn’t get much use for me in winter as I’m normally far too cold to mess around with lotion in the morning! Ideal for anyone who’s bad at body moisturising, as this is so fast and easy to apply, sinking in almost immediately without leaving any sticky/greasy residue at all. I find the Aloe scent is the most mild and non-offensive, as it just smells light, fresh and clean! Repurchase? Yes.

5. Lush Ocean Salt Face & Body Scrub (from £7.95 via Lush) – A tiny size from a gift set last Christmas! This was my first time trying out Ocean Salt, & I really enjoyed it. The zesty, clean smell is so refreshing, the coarse sea salt gives a good scrub without being overly abrasive, and avocado butter softens your skin at the same time. Not to mention, like everything else Lush it’s completely natural. I rarely purchase body scrubs for myself as I enjoy my Salux so much, but this was a lovely one to try out! However it’s very expensive for a scrub so not sure I’d repurchase right away! Repurchase? Maybe in the future.

6. Lush Comforter Moisturising Shower Cream (from £4.95 via Lush) – I was thrilled that Lush released a Comforter-scented shower product, since I love the bubble bar so much! Unless they’ve been reformulated since I purchased earlier in the year, I feel it does smell a little more sugary than the classic bubble bar, not to mention the shower cream formula can be a little gritty. I also find that if my skin is quite dry, these stain as they’re so pigmented! I had this issue when on holiday in the summer, as my underarms were so dry from regular shaving. I do prefer the shower gel formula I managed to snag in the Lush Kitchen, & will most likely repurchase when I’m all out of the gel too, as the smell can’t really be beaten. Repurchase? Soon!

7. Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom PocketBac ($1.75 via Bath & Body Works) – One I’ve had around for a while – it does take me ages to finish these up! I always have a selection of different scents to throw into bags whenever I go on a trip, as they’re essentials if you’re using public transport (or just out in public in general). I did used to love the pretty floral Japanese Cherry Blossom scent but now it’s a bit strong for me. Repurchase? Yes, in another scent.

8. Lush Golden Handshake (£2.95 via Lush) – I’d bought this to use for both my hands and feet before going on holiday. After following the instructions, it was nothing like the creamy paste pictured on the website – the product barely melted & just remained as chunks floating around. I’d definitely recommend using in boiling water and just leaving to cool, as hot tap water as mentioned in the instructions isn’t quite adequate (at least where I live). It was a bit frustrating (and messy) & I would have got the same result just using a hand & foot cream! Repurchase? Probably not.

9. Dr Bronner’s Organic Rose Castile Liquid Soap 59ml (£1.99 via Dr Bronner’s UK) – I used this one for washing my brushes! I’d heard a lot of good things about it, so decided to try it out. However I’m not sure I’m a fan –  although the rose smell was lovely, the soap felt drying on my skin and still felt like it left a slight film on my brushes. Think I’ll go back to using baby shampoo! Repurchase? No.

Makeup

10. MAC Prep & Prime Lash (£13.50 via MAC Cosmetics) – Unfortunately this didn’t really seem to do anything for me! Whilst good lash primers give the look of length and definition, this didn’t seem to do anything. Also it didn’t dry properly at all – a shame when MAC products are so expensive! Repurchase? No.

11. MAC Pen in Lingering (£14 via MAC Cosmetics) – ..Wait, has this always been £14?! I swear it used to be less! Though I can’t complain too much when it keeps my brows nicely filled whilst still looking natural due to its super-fine tip and lovely taupe shade – no ugly orange-brown brows over here! My only complaint is that I do go through them very fast! Repurchase? Yes.

12. Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer  [Deluxe Sample] ($22 for full size via Sephora) – I wish it was easier to get such great samples & mini sizes for free over here – god I love Sephora! I probably wouldn’t have even considered this product otherwise. It really does give great length and definition under regular mascara and I definitely see a difference whenever I use it. I made sure to pick up the full size on my last visit!  Repurchase? Already did!

13. ELF Cream Eyeliner in Black (£4.50 via ELF UK) – I didn’t quite finish this one up – it’d dried out so I had to get rid of it sadly! Though I just stick to felt tip style eyeliners these days, as they’re just easier and less messy. If you do use cream or gel eyeliners, this is so similar in formula to the MAC Fluidline liner and works just as well – a great product for the price, but just one I don’t use anymore! Repurchase? No.

 

14. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes (£3.79 via Amazon UK) – My favourite makeup wipes! It makes me sad that these aren’t so easily available in the UK. They’re thick, super-soft, extra-moist and remove makeup so easily, even on sensitive eyes. Using anything else is always frustrating! I’ll always use these as long as I have some stashed away. Repurchase? Yes (when I can!)

15. Indeed Labs Eysilix Instant Eye Rescue (£24.99 via Boots) –  My favourite eye cream! I don’t enjoy the idea of paying £25 for an eye cream, so I always purchase when they’re on sale in Boots, or search for a new one on Ebay. This is probably the only one I’ve used where I’ve actually noticed a difference in smoothing out fine lines under my eyes, which means both my skin and my makeup look better. It doesn’t give me those horrible milia spots either, which are often caused when creams are too rich for your skin type. I’ll keep repurchasing if it keeps up such great results! Repurchase? Yes.

16. Lancome Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover [Deluxe Mini] (£17.95 for full size via Amazon UK) – I used to use this regularly and loved it, but I’ve had this one such a long time so thought it best to get rid of it! The oil-based formula is ideal for quickly breaking down tough waterproof mascara, but now that I use an oil-based cleanser I rarely need to use a separate eye makeup remover. I also found this leaves an oily film behind, so I tend not to reach for it anymore. Repurchase? No.

17. Mudd Original Mask [5 application pack] (£3.06 via Amazon UK) – My HG face mask! I’ve been using this for a few years now & it’s still just as effective as ever. It does a brilliant job of drawing dirt out of pores, leaving the skin smooth, soft and clear without being overly drying or irritating sensitive skin at all. And it’s great value – a decent face mask doesn’t need to cost a small fortune. Repurchase? Yes.

18. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick (£11.69 via Amazon UK) – The first time I’ve ever finished a lip balm! *cue confetti* A new HG for me – many lip balms just seem to make my lips even drier; this is one of the few that actually seem to help and ensure my lips don’t feel dry during the day, especially in the chilly winter weather. The only con is that the RRP price of £20 is a bit crazy for a lip balm, and that it’s quite a soft formula so seems to get used up very quickly!  Repurchase? Yes.

19. Sunday Riley Good Genes Serum [Sample] (£85 for full size via Space NK) – One of the many little samples of this wonder I picked up from Sephora. I know I went on about it in my Sephora haul so I’ll keep it short and sweet – an absolute wonder serum for keeping skin smooth and youthful-looking without irritation, seeming to solve a wealth of problems for me. Just a shame about the crazy price tag! Why must some expensive products be so amazing?! Repurchase? Yes (when I can afford it).

20. Fresh Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream [Sample] ($40 for full size via Sephora) – A little sample sachet that lasted quite a few days! This thick cooling gel product felt so soothing on the skin and left my undereye area quite moisturised; however it didn’t do anything incredible, especially for the price. I’d try others first! Repurchase? No.

21. Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil (£29 via Escentual) – My go-to oil for when my skin’s feeling particularly dehydrated (which is all too often). Quite a pricey option but absolutely worth it – mine lasted me a few months, and never breaks me out or makes my skin appear overly greasy. I use this under my REN Frankincense night cream, a brilliant nighttime combination for sensitive/dehydrated skin in the cold weather. Repurchase? Yes.

22. La Roche-Posay Hydreane Legere (£9 via Escentual) – I’ve lost count of how many of these I’ve used up! My favourite daytime moisturiser for my sensitive dehydrated skin. Free of oil, fragrance and colouring, it never irritates my skin or looks greasy. Just lightly hydrating & very effective for troubled skin in the daytime. Repurchase? Yes.

23. GrandeBrow Brow Enhancing Serum (£39.50 via StrawberryNet) – Extremely expensive, but a must-try for anyone else who has sparse brows because of over-plucking, accidents or genetics. I used this one up until it was completely dry – it’s the first growth serum I’ve tried that actually works. I started seeing results within a couple of weeks and my brows really improved, though I wasn’t able to get hold of one for a while and I believe you’re supposed to apply weekly or so once you’ve achieved the brows you want. My brows are very sparse partly due to an unfortunate accident as a child on one side, and partly due to overplucking. I’m trying again with a brand new tube and hopefully I can get them to grow nice and full again! Repurchase? Yes.

Holiday Empties

24. Bumble & Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish 40ml (£9.50 via Feel Unique) – A useful little texturising spray for travel – I used it up over my last couple of trips. I found it only gives light texture to the hair, not much more than a dry shampoo would. It was just okay, & in the meantime I’ll try something else! Repurchase? No.

25-26. More Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes and Batiste Original Dry Shampoo – see above!

27. Elizabeth & James Nirvana White Perfume [Sample] (from $25 for full size via Sephora) – A tiny sample size which lasted several uses! Nirvana White is one of my all-time favourite scents, a gorgeous peony and musk which is gorgeous to wear in warmer weather (or any weather really). It always reminds me of holidays, so very appropriate to take with me! I love the White version & have recently become a fan of the Black, a new favourite of mine for winter and evenings. Repurchase? Yes.

28. Kleenex Shine Absorbing Sheets (currently unavailable) – I use up SO many of these! Very similar to the Clean & Clear blotting sheets – an essential for me as my skin gets very oily through the day. I’d recommend them to anyone else looking for decent, effective blotting sheets which don’t take off half your makeup with them! Repurchase? Yes (if possible).

29. Lush The Olive Branch Shower Gel (from £4.95 via Lush) – My last empty of 2015! Olive Branch is an old favourite of mine but I hadn’t used any in ages. The gorgeous smell and ultra-moisturising formula makes it a pleasure to use in the shower – skin feels silky soft afterwards, even without lotion. My boyfriend mentioned it smelled amazing too (slowly converting him to Lush). Anyone who’s never used it needs to try it!

 

So those are my last Empties for 2015 – I hope you enjoyed seeing what I used up! Remember to let me know what you’ve used up below, & if you have any favourites from my list! 

A Container Store Travel Beauty Haul!

Part 2 of my very lovely haul from the sunny USA! I’m not sure how familiar you are with the Container Store, but it’s like Muji and Ikea put together but 10x better, in my opinion! I never thought I’d get so excited about containers and storage, but here we are…

 
1. 40 Blinks Travel Sleep Mask ($12.99) – A very expensive eye mask but I was in need of a decent quality one! This eye mask is very lightweight and comfortable to wear; however due to the shape of my nose it doesn’t keep all the light out! Not to mention velcro straps require care so as to not get hair stuck in them. Despite these little flaws it was very comfortable to wear on my longer return flight from JFK full of thoroughly miserable people and I did get several hours of sleep!

2. Every Drop Beauty & Lip Spatulas ($3.99 – $4.99) – Perfect for anyone else who loves using things up as much as I do! How many times have you yelled in frustration at struggling to scrape out the last little bits of an expensive foundation when the product is stuck to the sides of the container? I bought the standard size as well as the mini lip size and one with a longer curved edge for bottle necks – I’m sure they will be extremely useful in my Empties quests!

3. 2oz Striped Jar in Pink ($1.29) – Purchased specifically for my hair mask when travelling, as my larger Superdrug pots crack and break so easily, not to mention I need 2 of them for a longer trip, which can be annoying. This cute striped jar is the perfect size and feels much sturdier!

4. Hinged Cotton Round Holder ($0.99) – One of those items you never knew you needed. On short trips or for hand luggage, cotton pads inevitably get dirty when thrown in with everything else in your bag – this is perfect for keeping them clean, dry and hygienic for using on your skin. My only complaint is that the hinge broke as soon as I got it out for this photo; maybe I got a dud as the other reviews seem positive. At least the lid still stays on & I can still use it!

5. Neon Luggage Tag ($1.99) – Not really a beauty item, but ideal for making your bag full of all your very important things stand out on the luggage carousel. I usually have my address on my bag in 3 different places as well as a flight itinerary on the inside, just to make sure none of my important, expensive makeup and clothes ever go missing!

6. Cotton Swab Holder ($0.99) – Much like the cotton round holder, this is one of those travel items you never knew you needed. I normally throw my cotton buds in with my makeup brushes or makeup bag; inevitably something leaks or they get dirty, so I have to throw them away! This keeps them all dry, clean and in one place for whenever you need one.

7. Translucent Cylinder Mister 1oz ($0.99) – Lastly, I picked up 4 of these tiny spray bottles – I can never find spray bottles small enough but these are perfect! I use them for decanting various hair products to take on my travels – these ones seem sturdy and will no doubt see a lot of use.

 

That’s all I picked up from the Container Store this time! I spent almost an hour just browsing – they really do have everything you never knew you needed, both for your home or your luggage. I can’t wait to go back for another visit!

A Sephora USA Haul!

Oh hey – I’m still alive! How have you been? After a wonderful few weeks away I’m back in cloudy England all ready for the impending Christmas season.

Last time I visited the sunny USA I didn’t post a haul, but thought I’d do one this time around, especially so close to the festive season – if you’re near a Sephora yourself or flying over for the holidays, I hope my purchases will be helpful & inspiring. Not that I truly needed any of these products, especially whilst valiantly working through old products for my Empties posts, but with the 20% off VIB discount last month I really couldn’t say no! (And can we appreciate how great the lighting is in my boyfriend’s apartment?!)

1. Kat Von D Mi Vida Loca Remix Studded Kiss Lip Set ($42) – Incredible value for $42! This set includes 7 mini sizes of the creamy, pigment-loaded lipsticks by Kat Von D as well as an exclusive full size lipstick. An ideal gift for yourself or any bold lip lover. Considering a single full size KVD lipstick is $21, this is the perfect way to try 8 new shades without spending a small fortune. Gotta love Sephora gift sets!

2. Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer ($22) – After trying a deluxe mini size of this primer that I’d received as a freebie and stashed in my travel bag, I was amazed at the extra length and definition this product gave under my Maybelline mascara, so I’ve been using it every day since! Not to mention Tarte is one of my favourite brands (but sadly hard to obtain in the UK) due to its ethics and good-for-your-skin approach in all its products.

3. Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black Dry Shampoo ($28) – A lesson in never leaving yourself in Sephora unattended! My Batiste is a perfectly good, affordable dry shampoo that really does the job to combat greasy roots, but after trying this out in store I couldn’t walk out with such soft, sweet-scented hair and not buy it. I initially fell in love with the Nirvana White fragrance a year ago, but suddenly I’m very much into the more sensual, sultry Black scent. A very extravagant & unnecessary purchase I know, but I can’t imagine anyone not wanting their hair to smell this good.

4. Sephora Favorites Extend Your Style Set ($32; currently out of stock) – I debated on picking this up but decided to just purchase it anyway..and I’m glad I did! $32 gets you 7 travel size high end dry shampoos, all perfect for throwing in your handbag or suitcase. Just over $4 per product is very reasonable, especially when this set contains coveted favourites from Bumble & Bumble and Dry Bar. I can’t wait to try these out for myself.

5. Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment ($105) – Ridiculously expensive, but not quite so much with my 20% off code. I’d been trying a couple of samples before my trip and really didn’t want to enjoy something so pricey, but unfortunately it worked some brilliant magic! My skin is temperamental at the best of times and this lactic acid serum drastically improved my uneven skin texture and pigmentation within just a few days. I’m taking a break from it temporarily and being very gentle with my skin since it’s having something of a freakout after returning home to drier weather, but will absolutely be returning to it very soon. I just dread ever having to repurchase it without some kind of heavy discount!

6. Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation in Fair Honey ($36) – The only powder foundation that’s ever provided any kind of decent coverage for my pigmented skin. I use a fluffy kabuki brush to apply – Tarte’s own Airbuki brush is far too dense and stiff for my liking. This is my absolute favourite easy foundation – no mess, looks good and feels perfectly comfortable on the skin. I use other formulas for longer wear and days out, but this is my go-to for errands and lazy days that makes me look like I actually made some effort.

7. Benefit Roller Lash Mascara ($12) – One mascara I’ve heard so much hype about and absolutely have to try for myself! I didn’t want to drop money on a full size without knowing if it would work for me first, so this mini size is perfect. I still have quite a few mascaras to work through, but can’t wait to try this one next!

8. Urban Decay Subversion Lash Primer ($20) – Very similar to the above Tarte mascara primer, though this one was sold out everywhere for months! I’m curious to try these two primers side-by-side, especially as I know both really do make a difference to your mascara. Not to mention I’m not the biggest fan of the Urban Decay Perversion mascara – maybe this will help it work for me while I finish it up.

9. Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Hand Cream ($15) – Living in a cold climate in the winter means a hand cream is always a necessity. After picking up the Nirvana Black dry shampoo, I spotted this and had to try it out too, especially as the scent is so lovely – I’m sure I’ll feel very luxurious every time I sniff this on my hands. And the slim, mini size is perfect for your handbag.

10. TokyoMilk Dark Femme Fatale Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Set ($42) – After thoroughly enjoying a mini rollerball set by TokyoMilk last year, I decided to pick up this beautiful set of miniature bottled perfumes by the brand this time around. I already have a full size of the darker, more mysterious citrus-scented Everything & Nothing and can’t wait to try out the rest. An ideal gift for anyone who likes more unusual, non-mainstream scents but don’t want to buy a specific one for. A fragrance brand I feel is a little underrated – there really is something for everyone to fall in love with.

11. Sephora Beauty on the Fly Travel Bag ($4.95) – A traveller’s essential! My flimsy little ziplock bag broke on my way over there, so I decided to invest in a more sturdy replacement. I believe this is the American TSA’s regulation size, but according to reviews it may not be acceptable for passing through UK and European airports, which is a shame. Otherwise it’s surprisingly large and fits plenty of travel size liquids for your flight. I may just carry an extra plain ziplock for UK security and use this during the rest of my journey in future, as it seems to stand up much better to repeated use on a long trip.

I also received mini sizes of the D&G Light Blue fragrance as well as 2 of the Nest Indigo fragrances as 250 point and 100 point perks – I’ve yet to try these out but can’t say no to a good fragrance freebie.

My only complaints would be that there was an issue placing my initial VIB order where it didn’t seem to go through and I had to re-order later in the day after realising (luckily everything I wanted was still in stock!), and also I didn’t receive any samples at all in my package after requesting them. I did have some issues with USPS immediately returning my packages because of a ridiculous ‘undeliverable as addressed error’ that was an absolute nightmare to sort out; at least this arrived fine, as I’d be very upset if it was returned!

I hope you enjoyed checking out what I grabbed in the Sephora VIB sale! Please let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them!

September Favourites

It’s the Favourites time of the month again! I really wanted to put together a very exciting new blog post earlier in the month, but I’ve been suffering from a reallly long, drawn-out flu/viral infection, which has meant I haven’t been able to do a great deal unfortunately! I didn’t want to put up a rubbish post just for the sake of posting, so hopefully I can have that up very soon instead! Until then, here are some of my favourites this month: mostly classics with a couple of new ones! Have you tried any of these before?

1. Bee Good Honey & Wild Water Mint 3-in-1 Cleansing Water (£10 via Waitrose) – At £10 for just 100ml of cleansing water, this has got to be one of the pricier micellar style cleansers out there! I did receive this in a BBB Box a while ago, and whilst I haven’t read or heard much about it otherwise, it’s an excellent one! It has a very mild natural, earthy honey/mint scent, is gentle on even the most sensitive skin, and doesn’t leave a film or residue on the face. Very refreshing in the morning! The only downsides for me are the price as mentioned, and that it isn’t the most travel-friendly container with the large plastic lid, so I’ll most likely be bringing my mini Bioderma away with me next month instead. Though for everyday use at home, this is now my favourite.

2. REN V-Cense Revitalising Night Cream (£32 via Space NK) – Infamous for forever changing product names, this is REN’s staple frankincense night cream that has been around for a while, same formula and all. Annoyingly, I think this tube is even smaller than before – £32 for just 50ml of product is a bit steep! However I’ve been trying out different night creams and after waking up with blackheads, greasy skin and breakouts from other formulas, I’ve returned to this old favourite. This soothing night cream is ideal for all skin types – my combination/sensitive skin always wakes up looking calm, refreshed and feels soft and nourished – not greasy or irritated at all. I may be sticking with this old favourite for a while – despite the price, my skin is so glad I came back to it!

3. Bath & Body Works Leaves Medium Candle ($12.50 via Bath & Body Works) – Getting my favourite cold weather scent out today! I’m really not one of those people who gets in a Pinterest-fuelled frenzy for pumpkin spice and knits as soon as the first day of Autumn arrives – I feel like the only people who genuinely look forward to the colder weather are those who don’t have to worry about affording their heating bill! But Leaves is the kind of scent that makes you feel warm and cosy – nectar, red apple and spiced berries carry all the way through from the first day of Autumn to Christmas and beyond. I’m so glad there are new Medium candles out this year, as some scents are just better with a more subtle throw – some of the larger candles make even the most pleasant scents really overpowering. I’ll definitely be picking up another whilst I’m away!

4. Lush Yuzu and Cocoa Moisturising Shower Cream (from £4.75 via Lush) – Initially I didn’t get the Yuzu hype, always overlooking the bubbleroon of the same scent in Lush stores, but since picking up the bright yellow shower cream when the Oxford Street store opened several months ago, I’ve definitely fallen for it a little bit more. Most dramatically when pairing with my last Golden Wonder bath bomb recently (packed with the lime-laden Celebrate scent) and realised what a perfect combination it was! And I quite enjoy smelling like a chocolate orange. I’m looking forward to trying this out with more citrus-scented bath products I don’t usually reach for, as they are a heavenly match together – I couldn’t stop smelling myself.

5. Lush Vanilla In The Mist Soap (currently unavailable) – Unfortunately a Kitchen exclusive and one that isn’t much to look at, but one I’ve been obsessed with lately! I use the solid Lush soaps to wash my hands (although you can use them in place of a shower gel too), and having hands that smell like delicious Lush scents makes such everyday chores that much more lovely. If you ever get the chance to purchase one, Vanilla in the Mist smells just like you’d expect – sweet, natural, non-synthetic vanilla. Like expensive vanilla ice cream. I’m very picky with vanilla scents & this is vanilla perfection for me!

6. Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 (£27 via Cult Beauty) – One that’s become something of a signature scent for me, now returning as the weather gets a little chillier. I can never get enough of it as it always smells a little different – mostly it smells of fresh paperback books, a little woody, a little floral – an enigmatic, mysterious scent which is totally unisex and never too strong or overpowering. I’m on my second bottle of this and prefer the refill size as they’re easy to travel with – my Sephora Travalo only holds enough scent for a week or so. I’m not sure how much I believe the claims of using pheromones to produce a unique scent on each person, but it is one of those rare scents I just don’t get tired of. One that everyone needs to try.

7. Ten Digit Creations Whipped Body Butter in Tuca Tuca (from $6 via Ten Digit Creations) – I didn’t buy a whole lot beauty-wise this month as I’m trying to save up for travelling and use products up, though I did treat myself to a TDC order. This wonderful company produces handmade, affordable bath, body and home scents, many inspired by your favourite scents by Lush, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret as well as their own blends. Ever tried a shower gel/bath bomb by Lush and thought “damn, I wish I could smell like this all the time”? They probably have a scent dupe for that, and you can smell like Lord of Misrule, Northern Lights and more as much as you please! Since getting hooked on the now-discontinued Tuca Tuca scent after thoroughly enjoying Lush’s new Don’t Rain On My Parade shower gel in the exact same scent, I wanted a lotion to pair with the shower gel so I can smell delicious all the time. This lotion is truly spot-on scent-wise, the whipped texture is a delight to apply, and the mixture of shea butter, olive oil and vitamin E makes my skin feel incredibly soft. The only downside is that international shipping can be pricey and you risk getting hit with expensive import taxes and handling fees, though it’s one that’s absolutely worth trying out.

I hope you enjoyed checking out my favourites for the month of September! What have you been obsessing over this month, beauty or otherwise? I’m heading off on my travels at the end of next month, so expect a few more posts before I leave (and maybe a naughty US haul when I return)!

August Favourites!

Hope you’re having a wonderful September so far! I’m currently battling a weird flu/virus so have felt totally drained of energy, but really wanted to share my favourite products during August with you all – hope you enjoy!

1. Bath & Body Works Mango Tango Twist Fine Fragrance Mist ($7 via Bath & Body Works) – Firstly, how cute and pretty is this packaging?! I was tempted to buy one just for the novelty packaging alone, but after my cousin picked herself up one in the store I had to buy my own, especially for just $7. This is the perfect warm weather light fragrance, fruity and delicious mango blossom with a little blackberry, so more unique than other typical mango fragrances. The Fine Fragrance Mists are lighter than a regular perfume, so this is ideal as a go-to everyday scent for warm days and holidays, or when you don’t always want to wear a heavy perfume. I’m wearing this today & I smell good enough to eat!

2. Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit ($14 via Sephora) – I’ve had this a while and really didn’t enjoy it at first as I find cream formulas take forever to dry on me, but I’ve really been enjoying it as my deodorant of choice lately on a lazy day at home, or after bathing in the evening. Unfortunately I can’t wear it on days when I’m out and about as I do get sweaty easily, but it smells gorgeous – presumably it’s weird to sniff your underarms?! I’d love to move to using more natural products and this is a good start, but whilst I’m eternally putting up with teenage levels of sweatiness, I can’t use this sweet-smelling deodorant quite as much as I’d like!

3. The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner (£9.50 via The Body Shop) – I’d ignored this toner for a while, but really glad I rediscovered it! Most toners just seem to make my skin irritated no matter how ‘gentle’ they claim to be, but this one truly feels calming on the skin and I can actually feel it tightening my pores without causing redness or irritation. Alcohol-free and fragrance-free, this is a must-try for anyone else with sensitive skin.

4. Lush Dream Cream (£5.95 via Lush) – What kind of Favourites post would this be without a Lush product? Dream Cream has been ideal to use on my dry skin patches, especially under my arms, which soothes and absorbs so fast. I’ve already praised this item in my last Empties post – I’d highly recommend it to anyone with dry skin problems or eczema, as it’s a wonderfully soothing product that makes short work of uncomfortable dry skin.

5. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment ($26 via Sephora) – Like my Lavanila deodorant, I’d bought this on my travels a good few months ago but hadn’t given it much of a chance until recently! The Living Proof PHD range is unfortunately only available in the US at the moment, not sure why as this product in particular is wonderful! I use a bean-sized amount and rub evenly through damp hair from root to tip. Normally my hair is very fluffy and hard to style the first day after washing, but after using this product it’s so much sleeker, smoother and more manageable, as well as giving a small amount of extra volume. If you use too much it can make your hair feel greasy and waxy – only the smallest amount is needed so it’s excellent value for money, as this chunky tube will last me ages!

6. MAC Fix + To Go [Travel Size] (£10 via MAC Cosmetics UK) – One of those products I hear raved about but hadn’t actually tried for ages! I bought this a while ago and have only been enjoying it recently. I use it as a setting spray on top of my matte foundation so it looks more dewy and natural, as well as helping it stay in place a little better – especially good on top of my L’Oreal True Match foundation as well as my Revlon Colorstay, since they can look a bit too matte otherwise. Some setting sprays can make your skin feel tight and uncomfortable, but this is actually very soothing and hydrating!

7. MAC Maleficent Sculpting Powder in Sculpt (no longer available) – This exact compact was limited edition, but you can buy the same shade here in Pro Pan / depotted form, to be inserted into an existing blush palette. I’m not sure why this isn’t available in a separate compact anymore, as it is the most perfect contour powder for pale, cool-toned skin (I’m MAC NW20 for reference)! I’d been using up Sombre in my Kat Von D palette a little too fast, and this is an excellent dupe in terms of both colour and texture. And also means you don’t have to cart around an entire palette if you need to take it on your travels! I’d found this as a bargain via Depop – hopefully I can find a backup soon!

That’s it for my favourites this month – hopefully I’ll be feeling better soon. I hope no one else has got sick lately! And don’t forget to let me know your monthly favourites below, or link me to your own post – I’d love to know!

July & August Empties!

Welcome to a brand new edition of Empties for July & August! Okay, I haven’t used up a huge amount of products, but I did spend all of July across the ocean & have some travel goodies to show you, as well as plenty of makeup as well as Lush products I finished up! Read on to find out what I thought…

Skincare (Face)

1. Boots Essentials Fragrance Free Cleansing Wipes (£1.50 via Boots) – Unfortunately not a fan of these – I think I’d bought lots ages ago on offer! They’re very thin, dry and don’t do enough to get off stubborn makeup. They’re fine as cheap wipes for festivals or travel, but typically I’d want something a little better quality than these! Repurchase? No.

2. Mudd Original Deep Cleansing Mask [10 Application Pack] (£5.10 via Amazon) – Always my go-to mask when I need something to remove blackheads and clear my skin! I’m sensitive to ingredients in most face masks including menthol, but this is ideal for my super-sensitive skin – thoroughly cleansing pores and removing dead skin and dirt without causing any redness at all. These resealable packs travel well and are great value for the price – I always try to stock up on Amazon. Repurchase? Yes!

3. La Roche-Posay Hydreane Light Moisturising Cream (£11.45 via Escentual) – My everyday moisturiser! I’ve gone through numerous tubes of this and it’s still my number one choice. Being fragrance-free, it’s ideal for sensitive skin types, and hydrates without being oily at all. I apply a small amount after toner or serum in the morning and before applying makeup. The only flaw is having to cut open the tube to completely finish it up! Repurchase? Yes.

4. Benefit ‘It’s Potent!’ Eye Cream [Travel Size] (£25.50 for full size via Feel Unique) – I received a mini size of this eye cream as part of a set, and it was ideal for my little travel bag! The glass jar isn’t the most ideal for travel, but it’s still super-tiny. There wasn’t quite enough in the jar to properly trial it as a skincare product, but the thick cream did sink in quickly and make my undereye area feel hydrated. However it did make my eyes sting a little when I applied too much, so just be aware if you have sensitive eyes! Also it is a little pricey for a full size, so I’ll be sure to try out some more affordable alternatives first. Repurchase? No.

5. Kleenex Shine Absorbing Sheets (unavailable) – These are on every single Empties post of mine without fail, after bulk-buying them a couple of years ago for just 29p each at Home Bargains! They work just as well as the popular and more expensive Clean & Clear oil blotting sheets to easily remove excess oil without affecting my makeup – absolute essentials for travel and going out anywhere! Repurchase? Yes, if possible.

Skincare (Body)

6. Lush Rose Jam Shower Gel 250g (currently unavailable) – This Rose Jam wasn’t just from last Christmas, it was from the one before! Despite ‘expiring’ a good 8 months ago, it still smelled of its delicious trademark fruity rose scent, just not as strong. I’m not usually a rose scent lover, but this one is gorgeous – a rose/lemon combination that even my 90-year-old grandma is totally into (she uses it as shampoo). It also works really well as bubble bath, though a rather expensive one! It’s unfortunately been limited edition and only been released at Christmas for the last couple of years, so hopefully it will make a reappearance in a few months time, as the scent is so unique and lovely! Repurchase? Yes.

7. Lush Lovely Jubblies Breast Cream (discontinued) – I was devastated when this staple product of mine appeared on Lush’s discontinued list back in June! Despite being around £16 I stocked up on a couple to stash away, along with my seasonal and discontinued Lush bath bombs and lotions. In addition to moisturising well and smelling like beautiful jasmine, it gives a subtle tightening and firming effect to skin when used regularly – no substitute for surgery but I do notice when I haven’t used it in a while (I forgot to take it on holiday & missed it). I know other ladies also swear by this for undereye bags, thighs and bums, so this is a true multi-use product! I just hope they release something similar ASAP, as other products like this are even more expensive and it really does what it claims. Repurchase? Yes, if I could!

8. Lush Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner (£16.50 for 225g via Lush) – I actually picked a couple of these mini pots up at the car boot sale ages ago for mere pennies; I just wished I’d remembered to use them sooner as they were in date when I bought them! Unfortunately by the time I got around to finishing this, it had gone quite goopy and lost almost all its smell. But normally it’s a lovely lotion-y texture with the same sweet scent as the Rose Jam shower gel – they are wonderful used together, and you don’t even have to use a regular lotion afterwards. A real bathtime luxury! Repurchase? Yes.

9. Lush Dream Cream [Sample] (from £5.95 via Lush) – I received this as a freebie from Lush after I got super-dry underarm skin while I was away – lovely, right?! A combination of heat, humidity and regular shaving can cause the delicate skin to become very dry and sore, though after returning home to cooler temperatures, shaving less and applying this daily my skin returned to normal very fast. Dream Cream absorbs so fast and does a wonderful job of soothing and calming problem skin – I’d also recommend this for conditions such as eczema and for use on problem areas, rather than as an all-over lotion. Repurchase? Yes (if needed)

10. Gillette Satin Care Sensitive Skin Shave Gel [Travel Size] (£1.20 via Tesco) – A mini size from another trip away that I only recently used up! Hair conditioner is fine to use for shaving and all, but I really like the gel and foam texture of this shave gel, and the sensitive skin option is ideal for me. The small size uses up minimal space in your suitcase and lasts at least a couple of weeks, even if you’re shaving regularly. My only issue is that I still get some ingrown hairs with this, although I’ve yet to experience any accidental cuts. Repurchase? Yes.

Makeup

11. Bobbi Brown Oil-Free Even Finish Compact Foundation in Warm Ivory (£33.50 via Bobbi Brown UK) – The first foundation I ever used, and one I continued to use for years! I’m amazed my foundation as a teen was so expensive compared to what I use now – I suppose I used so little makeup back then my parents didn’t mind buying it for me as a once-in-a-while expense! I had to get rid of this particular one since I must have had it around for years and it was smelling a little off. I do prefer the liquid formulas as they’re easier to work with (and not to mention more hygienic), although this formula blended well into skin and looked natural. This does come presented very beautifully in a thick, sturdy compact with a built-in mirror and soft sponge, but I’ll just stick with my cheaper foundations for now! Repurchase? No.

12. NARS Pro-Prime Multi-Protect Primer SPF 30 (£26 via Space NK) – Another expensive one but absolutely worth it for me! It’s lasted me a couple of years and wears wonderfully under makeup. The SPF 30 helps protect my skin on sunnier days, and I top up with dry mist sunscreen during the day if I’m out for more than an hour. Makeup applies smoothly on top, and it never clogs pores or gives a super-shiny look like many other sunscreen products. I did have to cut open the tube to get the extra product out, as considering the price I didn’t want to waste any! Repurchase? Yes.

13. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (£19 via Debenhams) – The mascara with the name that got everyone talking! Obviously it’s just a marketing gimmick, it is just a mascara after all. I received this in my BBB Latest In Beauty box a while ago, which was excellent value considering for £20 I got a whole bunch of other products as well. The metal packaging is heavy and feels very luxurious, and the hourglass wand is a bit of a novelty. The formula is thicker than I’m used to and made my lashes looking very long and thick, but a bit too spidery for my taste after a couple of coats. It can flake a little, and once a large flake landed in my eye while I was driving, which really did burn and made my eyes water – extremely dangerous when you’re trying to concentrate on the road! I’ll stick with my cheaper alternatives for now. Repurchase? No.

14. Fresh Sugar Shine Lip Treatment in Clear ($18.50 via Sephora) – A bit of a disappointment for me! I discovered I’m not a lip gloss person, and this clear minty gloss wasn’t anything special – it really didn’t deliver the moisture or ‘definition’ it promised. It went bad after only a few months, going discoloured and gloopy a bit quicker than I’d anticipated. A shame, as this isn’t the cheapest! Repurchase? No.

15. MAC Brow Set in Beguile (£14 via MAC Cosmetics UK) – Amazingly this lasted through almost a year of daily use! This mascara-like tinted brow gel is so easy to apply, and looks so natural. I fill in my brows with MAC Lingering brow pen, and use this on top to colour fine, light hairs. It doesn’t smudge or transfer either – no complaints here! I used this old one until it was fully dried out (see where I’ve scraped the sides!) – I was almost devastated when I thought I’d lost my brand new one after using this up, as it’s a daily must-have for me! Repurchase? Yes.

Hair

16. Macadamia Deep Repair Masque 250ml (£23.16 via Feel Unique) – My holy grail hair mask! I used this once or twice a week – a small amount goes a long way and it lasted me months. Although it has recently been reformulated, it still seems to give great results. The old formula is a gold pearlescent colour and is a little thicker, and the newer one is a peachy shade. I leave this on wet, shampooed hair for 10-15 minutes whilst in the bath and then rinse out – once my hair is blow dried it’s always wonderfully soft and silky. It can usually be found for cheaper on legitimate beauty discount sites, so I’ve yet to pay full price. This was my number one pick for travelling last month and it really saved the condition of my hair from the chlorinated tap water and humidity! Repurchase? Yes.

17. Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment (£8.49 via Boots) – Not quite as good as the Macadamia mask in my opinion! It does give satisfactory results in conditioning the hair, but you do have to use a large amount in one go, so it can be wasteful! But the worst..the smell! Some people may enjoy it, but it’s far too over-perfumed for me and lingers in my hair. And as for the hair growth claims? I doubt it actively helps your hair grow and instead just keeps it in better condition. It does the job of deep conditioning, but not a must-have for me! Repurchase? No.

18. Fekkai Protein Rx Anti-Breakage Treatment Mask (now discontinued?) – I can’t seem to find this exact product online anymore, so I’m not sure if it’s being discontinued or just renamed! It used to be my go-to when I had very brittle and abused hair as it made it feel like new, and I decided to use it again after a long plane journey and 6 weeks of infamous Florida tap water (it’s known to be quite chlorinated and a friend of mine is allergic to it). My dried-out hair was back to its former glory after one use! I’d only use this once in a while since the results aren’t as stunning when used regularly, but I always have one in my cupboard for such emergencies. Repurchase? Yes, if available.

Home

19. Bath & Body Works 3-Wick Candle in Espresso Bar (currently unavailable) – A freebie for me, as my guyfriend moved into a new apartment and the previous owners had left it behind! On cold sniff it smelled wonderful – I’m one of those people who loves the smell of coffee but hates the taste, and this smelled like an expensive coffee shop. However when lit, it wasn’t as pleasant! I think there is a ‘chocolate’ scent added which is much more apparent when lit; unfortunately it’s very much an American chocolate, which has a very odd smell to it compared to our lovely British chocolate! I had to quickly extinguish this and get rid of the wax, but at least I have this very pretty jar for storage. Repurchase? No.

Holiday Empties

20. Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Eye Cream (£7.99 via Boots) – A shame this got used up so quickly, as it was a brilliant under-eye concealer! This twist-up pen deposits a small amount of product at a time and I use my finger to apply it under my eyes. Rather than looking cakey or orange like some concealers, any uneven tones are neutralised and look very natural. I love Bourjois’ CC cream for all over my face, so it was no surprise I enjoyed the eye version too. Repurchase? Yes.

21. Gillette Satin Care Olay Sensitive Skin Shave Gel 75ml (£1.50 via Sainsbury’s) – I used up a very similar Gillette shave gel above, though this one is thicker, creamier and a little more moisturising. Sadly I still got ingrown hairs using this, but it does feel quite luxurious for the price! Repurchase? Yes (for travel).

22. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum [15ml and 30ml] (£39.95 / 30ml via Feel Unique) – I took both of these serums with me as they needed using up! I first purchased it in the US after trying out the mini size and thought it did wonders for my skin, but it was really the humidity keeping my skin hydrated! After using it at home I really didn’t notice a difference – it does smell lovely, like orange sherbert, but no point buying it if it doesn’t seem to be doing anything. A shame as I’d heard such good things about it! Repurchase? No.

23. Fresh Peony Brightening Night Treatment Mask [Sample] (£49 for full size via StrawberryNET) – Despite only receiving a tiny sample of this mask from Sephora, I did get a couple of uses out of it! It did a good job of retaining the softness and hydration of my skin and I woke up the next morning with super-soft, supple skin. It also doesn’t block my pores or break me out, nor does it feel greasy at all. I’ve been enjoying using the full size 1-2 times a week, although it does work well as a regular night cream too! Repurchase? Yes.

..I guess I did use up a lot of products this month! I really enjoy sharing my empties and opinions with you – I hope you find them helpful! What products have you used up lately, and what did you think? :)