Wednesday, 31 December 2014

December Empties

I've used up a bottle of Soap & Glory Clean On Me Shower Gel which I use mainly as a shaving lotion as it gets a close shave whilst leaving my legs moisturised at the same time. Will be forever repurchased! I've finished up a pot of Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Scrub which didn't feel quite as exfoliating as my previous pots have been but it did a an okay job none the less. I've used up a pot of Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter which I absolutely love as it leaves my skin so soft and moisturised! Will be repurchased ASAP! I've used up the Imperial Leather Shower Gel in Enchanting Romance which I absolutely loved and will be repurchasing soon. I've finally used up the Dove Nourishing Oil Care Leave In Conditioner which leaves my hair soft, tangle-free and smelling so good which I've already repurchased.

I've finished up another Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish which I felt like I went through rather quickly but none the less, it is a brilliant cleanser which I've already repurchased. I've used up a tube of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ which I use every morning without fail as a serum as it helps with spots and I've literally got a good years supply worth of backups so I won't be running out any time soon! I've used up another Hydraluron which acts like a magnet with your moisturiser and just like with the previous product, I've got about a years supply of as I love it that much and don't particularly want to run out of. I've finished up The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser which I mix in with the next product. This acts as both a primer and a spot treatment so it's good value for money. I've used up the L'Oreal Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer which helps give a radiant glow which shines through my foundation. This is quite literally holy grail level as I adore it that much!

I've used a Lush Ickle Baby Bot Bath Bomb which I needed desperately one night after a long, hard day at work and it certainly did the trick. I've used up two packs of the Wilko Maxi Oval Cotton Pads which feature in every empties post as they are the only cotton wool pads I use. Lastly, I've finished up a pack of the No7 Quick Thinking Wipes which I use to wipe foundation off my hands, clean surfaces etc.


Monday, 29 December 2014

December Birchbox Review

If there is just one thing that Birchbox always gets right then it's their collaborating boxes! For the December box, they've teamed up with accessories designer Sophia Webster who I haven't heard of until now. The box itself is beautifully designed with a pale duck egg blue adorned with pretty jewels all different shapes, colours and sizes which would definitely stand out on your vanity if you chose to keep the box to store things in.

The box itself isn't the only thing that sparkles this month as every box contains a Models Own Velvet Goth Nail Polish (£5). I receieved the shade Obsidian which is a beautiful black with chunky glitter which will look perfect over a black shade which will stand out amongst the more traditional, festive glitters. Unlike other glitter nail varnishes, the Velvet Goth range has a long-lasting matte finish and comes in five different shades.

One addition to the box that I'm most excited about trying is the Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil (£16.50) which is infamous across the blogging world as the rosehip oil to try. It helps give the skin some extra nourishment as well as helping to remove any blemish scars. If I love this just as much as everybody else does, I will definitely be rushing out and buying this in full size!

Another skincare addition to the box is the Ilcsi Grape Stem Cell Gel Mask (£43.95) which is formulated with fine grape seed powder which helps to smooth and rejuvenate the skin whilst revealing smoother, softer skin. I'm hoping that I don't fall in love with this as it would be a very pricey affair!

There's two makeup products included in the December box - one sample size and one full size. There's a cute little Benefit Christmas Cracker which I couldn't resist opening to reveal a mini Benefit High Beam (£19.50) which are one of those liquid highlighters that you have to work quickly with. This is a Birchbox exclusive and is one that I'm happy to have a backup of as they appear to last forever! The full size product is the Eyeko Fat Eye Stick (£8) of which I received the shade Smoke. This is another Birchbox exclusive which is a very intense black with fine silver shimmer which gives it a very metallic finish.

For hair care, there is a travel sized Electric Hair Electric Hydrate Shampoo (£17.50) which promises to help repair damaged hair whilst improving shine with a nourishing and moisture-rich formula. I haven't actually heard of this brand before so I'm interested to see how it compares up to my normal Aussie 3MM.

Last but not least, finishing off the Sophia Webster Birchbox collaboration is the Sophia Webster Purse (£10) which was exclusively designed for Birchbox! The purse has a leopard print on one side with a stripe design on the other with gold zip detailing. This is the perfect size to fit a few cards, notes and loose change and is going straight into my bag.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

What I Got For Christmas 2014

Unlike last year where I bought myself a lot of christmas presents, this year I was fairly restrained and only bought myself the Soap & Glory The Soapremes, Sanctuary Best Loved & Beautiful Set, Real Techniques Starter Set, Real Techniques Nic's Picks, No7 Brush Set, Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation and the L'Oreal Skin Perfection Set. It may seem  a little excessive but my reasoning is that I needed more makeup brushes, it's products that I will use and because I fancied treating myself.

My Dad and his partner treatmed me to the Gossip Girl Boxset, Almond Body Butter, Becca Beach Tint in Guava, Joules Fluffy Socks, Ice Creams at Carringtons by Alexandra Brown and a MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Lingering. The Minion toy is infact my Secret Santa gift as I have a little obsession with minions right now despite only seeing both movies once. Not pictured is my main present from my Dad and his partner which is infact the Topshop Teddy Bear Dressing Gown that every blogger is going on about at the moment as it was too big to picture and the gifts from Liam as it's only clothing that he got me.

What did you get for Christmas?

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you all have a lovely day filled with plenty of food, laughter and presents.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Yankee Candle Wax Tart in Merry Marshmallow

As I'm now working full time, I don't have as much time to myself as I used to as I'm forever dashing off to places. However for those times when I have some time to myself, my guilty pleasure is melting a yankee candle wax tart as it fills up the room with a beautiful fragrance which lingers after the candle has long since died out.

The wax tart that I've been burning recently is Merry Marshmallow (£2.48 or 10 for £11.95) which smells strongly of marshmallows and vanilla which definitely brings out the kid at heart! This is one of their more sickly scents so I tend to melt it for a few hours and then blow out the candle as the scent truly does linger around for the rest of the day. I much prefer a sweeter scent over a more traditional one so this is perfect for the holiday season and is one that I will most probably be repurchasing soon.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Samples I've Used Up 018

I've used up four samples of the Lancome Vissionaire which helps even out your skin texture whilst improving your skins hydration levels within a day or two. I absolutely adore this stuff and I will be purchasing a full size of this once I've gone through my mountain of samples of the stuff. I've finished up a little travel size of the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair which I haven't used in quite a while. This helps to reduce the appearance of aging whilst plumping up the skin. I actually have a full size of this waiting for me as soon as I've used up a few more facial oils.

I've used up a sample pot of the Max Factor Skin Luminizer Foundation in Light Ivory which I don't actually like using by itself but once mixed in with another foundation, it's absolutely perfect. Its an almost full coverage foundation that is very radiant but has almost powder foundation which is neither matte nor dewy - it's inbetween. The colour of this matched me perfectly and I will definitely consider buying this just as soon as I've gone through a few more foundations. I've used up two mascara samples this month - The No7 Extreme Length in Waterproof and the No7 Extreme Length Extend. The latter of the two I didn't notice much from but the first offering is definitely one that I will be purchasing as not only is it a waterproof formula, it helps seperate my lashes and make them look fuller and more defined.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Got2B Guardian Angel Heat Protection Spray

When it comes to styling to heat products, I'm truly not fussed by which brand it is so long as it does the job and isn't too expensive. I've often repurchased the same heat defence for ages but in true beauty blogger style, I'm branching out and trying out different brands so I've settled with the Got2B Guardian Angel Heat Protection Spray for the time being.

The Got2B Guardian Angel Heat Protection Spray (£4.07) helps protect your hair against heat damage whether that be from an occasional blow dry to the frequent straightening from straighteners, it will protect it from heat up to 220ÂșC.

Unlike heat defences that I've used in the past which has had a nozzle, the Got2B Guardian Angel Heat Protection Spray is more of a spritzer which doesn't really disperse a great deal of product into my hair. It also gets clogged up rather quickly so I'm forever running it under hot water to help get rid of it. I've read a few reviews that have said that it smells like fruity bubblegum whereas mine literally smells like a more traditional heat defence or it's actually gone off. With that being said, it does help protect my hair from heat but it doesn't necessarily help with the occasional frizz or give an unbeatable shine. Despite it being cheap as chips, I will not be repurchasing it and would much rather spend my money on something else that will do a few other things than just protecting my hair.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Wipes

Back in the day, I was forever using makeup wipes to remove all my makeup and I'm even grimacing at the thought of doing that daily. Nowadays, I much prefer to take off my makeup using micellar waters and oil/balm cleansers before going in with a second cleanse to truly remove every last trace of makeup. I would love to say that I have to stuck to this religiously but there have been a few slip ups after a few too many where I'm guilty of using them but that's about it. With that being said, I do like to use the occasional wipe to refresh my face on those days off from work where I don't intend on getting out of bed and recently I've been reaching for the Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel offering.

The Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Wipes (£3.39 for 25) contain antibacterial tea tree and skin calming witch hazel to help deeply cleanse the skin of dirt, oil and makeup whilst fighting spots and unblocking pores, all whilst toning the skin.

As I only use these literally once in a blue moon, I cannot comment on its deep cleansing claims nor its toning properties however it does feel absolutely refreshing on the skin especially first thing in the morning when you're still not quite awake. I must admit that they do feel a little dry to the touch despite storing them upside down and they do leave my skin feeling a little tight in areas but nonetheless, they definitely do the job at refreshing my skin as and when I need it.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Neutrogena Alcohol Free Toner

Out of everything that I brought with me to America, the only department that I lacked in was skincare as I wanted to buy it all out there as it would have been too much hassle to have to bring everything over and back again. Now as much as I love shopping in America, I really hated shopping for skincare in particular a decent toner as I struggled finding one that was until a week into my trip that I finally found an alcohol free offering in the form of Neutrogena Alcohol Free Toner.

The Neutrogena Alcohol Free Toner ($7.99) has been specially formulated to refreshingly tone the skin without the harsh, drying effects of alcohol. As it is alcohol free, it will not strip the skin of its natural oil and will leave the skin feeling fresh and clean without the dry, tight feeling.

I've been using this toner on and off since purchasing it in America and I must admit that it is quite the love affair. Unlike more traditional toners which contain alcohol, this particular one doesn't so it's quite a strange feeling not having skin that feels slightly dry and tight and instead, feels plump and moisturised. I like to pour quite a fair bit onto a cotton wool pad and then sweep it over my face and it literally feels like I'm sweeping slightly fragranced water over my face as it is so refreshingly gentle and non-drying. The times when I've used this consistently, I've experienced no breakouts nor redness and it leaves my skin looking healthy with a slight glow. Overall this a brilliant budget toner which I'll definitely be stocking up on the next time I'm in the States!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

My Winter Beauty Must Haves

There is nothing that I hate more during winter than having cold, cracked hands and lips which have suffered from the harsh winter weather. In order to combat this, I like to use various products to keep everything in top top condition which I would deem my winter beauty must haves. 

It would appear that I suffer with cracked hands more during the winter than any other time of the year so I first like to clean my hands and remove any bacteria using the Wilko Hand Sanitiser which not only cleans my hands but it also makes a good base for my hand cream as I find that my hand cream soaks in quicker if I've used a hand sanitiser beforehand. The hand cream that I've been using recently is the Superdrug 2-in-1 Hand & Nail Cream which is enriched with keratin and pro-vitamin B5 which helps soften the hands as well as help strengthen the nails. Once thats all absorbed in, I quickly like to use a little Burts Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream on my cuticles which smells exactly like sherbet lemons!

When it comes to my skincare routine, I always ensure that I use Hydraluron which acts as a magnet with my moisturiser and helps keep my skin moisturised for longer. This stuff is literally holy grail material and I will never be without it! I've been finding that my lips need more than just an EOS Lipbalm so I've recently been using the Burts Bees Ultra Moistusing Lip Treatment which has a consistency like vaseline but it's definitely a lot more effective! I find that when I apply this at night, I can still feel traces of it come morning on my lips and they feel so much softer as well. I always carry around the No7 Dry Skin Rescue just in case my elbows/hands need a little more TLC and this certainly works wonders. It has helped heal even the most cracked of elbows within a matter of days.

What are your winter beauty must haves?

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Nivea Double Effect Eye Makeup Remover

I've recently found myself experimenting more with my eye makeup and am often rocking a subtle bronze smokey eye to work as I find that it compliments my eyes nicely. This means that I need a good eye makeup remover to remove even stubborn waterproof mascara so I've recently been reaching for the Nivea Double Effect Eye Makeup Remover to do just very that.

The Nivea Double Effect Eye Makeup Remover (£3.59) is a blue bi-phase solution that you have to shake up to combine the two liquids together. The oil phase helps to remove even the most waterproof of eye makeup which has been specially formulated and tested for the sensitive eye area whilst the aqueous phase protects and cares for the lashes, without leaving an oily residue.

As stated on the packaging, you have to shake vigorously to ensure that both liquids are combined. Now between me and you, no amount of shaking will keep the liquids combined as literally a second or two after shaking, the liquids are no longer combined which means that you either have to use a lot of elbow grease to remove your eye makeup or become one of those stealthy people who can quickly shake and pour onto a cotton pad. Even when I've managed to pour some onto a cotton pad and then proceed to remove my eye makeup, it literally doesn't remove much mascara unless I rub my eyes heavily and even then, it leaves the dreaded panda look. Another bug bear is that it states that it won't leave an oily residue which is not true at all! Even the tiniest amount of the stuff leaves my eye area feeling oily and greasy which is not ideal when you're just wanting to take off all your makeup. Overall, this is one of the worst eye makeup removers I've used and I urge everybody to not even bother wasting your money on it.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Imperial Leather Shower Gel in Enchanting Romance

I always buy shower gels that are on offer as I don't see the point in spending a lot of money that will essentially be going down the drain, literally. One that I've been using recently is the Imperial Leather Shower Gel in Enchanting Romance which is actually the shower gel version of the Imperial Leather Bewitching Bath Creme that I was raving about not so long ago. 

The Imperial Leather Shower Gel in Enchanting Romance (£2.00) comes housed in eye catching, easy to squeeze packaging with flip bottom where you simply have to squeeze out the product. As the packaging is not only appealing to the eye, it's see through so you can clearly see how much you have left. This smells exactly like the bath creme albeit a little more floral which is probably due to the blend of plum blosson and violet. As the formula is silky smooth, this creates a decent amount of lather which both lingers on the skin for a few hours as well as make it soft to the touch. This is definitely one of the better ones that I smelt from their Signature range and is one that I will most probably be repurchasing.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Monochrome

I will never understand how fellow beauty bloggers can through a billion cans of dry shampoo a month as they must literally coat every strand of hair in order to use up an entire can. I personally don't use it very often and reserve it for those times when my hair truly needs it which is mainly either on third day hair or for some volume on a night out. 

My dry shampoo of choice lately has been Batiste in Monochrome (£2.99) which is a rather striking and spicy scent which is probably down to the odd combination of orange blossom and pepper. I like to spritz it a few times over my head before massaging it in with my fingers and then brushing it out which results in an instant hair refresh with a subtle scent. On third day hair, I find that it doesn't remove all traces of oil/grease but it does make my hair look a lot cleaner than what it did whilst making it manageable whereas when using it for a night out, it gives volume that lasts for a few hours. Overall, I quite like this dry shampoo and will definitely be trying more from the Batiste range.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Free No7 GWP

One thing that I love the most about drugstore makeup is when they bring out their gift with purchases around the festive season. Whilst they do make you spend money on products you don't necessarily need, the gift itself is worth it especially when it contains lots of full/sample size products that you could easily give away as a gift. Just like always, I couldn't resist getting the No7 GWP and came away with their new mascara and a gold eyeshadow crayon purely to get the free gift.

Included in their festive designed gift is a sample size of one of their better launches this year; the No7 Lash Impact Mascara. It adds intense volume for dramatic lashes - one coat gives you great volume whereas two coats give an amplified false lash effect without the clumps. Also included is a full size High Shine Lipgloss in Glaze - a glitter packed brown toned purple which would suit somebody a lot older than myself in my eyes. As always, there is an eyeshadow included which this time around is the bottom shade from the Stay Perfect Eyeshadow Trio in Cappuccino. This shade is a stunning gold amber copper shade which is perfect for any festive eye look. Lastly, they've included a little sample of their Youthful Eye Serum which helps to reduce the appearance of dark circles, wrinkles and puffiness within four weeks. This is actually half the size of their full size version which makes it even more value for money especially if you already use it. 

If you're after one of these gift with purchases, you have to make sure you buy any two cosmetics in order to receive it for free whilst stocks last. If I were you, I would hurry as I'm sure these will fly out!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Boots Haul 015

After watching one of Vivianna's latest videos, I decided that I needed the Rimmel Lasting Finish Nude Foundation in my life so I picked it up in the shade Ivory which I'm hoping will not make me anymore pale than what I already am. As I'm starting to branch out more into eyeshadow, I noticed that Maybelline had released new additions to their Colour Tattoo range so I couldn't resist buying Barely Branded which is a beautiful, neutral shade that just evens everything out with a hint of colour. After swatching a few of the Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadows, I knew that I would be leaving with the shade Copper which will be perfect in a bronze, shimmery smokey eye.

As it was three for two across all makeup, I needed to pick up a few items that were similar in price and as if I didn't need anymore mascaras, I picked up the new Rimmel Wonderfull Mascara which has argan oil to help nourish the lashes. Whilst at the Rimmel stand, their new Glitter Bomb top coats caught my eye and I spotted that Disco Diva would be perfect teamed up with a rose gold nail varnish that I had already. Lastly, I remembered that I've been lusting after the Collection Lipstick in Sweet Tart which is a beautiful pink shade that will look even better when paired with a tan.

Have you bought anything recently from Boots?

Monday, 1 December 2014

November Favourites

Throughout November, I've found myself using an oldie but goodie in the form of NARS Laguna Bronzer which I still have mixed feelings about which is partially down to the fact that I can only wear it for a few days straight before it breaks me out. It's infamous across the blogging world as the perfect bronzer to contour with and I do agree with that although sometimes it can come aross as looking a little patchy and muddy especially when not having a good skin day. Regardless of what it does to my skin, I love how it looks on the skin and I will continue to use it for a few days a week at a time atleast.

As I've been running about all over the place at work, I've needed a base that will last so I've been using the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation every day almost. I use the shade Bone which matches me perfectly and when mixed in with Bourjois Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix Foundation and Revlon Photoready Skinlights Face Illuminator in Pink Light, it creates the perfect full coverage dewy base without looking cakey or overdone. A little definitely goes a long way and despite having just over half a bottle left, I may or may not have treated myself to a new bottle as an early christmas present. In order to apply my foundation, I've been looking no further than the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge which makes applying foundation a breeeze, as you simply bounce it on the skin to blend and buff it in. I personally have three on the go at the moment as I use one for two days straight before moving onto a clean one with a futher three in backup to be used in six months time.

As double wear is quite a full coverage foundation, my skin has been looking a little dry especially when teamed up with central heating at home, the cold winter air outside and the constant aircon at work which means that I can never win. In order to combat the dryness and to keep my skin in tip top shape, I've been using Hydraluron constantly which I'm currently on my fifth tube of as I cannot get enough of the stuff! It acts like a magnet with your moisturiser and helps draw it deeper down in your skin to keep it hydrated and when used twice a day, your skin will appear plumper in no time. As well as my skin looking a little dry, my lips have been looking and feeling worse for wear so I've been applying an eos lipbalm multiple times a day which has been helping to keep my lips moisturiser. I currently have five on the go, all in different locations, as I seriously cannot get enough of them and I made sure that I stocked up on lots of different scents whilst out in America.