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Weekly Book Round Up #29

28 February 2014

Everyone knows I love me a mystery/thriller novel, so this was right up my street. The novel follows a private investigator and his unrelenting search for a teenage girl who goes missing after he has given her a lift. There were a lot of tandem stories going on within this novel. The main character, Cal, has recently lost his son and is trying to find out who sold him the drugs that finished him off, there are crooked cops, the ongoing search for Claire, and Cal's attempts to rebuild his relationship with his wife. I can't remember having read any of Linwood Barclay's previous novels, but I definitely feel like I need to have another look. This story kept me guessing from beginning to end and I absolutely loved it! Well worth a read.
Nicola's rating: 4/5
Only one book this week but I have been a super busy bunny. I've had some life stuff going on, and also the next book I'm reading is another chunky Game of Thrones! Hopefully I'll have a couple of books for you all next week :)

MUA Haul

26 February 2014

Ahh payday! I love to get myself a few little treats when I get paid, and this week I decided to pop into Superdrug to see what I could bag! 

Superdrug were offering a free colourblast eyeshadow when you spent £6 on MUA, which was all the excuse I needed to pick up a couple of things I'd been itching to try out! 

I've wanted to give the Velvet Lip Lacquers a go ever since they came out last year, but having seen how pigmented they were, I was little bit scared of them! I decided to pick up the shade 'Reckless'. This is a gorgeous deep red and I can confirm that it is definitely not for the fainthearted! I found it quite difficult to apply mainly because I went a tiny bit over my lipline on my top lip, and then had to work quite hard to remove the staining where I'd gone wrong. These have got some serious staying power and are not easy to remove once they've dried! They're available here for £3 each.


I can't resist a MUA palette, and my collection was missing the Undressed Palette. This is a lovely collection of neutral shades, and I'm super impressed by the pigmentation as always!

You've got a great mix of matte and shimmer shades here, but obviously the shimmers are my faves. Here's the top layer of the palette swatched. 

Pretty pretty! The top matte shade is barely visible, but I am entirely about those shimmers. That copper shade at the bottom is just begging to be used!

 This is the bottom layer of the palette, and it's definitely my favourite! All of those shimmery brown shades are gorgeous, and the silvery grey at the bottom is fantastic. This palette is currently sold out on MUA's website, but I'd recommend checking your local Superdrug. This retails for £4.

And finally, the freebie! This is a Colourblast eye shadow tint in 'Bring it Back'. I've tried a few other eyeshadow crayons before and not really enjoyed them. I find that they smudge incredibly easy, and very often don't last a whole day. MUA's products have never disappointed me with their staying power though, so I'm interested to see whether this will change my mind! Here, I've swatched it twice, and in the bottom swatch I've blended it a bit to get an idea of what it might look like on the eyelid. It's quite subtle even though it has some glitter to it. Colourblast eyeshadow tints are available here for £2 each.

Overall I'm super pleased with my haul! I love that these products came to just £7, and I didn't lose out on quality at all. I'd love to see some new products from MUA soon though, I want some more palettes to hoard!

Barry M Silk Nail Effects

24 February 2014

As soon as I saw the new collection from Barry M, I knew I'd be adding a few polishes to my collection! The Silk collection has a pearlescent matte sheen which looks absolutely gorgeous. The polishes are available in a range of pastel shades, just in time for spring!

The three shades I picked are Meadow (green), Mist (blue) and Heather (lilac). I love the finish of these polishes, however I did find that they seemed to take longer to dry than I would normally expect from Barry M polishes, and I also noticed that they were quite easy to dent or mark. Unfortunately if you were to use a top coat you would lose the beautiful silky sheen, but if you want these to last a top coat is probably going to be a must. 

Trying to pick a favourite out of these three shades is basically impossible, they're all absolutely beautiful. The other shades available are a baby pink, a pearly white and a kind of tan gold colour. They're available from Boots and Superdrug and are £3.99 each.

Birchbox-February 2014

22 February 2014

Birchbox have already made a massive improvement on last month by sending their February box out on time, and thankfully mine has arrive safe and sound! This month's theme is tied in with London Fashion Week, and is all about your own personal style.

First up is this small sample of Beauty Protector's new hair oil. This smells fantastic, and while I don't normally go for oils because my hair can naturally get quite greasy, I am intrigued by this. According to the card we received with the box, you only need 1-3 drops of this to work through damp hair or dry ends. It also provides protection from UV rays and heat. I had a quick go with this yesterday and it's definitely left my hair feeling super soft, and as of yet there have been no signs of greasiness.

We also received a skinny liquid eyeliner from Eyeko. The nib on this is very impressive, ultra slim and quite long compared to some felt eyeliners I've seen previously. There was also a handy eyeliner tutorial card included with the box which I love the idea of. I'm absolutely terrible at applying eyeliner so I'm definitely going to have a go using the cards tips!


Urban Veda is a brand that I have tried before and absolutely love, so I was really happy to see the Radiance Exfoliating Facial Polish in this box! It smells fantastic (although it probably won't be to everyone's tastes) and contains marigold, papaya and coriander. I can't wait to give this a go!

Next up we have this shower gel from Gilchrist and Soames. This also smells really good, and the scent is quite different in that it's not incredibly feminine. I usually expect shower gels from beauty boxes to be more 'lady-oriented' with florals and that sort of thing, so this was quite a pleasant surprise. According to the little info card thingy, this contains red tea, grape seed and milk thistle. Together, these combine to create a really relaxing scent.

I was really pleased to see a Leighton Denny nail polish in this box! This shade is called 'Message in a Bottle' and is a gorgeous dove grey with a metallic sheen. I'm really happy with this shade as I don't have anything similar in my collection, and the metallic element really livens up the grey. Here I've swatched it with two coats, and it's still quite pale. I think you'd probably need three coats to really boost the colour.

Finally as a little extra we received a mini bar of Green and Black's dark 70% chocolate. Dark chocolate isn't my favourite so this will be probably be eaten up by the husband, but what a cute little extra!

I am so much happier with Birchbox this month. I think we've received a great mix of beauty products with something for hair, skincare, bath and body, and make up. I'll definitely be staying subscribed for March, I can't wait to see what the Lulu Guinness collaboration will bring!

Weekly Book Round Up #28

21 February 2014

This is a series that I really don't have a lot invested in to be honest. I'm a big fan of Philippa Gregory's books for adults, but her young adult novels are awful! The main reasons I'm continuing with these books are I can get them from the library, and I don't like to leave a series unfinished. The story follows Luca Vero and his companions Frieze and Brother Peter as they travel around Italy solving mysteries on behalf of the church. Along the way, they've picked up Lady Isolde and her servant Ishraq. Lady Isolde's brother has cheated her out of her inheritance and is now searching for her to put her back into the nunnery she escaped from, whilst she's trying to reach one of her distant relatives to get him to assist her in regaining the castle of Lucretili. The books have the potential to be interesting, but I find the writing style to be condescending. Just because these books are aimed at young adults, doesn't mean you have to explain or describe every single historical reference in painstaking detail. I know that I'm not the audience these books are aimed at, but I can't imagine my teenage self would have enjoyed these much either.
Nicola's rating: 1.5/5

I had really low expectations for this book, but was pleasantly surprised. Rachel Caine is one of my favourite authors but I'm used to her writing about vampires, not rewriting one of Shakespeare's most well known plays. This is a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet from the point of view of Benvolio, Romeo's cousin. I really thought that this was going to be terrible, but Rachel Caine has been very clever. There have been little tweaks to the tale, involving witchcraft and some Assassin's Creed style robberies, but nothing too extravagant. She's included a few of the original dialogues, but the majority is written in a much easier style to follow, whilst still maintaining a Shakespearean feel. I'm sure there will be people out there deeply offended by it, but I found it engaging and interesting. I came away from it wanting to dig in to the actual play, and if it has the same effect on a few teens, then it can't be a bad thing.
Nicola's rating: 4/5


Puffy the Eye Bag Slayer Under Eye Patches

19 February 2014

I received these Under eye patches in the January Glossybox, and being a good sport, have decided to review them and include silly pictures of myself wearing them. Obviously the packaging is the standard brightly coloured stuff we're used to from Anatomicals. I have to say though, having read some reviews that mentioned the liquid inside going everywhere when the eye patches were opened, I opened mine over the sink which saved me getting damp!

Here's my eyes before application. Somewhat baggy and tired looking. I haven't been sleeping well lately, so I thought now would be the perfect time to have a go at fixing up my dark circles!

According to the packaging, these eye patches are 'enriched with moisturising agents and collagen', and 'help to reduce dark circles and signs of ageing and eliminate puffiness'. I was pretty intrigued to see whether the claims about puffiness and dark circles would prove to be true! See below for the hilarious picture of me wearing the eye patches.

Now that's out of the way, let's talk about the patches. These were really easy to apply, but you do have to leave them on for 30 minutes which is quite a long time. I also felt like the patches were slipping off occasionally, so I had to kind of smush them back into place. They do feel very soothing on the eye area though, if a little cold.

And there's my after shot. At first, I wasn't very impressed. My dark circles haven't really diminished at all, and there's still some slight puffiness. However, the next day I did notice that my under eye area was nowhere near as dark, and that the puffiness had gone down noticeably. Is the effect enough that I will repurchase them? Probably not, but they're still pretty fun and easy to use, even if you do have to sit around for half an hour!
These are £6 for a pack of three, and are available here.

Love Me Beauty Box-February 2014

17 February 2014

I'm so happy that it's time for another Love Me Beauty Box! These boxes never fail to impress me, and this one has done particularly well. I went for option 3 this month, as all the other options had beauty supplements in, which I wasn't interested in trying.

Firstly, (because I'm too pleased to leave this one until last) everyone was promised a secret extra in this month's box because of valentines day. This was advertised as being a 'hero' product featured in previous boxes, and had been voted for by subscribers as their favourite product. I'm not sure whether everyone received the same thing, but I received a full-size Nip + Fab Dry Leg Fix, which retails for £10.25. I'm so pleased about this because I've been wanting to try Nip + Fab for ages but have always been put off by the price! Nice one Love Me Beauty.

Another full-size product is this dry conditioner from Percy & Reed. This retails for £12, and is supposed to add shine and reduce damage caused by brushing. One of the handy tips mentions spraying this on a brush, so I'm sure I'll be giving that a go at some point!

Next up we have this sample of La Claree's gentle cleansing milk. This smells amazing, and is supposed to be used to remove make up. It also apparently 'protects the hydrolipidic film of the skin'. I don't know what that is, but I'm sure it's a good thing that this product protects it. The sample is also full to the brim, which always makes me a happy subscriber!

This is the product that I really wasn't sure about. It's an all purpose balm for dry skin which sounds good, but the scent is lavender and lemon. I really don't like lavender, but having used a small amount of this (you don't need much) on my lips, the scent isn't too overpowering, and it's definitely left my lips feeling softer. This is full-size and retails for £3.95.

Finally, we have this sample of Dr Bragi's age management moisturiser. This is only a 5ml sample, but it's worth £15. Insane. This is another product that is meant to be used sparingly, and seeing as the product itself is more gel-like than creamy, you can see why. I'm quite excited to try this because it's such a high end product!

Such a great box. Love Me Beauty just get better and better. I'm always so impressed by the contents of each box, and having tried Birchbox and Glossybox, I can definitely say that Love Me Beauty is my favourite beauty box by far! If you haven't subscribed yet, what are you waiting for?!

Weekly Book Round Up #27

15 February 2014

This book took me so long to read! I've had a really busy couple of weeks which has meant not much time for reading, and this was a really fat book. It was definitely fat for a reason though, as we are introduced to several new viewpoints (Asha, Arys, Arianne, and Victarion to name a few) and LOADS happens. Obviously I'm not going to go into too much detail because of spoilers, but this book has definitely made me see why people have such a love/hate relationship with George R. R. Martin. There are at least 3 characters that have been left in spectacular cliffhangers (BRIENNE!) and I'm not convinced that the next book will put me out of my misery. I absolutely loved reading this though, and I can't wait to sink my teeth into the next book.

Nicola's rating: 4/5

This is the sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which I read on my kindle. These books are illustrated with vintage photographs which really adds to the stories in my opinion. I was quite keen to get this from the library as opposed to buying it on my kindle though, as I felt that the photos would probably be more effective in paper. At the end of the first book the children had escaped their island after rescuing Miss Peregrine (in bird form) from the wights. The sequel picks up directly from the end of the first book, and follows the children on their journey to try and help Miss Peregrine change back into her human form. These books are really hard to properly describe because they're so weird. The children use 'loops' to travel in time, and all have their own unique ability. If you're in the mood for something a little different, I'd suggest giving this a go.

Nicola's rating: 3/5