Image Map

Benefit Haul

31 March 2014

I was lucky enough to get some lovely spending money around my birthday, so naturally I decided that I would pick up some new Benefit goodies to play with. I'd seen a few reviews floating around for these cute lip glosses and eyeshadows, and I absolutely couldn't resist.

Firstly, I will never get over how gorgeous Benefit's packaging is. I love the 'Gatsby' feel that these little boxes have, and I'm definitely not throwing them away. They're currently making my dressing table look super pretty.

The first product I picked up was the Longwear Powder Shadow in 'Thanks a Latte'. This is a gorgeous shimmery brown, and comes in a cute plastic pot. The pot itself feels quite sturdy for plastic, but I still probably wouldn't want to just chuck it in my bag. Below I have a couple of swatches, just to give you some idea of the colour on the skin. The darker swatch is how I wear the shadow, as I find that it just needs building up slightly to get a stronger hit of colour. The shadow is incredibly smooth to apply, and there is very little fall out. I used this one without a primer, and found that it lasted most of the day which is pretty impressive as I apply my make up at about 6am and by 5pm it was still hanging in there.

I also decided to pick up one of the creaseless cream shadows. The shade that I've picked is much darker than I thought it would be (the woes of ordering online), but it's still a shade that I can use. This shade is 'Holy Smokes', and I absolutely love the glass lid on the pot this is in! When applied the shadow is almost liquid in texture, so I would definitely recommend a primer for these if you want it to hang around. I used the 'Stay Don't Stray' primer from the March Birchbox and found that the eyeshadow applied very smoothly, and was held in place for the majority of the day. There wasn't any creasing either.

I also picked up this adorable lip gloss in 'Fauxmance'. This colour is described on the Benefit website as being a 'soft berry' and I would definitely agree with that. It applies like a dream, and doesn't feel at all sticky on my lips. This is definitely going to become a firm favourite and I can easily see myself getting a few different shades from this range.

Finally, I decided to pick up one of Benefit's famous blushes. I absolutely love Rockateur, so I decided to try and get something with a similar peachy hue. Coralista definitely fit the bill! This is a gorgeous peach blush with a slight shimmer to it. I also really love the cute little brushes included, I think they work really well with the product and they feel like really good quality too. The blush itself looks great when it's applied, I would say that it is definitely more pigmented than Rockateur. I might have gone a bit crazy with it initially, you really don't need to apply an awful lot to get a lovely rosy cheeked look!

So that's my haul! Have you tried any of these Benefit goodies?

Weekly Book Round Up #33

30 March 2014

Many apologies for this post being later than usual, I started my new job last Monday and so didn't get an awful lot of time to read. This book is part of Jackson Pearce's series of retold fairytales. You could read these books as standalone novels, as the main characters are always different. There are appearances of characters from other books in the series, but you wouldn't miss anything in the story by not knowing who they were. Anyway, this book follows Ginny as she goes on a journey to try and win back Kai, her boyfriend who has been stolen by the snow queen. Along the way, she meets Ella and Lucas who know of the Fenris (werewolves) and also manages to get herself kidnapped by gypsies. I would probably say that I enjoyed this novel the least out of the others in the series. I still liked it, but I just found that it seemed like something was missing. The other three novels in this series had elements of fairytales that I'm familiar with (Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and the Little Mermaid) whereas this one didn't really seem to be following any fairytale in particular, it was more of a mix of several. I'm not sure whether there will be anymore books in this series, but I would hope that if there are, they'll go back to retelling one fairytale per book!

Nicola's rating: 3/5

Nip + Fab Viper Venom Eye Fix and Dry Leg Fix

28 March 2014

Normally today's post would be a weekly book round up, but I've started my new job this week so I've actually not managed to finish the book I'm reading! I'll hopefully have the round up ready for tomorrow, but in the meantime, I thought I'd pop something beauty related up! 
Since subscribing to Love Me Beauty, I've been introduced to the magic of Nip + Fab. Being a fairly pricey brand, the items I've been sent to try are not the sort of thing I would normally pick up for myself (ahh the beauty of beauty boxes!).

The Dry Leg Fix was the first Nip + Fab item I received from Love Me Beauty, and it has quickly become a firm favourite of mine. I mainly like to use this after shaving, to give my legs a lovely moisture boost. I wouldn't say that this has a particularly nice scent, but it rubs in nicely and doesn't leave any greasiness behind. I'd also love to give some of the other 'fixes' in the range a try. Particularly the tummy and cellulite fixes. 

The Viper Venom Eye Fix was a product I received in the most recent Love Me Beauty box, and I would actually go so far as to say that it is a miracle product. I've been applying this every morning before my moisturiser, and I can actually see my dark circles reducing in colour and the puffiness around my eyes going down. It also feels incredibly soothing upon application, and helps me feel a bit more awake! Again, this isn't a product I would have normally picked up for myself (especially at £14.95 a pop), but I've come to absolutely love it, and I'm pretty sure I'll be heading out to repurchase it when it runs out.

Basically, thanks to Love Me Beauty, I have been officially converted into a Nip + Fab fan. If you're a bit strapped for cash like me, and would like to get your hands on some of these lovely products to try out, I spotted a few Nip + Fab items reduced quite significantly in TK Maxx the other day. I'm hoping a few of the products will still be there by payday!
Are you a Nip + Fab fan?

You Beauty Discovery Box - March 2014

26 March 2014

Having been slightly unimpressed by Birchbox, I decided to have a look at the You Beauty Discovery box. This box costs £6.95 a month, and once a month a shortlist of approximately 10 items is released. You then get to pick two items, and are also sent a couple of small extras. I decided to have a go, and I think I might hang around for the April Birchbox (I've got nearly £20 worth of points in my account to spend in the Birchbox shop!), and then cancel my subscription in favour of You Beauty.

I must be the only beauty blogger out there who hasn't received this lip balm in a beauty box or tried this out! I've seen it everywhere, and really fancied giving it a go. I do tend to suffer from dry lips and I'm pretty notorious for hoarding lip balms, so this was an obvious choice for me! The balm is quite sticky once it's on your lips, and I also found that I had to warm the tube up before applying, otherwise I couldn't get anything out!

This Rimmel BB cream is probably another beauty blogger fail on my part too! I just don't tend to really go for skincare unless I'm sure that it's not going to make my skin flare up. However, I wasn't really sure about the other items on the shortlist, so I've decided to take a risk and see what happens. This little tube has a lot of big claims! Apparently this BB cream minimises the appearance of pores, evens skin tone, mattifies, controls shine all day, smoothes, soothes, conceals dark circles, helps prevent blemishes and gives all day coverage. The claims about preventing blemishes and soothing are what gave me the final push to try this out really. I'll see how I get on with it, and maybe do a mini review at some point.

The extra items in this month's box were a couple of flavoured teas (which I will be passing on to friends) and some toe separators. I like the idea of these little extras, and I definitely think I'm going to carry on this box for a few months. Next month's box is focusing on natural and organic products so I can't wait to see what the next shortlist will be!

What do you think of the You Beauty Discovery box? 


Dr Brandt Pores no More vs. Benefit Porefessional

24 March 2014

I've only recently become aware of the magic of the Porefessional from Benefit. I received a sample at Christmas in a set with some other Benefit goodies and another sample from Birchbox and since then, I've been addicted. I recently received a sample of the Dr Brandt Pores no More in the March Birchbox, and decided to compare the two!

A full-size tube of the Porefessional will set you back £24.50 for 22ml. I only have my diddy sample sizes, but you can get an idea of the cute packaging which has become the standard for Benefit. The Porefessional claims to 'quickly minimise the appearance of pores & fine lines for smoother-than-smooth skin! Translucent, oil-free formula complements all skintones and helps makeup stay put. Contains a Vitamin E derivative, known to protect skin from free radicals.' Other than the part about Vitamin E, and all skintones, I can definitely agree with this. Personally I'm quite happy to slap on a bit of the Porefessional, and nothing else. It makes my skin look smooth and healthy, and it's a fantastic base for blush. The last time I wore it, I was going for a job interview and it was a really hot day. Even though I had quite sweaty skin due to being hot and nervous, my make up stayed 100% in place and my skin stayed looking great, which helped me to be a tiny bit more confident.

Dr Brandt hasn't had the gruelling trial of having to hold my make up in place on a hot day when I was super stressed, but it has had to hold my make up during a work day. A full-size tube of Pores no More will set you back £39 for 30ml. The texture and colour of this product is very similar to the Porefessional, which I always think is little bit like peanut butter! I have found that this product is quite oily, and after leaving it to stand for a few days, there was quite a lot of liquid that needed to be squeezed out of the tube before I could get any of the actual primer out.

Overall, I think the Porefessional is the winner for me. It always provides fantastic results, and compared to the £39 price tag for the Dr Brandt Pores no More primer, it's relatively cheap! I think once I get through my diddy samples, I will definitely be looking to buy a full-sized tube. 

Have you tried either of these primers? Which would be your favourite?

Weekly Book Round Up #32

21 March 2014

The Outlander series is one of my absolute favourites. I've decided to reread it because a new book is coming out in June, and I couldn't really remember what had happened in the previous books. The story begins in Cross Stitch, when Claire Fraser accidentally travels back from 1946 through some standing stones to the 1700's. These books are quite large, and a lot happens in each individual novel. This book mainly sets the scene for Claire and Jamie's romance, and also focuses on the coming events in time that Claire knows they must face together, namely, the battle of Culloden. If historical romance is your thing, these are definitely worth checking out. I'm not sure I'll be able to read all of them again before the next book comes out, but I'm definitely going to give it a try!

Nicola's rating: 5/5

Love Me Beauty Box - March 2014

19 March 2014

When I first saw the menus for this month's Love Me Beauty box, I was a little bit disappointed. All of the options this time around included false eyelashes (which I don't use) and toothpaste (I have to use a special toothpaste as I have sensitive teeth). Since I've received the box though, I've been pleasantly surprised.

Obviously, the toothpaste and I were never going to get along. I think this is a decent sized sample though, and I definitely think that you would get enough uses out of it to find out whether its claims of super shiny smiles are true. This will be finding its way into my up for grabs album on Facebook though.

 The false eyelashes were also not my kind of thing unfortunately. They look like a really decent product though, they're reusable and the lashes themselves aren't ridiculously over the top. You could probably wear these during the day and not look too 'done up'. These retail for £6, but will be joining the toothpaste in my up for grabs album too!

We also received this Deep Steep foot stick. This is a kind of solid balm for feet which melts upon contact with skin. It's got a really strong minty scent which I'm not too keen on, but if it's going on my feet then it's not going to be too near my face, so I guess I can live with it. This is a full-size product which retails for around £5. 

 Also in this months box were these lovely bath salts. The option that I chose came with the 'Vintage Bouquet' scent, which is a blend of Bergamot and Geranium, and smells absolutely divine. I'm not normally one for floral scents so I was really surprised to find that I loved the smell of these. I actually can't wait to have a bath now! There are also little pieces of dried flowers in the sachet as well. I'm not sure I'll be putting those in the tub with me though.

 Each of the boxes this month featured a product from Murad as well. The option I chose came with this Pomegranate exfoliating face mask. Face masks are not something that I use regularly, but I love the idea of this being fruity smelling. I've not opened the sachet yet as I'm saving it for after my lovely floral bath, but I will definitely be letting you know how I get on with it.

Finally, the star product of the box for me is this Viper Venom Eye Fix from Nip + Fab. This is full-size and retails for £14.95. This claims to target dark under eye circles and fine lines in the eye area. I've had a quick go with this, and it feels absolutely lovely when you apply it. There is an instant cooling feeling and my eyes definitely felt refreshed. Overall, very pleased to see this in the box!

So that's my round up of the March Love Me Beauty box. I haven't been as impressed this month as I have been previously, as there were a couple of items in the box that I won't be using. However, the items in the box that I will be using look fantastic and I can't wait to start testing them out! Hopefully this has just been a bit of blip and April will see Love Me Beauty back on top form.

Do you subscribe to Love Me Beauty? What box option did you pick this month?

Birchbox - March 2014

17 March 2014

First up, I have to admit to having never heard of Lulu Guinness before Birchbox announced their collaboration with her for the March box. I am absolutely loving the stripy packaging though. This month's box has mainly quite small samples, but there's some pretty good stuff!

I'm really pleased to see some more Benefit products in this months box. This is the Stay don't Stray primer in light/medium which is perfect for my skin tone. This is meant to be used for both eyeshadows and concealers, but I will mainly use it for eyeshadows. I'm pretty excited to get cracking on this, I'm sure there will be a mini review along at some point!

We also have the Pores no More Pore Refiner from Dr Brandt. I'm looking forward to giving this a go as I've been loving Benefit's Porefessional from last months box! This looks to be a very similar colour and texture to the Porefessional too, so I'm quite interested to see if I can spot any differences between the two products. 

Also in the box is this Serenity body oil from Aroma Works. Body oils aren't really my kind of thing, and the smell of this is quite strong so I think I will most probably be looking to rehome this with someone! I also have a bit of an issue with things being sent out in glass bottles. I've never had one break on its way to me, but the Beauty Protector hair oil from last month's box was unfortunately smashed on my bathroom floor last weekend when I was cleaning! I was quite upset because I'd actually been really enjoying using it so I think more plastic bottles in future please Birchbox!

I was pretty excited to see Molton Brown in the box, but then I saw that it was a hand cream. I've got so much hand cream at the moment I don't know what to with it all! However, this is definitely going in my keep pile because it smells FANTASTIC. This is rhubarb and rose, which is quite an unusual pairing, but I've just rubbed a small amount into my hands and it's just lovely. It's also left my skin feeling super soft, and absorbed really quickly.

We also received a small sample of English Laundry's No.7 for her perfume. I'm really not sure about this scent. It's listed as having top notes of pear and jasmine blended with gardenia, vanilla and sandalwood. I think it's probably the pear and sandalwood that's putting me off. It smells a little bit like nail polish remover! Perfume is a very personal choice though, and inevitably some people will love this scent and some people will hate it!

Finally as the lifestyle extra, we received a stick of rock. I love the black and white stripes and the way it ties in with the theme of the box, but this will probably find its way to the husband as it's not really my cup of tea!

Overall, I'm really pleased with this box. The samples are small, but I still think I'll be able to get a good idea of whether I'll want to repurchase the products from the sizes we've received. My least favourite items are the body oil and the perfume, simply because I don't like the scents! I will definitely be rehoming them though, so they won't go to waste!
What do you think of the March Birchbox?