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April Empties

30 April 2014

 Another month has whizzed by, so I've got my empties to show you all! I managed to get through quite a few things again this month.

I've been using this Rodial moisturiser for ages. I got it in the December Love Me Beauty Box, and initially I wasn't that impressed. After a while of using it though, I found that it moisturised my skin really nicely, and it was also great as a base for make up. Unfortunately I don't really like Rodial as a brand, and they're really expensive with a full-size tube of this coming in at around £60-£75.

Repurchase? No.

This Dr Brandt Pores no More Pore Refiner lost out to the Porefessional in one of my recent posts, and I didn't really enjoy using it. I stuck with it all the way to the end of the tube though! I found that it made my skin feel quite oily and almost grimey at times, although it was quite effective at blurring my pores.

Repurchase? No. 


I was really sad to finish this little pot of La Claree's gentle cleansing milk. This was great at removing make up, and left my skin feeling really refreshed. It's about £19 for a full size bottle, so if I'm feeling flush one day it might fall into my basket!
Repurchase? Hopefully!

Urban Veda is one of my favourite brands, so this sample was never going to last long! This has that trademark Urban Veda scent, quite floral with a hint of herbs, and my skin felt great after using it. At £8.99 a tube, I think I could see myself buying some more items from this range!

Repurchase? Yes.

 I've managed to get through a couple of hand creams this month. This Lavera cream initially put me off because I found the scent to be a bit sun creamy, but it definitely grew on me the more I used it. It didn't sink in as well as I normally like my hand creams to, and left a slight greasy feeling. 

Repurchase? Probably not.

 The other hand cream I used up was this super cute sample from the March Birchbox. This hand cream smells absolutely amazing! Rhubarb is definitely the main scent, I could hardly detect any rose at all. It sinks into your skin very quickly, and left my hands feeling soft and nourished. 

Repurchase? At some point, yes.

This sachet of the Organic Pharmacy's Antioxidant face cream came with this month's You Beauty Discovery box, and I loved it. It's had a very thick creamy formula that meant that I hardly had to use any, and it sank into my skin like a dream. I just wish it wasn't £40 a pot!

Repurchase? No, too expensive.


Finally, I managed to get down to the bottom of my bottle of Soap and Glory's Sugar Crush shower gel! This came with the Yule Monty set and it has literally taken me 4 months to use it all up. This has a lovely lime scent, and worked really well with the body butter I got from the same set. I'm not sure I'd repurchase Soap and Glory products individually as they're quite pricey, but I'd definitely get another set similar to Yule Monty!

Repurchase? Maybe as a set.

I can't believe how many samples I got through this month! I can't promise that May's empties will be as jam packed as this month, but I'll try my best! 
Have you tried any of this month's empties?

Lush Cambridge Visit

28 April 2014

I wasn't aware until one of my fellow bloggers (Jade) pointed it out, that Lush is very blogger friendly and frequently invite bloggers to come into their stores for consultations. I had my consultation with Freya, who was incredibly friendly and very knowledgeable about the various ingredients and products that Lush supply. We talked about my hair and skin types, so that Freya was able to recommend products that would be most suitable to me. 

I'm quite embarrassed to admit this but before my consultation I'd never actually used any of Lush's products before. It was really interesting to try out the face masks and bath bombs, and get more of an idea of the brand itself. I had great fun setting off Fizzbanger in a bowl of water, experimenting with exfoliating shower gels, and smelling different shampoos!

I was lucky enough to be given a few small samples to test out. I was given Daddyo and Veganese to try out on my hair, and a sample of Love Lettuce.

Daddyo was recommended to me as a brightener for for blonde and silver toned hair. My hair is sort of between brown and blonde, and since using this shampoo I have definitely noticed that some of my natural highlights have started to look brighter and more obvious, without looking brassy. Veganese was suggested as a soother for my dry scalp. It contains rosemary and lavender which are both herbs that contain soothing properties. My scalp has been slightly less itchy, but I think I'd probably need a more extended period of usage before seeing proper results.

Love Lettuce is a gorgeous face mask containing seaweed gel, honey and almond oil, and almond shells to exfoliate. It has a slight lavender scent, but it isn't overpowering. I used this on a Friday night after showering, and found it incredibly soothing. These face masks need to be stored in a fridge to keep them cool and fresh, and it definitely felt refreshing when applying! After 10 minutes I gently removed it with a damp cloth, and was left with gorgeously soft skin. I can't wait to use it again! 

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to visit Lush and learn more about their products. I will definitely be trying out a few more of their face masks, and I'd like to get my hands on some of their snazzy bath bombs too! Thanks for inviting me to your store guys!

Are you a Lush addict?

Love Me Beauty Box - April 2014

27 April 2014

I can't lie, initially I was quite disappointed when I saw the menu for this month's Love Me Beauty box. There were only four products instead of the usual six! However, since looking into it a bit more and deciding which box I wanted, and receiving the box, I've talked myself around.

What really made my decision for option three this month was this full-size shampoo from Neal and Wolf.  The other options included a blow dry balm or a super shine spray, and being someone who doesn't like to spend too long on their hair, I decided that the shampoo would be the best option! I've never tried this brand before, but this shampoo smells amazing, I can't wait to use it! 

Option three also included this full-size Models Own polish in the shade 'Fuzzy Peach'. This is a great spring/summer shade, and who doesn't love a Models Own polish? I only have one of their polishes, but it's one of my favourites so I was happy to add another to my collection. I might wear this when I go on holiday next month, it definitely strikes me as a holiday polish! 

Betty Hula is another brand I've not heard of, but this Secret Wonder Oil rollerball is exactly the kind of thing I am interested in! I have a few stretchmarks from quickly gaining and then losing a bunch of weight (through diet), so receiving this now is perfect timing! I'll use it before I go on holiday and report back to see whether it has made any difference. I've always sworn by Bio-Oil, but it is incredibly greasy and doesn't have a handy rollerball application! 

We also received this sample of Redken's conditioner for coloured hair. My hair isn't coloured, but I think I'll probably use this anyway as it smells really nice! It has a very similar scent to shampoos that have been used on me when I've visited the hairdressers, so I'm sure it'll give me that 'just visited the hairdressers' feeling!

As additional extras, we received a £25 voucher for HelloFresh, a company that delivers recipes with the exact ingredients to your door, and an extra sample. Some people have received Weleda stretchmark cream sachets, but I've received this sample of Melvita rosewater. I think this is meant to be used before cleansing, but the rose scent is very overpowering. It's not really my kind of thing at all so this might end up in the up for grabs album! 

Overall, I liked this box a lot more than I thought I was going to. I think I'd have preferred it more if the voucher had been for something beauty based, or if it had been another product to try in the box, but I still think that this is an improvement on last month and Love Me Beauty is still my favourite out of all the beauty boxes. Glossybox, Birchbox and You Beauty don't put anywhere near as many full-size samples in their boxes, so here's hoping that the May box is going to really wow me!

Weekly Book Round Up #37

25 April 2014

If urban/supernatural fantasy is your kind of thing, then Patricia Briggs is a great author to start reading! Her Mercy Thompson series has just had it's 8th installment in the form of 'Night Broken', and I swear these books just keep getting better and better. Mercy is a skin changer, and can change into a coyote. Her husband Adam is the alpha of a pack of werewolves, and they're about to face their biggest challenge yet. Adam's ex-wife has returned to the pack seeking refuge from a being that none of them have faced before, and don't know how to destroy. What I love about these books is that they never lack in the quality of writing. Patricia Briggs tends to take her time with her novels, which can be frustrating for fans, but results in an engrossing story from start to finish. She's one of my favourite authors so maybe I'm biased, but I'd definitely recommend her to anyone out there looking to find a new urban fantasy author to read!

Nicola's rating: 4/5

New MUA Matte Lipsticks

23 April 2014

I've been waiting for MUA to release some new products for a while now, I regularly check their website to see if there's anything in the 'new' section (sad, I know). So I was really excited to see that they had released two new shades of their bargain £1 matte lipsticks! 

 I already own Peachy Keen, Pouty Pink, Scarlet Siren and Wild Berry (my ultimate fave), and I couldn't wait to add Lilac Belle and Fawn Fancy to my collection! I was also quite keen to see whether the formula would be different to the other lipsticks I own from this range. I typically find them to be quite drying on my lips, but most matte lip products have that problem!  

 Fawn Fancy is a gorgeous nude colour, and generally it's not the sort of shade I tend to go for, but I actually think it really suits me. The formula of both of these lipsticks is definitely very matte, and if you suffer with dry lips like I do, you might want to exfoliate or apply a lip balm before you attempt 
these as they do tend to cling to any dry skin you might have on your lips.

Lilac Belle is probably my least favourite. Again, it's not the kind of colour I tend to go for and I just feel like it might be a bit eighties for me! With the right skin tone though, this colour will look amazing.

Even though Lilac Belle wasn't really for me, Fawn Fancy is adorable and I'm hoping that MUA will bring out some more shades in this range that I like the look of! For £1 each, you can't really go wrong.

Have you tried any of the MUA matte lipsticks?

Birchbox - April 2014

21 April 2014

This is probably the first time I've been really impressed by Birchbox. The other boxes I've received haven't been terrible, but I was really genuinely excited about this box, and I'm really pleased with what I got!

The item I was most excited about was this mini blush from the How 'Bout Them Apples? palette by TheBalm. I saw this palette being advertised a while ago and knew that I would have to get it, but at £26 it's slightly out of my budget. Luckily, I had £20 worth of Birchbox points, and the palette was in the shop so I've managed to nab it for just £6! Bargain. I shall have a review up as soon as I get it! As for this cute sample, I'll probably pop it into the up for grabs album on my blogs Facebook page for some lucky reader to nab, which is why I haven't swatched it. I just love the packaging for this blush. You can't beat pugs and a pin-up! 

There was also this primer from RMK. This isn't a brand I've tried before, and I'm always interested in trying out new primers! I think this is one of those crossover products that you can use on it's own to improve the appearance of skin, but also works as a primer as well. I can't wait to give it a go!

This month Birchbox gave us the option to choose the shade of nail polish we received from Colour Club. I managed to talk myself out of the mint green and sky blue shades (as I already have a ton) and went for this gorgeous shimmery gold. Colour Club is another new brand for me, but I love the formula for this polish so I can already see myself buying more!

Yes to... is a brand I've heard of before, but never tried. These face wipes smell fantastic, and I can already tell that they are going to have a lovely cooling effect on my skin. Looking at the full range on their website, they have some amazing sounding products. I'm particularly interested in the fruity lip balms! Unfortunately, only a small section of their stock is available in the UK, and the fruity lip balms are not included. 

We also received this Yin Yang Gold Defence Lotion. I think this is intended to be a moisturiser for hands and body for those who spend a lot of time outdoors. In other words, pretty heavy duty. I've used some on my hands and it sinks in really nicely, and doesn't leave any greasiness behind which I was surprised about as it's for outdoorsy types. My skin isn't overly dry but it just drank this up.

Finally, as a little extra, we received this cute bag of Propercorn. I am a massive fan of popcorn, but I tend to stick to salted! You can really smell the coconut when you open the bag, but I found the flavour was very similar to standard sweet popcorn. I couldn't really detect the vanilla. I think this was a cute little extra, but I'd have preferred a different flavour personally. 

Unfortunately, this will be my last Birchbox. I pay the same amount for this box as I do Love Me Beauty, and it just doesn't seem worth the price in comparison. I'm going to stick with Love Me Beauty, You Beauty Discovery, and Pooch Pack for now, and I've also just ordered my first Wantable box! I definitely have a subscription box problem...

Do you subscribe to Birchbox? What did you think to this month's box?

You Beauty Discovery Box - April 2014

19 April 2014

Well, I am glad I got up early for this menu! This is only my second box from You Beauty, but I thought a few of the products seemed to sell out incredibly quickly this month. This months box promised a natural and organic theme, and it definitely delivered!

As soon as I saw the menu the day before it went live, I knew I was going to go for one of the Claysprays. I didn't like the sound of the glow one, so I decided to give the brightening white clay with ginseng a go. Both of these had sold out by about 10.30 on the day the menu went live, which is just crazy! At 30ml, this sample is worth around £10, which has already paid for the box. Watch this space for a review, I can't wait to give this a go!

The other item I picked was the Essential Care Creamy Coconut Cleanser. I had just run out of cleanser when I saw the menu for this month, and I really liked the sound of this, so in my box it went! I thought that this would smell quite strongly of coconuts, but it actually smells more of olives than anything else. I've used it a couple of times and it removes make up and mascara really well. This retails for £6.

This month's freebies included a 9bar which is a delicious mix of fruit and seeds, and a sample from the Organic Pharmacy.  I've already used this up, and I was pretty impressed. The cream had quite a thick consistency which meant I only had to use a tiny bit at a time, so I managed to get four uses out of this sachet. The cream did have quite an odd smell, sort of fruity but also quite herby, which wouldn't be for everyone. A full size pot of this will set you back around £40, so I'm pleased that I got the chance to try it out!

Did you manage to get what you wanted from this month's menu? Did you like the organic theme?

Weekly Book Round Up #36

18 April 2014

I was so happy to dive back into the world of Flavia de Luce! Flavia is a precocious 12 year old with a talent for chemistry and mystery solving. Set in the English countryside in the early 1950's, these books are probably one of my favourite series ever! This time, we join the de Luce family at a very grim period. Harriet (Flavia's mother) has returned, but it's not you might have expected. As always, there are mysteries to be solved, and this time it might be the most dangerous one of all. I did think that this might be the ending of the Flavia series, but I have been informed via Goodreads that this is merely the end of a period in Flavia's life, and that we will be following her on further adventures which I am very pleased about! I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the others, as I could definitely feel the loose ends being tied up which worried me, as I didn't know at that point that there would be more books to come. I'd definitely recommend these if mysteries are your sort of thing!

Nicola's rating: 3.5/5

Pooch Pack - April 2014

17 April 2014

So you probably all know by now how obsessed I am with beauty boxes, but I was recently mooching about on the internet and discovered Pooch Pack, a monthly box of goodies for the pooch in your life! I signed up straight away, and couldn't wait for my first box. It costs £19.95 a month, is delivered by Hermes, and the contents are different depending on the size of your dog, so Bernie receives the small box. The box contains a mix of toys and treats for your dog, with an extra toy thrown in when it's their birthday month.

Bernie's current favourite item from the box is this Becobone. It's super bouncy, and is made from natural rubber and rice husk fibres which means it is non-toxic. It doesn't have a nasty chemical smell, and Bernie has absolutely loved throwing it about and chewing it. As you can see, it's already taken quite a bashing as she does love to chew, but I reckon this will probably keep her quiet for a while and I don't have to worry about her eating it because it's non-toxic! Becobones are also eco-friendly, as they are made from 100% natural, biodegradable materials. The small Becobones cost £3.99 each and are available here.

We also received two boxes of Biscuits from Pawsitively Natural. Bernie hasn't had any of the Honey biscuits yet, but she is absolutely in love with the cheese ones! Ever since she had one, she hasn't been able to leave the box alone which has been a bit of a pain. Pawsitively Natural biscuits do not contain any meat and animal derivatives, sensory additives or bulking agents, which are found in most major and supermarket own make brands, and contain Seagreens Human Food Scottish Seaweed, which has micronutrients, dental and other wellbeing benefits. They don't seem to have any online stockists yet, but this is definitely a brand that I will be keeping my eye on! 

I am intrigued by this Fat Cat ice cream cone toy! This contains a nylon belt which can supposedly stand up to a ton of pulling. Bernie is more into chewing than tug of war games, although she does sometimes play them. I can't seem to find a price for this online, the brand seems to cater more to American stores than UK. Still, this is a great looking toy and I'm sure it will keep Bernie busy for a while!

The other treat items in this month's box were these lamb bites. We've not tested these yet as Bernie is happily munching her way through the biscuits, but she does really like meat based treats so I'm sure these will go down well. Natures Menu provide natural food for dogs and cats in the form of raw meat that can be thawed and fed to your pet, as well as natural treats and meals that contain fruit and veg. This is quite an interesting concept, but I'm not sure we'll be trying it out on Bernie!

Finally, because it's Bernie's birthday on the 27th April, we received this little extra. I really like that they send an extra for birthdays, but this will literally last Bernie five minutes! She is such a chewer, and this also has a squeak in which means she won't stop until she's destroyed it.

Overall, I think this is a great idea. For people who love to spoil their pets, a monthly box which introduces you to new products and treats is a great idea. I can't wait to see what will be in next month's box! 

What do you think of Pooch Pack? Would you join?