Sunday, 11 November 2012

She Said Beauty Box - November

Happy November! I can't believe it's only 43 days until Christmas. I really do need to start my Christmas shopping and as usual don't know where to begin.

Festive panic aside, I was very pleased to discover a mid-week treat at the Post Office in the form of my November She Said Beauty box:

You can tell from the ripped tissue paper that I was extra keen this month. After last month's slightly disappointing offering I was curious to see whether or not this one was any better.

Let's take a look inside:

1) So...? Brit Body Spray - I remember the So? series from my days at school where we were all gassing each other in the girls' toilets with aerosols, Impulse anyone? This can be snapped up at a bargainous £1.99 in most high street drugstores. The scent itself is quite hard to describe, but I'll cut it short at fresh, floral and light. This sample is an excellent size for the handbag.

2) Redken Smooth Lock Shampoo & Conditioner -This looks to be the revamped 'Smooth Down' range which I've already tried and loved as a fan of smooth, sleek manageable hair. I do like Redken products and think that they're great for when you want to spend a little more on giving your hair a treat. That said I'm very much looking forward to using these. The full size bottles cost £11.85 and £13.40 respectively and can be found in salons nationwide.

3) Murrays Manicure Matchbook Nail Files - Well these are very cute aren't they? There's not much you can say about minature nail files really! These will also be finding their way into my handbag.

4) Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream - This cream contains oil from organically grown Rosa mosqueta seeds which apparently aids the regeneration of the outermost layer of the skin overnight and helps soften fine lines. Rose can be a bit of a Marmite smell (love it or hate it), but I've always been a fan even if it does remind me a little of my Grandma. I've not tried any products from Weleda so I'm looking forward to giving this a try. The full size (30ml) is available for £14.95.

5) Makebelieve Enhance Sunbeam Bronzer and Blush - Now this is definitely the product that stands out this month due to its sheer size! I'm pleased that this is a shade that compliments my skin tone and it gives me a subtle glow which is much appreciated on these cold winter days. The coupling with the kabuki brush is a nice touch, but I prefer my MAC kabuki as it's slightly denser. The one offputting thing about this bronzer is the bulkiness of the packaging. It's so cumbersome that I'm going to depot it into a palette or other container as soon as I can in order to make it more portable. This is the full sized product and retails for £15. This more than made up for the cost of the whole beauty box!

6) Yardley Royal English Daisy Eau de Toilette - Ahh, the obligatory perfume sample. This is a fresh, floral fragrance that actually does smell of sunshine, I love it. I do think it's more of a spring/summer scent though and would be more inclined to use it when I can get out there and enjoy the actual sunshine! 50ml of this fragrance retails for £9.99 and 125ml at £14.99 which isn't bad at all.

Overall, I am very impressed with this month's offering. A full size product worth more than the box itself and not a sachet in sight. Keep it up SSB and you'll have some very happy subscribers!

Did you receive this box or a variation of it this month? What did you think?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Boots No7 Foundation Match Made Service

Very recently Boots launched their new No7 Foundation Match Made Service instore that is designed to help you choose exactly the right shade and formula for your skin. I've never been 100% confident when deciding myself and have always ended up with an arm full of swatches so I thought that this would be right up my street (and it is, literally. I love my town!)

 The range of foundations has been expanded to suit several different skin types, ages/conditions and coverage preferences. The shades extend across this range so if at any point you want to try a different type you can without any worry of colour inconsistency.

The first thing that the assistant did was remove a little bit of the makeup I was already wearing (along my jaw line) with a cleansing wipe to ensure accurate results. She then rested this gadget on the clean area where it scanned my skin:

It very simply came up with the name of the foundation shade that matches my skin (Calico) and I was asked a few questions about the my skin type, preferred coverage and if there were any particular skin issues I'd like to address. I was very impressed with how thorough the assessment was! At the end I was best matched to the Stay Perfect foundation:

This sounded like exactly what I need. A long lasting, medium coverage formula with a matte finish and SPF 15. .I had no hesitation in sealing the deal and I have been very happy with it's performance so far.

At the counter after my little assessment the assistant gave me a vouched entitling me to £3 off the foundation (RRP £14) just for going through the matching process. I thought this was a great little bonus!

Overall I'd highly recommend this service. Although No7 has a seemingly more mature demographic (my Mum loves the brand) I really think that this is paving the way for the future of foundation matching. The experience was fascinating and I've come away with a product tailored exactly to my needs.

Let me know your thoughts if you've tried it! 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mums Know Best: Two Cleansing Classics

No matter how many new weird and wonderful cleansing creations I try, I will always have a soft spot for two creams that have cleansed and removed makeup for decades:

Astral All Over Moisturiser & Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser

These particular products were recommended to me by my Mum years ago. Astral was the staple moisturiser of choice for my slightly dry cheeks and her makeup remover of choice. Her Mum swore by Ponds Cold Cream cleanser for the same purposes and passed down the beauty knowledge!

Astral is a great all rounder that I often use to remove my eye makeup. I apply a generous amount to a soft tissue and wipe away. I was initially concerned about this technique as I really don't want to pull the skin around my eyes, but I found that the cream was thick and emollient enough to glide over my skin. It removes even waterproof mascara brilliantly and doesn't sting my eyes at all.

Although these creams always have prominent placement on the high street shelves they seem to be very overlooked and almost seen as old-fashioned (well you can see why given my comments above!) This is a bit of a shame because they are both original, time tested and cheap! Astral is £2.99 for 200ml at Boots and many other high street stores and it comes in a range of sizes. The one pictured is my mini travel size 50ml pot.

The Ponds Cold Cream cleanser is very similar to Astral and I also use it to remove makeup. I tend to avoid using it directly on my eye area as it stings a little bit, but this might just be me having fussy eyes! When using it to cleanse my face it removes everything brilliantly and moisturises at the same time. I also think this glass jar is lovely.

Consulting Boots again, this cream is £4.49 for 50ml so I think it works out as the slightly more expensive of the two. You'll also note that they've updated the packaging since I bought the jar above!

One thing to note about these creams is that they are quite thick and heavy. I'd probably be wary of them if you have oily skin that is prone to breakouts, but they'd be perfect for normal/dry complexions.

I think I'll always have these as part of my skincare collection. They are comforting, protecting and loved by young and old. Perhaps they'll be recommendations I get to pass down one day!

Give them a go, your Mum would be proud :)

Monday, 22 October 2012

Review: Ginvera Green Tea Nude Cover BB Cream

Now this review has been a long time coming! Yet another sample I received in a She Said Beauty box has won it's way into my heart. The Ginvera Green Tea Nude Cover BB Cream:


So what exactly is this product of the moment, BB (Blemish Balm) cream? Well it originates from South Asia, South Korea to be precise and has exploded in popularity since it's use on the theatre scene. It's most easily described as a tinted moisturiser with a wide range of other benefits (depending on the individual product) and is seen as a skincare and makeup product combined.

 This particular BB cream boasts the following:
  • natural and flawless coverage for all skin tones
  • oil-control and a natural matte finish
  • essential nutrients to revitalise skin
  • all day hydration
  • SPF30.PA++ to protect against UV rays and free radicals
  • helps reduce thr formations of wrinkles and lines
  • a long lasting formula

The qualities that particularly resonated with me were the skin balancing because I have a combination skin type and love products that dry the oily bits and moisturise the dry bits. Also the SPF as it is always important to protect the skin in any weather! 

The whole range of Ginvera products are green tea focused and it is used as a main ingredient. Green tea is a natural antioxidant that is 20x more powerful than Vitamin C - very good stuff.

My first impression of this product is that the formula was *very* runny. This fact combined with the design of the sample packaging meant I lost some to leakage (hence I was pleased when their next sample in an SSB box was in a tube!) However due to this thin texture it is very easily blended and my skin absorbed it quickly. It left a matte finish but pleasingly didn't cling to the drier parts of my complexion. The colour scared me a little at first as it seemed far too dark for my skin tone, but with enough blending I was pleasantly surprised at how it dispersed. 

It gives a light-medium coverage depending on how much you put on and how much you blend it. It seems to be easily buildable too, so perfect for days where you're skin just isn't behaving! I was also pleased at it's longevity - it comfortably lasted a full day at work and I didn't need to retouch or apply any blotting powder.

The only thing that put me off this product was the smell. It is slightly biscuity and quite strong, but seems to fade once it's blended in.

Overall I am very impressed. Granted I haven't tried a large number of BB creams, but this really does give me little reason to keep looking for my perfect one. I am likely to invest in the full sized tube in the near future to see how it performs over the long-term and may even be tempted to try a couple more products from the company.

This product along with the full range can be ordered from and is priced at £20 for a 25ml tube.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Layla D Beauty: New Makeup Line & 10% Discount

You may remember that a short while ago I reviewed a lovely product I received featured in a She Said Beauty box, the Layla D Natural Beauty Honey Moisturiser (link here). I have since been keeping up to date with the brand and was really excited to learn that they have just branched out into makeup with a particular emphasis on mineral products.

They have also revamped their website and have a 10% discount code (ldb10) which can be applied at checkout to any orders £15 and over and used as many times as you like over the next week. Click below to take a look:

As a result of the great first impression made by the moisturiser I am definitely going to be taking advantage of this*. Look out for some new product reviews coming soon!

*Especially with the mineral foundation. My Bare Minerals pot let gravity get the better of it and it's contents are sadly now in the hoover.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Review: Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils mascara

A brief introduction to this product taken from the YSL website:

"This award-winning volumizing mascara achieves a dramatic result in a single stroke. The secret? The triple-film complex. A coating film for intensity, a conditioning film with pro-vitamin B5 and aloe vera for curves and a fixing film with vinyl polymer for long-lasting effectiveness. The brush applicator combines nylon fibers of varying diameters for volume enhancement, as never before"

You can get this for £23 at Boots. I wouldn't normally spend this much on such an every day make up staple unless I was having a particularly bad Monday or was experiencing a day of absolutely no willpower. Thankfully this wasn't the case here as I received it as a rather lovely gift; I was really excited that I was going to be able to try such a talked about product!

As with all YSL cosmetics this mascara comes in the traditional luxurious looking reflective gold packaging which looks suitably posh and impressive in any makeup bag.

The wand is a standard length and the brush is dense and quite long. It picks up just the right amount of product needed and doesn't overload your lashes after one sweep. You can definitely tell the difference after this one coat, but the mascara can easily be layered without clumping to produce an even more dramatic look. An extra positive is that this product conditions your lashes at the same time. I can honestly say that the formula both lengthened and volumised an impressive amount. My lashes were defined and I experienced no fall out during the day.

The only downside with this (other than the obvious and to be expected high-end price tag) is how quickly the tube dried out. With most mascaras I've usually found this to happen as it's running out after a couple of months, but with this I was surprised to see the bristles starting to stick together after only a few weeks. I'd expect this seemingly superior formula to last a little longer considering the cost!

 (After only a few weeks use)

I'd be happy to receive this as a gift again, but I'm unsure as to whether I'd repurchase this myself. If YSL could extend the life of the product to guarantee a solid three months of clump free use I'd definitely be tempted.

Have you tried this mascara? What did you think?

Monday, 15 October 2012

She Said Beauty Box - October

Hello! I hope you're all settling into Autumn and are keeping warm as the nights are drawing in. Oh I can't wait until both of my commutes to work are in the dark. SAD here I come...

Without further ado let's delve into this month's She Said Beauty box!

I was rather impatient this month and couldn't resist having a snoop at a few other bloggers' reviews of this box and was surprised at the number of negative ones. Ok I suppose I wasn't that enthusiastic to be greeted with several sachets when I ripped open the tissue paper and as far as samples go I think they could be a little more substantial, but I'm still willing to give the products a fair trial.

1) Cellnique Advanced Bio Renewal Masque - This is probably the smallest pot I have ever seen! It contains a mask that claims to exfoliate and cleanse with the aid of fresh fruit enzymes and acids. Acids!? Anyhow it does smell fruity and I as mentioned in my previous SSB blog I do like an excuse to scare the boyfriend, even if I only get to once with this tiny sample of product. A full size version is $51 from their US-based site.

2) B.liv Off With Those Heads - The image of the sample on the product information card was a little misleading and instead of a mini pump bottle as you can see I got a little tube. This gel has been formulated to help remove black/whiteheads and prevent further breakouts. Unfortunately I don't think I'll have much of a use for this product as I don't suffer from blemishes that often. I might keep it handy though just in case! 

3) Herbacin Wuta Kamille Hand Cream - Hooray a full size product! I can honestly say that I've never seen a hand-specific cream come in a Vaselinesque tin before (I should write my own dictionary shouldn't I?) This is an all-natural product which I hope will help me keep my hands nice and soft in the coming winter months. I can see the tin being a little messy and perhaps a tube might be a little more convenient, but nonetheless I'm looking forward to trying this.

4) Biao Beauty Rejuvenating Night Cream - Time to broach the subject of the pesky sachets. They both contain the same product, a pretty bog standard sounding night cream promising to soothe, moisturise and protect against premature ageing. Again I wish I had more of this product as I like to try skincare for a period of time significant enough to tell whether it suits me and benefits my skin. A full size of this product will cost you $24.50 from Biao's website.

5) Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula - Now this I was pleased to see. I've always wanted to try a Palmers moisturiser, but I've just never got round to it. Plus I have a slight love for cocoa butter (complete chocoholic)...It smells like a milkshake and let's face it although it's a travel size sample I'm not going to wait until a holiday to use it! This will be ideal for keeping my skin hydrated in the cooler temperatures. 50ml of this product costs £1.19 and 250ml a bargainous £3.85. This will be avaliable anywhere you see Palmer's on the shelves!

6) BONUS - myvitamins Chromium tablets (30) - Well I never once imagined that I'd be receiving pills in a beauty box, but these were an intriguing surprise! If I'm perfectly honest I had to Google the benefits of Chromium supplements and discovered that it is an essential trace element that can be taken to enhance the effects of insulin and lower glucose levels - thanks WebMD! I need to keep reminding myself that taking these will not excuse eating an excessive number of Wispa bars.

Overall I'm neither here nor there with this box. There's a good range of products and I'm looking forward to using the samples, but I'm a little disappointed at the small sample sizes. Let's wait and see what next month has in store!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

My Great North Run 2012

Last Sunday I completed my third half marathon in the form of the Great North Run! I posted a while back about my new lovely running shoes so if you saw that I’m sure you’d have gathered that I’m that way inclined. Not overly serious and not quite Speedy Gonzales, but I enjoy it and it keeps me fit.

My running story began back at school when I was about 12. I was selected for the county schools cross country trials and I wasn’t sure why. My PE teacher told me that I had a talent for distance running. This was news to me as I just channeled Forrest Gump – keep running until someone says stop. Either way I was pleased to have found something I was OK at.

Fast forward several years and I found myself signed up for the 2007 Great North Run. This decision was fuelled purely on post-university boredom and a charitable reason to run inspired by my Grandma. I ran for an excellent charity, was pleased to finish and had a great day. I enjoyed myself so much that I did it again in 2009 and obviously yet again this year gradually improving my time on each occasion.

This time I used two half marathon training plans (Hal Higdon’s and Jeff Galloway’s) as guides to create my own to fit in with my schedule. The Runner’sWorld website/forums and the odd bit of running inspiration/advice in Zest magazine helped build my running knowledge and motivation greatly.

This run really is something else. It’s the biggest half marathon in the world and this year boasted an incredible 54,000ish registrations so it goes without saying that places are like gold dust! The atmosphere is electric, the runners are excited and celebrities start the race and high-five you as you run past (if you’re lucky enough to be close to the podiums!).  The RAF Red Arrows display team do a fly past as you start and it really sends shivers down the spine. Later they do a full display at South Shields to greet the runners as they finish, which itself is brilliant. These special elements combined with the fantastic support from the super friendly spectators make for a great running experience. 

Being in the North of England the course itself isn’t in any way flat. I found it fairly easy going until mile 9 where there’s a long steady climb on a straight road. My legs were already getting a bit tired and really didn’t appreciate this! Thankfully the last mile or so is downhill/flat so I managed to pick up the pace for a sprint finish.

Overall I would absolutely recommend this race to anyone who wants to be part of something really challenging, exciting and unique. It’s been a British institution for the past 31 years and it’s only getting bigger and better.

In terms of my running…onwards and upwards hopefully. I’m currently waiting to hear if I’ve got a place in the London Marathon and will be training for the London10,000 in May on the sidelines.


Saturday, 8 September 2012

She Said Beauty Box - September

Whoops, it seems like it's been rather a long time since my last post...I apologise. I was abroad for half of August and have been spending the remainder catching up with life. I seem to have timed my return well for the delivery of the She Said Beauty boxes. As you can see, mine is below:


There seems to have been a little drama at their end this month as the wrong names got printed onto the wrong address labels. I have had only positive experiences with their customer service department and I knew that they would handle this mishap well. They let their customers know about the mistake well ahead of time and it seems like no harm has been done. In fact I quite enjoyed my five minutes of being Maddison.

There's the visual overview, so what exactly can subscribers look forward to sampling this month? It's definitely an exciting selection!

1. Collection 2000 Fix Me Up Long Lasting Make-Up Fixer - I've always felt a little 'meh' about Collection 2000 and I've never really been that inspired to try their products. However I'm not one to say no to samples! This and the primer detailed below are full size products and retail for £5.99 each so I can't complain really. This product claims to, well, keep make-up in place throughout the day. I'll definitely be giving this a try while the weather is still behaving and my make-up risks going a little south!

2. Popchips Original - Well a food product isn't exactly something you'd expect in a beauty box, but I'm going to roll with it. There's only 46 calories in this bag which should keep me feeling virtuous.

3. Amie Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask - A brand that is new to me. This is a deep cleansing mask which claims to get rid of dirt and impurities, soak up excess oil and prevent blemishes. It is free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, GMO and animal extracts. This sounds perfect for a pampering day where I fancy scaring the living daylights out of the boyfriend. This retails for £4.95 full size.

4. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - Another full size product, oh She Said Beauty you are really spoiling us this month! This is designed to remove make-up and generally cleanse your skin. You dispense it into dry hands and massage it on to a dry face where it can work its magic. I have little experience using cleansing oils apart from those specifically meant for removing eye make-up so I'm really looking forward to trying this. In the shops it is available in three different size bottles (this one is perfect for travelling!)

5. Ginvera Green Tea Whitening Marvel Gel - Ooh another product from Ginvera. I really really liked the BB cream that they sent out in a previous beauty box and have been scouting their website for the a couple of other products to try so this is a nice suprise. This is an exfoliater which claims to stimulate the skin's metabolism, refine pores, fade pigmentation and scars, regulate and balance oil secretion, even out skin tone and aids the absorption of other skincare products. Wow. Let's see if that's the case! I'd hope so as the full size version of this product is a significant £22.

6. Collection 2000 Primed & Ready Smoothing Make-Up Primer - Finally another product from Collection 2000 and this time it's a primer. I'll be looking into using a primer more often as we sink deeper and deeper into the cooler months so this seems like as good as any to try! I'm not too sure about the packaging of the two products here from this range. It screams Comic Sans a little bit.

Well there we have it, no huge names but a generous selection of a range of products. Do let me know what you think of these products if you have also received them this month. I hope to let you know my opinions as I use them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter to make sure you keep up to date with my ramblings :)

Friday, 20 July 2012

Current Favourites

Hello! To distract myself from the horrendous weather we've been having here I thought I'd write a post about some of the products I've been loving lately. Without further ado I'll get started and show you a summary:

As you can see there are a few higher end products here. I promise this is just a coincedence and I'm not going all posh on you ;)

1. Kerastase Nectar Thermique - £16.10 from Feel Uniqe. I bought this after reading countless reviews on how wonderful this is and deciding that it would really suit my(fine, a little dry). I haven't been disappointed and despite the hefty price tag I'm certain that I will repurchase it. It protects my hair really well from the dreaded straightening irons, makes it so easy to style and incredibly soft. Although it's a creamy formula it doesn't weigh down my hair or leave it with any residue. Lovely stuff.

2. Benefit They're Real! Mascara - £18.50. I was a little unsure of trying this as I had a decidedly 'meh' experience with their Get Bent mascara, but again the rave reviews sucked me in. Oh and I'm glad they did! This is now the UK's best selling mascara and actually does lengthen, volumise, curl and separate lashes. I haven't experienced any smudging or flaking when wearing it either. Highly recommended!

3. Garnier Fresh Essentials Eye Makeup Remover - £3.15 from Boots. See, a drugstore product! I picked this up when I was in my local Sainsbury's doing a food shop and it was a half price steal. I'd run out of eye makeup remover and bought the first one I saw. This smells amazing and is so soothing to tired eyes. It claims to remove waterproof mascara and it does with a little persistance and a few cotton wool pads, but I wouldn't use it for heavy makeup unless I wanted to use half the bottle. Ideal for everyday use.

4. Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick (in 00 Porcelain) - £19. I've been really impressed with this concealer, I haven't tried many Bobbi Brown products and this is the reason I might explore further into the brand in the future. It's a thick, full coverage product designed to cover up blemishes and uneven patches on the skin. As it's so thick I wouldn't recommend using it to conceal undereye circles as it may crease.

5. OPI Mermaid's Tears - £11. Quite simply this has to be one of my favourite colours. Just look at it. I love to add a coat of silver shatter polish over the top to make it look extra special. This polish is from the Pirates of the Caribbean collection.

6. Origins Checks and Balances - £17. This is a foaming face wash. I usually tend to use cream cleansers in my skincare routine, but I was looking for something a little different to use with my Clarisonic Mia. I have combination skin so a product that claims to soak up excess oil and moisturise my dry bits at the same time sounds too good to be true, but it's right here in this tube. It leaves my skin feeling fresh and smooth and as it's made from natural ingredients I can be happy knowing that nothing nasty is being massaged into my face.

I hope you've enjoyed this little update, let me know if you'd like me to review any of the products above in more detail. Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Review: LaylaD Natural Beauty Honey Moisturiser

In my last post I mentioned my slight annoyance at the fact beauty boxes often send out cards within them detailing products that aren't actually in the box. I was quite sad this month when I discovered that She Said Beauty had teamed up with LaylaD and were including their Honey Moisturiser in the boxes. It was however missing from my box :( I'd heard some good things about their products and I expressed my (lighthearted) distress in a simple tweet. Before I knew it they had tweeted back offering to send me out a sample themselves and of course I said yes. Hooray!

I'm @lucicouture on Twitter if you'd like to follow! :)

So this cute little pot very quickly found it's way into my life:

I tried it straight away and adore it. As a general rule I love honey based products (I'm still upset that MAC discontinued their Naked Honey Skin Salve), but this seems perfectly suited to my skin type and leaves it feeling soft, but not greasy despite the seemingly rich consistency. It has a very gentle fragrance and as the cream glides on so well I found that a little goes a long way.

From my experience of the company so far I'd highly recommend them. I really like that their products are organic, paraben-free and not tested on animals. They are also a family-based company and source all of the ingredients for their products locally in the UK.

A full size pot of this moisturiser costs £12.99 and can be ordered online. Check them out at their website to browse their full product range and I'm sure they'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can also follow them on Twitter (@layladbeauty) for updates!

Let me know what you think if you have tried it!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

She Said Beauty Box - July

It's that time of the month again! This week I found my second She Said Beauty box on my doorstep (well not actually, I had to go and pick it up from the Post Office).

I do love the colour of the boxes...

Anyway this month I opened it to discover the following awaiting me:

1. Miners Cosmetics Sunblushed Bronzer and Blush Blend - At last a make up product in a beauty box that I feel I could actually make use of. It's not too browny or orangy as some blushes can be, this seems like a nice mixture of a pale rose pink and a light shimmering brown. I can definitely see myself using this seeing as I have a rather pale complexion. Lovely.

2. Murad Time Release Blemish Cleanser - This looks familiar! I received an identical sample of this in one of my previous Glossyboxes. I've heard great things about Murad skincare products and I'm slightly gutted that I won't be able to use this. I have normal skin that's prone to dry patches and have never suffered greatly from blemishes or acne so I don't really have any use for this. I'll probably pass this on to a friend!

3. Stylefile - No doubt familiar to those of you who watch The Apprentice (UK). This is a product that has been invented by a previous winner of the series, Tom Pellereau. The S-shape of the file is designed to follow the natural contour of the nail, making filing easier. Apparently he got the idea from watching his sister filing her nails...aww.

4. Freeze 24-7 Ice Crystals Anti-Aging Prep & Polish - This is a mini-sample of an exfoliator. That's about it really! I'll give it a go when I'm having a dry face day. A full size tube of this retails for £33 so I have high expectations.

5. The Vintage Cosmetic Company Eyelash Curler - Well this is an eyelash curler. It came at just the right time as my MAC ones decided to ping apart the other day :(

6. Debenhams Beauty Club Reward Card - Basically a card like the Boots Advantage Card/Tesco Clubcard, but for Debenhams. Not something I'd thought about getting previously, but  I'll put this in my purse and no doubt it'll come in handy next time I make a purchase from there (if I remember I have it in there!)

Overall I'm pleased with this box and am looking forward to trying the products. I do however have a slight niggle. That is the fact that these beauty box companies obviously send out a variety of products to their subscribers and sometimes the cards in the boxes don't exactly match up to what's actually in the box. It'd be nice if they could do this so a little blurb of all the possible products is there to prevent the need for uneccesary Googling!

More on this in my next post... :)

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

New Running Shoes: Brooks Vapor 10

I guess this is where I tell you all about my relationship with running! I'll summarise it into a few bullet points so I don't end up writing an oververbose boring essay (is oververbose a word?)

  • I first discovered running when I found myself signed up to do the 2008 Great North Run half marathon (13.1 miles). I ran this mainly for charitable reasons and didn't train anywhere as near as hard as I should have done. I ran cross country in high school so knew I was capable of long distance running to some extent.
  • I then ran the same race in 2010 again for charitable reasons and improved my time slightly. This time around there were moments where I felt like Forrest Gump where I could have run and run until someone told me to stop - a great feeling!
  • Over the months of training (and the fact I went back to do the second race) I realised that running really helped me de-stress, kept me fit and active and generally was something that I could DO.
  • One 10K later and I am again signed up to do the Great North Run! (It's an addictve race, the crowds are wonderful and the area is very close to where I went to university, a home from home).
  • Last week I realised I needed new running shoes and was potentially using some that were half a size too small...(numb toes anyone?) here we are!

I went to my local specialist running store Runners Need, where I astounded the assistant by telling her I'd done two long distance runs in substandard regular trainers. Oops. I swiftly got my gait analysed on a treadmill, was told and shown on a video of myself running that I am a slight overpronator (where the feet roll slightly inwards as you stride) and ended up with these beautys:

Brooks Vapor 10 - £79.99

They look like they mean business don't they? These have a patented diagonal rollbar which will help support my running motion so that I run with as neutral a gait as possible, so not putting any undue stress on my joints.

I could tell the difference as soon as I hit the treadmill in the shop. I was literally bouncing and can honestly say that no other trainers I have owned have fit me so well. I can't wait to see what difference they make to my comfort when I break them in and start training in them!

Speaking of training, I have based my half marathon plan loosely on the Hal Higdon Novice Program and the Jeff Galloway training plan. I created my own purely so that I could fit it around my weekly schedule and cheeky holiday to Spain in August. Shhh...

I shall leave you with another picture of one of my lovely trainers. It looks really small doesn't it? I promise I'm a UK size 5.5!

I'd love to hear if you are a keen (or not so keen) runner. If you have any tips or tricks or have any questions for me, just leave me a comment :)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Glossybox - June 2012

So here it is, my final Glossybox. I've just had a quick browse around and I'm pretty sure that you're slightly sick of seeing these posts popping up by now! I wasn't overly impressed by the last box I received and knew that although I'd cancelled my subscription that I'd be getting this box anyway and hoped it'd at least contain some products I could use!

Aren't I clever? I managed to restrain myself long enough to take a picture of the box before I opened it:

(not sure why my photos are looking a little blurry tonight!)

On opening it I was faced by this little array of products:

1. BM Beauty Summer Warmth Bronzer - just the thing I need at the moment! Since trying the Bare Minerals range I have always loved the finish that mineral makeup leaves. I'm always open to trying new brands so once I've made this slightly more accessible and have removed it from the little pot it has come in I'll be happily trying this.

2. Vichy Dermablend Ultra-Corrective Foundation Cream Stick - I'll be honest with you, I don't know all that much about this brand. However isn't the point of these boxes to introduce new up and coming brands/products? I think so. Anyway, in this little sample set there are a range of colours to suit several skin tones and I'm sure that this is worth a go at covering up my lovely imperfections.

3. Mememe Cosmetics Sensuous Nail Gloss - now I do like my nude nail polishes and what a cute little bottle! I think I'll be trying it when/if I have a bit of a tan this summer.

4. Caudalie Eaux Fraiches - no Glossybox would be complete without a fragrance sample! This one is slightly more impressive than the standard tiny tube with a top that's impossible to get off. It is a sleek, metal-topped cylinder that does look rather classy. The smell isn't bad either - a light zesty fragrance that makes me smell reminiscently of lemons.

5. Glossybox Serie Exclusiv Pro Beauty Brush - basically a synthetic makeup brush with no bells or whistles. A good size for makeup bags and on the go touch ups!

Although this box is significantly better than the last one I received, it will take a couple more months of being nosy and reading other blogger's reviews before I consider resubscribing. For now my beauty box allegiance has changed - watch this space.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

She Said Beauty Box - June

If any of you have been reading my tweets, you may have noticed that I got rather frustrated at last month's Glossybox. The yellow eyeliner was the last straw for me and unfortunately I felt I had to unsuscribe. Too many perfume samples and products that I just wouldn't use made me wonder if my money could be better spent elsewhere. Introducing my first She Said Beauty Box:

Ok, that's not a terribly exciting or informative picture, but I like the colour of the box for starters. I failed at taking a picture of the Glossybox-esque presentation on opening the box (tissue paper tied with a ribbon and sticker).

First impressions were excellent. I actually said "oooh" when I saw that the box contained products from both Elemis AND St Tropez. Yes please! Here's a closer look at exactly what I received:

1. Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream - another hand cream to add to the collection, but a great size for popping in your handbag. The little sticker on the tube states that this cream was a Beauty Insider's Choice winner.

2. St Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Body Moisturiser - now this couldn't have come at a better time! I have a wedding to go to next Saturday and this (if it works) will make me look less like a Cullen in the photos. I'm very impressed with the size of this sample.

3. Ginvera Green Tea Nude Cover BB Cream - a little magazine sized sample but one I'll be trying. This claims to do so many things; if it does them all it really will be a wonderful product.

4. Let's Go lashes - finally some lashes that look vaguely wearable. I'm really not a fan of those thick lashes that make you look like a giraffe so given the right occassion these shall definitely be gracing my eyelids.

5. Yardley London Royal Diamond Eau de Toilette - a perfume sample yes, but from a brand I recognise and one with a Royal endorsement no less. This fragrance has been created in celebration of the Queen's jubilee and on first smell seems to be a light, pretty scent which could be perfect for summer.

6. Elemis Tranquil Touch Indulgent Bath Elixir - although this is essentially bubble bath, I will always be very keen to use products by Elemis. My local spa uses and sells this brand and I haven't been disappointed yet. This is something that'll make a bathroom look more sophisticated as well - a bonus!

On first glance the St Tropez gradual tanner seems to be the stand-out product of this box (in my opinion anyway):

Overall, I am really impressed with this box and I look forward to seeing what's inside next month. I'll be sure to review these products as I use them!

If you'd like to subscribe to the She Said Beauty box, just click on the link below, sign up and I'll give you a hug :)

It is currently £9.00 plus postage and packaging and there are subscription packages for one month at a time, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year.

Let me know what you think of the products if you have received this box :)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Free Mini Benefit Products with Glamour Magazine

I may be a little slow off the mark here but I got rather excited earlier when I went to my local store and saw that Glamour magazine currently have one of their team-ups with Benefit on the shelves with their latest issue. For just £2 you can pick up a mini Porefessional, That Gal primer or Bad Gal Lash mascara - not bad at all!

This picture is slightly deceptive. I did look silly at the checkout by buying two identical magazines to get the two samples I wanted, but I left one out of the picture. I'd have got a third if one containing the mascara was there, but sadly it wasn't...ho hum.

I do love it when cosmetics companies do collaborations like this. Do you remember the past two Glamour/Benefit offers? Bad Gal liners, It Sticks, Eye Brights and Her Glossiness lip glosses spring to mind...brilliant.

Recent Empties: June 2012

Righty, I had the idea of keeping a log of the products I am using up for two reasons: so you guys can see what I've been loving/hating and also so that I can reassure myself that I'm making use of some of the many delightful things I find myself 'accidentally' purchasing.

Here are the products that are starring in my first post of this kind:

1. Soap and Glory Off Your Face Cleansing Cloths - I believe I bought these from Boots for around £4.50 for 25 cloths. I'm quite the fan of this range in general and I do love the smell of their lotions and potions, but something about these struck me as decidedly average. I tend to use face wipes for when I'm travelling or staying somewhere other than home for convenience. These do the job and left my skin feeling clean, but I found myself having to rub my eyes harder than I really should to get my makeup off (naughty) and they left my eyes a tad stingy too. It's a shame really as I really wanted to like these!

2. Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder - again from Boots and purchased for a bargainly £3.99. I do love my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural but occasionally I don't feel like splurging and when this happens, this is what I get. I usually get the transparent powder to set my foundation and concealer and find that I barely have to touch it up during the day (unless I rub my face excessively). A product I'll always recommend people try.

3. Nivea Invisible 48hr Deoderant - let's say I got this from Superdrug (I think I did!). That link takes you to the one with the blue lid which I really don't rate as it smells of old ladies. Get the one above :) This tends to be on a BOGOF offer quite a lot in several high street shops and I try to pick some up whenever this is the case. No marks, no stickiness, no overpowering smell, lovely.

4. Johnson's Daily Essentials Gently Eye Make-up Removal Pads - £3.29 from Boots. I actually went and bought these to use with the Soap and Glory wipes and I'm glad I did! These work wonderfully at getting stubborn mascara off and don't leave any oily residue on the skin after use. You get 30 in the tub which lasted me just over two weeks (1 per eye) and considering such a good job they do I'd say they're very good value for money. 

5. Boots Therapy Tropical Indulgence Smooth Me shower gel - good old Boots! To be honest I picked this up last year after I'd got back from my holiday in Corfu and wanted to hang on to the coconutty exoticness for a little longer (I should write my own dictionary shouldn't I?) This is a fairly bog standard shower gel, but smells absolutely wonderful.

That's all for now, if you're interested in any of the products mentioned just click the links above to be taken to their respective websites (or where I got them from anyway).

Let me know if you've finished any products recently that deserve a try :)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Human Weakness


Yep, I may have strayed a little bit when out researching water filters. It turns out that Superdrug stock a bigger range of the oh so desirable Revlon Lip Butters and this time I 'accidentally' purchased the shade Pink Truffle. This is a slightly darker hue than Peach Parfait (as featured in my last post) and verges towards the plummy side of the spectrum. It is also free of any shimmer or reflects.

Swatch time:

Apologies for the veiny hand. It seems to be quite warm in the flat today. Hooray for vasodilation (big word of the day).

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend :)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Haul: Revlon, Elvive & Yankee Candles

I thought I'd start the weekend with a little trip into town to pick up some new shampoo and as usual ended up with a little more than I anticipated. At least I actually got the shampoo; most times I end up forgetting the item I actually went out to get in the first place.

I didn't really have any particular shampoo/conditioner in mind so I walked blindly into Boots and came across this new release from L'Oreal Elvive. The Nutri-Gloss Crystal range:

I picked up the big bottles because they were on a half price offer, quite a clever thing to do seeing as I haven't even tried the stuff yet.

This was a surprising choice for me because I usually tend to run a mile from anythin overly pink and glittery (no thanks), but something about the 'crystal' bit has me intrigued. The bottle states: "embedded with visible Micro-Crystals + Pearl, the sparkling formula illuminates and smooths the hair's surface for better light reflection and crystal shine." - Yes please.

As much as the thought of glittery hair makes me cry, I can't wait to wash my hair and see the results.

Next you can see that I caved and bought a Revlon Lip Butter and too many Yankee Candle sample tarts. I'm far too indecisive aren't I? Anyhow I hope I enjoy the choices I eventually did make:

What are your favourite Yankee scents? I'd love to hear your recommendations so I can go and buy even more.

So, on to the Revlon Lip Butter. I went for the shade Peach Parfait, which was an amazingly easy choice as I wasn't that impressed by the range my store had in stock. Plus I wanted to try one before going out and getting any more. Logical right?

I'd apologise about being late on the bandwagon here, but I'm not going to because these have literally only just become available over here in the UK! I do quite like the packaging; it's a little different. I suppose some might say that the translucent plastic case looks a little tacky, but I don't really have any complaints - it does the job.

Broken record time, yes the formulation is lovely and I am really impressed. This particular shade is a perfect everyday hue and is a nice cross between a gloss and a lipstick - perfect for me really because I don't always want the stickiness of a gloss or the solid block colour of many lipsticks. The added moisturising quality is a bonus. I think I'll be picking up some more of these...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Depotting MAC Eyeshadows

As you may have seen in my second to last post I recently purchased one of the MAC 15 shadow palettes with the ambition of depotting my loose shadows into it when I could spare half an hour. I thought I'd document what I did (injury-free thank goodness) so you can have a go yourselves in your own time.

Here's what you'll need:
  • A towel or something similar to protect your work surface
  • A candle 
  • A sharp pointed knife
  • Tweezers
  • A MAC palette (obviously!)
  • Some adhesive magnets - I bought mine off eBay
  • Scissors in case you want to trim the labels 

So without further ado, let's get started!

1) Pop out the pan insert from the casing: Open the eyeshadow and VERY carefully wiggle the end of the knife into the groove where the pan insert meets the outer casing. Keep wiggling until the pan insert pops out. Make sure you don't press too hard and let the knife slip. Blood in your eyeshadows is not very becoming.

Once it has successfully popped out, you'll have something that looks a bit like this (note lack of blood):

Set the outer casing aside for now. You'll need it a bit later.

2. Removing the pan from the pan insert: Take your tweezers and hold the pan over the flame of the candle. Make sure you don't hold it IN the flame; you don't want to melt the plastic completely. Hold it there for around 30 seconds until you can see that it has softened.

Once you think this is the case, gently poke the bottom of the pan insert with the end of the knife to prise up the eyeshadow from the plastic.

If it doesn't want to come out, don't force it - the plastic just isn't soft enough. Hold it over the flame a bit longer and give it another go when you think it's ready. The plastic will be VERY hot when you do the poking so use the tweezers to hold it steady.

3. Stick on the magnet: Pretty self explanatory really. When the metal on the underside of the pan has cooled a bit and the glue on the bottom is still tacky, stick an adhesive magnet to the back (carefully so you don't damage the eyeshadow). Centre it by moving it on the tacky glue.

4. Removing the name label: This bit is optional, but I like to stick the label to the bottom of the shadow so I can keep track of the colours and finishes. As you can see this one is Modelette, a lovely matte brown.

The labels are usually very well stuck on so the best way of removing it without damaging it is to hold the casing over the candle at an angle to slightly melt the adhesive attaching it and a small area of plastic at the edge.

Make sure you don't hold it too close to the flame - burnt fingers/labels aren't amusing or attractive. As you can see in the clever split-picture below, once the plastic has softened you can take your knife and gently press down at the edge of the label to indent the casing. You should now be able to lift off the label causing little to no damage at all.

 The adhesive will still be sticky when you do this, so you will be able to place it straight over the magnet that you've just attached to the shadow. Feel free to trim it to neaten it up a bit.

5. Admire your handiwork!

It looks a little complicated at the outset, but the more you do it the more you'll get used to it. You'll be a pro in no time!

I suppose this means I now have to go and spend more money on seven more shadows to fill my palette. Any recommendations?

I hope you found this guide helpful - let me know if you have any questions :)