Thursday, 24 May 2012

April Amarya Box

Hello lovely people!

Here is my review of the April Amarya beauty box, this was my first Amarya box, and sadly I wasn't blown away. I really like the concept of Amarya, every month they send you one or two full size products to try, and possibly a few smaller sample products. All of Amarya's products are natural and organic, something that really appeals to me.

Unlike other beauty boxes, the Amarya products arrive inside the cardboard postal box, which saves on waste and is in accord with their eco ideology.

So what was inside...

Simply argan oil 50ml worth £21 on the Amarya website or £12 on the Simply argan website.
evolve Conditioner sachet
Jurlique Eye Cream sachet

Which makes the contents of this box worth around £12, a fair bit less than the contents of other beauty boxes that I have received.

I had an issue with one of the products that I received, and I have to say that Amarya were very helpful and quickly sent me out a replacement. So top marks for customer service!

I'm not a huge fan of sachets as I find they contain enough product for 1.5 uses (and resealing them is a pain) so I'll chuck these in my bag next time I go on holiday. I'm quite looking forwards to trying out the eyecream though.

So no, I wasn't blown away by this box. Which is a shame, as I loved the concept.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

She Said April Beauty Box Review

Hello lovely people,

This was the second box from She Said Beauty. It contained 6 products (very good!) and a Lindor chocolate egg (a very pleasing extra touch). I like the magnetic box, I think that's a nifty feature and the straw is quite cute. I also like the duck egg blue colouring and the pink tissue, sounds a little odd, but it works.

So what was inside....

1) Filthy Gorgeous- Nail Polish in tu-tu much

This nail polish packaging isn't really my style and I don't understand why the product usually comes with a plectrum, seems like needless waste. So no, I wouldn't buy this again, it doesn't look like a £9 product to me. This sample was full size. On the plus side, one coat provides really very good coverage and I like the colour. If this was a few pounds cheaper, and the packaging was less OTT I would definitely buy other shades.

2) Comfort Zone- Body Expert Kit

This cute little box contained 6 sachets of different products (Fruity Peel Exfoliator, Aromasoul Shower Gel, D-age Body Cream, Body strategist + Remodeller, Vital Leg Cream and Tranquillity Cream). At first I thought this would be good for taking on holiday (otherwise I never use sachets) but I have heard numerous horror stories of people breaking out in a painful rash after using some of them. I think I'll avoid!

3) Mischa Barton- Luscious Lips Pink Pop

I didn't even know Mischa Barton did make-up, I thought it was just uninspiring handbags. This it must be said, is an uninspiring lipbalm. It is fairly moisturising and it *does* have SPF15. I can't say that I'm impressed with the pigmentation, it didn't seem to have any. Dull product, sorry guys! This does smell okay though and is full size. It would cost £12.00 to acquire more, WHY would anybody pay that?! I'm sorry Mischa but this feels more like a £3 bargain product.

4) Bharti Vyas- The Ultimate Therapy Face and Neck Polish

I haven't tried this yet, I'll save it for when I'm next travelling. I've read good reviews though, so am interested to give it a shot.

5) Bellapierre- Shimmer Powder

I like this, it is a sparkly shimmer powder that you can apply following moisturiser. The colour in my box was champagne which is a lovely sparkly gold. This will get used, I love sparkly highlighters and eyeshadows. This is a full size product and retails at £12.99.

6) *Bonus* Erno Laszlo- The Hollywood Collection

I was really happy with this, as I'd been hoping to get it in my Harrods GLOSSYBOX. As a bonus product I was very chuffed with this, and can imagine this annoying people who had got one as one of their 5 March GLOSSYBOX products. I'm looking forwards to trying out the different creams!

Poor She Said, I feel I've been very harsh on them. Really this was a good box, 3 out of the 5 products were full sized and the two bonus items were a lovely idea. The team have clearly worked hard on this box, and it is very nicely presented. I like the fact that there was a nail product, bath/shower product, lip product, eye product and a skin product, that's quite cool.

I think my real issue with this box was that three of the products were not to my taste, but that really isn't a flaw with the box. I've cancelled my subscription for now, but have a feeling I might be back. Maybe She Said is aimed more at teenagers? I felt a bit old for some of the products.

Having seen the May box I was quite tempted to resubscribe, but was put off as it contained more false eyelashes. If my second Lux box doesn't impress me, I might be back.

Leonardo da Vinci

In March, I was lucky enough to stumble upon the 'Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration' exhibition when it was at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

I have to admit, although keen on art, I know little in depth about it. So I really enjoy opportunities to improve my knowledge. This is a really interesting little exhibition. The drawings on display are all part of the Royal Collection.

My personal favourites were the Head of Leda and The Heard of An Old Bearded Man in Profile. Although Da Vinci's ingenious weapon designs are highly entertaining. The accompanying guidebook was £5 and contains lots of interesting background to the works on display. It also gave me something to read while in the queue! (Despite visiting late in the day we still had to queue for an hour to see the exhibition- it was worth the wait.)

The exhibition is still on in Bristol Museum and Art Gallery until the 10th of June, I strongly recommend it if you are in the area. 


Thursday, 3 May 2012

March Glossybox Review (Part 2)

Here's the review of my second March GLOSSYBOX. I think this was *slightly* less exciting than the first, but I was equally (if not more) happy with it.

1)  Versace- Vanitas Versace Eau De Parfum

This is a very attractive little sample (4.5 ml). Perfume samples like this I think *do* have a place in beauty boxes, and they look nice on the dressing table. This smells lovely and rich and I'll absolutely use it up. It's more of a musky scent than floral and quite 'grown up' but, I really like it. 4/5 (1 point for the scent, 1 for the amount of perfume, 1 for the pretty vial and (because I'm shallow) 1 for the cute gold box.

2) Bliss- Blood Orange And White Pepper Body Butter

Well, it's a moisturiser, and it is moisturising. This is a generous 50ml sample and it smells good. To be honest, there isn't much more to say. It isn't terribly exciting, but I was happy with it. I can't honestly say I'd pay for more though. I am happy that it is paraben free though. 4/5 (1 point for the smell, 1 for doing what it says on the label, 1 for being paraben free and 1 for the sample size).

3) Revive- Intensite Creme Lustre SPF30

This little pot of cream (the sample was 7ml) is extremely expensive and not something I'll be buying any time soon. I was still happy with this sample though, it's a good size and I hope it will do impressive things. I'm waiting to use up my YSL serum before I try this, but will let you know if it seems good! 3/5 (1 point for sample size, 1 point for being high end and 1 for being a good sample considering the cost)

4) Leighton Denny- High Performance Nail Colour

I like subtle nail polish, so this colour was ideal for me. It didn't chip easily, it looks nice and it's a good sample size (4.6ml). I often don't finish pots of nail polish before they go gunky, so little ones are ideal for me. I was really happy with this, tis lovely. 4/5 (1 point for the colour, 1 for not chipping, 1 for the sample size and 1 for the overall quality).

5) Clarins- Extra- Firming Body Cream

Oh goodie, more Clarins. Ummmm what can I say, it's still not very exciting, time hath not added to it's interest levels. The fact I now have two samples of the stuff doesn't really add to it's appeal. Oh well. 3/5 (as above)

So overall this box scored 18/25 one point more than my other Harrods GLOSSYBOX. Really not bad for £10!

March GLOSSYBOX....because it's May

Hello Lovely People,

I really do apologise for the delay in posting my Harrods GLOSSYBOX reviews, I find that it takes me quite a while to get around to actually *using* the products. It has also been a slightly crazy few months, and am only just catching my breath.

I ended up ordering two Harrods boxes (long story) and have to say that I was quite happy with both of them. There was a nice mix of skincare and make-up, and enough anti-ageing products to appeal to my current obsession with those little lines that I have under my eyes (acquired from doing risky things like blinking and sleeping).

This box received a pretty hefty amount of criticism, probably as a result of the huge amount of hype that it received from GLOSSYBOX. The main complaint being that it contained too many samples people could pick up for free from department stores. Personally, I go to Debenhams, John Lewis and Selfridges on a fairly regular basis and have been offered a free sample once (a tiny, albeit nice, vial of perfume) otherwise to get freebies I've usually had to spend upwards of £40 on products. I have to confess that I have never been to Harrods beauty hall (I'm too afraid they'll turn me away for wearing the wrong shoes, "but they're suede heels!" I see myself crying, "Yes...but they're Primark" I imagine a sneering doorman will reply). I highly doubt however that they hand away samples as if there's no tomorrow, possibly the odd perfume vial or mascara sample (I did feel sorry for the people who got the minuscule mascara in this box).

The second criticism about this box and most GLOSSYBOXES is that they are unfairly unbalanced and vary too much in content. In the Harrods box, the most lusted after item seemed to be the Burberry lipstick. I feel for GLOSSYBOX on this issue, with so many subscribers it would be extremely hard for them to secure enough products from brands to make all boxes the same. But still, I have to confess, I'm as guilty as most people of box envy. On the plus side, even very popular Bloggers seem to receive a mix of products and it does feel like pure luck as to who gets the 'best' boxes.

Anyway, enough rambling...on with the review of the March GLOSSYBOX (Harrods Edition)

1) Narciso Rodriguez- For her Eau De Parfum (tiny tiny little vial)

This was ok, it smelt nice. This was floral and not particularly memorable. I liked the fact that it was a spray vial, but this was a small little sample and quite stingy. The plastic packaging wasn't very inspiring, which is a shame as the full size bottle looks very pretty. I don't object to perfume samples in beauty boxes, I'd love it if I found my perfect scent! I just don't find them hugely exciting. 2/5 (1 point for the spray top, and 1 for the pretty smell)

2) Molton Brown- Heavenly Ginger Lily Moisture Bath & Shower

This was a lovely product, and at 50ml an ideal size for travelling. I really like the sweet floral smell, it reminds me of posh countryside hotels. Whilst the full size product is beyond my current student budget, this was a fantastic little sample that I've really enjoyed. 4/5 (1 point for decent size, 1 for nice packaging, 1 for the scent and 1 for the fact I found it relaxing)

3) YSL- Forever Youth Liberator Serum

I'll add to this review once I finish with the sample and can see if it makes a real difference. I was happy to see this, I *really* want to try out expensive skincare so that I can make an informed choice about whether or not I should purchase. I was also impressed by the sleek packaging for a little ml sample. 4/5 (1 point for the packaging, 1 for the sample size, 1 for being a high end product and 1 for appearing effective so far)

4) Burberry Beauty- Miniature Lip Cover Rosewood No 4

I loved this, it looked adorable. The mini packaging was really cute. I really like the colour, I was lucky with this and it suits my colouring. I will purchase the full size of this at some point in the future. The only bad thing about this sample is that it's so tiny! I wish the Harrods discount in the box had lasted a bit longer, and I'd used it to buy the full size product. 4/5 (1 point for the lovely packaging, 1 for the colour choice, 1 for the high quality and 1 for the pigmentation)

5) Clarins- Extra- Firming Body Cream

This didn't wow me. It's okay, it's a moisturiser. I'll use it up eventually, probably on my arms. Unless I see a noticeable change, I can't see me actively parting with money to acquire more. Still it's a good size sample, which is nice. 3/5 (1 point for the sample size, 1 for the moisturising job and 1 for the reputation of the brand)

So that's it for the first of my two March Harrods box reviews. I'd say this box was pretty good, not my favourite beauty box, but certainly not bad. The lipstick and the showergel were the stand out products for me, with the tiny perfume as the let down. That *did* feel like the type of sample you could pick up for free.

I thought the packaging of the box, with the green Harrods ribbon was lovely. GLOSSYBOX seems spot on with their presentation.

Overall this box scored 17/25, not a bad score!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Blog Hop

Am always keen to discover new blogs to follow, so think Blog Hop is an awsome idea. Do check it out :)


February Carmine Box...hunting for spiders

Hello lovely beauty box fans,

Time for a *very* late review of the February Carmine box, otherwise known as the controversy box of doom (Take 1) *duh duh duh*. Now I avidly avoided reading spoilers for this box, as it was my first from Carmine and I wanted a surprise, so when my box arrived I didn't have any expectations. in ze box was:

The Balm: Fratboy All-in-one shadow/blush (full size)
Andrea Fulerton Nail Varnish in Paris (full size)
Daniel Sandler Eye Delight in Ice (full size)
White Glo Toothpaste
Diego Dalla Palma Lipstick in 42
Yardley London Peony Fragrance

So far so good, three full sized items and three samples, very nice! However, having followed reviews of Carmine, I recognised the Balm and Daniel Sandlers product from the October box. Now call me fussy, but I don't really like the idea of using a product that's been sat in a warehouse for the last 6 months. The Eye Delight was fine since it was wrapped in plastic, but my blusher was really very dusty. Yuk. This resulted in me spending a minute checking my box for spiders. In my paranoid mind dust = spiders and spiders = trouble. You may be pleased to hear there were no spiders *ahem*.

First up it is the teeny tiny Diego Dalla Palma Lipstick. Honestly, anybody complaining about the size of the Burberry lipstick in this month's Glossybox should have a look at this, it's minuscule! I personally think it's cute, and will keep it in my makeup bag for emergencies (emergencies of the cosmetic kind, not attempting to plug somebody's gaping wound with it or applying some for a spot of CPR). I doubt it will last more than three applications, but meh. I was a bit dubious when I saw the murky looking colour (42) on the booklet, but it's actually a very pretty shiny dark pink. Will absolutely try and repurchase this. It's lovely (and I do like the number 42).

Yardley London Peony Fragrance sampler. My only gripe with this is that it's only half full, but from what I read most people had the same issue. It smells lovely, and it was nice to get a bonus 6th item! I prefer perfume samplers with a 'spray' top, as I find these little vials have a tendency to leak. One of my evening bag still smells of Prada after a perfume leak, traumatic times eh?

Andrea Fulerton Nail Varnish in Paris. I like this, it's a bright bold fuchsia colour, and I don't own any similar nail polishes. Haven't applied it yet, so can't make any more comments. You can buy it in Superdrug for £4.99, I have my eye on the teal colour on the Carmine card.

This was my favourite item in the box, even if it is leftover from October. It's a lovely long lasting pale silver, and ideal for making your eyes look bigger. I love this, it is fabulous and I'll repurchase. 

Once I had reassured myself that this product hadn't been a vessel for spiders, I was actually rather chuffed with it. It's the right colour for my pale complexion, and the packaging is cute. I don't think it is massively long lasting but that's an issue I have with blushers in general. I'm very glad it comes with a mirror, as that makes on the go application much easier. It's quite an expensive product, and I don't like it enough to repurchase, but it is nice. 

I haven't included a photo of the toothpaste, we all know what toothpaste looks like, and you've probably seen photos of it from other reviews. I travel lots so travel sized toothpaste is always a winner with me, and I do buy whitening toothpaste. Will post a review once I have used it up, and can see if it achieved any actual whitening. 

The big uproar around this box, was that the original February box containing Steamcream and Balance Me shower gel sold out, so Carmine replaced these products in the boxes being sent to new subscribers. The logic for this being, that they wouldn't already own the blusher and eyeshadow. This however angered people who purchased 'one off' boxes when they liked the products, as many of them did already have the eyeshadow/blush. It also peeved me slightly as I had subscribed well before the original box sold out, and as a keen follower of beauty blogs, recognised these products from the October box. There was even more upset when the blusher/eye shadow ran out, so some subscribers received yet different products (which to be honest didn't sound great). Tbh in hindsight I'd much rather have eyeshadow and blusher. 

I am in two minds about this, I think it was foolish of Carmine to not realise there'd be a huge increase in subscribers following the discounted box offer. I also think sending out dusty products is a big no (just give them a quick dust/spider inspection!). On the other hand they replaced the Steamcream and shower gel with some of the most praised products, and tried to avoid giving people repeats. I don't think beauty boxes are intended as one off purchases, and poor old Carmine aren't psychic. In my opinion both the original box, and the replacement box that I received are very good value for money. It is a makeup heavy box however, so might not be ideal for those keenest on skin/hair care. 

Does anybody know what is going on with the March box? People asking on the facebook page about when it will be dispatched/when the money will be taken, are being told to expect an announcement. I wonder if there won't be a March box for some reason?

Apologies for this long long rambling review, tomorrow I will be hunting for spiders in, I mean *reviewing* my Harrods GlossyBox. Exciting stuff folks!


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Helen E Lip Crayon Review (Nectar)

Helen E recently offered a free Lip Crayon to their Twitter and Facebook fans, having tried and liked their eyeliners, I was keen to give this a go.

I chose the colour Nectar, mostly because I like the name, but also because it is a really lovely dark pink. I'm pale, so usually prefer dark pinks over reds. Having never tried a lip crayon before (I'm very much a lipstick girl) I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.

Apologies for the terrible photo, I only had my phone to hand. 
Helen E "Nectar" lip crayon

I was really really impressed with this product, the colour is fantastic, and it has a lovely smooth matte texture on the lips. The crayon is a good size, and the packaging is sleek. It doesn't smudge and is long lasting, but not annoyingly so. I think it makes the lips look bigger, whilst not being as obvious as lipstick. This is definitely a good product to use when creating a natural but sexy daytime look. For the evening, it looks really nice with a bit of vaseline or clear lipgloss slicked on top.

The product is well worth trying, and this is a fantastic offer (you only have to pay for postage and packing) the crayon also came with a product booklet and a £10 off voucher for any purchase over £25. I will certainly be buying another lip crayon, Nectar is a really lovely and attractive product.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Walk like an Egyptian

So far I hadn't felt particularly inspired by Spring fashion. I haven't got the colouring for pastel shades or tropical prints, and it's far too cold (in my mind) to wear anything inspired by skimpy sports gear. So I was incredibly happy when the Egyptian inspired trends emerged.

Beyond Retro put some fantastic pieces together in a recent news email, and Topshop Unique's S12 Collection is just amaaaazzing. This trend is also giving me a chance to wear some of the bits & bobs that I picked up in Egypt last year, bonus!

Grabbed the Topshop Unique Cleopatra tee when I was in the Oxford Street store last week, the 1963 Taylor film is probably my all time favourite.

Outfit post to come....

Valentines Instagram Pics

I got a bit carried away with Instagram pics yesterday, oh well!

Wine....and candles
Rose.... and candles

Chocolate, that is all.

Who wouldn't want a cheesy valentines turtle? 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Monday.... Troublesome clothes

Going through my wardrobe today, I realised that a worrying amount of my clothes were 'whim' purchases that I had no real idea how to wear. I end up wearing the same things over and over again, despite a full wardrobe arghhhhh.

Well here are some of my more troublesome wardrobe 'gems', any suggestions about how I can wear these?

Leather mini skirt from a Topshop sale, slightly weird inbetweeny length.

Miss Selfridge Dress, needs to be layered as it is very see through.

Vintage crop top.

H&M skirt, no idea what to do with this.

So any suggestions? Can't say any of these items leave me feeling very creative!