Thursday 4 July 2024

Collaborative / Partnered Post - Ways To Make Your Eyes Pop And Boost Your Self Confidence*

Whenever people say that they don't like a body part it usually something like your stomach or your thighs, and whilst I definitely have a love / hate relationship with those parts of my body, for me thanks to my facial paralysis it's my face, and in my particular my mouth and eyes.

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul and whether that's true or not, your eyes are definitely a prominent feature and learning to love them  for me at least has been a real work in progress - they're not exactly something you can hide people look into them when they want to hold your attention, and avoid them when they don't. As well as performing an essential job, you're eyes play an important role in defining you, and showcasing the person who you are. 

From everyday beauty to glamorous "going out" looks, emphasising your eyes really draws people in and can really increase your self confidence. A lot of people really do feel that their eyes are their best feature, and even if like me you don't then maybe you can learn to love them, or at look at them a different way with the right techniques.

Give Your Lashes More Oomph

Nowadays when you look at someone a lot of the times the first thing you notice about their eyes are their lashes! Bigger and bolder than ever before lashes are the focus point for anyone who want to highlight their eyes. Whether your a fan of the current super long and thick tarantula look or not, everyone wants longer, darker, thicker and more curled lashes. As well as protecting your eyes from dirt and debris, when your lashes are on point then will both emphasise and frame your eyes. If you're not lucky enough to have naturally fabulous lashes, there are some great mascaras on the market, but if you really want that wow factor and that extra oomph, then try some premium lash extensions. They'll lengthen your lashes even further to get that ultimate long-lashed look that even the best mascara on it's own just can't do. Temporary lash extensions are easy to put on and just as easy to remove too, so you can use them whenever you like.

Find the Right Makeup

If you want to draw attention to your eyes then a little bit of Makeup can really make them pop. You don't need a make up collection like mine but if you really want to make a highlight your eyes then a little bit of make up can make all the difference. Now as you know I'm not really a liner fan but if you're confident in using it, team it up with some mascara, or some lashes, and a bit of eyeshadow to make your eyes really stand out. Add a bit of light reflection concealer here and then to hide those dark circles and add a bit of light around your eyes, and a bit of highlight or shimmery shadow to make them instantly look brighter and more alive. Stick to neutrals for an easy everyday look, but add a bit of sparkle or create a smokey, glam look for evenings, or be brave and play with some colour. As I always say make up is supposed to fun, there are no rules, play and experiment till your heart is content, and if you don't like it you can always wipe it off and start again!

Play with Glasses/No Glasses

Now I've been a glasses wearer for over 20 years now, and whilst at first I hated them with a passion, and they can still be pretty annoying at times, I've really embraced them, they've become a part of what I look like and I feel naked without them.If you wear glasses, don't think you have to ditch them to make the most of your eyes, and don't hide behind them, let your glasses highlight your eyes, and use them to your advantage. The key to making glasses work for you is finding a style that suits your face. Although oversized frames are popular, they're not right for everyone and could draw attention away from your eyes, I must admit I've experimented with frames a lot of the years (have a look way back to the very early days of the blog to see some examples of my glasses wearing journey!), from wire frames, to thinner letterbox styles, to the slightly over sized ones I have now, and I've loved them all for different reasons, and for the different looks and impressions that I've created with each frame. Choosing frames can be a minefield, there is just so much choice, the key thing is to not only choose the right frames for your prescription, but it's also important to choose frames that work for your face shape and colouring. Whether you're picking glasses for the first time or whether you fancy a change, try a few pairs on to find something that you love and that fits your personality and lifestyle.

I personally love my glasses, and whilst I'm personally not a fan of them, contact lenses are great for a change, and going glasses free gives your look a new dimension and can really help make your eyes the centre of attention.

Pay Attention to Your Eyebrows

Probably one of the most important part of framing your face and making your eyes stand out, if of your eyebrows, your eyes are the picture and your brows are the frame. Since I'm a glasses wearer for years I ignored my eyebrows, and let them go their own way, they weren't really on show so I just forgot about them, and then when I did start paying attention to them, I jumped on board the skinny brow trend, and over plucked them and destroyed the shape. 

Thankfully I have learnt from the error of my ways, and my brows and fuller, and occasionally a touch wayward, but by and large I keep them groomed and under control. Fill in your brows and define their shape to make them more attention-grabbing, and if you aren't sure what you're doing head to a professional for some advice, and once you've groomed them add a little bit of highlight on your brow bone, and a touch of concealer to make them really stand out. Whether you want dark magazine brows or something a bit more natural when your brows look good, they'll complement your eyes and make sure people know where to look.

Whether you love them or like me you're a bit more indifferent, making the most of your eyes can be a real confidence booster. If you look in the mirror and you see nice full lashes, a nice smokey eye, or a perfectly groomed brow, you're bound to feel better yourself, so whether you're going to job interview, on a date, or even to take something back to the shop, always try to make the best of yourself and even if you don't feel brave or confident, use the tools that you have to hold your head up high, make eye contact, and use those eyes to their full advantage!

*Collaborative / Partnered Post

Life Lately - Another Year Older, Outfits, Piercings And A Few New Purchases*

Well hello there, it's been a while I know but since my last post life really has got in the way again, nothing major just the usual trials and tribulations of someone struggling with chronic illness, and life in general. Exhaustion is something I’ve gotten quite used but over the last couple of months I’ve genuinely felt as though I’ve had the life sucked out of me - on most days I’ve managed to do the bare minimum and that’s it - I’ve had weeks when I haven’t left the house and socialising, blogging and anything that’s involved using my body or brain has been put on the back burner. I was at the doctors yesterday for bloods so hopefully that will give me some answers even it’s just a flare of existing conditions at least I’ll know!

So apart from sleeping, and lots of rest what have I been doing with myself? Well I completed another trip around the sun and celebrated my birthday in the middle of May. I didn’t do anything or go anywhere, instead I spent it with my two favourite people in the world, my mam and my godmother eating my mams homemade carrot cake, and playing with my new iPhone 15. My mam contributed towards the cost and since I mainly got money the plan was to pay for it, and to have a nice little solo shopping trip and whilst the intention was to go as close to my birthday as possible surprise, surprise that didn’t happen so I ended up ordering a few things online and I eventually made it to the Metro Centre a fortnight ago

I haven’t really been buying a lot of beauty and make up so I decided to really treat myself to a few high end products including the new Clinique Pop Black Honey Lip & Cheek Oil, the Dior Rosy Glow Powder Blush in Pink, some Sol De Janiero Bum Bum Cream, a mini Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Dewy Liquid Blush in Happy and a Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Memerise Cream Eyeshadow in Champagne. 

I will definitely be talking about some of these products in due course but if there is anything you would particularly like to see then please let me know. I’ve also picked up a few more affordable bits including the Bum Bum Cream Dupe from Home Bargains, and some of the lip oils from Aldi so again if you’d like to hear my thoughts let me know in the comments section below x 

The first place I actually went into when I went into the Metro Centre was Primark. The new extended store opened on my birthday and this was the first opportunity I’d have to have a look round, and to be honest I was a bit underwhelmed - yes it’s bigger, self checkouts, more items, but there just wasn’t much that I actually wanted  or maybe I should say needed. There was barely anything above a size large, and some of the stuff was well, ugly! I only ended up buying a new duvet set, some slippers for my mam, some rubber Birkenstocks dupes, some chub rub shorts, a Hello Kitty t-shirt, and some beauty bits. I have to say the beauty section was decent and it wasn’t as wrecked as it usually is so  I picked up a few summer themed bits, and some skincare.

After I’d been to Primark and spent way less than I’d anticipated I thought I’d treat myself to something a little more permanent and I headed straight across the mall to Doc Black Ink. 

When I got my daith done nearly two years ago now I definitely reawakened the beast, and ever since then I been playing planning out what piercings to get next. Initially the plan was to add another two helix’s to my right side but instead I went for another helix and a flat. Taking me to 7 in each ear, and 14 in total! Head piercer Kelly was an absolute angel as per usual, and whilst they were a bit nippy at first and they’ve been a little bit uncomfortable, the irritation is easing off now and they don’t feel too bad.

I was only in the Metro Centre for a few hours and whilst I was only there for a short time I certainly paid the price and I was literally useless for about 4 days afterwards - it’s definitely one of the most frustrating parts of chronic illness, acting like a ‘normal’ person for a few hours, having fun, and then feeling worse then you ever did.

Although I’ve been quiet on here I have been flirting with my other more instant, easy access social media channels, which has mainly involved arguing with people, expressing my frustration with football, and despairing at the state of the world on twitter,  (it will never be X to me !) and when I'm not living in shorts or leggings, posting the odd outfit pic on Instagram, some of which you can see here. 

I’m not in a good place body confidence wise at the moment, but on the journey back to some form of self acceptance I’m putting my animal print clad self out there, and saying this is who I am. For some one who originally started out posting fashion content on online forums I’m enjoying even this small return to my fashionista roots, and I’m looking forward to hopefully creating lots more fashion content in the future.

So there you have it I’m still tired, my blood pressure is a little bit higher than it should be, and I’m still on the lookout for an NHS dentist, but I’m back feeling a bit more reenergised at least blogging wise, and I’ve got plenty of things to review and to talk about x Thank you as per usual for sticking with me and if you’re in the UK today don’t forget to VOTE

*This Post Contains Affiliate Links

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Iconic Beauty - A Review Of The Clinique Black Honey + More Gift Set And A Life Update*

I can hardly believe it's been nearly a month since I last posted but predictably life got in the way again. My auntie passed away peacefully at home with her family around after a short battle with cancer. understandably it's hit us hard, my mam in particular especially coming so soon after my uncles passing last year so understandably I've been spending lots of time with her reminiscing, and focusing on other things. Throw in the fact that she hasn't been very well either, and I'm not only still struggling with my teeth and gums, but I've also been struggling with an scratch on my left eye and very uncomfortable dry eyes, it therefore will come as no surprise that yet again the blog has been pretty low on my list of priorities.

Despite that though I have been doing a bit of post prep and a bit of editing here and there, but seeing as I'm trying to rest my eyes a bit and limit my screen time, nothings happening very fast. That been said though I do actually have a little post for you today that I've been working on for a few months now and it's part of a new mini (or maybe not so mini - we'll see ;) series called 'Iconic Beauty'. In this series I'm going to be sharing my thoughts on some of the most iconic and talked about beauty products on the market, from products with a cult following, to products that everyone on social media seems to be talking about, and the first product I'm going to be talking about is Clinique's Almost Lipstick in the iconic shade Black Honey.

First released back in 1971, this deep, deep berry shade, must have really stood out amongst the bright colours of the hippy area, but it quickly became a best seller, and all of these years later according to Clinique, 1 tube of Black Honey is sold every 7 minutes worldwide! I've been reading about Black Honey and why it's so perfect for both in magazine and online for years now but I never got round to buying it,  until that is I started using Tik Tok. Yes according to various journalists and retailers the old clock app has apparently introduced a whole new generation of people to this product, and for a while last year it was in pretty every haul video, or get ready with me that appeared on my for you page, so I gave up, I was indeed influenced and I decided to take the plunge and try it for myself.

Now, you should know by now that I love a bargain so I didn't by the lipstick on its own, instead around Christmas time I bought in a little kit called Clinique Black Honey + More. As well as containing a full size Almost Lipstick in Black Honey it also contained, a good sized mini mascara and an eyeliner for just £30, and considering the lipstick was £24 on it's own it would have been rude not to pick this up instead.

So Black Honey, why is it so iconic, well just look it, it looks beautiful, in this 1.9g full size  Clinique's sleek, minimalist, matte and shiny silver packaging really makes, this dark burgundy black lipstick stand out. It looks almost black here but I can assure you it is a tiny bit more berry toned in real life.

If you don't know anything about this lipstick, I can pretty much guess what your thinking - 'why is a lipstick that looks like it belongs at a goth convention so popular?' Well in case you haven't realised it doesn't really go on that colour. According to Clinique the perfect blend of blue, red and yellow pigments, produces a sheer berry tone, that will miraculously work on any skin tone which is shown in their numerous ad campaigns - the simple reason why it's popular is that it suits so many people.

As you can probably guess from the difference in colour in the tube, to the colour payoff, Black Honey actually has quite a sheer glossy finish, sort of my lips but better. It's described as the perfect hybrid between a lipstick, a lip balm and a gloss.

So that's why it's popular, and why it's so iconic but what did I really think of it? I have to admit that even though I knew what to expect, this 100% fragrance free lipstick still looks intimidating in the tube, but I needn't have worried. The soft but not overtly creamy formula applies easily, and it definitely creates an almost just bitten sheer berry tint - Clinique claim that you can apply it without a mirror, I guess it depends on your skin tone as I could see little imperfections on my skin when I tried but you might be different or more skilled at applying it ;). Whilst sheer the colour is slightly buildable so the more you apply the more intense the colour will be - just don't expect a block, solid colour finish.

I definitely think it has a more balm like feel, and a lovely shiny almost gloss like finish. It isn't the creamiest lip colour, or even tinted lip balm that I've ever used but it was still comfortable to wear and it certainly didn't leave my lips any drier.

The wear time was decent, predictably the glossy finish was the first to fade, transferring onto cups and glasses quite quickly, but once that had gone, it left a slight berry stain which lasted for a few hours.

I have to say I actually do like the product a lot, and I can see why it has the reputation it does but if I'm being honey I think it maybe is a tiny bit overhyped, it's certainly nothing earth shattering, either colour wise or moisturising wise, but I guess the fact the just about anyone can wear it is it's real selling point, and it's certainly better than the few so called dupes that I've tried, but I can't help thinking for the price it might be cheaper just to buy a tinted lip balm if that's the effect you're going for - hmm. For the rare people that Black Honey apparently doesn't suit there is apparently a pinkier version called Pink Honey, which I might try next - If you've tried that one please let me know  your thought- I think it might be too pale for me but you never know. The Black Honey + More Kit is really hard to find now but the lipstick, it is still widely available on its own for around £24 from retailers including Boots, ASOS, M&S, John Lewis, Beauty Bay, Look Fantastic and Sephora.

As I said earlier in this post I do love a bargain, and at the time it made more sense to buy the Black Honey + More set rather than the individual lipstick. As well as the beauty that is Black Honey herself, the kit also came with a couple of eye products, including a 3.5ml half size of the  Clinique High Impact Mascara in Black, which retails at around £14

Although I don't remember buying it outright, I had actually used this mascara before, so I think it was either a GWP or a magazine freebie, and I remember being pretty impressed, so for just an extra £4 on top of the lipsticks retail price, I was pleased to have the opportunity to try it again.

As you would expect from Clinique this mascara, is ophthalmologist tested, free from fragrance and oil, and it's safe for both contact lens wearers and people with sensitive eyes. The packaging is clinical and to the point, if you want a fancier tube Clinique certainly sell mascaras in more expensive looking packaging but this particular one lets the product inside do the talking. 

Even though this particular tube is only a half size, it came a full size, signature soft, full fibre spoolie brush, which when teamed up with rich black pigments, Clinique claim produces a mascara that adds buildable volume and length all without clumping.

Thanks to the full brush it was nice and easy to apply on the top lashes, but predictably there was a little bit of spotting and smudging on my shorter lower lashes, but nothing too extreme and it was fairly easy to remove with a cotton bud.

After just one coat you can already see the difference, the lashes are darker, longer, more separated and fuller. One coat is perfect for everyday use, but if you want to go bolder then this mascara will help you do exactly that.

1 Coat 

2 Coats 

With 2 coats, the effect is intensified, the lashes are darker still, longer, fuller, and more separated. This picture is taken straight after application, no fiddling or combing so they do look a little bit clumpy and spidery, and there are a couple of smudges under the lower lashes, but it's nothing that a lash comb and a cotton bud couldn't fix, and most importantly even with an extra coat the lashes didn't feel, tight, dry, heavy or uncomfortable.

1 Coat

2 Coats 

Despite the fact that it's not promoted as a waterproof, or long wear mascara I was still pretty impressed with the wear time, only after about 6 hours do I start to notice a bit of panda eyes going but it wasn't too bad, and when even when I came to take it off at the end of the day, it removed easily with eye make up remover and there was still plenty of product still remaining on the lashes.

Whilst I don't agree with the non clumping claim, everything else Clinique claim about this mascara rings true, darker, longer and fuller lashes, a buildable formulation, and decent staying power. There are probably a lot more dramatic, false lash effect mascaras on the market but this particular is a real workhorse, perfect for everyday both wear and for when you want to add just a touch of drama. 

Also available in Brown and Black-Brown, this half 3.5ml half size retails at around £14 and is available from various retailers including Boots, ASOS, Beauty Bay, and M&S. The full 7ml size retails at around £24 is also available from Boots, ASOS, Beauty Bay, and M&S, as well as John Lewis, Look Fantastic and Sephora.

Now as well as the two items that I was more than happy to have Clinique's Black Honey + More kit also contained another item from the High Impact range, only this time it was one that I wasn't quite so enthusiastic about!

Yes it was of course my nemesis, an eyeliner, and more specifically a felt tip liner - the Clinique High Impact Easy Liquid Liner in Black. I think this is the year when I've eventually admitted defeat with liners like this, no matter what the brand and the promises they make, my eyelids are just to oily and my hands are too shaky to make them work. Purely for you guys though I had a little play with this one and whilst I achieved nothing worth photographing, I do have a few thoughts.

First up the blurb from Clinique - again as you would expect, it's fragrance free, ophthalmologist tested, allergy tested and suitable for people with sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. Advertised with the tag line ' All the drama of a liquid eyeliner without the drama of putting it on' - this pen is designed with a precision, ultrafine tip for both thin and thick lines, and they claim is has 24 hour smudge and budge resistant wear.

I'll start by saying that this is a believe around half the size of the regular, retail product, and do you know what? if pushed I would definitely go for the smaller size pen. The smaller size made it, even for me, quite easy to control. I also liked the tip on this pen, it was fairly easy to manipulate, it was also quite firm and as a result you didn't need a lot of pressure, so I'm pretty sure that the steady handed liner lovers amongst you should be able to achieve both an ultra fine, and thicker bolder line.

So far so good, but the old, oily, hooded lids quickly ruined any joy or love that I felt towards this liner! Whilst it did seem to dry fairly quickly the minute I blinked a smudgy, mirror image of a line appeared in the middle of my eyelid, and almost immediately the original line looked faded and patchy. That been said though once I'd cleaned it up, reapplied and made sure not to blink for a few minutes whilst it was completely dry it did actually stay put - it did fade and go patchy but there was still liner there when I removed it with my normal eye make up remover about 6 hours later!

As someone is rubbish with liner it this one wasn't actually that bad, the key i think is to give it enough time to dry - If you're a liner buff and you're looking for something to try then this one might be worth a look. I can't find this particular 0.3g size online but the full 0.6g size retails at around £23 and is available online in this shade from John Lewis, M&S and Look Fantastic.

I hope you've enjoyed this little foray into some of the Clinique's make up products, and taking a look at one of their cult products in the Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. If you've tried it I'd love to your thoughts, and whether you think it lives up the the hype, and I'd also love to know what other cult beauty products you'd like to see me cover in this series - so please leave me a comment and let me know and I will see you soon with a little nails of the day post x 

*This Post Contains Affiliate Links 

Monday 1 April 2024

A Little Update And An Easter Themed Nails Of The Day From Sensationail*

Hi Guys x I hope you’ve all had a lovely long weekend, and if you’ve been celebrating Easter I hope you haven’t eaten too much chocolate ;) I definitely have and it’s been much needed! The last month or so has being pretty rubbish in LouLouLand. Almost exactly a month ago I woke up and the left side of my face was completely swollen, I looked as though my face and lips had been pumped up with filler, leaving my eye just a slit! A call to 111 lead to an out of hours dental appointment and as it turned out two courses of antibiotics which were to put it mildly horrible. Thankfully the gum swelling went down and I’m currently like so many people in the UK trying to find a NHS dentist after without my knowledge my own dentist removed me from their list after I had (justifiably) to cancel two appointments in a row #fuming. Anyways my mum has been too well either and another one of my relatives is now seriously ill - it’s safe to say that 2024 has been a pretty horrid year so far and it’s showing no signs that it’s going to get any better :( 

I’m still not feeling 100% but I thought I’d try and cheer myself up by sharing a little nails of the day with you. My nails have been pretty awful for a long while but I’ve recently been trying out a product that seems to be making a difference.

To celebrate the official start of summer time, and the little bit of spring sunshine that we’ve had over the weekend (although it seems to have disappeared today for some reason!) I decided to go for a lovely pastel, creamy lilac shade, the Sensationail Colour Gel Polish in Heirloom Lilac. 

Since I actually started using my gel polishes and my Sensationail kit, I keep asking myself why I didn’t start using it sooner, I find it takes about the same time as normal manicure minus the dry time. It lasts longer and it’s much more hard wearing than normal nail polish. The only down side is the removal but I can live with that 

The coverage is also superb, this is just two coats and whilst my application isn’t exactly of a professional standard, it’s so easy to apply and it looks decent.

As nice as it is on its own though I couldn’t resist giving this polish a bit of an Easter twist with some Shein nail stickers.

Nail stickers are great for livening up a tired or less than perfect manicure, and you can be as subtle or as over the top as you like.

With flowers, bunnies, carrots and sheep, it’s like Easter threw up on these nails and I love them, a touch childish maybe but so fun. I just cleanse the polished nail and the stick the sticker before applying a coat of top coat and sealing it under the lamp. You do need to apply another top coat layer every other day to keep it sealed in and to keep your mani looking fresh but it’s worth it.

As I say I got these particular stickers from Shein, who have an amazing selection of nail art bits but you can find nail stickers at various online retailers including eBay and Amazon. Sensationail polishes are getting harder to find now but there are a few bottles of Heirloom Lilac to be found on eBay.

Are you a fan of more subtle nail art or do you subscribe to my philosophy of more is more? Let me know in the comments and I’ll hopefully see you soon with another post xx 

*This Post Contains Affiliate Links 

Tuesday 13 February 2024

LouLouLand Is 17! - Wishing My Little Place On The Internet A Belated Happy Birthday

I know it's pretty obvious but over the last year or so but I've really struggled with blogging - As well as life and health getting in the way, I've struggled with engagement, and I've struggled with finding a place in this new era of quick and snappy content, but over the last month or so I've started to feel a little bit more positive about the whole thing.

Whilst I'm trying to engage more with short form platforms, I'm actually enjoying writing again, swatching products, and planning out posts, and that's what it should be about, not agonising over statistics, or constantly monitoring earnings and click throughs. That isn't to say that engagement and interaction doesn't matter, but it's not something that I'm going to stress about - you see so many influencers and content creators bragging about all the campaigns there getting but so many of us are just muddling along, keeping going not just for the 'freebies' and the £ but because we're doing something that we enjoy or even love!

17 Years ago yesterday I posted my first ever blog post, and to be honest I had no idea where it would lead me. I've worked with some amazing brands, gone to some fab events, and met some lovely people irl but above all it's given me and outlet and a purpose. Spending so much time cooped up indoors it's allowed me to escape from the everyday - it's given me something to focus on and to stop my brain turning to mush, and it's allowed me to feel part of something.

That's been even more apparent over the last couple of days by all of the lovely comments and messages I've received from people all over the world, lots of whom I've never met in person and would never have came into contact with without my blog or social media.

I guess what I'm trying to say as per usual is how grateful I am to every single person who has ever followed or subscribed to my blog or any of my social media channels, read a post, commented, or interacted in any way. I'm not saying that I wouldn't keep blogging without you but it certainly wouldn't be the same.

So thank you all for sticking with me and fingers crossed you all stick with me for another year, and if you're new welcome to my blog and I hope you'll like what you see and you'll subscribe for lots of beauty, fashion, lifestyle and 'real life' content x Thanks for being here and here's to another 17 years ;)

Sunday 11 February 2024

Tallulah 2009 - 2024

I've had this post on the back burner for a little while, and I hoped and prayed that it would be an eternity before I had to post it, but it wasn't to be, my beautiful girl passed away at home this morning.

When she came to live with us she was about the size of old fashioned powder puff, but despite her diminutive size, she was fierce, she spent most of the first 24 hours hiding, and hissing at us and our other cats at the time, Jasper and Jake, who was petrified of her.

The next day she was a different cat, still a touch wary and prone to hiding but she became a cuddlebug, a tiny ball of fluff that demanded attention and her own way, and whilst she increased slightly in size her personality never changed - she was noisy, stubborn, and probably the most jealous cat that I've ever met but she was mine and I loved her, her quirky ways and her silky black fur. beyond words. 

2009 - 2024

Monday 29 January 2024

Trimming My Stash - January, February And March 2023 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews* **

Nothing proves more that life gets in the way than this blog post - Already way later than I intended I originally started drafting it way back in December, which worked out fine for most of it, but not for the new year, new start introduction that I'd originally planned, so please forgive me for this probably garbled beginning. This post is the first of four that I'm hoping to get up before the end of February, sharing all of my beauty empties from 2023 with you. I've been debating for a while over which was the best and quickest way to do it, and I've decided to split all of 2023 empties into 4 blog posts, each post focusing on 3 months worth of empties, starting today with January, February and March.

January, a month supposedly of new beginnings and change, or in reality for most of us I guess, the start of more of the same! - I mean I always try to start the year on a positive note and make the odd change but that's not usually how it stays or what actually happens, but I guess that's life for you!

Beauty Pie Renewed Density Anti Hair-Loss Ampules - 14 x 8ml
Stericlens Sterile Saline Spray - 240ml
AVON Advance Techniques Reconstruction Shampoo - 400ml
Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips
Bath & Body Works Merry Christmas Winter Candy Apple Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - 259ml
Total - 5 Items

My start to 2023, at least trimming my stash wise, wasn't too bad. It wasn't a spectacular start by any means, but it was a good steady month where I managed a pretty respectable 5 items, including 1 festive product, and a few staples.

1. Beauty Pie Renewed Density Anti Hair-Loss Ampules - 14 x 8ml

This first item first made an appearance on the blog in my August 2022 empties post, and whilst you will see it mentioned in a quite few upcoming empties posts, it does now appear to have been discontinued or at least altered.

As I've said on many occasions I don't know whether it's down to illness or medication, but despite taking all of the gummy vitamins in the world, and spending a fortune on hair products, I'm sure that I still lose way more hairs than the average person.

This particular product was just one of my many anti hair loss products that I've tried over the years, and I have to say that these little vials did seem to help. You can read a little bit more about them and my experience with them here, but you just massaged some of the colourless, water like serum into your hair and scalp, and let it do its thing. My hair had more volume and felt thicker, and it looked a bit fuller as well. The biggest compliment you can give a product though, is when you stop using it you really do notice the difference, hence it's something that I've repurchased again and again.

Alas I couldn't justify keeping my Beauty Pie subscription, but my bestie still has hers, and she's been kind enough to place the odd order for me so I can still make use of the member prices. As I say though this product does appear to have been discontinued, or at least replaced by the Renewed Density Anti-Hair-Loss Treatment, which comes in a 100ml bottle and has a recommended member price of £19. The ingredients and description are very similar to these ampoules so I'm hoping that it's just a packaging switch up - I've got one to try so I'll let you know my thoughts when I've used it up x 

2. Stericlens Sterile Saline Spray - 240ml

Now in my previous empties post, I mentioned that 2022 was the year that I rediscovered my love of ear piercings, adding another 3 piercings to my admittedly quite small ears, and something that you need to do with especially new piercings is to clean them, preferably with saline solution.

While the NeilMed spray is by far my favourite. I did buy a couple of cans in a row that had problems with both the nozzles and the pressurisation , so I ended up trying a few other brands, while my anger subsided. 

For the price and the size of the can, this particular one is probably the best value saline spray on the market, but unlike the NeilMed spray it dispenses an awful lot of product at once, the mist is nowhere near as fine, so it tends to go everywhere, and obviously you end up wasting quite a bit as it ends up in your hair and running down your neck, but as I say it is a bit cheaper than the NeilMed version, and again it's pure saline with nothing else added, so I guess it depends on how your going to use it, and what type of piercing it's for.

This 240ml can of Stericlens Sterile Saline Spray retails at around £7.44 on Amazon, and the smaller 100ml bizarrely retails at around £8.48 also from Amazon. Various sizes and multipacks are also available from eBay.

3. AVON Advance Techniques Reconstruction Shampoo - 400ml

If you're a regular reader of my empties posts then you'll know that there are some products that I buy over and over again, and this is definitely one of them. I'm not going to bore you by talking about it yet again, so I'll just say that I love this shampoo and so does my hair. If you're interested in finding out more about it them use the search function in the sidebar and have a little read.

This 400ml size retails at around £5 from both the AVON website, and via your local AVON representative, and if you love it as much as I do, then you can also get a 700ml super size, which retails at around £8.

4. Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips

Next up something else that you're probably sick to death of seeing on here, so especially since this won't be there only appearance in this post, I'll keep it brief - Jolen Face Wax Strips = A literal holy grail product for me! You can read a full review here x Nuff said!

5. Bath & Body Works Merry Christmas Winter Candy Apple Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - 259ml

Now I'm a huge fan of Bath & Body Works as a brand, and whilst I love so many of their scents, this particular one was one of the first fragrances that I ever tried from the brand, and as a result it has a special place in my heart.

For me the quintessential festive scent, Winter Candy Apple, is fresh, fruity, and spicy. With notes of apple, rose petals, and candied orange, it will definitely appeal to anyone who loves fruity and foodie scents. Teamed up with Bath & Body Works, aloe, shea, and vitamin E, non drying foaming hand soap formulation, and you have a festive bathroom essential.

Alas this one has probably disappeared from shelves now till at least the Autumn but you might still be able to find it, in an in store sale section or on the secondary market.

So they were my January empties, as I say not a spectacular start trimming my stash wise, but a steady foundation and a place to build from.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold Rose Limited Edition - 50ml
Easy Piercing Saline Solution - 50ml
Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask - 100ml
Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Eucalyptus + Spearmint Stress Relief Sugar Body Scrub - 368g
Total - 4 Items

Unfortunately I couldn't quite live up to that start in February 2023, and I only managed to finish another 4 items, including a couple of things you've seen before, something new and a limited edition item.

1. Alpha-H Liquid Gold Rose Limited Edition - 50ml

A few years ago you couldn't read a blog or any other form of beauty editorial or content without seeing at least version of this product been talked about and hyped up.

One of the original glycolic acid preparations on the market, this water like toner of sorts which contains 5% glycolic acid, is perfect for brightening and improving the texture of the skin, and I swear by it for helping reduce the appearance of pores, and keeping spots and blackheads at bay.

This particular bottle isn't the original though, this was and I believe still is a limited edition, and contains plant and flower extracts, such as lotus flower and damask rose. It has more moisturising ingredients than the original and it's recommended for people with a drier skin.

Whilst the scent was still quite astringent, it has a slight rose, geranium aroma, and whilst the familiar liquid gold tingle was still there, I personally though found this rose gold version to be a bit more gentle on the skin.

Whilst his version is quite hard to find now Cult Beauty do currently have the 100ml bottle in stock which retails at around £37. If you're a purist though and love the original, the original Liquid Gold is still widely available with the 30ml bottle retailing at around £14.99 from various retailers including ASOS, Space NKCult Beauty and Amazon. You can also get a large 100ml bottle for around £43, for most of these other retailers as well as from Look Fantastic, and M&S and if you fancy saving some money it's currently on offer at Amazon for £34.39!

2. Easy Piercing Saline Solution - 50ml

Next up another saline spray, what can I say I was still mad at NeilMed! I think I picked this particular one up because it was cheap, and I knew it must be decent because it's stocked at the studio where I get my piercings done.

Agin it's just pure saline solution with nothing else added, this 50ml spray actually lasted longer than I thought it would, and it would be perfect for travel or for just throwing in your bag to keep your piercings clean on the go.

I bought this particular bottle from Amazon where it retails at around £6.94.

3. Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask - 100ml

If you've been reading my blog for sometime now then you'll probably have already realised that I'm an advertiser or influencers dream. If something gets a cult reputation or if everyone seems to be talking about a product, then you can guarantee that I'll pretty much need it, and this was just one of those products.

I don't even think that it was that hyped up over its skincare benefits, it was more for the novelty value, with people turning their faces in fluffy, bubbly clouds that was the true selling point.

You can reads my review here, but I think that after finishing another pot my opinion has changed a little bit. This pot seemed to have a slightly different fresher scent, and I don't know if that was why, or if my skin has changed (probably more likely!) but I didn't seem to get on with this mask quite as well as I did. Whilst it still looked fun, I found the bubbling and tingly feeling a bit more uncomfortable this time round, so much so that I couldn't wait to wash it off, and it left my skin looking pretty pink.

Needless to say I probably won't be buying this again, and it's clear to see that the hype has now well and truly died down because this product is now really hard to find in the UK.You can find it on eBay, and whilst Amazon no longer stock the Elizavecca version there are several very similar looking products in their lists ranging from around £9.99 to £11.99.

4. Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Eucalyptus + Spearmint Stress Relief Sugar Body Scrub - 368g

Now it wouldn't be an empties post without the appearance of at least one body scrub, and this one was a new one for me. Whilst I definitely have a list of my favourite scrubs, that I'll definitely repurchase, I can't resist trying new ones, and this one if I remember rightly was a sale purchase again from Bath & Body Works.

From their 'Aromatherapy' range, comes a sugar scrub, which contains jojoba oil, in this case essential oils of eucalyptus and spearmint, as well as clary sage extract and safflower oil.

With a chunky, oily brown sugar like appearance, it has the super scrubby texture that I love, but it isn't too harsh or scratchy thanks to the high oil content that leaves the skin both exfoliated, moisturised and silky soft.

On paper this scrub is perfect for me but I just wasn't a huge fan of the scent. If I buy a product with eucalyptus in it, that's what I want it to smell like but for what ever reason, no matter what the brand I always end being disappointed. This scent isn't horrible by any stretch of the imagination it just isn't my favourite. The eucalyptus scent is definitely there but it's covered up by a lot of other things so you just end up with a herbal, green scent, a bit minty, head clearing but not really what I expected. This is definitely a unisex scent and I do think that a lot of people will love it, it just wouldn't be top of my list. There are a couple of other different scents in this scrub including a few lavender based scents though that I definitely want to try.

This scrub now comes in slightly different packaging, and retails at around £18 from NEXT Beauty online, and from Bath & Body Works stand alone stores and concessions.

So not a vintage performance in February, but could I do better in March 2022?

Eclat Advanced Foot Exfoliation Peeling Mask - 2 Socks - 60ml
Ginvera Green Tea Hydrating White Mask - 1 Sheet Mask
NeilMed Neil Cleanse Piercing Aftercare Fine Mist Wound Wash - 177.6g
Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips
AVON Advance Techniques Reconstruction Conditioner - 400ml
Total- 5 items 

Well, it turns out that I could - I went one better in March and equalled January's total of 5 items, including 3 things you've seen before, something new and an item from deep, deep in my stash!

1. Eclat Advanced Foot Exfoliation Peeling Mask - 2 Socks - 60ml

Something that March usually signifies is that winter is coming to its close and that spring is well and truly on its way, barring the odd rogue snow shower in April obviously! and if you're anything like me that means taking a closer look at what those boots, and fluffy socks have been hiding over the winter months.

I suffer from horribly dry feet and every now and then I love to use one of these masks to get rid of some of the worst calluses. I actually bought this particular one after seeing it mentioned on a Buzzfeed list which surprise, surprise featured predominantly Amazon products!.

You should know the drill by now - the sachet contained a pair of fibre lined plastic socks, cut them open and the socks contained a clearish liquid, which contained lactic and salicylic acids, lots of different alcohols, and oat kernel extract, which had a warm apple like, but slightly astringent scent.

As per the instructions I put the booties on to clean dry feel, and like every other similar product that I've tried they felt pretty squishy. They did feel slightly warm and stingy but nothing too strong or uncomfortable.

The instructions advised to leave them on for anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes, so you've guessed it, I left them on for the full 90! When I removed them my feet were covered in a slightly oily bubbly like solution. After rinsing my feet in warm water they looked a touch pink but nowhere near as red as some similar peels that I'd used in the past.

I initially had really high hopes for this peel, my skin started to feel tighter within 24 hours, and within 3 days the peeling had started, which is by far the quickest time of any previous mask that I'd used! Alas that was pretty much as good as it got, the dry skin peeled off here and there for another 5 or 6 days, and then it stopped. My feet were definitely smoother and less callused but it had barely made inroads into the dry skin on my heels. 

If you have the odd bit of dry or callused skin on your feet, then I would definitely give these a go, but unlike the original article suggested if your heels especially are thick and dry, then don't expect miracles.

That being said these aren't actually that expensive so they are probably worth a try. You can pick these up on Amazon for just £4.45 which is a pretty good price especially if you're a Prime customer (If you aren't though and you're in the UK don't forget you can use my link and sign up for a free 30 day trial!) You can also find them for various prices and multipacks on eBay.

2. Ginvera Green Tea Hydrating White Mask - 1 Sheet Mask

The next product on March's list came from the deep, deep depths on my skincare stash, and to be honest with you I have no idea where I got it from! 

I'm a huge, huge fan of the Ginvera Green Tea Marvel Gel facial peel, and this mask comes from the same brand. Containing green tea, vitamin C, and aloe vera, like so many Asian created masks this one is designed to hydrate, brighten and whiten.

The mask was a nice quality fibre sheet mask, I'm not sure how old this was so it wasn't really surprising that it wasn't the wettest mask that I'd ever used, but at least that made it fairly easy to unfold!

It didn't really have a lot of scent and since it seemed to dry out quickly I had a little lie and chill session for the 15 or so minutes that I had it on.

Despite the lack of moisture in the mask there was a little bit of leftover serum on my skin. I massaged it in an although it felt sticky for a good five minutes or so afterwards, my skin actually looked less red and more even, and my eye area especially looked a lot brighter.

Unfortunately I can't find this mask anywhere online, or I would have definitely considered repurchasing it. Even when it was 'way past its best' I still saw some good results, so if you know where I can buy this or if you can even recommend a reliable stockist of the Ginvera Green Tea Marvel Gel, then please let me know in the comments x 

3. NeilMed Neil Cleanse Piercing Aftercare Fine Mist Wound Wash - 177.6g

So after trying a few other saline sprays, I eventually retuned to my HG product - I talked about this is my previous empties post, so you can have a read and find out just way I rate this stuff so highly. If you have fresh or healing piercings then buy this! 

4. Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips

Blah, Blah - Love them, I don't want to bore you and talk about them again - repeat to fade...

5. AVON Advance Techniques Reconstruction Conditioner - 400ml

Question, are you one of those people who finishes their shampoo first or do you always end up using more conditioner? If you fall into the latter category then please tell me how that works - I just don't understand it!  I've use way more shampoo than I do conditioner, and again so it's proven, I finished the corresponding shampoo in January and I didn't finish the matching conditioner until March!

I've spoken at length on many occasions about how much I love the products in this range (have a little search if you don't believe me!) so if you've made it almost to the end of this post I'm not going to start boring you even further - lovely conditioner, my hair likes, and even though I'm currently using and loving something else at the moment, I will definitely continue to use and repurchase this product.

This 400ml size retails at around £5 direct from the AVON website or from you local rep.

If you've made it to the end of this post then thank you for your dedication and perseverance in reading this somewhat epic, longwinded post. I know it was long but I think that this is going to be the best way to try and my empties posts back up to date again x 

All in all a solid but not necessarily spectacular start to 2023 what with quarter of the year gone and 14 items down, surely if could only get better in the next quarter? Well, if you want to spoil the surprise then you can have a little look in my sidebar, otherwise you can hang on for my next empties post which should be live soon but in the meantime I'll have some fresh, probably beauty related content up soon x In the meantime though if you have any questions then please help save me from the spam and leave me a comment below, I hope that you all have a great start to the week and I'll see you all soon x 

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