Monday, 18 March 2019

Mothers Day At Poundland - Stationery, Homeware, And High End Make Up Dupes

When I was younger, like so many of peers I wouldn't have been seen dead in a so called discount stores, whether it was down to naivety, delusions of grandeur, just trying to fit in or just plain stupidity, I look back on the Louise of the 1990's and I cringe, I was such an idiot, discount and bargain stores rock and they probably always did.

It's simple really, why pay more for something when you don't need to, I am a huge fan of the so called discounter supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl, I love a good market stall, and of course I love bargain retailers like B&M and Home Bargains. My real love though is Poundland, you do sometimes need to watch their prices, as you can occasionally get things cheaper elsewhere but it's one of the few shops that I can never leave empty handed.

What do I buy in Poundland? well anything and everything, you name it and I've probably bought it in Poundland, nail varnish - check, CD's - check, cleaning products - check, yeah, you get the idea. I'm lucky enough to live quite close to one of their larger stores so I can't resist popping in every week or so, to see their latest arrivals.

Like so many stores now, Poundland is a buy it when you see it shop, if you don't get it when you see it there is no guarantee that it will be there the next time, I think that fear of missing out is probably one of the reasons that I buy so much on every trip.

Now I don't post as many hauls on the blog as I used to instead I tend to upload pictures to Instagram,  and save them to highlights but I thought that today I'd share some of my most recent Poundland buys with you, and they all have a bit of a theme.

If you are still lucky enough to have either your own mum in your life or if you're a mum yourself then you'll already know that it's now less than two weeks till Mothers Day. I think I'm just about sorted now but if you aren't and you either want some little things to add to a main present or you just want some cheaper or token items, or even if you fancy treating yourself on a budget, than Poundland really should be your first port of call.

On my last couple of trips I've noticed more and more items appearing in the their Mothers Day collection. With 90% of the range priced at just £1, this years offerings are perfect if you're are a fan of pinks and marble prints. With items ranging from these fabulous tea light holders, to travel mugs, coupon books, coasters, and trinket boxes, there really is something for every type of mum

Now my mam, is a bit of a puzzle book fan so I've picked up a cute set of pens that are shaped like cooking utensils for her (not pictured), and you know how it goes, I couldn't resist picking up a few stationery bits for me. The pack of  marble print washi tape wasn't in the Mothers Day range but everything else in this picture was. I love anything in gold, pink and marble, and I do love a notebook, so for just a £1 this one was a must, and I love the quotes like "Write Your Own Future" on the pencils.

As well as stationery Poundland's Mothers Day range also contains quite a few beauty items, I'd already picked up one of the marble Blending Sponges when they first appeared with the Valentines / Galentines range, and after a few uses I decided to get a back up. It works just as well as my Beauty Blender and I love the grey and white marble print. As well as the blending sponges, there are perfume dupes, nail polish and nail files sets, bath bombs and some pretty decent make up products.

For Mothers Day 2019, Poundland have released 3 cheek different products inspired by Revolution / Make Up Revolution's, popular Blushing Hearts line which retail at around £4.99 and were themselves inspired by Too Faced's £24 Sweethearts. I don't own any of the Too Faced originals but I'm pretty happy with the Revolution dupes that I do own, and £4.99 is a lot easier to spend then £24. What about a pound though, can make up that cheap really be any good? well I decided to find out and I managed to get my hands on two of Poundland's "heart" make up items.

The first item I picked up was the Bronzing Powder Triple Baked Bronzer. Sticking with the the pink, Mother's Day theme, it comes packaged in pink and white cardboard box. The box itself comes wrapped in a plastic seal so you can't actually see what you're buying, slightly risky but it was only a pound and there is nothing worse than getting a product home and finding someone else's fingerprints in it, so at least you've escaped that!

Open the box and you're greeted with your product adhered to a plastic insert, and boy does it look the part. The domed, chunky, heart shaped bronzer contains 3 shades, a deep warm gold, a deep brown bronze, and a slightly lighter nude bronze.

With the baked texture that you we've come to expect from this type of product, the payoff and pigmentation is superb, all of the shades are strong, and smooth, and I didn't have to do any of that scraping that your sometimes have to do with baked products to get to the colour - just warmth and shimmer in just one light swipe.

Unfortunately I haven't managed to take any pictures of these actually on my face yet, but I have used this bronzer for an all over look, swirling the colours together to warm my cheeks up, and then individually as eye colours. The shades aren't quite as dark as they appear in the pan but I definitely think that this will be more of a summer palette for me, it definitely adds a real glow and a bit of shimmer, which I think will work better on me when I'm not quite as pasty.

Now the other item I got is something that I can definitely wear all year round, it's the Triple Baked Highlighter. Yes, yes I have a ridiculous amount of highlighters but they make me happy, I mean look at it, it's so pretty!

Obviously it comes in the same packaging as the bronzer, only this time you're getting an altogether lighter, cooler toned glow. Again you get three shades in your chunky, domed heart, a true champagne, a more golden champagne tone and a bronze nude. Again I can't fault the colour payoff, or the texture, the pigmentation is there and it's definitely a case of shimmer rather than glitter.

Whilst the bronzer palette worked best for me on the eyes, this is more of a put it everywhere type palette, you can use each shade individually or swirl them together and use them on your cheek bones, brow bones, and again you could even create a full eye look with just this one heart.

I wasn't expecting a lot from these two palettes but I'm so, so impressed for the price. They feel nice, the colour payoff is superb and they were really easy to apply and blend, oh and did I mention that they aren't tested on animals? Yes you get a little bit of fallout, and they create a bit of dust, and I can imagine that the packaging will get a bit grubby after a while but hey I can live with that, they are a £1 each what's not to love! I can't really justify buying any more cheek products at the moment but I'm so tempted to go on a hunt for the as yet elusive, Blushing Hearts Blusher to complete my trio, if that is even half as good as these then for just £1 it will still be well worth picking up. If you've tried it though let me know your thoughts As I say when you see things in Poundland you should buy them, everything that I've seen and read seems to suggest that there were made specifically for Mothers Day so if you fancy a real make up bargain or anything else that I've mentioned then I'd get yourself down to Poundland sooner rather than later x Are you like me and a fan of bargain and discount stores? Share you best finds with me in the comments x

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Unboxing Glossybox UK - March 2019 - The Empowerment Edition

After the special Valentines Day, heart theme of the February box, the March edition of Glossybox has gone back to basics with a return to the traditional box colour palette of pink and black. The box itself is in the trademark dusky pink, the lining is black and pink, the paper shred is black, and the products inside are wrapped in pink tissue paper tied with a black ribbon. I love the limited editions that Glossybox often have but at the same time there is something quite stylish about their original black and pink design.

Underneath the ribbon, as per usual you find an information card, telling you about the box and the products inside, normally it's just a double side piece of card but in this box it's changed to a four page fold out booklet x

The theme of March's Glossybox is Empowerment and the box contains 5 product that are created by innovative and go getting entrepreneurs, sounds good doesn't it? but what is inside? well let's pull back the ribbon, and see...

Bellapierre Kiss Proof Lip Creme - Incognito - 3.6ml - Full Size - RRP £20

The first product is a full size item from Bellapierre. I've tried a few products for Bellapierre over the years, and my first product was one of their fabulous multi purpose, mineral pigment stacks. In the early days they were known just as a toxin, paraben and cruelty free, mineral make up brand, but nowadays they offer so much much more than just pigments and powders.

In March's Glossybox every subscriber received a full sized Kiss Proof Lip Creme. These are full coverage, long wear, liquid lipsticks, that go like a cream and have a matte finish. Glossybox customers were randomly sent one of 4 shades and the one I received was Incognito which is officially described as a "muted peach nude".

As you can see from the swatch below the pigmentation is superb, you only need a small amount of product for full coverage. Thanks to the slanted doe foot style sponge, applicator it's really easy to apply and it's easy to accentuate and stay within the lines of your lips. At first it looks quite creamy, but give it a minute or so to dry(the colour darkens slightly as it dries), and you are left with a matte, but not flat finish. Like all matte products it is slightly drying, and it does tend to cling to any dry bits that you have on your lips but it certainly isn't the most moisture sapping product that I've ever used. 

What about wear time, well it's pretty fantastic as it turns out. I've only managed to wear this twice so far but it's survived mashed potato, vegetable stew, and ice cream, and it still stayed put. It's pretty easy to reapply but if you don't bother to touch up it gradually fades and eventually it goes a little bit bitty. When I took my make up off last night there was still a bit colour of coming off my lips so yeah this is pretty long wearing. Obviously the matte look isn't for everyone though so if you wanted to put a gloss on over the top you could change the look and the finish. If you read any of my Glossybox Advent Calendar unboxing posts then you might have seen me mention a product called the Bellapierre Kiss Proof Lip Finish (You can have a read here if you haven't seen it). That product is specifically designed to be used alongside these lip cremes to add gloss, and prolong the life of your lip colour. I haven't tried the two together yet but it's definitely something that I'm going to be trying soon.

So nice colour, super long wearing, it should be love, and it very nearly is bar one thing! In application it doesn't smell too bad, a slight synthetic fruity scent but nothing too nasty, as it dries though it develops a not very pleasant plastic, newspaper, rubbery scent and taste, which lingers for as long as the colour does. To be honest I'm quite devastated about it, I love the product and I would happily buy more based on my initial impressions if it wasn't for the taste and scent. I'm hoping some flavoured balm or gloss while eradicate it, but only time will tell.

Bellapierre Kiss Proof Lip Cremes retail at £20, and are available from various retailers including Bellapierre direct, Look Fantastic, and Beauty Expert.

BYBI Plumper Lip Balm - 10ml - Full Size - RRP £9 

Next up the product that was trailed in last months box from 100% natural, cruelty free, and vegan company BYBI. Available from both ASOS and their own website, this full size, plumping lip balm is designed to soften, restore and protect the lips. It contains Shea butter, orange and grape seed oil, peppermint, cinnamon and chilli. 

At first glance the tube looks like it's made out of plastic, but it's actually an eco tube made out of sugar cane rather than plastic, so it's 100% biodegradable, and recyclable. The tube itself is quite hard to squeeze, not because of what it's made of but because of the thick consistency of the balm. The yellowish, waxy balm is really thick so you only need a really small amount. Despite it's thickness it melts on contact with the lips and its quite easy to massage in. With a a cinnamon and mint flavour and scent, it leaves a nice sheen on the lips. I did experience a slight tingling sensation, but it definitely wasn't painful or uncomfortable. Unfortunately I didn't manage to take any pictures of it on  but I didn't really notice any real change in their volume, I definitely noticed a change in the smoothness of my lips though and I like how it looked and how it felt so I'm definitely going to keep at and see if makes any difference to the condition of my lips in the long term.

Laritzy Cosmetics Dew Pot - Utopia - 3.5g - Full Size - RRP $20 / £15.30 - £20

Next up another make up item, and this is an item from one of those brands that you only ever seem to see in subscription boxed. I've tried a few bits from this US based, 100% cruelty free and vegan brand before, and I've always been pretty impressed. In fact I've already tried one of the Dew Pots before after receiving in August 2018's Pink Parcel (click here to watch my unboxing). The colour I received then was Wonder, an icy white, but in this edition of Glossybox I received Utopia, a warm rose gold. I know it looks as though there is more than one colour in the put here but I think it's just a slight separation of the pigment - now that I've swatched it, the whole pot looks the same colour

Dew Pots are basically smooth and creamy blend able highlighters, that suit all skin tones and all skin types. Because they are so creamy, you only need a small amount to add a subtle, dewy glow to the skin, but you can add more for a more dramatic effect. 

I've just applied a bit to my cheekbones here to add a bit of a glow. because it's so smooth and creamy it's really easy to apply it with your fingers, just pot a few dots on and then blend it in. You could use a brush or a sponge, but fingers do the job just fine. You can use it on top of make up or directly onto bare skin but I've used it on top of a face powder here, and it still blends in pretty well without too much caking.

I do love a highlighter so I'm always happy to add new ones to my collection, and this one is super pretty. This isn't the easiest of brand to get in the UK but you can buy this product direct from Laritzy and you can also buy it from the Pink Parcel Shop.

Essence Instant Matte Make Up Setting Spray - 50ml - Full Size - RRP £3

The fourth product in this months Glossybox, is from one of my favourite budget brands, the female founded Essence. I've been lucky enough to have worked with Essence in the past and I've bought products from them for years both Europe and now from Wilko in the UK. 

I have to say I'm a tiny bit cynical when it comes to facial sprays, and setting mists, do they actually work or is it just the quality of the make up underneath? I'm not sure but I still continue to buy them and use them. This is a new one to me though, it's oil free, lightweight and non sticky and it aims to mattify the skin, set make up and make it last longer.

I haven't had too much of a chance to use this yet, but based on a couple of squirts, it feels cooling on the skin  and it doesn't really have any scent bar that synthetic scent that fragrance free products often have. It did make my eyes water a little bit but I like the mattifying idea so I'm going to try integrate this product into my make up routine over the next few weeks to see how it performs. This is a full 50ml size which is valued at £3 and it's perfect for both your handbag and you dressing table.

The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter - 50ml - RRP £6

If you've been reading my blog for a while now then you'll know that I'm a bit of a fan of The Body Shop. I've been lucky enough to work with them on several occasions. I love a lot of their products but one of my long term favourites has to be their body butters. 

I've lost count of how many different scents that I've tried over the years, and March's Glossybox contained a 50ml size in either Shea, Coconut or Wild Argan. The one I received was their Coconut Body Butter. I would be the first to admit that coconut isn't my favourite scent but there is something about this particular product that I love. Containing virgin coconut oil from Samoa and Polynesia, this stuff has a real, fresh coconut scent, that a million miles away from the synthetic scent of so many coconut based body products. This is one of their ultra creamy body butters that is designed for dry to extra dry skin. It takes a while to absorb but it's worth the wait.

Because you need so little this 50ml size which retails at £6.00 will last you for ages, and give you that summer feeling even when it's snowing outside!!

So those 5 products made up March's Glossybox, and despite the odd quirk I'm very happy with the contents. I'll use all of the products, and all of the products bar the body butter are full sized, and even that is a decent, retail size. Considering the Bellapierre Lip Creme retails at £20, and the whole box on my plan retails at £13.25, again March's Glossybox is excellent value for money. The sneaky peek for April's Fruity and Floral themed box, is a Pomegranate Superfood Regenerating Sleeping Mask from Dr Botanicals, so if you're interested in getting your own box with a bit of a discount, then click my link to find out more x Let me know your thoughts on this box in the comments below, and if you have any questions please let me know xx 

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Tarte Overexposed Highlighter Kit Winners Revealed

Right it's the post that you've all been waiting for - it's time to reveal the two lucky winners of my Tarte Overexposed Highlighter Kit giveaway, I had nearly 300 entries but there can only be two winner and they are...

Rachel I.
Laura C.

Congratulations Ladies! I will be contacting you via email asap for details. If you weren't lucky enough to win this time don't worry I have plenty more giveaways planned including another Tarte one which be launching soon x Thanks again to everyone that entered and thanks again for following and reading my blog xx 

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Trimming My Stash - February 2019 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews*

I don't know about you guys but at the moment I think I'm in the middle of a pancake coma! Gluten free pancakes aren't the easiest thing to master but thanks to a slight tweak to Gizzi Erskine's famous recipe, pancakes have been made (you can see some pics on my Instagram if you want to see how they came out x) and consumed, so I'm now feeling a little bit full and a bit lethargic, so I'm going to apologise in advance for how this post might comes out lol

I'm finding it all a bit scary though that we're in March already, it doesn't seem two minutes since Christmas, and what with the relatively warm for the time of year, temperatures, it seems like we've bypassed winter altogether. Only joking it's actually forecast for snow this weekend, but I'm sure you get where I'm coming from, yet again the months and years are flying by!

February was a busy month for me, as well as dealing for a seeming never ending fibro, and CFS flare, as I mentioned in my last post, I've also been having a bit of a sort out and a bit of a change around in my room. As well as binning a few bits that were passed their best, I also discovered a whole box of beauty products that I'd completely forgotten about! but hey what's one more boxful of goodies, when you already have about a dozen to use up? It's only made me even more determined to keep on using things up, and of course to stick to my philosophy of buying less and using more. 

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bod Buff Smoothing Scrub 'N' Mask - 15ml

AVON True Nutra Effects Micellar Cleansing Water - 400ml
Natura Rose Infused Sheet Mask - 1 x Sheet Mask - 22ml
Clarins Foot Beauty Treatment Cream - 50ml
Tea Tree Daily Use Cleansing Facial Wipes - 25 x Wipes
Total - 5 Items

When it comes to trimming my stash though, February wasn't the best of months. Although I was one up on January's total I still only managed to finish 5 items. As I say I binned a few bits and pieces but because I didn't actually use them up I can't count them, so no make up items, and no haircare, and instead a nice but small mix of skin care and body care products.

1. Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bod Buff Smoothing Scrub 'N' Mask - 15ml

Now first up a products that I acquired sometime last year through the FEELUNIQUE Pick 'n' Mix scheme. I don't use it all the time but it does give you a good opportunity to try try some sample sized products before you buy the full sizes. Every month you can pick 5 samples from an extensive list of skin, body care, fragrance and make up minis for only £3.95. Your samples are delivered straight to you door, and the £3.95 that you paid, can be redeemed against any future purchases from FEELUNIQUE. As I say I don't get one every month but if you keep checking back your can sometimes pick up some real gems.

A lot of the samples are in sachets but I was lucky enough on one occasion to get this good, travel sized tube of body scrub. From the same stable as the almost cult status, Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. This scrub isn't just a daily exfoliating body scrub, it's also a detoxifying body treatment mask. 

Containing, Amazon river clay, rice bran wax, coconut oil, cupuaco seed butter, acai fruit oil, henna, basil, turmeric, and crushed Brazilian quartz crystal, you can either use it like you would a regular body scrub by massaging it in to damp skin, or you can use it on the body as a treatment mask, simply apply it dry skin, and then leave it for 5-10 minutes until it sets, and then add warm water, and massage into the skin before rinsing the excess away.

The first thing you notice about this is the colour, probably thanks to the turmeric and henna, it's a bright mustard yellow with very small blue, green particles suspended, in an almost clay face mask kind of consistency. After the colour the next thing you notice is the smell, officially described as pistachio and salted caramel, it has quite a strong perfumed scent, I'm sure I get those particular notes from it but it is very tropical and very summery.

To be honest I just used it as a body scrub, and whilst this kind of cream based formula isn't my favourite body scrub consistency I did actually enjoy using this. It wasn't the scrubbiest of scrubs that I'd ever used but it did the job. I don't know about it making me beach ready but my definitely felt cleaner and smoother.

This isn't the cheapest product out there at around £21 for 160ml but I wonder definitely consider not only buying the full size but also trying the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, and the rest of the range in the future. You can buy the full range from various retailers including FEELUNIQUE, Cult Beauty, Selfridges, Harrods, and Harvey Nichols.

2. AVON True Nutra Effects Micellar Cleansing Water - 400ml

Now I'm a bit of a fan of micellar waters, and out of all of them that I tried two from AVON are definitely in current my top 5. I'm a huge fan of the AVON ANEW Anti-Aging 3 in 1 Cleansing Water and at the moment I'm loving this particular one from their True Nutra Effects range.

Basically micellar waters contain an ingredient called micelles which basically act like magnets to remove all of the make up and impurities from the skin. This particular one also contains AVON's unique active seed complex which contained both vitamin E and chia seed. Designed to gently remove makeup from the face, eyes and lips, it's suitable for sensitive skins and it's allergy tested and paraben free. 

It always surprises me how unassuming micellar waters look and this is one is no different. With no real scent and a water like, clear appearance, you don't expect miracles, but this one removes every trace make up without redness and even with my super sensitive eyes only a tiny bit of watering!

I don't use micellar waters all of the time, but when I'm lacking in spoons, or pushed for time, I often use them for a quick morning cleanse, or for a super quick make up removal or night time cleanse. Whilst some skincare aficionados questions their use, for me they are good alternative to wipes when it comes to speed and convenience. I'm currently trying a few other micellar waters out so it might be a while before you see another one of these in an empties post but I do occasionally order one or two when they are on offer. The 200ml size has a recommended retail price of £4 but depending on the brochure you can sometime make some decent savings. This particular bottle is the 400ml double size, it isn't a regular stock item but you do see it every now and then.

3. Natura Rose Infused Sheet Mask - 1 x Sheet Mask - 22ml

I've already briefly talked this mask in my January Pink Parcel unboxing (click here to read it, if you haven't already) but now I've had a change to try I feel I can say a little bit more about it x 

From Beauty Pro's vegan friendly line, this sheet mask contains extracts of lavender and rosemary and rosewater, and it's designed to calm, and hydrate the skin, and to soothe irritation, and minimise redness.

My skin is a bit all over the place at the minute, with spots, redness and dry patches so I thought I'd give this a go. The first thing I noticed was just how wet this mask actually was, it was literally dripping, with an almost water like scented solution. I expected to have a rose scent but it actually had quite an aromatherapy / herbal based scent, with unusually just a hint of baby powder. Because it was so wet, I had to lie back and properly relax for 15 minutes to stop the excess liquid running down my neck!

After the 15 minutes was up there was still quite a bit of liquidy residue on my skin so I helped it along it's way and started to massage it in to my face, and neck. It was a touch sticky, at first but the majority of the liquid did eventually absorb into my skin. When it had absorbed it my skin felt cooler and fresher, and it definitely looked brighter and clearer.

It wasn't the most hydrating mask that I've ever used buy it was a nice treat for tired, dull skin. The mask retails at £4.95 and is available directly from Beauty Pro and the Pink Shop.
4. Clarins Foot Beauty Treatment Cream - 50ml**

As a blogger I'm sometimes lucky enough to be invited along to blog or press events, and something that you often get is a goodie bag. Now I know that I didn't buy thing and I know that I've never received it as part of a gift with purchase so the only place that I think it could have come from is in a goodie bag, which one? I have no idea, but I thought I'd better be safe than sorry and mention it's potential origins ;)

Anyways because of thyroid issues I do have very dry feet so I'm always on the look out for new miracle, foot care products, and in particular foot creams that don't smell of mint. I not the biggest fan of minty aromas so anytime I can find a foot product with them is a bonus. Containing cashew nut, Shea butter, arnica, myrrh and thyme, this cream has a fresh herbal type scent.

It has a a creamy, non oily texture, but it's not too thick, so it's quite easy to massage it in to the feet. Because it isn't the thickest of textures it absorbs into the skin quite easily, and because of the arnica extract it does leave them feeling less achy, and tense. 

When it comes to foot creams though my feet need a products with a bit of a bite and unfortunately this didn't quite cut the mustard. It's a good everyday cream but if you have very dry skin, you might be better off with a more hydrating, intensive treatment. The full 125ml size retails at around £25 at Clarins concessions and online.

5. Tea Tree Daily Use Cleansing Facial Wipes - 25 x Wipes

Finally a packet of face wipes, and unusually they're not my usuals from Primark. I originally bought these in B&M for £1 for 2 packs of 25 wipes, but they are also available in Poundland. I already finished one packet, back in September (read my thoughts here), and after finishing the second packet last month my opinion hasn't really changed.

Yes they contains tea tree, but they also contains peppermint, and as a result they have quite a strong menthol, minty based scent, which I found slightly irritating on my eyes and skin. I ended up using these for swatch removal and in my handbag as almost hand sanitising wipes. They were pretty good for that but in future I think I'll stick to my old favourite Primark wipes.

After all of that concentration and contemplation I think the pancake overdose is subsiding, ah the relief, anyways they were my February empties, the aim is to do better in March but if you have any questions on any of the items that I've mentioned then please leave me a comment below x 

*This Post Contains Both Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links
**Came In Blog Event Goodie Bag 

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Lou's Lip Product Love In - Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick - Backstage Bambi

Over the last few weeks or so I've been having a bit of a sort out - Thanks to Facebook Marketplace I finally got my hands on an IKEA Malm Dressing Table! IKEA in their wisdom discontinued all of the Malm range in the birch / beech finish so I'd pretty much given up on ever finding one that matched the rest of my bedroom furniture. The best things as they say though, come to those who wait, and my patience paid eventually paid off!

One of the plus points of the IKEA Malm Dressing Table, is the huge storage drawer, so I'm in the process of reorganising my makeup storage, and finding places for all of my bits and bobs. As well as weeding out the odd broken powder and crayon smelling lipstick, sorting out my make up collection has also given me the opportunity to both distinguish my most used products, and to rediscover lots of old favourites.

This post is the first in what I guess will be an occasional mini series, I've had a good sort through my lip collection, and I want to share some of my favourite products with you. I've got a review of a kit coming up, and a few collective posts but I thought I'd start off by talking about one of my favourite 'happy' lip colours.

Putting some of her personal opinions aside, you have to hand it to Kat Von D, her make up collection is on point. Like so many US based brands, it took a while for the range to make it across the Atlantic, but thanks to a globetrotting bestie, I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette before the range launched in the UK, and it was love at first swatch, so when the brand launched into Debenhams in 2016, I immediately ordered a few bits including this lipstick, which rapidly became a firm favourite in my collection.

Now as well as being famous, or should I say infamous for her vegan and cruelty free stance, Kat Von D really became famous through her work as a tattoo artist, and she's most definitely carried that artistic flare though into her make up line. All of the packaging has a dark, almost Gothic vibe, and her lipstick tubes in particular have an almost sculptural feel. What came first the packaging or the name? I don't know but what I do know is that the name of her lipstick range Studded Kiss is reflected perfectly in the black plastic, raised stud design lipstick tube. This packaging is totally unique and it doesn't just look striking, it's also immensely practical, I sometimes have tremors and pains in my hands and the textured tube is really easy to hold, and grip even on my worst days.

As striking as it is, it isn't all about the packaging, the lipstick inside is pretty special too. There are around 40 shades of Studded Kiss lipstick to choose from ranging from your regular pinks, reds and nudes, to more daring fashion lead shades, like purple and green. For my first purchase I played it relatively safe and went for Backstage Bambi, a vivid hot pink in Kat Von D's satin matte formulation.

Embossed with KVD logo, this lipstick like rest of the Kat Von D range, is both vegan and cruelty and it's also free from parabens and mineral oils. All of the lipsticks in this range have a high pigment content and contain nourishing and moisturising ingredients.

As you can see from this swatch the pigmentation is excellent. Given the satin matte formulation, it isn't the creamiest lipstick I've ever used but neither is it the most drying. It feels pretty comfortable on the lips and it wears incredibly well, like so many lipsticks now it almost fades down to a stain, so you don't need to constantly reapply. I used to be quite scared of colours like this, because I don't particularly like drawing attention to my uneven lips, but the older I get, the braver I get, so the brighter and more vivid the pink, the better!

I can honestly say that there isn't a thing that I dislike about this lipstick. I love the packaging, I love the colour, I love the wear time and I love the sweet vanilla scent and taste. I took the product photos quite a while ago now and it's probably just as well, because my Backstage Bambi doesn't look quite a beautiful as it once did, to say it's well used it an understatement! If Backstage Bambi isn't for you there are at least 39 other shades to choose from in the Kat Von D Studded Kiss range, so you're bound to find a colour to suit you. I'm definitely going to buying a back up in the near future, and next time I fancy a new lipstick I think Kat Von D may be my first port of call x Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipsticks have a recommended retail price of £17 / $20 and are available in the UK from the Debenhams website, selected Debenhams stores, and directly from Kat Von D. Have you tried anything from Kat Von D? Let me know your recommendations in the comments below x

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Unboxing Pink Parcel - February 2019 Edition - Backstage Favourites*

Earlier this month I posted a slightly late review of January's Pink Parcel (click here to read it), and for my very first blog unboxing I have to say that it was a bit of a let down. The box seemed to be almost thrown together and there didn't seem to have been any thought behind it or any real theme. The value was there but compared to previous boxes I was left feeling a bit mehhh. With Pink Parcel promising changes and improvements, starting with their February box, though, I couldn't help but be a little bit excited about what was to come this month.

From the minute that the postman handed me the box I could see that whole box had been given a fresh, new look. Instead of coming in a black plastic mailing bag February's box came in bright and clean cream / white patterned plastic mailing bag. The box itself as promised had also changed, it was smaller and slightly sturdier (although still not really reusable), and instead of the dark grey and pink design of the old box, it was now white with a pink swirl design. It was also printed with the Cosmopolitan logo, I can't find anything that says that this was a collaboration box so it could just be promotional, advertising or sponsorship.

The box opens with the familiar tear off strip, and immediately on opening it I noticed a few differences. Again there was no product information leaflet, but from what I gather out of environmental concerns, and to prevent paper waste, the Pink Parcel Post leaflet will be now be sent via email. I received my email a couple of days after I'd received the box and it contained information on the box theme, Backstage Favourites, and information on all of the products in the box.

The biggest and most visible change though, is in the contents and layout of the box again down to environmental concerns, there are now just 2 boxes instead of the usual 3. So you now get one box which says "MUSTS" which contains sanitary protection, the familiar fabric pouch, and a box which has the words "WANTS" on it.

Again, this month I chose a box that just contained sanitary pads. The fabric pouch, this time in a Valentines themed, red and pink heart design, and the MUSTS box both contained a variety of sanitary pads, including night time pads and panty liners. Like last month rather than the products I'd requested I received a mixture of brands, and compared to last month I did receive slightly fewer items, but I still received more than enough branded sanitary products to last the duration of my period.

Now as much as I love the convenience of getting sanitary protection delivered directly to my home every month, that isn't really the reason why I look forward to my Pink Parcel delivery, for me it's all about the extras.  The old style "For You" box has now been replaced with a similar sized white box, with the word "WANTS" printed on it, which contains a mixture of items to make that time of the month just that little bit easier.

Soaper Duper Fruity Green Tuberose Body Lotion - 250ml - Full Size - RRP £7.50

One of the reasons why I love subscription boxes so much is that they give you the opportunity to try new brands, and the first item in February's Pink Parcel is from a new brand to me Soaper Duper. Based in the UK Soaper Duper, is a naturally derived, affordable bath and body care range, that contains no parabens, microbeads, SLS or any other nasties. The range is vegan and cruelty free, and all of the packaging is made from 100% PCR (post consumer recycled plastic). They are also supporters of the charity Water Aid.

In February's Pink Parcel we received one of two body lotions and the one I received was Fruity Green Tuberose. Made from 98% naturally derived ingredients, the full list of natural ingredients is way too long to mention but this body lotion includes smoothing fruit acids of pineapple, grape and passion fruit, hydrating aloe vera, nourishing shea nut butter, sweet almond oil, borage oil, coconut water and vitamin E.

At first sniff I wasn't sure about the smell at all, it's very unusual, it's very green with a touch of fruitiness. Once you've applied it to the skin though like an expensive fragrance it comes to life, and the different fragrance notes start to come through, and you can really smell the headiness of the tuberose. It's definitely an acquired scent but it's really grown on me.

It's quite a runny textured lotion, and as a result a small amount goes a long way. It soaks in quickly and despite the liquidy texture it is actually quite moisturising. I've used this a few times now and I have to say that I'm really impressed with it, it's absorbs into the skin really easily, and it's very hydrating so it's an ideal product for when you're in a rush. As I say the scent is an acquired one in my opinion, and it definitely won't be to every ones taste, but I love tuberose, and this is definitely a scent that's grown on me.

I've got to say I love the whole concept of the brand and I'm definitely going to try and pick up a few more products from the range in the future. You can buy this product directly from Soaper Duper and from various other selected retailers including Tesco.  

ORYZA Beauty Velvet Ribbon Lipstick - Lido - 3.8g - Full Size - RRP £15.95

Next up a full size lipstick from a brand called ORYZA. I've had a few ORYZA products from various subscription boxes including another one of these lipsticks in the shade Arwa, and even though I don't know a lot about the brand I've been pretty impressed so I was pleased to see another product in this months Pink Parcel. I've done a bit of research and ORYZA are a 100% cruelty free, UK brand that focuses on natural ingredients. Their key ingredient and the ingredient from which they take their name is Oryza Sativa aka rice germ oil, their products also include safflower seed, sunflower seed, and jojoba oils, and shea butter.

Containing rice germ oil, shea butter, vitamin E, and pomegranate fruit extract, their velvet ribbon lipsticks, are nourishing and hydrating, and have a long wear, weightless satin finish. 

This particular shade Lido is described as a dusky pink, nude, it has a lot of warmth to it, and slight peach and coral tones. It's a nice wearable shade that would suit a lot of ages and lot of different skin tones. If you aren't a fan of matte's then this may be the finish for you, it isn't too shiny, but at the same time it isn't an out and out dry, flat matte. It applies easily with dragging and it does seem to add a little bit of moisture to the lips.

Because it isn't too shiny or too moisturising it wears well, and fades down evenly leaving a slight stain on the lips. I don't think this is the cheapest lipstick out there but if you're looking for something a bit different brand wise, and for a cruelty free brand with good quality ingredients than ORYZA is probably a brand worth looking at. I've worn this and the other shade that I have a few times already and I've been pretty impressed with the finish, the shades and the wear time. You can buy ORYZA products from their own website and from the Pink Parcel Shop.

Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm - 4ml

The next item in the box is a product that has almost cult status and with good reason. This little tube of magic only contains one ingredient, the highest grade, purest lanolin, from Australian free roaming sheep. It really is a multi purpose product, and you can use it on dry skin literally anywhere on the body, from your cuticles, to cold ravaged noses, lips and nipples, and you can even use it to shine your shoes.

I've had a couple of tubes of this in the past from various boxes and I predominantly use it as a lip balm. Yellow in colour it has a thick balm like texture, which melts on contact with the skin. With no real scent or taste, a little goes a long way, a small amount adds a nice gloss to the lips, whilst a larger amount moisturises and protects, it takes a little while to soak in, but it definitely helps with hydration and it's a must if like me you have sore and cracked lips at the moment due to the weird hot, cold weather we're having at the moment.

Obviously this product isn't suitable for vegans, or anyone who suffers from an allergy to lanolin, but if you don't fall into either of those categories, then I would thoroughly recommend this product if you have any areas of dry skin on your face or body. I can't find an RRP for this exact size tube but an 8ml size tube retails at £5.99, and a pack of 6 of these 4ml tubes retails at £25, so if you do the maths then the cheapest estimate for this 4ml tube is around £2.99.

Marvis Cinnamon Mint Toothpaste - 10ml

Like February's Glossybox, February's Pink Parcel also contains a tube of toothpaste. This one though is from Italian toothpaste brand, Marvis. With a xylitol and sorbitan based formula, all of their toothpastes are designed to whiten and protect the teeth and freshen the breath. When it comes to toothpastes though Marvis have always pushed the boundaries with their exotic toothpaste flavours, and this tube is in one their most popular flavours Cinnamon Mint. I haven't opened it or broken the seal yet but I can already smell an almost astringent, cinnamon, aniseed ball scent. You do get a little bit sick of mint flavoured toothpastes so I can't wait to give this a try. The full 85ml size retails at around £7 from various retailers including lookfantastic. I can only find this particular size on a US website where is retails at around $1.95.

Vitamasques Diamond Gold Mask - Brightening - 1 x 20ml Sheet Mask - Full Size - £5.99

Another sheet mask, and another mask from Vitamasques! I think I've just about tried most of their masks now but I don't think I've tried this one yet. This mask is from their Gold range, and it's infused with real gold flakes, as well as real diamond and pearl powders. It's cruelty free, vegan,and paraben, mineral oil and sulphate free. Suitable for all skin types it's designed to promote a healthy, and natural glow and to increase the skins moisture content. I'll add this one to my to use pile, so keep an eye on my monthly empties posts to find out what I think about it x In the meantime you can buy it directly from Vitamasques, from HQ Hair, Amazon and the Pink Shop.

Chocolate And Love Napolitan - Madagascar - 5.5g
Chocolate And Love Napolitan - Panama - 5.5g

One of the highlights of every Pink Parcel, is the sweetie component, I have a crazy sweet tooth, and chocolate really is my vice, so I was delighted to find two all be it tiny chocolate bars from award winning UK based organic, fair trade, ethical chocolate company, Chocolate and Love. 

Both of these tiny bars are suitable for vegans. The Madagascar bar is a single origin dark chocolate with 70% cocoa. It has a rich almost coffee like bitterness to but it had a very smooth mouth feel. The Panama on the other hand is dark chocolate with 80% cocoa, again it was smooth and rich but it had a much fruitier flavour.

Although the pieces were quite small, it was a nice quality chocolate that really helped satisfy some of this months cravings. Obviously it's almost impossible to put a true price on two small pieces but you can buy a Rich Dark Tin directly from Love And Chocolate that contains 30 pieces like this including these two varieties for £11.99.

Pure Chimp Turmeric Matcha Green Tea - 2 x 1g Servings 

Finally something else that you always get in Pink Parcel, something to drink. Normally you get a tea bag but this month we got something a little bit different. This sachet contains two servings of 100% natural and vegan turmeric matcha green tea. All you do is mix the contents of the sachet, which contains powdered green tea leaves, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, with hot or cold milk. I've never tried anything like this before so I'm definitely going to try this out sooner rather than later. Again it's impossible to give an accurate price comparison but a 50g jar retails at £9.95 directly from Pure Chimp.

So that was February's Pink Parcel, and I have to say I'm a lot happier with this months than I was with January's. The contents was definitely more thought out, the value was most definitely there and the new packaging is definitely a step in the right direction. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and if you are interested in trying out Pink Parcel for yourself you can find out more via this link.

*This Post Contains Both Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links