Thursday 14 December 2017

Look Fantastic Beauty In Wonderland 2017 Advent Calendar - Part 1 - Days 1 - 12

I don't know why it is, but at this time of year I always tend to look back at Christmas's past. Christmas has changed so much since I was child, but so many things have stayed constant and one of those is the excitement of opening the doors of an advent calendar and counting down the days until Christmas.

Advent calendars have came a long way since I was a child, my earliest memories of advent calendars were those traditional cardboard calendars, which my mam usually bought from the local newsagent, that were sprinkled with glitter and had a festive image behind each door. I know you can still get them and personally despite their simplicity I loved them, but I just don't think that a lot of today's children would be too happy to get just a little picture in their advent calendar! Things have changed and in a big way!

Being a chocoholic though the introduction of chocolate advent calendars were a big thing for me, - I mean what could honestly be better than eating chocolate for breakfast! erm not much in my opinion, and even at my age both myself and Mummy Lou, always count down to the big day with a chocolate advent calendar or two. Over the last few years or so though I've jumped onto a relatively new bandwagon and I've added a beauty advent calendar to my festive traditions.

Nowadays there seems to be a new breed of advent calendar, the luxury calendar which is almost like an early gift in it's own right. No longer content with just a piece of chocolate, you can now get advent calendars geared towards both children and adults containing everything from beer, to gin, to cheese, to nail polish and LEGO, and this year I've even seen one which contains shall we say, slightly more adult themed toys. What will they think of next? I think it's been well documented that some of these advent and 12 days of Christmas calendars are just plain rip offs but some of them do offer genuine value for money and are well worth picking up,

In the last two years I was lucky enough to get my hands on the M&S Marks & Spencer beauty advent calendar, and whilst this years little house themed version looked amazing and is probably their best one to date I decided to try something different. As I say advent calendars have become more like presents in their own right, and my lovely mummy kindly offered to buy me a calendar as part of my Christmas present I was pretty much spoilt for choice. My initial aim was to get the QVC UK TILI Advent Calendar but it sold it in seconds creating all manner of problems for QVC's poor social media team, so instead I went for the Look Fantastic Beauty In Wonderland Advent Calendar.

This calendar retailed at £79, and whilst it certainly wasn't the cheapest one on the market, it certainly wasn't the most expensive of this years offerings either. I have to be honest and say that this is one of the prettiest and most useful calendars that I've seen.

Although the calendar contains images of deer and fir trees it isn't obviously Christmas themed, instead it features a beautifully illustrated fairy tale theme.

The fact that it doesn't scream Christmas means that this calendar can definitely serve a dual purpose. Made of a good quality thick card, this calendar is basically a mini chest of drawers, which will be perfect for storing make up or beauty products, or even crafting supplies, knick knacks or jewellery.

Open the midnight blue decorated, magnetic fastening doors and the surprises just keep on coming. The top section which is empty features a flip top lid, with ribbon hinges and a large mirror. Underneath that are 4 good sized sturdy drawers with white grosgrain ribbon pulls.

The drawers contain 25 numbered, removable boxes, to help you countdown the days until Christmas day. Inside the boxes you gift of the day comes beautifully wrapped in tissue paper which is covered in drawings of beauty products and wording in keeping with the Alice In Wonderland theme such as Love Me, Swatch Me, Apply Me, Use Me, Spritz Me, Lather Me and Smell Me. Every aspect of this calendar has been so well thought out, it would have been so easy to just wrap the products in plain tissue but Look Fantastic really have put a lot of thought into this calendar, and every aspect of it just works and adds to the appeal and the excitement, honestly it really is beautiful and my not the best winter light photos just don't fo it justice!

Okay it looks beautiful, and it's reusable but what's the contents like? Well, it been hard to resist opening all of the boxes at once but I've been good and I'm sticking to my days and my calendar and I'm only opening one box a day. I know I've posting pictures of the contents on Instagram but I thought I'd share the contents with you as well - so this is what the Look Fantastic Beauty In Wonderland Advent Calendar contained on days 1-12

Day 1 - Illamasqua Lava Lipstick - Vixen - 3.6g - Full Size

This first item was a beauty and it was a full 3.6g Lava Lipstick from Illamasqua in the exclusive to this calendar shade, Vixen.

These lipsticks were a limited edition anyways but this colour is an exclusive and it's a beauty I'm not really a red lipstick wearer but at the time of year nothing screams Christmas like a red lippy.

This one isn't a scary red though, there is a bit of white in the marble effect which definitely tones it down a bit, it was creamy and easy to apply and it wore well.

The RRP of the other Lava Lipsticks was around £20 so value wise, this was an excellent start.

Day 2 - Ciate Fierce Flicks Precision Tip Liquid Liner - Black - 1.7ml - Full Size

Day 2 was another make up item, and another full size make up item at that. This felt tip style liquid liner from Ciate retails at around £15. I struggle like hell with liquid liners but I'm going to persevere with this one, it's pretty fine, and it's a proper deep, black.

Day 3 - Grow Gorgeous Scalp Detox Exfoliating Pre-Wash Treatment - 50ml

I know some of you will probably be thinking what is this girl on, but I'm slightly obsessed with hair products, I love trying new things and new brands. Grow Gorgeous is a new brand to me and this slightly grainy treatment is designed to clarify the hair and remove product build up. It contains a combination of white willow, pomegranate fruit enzyme and Castor oil beads. The brand is cruelty free and vegan and the products are paraben and sulphate free. I'll definitely be trying this out soon so look out it in a future empties post. The full size of this product is 190ml which retails at £28 and whilst this is just a travel size it's perfect for holidays and for trying out a new product and a new brand.

Day 4 - First Aid Beauty - FAB - Ultra Repair Cream  - 56.7g

This cream has a bit of cult reputation as a skin saviour. Containing oatmeal, shea butter, ceramides and eucalyptus, this cream is designed specifically for dry, chapped, itchy, and flaky skin. You can use it from head to toe and it's approved for use on skin condition such as eczema and psoriasis. I've been using this on my hands and believe me it is good! Allergy tested with no added parabens, fragrance or colour, this thick white, slightly eucalyptus scented cream absorbs quickly and makes an almost immediate difference. This 56.7g tube retails at around £10 and it's well worth that as a little bit really does go a long way.

Day 5 - Balance Me Flash Cleanse Micellar Water - 30ml 

I've acquired a couple of these little bottles in the past few months, but as yet I haven't managed to try any of them. I'm a bit of a fan of micellar waters though so I definitely need to give this a go. Containing mandarin essential oil, and pea protein, this liquid is suitable for all skin types, and you can even use it around the eyes. This is a little bottle but it's perfect for travel and for trying out a new product without too much of a risk.

Day 6  - This Works In Transit Camera Close Up -15ml

This is something else that I've got a few of now and again it's something that I haven't managed to try yet but I do love multi use products so again I need to get this used. Victoria Beckham is supposedly a fan of this mask, moisturiser and primer in one, which supposedly hydrates, brightens and evens out the skin.

Day 7 - James Read Gradual Tan H2O Illuminating Tan Mist Body - 30ml

Glitter! Where would we be at Christmas with out a bit of glitter or at least a bit of shimmer. This isn't a body glitter though this is actually a gradual tanning mist from tanning guru to the stars James Read. Containing rose water, hyaluronic acid, and caffeine, this is a clear gradual tan spray that contains subtle gold sparkle which is perfect for the party season and for getting rid of that white / blue leg look. I haven't tried any of James' products before  but this is something that I'll definitely be trying out over the next few weeks. I think that this is quite a new product, so it's great to have it in the calendar

Day 8 - Redken No Blow Dry Airy Styling Cream For Fine Hair - 30ml

Another hair care product and this time something from top salon brand REDKEN. I've never heard about this product before but as someone who more often than not, leaves their hair to dry naturally this little tube could be a godsend. Basically the cream / gel inside this tube is designed to make your hair dry more quickly, naturally, and it' supposedly makes your hair easier to style without heat. I've been prepping my hair for a salon visit tomorrow but once I'm done and dusted I'll definitely be giving this a go next time that I wash my hair.

Day 9 Bellapierre Banana Setting Powder - 4g - Full Size

I know some people hate face powder but I'm not one of them - I love it, my oily skin needs all of the help that I can get and nothing gets rid of that shine quicker than a dusting of face powder. This full size loose powder from mineral make up company Bellapierre is a yellow toned powder, so it doesn't just help you keep your make up in place, it can also act as a colour corrector and help get rid of and tone down redness and discolouration. My skin is prone to a bit of redness and I can't wait to see if this makes a difference. This powder is a full size and retails at around £25 / $35

Day 10 - Oskia London Renaissance Mask - 10ml 

I've got to be honest and say that I'd never heard of this brand before but after finding out about the ingredients and what this mask does I can't wait to try it. OSKIA are a British brand, and this gel like mask which is suitable for all skin types contains a mixture of papaya and fruit enzymes which aims to increase radiance, even out the skin tone and minimise the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles. The full 50ml size retails at £51 so this is easily a £9 or £10 product.

Day 11 - Molton Brown Gingerlily Body Wash - 100ml  

I've used Molton Brown for a long time now, and I remember using this under it's previous incarnation Heavenly Gingerlily. This is one of their longest standing and most popular products, and it's easy to see why. Exquisitely blended with ingredients from around the world this has a slightly unisex scent to me with just a hint of floral. It contains ginger, tuberose, cedar wood and lily, and whether you use it in the bath or the shower a little goes a long way. Although Molton Brown do a larger size, this generous travel size retails at £10.

Day 12 - Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet - 15ml

Although I've tried a few Caudalie products over the years I can honestly say that I've never gone out and bought one specifically or used any of their products for any real period of time, and to be honest I don't know why that is. They are a French brand that base a lot of their products on grapes and grape extracts hence the name Vinosource. This cream gel based moisturiser is perfect for sensitive skin, and with regular use it can help to soothe, strengthen and hydrate the skin, and it can also help to reduce redness. I tried a little bit on day 12 and I was really impressed, I don't like thick and gloopy moisturisers and thanks to the lightweight texture this one absorbed into my skin really quickly and it left it feeling really smooth. The full 40ml size retails at £23. 

Well what can I say so far so good, you've got a good mix of make up items, skincare, hair care and body products, with a couple of high value products and a couple of decent value and sized products. Couple that with the aesthetically pleasing look of the calendar, and for me it's definitely worth the money so far and I'm certainly looking forward to opening the remaining doors. I'd love to know your thoughts on this calendar, and advent calendars in general, did you get an interesting one this year? Let me know in the comments and don't forget to keep an eye on my Instagram for some sneak peeks of what you can expect to see in part 2, which I'm hoping to post on Christmas Eve - eek! x

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