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 their website

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Saturday 16 February 2019

Tarte Overexposed Highlighter Set Review And Giveaway - CLOSED

Think back what we you doing around Boxing Day in 2017, well I'd been hit by the dreaded lurgy and I was trying to do a little bit of online sales shopping to make myself feel better. It didn't really work and I spent the next week and bit in bed but when I was I did manage to pull myself together I was able to open a parcel of sale goodies from across the pond.

Now for a long time Tarte Cosmetics was one those brands that the majority of us Brits could only lust after from a distance, and whilst I'm still devastated that I missed out on their almost Louis Vuitton like patent floral palette, I'm really pleased that we can now access the brand more easily in the UK. It's still yet to make in appearance in bricks and mortar stores, but you can now get quite a few products, and some exclusives from QVC UK, and we can also order directly from Tarte Cosmetics

Since my head was a bit fuzzy, when I placed the order, when I opened it I realised that I'd made a bit of a mess of my order and ordered more than one of several items - whoops a daisy! Anyways I managed to pass a few bits on, and I've got a few things left that I'm going to be giving away on the blog over the next month or so.

Two of the items that I ordered contained highlighters I do love a highlighter, and Tarte's are apparently some of the best, I'd already tried and loved both their blushers (read my review of the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Flush here) and their Rainforest Of The Sea Skin Twinkle Lighting Palette (Read my review here), but there were plenty more cheek products still to try.

One of the kits that I got the Tarte Overexposed Highlighter Set, gave me the opportunity to try two of their best selling formulations, the Tarteist Pro Glow Liquid Highlighter and the Amazon Clay 12 Hour Highlighter, in a handy travel size.

Now Tarte do a lot of highlighter shades but these two products come in probably their most popular shade, Exposed, which is described as a "Nude Highlight" shade. It's definitely one of their paler shades but in my experience it looks slightly darker in real life than it does on the Tarte website and it definitely has more of a golden glow to it.

Tarte Tarteists Pro Glow Liquid Highlighter - Exposed - 8.5g

Whilst you may already be familiar with Tarte's clay and mineral based powder products, you may be less familiar with some of the liquid and cream based products, which is shame because they do some fabulous lips products, foundation, and concealers, and they range also includes a couple of liquid and cream highlighters.

From their popular Tarteist line, this is a oil free, light reflecting liquid highlighter, that contains pearl and mineral pigments, as well as hydrating skin ingredients such as rosewater and squalane. Suitable for all skin tones it is designed to give the skin a fresh, and healthy glow.

The highlighter has a quite a thick, and creamy appearance but it actually feels quite lightweight, it seems to dry quite quickly and it doesn't feel oily or sticky. You don't need a lot so this is quite an economical product. Pop a couple of dots on to your cheek bones, or you brown bone, and blend it into the skin to create a bit of a glow or build it up and apply a few layers for more of a full on highlighter finish. I've applied it quite thickly in the swatches but if you blend it out a bit more, it blends down to an almost translucent, light filled sparkly sheen.

I've taken this picture with the flash so you can see the hopefully see the sheen that this product gives. It's a little bit more subtle in daylight but as I say you can build it up or even use it with the powder. As per usual I was wearing a bit of translucent powder and it wasn't too bad at blending into a powder layer, it didn't really cake or clump, and it wore well.

As I say this is just a small travel sized tube but you need such a small amount I can see this lasting a while. I've used this quite a few times in the year and a bit I've had it, and I still have plenty left. QVC UK don't have this product in the full size in it's inventory but if you are in the UK, you can buy the full 15.9g size for £25 from the Tarte website.

Amazon Clay 12 Hour Highlighter - Exposed - 1.5g

If you were to name an ingredient that Tarte was famous for, I can pretty much guarantee that anyone in the know would say Amazonian Clay. Sourced from the Amazon river, the clay that Tarte use in their products have both skin care and make up benefits.

Containing micro pearlescent flakes, this powder is designed to brighten, and awaken the skin and  like their Amazon Clay Blushers also features the 12 hour claim, which means it's long wearing, and it won't flake, fade or cling to dry patches.

Despite the fact that is contains a lot of sparkle it feels very smooth to the touch, and again you only need a small amount to produce a fabulous glow. As I say it looks a touch darker and richer in real life than it does on the Tarte website, and it looks a lot warmer and more golden when it's swatched. It blends easily into the skin, and despite a vanilla based scent it doesn't cause any irritation, and as expected the wear time is superb. Again I've took these pictures with the flash so you can really see the sparkle.

Obviously you can apply it like you would any highlighter on the cheekbones, but you can also dab it on the cupid bow, or the brow bone, and you can also do what I've done here and use it as an all over eye colour, all be it with a little bit of fallout! (Pictures taken in natural light)

Like all of Tarte's products this is vegan, cruelty free, dermatologically tested, and free from parabens, mineral oil, gluten, phthalates, and SLS. Obviously it's a really versatile product in it own right, and it gives the skin a lovely but you can also use it in combination with the liquid for a full own, healthy shimmery, glow! This particular product is available in the 5.6g full size from QVC UK for £24.95 including postage and packaging, and it's also available for £25 directly from Tarte.

If you like shimmer, and you like glow this is definitely the kit for you, and these are two products that you need to add to highlighting repertoire. They are both very versatile and you can use them both together and separately in several different ways. The sizes in this kit may be small but both of these products are really economical so size in some cases really doesn't matter. I was a Tarte fan before I tried this kit and to be honest it just made me love the brand even more, and I may now have an obsession with their blushers and their highlighters

Alas this kit is long gone, but the full size products are still available, and who knows what kits Tarte Cosmetics have planned for the future. If you've fallen in love with this particular set though don't despair, because I ha new and unopened kits to give away.

This giveaway is open worldwide, It will close on the 3rd March 2019. You must be a follower and you must fulfil all of the entry conditions - I will be checking! If you are under 18 please ask your parent or guardians permission before entering and please read both my and Rafflecopter's privacy policies, regarding giveaway entries, and I will need your address details if you win. So get filling in the form and get entering x Good Luck

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday 14 February 2019

Unboxing Glossybox UK - February 2019 Edition - It's All About ♡

Happy Valentines Day or should that be Happy Singles Appreciation Day, whichever side of the fence that you fall on I hope you've had all had a lovely day and you've either been spoilt rotten or like me you've treat yourself to something special and you've spent the day loving yourself x

If you haven't quite had enough of all of the love and the hearts, I thought today was the perfect time to share Feburary's Glossybox unboxing with you, and It's All About ♡!

Instead of the traditional black and pink box that I showed you last month, February's Glossybox has a definite Valentines day flavour. The lid features the box title and a heart, and the base of the box features a fabulous heart design, in shades of red and pink.

Open the box and you're greeted with a little parcel tied with a beautiful white, heart designed ribbon. Remove the information card and your goodies are lovingly wrapped in hot pink tissue, and kept safe with oodles of white paper shred.

Now before I talk about what's inside in more depth I want to talk a little bit about some of the general reactions to this box. Considering this box has now sold out you would assume that it was universally popular, well that wasn't really the case. I've watched a few You Tube videos and read a few comments and posts on this box and some people weren't that happy with it. As you know I always to be as balanced as possible in my reviews and this one is going to to be no different, I liked this box and I think that some of the criticisms of it were unfounded - Have a read and make your own mind up

HUDA Beauty Lip Contour Super Longwear Matte Lip Pencil - Venus - 1.2g - Full Size - RRP £16

First up the big draw, the hint that was dropped last month. and the item that was probably why this box sold out. A full size HUDA Beauty Lip Contour Super Longwear Matte Lip Pencil.  Described as the perfect blend of a lipstick and a lip liner, this velvety matte formulation, defines and lines the lips, with hydrating, transfer resistant,  and waterproof colour!

Each box this month contained one of two shades, I received the colour Venus a lovely brownie, nude shade. The pencil itself felt soft and creamy on the lips and applied easily without any tugging on scratching.

The pigmentation was superb, and it's shade that will work really well with a lot of lip colours in my collection. You can obviously use it as a liner but in the picture below I've applied it all over my lips. I'm wearing it alone here but you could pop a gloss over the top, or even a lipstick to help it last longer. Purely wearing it on it's own the wear time was fantastic, I managed to eat a bowl of granola, fruit and yogurt with this on and it was still intact when I'd finished. This lip pencil  has a nice formulation and it's something that I would definitely consider repurchasing in the future. This is a full sized pencil which has a retail price of £16, and is available from a variety of retailers including Selfridges, Feelunique UK and Cult Beauty

Nails Inc Nail Polish - Status Ready - 14ml - Full Size - RRP £11-£15

Next up a full size nail polish from Nails Inc. A lot of people moan about nail polishes in beauty boxes, but in my opinion there should be more of them not less. Status Ready is a gorgeous cherry red shade, it's the type of colour that I wear a lot in the winter months and it's perfect for Valentines Day. It's one of those colours that's ideal for any length of nails, and no matter your age, or your personal style. I haven't had a change to try this yet but I will definitely feature is in an upcoming nails of the day post. I can't find this specific shade online, bar on ebay ! so seeing that Nails Inc do a lot of them, it's possibly a limited edition colour. The price of full size Nails Inc polishes vary so this could retail at pretty much anything between £11 - £15.

Luxie Beauty Medium Fan Face Brush - 560 - Full Size - Est. RRP £15 / $22

There were more complaints about this, apparently these boxes contain too many face brushes. Well, I haven't had one lately and even if I had a wouldn't complain, you can never have enough make up brushes in my opinion!

Luxie are a relatively new brand to the UK, and they will be launching soon on ASOS and on Look Fantastic. All of the brushes are vegan, cruelty free and hypoallergenic.

I was first introduced to the brand in my Glossybox advent calendar (read my post here) and my first impressions were good, and again this brush doesn't disappoint. I do like a fan brush and I've already made good use of this one, I tend to use them with a little bit of loose powder to get rid eyeshadow fallout, and I also sometimes use them for adding just a touch of highlighter to my cheekbones. The hairs are nice and soft and the quality is good, all in all a good brush that I'm happy to have in my collection.

Vitamasques Multivitamin Mask x 1 Sheet Mask - Full Size - RRP £4.99

Next up another item that seemed to trigger a few complaints - a face mask - well considering I use at least one a week I'm always happy to add new masks to my collection so no complaints from me here, especially since this is another sheet mask.

For Korean beauty inspired brand Vitamasques this sheet mask is designed for all skin types, but particularly thirsty skin, and contains 5 vitamins B3, B5, B6, C and E, to help nourish the skin. My skin is all over that place at the moment with spots, dry patches, and oily bits, so I'll definitely be trying this out soon x Keep an eye on my monthly empties posts to hear my thoughts x This mask is available from various retailers including Vitamasques directly, and Beauty Cutie.

Regenerate Enamel Science Advanced Toothpaste - 14ml - Deluxe Mini / Travel Size - Est. RRP £2.50 / £2.25

Now we're really heading in to controversial territory - why? well printed on this product in tiny little letters it says Free Sample Not For Sale. Quite a few people are arguing that this shouldn't be in the box because technically it was for sale and we've bought it. That argument doesn't make a great deal of sense to me to be honest, because the price of the box is covered in the first item alone, so surely every other product is a bonus, so surely we aren't paying for every single item in the box? Hmm ah well everyone is entitled to their opinion I guess...

Anyways on to the product itself and I think the inclusion of toothpaste is a great one for a Valentines Day themed box, after all who doesn't want fresh breath for all of that kissing ;) Regenerate isn't just a toothpaste though it's specially designed to help strengthen and regenerate the enamel in our teeth. I've actually already been sent some of this directly from Regenerate so I'll let you know my thoughts when I've had a chance to try it x If you fancy giving it a go in the meantime you can actually buy this 14ml travel size from Fragrance Direct for around £2.25 (I wonder if their tubes have any writing on them ;), or you can buy the full 75ml for around £10 from various retailers.

So there you go your 5 items from February's Valentines Day themed Glossybox, and despite some of the complaints out there I'm pretty pleases the value is most definitely there, even after just comparing the RRP of the first item to the box price, oh but wait, this love themed box also includes a couple of extra items on top of the usual 5...

Mugler Alien Fusion EDP - 1.2ml
Mugler Alien Man Fusion - EDT - 1.2ml

That's right as a little extra treat / pressie February's Glossybox also contains 2 fragrance samples, 1 for him and 1 for her. Again those little words not for sale are printed on the packaging and yes they are samples that you may be able to get on counter but they are included as extras on top of the five items that you get in you are supposed to get in your Glossybox -February's box contains 7 items so why are people complaining? - I have no idea!

I've got to say that I've never been a fan of Mugler fragrances but this one might just have changed my mind. Alien Fusion for women contains ginger, cinnamon, tuberose, orange blossom, vanilla and white amber. Given those ingredients you would expect it to smell quite heavy and it does, it has a lot of warm and spicy notes, but at the same time, the tuberose and orange blossom (two of my favourite scents) slowly come through. I would never have even considered trying this fragrance before and whilst I'm still sure I would go out and buy it, I'm definitely going to finish the vial.

The men's scent has similar warm and spicy notes, with just a hint of leather and contains ginger, cinnamon, leather, osmanthus, green coffee, and steamed beech. Alas I'm pretty single this Valentines Day so I will be passing this one probably to a relative instead x 

So that really was Febuary's Glossybox, what can I say really, I don't mind when people complain with good reason, I can whinge with the best of them but some of the complaints that I've seen about this box just make my head spin. The HUDA Beauty product alone is worth more than the entire box (£13.25 at most), as well as potentially another two products in the Nails Inc nail polish and in the Luxie brush, yet some people's focus seems to be on the free toothpaste and the free perfume samples! Personally as I've already said I'm pretty happy with the box, the value is definitely there and I'll use all of the products at some point. Subscription boxes like Glossybox are always a gamble and you have to be prepared to receive items that you don't like or that you won't use. If you aren't willing to take that risk then maybe boxes like this aren't for you, and maybe you should consider boxes like QVC UK's TILI box or one of the one off boxes that list their contents upfront, or even putting money aside to save up for something special instead of buying a box. You pays your money, you makes you choice at the end of the day x 

If you are interested in subscribing or finding out more about Glossybox UK, then click this link and you could reserve March's box which contains a lip balm from new vegan and cruelty free brand BYBI. In the meantime I'd love to know your thoughts on this box, do you think I'm being overly lenient with Glossybox? or do you agree with my assessment? Let me know in the comments x 

*This Post Contains Both Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links