Saturday, 18 May 2019

A Very Late Trimming My Stash - April 2019 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews*


It's quite scary to think that we're over half way through May now, I honestly don't know where the last few weeks I've gone - I've been in the middle of a huge ME / CFS flare, I got a kitten, I had several days and meals out and I turned 41 eeek! What I haven't had much time to do is blog and as I said in my previous post I'm going to try and make it up to you in the next few weeks with lots of new and different posts. First though I'm going to get caught up and I'm going to share my April beauty empties with you x 

Simple Kind To Skin Eye Make Up Remover - 125ml
Boozi Bodycare Cocktails Virgin Mojito Body Wash - 50ml
Colour Vibe Vibrance Bright Violet Semi Permanent Hair Colour - 150ml
AVON Advance Techniques Anti Hair Fall Conditioner - 250ml
Soap & Glory The Scrub Of Your Life - 200ml
Ojon Rare Blend Moisture-Rich Cleansing Conditioner - 240ml
Primark PS... It's Oil Good Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes x 25 Wipes
Primark PS... Cuticle Oil - 10ml
Total - 8 Items 

Empties wise April was a pretty good month, like in March I managed to finish 8 items. Unfortunately no make up this time round but a nice assortment of skin care, body care and hair products, including a couple of press samples and a couple of holy grail products.

1. Simple Kind To Skin Eye Make Up Remover - 125ml


I spent a long, long time looking for an affordable eye make up remover, that would do the job without stinging my eyes, and then about a year ago I found it. This Simple eye make up remover has rapidly became one of my most used beauty products, it's removed pretty much every product that I've threw at it, without making my eyes sore and watery and at around £3.79 a bottle it's pretty purse friendly. I'm going to try and use up some of the other eye make up removers in my collection first but I will definitely be buying this one again.

2. Boozi Bodycare Cocktails Virgin Mojito Body Wash - 50ml


I've already this yummy cocktail scented body care, brand on a few occasions, most recently in my October 2018 empties post, and this is another one of their yummy fragrances. This one isn't quite as strong as some of the other scents that I tried, but it really does smell like a mojito with refreshing hints of lime and mint, all contained in a nicely foaming non drying shower gel. Unfortunately though since my previous post on Boozi Bodycare, both the brands website and twitter account appear to have disappeared, which is a huge shame. You can still get a few products on both Fragrance Direct and Amazon UK though, if you're still interested in trying the range.

3. Colour Vibe Vibrance Bright Violet Semi Permanent Hair Colour - 150ml*


This was a press sample that I received quite a few months ago x I'm not going to say anything about here though as I will have a full review coming up on the blog in the next week or so.

4. AVON Advance Techniques Anti Hair Fall Conditioner - 250ml


Next up another HG product, I finished the shampoo in March and I finished the corresponding conditioner in April. I've already spoke at length about both of these products and it's safe to say that I am a huge fan of the range. It contains keratin, bamboo extract, arginine, and peppermint, and it smells gorgeous, it makes a huge difference to my hair and it's really affordable at around £2 a bottle. I've already started a new bottle and I will definitely be buying more.

5. Soap & Glory The Scrub Of Your Life - 200ml


Despite the fact that I'm very much a salt and sugar scrub girl, I've gone through quite a few tubes of this now and it's really grown on me. It's a foaming gel based scrub, that contains a whole host of biodegradable scrubby particles. Even though I would like it to be a bit more scrubby, it's quick, easy to use and it works! Unfortunately I can't actually find this on the Boots website anymore so I'm not sure if it's sold out or if it's actually been discontinued.

6. Ojon Rare Blend Moisture-Rich Cleansing Conditioner - 240ml*


From something that may have been discontinued to something that definitely has been! I loved Ojon from the moment that I bought my first ever kit from QVC. Made from rare, and precious ingredients from the South American rain forest, their Restorative Hair Treatment was a product with almost cult status, and it was in my opinion the best thing for dry and damaged hair that I've ever tried. I loved it and I love every other Ojon product that I ever tried.

As often happens though smaller companies tend to get swallowed up by the big boys, and ultimately the brand was taken over by Estee Lauder. At the time I did a little bit of work with some of Estee Lauder groups brands, and I was sent a few Ojon products to try, unfortunately before I got round to reviewing them the brand was absorbed into Origins before disappearing from shelves completely. I was devastated and after a quick search online I found out that I wasn't alone in that feeling.Thankfully I still have a few jars of the Restorative Hair Treatment and a few other products in back up, and last month used up the last of this particular product.

A few years ago now there was a huge trend for co-washing, which basically washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. It was a trend that I actually embraced for a month or two and I do think that it made a difference to my hair at least in the short term. My hair at the time was highlighted, and sun bleached and it had a tendency to be dry and frizzy and the extra conditioning really seemed to help. In the long term though, personally my hair never felt truly clean, so I ended up reverting back to the old shampoo, conditioner and intensive hair mask routine. As a result of this trend, or innovation a lot of brands started introducing something called a cleansing conditioner, which is basically a very conditioning and nourishing hair cleanser that's designed especially for dry, damaged and breakage prone hair.

This particular one from Ojon was both sulfate and glycerin free and contained a huge variety of moisturising ingredients including kukui seed butter, coconut oil, Castor seed oil, and cocoa butter, and lots of botanicals and fruit extracts including watermelon, blueberry, wolf berry, orange, lemon, bergamot, tiare flower and aloe Vera.

It wasn't quite as thick as I expected, it had a creamy shampoo type feel, and a slightly citrus, aromatherapy type scent. It produced a gentle creamy foam and it was nourishing but not too heavy or rich. It was a nice product and it's a shame that this item, and the line is now long gone.

7. Primark PS... It's Oil Good Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes x 25 Wipes


The last products are both Primark items and they're both products that I will repurchase again, and again. I've talked at length about these at least a dozen times already, but they are full of tea tree and they are really useful for a number of things including swatch clean up.

8. Primark PS... Cuticle Oil - 10ml


Finally another product that I can't be without, my favourite Primark Cuticle Oil. My nails are horrific at the moment, they are short, stubby, peeling, flaking and breaking, so I'm resuming operation nail grow LouLou style - OPI Nail Envy, loads of cuticle oil and frequent hand cream application during the day, and cuticle oil, a thicker hand cream, and cotton gloves at night. I have so many fab nail polishes that I want to show you I just need decent nails to show them off and hopefully this will help. It's only a £1 a bottle and it's just as good as the more expensive stuff.

So it was late but we got there in the end, as I say the Colour Vibe review will be up soon, but if you have any questions on any of the other products that I finished last month then please let me know x 
 
*Press Samples

Monday, 13 May 2019

And Then There Were 3 Again - A New Addition

Now I've been a bit quiet on the blog over the last few weeks or so, but I've been a little bit preoccupied. Yes I'm in the middle of a bit of a fibro and ME flare, but I've also been a little bit busy making this little guy feel at home x Guys, meet Max!


Even though we still had Charlie and Tallulah, after the loss of Jake and Jasper, myself and Mummy Lou felt that there was a cat shaped hole in our lives. They really are part of our family, and we felt that we had a bit more love to give, so we decided to add another furry member to our family.


Although I've had pedigree cats in the past, I'm now a firm believer in the phrase "adopt don't shop" - there are so many cats out there that need loving homes that it made sense to us, to contact some local animal charities, and that's how we came across Consett Cat Rescue.

I really can't praise this charity enough, Kay runs the rescue from her own home, and she's so knowledgeable and helpful, and she's clearly very passionate about what she does. Given that we already had two grumpy older cats we decided that a kitten would probably the best bet. Every potential adopter fills in a questionnaire so Kay can determine the suitability of the owners and the type of cat that would suit them best. Once you've been approved then you can go and meet the cats, I can honestly say that me and Mummy Lou had one of the best mornings ever meeting some of Kay's many residents, but there was one little guy stood out and that was this one!


We've had him a week and a half now and I can honestly say that it's been a whirlwind. He's a teeny weeny ball of energy, he's loving, cuddly, brave and very energetic. He's really long but he's also quite small for a cat that's nearly 5 months old but I'm sure that he will grow into his ears at some point. He are some pictures of him with Charlie and Tallulah for scale x


Introducing a very lively kitten to two grumpy, very sedentary cats was interesting to say the least - he was really bold running up to them and trying to play, Charlie was terrified of him and Tallulah was just furious that someone had invaded her territory. It's taken a week and a half nearly but a truce has just about been reached and hopefully tolerance if not friendship is on the horizon. I managed to snap this picture this afternoon and this is the first time all three of them have been in the same place for any length of time!


He's honestly a ball of love and of energy, and watching him explore his new home has been slightly stressful but a lot of fun - there is something pretty hilarious about a kitty chasing a bottle top around the kitchen, and even though I'm flaring quite badly at the moment this little guy has cheered me up immensely, and he's been a great early birthday present x



As I say I can't praise Kay and the work she does enough, in order to get your cat, you make a donation of £90 to her charity but your cat will have been micro chipped, spayed, and vaccinated, and you also get four weeks free pet insurance. I honestly don't know how she does it, she relies purely on donations so if you're in the North East and you're interested in adopting a cat or even helping out an amazing charity, then please check out their website or their Facebook page. Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to have some more kitten cuddles, and I pinkie promise that normal blogging will resume later this week with a very late empties post, and an unboxing or two. In the meantime though make sure your subscribed to my Instagram account, for some more kitty pictures and hopefully some pictures from my birthday celebrations this Wednesday x

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Unboxing Pink Parcel UK - April 2019 Edition - City Breaks*


Long time no speak guys, I'm sorry for the mini hiatus but things have been a little bit hectic in LouLouLand over the last week or so, with a new addition (post coming soon x ), and a huge fatigue flare but I'm back and raring to go with a very late unboxing of April's Pink Parcel.

I know I seem to say this every month but changes are again a foot at Pink Parcel, in the last few weeks I've received 3 or 4 emails from Pink Parcel, and from the CEO of Pink Parcels talking about up and coming changes to the service. The biggest change seems to be a change in the price, from June not only will the price of the box increase but there will also be an additional charge for post and packaging. I'm not 100% sure about what the price changes on all plans will be and what the P&P options will be so I'll let you know when I get June's parcel and then hopefully all will be revealed.

I can't say that I'm that impressed with the whole price increase thing especially since the box has been so hitty missy lately but hopefully it will be a guarantee that things will get better. A new revamped website is due to launch on the 20th May and hopefully that will be just the start of a few positive changes.

As well emails about the price rise, and the new website, I also recently received an email from Pink Parcel about the box design, well it seems as though that is changing as well. In a bid to go more eco friendly, over the new few months Pink Parcel will be using up all of their old style Cosmopolitan and Betty Boxes before the launch of a new, both eco and user friendly box later this year. Again we'll have to wait and see what happens but as I've said on many occasions I would love a box that i can reuse so here's hoping Pink Parcel are listening|!


Anyways on to April's box - again this was an all pads box and again I only received 23 items in  total. They've definitely cut back on the amount of sanitary products in the box but as I've said before I usually have a lot of stuff in back up so it isn't really a big deal for me but if you have heavier or longer periods then I don't think you can rely on just your Pink Parcel any more. I really hope that this is a concern that Pink Parcel take on board. As nice as the Wants box is, the majority of people probably subscribe to Pink Parcel because of the sanitary protection and if you still need to go out and buy some then it kind of defeats the purpose the box. I've ordered a mixed tampon and pads box for May's delivery so I'm curious as to how many items that I'll get this month.


As much as I probably get Pink Parcel for the convenience of getting sanitary protection delivered to my door, it is the Wants box that I really look forward to, and thankfully April's was a good one. The theme of April's box was City Breaks, and all of the products inside were perfect for either when you're on the go, or for a bit of me time before you go away.


Laritzy Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick - Tidal - 3.1g - Full Size - RRP $20 / £20


First up an item from a company that seem to be a bit of a subscription box staple, Laritzy. I've tried a dew now including the fab Dew Pot from the March 2019 edition of Glossybox (read my post here) and some pencils but I can't recall trying any of their lip products before.


To the best of my knowledge Laritzy are either a US or a Canadian brand, that are vegan. a 100% cruelty free, and paraben free.


April's Pink Parcel contained one of two shades of Laritzy's Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick, which is a long wear, highly pigmented, matte liquid lip colour. It's water resistant, non drying, and all of the shades adapt to your own individual skin tone. The shade that I received is Tidal, which is described as a Deep Mauve, but I definitely think it has more than a little hint of berry to it.


The first thing you notice is the taste and scent, it has a very coconut, vanilla type scent. The texture itself is very creamy, and because of the slanted sponge doe foot applicator it's quite easy to apply, because of the colour and the texture though you need to be a bit careful when you apply it avoid a smeared, bleeding jammy doughnut type finish.


After a moment or two though the creamy glossy finish gradually disappears leaving at first a semi matte, and eventually a true matte finish. As it dries you can feel a slightly tightening of the lips, but it isn't uncomfortable. Once it dries down there is hardly any risk of smearing or transfer - the colour stays put.


Despite the long wear and the matte finish I didn't find this that drying. Like all matte lip products it emphasised my lip lines, and the odd dry patch but it certainly didn't make my lips any drier. As I say the wear time was excellent and it faded fairly evenly - Even after countless cold drinks and salad with an oil based dressing, the outline was still strong and my lips were still covered in colour. 


It comes across as quite a deep berry shade on me, and it's a shade that I wouldn't normally wear but I do think that it works, not so much now if your a stickler for brights for the spring and summer, but come autumn and winter I think that this shade would be simply perfect. This product comes in loads of colours though so even if this shade isn't for you then I'm sure you would find something that would work for you on the Laritzy website.

INC.redible Be Shore To Shine Nourishing Sheet Mask - 1 Sheet Mask - 20ml - Full Size - Est. RRP £5




Next up a face mask, and every Pink Parcel in April contained 1 of 3 sheet masks from Nails Inc's beauty brand INC.redible. The mask I received in my box was crystal mermaid themed, and is specifically designed for tired skin. Containing seaweed, soy bean, and hyaluronate, this mask aims to nourish, energise, rejuvenate and soften the skin. I haven't had a chance to try this yet . but you can read my thoughts on another of the INC.redible masks here, and of course I'll let you know in due course what I think about this one. I can't find this specific mask online but the rest of the sheet masks in the  INC.redible range retail at around £5.

Daily Concepts Exfoliating Body Scrubber - Full Size - Est. RRP £5.17 - £5.19




Now I used to be a bath person, and to be honest if I still had a bath in my house I probably still would be, but now finally I get showers, they aren't really about relaxing their designed to get you clean as whistle in a matter of minutes. When it comes to showers I switch my products up all of the time but something that remains constant it my shower scrunchie, or body puff or dougal or whatever else you choose to call that ball of scrunched up net. It does exactly what I want it to and it's easy to clean just stick it in the washer every now and then and if it falls apart they're cheap enough to replace. Thing is though they probably aren't the most eco friendly of items, so that's why I was pretty pleased to receive something just that bit different in April's Pink Parcel. 

Made in North America the Daily Concepts Exfoliating Body Scrubber is clinically allergy and dermatologist tested, and it's environmentally friendly. The foam inside the scrubber is soy based which helps increase the foaming and effectiveness of any shower product. 


The scrubber itself features a slightly more abrasive side which features a cotton base layer, and nylon exfoliating loops, and a slightly gentler side with a cotton handle, and a cotton based towelling finish. The scrubber also features smart technology which lets you know when you need to replace you scrubber. In the picture below you can see a label which says "It's Me Time" - the writing on the label will gradually fade as you use the product until it completely disappears after around 90 days of use so you now when it needs replacing x

I haven't had a chance to use this yet but I do like the whole more eco friendly concept, and the quicker and simpler way of exfoliating. If you fancy trying one of these for yourself then you can buy one direct from Daily Concepts or from Amazon UK


Merci Handy Love & Hand Cleansing Gel - Cherie Cherry - 30ml - Full Size - RRP £3




Now I've had a few of these Merci Handy gels in the Flower Power fragrance already from various subscription boxes mainly the new defunct My Little Box UK, but I've never tried this particular fragrance before.

When I see the word cherry on a beauty product, it normally turns me right off, I hate bitter almond and a lot of cherry scents so I normally avoid them like the plague but thankfully this scent is more inspired by cherry blossom, so it is in fact a pleasant but quite strong floral, perfume type scent.



Just a small amount of this alcohol based gel, which contains eco friendly emollient pearls, cleanses and freshens hands, without leaving them too wet, dry, or sticky. The scent does linger with this particular one so it probably isn't ideal if your going to eating or preparing food but it does the job and cleanses your hands without water. 



The Merci Handy Love & Hand Cleansing Gel - Cherie Cherry comes in a pocket friendly 30ml bottle, and retails at £3. It's available from various retailers including direct from Merci Handy and Skinnydip London.

Dr.Organic Bioactive Skincare Tea Tree Wet Wipes x 20 Wipes - Full Size - RRP £2.99


There are two things that I normally keep in my handbag - hand sanitising gel, and some form of face or wet wipes, and April's Pink Parcel included both. 

Dr Organic are a UK natural based beauty brand, none of their products are tested on animals and they are all free from parabens, SLS, synthetic colours, DEA, phthalates, petroleum, glycols, mineral oil, silicones, and GM ingredients, and this particular product is also vegan.

Contains bioactive and organic, tea tree and aloe vera, these wipes are designed to cleanse, revitalise and refresh the face and hands.

Officially described as fragrance free they do have a slight tea tree scent combined with that slightly strange aroma that fragrance free products often have. These are a thick decent quality wipe and they are very wet to the touch. I haven't used these on my face but I have been using them to freshen up my hands and to clean make up swatches and as you can see the results even on a long wear product like the Laritzy lip colour, are pretty impressive.



These wipes retail at around £2.99 a packet and are available from various retailers including Holland and Barrett 

Fiat 500 For Her Eau De Toilette - 2ml




The final beauty product in April's Pink Parcel was a fragrance, and as I've said on many occasions I love trying out new scents so receiving a little perfume vial in a subscription box in my opinion is as good a way as any to try something new with very little risk.

Now we all know that Fiat are a famous Italian car manufacturer but did you know that they've now branched out into fragrance? Well they have, and I believe that Fiat 500 is their first female scent. The full size fragrance comes in a striking car bumper design bottle but here we just have a mini spray vial.

I don't know about you but I can normally tell within a few sniffs whether or not I'm going to like a fragrance, and I liked this one straight away. There was something that drew me to it and there was something that smelled quite familiar but what was it? I used it a couple of times and then I realised what it was - the Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater & Peppercorn Hand Therapy cream that I received on Day 19 of last years Glossybox All I Want Advent Calendar (read my review here).

It doesn't smell exactly the same but every time I've sprayed it or worn it, the first thing that I can smell is one of the key top notes of pink pepper, combined with the fruitiness of mandarin and lychee, then throw in two of my other favourite scents gardenia and jasmine, and it's no surprise that this one was a winner. It's fresh, yet warm, floral and spicy all at the same time.

My one complaint is that it didn't seem to last that long on me but never the less I would still consider buying the full size in the future. It comes in both a 50ml size which retails at around £29 and a 100ml which has an RRP of around £39, and it's available from various retailers including Debenhams.

Seed And Bean Organic Fine Dark Chocolate Sweet Orange And Thyme - The Little One - 25g - RRP £1.20




Ah Chocolate! No matter how much chocolate that I consumed over Easter there is always room for more, and this bar was a nice contrast to all of the sickly milk and white chocolate that I consumed over Easter. Seed and Bean are a 100% organic, British brand who produced a fabulous range of high quality chocolate, with some unusual flavourings. 

This particular bar is vegan and contains 58% cocoa, it's also palm oil free and the packaging including the foil is full compostable. This was a gorgeous rich dark chocolate with a nice citrus kick, and herbal green notes of thyme. I don't think this flavour will be for everybody but if you like the taste of Earl Grey and more adult citrus tastes then this could be something to try. This sized bar retails at around £1.20 and is available directly from Seed and Bean, and from various other retailers including Amazon UK

t+ Multea Lemon & Peach Green Tea + Vitamins - 1 x Tea Bag - 2g



Finally the drink and another regular brand for Pink Parcel t+. From the same stable as Vitabiotics, I've had a few different tea bags from this brand now and thanks to Mummy Lou I still haven't managed to try any of them yet, maybe this will be the one! It's basically a lemon and peach flavoured green tea bag that contains vitamins B12, C and Folic Acid. It retails at around £3.49 for 15 tea bags, and it's available from various retailers including Tea Plus direct and Amazon UK

So that was April's Pink Parcel, and despite the promise of change and the usual gripes, this was a pretty decent box, the value was certainly there and I'll use all of the products inside. What will May's box bring we'll well see x Let me know your thoughts in this box in the comments x

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