Friday 31 January 2020

Trimming My Stash - December 2019 Edition - Empties, Mini Reviews And A 2019 Round Up*

Before I continue with my long overdue unboxing posts I thought I'd a little break from all of the newness and take you back to 2019 again, with my December empties.

Elemis Skin Nourishing Hand Wash - 200ml
#6 Micellar Cleansing Water - 200ml
Anatomicals Boob Tube Grab Your Melons Shower Gel - 50ml
Cussons Carex Fun Edition Mr Tickle Antibacterial Hand Wash - Sherbet Lemon - 250ml
Total - 4 Items

Despite all of my promises to end 2019 on a high, December ended up being a bit of a damp squib, and I only managed to finish 4, not very interesting items.

1. Elemis Skin Nourishing Hand Wash - 200ml

Despite Mummy Lou's continuing, and very environmentally conscious love affair with the humble bar of soap, as a pet owning household we go through quite a lot of hand wash. Although we normally finish a bottle or so a month I don't normally include it in my trimming my stash totals because to be honest it always it seems to be more of a household item rather than something that I finished but breaking the habits of a lifetime December's empties total actually contains 2 hand washes. 

The first one that I'm going to talk about was actually part of a gift set that I received a few Christmas' ago, from luxury British spa brand Elemis. Now, whilst writing this post I've searched high and low for it online but unfortunately I can't find it anywhere so I've came to the conclusion that it was either a QVC UK exclusive or it was a limited edition.

To call this just a hand wash is actually a bit of a disservice - from their famous Skin Nourishing range, this hand wash is actually much more of a hand treatment. Containing camellia, cotton seed extract, and milk proteins, just a small amount of this thick, opaque gel, produced a gentle, light weight, but really nourishing and moisturising foam, you actually felt as though you were giving your hands a treatment rather than just washing them. The treatment aspect was also compounded by the soft and creamy,  almost powdery, gentle floral scent that runs through the entire Elemis Skin Nourishing range.

Perfect for dry hands or just hands that needed some love I'm really sad to see the back of this but thankfully I still have quite a few products from the Skin Nourishing range to use up including the corresponding hand cream. If you haven't tried this range, then I would thoroughly recommend it, it's ideal for skin that easily irritated, and skin that needs a bit of moisture. You can buy Elemis products from a variety of retailers online including QVC UK, Debenhams, John Lewis, Look Fantastic and Feel Unique.

2. #6 Micellar Cleansing Water - 200ml

Next up a skincare item, and something from Poundland's #6 skincare range. When it comes to beauty I'm not a snob, I love brands and luxury as much as the next person, but I'm not frightened to try dupes, and bargain basement items - if I love it, great! if I don't I haven't wasted my money.

The #6 range was designed to deliver a range for all skin types, that delivers healthy looking skin on a budget, but containing high end ingredients such as ceramides, Vitamins A and E, and algae extracts.

For just £1 an item, the first item that I tried from the range was their micellar water, which is hypoallergenic, dermatologically tested, opthamologically approved, alcohol and fragrance free, and suitable for vegans. Containing Pro Vitamin B5, aloe vera, chamomile, and Vitamin E it is designed to remove make up, cleanse, smooth and purify the skin.

The packaging is pretty basic, a clear plastic bottle with flip top cap, and to be honest the contents doesn't look very exciting either, it just looks like a typical micellar water, aka a clear water like liquid, with no real scent. Performance wise it was pretty gentle on the skin, it removed even long wear make up without too much effort. Like a lot of micellar waters I did find it tingled slightly when it was left on the eyes. I didn't find drying on the skin and I didn't see any redness but it did leave a slightly tacky finish on the skin which took a few minutes to subside.

For just a £1 this wasn't bad and whilst I wouldn't buy it and use it regularly I wouldn't hesitate to pick it up in an emergency or to use it again. It's certainly not the worst micellar water than I've ever used and as I often say I've definitely spent more than this and liked a product less, so I firmly believe that you don't always get what you pay for. You can find the #6 range in Poundland stores.

3. Anatomicals Boob Tube Grab Your Melons Shower Gel - 50ml

The next December empty is something that I think that I received in a subscription box. It's a quirkily named, melon scented shower gel from Anatomicals, that was produces in association with breast cancer charity Coppafeel.

I'm not a huge fan of melon scents but to me this is just a very fruity scent, with a hint of a floral, that I loved. I can't find this mini tube anywhere online but you can buy the full 250ml size from ASOS for around £3.49, and 80p of that goes to Coppafeel. Thanks to the November 2019 edition of Pink Parcel (the least said about the debacle that is Pink Parcel at the moment the better though!) I have another full sized bottle in my stash but this is definitely something that I would consider repurchasing.

4. Cussons Carex Fun Edition Mr Tickle Antibacterial Hand Wash - Sherbet Lemon - 250ml

Finally another hand wash and something else that I actually bought in Poundland. This was just a cheap impulse buy that I picked up because I'm a bit of a fan of Mr. Men & Little Miss. It was nowhere near as luxurious as it's Elemis counterpart, but it was gentle, it was antibacterial (essential if you have cats), and it had a lovely, fruity, sugary, lemon scent.

I'm currently using a festive AVON hand wash but I've already picked up the Mr. Bump Tutti Frutti version to try. The price for these hand washes does vary quite a lot, you can get them for as little as 95p, to £1 in Poundland, Boots, and Tesco, to as much as £1.89 in Superdrug, so shop around if you can.

So that was December Trimming My Stash, and that was 2019, but just how did I do in 2019 overall? Well let's see...

January - 4 Items
February - 5 Items
March - 8 Items
April - 8 Items
May - 4 Items
June - 3 Items
July - 5 Items
August - 8 Items
September - 11 Items
October - 5 Items
November - 2 Items
December - 4 Items
Total - 67 Items 

Well, in total in 2019, I managed to finish a grand total of 67 beauty products. It sounds like a lot but like Decembers total it turned into a bit of a damp squib. 2019 was actually my worst year since I started counting down my empties, and I was 5 products down on last years total of 72. I'm a little bit disappointed but despite that I think that 2019 was the first year where I've actually been able to see my stash diminishing. I definitely didn't buy as much beauty stuff in 2019, I had several good sort outs, I gave some things away, I binned a few bits, and I finished a few ancient products that had been hanging around in my bathroom since the year dot.

It goes without saying that I'm going to continue to trim my stash in 2020. The same goals will apply, to finish as many beauty products possible, to buy less, and to try and only buy what I need. I made a good indent into my bath and body products in 2019, and whilst I'm hoping that I can keep that up in 2020, I'm also going to try and make more of a dent in both my skincare and my make up stash than I did last year, and of course I'm going to share my journey with you every step of the way, starting with my January empties in a week or so x Let me know if your doing something similar and if you have any questions on any of the products that I finished in December or on anything else then leave me a comment below x 

*This Post Contains Both Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Unboxing The 2019 Glossybox UK "It's The Season To Be Glossy" Advent Calendar - Days 1 - 12*

So now that we're nearer to February than December I guess it's fair to say that the phrase "better late than never" certainly applies to my next few posts. Although counting down to Christmas now seems like a lifetime ago, in 4 of my upcoming posts, I'm going to take you right back to that hectic and joyful time by sharing a few, long overdue posts from December you including my thoughts on the 2019 Glossybox Advent Calendar.

There were so many fabulous advent calendars out there last year, but once again Mummy Lou treat me to the Glossybox calendar. 2019's offering was £70 for Glossybox subscribers which was a saving of £5 on the 2018 version.

The 2019 design was very similar to the 2018 design. The basically comprised of a huge cardboard box, tied with ribbon, and with two magnetic fastening doors, in an art deco style design in shades of pink, and white, with rose gold / copper accents.

Open the doors and you're greeted by 25, numbered cardboard boxes in various toning colours, and sizes, resting upon 3 cardboard shelves. The boxes are in a mixture of pinks, whites, greys and blacks, some are plain, and some feature the same almost fish scale, art deco, metallic design, and every box contained some black paper shred and a lovely beauty product.

Day 1 - NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette -  USP03 - Warm Neutrals - Full Size - RRP £16

The first item in the box is a full sized eyeshadow palette from US, cruelty free brand, NYX.  Packaged in a chunky black, and clear plastic compact, the palette contains 16 x 0.83g shadows, in a mixture of warm neutral shades including creams, nudes, taupes, coppers, reds, and chocolate browns. The palette contains a nice mixture of textures and finishes including mattes, shimmers, metallics and satins. 

Designed to be highly pigmented, and long wear, all of these shadows felt very smooth and buttery, and as you can see from the pictures below the pigmentation, even on the paler satins and mattes, was superb. 

All of the shadows were smooth, and easy to blend and the wear time even without a base was excellent - here's a super quick and simple everyday eye look that I wore recently x 

As you know I'm a huge nude and brown eyeshadow fan so this palette was right up my street and a great start to the box. This was a really nice, good quality palette that I'll definitely use, and that I'm pleased to own. This full size palette retails at £16 from various retailers including Boots, Superdrug, Look Fantastic. and Cult Beauty.

Day 2 - Chloe Nomade Eau De Parfum - 5ml - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £7.20

Perfumes are always a bit of a risk either in a subscription box or in an advent calendar. Fragrances are polarising, everyone likes different scents, and you can pretty much guarantee that as many people will love a fragrance, as they will hate it. That being said I don't actually mind trying new fragrances, especially when it's a high end scent like this one.

Even though this is technically a deluxe sample size, the packaging is beautiful. No little glass vials here, the fragrance was boxed, and it came in a beautiful glass bottle.

This Eau De Parfum from high end fashion, accessory and fragrance brand Chloe, is designed to for the bold, inspiring and confidant woman. Officially described as a fruity floral, Nomade contains oak moss, cherry plum and freesia.

This is a much heavier scent than what I'd wear, although I love fruity florals, I usually prefer lighter and sweeter scents - this was a lot woodier, and muskier. It's not a fragrance that I would buy but I think it's a nice one for evenings and special occasions. This is a decent sample size, and since it's and EDP you only need a small amount so it should last quite a while. Glossybox gave an estimated price of £7.20 for this 5ml bottle. I can't find this particular size anywhere else but the 30ml size retails at around £49 from retailers including Debenhams, John Lewis and House Of Fraser.

Day 3 - Exclusive Glossybox Blending Sponge  - Est. RRP £10

Next up a Glossybox branded, blending sponge. Instead of being a teardrop shaped sponge, this one is double sided. It features a flat side to apply liquids and powders, and the typical rounded end with a slight point for more precise blending.

It's a nice quality sponge, it soft and very dense, and it doesn't absorb too much product, it also washes well, and retains its shape and texture. This own branded product is exclusive to the advent calendar and Glossybox give it an estimated price of £10.

Day 4 - NUDESTIX Lip + Cheek Pencil - Mystic - 2.49g - Full Size - RRP £20

NUDESTIX was one of those brands that I'd wanted to try for a long time, and on day 4 I eventually got the chance to try something for from them.

Inside box number 4 was a cruelty free, multi purpose lip and cheek pencil, that you can use as a lip liner, a lip colour, and as a cheep colour. Containing shea butter, peptides, and Vitamin E, these pencil claim to combine a creamy blend able formulation, with excellent colour payoff and long wear.

The chunky pencil that I received was in the shade Mystic, which is officially described as dusky rose / mauve, for me though it's very much a nude base, rose, mauve.

Unlike a lot of pencils like this that I've tried this one felt quite smooth, and creamy on lips. It tasted a touch waxy and crayon like but the coverage was excellent, and it didn't feel drying on the lips - it also lasted incredibly well and faded evenly.

This pencil isn't just a lip product though, you can also use it as a cheek colour, just pop a couple of dots, or draw a few striped on your cheeks and blend out for a nice natural blush shade.

It doesn't always happen when you really want to try something but in this case this NUDESTIX product was a definite winner. I was really impressed by both the quality and the performance of this pencil, and it was also a nice wearable colour on my skin tone. Glossybox give this product a price estimate of £20.50 but I've found this particular pencil online for £20 / $26 but it important to say that the £20 pencil comes in a tin and it also comes with a pencil sharpener. If you fancy trying Mystic for yourself you can buy it online from various retailers including Cult Beauty, Selfridges, and direct from NUDESTIX.

Day 5 - The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Hand Cream - 30ml - Full Size - RRP £5

The next item was a choice of 4 full sized hand creams from The Body Shop. The one that I received was Wild Argan, and I was pretty happy with that because it was one of the few fragrances from The Body Shop that I hadn't tried.

Containing community trade Argan oil from Morocco it has a thick cream / gel texture, which feels rich yet and lightweight at the same time. It's quick to absorb and surprisingly hydrating making it ideal for daytime use. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting scent wise but this has a very heady, almost tropical sent. If you like deep white flower scents like jasmine and gardenia then this will be right up your street.

I really, really love the scent of this hand cream so I'm definitely going to be trying some more products from the Wild Argan range in the future. This full 30ml size retails at around £5.

Day 6 - Luxie 207 Medium Angled Shading Brush - Rose Gold -  Full Size - RRP $12 / £9.50

I've received a couple of Luxie brushes from Glossybox over the last 12 months including the 552 Tapered Highlighter Brush from the 2018 edition of the Glossybox Advent Calendar (read my post here) and the 560 Medium Fan Brush from the February 2019 edition of Glossybox (you can read my post here), and I've been really impressed with the quality so I was really pleased to get one in 2019's calendar.

From the Rose Gold range, this brush has a pink handle, a rose gold tone ferrule, and an angled duo fibre brush head. This cruelty free brush features super soft synthetic hairs. Although the brush feels soft to the touch, it's firm enough to do the job and it's perfect for blending, highlighting under the brow, and crease work.

This is another lovely brush from Luxie, the quality is excellent, it washes well, and it's useful. It's a really nice addition to the calendar and my all be it extensive brush collection. This brush is only available on its own direct from Luxie for around $12.50 / £9.50. Sets and other single Luxie brushes are also available from Look Fantastic, NEXT Beauty, and HQ Hair.

Day 7 - LA Splash Cosmetics Wickedly Divine Eyeliner - #13405 Rosaline - 3ml - Full Size - Est.  £12.60

Box No.7 contained another make up item, and it's one of only 2 make up items in the calendar that I haven't managed to photograph on my face - so sorry about that but I have been a super busy girl, trying out and prepping all of these reviews for you so I hope that you'll forgive me x 

Although it resembles a mascara or even a high end lip colour this is actually an eyeliner for US based, cruelty free cosmetic brand, LA Splash Cosmetics. The first thing that you notice about this eyeliner is the amazing packaging, it's very Louboutin esq. The tube has a very sculptural, geometric tube, and it has a faceted red glass gem on the lid.

LA Splash Cosmetics claim that this liner has a long lasting, quick drying formulation, and it's something that you can wear alone of layered over a shadow or a solid liner.

The shade that I received was Rosaline, which is officially described as a rose gold glitter. The packaging is beautiful and the liner inside is even prettier. It contains lots and lots of smooth glitter in a clear base. It's super pretty but it does take quite a lot of product to make it show up on my skin tone on it's own, so it would probably be better applied over a black eyeliner or even dabbed all over the eyelid as a glittery shadow topper.

Glossybox value this product at around £12.60, whilst Beauty Bay do stock some products from LA Splash Cosmetics, the only place I can find this particular product online is direct from LA Splash for around $16. 

Day 8 - MUA Make Up Academy Pro / Base Primer Oil With Gold Flakes - 15ml - Full Size - RRP £4

On Day 8, I got a make up / skincare product from budget friendly brand MUA - Make Up Academy. Officially one of the prettiest products in the kit this is a super absorbent, facial priming oil that contains gold flakes, and Vitamin E to add luminosity, radiance and to create a gorgeous, flawless dewy finish to the skin.

Packaged inside a dropper bottle, this viscous oil, has a pleasant, slightly eucalyptus based, green scent. It feels quite oily to the touch and as a result a little goes a long way. Despite it's texture it does absorb into the skin quite quickly. 

In the bottle the gold flakes are quite apparent but on the skin the effect is actually a bit more subtle. You don't see any obvious gold or glittery flecks, it just adds a subtle sheen.

As you probably already know I have quite a combination / oily skin so when I used this as a make up base, my make up actually didn't last as long and my face looked a lot shinier than normal, so maybe this product is better suited to a drier skin, or even worn alone as a radiance booster.

Despite my initial excitement that this product looked almost like a golden snow globe in the bottle, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with it, it didn't really suit my skin type and I didn't really see any difference in the radiance or glow of my skin. If you fancy trying it for yourself though it won't break the bank at only £4 from Superdrug and direct from MUA

Day 9 - Mitchell And Peach Flora No. 1 Bath Oil - 15ml - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £8.05

Next up another slightly controversial item from high end English based fragrance and toiletry brand Mitchell And Peach. It's the bath oil that matches the Eau De Parfum that subscribers received in the September 2019 edition of Glossybox (Read my unboxing post here). The fragrance proved a very controversial inclusion that divided opinion dramatically so I was quite surprised to see a product in the same fragrance in the the 2019 calendar.

Packaged in a little glass bottle the Flora No.1 scent contains oils of rose, ylang ylang, violet and lavender which combine with almond oil and Vitamin E to make up this luxury bath oil.

Now as you should know by now I don't own a bath so this wasn't really a lot of use to me, so I passed it on to a friend. I did have a little sneaky sniff though, and I actually preferred the scent of this to the original fragrance, it seemed to have a lot more lavender in it, which I love. Glossybox put a price of £8.05 on this 15ml deluxe mini size, the regular 100ml size retails at £46 direct from Mitchell and Peach.

Day 10 - Sleek Make Up Matte Me Ultra Smooth Matte Lip Cream - Birthday Suit - 436 - 6ml -Full Size - RRP £4.99

The next item was another lip product this time from high street brand Sleek. They do quite a few different lip products and this is their version of the very on trend matte liquid lipstick. They claim that their offering offers smooth one coat application, and a long wear, non drying formulation.

The shade in the calendar was Birthday Suit, officially described quite rightly as a pink / nude. Unlike a lot of liquid lipsticks that I've tried the formulation wasn't too thick and it felt quite wet. There was no dragging and it was really simple to apply. Initially it does have a creamy, wet finish but it dries down in about a minute .

It definitely felt a lot more comfortable on my lips than some of the other matte formulations that I've tried, and it was nowhere near as drying, but like all mattes it still emphasised lip lines and dry patches. It was a nice easy product to wear, you didn't desperately feel as though you needed to apply a lip balm, and it the wear time was excellent, and it faded gradually from the inside of the lips out over.

I actually really liked this product, it was a nice shade, and it was a comfortable and wearable matte. As well as wearing it on it's own you could also use it as a long wearing base for lip gloss, and even underneath creamy lip colours to extend their wear. At only £4.99 this is a really decent matte liquid lipstick, whether you're on a budget or not. It's available from all Sleek stockists including Boots, Look Fantastic, and ASOS.

Day 11 - Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In-Shower Styler - 30ml - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £5

Next up the first hair product in the calendar, and a product from US based brand Living Proof. I haven't tried a lot of products from the brand but I am a huge fan of the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PHD) Night Cap Overnight Protector that I got in the May 2019 edition of Pink Parcel (you can read my post here), so I was really pleased to have another opportunity to try a product from the brand.

Like a lot of products in the Living Proof range this is quite an innovative product that allows you to style your hair in the shower. Silicone and sulphate free it contains Living Proof's unique thickening molecule. All you do apparently is apply the product to washed hair in the shower, and then lightly rinse it off. This leave enough product in the hair to aid styling and air drying to enhance the hairs natural texture, as well as adding body softness and shine. You can either air dry it as normal or you can braid naturally straight hair, or put it in a bun to add waves and curls to the hair as it dries.

I haven't actually had a chance to try this yet but I have had a little sniff and it smells gorgeous and very like Elizabeth Arden's Green Tea fragrance, and I'll let you know my thoughts in a future empties post. This isn't the easiest product to find online, in fact the only place that I can find it is on the Living Proof website where it retails at £10 for a 60ml size, and £21 for a 148ml size. Glossybox value this 30ml size at £5.

Day 12 - Winky Lux Uni-Brow Universal Brow Pencil - 0.35g - Full Size - Est. RRP £15

Finally on day 12 I received another make up item, and it was a product from another US based brand, Winky Lux. Winky Lux are a cruelty free, paraben, sulphate, and phthalate free brand, that are famous for their Instagram worthy floral lip products. As much as I would have loved one of those box number 12 contained a brow product.

Packaged in a gorgeous gold tube, there is a spoolie on one end, and a wedge shaped, twist up, universal brow pencil on the other.

This is a universal pencil that apparently will work with all skin tones and hair colours, depending on the pressure, less pressure equals a lighter more taupe colour, and heavier pressure produces a darker brown shade.

For a brow product the pigmentation is pretty good, but in my opinion this pencil is way better for filling in the brows as a whole, rather than drawing on individual hairs, it just wasn't fine enough or precise enough for that. I also found that it was quite difficult to achieve deeper extremes of colour, it wasn't quite dark enough for black and very dark brown brows. That said I don't think it looked too bad on my brows when I used it to fill in the gaps. It was really quick and easy to use, and the colour wore well without needing to add a brow gel or a setting product.



This was a full sized product and it has a retail price of around £15 from various stockists including Debenhams and Superdrug.

So that was part 1 of my thoughts on the 2019 Glossybox Advent Calendar - I'll keep my overall thoughts to the second part of this post but in general it was a case of so far so good x Did the rest of the calendar live up to my expectations? Find out in part 2 which should be up in a few days x In the meantime if you have any questions on any of the products that I've mentioned then please let me know your thoughts below x 

*This Post Contains Both Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links