Friday 6 October 2023

Trimming My Stash - November And December 2022 Edition - Empties, Mini Reviews And A 2022 Round Up*

Hey everyone, I hope you are all having a good week - it's nearly the weekend! I don't know what it is at the moment but we seem to be lurching from one drama to the next! I've been knocked for six with a virus culminating in an out of hours doctors visit on Saturday afternoon; all 3 cats have been poorly and have ended up at the vets, my mam had a hospital appointment last Friday, and believe you me all of that is only the tip of the iceberg, so fingers crossed you've had a better few weeks than I have!

Anyways apart that I've been doing a lot of work behind the scenes on the blog, including working on some exciting new collaborations, and prepping a long awaited giveaway post. Before all of the excitement of that though, it's empties catch up time, and today we're travelling back nearly a whole year to November and December 2022, to take a look at all of the products that I used up way back then, and just what I though about them.

Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips
Bath & Body Works White Barn Cactus Blossom Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - 259ml
Smooth Coffee Coffee Body Scrub - 200g
Eclat Acne Cream - 50g
Total - 4 Items 

Ah November, that transitional month from autumn into winter, the month of bonfire night, Christmas light switch ons, and Black Friday, and seemingly sub par trimming my stash performances. Like in October I only managed to finish 4 items, including a few things that you've seen before as well a couple of new bits.

1. Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips

I guess it's no real surprise that these babies make another appearance in an empties post. Since I was first sent these facial wax strips to review in early 2022 they've become a permanent fixture in my beauty routine and I probably been using about 1/2 to a full packet every month.

You can read a full review of them here (including some lovely hairy themed pictures ;), I really can't recommend them enough. They're good quality, they remove even the shortest hairs, and they're really affordable. My hairs are finer and are less dense, and honest I couldn't be with them now.

I've been buying these for around a £1 in both Savers and B&M, but I recently picked up a few packets in B&M for just 89p each. I'm also lead to believe that they are available in some Poundland stores, even though I've personally seen them there. If you fancy buying them in bulk, or you want them delivered to your door and you don't mind paying a little bit more, you can also find them on Amazon, o them on eBay and on Ocado.

2. Bath & Body Works White Barn Cactus Blossom Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - 259ml

As much as I love a bargain something that I've really loved splurging on over the last year or so, are Bath & Body Works hand washes and hand soaps. They aren't cheap but thankfully I have managed to pick a few up bottles in various NEXT sales and this particular one was one of these bargains.

In my favourite 'gentle foaming' formulation, Cactus Blossom is one of their most popular permanent fragrances. The scent is officially described as 'the scent of a sweet tropical oasis with notes of cactus flower petal, sun-kissed coconut and sparkling lemon'. For me though, as someone who is rubbish at describing scents, it has a real heady tropical floral scent, with just a hint of fruity sweetness and freshness. I'm a huge fan of the Victorias Secret fragrance 'Tease' and this definitely has some similarities.

Couple an amazing scent with Bath & Body Works amazing shea butter, aloe vera, vitamin E, and essential oil formulation, and you have a luxurious, non drying foaming hand wash that's perfect for a powder room or an upstairs bathroom.

These hand soaps retail at around £10 each but a little goes a long way, and you're feeling savvy, then when you get to around half way down the bottle fill it up with water, give it a shake and continue using your now full bottle of hand wash. The product is really concentrated so adding some water honestly doesn't make that much of a difference bar it making the bottle last twice as long ;).

Officially only available from NEXT Beauty online, and in selected NEXT stores with Bath & Body Works concessions, there are loads of other Cactus Flower products to choose from including a fabulous candle which I would throughly recommend. You can also buy a whole range of different Cactus Flower products including some exclusives, rare and discontinued products on eBay.

3. Smooth Coffee Coffee Body Scrub - 200g

From something that can be a bit spendy, to something super affordable, and it's a product I first showed you way back in the  summer of 2021. Costing just £1 from Poundland, the predominantly salt based body scrub also contained arabica coffee seed powder and walnut shell powder, and it did the job perfectly; it was scrubby enough for me and it also won praise from Mummy Lou for not clogging up the shower drain, and not leaving everything gritty and brown! You can see some pics and read a full review here.

Unfortunately I haven't seen this in store for quite some time, and I can't find it anywhere on the new Poundland website! Yes, you heard me, you can now buy all of your favourite Poundland goodies and some very interesting special buys (including PIXI, Elemis and L'Occcitane!) online. Alas no chilled, frozen or PEP & Co products yet but I can imagine it being a real godsend for anyone who can't make it to a store. As I say I can't find this particular item on there but I would recommend their Sooo Cocoa Cocoa Butter Salt Scrub which is only £1.50 for 270g - I will be featuring it in a future empties post but it's pretty similar at least texture wise to this one.

4. Eclat Acne Cream - 50g

I've mentioned it in a few posts now, but if you don't already know last year I was diagnosed with a skin condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS), which causes nasty almost boil like spots and scarring, in areas such as the under arms and inner thighs. 

I'm quite lucky that so far my case is relatively milk, but it doesn't look very nice, and the lesions can be quite painful. Treatment options are varied, but there doesn't seem to really be one definitive cure or answer. One of the options I was given was just to treat like acne and to use products like spot creams and products containing salicylic acid to try and keep it under control.

I did a little search online and I've bought a few products that other people recommended, and I've made a few other changes to me everyday routine, but this particular item was something that I just randomly came across. You know what it's like, it's late at night and you're just randomly scrolling through Amazon, just searching for random stuff, I think I was searching for spot or acne treatments and I came across this.

From 'nature powered' beauty brand Eclat Natural Skincare, this is as the name suggests an acne treatment cream. Designed to prevent and treat breakouts, and reduce oiliness, pores and blackheads, this cream contains salicylic acid, vitamin C, olive oil, safflower seed oil, and allantoin.

It has a dense but lightweight texture, and it absorbs into the skin really quickly. It has a very slight menthol type scent, and whilst it initially feels cool and slightly tingly on the skin, that feeling quickly subsides.

What I like about this product compared to some other acne and spot treatments, it that it doesn't seem to dry out the skin. Obviously underarms are quite a sensitive area and this cream definitely doesn't cause anymore irritation, the skin feels almost moisturised and in my case it does seem to calm down active ares, and prevent the spots from getting any worse.

The pot is pretty tiny but a small amount goes along way, especially if your just treating individual areas, with an RRP of £9.99 it's also pretty affordable , cruelty free and vegan. I bought my initial pot and the one I'm currently using from Amazon but it's actually out of stock on there and on the Eclat website, but I'm lead to believe it should be restocked shortly. In the meantime though you can also find it on eBay.

So they were my empties from November 2022, not an amazing total but they all count and hopefully you'll agree there were a couple of interesting items in the all be it very short list. I did say that this was a double header, so it's time now to move on to the last month of 2022 and to find out whether or I ended the year with a bang or more of a whimper?

NeilMed Neil Cleanse Piercing Aftercare Fine Mist Wound Wash - 177.6g
Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Cupcake Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - 259ml
Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips
L'Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths 8 Second Wonder Water - 200ml
If The Shoe Fits Little Miss Princess Twinkle Toes' Moisturising Foot Mask Socks - 2 x Foot Mask Socks
Total - 5 Items 

Okay, it wasn't the spectacular ending to the year that I would have liked, but I did go one better than in November and in December I managed to finish 5 items. Again there are a few both old and new staples on the list, and a few newer random things, all in all not a bad mix to end the year on.

1. NeilMed Neil Cleanse Piercing Aftercare Fine Mist Wound Wash - 177.6g

2022 was the year when I caught the piercing bug again. In September of last year, I added a daith piercing to my left ear, and then in December I added two new helix piercings to the same ear.

To be honest I can't really remember getting any real aftercare instructions with any of my previous 8 ear piercings, bar being sold bottles of aftercare solution, but nowadays the best advice for a new piercing is to keep it clean with sterile saline solution. I must admit at the time I got slightly addicted to piercing videos on Tik Tok, and this particular product kept being recommended by both professional piercers and piercing fans alike.

It's just sterile saline solution, and nothing else, no preservatives, alcohol, tea tree or anything. The can is pressurised so the mist is actually really fine, and the slightly longer nozzle means that you can get right into those awkward areas meaning you can just spray and go, so there is no excuse not to keep your piercings clean. 

I love the spray on this one, the size of the can, and just how long it lasts. Alas I had a couple of faulty cans in a row which meant I did try a few, all be it cheaper, products, but I keep coming back to this particular product, and it's one that I will continue to repurchase, especially when I get round to getting my daith hoop switched out, and fingers crossed my right conch pierced before the year is out!

This particular size retails at around £13.99 from Amazon but it's also available both in this size and in a smaller size at several different price points from eBay.

2. Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Cupcake Gentle Foaming Hand Soap - 259ml

I'm sensing a bit of deja vu in these next 2 products at least - that's what happens sometimes though, you finish the same or similar products over and over again, so next up it another gentle foaming hand soap from Bath & Body Works, this time in one of their fall and festive fragrances.

As much as Bath & Body Works have some really nice core fragrances, I really think that their seasonal scents are where it's at, even if it annoys me when my favourites don't reappear year after year.

So from fall 2022 comes Pumpkin Cupcake - again with aloe vera, vitamin E, and shea extract, this scent has notes of 'baked pumpkin, whipped vanilla frosting and golden honey.' If you like foodie based, spicy and sweet scents then this is / was the fragrance for you - it was sweet, warm and cakey - if you're a fan of The Body Shop's Vanilla Pumpkin then you'll love Pumpkin Cupcake. 

Whilst there are a few pumpkin based things from Bath & Body Works on the NEXT website, this particular scent doesn't appear to have returned in 2023, you can however get the Pumpkin Apple hand soap which I would 100% recommend. If you have a concession near you it might be worth having a look in store, if not these are loads of pumpkin themed Bath & Body Works products on eBay including a few Pumpkin Cupcake bit, and some US exclusives.

3. Jolen Face Wax Strips - 16 Wax Strips

I hope you appreciate the fact that I have gone to the trouble of taking and editing another photo of these for you LOL ;) You'll probably be pleased to know that I won't be waffling on and repeating myself again, singing the praises of this product - just scroll up to see what I think ;)

4. L'Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths 8 Second Wonder Water - 200ml

Next up another items that you've already seen quite a lot of on this blog so again I'm not going to go into too much detail about it. I love this stuff, I've used numerous bottles of it now, I don't know how it works, but what I do know is that it makes my hair less frizzy and easier to control. I've tried a few similar products now but I keep coming back to this one. If you want to find out more about what this product does and a bit more on how it works then have a little search on the blog to find out more x 

5. If The Shoe Fits Little Miss Princess Twinkle Toes' Moisturising Foot Mask Socks - 2 x Foot Mask Socks

New Years Eve - a night of celebration and wild partying, or if you're more like me a night of pampering, cosy PJ's, nibbles, fizz and a good film! Since I'm very much a home bird on New Years Eve - I'm definitely on the fun, relaxation and self care train - it therefore makes sense that the very last product that I finished in 2022 was a pampering product and it was this foot mask.

I think I actually bought this set maybe a year earlier as a gift for someone but I completely forgot about it, and when I rediscovered it I decided to keep it for myself! If you're around my age then you'll probably remember a period of time when the Little Miss characters were everywhere! I know I ended up with a whole load of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and nightwear with the Little Miss Naughty character on from the likes of Debenhams, Miss Selfridge, and if you know you know, La Senza, in fact I think I still have a dressing gown somewhere, and it's safe to say I still have a bit of nostalgic love from the characters.

This cute set contained 3 Little Miss themed beauty and pamper products - a lip mask, an eye mask and this foot mask.

The packet contained a pair of alas not Little Miss designed, plain plastic socks. They were definitely shorter and smaller than some similar products that I've tried, and on my size 8 feet they ended up being a bit more like a trainer sock, so I was pretty pleased that they still fit!

The plastic socks had a thin fibre lining and contained a runny liquid containing vitamin E and rose extract, which had a slightly astringent fruity floral scent.

When I first put the socks on the liquid almost seemed to bubble up. The socks obviously felt cool and soggy but they did sting a little bit on the odd cat scratch!

As instructed I removed the socks after 20 minutes and there was quite a bit of froth on my skin. This was a rinse off mask, so I rinsed it off with warm water and dried them off with a towel. After drying then looked a bit wrinkled and a bit red, and whilst they felt more relaxed there was no real difference in the smoothness of my skin, and later that night I did notice that they got a bit itchy, but that could have been down to the bubbly and the cheese overload!!

I think that these were a fun gift or stocking filler but don't expect any skincare miracles. I bought this gift set in the local north east institution that is Boyes Stores, but it is available from anywhere in between £8.99 - £10.99 on eBay who also sell a whole load of other Little Miss themed beauty items.

There you have it then, my empties for the last two months for 2022, and another 9 items were added to my Trimming My Stash 2022 total, which you can see in all its glory below...

January - 3 Items
February - 7 Items
March - 7 Items
April - 8 Items
May - 7 Items
June - 4 Items
July - 6 Items
August - 7 Items
September - 5 Items
October - 4 Items
November - 4 Items
December - 5 Items
2022 Total - 67 Items

Well, if you look at it statistically at least, 2022 was a little bit of a disappointment when it comes to trimming my stash, never mind with anything else. In 2022 I managed to finish just 67 items, which was way down on both 2021's total of 94, and on 2020's total of 75, and I actually managed to equal 2019's total, making 2022 my joint worst performance since I started logging and blogging my beauty empties.

There is no doubt that I could have done better, but overall I'm still pretty pleased with my total. That's 67 less products cluttering up my office, my bathroom and my bedroom, and since I've been both buying less, and I've been starting to clear out some expired and unwanted products, I'm definitely starting to create some spaces here and there.

Obviously trimming my stash is a regular thing both for me personally and for the blog, so I'm doing it again this year. I've been updating the items in my side bar but I'll be updating it properly with the totals and so on over the weekend, and in the next week or so I'll be starting to play catch up with monthly total and mini review posts. Be warned they are probably going to be pretty epic posts covering around 3 months worth of products each, at least until I get back up to date anyways x 

Thanks again for your patience with all of the catch up stuff, I really appreciate it - If you're doing something similar then let me know how you're doing in the comment, and I will see you soon either with an autumnal nails of the day or my long awaited giveaway ;) x

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