Thursday, 19 June 2014

Oh Yes, I Jumped... Birchbox June 2014

I've gone and done it again and jumped on another bandwagon! This time it's the beauty-box-subscription-service bandwagon. This seems to be staple in the lives of every beauty blogger/vlogger I watch/read, but I've never tried any out until now.

I had been thinking about joining one for a while now, and then I saw the PR samples that had been sent to bloggers for this month's Birchbox, and decided to bite the bullet and sign up. I only signed up for the one month, just to see what it was like, and if I'd get the products I was particularly after. Turns out, I did! And I'm so pleased with the service and the box!

For those new to this service, Birchbox is a monthly beauty box where you sign up for a certain amount of time (1 month, 3 months or 12), and they charge you £10 (+£2.95 p&p)  and deliver you a box each month made up of 4 or 5 sample size products for you to try. The website explains it in more detail, here.

When it's delivered, the box comes in a cardboard outer-box with your address label on etc. And then you open it up and the actual Birchbox is inside. I was slightly surprised at how small the box is; a great way of cutting down on cardboard etc, I suppose. The lid is made up of a recycled cardboard type material, and the bottom is just a white thick cardboard. Once you open the box up, there is a drawstring bag inside (reminds me of a handbag dustbag, that sort of material) and that's where your samples are.

Opening the bag up, I was surprised [and extremely happy] to find the BeautyBlender inside! The RRP on this alone is £26! This is the product I was really hoping to get, along with the Embryolisse Lait-Cremé Concentré (which I didn't, unfortunately). It's the original and supposedly best version of all these makeup sponges you see on the market today.
The next product was the Caudalié Vinoperfect Broad Spectrum SPF15 Day Perfecting Fluid, which is described as a multi-tasking moisturiser, that brightens, corrects and retextures skin.
The Naobay Body Radiance Lotion is "a lemony fresh organic body lotion with shea butter, olive and avocado oils for truly soft skin."
A mini size of one of the OPI Brazil collection nail polishes also came in the box. I got the yellow shade, it doesn't say the name of the colour on the bottle (I think it's You're So Flippy Floppy).
A mini size of theBalm's How 'Bout Them Apples? blush palette was also included. It actually contains just one of the blush shades that are in the palette, and mine was Pie. I actually bought this palette a couple of months ago, (review coming soon!) but this will be nice to put in my handbag makeup bag, or for travelling.
Finally, every box came with a flip flop keychain in Brazil's colours because this box was called the Global Strikers box (based on the World Cup).

I was really, really impressed with this box, and the service was great. I had to wait a few days after ordering it for it to be despatched, but that's only because Birchbox despatch the boxes in waves after a certain date, and it also depends on when you ordered it. But, after I received my dispatch confirmation email, it arrived the next day!

I think I am definitely tempted to maybe sign up for a longer time now. Or at least keep on eye out on the next month's boxes.

Have you ever tried one of these services? What were your thoughts?

Saturday, 14 June 2014

MAC Sharon and Kelly Collection

Okay, so I know in my Birthday Shopping Haul, I said I wouldn't be shopping for a little bit, but then MAC came out with their Sharon and Kelly Osbourne Collection! Damn you, MAC!! I'm that much of a fan of the Osbourne's, but some of the pieces in this collection were too pretty to say no to. So, of course, I picked up a couple of pieces.

After searching for some swatches and reviews of this collection (thank goodness for Karen from makeupandbeautyblog) I ended up going for Kelly's Mineralize Skinfinish in Jolly Good, and Sharon's eyeshadow quad in Duchess.

I've always wanted to try the MAC eyeshadows, as you always hear people rave about them! But, it put me off a bit, having to buy everything separately if you wanted to create a palette, so I thought that this was a great opportunity to try them out, and it also worked out cheaper. The colours are so me, aswell. I love warm, neutral colours for the eyes, especially gold colours, as they go well with my skintone and blue eyes.

The quad is made up of four colours: top: Sweet Eyes (Veluxe Pearl finish), Sexy Eyes (Veluxe Pearl finish) bottom: Femme Fatale (Satin finish) and Embark (Matte). 
Sweet Eyes is a light, golden nude shade which has a lot of shimmer. A lovely lid colour.
Sexy Eyes is a warm rose-gold/copper shimmer colour.
Femme Fatale is a lovely warm golden brown shade.
Embark is a red-toned chocolate brown colour.
For more information about the MAC eyeshadow finishes, check out Sarah's (from Eyeshadow Addicts Anonymous) post.
I'm really impressed with this quad. The shadows are really soft and creamy (especially Sweet Eyes). My favourite shade has to be Femme Fatale. The only negative point is Embark is quite powdery compared to the rest, but that's nothing new with matte eyeshadows.  

I wasn't sure which of these to get, Kelly's version or Sharon's, but I eventually decided on Kelly's hoping to use both shades as a subtle-ish highlighter.
MAC's description of this Mineralize Skinfinish:
"Two luxurious formulas in one compact. Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in light cool beige, a luxurious velvet-soft powder with natural finish and Mineralize Blush in soft pale pink. Adds buffed-up highlights to cheeks and brows, or an overall polish to the face."
This shade is called Jollygood, and the above colour description is perfect. It is very cool-toned, and also very light in colour. Texture-wise, it is very fine-milled and silky, soft. I could see this being a good bronzer and blusher on fair skins, and a gorgeous highlighter on darker skintones.

Out of the two products, I am definitely more impressed with the eyeshadow quad. I'm not totally sure how I'm going to use the MSF, or the best way to apply it yet, so I need a bit of time to play around with it.

Unfortunately, both of these products are now sold out online, but there may still be some on counters. So, if you wanted anything, I would recommend ringing your local counter up, or taking a visit, and seeing if they have any in stock.

Did you manage to pick pieces up from this collection?

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

May Favourites

1. Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream in Light Beige
I've really been liking this on days where I don't want a heavy foundation. It has really decent coverage, considering it's only a CC cream, but it's still light and doesn't feel like you're wearing makeup. It also contains SPF15, making it a great Summer base. It leaves a lovely natural finish, not completely matte, but not dewy either, somewhere in the middle. I would really recommend this.

2. Real Techniques Powder Brush
Since picking this up in my birthday shopping trip, I've been using this to set my makeup with the Maybelline Super Stay Waterproof Powder, and it's been working so well! I notice that my makeup lasts a lot longer. I give the brush a big swirl in the powder and then just apply it all over, pushing it into the skin, though, not sweeping. The brush just seems to get just the right amount of powder, without making you look cakey, and it's great for blending blush out aswell.

3. Soap & Glory Sexy Motherpucker Gloss Stick in Nudist
I actually used this when I had a job interview, as I really wasn't in the mood for an overly obvious lip colour. I'm so glad I did! I've been quite a little bit obsessed with this since. It's a perfect everyday lip product, as it adds a hint of colour to your lips, which just makes them look healthy and alive (I don't know about you, but sometimes mine go really pale which is not a good look!). It's very moisturising, doesn't cling to dry patches, and lasts a considerable amount of time. I'll definitely be trying some more out!

4. NYX Powder Blush in Angel
This has been the only blush I've been using during the month of May. It looks very pale in the pan, but when you apply it to your face, it gives a lovely natural, warm flush colour. It seems a very strange colour (good strange), I think it's going to be one of those that looks different on absolutely everyone (even though every blush is like this). Depending on your skin tone, it can look more pink, and on other skintones, it looks more peachy. This will be another product I'll be trying more of!

5. MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder
I finally managed to get my hands on this a couple of months back now, but it got put to the back of my drawer, and I just didn't reach for it, that is until the month of May. I saw Shannon's (from RaspberryKiss) review and soon found mine out of the drawer again. It is a lovely highlighter, considering it's only £3! It's not too shimmery, but you do need a gentle hand with it,  otherwise you can look disco ball face. Colour wise, it's a pearly pink colour, and this is the only downside, in my opinion. I would prefer it if it was a more golden colour as that suits my skin tone more, but it doesn't bother me that much. This is one of those products that are hard to get hold of, so if ever you see it, pick it up fast!

6. Dan + Shay - Where It All Began
I have been in love with this album since watching Megan & Liz's cover of their song "19 You and Me". I find that this is the perfect Sunday-afternoon chillax album. The songs are really relaxed, and easy-going, but also really catchy and well written. It is technically classed as country, but don't let that put you off if you're not a fan, as it's not full of twang and y'all's.

7. Florida Georgia Line - Here's To The Good Times...This Is How We Roll
This is another album I found thanks to a Megan & Liz cover! Compared to Dan + Shay, this is a really country album, so of you don't like that type of music, this album is definitely not for you. I think that this is a perfect Summer feel-good, Saturday night album. A lot of the songs are about having a good time, and are so catchy. My favourites are "Tell Me How You Like It", "This Is How We Roll", and "Take It Out On Me".

8. The Originals
I can't believe that I haven't mentioned this in a favourites post yet! This has to be one of my favourite TV shows that has been on lately! Unfortunately, it has now finished its first season, and won't be back until about October time, but I have been slightly obsessed with this show. I loved the series finale, I think it was even one of the best finales that I've seen in a while! It is a spin-off of "The Vampire Diaries," but I don't think you need to have watched TVD to keep up with this show. I would highly recommend this show if you're in need of something new to watch.

9. The One by Kiera Cass
If you saw my March Favourites, then you'll know that there were two books that I loved, called The Selection and The Elite. Well, this is the third and final book in that trilogy. I think I read this in about two days! That's how much in love I was with it. I was desperate to find out the end, and see who America ended up with. I was surprised at how much of a story was actually in the book. I was just expected a short storyline at the beginning, and then there'd be the wedding etc, but there were a lot of twists and turns, all leading up to the ending. This was a good ending to the series, and answered any unanswered questions well. I was very satisfied with the ending, and think anyone who has read the previous books will be too.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Birthday Shopping Haul!

I always get slightly excited when a new month comes, but even more so when April comes around, as it's my birthday month. I meant to post this earlier, but after my little break, I'm only getting round to it now (please excuse me!). I turned 22 on the 23rd April, and had a lovely day. I received money off my parents and I had been saving some money, so I knew a big shopping day was in order! Here are the goodies I picked up! Enjoy!

First up is Next. I'd heard a while back that Next had started to stock NYX cosmetics, and after doing a bit of a scout around the store, I finally found the stand! To be honest, I was a little disappointed, as there wasn't an awful lot there and there was no testers, but I did pick up a couple of things. This was my first time trying NYX products, so I went with the things that bloggers rave about; one of their Mega Shine Lipglosses and one of their Powder Blushes. The shades I picked up were Beige (lipgloss) and Angel (blush). Then, when I was on my way to the till, this makeup bag just seemed to shout me over, and somehow just seemed to hypnotise me to buy it!

Of course I had to nip into Superdrug and Boots. I was mainly after the Nicole by OPI Carrie Underwood collection, but they didn't sell these at them, and also Tanya Burr's lipglosses and polishes! There weren't many left on the Tanya Burr stand, so I went with Chic and First Date. I didn't have a big powder brush, so I picked up the Real Techniques one, and also added the Shading Brush to my basket, as there was an offer on. After seeing many swatches and reviews of the Barry M nail polish for Superdrug's 50th birthday, I knew it would be one I had to pick up. I also picked up one of the True Colour Lipstick's from Sleek in Barely There, as it just caught my eye. Plus, it's my first time trying their lipsticks and I've heard a lot about them. Then, when going past the NYC stand, I saw that they actually had the Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder in Sunny, which I constantly hear American YouTubers rave about! This is the first time I've actually seen this for sale over here, so I don't know if it's a new release or they just haven't sold it at the other Superdrug's I've looked in. They also had the VO5 Refresh Me Quick dry shampoo at half price, so I picked up one of those just as a back up. On another trip, I really fancied going ombre on my hair, so I picked up the L'Oreal Wild Ombres kit in number 2, and also some of the metal free hair bands.

Boots was doing their very dangerous 3 for 2 across all cosmetics offer, so I did take a little bit of advantage of this, picking up the Sleek Au Natural eye palette, Soap & Glory Super-Colour-Fabulipstick in Guavarama and one of the new Models Own Sticky Fingers. I had also heard that the Charles Worthington Volume and Bounce Texturising Spray was a dupe for the raved about Oribe Dry Texturising Spray, so wanted to give that a try. I also picked up the mousse aswell.

While in Debenhams, I was browsing their skincare section and saw that all of the Love + Toast range was half price! I remember seeing this a while back and really liked the sound of the Sugar Grapefruit hand cream, but being £12+ put me off, but at half price I couldn't say no! I also saw that they did a Blood Orange lip butter, which I was hoping would be like the Orange flavour ChapLips that they did years ago, because I was OBSESSED with that smell! Unfortunately, it's not.

Okay, so we're on to the exciting, high-end stuff now! I really wanted to treat myself to a Jo Malone candle, so off I went into the shop, and came out with a beautifully wrapped and beautifully smelling bag. I ended up going for the Peony and Blush Suede scent, which is a lovely Spring/Summer light, floral scent. The packaging of this though! They even sprayed the tissue paper with perfume!

So, this might be the most exciting purchase I made. It's the Rouge Coco Shine lipstick in 54 Boy. After years of lusting over a Chanel lipstick, I finally bit the bullet and went for it. I decided on a very natural colour, as I didn't want to spend all that money on a lipstick that I could only wear once on a blue moon.

Another naughty purchase here, as I wasn't actually planning on buying this. I was browsing the Debenhams website after my shopping trip and saw they did this gift set of the Touche Eclat, a sample of the Doll Eyes mascara and a mini sample of the Youth Liberator Eye Cream for the same price as the individual Touche Eclat. I then found that the YSL Beauty website sold it with free delivery and free samples, and brought it before my conscience could catch up with my fingers! Look at that mini-lipstick  that came as a free sample!!

I was actually in the MAC store the day the new Alluring Aquatic collection was released in store, so when I saw that there, I knew I had to pick something up from it, because the packaging is absolutely gorgeous! I ended up going for the Cremesheen Lipstick in Mystical, which is a deeper natural your-lips-but-better shade.

So, I think that's me all shopped out for the next 6 months!! You may not see any hauls for a little while now!

What's on your beauty wishlist?