Tuesday, 9 April 2013

& Other Stories Wishlist

Hello Hello!

So as I'm sure you are all aware of by now (in fact, probably you, as well as your sister, your mother, your grandmother..and so forth..) that there is a brand new shop on Regent Street by Oxford Circus so aptly called, & Other Stories. If you haven't visited the flagship store as of yet, I highly recommend that you do - Even if just for a browse. A friend of mine from New York came to visit this past week and we went to scour what the sister store of H&M, Cos, and Monki had to offer - Let me tell you that we were definitely anything but disappointed.

I wasn't so much as interested in the clothes, or even the shoes - Although, I did fall in love with a cute black wedge-heel number that was a bit out of my typical price range.. - as I was with the purses and the beauty department. The layout of the store is very modern yet comfortable, painted in white and with neatly, organized sections and stalls.

I spent quite some time perusing the skincare products, especially the store's own matching body soaps, scrubs, and lotions - There's even a sink area for you to test them out before you buy. It sort of reminded me of the sink area in Bath & Body Works, which, anyone from the States should get that reference. I thought that I would love the Rose Revival scented products (since I love anything rose-scented) but I particularly fell in love with the Shinjuku Bloom scented products, which reminded me of a cross between sweet pea and fresh flower scents. After testing the soap, scrub, and lotion on my hands, I can assure you that the scent lingered for the next few hours - I definitely looked like the weirdo sniffing her hands (mostly in disbelief that the scent lasted so long!) whilst walking in and out of shops on Regent Street that day!

I've included below a wishlist of some products from the store that I would consider buying. For anyone on a budget (like me!), I do think that the store has some great buys that are affordable and also look great. The beauty products are a bit pricey, but still not terrible for what they are and what they deliver, so if you are a bit hesitant, go in store and try the products for yourself! I always suggest to try out products on yourself and wear them throughout the day - If by the end of the day (or a few hours, even) you find yourself still intrigued by it, then buy it (if you can afford it). No harm done..Well, maybe for your wallet, in my case..

You can check out & Other Stories here - www.stories.com

Have any of you checked out & Other Stories yet? Have you tried/bought any products from them? 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Let's Discuss..Gel Cleansers.

Before I go any further to write this post in detail, I want you all to know that I am in no way a skincare or beauty specialist or anything of that sort. This is just what works for me, personally, and if it helps you too - Awesome! I hope it does.

I'm always having problems with my skin. Either it's too blotchy, too spotty, too dull...The list can go on and on. These factors are usually dependent on weather, stress levels, dietary choices during that particular week, or even as a reaction to something I've applied on my face. For the past few weeks, my skin most definitely hasn't been amazing - This is due to ridiculously high stress levels from uni deadlines combined with a poor diet. As a result, my skin has lost its radiance and has become very, terribly spotty.

Usually when this happens (It does happen every now and then - Stress definitely comes and goes), I become very strict with my skincare regime. That means always ensuring I wash my face both day and night; especially removing any makeup or anything on my face before I go to sleep. I generally use a cleanser, exfoliator, toner, and moisturiser in the mornings and a micellar water, cleansing balm, cleanser, toner, eye cream and moisturiser in the evenings. I know that sounds a bit excessive - But with given time, it's what works for me. I also use a clay mask at least twice a week, if not three times - This can be combined with other masks to fix issues such as lack of radiance or so forth.

Going backwards a bit on that, though...One thing that I find that does help me a lot when my skin goes berserk is a gel cleanser. Gel cleansers are great for skin no matter what condition or issue that you're currently having, since they won't irritate the skin, they won't strip it of its natural oils and they'll only, very gently, cleanse the skin (as the package says). Because I have normal/combination skin, the three gel cleansers (Actually, one is a cleansing milk - But because of its consistency/how it works, I consider it to be more like a gel cleanser) that I tend to use regularly and feel that they work the best are Ainhoa's Vitaminal Cleansing Milk, Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, and Avene Gentle Cleanser.

Ainhoa Vitaminal Cleansing Milk is a light, creamy cleanser that glides onto the skin with ease whilst removing any makeup and impurities from the skin. It contains ingredients such as Hamamelis Extract, which is great for irritated or acne-prone skin, as it helps to regulate the natural oils that are on the face without further disrupting the skin. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser is another cleanser that is great for removing makeup, especially eye makeup - It basically just melts any residue away. This is also a cleanser that I find to glide onto the skin with ease, and does a great job of cleansing the skin without further disrupting it. It contains ingredients such as rosewater, to help calm, tone, and balance the skin, as well as cucumber extract to soothe the skin and amino-acid rich soy proteins to aid in moisture retention, elasticity, and firmness in the skin. Avene is a brand that I have grown to absolutely love, as their skincare products have helped my skin improve itself so much. Their Gentle Cleanser is composed of ingredients that won't harm or irritate the skin in any way, as well as no colourants, parabens, or fragrances so that it can just cleanse the skin without harming it in any way. If you have very sensitive skin, as well, I would highly recommend Avene as their products are generally geared towards those with sensitive skin.

Have you used a gel cleanser before? What do you think of them? What helps you to combat terrible skin days?

Birchbox UK March - Role Models Themed Box

In favour of Mother's Day being in March over here in the UK (I know, fellow US readers..it confuses me too!), Birchbox UK have decided to focus on a theme for this month's box that reflects those who matter most to us, whether they be directly related to us or influential in some obscure way (celebrity idolists, I'm looking at you). The products in this box are meant to allow us to reflect on those mentors, as well as similar mentors within the beauty industry, such as Laura Gellar and Molton Brown.

I have to say, in receiving this month's box I was actually very pleased with the quality, amount, and diversity of the products that were sent to me. Also, unlike most other boxes, I wasn't too displeased to find out that other subscribers had gotten different products or 'better' products than myself. The only differences that I was able to spot with other Birchboxes this month were of those who received a Laura Gellar gel eyeliner in purple and of those who received a beauty blender - But these products were chosen based off of subscribers beauty profiles, so it was a bit understandable.

Anywho, onto the products themselves:

Molton Brown Valbonne Fine Fragrance, 2 mL:  I had known about Molton Brown before receiving this sample perfume, but had never tried any of their fragrances since they were a bit too pricey. In testing this product, I was a bit taken surprised by the scent of this perfume as it is different scent than I am used to. It's quite musky and warm, with notes of bergamot, orange flower, vetiver, leather, provencal mimosa, rosa and deep purple orris. It sits really nicely on the skin, blending well with the natural pheromones of the skin. Definitely a must-try; I am almost finished with my sample and quite sad to say so!

Laura Gellar Beauty Inkwell Waterproof Gel Liner in Black, 2.3mL: I love gel eyeliners as I think they are the best in application and long-wear for eyeliners, so I was really glad to receive this. I haven't tried any products from Laura Gellar before receiving this product, so it was great to try a new line. The packaging is really compact, great for travel - The brush is easy to store within the lid of the product. The eyeliner itself is quite pigmented and creamy as well, great for application and you don't need to retrace your lines as much as you would with any ordinary eyeliner. As for long-wear, I have found this product to last me all day by itself, or, if I'm having a particularly oily/combination skin day, if I apply some neutral eyeshadow underneath, it helps set my look for the day.

RMK Cleansing Balm, 25g:  I was really excited to find this product in my box this month, as I'd never tried a cleansing balm before but have heard so much about them and about how great they are. I had heard a bit about RMK, but not much to know their products or their stance in the industry. This product has a lovely, non-overwhelming rose scent and a light pink, creamy, butter-like texture. I've only ever needed about a 20 pence/dime-sized amount to cleanse my face with, so I know that this product may last me a little while, which is great. I don't use it in the morning because I find it better to use at night whilst taking off my makeup and deep-cleansing my face - It also leaves my face very soft.

La Sultane de Saba Body Lotion with Argan Oil, 30mL: A brand I hadn't heard before receiving this box. I really love musky scents, so this product is great - It has a soothing, musky, powdery scent that reminds me of my grandmother, but in a good way (That probably sounds wrong..Oh well). Once applied, it sinks into skin almost immediately, leaving skin soft and smooth afterwards. Shame it didn't come in a bigger package!

Yu-Be Moisturising Skin Cream, 3g: Apparently this brand and product are well-renowned and considered to be a cult product in Japan. It's a multi-purpose balm to be used on your face, lips, hands, elbows, feet, or anywhere else that needs some extra TLC. I tried a bit of it on my face as a moisturiser for the nighttime, and found it leaving my skin very soft in the morning. The only downside is that the scent of this product is from camphor, which smells a bit medicinal and menthol-y.

Lindt Lindor Heart Tin with Chocolate Truffles: This was a lifestyle extra in the box that I was happy to see when I received it, as who doesn't love chocolate!? Especially Lindt truffles! Definitely a lovely treat to receive, and the heart tin is cute - I may save it for some jewelry or small trinkets.

Sanctuary Thermal Transformation Face Mask: This was a beauty extra in the box, which was a bit of a surprise. I've used products from Sanctuary before and have liked them, so I wasn't wary in receiving this product. I haven't tried it yet, as I have so many other face masks to get through - I think I have a bit of an obsession... - but when I do, expect a review!

Last but not least was the March Birchbox magazine that has become sort of a ritual to include in each month's Birchbox. Again, same as last month, I have nothing but good things to say about the layout and contents of the magazine as I think it provides a great variety and amount of articles, product reviews, and interviews with notable brands and figure-heads within the industry. Another stellar job!

So that was the March UK Birchbox! What did you guys think? Did any of you receive different products/samples to try out? 

Friday, 15 March 2013

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Lychee

After seeing all of the hype that these polishes created in the blogging world, I knew that I had to try them. I've always been a fan of Barry M nail polishes since I've moved to the UK - They have a great colour range as well as a variety of types of polishes. In perusing the Barry M makeup stall (Stall? Stand? What's the actual correct term..?)  in Superdrug the other day, I went to go buy and test out one of these 'hype' polishes.

Sadly enough, the shade Greenberry had been sold out. I then had a choice between Blood Orange and Lychee. I chose Lychee, since I have way too many red nail polishes to begin with, and I thought that it would be more beneficial to try out a new colour that I don't already have. After trying this polish, though..I will definitely be going back to buy Blood Orange, as well as Greenberry. Lychee is a neutral, flesh-toned colour that for some reason, reminds me of mannequins and foundation (the makeup kind). Bizarre as those references might sound, this colour is absolutely stunning, in my opinion. I love wearing nail polish, but sometimes it's nice to step away from darker colours and embrace a more natural nail. This polish looks effortless and clean, giving just a hint of a colour change to suggest made-up nails without being garish or over-the-top.

The 'gelly' formula itself is great - It provides high-shine and elasticity to your nails, ensuring a longer wear polish - It's also good if you don't have time for a top coat. The formula itself feels comfortable on my nails, not stiff or dry, as some other drugstore branded polishes tend to do.

Have you tried any of Barry M's gelly nail paints? What do you think of them?

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Wonder Pore Freshner : Etude House

I've really been getting into asian skincare regimes, especially with products from Korea - Have you seen what they launch over there!? Snail moisturisers, sheet masks, cute packaging..I could spend hours on the internet looking through products labelled with 'asian skincare'. I suppose it's become a bit of an, er, obsession..

Upon looking into some asian skincare brands, I came across Etude House from Rachel's blog, Blush and Brunch (found here!). I don't know too much about the brand, as there isn't too much information on how the brand started out on their website or on any other information websites - Also, most of their social media platforms are predominately in asian languages - Due to their popularity in major parts of Asia, including South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and more. There aren't many sites or places to buy products from Etude House, but if you're interested, you can usually come across any of their products on Ebay or Amazon for decent prices (plus free shipping, most of the time!).

Introducing..Wonder Pore Freshner.

I found this product through my Ebay excursions one day. It seems that a reoccurring trend in a lot of asian skincare products is to reduce pore size and to cleanse the pores more thoroughly. I'm constantly having issues with my pore size, especially around my nose area (Blackheads are also certainly not nice to look at, and no matter how much you try to cover them up..They still like to reappear!) so of course I was very interested to try this product! It was seriously love at first sight.

I ordered my trial size of the Wonder Pore Freshner via Ebay and received it about one and half weeks later from Korea - Not bad for standard international shipping! I immediately loved the cute, yet simple packaging of the product - It sort of has a Benefit feel to it, don't you think? (Maybe that's just me.)

After the first use, I noticed a slight dramatic difference - I could visibly see that it had tightened my pores around my nose area. It also left my skin very soft to the touch, and the scent of the product was not strong at all - Very refreshing. A little goes a long way! After a few weeks of use, I can proudly say that it does what it claims - My pores are visibly tightened and smaller in size. I still have some minor blackheads around my nose, but my skin has always been a bit stubborn around that area. (Speaking of..Can anyone recommend a product you use for similar problems, if any?)

Sadly enough, I am almost out of this product, as it is only a 25mL bottle. I would love to repurchase this, preferably in a larger size, but it seems a bit difficult to do - If anyone finds a larger sized version, please do let me know!

Have you used any products from Etude House? What's your favourite pore cleanser/toner/miracle solution?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Glossybox UK: City Chic Edition March 2013

This month's Glossybox UK was themed as a 'City Chic Edition'. The premise behind this month's theme was to give Glossybox UK subscribers products that would help them achieve 'that glossy, groomed look that city girls miraculously manage to maintain from boardroom to barstool'.

Based off of what I had received for this month, I was a bit upset in receiving this box - I thought that the products were alright, but honestly felt that Glossybox could have done much more with their product range in this month's box. They have claimed that they have 'tried and tested until they found the hardest-working, multi-tasking, heavy-duty products', but again - Based off of what I had received this month, I was a bit unsure about that. It would be interesting to see if there was anyone else who had received a box with different products in it this month to compare with. However, nonetheless, I can't completely rule out this month's box as it did contain a brand or two that are notorious for having great products. I also really loved their 'My Little Travelling Book', which featured top attractions/restaurants in cities all over the world, courtesy of Glossybox's global network, as well as some cute stickers and blank pages for note taking. It was a good nod to their theme for this month and sweet touch to the box.

Nails Inc are a fantastic brand, and I've never had any negatives to say about their polishes. I remember receiving their Kensington Caviar Top Coat in my November Glossybox last year, and instantly fell in love. St. James is a beautiful, bright red colour (described in the pamphlet as a 'classic, pillar box red', but I personally think it's a bit softer in tone) with a slight hint of sparkle to it. It applies very smoothly, leaving a nice, glossy finish after application. I love the size of the product, as well - Although it's not full size (10mL), at 4 mL, it's still a great travel or handbag size to carry around with you.

I'd never heard of Jelly Pong Pong Cosmetics before I received the Lip Blush in this month's box. I think the product itself is quite moisturising and has nice packaging, although I do wish that I had gotten the red colour over the pink one that I received, since the pink one applies quite sheer (I assume that the red one is a bit more pigmented -- Has anyone received it that can either confirm/deny that?) but when applied in layers, comes out as a bright, bubblegum shade. The packaging is simple yet really efficient; I love that to get more of the product, you just twist up from the bottom of the stick, as well. Despite the shade being a bit too sheer-er than I'd have liked, I still think it's great and will be good as a spring handbag essential!

Tresemme is another brand, although being a drugstore brand, that I think plays its cards right. I don't see too many beauty bloggers talking about the brand a lot, but I'd say that it's still one of those brands that does what it says and does it right. I've received a 100mL bottle of the Salon Finish Extra Hold Hairspray in this month's box, which is a great size and perfect for travel - I don't use much hairspray in my daily routine, as I generally like to leave my hair in a natural, flowing finish, but for what this product says it does, I'd say it does it fairly well. It has a nice hair salon smell to it, and if used correctly, it shouldn't weigh hair down too much. I would warn that if, like me, you're not one for stiff hairstyles and tend to leave your hair quite natural, but want a bit of volume or Oomph! to your hair, to spray just a small amount of it about 10 inches or so from your hair to avoid a stiff finish. You can always add more afterwards!

Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream Fragrance Free Skin Protectant seems to have a love/hate relationship amongst the beauty blogging world. Personally, this would be the first time that I've tried it, and honestly..I don't understand what all of the hype is about. First off, the size of the product that was included inside of this month's box was ridiculously small, which was upsetting, especially since this was a product that I've never tried before..Th product claims that it is 7mL, but it looks about 2-3mL. Second, in testing out the product on my hand, the application of it was very greasy - Almost like slathering butter onto your skin. It took ages for it to sink into my skin as well, even after massaging it in for seemed like ages. The smell wasn't too great, either, although I don't think it was as bad as some bloggers who have mentioned the product make it out to be. Maybe it's a product that needs to grow on me..

One product in the box that definitely grew on me after a few uses was the Juicy Couture, Couture La La perfume sample. It's quite a strong, gaudy scent, sort of pepper-y and musky, yet with very subtle hints of florals in it. It's not something that I would wear everyday, but on a night out or for a longer-wearing use perfume, I'd wear this. 

So that's this month's Glossybox! What do you guys think of this month's box? Did any of you receive different products in your boxes?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Currently Lusting Over #1

Hey guys! So as you've probably seen, I've been away from blogging for over a week now - I know, I'm terrible - but I've been chasing deadlines and everything just got a bit too hectic. However..I'm back now! So more posts to ensue..Check this space!
Following my themed-blog post ideas, I thought I'd also start a 'What I'm Currently Lusting Over' weekly blog post. This includes beauty, skincare, and haircare products, as well as any other trends or blogs/websites I'm generally just loving! Let me know what you think so far!

I'm dying to try these Barry M gelly polishes (RRP £3.99). I've seen them on so many blogs, yet for some reason, I still haven't purchased them! My favourite colours would have to be Green Berry, Blood Orange, Lychee, and Blueberry. Gel nail polishes are supposed to last really well, and the finishes are meant to provide loads of shine - As if there's a topcoat already built in. Dr. Jart's Water Fuse Beauty Balm (£18.00) is another product I've seen mentioned literally everywhere. It's meant to glide onto the skin really well, providing loads of moisture whilst controlling excess sebum production in your skin to make it less oily. Apparently it's also sweat-resistant, which is always a plus since the warmer weather is (soon!) approaching. All I've heard are great reviews on this product, so once I get the £££'s required, I'm definitely splurging! Darphin is another brand that seems to not be on the top lists of beauty bloggers, but still doesn't get any negative reviews (As so I've seen thus far!). I've been looking into alternative ways of cleansing my face, and cleansing balms seem to be quite popular. Their Rosewood Cleansing Balm (RRP £30.00) looks utterly divine, so if I'm able to somehow get ahold of it, expect a review! I've never tried any products by Liz Earle before, but I do know that their skincare items do get a lot of great praise. I'd really like to try their Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (RRP £14.75). I'm also very, very anxious to try Boots' No.7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Brush (RRP £24.95), since it's supposedly a very decent Clarisonic dupe. I most definitely cannot afford a Clarasonic brush, as much as I'd like one..and although Boots' dupe isn't necessarily waterproof or as 'precise' - Clarisonic's version times each section of your face that you cleanse, in order to achieve maximum deep cleansing; Boots' brand doesn't - it definitely stands up to its pricey predecessor. I'm all about indulgence, and candles + bubble baths are the perfect end to any stressful day. Again, this may not be a product that I try immediately, but Diptyque's candles look and smell lovely, as well as get a lot of praise (especially in the bloggersphere!) Baies (RRP £20.00/40.00) and Figuier (RRP £20.00/40.00) seem to be the winners so far..What are your favourites?

I've also been on the lookout for another great hair product that will give great volume for thick hair..Any suggestions?

Any beauty/skincare/haircare brands that I should be in the know about/check out? Have you tried any of these products before?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Call For A Beauty Swap!

Hey everyone! So this week's being ├╝ber busy as per usual - End of term is neigh, and I've got a lot to do! So apologies for the lack of posts - I assure you that after this week/half of next, I will be continuing to blog to my heart's content!

I've noticed on many of the blogs that I follow and come across daily that international beauty swaps seem to be quite popular - I think they're a brilliant idea! I love the idea of being able to try products exclusive to one country other than your own, and being exposed to the differences in culture. I've noticed so many great things coming out beauty swaps, so I thought that I would extend this great offer to any of you who would be up for it!

The way that it would work, ideally, is for me (or you) to set up a price limit for our items in total. Depending on what you're interested in, we could try different categories to fulfill - i.e., skincare, makeup, haircare, etc. Would any of you be interested in that?

Although I am originally from the States, I have no issues in accepting from anyone from the States who wish to swap. Ideally, it would just be nice to be able to try different things, if possible!

Let me know what all of you think - Would you be interested? Have any of you partook in beauty swaps before?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Introducing..Skincare Sundays : YonKa PS Pamplemousse Normal to Dry Skin

I've decided that I want to try to start going with a bit of a theme on some posts, since most of my favourite blogs seem to do them quite successfully, and it's pretty fun! To say the least.

For Sundays, I've decided to label them as 'Skincare Sundays'. We'll see how well it pans out, as obviously right now I'm still in the 'experimental' phase of my blog..But please, do tell me what you think! Also if you have any other requests for weekly posts you'd like to see.

To start off my 'Skincare Sundays' theme, I thought it would be appropriate to go into a product that I've been using for quite a few months now that I have definitely dubbed as one of my 'holy-grail' products. Now, this is a product that you don't see too often at all, but I hope that this post changes that and puts some of you in the know, since it is absolutely amazing, especially in winter! I got this a few months back in one of my beauty boxes..I think it was a Joliebox, actually. It's French, so the packaging confused me slightly, as I know very little French - I couldn't for the life of me figure out what 'Pamplemousse' was - But I decided to give it a go and have not looked back since.

The YonKa PS Pamplemousse for Normal to Dry Skin is a light moisturizer for use day and night after cleansing and toning, with help from Vitamin C to help protect the skin from environmental aggressors and to help brighten the complexion of the skin. It is also packed with Grapefruit Extract, Pumpkin oil, and Olive oil to help the skin repair itself. It can be worn just as a moisturizer, or used as a serum, with a moisturizer added on top of your skin afterwards. For the cooler months, I've been using it as a serum, especially at night - I've noticed that it's helped alleviate any dryness or dullness that occurs to my skin as a result of the harsh weather. I've also realized that when using the product, because it's such a light, creamy texture - You only need about the size of a dime (US) or five/twenty pence piece (UK) for your face/neck. Because it's so hydrating, as well, you want to be sure that you don't apply too much of this product to your face, since if you use too much at once, it may take a bit longer to really sink into your skin.

There's been a HUGE difference to my skin after using this - My skin is smoother, more even in tone, brighter, firmer, and much more moisturized. My skin tends to act up from time to time, especially in the winter months, so it's nice that this product is able to stop most of that from occurring. I would definitely recommend this to anyone suffering from dull, dehydrated skin that is in need of an extra Oomph! in their skincare routine. It's not cheap - I think the cheapest on eBay I've found so far is $34.75, or roughly £22.76  - But it will last you a long time and it will make a huge difference to your skin that will easily be justifiable to your wallet.

Have you ever used any products from YonKa before? What's your go-to 'holy grail' product for the harsher, winter months that helps keep your skin in good condition?

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Maybelline Master Precise/Master Drama Eyeliner

Hello hello! So I hope you are enjoying your weekend, wherever you are! I spent today at Borough Market, eating way too many cheese samples and eventually buying way too much cheese..I swear, I can't even go there without purchasing cheese!

Anyway, the other day I went on one of my many, all-too-frequent visits to Superdrug and purchased some new gems! Two of them being the Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner in Black and the Maybelline Master Drama Kohl Eyeliner in Ultra Black. I had found some great reviews on other blogs about these products, and decided to give it a go - Also since Superdrug are currently having a Buy One, Get One Half Price deal on all Maybelline products at the moment!

First up is the Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner in Black. I've always been a bit skeptical with liquid eyeliners, especially since they have a tendency to be quite..liquid-y, to say the least. I usually prefer gel eyeliners. However, since this product comes in a pen format, I thought it might be better to use. I was actually quite surprised at how easy it was to apply, as well as the quality of the pigment - I didn't need to reapply the eyeliner after its initial use, since it comes out quite dark to begin with! (Usually, even with my gel eyeliner, I sometimes have to reapply it in certain areas to get the desired black colour that I want) Besides that, another great quality of this product is that since it has such a fine point, you can either apply it thinly and precise, or thicker and more bold. Perfect dexterity! I found the product to last quite well throughout the day, the only complaint being that if you wing it out as a cat eye, be sure to powder the area beforehand, as it may smudge a bit during the day otherwise! In any case, a definite winner for me.

Second comes the Master Drama Kohl Eyeliner in Ultra Black. Again, I'm a little skeptical when it comes to kohl eyeliners, as well, since they do tend to smudge throughout the day on my face, creating a not-so-nice raccoon-y look..(Hey, fellas.)
The application process was very easy - The product glided onto my face without any pulling at my eye area, and again, very rich in pigment - I only needed one application of it. It claims to be wearable for up to 16 hours, however I'm a bit unsure with that..I think it may be wearable for about half of that time, with a touch-up or two throughout the day. This isn't such an issue for me, since I don't think I've ever found a kohl eyeliner to last the entire day on my face. However, the result is a very nice, richly-pigmented, creamy finish that definitely adds the right amount of drama to my eyes.

I'm very proud of this purchase, and highly recommend these products (especially the liquid eyeliner!) to anyone looking for a great high-street buy. At £4.49 each, plus the current Superdrug offer, it's a complete bargain - And you can't really go wrong with another great black eyeliner in your makeup bag (it's a definite essential for me!)

Is black eyeliner an essential to your makeup bag? Have you tried the Master Precise/Master Drama eyeliners? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Fresh: Petal Sugar Lip Treatment & Birchbox Event

Hey everyone! So what about this weather we're having over here in the UK, ey? Especially in London..it's so confusing! Today, especially, was so cold - Just when you think winter is over with and spring's on it's way, winter comes back to prove that it's here to stay (for a little while, at least!)! This weather has a huge effect on my skin, especially my lips - I feel that I usually have to reapply lip balm every hour or so, because the wind is so terrible to them. In my January Birchbox, I received a sample of Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Rose - Instantly I fell in love, both with the way it made my lips feel/treated them and with the colour! I've been constantly using it for the past month, waiting for the opportune moment (or when I eventually ran out of the product!) to purchase a full-size of the product. Well, just to my luck, on Tuesday, Birchbox & Fresh held an event at Fresh's UK Flagship store - There was everything from mini-facials to sugar lip treatments, cocktails and delicious(!) cupcakes, a beautiful product range and delightful people to talk to.

 I chose to have a sugar lip treatment, and while I was getting it done, the consultant introduced me to Fresh's newest edition to their Sugar Lip Treatment in Petal.

Petal is a gorgeous, universally-flattering shade of pink that is perfect for the upcoming season. The product gives just enough of a tint to notice a slight, almost bitten-like stain on your lips, yet still looking incredibly natural at the same time. It's a shade that is perfect for everyday wear, since it's so natural and flattering. Just like the other products in the Sugar Lip Treatment range, it's extremely hydrating and nourishing for your lips, made with sugar (to gently exfoliate and prevent moisture loss), nourishing oils, such as jojoba seed and black currant seed oil (to deeply nourish), grape seed extract (to protect, smooth, and soften), as well as SPF 15 (to protect from damaging UVA/UVB rays). After using the Rose Sugar Lip Treatment almost religiously for the past month, as well this product (Petal) for the past few days, I can definitely attest that this product is a must-have in any makeup/skincare/lip colour collection, because it actually works and it's a perfect go-to for everyday use.

After the event, I also received some samples (You know how much I love samples!) of the Soy Face Cleanser and the Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream, as well as and Advanced Therapy Sugar Lip Treatment, and some yummy cola-flavoured gummies (much better than Haribo!) from The Jealous Life.

Overall, a great night with great products! What are your thoughts on Fresh? Have you used their Sugar Lip Treatments before?

Monday, 18 February 2013

February Birchbox UK: London Fashion Week Edition

Hey all! Sorry I've been a bit AWOL the past few days - Uni work has caught up with me (deadlines are coming up soon!) and my lovely boyfriend came round for part of the weekend to celebrate Valentine's Day. We had a nice meal inside, just the two of us, and it was really nice to be able to just relax and enjoy each others' company, since we've both been so busy lately.

I received my February Birchbox on Saturday, which was a nice accompaniment to the weekend. I was really excited in opening it, since I had no idea what any of the products inside would be - And after opening it, I still couldn't contain my excitement!

Ever since Joliebox merged with Birchbox, all I've seen are better and much better results. This month's box didn't dwindle my opinion, either! The theme for this month was to accompany London Fashion Week, so the box was packed with products to help you get through the festivities, whether on your own or at Somerset House. The magazine that accompanied the box this month was fantastic, as well - Full of great trends happening now, including what beauty trends to be on the lookout for on the catwalk this season; great interviews with Lena Korres, co-founder of cult-skincare brand Korres, as well as with Grazia's editor-at-large Polly Vernon; and of course, great beauty tips and tricks to try at home. I was really impressed with the magazine, and hope that Birchbox UK keep up with the amazing work!

Now for the products/samples, since I know you're all dying to see what they are..

Gerda Spillmann: Bio Fond Cream Foundation - I was excited to see how this product would work, as this is the same makeup that is used on the set of Bridesmaids and is apparently sworn by. It's a creamy, light-to-medium coverage foundation that eventually settles into a powder, creating a semi-flawless look. Unfortunately, I wasn't completely impressed by this product, as I think that I was given the wrong shade for my skintone - It wound up making my skin look orange in tone - Not very attractive! Also, I wouldn't recommend this product if you have dry skin, as it does eventually settle as a powder. (Side Note:  I did fill out my beauty profile back in January, as well! So I was hoping that that would've helped..) Either way, if you do receive the correct shade, and you're looking for a creamy, light-to-medium coverage, then this is definitely for you.

Korres:  Guava Shower Gel - This was actually the first time I have ever tried a product from Korres! I was really glad to see this shower gel in the box, as I've heard more than plenty reviews on how amazing their products are. This product smells absolutely amazing , a sweet yet soft scent that isn't too overpowering at all. It also builds up a nice lather, as well - I found that, combined with my buffer, I didn't need to use too much at all - which is something that I always look for!

Nick Chavez Beverley Hills:  Plump N' Thick Leave-In Thickening Mist - I had never heard of this brand before receiving their product in this month's box, but trusted that if Birchbox UK picked it for this month, it had to be decent! This is a leave-in volume treatment for lifeless, limp hair. It can be sprayed in either towel-dried or already dry hair and styled as usual, to give your hair that extra 'Oomph!' that's always wanted and needed! I loved using this product and felt that it actually worked on my hair pretty well - My hair naturally has a bit of volume after washing, but it can become limp so easily, and it's so annoying - So it was nice to get that back!

Vichy:  Thermal Spa Water (Limited Edition) - There's so much hype around this product, it's unreal! I had never tried it before receiving it in this box, but after one use, I think I have fallen in love! I've used refresher sprays before, but this one is quite different - It comes out as an actual spray of water, rather than spritz, and coats your entire face in a hydrating, soothing mist that dries within a few minutes. It also boasts to be naturally enriched with 15 minerals and 13 trace elements that are good for your skin, and can be used as a toner, to set makeup or just as a refresher when you need it!

EBoost:  Natural Energy Booster - I received one sachet of this product in my Birchbox as a 'Lifestyle Extra', which is pretty cool. I haven't used it yet, but thanks to my uni schedule becoming a bit tighter and deadlines coming up within the next few weeks, I know that this will probably wind up saving me through it when I need it most! It boasts to be a 'natural, nutrient-rich, no-crash tonic' that you just mix with cold water and drink to give you energy when you need it most.

Birchbox Eyelash Curler - This was the 'Beauty Extra' of this month's box, which I am definitely not complaining about! Ironically enough, I was planning on purchasing a new eyelash curler eventually, so this came to save the day! I'm sure you all know what eyelash curlers are, and how magical they are - I know for certain that if I didn't use one everyday, I wouldn't look nearly as bright-eyed and awake as I pretend to be on most days - But if you don't, then hop on that bandwagon straight as!

So that was my February London Fashion Week Edition Birchbox, proving yet again that Birchbox continue to do as well as they do. Have you received your Birchbox yet, and what did you think of it? Have you tried any of these products before, and what did you think of them?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Who's Going To Be Your Valentine?

Hey guys! So with Valentine's Day right around the corner, I thought it appropriate to write up a little Valentine's Day-themed post. From when I was a kid, up until now, I've always been sort of keen on Valentine's Day - Roses, chocolates, heart-shaped things, the colours pink and red. My mom, always acting as cupid for her two children that were never able to get any Valentines of their own (Tragic, I know..), always bought my brother and I a huge heart-shaped box of chocolates and an endearing card, so that when we came home from school, our days weren't completely 'ruined'. I also love that the day brings about the colours pink and red more frequently that other times of the year, as they are definitely the most flattering to wear (especially with makeup!). I've gathered together a couple of my favourite products that I will be using on Valentine's Day that won't break your bank if you choose to use them yourselves!

NYC Expert Last Lip Colour in #432 Red Rapture -  I've always been on the NYC cosmetics bandwagon since I was a teenager, and I love that they were introduced over here a little while ago. Their products are super cheap, but provide great results for what you pay for. I was always a fan of their kohl eyeliners and nail varnishes, but when I saw this in Superdrug the other day, I was very, very tempted. Application is super simple and smooth, with an almost-sheerer-than-you-would-expect gloss finish. The colour is super punchy, as well! The only con to this product is that if you plan on wearing it all day, you will have to re-apply it..Or use some Lipcote sealer on top, as I prefer! Either way, it's a sure-fire way to guarantee some extra confidence on V-Day.

Barry M Nail Paint in #150 Red Glitter - I love Barry M's nail varnishes, as they generally come in similar if not same colours as high-end brands such as Nails INC. and Essie, but for a fraction of the cost. I saw this particular varnish and knew that I needed it - Just to be sure, I tested a little dot of it (whoops!) out on one of my nails in the store - I know it may be difficult for stores to do, but they really should have more display testers! Especially with nail varnish..Anyway, this colour is great, because it's a very dense glitter polish. I applied it over another red polish just to add to the colour. Definitely a statement polish!

C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries Rose Salve - I received this as part of a gift over Christmas when I went back to the States, and since then I use it almost every day! It's a great multi-purpose product for your lips, hands - Anything, really! I always use it on my lips in the morning and at night right before I go to bed. It has a lovely rose-y scent and a vaseline-textured balm.

The Body Shop White Musk Libertine Solid Perfume - I discovered this upon being offered a Body Shop Membership. The product itself costs £5, but if you joined their annual membership club for £5, you would receive this for free - So I thought, why not? I'm always loving the products that stem from The Body Shop, so it's not like it would put me at a disadvantage. This scent is so lovely; If you love fruit-y, musk-y scents, then you'll love this. I only ever need a tiny bit, and it last throughout the entire day for me. I use it on my wrists, behind my ears, and sometimes my colarbone, as well. The scent comes in a spray perfume as well, but I prefer the solid perfume, as it seems to last longer than a spray perfume, and it has a sweet, shimmery finish when you apply it to your skin.

So there are some the products that I will be rocking this Valentine's Day. Do you have any favourite products that you will be using? What are your plans for Valentine's Day?