Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Call For A Beauty Swap!

Hey everyone! So this week's being über 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'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?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Boots Haul

So yesterday I went on a mini Boots haul, picking up some much-needed items as well as a few goodies! I was lucky enough that when I walked in, Biotherm had been doing some sort of promotion, so I was handed a bunch of free samples! Also, have as anyone else noticed that Boots have started their own magazine? It's free for those who have a membership card, otherwise it's still just £1! I had a read of it, and I have to say that for a drugstore magazine, it's quite good, with some very good tips and tutorials (Also a free sample of Rimmel's BB Cream)! I love anything free, especially if it's beauty-related, so this was great.

I'm a huge fan of Boots' Botanics skincare range. Their products have always worked well on my skin without any irritation or complaints. This is from their 'All Bright' collection, which is made with Hibiscus flower to aid in brightening and evening out the skin. This particular day cream moisturizer is for normal to dry skin. It has a fresh, nicely floral scent to it and the finish is very creamy and smooth - I find it perfect for the wintertime, since my normal-combination skin tends to get a bit drier than usual during this season. 

I was in need of a new eyebrow pencil, so as I was scouring different products, I came across this. The Master Shape Brow Pencil from Maybelline is a new product in their range, currently selling as buy one get one half price, so I thought that I couldn't go wrong. It comes in two shades, a light shade, for blondes, and a darker shade for brunettes. I was a bit skeptical when I tried this product, as it's very much like an actual crayon - Waxy in texture - But paired up with some of my trusty HD Brows eyebrow powder, I think it works well enough for me. I also love that it has a spool-y wand at the other end - I wish more high-street branded eyebrow pencils had these attached to them! They're perfect for combing the colour into your brows, so that the finished product looks more natural, rather than just caked on.

I love, love love love, these masks. I think they're one of the best, most affordable things you could buy in a drugstore for your skin and to help you relax. They come in a variety of types/fragrances/finishes for different skin types/issues, and they're only £1! I buy at least one of these almost every (if not every other) weekend to help pamper myself and feel relaxed. I'm a face mask junkie, and own loads of different ones from different brands, ranging in prices from low to high, but I've got to say that if you are unable to afford 'big name' masks, why not go for these? They do the same things, if not more. Think about it - You could buy that high-end face mask for £££'s, or you could buy 20 of these face masks, all of which are different, and you don't have to commit to just one of them. I find that I can get two uses out of each packet, which adds to my love for them. The chocolate mask is one of my favourites, since it literally smells (and feels, when you apply it!) like chocolate frosting on your face. I've never tried the olive oil one, but I'll let you know how it goes, if you're interested!

And here are my Biotherm samples! I can't wait to try all of them. I haven't heard much about the brand before, so it will be nice to be able to discover a bit more about them, as well as what they're products are like, since I know that they are a bit pricey to start out with.

What are your favourite products to buy on drugstore hauls? Let me know your thoughts!

Glossybox UK February Valentine's Box

Yesterday morning I received my anticipated February Valentine's Day-themed Glossybox in the post. I was surprised at how quick the delivery was; After receiving a shipping confirmation email the night before, it was delivered to me right the next day! I must admit that I was extremely impressed.

In opening up my package, I really admired the new design on the Glossybox - It was a nice change from their standard pink box, this one coloured a bit brighter pink than usual, endowed with a fuschia-coloured bow design on the lid. Opening up my box, I was also impressed with the wrapping - I have had Glossyboxes in the past that seem to have been put together quite messily, but after filling out their subscriber surveys, I can I see that they took that into account, as well. The contents of the box were wrapped in a lovely light pink paper, with a fuschia-coloured ribbon holding it nicely together. Inside was Glossybox's monthly mini magazine, with a tutorial on to create 'beautiful, bold lips' for Valentine's Day. In unfolding the magazine to a poster-sized paper, the magazine revealed the contents of this month's box.

I have to admit that I was really impressed with the contents from this month's box. It seems that (in a way), like Birchbox, Glossybox has been undergoing some changes for the new year, of which I'm pretty proud of. Past monthly boxes haven't been the greatest in terms of their layout and their contents, but I could definitely tell that with their February box, they are stepping up as a beauty box brand and that I will still continue to be a subscriber and support them. Inside of the box, since it was 'Valentine's Day' themed, I received a Micabella Cosmetics Mineral Eyeshadow in Intelligence (#94), Anatomicals - You Need A Blooming Shower! Body Cleanser, Sassoon Salon Professional Spray Shine, MeMeMe Cosmetics FatCat Lengthening Mascara, Miners Cosmetics Lip Colour in Dreamer, as well as cute red heart-shaped lollypop thrown in for the festivities!

Micabella Cosmetics Mineral Eyeshadow in 'Intelligence' (#94) - I was a bit upset that the sample size was so tiny, but that's the only issue I had with this product. The colour itself is gorgeous - A shimmery, smoky, purple-y - brown colour that would flatter anyone, in my opinion. I find it very similar to Bellepiere Cosmetics Mineral Eyeshadow in it's consistency and it's shade. Despite it's size, I feel that it would last me a bit longer since the product itself is so dense and concentrated, so I would only use a little bit at a time.

Anatomicals - You Need A Blooming Shower! Body Cleanser - Nice to see a full-sized product in this box! I know that from a previous Glossybox, I received the Don't Just Clean It, Scrub It, Woman Body Scrub and was not incredibly favourable towards it. However, I think that this body cleanser is great - It comes out of the tube as a neon pink colour, lathers up really nicely, and smells like they've shoved a bouquet of roses straight into the bottle! The scent is perfect for Valentine's Day, and it reminds me of spring/summer, which I love. Great product!

Sassoon Salon Professional Spray Shine - This product was a sample size, but a pretty decent-sized sample size, at that. After spraying a bit of this product into my dry hair, it instantly felt more refreshed, soft, and incredibly manageable. It smells absolutely lovely, like I've sprayed some light perfume in my hair, and it also added some nice shine to my hair, as well. The product contains  UV ray protection, which is perfect for my colour-treated hair.

MeMeMe Cosmetics FatCat Lengthening Mascara - This was another full-sized product, which I was proud of receiving. The product itself did exactly what it claimed to - It lengthened my lashes dramatically, and the colour was a really intense black, which is favourable to me in mascaras. However, it didn't add any extra 'oomph!' to my lashes, which, since they're a bit thin to begin with, made them look a bit sad. I like volume in my products, and I'm sad that this couldn't contribute to that. But a decent product, nonetheless!

Miners Cosmetics Lip Colour in 'Dreamer' - Another full-sized product! Really, are definitely stepping up your game! This product was very moisturizing upon application and created a smooth finish. I wasn't too impressed with the colour, since I thought it was bit too shimmery for me, but other than that a decent product with good coverage that lasted a few hours without needing to reapply!

So there's my review for this month's 'Valentine's Day'-themed Glossybox! What did you think of this month's box, and did any of you receive anything different? Please leave some comments below, especially if you've also reviewed this month's box on your blog!

I'll be doing a Valentine's Day-inspired beauty post coming up this week, so keep your eyes peeled!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Blush and Brunch Blog - Beauty Giveaway!

I am constantly discovering new beauty and lifestyle blogs every day, as well as sifting through ones that I follow already, looking for more great tips and try's. As many of you know, I'm a huge skincare advocate, believing that yes, makeup is amazing and I don't think that I would ever leave the house without it - Seriously! - but to conquer the real issues with your skin, as well as preventing future damage and ensuring the longevity of your skin, great skincare is absolutely essential.

Blush and Brunch ( ) is a beauty/lifestyle blog created by the lovely Rachel, an American who lives in Hong Kong. I found her blog a few months back whilst rummaging through other blogs, and I think it's safe to say that hers is one of my top go-to's. She, like me, is a huge fan of skincare, as well as a fan of organic products that work well and are good for you. Because she lives in Hong Kong, she has the many benefits of Asian skincare right at her doorstep - From sheet masks, to weird egg serums, to adorable packaging on makeup - I can definitely say for myself that I am incredibly jealous! She has recently hit 200 followers on her blog this past week and as a result is throwing an amazing giveaway of best-selling Asian skincare and beauty products, including the incredibly cute Tony Moly Bunny Gloss Bars, as well as Escargo Sheet Masks, which I've heard so many great things about (Despite their name)! It's definitely not a giveaway to miss, so don't miss your chance - The giveaway closes at 9 am GMT on 17th February, and is open to everyone internationally, as long as you are following her blog via Google Friend Connect. You can find the link to the giveaway here.

Good luck everyone! (:

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Body Shop - Seaweed Clarifying Toner

Last week, I was wandering around St. Pancras station after visiting the Ainhoa pop-up spa for their collaborative event with Birchbox UK for their London-based subscribers (You can see that post here.) As I was about to leave the station, I happened to pass The Body Shop, and thought - 'Why not?' I've always been a huge fan and supporter of The Body Shop and their products, since all of their products are fair-trade and made with 100% raw, all-natural ingredients. I will admit that sometimes I do find some of their products a bit more than I'd be likely to spend, including their Body Butter range - However, on days that I can afford to splurge on myself, they're definitely on my top list! But I suppose that's for another post, another time..

I went into the shop and was very kindly greeted by their staff, which I find a normal occurrence with The Body Shop, and yet another reason why I think they're great. I wandered round to check out their deals, as well as any new products I'd not heard of yet. As I was perusing their skincare range, I happened across their Seaweed collection - A range of products, including a cleanser, a wash, toner, exfoliator, moisturizer, a day cream, a night treatment, a pore perfector and a clay mask, all made with their key ingredient of Bladderwrack Seaweed, originating from the South-West coast of Ireland. Bladderwrack Seaweed sounds strange, but it actually carries many benefits for the skin including but not limited to eliminating dryness, cleansing the skin of unwanted toxins, and helping to prevent wrinkles. As the sales assistant was helping me to decide my purchase, I knew that something from this product range was going home with me that day.

I chose the Seaweed Clarifying Toner because (guiltily, I admit) I haven't used a toner in quite some time, despite my extensive skincare range at home. I was told by the lovely woman who gave me my fabulous 15-minute facial at Ainhoa that I really should use a toner because of the benefits it produces to my skin. A toner is meant to be used after cleansing the skin to remove excess cleanser, dirt, or other products from the skin (in other words, to thoroughly cleanse it) as well as refine and close pores, especially around the T-zone area of the face. I took this into consideration while deciding my purchase from The Body Shop.

I chose the 30ml bottle to test the product throughout the week on my skin to see how it reacted - You can never be too wary about products! - But can happily exclaim that I will definitely be re-visiting The Body Shop to buy the 200ml bottle! The 30ml bottle only costs £3, and if you choose to purchase the 200ml bottle, it's only £5 more at £8 for the bottle! After about a week, I've only gone through less than a third (1/3) of the 30ml bottle, so if you buy the bigger one, it will last you a long while if used correctly!

Have you tried any products from The Body Shop's skincare range? What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

KMS California UK Birchbox Event

After a night of skincare bliss, I was invited yet again to another Birchbox UK event. This time, it was in partnership with KMS California UK at their KMS Hair Academy in West London. Upon arrival, I was greeted again by the lovely Birchbox UK staff with champagne and yummy cake pops. After sitting down and waiting for the even to start, I was approached by two stylists from the academy - One of them, the lovely Nicola Smyth, asked me if she could use me for her demonstration on stage, which I was more than flattered by!

I was taken backstage where the other stylists and their models sat being styled. I was then explained that the reason I, amongst the other two models, was chosen for the demonstration was because of KMS' philosophy - That their products are aimed towards real people; people who can't get styled at a salon or by a stylist everyday, but those of us who want to achieve great styles in the comfort of our homes by ourselves. I thought it was a great concept on their part. During this time, I was able to talk with Nicola about KMS' hair products - Their benefits, as well as how I could style my hair with them.

I was then taken on stage for the demonstrations. The hairstyle that was demonstrated on me was a twisted-knot bun. Surprisingly, it was so simple to achieve - Nicole explained how to create the look quick and easily. It's definitely something that I am now fitting into my daily hair routine, since I almost never wear updo's (Mostly because I don't know how to achieve any of the hairstyles that I like). It's a great way to wear your hair either formally or informally, which makes this very universal and great to constantly wear!

After the demonstration, I was approached by people who were saying how much they loved my hairstyle - I couldn't get over it! I'm not used to the flattery, so it was nice.

Nicola then re-explained the products she used on my hair, and guiltily on my part, I bought all of them! Definitely not nice for my bank account..But in defense, they are great products! (I also couldn't get past the 40% discount that night, so I suppose it was for a bargain..) I received a sample size of the Free Shape Quick Dry spray in my January Birchbox and absolutely fell in love with the product, so I knew that I was going to be buying a full size of it. I have very long hair, so this spray helps speed up the drying process and leaves my hair feeling über-soft and shiny afterwards. The Free Shape Heat Defense spray makes my hair feel even softer,  as well as protecting it from my blowdryer and it helps hold my style for a few days, especially if I straighten my hair - Which is fantastic! Finally, last but not least, I've never used a texturizing or salt spray on my hair before, mostly because I was wary of them making my hair look/feel too greasy, but this KMS version - The Hair Play Sea Salt Spray - is absolutely brilliant - Nicola instructed me to spray a bit on dry hair, flip it over and blowdry, then flip it over again, brush my hair smooth and then scrunch/mess it up however I like! The best part is, you can reapply the spray up to 2-3 times and it won't leave your hair greasy or weigh it down, which for me is a huge plus.

Before leaving the event,  I was given a goodybag with some bonus sample products from KMS - The Silk Sheen Styling Creme, the Free Shape Hot Flex Creme, and their newest product launching soon!, the Hair Play Playable Texture.

So another great night from Birchbox UK! I'm looking forward to more amazing events in the near future.

Have you ever tried any products from the KMS California range? What did you think of them?