Tuesday, 28 August 2012

What's in my (summer*) bag?

  *Summer, where are you?    
There'll probably be a few of these posts because I change bags/what I carry all the time. But this post is accurate of today!

This bag is a Louis Vuitton Speedy... 35? Or 25? I can't remember. I've had it since I was 18 so the details are missing from my mind. But it's a decent summer bag. It's small and compact. It's quite narrow but deep which sometimes makes finding things difficult and it has no pockets. But other than that, I like using it.

So, in no particular order, because apparently too untidy to assemble the products into some sort of discernible pile, here's a list of what is in my bag:

-Orange Tangle Teezer
-Pink Radley Purse
-Ipod Touch
-Blackberry 8900 (literally had this thing for over three years so definitely upgrading SOON)
-Simple Sun-Kissed Moisture Cream
-Miss Dior perfume sample
-Hotel Chocolat leaflet (weird)
-'Ted' cinema ticket
-A.B.S. By Allen Schwarz Sunglasses
-Makeup bag, a waterproof  bag which came in a gift set from 'Sanctuary':
                          -Nail scissors- for cutting nails, not people
                          -Tweezerman Tweezers
                          -L'oreal SPF 50 face/chest/hand cream
                          -Travalo (with 'Flowerbomb' from Viktor and Rolf in)
                          -Blistex lipbalm
                          -Oral B Floss
                          -Neom Organic Hand Cream in Morrocan Blush Rose
                          -Primark hair ties
                          -Boots nail file
                          -Superdrug Deep Action Anti-Blemish Gel
                          -Tester of Estee Lauder's 'Invisible Fluid Makeup' (weird)
                          -Dr Bronner's Organic Hand Sanitizing Spray

The only thing I'm missing is a mirror. Seems like a pretty major thing. And i swear it's usually in there.. eek!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Dior Amber Diamond | Fan Girling

This is not a haul. It's not a review. There's not even any swatches. An unboxing perhaps?

I've been lusting after the above item for longer than I can remember. And I've finally caved. It's an incredibly hyped product and you've probably seen it or own it. But it's just so beautiful.

Some people have been saying for a while now that it's being discontinued, but I can't find out for sure anywhere. They didn't have it displayed at my local Dior counter, and the woman said she had sold out of it. I also checked the Boots website and they only sell 'Rose Diamond.' So who knows? Anyway, the risk of it being discontinued is what finally pushed me over the edge on the Debenhams website and forced me to part with £32 (OUCH!!). BUT OH MY GOD. IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL. I WANT TO LICK IT!

Like a Mother enamoured with her new child, I thought I would share some photos with you.

I cannot possibly craft words in a beautiful enough way to do this product justice. But a picture speaks a thousands words. Or so they say.

P.S. Here's the samples they sent me. Nice one.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Six Months of Glossybox | My thoughts

I've never reviewed individual glossyboxes because there are plenty of places you can read about that, by people more eloquent than myself.

However, I have just finished my six month subscription with them, so thought I would round up my thoughts on the service. I think I'm in a good place to sum up the service; I've had good boxes, bad boxes and a few run-ins with their customer service. Hopefully this will be useful if you're considering subscribing to glossybox, or maybe sample boxes in general. 

First off, I didn't pay full price. There was an offer on for a half price box and I used the code to sign up for a six month subscription, which meant all my boxes were half price. In total it was around £47 for six boxes.

Because I got them for half price, my view is probably tainted. I know if I'd been paying £10 plus postage and packaging each month, I probably wouldn't have been very impressed.

VERY hit and miss. One month I got the brilliant Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara which has possibly become by HG mascara (and by the magic of technology, you can click HERE to read my review on it), but on other occasions I've gotten terrible products. One which stands out is the awful Glossybox Brush which they claimed was worth £15. Who are they kidding? It was also pretty boring to get a shower gel each month. I hate to say it, but I haven't used many of the products I've got in the boxes. Eek!

Occasionally you get a full sized item, not just a sample. One of my full sized products however, was a £3.99 antibacterial handwash. Luxury items? I think no. On other occasions, an item is a perfume sample. I have been given free perfume samples in department stores on many occasions without buying anything so.. that's not very impressive.

If you check their facebook page, they seem to be pretty lousy. They seem to simply leave generic responses to people and aren't very useful at resolving things. My July box wasn't actually sent to me, until I emailed them, then they apologised and said they'd sent one out. That isn't the type of service I expect from such a big brand.

Value for money:
Most months I got great value for money, with some of my boxes being worth over £40. As I was spaying £5 plus postage and packaging, I thought that was great. But if you don't like what you get in your box, the value doesn't really matter.

So, what am I trying to say? If you like a surprise each month (maybe a bad one) then this is probably a great service for you. It's very exciting when you wait for your box each month, but when you get a pile of crap, it dampens the excitement somewhat. 
It's also important to remember that you can buy a box after they've been sent out. If you've read blog posts on them and think 'I wish I'd signed up' you can still go and sign up and get that box, and then cancel your subscription. Of course, boxes vary, but if you've seen the selection of the boxes online and would be happy with any one of them, then go for it. 
If you see a discount online for a half price box, then go for it. You're always going to get a value higher than what you paid.. but it might not be products you'd want anyway!

For now, my relationship with glossybox is over. If I see a dramatic improvement in their boxes, I might go back. I did want to try Carmine as each box looked great.. but glossybox bought them out. Sad face. With the £47 I spent on six month's of glossybox, I could have bought something really luxurious from Chanel. But would I prefer that, or a bit of excitement each month, and a couple of really great items? Aaah, I don't know!

I know a lot of you get Glossybox, so what do you think of it?

Friday, 10 August 2012

Haul: Sephora, Make Up For Ever, NARS, The Balm, Kiko

[Sorry if I just crashed your operating system
 with these ten million photos, in future I will cut down. A lot]

NARS 'Laguna' bronzer: This has been on my summer shopping list since April, so I finally caved. I also got a sample of the Sheer Glow foundation with it, so I'm excited to try that out.
The Balm 'Hot Mama' blush: I popped my 'The Balm' cherry. I've never seen the brand in the UK, but have heard a lot about the 'Frat Boy' blush. This is the closest dupe of NARS Orgasm I've seen in real life. I already have Sleek's Rose Gold, but the 'shimmery' particles in it are a little big. This blush is extremely finely milled so no big flakey chunks of glitter all over your face. The packaging is also really cute. I'm in love! At 12.95 euros, it's definitely more pricey than the Sleek version, but I think worth it.
Sephora 'Stephane' eyeshadow: This was a little pricey at 11.95 euros, but it was a dupe for NARS Tropic (why am I so obsessed with NARS dupes?) but better. The glitter in Tropic does not translate to the eye, but in this one, it does! Have only used it as eyeliner so far as I have no idea how I'm going to work it into an eye look without looking like I've had a fight with a toddler.
Kiko Nail Laquer: Did I choose two ugly colours? Maybe!
Kiko '200' blending brush: Wow. This was around nine euros and is so comparable to my MAC 217. The other blending brush I have, by No. 7, was a massive disappointment. I wish I'd stocked up on a few more of these because you can never have enough blending brushes.
Make up For ever HD Foundation, shade n115: Bit of an impulse. I thought I'd regret not getting this as we can't get MUFE easily in the UK. Some people are obsessed with this foundation and others don't like it. Hoping I'm someone who likes it! 
Kiko Lipstick stick in 10: The darker colour is absolutely a 'my lips but better' colour. I'll never use that phrase again, but it's so true.
Kiko Mat Lipstick: I love a matte lipstick, and this is a natural lip colour so nothing too crazy. It was also a bargain at three euros.
Selection of Kiko eyeshadows: Some really neutral ones, a pinky purple one, and a glittery one. The neutrals are for every day, the pink/purple one is to be used as a blush and the glittery one is a gorgeous colour for a smokey eye. They are all highly pigmented and blend like a dream.. with my new blending brush. The normal eyeshadows were 3 euros and the glitter/baked eyeshadow was four euros. So cheap!

I might do a separate post reviewing the Kiko products. I had only heard a tiny bit about them before I bought all of this and I was so impressed by the quality, selection and price.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Japonesque Brow Definer Brush (840) | Review

Shown in comparison to a MAC 239

[sorry for the crappy quality photos.]

For months now I've been using the ecotools angled liner brush to do my brows, which did the job, but I've been keeping an eye out for a better quality brush. At NARS I saw the Number 5 Brow Shader brush and thought that the design looked really great for brows. Then when in Boots looking at brushes, I saw that Japonesque had a brush which looked very similar, so I snapped it up. For £9.50, it was an alternative my pocket was happy with!

All of this to say.. this brush has completely revolutionised my brows, and consequently, my face! It is sturdier than my ecotools one and picks up product beautifully. It's small enough to get a defined shape and the short handle means you can get closer to the mirror to see what you're doing. The design is sleek and stands out from my other brushes.

I now find it so much easier to do with my brows and the brush definitely helps me improve accuracy. I love experimenting with different brows (am I weird?) and I feel that this brush allows me more creativity than my old one did.

If you're in the market for a new brow brush, I cannot recommend this one enough. It's a cheaper alternative to great high end brushes, and I definitely think it's a step above other brushes available on the high street. It definitely feels like its consistent in quality with my 'high end' brushes.

Available from Boots for £9.50

Friday, 3 August 2012

Illamasqua Mystery Box | Review

Something a little different today.

When shopping at Illamasqua in Debehnams I came across the 'mystery boxes.' I was always a sucker for a lucky dip, and at £38, this was another way to do it. Albeit a little more expensive than the 50p I would pay as a child.

There were two to choose one and I cannot for the life of me remember what they were called, all mine says is 'Alter Ego Mystery Selection'. I picked that up and handed over £38. The contents are worth £91.

There are two products which you are guaranteed to have in your box:
1 X Nail Varnish in Collide and 1 X liquid Metal in Electrum

I love both of these products. The nail varnish is the perfect hot pink for summer and the Liquid Metal is really easy to work with and looks great on.

However, the other four are completely random. My theory is that they threw things in the boxes that they weren't selling, and you'll see why.

What did I get?

Blusher in 'Create'
Blusher in 'Create':  A pretty hideous brown/orange colour. I was told I could use this for contour.. but believe me, you cannot. However, I have been experimenting with using this as a blush and have been googling 'orange blush pale skin' quite a lot for inspiration. I quite like it. I'm usually drawn exclusively to pink blushes, so it's good to mix it up. In terms of texture and pigmentation, this product is beautiful. It feels like I'm touching silk when I swatch it and it's heavily pigmented. You only need a tiny amount on your brush.

Eye Shadow in 'Lestat': A matte black eyeshadow. It isn't the most pigmented eyeshadow ever, which is honestly good in some ways when it comes to black. Nice texture etc. It gets extra points for having a cool name!
Lipgloss in: Name not on the product :/. I mean, really? On my skin tone? I'm not a fan. I did test it out and it was incredibly sticky. But I am not a lipgloss girl, and even if it had been the most beautiful colour on the planet, I wouldn't have worn it. So I'm glad the lipgloss was the worst of the bunch!

Lipstick in 'Blaze': LOVE this. Love the colour, love the name. I had been considering buying it before but never did. It's a gorgeous orange colour which is definitely a great alternative to a classic red lip.

So.. an orange blush, a matte black eyeshadow, a brown lipgloss and an orange lipstick. Apart from possibly the lipstick, I can't see that many of these products would sell well. Illamasqua have plenty of other pretty blushes, so people aren't going to be drawn to 'Create.' Most people have a matte black eyeshadow, and when they go to Illamasqua they're probably looking for something a bit more exciting. The brown lip gloss.. I just don't think it's a big seller. So I'm guessing they took all of these products and put them into mystery boxes. (other than my initial hunch, I have other reasons to believe that these would not sell well. After searching for reviews on the products, they are pretty much nonexistent)

Honestly though, I do quite like the products. The nail varnish is gorgeous, the Liquid Metal will make a great base, the lipstick is 'right up my street' and the only other matte black eyeshadow I have is in the Naked 2, so it's good to have an individual one. As for the blusher, I'm learning to make it work. The lipgloss is never going to be my thing.

Would I recommend it? If you want the thrill of a lucky dip, have £38 to spare and won't be easily disappointed, maybe.

Available exclusively in Debenhams stores.