Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Book Review - The Mortal Instruments

If  you are anything like me and absolutely loved the Twilight and Hunger Games books and films, then I have a great recommendation of what to read next.  I recently started reading a series of books called The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare and I love the story and characters so much that I am just about to start reading book 3 (there are 5 books in the series).  Like Twilight & Hunger Games,  the first book has been made into a film which is due out on 21st August in the UK and is called City of Bones.

The story revolves around a couple of teenagers, Clary & Jace.  Clary is a mundane (human) or so she thinks, until a chance encounter with Jace (a shadowhunter).  She realises something is amiss when only she can see Jace.  It turns out that she is a shadowhunter as well, but her mother wanted to protect her and let her live a normal life, so Clary never knew her true destiny up until this point.
The books follow Clary and Jaces adventures as they battle werewolves, vampires and other supernatural creatures, but a startling revelation at the end of the first book threatens to tear them apart forever.
I really can't wait to start on the third book and I will be first in the queue when the film comes out at the cinema.  I really do think that it is a book series that is just as good as Twilight and The Hunger Games.
The 5 book set is currently available from for a bargain £6.99 (search Cassandra Clare to find the set on the website).
Let me know if you can recommend any other book series that are worth reading.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Baby Lips, Color Whisper and GlamShine Stain Splash Review

My friend in Canada sent me a few make up items recently which I thought I would review.  Heres a photo of some of the things she sent me.

Apologies, this photo is upside down for some reason, but I can't rotate it :(
Heres a swatch of the lip products.

Left to Right - Color Whisper, GlamShine & Baby Lips

First up is Maybelline Color Whisper in Pin Up Peach.  First of all I should say that I don't think Color Whispers are available in the UK yet.  Pin Up Peach is a gorgeous pinky coral colour.  It goes on like a Revlon Lip Butter, really soft.  Its really shiny, more of a gloss than a lipstick.  I really like this product and will definitely pick up more when they arrive in the UK.
Next up is L'Oreal GlamShine Stain Splash (bit of a mouthful, but thats what its called on Boots website).  Mine is in Stubborn Plum, which I can't find at Boots, but maybe the name is different over here.  This is a light plummy pink colour.  Its a very sheer gloss and like its name suggests it leaves a stain on the lips.  I swatched this on my arm for the photo then washed it off and the stain was still there the next morning so it does live up to its name.  These are £7.99 at Boots and are currently included on the 3 for 2 offer.  Again, I really like this product and it doesn't feel sticky on my lips.  It does need reapplying often to keep the gloss element, but at least the stain is there if you forget.  This is supposed to be a dupe for a YSL lip gloss stain, although I can't comment on that as I don't have any to compare it with.  I think I will buy another one, maybe in a sheer red colour.
The last of the lip products is the Maybelline Baby Lips SPF 20 Lip Balm in Cherry Me.  I love, love, love this product.  Its just arrived in the UK and is a bargain at £2.99 and Boots is doing a 3 for 2 offer at the moment.  I think I will pick up the other colours tomorrow, so expect another haul soon.  This smells of cherries (yum!) and is a gorgeous sheer cherry red colour.  It almost looks like you have been eating cherries and the juice has stained your lips.  I cannot recommend this product more.  Its cheap and it also has SPF included.  Whats not to love.
Finally, I also received a beautiful blush.  Its by Physicians Formula (which I think I have only ever seen sold in TK Maxx) and its called the Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush.  This is so pretty, it has a mix of pink tones in lots of lovely little heart shapes.  Its says on the box that it is infused with a Happy Boost Blend featuring Happy Skin and Euphoryl, natural plant extracts, which have been shown to promote a feeling of happiness by mimicking the effect of endorpins.  I can't say whether this is true as I haven't tried it out yet (its just too pretty to spoil), but expect a review in the next few months.
I am so pleased with all these products and I am looking forward to going to America in Autumn, so I can pick up loads more products to try out.
Has anyone tried the Baby Lips yet?
Remember to check out my giveway which is open to the first 25 followers.  There are some great EOS and Bath & Body Works products to win.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Pound Shop Haul

I popped into a couple of pound shops on Saturday at Crown Point in Leeds and picked up some pretty nice bargains.

First of all I picked up some Dainty Doll eyeshadows and an eye base.  There were quite a few colours available and helpfully, the shop had put a sticker on each bag with the colour on it.  I passed on the yellow and blue which I think will be a bit too vibrant for me and went with the orange and brown colours.  Teach Me Tiger is a burnt orange colour which is also shimmery. When swatched it looks very similar to Nars Orgasm Blush, just a bit more pigmented.  Are You Experienced is a matte brown colour and is very pigmented.  I think this will work well as a crease shade or lining the eye.  The eyeshadow base is very pale as you would expect from this range and needs blending in quite a bit before it disappears into the skin, but I have tried it under both shadows and it works a treat.  My eyelids are quite oily and eyeshadow tends to slip quite badly, but these shadows stayed in place very well.
Heres a swatch of the shadows:
I think these were great purchases for £1 and I should add that because Teach Me Tiger looks so much like Nars Orgasm, I tried it as a blush and it works really well, so I think I will probably use it as a blush more than an eyeshadow.  Its very similar to Orgasm, just a smidge darker.
I also picked up a couple of Rimmel Glam Eyes HD in 004 Green Park and 007 Heart of Gold.  I remember wanting to buy these shadows when they cost £6.99 as I just love the look of them, so I am really happy to pick them up now so cheaply.  I haven't swatched them yet as I love the pattern too much to spoil it straight away. The shadows have a variety of beige and green colours so I can't wait to try them out.
Finally, I picked up 2 limited edition matte false nails by elegant touch in purple and orange colours.  Great for summer.
All in all some great purchases and all for £7.

Space NK Haul

When I received an email about a 75% off sale at Space NK I had to take a look.  They had some really nice stuff left and I ended up buying a few things.

First of all I bought 2 100ml bottles of Diptyque eau de toilette in Vetyverio. Each bottle cost a bargainous £17, reduced from £68.  Here's a discription - the fragrance opens with a radiant burst of Italian mandarin orange, Florida grapefruit, and Sicilian lemon and bergamot, giving the eau de toilette a fresh and fruity top. Sweet organic ylang ylang from Madagascar, sensuality-steeped Turkish rose absolute and slightly peppery geranium from Egypt add a distinctive touch and build towards the exquisite core of vetiver. 
Now I haven't tried this scent yet as I think I am going to save them both for presents for my sisters.  Like me they love buying perfume, but have never had a Diptyque fragrance.  That being said if I happen to visit a store that sells this perfume and I try it out and like it, then I may just keep one for myself, even though I must have about 20 unopened perfumes still to use.  Decisions, decisions!
I was also tempted by a Darphin travel set that cost £6.50.  Its the Hydration Expert Programme and contains Azahar Cleansing Micellar Water (50ml), Intensive Skin-hydrating Serum (5ml), All-day Skin Hydrating Cream Gel (15ml) and Anti-fatigue Smoothing Eye Gel (5ml).   I can't wait to try this set.
I bought 4 sets of Eco Sachets in various frangrances for £3.50 each. These little sachets will be great to put in drawers and cupboards to lightly fragrance my clothes.
Finally, in order to spend enough to receive free postage I bought a couple of Rococo Nail Polishes in Mysterioso Metallic and Glam Roc Molten Lava.  These were £4 a piece (they are now £3).  They both come in a lovely presentation box and are pretty metallic gold colours.
I also received a couple of sachets with my order for free, which is a nice touch.  They are Beautannia Brighton Body Cream & Bath & Shower Gel.
I addition, I received £5 worth of points on my Ndulge loyalty card.  Unfortunately, I totally forgot to go through Topcashback before I made the purchase, so I missed out on nearly £4 cashback on the purchase.
Overall I am really happy with my purchases and can't wait to use them all.
Did you buy anything in the Space NK sale?
The Space NK sale is still on. Check it out here

Theres a poundshop haul coming up shortly.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

No7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour - Paradise Love

Like a moth to a flame I was drawn to this polish when I was shopping in Boots (definitely not shopping for nail polish at the time).  I saw this polish from a distance and I had to check it out.  Paradise Love is such a beautiful colour.  Its a sea blue/green colour (of the paradise island type not the Blackpool type), with medium blue glitter pieces and smaller gold glitter pieces.  Its the polish that I have always been looking for, although I didn't know it until I saw it.  It cost me a whopping £3 which is an absolute bargain.  Usually it is £6, but I had a £3 No7 voucher to use.  Its easy to apply and just takes 2 coats to get a nice even finish.  It dried very quickly and I put a top coat on just to give it a shiny finish.  Here is it:
I love this polish so much that I am going to buy a backup next time Boots are giving No7 vouchers away when you spend £5 (usually very regularly).  Yes the polish did chip after only a day, but this could be because my nails are not in very good shape at the moment, they are quite soft and flake and peel very easily.  Nevertheless I love this polish so much that I would happily apply it every day.
The only downside is that as with most glitter polishes I anticipate that it wont be easy to remove, so I will have to use the foil method.  Thats what I have planned for tonight as I can't wear this polish to work.  I will leave a comment or update this post later to update on how easy it is to remove.
Has anyone else tried this polish?

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

July Birchbox Review

I used to be a beauty box junkie and at one point I subscribed to 5 different boxes (mental! I know).  Gradually each company disappointed me to the extent that I now only subscribe to Birchbox.  At the start of the beauty box phenomenon I was receiving some great stuff such as HD Brow products, Zoya polishes and Neom candles.  Gradually it all went down hill and I started receiving the same products from each company, or there would be some great high value boxes from certain companies, but I would get the crappy cheap box.  In the end enough was enough and only Birchbox kept my interest
Today I received the July Birchbox and I am pretty happy with it.  This is the jet set box featuring products from places like France, Australia & the US.  What I like about Birchbox is that it almost always contains some products from brands that I have either never heard of or have not tried before and surely that's the whole point of beauty boxes.

So here's what I received today.

I am pretty happy with the box.  Here's a quick description:

Blanc Cachemire - A lightweight moisturising cream from Paris (15ml) - full size of this product would cost £54.75 (50ml) according to Birchbox - worth £16.42

theBalm Instain Long Wearing Powder Staining Blush - (0.5g) - this is such cute packaging like a book cover that opens although the mini blush is the size of a small eyeshadow so not sure how well it will apply, but looking forward to trying this out - costs £21.50 for full size product (5.5g) - worth approx £2

VitaBella Anti-ageing Face Mask - A hydrating treatment that restores and plumps tired, dull skin.  This looks like a really interesting product as it comes with a tablet sized mask which expands when you cover it with the oil - (13ml) - full size costs £59 for 4 bottles  - worth £14.75

Reverence de Bastien VolupTHE Hand Cream - (25ml) - Nourishing hand cream from mani/pedicurist to the stars Bastien Gonzalez - £12 for full size product - worth £12
Dead Sea Spa Magik Silky Smooth Body Lotion - (25ml) - this is the only disappointing product, not because I don't like it, but its been in so many beauty boxes in the past.  Its a bit like balance me products, I am just bored of seeing them in the boxes now.  I must have a stash of Dead Sea Spa products from various beauty boxes over the last year or so.  That being said I will definitely use this product.  £7.70 for full size product (350ml) - worth £0.55

The Lifestyle extra in this box is The Chia Co Shot - Bonafide superfood, packed with health boosting omega 3, protein and more.  Can be added to smoothies, yogurts, cereal etc - (8g).   I will definitely give this a try.  Price is £4.79 for 10 - worth £0.48
Overall I am happy with this box, especially as it only cost me £10 including postage and the contents of the box are worth approx £46.20.  If you want to subscribe now it costs £12.95 including postage.

The box also comes with a magazine and there is a leaflet which says that they are teaming up with Instyle for next months box which should be interesting.

Which beauty boxes do you subscribe to?

Eastthorpe Hall Health and Beauty Spa

Hi Everyone

Sorry I've not blogged for while.  I cant believe how nice this weather is and I'm making the most of it. 
I visited a great Spa a few weeks ago*.  I went to Eastthorpe Hall Health and Beauty Spa in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. 

This was my first visit here (I've previously visited Ragdale, Eden Hall and Seaham Hall Serenity Spa, all of which have been lovely but are about a 2 hour drive away).  Eastthorpe is about a 20 minute drive from home, so I thought I would give it a try.  I booked a full day package for £150 which was one of their special offers.  The package includes:-

Time:- 9.00am – 5.30pm – arrival @ 8.45am
Package:- ‘Spring is in the air’ full day package @ £150 per person

lifestyle questionnaire
Complimentary robes and slippers
Complimentary use of straighteners, hairdryers and towels
Fully furnished shower and changing facilities
Complimentary teas, coffee and herbal infusions
Welcome ritual hand and foot ceremony
Swimming pool
Infinity Jacuzzi
Infra-red sauna
Breakfast- croissant and signature non alcoholic fruit cocktail
Conditioning paraffin hand wax
Signature full body massage – this targeted massage will be tailored to your specific needs and guaranteed to give you a spring back into your step
Award winning lunch
Pinks boutique organic midi facial – Our organic facial will leave your skin radiant and smooth
Afternoon Tea
Departure ceremony
The whole day was fab and the body massage and facial were the best treatments I've ever had.  The food was great as well, it was a buffet which was healthy but tasty.  If I had any complaints it was that the pool was quite small and your day was very structured so you couldn't just pop back to the pool anytime you didn't have treatments. Once you had been in the pool in the morning you weren't able to go in again.  On the plus side there were no more than 15 people there on the day so that was nice.  I would honestly recommend this Spa if you are looking for one to visit as it was a really lovely day and I can't wait to visit again.

If you are interested in visiting check out their website

Does anyone have any other spas they would recommend?

*I paid for this spa day out of my own money


Thursday, 4 July 2013

July Magazine Freebies

There are some really great magazine freebies about in July.  Heres what I have picked up so far:

Harpers Bazaar - Cost £4.20 - Free L'Occitane Precious Cream Face Moisturiser worth £15
Red - Cost £4 - Free Ren Clean Skincare Travel Kit - 15ml Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel, 10ml Vita-Mineral Day Cream and 3ml Frankincense Revitalising Night Cream
marie claire - Cost £3.80 - Free eyeko skinny mini liquid eyeliner worth £8 - I have just swatched this on the back of my hand and its a nice dark black colour with a fine nib that dries almost instantly.  I cant wait to try this out as I dont own a liquid liner.
There were also freebies in a couple of other magazines to look out for:
Cosmopolitan - Free Nip + Fab products (365 Body Glow, Leg Fix and Bust Fix)
Instyle - Rituals Perfection Volume Mascara worth £8
Glamour - Balance Me Products -  Super Toning Body Wash 100ml worth £9.00, Pure Skin Face Wash 50ml worth £11.00, Moisture Rich Face Cream 20ml worth £13.00 and a Shine On Tinted Lip Salve 10ml worth £12.00

Glamour Magazine is in shops from 8th July, the rest are already available.  I think there are some great products that are definitely worth picking up.


My Sample Collection

I am an avid sample collector.  Be they in magazines, in beauty boxes or in stores.   I also apply for all the freebies that I come across on facebook and company websites.  I always keep them and store them away as I am sure they will come in handy at some point.  Plus its always great to be able to try a product out before you buy.  Up to this point I have stored the samples in various boxes and containers, in loads of different places, but I thought I would collect them all together and see what I've got.  Well heres the result!

I didn't count them, but they filled a Lush Bath Bomb tin to overflowing.  I am definitely going to make more of an effort to use them all up as I don't want them to go to waste.  There are samples from brands such as Kiehls, Benefit and Chanel in there, so I can't wait to use them.   Heres the samples that I used up in June:

2x Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Shine Deep Treatment - Would buy again (WBA), great to use in the shower and left my hair feeling soft and detangled.
2x Rimmel BB Cream (light) - I definitely WBA as its a really good shade for my skin tone and moisturises my dry skin.  I don't think I would have bought this without trying the sample out first.
4x Garnier Moisture Match (normal and normal to dry) - I WBA as they were both very moisturising
Loreal Revitalift 10 Repair BB Cream (Medium) - WBA as again its very moisturising.  This is great for summer when I have more of a tan, but I would definitely try the light shade for winter.
Loreal Nude Magique (Medium) - Would Not Buy Again (WNBA) - too dark for me.
Origins Plantscription SPF25 Anti Aging Cream - WNBA - nothing special.
Vichy Idealia Pro Deep Corrector - I would need to use this more to see if it works, so probably WNBA.
Elvive Extraordinary Oil - Would Maybe Buy Again (WMBA) if on offer, no different from other hair oils.
Pantene 2min Colour Damage Rescue Masque - WBA
Nivea Express Hydration Primer - WNBA as this didn't do anything for my skin
3 samples from Living Nature - cleanser, toning gel & day cream.  Very small samples so couldn't tell if they worked, but they seemed to have dried up and gone off before I opened them anyway so WNBA
L'Occitane Divine Cream - very nice and rich cream - WMBA
Moa The Green Balm - great for really dry sensitive skin. WBA
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 60 - this was a nice cream, but WNBA as probably too expensive.  I got this in a sun product sample set from Sephora last year.
Thats 21 samples used up which is great.  Hopefully I will have used most of the samples up by the end of the year.  I will keep you posted.