Lush Nottingham Beauty Bloggers Event

Posted on: Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Last night I was lucky enough to attend an absolutely fantastic beauty bloggers event at Lush in Nottingham. Lush as a brand is one that most people are familiar with, and I know for me it's one of those shops I often can't avoid when I'm in town - not only for the amazing smell but also because the products are the perfect sort of thing to treat yourself with. My boyfriend has always got me a few extra presents from Lush on birthdays and Christmases and they have always been absolutely brilliant.

Lush are cruelty-free, neither testing their own products nor sourcing from companies who test on animals. They are all suitable for vegetarians, most for vegans, and use only a few preservatives out of necessity in a select few products. They are also charity-friendly with a number of products - like the 'Charity Pot' moisturiser - of which 100% of the proceeds go to charity. A few days before the event, my mum, who works for the charity Future Hope - told me that Lush had made an out-of-the-blue donation of £4,000, which is absolutely incredible and gave me such a fantastic view of the brand's values before I'd been to the event. If you'd like to read more about their values and charity work, please see their dedicated page here.

Before the event I went for a Nandos with four absolutely lovely local bloggers - Sophia from Tattooed Tea Lady, Meg from Made in a Cup, Megan from Seek My Scribbles (who also sells absolutely beautiful hand-made jewellery), and Emma Louise from Not Your Average, who is 4 weeks away from giving birth and is absolutely glowing. It was lovely to meet some of the girls before the event and definitely calmed all of our nerves!

We were welcomed into the store by the lovely staff and some refreshments - mojitos, pina coladas, teas and coffees and some fresh fruit and cake, and given our name badges which I thought were a really nice personal touch. 

Carrot bubble bars - which smell beautiful - part of Lush's limited edition Easter range

The famous bath bombs!
Some of my favourite products from Lush - the soaps. My favourite is Miranda (bottom left)!

Easter range Easter Egg Hunt soap - raspberry scented and so pretty!

There were various 'stalls' set up around the event, showcasing their unique Gorilla perfume range, the Emotional Brilliance make-up line, and stands for moisturisers, soaps and massage bars (complete with a complementary arm massage). I tried out the moisturisers first and the one I chose to take away and sample was the 'Sympathy for the Skin' body lotion, formulated with cocoa butter, vanilla pods and banana and is a beautiful thick moisturiser that works particularly well on sensitive skins.

After that, I was given a demo on my arm of the 'Aqua Miribilis' Body Butter which left my skin super smooth, but in the end my senses got the better of me and I picked the beautiful 'You Snap the Whip' as I couldn't resist the gorgeous blackcurrant scent. It's formulated to tackle dry skin and I can't wait to use this on my legs.

Megan having her body butter demonstration!
Next up, Meg and I went over to the Emotional Brilliance stand where we learnt about the premise behind the range; each of the thirty colours corresponds to a positive word, and after closing your eyes you pick the first three that you see.

Meg picking her three Emotional Brilliance colours

My eyes drew immediately to three of the neutral shades, which surprised me as I thought I'd have picked out much brighter colours. The three corresponding words were 'Fantasy', 'Sophisticated' and 'Happiness' (all revealed in a cloud of dry ice - very cool!), and with some explaining from the staff, I could actually see how all three related to where I am in my life at the moment.

Sophia and I spent a while at the perfume stand looking at the Gorilla range. All are seriously heavy-duty perfumes, so if you do go in and try them out, I would recommend allowing a good while for them to dry down on to the skin because they do smell quite overpowering at first. There's definitely something for everyone in this range - Sophia loved 'Sun', a blend of orange, tangerine and sandalwood, whilst I liked the floral notes of 'Sikkim Girls', an oriental-inspired jasmine and rose blend.

Although it was only a 2-hour event, we all got so much out of it and the whole thing ran so smoothly thanks to the super helpful staff. If you haven't tried anything from Lush, I really recommend them as a brand, not only for their ethical stances and their philosophy but because of their high-quality, great value products. All in all a really great event and I can't wait to start trying my samples!

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Birchbox UK March 2013

Posted on: Saturday, 23 March 2013

Molton Brown Valbonne Fragrance, full size RRP £65
Birchbox say: "Known for their gorgeous lotion and shower gel scents, Molton Brown's fine fragrance collection is predictably heavenly. Valbonne combines notes of bergamot, dewy orange flower, rose, vetiver and leather for a sophisticated scent that will take you from day to night."

I'm not one of those people that gets too wound up by the inclusion of perfume samples in beauty boxes (unless they come alongside say 3 other cheap/readily available products), and it's not often I get to pick up free samples at department stores so generally I'm quite happy to try them out when I get them in my beauty boxes. This fragrance is lovely, but slightly too high on the 'mature' scent spectrum for my liking. It would be beautiful as a candle, but not really something I could imagine myself wearing. Also - leather as one of the notes? Can't say I've ever heard of that in a fragrance before!

Laura Geller Inkwell Waterproof Gel Liner, full size RRP (for duo) £24.50
Birchbox say: "This smooth long-wearing gel eyeliner comes with a handy brush that makes it super-easy to apply. Jojoba Oil and Vitamin E are among the skin-loving ingredients..." 

This might be a major beauty sin but I've never heard of Laura Geller before. A quick Google tells me I may be in the minority here! This is a deceptively large eyeliner with just over 2ml of actual product, but it does come with a brush which is a handy little addition (though I can't stand using short brushes). Before I got my box I had a look at some other reviews of this month's box and saw most people getting a Purple eyeliner - I'm really glad I got black because I don't really stray from it in terms of gel liner. I'm excited to start using this once I've used up my MAC Blacktrack Fluidline Gel Liner to see if it lives up to its promises, but I'm really pleased with the inclusion of it in the box. Thumbs up Birchbox.

RMK Cleansing Balm, full size RRP £29
Birchbox say: "This rose-scented balm echoes your mum or grandmother's cold cream as it melts into skin and becomes a silky liquid that removes even stubborn make-up with ease. Apply to skin, emulsify with wet hands, and rinse thoroughly with warm water." 

My standout product of this box for an absolute mile. RMK is a Japanese brand that I've had my eye on for a long time, and this is a really decent sized sample of its new Cleansing Balm. I've used it twice now and I'm hesitant to suggest it's a gamechanger, but I really think it might be. This little baby removes everything, where my Liz Earle and Emma Hardie cleansers often struggle. My waterproof mascara is gone without me having to vigorously scrub and remove several eyelashes along the way, it smells lovely and leaves my skin absolutely baby soft. This is going to be my next purchase cleanser-wise when I've run out...amazing. A-mazing.

Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream, full size RRP £19.50
Birchbox say: "Don't let the primrose colour fool you - this multi-purpose medicated moisturiser is made of tough stuff. A bestseller in Japan since 1957, the comforting camphor scent magically disappears about a minute after application, but leaves you with super-soft skin."

I've had a sample of this before with a Space NK order, so although I don't think it's quite worthy of a "deluxe sample" title, I do really love this. I used this for a couple of months as a lip balm and it worked wonders, so I'm happy to have another little tube of it. I probably wouldn't purchase the full size any time soon though as I've got a stash of lip balms that need using up!

La Sultane de Saba Body Lotion with Argan Oil, full size RRP £26.50
Birchbox say: "Inspired by ancient beauty rituals of the Orient and Asia, La Sultane de Saba's body lotion with rich Argan Oil sinks into skin with ease, leaving a delicate scent. Divine."

Never heard of this brand, and not particularly impressed - I think this smells like the sort of cream you use when changing a baby's nappy. I used this on my legs and didn't see any result really, so a bit of a disappointment for me.

Beauty Extra: Sanctuary 30 Day Thermal Transformation Mask, full size RRP £27.50
The premise of this sounded quite exciting - the first sachet as a serum, and the second as a thick heating mask which you leave to cool on your face for 15 minutes. Sadly, I saw no difference at all in my skin, but this does call itself a 30 day transformation - maybe a bad move on Sanctuary's part to put only a one or two day usage in a beauty box because it's put me off repurchasing.

Lifestyle Extra: Lindt Lindor Heart Tin filled with Chocolate Truffles, full size RRP £2.99
Who doesn't love Lindt chocolate? Sadly, I'm on a strict diet, but these were much appreciated by my housemate!

Overall I'm really pleased with the box, if only for the RMK Cleansing Balm and the Laura Geller eyeliner. It would have been nice to have the beauty blender, of course, but I think I'm actually more happy with the cleansing balm because I think it may be a gamechanger for me!

What do you think of the March Birchbox?


Posted on: Thursday, 14 March 2013

I just wanted to do a quick update sort of post, first of all to apologise for my blogging absence. I've had 7,000 words of coursework and a 2-hour assessed presentation all within the last two weeks, and my final deadline for the month is on Thursday - so expect lots of posts coming up after then. I'm especially excited to post up a review of my new holy grail NARS duo eyeshadow, so keep your eyes peeled if that's something you might be interested in!

The second thing worth mentioning is in regards to the Google Reader closing down issue that has sent the blog world a little bit crazy today! Whilst Google Reader and GFC are, as far as I can tell, different things and there hasn't yet been official confirmation of the latter's exit just yet, I think there has been a sensible shift over to alternative blogging platforms today. I personally have used Bloglovin' and Hellocotton for a while to read blogs, not only because of their better interfaces but also because for me they're the best way of discovering new blogs. If you do read my blog, first of all thank you, I really appreciate it! And if you'd like to follow me on either of those platforms, you can find me on Bloglovin' here and Hellocotton here.

Please do leave me your links to your alternative platforms below and I'll make sure to go through and follow them all - I need to start reading more blogs as I haven't had a 'spree' of finding new ones for a while!

I hope you all have a lovely week,

Harriet x

Jessica Nails 'Banana Peel' Nail Polish

Posted on: Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Jessica Nails 'Banana Peel' Nail Lacquer, 14.8ml, £7.99 here

With Spring upon us, my darker nail polishes have retreated to the back of my vanity case and been replaced at the front by pretty pastels and I couldn't be happier. I love my vampier polishes, but after 6 months, it's nice to look down at my nails and see colours that evoke all things Spring - and this polish is one of my favourite colours from the bunch.

If such a thing exists, I would describe this colour as a 'baby yellow'. It was released with Jessica's Gelato Mio Summer 2012 collection, inspired by the beautiful colours you'd see at an Italian gelateria, and I bought two colours back in July last year. This is my favourite colour from the collection, and I think it looks beautiful on the nails, but I do have a problem with Jessica polishes in general. For a salon-quality, higher-end brand, I find their formulas are quick to go a bit gloopy, and require about 4 or 5 coats to get a decent, unanimous opacity - which means you can end up with lumpy, messy nails (see my index finger in last photograph). If you have the time to take over your manicure, that can be avoided, but when I compare it to the quality of a brand like OPI I just don't think it really comes close to the application, formula and depth of colour.

That all being said, I think this colour is going to be a staple for me this Spring, and I'm just going to have to grin and bear my formula issues!

What do you think of Banana Peel?

Kardashian Beauty Khloé Kardazzle Complete Face Palette

Posted on: Sunday, 3 March 2013

NB: The Khroma Beauty range has (as of May 2013) rebranded itself Kardashian Beauty. I have edited the title of the post, but if you are purchasing this product it will now be marked 'Kardashian Beauty' on the packaging instead of 'Khroma Beauty.' I'm assuming the product will remain the same!

Some of the writing has rubbed off the packaging which I didn't notice until I'd photographed this!

The 4 matte shadows swatched
The 4 shimmer shadows swatched
Blush, highlighter and bronzer  swatched - with flash
Blush, highlighter and bronzer  swatched - without flash
Khroma Beauty Khloé Kardazzle Complete Face Palette, €16.95 here

When I found out that the Kardashian's make-up line, Khroma Beauty, was available to purchase in the UK I have to admit I was unbelievably excited. Not because I am a massive Kardashian fan (...which I am), but because I'd seen photos of the Khloé Kardazzle Complete Face Palette on a number of American beauty blogs and thought it looked absolutely beautiful. Disappointingly it had also garnered a multitude of negative reviews, and normally I wouldn't buy something that was so split: I guess it was a moment of madness that spurred me to make the purchase.

And I'm so glad I did! The palette comes with 8 eyeshadows - 4 matte and 4 shimmers, and all are of fantastic quality. The shimmers feel like true foils and glide on with complete ease, and the mattes range from barely-there neutrals to dark chocolates for the crease. The bottom slides out and in there is a super-pigmented coral blusher, a golden-toned highlighter (a good dupe for NARS Albatross, although somewhat chalkier), and a beautiful and again well-pigmented bronzer that is probably one of the best matches for my skintone I've ever come across. A lot of the reviews floating about on blogs suggested the bronzer was so pale you could barely see it; my conclusion is that it's probably better for a light to medium skin tone. From what I can see the bronzers in the Kim and Khloé palettes are near enough identical, so if you're looking for something slightly darker, you may want to have a look at the Kourtney palette.

The eyeshadow colours in the Khloé palette are perfect nude shadows for both daytime and evening looks and I've managed to create a whole host of different looks with the palette. It's also super compact - thinner in width and height than a NARS Laguna bronzer, with sturdy packaging making it perfect for putting in your handbag without fear of it cracking/coming loose and ruining the contents. Some people have criticised its packaging for being made of plastic and feeling cheap, but I think that makes it a much more durable product and I'm distracted by the snakeskin anyway (which I secretly love). It also comes with a very decent sized mirror, handy for applying on the go. After photographing the palette I noticed that some of the writing had rubbed off, which doesn't speak much for its quality, but I'd rather that than the products were bad quality - which they're definitely not in my opinion.

I really can't recommend this palette highly enough. As it's an import it's more expensive here than in the US, but for the equivalent of £15 and if we forget the extortionate P&P for a second I feel like I will absolutely get my money's worth for this. The fact that there are 8 shadows, a bronzer, highlighter and a blusher more than compensates - for me, at least - its mid-range price tag.

What do you think of the Kardashian Complete Face Palettes? Do you like the look of them?

I got my palette from the website here, which is an official stockist. It retails for €16.95 (GBP £14.69) and postage was €5.95 (GBP £5.16), which brought my entire total to €22.90 (GBP £19.85). The website stocks a range of Khroma products, and more are expected to be added to the line soon.

Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter

Posted on: Saturday, 2 March 2013

Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter, £6.30 here or £7 in selected stores

The Korres Lip Butters have become something of a regular feature here on my blog (see my reviews of Jasmine and Plum if you're interested), and a staple of various handbags! The formula is second to none - super comfortable, smooth and lightly pigmented, they are perfect for colour on the go as well as a bit of nourishment. These are fantastic for me in the colder months as, despite my best efforts, my lips quite often feel dry and tight - in other words, entirely the wrong canvas for a lipstick. The inclusion of shea butter and rice wax in these means that they work to ease the dryness and generally improve the condition of your lips whilst also providing that burst of colour (if you don't want colour, try their Guava lip butter - review coming soon). At a purse-friendly price, these last ages and I really can't think of anything negative to say on them.

Pomegranate, despite its rather fluorescent appearance on the lid and in the pot, is quite a soft, natural looking pink. Though I hate to use the age old cliché, it really is a 'your lips but better' kind of shade, perfect for daytime and a super wearable colour. It's not my favourite of the Lip Butter offerings colour-wise, but it's still one that I get a lot of wear out of and is perfect to just stick on when you can't really be bothered to think about it - if you know what I mean!

The Korres lip butters are dermatologically tested and free of mineral oils and silicone, as well as various other nasties.

Do you have any Korres Lip Butters? What do you think of Pomegranate?

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