Saturday, 19 April 2014

Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation

The Maybelline New York stand was calling to me upon a recent wander through the 'drugstore' make-up aisles of Boots. I had initially only gone looking for Maybelline's BROWdrama but good old Boots was kindly offering 3for2 on cosmetics - naturally, the offer was too good to pass up.

If you follow me on instagram you would have seen my lack of control in the 3for2 stakes, but for now I want to just focus on the foundation. Specifically, Maybelline's New SuperStay Better Skin foundation which is available at Boots for £8.99 - link - and other stockists now.


SuperStay Better Skin comes in a 30ml pump glass bottle in 8 different shades. Blessed as I am (groan!) with deathly pale skin, I went for their lightest shade 005 Light Beige. I am often a little sceptical of such a limited range of colours but I can just about get away with this shade. It's a little pink, however not so much that I end up with tell-tale tide marks around my jawline. If I was being really picky, then this shade would work best for me in the Summer and is probably too dark for the colder Seasons.

The initial selling points for me were the sun protection - this boasts a modest SPF 20, the all day wear claim - let's see if it stands up to Lancôme's Teint Idole 24h, and the fact that it is fragrance free.

But Maybelline are also claiming a lot of other benefits with this foundation... As well as being suitable for sensitive skin, non-comedogenic and dermatologically tested, Better Skin claims to reduces the appearance of the visible effects of stress. Now I accept that it will cover bumps, dullness and redness but Maybelline state that it 'visibly improves your skin every minute you're in it' - hmmm I will reserve judgement on that for now.

The formula is thick-ish, but not too thick that it doesn't blend well and one pump is enough to cover my whole face. I have applied this with a bog standard foundation brush and so far that has worked well. It feels hydrating on the skin and gives a fresh, even finish that isn't too heavy - I would happily put this in the medium coverage category.

As a very oily-skinned individual I can be quite picky about the feel of my foundations but this actually feels quite good on my skin. It isn't sticky once applied - which is often the first sign that a foundation isn't going to work for me - and it lasts longer than I initially expected it to. I have so far worn this over a primer, and set with a powder (I wouldn't wear foundation any other way I'm afraid) and it usually lasts for 4 hours before I feel like I need to blot and its staying power sits at around 8 hours. So not quite all-day wear but remember I am oily skinned.

In terms of improving the look of your skin every time you wear it I have to say I've not really noticed a difference. Proper skin care (and lifestyle choices) in my opinion is a much better way to achieve good skin but any added extras, however tiny they might be, can only help I guess.

In all quite a nice foundation that gives good coverage, feels great, and protects your skin with SPF. Have you tried Maybelline's SuperStay Better Skin yet?
Disclaimer - Ok, don't judge me, I'm a sucker for a good old 3for2! I therefore purchased this foundation along with a multitude of other makeup items that I probably didn't need. As always, I have reviewed it with 100% honesty and I have not been sponsored for this post.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

astrid & miyu March Secret Box

It's time again to take a look at the latest Secret Box from astrid & miyu. A new year has brought with it a new look for the brand and their packaging. 

Gone are the large cream boxes and instead we have a beautiful baby blue (Tiffany-esque) slimline box. The brand has redesigned it's logo and branding to a simple and sleek "A&M" ring motif which is stamped on the box, tissue paper and bags. Inside the box, the pouches have also had a makeover and are now a soft smooth cream micro fibre pouch and drawstring - much less clumsy that the previous canvas bags.

Don't get me wrong, I liked the packaging before, but now it's been updated I love it!

If you haven't heard of this before the Secret Box is a jewellery subscription service that I've been subscribing to for over a year now. The main things you need to know are:

  • Each box is £39 (with free UK and EU delivery) and once subscribed you can cancel at any time
  • Every 3 months you will receive a box filled with astrid & miyu jewellery worth twice the value
  • Items are handpicked for you based on your likes from a style survey completed on sign-up 
If that still doesn't make sense, then you can check out their website or my previous posts here.

After the last box's collaborations, astrid & miyu have continued to provide us with some little extras for this box too. I received a sample of Harmony Creme Balm from Premae Skincare, a sample of Moa thegreenbalm and some skin tattoos from Skin Feelings. If I'm honest I preferred the slightly more generous extras (Essie nail polish, Jelly Pong Pong eyeliner) but they are extras so I guess we can't complain. This box's theme was stacking and I received some beautiful rose gold rings to stack away with to my heart's content...

From left to right: 
Floating Leaf Rose Gold Midi ring In White £24  
The Rosy Delicate One In Blue Ring £29  
The Rosy Delicate One In Black Ring £29

At first when I opened the pouches, I felt a little disappointed that I had received so little - after previous boxes full of goodies, three small rings didn't feel like much. But then I took a closer look at what I had been given and became more and more pleased with my selection.

First up I noticed I had a matching pair of stackable rings, in particular The Rosy Delicate One In Blue Ring and The Rosy Delicate One In Black Ring. I'm a big fan of rose gold, so these little beauties were very welcome in my collection. They fit easily on my ring or middle finger and look great stacked together and with a couple of other rose gold rings that I own. If you're not keen on the blue or black stones these also come in a green, pink or pure (white) as well as yellow gold or silver if you prefer.

The Floating Leaf Rose Gold Midi ring In White was the hidden surprise for me though. I've seen midi rings around but until now had never considered buying any. After slipping this little beauty on though I fell in love... dainty rose gold delicate love. It oozes a kind of elegance that I don't often get with other rings, I am totally converted! Again, this design also comes with different stones (pink or blue) as well as yellow gold or silver.

This month's box has turned out to be good value for money - the contents are worth £82 in total and the box cost £39 - and I've found lots of occasions to wear the rings both alone and stacked together. I've already planned to expand my stacking collection and have added their Perfect One rings to my wishlist...

Have you been tempted by the A&M secret box yet?
Disclaimer - I have not been sponsored for this post and I purchased the Secret Box out of my own monies. For the terms and conditions or further information about astrid & miyu's Secret box then please check out their site here.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

GlossyBox - February - Valentine's Edition

It's Valentine's!!!!! So of course that means a suitably special edition box from GlossyBox this month. The packaging has gone all glossy black with a lip prints pattern - mwah! - and a bright pink ribbon to tie it all together. The theme of 'Be Mine' this month embraces all things LOVE (and I'm guessing lots of pink and red...) so let's see what this month beholds.

Nougat London Sparkling Body Shimmer in Cherry Blossom - 100ml sample size - full size 250ml £14.00 
Hmmm, I thought Nougat was a clothing brand? Turns out they do toiletries too. Body Shimmer though isn't really something I use much these days, so I'm a bit disappointed. When I was 12 and glittering myself up for a disco (oh, those were the days...) maybe I would have used something like this, but not much now I'm a (sensible) adult. I guess this will work nicely on my legs in the summer though but it is quite shimmery so I might need to dilute it a little with moisturiser. It smells lovely but I really don't think it's worth the £14 price tag! And I'm not going to lie, it could do with a packaging update - it's a little 'Granny's bathroom cabinet' don't you think?

Toni & Guy Hair Meet Wardrobe Stick It Up Gum - full size 90ml £7.19
also available at Boots.
Now these paste/gum/clay hairstyling products never really appeal to me. I'm have quite long hair and I always think these are aimed for short styles. But on reading the packaging it talks a lot about gravity defying style and a textured hold... so I'm thinking I might give this a little trial to see how it helps to give my limp locks a bit of a volume boost. I am sceptical though and worried that my hair might turn into a heavy, sticky mop. I guess I can only try it and find out. Wish me luck!

Ciaté London Paint Pot in Red Hot Chili - full size 13.5ml £9.00
also available at Selfridges, ASOS or Beauty Bay.
Ooh I'm a sucker for the cute as hell Ciaté packaging - that little bow! After July's box brought me my first ever paint pot - I know, how had I resisted for so long?! - I was seriously chuffed to get another this month. The only gripe I have is that this shade is so close to the one I received last year - Mistress from memory - that I really would have liked to try one of their pink shades. Red Hot Chili is a gorgeous fiery red-orange creme that will look amazing on both fingers or toes, especially with a bit of a tan. As I've mentioned before, I love Ciaté's polishes - they are easy to hold, the brush applies the polish really smoothly, they give great coverage and dry well too. If you've not tried them yet, you need to!

Maybelline New York Master Kajal Liner in Pitch Black - full size 13g £5.99
also available at Boots or Superdrug.
Another Maybelline item this month, after their appearance in the December box, but in the form of their Master Kajal liner. Damn it I still need to get my hands on that BROWdrama! I have actually never tried a kajal liner before so I am curious to give this a whirl. I'm not really a black liner sort of person, I tend to lean more towards the navy, khaki or dark brown side of the scale but if this blends well I could be converted. I'll let you know how I get on.

Miners Cosmetics Cocktail Kiss Lipgloss in Manhattan - full size 12ml £2.99
Another flashback to being a child... wasn't Miners big in the 90s? I'm not a big fan of the 'teenager' packaging appeal I'm afraid. A nice pink, shimmery lip gloss, that smells and tastes good - hence the cocktail kiss theme. I like the swirl of different colours mixed together - two light pinks and a coral - but I don't really have much else to add. Nice, but not amazing.

Lindt Lindor Treat Bar - full size 38g £0.79
also available at Tesco.
Nom nom nom... I'm afraid this is gone already, eaten about 3 seconds into writing this post! If you haven't tried Lindor by Lindt then where have you been??! Delicious, creamy, chocolate-y goodness. If I could have my way I'd have preferred their dark chocolate version but I'm not sure they do that in a treat bar? It was nice to see an edible treat in my box for once - more please GlossyBox :)

Not bad this month, a couple of new things to trial and a couple of teenage flashbacks... apart from the chocolate and red/pink colours I'm not really sure that any of this fits with Valentine's though....??!
If you like the idea of subscribing to the normal GlossyBox, then use this referral link to sign up today.

Disclaimer - I subscribe to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money because I'm a sucker for random surprise beauty packages delivered on a monthly basis. I have reviewed the listed products in a 100% honest manner and I am not compensated for my reviews. But if you use the referral link above to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... get in!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

GlossyBox - January Edition - A New Look for 2014

Hello there 2014 and welcome to a new look GlossyBox! And you'll never guess... yep, another free one, damn I'm good :)

The new year has seen in a slightly revamped packaging for the monthly beauty box which some love and some loathe. So what's different? Well the box has gone 'glossier' with a sleek shiny outer, the box is now longer so the magazine fits inside (oh my god this was one of my biggest annoyances before!) and the branding has stepped up to a 'GlossyBox' stamp on the outer lid and also on the ribbon inside. I have to admit, like others, I was a bit disappointed that GlossyBox have slathered their branding all over the box - the ribbons aren't really reusable now and the box was much more chic with the simple logo on the front. But hey ho, as long as the goodies inside keep on coming I guess I'm happy.

January's theme is a 'back to basics' idea - healthy eating, living and generally everything I guess. Well isn't every new year? So this month's box is aimed at simple beauty regimes to get us gals "back on the road", let's see if it provides what is claims...

Yu-Be Moisturising Skin Care - 2 x 3g sample size - full size 33g £13.50 
available at Boots, Space.NK or Look Fantastic.
On first glance this looked exceedingly unappealing to me. I have to be honest, hyped-up 'cult' skin creams have never really been on my radar much but this little wonder could fast change my mind. Yu-Be is one of the longest and best selling products in Japan, a glycerin-based moisturising cream that helps hydrate and soothe dry skin. It absorbs almost instantly and stays locked in for hours which makes it very effective on severe dry skin. As well as being enriched with vitamin E, vitamin B2 and camphor it holds a certain scent that I just couldn't put my finger on.. and then it hit me, Vicks! Yup, it smells like vapor rub. Hmmm, not so happy to put it all over my face because of this but as a minor eczema sufferer this is perfect for those little dry patches you get.

Balance Me Super Toning Body Wash - 50ml sample size - full size 260ml £10.25
also available at Debenhams or Look Fantastic.
Ooh it's been a little while since a Balance Me product found it's way into a box - last time was the Maggie Li edition from 2012. Overall I quite like Balance Me products so am always happy to try another but the smell of them sometimes puts me off. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases. Maybe it's the bergamot or juniper, but I'm just not too keen. I will happily throw this into the travel size pile - I'm always running out of body washes - but I won't be repurchasing. As for the 'super toning' element, I really couldn't comment, I don't use it enough to see if it makes any difference but if I was to, I'd be doubtful that a body wash could really tone your body.

The Vintage Cosmetic Company Floral Slanted Tweezers - full size £8.00
also available at feelunique or Boots.
Cute or what?! I love these little tweezers. I have been extremely loyal to my HD Brows ones that I got in an old GlossyBox - June 2012 I think - but these little lovelies are just too kitsch to pass up. They do the job, so there's nothing to really comment about there and they look great on the dressing table.

Anatomicals Puffy The Eye Bag Slayer Wake-Up Under Eye Patches - 2 pack sample size - full size 3pack £6.00
LOVE these eye patches! Firstly the name is awesome - anatomicals you genius you - and secondly I am currently wearing them whilst I write this post. They feel sooooo good! I don't look particularly attractive right now mind you, but then these aren't really designed to look sexy. The jelly-like boomerang shaped patches should be applied to clean, dry skin, with the largest end near your nose and left on for 30 minutes. They are foil packed to keep them fresh and the moisture contained, so you should use them straight after opening. They feel great on, really refreshing and I will write a post dedicated to just these little wonders soon, so stay posted... 

Vaseline Essential Moisture Lotion - 50ml sample size - full size 400ml £4.99
A little boring GlossyBox, but yes I agree, a definite back to basics skin need. Who doesn't love Vaseline? I've used a variety of their products since I was a small child so there's not much not to like really. This particular moisturiser is enriched with pure oat extract and Stratys3 multi-layer moisture, which gives a clean feeling for healthy soft skin. I haven't used this much as I have other body creams I tend to use at home, but this size is perfect for travel, so it's gone straight in to my 'travel size' drawer... yes, I have so much stuff that I have a drawer dedicated to travel size items for holidays etc. Sad, I know!

Not a bad box for the first one of 2014. In terms of value for money I don't think it's really pushed the boat out, but then again it was free so I guess I can't complain! I do think they've thought well about products that fit the theme this month though. Well done GlossyBox!

If you like the idea of subscribing to the normal GlossyBox, then use this referral link to sign up today.

Disclaimer - I subscribe to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money because I'm a sucker for random surprise beauty packages delivered on a monthly basis. I have reviewed the listed products in a 100% honest manner and I am not compensated for my reviews. But if you use the referral link above to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... get in!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Green With Envy

Happy New Year and welcome to 2014! For the first post of the year I wanted to share a little treat that I gifted myself over the festive period. If you've read any of my AW13 LFW posts about the Handpicked Media suite, then you will know that I discovered a gorgeous jewellery brand called Anna Lou of London. In particular I received a beautiful bespoke necklace - post here - that I adore and of course the magpie in me couldn't stop there...

Having trawled through the Anna Lou of London website I spotted many an item that I wanted to get my greedy little mitts on but this green wonder had me literally drooling in desire - OK, maybe drooling's a little gross but I knew that I needed this in my life. This is the Jade bracelet in gold. Isn't it beautiful?

It is part of the Luxe collection by Anna Lou of London, which is a range of high quality statement costume jewellery that I first spotted on their stand at the Handpicked Media LFW event. There is also a matching set of Jade earrings or a Jade necklace if you're interested. All the pieces are made up of resin stones in various cuts and shades of green, set in 18kt gold plated housing. The bracelet has a clip fasten to securely hold it in place.

I absolutely LOVE the mix'n'match feel of the different sized and shaped stones and the variety of colours - from jade and turquoise to a dark emerald shade - making it a truly dazzling piece of arm candy.

The Jade bracelet is £38, Jade earrings are £25 and the Jade necklace is £55.
All available at or
Disclaimer - I have not been sponsored for this post and I purchased the bracelet on a typical whim when my magpie tendencies were at full strength. For more info about Anna Lou of London then please check out their site here.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

GlossyBox - December - The Christmas Edition

Free? For me?! Why thank you GlossyBox :)

I have been hoarding those GlossyDots again and have bagged myself (yet another) free GlossyBox. And what better time than right before Christmas when the purse strings are a little tighter than the rest of the year. And you lucky readers you! Not just one, but two Glossyboxes this month. Following my last post on the Limited Edition Christmas Box let's take a look at the 'normal' December Glossybox - The Christmas Edition:

Beautiful Movements Cosmetics Lip Gloss in Nude - 4ml sample size - full size 8ml £12.00 
First up is a lovely little lip gloss from Beautiful Movements - the brand founded by ex-Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt - which I also came across in the May 2nd Anniversary box. I love the ethos behind this brand as it is free from parabens and other additives as well as priding itself on being BUAV/PETA approved and vegetarian friendly. The lip gloss is one of only 6 colours that they offer but all of their colours can be custom mixed with their mineral pigments to create unique shades of your choosing. I got the Nude shade which is a soft natural beige tone (and nothing like the colour you see in the photo above - sorry the lighting makes it look coral and it really isn't). It applies well and is rich in jojoba oil to keep your pout moisturised. It's a non-sticky formula that lasts much the same as other lip glosses - essentially as long as it takes for me to chew/lick it off!

Wilkinson Sword Intuition Naturals Razor - full size £6.49
Now this was a slightly odd thing to come across in my box. I've never really considered hair removal to be part of 'beauty' and think of it as more of a chore but I can't deny that I like to be hair-free in certain areas and a razor certainly comes in handy for that exact job! As someone who regularly frequents my local wax bar (would a wax customer be a waxee...?) a razor has limited use in my shower routine, but in the name of being a good blogger I tried this out. I stuck to using it on my underarms and the built in creamy soap made the job ten times easier and much less irritating for my sensitive pits. The conditioning solid as it's called, contains natural aloe and vitamin E to smooth and moisturise and it is also paraben and fragrance free as well as being hypo-allergenic and dermatologically tested. I may actually consider a repurchase of the razor heads... but only when they're on offer. Man can they get expensive!

Maybelline New York Color Tattoo 24hr Eye Shadow in 20 Turquoise Forever - full size £4.99
Ooh first time Maybelline's appeared for me in a Glossybox. I like the color tattoo eyeshadows so was quite pleased with this selection but admittedly I would have preferred a different shade like Pink Gold or Permanent Taupe. I'm not really a bright eyes kinda gal so this will mostly be used to give a flash of colour to my lashline. I've found that the color tattoos do pretty much what they say on the tub - they're highly pigmented and as long as you don't overload your lid with product, they are crease free and smudge resistant. I have to be honest though, I've not tested the 24hr claim - I tend to remove my make up before I get to that point! I was a little disappointed that I didn't get BROWdrama like a few other subscribers but I guess that'll be another one for the shopping list when I'm next in Boots.

Seche Nail Lacquer in Take Chances - full size 14ml £8.00
This must be an ongoing theme with the Christmas edition boxes. In the 2012 box I got a not-so-lovely shade of brown of Seche Nail Lacquer so I was pleased to see a more palatable colour. I got a lovely creme darker-lilac shade called Take Chances, the website describes it as royal purple but I wouldn't say it's deep enough or rich enough to be classed as 'royal'. Seche nail colours are very smooth in formula, they apply quite easily and this particular shade is fully opaque with two coats (almost one, but not quite). I would like a slightly bigger brush but that's just me being picky. In all a nice, quick drying nail colour. 

Lipsy London Glam fragrance - 2ml sample size - full size 50ml £25
Uh oh, another controversial fragrance sample. Well as I'm sure you know by now I'm not adverse to these samples but I am a little snobbish when it comes to the brands that they send. This is pleasant but not a scent I would ever consider buying. As I could have guessed before a little test spray it's a fairly heady-fruity-sweet scent, synonymous with these typical styles of perfume (yes I'm referring to you Juicy Couture and celebrity scents). Nice, but not really me I'm afraid.

Not a bad Christmas box GlossyBox, a good selection of brands and three full items plus one good sized lip gloss - I would say that's money well spent! Just sort out those fragrance samples please... And if you want free GlossyBoxes too, you know what you have to do - get subscribing using my link below:

If you like the idea of subscribing to the normal GlossyBox, then use this referral link to sign up today.

Disclaimer - I subscribe to GlossyBox out of my own choice and money because I'm a sucker for random surprise beauty packages delivered on a monthly basis. I have reviewed the listed products in a 100% honest manner and I am not compensated for my reviews. But if you use the referral link above to start a subscription then I can get points towards a free box next time... get in!

Friday, 20 December 2013

astrid & miyu December Secret Box

Is it that time again? December means Christmas isn't far away and of course also brings round the latest offerings from the astrid & miyu Secret box - with a few little festive extras thrown in. If you haven't heard of this fab jewellery subscription service then you can check out their website or my previous posts (DecemberMarch, June and September). 

In a nutshell though:
  • Subscribe for £39 per box (with free UK and EU delivery) and cancel whenever
  • Every 3 months you will receive a box filled with astrid & miyu jewellery worth twice the value
  • Items are handpicked for you based on your likes from a style survey completed on sign-up 

This month astrid & miyu collaborated with two other brands to provide us with a couple of little extras. A Jelly Pong Pong 2-in-1 shadow/liner in Bronze and some Ubuntu chocolate (yum!) I got the Lime and Chilli flavour. They also included some little Christmassy recipe cards to get us into the festive spirit. So let's see what sparkly goodies I got in this box...

Charm It In Pink bracelet £19
First up, is the Charm It In Pink bracelet. This delicate woven cotton bracelet is part of the friendship and charms collection. It features a small gold plated cubic zirconia charm and small branded tag on the clasp. I actually already own this bracelet in black, so was a little disappointed to receive it in my box, but I am pleased to see that it now includes a little chain so that the size can be adjusted. On my Charm It In Black bracelet, I find it can be a little too tight on my wrist, so the adjustable length of this one will make it more wearable.

Dickie Bow earrings £29
Next up are these gorgeous little Dickie Bow earrings which are the perfect mix of girly and masculine in one. The picture above hopefully shows how delicate and tiny these are and I have to say astrid & miyu have got my taste spot on with this pick. They are made up of 18k rose gold plated brass and cubic zirconias shaped like a bow tie. If rose gold isn't your thing then these are also available in silver and gold and if you want to go for the matching duo then they also do the Dickie Bow ring. I think I'll be adding that one to my wishlist...

Tight Rope In Blue necklace £39
And last up is my favourite piece of this box, another gorgeous statement necklace to add to my collection. The Tight Rope In Blue necklace is also available in Red but I think they got it spot on for me with the Blue. The tribal-like necklace mixes up casual and glam perfectly with the chunky blue/black rope chain and the luxurious gold and sparkling crystal details. It is the perfect length to layer over a casual plain tee, or to jazz up a little black dress and sits nicely under the collar bone - not too short or too long. 

Overall, I'm quite pleased with this month's box. At £87 it's definitely been great value for money but I do wish that I didn't get an item I already own - even if it is in a different colour. 

At the moment I'm unsure as to whether to continue my subscription though; I've been subscribing now since the very start and have received some amazing pieces over the last year. With having built quite a large astrid & miyu collection in my jewellery box my purse strings could probably do with a little break for 2014! 

Disclaimer - I have not been sponsored for this post and I purchased the Secret Box out of my own monies. For the terms and conditions or further information about astrid & miyu's Secret box then please check out their site here.
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