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Beauty Boxes, Vegan, Vegetarian

Birchbox February 2015 Review

February 12, 2015


Birchbox have definitely topped my monthly beauty box list, pumping out box after box that hasn’t disappointed. I’m a little saddened that come March I won’t be renewing my 6 month subscription and it’s not because I’m no longer enjoyiny my boxes, but more that I have so much makeup I’m never going to use as well as the effort that goes into to checking every product to make sure it’s cruelty free. I eventually want to slim down my collection and use the money I’d spend out beauty boxes on brands that I really love but can never afford.


This month’s Birchbox has a love theme and is packed with lot’s of amazing products. Once again, they’ve excelled with their selection and there isn’t really a product I’m not that excited about.


London Butterflies – Bath Salt Scrub in Dead Sea Salt & Sweet Almond Oil – 34g – £35 for full size

At first glance I thought this was going to be bath salts, but as I re read the packaging and opened the lid – a sweet almond aroma greeted my nose and I saw this was in fact an actual scrub. When I tried a little on my hands I was more than impressed. At the £35 price tag though, I shouldn’t really expect any less. Although not the sort of scrub I would usually opt for, since it doesn’t resemble sand paper – it feel’s gently on the skin, but there’s still enough scrub to make it feel worthwhile. The best part is how beautifully oily it is. My hand was left feeling as though I’d just moisturised when in fact I’d simply used a pea sized amount of scrub and washed it off again. Probably not favorable if your skin is naturally oil, but for those of us with dry skin, I should imagine this is absolutely amazing.


theBalm cosmetics – Cindy-Lou Manizer – 0.57g sample – £15 for full size

I am such a fan of theBalm cosmetics. I love their quirky packaging and names and have also enjoyed using every product I’ve come across so far. This highlight is a welcome addition to my collection and although the sample is on the small side, I actually have two blushes in the same sample packaging that I haven’t even hit pan on and I use these for pretty much every makeup application.This is a shimmery highlight so probably not great for my every day looks but will work amazingly on stage. Another plus item that I am over the moon with. The application is smooth and the texture creamy, leaving a nice subtle sheen behind.


Cynthia Rowley Beauty – Eyeliner in Black – 0.8g – £11 for full size

Now this is a product I choked on my own words for. I scoffed when I pulled it out the box – seriously you have no idea how many pencil eyeliners I have and I never wear them. I find they smudge and are the culprit of the unwanted panda eye. I much prefer liquid or gel eyeliner which takes about the same time to apply and I’m confident won’t leave me looking like I’ve been playing with the corpse paint for my own amusement. This however, is more than an eyeliner. It applies almost like a gel liner, but with the precision that you admittedly do get with a pencil. I was expecting this to smudge and fall at the last hurdle, but nope, it made a stand and wouldn’t bloody budge. So much so that my usual regime of micellar water was my only hope for removing it. I’ll be reaching for this for a quick fix eye now that I know it’s reliability! It’s also worth mentioning that despite it’s stay put ability, it’s also very blend-able when you first apply it, which is perfect for smokey looks.


Liz Earle Beauty Co. – Botanical Shine Shampoo – 50ml – £10 for full size

Liz Earle is a brand that I admit I was a late bloomer to. After the whole hype with the cleanse and polish, I wasn’t sure I was ready to try it out for myself, afraid I’d just be disappointed. After procuring two cleanse and polish samples though, I was hooked and couldn’t believe how amazing it left my skin. I’ve been itching to get my hands on some more samples to try out ever since. This is a perfect next level Liz Earle sample for me, not only is the size a generous 50ml, but the shampoo is sls, which means I can actually use it instead of leaving it in my “mini’s I’ll never use or have to wait until my hair has faded to candy floss pink” pile. I’ve sworn by SLS free shampoo for such a long time now that there really is no going back unless it’s the day/week before hair dye day. I have high hopes for this though and will be putting it to the test very shortly. I also think that £10 for a full size product is almost affordable if you wash your hair as little as I do.


Wild About Beauty – Rose Water Illuminating Serum – 30ml – £22

I’ve not tried anything from Wild About Beauty before but I am a fan of serum. With dry skin, I clutch to any extra form of moisture I can, whether this be pre or post moisturising. This generous tube of illuminating serum can be smoothed over the skin and applied over base makeup to give a youthful glow thanks to it being packed with reflective pearls. Sounds promising and it feels pretty magical on my skin I have to say.


The Chia Co – Oats + Chia – Mixed Berry 1 sachet – £4.95 for 5 pack

I love Chia Seeds, I’ve had an obsession with pouring them in my smoothies and over my porridge for at least three to four years now. I also thrive off porridge oats, It’s the only cereal that I dare eat these days, mostly because I’m not a fan of soya milk cold on cereals but can’t taste it when it makes a creamy porridge bowl. The other great thing about these oats is that they’re Vegan – and made with coconut sugar (yes another obsession with mine). Not only is coconut sugar slightly better for you than normal sugar, it has a low GI.

What a stunning box, and best of all I can actually use everything without worrying about animal derivatives and how it’s been tested. I think this is up there with the best beauty boxes of all time (maybe not number one but definitely close). In fact it was so good, they should have called it “Panties Loves” instead of “Birchbox Loves”. Oh, I forgot to mention that they have now just released a post box friendly box that has all the same great samples in, but fits through your letter box!

If you’d like to subscribe to Birchbox, you can do so here for just £10 a month plus p&p.

What are you thought’s on this month’s box or did you get something different? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment below.

Totally hellbent for a cruelty free box packed full of things I can actually use

– Pants




theBalm Rockstar Face Palette Balm Jovi Review

July 16, 2014

For those of you unacustomed to the ways of Birchbox, when you complete the monthly surveys on the products you receive in your box you are awarded shiny points. These can then be used to purchase things from the Birchbox shop. My last points purchase was theBalm concealer just after christmas, so when I had an e-mail with 20% off their online shop because I’d been subscribed for a year, I instantly logged in to my account to see how many points I’d acquired. After seeing I had over £20 worth, I set about scouring their products to see what joy I could pick up next;



Well it was only a matter of time really wasn’t it? I adore theBalm as a brand in general and after my NUDE’tude palette (warning retro post pictures incoming!), I’ve been itching to get my hands on some other signature palettes of theirs. The Rockstar Palette was the optimum choice and something that I really couldn’t resist – 12 eye-shadows, a blush, highlighter and two lip/cheek stains all in one! Not to mention the aptly named eye-shadow names – it really did pull at my “strings”. The palette also comes with a mirror and a few colour combinations to try out, which I found a lovely quirky touch.



The swatches are a combination of matte and shimmer shades, unfortunately I’m still suffering with “post first european festival of the year tan” syndrome, so my skin is a lot darker than usual, meaning that “Metal-ica”, “Adagio” and “Iron Maid-in” didn’t show up as well on camera – never the less I have high hopes for these on my slightly paler face! Of all the eye-shadow shades, the only two that I think may not be used are “Moderato” and “rem”, only because these are a dark mauve and lilac shade which does not suit my skin tone at all. All of the shades are absolutely gorgeous and completely versatile for any type of look, whether it be a day time natural or heavier dramatic eye that you are going for.

I swatched these on my arm and despite a quick shower, I could still see the faint outline the next morning – the last few dregs came off easily with some Mi-cellar water though and I have no doubts about the lasting power of these shades when I wear them out and about.

“Solid Gold” is the highlighter and it looks pretty spot on, as is the blush “Don’t You Want Me” – a lovely pink/peach colour, that is well pigmented and very build-able.

I also love that this come with two lip and cheek tints. Although I doubt with the consistency that I’d use either on my cheeks, they are both beautiful and wearable shades. A more toned down “Milly” gives a soft almost pink-nude touch to add a little something to the lips and “Vanilly” is a gorgeous bold red. Both were easily applied with my lip brush and the longevity of each was pretty amazing.

Overall this is probably one of the best palettes I’ve ever picked up – it literally has everything I could ever need for my face. It’s the sort of thing that I could take with me for a few days away and I really wouldn’t need to take any other products other than some eyeliner and mascara. Okay, I know – not that I could ever be sensible enough to take this one palette with me on such adventures, but if I absolutely -had- to choose just one palette and nothing else it would be this one.

This palette is available for £34 from the Birchbox shop, but with my points and 20% off I picked this up for only £3.95 – an absolute bargain! I’m so in love with this palette and can not believe it has taken me so long to be the proud owner!

Have you got this palette or are you thinking of buying it?

Totally hellbent for heavy metal references in one of my favorite brands products!




Beauty Boxes

Birchbox April 2014 Review

April 12, 2014
Birchbox April 2014 Review

Birchbox April 2014 Review

Birchbox April 2014 Contents

I’m sure the courier who delivers my beauty boxes thinks I’m absolutely mad because I squeal with delight every single time!

I have to say I’m really impressed with this month’s Birchbox on every factor except one – the new delivery box! The outer box was taped shut and I scored the box beneath in my excitement to find the treasure inside! I know it’s only a tiny thing but the usual boxes were just fine! Anyway, tiny side-issue nitpicking aside, this really is a great box, and though it has only one full size product (and one full size lifestyle extra) alongside four sample sizes, I’m really excited about every single product (and how often does that happen?!)

2014 April Birchbox- TheBalm Cosmetics - How 'Bout Them Apples Cheek & Lip Cream

 TheBalm Cosmetics – How ‘Bout Them Apples Cheek & Lip Cream in Pie

I love these tiny TheBalm samples as they take up so little space in my make-up bag. This is a multitasking product that can be used both as a cream blush and a lip colour in a gorgeous pinky-red shade. If the quick play I had with this is anything to go by I will be rushing to get the full palette sometime soon! I’m usually more of a powder blush girl but this blended so smoothly into a subtle flush of colour that I could see myself being converted towards the way of the cream blusher!

0.57g Sample

Full palette £26 from


April 2014 Birchbox RMK Make up base

RMK Make-up Base 

When I first spotted this I thought it was another nail polish, but actually it is a make-up base. Not quite a primer (however it does promise to make your foundation last longer!) but a moisturising skin prep. It’s a very lightweight lotion with quite a thin consistency but a quick test on the back of the hand did leave my skin very soft and even. Perhaps something for those days when I’m in a hurry and just want something to throw my foundation on top of!

15ml Sample

Full size £28 for 30ml from


Birchbox April 2014 Colour Blum Gala's Gems Nail Polish In Breakfast at...

Colour Club Gala Gems Nail Polish in Breakfast At…

Birchbox sent an email a few weeks ago allowing subscribers to choose which colour of polish they would receive, which was a really nice touch and ensured that no-one got lumbered with a shade they would not wear. I picked this lovely metallic mint green and I’m happy to say it’s even prettier in person that I expected. I don’t really buy into the seasonal nail varnish trends but if you are the sort that does I think this would be great for a pretty spring shade. The swatch above is only one coat, though I’d likely go with two and a top cot on my nails for longevity!

Full Size

Set of four for £15 from



Birchbox April 2014 Laura Mercier Souffle Body Butter

 Laura Mercia Body Butter in  Creme Brule

A squeezable body butter? I wasn’t convinced at first (and it is really more of a thick lotion than a butter!) but actually this is very luxurious and left my skin feeling extremely soft. The scent isn’t something I’d pick out myself and it’s quite strong, however I don’t dislike it enough not to use the rest of this up based on how well it moisturises.

30g Sample

Full size £27 from


Birchbox April 2013 - Yin Yang Natural Moisturiser

 Yin Yang Natural Moisturiser

Made with a whole host of natural organic ingredients and a lovely wholesome scent, this moisturiser won me over right away. It’s got quite a citrus smell but not so overwhelming that you wouldn’t want to use it on your face. The consistency is quite light and I think this will make for a lovely day moisturiser (though unfortunately it has no SPF) however I won’t be using it myself as it says that it is not suitable for those with oily skin *sadface*.

10ml Sample

Full size £13.95 for 50ml from



Birchbox April 2014 Propercorn Sweet Coconut & Vanilla


Propercorn Sweet Coconut & Vanilla

I’ve been snacking on popcorn a lot recently so this was a pleasant surprise! At only 40 calories I didn’t feel even slightly guilty tucking into it and was so surprised at how sweet and flavoursome it was for such a healthy treat! I’m not the biggest fan of coconut but the flavour was very subtle and really you could have told me this was just sweet popcorn and I’d have believed you. Absolutely scrumptious and definitely going on my food shopping list!

Full size

£0.90 from


Yet another great box from Birchbox! If you like what you’ve seen, you can get your very own monthy box of treats from for £10 & P&P.

Totally hellbent for tiny treats and yummy snacks

– Gem

Clothing and Fashion, Make-up, Nails, Skincare

Oct/Nov’s Most Wanted

October 30, 2013

It’s the time of year when I should be focusing my purchases on others, ready for Christmas. Unfortunately all this does, is fuel my longing for products that I happen to spot along the way. There are so many things that I want -need- this festive period that I have no idea where to begin!

First up, Dior in “Rouge Dior 999”, because even though I already own over 9000 red lipsticks, I really need this one! I don’t know why, I’ve never been a massive fan of this brand before, I love their perfume but that’s mostly where it lies. I keep seeing beautiful adverts for this lipstick though and I don’t know if it’s the arty “chains” it is photographed with or how in the right light, the casing looks like it’s made of studs, the fact of the day is – I want it in my life!

For £26.00 from House of Fraser, it could be yours (and mine)

Now, lip Crayons are still quite a craze. Owning a few I think they are OK but most are not shades I would wear to important places such as the stage.  The NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in “Dragon Girl” and also “Red Square” both look absolutely amazing. Unfortunately only the Red Square colour is available on the UK NARS website which makes me very sad.

They start around £17.50 and you can pick them up directly from

I’m not one to lust over Loreal Skincare, but browsing a beauty magazine I hade a lot of fun playing with one of their QR codes which scans your face and tells you all about what skin tone you have.

The Loreal Skin Perfection range promises to “transform the appearance of skin quality” with tone looking more even and pores virtually undetectable. With wild statements like this I simply must at least try the Day Moisturiser.

For a very reasonable price of £9.99 I shall be picking one of these up from Boots although I may wait until -after- Christmas.

L'Oreal Paris Dermo Skin Perfection Skin Perfection Correcting Day Moisturiser 50ml


I’ve been swallowing feelings of envy for a while now over this pallette. Seeing a lot of our fellow beauty bloggers reviewing theBalm “Nude tude” palette, with 12 beautiful neutral colours I really really want this.

The cheapest I have found this is £26.00 from Feel Unique. Can I resist this for a few more months?

Illustration of theBalm® cosmetics NUDE 'tude™ Nude Eyeshadow Palette

Gem and I are going to a friends wedding on Saturday. (Evidence of our hen party shenanigans found here) With the theme being Red and Black, naturally my dress had to be red. After having a shoe dilemma and searching the web for a perfect match to my 50’s dress I came across these:

Iron Fist Little Lamby Polka Dot T-Bars. They retail around £44.00 definitely not an amount of money I am willing to spend on shoes right now, but I will be purchasing these as soon as I can physically justify it. (Being someone who never/rarely wears heels.)

My rubbish girl skills for walking in heels aside, look at them! They are absolutely perfect, it’s like they one day, decided they were going to make a shoe for “Pants and friends.”

Lastly, before my bank closes and ties all contact with me. O.P.I Christmas 2013 Liquid Sand editions modelled by Mariah Carey. At the very least I must have in my possession “Kiss me at midnight” and “It’s Frosty Outside” for all of my Christmas nail art fun!

Full size prices range from £11.00 but you can pick up the miniature versions in Christmas sets for about the same price.


Kiss Me at MidnightKiss Me at Midnight


So there we have it, my October and spilling rather heftily into November most wanted. Are there any things you are lusting after this time of year? Let us know!

Totally hellbent for spending all the monies on all of the shiny things


Beauty Boxes

July 2013 BirchBox

July 22, 2013

July birchbox

Oh you sneaky beauty box companies! Just when I decide it’s time to curb my spending for a little while you send me an email offering free delivery and two extra products…

BirchBox is a monthly subscription beauty box of 4-5 beauty products and one lifestyle sample. The packaging is decidedly less glamorous than the HBFL favourite Glossybox with a smaller sturdy brown (but eco-friendly looking) box and a fabric drawstring bag inside containing all the spoils.


July birchbox inside


Well in honesty I’m not sure how I feel about this box. I received two make-up products, two skincare, one hair and one lifestyle which is a very good mix…I just wasn’t particularly excited by any of it.


July Birchbox Detangle

Beauty Protector protect and de-tangle

Cute packaging, and a product I get through quite a lot of. I really like the scent of the spray, but on first testing it seems a little thicker than my usual de-tangle sprays. I’ll be taking this to Wacken with me to put it to the test!


July birchbox the balm blusher

TheBalm Cosmetics InStain long wearing powder staining blush in Swiss Dot.

What a mouthful! This was probably the most exciting product for me. I love the little magnetic close book packaging, and the colour is one I would definitely pick for myself.

There is a lot of pigmentation, but it blends out quite easily, again this will be going in my festival cosmetics bag as it is absolutely tiny at 0.5g. It will have to really impress me on my face to make me buy the full size at £21.50 though!


July birchbox cashmere


Blanc Cashemire Creme de hour protectrice

First up I love the smell and texture of this day cream – it feels every bit a luxury skincare item. It left my skin feeling fresh and soft and was completely non-greasy which is a must for my horrid shiny skin.


July birchbox eyeliner


Laura Geller Beauty inkwell gel eyeliner

I’m a huge fan of gel eyeliners, and I don’t have a purple so this will fit in to my make up collection nicely. The colour is very metallic and rich, and it applied much easier than I thought it would at first glance.

It comes with a small brush in the lid of the pot, however I couldn’t find out online if the brush was synthetic or animal hair so I shant be putting it on my face any-time soon (If you know either way please do let me know!)

It set very quickly, but didn’t feel dry or stiff as some gel liners can, however it doesn’t come close to the Elf gel liners that are £20 cheaper.


July glossybox weleda


Weleda Skin food

With a long list of natural ingredients and a very strong herby, plant based scent I thought I would love this, but it feels a little too oily for my skin unfortunately. I will give it another chance when I’m having a less shiny day as I’ve heard so many good things about this brand and it’s results!


July birchbos Chia shot


The Chia Co shots

I love me a good superfood, and as a vegetarian was very happy to see that these seeds are packed with Omega 3 and protein. Rather tasteless, I found that sprinkling them over breakfast gave me a burst of nutrients without even noticing!

I think I may get my hands on some more of these, as I’d much rather get my extra vitamins from food then tablets.



Overall I think I was just a little underwhelmed with this box, despite liking almost all of the products. It feels a little more grown up than Glossybox, but I think that’s where part of the fun is missing.

I’ll be giving BirchBox another month to impress me, and if next month isn’t an improvement I might just have to cancel my subscription and find something more fun.


You can get your very own BirchBox here for £10 (+ 2.95 P&P)


Totally hellbent for my new mini blusher at least!

– Gem