Friday, 27 February 2015

Makeup Revolution - I ♥ Makeup - The 'Naked Underneath' palette, with swatches

Another new, and exciting, product post is here, woohoo, I have had this a few days now and I just love the shades it contains, very pleased to have been sent this one as it is one that swatches even more beautifully than it looks in the pan. 

From I ♥ Makeup, the sister company to Makeup Revolution, we have the 'Naked Underneath' palette. As you may see, this looks similar to 'I Heart Sin' and 'I Heart Passion' palettes (My post for 'I Heart Passion' palette here), but with a bit of a twist. 

This is the first fur covered palette that I think I've ever seen, it's really rather different and is quite lovely to stroke (not that that's what I do very often... though I am quite fond of palettes)

I'd recommend giving this a bit of a blow and a stroke when you get this out of the box, just to get any loose fur off as it does shed a little when you first get it. But look how lovely!

Alright so... I do Not need any more neutral shades but. Well look at it, it's so so pretty! I love the balance of warm and cool toned shades and there really is looks for everyone in this palette.
On to the shades.

Here's the first five shades of the palette - The first shade, the super pale matte skin toned one, would be fantastic for evening out the tone of the eyelid for a really simple look, although you can't see it much, as it blends in with my skin, it's got plenty of colour to it and it could be an essential for a matte, contoured look for the eye.

The final, four, shades, pack a real punch. I love the pigmentation and the choice of shades, I think that the taupe and dark gold shimmers could be essentials for me.

Again, these shades are all really pigmented. The shimmer shades glide on to the skin with ease, they're absolutely beautiful. The matte shade that's second in from the left isn't quite as pigmented but would be a great contour shade or really handy for a neutral smoky eye. The olive shimmer and the charcoal shade on the far right are really impressive in how densely pigmented they are.

The last five shades, as you can see, are fantastic basic neutral shades. The matte on the far left is very pale but, in the socket, it'd define the eye really well. I really like the medium brown shimmer that's on the far right, I think I'll be using that one next.

The combination of shades in this one is really nice, it has a good balance of subtler shades, neutrals and some with more of a punch to them. The 'Naked Underneath' palette is £7.99, which is a great price, when you consider it has 16 beautiful shades in - The palette is well made and has a rather fun novelty appeal to it too. A very nice, new, offering from Makeup Revolution and I ♥ Makeup. 

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I was sent this product for my consideration for review purposes but all opinions are honest and are my own. 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

An 'Unauthorized' Absence

So I've not been around much. 

It wasn't a planned thing but it's just sort of 'happened'. After having blogged, almost daily, often more than once a day, I've only been posting sporadically this past couple of months. In all honesty it's hard to explain why this has happened, without going in to a lot of other things but, essentially, my health has been rubbish, as has my mental health. 

I'm planning on doing a post about my mental health, soon, and I have a number of other posts that are waiting in the wings. So it's not that I'm gone, it wasn't a planned absence, it was just a random time away. I'll be back as soon as I can. I'm still here. Just... well didn't want it to go unsaid. 

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Cohorted Beauty Box - February 2015 - (Whisper... I got one of the special boxes!!)

It'd be hard for you to have missed the excitement of the Cohorted Beauty box, I expect you've already seen lots of posts and know what was in the box. Have you seen any posts about people who got the special boxes though? I knew, when I ordered, that 5 out of the 100 boxes, would contain a very special extra product. Of course I never thought it'd be me...

It's taken a little while for the box to get here but I was so excited when it arrived that I descended the stairs in my pyjs with a neon pink head band on so that I could see what was inside before I even finished washing my face and getting dressed - My husband and son have named me the Pink Teenage Mutant turtle, now, thank you very much!

It's been a bit of a trial getting here, though, I have to admit. I'm going to explain what happened, if you're not interested then scroll down to the next pic and see what I got in the box.

 The team over at Cohorted made a bit of a boo-boo when it came to the release of the box... They released the box, a new website and the weeks product all on the same day. Yes, kaboom. The box was launched at 6pm, I was refreshing from 5:55pm and was very confused when the box never appeared to go on sale, it still said out of stock - I considered that all 100 boxes had sold out during a refresh but that seemed mad considering the site was still live.

After some tweeting and some stressing, and taking the laptop in to the kitchen to I could keep on refreshing whilst preparing food (yes, that's how much I wanted this box) it Finally showed up as in stock and instantly the site slowed... A number of my friends were unlucky and they reached the payment page but the boxes were out of stock by the time they got there. I was Very lucky, though, and got my box! Of course then there was some delays with the courier but Cohorted were fab, really communicative on twitter and they gave me some extra points on the site to say sorry for the delay.

Anyway... I think you've probably had enough of an opener... On to the box.

I've heard some mixed thoughts on this box - Some love it, some don't. Ignoring the added extra that some boxes contain, I was quite happy with what came in my box (The extra item was hidden so I didn't realise I had it for a while, and even before then I was happy) but I can see why not everyone would  be.

But I'll let you know my thoughts and you can make up your own ideas based on that. I have already pre-ordered the March box and I'm looking forward to seeing what's in it.

The box is £22.49 (£2.49 of that is postage) so it's a lot more than normal beauty boxes, but then Cohorted are known for their high end bargains so I think we all had high hopes. The box doesn't have a rolling subscription, like other sites, so you buy each box one at a time which is good if you don't want to be tied in to a subscription.

So this is how my box looked when I first got it - Benefit and Bobbi Brown jumped out at me straight away and I was intrigued by the other three products.

And, because I was so interested in seeing what was in the box, in the obvious items that were listed on the card, I genuinely didn't realise there was something shining beneath the papery worms. I'm posting about this last because it's the last item I saw, and also I want people to know what's in the standard box before distracting with the special. But if you're impatient, and don't already know what the added item is, then you can just scroll on down and take a sneak peak.

The first item I picked up (and who wouldn't be intrigued by a huge gold box, haha) was the Dolce & Gabbana 'Clarifying Lotion'. 

My camera did Not want to focus on the whole box so I've taken two shots - The box is just beautiful, it shouts high quality and elegance. I was pleased to see, on the box, that the lotion is alcohol-free, I don't like using too many products with alcohol in, on my face, as it dries out my skin. 

The box was Heavy, and that would be because the 150ml bottle is huge, it's a beautiful frosted glass bottle that just screams luxury. The Clarifying lotion is supposed to remove makeup and dead skin; a cleansing and exfoliating product all in one - I have to say I am very interested in seeing how this works. 

In regards to price I'm wondering how available this normally is? I can mostly find it on eBay, Amazon and other sites that are selling in a third party sense rather than directly from any of the bigger stores. It seems to go for anything from £10-£20 but the card that comes with the Cohorted box says that it's worth £20. Either way, I'm rather intrigued and am going to start using this from this evening.

Next up is a brand that I lust after, that I yearn for... Bobbi Brown is a brand that I love seeing in videos, reading on blog posts, looking at on websites... But do I own any Bobbi Brown? Well, no, even when we had more funds I used to mostly use it on high st items to make it last and now that our funds are much more limited. Well Bobbi Brown has remained a daydream until today! 

This is a 3ml tube of the 'Smokey Eye Mascara'. The full size of this is 10ml so, considering this is a mini, is rather good. It's supposed to give dark, long lashes as it builds volume and creates length 'lash by lash' I've not opened it, to see the brush, as I want to save it as I have a number of lovely mascaras open already so I can save this until I need something new and exciting. Bobbi Brown! (Yes, I know that most beauty addicts might find this more common-place but not me!)

Next up is the first, of two, products by Korres - Korres is a brand that I already love, I've tried their body care and I Love their lip balm products so to be able to try some of their skin care is a definite bonus for me. The 'Milk Proteins Foaming Cleanser' is a 50ml tube, which is a great size for a beauty box, and is rather intriguing. It's a cleanser, put simply, but it's meant to calm dry skin which is definitely something I could do with, and it's got no parabens, sulfates or phthalates in it and I do like products that are free from nasties. The card that comes with the box lists this as having a £15 value but I'm not sure how that is worked out as a 150ml tube costs £18. Either way it works out as a good value and is a product I'm pleased to have.

The second Korres product is this 'Quercetin & Oak Eye Primer' which is rather nice. I've not tried any of their cosmetics, other than the lip balm pots, so this is definitely something new for me. From what I can see on the card it seems that this is supposed to be applied to the skin before concealer, to make the concealer last longer, and also to help minimise the appearance of fine lines and darkness - I've never even, really, heard of a primer specifically to go under concealer so this, definitely has me interested. I can't find this, anywhere, in the UK, every shop I find it in seems to be US so I hope this doesn't become holy grail, as I won't be able to re-purchase! This is worth £10, according to the card.

Oh yes, I do love getting Benefit in a beauty box, but I've never had a full sized Benefit item in a box before! I really like the 'Ultra Plush' glosses, I have a mini in 'Coralista' and a full sized 'Rockateur' so I'm glad it wasn't one of those in the box. I love the feel of this sheer glosses, they're so light and soft on the skin, they're almost moisturising and give a light wash of colour. 

'Bella Bamba' is meant to be watermelon scented as well as being a, sheer, watermelon shade - I think this bright, pinky-toned red will be the most pigmented of the Benefit glosses that I have and I think it'll be beautiful for the warmer months. I'm very happy with this product and it's worth £14.50 so is definitely a good addition to the box.

At this point, this is what the standard box contains - Two skin care items and three cosmetics, which I quite like the balance of (I'd always prefer more cosmetics) and all with impressive brands. Cohorted have said that this box is worth over £65 though, with the unsureness of a couple of prices, I make the  box as around £50. Obviously I could be wrong in my research and it could, well, be over £65 but even if it's £50 then I'd be happy, it's worth over double the cost and the sorts of brands as much more impressive than you expect from cheaper boxes, not to mention the fact that there's three full sized items, plus two good sized samples.

Oh... yes, you wanted to know what that hidden, extra item was?

Oh alright then!

Oh it's only the... HOURGLASS 'Ambient Light' palette!!! Yup, that's right!

When I realised there was something brown, with a sheen, hidden at the bottom of my box I missed a breath, I dared to hope but was sure that I was wrong... And then I dug it out and made some rather unusual noises. I held it up to my husband, with my hand shaking. 'This is a brand that I've never expected to be able to own' I told him whilst just staring at how beautiful, even the box, was.

Sadly I couldn't get a pic of the box, my camera just said no. I think it's the, almost ethereal, shade and sheen of the cardboard - It is a rich, dark brown with a bronze/copper sheen and it's one of the most beautiful outer pieces of packaging that I've ever seen.

The same goes for the palette itself, to the naked eye it's that same dark brown shade but my camera picked up on the bronze/copper sheen instead. But you can still see how beautiful it is, yes? The shape, what it's made from, everything. 

And inside? Mhmm... Three, stunning highlighting powders. The subtle differences between the shades is hard to pick up on camera, but I think you can see. I've not swatched them, yet, I'm not feeling brave enough - I've never owned anything of such a high value, when it comes to cosmetics. I'm so scared of gouging one with a nail or something. I will play with these, though, and try to get a post up in the future. Needless to say I am over the moon and totally in shock - I'm not one of these people that gets such good luck, very often, so this took me totally by surprise. This palette is worth £56 so... yes. My box was, without a doubt, worth the money, and the time, and the stressing over stock etc.

I'm definitely looking forward to the March box (which I was going to link but, in the past few days, that seems to have sold out too!) - Knowing what the standard box contains I'm interested to see what choices they make for next month. I consider these boxes a Very good investment of some of my blog earnings - I've been trying to save what I've earned recently but I really wanted to try this box and I think the next box will be well worth discovering too.

I can see why some people weren't so sure about the box - If the skincare wasn't to their tastes, if the shade of the gloss wasn't something that they'd enjoy... But for me, it was all perfect. And, yes, that's way before I even discovered the palette, I promise.

Thank you, thank you Cohorted

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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Themed fun from 'Weekend Box' - Chinese New Year

I was happy to be given the chance to review another Weekend Box (we reviewed one previously, here), as I love the concept behind these children's subscription boxes. They arrive fortnightly and are, now, themed which is a fantastic idea - Each box comes with a mixture of activities including sensory fun, recipes and crafting which are perfect for sharing with your little one on the weekend or at half term.

Now, I know, I'm  being a pain with this one. Our box was here a few weeks ago and is Chinese New year themed, a theme which will have finished now (I think), and I'm recommending it for half term even though that's already started and I should have done it with plenty of warning. Do you want to know why there's a delay? Well that'd be because I have a 4-year-old. Every time I've wanted to do one of the activities with him, there's been behaviour problems. Or he's had parties to attend etc - Now that he's in school we do have less time. As such I'm biting the bullet and writing about the box, unused, once we do the activities I will tweet about them and put them on Instagram for you to see.

Also, although it's a bit late for this half term, it won't be long until the Easter Holidays so if you think a weekend box could be fun to use together, then, then it might be worth signing up now! If you do, you can get a free box using the code LAURA99 - It's for new subscribers and there can be only one box per home. A box would, normally, be £7.50 so a free box is a great way to start. 

The moment the box opens, it's fun. You're met with the cute characters, and told which activities are associated with each of them - The little details really make this, 'Owald's name being upside-down, it gives personality to the characters. 

Once the box is finished with there's an exciting certificate hidden in the bottom, which you can cut out and colour in - Celebrating finishing the box. As well as this there's a little brown envelope with stickers in for each project.

The four activities in the Chinese New Year box are a Chinese Dragon, a Paper Plate Drum, Chinese Lanterns and Fortune Cookies. The Chinese Dragon is a really fun creative activity whilst the Plate drum will make a great musical intrument. The chinese lanterns allow you to recycle some toilet roll tubes (which I've been hoarding since the box arrived, haha) and the recipe for the Fortune cookies has some sweet ingredients but is still relatively healthy and sounds really good. 

Each activity comes in a colour coded envelope and all of the things you need for each activity in there - Sometimes there are items which are bigger, like paper plates and sheets of coloured paper and, as you can see in the first pic, they sit in the main box. There are certain items which you need to source yourself, especially with the recipe but that's expected, really, and they include some really exciting additional ingredients which add to the basics that you need to find yourself.

I have to admit I am looking forward to the fortune cookies the most - They are made from wholemeal wraps, golden syrup, a small amount of chocolate and seeds and raspberry extras from the package in the box.

As I said above, once we get the activities done I'll pop up a pic on twitter and instagram - I'm looking forward to doing these over the holidays and I think it'll be great fun. As I said, it's a pain that I couldn't post in time for you to get one for this holidays but they're still great for the weekend (look at the name!) and it's only a few weeks until the Easter Holidays roll around and I'm already imagining the fun activities that might show up in an Easter themed box! 

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This box was sent to me for my consideration for review purposes. 

Friday, 13 February 2015

'The Book of You' by Claire Kendal - A Book review

Time for some chatter about a book, and a rather good book at that - I had an inkling when I was offered the chance to review it, and I'm glad I was right.
 It's rather hard to explain, considering how much I enjoyed this book, why it's taken me longer than I'd have liked to write this post - Books are among my favourite things to review but there's something about putting the post together, I struggle to get all of those thoughts that live in my head, about these fantastic books, and bring them outside of my head. Yeah, I'm sounding a bit loopy, sorry for that.

I guess, what I mean is, I love reading a book when I know I'm going to review it because it means I pay even more attention and I think about how much other people may like it, as well as how much I do. But externalising those thoughts is harder. That said, this is one of the reasons why I want to review More books, because books are a massive part of my life (how else would I have read more than 25 in less than two months) and I want to share that on here even more, because of that.

I'm digressing, again, aren't I? Ok... Ok... Deep breath, it's review time.