I was really interested when I saw that Kat over at ‘Tales of a Pale Face‘ was organising a blog swap – I’ve enjoyed reading/watching blog swaps and, so, was really excited at the idea of being involved in one myself.

After signing up I got an e-mail a few weeks later telling me that I’d been paired up with Fiona from ‘The Beauty Fiend‘ and straight away we got chatting and reading each others blogs so that we could learn what each other liked.

I was really excited to send Fiona’s package off, so much so that the focus wasn’t on the fact that I was going to receive something myself! Sounds silly but it’s so exciting to be buying things for someone else, and trying to imagine if they’re going to like it, that what I was going to get back didn’t seem to matter!

But… that all changed when my package arrived today! It was Full with absolutely Amazing products and I couldn’t be happier with what Fiona sent me!

Fiona even made it more exciting by giving little clues as to what everything was going to be. Everything was wrapped up, beautifully, in tissue paper so opening everything was like xmas!
Ok, firstly, sorry about the photo I thought it had come out ok but it’s de-focused the top half, grr.
I was, really, excited when I saw what this first package held. Last week I went to poundland in the hope that I could get this Exact NYC appleicious balm in the shade ‘Apple Blueberry Pie’ but my poundland didn’t have it. How perfect, then, that Fiona chose to get it for me in the swap! The pencil is a really cool dark blue, too, it looks black mostly but in certain lights has a flash of blue in it – The shade name is ‘moody blue’.
The second package contained MUA’s merged, baked, shadow trio in ‘Theatrics’. We’d talked about how we both like neutrals but also both want to branch out into more colours so this trio is perfect. I love the other two that I have and so I can’t wait to get playing with this one! She also sent me the MUA polish in Frozen Yogurt. I already have this, in the old style bottle, so am more than happy to get a new one in the new style as they’re so much easier to apply now!
Going on the fact that I love coral and peachy products at the moment Fiona got me these three amazing lip products. At the back is a Revlon gloss in ‘Kiss me Coral’ which is absolutely Stunning, in the middle is a Miss Sporty gloss in ‘Thrill’ which looks really pretty and shimmery and, at the front, is Max Factor Colour Elixir pencil in the shade ‘Subtle Coral’ which is also really beautiful. I am just obsessed with lip products at the moment and not been wearing many lipsticks, it’s been about the balms, pencils and glosses so these are perfect.
This is another instance where we were really lucky. Fiona knew that I wanted to try the new MUA blushes so she got me two in ‘Cupcake’ and ‘Candy Floss’ – I actually already have two of the blushes but haven’t blogged about them yet (they’re going up in a few days in a post) but I got the shades ‘Lolly’ and ‘Bonbon’ so by pure luck Fiona managed to get two of the shades that I don’t have yet! I really love these blushes so am really pleased to have these lovely two shades to add to my collection. I’ll be doing a swatch post for the trio and these blushes later this week or next week.
I was soo excited to open this up as I’ve been really wanting to get some real techniques eye brushes! This is the shading brush and I can’t wait to do my make-up tomorrow (today as this was written yesterday) just so I can try the brush out. She also got me the Miss Sporty single shadow in ‘Emotion’ which is an absolutely beautiful shade.
We both agreed on a few ‘freebies’ that we’d send, some bits we had that we weren’t going to use that were either new or barely used, the sorts of things that would have ordinarily gone into a blog sale, but in this instance wouldn’t come out of the budget. Fiona was rather naughty here as we had agreed  on the Elf baked shadow in ‘plum’ and the ‘Nearly Naked’ foundation in ‘Ivory’ but she also added in a brand new Models Own polish in the shade ‘Aqua Violet’ (which looks sooo pretty) and some funky nail files too! I can’t believe how generous she’s been and all of these items are just fantastic.
Annnd. Lastly, being the lovely, thoughtful, person that she is, Fiona sent a lovely little present for The Boy! He loves opening presents so was very very excited!

Yup, the post was so exciting he still had his backpack/reigns thing on.

She got him a lovely little colouring book with some crayons, and some melody lolly pops. I remember having the same lolly pops when I was little, tonnes of fun! Needless to say he had to have one Right Now!

 

 

And, after having a good go at the lolly he broke out the colouring crayons and did some colouring of Fireman sam!

 

 

I’m so so grateful for how fantastic Fiona has been as a blog swap partner. She obviously put a lot of thought into what to get for me, and she did amazingly well with the budget (though I keep wondering how she managed it!) that we set of £25 (not incl p+p). And the fact that she sent something for The Boy, too, is just the sweetest thing ever. Thank you, so much. Fiona! It’s been absolutely lovely getting to know you and you’ve made this the best experience, ever. And, thanks again, Kat for setting it up in the first place.

If you want to see what I got for Fiona you’ll have to pop on over to her blog which is linked towards the top of this crazily long post! I believe she’s posting around the same time frame as me, so if it’s not up yet it should be soon.

I’m amazed that I’m managing to post my March favourites as early as today! Might sound a bit silly but considering I’m still only just beginning to win the battle with the THIRD bout of illness which took place in March, I expected it’d be even later into April that I’d actually get it posted!

Despite all of the poorly times, I still managed to use plenty of beauty products in March so, thankfully, I still have plenty to talk about. I didn’t wear make-up on my most poorly days but I have used it as camouflage on lots of quite poorly days, so that I look a little less like the walking dead (relevant humour and everything, wow I must be feeling better!)

So, here are my March beauty favourites (There are some non beauty favourites which aren’t in this main pic but will be added in to the bottom of the post, not that they’re less important, they just didn’t really fit into the picture too well)

Quite a few obvious things, I think, but never mind, I don’t mind being obvious, these are the things I loved this month!
My Real Techniques brushes. I just knew these were going to be in the first favourites post that I did after I got them and considering I got them at the very beginning of March, here they are! These brushes I have are the powder brush, blush brush, buffing brush, contour brush, setting brush, pointed foundation brush and detailer brush.

The ones I’ve used most have been the buffing brush, blush brush, contouring brush and the setting brush – Each of them has been used almost daily (though my beauty blender means that it’s not been every day for the buffing brush) – The others I’ve used very regularly even though not every day. I love them all; they’ve made applying makeup just so so much easier and they make me want more Real techniques brushes even though I don’t really need any more. Maybe one day!

As with my past favourites posts, it’s still very much about what’s easy for me and these Scandaleyes Shadow sticks by Rimmel are just fantastically easy to use! I love this shade which is ‘Bullet-proof beige’ as it’s just a soft, shimmery neutral. It can be drawn over the whole lid, blended out a bit and worn as a really simple eye look with mascara for a really simple, day to day look. So so easy, so pretty; it lasts all day, it doesn’t crease – What more could you want?! 
I’ve been really loving lip products in pencil form recently, I love the Jelly Pong pong pencil I got in the March Glossybox and the Revlon Just Bitten kissable balm stains too – But this month it’s been all about the Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in ‘Plum Jam’ – It’s a lip gloss without being all liquid and messy to apply, it smells beautiful, I love the shade, I love the texture and I really do love things in pencil form at the moment. I think all pencil lip products are going to replace lip glosses as my spring/summer staple this year!

Here’s a quick swatch for this one:

Next product is the MUA Make up academy Every Lash mascara. Yup, still all about the lashes for me this month, I’m just loving anything to do with them. I’ve still been using the Soap and Glory one I mentioned last month but this MUA one has been the one I’ve used a vast majority of the time. It’s a very natural looking mascara, it really fans my lashes out beautifully, it adds a little volume and some length but not too much of either, it mostly leaves them looking soft and fluttery rather than fake which a lot of good mascaras do. It has one of the weird plastic wands which I thought I was going to hate, but seems I don’t, it smells of apples and it, as with all MUA products, a bargain. I’m still not finished with my lash product discovery but this is a real contender for being my favourite mascara.

The second MUA product for this months favourites is the Pro-Base fixing mist. In the past I would probably just have been quite unsure about products like this but having seen/read plenty of vloggers/bloggers talk about other products similar to this I was really interested to give this a try. I have been using it for a few months now and I really have come to the conclusion that I love it. I don’t use it every day, I tend to save it for days when my make-up is heavier or more powdery, but it’s just fantastic. If I’m looking powdery or cakey it just makes it look better, if I’ve reached part way through the day and things aren’t looking so good, a quick spritz just freshens things up.

It doesn’t have a very strong smell, it’s got a good mist when you spray it and it feels really nice and fresh on the skin. I feel like it makes a good difference to my make-up and when I’ve finished this bottle I will, undoubtedly, get another – I want to have this product in my collection long term. 

What a surprise, the Revlon Nearly Naked foundation! I won’t say much about this, every blogger and vlogger out there has been mentioning this recently, and understandably so. I’m absolutely loving this foundation. I don’t really look for heavy coverage and this is light to medium, but it is quite buildable if you want more coverage, so it’s exactly the sort of formula that I like. I got it in the palest shade which is 110 Ivory as I have pink undertones in my super pale skin and it’s a fantastic match, it blends in perfectly and even without a lot of blending at the neck you don’t get any annoying lines as it’s such a good match to begin with. I love this with my Real Techniques buffing brush and, although there have been some other face products I’ve used this month, this has definitely been the one I’ve used for about 70% of the time.
This is the ‘Mist you madly’ body spray by Soap and Glory. I love love love their scents and this one was the first fragrance of theirs that I bought. I’ve been using this particular one a lot this month as I got a second bottle for Christmas so need to get this older one used. But because I’ve been using it so much it’s reminded me how much I love it. It’s just a beautiful, sweet, fruity smell with a hint of musk – It’s really easy to wear and these big bottles (250ml) are only £6.50, and they last for ages, plus you can get a mini size to keep in your bag for top ups. I have plenty of their other scents, too, but I’m so glad I’ve been reminded how much I love this one.

A couple of non beauty favourites now. I won’t talk about this one, much, as I wrote a post about it not long ago so I’ll just link it HERE but I really have been loving this this month. We’ve just started watching the second series and goodness is it addictive, I just want to watch it every time we get a moment. 
And, my last favourite of this month (sorry it’s been such a massive post!) – I finally got around to reading ‘Wicked’ by Gregory Maguire. I really want to write a proper post about this some time so won’t spend too much time going into it here (it’s almost 11pm and I really really need a bath!) but I absolutely loved this book. I already knew I would, but I love when you expect great things from a book and then it’s even greater. I still find myself thinking about it and it’s been a couple of weeks since I finished reading it, from time to time I’ll just drift off and think about parts of it, or just about the characters and how much I loved them. It’s been a really long time since a story has  managed to capture me as well as this one did, it was so beautiful and vivid – Absolutely well worth a read; I know I’ll definitely read this one again and again in the future.

As you know I got myself a nice set of Real techniques brushes with my birthday money but I just felt like there was one missing. So the day after they arrived I was on feelunique and I ordered the setting brush for £6.99 as I felt like it’d just finish off my collection (for now) by giving me something which I could specifically use for highlighting. Needless to say, I love it, it arrived today, along with a Burts Bees honey lip balm which I ordered at the same time, and it’s just perfect. Real techniques Are as good as everyone says, I expected them to be but it’s so nice to have it proved by my own experience!

I also found out that Asos had 33% off Rimmel London products so I decided to have a quick look and the Scandaleyes shadow pencils were in the offer, and I really wanted to try the shade ‘002 Bulletproof beige’, plus the Kate Moss lipsticks were in the offer, too, so I put shade 08, a lovely soft mauve colour, into my basket too. I’ve been wanting to try one of the Kate lipsticks for a while, and 33% off seemed as good a time as any! I also decided to get one of the Rimmel Exaggerate eyeliners in black, after the recommendation of Khila at ‘Miss Budget Beauty’ on youtube.

 

And, for once, as the Fiance was there to keep an eye on the little loopy one I was able to get some swatches whilst the light was still ok-ish.

 

Swatch of Rimmel Scandaleyes Pencil in Bulletproof Beige

So far I’m really pleased with all of the things I got from both FeelUnique and Asos. I already talked about the brush, the lip balm is moisturising and smelled lots like honey. I wore the Rimmel lipstick today and it’s a gorgeous shade, the lipstick was lovely and creamy too. It didn’t last a super long time, but it lasted an acceptable amount of time and I see myself wearing it a lot. The eyeshadow pencil is a lovely shimmery, beige colour which I really like at the moment, I applied it lightly to the whole lid and it lasted all day without primer. Really lovely products.

One, last, random little thing is, I got this in my Asos order, too.
This has 6 chapters of the book in it, if I remember rightly. It’s like a ‘sample’ but of a book and I just think it’s a wonderful idea! You can get kindle versions of things like this, for free, but obviously you have to be looking through books in the first place, but the idea of popping this as a free sample into deliveries is great. I’m definitely going to give those 6 chapters a read and if I enjoy it I may well buy the book – I really hope to see more things like this to promote books in the future, for the books themselves and also to encourage more people to read =)

Here’s my first post of the things I ordered with my birthday money.

This was a mix of things that I’ve wanted for quite some time now, and a couple of bits which have popped up in various blogs, or just whilst I’ve been searching for other things.

The most exciting thing had to be finally getting myself some Real Techniques brushes. I know these are hardly new and exciting for most people, but I’ve been really really wanting to try these and getting them has been just a bit excitement inducing. I got the Core collection which has the contour brush, the pointed foundation brush, detailer brush and the buffing brush in it and I also got the blush brush and the powder brush. 
The one I wanted the most, surprise surprise, was the buffing brush. It has not been a disappointment – I’ve only been using foundations and bb creams, properly, for a short while, but after seeing this brush in so many videos I just knew I needed to try it as it was going to make using these products just so so much easier. I wasn’t wrong. I plan on re-evaluating all of my foundation and bb cream products now that I have this as it just makes everything so much easier to use! 
The other brushes have all been fantastic too. I absolutely love the contouring brush; I had another brush which I was using for contouring, but this brush just fits the face so much better. The blush brush is just perfect and although I don’t use powder that much I’m wearing it more again just so that I can use this brush! (I’m also experimenting at using it with my ‘Glow all out’ powder to see how that works with a bigger brush for an all over coverage). The detailer brush and the pointed foundation brushes aren’t something I have an obvious use for, but I’m trying them out for a few bits and I do think they’ll find their uses.

I love these brushes so much that you may see another one pop up in a mini feel-unique haul in the not too distant future.

I also ordered the Revlon Nearly Naked foudation in the shade Ivory. I wanted this foundation after I saw just one person mention it in a blog, and then I saw more and more people mention it and every time they did they made me want it more. Even though I’m using foundations now, I’m all about the lighter coverage so this foundation just called out to me. And, as with the brushes, it’s not disappointed. I’ve only used it a couple of times so far, but both times it’s given a good coverage and it’s lasted perfectly, all day. I’ve applied it with, shockingly, the real techniques buffing brush and it’s gone on like an absolute dream. 
When I first heard that ‘CC’ creams were going to be coming out I thought that it was going to be a bit of a silly play on trying to get more from the BB cream fad, a shrugged and promptly thought no more about it. But then, when I was googling for swatches for something else, I came across a blog post about this L’oreal Nude Magique CC cream. The first review seemed good, I looked some more, after about four or five blog posts I just had to try it. The ‘CC’ stands for colour correcting and so you can get these in different colours to do different things for the skin – I chose the ‘anti-redness’ one though thought that the the ‘anti-dullness’ one might be worth a try. 
This cream comes out green, which isn’t what you expect from a cream you’re about to apply liberally over your face. But it seems to do something good. I’ve only had a chance to try this once, but that one time? Well it definitely evened out my redness – It wasn’t gone, but it was better. I definitely look forward to trying this some more and seeing how it goes; I’m quite expecting to be rather pleased. 
The last thing I picked up was a Revlon Just Bitten Kissable balm stain in the shade ‘Darling’. The revlon foundation was part of a buy one get one half price offer so I wanted to get something else, and I’m a rather big fan of revlon lip products, it seems. Recently I’ve been wearing things which aren’t much fuss and don’t take a lot of work and that means these have been pretty invaluable. I wanted another shade that was a bit more pinky as I have ‘crush’ which is the dark berry shade, and ‘honey’ which is a more natural but pinky shade. ‘Darling’ definitely ticks the box for being more of a pinky shade; I’ve only worn it once but thus far it’s a lovely shade and lasts as well as the other two do. Again, I look forward to wearing this more and maybe a proper review shall follow. 

Just thought I’d post a pic of the brushes I have, so far. They’re mostly crown, MUA and ecotools, plus I’ve got a royal, a lydia and a vintage cosmetics company in there, too. I’m not going to review individual brushes, just yet, because I’m hoping to get some new ones after my birthday. But so far I’m really enjoying the crown, MUA, ecotools and vintage cosmetics company ones; and the others were only cheapy ones I got a while ago anyway. (If anyone has a specific question about the name of a brush in the pic, just comment me and I’ll let you know)

Sorry about our half done bathroom in the background. They were drying
on the edge of the bath

There’s a select few from each of the brands that I reach for most days and I’m interested to see how that’ll change once I’ve, hopefully, got some Real Techniques brushes with my birthday money (I’ve got a good idea of which ones I want to get, but any recommendations would be much appreciated)

I’ve not had any shedding from any of them, yet, they all wash nicely and they’re lovely and soft – I’d highly recommend all four of the main brands I mentioned. As I said, though, I don’t use every single one of the ones from each range, every day, so hopefully I’ll be ready to do a favourite brushes type post next month so I can narrow down which ones I recommend the most from each range.