DKNY Dreamsicle

I’ve amassed quite a large perfume collection, especially for someone who didn’t really “get into” perfume until 2 or 3 years ago.  My first proper perfume was DKNY Be Delicious, which is still my favorite of all the DKNY releases, but I have to say that Dreamsicle almost manages to pip it to the post.

2015-03-21 14.12.49

First off, the packaging.  Gorgeous.  And the light peachy colour feels so spring like and reflects the perfume inside perfectly.  I did try all 3 new releases at Boots, Cool Swirl was my least favorite, not quite as sweet as the other two, Tutti Rooty was nice, but a bit too sickly and Dreamsicle is a light and fruity peachiness that isn’t really like anything in my collection.

The description read as:

“The refreshing treat opens onto juicy mandarin and lush raspberry, dipped in mouthwatering blackcurrant for a vibrant splash of indulgence. The alluring journey lingers as exhilarating green apple harmoniously blends with dazzling accents of peach nectar and apricot sorbet. The background envelopes cedarwood heart and blends with a rich swirl of creamy sandalwood and balmy vanilla beans to create a blissful feeling of undeniable seduction.”

Which sounds lovely and poetic, but I mostly smell the peach.

I think this will definitely become my signature scent this spring, it’s such a nice and appealing scent.  I would definitely urge you to get down to the shop and have a whiff of all 3!

xx

Product Review: Maybelline Dream Flawless Nude Foundation

Purchasing the Maybelline Dream Flawless Nude Foundation was definitely influenced by quite a few different vloggers and bloggers raving about this product.  Foundation is definitely something that I like to chop and change as I haven’t found my Holy Grail formula yet, but this one is almost there except for one small issue.

2015-03-21 14.10.39

First off, this is a super thin formula, a little thicker than water.  I had just fallen in love with the Beauty Blender when I purchased this, but it is definitely not made for sponge application and you will literally just soak up all the product.  I like to dab some on the back of my hand with the absolutely ridiculous “dropper” (which I’ll get to in a minute) and then apply with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush.

The “dropper”, which isn’t really a dropper as you can’t suck up product with it, is a bit ridiculous.  You don’t need much of this foundation, but I still need to dip and dab like 5 times to get enough with the stupid little applicator.  I suppose I could pour it out, but then I’m afraid I’d get too much.  But still it is a nice foundation so this isn’t a deal breaker.

The one issue is that the lightest shade is slightly too dark for me which is a huge bummer.  I just wish they had a better shade selection.  Once its blended out and powdered, its not too made, but it’s just not a good match.

PicMonkey Collage

Bare skin on the left and foundation on the right, you can see it gives a nice even, natural looking coverage.  It really is a lovely silky foundation!

Have you tried Maybelline Dream Flawless Nude Foundation?  Thoughts on the dreaded “dropper”?

xx

Current Skin Care

I think I’ve finally found a skin care routine that I really like and have actually been repurchasing the core products rather than chopping and changing (although trying new things is always fun!).  So here are the products I’ve been using for my winter skin care routine:

Cleansing

2015-02-08 11.46.05

Soap and Glory Off Your Face Cleansing Cloths-Shame!  I know, the evil cleansing wipes!  But I promise I’ve actually been using these a lot less.  Now that I work out 3 times a week, I’ll take a shower after and remove my makeup with my daily face wash.  So these are just for in a pinch, but they are very nice as far as face wipes go.  I got these in my Soap and Glory holiday giftset, they’re very wet and sturdy, not sad little, half dry wipes.  They are alcohol free and contain glycerin so they moisturise as well as exfoliate.

Dr Jart+ Clear Away Gel-I received this little gem in my January Birchbox, I love Dr Jart+ products!  This is a gel that has tiny little exfoliating beads to smooth the skin and help refine pores, I use it about twice a week to get rid of any dead skin cells.

Olay Essentials Refreshing Face Wash-This is just a nice simple, no frills face wash.  Both the mister and I use it, it cleans your face, doesn’t dry out you skin, what more could you want?

Moisturizing/Toning

2015-02-08 11.45.50Simple Kind to Skin Soothing Facial Toner-This is the one product that I kind of bought on a whim and probably won’t repurchase.  I prefer the Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner, which is more of an exfoliating toner (its supposed be a dupe for the Pixi Glow Tonic), however the small Boots near my work doesn’t carry it.  So I picked this up instead, it’s alcohol free which is a plus, but not particularly exciting.  I do find it still makes my skin feel a bit tight.  I’ll use it up until its gone and then go back to my Boots Botanics toner.

Boots Botanics Skin Calming Day Cream SPF 15-If you’ve read my blog any amount of time, you will definitely have seen this before.  I love this moisturiser, this is probably like my 8th or 9th one.  It gives my dry skin the perfect amount of moisture with the added bonus of SPF, love this stuff.

Boots Vitamin E Gentle Eye Cream SPF 15-Can you tell I like Boots skin care yet?  This is a simple and effective eye cream and it’s cheap to boot!  £2.50 for this baby, you just need a small amount, I pat a bit around my eye area with my ring finger before applying my face moisturiser.  In the winter I also have been using this around my nose when the skin has been chapped there.

Have you used any of these products?  Is your skin care routine constantly changing or do you have your old stand bys?

xx

 

Earlybird Tastebox

I saw a promotion on Facebook a few weeks ago for Earlybird Tastebox, basically like a grazebox, except the Tastebox comes with 5 snacks, a dip, and tea.  They are currently running a promotion for £1 for your first box (or you can use my sharecode, mandy-2008, to get your first box free!).

Some other differences from grazebox are that you can’t look at what snacks come in the box before you receive it, so it’s kind of a crapshoot.  If you do receive something you like or don’t like though, you can rate it so you either don’t receive it again or receive it frequently.

2015-01-26 16.35.15Sorry for the rubbish photo, I really hate winter lighting!

As far as the actual snacks, I was really pleased with my selection.  Here’s what I got:

Minted- This was probably my favorite snack in the whole box, dark chocolate buttons, pecans, and mint sultanas, super yummy!

Seedy Surprise Crunchy-This one had a bit of weird flavour to it, won’t get it again.  It had apricot kernels, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Nutty Galore-I really liked the pistachios in this snack, it also had almonds and sunflower seeds.

Happley Appley-Another favorite, dried apple slices that came with a pot of almond butter for dipping!

Bollywood Sticks-Bombay, chilli cashews, and peas, this was spicy and satisfying!

Darjeeling Early Grey Tea-I wasn’t that excited about the tea, until I opened the pot up and saw it was Teapigs brand!

2015-01-26 16.35.33

The company is fairly new and from the sounds of it, has lots of improvements and changes in store for the future.  For example, I think a snack rating system may come into place and they are looking to introduce a healther gym snack box so I think we can expect good things from this company!

Although the packaging isn’t as pretty as graze, I think the snacks are on par if not better.  And you are getting an extra snack as you only get 4 with graze and the tea (especially Teapigs brand!) is a nice inclusion as well.

So if this sounds like something you’d like to try, go to https://earlybird.fm/ and type in my sharecode mandy-2008 for your first free box (can’t beat free food, haha!).

Have you tried a snackbox subscription before?

xx

My New Love: The Beauty Blender

I finally received a much-anticipated package this weekend.  If you saw my January Birchbox review, you will know I signed up with the sole purpose of getting the free Beauty Blender and cleanser for new subscriptions.  Upon opening, my first thought was, ” Wow, this is really small.  Who would pay £26 for this thing?”.  Now, obviously you don’t need a gigantic sponge to apply your makeup and the sponge does get quite a bit bigger after you dampen it, the little sponge just didn’t seem to warrant the price tag.

And I’m still not sure it does, when this thing dies on me I might have to go for the Real Techniques version because as much as I love it, I don’t think I’d want to part with £26 for a little pink makeup sponge.

2015-01-26 16.37.17

The arrival of my Beauty Blender was quite timely because my work has just installed new LED lights throughout the office.  Going from an office space barely lit by flickering computer monitors to bright white lights everywhere is not very flattering on a 6:30 am makeup job while you’re half awake in a dimly lit bathroom.  One of my coworkers kept asking me if I was too warm until I realised I might have been a little heavy-handed with my blush application that morning.

Normally, I apply my foundation with my Real Techniques buffing brush, but as soon as I starting applying with the Beauty Blender, I knew I definitely preferred it.  You dampen the sponge and squeeze it out and lightly “bounce” the foundation across your skin.  It gives a nice sheer, even cover that you can build up by layer.  I think it would definitely work best with liquid foundations.  Also great for blending in your concealer with the pointy end.  I did notice I needed to use more foundation than with my brush (might be because of the foundation laden state of the brush though, shame on me, wash your brushes!).

Overall, it’s a winner.  Non-streaky flawless speedy application.  Looks great under LED lights.

Have you tried the Beauty Blender or its subsequent knock offs?  What’s your opinion on the price point?

xx

January Birchbox Review

I’ll be completely honest, the only reason I ordered a Birchbox was because of the promotion for the free Beauty Blender and cleanser for new subscribers.  So I’ll be getting the £26 Beauty Blender and cleanser in addition to this box for the price of £12.95 (less £3.50 through Quidco), not bad if I do say so!

2015-01-17 13.31.02The theme for January is Women’s Health and although I don’t plan on subscribing for any more boxes after this (I am still trying to use up all the samples from when I got Glossybox), I thought this was a really good box and much better than the Glossybox offerings.

2015-01-17 13.32.51Birchbox Pilates Band-This was the Birchbox exclusive product, I am definitely a fan of Pilates workouts so might have to have a look on Fitness Blender to see if I can find some workouts that incorporate the band.

Stila Lip Glaze-These lip glazes seemed to get raved about all the time so excited to give this a go, looks a bit glittery for my liking though.

Electric Hair Hydrate Shampoo-My hair is always in need of some extra hydration, especially in this cold winter weather so can’t wait to try this product out!

Dr. Jart+ Clear Away Gel-I love the Dr. Jart+ brand and was absolutely thrilled to see a full-sized product!  The Clear Away Gel is a gentle exfoliator that refines pores and the texture of skin.

Embrace Matcha Green Tea-I was actually really excited about this sample.  I love drinking all kinds of tea, but haven’t tried matcha yet, it’s packed with antioxidants and supposed to be really good for your health.

Agave Healing Oil Treatment-Probably the least exciting product in the box.  I tried hair oils before, but they all seem a bit too heavy for my hair.  I did just get my highlights done today so might use this to give my hair a bit of extra TLC.

Activbod Cooling Finish Lotion-This menthol packed lotion is supposed to help you re-energize after a workout.  I’ve been really good with my New Year’s resolutions and have been doing Zumba 3 times a week so looking forward to trying this out after a post workout shower.

Finally, a little booklet was included with 12 healthy challenges to try, anything from tips to get more sleep to exercises to try with your Pilates band.

Overall, a really good box with some new products for me to try out!  I think this was a really nice theme to have for January and the products really seem to fit in.

Have you tried any of these products before?  Are you subscribed to any beauty boxes?

xx

Books I Read in 2014

I saw a few other bloggers doing posts about books they read in 2014 and thought I’d do the same.  I love reading, I received a Kindle Paperwhite from mister for Christmas 2013 which I absolutely fell in love with.  I usually have 2 books on the go, a book on my Kindle to read at work and then an actual book for bath time reading.  I set a goal of 40 books on my Goodreads account for last year, didn’t quite make it though.  I did read quite a few 700 pages books (including all the Game of Thrones books) so I can forgive myself, but I am trying for 40 again this year!  If you are on Goodreads, add me here.

And on to the books!  I read 35 books for a total of 17,171 pages! (I’ve marked my 5 star books with an asterick.)
Life Mask by Donoghue, Emma

*The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1) by Robert Galbraith-Loved this and can’t wait to read the second book in the series which is already out apparently!

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling-Preferred Cuckoo’s Calling to this offering from Rowling, felt like she was trying too hard to shake the Harry Potter rep.

Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2) by Stephen King-My favorite author, picks up where The Shining left off.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie-Great read!  If you’re a fan of the movie, Clue, give this a go!

The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne

The Loyal Servant: A Very British Political Thriller (The Women Sleuths, #1) by Eva Hudson

Perfect Meringues by Laurie Graham

Dust (Kay Scarpetta #21) by Patricia Cornwell

Falling by Emma Kavanagh-I won this as a First Reads book from Goodreads.  It starts with a plane crash and follows 4 different storylines that somehow all intertwine, would definitely recommend.

*The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins-I loved this book, it’s really long and really old, but as a mystery, it was just as good as any modern-day novel.

Under your Skin by Sabine Durrant

Bloody Mary (Jack Daniels Mystery, #2) by JA Konrath

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte-Am I the only one who thinks Heathcliffe is a complete asshole??

*Joyland by Stephen King

The Liar’s Daughter by Laurie Graham-I love this author, if you like a bit of dark humour along with some historical fiction, you’ll love her books.

Blood and Justice (Jake and Annie Lincoln, #1) by Rayven T Hill

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde-Another amazing classic that I finally got around to reading (a lot of them were free for the Kindle off Amazon).

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #4) by Arthur Conan Doyle

The King In Yellow by Robert W Chambers

Doll Bones by Holly Black-Had high hopes for this book just because the cover looked awesome as did the tagline, but it was a bit disappointing.

Fresh Doubt by Eva Hudson

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah

Longbourn by Jo Baker

A Game of Thrones, *A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin-I read these books after watching the tv series, I did find that I was rushing through trying to get to the bit where the series ended (it took awhile), but I still really enjoyed the books.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt-Everyone raved about this book, I thought it started off strong, but I hated the main character by the end of the book as it slowly went downhill.

The Constant Princess, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Boleyn Inheritance by Phillipa Gregory-I have a thing for tarted up Tudor stories.

Because She Loves Me by Mark Edwards

Whew!  If you want a more in depth review of any of the books listed, let me know and I’ll answer in the comments!  If you have any recommendations for my 2015 reading list, let me know!  Have you read any of these books, thoughts, opinions?

xx