Birchbox Review (ft. April & May boxes)

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At the end of April, Birchbox had an offer of two boxes for £10 (+ p&p) so I decided to give Birchbox another go. I previously subscribed to Birchbox however a while go I decided to cancel my subscription because I was trying to save money and honestly couldn’t see the value on these boxes as some of the samples were being repeated and I just wasn’t using them. Since it had been a while and the 2x boxes for £10 offer was so tempting I decided to sign up again and here’s what I received:

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The Cath Kidston Edition Box (which I believe was the April subscription box) –

  • Cath Kidston Hand Cream
  • ModelCo Baked Highlighter in Moonshine
  • Afterspa Magic Makeup Remover
  • Beautaniq Beauty Fill + Tame Brow Gel
  • Marcelle Eye Makeup Remover

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And the mystery 2nd box was a Vogue Editon –

  • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat (full size)
  • Percy and Reed Volumising No Oil Oil
  • Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
  • Makeup Brush Cleaner
  • Benefit Hoola Bronzer

My initial thoughts was that I was impressed by the Vogue Edition Box. It contained a full size bottle of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat nail polish which actually I was looking to repurchase soon anyway, so actually considering this is £9 in Boots, the Birchbox 2x boxes for £10 was worth it just for that! I also like the Benefit Holla Bronzer which I’ve tried before and liked, plus appreciate the tiny sample which is perfect for travelling with. Other samples I liked the look of was the Beautaniq Beauty Fill + Tame Brow Gel and Marcelle Eye Makeup Remover from the Cath Kidston Box, so interested to try these out! I have however received the Percy and Reed Volumising No Oil Oil in a previous Birchbox before, so not a perfect score from me. Still fairly impressed though by these boxes, I kept up my subscription for the May Birchbox.

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The May Birchbox included –

  • Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner
  • Greenfrog Botanic Natural Body Wash – Relaxing Geranium and Peppermint
  • Nuxe Aquabella – Micro Exfoliating Purifying Gel
  • Doucce Luscious Lip Stain
  • Native Unearthed Activated Charcoal Natural Deodorant Balm

So have I kept my Birchbox subscription? It’s unfortunately a no. The May Birchbox was fairly ok! I liked the Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner and I’m kinda intrigued to try the Nuxe Aquabelle, but at £12.95 (box and p&p) commitment every single month I’m not bowled over and personally I’m not committing to just ‘fairly ok’. I do really like beauty boxes but with my recent experience with Latest in Beauty and the chance of buying boxes knowing what is included, my personal preference is saving my money for these beauty boxes rather than keeping my subscription to Birchbox.

Do you subscribe to any beauty boxes? What are your thoughts on beauty subscriptions?

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Sheet Masks Review (part 2) – Neutrogena Hydrogel Recovery Mask

Check out part 1 – my review of Sanctuary Spa Bubble Mask HERE

The second sheet mask I’ve recently tried was the Neutrogena Hydrogel Recovery Mask. I’ve been eyeing up the Neutrogena Hydro Boost range for quite a while and I thought a good first step into trying the range was to test out their new sheet mask. It’s strap line on the front of the packaging explains this products as “hydrogel cooling technology 100% made from active serum. Intense hydration for noticeable supple skin. One mask = one month usage of serum” Sounds pretty promising right?!

As I took it out of the packaging the first thing I noticed was the texture of this mask. It’s like a jelly silicone material soaked in the Hyaluronic Acid, and comes in two parts in order to fit better to your face. I will save you the face-mask selfie for this post as it did look a little strange as the mask was almost see-through – made me look plastic, but gave the husband a bit of a fright when he walked in so it’s worth it just for that! What I did like however is that the eye and mouth holes of the mask could be covered by the mask material if you wished to give your whole face a moisture boost. One thing I did love about the texture of this mask is that there was no dripping from the mask, which often I’ve found with soaking wet sheet masks.

So did it bring ‘one month usage of serum’….? I’m not convinced at this statement! I left the mask on for a total on 30 minutes. As I removed the mask from my face, my skin did feel very soft and bouncy – between you and me it felt quite soothing after a night of drinking the night before…! But as a regularly user of  Hyaluronic Acid, I didn’t feel this mask brought me any extra hydration in comparison to applying a serum the night before.

Question is then – would I buy again? I think I might in two different scenarios… The first, for travel. This sheet mask would be perfect to pack in your suitcase to save you carrying around a separate Hyaluronic Acid product – which often comes in a glass bottle. And the second for a hangover (shhhh! Just between us remember?!). Used on the morning of the night before, this mask is really soothing and cooling on the skin so makes you feel refreshed ready for the day ahead. And as this mask is only £3.50, I might pick a couple of these for emergencies 😉

Have you tried anything from the Neutrogena Hydrogel range yet?

Sheet Masks Review (part 1) – Sanctury Spa Bubble Mask

I’m not the biggest lover of a sheet mask if I’m honest. Don’t get me wrong, some sheet masks are very nice on the skin as well as being easy to use and great to travel with but I struggle with the overall wastage from sheet masks. First of all, every sheet mask I’ve used tends to have a lot of product leftover on them or in the packaging– it always seems a shame that you can’t often use these more than once. Which also brings me onto my next bugbear -sheet masks aren’t very environmentally friendly. After one use, you throw them out whereas with a face mask from a tube or a tub, they give you multiple uses.

My sheet masks views set aside, I have been recommended a couple of masks to try  – Sanctuary Spa Purifying Charcoal Bubble Sheet Mask and Neutrogena Hydrogel Recovery Mask, so I thought I would give you my review of these across two post (2nd part coming on Thursday!). First post, I’m starting with Sanctuary Spa Purifying Charcoal Bubble Sheet Mask.

Recently I’ve noticed quite a few brands popping up with bubble sheet masks, trying to bring something new to the skincare aisles. They generally work by creating small bubbles underneath the mask to cleanse and withdrawn impurities under the skin. The Sanctuary Spa Purifying Charcoal Bubble Sheet Mask says it’s a “deep cleansing sheet mask drawing out skin clogging dirt, grime and pollution with the purifying power of a million microbubbles.” This masks comes in two parts in order to better fit to the face and as you take it out of the packet you can feel the black sheet soaked in cleanser.  As I applied it to my face, I instantly felt the bubbles going to work underneath. The one thing to note here however was that I was a bit confused on the fit of this mask as both sections (top and bottom) both covered the nose area – I’m not sure if I fitted this incorrectly, whether it was just excess mask (and therefore a waste!), or if the double layering of the mask is to gain extra strength to an area of the face commonly known for dirt build up. If anyone can help me with this – please do let me know!


Anyway masks fitted (yes, I look ridiculous!), I laid down on my bed and set the timer on my phone for 15mins. I have to say, I do quite like this about sheet masks – because you can’t really move around with these masks on as they will slip off your face, so it does force you to physically laydown and relax. As I lay there chilling out, I constantly feel a tingling sensation all over my face as the bubbles did their work which felt really nice! Once the 15 minutes were up I walked back into my bathroom and had a look in the mirror. I was a little taken aback to find the top of the mask had foamed up too and I was left looking a little like The Moon – Noel Fielding style (anyone a fan? I’ve just gone into a YouTube rabbit hole at watching these videos!). As I removed this mask from my skin, you could see all the tiny microbubbles still all over my skin, which I then rubbed into my face before rinsing my face with warm water at instructed.  

Once I rinsed the mask off, it did leave my skin feeling very clean. It did also feel a little tight which I thought might have been the case with the charcoal element of this mask, so following up with a good moisturizer is necessary. My skin didn’t however feel stripped of moisture which I thought might have been the case with a foaming type cleanser. Overall I did really enjoy this mask, however the curse of the sheet mask product wastage was definitely present here. I definitely felt I could of used this product twice however the nature of the foaming meant it was far too messy to save any excess product and I had to throw the mask in the bin once I had finished.

Would I buy this again? I’m still a little torn as I don’t like the wastage from this sheet mask, but I do like the after effects of this mask and also the need to take 15mins to relax and let this sheet mask work its magic. I might therefore pick this up again if I’m looking for a special pamper treat but for regularly face mask treatments, I might stick to the Beauty Pie  Super Pore Detox Black Clay Mask which almost does the same job.

Have you tried out the Sanctuary Spa Bubble Mask before? Or tried any other bubble masks?

Some of my recent and favourite reads…

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Little Black Book – Otegha Uwagba
The essential career handbook for creative working women
If you need a kick-up the backside – this will give you some inspiration! It’s a tiny book which I read in one day during my commute to work and back. Written by Otegha Ueagba who is a brand manager, this gives lots of tips and advise from; how to build your own brand, gaining success in your career, through to how to negotiate a pay rise. A great read for all those busy working women out there.  

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
Believe the hype with this book – I thoroughly loved it! I’ve spoken to so many people about this book, three of which just starting to read it. All three gave a really skeptical expression about the book explaining they really weren’t sure if they were going to like it. They all said “I don’t really like the main character so not sure if I’m going to like this book”. And it’s a fair point! To start with you will question who the hell is this character, what is this story all about. I however have begged those three starting to read this book, and you if you decided to give it a read to stick with it because I, along with everyone else I know who has read this book – loved it!  It’s a type of story I’ve never read before and covers some really interesting topics.

Everything I Know About Love – Dolly Alderton
I’ve reviewed this book recently HERE so will let you read the full review over on that post, but what I will say is that I really loved it! If your a twenty something female, there are a lot of things that will resonate. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried with this book and I’ve also recommended it to all my girlfriends.

The F Word – Lily Pebbles
A Personal Exploration of Modern Female Friendship
I’ve followed Lily Pebbles for years now, even when her blog was named – ‘What I Heart Today’. She is one of those bloggers I can really relate to, I think because we are similar ages and going through the same life stages as similar times; moving home, getting married, etc. The F Word is her first book and it’s all about female friendships – the best friends, the sister and even the toxic friend. It’s a book I finished in a couple of days and there is something in there which every female can relate too. It was such a heart-warming book that it really made me feel so grateful for my friends.

Ice Cream for Breakfast – Laura Jane Williams
How Rediscovering Your Inner Child Can Make You Calmer, Happier, and Solve Your Bullsh*t Adult Problems
I can honestly say this book for me was life changing! I read this book at the perfect time of my life. At the time I was going through a royally crap time with my job and near to hitting rock bottom. Laura talks about all different kinds of stressful situations and then describes how a child would react and asks the question on why we don’t do the same? For example – when a child doesn’t want to do something they say no and do not care for other opinions. So why do we as an adult? When looking after a child you want to make sure they get a full night’s sleep so they don’t feel unwell. So why do we as adults put sleep low on our priority list? This book will always be a special book for me and I would recommend it to anyone who is feeling stressed or overwhelmed with life.

Still Me – Jojo Moyes
This is my current read (currently a third of the way through). This book is the final of a trilogy following the main character Louisa Clark through her life. The story first began in the book ‘Me Before You’ which is now a film adaptation. I first read (well listened) to this book on Audible during my train commute to work and it left me in an embarrassing state of tears on my way home one evening. The second book ‘After You’ was my holiday read last year and I could not put it down. Although I can’t say much about the third book just yet, want I can say is that if you like a good book series – this one from Jojo Moyes is well worth checking out.

What are you recent book recommendations?

The Sunday Times Style Beauty Box

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Spoiler alert: the best beauty box I’ve ever received!

In celebration of The Sunday Times Style Beauty Awards, Sunday Times have partnered with Latest In Beauty to give people the chance to try out the shortlisted products before you vote. If you haven’t heard of The Sunday Times Style Awards, it is annual awards with winners chosen by readers. With a whole range of categories from best skincare brand, best lipstick, all the way to best eco-friendly beauty brand, readers can select their favourite products with also a chance of winning prizes.

The Sunday Times Style beauty box costs just £25 (+ P&P at £2.95) and allows you to pick six products from a list of 60 shortlisted products from the awards. The amazing list of brands range from; MAC, Rodial, Charlotte Tilbury, Benefit, Real Techniques, Paula’s Choice, Elemis, Burt’s Bees…and the list goes on! There is also a great range of full size products you can pick from too which is amazing! Be warned however there are a lot of products coming in and out of stock.

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Here is what I picked for my Sunday Times Style Award beauty box –

  • MAC Lipensity Lipstick in Clouds in my Coffee –  nominated for best lip product
  • Rodial Dragon’s Blood Sculpting Gel –nominated for best premium skincare brand
  • Soaper Duper Vanilla / Shea Body Wash – nominated for best eco-friendly brand
  • The Body Shop Japanese Matcha Tea Mask – nominated for best natural brand
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA – nominated for best skincare brand
  • Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion – nominated for best premium skincare brand  

I’m unsure how long these beauty boxes will be available for so you might need to be quick! Voting for The Sunday Times Style Awards closes on 6th May – so don’t forget to vote for your favourite products! Link – HERE