Saturday, September 28

Lush 'Buttercup' Gift Set

I absolutely love Lush and with Christmas swiftly approaching (is it only me that's started my shopping?), I thought it would be really nice to review the latest set I was gifted, Buttercup. The Lush Gift Sets make a fantastic, super easy present. They're affordable, already wrapped, and there's plenty to choose from. 

Buttercup (£7.95) features Butterball Bath Ballistic (£2.50) and Honey I Washed The Kids Soap (£3.40). The bath bomb isn't any smaller than if you purchased it alone and you receive 100g of the soap. It's beautifully packaged in floral paper, yellow ribbon and the products are protected in Ecoflo. It had a sticker with who made the product and when - so you know just how fresh it is. It also includes a mini booklet (similar to Lush Times) on all the products which I really liked. 

Butterball didn't create any bubbles but once dissolved, left a really creamy, vanilla-scented bath. My skin felt so smooth and the smell lingered for several hours after. It contains chunks of coco butter which really helps soften. Honey I Washed The Kids is a classic Lush product which I fell in love with. I was pleasantly surprised that a little went a long way, it lathers nicely and the smell isn't overpowering. 

Overall, I was really pleased with both products. Together they're worth £5.90 so there's little point in buying for yourself however, it makes a really lovely, easy present.

Have you tried any of the Lush gifts?


Monday, September 23

Olympia Beauty Show 2013 | Photos, Haul & Vlog

On Sunday 22nd September, I took a two hour journey from Bournemouth to London to visit Olympia Beauty, a trade show for professionals from the beauty industry including salon owners, nail technicians, students, spa professionals, make up artists, buyers etc.

I've been attending trade shows for The Beauty Closet for the last two years however never attended Olympia. Brands varied from nail products to teeth whitening, it was beauty heaven. Despite not being involved in the industry as my profession, I actually attended as press for this blog. It's a great opportunity for me to learn about the latest products, so I can keep up-to-date with reviews, new releases and launches for you!

My bloggers press pass entitled me to a few privileges including a press zone. I was so grateful to escape the crowds and enjoy a few beverages, beauty treatments, a coat stand, free wi-fi and a goodie bag (thanks Olympia!). If I could go again, I'd definitely arrive earlier or use the last few hours before they close. There were people absolutely everywhere and it was quite claustrophobic at time. I'd also prefer to go alone and spend more time (maybe the whole day) talking to more stands and businesses. 

As well as photographing, filming and taking in as much info as possible, I didn't want to miss a shopping opportunity and bought myself a few things. I absolutely loved the OPI stand but couldn't see any of the single polishes due to the crowds. The show definitely had an over-whelming amount of nail polish, I stuck with OPI and Essie but desperately wanted to visit CND as I'd love my own UV Lamp for Shellac. Unfortunately, it had an extremely long queue all day and as I'm no nail technician, I passed on the opportunity this time round. I'm pleased that as a brand they identified customers and clients needed space and unlike OPI, I'm sure they all got to see the latest colours for their salons and services. 

Other parts I enjoyed included the 'Nailympics' held on the top floor - so many creative and talented people! I also listened to few demos/talks and tuned in during their 'Beauty Hour' on Twitter.

Overall, I throughly enjoyed the day. I had my nails painted in OPI 'Kennebunkport' by mobile beauty brand Milk. If you live in or around London, be sure to check out their website. I also met a lovely lady called Dani from Dermalogica. I'm pleased to inform you I'll be working with them to review a few products including their Clear Start set launching in October, yipee!

It was great to see how rapidly the beauty industry changes, I saw some amazing products and really wish I'd picked up some sleep-in rollers! They only things I bought were OPI Avojuice Coconut Melon (£5.40), OPI Couture De Minnie Set (£8.34), OPI Nail File (£2.40) and Essie's Winter Collection Set(£10.80).

I picked up the show guide which lists hundreds of the exhibitors, handy for me to look through and discover any I missed at the show. I'll be attending again next year and most likely plan my day with more time. If you're thinking of going, my tips would be - Bring cash, wear comfy shoes, light clothing (it's hot!), no big or heavy handbag, arrive early and walk up and down rows to avoid missing anything. Click to watch my quick vlog I put together below with more footage and photos. 

What do you think? Next stop - Clothes Show Live!

YouTube | Twitter | Facebook | The Beauty Closet | Instagram

Saturday, September 21

Elf Cosmetics - New & Improved?

I've been looking forward to writing this review for you ever since the lovely people at elf cosmetics (Eyes Lips Face) contacted me and complimented my blog. We got chatting and I realised that after scrolling through my cringy old videos, an 'ELF Haul' was one of my first ever YouTube videos and I've been using their products for over 2 years. I've discovered hits and misses during this time and reviewed elf many times on my blog. If you sign up to their newsletter and keep an eye on twitter, they've always got great deals/offers/discounts not to be missed. 

Elf surprised me with two 'new' products - the Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder* and the Conditioning Lip Balm*. What they didn't know is that I've actually got the old version of the powder compact, so read on to discover how it's changed.

Elf Studio Conditioning Lip Balm SPF 15
Unfortunately, I've got eczema all over my lips so I didn't want to scare you away with a horrible close up swatch of this! However, I received the shade 'nice & natural' and it's gorgeous for every day wear. Containing SPF 15, it claims to condition lips and with nourishing vitamins A&E. Now my lips are getting better, I've been wearing this and I'm pleasantly surprised. It's creamy, easy to blend and I adore the colour.
However, the packaging is quite bulky and cheap. I love the design and think it looks sleek, but practicality-wise, it takes up too much room in my make up bag.
For £3.38, 7.5g of product and available in a selection of 6 shades to suit all skin tones, I'd honestly recommend popping this in your basket and giving it a try. It's great value for money, I'd only love it more if the packaging was a little better.

I'm not sure if the images are doing justice to the difference in products however, I've had my 'old' compact for at least a year and I never really liked it. It was chalky and the colour pay-off wasn't great. 
It was only when looking on their website that I discovered they now sell this product in 3 different shades!  In comparison to my old compact, this is 1ox better. In fact, is it possible for a product to be too pigmented?! I need the lightest hand ever when applying both products and on my first application, I had a BROWN face. It was so bad. Now I've used it for the last few weeks, I've really learnt how to work with it. The powders aren't as silky as I'd like but for £3.75, I am definitely not complaining. It's a great compact if you're starting out with make-up or you're on the go a lot, and I think it would suit darker skin tones too. The mirror is super handy, the only thing that would make this even better is a highlighter too. Now I'd love to get my hands on their Contouring Blush & Bronzing Cream, a great alternative.

First UK Store!
Before I leave you, I noticed on Facebook that they're opening their first ever UK store in Cardiff! What an amazing adventure and growth for the company, I'm looking forward to seeing them expand and visiting in the future. Can we please have one in Bournemouth? ;)

What do you think? Are elf going to be the next leading brand for high street cosmetics? I have to say, I'm pretty impressed!


Thursday, September 19

Passionata Underwear Review

My lovely friends at Simply Beach recently contacted me and asked if I'd like to review any (yes, what a lucky girl I am!) underwear set on their website. I was absolutely spoilt for choice but knew that in my mind I wanted to find the perfect plain white set. I selected the Passionata Bra* and Passionata Knickers* and here's what I thought.

As both the bra and knickers are very expensive, I was expecting them to arrive more beautifully packaged. They came in a plastic clear bag and I was a little disappointed. A small box or even some tissue paper would have made a really nice added touch. I asked Simply Beach and they assured me that they're working on designing more attractive packaging. I really do believe it would make a huge difference!

I'm going to talk about the underwear first as I can't say enough good things. Designed cross between Brazilian style and a thong, the knickers are extremely comfortable to wear. The white band is thicker than normal 'strings' which I really like. The lace doesn't irritate the skin and they wash well too. 5/5 from me!

Passionata Diamon Push Up Bra - £31.00
I have mixed feeling about this bra. I wanted to love it more than anything else in my draw. In fact, it's one of the more expensive bras I've ever owned but did that make it the best? 
Described as 'Push Up', there is actually no padding or extra support and it required me to fasten the straps to the tightest possible before they looked and felt right. I was expecting a completely different bra to be honest. Saying that, it did give them a really nice shape and actually looked better than I thought underneath my clothes.
The cups are shaped quite low which made me feel uncomfortable and the band was slightly tight around my back. This is most likely because it isn't the right size for me. Simply Beach offered to change it but I've decided to get measured and find out my exact size is. Therefore in the future, I can make a better judgement. However, my other bras that are the same size fit much better.
I loved the white lace straps, again the fabric didn't irritate and looked really pretty. It has a T-Back option so you can wear with halter neck tops which is really handy.

When buying underwear, I do genuinely believe its more beneficially for me personally to try bras on. This isn't the perfect set for me yet but it is pretty and I love the added details like bows, lace and diamontes in the centre. Simply Beach do however have an amazing selection of underwear which I recommend checking out including brands such as Panache, Gossard, Curvy Kate and Wonderbra. They cater for DD+ and have a selection of bridal lingerie too. I previously reviewed a bikini from their Seafolly line which you can read here.

Have you got a favourite underwear brand?

Thursday, September 5

Bloggers Summer Swap

Hello! I feel like I haven't blogged like this for a while and I've really missed it. Last month, I decided to take part in the #bloggerssummerswap organised by the lovely Rhiannon from The Sparkly Panda. She came up with this great idea to each put together a small box of products related to the Summer, and send it on to another blogger. It was all kept a secret, I had no idea who was sending me something, whilst I created and sent a box to Jen at The English Rose From Manchester. For me, this Summer was about learning to love myself, so I filled Jen's with a face mask, candle, pair of earrings and a few other bits to make her smile. 

My box was created by the gorgeous Sandra from Beauty Balm. It was the most creative and beautiful gift to receive, she'd clearly taken the time to pick out great products which reminded her of summer. All the products were individually wrapped in floral paper, it felt like my birthday! She'd even gone to the effort to hand write on small gift tags what each product was and why she included it.

St Eval Candle Co - Sea Salt Tea Lights 
"Reminds me of being by the sea and summer days. Ozonic & citrus - reminiscent of the ocean"
You know a candle is amazing when you can smell it before you've even opened the package! I haven't even lit the tea lights, yet can smell them next to my bed-side table. Candles are such a lovely idea, they're a great transition from Summer to Autumn, I'm desperate to get a cute tea light holder now!

Nuxe - Huile Prodigieyse Dry Oil 
"This and a sun tan just works!"
I've been trying to read up about this product because when I first received it, I thought it was a nail varnish! It's actually a multi-purpose dry oil and contains six precious plant oils. It can be used on face, body or hair and I've read it works great mixed in with your foundation. I'm really looking forward to giving this a go, new products and brands really excite me.

John Masters Conditioner & Bodhi Body Wash
"Two summer staples - favourite shower gel and intensive conditioner"
I haven't heard of either of these brands before but judging by Sandra's picks, I can tell I'm probably going to enjoy them. The conditioner contains lavender and avocado, so natural and and organic.

Merionwen - Eastern Spice Turkish Delight Lip Balm 
"A recent discovery - who doesn't need another lip balm, smells just like Turkish Delight!"
I LOVE lip balms. Again, I've never heard of this brand but I highly recommend browsing their website for organic, natural products. Containing cocoa butter and coconut oil, I've already been using this on my dry lips and really enjoy it.

How great was this idea? It made my day to receive this box and it's totally inspired me to reach out of my comfort zone and try more unknown, organic brands. It's amazing how the box totally reflects Sandra and her blog, I'm really looking forward to hearing her latest discovers and grab some ideas for Christmas presents (I know my mum wouldn't mind a nice box like this).

Big thank you to the girls, it was a great idea and I'll be getting involved if they repeat in the future. Be sure to check out all their blogs linked above and what I sent Jen! What do you think?

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