birchbox

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At the Stylist Live event which I mentioned last week, Birchbox had a stand where you could create a unique beauty box, including five products of various size to give a go. The walls were adorned with different products and to fill the box was £15; slightly more than a box with the subscription service but you did have the luxury of hand selceting products rather than having them chosen for you. Here’s the lowdown of what came home with me…

WHEN Travel Mate Sheet Face Mask (£25 for four): You can see from that oh so flattering image that I’ve given this a go. This as my first time using a sheet mask and I loved the no fuss application and removal. It felt very strange on but when removed the packet suggests that you massage the remaining oils into the skin. Following this my skin did feel soft and well nourished and didn’t scream out for moisturiser like it usually does.

Rituals Foaming Shower Gel (£8.50 full size, £4 for mini): I haven’t yet tried this because I have a million and one shower gels on the go. I picked this up because I’ve always wanted to try something from rituals and the idea of a foaming shower gel floats my boat. It smells divine and i’m quite looking forward to slathering it all over my body when the time comes.

Percy & Reed No Oil Oil (£14 full size): This no oil oil is a product designed for application on dry hair. This isn’t something I’m used to doing as I usually apply a nourishing oil or serum to wet hair before going in with my blow dry but this is more of a styling product. It promises to provide volume while keeping the hair sleek and frizz free. I’m interested to give this a go when I remember to, it can’t just be me who’s always in a rush with the hair styling process?

Eyeko Fat Stick (£16 for a trio): Eye crayons are my favourite product of this year, and this offering by Eyeko is a goodie. It feels a little bit more plasticy (good word) than my Charlotte Tilbury and By Terry ones but applies colour in a similar way and is just as long lasting. My shade is a sort of Khaki which is lovely against my green eyes and looks great with bronzed up skin. I also think that for the price the quality of this is exceptional and definitely one to try if you’re on more of a budget.

Stila Lip Glaze (£15): I’m not really a lip gloss girl and I’m not sure what made me pick this up but it is a full size product and retails for the same price as I got all of the products for. Girl loves a bargain! This applies in a similar way to concealer highlighter pens in that its a clicky stick with a brush at the end. I do like the brush as opposed to a doe foot applicator and the colour is nice however I’m not sure I’d be in a rush to buy another one of these.

Overall the build your own Birchbox experience was a great one and i’m really happy that I got to try a few things from brands I wouldn’t usually go for. I think that the Birchbox is a great beauty box and a subscription is one lot of post which I wouldn’t dread getting every month…

 

september favouritesYou might think that it’s October 8th and I’m way too late for a September celebration, but late favourites are sort of my thing now. It seems at the end of every month I fall out with blogging (although this month I had to wait for internet installation) and then the beginning of the next one reignites my love, so you’ll just have to bear with me until I can maintain some consistency.

September was a funny old month for me, I moved in with the boyf and so a lot of days were spent in Ikea repeating outfits, having greasy hair and not a trace of makeup. However the end of the month saw me back at uni for my third and final year and I had a complete shock and threw on all of the makeup I own as well as picking up a few bits to make my face a little bit more seasonal. It’s no secret that I love autumn and you’ll be hearing me say that in the next months worth of posts (that pre-writing life) but for some reason I find it the most motivating, inspiring and it brings out my favourite shades for both beauty and fashion; here’s a breakdown of Septembers beauty bunch.

Moving stress and being reintroduced to the student life left my skin craving attention and so I picked up the Let The Good Times Roll mask from Lush. This contains popcorn and turns into a bitty paste when mixed with water. It is slightly too abrasive for my skin everyday but on SOS occasions and particularly flaky days this has been my skin savoir, and it smells fantastic.

Autumn see’s me transfer to the lipstick queen and so a subtle wash of Maybellines Colour Tattoo in Creamy Beige is all that i’ve swiped onto my eyes. For lips I’ve been going bold and pairing Rimmel Cappuccino Lip Liner with Nars Cruella and I adore the finished look. For something a little more 9am lecture appropriate I dusted off my old favourite MAC Freckletone Lipstick or have been squeezing on a shed load of the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 01. I’ve also (yes I do only have one mouth) been loving the Fresh Sugar Lip Balm in Nude for off duty days – shoutout to Andie for picking it up for me.

For cheeks I’m still loving my NARS X Christopher Kane Blush in Silent Nude as a blusher sculpter all in one product, and I also picked up a few bits from H&M’s new beauty line; namely the Cream Blush in Cameo Brown. More on that shortly.

Are you tired after that? I am…

 

lavender and tea tree lotion

I always get excited when I receive my monthly email from Amphora Aromatics and this time was no different. In fact, I was so excited I completely misread the offering of a Lavender scented product… I HATE lavender.

Never the less I have given this product a try, held my nose and smothered it on one morning. Usually lavender is an evening scent used to drift off into a cosy sleep but this is quite light in texture and so for my dry skin felt more suited for daytime.

This moisturiser claims to be calming and cooling, using tea tree to cool and lavender to calm and it definitely does both as well as smoothing onto the skin nicely and creating a great base for makeup. It moisturises and hydrates as you’d like it to do but also offers something unique to skin which is perhaps a little more sensitive or irrate than mine with its bonus properties.

Maybe not the best for me but it is a great product and will come in handy when my skin has a freak out. Oh, and I love that its in a pump!

As mentioned at the beginning of the post I do always enjoy receiving products and correspondence from Amphora Aromatics, they’re a fantastic company with great morals and great products. If you’d like to try something from their all natural range then they’re kindly offering Northern Nancy readers 20% off all orders using the code BLOG20. You can buy Amphora Aromatics here.

*This product was sent to me for free in exchange for my honest, unbiased feedback.

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Skincare doesn’t tend to be something which I spend a lot of money on. I know what I like and what works for me and luckily *touches wood* my skin isn’t too problematic. I’d describe my skin type as normal/dry and dehydrated, everyday when I get out of the shower it’s gagging for a generous layer of serum and moisturiser and often looks dull. I store my skincare stash in one drawer of the IKEA Helmer storage solution, which I think it meant for offices, but lord knows I have way more beauty products than I do important documents, and at the moment it works for me.

In the morning I’m very low maintenance, opting for a spritz of either the Caudalie Beauty Elixir or La Roche Posay Serozinc before slathering on one of my InstaNatural Serums* and a light layer of the Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate – which I’ve spoken about before.

My evening routine is where it gets pretty Rock ‘N Roll, I take off my makeup with Bioderma Micellar Water (if i’m wearing heavy eye makeup i’ll take that off with the Amphora Aromatics Eye Gel*) before going into the bathroom to double cleanse with a Hot Cloth Cleanser like the Superdrug Vitamin E one. I’ll then tone using the Instanatural Ultimate Rosewater Toner* or Pixi Glow Tonic (which I’ve run out of… boo) and again use an Instanatural Serum* before applying my new love, the Bioderma Hydrabio Riche. Just before I sleep I pop on some of the Nuxe Reve De Miel lip balm and I wake up feeling well nourished and replenished.

Other bits and bobs include the Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Overnight Peel for when I need a pick me up in terms of perkiness, or when my skin feels clogged up, LUSH Popcorn Lip Scrub for a polished pout and a few other toner and moisturiser options for when i’m bored or when my skin gets too used to it’s current rotation.

What are your hero skincare products?

*Products marked with an asterisk were sent to me in exchange for my honest and unbiased feedback

natural deodrant
Please note: It wasn’t until I took the photo that I realised I had been using the men’s one!

Recently I was sent the Amphora Aromatics Natural Roll On Deodorant*, a product boasting natural and effective protection of odour and sweat control. Made with naturally deodorising pure essential oils of grapefruit, cedarwood and thyme, this deodorant claims to provide day long odour and sweat protection without the use of aluminium, alcohol or synthetic perfumes.

I put this product to the test whilst in Paris, where the temperature was higher than here in the UK and I was very busy running around after a three year old, shopping and climbing the Eiffel Tower. This deodorant did provide sweat protection through basic tasks, but did not hold out when I was active for a prolonged period of time. The (mens, doh!) scent of it is complimentary however when mixed with sweat is not pleasant and so for gym goers or people on the go I don’t think that this particular offering would be so good. That said, for everyday wear this deodorant is nice and does keep my underarms dry, the fact that it is made with no nasties is a great bonus and so for days when i’m not up to much this will be my go to, meaning i’ll only be using products with less natural ingredients when completely necessary.

This deodorant retails at £4.95 and is available here.
*I was sent this product in exchange for my honest and unbiased feedback.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Sound the monthly favourites klaxon, I’m here with the best beauty products from July.

July was a no money month, I didn’t buy more than a handful of new beauty bits due to working full time and because of this I have very few products to talk about which I haven’t mentioned before. I’ve been pretty uniform in my makeup application, with the NARS Tinted Moisturiser, Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara and a pinky nude lip so this months selection isn’t really one to write home about, but i’ll proceed anyway…

As you know this month saw the purchase of my first ever Charlotte Tilbury makeup item, in the form of the Matte Revolution lipstick in Miss Kensington; a limited edition shade from the Norman Parkinson Collection. This hasn’t come off my lips since I first got my hands on it, it’s creamy, it’s long lasting, it’s a perfect pink shade and the square tip makes application a breeze.

The Muji Toning Lotion has been somewhat revolutionary for my skin this month. Since running out of my Pixi Glow Tonic a number of months ago (read: too long ago) my skin had been suffering and in need of a good toner. This one has fit the bill perfectly. I’m going to do a post on why I love toner shortly.

Finally for beauty bits, I have been loving the Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray since going for the chop. This has given my shoulder length hair much needed volume and texture, meaning I’ve spent more days fab than drab.

A non-beauty favourite but a favourite none the less is Yes Please by Amy Pohler. This book is hilarious as well as being insightful. I’d definitely suggest you pick it up if you’re looking for a holiday read.


  

When everyone’s favourite acrylic storage store released it’s new skin care line, I was of course interested to try it. I’m always wary when non cosmetic stores broaden their horizons into the beauty industry as often there are a number of nasties on the ingredients list. With MUJI skincare, there are absolutely no perfumes, alcohol, parabens or mineral oils – hip hip hooray!

I think the range is exclusive to Selfirdges for the moment, so I popped into The Trafford Centre store and perused the selection. The range is made up of three sections; sensitive, moisture and high moisture and is created in Japan. I picked up three items, and attempted to span an entire skincare routine. I chose the Moisture Face Soap, the Moisture Moisturising Milk and the Light Toning Water.

Lets start with the bad news; the Moisture Face Soap is really terrible. I attempted to use this as a cleanser, it came out as a thick paste and when mixed with water became a thick white cream. It’s very sticky on the skin and stings if it’s within a centimetre of your eyes. In short, I felt like I had conjunctivitis on my whole face. This doesn’t remove makeup and is generally crap all round.

Pushing negative Nancy to one side, the other two products are definitely worth a try. The Light Toner worked wonders on a little skin problem I had, refined the texture of my skin with its light acid and hydrated slightly. This is a great toner with a fantastic price point and i’ll definitely be going back for big moma. I sometimes think that toners with acid are a bit strong for everyday use on my dry skin but this one is light and refreshing.

The moisture milk is a great moisturiser for these summer months where I don’t need a cream that’s quite as thick (I’ll probably opt for the more moisturising range in the winter). It’s light enough that it sinks in quickly while packing enough punch in terms of hydration and nourishment. I used this at night the first day I got it and woke up with my skin looking plump, glowy, hydrated and fresh – a welcome change to my sometimes dull complexion.

  
So I might be 10 days too late with this one, but it’s better late than never ey?! Today I’m sharing with you the best bits from June’s beauty bouquet. It’s short and sweet this time around with the start of the month seeing more no makeup days than usual and a particularly boring spending ban, meaning that while I havent got too much to write home about, the products that made the cut are ones which not even my pyjama wearing, crap TV watching, carb eating self could avoid. Here’s the run down…

The first product on my cosmetics conveyor belt is a complete lie, I didn’t even buy it in June and realistically it should have been saved for this months collection. That said, in the week or so which & Other Stories Fig Fiction Body Mist has been mine I’ve been spritzing it like nobody’s business. A fresh scent which when thrown in your handbag makes a life saver of a product. It’s subtle and light but at the same time does linger. I should have bought the bigger one.

With a recent trip to London and a lot of time on trains and tubes I was washing my hands significantly more which led to them getting dry. For dry hands SOS I turned to The Body Shop’s Wild Rose hand cream. A feminine scent, great packaging and does a good job at nourishing hands quickly and effectively. No slippy mitts here.

To save my skin I have absolutely adored the Vitamin C Serum* from InstaNatural. This promises to hydrate, boost youth and give skin a radiant glow and my face can’t get enough of the stuff. This rids dehydrated skin of that awful tight feeling and makes a great base for any following layers of product. It’s orange coloured and has a fresh orange scent making it a great choice for mornings due to it’s awakening properties.

My only makeup pick this month comes in the form of MAC’s Cream Colour Base in Pearl. This has been giving me that much needed glow following a few early mornings and doesn’t look sweaty or greasy even in the current heatwave.

When I have worn makeup, I’ve been taking off any eye makeup with the Amphora Aromatics Soothing Aloe Eye Gel*. This product takes makeup off my tired, sore eyes leaving no residue and ridding the need to scrub the sensitive eye area. I’ve already popped up a review.

Finally my choice of mani this month is from Essie and is the shade Bikini So Teeny. Like the name, LOVE the colour. This is a blue toned lilac (lilac toned blue?) with bits of glitter and it really floats my boat. I’m not sure it’s MSH teritorry just yet but it’s definitely well on it’s way.

*This product was sent to me for free in exchange for my honest, unbiased feedback.

    
Recently I’ve been finding that constant scrubbing and rubbing of my eye area with my usual cleanser and flannel combination has left my eyes looking red and feeling sore and sensitive. I’m extremely lazy when it comes to makeup removal, I always do it, and I love the skincare steps which follow but taking off makeup always seems such a tedious job and I often wish someone would just create a magic way for it to come off, leaving my skin clean and nourished.

I’ve been trying out the Amphora Aromatics Refreshing Eye Gel* of late, using it to take off all of my eye makeup. The idea is that this product is applied onto the eyes and removed using a cotton pad, which takes off all of the eye makeup with it. The product contains Seaweed and Aloe and promises to remove makeup, soothe and cool tired eyes. The product is completely natural and is made with essential oils and herbal extracts and is free of all parabens.

The refreshing eye gel works wonders at removing eye makeup and giving tired eyes a new lease of life with the fresh awakening properties of the aloe. It is a strange sensation especially when taking off makeup before bed to make eyes feel more awake, however the following skincare steps usually do the job at putting me back into my place. Makeup comes off in one easy swipe and I find that one pump of the gel is enough for both eyes – even when wearing liquid liner. I also find that the next morning my eyes are significantly less puffy and I generally look more awake and feel rejuvenated. This really is a wonderful product and I would 100% recommend it to anyone who suffers with sore, sensitive, tired or puffy eyes.

What’s your favourite eye makeup remover?

*This product was sent to me for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased feedback.

  
Insta Natural Vitamin C Facial Toner* is a pore tightening facial toner offering renewal, hydration and restoration of the skin. Containing witch hazel, glycolic acid and vitamin C this toner is suitable for all skin types and works to repair the skin giving a better appearance and helping skin to feel better on the face.

I have dry, dehydrated skin and so the pore tightening qualities did scare me off a bit because my skin often feels very tight anyway, however other benefits of this toner are of course that it contains natural ingredients, but also works to improve the skins elasticity and to prepare the base to absorb serum and moisturiser.

“Insta Natural’s pore tightening facial toner is an all in one hydrator infused with age defying ingredients to leave your skin feeling refreshed and balanced with each pump of its formula.”

The toner comes in a spray bottle and two sprays of the product covers the entire face and neck. Following first use, I noticed a huge improvement in the texture of my skin and the way it absorbed moisturiser. My skin felt soft and supple as well as being suitable hydrated and feeling well nourished. The area where I do have visible pores didn’t feel tight at all but pores were visibly reduced and I didn’t feel the need to apply a pore minimising primer before my base makeup. This product recieves a thumbs up from me and is a very welcome addition to my skin care routine.

Will you be trying this?
*I received this product for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased feedback.