Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Review of July's 2013's Glossybox by a newbie to sample boxes!

Well, yesterday was my inaugural review of my inaugural Birchbox - today is my inaugural review of my inaugural Glossybox! If any of you haven't read my earlier posts (and I don't blame you if you haven't as this blog is as new as Prince George), I have decided not only to jump into #bblogging but doing so with the help of 3 monthly subscription boxes. Birchbox, Glossybox and Beauteco Box.

Most of this has come about by my 17 year old daughter (I am in my 30's - I started my family early) betting me that I couldn't get my act together beauty wise by the time I am 40. The clock is ticking so I am going ALL OUT to look a bit better!

Back to the job in hand - July 2013's Glossybox. When I ordered it, it stated on the website that it was a "special box" and you can see from the box - gorgeous! I almost didn't want to open it as it looked so pretty. A dark aqua with coral as the camera doesn't do it justice at all. Anyway, obviously I was going to open it and was met with this ........ (just wish I had changed my nail varnish to match, not clash! 

So, seaside splash is the theme of my first Glossybox. Inside was a what I am holding in my hand, not quite the magazine that comes with Birchbox, but a really informative pamphlet on the products inside the box with a bit of information from the team. Something I wasn't expecting was a rather nice code to use to save money on an online shoe store. I like shoes so it is probably best that I stay away from it! So, enough pratting round - let's get into the box.

N'aww - pretty! Almost (only just almost) too pretty to open!! But of course I did! And this is what I was met with. 

Well - I certainly wasn't expecting this amount of items in the box that is for sure. I couldn't wait to dive in, so come and join me

A pack of Essie sleek sticks! Now, you will have to bear with me but where I live, you can't even walk into a shop and buy ANY Essie products. To have them delivered to my door was rather exciting to say the least! They really are beautiful. I had to take the picture with the flash on to do them justice as the design is so subtle, but gorgeous. To prove a point, I took another...

I was absolutely blown away by their subtle patterns. Obviously I can't review each product I get in one post, but these are definitely first on my list to review properly in their very own post. I can't wait to get these on my nails that is for sure. If they can pass the wheelchair test, I will be more than impressed. 

The colour I got them in is called "a to zebra" - nice play on words! These are going to be put on very soon (as in when I have finished this post, even though I got them yesterday). 

Now this was a very welcome addition to my Glossybox. As we all know, it has been unnaturally hot as Hades in the UK recently, and given I have POF too, anything that brings relief from the heat was going to be a winner in my book. This facial spritz is gorgeous. I have mentioned that I have epilepsy and this does contain lavender (epilepsy and lavender are not usual bedfellows, but it is generally OK as long as it isn't the essential oil). It has such a fresh smell, lavender, rose, witch hazel and peppermint. No, I haven't been blessed with impressive smelling capabilities, I read the back! 

It is incredibly refreshing. Just close your eyes, spray and you are done. I would recommend doing it at arm's length otherwise you might end up a little shinier than you expected, but it is superb. I love it and I am buying more. 

Next up was Coola mineral sunscreen moisturiser SPF20. It smells fantastic but the next information I am giving you is second hand as it is coming from my 71 year old Mum. I had to give it to her as SPF20 is too low for me. I never go lower than 30, even in the winter due to my Gaelic complexion. My Mum has gorgeous dark hair and darker skin so I gave it to her for a test run. She won't even pop out to the shops without her Chanel Number 5 on so it had a hard task in her hands. My Mum is semi retired and spends a small fortune on cosmetics so she would be the ideal person to try this on. Let us just say, it passed with flying colours. With the weather we have been having recently has found her usual moisturiser too heavy so this came as a very very light relief for her. She even went without primer using it with a light foundation on the top and was thrilled with the result - so a huge 9/10 from Mum for this one. It lost a point for only being a small tube ;) 

Ok, on to our "Boho Waves". Now I would like you to picture a woman with freckles, red hair and white skin. The thought of tousled blonde hair is about as far away from what I have been given to work with as it humanly possible. THIS is the other product that I am going to test run along with my Essie sleek sticks. I am not dying my hair obviously, but I reckon it is going to have to be straightened into submission, then the wand is coming out for the ends and I shall post up the results. Laughter is absolutely welcomed as on a good day I look like I have been dragged through a hedge backwards, so I can't wait to see what I look like on a good day! The only thing I would have appreciated on the product would have been a "use by" date. I know it is picky, but I like to make sure that anything I use is in date.

Ok, I have to be honest, I was a little befuddled when this came out of the box. White (well, Cloud 9) pout paint? I have to be honest, I did pass on this and went on to the next one....

A gorgeous pout paint in Rosette. The colour is what I would definitely wear so I thought of course I would give it a try on the back of my hand. The instructions are "apply the tiniest drop of pout paint onto your lip brush for complete coverage. Can be used alone or mixed with other shades within the range". So THAT is where the white one comes in. With the lack of a lip brush  - my husband was asleep and I didn't want to wake him up - I put the tiniest amount on the back of my hand. WOAH! I think we can safely say that a little goes an awfully long way!

I am not a huge fan of lipsticks as I don't like the tacky feeling on my lips and the back of my hand was literally slathered with the tiniest dot of pout paint and it absolutely covered it! When I had finally got to grips with what was going on, it works fantastically as a lip stain. If you can cope with the fact that even with the tiniest drop you are going to waste a tiny amount it is perfect. I even did my own version of ombre lips (I know, so last year) mixing the colours at 4am this morning.

As both of the colours came in 8ml tubes they are going to last a very long time, and are the same size as the ones sold in their shop for £4.99 so I am utterly thrilled. The amount of pigment those little tubes pack is absolutely amazing, that is for sure!

One thing I would have appreciated would have been a "use by" date, along with the Boho Waves.

My verdict on my first Glossybox? 10/10. I know I have no others to compare it to, but with a bit of imagination and no preconceived ideas, I am one very happy customer.


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The naming and shaming is going to have to wait - Birchbox time!

Well, it is here. Actually, it has been for a week now but waiting for my 17 year old daughter to get her bum into gear as she wanted to do an "unboxing" vlog has just driven me mad so I thought I would go ahead and just get on with my blog. I was going to do a "naming and shaming" of my very old and horrendous beauty products but I have epilepsy and it isn't under control. It hit really hard last night, and this morning so I am making the most of being made to stay in bed.

Yep, I am VERY late to both the #bblogging scene and also the beauty box scene so I thought I would just jump in head first and order 3, this being the first. What struck me is how lovely it looks. Very natural and compact once out of the packaging. Whilst opening the outer packaging, a lovely magazine popped out:-

That was a totally unexpected surprise! Even more so that it mentioned one of my favourite bands, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I am generally more of a metal fan, but they have a real charm about them. Anyway, more about the magazine. There is a little bit of something for everybody in it, fashion, beauty, music, holidays, lifestyle - you name it. Lovely. 

So - the box is opened and I am greeted by the following. I am not going to turn the SHHH.. card over in case anyone has subscribed for next month's box for the first time as I don't want to spoil the surprise.

This month's theme is "Jet Set" and it doesn't fail to live up to the name at all. Just look at what was waiting for me when I got into the gorgeous pouch waiting for me! 

For someone getting their first box I was like a kid at Christmas! I don't think my expectations were low, but I thought it was an awful lot of product for my money. Talking of products, let's move onto them.....

This caught my eye immediately. I must admit, I did a quick and dirty effort with my nails this morning only for them to be smudged when I had a seizure but I really hadn't got the inclination to start again, so please excuse the state of them. The reason that it caught my eye is that I am in a wheelchair and forever looking for the perfect hand cream as BOY do my hands take a battering and get dry. The only problem is that I hate my hands feeling greasy so am generally in a catch 22 position.

It smells absolutely divine and sinks in so quickly, moisturising my hands without leaving them greasy - I half expected the Hallelujah chorus to go off! Going to finish the tube as a little goes a very long way, but I think this is one for the wishlist. 

Just to add insult to injury, I have the world's most untameable hair. It is red, frizzy and no amount of straighteners, curlers, wands or blow drying will tame it into submission. I haven't had a chance to use this one yet, but it promises to protect and detangle, keeping my hair silky and glossy. If it does it will be a world first as I have spent a small fortune trying to keep my locks tamed - I really can't wait to use this. As I have to have my showers and baths supervised, I think I might just book myself in for a soak this afternoon if my husband isn't busy. 

At first glance, this gel eye liner had me a bit baffled. I am not one to use gel eye liners in the first place but being the beauty Luddite that I am, this one had me quite flustered. I had no idea how to even get into it, let alone try it. 

See - it wasn't that hard!! (after a few goes!). Even though I won't be using this, it has already gone to a very good home - my daughter's friend. She has pink hair and loves experimenting with her makeup and looks amazing in this. I am assured that it goes on incredibly well and lasts for quite some time. My eyes are a little crepey so I wouldn't feel confident giving this a try just for the sake of it, but maybe as my confidence increases, I might just give it a go one day.

This little box definitely had me intrigued for sure.......

This was a total case of "OMG" when I opened it! I am currently thinking of changing my skincare routine and have been looking for the perfect moisturiser. This smells absolutely divine, soaks into the face really quickly and leaves a finish that is almost as if a really good quality primer has been put on it.

It is pricey for a full size jar and I am not going to run out and buy the first sample that I am sent, but I know where to get it if nothing else comes my way.

(just to say, I am lucky and have normal skin, sometimes dry due to the combination drug therapy I am on)

Last but not least of my beauty samples - a powder blush sample. I got it in Swiss Dot.

It comes in a gorgeous little magnetic case, perfect for a small handbag on a night out. It was very tempting an although I haven't got any nights out planned, I just had to give it a whirl...

HOLY PIGMENT OVERLOAD!!! I think I went a little OTT with my first application. It is going to have to be applied very gently to get the required colour and it really does have staying power. I put this on a couple of hours ago to take the pictures for this blog entry and have washed my hands a couple of times since, and it was still there. I ended up using Pond's Cold Cream to finally remove it. Long wearing it sure is, you just have to layer it up as there is no way to layer down, other than to remove and start again. I love the colour I was sent and it is going nowhere. 

Finally, onto my lifestlye product - Chia. I have to be honest, I had never heard of this beforehand and was quite surprised as I am a vegetarian, borderline vegan. I was really grateful to the magazine that was with my Birchbox as I wouldn't have had a clue what to do with it. It was lovely to see a vegetarian and a vegan option in there too, as a lot of people aren't quite sure what to do with vegans where I am from! This is definitely going to be saved for the weekend for ........

One of these! (although I am going to up the banana and use almond milk instead of using honey and ordinary milk). It looks absolutely gorgeous. Definitely not going to waste at all. 

So there it is, my first Birchbox! The one thing I didn't see coming was my husband wanting to commandeer the gorgeous little bag that my things came in for his "nails". I was starting to wonder about the man I had married until he got that misty look in his eyes that he only gets when he is thinking of his shed. Yep, he wants to keep his metal nails in it! I am going to try and old on to it for a little longer though, I have told him that he can have it when I have used up everything in it (which at the rate I am going will be by the middle of next week).

As I was looking on the Birchbox website and browsing the shop, I came across a nail varnish that I just couldn't pass up on, so I am now waiting for my Color Club Blue Insta This. It is going to get one heck of a road test with my nails so I can't wait to see how it holds up to my normal GOSH nail varnishes. I always use Sally Hansen's Double Duty base and top coat but yet the longest I can get is about 4 days. Here is hoping it is going to be a bit longer, and I adore the colour.

I don't have anything else to compare this to with regards to beauty boxes, but one thing I am sure of - I am NOT disappointed in the least. All I can say is bring on August if this is anything to go by!


Monday, 29 July 2013

I am going to name and shame (myself) on this one

I had a bit of a blank as to what to blog about today until I looked in my makeup drawer (looking for something else, I hasten to add) and realized just how much stuff I had that was out of date, out of fashion and just plain unused.

So, the nails are getting painted (my hands look terrible in photos as I use a wheelchair and they are a mess) and I am going to have a complete clear out and then go for a wish list (which my husband will NOT be seeing!).

Typing with wet nails isn't as hard as I thought either, I was just glad to find ONE decent base coat and ONE decent colour in there - thank you GOSH. Think there are going to be some OPI colours on my wish list, and I will link up to one that I have got coming in the post.

So, one dressing table getting a quick tidy and then I am going to out myself at a complete and utter hoarder of completely unnecessary items!

D xoxox 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Pocket money and beauty - they can go together whatever your skin type.

This post has come about with a conversation with F. She works although she is still at home studying for A Levels but we got onto the subject of how she would be able to afford a basic beauty regime if she was on pocket money only. Now we have given our children £30 a month pocket money (the youngest still gets it) and it got me wondering - would it be possible for a young adult to start a good regime on a tight budget, regardless of their skin type.

I have taken into account that not every young lady would get £30, and also have taken into account that any money they have would have to be spent on the hight street, not online. So, without further ado - I think I have cracked it. How to start taking care of your skin for under £20. I decided that the following would be mandatory:-

Day cream
Night cream
Cleanser, toner and a scrub,
Body butter/lotion
Lip balm.

Trying to go for the best value for money and the best quality posed quite a hurdle, but I think I have got it.

I know there are lots of spree versus steal blogs and this isn't one of those. I have chosen high street shops (Boots and Superdrug) and supermarkets (Asda and Tesco) for the best I can find for the following 4 skin types:-


All I can say is I am more than grateful for Pinterest as I would have really lost where I was at about 5 minutes into this little post!

So, without further ado - here are my picks for a teenage girl on a budget. First up, we have the following

Normal Skin
Day cream - I have cheated a little on this one as if you are lucky enough to have normal skin, you can over moisturise it. Fortunately, Johnsons have come up with this fantastic cream which will do both. Coming in at £4.07 for 50ml, it is definitely a steal. Saying that, Superdrug do a fantastic little night cream for £2.99 for 100ml if you want that extra moisurisation at night.

Cleanser -  Boots came up trumps with a Garnier cleanser for £3.15 for 200ml. Looks great, really decent amount, great write up so I don't think we will be going wrong here.

Toner - Again, Boots have come through with another Garnier product, this time an invigorating toner. £3.15 again and 200ml which will last a long time.

Scrub - Back to Superdrug for their Vitamin E face scrub. £2.99 for 100ml will go a long way for something that you aren't going to use every day.

Body Butter - Asda came up trumps with this gorgeous tub at £3.00 for 200 ml. Again, a little is going to go a very long way so sounds like a really good bet.

Lip balm - Back to Superdrug for their best selling lip therapy little blue tin which is 99p for 20g of balm and comes in a gorgeous little tin that will slip into a pocket really easily. With all the sun we have been having my lips have been getting really dry, so I have been reaching for the balm far more than I normally would - giving my lips a quick brush with a babies toothbrush beforehand to get a lovely smooth result.

So, they are my budget picks for normal skin and the whole lot comes in at a (rather pleasant and not too painful on the purse) £20.34 (and that includes the night cream). Whatever your pocket money or allowance, in a month or so you could save up for this to give you a great start looking after your skin. The sooner you start, the better it is going to look in years to come.

The products are going to run out at different times so the £20.34 would just be the primary outlay - then it would just be topping up or finding your own budget brands that will work for you.

Dry/Sensitive Skin

Day Cream - We are off to Boots for their Simply Sensitive Day Moisturiser with SPF 15 which at £1.39 for 125ml would be rude to pass up. Sensitive and hydrating for the skin, an absolute must have.

Night Cream - Staying at Boots with their Simply Sensitive Night Moisturiser. It is a little more expensive at £1.89 for 50ml, but I don't know about you - I always end up with more night moisturiser left over than day even if I start the pots off on the same day. A great buy for dry and sensitive skin.

Cleanser - Off to Superdrug for our cleanser - their Simply Pure Calming Cleanser at £2.59 for 200ml is fantastic value for money whilst giving your sensitive skin that it needs along with good hydration.

Toner - Staying at Superdrug, their Simply Pure Refreshing Toner is the same price as the cleanser, £2.59 for 200ml. Absolutely great for the dryness as it paraben free.

Scrub - We are not going to have to go very far for this too, as Superdrug stock St Ives, a range that I have used since my teens myself. Their Apricot Gentle Scrub has been around for at least 20 years to my knowledge and isn't going to go very far soon. Superb value for money too at £3.00 for 150ml.

Body Butter - Off to Asda now for their N-Spa Raspberry Rich Body Butter which at £3.00 for 200ml is fantastic value for money. Raspberry is such a great fruit for dry and sensitive skin so you won't go wrong with this.

Lip Balm - Since we are at Asda we are going to stay there as this is where I can find the following product at the best price. Nivea's original lip butter has been around for ages now and is such a great product for dry and sensitive lips. At £1.99 for 16.7g it isn't the cheapest, but it is something that is well worth not scrimping on.

Ok, so - my budget picks for dry and sensitive skin coming in at £13.45 which has actually really surprised me. Normally if you have anything other than "normal" skin you can end up paying through the nose for it but it seems not!

Ok, the last skin type and I have to admit, the most challenging as the products are SO expensive.....

Combination Skin

Day Cream - Off to Boots, to start our shopping for this one. Their shine control day moisturiser is an absolutely great shine control moisturiser for blemish prone and oily skin. At the cost of £3.59 for 75ml it is pricey, but well worth it.

Night Cream - Staying at Boots, they have a great tea tree and witch hazel night gel  which at £2.99 for 75ml is again expensive, but is the cheapest and best rated I could find on the high street and in the supermarkets. If your skin isn't in the best shape, now is the time to start investing in it for sure.

Cleanser - Off to Asda for this one - for their blemish fighting ice cleanser by Biore.  At £3.00 for 200ml, I think we are starting to make inroads into making our money go a bit further. This has been reviewed so many times in the beauty press that I have lost count.

Toner - Staying at Asda, we have Neutrogena's Visibly Clear toner. At £3.50 for 200ml the money is starting to go further again. Neutrogena's products are fantastic and a little will go a long way.

Scrub - Back to Superdrug for St Ives Blemish Control Scrub. A great product that saw me through my years of terrible skin (and I bet it has improved vastly since then.). £3.00 for 150ml will go a very long way as it is a product you won't want to be using daily.

Body Butter - For our body butter, we are going back to Asda and to their N-Spa range, this time for their coconut body butter.  Even if you have combination skin, there is no need for it to feel neglected at all. If you have skin that isn't Caucasian you can find that with both combination and dry skin you can get an almost ashy look (like I do) and this body butter is great for it. I haven't been able to find the one I use personally online, and this defeats the idea of the post but if you can get hold of something called Bottle o'butter, that is great for ashy skin too. The N-Spa coconut body butter comes in at £3.00 for 200ml, so great value for money.

Lip Balm - Don't get whiplash but we are back to Superdrug for this one - for their Little Pink Tin with SPF 15. 99p for 20g and comes in a gorgeous little tub too. Sometimes with combination skin you can spend so long getting your skin right, your lips can get forgotten. Just as I mentioned before, a quick brush with a babies toothbrush and a slick of this and your lips will be feeling great.

So our combination skin high street budget range comes in at £20.07. Not off the chart expensive, but I think the high street could do better, and that goes for all of them.

Now, I am no professional where it comes to skin care. I have had a LOT of help from my daughter's friends putting this list together. Each of the items I have chosen I have done with help from them, with price and amount of product pitched against how well it works. There have been some cheaper items but they have been a waste of money.

I genuinely hope that this is of some use to anyone out there trying to start a good regime to take care of their skin, and would love to hear back from anyone with better items or ideas.

These products are all available on the high street or in supermarkets - they can be bought without a debit card and an online account. I am going to do another post soon with items that are available online only in case you have an older sibling or parent that will help you start your skincare regime a bit cheaper. I will be taking note of shipping costs too, so will be looking for the very best I can find.

Hope you enjoyed this little post, I enjoyed asking my daughter's friends for their help and getting lots of ideas for it.

If you are interested, (and until I can code my blogger page!) you can follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook.


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Beauteco Box comes through

As I mentioned, I was having trouble registering for a Beauteco Box. My address wasn't conducive to getting on there but with help from a lovely lady called Natalie - I am sorted!

So, now I am signed up for Birchbox, Glossybox and Beauteco Box. The first two seem to be quite similar in their approach. You fill in an online survey as to your skin and hair type, what kinds of products you would spend the most on and with that information they will select things for you.

I have already got my July Birchbox which is STILL unopened as I am waiting for F to get her bum into gear so we can open them together. I did ask customer services at Birchbox if we can make a video about the contents as I wasn't sure about their policy and got a lovely email back saying that it wasn't a problem at all. + 1 for their customer services already, the email came back the same day.

I haven't got my Glossybox yet as I only just found out about all these things in the last few days so I think I will miss July's and start with the August box with them.

The Beauteco Box works slightly differently and this is where I think it may come into its own. With the previous two, you get surprises. With Beauteco Box, you get to choose your box from their boutique. As there are only 3 boxes left (I don't know how many they are going to be offering per month) you can actually see what is in the box before hand and decide which is the best one for you. I know it takes some of the surprise out of it, but for a beginner like me, I really like this idea.

I think by giving myself the option of 3 boxes to start off with, I am going to give myself the best possible chance of finding two that are suitable for me and F.

I quite like the idea of choosing one box and having a surprise box. I must admit to having a look on YouTube and this month's Birchbox (which remains UNOPENED, grrr) is looking fantastic. I haven't had a look at any of the July Glossybox videos but I think I am going to give them a whirl this morning.

One box I would love to try is the ipsy
bag but as far as I can work out, it isn't available in the UK. Saying that, I think 3 a month is more than enough to start off with!

Urgh, today is the day...

That I am going to bare my face to the world via the medium of YouTube. If I am going to do this, I am going to get it out of the way. I have been procrastinating, and procrastinating a little longer.

F wants to get her Birchbox "unboxing" blog done so I am going to start our channel off with my current daily face routine, post shower. Me slathering moisturiser onto my legs probably violates terms and conditions so you won't have to see that! Just the face to start with.

I know I showed a quick snapshot of what I use daily but will go into a little more info now.

First up - Pond's Cold Cream and this one specifically. It is so cheap compared to what I can get locally and worth the wait from the US. A good slather of this over the face and then gentle removal with cotton wool pads. I use the large square ones and generally don't tend to skimp on buying them as the cheaper ones just drag over my 39 year old skin like sandpaper. 

Then I go onto French rose water for a toner - again Amazon is my friend and I use this one. A little goes an awfully long way and it isn't astringent in any way. My skin is very sensitive and can't cope with anything with alcohol in it either. It does take a minute or so to dry but is more than worth it for me.

Then, it is on to my trusty (for now) Avon 40+ day cream. I use this morning and night as mentioned in my last post as the night cream is too heavy for my skin. I ordered my Vitamin K Swanson cream yesterday and it has already been dispatched which I am really pleased about. The spider and thread veins that I have been going on about are going to be unveiled today. If I drank I would have a large vodka before doing the video but I am teetotal.

Once a week, I do give my skin a treat. I was given this little recipe by my beautician as I can't afford a really good facial every month. I asked her what I could do to keep my skin looking as good as I possibly could in between my 3 monthly appointments and she actually uses this one herself.

What she told me to try (bearing in mind, she knows my skin and I am only imparting what she said - she is the professional and I am just old with dry skin!) is the following.

Go to the chemist and buy a small pill pot, the little green ones with a screw lid. You need something small and watertight. Then, you will need some glycerine - I use this one, and finally your French rose water. Mix a teaspoon of glycerine and rosewater in the small pot (the teaspoon of glycerine was NOT as easy as I had anticipated!) and then shake for all you are worth. Oil and water generally don't want to be best friends but you can get them to mix.

The, pop it on your face for about 10 minutes. As the glycerine is a humectant, it is not advisable to put it near your eyes but it is fine for the rest. I was bit weary of doing this one given my reaction to just plain old Nivea (HUGE breakout of spots), but it worked a treat. So once a week my poor husband has to spend the night with some crazy woman who has her hair scraped back into a pony tail and has a tacky face. Fortunately it is worth it in the morning as my skin feels amazing. 


Pond's Cold Cream (US version)

French rose water

Current face cream
 (just a quick disclaimer - this is what works for me and I am in no way qualified to give advice, I am just showing what I use and hopefully getting some ideas back from people with similar skin to me)

Friday, 26 July 2013

Avon calling!

Oh yes, it is my (old) favourite day of the month - Avon day. My little order arrived with Brochure 13. Now, I use Avon for all our family day to day toiletries. Shower gels, shampoo, shaving foam, hand soap and bubble bath for our family of 6. I do occasionally get the odd perfume or face cream if it is on offer and as I got married last year, I bought all my makeup for the big day from there as I didn't have a clue where else to get it and I was doing my own makeup for the big day as I don't really like anyone else touching my face.

This month's brochure is looking rather promising to say the least - I know I will be getting a few bits and bobs to try out from it. I am also going to let you in on some of my biggest mistakes from there too, but given the price I can't really complain.

First up, the tagline this month is "Try Something New" , and the cover is inviting us to try the new Moroccan Argan Oil Lightweigh Gloss Spray. So great that it must be sold out or not available online as I can't link to it as it isn't on the website.

I have curly/frizzy hair and have tried a couple of the Argan products before, so I think I will give the gloss spray a miss as I have found that they weigh my hair down too much and make it feel awfully greasy within a couple of hours. I think I will stick with my normal Avon shine spray as it is light, doesn't weigh my hair down and make it look greasy. Bonus that it is on offer this month!

The next thing that really does draw my attention is their new Opal Top Coat - again not on the website. To quote the brochure - "Seal your nail colour with a subtle shimmer with this easy to apply top coat. Creates a colourful contrast on darker shades. That is £2.50 for 12ml and will normally be £6. I am definitely going to give that one a try. I seem to have a love/hate relationship with Avon nail varnishes, especially the nailwear pro + ones. Some of the colours go on great, the others are just rubbish. This brochure's colours are real gemstone colours so they do seem to be going for the darker ones to showcase the new topcoat.

I am not a huge makeup fan, in fact this is what most of this blog is about - my daughter trying to persuade me to use it a little more often! I have to be honest - I genuinely can't tell one mascara from another apart from the colour, and I only ever use a little black kohl eyeliner if I ever use it. Not tons of it round both lids, just a little on the bottom. Having a flick through the makeup section, there are a couple of things that I am tempted to try because of the great price (and I don't have anything to lose whatsoever apart from a few quid).

One thing I do like and need to replace is their illuminating face pearls which I pop on with a large all over face brush. It just adds a little sparkle to my T zone if I am going out. When you have as many freckles as I do, nothing short of theatrical makeup will cover them, so I just chose to wear 'em, loud and proud.

There are some fantastic foundations and primers this month and it is great to see that in the past few months that Avon has finally started producing their foundations and powders in the full spectrum of skin colours. I haven't found one that suits me yet, but I will keep trying. I seem to be stuck in a limbo (Avon wise) where their normal range is too young for my skin, but their Anew range for older skin looks dreadful on me, very thick and heavy looking.

There is a new product in this brochure (13) that has caught my eye and you guessed it, not online again, but it is called Luminous Finish Face Illuminator (product # 05272) that looks great - an all over highlighter that I am tempted to give a try at £5. I am finding this quite frustrating, a lovely new catologue that I can't link up to! This one I am definitely going to report back on when I have got the order.

The face cream that I am currently using is the Anew Reversalist 40+ day cream as it is the only one that doesn't clog my pores or cause an outbreak of spots. I don't use the night cream as it is too heavy but due to the price can only get it when it is on offer. It has got a few pound off this month but not enough for me to stock up.

I am desperately looking for a new face cream as the one I use is a bit hit and miss as to if I can afford it. I am genuinely thinking of getting one of the cheaper Solutions range.

Nivea (of all kinds) is too heavy for my skin even though it is dry. I just can't seem to get the balance right and would really appreciate some help if anyone has any suggestions. I know I sound tight fisted but I would be more than happy to pay decent money for a decent product.

This month's brochure has gone very heavy on the bronzing, colour trend, nail varnishes and Anew Genics range so far. I tried one of the Anew Genics products, the expression lines treatment cream and as soon as I put it on I had to literally scrub it off. I had a terrible reaction to it as my skin is that sensitive but my 71 year old Mum loves it and she really does look great with it. It has done wonders for her but just isn't for me. It has put me off trying any of the other products in that range for sure, but I know people who swear by them.

They have also gone crazy for nail varnish and nail art too this month. I struggle to keep my nails looking clean and tidy, let alone painted. I use a wheelchair and am always banging my nails off something or other. I had thought about getting Shellac nails done but I really don't think I can warrant £24 every 2 weeks when the rest of my body needs such an MOT and my hands get such a daily battering.

Another of my problems on my face is that I have thread veins and spider veins on my cheeks caused by previous bad maintenance on my behalf and radiotherapy. I have been trying for ages to find a decent vitamin K cream but really can't find anywhere on the net that has been able to advise me as to which to try (that cost under £100!) so I have decided to plump for Swanson Vitamin K cream. I think the only way to see if it works is to take a picture every day and shove them all into a YouTube video to see how I go. Going to take at least a month by the time I get it so this is a long term project. It doesn't seem a bad buy for £5.65 and it still cheaper than the Solutions range in Avon. An added bonus is that it is paraben free too which I look for when I am trying something new out.

My gorgeous daughter F is going to go crazy when she gets home from work and sees the brochure as her favourite range, Planet Spa has got a great range in this month and it really is her favourite. She is so lucky as she is able to use pretty much anything on her skin and this range suits her skin type so well. Unfortunately, not so much for me.

There is the usual range of watches, jewellery, pretty undies and pyjamas this month too. It hasn't been my favourite brochure but in fairness, that is what I love about Avon. Some months there will only be a couple of things that catch my eye, other months I could spend a small fortune.

I will always go back to Avon for my basics, but I am determined to branch out from it. There are some items I need that they just don't do (vitamin K cream for instance). I am deadly serious about getting this body and face into shape before the big 40 so with the help of my daughter, some Avon bits and the world now finally opening up to me with my sample boxes, I may finally get my routine sorted!

Beauteco Box....

Just to give you a little more insight into my life, I am disabled. I have uncontrolled epilepsy so as up until a week ago I had no idea that monthly beauty boxes even existed (yes, I have been living under a stone seemingly), I thought I would start out with 3 to see which one or two would suit me best. My Birchbox is sat waiting for F to come home and open hers with me, and yes, it is killing me not to be able to have a peek yet.

My Glossybox is on its way so having had a good trawl through the internet, starting to follow a few beauty blogs on here I found another one that I thought would be a great try - BeautecoBox

This one seems quite new and is undergoing a re branding and is a little different from the ones that I have come across so far. I was definitely up for it as it isn't quite the "surprise" box that you get with the others, this one you actually get to choose which one you would like, and they are full size items.

I sat there, tab open, debit card in hand and went to sign up. Sadly, I couldn't. I live in the Isle of Man and on the drop down menu for "County" (which is a mandatory field)  - you guessed it, no Isle of Man. The Isle of Wight was there, but nope, I wasn't.

They had a contact address which I sent an email to and BOY was I taken aback by their customer service. They are going to amend their drop down menu and are prepared to sort something out for me in the meantime so that I can subscribe. I am genuinely looking forwards to this one too.

As I am new to all this I thought if I gave 3 of them 3 to 6 months to see which came out the overall best for me (or two) I would keep them on, same for F. I would love to hear of any different ones out there in the same price range that people have tried as I am always open to suggestions that is for sure.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

A beauty find by D all on my own... Red Fox's Bottle o'Butter.

Both my gorgeous daughter F and myself have keratosis pilaris . With me, it has mellowed with age but F's is really bad at the moment (she is 17). To cap it all, we are mixed race which doesn't help either when looking for a good moisurizer.

I have been using E45 for years and I still have it but I am sure it is age that has made it soften. F has had all sorts of things off the GP for hers - none of which have worked.

As I don't want this just to be a "Ooh, what is in my Birchbox and Glossybox" type blog
, both myself and my daughter will be looking at and looking for alternative stuff for us to use for varying things that affect both of us.

F has great skin but with tons of freckles. Although we are mixed race, there is more white in our skin tone, both of us having freckles. She has excessively curly dark blonde hair and I used to have the same but in red until I had radiotherapy 4 years ago. Now I have very thin dark red hair. Unfortunately for me, the long wanted poker straight hair still eludes me, it is a mass of frizz. My great, great grandmother's DNA shows itself in our body shapes and in a couple of medical ways.

Anyway - onto my personal beauty find! Nothing, and I mean absolutely NOTHING keeps my skin hydrated all day. I am on combination drug therapy and it wreaks havoc with my skin. I had been looking everywhere and trying all sorts to get that "24 hour" moisturizer.

I had been reading a beauty blog (should have bookmarked it instead of scribbling down the name of the produce) and wish I could link it up for you as it really is a great blog (and this is my first one). The lady writing the blog had keratosis pilaris and swore by Red Fox's Bottle 'o butter. I shuffled off to Amazon to buy some and it arrived last week.

First up, it came really quickly. In a plain old cardboard box. The packaging of the product had me in stitches. I paid £3.49 for 473ml (16 fl oz) and I think it shows that the money goes into the product, not the packaging. It is a bright yellow "bottle" with red and dark brown writing on it. I will take a picture when my husband gets up and post it up but if I start taking pics of moisturizer bottles and popping them on a blog he will think I am more insane than he already does. 

(Here is said picture - done after the weekly shop, the washing. You get the picture (no pun intended))

Onto the actual contents. First up, if you are a vegan then this isn't the product for you as it contains lanolin. Other than that, it is just the usual suspect with a couple of extras.

It smells absolutely gorgeous, very much like the Body Shop's "cocoa butter body butter" which is on sale at the moment on their website at £6.00 (down from £13 which is why I stopped using it years ago). I need to do my beauty on a budget and being a Mum of 4 (we have 3 boys along with my gorgeous F).

One thing that really surprised me is that if you are looking at something to throw on your skin and just 2 minutes later be ready to get dressed and go - this isn't going to work for you. If you want that 24 hour moisturisation you are damn well going to have to work with it with this stuff! It has to be really worked into the body and after a bit of trial and error, straight out of the shower is the best time for me. Normally my skin will suck up anything vaguely moisturising really quickly but not with this.

I genuinely felt a bit deflated after spending a good 10 minutes on moisturising myself but after about 6 hours it felt just the same as it did after I had done it. There is no "tackiness" to it at all either. 12 hours later, just the same. By the time I went for my shower the next day I am sure my skin was just as hydrated as it was after I had put my first lot on the day before. Needless to say - I have bought more, much much more!

I get quite ashy skin and this totally got rid of it. I am completely surprised and thrilled. If anyone else has used it, I would love to hear about what you think. I will update this post with pictures when the other half wakes up too.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Birchbox has arrived (well, 2 of them, one for me and one for my daughter)

Well, welcome to our blog. I am D and my daughter is F. We decided after watching all the numerous YouTube videos about Birchbox, Glossybox and Ipsy that we would take the plunge and get one. Today is the day that our chosen one (Birchbox) has arrived. I am guessing that I will be taking care of the blogging side of things, and my daughter and I will be doing videos to go with when we open our boxes.

I have seen lots of vids where people aren't happy with what they have got, so I am going into this with a totally open mind. I am a complete novice with regards to makeup and the suchlike at the age of 39, so my daughter is going to help me get myself looking like a human being.

My beauty regime so far consists of Pond's Cold Cream as a cleanser, French rose water as a toner and Avon's 40+ Anew moisturiser. Yep - I am that advanced!

As for having a shower, it is Avon shower gel and yep, you guessed it, Avon shampoo and conditioner. F thinks I should experiment a bit more as I don't wear any makeup, and I don't dye my hair either. I think this is going to change very soon. I use E45 cream as a body moisturiser with a little essential oil mixed in for fragrance (currently bergamot oil).

I couldn't even tell you what F's routine it - she has that much stuff it is unreal. No amount of coercion will get me to wear makeup on a daily basis or throw tons of stuff on my face and body, but I definitely need to branch out now that things are starting to get wrinkly.

I was all proud when I found Birchbox and signed up both myself and F for it. Should have known she already knew about it! What she doesn't know is that I have signed myself up for Glossybox to see what it is like. If it is any good - she is getting one too. There are loads out there to try, but as I am a beginner, I shall start right there - at the beginning.

We have a YouTube channel and will be uploading our unboxing video soon - the little pink box is sitting there taunting me like you wouldn't believe! Well, brown box as I couldn't resist a peek, but you know what I mean - I have promised my daughter I won't post a picture yet. 


So, if you want a laugh and watch an old fart being told what to do by her daughter with regards to the beauty department - please keep your eye out for us - videos will soon be coming (apparently I have to shame myself by showing my current regime too - yep, I am going to open myself up for constructive criticism too!)

We would love to hear what everyone who got a Birchbox this month thought of theirs, ours are going to be opened later on today so you won't be spoiling it if you let us know.