Back to Blogging

Moving always takes way more time than I think it will, so I should have had a better estimate about how long I would be on hiatus.  Sorry!  And of course, there was a problem getting our new broadband connection up and running.  And then, to top off the whole fun of moving I got sick.  But I’m back to having Internet, organization, and being healthy….finally.

The good news is that I’ve got a lot of stuff to catch up on now.  While I was moving and such, I got my first Birchbox, as well as my second one.  Plus, I’ve gotten two Glossyboxes.  I also ordered a couple of beauty products from Net-A-Porter that I need to review.  And then there’s the whole conundrum of how to keep your beauty products convenient but not messy, wardrobe organization, and more.  All of those fun, tidying, storage things you think about when you’re moving.

So, this week I’ll be catching up on my beauty box subscriptions and then on to new and exciting topics and products.

We’re Moving!

Dave and I are getting ready to move next week and are thrilled to be heading back to our old neighbourhood in London.  Currently, our existing flat is starting to get messy while we work towards getting everything ready for the movers.  And I’m also trying to make sure we have things like Internet when we get our new flat too.  We have a very long week and a half of packing and then unpacking, putting everything away, and setting up of our new place.

If you’ve moved anytime recently, you probably remember how stressful and time consuming it can be.  I’ve been trying to get everything organized for moving next week, as well as keep up my blogging, but really, that hasn’t been working out so well.  So, I’m going to take a little time off from blogging until we are fully moved in to our new flat and have broadband set up too.   Plus, it’s my birthday and a bank holiday right after we move too.  So, I’m guessing I won’t be back to blogging and normal until the end of August.

The New Shoe Heaven at Harrods

I might not have a huge, gorgeous collection of shoes, but I do admire and love them.  So many shoes are like little works of art, how can you not love them?  If you love shoes too, you’ll be really impressed and amazed with the new Shoe Heaven at Harrods that opened yesterday.

Harrods Shoe Heaven has taken over the fifth floor of their Knightsbridge store and covers an impressive 42,000 square foot.  Imagine that, 42,000 square foot of shoe shopping nirvana.  Harrods has created a new way of shopping with velvet banquet lounge seating, private shopping suites, and best of all beautifully crafted displays.  Within the overall space they have seventeen individual boutiques with collections from all of the leading designers and brands.  Here’s just a small sampling of the more than fifty designers represented in Shoe Heaven:

A little piece of Shoe Heaven at Harrods
A little piece of Shoe Heaven at Harrods
  • Aquazurra
  • Bottega Veneta
  • Chanel
  • Charlotte Olympia
  • Christian Louboutin
  • Giuseppe Zanotti
  • Jimmy Choo
  • Lanvin
  • Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Tod’s
  • UGG Australia

If there’s a shoe or style that you are looking for, there’s no way you won’t be able to find it here!  I can’t wait to do a little shoe shopping now.  You can find out more about the wonderful new shoe boutique at Harrods, including a full list of the designers, on the Harrods website.


Glossybox: July 2014

The July box is a celebration of American beauty brands.  You might have guessed that it had something to do with the US given the stars and stripes box.  The items in the box are all from American beauty brands, and not really the big ones that you might expect, which is nice.   This was the first month without a printed magazine included, which I must admit I do somewhat miss.  However, the switch to an online-only magazine means they can do videos and things and update it too.

My July box had four full sized products and the other product was a decent sized sample too. I love it when they include the full sized stuff because I really feel like I’m getting good value for my Glossybox, plus, there’s enough of something to see if it works and you like it.  I like or at least can use all of the items this month, so this seemed like a decent box to me.  As usual, the lipstick and nail polish colours aren’t necessarily ones that I would have picked for myself, but it’s fun to be forced to try some new things.  The box though, is adorable with the stars and stripes theme and definitely one I’ll be keeping.

Bellapierre Mineral Lipstick
Bellapierre Mineral Lipstick

Bellapierre Cosmetics, Mineral Lipstick in Ruby, 3.5 gram full size tube.  This is definitely one of those lipstick colours that I never would have chosen for myself because it is bright, very bright.  It seems such a huge departure from my normal rose coloured selection of gloss and lipsticks, that I was thinking I would really hate it.  However, I gave it a try and found that it actually doesn’t look too bad on me and that I can handle the bright colour, occasionally.  I’m not saying this is going to be my new go-to colour, but it certainly makes for a nice change.  It also kind of brightens up my whole face, which is great for those days when you are feeling kind of blah.  The formulation is really nice though because it goes on very smoothly and doesn’t feel at all drying.  There’s a lot of pigmentation too, it seems, so the colour is very rich looking.  It lasts quite well too, even if you are eating and drinking.  Since this is a mineral lipstick it’s got nice things like Vitamin C and E in it too.  Along with natural waxes and mineral pigments, the vitamins will keep your lips in great shape, as well as give you a bit of sun protection.  Despite the colour freaking me out initially, I actually really like this lipstick because the formulation feels so nice on your lips and doesn’t make them get that dry, caked on feeling you get from so many lipsticks.  I’ve also found that I can tone down the colour a bit if I blot it after I put it on, which makes it a bit more like a lip stain.

While you can find some Bellapierre cosmetics at Amazon, for the full range of colours and products, it is best to just go directly to the source via the Bellapierre website.  They have six different colours of the mineral lipstick: Ruby, Catwalk, Envy, Fierce, Luminous, and Mandarina.  But no matter what colour you get it is going to be £20.00 per tube, though the shipping is £5.00 for FedEx next day.

Absolute New York Eyeshadow Primer
Absolute New York Eyeshadow Primer

Absolute New York, Perfecting Eyeshadow Primer, 0.28 ounce full size tube.  I like the texture of this quite a bit because it is very creamy and smooth feeling.  It goes on feeling totally silky smooth and glides across the very delicate skin around your eyes without even the slightest bit of pulling or drag.  And of course, that is so important when dealing with your eye area.  The primer is a light flesh tone, so it can even out your skin tone and brighten the eye area a bit, while giving you the perfect base for your eye shadow.  I’ve tried it a couple of times now and have to say that I find it easy to apply and it does make my eye area look a bit better even.  I don’t have a huge problem with my eye shadow creasing anyway, but this did seem to make my eyeshadow go on better and stay on longer; it was like the shadow colours seemed better/richer really.  This being Summer, and kind of humid recently, I’ve also tried this without eye shadow over it just to even out my eye lid area for a really super light makeup look and it worked perfectly.  It just gave my eyes that more even and finished look without needing anything else, plus the light formula feels like you are wearing absolutely nothing which is perfect for a hot, humid day.

Unfortunately it seems like you can only get this from US sites, and the international shipping rates might not prove worth it.  Glossybox lists as the place to get the Absolute New York primer for $4.99, which is a great price.  Since they don’t list international shipping rates, and their website quotes for shipping rates doesn’t seem to actually work, I’m reluctant to think of this as a viable source.  I haven’t found a place in the UK that sells this, so I don’t have any suggestions on where to get this product.

Carmex Lip Balm
Carmex Lip Balm

Carmex, Lip Balm, 7.5 gram full size pot.  Carmex has been around since 1937 probably because it works so well.  I remember this from being a kid when it was pretty much either this or Chapstick to soothe your chapped lips.  It’s got a really distinctive vanilla with a hint of camphor smell about it too that every time I smell it, it just magically transports me back to being a kid.  Carmex is made with menthol, camphor, and lanolin to keep your lips moist and healthy, no matter what time of year it is.  It has a fairly thin consistency but it reallyprotects your lips to keep them moisturized and chap-free.  You can also use it on any rough or dry patches, like elbows.  Presumably you could use it on minor cuts or scrapes too because the camphor would act as an antimicrobial.  It’s great on lips though and really will get them feeling better fast, even when they are super chapped and dry.  I tend to go for thicker lip balms because I feel like they work a bit better, but they are usually more pricey than this.  So I guess you could just keep reapplying it and probably still come out ahead money-wise.  The only other problem I have with Carmex is the little pot that it comes in which has just always seemed unsanitary to me.  You have to put it on with your fingers and that means germs in the pot and then on your lips, all of which seems a bit too germy for me.

You can find the original little pot of Carmex at Graftons Beauty for £2.60.  If the original pot creeps you out like it does me, they also have a variety other lip balm products now too, like flavoured balms, like cherry and green tea, plus they even have tinted lip balms now all of which are in sticks or tubes.

Color Club Glossy Seal Polish
Color Club Glossy Seal Polish

Color Club, Glossy Seal Polish, 0.5 fluid ounce full size bottle.  Color Club is a New York-based company and this deep blue colour, Glossy Seal, was created solely for the July Glossybox. Though it does look quite similar to their Chelsea Girl polish colour.   The nice thing about Color Club is that their polish is made with only non-toxic, cruelty-free ingredients, so you can have pretty, guilt and worry-free nails.  This colour fits in with the latest nail polish trend for darker colours and blues in particular, so that’s nice.  It’s definitely not something I would have picked up for myself, but I actually think it is a fun change.  I was worried it would look weird against my paleness but it doesn’t.  The polish is really nice though because it goes on very smoothly and dries pretty fast.  I also was impressed with how long it lasted without chipping or peeling or anything bad.  I was impressed that even with all of the typing that I do during the week it lasted for a week without looking ratty by the end of seven days.

This is another item that I can’t seem to locate in the UK, just the US.  I’ve read a couple of places that there is a Color Club website in the UK, but I can’t get it to work for me.  Glossybox directs me to buy this at the Color Club site in the US, unfortunately, they don’t ship internationally.  So, the $8.50 price in the US is great, but you have to live in the US to get it apparently.

Dr. Bronner's Lavender Bar Soap
Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Bar Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Lavender  Bar Soap, 34 gram sample bar.  I love the smell of lavender and find it immediately relaxing and destressing.  The smell of this soap is really nice too because it is a gentle lavender, not too potent or over the top.  Aside from the gorgeous smell, it is actually good for your hands and skin too.  The soap is made with organic coconut, palm, olive, hemp, and jojoba oils to leave your skin feeling lovely and soft.  The soap is great and I actually think I might get the big bar for my shower.  This would be so great to shower with right before bed to just get a head start on relaxing and resting.  The soap is nice and so is the company.  Dr. Bronner’s soaps are made with organic and fair trade ingredients, plus they use a lot of recycled materials to create their packaging too.  For instance, the lavender soap comes wrapped in 10% hemp-flax / 90% post-consumer recycled paper from Living Tree Paper Co.

The full sized bar is 140 grams/5 ounces and you can get it at the Dr. Bronner’s website for £3.99.  It’s certainly a bit more than regular bar soaps, but the ingredients and overall quality of the soap warrant it, I think.  If you like lavender, they have a whole range of cleansers and lotions that are made with the same types of organic, fair trade ingredients.  I might get some of the liquid hand soap next time I run out after enjoying the bar soap so much.

How do the numbers stack up for the box this month?  Here is the breakdown:

  • Bellapierre Cosmetics, Mineral Lipstick in Ruby, 3.5 gram full size tube: £20.00 value.
  • Absolute New York, Perfecting Eyeshadow Primer, 0.28 ounce full size tube: £2.95 value.
  • Carmex, Lip Balm, 7.5 gram full size pot: £2.60 value.
  • Color Club, Glossy Seal Polish, 0.5 fluid ounce full size bottle: £5.03 value.
  • Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Lavender  Bar Soap, 34 gram sample bar: £0.97 value.
  • Total Value: £31.55

The mineral lipstick more than covers the cost of the Glossybox, which is great.  I think the box this month was quite good because I like pretty much all of the products.  I’m a little on the fence about the Carmex but it will work great for keeping next to my bed.

Great Birchbox Deal from LivingSocial UK

It looks like good things do come to those who wait.  I’ve been putting off signing up for Birchbox but finally I’ve found a deal that is so great, I just couldn’t help but be tempted into a six month Birchbox subscription.

Save 50% on a 6 month Birchbox subscription
Save 50% on a 6 month Birchbox subscription

Birchbox is a lot like Glossybox in that it is a beauty box where you can get a selection of five interesting beauty products every month to try out.  I love the whole concept because it can introduce you to some really great items and help you find your next favourite thing.  This is great for a beauty neophyte like myself.  I’ve discovered tons of great new products that I love and feel like I couldn’t live without from Glossybox.  So, I’m hoping Birchbox lives up to that, and maybe is even better.

Birchbox, also much like Glossybox, isn’t exactly cheap.  Though, of course, it is definitely less than it would be if you had to buy full sizes of all the great products you get to try out.  A subscription is £10.00 per month with a fee of £2.95 per month for shipping, so really you’ll pay £12.95 per month for your box.  It’s also the same for a six month subscription, or £77.70, they don’t actually give you a break on pricing until you get a full year subscription.

Normally a six month subscription would be £60.00 with another £17.70 for shipping for the six months, but thanks to LivingSocial you can save a bundle on that price.  For the next seven days, you can purchase a deal from LivingSocial where you get a six month Birchbox subscription for just £30.00!  Yeah, half price.  Plus, you’ll get a big savings of slightly more than half price on the shipping too which will cost £8.00 instead of the normal £17.70 for all six months; you pay the shipping price directly to Birchbox when you sign up.  That is a great deal since you are saving £39.70!  Woot!  You’ve got to like that kind of deal, huh?  The only catch at all is that you have to be a new Birchbox customer.

So, if you want to get a six month subscription to Birchbox, this is the perfect opportunity!  If you haven’t signed up with LivingSocial before, this is a good time to do that too.  It’s pretty quick and they have a ton of great deals on all kinds of services, products, and even holidays.  So, go check out the deal at LivingSocial.