Coming Soon | Smashbox Double Exposure Palette & Primer Water

Smashbox Cosmetics

Ladies, I’m here today to pre-warn you to save a few of your Christmas pennies. Smashbox have two very special releases coming up in the new year that I think you might want to check out.

To me, Smashbox is synonymous with primer, being one of the leaders in developing the product. And in February they’ll be reinventing it again with the release of their Photo Finish Primer Water. It comes in a spray bottle and packed with electrolytes, Smashbox describe it as an “energy drink for your skin”. Since I suffer with dry patches, this is perfect for me as it’s so hydrating. A multifunctional product, it can also be used to set make up and refresh during the day as it is so light. It feels great on the skin and it smells lush, roll on February… The Primer Water will appear at stockist from February 18th and will be £20.

Smashbox Cosmetics Double Exposure Palette

But if you can’t wait until February for a Smashbox fix, check out the Double Exposure palette which will be released in January. This is described as the “next step” on from the Full Exposure palette and injects a few pops of colour into your eyeshadow wardrobe. It’s a combination of shimmers and mattes and pretty much covers all bases, from navy and mauve to black and white via a good number of neutrals. As a blue eyed girl I struggle a bit with purpley shades, but the satin navy and the dark metallic bronze are made for me. The Double Exposure palette is formulated to double up – all of the shades can be used wet or dry. Using them wet intensifies the effect of the shadow so it amps up the shimmer, gets deeper, becomes more metallic and this is where I think the palette stands out from the crowd. The blue especially becomes the most insanely beautiful colour for a graphic liner look. 28 options for the price of 14! It is out in the UK on Jan 7th and is priced at £37.

What do you think of these new launches? Do either of them take your fancy?

Look Fantastic Beauty Box | November

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

Another day, another beauty box. Seems like everyone is jumping on the mystery box bandwagon. Look Fantastic have been doing theirs for a couple of months now. It is priced at £15 with free delivery, and if you’re at all familiar with LF, you’ll know that they have some pretty good brands on their roster so I was expecting good things. And how right I was!

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

Glam Glow! Thanks Look Fantastic, that’s all I wanted! Seriously, this is the Youthmud Tingle Exfoliate Treatment (face pack to us mere mortals) and I have been wanting to try this for so long. This is a 15g sample so a decent size, I expect to get at least three uses out of it. I’ll let you know my thoughts very soon.

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

This is the Monu Soothing Touch Recovery Balm. It’s a really soft cream and with it’s evening primrose fragrance feels like a comforting hug for your face. That’s a really strange description, but the gist is I like it and my winter skin will love it.

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

Nuxe Nuxellence Jeunesse Youth and Radiance Revealing Fluid. A moisturiser by a fancy name. It’s a bit disappointing to receive two facial moisturisers to be completely honest, although Nuxe is always a welcome brand in my book.

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

This is the best selling Eve Lom Cleanser. Apparently it’s amazing, but all I know is that it smells horrendous. Like aniseed and cloves and all kinds of other stuff I don’t want near my face. I will try it. Once I’ve used up everything else I have. I’m sure I’ll be converted if it’s as good as the magazine editors claim it is…

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

Next I got the New CID I-Crayon Lip and Cheek Tint in Rose. I actually have this already, I think it came free in Glamour or something a few months ago. Anyway, it’s very nice. I prefer it on the lips as it’s slightly glossy but a good colour for both.

Look Fantastic Beauty Box November

Lastly, I got the Hand Chemistry Intense Youth Complex hand cream. I’m not usually excited by hand cream as I have so many but I really love this. Maybe it’s the matte box, the neon pink, or the super sciencey looking diagram but I’m quite taken by it all. Apparently it has some sort of mushroom derivative in it which is 400 times more moisturising than hyraluronic acid, which was previously thought to be the most moisturising thing on the planet – 10,000 times more so than water! The beauty world is mental is it not? Anyways, it smells nice – kinda zesty. I’m not worried about my hands showing signs of age just yet so I think I give this to my mum (no offence intended, Ma!) to test out the wild claims.

Pretty good box all in all. Definitely think it’s good value for money and it seems to be very consistent in terms of quality. If you want to pre-order the December box, you can do so here. Otherwise it’s out on the 2nd December and will probably sell out that day.

Have you tried any of these products? What do you think of them?


Lucky Dip Club | Lucky Diner

Lucky Dip Club Lucky Dine

Diner days were happy days in last month’s Lucky Dip Club. If you’re not familiar, Lucky Dip Club is a monthly subscription service priced at £15 per month. It includes a jewellery piece, a DIY kit and a personalised item as well as a selection from homewares, stationery and other fun items. It’s always wonderfully presented and a joy to open. Every month has a new theme so let’s have a look at what was in the Lucky Diner box:

Lucky Dip Club Lucky Dine

The star of the box was the donut, a gorgeous gold necklace. This is a new material for Lucky Dip Club and a really lovely addition. A classy donut, right?

Lucky Dip Club Lucky Dine

This is a magnet and is to be used for sticking takeaway menus to your fridge. I love this idea so much. Unfortunately my fridge is behind a cupboard door so not magnetised but I’m keeping a hold of this for when I do have a nicer fridge.

Lucky Dip Club Lucky Dine

Super cute paper straws. I love a cutesy accessory in my drink so I’m happy with these. Love the colour combination too.

Lucky Dip Club Lucky Dine

The DIY this month is a paper craft where you make your own burger buddy. It’s essentially 3 little boxes that look like a cheery burger.

Lucky Dip Club Lucky Dine

How awesome is this ice cream sundae tea towel? I’m always up for a homeware piece and this will jazz up the boring task of drying the dishes. But it might force me to eat ice cream as soon as I’m finished…

Lucky Dip Club Lucky Dine

For October we got a wee extra for Halloween in the form of a black cat button. I know that there is two schools of thought when it comes to black cats but I fall on the side of them being lucky so fingers crossed this will bring me some good luck! The menu card was also really cool this month with a roller skating waitress.

Lucky Dip Club Lucky Dine

This was another good month. Sadly, I think I’m going to have to dip out of Lucky Dip Club soon as I need to cut back on my spending. Maybe just a couple more…

In Other News | November 2014

What’s been happening | what’s the plan | and all that other shizz

The Body Shop Christmas

This month I got to go along to The Body Shop after hours to check out their new in Christmas collection. We were given the chance to try out the new limited edition scents - Vanilla Brulee, Frosted Cranberry and, my favourite, Glazed Apple.

The Body Shop Christmas The Body Shop Christmas The Body Shop Christmas

This Christmas The Body Shop have teamed up with War Child to provide a lesson for a child in need for every gift set sold. So far they’ve funded 143 709 lessons which is incredible. If you are planning on buying someone a bath, body or skincare set for Christmas make sure you check out The Body Shop as every little helps and you’ll be spreading Christmas joy just a little further.

Beauty Box Swap

This month I also took part in a beauty box swap with Carol from Flitty Chick Fancies hosted by Kat from Tales of a Pale Face.  I love what I received, especially the products by Pixy which are made locally to Carol. I also love the make up bag, it’s so cute! My skin has been misbehaving recently so I’ll be trying out the Tea Tree & Witch Hazel face mask tonight, hopefully it can work miracles!


My last piece of news for this month is that I’ve got myself a new job and I’ll be moving to Cheltenham in a few weeks! So I’ll no longer be an Edinburgh blogger sadly, but it’s an exciting development for me and I’m looking forward to reuniting the kitten and the bf, they’re missing each other. I’ll be keeping the blog up so look out for a change of scene soon.

On that note, I’d love it if you could leave me links in the comments to your favourite bloggers based in Cheltenham, Bristol and the South West. I’m looking for some new reads (as well as some new pals).


Beauty Battle | Maybelline vs Benefit Gel Liner Pens

Maybelline vs Benefit gel eyeliner pen Maybelline vs Benefit gel eyeliner pen

The Benefit They’re Real! Push-up Liner is arguably the most hyped beauty product of the year. When it launched it. was. everywhere. “A revolution”, “foolproof”, “so unique”. Er, yeah, but what about the very similar looking Maybelline Lasting Drama Black Shock Gel Liner that’s been on the shelves since a few months prior? Being the cheapskate that I am I decided to go with the Maybelline one and managed to pick up a sample of the Benefit – time to compare!

Maybelline vs Benefit Gel Liner Pens Maybelline vs Benefit Gel Liner Pens

Apparently, what makes these guys foolproof if the rubber tip. Both the Maybelline and the Benefit one are the same – you click the bottom of the pen a few times (or about 104 for the first use!) ’til you get a wee splodge of gel liner appear, then the shape of the rubber tip helps you to get really close to the lash line. I actually found this trickier than using a regular gel eyeliner from a pot with a brush, but this is because that is what I normally use. It is great for people who are more comfortable using a pen style liner. I did find that getting even flicks was easier with this due to the shape of the tip – definitely a bonus.

I liked the Maybelline version – it went on very black and applied smoothly. I had a few wee bumps the first time I used it but these were easily evened out without going too overboard. I found that it lasted the full day as well without smudging. Overall pretty good.

Maybelline vs Benefit Gel Liner Pens Maybelline vs Benefit Gel Liner Pens

The mini version of the Benefit one didn’t give the full experience as it was a single use squeeze up tube instead of the clicky pen, but the shape of the tip is the same and I would assume that the formula is also the same. I prefer the tip on the Benefit liner – it’s slightly firmer so gives you more control.

However, the formula is crap. As you can see in the above photo it flaked off after around 3 hours. Unfortunately, I was out shopping when this started happening so I was wandering about looking like I was wearing yesterday’s make up. Boo.  I should say as well, the rest of the make up I was wearing was identical to that which I wore with the Maybelline version, including Benefit’s Stay Don’t Stray Eye Primer which I really do rate. All other good or bad points asides, if it doesn’t stay on my face, I’m not buying it. SO glad this was a free tester!

So this round goes to the Maybelline Lasting Drama! Sorry Benefit, I still love ya really. The Maybelline version costs £8.99 so I just saved you £9.51. You’re welcome.

Nerd Block | October 2014

Nerd Block October 2014

Top tip: If you want to buy a subscription box for a one-off treat, remember to unsubscribe before they charge you for the following month! Yep, forgetting that handy factoid is the sole reason I have a Nerd Block to share with you today. Look out for a Glossybox where the very same thing has happened soon. Luckily, the October Nerd Block is awesome! The best one I’ve seen by a mile. It was clearly fate, not forgetfulness. Nerd Block comes in at around £20 for shipping to the UK and as it always includes a t-shirt I do think this is a pretty good deal.

The October box was curated by none other than Kevin Smith. Both me and the bf had no idea so this was a pleasant and welcome surprise when we unboxed it (over Skype, the joys of long-distance). The theme this month is ‘Collide’ and I think it’s covered well. Lets take a look.

Nerd Block October 2014

First up, a Zelda Dangler thingymajig. Probably won’t use this but at least it’s Link and not some obscure character which you often get in these mystery grab bags.

Nerd Block October 2014

Here we have some vintage style Captain America Trading Cards. You get two complete sets and I really like the look and finish of these – I know that’s a lame thing to like, sorry but I’m interested in paper textures, okay?! I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with a fun drinking game with these. Hey, I managed it with an episode of Eastenders.

Nerd Block October 2014

Marvel vs DC badges. Are you Team Marvel or Team DC? I’m DC everyday of the week. Although I do like Wolverine… he seems like the kinda guy that would switch allegiances though so sticking with DC.

Nerd Block October 2014 Nerd Block October 2014

This is exciting. Stationery! In a Nerd Block?! It’s Batman themed of course – Arkham Asylum Patient Notes to be exact, but practical all the same. Winner.

Nerd Block October 2014

Some Kevin Smith stickers. These are pretty cool, I really like the Jay and Silent Bob/Mario Brother mash up especially. I’m sure David will stick these on a notebook or folder somewhere.

Nerd Block October 2014

I love the Pop! vinyl figurines so was happy to see this one even though I don’t know who Deadpool is. David informs me that he is an X-Man[Men?] and there is an origins film being made for him soon, so was very pleased with this guy. I am too, I literally want all of the Pop! figurines, they’re too cute. Especially this Ash one.

Nerd Block October 2014

Lastly, a Jay and Silent Bob do Batman and Robin t-shirt. Again, I really like this. It’s fun and I know David will wear it.

Nerd Block October 2014

I think you’ll agree with me that that was a pretty good haul, right? Bravo Nerd Block, you really knocked it out the park this month. I did remember to cancel this time, sorry, got bills to pay, but I’ll be back I’m sure!

What do you think of this month’s Nerd Block? And where do you fall on the Marvel vs DC debate?



Eats | Just Burgers and Beers

Just Burgers and Beers

Sometimes I think I should rename this blog “Ali’s Adventures in Burger-eating” or something to that effect. What can I say, I’m having a real burger moment and there are sooo many burger places popping up in Edinburgh right now. Recently I went to Just Burgers and Beers. Not the catchiest name, but like Ronseal, it does what it says on the tin, sells burgers and beers.

Just Burgers and Beers Just Burgers and Beers

As you would expect, the beer menu is impressive. Scottish beers, imported lagers, wheat beer, it has it all and of course there are alternatives for non-beer drinkers. Unfortunately a few of my top choices were sold out when we visited (Day of the Dead Pale Ale and Mongozo Coconut) but we both eventually settled on a couple of American pale ales – Anchor Steam for me, c’mon it has an anchor on the bottle, and Sierra Nevada for David. Both nice, rich ales. Mine had a hint of sweetness while David’s had the smallest suggestion of spice.

Just Burgers and Beers

But you don’t care about drinks, you want the main event right? I ordered The Dirty South. No prizes for guessing that this was a BBQ sauced, pulled pork topped BEAST. I quickly lost the gherkins, pulled out the skewer holding the tower together and effectively just stuck my face in it. Do not get this if you’re trying to impress someone – it’s messy. Unless they’re going to be impressed at your burger eating ability of course. I get pulled pork burgers all the time and I swear they just keep getting better and better. This one is super sweet, almost caramelised which I love but may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The burger itself was thick just evenly cooked – an admirable feat. The bun was tasty and managed to stay together even with the onslaught of sticky sauce.

Just Burgers and Beers

As massive as my burger was, it paled into insignificance next to David’s aptly named Man vs Burger. Two burger patties topped with pulled pork, smoked bacon, cheese and “burger salad”. This had to be de-constructed to be eaten but it was eaten. A food coma ensued.

We also ordered sides of fries and coleslaw. Both were fine, but nothing special. To be fair, they didn’t need to be, they were never going to be the reason you go there.

Just Burgers and Beers is a fantastic burger joint. It’s slap bang in the middle of the Royal Mile, somewhere I mostly avoid, particularly in the summer, but it is large inside so don’t let this put you off. The menu is great and has some pretty special toppings on offer such as macaroni cheese fritters or haggis. It also gives you recommendations for which beer will go best with your burger. The prices are very reasonable, starting at £8 and going up to £14 for the Man vs Burger. It’s a great place to take your mates, I’ll definitely be back for The Mac Attack.