Lushoween 2016

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October is the best time of year. Never mind the leaves changing or the move into fall fashion, nope, it’s because you get both Halloween and Christmas candy. My sweet tooth goes into overdrive with happiness. The OTHER great October treat is Lush‘s Halloween and Christmas launches. The only time you year you can enjoy a glitter filled, pumpkin pie scented bath while eating a chocolate Santa #luxurybathtimegoals.

Lush Halloween 2016

I have picked up a bunch of the new Halloween items (and one or two sneaky bits which are technically from the Christmas range) so I am sharing these with you today.

Lush Boo Bath Melt

First up is this adorable little guy. I got mostly bath bombs except this one which is the Boo Bath Melt (£3.50). This is a ginger scented melt which when run under hot water will produce a small amount of bubbles as well. He makes the water soft and is great for the skin. Mine was snuggled up against the Sparkly Pumpkins in store so he’s got a bit of glitter on him but they don’t have glitter as part of the deal. Boo.

Lush Monsters Ball Bath Bomb

Here we have the Monsters’ Ball Bath Bomb (£4.25). He is the floral-sweet scented love child of Monsters’ Inc’s Sulley and Mike Wazowski and is freaking adorable. That eye of his is solid cocoa butter so you can massage this into your skin once his body has fizzed away. He is very powdery and soft so he really explodes into a cloud of pink and blue froth when you dunk him. He leaves the water a deep indigo colour. I just wish he had a core of silver glimmer to really up the wow factor.

Lush  Autumn Leaf Bath Bomb

This is the Autumn Leaf Bath Bomb (£3.75) and this is a lovely seasonal addition for those who really aren’t into the spooky Halloween shtick. Like a fallen carpet of fallen leave it turns your bath into a myriad of yellow, greens and reds. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the smell of this one (it is a woody-grass scent) but it is nice and fresh. I do prefer the sweet and spicy options this time of year but this makes a good change. Unfortunately it turns your water a bit of a blah rusty colour and it’s not particularly moisturising but it’s a fun spectacle while it lasts.

Lush Pumpkin Bath Bomb

Is this not just the most perfect pumpkin? This Jack O’ Lantern is the Pumpkin Bath Bomb (£3.95) and is a sweet cinnamon dream. I was really sad that they didn’t bring back the cinnamon scented Cinders but if anything this one is better. It has a hint of creaminess that really boost the moreish fragrance to the next level.

Lush Skullduggery Bath Bomb

This sugar skull is the Skullduggery Bath Bomb (3.75) and is actually my first purchase from the Lush Kitchen. This has the Calacas lime fragrance so is zesty and uplifting. I haven’t used him yet so I’m not sure if he is all that exciting in the water, but he’s a skull and it’s Halloween so I had to add him to the cart.

Lush Northern Lights Bath Bomb

The Northern Lights Bath Bomb (£3.95) was my favourite product from the 2014 A/W ranges so I was really excited to see it back. It’s in a more compact form with the blue and yellow inners now visible. Sadly it now doesn’t have stars or popping candy but it still have the same relaxing scent of ylang ylang and jasmine. It is fun to watch swirl in the bath and it softens the water well.

Lush Never Mind the Ballistics Bath Bomb

Finally, the least Christmassy Christmas product ever released: the Never Mind the Ballistics Bath Bomb (£4.25). This is super super sweet and fruity, like a pick ‘n’ mix essentially. It has orange, lime and banana included on the ingredients list so no, it’s not Christmassy at all but it also has a massive dose of cocoa butter (all that pink topping) so it’s a good one for your skin in the cold winter months and offers a zippy pick me up. It spins in the bath and is just a little punk rock – as much as a bath bomb can be at least!

Lush Halloween Haul 2016

And so ends my Lush Halloween haul. With the exception of Northern Lights, I only picked up things I hadn’t had before so I think that all of these products are new for this year (with the possible exclusion of Pumpkin, I’m not sure on that). I really miss the Lord of Misrule bath bomb as it has one of my favourite scents ever but it is around until Christmas so I might still get one or try to pick it up in the sale. Trying to save money this time of year is a bummer.

I’m sure I’ll be back with my Christmas purchases soon, there is a t-rex shaped bubble bar that has my name aaalll over it!

A Little Boots Makeup Haul

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I was very recently doing my makeup when I realised that my eyebrows were looking weird. They’d start off ok but then by the time my eyebrow gel dried down they’d take on a milky look. I thought maybe it was just because my chosen product was crap, but on closer inspection it turned out that nope, it was just me that was crap. I bought a coloured gel for blondes. And this is the problem not being able to wear your glasses when you’re doing your makeup. I can’t bloody see!

Anyway, the point of this ramble was that I needed to go to Boots. For one thing. So obviously I bought seven things. Not a huge haul but I thought I’d share what I got anyway.

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The fist thing I got was Rimmel’s Brow This Way brow styling gel in ‘Dark Brown’ aka the actual colour of my eyebrows. I really like this, it adds a bit of colour and definition and holds everything in place without getting too crispy. I also like the tapered brush, it’s not the smallest but neither are my brows so it works for me.

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Boots have a few deals on just now, either 3 for 2 (like on Revlon) or buy one get second item half price (on Rimmel, Maybelline etc) so it’s a good time to pick up some of your essentials. This is how I’m justifying the rest of the items I bought anyway…

The second item I picked up was this Rimmel Kate Eyeshadow Stick in the shade ‘Rose Gold’. Rose gold aka copper. I love copper eyeshadow, it looks great with blue eyes so I’m sure this will become a go-to. It’s metallic and super intense on one swipe but also easy to blend out with a pinkie finger.

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From Maybelline I bought one of the Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in the colour  ‘Red Essential’. This is super pigmented and really creamy so although it is a pencil you still have to be careful when applying it.

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Here’s a swatch of both the lip and eye pencil, both are really high quality and I’m very pleased with them.

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I also finally got myself the Maybelline The Eraser Eye concealer. I got the shade ‘Light’, it’s slightly warm for my skin but it’s totally fine when it’s blended out.

Finally I picked up three of the Revlon Colorstay Shadowlinks. These are small individual eyeshadows that you can pick and mix to create your perfect ‘palette’. I got the shades ‘Sand’ (a pearl finish), ‘Copper’ (metallic) and ‘Cocoa’ (a satin finish). My reasoning behind this was that they are so dinky I thought I could just chuck them in my makeup bag for using at work. I didn’t swath them in store and I wish I had because they don’t actually seem that great. They’re a bit gritty and not that pigmented. ‘Cocoa’ is probably the best but ‘Sand’ really sucks. I’ll give them a fair go though, they might turn out to be fine. I’ll report back.

What have you been buying at the drugstore recently?

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

In my early teenage years (and actually still a bit now) third-wave ska was my thing. While the majority of my pals were more into the indie-rock scene, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish and of course, No Doubt’s The Tragic Kingdom were my tracks of choice. So I have a huge space in my heart for Gwen Stefani. When Urban Decay announced their collaboration with Gwen, I kinda knew that I was going to buy it regardless. Luckily the first product to be launched, the 15-shade eyeshadow palette, is beautiful. It retails at £40, I purchased it from Feel Unique during the sale so received 10% off – not a huge discount, but when you’re meant to be saving for a house every little counts.

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Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

The packaging is super luxe. I love the graphic print on the outer box and the black, white and gold colour scheme. It’s a heavy plastic with a really strong magnetic closure. It has a full size mirror on the inside with a nice nod to the No Doubt song. It is a pretty thick and heavy palette so although it is sturdy it’s not a great option for travelling due to it’s bulk (in my opinion).

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

Unlike palettes like the Naked series there’s no brush included in this one and so no space in the palette to store it. I actually like this. Although the brushes included in other UD sets are really good quality I always think they’re a bit of a waste of space in the palette in general.

As you can see the majority of the Gwen palette is neutral with a good range from light to dark and a couple of statement shades. 12 of the shades are new and named by Gwen and 3 are repeats. Skimp and Stark are both in the Naked 2 Basics palette (which I have) and Blackout is in Naked2 (which I don’t have) as well as being available individually.

If I’m being really nit-picky, it’s weird that the names are printed above the shadow when normally they’re below.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

Sorry, for the crappy swatches but hopefully you get the idea. Blonde is a pale beige with a subtle pink iridescent shift. Bathwater is a pearly pale gold shimmer. Skimp is an almost matte pale beige with the slighest hint of a satiny shine. Steady is a gorgeous rosy-gold shimmer. Punk is a matte reddish-brown that would be a great  shade for lining or creating an interesting smoky look.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

On the middle row, Baby is a metallic rose. Anaheim is a matte, cool, light brown. Stark is a matte beige. Zone is a mid-toned brown, also matte. Serious is a really unusual grey with a very subtle pink pearl that just lifts it.

Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani | The Eyeshadow Palette

On to the last row and Pop is a sheer sparkly champagne, Harajuku is a cool toned pink metallic. Danger is a really intense navy metallic. 1987 is a yellow gold metallic with much better pay-off than my picture shows. Blackout is a black matte.

The biggest disappointment of the palette is Pop. This is a really grainy glitter that has a tonne of fallout, much like Midnight Cowboy Rides Again and one that I probably won’t use even though it looks lovely in the pan. Harajuku also feels quite stiff in the pan and has a much more sheer pay off than one might expect. However, for a bright pink this is probably a good thing! The rest are all buttery soft, high quality shadows. The overall feel is a very wearable, neutral look with a couple of pops of colour and good smoky options. I also think that the navy Danger and the gold 1987 are still quite wearable shades, even if they seem a bit bold at first.

I know that a lot of people were surprised at how neutral the palette was, but this actually suits Gwen’s make up look perfectly – girl is all about the lipsticks! Overall, I think this is a beautiful, collectable palette and I am super happy to have it in my collection.

This palette is limited edition so snap it up quickly if you fancy it. Urban Decay will be adding to the Gwen Stefani collection with lipsticks and lip pencils, a blush palette (amazing) and a brow kit (strictly for blondies I think). The eyeshadow palette came with a set of 4 samples from the upcoming lipstick range so I’m excited to try those out. I will report back with my thoughts very soon.

What do you think of the UDxGwen offering? Were you a noughties ska kid too? I’m off to download No Doubt’s greatest hits now…

Sample Samplin’ | Nov & Dec

Sample Samplin' Nov & Dec

Time to empty out my empty samples bag again! The stash is slowly diminishing which is great. I think I want to streamline my clutter next year starting with beauty products. I love them, but I don’t need them. We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, here are a few samples I’ve used up recently.

Sample Samplin' Nov & Dec

This is without a doubt my favourite discovery of recent months – the L’Occitane Repairing Shampoo & Conditioner. I’ve had real problems with my hair recently, my scalp is so dry due to the hard water here and my hair is falling out at a rate of knots (oh yeah, knots, I have them too) and this shampoo and conditioner really made a difference. It’s pricey at £17 for a 300ml bottle but I think that once I’ve used up all my existing shampoos and conditioners I’ll need to splash out as my hair is a major concern at the moment.

Sample Samplin' Nov & Dec

Another thing I tried was the new Don’t Blow It creme from Bumble & Bumble. It’s meant to smooth your hair on days that you’re just letting it air dry. It’s nice but not really for me – I have the feeling that it would be much better for people with wavy, curly or thick hair.

Sample Samplin' Nov & Dec

I don’t know if travel sized products count as “samples” but I’m including the Soap & Glory Clean on Me Shower gel anyway. It’s a great shower gel, but truth be told, I’m just a bit over the S&G scent now. The good thing about this is that it’s really thick so it lasts for ages, but that has meant I’ve just got bored of it.

On the other hand, the L’Occitane Verbena Shower Gel is much more exciting. Really zingy and fresh, it does a great job of waking you up in the morning.

Sample Samplin' Nov & Dec

Next up, some face products. The Organic Pharmacy is a new brand to me and I tried their Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream. Urgh rose scented anything – gross. I can forgive a dodgy scent if the product is great but this one was just a bit meh. Nothing exciting, wouldn’t pick it up again to be honest.

The Pixi Glow Tonic is a much hyped product in the beauty blogger world. It’s a gentle exfoliating toner and it’s very nice. I must say though, I need a bit of a heavier duty exfoliator so although I enjoyed using this I probably won’t rush out to buy it – it is also quite expensive at £18.00 for 250ml.

Sample Samplin' Nov & Dec

Finally, a bunch of perfume samples. The first is Paco Rabanne 1 Million. I really didn’t like this and then I realised halfway through, it’s because it’s a mens fragrance. Doh! Still though, I don’t like it and wouldn’t buy it for David.

The other two are both very similar to each other. They are Dolce & Gabbana Dolce and Givenchy Dahlia Divin and both are sweet, floral fragrances and much more up my street than a bloke’s aftershave!

That’s the lot! I’m definitely going to be revisiting the L’Occitance shampoo and conditioner soon. What have you added to your beauty routine recently?

Lottie London So Gel Top Coat | Better than Seche Vite?

Lottie So Gel Topcoat

Lottie So Gel Topcoat

I can’t remember who I saw talking about this top coat on You Tube (it may have been Miss Budget Beauty), but whoever they were, they mentioned that this might be a good alternative for Seche Vite so I ran out the door (almost) to try it.

Lottie London is available at Superdrug and the So Gel topcoat is priced at £7.99. I picked it up along with two of their nail polishes as it was on 3 for 2. I’ve never tried any of their products before so I was keen to try a couple of different finishes. I chose ‘Hit Refresh’ a nude pink creme and ‘No Limits’ a rose gold glitter strand top coat.

Lottie So Gel Topcoat

Lottie So Gel Topcoat

I really struggled to get decent photos due to the (lack of) winter light so apologies for that. Hopefully you can see though that the top coat gives a glorious shine. It really is great, I was very impressed. It has a slight plumping effect that you can also build up if you like – I used two coats to have a glass-like effect without being too thick. This mani lasted me a week and I’m sure a lot of that was down to the top coat. It definitely does not dry as quickly as Seche Vite and is a lot thinner so it depends on if you like these qualities whether you will like it better. In my opinion, the major benefit is that So Gel doesn’t shrink! This was always a major peeve with Seche Vite for me and put me off repurchasing. So in my opinion, So Gel is better and my current number 1 top coat. Plus it’s a couple of quid cheaper. Win win!

What is your favourite top coat?

Lush Christmas Haul

Lush Christmas Haul

I really was not intending on doing a Lush Christmas haul this year. Let’s be honest, there are more sensible things to spend your money on that bath bombs. I managed to resist right up until December but then my resolve well and truly crumbled. I sent David out with a list and came home from work last Friday to a big bag bulging with bath goodies. Happy days! I decided to get all stuff that I hadn’t tried before bar Cinders (fave bath bomb of all time so I had to get one) and most of it is new for this year. Here’s what I picked up:

Lush Christmas Haul

Buche de Noel Cleanser (£12.09). This is a gentle exfoliating cleanser with cranberries, almonds and cocoa butter. I’m not totally sold on the smell of it, like a dirty cake is the best way I can describe it. But I do love how it feels. My skin needs a good scrub on the reg but while also hanging onto as much moisture as possible and this is exactly what Buche de Noel does. Really happy I have such a big pot of it!

Lush Christmas Haul

Stardust Bath Bomb (£2.95). This is a lovely simple looking bomb, you can’t really see from the photo but it is covered in a very fine silver glitter. It is vanilla scented and quite inoffensive. I have used this and I’m afraid I didn’t love it though. It fizzes away to a blue centre so leaves your bath a slightly milky colour and it releases a bunch of multi-coloured dissolvable stars. It doesn’t really add anything beyond that though so overall a bit boring I’m afraid.

Lush Christmas Haul

The Magic of Christmas (£5.95). Another new star shaped product for this year. This is a reusable bubble bar which is basically Christmas on a stick. A cinnamon stick to be exact. It’s a large orange bar overlaid with a bright gold glitter (think Sparkly Pumpkin) and studded with cloves and star anise and finished with a bell and a red bow. The design team must have had a ball with this one! It smells like cinnamon (obviously) and orange. It’s lovely!

Lush Christmas Haul

Cinders Bath Bomb (£2.65). Next up is one of my favourite bombs, I always pick up a couple each year – lucky that it’s one of the cheaper ones. This is quite a small bomb but it’s enough. It is a sweet cinnamon scent and this one is packed with popping candy which is meant to make your bath sound like a crackling fire. I think this will be perfect with some bubbles from The Magic of Christmas so this will be the combo I’ll use for my Christmas Eve bath (I like my bathtime traditions).

Lush Christmas Haul

Peeping Santa Bubble Bar (£3.95). Aw, how cute is this Santa? There’s a teeny bit of shimmer to him, but not too much like with Stardust. He is strawberry scented so a nice change to the spicy scents that tend to dominate this time of year. Th white parts are actually bath melts (like the bubbleroons are) so he does a create job of softening the water and your skin as well as producing lots of bubbles.

Lush Christmas Haul

Yog Nog Bath Bomb (£3.95). This is a giant beast of a bath bomb! Based on the very popular soap, this one smells like cinder toffee – very sweet but also warming. I can see two big chunks of cocoa butter in mine so I know it’s going to be supremely moisturising. It’s very crumbly though so I’m having to keep it in it’s packaging to avoid getting Lush dust everywhere.

Lush Christmas Haul

Bar Humbug Bubble Bar (£3.65) This one is possibly the least Christmassy product of the range this year but it’s one of my favourites. It’s as though someone has stuck a liquorice stick in the Comforter so it’s sweet and fruity but with a kick of something special. I hope this one does well.

And that’s everything I got. I might try to get some other bits in the Boxing Day sale such as some of the Snow Fairy scented things I’ve had in the past as I really do love them and the festive Cranberry face mask. However, the Lush sale is a stress so I might not bother!

What are your favourites from Lush this Christmas?

Benefit Real Cheeky Party Gift Set | Review

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Obviously, buying Christmas presents is super duper fun. I love online shopping, reading gift guides and searching the shops for that special gift that will make someone’s day. Buuuut, inevitably in all that selfless hunting you will stumble across a gift for yourself. Sure, you can drop hints, you can write to Santa, you can outright demand that your boyfriend buy you it, but sometimes it’s easier just to buy yourself a little present.

The Benefit Sweet Cheeks set that came out last year was this for me. Last year I resisted buying it and missed out. So when the Real Cheeky Party palette was released this year I just had to get it.The RRP is £29.50 (apparently it’s worth £110.23) and is currently available at John Lewis for £26.55.

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The packaging itself is gorgeous, the inside is tin in the same design as the outer box. The pink and green might not be to everyone’s taste but I personally love it. The leaflet inside includes mini face maps to show you where to use each of the different powders to their best effect.

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The kit includes four blushers, a bronzer, a highlighter, an eyeliner and a mascara. Last years was the same, except instead of the eyeliner and mascara you got a fifth blusher (Bellabamba) and a small brush.

The bronzer is their famous Hoola bronzer which seems to be widely loved. I actually find it a bit orange toned for me so probably won’t get much use out of this one.

In terms of the blushers, I have had Dandelion and Coralista before and loved them both. Along with Rockateur and Sugarbomb, they are soft with a light pigment so are buildable and wearable. They have varying levels of shimmer with Dandelion being almost matte and Rockateur having the boldest shimmer.

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The ‘extras’ are a nice sample of the Watt’s Up highlighter and a mini of the They’re Real mascara and eyeliner. I really don’t like either of the They’re Real products – the eyeliner is flaky and the mascara is just not for me (I’ve found that people are either They’re Real fans or Roller Lash fans, I’m definitely the latter), but I love the Watt’s Up sample. It’s great that it is removable from the palette and has a cover to prevent dreaded powder fallout getting in it.

In a totally ideal world I would swap out the eyeliner and mascara for another blush – I really would have loved Hervana to be included as it’s so unique – and maybe even a sample of the Majorette cream blush in a similar style to the highlighter. Wishful thinking perhaps but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the 2016 edition!

Overall, I love this palette and I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of use out of it. It would of course make a fabulous Christmas gift for any make up fan, or like me, why not treat yourself? You deserve it!

For more gift ideas, check out my gift guide for the Beauty Queens here.