Sunday, 1 March 2015

Birchbox UK : March 2015

birchbox march 2015, birchbox

Birchbox* March 2015

Birchbox are the only beauty sample box I receive now and I still find it exciting to receive them each month! Whilst a lot of them have let their quality slip, Birchbox is the one that has stayed true to the concept of offering their customers a chance to try luxury or niche brands. You can read my previous Birchbox blogposts and see for yourself!

birchbox march 2015, birchbox, birchbox and habitat

Themed boxes are always a brilliant idea to jazz things up and get customers interested again. How super gorgeous is the design of the box? In the March 2015 edition of Birchbox UK, they have partnered with Habitat. The link between the products and Habitat is not strong, but I think the fact that this isn't necessarily an obvious collaboration is what makes it so good. It's different but it totally works. But I know what you're think probably thinking, though... How does a beauty brand work alongside a homeware company? Well, it's almost that time of year to have a Spring clean and that might also mean re-arranging, re-organise or re-order your home. And that's where Habitat comes in to play! One of the best things about having a Spring clean is putting things in order and having your best products/accessories/homeware out on display. Courtesy of Birchbox, I have got a few new products to place on my dressing table!

beauty blogger uk, uk beauty blog

Philip Kingsley Smooth Cream
If you have frizzy, curly or coarse hair, you might be interested in the Philip Kingsley Smooth Cream. This styling product smooths the surface of hair and control flyaways in a similar to hairgel except this cream won't make your hair look wet, greasy or crispy. It feels really natural and you can't even tell that it's there. A lot of my hair on the top of my head has been snapping off so I'll be using this Smooth Cream to keep them down! The sample I received is a miniature tube but the full size version is £18.

Janjira Pomegranate and Acai Facial Scrub Cleanser
I've never heard of this luxury beauty brand before, but I'm always up for trying a new cleanser! Janjira Facial Scrub Cleanser contains anti-ageing inredients, fruit extracts and Vitamin E, and it has small exfoliating particles to scrub away dead skin cells which results in a brighter and cleaner complexion. I have checked out Janjira's website and I like the look of the products! The sample tube will probably has a week's worth of use but I might repurchase if I like it. (Skincare junkie alert!)

TanOrganic Self Tanning Oil
This mini bottle isn't going to be enough to go all over your body, but I might apply to my legs to test it (and if it goes wrong, I can just wear jeans or tights until it fades!). It smells very orange-y in the bottle but the smell fades once the oil has been rubbed in to skin. It's a runny, watery oil that's light and absorbs easily. I've put a few drops on to the back of my hand but I can't see much of a change (yet). 

catherine malandrino style de paris

Catherine Malandrino Style De Paris Perfume
I'm not usually a fan of the perfume samples but every now and then, a discover a new fragrance that I really like. Birchbox has done good with this one because I LOVE IT! From the packaging, the Catherine Malandrino Style De Paris perfume is totally different from what I was expecting. It's a really gorgeous, sweet citrus fragrance that reminds me of the Lady Gaga perfume. This is a Birchbox exclusive which means you can only buy it via Birchbox. 

benefit roller lash, benefit cosmetics roller lash

Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Mascara
I blogged about Benefit's Roller Lash a few weeks ago so if you'd like to know more, hop over to my review! It's such a hyped up launch and I have been interested to hear what other people think. Birchbox are actually offer new subscribers the chance to pick which Benefit mascara they'd like to try, the choices are between Roller Lash, They're Real, and BADgal. 


Bonus Items
In the March edition of Birchbox, there are two extra items which means that the box contains seven items in total. There's a stylish red notebook and a couple of chapters of a book by Penny Vincenzi, which I'm looking forward to reading! It seems like quite a random item to put in a beauty box but Birchbox promises that the story is set in the beauty industry.

To sign up for this (and to pick your Benefit Mascara sample), please visit Birchbox for more details. It cost £10 (+£2.95 for P&P) per month. I've heard through the grapevine there will be a limited edition Tatler box in April, and will include a Laura Mercier sample!

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Friday, 27 February 2015

The Best Bronzers For Spring

best bronzing powders, best bronzers

Oh boy, do I need a tan! I have been relying on bronzers lately to add a bit of colour back in to my skin. I am relatively new to bronzers and have only started using them in the past twelve months, but I believe I have already found my favourites!

I feel like there's a skill to using to bronzers which I've yet to get the hang of but both Benefit's Hoola and Liz Earle Radiant Glow Bronzer are so simple to use, it easy to achieve the natural, tanned, streak-free look. I'm currently using a blush brush as I have an extra one, but it's quite tiny. I am looking to buy a proper bronzing brush as it will make things easier so if you have any recommendations, send them my way!

best bronzing powders, best bronzers

I find it difficult to find the right one because it can be too glittery, too dark, too orange, or difficult to blend. So the reason why I'm holding on to these two as my favourites is because of how natural it looks and how long it lasts. I really couldn't pick whittle is down to my ultimate favourite between Benefit's Hoola* (£23.50) and Liz Earle's Radiant Glow Bronzer* (£19.50) because both have different qualities, I'm going to so much use out of them over the Spring and Summer time!

benefit hoola bronzer, benefit bronzer, best bronzing powder

Hoola is a single tone which comes in one shade and has a matte finish. When I first opened it, I was put off by how dark it looks in the box but if you're not too heavy handed with it, it will pick up just the right amount of powder enough to give your face a lovely, even, sun-kissed look. 

There isn't a bad word to say about this bronzing powder and I can see why it is the number 1 best selling bronzer in the UK. However, the only negative thing I will say about it is that I prefer powders to be in circular packaging so it's a bit annoying that the box is square. It comes with a brush which is a rectangular shape which is great for contouring, but I can't use it properly when I'm applying the powder all over my face, it doesn't go on as evenly as I'd like. But I am really just nitpicking with these two points, it doesn't detract from the fact that this is a great bronzer! I did a full review of Hoola here.

liz earle radiant glow bronzer, liz earle bronzer, best bronzing powder

If you prefer something with a bit of shimmer, look no further! Liz Earle have created THE MOST PERFECT BRONZER! I'm someone who tends to stay away from shimmery powders but the Radiant Glow Bronzer adds a gentle highlighting effect without it being overly sparkly. I've been using this recently, just a couple of sweeps over my face to put some colour back in to it! It a silky powder which blends evenly. With four tones, this bronzer is suitable for fair skin because the overall shade is pretty well-balanced. It's a really nice, subtle powder that's also buildable and at £19.50, it's cheaper than Benefit's Hoola too. I highly recommend this to anyone, it is really lovely product!

Even though I love both of these bronzers, I would love to add a couple more to my collection so if you have any recommendations, leave them in the comment! Please also feel free to recommend a good bronzing brush too, I need one in my life!

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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Wearable Technology : STELLÉ Audio Speaker Clutch Bag

wearable technology, stelle audio, stelle audio mini clutch speaker

There are huge efforts to fuse fashion and technology but nothing has quite tickled my fancy... until now. It is an emerging trend that is only set to get bigger but in terms of style, there is still a long way to go. I haven't been too attracted to any wearable technology, as useful as they are, I think most of them look a little ugly. So when I was introduced to the Stellé Audio Mini-Clutch Speaker*, it interested me for a few reasons. One) As far as wearable technology goes, I LOVE the look of the design. Two) I wanted a closer look at both the speaker feature and how it functions as a bag. Is it heavy? Would I wear it? Are the speakers good? I wanted to know more. Three) Niki recently bought a cute looking Sony wireless speaker and I wanted a speaker of my own! And finally, four) It's a bag AND speakers in one... Sound can be played out of a bag which is pretty cool so I thought you guys would like to know about it!

Stelle Audio Speaker Clutch Bag, wearable technology

To use it as a speaker, you have to pair it up with the device, not to mention you would also have to switch it on. So, don't worry, sound is going to start blasting out automatically unless you authorise the pairing (I only mention this because that is what I initially thought it would do!)

Here are the functions of the technology side of the Stellé Audio Mini Clutch Speaker:

- Wirelessly streams music from Bluetooth devices
- Wireless range up to 50 feet
- Built in speakerphone
- 15-hour rechargable lithium-ion battery
- Connects to non-Bluetooth devices via aux-in cable
- Can charge your phone if it runs out of battery (USB-Enabled devices only)
- Six watt stereo digital amplifier

Stelle Audio Speaker Clutch Bag, wearable technology

For those who are interested in the fashion aspect of the design, the bag a hard-cased clutch bag with interchangeable wrist bracelet and a detachable metal chain so you can choose to wear it as a shoulder bag. There's a huge mirror inside the bag, and the interior is made of real leather. The whole thing is packaged really well too, it certainly has a premium feel to it, you know you're getting a good quality product.

The chain, however, is really thin and the bag/speaker is actually quite heavy so I'm not sure how this would feel on your shoulder, it might start to feel a tad uncomfortable towards the end of the night.  I suppose you could just carry it like you would a regular clutch bag.

The price of this bag ranges from £129 to £169, so it isn't cheap. My honest feelings about this is that I don't think I would wear this on a night out as it doesn't fit that many items but most importantly, there's a high possibility that someone might spill their drink all over the bag - not great if your bag is expensive and made up of electrical components! There is also no need to take a portable speaker out with you to places where they're going to play loud music.... But there are plenty of other occasions when you could use this clutch bag, it is quite a formal looking accessory. It does have a plain side so as long as you remember to carry it with the buttons facing towards the back, it looks like a regular clutch bag.

Stelle Audio Speaker Clutch Bag, wearable technology

You guys know I love bags so I was most excited about the bag itself than the speakers. It looks great on the website, and even better in real life. But half of the bag inside is covered with a large mirror, which makes sense as the speaker part of the design needs to be concealed. This doesn't leave a lot of room to put your belongings in to but it will fit the essentials. It just about fits my iPhone5 in, one lipstick, one single key (no keychains attached), some money and debit/credit cards, which is all you need on a night out. 

Stelle Audio Speaker Clutch Bag, wearable technology

I will get a lot more use out of it as a speaker though. It is so easy to pair it up with Bluetooth devices, so I'll use the speakers when I'm watching movies, TV shows and YouTube video from my iPad in my room or whilst I'm having a bath. With it having a wireless range of 50 feet, I don't have to take my laptop or iPad in to the bathroom with me, so I no longer have to worry about damaging them or dropping it in water. I've also paired it up with my laptop because the speakers on my laptop has a really poor sound quality, and it does make a difference to the viewing experience, especially when you're watching a film. I'm sure I'll use it to play music when I have people over too.

Overall, the idea of this product is awesome. It's not completely perfect, it's not so practical as a bag and as I'd personally would like more space inside to store a few extra items of my belongings but Stellé Audio have managed to apply both fashion and technology together in one single design, it is a compromise that many companies get so wrong but this bag has got style on it's side. 

Stellé Audio products is available to buy from their website or Selfridges. The clutch is available in three designs and prices range from £129 to £169. What are your thoughts on this bag? What are your views on 'wearable technology?' Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Food : 5 Toasted Breakfasts To Try

pancakes, pancake and fruit,

I have to admit, I'm not usually one for a sit down breakfast. I'm always really conscious that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but I don't have much of an appetite when it's so early in the morning (I'm totally not a morning person) so it's usually a cup of coffee or a tea whilst I check my emails, and then I'll grab a muesli bar or toast at 10 or 11am to settle my tummy before lunch time. 

I know that things have to change and I need to make time for a better start to the day! I feel the difference in my mood and brain power on the days I can stomach breakfast! What I need is, when it comes to breakfasts, I need to be a bit more imaginative and interesting (and preferably toasted) and that's why I've turned to Pinterest for some ideas (of course!). Where else would you find well presented meal ideas that actually looks appetising! And unlike a lot of the things I usually pin, breakfast seems to be the easiest to make!

Here are some toasted breakfast ideas I'd like to try in the next few weeks!

french toast, breakfast ideas,

Making little nuggets of french bread isn't something I've ever thought of doing but sometimes you just want food to be bite-sized, it's easier to eat and looks less daunting. These french toast nuggets are made of baguette that's sliced up in little pieces. Obviously, I couldn't eat this every single day but it makes a nice treat - and it's definitely something I'd leap out of bed for! 

Breakfast Pizza
Breakfast Pizza

This looks so delicious, and actually looks healthy (or at least that's what I'm telling myself!). The base is an extremely light and thin crisp topped with prosciutto, kale, smoked mozzarella, shaved parmessan, truffle oil and an egg. A very indulgent breakfast indeed!

hole in the bread, breakfast idea,
Hole In The Bread

Hole In The Bread is just a tidy, neater version of fried egg on toast (one of my favourite breakfasts). You basically cut a hole out of the middle and cook and egg inside it! Would be quite handy as it wouldn't be as messy as cooking a proper fried egg where oil get splattered everywhere!

egg on toast
Egg and Pesto (or avocado)

Those are some good lookin' eggs right there! Sticking with the eggy theme, here's one that is perfectly boiled with a side of pesto spread. For me, I think that pesto is perhaps too strong for the morning, I would probably swap this for a sliced and mashed up avocado with a sprinkle of sea salt.

Egg Waffles (or Bubble Waffles)

I've only ever eaten egg waffles when I'm in Hong Kong. They make them fresh and you just eat them plain. I think you can also get them from German markets over Christmas time, with your choice of filling (nutella, peanut butter, chocolate, etc). The batter isn't difficult to make, but you do need a waffle iron of some sort. A bubble waffle maker will give you the exact effect as the picture above, but I think they're quite difficult to track down in the UK so a belgian waffle maker would do the trick - it won't look the same but the taste will still be there.

What is your favourite toasted breakfast? Will you be trying any of these?

Follow me on Pinterest to see more food ideas!

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