Friday, January 30, 2015

Beauty Box Battle #1 - Glossybox VS Chic Treat Club January 2015


A spending ban is long overdue for me, so I decided that I'd finally take the plunge and sign up to a beauty box subscription or two to satisfy my need for "stuff". Think of it as hibernation - in preparation for the stuff I won't be buying in shops or chemists, I've made sure that I can still get stuff. Plus, it's under €35 for the two boxes per month which is just over €1 a day, and official spending ban rules say that doesn't count (well, that and Boots points or things you've wanted for a very long time being 50% off or something). Are you still with me? Good.

I thought I'd throw a monthly post up comparing the boxes that I chose - Glossybox and Chic Treat Club. Prices of both boxes are based on monthly rolling subscriptions.

First up, Glossybox.

You'll notice that there are only 4 products in the photo - that's because the fifth product (a bottle of toner) leaked all over the box. Glossybox were very helpful, they replied to me straight away and said they'd send out a new bottle (or a similar product if they were out of stock). The products in this month's box are all full sizes, which is brilliant.

Liner & Highlighter Swatches
* Nicka K New York Colourluxe Powder Blush - a gorgeous non-shimmery pink mineral powder blush in packaging similar to the Cheek Stamp blushes by Seventeen.
* MeMeMe Eyeliner in Clay - a really wearable cool-toned brown colour, good quality.
* Jelly Pong Pong All Over Glow - a cream highlighter.
* Naked Lips Organic Lip Balm in Superfruits - not sticky and has no synthetic nasties.
Missing from picture - Kueshi Revitalizing Face Toner.

*Cost of box including delivery - €17.87.
*Value of products - €45.70.

*Comes by post, so no need to wait for courier.
*Full sized products.
*Great variety of makeup and no wild crazy shades or tones.

*Toner leaked everywhere and destroyed the actual box.
*Exchange rate can vary so not a set price every month.

Overall Marks Out of Ten: 7

On to Chic Treat Club:

This box had three full-sized products and two deluxe samples.

* Nimue Moisturiser Lite (deluxe sample). Claims to hydrate for up to 24 hours, contains vitamins E & C.
* No More Dramas Self Tan Corrector & Remover (full size). Counteracts DHA (ingredient in self tan) by exfoliating to remove skin cells coloured by DHA.
* Kiss Flirty Featherlight Lashes (full size). Made from Remy human hair.
* CND Kanga Board nail file (full size). Standard nail file.
* Thalgo Wrinkle Control Smoothing Care Cream (deluxe sample). Formulated to plump fine lines & wrinkles to make skin look smoother & younger.

*Cost of box including delivery - €16.95.
*Value of products - €59.95 (when pricing Thalgo deluxe sample at €18).

*Sample sizes are deluxe.
*Irish company, supporting new Irish brands.
*Allows you to test products exclusively available in salons or spas.

*Inclusion of false lashes - absolute pet peeve of mine. I would have been less annoyed to find a perfume sample, to be honest.
*No makeup included.

Overall Marks Out of Ten: 5

It pains me to say it, but there's no point in doing a post like this if I'm not going to be honest about it. I was really not impressed with Chic Treat Club's box. Considering it was a "First Birthday Box" there really wasn't anything special in there. Glossybox did leak on me, so I had to deduct points, but overall I was really happy with the products I received. I think if there were anything else but fake lashes included in the Chic Treat Club one, I would have been happier. I will use the No More Dramas on the rare occasion that I use tan - but I won't use the lashes, and more than likely won't use the Thalgo either. I use a glass nail file so the CND will be popped into my handbag for emergencies, but overall I don't feel like I got value for my money this time. That's just my personal opinion, I don't mean to cause offence. Others may have been overjoyed with their box - as Larry Gogan would say, it just didn't suit me. Hopefully February will be better!

List of Stockists

* Nicka K New York: Information on their website  here.
* MeMeMe: List of Irish stockists on their facebook page here.
* Jelly Pong Pong: You can order from their website here.
* Naked Lips: Available from Love Lula here.
* Kueshi: Information on their website here.
* Nimue: Information available here.
* No More Dramas: Check their website out here.
* Kiss: Available from Penneys, Boots, and Independent Chemists nationwide.
* CND: Information on stockists on their website here.
* Thalgo: Information on their website here.

Zoeva Complete Eye Set


Up until about two years ago, I applied my foundation with my hands, my eyeshadow with my fingers, and fake tan with a sock. I had one bronzing brush that I used for blusher, powder and bronzer. The first proper brush I bought was the Sigma F80 - and so began my obsession.

Recently, after the launch of the Real Techniques Bold Metals collection, I had a good look around to see if I could get a decent set of brushes at a better price, and one name kept cropping up.

This is the Zoeva 12 piece eye set, and she is a beauty.

I know that the rose gold set seems to be popular, but I like the simplicity of black and silver, so I went for that. Plus the rose gold wasn't in stock.

The brushes all come with plastic protectors, in this lovely little bag.

There are twelve brushes in the set, and each one has a number on the side along with a description of what it does. I really wish all brushes had that - sometimes I haven't a clue what to do with a particular brush, so this is incredibly helpful. Here's what you get:

142 - Concealer Buffer

224 - Luxe Defined Crease

226 - Smudger

227 - Luxe Soft Definer

228 - Luxe Crease

230 - Luxe Pencil 

231 - Luxe Petit Crease

234 - Luxe Smoky Shader

237 - Detail Shader

315 - Fine Liner

317 - Wing Liner

322 - Brow Line

They're gorgeous brushes, so soft and really sturdy. They cost €60 for the set on the Zoeva website (plus €7.50 for shipping via DHL). Even at €67.50 that's working out as €5.60 per brush, which is a great price for something that's really good quality. Personally I'd rather a lower price and not bother with the bag, but I suppose it is handy if you're travelling or working, or if your brushes don't fit in your makeup bag.

There are lots of other different sets available, including face brushes and smaller eye sets. Zoeva are also available on a couple of other websites - there's a stockist list for Europe and the U.S on the Zoeva site here.

Monday, January 26, 2015

NYX Trios: Butter Glosses & Butter Lipsticks.


There are some things you never see coming. Like having twins - I never would have thought that would happen. I also never thought that at 31 years of age, I'd be sitting in front of a laptop, googling furiously to see what lip products a 17 year old girl uses to make her lips all matte and pouty and nineties-like.

There's no point even saying her name, because you all know who I'm talking about - I added my name to a wait list to get NYX Mauve lip liner and Whipped Caviar matte lipstick. A waiting list for a lip liner. Thirty one, folks. Thirty one.

Anyway, on my quest for the perfect Ms. Jenner lip, I reignited my love affair with NYX cosmetics. I'm lucky enough to have a local stockist, but I wanted MORE! I had a little look on the Littlewoods site (I think it's the same as Very in the UK) and saw loads of products that I hadn't seen on the stand or online anywhere else. Among them were these lip products:

The butter glosses are slowly becoming some of my favourite things to wear - they're comfortable on my lips and they last ages. Plus, they smell delicious which is always a plus! The butter gloss trio contains the shades Red Velvet, Tiramisu, and Devil's Food Cake. The only one I've seen on stands is Tiramisu, I haven't seen the other two colours at all.

I usually wear the butter glosses with a liner, but I absolutely love these. This set was such good value - €16 for three full sized glosses (link here).

Next up, I picked up a butter lipstick trio and one single butter lipstick. The single lipstick is in the shade Lollies, while the trio consists of Snow Cap, Candy Buttons and Taffy. They cost €10 for the single (link here) and €20 for the trio (link here).

I like these a lot. I found Lollies a lot creamier and more pigmented than the others. The one I've been wearing the most is Candy Buttons, it's such a wearable peachy colour.

Littlewoods have a great range of NYX products, definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the brand but a little bit fed up of the same things on the stand all the time. Bear in mind that they do have free delivery, but it's by courier.

This isn't a sponsored post, I just wanted to share!

Essie Cashmere Mattes Spring 2015


Hot on the heels of their (quite summery, it has to be said) Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Lo collection for Winter 2014 comes the latest effects collection from nail polish powerhouse Essie - this is Cashmere Matte. Other effects collections include Belugaria, Luxeffects and Mirror Metallics.

Cashmere Matte is described as "six semi-satin, subtly iridescent shades that take matte to another level of chic". I've been stalking eBay for these for ages, so when they popped up for sale on Beautyzone2007's shop, I ordered four from the collection. They took 10 days to arrive and I didn't have to pay customs charges.

Here are the four polishes I picked. The ones I didn't bother with are Spun in Luxe, a blue-black, and All Eyes on Nudes, a camel colour that I knew wouldn't suit my skintone.
Left to right, I picked Just Stitched, Coat Couture, Comfy in Cashmere and Wrap Me Up.

They have an almost rubbery texture, with no real application problems. They tend to apply quite thickly if you're not careful, so I did have to wipe the brush a few times. Drying time was very fast, as with all mattes. All pictures are with two coats, no topcoat. I do, however, think that you need some kind of a topcoat if you're going to get a couple of days out of any of them. A glossy topcoat would ruin the finish, so something like Essie's Matte About You could help prolong your manicure a little longer.

They are gorgeous, unique colours - the pink was a big surprise, it was much more pigmented than I thought it would be. Three out of the four had a lovely duochrome shimmer in the bottle that did transfer on to the nail but only in direct sunlight.

Swatches in direct light:
Top: Wrap Me Up, Just Stitched.
Bottom: Comfy in Cashmere, Coat Couture.

Natural light:

Top: Wrap Me Up, Just Stitched.
Bottom: Comfy in Cashmere, Coat Couture
This is probably my favourite collection as a whole from Essie since Dressed to Kilt last year. I love the muted colours, they're a really nice way to transition from Winter to Spring without going overboard on pastels.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Makeup Revolution - Lipstick and Blusher Review


Makeup Revolution seems to be cropping up everywhere at the minute. A few weeks ago, I placed a small order with their website just to see how it compared to other similar budget brands (E.L.F, MUA). I ordered two of their Amazing lipsticks, one of their Lip Hug lipsticks, and one I Heart Makeup Blusher.

The blusher is in the shade Candy Queen of Hearts, you can find it here for €6.30. This was the main reason I wanted to place an order - I saw a very, very similar Too Faced blusher on a couple of websites and wanted to try it, but this looked pretty much identical.

There are two other shades available, but I liked this one. The cardboard packaging is okay, I don't like that white plastic bit on the inside but for just over €6 it's fine - the blusher itself is lovely, I'll give you a look at it further down the page.

The Amazing lipsticks (all shades here) are priced at an incredibly low price - just €1.26. I chose two, Treat and The One. I also picked one from the Lip Hug range (shades here) for €3.16 in the shade Still Missing My Baby.

L-R: Still Missing My Baby, Treat, and The One.

I'm going to get the worst one out of the way first - I don't know what I was thinking when I picked this colour, to be honest. I googled swatches, I looked up different blog posts, and I still thought it was a good idea. Anyway - Still Missing My Baby is a very dark vampy burgundy shade, and it showed me that I can not apply lipstick if it isn't in a standard bullet.

Come, take a trip up my nostrils and I'll show you some swatches on the lips. I'm wearing that blusher in all of the pictures too.

I'm so cack-handed it's unreal - I should have done this with a brush and liner. It's a nice shade, it's just much too dark for my skin tone. It has serious lasting power, there were still traces of it on my lips (and hand) for hours after I removed it. So be careful when you apply it, unlike me!

Next up is Treat, a very 90's colour that wouldn't be out of place on the set of Season 1 of Friends.

I love this colour so much, it's much more subtle than it looks in the bullet. It lasted ages and it felt nice and creamy (absolutely hate that word).

Last up is The One, a paler nude.

I have to say that even though it's much paler than the nudes I usually go for, I really liked it. Again it wasn't drying, and lasted ages.

My overall impression of Makeup Revolution is good - there a couple of little things that I'm not crazy about, but they're mainly packaging related. You're not going to get that satisfying Estée Lauder magnetic click from something that costs under €1.50, and there's a chance that the lid might go for a walk in your bag, but overall the few things I tried were of a similar quality to any other budget brand and I'd be happy to purchase from them again.

Postage on my order was €6.25, which was pricey, but my entire order still came to just over €18 - not too shabby. I know that they have some amazing eye palettes, and some fab looking shadows and blushers.

Have you tried anything from Makeup Revolution yet?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Irish-made Candles with Max Benjamin, Soilse & Emma's So Naturals


I love a good smelly candle. I burned countless Yankees over the course of last year, but lately I found myself yearning for something a little more natural and a bit more grown-up. I do still love certain Yankee scents - Fireside Treats will always have a place in my home - but I wanted to have a look and see what was out there on the Irish candle market.

I found a few companies, but decided to go for three. Max Benjamin, Soilse, and Emma's So Naturals.

All three are presented in glass tumblers and boxed.

First up, I went for the Mimosa & Sweet Amber scent from Max Benjamin.

Max Benjamin are based in Co. Wicklow. They currently have 17 different scents available, so there's bound to be something to suit even the most discerning of noses. This one spoke to me because I'm a sucker for Amber, and it doesn't disappoint. It's warming and cosy, a perfect candle for evening time. You can buy Max Benjamin natural wax candles on their website for €19 (delivery by courier costs €4.95) or check this map for local stockists. Burn time on this is approximately 40 hours.

Soilse are a new-to-me company that I found when googling for Irish candles. They're based in Co. Meath, and currently offer a range of six very unique fragrances. This one, Donegal Dew, is described as "The woodsy scents of the wild heather and oak moss that blanket the Donegal countryside". Now while I'm not from Donegal, I'm no stranger to the bog (peat bog, not the loo for non-Irish readers) so this one called out to me. It's just stunning - warm, woody, almost like incense. It's gorgeous. Soilse candles are hand-poured, and made from soy wax. Burn time is approx. 40 hours. Soilse candles cost €17.75 but are on sale on the website at the moment for €14.20 (plus €4.50 delivery by An Post or €6.95 for overnight courier). You can find a list of local stockists here.

Last up is another soy candle, from Emma's So Naturals in Co. Louth. Emma carries a wide range of products on her website, this being just one in a range of fragrances. I went for Masala Chai - described as a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom. You can tell I like my woodsy, spicy scents, can't you? This candle has a burn time of approximately 50 hours, and comes in at €18.50 on the website. Standard delivery via An Post is free within Ireland, but there is a courier option available too. You can also find Emma's So Naturals soy candles at stockists listed on the map here.

All three are fantastic companies with great customer service, I had no issues with any of my orders and all were sent promptly. All three are gorgeous quality, and I'm sure anyone would be happy to receive any one of them as a present - Valentine's Day is just around the corner, as is Mothers Day (March 15th).

If you've tried any other fragrances from any of the companies above, I'd love to hear your recommendations. I'd also love to hear if anyone has come across any other good candle companies (I did try to contact Cloon Keen Atelier to ask if they posted orders out but I heard nothing back), or if anyone has found a Salted Caramel candle, a scent I love.