Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My last ever e.l.f Haul!


Recently, e.l.f had a 50% off sale. They do one of these every so often, and I've never been able to catch one before, so I was delighted when I saw a fellow blogger tweet about it a while back. I placed an order and I'm going to show you the bits and pieces I picked up - but why, you ask, will it be my last? Well, on March 20th, Distribeauty (the company in charge of the website) released this statement on Facebook:

They're currently in the process of selling off all remaining e.l.f stock on the site, and handing over the running of their social media accounts to the US team. What does this mean for us? Well, we're not quite sure yet. Currently, the U.S site doesn't ship internationally. Whether or not they decide to change this will be at their discretion. You can keep an eye on the UK facebook page for information over the coming weeks and months, but if you want to follow the Distribeauty crew in their new venture, you can find their new site here: Beauty Crowd.

Right! Back to the matter at hand.

I ordered ten items in the sale. Including a shipping fee of €5.44, the total should have been €57.65. Because of the sale, the total was €32.03 - meaning that little lot in the photo came in at just €26.59 less shipping. Pretty nice discount!

e.l.f Studio Single Eyeshadow - Raspberry Truffle

e.l.f Studio Long Lasting Lustrous Shadows - Gala & Festivity

The single eyeshadow is nothing special - it's a standard burgundy eyeshadow that applies well and isn't chalky. The lustrous eyeshadows were really hard to photograph - Gala is a warmer toned shade, while Festivity is cooler. Both reminded me of the Chanel Illusion d'Ombre eyeshadows texture wise, they're quite spongey and springy and have several tiny particles of shimmer. Payoff is okay, not as good as you'd get from a higher brand, but they lasted well and didn't crease.

L-R: Rasberry Truffle, Gala, Festivity. 

e.l.f Mineral Eyeshadow Primer - Sheer

I have a couple of backups of my favourite Essence eye primer, but this is definitely a winning formula too - it's creamy, a little goes a long way, and it makes a huge difference.

The left swipe is Raspberry Truffle without primer. The right swipe is the same shade over primer - it really brought out the burgundy in the shadow and made it so much more vibrant.

e.l.f Studio Blush - Candid Coral

This blush looks lovely in the pan, unfortunately it leaned strongly towards gold when I swatched it:

Sleek Rose Gold does that too - the coral gets lost on me and I light up like a Christmas tree. It's a shame, because it's a lovely coral colour, but I'll be saving this one for the next time I use fake tan.

e.l.f Studio Mascara Primer - Transparent

I've never tried a mascara primer before (unless you count the white end of the Bourjois Coup de Theatre in the early 2000s) so I was looking forward to this. It goes on white and dries very fast. I have a swatch - I think it made an enormous difference and I'll definitely be trying this under other mascaras. In the picture below, I used one coat of Benefit's Rollerlash, with primer on the left and none on the right.

e.l.f Mineral Lipstick - Rosy Tan

I love the packaging on these lipsticks - very NARS-like. This one is a rosy brick brown shade, which I really like. The formula is really creamy, and the lipstick has great staying power.

e.l.f Studio Glossy Gloss in Muted Mauve & Ballet Slippers

I love these glosses - they're the perfect size for a bag, and they come with a brush applicator instead of a sponge. Although, one of mine had this problem:

Nothing that a quick snip didn't fix, but still - very annoying. Here's a look at the two colours, Muted Mauve is on top and Ballet Slippers is on the bottom.

e.l.f Nail Polish - Bubble Gum Pink

I have a couple of the polishes from the old range - and they're awful. Whatever they did to change the formula really worked well, because this was great - that's just one coat on the colour wheel, it's a lovely smooth polish to apply that levelled out really quickly and dried within minutes.

I'll be sad to see the UK site going - hopefully another distribution company will pick the brand up.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Glossybox March 2015


This is the third Glossybox of 2015 - already!

In this month's box, there were six products - three full sizes and three half sizes. The theme for March is "Step Into Spring". 

Now I'm not getting the theme here - it doesn't look very Spring-like at all, but we'll have a look at the individual items.

Naobay Moisturizing Peeling - full size £13.71/€18.74
Moisturizing peeling WHAT? If I hadn't read the little card in the box and then googled, I wouldn't have a clue what this was. There are no instructions or ingredients listed on the tube, which is surprising given this is a full size. This was the big ticket item in the March box, the one that was previewed last month. Apparently, this is a peeling facial milk that should be applied to damp skin and gently massaged. I know too little about it to get excited and therefore won't be putting it on my face. Still not actually sure what it is. An exfoliator? A polisher? A peeler? Not a clue. How long do you leave it on for? Should you use moisturizer afterwards? How often can it be used? Instructions, folks. Plenty of room on the tube. Yes, it has a very nice wooden lid, but I couldn't give a shite what the lid is made from, when I DON'T KNOW HOW TO USE IT.

Essence Lash Princess Mascara - full size £3.30/€4.09
I like Essence mascaras (they have one in a silver squeezy tube that's fantastic) but I hadn't tried this. I'll show you the "cobra-shaped" wand and a swatch first, then tell you what I think.

Two coats of Lash Princess vs no mascara:

I didn't like this. At all. It will take a close-up to show you why:

I found the wand an awkward shape to work with, every time I tried to get in to the base of my lashes I hit my eyelid, resulting in that black mascara goop on top and bottom eyelids. The minute I put the second coat on it stuck my lashes together - the wand was heavily loaded with product, you can see on my top lashes how thick that is after just two coats. There's only one coat on the bottom lashes, and while they are blacker and longer (and look fine from a distance), check out that fallout under my eye. I seem to be very much in the minority on this one - I have read several great reviews (including Cindy's one here in which her lashes look fantastic) but this just isn't for me.

Dove Advanced Hair Series Youthful Vitality Shampoo & Conditioner - Sample Sizes, 50ml - approx. £1.20/€1.64 each
AGH. No. I don't like hair samples in beauty boxes. Granted, these are better than single use sachets, but hair care is such a personal thing. I'm not mad about Dove as a hair brand - just from my own experience - but I'll pass these on to a family member who travels a lot, they're a great size for a weekend away.

Emite Micronized Eye Shadow in "Nect" - Sample Size, 1.48g - approx £7.10/€9.71
This is nice - buttery soft, neutral, oil-free, and very wearable. It's not shimmery, it could actually be used as a highlighter too, it's a really nice shade from the Swedish brand Emite. Micronized just means that it's very finely milled, and very highly pigmented due to the process the brand use.

This is nice, I will use it. I think this was the alternate item for those of us who didn't get a nail polish in the box.

Carmex Moisture Plus Ultra Hydrating Lip Balm - Berry Tint. Full Size, £4.49/€6.14
Speaking of alternate items, some people got a Sleek Pout Paint. I got a Carmex. I haven't used Carmex in years, I was happy to see that this was in a tube rather than a pot. It has a subtle berry tint:

HOWEVER. Despite containing "superfood" ingredients like Vitamin E, Aloe, and Shea Butter, it also contains menthol, which overpowers every other ingredient to give a tingly feeling - responsible, I'd wager, for that "lip enhancing effect" mentioned on the card in the box. I try to stay as far away from menthol as possible when it comes to lip products, mainly because by the time the product wears off, my lips feel dryer than they were initially.

Overall, maybe I'm just a grumpy nitpicky bitch, but I didn't enjoy this box at all. The only thing I will use is the eyeshadow, and even that's just a neutral pigmented eyeshadow, nothing special. This is the first box out of three that I've been disappointed with, so we're still 2-1 up - but if the next one is as bad as this, I'll be seriously rethinking my rolling subscription.

Total Price Including Delivery: £13.25/€18.11

Total Value: £30.69/€41.96

Verdict: Poor

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rebecca Minkoff & Essie - Flowerista Spring 2015 Collection Swatches


I was delighted to hear that Rebecca Minkoff has been appointed as Essie's Global Colour Designer. If her bags are anything to go by, this is really exciting news for the nail polish world.

The Rebecca/Essie collab kicks off this Spring with the Flowerista Collection, a range of six colourful shades to take you into Spring with a bang.

I have five of them here to show you - I didn't buy the sixth colour because it wasn't included in the miniature set. I didn't want to buy the full size because I knew I'd never wear it, so "I'm getting it for the blog" wasn't going to work, unfortunately. I'll talk about the missing colour in a minute, but for now - here are the ones I have. As usual, I bought them from Beautyzone2007.

All these swatches show a bottle shot from the Essie website, plus an indoor swatch, then an outdoor swatch. All pictures show two coats, no topcoat. I had no application problems with any of them. All polishes are cream formulas.

First up is Garden Variety, a dark teal.

Next, Blossom Dandy, a mint creme.

Thirdly, Flowerista, a fuschia/plum.

Next is Perennial Chic, described as "a neutral peach brown accented by creme rose highlights".

Finally, I have Petal Pushers, a slate grey.

The shade I didn't get is this one, Picked Perfect, described as "caramel brown mixed with a touch of red-violet" - I've seen swatches of this and it just doesn't look like something that would suit me, so I left it.

It's a really pretty collection, I love that a grey was included. Grey is a great colour for Springtime, especially when it leans towards lilac like this shade does.

The colours compliment each other really well - they mix n match perfectly. A few dabs of the other colours over a base gives a great accent nail.

The mint shade, Blossom Dandy, reminds me of several other creams. The teal shade, Garden Variety, reminds me of several other teals. I dug out a couple of other polishes in the same family and did a quick swatch:

L-R: Essie Garden Variety; Essie Naughty Nautical; Barry M Blue Moon; Essie Blossom Dandy; China Glaze For Audrey; Barry M Turquoise; Revlon Full House. Unfortunately I don't own Essie's Mint Candy Apple to compare it to Blossom Dandy, but it's definitely not a million miles away.

Overall I'm happy with the shades I purchased - I would have been happy with a miniature size of Garden Variety but as it wasn't included in the minis, I didn't mind buying the full size. I do think that I'll keep buying miniatures in future, the Essie ones give good bang for their buck compared to some other brands (you know-P.I. who I'm talking about).

The Flowerista Collection, the first one by Rebecca Minkoff, is available now at Boots and other pharmacies nationwide.

Essie don't ask me to review for them, I do it because I love the brand and I get SO excited when a new collection comes out. I bought all polishes in this post myself. And the ones from the 2015 Suite Retreat collection that I'm waiting patiently for the postman to bring me.

Do you know what would have been a great gift with purchase? A Rebecca Minkoff bag. I can dream........

Monday, March 23, 2015

eBay Light Cube Photo Tent


I just thought I'd pop up a quick post to show you what this photo tent looks like in reality - I got it here on eBay for just over €11. I ordered it in mid-January and it arrived on February 16th, really well packaged. There are lots of different sizes, here's a slightly bigger one from a seller in the UK.

It comes with a black carrier bag and four changes of background material. The piece at the front with the slot is for you to slip a camera through and use the flash inside the cube. If you'd prefer to light the cube from outside, you can use lamps and remove this piece from the front. I used the slot for the camera.

Here's the best picture I could get of this lip balm in the kitchen under normal lightbulbs at night:

And here's a picture using the cube with the white background and the camera slot with flash:

It's still not perfect but it's an awful lot better than the first photo. Hopefully as I play around with it a bit more I'll be able to find a proper space in the house where I can take photos at night - it would make blogging a hell of a lot easier!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cute Find - MDF Laser Cut Plaque Decorations.


I came across these MDF laser cut plaques while I was looking on eBay for something to decorate the twins room with. The seller is based in Ireland, and the plaques are really reasonable for the quality.

This was the one I chose, here's the picture from the listing:

I was delighted when it arrived, it looked exactly like the picture.

It arrived in a brown flat cardboard box - be careful when you're taking it out. The MDF is quite light, and if you pick an intricate design like I did, you can break it if you apply pressure to any of the delicate parts like the stars. I broke that star attached to the capital "L" but it didn't come off, I just painted over it.

I had great fun painting it, I used acrylics for the letters and stars, and nail art pens for the outlines. I wanted to stick to traditional superhero colours, so chose blue, yellow and red.

It doesn't have anything on the back to stick it up, but you could use thumbtacks to attach some string to hang it up, or some foam picture hangers. You could also use a thin nail through a loop on the bottom and one on the top, or you could use superglue to attach it to a press or shelf.

There are some stunning looking plaques available, you can check out the whole range here - they have lovely stuff for all occasions.

This wasn't sponsored or anything, I just really, really liked this and wanted to spread the word.