Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Glossybox July 2015 - Goodbye Glossybox


You may remember last month's Glossybox review - I wasn't impressed with it at all, and swore if the June box was bad that I'd cancel my subscription. Well unfortunately July is a dud too, so:

This month, the theme is Vive la France. The box is a special edition one illustrated by Jamie Lee Reardin, and the box is full of French products. Well, I say "full" - but more on that in a minute. There's no denying that the box itself is very pretty.

All very French and very lovely, non? Well, no.

The first thing to greet me when I undid the ribbon was this thing.

Glossybox Exclusive Pouch | Full Size | £3.99/€5.74

"A pouch" I thought. "Isn't that a nice little extra this month, I could probably use it for gel pens". But no, friends. Not a nice little extra. This is one of the five products this month. Now don't get me wrong - I love that they included something that wasn't makeup or skincare, and it is cute (if you have a teenage girl in the house I'm sure she'd chew your arm off to get it as a pencil case), but it also means that there are just four products in the much-hyped box.

Noxidoxi Enhancing Serum Base

                Full or Sample: Sample 25ml Worth: £20.75/€29.85 Available: noxidoxi.com

This is nice. It's a serum containing a load of waffle that supposedly gives you the skin of a newborn - the trials were conducted on women who smoked (info from the Noxidoxi website linked), and this is marketed as anti-pollution. It's all very French, running around with your long cigarette but without the skin of a crone. Would I buy it? No. Will I use it? Yeah, I like bases so I will.

Teoxane Cosmeceuticals Perfect Skin Refiner

Full or Sample: Sample 15ml | Worth: €41.74| Available: online-care.eu

This was nice to receive too. It has hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid, and even though it's a sample it has a pump, which is a huge plus. I am fond of my acids so I'll use this at night. When you're using anything like this make sure and use a high factor SPF the following day. 

Lollipops Lip Balm Délicieuse

Full or Sample: Full 10ml | Worth: €4.99 | Available: lollipopsmakeup.fr

This is the only full sized product in the box and I think that's really shitty considering it's under a fiver. When one of your products is a pencil case (I know it's a pouch but I see a pencil case) - you'd expect at least two full sized products or at least one decent one. What can I say about this? It has the consistency of carmex, it smells like sweets, it doesn't tingle on the lips, it contains Vitamin E and UV protection. This is the fifth lip balm this year. Fifth. Out of seven boxes. 

Vichy Liftactiv Advanced Filler

Full or Sample: Sample 5ml x 2 | Worth: €11.66 for both | Available: Boots

These were the final straw for me. Two 5ml samples of Vichy Liftactive Advanced Filler - This contains retinol and supposedly helps with aging - other subscribers got a 15ml pot of Vichy's Aqualia Thermal Light Cream, which I was looking forward to - but alas, it was not to be. Obviously because I am 32 they sent me the wrinkle filler instead, so cheers for that. 

And that's all folks - what a scaldy looking box. 

Box Cost: €18.94
Box Worth: €88.24 (I'm not including that pouch)

I like Glossybox as a company - they've always been more than good to me, they've replaced my one and only leaking product without any fuss, they got back to me straight away and sorted out an account issue for me last month, and they sent me an incredibly generous gift after they saw my lipstick holder - but I can't keep subscribing to this when the exchange rate is so bad and the products just aren't hitting the spot. The sneak peek for next month is a full sized Manna Kadar eyelash primer - I'll still receive the August box as per terms of cancellation, but I'm not going to be sitting waiting for the postman, unfortunately. 

I know there's an amazing collectors edition box coming in December featuring NARS that will be around the £30 mark - but for now I'm done with monthly subscription boxes, it's too much money, if I include the August box, Glossybox has cost me the guts of €150 this year. Which makes me feel a little bit sick. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015



If you've seen my snaps (snapchat: sharonleavy) about my overcrowded bathroom or you know me in any capacity at all, you'll know I'm a bit of a hoarder. I just like stuff - I go through phases of buying lipsticks, then shower things, then skincare - it's just the way I am, I get distracted and swayed very easily and I'm a marketer's dream. But I never seem to finish anything. Ever. It took me nearly a year and a half to finish a bottle of Micellar Water. HOW.

With that in mind, and the fact that I've never been able to do an empties post because I never have empties, I made a decision to consciously uncouple from my hoardy ways and make an effort to finish one product before moving on to the next.

Over the past three months - LOOK! I FINISHED THINGS!!!!

I got a serious thrill from seeing the empties box fill up, so much so that I'm making a definite effort to use up things that are on their last legs for the next time. Look at me, behaving in a normal human manner around the stuff! I'll go through everything and tell you where you can get everything, and if I'll repurchase it. I've taken most of the prices from Boots because they seem to have the best offers at the minute - this isn't a sponsored post, just in case it starts to look like a giant Boots ad. It's not.

Original Source Lime Shower Gel | Currently €1.40 at Boots
I seem to always have several shower gels on the go, but I finished this one completely. I love the scent of limes, and it compliments the Soap & Glory Sugar Crush range when I run out of the more pricey shower cream. Repurchase? Yep, I've another one almost finished and I'll be taking advantage of that Boots price!

Palmers Cocoa Butter | Currently €3.33 at Boots
I picked this up at the till in Boots one day, I hadn't used it in ages and forgot how much I really liked the smell. I chopped the bottom off to get the last bit out. Repurchase? Already bought the big pump one.

Sure Maximum Protection Stress Control & Sports Strength | Currently €3.60 each at Boots
My all time favourite deodorant. I was sent one of these (I think the green one) and I bought the other - I think I've gone through every one in the range at this stage. Repurchase? I've a fresh one in the bathroom waiting!

Ziaja Olive Leaf Concentrated Nourishing Cream | €5.99 at Original Beauty
I was sent this to try a while ago and I loved it. I gave it a proper review here. Repurchase? I will at some point when I get through some other moisturisers.

Daiso Make up Brush Cleaner | €7.50 on eBay
I don't usually buy this cleaner - I always get this one - so what possessed me to change from my Holy Grail is beyond me. This was fine - but it was like a pre-mixed version of my favourite one so the entire bottle only did one set of brushes. Repurchase? No way.

Essence Sponge Nail Polish Remover | €3.79 from Penneys/Pharmacies
This is fine, it went through a lot of nail polish before the little sponge started to break up. It's not as sturdy as the Bourjois offering, but for the price it works well to remove nail polish and it lasted ages. I used it for glitter a few times and had no major issues. Repurchase? I'm spoiled with the sturdiness of the Bourjois sponge, so I'll probably stick to it - sorry Essence!

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water | Currently €4.00 at Boots
The world and its mother have used this, it does the job, I use it to take off the top layer of facial cement of an evening before I go in with a cleanser. It's fine, it works. Repurchase? I have a full one ready to go, but to be completely honest with you I'm bored with it, I won't be buying it again.

Tiger Balm | €3.75 from eBay
I know you can get this in Dealz but I don't know if it's the same stuff, the eBay seller I use is linked. I think you can get it in some chemists too. This is magic for migraine or headache sufferers - it freezes the area so that you can get some relief. I find this particularly great when I have one of those pukey migraines and my head pounds so much that I can't sleep - this soothes my head and lets me relax enough to sleep it off. Repurchase? Full one ready to go!

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Pot | €21.99 at Boots
I bought this on offer at my local chemist for around €12 one day - I used it as a day and night cream and I adored it. It left my dehydrated skin feeling moisturised and hydrated. Repurchase? Yes, definitely. The more affortable Rich Tube at €15.50 is on my list for Autumn/Winter.

Catrice Nude Illusion Foundation | €8.49 at Penneys/Pharmacies
A really nice medium coverage foundation that blends well and lasts ages. What's not to love? Repurchase? I've another one ready!

Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation | €13.95 at Cloud Ten
Did you know that you can buy sample pots of foundation from Cloud Ten beauty? Well you can. They're €1 each, and they give you enough for a decent application so you can try before you buy. That's what I did with this and a couple of Paese ones - I bought the full size of this Bourjois one and it has been my saviour during the heat. Containing pigments to help combat not only dark circles but redness and dullness too? Winner. Repurchase? I absolutely will.

Britney Spears Cosmic Radiance Perfume | €17 for 100ml EDP from Fragrance Direct.
With a musky sandalwood base, this has top notes of pear and mandarin. There's some tuberose in there too, and it all makes for a blend that you'd never peg as a celeb perfume. Repurchase? I have a 30ml bottle of this to use up - but after that, although I have loved you and enjoyed you, here is where I leave you, Brit. My perfume drawer is heaving and I'm a bit terrified they're all going to go off.

Bourjois 1 Seconde Volume Ultra Black Mascara | €12.99 from Boots
This is one of the best mascaras I've ever used. It's just gorgeous - it makes a huge difference to my lashes, and after I first tried it I didn't use any other mascara until this one was finished. I genuinely can't remember finishing a mascara in the last 15 years, so this is a rare, rare thing! Repurchase? You betcha.

Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Moisturiser | Full Size: €45 at Boots
I got this sample in a Glossybox and fell in love with it. It's just a beautiful moisturiser - the texture, the scent, everything. I love it. Repurchase? I have a full sized one waiting for me to pick up in Boots.

Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser | Full Size: €33 at Look Fantastic
This was another Beauty Box sample - I think it was one of the British Beauty Blogger boxes. I've never used a cleanser like this before - it's like a jelly that dissolves makeup effortlessly. Also fell in love with this. Repurchase? I bought the full size from Look Fantastic, it's gorgeous.

Lancome Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover | Full Size: €28.50 at Boots.
I got this as part of a set from Brown Thomas in the sales. It's a brilliant eye make-up remover, one of the best I've tried. Repurchase? At nearly thirty quid? As much as I love it, not a hope in hell.

Clinique Repairwear Sculpting Night Cream | Full Size: €76 at Brown Thomas
This was supposed to "define the look of facial contours along the cheeks and jawline, and smooth and firm the look of the skin on the neck and chest" - I didn't see any major difference from using it for the few weeks that the sample pot lasted. It was pleasant to use, sank in well, wasn't greasy or offensive, but nothing special. I mean I still don't have cheekbones, so.... Repurchase? Eh, for €76? No.

I also burned a few candles and tarts over the last three months - I finished one from Emma's Soy Candles but forgot to keep the jar. This one from Boyne Country Candles in the scent "Take me to Beverly Hills" was gorgeous. The Celtic Candles tart in "Champagne and Pink Grapefruit" was lovely to begin with, but it lasted so long that I was completely sick of it and dug it out of the burner to replace it with Yankee's "Vanilla Cupcake" tart. That got the boot last week in favour of Yankee's "Vanilla Lime". I'll definitely buy more from Boyne Country Candles - they're €12.50 and available at Dolledup.ie and on their website. Intrigued by the "Orange Cream" (AKA Super Split) one, it has to be said.....

Are you proud of me for finishing things? I also finished two bags of the Boots Cotton Pads. I wonder if I'll ever finish a nail polish or lipstick? Or an eyeshadow? Imagine finishing an eyeshadow!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Books I Read in June


So, June was a really good reading month for me. I pretty much let TV fall by the wayside altogether so I got a lot more read at night - it has been too hot to read during the day so we've been going for more walks. June's total was 15 - but it's more like 14 and a half, because I didn't finish one (hate doing that, but life's too short for bad books).

Rick O'Shea Book Club

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
This was the book club pick for May, but I had to wait for the library to buy it in for me (libraries do that, you know. If you want a new book that they don't have, they'll buy it). It's a Love/Hate type story set in modern day Cork City that centres around the lives of a drug dealer and his girlfriend, a prostitute, a gangster's mother - and digs deeper into the links they share and the secrets they hide. Brilliant read.

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume
This was one of the June book club picks (the other being The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, which I tried to read last year and gave up on). The title is a play on the four seasons of the year. The book follows the story of one year in a man's life - a man who doesn't have much social interaction, and who gets himself a dog that nobody else wants. They soon become as thick as thieves - but when that relationship is threatened, he decides to take the dog on a road trip of sorts. This is dark, it's uneasy at times, but the writing is breathtaking. In terms of plot, there's not a whole pile here - but the writing alone is worth it. It reminded me a little of Donal Ryan or Eimear McBride at times but much easier to read.

Books to Review

For The Love of Martha by Maria Murphy
I was kindly sent this to review from Poolbeg - it's a timeslip novel about an 18 year old orphan named Martha, who is living with her cousin as a Governess. The family decide to move to Carissima, a sprawling home in Co. Monaghan - putting an end to Martha's romance with a local handsome doctor. Meanwhile, we're also following the life of Juliet in London in 2010 - she is a photographer, and is seeing the man who currently owns Carissima. This lacked something for me - it took ages to get going and while I liked Martha's story, I wasn't bothered about Juliet.

The Number 8 by Joel Arcanjo
I requested this on Netgalley because the premise sounded amazing - a group of strangers in New Zealand, stuck on a tour bus, and one of them could be a killer? Yes please!! Unfortunately, very little of it was set on the bus so it lacked the claustrophic element necessary to build tension. The descriptions of the tour areas were fantastic, but the characters and plot were dull.

Date With a Rockstar by Sarah Gagnon
Another one from Netgalley - I enjoyed this way more than I should have. Set in the distant future, Monet O'Neal is suffering from the disease Fluxem. There's a cure, but it costs thousands of dollars. Monet applies for a place on a Reality TV show to meet and date rockstar Jeremy Bane, and win $30,000 - but what will happen if anyone realises she has Fluxem? Will the producers dig up any more secrets about her? Loved this. The Reality TV setting was brilliant and it was cheesy as hell, but it was written well enough to carry the story.

Seen the Movie? Now Read the Book!

One of my main 2015 reading goals was to read more original book versions of movies. This month, I read three.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Oh my GOD why have I not read this before now?! It's amazing. It was addictive - a sweeping, passionate, turbulent tale of Scarlett O'Hara and her determination to succeed. Set pre, during and post the Civil War era, I could not put it down. It's racist and hard to stomach in places, I had to keep reminding myself when it was written and when it was set - but it's one of the best reading experiences I've had in my adult life. Absolutely adored it.

Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine
Yikes. Where to start with this one - Mrs. Doubtfire starring Robin Williams will always be one of my favourite family films. It was one of the first I ever saw in a cinema, and it holds a lot of great memories about a favourite person from my childhood - so I was eager to read the book. It is horrible. The parents have horrific fights in front of their children, they play the children like pawns, and there's a horrible undercurrent of fear and worry where the children are concerned. Much like when I read Skipping Christmas by John Grisham - I was shocked at the lack of warmth, heart, or humour. The children know all along that their Dad is the new housekeeper - probably because his disguise consists of wellies, a pink coat and a turban. Absolutely one to avoid, watch the movie instead.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
This isn't a movie yet - but it's coming, and it will star Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role. Based on the true story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be publicly executed in Iceland in 1830, this is the story of Agnes' last few months at a nearby family farm where she has been sent to wait out her death sentence. Convicted of the brutal murder of two men, Agnes is silent about her crimes - until she begins to open up to her Spiritual Advisor, Tóti, and the lady of the house, Margrét. Agnes' story is so tragic and so sad, I knew what was coming but I didn't want to believe it - it was haunting, beautiful, and the eerie landscape of Iceland was a character in itself. 100% recommended.

Kindle First

Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall
The title refers to Mercy Gracia, or Sugar, as she is known. She is a very overweight Puerto Rican/Polish teenager who lives with her disgusting physically and verbally abusive brother and her mother, who has not gotten out of bed in months due to her increasing size. Sugar cares for her mother, but in the meantime, doesn't care for herself. When she makes a friend, something she once thought impossible, things begin to change and she realises that she must find the strength to make permanent changes in several areas of her life. This isn't a makeover book, it's difficult to read at times and I HATE the event that happens towards the end (kick a girl when she's down, why don't you) but it was a worthwhile read.


The Exit by Helen Fitzgerald
Catherine is 23, and gets a job in a care home - mainly to get her mother off her back. She doesn't like old people, she's not bothered, she just wants the money. Rose Price is 82, a resident of the care home and a former children's author. Rose is convinced that something sinister is going on at the care home - but nobody will listen to her. She enlists the help of a begrudging Catherine to try and find out what's going on. I thought this would be another Elizabeth is Missing but it was far from that - Catherine as a protagonist is a breath of fresh air, she's not exactly likeable but she's a strong character. Her relationship with Rose is brilliant - this is quite dark, and maybe not one to go for if you have a weak stomach.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Little Jacob Jordan is killed in a hit and run when his mother lets go of his hand to cross the street. Wracked with guilt, she flees. Jenna goes to a remote village in Wales to try and move on with her life, but still can't get over what happened to Jacob. Meanwhile, DI Ray Stevens is working on the hit and run case, trying to find the driver, while dealing with personal issues of his own. But Jenna's past is about to catch up with her, and it could prove fatal. Absolutely 100% the best thriller I've read this year. Clever, shocking, frightening, tense - this is everything a thriller should be. Read it.

Young Adult

Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler
One night when Mina is finishing up her shift in the Pizzeria where she works after school, a strange old lady comes in and tells her that she will have a baby. Mina laughs it off - she has a boyfriend of two years but she's a virgin - so how can she be pregnant? But she is......... This reminded me of that movie Saved! at times. It's not religious, but it does discuss faith (not in a preachy way). The author took the story of the Immaculate Conception and put it bang smack in the middle of High School in the social media era. Really good, unique concept, and enjoyable.

Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid
This has been on my Kindle for ages - it's about 16 year old Audrey Morgan and her battle with depression and self harm. Or is it? Audrey, her mother, and little brother have moved to a new area after a fire destroyed their home. Audrey has a history of self-harm, and her mother hopes that the move will bring a new beginning for them all. Leo is staying on a nearby farm - he is 17, and has had experience with mental health issues himself, so he immediately feels like Audrey is a kindred spirit. As their relationship begins to blossom, all may not be what it seems.......I really don't want to spoil this for anyone, so I'll just say - when the penny dropped, it hit me smack between the two eyes and I lay awake in bed with my heart thundering. It's really, really good.

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider
Lane Rosen is a new resident at Latham House, a boarding-school slash Sanitorium for teenagers with a total drug resistant strain of TB. It's set in the modern day, it's not dystopia, it just happens to take place in a Sanitorium. Sadie is also a resident - Lane and Sadie know each other from Summer Camp a few years ago. But is there any point in getting close to someone at Latham when survival odds aren't in your favour? Full to the brim with witty dialogue and Harry Potter references, this was enjoyable enough.

Did Not Finish

Breakable by Aimee L. Salter
Also published as Every Ugly Word. In my copy, the lead character was called Stacy. In the subsequent editions, she is called Ashley. Stacy is in therapy after "an incident". We're not privy to the circumstances yet, but we're going along for the ride as Stacy discusses the months leading up to the incident with her therapist. Having gone through horrific bullying, Stacy turns to herself - quite literally. She sees an older version of herself in the mirror. "Older Me" seems to know all about Stacy's future. Here's where it got enough for me: I like magical realism. A lot. I love the idea of your future self appearing in the mirror to tell you what's going on. But she doesn't tell her anything useful. The bullying - when Stacy's mother finds abusive texts on her phone, she asks what Stacy did to provoke such a reaction. The therapist asks about her role in her own abuse. Her friend asks her to try and make friends with the bullies. Not at any point in the first 14 chapters does anyone pull Stacy aside and say - This is not OK. And there I left it - victim blaming ain't my cup of tea.

So that's it! Productive by all accounts, but I've about seventeen programmes to watch on Sky+ at this stage. I'll update the 2015 book page (here) with the covers, as usual you can click on a cover to go to my full Goodreads review.

Bring it on, July!