birchbox
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September Birchbox

This month we’ve seen another great box from Birchbox.

For those not lucky enough to get the beauty blender last time, this time they got it! I did first time, so was pleased for those who got them (my sister).

This month we got the usual five sample products to try, plus 2 lifestyle products. The two lifestyle products were fun and fruity!

The fruity mango chunks were tasty, from Urban Fruit – Magnificent Mango and made a great snack. Birchbox also added a Happy Days Photo Clip, to add some photos / happy moments to your mantel piece or workspace.

Now for the five added sample products.

Let’s start with the non-surprise. This month we were allowed to choose one product, it was a choice of two lip lacquers and a mascara, all from ModelCo. I chose the one in the Morocco shade and can say I was very pleased with it. It isn’t highly pigmented, however, the colour is nice (one of those Cheryl Ann Fernandez-Versini, formerly Cole type colours) and leaves a great sheen.

The other products included were the Agave Healing Oil Treatment, Benefit it’s Potent! Eye Cream, Korres Citrus Shower gel and the Skin & Co Truffle Therapy Serum.

I loved all the products this September, but I particularly liked the Benefit’s eye cream, (which made a difference to my dark mascaraed circles), the Skin & Co Serum and the ModelCo Moroccan Lip Lacquer.

Thanks Birchbox!

ramadan
Blog Eid Ramadan

Ramadan

June 29th saw the start of the most important month in the Islamic Calendar and for Muslims everywhere around the World. The month of Ramadan (pronounced Ramadhan or also known as ‘Ramzan’) is when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. The start of Ramadan is determined from the sighting of the new moon, likewise Eid the festival after Ramadan is also determined in the same way – once the new moon is sighted.

Fasting means not eating or drinking for many hours a day for 30 days. Contrary to popular belief and to the surprise of my colleagues that means consuming “absolutely nothing”. I have been at many times been asked if I can drink water, eat fruit etc. The answer is “No, not a drop or morsel must enter the lips!”

Fasting (abstaining from eating) may seem hard and this year it has been harder than most. This year due to being summer, the timings for fasting started before 3am to after 9.30pm. The time however, reduced as the month went by, for example the last fast finished at 9pm (Still long but less than it was).

The important reason for fasting is not only just to abstain from eating, but also to be the best that you can be, with a cleansed mind and soul and praying as much as you can. It is a time to reflect and have empathy with the poor. You can feel this through not eating and by giving charity in this month. This month means abstaining from bad deeds and being spiritual.

What this means to me?

Ramadan is a great time to cleanse, reflect and be soothed through prayer, the reading of the holy (book) Quran and being close to God (Allah). I thought this year would be particularly difficult due to the length of the fast, but it’s strange how the body can adapt. The first few fasts are always the most difficult, but after a few they become easier and the body and mind feels more secure.

It is not only a time to reflect but also to come together with your loved ones and fellow Muslims to open the fast and pray together.

This month it is also important to give to the less unfortunate or if for any reason fast can’t be kept due to illness then one can donate or feed the poor.

It is a beautiful month where prayers can be answered and any prayers and alms are rewarded more than in any other month. This makes this month very special!

The last day of Ramadan as stated before is when the moon is sited, therefore the day of Eid cannot be predicted. This year the fast lasted for 29 days. Eid fell therefore on day 30 and on a Monday 28th July. Getting time of work sometimes can also be difficult, unfortunately, my husband didn’t get the time off.

Eid is a great day of celebration. It is particularly great and fun for children, who not only get presents, money, but also get to wear their new clothes. Eid is a time of celebration, new clothes, wearing colourful bangles and nice finery. For men, new clothes and going to the mosque and offering prayers in the morning. A little sweet eaten for breakfast called “seviyan” is also a tradition.

I can only say that for me this Eid was sad due to the conflict in Palestine and I was also sorry that my husband couldn’t be there. I wish I could change things, but I guess can be of help by giving charity and praying for anyone, everywhere around the World that has troubles that they be eased and diminish (easier said but done, but prayers can help!)

One should follow Eid by keeping up the good deeds, keep praying and contemplating. It is ideal to carry on with the good deeds…. I will certainly try!

How did you, if fasting find them this year?
…And how did you spend Eid?

June and July Favourites
Beauty Blog

June & July Favourites

This month I am loving…

…Chanel Foundations
No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter
Mac Lipglass in Lust
Porefessional
Ren Cleanser
L’Oréal Paris Color Appeal Eyeshadow
EOS Lip Balm

The Chanel Foundations.

The lovely lady at the Chanel counter gave me a few samples of three different foundations and I was hooked! I tried the PERFECTION LUMIÈRE VELVET, The VITALUMIÈRE AQUA and the CHANEL VITALUMIÈRE. Out of all these I loved the latter two.

I have heard so much about the Aqua foundation and it is a favourite with the beauty Gurus. It’s also great for the summer. The foundation that looked good on my skin was the Vitalumiére. It has more of a thicker and fuller coverage than the Aqua foundation, which is ideal for special occasions or a night out.

I must say that the quality of the Chanel foundations and cosmetics are amazing and very recommendable. The only downside is the price. However, the foundation lasting power is great so well worth the price and treat!

The colours come in a variety of shades and make the complexion look glowy and full of illuminousity. The coverage is also really good and long wearing too!

No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter

This is a great highlighter in a stick. It’s easy to carry and use, just add onto the tops of the cheeks, just above the blusher. It is so easy that you can just apply and go! This gives a glowy sheen on the face.

Mac Lip Glass

Anyone wanting to be like Jenny on the Block needs this lip gloss in their life! Mac Lip glass in Lust is a peachy dream which creates a glow like JLo (Pardon the pun!)

It’s such a nice shade that brightens up the face and will flatter most. I would recommend this lip glass. The only downside is that the consistency is sticky, so will stick to your hair. LOL. If you don’t mind this then this is a must have!

The Porefessional

The porefessional is a great and staple in anyone’s make-up bag. The beauty of this is to refine the pores and makes foundation seem more seamless.

Ren Cleanser

I am also loving the this Cleanser for reasons that it is mild, doesn’t hurt my eyes and is soothing when using the warm wash cloth.

Plus if I had been using this sooner, I think I would have avoided the black panda eyes and dark under eye circles that I have.

It’s also great for when you just feel lazy and can’t be asked to get the cotton pads and the make-up remover out. Using a cleanser also doubles up as a face freshener.

Any help with the reduction of the dark circles is a bonus and always welcome in my makeup routine!

L’Oréal Paris Eye shadow Color Appeal

I bought this eyeshadow in the colour Brun Lame (168). It isn’t just your average brown eye shadow! This has copper elements to it, plus small gold particles that give the lid an iridescent lighting. Paired with some liquid eyeliner the eyes look dazzling.

EOS Lip Balm

I like this lip balm. The packaging is really cute. I have the Summer Fruit flavour, which means it smells really fruity. This is great for dry lips and works great when used overnight.
Although this isn’t really readily available everywhere but you can buy this from Top Shop. The price is also on the slightly pricey side for a lip balm (£7) but I highly recommend this lip balm.

The packaging is really chic and colourful and the lip balm is rounded which is unusual, making it easy to apply. The ingredients are rich in vitamin E, Shea butter and jojoba oil and free from petroleum and parabens, so very good for the lips and make them feel soft.

All round I have been liking many products this and last month, but the Chanel foundation is the clear winner!

What have been your favourites?

instyle-ren
Blog

June Magazine Freebies

This June had some exciting but diverse products free with the magazines.

I will do a quick round-up of the products and summaries of the ones I loved.

Nail Polish:

We’ll start with the nail polish. There were no less than three inclusions of these:

Marie Claire Magazine for £2.50 – saw inclusion of the Ciate Mini Caviar Manicure Kit with a choice of 6 colours. The colours ranged from baby blue, purple, lilac, peach, red and pinky coral – which I went for and a great shade for the summer!

Similarly the Red Magazine for £4 included a choice of 4 Mavala Nail Polishes (worth £4.30 each). It came in the following named shades – Waikiki Orange (a coral orange), Moscow (a classic red), Trinidad (a royal blue) and Wichita (a nude shade). I know that this is a reputable nail company known for various nail care products and therefore worth a try.

The cost for the Harper’s Bazaar is £4.20 and came with full size Leighton Denny nail polishes (worth £11 each) which makes this a very good buy! The colour and choice range is very good too. The colours included a baby pink, ruby, nude brown, red, pink and fuchsia.

Star Product – Hot Cloth Cleanser:

* The star product in June came with the InStyle Magazine for just £3.90. To top it all off the REN Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser (a mouthful, I know! LOL) is a brand new product, meaning it was a real try before you buy! The bottle contained 30ml of product and came with a stay-warm cloth. An absolute steal for the price! I really liked this product and particularly like the fact that this removes eye make-up effortlessly and without the panda marks under the delicate area of the eye. This is a non stinging product so is good to counteract dark eye circles which I suffer from because of continuous mascara use. This cleanser was very gently and after use my skin felt really clean and refreshed. So it’s true to say what’s not to love about this product. Go out and buy it now!

june-freebies

Eyeliner:

The last in the freebie entries is also from a good brand; Eyeko. There is a choice of 2 liquid eyeliners worth £12 with the Glamour Magazine costing an amazing £2. There is a choice of two colours; black or navy blue. These eyeliners have had good reviews, however I found the one I bought to be too dry and therefore dragged on the eye. I couldn’t get enough product out and therefore the line was often uneven. I didn’t like this eyeliner; I have tried it before and was more successful then but it dried out within a month.

I must say that overall this has been a great month for freebies, especially for the nails. I have to applaud the InStyle Magazine overall as they gave the best free product.

Let me know what your favourite freebie was for May or June…

elle-mag-pore
Blog

May Magazine Freebies

This (June) and last month (May) saw some great beauty product inclusions in the magazines. From nail polishes to cleansers, eye liner to primer.

Sorry these are not on the shelves now but I can recommend all these brands and products whole heartedly.

The June freebies article will be posted shortly… These you can still get!

Pore Refiner:

I am just in love with The Porefessional Primer from Benefit after trying it in the Elle Magazine costing just £4. (Thanks Elle, as I have wanted to try this for so long.) The primer contains 7.5ml and is said to be worth £8, so well worth a try.

I found that this was great for hiding or minimising the appearance of pores and evening out the skin/complexion. I had heard rave reviews for this primer and was so pleased to see it as a magazine freebie and it came in real handy for a recent wedding I went to.

Skincare:

A skincare set from Aromatherapy Associates (famous for their bath oils) was included with the Marie Claire Magazine for £2.50. The set included a Renewing Rose Cleanser (10ml), Rose Renewing Moisturiser (5ml) and a Rose Face Mask (5ml).

I was excited to try this brand because I have heard a lot about their bath oils and was therefore expecting the skincare to be equally as good. I have used them and have been happy with the samples. I particularly liked the renewing moisturiser as I suffer from patches of dry skin and found it hydrating.

Nail Polish:

Another great product that was available in May was a full size Nails Inc polish. I particularly love these polishes, as they are such nice colours that suit all seasons. They had a choice of 3 fabulous colours. These were included with the Instyle Magazine which costs £3.90 but in Tesco the magazine was only £2.50, which is a great bargain as it is and with the added bonus of a full sized nail polish from Nail Inc nonetheless!

I just love these freebies and have to admit that I will only buy some of these magazines just for these – sad I know. I must say that these products make the magazines very sellable. And free samples are a great way to try a product before you buy. Yes, please for more…

birchbox-june
Beauty Blog

New Birchbox

I was really excited when I heard that the Birchbox was adding the Beauty Blender to their offering of products in the June box! There is no guarantee what products will be in the box, but I took a chance and ordered it.

The concept is a good one for beauty fanatics. Their strapline being – Discover beauty and lifestyle products to suit you! The aim is to let customers sample some great high end products. Names like Caudalie (famous for their beauty elixir), theBalm and OPI to name just a few.

It’s a beauty junkies dream! I was lucky enough to have got the Beauty Blender which was my main motivation for wanting the box.

I am so excited to try the Beauty Blender (which includes a blender cleanser) as it is an iconic product that all beauty guru/bloggers recommend and use!

the-products

This month’s products were from all over the world and has a World Cup/Brazil theme, hence the green pouch.

The other great products in my box were; the Caudalie day perfecting fluid, the Naobay Body Radiance Lotion, a miniature OPI nail polish, theBalm cheek and lip tint and a Birchbox Brazil themed flip flop key ring.

The subscription costs £10 a month and you can cancel at any time. I recommend signing up, just for this box alone. I am so happy with my box and can’t wait to try them!

Thanks Birchbox!

Love A. xx

may-fav2
Beauty Blog

May Favourites

This month I am loving…

…All things beauty! I went to a family wedding in May and couldn’t do without the items below:

I’ll start with the Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate. This is a replenishing Elixir of pure essential oils and distilled botanicals to visibly restore the appearance of skin by morning.

I put some on my hands and tap it into my skin just before bedtime. The smell of lavender is very soothing and in the morning my skins feels so nice and smooth. There are many night time serums arround but I find this one is great for the skin and affordable. I can recommend this if your skin needs a little night time tlc.

Next I am loving Laura Mercier’s body and bath soufflé in ambre vanillé. This smells so nice on  the body and really lingers on the skin. It’s a scent in a bottle! Even my husband is a huge fan! My son does too and am sad that it’s nearly finished. 🙁

Next I am not usually a fan of bright coloured lipstick, but I wanted to be a little daring in the month of May. So when I tried the L’Oréal L’Extraordinaire Liquid Lipstick in the colour Ruby Opera, I was pleasantly surprised; red/maroon actually suited me! I find it brightens up my complexion and looked good too!  I got a lot of compliments while wearing it at a recent function.

I was also liking the Essie hors d’oeuvres nail polish. This is a glittery nail polish that is silver with flecks of gold in it, which also creates a great accent nail. It came in very handy at the wedding I recently attended. I really like this nail polish which can also be worn on its own at a glitzy event.

I absolutely love this next product.  The price is steep, but really worth it! It’s the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder in Mood Light.  This powder creates a glow to the skin and adds to  flawlessness. I like this powder as it adds dimension to my face and have had lots of compliments on my skin since I started using this.

The last item I am loving is the Mac Mineralize concealer in NC42. I find that this particular  concealer is great for adding light to the eyes.  I use in true Kardashian style, drawing on a triangle under my eye and blending it in with a brush.  It adds a shine where the sun hits it.

Well most of those were high end, but I am very much a local drug store kind of Gal (Boots/Superdrug). I prefer the more reasonable price tags 😉 But if a product is really good I will pay for it, as the Ambient Powder and Kiehls Midnight Recovery above.

P.S. I had the loveliest time at my cousins wedding!

Also, this month I have been loving Vampire Dairies and Revenge on tv. I am sad though that both have just finished for the season.

What were your May favourites? Please comment below!