Beauty Advent Calendars – week 1

I’ve decided to battle my two beauty calendars against each other.  Who will win week one?

Liberty 15 week 1

Day one – Byredo Bal D’Afrique hand cream.  I’ve used this a couple of times and it smells wonderful.  And expensive.
Day two – Ren Moroccan Rose body wash.  Ren is always a winner and is one of my favourite brands.
Day three – Escentric Molecules 03.  Husband has already stolen this from me.
Day four – Hourglass Film Noir mascara.  Hourglass is one of those expensive brands that everyone seems to love so it’ll be good to try this.
Day five – Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant.  I’ve already been playing with this and it is so good.  Weird, but good.
Day six – Aromatherapy Associates De-stress muscle gel.  I think I’ll take this on holiday with me to use after a long day of walking about.
Day seven – Co Bigelow rose salve.  A repeat from last year.  Don’t even care though, as this is my favourite lip balm in the entire world.

Marks and Spencer
M&S week 1
Day one – Philip Kingsley Elasticizer.  Bringing out the big guns on day one!  This is the geranium and neroli version so will be interesting to see if that makes a difference, but this is a strong product to start
Day two – Burt’s Bees lemon butter cuticle cream.  Another solid item.  Will look forward to slathering this on my hands.
Day three – Cowshed Grumpy Cow body lotion.  I am more into the Knackered Cow scent, but I’m liking Grumpy Cow too.
Day four – Pür Minerals Volume Vixen mascara.  Coincidentally, another mascara for day four.  I haven’t heard of Pür Minerals before.  Is the umlaut over the U for function or design.  That’s my main question.
Day five – Leighton Denny nail repair cream.  I see Leighton Denny products in M&S fairly often, but I’ve only just discovered that this isn’t the woman from Gossip Girl.  That’s Leighton Meester.  Oh.
Day six – M&S Nuit Parfum.  This is apparently a perfume designed by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.  And yet is smells like something an old lady would wear.
Day seven – Rituals Zensation shower gel.  This looks fun – a gel that turns into a foam.  I have a feeling Husband will be stealing this as well.

Week One Winner

Mainly for the Dermalogica and Co Bigelow.  Although M&S put up a very good fight.

I was thinking about shopping. As per usual.

Liberty1Day two of my Birthday Bonanza was spent shopping in London with my Mum.  She tends to go to London with my Dad, and he always has specific shops he wants to visit so she doesn’t get to wander around aimlessly.  This was my chance to give her a bit of an aimless wander.

We started at Cafe Nero in the Oxo Tower after a short train journey into Waterloo, where we sat and planned our route.  First up, we need to find an emergency short-sleeved top for Mum as it had suddenly got very warm.  Top purchased from a popular high street store, we walked up Regent Street towards Liberty, my favourite shop in the world.  After lusting after some beautiful bags (Hello Mulberry!), we went into the beauty hall as she wanted to buy me some Co Bigelow goodies for my birthday.

Every few months, I treat myself to the Mentha shampoo and conditioner as it’s the next best thing to my dream conditioner – their lavender and peppermint range which you cannot get in the UK.  I grabbed my substitutes, picked up some of their chapped hands remedy, and then very loudly gasped.  THEY HAD THE DREAM CONDITIONER.  Embarrassingly, I had gasped so loudly that I attracted the attention of the sales assistant, so I had to explain why I was acting like an immense dork.  She smiled politely, and I’m sure she very subtly started to back away.  I was happy though.

Liberty2All of these products are amazing, especially the Chapped Hands Remedy which has already fixed my very dry hands when every other moisturiser has failed me.  I wish I lived in New York as I would be in the Co Bigelow store every week.

We wandered around Liberty from top to bottom, wishlisting many items and planning my perfect home.  I was quite disappointed that I didn’t see anyone from the Liberty TV series, but it was good to see the rug department was just as it was on TV.  Chocked full of rugs.

After Liberty, I very quickly popped into Lush to buy some Comforter shower gel (fortunately, it’s right by the door, so I barely had to go in the shop), and we stopped by the Benefit counter in Boots for some eyebrow advice.  We then fought through the Oxford Street crowds to visit House of Fraser and Selfridges – I really don’t like Oxford Street and it’s a massive pain that Selfridges is located on it.

We decided to head back at this point, and I gave my Mum the option of Tubing it to Waterloo, but she was happy to walk so we nipped down one of the side streets for a bit of peace and quiet, stumbling across Fenwicks in the process.  After a brief browse, Mum decided she needed another coffee and fortunately we found an empty Eat in St George Street – despite the building works opposite, it was remarkably tranquil.

We managed to get all the way to Charing Cross station when it started to rain, so took the Bakerloo line the rest of the way.  I think that’s fair though – my Fitbit said we’d done 9 miles so it was only fair that I gave her a bit of a rest.  She did very well (although I’m sure she slept all of Sunday).

We wend our way through the longest part of the day

Green Room2

Thursday felt like an insanely long day.  It was the penultimate day of Ryan, Tim, Husband, and my Work Week Hustle Fitbit Challenge and I was determined not to be last (Tim and Husband were in a whole other league to Ryan and I).  As it turns out, the 20,000 steps I did on Thursday nudged me firmly into third place so I was happy with that.

The day started with a trip to the University of Winchester for a very productive meeting (and a productive 3000 steps).  In the afternoon, I jumped back on the train into London.  I wanted to go to Selfridges to visit Tatty Devine, but South West Trains messed me about so much that I ran out of time.  I did manage to make it to Liberty though where I visited my favourite section of the store, Co Bigelow.  I credit their Mentha shampoo with curing the mild alopecia areata that I suffered from a couple of years ago, so wanted to stock up on some more.  Plus, who doesn’t love a trip to Liberty.

Liberty CoBigelow

Super cute neon!

After my mini-spree, I walked back down Regent Street to meet Tim at Leicester Square and we walked over to our newest favourite South Bank restaurant, The Green Room.  Tim had found an offer for BOGOF burgers, so it seemed a perfect place for our Christmas gift exchange.  The restaurant is full of props and recycled items from The National Theatre, great food, and very happy staff, and I very much enjoyed spritzing my vinegar onto my chips!

We both bought each other a book and an item very much South Bank based, purely coincidentally but it shows how well we know each other.  I already started reading my copy of The Secret History of Wonder Woman on the train on the way back, and my Mini Moderns tea towel with a print of the Royal Festival Hall’s carpet (long story) has taken pride of place in my kitchen.  I also got a bonus gifty of Adam and Joe’s XFM shows – WOO!

Husband had already warned me not to let Tim walk too far (they were engaged in their own step battle) so we only did one lap around Waterloo.  Also because my beautiful Nike x Liberty trainers were killing me.

I had a very good night sleep after my 10 miles.  And we’re all taking the week off challenges now.  Maybe a month.

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar – final review

Liberty advent4

I have opened the last drawer in my Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar.  Boxing Day will be a very sad affair.  This is what was in the last few days:

  • Day twenty-two – Kai by Gaye Straza body lotion. Not a great deal to say about this. It’s another body lotion.
  • Day twenty-three – Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser. I used this last night (I’m a rebel) and it smelt… really quite odd.  Left my face feeling lovely though.
  • Day twenty-four – Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 fragrance.   This is a proper sized item – aluminium case and glass bottle.  I think this is what was weighing the whole calendar down.  It’s supposed to smell different on different people, but on me, it smells musky and woodsy.    I used to work on a fragrance counter (because they dismantled my No7 counter and left me without a till).  I’m by no means an expert, but it’s very expensive smelling.
  • Day twenty-five – Diptyque Baies candle.  Husband was quite annoyed that I got a day 25 in my calendar and he didn’t in his Lego Calendar.  Obviously Diptyque are legendary in the candle world, but I haven’t ever tried them before (I’m more of a Yankee Candle girl) so I shall enjoy this one.

Overall, I LOVED the whole calendar.  Discovering new brands, finding new products – if they sell this next year, I’ll definitely be buying again.  That said, there were five cleansers and four body lotions (if my calculations are correct) so it did get kind of samey.  There were no hair products, no facial moisturiser or toner or exfoliator – it needed a tad more variation.  I think there needs to be a male version as well; I’m sure there are a lot of jealous men out there.  I’m glad they didn’t include too many colour cosmetics as they can be a bit hit and miss, and they made good decisions on the ones they did.  It was a really great selection of brands to include.

My favourites:

  • Co Bigelow Rose Salve. I would happily sell Husband for more Co Bigelow products.
  • NARS Deep Throat Blush. A colour I would never have looked at in store but looks fantastic on me.
  • Malin + Goetz rum body wash. This is all gone already!
  • Deborah Lippmann Call Me Irresponsible nail colour. Looks beautiful on my nails.
  • Kiehl’s Crème du Corps.  Iconic

Liberty advent5

Farewell advent calendar.  You will be sorely missed.  Although probably not by my brother who seemed irritated by my Instagram posts.

And now I’m off to enjoy Christmas.  Hope y’all have a wonderful day!

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar – week 3

Liberty advent3For my third week products from the Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar, I dragged Tim around Fleet Pond to photograph them.  Because I’m a pretentious blogger.

  • Day fifteen – Weleda Skin Food.  This is a favourite of my Sister-in-Law’s so I was curious to try it.  So far, it hasn’t done anything for my weirdly damaged skin on my calf (to be fair, I don’t think anything would) but I’ll keep using it.
  • Day sixteen – Suratt all-in-one eye baton.  A lovely eye liner and eye shadow product.  Definitely one to keep in the make-up bag.  I’ve never heard of Suratt before, so it’s nice to find new brands.
  • Day seventeen – Dermalogica pre-cleanse.  Another facial cleanser.  Personally, life is too short for pre-cleansing but I’ll get some use out of it every now and again.  An odd product – an oil that turns into a milk.
  • Day eighteen – Omorovicza lip balm.  It’s a lovely lip balm (which I accidentally stuck my finger right into the middle of) but it doesn’t win against the Co Bigelow last week.
  • Day nineteen – voucher for 30 minute Sisley facial.  I had a bit of a whinge about the hair voucher in week one, but I think I’ll probably end up making the trip into London to use this one.
  • Day twenty – Laura Mercier Lip Glace.  It’s a lovely nude colour which actually suits me quite well, and doesn’t feel horribly sticky on my lips.  Not full size.
  • Day twenty-one – Dr Sebagh Serum Repair.  This is full size.  THIS IS FULL SIZE AND £70.  £70!!!  I used it this morning and wasn’t wowed by it, but it might be one of those slow burn things.  Regardless, THIS IS £70!  Well, if it’s good enough for Elle Macpherson…

Only 4 days to go!


Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar – week 2

Liberty Advent2Husband and I have just spent half an hour arguing over the best way to shoot this week’s Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar products.  You better appreciate this.

  • Day eight – REN Skincare Express Make-Up Remover.  I love REN.  When we stayed at a Room for London a couple of years ago, they had loads of REN products in the bathroom which pleased me greatly. I shall look forward to using this.
  • Day nine – Hourglass Cosmetics lip stick.  I’m not a lipstick person so have no opinion on this I’m afraid.  I’m sure it’s very nice (although it’s a tiny sample size so a little disappointing).
  • Day ten – ESPA cleanser.  Another cleanser?  How dirty do Liberty think our faces are?  The USP for this cleanser is you can use it as a mask as well.  I’ve used it once this week, and it left my skin feeling… a bit odd.  But then I do like cleansers that leave my face feeling completely stripped.  True story – I once went for a job at ESPA head office.  I did not like them, they did not like me.
  • Day eleven – Deborah Lippmann nail colour.  Now this is the motherload.  I have been lusting after Deborah Lippmann polishes for such a long time, but could never justify the crazy prices in the UK.  I was very annoyed with myself for not buying any in New York in March.  There were two colours available for the box (I think) and I received the Liberty purple-esque Call Me Irresponsible.  This is going on my nails tonight!
  • Day twelve – Decleor Aroma Confort body milk.  It’s a body milk.  I have no anecdotes for this brand.
  • Day thirteen – Malin + Goetz Rum Body Wash.  Malin + Goetz are one of those companies I want to get into.  I see their stuff at Space NK and almost very nearly buy some, so I’m pleased I’ll finally get a chance to use something of theirs.
  • Day fourteen – Co Bigelow rose salve.  Ahhh, my beloved Co Bigelow.  I fell in love with them a couple of years ago when we stayed at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (yes, another hotel bathroom story) and was very excited to visit their store in New York.  Their rose salve is BEAUTIFUL.  It has an almost vanilla scent to is, the rose is very subtle.  I’ve just slathered this onto my lips and I instantly loved it.  SCORE!

So far, week two even better than week one!

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar – week 1

Liberty Advent1I managed to contain myself for three whole weeks.  I didn’t cheat, so 1st December was incredibly satisfying.  I have been photographing my Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar as I open the drawers for my Instagram, but I thought I’d do a weekly-ish post about the contents.

  • Day one – Liberty lavender and wild chamomile soap.  It’s a beautiful gift to start with, and smells gorgeous.  I don’t know if I can bring myself to open the packaging, so it might be one of those products that sits decoratively in my bathroom.
  • Day two – Nars ‘Deep Throat’ blush.  I had a MUA put Orgasm on me in Selfridges one time but she made me look awful, so I’ve been too frightened to try them again. Deep Throat is a peachy colour which I would never have gone for in a million years, but I actually really love it – I’ve been wearing it all week.  Day two was a win!  Not quite full size, but it’ll keep me going for a while.
  • Day three – Aromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Cleanser.  Only a sample size, but that’s ok as I hate the scent of rose.  I might see if I can try this, otherwise I’ll pass this on to my Mum.  Sorry Aromatherapy Associates!
  • Day four – Margaret Dabbs nourishing nail and cuticle serum.  I’ve already started using this one.  I hate cuticle oils as I can’t stand greasy hands, but this one has more of a creamy consistency.  I’m happy with this one.
  • Day five – a £25 voucher for Josh Wood Atelier Lab in Liberty.  It’s cute little bauble keyring thing, but I don’t know if I’ll get to use it.  It’s a very London-centric gift and it feels a little short-sighted of Liberty to put this in the calendar.  Oh well.
  • Day six – Kiehl’s Creme de Corps.  A very iconic product, and a good little sample size to try.  Husband loves kiehl’s, so he’s already try to steal this from me.  I used it last night, and it’s a lovely cream – apparently, if I keep using this for 10 days, I will have “a skin texture heretofore unattainable”.  Fancy that.
  • Day seven – Trish McEvoy line refiner.  A nice full size product here, something to plump up the lines on my face.  Fortunately, my lovely pale skin is mostly line free so I won’t get get much use out of it – I might try it on my little frown line between my eyebrows but I think these kind of products are bullshit, so we’ll see.

The first week has been quite mixed, but that’s ok.  I love subscription boxes and this is kind of like one of those, only I get a present every day so I’ll hopefully find some more unfamiliar brands to fall in love with.

Mid-November, got back on the scene

We’ve just returned from an incredibly peaceful holiday in North Cornwall so I’ve spent the day sorting through photos for lots of blogging.  However, I was interrupted by the DHL man with…

Advent CalendarMy ridiculously heavy Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar.  I saw this a couple of months ago on the British Beauty Blogger website and instantly fell in love.  It went on sale on Thursday, so I sat in the car on the A39 on the way back from Clovelly, mobile phone in one hand and debit card in the other.

I haven’t been tempted by a beauty advent calendar before (other than buying an old Ciate one in the sales last year) as I didn’t love one brand enough to splash out.  The Liberty one is perfect for me as it features a different brand behind each door and I am SO EXCITED to get opening.  I now have to wait three weeks with the calendar calling me – Husband has already yelled “CHEAT” at me every time I even look at it.   I don’t quite know how I’ll last.