Thursday, 23 August 2012

Selfridges Beauty Box

As owner/founder of Beauty Box Swaps it's fair to say I have I thing for beauty boxes. Having said that I am very choosy about which boxes I succumb to especially when they are one off boxes. However on this occasion I was smitten with the Selfridges Beauty Box offer from the off (they had me from the BIOeffect) & signed up to register my interest.
I found out on Monday the boxes were to be available to buy on Tuesday. I was reluctant to go to bed in case I missed the launch and I stayed up until 2am. Then hoped it wouldn't be launched until a civilised time in the morning. Around 5am my daughter awoke with a nosebleed and I checked my emails. Narrowly missing Selfridges notification email sent to me at 5:54am. When I got up the next morning I, along with many of the Beauty Box Swaps community was heartbroken to find they had already sold out. I was gutted I'd missed out on such a #amazeballs collection of goodies. I felt really cross that Selfridges hadn't limited the boxes to one per customer. I also think they should have considered having a pre-order system so that the boxes would have genuinely be distributed in order of expression of interest. I also felt disappointed in myself for not being a good enough beauty blogger/beauty box ambassador to get a PR box and save myself all the worry. After sitting dazed and bereft on the settee for too long I dragged myself upstairs to wail and rant at my hubby and he persuaded me to get on with our day and run myself a bath. While the bath was running I checked Beauty Box Swaps and spotted (thanks to my lovely swapping sisters many of whom had tagged/messaged me) that more boxes had been released. I turned off the taps pronto and dashed back downstairs. However like many others I then experienced the frustration of trying to order a box from Selfridges website which could not cope with the demand. Lovely Mr Brown could see how frustrated and upset I was getting, as could the very patient Selfridges man when I decided to ring for help. Hubi offered to takeover with the seemingly impossible task of getting the box out of the basket & getting it checked out. Fifteen minutes later he informed me mission had been accomplished and in the chaos he'd inadvertently bought two boxes. He had also fortunately been able to use the £50 giftcard I'd received from What's In My Handbag. Whilst I was relieved to have got my mitts on the must have box, I felt really uncomfortable we'd accidentally deprived someone else of their box. I wasn't concerned there would be demand for the second box and actually realised there would be lots of ways I could profit from this error. But it didn't feel right doing so when so many of my swapping sisters had missed out. So I have decided to sell the second box using Rafflecopter to decide the buyer. The cost will be £15 +actual postage cost, method of posting to be chosen by the 'winner'. I would respectfully ask people not to enter this lottery if they already own a Selfridges Beauty Box.
I am fairly certain most readers know what's in the box. However here are my impressions of the contents:
Philip B Katira Hair Mask (60ml)
Not a brand I am familiar with but I am looking forward to trying this out on my newly high-lighted hair.

Antipodes Avocado and Rosehip Face Oil (30ml)
This brand is also new to me. Since discovering BIOeffect in the June 2011 Glossy Box I have been reluctant to try an alternative products because BIOeffect works for me. However on reflection I rotate face washes from Beauty Boxes so I perhaps should try other oils and serums before rejecting them. I am going to test now on my left hand. I'm not sure about the strong organic smell but it has absorbed easily into the back of my hand leaving only the slightest hint of a residue.
Stila One Step Correct (30ml)
Aside from the BIOeffect this was the product I most desired. I first spotted this intriguing looking product in Boots Trafford Centre where I work for Benefit cosmetics. I can't wait to try it. In fact I am not going to wait I am going to try it right now...
... tried it on one side of my face, saw a subtle improvement so asked hubi's opinion and he complimented the correct side so that's an initial positive indicator. I will test this out again with foundation another day. I can also report that the sponge I used to blend the product has been left an interesting shade of sludge, it's not pretty but no worries if it leaves me looking prettier;-)
Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask (5ml)
I have only recently heard of this brand. When WIMH sent me a Omorovicza Correcting Pencil as part of my £25 beauty gift. I rate the pencil and use it to tone down the redness on my nose and cheeks when I wear make-up outside of work. So I am looking forward to testing this out. I can't remember the last time a used a face mask because I am normally too impatient to have something on my face for any length of time. However because I trust the brand I will definitely give this a go. I was a bit concerned this product did not include directions but I found the information needed including a helpful video here. I think the 5ml provided will be sufficient for 2/3 applications using the suggested almond sized amount.
Estelle & Thild Lip Balm (15ml)
A third introduction to a brand, new to me. I love the product and the packaging. The balm feels plush on my lips. I can personally never have too many lip balms as my lips are prone to dryness and chappedness.
Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum (15ml)
Another brand previously unfamiliar to me. Just tested this product on my right hand. It absorbed easily and fully leaving a mild fragrance not dissimilar to Fairy washing up liquid. Testing this product and the oil on my hands this evening has given me an idea. I may use both these products on my hands over the next couple of weeks and compare results. I don't enjoy using hand cream as I don't like feeling lotion-ey but I am concerned about my ageing hands perhaps in future I will use serums and oils I acquire as hand treatments and if the results are sufficiently impressive promote them to my face.
BIOeffect EGF Serum (5ml)
I've certainly heard of this brand before. I love this product. I have never used botox or fillers and as it stands I would not consider it necessary. I feel this product to be my botox in a bottle. I have been using this product for over 12 months now. I am not even very good at applying it more than 3-4 times a week. I am 40 and I often get mistaken for younger, one customer was even convinced I was still in my 20s a couple of weeks ago :-)I should definitely get round to doing a blog post dedicated to this product after all it did inspire me to create Beauty Box Swaps, read all about how here. I am really keen to try BIOeffect Daytime but sadly don't have £55 to spare. I was getting to the point where I'd exhausted all swap opportunities to replenish my BIOeffect supplies. I was weighing up the possibility of *shockhorror* buying some somehow. However I am now hoping that there may be a few more opportunities for swaps and to purchase with the influx from the Selfridges Beauty Boxes. As I am aware not everyone gets on with this product and some consider it's anti ageing benefits unnecessary (lucky them). If you have any to spare please comment on this post ;-)
I only have one small and very minor criticism of this box and that is that although it contained a fabulous mix of brands, including 4 I am not familiar with, there was a bit of repetition in product type with the Aesop, Antipodes and BIOeffect all promising to do a similar job. That observation aside, what's my overall verdict on the Selfridges Beauty Box?


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

TK Maxx Haul, NOTD, Essie Matte Top Coat (the educational value of Beauty Box Swaps)

I seem to have become rather addicted to the cosmetics section in TK Maxx. At first I was just content to mooch just to see what was there. However in my last 2 out of 3 visits in the space of one week, I have succumbed to making purchases. My most recent purchase was my Tardis like Thirty-one make-up bag. However just a couple of days before that I had my first TK Maxx beauty haul:
new cid i-powder extra light £7.99
Tk Maxx Essie 3 pack assorted £9.99

Currently celebrating the first anniversary of my Facebook page Beauty Box Swaps, and it's associated groups Beauty Box Swaps (open) & Beauty Box Swappers (closed), I have once again been reminded of it's educational value.
Since monthly subscription beauty boxes were invented (and shortly when I created Beauty Box Swaps) both my enthusiasm for and knowledge of Beauty has steeply increased. 
I love the fact that you can one day not know that Matte Top Coats exist, then read an informative, Three Little Buhos, blog post by lovely Annie John who shared her post (including Elf matte top coat) to Beauty Box Swaps educating myself that such a marvel has been created. Inspiring me to do some some 'research' on google & unearth several further options including: Ciate, Essie, Nails Inc, Rimmel. Leading to further investigations when out in Bury, the home of Beauty Box Swaps, on a mini birthday meet up. Selflessly Introducing, Beauty Box Swaps Biker Chick Carol Harris, to Bury TK Maxx to spot a set of 3 Essie items including their 'matte about you' top coat. Well I'm sure you'll agree this purchase was meant to be :)
I initially tried the top coat on my existing polish which at the time was Leighton Denny Porcelain Doll on just one nail *restrained*. Then because I am lazy I waited patiently until my nails needed doing again before having a proper experiment. 
I decided to kill to birds with one stone and also test out E-NUFF is E-NUFF. Being mainly a fan of candy pinks this is not a colour I would normally have chosen. However I do quite like this colour especially with the addition of a genius matte top coat. It looks somehow kind of vintagey 1950sey.
glossy nails compared to matte
Essie E-NUFF is E-NUFF with two
coats of Essie Matte about you

Have you tried matte top coat? Where did you discover it? What have you learnt through Beauty Box Swaps? 

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Beauty Box Swaps Acrostic Poem

Best for all things beauty box
Everyone welcome*
Anniversary celebrations
Universal obsession
Totally Addictive
Younger and older sisters

Buy and sell
Only official Beauty Box Swaps
Xtra special community

Swap things you won't use for stuff you will
With lifelong friends to be made
Always someone to share with
Probably the best swap group in the world
Supportive and welcoming community

Win a Latest in Beauty Skincare Stars Box generously donated by LIB by entering here.

*everyone welcome unless they abuse the trust &/or goodwill of the group

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

New thirty-one make up bag

Yesterday I went to TK Maxx with my sister Ruth aka Minibreak Mummy. I found a most excellent make up bag by a company called thirty-one. I succumbed to the bag because I loved everything about it. They had thought of everything, so many zips, pockets & removable inner bags.
When I returned home, with my find, my husband challenged me by saying 'I bet you can't fit all your make up in your (beauty) boxes in that bag'. 
the empty bag
removable inner bags
existing make up storage
getting organised
with the removable inner bags
8 boxes of make up tidily tucked up 
in one most excellent cosmetics bag :)