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The Library of Fragrance Summer scents - Apple blossom, Iris & Peony

Recently I posted about my first cologne from The Library of Fragrance. Well I've already added two (I know there's three in the picture, I'll explain below!) new fragrances to my collection that I was lucky enough to win. 

The Library of Fragrance held a competition where you could suggest new scents using Twitter, Instagram and I believe Facebook as well. I enjoyed trying to think of unusual smells that I really like that they could possibly release in the future, although several that I came up with I discovered that they already sold (leather, cut grass and ice cream for example). On Twitter I can't remember exactly what my suggestion was but it was either 'new carpet' or 'new car' and I also entered on Instagram with 'Arctic air'. I'm not sure which entry won (I believe it might have been randomly selected rather than based on suggestion) but I was one of five winners and was sent three of their floral summer scents.

The Library of Fragrance summer scents - Apple blossom, Iris & Peony

I'll start off with Iris as unfortunately this one isn't for me. This reminds me of Lush's Ultraviolet bubble bar which I also didn't like. I personally find Iris a little strong and overpowering and it actually starts to give me a little bit of a headache after a while. I tried to pass this on to both my mum and my brothers girlfriend but neither of them was keen on this either, so the hunt for a new home for this continues.

I think my favourite of the three has to be Apple blossom. I'm not entirely sure what apple blossom does actually smell like (due to years of severe hay fever I tend to avoid sniffing plants/trees/flowers!) but this is a very pretty cologne. Whereas my first cologne, Baby powder,  is quite a subtle scent I find this one stronger, but not too strong or overpowering. This has a lovely balance between sweet and floral and it does make me think of spring and flowers starting to bloom. 

I'd actually never heard of peonies before until a few months ago when I noticed they appear to be popular in Instagram pictures. So like Apple blossom I have no idea what peonies smell like. This makes it almost impossible for me to describe this one because there isn't anything I can recognise like sweet apple, but it's a very floral scent (obviously as it's a flower!). So if you're really not a fan of floral scents then this one won't be for you.

These ones appear to last a little longer than Baby powder, but I think that's because they're stronger scents so you're more aware of them. As I said I'm not personally a fan of Iris but I love both Apple blossom and Peony and they're both perfect for this time of year (when we should actually be experiencing a summer!). 

All three are available on The Library of Fragrance website and may be available at Boots if included in their smaller range.

What scent would you like to see The Library of Fragrance do?

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The Library of Fragrance Baby powder cologne spray here 

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Nail art - The minty French manicure

I think this nail art might be the nail varnish equivalent of 'that' dress. Remember the one? The one that some people saw as blue and black and some white and gold, or something along those lines. My boyfriend spotted my nails and commented on what a nice blue it was and I told him it's actually green (and I'm pretty sure he's blue/green colour blind!). However, later when we were outside I looked down at my nails and they looked blue. They do look particularly blue in my photos, but my camera does like switching blues and greens around a bit. So I'm not entirely sure what colour this nail varnish is, but I'm going with a minty blue/green.

Nail art - The minty French manicure

Nail art - The minty French manicure

Nail art - The minty French manicure
This obviously isn't a particularly difficult design and doesn't really require much explanation. I've never really been a fan of green or blue nail varnish but recently I've found myself going for more and more green shades and I may even be coming round to certain blue shades. I decided to paint my nails with Ciate's Pepperminty after discovering that I loved the look of it on my nails and I thought it would look really nice with a crisp white shade. So I decided to go for an alternative French manicure and painted just the tips of each nail white (OPI Alpine snow) using tip guides to make a clean crisp line. 

Are you a fan of French manicures, traditional or alternative?

Similar posts
Nail art - Mixed cat prints with WAH Nails and Birchbox here 
Nail art - Triangle tips here 
Nail art - Double sandy lines here 

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The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow boosting moisturiser

As soon as I saw The Body Shop's new Vitamin C Glow boosting moisturiser I thought it was probably aimed at being a bit of a dupe for Origins GinZing moisturiser, which was my favourite morning moisturiser at the time (possible spoiler alert there!). I was thinking of buying a new GinZing for the summer, but as this is £7 cheaper I thought I'd give this a try instead.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow boosting moisturiser

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow boosting moisturiser
The Vitamin C Glow boosting moisturiser is supposed to fight the signs of fatigue, boost radiance and refine texture for smoother, softer feeling skin. It's a light gel-cream type moisturiser with a light peachy orange colour and a lovely fresh citrus scent. It absorbs quickly leaving nothing behind and despite being light it provides a good dose of moisturisation leaving my skin soft and smooth. My skin is dry/very dry/dehydrated but much prefers these lighter gel-creams over thicker, heavier moisturisers that it struggles to absorb. I haven't really noticed that this makes my skin glow at all but to be honest that wasn't why I bought it as nothing ever really seems to make my skin glow.

When I took a look at the ingredients I found that alcohol denant was the second ingredient. Not knowing what this was I turned to Google and discovered that alcohol used in products that are not for consumption need to have a small amount of denaturant added to make it taste bad. Alcohol denant is the name used for denatured alcohol. So this does mean that this product contains a high level of alcohol, which I know some people won't be keen on. I'm not personally against alcohol in products and I haven't noticed any apparent negative effects from this.

The only difference I can see between this and the Origins GinZing moisturiser is the colour of the gel-cream, with this being an orange colour and GinZing being white. Apart from that this is possibly not quite as cooling as the GinZing moisturiser, but I did sometimes find that the cooling sensation could also sting very slightly if my skin was particularly dry. This isn't something I have noticed at all with the Vitamin C moisturiser but then my skin hasn't been particularly dry recently.

There is also obviously a difference price wise. The Origins GinZing moisturiser is £23 (although you can currently get a limited edition bigger size for just £2 more) whereas the Vitamin C Glow boosting moisturiser is just £16. As a new product you can't use any offers on this but you can use your Love your body card if you have one for 10% off. I was lucky and with the combination of a gift voucher and my Love your body discount I managed to get this for £2.40!

The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow boosting moisturiser is available in store and on The Body Shop website.

This weeks offer at The Body Shop (until 9am 30/6) is 40% off plus a free 
30ml hand cream and free delivery when you spend £10

Are you a fan of any products from The Body Shops Vitamin C range?

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The Body Shop Limited edition Mothers day Vitamin E products here 
The Body Shop Drops of youth Wonderblur here 
The Body Shop Smoky poppy body lotion and body butter here

*Post contains an affiliate link

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Dr. PAWPAW Original Multipurpose soothing balm

A couple of weeks ago an email popped into my inbox asking if I'd like to try a Dr. PAWPAW Multipurpose soothing balm and I jumped at the chance. I've seen pictures of the little yellow, pink and peach tubes floating around on the interweb and have been curious about them but haven't got round to checking out what they were. 

Dr. PAWPAW Original Multipurpose soothing balm

I was sent the Dr. PAWPAW Original Multipurpose soothing balm* (yellow tube) but this is also available in a tinted red balm (pink tube) and tinted peach balm (peach tube). The tinted versions are intended for the lips but can also be used on the cheeks to add a hint of red or peach flush. I obviously haven't tried these ones so I can't comment on what either one looks like or how they feel to apply or wear on the cheeks. The original version that I have is clear and can be used as a lip balm, skin soother (including nappy rash), moisturiser, brow smoother, for bites and stings, for cracked heels, as an eye primer and makeup finisher/primer.

The balm contains just five ingredients but the first one is petrolatum or petroleum jelly. I'm aware some people aren't keen on this as an ingredient as I believe it's not absorbed by the skin, so doesn't provide moisturisation, but it does create a barrier to reduce moisture loss. However the second ingredient is aloe barodenis (aloe vera) leaf juice and I'm personally a big fan of this for it's skin soothing and healing properties. This in itself is a very multi-use product. The final three ingredients are olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, carica papaya (fermented PAWPAW - obviously where the name of the product originates from) and potassium sorbate. Potassium sorbate is a product that is often used in place of parabens as a preservative to inhibit the development of micro-organisms. 

Initially this appears like a lanolin based product and is quite difficult to squeeze out of the tube it it's cold. You either need to just give it a really good squeeze or warm it up a little, but this also means you don't want it to get too warm or it will melt. It dispenses as a solid balm but starts to soften once on your finger and then once placed on your skin immediately melts down to an almost water like feel. 

Since I received this I've used it as a lip balm and a nail and cuticle balm and I love it. It instantly soothes my lips and makes them more comfortable and helps keep my cuticles and the skin around my nails supple and moisturised. I can see this working on dry skin, although I think it would work better on just dry rather than cracked heels, but I'm not entirely convinced about using this with makeup. Although you can't see it, it feels like some of it does sit on the skin for a while and I wouldn't be happy to apply makeup over the top of it. But other than that I'm a big fan and I'm planning to pick up the red version which I'll be popping in my handbag for a hint of tint and lip care on the go.

Prices appear to vary very slightly (as in 4p!) but this is available on the Dr. PAWPAW website, from Harvey Nichols, Urban Outfitters and ASOS. A 25ml tube is £6.95 but if you want to use this on a bigger scale you can also get 200ml for £29.99. 

Have you tried Dr. PAWPAW?

* PR sample

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Hillarys Blinds craft competition 2015 - I made a makeup bag

I really enjoyed taking part in the Hillarys Blinds craft competition last year but I didn't think I'd have the time to take part this year due to filming commitments. As you may know my film role has now fallen through and my summer is completely free again so I requested my chosen fabric sample and got to work. 

The idea of the competition is that Hillarys Blinds give you a choice of four different fabric designs. They send you a one meter square piece of your chosen fabric and your mission should you choose to accept it is to create something with the fabric and any other materials that you have. Once the closing date is reached (19th June 2015) a shortlist of 10 entries will be popped up on the Hillarys Blinds website and people will be able to pin and tweet the entries they like the most. A judging panel will then consider the final 10 and pick a winner who will win £1000. 

Last year I wanted to make something that was appropriate to beauty and my blog and I made covers to protect my nail stamping plates (that I still haven't mastered how to use yet!) and a drawstring bag to keep them in. If you'd like to see my entry you can find it here. This year I decided I wanted to try out making a makeup bag.

Hillarys Blinds craft competition 2015

Hillarys Blinds craft competition 2015
Hillarys Blinds craft competition 2015
It's far from perfect but I'm really quite proud of it for a first attempt. I found a tutorial online to follow and they're actually quite difficult to make. As you can see I did use a zip that I went and bought from a local small craft shop but that was the only additional thing I used apart from the fabric I was sent and of course a needle and cotton that I already owned. I knew it really needed a lining fabric as well but I didn't want to buy any and after some research I now know it also really needs something called interfacing, but I'll explain this more below. It also really needs little tabs on the end of each side of the zip to hold onto while you're moving the zip but I skipped these not really realising that they really are needed.

I'm afraid I don't have step by step pictures as I really wasn't sure it would work out when I started so I just went ahead and then didn't have time to make another one (and didn't have another zip) so I could take the pictures. I'll talk you through it briefly though.

You start out by cutting your fabric to the size that you need for the size of makeup bag that you want and I have to admit I just kind of guessed this using the zip I'd bought as a guide! You then stitch one end of the fabric to one side of the zip, curl the fabric round back on itself (so it's effectively inside out) and sew the other end to the other side of the zip. You then flatten it, putting the zip on top in the middle of the fabric, and sew down each side to make a pouch. For this bit you need to make sure you've opened the zip at least a little so you can then get inside the pouch as the zip pull will be inside. You then cut out the four corners (which is a little more complicated than it sounds sizing wise) before taking hold of the inner corners and pulling them apart making the corner 3D again. You line up the two edges this makes and stitch them together and complete the same with each corner. You then end up with an awkward looking lump of fabric but once you turn the bag the right way round you will find that these corners have made the end of the bag shown in the second photo above and that your bag is complete. 

As I mentioned above I really needed to use something called interfacing and the purpose of this is to make the bag more rigid and able to support itself. The effect of not using interfacing is demonstrated below. 

Hillarys Blinds craft competition 2015

No interfacing means my makeup bag is a little limp and although I can make it sit up on it's own as soon as you take hold of it it does loose shape. But as I said I'm very proud of this for a first attempt using just a single piece of fabric and not really bothering with any measurements! I'm also pleased with the fabric I went for and think it works really well as a makeup bag. I definitely think I picked the best one. Which one would you have gone for?

Unfortunately it's too late to request a sample and join in this year but as this is at least the second year that they've run the competition hopefully there's always next year if you'd like to have a go yourself. You can find full details of the competition here.

What do you think of my makeup bag?

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The Library of Fragrance Baby powder cologne spray

When The Library of Fragrance launched in the UK I was most definitely curious about some of their more unusual scents and made sure I headed in to Boots to have a sniff. If you haven't heard of The Library of Fragrance before they're a New York based company that launched under the name of Demeter Fragrance Library Inc. Demeter's products are sold in over 35 countries and have recently made it to the UK as The Library of Fragrance. 

What is unusual about their fragrances is that they're all quite unique featuring singular scents such as Dirt, Black pepper, Fresh hay and Marshmallow. They have over 300 fragrances, 101 of which came over to the UK (there may be more now due to new releases) and they're available through their UK website and a smaller selection are also available in Boots stores. 

The Library of Fragrance Baby powder cologne spray

Earlier this year there was an opportunity through Hayley's blog London Beauty Queen to get your hands on a generous sample of two of their most popular scents; Baby powder and Thunderstorm. I popped in my details but unfortunately missed out on the samples as demand was high. However, the lovely people at The Library of Fragrance asked me what my top three choices would be (Baby powder, Clean skin and Marshmallow FYI) and they kindly sent me Baby powder* to try.

As soon as I saw that they had a Baby powder scent I knew it was one I wanted to try as I'm a big fan of Yankie Candles Baby powder candle. Their scents fall into various different categories and this is one of the 'clean' scents along with Fresh laundry, Mountain air and Salt air. Don't they all just sound amazing! 

The bottles are very simple and all look the same with the only difference being the scent name on the label, which is over a colour that in most cases appears to represent the scent. The bottles are glass and contain 30ml.

As you might expect this is quite a delicate, powdery scent and it does smell exactly like Baby powder. It's the sort of scent that I find quite comforting and I can imagine squirting myself with this after having a bath before wrapping up in a blanket to watch TV in the winter. I nipped into Boots and tried layering this with Clean skin and it smells amazing. Well, that is if you want to smell like a freshly washed baby! It's probably not the longest lasting of fragrances but I can still smell it if I give my wrists a sniff after a few hours and the compact size means this is one you can drop in your bag to top up through the day.

The Library of Fragrance colognes are £15 each from The Library of Fragrance website and in Boots stores, but if you do buy them in Boots you'll get two for £25.

Have you tried any of their unusual fragrances?

*PR sample
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House of Fraser gift card beauty haul

If you read my BAFTA post (which you can find here) or follow me on Twitter then you might be aware that I recently won a £500 House of Fraser gift card. To start with I used this to buy a dress to wear to the BAFTAs and then I decided to spend roughly half of what was left on skincare/makeup and the rest on clothes. I thought I'd do a haul post to show you the skincare and makeup bits I decided to treat myself to.

House of Fraser gift card beauty haul

House of Fraser gift card beauty haul
House of Fraser gift card beauty haul
Magnitone Lucid replacement brush heads £15.99

I've recently got my hands on a Magnitone Lucid facial cleansing brush which I've really enjoyed using. So as House of Fraser stock replacement heads I thought I might as well take the opportunity to buy some ready for when I need one. It's recommended that you replace the brush head every three months so including the head it came with and the two replacements that means I'm all set for the next nine months.

Urban Decay Naked 3 £38 

I know, I'm seriously late to the party with this one! Naked 1 and 2 didn't appeal to me at all, but when Naked 3 was released it really caught my eye and I started lusting after it. I'd already thought about asking my boyfriend to buy this for my birthday this month, but when the gift card landed in my hands I added it to my online basket instead. For nearly £40 I'm determined to try and make myself actually use this and am looking forward to having a play around. I had a couple of single Urban Decay eye shadows years ago that I begrudgingly made myself throw away last year, so I already know that their eye shadows are excellent quality.

Clinique Extra mild liquid facial soap £16 & Take the day off cleansing oil £22

When I placed my first online order I was running out of anything to use for my morning cleanser and the second part of my double cleanse in the evening, so I decided to go for a Clinique liquid facial soap. I've previously used the mild one but this was out of stock so I thought I'd try the extra mild instead as I didn't want to go the other way. When this arrived I was surprised to find that technically it's not a liquid but more of a cream. I don't know if this is something to do with it being the extra mild one, but I still like it.

My favourite way to remove my makeup is with an oil cleanser and my current oil of choice is The Body Shop's Camomile silky cleansing oil. I wanted to buy another skincare item (I'll explain why below) so I decided to try the Take the day off cleansing oil to see how this compares to my current oil. I haven't tried it yet but will report back when I do.

Clinique Pop lip colour + primer in Cherry pop £16

I'm a sucker for wanting to try new lipstick releases and as Clinique's latest release is quite reasonably priced at £16 I decided I wanted to try one. Hayley from London Beauty Queen Instagrammed a photo of her wearing a red shade that looked amazing and as I've recently gone from a none red lip wearer to buying all the red lipsticks a red was what I wanted to go for. The reason I wanted another Clinique skincare item was because the lipstick was on a different order to the facial soap and if I bought a skincare product at the same time this meant I would qualify for Bonus time. So yes, I did buy another product to get the free gift! How can you not when Clinique's Bonus time sets are pretty amazing? 

Kiehl's Creamy eye treatment with avocado £20

I occasionally suffer with dry flaky skin around my eyes and trust me it's not a pretty sight. Sometimes this is along my brow bone just under my eyebrows but I can also suffer from it on my eye lids. When it does appear on my lids I'm never sure what to use, if anything, as I don't want the product ending up in my eyes. The last time I suffered from this I was actually at a blogger event at Selfridges Birmingham and the lovely lady from Kiehl's applied some of this for me. This cleared up my flaky skin from just one use and I learnt it's safe to use on that area as it doesn't migrate into your eyes. I've wanted a tub every since so I popped one in my online basket.

Nars Dual-intensity eye shadow in Andromeda £21

As soon as I saw the promo images of the Nars Dual-intensity eye shadows I knew I wanted to try at least one shade, but at £21 for a single eye shadow I was unsure about taking the plunge. So of course this was the perfect opportunity to try one. Again I haven't tried this out yet but I love the design on it and am intending to use this to brighten the inner corner of my eye.

Urban Decay Ultimate ozone multi-purpose primer pencil £15

As you're probably aware I'm a big lipstick fan but am not big on having to reapply it through the day. I have a distinct lack of lip line on one side of my top lip so I do normally have to spend a little time making sure I create a neat line and having to redo this in public or in a bathroom somewhere is not ideal. I spotted this on Jane's blog British Beauty Blogger but didn't really think about it again until I spotted that House of Fraser stock it. I didn't think £15 was too bad for this so I thought I'd give it a try and will report back with my findings. As you can see this is a multi-purpose product but to be honest I'm not entirely sure what the other purposes are supposed to be, so I might have to do some research on this.

House of Fraser Clainique bonus time

House of Fraser Clinique Bonus time GWP

I mentioned the Clinique Bonus time gift with purchase so of course I need to show you what was included. If you're not sure what Clinique's Bonus time is this is a free gift you get when you spend a minimum amount or buy two products, of which one usually needs to be skincare. Different stores may also have gifts that include different products. When I placed my order Harvey Nichols had a Bonus time gift that I actually preferred to this one, but I wasn't going to spend £40 of my own money when I had the House of Fraser gift card.

The gift comes in a makeup bag with a pattern I'm not hugely keen on but it's good quality and will come in useful. Inside there was an eye shadow duo in Strawberry fudge (1.3g), Superdefense SPF 20 daily moisturiser (15ml), 7 day scrub cream (30ml), Take the day off makeup remover (50ml), mini high-impact mascara in black (3.5ml) and a mini Chubby stick intense in Plushest punch (1.2g). The only product I have tried from the set is a Chubby stick but I tried a standard one, rather than intense one, and although it's a nice product it didn't provide enough colour for me. So I'm hoping an intense one will have much better colour payoff. These are really cute little mini sizes so are perfect for travelling or just to give you a taste of the product so you know whether you might want to purchase the full size.

So that's my gift card haul. Did I pick any products you're a fan of?

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Birchbox June 2015 - 'Step outside' with French Sole

June's Birchbox doesn't feature a 'pick your sample' but does feature 'pick your box' in collaboration with shoe brand French Sole. There are three designs to choose from which include my floral design 'Floral Daze', a white and navy blue striped design featuring a red heart 'From Paris with love' and a Licorice Allsorts type design Pick n' Mix'. This months lifestyle bonus item will then be a shoe bag that matches your box design.

The 'Step outside' theme goes with the collaboration with a shoe brand (as you obviously need to wear shoes to go outside) but also represents stepping outside for the great British summer (which to be honest you're more likely to need wellies for!).

Birchbox June 2015 - 'Step outside' with French Sole

Birchbox June 2015 - 'Step outside' with French Sole
The first product I spotted in my June 2015 'Step outside' Birchbox* was the Cowshed Knackered cow relaxing body lotion. To begin with, how cool is that name?! Instead of Knackered cow you might receive Gorgeous cow and the brand also offer products under Grumpy cow, Lazy cow and Horny cow! I've heard of Cowshed but haven't tried any of their products yet. I'm always up for trying out a new body lotion in my quest to find the perfect one but as this one contains lavender I'll be passing it on to my mum. This is a 100ml sample (full size 300ml for £20).

Next up I spotted the Beauty protector Protect & Detangle. This is a styling spray that minimises frizz, safeguards colour, adds shine, detangles and works as a UV and heat protector. It also apparently smells like candy floss and bubblegum, but I'm not entirely sure about that. I have been trying out some new heat protection sprays recently after fancying a change from my Tresseme one, so I'm looking forward to trying this out. I can't find a size on the bottle but the full size is 236ml for £14. 

The REN sample is the REN Keep young and beautiful Instant firming beauty shot. Now isn't that a bit of a mouthful! I think this might be a new product but I've tried very few REN products anyway (if any actually). I know REN products are very popular with bloggers so I have high hopes for this. This is a 10ml sample (full size 30ml for £36).

The lip balm is a Pixi by Petra shea butter lip balm in Ripe raspberry. You might get this in Honey nectar or you might receive a Pixi makeup product. I'm very pleased I received this in Ripe raspberry as I'm not sure I would have like Honey nectar as I'm not a huge honey fan. Like most people I have about a squillion lip balms lying around but this will actually be going straight in my handbag. It feels super smooth and buttery on the lips and although the actual balm is a raspberry red shade I didn't realise until I looked in the mirror that it is actually a tinted balm. This is getting a big thumbs up from me! Full size worth £8. the bottom under these products I found a perfume sample of Panhaligon's Iris Prima. I'm sure by now you know how I feel about tiny perfume samples in beauty boxes but if you're not aware I'm not a fan. If it had been a beauty bonus item I wouldn't have mind too much but this is actually one of this months samples. I've had a squirt and I'm really not a fan, which is a good thing as it starts at £85.

However there is a beauty bonus product in the box and this is STYLondon Temporary metallic tattoos. I believe these have become really popular recently and I've been curious to give some a try. I have a wedding coming up in August that I thought I might save these for but now I'm not so sure that they'd be appropriate for a wedding? Anyway I'm looking forward to having a play around with these at some point. The pack is worth £7.99.

As I've already mentioned the last item in the box is the lifestyle bonus which is a shoe bag. You might be thinking 'what on earth do I need a shoe bag for?' but actually if you travel these are really useful as they stop shoes making your clothes dirty in your case and also can just be used to store shoes in to stop them getting dusty (or a spider moving in!) if you've not worn them for a while.

Apart from the perfume sample I'm very happy with this box and if I liked the perfume and could use the body lotion I would use all of the products included. If you like the look of the June Birchbox you can sign up on the Birchbox website here.

What do you think of the 'Step outside' box?

*PR sample
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Makeup sponges - The eggsperiment

Although I love the finish that makeup sponges can give your foundation I don't tend to use the two I own because to be honest they're a bit of a faff. You can use them dry but I prefer to use them damp and this means you need to be near a tap when applying your makeup. After you've finished using your sponge you then need to find somewhere suitable to store it to let it dry. I don't like to drop it in a makeup bag or leave it sat on a surface as it doesn't feel very hygienic. At home this isn't too bad but as I'm sure you're aware by now I spend a lot of time at my boyfriends and at his there's just nowhere to leave it to dry. If I attempted it I don't think it would be long before I saw it flying along the floor rapidly pursued by a black, tabby or long haired ginger cat!

Recently a friend of mine bought me a makeup egg from Primark and this gave me an idea for a little eggsperiment (I'm sorry I know it's bad but I couldn't resist!). As I now own three different makeup eggs effectively covering budget, mid-range and high-end I thought I would pit them against each other to see which one comes out on top.

Primark makeup sponge

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge
The Original Beautyblender
Makeup sponges - The eggsperiment I think the Beautyblender is considered the ultimate makeup sponge but at £16 it's a bit expensive for a lot of people. I think Real Techniques saw a gap in the market for a cheaper version of the Beautyblender and so a couple of years ago they released their Miracle Complexion sponge, which is just £5.99. I don't know how long the Primark version has been around but it's definitely a budget alternative at just £1.50.   

Size wise the BB is definitely the smallest and is thinner than the other two. The RT and Primark sponges are about the same size but the Primark one is wider and feels more bulky. The BB and RT sponge both swell up once wet but I didn't notice that the Primark one did, it didn't seem to absorb water well. The first time I used it I ran it under the tap briefly and after squeezing off the excess it didn't appear to be damp at all. On the first attempt I didn't like it and I think it might be because it wasn't damp. The second time I held it under the tap for longer and this time it did feel damp and I much preferred the finish it provided.

The BB is a very soft sponge and although not as soft as the BB the RT sponge is also quite a soft squidgy sponge. In comparison the Primark sponge is really quite hard and dense and when bouncing this against my skin it didn't feel as comfortable as the other two. It was far from uncomfortable but felt quite sold against my face. 

As I've already mentioned I love the almost airbrushed finish that makeup sponges can provide and although I don't think the finish provided by the Primark sponge is quite as good as the other two it does do well. I noticed that the Primark sponge appears to absorb more foundation than the other two so not quite as much ends up on your face and I think this leads to it the finish not lasting as long. 

So which one would I recommend? If you're a makeup sponge fan but are on a tight budget the Primark sponge does a good job, but it's my least favourite of the three. The BB and RT sponges are very similar but I actually prefer the RT sponge for the flat side that can cover a larger surface in one go. As the RT sponge is a third of the price of the BB it's a bit of a no brainer that the RT sponge is my winner.

What's your favourite way of applying your foundation?

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essence all about matte! oil control paper

While most of the skin on my face is dry/dehydrated for some strange reason I suffer with an oily chin. If I'm makeup free it doesn't get particularly oily but as soon as I apply makeup it produces all of the oil and tries to push my makeup off. After years of suffering from acne on my chin my skin is scarred and when I've gone to the effort of trying to cover this it's frustrating when oil starts shifting my makeup around after just a couple of hours. 

I believe blotting sheets are something that used to be quite popular but now they're quite difficult to come across. I did have a pack of Kleenex ones that I really liked but was aware that they'd been discontinued. I really didn't want to spend very much on them so when somebody told me that essence do blotting sheets I picked some up from my boyfriends local Wilkos when my Kleenex ones came to an end. 

essence All about matte! Oil control paper
essence All about matte! Oil control paper
If you're not familiar with blotting sheets/paper the idea is just to gently press the sheet against any oily areas and this lifts the oil away from the skin leaving your makeup in place. 

They essence sheets come in simple but functional cardboard packaging. You slide out the inside part and the end of the next paper is ready for you to grab. The Kleenex ones that I used to use were purple and similar to tissue paper whereas the essence ones are white and I would say are a little closer to greaseproof paper, but much thinner. Although it's obviously not the most glamorous of products anyway I do prefer the more tissue paper like papers.

Apart from the slight differences in the type of paper there isn't really much more to say about these as they just do the job. The paper absorbs the oil leaving a matte finish to your skin and your makeup still in place. 

There's 50 in the pack so if you use one a day at work to freshen up your makeup they'll last two and a half months and at only £2 a pack they're a bit of a bargain.

Do you use blotting sheets?

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