Friday, 30 January 2015

Benefit Cosmetics // Puff Off!







When the first photos appeared showing Benefit's first new release of 2015, Puff Off!*, I was pretty excited. My under eye area is something I'm always trying to de-puff and brighten. No matter how many hours sleep I have, I need copious amounts of concealer the following morning so a product that helps those puffies and smooths the area is definitely going to get my attention. 

Firstly, the packaging. It wouldn't be Benefit without a pastel packaged, almost gimmicky product. The peach melba shade keeps it more grown up than some products. Housed in a slim tube, you just pop the lid off to find its innovative applicator in the shape of an iron so you can quite literally iron those puffies away. The iron shaped applicator allows you to smooth the under eye area without any danger of poking yourself in the eye as the tip is smoothed and glides along the area.

The applicator is metal which delivers a cooling effect on the eye and if you've head a heavy night and need a real pick me up in the morning, stick Puff Off! in the fridge over night. Paired with a cool Garnier Micellar water these two are the perfect morning after tools. The iron shape also means you won't waste any product as a small squeeze gives you just the right amount of Puff Off! to dot under your eyes.

After two weeks of use, my puffies are reduced and my under eye area is so much smoother. I use it during my morning skincare routine and I find it helps my under eye make up go on much easier. My skin feels silky and it's definitely made a difference. You can also use Puff Off! over make up for a mid afternoon pick me up but the one time I did, my lower lash mascara and eye liner smudged. I don't wear waterproof mascara so maybe that had something to do with it but in the morning this is a must have product. Puff Off! Launches nationwide tomorrow and will be priced at £22.50 which is pretty standard for Benefit skincare products. It's one I'll be repurchasing when it's finished to banish those puffies.



*PR Sample
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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

My Little Box - The Energy Box








This is my second month of My Little Box and this months was all about the new year and getting fit. It seems the majority of sub boxes went with the same theme this month and if I'm honest I wasn't too fussed over January's My Little Box. Previous boxes have been done so well that I expected more from The Energy Box. The only item in the box with any connection to the theme was the My Little Sports Bag which when loaded down with your gym essentials probably won't last five minutes.


The calender is really cute and is currently hanging at work and this months magazine is full of helpful tips and a yummy granola recipe but that's as far as my likes go for this box. The cotton drawstring bag that holds the beauty products does come in handy though and I'll be saving them for travelling and weekends away. Inside there's a Nails Inc nail varnish in the shade Tate, a red similar to the MAC Lipstick in Chili. The two other products, a face cream by Talika and an energising face and body spray from My Little Box own beauty range made up the rest of the bag. I loved last months and previous boxes I've seen so I'm pretty disappointed that the first one of 2015 is as rubbish as this. 



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Monday, 26 January 2015

Urban Decay Naked 2








I have fallen for Urban Decay hook, line and sinker the last year. Ever since the Naked 3 was gifted to me on my birthday a year ago I've been obsessed. A year later I now have my own little UD Naked family after buying the Naked in the Summer and the Naked 2 on offer in Debenhams after Christmas. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Naked palettes, where have you been? They consist of twelve neutral shades from the warm toned Naked, cool Naked 2 and the pink toned Naked 3. There really is a palette for everyone unless you want all three like myself.


The Naked 2 comes in a smooth, metal case with a mirror the same length as the palette. Modern and sleek, it's perfect for travelling. The double ended brush that comes with the palette is one of my favourites and one I get a lot of use out of. The 12 shadows come in finishes from silky mattes to copper, brown shimmers. I've been getting the most use out of Foxy all over the lid, Suspect in the corners and a mix of Pistol and Busted in the crease. 



The shadows are buttery soft, easy to blend but with some fall out which I find with all Urban Decay shadows. A quick blow and you would be none the wiser. I really love this palette and it's a welcome addition to my collection. You can never have enough neutral palettes in my eyes! 



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Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Netflix Tag




Now I'm not sure if this is something someone has done before or not, I did a quick Google and nothing came up so as I'm home alone binge watching Pretty Little Liars I thought I'd create a tag and what better one to come up with than The Netflix Tag! I am a self confessed Netflix addict and work is seriously getting in the way of my PLL addiction at the moment. I thought this would be a fun way to share what we're watching and find some new shows to watch that others love. The rules of the tag are pretty simple, please link back to my blog and feel free to tag me on twitter (@alicespake) so I can see your answers and be sure to tag more people to continue it! I hope you enjoy :) 

1. What are you favourite series' to watch on Netflix?
Gossip Girl, PLL, Fresh Meat, Orange is the New Black and Homeland, Ru Paul.

2. What are you currently watching on Netflix?
I'm currently watching Pretty Little Liars and I did a one day binge of Mr. Selfridge season two earlier in the week. 

3. If you could have any series, old or new put on Netflix, what would it be? 
Will & Grace! I never seem to find re runs or anything. It needs to be brought to Netflix. 

4. What is your one peeve about Netflix?
No HBO and I find it hard to navigate sometimes and end up flicking for ages to find something to watch. 

5. What are your essentials for a perfect night in with Netflix?
Candles, a cosy blanket, pop corn or some sort of sweet and the whole weekend to binge on a new series.

6. Recommend one series or film for someone else.
Homeland. It is AMAZING.

I tag - 

This tag has in no way been created in association with Netflix. I really am addicted to series binges and just very bored at home alone.
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Friday, 23 January 2015

Healthy Snacks with Oloves






The New Year for me meant a complete life over haul from what I was eating and drinking to a different hair colour. My mid morning snacks at work have been consisting of different fruits and berries and snacks from Oloves. I came across Oloves last year when they provided packs of their much loved olives for the goody bags. In November they attended the second Southampton meet up providing products for the goody bags and raffle prizes. 

I used to hate olives but nowadays I could happily eat a whole jar to myself. These little packs come in four flavours, Basil & Garlic*, Chili & Garlic*, Lemon & Rosemary* and Chili & Oregano*, all of which are as moreish as the next. My favourites are the original Basil & Garic and the Chili & Oregano. At just 50 calories, they're my guilt free treat and come in the perfect sized portion to keep you going til a late lunch. 

Oloves aren't just about olives so I found out when this pack of snacks arrived. A box of crackers and hummus was a welcome surprise but sharing it with the other half proved difficult. It was really tasty and the perfect side to a small salad lunch although I could of happily just munched away at it on its own. The stuffed vines and bruschetta pots weren't really for me but if of course you like that sort of stuff then you are on to a snack winner. You can purchase Oloves from Holland & Barrett or online where the website will direct you to the right place. They're something I'll be buying and eating for a long while yet as long as I can keep them out of Arran's clutches! 


*PR Samples
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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

#Lipglam Multi-Purpose Balm







Lipglam* fell in to my hands before Christmas and it arrived at the right time. I needed something fast working and intense to keep my dry and sore lips well moisturised and ready for the Winter days ahead of me. Lipglam is 100% natural, containing pure lanolin which helps hydrate the skin from below the skins surface. It's also dermatologically tested and paraben free. 

I haven't just been using Lipglam as a lip product, it's a multi purpose product which also works on soothing rashes, chafing and dry skin, as an eyebrow balm, lip and mascara primer, cuticle ointment and split end soother. I've used this as a lip product, on any split ends and on my cuticles so far, all of which I've noticed some difference in and with consistent use I'll reap the benefits. It also claims to reduce skin roughness by 40% in just one hour, a claim I'm yet to put to the test. The consistency is quite thick, much like Nuxe Reve de Miel and it doesn't smell of much which I personally prefer. 

The only downside is that it takes a lot of effort to get the product out and as much as a tube is cleaner than a tub, some people just won't have the patience to warm it up to get the product out. I tend to drop it in a glass of boiling water at night to warm it up so I can apply it to my lips before I sleep but I find myself using it less and less during the day for this reason. For £9.99 it is a handy thing to have around but the packaging needs a re-think. 

If you're up for the challenge of the squeeze then you can head over to my Twitter page which is @alicespake and win your own by folllowing and retweeting the picture!


*PR Sample
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Sunday, 18 January 2015

My MAC Pro Palette






Last week I finally ordered a MAC Cosmetics Pro Palette and a 15 pan insert to house my single pans. I have two quad palettes but found I didn't get much use out of them because they were tucked away. Having a 15 pan palette meant all my most used shadows were all in one place on my dresser and I've already re-found a love for a couple.

I have eight shadows in my palette already but I'll no doubt have a shift around between this and my quad palettes. The first three shadows look so similar but they're all different finishes, Yogurt, a matte pale pink, Shroom a soft beige satin finish and Naked Lunch a beige, pink shimmer. Naked Lunch is my favourite eye shadow and I'm currently on my fourth.

Second row down starts with Honey Lust a bronzed peach shade, Antiqued, an ash bronzed brown and Twinks a deep plumy brown. The last two are Shadowy Lady, a matte blackened plum and Knight Divine, a silvery black. I want to add a couple of out there colours to the palette so going to pop into my local counter soon. I always get a bit over whelmed and end up wanting so many different shades, Cranberry is one I definitely want to buy but I'm not sure on the others so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.


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Friday, 16 January 2015

January Birchbox - Women's Health





With the new year comes the new Birchbox and one I couldn't wait to receive after seeing the first spoilers. January's Birchbox* is in partnership with Women's Health, perfect for starting the new year. All I've heard is "new year, new me" and that's exactly what this box is perfect for! I've never read Women's Health, I'd much rather pick up a Cosmopolitan and read about sex or fashion than how many laps I should be doing to work off a bacon sarnie but after flicking through the bite size challenges and seeing the card for a bargain subscription, I've changed my mind. Let's face it, who doesn't want a stomach like Millie Mackintosh?


The products inside this months box is what I was really waiting for, Activbod Feel Great Shower being the least exciting because shower gel is shower gel after all! It smells really refreshing and the boyfriend will probably finish it up for me. HealGel Body is a product I've wanted to try for so long! It's a poxy little sample but I'm hoping it does some good so I can justify buying the full size version especially as it smells so good.



Philip Kingsley Body Building Conditioner  is another product I've been wanting to try for a while. I have quite thick hair so it's not for my hair type but when my hair is first washed it looks a bit blah so fingers crossed this gives it some much needed body for day one hair. Caudalie Radiance Serum arrived just in time as I've just finished up the serum I'd been using. This is oil free, light on the skin and not too fragranced which is how I like my skincare. The Stila Lip Glaze is the item that had me the most excited. Stila is a brand I've been meaning to try for some time and I've heard fab things about their lip glaze. I received Glimmer which is a pale, glittery pink. It's the perfect my lips but better shade with some added sparkle!



There was also a sachet of green tea and a pilates band, I have visions of me hitting myself in the face from it snapping if I use it though. I am really impressed with this months box, it reflects the theme perfectly and I really love all but one of the five beauty products inclosed which is pretty good going. Also if you sign up to Birchbox this month using the code BBXBEAUTYBLGIFT you will receive a free Beauty Blender worth £26!



*PR Sample
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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Recent Empties




  • Boots Essentials nail polish remover
  • The Body Shop Calming Toner.
  • Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder
  • Merumaya Conditioning Handwash
  • Bee Good Cleansing Water
  • Soap & Glory Calm One Calm All bubble bath
  • A-Derma Sensifluid Cleansing Water
  • Garnier Invisi Cool Roll On
  • Philip Kingsley One More Day
  • Bumble and Bumble Dry Spun Finish 
  • Truly Organics Recovery Serum 
  • Merumaya Night Cream
  • Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm
  • Aromatherapy Rose face mask
  • Garnier Miracle Day Cream
  • Seventeen Make Your Mark eyeliner 

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Monday, 12 January 2015

E.L.F HD Blush in Headliner





In the goody bags from the Southampton Blog Meet E.L.F Cosmetics kindly provided everyone with some gorgeous blush products. Blusher is by far my favourite make up product and I am forever buying them so I was really interested to see how this one worked. I have the HD Blush in Headliner* which is a bright, dolly pink. It comes in a pump dispensing bottle so controlling how much you use is really easy as with some creme blush you can end up wasting so much of it.


As you can see from the above swatches you can easily control the intensity of the shade you want, from a hot pink to a subtle rosy glow. The blush is creamy but a bit difficult to blend. Once blended it isn't very hydrating and it's powdery to touch which I like but I find fades easily throughout the day. Wear time is a good 6-8 hours but if I want to go from work to bar I need to touch up and more often than not I can't be bothered. I have however been using this on my lips with a smidge of Vaseline. It leaves a lovely pink hue similar to MAC Cosmetics Pink Nouveau. 



As just a blush I'm not overly a fan but with it being multi-use it does save it for me. I wouldn't disregard this product entirely as for the price its a fab little blush but I need long wearing. If you want something easy to use and good value then you will love this. 



*Gifted as part of goody bags for the Soton Meet Up
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Friday, 9 January 2015

Skincare Favourites 2014



Skincare was something I always meant to do but never really bothered with until January of last year when I thought it was about time I did something before it was too late. I've used so many different products this year but these six are ones that really stood out for me. Soap & Glory's Hand Food is a product I've used again and again, I have one at work, home and mini one in my bag and it would take a lot to pry away from me. I found some good competition in Bubble T Cosmetics in the later part of 2014 but Hand Food won't be leaving me anytime soon.

Lipglam is a multi-use product for cuticles, split ends, eyebrows and much more but I've been using this mainly for my lips. It's in a tube that needs warming but keeps my lips so moisturised over night. For facial skincare I've been using A-Derma Rheacalm Rich Soothing Cream* as my day cream for a number of months and it has firmly taken the place of my go to day cream by Garnier. It's light, soothing and pretty much scent free which I really like. Before using my day cream I also use Yours Truly Organics which repairs and tightens the skin while reducing blemish inflammation. 

For my skin I've been relying on mainly two products, Lush Cosmetics Therapy is one I didn't understand at first but once shown how to use the solid bars, I'd never go back. Quick warm up in your hands and you're ready. It soothes my skin leaving it really soft and also helps tone. Therapy also smells amazing. The Eve of St. Agnes Hydrating Moisturiser was one that was sent to me and I fell for it hard. It looks pretty on my dresser, the box it comes in reminds me of Alice in Wonderland and the product itself, moisturises, hydrates and smells beautiful. Definitely a big thumbs up. I'm interested to try some different things this year but these are all products I am keeping stocked up on this year.


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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Hair Care Favourites 2014




For someone who doesn't do much with her hair let alone someone who hates washing her hair I own a lot of hair products. I have stacks in my bathroom and a huge draw dedicated to hair products in my room and in all honesty I probably use a fifth of what I own. Above are seven products I religiously use and one brush I would be lost without. John Frieda is a guy who knows his blondes and since having my hair highlighted regularly I wouldn't use anything other than his Sheer Blondes range. From the highlight activating range to the color renew, I love them and they smell gorgeous too. I've been using Louise Galvin Sacred Locks Masque, won in a giveaway, for the best part of this year and although this is for fine hair, it's been doing wonders on my freshly bleached hair leaving it smooth and manageable.


Total Treat by Phil Smith was free in Cosmopolitan a while ago and I'm at the very end of my tube, used from mid length to ends this just nourishes my damaged hair and with a quick spritz of Cloud 9's Magical Potion I'm ready to blow dry in record time. The Magical Potion just helps dry my hair quicker and leaves my locks smelling lovely too. A can of L'Oreal Paris Elnett Hairspray is my must have hairspray and I wouldn't use anything else. It gives amazing hold and brushes out so easily. 



 I've already said I hate washing my hair and I've been known to rock five day hair so Batiste Original Dry Shampoo is a must have for me. I've used other brands and hated them apart from CoLab. I'm blonde so I don't get much of a residue and I always use it at night and sleep in it which I find helps a lot. There are so many versions but I think original smells the freshest. 



Lastly, my favourite discovery of 2014 and one I can't believe I waited so long to try, my Tangle Teezer. I always palmed them off because I didn't get how silly plastic bristle could really tame my annoyingly knotty, thick hair. How wrong was I? I praise these at every opportunity and if I had the money to buy everyone who didn't use one their own, I would. I really do love it that much. 



What have been your hair saviours of 2014? I have a hair product addiction I need to feed.


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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Beauty Favourites 2014





I managed to whittle down eleven of my beauty favourites, products I use daily and would genuinely panic if I lost them mainly because it would be pretty pricey to replace but also because each product helps make me feel more me. Primer is a product I only started wearing a year ago but I wouldn't be without Smashbox Photo Finish Primer now. It's lightweight and preps my skin perfectly for my foundation. For my base I swear by Estee Lauder Double Wear which I have seen in a lot of beauty favourites so far. It really is as good as the reviews. It's high coverage which I don't need but I prefer and if I have a long day this is my go to every time. 

I've been using cream blush a lot this year after finally learning how to use it correctly. My go to is MAC Cremeblend Blush in Something Special which is a light coral and perfect for all year round. Bronzer is my second true love after blush and Nars Laguna completely changed my bronzing life. I have a second as back up already and can't see this not being part of my routine anytime soon. Highlighter is something I've started dabbling in properly this year too. Benefit's Highbeam is one I've used for years but ELF Baked Highlighters stole my heart towards the end of the year and Blush Gems is a lovely bronzed highlighter perfect for the top of your cheeks and brow bone. 

Eyes are always something I've paid close attention too. This year, Make Up Revolution burst on to the scene and whipped us all into a frenzy. I held off because I thought it looked cheap and didn't think the product would be that great either. Some of their stuff I was right about but others such as their make up palettes really are fab and I haven't stopped using Girls on Film. I replaced my other much loved palette, Urban Decay's original Naked with it recently but Naked stays firmly on my dresser and will always be my favourite Naked palette.

Glo & Ray was a new brand to me this year but their Sky Breaker Eye Liner is the darkest, boldest black eye liner I have used in years. Long lasting, smudge proof and genuinely amazing. Accompanied alongside the Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara it's a sultry eye pairing made in heaven. Expensive, but so worth it. I fix my brows with Gosh Eye Brow Kit, it's compact and contains a mirror so it's really handy to carry with you. I'm yet to try any Anastasia Brow products but that may change this year. Lastly I picked up MAC Hue Lipstick in a blog sale earlier on in the year and it has not left my bag. Hue is my perfect nude and I would repurchase as soon as I was due to run out every time. Are any of my favourites yours too? 


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