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Lush Valentine's Day 2017 Range

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Everything is up in the air at the moment with renovation work, so I am living out of a small double bedroom with the cat (Merlin), and every tiny amount of 'free' space is taken up by a stack of boxes. It's not at all glamorous, and everything I own is now covered in a thick layer of dust. I am missing the chance to be able to buy special Valentine's Day food (I really wish seeing the advertisements would stop as I'd love to buy the Marks & Spencer's special offers, but I don't have a kitchen or any appliance to be able to cook right now, and I don't have any plates/cutlery to eat off of.) We found out that the water system had to be replaced. We were already changing the boiler to a new system, but we then discovered the previous occupants stupidly paved over the water stopcock, and it was broken. Further discovery revealed that tiny lead pipes were being used for the water mains, and this then needed to be taken up and new pipes put in. Goodbye, lead! 

The system was finally working on Friday, after six weeks of no heating and things in a half-finished state. I noticed the big difference straight away. There's actually water pressure. When I moved in here, there was next to no pressure with spurting water when you turned the taps on. It took at least ten minutes to fill the small bath to a comfortable height. Now, the water warms up very quickly; the pressure is so much that the shower doesn't need to be on full-blast, and the bath fills up in a couple of minutes! I can now actually have bubble bath again! The water pressure was so bad originally that bubbles wouldn't form.

This now brings me back to Valentine's Day. As food is out of the question, I decided to treat myself to a couple of bath bombs and new soap. I opted for the Lush Valentine's Day range at the Liverpool Street branch in the station at lunch. Unfortunately, they were out of a few items. Read below to see what I bought.

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Fizzbanger: This is the only product not in the Valentine's Day range that I purchased. It has a trong and fresh lemon scent and smells a little of apple. It changes colour when it fizzes about in the bath.

Kiss me quick: This lemon-scented card is great for travel as it lathers up into a soap.

Love you, Love you Lots soap: This is a floral-scented soap that smells like roses and is beautifully decorated with hearts and LOVE.

Two hearts beating as one: This is a pair of heart-shaped entwined bath melts. Cocoa butter, ylang ylang and rose are used.

Lover lamp: This bath bomb is cute with its red hearts. It has a more 'adult' smell and smells like vanilla and orange oil. I thought it had a slightly spicy smell.

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar 2016

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The Liberty department store's beauty advent calendar is one of the best value-for-money beauty advent calendars available. I purchased one this year, and instead of waiting until December to open the windows, I decided to be a little unconventional and open them throughout the month of November. December is always a busy month, and this year has not been the kindest, so I needed a little pick-me-up! Also, Thanksgiving is on November 24 this year, so it can be a countdown to the holidays. So, if you don't want to spoil the surprise, do NOT read on.

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As in previous years, the advent calendar comes in a large box with small numbered drawers that can be opened to reveal the day's gift. Read below to see what I received on each day.

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Day 1: Aveda hand relief moisturiser: Peppermint and rosemary help to wake the senses and heal tired hands. Aveda's products use a blend of natural plant ingredients in their beauty products. The cold, dry weather at this time of the year dries out my skin, so moisturiser is always a bonus.

Day 2: Aurelia refine and polish miracle balm: This balm brings life back to dull skin and also helps to keep it looking fresh and moisturised. It is moisturised into the skin with a little bit of water and then left for a few minutes before cleaning off. The brand Aurelia use bio-organic ingredients to prevent anti-aging products.

Day 3: Bobbi Brown pot rouge in 'Powder Pink': This full-sized blusher is a dark pink-salmon colour that would work with most skin tones. It is an award-winning product that can be applied on the go and comes in a case with a mirror.

Day 4: Kiehl's Amino Acid Shampoo: New York brand Kiehl's is a popular skincare brand. Their shampoo has a light coconut smell and uses ingredients to protect hair while cleaning it. This product felt like it cleaned my hair without being too aggressive.

Day 5: JINsoon nail polish in 'Coquette': Jin Soon Choi has gained much popularity with nail products, and these polishes are free from harsh chemicals. The colour received is a safe bright red colour that has been named 'Coquette'. It dries quickly and wears well.

Day 6: Laura Mercier hydrating primer: This primer is used as a base before foundation is applied and helps to create an even foundation coverage. This product is a well-loved one, and Laura Mercier is a brand that focuses on skincare. 

Day 7: C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve balm: This rose-scented balm comes in a tube that is easy to apply to lips, elbows, hands, or anywhere else where skin is dry. The product has a rose fragrance. C.O. Bigelow is a New York-based company that use herbal healing products.

Day 8: Malin+Goetz Vitamin E face moisturiser: This facial moisturiser is a popular product in skincare, and it's one I've used before. It nourishes skin without leaving a residue.

Day 9: Davines Oi All in One Milk: This product is designed to be applied to hair after it has been towel-dried. It helps to moisturise and add shine. Davines is a cult New York brand that use natural ingredients.

Day 10: Marvis toothpaste (in mint and liquorish flavours): I received two small tubes of toothpaste in different flavours. The toothpaste has a refreshing smell and is not too hard on teeth.

Day 11: Byredo Bal d-Afrique hand cream: Byredo create fragrances and skincare products. This hand cream is lightly fragranced and moisturises skin. It's another hand cream product in time for the drier winter months.

Day 12: NARS Mini Laguna Bronzer: The advent calendars came with this bronzer or a lip gloss. I don't often use bronzers, but this appears to be a standard one. NARS is a make-up company that pride themselves in using bright and wearable colours.

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Day 13: Blink Brow Night Balm: This product helps condition the brow and protect it during the day.

Day 14: Eve Lom Cleanser and Cloth: This cleanser for skin also acts like a make-up remover and leaves skin feeling soft. It comes with a cloth that can be rinsed with warm water and left on the face to open up pores. 

Day 15: ODeJo perfume: I received a generous bottle of this fragrance, which was inspired by stylist Jo Levin. The perfume is considered a cult classic and marketed as a summer scent. I actually dislike the scent as it reminds me of a certain summer insect that has a bad smell when I was growing up in the country. Every time I smell the perfume, it smells bad to me.

Day 16: Trish McEvoy Lip Colour in Pink Nude: This full-sized lip stick is a very wearable colour and has a nice consistency. I also found the colour to last.

Day 17: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant: I've previously tried this product. It comes in a powder form, and mixed with a little bit of water, it becomes a nice paste that can be applied to the skin to take off the dirt and exfoliate the skin. My skin felt cleaner after use.

Day 18: Votary Facial Oil: This product is made from seed extract to help nourish skin, and it has anti-aging properties. It is fragrance-free and suits all skin types.

Day 19: Skin Laundry Gentle Foaming Face Wash: This facial wash is suitable for problem skin and is a gentle cleanser. The company are known for working with problem skin and creating products for it.

Day 20: Kai Body Lotion: I've previously used this body lotion. It is also lightly-fragranced and a cult favourite. I'm generally not too keen on body lotions, however.

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Day 21: Dr Sebegh Serum Repair: This is a product that I have used before, and it's an award-winning product that helps to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Day 22: Surratt Blush: This is another cult beauty product in the form of a blusher. It is a wearable colour, and I can always do with more blusher. The brand pride themselves in creating bold but wearable colours.

Day 23: ESPA Overnight Hydration Therapy: This mask helps maintain a hydrated, youthful appearance and conditions the skin. This brand are known for skin-care and anti-aging products.

Day 24: Le Labo Santal 33 perfume: There were two choices of perfume, and I received the Santal 33, which reminds me of pine trees and is a scent for Christmas. The scent is also long-lasting, and I found wearing it enjoyable.

Day 25: Diptyque Mini Candle: I've previously received this brand's candles, which leave the room with a light fragrance. I also like the design of the branding and its simplicity. The scent is fig (figuier).

Lush Holiday 2016

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I recently paid Lush a visit to see their holiday (Halloween, Bonfire Night, autumn, and Christmas) offerings, and it looks as though they have pulled out all the stops this year and brought back some original favourites, new products, and well-loved favourites with a twist. I will be covering their Halloween/autumn/Bonfire Night products and then taking a look at their Christmas products. 

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For Halloween/autumn/Bonfire Night, we had a mixture of old favourites and new products. 

Autumn Leaf: This is a new product. This bath bomb is shaped like a leaf and coloured green, orange and yellow. The scent is grass-like and fresh and a beautiful colour is created with spirals of colour when placed in the bath. I bought one of these as I really loved the fresh scent. 

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Fireside soap: This is a new product this year, and I loved the spicy scent of it so much that I had to buy a small bar. The soap has the appearance of a single flame - layered with red, orange and yellow. Clove and vanilla are the primary fragrances.

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Lord of Misrule: This bath bomb made an appearance last year and has a spicy and herbal smell. When it is placed in the water, the popping candy crackles and it turns the water a green-pink colour. 

Goth Fairy shimmer bar: This soothing melt adds a slight shimmer to skin. 

Monster's Ball: I think this was a new product for this year's Halloween collection. This bath bomb is made using a blend of lime and neroli oil as well as other scents. The bath bomb looks like a little monster with tiny pointed ears and a single 'eye'. It creates a bath of pink and blue colours.

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Magic Wand soap: This is a new product this year, and I thought that the soap had a slightly minty scent.

Sparkly Pumpkin bubble bar: The sparkly orange pumpkin bubble bar is back. I covered this last year.

Pumpkin bath bomb: This year, Lush have released a bath bomb shaped like a pumpkin (jack o' lantern). The pumpkin has a slight spicy smell with pumpkin scent. I had to buy one because I love pumpkin.

Boo Bath melt: This bath melt is a new product this year. These cute little meringue-like ghosts help sooth skin and smell beautiful - sweet but with a slightly spicy/crisp autumn scent.

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Now, I'll cover the Christmas range.

The Father Christmas bath bomb, Golden Wonder bath bomb, Christmas penguin bubble bar, Baked Alaska soap, Luxury Lux Pud bath bomb, and the Magic of Christmas bubble bar stick were some items in the shop that I recognised from previous years. I will be covering mainly new items or items that I had not noticed before.

Santa's Postbox soap: This soap is shaped like a postbox. It has a refreshing and pleasant scent, and I had to buy a bar of it. 

Shooting Stars soap: This new soap has a refreshing lemon scent. 

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Snowcastle soap: This year, my favourite Snow Cake soap scent has been transformed into a snow castle. I was told by the shop assistant that Snow Cake has been improved. It smells the same with the almond scent, but it makes skin feel cleaner and softer.

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So White bath bomb: This is my favourite bath bomb scent, and this year has been updated to have a stronger crisp apple scent, and it also has a small green leaf design added to it.

Shoot for the Stars bath bomb: This bath bomb is blue with shimmery gold stars. The bath bomb has a citrus scent.

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Snowie Bath Bomb: This David Bowie-inspired bath bomb has a citrus fragrance. The white bar has the iconic red and blue bolt on it.

Mistletoe bath bomb: This is a new product, and I loved the colour and design of the bath bomb, but the scent really put me off for some reason. It is meant to have a floral scent, but I could not really detect that. 

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Igloo soap: Igloo soap is multiple bars of brightly-coloured and frosted soaps that have been arranged in the shape of an igloo (as snow bricks). The bars actually remind me of Turkish Delight candies or hard candies with the powdered sugar coating. The soap smells like lemon.

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Santasaurus bubble bar: This new product is a bubble bar is shaped like a dinosaur with a Santa hat.

Reindeer soap bars: Last year's Christmas soap was reindeer soap. This year, the rainbow soap is being sold in bar form. The bars remind me of river rocks with primitive etched reindeer designs on them.

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Do you have any favourites this year in Lush's autumn and Christmas range? I have bought a few, and I am hoping that the new Snowcastle lives up to Snow Cake.

'Lip Love' by So Susan is a monthly beauty subscription bag. The subscription contains four make-up items and comes in a useful make-up bag. The theme for September is 'I love autumn', and the front of the bag has an illustration of cats and a quotation from Albert Camus: "Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower." The products that I received are listed below.

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Mesmer-Eyes waterproof liquid eyeliner: This long-lasting liquid eyeliner promises to survive rainy and sweltering days. I don't currently own a product like this, so it's a welcome addition to my make-up stash.

Lip butter by Jelly Pong Pong in 'Hot Air Balloons': This pale shade of lipstick comes in a cute pink tube that is decorated with hot air balloons. I have recently received a couple of similar shades, and unfortunately it looks too pale on me.

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Cheek Rethink blush duo by So Susan: This blush contains shea butter and leaves a subtle glow which also promises to give a glow that lasts most of the day.

Sweet Strobe by Trifle Cosmetics: This illuminator helps to define and illuminate areas where its used.

What did you think of this month's beauty subscription bag by So Susan? I liked the products but was not keen on the lipstick. This should also be my last bag in the subscription now. I have a lot of lipstick, blushes, and eye shadows to get through, so I will be focusing on using them up.

'Lip Love' is a monthly beauty subscription bag from environmentally-conscious brand 'So Susan'. The subscription contains four make-up items and comes in a pouch. August's theme is 'I love my friends', and the front of the bag has a quotation from Charles A. Swindoll: "I cannot even imagine where I would be today if it were not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy." The products that I received are listed below.

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Fan Brush by So Susan Cosmetics: The fan brush is good for applying a small amount of bronzer to the face to give it an all-over glow.

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Praline Palette by Trifle Cosmetics: I love the colours in this eyeshadow palette. They look natural and offer a range of shimmery colours as well as standard ones. I've loved the ones that I've received in previous bags as well as they are so easy to wear and have cute packaging. This one's packaging was ice cream-themed. 

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Lip Butter by Jelly Pong Pong: This bright pink-purple shade of lipstick is not that bright when applied, although it can be layered to appear brighter in colour. The lipstick formula itself makes lips feel moisturised. I love the seashell design; the package design reminds me of similar products from Trifle Cosmetics, who also supply to So Susan subscription bags.

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Lip Sorbet by Trifle Cosmetics: I needed another lip exfoliation balm, so I was happy to receive this bright red one. It leaves a reddish tint to lips after use and has a sweet smell.

I believe that I've got one more of these subscription bags coming to me. Do you subscribe to So Susan?

'Lip Love' is a monthly beauty subscription bag from environmentally-conscious brand 'So Susan'. The subscription contains four or five items. July's came with four items with the theme 'I love summer days', and the front of the bag has a quotation from Henry James: "Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." The products that I received are listed below. 

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Creamsicle in 'Acerola' by Trifle Cosmetics: This is a bright purple-red shade of lip and cheek stain. The stain can be layered to achieve a brighter colour. I've previously tried another colour in the Creamsicle range.

Neopolitan Palette by Jelly Pong Pong: This brand's packaging is very cute, and I love the shades in this eye shadow palette (pictured below) that range from gold to bronze-brown to dark brown. All three shades are very easy to wear and can be combined to highlight the eyes.

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Moisturizing Foundation by So Susan: This sun-protecting foundation is a bold move to include in a make-up subscription bag, particularly as there's no questions about skin tone when you subscribe. Luckily, the colour goes on thinly, so it's not too noticable as it isn't the correct shade for my pale skin. I use this as a base and then add my normal foundation on top.

Blush&Glow in 'Rose Rust' by So Susan: This salmon-coloured powder adds a little bit of blush to give cheeks and skin a subtle glow.

This month's bag was a little bit of hit and miss for me. What did you think? 

I went to Birmingham a couple of weeks ago and came across the build-your-own Birchbox beauty subscription box in Selfridges. I saw a few products that I have not tried before but that I was interested in trying, so I decided to purchase a box. The box is a little more expensive than the subscription cost per month, but you can choose your own products. We could choose two make-up items, a skincare item, a body care item, a haircare item, and a beauty treat. See what I got by reading below.

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Lord & Berry Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil in 'Black': This eye pencil is easy to apply. I've previously received this product and enjoyed using it; as I had tried all but one of the other make-up items, I opted for this.

Laura Mercier lip gloss in 'Nectar': This is a peach-coloured gloss.

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Philip B. light-weight deep conditioning rinse: This product promises to nourish hair by sealing split ends and adding shine. The sample received was large enough for two rinses for my hair, and it made my hair feel soft and I enjoyed the fragrance.

Eve Lom Kiss Mix: This lip balm promises to hydrate as well as plump lips so that they appear fuller. When applied, the product leaves lips feeling tingly. I do not have a similar balm that offers this, so it is a good find.

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Rituals T'ai Chi foaming shower gel: I enjoy the products created by this company and enjoy some of the fragrances on offer. This fragrant shower gel goes a long way and made my skin feel softer.

When Glamour Base Travelmate sheet mask: This sheet mask promises to add nutrients to the skin. I've tried other sheet masks, and I prefer masks that do not include the sheet. I find them too fiddly, and they never lay well on my face. My skin did not feel any different after having used this product, which isn't the way with other masks.  

UK 2016 Birchbox Reviews: June

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Birchbox is a beauty and skin-care subscription box that arrives each month. This month, the theme is "Paradise Found" and features boxes designed with pineapple or palm trees to get us in the mood for summer. I received four sample-sized products and one full-size product in the box this month. Unfortunately, I've tried three of the five products already.

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James Reed overnight tan sleep mask: This is a mask to put on your face before bed to allow you to wake up with a tan. I've previously used this product but I am not a fan because it is too dark for my skin tone and always leaves my skin looking blotchy. I have to wash it down in the morning. The tan does not get on the sheets, but I never wake up with an even tone. It claims to work with every skin tone, but it does not suit me.

Percy & Reed Firm Session Hold Hairspray: This is a strong hold hairspray that is humidity-resistant. I've tried this product before and tend to get on well with this brand. 

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Whish Coconut Milk CC Body Cream: This product promises to nourish and bronze skin. I've used Whish body lotion before and really enjoyed the lavender hand and body cream that I received in a past box. I was not keen on the scent, but I liked the results of using this product as it left my skin shimmery.

Jelly Pong Pong Paradise Pigments in 'Cake Pop': The full product this month is a lip and cheek pigment pot. All subscribers received one in a bright pink-red shade (pictured below) or a pink-purple shade. The pigment is very bright, but it is subtle when applied. I love the brand's packaging.

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Benefit Cosmetics Air Patrol BB Cream Eyelid Primer: This product acts as a primer and a BB cream in one formula to protect against the sun and pollution. This is a useful product and I noticed that it tended to keep my eyeshadow on for longer.

What is my verdict this month? I thought that we were able to try some good products, but I've previously tried some of these already. I felt that there was a good mix of the type of products this month.

Lush Father's Day Collection

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A few weeks ago, I popped into one of the Lush shops and noticed a new Father's Day collection. I've seen Lush have products for Mother's Day, but I have never noticed them create products specifically for Father's Day until this year. I think this is great, because I am sure there are a lot of men out there too who love to take baths and like smelly soap products. Bath time and taking care of oneself is not just a feminine treat. 

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First up is the bath bomb "Superdad" which smells of wood notes on top of the relaxing rose scent. This one turns the bath water a beautiful blue colour.

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Another eye-catching piece is the "Modfather" bubble bar, which is meant to look like the Mod symbol of the 1950s-1960s. It has a citrus scent.

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The last eye-catching piece that I photographed is the bright yellow and orange soap with the letters 'dad', arranged like wooden blocks. The soap is called "Thanks Dad" and and is made of Brazilian orange oil and smells refreshing, like orange juice.

There's also a "Smuggle's Soul" shampoo bar up for grabs, and it is described as a lemongrass with woody fragrance. 

Or, these items can be purchased in a special Father's Day gift box.

Beauty brand 'So Susan' have a beauty subscription box called 'Lip Love', and this contains four or five items. I subscribed over three months, but I've got a lot of make-up to use, so I will not be re-subscribing. However, I loved most of the products that I have received so far. June's subscription bag contains a quotation from Ann Hood: "I have learned that there is more in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words."

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The following items were received:

Trifle Cosmetics 'Candied Apple' lip and cheek stain: This is a muted pink colour and is not as bright as it immediately looks in the packaging. I think this colour would suit most tones, and the colour and longevity of the product is excellent. The downside is that it is very sticky, just like a candied apple.

So Susan 'Primal Instinct' primer: This primer smooths out skin and provides a canvas for make-up to be applied. This is a pretty standard product that does what it says.

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Trifle Cosmetics 'Raspberry Ripple' blush palette: This blush palette comes in three shades of pink/brown. The left and middle shades add illumination while the right shade helps to add colour.

Jelly Pong Pong Blush and Contour: This duo of shades promises a more natural look for blush.

I do enjoy receiving these subscription boxes, but I felt a little under-whelmed this month based on the previous months.

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