Saturday, 30 June 2012

June Book Reviews

I am a complete bookworm and when I set up this blog I wanted it to include book reviews as well as beauty reviews, hence the name of my blog!

This is my very first book review post and I'm sure the reviews will become more detailed over time, I would love recommendations on any books you have enjoyed. I will try not to give too much away on the storylines as I don't want to ruin the books for you!  I love reading on my kindle but I will never give up "real" books so I read a selection of both.

These are the books I read in June.  All images are taken from Google Images.

Lucy Silchester has an appointment with her life – and she’s going to have to keep it.
Lying on Lucy Silchester’s carpet one day when she returns from work is a gold envelope. Inside is an invitation – to a meeting with Life. Her life. It turns out she's been ignoring itand it needs to meet with her face to face.
It sounds peculiar, but Lucy’s read about this in a magazine. Anyway, she can’t make the date: she’s much too busy despising her job, skipping out on her friends and avoiding her family.
But Lucy’s life isn’t what it seems. Some of the choices she’s made – and stories she’s told – aren’t what they seem either. From the moment she meets the man who introduces himself as her life, her stubborn half-truths are going to be revealed in all their glory – unless Lucy learns to tell the truth about what really matters to her.

I picked this book up at the airport in May when my Dad got taken into hospital (everything fine now but gave us a scare) and I needed something not too difficult to read. I have read quite a few of Cecelia Aherns' books and I like the way she writes so I knew I would enjoy this.

I didn't end up reading it until I went on holiday and couldn't put it down! Its a real feel good story, predictable in places, sad in others - a perfect book for the beach. I thought it was quite similar to another book she has written called "If you could see me now" so wait a while between reading the two books. Thumbs up!
In the Sixties, Athene Forster is the most glamorous girl of her generation. Nicknamed the Last Deb, she is also beautiful, spoilt and out of control. When she agrees to marry dashing young heir Douglas Fairley-Hulme her parents breathe a sigh of relief. But within two years rumours have begun to circulate about Athene's affair with a young salesman.
Thirty five years on, Suzanna Peacock is struggling with her glamorous mother's legacy. At odds with her father and his second wife, struggling in a stalled marriage, she returns to the place of her birth to find that the ghost of her mother, in differing ways, still haunts them all. The only place she finds comfort is in her shop, The Peacock Emporium, a coffee shop-cum-curio store, decorated in her own image, which provides a haven for other misfits in the town. 
There she makes perhaps the first real friends of her life, including Alejandro, a male midwife, escaping his own ghosts in Argentina. But the spectre of Athene and the shop itself combine to set in place a chain of tragic events, forcing Suzanna to confront the feelings she has disguised for so long - and her family, in their varying ways, finally to deal with the events of the past. And Suzanna discovers the key to her history, and her happiness, may have been in front of her all along.

This book had been sat on my bookshelf for months waiting patiently to be read, after reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes a few weeks ago and it being the best book I have read this year I remembered I had this waiting.

It's not as good as Me Before You but its still a great read. Its a real page turner, lots of twists and some very sad parts - you will need a tissue when reading this book! Again I couldn't put this down. I will definitely be purchasing more of her books.
Two summers in Amsterdam. The first: fourteen year old Joe Salt, obsessed with clouds and falcons and perplexed by humans. His aunt Nel, a chaotic artist with two lovers. The second, fifteen years later: a family secret, which makes sense of everything, and pushes Joe to breaking point...

This is the first book I have read by this author, it was a free book from the Kindle Amazon store.

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would when I started it as it took me a while to get into the storyline, I prefer a fast paced story with twists and turns and this is not that kind of book. It has a good twist near the end and it deals sensitively with the undercurrent of mental health issues that run throughout the book. 

This book wouldn't make me pick up anything by the same author, enjoyable read but not my cup of tea. 
When Alice was a teenager, strange things started happening to her. Hours of her life simply disappeared. She'd hear voices shouting at her, telling her she was useless. And the nightmares that had haunted her since early childhood, scenes of men abusing her, became more detailed . . . more real. Staring at herself in the mirror she'd catch her face changing, as if someone else was looking out through her eyes.
In "Today I'm Alice," she describes her extraordinary journey from a teenage girl battling anorexia and OCD, drowning the voices with alcohol, to a young woman slipping further and further into mental illness. It was only after years lost in institutions that she was correctly diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. When her alternative personalities were revealed in therapy she discovered how each one had their own memories of abuse and a full picture of her childhood finally emerged. As she learned to live with her many 'alters', she set out to confront the man who had caused her unbearable pain.
Moving and ultimately inspiring, this is a gripping account of a rare condition, and the remarkable story of a courageous woman.

I found this on my "to read" shelf and took it on my holidays without reading the back cover. It was only when I was a chapter or two in that I realised it was about child abuse so horrific that it made Alice develop multiple personalities. It is amazing how the brain copes with these situations but deeply disturbing that abuse like this happens at the hands of the people we trust the most.

I didn't think I would be able to read this book all the way through but I'm glad I did, she is truly a remarkable woman and I hope she found some closure in writing this book. The book is sad and disturbed me greatly, it will stay with me forever. 

I do not enjoy reading this genre of books and I would not have picked this up - turns out it was in a bag of books that my best friend Vicki gave me as she bought it, read the back and decided she couldn't read it.

For an insight into how the brain protects itself then this is a fascinating read but as it contains memories of child abuse it is not an easy read.

Yeah, yeah I got sucked into the hype!

This book is all over my Facebook feeds, being talked about in work, in the school playground - I can't get away from it! I wasn't going to read it as it gets some scathing reviews on Amazon, but sitting in a bar on my holidays I decided to download it onto my kindle to see what all the fuss was about...well I read all three books in a week!

It's much better written than I thought it would be, it has a really good action storyline running through the second and third books. Its written in a typical chick lit way but with lots of naughties ha ha ha!

There are explicit scenes in these books and I have heard a few people class them as "Mummy Porn" which erm yeah is a good way to sum them up!

One thing that's great about these books is that I see a lot of Facebook posts saying they are reading Fifty Shades and that its the first book they have read in years and how they are enjoying reading - surely that's a really good thing if its re-introducing people to books and the enjoyment of reading.

I think everyone has heard about these books but if you haven't you can read all about them on E L James' website

Hope you enjoyed my first book reviews!

June Empties

I can't believe June is over already, this month has gone so fast!! Hopefully July will bring some summer weather and less of this awful rain that we have been having.

I had saved up £31 at the end of May, and this is everything I used this month.

Full size Ojon volume shampoo and conditioner.

These retail at nearly £40 for the pair, I do really like Ojon products but for volume I prefer John Freida volume range for a quarter of the price so I wouldn't repurchase these.

Both full size so £2 in the pot.

The Body Shop dreams unlimited shower gel - I got this in a set with body lotion and a perfume. I love the scent, its very fresh and floral. This is on special offer at the moment for £3.90 on the Body Shop website

Rituals foaming shower gel in Mandarin & Mint. I do love these shower gels, they smell divine and are so moisturising. I have one I am using at the moment and one in the cupboard  so I need to stock up! They retail for £6.90 at John Lewis but I always keep an eye out in TK Maxx as they have them now and again on special offer. 

I would repurchase both of these, but the Rituals is definitely my favourite.

Both full size so another £2. 

These are all the products I used up on holiday! 
You can read about them on my holiday post
Sample size Vanitas Versace Perfume
2 x Sample size Lolilta Lempicka Perfumes
Full size Balance Me Rose Otto Body Wash
Travel Size Ojon Shampoo
Travel size Ojon Conditioner
Sample size Green People Suncream
Sample size Bharti Vyas Face & Neck Polisher
Full size Champneys Body Butter

I would repurchase the body butter and the perfumes but nothing else.

Thats another £5, so total of £9 this month making the total £40!

I'm in the middle of using up quite a few products so I think July is going to have a lot of empties!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Glossybox June Review

I know there are loads of reviews of this box and I wasn't going to bother this month but after the uproar with the mens box - you can read my review here - and all your comments I thought I would tell you about the ladies boxes I got and what the outcome with Glossybox was when I emailed them a complaint over the way I was treated as a customer.

I got two boxes this month, one from my annual subscription and one that I paid full price for as I bought one for my sister as a birthday present in May and forget to cancel the subscription.  Oops!

First thing I noticed when I opened the box was that the sticker wasn't holding the tissue paper together as it normally does in the boxes. The ribbon was not tied either. 

I got these first three samples in both my boxes

Vichy Dermablend Starter kit - 6 different shades. For minor to severe skin flaws.
The pack is 6g. Glossybox list the full size of 12g at £19.00, making the sample worth £9.50.

I found the starter kit for £3.69 here
L-R Shades 11-16

BM Beauty Summer Warmth Bronzer - a multi purpose pure mineral bronzer.  This looks way too dark for my pale skin as a bronzer but I am going to try it as an eyeshadow.

1g sample size, full size retails at £8.00 making the sample worth £2.

I couldn't find this any cheaper.
Glossybox goat hair blusher brush - I think this was the product that caused the most uproar! It smells very strongly and is quite scratchy. I personally would never buy a brush made from animal hair and I think from the complaints about the product a lot of people feel the same way.

We are paying to try 5 luxury samples a month and a self branded brush that you can't actually buy doesn't seem to fit that criteria - they also value it at a whopping £15! I think if this had been added as an extra, like the mirror they put in the birthday box then there wouldn't have been so many complaints.

Erm not sure how to value this on here as you can't actually buy them....does that make it £0? 

So those were the three items that I got in both boxes.

In my annual subscription box I got 
Yves Rocher France Ultra Volume Sexy Pulp mini mascara.

This is a 2.5ml sample, fullsize of 9ml retails at £16.90 making the sample worth £4.69

I found it for £8.45 here, making the sample worth £2.35

This really is a mini mascara! Look at it next to the sample of benefit Bad gal lash that I got with my Glamour magazine!

The last item I got in my annual subscription box was a set of three Agent Provocateur perfumes. These are all 1.5ml samples and have a spray top which I really like on samples.

Full size 50ml retails at £39.00 making the samples worth £3.51

Agent Provocateur were giving away this sample set on their website for free, I bookmarked the link to share with you but I have just gone on the site and they are out of stock. You can sign up here to register for future free samples. I'm not surprised they are out of stock though - as people have been reviewing the box they came across the free samples on the website and I'm sure lots of Glossybox subscribers have this set on the way to them ;)

Well I valued the brush at a big fat zero so I'm going to be kind and let them have the value of the perfume ;)

Value of box £34.70 using Glossyboxes numbers £11.55 using mine.

Now, this may be a co-incidence but these are the items I got in the box I paid full price for

Caudalie Zeste De Vigne.

A generous 10ml sample. I'm really not sure if I like the smell! Its strong and smells of lemon scented bathroom cleaner!! It is nicer once it settles on the skin but I definitely wouldn't repurchase it.

Fullsize 50ml retails at £26.00 making the sample worth £5.20

I found the full size for £20 here making the sample worth £4.00

HD Brows precision tweezers.

Full size product, retails at £19.95.

So this box is worth £51.65 according to Glossybox and £35.45 according to me.

Wow thats a HUGE difference in the value of the two boxes!!

Now I know its not about the value of the items in the box but more about their value to you as a subscriber - no good having a £20 full size product if you don't use it. BUT, I think its very unfair on the difference between the boxes that you can see here.

Lots of people had HD brow products in their boxes last month, wouldn't it have been a better idea to have all the HD branded products in one months box with subscribers getting a different product rather than missing out completely??

Which box did you get? Are you happy with the contents?

After the issue with the Mens box I wrote an email to customer services to make an official complaint on the way I was treated as a customer and the way I was made out to be lying about posting abusive comments. I asked them to cancel my subscription and refund me the remaining months (10) that I had left.

I had no reply to my first email so I chased it up and I had a polite, well written email back from customer services apologising and agreeing that on this occasion they would cancel and refund my subscription.

So looks like this was my last Glossybox.

The refund has now cleared, I signed up to She Said Beauty to give them another try and treated myself to a pandora bracelet!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

OPI Spiderman Collection

My first nail polish swatch post!

These are from the Spiderman collection by OPI. 
I purchased the mini set as I love the OPI mini collections and think they are a great way to try out the colours without spending too much money.

Its hard to take pics of nails! Any tips much appreciated ;)

All the colours are two coats and no topcoat.

Your Web or Mine?

A frosty pink - I like this more than I thought I would. Its quite pretty and great for daytime nails. 

Just Spotted the Lizard

This colour is gorgeous! Its a green/gold chrome.

Into the Night

 A sapphire blue shimmer - I don't usually like blue nail polish but I do like this, the colour is lovely and the shimmer sets it off. 

Number One Nemesis

A steel grey shimmer - the formula was very sheer and really this needed three coats.

I have had these mini's in my collection for a few weeks and had not got around to trying them out, I wasn't sure what I would think of them as I am definitely a pink glitter polish kind of girl but I am impressed once again by OPI. The only one I don't really like is Number One Nemesis, I just don't suit this colour.

I love, love, love Just Spotted the Lizard and may well have to purchase the full size. As I said at the beginning of the post that's the great thing with the mini OPI collections I think they are a great price to try out the colours without having to spend too much money.

Pound Shop Haul

Got these goodies yesterday from a new 98p shop (not sure why its not £1?!)

Radox Spirit Booster shower smoothie. Smells good enough to eat! It contains yogurt, pomegranate and elderberries. I also picked one up to add to my giveaway.

Mango body scrub, I love body scrubs - this one smells very fruity and contains mango kernal oil to moisturise the skin.

Vie Vanishing Act self tan corrector. This will definitely come in handy for inevitable self tan disasters! Picked up one of these for my giveaway too.

Herbal Essences hair mask - smells like coconut! 

Chin or Forehead pore strips - I did actually think I had picked up the nose ones oops!
Will use these on my chin as that's where I get the most breakouts.

Do you have a £1 (98p!) shop by where you live? What's the best thing you have ever found in there?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway

Saturday, 23 June 2012

China Glaze Haul

Hi everyone, hope you are having a good weekend. 

Took my son to a party today so while he was being entertained I got to have a good look around TK Maxx, it was disappointing today must be waiting for a delivery! Luckily there is a Sallys on the way home so I popped in as I wanted a bottle of fairy dust.

I ended up getting a few bargains!

Westside Warrior reduced £3.86

City Siren reduced £3.86

Loft-Y Ambitions reduced £3.86

Fairy Dust full price £6.59

Cuticle Oil £2.39

I really like the China Glaze polishes.  I'm starting to build up a little collection now.

Think I may be topping all my polishes with fairy dust from now on though!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway

Thursday, 21 June 2012

What I packed in my suitcase!

Do you panic about what to pack when you take on holiday or are you a laid back chuck everything in a bag kind of packer?

I always pack the night before I go away although mentally I have been packing for weeks! I think about what I have in my wardrobe, anything I need to buy - always a new bikini and a maxi dress - accessories that match and so when I come to pack my suitcase it hardly takes me any time at all!

But this is where the panic part of me sets in...toiletries and cosmetics! So these are the items I took with me.

I bought the Ojon colour sustain 4 piece starter kit while they had the offer on to get a free full size shampoo and conditioner knowing the kit would be an ideal travel size. I didn't take the colour protecting cream with me.

I used up all the shampoo and conditioner - they were perfect sizes for my midlength hair for a week.

I used the hair treatment a couple of times in the week.  The tub is small but it will last me for ages as you only need a small amount. Its solid in the tub and you use the little round dish to scoop some out then warm it in your hands to turn it into an oil.  It smells very strongly and its not very pleasant but it made my hair lovely and soft.

Moroccanoil Hairspray - I find this quite a light hold hairspray, its easy to brush out and is not sticky at all. It also leaves a nice shine to your hair.

Fiji Oil - this smells like holidays! and Berber Oil which smells like Haribo!

Used both of these on my hair (and yes I probably didn't need to take two oils) I like both of these, not too heavy on my hair left it nice and soft and took away the frizz.  Thumbs up to both.

Perfume samples - perfect holiday size.

I used the Versace in the evenings and the Lolita Lempicka's in the day.  Although I could only spray tiny amount of the Lolitas and they were only 1/3 full when I get them as samples.

Picked up the deodorant in the airport as I normally use sprays and I never know if I can take them on the plane or not??
Essential Care Rose Moisturiser - I really liked this, it smells lovely, easily absorbed and could feel it tightening my face. I want to repurchase this when it runs out.
FAB Face Cleanser - if you are a regular reader of my blog you will know I love this cleanser.
Balance Me eye cream - this is really naughty but I think I only used this once on holiday!
Bharti Vyas Face and Neck Polisher - I like this scrub it makes my skin smooth and soft, it contains walnut shavings which sounds a bit harsh! But its a lovely scrub.

Balance Me Rose Otto Body Wash - the balance me body washes are so moisturising I just wish I liked the smell a bit better! They smell really strong and herbally to me and its really not a scent I would chose.  I thought I would like the rose one as when I first opened the tube it smelt of turkish delight! But after a week of using it it seemed to change to the strong herbal smell.
I used a squirt of this in the bath and it foams up brilliantly!

Soap and Glory Glow Lotion - I used this in the evenings for a bit of shimmer on my arms and legs.
Champneys Skin Comforting Body Butter - I loved this! Its easily absorbed, smells gorgeous and has over taken my favourite body shop butters to become my no1 body butter!

I always buy sun cream from the Solait Range at Superdrug, 

As we haven't had any sun this year and I was shockingly white I thought it was sensible to go for a high factor cream, I got the tan activating version and I could actually tell the different! My legs got a tan for the first time in years!

I got this aftersun as the hotel is next to a nature reserve so I thought there would have been lots of insects but I didn't see any bugs! Or get bitten so either this is the most amazing insect replellent ever or the bug problem was not as bad as I thought it would be....

I took the Green People tan accelerator sun cream that I got in my She Said Beauty box with me to use on my face. It smells like all the other products I have used from Green People. The cream is quite thick, but easily absorbed and didn't break me out.
I didn't notice any tanning over and above how brown my face would normally go (one shade up from porcelain LOL!) but it may be that I spent the week with my head in a book!

Ok this may be strange but I never pack my good makeup as I get scared it will get lost!

RMK Face base - love this but didn't use it at all on holiday!
Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation - Just used a tiny bit of this at night then nothing once my face got a bit of colour
Real Technique Stippling Brush and Powder Brush
Body Shop Blusher Brush
MeMeMe Arch Angel - I bought this just before we went so it was the first time I tried it on holiday, great colour on me as its quite dark.  I will do a post on this once the tint on my eyebrows wears off.
China Glaze Pink Chiffon - used this on my fingers and toes for the week (I did want to take a lot more nail polish but was persuaded by my friends on BBS that I only needed one!)
Lancome Hypnose Mascara - this is a sample size mascara and needed using up so perfect for holidays.
No7 Translucent Face Powder - nice loose powder and does stop me being shiny!

VIVO Palette - used the eyeshadows a few times in the evenings, great colours and I love the blusher its one of my favourites.
Stila Eye Mousse in Copper - this looks great with a tan, didn't crease and stayed on all night.
Two L'oreal Infallible Eyeshadows - I bought these for my holiday as they are waterproof but I didn't use them, oops!
Stila Convertible Colour Lip and Blush in Gladiola - This is not very good on the lips as the staying power is not great and the colour a bit strong for me but as a blush I love it, especially with the copper eye mousse. Easy to blend, great staying power and the colour is beautiful.
Pout Horny Hilda Lipgloss - perfect for the daytime.
MeMeMe Lipstick in China Rose - lovely colour and  as it contains shea butter is very moisturising.
Revlon Colourstay Palette - I didn't use this either!

Thought I would share a few holiday pics with you

The hotel where we stayed in Isla Canela

The harbour in Isla Canela

The beautiful beach, full of shells that my son liked to collect!

The beach went on for miles.

That was a long post wasn't it! Hope you found it interesting, do you have trouble travelling light or knowing what to take with you?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway! I'll be updating it with some more prizes at the weekend!