February Empties


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It's been another good month for finishing things up! Here are my monthly empties and whether I would choose to repurchase them:- The Body Shop Mango Body Butter - I have probably tried all of the flavours from the standard body butters range and must admit that Mango is the one that I like the least. The scent is just far too sickly for me, which is a shame because the formula is great for dry winter skin. Repurchase? No. Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel - Have been using up the little bottles of this that I acquired at Christmas and still love it, wish it was available all year round! Repurchase? Definitely. Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil I love oils and this is just so lovely to use after a shower. Repurchase? Yes. Neal's Yard Remedies Power Berry Daily Moisture Cream - I was recommended this by a Mac MUA as it's great to use on oily/combination skin if you don't want to use a primer. It does smooth out the skin nicely which creates a good base, but I found the more that I used this, the dryer my skin sometimes got towards the end of the day. Repurchase? No. Barry M Imperfection Correction Concealer Pen in Shade 3 - The worst item I have ever bought from Barry M, it didn't suit my skin at all, looked awfully cakey and dried up in less than a month. Repurchase? No. Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream - I was excited to try this out after reading some rave reviews but it sadly didn't suit my skin and smells awful. Repurchase? No.

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Green People Fruitful Nights Night Cream - Can't vouch for the younger looking skin claims, but this was lovely to use and made my skin very soft and smooth in the morning. I also liked how a little went a long way with this. Repurchase? Yes. Rose & Co Rose Petal Salve - As much as I liked using this up, I'm trying to steer clear of products that have petroleum in them so I'll try and find a similar product that is natural. Repurchase? Not sure. Monu Recovery Balm - Such a tiny sample that it's difficult for me to judge really, thought it was OK from what I used. Repurchase? Probably not. Leonor Greyl Palme Oil - This little 25ml bottle has lasted me several months of weekly uses. I liked it, but probably not enough to buy a full size due to the price. Repurchase? No. Santaverde Aloe Vera Creme Light - I think I'm super sensitive to aloe vera as this irritated my skin so much so that I had to wash it off straight away, not for me! Repurchase? No. Colbert MD Nourish Eye Cream - This was the famous £90 eye cream sample from a Boudoir Prive. My verdict? It was OK, but my significantly cheaper Clinique one is much better and far more moisturising. Repurchase? No.

What are your empties this month?

February Book List


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A round-up of the books I've read this month. The first two I started back in January:- 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Have read the third book too but forgot to photograph it as it was a friend's copy) - I surprised myself by actually managing to finish this. Book 1 I raced through, couldn't put it down, then Book 2 came up and I began to get a little fed up with how damn weird everything is. Finally, finally, finished Book 3 earlier today and I kind of feel sad that it's all over now! 1Q84 is based in 1984 in Japan (or is it an alternative 1984 in Japan?) and the books are split up over that year. The story splits itself up with the various viewpoints of the main characters and follows their lives in a frankly weird way with lots of weird things happening to them which can be interpreted in a whole host of different ways, depending how you read them. A lot of the really weird quirks in 1Q84 are incredibly subtle and I find that this forces you to re-read some chapters just to check you haven't missed anything, which is a little annoying. Having only read one other book by Murakami, Kafka On The Shore, I feel like his writing definitely gets some taking used to and I still can't decide whether it's for me or not.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - This is truly one of those epic classics that people often talk of in literature classes. If you enjoy Philosophy and constantly questioning everything this, then certainly give this a go. I particularly enjoyed all of the thought provoking stuff on the human nature, especially when it comes to discussing failure and success, was interesting to come across so much in a work of fiction with a good story, rather than a dry textbook.

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Freedom's Cause Till Death by Fran Abrams - Quite a compact and easy to read book that details the history of the Suffrage movement, as well as introducing the lives of the Suffragettes to the reader in an informative and compelling manner. Recommended for anyone who wants a solid starting point in Suffrage. The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel García Márquez - Although this novel is only about 250 pages long, it feels much longer. I think that Garcia Marquez was incredibly ambitious to write a fictionalized account of the last days of the infamous General Simon Bolivar, but the story feels disjointed and almost muddled at times, especially when the brief flashbacks are used. The writing is more often than not beautiful and descriptive, but the story itself didn't really engage me. The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte - One of the most engrossing classics I've read in a long time and I wasn't really expecting to like it at all, but I did. The story was way ahead of its time. It deals with the realities of a broken marriage and domestic abuse in a way that still holds so much ground nowadays. I loved the setting of it too.

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How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran - Caitlin's Moran's account of How To Be A Woman, is utterly hilarious, if a little cringeworthy at times. As you'd expect from any book of this nature, she covers all of the usual topics: abortion, pornography, sexism etc but with her 'tell it like it is' humour. Highly recommended to every woman, and men should read this too!

What are you reading at the moment? Feel free to add me on GoodReads for more books and mini reviews :)

Don't Kiss Me..I'm French.

St. Patrick's Day is next in line and I'll be honest.  It's my least favorite holiday.  I don't have red hair.  I'm not Irish.  And I don't drink alcohol.  

I DO however...like to celebrate just about ANYTHING and....thanks to Pinterest...it's got my mind turning.  I MAY just have to add a little flare to St. Patrick's Day this year.

Here are some of my favorite finds from around the web-o-sphere:

Tip Junkie

Adorable.  She used candy molds for the lips.  I suppose you could go to a candy store though and buy some of those wax candy lips too.


Wouldn't this be a fun treat to take to any type of shin-dig around the 17th?  

Thoughtfully Simple

Rainbow straws made out of Fruit Loops!  Clever!  {Not to mention the green milk....LOVE!}
 
Jesse Kate Designs

Definitely going to be sending my kids on a Leprechaun hunt this year.  I envision Sprite and gold coins at the end of the fun.

Make and Takes


Speaking of Sprite....how cute are these 'Leprechaun Floats'? 


This may be the very first year I attempt corned beef and cabbage.  ONLY because  Secrets of a Super Mommy has provided us with a recipe that's good for the crock-pot.  {She also has LOTS of other adorable and clever little ideas on her site!}

It's official.  I'm addicted to holidays.

Carmine Box - February


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You have to hand it to Carmine. Out of all of the beauty boxes currently on the market, they are seriously the best for full size products and variety. Here's what was in my box this month:-

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(1) Balance Me Rose Otto Body Wash, full size - I was very pleased to see this when I opened the box as I'm currently using up the other one that was sent out (the orange Super Moisturising wash), and would have bought this rose one myself to try out at some point. The formula of these washes are incredible for something which is 99% natural, so I'm certainly looking forward to using this.

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(2) Diego Dalla Palma The Lipstick, trial size - Beauty boxes often work best when there are exciting new brands and products that aren't easily available in the UK. This lipstick is from a revered Italian brand and it's SO good. I got the colour 42 (swatch above) which isn't a shade that I have anything similar too already, and it's beautifully pigmented, as well as being moisturising and glossy. Thumbs up!

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(3) Yardley London Peony EDT sample - I rarely wear perfume so I always tend to pass these on when I receive them, although as it's a bonus item I wasn't at all annoyed by it being in the box. I've posted this to my Gran who loves Yardley perfumes so I'm sure she'll appreciate this new Spring scent. (4) White Glo Professional Choice Whitening Toothpaste, travel size - Well this is different! Interested to see if this lives up to its claims.

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(5) SteamCream, full size - I almost squealed with delight upon seeing this, I have wanted to try this out for forever! It's a multi-purpose, handmade lotion that can be used from head to toe and mine's packaged in leopard print! To me, this seems quite similar to Lush's Dream Cream so I'm interested to see how the two compare. Not sure that the scent will be to everyone's liking, but I think it smells great. Like the Balance Me wash, this is something I was planning on buying at some point.

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(6) Andrea Fulerton Nail Varnish, full size - Well there was supposed to be one of these lovely nail polishes in my box, but mine is missing! :( I've emailed Carmine, who replied to me in literally less than five minutes, and they are posting me a replacement ASAP. Will do a NOTD on this when it arrives. The colours on the card look really nice.

Summary: Another excellent box from Carmine, fantastic value and it's always great to receive products that you were planning on buying anyway!

Did you get a Carmine box this month? What did you think?

Disneyland Tips N' Tricks.


It's no surprise that we are {somewhat} Disneyland obsessed over here.
We like to go.  A lot.
And each time we go...we pick up new secrets and tips to help us along the way.  See HERE and HERE.

Here are the latest TIPS N' TRICKS we've discovered at the DL.
{Yes...we're on an initial named basis with the park}.

* If you get a Fast Pass...which you WILL have to do at some point....that Fast Pass is good ANY TIME after the start time.  So if your pass says:  Come back between 11:00 - 11:50 .....you are actually allowed to come back ANY TIME after 11:00.  Which is good.  Because a lot of times you get caught up in other rides and you miss the time slot allotted.  They won't tell you this.  But you're allowed.  We did it all day long.  So don't stress about making it during that 50 minute time span.  

* If you have kids that are too scared to ride Pirates of the Caribbean...try out the Tarzan's Tree House right next door.  We did this for the first time ever and we were pleasantly surprised.  It gave my Carson something to do to waste the time while waiting for his older brother.


* And while we were 'wasting time' we discovered that Princess Tianna from Princess and the Frog hangs out in New Oreleans Square...back by those cute little shops. There was NO line to see her and we even got a picture!



* The very best place to watch the parade at night is right across the street from The Penny Arcade.  It's a little house front with a bench and two chairs perched up on a few stairs.  Get there early and you've got a GREAT seat!  Plus..the Gibson Girl Ice-cream Parlor is right across the street so you can grab a Mint Chocolate Chip sundae while you wait.  Mmmmmmm.

* Single Rider Passes.  Have you ever used these?  If you don't mind riding by yourself...it's the best!  You literally get RIGHT ONTO the ride.  All you do is walk up to the 'cast member' who is standing outside of the ride and tell them that you're a 'single rider'.  They give you a pass and you literally go straight to the front of the line.  My sister and I did this together on Screamin' a couple of times. So fun and so worth skipping the line over!!

* I discovered a new app for Disneyland wait times.  It's called Mouse Wait.  Check it out.  
Very handy.

*If you are planning on doing the Princess Lunch or...any other character dining...you must make reservations.  And the sooner the better.  We usually go on the 'off' seasons and we make our reservations about a week in advance.  If you plan to go during the 'busy' season however I would make those reservations as soon as you find out you are going.  We have also dined at 'Goofy's Kitchen' for breakfast and Yum-O....they have the most delicious breakfast buffet spread.  

*Definitely ALWAYS do a fast pass for Star Tours.  That line gets LONG!  I can honestly say I've never seen a Star Wars movie from start to finish {bleh!} and I was thoroughly impressed with this ride. My boys LOVED it!

* If you are thinking of visiting Disneyland anytime soon...my advice would be to WAIT until the middle of June OR after.  {Preferrably after because who wants to wait in those long summer lines?} Cars Land opens on June 14th as well as everything that has been under-construction at California Adventure.  Everything will be up and running by then!!  So excited to see all of the changes. Is it too early to start planning our fall trip?!?

Linking up to:
Be Different Act Normal

Disneyland....Part 1...the Fun!

Yes..I had to divi up our Disneyland vacation into 2 different posts.  This one is all about THE FUN we had.  Part 2 is all about the TIPS and TRICKS we've discovered around and about the park.  {And we've been there.  A lot.  So we {almost} have good ole Walt figured out to a T}.


Here's how it all went down:


We loaded up the fam + 2 nephews and 1 aunt and headed to Cali on Monday to celebrate London's birthday.  She turned three so what better way than to celebrate with her idols, right?



We splurged and did the PRINCESS LUNCH at Ariel's Grotto.  A tad expensive and totally worth it.  If you have a daughter who is OBSESSED with meeting princesses...this is the way to go!

Plus...you get to dine on food like herb crusted chicken, tilapia, cheddar garlic mashed potatoes....


...and in London's case.....cheddar Mac n' Cheese with Goldfish sprinkled on top.....

And the dessert...OH THE DESSERT....


We were totally happy.  And so were our bellies.

As for my people watching fans out there....I only got ONE GOOD people watching picture.  And this man was MORE than happy to pose for me.


Sad thing is....we saw him again on DAY 2....decked out in the SAME EXACT attire.
Such a proud Mickey fan!

London got ahold of my phone while we were in line waiting for Mickey's Fun Wheel and little did I know...she's a People Watcher in training....check out the pic she snapped of some scantily dressed girl...


Nothing makes me prouder than a child who I can people watch with...wink!

We rode {to just name A FEW}:

Splash Mountain {Joe and the boys did...I don't like to get wet on rides}
Star Tours {so not a Star Wars fan but I LOVED THIS NEW REVAMPED ride.  FuN! FuN!}
Space Mountain {with my nephews and sister...Joe and the boys were too chicken}
Peter Pan {why on earth is that always the longest wait in Fantasy Land?!?}
Pinocchio {somewhat dark...for a 3 year old.  That whale!}
Screamin' { my nephews rode this consistently for about 20 times.  I tapped out after round 3.}
Soarin {an all time favorite!  Never gets old!!}
Small World {Jimmy Kimmel was filming right outside on one of the days we were there.  I love Jimmy Kimmel}.
Rode the train around the park {They really need to get rid of that 'Grand Canyon' tunnel thing.  It smells.  And is totally outdated}.

I may not have taken one single picture of Joe and I on this trip BUT.... I did manage to catch this footage of Cruella de Ville calling my husband out of the audience to dance on  Main Street Plaza.  It's a gem.  See for yourself.


I married him for his moves.  Can you blame me?

The best part about each and every one of our trips to Disneyland?



The smiles on our kids faces.  Totally worth every penny.

We left having had the time of our lives.  Our feet hurt...our backs ached...and we were pooped.....


....all TRUE signs of a FANTASTIC vacation!

NOTD: Barry M - Bright Purple


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This is quite possibly one of my top three favourite colours from Barry M. I have worn this so many times but have always forgotten to take a photo so I'm glad I remembered today. Hope everyone has a great weekend, I have my fingers crossed for some sunny weather! :)

Joliebox - February


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The Boudoir Prive merger with France's Joliebox excited many in the blogosphere, especially when Joliebox UK announced that there wouldn't be a box for January so that they could devote full attention to the contents of future boxes. Finally, after a great deal of waiting and numerous rumours, the new Joliebox has landed! Before I move onto the contents, let me mention the repackaging, or rather the addition of a black drawstring bag in the box. I don't really get the purpose of it. What the hell am I supposed to do with it?! Anyway, was this all worth the wait?

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The contents!

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(1) Taaj Himalaya Micellar Water, 100ml - "An antioxidant and tonic makeup remover that will revitalise and purify skin" - This smells nice and is basically a high end makeup remover that has natural water from the Himalayas as one of its key ingredients. It probably couldn't have come at a worst time for me as I've recently fallen in love with Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish, and if you've tried that, you'll know that it's not only an incredible cleanser, but also removes every single trace of make-up. However, I'm sure I will try this out at some point and I like how it's paraben free and suitable for sensitive skin.

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(2) Macadamia Deep Repair Masque, 30ml sachet - I've been eyeing this up for some time, so I was happy to receive this and I'm looking forward to using it. I imagine I'll be able to get two uses out of this sample. (3) Lavera Hand Cream, 20ml handbag size - This is the same hand cream that I received in this Latest In Beauty box. I haven't tried it yet as I'm using up my beloved L'Occitane Shea Butter one, but it will be useful for keeping in my handbag. (4) RMK Cleansing Oil, 3ml sachet - Japanese brand which I've heard good stuff about, but I do think sachets for things like cleansers a bit useless as you can't get a good enough feel for them. That said, I will use it up and see what it's like.

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(5) Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain in Forever Pink, trial size - "An all natural, multi-purpose stain that adjusts its colour to your mood and temperature" - I love the smell of this, it's like fruity sweets! It is absolutely tiny though, see the size comparison below:-

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Anyway, I've tried it on my lips and it delivers a very pretty and flattering wash of pink. It's weird seeing it change colour and on me, it looks darker the hotter I feel (for example, I was out in the sunshine today and it turned to a deep fuschia pink!). Not sure I would want this effect on my cheeks, but I'll definitely use it on the lips.

Summary: I think the long wait was a MAJOR letdown. Although I will end up using everything in the box, I don't think there are any amazing standout products, and certainly nothing in my opinion makes this box special in any way. It's 'OK' at best, and I can imagine a lot of people being deeply disappointed with it. The value of the contents is pretty poor too, and I'm sure many will agree with me when I say that I'd rather have better value products in the box over an additional wasteful drawstring bag. I have always been excited to receive Boudoir Prive boxes and the very first Joliebox in December was incredible, but this just wasn't all that great.

Did you receive this box? What are your thoughts? Was it worth the wait or not?

Budget Beauty: Witch Anti-Blemish Makeup Haul


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I am always keen to try out make-up that claims to do something extra and to see if it works or not. I've seen Witch's Anti-Blemish make-up range numerous times when I've been out and about, but I was always a little sceptical of it, despite loving their Concealer sticks. One of the problems with having oily/combination skin is that a lot of brands tend to have products for oily OR dry skin. Those that promise something for the best of both worlds are either incredible Holy Grail items or just plain awful. I find that there's not much of a middle ground from make-up brands that I've tested in the past within this uncertain skin type area. It's almost like I'm Goldilocks, staring at rows of foundations and primers and saying "Well that one's just a little too drying", and "Well that one's just a little too greasy", desperately trying to find something that's "Just right!". So I picked these three products from Witch's Anti-Blemish make-up range to try out and have been using them for a couple of weeks to get a proper feel for them.

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Witch Anti-Blemish Tinted Moisturiser in 01 Light, promises to control shine and targets spots and breakouts with the natural power of Witch Hazel. The oily parts on my skin are always prone to breaking out and I find a lot of tinted moisturisers are a little on the greasy side, so this sounded perfect for me. It does what it says and mattifies the skin beautifully, even if the formula isn't great (see below). I was shine free for around 7/8 hours before I needed to apply a little powder to my nose. But this is the weirdest tinted moisturiser I've ever tried. Here's why:-

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This comes in Light, Medium and Dark. I'm usually a typical Medium in most ranges but after swatching a little on my hand, I decided to get Light. I mean it looks pretty Medium for something called Light doesn't it? Plus it doesn't exactly correspond with the 'Light' shade on the tube.

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So I'm blending away, blending away, and blending some more because the formula is just not sinking into my skin very well...

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...and then it's all gone! The more you blend, the lighter in shade the product becomes until it turns practically white! And if you don't blend it all in properly, you're left with white streaks across your face. In my opinion and for my skintone, this is much more like a primer and works very well as one, but as a tinted moisturiser it's definitely too light for me. I've used this on a much paler friend and thought that the actual colour coverage wasn't exactly great either. Definitely use it as a primer instead.

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Thinking that I had purchased a tinted moisturiser, I decided to get the Skin Clearing Primer, which is also oil and fragrance free, and has extracts of Witch Hazel in it.

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This is your bog standard white creamy type primer, but boy is it good. I had a few small spots on the side of my forehead which were being incredibly stubborn and refusing to disappear. After using this primer for a week, they were gone and my skin has been looking very clear. It also helped to smooth my face and prolonged the wear of my make-up so that I was shine-free for a whole day. This is an excellent primer for problem skin and would be great for teenagers to use too.

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To complete the set, I picked up the Pressed Powder as it was in the 3 for 2 offer so I got this for free. It's finely milled and works exactly the same as translucent powder, in that it disappears when buffed onto the face and sets your make-up, but it also has the extra factor of not clogging up your pores and keeps your face oil-free.

Summary: I'd definitely recommend the primer for anyone who has oily skin or who just wants an oil-free, fragrance-free primer that works. The pressed powder is also great for keeping in your bag for touch ups, but the tinted moisturiser is best used as a primer instead. I do think this is a pretty good affordable range (I don't think anything's over the £6.99 mark and it's often in 3 for 2 offers) for anyone prone to breakouts or for those who perhaps wear a lot of make-up on a regular basis.