February Empties

Wednesday, 29 February 2012


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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 :)

Carmine Box - February

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


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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?

NOTD: Barry M - Bright Purple

Friday, 24 February 2012


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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

Thursday, 23 February 2012


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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

Monday, 20 February 2012


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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.

NOTD: Guppy Glitter in No.12

Sunday, 19 February 2012


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Ordered this Guppy nail polish from eBay about a month ago from a seller in Hong Kong and I was so pleased when it finally arrived this weekend. I've seen these Guppy polishes on various blogs and was keen to try one out given their bargain prices of around £2 including postage. I picked No.12 (first saw this one over on Rotten Otter's blog and loved it!), which is a red, gold and blue glitter mix in a clear base, and layered it over Zoya's Kennedy. Applied two coats which is a bit OTT but whatever, it's a Sunday :) Only thing I don't like about these polishes is that they have the weirdest 'perfume/fruit' scent to them, but this disappears once a top coat is added.

3 of my Favourite Limited Edition MAC products

Thursday, 16 February 2012


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Whenever MAC release a new collection, there is always a fantastic buzz and the subsequent flurry of blog posts and Twitter chat. I love seeing the new collections as much as the next person does, but for this post, I thought I'd take a step back and reflect on 3 of my favourite limited edition MAC products from collections past.

(1) MAC Mighty Aphrodite Blush Duo - When the Wonder Woman collection was released last year, I literally went mad for this blush. It's such a gorgeous peachy coral with a hint of shimmer on the big side, with a strong deep pink featuring in the teeny part. This colour can be applied lightly for a soft flush (which is usually how I wear it) or a little heavier for a night out, and I reach for it quite a lot. As you can see, it's also literally double the size of a standard MAC blush and the packaging is incredible! (2) MAC Eversun Blush - This came out in 2008 originally for the Beauty Powder Collection, but was later repackaged in a fancy gold design for the Style Warriors Collection. It's my favourite blush for wearing in the summer because it suits my tan and makes me look really healthy and glowing. (3) MAC Nail Lacquer in Formidable (NOTD) - One of my favourite shades in my whole nail polish collection was from MAC's Venomous Villains Collection. It looks so different in many lights and is incredibly pretty on.

What are your favourite pieces from past MAC collections?

Tried & Tested: No7 Pampering Dry Oil Body Spray

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


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Having accumulated a couple of those £5 off No7 vouchers since Christmas, I finally decided to spend one and picked up the Pampering Dry Oil Body Spray. I love oils probably more than lotions, and this one appealed to me with its handy spray on applicator. It has Almond Oil and Vitamin E in it to nourish and soften the skin, as well as fragrant notes of Vanilla and Ylang Ylang. When I spritzed a little in the shop, the scent was quite light and fresh, but I seriously underestimated how strong it would be when sprayed all over the body! That said, although it's quite a heady perfumed scent, it's one that I would maybe choose to use before going out at night. Formula-wise, the oil is a fine, light, mist that soaks into the skin straight away and without any greasy residue. I wouldn't say it's as moisturising as other body oils I've tried like Weleda's Regenerating Pomegranate Body Oil, but of course it isn't a thick oil and I think the main purpose is mainly to fragrance the skin with a light amount of moisturising going on. Would I buy it at full price? Probably not, but it's certainly worth it to try out when you have a £5 off voucher, which made this 200ml bottle £3.75.

What have you been buying with your No7 vouchers?

Helen E Eyeliner Pencil with Smudger in Black

Monday, 13 February 2012


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A while ago there was a promotional offer for Helen E cosmetics in conjunction with The Daily Telegraph. For the grand total of £1.99 you could get a lipgloss and an eyeliner pencil. Bargain! I'd never heard of Helen E before, but they're famous for their Beauty Cubes (themed how-to make-up tutorials) and for being the official make-up artists to Miss World London. I didn't think that much of the lipgloss, but the eyeliner pencil is really good. It's your typical pencil with a smudger on one end for creating those desirable smokey eye looks with.

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The pencil itself is soft but sturdy. It applies smoothly and is beautifully pigmented as you can see from the swatches above, this is a good black. Unlike other similar products I've tried, the smudger on this is also really good and creates a nice smoked out blur that is easy to do. I don't agree with the claims that it's waterproof as it does smudge a little over the day, but I would compare the longevity time with that of Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliners.

Have you tried anything from Helen E?

NOTD: Zoya - Kennedy

Sunday, 12 February 2012


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This is the Zoya nail polish that I received in my Amarya box, in the shade Kennedy. I liked the colour in the bottle but wasn't too sure of it when I actually applied it. It's a very grown up/sophisticated dirty nude beige kinda colour that I don't often, if ever, personally wear, but it's another shade that's begun to grow on me.

Tag: 7 Beauty Sins

Friday, 10 February 2012



I've seen this tag on LucyLou's blog doing the rounds recently and thought it would be fun to give it a go before the weekend begins.

(1) GREED: What is your most expensive beauty item? And your most inexpensive?

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I don't really buy a lot of super-expensive make-up myself, so what I have in my collection were mostly gifts. The most expensive beauty item I remember purchasing myself was the Urban Decay Alice In Wonderland Palette which I paid far too much for from eBay as it sold out so fast. I love it though and it always cheers me up when I open it.

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As far as cheaper products go, I'd pick anything from ELF, especially the bits and pieces I've managed to pick up in their 50% off sale.

(2) WRATH: What beauty products do you have a love/hate relationship with?

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I have a serious love/hate thing going on with loose mineral eyeshadows (ones pictured above are from Everyday Minerals). I almost always use pressed eyeshadows because I find loose ones a little messy to use sometimes, but when I do use them, I always want to use them more. Same goes for my MAC pigments.

(3) GLUTTONY: What are your most delicious beauty products?

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No surprises that these are all lip products! Lanolips Lemon Aid is so yummy and sweet tasting, as is Barry M's Toffee Lip Gloss Wand which tastes and smells EXACTLY like it's namesake. And of course, I couldn't forget to mention my favourite Lush Sweet Lips Scrub which is made from sugar and flavoured with chocolate and vanilla.

(4) SLOTH: What beauty products do you neglect due to laziness?

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Highlighters definitely (above: The Body Show Warm Glow Baked Bronzer which I use as a highlight mainly as it's quite shimmery, and Benefit's High Beam). If I'm in a rush or just can't be bothered, then these will be omitted from my make-up routine and left in their drawers.

(5) PRIDE: Which beauty products give you the most self-confidence?

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Bronzers, blushes and a good concealer! If I have those three with me, then I'm feeling and looking my best. (above: Benefit's Hoola Bronzer, The Balm's Fratboy Blush and Collection 2000's Lasting Perfection Concealer)

(6) LUST: What attributes do you find most attractive in a partner?
A good sense of humour is a must, someone who can make me smile will always be a winner in my books! Someone who stands up for what they believe in and keeps up to date with current affairs is also cool because I talk about politics and the news far too much. Must like animals, especially dogs, and having a beard, tattoos and a Scottish accent would be perfect! :D

(7) ENVY: What items would you most like to receive as gifts / or are you wishing for currently?

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My current wishlist looks like a bit like this: Lush P.S I Love You Giftset, Neom Mini Bath Oils Set, a set of Sigma brushes, the biggest bottle of Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Use Dry Oil that I can find, Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette (I know I don't need this but look, it's pretty!) and Daniel Sandler's Watercolour Blush in POP.

Let me know if you do this tag and have a great weekend everyone :)

Amarya Organic Beauty Box - February

Thursday, 9 February 2012


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I was very excited to receive this month's Amarya box today, especially after I'd already seen some spoilers of it.

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The goodies!

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This month's box was obviously Valentines themed, and what's the best way to represent that commerical holiday? By including a candle of course! I was very pleased to see this Neom Travel Candle in the new 'Happiness' scent, which has essential oils of White Neroli, Mimosa and Lemon. It smells very fresh and Spring-like, with a strong hint of freshly cut grass. Although it's technically a 'travel' candle, it's quite big and will burn for 20 hours. It's also in glass, so I'll be keeping it at home, probably in the living room. All of my other candles at home are sweet scents so this is a nice change.

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If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know my love of Zoya nail polishes, so of course I was over the moon to receive this. I got the shade Kennedy, which is a pinky beige and from the Winter 2011 'Feel' collection. Will post a NOTD of this soon.

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Lastly, there was a 15ml tube of Essential Care Avocado Replenishing Cream which technically isn't for my skin type (it's for dry/mature skin) but will no doubt get used up as a night cream instead. The sachet is 1.5ml of Essential Care Organic Rose Moisturiser which is described as a light day cream that can also be used as an eye cream too.

Summary: I think Amarya have set the standard for Valentines themed boxes this month. I am SO pleased with the Neom Candle and the Zoya nail polish :)

Are you hoping that the beauty boxes this month are Valentines themed? What products would you like to see in them?
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