Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Glossybox VS Birchbox, March Haul!


Over the past few days the March editions of Glossybox and Birchbox have arrived on my doorstep, and they have both really cheered me up after a very hectic week! Beauty boxes are nothing new, but the concept of being able to select the kind of products you like and get a bit of a random box full of samples every month is something I really enjoy. Especially when frequently the sample sizes are very generous, or even full sized, and retail at the higher end of the market! So for £10 a month (plus p&p) you often get a bargain. I've been addicted to many of the products this month so I decided to review them both!

Lets start with Birchbox. This month the box was Lulu Guinness themed, a designer that I love, who did a great job of picking out some winners with the Birchbox team.

  • Benefit Stay Don't Stray - Light/Medium, £20.50 full size (6ml sample size) - I'd been looking for a new eyeshadow primer so I was excited by this addition! Having tested it twice, I am pretty happy with the results. I've used the Benefit foundation primer before and been less than impressed, but this glides on well and my eyeshadow seemed to stay put.
  •  Molton Brown Rhubarb & Rose Replenishing Hand Cream £10 full size (7ml sample) - I'm not one to usually use hand cream to be honest, but this smells delicious, and actually I kind of keep using it mostly because I love the smell so much. My hands don't feel clammy after using it, and the moisturiser sinks in almost instantly. My hands do feel like they've been treated! I tried to buy some but it seems to have sold out everywhere right now.
  • Korres Citrus Body Milk   - £9.50 full size (50ml sample) - I love citrus smells and this is so rich and comforting. Again I am quite rubbish at remembering to use body moisturiser and this smells so nice I can't help but use it. It sinks into the skin nicely, too.
  • English Laundry No. 7 For Her EDP - £47.00 (small tester tube) - Birchbox have done well this month with great smelling products. This has a lovely hint of musk with fruity overtones. I have been wearing this as a welcome break from my usual perfume!
  • Dr Brandt Pores No More® Pore Refiner - £39.00 (7.5ml)  Now, this one excited me the most when I opened the box, because I do love Dr Brandt but can't justify the prices that often! This stops the shine and refines the pores. I don't think I'll buy the full version due to price (and I don't feel I need it that much) but I have been using it in the mornings and once or twice in the afternoons and I think it has definitely helped to reduce the need to re-apply makeup.

Next: Glossybox, which also came up with a great selection.

  • Sleek Make-Up Pout Polish £4.49 (full sized) - I really like Sleek, and I reviewed one of their lipcolours in a similar shade in this post. I've been quite happily wearing the two together and I like it - keeps the pout shiny and does what it says on the tin!
  • Bellapierre Cosmetics Shimmer Powder £12.99 (good sized sample) - This is a multi use product, which you can use as an eyeshadow or highlighter (I've been using it for the latter) but you can also use it with lip colours or nail polishes to add a bit of shimmer.
  • Dove Hair Therapy Intensive Repair 60 Second Treatment Shot - £1.49 (full sized) I've not yet used the shot, but it's always nice to receive a hair treatment!
  • Helenere Maitrise du Temps - £38.50 (10ml, full sized!) - This is pricey for a 10ml full sized, but it's great that we got a full sample in the box for such a high end treatment. I have used this and loved the way it settled straight into my skin without greasiness, and did see a noticeable firmness straight away.
  • Mitchell and Peach Body Cream - £38 (40ml) - Again this is a really generous sample size and it feels very luxurious, although I think the bodycream in the Birchbox wins for me as I'm not overly keen on the smell of this one. It's a bit rich for my skin and doesn't sink in too well, but it does feel moisturised. 

Winner: Glossybox was far more generous in its sample sizes, the Helenere Maitrise du Temps for me is a great sample and the box is worth over £65, which is a bargain for a £10 box (with £3.25 p&p). I don't know how much the Birchbox is worth in comparison, though it costs roughly the same, but the products were very well chosen, and I have honestly used and enjoyed all of them. Also, they win major points in my book for working with Lulu Guinness. The box came in very cool Lulu packaging and a black and white stick of rock, which I loved. Taking the extras into account and the amazing smelling products, the champion this month for me by a small margin, is Birchbox!

Check out Birchbox and Glossybox by clicking on the links.

Are you a beauty box fan? If so, which ones do you think the best ones are to subscribe to and why?

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Cambridge Style Week!

I am very excited to have been asked to DJ for Cambridge Style Week this year, from the 26th - 30th March.  I love stepping off the train in Cambridge station, a joy I get less and less nowadays since I moved away a year ago. Because of this, I was already in high spirits when I found myself thrown in at the deep end at a CSW meet up last week end, pitching in with some frantic practice dressing of models and plotting out a practice catwalk! The CSW team are boldly attempting to showcase and represent a wide array of local retailers and independent boutiques across the course of the week, and I can't wait to be a part of it.
Measuring the models!

If Cambridge were to be a person, I imagine her to be a quirky and confident lady, who loves experimenting with a range of vibrant colours, enjoys her red wine, and embarks on the occasional bohemian inspired adventure. It's no secret that the city itself certainly has it's own unique, fabulous style of its very own. Cambridge dwellers seem to be quite confident with experimenting and mixing their trends, translating them in a seemingly effortless way into everyday life. Perhaps its the comfort of relative affluence, the increased number of fashion graduates, or the diverse range of cultures that contribute to the unique trends that Cambridge seems to produce, but the outcome is eclectic nonetheless! 'The Cambridge Satchel Company' is a great example of this - a small family owned business in a village close to Cambridge, who manufactured a bag inspired by Cambridge living that became an international craze.

Cambridge Satchel
My own experiences living in Cambridge, in many ways, opened my eyes to my own love of fashion. I organised a show in 2009 called 'The Four Seasons Fashion Show' at local arts venue 'The Junction', which expanded my knowledge of the industry and various artists and designers. The show was an exploration of sustainable fashion, with a decon-recon approach to using clothes and materials. It went so well that the year after, we all became more ambitious - and created a 'Cambridge Fashion Weekend', working with local designers to create collections representing the 1940's to the 1980's. We incorporated playful modern twists and vintage pieces from local boutiques, and had dance acts, a swing band, singers and performers that set the scene for each collection, to move the audience through various eras. It was absolutely incredible, and I got a real buzz that you only get when you realise that somehow you've blagged it and convinced someone to pay you to do something that you really love anyway. I loved the quirky pieces that our talented designers created, and the support that we got from various London Fashion Week designers, who sent us clothes, donated pieces for the charity auction and spoke at the shows. We raised over £3000 for charity, and I was very proud of our achievements.

It was these experiences which led me to CSW, and such memories which now fill me with a familiar bubbling of anticipation. It is a different experience, watching a fashion show, when you are acutely aware of the mania that is happening behind the scenes. The calm ocean you witness whilst the models strut their stuff on stage, completely juxtaposes against their state of being five seconds before, whilst they were amongst the crazy panic of hairstylists, backstage staff, models and make up artists just behind the curtain. I truly enjoy the panic, the 'I've got to go on stage and I only have one shoe!' scenarios, the buzz when the show is starting and ending - I love it all. The team for CSW are so professional, and truly dedicated to producing shows that will not only reflect the great style that Cambridge offers, but also represent a range of styles, shapes and ages that live there. In this way, they are representing the true beautiful stylish qualities of Cambridge and its people, and the vibrant diverse mix of individuals within one of my favourite cities in the world.
Kim, Backstage Manager, and Izzy, Assistant Creative Director of CSW

If you'd like to join us, you can! To buy tickets, follow the link here, and check out the different themes across the week. Personally, I am most looking forward to the 'Celebration of Spring' on Saturday 29th because it truly is my favourite season. 'The Celebration of Colour' as an opening show is a great theme to start with too, and looks to be a vibrant visual showcase that will finally banish winter for good. The closing show is at Hidden Rooms on the 30th, so you can always come down and experience the buzz and atmosphere that only the end of a week filled with incredible style and exciting people can bring!

Are you a catwalk fan, too? What do you love most about fashion shows? I'd love to hear from you!

Much love, Alice x