2015 in Review // My First Year of Blogging!

Hey guys!

I hope you’re reading this somewhere warm, inside and away from the horrible UK wind and rain!

The WordPress.com stats helpers prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog, which I’ve just read. It’s exciting to see such a big overview of what I’ve done this year!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

I want to thank everyone who has read my blog this year, or taken the time to support me. Five special ladies stand out, for their regular and supportive comments, keeping me going when it seems that I’m just writing to myself lol!  They are:

A fellow ME warrior and all round lovely person, Rhiannon at Thoughtful Pigeon: https://thoughtfulpigeon.wordpress.com/

Another spoonie warrior and survivor, Rhosyn at Rhosyndmd:  https://rhosynmd.wordpress.com/

Lola at Lola Rocks, who is a lover of all things nail posts and nail art!  https://lolanailsandbeauty.wordpress.com/

Another fellow chronic illness warrior, crafter and cat lover, Moongazer:  https://oldmamoon.wordpress.com/

Shal at Mrs Dimples Beauty (who I also have the pleasure of being in a Facebook beauty group with!):  https://mrsdimplesbeauty.wordpress.com/

Check out their blogs and say hi!

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Thanks for a great first year (well, 9-10 months) of blogging!

Lots of love,

Katie xxx

You Beauty // Beauty Subscription // December 2015 – Review and Unboxing

Word up homies (!)

This is the last of my December beauty box reviews… I’ve been a tardy blogger this month and for that I apologise!  As you may have seen in some of my other posts, December has been a bit of a tiring month for me and I haven’t had a lot of spare energy.

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If you haven’t read my You Beauty reviews before, you can find the full subscription details in my post here.

Here’s what came in our pre-Christmas box:


 

Narciso Rodriguez – Narciso Eau De Toilette

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This one is the first of two samples that all subscribers received (ie not chosen by me).  If you’re a regular reader, you might know I’m not too keen on receiving perfume samples.  I wouldn’t say I’m actually that fussy about scents, but always seem to be sent fragrances that are either really masculine or smell like old ladies (no offence meant..!)  So whenever I see a perfume sample in a beauty box, I think ‘please let me like this one’… but I don’t.  Damn!

It contains top notes of white peony and Bulgarian rose, with base notes of black and white cedars and vetiver.  It’s not awful and I wouldn’t mind it on someone else, but it doesn’t suit me at all.  It’s very strong and a bit overpowering.  Hopefully I will find it a new home with someone who likes it!


 

Studio 10 – Miracle Effect Priming Serum

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Now for the second sample all subscribers received.  Although it’s only a little sachet, I was happy to get this as I use serums regularly.  This one claims to be anti-ageing, whilst also combating existing signs of ageing such as wrinkles, age spots, dark circles, puffiness and dehydration.  Although I don’t really have any wrinkles (yet!), I am 30 so I’ve been using anti-ageing products for a while now.  Prevention is better than cure!  Saying that, there is nothing wrong with natural signs of ageing, but it’s nice to take care of your skin and keep it in good condition if possible.  I definitely do have dark under eye circles so hopefully it will help with those.


 

Pixi by Petra – Glow Tonic (Exfoliating Toner)

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Yay!  I was really excited when I saw that this was one of my options – it went straight in the basket!  If you haven’t heard of Pixi Glow Tonic, you clearly spend less time than me reading beauty blogs and watching YouTube!  This is one of those cult products that beauty lovers seem to rave about.

If you asked me a year ago what an exfoliating toner was, I wouldn’t have had a clue, but since I discovered them earlier this year, I have made them a daily part of my skincare routine.  These toners effectively use glycolic (or other) acids to remove dead skin, so instead of using a grainy scrub, you just sweep the liquid over your face on a cotton pad and it works against any dead skin cells.  You can still use a manual/regular exfoliator once a week or so as well.  Although they use ‘acids’, don’t worry, they are actually pretty gentle on the skin (although my skin is combination not sensitive, so use caution for sensitive skin).  Another thing to note is that they (or anything that contains retinol too) can make skin more sensitive to sun, so you should wear an SPF when going outdoors.

I use the Boots Botanics Exfoliating Toner on a daily basis, but I’m excited to give this cult version a go!


 

Candle De La Creme – Spa Massage Candle

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This was the second product I chose myself, and how cool is it?  It’s not just any normal candle, the ‘wax’ can actually be used as a massage product and body moisturiser, plus three other uses!  You simply light the candle, blow it out after a few minutes of burning and then drip or scoop out some product with your fingers (be careful it isn’t too hot).  You can:

  • pour a small amount under hot running water to use as a bath oil;
  • use some as a massage oil or to moisturise dry areas of the body;
  • use some directly from the unlit candle as a lip balm;
  • rub your fingers straight in the unlit candle and dab on pulse points as a perfume oil; and
  • the most obvious one…. light it and enjoy it as a scented candle!

This soy wax candle contains Ylang Ylang, cedarwood, vanilla essence and orange peel and smells lovely – a bit like sweets!  I’m so impressed with how much this one candle can do, it’s really innovative.  I had a bit of a look at the website, to see what else they did and how much the products were.  It looks like a small candle (the size of mine above) is £6.95, with a huge ‘luxury’ version costing £29.95.


 

Yet another great box from You Beauty!  Although I’m disappointed with the fragrance, the candle and Pixi Glow more than make up for it.  I can’t wait to try the candle all 5 ways too.


What did you think of this month’s box?  Have you tried any of the products?  Let me know in the comments!

Birchbox // Beauty Subscription Box // December 2015 – Review and Unboxing!

Hey guys

Sorry this post has taken a little while to get to you.  The spoonie in me has been struggling with the lead up to Christmas, as there is much more to be done and people wanting to see me, so I haven’t had a lot of spare energy left to blog.  Hopefully I’ll get more rest and blogging done come January!

So this month’s Birchbox was actually a…Birch BAG!  I’m not sure if they’ve done this for previous Christmases as I didn’t subscribe last December, but I know they did a bag back in the summer (a waterproof orange washbag you could use on holiday).  The bag is a little clutch bag with three different fabrics – black leather effect, gold glitter and green velvet.  It’s very festive!  Some people have fed-back that they really don’t like the green velvet and it’s old-fashioned, but I have to say it’s so dark that it’s actually very subtle (as you can see below).  Also worth noting – Birchbox are selling a gold chain which fits on this bag, if you prefer a strap over a clutch bag.  It is £3 or free with any purchase over £20.

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As you’ll know if you’ve visited me here before, I always fully test and review beauty subscription products for you each month so I can give you as much information as possible.  Unfortunately, with how unwell I have been in December, I just haven’t had the energy to play around with everything.  I will be back to reviewing things fully in the new year, but for this month, I’ll just show you what came and give you my initial impressions.  Hope that’s ok guys!


 

The first thing I noticed was… we got Benefit!  Not just one but two Benefit samples! First was They’re Real Push-Up Liner, which I have tried before and found really hard to use.  I’ll definitely give it another go and see if this one is any better.  Second was Puff Off! – an under eye gel to instantly soothe the look of puffy eyes.  I use eye cream twice a day so I’m happy to give this one a try.

Next up is a Roloxin Revitalising Facial Treatment sachet, which you massage for 20 seconds to ‘activate’.  Apply to your cleansed face and allow to dry for 7-10 minutes and then rinse off.  It claims to smoothe wrinkles and boost radiance, which will be great as my skin is playing up at the moment and really not looking its best!

There was also a Skin & Co Sicilian Shower Gel, which is packed with ingredients directly from Italy, including Sicilian oranges.  I was excited to smell it as I expected it to be really fruity and citrusy but I actually don’t like the scent very much, which is a shame.  It is quite a masculine scent, with a hint of aftershave.  I know a lot of women like unisex scents, but I prefer something a bit sweeter or fruitier, so my husband will be lathering up with this one!

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Next up was Balance Me The Breakout Warrior… which is exactly what my skin needs right now, as I’ve broken out all over my chin *sigh*.  It is a soothing serum containing chamomile, aloe vera and lavender, to calm and balance the skin.  I can’t wait to cover my face with it!

Finally we have a product which is missing from all the photos above… basically I grabbed it out of the bag and used it the same day, then put it away, totally forgetting it came from the Birchbox!  Oops.  It’s a Ciate Mini Mani nail polish in Tweed, which is black with silver strands of glitter.  As an apology for forgetting to photograph it, here’s the polish (plus loose glitter on my ring finger) on my actual nails…

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Sadly it chipped really quickly but I think that was more the Essence Latex Matt black polish underneath not the Ciate.

I hope you’ve enjoyed unboxing this month’s Birchbox with me.  You can find more details about how the actual subscription works here.

Hope you had a lovely Christmas and are still enjoying lots of chocolate and mulled wine!


What did you think of this month’s box?  Have you tried any of the products?  Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Merry Christmas My Lovelies!

Merry Christmas!!

Just a quick post to say I hope you all have wonderful Christmases, whatever you are doing today.  I am spending time with family, which is always a lovely thing to do.

xmas tree

Thank you so much for reading my blog throughout 2015 – I hope you come back and visit regularly in 2016!  If you do, you will see that I have a new header and logo design coming up, which a fellow blogger is designing for me… exciting times!

Wishing you all health and happiness for 2016 (if you’re a fellow spoonie, then let’s just say ‘wishing you as healthy as you can get’ lol).

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A much healthier Christmas photo of me from several years ago!  Cheers!

Lots of love

Katie Cupcake x

Nails of the Day (NOTD) // Black Sparkle // Essence & Ciate!

Hey guys

I haven’t done a nails of the day post for a little while, so I thought I would share this dark but festive one with you.

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To get this look, I used a few different products:

  • 2 coats of Essence Latex Matt Effect nail polish in The Black Cat
  • One coat of Ciate Mini in Couture Noir/Tweed (it says both!)
  • Gunmetal loose glitter on the ring fingers
  • 1 coat of Sally Hansen Mega Shine Topcoat

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I really like Essence nail polishes – they are usually no more than £2 each but are usually really good.  However this Latex Matt polish chipped within hours and kept chipping really badly until I removed it a few days later.  As it’s an effect nail polish, it probably isn’t really designed to be used as a base for glitters etc so I will try it again on its own at some point and give it another try.  I have noticed that matte nail polishes do chip quite badly in general (as obviously you can’t use a topcoat with them if you want them to look matte).

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The Ciate glitter went on really nicely and only needed one coat for enough glitter to show up nicely.  The glitter itself is unusual, it is little silver strands rather than glitter particles.

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The loose glitter is part of a set I picked up in the pound shop!  They do little boxes which contain three glitters – they are called Candy Dip by Miss Elegant Touch.  I think this set was called Liquorice.


What do you think of black nails for the festive season?  Do you like the look of glitter nails or do you prefer something more subtle?  Let me know in the comments!

The Vegan Kind // November 2015 // Review and Unboxing!

Hi guys

I’m back with another The Vegan Kind box review… but sadly it will be my last for now.  I am having to be more careful with money as I’m still on long-term sick leave so sadly most of my beauty boxes will have to go for now.  It is definitely no reflection on the company as they are great and I’ve really enjoyed the boxes!

Rather than being monthly, like most beauty box subscriptions, this box is quarterly.  You receive a box every 3 months, in February, May, August and November.  The box £15 plus P&P every 3 months (ie you only pay on the months you will be receiving a box).  You can find out more details on this post.

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This is actually November’s box but I haven’t got round to reviewing and blogging it until now… sorry!


 

Emani Vegan Cosmetics – Soulmate Lipshine (£11)

This is a new brand to me but their cosmetics are vegan and cruelty free, which is always good!  This is a lipgloss which contains Vitamin E, seed oil and jojoba, making it conditioning and hydrating.  I have not tested it out as I don’t really wear gloss at the moment, so I will probably gift it to a friend.  However it does look like a lovely product, it’s just my personal preference for matte liquid lipsticks at the moment!

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Spectrum Collections Concealer & Eyeshadow Brush (£4.99)

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I was so pleased when I saw this!  Not just because it’s pink and pretty but because I have a bit of a makeup brush obsession.  I didn’t realise until this year how much good brushes can improve the finish of your makeup.  You don’t receive them in beauty boxes often, so it’s always a treat when you do.  I haven’t heard of this brand before but it feels lovely – soft, but stiff enough to be effective.  Of course, it is made from synthetic fibres not animal hairs (you’d be surprised how many brushes are still made of animal hair).

Discount code: use VEGANKIND10 when purchasing online, for 10% off.


 

Green People – Intensive Repair Shampoo (30ml trial size)

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Another thing I was really pleased to receive!  I mostly stopped using hair products that contain SLS this year.  Not because I particularly had an issue with SLS, but I used shampoo and conditioner that didn’t contain it for a good few months (as it was a gift) and then realised how much healthier my hair looked and felt.  I am not saying everyone should avoid it, but my hair does seem happier!  This Green People shampoo is SLS free, and contains nutrients and proteins which strenghten and repair damaged hair.

This shampoo would also be good for you if you colour your hair, as it has an active ‘Colour Lock’ system.  It smells quite botanical and herbal but not unpleasant.

Discount code: VEGAN20 for 20% off online.


 

Cocoyou – Coconut Oil (£5.99)

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Unless you’ve been hiding on Mars, I’m sure you’ll have heard people raving about using coconut oil for beauty purposes – on the hair, as a cleanser, as a moisturiser…the list goes on!  I have used it before, but only to make a homemade body scrub and lip scrub.

This Cocoyou product is 100% virgin coconut oil which can be used however you choose.  They suggest using it as a face mask, cuticle softener, on the lips or through the ends of your hair to tame flyaways.  You can even use it to clean your teeth, although I think I might dodge that one personally!  Apparently it also has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties!  Is there nothing it can’t do?  I’m personally hoping it’s good at cleaning laptop keyboards, as I’ve just spilt it all over mine…. One thing to note is that if it’s warm in your house, it will go VERY runny!


 

Human + Kind – Hand, Elbow and Foot Cream (£6)

Isn’t this packaging gorgeous?  It will look so pretty on my bedside table.  The leaflet tells me that Human + Kind have “created a pared down approach to skincare, developing products capable of multi-functioning and benefiting all skin types and ages”.  This moisturising cream can be used on the hands, feet and elbows (if you hadn’t already guessed by the name..!)

It contains shea butter, seed butter and avocado oil, making it super nourishing.  It has a gentle, slightly menthol scent.  It genuinely does leave dry skin super soft – I’ve used it on my extremely dry elbows and even one use has left them feeling nicer!

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Vegan Compact Mirror

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The final item in November’s box is this cute, fuchsia pink Vegan bunny mirror.  As you can see, it has a design on one side – when you turn it over, it’s a handy compact mirror.  I love the colour, very me, but I’m not totally sure if I’ll keep it or give it away as a gift yet.  Although I like it, I’m personally not a vegan.  I’m a vegetarian (and prefer cruelty free products wherever possible), so it feels a bit wrong to use it!  I’ll have a think about it.


So what did you think of my last Vegan Kind review?  Have I tempted you to give them a go?  Let me know in the comments!

Glossybox // Rose Gold Edit – December 2015 // Review and Unboxing!

Hi guys, are you excited for Christmas?

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll already know that I don’t subscribe to Glossybox.  I used to before I started this blog, and always really liked it, but I decided to try something new and swapped it for Birchbox instead.  And then this……

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They made a rose gold edit.  ROSE GOLD!!  I love anything rose gold and couldn’t resist (plus I had a discount code) so I bought a one-off box.  The box is absolutely gorgeous.  It has a white bottom with “let’s celebrate” written in rose gold script writing, then a rose gold lid with a white snow effect pattern over it.  So pretty!

This box was actually put together by a beauty blogger called Really Ree.  Amazingly, I don’t know much about her (I read a lot of beauty blogs and watch beauty channels on YouTube), but she must be well known to be invited to do this.  Anyway, she’s done a great job, so well done her!

Now as you’ll know I usually use everything before I review it and like to give detailed opinions on things but I have just not had chance this month.  I have been unwell and have also had to do Christmas preparation, which has taken up my very limited energy!  So I will just tell you what came in the box and my initial impressions.  Hope that’s ok!

Here’s what came in December’s box.


 

StarSkin – Behind The Scenes Calming Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Facial Mask

Longest name ever for a face mask that lasts 20 minutes!  I was really happy to see this.  I use a face mask pretty much every week and love trying new ones.  This mask aims to hydrate and pep up tired skin, and is soaked in a whole 30ml of serum!

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Hylamide – Pore Delete

This is something really different – it’s not often I receive a product and have never used something similar before.  This white liquid can be used straight over naked skin (if going without makeup) or applied after foundation and before powder.  It is an instant fix for visible pores, claiming to have a similar effect to a photo retoucher!  It will minimise pores, mattify skin and blur in one go.  Whilst it sounds similar to a primer, I find it really unusual that you apply between foundation and powder!  I will get back to you once I’ve tried it out and let you know how well it works.

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Essence – Liquid Lipstick in Show Off

Yay!  I was really pleased to see this – lip products are my favourite, and I especially like bright or bold colours.  I’ve never tried an Essence liquid lipsticks but have swatched them all in Wilkos before, and they are best described as a very pigmented gloss.  They do not dry down or go matte, but they do provide an opaque colour.  They also smell pleasantly vanilla-y.  This shade is a nice bright fuchsia, which I know won’t be for everyone but I like it.  I’m more likely to wear it in Spring and Summer, once the sun comes back out.

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Collection – Long Lasting Nail Effects in Cosmic Stars

From what I’ve seen, there were different colours in other boxes, but I received a bluey-purple glitter with flecks of red/copper.  It’s really pretty and quite an unusual colour mix.  Again, I really like bright colours so it’s perfect for me.  Especially for around Christmas!  I was quite surprised to find Essence and Collection products in the box, as it is rare to receive ‘drugstore’ brands, but I really like it as a change.  Maybe it’s because they are brands Really Ree likes herself?  This polish has a wide brush, making it quick to apply and claims to be fast-drying.

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Etre Belle – Golden Skin Caviar Eye Roll-On

This is a little tube with a cooling, metal rollerball tip.  It contains eye gel which is meant to leave your eye area refreshed and radiant.  It also claims to instantly soothe and hydrate delicate skin.  It actually leaves a very subtle gold sheen on the skin (almost like there are glitter particles, but they’re so very fine that it just makes the area glow rather than looking ridiculous!)  It has a pleasant smell and the metal rollerball really does feel lovely and cooling under the eye.

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So Susan – Statement Skin Highlighter Pencil in Starlight

Ooh this is pretty!  It is a highlighter stick, which you can use on your cheekbones, nose and cupid’s bow.  It’s a useful, squared off shape, meaning it glides on easily in the right places.  You can use the very tip of the edge for smaller areas like the cupid’s bow and inner corner of the eyes.  The product contains organic chia seed to hydrate and silk peptide to keep skin supple and elastic.

I will definitely use this, as it looks so pretty on the skin, kind of subtle but it still has quite an impact.  Until very recently, I would never use cream products (blushers, highlighters etc) as I have oily skin, but since using Stila Cream Blush and falling in love, I’m definitely opening up to more cream products.

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I love this box, it’s really festive and contains lots of bright and pretty products.  I also like that there are two makeup products, as they are always my favourite.

I hope you enjoyed this review, as my husband is kindly getting me a Glossybox subscription for Christmas, so I will be reviewing them each month for you.