Passion For Fashion Challenge

Thursday, 30 August 2012

I was recently contacted by Money Supermarket to enter their Passion For Fashion competition where you create 5 different outfits for 5 different occasions. We have free reign of the interweb but each outfit must come under £200. As a thrifty bargain hunter myself, I was looking forward to the challenge as you can really find some great gems amongst the online retailers. I am in no way a fashion guru and more often than not, you'll find me in a t-shirt, jeans and converse ensemble so the outfits I've chosen are very much in my comfort zone!

So, without further is what I created!


Dress | Glasses | Bag | Shoes

Each workplace is different and what is suitable for one office environment can be a big no-no for another. I've chosen this shift dress from the F&F range at Tesco and what great value it is! Something simple paired with flat loafers accompanied with a tan satchel to keep all your office essentials in is important. If you're a glasses wearer like me, then these RayBan glasses will make you look like the trendiest office girl there is! This outfit can be changed between each seasons; black tights for the Autumn/Winter time and a knit cardigan or bare legs in the Summer time!

Top | Jeans | Gilet | Shoes | Backpack

I wasn't quite sure what the 'Outdoor' themed outfit was aimed at so I took a stab in the dark and opted for an outfit that I would wear if I was away for an activities weekend, a walk up Ben Nevis or a typical Summer's day in Scotland! Gilets are so practical and an essential item for the Autumn/Winter time. I paired it with a stripy plain top and straight jeans as skinny jeans can be a bit tight for long distance walking and flared jeans are a big no when walking around the hillside! I own a pair of tough-wearing hiking boots and they are great for Autumn/Winter time because they keep your feet warm and as they are hard-wearing, they will last through all the elements! And no outdoor outfit is complete without a backpack to keep all your belongings in and even a flask of tea or coffee for those walking breaks!

Shoes | Top | Skirt | Blazer | Bag

Going on a date can be a daunting occasion so it's important to feel comfortable yet confident in what you're wearing. You could be meeting your life-long partner for all you know! I went for a fun flirty outfit for a lunch, coffee or cinema date. The skirt is such great value! I'm tempted to go and buy it now whilst there is still one in my size! Teamed with a plain black t-shirt and a structured blazer, you'll be ready for an impromptu walk if need be! Western style boots are making its way slowly into the trend right now and I spotted these in Aldo whilst in London and they are love! They have such a wearable everyday heel (especially for a shorter girl like me!) and can be paired with a variety of different outfits. Last but not least, a small cross tan bag to keep your hands free for holding hands <3

Top | Jumper | Shoes | Jeggings | Bag

My casual outfits tend to be a t-shirt and jeans combo, but I've been seeing a lot of knitwear slowly making its way to the stores so I tried to incorporate that into this outfit. The plain cami top is great under the cable knit jumper from Miss Selfridge and paired with some comfy jeggings from Vero Moda, you'll be rocking the casual look! No outfit is complete without shoes and a bag! I picked these hiking boots as a nod to the 'countryside' style I've seen floating around and the spiky studs on the bag will give it an edgy feel!


Dress | Shoes | Bag | Necklace

Who doesn't love a party invite? Such a great excuse to buy a new outfit! I'm a very subtle girl when it comes to parties, no bodycon dresses or low cut tops for me! I love this dress from New Look as the skirt looks so floaty and the waist belt will bring out all your best features. I picked these heels from ASOS and they have the cutest bow on the back. A lovely cream clutch bag to carry all your girly items; phone, keys, money, mobile and lipgloss! Lastly, I love Ever Ours for their kitsch jewellery and this windmill necklace will get lots of compliments from your friends.

So these are my 5 outfits that I've created! I've loved doing this challenge and I've come across some great bargains. My favourite outfit has to be either the 'first date' outfit or the 'party' outfit. So does anyone have a spare £1,000 lying around?

What do you think of the outfits I've styled? Which one is your favourite?



London Purchases

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

I didn't really know how to approach doing this type of post and I even considered embedding a YouTube video but I truly believe that I'm not quite ready/prepared to put myself out there on YouTube yet. So this is my best offering to show you what I bought from London.

My criteria for making purchases was simple. I was only allowed to buy things that I can't get back home i.e. it's not readily available. I exercised an amazing amount of self control and my bank balance can weep no longer!
 If you follow me on Twitter (@ParisianOrchid), you will know that I was very overwhelmed in Forever 21. It wasn't what I was expecting and I must admit, the ones in America are better (possibly a very unpopular opinion, but I'll just put that out there!). The only thing I got was this mint green tank top. It's pretty but nothing too spectacular! 

I always love the sales when it's right at the end where it gets discounted even further! I mean, you're going to be sifting through the stuff no-one wants but you can stumble upon an amazing find if you're lucky enough. I got this red top from Urban Outfitters half the normal price. Yayzers!

I then got this green t-shirt from a store called The Sting where there are lots of different brands in the same store. Again, on sale and I think it's quite 'quirky'.
 Whenever I hear the words Abercrombie & Fitch or Hollister, I tremble at the thought that I would just look like a sausage bursting out its casing if I wore any of their clothes. I didn't hold much hope out for Gilly Hicks which is the sister brand to the Abercrombie & Fitch but I wanted to have a gander around their store anyway. Yes, I ended up getting two jumper cardigans *hangs head in shame*. In my defence, they are the softest things to ever touch my skin and they feels so much more comfier than the tighter cardigans from the other brands. I live in Scotland, they shall be worn very often!
I was reading Temprary Secretary's blog and she posted about Urban Outfitter's Twinkie nail polish and I knew I needed it in my life. I mean, a nail polish with actual stars in it?! It's times like these that I think I was a magpie in a past life!

Lastly, I went to a Victoria's Secret and I bought some underwear but I really don't think this is an appropriate forum to post about them! But I can show you what my friend bought for me as a belated graduation gift. She let me choose a toiletry item because they were part of a mix and match deal and I chose the Hello Darling Eau De Toilette. I was torn between two different scents but I finally settled on this which is a white nectarine and peony scent. Smells like a flirty summer spent reading books in a park *sigh*.

So this is my 'haul' (urgh, I really dislike that word...kind of like 'moist' *shudders*). I think I was very level headed and bought things that I will actually use which is always a bonus!

What have you been purchasing recently?



'By Piccadilly Station I Sat Down and Wept':

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


So, over the past few days I've been in good ol' London town! It was great to get away for a few days before I start intensive training at my new job. I went to visit my friend who lives and works in London so there wasn't really a lot of time to do the usual touristy stuff but I knew I wanted to visit the Olympic Park! Along with intense shopping, it was a great weekend!

On Saturday, it was like a rainstorm in Central London so our plans of shopping on Bond Street was scuppered! On Sunday we went to see the Olympic Park and little did I know, it was right next to Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford! My bank balance suffered a little that day but it was worth it! I also tried Pinkberry for the first time and it was amazing, I think my friend is well and truly hooked on it now! On Monday, we went for a walk down to the River Thames in Kingston and it was a nice finish to the weekend before leaving to go back to Scotland. 

I'm glad to be back where the pace of society is a little slower and to start a new chapter in my working life! I'm glad to be back blogging too! I've missed my little space on the interweb and the blogging community in general!



Weekly Wishlist #2

Thursday, 23 August 2012

I really struggled this week to put items on my wishlist (I shouldn't be given the title of 'blogger' anymore!) as the only thing I really wanted this week were those Clarks brogues. I tried them on in the store and they were seriously the most comfortable shoes ever! They had that soft padding in it and it just added that little something extra to a shoe (I sound insane). I've been hunting down a pair of wearable brogues and I think I have finally found them, I just need to wait until the end of next month for my first pay check to get them!

MummyOrchid had always raved about Origins skincare so whilst buying a new cleanser and moisturiser at an Origins counter, I asked the nice lady if she could tell me more about the Vita-Zing moisturiser because I had heard such great things about it. She managed to hook me in with her descriptions of natural ingredients and the smell is *amaze-balls*! I'm really excited to make this into my next skincare purchase.

I have enough nail polish to paint the nails of the world over but don't the new L'Oreal nail polishes look so pretty? My favourite is definitely 'French Riviera', I always crazily stare at it whenever I'm in Boots or Superdrug (crazy woman alert!). The size looks reasonable as well because let's admit it...who manages to get through an entire bottle of nail polish? 

Last but not least, and something not remotely related to beauty is that I want need a new guitar capo. I like the look of a springy one because the one I have now requires manual twisting and it hurts to do so. I've just been putting off buying a new one because actually...well...I....err...I don't know why!

Anything been catching your eye this week that you've been wanting?



P.S...If you follow me on Twitter (@ParisianOrchid) then you'll know that I'm going to be going to London this weekend so my blog will be a little quiet this week. Never fear! There's much on this little blog for you peruse and if you follow me on Twitter then you'll be updated with my crazy shenanigans, because lets face it...trouble follows me wherever I go!

What's in my make-up bag?: Travel Edition

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

This week, I will be leaving the land of Scots and travelling down to London for the weekend to visit my friend. I thought it would be a good idea to show you the contents of my make-up bag that I'm taking with me!

The make-up bag is from John Lewis that I got ages ago. I think this was my first ever make-up bag and every single piece of make-up actually fit in here! How things change...! Grab a hot beverage of your choice, relax and let's get going!

Super + BB Cream
So I don't have to take a foundation brush with me, I'm sticking with BB Cream that can be applied with my fingers.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural
Powder. Standard.

MAC Eyeshadow Quad
Contents include: Nylon, Satin Taupe, Naked Lunch and Quarry.

Vivo Baked Blush in 'Peaches & Cream'
Was debating between two but I think this one will come with me!

HD Brows Kit
For lovely eyebrow goodness.

Revlon Lip Butter in 'Sweet Tart'
I really like this shade and great for day and night!

MAC Painterly Paint Pot
Eye base/primer

Benefit Porefessional
I've tried this and I'm not a big fan. Makes my face feel slick *shudders*. I'm willing to give this another try before disposing of it!

MAC Lustre Drops in 'Pink Rebel'
Favourite liquid highlighter! Love mixing a little of this in with my BB Cream.

Rimmel Eyebrow Pencil 
Seems pointless to bring this as well as the HD Brows Kit but this actually matches my eyebrow colour better.

17 Peep Show Mascara
Love this mascara! So inexpensive as well!

Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain in 'Honey'
I have been loving the balm stains! So wearable and easy to apply as well, no need for a mirror really!

Majolica Majorca Cream Eye Pencil
It's so mini you can barely see it in the photo! MummyOrchid is going to HK in November so she's going to pick me up a full sized one!

Garnier Tinted Eye Roll On
For the mornings after the night before where I might have consumed a bit too much wine!

That's it! A bit excessive? I think so but I'm trying to use up as much make-up as I can before buying any more so it's well justified! 

What are your key essential make-up items when you go travelling?



House of Fraser Blogger Style Challenge

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Ever since doing the ASOS £100 challenge, I've been on the look out for more challenges to do. I came across the House of Fraser Blogger Style Challenge and I jumped at the opportunity to put together a look for next season. The best part about it is that there is no price limit and I might win £200 worth of HoF vouchers! Bonus! I didn't have a theme in mind when putting together this outfit but when I finished, it kind of looked like something I would wear to an Autumn picnic in the park (preferably Central Park!). So here is my final look...

I decided to go for a really casual look with nothing too crazy going on. I went for neutral colours to build up the outfit itself and the knit jacket is great for the days where it's not cold enough for a jacket but just breezy enough to need one (let's admit it, the British weather likes to throw temperatures like that at us!). Skinny jeans are a staple for any wardrobe as well as a trusty black top to wear for any occasion. The burgundy Coast wrap adds a dash of colour and reminds me of falling Autumn leaves from the trees. I also paired it with high riding style boots (in case there are any pesky puddles or bundles of leaves to walk through!) and last but not least a beautiful leather hobo bag to finally complete the look!

I love this final look and I would definitely buy this outfit if my money tree would start growing! With my luck, I probably won't win. There are already some fantastic outfits already submitted by some lovely bloggers and I'd encourage you to have a wee snoop at them like I have! But I've loved this challenge and it's let me be a bit creative and I guess, think outside the box a little.

Will you be trying out this challenge? Good luck to you if you already have!



FOTD: Lunch Date

Friday, 17 August 2012

I need to acknowledge two things before I properly start this post. 
1. I have NO idea why my photos have turned out such bad quality. I can't even re-shoot because I've taken all my make-up off! Disaster!
2. I didn't actually go on a date, I just had some lunch with friends. Pizza Express is yum in my tum!

Now that's out of the way! 

It's been absolutely horrendous weather here in Scotland and makes me want to dig my Uggs out of the depths of my Winter footwear cupboard and start thinking about Christmas! My mood is suddenly changing to match the weather and everyone's driving gets 10 times worse (cue road rage!).

This is what I call 'rainy day makeup'. I used the two matte shades from my UD Naked palette and used a warmer toned blush and off I go. I pretty much keep everything the same but change up my foundation as the weather adjusts. I'm slowly starting to use all my makeup up and although I don't have a vast collection, I'm quite thrifty when it comes to cosmetics as it can expire. 

Do you have 'rainy day' makeup? Are you good at using up all your makeup before splurging on more?



The Great British Bake-Off Returns!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will notice that I love baking. My love of baking goes hand in hand with my favourite show; The Great British Bake Off. It returned to our little tele-boxes yesterday evening (I watch it on BBC iplayer as I let MummyOrchid watch her favourite Scottish soap opera!) and by gosh did it get my baking juices flowing!

If you haven't seen this show before, it's where 12 amateur bakers compete against each other in an effort to win the show and be crowned the best Great British Amateur Baker. They compete in baking challenges that showcase their skills and knowledge. This is of course judged by baking royalty; Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Presented by two of my favourite presenters, Mel and Sue (anyone remember that programme they did AGES ago?), their gentle humour really pushes this show to the next level!

There is a great mix of bakers this series and I can't wait to watch their baking journey! You can catch this show on Tuesday nights at 8pm on BBC Two.

Are you excited that this show is back on? What's your crowd pleaser signature bake?



Weekly Wishlist #1

Monday, 13 August 2012

You can probably tell that I'm loving mint green at the moment. It took a lot of self-control to not flood this entire collage full of mint green goodness! But first off those boots, do they not just scream 'buy me!'? I would love to be able to pull off a really nice every day heel and these Topshop ones look brilliant. Price tag, not so much!

Marc Jacobs' fragrances always pull me in with 'Daisy' being my favourite by far. When they released this fragrance, I hot-footed it down to my local Boots to inhale it's amazing scent! Plus, how cute is the bottle? Definitely not handbag friendly, but would look amazing on your dresser! If you haven't smelt it, I would encourage you to do so.

Ever since Jennie from SailorJennie posted about this quilted mint green bag from Matalan, I have been lusting over it like crazy! I would like this in my please.

I have been dabbling in the world of peplum tops recently and after purchasing the Topshop black peplum, I would like to add more into my wardrobe. They are so easy to wear and covers up my *cough* muffin top *cough* perfectly! This one from ASOS is on sale for only £17.50! Bargain! I just really hope it's still on the website by the time my first pay wage comes through next month!

A nice introduction to my 'weekly wishlist' series :)

What do you think? What have you been coveting recently?



Sunday Summary #14: A Soft Pretzel Recipe Edition

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Some of you keen-eyed readers might have noticed that I didn't do a 'Sunday Summary' last week. It has to do with the fact that I'm not really doing a LOT during my week and I do prefer to do special 'editions' more as they will hopefully add a little happiness to your Sunday! I've been spending my Sunday baking in the kitchen and it resulted in these uh-mazing pretzels!

I bought a pretzel yesterday from the newly opened 'Mr Pretzel' in my local shopping centre, I was definitely tempted by the aroma of sugar and cinnamon (one of my favourite flavour combinations ever!). I then thought to myself, that I could probably make my own for less than what I paid, and I actually had ALL the ingredients already!

I'm not going to lie, the recipe is time-consuming (in my eyes) and you do need to be a little bit confident in your baking. But I believe that anyone can make these!
I wish someone would invent smell-o-vision already!
Recipe (from Laura in the Kitchen)
Makes 12 Soft Pretzels

1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 tbsp of sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 packet of yeast
2 tbsp of melted butter
4 1/2 to 5 cups of plain flour

6 cups of water
1/3 cup of baking soda

Egg wash
Your choice of toppings

1. Add water, sugar and salt to a bowl and mix. Sprinkle to yeast on top and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the flour and the melted butter and mix with an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment. Once everything is combined, mix for about 5 minutes until you achieve a smooth dough.

3. Brush the insides of a bowl with some oil and put the dough in the bowl. Cover with cling film or a clean dish towel and let it rise in a warm area for about 1 hour.

4. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees celsius, and line two baking trays with baking paper and oil well.

5. Put the water and baking soda in a large pot and let the water come to a boil.

6. Once the dough has risen, cut into 12 equal pieces, roll each piece into a rope and make a U shape, then press the ends of the rope at the bottom of the U shape and pinch the ends. Place your pretzels onto the baking tray.

7. Place the pretzels into the boiling water for 30 seconds, two at a time. Remove from the water and put them back on the baking tray. Cook all of the pretzels this way in the water. Brush the pretzels with the egg wash and lightly sprinkle with your topping.

8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until deeply golden brown.

9. Serve warm.

I used salt, brown sugar and brown sugar mixed with cinnamon for my toppings. Once out the oven and cooled slightly, you can sprinkle more of your topping on top to make it more tasty! These definitely rival the leading pretzel making shops and you can show off that you made them yourself!

Have you ever tried making your own pretzels before?



P.S...I hope you're all having a great Sunday! I will definitely be watching the Olympics closing ceremony tonight!

Products I've Used Up #2

Friday, 10 August 2012

Feels like yesterday that I was doing my first 'Products I've Used Up' post! But I always love a reason to buy and try new products! So, here's what I've used up lately...

001: No.7 Radiance Boosting Hot Cloth Cleanser: This is a dupe for the infamous Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser and is only £5 when bought with those little £5 off No.7 vouchers! This is such a great alternative if you want to dip your toe in the world of hot cloth cleansers.
Would I re-purchase? Yes, but not at full price. If No.7 were doing those £5 vouchers again, I would!

002: Clarins Energizing Gel: A really nice gel like cleanser which is great for getting smooth summer skin!
Would I re-purchase? Probably, but not right now I don't think.

003: Clarins Energizing Cream: Oooh, this is such a great light-weight cream! Again, it goes hand in hand with the energizing gel! Works really well together :)
Would I re-purchase? Again, probably. But there's just so much other skincare products out there that I want to try first!

004: Lee Stafford Hair Treatment for hair that never grows past a certain length: Phew! Could there be a longer title for a product? Smells amazing and my hair felt so nourished after using it! At £7.99 a pop, it lasts a good wee while depending on your use.
Would I re-purchase? I would say yes!

005: Soap & Glory Off Your Face Cleansing Wipes: I love face wipes as much as the next person but I found these a little TOO overpowering. It has that oh so famous Soap & Glory scent which I love, but I didn't like wiping it over my face. I finally managed to begrudgingly finish these!
Would I re-purchase? No. As much as I love the Soap & Glory brand, these just didn't wash very well with me!

Well, there's me gone off and bought a whole new load of skincare! Wooo! Hopefully you'll see them in another 'empties' post soon!

Have you used any of these products before? What have you used up lately?



Review: Etat Pur Express Purifying Mask

Thursday, 9 August 2012

I have really started to enjoy incorporating a face mask into my skincare routine, so when July's Joliebox contained this little beauty; I literally jumped up and down at the prospect of trying this. 

This is the Etat Pur Express Purifying Mask and it states on the packaging:
'Biomimetic formula. Dermatologically tested. Absorbs impurities and excess sebum. Leaves the skin clean and soft. All skin types, even sensitive'.
I was a bit dubious that something like this can cater to all skin types as I have dry skin so the idea of absorbing my 'excess sebum' (surprised that I would have any seeing as I have dry skin) made me wary to try this. I shouldn't have been. This is pretty good! It really helped balance the different areas of my face and left it really nice and soft. I even managed to rope in Brother Orchid to try this and he loved it!

I use this every Sunday (such an easy day to remember when I have to use it!), apply a thin layer and leave on for about 5 minutes. Once rinsed off I feel like it takes out all the grime from the past week and prepares me for the week to come! There isn't a clear scent to this product and seems quite neutral which is great because overly-scented face masks are a huge no-no for me!

The 50ml is a full sized product and I think I have about a few more weeks of usage from this.

You can purchase this online at the Etat Pur website for £7.50 for 50ml which is actually a really good price!

Were you lucky enough to receive this in your July Joliebox? Do you like using face masks?



FOTD: Teardrops on my Guitar

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Oh hai Pikachu in the background! 
I've been running about today doing some errands AND it's been raining off and on all day, basically typical Scottish summer weather! I attempted a very minimalistic make-up look and narrowed it down to 5 products! I think I did pretty well!

I've really been enjoying using my BB cream lately as my skin has been breaking out like crazy. I'd rather even out my skin tone than slapping on a layer of foundation to cover my sins! With a quick lick of mascara, I'm ready to go! 

The concept of only using 5 products has been challenging and interesting, but I've really enjoyed doing it as it also gives me the chance to rotate make-up products and discover old favourites!

Have you tried reducing the amount of make-up products you use? 



Are you the type to save a life?

Monday, 6 August 2012

 Okay, so this is a little different post from me today and somewhat controversial in some ways I guess. But today, I was booking a blood donor session at my local blood donor centre and I thought it would make for a good post seeing as I would like to do more 'lifestyle' posts in terms of my blog. I totally understand if you don't want to read anymore about it and no-one will blame you for clicking that tiny 'x' in the corner of your screen and at the end of the day, we're all adult enough to make that decision :)

I've been donating blood since 2007 and I do it on a regular basis (well, as often as they'd allow me to!). I understand that there are different services for Scotland and the rest of the UK so my experiences will mainly be based on the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS). Let me say first off that I was PETRIFIED of needles. Like anything pointy that could penetrate skin would bring me out in a nervous cold sweat! So when a blood drive came to my university in 2007, I decided that my phobia of needles couldn't compare even remotely to someone in desperate need of my blood. And I guess that's what really started my blood donation story.

My family would prefer if I didn't do it (something to do with my Chinese roots!) but I'm old enough to make that decision and I've never had any trouble with it. The process is very simple; fill in a donor form, iron levels check and then off you go to donate! Afterwards you get to rest with a choccy biscuit and some juice! Simples! Some people are scared that it hurts, I'm not going to's somewhat 'uncomfortable' but you'll only ever feel a slight pinch and then it's 15 minutes of staring vacantly into space whilst they take only a pint of your blood (it's actually a little less than a pint!) and you're done!

So why do I do it? Well...why not? My body makes new blood on a regular basis and once every 4 months is like 2% of my time! It makes me feel like I'm contributing something to society and if I can help even one person then for those 4 months I know I've made a difference somewhere (however selfish that may sound). I was told once that only 3% of Scots actually donate blood. 3%!!! That's like nothing. I'm proud to be one of the 3% who do.

So...thanks for sticking with me through this post. What are your thoughts on blood donation? Are you a regular donor? Have you not really thought about it before? 



P.S...If you're wondering, I'm not that scared of needles anymore but even the bravest of us are scared sometimes.

Battle of the Beauty Boxes

Friday, 3 August 2012

In the past year or so, there has been a big surge in the phenomenon of beauty boxes. A subscription service where subscribers can expect beauty samples shipped to their house every month for a fee paid every month. Sounds like a great idea huh? Trying new products from the comfort of your home and you discover great brands that you might not have heard of before. 

I'm obviously very influenced by the beauty community on the bloggersphere and YouTube so I jumped at the chance to be involved in this! I've only ever been subscribed to two of the UK based beauty boxes; GlossyBox and Joliebox. My thoughts and opinions will only be based on the service and products I have received from these two brands only! I thought this would be a good post to do if you are interested in subscribing to any two of these brands and my own experiences with them. My intention is not to paint any of these companies in a bad light, but just to give a overview of what you can expect for your money.

GlossyBox & Joliebox are both £10 per month plus £2.95 p+p

GLOSSYBOX: GlossyBox products are housed in a beautiful pink box with black detailing. I really liked the sturdiness and theme of the box when I first got it. Months later, I use the boxes to house all sorts of things like nail polish, hair accessories and even gift boxes for friends! My only gripe has to be the cardboard filling inside. Sometimes the products aren't that big and putting them in big boxes makes it look really sparse. Probably not very environmentally friendly either. But other than that, I liked the presentation.
JOLIEBOX: Joliebox products come in a black drawstring bag and then housed in a black box with white detailing. I do prefer Joliebox's packaging as the box is significantly smaller and compact and it makes it look like the box is jam packed with products! 

GLOSSYBOX: They managed to lure in a load of subscribers after popping in a full sized NARS product in their first box (yes, I'll admit that I was one of those people!) but after that, I felt it kind of went downhill from there. I was a subscriber from May 2011-November 2011 and I probably only used about five items. After I stopped subscribing, they did come out with some really good products, but had I kept on subscribing, I would have received another HD Brow Kit that was in July's 2012 GlossyBox. Whut?!
JOLIEBOX: It was their great skincare products that lured me into subscribing to Joliebox in the first place. Products range from French skincare to home favourites. I'm a big skincare fanatic so this made a smile on this old Orchid's face! As with all beauty boxes there were some items that didn't take my fancy but you can't have everything!

GLOSSYBOX: They have been scolded for having terrible customer service but I don't think they're all that bad. My GlossyBox failed to turn up one time and they promptly shipped another to me but when I got it, it just looked like they had thrown it together at the last minute with the leftover samples they had. Wasn't very impressed that time! The point of having to fill out the beauty profile/questionnaire was to get customised products but through a lot of research, I found out that they don't even look at the profiles so the products you get are not tailored to you. Bit of a waste of time if you ask me, especially since I got the HD Brows kit for blondes when I clearly stated I have dark hair.
JOLIEBOX: The first month I subscribed, my box didn't arrive until the month after it was supposed to AND because of the delivery mix up, I didn't get a customised product and a new subscriber gift. Nonetheless, they listened to customer feedback and changed their delivery service. The next box after that came very prompt and was filled with great things as well!

GLOSSYBOX: I liked the fact that they introduced a few theme boxes and often you get some really nice products but I don't feel that £12.95 is good value for unpredictable products and the vast variations between everyone's boxes was the deal breaker for me! But in saying that, GlossyBox is a great all-rounder and you do get a nice variety of samples.
JOLIEBOX: I really like Joliebox more over GlossyBox. But that's due to the fact that I am a skincare junkie and they tailor to my preferences more. Joliebox joined forces with the French box Boudoir Prive so you can expect lots of French brand samples!

I don't think that I will ever go back to GlossyBox and unfortunately, I have suspended my subscription with Joliebox for now as I really need every penny I can muster for London this month. Once I start my new job and a regular income comes rolling in, I may resubscribe again. 

Are beauty boxes worth the money? I'd say yes to a certain extent. You really are just paying for the service itself rather than the samples but it really does open your eyes to a plethora of beauty products out there on the market! If you like having something exciting to open every month and love the element of surprise, then this will be right up your street. I'd just encourage you to do as much research as you can beforehand before committing to one as there are an abundance of services on the market just now!

Phew!! Have you stuck with me so far? 'Snaps' for you if you managed to make your way through this post!

What do you think of the beauty subscription services? Are you currently subscribed to one?



Review: Vivo Baked Blush in 'Peaches and Cream'

Thursday, 2 August 2012

I must be the last person in the UK to get my hands on an item of the Vivo make-up line from Tesco! In my defence, the biggest Tesco in my city is on the other side of town and I don't tend to venture down there very often. So imagine my surprise when I suggested to my family that we take a trip there (obviously my main aim was to see the make-up line, and not to food shop!) and they agreed! 

The only thing I wanted was this baked blush. Although the other items were nice and very inviting, I didn't really need anything else so this went in the trolley and off I went a very happy Orchid indeed!

At only £4, you can't really fault this! It's a beautifully baked blush that is a light coral shade laced with highlights of nude and golden pinks. The pigmentation is great so I've learnt to use a very light hand when applying it as the first time I did, I had patches of shimmer all over my cheeks and it did not look very attractive at all! But when I finally managed to control the usage, I looked like I had been kissed by a rose! Okay, a very slight exaggeration but it did give a gorgeous warm glow. With the correct way to apply this, I'm sure you could even use this as a highlighter just to give your complexion that extra pop!

From what I saw at the make-up stand, the line itself is very impressive! Along with baked eyeshadows, eyelashes, bronzers and even BB creams...there is something for everyone! The packaging is sturdy and is great quality for what you are paying.

You can buy Vivo cosmetics from Tesco stores or Tesco Online in the UK. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you haven't already done so.

What do you think? Do you own anything else from the Vivo make-up line?