Springtime in a tub – Soapsmith Bloomsbury Bath Soak

It’s a tricky time of year: the seasons are finally changing – the blackbirds are singing again, I’ve seen my first blossoming tree, and there was actually sun for more than half an hour at a time yesterday – but it’s still cold enough to make a bath seem appealing. Soapsmith Bloomsbury Bath Soak is the ideal product for this weird period because it lets you have a long hot soak whilst scenting the house with the smell of spring.

Soapsmith Bloomsbury Bath Soak

Bathing in this is like lying naked in the middle of a flower market, surrounded by roses, peonies, and honeysuckle all in full bloom, but without the danger of being arrested for indecent exposure. You throw in a couple of scoops of the gloriously-scented powder and the bath water turns milky and silky and lovely. There’s coconut milk powder and cocoa seed butter for moisture, epsom salts and dead sea salts for relaxation, and oat powder for soothing any irritated skin. I do need moisturiser when I get out but I have the driest shins known to woman, so those with ‘normal’ legs should be fine without.

I gave Mother Mouse a tub of the Bloomsbury for Christmas and it’s been declared the ‘best bath stuff’ she’s ever had. Praise indeed. The other ‘flavours’ within the Soapsmith range sound equally marvellous, especially the minty and uplifting GreenPark and the mega-relaxing Lavender Hill. The soaps are also lovely, and Baker Street is a must for almond fanatics.

Do you like the sound of bathing in the essence of Spring?

- Any product marked with an '*' is a PR sample. All reviews are 100% honest regardless of whether I bought the item myself or was sent it. Links may be affiliate, which means that I get a small commission if you use them -

Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette

I’m so late to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette party but I’m really glad that I got there eventually. First things first, I hate the packaging with a fiery passion. I hate the cardboard, which should be sturdier for over £40, I loathe the mauve fuzziness, which picked up black marks within approx. 34 seconds, and the brush is scratchy and lacking in fluff. Having said that, I think this is my favourite full palette, possibly ever.

Anastacia-Beverly-Hills-Modern-Renaissance-palette.

I’ve had the palette for a good three or four weeks now and I’ve had a good play around with the shades and have come to the conclusion that it’s actually a lot more versatile than I’d thought it would be. When it first came out, I dismissed it as being far too warm for my skin tone but a few of the shades are quite neutral in tone, and there are so many possible combinations and looks – they don’t all need to revolve around an orange or red shade.

The shadows are (almost) all soft, smooth, and super-easy to blend. The texture is so soft that there’s a fair amount of kick-back in the palette but it doesn’t translate onto the face, thankfully. The most buttery (cliché, sorry) shades are Buon Fresco, Cyprus Umber, Warm Taupe, and the two intensely shimmery colours, Vermeer and Primavera. The only slightly less smooth formulas are the reddy shades – Love Letter, Venetian Red, and Red Ochre – but reds are notoriously hard to make and the grittiness doesn’t affect the pigmentation.

Anatasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette swatches

My favourite combos for everyday all start with Tempera all over and then:

Buon Fresco in the crease + Vermeer as a highlight + Cyprus Umber on the bottom lashes
Golden Ochre in the crease + Primavera as highlight + Warm Taupe on the bottom
Love Letter in the crease + Vermeer as highlight + Antique Bronze or Warm Taupe on the bottom

When I can’t be arsed for more than one shade, I stick with Tempera, Vermeer, or Buon Fresco which are, predictably, probably the most cool-toned colours. The only shade I haven’t used is Realgar which, I will admit, scares the bejesus out of me. It’s just so…orange. All the others, though, are amazing.

Have you tried this beaut yet? Do you prefer warm or cool-toned shadows?

- Any product marked with an '*' is a PR sample. All reviews are 100% honest regardless of whether I bought the item myself or was sent it. Links may be affiliate, which means that I get a small commission if you use them -

Current favourites #1

Current-favourites

End of year favourites posts are the only ones I’ve ever done, but I thought it would be good to introduce some a little more regularly. It’s primarily to stop my Happy Happenings becoming all about products, rather than feelings and experiences; it’s fine for things to make one happy, obviously, but I’d like to get back to posting about the little things – fresh bedding, clouds in the shape of hippos, getting the first bunch of daffodils of the year – in my 5 HH posts and keep the products separate. So, without further ado:

The website:
Hayu.com – this is such a fabulous site/app if, like me, your guilty pleasure is trashy American ‘reality’ tv. My personal addiction is the Real Housewives (especially New York, Beverly Hills, and New Jersey) and Top Chef, but Hayu also has a plethora of shows that I’ve never even heard of. Obviously not everything is worth watching, but it’s oddly soothing to have catfights and ridiculous plastic surgery on in the background sometimes. It’s £3.99 a month but everyone gets a free month’s trial to see if they get hooked (I did, and I’m a tiny bit not ashamed).

The makeup:
I’ve found a base combination that works really well when I’m running late in the morning – super quick to slap on but still looks put-together. I won the recent IT Cosmetics TSV from QVC, which included the My Skin But Better CC Cream. I was skeptical as it’s been so hyped up recently but it’s actually brilliant. The palest shade, fair, is slightly dark for me but with a touch of white foundation it works really well – great coverage, and easy to blend with beauty sponge, fingers, or brush. I’ve been pairing it with the new Nars Soft Matte Concealer in Chantilly, which feels slightly dry in the pot but can be patted on underneath the eyes and over spots without caking. I think both will be favourites for ages.

The stationery:
I first saw the Ohh Deer x Urban Outfitters journals on From Roses earlier in the year and immediately wanted one; I start a diary every year to try and be more organised but usually forget by mid-January, rendering the remainder of the diary pretty useless. This one, which I found in the UO sale a week or so ago, is brilliant because it doesn’t have any dates, so it doesn’t matter if you only use it intermittently. Each page has a slot for the date, day’s objective, to do list, and timetable, as well as a (very important) doddle box. It’s well-worth the £11.20 and I recommend picking one up if you need a bit more organisation in your life.

The book:
I’ve been reading This is Not a Diet Book by Bee Wilson recently and have really enjoyed it. It’s a slim volume of advice about how to change the way that you think about food. It’s more about getting back to an understanding of food and what our bodies need than labelling foods ‘good’ or ‘naughty’. Bee Wilson is a food historian and journalist and I love her writing style, which is far from preachy or patronising. There are so many conflicting pieces or information about eating, and diets, at the moment and I appreciate her simple and sensible approach.

The gadget:
I’ve wanted a label maker for ages and finally caved in January. So far I’ve resisted labelling the cat or Mr Mouse, and have stuck to doing my beauty drawers, any shadow where the colour isn’t visible, and I’m about to start on the kitchen containers. I’ve got this one for under a tenner and my only gripe is the lack of apostrophe  – anyone who knows me IRL knows that I get twitchy about the misuse of apostrophes so not having one here makes me snippy. I might have had to engrave my own on the label on my journal…

What have you been loving lately?

- Any product marked with an '*' is a PR sample. All reviews are 100% honest regardless of whether I bought the item myself or was sent it. Links may be affiliate, which means that I get a small commission if you use them -

Does Colourpop live up to the hype?

There’s nothing like limited availability to make something desirable, and for us in the U.K., Colourpop has traditionally been almost impossible to get hold of. They now do international shipping and I finally got to satisfy my curiosity about the supposedly unique eyeshadow formula and the amazing liquid lipsticks. The fact that they’d done a collection featuring Hello Kitty didn’t hurt either…

I’d heard rumours of shipping to the U.K. being extortionate but when I placed my order it was only $9.99. I had to pay £13.85 in customs fees when it arrived a week later, which was annoying but expected. It does make the brand less of a bargain than it is in the U.S. but it still only came to about £6.75 an item – definitely comparable with Makeup Geek or anything you’d pick up in Boots.

Colourpop x Hello-Kitty

For my first experience of Colourpop I wanted to make sure I tried one of each of their most hyped products, so got the Hello Kitty ‘quad’ of Super Shock Shadows in Mama’s Apple Pie, one of the the Hello Kitty Ultra Matte Lips in Milk Bottle, an Ultra Satin Lip in Alyssa, and a matte Lippe Stix in Baewatch. There are items I prefer and although I don’t hate anything I bought, there’s one thing that I’m a bit disappointed in.

The products I’ve had the best luck with are the eyeshadows. The formula Super Shock Shadows is a bit bizarre – not quite cream, not quite powder, but definitely bouncy – and it’s so lovely to use. I find it easiest to whack on with a finger and then blend out the edges with a semi-fluffy brush, as I don’t think a brush would pick up much pigment (plus it’s oddly satisfying to prod the shadow…). My favourite shades are the Friendship File, the peachy brown shimmer, and Small Gift, the reddy-pink pearl, both of which are great for a super quick one-shade look. Rainbow is pretty but a bit too glittery for most days, although sometimes you just need a bit of sparkle. School Bus is a gorgeous sapphire which I haven’t used yet but which I have plans for. All in all, I love the formula, which doesn’t crease on me (a bit of a miracle), and will definitely be getting a few more colours.

Colourpop x Hello Kitty swatches

The lip colours I’m a bit less enthusiastic about. I love the colours but both the Ultra Satin and Ultra Matte formulas leave a bit to be desired, to be honest. Oddly, I actually prefer the Ultra Matte, which lots of people say is far too drying for them to use. It does dry down to be extremely matte (funny that…) but it’s no drier than the Kat von D liquid lipsticks and I prefer the way that it fades. The colour is a lot more vivid than it looks in the swatch on the Colourpop website but, thankfully, I really like it. I also love the Lippie Stix in Baewatch. The formula is smooth and non-drying and, whilst it doesn’t dry down completely, it also doesn’t have any shine. Again the shade is brighter than you’d expect and is a bright cool-toned raspberry, not a million miles away from Nars Audacious lipstick in Vera.

The Ultra Satin Lip, which everyone seems to rave about, is my least favourite. The shade Alyssa, from the Katherine Lights collab, is pretty close to Lolita but the formula is odd – it dries down to a sheen but fades awkwardly and gunks up slightly at the edges of my mouth, which is my personal bugbear when it comes to lipsticks.

I’m glad to have satisfied my curiosity about Colourpop and will be getting more shadows, as well as trying the blushers which look like the same formula, but I won’t be getting any more lip products other than Lippie Stix.

Have you tried Colourpop yet? What are your favourites?

- Any product marked with an '*' is a PR sample. All reviews are 100% honest regardless of whether I bought the item myself or was sent it. Links may be affiliate, which means that I get a small commission if you use them -

February fashion and beauty wish list

I don’t know about anyone else but January has felt like a seriously long month. What with the frankly appalling state of politics at the moment (on both sides of the Pond, let alone further afield), work-stress, not feeling brilliant, and possibly doing slightly too much online shopping to metaphorically drown my sorrows, December’s pay day seems a long time ago. I’m going to be restrained for the next couple of months (partly because of this little beaut‘s half price sibling being bought in January…), but that doesn’t stop me looking…

I didn’t realise until I made this how shoe-heavy it would be. The Asos cat flats look hugely uncomfortable but, y’know, adorable, and I’ve been after some pointier boots that don’t cost a fortune for a while. And new Converse, because my old ones are letting in water a frankly rude amount.

The new Dior powder is bloody gorgeous (I’ve got a post coming up about the latest Diorskin Luminizer, which is also dreamy), Mio Liquid Yoga is one of my favourite scents so having it in a candle seems sensible, and I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about the Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse and The Ordinary primer.

What do you have your eye on at the moment?

- Any product marked with an '*' is a PR sample. All reviews are 100% honest regardless of whether I bought the item myself or was sent it. Links may be affiliate, which means that I get a small commission if you use them -