Saturday, 12 January 2013

I'm Back!

A big hello to you all! 

First and foremost, let me wish you all a happy & healthy 2013. I hope each and every one of you had a magical time over Christmas and got to spend it with your loved ones. 

Secondly, huge apologies for my absence from the blogging world lately. It has been just over a month since I was last on here and feel like I owe you an explanation as to where I've been, and also, on a more positive note, what plans I have for my blog during 2013.

So, my last blog was about a month ago and I then decided I needed to take a break from the blogging world. It wasn't a break I planned on taking, but I felt I just needed a little time out from everything and focus on certain things. Basically, my boyfriend's mum had been suffering from cancer and sadly passed away on 21st July. It was me & my boyfriend who found her, and words really cannot describe how that affected us. It's strange because I don't think I realised just how badly it had affected me until I really took a step back and saw just how much I had been struggling with the little things in day to day life. I'm sure anyone else who has gone through a similar situation knows what I'm talking about. I had become so used to pretending I was okay, that I think I just ended up kidding myself into thinking I was. 

Over Christmas time I really just wanted to focus on my boyfriend, as it would be the first Christmas and New Year without his mum there. We spoke a lot about how we were feeling, and really it was the first time since it happened where we could openly talk about how it had affected each of us. Although we did talk all the way through his mum's illness, we had just got ourselves into the frame of mind that everything was going to be okay and she'd get better, but deep down we both knew it was getting worse. 

I think the New Year has been especially important for the first time ever, as I really do feel this is time to move on and get back to enjoying life again. I now realise that it's okay to enjoy myself and I no longer have to feel like I need to grieve for our loss every day. I know my boyfriend's mum would want us to continue normally and have fun, but for the last few months of last year, that was much easier said than done.

However, it's a New Year and definitely a new start. I really want to be the best I can be, and if anything, I now know how short life can be and really want to live mine to the fullest. I can concentrate on things I enjoy and not feel guilty about having fun. 

I really want to focus on blogging because it is something which I love to do! I feel like I can share more personal aspects of my life with you all because I think it's good to be open about some things and see what other people's perspective can be. So many people bottle up feelings, like I was doing, and it's SO much more better just to talk! Whether it be someone close to you, or through your blog, people are there and willing to help. :)

My blog this year is going to contain a variety of topics. Yes, of course we are still talking beauty (it is the beauty box, afterall!) But I will also be discussing more helpful issues and advice in day to day life.

If you have any other requests on blog posts that you'd like to see in particular, please let me know in the comments and I'd be more than happy to do them for you!

Again, thank you all for your patience at this time, but things are well and truly back on track. :)

Lots of love! x

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Perfume Secret!

Happy Wednesday to you all! :) Half-way through the week, and the weekend is vastly approaching, yay!

Today I want to do a post all about perfumes. I know the last post I put up was also about perfumes, but this one is a little different. I want to talk to you all about a site called the 'Perfume Parlour'. Basically, it's an online store which sells pure perfume oils. I first heard about them when I was working in a beauty salon near to where I live, and we actually got these perfume oils in and sold them as retail- they went down an absolute storm! 

The website is really informative as they explain to us more about the perfume industry and why we should be buying pure perfume oils as opposed to expensive branded perfumes off of the high street which are not only watered down, low quality and low lasting, they are a complete and utter rip off. Now, I am not telling you to stop buying perfumes and switch to this, as I myself, continue to buy perfumes from the high street. But this is something to make you a little more aware of what actually goes on with perfumes from these big branded companies and why it may be a good idea to occasionally opt for a cheaper alternative to that £50 designer bottle of perfume.

In the UK alone, Brits spend a whopping £640m a year on perfume, and over half this amount is generated at Christmas alone. What you need to know is that the liquid inside these fancy bottles, costs less than a pound to make. The rest of the amount we pay is to cover the over the top packaging, marketing and advertising costs. At the end of the day, I want a perfume that smells nice and is long lasting, but I don't really want to be paying £50 for something that only costs £1, and i'm sure you wouldn't either. 

Have you noticed the increased amount of celebrities launching their own brand perfumes? Why do you think that is? Quite simple, it is very, very profitable for them, they produce these perfumes for a very low cost and then sell them with a huge markup. The High street store Boots sells about 5000 bottles a day during peak seasons, 40% of these are celebrity owned perfumes. 

This is no exaggeration, Jennifer Lopez has reportedly made in the region of £25m since she launched her brand of perfumes 5 years ago starting with Glow.

Why am I telling you all this? Well...I don't want you to waste your hard earned cash on watered down perfumes, and fill the pockets of those who quite frankly already have a few million, if not more to their names already.

Apart from the fact that the high street perfumes are a rip off, the actual quality is not there either. I mean, how many times have you applied a heavily advertised perfume, which you really like, but it only lasts a couple of hours? NO GOOD! The reason why that happens is because the actual alcohol content is so high in these perfumes that it ends up killing off the perfume. Alcohol is not good for perfumes because it is a drying agent and it has a negative effect on the perfume but it has to be used in order to make the perfumes sprayable.

On the 'Perfume Parlour', you can find perfume oils for a fraction of the price, and they are also made using the same ingredients as some of the most popular brands on the high streey, so go and have a look for yourselves! :)

Lots of love,
Lauren. xx

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

My Favourite Perfumes

Hi everyone, today I'll be doing a post on my top perfume picks. Perfume is just one of those things I adore. I'm not here to say that everyone will love these fragrances  as some of you may not- perfume is just such a personal thing. I'm one of those girls who's a sucker for a sickly sweet scent, such as vanilla. Although, I do really enjoy wearing more muskier fragrances too, especially on a night out.

First up, I will start with one of my all time favourites. Juicy Couture 'Viva La Juicy'. This is such a popular perfume, and a favourite with many. I think I am onto my 3rd or 4th bottle. I also bought a set in Florida which had 2 mini, hand-bag sized ones too, so yeah, I guess it could be a slight obsession! Overall, I do love the Juicy Couture brand, aside from their tracksuits. Although they seem to be so popular, I find them a little overrated and tacky. Their handbags are gorgeous though, and last year treated myself to one and I'm still in love with it to this day! Anyway, getting a little off track here, back to the perfume! Okay, so the main ingredient in 'Viva La Juicy' is red berries. It contains some really sweet-smelling ingredients such as vanilla and caramel. But also contains jasmine, sandalwood and mandarin. I really would encourage you to pop into a department store such as Debenhams or John Lewis and give it a smell if you haven't tried it before. It is a fairly strong scent, so if you do prefer lighter, fresher smelling frangrances- this maybe isn't for you. I would say it sways more to a night time scent due to the strength of the scent, although I wear it both day and night because I love it so much. You don't need to keep applying it through out the day either- once you have sprayed it- it really will last all day long. 

If you do like the scent but would prefer it in a much more lighter and fresher scent- then fear not! Juicy Couture has brought out 'Viva La Juicy La Fleur'. Made with white berries instead of red- making it a more delicate scent. It's also more of a floral scent in comparison with the sweet, fruitiness of the original 'Viva La Juicy. 

 Viva La Juicy- from £29.00 

    Viva La Juicy La Fleur- from £23.00

Another favourite of mine is one of those perfumes I have just worn constantly since I was a young teenager. I love how certain perfumes can bring back memories and this one brings back loads of good memories from my teenage years- it's the famous Britney Spears- Fantasy. I'm sure this is a perfume lots of you girls wore throughout your childhood- it seemed like it was everyone's favourite perfume for years! I love both the original Fantasy, as well as Midnight Fantasy- both smell lovely, not to mention the gorgeous jeweled bottles they come in! The original Fantasy scent contains jasmine, white orchid, kiwi and musk. The Midnight Fantasy fragrance is much more fruitier in comparison- with notes of black cherry, plum, vanilla and amber, it really is a sweet and fruity perfume. Both these fragrances are easy to get hold of and are available in stores such as Superdrug and Boots- as well as online and in department stores. If you are a fan of these perfumes, they have just brought out a combination of the two, called Fantasy Twist! It's a sphere shaped bottle which splits in half. Half Fantasy, other half, Midnight Fantasy. You get 30ml of each fragrance so it's perfect if you want the best of both worlds without paying for 2 separate bottles!

Britney Spears 'Fantasy'- from £17.00

Britney Spears 'Midnight Fantasy'- from £15.00

Britney Spears 'Fantasy Twist'- £25.50

I had been wanting to try out the famous 'Pink Sugar' perfume by Aquolina. It seems to be so popular, especially across in the States, but being in the UK, it isn't as readily available. I first tried it in a Sephora store on holiday. WOW, this perfume is divine! It's just my kind of scent. It smells of all things sweet and sugary (hence the name!) The packaging is very eye catching- very cute and girly. Now, although I do tend to sway more towards sweeter fragrances, this is VERY sweet so you do only need a tiny spray and that will last you from day into evening. It is a little on the pricey side, but since you only need to use a small amount, the bottle will last you for ages. When it's first sprayed, you get a strong candyfloss smell, but this calms down to a more creamier vanilla scent. If you like that sweet, cupcake sort of smell, this is worth a try. Although it isn't a perfume I wear every single day, I do still love it and definitely deserves it's place in my top favourite perfumes!

Aquolina 'Pink Sugar'- from £30.00

Last, but by no means least is the final favourite in my top perfumes. It's Marc Jacob's 'Daisy- Eau So Fresh'. Now I know this is completely different to the sweet, sugary perfumes I have spoke about up until now and I genuinely surprised myself that I loved this scent so much. Floral's are usually my least favourite fragrance but for some reason, I absolutely love this! The original 'Daisy' perfume is a little too strong for my liking, and much prefer this lighter scent. The bottle is what caught my eye in the first place. A stunning bottle with a large daisy for the lid and it's pink! It's just everything girly. With notes of pear, raspberry, grapefruit and plum, it definitely contains that fruityness I love in perfumes- which I think is the main reason I love it so much. It's a perfect perfume to wear everyday and again, it's really long lasting! I love when you can still smell your perfume hours after you sprayed it, and it still smells just as good! 

Marc Jacobs 'Daisy Eau So Fresh'- from £47.50

Okay, so that's a list of my favourite perfumes! I could list SO many more but wanted to keep it nice and short. Like I said, I know these perfumes aren't to everyone's taste but I love trying out new perfumes, especially if it's one I didn't think I'd particularly enjoy, you never know, you might be pleasantly surprised! Let me know what your favourite perfumes are! :) 

Lots of Love

Lauren. xx

Monday, 19 November 2012

Rambling Mondays!

Afternoon everyone! Hope you all had a lovely weekend :) I feel like I've been on the go non-stop since Friday! I've been slaving over a hot stove cooking up some tasty treats. On Saturday my family had a small birthday meal for my dad. I made a delicious Thai green curry followed by a dessert of white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake- all made from scratch. I was rather impressed with the turn out if I do say so myself. Cooking is another passion of mine, although Jamie Oliver, I am not. I wish I was one of those amazingly fantastic cooks though.

Sunday consisted of me going out to work to do a few bits and bobs. I don't usually work weekends, however, there is the odd occasion I need to pop out for an hour or so to get things done. For those of you who don't know, I work on a Royal Marine base. I love my job (It's basically a 2 minute drive from where I live so means I can roll out of bed at half 7 in time for starting at 8!) In all seriousness though, I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who risks there own lives in order to defend our country. I work in the Naafi (which is basically just the shop) and hear the most amazing stories about being out at war and some of the things these people have gone through is incredible. I do occasionally do bar work too if there is a function on, so bits and pieces here and there.

I feel like Monday is my day for rambling the most random things?! Maybe it's because I don't tend to get time to blog over the weekend so feel like I need to talk to you all and let you all know what's been going on- I don't know. But I hope you don't mind these kind of posts. 

I'm trying to re-assess my blog and see what I'd like to do with it. I love blogging so, so much. But I feel as though my blog, being called 'The Beauty Box' limits my posts to being solely about, well, beauty. I'd like to do more posts about just life in general as well as beauty too. What d'you guys think?! Let me know! :)

Last night me and my boyfriend had a lovely, well-deserved cosy night in, snuggled up in front of the t.v for hours on end. We watched Home Alone! I love those films and it has got me feeling so Christmassy! To make things even better, Fred Clause is on next Sunday which I will definitely be tuning in to watch. I could sit and watch Christmas movies all day long. They are such happy, feel good movies which just make you smile from ear to ear. It's strange too because although I have watched Home Alone along with every other Christmas film a zillion times, and probably own most of them on DVD, I will still look forward to watching them when they are played on tv, does anyone else do this?! Strange! 

Anyway, I feel like I am rambling on a little bit so will love you and leave you all there. Please let me know if you would like more personal blog posts- I really want to give you guys exactly what you want to read! :)

Lots of love- 

Lauren. xx

Thursday, 15 November 2012

My Winter Essentials

Hello again ladies! Yet another blog post from me today (too much time on my hands this afternoon and far too cold to venture off outside!) This is going to be my essentials for this Winter!

First up is a good lip balm! I don't suffer from chapped lips but they do tend to go that little bit drier over the Winter months so I like to keep them hydrated with a good lip balm. My favourite's are ones from the company Balmi. If you have ever saw/tried the lip balms from EOS- then they are pretty much identical. I bought two EOS lip balms when I was in America and although I did really like them at first, they seemed to go off and begin to taste odd really quickly! I know they are such a popular brand and their products are lovely but I maybe just had bad luck with the ones I got! Anyway, Balmi is basically just an identical balm to EOS. The whole concept is the same, except, the Balmi lip products have the most delicious smell/taste to them and it really lasts! I first tried them when my mum received a blackcurrant one in her Joliebox. I loved it so much that I went out and bought my own! Mines is in the flavour raspberry- they also do them in mint, coconut, strawberry, and of course blackcurrant. Really hydrating on the lips as well as making them taste delicious all day long. 10/10 product for me! 

Balmi lip balms- £4.99 Boots

Another essential for me this Winter is candles! Nothing can beat a lovely smelling candle on these cold, dark nights. I have loads of candles that I love using and it's difficult to just choose one! Yankee candles are a fantastic brand and the quality of these candles are so high. I really love the Vanilla and Lime one and Christmas Cookies, which is just the same fragrance as Vanilla Cupcake! They also do reed diffusers and car air-fresheners in the scents of their candles too which I love! Lily Flame is probably my ultimate favourite candle brand though. I buy mine from Amazon and they range in price- anywhere from about£7-£10. My favourite scent is 'Fairy Dust'. This is the perfect girly scent! It smells really sweet and sugary but also has a tiny hint of a perfume and powdery scent too, it's gorgeous!

Lily Flame candle in 'Fairy Dust'- £8 Amazon

I like to use a nice, thick body butter on my skin during Winter to keep my skin soft, and hydrated. Again, I have many favourites when it comes to body butters. Soap & Glory's famous 'Righteous Butter' is a winner with many people, and I too really love it. It has that signature Soap & Glory scent to it, its non greasy and leaves your skin feeling ahhhmazing! Body Shop body butters are again, another firm favourite with many, but they can be a little bit on the pricey side. A good cheaper alternative is the Boots own brand. They do a range of products and part of their line is body butters. They are a nice, thick consistency and smell divine. My favourite has to be the 'Mango and orange blossom'. It just smells like a really creamy mango sorbet or yoghurt, it's lovely! I used it throughout Summer, and it worked really nicely on my skin, so I have re-purchased it for Winter too! Although it's not a very wintery scent, it's still really nice and fresh, and leaves your skin smelling like mango's all day long!

Mango & Orange blossom body butter- £3.05 Boots

Although it's not necessarily something that should be done in only Winter, I like to use a good hair mask to keep it silky and soft and this Winter I have really been enjoying keeping my hair in good condition. I have been using the Dove hair care line and really can't fault it! It smells heavenly! I use their colour radiance shampoo and conditioner, followed by the intensive treatment a couple of times per week. My hair is in the best condition yet and I think it is down to these little miracle workers! 

Dove hair therapy in colour radiance- starting from £2.49

My final essential for Winter is none other than a good hot chocolate! I'm not a huge tea or coffee drinker so for me, hot chocolate is my Winter drink! Of course it has to include some whipped cream and marshmallows too right?! 

mmmm, yummy!

What are you all loving this Winter?

Lots of Love,
Lauren. xx

Guide To: Christmas Shopping Online

Yes that's right- I have started blogging about Christmas before we have even hit December! I am such a lover of Christmas though- forever a big kid at this time of year! In this blog I want to give you a help with your Christmas shopping to make it easier for you to relax and enjoy the run up to Christmas day.

I am already underway with this years shopping and although I wish I had been this ultra prepared years ago, in truth I haven't, but learned the hard way! I'm one of those people who can spend weeks looking online at presents but keep holding off actually buying incase I see something else I'd rather get. This then makes it too late for ordering anything from the internet, as you always need to allow for longer delivery time during December with the Christmas rush and then you need to make a decision- do you risk ordering something and it not being here in time for Christmas, or do you just leave it and go into town to face the mad last minute shoppers in the hope you will manage to pick up something decent that hasn't already sold out? Neither of these options sound appealing to me, yet every year up til now, it's something I've always had to ask myself. 

So basically, if you're like me and prefer to do most/all of your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your cosy home, then I would seriously recommend that you start soon if not now! The reason I say this is because most websites have all their good deals for Christmas up during the month of November but then remove them throughout December. This basically is just a way for them to make a lot of money over the festive period. Also, by ordering gifts now, you get first pick of what you want to order and don't have to worry too much about 'out of stock' items. A few good websites and deals I have been loving and buying from right now are - I know this is just Superdrug and you can pop into your local store. The reason I have used their website is because my local store is tiny and doesn't stock their full range of products, so for me, online is better. They have a wide range of Christmas gift sets and fragrance gift sets- definitely worth a look.

Current Offers:
- 3 for 2 across all lashes and cosmetics.
- Free standard delivery on all orders up until the 4th December.
- Better than half price across selected fragrances.
- 3 for 2 across selected Christmas gift sets.
- They also have offers across selected hair care and skin care if you need to stock up for the festive period. - Again, this is purely just because my local Boots store hasn't got a wide variety to choose from so I do prefer the online shop for certain things.

Current Offers: 
- The famous 3 for 2 mix and match across toys and gift sets.
- Up to half price off over selected fragrances.
- Savings on electrical products.

The 3 for 2 on gift sets is always so popular and tends to sell out really quickly. The products and discounts are always really good value for money and this year is no different. I would really encourage you to pop across to their website and have a good look around- there is definitely something for everyone. - You can find everything on here! From beauty to clothing, toys, shoes and electrical's, this place has it all. 

Current Offers:
- Free standard delivery on all orders
- Up to half price on women's dresses (Perfect for the party season)
- Up to 25% off every department
- 10% off all beauty and fragrance - Perfect no matter what you are searching for! You can always grab a bargain as well as find some really quirky gifts. I love browsing on here and seeing what interesting things I can find! - Okay so this is just your standard go to website! Amazon has everything and at really affordable prices too! One of my favourite websites!

So I hope this has helped a little with your Christmas shopping, or maybe you just want to take advantage of these different offers for yourself. I have definitely been making the most of Superdrug's 3 for 2 across cosmetics and lashes- stocking up for all those Christmas parties! Let me know your favourite place to shop for Christmas- I'd love to hear from you!

Upcoming Festive Blog Posts
(Don't worry, there will be PLENTY of non-festive posts in between, I just thought I'd carry the theme on in this post and let you know what to expect from my blog from now until Christmas)

- Christmas Gift Guide: Present idea's for him and for her.
- Festive Fashion: Idea's to get you ready for that Christmas party.
- Festive Giveaway: To thank all of the lovely people who support my blog.
- Christmas Shopping Haul: To show you all what I have bought for my loved ones this year.
- Bake With Me: Baking up some tasty festive treats.
- My Top Christmas Movies: self-explanatory!

If you have any more requests, let me know!

Lots of love,
Lauren xx

Saturday, 10 November 2012

My October Joliebox

Afternoon ladies!

So I mentioned in yesterday's blog that I'd be doing a review on my first ever Joliebox which I received towards the end of October. I figured this would be the best time to give a good thorough review as I've been testing out the products for almost a full month now.

Okay, so first up, was the Jason- 'Lips Bee Healthier' lip balm. This smells exactly like After Eight chocolate mints, mmm! I have never heard of the brand Jason before but that's partly why I enjoy these beauty boxes so much. You learn about brands that you typically wouldn't buy. Jason is a natural beauty company and their products are free of parabens, lanolin, 
petroleum and all other fillers- so this product is 100% natural. The lip-balm uses beeswax and vitamin E to help re-hydrate lips. I did find it really moisturising and has been preventing my lips from getting dried out during the cold weather. It feels lovely when applied to the lips and isn't greasy at all! Great product. 

Jason 'Lips Bee Healthier' Beeswax Lip balm 

The next product I received in my box was the 'Lov is beautiful' organic teabags. The tea is made up with a blend of natural peach, mango, apricot and pineapple. The tea bag itself is made from muslin cloth and can be re-used 2-3 times depending on how strong you like your tea. It is also full of skin boosting anti-oxidants which is a bonus. They are available in other blends too: 
'Love is Zen'
'Lov is Good'
'Lov is Pure' 

'Lov is Beautiful' organic tea bags.

I received a sample for Iroisie's 'Soin Parfait Ultimate BB Cream'. Although this is designed as an anti-aging BB cream, it is suitable for all ages. It is made from natural pigments and has an SPF of 25- which is fantastic. BB creams can be used as a primer, concealer, foundation- or all 3. It is designed to re-hydrate the skin, hide any blemishes, smooth out the look of fine lines and hides tired looking skin, making it look radiant and flawless. I like how you can build up the coverage if you need a little bit extra, or you can wear it light but it still keeps your skin looking great. It also has powerful anti-oxidants which can help treat blemish-prone skin. 

Iroisie 'Soin Parfait Ultimate BB Cream'

I received a full size exfoliating product. It is the Ritessens Exfoliating, Regenerating Facial Care. Again, another natural product which uses the benefits from plants as the ingredients. High in argan oil, this exfoliator deeply cleans the skin without stripping it of it's natural oils. It smell's very fresh and clean. My skin feels refreshed but still moisturised after using this. The exfoliator itself is very light and gentle and leaves the skin looking lovely and radiant. 

Ritessens Exfoliating, Regenerating facial care.

The final product in my box was The Green Balm from the brand MOA. It can be used by the whole family, even those with super sensitive skin. It's an all round balm, and can be used to treat dry skin, burns or scarring. The balm is infused with organic yarrow which works wonders in repairing everything from ashy elbows and knees, irritated cuticles and brittle hair. Again, the product smells lovely and fresh. I did find it was a little greasy when applied, however if you are using it to treat a skin-condition I would recommend that you apply it at night to allow it to absorb right into the skin and work it's wonders. 

Moa- The Green Balm

So that's my round-up of October's Joliebox. I'm already excited to see what November's box holds! Let me know if you'd like to see more posts like this- reviewing my monthly boxes? Let me know in the comments below!

Hope your having a lovely weekend everyone! xx