Christmas, Seasonal Beauty

Cruelty Free Advent Calendars for 2018

Beauty based advent calendars have become ever more popular in the last few years and brands are not disappointing with their offerings for those of us looking Cruelty Free and/or vegan options this year.

It’s always advisable to buy early as many of the best beauty advent calendars will sell out early and I am desperately trying to work out which one I should go for this year.  I have compiled a top 10 – perhaps you can help me pick!


1. Elemis (£150 with £347 of contents)

I was super excited to see this one advertised in early September.  It’s an online exclusive and packed full of amazing travel size products as well as a full size Marine Cream.  If you enjoy quality skincare then this could be the one calling to you provided you are happy going big budget and having a veggie friendly option (It may be vegan but you would need to double check the individual ingredients).


2 – Revolution (£120 – contains £149 of product)

At the time of writing, this calendar is reduced to £80 on the Superdrug website, further incentive to buy early.  If you love going out over the festive period and going glam with your make-up then this calendar will have you sorted.  More make-up than you could shake a stick at and a wide variety of products to work your way through.


3. Make Up Revolution (£50)

As with the last one, this one is currently reduced to £30 on the Superdrug Website.  Again it is packed full of make-up.  Less in the way of palettes but still lots of variety for the cost.

revolution 2

4. 12 Days of Liz Earle (£80)

Okay, so not strictly a full advent calendar but Liz Earle is another cruelty free skincare brand I love.  At £80 it is much less than the Elemis one, though with half the products it’s arguably no better value, just kinder to the pocket in the short term.

My top tip would be if you are holding off on buying just yet, watch out for the Boots extra points events because you could end up getting £10+ back in points with this purchase.  This is another veggie friendly company but some products contain honey and beeswax so please double check if buying for a vegan.



5. Superdrug Bloom 12 Days Perfume Advent Calendar (£24)

VEGAN ALERT – this one is for you.  Bloom perfumes are all vegan friendly and this was such a popular advent calendar last year that I couldn’t not put it on this years list.  This contains 12 x 8ml bottles and offers you the chance to try a good variety of their range.  Perfect if you enjoy trying lots of different fragrances or like to wear different scents to fit different moods.

At the time of writing, this too is half price and retailing for £12


6. Bloom 25 days Candle Advent Calendar (£24)

Oh I am a big lover of a scented candle, are you?  If so then this boy is the one for you.  There are 6 different scents with 4 tea lights in each scent.  There is also a tea light holder (I assume on day one?) to pop them all into.  Without a doubt a great way to keep your house smelling magical over the Christmas season.  It’s vegan friendly and reduced to £12 at the moment, I will definitely be grabbing one of these!


7. The Body Shop (£45, £65 and £99)

Every year The Body Shop knock it out of the park with a choice of 3 advent calendars to suit a variety of pockets and are veggie friendly.  Each one is worth around double the value you pay and the come filled with delightful goodies (most in mini sizes) to give you the chance to pamper yourself and try loads of new products.


8. Bare Minerals, Out of this World (£79 worth £281)

This is without a doubt amazing value for money.  Bare Minerals have opted for minis to let us try as many products as possible while keeping the price relatively low.  People who use Bare Minerals in my experience normally swear by the whole range, so this could be a great gift if you have a Bare Minerals lover in your house.

Bare Minerals

9. Charlotte Tilbury, Magic Beauty Universe (£150)

Charlotte Tilbury always make their packaging look magical and this one follows that trend.  This one isn’t available until October 4th and after the success of last years Naughty and Nice Magic Box I would put money on it selling out very quickly so please put it in the diary if you want this one!

I haven’t seen a list of contents yet but it will certainly be a very luxurious mixture of treats to indulge yourself on the run up to Christmas.

Charlotte tilbury

10. Hotel Chocolat, The Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar (£12.50)

Okay, if you REALLY want chocolate then who am I to argue.  Hotel Chocolat have this cracking dark chocolate one available that is vegan friendly to let you count down the days munching your way through chocolate penguins, snowmen and Christmas trees.  Winner!

Hotel Chocolat


So hit me, have any of these caught your eye?  Or any tips of what cruelty free delights you are planning to go for this Christmas?

Emmy x


Beauty haul| The Body Shop Sale June 2018

I work a few doors down from The Body Shop in Newry and so I like to dander down on my lunch break to see what they have going on.  This week thanks to Instagram story mode I seen they had some items heavily reduced and made a bee line down to try and grab a bottle of Red Musk which was only £2!

Sadly when I got there all that was left of the Red Musk was the tester and they had sold out.  Gutted, it was a beautiful fragrance. I love anything musky and wear their Black Musk regularly.  It’s my mums fault really, she liked White Musk when I was younger and so any musky smell now just draws me in.


However, they had some Fijian Lotus Water in 100ml bottles down to £9 which is a great price for that volume of perfume so I grabbed it.  It isn’t at all musky and is much fresher to wear and I can see it being a great scent for me to wear during the summer.  I would compare it to the original Christina Aguilera perfume which I used to wear religiously in my early 20’s.

I’m sure many of you have used Instablur right?  But have you ever used the eye version before?  Because you should definitely give it a go sometime.  And by sometime I mean now because it is currently £1.  I still have some of mine left but for £1 I couldn’t not buy another tube.  This stuff comes out of the nozzle like a paste, you then blend the paste into your skin and it helps to fill in any fine lines and conceal any dark circles under the eyes at the same time.  Genius right?


I then impulse bought these little beauties.  This is Fresh Sorbet Blush in Cuban Watermelon and Lychee Blossom.  They had 5 or 6 colour shades available in my local store and as tempted as I was to buy one of each of them due to them also being reduced to £1, I stayed sensible and only grabbed 2.  One in a warmer shade for when I have tan on and one in a cooler shade for when I am my pale Irish self.


I did not however expect them to be a liquid!  I totally thought they would be a solid cream blush so this was a curve ball for me.  The colours are beautiful with a great pigment and if you can excuse the poor quality of the photo below, it will at least give you an idea of what it looks like on the skin.


I applied the cream quite heavily to show you the shade on my skin but you would of course blend them in to your own requirements when applying on your face.  As a side note, this smells pretty amazing too.  Weirdly not too dissimilar to the perfume I picked up!


The last item I grabbed was the Tea Tree Flawless BB Cream in shade 01.  This purchase wasn’t for me but for my eldest small person.  She is just about to start big school after the summer and wanted to feel a bit more grown up with some make-up of her own.  While I in no way think she needs make-up, nor will I be buying her a wide range, I felt this was a good compromise to start her with.  The tea tree will be great for helping keep any blemishes at bay and the BB cream will keep her skin hydrated as well as adding a bit of colour to keep her happy.


They had so many items in the sale at great prices, I stayed away from the shower gels and body butters due to having an immense amount to use up at home already but if you need some it is worth checking them out as they had loads available.

Let me know if you hit their sale and what you thought of what you got.  I always love getting inspired by other peoples shopping!


Beauty Review | The Body Shop, Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask

The Body Shop are champions against testing and I love that it is easy to walk in and pick anything up to try without having to check if the product is suitable for veggies and cruelty free.

For the last couple of months I have been using the Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask on and off and feel it’s time to offer you a proper review.

It comes in this pretty simple but elegant box and they do a matching eye mask in the same kind of box if you wish to be super dedicated to your night routine.  I have chosen to use this 2 or 3 times a week and love that the inside of the box offers advice on how to apply the mask and massage it into the skin for anyone feeling uncertain.


The mask itself has a jelly like consistency which might look a little strange first time you try it.  Fear not though, it melts onto your skin as soon as you start to massage it in.  I do find it leaves a tacky feeling on my skin until it has been given plenty of time to dry.

Ingredient wise it contains Organic Babassu Oil which is rich in vitamin E, fatty acids and antioxidants, making it great as an anti-aging ingredient.  It also has Edelweiss again high in antioxidants to reverse the signs of aging.

So the big question is, does it really work?  Well, I will say that on the mornings after I have used it my skin DOES look smoother and more plump.  Is this a short term illusion or is it preventing aging long term? Who knows.  Downside is I do get the odd break out if I use it too often.  I actually acquired 2 extra jars of the mask because 2 co-workers had the same problem with break outs (great for me but not so much for them as it costs £25 a pot).

The Body Shop do offer samples so if you are unsure if you want to commit to this product, call in and get a small amount to try and if you find you enjoy the effects as much as I do, I am sure you will be running back to give them your money.

Mask and box

This product is vegan friendly and costs £25 from The Body Shop and don’t forget to use their Love Your Body card to earn reward points!




Beauty Review| The Body Shops Vitamin C exfoliators



I was lucky enough to be gifted these products from a friend last week and  I decided to give them both a go so I could compare their effects.

The first one I tried was the Glow Revealing Liquid Peel.  This is supposed to lift any pollutants that are sitting on the surface of our skin.  I applied it but when I started to massage it in for it to form clumps that I could brush/take off my skin I realised I was actually pulling the hairs on my face with it and it pinched!  I grabbed a wash cloth and even then I still found it really difficult to remove those balls of product as they were almost glued onto any downy hairs on my face.

A few days later I gave the Glow Boosting Microdermabrasion exfoliator a go.  This is more like a traditional scrub.  It has very fine particles and ground garnet (my birth stone ironically) to exfolite the skin thoroughly.  I REALLY liked this one.  It felt like it gave my face a really good scrub and my skin was left both soft and smoother to the touch after using it.

I did have a moment of “oh my gosh I didn’t check if this has microbeads!” but you will be glad to know The Body Shop do not use any plastic microbeads in their exfoliators, winner!

Overall I really can’t see how the Glow Revealing Liquid Peel has such amazing reviews, it has a 4.5 out of 5 on their website and that leaves me baffled because I just really couldn’t get on with this product (and neither could my friend which is why he gave it to me).  I can however see why the Glow Boosting Microdermabrasion has a 5 out of 5 on their website!  Hands down love it and would 100% recommend it to anyone looking to try it.

beauty, Christmas

The Body Shop Opening, Newry (and a mini haul)

Nothing is more exciting than going into a beauty store and knowing EVERYTHING is cruelty free and suitable for vegetarians.  Yesterday The Body Shop opened in The Quays in Newry, so clearly I took  dander down on my lunch break to see what the craic was and of course to buy a few bits while I was there.

store front 2

The main display as I walked in were their body butters.  I guess it’s one of the things they are best known for.  Not something I have ever gone in to purchase but I can appreciate that if you love a good fruity fragranced body butter that The Body Shop is a good place to go.

body butters

I do however really rate their makeup range and what I really wanted was to get a new foundation brush and one of their Star Stamp Liners.  I spent a bit of time looking at their cosmetics on my own and one of their sales assistants then came to chat to me.  Asking me what I wanted and showing me stuff.  She was very lovely to chat to and she was keen to share with me her favorite products (a tea tree spot treatment if you are wondering) she was talking to me about the brushes but as I already have almost all of them there really was only one I wanted which was the foundation buffing brush.  I then asked for the stamper as I couldn’t see it but sadly they didn’t have any and aren’t sure when they will be getting them in.  I really wanted the free gift and so I decided to buy some InstaBlur to try out, it was then I was advised both the items I had picked were on 3 for 2… so I had to pick another item.  Gosh it was hard to actually pick a 3rd item, which tells me I really didn’t need/want anything else but in the spirit of getting an item free I picked one of their new cleansers to try.

In between the cleansers and the makeup they had this little table and I have to say I really liked the make-up station.  I can imagine it would be great for somebody who wasn’t sure what makeup they wanted and really needed to see it on.

Make up station

They had 2 or 3 stations on each side of the shop highlighting some key products and the Love Your Body offer of “Spend £25 and get this £20 gift free”.  The gift being a full size Vanilla Pumpkin body butter and matching shower gel.

I was a little surprised to see gifts reduced in price and put on sale for their opening event.  With Christmas coming up it doesn’t strike me as a time when a store needs to put things on sale, especially when it’s a store that already has some great offers with 3 for 2 and free gifts with a £25 spend.  I’m sure some customers were thrilled to nab a bargain though.

The product that seemed to be doing most of the pulling was their Vanilla Pumpkin body butter.  It was on prominent display and also a product that was in the free gift.  From speaking to people whom I knew were excited for the opening, I also know this is one of the products they were most excited to try.  To me it smelt a bit like a sweet latte from Starbucks.  It wouldn’t be something I would use, however I can again see why other people like it and it will make for a fab Christmas gift.

Christmas Body Butter 3

When I got to the till I handed over my 3 items and the lady serving me (I actually think it was the manager) was a bit confused using the till system.  She wasn’t sure if my 3 for 2 offer had gone through and had to get a girl who I assume was over to train them to come check.  Thankfully it had gone through and my total spend was £29 so I dutifully handed over my Love Your Body card to get my free gift (It was also double points if you were shopping yesterday and today).

And there we have it, my mini haul of 5 items which involved a spend of £29 to get £61 worth of products.  Bargain!  But you want to know what I make of them all right?

Well, the foundation brush is pretty amazing.  I used it to apply my foundation this morning and it not only did a great job but felt insanely soft.  It’s part of why I love brushes by The Body Shop – they always feel amazing on the skin and do a good job. Back when I was training in beauty I would only keep cruelty free brushes in my kit and it was hard to find a company offering quality brushes that didn’t cost a bomb.  I was over the moon that The Body Shop fitted the bill and have been converting people to their brushes ever since.  The InstaBlur primer is also pretty good.  It makes my skin feel silky and makeup glide on easier.

I feel a little indifferent about the Drops of Light Pure Clarifying Foam Wash.  It cleans my face okay and it smells pleasant but it just wouldn’t be something that leaves my skin feeling “oh wow!” to make me want to buy it again.

So that’s that.  The Body Shop is now open in Newry and it offers the same stable, fragrant range we all have come to expect from them along with pleasant customer service.   Now for them to hurry up and get the eye stamper I want in time for me to wear over the Halloween and Christmas period.


beauty, Christmas

The best cruelty free advent calendars for 2017

I get it, it’s only October and you don’t want to think about Christmas yet BUT if you want one of the really good beauty advent calendars you generally need to get in there early to avoid disappointment because some of them are already selling out!

I have been browsing my favorite brands and here are my top suggestions for Cruelty Free Beauty advent calendars for 2017.

The Body Shop, £45-£99 (Vegetarian)

These guys have not one, not two but three options ranging from £45 – £99 depending on the budget you want to stick to.  The great thing with these ones is you get more product value than you pay for the calendar.  There are however none suitable for vegans which is a real shame when they had 3 boxes to play with.


Lush, £67.50 (Vegan)

Lush gift boxes are always beautiful at Christmas and this year is no exception.  The 2017 range again includes the 12 days of Christmas which is as aesthetically pleasing as always and vegan friendly.  At £67.50 it does work out more than buying the products individually but if like me you love the boxes and reuse them then it’s a winner!


Sleek, £35 (Vegetarian)

This one looks like it has already sold out but may still be available in your store if you are lucky.  It is also part of their popular Christmas 3 for 2 mix and match. Packed with loads of beautiful cosmetics it’s a sure fire winner for anyone who loves makeup treats and also contains some exclusive items!



NYX, £50 (Vegetarian)

Lip lovers rejoice, this advent calendar by NYX is for you.  24 lipsticks to see you through the Christmas season and more with a variety of colours and textures to suit everyone.


Soap and Glory, £40 (not vegetarian or vegan)

Also taking part in the Boots 3 for 2 offer is the Soap and Glory “it’s a calendar, girls” which is filled with sweet smelling delights.  All items are minis and perfect for anyone who likes to try smaller sizes of new products or for putting into your travel bag.


Revolution, £50 – currently on offer for £30 in Superdrug (Unsure)

Perfect selection of makeup for a beauty enthusiast with this calendar containing a range of products for the face, eyes and lips.  If you love your hilighters then I also feel this will be a winner for you.


Revolution, £120 currently on offer for £70 in Superdrug (Unsure)

Say what now? Revolution again? Well, yes.  They also have this fabulous Christmas Tree advent calendar available with a great range of makeup and brushes hidden in its boxes.


Charlotte Tilbury, £150 (would be vegan if it weren’t for the lip colours)

Another 12 day option with beautiful high end products.  Note that they sometimes use carmine (yuck!) And i believe they use it in the lip colours.  Fine if you just want cruelty free, not so much for veggies and vegans.


Superdrug Bloom, £24 but currently on offer for £12 (vegan)

12 days of new fragrances with this cute little offering from Superdrug.  Perfect if you aren’t looking any new makeup but enjoy trying new scents.


Superdrug Studio London festive as beauty, £16 currently on offer for £8 (vegetarian)

If you don’t want to commit to a big spend on a cosmetics advent calendar then this is a great option with lots of fun cosmetics to try out.  It contains everything from eyeshadow quads to mascara and lip gloss.  I’d say It would also be perfect for a teenager starting to experiment with make-up.



Bare Minerals box of wonders, £75 (shockingly neither vegetarian nor vegan!)

Amazing value for money as it contains £238 worth of product.  A 24 day calendar and a must for any Bare Minerals devotee.  It’s such a shame it includes Carmine or I think this would have been my first choice of advent calendar for 2017!


Mini haul from the Body Shop – product reviews.


On Saturday I popped into the Body Shop while I was in Belfast. I had intended to attend their vegan event in the morning but due to the bad weather decided I would wait until later in the day before driving up.

What I really wanted was to try their new clay based foundation that I had been reading about. I had the double buggy with me and I don’t know if you have ever tried shopping on a Saturday in Belfast with a double buggy…. but its hard to get around! I was so pleased when one of the staff came over right away to give me a hand with trying on the foundations and quickly sorting out which one matched my skin colouring. As you can see, I ended up a 014 which was the 3rd colour up in the range. That actually had me worried I was picking the wrong shade as I am normally the lightest shade in all brands but when she applied it to my face I could see it was spot on and bought it with confidence.


This product gives a medium coverage with a long lasting effect on reducing the shine factor for those of us with oily or combination skin. I had read prior to buying this product that it needs applied quickly to the skin before it starts to dry which was really useful to know for my first application. So pleased with the results and while I do get a little shine by the end of the day if I don’t apply a powder over it, it’s nothing my NYX powder doesn’t prevent.

When I was in, a whole lot of products in the store were on 3 for 2 which swayed me to browse on and grab a few more things. I had been after a new lipstick for a while after seeing a girl in work wearing “Snob” by Mac. It looks beautiful on her and although I rarely wear lipstick I really wanted something in a similar colour with a matte effect but it had to be cruelty free (which if you are not aware, Mac are not).


I spotted this little beauty which is perhaps a little pinker than Snob. Thinking about it, I really will have to bring it into work and do a proper comparison with my friends lipstick, I’ll be sure to update you with the results. This shade is Honolulu Pink Matte.

For somebody who doesn’t wear lipstick often, I did find it a little drying on the lips and applied lip balm over it which kind of defeated the matte effect but as a lip balm addict, I really can’t tolerate a dry lip sensation. It is a really pretty colour when applied and not too much pinker than my natural lip colour which is exactly the kind of look I was after.


If you follow me on Instagram (which you should btw and can do so here) then story mode will often feature me wearing face masks. I work for Lush and I am a big fan of their masks but thought I would give this one a try. It applied really easily, smells lovely and if you love a clay mask that drys then this will be great for you but I found it almost dried to the point of causing discomfort on my skin. It also left my cheeks looking flush after it was removed and I am in no way sensitive to products normally. Actually, I’m normally super tolerant. I will however still use it again but for mask mapping, applying only to my nose and t-zone. It’s not a bad product, it just isn’t a product that I would necessarily buy again.

British Rose Shower Gel

This was an impulse buy for Annabelle, she said she enjoyed the fragrance and would like it for swimming classes in school. While I already have a house falling down with shower gel, who was I to say no when I was getting bits for myself. In all fairness it does have a beautiful smell and as a fellow rose lover I too like it.

Aloe Roll-on Deodorant

Last but not least I decided to give this a go. My deodorant of choice is Coconut Deo by Lush which is a powder based product. I apply it in the morning but thought this might be nice to have in my bag for those days when I feel like I need a top up during the day. Powder can be messy to apply when out and about but this will be easy peasy. The lady also informed me it is aluminum free which makes it a winner in my books. I haven’t actually tried it on yet as I wont need it until Wednesday at the earliest when I am back to work but I have faith in its convenience.

Overall I was pretty pleased with my purchases and the service I received.  The girl at the till also made sure I got the best value item free on the 3 for 2 offer rather than the cheapest item (as I had 4 items from the offer in my basket) which was lovely of her to do.  I repurchased the Love Your Body card at the till (though I’m not sure they charge for it anymore as it wasn’t on my receipt?) And I am greatly looking forward to their store opening in Newry next month!