TheBalm Mary Loumanizer + September Birchbox + Discount Code!

TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
I've wanted to try the TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer since seeing Shannon Harris rave about it quite a while ago. The packaging is really fun and has a 50s style illustration on the outer box and compact showing poor Mary-Lou's mugshot after being arrested for being too pretty and too popular, which definitely makes it stand out among other products. 

Inside, the silver compact is a large mirror and 8.5g of silky slightly textured highlighter. The shade is a very peachy golden colour and, although much less yellow than other golden highlighters, it makes the rest of my highlighter collection look frosty silver or very pink. 
The powder is very fine and blends out into a lighter but very flattering colour that sits really well on my skintone. Only a small amount of the fine shimmer is needed on the face as too much can look a little too glossy, so with my heavy-handedness I use a stippling brush (my favourite for highlighters is from MUA) to create a perfectly blended sheen. You can see the powder in action in the photos above of me and my sister!

As the Mary-Lou Manizer can also be used as an eyeshadow, it can be packed onto the lid to create quite a strong colour that is definitely 'there', and I've been loving it patted onto the centre of the lid over other colours to create some lightness and dimension. It also makes a really gorgeous inner corner highlight that puts most of my other eyeshadows to shame!

TheBalm Mary Lou-Manizer can be purchased from the Birchbox website for £15.

September 'Happy Days' Birchbox
I like the brown Birchbox boxes but this lively green and pink affair would be really nice to use as storage or to make into something (I've seen ideas floating around Pinterest). The theme of this box is Happy Days and the card insert describes 5 'happy day hacks' which I think is sweet. The box also came with a Birchbox Happy Days Photo Clip (£10 for a set of 5) in a bright green colour which is currently sitting out of reach of my cats who like to play with (read: destroy) little pretty things when they get their paws/teeth on them!

Urban Fruit Magnificent Mango 100g (£13.20 for a pack of 6)
I was really hungry when I found this box behind my plant pot (thanks postman) so I ripped into this packet straight away. Then threw the empty packet in the bin because I forgot I'm a blogger and immaculate photos must be taken! While the packet is sitting in a landfill site I'm reminiscing about those big dried chunks of mango. I love dried fruit and they were soo good, especially as I'm not really allowed mango on the low FODMAP diet (boo!). 

Benefit It's Potent! Eye Cream Mini (full size £25.50)
I've tried this eye cream in the past and liked it but it started to break me out around my eyes. I already have a couple of milia that look annoyingly like sleepy dust under concealer so I think I might pass on trying this one again. However this is generous sample for eye cream and the little pot is so cute!

Premae Mild Dermabrasion Face & Body Scrub Mini (full size £25)
This dermabrasion scrub is meant to be used for the face and body, but I think I'd stick to the body with this one. This is natural, vegan and allergy-friendly so doesn't have much scent about it which I actually quite like for shower products. It doesn't feel overly grainy but which is probably why it's called a mild scrub but it's good for removing those final bits of patchy fake tan.

Agave Healing Oil Treatment Mini (£16 for 60ml) 
There are two things I know about agave- you make tequila from it, and bats use the crops to navigate in the night. Hair oil however has nothing to do with tequila or bats and instead it aims to smooth and restore hair through hydrating agave plant sugars. The oil is apparently based on a centuries old mixtec indian recipe! I thought this would smell a quiteearthy but actually it's quite fragrant and smells a bit like melon sweets, it's also not a pure oil like I was expecting but contains silicones along with fragrance and other ingredients. So far this has made my locks feel nice and smooth, plus made my hair dry quicker than normal as silicone based products tend to do. 

ModelCo PowerLash Black Mascara Mini (full size £24)
I'm a big mascara lover but this brush really scares me! It's very loaded up with product and I'm not sure how it will look on my lashes as they're easily weighed down. I haven't had the courage to try this yet but I will do soon. I'm a fan of bristle brushes but I like dry formulas so I think this mascara would be good for shorter lashes.

Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip Plumper in Rio Mini (full size £22)
When I opened the tube the first thing I thought was chocolate- this really is quite a melted chocolate colour with just a hint of red. On its own, the shade washes me out a bit and makes me look like nothing but dark lips, eyeliner and eyebrows. But with a lighter colour layered on top, it's transformed into a more wearable shade- think Rimmel 101, Mac Snob or even Sleek Minx Pout Polish to knock the brown down a little.
I've worn this a couple of times and the formula is smooth, creamy and has a satin finish. I didn't see any noticeable size difference in my lips but it does have that mild minty feeling similar to old school plumping glosses.

Birchbox have been kind enough to provide a discount code which will give £5 off your first box- use code BBX5PEARL until 6th October to take advantage of this great offer!


September Pink Parcel Box

That time of the month isn't usually something I tend to look forward to (ironic, as from about age 11 I couldn't wait for it to start!), but I was genuinely excited while waiting for my first Pink Parcel* box to arrive.

This subscription service provides a selection of women's products tailored to you, plus some special goodies and beauty treats to make you feel a bit better during that miserable time. And the best part is that the box's arrival is synched with your cycle so you always have something to look forward to while Aunt Flo is on her way! The Pink Parcel is £9.95 per month, and the first box is currently just £5.95.

The wide box grey and light pink was waiting for me behind a plant pot (thanks postman) and I was intrigued to see what I'd find inside. The first thing I came across was a little black cloth bag marked 'for now' containing four multicoloured and compact tampons to slip in my bag in preparation for 'the arrival'. I'm not sure if this is included in all boxes or only the first box of the subscription, but I really like the idea and it definitely beats having having random tampons floating about in the bottom of my bag!
The next part of the parcel was a stack of two flat grey boxes marked with 'for later'. These contained more tampons of varying absorbencies and each box contains 25 tampons in all. The ones I received are Kotex U, which are new to UK and feature a pretty snazzily designed applicator, along with cheerfully coloured outer packaging which is small and discreet.

On the Pink Parcel subscription page you can not only choose between different brands- Tampax, Kotex and Lil-Lets (non applicator), but you can also choose between individual or multi absorbencies so the box is suited to your own flow type. You also don't have to purchase an ongoing subscription- instead you can decide on a one-off box or you could even send one to a friend as a little surprise.
On to the final part of the parcel that I know you're probably most excited about- the 'for you' box! Marked with 'a little something to cheer you up', this is the box that I'd leave to delve into when I was groaning, hugging a cushion and wishing a slow death to any many or beast that happened to annoy me even a little bit.
Inside I found three full sized beauty products, a little bar of vegan chocolate, a lovely caffeine free fruit tea bag and a little voucher for a free glass of bubbly at Cafe Rouge! Seeing this on a grey September afternoon definitely did cheer me up! 

A little run down of the September products:

Witch Anti-Blemish Redness Relief Moisturiser 30ml (£6.99)
I was very surprised on trying this moisturiser to find out that it's green! I use a few Witch products regularly but I haven't come across this one before, and it's designed to fight blemishes with antibacterial and astringent Witch Hazel while balancing redness with its green tint. Only a small amount of the cream is needed (otherwise you do tend to look a little green skinned and ill) but it sinks in very easily and provides a small amount of evening of the skintone. My skin really likes witch hazel and I don't need a thick moisturiser as it's also oily, so this product has now found its way into my daily routine and I will report back soon.

Garnier 5 Sec Perfect Blur Primer 30ml (£12.99)
This is a much hyped product that claims to smooth and perfect in only 5 seconds, blurring wrinkles, shine and pores to create a smooth and diffused base. I was really excited to try this prime, and it's very silky on the skin. It really does provide a blurring effect, but I think I used the wrong amount as when I tried this on my nose my makeup had disappeared after just a few hours. I've only given it a go once so this primer will be put to the test, as lord knows my face needs some blurring!

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Maximum Volume Mascara 10.25ml (£21)
This mascara comes in a long heavy tube which definitely makes it feel high end and I was pleased to see a bristle brush instead of a fancy shaped rubber one. This gives really natural length and definition to the lashes and is easily layered (although doesn't give that much volume on its own) and it stays put really well without much flaking. This is also very easily removed with just plain water, which makes a nice change to the effort of having to remove waterproof formulas, but also means that wearing it on rainy winter days will be a no-no!

Doisy & Dam Maca, Vanilla and Cacao Nibs Organic 74% Dark Chocolate 40g (£2)
I haven't come across this brand before but if its chocolate and dairy free too then it will be in my mouth pronto! In all honestly the paper wrapper is empty in the above photo as I scoffed this right away, whoops! It was really nice though- soft, sweet not bitter, and had little crunchy bits in which was a nice surprise, will definitely be purchasing!

Teapigs Super Fruit Tea Bag (£3.99 for 15)
I don't drink normal tea so a warm cup of something herby or fuity before bed is where it's at. I find a lot of fruit teas can be a bit weak but this one is lovely and fruity, and I really want to get a box as an alternative to sugar filled berry squash.

I'm sure you can tell I'm really pleased and impressed with this month's box- it contains products that I'm guaranteed to use, along with full size samples from some well known beauty brands and a couple of extra treats too. I think the presentation is very classy but has a good mix of fun without feeling like it's aimed at teenagers.

Pink Parcel have plans to include sanitary towels as well as tampons in the near future, and my only complaint would be that they don't have a 100% cotton option as I know quite a few people who won't use anything else.
If you're into subscription boxes, want to try something new, or just need a bit of cheering up each month then I would definitely suggest taking a look at Pink Parcel!

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