I’ve tried so many beauty subscription boxes before and I’d eagerly await their arrival, but the majority of the time I’ve been disappointed with what was inside. Sample sizes and tiny foil sachets that hardly contained any product at all, most of which sat in the drawer unused. I wanted more for my money, so I simply fell out of love with beauty boxes.

I first heard about the Curated Combination Box on social media and I knew I was going to love it before it even arrived at my door!

This is totally different to any other subscription box I’ve had before, it’s run by bloggers for bloggers. They only have 30 boxes available each month, so it’s first come, first served, you need to be quick if you want to order one! Each box costs £12.50 with free delivery, unlike many other boxes that have £3.99 added on to the subscription price. I’d already decided I was going to love this beauty box when I found out it contains full size products, not mini samples! I think the creators of the Curated Combination Box saw that people weren’t happy and decided to do something about it. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m extremely excited about the wonderful goodies they’ve sent this month.

First of all, the dark chocolate coated cranberries were a very great addition to a subscription box, but they didn’t last very long, I just about managed to get a few photos before opening them and I must say they were absolutely delicious!

I was so excited to see a Make Up Geek Blusher Pan inside, as this is a brand I’ve seen so many times but never got round to trying. I was sent the shade XOXO, which is a stunning peachy pink shade. The blusher is made from tiny milled powder and feels silky soft, it’s highly pigmented so if you’re after a more softer look then apply a light dusting first. It blends really nicely, so you can always build up the colour for something a bit more dramatic.

I’m always on the look out for new hair products to keep my long hair looking good, so I was even more excited to try out the Knight & Wilson Style Freedom Beach Body Spray. Having used it once since it arrived, I have now cast my other styling products aside in favour of this one, it’s that good! It doesn’t leave my hair feeling crisp and sticky, and it has loads more volume and waves after I’d dried my hair with a diffuser. I also like that on the bottle it promises to give me mermaid hair!

The Crazy Angel Gradual Tan is a daily lotion which contains mild tanning agents to achieve a beautiful streak free tan. I’m not a great lover of full on fake tans as I always end up looking patchy, so I love the having a body lotion which is enriched with Shea Butter and Vitamin E and will build up a glowing tan gently over time. I have used it for two days so far and I can already see a slight difference to the colour of my skin, it’ll be interesting to see what shade I eventually go. However, it has left my body feeling super soft and hydrated, so from that side of it this fantastic product to use every day.

There was also a cute pink Solait Prep and Maintain Tanning Mitt to help me achieve that wonderful summer tan when I apply the Crazy Angel Gradual Tan. I thought it was pretty thoughtful of them to include the mitt inside the subscription box as I don’t need to worry about finding my own!

Last but by no means least, there was an adorable Stigu 2017 Planner. Now I love journals, notebooks, scrapbooks, to-do lists but this is all of those rolled into one. Each week has it’s own page, plus each month has a different colour and pretty design. There are 32 blank pages for you to write your own notes or doodles, it also has a blank section for each week for you to be as creative as you want to be. The bits I really love are the motivational quotes and lists to help you get through a busy or stressful week, some give you little tasks to work through to help with your well being. The planner is a decent size (24x19cm) so there’s room for just about everything you want to write down!

Overall verdict, well I’m pretty impressed with the Curated Combination subscription box and it’s incredibly good value for money considering you get full size products! If you’d like to find out when future boxes are available head over to their Twitter page or their website.

Which of these products would you love the most?

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I thought I’d let you have a look at some of the makeup products I’m using right now, they are items I use for my simple everyday summer makeup look and they are things I’ll be packing when I go on holiday this year. Some I’ve loved using for quite a while now and others I’ve only discovered recently.

When the weather’s hot the last thing I want is a layer of thick foundation and hopefuly by this time of year I will have started to get a slight tan compared to my usual pale complexion. I’ve been using No7 City Light’s Tinted Moisturiser, which has a creamy consistency but still gives me a lightweight coverage and a healthy even skin tone. I love that it’s not too heavy and it can easily be applied by blending it in with my finger tips.

I’m currently using Milani Powder Blush it is the shade Blossomtime Rose, which is a repurchase as I love it that much! The blusher has a pretty rose shape and comes in the most stunning rose gold packaging. This shade is a peachy pink colour with a slight golden highlighter, so it is perfect for summer days.

I can’t be bothered with all the contouring at the minute, so I’m using my No7 Perfectly Bronzed Bronzing Pearls to give my face a healthy holiday look. It’s highly pigmented so I only use a small amount by swirling a medium sized makeup brush across the pearls and applying the bronzer where I’d naturally catch the sun. Even if I have’t been abroad for two whole weeks, this shade certainly helps give the impression that I have!

GOSH Lumi Drops are a new discovery for me this summer and wow, I really love using them as part of my makeup routine. They came in so handy when I went away for a few days as they are so easy to apply. I simply squeeze a small drop from the bottle onto the back of my hand, use my finger tip to dot the highlighting drops on the tops of my cheek bones and just blend it in using my finger tips, no sponge required! I expected it to be be a runny consistency but it’s more like a gel, making it much easier to handle. I chose the shade Peach (004), after looking at it in the bottle I first expected it to be really dark, instead it’s a stunning pearly peachy colour and looks beautiful after I’ve blended it in. I also love that Lumi Drops are so easy to mix with my foundation or tinted moisturiser for an all over radiant glow.

Luckily at the moment I don’t need much in the way of concealer, so I’m using No7 Instant Radiance which is an old faithful of mine. I use it under my eyes to conceal any dark circles and it instantly brightens that area. It’s a light creamy formula and I find it easy to blend with either my fingers or a makeup sponge, it lasts pretty much all day and doesn’t end up looking all cakey.

I’ve never been a great fan of cream eye products, but when GOSH had a 3 for 2 offer on at Superdrug I thought I’d try out their Forever Eyeshadow Stick and I will say I’m pretty impressed. I have the shade Brown and it’s incredible, it’s creamy and so lovely to wear. On day’s where I’ve not wanted loads of eye makeup on I’ve used a little of this soft pencil on my eyelids, it’s easy to blend with either a sponge tip eye shadow applicator or just using my fingers. The colour is quite intense with a faint glittery highlighter in it, the cream eyeshadow stays put all day, even after hours on the beach on a sweltering hot day, it doesn’t smudge one bit.

I’ve been looking for a waterproof eye pencil for ages and I’ve found the perfect one. I’ve been using GOSH Velvet Touch Eyeliner in shade Black, it’s extremely pigmented. The product is super soft so it doesn’t drag the delicate skin around my eyes and I can either use a small amount just to define the shape of my eye or build it up for a more dramatic evening look. It does not smudge or fade throughout the day, it even survived me sweating on the hottest day of the year and a rain shower!

I have two favourite smaller eyeshadow palettes in my makeup bag at the minute. GOSH Eye Expression ‘Back To Nature’ Eyeshadow Palette is a set of four beautiful earthy toned shadows and is perfect for every day wear. The powder is soft and creamy but extremely pigmented so you don’t need too much, I find it blends really nicely too and doesn’t fade through the day. Another palette I’m using is the Makeup Revolution My Sign Complete Eye Wheel, which has 6 stunning shades and just about covers any look from a smoky eye to something more natural. Both eyeshadow palettes are the perfect size to take away on holiday too.

I’m currently loving GOSH Waterproof Mascara  in the shade Black, not only is a super intense black but it also still looks perfect after a few tears, getting hot and sweaty or being stuck in a heavy down pour. The wand is lovely to hold and the slim brush makes it easy to get to even the smallest of lashes. I do find I need to go back to apply a second coat sometimes but my lashes look thicker and full of volume without having any flaky bits drop onto my cheek or into my eyes.

I love wearing liquid lipsticks in the summer as they tend not to melt off in the heat compared to a moisturising lipstick. I find they apply much better if I use a lip scrub and lip balm on a regular basis to keep my lips nice and soft. Depending on my mood or the time of day I have a choice of 3 liquid lipsticks in my summer makeup bag, : GOSH Liquid Matte Lips in shade Berry Me (a stunning berry shade), Barry M Matte Me Up in shade Runway (a pinky red) and NYX Liquid Suede in shade Tea and Cookies (a pinky nude).  All of these have a sponge applicator which makes it easy to apply the lip colour, they are non drying and last pretty much all day, so I can eat or drink without having to worry about reapplying.

What products could you not live without this summer?

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As much as I love wearing my favourite Kat Von D or NYX foundations for a fuller coverage, their are some days when I just want a light makeup look, especially through the summer when even the most long lasting foundation can just slip away by the time I get home. I never wear a full face of makeup when I’m at home or away on holiday, so that’s where I find a tinted moisturiser can be just the thing I need.

I have tried quite a few tinted moisturisers from different brands over the years, they’ve either been completely the wrong shade or way too heavy I may as well have stuck with my normal foundation. I have a few days away by the sea coming up, so I’ve been testing out the Boots No7 Tinted Moisturiser and I must say I was pretty impressed!

First of all the price, it cost £13 for 50ml so it’s not on the cheaper end of the market but it not super expensive either.

When I first tested the tinted moisturiser in store the shade medium looked way too dark, I’m usually a warm ivory in my foundation, but the assistant tried some on my face and it was the perfect colour for my skin tone. There are only three shades to choose from, light, medium and medium/dark, so not a great selection and not really any good if you have darker skin.

It has SPF 15 which is great, I always use a daily moisturiser with an SPF as part of my daily skincare routine anyway, even so it’s still good to have a little extra protection in a tinted moisturiser. The UVA also helps protect the skin against ageing from the sun, yay I like this stuff already!

It aims to “Achieve sheer skin protecting colour with this tinted moisturiser, which diffuses light for enhanced radiance and a naturally flawless complection.”

The No7 City Lights Tinted Moisturiser has quite a thick consistency, I just applied a small amount using my finger tips and it smoothed over the whole of my face really well, especially over any drier patches. I definitely didn’t need to use a sponge or a brush as it blended in really well using my fingers. I wouldn’t say it gives a flawless finish, however it did even out my skin tone, giving a light coverage and generally making me look a bit more healthy.

I still had to use a concealer under my eyes and on any blemishes, which is ok if you have pretty good skin or want something with a lighter coverage, but if you’re prone to spots or have lots of blemishes then this probably isn’t the best product for you. Apart from a small amount of concealer and sweeping some bronzer across my cheeks, I didn’t use any other face products. It lasted ok and I’m sure if I had set it with a little powder then it would last a bit longer.

It’s suitable for sensitive skin, it hasn’t irritated my skin, I have tried so many products which have caused a bad reaction and luckily this one didn’t give me any problems at all.

Overall, I am so happy that I’ve found a lightweight tinted moisturiser that will even out my skin tone and make me look healthier than I do without any makeup at all. Perfect for a day at the beach!

What’s your must have makeup product for the summer months?

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We’re round to another monthly favourites post again and this month I have been trying a number of new products, luckily most of them I’ve really loved using. May was also a great month for me as I had my cousin come to stay for a long weekend, we had a fantastic time and generally enjoyed each other’s company. As much as I love her I almost feel the need to put my makeup and wardrobe under lock and key so she doesn’t help herself to my stuff without asking!

As we suddenly had a mini heatwave in the UK I wanted a body spray that would freshen me up during the day and still smell divine, not a heavy perfume. Superdrug have introduced their Layering Lab range with 6 options to choose from. You can spray two of the scents at once to create your own unique smell or just wear one on it’s own. After smelling all of them I decided to opt for Fresh which has a delicious fruity, citrus smell and it’s such a bargain at only £2.99 that I will probably purchase one of the other scents too. I’ve been wearing it almost every day and carrying in my bag for when I need to freshen up.

After being wrapped up in thick woollies for so many months, I wanted to give my body some pampering. I always suffer from dry skin on my elbows, knees and ankles but this Scrub Love Detoxifying Activated Charcoal Body Scrub from scrublove.com has really help sort those areas out.  It smells so different to what I’m used to with body scrubs, but it made my skin feel so soft and hydrated. I love that it’s 100% natural ingredients, this one contains Avocado and Aloe Vera, which are both great for dry, sensitive skin.

Who doesn’t love a good face mask as part of there weekly skincare routine. I’ve had a few break outs around my nose, chin and across my forehead, I put it down to getting hot and sweaty during the warmer weather. While I was on the Lush store stocking up on bath bombs I came across this Cupcake Mask, I think it was the name that caught my eye rather than the actual product at first because it’s actually meant for oily skin. However after trying it for a few times, I couldn’t help fall in love with it. I’ve only been applying it to areas on my skin that have had problems and it’s pretty much sorted them out. Plus it smells amazing, I had to try not to eat it!

If you’re like me and suffer from dry flaky lips occasionaly then you need to try Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub. You simply apply with your finger and gently rub it in and it leaves your lips feeling wonderfully soft and it’s completely removed any dead skin, I then just apply my favourite lip balm. It smells incredible and leaves your lips with a gorgeous sweet taste afterwards. I’ve been wearing a lot of liquid lipsticks lately and some of them can really dry out my lips, but this gorgeous scrub has made my lips feel so smooth and ready to apply whatever lip colour I’ve chosen that day.

There were some days I’ve not wanted to wear much makeup but still wanted to have a natural, summer glow. I’ve loved using these No7 Perfectly Bronzed Bronzing Pearls to give my face a nice healthy, holiday look. I use a medium sized makeup brush, swirl it over the pearls and apply to areas of my face where I want it to look as though I’ve been out in the sun. It is highly pigmented so you only need to apply a small amount if you’re pale like me. I can see I’ll be using these a lot over the coming months.

There had to be a liquid lipstick in here somewhere, didn’t there? I’ve not used many GOSH products before but after discovering I had some points on my Superdrug card I thought I’d treat myself to these gorgeous items. The Liquid Matte Me Lips is a stunning pink in shade Berry Me (no 006) and feels so lovely to wear, it’s not drying and stays on pretty much all day, The eyeshadow  is beautiful, this one is in Back To Nature (001) which has four gorgeous earthy toned shadows and is perfect for an every day look, I absolutely loved wearing all four shades.

Honestly, I cannot resist Jemma’s shop on Etsy that I have so many of her prints all over my office wall. These two stunning  copper quotes help keep me motivated every time I’ve a day when I feel I can’t achieve what I’ve set out to do, I’ve had a lot of moments like that this past month, maybe it’s the change in the weather! Anyway, I would loved to have featured all of the things I’ve had from Jemma in this month’s favourite but we’d be here all day. I can’t recommend her enough for prints, notebooks, cute trinkets and stationery. You really should have a look for yourself.

Last, but not least, this has been my favourite outfit during May. This short sleeved, knee length floral dress from Dorothy Perkins has been perfect for the gorgeous weather. It’s fitted around the top half and flares out at the waist and made of soft jersey material. I’ve worn the dress with a pair of sandals and this wonderful pinky, nude and black tote bag I got on a recent trip to Primark. The bag has two grab handles with a longer strap and inside there is one larger compartment with two zipped sections. This bag goes with so many other outfits too. On chillier days I’ve loved wearing my faithful denim jacket from GAP. It’s last years but I still get a lot of wear out of it and it just looked lovely with this dress as well as so many other items in my wardrobe this season.

What things have you been loving this month?

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I’ll be honest here, I’m completely rubbish at applying nail polish and for years I had gels to save me the hassle of keep reapplying chipped nail polish. Over the course of time, this just ruined the condition of my nails, and it was costing me a fortune every time I had them done. Now I love spending time painting my own nails, I actually find it therapeutic, plus it’s so much easier if I get bored with whatever shade I’m wearing  or I see a brand bring out a new colour nail polish and obviously less of a dent on my bank balance!

I probably haven’t improved much at doing my own nails but that’s fine, it’s all good fun, right?

Itsy Nails London is a brand I absolutely love as their DuraPRO Gel Effect Nail Polish* acts just like a gel but without going through all the hassle. I’ve bought a couple of their nail colours and thought they were so brilliant I featured them in my February Favourites post. Then I was extremely lucky to get sent four shades from Itsy’s gorgeous Spring/Summer* collection and I was over the moon!

All four nail polishes are absolutely stunning shades and have such fun names: Drop Red Gorgeous (a bold orange/red), In Deep (a bright baby blue), Green With Envy (a vibrant green) and City Girl (a lilac/grey). Itsy also have other fab shades on their website or you could take a look at their Twitter page for regular updates of new stock. They have stacks of inspiration for nail art over on their Instagram.

Each polish only costs £5.99 and in just two coats you have beautiful opaque gel look nails. The shades are highly pigmented and they dry super quick, which is great if you’re doing them before you go out, or impatient like me. The soft, flat brush adapts to the shape of your nail, making it glide on really smoothly and doesn’t leave any streaks. It’s a fantastic alternative to having a gel manicure, saving me extra cash to buy one of Itsy’s other stunning shades.

These nail polishes last incredibly well, the colour on my finger nails was chip free after a week, but I’m more impressed that even after two weeks the polish on my toe nails still looked as it did on the day I applied it! Fantastic, if it can survive me knocking into everything and scraping my nails against stuff, then it can survive anything.

I love the way these polishes leave your nails looking so smooth, it’s almost as though you’ve had them professionally done. There’s no need for a base coat with Itsy nail polishes, although I usually apply a top coat to make it last a lot longer, but didn’t feel I needed it with these.

It’s so simple to take the polish off, you just use your normal nail varnish remover and after a gentle swipe it’s all gone.

Itsy Nails DuraPRO Gel Effect nail polishes are much kinder than having gels done at the beauty salon, they don’t contain harmful toxins and are cruelty free.

I can’t wait to see what shades Itsy Nails have out during the Autumn!

Have you tried Itsy Nail Gel Effect polishes? How did you get on? What’s your favourite summer shade of nail polish?

Items marked with a * were PR samples but all photos and opinions are my own.
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