Christmas Gift Guide: Smaller Gifts

The holiday season is one of my very favorite times, and one of the reasons is I love gifts. Ok, I won’t pretend I don’t love getting gifts (I mean, who doesn’t?) but I really, REALLY love giving gifts. But sometimes, that perfect gift may be a bit hard to find, and that could cause some major stress. Hopefully this post will give you some ideas for that fabulous (beauty related) present for that special gal, be it your friend, girlfriend, or mom! These smaller gifts could be combined to make one gift, or used to supplement mid-sized gifts.

The Body Shop Mini Body Butters

Found on TheBodyShop-USA.com

These things are really the best! They cost $6  for 1.7 fl oz (50 ml), so they are a pretty good deal. I couldn’t find them on the German or British site, but I’m pretty sure they have them in store. They should be around the €5 mark, and they are often on 3 for 2 at my store! You can normally find a pretty good selection of scents, I know I see Pink Grapefruit pretty regularly at mine, as well as Shea and Olive. I have also seen Strawberry, I believe, as well as Coconut. And Moringa, as shown in the picture. As for picking scents, the Shea and Olive ones are pretty neutral but still smell quite nice, so I think you could hardly go wrong. Personally, I love the Pink Grapefruit one (click here to read my review), as well as the Moringa scent. Coconut is quite nice too (surprisingly, as normally I don’t like coconut-scented things), but Strawberry is just way too sickly for me. You can always smell the full-sized testers if you don’t know for sure.

http://www.thebodyshop-usa.com/gifts/stocking-stuffers/mini-body-butter-moringa.aspx

Crabtree & Evelyn Soaps

Found on Crabtree-Evelyn.co.uk

Found on Crabtree-Evelyn.co.uk

These soaps are so beautiful, really any of the scents would be fabulous. My personal favorites are the Summer Hill and Crabapple & Mulberry scents. They range in price from $6-$10.

http://www.crabtree-evelyn.com/eng/products/bath-body/bar-soap/french-milled-soaps/crabapple_mulberry_triple_milled_soap?79496

LUSH Bath Products

Found on Lushusa.com

There would be no Christmas related post, or gift post at all for that matter, without a LUSH bath product or 15 gazillion. Phoenix Rising (pictured above) is one favorite: it is available all year round, but I think is especially good for this time of year. It is very spicy and cinnamon-y, and is purple and covered with gold glitter. Basically, me in bath bomb form. The Sex Bomb bath bomb is a classic, and probably will be loved by everyone. The Rose Jam bubble bar smells divine, and the Melting Snowman bath melt is as scrumptious-smelling as it is adorable. These products all range from $3-10.

Hildegard Braukmann Face Masks

Found on Hildegard-Braukmann.de

These are a really good way to go- they are really nice quality skincare, provide a little treat, and are really, really inexpensive to boot! These come in all different formulations to suit most skin types.

 

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Review: Lush Figs and Leaves Soap

Lush US: $7.60/3.5 oz (100 g)

Lush UK: ₤3.40/100 g

Lush DE: €5.35/100 g

http://www.lushusa.com/Figs-and-Leaves/00065,en_US,pd.html?start=2&q=figs%20and%20leaves

https://www.lush.co.uk/product/148/Figs-and-Leaves-Soap-100g

http://www.lush-shop.de/figs-and-leaves-seife.792.html

Image found on Lush.co.uk

This soap is scented with figs and orange blossom with an “undertone of eastern exoticism”. Formulated with figs and aloe vera, this soap is very gentle and soothing to the skin, making it suitable for irritated or sensitive skin. Apparently it is so gentle that you can use it on your face! The fig seeds act as a gentle exfoliant.

Ingredients:

Water, Rapeseed Oil and Coconut Oil, Fig Decoction, Glycerine, Aloe Vera Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Perfume, Ylang Ylang Oil, Orange Flower Absolute, Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, *Benzyl Benzoate, *Linalool

I have been using this in the shower every day for the past few weeks, and I really love it! The smell is amazing, it is actually one of the few Lush soap scents that I like, and whoever thought of putting the seeds in as an exfoliant was a frickin’ genius. Maybe most people wouldn’t consider that cool, but I think that was really innovative and just generally awesome. You know when you have an itch, especially on your back, and someone scratches it for you and it feels amazing? Using the soap straight on your skin so the exfoliating seeds work feels like that. I know that is a pretty weird description, but that’s what it feels like. It’s amazing.

I have not used it on my face, but judging by the fact that it didn’t aggravate a quite nasty razor burn I had on my legs, I’d say it should work. The one and only gripe I have with it is the fig leaf on the top, which kinda comes off on you as you use it, but it really isn’t that big of a deal because you can easily wash it off.

Overall:

With the amazing smell, innovative exfoliating seeds, and the gentleness of this soap, I would highly recommend it!

Rating: A

Review: Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo

115g

Lush UK: £6.50

Lush US: $12.95

Lush DE: 12,35 €

https://www.lush.co.uk/product/5669/No-Drought-Dry-Shampoo

http://www.lushusa.com/No-Drought/03589,en_US,pd.html?start=6&cgid=solid-shampoos

http://www.lush-shop.de/no-drought-trockenshampoo-115-g.3230.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t that cute?!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This product is meant to absorb some of the oil on second or third-day hair (depending on how oily your hair is) to give you an extra day before washing. It has corn flour and talc to “absorb the excess oil”, while “lemon, grapefruit and lime oils will give your hair a fresh and fruity fragrance too”.

 

Ingredients:

Corn Oil (Zea mays) , Magnesium Carbonate , Talc , Perfume , Grapefruit Oil (Citrus paradisi) , Lime Oil (Citrus aurantifolia) , *Citral , *Geraniol , *Limonene , *Linalool

 

I like this dry shampoo quite a bit, the powder does absorb oil pretty well and gives my hair some volume (sometimes I use it on clean hair just for that!). The smell is just… ahh, it is just fantabulous. It does smell as fresh as described, it smells very citrusy. Apparently the grapefruit scent is supposed to be the most prominent, but honestly I smell the lime much more strongly. Not that it matters much. Just as I am sitting here writing this post with the bottle in front of me, I have to stop every few sentences and smell this stuff. That is the level of amazingness that is contained in this 100% recycled plastic bottle. (On a side note, can we please just pause for a moment and consider how awesome Lush is? I have been pretty obsessed; I love watching their YouTube videos about the process their ingredients go through. Also I have discovered I have a special talent for sniffing out Lush shops. Literally. I was in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and I was standing on some street corner, and I smelt Lush. I asked, and the shop was maybe 500 meters away and was not even visible from where I was standing. Ahh, the smell of Lush stores. It never fails to make me smile, just smelling that gorgeous smell.)

Ok ok, I’m done waxing poetic about Lush. For now. Maybe. Anyway, as much as this product is amazing, it does have some qualities that could be improved on. First is the packaging. Now, I know aerosol cans aren’t the best for the environment and I appreciate that Lush was keeping that in mind when they were designing the packaging of this product. However, I think that not being able to spray the product really detracts from the effectiveness of the product. Ok, it’s not terrible, it’s still possible to get your hair relatively clean looking, but it is a lot harder to do and your hair still doesn’t end up looking as clean as using a traditional spray dry shampoo. The one advantage of the packaging (other than its environmentally-friendliness) is that you go through product a whole lot slower, and I do mean a whole lot, slower than a traditional dry shampoo.

Keeping in mind the effectiveness, I’m also not so happy that this product was so much more expensive than other dry shampoos that would have been maybe more effective. I mean, Batiste is also non-animal testing, and their 150 ml cans are prices at like 3 quid. That’s less than half price. Granted, you could conceivably go through two cans of Batiste per bottle of Lush, but the Batiste would still work better.

 

Overall:

I have kind of mixed feelings on this product. I like the product itself, and I love the scent and Lush, but I’m just not jazzed about the packaging. Would I buy it again? Unless they change the packaging, probably not for it’s dry shampoo qualities. On the volume and smell front, I would seriously consider it. It does work ok though, and Lush gets some serious kudos for their campaigning and their ethics. With some brands you can be pretty sure that they don’t test on animals, but you can’t really be certain. With Lush you get as close to a guarantee as you could possibly get, and I think that the security of Lush may lean me towards purchasing it again.

Rating: B

Cambridge HAUL!!

Cambridge Haul!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I was in Cambridge for 3 weeks this summer, and I picked up a couple of things. I’m quite surprised actually, normally I would have gotten more things and then not used them as much, but I think this time I spent my money on things that I will actually use. Let’s just get started!

Clothing

I got two articles of clothing from Primark, a top and a jacket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really love both these pieces, I think the top is so elegant and stunning, and I honestly have never seen anything like it. It can be worn just in an everyday outfit worn with jeans, but it can also be a bit more dressy if tucked into a skirt so it is fairly versatile! I think it was ₤8.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The jacket is one of those pieces that can finish off a bit of a boring outfit, it makes everything look a little more polished! It fits really nicely, and also reminds me of one of those Chanel jackets everyone is going gaga over. For ₤10, I was very happy!

All my other clothing I got from New Look. I must say, I really enjoy shopping at New Look because I always find something I like, and I get a 10% student discount!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, I am very happy with all these pieces as I think I will get a lot of use out of them. I love flowey things, so the top is right up my alley. I must say I do tend to shy away from color a bit, so this is a great way to incorporate some color into my wardrobe. I would probably wear this with classic denim shorts in the summer and I think I might even be able to bring this into autumn with black leggings. This was on sale for ₤10, so I was very happy with that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These pants are the most comfortable bottoms I have ever worn, with the exception of my pajama bottoms! They are really stretchy, but quite sturdy as well. I think the color and cut is quite flattering, and they go with everything. Unfortunately they are a bit big on me, but it’s not that much of an issue. I think these were around ₤17, so quite good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been searching high and low for a plain black maxi dress that I like, and now I have found it! It is very simple and elegant, and very flattering. I love maxi dresses in general because they are a great way to keep cool in the summer without showing off your legs (I am not so happy with mine), but I love this one especially because it is so versatile! You could get away with wearing this to the beach or for a more formal event. I also really like the silver detailing on the straps. I can’t remember how much this dress was, but I think it was around the ₤20 mark.

Accessories

I got most of my accessories from Primark (I love Primark, it is amazing!), but I did get some sandals from New Look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flats were from Primark, and I think they are super cute! I don’t tend to buy expensive shoes because my feet tip in a bit when I walk, so I end up ruining shoes, expensive or not! These were between ₤4 and ₤6, so you can’t really beat that. They are really comfortable, and fit very well. The only problem is they get dirty really fast because they are a suede-type material, but if you wash them in the washing machine it will take off most of the dirt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got the sandals on sale for ₤3 I think, and boy was I lucky with these. The shop was closing, and I needed shoes to match my dress, so I literally just grabbed these and bought them without trying them on. In addition, they aren’t something I would normally go for, with the glitter. But now I am really happy that I bought them, they go with so many outfits and they are SPARKLEY!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bag was one of those things that I saw and I knew I had to get it. It was also an out-of-character purchase because I don’t wear red very often, but I think it will serve me well. It is huge, so I am using it as a school bag. I am very surprised, it fits all my books and still closes! It was ₤12, so just about right for a school bag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t actually own any clutches, so when I saw this one for ₤6 I decided to get it. It is a rather large envelope clutch; it fits pretty much everything you would need it to for a night out. It goes with a lot as well, as it is very simple. It also has a gold chain you can carry it with , but I wouldn’t use it. I like it!

Beauty

Finally, we get to the most exciting part of the haul… beauty! This is the category where I made my most extravagant purchase of the 3 weeks, which is another out-of-character buy that I love.

Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got this mini-sized conditioner from Boots for like ₤1-2. It does the job and smells quite nice, but I don’t think it is anything really special, and is also a little bit more expensive than other conditioners.

MUA Eyeliners in Jet Black and Rich Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were a whopping ₤1 each from Superdrug, so definitely a great deal. I got black and brown, so not very exciting, I’m afraid. I hardly ever wear brown, so I didn’t want to spend too much on one, but I think it is a good thing to have on hand. These are very creamy and pigmented, but they can be a bit too creamy at times. If applied incorrectly they smudge like nothing else, but it can be easily worked around.

Jack Wills Lipsticks in Wine and Vivid Pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I cannot resist pink lipstick, so when I saw these were not animal tested, I got super excited, and bought two. I got the shade Wine, and the shade Vivid Pink in the gloss finish. I bought the Wine shade for my friend who has a deeper complexion, and I think it will look amazing on her. The Vivid Pink is a more rosy but bright pink. The finish is phenomenal, they are not only not drying, but also slightly moisturizing as well!! If that wasn’t enough, the packaging for these lipsticks is to die for, it is just so cute!

Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Lush I picked up the No Drought dry shampoo it smells amazing, works quite well, and will last me for ages. I only wish it came in a spray bottle of some sort because then it would be a whole lot easier to use.

Lush Feeling Younger Highlighter

 

 

 

 

 

As most of the world knows by now, Lush has come out with a range of color cosmetics. I bought the Feeling Younger highlighter on Livie from Liviesays’s reommendation. I’m not sure how I feel about it, it is a really strange iridescent pink color in some lights. I don’t think the camera was able to pick it up at all in any of the pictures except maybe the last one, but it is really strange. I have found it to be pretty applied to the top of the cheekbones very, very lightly for a subtle highlight, but I will have to play around with it a bit more before I can form an opinion. I wish I had also bought the mascara from the Emotional Brilliance line, I tried it out in store but for some reason decided not to get it. I think I will pick it up soon, though.

Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss Flash Lipgloss in 982 Black-Tie Plum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies and gents, this is the extravagant purchase. I saw this at a stand in Boots loved the color, but normally I hate lipglosses so I decided not to buy it. Then I saw it again on my last day, swatched it, and really, really, REALLY wanted it. But they were all out. So I had to run across town to John Lewis and I managed to pick one up right before the shop closed. And I must say, I am so glad I did. I love everything about it. The color is gorgeous, the packaging is stunning, and it can be worn not so glossy, just how I like it. It was worth every single cent.

So that’s it for my Cambridge haul, hope you liked it and have a great day!