Mark was buying our boys their traditional chocolate advent calendars for Christmas and, so I wouldn’t feel left out, (although I have a chocolate one as well), he bought me a Marks & Spencer Beauty Advent Calendar.
I have no idea how much it costs or any details of the contents, because I want each day to be a genuine surprise.
The first little beauty gift I opened was a bit…meh!
Day 1. Burt’s Bees Hand Cream
I have a lot of hand creams, so I’ve put this in the ‘pass on’ pile. I appreciate it’s a well thought of brand and I think the tube is a generous 50ml. But still, it’s hand cream.
I thought that perhaps the rest of gifts would be in a similar vein, and I was expecting a rose soap or lavender bath salts for day two, instead, when I opened the little box, I found this.
Day 2. Rodial Super Acids x-treme acid rush peel, 20ml
I’m fairly new to Rodial, I received their Dragon’s Blood Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Tonic in the M&S beauty box in the summer (THE best value beauty box ever) and I absolutely loved it.
This is a resurfacing face peel and I’m looking forward to trying it out over the holidays.
Box three was a wonderful surprise and another top name brand.
Day 3. FILORGA Time-Filler, 15ml
I’ve always wanted to try this product, so again something to trial over Christmas.
Day four brought me:
Day 4. Pixi Brow Tamer, 4.5ml
A clear brow gel and exactly what I wanted as my current one has just started to become a bit murky and needs to be chucked.
Day 5. Josh Wood Radiant Shine Hair Treatment Oil, 28ml
OMG! I have pure love for this product which often makes an appearance in ‘top ten hair oils’ lists. It’s a thick viscous-y oil that needs to be used sparingly.
Sure, it makes hair shiny, but it’s the scent that will drive you wild. I can only describe it as an expensive, deliciously perfumed essential oil. It’s hands down, THE most beautiful fragranced hair oil I’ve ever used, no product comes close – divine!
Day six and back to earth with a bump after the previous four shining stars.
Day 6. Eyeko Pencil or liner (I can’t be bothered to dig it out) in black.
I’m always wary of products that do the rounds of beauty boxes a little too frequently. It’s a well-loved brand, but, and of course this is personal, I can’t use any black mascara, pencil or liner, far too harsh on me. This was a dud.
Talking of duds, today’s offering (which also appeared in the M&S beauty box) is a tube of:
Day 7. Ultrasun 30SPF sun protection cream, 25ml
What the? I hope M&S haven’t peaked too early.
I’ll update this post each day, but tomorrow better be good!
AND WE’RE BACK IN THE GAME!
Day 8. Alpha-H Liquid Gold, 50ml
Designed specifically for the treatment and reduction of minor skin complaints, Alpha-H Liquid Gold is a highly effective resurfacing and firming lotion for your skin.
Day 9. Autograph Nail Colour in Cranberry, 11ml
Autograph is a beauty arm of the M&S brand, so perhaps the make up snob in me would have had the right to feel a bit cheated, but this shiny rich, metallic berry shade is spot on for Christmas. It’s sophisticated enough to wear during the day, but still screams party.
The bottle has a distinct Chanel ‘feel’ and the brush is slightly wider than usual. Coverage is excellent, I think you could just about get away with one application. it looks especially good on short nails too.
It’s quite clever really, because now I want to try other shades in the range and I’m confident that it’s priced competitively.
Day 10. Nails Inc One Coat Gel Nail Polish 10ml Piccadilly Court, 10ml
It’s a burgundy coloured nail polish…
I was looking forward to day 11, because there are three extra-large gift boxes (for days 11, 14 & 18) so I was expecting something fairly substantial. Instead there was a tiny gift rattling around the box.
However, when I unwrapped it (most items are wrapped in green tissue paper, I found:
Day 11. Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm, 15ml
This mini sized cult product is a very handy size for travel. I haven’t always got on with this cleanser, but I’m dipping into it more and more and am just gradually starting to appreciate it, so I’m pleased with this one.
What I do find slightly annoying is how carelessly this calendar has been put together. We started off with a hand cream when really, it should have kicked off with a meatier gift, like the Alpha-H product; then there were two annoying similar nail polishes on successive days and now this tiny gift in an inappropriately big box.
However, I have to admit that the hits have far outweighed the misses and I’ve really enjoyed the anticipation of seeing what’s in the next day’s box. Next year though, I will dropping early hints for the Charlotte Tilbury advent calendar.
A new day and all is forgiven!
Day 12. Mini Powder Brush from Look Good, Feel Better
Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is the only international cancer support charity, providing practical and very effective free services for women and teenagers struggling with the visible side effects of cancer treatment.
Look Good Feel Better is dedicated to improving the self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing of people undergoing treatment for any sort of cancer. It is our aim to improve their self-image and appearance through free group and self-help skincare and make-up workshops that create a sense of support, confidence, and wellbeing.
I’m so pleased to see this lovely soft powder brush in today’s gift box and I’d be happy to see a similar item from LGFB make an appearance in the Christmas Eve box.
This charity is all about making cancer survivors feel more like themselves again and giving women back their self-confidence.
LGFB organise two-hour, free of charge skin care and make-up Workshops every week, fortnight or month, depending on hospital requirements in each area in a safe and understanding environment.
There are also video tutorials on the site and fundraising packs.
Look Good, Feel Better Website
Now, THIS is the product that should’ve kick started the calendar.
Day 13. Lip Glossy by ROSIE FOR AUTOGRAPH, Supermodel Smile, 2.5g full size
A solid lip gloss packaged in a glamorous rose gold tube. If any of you remember Clinique’s (sadly discontinued) Butter Shine lipsticks, then this is very similar.
The fill at 2.5g isn’t overly generous and it’s a luxury buy at £12.50, but I think it’s worth it. The shade is a flattering ‘very Rosie’ rose and it glides on smoothly without any stickiness.
Yes, it does need retouching as glosses do, but the lightweight gorgeous tube (VERY Charlotte Tilbury…) means you can whip it out for a glam retouch wherever you are.
I’ve also realised that you can just about see your lips in the lid, which reminds me, the lid is a generous size so there’s no fear of denting the lip gloss with the edge of it as you’re putting the lid on.
It’s one of those ‘automatic’ applicators so it never needs sharpening, you just twist up the base.
For detailed swatches, I’m going to point you to Barely There Beauty The cream blush and eyeshadows are strongly pigmented.
Back down to earth!
Day 14. Nuxe Dry Oil Huile Prodigieuse® 30ml
Does anyone ever buy the full-sized version? These seem to appear in beauty boxes all the time. This is a slightly larger sample, but still, I have loads of these.
Day 15. Sky Icelandic Relief Eye Cream, 5ml
Actually this is day 13’s offerings. I think I misread 13 for 15 yesterday
Puffiness, wrinkles and dark circles are minimised, and skin is revived with a blend of soothing ingredients.
The reviews are saying this is a cooling gel/mousse like eye cream, and it brightens the under eye area and reduces puffiness.
I’ll be testing this over the holidays. I don’t suffer from under eye bags or puffiness (apart from first thing in the morning when my eyes are like little pinholes), but I do have dark areas in the inner corners of my eyes and faint under eye circles.
Day 16. Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, 40ml
A well loved product, especially by me. You really can’t go wrong with this pre-shampoo hair treatment.
Day 17. REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream, 15ml
Loads of great ratings for this product from people with sensitive and acne prone skin. I’m looking forward to trialling it, although 15ml isn’t much!
Day 18. Rituals Magic Touch Body Cream – Rice Milk and Cherry Balm 70ml
Anyone who has ever used a Ritual product will know that they are beautifully fragranced and these delicious scents last all day.
My all time favourite is Yogi Flow Foaming Shower Gel in Sweet Almond Oil and Indian Rose, expensive at £8.50, but often found at half price during sales periods – when I stock up.
This body cream is a generous size, it sinks in well without any greasy residue and has an ‘expensive spa’ fragrance. I applied it after my shower this morning at 7am and I can still smell it on my skin 5 hours later!
Day 19. Percy & Reed Wonder Balm Hair Treatment, 30ml
A miracle leave-in balm from Percy & Reed, which provides everything you need for perfect hair. Adds moisture, shine, smoothness and definition to hair, while adding light hold and humidity protection, leaving hair manageable and soft.
I’m not keen on the fragrance of this product at all. In fact, it made me flush quite badly. An irritating side effect of the menopause is that certain strong scents will do that to me and I feel as if my face is on fire.
There are lots of positive reviews for this balm however, and so I will pass it on and update this post with the results. I don’t understand why people are saying this has a divine, delicate scent, it reminds me of strong shower cleaner.
Day 20. By M&S Beauty Formula Absolute, Ultimate Sleep Cream, 15ml
Apply each evening to your face, neck and jawline using small upward strokes. Simply rinse when you wake to reveal rested skin.
There’s not a lot of product here, so I will probably use it for the rest of the week and see if I can make a judgement.
Day 21. PUR Correcting Primer, 10ml (not much!)
I’ve not used this yet (will do over next couple of days), but the reviews are good. It doesn’t have a scent as far as I can tell and feels quite silky when I tested it on my hand, it also left it feeling very smooth – interesting.
Day 22. Leighton Denny, Crystal Nail File, Mini
Oh this is excellent! It’s a mini version of an award-winning nail file that will last for years and only needs rinsing with water to keep it clean.
It’s a shame this file didn’t make an earlier appearance. When I file my nails I always seem to be left with a sharp, jagged edge, so I file them again to ‘even’ them up and end up with brutally short nails, which is exactly what happened a couple of days ago. I had to cancel a manicure, there was nothing to work on! It’s particularly disappointing, because my nails grew so long and strong after my Lean Greens stint as well.
Day 23. Studio 10 Miracle Effect Priming Serum, 3 or 5ml (print is tiny)
Mixed reviews on the M&S site, people either love it or hate it. Studio 10 is a decent brand though. I was given their Skin Perfector palette at a beauty show, and when I mix the concealers correctly (which is quite difficult) it really does even out skin tone.
Day 24. Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm 4.25g
A lip balm. This should’ve been tucked away for day 13 or 14, not for Christmas Eve. It’s OK though, just not Christmassy enough for this special day.
Day 25. Atropa Belladonna Natural Spray by Shay & Blue 10ml
I passed this perfume to my mum and she loved it. This costs£25.00 so it really is the star gift.
I’ve finally looked at the M&S site and the calendar was £35.00 with any £35.00 spend on clothing, beauty and home – a bargain for the contents and one to look out for next year in early November, it’s more than worth, tremendous value.
Marks & Spencer *Affiliate link