So by now we all know that I love Christmas. We also know that when I say I love Christmas, what I really mean by that is that I just love the run-up to Christmas. Sure, the big day itself is exciting and I love it, but I love the three weeks leading up to it and all the build up that brings even more. Especially when it comes to advent calendars.
Advent calendars are a tradition that’s hard to break. Yes, I know I’m probably the wrong side of 25 to be having one still, but every year I end up with one. Except for this year, when I actually ended up with four (completely by accident, I might add); two of the chocolate variety (obviously) and two of my new yearly tradition – the beauty variety.
After the success of last year’s You Beauty Advent Calendar, I bought another this year. At £50 for nearly £200 worth of stuff I thought it was a no-brainer. Except this year’s has sorely disappointed me. Either last year I was under a wow-this-is-amazing haze of lust for beauty advent calendars, or this year’s really IS a let down, but either way I’ll be reconsidering my options with that one next year (FYI, the samples were tiny this year and it felt like there were a lot of ‘filler’ products between the really good ones. Just my opinion there though!).
But not content with that, I also succumbed to the hype of the Boots No7 Beauty Advent Calendar. I couldn’t get my mitts on one of these for love nor money last year, so there I sat this year, poised over every single social media outlet, anticipating its arrival online. And I got one. And you know what? It’s actually pretty damn good. At £35 it’s cheaper than a lot of other beauty advent calendars out there and the mixture of sample sized products to full size is actually pretty well mixed. AND it goes up to Christmas Day, where a lot of others stop on Christmas Eve. I’ve still got three more windows to open, but seeing as I’ll be taking a little break over Christmas (and, you know, because when else can you use your Christmas tree as a photo backdrop?!) I thought I’d share my favourites with you now…
Of all the products so far, these are the ones I have been using daily and will definitely be replacing once they’ve run out. In no particular order of favouritism, here’s what they are:
1. No7 Gel Look Shine Nail Varnish in Deep Wine: This could not be a more perfect product for me. I established around the time of my wedding that I actually can’t wear gels at all – within 48 hours of getting married my wedding manicure had all peeled off, and the ones I had after my honeymoon didn’t last much longer either. My toes are fine but my hands, it seems, are not so compatible (something to do with having oily skin, apparently!). So I love a good fake gel polish. This is one of my absolute favourite colours – I wear red all year round, but more so at Christmas time, obviously. At 4ml it’s not full size, but still big enough to get a fair few uses out of all the same.
2. No7 Nail Effects Nail Varnish in Disco Ball: Again, another great inclusion. Whether it’s fingers or toes you can’t really go wrong with sparkles, and this will definitely be making an appearance for New Year’s Eve.
3. No7 High Shine Lip Crayon in Daydreamer: I’m not much of a lipstick person on a day-to-day-basis, but this might mark the start of me trying a bit harder where that’s concerned. This is a generously sized sample that will last (me, at least) a long time and is the perfect nude shade – essentially it just enhances your natural lip colour and adds a bit of shine. Best part about it? It’s not sticky like lip gloss and doesn’t smudge like lipstick; it’s more the consistency of a lip balm, just a nicely coloured one.
4. No7 High Shine Lip Crayon in Delicate Pink: Again, another generously sized lip crayon. This one’s a light pink colour, with undertones of blue (great for making teeth look whiter, evidently!). I quite like how bold this is, so I’ve been building it up for a stronger look, but it can equally be used to create a more subtle hint of colour.
5. No7 Stay Precise Felt Tip Eyeliner: A full sized product that’s had so much use already that I’m having to ration myself in case it runs out over Christmas and I’m stuck without a replacement! The pigmentation is really strong and once it’s on there’s no smudging or flaking.
6. No7 Stay Perfect Metallic Eyes Pencil in Blackest: Contrary to the name, this is actually a very dark brown (yeah, I’m confused about that one too). I’ve been opting for brown eyeliners and mascaras for a while now; they’re slightly more subtle than black but still create that smoky effect perfectly. This has tiny flecks of silver glitter running through it, so is great for adding some sparkle to your eyes without going OTT. On the other end there’s a smudging brush, which is handy. The only thing I can’t work out is how to sharpen it – can you even sharpen a crayon?!
7. No7 Protect and Perfect Intense Night Cream: I adore the Protect and Perfect range, and at 25ml this is a pretty generous sample of face cream. I definitely believe the hype around this product; my skin certainly looks fresher and tighter when I use it, so it’s been nice to have a good quality night cream to treat my tired skin to in the run-up to Christmas.
8. No7 Skin Illuminator: At 10ml you’d be forgiven for thinking that this sample won’t last long. However, you’d be wrong – a tiny dollop of this goes a long, long way. The directions state to use under foundation for a ‘natural glow’ but seeing as I create my own glow on a daily basis anyway thanks to the wonder that is oily skin, I’ve been using this as more of a highlighter instead. Although not strictly a highlighter as such, when applied over blusher or just above the brows this does a fairly similar job by creating a nice subtle shimmer. Definitely one I’ll purchase in full size once it’s run out.
Despite there being the odd thing I wasn’t so fond of (eye make up remover, body lotion and shower creme, I’m looking at you here) and despite the fact that not one but TWO of the items were missing from this advent calendar (a mistake swiftly rectified by Boots when I contacted them), I will definitely be buying this one again next year.
Anyone else bought a beauty advent calendar this year? Got one you’d recommend me trying for next year? Or were you as disappointed as I was with the You Beauty offering this year?!