March Haul: Zara, Topshop, Whistles, MUA, BareMinerals & More

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Hello my lovelies

Another shopaholic month has passed, so I thought I’d do my usual little haul posting about what I’ve been buying.

I absolutely love reading these kinds of posts, so please leave me a link in the comments to any you’ve done recently.

This month, I haven’t bought many clothes - just a couple of loose dresses. 

At the moment I still fit most of my regular clothes, so I’m putting off getting any maternity wear until I really have to, but at the same time my shape is changing, so I don’t want to get loads of stuff I won’t be able to wear in a couple of months. 

Of course, I’ve also been buying some stuff for the baby, but I won’t put that on here – if you want to see what I got in my first baby haul, pop over here to my pregnancy blog Seriously Mummy.

Quilted Mini City Tote – Zara

The month did not get off to a good start when the strap broke on the handbag I was using most days! 

It was a chain strap number from Topshop and to be fair, I was probably overloading it but it was the perfect size and shape for a day bag, so I was gutted. 

It didn’t break in a way that could be fixed, so I went on the hunt for a new everyday bag, and this little number was right up my street.

I love the shape and the fact its not too big – plus check out the gorgeous royal blue suede lining.

This bag feels more expensive than it was, which is always a good thing. Its inspired me to schedule in an updated ‘What’s In My Bag?’ post, so stay tuned if you like those.

Stretch leather look leggings – Zara

Leggings are one of the few things I think its still okay to buy, because hopefully I can squeeze into them for a while yet, and then after the birth they’re forgiving enough to wear when you’re a bit bigger than normal. 

One of the areas that maternity stuff doesn’t seem to cover very well is ‘night out’ clothes – not that I’m planning on going out raving, but I still want to be able to do dinner and mocktails in some kind of style! 

Leather leggings are ideal for this as they look fairly dressed up, pair well with nice floaty, forgiving tops that fit over my bump and are still comfortable.

I own a couple of pairs already but these Zara ones are such nice quality. They have little stitched biker details on the sides.

Limited Edition Make a Face brush set – Sonia Kashuk

Some purchases are rational, and some defy all sense and are purely because of crazy, stupid love. 

Such was the case with this utterly gorgeous set of face brushes from US brand Sonia Kashuk. 

They were insanely hard to get hold of, because this set only retailed through Target in the US, and they don’t ship to Blighty. 

But you can’t come between a determined beauty addict and her fix, so I found a way of making them mine. 

I’m not going to say too much about them because you can bet there’s a full review post coming soon - but the set includes a Dense Powder Brush, a Duo Fibre Multipurpose brush, a flat top kabuki and a flat top sculpting brush that’s heaven for contouring. More coming soon.

Pureness Sheet Masks, Caviar, Pearl & Collagen – Tonymoly

On a Twitter chat the other day, the conversation turned to favourite face masks. 

I’m a massive fan of these paper sheet masks infused with all kinds of skin goodies. 

They seem to be gaining popularity on these shores, but I’ve been buying them in bulk from Korea on eBay for ages and I’ve always loved the results.

It reminded me it had been a while since I got any, so I hopped on it straight away and stocked up. 

These are such a treat for tired out skin. They come in a million different varieties, from natural extracts like Aloe Vera to straight-up crazy ones like ‘Snail’ and ‘Sheep Placenta’. 

I wasn’t feeling too adventurous – so I grabbed a couple each of Caviar (nourishing), Pearl (brightening) and Collagen (anti-aging). 

If you’re going away these are also ideal to travel with as they come packed in their own little sachet and are disposable. 

You look a bit like a burns victim while they’re on, so I’d recommend making sure you aren’t going to be disturbed before you pop one on!

Geometric stacking ring set – Cheap Monday

Another thing I’ve been loving this month is accessories.

Due to my changing shape, my wardrobe is starting to get a bit limited, so I’m using necklaces and scarves and other accessories to add more interest to my boring plain tops.

These gold stacking rings really appealed to me. They’re a three piece set with a round, a square and a triangular ring, and I bought two sets so that I could mix and match the shapes and stack them up as I pleased.

Gold chain with crystal – Topshop

Although I’m a massive fan of big, bold statement necklaces, lately I’ve been loving more delicate pieces and especially anything involving rough crystals. 

Its odd because my style is anything but ‘hippy’ and yet I’m all about those kind of accessories. 

Topshop’s new selection is especially strong on this front, and has lots of pieces with amazing rough-hewn semi-precious stones in.

I couldn’t resist this amazing quartz necklace on a gold chain which will really dress up my look in the day.

Layered gold chains – Primark

I wanted some plain gold chains to layer up with the crystal one I got from Topshop but I didn’t want to spend the £10 Topshop wanted for some plain chains, so as usual Primark came to the rescue. 

Found this sweet little set of three fine gold-coloured chains that will be perfect for this kind of thing for just £2. Absolute bargain!

Luxe Velvet Lip Laquers – MUA

At Christmas, I bought the deep red colour from this range, ‘Reckless’ and I was so impressed with it. 

It’s a great dupe for the Lime Crime Velveteens everyone raves about, and gives such a beautiful rich, colour. I wanted to add a couple more shades to my collection, so I picked up ‘Halcyon’, which is a beige-pinkish nude colour, and ‘Atomic’ which is a rich tomato-ey orange colour, really nice for summer. 

They provide a lovely dense, rich matte colour that’s not too drying, and the packaging is lovely for such a pocket-friendly product.

Matte SPF 15 Foundation – Bare Minerals

Do you ever have one of those months where everything seems to run out at once? It was like that for me this month! 

All my foundations ran out, which was highly annoying. 

During the day, I tend to wear a BB cream topped with a mineral powder foundation, to combine enhanced skin benefits with decent coverage.

 I used the original Bare Minerals formulation for years, before swapping to cheaper alternative Lily Lolo last time I replaced it (see my review of their Mineral Foundation here). 

Although I would definitely repurchase that, this time I saw some Bare Minerals Matte in my shade on a blog sale, so I grabbed it. 

The first thing I notice is how much smaller the pot is than Lily Lolo. 

The formulation is a little bit nicer in that its so silky and just goes on like such a dream, but the coverage and finish are about the same quality, so there’s not much in it. 

The ‘Golden Fair’ shade of the Bare Minerals suits my skin tone a lot better than the ‘Barely Buff’ from Lily Lolo, so I may need to review the shade I pick next time. 

The Bare Minerals Matte is gorgeous though and gives such a great, long lasting finish.

Navy zipped tunic dress – Primark

I bought some little basic vests and hats for the baby in Primark the other day, and as I was coming down the escalator I clocked this dress. 

Even though it meant queuing up again (no joke at lunchtime, when the line is insane!) I had to have it.

I just loved the looser fit, which is perfect for me at the moment, the elegant navy colour and the gold zip details on the sleeves. 

Bought a size up hoping that it will work on me for a while longer as a smart dress for work. I thought it would also work with leggings and heels as I get bigger, as a sort of tunic top.

Embossed cross body bag – Primark

Another item I picked up in my little lunchtime trip to Primark. Even though I’ve just bought a handbag, I really couldn’t resist this one as well. 

I love the look of embossed leather (or pleather in this case) with intricate patterns and I remember years ago, there was a bag just like this in a little independent boutique in the city that I lusted after badly, but it was hundreds of pounds and I couldn’t justify it. 

When I saw this, I knew I’d be kicking myself if I left it, especially at £6.00, so I treated myself even though I didn’t need it!

The bag can be used as a clutch, or with a long, cross body strap. Its very simple, with two compartments and chunky gold zips. 

This would be ideal for festivals (not that I’m going to any of those!) or to take on holiday.

They also had a tan version, but I thought the black looked a bit classier.

Leave in Hair Repair Conditioner – Dove

The ends of my hair are in really poor, dried out condition, unfortunately. 

Even though I dyed it out ages ago, they’re still suffering from when I ombre-d them a while back, plus I use heated styling tools almost every day so I try to make sure I add as much moisture as I can back into my hair. 

Always on the look out for a bargain, when I saw this spray marked down to just 50p in Sainsbury’s, I pounced! It’s a bi-phase formulation that you shake up to activate before spraying on.

It contains keratin, a protein which helps to rebuild the structure of damaged hair, and lots of de-tangling and smoothing goodies. 

Plus, it smells amazing – like Fruit Salad sweets! I only wash my hair twice a week, so I’ve been using this on the in-between days to smooth and moisturise, but you can also use it on wet hair after washing for an extra boost.

Naked Dry Shampoo – Herbal Essences

Dry shampoo is a must for keeping greasy roots at bay between washes, so I rely on it. 

Washing my hair too often just dries it out too much, so I tend to do one midweek wash and one in my bubble bath on a Sunday night

Every other day, I use a dry shampoo just to take out any oily roots or any smells. 

It’s become part of my night time routine – I brush out my hair, add dry shampoo to the roots and a leave in conditioner to the ends and then clip it up out of the way for the evening. 

I’ve tried quite a few different brands, but I have to say this is my absolute favourite. 

Firstly, it doesn’t leave any visible white residue on my brown locks, unlike Batiste. 

Second, it just smells incredible, so fresh. It’s the same scent as the shampoo and conditioner from the range which I also love– white grapefruit and mint. Yum! 

It makes your scalp really feel lightweight and tingly, so you feel like you’ve just washed your hair even when you haven’t.

I totally love this and will certainly be re-buying it in future.

Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser – Biore

This was a total impulse purchase as I was queuing up to buy some DIY stuff in Wilkinson’s. 

Normally, I’m dedicated to Soap and Glory’s Peaches & Clean when it comes to face washes, but I bought something else last month that I didn’t like, and then replaced it!

This intrigued me with its black gel and promise of getting pores two times cleaner than a normal wash. 

This will be a real Marmite product - you’ll either love it or hate it. It literally sandblasts your face – and leaves it feeling incredibly clean and soft but also quite tight and in need of moisturising. 

I feel it would be a bit much to use it all the time, so I’ve been having it more as a treatment than a daily wash.

The black gel foams to white, with a strong smell of eucalyptus, then you can feel it fiercely tingling away, literally blasting out the gunk. 

I don’t think it would suit sensitive skin at all, but if you have problems with really congested pores, or live somewhere with a lot of pollution, you might love it.

Argan Shine Hair Repair Mask – Mellor and Russell

So impressed with this little beauty! It’s a deep conditioner for hair, enhanced with wonder substance Argan Oil and its had a great effect on my dried out ends. 

I wasn’t expecting much, especially as the formula is quite runny – and although it smells pleasant, it didn’t feel like a luxury hair mask. But the results have really surprised me. 

I can see and feel the difference after using it – my hair is shiny, very soft and frizz free. 

This is quite a discovery, so I will be doing a full review with before and after pics soon.

Sweet Honey Body Wash and Lotion – Bee Beautiful

As a honey addict, if I spot anything with the word ‘honey’ on, I’m already sold. I was looking for a shower gel and when I spotted this with the matching body lotion, I snapped it up. 

Its also from Mellor and Russell, and considering how impressed I was with their conditioner, I’m looking forward to trying this as well. 

I love trying inexpensive products like this as its almost risk free and you can find some real gems for pennies. 

It used to be that you really got what you paid for in the beauty world, but so many brands are turning that idea on its head and serving up winners - not sure how they do it for the price!

Lashbase Mascara – Essence

Essence are another great budget brand getting rave reviews, and this appealed to me as a good way to ramp up a normal mascara for a night out. 

I’m of the opinion that you can never have big enough lashes after all! 

This is a white base that you pop on as a base coat before mascara. I like the fact that you can pair it with whichever other mascara you choose. 

Its also safe to use if you wear contact lenses, which is very important as quite a few of the fibre base ones like this aren’t. 

A lash primer like this is not so common in the drugstore, although I know Mac and Smashbox both do high-end versions. At only £2.50, this is over £10 cheaper than those. 

It bulks the lashes up and helps your favourite mascara to go further as well - but unlike the high-end ones, it doesn’t promise to moisturise or condition the lashes. 

Still, if you want to power up your usual formula, it could be a winner.

MUA Pro Base Argan Plush Concealer

Remember I said everything ran out at once? Well, concealer was also on that list! 

I had been using Benefit’s Erase Paste and then Sleek’s Concealer Kit, both of which I liked. The Sleek kit had two shades of cream concealer and a setting powder, but I found I was only using one of the cream concealers, so I didn’t buy another one – I decided to try this instead after being impressed with MUA’s Undress Your Skin Finishing Powder and their eyeshadow palettes.

It was only £3.00 and it promises a ‘luxurious, glide-on formula’ that’s gentle on the delicate skin around the eyes. 

There are three shades available – Fair, Almond and Natural. I went for Fair (the lightest) even though I have a medium skintone, just because the others seemed too orange. 

This does feel lovely and silky and blends like a dream. I really like the twist-up crayon format as well, its so easy to use and store. 

This would also be great for contouring if the minimal shade range happens to work for your skin tone. 

The only complaint I have is that I noticed it really settled into the fine lines under my eyes and emphasised them – and that’s even with me using a primer and powder afterwards. 

For this reason, it certainly wouldn’t be suitable for more mature skins. 

I think I can make this work in the short term, but may have to return to higher end formulations after a while.

Maya dress – Whistles

My final treat of the month was another cocoon shaped dress – do you see a pattern forming here? 

This time it was this stunning lime coloured shift from Whistles. 

There’s a bit of a dilemma with my pregnancy in that I’m due right around the time of my sister in law’s wedding. 

Everything is up in the air really as I don’t know whether I will have had the baby or not or even be able to go – and if I can go, I have no idea what size or shape I’ll be.

I could either be nine months pregnant and ready to drop, or I could have had the baby – in which case I have literally no idea what size I’ll be. 

All this makes finding a wedding guest outfit (on the chance I can go) really hard.

 I think the only thing to do is to have a few different options. If I’m still pregnant, I’m thinking some kind of smart maternity maxi dress with a sparkly shrug, and if I have had the baby…I’m not sure quite what to expect, but I know I probably won’t want to squeeze into anything that form-fitting so soon afterwards. 

This loose, floaty, cocoon-shape seemed ideal as it flows from the shoulders and stands away from the rest of the body. 

Even if its not right then, it will cover me for evenings out at the moment, when I’m bigger but not yet in maternity wear. 

Having some looser styles in my wardrobe is probably a good idea for a while after the baby comes anyway, because I doubt I’ll be feeling too confident about my stomach area. 

This dress is such a brilliant, uplifting colour and will be good for smart occasions even if it doesn’t make it to the wedding!


  1. I love this post, loads of lovely new items! I really like the look of those stacking rings and those face sheets - I've never tried a facial sheet before! Great post!xx

    Honeypot Blogs

    1. Oooh, you should definitely try out a sheet mask, they're really great and cost pennies! Thank you for your kind comment x

  2. I work for M&R and actually created the Bee Beautiful range so glad you like it!!!

    Andrea x

    1. Wow, that is super exciting - I love the idea of anything honey and M&R are genuinely great products, what a great place to work! xx