“Too many words were happening” and sensory sensitivities

For many years, the people around me, and even I to some extent, put some of my quirky behaviour or reactions down to my blindness, or just my being a bit unusual. It was only when I started doing some research because I was working with a learner with autism that I began to discover things like sensory sensitivity, which I never knew were a thing, and really relate to them.

The thing was, I started reading articles to be a better teacher, but I think one of the reasons I seemed to have more success communicating with this particular learner than some of the others around me was that some of the things I was reading made sense on a level that was deeper than just understanding the text. I got it!

That didn’t mean I related to everything – I didn’t have the learner’s difficulties with social interactions that set me off on my quest for knowledge in the first place, But other things came up that automatically made sense before I read the explanations.

I’m not an expert on this, and other people have done a much better job at describing them such as in this post from the Musings of an Aspie blog on sensory sensitivities and atypical sensory processing. Read it if you want more information – I certainly identified with a lot of it and was glad to realise that other people have these issues, not just me.

I mentioned it briefly in my post about Lush products. the reason I hadn’t been able to use dissolvable bath products was a texture thing. I don’t like how they feel, particularly when they’re wet, and I don’t like the bits of them that are in the water. It’s not just an “I don’t like it reaction” but an “I physically pull away from this texture and don’t want to be where they are”, and it would stop me enjoying the bath, even if it smelled wonderful and had loads of great ingredients. I don’t like body scrubs either. Some things can’t be fixed and I just avoid the textures, but I found by putting the bar or bath bomb in a little cloth bag that floats on the water, I don’t have to touch it and no stray bits get out! That makes it ok.

However, there are some things that I can’t fix. I remember telling my mum, very definitely, with all the conviction of a grumpy 5-year-old, that I would NOT be having lace on my wedding dress when I grew up. I was going to be a bridesmaid and didn’t like the feeling of the lace on my skin. I didn’t just not like it – I was constantly aware of it, like the thread of cotton in the post I linked above. My school jumper was no better, and I wore long sleeved blouses, even in the summer, so that when I had to put the jumper on, it wouldn’t touch me. I’m still not good with wool now. It doesn’t freak me out like the thing I hate the most, but if I wore it next to my skin, it would take up too much brain space because I’d be thinking about it all the time, and how it was scratchy, and if I moved I would feel it, that maybe it wouldn’t bee too cold if I took it off and…what did you just say to me?

. There are some other textures that I can’t do, and I avoid them at all costs!

It applies to sounds too. It’s not the same, because I don’t feel the same urge to run away, but I am hypersensitive to noise. I can follow conversations in loud places, or people competing with each other and talking at the same time, but it saps my energy in the same way that your phone’s battery would run down faster if you streamed video content instead of reading articles. If the background music is too loud, it’s not background music, but a constant assault on my ears, demanding my attention, and making it harder for me to concentrate on what I’m supposed to be listening to. I have no filter to tell my brain that those sounds aren’t important and can be ignored!

Some things are definitely related to blindness – having a really loud drill going on makes it difficult for me to orientate myself. I don’t like loud bars because I can’t lip read or even figure out if someone is trying to talk to me. But it’s more than that, and I’ve discovered it’s not just blind people who are hypersensitive to noise, or particular sounds.

You don’t just hear things – you hear everything – and your brain is trying to tell you that all of these things need to be taken notice of. It could be the dog barking and traffic sounds that were mentioned in the Musings of an Aspie post. It could be something that other people don’t notice, like a neighbour’s wind chime, that you can hear even when the windows are shut. It could be someone driving you to distraction by tapping their pen to the point where you want to grab and make off with it just so it will stop! It could be the clock that has to be taken out of a friend’s spare room where I was staying in the middle of the night and put in the hallway because it WOULD NOT STOP TICKING! Yes I did that and yes the friends did ask about it!

It could be water dripping on something in the neighbour’s garden every single time it rains. When I pointed it out and S started listening for it, he could hear it too, but it wasn’t the same for him as the thing that was bugging me, like a constantly pulsating heart that would only stop when the rain did! I am so glad that the thing – whatever it was – has been taken away now!

The title of this post came from a blog post that I was reading, and I feel bad now because I can’t find it again. It wasn’t the heading or anything – just a phrase that was used “too many words were happening”. As an English teacher, this is an unusual use of language – words don’t usually happen. They’re spoken or said or yelled – but they don’t just randomly happen. And yet I knew what the author meant . Saying that they were happening sounds like they take on a life of their own and are not under control, and it does feel like that for me, too, when I’m in a room and too many words are happening – all loudly and at the same time! I love the expression!

So the words and sounds keep happening and bashing my ears. If it gets too much and becomes overwhelming, I withdraw in sensory self-defence. It’s like a way of shutting down till the thing has passed. People just think I’m a bit quiet, but I’m really the tortoise who’s gone back in his shell till it’s over because I can’t function properly with so many audio stimuli fighting for my attention!

I can see why people might think this is blindness-related. After all, people generally assume that blind people have super-powerful ears. I think the truth is that we learn to use our sense of hearing more and hear the things that other people miss, because those things could be really useful in the absence of all the visual clues. It’s true, I sometimes hear parts of friends’ conversations that weren’t meant for me (I guessed a friend was pregnant before she told us because of a quiet comment to her husband), and I try not to abuse that! I hear the conversation on the next table in the restaurant without trying to listen to it – really funny when they notice that a colleague tried to kiss me and I clearly wasn’t happy about it! Yay! It was all I could do not to start laughing and then have the embarrassment of explaining why. But I’m not intentionally listening to everyone else’s life happening alongside my own.

Still, not everything that has to do with hearing is necessarily blindness-related. Whether that’s sensory-related, behavioural, or to do with how people perceive and respond to the world around them.

It’s not just blind people who struggle with not being able to filter out background sounds, excessive noise, or repetitive noise. Sensory sensitivity or problems processing sensory information are not just me being weird. It feels good to know that and to find that other people identify with these things too, particularly when those people can see, or they can explain a bit more of the science behind them.

In the past I’ve just made myself get on with it – less so as I have got older and am not as willing to be in environments that I really don’t want to be in. But if sensory sensitivities and atypical sensory processing are real things that have been identified and acknowledged. No amount of just getting on with and putting up with it are going to make it ok. And that’s ok!

So why did I write this post? Maybe because I’m a teacher and I like to share what I’ve learned. Maybe to encourage parents of blind children that you shouldn’t attribute every behaviour to blindness-related things. Maybe to say if you have friends who have sensory sensitivities, don’t give them a hard time about it because it’s not something you can change. And if you identify with any of these things, you’re not the only one! Knowing this fact helps me.

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

Blog reader gift – trying out Lush products

So a couple of weeks ago something happened that has never happened before on Unseen Beauty. I received a parcel from one of my readers! It was such a lovely and kind thing to do. It’s one thing when a brand is kind enough to send you something to try out, but when it’s someone who does it because they read your blog and want to do something nice for you, that’s something else and I was really touched.

So Becky has been supporting Unseen Beauty for ages now by commenting or sharing my posts. She asked me on Facebook whether I had tried any products from Lush, and I said that I hadn’t. She then asked for my address because she wanted to send me something.

When the box arrived, there were actually four things inside! I was really surprised and the box smelled amazing. Becky had clearly been paying attention to my posts as well because she chose things that include my favourite fruity scents – mango and grapefruit!

To be honest, I hadn’t really tried that much from Lush before. It’s partly because I didn’t realise the full range of products that they do, partly because I thought everything would leave the bath really messy, and partly because some bath products I’ve used in the past haven’t dissolved fully and there were gritty bits all over the bottom of the bath, which were a problem for me. More about sensory sensitivity in another post.

So what was in the box from Becky?

Bright side bubble bar

I didn’t know that bubble bars were even a thing. They are flat, like a bar of soap, and you can snap them in half because when dissolved, even half of one will give you a lot of bubbles.

The bright side bubble bar smells amazingly citrusy and contains Bergamotte mandarin and tangerine. You get a thick layer of bubbles on top of the water and they are proper bubbles, not ones that dissolve into nothing if you touch them. It’s like a carpet of bubbles floating on your water and it makes the room smell wonderful! I was definitely a fan of this!

Happy hippy shower gel – grapefruit

I think Becky chose this grapefruit shower gel because she knows I’m a fan of grapefruit! This is the really zingy kind of grapefruit, not the sweeter scent that you sometimes get when it’s pink grapefruit or mixed with other things. The shower gel was moisturising, and the scent stayed around on my skin throughout the rest of the day. I would definitely get this again!

The comforter bubble bar

This is another bubble bar, like the first one, but the Comforter bubble bar contains blackcurrant and bergamotte. I liked this bar too, although not quite as much as the orange one because I liked the citrus scent more. There weren’t quite as many bubbles either, but there were still more than you get with a lot of bubble baths that are more expensive than the bar.

You’ve been mangoed – bath oil

This cute little mango bath oil dissolves away into your bath water. I love the design because it looks like a mini mango, and the mango scent is also one of my favourites. When you get out of the bath, your skin is really soft, and although I always use moisturisers afterwards, this is a good option for people who forget or who don’t like body lotion. The bath water did apparently look a bit cloudy afterwards and there was an oily mark round the bath. Obviously I clean the bath anyway, but this took a bit more to remove, and I would advise anyone using these to watch out because they can make the bath a bit slippery as well. I’d say I’m more a fan of the bars, but I enjoyed testing this bath oil out.

Final thoughts

So, overall I was really glad to get the chance to try out these products because I learned a bit more about the range of things on offer at Lush, I got some grapefruity and mango goodness, and I discovered bubble bars. It was only really the bath oil that made a bit of a mess. In terms of the debris, I put my bars, bath salts, or bath bombs in a small material bag that floats and keeps all the bits inside. The oils come out through the holes, and anything else stays inside. Of course most people don’t do this, but my doing it means I can enjoy these products too – and that has to be a good thing!

Thanks again to Becky for her generous gift. Since I received it, I have made a trip to lush and got a couple more bars and bath bombs – more reviews to come soon!

What is your favourite product from Lush? Let me know in the comments!

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

Latest in Beauty subscription – April 2018

Well, it’s been a while since I did a Latest in Beauty post – my last one was in September so I decided to do another one.

The thing with this box, and one of the reasons I enjoy reading these, is that everyone’s box is different because you choose your own items from a list of over 150 products. New products are added as other ones sell out. If you don’t choose your products, I believe they are picked for you, but I always do mine on the day my payment goes through, because having the choice to pick the products I want is one of the big selling points for this box.

You can choose 3, 6 or 9 products, and I get the 9 product box, which cost me £18.

The header picture shows my April products – minus the sun cream, which was already in my bag. The make-up bag did not come with these products – I was just using it to store them. I’ve added links to the products on other sites because they are only available on Latest in Beauty while stocks last. If I got a sample, I will mention it, but probably link to the full-size product if that’s all I could find!

Originally I used this box to try new and exciting products every month. Now, I also use it to stock up on basic things that I need, as well as to get some old favourites again, if I liked them more than some of the new offerings.

So here’s what I got!

  1. 7th Heaven Strengthen Nail & Cuticle Finger Masques – I actually prefer the glove masks, but when they aren’t available, these finger masks are good too. It’s a bit of a faff to get the second hand into the finger holes because you can’t use your other hand, but it is good for moisturising your cuticles and I particularly like to use these after I’ve used nail varnish remover.
  2. Sun Beauty Velvet Milk SPF30 for the body and Sun Beauty Velvet Touch Cream SPF30 for the face Duo – I got this because I was so glad to see some actual sun protection in amongst all the self tanning stuff that I will never use! These are fairly small samples, but I thought they would be perfect for my handbag – those times when you get caught out in the sun. However, SPF30 is lower than I would normally use, and I don’t think the face cream applied that well. Maybe the ingredients didn’t react well to the other products I had on, but I need a sun cream to be able to cope with a bit of moisturiser underneath without going flaky. So I didn’t hate it, but I wouldn’t get it again. An yes, I did give it time between the products.
  3. Wileda Pomegranate Body Lotion – yes I’ve had this before, but I got it because I like this rich and creamy lotion and the pomegranate scent. This was a sample size, whereas the link is to the full product.
  4. Garnier pomegranate Tissue Mask – staying with the pomegranate theme – this is also something I have had before, but it’s cheaper than buying it from Boots, when it’s not on a deal. This mask smells great and does leave your face feeling really hydrated. However there is a lot of serum in there, so I find it’s best to do it lying down or you will have serum dripping everywhere! Generous to the point of too generous, but it is a nice mask!
  5. Organyc round pads – I got these because I was running low on cotton pads and these are biodegradable. I also hate it when the pads come apart when you’re getting them out, and these ones don’t. The fact that they’re sturdy and robust makes them easier to work with, and they’re not littering up the planet when I’m done with them.
  6. Lavera Hydro Effect Serum – it’s good to see some more organic skincare in the Latest in Beauty Edit. I’ve had mixed experiences with Lavera – I loved the night cream, was happy with the lipsticks and absolutely hated the highlighter! So this was a bit of a gamble, but I was happy with the results and unlike some serums that you get in the LIB box, this was a decent size – I believe full size. It’s intended to protect your skin against environmental pollutants, and give you fresher and more radiant skin. This is a decent size and will take a while to use up, but it’s something that I would buy again, and it can be worn under make-up as it’s not oily.
  7. VineActiv Serum from Caudalie – this is a more expensive serum, and as such, the sample is smaller. It has the typical Caudalie plant smell, and is intended as an anti-wrinkle serum, which will come in handy for my frown lines! It absorbs quickly, so can be used morning and evening.
  8. Caudalie Micellar Water – I wanted to try out some different micellar waters and this was a travel size, which I thought would be great for going away – because who wants 200ml of micellar water when you’re just going away for a couple of days? The micellar water works as well as any other really and it smells the same as the serum. I quite like it, but if you want a scentless one, this isn’t for you!
  9. Twelfth Night Palette – I can’t give you a review of this palette because I bought it for a giveaway. If you want to win this and some other make-up and skincare products, make sure you either subscribe to the blog or sign up for the emails so that you know when the Summer giveaway is happening!

So all in all, some new things, some useful things, and just one that I wouldn’t get again – the sun cream that left me a bit underwhelmed.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think of them? Do you get Latest in Beauty? If you’ve done any reviews or Youtube videos, you’re welcome to drop your links in the comments.

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.

You can get £10 off your first Feel Unique order by going onto the site using my affiliate link. This offer is open to new customers only, and the minimum spend is £30. So basically you can get £30 of products for £20. This is an affiliate link, so I also get a reward – in this case it’s £10 worth of products, which I will use to buy new things to test out on Unseen Beauty.

It’s Donkey Week – what can you do to help a donkey?

Today I’d like to talk about donkeys! 8th May 2018 is the beginning of Donkey Week, which is a series of events run in the UK by the Donkey Sanctuary.

The closest I got to meeting donkeys was on the Isle of Wight. I went there with some friends, but it was around Christmas time, and the sanctuary was closed to the public. As we stood by the fence outside, some of the donkeys came up to the other side and started braying. I wasn’t close enough to give them a pat, but it was as if they still wanted to say hello to us!

I’ve been following the Donkey Sanctuary on Facebook for a while and received their emails. The sanctuary is involved in helping donkeys all over the world, so as well as looking after abandoned or neglected donkeys here, they also work on shaping legislation in other countries. If you aren’t able to help financially, there are still ways in which you can help such as public awareness, sharing informatoin on social media, or signing petitions if you agree with them to show that the petition is supported by members of the public.

According to the site’s website, there are over 50 million donkeys around the world. In other parts of the world, some are treated as part of the family,helping to bring water and firewood, but in other areas, their life isn’t as good and they are not treated well. The sanctuary works to change laws to stop cruel or bad practices, address cases in which they are being neglected, and improve the life of the donkey worldwide. This includes monitoring what’s happening to donkeys around the world, particularly when they are working in dangerous places such as brick kilns and building sites.
Donkey week gives people the chance to meet the Donkey Sanctuary donkeys, go on wildlife walks, attend talks, hang out witt, or groom the donkeys. Accommodation is provided by a range of hotels and guest houses that are part of the Donkey Week scheme, and 10% of your accommodation costs go back to the sanctuary and therefore to looking after the donkeys.

I’m not actually able to go to any of the events this time, but I did adopt Coco the retired donkey! There is also Bonnie, the inquisitiv donkey who likes to try and get a second turn at being groomed, Cisco the organiser donkey, who makes sure all his stable mates are doing what they should, Henry the visually impaired donkey, who is getting used to getting around relying on his ears, and Ripple, who puts his head on your shoulder to show affection. There arre also many others, so do check them out if you want to meet the rest of the donkey family!

If you go to the adopt a donkey part of the website, you will find pictures of all of the donkeys and some information about each donkey.

Sponsoring a donkey costs £36, or £3 a month. You can receive a welcome pack with pictures and postcards, or you can choose not to receive the pack so that there is no cost for it and the total amount goes to the donkeys. I wouldn’t be able to see the pictures, so I ticked the box to say that I didn’t need a pack.Coco is at the sanctuary in Devon, so if we ever make it down there, I might be able to meet him!

Have you ever been to a donkey sanctuary? Will you be doing anything for Donkey Week this year? Let me know in the comments!

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.

Weather gods app – bringing the weather to life with sound

Update: I have one code left and as the draw is now over, I’ll give it to the next person who contacts me with a request using the form below! Congratulations to Elisabeth, Corinne, Nim and Sandra – your codes will be sent out shortly.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that I mentioned the Weather Gods app in my March favourites. I downloaded it because one of my students in Germany had recommended it.

After I published the post, Scott, the app developer got in touch with me and asked if I would like some codes for my readers to download the app. I now have five codes for readers who would like to try out the apps for themselves. I paid for my version and would recommend it to anyone who’s interested in the weather, or who wants to try an alternative to the native weather app that comes on Apple devices.

What’s the app for?

Basically it’s a quirky twist on the standard weather app that is accessible, incorporates soundscapes, and has a good variety of options for push notifications.

You have five weather gods – the air god, the fire god, the water god, the ice god, and the moon god. They tell you about the wind, sun, rain, ice or snow, and the phase of the moon.

You can either get this information by opening the app and clicking on the various gods, or you can set up alerts to tell you how the weather is going to be, and if certain events are going to happen.

Within the app are also sounds to bring the weather data to life – falling rain for when it’s raining, sleeping sounds for when a god is sleeping or inactive, and wind sounds for the wind. I think this is more fun than just getting the information.

I find the alerts useful because I want to know things like when it’s going to rain, when it’s going to snow – because I’m still a big kid and think it’s exciting, whether it’s going to be windy, and when the sun will rise and set. The last point here could be especially useful for blind people. I can see whether it’s light outside, but if I have evening meetings online, it’s good for me to know whether I should put the light on beforehand.

I don’t have an apple watch, but there is an app for the apple watch, and there are some fun weather gods stickers in the iMessages app. I hadn’t actually used these before, but if you’re in the iMessage screen, you can select messaging apps, then Weather Gods, and then you can choose from a range of stickers. So I sent S a bunch of glowing suns, angry fire gods and sleeping air gods to see how it worked!

Why was the app created?

I asked Scott why he decided to create this app, and this is what he told me:

“We set out to make Weather God a unique weather app, unlike anything else on the app store – the idea being that the sound scapes would add another dimension to experiencing the weather. We wanted to avoid the classic weather app with icons and a spreadsheet of data. This is why Weather Gods has no icons and instead uses visualisations and sounds to represent the weather conditions.

When we first trialled the beta version we didn’t really have much of a clue about accessibility … but I reached out to the AppleVis community who have been fantastic in guiding us to make the app so accessible. I now think of our app as having many wonderful ways of communicating the weather to our users and voiceover now plays a very important part.

Many parts of the app are voiceover specific … for example, sighted users will be presented with various charts when tapping the weather god icons, whereas voiceover users have a full featured scrolling timeline.

There are also many other examples in the app where we have gone to great lengths to make the best weather app for every user. It’s the same for the Apple Watch as well. In release 1.7 we added smart weather complications specifically for voiceover users – I believe this is a first of its kind for an app. Now voiceover users with an Apple Watch have what amounts to a smart full featured hourly weather forecast for every single watch face. This has been extremely popular with voiceover users who have the Apple Watch – far more so than I expected :)”

I would like to think that our app redefines the weather app for everybody.”

Information for blind people

As we emailed back and forth, Scott also described the images in the app, and I asked him to let me put the descriptions in my post to so that any of my blind readers can get an idea of how the app looks:

The logo with the words ‘Weather Gods’ is on the top half of the image in black and white – the logo is the praying hands emoji.

Below the logo and words are the five gods.

Each god is a bit like a wild, erratic furry ball with a pair of eyes; no mouth, ears, nose etc. Just two small black solid eyes. In the app, each god is animated with their heads expanding, contracting, rotating in this wild, chaotic way. For example, water droplets fly off the water god and small pieces of ice from the ice god. The eyes move depending on what is happening with the weather. Gods are asleep with eyes closed when there isn’t much going on with their weather. For example the ice god would be asleep most of summer. However, all gods react with their eyes when something happens in the app – a lightning bolt when thundery weather will momentarily wake up all the sleeping gods – they have been startled awake 🙂 Gods also react to taps on screen and they will ‘look’ in the direction of the tap. These are just a couple of examples, there are many more in the app.

Describing the gods …

The Fire god is a ball of fire and is orange / yellow in colour
The Ice god is a bit like a rough snowball and is white / light purple in colour
The Air god is mostly white with grey around the edges
The Water god is like a splash of water as it hits the ground and is blue in colour
Finally, the moon goddess is a pictorial representation of the moon and its current phase.

The gods sit in a horizontal line below the logo, words and are arrange left to right:

fire, ice, moon, water and air.”

Final thoughts

Have you tried out this app? What do you think of it?

Some apps about the weather are very visual in the way they are set out and the way they give information, which makes them very difficult, if not impossible for me to use as someone who can’t interact with maps or images.

So, I was happy to discover this app, because I can get the same information as sighted users in a way that works for me. The app isn’t just for blind people, and I think that’s a good thing too. I will always promote inclusive products because then I can use the same things as my sighted friends, rather than having to rely on bespoke solutions all the time.

That’s why I’m interested when I find out that developers have gone out of their way to create an inclusive product that considers the needs of screenreader users. This is not something that we can take for granted. Only yesterday I took my business away from a company that I had been using for 15 years because they were becoming less and less committed to inclusive design. I complain about such bad practices when I come across them, but I also want to use this blog to highlight examples of people who are doing the opposite – making sure that blind users can have a good experience when using their apps or websites.

So thanks to Scott and his team for learning about VoiceOver and also for the five codes. Read on to find out how you can request one.

More from Unseen Beauty and your chance to get the app for free

I have five codes to give away that will let five of my readers download the app for free from the Apple app store (it is usually a paid app). If you’d like one of the codes, please fill in the form. The number of codes is limited, so please only request one if you have an Apple device, and you intend to download and use the app.

I’m going to leave this open until 11:59 on Wednesday 16th May and draw 5 names from the entries submitted using the form below.
Also, if you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

You can also visit the Weather Gods site here.

April make-up and skincare empties

So it’s time to talk about rubbish – my rubbish and the empty products that I used up in April!

I always tend to have a lot of these, but the fat that I get subscription boxes means that I can test a lot of things out without committing to the full size, so I hope these reviews are helpful. I also enjoy reading posts like this, so if you’ve done a blog post or video about what you used up, feel free to post it in the comments.

Haircare

I used up a 7th Heaven argan oil single use hair mask and a papaya one from the same range. In terms of the products, I liked it, but I’d say that unless you specifically want to try a product out, or you want a single use one because you’re going away, it’s better value to buy a bigger tub and get more uses out of it. I also think this because I have a lot of very thick hair, and I would have probably used a bit more than was in these single use packs. So, if I come across it as a tub, I would buy it again, especially the papaya one because it smelled amazing! However, I want to try out some other hair masks first.

Skincare

I finished up the last 3 masks in my Innisfree set, which were cucumber, acai berry and Bija. I’ve since removed the link from my site though because it appears that they’re not available any more. It can be a bit hit and miss with sheet masks on Amazon and they’re only available while stocks last – but if I came across these again, I would buy them. They worked out at around £1 or £1.50 a mask and there weren’t any in the pack that I didn’t like.

I’ve talked about these before, but I finished up my Nip+Fab exfoliating pads. They contain glycolic and fruit acids and are great for exfoliating when you want to use chemical rather than physical exfoliators. I hate the texture of the other ones, so these are a perfect find for me!

The strawberry range in the Body Shop is not one that I usually go for, but I had one of their strawberry body butters in my drawer and decided to use it up. This is one of the firmer body butters, for those who want something thick and luxurious, rather than the creamier butters. This isn’t my favourite, but it’s a good product, especially if you love the strawberry scent more than some of the citrus ones.

There would be no point doing this blog if I said I loved everything. You wouldn’t believe me. So I’ll be honest and say I’m not a fan of the Body Shop coconut lip butter. I used about 2/3 of it, but every time I picked it up, I thought of all the other lip products that I have that I like more. I don’t think it’s a bad product, I’m just not a fan of the coconut taste on my lips which I found quite strong and overpowering. But if you’re a coconut fan, you’d probably love it. Also, I’d had it a while and the product had begun to separate. This can happen with more natural products because they’re not packed with preservatives, but some of the other lip balms which I’ve had as long did not do that. I finished up the last bit of my raspberry lip balm, > also from the Body Shop, and I liked this much more. I thought the formula was smoother and the taste was better – which does count when you’ve got something on your lips!

I used up another green tea mask from the Masque Bar. This mask is meant to leave your skin looking more radiant. It’s a nice gentle formula and although I wasn’t trying to hide any dark spots with it, it left my skin feeling soft and looking brighter.

I got a Detox Diva mask from Latest in Beauty. These sound great because you’ve got honey to hydrate, Chinese plum strawberry and lemon to exfoliate. Unfortunately though the scent of the geranium oil is quite strong. I much preferred the pre party prep mask from the same company – the main scent here is the orange, which along with the argan oil, rice and super fruit extracts prepares and hydrates your face for a night out.

I didn’t even know that L’Occitane did lip care products, but we got a teeny tiny tube of their lip balm in the advent calendar last year. Like some of their other skincare products, it is made with shea butter for moisturising chapped lips. The product was definitely good – it kept my lips soft and didn’t really taste of anything. I love the fruity ones, but if you want something a bit more subtle, this could be for you. The tester didn’t have an applicator, but the full size might. I don’t know.

I also finished up the shea butter hand cream from L’Occitane that I reviewed in my L’Occitane post last year. This product was a PR sample, but I would buy it again. It’s the thickest out of the hand creams that I have tried from L’Occitane and I used it as a rich night hand cream. It’s not one for on the go when you don’t have much time, but it really sinks in and moisturises your hands while you sleep!

Korres is a Greek brand that one of my friends introduced me to last year. I like their body milks because they are more lightweight than butters, but still feel your skin feeling as though you’ve moisturised it. I was a bit dubious about the body milks at first, but they do work. I’ve just finished up one in vanilla and cinnamon. I’m going to do a full post on Korres soon, so let me know if you have any favourite products from them.

Make-up

My L’Oréal True Match foundation ran out and I already had another one in the drawer. I don’t tend to try out lots of different foundations – I find one I like and that matches my skin tone and stick with it.

I used up another ELF hydrating primer and I’ve already bought another one! I have a number of primers lying around at the moment because there were a couple in the advent calendar, but I keep coming back to this one because I have dry skin and like a primer with a bit of hydration as well. Also it comes in a pump dispenser, so you just need one pump for the whole face as you do with the foundation. This means I always get the right amount and as I also like the formula, this is one that I will keep repurchasing.

In my M&S Advent calendar last year was a Pur primer. It’s nice to see that M&S have got their accessibility glitch sorted out – when I went to get the link, I could actually read the page, rather than one line of text being repeated, presumably because the page kept refreshing. Anyway – I hadn’t heard of this brand before and I enjoyed using the primer. Still, it is quite expensive and I think there are cheaper ones available that do the job just as well! Still, nice for a Christmas treat!

We got a PHB mascara in Lovelula a few months ago. I don’t get the Lovelula box at the moment, but I was quite happy with this mascara as I haven’t found a cruelty-free one that I liked! I’ve found that getting good cruelty-free skincare is fairly easy, but when it comes to make-up, it’s more difficult. I prefer ones that aren’t waterproof, so I probably wouldn’t get this again, but it did add length and volume to my lashes.

I used up a Makeup Forever liquid highlighter – I can’t find this to link it because it was in the Make-up Forever advent calendar and I got it as part of a swap. I definitely prefer this to powder, but I prefer the cream highlighter sticks, so this isn’t something I’d replace.

I can’t find the link for this on Boots either, but I finished up my Makeup Obsession contour cream. There are also powders in this range in a range of shades, but a friend got me the contour cream, which is in a mini palette of its own. Again, as someone who is blind, I do find the cream products easier to work with. This contour cream is empty, but I still have some other sticks, so I won’t replace it straight away.

Bath and shower

I’ve been trying out some different bath products recently – there’s a lush update to come – but I keep going back to Radox bubble baths. My favourite at the moment is still the Feel Ready one with apple and pomegranate.

Fragrance

I can’t find the exact link to the Indian night jasmin spray that I got from the body shop, but this fragrance mist is from the same line. It’s a lovely, refreshing scent and makes me think of hot summers and refreshing jasmin tea! This is something that I would get again for the summer months.

How about you?

So, finally at the end! Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments!

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.

You can get £10 off your first Feel Unique order by going onto the site using my affiliate link. This offer is open to new customers only, and the minimum spend is £30. So basically you can get £30 of products for £20.

New and favourite things in April

I want to make these posts a bit more than favourites, so from now on I’m going to be talking about new things, things that have made life easier/better, as well as the usual favourites.

Bluetooth headset

My old headset was doing well – it was held together with sellotape on both sides, but one day it refused to charge any more and I knew I had to get a new one. I needed something that’s comfortable, because I wear a headset a lot of the time, something with good sound quality, a microphone, and for it to be wireless. The last headset I got was a gaming one – I’m not a gamer, but a lot of the requirements are the same.
Having a wireless one is good because although I usually sit at my desk, it gives me the freedom to pick up my wireless keyboard and work anywhere in the house without having to take my laptop along. This is also good for Dungeons and Dragons night because my stuff is easily portable and the added bonus is that nobody can see what I’m writing because there is no screen involved!

So, I was complaining about needing a new headset and S ordered one as a surprise – from, a site I hadn’t heard of before – scan.co.uk .
This is the one I got and I’m very happy with it.

a plastic storage box”

I don’t have the link for this, but we were in a craft shop looking for something else, when we came across some large, shallow plastic storage containers and I decided one of them would be perfect for my make-up.

It’s not that I have any embarrassing stories. I didn’t colour my eyes in with the bright red lip crayon because it felt like the eye crayons. I’m careful about knowing what everything is and labelling everything, but having set compartments for eye products, lipsticks, blushers, highlighters etc just makes everything quicker to find, and who doesn’t want to make life easier?

Make-up

Around Easter time I had some time off and I did a bit of make-up shopping.

I got the Clinique highlight and contour sticks for Christmas and discovered that they do a blusher too. There’s a range of colours – I got the plumped up peony. These are quite expensive, but they go on smoothly, are easy to blend, and you get a decent amount in the stick. They all feel the same, so I have marked them, but I think they are a good product and there are about 3 other colours if you want to have a choice.

I also tried one from another brand – Isadora, which is slightly cheaper than the Clinique one. I got the English rose blush stick, and these cream blushers make life so easy, particularly for people who can’t see what they’re doing. I’ve tried sticks, tubes and pots of products, but I always come back to the blusher sticks. You just have to remember to blend them properly!

I’ve already complained about the horrible eye shadow in my March empties, but I did get a couple more that were better.

I’d heard about 3ina make-up and I was interested to see that they did a selection of cream shadows too. I would say these are mid-range in terms of the price, but after applying this for the first time, I was told I needed another coat. Adding another coat did make it look better, but then because it’s cream to powder and there were two coats of it, it was a total pain to get it off again! Maybe in future I just need a thicker coat. This is definitely a formula that I can work with – it’s nice and creamy and goes on easily, but it seems the colour pay-off isn’t great and it’s therefore not as good as some of my similar ones that are cheaper. I’ll definitely use it, but probably won’t get any more.

I also got a Revlon Colorstay crème shadow, which was fine. It’s a bit firmer than some of the other creams, a bit like the Maybelline Color tattoo ones. I prefer the application of the 3ina one, but the Revlon one looked better afterwards and didn’t need a second coat.

Going back to the more high-end products, I picked up a Nars lipstick because I’d read good things about the formula and I like a satin finish that doesn’t dry out your lips. You can see the range here.

Skincare

A while ago I talked about the Body Shop® Oils of Life cream because I got a sample of it in the 2016 calendar. Last year I then got the full size because it’s such a lovely cream, especially in the Winter/early Spring when the weather is cold and your skin gets dried out because of being in heated buildings all the time. It’s not the cheapest night cream that they do, but if you feel that you want to give your face that extra bit of nourishment, I can really recommend this.

Haircare

I try to take good care of my hair, and I don’t use straighteners or other heated stylers on it, but it occurred to me that I could protect it by getting a blow drying spray because even in the Summer, I have to dry it to some extent because it’s so long. So I picked up the Percy and Reed perfect blow dry make-over spray. It’s one of those products where you can’t see the benefits, but protecting my hair from heat damage has to be a good thing.

I’ve never tried any haircare products from Molten Brown before, but I got a couple of samples in a beauty box and I really liked them! This is the <a href="https://www.moltonbrown.co.uk/store/bath-body/shampoo-conditioner-sets/purifying-hair-care-set-with-indian-cress/WBB319/#BVRRContainer&quot; purifying set for all hair types with Indian cress. I only had little 30ml testers and the full size is quite pricy, but this stuff is amazing and my hair was so soft and silky afterwards! Here’s where you can get the full size set.

So, have you tried any of these things? What have you been enjoying this month? Let me know in the comments!

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

You can get £10 off your first Feel Unique order by going onto the site using my affiliate link. This offer is open to new customers only, and the minimum spend is £30. So basically you can get £30 of products for £20.

This post also contains some other affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.