We tried out some Japanese chocolate and snacks

So, this is the part where S gets roped into helping on the blog – by eating chocolate! Good deal, isn’t it?!

I decided that I wanted to try out some Japanese sweets and snacks, so to make it a tiny bit more objective, I bought up a bunch of stuff from Amazon and we had a taste test together – although not all at once! I was pleased to say that there were only a couple of things that I really didn’t like, and I enjoyed having the chance to munch on some new and unfamiliar snacks.

I was first introduced to Japanese food when a Japanese student, who soon became my friend, came to study at my school for 9 months when I was in year 12. She brought different things for us to try, such as seaweed and some cute little biscuit bears with chocolate in the middle!

So I was keen to see what else was available online – Amazon makes all things possible!

I bought two packs – one which was just different types of Japanese KitKat, and the other one was snacks. Actually I just thought they were sweets, but when it arrived, there was a mixture of sweet and savoury stuff in there. You don’t have to choose exactly what you want because you are given a random mixture each time, though no two things were the same.

There was no English on the packets, so it really was a lucky dip, unless you find the same picture on the internet with English descriptions – S did manage this for a couple of things, and he recognised some of the words. However, if you have an allergy and are used to checking ingredient lists before you eat things, this won’t be a good idea for you. It did concern me a bit, but my allergies aren’t life-threatening so I just did it at home with S so I could be comfortable if I didn’t feel great. I was fine, but I wouldn’t recommend that people with allergies do this!

KitKats

We got a pack of 14 Japanese KitKats. I didn’t measure them, but they’re minis, so you get two little fingers in each pack, or one of them just had one, like a mini KitKat chunky.

My favourites had to be the green tea ones. I’d never thought of chocolate and green tea before, but they went well together! I would buy those again. The sake (a type of alcoholic drink made with rice) KitKat with white chocolate was good too.

The only one I didn’t really like was made with some kind of nuts, and I’m not a fan of any kind of nutty chocolate, so that was to be expected. Still, I was happy that only one of the bars had nuts in it.

There were a couple that tasted like the KitKats you can buy here – a milk one and a plain one. They weren’t quite the same though, so as well as the packaging being different, there must be different ingredients in the chocolate too. The wafer in the plain one tasted less sweet than the ones you can buy in the UK. There was also a white chocolate one that must have had something else mixed in with it – I like white chocolate, but this one was very sweet.

There was also a mint one – yum yum! I do like a good bit of mint chocolate!

Another interesting taste was the ginger chocolate – I do wish we could have more experimental flavours in the UK. Ok you can find them if you know where to look, but you don’t get things like that in standard chocolate bars.

Finally I need to mention the strawberry one, because I’m a fan of fruity chocolate!

Snacks

So these were the snacks that I originally thought were just sweets – but they were actually a mixture of 20 sweet and savoury snacks. Here are some of the highlights although in some cases, I can’t tell you exactly what they were!

There was a packet with small, square snacks like rice crackers. I like the rice cracker idea, but I found these a bit salty. In fact, I’d say that about a lot of the savoury things, but then I’m not a fan of salty snacks in general.

There were a number of Umaibo – like long, thin, crunchy rolls made of puffed corn, which come in a variety of flavours:

Tonkatsu sauce – this was sweet and zingy – I could taste the vinegar!
Mentai – marinated roe of Pollock. I would eat these at a party or something, but not being a massive fish lover, I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them!
Pizza – I could definitely taste the pepperoni or barbecue sauce
Peperoni
Green salad – this really tasted like slightly spicy whatsits!

We had a bag of some kind of cereal balls with something like tomato or prawn cocktail flavouring – a bit like skip-flavoured whatsits!

The only thing I couldn’t finish was the squid, but I really don’t like most seafood and some fish. Still, I gave it a go!

The other thing that I wasn’t particularly fond of but which I did manage to finish was the dried fish sticks. They tasted a bit like cardboard until you started to chew, and very fishy!

The first sweet thing I tried was the Daifuku – this was good, but we only got one, so I tried to tear it in half! It’s like a cross between a jelly sweet and a marshmellow, with a strawberry filling inside. I could definitely eat more of those!

There was a tasty star shaped chocolate infused wafer.

My favourites were some tasty, sweet cracker things, softer than rice cakes and a bit thicker than crisps. They were slightly sweet and tasted a bit like waffles!

There was one salty dried plumb – dried plum = good, salty dried plum = not good!

There was something like a boiled strawberry sweet – nice enough, but only one in a packet? It wasn’t very big!

Who remembers flumps? There was something that looked like a larger one of those, as well as a bag of teeny tiny marsh mellows!

There was a card with some chocolate-filled sweets that looked a bit like smarties, but you had to push them out of the plastic in the same way that you would headache tablets! Interesting packaging, but the sweets were good!

How about you?

Have you tried any of these things? If so, what did you think of them? Have you had any taste testing boxes from other countries? Let me know in the comments!

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What subscriptions do you have?

I talk about our subscriptions for beauty, food, and entertainment.

What subscriptions do you have?

When I started thinking about this post and adding up the subscriptions that we have, I was a little surprised. However we do use all of them. One is very new, so we’ll have to see whether we’re going to keep it.

The beauty ones are definitely mine, but the rest are ours as a household. Maybe there are some here that you didn’t know about.

Beauty

I have two beauty subscriptions. The first is Latest in Beauty. The great thing about Latest in Beauty is that you make your own box. You might not love everything you pick – that’s just the way it goes with trying new products – but you make the decisions about what goes into your box, so if there are types of products that you’ll never use, you never have to get them.

There are build-your-own boxes and curated boxes. If you build your own, you can get 3, 6 or 9 products. The more products you get, the cheaper they become. I look through the list once my payment is taken and select the things that I want. First I look for new and exciting things, then I look for things that I need, then I look for things that I’ve had before and really enjoyed. Some months it’s really hard to choose because there are so many things that I would like. Other months it’s a bit harder, like a couple of months ago when there were a lot of nail varnishes and tanning products, neither of which really interest me. But I’ve discovered a lot of cool stuff this way!

My second beauty box is Lovelula – the natural and cruelty-free beauty box. You can sign up for the monthly boxes (there are different pricing structures, so if you’re interested, check them out here.)

I like Lovelula because I want to use more natural and cruelty-free products, and this is a good way to try some new types of product and new brands in a way that’s cheaper than buying them full-price. There are sometimes one or two things in the box that I wouldn’t use, but I don’t feel that these are wasted because they go into swap boxes with other bloggers, into a blog prize draw, or I use them as gifts. If it got to the point where I was using only one or two of the products, that would be a problem, but as it is, I use most of them.

The other good thing about Lovelula is that you get a discount on the brands in the box each month, and if you really like something, you can buy it in the shop. This is different from Latest in Beauty because they have rolling stock, which means once something has sold out, it’s gone unless they bring it back again.

Both boxes provide a range of full-size and sample-size products, and particularly as someone who loves to try new things, they both work well for me.

Entertainment

We hardly ever watch TV in our house. If we watch anything, it’s usually Netflix, Prime video or a DVD. Oh and then there are all the beauty videos on Youtube, but fortunately they’re free!

At the beginning of last year, we weren’t sure whether to go for Netflix or Amazon Prime. Both of them were offering one month for free, so we tried them both out and continued both subscriptions, but for different reasons!

I’d say that we use Netflix more in terms of watching things – either together or on our own. There are some things that S watches that drive me crazy, and I’m sure he feels the same about some of my choices. You can set up individual profiles, so that the suggestions are based on what you actually like, rather than some random thing that another member of the household was watching. The number of people who can watch at any one time is based on the payment plan that you choose.

I usually just listen on my phone because I don’t need a screen. I really like the way that you can filter by audio described content, which is content that has an additional sound track for explaining to blind people what’s happening on the screen. When I’m watching on my own, I’m usually only interested in this type of content, and it’s nice that it can be pulled out into a separate list. I wouldn’t say we’re really heavy users of the service, but it’s nice to have it.

We do watch a few things on Amazon Prime, but there is less audio-described content on there and you can’t filter it as you can on Netflix. If Prime only had the option of Amazon Video, it probably wouldn’t be worth our while, but it gives you a number of other benefits too, which we definitely use:

  • Free next day delivery. This isn’t just cool because it’s quicker, although that is cool! It helps me to plan when the deliveries are coming so that they don’t arrive on a day when I have back-to-back meetings.
  • Free magazines – every month there is a range of magazines that offer one issue for free. You buy them for £0 on your Amazon account and then you can read them on the Kindle app, or presumably on your kindle (I don’t have one!) This doesn’t work if you want to read the same magazine every month, but if you have a more general interest, such as beauty or travel, you can usually find something to read.
  • Amazon music – most of the time I prefer listening to my own music – I haven’t really got on board with the stream on demand thing, but there are times when it’s good to put on someone else’s playlist, such as when I go running and want some upbeat, motivational music.
  • Extra free books on Audible – we’ll come to Audible in a minute, but when I signed up, being an Amazon Prime member gave me an extra 2 books for free.
  • Share with your household – I’m the Amazon Prime account holder, but S gets all of these benefits too because I linked both of our accounts to our household.

If you want to try out Amazon Prime free for a month, you can sign up here.

Finally we have Audible – a service for audio books. I love audio books! I used to read Braille books, but you can’t take a huge volume of Braille on the train with you, so in my commuter days I read a lot of audio books! They’re also good when you want to relax. S likes them too, so we often listen to books together as a change to watching films.

S bought me an Audible subscription last Christmas. I decided to continue it after the gift ran out, and then I got 3 more books because I’m an Amazon Prime member. Now I pay for them, but I think it’s worth it. I tend to go for longer books, so I can have several nights of entertainment for a similar price to, for example, a trip to the cinema.

You have to buy the books on the Audible site and then you can listen to them on the Audible app. You can’t buy books on the app. There are over 200,000 books to choose from, and the player lets you speed them up if that’s your thing!

If you sign up to the service, you are eligible to get one book for free, as long as you haven’t had a free book from Audible in the last year (3 free books if you’re an Amazon Prime member). If you like it, you keep the subscription going and you will be charged for a new credit each month. The credit is used to buy your next book. If you just want the free book, you can cancel your subscription within the first month – you won’t be charged, and you get to keep your book.

If you’re interested, you can use my Audible free trial link (If you are based in Germany, use my German link.

Food

And finally we come to food. I don’t want to say anything about my fruit and vegetable box yet because I only got my first one this morning. I’ll do a post about that soon, but for now it looks good – a mixture of organically-grown fruit and vegetables delivered to your door.

The other food subscription is the Spicebox. You can read a review about it here. Basically you are sent a box every month with little bags of spices and a recipe for a delicious curry. You have to buy the main ingredients in edition, but all the rare things are measured out for you, so you only buy what you need for the dish, the spice blends are already mixed, and you don’t have to trek round looking for things that aren’t sold in the supermarket.

S and I always cook and enjoy these together – a kind of date night in! You get one a month, and there’s usually an extra sachet with spices for another dish. You can find out more about the company on The Spicery’s web page.

How about you

What subscriptions do you have, and which are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!

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This post contains some affiliate links ß specificallz for Amayon Prime and Audible.

How do you do the washing when you can’t see?

Tips for doing the washing when you’re blind and can’t see colours, and some new products from Ecover

When I was a child, I just had to throw anything dirty in the big wicker box, and it miraculously appeared back in my cupboard, clean and usually ironed as well. The only time I got involved with it was when it started to rain and I had to dash out into the garden to help my Nan get everything off the line and into the basket before it got wet!

When I started living on my own, I was responsible for that lovely chore – the washing! Nothing unusual in that, apart from the fact that I had to develop a system for separating the colours so I didn’t inadvertently wash things together that could run. Not so easy when you can’t see colours, but I developed some ways to make it easier:

  • Have several bins for washing so that you only have to identify the colour of each item once.
  • Don’t buy the same top in a number of colours. Try to have different things in the wardrobe so they can all be identified by touch – hopefully then you’ll remember what colour they are!
  • Don’t buy really, really cheap fabrics as they are more likely to run – and the worst part about that is that you won’t even know it unless someone points it out!
  • Invest in a colour detector – these are little gadgets that you put up against the material, press a button, and a voice announces the colour. There are also apps that do this, but the stand-alone gadgets tend to be better, if more expensive. They work well on single-colour garments, but patterns confuse them!

When S and I moved in together, we kept the multiple bin system, because there is no way I would remember what colour all of his stuff is, and many of his shirts and t-shirts feel the same. So He has to put his stuff in the right bin, and then I know that anything in the same bin can be washed together.

We have a washing machine with dials on it, so I know what the moving them to different positions means in terms of the different programmes. You can also get little stickers that you put onto the machine to highlight the programmes that you use regularly. This is much easier than a touchscreen washing machine.

Products from Ecover

Ecover recently held an event for bloggers. I was unable to attend, but they kindly sent me a lavender and sandalwood washing non-bio laundry detergent and a gardenia and vanilla fabric softener to try.

Firstly – how did they smell? I’m super-fussy about that. I don’t believe my sense of smell is better because of my blindness, but I think I pay extra attention to it, in the same way that other people might be lured in by pretty packaging! Both of them smelled nice and fresh, although my personal preference was the gardenia and vanilla fabric softener.

I hadn’t heard of Ecover before. The company was founded in the 1970s when Frans Bogaerts and his team in Belgium designed a new product because they were concerned about the harmful effect that phosphates in washing powder was having on the water system. This pollution was a problem for the plants and animals, so they developed a phosphate-free washing powder with the idea that making clothes clean shouldn’t lead to pollution further down the line.

The range has developed, and now there are a number of household cleaning products made from biodegradable plant-based and mineral ingredients.

The packaging is eco-friendly too – it’s made from 75% plastic derived from and 25% recycled plastic. The bottles are 100% recyclable. Ecover does not test on animals and the products are suitable for sensitive skin.

I’ve heard complaints before that environmentally-friendly cleaning products don’t do the job as well, but this wasn’t the case here. The clothes were clean and fresh, and as the detergent is a concentrated formula, you don’t need to use as much, so the bottle lasts longer.

Overall, I really like the concept behind the brand. One family can’t save the planet, but it’s the little steps that help and I think we all have a responsibility to do the little things to protect the environment, because they all add up.

From a practical point of view, I prefer capsules to liquid detergents because you don’t have to measure them out, which can be a bit fiddly if you can’t see the line on the measuring cup. As a result, I wouldn’t buy the detergent, but there are also laundry tablets available in the range.
The fabric softener made a nice change, and if you don’t want the scents that I mentioned, there are other fragrances too such as apple blossom and almond. The gardenia was quite a delicate fragrance, which is good if you don’t like heavily-scented products.

If you want to find out more about Ecover, you can follow Ecover on Twitter or visit their website.

Have you tried any of these products? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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(This post contains PR samples.)

September empties – lots of mangos

There is a bit of a mango theme going on this month, but that’s to be expected with me.

Most of these are things that I have used up, but there are also a couple of things that I just didn’t like. I’m not a big fan of decluttering, because I think if I bought something, I should use it up, unless it is horrible in some way or really doesn’t suit me. But I did throw out a couple of things this month because I will never use them and they were just taking up space.

Skincare

I thought that all cotton pads were alike, but then I bought some, nice fair trade ones as I thought, but they weren’t well-made at all. They stuck to each other and tore apart in the middle, and they drove me wild! That’s why I was happy to discover the Cottontails oval cotton pads. They are slightly larger than other ones I’ve had because they’re oval, and when you take one out, you don’t get half of the next one along with it! I only get these now.

At the beginning of the month I finished up my Vitamin C glow-boosting moisturiser from the Body Shop. I’ve raved about this before – it’s a lovely, refreshing day cream that wakes your skin up in the morning and smells wonderfully of oranges! It is energising and hydrating, and contains aloe vera and vitamin C rich camu camu from the Amazonian rain forest. It absorbs quickly and my make-up sits well on top of it. I would definitely buy it again if I didn’t have so many other moisturisers to use up!

The other face cream that I finished was from the July Lovelula box. It was the Madara Smart Antioxidants Fine Line Minimising Cream. We got a generous 20ml travel size one, whereas the one behind the link is the full-size 50ml. I was particularly happy about this because firstly I’m a fan of Madara skincare, and secondly, this cream is formulated for dry skin, which is what I have. It’s described as a rich, youth-preserving cream, but I have to admit I also used it as a day cream because it was not so rich that it didn’t absorb quickly. It contains lichen, moss, fern, and archemilla, to give you hydration, reverse the first signs of ageing and smooth out fine lines. I don’t have that many fine lines to worry about, but anything that supressing the formulation of free radicals and repairs skin cells is a good thing. It smells more plant-based, but not in an overpowering or annoying way!

Yes, Miss Mango managed to use up two mango body products this month, although the mango body butter from the Body Shop was only a 50ml mini from a mango gift set. I’ve mentioned before how some of the Body Butters are softer than others, and this is one of the more creamy ones, which makes it glide on easily and spread over the skin. I love anything from this range, and on chilly autumn days, it’s the perfect end to a nice, hot bath!

The second mango product in this section was the chili mango and tonka bean body lotion that I reviewed for the Being by Sanctuary post.

It was probably my favourite scent out of the ones that I tried from that range. The lotion is thinner than the body butter, and the mango scent lasted for ages and ages after use. The chilli made it not quite as sweet as some of the other mango products that you come across.

Bath and shower

This was a lucky find at the back of my drawer. I actually thought I’d already used it – it was a Christmas present – but no! So I got to use it in September. I love the Grumpy Cow range from the Cowshed, and enjoyed using up this Cowshed – grumpy cow uplifting shower gel. I love the refreshing mandarin and grapefruit scent of this range. It’s not the cheapest shower gel you can buy, but I like it for a special treat!

Haircare

Yes, it’s back! I used up another bottle of the Avon Magnificent mango crazy hair tamer (2 bottles) I brush a couple of squirts of this through my hair and as well as smelling of mangos, it helps me to get the tangles out of my long hair. I’m not usually loyal to products because I like to try different things out, but this is the only detangler I use now!

Make-up

One of the things available in the Latest in Beauty edit was a mini version of the Benefit Cosmetics Porefessional primer I do have a full-size one, but I thought this would be nice for going away, and it took up much less space in my make-up bag when we went away for a wedding at the beginning of September. You get a few uses out of it, but it’s all gone now. It leaves your face with a silky smooth base on which to apply your foundation. Again, not the cheapest on the market, and I don’t use it all the time, but I do think it’s worth it!

I have about 5 different eye primers in my collection because I wanted to test some out from different brands. However I got rid of my Wet and Wild only a matter of prime eye primer, because it was just so sticky on my eyelids, which was A. uncomfortable to wear and B. made it harder for me to apply the eyeshadow evenly on top. So it had to go!

Lastly I got rid of my Kiko Velvet Touch Creamy Stick Blush in Hot Pink because it was bright pink and didn’t suit me. I got it in Latest in Beauty because I’d heard conflicting reports about it from “it’s a nice buildable colour” to “it’s Barbie pink!” It was the wrong colour for me and had to go, but if they did anything more subtle I’d be happy to try it because the formula was fine.

How about you?

Have you used any of these products? If so, what did you think?

What did you get through in September?

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Postboxed – gifts that will fit through the letter box so you don’t have to worry

My review of Postboxed – gifts that slide through the letter box so the recipient doesn’t need to be at home to get them.

We’ve all been there – you are expecting the postman to bring you something nice, only to find one of those “sorry you weren’t at home” cards which means you’ll either have to go and collect it, arrange a redelivery, or hunt around for where it might have been slung.

One of the benefits of working from home is the ability to indulge in my online shopping habit and know that I’ll be in most of the time to take in the delivery. In fact, our usual postman knows me quite well by now! He even waits for me while I make a mad dash for it down the stairs, whereas some of the other delivery drivers are already halfway back to the gate by the time I open the door.

Of course even I get caught out sometimes. It’s usually the parcel delivery companies. I had a note to say that the parcel was either on my property or with one of the neighbours – massively helpful, particularly when you’re blind! In the end I enlisted the help of my sighted partner, but even he didn’t see it straight away because it had been chucked behind the wheelie bin. I guess I should count myself lucky it wasn’t in the bin – my Nan once had that happen to her new jacket.

Anyway – enough moaning – the reason I’m telling you this is because I recently discovered Postboxed, a new gift service that takes away the problem of the recipient needing to be in, because all of their gift packages fit through the letter box.

I think this is a great idea for 3 reasons:

  1. You don’t need to worry about your friend being in (I’ve had cryptic conversations about whether I’d be in on a certain date because flowers were coming)
  2. The gifts are packaged for you – so there are no trips to the post office (really handy for my business now that Christmas is coming up – I believe they even ship internationally)
  3. you can either put your own box together or choose from one of the themed boxes that have been put together with specific types of people in mind (coffee lovers, cyclists, women, gin lovers etc).

I decided to order two boxes to try them out.

Firstly, S and I enjoy cooking spicy food, so I got the foodie matchboxes for us to try some serious chilli! You get 3 match boxes. The first contains a bottle of the 2014 chilli world champion, Carolina Reaper chilli powder and some very, very spicy chocolate! In the second matchbox, there are four of the world’s most expensive spices: 1 jar of sargol Persian Saffron, 1 jar of premium Madagascan Vanilla, 1 jar of true Ceylon Cinnamon, and 1 jar of fragrant Indian Cardamom. I haven’t used all of them yet, but I put the cinnamon into a meat dish and it was very good. The 3rd box contains 1 jar of Scorpion Moruga (2,000,000 SHU) chilli powder (the current World Champion), 1 jar of Scorpion Butch T (1,500,000 SHU) chilli powder, 1 jar of 7 Pot (1,300,000 SHU) chilli powder, and 1 jar of Ghost powder (1,000,000 SHU) (Naga Bhut Jolokia) chilli powder. No, I hadn’t heard of them either, apart from the ghost chilli, but they are some of the hottest chilli powders in the world. Yes, the bottles are tiny to fit in the matchbox, but believe me, you really don’t need much! I used just one of them to make a batch of spicy meatballs, which we really enjoyed, but I wouldn’t have needed any more. Tip – the little jars are well-packed with cute little corks, so if the powder doesn’t all come out when you open it, get something thin and pointy like a bamboo skewer to make sure you don’t waste any.

If you have food lovers in your life who like it hot, I think this makes a really interesting and original gift.

The other box I got was one that I put together myself. There was a box for chocolate lovers, but I am not a fan of salt and chocolate together. This box was slightly larger because I ordered four bars of chocolate, but I read that if you put too much in your box, the order will be sent in two letterbox-friendly boxes. My boxes didn’t come through the letter box because the postman had a bunch of other stuff for me, but I measured them afterwards and they would have fit.

Anyway back to the chocolate! I got things that I’d never heard of before because I was intrigued and wanted to try them. So there was some roast espresso chocolate, honey milk chocolate, lavender chocolate, and orange, geranium and lemon chocolate.

The bars work out at around £5 per bar, but you are getting good quality chocolate, and the bar is a fair size too.

I learned by this that you should never judge a bar by its name. I fully expected the coffee to be my favourite, as I’m a lover of all things coffee, but actually it was the lavender that I liked most. I was really surprised by this. I mean, lavender is something you put in the bath or you use lavender oil before going to bed, but I never knew that you could put it in chocolate too and that it would taste so good! The coffee bar was good too, although I think I would have preferred a bit more coffee in it. I’d never had honey chocolate before and I would definitely get it, and the orange and lemon one, again. I was a bit worried about the geranium in the latter, but it tasted more citrusy, and not as though I were eating flowers!

From an accessibility point of view, I could browse products and place my order myself, without getting frustrated or needing to ask for sighted assistance because of inaccessible design, something which access technology users can’t take for granted. This good user experience is another reason why I would return.

So, if you’re looking for an unusual gift now that Christmas is coming up, or maybe you’d like to treat a special someone, you’ll find plenty of variety on Postboxed. I went for the foodie options, but there are also books, tea towels with information about particular topics of interest, alcohol, tea, socks, and jewellery to name a few other options.

The boxes were not PR samples, which means I paid for the products myself, but as I was so happy with the service and the quality of the products, I have become an affiliate, so the links are affiliate links.

So, have you heard of or used this service before? What do you think of this idea? Let me know in the comments!

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Birthday give-away winner

I announce the winner of my birthday give-away!

Hi everyone,

A really quick post this morning to let you know that I drew the winner for the prize draw.

I gave everyone a number and then told Siri to generate a random number.

The winning number belonged to …. Andrea! I’ve emailed Andrea and will get her prizes sent off once I have her address.

Thanks to those who took part! If you didn’t win this time, I have future plans for similar things, so make sure you follow or sign-up for updates if you want to know what is happening on Unseen Beauty in the future!

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September favourites – owls, fruity chocolates, and a new brush

This month’s favourites post includes owls, wolves, lemon chocolate buttons, fruity chocolates, grapefruit lip care and haircare!

I tried to be a bit more restrained with make-up and skincare purchases this month so that I could use up some of the stuff that I already have. I was pretty successful, although having a week off at the end of September meant a couple of trips to town, which involved buying things!

I won’t include some of the new purchases here because I haven’t had time to try them out, but these are some of the things that I enjoyed in September.

Hair care

I have already been raving about the Yes To Cucumber shampoo, so I decided to see whether the Yes to cucumber volumising conditioner lived up to standard. I was really pleased with it. It’s 280 ml, so a generous size, and it leaves my hair feeling soft and shiny, without smelling of chemicals, one of my pet peeves with conditioners! I would definitely get it again.

I’ve been using my trusty Denman brush for ages, but decided I wanted something different for when I’m blow-drying my hair. I heard that paddle brushes make drying long hair easier, so I got myself a Tangle Teezer blow styling smoothing tool. I’m not sure about the claim that the brush helps your hair to dry faster, but I think that having the rows of bristles more widely spaced helps if you want to get the tangles out of very long hair when you’re blow-drying it.

Skincare

I’ve got 3 things to mention this month in terms of skincare. The first is something I wanted to try because I’ve only just found out that eye roll-on creams are a thing. I like the idea because sometimes, with a cream, you can end up with more than you want, whereas here, you just roll it over the clean skin, the roller has a cooling effect, and there is no excess. I got the Garnier light Eye roll-on. The idea is that you apply in the morning or when your eyes feel tired. The massaging effect stimulates microcirculation around the eye area and helps to reduce puffiness or dark circles. I think this doesn’t replace a more nourishing eye cream in the evening, but first thing it’s a good way to help you feel more awake!

I’m sure I’ve already said on here how much I like the mango lip balm from Burt’s Bees. I didn’t need another lip balm, but I’ve got a good way through the mango one, so I decided to get the Grapefruit lip balm from them. I have a little stash of lip balms and butters to use up, but I have to say that the ones from Burt’s Bees are my favourite. Firstly they come in stick form, which makes them easier to apply on the go than the little pots. Secondly, they’re made from natural ingredients. Thirdly, they taste amazing – ok I know you’re not supposed to eat them, but who wants something that tastes disgusting on their lips? And fourthly, probably most importantly, they do the job and leave your lips feeling moisturised, but not sticky, for a long time. Yay for Burt’s Bees! I’m even happier that they do them in both grapefruit and mango!

I may come on to the main products in Lovelula’s September box, but today I want to talk about the ones that I’ve finished. We received four samples of Kimberly Sayer products (two cleansers and two night creams). Actually I used all of them, but they tend to do products for either dry and normal skin, or combination, oily and blemish-prone skin. The ones best suited to me were the gentle face cleanser and the restore anti-aging cream” The healing light night cream smelled delicious too. It was a bit too light for my dryer skin, but it was still a nice one-off because of the gorgeous tangerine scent!

I thought it was good that Lovelula included a range of samples, both in terms of the product and the skin-type. I didn’t manage to get 3 or 4 uses out of them as some people did, but it was the first time that I’ve tried anything from Kimberley Sayer, and that’s one of the things that I enjoy about Lovelula. I would definitely buy products from this range in the future.

Bath and shower

I’ve mentioned Patisserie De Bain before. I’m not so much of a bath melt kind of girl, but I discovered that they also do things like shower gels and hand creams. I’d already tried the lemon bon bon hand cream, so I decided to get the lemon bon bon shower gel as well. It’s definitely more of a product for the citrus lovers, but it’s slightly sweetened, and not as tart as showering yourself with real lemons! Who remembers lemon bon bons as a child?! As a citrus lover, this one is definitely up my street and I would get it again!

Dogs, owls and wolves

This section is a little random, but as I love dogs, owls, and wolves, pictures or models of them are likely to turn up in my favourites, so I put them all together!

I don’t have a link for this because it was a gift, but we were given an owl to put outside. I just know that he came from a garden centre! He is solar-powered, so he produces his own energy, and provides light in the evening – ideal to put on the table if you’re sitting outside on long, summer evenings. I won’t leave him out during the winter, but I like him firstly because he’s an owl, and secondly because he will never need new batteries as he produces his own energy.

The second thing is a Wolf hoodie that says “A direwolf is for life, not just for winter!” There are different sizes, and they are sized fairly, so you can buy your actual size (I’m always tempted to go one larger on Amazon because some shops are super stingy!) Anyway – as a Game of Thrones fan, I wanted to have this – I was however a bit sad that the wolves didn’t get more of a look-in in the last season. (For my international friends – it’s also a play on words because around Christmas time we get adverts saying “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas” to try and stop people impulsively buying dogs as Christmas presents.)

Sweet treats

Who doesn’t love Hotel Chocolat?!

S and I were drawn in there when we were in town this week. He bought me a box of my favourite chocs from there – the exuberantly fruity box. It includes such delicious treats as raspberry, strawberry cheesecake, lime truffle, mango, passion fruit, apple strudel, and lemon cheesecake! They’re all gone! Sooo good, especially if you like your chocolate to be fruity.

On the way out, S also spotted something we hadn’t tried before – the lemon white tiddly pot! I think these are meant for children, but who cares! They are delicious little white chocolate drops with a drizzle of lemon oil! Adults like chocolate buttons too! They are quite lemony, so not for you if you like super-sweet treats, but I think they’re delicious!

The first time I ever tried lemon chocolate was in Sorrento, where everything seemed to be made with lemon. Lemon sweets, lemon pasta, lemon liqueur, and delicious slabs of lemon chocolate! I was glad to have found some more!

So what about you?

What did you enjoy in September? Have you tried any of these products? Have you written a favourites post? Let me know in the comments!

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Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, but I always give my honest opinion about the products that I try!