Blogmas 2018 – gifts that keep giving

There are sooo many gift guides being written for Blogmas – I wanted to do something a bit different! So these gifts are things that don’t just show up at Christmas time. They’re subscriptions. So you can usually choose whether it’s for 3, 6 or 12 months, but the person gets a treat throughout the year, and not just in December. It’s something to look forward to, and also a chance to try out a new product or service more than once. So here are some ideas for you – either of things that I have tried myself, or things that I would like to try.

Food

This was actually my introduction to subscription services. My boyfriend got a gift subscription to The Spicery around 4 years ago and we decided to continue with it. In fact we still get the boxes through our door now! Each month you can choose between a series of recipes. You then get the recipe card with easy-to-follow instructions, along with all the spices and dry ingredients that you need, already measured out and blended for you. All you need to do is buy the other ingredients. This is a great gift for anyone who loves cooking and maybe wants to try some new dishes, or things they wouldn’t have attempted before. It’s also good because nothing goes to waste and you don’t end up with a huge pot of something you’ll never use again. S and I do like spicy food, but you don’t have to get really spicy options if that’s not your thing.

I haven’t tried this service out yet, but when scrolling around on the internet, I came across the Pong cheese subscription – a cheese club that you can customise and receive a new box of cheese each month. Are you listening Santa? That would be fun to receive!

Books

Two years ago S got me an Audible subscription as part of my Christmas present. This is especially good if you want to give someone books for Christmas, but you don’t know exactly what they like, or which books they have already read. After the subscription finished, we kept it up and now get new books to listen to together every month. You choose them on the Audible site, and can then download them on your phone or tablet.

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

Beauty boxes

Perhaps the best known of the subscription boxes, you can give the beauty lover in your life one of these so that they can try out some new skincare or make-up treats each month. There are so many on offer, but here are a few to choose from:

Glossybox – this is a box that I have been getting throughout 2018 and I’d recommend it if the person you’re buying for likes a mixture of make-up and skincare. My code KIRSTY-RGE entitles you to 20% off your first box – this may also give you a discount on gifts, so it’s worth a try if you are thinking of gifting a Glossybox subscription.

The Pip box – I haven’t tried this, but I’ve seen videos about it on YouTube – a box for the green beauty lover who is interested in cruelty-free and natural products. I thought this looked interesting and am considering looking into it next year.

Lookfantastic – this is also something I’d like to try next year – it’s similar to Glossybox, but does tend to focus more on skincare than make-up, which is more my thing, so I’d be interested to give it a go. I haven’t tried it before, but it does tend to get good reviews.

Flowers

If you’d like a longer-lasting floral gift for someone to brighten up their home, Bunches do a monthly gift subscription service. There are three categories to choose from, ranging in price, and you choose how many months the gift will last.

Coffee

Surprisingly I haven’t tried this yet, even though the first thing I do in the morning is to make my first cup of coffee! There is a Coffee club subscription where someone gets to try two new coffee brands from around the world each month. You choose whether they want ground coffee or coffee beans, and then the packets of coffee are sent to them. The link takes you to a 3-month subscription, but there are others. I’d love to try this as well!

How about you?

Have you been given, or have you given a subscription as a Christmas present? If so, let us know what it was in the comments!

Advent calendar unboxing

Throughout Blogmas I’ll be unboxing my two advent calendars from Glossybox and the Body Shop and giving a brief product review.

Body Shop – a full-size black eye liner pencil. I can’t tell you what I think of this, because it’s going to be product 3 in the giveaway box! Use the form below if you would like to enter.

Glossybox – a lip primer from 3ina I’ve had a couple of cream eye products from this brand, pronounced Mena, but I haven’t tried anything from their lip range yet. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever used a lip primer! It was thinner than I had expected – the idea is that you use it like an eye primer, but for lips. So apply a thin coat before your lipstick. This isn’t something I would have gone out and bought, so it’s nice to have the chance to try it.

Unseen Beauty Blogmas Giveaway

Today you have another chance to enter my Unseen Beauty Blogmas giveaway. There will be a box with 10 prizes from the Glossybox and Body Shop advent calendars, and the prizes will be revealed throughout December. You can enter once on each Blogmas 2018 page, which means you have up to 24 chances of winning. You can enter at any time from when the page goes live to the end of December 2018.

Multiple entries on the same page will not be counted – I have a spreadsheet to log them!

Your answers to the questions will help me to get to know my readers and where they are based. Also, they prove that you’re a real person as I don’t use inaccessible widgets on my site.

The giveaway is international, but if postal restrictions prevent me from sending a product to your country, I will replace it with an alternative.

The form only goes to me.

What’s in the box?

  1. Huda Beauty Winter solstice palate Featuring one pearlescent creamy formula and three icy pressed pearl powders.
  2. Spa of the World® French grapeseed body scrub from the Body Shop.
  3. Black eye liner pencil from the Body Shop

Products 4-10 coming soon!

Giveaway entry form

     
 

Terms and conditions

  1. The give-away is open until 23:59 on 31st December 2018, and I’ll draw the winner on 2nd January 2019.
  2. I will give each entry a number and then draw the winner by asking Siri to generate a random number. I want to make it as easy and accessible as possible for people to enter.
  3. Your email address is being collected solely for the purpose of contacting you if you win the prize. You are welcome to sign up to my newsletter at the same time, but this isn’t necessary to take part in the give-away. If you do not win the prize, your email address will only be stored if you have signed up to the newsletter or asked for your entry to be carried over to the next give-away.
  4. I will email the winner on 2nd January to ask for their address so that I can send the prize. The winner will have 7 days in which to respond. If they haven’t responded after 7 days, I will draw a new winner.
  5. No cash alternatives are available and the winner is responsible for checking product ingredients for any known allergens)

This post may contain affiliate links.

Blogmas 2018 – looking after your hair in Winter

Say hello to Maisie the German Shepherd! She’s not mine, but she’ll be appearing in the header so you have a wintry image to look at, particularly on days when I don’t have a relevant image for the post!

I have very long hair, and although I try to take good care of it all year round, Winter presents its own set of challenges because of wet and windy weather, central heating, and the fact that a lot of us go out more and style our hair more around Christmas time.

So I thought I’d put together some tips for looking after your hair in Winter. I have long, thick, straight hair, so I know more about that than other types of hair, but most of these tips can be applied to any type of hair.

1. Keep your hair from blowing around in the wind and rain

Whether you choose to do this by tying it back, wearing a hat or hood, or using a scarf to keep it down, if you keep your hair from blowing around, it won’t get tangled and you won’t risk snapping the strands when you try to tame it again. This also helps to prevent the scarecrow look – or the medusa look as I sometimes get in the car with the windows open!

You can also carry a travel brush around in your bag so if you do get a bit windswept, you can sort it out rather than walking around with tangles.

If you’re worried about hats and scarves causing frizzy, messy hair, you can carry around a small frizz taming product to tame the unruly bits on the go.

2. Show your hair some love

When it’s exposed to elements that dry out your hair, it’s nice to make time for pamper evenings too, including a nourishing, hydrating hair mask. A couple of my favourites are the banana one from the Body Shop and the oatmeal and honey one from Korres.

I don’t make my own masks, but if you don’t want to buy one, you can use raw honey. Honey is a humectant, which means it seals in the moisture and can help if you have dry or damaged hair.

3. Try to go easy on the styling

It’s easy for me to say as someone who doesn’t straighten their hair, but if you are going to a lot of parties, and want to blow-dry and then style or straighten your hair, try to give your hair a rest on days when you don’t have as much planned.

If you’re going to use heat products, try using a heat protection spray.

4. Hydrate from the inside

I know I don’t drink enough water at the best of times – because all the coffee I drink doesn’t count. But if you are giving your body enough hydration by drinking lots of water, this will be good for your hair too.

5. Don’t go out with wet hair

Apart from increasing your chance of getting a cold, going out in the cold with wet hair can also cause your hair to freeze and break.

6. Don’t forget to have a trim

You might be busier over the Christmas period, but don’t forget to book in for your regular trims. Nobody wants split ends, and if winter weather is making the ends of your hair more dry and brittle than usual, having them tidied up is a good thing.

7. Vary the pressure points

If you’re going to put your hair up, try having your pony tail at different heights, so you don’t put pressure in the same place every time. If you put your hair up in a clip, it’s mainly the sides that are being pushed into the clip, so make sure you remember to condition them well and be gentle with them. Plaits can be good to prevent tangles, but don’t pull them too tight, or you risk breaking the strands.

8. Don’t let the water run too hot

It’s tempting if you’ve been out in the cold and you want a really hot bath or shower to warm you up again, but really hot water doesn’t do your skin or hair any favours because it dries them out.

Have you got any more tips? Let us know in the comments!

Advent calendar unboxing

Throughout Blogmas I’ll be unboxing my two advent calendars from Glossybox and the Body Shop and giving a brief product review.

Body Shop – – a 50ml tub of the Ethiopian green coffee cream. This is part of the Spa of the World® range and it’s enriched with caffeine, known for its stimulating properties (you may have heard of shampoo with caffeine). It promises to leave your skin feeling firmer and smoother. I’ve had this before – it’s a lovely cream if you get past the fact that it doesn’t smell of coffee. I was hoping it would, but if you don’t start with this expectation, it’s a good body moisturiser.

Glossybox – the greater than mascara from MDMFlow (full-size). I haven’t had anything from this brand before and look forward to trying this out once I’ve used up a couple of my other mascaras. #The packaging makes it feel more expensive, and it promises to enhance and volumise lashes. The brush is indented, so it will be interesting to see how that works out because I usually prefer straight ones! I’ll report back on it once I’ve tested it out properly.

Unseen Beauty Blogmas Giveaway

Today you have another chance to enter my Unseen Beauty Blogmas giveaway. There will be a box with 10 prizes from the Glossybox and Body Shop advent calendars, and the prizes will be revealed throughout December. You can enter once on each Blogmas 2018 page, which means you have up to 24 chances of winning. You can enter at any time from when the page goes live to the end of December 2018.

Multiple entries on the same page will not be counted – I have a spreadsheet to log them!

Your answers to the questions will help me to get to know my readers and where they are based. Also, they prove that you’re a real person as I don’t use inaccessible widgets on my site.

The giveaway is international, but if postal restrictions prevent me from sending a product to your country, I will replace it with an alternative.

The form only goes to me.

What’s in the box?

  1. Huda Beauty Winter solstice palate Featuring one pearlescent creamy formula and three icy pressed pearl powders.
  2. Spa of the World® French grapeseed body scrub from the Body Shop.

Products 3-10 coming soon!

Giveaway entry form

     
 

Terms and conditions

  1. The give-away is open until 23:59 on 31st December 2018, and I’ll draw the winner on 2nd January 2019.
  2. I will give each entry a number and then draw the winner by asking Siri to generate a random number. I want to make it as easy and accessible as possible for people to enter.
  3. Your email address is being collected solely for the purpose of contacting you if you win the prize. You are welcome to sign up to my newsletter at the same time, but this isn’t necessary to take part in the give-away. If you do not win the prize, your email address will only be stored if you have signed up to the newsletter or asked for your entry to be carried over to the next give-away.
  4. I will email the winner on 2nd January to ask for their address so that I can send the prize. The winner will have 7 days in which to respond. If they haven’t responded after 7 days, I will draw a new winner.
  5. No cash alternatives are available and the winner is responsible for checking product ingredients for any known allergens)

This post may contain affiliate links.

Blogmas 2018 – festive gifts from the Body Shop

Any regular readers of this blog will know that I am a fan of the Body Shop! I picked up a few things from there recently and would like to tell you about the three Christmas ranges this year, represented by a fox, an owl and a reindeer, who are also featured on the advent calendars.

As well as a number of gift sets, there is no reason why you can’t make up your own with products that you know someone will like – either from the traditional ranges, or the special Christmas ones.

This year there are three festive scents – berry bon bon, vanilla marshmallow, and peppermint candy cane. I had a sniff of them all, and decided that I liked the vanilla one most, though I am sad that they haven’t brought back my favourite spiced apple one, or tried something citrusy.

Anyway, I bought the body lotion in vanilla marshmallow, which is thinner than the body butters and although you can smell the vanilla, it isn’t overpowering. There was a “buy one, get one half price” offer on at the same time, so I picked up the shower gel as well. On the way to the till, S noticed the little owl bath bomb (they do them in all three animal designs), so I got one of those too.

The berry bon bon one is a bit like a Christmas trifle, and it’s more suited to people who like sweet scents. I got something from this range in my advent calendar today, and it is something I would use, although I liked the other one more. To be honest there isn’t much from the Body Shop that I wouldn’t use – it’s just a case of which scents you prefer.

I smelled the candy cane one, but didn’t pick up anything from the range – partly because they didn’t have any minis, and partly because I am not sure about wanting to smell of peppermint all day. It’s nice enough though, iepecially if you want something fresh rather than sweet.

You can get gift sets, such as the festive sack, which contains 4 minis from a scent range such as the marshmallow festive sack. Or, if you know someone likes the body butters, you can give them the chance to try all three with the body butter trio.

I’d also heard some really good things about the vitamin C skin reviver, so I picked one up. I think this is now my new favourite primer. It goes on after moisturising, helps to revive dull skin, and you can then apply your make-up straight on top. Skincare had a 3 for 2 offer, so I picked up another bottle of the eye make-up remover and although I really wish they’d put it in a pump bottle not a tub, the vitamin C glow-boosting moisturiser.

At the time of writing, the Body Shop has 30% off if you use the code 14664 – exclusions apply. It’s a perfect time to get any stocking-fillers or gifts for your Body Shop-loving friend or relative!

Have you tried any of these products? Which is your favourite?

Advent calendar unboxing

Throughout Blogmas I’ll be unboxing my two advent calendars from Glossybox and the Body Shop and giving a brief product review.

Body Shop – today it was something from the berry bon bon range – a 50ml body butter. These sizes are perfect to test out a scent and see what you think of it, and I’ll be trying mine out after my cycling session later.

Glossybox – today I got a deluxe mini of the Philip Kingsley body-building conditioner. I’ve had hair treatments from this brand before, but I haven’t tried any of their conditioners. It contains wheat protein to strengthen the hair and also promises to detangle and add shine, so I look forward to trying it out.

Unseen Beauty Blogmas Giveaway

Today you have another chance to enter my Unseen Beauty Blogmas giveaway. There will be a box with 10 prizes from the Glossybox and Body Shop advent calendars, and the prizes will be revealed throughout December. You can enter once on each Blogmas 2018 page, which means you have up to 24 chances of winning. You can enter at any time from when the page goes live to the end of December 2018.

Multiple entries on the same page will not be counted – I have a spreadsheet to log them!

Your answers to the questions will help me to get to know my readers and where they are based. Also, they prove that you’re a real person as I don’t use inaccessible widgets on my site.

The giveaway is international, but if postal restrictions prevent me from sending a product to your country, I will replace it with an alternative.

The form only goes to me.

What’s in the box?

  1. Huda Beauty Winter solstice palate Featuring one pearlescent creamy formula and three icy pressed pearl powders.
  2. Spa of the World® French grapeseed body scrub from the Body Shop.

Products 3-10 coming soon!

Giveaway entry form

     
 

Terms and conditions

  1. The give-away is open until 23:59 on 31st December 2018, and I’ll draw the winner on 2nd January 2019.
  2. I will give each entry a number and then draw the winner by asking Siri to generate a random number. I want to make it as easy and accessible as possible for people to enter.
  3. Your email address is being collected solely for the purpose of contacting you if you win the prize. You are welcome to sign up to my newsletter at the same time, but this isn’t necessary to take part in the give-away. If you do not win the prize, your email address will only be stored if you have signed up to the newsletter or asked for your entry to be carried over to the next give-away.
  4. I will email the winner on 2nd January to ask for their address so that I can send the prize. The winner will have 7 days in which to respond. If they haven’t responded after 7 days, I will draw a new winner.
  5. No cash alternatives are available and the winner is responsible for checking product ingredients for any known allergens)

This post may contain affiliate links.

Blogmas 2018 – supporting the Donkey Sanctuary this December

I mentioned in my Blogmas is coming post that I would be talking about three charities throughout Blogmas, and the first one of these posts is today.

According to the Donkey sanctuary’s website, there are 50 million donkey around the world. The sanctuary works to improve the lives of donkeys worldwide, training vets, helping people to learn how to take better care of their donkeys, contributing to research, and also working to put an end to cruel treatment. The various sanctuaries around the UK also provide homes for the donkeys in their care.

I mentioned last time how you can adopt a donkey, but the adoption packs can also be given as Christmas presents to the animal-loving friend who would like to know that the money for their gift went to a good cause.

Alternatively, the donkey sanctuary has a range of gifts that can be bought either online, or from their shop in Sidmouth, Devon. I particularly like the donkey foal – one of the more expensive things on there, but there are gifts for all budgets, and things such as cards, bags, magnets, pictures, and sculptures.

For anyone who is in the Devon area and who wants to go along, there is a Carols by Candlelight service at the Sidmouth Centre on 14th December, from 3pm till 7pm. Entrance is free, and after some festive music in the yard, you’ll be able to go to the barn, where a 45-minute carol service will be held, surrounded by the donkeys! You may even hear them singing along! No booking necessary. Dogs on leads are welcome.

If you’d like to listen, but can’t be in the area, the sound on the barn webcam will be turned on – so listen out for those donkey brays if you decide to listen in! You can find out more about Carols by Candlelight here.

Advent calendar unboxing

Throughout Blogmas I’ll be unboxing my two advent calendars from Glossybox and the Body Shop and giving a brief product review.

Body Shop – Lash Hero fibre extension mascara – I have never tried this. It’s a two-step mascara with a lash primer and then the mascara part with extension fibres. I’ll need to find some tactile way of marking which one you use first because by touch bot h ends feel the same unless you want to touch the wand, which I don’t! I have a couple open at the moment, but look forward to giving this a go once I’ve used up some of my others.

Glossybox – a Yankey candle in the scent berry trifle. I knew there was a candle in there, but I didn’t realise it was one of the little ones in a glass jar. This is a lovely addition to the calendar and will make the room smell festive (in general I think Christmas desserts smell better than they taste anyway!) So again, two good products today!

Unseen Beauty Blogmas Giveaway

Today you have another chance to enter my Unseen Beauty Blogmas giveaway. There will be a box with 10 prizes from the Glossybox and Body Shop advent calendars, and the prizes will be revealed throughout December. You can enter once on each Blogmas 2018 page, which means you have up to 24 chances of winning. You can enter at any time from when the page goes live to the end of December 2018.

Multiple entries on the same page will not be counted – I have a spreadsheet to log them!

Your answers to the questions will help me to get to know my readers and where they are based. Also, they prove that you’re a real person as I don’t use inaccessible widgets on my site.

The giveaway is international, but if postal restrictions prevent me from sending a product to your country, I will replace it with an alternative.

The form only goes to me.

What’s in the box?

  1. Huda Beauty Winter solstice palate Featuring one pearlescent creamy formula and three icy pressed pearl powders.
  2. Spa of the World® French grapeseed body scrub from the Body Shop.

Products 3-10 coming soon!

Giveaway entry form

     
 

Terms and conditions

  1. The give-away is open until 23:59 on 31st December 2018, and I’ll draw the winner on 2nd January 2019.
  2. I will give each entry a number and then draw the winner by asking Siri to generate a random number. I want to make it as easy and accessible as possible for people to enter.
  3. Your email address is being collected solely for the purpose of contacting you if you win the prize. You are welcome to sign up to my newsletter at the same time, but this isn’t necessary to take part in the give-away. If you do not win the prize, your email address will only be stored if you have signed up to the newsletter or asked for your entry to be carried over to the next give-away.
  4. I will email the winner on 2nd January to ask for their address so that I can send the prize. The winner will have 7 days in which to respond. If they haven’t responded after 7 days, I will draw a new winner.
  5. No cash alternatives are available and the winner is responsible for checking product ingredients for any known allergens)

This post may contain affiliate links.

Blogmas 2018 – brussel sprouts

They’re a bit like marmite! You probably either think they’re an important part of the Christmas dinner, or you can’t stand them. Either way, we apparently eat more of them in the UK than in any other country in Europe, and if you go to any restaurant for a Christmassy meal, you’ll find a couple on your plate. Yes, I’m talking about brussel sprouts!

I didn’t even realise that people bought and enjoyed them at other times of the year, but I know at least 3 people who do!

I bought the Christmas decoration in the picture because I thought it would be amusing to have an enormous sprout hanging from our tree, but S is less of a fan than I am an he wasn’t impressed!

I have to say, I don’t particularly like them (when I did Christmas with a couple of friends, I only agreed to have the obligatory one sprout on my plate each year), but I think part of that comes down to the fact that traditionally we don’t do anything very exciting with them. Perhaps if we spiced them up or masked the flavour somehow, they might be ok? That’s why I went in search of some recipes to make them a bit more interesting. More of that later, but first some sprout facts for you.

Did you know that there are over 100 types of brussel sprouts?

Did you know that sprouts contain vitamins A and C?

Did you know that the long period of hot weather this Summer caused concern about whether there would even be enough sprouts for Christmas 2018? I’ve seen plenty in the shops though, so either we’ve imported them or the damage to the harvest wasn’t as bad as predicted.

Did you know that we’re not just fussy eaters? The reason why some people don’t like sprouts is genetic. There’s a gene that makes sprouts taste bitter to some people.

Did you know that the area covered by sprout fields in the UK has been compared in the past to over 3200 football pitches?

Now for those recipes – I don’t have any of my own to share, but when I asked in a blogging group, Carol shared her link with me in which she suggests some alternative ways to cook brussel sprouts. Let us know if you try any of them!

Advent calendar unboxing

Throughout Blogmas I’ll be unboxing my two advent calendars from Glossybox and the Body Shop and giving a brief product review.

Body Shop – a 50ml pot of the Spa of the World® French grapeseed body scrub with organic sugar and grapeseed powder. As I already have my mango scrub, which I got for my birthday, I’m putting the grapeseed scrub in the giveaway box.

Glossybox – a deluxe sample of the Nip+Fab dragon’s blood fix serum which I have already talked about on my blog before. It’s a lovely serum that absorbs quickly and “delivers an instant shot of moisture to dehydrated skin”. It’s something I used, and I was glad to get another one.

Unseen Beauty Blogmas Giveaway

You have 24 chances to enter my Unseen Beauty Blogmas giveaway. There will be 10 prizes from the Glossybox and Body Shop advent calendars, and the prizes will be revealed throughout December. You can enter once on each Blogmas 2018 page, which means you have up to 24 chances of winning. You can enter at any time from when the page goes live to the end of December 2018.

Multiple entries on the same page will not be counted – I have a spreadsheet to log them!

Your answers to the questions will help me to get to know my readers and where they are based. Also, they prove that you’re a real person as I don’t use inaccessible widgets on my site.

The giveaway is international, but if postal restrictions prevent me from sending a product to your country, I will replace it with an alternative.

The form only goes to me.

What’s in the box?

  1. Huda Beauty Winter solstice palate Featuring one pearlescent creamy formula and three icy pressed pearl powders.
  2. Spa of the World® French grapeseed body scrub from the Body Shop.

Products 3-10 coming soon!

Giveaway entry form

     
 

Terms and conditions

  1. The give-away is open until 23:59 on 31st December 2018, and I’ll draw the winner on 2nd January 2019.
  2. I will give each entry a number and then draw the winner by asking Siri to generate a random number. I want to make it as easy and accessible as possible for people to enter.
  3. Your email address is being collected solely for the purpose of contacting you if you win the prize. You are welcome to sign up to my newsletter at the same time, but this isn’t necessary to take part in the give-away. If you do not win the prize, your email address will only be stored if you have signed up to the newsletter or asked for your entry to be carried over to the next give-away.
  4. I will email the winner on 2nd January to ask for their address so that I can send the prize. The winner will have 7 days in which to respond. If they haven’t responded after 7 days, I will draw a new winner.
  5. No cash alternatives are available and the winner is responsible for checking product ingredients for any known allergens)

This post may contain affiliate links.

Blogmas – I stroked a reindeer

It’s the first day of Blogmas!

Today I’d like to share with you a wonderful experience that I had a couple of weeks ago, on a day about as grim as today weatherwise!

S had seen an advert for the Berkshire Christmas Fair, so we decided to go along and maybe start some Christmas shopping.

Fortunately they had some big tents up, because it rained quite heavily. Snow would have been better to make it feel Christmassy, but we managed to stay dry.

My favourite part was my encounter with a reindeer. I think they were there for the children, but you know, adults love reindeer too, and I think for me it was extra special because I’ve only ever been able to touch models of them. When you do that and have never seen a real one, you don’t really get an idea of their size or proportions. So when I stroked that soft muzzle as he munched away on his carrot, it literally brought reindeer to life for me. He was perfectly happy to stand there and be stroked, though to be honest he was more interested in the carrot than his admirers!

There were two reindeer there so that one could have a rest and the experience wasn’t too intense for them. They could also go back away from the people if they wanted to.

I can’t tell you all that I bought because some of it was Christmas presents for people who will be reading this! In terms of things that we got for ourselves, I found a little pewter owl to sit in my office, and we stocked up on fudge (coffee fudge is amazing!), shortbread (white chocolate an lemon shortbread is amazing!) and I munched my way through a selection of sample cheeses before deciding on three favourites to buy.

I found that some home fragrance gives me a headache, but recently I’ve discovered that reed diffusers can work for me as long as they’re not too floral. I got a sweet nectarine and vanilla one from Nostara candles – they have arrange of candles and diffusers on their website including others like linen and gardenia, and bergamotte and black tea.

We also got some cider from Norcotts Cider who are based in Devon and only use locally sourced ingredients. Who knew that pink grapefruit cider was a thing? I didn’t – but took some away with me, along with pear and raspberry.

In the end, we had bags of shopping and tried to make a dash back to the car – as far as you can dash with one person on a crutch and trying extra hard not to go flat on their face in the mud!

This was followed by dinner and an afternoon in Reading, so all in all a fun day!

The Berkshire Christmas Fair was only on for one weekend, but there are other events planned for Cambridge, Staffordshire, and Essex – you can check out the full list here.

Advent calendar unboxing

Throughout Blogmas I’ll be unboxing my two advent calendars from Glossybox and the Body Shop and giving a brief product review.

Body Shop – a 60ml shower gel in the new vanilla marshmallow range. This is one of the Christmas scents (2 out of the 3 are included in the calendar with the fox and fortunately for me, they are the two I like most!) It’s similar to the vanilla pumpkin range, but obviously with marshmallow instead of pumpkin. I’ve already been using a body lotion in this scent, and it’s good to start getting you in the Christmas spirit!

Glossybox – a deluxe sample of a Nars velvet lip glide. This was not my first Nars lip product, but it is my first liquid lip from them. If I’m shopping myself, I still tend to reach for the traditional bullets, but this liquid lipstick doesn’t seem to be one that will really dry out your lips, so I’m happy with that.

The calendars go up to day 25, but I’m only doing Blogmas for 24 days. Therefore I’ve opened door 25 for Glossybox, because the Huda Beauty Winter Solstice palette is the first prize to go in the giveaway box.

Unseen Beauty Blogmas Giveaway

You have 24 chances to enter my Unseen Beauty Blogmas giveaway. There will be 10 prizes from the Glossybox and Body Shop advent calendars, and the prizes will be revealed throughout December. You can enter once on each Blogmas page, which means you have up to 24 chances of winning. You can enter at any time from when the page goes live to the end of December 2018.

If you enter more than once on the same page, the entry will only be counted once. I have a spreadsheet for tracking the entries!

Your answers to the questions will help me to get to know my readers and where they are based. Also, they prove that you’re a real person as I don’t use inaccessible widgets on my site.

The giveaway is international, but if postal restrictions prevent me from sending a product to your country, I will replace it with an alternative.

The form only goes to me.

What’s in the box?

1. Huda Beauty Winter solstice palate Featuring one pearlescent creamy formula and three icy pressed pearl powders.

Giveaway entry form

Terms and conditions

1. The give-away is open until 23:59 on 31st December 2018, and I’ll draw the winner on 2nd January 2019.
2. I will give each entry a number and then draw the winner by asking Siri to generate a random number. I want to make it as easy and accessible as possible for people to enter.
3. Your email address is being collected solely for the purpose of contacting you if you win the prize. You are welcome to sign up to my newsletter at the same time, but this isn’t necessary to take part in the give-away. If you do not win the prize, your email address will only be stored if you have signed up to the newsletter or asked for your entry to be carried over to the next give-away.
4. I will email the winner on 2nd January to ask for their address so that I can send the prize. The winner will have 7 days in which to respond. If they haven’t responded after 7 days, I will draw a new winner.
5. No cash alternatives are available and the winner is responsible for checking product ingredients for any known allergens)

This post may contain affiliate links.

Good things in November

I’m trying to get my November favourites in before the end of November because tomorrow is the beginning of Blogmas! It’s a bit shorter this month because some of the things that I’ve been enjoying will get their own post as part of my Christmas content. I’ve been enjoying getting ready for Blogmas over the last couple of weeks, so I suppose that is a kind of favourite before I’ve even started!

1. Mango products!

We went for dinner with some friends who clearly know me very well! We hadn’t seen them for a while and I was given my birthday present – some delicious mango chocolates, which are not in the picture because by the time we got round to taking it, they had already been opened or eaten, and a selection of products from the Body Shop’s mango range. I think someone has been reading my blog!

There were firm favourites such as the mango shower gel, the mango body butter, and the mango body yoghurt – all of which I can definitely recommend. I also got the mango lip butter, which contains mango oil and smells good enough to eat, and the mango body scrub, which I hadn’t tried before, but which is a soluble sugar scrub. I don’t usually use physical scrubs, but if I do, this is the best type because it’s grainy and you get the scrubbing action, but because you’re using sugar particles, they dissolve and don’t stay around.

So all in all I’ve been walking around smelling like a giant mango!

We talk a lot about the Body Shop®’s festive scents, but if you know someone likes a specific line from the Body Shop, you can just as easily put together a lovely gift from that line.

2. Feelunique pick ‘n mix

I won’t talk about this at length because I wrote a post about it, but I enjoyed finding another way to try out some new products to test on the blog!

3. Toffee apple

This is really random and I hope my dentist isn’t reading this – but S brought me home one of these after bonfire night and I was intrigued to try it because I’d never had one before. The sweetness of the sugar and the crunchiness of the apple – I don’t want to think of how many calories were in that, but I’m glad I tried it!

4. New shampoo

I usually try out new shampoos and conditioners together, but on this occasion I just got the Aveda almond cherry shampoo when I was putting through a Lookfantastic order to claim my Glossy points. I thought I’d give it a go and had been meaning to try something from the brand for a while. I should really get the conditioner as well, but I was happy with Its performance and love the cherry scent!

5. Tili Urban Jungle

I don’t usually shop at QVC, but from time to time they bring out beauty boxes. The Urban Jungle box costs £20 and contains 11 products. The shower gel alone can cost £10 when it’s not on offer, so provided you would use most of the things in the box, it’s a good deal. I gave away the dry shampoo and the eye shadow, but even so, it was still worth my while and a chance to discover some new brands.

6. Completing the first part of my first module

I couldn’t bring myself to write that getting my first assignment in was a favourite, but we covered an interesting range of topics in the first module from website design to databases to creating sound media content. Some things weren’t new to me, whereas others really made my brain work (yay for binary and hexadecimal calculations), but all in all it was a good block and I passed my first two assignments!

The current block is not as much fun for me, but I am just focussing on getting it done so that I can move on to something more interesting and relevant.

7. More work on the house complete

It’s a work in progress and we have more plans for things that we want to do, but after my accident in the Summer, getting a bannister for the stairs came higher up the priority list. I didn’t have an accident on the stairs, and I can walk around unaided most of the time, but the leg is weaker and I don’t trust it yet, so having a bannister instead of the open stairwell makes me happy!

8. Shout out to our postman!

I do a lot of my shopping online, which only increases as Christmas approaches. Most of the delivery drivers are fine – apart from the ones that don’t knock even though you’re in, or the ones that leave a card saying “We left your package either on your property or with a neighbour” – very helpful!

I guess our postman sees more of me than many of his customers, but it’s the little things – he knows I have to make a dash down the stairs and also that this is harder for me at the moment, so he doesn’t just drop the parcels and run – or even worse, take them back. Time is money, but he waits. He also knows I’m visually impaired and usually says how many packages there are, rather than just handing me the bottom one and hoping I’ll realise it’s actually a stack of boxes. Just little things that make life easier.

What have you been enjoying this month? Let me know in the comments!

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