15 products from 2019 – part 1

Well, I haven’t given up on the product reviews entirely, but I’m doing things a bit differently now. There will be posts that each have 15 products in them, and they won’t be monthly any more. If I thought something was just nice enough or ok, I probably won’t spend time talking about it. So the things I’ll write about are either amazing, or there’s some kind of story, or I discovered something new, or maybe I really hated something. Who knows. But I hope you like the new style of product post.

So here are the first 15 – quite a lot of Body Shop in here! Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments.

1. Orange moisturiser

I was excited to try something from Dr Botanicals, and even happier that it was something with a citrus scent. This moisturiser comes in a tube, a bit like a hand cream, which I prefer to the tubs, and keeps your cream fresher. It does have an orange scent, but isn’t overly perfumed, and you won’t notice it after a few minutes. I enjoyed using it, would definitely be open to trying more from the range.

2. Mango hand cream

I love this mango hand cream from the Body Shop stuff so much! The only thing is I wish they would do it in bigger tubes, but these ones are fine to go in your handbag. I haven’t found anything in the mango line that I don’t like, and you’ll see some other products from there in this post too. The Body Shop hand creams aren’t the cheapest, but they are good value, and there are often deals, where you can either get money off, or buy multiple products for a reduced price.

3. ELF primer

I’ve mentioned this primer before, and I replaced it again when this one run out. I’ve since started using a different one too, but I like to have a couple on the go just in case one runs out. It’s a silicone-based primer, which is like the marmite of primers – you either like it or you don’t – but I like it for creating a base. I’m feeling the love for my Body Shop one more at the moment, but I’ll definitely use this as well.

4. Vitamin E toner

As toners go, I’ve been more in to the spray on type recently. They are better for the environment because you don’t use cotton wool to apply them, and I think as we move into the Spring and Summer, they’ll be more refreshing too. However, as far as the more traditional toners go, I got through another vitamin E one from the Body Shop. I bought a couple of different ones from there recently to try them out, but overall I still prefer this one because it’s so nourishing, not watery (I hate that!), and it’s gentle on the skin.

5. Yes to cucumbers micellar water

I think the person who designed this packaging needs a D minus and to be sent back to design school! The first cucumber micellar water that came had the top shattered, which meant I had to order a replacement. When the replacement came, it was such a pain to use. Rather than a spray nozzle, it has a kind of circle with a hole in the centre where the product shoots out. I think you maybe press it onto a pad, but then it prevents the product coming out properly. If you hold it slightly away, it goes all over your hands and not on the pad. I got fed up with it and decanted it into an empty bubble bath bottle. The product is fine, but I don’t have time for all that faffing about.

6. Mango shower gel

Love love love this mango shower gel! It was part of a birthday present that included lots of the mango line and I never get tired of smothering myself in the mango scent! My favourite from the Body Shop skincare line!

7. Nail varnish remover pads

I know some people think this is a bit extravagant, but if you’re travelling, or if you don’t want to risk spilling nail varnish remover, these nail varnish remover pads are a good idea. These ones are from Waitrose. Ocado do them too, and the Ocado ones come in a bigger pack, which works out as better value if you will use them regularly, but in terms of performance they’re about the same, so the Waitrose ones are a good one to start with if you want to see whether you like them. They don’t feel as moist as a cotton round covered in traditional nail varnish remover does, but they do work as long as you’re thorough, and they don’t have that traditional strong nail varnish remover scent either. I will keep using the pads now that I’ve discovered them.

8. Clarins exfoliating toner

Of all the exfoliating toners I’ve tried, this is my favourite! It’s similar to the Pixie Glow Tonic, but I can’t bear the smell of the glow tonic unfortunately! So this from Clarins is slightly more expensive, but it’s an ideal solution for someone like me that doesn’t like physical exfoliants for the face. I won’t repurchase straight away as I also have some exfoliating pads from Nip+Fab to get through, but I would definitely buy it again.

9. Mango body yoghurt

You see a theme going on here? Yes, I love the mango body yoghurt too! This is a lightweight body moisturiser and unlike a couple of the other body yoghurts, this one dries down really quickly, without feeling sticky. As with the other products in this range, the mango scent stays around, so the best way to spend the rest of the day smelling of it is to layer a couple of them up!

10. Mango body scrub

Yay for birthday presents – they get you to try things you otherwise wouldn’t have picked up. I hadn’t tried the sugar scrub before, because generally, I don’t like scrubs. I don’t like the texture. I don’t like the way they feel in the bath or shower. But this is sugar, not some kind of ground up or crushed up thing, so it exfoliates your skin and then dissolves in the water – as if it had never been there. Leaving just the mango scent behind. Salt scrubs are harsher and dissolve more slowly – but this is great and I would buy it again.

11. Pink grapefruit spray

I finished up a bottle of this pink grapefruit mist – which is something I tend to use as a body spray. I guess you could use it as a scent on its own, but I usually wear a scent in addition to this. The pink grapefruit line is another one of my favourites from the Body Shop – more zesty and less sweet than the mango.

12. Origins face wash

I got a bunch of Origins minis in a set during the pre-Christmas sale as I wanted to try out some more from the range. My favourite is still the moisturiser – the reason I got the set in the first place. I liked a couple of the other things too, but wasn’t really a fan of the frothy face wash. Face products should not contain mint. Ever! It doesn’t matter how good the product is. If face or hair products contain mint, they’re out of the running for me. Shame though as generally I do like Origins.

13. Troublemaker mascara

I got a mini of the Urban Decay troublemaker mascara in the Feelunique sale. Sexproof lashes? Really? Apparently lasts through snowboarding, saunas and sex! Glad we got that sorted out then! Who even tests these claims out?

I’m generally not a fan of minis, but I did want to give this a try and was glad that I had. It was volumising without being clumpy and didn’t flake off or smudge.

14. Sunflower hand cream

I talked about this a while ago, but it came up on Latest in Beauty, so I got myself another tube of the sunflower hand cream from Laidbare. Originally I got this for the highly technical reason of liking sunflowers, but it is a good hand cream – moisturising, decent price, not greasy, and a generally good all-rounder. I usually go for fruity hand creams, but this made a nice change.

15. Apple micellar water

This is from a regime of products that I bought from Freshly Cosmetics. It’s the best-smelling micellar water I have ever used and contains ingredients such as aloe vera, green apple water, ginger and cucumber extracts. Definitely not the cheapest out there, but these products make good gifts or treats for yourself. Here’s the link to the apple micellar water.

Discounts and offers

And finally if you’ve made it this far – just a reminder that I have some affiliate discount codes for you:

Feelunique – 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.

Glossybox – you can get 20% off your first box by using my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Ocado – if you would like me to send you an invitation to Ocado, just fill out your details using the form below. You will receive a £20 voucher for your first shop, and a free smart pass, which gives you free deliveries for one year (minimum spend applies).

More from Unseen Beauty

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

Working from home -is your chair right for you?

This is the story of how I went out for a pint of milk and came back with a new office chair!

We needed a couple of things from the supermarket, and S decided he wanted some stationery and office supplies too. I went along for the ride and when we got to the shop, we started talking about chairs and the fact that I should probably buy a new one. What better place to do it than a place where you can go and sit on them all to try them out?

I’d had my other chair for ages. The bit below the seat had something wrong with it, which made it tilt to the side. I used to work in Health and Safety (don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a health and safety lecture!) and knew better than to keep using it – it’s not good if you’re either leaning sideways or compensating for a leaning chair.

So I had taken S’ old chair, which I’d become quite fond of after it was the only way I could get around safely in the kitchen when I had my accident and couldn’t put weight on my leg. A girl needs a safe way to move coffee and hot food around, so round and round the kitchen I wheeled! But this chair was too low, even for a short person like me, and the mechanism for lifting it was broken. Not a massive deal, but it did mean my hands were too high for typing, and I spend a lot of time at my desk.

It’s like Goldilocks and the 3 bears – this chair is too wonky, this chair is too low, and this chair is just perfect so I’ll buy it and take it home. Or something like that!

I did want to mention it though because more and more people are working from home, if not full-time, then for a couple of days a week. Then there’s studying or blogging, and people like me who work from home full-time. Is it really important what you sit on?

The answer is yes, and here are a few reasons why.

1. Length of time

I’ve touched on this already, but whereas you might spend half an hour at the dinner table, your office chair is somewhere you might be sitting for hours at a time. It’s not good to be sitting uncomfortably or in a position that encourages bad habits such as slouching. Bad posture can lead to other problems later such as back, neck or shoulder problems if you’re sitting uncomfortably, flopping forward, or if you don’t have enough support.

2. Height

It’s important to have a height-adjustable chair because if you’re too low, you’ll have to lift your arms and shoulders up at an uncomfortable angle when you want to type. As a general rule, your arms should be straight.  If the chair is too high, and this was often my problem in the office if someone had been sitting on my chair, your feet aren’t flat on the floor and you don’t have any support. Also, a chair that’s too high ends up with too much pressure on the back of your thighs because your feet aren’t taking any of the weight, and having no support for your feet can also lead to foot pain later in the day. You might also want to consider a foot stool if you don’t want to, or can’t lower your chair.

3. Back and shoulder support

It’s easy to slump forward when we’re working. I don’t tend to do it in meetings – then I’m thinking about sitting up straight because I want to look professional. But if I’m typing away on something on my own, there is a tendency to lean forward, and this isn’t good for your back or your shoulders. Office chairs have padding around the back and many also have neck and shoulder supports. Using these encourages you to sit up straight and not hunch your shoulders forward, as doing these things can lead to back, neck, or shoulder pain. So try not to perch on the front of your chair. Make full use of the supports, from the lower back to the shoulders.

4. Padded seating

Think about the chairs you used to sit on at school. After an hour of sitting in the same position with no support, it gets uncomfortable. You might be fine having a picnic on a garden bench for a while, but if you’re going to spend 8 hours sitting somewhere, you need a bit more padding. Apart from the obvious discomfort, fidgeting around trying to make yourself comfortable isn’t good for your concentration or productivity either.

5. At work it’s someone else’s responsibility

At work we sometimes take it for granted that our employer carries out DSE (display screen equipment) assessments to check that our workstation is set up correctly and we have what we need. Ok, obviously some companies are better at meeting these requirements than others, and I was pretty lucky, but the point is, it’s a company’s legal responsibility. When you’re self-employed, you don’t have someone reminding you about it or checking that it’s been done, but it’s no less important when you’re the boss! There can be 101 things that feel more urgent or directly linked to making money, but if you’re self-employed and don’t look after yourself, who else will?

6. You’re an individual

Everyone needs and likes different things, due to factors like our height, the shape of our back, any existing pains or conditions, and just what we find comfortable. This is why I haven’t put a link to my chair on the blog.

I didn’t get the most expensive one I could find. The cost did play a role for me, but also, I didn’t find the most expensive ones were the most comfortable. The absolute cheapest ones weren’t either – I went for a mid-range one, and if you go for one from a specialist shop, you can pay a lot more than I did. But it was important to me that I could sit in them, adjust them, and see which I thought would be comfortable.

7. It’s not all about the chair

It’s important not to spend long periods of time sitting without taking any breaks. This is partly connected to the amount of time you spend looking at a screen, but it’s still important for people like me who can’t see the screen, because it’s not only about screen time. It’s about giving your body the chance to move around and not be stuck in the same position for hours on end.

Try and build in reasons to get up throughout the day, even if you work from home. Make drinks, tidy up, stretch your legs, take the dog for a walk – whatever you’re doing, make sure that you also build in breaks that involve some kind of movement so you’re not just stuck in a seated position all day. This is particularly important for those of us who don’t naturally get the exercise of walking anywhere on the way to or from work.

How about you?

Do you use an office chair when you’re working at home? Is it comfortable? Does it give you all the support you need?

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My weighted blanket – what is it and why did I get one for Christmas?

I thought I’d do a bit more of an in-depth post about one of my Christmas presents because some people have no idea what they are, and in any event I’m moving away from monthly favourites posts to articles with more information on one topic.

When I first started to learn about sensory differences, I thought all of my behaviours were sensory avoiding ones. Like avoiding loud noise or certain textures. But now I see that that from a young age, I showed signs of sensory-seeking behaviour too, like the hours I would spend on my swing, or the drama with the duvet and the sheets.

I’ll explain! In those days, we had a normal sheet, and then another sheet on top of that, to go over you, and the duvet or blankets on top. But that upper sheet between me and whatever else was on the bed had to be pulled really tight. I always asked my Nan to make it as tight as she could before she said good night.

When I was old enough to do it myself, I always did. Not just at bedtime. If I got out of bed in the night, the whole procedure had to be done again, even when I was half-asleep. I’d kneel down on the floor next to the bed and push the sheet as far under the mattress as it would go. Then I’d inch my way in from the top, only pulling it as far as necessary for me to get under and feeling that tight cocoon feeling of being wrapped up. Not quite the same as the weight of a blanket, but I knew I liked it and it made me feel safe and cosy so that I could fall asleep again. That was just the way the bed had to be!

Later we did away with these extra sheets and just had duvets, but I always wanted the heaviest one I could find, even in the Summer. As an adult, I left the same Winter duvet on all year round and maybe added something extra in the Winter. Not because I was cold, but because I wanted the extra weight on top of me.

I often used to sit with my dog on my lap – not a little lap dog, but 34 kg of golden retriever. Sitting with her and stroking her had its own beneficial and therapeutic effects, but I never thought anything of all that weight on my lap.

Finding out about weighted blankets

So then I started hearing about weighted blankets. I’d had one on my Amazon list for a while, but I’d never seen one. And that was the problem – firstly the expense, because they aren’t cheap, but secondly although I love online shopping, I really wanted to see one and to touch whatever it was that made it feel heavy. Nobody has them on display though. You have to buy them online. And that worried me because it would be a lot of money to waste if I wasn’t ok with the texture of the material used to give it the weight.

Once you start looking out for something, you se it cropping up everywhere. I noticed posts on blogs about them and how they helped children who wanted the same kind of sensory input. I kept thinking about it, but didn’t get round to buying one. I also kind of hoped it might drop in price a bit as things on Amazon sometimes have a tendency to do, but these are specialised and therefore I didn’t fancy my chances.

So when S asked me to make a Christmas list, I started with the things on my Amazon wish list. I didn’t want a specific one, but I found the link to one and added it to the spreadsheet. He ended up choosing a different one, but I’m not sure I would have indulged in this for myself, so I was very happy about it turning up under the Christmas tree!

The blanket arrives!

On Christmas Day I had a very heavy box to open! A 15kg heavy kind of box! It was my blanket!

It was a bit different to what I’d imagined. It’s not as big as a double duvet, but it can go over 2 people when folded out, so it’s a double one. I thought the weight of it would be concentrated over a smaller area, but then I realised it was supposed to be a double one!

The idea is that the blanket goes over the body, and it’s not supposed to hang over the bed, otherwise it will just pull down towards the floor. You can get different weights depending on a person’s body weight and preferences.

The tiny beads are kept in place in squares, so you don’t have the problem that they all fall down to the bottom or to one side. It can apparently go in the washing machine, but I dread to think how heavy it will get when full of water – it’s heavy enough now. So I’d want to reduce the need for that to happen and put it in a duvet cover or something if you’re not going to have it on top of your duvet as we do.

We put it on the bed on Christmas night and I had the best sleep I’ve had in a long time. I don’t have sleep issues, but I would say I sleep better with it on – it’s a deeper and a better quality of sleep. The weight relaxes me and although hew wasn’t originally the one looking for one, S seems to like it too!

It is fine now, but it will be too hot in the Summer. I hadn’t really planned on having it on the bed, so when the weather gets warmer, I’ll take it off and use it as a blanket on the sofa in my office. For times when I’ve had enough or need some balancing time if I’ve felt overstimulated and want to hide and snuggle under its weight .

How do weighted blankets help?

Weighted blankets look and feel like normal blankets, but they are heavier, because they have been filled with tiny polypropylene pellets that are distributed evenly throughout the blanket in squares that are about the size of a hand when it’s spread out.

The feeling of the weighted blanket is often compared to the sense of being hugged. This can help people who like to feel the pressure of being squeezed in a big hug, or apparently it is also good for some people who don’t like so much physical contact with another person, but who enjoy the pressure sensation.

It’s said that using the blanket is similar to deep pressure therapy and stimulates the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter – a chemical in the brain that can make us feel calm, happy or relaxed. It’s often released when we do things like hugging, and therefore the weight of the blanket is compared to that feeling of being hugged.

I can’t give advice for individuals and wouldn’t want to. Some people will like them, others won’t.

From what I’ve read, some people on the autism spectrum as well as those with anxiety and/or sleep issues have said that weighted blankets have helped them. I’ve read most about them on blogs related to autism, but the blankets are used by neurotypical people as well.

I know that in the past, when I’ve felt sensory overload or just stressed out after a long day, I’ve gone to bed and burrowed right under the duvet, sometimes piling other blankets on top. I didn’t really understand why at the time, but just did it because I thought it would help. My blanket fortress to keep out the things that were stressing me out! For me, the weighted blanket is a cosy, heavy extension of that!

Have you ever heard of or used weighted blankets?

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December products – haircare, chocolate bodycare, and Harry Potter bath products

Dec 18 empties

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with empties this year. I want to be a bit more selective – so if something was just ok or I’ve talked about it before, I probably won’t mention it again. I think I’ll limit them to 15 items too so that they don’t get too long!

1. Hotel Chocolat body lotion

This chocolate body lotion was amazing! I mentioned it a couple of months ago when I got it for my birthday, but I wanted to mention it again here because it’s such a lovely range and I’m looking forward to trying out more of the products. Hotel Chocolat is only really known for its main product, the chocolate, but this lovely gentle and delicious-smelling skincare is well worth a mention as well.

2. Caffeinated shampoo and conditioner

I managed to get hold of one sample of shampoo and to of conditioner, which given the length of my hair, worked out well when I used them all together. The idea with this is that the caffeine stimulates the hair follicles, so it’s really something you would need to use for a longer time before you could say whether it was working. Still, why does something that does a good thing like that have to smell so bad? Really, it was awful! That combined with the tingly sensation that you get if you use a mint scalp massage treatment. I’m not convinced. I would love the benefits that this promises, but I’d have to slather on something nice afterwards like a hair mist or my mango detangler. This felt more like something you endure for good results than a pleasant treat for the hair.

3. Guava hand cream

I said how much I liked the guava body butter from Korres, and I picked up the hand cream in the same scent as well. These are nice, generous tubes, and out of the two hand creams I’ve tried from Korres, I liked this guava one more. Partly because the guava scent was more prominent, but I felt it was a bit more nourishing too. I try out a lot of hand creams and something has to be good for me to buy it again, but I would get this again!

4. Naughty elf

Want a cosy night in? Get yourself a naughty elf from Lush! Well they seem to have sold out now, but see if he comes back in the Christmas 2019 collection. Anyway, I heard about the naughty elf bubble bar in a review, and as bubble bars are my favourite thing from Lush and I love citrus scents, he sounded right up my street! I find with bath bombs, you have to add bubble bath too, but these are just a treat on their own. You could snap him in half if you wanted to get another bath out of him. He apparently looks a bit like Father Christmas and is not how you’d expect an elf to look. Also he turns your bathwater red!

5. Spot zap fix

Not at all glamorous. Maybe you don’t have those monthly hormonal breakouts, but if you do, this zap fix is just the thing. It’s like a pen with a roller that you apply to clean skin and I haven’t found anything that takes breakouts down as fast as this. I’ve already got another one – two in fact because they were on Black Friday half price! It says it’s for teenagers, but I don’t really care if it does the job.

6. Korres hair mask

I have talked about this hair mask before, but although there are a lot of hair masks that I think were nice enough, this is one that I go back to. It comes in a tube, which means you don’t get the product wet by dipping into it. It contains almond and linseed extracts, so isn’t floral, like some masks. It also contains shea butter to help your hair stay moisturised and protect against split ends. It also claims to control static and prevent frizzy hair, although this isn’t a problem I have, so I can’t say how true this is.

7. Nails Inc hand mask

I hated this so much! It was sticky and smelled of alcohol. The hands were modelled on someone whose hands are twice the size of mine. I won’t be buying this again! It wasn’t particularly cheap either, and there are much better hand masks on the market.

8. Elizabeth Arden Prevage serum

I got a mini sample of this Prevage serum in a bag of free products after stocking up in the Feelunique Black Friday sale. This has become my favourite place to buy beauty and skincare! 50ml of this costs £170, and it’s not something I would usually go out and buy, but it was by far the best thing in the free gift. It is packed with antioxidants, apparently the most powerful antioxidant available today, and primarily helps the skin to fight the effects of environmental aggression. It was a sample, and I therefore couldn’t use it long enough to say whether it really made a difference, but as serums go, I enjoyed using it. I doubt I would shell out £170!

9. Banana shower gel

I have mentioned this before, but I get the feeling the banana range is mainly known for the haircare. There are other things as well though such as the body butter and the shower gel that are also worth checking out if you prefer the fruity scents.

10. Aveda shampoo

I got this cherry almond shampoo when I was on the Lookfantastic site, spending my Glossy points. I wanted to try something from aveda because I’d heard good things about the brand. It’s a 98% natural lightweight shampoo with cherry blossom and almond oil to clean your hair and leave it silky and glossy. I’m not very faithful to shampoos, but I’d pick this up again.

11. Philip Kingsley conditioner

This isn’t a brand that I’d usually reach for, but I got the body-building conditioner in my Glossybox advent calendar. It was nice enough as a conditioner, though I can’t say that I noticed increased volume in my hair or that I would run out and get it again.

12. Strawberry cupcake shower gel

This was something else that we got in the Glossybox calendar. Some people would find this too sweet, but the whole range is based on desserts, so you expect them to be sweet. My favourites from this brand are the lemon and cherry ranges, but I was happy to use this strawberry shower gel too.

13. Fuji green tea shampoo and conditioner

We got this purifying shampoo and hydrating conditioner in the Body Shop calendar. The only reason I wouldn’t get these again is that I like other hair products from the Body Shop more, and out of the two I probably preferred the conditioner for hair that needs a bit of nourishment. If you’re looking for something from the Body Shop and you don’t like the fruity ranges, this would definitely be something I could recommend.

14. Rituals Hamam shower gel

I got a small sample of this in the December Tili box. I like Rituals scents, but this one knocks you out with the eucalyptus! Fine if you have a cold and need to clear the airwaves, but I think otherwise I’d choose one of their other scents!

15. Harry Potter bath bombs

I got a set of these for Christmas. I’m not sure if they were limited edition from Superdrug as I can’t find them now, but if you get them, be warned! They are a bit of fun, and the designs are cool, but the cauldron one turns your water black, the golden snitch one makes it look as if you’ve been bathing in urine, and the Gryffindor one makes it look as though you’ve been bathing in blood! Just so you know! They are very big and smell quite good. In fact, I was blissfully aware of the strangely coloured water until it was pointed out to me later, but I think I was at a distinct advantage not being able to see it!

So, what products have you enjoyed recently?

Discounts and offers

And finally if you’ve made it this far – just a reminder that I have some affiliate discount codes for you:

Feelunique – 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.

Glossybox – you can get 20% off your first box by using my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Ocado – if you would like me to send you an invitation to Ocado, just fill out your details using the form below. You will receive a £20 voucher for your first shop, and a free smart pass, which gives you free deliveries for one year (minimum spend applies).

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually once 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, and I give honest reviews.

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.

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!

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually once 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.

21 bath and skincare empties for November

November isn’t over yet, but I wanted to get my empties done before Blogmas starts – and also I have quite a lot of them this month – again mainly down to using up some minis and samples. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products, and if so, what you thought of them.

1. Sand and Sky clay mask

I was a bit dubious about this because I thought it might have a horrible texture. But I got it in my Urban Jungle box from QVC and I thought I’d give it a go, and was pleasantly surprised. It does dry like a fine clay texture, but it isn’t grainy and came off easily. I still prefer a nice hydrating sheet mask, but the clay did draw out impurities and left my skin feeling better afterwards. I struggled to find this online, but did find one option for the pore refining mask that also gives you a free mask brush.

2. Gorgeous cow body lotion

This Gorgeous Cow body lotion was part of a set that I got for my birthday, which also included the Gorgeous cow shower gel. With Bulgarian rose and French lavender, this is more of an evening scent for me to help relax after an evening pamper session in the bath. The Cowshed has a great range of products and they have cool names – mainly to do with cows, bulls for men, and baby cows for the baby range.

They won’t be for you if you don’t like strong scents, but the scents for each range are very herbal and make me think of nature.

3. Plantscription anti-aging serum

I got this mini of the plantscription serum with bamboo extract from Origins as one of my Latest in Beauty choices. It didn’t push any of my favourite serums off the top of the list, but I enjoyed using it. I chose it because I loved the Origins moisturiser so much. I didn’t enjoy the serum quite as much as the moisturiser, but I would like to try more from this brand and I’m happy that boxes like Latest in Beauty let me do that.

4. Korres shampoo

I wanted to try more of the Korres haircare range, and was very impressed with this almond and linseed shampoo. I got it from Feelunique, where I get a lot of my haircare products. This wasn’t on offer, but there are often really good deals on the site, so it’s worth keeping an eye out to see if any of the products that you buy regularly are on sale.

I see this as a mid-range shampoo – definitely not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either. When your hairdresser remarks on how good your hair looks, you know you’re getting something right!

5. Sugared Violet hand cream

This was another of my (full-size) Latest in Beauty picks. I talked about the cranberry one in my October empties, and got through this sugared violet one in November. I like the formula of all of these hand creams from Patisserie de Bain because they’re rich and nourishing. I’m not so keen on this one because it’s very sweet, but then it is true to the violet scent, so if you like that, or those sweets you used to have as a child, you’ll like this!

6. Chloe perfume sample

I got this Chloe sample as a free sample and quite liked it, although it is very strong, so you don’t need much. I don’t usually go for rose-based perfumes, but having seen the scent description, maybe my nose sniffed out the lychees!

7. Yes to blueberry serum

I wanted to try a serum from the Yes To range, and ended up picking up this blueberry one. It has the strangest consistency – it’s kind of slidy! Not oily, but shiny on your face and then it dries down. It’s not what I expected, but I do prefer it to a more watery serum and I had no problems applying other products on top of it. It is intended to moisturise, reduce fine lines and it’s one that I would pick up again. At the time of writing it has 34% off on Feelunique.

8. Radox watermelon bath bomb

Nice bath bomb, super annoying packaging! I got the watermelon bath bomb in a little Christmas set with a shower gel. It’s wrapped so tightly in cellophane that I ended up with bath bomb down my nails before I got the thing out, but the product itself smelled fun and fruity! I can’t see it as a single product online though so haven’t added a link.

9. Multivitamin mask from Vitamasques

This multi-vitamin mask with vitamins B3, B5, B6, C, and E was something I won from the lovely Sussex Sandra’s channel. Don’t be surprised by the small packaging – it reduces waste and this mask is full of serum and leaves your face feeling fresh and hydrated. There are details on the Vitamasques site about what each ingredient is good for and how it helps the skin. Maybe this interests me more as a blind person who can’t read all the small print herself, but I think it’s a nice touch when a company puts this information up online too.

10. Skimono total conditioning plus mask

I got this from Sandra too and at first thought it was a face mask – but it’s a foot mask. I’m rubbish at looking after my feet or buying products to take care of them, so this mask was a nice pamper treat as I chilled out on the sofa. And, unlike other foot masks that I’ve tried, it wasn’t huge on me. I know they have to fit all sizes, but some masks are enormous and I’m glad this one wasn’t!

11. No old bags aloud eye cream

I don’t like the name of this product. I know it’s supposed to be funny, but words have power and this comes across as ageist to me. Apart from that, I didn’t feel the product did much anyway and was quite thin and watery. I used it up and it was just a little cream from Pink Parcel, but I don’t want to promote it because of the name.

12. Beauticology pink grapefruit and raspberry bath cream

This Beauticology bath cream was enormous and great value because it kept me going for ages. It’s not as strong a grapefruit scent as some of the other grapefruit products that I like – in fact I’d say the raspberry is stronger, but it’s a decent shower gel and a generous size. The pump nozzle could be longer to make it easier when getting the product out, but I’ve seen other 750 ml dispensers with the same issue.

13. Korres Guava body butter

I think I mentioned before that you can get Korres products in Ocado, which makes me happy because I can just pick them up along with my groceries. This guava body butter is in a tube, and like a thick cream, so not like a block that you get in some tub butters. I find this makes it easier to spread. It’s rich and creamy, and leaves you smelling fruity all day.

14. Living Proof hair mask

This mask is something that I got in my Glossybox. It’s marketed as something that will help you extend the time between washes, but I was just interested in the nourishing properties and the way that my hair was all silky and shiny afterwards. I hadn’t heard of this brand before, and although I sometimes get things that I wouldn’t use in subscription boxes, the opportunity to try new brands and products makes it worth it for me.

15. Laura Mercier pink pop lip gloss

I finally finished up a lip product! To be honest I’m more of a lipstick than a lip gloss kind of girl, but this one wasn’t sticky and it was nice enough.

16. Chloe nomade sample

I may have liked this Chloe Nomade sample more if I hadn’t already had a mini of the original Chloe perfume. This was ok, but too musky for my liking. I’m glad we got it as an extra treat in Glossybox, but it’s not something that I would go out and buy.

17. Jasmin body lotion

I don’t tend to go for floral scents, but I’d had things from the Indian night jasmin range before at the Body Shop® so I knew I liked it. That’s why I picked up the jasmin body lotion. It’s not as thick as the body butters, so if you’re in a hurry and need something that smells fresh and will absorb quickly, this is a good choice.

18. Korres hand cream

I use a lot of handcream in the winter! After I was so impressed with the skincare and haircare, I decided to try out the Korres handcream too. I’ve actually got two. This almond one is good if you want something that doesn’t smell too strong. It’s a generous tube (75ml) and does a good job. A little goes a long way though, so don’t use too much!

19. Ceterfil moisturising cream

This was hanging about in my face product drawer for a while because I find it hard to get excited about scent-free moisturisers. It was just a little sample that I got in Latest in Beauty, but it was actually a really nice moisturiser. Moisturising without being oily. Played nicely when layered with other products. I wouldn’t necessarily get it again because there are others that I like more, but I was pleasantly surprised, and if having a gentle and scent-free moisturiser is important to you, I would recommend this one from Ceterfil.

20. What’s in it for me body cleanser

I couldn’t find a link for this, but it’s the first thing that I’ve tried from this brand and it’s got grapefruit in it! So what’s not to like? I was happy that Pink Parcel included it!

21. Antipodes worship serum

I wanted to like this serum. It’s got anti-oxidant rich fruits like blackberry and kiwi in it. It’s good for you! I find some of the products from this brand have odd names, but after having a good experience with one of their lipsticks, I was keen to try some other products from the brand. However, I won’t be finishing this very watery serum. I’m not sure what good it was doing to my skin. It smelled fruity, which is a bonus, but it was so runny and a bit sticky. I didn’t find it easy to work with or that it made my skin feel any better. I can read what the ingredients are meant to do, but it’s so runny, I know all my other serums will always be ahead of the queue and I won’t reach for it. Still, best to find that out with a sample size from my Urban Jungle box than a massive 30ml bottle, which for a serum will last ages!

Discounts and offers

And finally if you’ve made it this far – just a reminder that I have some affiliate discount codes for you:

Feelunique – 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.

Glossybox – you can get 20% off your first box by using my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Ocado – if you would like me to send you an invitation to Ocado, just fill out your details using the form below. You will receive a £20 voucher for your first shop, and a free smart pass, which gives you free deliveries for one year (minimum spend applies).

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