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

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

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

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

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

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

I think this is a great idea for 3 reasons:

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

I decided to order two boxes to try them out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lovelula Feb 17

The Lovelula subscription was one of the first ones that caught my attention when I began researching beauty boxes in December. In January, I decided to try it out. I was too late for the January box, so I got the February one.

The concept

I subscribed to this box partly because I’m interested in organic products, and partly because there seemed to be more of a focus on skincare than make-up. I am interested in make-up, but I’m more choosy about the type of product that I will use, whereas with skincare I’m more open to try new things. This is important for a box which puts the selection together for you – I wanted there to be a higher chance that I would use the things in my box.

Another plus point for me is that everyone gets the same, so there’s no disappointment because someone somewhere got a better deal, or products that you would have loved.

I’m lucky in that I usually ask my partner what the products are – out of all the guys in our circle of friends, I think he knows the most about beauty and skincare products now! I know not every visually impaired person is in this position, but the fact that everyone gets the same means that in a few days of the beauty boxes arriving, people start to blog about the products, so you can find out more about them that way if you haven’t found some other way to do it!

The products

This is what I found in the February box. I hadn’t heard of any of the brands before, so it was a good chance to get to know some new ones, and there were also two types of product that I’d been hearing a lot about and that I wanted to try.

The first was an instant hit – the Greenfrog botanic body wash – neroli and lime. I’m a lover of all things citrus, and this body wash contains anti-bacterial lime, along with organic soapberries, which are good for sensitive or dry skin, and moisturising aloe vera.

My other favourite is the Ooh replenishing oil. This fast-absorbing marula oil contains vitamins C and E, anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids. Although I have dry skin, I’ve never worked with face oils before, mainly because I was concerned the oil would leave my skin too oily or cause breakouts, but so far I’ve been happy with the results and I’ll continue to use this in my evening skincare routine.

Next out of the box was the Madara micellar water, which is actually my first micellar water. I’ve heard the hype about micellar waters. I do like the fact that this one also includes hyaluronic acid, which helps the skin to retain moisture. As I haven’t really been using it long enough to measure results, the jury’s still out on whether it will remain part of my cleansing and moisturising routine, but I’m happy to give it a go.

I was intrigued by the Weleda skin food, which is apparently to protect and repair dry skin. I’ve read good things about it on other blogs, but I wouldn’t usually use something on my face that I also use on my feet! That said, the ingredients are natural and it does contain almond and peanut oil, which both soften and sooth the skin. I think I will use this as a hand and foot lotion.

The only thing in the box that I won’t use was the Maggie Anne nail polish, but that’s ok because I gave it to my mum and she really liked it. I’ve taken plenty of surplus beauty products off her hands over the years, so it was nice to give something back!

Accessibility

I had no trouble signing up for this box, which, if you’ve read my other beauty subscription review, you know is not a given. As a blind person using screenreading software, I needed no help to set up my subscription, and the website works well with my software, which means I can easily find out more about the products in my box, or other ones that I would like to try.

If I were to make a couple of suggestions to improve the accessibility for blind people, it would be really nice if we could receive an email with the product information as well as the information in the box. Also, the graphics on the links in the newsletters are not labelled, which means that a blind person does not know what they are – and who likes clicking on a link if you don’t know what it does? This is not the case for links on the site – only ones that come from the newsletters.case

All in all though I’m happy with the accessibility and I was really impressed with both the quality and the selection of products in the February box.

How about you?

What do you think about these products? Are you a Lovelula subscriber? If so, what do you think about the February box?

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Podcast

Unseen Beauty is also available as a podcast. If you want to listen to it, you can find it on iTunes or Player FM.

The URL for the podcast feed is
https://player.fm/series/unseen-beauty

Love Me Beauty – my first impressions

What I thought about my first subscription box from Love Me Beauty. What I liked and the change that I would like to see.

Back at the end of last year, I started looking at beauty boxes. There are so many. In the end, I bought myself an advent calendar and put the idea of beauty boxes to one side.

Then I got talking to Amy from Blogmoo about them, and I decided to take the plunge.

The first one that I signed up for was Love Me Beauty. This is what I thought.

The concept

Unlike many of the beauty subscription boxes on the market, with Love Me Beauty, you decide what you want in your box. So on one hand there’s no element of surprise, but on the other hand, you know that you are getting products that you genuinely want to try, and you won’t feel like you wasted money on products that you know you’ll never use.

This is a big plus point for me. In terms of skin care, I’m quite flexible and happy to try new things. However I’m quite fussy about make-up, I don’t use nail varnish and my visual impairment means that I intentionally buy specific types of make-up products because I know they are easier for me to use. This meant that I was really happy to have found a build-your-own box.

Basically you get a set number of credits each month, and you can choose how you spend them – each product has a price in credits.

The products

So, I had 60 credits for my first month, and I decided to get 3 products. I chose:

1. Laura Mercier pink pop lip glace
2. Make up for ever skin equaliser primer
3. Make-up for ever artist Rouge m401 (lipstick)

The products came presented in a make-up bag, which is useful for storing products in afterwards.

I thought my favourite was going to be the lipstick, but no, it was actually the primer. It gives really good coverage, has a silky texture when you’re applying it and doesn’t leave your face feeling greasy. I will be purchasing this again!

I think I’ll use the lip gloss more in the spring/summer, so I’ll be using that up in the next few months.

I tend to go for creamier lipsticks, but I’m told the colour looks good and as long as I moisturise my lips before using it, I’ll be ok!

These were my first products from both Make-up Forever and Laura Mercier. I will use all of them and repurchase at least one, so I think that was a good result. I like the way that this box gives me the opportunity to try new brands before buying the full-size products.

The website

Unfortunately, this is the potential deal breaker for me. As someone who cannot see, I do a lot of shopping online because it is easier than negotiating stores, but in order for this to work, the website needs to be accessible. Unfortunately this isn’t the case with Love Me Beauty.

I only have a basic level of web design knowledge and I’m not sure exactly what is happening on this site, but when I click the log-in link, I’m unable to navigate to the email address and password fields without the use of a mouse. I don’t use a mouse and can usually navigate websites using the keyboard, but unfortunately this doesn’t work on the Love Me Beauty site. A few people have tried this with other assistive technology software used by blind people, and they couldn’t access the site either.

Once logged into the site, I can read the product descriptions and add things to my bag, but it’s also difficult for me to click through to the next page of results without a mouse, which means that I don’t have access to all the items on offer each time.

Normally this would make me not want to use a site. In this case, I am interested in the products, so I’ll give it a bit longer and hope that the company will take this feedback into account and look into making the site more accessible.

However, at the moment, I can’t honestly recommend it to any blind readers using screenreading software, as you are likely to be unable to access your account and make purchases without assistance.

My conclusion

I love the idea, I’m really happy with the products, but I find some of the issues on the website very disappointing as they prevent me from having a good user experience on the site. I hope that this can be fixed so that I and other blind users will be able to use the site fully.

What do you think?

Have you used this service before? What did you think of

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t? If you’re a customer at the moment, what did you put in your January box?

This post contains an affiliate link, but I only promote products that I own or have tested.

Podcast

Unseen Beauty is also available as a podcast. If you want to listen to it, you can find it on iTunes or Player FM.

The URL for the podcast feed is
https://player.fm/series/unseen-beauty