Newly discovered and favourite things in August

So, actually I wanted to put this up earlier in the week, but if you saw my post from Thursday, you’ll know that life didn’t go to plan this week!

Anyway – these are the things that I enjoyed in August – in terms of products, activities and new discoveries.

1. Masktime

This is not a new thing for me, but I wanted to try it out for a couple of months before telling you about it so I could see what kind of things came in the boxes. The picture in the post header is of masks that I got back in the springtime in a subscription called Masktime – masks for sheet mask lovers.

To be fair, the last box contained a couple of other things, such as a gel mask and a bubble mask, but generally you get a selection of sheet masks for different things (rehydration, detoxifying etc.

I used to buy sheet masks regularly, as I find them relaxing, and less hassle than traditional masks, and this subscription gives you the chance to discover some new brands and types of mask.

There are details in English on the masks themselves and on the card that you get with them, so no worries if you don’t speak Korean! The only thing is, if you’re blind and usually identify products by scanning them and reading the information electronically, your app may struggle as there is Korean and English writing on the package. I generally ask for a real person (usually S) to read the information and instructions to me, as the apps don’t work so well on these, particularly if you have a multi-step mask with little sachets of product that have to be applied in a certain order.

It’s a selection, so you don’t choose what you get, but I’ve pretty much tried or I plan to try everything that I’ve received, which I can’t say about all my other subscription boxes. You can find out more on the Masktime website. At the time of writing, there’s 10% off your first box – not an affiliate link. You can also buy one-off boxes for specific skin types and individual products, and within the subscriptions there are different price levels, depending on how many masks you want. I would say it’s good value for money, especially when you consider how much single masks can retail for.

2. Lindt Europe – blueberry, coffee and passion fruit chocolate

So, I’ve done a post before about the chocolate Emporium. I originally found the site when I was looking for mango chocolates, but they do a wide range of stuff on there, particularly good for people like me who like fruity chocolate.
I got an email to say that there were some new things in from Lindt Europe, and in a moment of weakness while waiting for a meeting to start, ordered a couple of things for us to try.
S was a fan of the hello blueberry muffin bar, which did really taste like blueberry muffins. I liked the peach and apricot bar, because I have never had peach and apricot chocolate before. The papaya was good too, and I also found a couple of coffee ones. Here’s the link to the whole Lindt Europe range. These are bars that we do not usually get in the UK, and some of the packaging is in German.

3. Turkish

I used to have Turkish lessons and be reasonably good at it – well the understanding part anyway. Speaking was never really my thing, mainly because I don’t think about how hard it is when I speak German now, and I had forgotten what it’s like to have the vocabulary of a small child when you start a new language. But I could read articles and enjoy podcasts that were meant for a Turkish audience.

Life moved on and I became busy with other things. It’s hard for me when my interests change – I’ll be doing something 100%, and then it’ll go down to nothing. Like when a relationship ends! I don’t think I’ll ever feel as passionate about the hobby as I once did, but I got out my old notes recently and was happy about how much I could still remember and understand. So I’ve subscribed to a short Turkish news magazine podcast and decided to start going through my old class notes again. It seems a shame to throw all that effort and hard work away, especially as most of the time this hobby made me happy.

4. Apple micellar water and lime toner

You know I love fruity things! I heard about a company called Freshly Cosmetics from another blogger, and really liked the sound of some of the products.

To be fair, there are a few spelling mistakes and errors on the site, and I think this may have put me off buying from them if I hadn’t known of someone else who had. So the communications professional in me can’t get away from the message that not checking your texts thoroughly could end up costing you in the long run. In the end I did order, but I certainly went through the thought process of “is this really a serious site?”

Anyway – the products came really quickly and I love the scent of the green apple micellar water. and the lime toner. I’ve never seen a toner in a spray container before, but it does actually mean that you use less, so waste less as a result – and you don’t need to use cotton pads. Both of them smell amazing and fresh.

These are not budget items and I think they would make a nice gift or a special treat for yourself. The brand focusses on natural ingredients and is also involved in a reforestation project.

5. My favourite serum ran out

This is very sad, because it’s expensive. I got it heavily reduced in a post –Christmas sale at Feelunique last year. I think I only paid about 1/3 of the price, but I really like this serum! It’s not oily, it’s not watery, it goes on smoothly, and helps you to build a lovely base for make-up. You can find the smoothing serum on Gatineau’s website.

6. Happy

This is such a lovely, summery fragrance – even better because it contains grapefruit! I’ve talked about Happy from Clinique before, but I wanted to mention it again because I’ve been wearing it all through August and now sadly the bottle is empty. Described as a fruity floral fragrance, and perfect for the summer!

7. Up close and personal with the owls

I had to include my new feathered friends in the August highlights! If you missed the post, here’s what I got up to when I met some owls from Hilltop Birds of Prey.

8. Body Shop club card event

A week ago last Wednesday I was invited to an event at my local Body Shop. It wasn’t a blogger event, but one for anyone with a Love Your Body card, which is a loyalty points programme. If you have a card, you can earn points when you buy things from the Body Shop. You also get £5 to spend on your birthday, and the chance to be invited to Exclusive events.

This was the first one that I’d been to. I could take a guest, and there was free chocolate (yay!), as well as prosecco for those who wanted it, or fizzy mango for those of us who didn’t! The main point of the evening was to launch the new almond milk with oats face mask, and to encourage anyone who hadn’t signed it to sign the petition against animal testing. There was also a free gift for those who attended (a make-up bag containing a body wash and bath lily), as well as another free gift if you spent more than £30 (a grapefruit perfume and a mini grapefruit body butter). I was very happy about the grapefruit. There was also 30% off a lot of the products. My Mum and I had a good evening, and I’m interested to see now what will happen as a result of the petition against animal testing in the cosmetic industry.

Signing up for a Love Your Body card is free, and you can get one here if you’re interested.

9. Grapefruit bubble bath

From the very expensive to something under £1! 750 ml of grapefruity goodness for your bath. Not the biggest bubbles I’ve ever seen, but the scent is amazing, and it will last you ages.
I got mine from Ocado, but as it’s Waitrose own brand, I imagine you can get it there too.

10. Sorbet maker

And finally – something I haven’t tried out yet, but which made me happy when I found it with 70% off in the Ocado clearance sale. I think it’s sold out now, so I can’t add a link, but once I’ve eaten the sorbet I have in the freezer, I’m looking forward to making my own. Mango of course! Have you tried making your own icecream or sorbet? How did it turn out? Any tips that you want to pass on?

So now it’s September and people are talking about autumn, cosy jumpers, and I saw the first advent calendar advert on Facebook. September is my birthday month, and there will also be the Autumn giveaway later in the month – you can follow the blog or sign up for updates if you want to find out what is in the box and how you can take part.

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My organic fruit and vegetable subscription box

What I got in my first three fruit and vegetable subscription boxes, and what I thought of the products!

So, I mentioned in my subscriptions post that we’d just started getting a vegetable box from Able and Cole.

I thought I’d give it a couple of weeks and then tell you about what we’ve been getting.

I chose the medium-size box which gives us 3 types of fruit and six types of vegetables each week. The food comes on a set day every week, and you can choose not to have certain things if you don’t like them. So for example I don’t like sweetcorn, so I put that on my “never send me” list, and they just give you something else. You don’t know what it’s going to be, but hey, you don’t get the thing you don’t want!

You can also add other things from the store to your box – I couldn’t resist a little chocolate owl, but there are other, healthier options too. You just have to add the additional items to your basket and check it out two days before delivery.

You get a free cookery book with your first order – not useful for me because it’s in standard print and I can’t read it, but I think S will look through it and see if there is anything good in there. You also get your first and fourth boxes half-price if you’re a new customer.

If you don’t want a box one week, you just amend your order in your account settings, so there are no problems if you’re going away or if you have too much veg left over.

Week 1

In week 1 we got:

  • Bananas
  • Tangerines
  • Pears
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • onions

Ok so that was a good selection! I’d never cooked with kale before. I found a tasty recipe, but we both agreed that it would have been better without the kale, so I added that to our “don’t send” list. Still, it was good to try something new!

I usually buy bananas, onions, potatoes and mushrooms anyway, and it is good to get organic ones.
The pears made a nice change – I don’t usually pick them up, but I enjoyed them. The tomatoes and bananas were good quality as well, but the tangerines were a bit sour – not a fan of those, but I think it was just that particular batch!

Week 2

Week two we got:

  • Potatoes – but a different kind
  • Peppery salad
  • Sweet potatoes – because I didn’t want sweetcorn
  • Onions
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • bananas
  • Mandarins
  • Apples

Yum yum, I’m glad I said no to the sweetcorn and got the sweet potatoes! One went in a soup and the others went into some mash!

I think potatoes and onions are a staple in every box, and that’s fine with me. I was less happy about the carrots though – there are quite a few of them and I don’t use them all the time. This may become a problem if they’re in every box! Also, you don’t get a huge amount of potatoes, which isn’t a big deal for us because we also eat a lot of rice, noodles, and pasta, but if you have potatoes more than once or twice, you’ll run out.

The mandarins were better, the bananas were fine, and it was good to get some apples. I think these are smaller than the ones I usually get from the supermarket, but I don’t want to support an industry that throws away food because it’s not perfect or an exact size. I think too much perfectly good food gets slung out, and that makes me sad – so I don’t mind the odd wonky carrot or small apple!

The mixed leaf salad was good too, although I didn’t finish it all before the next box came. We use a lot of tomatoes, so the cherry tomatoes were a nice alternative to the full-size ones.

Week 3

This week we got:

  • More carrots!
  • Apples
  • Red onions
  • Clementines
  • Potatoes
  • Aubergine – instead of pepper
  • Spinach – instead of kale
  • Peppery salad
  • Bananas

So more bananas, potatoes and onions, but this time a different kind of onion. Fine for us because they will get used up, although I am getting behind on bananas!

I was very happy with my substitutes – I buy both aubergines and spinach, and I think they are nicer than the things we would have got! So yay for substitutes!

The carrots may be a problem if they continue to be in every box – I’m going to look for “interesting things to do with carrots so they don’t just taste like boring carrots” – any ideas welcome! I wish it were mushrooms every week because we use them so much more than carrots!

Apples and oranges again, but that’s fine – I haven’t tasted the tangerines but the fruit was in good condition and you get about 5 of each thing.

More salad – I think similar to last time. I probably would use it up – the only reason I didn’t was because we made a load of pumpkin soup.

We’re getting through most of the fruit and vegetables and I do think it’s a good way to try new things that you wouldn’t pick up. I did need to buy more mushrooms last week, but apart from that we haven’t had to stock up with extra fruit and veg from the supermarket – well apart from to feed my mango obsession!

For now I’m really happy to keep the subscription going, though if I see carrots in the next box, I may have to stop them!

There are also a lot of recipe ideas on the site, and you can get the newsletter, which gives you three new recipes each week, although these are not specific to one box. You can also get different boxes – smaller ones, ones for only fruit, ones for the slow cooker etc. Oh and I’ve just noticed a cheese club mmmm!

Have you tried these boxes? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Also, if you’re interested in trying out one of the boxes, they do a recommendation scheme. If you send me your email address, I can invite you, which means you get £20 off your first order and I get £20 credit too! Even if you get your first box half-price, you can still fill up your order to make sure you get the full value for your £20 – just remember to check out the basket (I didn’t the first time, so I only got my box and not the extra things I’d added).

Update

I’ve since realised that there is no need for any unwanted carrots. If you go into your account, then click on the subscription box, you will then see what is going to be in your next box. I think this works two or three days before the box is sent out. Rather than adding the carrots to the never send list, I can click on them and see some alternatives, one of which is extra potatoes, so if you are finding that you don’t get enough of them, you can add in extra.This is also a way to select what you want instead of a mystery veg option if there would normally be something from your “never send me” list.

Click here if you’d like to find out about our other subscriptions.

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