May favourites – haircare, keeping fit, and fruity chocolates

So it’s time to talk about the things I’ve been enjoying this month. Let me know if you’ve tried any of them, and also what you’ve been enjoying lately.

Haircare

I’ll start with my haircare treat. A couple of weeks ago I got a couple of Molton Brown hair minis in a beauty box and I really liked the quality and the way my hair was so soft and shiny afterwards. I wasn’t too fussed about the floral scent, so I had a look on the website to see what else they had. I picked up this Glossing hair care set with plum-kadu, which is more expensive than the hair products I usually buy, but when I think of what I spend on my make-up or skincare, I decided to give it a go.

To be honest, I am getting through these products more slowly than the others – partly because I don’t want to waste it, but a little of these does go a long way and it doesn’t feel that the product has been watered down at all. I can’t justify using this all the time, but if I want to give my hair a treat, it’s definitely something I would pick up again, and I think it would make a lovely gift for someone (it comes in a presentation box).

Make-up

In my April favourites I mentioned the Clinique blush stick that I’d picked up and someone mentioned that there are sticks for eyes as well. I didn’t know about this, so I decided to try one out. The Clinique chubby sticks for eyes are like crayons and you colour in your eyelid with them. They’re a bit like the ones from the Body Shop. Some eye crayons are more like pencils and they are a pain because they don’t glide on well and you have to keep sharpening them. However these ones are like a crayon, they don’t scratch, and you can get decent coverage with them quickly and easily. As someone who can’t see what I’m doing, these are really easy to use and I get good results every time (apart from the first time when I was a bit sparing with it and it didn’t show up very well – lesson learned!)

I also got a Laura Mercier lipstick, mainly because I’d read that they were really moisturising and kind to lips. I like it and am glad to have a new brand in my collection. However, although it goes on smoothly and is quite creamy, I think it’s not as moisturising as some of my satin lipsticks.

Owls, wolves and dogs

When I was trying out the TILI box from QVC, I also picked up a cute little owl necklace. I wasn’t impressed with the ordering process, which is why I haven’t done a post on it. There was an issue with the website which meant that my order couldn’t be submitted and I had to call them to put it through. Kind of annoying, but the owl is sweet and I’ve been wearing him a lot this month.

Bath and shower

I mentioned my bubble bar discovery earlier in the month when I was talking about my lovely gift of Lush products On our week off, I ended up going to the Lush Store to see what other bars they had, and came out with a
Sunny side Bubble bar
that contains orange lemon and tangerine. I think I still prefer the Bright Side to be honest, but this is a bit more of a delicate scent for anyone who doesn’t want to be blasted by oranges! Again, it was a generous amount of bubbles, even with just half a bar.

Lifestyle !

So this is the random category for things that I can’t put anywhere else.

We’ve been Amazon Prime members for a while and mainly use it for the free deliveries, next-day deliveries, selection of free magazines that you can read on the Kindle app, Amazon music app, and occasional things we want to watch on Amazon video. However, I also discovered that there are free books! Every month, the editors select pre-release books from different genres, and you can select one for free. I haven’t actually finished my first one yet, but I like the way that they choose books from a range of genres so that you’re likely to find one or two books that you wouldn’t mind giving a go! The service is called Amazon first reads, and if you’re interested in becoming a Prime member, (the first month is free), you can find out more about Prime here.

The lovely hot weather meant that we went to our first barbecue of the year in May as well and enjoyed some good company, good food (yay chicken with mango marinade and haloumi!), and there’s also something really good about eating outside.

I’ve been doing regular sessions on the running machine and bike, but as Blind Alive had a sale, I got two of their fitness workouts – one for use with weights, and the boot camp, which is the hardest in the cardio series. The good thing about these workouts is that they are made with blind people in mind, which means that all the moves are described in a way that’s easy to follow if you can’t watch a video of someone demonstrating the exercises. It’s so frustrating when you can’t just find something on Youtube and follow along because you have no idea what’s going on. In fact, if you don’t do things properly, you can end up doing more harm than good, which is why I appreciate the fact that someone has taken the time to put together these workouts and describe what you need to do. You can find a full list of the fitness workouts here. Also, if you want to listen to Mel from Blind Alive’s interview with me, you can find it here.

Maybe I shouldn’t be talking about it just after the work-outs, but Hotel Chocolat has brought out a cheesecake selection chocolate box. There’s coffee, lemon, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, passion fruit – so many good things and no sea salt in sight – which is how all selection boxes should be as far as I’m concerned! I particularly like this selection because there are a lot of fruity chocolates in it – and of course there’s coffee chocolate too! You can find out more about the cheesecake collection here.

Fragrance

I wouldn’t say this has pushed any of my firm favourites out of place, but I was pleasantly surprised when we got a perfume in the Pink Parcel box in April. It’s a risk to put a fragrance in anything, but I liked the Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris Purse Spray because it’s a real summery scent and of course it has one of my favourite ingredients – grapefruit!

So, what have you been enjoying this month? Let me know in the comments!

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New and favourite things in April

I want to make these posts a bit more than favourites, so from now on I’m going to be talking about new things, things that have made life easier/better, as well as the usual favourites.

Bluetooth headset

My old headset was doing well – it was held together with sellotape on both sides, but one day it refused to charge any more and I knew I had to get a new one. I needed something that’s comfortable, because I wear a headset a lot of the time, something with good sound quality, a microphone, and for it to be wireless. The last headset I got was a gaming one – I’m not a gamer, but a lot of the requirements are the same.
Having a wireless one is good because although I usually sit at my desk, it gives me the freedom to pick up my wireless keyboard and work anywhere in the house without having to take my laptop along. This is also good for Dungeons and Dragons night because my stuff is easily portable and the added bonus is that nobody can see what I’m writing because there is no screen involved!

So, I was complaining about needing a new headset and S ordered one as a surprise – from, a site I hadn’t heard of before – scan.co.uk .
This is the one I got and I’m very happy with it.

a plastic storage box”

I don’t have the link for this, but we were in a craft shop looking for something else, when we came across some large, shallow plastic storage containers and I decided one of them would be perfect for my make-up.

It’s not that I have any embarrassing stories. I didn’t colour my eyes in with the bright red lip crayon because it felt like the eye crayons. I’m careful about knowing what everything is and labelling everything, but having set compartments for eye products, lipsticks, blushers, highlighters etc just makes everything quicker to find, and who doesn’t want to make life easier?

Make-up

Around Easter time I had some time off and I did a bit of make-up shopping.

I got the Clinique highlight and contour sticks for Christmas and discovered that they do a blusher too. There’s a range of colours – I got the plumped up peony. These are quite expensive, but they go on smoothly, are easy to blend, and you get a decent amount in the stick. They all feel the same, so I have marked them, but I think they are a good product and there are about 3 other colours if you want to have a choice.

I also tried one from another brand – Isadora, which is slightly cheaper than the Clinique one. I got the English rose blush stick, and these cream blushers make life so easy, particularly for people who can’t see what they’re doing. I’ve tried sticks, tubes and pots of products, but I always come back to the blusher sticks. You just have to remember to blend them properly!

I’ve already complained about the horrible eye shadow in my March empties, but I did get a couple more that were better.

I’d heard about 3ina make-up and I was interested to see that they did a selection of cream shadows too. I would say these are mid-range in terms of the price, but after applying this for the first time, I was told I needed another coat. Adding another coat did make it look better, but then because it’s cream to powder and there were two coats of it, it was a total pain to get it off again! Maybe in future I just need a thicker coat. This is definitely a formula that I can work with – it’s nice and creamy and goes on easily, but it seems the colour pay-off isn’t great and it’s therefore not as good as some of my similar ones that are cheaper. I’ll definitely use it, but probably won’t get any more.

I also got a Revlon Colorstay crème shadow, which was fine. It’s a bit firmer than some of the other creams, a bit like the Maybelline Color tattoo ones. I prefer the application of the 3ina one, but the Revlon one looked better afterwards and didn’t need a second coat.

Going back to the more high-end products, I picked up a Nars lipstick because I’d read good things about the formula and I like a satin finish that doesn’t dry out your lips. You can see the range here.

Skincare

A while ago I talked about the Body Shop® Oils of Life cream because I got a sample of it in the 2016 calendar. Last year I then got the full size because it’s such a lovely cream, especially in the Winter/early Spring when the weather is cold and your skin gets dried out because of being in heated buildings all the time. It’s not the cheapest night cream that they do, but if you feel that you want to give your face that extra bit of nourishment, I can really recommend this.

Haircare

I try to take good care of my hair, and I don’t use straighteners or other heated stylers on it, but it occurred to me that I could protect it by getting a blow drying spray because even in the Summer, I have to dry it to some extent because it’s so long. So I picked up the Percy and Reed perfect blow dry make-over spray. It’s one of those products where you can’t see the benefits, but protecting my hair from heat damage has to be a good thing.

I’ve never tried any haircare products from Molten Brown before, but I got a couple of samples in a beauty box and I really liked them! This is the <a href="https://www.moltonbrown.co.uk/store/bath-body/shampoo-conditioner-sets/purifying-hair-care-set-with-indian-cress/WBB319/#BVRRContainer&quot; purifying set for all hair types with Indian cress. I only had little 30ml testers and the full size is quite pricy, but this stuff is amazing and my hair was so soft and silky afterwards! Here’s where you can get the full size set.

So, have you tried any of these things? What have you been enjoying this month? Let me know in the comments!

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This post also contains some other affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.

New and favourite products in March

So we’re well into March now and rather than talking about Springtime, we’re still talking about snow!

That has to be my first favourite for March – the snowy snowflakes! We’ve had two lots of it now. I know I’m lucky because I work from home. Trekking into London during the snow used to be a whole different story, but even then, Cindy and I had some adventures!

We built a snowman and had some wintry walks, crunching through the fresh snow. As someone who can’t see the patches of ice though, this was more fun because I was with S, who was in charge of finding the best path for us. When travelling around in the snow and ice on my own, I tend to be more careful and only do it when absolutely necessary.

On the subject of weather, I have a new app on my phone – the Weather Gods app. It’s a paid app, although not expensive, and if someone takes the trouble to design a useful and accessible app, I don’t expect them to work for free! Basically the ice god tells you about snow and frost, the water god tells you about rain, the fire god tells you about sunshine, and the air god tells you about the wind. You can also set up notifications to alert you about certain things such as rain and snow, and it gives you information about the sunrise and sunset, as well as the weather forecast. The app wasn’t designed for VoiceOver users, but it has won an award for accessibility and I enjoy using it.

New from the Body Shop

I was already a fan of the banana haircare range from the Body Shop, and was excited when the new strawberry line was added. You can get the shampoo and the conditioner in the strawberry scented range, which has been designed to make dull hair glossy and detangled. It contains strawberries from Italy and if you use these products, your hair smells gorgeous for ages!

Overall, I think I’m still on team banana, but these products are definitely something I’d buy to change up my haircare routine. I’m never entirely faithful to one shampoo and conditioner!

Trip to Boots

I make no secret of the fact that I dislike the Boots website in terms of accessibility, both for finding things and checking out. So I don’t spend much money there! However I was out shopping and we popped into boots, so I thought I’d have a look around. As a fan of cream products, I wanted to see what was available .Very little, as it turned out, but I still left with 3 products!

Firstly I have a bit of a lipstick weakness. Rather than getting a bunch of shades from the same brand, I like to have lipsticks from all different brands, so that they feel different to the touch and I can identify them easily. I do mark make-up as well if there are things that feel similar, but having ones from different brands also lets me try out different formulas.

So, I got one from Sleek, and I swear this smells and tastes of chocolate! I also got one from Bourjois .

Our search for cream highlighters, blushes and contour sticks only came up with one, so I got the L’Oréal strobing stick. Good value for money and you get a lot of it! It’s very much about personal preference and what people feel comfortable with, but as a blind make-up wearer, I find creams much easier to work with than powders.

Glossybox

On the subject of cream highlighters, there was a lot of excitement in blogger and vloggerland about the Laura Geller highlighter that appeared in some people’s glossyboxes. I guess some of it was down to the fact that it was a Laura Geller product, but I was still happy to see the love being shown to a cream highlighter – because then hopefully they will become more popular and show up more often in the boxes!

Alas, it wasn’t in mine, so I decided to pop over to Feelunique, which is very accessible, and treat myself to the illuminating stick in Ballerina.

My favourite product from the March box was my first product from Decléor – the Aromessence Neroli Amara Oil Serum. I know, neroli isn’t my favourite thing in the world, but this is a lovely moisturising oil for the evening. This is a travel size, but a little will go a long way. The bottle is rather annoying – it needs a pipette or dispenser top really, so you just need to be careful.

There was also a lipstick in there – from Aryza Beauty, a brand that I hadn’t heard of before. It’s from the velvet ribbon range and claims to have a satin matte finish, though as someone who loves satin lipsticks, I’d say it’s more matte than satin.

Burt’s Bees

I’m on a mission to end this cuticle biting habit that I actually wanted to stop when I started high school. That didn’t work out so well! Anyway, rather than just relying on hand cream, I’ve also got myself the lemon butter cuticle cream from Burt’s Bees. It smells lovely because of the lemon. Wish me luck!

So, what have you been enjoying this month? Let me know in the comments!

Giveaway and discounts

1. If you see this before 9th April 2018, why not also check out my Spring giveaway?
2. 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.
3. If you want to give Glossybox a go and get 20% off your first box, you can use my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Listen to the podcast episode

I’ve also produced a podcast episode about my March favourites. You can look for Unseen Beauty on Apple podcasts (previously known as iTunes), or wherever you get your podcasts. Alternatively, you can listen to it here:

More from Unseen Beauty

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

February favourites – book club, Balea, and the beauty box I won

It’s time to tell you what I’ve been enjoying this month. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these things, and if you’ve done a blog or video about what you’ve been enjoying this month, feel free to share it in the comments too.

1. I won a Glossybox – yay!

Do you know about Jamie Gourdon’s Youtube channel? If not, go and check her out! She’s really generous and does subscription box giveaways on her channel! I was lucky enough to win the January Glossybox. Inside there was

  1. Apicia cream blush – this was the thing that excited me the most, as anyone who’s been with me for a while knows that I love cream make-up. I hadn’t seen a blush in a tube before. Neither had I used anything from Apicia. It blends in nicely and it contains bee pollen to nourish the skin.
  2. Green tea primer from Iona Cosmetics – I can’t believe I never used to use a primer! I’ve got a little collection going now. This one absorbs quickly. It doesn’t have that silicone feel like the Porefessional, and it’s not watery, like some of the others I’ve tried recently. It creates a smooth canvas for make-up and contains moisturising ingredients such as green tea and avocado oil. I’ll definitely be using it.
  3. A nail and cuticle energiser from Nail Medic – this is an oil that you paint on with a little brush, which I find easier than the similar products where you have a little pipette thing on the end! I get very dry cuticles, which I then bite and make them worse, so I’ve been enjoying using this blend of oils and plant extracts to strengthen my nails and moisturise the skin around them.
  4. Dr Botanicals superfood facial oil – this is fantastic value and is designed to keep your skin protected and hydrated. It’s infused with Moroccan rose oil which contains vitamins A and C.
  5. Beauty beneath supplements by Boots – I haven’t tried these yet as I’m finishing up some others, but they contain vitamins C and E, as well as nutrients that help produce collagen and reduce fine lines. So it’s looking after your skin from the inside.

After this, I decided to sign up for Glossybox to try it out for myself. If you want to give it a go and get 20% off your first box, you can use my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

2. Summer is coming – pineapple lip care

This tropical pineapple lip balm from Burt’s Bees was selling out really fast when I got mine! It’s from the flavour crystals range and 100%natural. I was already a fan of Burt’s Bees lip products – I love the mango and grapefruit ones. This range comes in pineapple, orange, and raspberry. They are not as glossy as some lip balms, but I find they need to be reapplied less often and although it’s not why we buy them … it tastes amazing!

3. Grapefruit shower foam

Do you remember my swapbox with Sazzy and Joanie? Well they got me some grapefruit shower foam from Balea and it smells good enough to eat! So fresh and fruity! I hadn’t tried this brand before. I don’t think you can get it in the UK, but if anyone outside of the UK can get Balea products, this is a good one!

4. Online book club

I like the idea of a book club, but having looked around online, there’s not much in my area. In any event, I think I like the idea of an online one more – you can meet more people, and it doesn’t have to interfere with your other commitments because you can just chat about the books online. We haven’t had our February discussion yet, but there are different book-related threads in the book which you can join in with. The actual discussion is set up as a Facebook event and you can take part over a 24-hour period. There will be a different book every month. February’s book was “The husband’s secret” – you can find out what I thought about it in the February round-up.

If that sounds like your kind of thing, visit the online book club on Facebook!

5. Did you know that coffee and sesame seeds go well together?

No? Neither did I until I tried the new dessert from Wagamama! I don’t usually have dessert. If I do, it’s the sorbet, but seriously, if you love coffee, the Wagamama Vietnamese coffee icecream is sooo good!

6. Body Shop Drops of Youth eye concentrate

This drops of youth eye concentrate from the Body Shop is really nice because it massages your skin as you apply it. It’s from the Drops of Youth range, which is aimed at the 25! Range and as well as soothing the area around the eye, it helps to prevent the first signs of aging.
It has a little button that releases the eye cream onto the ball, and then you massage it in with the ball at the end of the container. It’s a bit thicker than the Garnier one that I tried before, and I think the Body Shop one is more nourishing. It doesn’t leave a sticky finish, and another thing I like is that you don’t get too much at a time as you can with some tubes.

7. Ren Beauty shot

I got a little one of these in my advent calendar and I really enjoyed using it. You can get the Ren Beauty shot here. It’s a very lightweight serum that absorbs quickly. It says you can apply it over make-up, although I didn’t. I put it under my moisturiser as you would with any other serum and I loved the way it made my skin so soft. It firms and lifts the skin and claims to give short- and long-term hydration. An expensive treat because it’s Ren, but a lovely product that I enjoyed pampering myself with!

8. New primer

I know I’ve already talked about a primer, but I heard on the Full Coverage podcast (check it out if you love all things beauty and skincare!) that the Maybelline pore eraser primer is just like the Benefit Porefessional, but at about a quarter of the price! So I decided to get some and was not disappointed. I do like the Benefit one, but it is expensive. So if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, I’d recommend this pore eraser one at around a quarter of the price.

How about you? What have you been trying out this month?

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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.

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Jan 18 favourites – Torak, tea creatures, and my new chair

So, it’s time to talk about all the things that I have been enjoying this month. Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of these things, or if you’ve written a similar post for January!

1. Haircare set

There are a number of Christmas presents in this list. The first is the Little Treats haircare set from Cowshed. I hadn’t tried any of their haircare products, and I liked these little minis because I got to try the cowlick shampoo, the saucy cow conditioner, and the wild cow shower gel. There’s a set for the body too, ideal if you want to try out some of the products without committing to full size. All Cowshed products are free from animal ingredients and the brand does not test on animals.

2. My new chair

I saw one of these chairs when visiting a friend and my Mum got me one for Christmas. The chair has no back, and you sit on it with your knees resting on a tilted cushion in front of you, so your legs bear part of your weight. The idea with the chair is that it is good for your posture because it makes you sit up straight. You shouldn’t sit on it all day, but I’ve put it at my desk next to my office chair and spend a couple of hours on there, mainly when I’m doing paperwork and not on video conferences with customers. My posture when I’m with customers tends to be ok because they can see me, but I do have a tendency to curl up on my office chair, sitting on my legs, and this new chair will make sure that I don’t do that!

3. L’Occitane bubble bath

I always have bubbles in the bath and a lot of the time go for my old favourite – Radox – but sometimes it’s nice to have a special treat! This lavender bubble bath from L’Occitane is lovely for when you want to rewind after a long day. It gives a generous amount of foam and if lavender isn’t your thing, they do different ones such as shea and verbena as well.

4. Bloggers!

If you’ve been following the blog, you know I did Blogmas last year. This meant I also followed a number of other people doing Blogmas, which meant we were all doing quite similar content because it was Christmas-related. Now the festivities are over, it’s interesting to see the other content that these bloggers are putting out, giving me plenty of other stuff to read!

5. Torak!

Do you know who Torak is? If you read my Let us howl post, you might, because in that post I introduced all the wolves at the wolf sanctuary near Reading. Earlier this month, Torak got out of his enclosure, it’s believed because his enclosure was damaged by the wind. I was worried for his safety as there was no guarantee that he’d be captured safely, especially not with the sensationalist headlines that some media outlets were using. In thee end, there was a happy ending and someone from the wolf sanctuary was able to slip a lead on him and walk him home. I hope this event will be used positively to educate people about wolves. He wasn’t out on the prowl looking for an unsuspecting child to snack on. He didn’t even help himself to lunch when he walked through a field of sheep. Some of the ideas about “big bad wolves” from our fairytales need to be challenged so that people understand wolves are of course wild animals that need to be respected, but not something to be pursued or hated. Game of Thrones and the dire wolves have helped, but there is still a way to go.

6. Tea creatures

Am I the only person who had never heard of a manatee? Well, I know what they are now because of a tea gift. If you like loose-leaf tea (my favourite is mango) and want something cute to sit on your cup, there is a whole range of rubber friends who can infuse your tea for you and make sure that none of the tea leaves get into your cup. I was given the manatee but since then I’ve bought him some friends – the hedgehog, the elephant, and the sloth! The idea is that you put the tea inside the creature, which comes in half. Fit it back together, hang it off the side of your mug by its leg hooks, and just lift it off when it’s brewed long enough. I usually set them to drain, then take them apart and empty them out when they’ve cooled down. They’re practical, but cute as well!

7. Cleanse and polish

I’m very late to the party with this, but for Christmas one of my friends got me the Liz Earle cleanse and polish kit. I can’t link to it, because it’s the festive one with orange extract, which I think I would actually prefer to the normal one. It’s a hot cloth cleanser, so you massage the cleanser on to your skin, then remove it, along with excess oil and dirt, with a muslin cloth that’s been soaked in warm water. I don’t usually use wash-off cleansers, but I like this in the bath!

8. Chocolate!

I was surprised and happy when, for the first time, some of my friends had the idea of using my blog as inspiration for what to buy me and I was given the Hotel Chocolat fruity treats and lemon drops that I’d been raving about in last year’s September favourites!

S’s grandma also thought of me when she saw this make-up set made out of chocolate! I think it’s the first time I’ve ever said “I’m going upstairs to eat my lipstick!” They were both kind thoughts!

9. Korres body milk

I have talked about this Korres pear and bergamot body milk before, but I was happy to get a sample size in a free beauty box from Amazon. These body milks are lovely they still moisturise the skin, but are lighter than body butters, and ideal for the summer – although I’ve already used up this sample!

The beauty sample box is usually £35, but if you spend £50 on selected beauty products from Amazon, it’s free. I know that sounds like a lot, but the two main drugstore websites are not very accessible to me as a screenreader user, and I get a lot of my standard bath, skincare, and haircare products directly from Amazon, because I don’t have accessibility issues there. So I got 8 sample products, some quite generous samples and more like travel-size products, for free! There’s only one that I won’t use – the mud mask – but everything else will be showing up in favourites or empties posts. I think that’s more fair than doing one post on the box because I want to test things out first rather than just give my first impressions.

But the body milk is great!

10. Cherries!

One final L’Occitane product for this month, and this was also something from a Christmas gift set. I am usually a bit careful with things that are described as floral, but this cherry blossom scent is more cherry than blossom! I actually got a mini that is smaller than this, but the one I got doesn’t seem to be available to buy individually.

So, what have you been enjoying this month? Let me know in the comments!

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

Blogmas day 20 – 10 December favourites!

So, as I usually do my monthly favourites at this time of the month, I thought I’d share December’s as part of Blogmas.

1. Firstly I’d like to mention my phone. It’s a joint birthday and Christmas present from S and it means that I now have a main phone and a really old one that I can use for video calls at work. I didn’t want the newest model or anything, but I did need a faster one and one with more space for all my books and music, so I’ve really been appreciating my phone since I got it in September.

2. I don’t have an office secret Santa because I work for myself, so I bought myself a silly present today. I wasn’t actually looking for this, but when I saw it, it kind of sums me up – love owls, hate mornings and stupid behaviour so maybe I do have irritable owl syndrome as it says on this mug! I got it for myself anyway!

3. The next thing is something I got for Giving Tuesday and I was alerted to it from the lovely Kerry from Kerry Life and Loves – go check her out if you haven’t already! She said in one of her posts that Radley was doing a collaboration with the Dogs Trust and they’d brought out a range of backpacks and coin purses with the usual Radley dog, plus a range of other dogs based on real dogs at the Dogs Trust. It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I got the retriever purse! It’s out of stock at the moment, but you can sign up to be notified when new stock comes in.

4. I was happy with my Red Carpet lipstick from Elf, so I got 2 more – Wine Tour and Touch of Berry. One is moisturising and one is satin – I don’t like lipsticks that really dry out your lips, so always look for ones that moisturise. These are a good price too, even with the shipping.

5. Blogmas! It’s been fun, although I struggled most at weekends and on days off where I try to spend as little time online as possible! I’m wondering whether I joined the party too late – so many people are doing Blogmas this year that I’m way behind with all the content that I wanted to read. I wonder if other people feel the same? I wonder if Bloguary or Blogpril would be better in terms of getting more people to see the content? I don’t know, but I have enjoyed taking part, coming up with Christmassy ideas, and of course reading the content that my blogging friends have been putting out.

6. Clinique make-up. I was kindly sent some money for Christmas from someone who is probably reading this, so thanks again! I’d heard really good things about the Clinique chubby sticks, so I got the sculpting highlight and the cream contour. Anyone who has been following my blog for a while will know about my love for cream rather than powder products, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed with these. Yes, you have to blend them well, and yes, this is a pain if you can’t see what you’re doing – but it’s much less of a pain than dealing with fall-out from powder if you can’t see it’s there, so this type of product has meant that I can do a lot more with my make-up than I did before. I’ve tried Clinique skincare before, but not the make-up, and I think it’s really good quality.

7. If you get the Latest in Beauty subscription box, they usually put in a couple of little free samples. Today was truffles and I very much approve of those, but what I wanted to tell you about was a little sample of the Lavera night cream. I liked it so much that I got the full-size one. Firstly it was the smell, which I loved, but I was also pleased to have found an organic cream that also left my skin feeling wonderful and soft.

8. Hot chocolate. Just because it’s winter and you can’t go wrong with a big mug of hot chocolate when it’s cold and you’re snuggled up in the warm. We like the Whispa one or Options orange sachets.

9. I’d never heard of Shay and Blue before, but I really liked their blood orange perfume that came in the M&S calendar. I would like to try out more citrus scents from this range in the new year – once I’ve used up some of the wonderful things from the calendars!

10. Time off! I love it! I spend so long in front of my laptop that a couple of days offline this week have done me the world of good! I’d definitely recommend it!

So, what things have you been enjoying this month?

The calendars

IN L’Occitane there was a shimmering cherry lotion – something I haven’t tried before, so I’m looking forward to that. I love a cherry scent!

In M&S there was a Pixie lip gloss. The only thing I’ve tried from Pixie is their glow tonic, so it’s good to have a look at one of their lip products too.

How about you?

Christmas tree in Stockholm

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November favourites – bloggers, body lotion, and bunny ears!

It’s not all products this time, but I’m sharing the things that I’ve enjoyed this month!

Well it’s November now and actually I’m already beginning to feel a bit festive! Perhaps that has something to do with buying snowman earrings and planning Blogmas content, but I always enjoy this time of year.

So these are my November favourites. Feel free to share yours in the comments!

The first thing I wanted to do is to mention the Blogs in Bloom group on Facebook. There are loads of blogging groups out there, and this one isn’t for you if you’re looking for some superficial follow for follow game. However it could be for you if you’re looking for a friendly and helpful group of bloggers who get to know each other and provide support through a number of activities throughout the week. You choose the people with whom you interact, but if you get involved in something, you need to give as well as take. Check it out if you’re interested.

One of the reasons I was particularly happy about finding this group is making some new blogger friends with whom I did a blogger swap box. You can find out more about that soon as we’re going to be talking about it at the same time on both blogs, but it was a really lovely opportunity to build a box for other people and see what they picked out for me!

I haven’t opened them yet of course, but I find the whole process of choosing advent calendars is really fun. So many brands are doing them now and I enjoy looking through to see what’s available. I’m really lucky this year as I have two – I had one and then my Mum got me one as well. They will be featured in Blogmas, so keep reading if you’re interested in which ones they are!

Skincare

One of the things on offer in the Latest in Beauty box was the pomegranate lotion from Weleda. previously the only thing I had tried from this brand was the skin food cream, which was ok, but didn’t wow me as it has some other bloggers. So I was really happy with this cream, which is a lightweight body lotion, which smells great, and apparently prevents the premature aging of the skin. I’m not loyal to body lotions and I like variety, so enjoyed trying this one out.

There’s going to be a whole post on serums in January. It all started when I was sent a sample of a really expensive one, which got me thinking about the fact that I don’t have any serums in my skincare regime. This then got me doing some research about why they are used and how they can help. I bought a couple of different ones to test for a blog post, and one that I’m really enjoying is the Nip+Fab Dragon’s blood fix serum which is said to hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. I really don’t know where they get the names but this is my second product from Nip+Fab and I’m really impressed. There will be a more detailed review in the serums post, but if you’re looking for a serum for underneath your moisturiser, this is a good one to start with and it doesn’t break the bank!

After my grumble and moan a couple of months ago, I was really impressed with Lovelula this month. In fact, I’m keeping all the products for myself, which doesn’t usually happen. I was particularly happy to see another Madara product in there. This month we got the Madara eye cream. It’s a deeply hydrating eye cream that is worth more than we paid for the entire November box. I really rate this brand, and although I’m trying to use up a couple of other eye creams first, I couldn’t resist giving this one a try and was suitably impressed!

Perfume

When I was doing my 18 products for mango lovers post, I dug out some of my mango products and rediscovered my Victoria’s Secret mango body mist. I love this stuff – I spritz it in the morning and love the sweet mango scent that really does stay around for hours!

Wolves and owls

This is a present – given to me in time for when we put up the tree in December! It’s an Owl bauble made of glass, and it’s really tactile for anyone who can’t see the owl. His little ears stick up and you can feel his head, pointy nose, eyes, and feathers. I know he came from M&S. As a blind shopper, I hate their site with a passion, which is why there’s no link, but I’m sure you’ll still be able to find him online or in store.

I recently discovered that the wolf sanctuary near Reading has a store, and I got these lovely sitting Wolf earrings. They are well-made and what I enjoy is that the shape of the wolf is clear to feel. I don’t like earrings that just have a picture painted on with no tactile elements. With these, you can feel his head, howling snout, body, legs, and tail, and as well as some of the money going to the wolf sanctuary, I love jewellery where I can really appreciate the design too.

Haircare

I didn’t know where to put this one really, but I decided it could go here because this headband with bunny ears will protect my hair when I’m doing a face mask or having some home spa time. I think there are different ones in the range – I think there’s a mouse and a piggy one, but at the time of writing, the rabbit is sold out on the site. Still, hopefully there will be some left in store if you want to get one.

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