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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Subscription for a chocolate lover

It’s good to read other blogs. You can make new friends, support fellow bloggers – and one other thing is that you get ideas for what you can spend your money on!

One of the ideas that I got from a blog recently was about the tasting boxes from Hotel Chocolat.

I am already a fan of Hotel Chocolate! In fact, writing about my chocolate obsession on the blog is a good thing, because then friends use the blog to find out what my favourite box is and buy it for my birthday! Win!

So, as a chocolate lover, particularly when it comes to tasty treats from Hotel Chocolat, I was interested to discover that they have a tasting club.

What’s even better is that you get your first box cheaper – I paid £9.95 instead of the £22.95 that it usually costs. This wasn’t an affiliate code and I believe it is open to any customer on their first box, though of course it’s best to check first as the terms on the site may change.

You can choose from five different boxes – classic, mellow, fortified, high cocoa, and rare and vintage. We went for the mellow box with no alcohol.

We received around 25 chocolates, including one large slab. The idea was that S and I share them, but as he had to go away on a business trip and the box was left on my desk, that didn’t quite work out as planned and there wasn’t one of each type left when he got back!

I won’t list everything, but my favourites were Sicilian orange, raspberry, and lemon and lavender. The chunky chocolate slab was also great. I think salt and chocolate or salt and caramel just shouldn’t be a thing, but it’s still chocolate, so I just left them till last! Seriously though – salt doesn’t belong in chocolate … ever!

If you want to contribute your opinions, you can either use the form that’s provided in the box, or vote online. The form can either be posted back, or you can send them a picture of it once you’ve filled it in. This isn’t a very accessible way to do it for me though, so I was glad to see that you can also submit your answers online. Unfortunately, I left it too late to do this for my box. I have logged in and can find the form, but it’s for the next box, which hasn’t arrived yet. Still, the form is well-labelled and I will be able to complete it as an access technology user. For each type of chocolate, you choose how many stars you want to give it and can add your comments in a text field under the name of each chocolate.

Of course I still needed help to identify each chocolate, but I expected this when I ordered it.

Being a club member also entitles you to other things such as 5% off other orders and special things in the shop such as an exclusive deal on the extra thick Easter eggs. Of course this too will change as the site is updated, but you get information with your box about any special offers.

If you don’t want one of these boxes every month, you can snooze it as long as the box hasn’t already been sent out.

I think it’s a nice thing for us to do together as apart from the big block, there were two of everything. It’s not an “I need a chocolate fix now!” kind of box, but if you want to take your time and savour some different flavours – on your own or with someone else – I think it’s an interesting way to do it either every month, or once in a while. We have to be a bit careful with food boxes or tasting clubs because of my allergies, but the things that I’m allergic to aren’t usually found in chocolate!

I think this would also be an ideal gift for a chocolate lover if you want the gift to keep giving over several months.

You can find out more about the tasting club on the Hotel Chocolat website.

Listen to the podcast episode

I’ve also produced a podcast episode about my Hotel Chocolat subscription box. 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:

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September favourites – owls, fruity chocolates, and a new brush

This month’s favourites post includes owls, wolves, lemon chocolate buttons, fruity chocolates, grapefruit lip care and haircare!

I tried to be a bit more restrained with make-up and skincare purchases this month so that I could use up some of the stuff that I already have. I was pretty successful, although having a week off at the end of September meant a couple of trips to town, which involved buying things!

I won’t include some of the new purchases here because I haven’t had time to try them out, but these are some of the things that I enjoyed in September.

Hair care

I have already been raving about the Yes To Cucumber shampoo, so I decided to see whether the Yes to cucumber volumising conditioner lived up to standard. I was really pleased with it. It’s 280 ml, so a generous size, and it leaves my hair feeling soft and shiny, without smelling of chemicals, one of my pet peeves with conditioners! I would definitely get it again.

I’ve been using my trusty Denman brush for ages, but decided I wanted something different for when I’m blow-drying my hair. I heard that paddle brushes make drying long hair easier, so I got myself a Tangle Teezer blow styling smoothing tool. I’m not sure about the claim that the brush helps your hair to dry faster, but I think that having the rows of bristles more widely spaced helps if you want to get the tangles out of very long hair when you’re blow-drying it.

Skincare

I’ve got 3 things to mention this month in terms of skincare. The first is something I wanted to try because I’ve only just found out that eye roll-on creams are a thing. I like the idea because sometimes, with a cream, you can end up with more than you want, whereas here, you just roll it over the clean skin, the roller has a cooling effect, and there is no excess. I got the Garnier light Eye roll-on. The idea is that you apply in the morning or when your eyes feel tired. The massaging effect stimulates microcirculation around the eye area and helps to reduce puffiness or dark circles. I think this doesn’t replace a more nourishing eye cream in the evening, but first thing it’s a good way to help you feel more awake!

I’m sure I’ve already said on here how much I like the mango lip balm from Burt’s Bees. I didn’t need another lip balm, but I’ve got a good way through the mango one, so I decided to get the Grapefruit lip balm from them. I have a little stash of lip balms and butters to use up, but I have to say that the ones from Burt’s Bees are my favourite. Firstly they come in stick form, which makes them easier to apply on the go than the little pots. Secondly, they’re made from natural ingredients. Thirdly, they taste amazing – ok I know you’re not supposed to eat them, but who wants something that tastes disgusting on their lips? And fourthly, probably most importantly, they do the job and leave your lips feeling moisturised, but not sticky, for a long time. Yay for Burt’s Bees! I’m even happier that they do them in both grapefruit and mango!

I may come on to the main products in Lovelula’s September box, but today I want to talk about the ones that I’ve finished. We received four samples of Kimberly Sayer products (two cleansers and two night creams). Actually I used all of them, but they tend to do products for either dry and normal skin, or combination, oily and blemish-prone skin. The ones best suited to me were the gentle face cleanser and the restore anti-aging cream” The healing light night cream smelled delicious too. It was a bit too light for my dryer skin, but it was still a nice one-off because of the gorgeous tangerine scent!

I thought it was good that Lovelula included a range of samples, both in terms of the product and the skin-type. I didn’t manage to get 3 or 4 uses out of them as some people did, but it was the first time that I’ve tried anything from Kimberley Sayer, and that’s one of the things that I enjoy about Lovelula. I would definitely buy products from this range in the future.

Bath and shower

I’ve mentioned Patisserie De Bain before. I’m not so much of a bath melt kind of girl, but I discovered that they also do things like shower gels and hand creams. I’d already tried the lemon bon bon hand cream, so I decided to get the lemon bon bon shower gel as well. It’s definitely more of a product for the citrus lovers, but it’s slightly sweetened, and not as tart as showering yourself with real lemons! Who remembers lemon bon bons as a child?! As a citrus lover, this one is definitely up my street and I would get it again!

Dogs, owls and wolves

This section is a little random, but as I love dogs, owls, and wolves, pictures or models of them are likely to turn up in my favourites, so I put them all together!

I don’t have a link for this because it was a gift, but we were given an owl to put outside. I just know that he came from a garden centre! He is solar-powered, so he produces his own energy, and provides light in the evening – ideal to put on the table if you’re sitting outside on long, summer evenings. I won’t leave him out during the winter, but I like him firstly because he’s an owl, and secondly because he will never need new batteries as he produces his own energy.

The second thing is a Wolf hoodie that says “A direwolf is for life, not just for winter!” There are different sizes, and they are sized fairly, so you can buy your actual size (I’m always tempted to go one larger on Amazon because some shops are super stingy!) Anyway – as a Game of Thrones fan, I wanted to have this – I was however a bit sad that the wolves didn’t get more of a look-in in the last season. (For my international friends – it’s also a play on words because around Christmas time we get adverts saying “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas” to try and stop people impulsively buying dogs as Christmas presents.)

Sweet treats

Who doesn’t love Hotel Chocolat?!

S and I were drawn in there when we were in town this week. He bought me a box of my favourite chocs from there – the exuberantly fruity box. It includes such delicious treats as raspberry, strawberry cheesecake, lime truffle, mango, passion fruit, apple strudel, and lemon cheesecake! They’re all gone! Sooo good, especially if you like your chocolate to be fruity.

On the way out, S also spotted something we hadn’t tried before – the lemon white tiddly pot! I think these are meant for children, but who cares! They are delicious little white chocolate drops with a drizzle of lemon oil! Adults like chocolate buttons too! They are quite lemony, so not for you if you like super-sweet treats, but I think they’re delicious! They don’t seem to be selling them any more, so I’ve had to remove the link.

The first time I ever tried lemon chocolate was in Sorrento, where everything seemed to be made with lemon. Lemon sweets, lemon pasta, lemon liqueur, and delicious slabs of lemon chocolate! I was glad to have found some more!

So what about you?

What did you enjoy in September? Have you tried any of these products? Have you written a favourites post? Let me know in the comments!

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