Latest in Beauty subscription – April 2018

Well, it’s been a while since I did a Latest in Beauty post – my last one was in September so I decided to do another one.

The thing with this box, and one of the reasons I enjoy reading these, is that everyone’s box is different because you choose your own items from a list of over 150 products. New products are added as other ones sell out. If you don’t choose your products, I believe they are picked for you, but I always do mine on the day my payment goes through, because having the choice to pick the products I want is one of the big selling points for this box.

You can choose 3, 6 or 9 products, and I get the 9 product box, which cost me £18.

The header picture shows my April products – minus the sun cream, which was already in my bag. The make-up bag did not come with these products – I was just using it to store them. I’ve added links to the products on other sites because they are only available on Latest in Beauty while stocks last. If I got a sample, I will mention it, but probably link to the full-size product if that’s all I could find!

Originally I used this box to try new and exciting products every month. Now, I also use it to stock up on basic things that I need, as well as to get some old favourites again, if I liked them more than some of the new offerings.

So here’s what I got!

  1. 7th Heaven Strengthen Nail & Cuticle Finger Masques – I actually prefer the glove masks, but when they aren’t available, these finger masks are good too. It’s a bit of a faff to get the second hand into the finger holes because you can’t use your other hand, but it is good for moisturising your cuticles and I particularly like to use these after I’ve used nail varnish remover.
  2. Sun Beauty Velvet Milk SPF30 for the body and Sun Beauty Velvet Touch Cream SPF30 for the face Duo – I got this because I was so glad to see some actual sun protection in amongst all the self tanning stuff that I will never use! These are fairly small samples, but I thought they would be perfect for my handbag – those times when you get caught out in the sun. However, SPF30 is lower than I would normally use, and I don’t think the face cream applied that well. Maybe the ingredients didn’t react well to the other products I had on, but I need a sun cream to be able to cope with a bit of moisturiser underneath without going flaky. So I didn’t hate it, but I wouldn’t get it again. An yes, I did give it time between the products.
  3. Wileda Pomegranate Body Lotion – yes I’ve had this before, but I got it because I like this rich and creamy lotion and the pomegranate scent. This was a sample size, whereas the link is to the full product.
  4. Garnier pomegranate Tissue Mask – staying with the pomegranate theme – this is also something I have had before, but it’s cheaper than buying it from Boots, when it’s not on a deal. This mask smells great and does leave your face feeling really hydrated. However there is a lot of serum in there, so I find it’s best to do it lying down or you will have serum dripping everywhere! Generous to the point of too generous, but it is a nice mask!
  5. Organyc round pads – I got these because I was running low on cotton pads and these are biodegradable. I also hate it when the pads come apart when you’re getting them out, and these ones don’t. The fact that they’re sturdy and robust makes them easier to work with, and they’re not littering up the planet when I’m done with them.
  6. Lavera Hydro Effect Serum – it’s good to see some more organic skincare in the Latest in Beauty Edit. I’ve had mixed experiences with Lavera – I loved the night cream, was happy with the lipsticks and absolutely hated the highlighter! So this was a bit of a gamble, but I was happy with the results and unlike some serums that you get in the LIB box, this was a decent size – I believe full size. It’s intended to protect your skin against environmental pollutants, and give you fresher and more radiant skin. This is a decent size and will take a while to use up, but it’s something that I would buy again, and it can be worn under make-up as it’s not oily.
  7. VineActiv Serum from Caudalie – this is a more expensive serum, and as such, the sample is smaller. It has the typical Caudalie plant smell, and is intended as an anti-wrinkle serum, which will come in handy for my frown lines! It absorbs quickly, so can be used morning and evening.
  8. Caudalie Micellar Water – I wanted to try out some different micellar waters and this was a travel size, which I thought would be great for going away – because who wants 200ml of micellar water when you’re just going away for a couple of days? The micellar water works as well as any other really and it smells the same as the serum. I quite like it, but if you want a scentless one, this isn’t for you!
  9. Twelfth Night Palette – I can’t give you a review of this palette because I bought it for a giveaway. If you want to win this and some other make-up and skincare products, make sure you either subscribe to the blog or sign up for the emails so that you know when the Summer giveaway is happening!

So all in all, some new things, some useful things, and just one that I wouldn’t get again – the sun cream that left me a bit underwhelmed.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think of them? Do you get Latest in Beauty? If you’ve done any reviews or Youtube videos, you’re welcome to drop your links in the comments.

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21 empty products from March

Welcome to another empties post! Quite a lot here again, but there were also a number of samples and one thing that was given away due to make-up rage! Let me know if you’ve finished up anything good – or not so good – lately, and if you’ve written a post or done a Youtube video, feel free to post it in the comments.

1. Garnier micellar water

I think most people have already heard of this. There was a time when I couldn’t see the point of micellar water, but I like it for taking off make-up before going in with the rest of the skincare routine. I had the one for sensitive skin. This link is to the 700 ml – which is huge – but I couldn’t find the link to the 400 ml one which I had. It doesn’t feel as luxurious as the Madara one, which is twice the price for much less product, but it does the job nicely.

2. L’Occitane cherry hand cream

The English teacher in me doesn’t want to post this link because it refers to “an handcream”! No!

Anyway, this cherry blossom hand cream smells amazing! I only had a tiny one from a gift set, but this link is to the full size. It’s not the richest one that they do, so it’s fine for during the day because it soaks in quickly and leaves your hands smelling of beautiful cherry blossoms.

3. White company shower gel

This was part of the set that I got last year and I thought that using the shower gel and the body lotion separately would make the set last longer. I raved on about the Seychelles handcream for ages, and this was the shower gel that I got in the same range. It’s lovely – makes me think of holidays. This is the link to the Seychelles bath and body gift set

4. Innis Free sheet masks

I use a sheet mask once or twice a week and this month I used lime, strawberry, blackberry, green tea, and rose from my Innis Free pack.

There are 18 masks available and you get a selection of 16 which could be acai berry, aloe, bamboo, broccoli, Coconut, cucumber, fig, ginseng, green tea, lime, manuka honey, oatmeal, pomegranate, rice, rose, shea butter, tea tree, or tomato

I enjoyed all of these and so far there have been none in the pack that I don’t like. They have enough product without dripping everywhere, and so far none have left my face feeling sore or sticky.

5. Grapefruit hand cream

NO surprises here, I had another of my favourite Body Shop handcreams lying around and finished it up. These handcreams are handbag size, smell great, do the job, and they’re often in the sale, so they are even better value for money. Here’s the link to the Grapefruit one.

6. Happy Jackson London soak it up girl

I hadn’t heard of this brand before, but I got these as a Christmas present. There were four bath blocks in here – two mango and raspberry, and 2 coconut. You snap off blocks and dissolve them in your bath like bath bars.

7. pomegranate and orange bath salts

I can’t link to these because you can’t get them in the UK – they were from my Germany swap box. S&J know that I like all the fruity things! There’s quite a lot of bath stuff in the empties this month. It’s not because I have been having more baths – I love baths and have them all year round – but obviously something like a bottle of bubbles would take longer to use.

8. Pomelo and water lotus shower gel

This is from the Being by Sanctuary review that I did last year. The scent is fresh, probably because of the water lotus, and this is a thicker cream, which feels moisturising as well. My favourite from this range is still the mango one, what a surprise, but this one is nice and refreshing, especially in the morning.

9. Sanctuary hand cream

Another mini from an advent calendar, this Sanctuary Spa essentials hand cream isn’t the kind of scent that I usually go for because it’s more floral, but it does leave your hands feeling soft for a long time. So if you’re not into all the fruity handcreams that I usually talk about, you would probably like this one more, and it does have a good formula for soothing dry hands.

10. Melon bath cube

Another treat from my Germany swap box – which is why I can’t link it, but all of the Germany products are pictured on the swap box page. Another fruity bath!

11. Moisturiser from Amazon beauty box

I hadn’t heard of Pai skincare until I got a sample in my Amazon beauty box. The box is no longer available, but this is a link to a 50 ml of the Pai skincare chamomile and rosehip calming day cream. Pai skincare creates organic skincare for sensitive skin. I don’t actually have sensitive skin, but I’ve no problem with using something that will be gentle on my face. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it good for sensitive skin. I used it at the time of the month when my skin was least happy!

12. Toning pads

I’ve talked about these Nip+Fab dragon’s blood cleansing pads before.

“Wipe away the day with the gentle NIP+FAB Dragon’s Blood Fix Cleansing Pads enriched with salicylic and hyaluronic acids to deeply cleanse pores and provide long-lasting hydration for skin that appears plumper.”

I’m a big fan of this range and have already bought more. Apart from being handy because the pads are already soaked in the liquid, hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge and holds water in the skin, preventing it from becoming dehydrated. A great thing to have for anyone, but particularly if you are prone to dry skin.

13. Manuka honey hair mask

I’m a fan of hair masks and I’ve used 7th Heaven ones before. This Manuka honey one is a single-use mask, and good for anyone who wants to try out some different masks to find out which ones they like. I think the product is good – it left my hair glossy and was good for the dry ends, but as someone with very thick, long hair, I could have done with more product than was in this single use pack. It would probably have done most other people with shorter hair though.

14. Geranium and mint shower gel

This came in a Lovelula box. I didn’t like it much, but I used it up!

15.Boss the scent for her – Hugo Boss

I don’t usually get perfume samples in Latest in Beauty unless they are a decent size, but I was interested in this Hugo Boss one, so I chose it as one of my 9 options. I was glad I did! The Scent Intense for her is hard to describe, so I’ll copy out the notes for you:
Top: Honeyed Peach & Freesia Bloom
Heart: Osmanthus Flower
Base: Roasted Cocoa

I’m not usually into floral scents – maybe it’s the cocoa that drew me! I don’t know! But this is a scent that I would definitely be interested in buying now that the little tester has finished. Again that’s one of the things I like about Latest in Beauty – the chance to try before you commit to a full size product.

16. Burt’s bees night cream

Burt’s Bees don’t only do lip products. They also make this intense hydration night cream with clary sage, which is a plant that survives on rugged hillsides, making the most of the moisture it finds and retaining it. So basically it helps your face to do the same – to keep in moisture and not dry out. This cream has quite a distinctive scent. Some people don’t like it. I’m fine with it – for me it just smells like being outside on a walk, but if you prefer scentless cream, this is not the one for you. In terms of the benefits though, I do like it because the next day my skin is not dry, and I also like the brand because it uses more natural ingredients.

17. Garnier sheet mask

I’ve mentioned this before too, but the Garnier pomegranate sheet mask came up on Latest in Beauty again, and it’s a good one, so I added it to my selection. There is a lot of serum in this mask though, so it’s best to do it lying down, or else you have it dripping down your neck, which I don’t like! Still, if you want to give your skin a good drink, this mask will help it to feel soft again, particularly good for these colder days when we spend a lot of time going between the cold outside and centrally heated homes.

18. Cowshed gorgeous cow body lotion

I got this as a mini once, but I got the full size Cowshed Gorgeous Cow body lotion for Christmas. The gorgeous cow is one of the ranges from the Cow Shed, and it contains:
• Madagascan ylang ylang, Bulgarian rose and Indian palmarosa oils to evoke a happy, blissful mood
• French lavender to help soothe and balance the mind.

The cream is rich and nourishing, and your skin will feel soft for hours after you’ve used it. More of a special treat than something I buy all the time, but it was a lovely gift to get for Christmas.

19. Caudalie sample

I got a free sample of the Caudalie Glycolic Peel Mask with my Feelunique order, but I really didn’t like it. I wanted to like it. But it was really hard to get it off my face and I didn’t notice any benefits, so this isn’t something I would buy. Still, who doesn’t love trying samples with their orders?!

20. Clarins eye shadow

I was really, really disappointed with this. To be fair, I’ve given it to my mum and she likes it, but I feel cheated by this because it was marketed as a cream eye shadow, and on using it was definitely more powder than cream.

I did pick up a couple of lovely cream shadows from Feelunique, and I’ll tell you about them in my April favourites. But when I went to use this, instead of getting cream, the top of the product broke away as loose powder and went on my carpet. I do not usually get make-up on my carpet! It came off, but I feel that if most of the other brands can agree on what a cream shadow is, Clarins shouldn’t market what is essentially a slightly more creamy powder shadow as a cream shadow. If I’d known what it was like, I would never have bought it.

In the end it didn’t go to waste because my mum got a new eye shadow, but I don’t have that kind of money to waste – if I think I’m buying a cream shadow, that’s what I expect to get.

I don’t really want to promote it, but here’s the link for what I would never call a cream shadow!

21. Clarins tester

The second tester in my Feelunique order was better, and it was the Clarins extra firming day cream SPF15. I had to be a bit careful of this in terms of which serum I put under it, otherwise it pilled, but overall I liked the product as a day moisturiser.

Discount on 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.

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19 February empties

Well, I have quite a lot of empties to share with you this month, so let’s get straight on in!

1. Cherry and almond body milk

So this Bath set from Candy Spa was a Christmas present. I thought the mango powder would be my favourite, but no, it was the cherry and almond bath milk, which smelled great! The fizzy mango powder was good too, but I found you needed quite a bit of it to get a good mango scent going on!

2. Molton Brown gingerlily body wash

This was a little sample, but I wanted to include it because it is the first ever Molton Brown product that I’ve tried and although I don’t think you can wash a whole body with such a small sample, the product is a lovely treat.

I got mine in the Amazon beauty box, which you get free if you spend £50 on beauty. That does sound a lot, but I buy a lot of my beauty products and toiletries on there, so when I stocked up, I did hit the £50. In the box you get a body mud scrub from Rituals (70ml), day cream from Pai Skincare (10ml), this body wash (30ml), Elemis lavender repair mask (15ml), Gatineau radiance enhancing Gommage (15ml), Laura Geller make-up primer (15ml), Korres body milk (40ml), and Dr Lipp nipple balm (4ml).

This box is now unavailable – I guess they sold out – but if you see anything similar on Amazon and were planning to spend money on beauty treats anyway, it’s a nice way to try out some new products for free! Oh, but if you want the body mud, keep an eye out for the March give-away, either by following the blog or subscribing to the email alerts!

3. Age defying moisturiser

I think I got this in Latest in Beauty, but you can buy the full-size one from the Green People site. It’s certified organic and fair trade, and as a moisturiser it was fine. It claims to moisturise, as well as reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The only problem for me was the lavender scent. Lavender belongs in the bath or as an oil for relaxing – but not on my face. Still, if you’re ok with the lavender, it’s a nice product.

4. L’Oréal million lashes mascara

So sad this mascara ran out. I like its formula, the way it lengthens and separates my lashes, and I like the wand. I want to use a couple of others up first, but I will be buying this again.

5. Maskorea too many late nights sheet mask

Another find from Latest in Beauty, this 3-part sheet mask was a new experience for me! As I’m writing this, the mask is on special offer. I don’t think I’d pay full price for it, but if you’re going for a weekend away and space is at a premium, it does include a foaming cleanser and a night cream as well, which makes it a bit different from your standard sheet mask. I was happy with it on Latest in Beauty, because with the 9 product box, I only paid £2, which made it a bargain – and the mask itself was a good hydrating mask.

6. Body Shop banana shampoo

I have mentioned this before, but I wanted to add it into this post because there is now a larger option available for the banana shampoo in case you find yourself in the situation in which your shampoo runs out before your conditioner. I love this banana range and although it’s fine for all hair types, it’s a nourishing range, so good if you have dry hair, or just want to give it a pamper!

7. Satsuma body butter

This was enormous and took a long time to use up. I love the fruity scents from the body shop, and I don’t think you can go wrong with the satsuma body butter!

8. Eyeko mascara

This mascara came in the M&S beauty advent calendar. I liked the fact that it was waterproof. I liked the formula because it didn’t stick my lashes together. I did not like the curved brush, and as a result I wouldn’t buy the full size!

9. Kiwi, shea, aloe, and bamboo Innis Free masks

I use a sheet mask once or twice a week and used the above four from my Innis Free selection pack. There are 18 masks available and you get a selection of 16 which could be acai berry, aloe, bamboo, broccoli, Coconut, cucumber, fig, ginseng, green tea, lime, manuka honey, oatmeal, pomegranate, rice, rose, shea butter, tea tree, or tomato

I enjoyed all of these and so far there have been none in the pack that I don’t like. Last time I was reviewing sheet masks I was complaining about a sticky residue on the face, and this doesn’t happen with these Innis Free ones, which gives them extra plus points.

10. ginger shower gel

I picked up the Soaper Duper ginger body wash at the supermarket because I wanted to try a couple of products from this range and I was intrigued about the ginger. The body wash is thick and creamy, leaving your skin feeling soft, and the zingy ginger and lemon scent is refreshing. The bottle is an unusual shape, which means you have to give it a good squish to get the last of the product out. I would buy this again or see what else they have in the range.

11. cranberry shower gel

I got this cranberry shower gel from Lavera just before Christmas, but have only just got round to using it up. Intensive moisture? I don’t think so. I found it quite thin. Yes, it smelled of cranberries and that was cool, but there are nicer festive products out there!

12. Shea butter and almond body lotion

This was from my swap box from Germany and it’s made by a German brand that you can’t get here. Still, I enjoyed trying it out and smelling of almonds. It was nourishing and gentle on the skin.

13. L’Occitane cream

This was the teeniest sample, but the best thing in the L’Occitane advent calendar as far as I’m concerned. I’ve had the full-size product before and loved it! It’s so gentle and soothing on the face, with a subtle scent. It leaves the face feeling soft all day, and soaks into the skin quickly. This is a lovely cream and I’m glad they included it in the advent calendar.

14. almond soap

I really am not sure about this! On one hand I love the smell of almonds in this soap from L’Occitane, but the crushed up almond shells that are supposed to help exfoliate were not my thing. They just made it feel as though the soap were dirty. Like the one we had at the riding stables that I never wanted to touch because I didn’t like to think of where it had been. I know the reason for the shells, but the almond oil on its own would have been better!

15. Maringa shower gel

I had this little mini from the Body Shop. All of the Body Shop shower gels are good quality and made with natural ingredients. The maringa line is for you if you prefer a floral to a fruity scent. I prefer the fruity ones, but it was still nice to try out a mini from the Maringa line

16. strawberry shower gel

Another Body Shop shower gel mini – this time the strawberry one. I preferred this to the maringa, but it is a very sweet scent, and not something I would use all the time. Still, I do like the smell of fresh strawberries from time to time!

17. sunflower hand cream

I wanted to try out some products from Laidbare, so I got their sunflower hand cream. I love sunflowers – that was part of what attracted me! I had this on my desk and I liked the subtle sunflower scent. This isn’t runny, but it isn’t heavy-duty either. It sinks in quickly, but leaves the hands feeling moisturised. It’s not sticky, so a good one for your handbag or to use throughout the day.

18. Manuka honey sheet mask

This was my favourite item in the Pink Parcel box in February. It’s the Manuka honey sheet mask from Vitamasques.

Manuka honey has loads of great properties for your skin and hair. For example, it hydrates, locking in moisture and absorbs moisture from the air. It promotes skin regeneration, oxygenates pores to draw out bacteria, reduces redness due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and inhibits a group of enzymes that destroy collagen, a protein we need for firm skin – the opposite of wrinkles and fine lines.

19. Schreck apple lip balm

This apple-flavoured Chapstick was a lovely addition to my lip balm collection. I enjoyed the fruity flavour and it did its job, with the benefit of added SPF. This is a pack of 4, but they are cheap and it’s actually more cost-effective to buy a multi-pack.

So, what did you use up this month? I like a good empties post, so let me know in the comments if you have written one!

Listen to the podcast episode

I’ve also produced a podcast episode about my empty products for February. 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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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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15 November empties – lots of hand creams and a disappointing panda!

15 November empties – lots of hand creams and a disappointing panda!

Another month is over and I’ve been trying to use things up because I know that more will be added to the collection when December starts! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products, what you thought of them, and also what you got through in November!

Hair care

So, the first thing isn’t a new product for me, but I liked it so much that I got another one! It’s the Banana hair mask from the Body Shop. If you want something that’s natural, that smells great, and that gives your hair a pamper session, this is a good thing to go for. It’s not cheap, although you can get a good deal if you wait for it to be on offer, and you do get a generous pot of it. I do intersperse this with cheaper ones sometimes, but overall this is my favourite!

The other haircare products were a sample set of the shampoo and conditioner from the Seaweed Bath Co. The products contain vitamins and nutrients from the ocean to give you strong and healthy hair. It may be ok as a product, but I can’t deal with peppermint in haircare. I don’t want my hair to smell like toothpaste, which means that these products were not for me. Still I was glad to get the chance to try them, and overall I was very pleased with the November Lovelula box, which also contained a lipstick, eye cream from Madara, a face primer and a moisturiser.

Click here for my other hair care reviews.

Bath and shower

I got a mini of the SenSpa sleep therapy bubble bath in my Latest in Beauty box. I’m usually a Radox girl, but I like to try other things, and this bubble bath contains lavender, which is good for a relaxing pamper session at the end of the day. I don’t know that I’d rush out to buy it, but if it shows up in Latest in Beauty again and I’m looking for things to fill my box, I might pick it up again.

I went through an enormous 750 ml of the Pink grapefruit shower gel from the Body Shop. This is my all-time favourite scent, and sometimes these bottles have 1/3 off. Something this size lasts a long time, and unless you’re someone who gets bored with a single scent, I definitely think they’re worth it. Just make sure you like the scent first. I knew I would with this one though because I think I’ve had most of the pink grapefruit products. By the way, I’ll be doing a skincare post for grapefruit lovers in the new year, so do let me know any recommendations that you have for me to include.

Skincare

November was a bumper month for skincare empties! First up is the body lotion from the Seychelles bath and body set. I just love this stuff! The coconut is really refreshing, but it’s offset by the orange, almond, and vanilla. This leaves you moisturised and smelling amazing for hours!

I don’t usually get excited about the little sachets in Latest in Beauty, but the Lavera face cream really got my attention because it smelled sooo good! It was a night cream and I liked the way it left my face afterwards, but I have to say it was the scent that got my attention. This is a brand that I would like to look into more next year.

After I enjoyed the SenSpa bath soak, I also tried the SenSpa relaxing body butter which was being offered as a mini on Latest in Beauty. It’s a thick, rich, butter for anyone who likes something a bit more intense, but this also smelled of lavender, and whilst I don’t mind my bathwater having this scent, I don’t want to walk around with it for the rest of the day. So this was ok, but I probably wouldn’t get it again. That’s why I’m so glad that I get to try minis of these things in Latest in Beauty, rather than buying them full-size.

Next there were a couple of the little handcream tubes from the Body Shop. I had a couple of them open and wanted to use them up. First there was the pink grapefruit hand cream, which is my favourite! I also finished the tube of Almond and honey hand cream which I got when I reviewed the whole almond milk and honey range earlier in the year. I think when I first smelled this range, I was a bit disappointed that you couldn’t smell the almond as much as the honey, but I really enjoyed using this gentle hand cream, and it’s definitely a good one if you’re not up for the more powerful, fruity scents, or if you have sensitive skin that might be irritated by other ingredients.

I haven’t tried much from the Spa of the World range from the Body Shop, but I did get some of their Ethiopian green coffee cream when it was released earlier this year. At first I was a bit surprised because it didn’t smell of coffee, as my other coffee products do, but it’s a creamy lotion with green coffee extract, suitable if you want your skin to feel firmer and smoother. I didn’t really need a skin-firming cream, so I can’t comment on how well it does that, but I did enjoy using it!

The second thing I want to mention from the Lovelula November box was the priming serum from Ren. Ren is a good brand and I was happy to try this out. The little glass bottle, the kind that you get perfume samples in, made it a little annoying to get out, but the serum itself absorbed very quickly, but as I tend to go more for moisturising primers, it wasn’t the texture I’m used to. To be honest, I don’t want to sound cheap, but I couldn’t justify spending £50 on a primer. Not when there are others on the market that I feel do the job just as well. Still, I’m glad it was included because I enjoyed trying it out!

Now something from the May Lovelula box – the Laidbare cleanser and toner that is out of stock at the time of writing. I’m genuinely a little suspicious of two-in-one products. I like the face care ritual with its many steps, and I don’t try to double up, because I think each step has its purpose. However, I did use this up eventually. It had a pleasant, citrus and apple scent, and I had it in the bath for a while. I wouldn’t buy it again, but it’s a decent enough product if you don’t like faffing around with as many products, or if you’re going away and need to save space.

I got the next product because a number of people received it in one of the beauty boxes that I don’t get. I don’t like a lot of them because there would be too many products that I wouldn’t use, but that doesn’t stop me watching the videos and reading the blog posts for inspiration. I was already a fan of the Grumpy Cow range from the Cowshed, so I decided to try out their Cowpat handcream. Such a funny name! One thing that drew me to it was the grapefruit oil listed in the ingredients. It’s quite a thick cream, so I kept it by the bed and put it on last thing at night. This handcream also contains coriander essential oil, which apparently relieves muscular aches, increases circulation and helps you to sleep. It does however smell of coriander – I’m fine with that, but I’ve seen some people saying that they don’t like it. We use coriander quite a lot in cooking, so it doesn’t bother me.

I’ve gone on about the vitamin E cream from the Body Shop before, so I won’t ramble on about it, but if you haven’t tried it, it’s wonderful stuff! I got a mini pot in last year’s advent calendar and was using it in my travel bag. I decided to finish it up and when I’ve got through some of my other creams, I would definitely buy this again!

This was a bit of a disappointment. I wanted to try some things from the Oh K! brand, so I got their cherry blossom panda hand cream. The panda is definitely cute, but I’d rather plain packaging and a good product than cute packaging and an underwhelming product! The product was like a hand butter, a bit greasy, and I didn’t like the scent. I didn’t find it particularly moisturising either. I know there are other things in the range and they might be better, but I felt the product wasn’t really worth it. I guess it would be ok to buy for someone who wants some cute things on their dressing table, but don’t expect big results from it!

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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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What subscriptions do you have?

I talk about our subscriptions for beauty, food, and entertainment.

What subscriptions do you have?

When I started thinking about this post and adding up the subscriptions that we have, I was a little surprised. However we do use all of them. One is very new, so we’ll have to see whether we’re going to keep it.

The beauty ones are definitely mine, but the rest are ours as a household. Maybe there are some here that you didn’t know about.

Beauty

I have two beauty subscriptions. The first is Latest in Beauty. The great thing about Latest in Beauty is that you make your own box. You might not love everything you pick – that’s just the way it goes with trying new products – but you make the decisions about what goes into your box, so if there are types of products that you’ll never use, you never have to get them.

There are build-your-own boxes and curated boxes. If you build your own, you can get 3, 6 or 9 products. The more products you get, the cheaper they become. I look through the list once my payment is taken and select the things that I want. First I look for new and exciting things, then I look for things that I need, then I look for things that I’ve had before and really enjoyed. Some months it’s really hard to choose because there are so many things that I would like. Other months it’s a bit harder, like a couple of months ago when there were a lot of nail varnishes and tanning products, neither of which really interest me. But I’ve discovered a lot of cool stuff this way!

My second beauty box is Lovelula – the natural and cruelty-free beauty box. You can sign up for the monthly boxes (there are different pricing structures, so if you’re interested, check them out here.)

I like Lovelula because I want to use more natural and cruelty-free products, and this is a good way to try some new types of product and new brands in a way that’s cheaper than buying them full-price. There are sometimes one or two things in the box that I wouldn’t use, but I don’t feel that these are wasted because they go into swap boxes with other bloggers, into a blog prize draw, or I use them as gifts. If it got to the point where I was using only one or two of the products, that would be a problem, but as it is, I use most of them.

The other good thing about Lovelula is that you get a discount on the brands in the box each month, and if you really like something, you can buy it in the shop. This is different from Latest in Beauty because they have rolling stock, which means once something has sold out, it’s gone unless they bring it back again.

Both boxes provide a range of full-size and sample-size products, and particularly as someone who loves to try new things, they both work well for me.

Entertainment

We hardly ever watch TV in our house. If we watch anything, it’s usually Netflix, Prime video or a DVD. Oh and then there are all the beauty videos on Youtube, but fortunately they’re free!

At the beginning of last year, we weren’t sure whether to go for Netflix or Amazon Prime. Both of them were offering one month for free, so we tried them both out and continued both subscriptions, but for different reasons!

I’d say that we use Netflix more in terms of watching things – either together or on our own. There are some things that S watches that drive me crazy, and I’m sure he feels the same about some of my choices. You can set up individual profiles, so that the suggestions are based on what you actually like, rather than some random thing that another member of the household was watching. The number of people who can watch at any one time is based on the payment plan that you choose.

I usually just listen on my phone because I don’t need a screen. I really like the way that you can filter by audio described content, which is content that has an additional sound track for explaining to blind people what’s happening on the screen. When I’m watching on my own, I’m usually only interested in this type of content, and it’s nice that it can be pulled out into a separate list. I wouldn’t say we’re really heavy users of the service, but it’s nice to have it.

We do watch a few things on Amazon Prime, but there is less audio-described content on there and you can’t filter it as you can on Netflix. If Prime only had the option of Amazon Video, it probably wouldn’t be worth our while, but it gives you a number of other benefits too, which we definitely use:

  • Free next day delivery. This isn’t just cool because it’s quicker, although that is cool! It helps me to plan when the deliveries are coming so that they don’t arrive on a day when I have back-to-back meetings.
  • Free magazines – every month there is a range of magazines that offer one issue for free. You buy them for £0 on your Amazon account and then you can read them on the Kindle app, or presumably on your kindle (I don’t have one!) This doesn’t work if you want to read the same magazine every month, but if you have a more general interest, such as beauty or travel, you can usually find something to read.
  • Amazon music – most of the time I prefer listening to my own music – I haven’t really got on board with the stream on demand thing, but there are times when it’s good to put on someone else’s playlist, such as when I go running and want some upbeat, motivational music.
  • Extra free books on Audible – we’ll come to Audible in a minute, but when I signed up, being an Amazon Prime member gave me an extra 2 books for free.
  • Share with your household – I’m the Amazon Prime account holder, but S gets all of these benefits too because I linked both of our accounts to our household.

If you want to try out Amazon Prime free for a month, you can sign up here.

Finally we have Audible – a service for audio books. I love audio books! I used to read Braille books, but you can’t take a huge volume of Braille on the train with you, so in my commuter days I read a lot of audio books! They’re also good when you want to relax. S likes them too, so we often listen to books together as a change to watching films.

S bought me an Audible subscription last Christmas. I decided to continue it after the gift ran out, and then I got 3 more books because I’m an Amazon Prime member. Now I pay for them, but I think it’s worth it. I tend to go for longer books, so I can have several nights of entertainment for a similar price to, for example, a trip to the cinema.

You have to buy the books on the Audible site and then you can listen to them on the Audible app. You can’t buy books on the app. There are over 200,000 books to choose from, and the player lets you speed them up if that’s your thing!

If you sign up to the service, you are eligible to get one book for free, as long as you haven’t had a free book from Audible in the last year (3 free books if you’re an Amazon Prime member). If you like it, you keep the subscription going and you will be charged for a new credit each month. The credit is used to buy your next book. If you just want the free book, you can cancel your subscription within the first month – you won’t be charged, and you get to keep your book.

If you’re interested, you can use my Audible free trial link (If you are based in Germany, use my German link.

Food

And finally we come to food. We get a weekly organic fruit and vegetable box. There are a number of different options to suit different households and preferences, but you can read about our first three boxes here. I like the way that you don’t have to get anything that you don’t like, but you are introduced to seasonal produce and you might also have to find recipies for things you’ve never tried before, which keeps things interesting.

The other food subscription is the Spicebox. You can read a review about it here. Basically you are sent a box every month with little bags of spices and a recipe for a delicious curry. You have to buy the main ingredients in edition, but all the rare things are measured out for you, so you only buy what you need for the dish, the spice blends are already mixed, and you don’t have to trek round looking for things that aren’t sold in the supermarket.

S and I always cook and enjoy these together – a kind of date night in! You get one a month, and there’s usually an extra sachet with spices for another dish. You can find out more about the company on The Spicery’s web page.

How about you

What subscriptions do you have, and which are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!

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This post contains some affiliate links ß specificallz for Amayon Prime and Audible.