New and favourite things in June – beauty box, Braille ring, body yoghurts, and bedroom furniture

So it’s time for my favourites again, but I want this to not only be about new things I bought, but other random things that made me happy! Let me know yours in the comments, and also whether you’ve tried any of these things.

1. M&S Beauty Box

I saw a post about this box, but I didn’t get it because I wasn’t planning to get anything from M&S. However about a week later, my Mum surprised me with it! I would link it, but it has already sold out. It was the same idea as with the Advent calendar – there is a minimum spend price for M&S, and then you can get the box for a good price.

The first thing I picked out was the Eos pink grapefruit lip balm with SPF, because of course it was grapefruit! I’ve already used a lemon one, but this grapefruit is amazing and it smells and tastes so good if you love grapefruit as much as I do!

I am also enjoying the Sheer Radiance perfume, which is a blend of citrus and floral scents. I think I probably like it because of the mandarin, but there are also notes of gardenia and pink pepper. This is a 30ml perfume, so really good for a beauty box as well.

2. My spinner and Braille rings

My friend Amy has started making her own silver jewellery and after I admired some of her rings, she offered to make me a spinner ring. I didn’t actually know they were a thing, but I like the idea of having a spinner as something to wear. Anyway Amy made the ring and she also made another one as a surprise – my first Braille ring. No pictures yet, but look out for them in an upcoming post where there will be an interview with Amy. The ring says “friend” in Braille. As a non-Braille reader, we were teasing her about maybe writing fried or fiend – but it definitely says friend! Amy looked up the Braille letters online and pushed the dots through with a pointed tool so that they were raised.

3. Body yoghurts

The Body Shop has brought out some new products ready for the Summer. The body yoghurts are like the butters, but a much lighter formula that absorbs into the skin really quickly. They’re moisturising, but you don’t have to wait around for ages! I got the mango one and the almond milk one. I like this concept – they’re a bit more runny than other products I’ve used for the range, but you don’t want to be caking yourself in thick cream when it’s hot outside. I love the mango range anyway, and the almond milk is a nice change – especially good for those who don’t like such a strong scent.

4. Nail varnish remover pads

I know this could be seen as lazy, but I like this idea. Nail varnish remover is by nature thin, and it can come out too fast sometimes. So having preloaded pads is efficient! These pads from Waitrose don’t even smell like nail varnish remover!

5. Sweet as cherry pie hand cream

I got this sweet as cherry pie hand cream from Patisserie de Bain in my Latest in Beauty box, so I’ve linked to it on Amazon. These hand creams are a bit unusual in that they apply like a normal hand cream, go a bit sticky for a few seconds, and then dry completely. So not something if you want to slap it on an run, but if you have a couple of minutes, it is worth it, because they are really moisturising, and as long as you wait that minute or so, they are not sticky at all. I really liked the lemon one, and this one, which smells strongly of cherries, is good too!

6. New furniture

2 weeks ago we took a trip to Ikea for some new bedroom furniture – specifically storage for my make-up, skincare, haircare and bath products. The little desk and drawers I had been using had been around since I was 15, so I decided it was time for an upgrade! We got a little dressing table, that has a draw and a lift-up lid, a pouf and a set of draws with a lift-up lid on top. There was a set of draws with the table, but we found a taller one with more drawers. We spent the rest of the day putting everything together and moving my stuff in. It’s now so much more tidy and easier to find things, which makes me happy! Putting together the flat-pack furniture with my sighted partner although I couldn’t see any of the instructions was also a great team-building experience – and we were still friends afterwards!

7. Lib – great variety this month

I still have my May Latest in Beauty post to write, but I just wanted to mention how pleased I was with the selection for June. There had been a few complaints recently about a lack of good new products in the Latest in Beauty edit. This month I picked up two shampoo and conditioner sets that were full-size. So two full-size products counted as one item, and the plan that I’m on means I get each item for £2. Bargain!

8. Finally got my book finished

June was the month that saw my second book available online. I won’t write much about it here – you can read about it in my post from the beginning of June, but the final stage is always the hardest for me. Writing is fun. Formatting and getting everything ready for uploading and getting the cover done – not so much! So I’m pleased that we got this project completed.

9. Coffee sweets – who knew that was a thing?

We went to a Thai festival in June. Apart from buying a carved wooden horse’s head and trying out mango wafers and green tea Fanta, I also discovered Kopiko coffee treats made with real Java coffee. They are basically like coffee-flavoured boiled sweets – good for those days when you’re out and about and can’t get your usual coffee fix. Or for when you have to do a lot of talking!

So what were your favourites this month?

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Blogmas day 2 – childhood memories – how my Nan made Christmas special!

It’s the first weekend of December, which means it’s time for the Christmas tree to go up. For us that means a trip to the loft to get down the tree – well actually trees, because I brought a little one with me when I moved in with S, and all the decorations. Does anyone else love that tinsel smell, which tells you Christmas is on its way?

We went into town this morning. The Christmas music was playing and there are already some little stalls with hand-made Christmas gifts. I didn’t buy anything – apart from a hotdog for lunch – but I enjoy seeing what is available, with S pointing out things that he thinks I will like!

I don’t remember it, but I apparently got into the Christmas spirit at a very young age. I had been chosen to do an “Away in a manger” solo when I was three – but unfortunately chicken pox put an end to my singing career! Ah well! After that I was too shy to take any solo singing parts at school, but I often did readings because I wasn’t scared of standing up in front of the rows of parents and grandparents!

On the subject of grandparents, anyone who read my grandparents and what we learned from them post will know that I grew up with my grandparents, so a lot of my childhood memories are about them.

My Nan loved Christmas! Not just Christmas morning, although she did wake the children up early on more than one occasion because she was so excited (much to the dismay of some of the other adults!) No, she loved the whole month of December – from the first weekend, when we decorated the tree, all the way through to the school activities, buying and wrapping presents, and planning the food!

As a child, the best part for me was that I was very much a part of it all. No doubt it would have been much quicker for Nan to wrap the presents and put up all the decorations when I was in bed, but she didn’t. Of course I didn’t see anything that was for me, but when it came to the presents that were from me, I went to the shops to choose them, and we did the wrapping together. She taught me how to wrap the difficult shapes. At the beginning, she cut the paper for me, but later I learned how to fold the paper and then have a tactile line to cut along. When we went out, I enjoyed the Christmas music in the shops and Nan described the decorations and displays.

As well as the tree, we had decorations that came out every year – the china sleigh for quality streets, the nativity scene with all the figures, and the snowy house scene that my Granddad attached to a rotating cake board that was wired to a music box. The tactile picture that went up on the living room door. It wasn’t made for visually impaired people, but I could feel Santa, his sleigh, the presents, and the raised letters that spelled out Merry Christmas! I think they looked out for things that could be enjoyed by touch as well.

I don’t have any of these things now, apart from a book that they arranged for me when I was very small. You gave the company the name of your child and a few friends, and the company created a book with a story about that group of children. I still have it – and my one was different because my Nan, who had learned how to write in Braille (a system of dots used by blind people for reading), put the words in Braille on transparent plastic and stuck them into the book so that I could read the story for myself.

Another year, my grandparents arranged for Santa to reply to my letter in Braille.

When it was time for advent calendars, we used the same self-adhesive plastic to cut out little Braille numbers for sticking on the doors so that I knew which door I could open to get my chocolate each day.

Christmas was usually celebrated at our house with my mum, my aunt and her children. It started much earlier than my Christmases do now, and the first thing was always children opening presents, followed by adults opening presents, followed by bacon rolls! Then my Nan would make the Christmas dinner – turkey with all the trimmings. Sometimes a stocking was held back for after the main meal.

My Nan isn’t around to enjoy Christmas any more, but I always think of her at this time of year, particularly when I’m doing the things that she enjoyed so much.

What are your childhood memories of Christmas?

Christmas tree in Stockholm

The advent calendars

L’Occitane – today I got a hand cream! I think handcreams are one of the things that L’Occitane does really well, so I was happy to get this little tube. Actually I think there are a few handcreams in there, so I’m looking forward to trying out some more. I already have the full-size one of this one, but it’s lovely to have a mini to put in my bag or in my desk organiser pig!

M&S – another little tube, this time it was Filorga Meso-mask. I’ve never tried this before. Apparently, it enhances skin by improving luminosity and radiance, treats wrinkles and erases signs of fatigue. You leave it on your face for 15-30 minutes and then remove with damp cotton wool. I think I’ll be trying that tonight!

If you had a calendar, what was behind your day 2 door?

Question for the day

So today I’d like to know – what is your favourite food from a traditional Christmas dinner? I have to say the turkey! I don’t think we eat enough of the stuff! I sometimes buy it at other times of the year, but particularly when I was working in London and attending different Christmas meals, I was never sorry to see turkey appearing for the 2nd or 3rd time in December. How about you?

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