August 19 highlights – afternoon tea, friends, and a new owl bag

August was a bit of a tough month – for two years running! In some ways I’m happy it’s September, and not just because September is my birthday month. Some good things happened in August too though, so I’ve decided to write about them here!

1. Friends

I didn’t tell everyone at first about the hospital incident that resulted in my first aid post, but when I did, stop hiding and open up a bit, people were lovely. I had visitors. I caught up with people whom I hadn’t seen in ages. I had lovely messages. I had friends invite me round and give me a lift so I didn’t have to spend as long on my own the first night S was away. I don’t actually mind being on my own – I used to live on my own – but when you’ve been rushed to hospital in the middle of the night … things always feel worse in the night time.

Life gets busy and we don’t even mean not to keep in touch, but if you don’t make an effort to do it, you don’t get round to it, or it ends up taking ages. I didn’t enjoy the hospital experience, but it did remind me that I have a lovely network of people around me.

2. Replacement bag

My owl bag gets a lot of comments because he’s a bit unusual. I talked about him first a couple of years ago. We fixed him once with a new strap because I’d been carrying too much around, but his feathers were starting to get frayed at the bottom, the stitching round his ears was coming undone, and the metal that kept him together was starting to wear through. So S got me a replacement.

Apart from being an owl, and therefore fitting in with all my other owls, I love the tactile design with the textured feathers, the eyes and the sparkly beak!

3. Sushi restaurant

Thanks to someone who was only here for a visit, we discovered a new sushi restaurant. It’s delicious and I actually went 3 times in August! I’m not usually a fan of fish, but there are other types of sushi too. It’s always good to try out new places! Two more sets of friends want to try it out, so no doubt we’ll be back in September too!

4.New walking pals

I’m still having tests and can’t do some of my usual fitness activities, but I’ve found a few new people to go walking with for some exercise and fresh air. It’s so good to get out in the nature, especially on days when it isn’t so hot.

5. Securing my place on my next module

This academic year I’m doing the second half of my first year of my degree because I’m part-time. The first two modules came one after the other. The ones for October both start at the same time – so I’ll have more to do, but a longer break in the summer.

I had booked onto my 3rd IT module a while ago, but then I needed something else at the same level. Most other people going down the IT route did an entire module of maths, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that, so I chose a linguistics module as well.

This is one of the nice things about an open degree. I’m doing it so that I can use the knowledge I learn at work, rather than to apply for specific jobs, so I can customise it to make it as interesting and relevant as possible. As I already work in the language field, I think something related to this will be more useful than maths.

6. Wedding preparations

We didn’t make a lot of headway with wedding preparations – our August kind of got taken over by other things. There was a venue that we were considering. As it turned out, it didn’t offer what we were looking for, but we had a lovely meal there and a walk, so it was still a good day out.

7. My first afternoon tea

It’s taken other blogging friends to open my eyes to what’s about in terms of afternoon tea. I thought it was all about the tea, but most places will let you swap out the tea for coffee – this had me more interested in the idea, as did the fact that there were savoury as well as sweet treats.

Anyway I was talking to one of my friends and we decided to do an afternoon tea for her birthday. I’ll probably write a full post about it, but it happened in August, so it belongs in the August highlights.

8. Rain!

I know, I know – some people aren’t happy about it. But I really struggle with the heat, especially wen I’m supposed to be working. I’m more of an autumn kind of girl. So a couple of times this month I was doing a happy dance because we finally got some rain, which meant that things cooled down a bit.

I know it’s not so much fun for the people further north who had the floods. We didn’t get anything like that in the south and after a second lot of really hot weather, I was happy about the rain. Everything smells so fresh and alive afterwards too!

9. First customers for my new business

My new website EwK Services went live earlier this year. As I split out my businesses, some customers that wanted my translation or language services automatically transferred over to EwK Services, but it also got its first project that had nothing to do with my first business. For me, that was also a reason to celebrate.

10. New fan

Things only tend to break when you’re using them, and that was true for my fan too! It broke during that really hot spell that we had in July and I didn’t get round to replacing it until we had another really hot spell in August.

The one I bought wasn’t the most amazing in terms of power, but it’s small, portable, and can follow me around the house when I’m struggling with the heat. It’s a tower fan, so it doesn’t take up much space either.

The other nice thing was that it was available from Ocado, so I could pick it up with my groceries! I really like the fact that Ocado does home products and toiletries that you can just add to your basket along with your food.

The fan and I are now firm friends!

How about you?

My favourites posts used to be all about the things I’d bought. I have bought some things and I do plan on writing a couple of products posts in September, but good things can also be a walk in the nature, a good book, time with friends, or just taking some time out for self-care. This month I’ve had to take things a bit easier due to health reasons, but going at a slower pace and taking time to recover has also made me appreciate people, and the little things more.

How about you? What were your August highlights? Let me know in the comments!

More from Unseen Beauty

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

 

Good things in April 2019

I got a bit bored with my favourites posts because they were all quite samey, and often focussed on beauty products, which I know is less interesting for some of my readers. So I thought I’d try something else now, to make the posts a bit more varied. So here are my April highlights!

Something I bought

I’ve already been raving about my coffee machine! I’m really glad I got it!

I needed a way of keeping track of the capsules because I can’t read the pods. My first idea was to stick Braille labels on the boxes (text recognition apps don’t work so well on them). Anyway the idea with the Braille worked well enough, but it did look a bit untidy with all the capsule boxes.

Then I discovered some trays that slide out for your pods. The ones I bought hold 60 capsules each, and you can stack the trays if you want to have more than 6 types of coffee. The trays have raised squares to keep the pods in place. They might move about if you’re not careful, and you do need to put them in properly so they don’t get stuck. I now have a Braille list that sits on top of the trays. I’ve numbered the lines and written down which coffee is In each line of each drawer. I can still keep track of them, and it looks tidier in my coffee area – or coffee shrine as a friend recently called it!

Something I tried

Can you believe I’m still getting through advent calendar products? One of the things that was new to me was the almond milk and honey body lotion. I knew about the body butter and the body yoghurt, but I hadn’t come across the lotion before. It’s similar to the yoghurt, but it comes in a tube, so is arguably less messy and a bit more hygienic.

I like this gentle range and find the cream cooling as well. Sometimes my allergies cause a reaction on my skin too and I like something gentle like this for times when my skin has been irritated and needs something soothing. I was already a fan of this gentle formula, but I didn’t know about the lotion – so I’m happy they put one in the advent calendar.

Something I did

I’m all about the online networking. When you’re visually impaired, it really creates a level playing field. You don’t have to care if someone’s giving you eye contact, keep your place in the queue for coffee or see where the nearest toilets are. You don’t have to find your way to places you’ve never been before, or shell out on taxis because there’s no sensible way of getting there with public transport. I would do these things too, but I like the freedom I get from networking from my own desk, and have met interesting small business owners from other parts of the world that way. It’s less hassle, and as it’s not one of the first things I tell people, half of the people I speak with don’t even know I’m visually impaired. It’s not relevant for the discussions we’re having and as far as I’m concerned, not the most interesting thing about me.

Having said all that, I am aware that having an international business does mean that I don’t get to meet many new people locally. Yes, I have my friends, and I meet other people through them sometimes, but a lot of the people I used to meet in London were somehow either on the journey to work, or through work. I don’t have that now.

I decided to look for a local group of business owners. I quickly discounted any that sounded pretentious or that expected people to meet at 6:30 in the morning – because who can even put a sentence together at that time? I can’t! But I have found a Facebook group now and pushed myself out of my comfort zone by signing up to a face-to-face meeting too.

Something I read

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

This is a series of 8 books and I originally found out about them through another blog, though it was so long ago unfortunately I can’t remember who it was so that I can tag them.

I’m glad not to be living in central London now, but reading about it makes me feel a bit nostalgic. Without giving anything away, the books are based on the life and adventures of a young police officer who ends up getting involved in the supernatural cases in a world where the gods of the River Thames are actually people some of the time, ghosts are real, and magic is a thing that can be learned.

Normally I stay away from any crime or detective books. I’ve worked in the criminal justice system and it bugs me when things aren’t true to life. It’s way less glamorous than the TV series make it out to be. But in real life there is no old house where people go when they’re working on supernatural cases, so I had no expectations of it being like real life and could therefore just enjoy it for what it was – a story.

It does make sense if you read the books in order – many of the characters appear again and you build on the knowledge as you go along. However each book is a story and a case that can stand alone.

We listened to the audio books, and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who narrates the Audible versions, does a really good job.

Something I watched

Star Trek – discovery

I wasn’t a Star Trek fan before, but S persuaded me to give it a go and yes, there are action scenes, but I hadn’t realised how much more depth there is in terms of learning about the characters, understanding different cultures, moral dilemmas, and teamwork. Also, this was set before the original series, so it doesn’t matter if you start watching it with no idea what comes next!

I’m not good at TV reviews and I don’t want to post any spoilers, but I would recommend it if sci-fi is your thing – or even if it isn’t!

Something I ate/drank

Pong! You’ll have to wait to see the review, but I signed up for a monthly cheese subscription called Pong, where you get a selection of cheeses sent to you by post each month. It’s a good way to try new things.

Something I learned

In this module of my Open University course we’re starting to work with Python, which I’m enjoying a lot more than the horrid drag and drop visual programming language that we had to work with in the last module. Ok, it’s only the basics at the moment, but this makes more sense to me, and that makes me happy!

Somewhere I went

We decided to make a day of the blogger event that I was invited to in Reading, and we also visited the Real Greek for lunch.

Something random that made me smile

I know that I probably don’t drink enough water. I know that I should probably do something about that – running on coffee alone isn’t the best, especially with the hot summer months coming up.

So I had the idea of putting a pint of water on my desk in the morning and refilling it in the afternoon. If it’s there next to me, I found that I am drinking it. If I don’t make the effort to put it there, I generally don’t bother.

So just changing my habit and making the effort is actually helping me to drink more water! I also decided to get this owl drinking glass so there’s one more owl in my collection!

What have you been enjoying this month? Let me know in the comments!

More from Unseen Beauty

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

 

Newly discovered and favourite things in August

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

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

1. Masktime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Turkish

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

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

4. Apple micellar water and lime toner

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

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

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

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

5. My favourite serum ran out

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

6. Happy

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

7. Up close and personal with the owls

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

8. Body Shop club card event

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

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

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

9. Grapefruit bubble bath

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

10. Sorbet maker

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

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

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. None of these products are sponsored.

Meeting some owls from Hilltop Birds of Prey

Last weekend, S, his dad and I went to Manydown farm in Basingstoke because I’d heard that they were going to have some feathered visitors – owls from Hilltop Birds of Prey.

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while will know that I’m interested in owls. Anyone who knows me in real life will know my owl handbag that comes everywhere with me. You may have also seen my post about the rare breed farm and owl centre.

Whilst owls are wild birds, as someone who can’t see them, I’m always interested in getting closer to those birds that are comfortable with it, so that I can find out what they look like.

The birds from Hilltop Birds of Prey have all been rescued from somewhere, so they have not been specifically bred or taken from the wild. They may have been bought for children by parents who didn’t do their homework first or realise that an owl is not a pet that needs no looking after. They might have come from a zoo. Each one has its own story and I’ve put the link to Hilltop Birds of Prey at the end of the article.

These birds live at Hilltop Farm with other rescued animals such as a couple of donkeys and a rescue dog.

Meeting the owls

The first owl that we met was Jackson, a tawny owl who was only a year old. This made him the youngest of the owls there, but he is fully grown. He is still getting used to people, and although he perched quietly when we met him, he wasn’t quite as chilled out as some of the others who, like a dog, would just relax and let you stroke them for ages!

Fun fact: Tawny owls have short wing spans, which makes it easier for them to hunt in woodland.

Next came Wispa, the Little Owl. She was a little owl, but that is also her owl type. At over 10 years of age, she was a mature lady, and was very comfortable being handled. She was very small, but then being a little owl, that’s not surprising.

Fun facts: little Owls are between 21-23 cm long, with a wing-span of 54.58 cm. They were introduced to the UK in the 19th century.

When Wispa went back, the next thing I heard was the flapping of some big wings! So I guessed the next owl we would meet would be larger.

And it was – it was Yorkie, the European Eagle Owl. She has powerful wings, but isn’t bothered much about flying. She knows her food will be provided, and she was happy just to sit there being admired!

Fun fact – the European Eagle Owl is the largest species of owl. They liv all over mainland Europe and there are a lot of them in Scandinavia. They are also breeding more in the UK now.

The final bird, whom we didn’t meet, but who was also there was Fox, the Peregrine Falcon, whose official name is fox’s Glacier mint. You may have noticed the confectionery theme of Wispa, Yorkie and Fox’s Mints!

There was no entry fee to see the owls, but you could make a donation to support the running of the centre and looking after the owls. Mike was happy to answer my questions about where the owls came from, what they ate, how they got along (very well seeing how close they were together), and where they lived (each in their own space).

Find out more about the owls

The owls are not usually at Manydown –they just came for a visit.

This is the link for the Hilltop Birds of Prey website, which is not open to the public. So if you want to go and visit, you need to sort out the details in advance.

The Manydown shop

While we were there, we also bought some things from the shop, including some diced beef for a stroganoff, some sage and onion sausages, and some lamb kebabs. All very good quality and reasonably priced. Oh, and caramel shortbread, which I can also recommend for a sugar hit! They have a good range of meats, ready-to-go snacks, sauces, chutneys, biscuits, cakes, and tarts.

What is your favourite type of owl?

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.

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 some 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.

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 deals or discounts that I think my readers might like.

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

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!

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.

My August favourites – cream shadow, owls, and a cow pat!

My round-up of things that I have been enjoying this month including make-up, skincare, jewellery, and chocolate!

Here are some of the things that I have been enjoying this month! Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these things, or leave a link to your favourites if you’ve done a blog post or video for August!

Make-up

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while now will know that I’m a big fan of cream eye shadows. I know that some blind women use the powder ones, but I find them a bit too hit-and-miss, especially when you can’t see if there is any fall-out. I recently discovered the MeMeMe Cosmetics dew pots. There are 11 shades, and I got the woodland truffle. The cream applies and lasts well. It’s at the cheaper end of what you can pay for cream shadows, but some of the others in that price range do contain more product. I like the packaging, but the opening where it comes out is quite small – I’d prefer it to be wider and more shallow, than small and deep so that the product would come out more easily. Still, I’m happy with the product and glad to have found another cream shadow to add to my collection.

When my contour cream started running low, I looked for an alternative and found a bunch of cream highlight and contour sticks. The first one was a mistake, because it was highlight on one side and contour on the other. We discussed marking the packaging so I’d be able to tell where one product ended and the other one started, but in the end I decided not to even try because I can’t see where one colour is wearing thin. So this has gone into my giveaway for September in the hope that someone else will be able to use it.

Realising my mistake, and that I’d need to check the descriptions more carefully, I then went for the Rimmel duo contour stick, which was better for me because highlight is on one end and contour is on the other, so they are completely separate. I’m a big fan of cream products, so this should keep me going for a while. It’s definitely easier to find cream highlighters than contour creams, so I’m glad that I found the two-in-one!

(Find out which other make-up products I’ve reviewed here.)

Haircare

Now for something new and sooo good! I’d tried the banana shampoo and conditioner from the Body Shop before, but now they’ve brought out a banana hair mask. It smells amazing, comes in a generous tub and is a real treat for the hair. I’ve already finished mine! I want a mask that will leave your hair shiny and nourished, but if I’m going to sit there with it on my hair, I need it to smell good too! This mask, containing organic banana puree from Ecuador and brazil nut oil from Peru, ticks all my boxes and I’d definitely recommend it!

Skincare

Staying with the Body Shop, I forgot how much I liked the vitamin C glow-boosting moisturiser. It smells amazing, like fresh oranges, and it is good for waking me up in the morning. According to the Body Shop’s description, “This fresh, lightweight gel formula will give your skin a daily boost of radiance and hydration. With vitamin C, it awakens and clarifies your complexion, revealing a natural healthy looking glow.” I use something more heavy-duty at night time, but this is something I have been enjoying in the morning to give me a moisture boost before make-up.

I like the Grumpy Cow range from the Cowshed, but when the Gorgeous Cow body lotion came up on Latest in Beauty, I was happy to give it a try! To be honest, as a citrus girl, I’m still on team Grumpy Cow, but if you like your body lotion to be sweet and floral, the Gorgeous Cow line might be for you! This lotion contains lavender, ylang ylang, and Moroccan rose oil.

Staying with Cowshed, I heard a number of people talking about a mini Cowpat handcream that they got in their beauty boxes – I’m not sure which one it was now – maybe Birchbox. Some people liked it and others didn’t – but I decided I wanted to try it, so I bought the full-size Cowpat hand cream. This is a thicker cream, and one that I enjoy using in the evening. It contains both shea and cocoa butter, grapefruit and coriander oils. The coriander does give it a distinct scent, which is quite strong, but I quite like it. So if you want to know more, why not get yourself a cow pat!!

Treats

So, in terms of chocolatey goodness this month I can recommend the Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste Triple Chocolate Bar! What a mouthful! It’s basically a bar made up of triangle, and each triangle has a section of milk, plain, and white chocolate. All the flavours mix together as you chomp it, or you can try to separate them! Either way, it’s good!

I wasn’t really sure where to put the next thing. We saw an advert based on a character from Game of Thrones about how plastic water bottles from sparkling water are bad for the environment. Of course everyone knows this, but seeing the advert made me stop to think – because we were getting through a lot of sparkling water. Actually the ad was banned for being offensive, (I didn’t think it was offensive), so I can’t link it. But anyway, as a direct result of seeing the ad, we went and got a soda stream. This is fairly expensive, and it depends how much you would use it and how often you drink sparkling water. However in our house, the machine will have paid for itself in 15 weeks and that’s a lot of plastic bottles that now won’t be “making the dolphins cry”.

Jewellery

I discovered the brand Izubezu London a couple of months ago when I got my bee pendant. I love this kind of necklace because it’s so tactile, which means you can appreciate the detail by touch, and it’s not just something nice to look at. This necklace is unusual because as well as the tactile bee, there are three hexagonal, honeycomb-shaped links on the chain next to the bee.

This month, as someone who loves owls, I noticed that they had an owl necklace too, so I got that as well. The owl is bigger than the bee, and you can feel its head, wings, and feathers.

I think these pieces make a lovely gift for anyone, or for yourself, but as someone who can’t see them, I really appreciate the tactile element. The necklaces are well-made with unique, interesting designs. These were my favourites, but if you are interested, you can also check out the range because there were plenty of other necklaces.

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.

Visit to the small breeds farm and owl centre

After surprising my partner with a trip to the wolf sanctuary, he surprised me with a trip to the owl centre!

The owl centre is in Herefordshire, and it is home to a wide variety of owls, as well as a number of small animals.

The owls live in the owl garden, and here you can see the five native British owls, as well as owls from all around the world. Some of these owl species are not on public display anywhere else in Europe.

The five owl species that you’ll find in Britain are the British Barn owl, the Tawny owl, the Little owl, the Short-eared owl, and the Long-eared owl. My favourite is the barn owl!

All of these owls are facing challenges at the moment due to changes in farming practices (better pest control means less rodents to feed upon), new roads, and fewer suitable feeding sites. These challenges are particularly intense in the winter time, especially when snowy conditions make it harder to find food. There are a number of charities that work to help the owls to thrive and survive, particularly as falling population numbers have been a cause for concern in recent years.

I’ve been collecting owls for years, but I think Harry Potter contributed to an increased interest in all things with owls on them! Products with owl designs are everywhere in the shops, and I hope this increased interest in them will also translate into people learning more about them and supporting them. A good way to do this is to visit the owl centre. There is information outside every cage about the species, where it’s from, and more general information about its appearance, feeding habits and preferred nesting sites.

If you want to see more owl pictures, visit the owl page on the owl sanctuary’s website.

It was probably a good time to visit because there were lots of tiny animals. We went in the pen with some lambs. They were rather cautious, but as soon as one headed over, the others dared to come a bit closer.
The farm encourages petting and stroking of the animals, so it’s a good experience for visually impaired people too. We didn’t ask about handling any of the owls, apart from the one that greeted people at the entrance, but my partner read the information to me so I could imagine how the different species looked. In any event, it was daytime, so some of them probably wanted to sleep!

There are a number of different types of goat, including pygmies, boer goats, and Golden Guernsey Goats, all of which were eager to chomp anything they could find, and not just the food that was offered to them. One larger goat tried to munch my hair, and one of the tiny kids, that were the size of small cats, tried to nibble the bottom of my dress.

The miniature horses and donkeys have often been featured on TV.

The farm would not be complete without the farm dogs! When my boyfriend said “I’ve seen someone whom you’ll want to meet,” I wasn’t expecting a Labrador, in fact there were two of them, but I was very happy to give them a pat!

Other animals that you can visit are reindeer, alpaca, pigs, cows (including the miniature zebu, the world’s smallest breed of cow), sheep, horses, and donkeys.

This is where you can see some pictures of the other animals on the Owl Centre’s website.

There is also a house for small animals. I stroked some floppy bunny ears, but there weren’t so many opportunities for interaction here. Still you could see the guinea pigs, mice, chipmunks and chinchillas.

After our visit, we had lunch in the gift shop, where I also bought an owl necklace, an owl bracelet and a little bag with an owl face on it to add to my ever-growing owl collection.

Never miss another post!

February favourites

Find out what I’ve been enjoying this month includes Greek skincare and Korean sheet masks.

February favourites

I’ve been trying a lot of new things this month and I’ve made some interesting discoveries from around the world. As always, if you’d like to see what else has received a positive review, you can take a look at the product pages.

Skin care

I’ve never really liked the idea of face masks. The idea of slathering mud or something like that onto my skin just sounds messy and not something I wanted to do. I’m maybe late to the party, but at a girlie night if you haven’t already, I discovered sheet masks. They take away all the hassle of applying face masks because you just open the packet, unfold the cloth, make sure you have it the right way up (the two holes next to each other go at the top for your eyes), then smooth it onto your face. Easy! It’s maybe a little cold at the beginning, but it’s relaxing and it doesn’t go everywhere! As someone who can’t see, I think this way of applying masks is much easier.

I’m using the Skin Food everyday facial masks and so far I’ve tried orange, yoghurt, tomato and lentil. These ones come in a pack of 10 with the 10 different foods. My skin was soft afterwards and they’re good for bringing out the impurities!

I get dry hands and lips, particularly in the winter, so I do what I can to look after them. I usually have a number of lip products on the go – on my desk, in my bag, next to my bed etc. AT the moment I’m enjoying the EOS lemon drop lip balm because I love the lemon flavour and it’s easy to apply on the go. I like it because you can apply it straight onto the lips and it’s unusual because it’s a sphere rather than a stick. If lemon’s not your thing, it comes in a range of other flavours too.

In terms of hands, my absolute favourite Body Shop hand cream was in the advent calendar, so I’ve been enjoying that as well. It’s the pink grapefruit one, it has a thick, non-oily texture and it smells amazing! Don’t forget that if you like Body Shop products, I’m doing an online party at the end of the month, so follow the blog or sign up for alerts if you want to know when it is and how you can take part (just for readers in the UK as otherwise the internationalshipping costs would eat up any money you save!)

There are some textures that I just do not like. The gritty, grainy, sandy texture of scrubs is one of them! Ugh! I know it’s good for you, but I just don’t like it! Not just because of what some companies put in them – I am anti-microbeads, but even if it’s something natural, I don’t like the sensation of putting it on my skin. The result was that I saw the benefits of exfoliating, but never did it. That’s why I was really happy to come across an exfoliating toner from Clarins that uses fruit acid rather than harsh abrasive particles to exfoliate your skin. Unfortunately the Boots website has sold out and it looks as though they won’t be getting any more stock, so I’m going to try to get some more from my local one soon. I really hope this doesn’t mean that the product is being discontinued. Just in case it is, do you know of any other exfoliators that use natural fruit acids instead of abrasive particles?

Finally I’ve been trying out some Greek skincare products. It started because my friend Joanna – why not check out her Youtube channel sent me some samples including Fresh Line Galatea nourishing body milk, which contains wonderful things like coconut milk, almond oil, avocado oil, vanilla and marshmellow. I’ve always been more of a body butter than a body milk kind of girl because I thought the milk wouldn’t cut it with my dry skin, but I was wrong. So I decided to get the Fresh line Galatea body milk as a full-sized product. So happy that we can get these in the UK too!

I’d also heard that Korres, another Greek brand, was good, so I decided to try their almond and cherry collection with shower gel and body milk. I haven’t tried the shower gel yet, but the body lotion was like the Galatea one, not so thick, but it still absorbed quickly and left the skin feeling soft and smooth.

Food and drink

When visiting a friend before Christmas, she gave me some flavoured coffee to try. I’m not usually that adventurous when I’m out – I love coffee, but most of the alternative seem to involve milk, and I think milk ruins a good coffee! Anyway, this hazelnut coffee can be made without milk and it’s delicious!

Tools

This isn’t something that’s new – I got it last year, but it’s been out this month and I like to use it to open my pores and get rid of any impurities lurking under the surface of the skin.

I first got a facial sauna when I was a teenager, struggling with breakouts. Unfortunately it didn’t survive one of my house moves and ended up with a massive crack down the side of it, so I decided to replace it last year. I don’t add essential oils, though I know some people do – let me know in the comments if you have any recommendations.

This is a lightweight unit that is easy to use. It’s not the cheapest, because if you get the absolute cheapest there are often complaints about the unit not producing enough steam, but it’s not the most expensive either – I wasn’t looking for loads of extra functions.

Dogs, wolves and owls

This is the section where I post things about some of my favourite bird and animal products – owls, dogs and wolves. Spring is showing signs that it’s on its way, but it’s definitely not here yet. These owl pyjamas will keep you warm! I’d recommend getting a size up from what you would normally buy. I find them to be cute and comfy, but not over-generous with the sizing!

So how about you?

Have you tried any of these comments? What products are you enjoying this month? Let me know in the comments!

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.

January 2017 favourites

My favourite products in January 2017!

I’m going to do monthly favourites posts on my blog. The things are either new in January, or something that I’ve rediscovered or have really been enjoying. The categories on these favourites posts are the same as on my featured products pages, so if you want to see what else has had a good review, check out the featured products pages. I only include things on those pages that have had a good review.

Make-up

When my mum heard about my cream eye shadow discovery, she bought me two more! The first one was from a range that I already have, but a different colour. I now have the Maybelline Color Tattoo in pink gold.

We also discovered that Max Factor does cream shadows, so we got the Max Factor excess shimmer cream eye shadow. You can see the whole range of colours on the Boots website – I got the copper one.

These are a different consistency to the Maybelline ones – in fact I think they are easier to apply, because they are more like a liquid face cream than a solid product. A little goes a long way, and you do need an eye primer underneath – otherwise it will crease. I like these so much that I got another one, but that will be featured in my drug store haul!

Skincare

You have probably worked out by now that I love everything mango! I mentioned the Victoria’s Secret mango shower gel in my Christmas post, but this month I’ve also been using the Victoria’s Secret mango body lotion, which has the same sweet mango scent and in fact stays on your skin even longer.

My Christmas Day treat from the Body Shop advent calendar was the Oils of Life sleeping cream. It was a generous mini and I would say that this night cream measures up well to others in a higher price range. My skin felt lovely and smooth in the morning, and the cream didn’t feel greasy when I applied it. I’m not a fan of scentless face creams so I was pleased that this one has a faint scent, though I couldn’t actually describe what it is – definitely something natural and something that I’m happy to have on my face. I’m trying out some of the other night creams from the Body Shop, but I would definitely get this one again in a larger size.

Hair care

Carrying on with the mango theme, the Avon Magnificent mango crazy hair tamer has become part of my daily hair care routine. I don’t care that it’s supposed to be for children – it does the job and helps me to get the knots out of my long, thick hair, and it leaves the hair with a faint mango smell. Not as sweet as the body lotion, but still distinctively mango! This link is for two bottles, but you can buy single ones or packs of 3. It’s cheaper to bulk buy, but of course you first need to work out whether you like the product. I will definitely be replacing it, but as I only use 2 or 3 squirts each time, it will last for a while yet.

I wanted to give my hair a treat, so I bought a range of hair masks to see which one I liked most. The first one I tried was the Garnier hair mask with avocado and shea butter    which, according to the manufacturer gives your hair supple bounce and shine. I would definitely say that my hair is softer and more silky after using this product, and I  love the smell – for some reason it reminds me of holidays! The description says that it is for dry, damaged hair, which is not what I have, so maybe there is a better product on the market for me – although I have to say that I’m pleased with the results, and with 300 ml, it’s a generous size.

Jewellery

This isn’t new, but I’ve been wearing it a lot this month. I don’t have a dog any more, but this lovely pewter golden retriever necklace reminds me of my golden guiding girl, and unlike some necklaces that are available, the shape of the dog is easy to feel, from the end of its snout to the tip of its waggy tail!

I like my jewellery to express something about my likes or personality, and this definitely shows that I’m a golden retriever fan.

The picture is of the necklace, but I don’t have the original box.

Food and drink

I talk a lot as part of my job, and I always have something to drink next to me. Although I could drink coffee till the cows come home, I do try to swap it out with other things, and as the weather is still cold, I tend to reach more for hot drinks. After having lychees at a Chinese restaurant recently, I remembered my old favourite Twinings mango and lychee green tea. As a child, I thought I didn’t like tea. The truth is, I don’t like the traditional English tea with milk – because I think it’s grim – but fruit teas, jasmin tea, rice tea – anything like that is fine and a good winter warmer.

If you’re looking for something cool and refreshing, I recently discovered Bottle Green mango and coconut presse.

Clothing

I love owls and when I found this    studded owl top, I had to get it! Actually it was going to be for New Year, but I didn’t get round to buying it. I made up for this in January and I was really pleased with the way that I could feel all the detail on the owl – his face, ears and the detail on his body. I’ve been disappointed by Amazon t-shirt stinginess before, but in terms of this, I’d say it’s fine to get your actual size, and I can confirm that it stayed intact in the wash. Still, I’d recommend that you wash it inside out to protect the owl.

How about you?

So, what are your favourite products this month? Do let me know in the comments – 1. Because I’m nosey and 2. Because I’m always looking for inspiration when it comes to new things to review!

Sign up for email alerts about new posts

This post contains affiliate links, but I only promote links to things that I love or have tried!