Blogmas 2018 – festive gifts from the Body Shop

Any regular readers of this blog will know that I am a fan of the Body Shop! I picked up a few things from there recently and would like to tell you about the three Christmas ranges this year, represented by a fox, an owl and a reindeer, who are also featured on the advent calendars.

As well as a number of gift sets, there is no reason why you can’t make up your own with products that you know someone will like – either from the traditional ranges, or the special Christmas ones.

This year there are three festive scents – berry bon bon, vanilla marshmallow, and peppermint candy cane. I had a sniff of them all, and decided that I liked the vanilla one most, though I am sad that they haven’t brought back my favourite spiced apple one, or tried something citrusy.

Anyway, I bought the body lotion in vanilla marshmallow, which is thinner than the body butters and although you can smell the vanilla, it isn’t overpowering. There was a “buy one, get one half price” offer on at the same time, so I picked up the shower gel as well. On the way to the till, S noticed the little owl bath bomb (they do them in all three animal designs), so I got one of those too.

The berry bon bon one is a bit like a Christmas trifle, and it’s more suited to people who like sweet scents. I got something from this range in my advent calendar today, and it is something I would use, although I liked the other one more. To be honest there isn’t much from the Body Shop that I wouldn’t use – it’s just a case of which scents you prefer.

I smelled the candy cane one, but didn’t pick up anything from the range – partly because they didn’t have any minis, and partly because I am not sure about wanting to smell of peppermint all day. It’s nice enough though, iepecially if you want something fresh rather than sweet.

You can get gift sets, such as the festive sack, which contains 4 minis from a scent range such as the marshmallow festive sack. Or, if you know someone likes the body butters, you can give them the chance to try all three with the body butter trio.

I’d also heard some really good things about the vitamin C skin reviver, so I picked one up. I think this is now my new favourite primer. It goes on after moisturising, helps to revive dull skin, and you can then apply your make-up straight on top. Skincare had a 3 for 2 offer, so I picked up another bottle of the eye make-up remover and although I really wish they’d put it in a pump bottle not a tub, the vitamin C glow-boosting moisturiser.

At the time of writing, the Body Shop has 30% off if you use the code 14664 – exclusions apply. It’s a perfect time to get any stocking-fillers or gifts for your Body Shop-loving friend or relative!

Have you tried any of these products? Which is your favourite?

Advent calendar unboxing

Throughout Blogmas I’ll be unboxing my two advent calendars from Glossybox and the Body Shop and giving a brief product review.

Body Shop – today it was something from the berry bon bon range – a 50ml body butter. These sizes are perfect to test out a scent and see what you think of it, and I’ll be trying mine out after my cycling session later.

Glossybox – today I got a deluxe mini of the Philip Kingsley body-building conditioner. I’ve had hair treatments from this brand before, but I haven’t tried any of their conditioners. It contains wheat protein to strengthen the hair and also promises to detangle and add shine, so I look forward to trying it out.

Unseen Beauty Blogmas Giveaway

Today you have another chance to enter my Unseen Beauty Blogmas giveaway. There will be a box with 10 prizes from the Glossybox and Body Shop advent calendars, and the prizes will be revealed throughout December. You can enter once on each Blogmas 2018 page, which means you have up to 24 chances of winning. You can enter at any time from when the page goes live to the end of December 2018.

Multiple entries on the same page will not be counted – I have a spreadsheet to log them!

Your answers to the questions will help me to get to know my readers and where they are based. Also, they prove that you’re a real person as I don’t use inaccessible widgets on my site.

The giveaway is international, but if postal restrictions prevent me from sending a product to your country, I will replace it with an alternative.

The form only goes to me.

What’s in the box?

  1. Huda Beauty Winter solstice palate Featuring one pearlescent creamy formula and three icy pressed pearl powders.
  2. Spa of the World® French grapeseed body scrub from the Body Shop.

Products 3-10 coming soon!

Giveaway entry form

     
 

Terms and conditions

  1. The give-away is open until 23:59 on 31st December 2018, and I’ll draw the winner on 2nd January 2019.
  2. I will give each entry a number and then draw the winner by asking Siri to generate a random number. I want to make it as easy and accessible as possible for people to enter.
  3. Your email address is being collected solely for the purpose of contacting you if you win the prize. You are welcome to sign up to my newsletter at the same time, but this isn’t necessary to take part in the give-away. If you do not win the prize, your email address will only be stored if you have signed up to the newsletter or asked for your entry to be carried over to the next give-away.
  4. I will email the winner on 2nd January to ask for their address so that I can send the prize. The winner will have 7 days in which to respond. If they haven’t responded after 7 days, I will draw a new winner.
  5. No cash alternatives are available and the winner is responsible for checking product ingredients for any known allergens)

This post may contain affiliate links.

21 bath and skincare empties for November

November isn’t over yet, but I wanted to get my empties done before Blogmas starts – and also I have quite a lot of them this month – again mainly down to using up some minis and samples. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products, and if so, what you thought of them.

1. Sand and Sky clay mask

I was a bit dubious about this because I thought it might have a horrible texture. But I got it in my Urban Jungle box from QVC and I thought I’d give it a go, and was pleasantly surprised. It does dry like a fine clay texture, but it isn’t grainy and came off easily. I still prefer a nice hydrating sheet mask, but the clay did draw out impurities and left my skin feeling better afterwards. I struggled to find this online, but did find one option for the pore refining mask that also gives you a free mask brush.

2. Gorgeous cow body lotion

This Gorgeous Cow body lotion was part of a set that I got for my birthday, which also included the Gorgeous cow shower gel. With Bulgarian rose and French lavender, this is more of an evening scent for me to help relax after an evening pamper session in the bath. The Cowshed has a great range of products and they have cool names – mainly to do with cows, bulls for men, and baby cows for the baby range.

They won’t be for you if you don’t like strong scents, but the scents for each range are very herbal and make me think of nature.

3. Plantscription anti-aging serum

I got this mini of the plantscription serum with bamboo extract from Origins as one of my Latest in Beauty choices. It didn’t push any of my favourite serums off the top of the list, but I enjoyed using it. I chose it because I loved the Origins moisturiser so much. I didn’t enjoy the serum quite as much as the moisturiser, but I would like to try more from this brand and I’m happy that boxes like Latest in Beauty let me do that.

4. Korres shampoo

I wanted to try more of the Korres haircare range, and was very impressed with this almond and linseed shampoo. I got it from Feelunique, where I get a lot of my haircare products. This wasn’t on offer, but there are often really good deals on the site, so it’s worth keeping an eye out to see if any of the products that you buy regularly are on sale.

I see this as a mid-range shampoo – definitely not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either. When your hairdresser remarks on how good your hair looks, you know you’re getting something right!

5. Sugared Violet hand cream

This was another of my (full-size) Latest in Beauty picks. I talked about the cranberry one in my October empties, and got through this sugared violet one in November. I like the formula of all of these hand creams from Patisserie de Bain because they’re rich and nourishing. I’m not so keen on this one because it’s very sweet, but then it is true to the violet scent, so if you like that, or those sweets you used to have as a child, you’ll like this!

6. Chloe perfume sample

I got this Chloe sample as a free sample and quite liked it, although it is very strong, so you don’t need much. I don’t usually go for rose-based perfumes, but having seen the scent description, maybe my nose sniffed out the lychees!

7. Yes to blueberry serum

I wanted to try a serum from the Yes To range, and ended up picking up this blueberry one. It has the strangest consistency – it’s kind of slidy! Not oily, but shiny on your face and then it dries down. It’s not what I expected, but I do prefer it to a more watery serum and I had no problems applying other products on top of it. It is intended to moisturise, reduce fine lines and it’s one that I would pick up again. At the time of writing it has 34% off on Feelunique.

8. Radox watermelon bath bomb

Nice bath bomb, super annoying packaging! I got the watermelon bath bomb in a little Christmas set with a shower gel. It’s wrapped so tightly in cellophane that I ended up with bath bomb down my nails before I got the thing out, but the product itself smelled fun and fruity! I can’t see it as a single product online though so haven’t added a link.

9. Multivitamin mask from Vitamasques

This multi-vitamin mask with vitamins B3, B5, B6, C, and E was something I won from the lovely Sussex Sandra’s channel. Don’t be surprised by the small packaging – it reduces waste and this mask is full of serum and leaves your face feeling fresh and hydrated. There are details on the Vitamasques site about what each ingredient is good for and how it helps the skin. Maybe this interests me more as a blind person who can’t read all the small print herself, but I think it’s a nice touch when a company puts this information up online too.

10. Skimono total conditioning plus mask

I got this from Sandra too and at first thought it was a face mask – but it’s a foot mask. I’m rubbish at looking after my feet or buying products to take care of them, so this mask was a nice pamper treat as I chilled out on the sofa. And, unlike other foot masks that I’ve tried, it wasn’t huge on me. I know they have to fit all sizes, but some masks are enormous and I’m glad this one wasn’t!

11. No old bags aloud eye cream

I don’t like the name of this product. I know it’s supposed to be funny, but words have power and this comes across as ageist to me. Apart from that, I didn’t feel the product did much anyway and was quite thin and watery. I used it up and it was just a little cream from Pink Parcel, but I don’t want to promote it because of the name.

12. Beauticology pink grapefruit and raspberry bath cream

This Beauticology bath cream was enormous and great value because it kept me going for ages. It’s not as strong a grapefruit scent as some of the other grapefruit products that I like – in fact I’d say the raspberry is stronger, but it’s a decent shower gel and a generous size. The pump nozzle could be longer to make it easier when getting the product out, but I’ve seen other 750 ml dispensers with the same issue.

13. Korres Guava body butter

I think I mentioned before that you can get Korres products in Ocado, which makes me happy because I can just pick them up along with my groceries. This guava body butter is in a tube, and like a thick cream, so not like a block that you get in some tub butters. I find this makes it easier to spread. It’s rich and creamy, and leaves you smelling fruity all day.

14. Living Proof hair mask

This mask is something that I got in my Glossybox. It’s marketed as something that will help you extend the time between washes, but I was just interested in the nourishing properties and the way that my hair was all silky and shiny afterwards. I hadn’t heard of this brand before, and although I sometimes get things that I wouldn’t use in subscription boxes, the opportunity to try new brands and products makes it worth it for me.

15. Laura Mercier pink pop lip gloss

I finally finished up a lip product! To be honest I’m more of a lipstick than a lip gloss kind of girl, but this one wasn’t sticky and it was nice enough.

16. Chloe nomade sample

I may have liked this Chloe Nomade sample more if I hadn’t already had a mini of the original Chloe perfume. This was ok, but too musky for my liking. I’m glad we got it as an extra treat in Glossybox, but it’s not something that I would go out and buy.

17. Jasmin body lotion

I don’t tend to go for floral scents, but I’d had things from the Indian night jasmin range before at the Body Shop® so I knew I liked it. That’s why I picked up the jasmin body lotion. It’s not as thick as the body butters, so if you’re in a hurry and need something that smells fresh and will absorb quickly, this is a good choice.

18. Korres hand cream

I use a lot of handcream in the winter! After I was so impressed with the skincare and haircare, I decided to try out the Korres handcream too. I’ve actually got two. This almond one is good if you want something that doesn’t smell too strong. It’s a generous tube (75ml) and does a good job. A little goes a long way though, so don’t use too much!

19. Ceterfil moisturising cream

This was hanging about in my face product drawer for a while because I find it hard to get excited about scent-free moisturisers. It was just a little sample that I got in Latest in Beauty, but it was actually a really nice moisturiser. Moisturising without being oily. Played nicely when layered with other products. I wouldn’t necessarily get it again because there are others that I like more, but I was pleasantly surprised, and if having a gentle and scent-free moisturiser is important to you, I would recommend this one from Ceterfil.

20. What’s in it for me body cleanser

I couldn’t find a link for this, but it’s the first thing that I’ve tried from this brand and it’s got grapefruit in it! So what’s not to like? I was happy that Pink Parcel included it!

21. Antipodes worship serum

I wanted to like this serum. It’s got anti-oxidant rich fruits like blackberry and kiwi in it. It’s good for you! I find some of the products from this brand have odd names, but after having a good experience with one of their lipsticks, I was keen to try some other products from the brand. However, I won’t be finishing this very watery serum. I’m not sure what good it was doing to my skin. It smelled fruity, which is a bonus, but it was so runny and a bit sticky. I didn’t find it easy to work with or that it made my skin feel any better. I can read what the ingredients are meant to do, but it’s so runny, I know all my other serums will always be ahead of the queue and I won’t reach for it. Still, best to find that out with a sample size from my Urban Jungle box than a massive 30ml bottle, which for a serum will last ages!

Discounts and offers

And finally if you’ve made it this far – just a reminder that I have some affiliate discount codes for you:

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.

Glossybox – you can get 20% off your first box by using my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Ocado – if you would like me to send you an invitation to Ocado, just fill out your details using the form below. You will receive a £20 voucher for your first shop, and a free smart pass, which gives you free deliveries for one year (minimum spend applies).

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, and I give honest reviews.

My Latest in Beauty choices for November

I don’t do this every month, but I thought I’d share with you what I got in my Latest in Beauty box for November.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Latest in Beauty is a bit different from other boxes because you get to choose what goes in. So no tanning stuff, eye liners, or powder blushes for me! I like this because you have a higher chance of using the things that you pick up.

The box has different subscription levels – 3 products for £9, 6 for £15, or 9 for £18. So if you get the bigger box, it works out at £2 per product and I think it’s a good way to both get full-size products cheaply, and try out sample sizes of other things to see whether you like them.

The site is accessible for a blind person working with a screenreader, and I can choose my products without any help. The only time I sometimes ask for assistance is when it’s a make-up product and the colour isn’t described very well.

I have linked to full size products, mostly on Boots, Superdrug or Amazon, because you can’t buy individual products from Latest in Beauty, and their selection is changing all the time. So this way you can find out about the product and get it yourself, even if it’s no longer available on Latest in Beauty.

So what did I get?

Here is a list of my 9 products:

  • Soaper Duper tuberose hand cream – full size.
  • Patisserie de Bain sweet as cherry pie hand cream (full size)
  • Yes To tomatoes paper sheet mask
  • Being by Sanctuary comforting cake-on mask
  • Garnier moisture bomb tissue mask
  • Anne Semonin ice cube
  • The make-up club lipstick (full size)
  • Soaper Duper lemon body lotion (full size)
  • Aussie 3 minute miracle (sample size)

Hands

A couple of the products were things that I’ve had before and liked. I am running low on hand cream, and I use it a lot during the winter, so I got the sweet as cherry pie hand cream because I really like it (both for the way it moisturises and the cherry scent), as well as the new tuberose one from Soaper Duper. I’ve had a few Soaper Duper products before, and usually like their scents and good value for money. I can’t find this hand cream as a single product at the moment, possibly because it’s new. It’s a generous size, even big for a hand cream, but I’m not sure about the scent. Maybe it will grow on me. The hand cream formula is fine, but I prefer the lemon range. Still, you don’t know these things till you try them!

Masks

I’ve had the Garnier pomegranate one before and I really like it when my face is feeling dry and in need of a drink! There is a lot of serum in this mask, but your face feels great afterwards. At the moment it’s on offer, but usually adding this mask as a Latest in Beauty choice is cheaper than buying it full price.

The purifying sheet mask is also something I’ve had before. I’m a bit more careful with Yes To sheet masks, because the cucumber one gives me a bad reaction, but this tomato one is fine and good for those times when the blemishes literally raise their ugly heads.

The cake-on mask was a new one for me, which is why I was fine with the sample size. To be honest, for moisturising masks, I do still prefer sheet masks, but this creamy mask did smell amazing. It reminded me of one of my first trips to Germany when I was amazed just how much cake people put away at coffee and cake time. Ok the cakes weren’t as rich as some of the cakes we eat here, but people were served massive slabs that would have easily done two portions! Anyway – the caramel cake scent of this mask reminds me of that, and my face was definitely lovely and soft afterwards. So if cream masks are your thing, go for it!

Skincare

For once I didn’t get a huge load of skincare, although I suppose you could class the masks as skincare. I was interested in trying the Anne Semonin ice cube because it had been included in the Cohorted beauty box, which I don’t get, but I’ve seen people talking about them. Anne Semonin is a luxury skincare brand and I haven’t tried anything from there before. The idea is that you put the small packet of liquid in the freezer for 3 hours until it solidifies into an ice cube, then you put that in a little pouch and hold it onto the under-eye area, a bit like an eye cream.

I did leave it in for the right amount of time, but it froze slightly wonky, which meant I had a thick bit, and a thin bit that broke off on getting it out and dissolved. So that was my fault, but overall I found the cube did dissolve very quickly, and although it was a nice cooling sensation, I’m not sure that was because this product was anything special – it was probably because it had just come out of the freezer.

I’m not saying there weren’t good ingredients in it, but I did find it a bit of a faff and was glad that I hadn’t paid the RRP of £7.50 that I’ve seen online!

I’m torn on luxury skincare. There are some brands that I will save up and pay more for because of the ingredients and because I think it is worth the extra. But I think sometimes you can be paying for a name, and I’m still on the fence with this one.

Make-up

I don’t often get make-up in LiB, but I picked up this red lipstick from the Make-up Club because I wanted to see what the formula would be like. I’m not sure where else these are being sold at the moment – there is a range of matte and shine lipsticks available, and the ones on LiB were in the shine range. It’s a drugstore brand, and a relatively new one at that, but I found the lipstick comfortable to wear. I’d rather a bullet lipstick that you have to reapply than a liquid one that is unforgiving if you make the tiniest mistake, and for £2 you can’t really go wrong. However it’s not the creamiest, most moisturising one that I own!

Body care

Again I couldn’t find a link to this body lotion. Plenty of people are selling the hand cream and body wash, so I’m wondering if this is new too. If it is, I’m happy! I love the citrus scent of the zingy Sicilian lemon line, and this is a very generous 200 ml tube. It’s a fairly thin lotion that absorbs quickly and smells amazing!

Haircare

The Aussie 3 minute miracle reconstructer (basically a hair mask treatment to use in place of your conditioner), is not an expensive product and this was just a trial size. Still, I’d rather try small than get 250ml of something I don’t like! I did like this though! It contains macadamia, jojoba and avocado oils and nourishes dry hair – something especially good to do at this time of year when the central heating tends to dry out our hair more. To be honest I’m used to masks that you leave on  for longer, but this is a nice product and my hair seemed to like it!

Have you tried the Latest in Beauty service? Do you use any of these products? Let me know in the comments!

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The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

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I tried out the Feelunique sample service

Today I’d like to tell you about a sample service that I discovered recently.

Actually I knew about it, but I thought all the samples you got were teeny tiny and to be honest not really worth it. I don’t mean so much from a money point of view, but in terms of how much you can really get to know a product if you only have 1 ml of it.

However, I was getting ready the other day and just left YouTube on to play, and a Feelunique Pick ‘n’ Mix video came on, so I let it play to see what was in there. And I was really surprised. Some of the samples were bigger, and they were products that I wanted to try.

I’m already a customer of Feelunique. You’ll know if you read my Purple Tuesday post that accessibility for disabled shoppers is a big deal for me, and in terms of Feelunique, I feel that they have taken the time to create a website that I can use.

How does the sample service work?

Each month, you can get up to five samples from the list on their samples page. After I’d done mine, I went back to check some links, and there were a lot of new samples on there, so I think they refresh them regularly.

You don’t pay for the samples themselves, but you do pay the £3.95 P&P. However, you also get a voucher to redeem the £3.95 at Feelunique, but not on the sample service. For me as someone who already shops there, this is great because essentially I get my money back and can try some samples.

There is a range of products on there – from perfumes to foundations, skincare to hair care. I picked up skincare and haircare products, but you can get whatever you want from the selection.

The only slight criticism I had was that some of the products didn’t tell you how much product was in the sample, but many of them did, so I just focussed on the products that included this information. If there was something that I really wanted to try, I would have probably gone for it anyway, but it’s nice to know how much will be in there.

What did I get?

My 5 products were:

  • Rituals – ritual of Ayurveda hand cream (10ml)
  • Rituals – Ritual of Sakura body lotion (10ml)
  • White hot brilliant shampoo and conditioner (30ml)
  • Hello Joe volumising caffeinated shampoo (7ml)
  • Bumble and Bumble thickening shampoo and conditioner (14ml)

The rituals products were the main reason I decided to get the samples. I’ve been wanting to try them out for a while and I had heard a lot of good things.

The Rituals hand cream smells of almond and Indian rose – probably more of the rose than the almond. It’s thick and creamy, but not sticky, and it leaves your hands smelling great and feeling soft for a long time.

The Rituals body cream was my favourite. It contains rice milk and cherry blossom and smells amazing. Out of the two lines, I prefer the Sakura products, which is good to know if I decide to buy any more products from Rituals. Having said that, I wouldn’t say no to the hand cream again either!

I’ll hold off with linking the hair care products because I haven’t tried them out yet.

7ml is quite small, but I did want to try the caffeinated shampoo because it’s said to promote hair growth, and even though it’s down to my waist now, I’m still growing my hair.

I got the Bumble and Bumble product because I’ve heard of the brand, but as yet never tried anything from them.

The last hair product was actually a mistake – I didn’t read it properly. I thought it was a really good size, and a new product to try, but when I read the details, it’s for people who are going grey. Never mind. I can rehome it, or I’ll try it out and just not get the full benefit.

Final thoughts

Overall I was really impressed with the samples. I’ve tried two so far, and they are things that I would buy full-size.

I know some people use this service to check which foundation is right for them if they’re not sure which one will suit them. I know other people use it to try out perfumes before committing to an expensive bottle. I know others who, like me, just want to discover some new brands.

Some samples will be better value than others, and you’re bound not to love everything. But now that I understand a bit more about the service, I definitely think it’s worth it.

Have you used the Feelunique sample service? What products have you discovered through it? Do you like it or think it’s worthwhile?

This isn’t a sponsored post and the links aren’t affiliates. However I do have an introductory code for Feelunique, though not for the sample service.

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.

More from Unseen Beauty

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The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

12 things I finished and one that I gave away in October

It’s that time of the month again! Time to tell you which products I’ve used up. Let me know if you’ve tried or if you like any of these! A few of the products are in the header image, but as I’m blind, people come to my blog for the writing. The links take you to pages where you can see images and get further information about each product. 

All of the products were bought with my own money, apart from the two free perfume samples. 

There was a lot of good stuff this month, but a couple of misses too. I like to keep things honest! 

Sleeping cream

This sleeping cream from the Body Shop® is something that I’ve mentioned before. It’s part of the Oils of Life range and contains three seed oils from around the world. It’s a thick, nourishing cream, but not greasy, and does really make your skin feel “velvety soft” in the morning. To be honest, I haven’t come across a moisturiser from the Body Shop® that I haven’t enjoyed, but this one is particularly good for the cold winter months, when the central heating and cold weather outside both contribute to drying out our skin.

Chocolate orange bubble bath

‘Tis the season for long baths and pamper evenings! Well actually I like these all year round, but I can lose hours lying in the bubbles and forgetting my day or all the things I need to do. It’s that one thing that makes me stop to unwind.

I swap out my bubble baths a lot, but I fancied going back to my old favourite chocolate orange one. It produces a decent covering of bubbles and makes the whole place smell like Terry’s chocolate orange! What’s not to love?

Coco Mademoiselle

My Nan used to wear Chanel perfume – although not this one. I discovered Coco Mademoiselle because S’ Dad brought me a bunch of samples from Boots to review on the blog!

I liked this one straight away, and when I looked it up, I wasn’t surprised – the top notes are fresh and vibrant orange. It’s floral too, because there is jasmin an rose in it, but it’s not the kind of overly floral scent that I don’t like – probably because of the orange! I have a number of perfumes open, so won’t go straight  out to buy it, but this is something I enjoyed wearing and would get again.

Cranberries and cream hand cream

I got this cranberry hand cream as one of my Latest in Beauty choices, but you can get it in Superdrug as well. I think this scent, or anything to do with cranberries really, is a festive thing to have around this time of year. I like the Patisserie de Bain formula – it feels a bit sticky for about 30 seconds while it’s sinking in, but it doesn’t leave you with a greasy residue, and it is long-lasting. A lot of these scents are quite sweet, so if that’s not your thing, you may not like it, but I’d take these over flowery ones any day! My favourites are still cherry and lemon, but I like this cranberry one and the strawberry one too.

Banana hand cream

I was excited to see that Ocado now sells products from brands like Yes To, Burt’s Bees, and Korres. I recommend all of these brands and like to try new things. Unfortunately the Banana hand cream from Burt’s Bees wasn’t for me. I don’t think it’s a bad product – but it’s more of a solid product, like a balm, and I found it to be quite greasy. I just didn’t like the texture much. But if you are looking for a heavy-duty balm, you might like it. I rehomed it, so it isn’t really an empty, but I thought I’d include it anyway!

Weleda pomegranate firming serum

I’d tried some body lotions from Weleda, which I first discovered through the Lovelula natural beauty boxes. I then decided to try out their pomegranate face serum. It’s not a cheap serum, but you can often expect to pay more fore serums because you really don’t need a lot. This is a product marketed at people over 40, which I didn’t see at the time, but a couple more years and I’ll be there – so no harm done! It contains pomegranate juice, which firms the skin, thus reducing wrinkles. There is also a day and a night cream in the range, though I haven’t tried them yet.

This was a really nice texture to work with – not watery, not greasy, and not annoying when you come to put other products on top. It has a refreshing pomegranate scent too and I’d definitely get it again.

I got mine on Ocado when it was on offer. At the moment it isn’t on offer, and at the time of writing there was a better price on Amazon.

Wild rose sleeping facial cream

I got my Korres wild rose sleeping facial cream in my M&S advent calendar last year. I’m not sure if it’s been discontinued, because it’s out of stock on a couple of sites that I tried, but I tracked it down in M&S.

The cream is rose-scented – not a surprise when you think about the name!

Apart from liking the products that I’ve tried so far, I like the idea behind Korres skincare – using natural active ingredients in the products – so the things that nature has already given us. The cream is basically a night cream that you apply at the end of your night time skincare routine. It is boosted with wild rose oil, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid – and yay, it’s in a tube to reduce exposure to the air (I don’t like to see vitamin C products in jars!)

Rose toner

Staying on the rose theme, I also got through this refining toner from Weleda. To be honest, I didn’t like this as much as the serum. Despite containing lemon and witch hazel as well, the rose scent was very strong, and the consistency was quite thin. It’s called a refreshing tonic and I guess that’s right – not really like the toners that I’m used to. Probably wouldn’t get this again.

Body Shop® mango bath bomb and pink grapefruit bath bubble

Mango is one of my favourite ranges at the Body Shop, so I was intrigued by the little mango bath bombs. They smell great, make your bathwater turn orange, and are also quite a good deal. However they are also tiny, when you compare them to other bath bombs, and I’d be tempted to drop a couple in, which then doesn’t make them such a good deal. Hmm, I’d take the shower gel instead!

The same goes for the pink grapefruit bath bubble, with the difference that your water becomes pink and smells of grapefruit. It’s more like another bath bomb than a bubble bar though.

Balance me micellar water

People seemed to be complaining about this mini micellar water showing up in beauty boxes. I think I got mine in Pink Parcel. I don’t have a lot to say about it really – it was a nice micellar water that did the job it was meant for. And I’d rather get a staple product of something that I’ll use than something that I don’t want!

Wild garden pure and fabulous lotion

Unfortunately I can’t find a UK link for this, but it’s a body lotion that I got in my Glossybox. It seems a lot of other people got body sprays, but I got this generous size of a body lotion which was fairly lightweight and smelled really nice and refreshing.

Coach

I decided to pick up a perfume sample in my Latest in Beauty, so I got a sample of Coach. I knew it reminded me of something, and when I looked it up, it was the raspberry body spray that I have. So if you like raspberries, you’ll probably like this too. My sample was from LIB, but you can also get it in Superdrug.

Alaía perfume

It just shows how personal a thing scents are! I heard Sussex Sandra and Lady Mawa saying on YouTube how much they liked this scent. I really didn’t! It just didn’t smell good on me! It came as a free sample in LIB, and I’m always happy to try samples, but this really wasn’t for me. If you want to check it out though, it’s available on FeelUnique, but even there the description is a bit odd, so I can’t really tell you what’s in it!

Discounts and offers

And finally if you’ve made it this far – just a reminder that I have some affiliate discount codes for you:

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.

Glossybox – you can get 20% off your first box by using my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Ocado – if you would like me to send you an invitation to Ocado, just fill out your details using the form below. You will receive a £20 voucher for your first shop, and a free smart pass, which gives you free deliveries for one year (minimum spend applies).

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.

 

 

 

 

21 bath and skincare empties from September

These posts don’t need any introduction now – here are some of the things that I finished in September and what I thought of them. Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!

1. Banana hair mask

I’ve talked about this before, so I won’t ramble on, but this banana hair mask from the Body Shop is one of my favourite masks. It leaves your hair lovely and soft, and I know it’s hard to sell the idea of hair that smells like bananas, but trust me, it’s good!

2. Dragon’s blood serum

I’ve mentioned this before too, but it was last November, so here it is again! This serum from Nip+Fab is one of the most versatile serums I’ve found. It’s fine for daytime and absorbs quickly, so you can apply moisturiser and make-up over it without worrying about it all balling up and peeling off. It smells – kind of manly in a way – but I don’t hate it, and it promises to moisturise skin, plumping and smoothing expression lines. I’m totally down with calling them expression lines, not frown lines or wrinkles. I have some other serums, but this is a good daytime one.

3. bubble mask

I’d seen a lot about bubble masks, but hadn’t tried one until I got one in my Glossybox. I can’t see demonstrations, so I was imagining bigger bubbles. In reality it’s a bit like a foaming micellar water, not like the bubbles you get in your bath. The idea is that it’s a cleansing and detoxifying mask, so you don’t leave it on as long as moisturising ones. As it foams up, it is a bit more messy than other types, so I did mine in the bath! It talks about micromassage from the bubbles, which I didn’t really notice, but my skin did feel better afterwards and maybe it’s one to keep at hand for those wonderful times of the month when the hormonal breakouts come. You can get the BeautyPro detoxifying mask from FeelUnique.

 

4. scalp treatment

I got this grow gorgeous scalp detox from Glossybox (the link goes to Lookfantastic as Glossybox don’t sell directly). The first time I did a scalp treatment, I thought I was having an allergic reaction to it because of the tingling sensation! I was wiser this time, but I am not a fan of the gritty bits! Aaagh! I have very thick, long hair, and all in all this was just a pain to get anywhere near my scalp and equally annoying to wash out!

5. grapefruit shower gel

One of my all-time Body Shop favourites! I can’t remember why I picked up the pink grapefruit shower gel. I think it was a “buy 2, get 1 free” offer, so I just wanted to stock up on something I would enjoy! Body Shop shower gels are great anyway, and this is one of my favourite scents.

6. Elizabeth Arden 8-hour cream

I hadn’t tried any skincare from Elizabeth Arden before. I’ve tried fragrance, which I liked, so I thought the skincare would smell great too. But I was really glad only to have a little sample of this 8-hour cream that I got as one of my Latest in Beauty products. It was indeed really good at moisturising – my face felt wonderfully soft the next day – but it smelled like something I’d got out of the first aid kit! Almost like an antiseptic. Maybe there was something wrong with my sample, but I’m really glad I didn’t invest in a full-size! That’s one of the great things about a build-your-own beauty box. I did use it up, because it was only tiny, but I’ll be steering clear of it from now on!

7. Cranberry hand cream

I’m a fan of the Patisserie de Bain hand creams, and there have been quite a few of them on Latest in Beauty recently. This was the cranberry one (from Superdrug). These creams feel a bit sticky at first, but they dry right down, leaving your hands feeling great and moisturised for ages. This cranberry one makes me think of Christmas! They are all quite sweet scents, but you’ve got the fruity scent as well, so I don’t find the sweetness overpowering. This is a good handcream for a decent price, and I would definitely buy more of them. My favourites are the cherry and lemon ones, but I would get the cranberry one again too.

8. Green tea primer

I seem to be fussy when it comes to primers! I will try new ones, but I’m hard to please. I ended up with a couple of these green tea primers from Evelyn Iona cosmetics. I think at least two subscription boxes included them (Glossybox and Pink Parcel I believe). I had about half left in this one when I gave up on it. It didn’t play well with some of my other skincare products, and I didn’t find it as moisturising as some of the other moisturising primers that I use, one of which is much cheaper! I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad product, but it wasn’t one for me!

9. Body Shop vitamin E day cream

I know I’ve talked about this before. This was another 3 for 2 when I only had 2, so I picked up a small pot of the Vitamin E day cream. It’s just a good all-rounder! It’s gentle on the skin, leaves your face feeling soft, isn’t greasy, and although I try out lots of different creams, I often come back to the vitamin E range.

10. Korres toner

I picked up this Pomegranate toner from Korres, because I wanted to try out some of their face care. It doesn’t smell much like pomegranate, but I found it to be a decent toner, and even better, you can just pick it up at the supermarket. I got mine from Ocado. It contains pomegranate extract, rich in antioxidants, along with witch hazel and salicylic acid. I’m looking forward to trying out more from the Korres skincare range because so far I’ve mainly used bath and haircare products from them.

11. soaper duper vanilla shower gel

I only had a mini of this body wash that I picked up in Latest in Beauty, but these shower gels smell great, and they’re thick and creamy, with shea butter to moisturise even when you’re still in the bath or shower. It smells of vanilla and somehow that’s just right now that Autumn is here!

12. Grapefruit bubble bath

This is another Ocado find – and ridiculously good value! At the time of writing, it’s just 99p for 750 ml of grapefruity bath bubbling goodness! So I’ve got through another one! I do switch out my bubble baths, but you can’t go wrong with this grapefruit one.

13. Origins moisturiser

I was sad to see the end of this Origins moisturiser that I thought smelled like oranges! I discovered it in the M&S beauty box, but you can also get it in Boots. It’s lightweight and contains ginseng and coffee bean extract (no wonder I like it) to give you a healthy-looking, vibrant glow.

14. Throat cream

I got a small pot of this throat and décolletage cream from Prai in a beauty sample box. It’s nice enough I guess, but the throat doesn’t need specific ingredients that the rest of your face don’t need. Yes, people should moisturise their throat and neck, but having a separate product for it is a bit of a marketing gimmick. So yeah, I’ll use up products like this, but I wouldn’t go out and buy them because my normal moisturiser will do fine!

15. modern muse nuit – Estee Lauder

We even have S’s dad looking for products to be tried out on Unseen Beauty now! He had a voucher in a magazine to get some samples, and he got me a sample of this Modern Muse Nuit, which you can get from Boots among other places. It’s marketed as “exploring the deeper, nocturnal, more addictive side of a Modern Muse. Blends of sophisticated floral with creamy woods for an extraordinary scent that is lushly vibrant yet luxuriously warm.” I think the reason I like it is the jasmin, which is paired with musk and amber.

16. almond milk and honey yoghurt

I just had to buy another one. I surprise myself how much I like the almond milk and honey collection, because it’s not strongly-scented, like some of my other fruity favourites, but it’s just so fresh and gentle on the skin, which I appreciate if my allergies are annoying me or if I just want something a bit more subtle. I love this almond milk and honey body yoghurt – like a body butter, but lighter and faster to absorb.

17. Woman – Ralph Lauren

Another sample from S’s dad – this time Woman from Ralph Lauren – also available at Boots. It’s described as fruity, floral and woody, mixing three very different types of scent together, but somehow it works. I think I’m drawn to the blackcurrant, but it also has tuberose in it. I’ve always thought I don’t like floral scents, but I do, as long as they are not overpoweringly so. Add some fruitiness and I’m a happy girl!

18. Breathless color tattoo

Kirsty finally finished a make-up product! It takes me longer than skincare! Actually this wasn’t finished, but it was beginning to dry up and had probably been around long enough anyway. These Maybelline color tattoo pots are good cream shadows, and they don’t dry out as quickly as some.AT the moment I’m feeling the love for the eye shadow sticks more, but I do still have some of these little pots.

19. Elf hydrating primer

After complaining about the green tea one, this hydrating primer from ELF is one that I like to use. It’s quite thick, and if you don’t like that, you won’t like this product, but I like it because it moisturises and creates a good base. I’m not a fan of watery primers. This wouldn’t be good for someone with oily skin, but then you wouldn’t be looking for a hydrating primer would you? It doesn’t feel greasy though, and doesn’t react badly with any of my other skincare products.

20. Bath fizzer – lemon and green tea

Yes, Ocado does bath fizzers too! This one with lemon oils and pineapple extract smells good enough to drink. But don’t – let it fizz and whizz around your bath instead! It was a birthday gift, but I will be checking out more of the range myself.

21. alpha gold rose

This is something that I got in my advent calendar last year and have only just finished up as I had another exfoliating toner on the go. I love the concept, but if I were buying it again, would probably just go for the normal one, and not the one with rose. Still, I enjoyed using this Alpha gold rose from M&S, which promises to “gently resurface skin and improve skin texture and appearance”. Basically an exfoliating toner for those who don’t like physical exfoliants – which I don’t! I still have another similar product to use up, but would get this again!

Wow – that was a lot of products. A lot of them were sample sizes, but that’s a good way to try new things. Let me know if you’ve tried any of them!

Discounts and offers

And finally if you’ve made it this far – just a reminder that I have some affiliate discount codes for you:

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.

Glossybox – you can get 20% off your first box by using my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Ocado – if you would like me to send you an invitation to Ocado, just fill out your details using the form below. You will receive a £20 voucher for your first shop, and a free smart pass, which gives you free deliveries for one year (minimum spend applies).

 

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.

 

 

 

Autumn Unseen Beauty giveaway

This giveaway has now closed. If you want to be the first to find out about future giveaways, you can either follow the blog on WordPress, or sign up for my weekly update emails.
It’s time for my Autumn giveaway on Unseen Beauty. It’s open internationally, and all you need to do to enter is fill in the form at the bottom of this post.

I know some bloggers wait till they have a huge box of stuff before doing a give-away, but I’d rather do smaller ones and run them more often so that more people have a chance of winning something. I like to show that I appreciate it when people regularly interact with my blog, so if you don’t win this time, you have the chance of carrying your entry forward to the next giveaway.

The winner of my Autumn giveaway will receive:

  • A L’Occitane verbena body lotion mini
  • L’Occitane verbena icy lip balm
  • L’Occitane Verbena soap
  • Trifle cosmetics – praline eye shadow palette
  • A shampoo bar
  • A mini mask from Mudmasky
  • A wipe-out make-up remover cloth
  • A shell make-up brush
  • The Beauty Crop Wing Woman liquid eye liner
  • Palmer’s cocoa oil lip balm
  • Your answers to the questions will help me to get to know what my readers like and where they are. Also, they prove that you’re a real person as I don’t use CAPTCHAs on my site.

    The giveaway is international, but if postal restrictions prevent me from sending a product to your country, I will replace it with an alternative.

    It’s one entry per person using the form, but if you’ve entered giveaways before and asked for the entry to be carried forward, I will make sure your additional entries are counted.

    Terms and conditions

    1. The give-away is open until 23:59 on Sunday 8th October 2018 and I’ll draw the winner on Monday 9th October.
    2. I will give each person a number and then draw the winner by asking Siri to generate a random number. I don’t like Rafflecopter and want to make it as easy and accessible as possible for people to enter.
    3. Your email address is being collected solely for the purpose of contacting you if you win the prize. You are welcome to sign up to my newsletter at the same time, but this isn’t necessary to take part in the give-away. If you do not win the prize, your email address will only be stored if you have signed up to the newsletter or asked for your entry to be carried over to the next give-away. Otherwise it will not be retained.
    4. I will email the winner on 9th October to ask for their address so that I can send the prize. The winner will have 7 days in which to respond. If they haven’t responded after 7 days, I will draw a new winner.

    5. No cash alternatives are available and the winner is responsible for checking product ingredients for any known allergens)

Late August empties – mainly skincare and haircare this time

After my stupid accident, I kept working, but I’ve been chasing my tail all month. I did put together some August empties though, so I thought Better late than never!”

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products, and if so, what you thought of them!

Skincare

Products: 8

I’ve talked about the Body Shop® almond milk and honey body yoghurt before but it’s worth mentioning again. This range is so kind to the skin. It’s not as strongly scented as the others, and it’s recommended for those with more sensitive skin. I don’t have sensitive skin, but my allergies to other things can make my skin flair up at times, and this is when I especially enjoy using the almond milk and honey line of products. The body yoghurts are much lighter than the butters, they absorb quickly, and are great for the Summer and Autumn.

I discovered two more hand creams through my Latest in Beauty box –first the orange blossom one. You can’t buy individual products directly from Latest in Beauty, so I’ve included the link to Boots. Not the cheapest out there, but it does a good job, isn’t greasy, and I am a big fan of the citrus scent.

Then there was the Gardeners’ hand therapy from Crabtree and Evelyn. The link is to Feelunique. This was a bigger tube, so more value for money, but I found it a bit greasy, which was a shame because I do like this brand. I’d use this again as a night treatment, just before bed, but after I’ve used a handcream, I don’t want my hands to feel sticky, so for me this one lost points on not being an all-purpose kind of product.

I wanted to link the Body Shop ® vitamin C serum, but it doesn’t seem to be on the site any more. I’m not sure whether it’s been discontinued or is just out of stock, but as someone who likes the vitamin C moisturiser, I decided to try the serum as well. This is an oil-based serum, so I found it better for use in the evening or on no-make-up days. I like the moisturiser more, but as someone who doesn’t like using face oils, an oil-based serum that isn’t so oily that you spend the rest of the night with a shiny face is a good thing to have.

I raved about this Lavera serum in this Latest in Beauty review. You can really get some good finds in there if you are lucky. Of course some boxes are better than others, depending on the products available, but this was a full-size serum and one that I would definitely buy again.

As I loved the serum and the night cream from this range, I decided to try the toner as well. (The link goes to Amazon). I wasn’t as happy with this product though. The product itself was fine, but it smelled like cough mixture, and I can’t deal with that in my morning facial routine. So, it’s a personal preference, and it lives up to the name of being gentle (at least I thought it did), but if there’s an ingredient that I don’t like the smell of, I don’t buy it again!

Another Latest in Beauty product was the Morning Dew moisturiser from Aimie. I think it’s aimed more at people with oily skin, because it does absorb fast, and promises to control excess oil and shine. I don’t think someone like me with normal to dry skin will see the best results from this, because I do like something a bit more moisturising, but that’s more about it not being the right product for me than it being a bad product.

I’ve talked about this Malin and Goetz moisturiser before, but as it was on offer on Latest in Beauty for a while, I picked up a couple of them. They were really generous sizes too, and I had no problems with applying this moisturiser over other products.

Haircare

Products: 5

I’m not even going to link these – I really wasn’t impressed! I was so glad to try some products from Noughtie, especially as a full-size shampoo and conditioner duo counted as only one product in the Latest in Beauty basket. Out of the two sets I tried, I liked the Blondie locks shampoo more than the “to the rescue” duo, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy any of them again. Rather than being super-nourishing, I found the “to the rescue” products quite thin and watery, which meant I ended up getting through them much faster.

Something I did really enjoy though was the Korres sunflower shampoo. I got mine from Feelunique, but it’s available in supermarkets such as Waitrose and Ocado too. I got this because sunflowers are my favourite, and didn’t actually notice that it was for coloured hair – which I don’t have – but even so, it’s a lovely range and definitely one that I’d recommend.

At the same time, I picked up the Korres almond and linseed mask. This is intended for dry and damaged hair, but you can also use it from time to time as a treatment if you want to give your hair some extra moisture and nourishment. I would definitely get this again as my hair felt great afterwards. It’s not damaged, but it’s so long – down to my waist – that I like to give the ends some love once in a while.

Perfume

Products: 1

I loved this Shea and blue, blood oranges perfume that we got in the 2017 M&S advent calendar. It’s so fresh and well – orange-scented! Definitely one for you if you like your citrus scents. Once I’ve used up some other products, I’d definitely buy this again. I think this is one of the great things about advent calendars, especially the non-branded ones – you get to discover some new brands that you’d never heard of before. (See this post for my thoughts on the advent calendars this year).

Bathtime

Products: 2

I actually forgot that I had this Cowshed Gorgeous Cow shower gel – I found it when I was doing the massive tidy-up operation when the new drawers came. It is part of the Cowshed range and contains Madagascan rose and Indian palmorosa oils, along with lavender to relax you. I love the Cowshed and always recommend their products. They are quite strongly-scented, and some of the scents are unique, using plant extracts that other companies don’t, but I think they’re great.

I tried out the ginger and clementine bubble bath from Waitrose. Actually I got mine from Ocado, but it’s available in both stores. I’m not loyal to bubble baths, but this was a refreshing change, had a good deal of bubbles, and is one that I would cycle round to again.

Discounts

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. So basically you can get £30 of products for £20.

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.

Beauty advent calendars 2018 -what has got my attention so far?

I know, I know, it’s way too early to be talking about anything Christmas-related, but when one of my readers mentioned that they didn’t know beauty advent calendars were a thing, I thought I’d do a quick post about them, and which ones have caught my eye so far this year. The other reason for doing this now is that they can sell out really quickly, so it pays to be on the company’s mailing list if you want to know when something is going to become available.

I’m not planning to do a comprehensive guide – other people do really comprehensive ones, and they are usually the bigger bloggers who have been sent a bunch of them to unbox on their YouTube channels so you can see what’s inside.

I don’t have people beating down my door to give me advent calendars, but I am super-nosey and do watch this kind of videos to find out which one I want to get each year.

Which ones have I had so far?

It all started in December 2016, when I got the Body Shop’s calendar . I’d just got interested in the Body Shop’s products, and thought this would be a really good way to test out a bunch of them. There were a few things that I didn’t use, but overall there was a good selection of skincare, a few make-up bits, and a couple of tools.

Then later in 2017 I came across a Sanctuary Spa one that was being sold at a discount because it hadn’t been sold the previous year. This was shortly after my stay in hospital and I thought it would be a nice treat to do in the summer, especially as there was a good selection of bath products in there for pamper night. There were a couple of random fillers too, such as a pastry cutter, but there were plenty of lotions and body washes, and this one wasn’t as expensive.

In December 2017 I was really lucky and had two – one that I got myself and one that was a gift from my Mum. The L’Occitane one was full of fairly small samples, but then the price of the actual products meant that larger samples of them would have made the calendar even more expensive. I love these products and I had got them hoping that there would be Braille on the packaging, as there is with the full-size ones, but this unfortunately wasn’t the case. Still, I think I’ve used just about everything that was in there and having a one-brand calendar is a good way to check out a lot of products from different lines. L’Occitane usually does multiple calendars, so you can choose your price point. Whenever people are talking about this brand they seem to say “this would be good for your Gran!” but there are some lovely scents in there and I don’t think you have to be a grandma to appreciate them! I’m in my 30s!

The gift that I got was the M&S calendar – really reasonably priced, although you do have to buy a bunch of stuff from M&S to qualify to buy it. My Mum helped out with that! The lovely thing about this was that it had a range of brands in there, and introduced me to skincare brands such as Gatineau and Rodial. I also loved the fragrance in there and kept about 75% of the products for myself.

So what’s available?

Of course you can still get the traditional chocolate calendars. I’ve seen ones for wine, gin or other alcoholic drinks, food ones, ones with toys or other things to collect. Some only have 12 doors, but most have 24 or 25.

In terms of beauty, there is a lot out there, so it’s really important to think about what’s important to you. For example, I do wear make-up, but I go for the ones that are more skincare-heavy, because I know I won’t use the powder eye shadows or baked highlighters. If nails are your thing, there are some specifically for just nail varnishes. There are also ones that lean more towards make-up, with no skincare at all. Good if you have sensitive skin or don’t like to try out a lot of new skincare products. There are other calendars that focus more on bathtime, and I know there are ones for candles too.

They also cover all price points, from £10 to over £300! Obviously if they’re really cheap, like a tenner, the quality isn’t going to be amazing, but you certainly don’t have to pay hundreds of pounds to get a good deal. It can be a lot of money to pay out in advance, but even if you look at one around the £100 mark, it works at around £2.50 for products that would usually cost a lot more, so if you can save the money and would use the products, it’s a good investment.

Some people try to avoid the spoilers all together, but I’d rather forfeit the element of surprise and gain the satisfaction of knowing that I want and would use the things inside.

The other thing to consider is what you want in the end – do you want to really get to know one brand, or do you want something from a beauty subscription or department store that will introduce you to a range of brands?

What has caught my eye this year?

To be honest, I wasn’t that excited about the Body Shop® calendar last year, but I like what they’ve done this year. There are three calendars available at different price points, and they include new products, as well as ones that will be coming out for Christmas 2018. The most expensive one has 14 full-size products, and the most affordable one still contains a lot of the most popular products, such as the body butters and hand creams. You can find all three of the advent calendars here and if you want to see what’s inside, just click on each one to see the list of products.

Something else that I’ll be keeping an eye on is the first calendar from Glossybox, with £300 worth of full-sized products. I’d like to know a bit more about what’s in there, but it will feature products from NARS, Crabtree and Evelyn, Bare Minerals and Real Techniques. It will cost £99, but £75 for subscribers, who receive a monthly beauty box. It’s not available yet, but if you are interested in signing up to become a subscriber and getting 20% off your first box, you can use my code KIRSTY-RGE when you place your first order on the Glossybox site.

Finally, there’s the Feelunique calendar. I’m not actually sure whether they did one last year, but I’ve been using this site more and more because of the good range of products on there, the fact that it’s accessible to me as a screenreader user, and the big sales that they have. The calendar will be worth £250, cost £75, and include brands such as Caudalie, Makeup Forever, and REN. Possibly more of a skincare one? Not sure, but if you’re interested, it’s worth getting on the mailing list to find out when it goes on sale in October.

Also, if you find anything you like before then, 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.

So, will you be getting an advent calendar this year? If so, which one? Do you have a favourite one from previous years? Let me know in the comments!

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The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

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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.