November favourites – bloggers, body lotion, and bunny ears!

It’s not all products this time, but I’m sharing the things that I’ve enjoyed this month!

Well it’s November now and actually I’m already beginning to feel a bit festive! Perhaps that has something to do with buying snowman earrings and planning Blogmas content, but I always enjoy this time of year.

So these are my November favourites. Feel free to share yours in the comments!

The first thing I wanted to do is to mention the Blogs in Bloom group on Facebook. There are loads of blogging groups out there, and this one isn’t for you if you’re looking for some superficial follow for follow game. However it could be for you if you’re looking for a friendly and helpful group of bloggers who get to know each other and provide support through a number of activities throughout the week. You choose the people with whom you interact, but if you get involved in something, you need to give as well as take. Check it out if you’re interested.

One of the reasons I was particularly happy about finding this group is making some new blogger friends with whom I did a blogger swap box. You can find out more about that soon as we’re going to be talking about it at the same time on both blogs, but it was a really lovely opportunity to build a box for other people and see what they picked out for me!

I haven’t opened them yet of course, but I find the whole process of choosing advent calendars is really fun. So many brands are doing them now and I enjoy looking through to see what’s available. I’m really lucky this year as I have two – I had one and then my Mum got me one as well. They will be featured in Blogmas, so keep reading if you’re interested in which ones they are!

Skincare

One of the things on offer in the Latest in Beauty box was the pomegranate lotion from Weleda. previously the only thing I had tried from this brand was the skin food cream, which was ok, but didn’t wow me as it has some other bloggers. So I was really happy with this cream, which is a lightweight body lotion, which smells great, and apparently prevents the premature aging of the skin. I’m not loyal to body lotions and I like variety, so enjoyed trying this one out.

There’s going to be a whole post on serums in January. It all started when I was sent a sample of a really expensive one, which got me thinking about the fact that I don’t have any serums in my skincare regime. This then got me doing some research about why they are used and how they can help. I bought a couple of different ones to test for a blog post, and one that I’m really enjoying is the Nip+Fab Dragon’s blood fix serum which is said to hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. I really don’t know where they get the names but this is my second product from Nip+Fab and I’m really impressed. There will be a more detailed review in the serums post, but if you’re looking for a serum for underneath your moisturiser, this is a good one to start with and it doesn’t break the bank!

After my grumble and moan a couple of months ago, I was really impressed with Lovelula this month. In fact, I’m keeping all the products for myself, which doesn’t usually happen. I was particularly happy to see another Madara product in there. This month we got the Madara eye cream. It’s a deeply hydrating eye cream that is worth more than we paid for the entire November box. I really rate this brand, and although I’m trying to use up a couple of other eye creams first, I couldn’t resist giving this one a try and was suitably impressed!

Perfume

When I was doing my 18 products for mango lovers post, I dug out some of my mango products and rediscovered my Victoria’s Secret mango body mist. I love this stuff – I spritz it in the morning and love the sweet mango scent that really does stay around for hours!

Wolves and owls

This is a present – given to me in time for when we put up the tree in December! It’s an Owl bauble made of glass, and it’s really tactile for anyone who can’t see the owl. His little ears stick up and you can feel his head, pointy nose, eyes, and feathers. I know he came from M&S. As a blind shopper, I hate their site with a passion, which is why there’s no link, but I’m sure you’ll still be able to find him online or in store.

I recently discovered that the wolf sanctuary near Reading has a store, and I got these lovely sitting Wolf earrings. They are well-made and what I enjoy is that the shape of the wolf is clear to feel. I don’t like earrings that just have a picture painted on with no tactile elements. With these, you can feel his head, howling snout, body, legs, and tail, and as well as some of the money going to the wolf sanctuary, I love jewellery where I can really appreciate the design too.

Haircare

I didn’t know where to put this one really, but I decided it could go here because this headband with bunny ears will protect my hair when I’m doing a face mask or having some home spa time. I think there are different ones in the range – I think there’s a mouse and a piggy one, but at the time of writing, the rabbit is sold out on the site. Still, hopefully there will be some left in store if you want to get one.

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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!

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

So what about you?

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

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March favourites

Hi everyone and welcome to my March favourites!

My first favourite is a beauty subscription box. You may remember from my previous review that I was not too impressed with the accessibility of Lovemebeauty. I decided to cancel that subscription and sign up for Latest in Beauty instead.

The first order comes with a make-up bag as you can see on the picture. Subsequent orders don’t, and I think this is better than getting a new bag every time as you do with Lovemebeauty. After all, how many make-up bags does a girl need? Anyway, you can choose 3 products for £9, 6 for £15 or 9 for £19. I started with 6, but I am a bit tempted to go to the next level. We’ll see. I certainly didn’t find it difficult to fill my basket. I’m not going to do separate posts for this, but the products will show up in my favourites and empties, and if you’re looking for a build-your-own box with a decent variety of products and an accessible site, I’d advise you to check this out. Another plus point is that new products are being added and rotated all the time, so there isn’t a massive scramble at the beginning of the month with the potential of losing out if you’re not quick enough.

Make-up

I’ve got a number of make-up products this month. First of all, I discovered via Youtube that Charlotte Tilbury makes cream shadows, so I decided that my first Charlotte Tilbury product should be one of them. I decided to go for eyes to mesmorise cream shadow in Jean and I was definitely not disappointed. This is a cream shadow that is more like a cream than a firm body butter, so it’s super-easy to apply, it doesn’t crease and it’s a nice addition to my cream shadow collection.

Next to some lipsticks. These are from different brands, but one thing they have in common is the moisturising effect – I hate lipsticks that dry your lips out and, where possible, I like to go for the satin or silk ones, or ones which say they add moisture.

People kept raving about the new Burt’s Bees lipsticks, so I decided to get myself one. I went for the Burt’s Bees Blush basin lipstick. It glides on nicely and comes in recyclable packaging with an indented honeycomb design on it, which makes it easy to identify!

Next is the Kat von Dee studded kiss lipstick which I got as a mini in a beauty box. I don’t have any other products from Kat von Dee, so I don’t know if they all have such creative packaging, but I love the unusual packaging on this and the lipstick has staying power!

My Makeup Forever face primer ran out, and getting hold of a new one was proving to be a pain – they don’t stock it in my local Debinems. However, I discovered the ELF hydrating face primer, which comes in a handy pump dispenser and is about half the price! I still like the Makeup Forever one, but the ELF one does the job just as well, so I see it as a bargain!

As I was happy with the primer, when I discovered that ELF were doing moisturising lipsticks, I decided to get one of those as well! I went for the red carpet one, which took a while to come as I think it came from the US, but was worth the wait.

Skincare

I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Body Shop mango range, but no. I have only just discovered the mango whip body lotion. It’s described as lightweight, but incredibly moisturising,and I would agree. I’m only just learning that some of the more lightweight milks and lotions can be as effective as the heavier butters because they absorb so well.

The first product that I got from Burt’s Bees was their intense hydration night cream. It was inspired by Clary sage, a plant which keeps its moisture, despite growing in a harsh environment where moisture is hard to come by. The Burt’s Bees range uses natural ingredients and I like this rich but non-greasy formula. One of my friends didn’t like the smell – I think it’s fine, it just smells like being outside in the nature in a non-floral kind of way!

One of the products in my first Latest in Beauty box was the Seychelles hand cream from the White Company. Now I understand what all the hype about the White Company is about! For me, hand creams have to smell good, have a good consistency (not oily or sticky) and produce good results (soft, smooth hands). This handcream ticks all three boxes and with its blend of almond oil and coconut among other things, it smells wonderful!

Food and drink

Seriously, who knew that cherry M&Ms were a thing? I didn’t – until a couple of weeks ago. I’ve never really been interested in M&Ms because I thought there were just the peanut ones – but cherry chocolate is soooo good! You can get your own cherry M&Ms here.

Owls, dogs and wolves

You know by now that I love wolves. I found this stirling silver howling wolf pendant on Amazon and decided to add it to my collection. The pendant is well-made and you can easily feel the wolf’s outline. The only thing is that this doesn’t come with a chain – I didn’t read it properly – so you’ll either need to find one at home or purchase one separately.

How about you?

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

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Unseen Beauty is also available as a podcast. If you want to listen to it, you can find it on iTunes or Player FM.

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Walking with wolves

As you may have already noticed, I’m a big fan of wolves. I’ve always loved dogs, and my interest in wolves really came about through my partner, who had been interested in them long before I was.

I really think they get a raw deal – often portrayed as the big bad wolf, or bad guys in fairytales, which gives people the idea that they are something to be feared. They are definitely something to be respected, but rather than seeing them as the villain, as I started to read and find out more about them, I understood that there is a lot we can learn from their behaviour, ways of communicating and pack structures.

I wanted to do something with my partner that would allow us to learn more about these wonderful creatures. As the charities and organisations in the UK work with captive wolves, I began to wonder whether I would actually be able to touch one. The first place that I tried said that none of their wolves were accustomed enough to people for interaction to be possible, so I tried further afield and came across Wolfwatch UK, a non-profit organisation that works with displaced captive wolves. According to their website:

“Wolf Watch UK is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the rescue, welfare, and conservation of displaced wolves from captive situations across Europe. Aiming to set the standard for the care of captive wolves, and provide them with as close to natural a habitat as is possible. Whilst providing the opportunity to study, educate, and offer factual information to our visitors, allowing them to form their own opinions regarding this magnificent animal, and hopefully expel some of the myths and misconceptions that still exists around them.”

As visiting Wolfwatch would be quite a long drive, I organised a two-night stay in the cottage, a renovated barn close to the main house, and a private visit with two of the wolves. I was very excited. Initially it was going to be a surprise for my partner, but as it would involve him driving quite a long way, I let him in on it before we booked! I thought this would be better than just producing the postcode on the day and telling the sat nav to get us there.

Last Friday, , we drove to Wolfwatch and were greeted at the door by Tony, who runs the sanctuary, and his two very friendly dogs. After deerhound and spaniel hugs, we were shown to the cottage, where we would stay for the next two nights. It does have a kitchen with a fridge, hob, and microwave, so you could cook there if you wanted. We just bought snacks for lunchtime and went out to a local town for our evening meals.

The cottage is surrounded by beautiful hills and countryside and it’s an ideal place to get away from it all. If you’re lucky, you hear the wolves howling. I made this recording whilst leaning as far as I could out of an upstairs window, so the birds and background noise are quite loud, but I didn’t want to miss the howls all together by running downstairs to go outside! I think this is Anja howling:

On Saturday morning, we met Tony, and Helen, who also works at Wolfwatch, and went to the enclose where Madadh and Kgosi live. They are Canadian wolves, brother and sister, and both in their senior years. I had already adopted Madadh on the website (see below for ways that you can help the wolves), and I was very keen to meet her. There was also a special link with visual impairment, because as Kgosi lost his sight, Madadh helped him out, both in terms of getting around the enclosure and finding food. So in a way, she was his guide wolf, and later that day, she became mine, too.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I went in (apart from a lot of mud because it had been raining!) I didn’t know how big they would be, what their fur would be like, how keen they would be on interacting with people or how they would respond to us. I imagined them to be something like very big German Shepherds, which wasn’t far wrong, but as they live outside and still had their thick winter coats, it wasn’t like the German Shepherd coats I’d felt before. I felt really privileged to have the opportunity to get so clos to what, despite the familiarity with people that these two wolves have developed after being hand-reared as puppies, is still a wild animal.

Madadh (also known as Maddy) was the first to the gate and she was definitely interested in the dog kibble that we’d brought for her. The first part I felt of her was the big, gentle snout coming in for the biscuits. I was amazed how gently she took them. She then allowed me to stroke her head, her pointy ears, her silky (if a bit wet) coat, and to feel the length of her body. After she had sussed us out, her brother Kgosi came to join us as well. He is much bigger, like a stately old man, and he too was partial to the scooby snacks! He let me touch his strong body, his massive paws and his thick, powerful tail. If he dropped a snack, Maddy was quick to help tidy up!

We spent the next hour or so with them – walking around their enclosure, taking photos, giving them treats and learning about their history, their lives and about the other wolves who live at Wolfwatch. Kgosi couldn’t see the treats, but his keen sense of smell didn’t let him down. He usually allows his sister to go and check out new sights and sounds, but if she needs him, he is ready to defend her.

Madadh is accustomed to being on a lead when she needs to be moved somewhere, and when we took her into the field, I held her lead and she led me along. The sighted members of the party were there to make sure that she didn’t guide mi into the lake, but there was something magical about being guided along by a wolf!

I felt a sense of awe that these powerful, independent animals had developed such trust for Tony, and as we came in with him, they accepted us as well. I was very grateful to have the opportunity to get close to these fascinating creatures.

As I was lying in bed on the morning that we left, I woke to the sounds of howls. I was in no state to be leaning out of windows, so I just stayed there and listened. Du to the direction of the howls, it was unlikely to be Maddy and Kgosi, but even though the other wolves are not socialized and would not welcome us in their enclosures, mainly due to less than positive experiences with humans, they still need our help.

What can you do to help?

There are a number of ways that you can help wolves like Maddy and Kgosi. Buying any of the products on the Wolfwatch website supports the wolves directly – they need to be fed, vet bills need to be paid and their enclosures need to be kept in good condition. Things that you can do include arranging a visit, as we did, adopting a wolf, which gives you access to additional information and resources on the website, visiting the cottage, or gifting membership to someone else. If you can’t afford to do any of these things, you can still learn about them, or share social media updates from organisations that help wolves, and in doing so convey the message that they are not some terrible enemy to be feared, but a smart and intelligent wild animal that deserves our help and respect.

Some of the stories I have heard about the conditions in which wolves have been kept are truly awful. Despite the similarities to dogs, they are not pets. They are not dogs. They are wild animals and need to be kept in an environment that is appropriate for them.

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The URL for the podcast feed is
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Skansen – a place worth visiting if you’re in Stockholm

I may have mentioned before that when we go away, I do the research and make a list of things for us to do, we decide what sounds interesting, then my partner works out the logistics of getting there.

Last year we spent a few days in Stockholm. We’re not really the typical tourists who go from one museum to the next, but I was first drawn to the idea of visiting Skansen because I read that there were wolves there, and we both love wolves.

Wolves at Skansen
Wolves!

Skansen is an open-air museum and zoo that is situated on the island of Djurgarden, near Stockholm.

You can see a variety of wild and domestic animals there, as well as a range of buildings, mostly from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century. The buildings were moved to the museum from other parts of Sweden and show how things changed in terms of the architecture.

The wild animals have plenty of space to move around and get away from screaming children and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see wolves, wolverines, lynx, reindeer, moose, bison, grey seals and bears.

It is a great place for a family day out – there are pony rides for children and I imagine that children who love animals would get a lot out of it. I just wish that some parents would not just see it as a wide open space where the kids can let off steam, (there’s a playground for that), but instead that this is the animals’ home, the people are visitors, and as a guest in someone else’s home, there are rules you should follow, such as showing them some respect and not doing things that would potentially distress or scare them.

They are wild animals, so of course there are barriers to separate them from the people, but I was pleased that they had a lot of space and it wasn’t what you might think of when you hear the word zoo.

We wanted to see all of the animals, but we were particularly happy to see the wolves. I don’t understand people who go to nature reserves and complain about not seeing the animals because they were hibernating or asleep – I see it as a bonus if you do catch a glimpse of them, not a tourist right!

As we were walking around one of the traditional farm houses, someone who worked there produced a Braille floor plan of the house. I think they were glad to have found someone who could read it, and they took some time explaining to us what life was like, what the rooms were used for and something about the tasks that the people living on the farm would have done.

You can also visit a replica of a 19th century town and find out what life would have been like there for the farmers, craftsmen and traders. There is also a Sami camp, where you can learn more about the Sami culture and way of life.

If you’re in Stockholm, I would definitely recommend this as a place worth visiting. WE spent the whole day there. Be aware that most things are outdoors, so for the best experience, try to choose a day when it’s not raining! You can buy food on site, and also pay a visit to the gift shop before you leave. I came out with a plush wolf to add to my growing collection!

How about you?

Have you been to Skansen? Do you have any more recommendations for things to do or see in Stockholm?

If you like wolves as much as we do, make sure you don’t miss next week’s post which will be all about wolves in the UK.

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Podcast

Unseen Beauty is also available as a podcast. If you want to listen to it, you can find it on iTunes or Player FM.

The URL for the podcast feed is
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Christmas 2016

My friends and family were so generous this year.

I got this idea from Youtube. At first I wondered why everyone was talking about their Christmas presents. At first it felt a bit like showing off, but I then realised it’s actually a good way to get some ideas about what’s out there, so I decided to do it too. I haven’t listed everything and I’ve included links where I could find things online so that you can read more about the products and sighted readers can see the images.

So, I was really lucky in 2016 and my partner, friends and family gave me some lovely gifts.

Beauty and skin care

Sanctuary spa hand cream

I’d already tried a mini from the Sanctuary Spa hand cream range – I needed something to get me up to my £20 for free Amazon postage 😉

I’d say this is definitely more green lemon than orange blossom, but the Sanctuary Spa products are good quality and this is a long-lasting hand treatment.

Jack Black intense therapy lip balm – grapefruit

This is quite a small tube, but it’s a special treat for the lips which isn’t sticky and which lasts a reasonable amount of time, so you don’t need to keep reapplying it. And of course it’s grapefruit! You’ll see after a while that I love anything that contains mango or grapefruit! Check out the lip balm here.

<Victoria's Secret – mango temptation body wash

We’ve had the grapefruit, now it’s time for the mango. I got the body lotion in this range for my birthday and really liked it. Again, not cheap, but it’s good to indulge yourself with this sweet and fruity mango once in a while. Find out more here!

The Cowshed grumpy cow products

I just love the name! There are all kinds of cow ranges – moody cow, lazy cow, dirty cow (hand wash), but the one with grapefruit in it is the grumpy cow and I have been known to live up to this name, especially in the morning before the third cup of coffee. I haven’t actually used these products yet, but they smell delicious. I got the uplifting body lotion and the uplifting shower gel.

Body Shop – spiced apple tin

I can’t link to this because all of the Christmas ranges at the body shop were seasonal products. I’ll write more about spiced apple in my Body Shop haul post. All I’ll say now is that I’d recommend that you try them if they come back next year. I also got the spiced apple candle, and it makes my office smell nice even when the candle isn’t lit.

Body Shop frosted berries set

This was another seasonal product from the Christmas range with a shower gel and body butter. If the spiced apple is too strong and wintry for you, the frosted berries are a good alternative.

Clothing

Monster slippers – Jack the black wolf

So, as well as my fruit favourites, you will often see wolves and owls in my collections! These slippers are cosy and warm – just what you need when you work from home. My shoe size is between two sizes, but these are definitely on the generous side. They have furry heads, paws and tails, and their eyes even light up if you press the button on the left ear! I’m wearing them as I type and I’m very happy with them! Check out the wolf slippers here.

Wolf fleece

Keeping with the wolf theme, I hate the cold and this is a sure way to keep out the cold this winter. It’s fur-lined, so you can easily wear it as a warm jacket when you’re going out in the winter. This is where you can find it

Mermaid tail blanket

I read about these on a blog, then I heard about them on Youtube. They seem to have been a thing this winter!

Not really clothing, but this mermaid tail blanket is something you can use when you’re snuggled up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book. I was a bit surprised, because it was described as fleece, even though it’s knitted. However it’s a decent size and you can keep your legs and lower body warm as you snuggle down into it. Who said adults can’t be mermaids too?!

Christmas dress

I don’t have a link, but it was a long, satin dress with a full skirt that I wore on Christmas day.

Perfume

Happy Femme by Clinique

This is what Amazon says about this perfume:

“Floral, fruity, green. Created in 1997, Happy perfume by Clinique for women is a refreshing, clean, floral fragrance. It is the result of the following top fragrance Notes: bergamot, boysenberry and honeysuckle. The middle notes are: bushflower, grapefruit and moss and the base of the fragrance is: freesia, lemon and Hawaiian wedding flower. Happy perfume is recommended for daytime and romantic use.”

So, you guessed it, grapefruit again! This is a lovely, fruity fragrance. I took a risk with this because I said I would like it for Christmas without even smelling it, but I wasn’t disappointed and I’m enjoying wearing it. Here’s the link to the Happy perfume.

The other perfume that I was given is an old favourite that was first given to both me and my mum many years ago by a relative from Ireland. It’s called Innisfree and it’s another fruity, floral fragrance, probably heavier than the grapefruit one. It comes from Ireland and was named after a poem about the Isle of Innisfree.

Books

I had no idea what this present was, but when I unwrapped the gift box, there was an Audible subscription in there! This is a great idea for people who love to read, especially if you don’t know exactly what kind of books they like or which ones they already have. The Audible app is fully accessible to blind people who use VoiceOver on the iPhone and there is a really good selection of audio books.

The only slightly annoying thing is that you have to buy the books on the Audible site, and not in the app, but the site is easy to use with a screenreader and I had no trouble redeeming my first book.

I usually read everything for my job, news, and other information using the speech software on my computer, but when it comes to books and reading for pleasure, I like to listen to a real person – so this gift was ideal!

For the home

I’d never seen vases like this before, but I got an owl vase. Apart from being a welcome addition to the owl collection, he is tactile and you can feel his ears, face and feathers. Really cool!

I was also given two smaller, ornament owls, one of which could be hung up, so we put her on the Christmas tree!

Due to my love for all things spicy, I was given a grow-your-own chilli kit. A travel mug was also a welcome gift for this coffee lover!

We also received joint gifts including wine, chocolates and some fruity cheese.

Jewellery

This year I was very lucky and received an adjustable bracelet, a lovely pair of little owls as earrings, a necklace and a pair of cute doggy earrings.

The necklace is very Christmassy, so I probably won’t wear it again until December, but I think you can justify wearing it from the end of November, and as someone who doesn’t do Christmas jumpers, I do like to get out some sparkly Christmas jewellery. This is a tactile piece and you can feel the shape of the Christmas tree and its decorations.

I found the dog earrings in the autumn, then they went out of stock. My mum kept checking and finally snapped some up just before Christmas. They seem to be out of stock again now, so I can’t show you, but they are drop earrings with dogs viewed from the front. I like the Katy Craig collection and will be investigating the rest of the animal jewellery.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you use my links for Amazon and buy something, I will receive a small percentage at no additional cost to you. I only list products that I love or have reviewed.

Picture of Kirsty

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Podcast

Unseen Beauty is also available as a podcast. If you want to listen to it, you can find it on iTunes or Player FM.

The URL for the podcast feed is
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