Beauty

BEAUTY | Birch Box August 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018

My penultimate Birch box and this month it's a little bit bittersweet. I think this might be the best box I've had. 

It's not good enough for me to reconsider my subscription (I've asked for it to not auto-renew after the last box is issued next month) but I think if this box had been last months I might have considered letting it run or taking out another 3-month subscription. 

With surprise subscriptions, there is always a risk of getting things you don't like or won't use and my boxes have been very 50/50.


No4 Sugar Texturising Spray


This isn't something I've come across before and I'm quite excited to use it. I like the idea of a none crunchy texture spray, the claims on the bottle say it's like a non-crunchy salt spray.

I haven't had call to do my hair since receiving this but I will be trying this very soon and I have high hopes.

Dirty Little Secret - Eye Crayon in Fetch


This seems a little disappointing, the RRP is £12 and I feel the packaging is very cheap looking and feeling. The product also doesn't want to blend on me. It just seems to wipe off. I have similar products which cost a lot less and work a lot better. 

Dr Botanicalled Po Over Night Mask



I'm excited to use this, it smells amazing and I love a good overnight mask, I also think the packaging is very cute. This isn't a brand I'm familiar with but I find it very appealing.

Rituals foaming showergel


I have used few of these over various subscription services and every scent I've tried have been amazing, I also find these last quite a while and are fab for taking on holiday as they seem to be cooling and double as shaving cream.

CLE Melting Lip Powder


This might be the strangest product I've ever tried and I honestly don't know how I feel about it. In the tube it is 100% powder, when it comes out of the tube it's a mix of powder and almost foamy substance. It applies like a thickish matt lip stain but the first time I tried it after about 15 minutes it had worn off the centre of my lips but left almost a lip liner effect. I will be giving it another try and maybe spend more time on the application.

It also says it can be used on cheeks but I haven't tried that as yet. My mum was very taken with it, so if it doesn't work for me I think I will be passing it on.

How many of you tried to wipe that hair off your screen? Me I did about 4 times while I was writing this post. Apologies I should redo the pictures but ya know!

Beauty

BEAUTY | Little Shop of Lathers

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I've been a fan of Little Shop of Lathers for a while, I was introduced to them by my friend Chloe via Our Hand Made Collective in Leeds. 

In the not so recent past, I bought three of their small balm pots and love them all. I decided to place an order for a larger pot of the Clear Head pulse point balm as I use these most days and when (again via Chloe) discovered they did big pots I was all over it. Sadly there was a mix-up and I was sent the wrong item, what I would say is the customer service was excellent. The mix up was identified (this feels quite official but I can't think of a better way to phrase it) when I tweeted excitedly that I'd had my dispatch notice. Claire quickly tweeted saying she thought she's packed the wrong pot and to let her know and she'd re-send out the correct order. No quibble, very apologetic. As I love all the balms and had planned to buy more in the future I told her not to worry and I'd happily reorder the right product next payday. If it had been a big company I'm sure I would have accepted the offer to be sent out the correct item but as a small independent seller, I recognise that making, packing, working in a shop, doing accounts is hard work and I like Claire a lot (I think I have met her and we chat on twitter semi-regularly and I get a good vibe from her). 

Just before my next payday I still had money left (a novelty I can assure you) so I decided to place an order for a few things I'd had my eye on and an email from Etsy with a 10% off code helped. 

I re-ordered the balm I wanted and picked out a few other goodies which are all for me! Has anyone watched Parks and Recreation? "Treat Yo Self!" its a good mantra. 

Sleep Tight - Pulse Point Balm


This is the item I was sent instead of the item I'd ordered. I'm more than happy to have this and it was on my list of things to buy and is why I didn't want Claire to be out of pocket because I would have been buying this at some point. I've also put my original sleep balm pot to show the scale and the size of the new pots.  This sleep balm smells amazing, I have such trouble sleeping and on nights when I remember to use this I sleep so much better. I must remember to use it. 

Natural Insect Repellent - Citronella Moisturiser


I've been looking for something like this for a while, a local maker does her own version but doesn't see it online and I never know when I'm going to be near to where she stocks her products locally to ask her to put me one away. 

For me no two holidays are the same when it comes to biting critters, I can go to the same place at the same time of year and sometimes I'm left alone others I'm a human snack of the highest order. 

This product smells nice but you can also tell it's going to repel a lot of bugs, it is also really creamy so will have moisturising properties (Oh it does, I've just read the listing) 


Clear Head pulse point balm **super size for regular users** Aromatherapy temple balm


I'm so happy to have this huge pot, I've almost finished my original 5g pot and I use it almost every day. I keep the small tub on my desk at work and as often as I remember or when I feel a little fuggy I apply some balm to my wrists, if I feel the start of a headache I put a small amount on my temples and i'd say 9 out of 10 times I don't have to resort to painkillers as well. I've even got my colleagues to use it as well.

One person was full of a cold and had a bad headache, he'd already taken pain pills but I got him to use a small amount and he seemed to perk up quite quickly and I got him to use some more later on when he was going downhill again.

Dry Skin Hand gift - Aromatherapy gift set - hardworking hands &
Foot Soak - Aromatherapy treatment


I've got the next two items all  mixed up when I took the pictures so I'm going to talk about them under one sub-heading 


I treated myself to the dry skin hand kit and I am trying to grown my nails and I thought it would be a lovely treat to myself. I haven't used this as yet but it is a super little kit and well my feet are awful anything to help them will be a bonus. I think I might have bought the foot soak before from Our Hand Made Collective in Leeds but I can't be cettain, I may just have looked at them. 



Bonus Items - Thank you, Claire




Claire contacted me before she shipped my order to tell me she's tripled checked and the right blam had been packed and she added a couple of bonus surprises, this was a lovely little treat. As I keep saying I'm on a bath bomb ban (albeit a very loose interpretation of a ban) and to get an Emoji Bath Bomb and a Lollypop bath bomb made my day.

A perfect example of customer service, it's a delight to order from Little Shop of Lathers and I'm sure this won't be my last order. 

Lifestyle

LIFESTYLE | Mid-year Organisation - New Pens, Blog Journal and Mid-Year Diary

Thursday, August 09, 2018

There is something about this time of year which mean that I need new stationery, I haven’t been in education for a long time, but I still get that itch to get a new mid-year diary, new pens and other essentials.

My main diary has been sadly underused as a diary, I’m using it to list books read and cinema trips but not life things, or blog things


The first thing I picked up was a new handbag-sized diary, this is from Amazon and cost about £6, I liked the look of the layout online and I think it will have enough space to record all the things I want to, and the best thing is I can carry it will me.

I’m pen obsessed and last year I discovered Pilot Frixon pens thanks to my friend Jo and bought myself some from Sainsbury's which have a 0.7nib size, these are great for scribbling notes, but I find them a little big for making notes in diaries. However, when I was in Lanzarote I discovered they do a 0.5nib and they are perfect for journals and dairy. What is so good about them is that they are erasable, and they erase very cleanly.


The search for the perfect blog journal has been put on hold and I’ve been using a notepad system. It’s a combination of things I’ve spotted online and inspired by a video from Claire from The Clairenecessities, but my book is a grotty old notepad that has nothing about it but I almost think that makes it easier because I’m happy to be scruffy in and as it’s a spiral-bound pad it’s easy to rip out pages! I would have shown you an example of this but in my new stationery buying haze I’ve set up my new blog journal from Wilkos and ripped out those oh so scruffy pages and put in the recycling bin.


I think I will be playing around with a perfect layout for years to come but for now, I have something that works for me and a very lovely pad and the option of using pen because when I change my mind I can erase and change things around easily. I will do a second post toward the end of the month with my set up.



I adore stationery, all of it. My love for a free pen is equal to a beautiful fountain pen, I love thin cheap paper almost more than I love expensive paper (but it’s all equal) I have a stash of 10 unused notebooks in my locker at work and I’m sure there must be more at home.
My aim this year is to use the things I buy but I can’t help being tempted and I do love these items.

Lifestyle

LIFESTYLE | An Early Morning Wander Around Uppermill Park

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

A few weeks ago I had a dentist appointment in a village a few miles away from where I live. I arrived almost an hour and a half early. last time I was almost late so I caught the earlier bus and some how I was mega early.

As my dentist wasn't open I decided to go and sit on a bench in the park, it was lovely and peaceful but most of the benches were damp so I had to wander round.


A lot of the benches have memorial plaques on them and I did manage to find a dry one, thank you Edith and Tommy for having your bench under a huge tree and providing shelter from the over night rain.


The park has a couple of different area, there is a large field, a tradition playground area and a stream runs along one of the edges, which is parallel to the canal.

I have lots of memories of this area as a child. It's quite a touristy area with lots of cafes and with the park we used to go a lot when I was a child. I have fond memories of these stepping stones and trying to cross them. The water level is pretty low at the moment due to the hot weather but I do remember the water being quite high and fast flowing.


One of the areas of the park is a memorial garden with some nice borders and benches and earlier this year a new edition of a Heron status was installed.

There are a couple of these wooden carvings in the town that I know of. There is an Owl next to one of the tram stops and an owl and fox statue in another part of town.



I know this isn't a normal blog post, it's not really telling you anything other than I am an early bird who gets places way too early and that I had a lovely 20 minutes or so in the park with only a gardener for company and a random man who walked across then stepping stones. 

But I wanted to record my life and while I did vlog clips of this morning, my blog was my first space for things like this. 


Uppermill, is a lovely village, there are lots of cafes, restaurants and pubs as well as the park and the dentists and in some ways I almost like going to the dentist as I know I will be spending time in the village. Sadly at 8am there isn't a lot open, not even the dentists!

Lifestyle

LIFESTYLE | Bird & Blend Tea Co - NQ Manchester

Thursday, August 02, 2018

If like me you watch a lot of popular south coast vloggers you might be familiar with the name Blue Bird Tea. I was always interested when they were mentioned as they had some interesting flavours and the branding looked lovely. 

Over the Christmas period, I was getting facebook adverts from them and looked at buying online but I knew I'd rather go in store, which was when I spotted they now had a store in Manchester's Northern Quater. 

Bird & Blend Tea Co


It took me a while to get there but I finally made it a few weeks ago, you may have noticed the name change. They are the same people, the same tea but you can read about the name change on their website if you feel inclined. (it's nothing sinister and by the time I've written this I could have told you) 

Bird & Blend Tea Co

My welcome was lovely, a nice warm hello without being all overfamiliar or let me show you everything. After a few minutes, I was approached again and asked if I needed help, what I was looking for and what tea I liked. (all the tea) We chatted and I got to try two of the tea's they had as a cold brew

Bird & Blend Tea Co

All the loose teas are displayed and they are happy to get down any of the ones from the shelves for you to have a closer look at as well as the ones on the counter. I  knew I was going to buy pre-made teabags so I didn't want them to get anything down for me, knowing I wouldn't be buying it, but they did mention they sell empty bags that you can use to put in your own loose tea. This is such a great idea. As much as I love tea, loose tea has always been a bit of a scary thing and I shy away from it as I've never had much luck with a tea strainer and I don't know how to read the leaves.

Bird & Blend Tea Co

I really believe there is a tea out there for everyone, from black, white, green and fruit teas. Matcha Tea, caffeine free, strong, mild, minty, fruity anything you can imagine. Bird and Blend really have a little bit of everything.

Bird & Blend Tea Co

As well as selling tea they sell all the paraphernalia you could ever need to make the perfect hot or cold tea.

Bird & Blend Tea Co

I was particularly taken with these teapots, there is a great range of colours but I think the navy one is the one I'd go for

Bird & Blend Tea Co

There is also a whole wall of Matcha tea, I haven't tried matcha but if you like it, check them out some sounded amazing but as it was new to me I didn't feel brave enough to buy any.

Bird & Blend Tea Co

Have Matcha loving friends and family? These sets would make lovely gifts. I did treat myself to three packs of tea.

Smokey Russian - A delicious smokey flavoured Russian Caravan tea. This is a black tea and delicious, not one for new tea drinkers but it's one of my favourites and brings back happy memories.

Eaton Mess - A delicious and fruity tea which I believe is caffeine free, while I was in the store I tried this cold mixed with coconut milk. I'm not one for milky drinks but over ice, on a hot summers day it would be perfect.

Rhubarb and Custard - Another fruity and potentially caffeine-free brew. If you melted the sweets and put them in a mug then this is what you'd get. Without the sticky mess, I'm guessing. I've got this one at work and I'm trying to ration it so I don't drink it all at once.

Each pack contains 15 tea bags and cost around £6 a box which seems expensive but I can justify the cost over supermarket brands and the quality and taste is amazing.

While paying it came up that I was a blogger, I think it was when I gave my email address for the newsletter and we got chatting and I then got brave and asked if they minded me taking some photos and I also filmed a few clips while I was in the shop and you can see them in the below vlog.

Beauty

BEAUTY | Bubble Off - Bath Goodies, Inc. Unicorn Poop, Wah Wah and a Cheeky Little Bath Bomb

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I might be on a bath bomb ban but I keep finding myself little loopholes, such as if it's from an Etsy seller. If it's not actually labelled "BATH BOMB" if there is a Y in the day. I came across Bubble Off a couple of weeks ago when a friend re-tweeted a crowdfunding tweet. 

I had a look at their website and they are a small family business from Manchester who makes Vegan bath and body products. 

Bubble Off

The crowdfunding is to help them raise the money to make products and to afford the pitch at Chatsworth House Christmas Markets, I haven't pledged yet but I am planning on a small donation on payday.

I fell in love with the brand, despite not having any twitter interaction, I had a read through some of their tweets, stalked their social media links and placed an order on their website.

The order arrived very quickly, I was surprised (In a good way and very happy) Everything was well packed and I'm very happy with what I picked out.

Wah Wah

£2 - Each Melt Down (Tonka Bean & Lime) & Boutiful Beauty (coconut)

Bubble Off  Wah Wah

Totally not bath bomb. A deep conditioning bath treatment which will fizz when put in a bath of running water. 

I initially expected these to be bigger but for £2 each I think the price point Vs size is about right. 

They smell incredible and like with all these products I can't wait for this heat wave to die down a bit so I can justify a bath. 

P.S I have no idea what a Tonka Bean is or what it should smell like but I like it 

Fizz Bomb

£2.50 - Charlotte

Bubble Off Bath Bomb

Is there any way I can convince you this isn't a bath bomb? No, I didn't think so. I couldn't resist. I love a good bath bomb and I think technically it's only the second one I've bought myself this year. I did get some for my birthday but they don't count. Also, the first one was an accidental buy as I thought I'd removed it from my Etsy basket. I picked Charlotte purely on the colour, I also like that it only has a small amount of glitter.

Unicorn Poop

£3.50 each - Waldo (Banana and Strawberries) & Luna (Floral and Citrus Zing)

Bubble Off Unicorn Poop

These came recommended by my friend Kelly, I love the look of them and the scent combinations really appealed to me. 

Bubble Off  Unicorn Poop

I couldn't decide between the two so I bought both of them. You have to wave them under running water and they produce bubbles, which is always a favourite of mine. 

Bubble Off  Unicorn Poop

In total including postage, I paid £16.70 which I think represents good value. It works out as an average of £3.34 per item. This is cheaper than I'd pay in store for some of the more well-known bath bomb companies and I feel like I will get more than one use from each of them. The bath bomb is fairly big and I could probably break it in half ( I won't - I'm too lazy for that!)

I'm excited for bath season (when the weather is under about 19 degrees!) I have also made a YouTube video if me unboxing these items. If you'd like to see my initial impressions. 

Life Style

LIFESTYLE | Chester by Coach - Birthday Coach Trip

Thursday, July 26, 2018

This is a very belated post and the photos have been sat in my dafts until now, I had a lovely day out on my Coach Trip to Chester which was back in May, but I've been out of the blogging loop and I’ve finally decided to sit down and write.





Our local paper had been running coach trips for years and last year it went out of business taking the coach trips along with it. I had used them before as had my gran and I’m sure lots of local people. Earlier this year the coach trips along with an online version of the paper re-appeared and they have some good trips.


I’ve been on two and my mum and gran have been on a couple more and have either one or two booked for the coming weeks.


What I like about the trips we’ve been on are they are not organised tours and you get free time to do as you please.


This trip was to celebrate mine and my mum’s birthdays which are in May. The coach left my local town centre at around 9am and we got dropped off at a shopping centre in the centre of Chester and left to our own devices. We had until 2.30pm and it was all clear about where to meet up and we got pointed in the direction of the shops.



The early pickup time was because we then got some time at Cheshire Oaks. Personally, I would have preferred more time in Chester, as much as I love shopping. I’m not huge Cheshire Oaks fan. I felt like I didn’t get to explore Chester properly which is no reflection on the Coach Trip but more on I didn’t know where anything was, it was a lovely day and ultimately no matter what she said my grans shoes were hurting her.


First stop was Costa for a drink and to decide where we wanted to look first. We then looked in a few shops and walked round looking at the buildings.

As it was a nice day we grabbed some food from The Pound Bakery and headed down to the Roman gardens and sat out enjoying the sunshine.


We also wandered down to the river and soaked in some of the atmosphere. There were lots of school trips, children in the gardens being taught some of the Roman history of the city. One of the “Centurion” teachers was counting 1,2,3 and I said surely it should be i,ii,iii… Nope, a bit of Roman Numeral humour that only I find funny.

I’d love to go back and spend a bit more time looking round the city centre and trying some of the independent cafes and shops.

Lifestyle

LIFESTYLE | Book Review - 31 Dream Street by Lisa Jewell

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I've read a few Lisa Jewell books over the past few years and I've always enjoyed them, when I spotted this one on the charity table at work I decided to pick it up and give it a try. 

It was a lovely quick read and would have been perfect to read on a sun lounger by a pool rather than on the Manchester Metrolink but I still enjoyed it. 

When I was reading it, it felt quite modern but there was the odd reference that made me shake my head, at first it I thought it was them making up there own word by using actual things that existed in the past. I need to clarify this; There was the mention of paying by switch card. It was only after a couple of things in this vein that I checked the publishing date and realised it was first published in 2008. 

The book is centred round Leah who works in a posh gift shop in London and the house opposite owned by Toby and failed poet who got the house complete with a sitting tenant as a wedding present from his Father, who was about to leave London to start a new life with his latest wife in South Africa. 

Lisa Jewell - 31 Dream Street

After Toby's marriage fails he opens the house to the waifs and strays of the world by way of personal ads and favours for people who knows him. 

The story starts when Leah, who has been curious about the house opposite and its eclectic mix of residents, finally gets to meet one when the elderly sitting tenant falls outside and she rushes to help, this leads her to meet Toby and a sort of friendship forms. 

He is socially awkward and needs a friend, she gets dumped by her boyfriend who has finally agreed to an arranged marriage by his parents and she needs a friend. 

Lots of little storylines follow each of the tenants and a downside for me is the sheer number of people, it did get a little confusing. 

Lisa Jewell - 31 Dream Street Toby has been left a sum of money and finds out his father is coming home to see what has become of the house. He makes a decision to sell the house but doesn't have the guts to evict the tenants, between him and Leah who hatches a plan to find out more about the people Toby has lived with for so long but knows so little about, all while the house has a top to toe makeover and gradually peoples stories are revealed. 

It's a fun read and moves at quite a quick pace, it is predictable in places but not in a "I need to throw the book across the room" kind of way. 



Beauty

BEAUTY | Birch Box #4 - July 2018

Friday, July 20, 2018

When I re-subscribed to Birch Box I intended on blogging them each month but my blog mojo just hasn't been there. I have been making videos about them so if you want to know what my thoughts about the other boxes head over to my unboxing playlist on my YouTube channel. 

Birch Box - July 2018

 The first thing I noticed was this was the traditional cardboard beauty box, the first two boxes where the same size but had a drawer rather than a lid, my third box was a tin box. Which was done for the 5th anniversary. I expected them to go back to the drawer system and I am a little disappointed. I was starting to use the drawer boxes to keep things in. Once I have things in boxes with lids they never get opened again so I doubt I will use this box. I do like the pink foil logo on the lid but as a firdt impression I was disappointed.

Birch Box - July 2018

Each box contains 5 items which will be a mix of beauty and makeup and hopefully should fit in with your beauty profile. I don't really feel like mine does and it does seem very generic but as i'm assuming they have a pretty big customer base this would be hard to do.


Mannkadar  3 in one

Each month we get a sneak preview of on of the items which will be in the next box and the option to pick between two shades or the option for them to surprise me (subject to availability etc. etc.)

As much as I don't like surprises I'm not keen on this part of the service, just put stuff in the box. Don't make me do extra thinking mid month and TBH everything I've had as this product I've not liked.

This particular product is billed as eyes, face and lips (?) there was a choice between this shade and a deep red colour. None really spoke to me and I have already got rid of this product. It has an RRP of £12 but the packaging feels very cheap and flimsy to me and it  had a strange texture which didn't swatch very well in my opinion. Its rare I reach for singles like this and decided I wouldn't use it.
Birch Box - July 2018


Balance Me - Congested Skin Serum 

I'm familiar with Balance Me from other beauty boxes and from what I can remember it's always been good and I can't think of any issues. As soon as I opened this my eyes started stinging even though I only put it on my arm. It went straight in the bin, there must me something in it that doesn't agree with me.

Birch Box - July 2018

Luseta - Keratin Conditioner

This smells amazing but why only a conditioner? I know in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter but I do like to use matching products. I guess this will come in handy if I run out of conditioner (errr i'm not that sort of person) or for a weekend away with a ransom shampoo (ekkk)

Birch Box - July 2018

Beauty Pro - Eye Therapy Under Eye Mask

At last a product I will use. I've recently got into these kinds of products and I'm looking forward to using these. I find them nice and relaxing and I loved using them on the plane going on holiday. 

Birch Box - July 2018


What's In It For Me..? - Shower Scrub

Another product I will use, this only seems like a fine grit but it is a natural scrub which is a bonus. I also think this is a good size. I like to take a scrub  on holiday with me to make sure all the sun cream has come off and this will last the full holiday (hopefully)

Birch Box - July 2018

Over all, this box has helped me make my mind up and I won't be renewing my subscription at the end of my 6 months. I do have 2 more boxes to come but over all I'm not wowwed by this subscription.

I wouldn't want to put people off trying it and I do think it's a good idea to buy as a gift for someone but for me this past 4 boxes haven't been for me.


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