14 December 2018

Glossybox vs. Birchbox, December 2018

December brings us to the last ever Glossybox vs. Birchbox post because from here on out, my Birchbox subscription is officially cancelled!

These boxes both cost £10 plus P&P per month, has what has made this so interesting. For the same price, the difference in value of the contents between the two boxes has been vast. Glossybox offers value for money every time... Birchbox, not so much.

Birchbox offers 7 items this month, 2 of those are full sizes totalling £27.50 and 2 are extra treats for the Christmas month.

Laritzy Cosmetics Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Tidal (full size RRP £20)
"This liquid formula delivers rich pigmented colour that seriously won't budge. Plus, the comfortable texture means it won't settle into the lines of your lips or leave them feeling dried out."

This was subscribers choice for the month. We got a choice to two shades; Power, a classic red, or Tidal, a pinky nude. This is a win for me, I agree with all the claims. This is a brilliant liquid lipstick formula!

Oh K! Bubble Sheet Mask (full size RRP £7.50)
"This innovative sheet mask reacts with the oxygen in the air to form tiny bubbles when you place it on your face. Not only does it result in a hilariously foamy face but it purifies and smoothes skin for a radiant complexion."

I've not tried a bubble mask before but I like trying new masks from beauty boxes.

Rituals The Ritual of Ayurveda Body Cream
"This body cream is the ultimate multitasker- rejuvenating both body and mind. Combining the irresistable aroma of Indian rose with pampering Himalyan honey, the nourishing formula sinks in quickly to hydrate your skin and calm the senses."

I've had a few Rituals products over the last year thanks to Birchbox and I've liked all of them. I'm looking forward to trying this.

Balance Me Flash Cleanse Micellar Water
"Gently remove makeup and sweep away impurities with this 99% natural cleansing water. A soothing blend of peptides, chamomile, neroli and mandarin support your skin's natural regeneration process and fight signs of ageing."

These tiny samples aren't the best for seeing if you enjoy a product but I tend to save these for travelling as they're so handy.

Percy & Reed Totally TLC Hydrating Mask
"No matter how thick or thin your hair is, all strands need one thing: moisture. This is just the mask to give them what they crave. Brimming with nourishing ingredients, it leaves hair soft, manageable and conditioned."

Nope. I don't need yet another product that promises to hydrate my hair. My birchbox profile has my hair type as oily yet over the past year I've constantly been sent products like this. Birchbox says boxes are personalised to suit individual profiles but my experience suggests otherwise, and is just one of the reasons I haven't enjoyed my subscription.

Birchbox Hair Comb
"This plastic comb is hard on tangles but easy on your hair. The wide teeth help work through stubborn knots without breakage."

This is one of the extra treats, I'm indifferent to it.

We also a chocolate duo from Hotel Chocolat and I'd eaten them within two minutes of opening the box. They were my favourite part of this month!

The sneak peek for January is a full size CLE Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion in either Apricot Tinge or Copper Rose. Subscribers get to choose which shade they would prefer. I've obviously cancelled and won't be receiving January's box but if I was, I wouldn''t have been happy. Both shades of this highlighter look dark, so I doubt any pale skinned subscribers would be able to make these work.

The December glossybox contains 5 full size products plus an extra treat. The total value of the products adds up to around £62. 

Imperial Leather Fantasy Icons Cosmic Unicorn Shower Gel (full size RRP £1.99)
"We couldn't resist injecting some fun into our daily shower routines. Inspired by cosmic moons and sparkles, it will leave your skin soft and magically scented with pink grapefruit, citrus and floral aromas."

Nice to see a shower product. I needed to buy some shower gel as I was getting low, then this arrived!

Beauty BLVD Divine Hydra-Gel Lip Mask (full size RRP £7.50)
"For plump, smooth and kissable lips, look no further. Formulated with green tea extracts and moisture boosting hyaluronic acid, these masks rescue dry lips! Collagen and antioxidant rich red wine extracts also help to plump and smooth."

I've never tried a lip mask before so this will be interesting! They sound great for this time of year, as my lips are so dry.

Maybeauty The Incredible Pore Strip 
"We've included an extra treat to help prep your pores for the busy selfie season! These nose pore strips remove blackheads and impurities."

Me and Glenn love doing pore strips, mainly for the satisfying aftermath so this extra treat will be put to good use.

Bellapierre Cosmetics Shimmer Roll in Champagne (full size RRP £19.99)
"Shimmer and Champagne are Christmas essentials so you'll love this lustrous Champagne Shimmer Roll! This iridescent highlighter glides on and contains pigments that blend seamlessly and shimmer endlessly."

I love the colour of this put this seemed so powdery on swatching it. I'm going to give it a proper try but it's not a product I'd pick out myself.

Doucce Relentless Matte Lip Crayon in Winterberry (full size RRP £16.95)
Reminiscent of mulled wine and winterberries, this rich, bold red lip crayon couldn't be more christmassy if it tried. Long-lasting and deeply pigmented, it glides on smoothly and has an on-trend ultra-matte finish."

I love lip crayons, so seeing one in a perfect Christmas shade was bound to please me.

Niko Pro Liquid Jelly Blush in Bali (full size RRP £12)
"Shimmers of gold combine with a beautiful pink hue to give your cheeks a flush of colour and a natural sparkle this winter. We love the unique jelly formula that's hydrating, pigmented and lightweight."

Honestly, this product scares me. I love the colour but the formula is the thing I'm wary of. I used a bit to swatch and a little bit goes a long way!

Doucce Lip crayon, Bellapierre Shimmer Roll & Niko Pro Jelly Blush.

The sneak peek for January is very exciting and proves how much good value for money Glossybox really is. January's boxes will include a full size Avant Skincare Deluxe Hyaluronic Acid Vivifying Face and Eye Night Cream worth £98!

What did you think to December's boxes?


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5 December 2018

What I've Been Reading: November 2018.

November was a very mish-mashed month in terms of reading. Some novels I loved, some I was very disappointed by and there was a fair few I gave up on completely. As always, I'm only going to be mentioning the ones I actually managed to finish which brings us to a total of six, about my usual average for a month.

Dangerous Boys
Abigail Haas
Current Kindle Price: £2.99

"It all comes down to this.

Oliver, Ethan, and I.

Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage.

Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding.

The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives?

And is his death a tragic accident?

Desperate self-defense?

Or murder...?

Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together- a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces..."

Lets start with one of my favourites for the month. This is a great novel but I had high expectations for it before I even started reading it. Dangerous Girls by the same author is another of my favourites and while Dangerous Boys doesn't quite pack the same amount of punch, it's still a book I'd want to reread in the future. If you haven't read any of these before, start with Dangerous Boys and read Dangerous Girls after. Trust me, you won't regret it!

Challenge Accepted
Amanda Abram
Current Kindle price: £2.16 or free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers

"Emma Dawson and Logan Reynolds have been neighbors and enemies for as long as either one can remember. Despite the fact their BFF fathers have been encouraging them their whole lives to be friends, they've managed to avoid each other at all costs. Emma thinks Logan is a callous jerk who cares about nobody but himself. Logan thinks Emma is a stuck-up good-two-shoes with no life. The two couldn't be any more different... which is why Emma is so confused when the Emerson High Computer Club's 'summer fling compatibility test' concludes they're a perfect match.

But Logan's not confused. He lied on the test to make his 'sometimes girlfriend' think they're not meant to be and now Emma is furious that he made her lose out on the chance of having a swoony summer romance with the perfect guy. Forced by his stepmother to make it up to her, Logan decides to help her win the heart of her lifelong crush: his best friend, Matt.

He knows how much of a challenge this will be. Matt is good-looking, popular and outgoing. Emma is quiet, bookwormish, and scared of everything. However, Logan is convinced that with some major tweaking, he can transform Emma into someone Matt could fall for. But as Summer heats up, so does their budding friendship... and soon, they may be faced with the biggest challenge of all: falling for each other."

I'd read The Importance of Getting Revenge by the same author, so I kind of knew what to expect going into this. A quick, fun read that's slightly predictable but still enjoyable.

Left Behind
Vi Keeland & Dylan Scott
Current kindle price: £2.98

"Two stories so deeply intertwined, you'll think you know how they intersect... but you'll be wrong...

Zack Martin
The day I met Emily Bennett my whole life changed. Sure, we were just kids, but I was old enough to know my life would never be the same. She was my best friend. My destiny. My fate. I wasn't wrong... I just didn't know how twisted fate could be.

Nikki Fallon
After the death of my mother, moving from my dark and dreary trailer park to sunny California, I was focused on one thing- finding a sister I'd only just learned existed. Falling in love with him wasn't part of the plan. But he filled a void I never knew was possible to fill. He had to be my fate. My destiny. Until the day I finally found out who my sister was... and how twisted fate could be."

Okay, so I finished this but it was a long, hard struggle to do so! That whole first line of the blurb, you think you'll know how they intersect but you'll be wrong? I wasn't wrong, I had it figured out within one chapter and I was hoping throughout the whole thing that I was going to be thrown a massive curveball that made reading this worth it. It just didn't happen. Predictability in it's worst form. Give this a miss.

The Darkest Lie
Pintip Dunn
Current kindle price: £7.59

"Clothes, jokes, coded messages... Cecelia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, Cecelia thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe's been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she's volunteering at the school's crisis hotline- the same place her mother worked.

As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe's lingering suspicions about her mom's death resurface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn't just a matter of restoring her mother's reputation, it's about saving lives- including CeCe's own..."

My favourite novel in November. A great YA thriller with a bit of romance thrown into the mix, I can't recommend this highly enough. This is the opposite of Left Behind, whose predictability the reason I disliked it so much. There are so many red herrings in The Darkest Lie, that when the big reveal finally happens, you'll be in shock.

Beautiful Malice
Rebecca James
Current Kindle price: £2.99

"Following a horrific tragedy that leaves her once perfect family devastated, Katherine Patterson moves to a new city, starts at a new school, and looks forward to a life of quiet anonymity. But when Katherine meets the gregarious and beautiful Alice Parrie her resolution to live a solitary life becomes difficult. Katherine is unable to resist the flattering attention that Alice pays her and is so charmed by Alice's contagious enthusiasm that the two girls become firm friends. Alice's joie de vivre is transformative; it helps Katherine forget her painful past and slowly, tentatively, Katherine allows herself to start enjoying life again.

But being friends with Alice is complicated- and as Katherine gets to know her better she discovers that although alice can be charming and generous she can also be selfish and egocentric. Sometimes, even, Alice is cruel. And when Katherine starts to wonder if Alice is really the kind of person she wants as a friend, she discovers something else about Alice- she doesn't like being cast off."

I didn't like this. I thought about giving up on this so many times but I persevered and ended up disappointed. It was well written but the story just wasn't for me. It was a hard read, especially the flashbacks and I didn't really like a single character. Hard pass.

Charlie and Pearl
Tammy Robinson
Current Kindle price: 99p or free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers

"It was supposed to be simple...

Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl. Girl, slightly more cynical, takes a little longer. And they lived happily ever after, right? It definitely wasn't supposed to end the way it did."

I didn't love this, I didn't hate this, this just fell into the like column. I finished it in a day and I did get slightly teary eyed in parts but I was disappointed with the ending. A good contemporary romance that is worth a read, especially for 99p!

What were you reading in November? Let me know in the comments below.
You can read previous What I've Been Reading posts here.


23 November 2018

Glossybox VS Birchbox, November 2018.

Ahh, the second to last Glossybox vs. Birchbox. One more box and I can finally cancel Birchbox! On a month to month basis, both boxes cost £10 which is why I prefer Glossybox. You get much more value for your money.

In November's Birchbox, there are 3 full size items adding up to a value of £22.45. 

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Diamond Dust Roller Eyeshadow in Enchanted (Full Size RRP £15)
"Add a touch of sparkle and shine to your eyeshadow game with this shimmering treat. The rollerball packaging guarantees smooth, easy application and long-lasting colour without any mess or fuss. Just glide it over your eyelids- no brushes required!"

The best thing in this month's box, by far. This is stunning! It's such a gorgeous shade and easy to use, I'm very happy with this.

Sand & Sky Brilliant Skin Purifying Pink Clay Mask
"It's not hard to see why this mask has been an instant hit. The 4-in-1 formula detoxes, invigorates, refines and brightens your complexion with a healthy dose of pink clay. Plus, soothing aloe vera and pomegranate tighten pores for a radiant skin."

I'm really looking forward to trying this as I have heard great things, it's just the size of this sample that bothers me. One use and that's that!

Polaar Night Cream
"Effectively a great night's sleep in a pot, this moisturiser works to brighten your skin overnight. Enriched with boreal algae- an ingredient that reacts to the blue light of the moon to boost cell renewal- you'll wake to a plump, healthy-looking complexion."

I really like the sound of this and this will come in handy as I'm almost out of my Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask.

Dr. PAWPAW Original clear Balm (Full size RRP £3.95)
"Meet Dr. PawPaw- your does-it-all balm! The star ingredient is fermented pawpaw, which might sound strange but boasts natural healing qualities for a multitude of uses. From moisturiser to lip balm and split-end sealer to sunburn-soother, it calms and soothes skins wherever you need it."

I'm just gunna chuck this in my handbag and use it as a lip balm.

Spacemasks Self-Heating Eye Mask (Full size RRP £3.50)
"Unwinding from a stressful day isn't always as easy as it sounds. When you're struggling to switch off, reach for this relaxing Spacemask infused with mood-calming jasmine. A thin layer of iron filings inside the mask entwine with oxygen molecules in the air causing the mask to heat up for soothing results."

This sounds like heaven, I'm gunna be using this tonight!

One of the best Birchboxes I've had but it's not amazing. Next month looks promising though as the sneak peek is a full size Laritzy liquid lipstick.

Onto Glossy box, it contains 2 full size make up items, adding up to a value of £28. 

Huda Beauty Liquid Matte in Venus (full size RRP £18)
"Non-drying, featherweight, densely-pigmented and with a stunning, suedette finish, there’s nothing about Huda Beauty’s Liquid Mattes we’re not obsessed with. Already causing a furore (we’ve been completely inundated with requests for these lip lacquers), the silky formula applies like a lipgloss then dries in moments – cloaking your pout with a smooth, kiss-resistant veil of vibrant colour that won’t smudge, flake or transfer."

Lip products are always my favourite to receive and I'm really excited to finally try something from Huda Beauty. I almost picked up the Faux Filter foundation while in Sephora but talked myself out of buying it. I love the shade of this, it's the perfect nude for me. My highlight of November's box.

Stylondon Eaton Square Eyeshadow Palette (full size RRP £9.99)
"High quality 9 colour palette offers a perfect assortment of colours for all kinds of makeup."

This is a cute little palette. The size would make it ideal for a travel makeup bag.

Novex My Curls Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
"Novex My Curls Deep Hair Mask was created to take your curls and give them movement and lots of hydration. Its formula contains a mix of 7 Nutri functional Oils and Cranberry's, which will give curls more hydration, nutrition and a powerful anti frizz action."

This isn't suited to my hair type at all so this is something I'll be passing on to someone else.

Context Micro-Derm Regenerator
"A two-in-one cleanser and gentle exfoliator enhanced with the same crystals used in professional microdermabrasion treatments. Soothes and purifies skin as it effectively cleanses. Polishes and removes dead skin cells. Powerful antioxidants combine to protect cells and fight free radical damage. Skin is left soft, hydrated, and healthy-looking."

I love adding cleansers to my stash through beauty boxes, it means I haven't had to buy any myself in ages! This sounds interesting with it also being an exfoliator.

Your Good Skin Balancing Skin Concentrate
"Immediate results from day 1 - 95% of women felt softer & smoother skin. By day 14 - 84% noticed brighter skin & 79% noticed more even skin. By day 28 - 77% had less visible skin problems & 88% noticed healthier looking skin."

Another small sample, I'll save this to take in my travel toiletries. It does smell nice though!

We also got an extra treat of a sample of Chloe Eau De Parfum.

I've lost the card that came with this month's Glossybox and I can't remember what the sneak peek for December is. Does anyone know? Let me know down in the comments below!


18 November 2018

A Disneyland Resort Food Diary.

My only other experience of a Disney park before visiting the OG Disneyland was a day in Disneyland Paris. If you've visited Disneyland Paris, you'll know that the food on offer there are pretty basic theme park offerings. My mind was blown at the difference between the Anaheim and Paris food quality. We had five day tickets but only used them for four but that's more than enough days to do a little food diary post.

We booked a table service restaurant in each park 60 days in advance. For Disneyland, we made reservations in Cafe Orleans. The Monte Cristo available is often cited as a Disneyland must eat. The normal Monte Cristo contains turkey, ham and swiss cheese but we went for the three cheese Monte Cristo which is swiss, mozzarella and double creme brie. The Monte Cristo are deep fried in a light batter, topped with powdered sugar and serves with a berry puree. We also had the pomme frites, which are french fries tossed with garlic, parmesan and parsley and come with a pot of cajun remoulade. we had one of each and shared them between the two of us and it was more than enough. This is one of the most popular restaurants in Disneyland so reservations are necessary as they weren't accepting anyone without them when we visited.

Another Disney must eat, this one isn't just limited to Disneyland as this is also available at WDW. I went for a Dole Whip Float rather than just a standard Dole Whip as Pineapple juice is one of my favourite drinks. This was really refreshing as it was hot (at least for us Brits!) when we visited. This is available from the Tiki Juice Bar.

We also ate at French Market restaurant which is a quick service restaurant is New Orleans Square near to Cafe Orleans. We both had the French Dip Sandwich which comes with in-house seasoned chips and au jus. This was amazing quality for quick service and inside is set up cafeteria style, so they make the sandwich right in front of you.

We couldn't go Disneyland and not get something sweet from Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen on Main Street! Glenn was the chocolate fudge two nights in a row he liked it that much. I had a Cheshire Cat Marshmallow wand.

We visited during Halloween at Disneyland so there were extra food and treats on offer especially. One of these was the Mickey Mummy Macaron, from the Jolly Holiday Bakery. The macaron was cookies and creme flavour. It was great but too big for me to finish.

Another quick service restaurant we ate at was Red Rose Tavern. This is in Fantasyland and is themed to Beauty & The Beast, so trying The Grey Stuff is a must! We also a Slow Cooked Beef Poutine each, which was really filling for the price.

We ate at Disneyland most but Disney California Adventure still had some really great places to eat. I really wanted to eat at Pacific Wharf cafe as they had a bacon and cheddar soup for the Halloween period but we didn't get round to it.

The table service we made reservations in advance for was Wine Country Trattoria. This was the priciest of all the places we ate at in Disneyland but it was worth the money. Glenn had steak and I had Chicken Parmesan. We both had desert too. The cocktails here are really strong!

Mickey Pretzels might be more instaworthy but we both had a jalapeno cheese filled pretzel each instead. 

As if one cheese filled bread wasn't enough, we split a Cheddar Garlic Bagel Twist an hour later from Cozy Cone Motel. We also tried Red's Apple Freeze which we weren't really a fan of. 

We had drinks at the Lamplight Lounge. Food is available here but we stuck to drinks. There's so many to choose from but again, the drinks here are strong!

Have you ate at any of these places in Disneyland? Let me know in the comments below!


10 November 2018

Sephora, Ulta & Duty Free Haul.

Ulta and Sephora were on my must visit list while in America. Dragging Glenn round three different sephoras and two different ultas was probably not the best idea but there was only mild complaining. I definitely spent more than I probably should have...

Elizabeth Arden Fragrance Free Eight Hour Cream
I picked this up at duty free because I had some dollars left over. Now we're heading into the winter months, I know my dry skin will be even worse. I've been applying this to my lips before bed and I can already notice a difference.

Benefit Hoola Lite
This has been on my wishlist for a while so I got this a duty free with my remaining dollars. This bronzer is aimed at those with fair or pale skin.

Bliss Makeup Melt
Another product I picked up at the airport. Bliss is a brand I've wanted to try properly for a while. The only thing I've used before and still use regularly is the Fabulips lip balm.

Kat Von D Fetish Eyeshadow Palette
I knew I wanted this palette as soon as I saw it on instagram before we even left the UK. For the first week we were there, it wasn't in stores and only on the Sephora website. Two days before we came home, we went in the Sephora in Downtown Disney and it was in store. And I got the last one!

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
I ran out of my travel size of this a few days into our holiday so I picked this up as it was a necessity. 

Josie Maran Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation in Dynamic
I knew I wanted this foundation before we left. It's almost impossible to get hold of this in the UK unless you're willing to spend £80 on it! I've been loving using this. It's not cakey and it sits on my skin beautifully.

Bite Sephora Birthday Gift
I got this free for joining beauty insider. It includes samples of the lip scrub and lip balm plus two minis of the lip crayon and a mini lipstick. I've already worn the lipstick since I've been back and it's the perfect autumn shade.

Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer
Another one that was on my list to get. I've really been liking this and I love the scent of it. It reminds me of being on a hot beach.

Ecotools Total Perfecting Blender
Another one I knew I wanted, most of these were on my list due to watching Thataylaa on youtube. I haven't got round to trying this yet and the only reason for that is I also made a last minute purchase at the tills in Ulta.

Beauty Blender Original
I finally gave in. I've always held back from trying out the original beauty blender just because it seems so expensive for what it is. These were right by the till in Ulta and I couldn't help myself.

Catrice Prime and Fine Smoothing Refiner
Catrice was one of the brands I was most interested in checking out and I didn't hesitate in picking up this primer.

Catrice Prime and Fine Professional Contouring Palette in Ashy Radiance
I've heard great things about this contour palette, especially from those with pale skin so I picked two up to keep me going for the next year. I also wanted to get the Dewy Setting spray from Catrice but it wasn't in store.

BH Cosmetics Naturally Flawless Liquid Foundation in Ivory
I honestly don't know what possessed me to buy this, it was spur of the moment decision and I'm not wowed by this foundation but it's always good to have a foundation to use so I don't have to use my more expensive ones all the time.

L-R: Neutrogena HydroBoost in Classic Ivory, BH foundation in Ivory.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint in Classic Ivory
I bought this as I have dry skin and thought it would be good to use on work days rather than a proper foundation. I like it but I bought the lightest shade and it's slightly too dark for me.

Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder in Fair Light
I don't need any more loose powders but I'd heard good things about this and as it isn't available in the UK, I thought I may as well get it!

Too Faced Gingerbread Spice Eyeshadow Palette
I didn't have any intention of buying this but I picked it up to look at it and set off the security tag alarm. One of the employees had to take it behind the till to sort it out and I felt so bad that when I was paying I said I'd buy it. You can never have too many eyeshadow palettes, right?

Too Faced Melted Matte Liquid Lipstick in Gingerbread Girl
Melted Matte are one of my favourite formulas of liquid lipsticks and I originally wanted to get my hands on Gingerbead Man but it wasn't in stock so I picked Gingerbread Girl up instead. This is darker than Gingerbread Man but is still such a me shade.

So that's all the makeup and beauty I bought while in America. I did a fair bit of damage but it was worth it!
Have you tried any of these?