29 April 2018

Glossybox vs. Birchbox, April 2018.

Another month, two more boxes to compare. Birchbox's is an exciting collaboration with Cath Kidston with a beautiful box to boot while Glossybox has an exclusive product that hasn't even launched yet!

Birchbox is £10 a month plus £2.95 for P&P. Contents vary between subscribers depending on your answers you fill out in your beauty profile when you first sign up. Each box contains 5 products, so lets get into what I got.

ModelCo Baked Highlighter in Frose (sample size)
I was really excited about this product as this was the sneak peek for April and we got to choose the shade. I went for Frose as I thought it would suit my pale complexion better than the other shade available. That excitement turned to disappointment when I saw how tiny the product is! The pink marbled throughout the highlighter blends with the main icy white shade so I think this would work better as a glowy blush rather than a highlighter to accentuate cheek bones.

Beautaniq Beauty Fill + Tame Brow Gel in Brunette (full size RRP £8.60)
According to the booklet that comes in the box, this is available in Blonde, Brunette and Black. Despite checking Black for eyebrows on my beauty profile, I got the shade Brunette. I can still make it work but this is the second time in 4 boxes where something hasn't matched my profile.

Cath Kidston Hand Cream (Birchbox exclusive)
I'll always have use for a good hand cream so I'm pleased with this. The scent is really nice and its a handbag friendly size.

Beauty Protector Protect and Volume (sample size)
I haven't tried this yet as I'm not a huge fan of receiving hair products in beauty boxes.

Birchbox Brush Cleaner (Fullsize RRP £5)I already own a brush cleaner so I passed this product along as I don't have any use for it.

Glossybox is £10 a month plus £3.25 P&P. Contents can vary between subscribers but you'll always get value for money here. Each box contains 5 products so lets get into what I got.

ModelCo x Karl Lagerfeld Baked Blush in Light Beige (Full Size, early Glossybox exclusive)How exciting is this, an early exclusive and the launch date hasn't even been released yet! This is a gorgeous champagne shade that I've been using as a highlight despite the box saying blush. I love it!

MDMFlow Liquid Matte Lipstick in Empire State (Full size, RRP £19)
I'm loving this aswell. It's a dark pink nude shade that I can see myself reaching for a lot. It wears comfortably on the lips without being drying. 

Affect Cosmetics Matt Effect Transparent Loose Rice Powder (Full size RRP £9.35)
I haven't opened this yet as I want to use up my Mac Prep & Prime loose powder first but this is something I'll definitely use.

Eyeko London FAT Liquid Eyeliner (Full size, RRP £16)
I don't wear eyeliner that often as I have hooded eyelids so this is going to be passed on. I have used the thinner version of this in the past and I remember liking it.

Botanics All Bright Micellar Cleansing Water (Full size, RRP £5.49)
I'm really enjoying using this. It's replaced my Garnier Micellar Water as my everyday cleanser.

Overall, Glossybox offers better value for money featuring five full sized products and a value totaling over £50. Birchbox features more sample sizes with a total value around the £15 mark. Glossybox was more makeup heavy which is definitely what I prefer in a beauty box.

The sneak peeks for May don't really excite me much, so much that I didn't pick a specific shade in my Birchbox choice. I just asked to be surprised as I don't mind either way. I am running low on shampoo so Glossybox's will come in handy.

Have you had either of these boxes? What did you think to April's products?


2 April 2018

What I've Been Reading: March 2018.

I'm finally back in my reading groove. I read 8 books in March, there were some I liked, one I loved and a few that left me underwhelmed.

Their Friend Scarlet
Victoria Kahler
Current Kindle price: 99p

"Mina and Elissa Bello have endured high school at snobby San Marino Academy with the help of their best friend, Scarlet Price. Now, Elissa and Scarlet are going off to college, leaving Mina to deal with her senior year alone.
Mina is sure it's going to be a long, lonely year, biding her time until she too graduates from high school. Soon, though, she finds herself sparring with the new kid, Diego, who seems to somehow know her every move and her every insecurity. He also seems obsessed with the identity of her secret crush, Adam Price, the town's star basketball player and Scarlet's brother.
Meanwhile, Elissa tries to adjust to college with Scarlet as her roommate. Their dorm room is a mess and so is Elissa's class schedule! And, she'd like some advice concerning her enigmatic coworker, Cy, but Scarlet is too bust launching into the university's social life.
The Bello sisters have always been close, but now they're miles apart. They wonder if they can keep hold of their bond to each other and the fragile connection to their friend Scarlet."

This was an easy read but it didn't blow me away or was it particularly exciting. It took me four days to finish this as it couldn't hold my attention for long. It's not bad but I wouldn't recommend it.

Back To You
Priscilla Glenn
Current Kindle price: £2.41

"When Lauren Monroe first laid eyes on Michael Delaney back in high school, she had every reason to stay away from him; within minutes of their first encounter, his volatile actions confirmed his notorious reputation. But Lauren saw something in him that caused her to question his bad-boy persona, and against her better judgement, she took a chance. She had no way of knowing that the unlikely friendship they formed would become so important to her.
Or that it would end so painfully.
Eight years later, when Lauren begins her new job at Learn and Grow Day Care, Michael is the last person she expects to see. Refusing to revisit the hurt and confusion of their past, Lauren vows to keep her distance from him. But staying away from Michael proves to be more difficult than she thought, despite her lingering grief and her instincts for self-preservation.
As Lauren and Michael recall the friendship that changed them forever and the events that tore them apart, will they finally be able to heal? Or will the ghosts of Michael's past prove to be too much to overcome?"

I really didn't enjoy this. The main characters aren't particularly likable and the story is predictable in places. Then there's all the different character point of views, past and present. It was just work to actually make it to the end.

Never Never, part 1.
Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Current Kindle Price: Not available, the complete series is available for £2.22 though.

"Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. Complete strangers since this morning. He'll do anything to remember. She'll do anything to forget."

I only bought the first part of this series and since then, the full series is available as one. If I'd bought that I probably would have carried on but this first part failed to grip me enough to pay for the final two parts. It's an interesting story but I had a look at reviews for parts 2 & 3, saw spoilers and decided it wasn't worth my time. This is second time I've read something by Colleen Hoover and thought it was just okay. Didn't hate it, didn't love it.

Thizz Series
Nicole Loufas
Current Kindle Price: £1.99 for Thizz, 99p for The Illusion of Ecstasy.

"The past year hasn't been kind to Dani, which is why she is reluctant to make any real connections in her last few months of high school. The only hitch in her plan is that she has fallen in love. But where is that love best directed? Is it with her friend Matt, her new boyfriend Nick or the Ecstasy (Thizz) she takes to make life bearable? When an enemy from her past reappears, Dani must shake off her dependencies, both emotional and chemical, and fight for her life."

I really enjoyed this series, though I preferred the second book. It took me 3 days to finish both books, which shows how quickly I sped through them. There are so many different characters in these but it was easy to keep up with who was who. This series was a great read, a definite recommend.

Summer Nights
J. M. Sevilla
Current Kindle price: £2.11

"Hannah Malone grew up in an extremely conservative, faith-based household. Everything she wore and did was dictated for her. Though she was the perfect obedient child, inside she wanted more, with a hunger for life that had yet to be satisfied.
Daniel Shepard drank too much, smoked, slept around, swore like it's a language all on its own, and fought whenever the feeling struck him.
Despite their vastly different lives, the two find each other and share a connection they both try to ignore. Until the day comes that they can't fight it anymore...
Summer Nights is a forbidden love story about a girl who has never been allowed what she wants, until she makes a bold move and takes it; but with every decision, there are repercussions. Is Hannah willing to make the sacrifice? Some answers aren't that simple; some answers have you choosing between the man you love and the family who will never allow the life you see with him."

I finished this in a couple of days and I really enjoyed Hannah and Daniel's story. I hadn't read anything by this author before so this was a good introduction. The ending was a touch anti-climatic and I found my self getting confused between all the different boys in Daniel's group of friends but apart from that, it was a really good read.

Stephanie: One. Life. Lived.
Melissa Service
Current Kindle Price: £1.99

"Music... Drugs... Redemption.
Josh Jacobs...
I've heard it said that life can change in a second, but I disagree. From my experience, life changes in milliseconds, and every single moment of the day is about change. Sometimes the change is for the better, and sometimes for the worse.
Stephanie Carlisle...
I scowled at the reflection and took a long drag from the joint that had made its way to the front seat, blowing smoke in the girl's face and wishing she would take her perky smile and perfectly lined teeth somewhere else. I also wondered if her parents knew where she was and what she, or rather, I, was about to do.

Stephanie Carlisle is a musically gifted, but troubled teen. After being delivered from a life of drugs and alcohol, she becomes an inspiration to a subculture that most of society would like to forget. When she befriends the equally talented, but troubled Josh Jacobs, she learns that not every story has a happy ending."

This book was not for me. It was way too religion heavy for the sake of it and if I'd known that, I wouldn't have bought it in the first place.

Silent Victim
Caroline Mitchell
Current Kindle price: £3.98

"Emma's darkest secrets are buried in the past. But the truth can't stay hidden for long.
Emma is a loving wife, a devoted mother... and an involuntary killer. For years she's been hiding the dead body of the teacher who seduced her as a teen.
It's a secret that might have stayed buried if only her life had been less perfect. A promotion for Emma's husband, Alex, means they can finally move to a bigger home with their young son. But with a buyer lined up for their old house, Emma can't leave without destroying every last trace of her final revenge...
Returning to the shallow grave in the garden, she finds it empty. The body is gone.
Panicked, Emma confesses to her husband. But this is only the beginning. Soon, Alex will discover things about her he'll wish he'd learned sooner. And other he'll long to forget."

No contest, favourite book of the month! This was great, kept me guessing throughout and had a satisfying ending that tied everything up nicely.

What were you reading in March?