27 August 2018

Glossybox VS Birchbox, August 2018.

Another month, another battle of the UK's most popular beauty boxes. Birchbox and Glossybox both cost £10 per month, with postage costing £2.95 for Birchbox and £3.25 for Glossybox. 

The box design for Birchbox this month is in collaboration with ten Etsy sellers, who've each designed a box. Mine was was designed by Jade Fisher Card Co.
As usual, there are five products and two of those are full size. First up is Dirty Little Secret Eye Shadow Crayon in Fetch. (full size RRP £10.50) I'm not a massive fan of cream eyeshadows but I really like the shade of this so this will be good for travelling. The second makeup product is CLE Cosmetics Melting Lip Powder in Red Cherry. I'm in awe of this, I don't understand how it works! It's powder but as soon as you swatch it, it transforms into a liquid formula. My favourite product of this month!
Dr. Botanicals Pomegranate Superfood Regenerating Sleeping Mask (full size RRP £14.90) is a product I'm excited about trying. I received a Dr. Botanicals product in a previous Glossybox and loved it, so I have high hopes for this.
I'm not a fan of receiving hair products in beauty boxes so I was disappointed with Luseta Beauty Keratin Smooth ConditionerI'm a big fan of Rituals showed foams so I was happy to see Rituals Happy Budha Foaming Shower Gel.

CLE Red Cherry, DLS Fetch.

This is the best birchbox I've had since January, one of two boxes where I've liked the majority of the products. The sneak peek for September is Benefit Box O' Powder in either Galifornia or Gold Rush, which subscribers get to choose between.

The August Glossybox is themed for Pride Month and features SIX FULL SIZE products! The total value of all the products is about £54 so you're getting value for money with this box.

First up is Rimmel Ink Me Stamp & Sticker Tattoos (full size, £4.99 each.) I won't use the sticker tattoos so I'll be giving them away but I like the heart shaped ink stamp. The second makeup product is Trifle Cosmetics Lip & Cheek Jam (full size RRP £17.50) The idea of using this on my cheeks scares me a little so I think I'll stick to using this as a lip tint. The  Kaleido Cosmetics Astrolight Highlighter (full size RRP £13) is way too dark for my pale skin but I might give it a try on my eyelids as the colour is stunning! Another product that scares me is 3ina The shadow Paint in 703 (full size RRP £8.95) so I don't think I'll be keeping this one. The last product and the only skincare one is Victoria's Secret Pink Let's Pre-Glam Perfecting Face Mask (full size RRP £5). I love sheet masks so I'm pleased about this.

Rimmel Ink Me Stamp, 3Ina 703, Kaleido Astrolight, Trifle Lip & Cheek Jam.

The sneak peek for next month's Glossybox is Bang Beauty Eyebrow Cream. It'll be interesting to see if every subscriber gets the right shade they need in this, as you do fill in a questionnaire when you first join. Fingers crossed!

I can't decided which box I like more this month, which is a first! You do get more value for money with Glossybox but I like the products in both boxes.
Which box do you think is better?


9 August 2018

Planning a Holiday to Los Angeles.

With only 43 days to go until Glenn and I board a plane headed for LAX, I thought it was time to talk about our planning process, who we booked with and all that jazz. Obviously the first thing to get sorted before heading to the US is your ESTA application. After that, you're good to get booking.

We booked our flights before anything else. We originally looked at Norwegian air as I'd heard that they did pretty cheap flights. The reviews for the airline were all over the place and it definitely put us off. We checked out Virgin Atlantic next and that was out of our budget. We ended up booking with British Airways which was more or less the same price as Norwegian. We also booked our car hire with our flights.

We looked into hotels, but the ones in our price range didn't suit us or weren't in a nice area and we all also had to factor in extra parking costs. A much better idea and the way we ended up doing it, was booking an AirBnB for the first 9 nights. The one we chose has off street parking and is in a residential area of Eagle Rock, about a twenty minute drive from Downtown LA.

For the last five nights, we'll be staying in one of Disneyland's Good Partner hotels in Anaheim. There's plenty of hotels within walking distance if you're planning on hitting the original Disney park on a SoCal trip. We filtered the choice by looking at which hotels offered free parking and weren't too pricey. We'll be staying in the Wyndham Gardens Anaheim which was recently refurbished from a Ramada Plaza Hotel. It's so close that you can see parts of Disney California Adventure from some rooms.

When it came to buying tickets for places we wanted to visit on our trip, we used Attraction Tickets Direct. I used the same company last year for PortAventura tickets and it was one of the cheapest places I found for those. This time we bought 5-day Disneyland park hopper tickets and 5 day Go Los Angeles cards. The Go Los Angeles are print at home tickets and the Disney tickets were posted to us quickly. The Go Los Angeles cards are a great money saving way to hitting up multiple attractions as there's about 40 to choose from. You can visit more than one attraction in the same day as long as you enter before 5:30pm. Some require making reservations beforehand, but I found ringing ahead easy and was sent email confirmations straight away. The passes are available in 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 day options, with Universal Studios Hollywood only included on passes or 3 days or more. Aswell as Universal, we will be using our passes to go whale watching and visiting Warner Brothers studio, Sony Pictures studio, The Queen Mary, Long Beach Aquarium, San Diego Zoo and maybe some of the smaller attractions if we have time.

We've also applied for tickets to watch The Late Late show with James Corden being filmed but haven't heard if we've been successful yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

We've been changing some money every month instead of doing it in one go before we leave. I use MoneySavingExpert.com to find where has the best exchange rates on those days. I've found Tui to be the most convenient for us, as it's local and has one of the better rates. 

I'll definitely be doing some posts once our trip is over, probably a couple of hauls as the idea of shopping at Sephora and Ulta has me pretty excited already. 

Have you visited LA? Do you have any tips or recommendations?


5 August 2018

What I've Been Reading: July 2018.

July was a very heavy YA month. Despite hitting the big three-oh at the end of last year, I'm not gunna stop reading YA, as I find it really enjoyable. Some books I couldn't finish but I won't be mentioning those in this post. Some were predictable, some I didn't like and there was one clear favourite.

Sophie & Carter
Chelsea Fine
Current Kindle price: £2.12

"A girl. A boy. A porch swing.
Sometimes life breaks your heart.
And sometimes the boy next door puts it back together."

This is just a short novella but I really liked it. I've never read anything by Chelsea Fine before so this was a good introduction. I'd be interested in reading more books by her. The synopsis doesn't really give anything away but both Sophie and Carter have difficult living situations and support each other through it. A good, quick read!

99 Days
Katie Cotugno
Current Kindle price: 99p

"Last year Molly Barlow did something terrible.
Then, her mother wrote a book about it.
And so everyone in their tiny hometown found out that Molly cheated on her childhood sweetheart, the love of her life, her best friend with his brother.
After spending senior year at a boarding school in the middle of nowhere, Molly now has ninety-nine days to endure back in her hometown before she can escape to college.
Ninety-nine days of being the most hated person in town.
Ninety-nine days to heal the hurt she's caused.
Ninety-nine days to figure out what she wants, and who she loves..."

Honestly, although I actually finished this, I hated this. There is nothing redeeming or likable about the majority of the characters and as couples, they were even worse. I'm glad I only paid 99p for this. A frustrating read that was ultimately a disappointment. I won't be reading the sequel.

Cross My Heart
Katie Klein
Current Kindle Price: £2.49

"True love can blossom in unexpected places. This is Jaden pretending not to notice...
Jaden McEntyre and Parker Whalen are a wrong fit from the start. Jaden is driven and focused, Harvard Med School within reach. Parker has a past- a reputation- and the rumours about his mysterious habits abound. So there's no reason why, when they're assigned to work together on a project in English, they should discover they have nothing in commin, or even like each other, and they definitely shouldn't be falling in love.
As they bond over Edith Wharton's tragic novella, Ethan Frome, the 'bad boy' vibe Parker plays begins to dissipate. Soon, Jaden finds herself shedding her own 'good girl' image: sneaking around to be with him, confiding in him, and ultimately falling hard for this leather-wearing, motorcycle-driving loner who plays into the rebel stereptype.
Still, Jaden can't shake the feeling that there's more to Parker than he's letting on. He's hiding something from her, and discovering the truth means reconciling the Parker she'd grown to love with the person he really is. Because it's possible that his life inside the classroom- everything Jaden knows- is one, massive lie."

I'm on the fence with this one. It was written really well but a little predictable... until the truth about Parker is revealed. The twist comes out of nowhere and it's written that way, almost like the author hadn't decided where to go with this until she got to that specific chapter. I probably wouldn't recommend this, there are way better YA books out there.

The Truth About Alice
Jennifer Mathieu
Current Kindle price: £2.99

"There are all sorts of rumours about Alice Franklin. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumours start to spiral out of control blaming Alice for Brandon's death.
In this remarkable novel, four Healy high students- the party girl, the car accident survivor, the ex best friend and the boy next door- tell all they know.
But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself."

I'd previously read Moxie by the same author so I had high expections for this. I definitely preferred Moxie but I really liked this too. It had a strong message about slut shaming and is something teens of today will relate to. On the back of this and moxie, Jennifer Mathieu is now up there with some of my favourite authors.

We Are Young
Cat Clarke
Current kindle price: £2.99

"It starts with a wedding. And a car crash.

On the same night Evan's mother marries local DJ 'Breakfast Tim', Evan's brand-new step-brother Lewis is found unconscious and terribly injured, the only survivor of a horrific car crash.
A media storm erupts, with the finger of blame pointed firmly at loner stoner Lewis. Everyone else seems to think the crash was drugs-related, but Evan isn't buying it. With the help of her journalist dad, Harry, she decides to find out what really happened that night.
As Evan delves deeper into the lives of the three teenagers who died in the crash, she uncovers some disturbing truths and a secret that threatens to tear her family- and the community- apart."

This was the stand out book for July and it will probably be one of the best books I'll read this whole year. It's only been out for a couple of months so you may not of heard of this yet, but this is definitely a book you need to know about. It deals with mental health in teenagers and I was gripped from the very first chapter. I've read a few of Cat Clarke's book before and I've enjoyed all of them but this is the best by far. I can't recommend it enough.

Alex, Approximately
Jenn Bennett
Current Kindle price: 99p

"Bailey 'Mink' Rydell has met the boy of her dreams. They share a love of films and talk all day- Alex is perfect. Well, apart from the fact that they've never actually met... and neither of them knows the other's real name.
When Bailey moves to California to live with her dad, who happens to live in the same town as Alex, she decides to use her sleuthing skills to find him. But tracking someone down based on online conversations alone proves harder than Bailey thought, and with her irritating but charismatic colleague Porter Roth distracting her at every turn, will she ever get to meet the mysterious Alex?"

I feel the same about this as I do about Cross My Heart. Written well but predictable. Even from the synopsis, you can probably already tell that, spoiler, Porter is Alex. I would have found this more interesting to be thrown a curveball and have Alex be someone else entirely.

Want to check out what I've been reading in past months?
June 2018.
May 2018.

What were you reading in July? Tell me in the comments so I can check them out please.