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.