Birchbox UK January 2018

Birchbox UK January 2018 unboxing

It’s a new year already and Christmas celebrations (with all the feasts and parties) passed long ago.  Diets have begun, gym memberships are back to being active and even my Birchbox UK January 2018 is on a New Year kick.  It’s time to focus on the year ahead.

Most people are done with getting all glammed up this month, unlike last month when we received a number of sparkling treasures from Birchbox. But that’s not to say we can’t make time to pamper ourselves.  Find out what I received below!

Birchbox UK January 2018 unboxing

Birchbox UK January 2018 kick starts the new year with the theme Stand Tall.  (Figuratively speaking of course, as I’m only 5ft 2.)  And as it’s the time of year to get organised, Birchbox UK have teamed up with British stationary brand Ohh Deer.  Namely because stationary = getting organised!

As for resolutions, instead of the usual babble like ‘get fitter’ and ‘quit this or that’, Birchbox urge us to ‘rip up the resolution rulebook’ and embrace something we really enjoy.  If that means making a habit of trialling new beauty products then count me in!

Samples

This is what we’re all here for; the samples.  Birchbox subscribers knew they’d be receiving a full size Lord & Berry Blusher Crayon since being given the choice of two colours.  So let’s get down to the details!

Birchbox UK January 2018 samples

  • Lord & Berry Blusher Crayon (FULL SIZE!)
    I’ve owned blusher sticks before, but blusher crayons?  Trying it straight out of the box it’s surprisingly creamy and quite blendable too.  There’s no going overboard with it either, I drew a few lines on my cheeks (something I never thought I’d say) and used my fingers to blend, which left me with a natural-looking flush that was quite easy to master.
  • Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner in Charcoal
    Here’s another product that’s soft and smooth to apply.  Grey is a welcoming twist on the classic black for me, being so pale le noir can look too harsh at times.  I don’t often wear pencil eyeliner on my upper lid out of frustration from making a mess.  However, this glided on and, more importantly, stayed on.
  • Thermaliv Night Cream
    I usually reach for oil (over a cream) for my night time regime.  But this could be a game changer.  The collagen production boosting and vitamin E ingredients are what drew me in and oh my word, it’s a pleasure to apply.  Waking up the day after my skin felt blissfully smooth and I couldn’t wait to apply it again the same evening.
  • Paul & Joe Beauty Primer in Dagree
    So, after some leaflet confusion I discovered what this product is and its intrigued me even more.  A hydrating beauty primer (I’m listening) with 3 types of hyaluronic acid (yes, my skin loves that stuff!) that absorb into the skin at different times during the day to keep my complexion hydrated and boosted at all times (okay – sold!).  On first impressions, it definitely does what it says on the tin (bottle) and packs a dewy glow to boot.
  • Afterspa Amazing Makeup Remover
    Amazingly – get it – this works!  Admittedly, I was dubious at first whether a cloth and just water could break down and remove ALL of my make up.  (Including foundation.)  Even my usual makeup remover still leaves me with panda eyes in the morning.  But I was proved utterly wrong when I woke up without looking an inch like Robert Smith.  (Joy!)  This will come in handy when I stumble in after a night-out and can’t be bother to cleanse, tone, zzzz….

Added Little Extras

When I hear the tune of a Birchbox collaboration, I always look forward to the added little extras and there’s been a few this month.  Of course we, as Birchbox subscribers, have come to expect a little discount with the brand collaborator – 20% off at Ohh Dear can tick that off nicely.

On top of that however, for a discounted fee we were also sent the flamingo adorned weekly planner as well as some stickers that are both fabulous.

Birchbox UK January 2018 added extras

The added LOC Shadow sticks were a thank you for recommending a friend who signed up.  Another bonus if you managed to recruit more Birchbox subscribers!

Box round up

Well I think it’s fair to say I’m quite chuffed with this box.  Having tried all of the items already I don’t think there’s one weak link in here.  Birchbox UK January 2017 – you have started the year on a happy note!

The fun hasn’t ended here either (spoiler alert for next month coming up).  Another full-size product will be waiting for us in February’s box in the form of a Keeome (remember them?) Silicone Buff makeup applicator.  Give me some of that South Korean beauty good stuff!

Not a Birchbox subscriber?  Sign up here and get 50% off your first box!

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I have not been paid by, sponsored by or asked by Birchbox to make this blog post or video in any way – I just do it for the love!

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My Reading Challenge 2017: did I make it?

My failed Reading Challenge 2017

If you judge how late this blog post is then you’ve probably guessed already that I didn’t complete my Reading Challenge 2017.  Well, you guessed right, I didn’t – I may as well confirm this now.  Although it does start this blog post on a rather bad note, doesn’t it?

Oh well, I’m disappointed (and kind of embarrassed) that this is the second year in a row I’ve not managed to complete a Reading Challenge.  In my defence, I’ve had quite a busy year.  But let’s lift those spirits up a little bit and talk about the books!

Reading Challenge 2017

My Reading Challenge 2017 (what I actually managed…)

17.  Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Apologies to Reese Witherspoon, but Wild (the film) didn’t urge me to read the book.  It wasn’t until I listened to Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete podcast with Cheryl Strayed that I really wanted to read it. But not only this book, but other books Strayed has written too.  For purposes of my Reading Challenge 2017 however I’ll stick to this one.  (Well the truth is I’ve only read this one.)  It’s an epic true story of when Cheryl walked the Pacific Crest Trail – from California to Oregon, and how the pieces of her life fell away and lead to her decision to do it.  An incredible and at times emotional tale, I’m so glad I listened to that podcast otherwise I may have never read it.

18.  Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon
Oh look at that – this wasn’t even planned!  I probably couldn’t wait any longer before I dove straight into Emma Gannon’s memoir on how she grew up online. (Again, this read wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for her podcast.)  Emma and I are the same age, so plenty of the memories in this book and cringeworthy moments are quite familiar to me.  If you’re part of the generation that chatted to friends on MSN Messenger and learnt minor coding from designing your MySpace page, you need to read this book.

Reading_Challenge_2017

19.  Paris by Lonely Planet
Is it cheating to put a travel guide in my Reading Challenge 2017?  To be honest, I discovered Lonely Planet when I was backpacking and some of them are written so poetically, it’s like reading a novel anyway.  So that’s why I included this.  Plus I had my nose buried in it nearly every morning, whilst on the metro and in the evening when I was in Paris.  Just as lovely, yet informative, as their Asian counterparts that I’ve read, with some beautiful descriptions of Paris.  I usually never go on holiday without one.

20.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Have you noticed a pattern here?  I watch a movie, like it, then want to read the book.  I’ve got to say this one was definitely as good as the film, if not better.  The casting was also spot on with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, but I’ll keep to my review of the book.  Written fantastically from the perspective of two different characters; husband and wife.  If you don’t know the story (which lucky you if you don’t) it’ll keep you guessing and hit you with some twists you won’t see coming.  A story I couldn’t put down, even when I was in Paris.

21.  Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
One of the reasons I wasn’t able to finish my reading challenge could be down to a few chunky books I’ve tried to get myself through before the end of the year.  Such as Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run.  I love Bruce, but he had me reading 528 pages to get to know more about him.  I don’t hold it against him though, as every story and memory was written in the same beautiful way he writes his songs.  He sets the scene on his trips and shows across America, throwing in his thoughts and feelings in a way that’s inescapable to think and feel just as he does.  I love Bruce even more after reading it.

Reading Challenger 2017

Total: 21/25 books read

So I didn’t make it, but I’ve read some pretty good books on the way.  One of the biggest things that slowed me down was getting stuck trying to read a book I wasn’t enjoying, which was rather chunky.  This was much earlier on in the year and although I felt I was catching up after the summer, I was short of just 4 books to completing my Reading Challenge 2017.  (3 if I pulled my socks up more during Christmas.)

Will I lower my amount of books to read in 2018?  Rather stupidly no, actually.  2018 will be the last year of my twenties, so I think it’s kind of apt to aim for 30.  If I stick to books I both enjoy and are not too big, I can make it!  What have you been reading?

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See ya 2017!

Happy new year!  I’ve already been back at work for four days (and survived), yet 2018 is already getting ahead of me.  I’ve posted about what I got for Christmas, but my 2017 highlights?  Ahh wait a second – I need to start looking back first!

This probably sums up how 2017 felt for me; quick!  Although I’ve made some pretty big achievements this year (okay, at least one comes to mind…) its passed so quickly, I’m not sure if they’ve really sunk in yet.

This is definitely something I’m guilty of as soon as New Year rings in I’m ready and focused (most of the time) on what I want to achieve in that upcoming year.  Instead I should be taking a breather and appreciating what I achieved in the year before it… it’s an endless cycle.  Here’s taking a stab at that, or simply my 2017 highlights!

Buying a house 🏠

I’ve been dipping out of other 2017 highlights posts that have been written in month order.  But screw that, I can’t wait until the end of summer to reminisce about David and I getting the keys to our first home together!

2017 highlights

We’d been saving for such a long time and it started to feel like we were never going to get on the property ladder.  But eventually, we scrapped together enough for a deposit and the whole process seemed to go through quite quickly.  (2017 was, as I said, quick!)

The next day we were literally ripping off the wallpaper and decorating our new place from scratch.  There’s still been some struggles on the way (particularly when building furniture from Ikea) and I don’t feel quite ready to post a house tour or video soon.  The house still has a long wag to go, but I feel relieved that we’re getting there, slowly but surely.  One payday at a time…  Oh and I used a drill for the first time.

2017 highlights selfie

Celebrations 🎉

There was plenty to celebration in 2017, including four weddings David and I attended!  (But no funerals thankfully!)  It’s always nice to share a special day with friends and it’s kind of surreal when that special day is your friends’ special day.

But, I can’t resist getting dressed up, because when else will I be able to?  (Spray tan, ASOS order and hair rollers in – check!)  I may have uploaded a few suited-and-booted couple snaps of David and I this year, which is a bonus (for me) as we don’t get many pictures of us.

David and I before a friend's wedding

We also celebrated David’s 30th this year – a date in the calendar he wasn’t too fussed about.  But instead of letting it pass by as ‘just another day’, I tried making it special for him.

One of the things I did was getting together with his parents making a photo album of his life so far.  (This sounds maybe a little too deep than as it sounds!)  It was a complete surprise for him, which he loved, before we swiftly enjoyed a few beverages at a local beer festival.

2017 highlights with my boyfriend

Travel

Travel has been a big part of my life, but since we’ve been saving for a house sadly its had to take a backseat.  Regardless of that, I’ve luckily still managed to afford a few short breaks this year.

I always have a great time when I meet up with my friend Lisa, a girl I’d met and lived with when I went backpacking.  We’ve met up every year ever since and this time we met in the French capital; Paris!  (Paris is always a good idea.)

2017 highlights Paris

Being my third time in the city, it was nice to see Lisa’s first Paris visit she soon fell in love with too.  Plus I got to see some more of Paris I missed last time, like the Palace of Versailles and going on top of the Arc de Triomphe.

David and I also managed to have a short break away together. Just after I got back from Paris (and moving into our house – it was an expensive end to the year!) we headed for Belgium, on an altogether different trip.

Tyne Cot Cemetary

We drove to Belgium and explored the First World War history in the area of Ypres.  This is a blog post I still need to write (it’s coming soon I promise!), but I realise it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.  However I think it’s still important to remember and learning more about the war when we were there felt incredibly humbling.

Both of these trips do have something in common though; I drove abroad for the first time!  This definitely feels like a huge achievement, as I was feeling quite nervous about doing it.  But in another post I’m yet to write, it was a big confidence boost for me and I’m already thinking about where I’d like to drive to in Europe next!

Music

Ever since 2015, I’ve tried to make it to Glastonbury every year and make it to Glastonbury this year I did!  Although buying our tickets through the resale, it was a teeth clenching time to say the least.  (If you’ve ever had the stress of buying a Glastonbury ticket through the resale then you’ll know.  You’ll just know.)

2017_highlights_Glastonbury

All of the panic was worth it though and I had another unforgettable time at Glastonbury.  From surviving the heat wave on the first day to dancing to Craig David’s Pyramid set, it was awesome.  There’ll certainly be a Glastonbury shaped hole this year, its fallow year.

There’s another gig I can’t miss out as one of my 2017 highlights too – Demon Dayz Festival at Dreamland Margate.  I live not far from Margate and I’ve been surprised (and delighted) at seeing how many big acts the seaside town has managed to pull in not just this year, but in the past few years.

2017 highlights Demon Dayz Festival

I bought tickets in a matter of minutes since hearing Gorillaz confirm Demon Dayz festival.  With a banging new album released (my official review) it was a day I was looking forward to and it lived up to expectations.

My brother and I went together, enjoyed a Red Stripe at Ziggy’s Rooftop Bar (pictured above) before heading into Dreamland and genuinely having an awesome day.  I love you, Margate!

Sunset behind Ferris Wheel at Dreamland Margate

Looking forward

Although I think 2018 might be a year where the dust settles (from all the busyness), this doesn’t mean it’ll be any less quiet.  I’m soon to be 29, which means 2018 will be the last year of my twenties (!) and I don’t plan to waste it.

This month I’ll be drawing up my ’30 before 30′ list with fun, yet practicle goals I aim to tick off throughout the year.  Watch this space.

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What I got for Christmas 2017

What I got for Christmas 2017

It’s New Years Eve, everyone’s posting their 2017 highlights and I’m playing catch up with my What I got for Christmas 2017 write-up.  Okay, so maybe I’ve indulged a bit this holiday season.  When I have managed to peel myself off the sofa, I’ve been busy enjoying a few drinks with friends, or dining out, as opposed to just eating-everything-in-sight at home.  I just can’t stop eating.  Full-stop.

So despite me being behind everyone’s schedule (apparently), my 2017 highlights will be delayed until it’s no longer 2017 so I can embrace the ‘better late than never’ spirit and show you what I got for Christmas first!

What I got for Christmas 2017 flat lay

A few surprises…

Apparently, I’m a ‘difficult person’ to buy presents for.  Every year, my friends and family usually ask me what I want for Christmas, which means I’ve also grown used to a lack of surprises on Christmas Day.

It was eerily quiet this year though.  When we were entering mid-December I still wasn’t asked one question about what I want to see wrapped up in pretty paper this year.  So when I said ‘I really wasn’t expecting this’, I really meant I wasn’t expecting this!  (As I didn’t know what to expect.)

Example; as I unwrapped and caught a glimpse of a GoPro logo I let out a gasp and stared blankly at my boyfriend for at least 2 long seconds in disbelief.  (A happy disbelief though, of course.)  I gave a similar reaction when I unwrapped an iPad from my parents too – needless to say, I’ve done well on the technology front this year.

What I got for Christmas 2017

Gifts for Body & Mind

I can always count on my sister to get me a good read for Christmas.  This year she’s given me Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird,  a book I’ve ashamedly never read (I know!).  This will soon change in 2018, don’t worry.  I’m a lover of the sixties decade too, so In her own Fashion is guaranteed to keep me absorbed, along with the Woodstock soundtrack.  (Oh she also gave me a Rolling Stones patch and cute panda earrings on top of this!)

I’m definitely set for some good pampering sessions in the new year too, with David’s parents and grandparents spoiling me with a mixture of smellies.  An array of The Body Shop and Nature’s Ingredients will keep me exfoliated, moisturised and smelling pretty probably way into spring!

An incredibly thoughtful gift from David’s parents of new Dune ankle boots is already keeping my feet feeling happy and stylish, as well as…

What I got for Christmas 2017

Gifts for the home

With buying our first house this year, I was happy to see home inspired gifts, even from the person I share my ‘home’ with!  My feet will be kept warm and snug inside as well as out with the slippers David bought me.  Along with the gorgeous yellow furry throw (featured in all the above pictures and from David’s parents, but unfortunately I forgot to feature it in the video). You’ll find us hibernating on our sofa until warmer times whilst devouring the new Black Mirror series!

I’m keeping the festive cheer going too with my new reindeer adorned cereal bowl – because it would be a crime to hide it away until next year, right?!  Finally, David’s grandparents have kindly provided us with some funds to continue decorating our house too, which is a great help to us.  Ikea round 3?

Watch what I got for Christmas 2017:

Well that’s Christmas over and done with (why must it always pass by so quick?) and my last post of 2017 (ahh!).  Although I’ve not written one before, a ‘2017 highlights’ post will be up in the new year when I’m back to getting motivated (and finished eating all the leftovers in the fridge…).

Happy new year to any new and old readers of my blog, let’s see what 2018 brings!

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New Purchases Show & Tell – December 2017

New Purchases Show & Tell December 2017

As promised, I’ve brought you my New Purchases Show & Tell December 2017 earlier than usual.  The reason being is so that you can snoop at the the Christmas gifts I’ve got this year, for any of your last minute inspiration.

But don’t be thinking this is yet another Christmas gift guide; it’s not.  I’ve bought other things for myself too (as I did last year), although unlike last year I haven’t just ‘accidentally on purpose’ treated myself to a few things I want/need… Instead I’ve bought mine and David’s first Christmas decorations!

New Purchases Show & Tell December 2017

Bring on the Christmas gifts:

Call of Duty WW2 on Playstation 4 – 48 seconds in
Let’s start with the boyfriend – the one who I now live with and don’t trust to NOT go looking for these presents.  He probably already knows he’s getting this, well he did ask for it, but that’s not the point.  I’m a bit dubious that he may read this post or watch my video too, which if he does then that’ll definitely ruin the surprise for the next present…

Men’s Christmas Snowflake Onesie – 1:13 minutes in
As he knows what his main present will be (above), I had to get him a surprise gift of some sort – otherwise where’s the fun in seeing him opening his gifts?  So yep, that’s right, a Christmas onesie is definitely that kind of gift to surprise him with!  Hilariously, I’m not sure what his reaction will be to it, but I’ll update you after Christmas whether he wore it or not.

Swarovski Field Butterfly Pierced Earrings – 1:36 minutes in
Back to the more serious gifts.  Jewellery is always a winner, particularly stud earrings – the most wearable jewellery, if the giftee has their ears pierced of course.  That’s kind of essential.  Along with Swarovski being a brand that can make anyone go ‘Oooo’.

New purchases show & Tell December 2017

Jimmy Choo Eau de Parfum – 2:16 minutes in
Along with jewellery, you can’t go wrong with gifting someone perfume either.  Although with perfume being subjective it can be tricky when choosing which one to pick.  I know for a FACT my sister likes this perfume, since I’ve bought this for her a few years ago.  (So surely she must have used it and is in need for another one by now…)

Nina Ricci Miniature Set – 2:50 minutes in
If you’re not sure which perfume someone likes, this gift idea isn’t totally lost just yet.  If you can at least remember a brand they like then you’re onto the money!  For me I remember David’s mum mentioning a Nina Ricci perfume she liked, although I can’t remember which one exactly, but now she can have them all.  Plus this time if I ask which one she enjoyed the most I’ll note it down for a potential present next year.

Clarins Pampering Selection Set – 3:17 minutes in
There’s a part of me that doesn’t like how beauty-influenced my Christmas gifts are this year.  But you know what?  At least I know people will actually use these presents.  Like my Nan, who’s really not that fussy, but enjoys a nice bath.  Enter a Clarins bath set, her Christmas present; done and dusted!

New Purchases Show & Tell December 2017 Christmas

The Rolling Stones On Air – 3:33 minutes in
I can have a little more fun when shopping for my Dad’s Christmas presents.  As we have a similar taste in music and film, I know what he likes. With us being both Stones’ fans too I know he’ll appreciate this.  (Now I just hope he’ll lend me this to listen to, at one point…)

Game of Thrones House Stark T-Shirt – 4:04 minutes in
I find it both sweet and funny that my Dad likes to wear TV show t-shirts.  (He has a Hisenberg/Breaking Bad t-shirt that particularly makes me giggle.)  So I had to get him a Thrones t-shirt with one of his favourite quotes from the show.  (Sadly though, it’s not ‘you know nothing Jon Snow’…)

Christmas decorations – 4:17 minutes in
Excitingly, David and I bought are first ever Christmas decorations this year.  This weirdly feels like a big deal when you become a homeowner, as I spoke about in this post.  It’s like you’re investing into future Christmas’s, because think about it; Christmas decorations are pretty much kept until they break.  Could I be seeing these baubles again when I’m 40?  Quite possibly, and god that’s a crazy thought.

Next month/year…

I let out a little scream inside as I typed ‘next year’.  It feels like only yesterday when I filmed my New Purchases Show & Tell for January this year!  However, this just goes to show how time can pass so quickly and that I should focus on spending my money more wisely.

Next year will certainly include home-related purchases, but I also want to invest in better equipment for my blog and YouTube channel.  Watch this space.

I have not been asked, sponsored or paid to review any of these products. I just like to shop!

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