Birchbox UK – November 2017

Birchbox UK November 2017

Birchbox UK November 2017 is a big one – with a BIG collaborator -namely Vogue, having found out last month as a teaser on the back of the sample booklet.  (Oh, and my Birchbox is ON time this month.)

I doubt there’s ever been as big collaborator as Vogue and considering the iconic magazine works with hundreds of big brands, this surely means we’ll get some big names in our box too, right?

Birchbox UK November 2017 Unboxing

The theme this month is… THERE IS NO THEME!  I had to read the leaflet twice to check this, but yep, there is no theme mentioned.  But who needs a theme when you’re collaborating with Vogue? (Honestly, I can’t get over how big this is.)

Vogue celebrated its centenary last year and created their edit of 100 greatest beauty products of all time – and some of these items will appear in our box too!  *claps hands excitedly*  How exciting!  So, let’s get to the good stuff…

Samples

Birchbox UK November 2017

We had the choice of two box designs this month – I chose the one above, obviously, just because it looks more ‘Vogue’ to me, darling.  There were no teasers of which products may surprise us inside from last month’s box, which built anticipation!  (For me, anyway.)  Here’s what I got:

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
Percy & Reed Smooth, Sealed & Sensational Volumising No Oil Oil
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
Benefit Hoola Bronzer
Birchbox Brush Cleaner (FULL SIZE!)

Wow, okay, where to begin?  I hadn’t heard of Klorane before, but from only trying the dry shampoo, quickly and whilst filming my unboxing, I’m already considering buying it full size.  Many dry shampoos can leave my scalp feeling a bit itchy, but this really felt like it was gentle to my skin whilst soaking up unwanted grease too.  (Sorry if that’s TMI.)

I was very happy to see the L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream as it is tipped to be one of the best in the industry.  I’m receiving this at a perfect time of year too, my hands are at their driest when the temperature drops, so it’s brilliant I’ll now be equipped with this.

Whilst Benefit is a brand that isn’t a stranger to Birchbox subscribers, it’s still a pretty big deal to receive the praised cult Hoola Bronzer.  (Even if it is sample size.)

Added Little Extras…

Birchbox UK November 2017

With all big collaborations, Birchbox are good to us and usually slip us another little offer.  This month, Birchbox subscribers have been given 6 complimentary issues of Vogue magazine, when buying a one-year or two-year subscription.

Box Round Up

Well wasn’t this a very exciting box?  And there was even the comeback of a Birchbox lifestyle item too!  Although I didn’t receive it in my Birchbox UK November 2017, I was quite impressed to see other subscribers getting a Clarins hand cream too.  (I love Clarins, you lucky devils.)

December is always a strong box and the only teaser Birchbox have given us so far is on the back of this month’s leaflet.  In the next few weeks we’ll have to make choice out of a festive lipstick; a classic party red, or a nicely natural tint?  Decisions, decisions…

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Birchbox UK – October 2017

Birchbox UK October 2017 unboxing

I know, I know… this Birchbox UK October 2017 unboxing is embarrassingly late.  But, it isn’t actually my fault.  In fact I dutifully waited for my Birchbox to arrive at the start of this month (I’d set aside time to film my unboxing too!), but it didn’t.  (Cue the violin…)

After 5 working days had passed (to allow for delivery), I contacted the Customer Support team at Birchbox.  I received a reply within a day to say there’d been a ‘warehouse issue’, I assume with the delivery company (?), but was assured this wouldn’t happen again.

Eventually, I received my Birchbox roughly two weeks late, so despite being annoyed I didn’t want to skip writing and filming my unboxing (especially as it wasn’t my fault!  Ahem…).  So, my apologies, but here it is – a shamefully late Birchbox unboxing for October 2017!

Birchbox UK October 2017 unboxing

We all know October is a month to ‘think pink’ and raise awareness for breast cancer.  Birchbox UK have collaborated with ‘CoppaFeel!’ for this month’s Feeling Good theme, which is a charity fighting to prevent the late detection of breast cancer.  (Okay, so you were disastrously late Birchbox, but I nod my head in approval at this.)

Inspired by the theme, a shower sticker was also included in this month’s box that shows how to look for signs of breast cancer.  Although we didn’t have a choice of box designs, we did get a pick of a ModelCo product.

Birchbox UK October 2017 CoppaFeel

Samples

You’ve probably all seen the selection of samples that subscribers have been receiving by now, but here’s my Birchbox UK October 2017 pick to keep me ‘Feeling Good‘:

Anatomicals Grab Your Melons Shower Gel (FULL SIZE!)
ModelCo Megalash Mascara
Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash
Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner
Grounded Body Scrub

So sadly the ModelCo item, where Birchbox subscribers had the lovely choice from either a mascara or a contour stick, wasn’t full size, but wasn’t exactly stingy either.  Top tip from me here; when trying to decide which sample to opt for, I researched which was the most expensive out of the two, to get my money’s worth.  (It was the mascara, by £3 full size price!)  Although, I only done this because neither jumped out in front of me at first.

Birchbox UK October 2017 samples

The Anatomicals shower gel was a nice link to the theme and was this month’s only full size item (that was cheap and cheerful at £1.50!).  I’ve actually used most of this now and despite its low value, the fruity melon scent has not been compromised!

Eyeko and Balance Me are familiar brands to receive in my Birchbox, but I’m happy to see them nonetheless.  Eyeko’s Skinny Eyeliner is particularly well suited to me, as I never leave the house without using a skinny eyeliner first.

Box Round Up

Receiving the box late was a bit of a peeve, although I did receive a mascara and eyeliner sample – two products I definitely use the most everyday!  I wouldn’t say this box is as strong as last month’s.  Although, raising awareness for breast cancer detection as a theme, and a campaign, is something I can’t argue with.

Next month promises to be the bomb, if only because Birchbox are collaborating with Vogue magazine!  Big, BIG news people.  To celebrate the Vogue 100 Beauty Hall of Fame,  which is 100 products chosen by Vogue beauty editors past and present, we’ll be receiving a handpicked edit of these!  I’m keeping a look out for the white delivery van already…

Don’t want to miss out on the Birchbox and Vogue collaboration?  Subscribe here and get 50% off the box!

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GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong (Review & Tutorial)

GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong review

My GHD straighteners have never done me wrong.  They’ve been with me through thick and thin; I first purchased them in my heavy-partying uni days, when my hair length was down to my elbows.  A haircut to a short bob then lob later, I’m now growing my hair just-a-bit longer and my GHD’s have been here every step of way.

Straight hair is my go-to during the week, then I make a little more effort with some curls at the weekend.  But I started to grow tired of the GHD curls I’d mastered with a straightener.  I was hunkering after that cool curl/wave which is so seriously trendy right now.  Picking up a number of cheap (around or under £30) curlers I found they just weren’t cutting it.  But, my GHD’s straighteners had never let me down…

Queue my lightbulb moment to go with the GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong out of sheer brand loyalty.

GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong: What you need to know

GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong review

  • 32mm barrel
    If you’re looking for soft, beachy waves then you’re probably attracted to the GHD Soft Curl tong because of it’s barrel size.  It’s slightly thicker than a usual curl tong in order to achieve a looser curl/wave.
  • Temperature
    What’s not usual with these tongs is the heat setting; the GHD Soft Curl tong goes up to 185 degrees and no higher.  Many other tongs push past 200, or allow you to choose a heat setting.  It’s 185 or nothing with the GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong, which GHD says is the optimum styling temperature and will protect your hair from heat.  But this also means you’ll need to choose hair products wisely for prep and finishing.  (More on that in a bit.)
  • Spring activated lever
    A lever in the way might put some off these tongs, but I quite often leave the lever open when styling – you’ll see in the video.)
  • Quick to heat
    Just like my GHD straighteners, the soft curl tong takes no time at all to heat up and is ready to go in under a minute!  What’s rather smart too is the ‘sleep mode’ – if you don’t use these GHD tongs for 30 minutes then they’re turn off automatically.

Prep & Finish

Prepping your hair to use GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong

As I mentioned, it’s important which products to use to prep and finish your hair when using the GHD Soft Curl Tong.  When I first starting using the tongs I grew disheartened that my curl wasn’t lasting long.  Then when I discovered the heat was only 185 degrees (I say only as if 185 degrees is a heat to be laughed at; warning, it is not) and understood why.

This heat is perfectly fine for some hair types and the curl will have staying power. For me and my thick hair, which can usually take the heat (and hotter) I need extra help, namely from a few products.

On freshly washed hair, I spray and comb in Bumble & Bumble’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil.  This really smooths my hair that is prone to dryness, it’s a primer too which is the first step in keeping the style locked in.

After styling I lightly spray Aussie’s Shine & Hold Hairspray then leave to set for at least 10 minutes.  After my hair has cooled, I go in with the Bumble & Bumble Surf Infusion Spray – again, a godsend for thick, dry hair that needs gloss and not texturising, and then I scrunch in some TIGI Bedhead Manipulator.

How to use GHD Soft Curl Tong

How to use GHD Soft Curl Tong video

I’ve seen a number of a ways you can use the GHD Soft Curl Tong, which is good for versatility.  But, for this tutorial I’ll focus on how I’ve been using it recently:

  1. After combing in a hair primer, I curl by section due to my hair’s thickness.  Whilst this wouldn’t be compulsory for thinner hair, it’ll create a ‘layered’ look.
  2. I’m not too regimental in sizing up the strands of hair I curl, as you’ll see in the video at the bottom of this post, I usually take strands that 2-3cm long.
  3. I curl each strand away from my face and point the tongs vertically down the best I can.
  4. I hold the curl a little longer  (up to 10 seconds) in my hair than GHD advise to (5-7 seconds), because of my thicker hair and to achieve a more defined curl which has less chance of falling out!
  5. When I first started using this tong the curls would drop out fairly soon after I’d brushed my hair.  So, after a few tries I now leave my curls to ‘set’ for around 10 minutes, before going in with my fingers to gently brush them out.
  6. I then use extra ‘holding’ products to make sure the curl is ‘locked in’.

GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong results

GHD Soft Curl Tong results

GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong results

GHD Soft Curl Tong results

Video

Although it’s taken me a while to get to grips with these tongs, it’s taught me how versatile they could be.  I’ve seen other blog posts and video tutorials to use these tongs in a different way completely, so I have a lot of different tips and tricks to try.  (Something I’m looking forward to!)

Check out my video on the GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong below and let me know if you’ve tried it yet in the comments section!

This post is NOT sponsored, it’s not an AD and I’ve not been paid in anyway – honestly, I just wanted to review the GHD Soft Curl Tong.

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Birchbox UK – September 2017

Birchbox UK September 2017 unboxing

I’m not sure where I saw or read it first, but when I found out Birchbox UK September 2017 would be partnering up with Oliver Bonas I was excited.  Out with the predictable ‘back to school’ themes and in with the stylish brand collaboration.  Ooh yeah!

Admittedly I haven’t shopped at Oliver Bonas, but that’s not to say they haven’t caught my eye.  Especially thanks to bloggers like Olivia Purvis, this box has came just at the right time.

Birchbox UK September 2017 Unboxing

I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here; the theme isn’t just hey, we’ve partnered with Oliver Bonas! In fact, it’s Work Hard, Play Hard & Be Kind. A kind of work mantra, I suppose.

There were two arty designs to choose from this month.  I actually liked them both, which is rare, I’m usually pulled to one more than the other.  So as I couldn’t pick, I actually left it to Birchbox to decide for me and this is how I received this pink design box.

Samples

Birchbox UK September 2017 samples

We were given a cheeky little teaser at the back of last month’s leaflet, so I was already expecting a full size product!  The rest of the samples however, were a pleasant surprise:

Dr. Paw Paw Original Balm
Manna Kadar Fantasy 3-in-1 Blush, Highlighter, Eyeshadow (FULL SIZE!)
Rouge Bunny Rouge Bronzing Glow Liquid
R + CO High Dive Moisture & Shine Cream
Polaar IcyMagic Instant Eye Contour Energiser

With the exception of Manna Kadar, every brand is new to me.  (You could say the same about Manna Kadar, as I hadn’t heard of them away from Birchbox.)  This can perhaps pee off some Birchbox subscribers, however these all look and feel quite like high-end ish products.

Another plus is that they’re not your typical product.  Oddly enough, I’ve found myself reaching for the Polaar IcyMagic Instant Eye Contour Energiser (a mouthful).  Especially after work when I’ve been working on a screen all day, this can feel quite cooling and soothing.

Birchbox UK September 2017 swatches

Despite being described as a champagne pink, I find the Manna Kadar 3-in-1 sliding into the brown territory.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although I think I’d have to go quite light if I was to wear it as a blush or highlighter.

I was particularly wooed by the Rouge Bunny Rouge’s packaging.  (I love that black on black.)  Again, I’d hope this applied light when mixing it with my usual body lotion. Maybe this could have been a better sample for a summer box, but then again I’m not against autumn/winter tanning.

Added Little Extras…

Birchbox UK September 2017 offer

As per usual when collaborating with a brand, Birchbox UK September 2017 added a little something extra for subscribers.  This Oliver Bonas Bergamot & Mint candle was on offer this month, which is usually £12 but was knocked down to £9.  (Or £7.65 thanks to my Birchbox VIP discount!)

I couldn’t miss out on this offer, with it sliding in at a perfect time for me, as I’ve just become a property owner (ooh it sounds so official!).  On the side I also received 15% off my next (and first!) Oliver Bonas order too.  Bangarang.

Box Round Up

We’ve been on a (at least one) full size item roll since April people, there’s no stopping Birchbox UK now!  Seriously though, this box is a strong one.  As I’ve said, the variety of products has really gripped me this month and I’m all about the brand collaboration.

No teasers for what could be on the cards next month yet.  Although we have been told to keep our eyes peeled on Friday 29th September for giveaways, exclusive treats and Facebook fun.

If you don’t subscribe to Birchbox but want to, subscribe here and get £5 worth of Birchbox points to spend at Birchbox!

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Birchbox UK September 2017 unboxing

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Up at the O2 Climb Review

Up at the O2 Review

For David’s birthday last year, I bought him an up at the O2 gift voucher and last weekend we finally got round to using it!

We were both really excited, me especially as I used to live near this area when studying at university.  However, the up at the O2 climb opened long after I’d already moved back to Kent, so as of yet I’d never completed it!

As I (sort of) reviewed Ballie Ballerson (a London bar with an adult sized ball pit!), I thought I’d write an up at the o2 climb review too.  Here’s what I thought of it, with a bit of advice of what you might need on the day too.

What to expect up at the O2

Up at the o2 review and what to expect

At this moment, I can’t think of another attraction similar to up at the O2 in London.  (Seriously, which other London landmark can you scale over within 90 minutes?)  Yes, for the price of a pretty £36 (currently) you can walk over the O2, one of London’s icons.  Since the millennium dome opened back in 1999 it has found its place in the capital’s iconic skyline.

As I’ve already mentioned gift vouchers are available, which makes a brilliant gift idea (lucky David!).  Plus the O2 is a great venue to get something to drink after, a bite to eat, catch a film or throw some bowls at its very own Hollywood Bowl.  Otherwise it is of course known as one of London’s most famous music venues.

There’s ample parking if you’re driving, or if you’re catching the train North Greenwich tube station on the Jubilee line is literally on the O2’s doorstep – it couldn’t be more easy to get to.

Up at the O2: what to bring?

  • Dress for the weather.
  • A hairband to keep long hair tied up.
  • Socks!  (Although no worries if you forget, you can buy some at basecamp.)
  • Your tickets (if you’ve booked).
  • A camera to capture the stunning views.

It might come as a bit of a surprise that you don’t actually need to bring that much to walk up the O2.  Climbing shoes, harnesses and protective clothing (to wear over your clothes) are all provided on the day.

Pre-climb (up at the O2)

Above you can see David and I, pre-climb. We’re both wearing an up at the O2 gillet, which was provided to us at Basecamp.  A gillet is supplied in the summer and a jumpsuit in the winter to protect your clothes from the harness.  (And from any annoying rubbing or chafing I imagine.)

How long does it take?

To climb the O2 takes 90 minutes, with a climb starting every 30 minutes.  We arrived at Basecamp early before our climb time and were soon taken to a room for our group safety briefing.  This involved a quick video and a demonstration of how to get into our harnesses.

Two friendly instructors then helped equip everyone with their harness and climbing shoes.  Once you’re all set, the instructors ensure you’re all strapped in and supported nicely before showing you how to use the cable ties.  You are then ready to begin the climb (this part probably takes an hour, roughly).

Up at the O2 Climb Review

Is it scary or difficult to climb?

Not at all.  I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of heights, but my legs can still go to jelly when peering over an edge and seeing a long way down.  At no moment did I feel like this.  If you have braved a Go Ape attraction or similar, I’d say that this is a lot scarier in terms of heights and edges.

Up at The O2 is 52m at its highest point, meaning its can get pretty steep (the steepest points are at a 30m ascent and descent). Although the blue walkway feels just like walking on a trampoline (seriously, it’s quite bouncy!), so it didn’t feel too much of a slog and in a way made it easier.

Up at the O2: Viewing Platform

Up at the O2 Canary Wharf view

Once you’ve reached the summit, there’s a circular viewing platform to allow you to take a breather, but more importantly gawp at those skyline views.  On a clear day (like we were lucky enough to be blessed with) it’s a stunning sight.  You can easily point out Canary Wharf, the ExCel Centre and of course watch boats going up and down the river Thames.

You get plenty of time to look around up here and the instructors are happy to take any photos for you, which I thought was super handy.  (This means you don’t have to bother asking the strangers in your group!)

Taking pictures up at the O2

Up at the O2 view

You’ve probably noticed I’ve mentioned about taking photos; yes cameras are allowed. (Clearly, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to take these images!)  But it’s important to note that cameras must be kept zipped inside your gillet or jumpsuit whilst you are climbing.  Cameras aren’t allowed to come out until you’ve reached the viewing platform.

Our gillets had two pockets, which were quite spacey too. I was able to fit my camera (Canon G7X) and my iPhone in each, no worries.  Otherwise there is a photographer who takes pictures of you too.  You’re able to buy these photos in the gift shop apres climb.

Booking up at the O2

Up at the O2 Climb Review

Although you can just turn up and pay for a ticket, David and I booked as we wanted to climb the O2 on a bank holiday weekend.  (So we were expecting it to be busy.)  I would definitely advise booking in advance to avoid disappointment.  When we arrived there were people queueing and hoping to get into our climb group, but there wasn’t space for another few hours.  In the winter however I imagine there are more spaces and less queueing.

Before booking, it’s worth thinking about when you want to climb up the O2.  David and I decided to do the O2 walk in the morning, but there is the option to do a Twilight Climb and a Night Climb too.

See up at O2 views in my vlog

If you’ve watched my vlog you’ll be able to see both myself and David enjoyed the up at the O2 climb.  I personally think it’s a great price too, when so many other tourist attractions in London will set you back a bob or two.

If I’ve not answered any questions in this blog post please don’t hesitate to comment in the section below.  Oh, I’ve not been asked, sponsored or paid to write this review btw, I just wanted to share a review.

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