Friday, 23 December 2016

My Little Christmas Box

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well it certainly felt like it when I received this month’s Christmas themed My Little Box. As soon as I opened it I was greeted with a delicious fruity candy cane and I knew this box was going to be an absolute winner. Packed full to the brim with treats, this has to be the best box yet.

The first item I looked at and forgot to take a photo of can be see below and is little bottle contains the Courreges Hyperbole eau de Parfum  which retails at €72 per 50ml. This is said to be a deeply feminine fragrance with a slight masculine edge. I think this is a nice scent, one that lasts on the skin for a while which I like. The sample size is perfect for popping in my handbag for when I need a quick spritz, but I am not sure I would purchase the full sized version. 

The first thing I saw when I opened my box was this Kusmi tea in limited edition Tsarenva blend. This black tea is flavoured with orange and spices and smells like mulled wine and Christmas all rolled into a cup. At £24.80 for a 200g metal tin, this would be the perfect gift for tea lovers this Christmas, and beyond. I love all flavoured teas so when I finally found my tea strainer and tried this I thought it was a very interesting and delicious blend that I can’t wait to drink over the festive period.

My favourite item in this box was the Tiptree Essex Salted Caramel Spread. This retails at £2.49 for 210g and is made with fresh cream, golden syrup and a pinch of salt. This is an item I will definitely be repurchasing. I dipped chocolate fingers into this small pot of joy and it was the perfect naughty treat – although I did feel a bit sick afterwards. This spread would be perfect drizzled onto pancakes or waffles and I will be buying another tub in order for me to experiment on how to eat this.

I then received the Amande Shower Oil by L'occitane. This oil transforms into foam when in contact with water. Enriched with almond oil, this smells lovely. Having a shower with this oil makes the whole experience feel very luxurious and my skin is left feeling soft and nourished.

This Winter Morning Candle in Icy Mornings smells lovely but doesn't give off a huge scent when burning. I love the little wooden lid that came with it. The design is simple which works for me as I can comfortable have this in any room and it will instantly match the décor. Unfortunately I do not know the RRP of this item as it was not included in the box.

This month we received a jewellery item in the form of this Gold coloured bangle with red stripe. Perfect for the festive season the red and gold will go well with my Christmas outfits however I can’t see myself wearing this all year. I am not usually one for wearing a lot of gold which is a shame as a lot of the jewellery we have received so far from My Little Box has been gold. I’d like to see some silver coloured items in the new year please!

The My Little Beauty item this month was this gorgeous Christmas Melody - Duo Smoky Eye palette. One shade is Shimmery Taupe, the other a Deep Chestnut. Both are really nice shades for the festive season and perfect for blending into a smoky eye. Both colours are buildable and last on the eye all day without creating any fallout.

What do you think of this box? To sign up for yourself, head over to the My Little Box website.


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

My Purrfect Gift Box - November*

 My Purrfect Gift Box  is my favourite cat subscription box out there and after not receiving it for a month I was so excited to see what I had been missing out on for the November box. This month’s theme was all about relaxing, just what I needed during the stresses of the festive season. When you buy this box a portion of the subscription costs goes to support UK cat charities, rescue centres and animal shelters. So while you are giving to yourself, know you are giving to the cats that need us across the UK.

One way to really relax and de-stress is to use a colouring book. This one contains 70 detachable pages filled with plenty of cat designs and patterns. I made a start one one of the pages recently and it’s amazing how your mind completely switches off and all of your worries are forgotten whilst colouring in. it really is the ultimate way to relax if you have a bit of spare time and I find it calms me down more so than if I was to switch on the TV or the IPad. This product retails at £7.99, worth every penny.

To go with the colouring book we received this super cute handmade pencil case packed with coloured pencils. Etsy seller Zookaboo retails similar cases for £15.00. the case can also be used for make-up or to store other bits and bobs in your handbag. The cat pattern is absolutely stunning!

One of the cat gifts this month was this huge Kong Kickeroo and three bamboo balls. This aims to help cats vent their frustrations, which definitely distracted Biscuit from ruining the Christmas tree so I was very grateful for this item! It intends to promote exercise in the cat which is something Biscuit needs help with. He seemed to take a liking to this toy straight away so is definitely a winner in my eyes!

We received this Lavender Pillow with cat design, filled with dried French lavender. This smells lovely and I have popped it in the top drawer of my bedside table so when I put away my items and go to bed, I can smell it which instantly relaxes me. Available from Etsy retailing at £5.50.

One of my favourite items in this month’s box is the Nancy&Nell handmade plum and rhubarb candle with cute personalised cat themed lid. The scent on this is absolutely gorgeous and I love that it’s purple to match the box, and my newly decorated bedroom! They sell similar products at about £12.99.

Lastly I received the Green&Wilds 100% natural cat treats in Salmon. These are Biscuit’s absolute favourite treats. I think they smell a bit like fish food but the cats can’t get enough. I’ve even been woken up in the middle of the night by Biscuit wanting these treats because I have left them in his view!

Thank you so much My Purrfect Gift Box for a lovely box. My Purrfect Gift Box offer a number of subscription options, which start at just £20.95. If you’d like to sign up for your own box, head over to the My Purrfect Gift Box website or head to their shop for the chance to buy some of the items featured in this box and previous boxes.

*I received this box free of charge. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

From Day to Night Feat. The Body Shop*

The festive season for me is all about trying new looks, not only when it comes to my outfits but my makeup choices as well. The Body Shop have recently launched their brand new makeup brushes and I couldn’t wait to try some festive looks out to transform from day to night. The brushes have been designed to help master the latest trends and go alongside the essential brush range they already have on offer.

I was lucky enough to receive the whole new brush range and some make-up. The brushes are 100% cruelty free and have FSC wooden handles making them 100% vegan. The Body shop set me a challenge to take my look from day to night focusing on just the cheeks. With the amazing range of products I was sent, this was really easy. I’ll go into more detail on the products used below.

For the day time look I started off by moisturising then applying Instablur. I then applied some of the Concealer All-In-One with the Concealer brush underneath my eyes and on any blemishes and red areas. I then applied my foundation with the Buffing brush which felt so soft and made my foundation look absolutely flawless. Next I used the Face and Body brush to apply some translucent powder to set my liquid foundation in place. I then used the Down to Earth Eyeshadow Palette and brushed some matte neutral colours onto my eyes with the Eyeshadow brush and the Eyeshadow crease brush to really blend the darker colour through the crease of my eye. I finished the eyes by using the Eye liner brush to apply my gel liner then adding some of the Super Volume Mascara. To finish my daytime look I lightly applied some of the matte lipstick in the shade Rio Fuchsia which gave a lovely natural colour to the lips.

To turn this look into a night time one, I made a few simple changes. I started off by adding some shimmer to the eye from the Down to Earth Eyeshadow Palette with the Eyeshadow brush. I the darkened my crease further with the crease brush, and blended it out with the flat brush. To really make my cheeks pop, I used the Slanted Blusher brush to apply some bronzer along my cheekbones and up and around my temples. The Blusher brush really came in handy here and I applied some blusher to the apples of my cheeks. I then used the Fan brush to highlight. Finally I switched up my lipstick to the shade New Orleans Scarlett which I think really finished off the night time look.

Overall I think these brushes are amazing and there really is a brush for every aspect of your make up routine. They are soft and feel of great quality. If you'd like to check out the entire new range of vegan brushes, head to The Body Shop Website.

*I received these items free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Friday, 16 December 2016

The Perfect Party Accessory Feat. Afterheels*

It’s party season and with the influx of Christmas events, meals, new year parties and dinner dates there is one thing that always takes its toll on me (not including my bank account!) and that is the pain my feet go through wearing heels. I like to dress up and put a nice pair of heels on but by the end of the night my feet are suffering and I’m forced to put up with the pain. Going out in flats for me is not an option, I just wished there was a compromise... then I heard about afterheels.

Afterheels are amazing and I can’t believe what they have packed into this small convenient tin which fits perfectly in my clutch bag. Inside the packaging is the ballerina shoes complete with insoles and a duffle bag, handy for popping your heels in when your feet have given up! A pack of Afterheels weighs 30% less than an iPhone which I can confirm and they barely add any weight to my bag.

It’s so simple, just open the tin, take out the pack and duffle bag, tear open the pack of ballet flats, swap them for your heels and pop your heels in the stylish satin duffle bag also provided – I received the easiest pack where the insoles are already in place.

The shoes come in three sizes as outlined below. The website advises “To ensure instant comfort all of our shoes self-adjust across two size fittings. So, if you're a UK size 3 or 4 you'll need a size small but if you're a UK size 4½ you'll need a pair of medium.”

UK Sizes UK
UK Sizes US
UK Sizes Europe

Afterheels have a signature fuchsia sole and the shoes come in either sparkly or super-soft in a few different patterns and colours. The ‘easiest’ shoes I received cost only £8.49 which is fantastic considering the soles were tested and can last over 120 miles before wearing through, that’s a lot of dancing! I recently wore these on my Christmas do and will be using them again for New Year’s Eve! I couldn’t believe how easy they were to slip on and how comfortable my feet were from then on. I received so many compliments from friends who thought they were an absolutely fantastic idea. When I got home I folded the shoes back up and they went in the tin with ease ready for next time!

UK Delivery starts from £1.99 and these ship worldwide. I also received some super comfy slipper socks for when I got home, they were a dream for my aching feet! Check out the Afterheels website to see the full range of products available. What do you think of this great idea?

*I received this item free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Stylish Christmas Cards - Feat. Hammond Gower*

Christmas is a time for giving and even if you don’t have a lot of money it is always lovely to be able to pass out some Christmas cards. I was recently contacted by Hammond Gower to sample some of their beautiful cards on my blog in time for Christmas. Hammond Gower was founded nearly 30 years ago and have now branched out to online sales. There is a new product on their website nearly every week!

If you’re looking for some unique cards to send then I can definitely vouch for Hammond Gower, their beautiful cards are unlike any I have seen on the high street. The designs are hand finished and each has a thoughtful message inside to bring festive cheer to all who receives one. The detail on the cards is beautiful. A pack of 8 cards starts from £5.49 and larger packs are available and each card is 6”x6” in size. The quality is really good too and they all come with a suitable sized envelope. 

The last recommended posting dates for 2016 are as follows:

UK Inland Services
Tuesday 20 December - 2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Wednesday 21 December - 1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Thursday 22 December - Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®

There are so many designs to choose from, you are bound to find something perfect. All of my cards are written now so expect to receive a lovely Hammond Gower card very soon. Please head over to the Hammond Gower  website to see the full range available.

*I received these cards free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Monday, 12 December 2016

The Perfect Present for Beer Lovers - Feat. Beer52*

I always get stuck on what to buy the men in the family when it comes to Christmas gifts. When you’re bored of giving people socks and aftershave every year, there aren’t too many options left. When I heard about the Beer52, I thought it would be a fantastic gift idea and something unique. 

Beer52 are the UK’s largest craft beer discovery club and their boxes are designed to fuel your passion for flavour and help you to learn about what you’re drinking. Each month you can receive a box with a tasty selection of craft  beers, a copy of Ferment magazine and some snacks. I was really impressed by the Ferment magazine, it was packed full of fun facts, beer cocktail recipes, stories, gift guides and adventures in the global craft alcohol movement. It’s definitely an interesting read and packed full of photos too! Beer52 work really closely with the breweries they feature so you can be sure the facts are correct.

The box I received contained 7 bottles and one can of various beers. First up was the Littlebro Session IPA in a can. This apparently works well with grilled foods and spicy dishes and has an upfront hop aroma and flavours of tropical fruits and citrus completed by a refreshing dry finish. The perfect size when you fancy a small one with your meal. Next up was the Flower Power hippy Dippy all Things American amber from the Flying Dutchman. This has been brewed with Centennial, Galaxy, Mosaic & tettnag hops. Matured on a bed of hibiscus flowers this is a very unique flavour and interesting bottle design which I really like. When the founders of Mikkeller and Beer52 brewed a beer together, the Beer52 Mikkeller Session IPA Mosaic was born! I love that Beer52 include their own bottles because I wouldn’t have been able try them otherwise.

There really is such a variety in this box. My favourite bottle is the Rogue Ales Santa’s Private Reserve Ale. Perfect for the festive season. If you’re wondering how much this service costs, it’s £24 for 8 beers or £29 for 10 beers on a monthly plan billed every 28 days. You can also save money by paying for 3, 6 or 12 month memberships and get it from as little as £21 per month. I’ve got a discount code for £10 off, just use code CHRISTIES10 on the Beer52 website, that’s a fantastic saving on such a fun and unique gift.

Next up we have the Brewdog Santa Paws Christmas Scotch Ale. We have a Brewdog in Norwich so it was nice to see a familiar brand included in the box. We then have the Wiper and True Mimosa brewed with beer52 Berliner Weisse and a twist of orange peel.

Finally the last two beers in the box were the Fu*k Art - The Heathens are coming - ØL Beer. I love the name of this one! Last but not least was the Mordue Brewery Krampus - a traditional germane amber ale. Such a wide selection.

If you’d like to sign up for yourself or get a subscription for someone else, don’t forget to treat yourself to £10 off by using the code CHRISTIES10 on the Beer52 website, just click on 'Have a special code? Click Here!' (Underneath the Get Started button) on the home page. You can also check them out on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

*I received these beers free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Snapfish Personalised Christmas Gifts*

I’ve had a few chances to work with Snapfish this year and I am very grateful for the opportunities. When I was contacted to showcase some more personalised Christmas gifts, I jumped at the chance to create some really exciting Christmas goods!

You can’t go wrong with a festive mug. There are plenty of colour options available and I decided red would really fit in with the festive season.  There are new designs, embellishments and plenty of text options can be used on the mugs to create something really unique and special. I used some of the photos from my festive photo-shoot and added some Christmas themed embellishments. Gift this to someone stuffed full of hot chocolate sachets and marshmallows for the perfect gift. These cost just £8.99.

I never knew that Snapfish sold Personalised Christmas Round Acrylic Ornaments so I took the opportunity to purchase one of these too using one of my festive photos. I love how unique this looks on my tree and I think I will have to start a tradition and get one done every year now! The image is glossy on one side and matte on the other so you can use it both ways if you don’t have any text included. You can add any photo you like. The photo is placed underneath a round piece of acrylic keeping it well protected and the image is clear and easy to see.

I ordered a selection of 7”x5” greetings cards which I could then personalise myself. Prices start at just 75p. There were so many Christmas templates to choose from and the cards were very reasonably priced. Me and  James took a few Christmas themed family photos beforehand, cracking out the festive jumper and accessories especially for the photos on the cards. I even got my cat involved and added him to a few of the cards too. Customising the templates was so easy to do. I chose a design I liked from the huge range of cards available then swapped out the template photos for my own. I was then able to change the text on the front of the card, and add text on the inside too. There was also the option of adding photos inside the card which I think is a nice touch. The quality is really good and each card comes complete with an envelope ready for you to send to your recipient.

To get your own personalised Christmas gifts, head over to the Snapfish website. Keep an eye out for fantastic deals and offers.

*I received these items free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Christmas Spectacular - Potters Resort Press Evening*

I love everything about Christmas so when I was invited to the Potters Resort Christmas Spectacular I couldn’t wait to see what it was all about. Located in Hopton, Norfolk, Potters Resort is less than 30 miles from my home and takes less than an hour to get to. I can tell you now it was well worth the trip! I was kindly invited to the press event by Danielle who greeted me on arrival and spent the evening making sure everything was ok.

We arrived at 6:30pm for a drinks reception. James was driving so on arrival I took a glass of champagne which was swiftly replaced when I’d finished it! James took an orange juice. We mingled with the other guests and members of the Potter family until it was time to be seated for our meal. The tables were laid out with a festive theme and place names. I was sat next to Danielle and James.

At 7pm we were seated for our five course dinner with selected wines. I apologise now for the photos, I didn’t feel it necessary to take my full sized camera so these have all been taken with my phone. We were served a starter of Parsnip and Apple soup which was really nice and served hot with a bread roll and butter. The service was really good, we were all given our meals at the same time and the empty plates were promptly taken away when we had finished. I washed my meal down with some white wine which was really nice and again, refilled as soon as it was empty!

The second course, another starter was then served. We had a choice of three dishes, I went for the Confit Chicken and Mango Salad with a Coronation Dressing which was really tasty and not too bulky. James had Smoked Salmon and another lady on the table went for the third option, a Cheese Soufflé which looked liked it had risen to perfection.

For our main courses we had four options including a carvery. This looked really fresh and lovely but after having a lot of leftover turkey I opted for something else. I originally asked the waiter for the fish but he misheard me and I was served the Grilled Aubergine, Beetroot and Walnut Filo Pastry Stack. I didn’t mind at all, it was delicious and something I have never had before. James went for a Breaded Pork Fillet which he polished off so I assume it was nice!

For dessert there was a large selection of cold desserts on offer including cheesecakes, ice creams and sorbets. I went for the chocolate cake and it was gorgeous. James had profiteroles. There was also the option of Christmas Pudding which did tempt me!

We were then served tea and coffee. Santa and his elves came through to tell us the show would be starting soon. At 9pm we went on through to the Atlas Theatre for Potters Theatre Company to present The Great Christmas Songbook. I really didn’t know what to expect from this show but it was absolutely brilliant. The first half consisted of a Pantomime style play with a young girl as the lead and lots of singing and dancing. The second part of the show was my favourite, a Top of the Pops style setting with lots of Christmas songs that I could sing along to my heart's content! the clapping routine was spectacular!

Afterwards there was a surprise guest appearance from Leanne Mitchell. Leanne is my friend Sabrina’s cousin and winner of The Voice UK. It was great to see her live after hearing so much about her singing and meeting her way back in my childhood.

Overall, I had a really great time at Potters Resort. A massive thank you to the lovely Danielle for inviting me and for the great team at Potters who made this night one to remember!

To find out more about the events and accommodation available at Potters, head over to their website.

*I attended this event free of charge.
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