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Category Archives: chocolate

Beauty Review – March and April Birchboxes

I’m not sure how I managed to miss a month’s review but I thought I would do a condensed double-whammy of beauty products that I received over the past two months plus an extra purchase I made.

March’s Box

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This box was rather plain and uninspiring when I opened it but there were some gems hidden inside.

First up is the Batiste 2-in-1 Dry Shampoo and Conditioner. This seems like a great idea but I just don’t use dry shampoos. I will however pass this onto my husband who does.

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I was surprised to see an inclusion from Bobbi Brown. Although the product sizes are quite tiny, it is still quite a high-end brand and I am really looking forward to trying out these three mini face masks.

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Next, a Balance Me Instant Lift Primer which I was pleased with as I love the brand and am always keen on testing out new primers. This smells nice and isn’t too silicone-y upon first use.

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Given that summer is fast-approaching, it was good to include a tanning lotion. This one from Vita Liberata is their Ten Minute Tan and I will use this as soon as it gets warm enough to contemplate getting my bare legs out!

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Finally, from Benefit I received a Double The Lip in the shade Pink Thrills. This is a lipstick and lipliner in one and although I can see the idea behind it, I just don’t think it quite works. Firstly, the two colours don’t really complement each other – I just wouldn’t use a dark purple lip liner with a bright pink lipstick! Secondly, it doesn’t really blend out very well and is quite a dry formula. With enough priming and blending I can just about make this work for me but for a product that was created to speed up application, it seems to have done the opposite!

April’s Box

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This was a much prettier offering in collaboration with Boden who included a £10 voucher.

The first item I received was a Baïja Paris body lotion in Fleur De Tiaré. I know some people moan that these products are ‘filler’ but I take these mini moisturisers with me whenever I go away and this one will be coming with me to Croatia in June.

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I also received Polaar’s face scrub with Arctic Cotton – an ingredient I don’t think I have used before. It’s meant to be moisturising but I’m usually quite wary of scrubs being too harsh on my skin.

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Next, a bronzer and highlighter duo from Manna Kadar Cosmetics. I haven’t heard of this brand before and on first impressions, the packaging feels very cheap and flimsy. However, the formula of the products aren’t bad. The bronzer is too dark for my skin tone so I will probably try using this as an eyeshadow but the highlighter is a nice peachy colour and looks quite natural.

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I think ModelCo are quite an underrated brand and I have really liked everything I’ve tried from them and use their brow gel and bronzer on a daily basis. This black eyeliner is another great product. My only niggle would be that it feels like I’ve received quite a few black eyeliners from Birchbox now so a different colour would have been nice.

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Finally, a Keratin conditioner from Luseta Beauty. This looks right up my street and will be going straight in my travel make-up bag to use on holiday.

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If you are a Birchbox customer, you will know they are making a few changes to their membership (free delivery, money off your orders, more opportunities to personalise your monthly box) and I realised some of my Birchbox points were about to expire so I put in an emergency order so I didn’t lose them!

An old faithful, Seche Vite, which I use on a weekly basis to give that gel finish to a manicure.

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My absolute favourite foaming shower gel from Rituals. This is quite expensive compared to what I would normally pay for a shower gel but it really is amazing stuff.

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I also bought a mini nail varnish remover pot from Ciate which is chocolate orange scented. These are so handy for removing nail varnish and I was in need of a new one too.

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Phew – that was a mammoth post but it has left me feeling really excited about testing out all these new products!

Latest Purchases #112 – A Little Holiday Haul

So, I didn’t buy too much when we were on holiday in Tenerife last week. We didn’t go to a market or spend that much time shopping but there were a few cool stores near to our hotel that I couldn’t resist a little browse in as well as picking up a few staples from the supermercado.

We discovered honey rum on holiday and enjoyed it both as a mixer with coke and on its own with ice. It’s a lovely sweet liquor and a good addition to our drinks trolley.

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I discovered Canarian mojo sauce when we were away. There is a red and green variety but my favourite was the green and I had it slathered over meat, fish and salads every day. I wanted to bring home a jar and although I know the fresh version will always be better, this jar looked fairly authentic. I have since managed to get my hands on a proper recipe from my friend who lives in Gran Canaria so will hopefully be making my own soon.

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I totally didn’t need this many pins but they were just so cute, I couldn’t resist! I think I will pop these on my leather and denim jackets. Also, just note the little chain on the cactus which has a mini watering can on it!

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As always, when in Europe I buy Milka and sweets.

These adorable castanets aren’t for me but I feel I should apologise in advance to my friend whose children I bought these for!

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Finally, due to being very pale and wanting to avoid getting burned at all costs, I love a good beach cover-up. I found these kaftans and after buying one and wearing it for most of the holiday, I went back and got a few more designs.

Tenerife

I love looking back at my travel posts and remembering little details I may have forgotten. For this reason, I wanted to write a short post on our 5 nights in Tenerife. It wasn’t the most jam-packed all-action holiday but we literally googled ‘hottest place in Europe in April’ and the Canary Islands kept coming up so we booked it a few weeks ago and looked forward to sun, good food and a chance to relax.

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We stayed in a little town called Puerto de la Cruz. I liked the fact that our hotel was right on the beach and that we could wander along the seafront at night watching the sunset and the waves. We managed to see the Semana Santa parade one evening too and indulged in a fish pedicure (Ian’s idea of hell!)

We did paddle on the black sands one afternoon but the current was so strong we didn’t wade in too far!

Our hotel itself was lovely. I was surprised at how lush the north of Tenerife was and we had an abundance of palm trees, plants and cacti in the grounds of the hotel – and loads of lizards running around too.

The food was wonderful – I got a bit obsessed with churros and Nutella for breakfast everyday, paella with clams for lunch then mojo sauce which is a garlicky, herby salsa that I liberally spooned over everything! We also had a Spanish cheeseboard every night as I am just not a fan of Spanish desserts.

One evening, we ate in the hotel’s a la carte restaurant where we enjoyed a great meal including a delicious duck dish.

One of my favourite places to hang out was our balcony. We had the sun on it in the late afternoon so we would sit out with a beer before dinner then again before we went to bed with candle lit, planning future holidays and putting the world to rights.

I still have a week off work so plan on using that time to read and get all those little jobs done that I keep putting off!

Happy Easter x

Five Friday Favourites #8

A slightly belated Friday Favourites this week but I have been away this weekend and wanted to switch off and relax a bit, so better late than never!

Weezer’s White Album

I used to absolutely LOVE this band (the Green Album is one of my all-time favourites) but I didn’t know what to expect when I listened to their new album. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint and I have been playing it non-stop for the past week. My favourite tracks are ‘California Kids’ and ‘Jacked Up’.

A New Lasagne Recipe

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I get really excited when I discover a new twist on a classic recipe and I followed Gino D’Acampo’s lasagne recipe which adds homemade pesto to the white sauce, giving it a new flavour that really works well.

Ricky Gervais

I went to see Ricky Gervais’ new stand-up show ‘Humanity’ this week. He actually had a bit of a funny turn and had to leave the stage for a bit and we weren’t sure whether it was all part of the act or serious! As well as the live show, we had amazing pizzas beforehand at Beerd – the chestnut mushroom, truffle and parmesan one was divine!

The OA

We finished watching this Netflix series this week and whilst it wasn’t one of my all-time favourites, it was entertaining and a bit different…if a little weird.

Banana Bread

It feels like I haven’t baked anything for ages so I was really excited to try a slice of this. I made banana bread with Mini Eggs and hazelnuts and it turned out to be so delicious!

Latest Purchases #108 – Marble Phone Cases

Happy Sunday – I have spent today doing everything I can to avoid the back-to-work blues including a long walk in the country with Ian this morning, some baking with Mini Eggs this afternoon and a long bath with my favourite bath oil, face mask and a new book this evening. It’s kind of working but I’m still dreading my alarm going off tomorrow morning!

Just a short post this evening to share these beautiful marble phone cases that arrived this week. I upgraded to the new iPhone recently and needed some new cases. I love all things marble and couldn’t pick between these three designs. They are just thin, silicone cases and won’t last too long so I didn’t feel too guilty about buying a couple of them!

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I found these on ebay for a few quid each – I’m not one for spending a lot on phone cases as I do like to switch them up every month or so.

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Five Friday Favourites #4

A much less busy week for us and we are looking forward to a weekend with our besties. It has been freezing here in the UK so I’ve spent a fair amount of time defrosting the car as well as wrapping myself up in the largest scarf I can find!

Mini Eggs

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Yes, it’s only January and we have months until Easter but Mini Eggs are one of my favourite chocolates and I’ve already bought and eaten two bags!

Caitlin Moran

I listened to Caitlin on Desert Island Discs this week and, despite her talking so fast I thought I had accidentally sped up the podcast, she was really interesting. I don’t agree with everything she says but I do think she has a strong voice and her passion for writing, people and music really came across well.

New Bins

I did wonder whether or not to add bins to this week’s list. It’s hardly the most glamorous of items but this is my list so I’ll put them in! I bought some new bins for our bedroom and bathroom this week and I think they’re great, especially the pale leopard print one.

The Women’s March

More precisely, the amazing placards! I wasn’t able to go last weekend but it was inspiring to see so many men and women coming together to march for something they believed passionately in with a sense of humour alongside.

Kueshi Foot Cream

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I got this decent-sized sample bottle in a Birchbox last year and have been using it almost daily for a few weeks now. It really has left my feet feeling so much softer and smells nice too. I have saved up a few Birchbox points so think this will be the next thing I order.

Latest Purchases #102 – A Bath and Body Works Haul

When we were in Boston in October, the exchange rate was rubbish so shopping wasn’t really high on our to-do list. However, I did know that I would want to pay a visit to Bath and Body Works for a few seasonal treats! The lady in the shop told me Brits go mad for their products but I love their candles and hand gels and find the scents so different and original from anywhere else.

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Candles first…

I bought two of the large three-wick candles in Caramel Pumpkin Swirl and Chocolate Pistachio.

The first is a lovely autumnal scent with notes of pumpkin, caramel, cinnamon and vanilla. I have been burning this for about a week and I’m not exaggerating when I say the scent has filled the house! It may be slightly too sickly for some but I find it warming and perfect for this time of year.

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The other is a pretty green colour scented with pistachio and chocolate truffle. I’m saving this one for Christmas, possibly to burn in the kitchen. Both of these candles have gorgeous copper embossed lids too.

I also got a smaller candle in Pumpkin Pecan Waffles. This has notes of maple syrup, waffles and pumpkin spice. It also has beautiful artwork on the front.

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As well as the candles, I picked up a few seasonal items in the form of this Cinnamon Pumpkin handwash, this ‘Vampire Blood’ plum anti-bacterial hand gel and my favourite item, this Pumpkin Apple Cider shower gel which contains shea butter for a really rich lather.