July’s Summer Degustabox

I feel like a broken record saying this- but where has the month gone? It seems like only a few days ago I was last sitting down to write my June Degustabox review and yet here we are again with July’s box- this time on a Summer theme.

As with last month I’ve done my absolute best to try everything in the box, but time constraints and wanting to get a post up in a fairly prompt manner means that there are a couple of things I’m yet to sample. I’ll pop up some mini reviews of these on social media when I do try them for anyone who is as curious as I currently am.

For those who don’t yet know, Degustabox* is a monthly food subscription box that gives you the chance to try new and exciting products on the market whilst providing amazing value for money.

First up, some of the drinks included in this month’s box. I was really excited to see the Blossom Hill Spritz in Lemon and Elderflower as to me that is the ultimate Summer flavour combination. This is designed to be a fresh and fruity twist on wine and it really is. Perfect with ice and a slice!. There were also some soft drinks included from Thor- I don’t have the product information on these but I’m sure I recognise them from previous boxes and they’ve been well received.
Regular readers will know I tend to skip over the drinks part of the box as I’m not really a soft drinks or juices person but even I couldn’t resist trying some of this Mango and Passionfruit juice drink from Crafted. Again, a complete winner of flavour combinations and there is no added sugar or sweetener in the drinks. A serving of this counts as one of your five a day and it’s a great soft drink to break out at a BBQ.
There was a voucher in this month’s box for a big tub kids yoghurt from The Collective. I’m yet to find this available locally (small town life) but I hope I do as the banana and vanilla flavour is right up my street. There just aren’t enough banana flavour yoghurts on the market so I can’t wait to try this one.
The product of the month was these Rowntree’s Randoms 30% less sugar sweets which I have tried before. They pretty much taste just like the sweets we know and love but contain less sugar as well as no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners. These are pretty good sweets- sugar addicted boyfriend approved!
One of my favourite things about Summer eating is putting together snacky plates of crackers, olives and hummus. These new Ryvita thins in three cheese haven’t been opened yet but look very appealing based on the packaging and perfect as part of a picnic or snack platter. The olives from Oloves were one of the first things to be eaten from this month’s box. I love olives and these snack pouches are just so handy! Seasoned with chilli, garlic and oregano they are a perfectly portable healthy snack.
These are the products I’m yet to try- Maille Dijon Original which apparently makes a good accompaniment to steak. I’m not a fan of mustard or steak so will pass this on to someone to try out, but it does look good! I’ve had the merchant gourmet simply cook red and white quinoa before so can vouch for this! It’s ready to eat but can be heated as well and makes a great base for a summer salad, or a side dish as an alternative to rice. We use Frylight a lot in this house as I have an aversion to the texture of actual oils so I’m looking forward to trying this new Avocado variety. You can use this for pan frying, roasting, stir fries etc and to me it’s a store cupboard staple.
I love Weetabix and I love their new additions range. Coconut and raisin is a really lovely, summery flavour combination that I’ve been enjoying as both breakfast and as a snack. Served with ice cold milk (but not too much, they can’t be too soggy!) I highly recommend these.
On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this.
If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.


Beauty: Slay the Eyeshadow and Eyeliner Game with These 4 Tips*

Making your eyes pop is probably one of the most challenging parts of putting on makeup. This step requires an eye for detail, a steady hand and mastery of different brushes and liners. Of course, slaying the eyeliner and eyeshadow game also entails a bit of research. Fortunately a lot of makeup enthusiasts and artists have made a plethora of information available through social media. But if you want to join the ranks of the pros you have to go beyond just watching. You will also need to put these 4 tips into practice:

(Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash)

1. Choose a Brand That Fits You
Although high-end makeup brands do claim to be the best in the industry you don’t always have to purchase expensive products to look good. Brands like ABBAMART offer a variety of long-lasting eyeshadow and eyeliner items that won’t put a dent in your budget. Don’t be afraid to explore eye makeup brands that are easy to apply and feel free to try out different types of eyeshadow and eyeliners to see which looks great on your skin type. Eyeliners for example come in different forms like pencil, pen, liquid, felt-tip and gel or cream. The application method for each kind of eyeliner slightly differs so choose one that feels comfortable in your hand and fits the manner of your strokes.

2. Remember the Do’s and Don’ts
Beauty gurus didn’t just arrive at their killer eyeshadow and eyeliner game; they honed it. In addition to interest and talent people get better at something because they experiment, set guidelines and find methods that work incredibly well for them. It takes tons of practice to apply eye makeup perfectly and that includes making a lot of mistakes too. If you’re new to the eye makeup scene here are some standard practices that work well for most people, followed by a list of practices that don’t:

The Do’s
Always apply primer first. Primer conceals the unevenness and blemishes of your eyelids. It also holds the makeup together, giving you a clean, flawless makeup job.

Adding a transition shade makes it easier to blend the colors. When using transition shades go from light to dark.
Be slow and gentle when blending the colors.

When connecting the shades to the crease bring it upwards to lift your eyes.

If you have monolids use gel or cream eyeliners and draw an arched line above your lash line. The line has to be thicker than you think so when you open your eyes you’ll get perfect-sized eyeliner.

Remember to smudge-proof your eyeliner to make it last the entire day.

The Don’ts
Don’t use dark shades for transition colors. They’re difficult to remove and blend.

Don’t use hard brushes as they don’t blend well.

Never bring the dark shade up to the space between your eye and your nose.

Don’t be heavy on the eyeliner, particularly at the bottom lid of your eyes. Putting too much eyeliner on that area can make your eyes look smaller.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Hacks
Surprisingly, makeup hacks are welcomed in the beauty world. Hacks are often used by beginner and expert makeup artists alike because they allow fast and easy makeup applications without the hassles of doing things the ‘traditional’ way. Some of these hacks include:

Using the edges and curves of a spoon and the edge of a business card to master the cat-eye flick

Using a pencil liner as a guide for tricky liquid eyeliner applications

Applying white eyeliner first to create a less pigmented eyeshadow

Freezing crumbling eyeliner for 10 minutes before applying it on your eyes

4. Practice, Practice, Practice
Finally, if you want to slay your eyeshadow and eyeliner game you have to keep practicing. Becoming a queen doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll probably spend several hours looking at yourself in the mirror with bad eye makeup on before you see signs of progress. With lots of practice and determination however you’ll earn your crown and start seeing your face as a canvas for works of art. Who knows? Maybe the next time you post your look on Snapchat or Instagram it’ll be your turn to serve as an inspiration and a guru to other makeup lovers.


Brand Love: Yoshi

I feel like this post is LONG overdue as I’ve been admiring Yoshi and their amazing array of accessories for a very long time now. I believe it was the queen of quirky, Char who first put me on their scent and ever since then I’ve obsessively stalked their instagram and website seeking out the latest arrivals.
But what makes this brand stand out within such a saturated market? I’ll start off with a visual example of why I love them so much…
Cats, biscuits, books, flowers and dogs are just a few of the cute characters you’ll find splashed across Yoshi pieces. With everything from handbags to glasses cases and key rings to coin purses this is one of the first sites I hit up when I’m looking for a gift with the personal touch for someone I care about, or to create massive wish lists of pieces I want for myself.

Yoshi is a small family business that has over 50 years experience in working with leather. With their timeless values of quality, craft and workmanship it’s clear that they truly care about what they do and this shines through in the accessories they produce.

It was an absolute privilege when Yoshi got in touch with me on instagram asking if they could pop a couple of cat themed pieces in the post to me. Just because, no obligations. The pieces came beautifully packaged in gorgeous printed dust bags and the attention to detail is just spot on. This is exactly why I love to support small businesses- you get that extra something that you just can’t replicate with mass produced goods.

There is definitely something for everyone in Yoshi’s work and I can hands down say you can buy from them with confidence. The key rings are a personal favourite of mine for gift giving purposes, and once I know I can trust him not to lose it I might well treat my boyfriend to one of their men’s wallets.

What’s your favourite piece on the Yoshi Website? I’m kinda feeling that owning a Jammy Biscuit bag is bordering on essential right now!


Denim: a fit guide*

It took me a while to realise it but jeans are a true wardrobe essential. They might have had some downtime over the summer as denim shorts reigned supreme but they’re definitely back for autumn/winter 2017 — as if they ever truly went away!
Of course, finding the perfect denim relies heavily on getting the right fit. Womenswear designer Ralph Lauren is on hand to guide us through this season’s most stylish shapes and how to wear them.

(image from Ralph Lauren website)

Thought flares had been and gone? Think again- Flares are back for AW17 adding a vintage revival to the new season. They’re great for balancing out your proportions and subtly hint at times gone by.
Elongate your legs by wearing your flared jeans with heeled ankle boots, chic lightweight knitwear and a trench coat. As autumn transitions into winter, choose a chunkier knit and wool overcoat to keep the cold at bay.


For those down days boyfriend jeans are essential. Their relaxed, loose-fit style is perfect for a variety of body shapes, from hourglass to pears — but only if you get the fit right right.
Many believe that ‘boyfriend’ is simply a fashion term for big. However there is actually an art to wearing boyfriend jeans- just like a top that is too big will swamp you, you risk losing your curves in a pair of ill-fitting boyfriend jeans. Stay on the right side of this style by making sure yours fit properly around the waist then loosen on the thighs.

Turn up the hems and wear with Chelsea boots for a tough yet chic winter-ready look, or with converse and a slogan tee for true weekend vibes.

Straight jeans are the perfect go-between style for boyfriend and skinny styles. More relaxed than skinnies yet with greater structure than boyfriend jeans, they are super versatile and can be either dressed up or dressed down. Wear them with flat or heeled boots during the day, or switch it up for the evening with a stylish pair of patent court shoes — their polished look will contrast perfectly against the relaxed jeans.

With A-listers making more relaxed, loose-fit styles popular skinnies may not be your most-worn jeans this season. However, after all these years we can’t just leave the skinny jean behind, there will always be a place for our shape-showcasing old faithfuls in our wardrobe.
This season we’ll be keeping our skinnies for smart-casual events, wearing ankle-grazing styles to show off our killer new season boots.

What’s your favourite jeans style? I’m definitely a skinnies girl, although I feel like once I’ve found the perfect boyfriend style they’ll soon be replaced!


Hot To Trot: Warm Weather Essentials To Buy Now*

Most of us are guilty of moaning about grey skies until a heatwave hits. Sometimes, it can seem like there’s no happy medium and we go from miserable to sweltering without warning. We may not be guaranteed sunny skies all summer long but there have been some pretty hot days of late so it’s definitely time to invest in some warm weather essentials. If you’re keen to make sure keep your cool this summer here are some must-haves for your wardrobe.
Throw-on dresses
When it’s hot outside and you haven’t got hours to put an outfit together a throw-on dress can be a godsend. Thankfully, this season there’s something for everyone- from cute mini Bardot dresses to jersey maxis and retro-style midis. Go for cotton or linen to keep you cool and choose a length that makes you feel comfortable, some people are much happier about exposing their legs than others. If the warm weather has caught you off-guard and you’re not ready to show off your pins just yet chucking on a maxi is an easy way to look chic and stay cool with minimal maintenance. Cold shoulders and strapless styles are everywhere this summer but if you don’t want to show too much skin (or don’t fancy the tan lines) you can team a plain slip dress with a basic vest or tee.

(image here)

Summer lingerie staples
Hot weather can pose problems with it comes to lingerie as we tend to veer towards strapless styles, or tops with low backs, racer-backs or even no backs. If you don’t already own an extensive collection of summer-friendly underwear click here to check out some versatile styles. It’s also a good idea to stock up on nude and white underwear in the summer months especially if you’re wearing trousers, skirts or dresses made from light materials like linen. You don’t want visible pants spoiling an amazing get-up…I can’t help but cringe when I spot this whilst out and about!
Denim shorts
Not a year goes by when the denim short doesn’t make an appearance in every summer must-have list on planet Earth. There are many a good reason why denim shorts are so popular- they look cool, they’re suitable for festivals, garden parties and hanging out with your friends and they’re really easy to wear. This summer why not embrace the embroidery trend and go for some cut-offs with pretty floral prints? You can toughen up the look with vintage leather sandals, an arm cuff and a mini backpack.

(image credit)

The jumpsuit
If you aren’t a dress kind of girl jumpsuits may be your thing. The good news is that jumpsuits are back with a vengeance this summer. Choose from sophisticated tailored versions for nights on the town, weddings or a day at the races or go for jersey basics or nautical style stripes for a cool daytime look.

It can be difficult to look great in hot weather, especially if it arrives without prior warning. If you haven’t had chance to update your wardrobe yet it’s time to get shopping and stock up on these warm weather essentials.