The September 2017 Degustabox

Another month and another delivery from foodie subscription service Degustabox*. Unless you are brand new to my blog (in which case, Hi!) you’ll know this is a regular feature. 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 to know what they were like, I’m getting really quite adventurous with my food trying lately so with each month the arrival of this box brings a whole new level of excitement!
Once again kicking off with the drinks selection, this month Degustabox presented me with a bottle of San Miguel Gluten Free (£2 per bottle, or £9 for a six pack). I’m not a beer drinker so haven’t tried this, but it’s essentially a gluten free variety of the ever popular San Miguel. Available for purchase from Tesco for anyone who’s been missing out on a cheeky evening beer.
I’ve become a bit dependent on energy drinks of late, and as much as I love my Red Bull I was pleased to have a healthier variety to try out. Virtue energy water (£1.35 each) costs about the same per can as my current crutch but contains zero calories, no sweeteners and the same amount of caffeine as your average cup of coffee. Once I got over how tart these are I really enjoyed them. The berry flavour was my overall favourite, but if I saw these in my local shop I’d pick these up over a can filled with artificial everything. As an added bonus, for every can sold Virtue will donate 500l clean drinking water.
I’m a serial cereal eater so discovering anything new is always a joy. Cheerios are one of my all time favourites so I was excited by Cheerios Oat Crisp (£2.49) which has whole grain oats mixed in with my favourite loops. It was developed to help lower cholesterol as well as being high in fibre, low in saturated fat and contains beta-glucan from the oat fibre which helps to keep your heart healthy. They don’t have quite the same appeal as a massive bowl of the original, but for a healthy breakfast and for anyone looking to lower their cholesterol through diet rather than medication then I do recommend giving these a go.

I’m not a huge fan of dairy milks on my breakfast and was hugely intrigued to see Dream Ancient Grains (£1.60) included in this month’s box. Ancient grains is made with buckwheat, oat, spelt and linseed. I haven’t tried this yet but I have it ear-marked for porridge and will report back in due course.

Cooking is a re-discovered passion of mine but when pushed for time it’s great to have some short-cuts to creating a quick and easy meal. Latin America Kitchen by Santa Maria is a new line inspired by the many varied flavours of this part of the world.
I haven’t had a chance to cook with these yet but the Caribbean sticky pineapple and chilli sauce (£1.85) is earmarked for a chicken dish ASAP- of course combined with the Aroz Amarillo yellow rice- I don’t yet know what’s special about it, but it certainly sounds fancy! Rice pouches also cost £1.85.
More savoury inclusions in the box, and more that I haven’t yet had a chance to try. Knorr concentrated stock (£2.20) is gluten free and made with real beef extract. This versatile sounding pot can be used to add flavour to meaty dishes such as bolognese or to make a rich stock for soups and stews.
A random but welcome inclusion to the box was Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna- I love tuna and this tin contains 100% pole and line caught steaks. There’s no need to drain making it perfect for a packed lunch addition to a salad- hopefully this tastes amazing enough to justify the £3.49 price tag.
Possibly the most exciting inclusion in the box (and one I don’t have the information for) is the Ramen Noodle kit from Miso Tasty. I love noodle dishes and Bob and I are planning to create something awesome this weekend- watch this space!
Mentos are one of my favourite sweets and this mixed up bag of mints has long been devoured. A resealable pouch (£1.19) perfect for keeping on your desk at work, or for sharing (maybe!)- as the slogan says, who says no to mentos?
A more grown up sweet option next in the form of Green & Black’s velvet edition- this is 70% dark chocolate combined with sweet Madagascan Vanilla, this is rich and smooth and entirely delicious. I had intended to share but it just didn’t happen. £1.99 and entirely worth every penny!
Last but not least a blast from the past- Green’s Egg Custard mix (69p) is the perfect way to create a comfort food classic. Egg custard tarts are a secret pleasure of mine, although it’s been far too long since I last had one. I must add pastry cases to my shopping list for a quick and easy fix!
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.

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 as you can see if you do the maths.
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.

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Matt vs Shine with Essence

My lipstick obsession has got out of hand since last Summer. My collection seems to grow each week and I have every colour and texture imaginable at this point. The one thing I just can’t make my mind up on is which finish I prefer though- one day I’ll be sporting a vampy matt lip and the next I’ll be wearing something sugary sweet and glossy.

One of my favourite brands for lip products is of course Essence, the super affordable brand stocked exclusively at wilko.com and in selected Wilko stores. With a huge array of lipsticks and glosses coming in at under £3 per piece I find it super hard to resist temptation- and really, what’s the need when you can get several new looks for under a tenner?

I was recently sent a selection of lip products as part of their Matt vs Shine campaign. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I really can’t decide which team I’m on but I’ve popped up some little reviews of each shade and how I’ve been wearing them (minus the evidence because once again, I fail at taking photos of myself!)

In the first picture we have a trio of lip glosses. The pale pink at the top is hands down my favourite Essence lip product to date- it’s the shine shine shine wet look lip gloss in shade 02 (smile, sparkle, shine) and features an awesome prismatic glow whilst remaining subtle enough for daily wear. It’s probably my most worn lip product at the moment and I have a back up ready for when it runs out! The middle shade is another shine shine shine gloss in shade 07 (happiness in a bottle). This is a bold pinky neutral shade with a lovely shine, it gives the coverage of a lipstick whilst remaining light with a lovely shine to it, as the name would suggest. This is such a great colour for this time of year and I’m loving it teamed with a berry toned outfit and my copper hair. The third product in this photo is a matt matt matt long-lasting lipgloss in shade 05 (simply be an icon). I found myself reaching for this on a night out in Scotland- it’s light to wear and not at all drying whilst giving a super bold punch of colour that didn’t budge all night, even several vodkas in. This matt shade costs £2.30 whilst the shine glosses are £2 each.

The second picture plays host to two lipsticks that couldn’t be more different if they tried. First up is the sheer and shine lipstick in the shade candy love (12). For anyone who loves a “your lips but better” look this is the lipstick for you. It’s so sheer in colour and so light to wear you wouldn’t really know you’ve got anything on. I’ve been popping this on when I’m running late and want to look a bit more polished in a hurry. This has become the ultimate handbag staple for me! Secondly we have the matt matt matt lipstick in shade 08 which is a deep, dark burgundy colour perfect for wearing with this season’s Victoriana trend. This isn’t a lipstick for the faint hearted as it really doesn’t budge once it is on, but it has a super light texture and non-drying formula that I love. Both of these products cost £2.30 each.

Are you team matt or team shine when it comes to lipsticks? Let me know in the comments.

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Products sent to me by Essence for blog post consideration.

Degustabox August 2017

Another month and another delivery from foodie subscription service Degustabox*. Unless you are brand new to my blog (in which case, Hi!) you’ll know this is a regular feature. 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.

Kicking off with the drinks selection, this month we have some coconut water with ginger and vodka from Twisted Halo (£1.50) and limited edition summer bottles from Orangina. I haven’t tried the Vodka drink yet, although it does sound tempting even to my coconut water hating self. I kind of feel like it might be a bit of a gimmick tapping in to the coconut water craze, but the flavour combination sounds lovely and it’s chilling in my fridge just waiting for the weekend.
Orangina is of course nothing new but these summer bottles are worth checking out. It reminds me of long, hot summer days- bought bang up to date with it’s trendy nautical stripes! You can pick these up for £1.20 each.
Tapping in to the “back to school” market is JellySqueeze- jelly in a pouch that is ideal for eating on the go and suitable those who are gluten and lactose free, vegan or vegetarian. I won’t be trying this as I have a long-standing aversion to jelly but they seem like a great idea for lunch boxes and picnics (£0.69 each).
These Light Bites popped chips are a diet product that is exclusive to Superdrug and something I’d ignore on the shelf due to it’s branding. However, they are delicious, especially the pesto and sundried tomato flavour and at under 100 calories per pack are great for anyone counting calories (or to eat two bags at once if you are me- all in the name of a fair review). A bit pricey at 99p a bag, but a nice treat.
I love noodles and these packs from Maggi are great. These “fusian” noodles come infused with sauce and veggies and create a light meal or side in only four minutes- a great emergency dinner and super tasty. £1.39 per pack.
I think I’ve mentioned my love of condiments before and Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce (£1.89) is a welcome addition to my cupboard. Delivery more tang than spice I’ve been putting this on literally everything- pizza, pasta, fish, meat…you name it and I’ve tried it!
Helmans mayonnaise needs no introduction or a review but this squeezy bottle is a no fuss, no mess solution to picnics and BBQs and a handy size if you’re not a frequent consumer (£1.69).
When I was growing up Seabrook crisps were a weekend treat- my favourite back then, and still is now the salt & vinegar flavour- so packed full of taste and at £1.00 for a multipack of six (also contains sea salted and cheese & onion) they are a bit of a bargain too.
Saving the best ’til last, I always look forward to the monthly sweet treats in Degustabox! This month we had Curlywurly Squirlies (£1.99) which are bite size Curlywurly bars in a sharing (hah!) format, as well as Cadbury Dairy Milk big taste toffee whole nut (£0.65) which I passed to my Dad- we reviewed the large format of this bar a couple of months ago and it was a hit, so this single serving bar was needless to say, also a winner.

Refreshers sweets were another childhood favourite and they’ve now been reinvented in to a softies format (£1.00). All the fizz you remember but in a soft and chewy sweet instead- I’d say these aren’t quite as fizzy and I still prefer the original but at the same time I happily worked my way through this bag.

Last but not least comes the Black ‘N White PICK UP! bar from Bahlsen (£1.69) which I think I reviewed once before. A delicious bar of white chocolate sandwiched between two chocolate flavour biscuits- these are so good. Seriously. It’s just as well they are individually wrapped because otherwise I’d be tempted to see the entire pack as a serving size.

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 as you can see if you do the maths.
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- my first ever Glossybox

I think pretty much every blogger out there has heard of Glossybox. It was the first subscription box I was ever aware of and tempted by, yet for some reason I had never got around to it.
It would appear that August 2017 was a great month to finally get acquainted with Glossybox as I was pretty impressed with every product inside it. The box itself was pretty special too- a gorgeous pale blue and emblazoned with “girls just wanna have sun” (so very true, I’m so tired of grey skies and rain) which just added to the experience.
As with any kind of subscription box I think it’s pot luck each month as to the actual value of the products included. I haven’t done the maths on this one but I’m pretty certain it exceeds the price paid for the box- and to be honest, the box could be packed through of high value products that were frankly rubbish, just as much as it could contain cheaper items that make a big impact. Although this box was sent to me free of charge I can hand on heart say I would have happily paid for this one.
I was very excited to see Essence products included in the box having already given their my must haves palette a rave review. I love the pretty packaging on this one and the shades included just so happen to be right up my street- for me this was the star product of the August Glossybox and it’s been in near constant use since.
Other highlights included the suede lips pencils from Rodial- again the shade is right up my street and this gives an amazing, soft looking matte lip that lasts.
I’m also a big fan of the safari sun bronzer from model launcher cosmetics. Obviously bronzer is a pretty essential summer product for many and this one is up there with the best I’ve tried in terms of being a good suits everyone shade, and it has a great texture.

I’m yet to try the hair care products- I’m intrigued by the 2in1 shampoo and conditioner from Batiste, it’s designed to shampoo the roots and condition the lengths which sounds perfect for my thick and often unruly hair. I’ll be packing this for my holiday next month as a week in a caravan in the Highlands means dry shampoo is going to be 100% necessary.

Probably the most intriguing product in the box is the ice hair mask from Total Repair- this apparently has a cooling effect which powers up the macadamia oil it contains making even more efficient at hydrating the hair. My hair is in dire need of a cut and colour, it’s long overdue which also means the ends are somewhat fried right now…I’ll be giving this a try next time I was it and will report back if anyone is interested…

Anyone here a Glossybox subscriber? After the success of my first ever box I am sorely tempted to sign up and make it a more regular thing but I do worry that it won’t consistently live up to the hype, I’d love to hear other people’s experiences in the comments.

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Glossybox sent me this box for blog consideration, I was under no obligation to post and all opinions are my own.

Christina Jewellery at watchshop.com

Despite their name it’s not only watches available to buy at watchshop.com, nope- not only do they sell a huge range of watches from well loved brands they also sell a really decent selection of jewellery including popular designers such as Thomas Sabo and Links of London right through to new (to me) brands such as Christina Jewellery

Bracelet c/o watchshop.com

It goes without saying that I absolutely love this “Marguerite” charm bracelet with it’s delicate daisy design. It’s a really pretty, dainty piece that can easily be built upon with a wide selection of charms available. The clasp on this has a magnetic action making it really easy to open and close (something I struggle with when I wear my Pandora bracelet) and it comes in a wide range of sizes so there is bound to be something to fit every wrist. I believe mine is the 18cm model which is actually a little big and the range covers from 17cm up to 21cm.

The additional charms are both super pretty and intricate as well as really affordable. I wouldn’t usually consider mixing metals but I do like this silver and gold combination and when I get a chance to add to my bracelet I’d happily pick and mix between the two.

This is the first time I’ve come across Christina Jewellery and I’m really impressed, it’s definitely a brand I’ll be keeping an eye on and one I’d 100% recommend.

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