Winter Wonderland with Essence Cosmetics

It’s the season to sparkle! And whilst this post might be a bit late in the day for Christmas party inspiration, there’s still NYE to come, and what better excuse to up your makeup game?

As ever, Essence have come up trumps with on trend and affordable products to really add some sparkle to your festive look.

First off, apologies for the dire lighting and the lack of swatches in these photos. I wanted to do this post before Christmas but time constraints with work, and the winter lighting meant trying to grab these at 8am, just before leaving the house!

Anyway, excuses over and on to the products…

Contour fans and highlighter addicts will LOVE the prismatic hololighter stick which gives the most amazing sheen thanks to it’s holographic pigments. This is a multi-use product and an absolute bargain at £3.50- if you only bought one thing from Essence then I think it should be this.
Another amazing shimmer product is the moonlight eyes eyeshadow in the shade Angel. I own a couple of these now and I love the subtle, build-able iridescent colour- they make a great base shade for any look.

I’ve always heaped praise on Essence eyeliners and review the metal art lip & eye liner in a previous post. For party season I’m loving the shade “steel the show”, especially paired with vibrant shock lash & brow gel mascara in “sparkle on”.

The Metal Shock eyeshadow is another product I previously reviewed (and rated) and the “moon dust” shade is a welcome addition to my growing collection. I’ve used these for every party I’ve been to this month- as a base to which I’ve pressed some loose glitter or pigment on to for maximum impact.

I’ve not had a chance to try the nail products included in the package as I’m still sporting a shellac manicure. I plan to give my nails a break in the new year so will try these products out and share the results on instagram, but if you’re impatient to see for yourself and want a fun party look then you can read more here, here and here.

If you’re looking for some last minute party makeup, or fancy some on trend and affordable updates for the new season then definitely head to your local Wilko store or to their website where you’ll find all of these products and more for under a fiver per piece.

The November Degustabox

Another month has passed us by, and another delivery from foodie subscription service Degustabox* has arrived. 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! This month the box had a distinct festive feel, and has to be one of my favourite boxes, contents wise in a long time.
Kicking off with some Kallo organic stock pots- I was sent the chicken variety which makes a great base for a hearty pan of soup, or a comforting stew. I always have stock pots in my cupboard and these ones are organic and all-natural which is a real selling point.
There was also a really rather fancy looking tin of tuna in this month’s box- I’m not a massive fan of tuna these days and I’m phobic of olive oil so I haven’t tried it yet. I have it earmarked for making some tuna pate in the coming weeks- my Nan and I used to make this all of the time and it’s delicious (and full of enough other ingredients foe me to be able to ignore the oil!
The tuna has a RRP of £3.00 and the stock pots are £1.80
Included in this month’s drinks selection was some rather fancy coffee from Taylor’s of Harrogate- a brand I often turn to when I want a touch of luxury. The Cacao Superior Colombia blend is truly magnificent and I highly recommend this to any coffee fan.
I haven’t tried the other two drinks included- the Alo water I just can’t get my head around if I’m honest. The Dalston’s Fizzy Apple appeals more, but, as long time readers know I’m not a big drinker of these kinds of things so I’ll be passing this along to someone who will appreciate it.
RRPs are £4.49 for the coffee, £1.99 for the Aloe Water and £1.89 for the apple fizz.
Pasta and pesto is such a great standby meal and one of my favourites too. This Filipo Berio Classic Pesto is really one of the best I’ve tried and well worth picking up as a storecupboard staple. I don’t have price information for it, but I imagine it to be around the £2.00 mark.

I actually reviewed a large selection of The English Provender Co’s products last year and loved them- their caramalised red onion chutney was a favourite so I was excited to see a jar of it nestled inside this month’s box. Perfect with goat’s cheese in a toasted sandwich, this jar won’t be lasting me long! RRP £1.99

December isn’t really known as being the month for healthy eating, but I do like to try my best. With the current freezing temperatures I’m enjoying a lot of soup and the Ryvita Multigrain Rye Cakes are the perfect thing to dunk in it. Equally they’d be great as part of a cheeseboard over the festive season, unless, like myself you aren’t a fan of cheese.
Having an allergy to peanuts meant I couldn’t try the Planters Fruity Chocolate Crunch but given that the bag has since vanished from the house I’m guessing they were a hit. This kind of product seems synonymous with this time of year- and this pack with it’s mix of peanuts, cranberries and milk chocolate buttons sounds wonderfully festive. RRP £2.00
Finally on the savoury snack front we have Filipo Berio Formaggio Crostini- I haven’t tried these yet but you can expect a review over the coming weeks. It should be noted that Degustabox subscribers will only get one of the three Filipo Berio products mentioned.
I’m a huge fan of Popcorn and Propercorn is my current go-to brand when I’m on a snack mission at work. The Perfectly Sweet variety is a welcome addition to the range- sprinkled with unrefined, fairtrade sugar it’s utterly addictive and I’ve eaten about a dozen bags of it since my Degustabox arrived.

When it comes to sweets Jelly Beans are my ultimate favourite so I carefully hid this bag of super sours from The Jelly Bean Factory. Made with natural colours and suitable for vegetarians I’d be delighted to find these hiding in my Christmas stocking.

Finally we have Cadbury Picnic Bites which my Dad devoured due to aforementioned peanut allergy. I used to love Picnic bars so I was saddened I now can’t have them, it might be a bit of a gimmick but I can’t resist a minature version of anything.

Last but not least we have Weetabix Additions in apple and raisin. I’ve reviewed other products in this range before and really enjoyed them, but this one, with it’s warming hints of cinnamon is my favourite- perfect with hot milk on a cold morning. RRP £2.99 for a box of 24.

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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Wolford at UK Lingerie

When I think of the brand Wolford my mind instantly wanders to tights- after all, that’s what the brand are most renowned for and until I was given the opportunity to work with UK Lingerie on a post I had no idea that they made anything else.

Turns out it’s not all about the tights after all, Wolford also make a range of shape-wear, bodies, layering essentials and lingerie. I was given the chance to try out a couple of pieces from the range and I was curious if they could do underwear even half as well as they do hosiery.

I find bras really hard to shop for, during the times I’ve been unwell my chest has been non-existant and I’ve lived in lace triangle bras and crop tops. Now I’ve developed some curves again and it’s novel- I have no idea where to begin with shopping for comfortable bras and my underwear selection is incredibly limited. Could the £90 Wolford sheer touch push up bra* be the answer to my problems? In a word, yes!

I had to hazard a guess as to my size but thankfully got it spot on. I was still dubious about whether I’d find a “real” bra comfortable, or if any bra is worth almost £100. Well, I’ve been enlightened! This is the best fitting bra I have ever owned and it makes my [still lacking] boobs look amazing. It forms a smooth and sleek line under clothing and is supportive without being constrictive. The pads in this bra are removable- but for me they are staying! It also comes with a selection of strap options which certainly makes this bra earn it’s price tag. It’s a great all rounder and I’m hoping that if I come across a white and nude version I’m in the position to buy them both.

The second item I picked out was the Wolford Pure Pullover* which costs £80. This is a seam free, long sleeved top that fits like a dream. Pinafore dresses are a work wear staple for me and I struggle to find streamlined tops to go under them- this one is the perfect length and so unbelievably soft. It’s pricey, more than I could afford to spend on a top if I’m honest but it feels so luxurious and warm when worn- it also washes well, and should I ever be in a position where I have a much higher clothing budget I’d certainly be looking to Wolford for my layering staples.

I also thought it worth a mention- with Party Season around the corner, that the UK Lingerie blog have put together a handy Spanx shape-wear guide to help you get your killer dress looking the best it possibly can. One of the biggest reasons I don’t buy body-con dresses is that it’s so hard to get a smooth finish and I hate spending a night conscious of lumps and bumps. Definitely worth a read if you struggle with the same issues.

What are some of your favourite brands for Lingerie? And where would you recommend to get a proper fitting done?

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Gift Guides: Girly Gadgets from Mobile Fun

If anything, my love of gadgets has grown over the last twelve months and I’ve added quite a few to my collection. Most recently I was sent some girly gadgets from Mobile Fun (who partially kickstarted my collection last year) and I thought I’d do some mini reviews of the products as they’d all make great gifts for gadget girl you know.
First up we have the drop and play wireless speaker from Olixar*. This genius little product allows you to play music wirelessly via your smartphone without any need for Bluetooth or a Wi-Fi connection. You quite literally plop your phone on top of this speaker and it amplifies the music without compromising on quality. At £12.99 this is a great stocking filler and portable enough to put in your handbag for a party or for taking away on holiday.
This next product is the ultimate girly-girl gadget- the Hyper Pearl Compact Mirror Universal Power Bank* is, as the name would suggest, a compact mirror and power bank in one. It’s small and lightweight so you’re not carrying a dead weight around with you, and the fact you can touch up your makeup and charge your phone with one product is perfect for someone like me who otherwise chronically over-fills her handbag. This costs £21.99 and is capable of fully charging your phone, it comes with a protective pouch, and handily the mirror also lights up so you’ll never be unable to check your teeth for lipstick (trust me, this is essential if you’re me!).
This Olixar universal Smart Phone Photography Kit* has been a big hit with both Bob and myself. For £19.99 you get a neat black roll wrap containing a 3-in-1 lens kit, a pocket sized selfie stick, a mount and a tripod. We’ve had greqt fun testing this out taking pictures of our kitten, upping our selfie game and generally being idiots. Definitely a product for anyone seriously in to Instagram or who just wants to experiment in the capabilities of smart phone photography.
Last but not least we have another power bank- this time the Kit 4,100mAh Portable MFi Lightning Power Bank* in Rose Gold. I’m a fiend for power banks as I have an irrational fear of being stranded without phone battery and this one is great. This little powerhouse can fully revive your iPhone or iPod and will give your iPad a serious boost should you find yourself in need. It also looks super sleek with it’s Rose Gold finish and would make for the perfect stocking filler for pretty much every female I know. It costs £19.99 and thanks to it’s lightning charge connector will bring your device back to life instantly. It also boasts a long standby life which was it’s real selling point to me- I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve gone to use my old portable charger only to find it’s all out of juice.
What are your must have gadgets? I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. If you are looking to up your tech game then I highly recommend Mobile Fun, I’ve used the multiple times outside of blog reviews and have always been impressed by their competitive prices, range of products and speed of service.

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The October 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!
This month I’m kicking off with the box’s sweet treats- always my favourite part! First up was a new take on a blast from the past- any one remember KP Choc Dips? I absolutely loved the white chocolate ones but they were a rare treat due to them not exactly being healthy. Nuttiva have bought out a new take- chocolate hazelnut spread (that boasts zero palm oil and 97% less sugar) paired with crunchy breadsticks. Not going to lie, I still prefer the old school favourite best, but these are a tasty and healthier alternative, although pricey at £1.70.

Continuing on the chooclate and hazelnut theme we have giant cookies from Michel et Augustin- melt in the middle cookies packed full of chocolate chips, fresh butter and free range eggs as well as a delicious chocolate and hazelnut filling. Delicious, but again pricey at £1.60 for a pack.

I’ve been wanting to try these Pulsin Kids’ Fruity Oat bars ever since seeing them on Twitter. These might be designed for kids but also make a healthy snack for work- chocolate orange is a can’t go wrong combination and these are really delicious, one of your five a day and low in sugar- £0.59 each with other flavours available.

Finally, in the spirit of Halloween comes a Misfortune Cookie from Pechkeks. These appeared in a box last year too and I still think they are bloomin’ genius. A tasty cookie containing a tongue in cheek misfortune message, a great novelty gift idea at £1.50 each.

Feel Good Drinks are a brand I buy regularly for taking to work. Simple water based blends made with 100% natural ingredients. I really like these as an alternative to fizzy drinks on my desk at work, and at £1.20 a bottle they are comparable in price. The Strawberry and Mint is a particular favourite.
Hippeas are one of my go-to savoury snacks, with serious flavour and a decent punch of protein and fibre they are vegan friendly and utterly addictive. I was sent the “in herbs we trust” flavour which isn’t my favourite from the brand but still entirely edible- my favourite from the brand is definitely the sweet & smokin’. They cost £2.29 for a share size bag, but seriously they really might as well be marketed as single serving!
I’ve been trying to make more effort to take lunches in to work with me rather than nipping to the shops and spending a fortune on impulse snacks. Kabuto Noodles are a long standing favourite and the thai green chicken curry is another welcome addition to the range. They cost £1.99 per pot which is much cheaper than my usual sushi fix and much more warming on these chillier days.
I’ve also been really enjoying the cous-cous pouch, mixed with some protein (chicken, chickpeas, tofu, prawns) this makes a tasty lunch which is easily portable too. £2.29 per pouch and microwaveable in just one minute!
I’ve really been getting in to cooking lately so I was quite excited to see these sauces from Lee Kum Kee- there’s a sauce for tomato and garlic prawns (which worked wonderfully with the cous-cous. I haven’t tried the honey and garlic spare rib sachet yet as I’m not a ribs person but between Bob and my Dad it’ll get tested in no time. The sauce pouches cost £0.85 each.
Millions are one of my favourite sweets ever, and the vimto ones are absolutely delicious- it’s the perfect combination of two classics and this little gift jar (£2.99) didn’t last long!
Another tasty treat was Pip’s Real Hot Chocolate Co real hot chocolate coins- real Belgian chocolate handwrapped and perfect for warming up after a long and frosty stroll. They cost £1.50 each and would also be a great addition to a cosy night in Christmas hamper.

This month’s box also included some Heinz No Added Sugar Hoops and some LoSalt both of which I absolutely failed to photograph for some reason. I’m not one who really pays attention to their salt or sugar intake (woops!) and in fact I’m quite the salt fiend. The Hoops were ok but I prefer the original but I appreciate these would be much better for kids or those who have to watch their sugar intake. The LoSalt is quite palatable, it’s hard to tell the difference between that and regular rock salt. It costs £1.75 for a 350g tub.

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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