The First Degustabox of 2017

The January Degustabox* always tends to feature a healthier selection of products than most of the other monthly deliveries and it is always a box I look forward to. The first box of 2017 was no exception and from a first glance it looked as if this was going to be one of my favourite boxes to date…was I right to be excited? Read on…
Little’s Coffee (£2.69 in Waitrose) is a brand I’ve been buying for a few years now. I don’t drink nearly as much coffee as I used to but when I fancy a change from my default black Americano I look to a flavoured instant to get my fix. French Vanilla is a wonderfully smooth tasting drink and the flavours work perfectly together- ideal for anyone who loves vanilla lattes (try it with half milk and half water, I urge you). Also in the box was a chocolate disc from the Real Hot Chocolate Company for whom I don’t actually have any information about for you. But hot chocolate is always a winner and I’m saving this for a chilly day.
Also in the drinks selection this month was a can of Crabbie’s Scottish Raspberry alcoholic ginger beer (£1.89 from leading supermarkets for a 500ml bottle). I’ve passed this on to be sampled by someone else and don’t have much feedback yet- I personally don’t like ginger beer at all but this is an interesting idea and I’m sure it’s lovely if you have the right tastebuds.
I’ve always loved Fruittella sweets and it’s nice to see a lower sugar variety on offer. With the same delicious taste as always but 30% less sugar than the original these are really tasty and didn’t hang around long! (RRP £1.25)
This sweetener from Natvia is 100% natural and sweet like sugar but has only 0.4 calories per serving. Made from stevia and natural nectar this is a healthy sugar alternative and diabetic friendly. At £4.99 per tub it’s fairly pricey but will be used in more adventures in low sugar baking in the near future.
As my current food intake is ever increasing I’m always looking for things that I can use to boost up my lunches and these Finn Crisp snacks (£1.89) are perfect. I happily munch them on their own but they are also rather nice dipped in to soup or hummus. Another snack I rate are these new ridged snacks from Popchips (£1.99). Although bacon wouldn’t be the flavour I picked off the supermarket shelf these are un-deniably more-ish and are under 100 calories per serving so perfect for anyone watching their diet.
I don’t have much call for protein drinks with my current lifestyle so I passed this Protein Boost strawberry shake on to my friend’s sports mad brother. At £1.29 per bottle with 20g of protein this seems like a good value boost for when you’re on the go.
I’m loving the Quinola Mothergrain pouch (£2.49) which is a blend of ready cooked organic and fairtrade pearl quinoa and split peas. It can be eaten hot or cold, and both ways are delicious. This is a good lunch time option as part of a salad (with feta cheese and beetroot, yum!) or as an accompaniment to your evening meal. Gluten free and suitable for vegans. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for this in the shops. I’m still not brave enough for the chia seeds from The Chia Co. It’s a texture thing for me, but for those who are a fan then these handy little sachets are only 66p each and great for adding to breakfasts and lunches on the go.
I’m afraid I don’t have any information on the firey ginger hibiscus drink that came in the box and it’s not a product I have tried either (see ginger beer section). The Aspire Drinks I have sampled though. Aspire make healthy energy drinks that are calories and sugar free containing a premium grade green tea. These were nice, once I got over how un-sweet they are! I wasn’t expecting a Mango drink to not be sweet but once I got over that it was delicious! £1.45 each
I’ve reviewed Yushoi snacks on the blog before and was intrigued to see their latest flavour offering of coconut and chilli. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy these as although I love coconut I wasn’t convinced it’d work in a savoury snack but it does. It does brilliantly and I am addicted to these now. £1.79 per back- and so worth it!
Finally there was a voucher in the box to pick up a tub of yoghurt from The Collective (£2.00). These are gourmet yoghurts with a double layer of fresh fruit compote. I went for the spiced plum version which also has ginger in it and presented it to my grandad who loves that particular flavour combination. He’s a bit of a fusspot when it comes to food but declares this lives up to it’s gourmet claims. Having tried a mouthful (or two) myself I wholeheartedly agree and I may have an expensive new yoghurt habit forming.
For those who don’t know Degustabox is a monthly subscription box filled with 10-15 food/drink products, most of which are brand new to the market so it’s a great way to try things out. 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.

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Rose Quartz Brightening and Lifting Serum from SkinChemists (and whopping discount!)

If you read my blog in the run up to Christmas (which now feels like a lifetime ago) then you’ll recall how impressed I was with the luxury skincare I reviewed from skinChemists. The three products I was sent then have become daily staples so I was delighted when the brand got back in touch asking if I’d like to work with them again.

This time I was sent the Rose Quartz Brightening and Lifting Serum* which promises to lift, smooth and illuminate your skin- the three things my face is in dire need of right now! With Rose Quartz as the active ingredient to buff away dead skin cells and unveil the fresh- and hopefully still youthful skin underneath, it also contains Vitamin C to stimulate collagen production and skin tightener ST (a blend of marine and plant ingredients associated with having an instant lifting effect).

It’s certainly a very pretty product- it literally shimmers in it’s sleek looking pump dispenser. As far as serums go this has a very light formulation and doesn’t smell overly rose-y which is fantastic for me as I do find the scent can be quite overpowering. I’ve been using this daily before popping on my makeup and by the second day my skin already looked a lot brighter and a week or so on and the difference is noticeable not just to me. It’s so nice to have a bit of a natural glow about me which never happens during the winter months as central heating just sucks the life out of my already dry skin. I’m noticing my fine lines less and less as well and all round I’m just much happier with how I’m looking minus my usual war paint.

This isn’t a cheap serum- it is in fact incredibly expensive at £109 for 30ml which is way out of my usual price range. I wouldn’t usually feature such an expensive beauty product on the blog, I like to keep things realistic around here BUT

For the month of February skinChemists have reduced the price of this product (and all of the Rose Quartz range in the name of valentines and romance) to a much more affordable £29.99. If this wasn’t enough then you can also get an additional 20% off of this already generous reduction (making each product £24) if you use my code DAISYBLOG when you check out.

If you’re looking for a real boost for your skin then I really cannot recommend this enough. I know I was sent the product for blog consideration but I was under no obligation to give it anything but a passing mention and if it hadn’t have genuinely impressed me I wouldn’t have wasted my time writing the last 400-odd words about it.

Let me know if you do decide to treat yourself- it would also make the perfect valentines alternative to a bunch of roses…probably cheaper than a dozen red ones and it’ll last longer too!

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Nail SOS with Essence

My nails aren’t one of my strongest features. I’ve always envied anyone that can grow their nails or who have nails that hold their shape once filed. Mine seem to last less than a day after a manicure and break once they get to a certain length. They also are generally dry and ridged and if I had it my way I’d have a constant shellac manicure to cover them up!

My high-street hero makeup brand Essence have launched a range of products to care for and repair your natural nails- from hardeners and strengtheners to nourishing cuticle oils…and nothing costs more than £2!

They kindly sent over a selection of the products for me to try out and I had high hopes having yet to be failed by any Essence product…could they live up to the hype once more?
The first product I tried was the SOS Nail Detox* (£2) which is a water based polished/base coat infused with algae extract and vitamin B5. It actually has quite an aquatic scent to it and with regular use I can definitely see and feel an improvement in the hydration of my nails. It also gives natural nails a lovely glossy shine when worn as a clear polish so I’m planning on stocking up.

The second product was one of the colour & care strengthening nail polishes* in the shade “I care for you” which is a gorgeous pastel pink. These polishes come in 5 pretty shades (£2 each) and are enriched with natural ingredients to do good whilst looking good.

My nails are feeling so much stronger from using these products and at these prices I really do recommend hot footing it down to your local Wilko if you’re in need of a bit of a nail detox after the festive season. I’m also really liking the 4 in 1 nail file* (£2) which is perfect for essential maintenance on the go.

Have you tried any of these products? Or do you have any nail care top tips to share? Leave them in the comments below…

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The Purrfect Treat for your pet (with a discount!)

Regular readers will know that Mae and I have received quite a few Purrfectboxes* over the last year or so and have very much enjoyed exploring them and reviewing them as a little team.

Today I thought I would go back to basics a bit so that anyone new around here or anyone who is interested but not entirely sure how Purrfectbox works can find out exactly what’s what!

Purrfectbox (and it’s canine equivalent Pawsomebox) is a monthly subscription box for your pet. Designed and developed by a dedicated team of pet lovers each box contains 5-6 items from top brands and typically includes toys, treats and food. Each box costs £14.50 inclusive of p&p which represents excellent value as if you were to buy each product individually you’d be spending far more, it also gives you a great chance to try out new things and discover new favourite toys and treats.
There are various sign up options available- 1 month, 3 months or a 6 month subscription and when you sign up you’ll be asked a few questions about your furry friend to ensure they get a box that is curated to their needs. For every two boxes that get delivered a £1 donation is made to dedicated animal charities so you’re helping to give something back too!
This month Mae was especially taken with the toys although the catnip monkey lost an arm almost straight away as she got a little bit over-excited! The little pet blanket was probably the greatest success- you’ll now often find Mae draped possessively over it, or under it during one of her frequent nap times.
The food inclusions in the boxes are often things we’ve never tried before- this month for example there was a bag of roast chicken cubes which Mae devoured eagerly as well as some sachets of wet food which included chicken and papaya which was wolfed down so fast my feline friend gave herself hiccups!

If you’ve been considering a pet subscription box or I’ve swayed you with one of our many reviews then now is a pretty good time to sign up- use the discount code ukb10oii at the checkout and get a £5 discount off of your first box making it even more of a bargain at £9.50.

Be sure to let me know if you do sign up, I’d love to know what your pet makes of it.

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Posted in cats, Mae, review

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Detoxing my skin with Sukin Super Greens

Detox is a bit of a buzz word for January. With people everywhere looking to undo the indulgences of the festive season it’s hard to avoid the mention of super-foods, giving up alcohol/sugar/fun and getting up at the crack of dawn to go to the gym.

None of that’s for me though, I’d sooner eat a bag of kale straight up than down a green juice and telling myself I’m doing “dry January” would only leave me wanting to neck a bottle of gin every night. Nope, the only detoxing I’m doing this month is for my skin thanks to a range of products from natural skin care brand Sukin- hopefully getting rid of the evidence of sleeping in my makeup, not getting enough day light and neglecting to stay hydrated during the month of December.

I was sent a couple of products from the range- the super greens detoxifying clay masque* (£11.95 for 100ml) which contains kale, spirulina, chlorella, parsley and baobab and promises to restore a glowing complexion. I’m not the biggest lover of face masks, generally I find them a bit claustrophobic and time consuming but lured in by the promise of glowing skin I’ve slapped this on a couple of times now and I’ll admit it’s almost enough to convert me to regular mask application. After 15 minutes and removal with warm water (bonus points for being really easy to remove) my skin certainly felt cleaner and dare I say more radiant? I think overall it’s too soon to tell if my radiance is restored as I’ve only used this twice but regardless of whether it is or not this is a lovely product and will feature regularly in my new found enjoyment of self-care and pamper time.

The second product I was sent was the nourishing chia seed oil* (£14.95 for 25ml). Chia seeds are one thing I actively avoid in my diet, the texture sends a shiver down my spine although I wish I did like them as the health benefits are well reputed. As well as the chia seeds this oil contains hemp seed oil and baobab oil which with daily use supplies your skin with a good dose of those essential omega fatty acids that chia seeds are so well known and loved for. This oil does have a slight hemp smell about it which in my eyes isn’t a bad thing as I quite like it. I’ve been using it every day at night after taking my makeup off and whilst I’m still not overly sold on the concept of oil as skincare again I have to admit it works and my skin feels amazingly soft and my fine lines are definitely less noticeable (oh the joys of approaching 30!) I’m not a fan of the feeling of oil on my skin and I never have been but with modest use and application of this product I’ve found a level I can tolerate and it’s now an established part of my daily routine.

You can buy Sukin products from lookfantastic.com, FeelUnique and Holland & Barrett among other retailers and there are several more products in the super greens range including a scrub that I plan on treating myself to soon- if anything is going to get my glow back it’ll be exfoliating with a blend of super green ingredients!

How do you repair the excesses of Christmas? Have you tried any of the Sukin products?

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