Cool Cards with Choosey

I have a love/hate relationship with shopping for greetings cards. I love to send them and spend a lot of time trying to pick out something quirky and perfectly suited to the intended recipient. That’s where the hate part comes in, as time passes it becomes harder and harder to find cards that reach my criteria as I start to feel like I’ve seen everything the shops have to offer and start to crave something new.

Enter Choosey who are bringing something new to the market by offering greeting cards with video.

How exactly does that work? I hear you ask, well, you still get to pick out a physical greetings card from their selection online (which is vast and pretty cool as it is). Once you’ve chosen your card you can use the App or your webcam to upload a personal video message which is then included in the card via the medium of QR code- your recipient simply has to scan the code to reveal your secret message!

Of course it’s impossible to talk about such a novel concept without actually trying it out so as well as introducing themselves to me Choosey allowed me to create a couple of cards so I could see for myself how it all works.

With Father’s Day coming up fast (18th June) I thought I’d take the opportunity to create a really cool card for my Dad this year. Choosey has a great selection of Father’s Day cards on their site, there will be something to suit everyone I’m sure! I also chose to make a congratulations type card for my best friend who just aced her recent Judo grading.

Creating the videos is dead easy, and quick which is a real bonus. There are step by step instructions to follow and really it couldn’t be simpler to do. I used the App for one card and my webcam for the other and both are equally efficient. I’m not going to break the habit of a lifetime and post a video of myself on the blog but I did snap a picture of the inside of one of the cards so you can see what the final product looks like.

Price wise the cards are reasonable at £2.99 (plus 99p delivery for up to three cards) for an A5 card. At the moment you can also save 25% on all Father’s Day cards. I’ll definitely be using Choosey for future card purchases- if you’ve ever had a card from me in the past, be prepared as they next one might be a live action version!
What do you think of the idea of adding this extra personal touch to your greetings cards?

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Complimentary cards provided for the purpose of this post.

Beauty- Introducing Avril

I’m always up for trying out new skincare and makeup products especially when they’re from brands that are completely new to me. Recently I was contacted by Avril, a young French brand specialising in certified organic and natural cosmetics. All of their products are cruelty free, always a complete winner in my eyes (well, essential actually) so I was on board entirely when they offered to send out a selection of products for me to try.

Lipstick | Micellar Water | Mascara | Day Cream | Highlighter

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I like the simple, no nonsense packaging from the brand. It’s clean and concise and fits well with the ethos of the brand. Price wise I think the entire range is reasonable, the most expensive product here is the highlighter which comes in at 8 euros (just under £7) and the products are a very decent size for that. The main question though is how do they perform? Well, read on…
Skincare wise both of these products impressed me. The micellar water in particular- it’s packed full of aloe vera which I’m a big fan of and means it feels incredibly refreshing when you use it. It feels a lot more soothing than my usual micellar water and price wise it’s certainly comparable enough for me to order this instead when I’m next in need.

The day cream contains both organic macadamia and organic sweet almond oil meaning it feels incredibly rich when you put it on. I did find this a little odd at first as I generally want a day cream to feel lighter but after getting used to how much I needed to use I started to really enjoy this product and it’s become a daily part of my routine. It has subtle and refreshing scent which I really enjoy and my skin is certainly incredibly soft right now.

Makeup wise Avril continued to make a good impression. The highlighter is incredibly subtle- exactly what I want for a fresh, day time look. A light application of this as an addition to my standard week day makeup brightens up my complexion nicely without leaving me feeling like a disco ball. This is probably one of the best highlighters I’ve tried for daily wear, although if you’re a big glow fan you might find it a bit subtle for your tastes.

The lipstick is a product I fully intended to swatch and it’s only as I write this post that I realise I didn’t- nice one Laura! This shade is called Framboise and is a gorgeous berry colour. It applies nicely and lasts a long time- not as long as some of the more premium brands out there, but at 6 euros I was impressed at it’s longevity and the pigmentation as well as the quality.

Finally we have the mascara. I went for the volume variety and whilst it’s probably not going to find itself in my top three mascaras of all time it’s still decent, again especially when you consider the price. The mascara contains organic beeswax and extract of acai berry to strengthen and nourish the lashes which is a nice touch and whilst the effect isn’t the most dramatic volume you’ve ever seen it’s a perfectly good mascara and great for a more subtle work makeup look. I’ll happily continue to use this.

This is only a small selection of what Avril has to offer and I’d be keen to try out more from the brand, in particular more of the makeup range- eyeshadow and foundations are definitely on my list. I’m also interested in seeing what their nail products and makeup brushes are like, if I place an order would you like to see further reviews?

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Products sent c/o Avril

Summer Nails with Essence and Rimmel

There’s something about the warmer weather that makes me want to have bold, bright and beautiful nails- in the winter I’m not so fussed, perhaps because my hands are mostly hidden by gloves. That being said, I talk an awful lot about painting my nails in the spring and summer months but I still seem to rarely get round to it. I blame work a lot, but at the moment as I’m not doing my usual role I don’t even have that excuse. Thankfully I have some gorgeous new nail polishes to bring on the motivation.
First up I have this selection of colour boost high pigment nail paints c/o my friends at essence. These cost a bargainous £1.80 each (available at Wilko stores and online) and promise high coverage and shiny finish in just one coat.

The swatches are indeed just one coat and they really do deliver on that promise, I’m especially fond of the duck egg blue colour- shade 06: instant happiness for a pretty pastel touch. I highly recommend these nail polishes as an affordable and efficient way to bring your manicure up to date.

Next up is the beach ready 2 step super gel nail collection c/o Rimmel (at Boots and Superdrug). I’ve had a couple of gel manicures lately but can’t afford to keep that habit up so the fact that these polishes claim to last up to 14 days with no UV lamp needed appeals greatly.

All you need to do is apply your chosen colour- no base coat needed, just 1-2 thin coats of your preferred shade. Once it’s dry you add a coat of the self curing gel top coat and there you go.

I absolutely love the colours in this collection, they are all so bright and fun! They cost a reasonable £5.99 each (plus the top coat) and can usually be found on a multi-buy offer too. I’ll have to report back on the longevity of these but from what I’ve heard from other people they live up to the hype. Shade wise my top picks have to be the super bright blue shade named Dive Right In or the pretty pastel Purple Splash for a more subtle, girly approach.

What’s your favourite colour to paint your nails in the summer months? I tend to try and avoid pinks because that’s what I always go for- I’m contemplating trying the orange Rimmel polish first just because I don’t think I’ve ever had orange nails.

Pending me ever getting round to a DIY manicure that is! Someone give me a nudge?

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Products in this post were sent to me for blog consideration.

ChloBo Jewellery Review

There are some jewellery brands I’ve admired from afar without ever owning a piece. ChloBo is one of these brands- they’ve been on my radar for a long time but somehow I’ve not managed to get my hands on any pieces.

This all changed recently when the brand got in touch offering me a piece from their gorgeous collection for review. Of course I jumped at the chance (who wouldn’t?) and started to make my selection- no easy task with such an extensive, and gorgeous range I can tell you!

In the end I decided on the mini noodle sparkle rice didi hamsa hand bracelet*. I’m a big fan of delicate pieces at the moment and this fitted the bill perfectly.

The first thing to mention about ChloBo has to be the amazing packaging. Bold, bright and in your face whilst still maintaining that high-end feel. The bracelet is made of sterling silver and does come up a little on the small side- perfect for me and my obscenely small wrists but for some people this could be a problem although it does have some stretch in it.

I’ve barely taken this bracelet off since it arrived. It goes with just about every outfit under the sun and pairs perfectly with much of the rest of my jewellery if I feel like changing things up. I’m not normally one for wearing multiple bracelets at once but the idea of layering up half a dozen of these on my wrist 100% appeals and I’m currently contemplating adding the peace and buddha charms to my collection once funds allow.

It’s not just bracelets that ChloBo do well- necklaces, rings and earrings are also available and also very, very covetable. I fear this review might have started a dangerous obsession for me- now I’ve finally had the chance to give ChloBo a try I can’t help but crave more!

Are you familiar with the brand? What pieces have caught your eye?

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The April 2017 Degustabox

Towards the end of April the latest edition of Degustabox* was delivered to my door. I’m a little bit late in getting my post up this month and admittedly, with the chaos of birthdays, bank holidays and a mostly empty house not all of the products have been sampled at this point.

Nevertheless I’ve popped together this post so you can see what was included in April’s box with some mini reviews of the products I’ve tried so far.

First up we have a new variety of muesli from Dorset Cereals (£4.89). This is the “American Roadtrip” flavour from their Ultimate Adventures collection and is made up of cranberries, almonds and orange zest. This is packed full of flavour and utterly delicious. The perfect start to a Spring morning- preferably with a large dollop of natural yoghurt.

Hemp seed hearts from Good Hemp are one of the products I haven’t tried yet. They are described as delicious, nutty super seeds which are packed with protein, fibre and omega 3. They are nut and gluten free and perfectly for sprinkling over all manner of sweet and savoury dishes. They have an RRP of £4.49 and are currently available from Ocado and www.goodhempfood.com.

On the whole I’m not a big fan of crisps but I do rather like these lattice crisps from Seabrook- sliced both ways to hold maximum flavour these sea salt and black pepper snacks are completely addictive and pack a powerful punch. RRP £1.50-£1.99.

I can’t eat peanuts myself so the hot chilli peanuts from ViPnuts are currently another un-sampled product. These claim to be deliciously hot with a real kick of heat. They cost £1.25 for a very jazzy looking bag and also come in an intriguing sounding Hot Toffee flavour.

As a fan of grapefruit paired with gin (thanks to hoxton gin) I was very happy to see a pink grapefruit flavoured tonic water from Fentiman’s in this month’s box. I don’t have all of the product information for this so I can’t provide an RRP or stockists, but I can say that it is gorgeous with both gin and vodka. One for summer parties!
There was also a bottle of CELIA organic lager in the drinks section of the April box. This is 100% organic and brewed using just three ingredients- Moravian malt, 100% locally sourced (local to Czech) organic Saaz hops and sand-filtered water from the Żatec foothills. It’s gluten free too with an RRP of £2.49 per bottle.
I’ve tried Nothing But snacks before and enjoyed them very much. These are snack packs of freeze-dried fruits or vegetables that are suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those on a gluten free diet. I wasn’t wild about freeze dried grapes but the rest of the fruits are lovely and because they are dried rather than baked or fried the only things the fruit loses during the process is water.

Whitworths full of super range featured in a Degustabox a few months ago and I really enjoyed the Cacao raw bar and was keen to track down other flavours. This month I received the vanilla maca-roons variety which is crammed full of almonds, coconut and flax seeds and I think, that even though I don’t usually like almond flavoured things these might just be a new favourite snack. They cost £1.50 and are suitable for vegetarians as well as being gluten and soya free.

I haven’t yet tried the Garofalo whole wheat penne pasta that came in this month’s box but it sounds pretty fancy! Made with unprocessed whole organic durum wheat the pasta has all of it’s natural bran, germ, fibre, vitamins and minerals intact making it extra healthy. It only takes 11 minutes to cook too. £2.19 per bag and available from Amazon, Ocado and local stockists.
Last but not least we have a couple of sweet treats. Firstly a pot of sugar free polos (£1.49) which I’ve been working my way through. I’ve always had a soft spot for polo mints and these are ultra refreshing and kind to teeth. The pot format is a new look, designed to be taken on the go. Definitely a handbag must have for me and far less prone to getting crushed than the traditional tube packaging.

I was really excited to try the quinoa, smoked tea and vanilla chocolate by Doisy & Dam (£1.75) as I’ve heard amazing things about the brand and their 8 unique flavours. I can’t quite find the right words to describe how this tastes but it is truly, and quite oddly delicious. My next mission is to seek out the rest of the range to see what other crazy combinations of chocolate flavouring exist!

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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