Sunday, 29 June 2014

June Birchbox review

Yes this is a little late now, but I've been busy moving house and unpacking. But because I was so impressed, I couldn't not review this box.

I dabbled with Glossybox a couple of times but was pretty disappointed. I just felt like it wasn't showing me anything new or of a high enough quality for me to change my purchasing habits or really get my money's worth. Birchbox however is becoming a real love of mine!

This month's themed box centres around the world cup, with the title 'Global Strikers'. I hate football but I was intrigued to see what treats from overseas would show up in my box! The full size beauty blender really made this for me. Everything else I got was really sample size, though all were big enough as samples go!

Here's the low-down on the samples I got:

Beauty Blender (£26.00)
I was really pleased to hear this was in the June box as I've used a few dupes in the past. I'm still working on getting the application quite right, as I found there was still a little too much moisture left in the sponge after a good squeeze and that it made my foundation look dewy, which as someone with oily skin I don't really need! It's great for getting an even coverage and applying under eye concealer though!

Caudalie Vinoperfect SPF15 Day Perfecting Fluid (£38.00)
This was a pleasant surprise for me. The consistency is just right for the face and it brightened my skin up a treat. I actually went foundation-less for a couple of days because it was moisturising but not greasy and smoothed out my worst imperfections I just wish the bottle was bigger!

OPI Nail Lacquer in 'You're So Flippy Flopppy' (Only available in limited edition mini set)
I've yet to try this colour but I've wanted a yellow polish for ages so I'll probably do a follow-up post!

THEBALM How 'Bout Them Apples (£26.00 as part of a set)
In my experience lip and cheek tints can be a bit hit and miss, but this balm worked really well in both areas and the colour is bright and summery. It blends a treat and is quite pigmented. I'm seriously considering getting the full palette, which at £26 for six colours is pretty good value.

NAOBAY Body Radiance Lotion (£14.00)
I hate greasy body lotions as they play havok with my post-backne bod, so this went down really well. You need a fair amount to cover your whole personage and it's got a really nice scent to it, so it may not be ideal for very dry or sensitive skins, but I found it quite nice to use. The sample was large enough for a good few applications - I've actually still got some left which is a bonus!

Flipflop keyring (Lifestyle extra)
Cute - what more can I say!

Want to try Birchbox for yourself? There's no obligation to pay for a 3 or 6 month subscription - you can set up a rolling monthly subscription that can be cancelled any time! You can also fill out the 'beauty profile' questionnaire for a more tailored selection of products. Click here and use my referral link to order yours!


Monday, 23 June 2014

Cheap homeware: Cut price doesn't have to look it

It's no secret to those around me that I've just moved out of the folks' house and into a flat with the boyfriend. We're both less than a year out of uni (though have been together nearly 5 years *gasps*), so are doing everything on a fairly small budget. We've moved to Cambridge, and while it's just 20 minutes drive from my home town, it's a pretty pricey postcode.

Luckily however, there are a few budget home ranges out there that are making things a little easier and a lot prettier. Whether you're moving to a new pad or just looking to update your dwelling, you can't knock Primark for its majorly affordable home department.
I recently picked up the following:
Owl doorstop, £2 (sale, was £7) - I always look for sale items in Primark. They often have to get rid of overstock or slightly damaged items so will slash their already low prices drastically. This push owl doorstop is pretty weighty and dead cute, but many of his buddies had small marks or problems with the stitching. I found this guy in amongst them with no faults or damage on him whatsoever!
Aztec Elephant double duvet cover, £12 - I absolutely love print duvets, and while I have also invested in this Hallrot duvet cover by Ikea , I couldn't resist. I'm really liking rich, warm neutrals at the moment and the Asian/Eastern looking print gives a relaxed bohemian vibe. While most duvet sets will set you back £20-£40, this was a steal at just £12.
Woven branch heart, £2.50 - I've always liked these little trinkets, but more expensive stores really overcharge considering they're just woven or painted bits of wood. I'd like to make my own but I'm short on time these days, so I snapped this one up. I'm hoping to hang it from a door or mirror.

But there isn't a Primark near me?
Unfortunately Primark have yet to make any drastic ventures overseas, and don't have an online store. There are however plenty of other places out there offering low price home ware and trinkets. H&M home are rolling out a lovely, minimalist range that truly reflects the rest of the brand, with the website and London stores up and running and more to come. They've got some gorgeous materials going on and some wonderful vases. Another favourite of mine is Evolution, whose website and stores across the UK provide ethical home-ware starting at just £1.50.

So there you have it. Hopefully I've shown that anyone can create themselves an abode that reflects their personality, without breaking the bank to do it!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Currently reading: I Wrote This For You (Just the words), Iain Thomas

I don't really read romantic poetry or novels. At least not modern ones. I find them cheesy and clunky and generally unrealistic. I stumbled upon the I Wrote This For You project through tumblr though and instantly fell in love.

Began through a blog and eventually compiled into a book, I Wrote This For You is a series of poems that details the ups, downs, mundanes and extraordiniaries of an intense relationship between the writer and his love.

The book is available with accompanying photograph prompts by the wonderful Jon Ellis for those who also want something visual, as it appears on the original blog, or with just the words.

I don't sit and pour over the pages, but I often read a few passages before bed. It reminds me how important bonds between ourselves and others really are, and the words themselves are so beautifully written that particular poems have reduced me to tears.

If 'romance' or 'the love stuff' doesn't feature in your usual reading, I'd thoroughly suggest giving this a try. It's tender and genuine, but without the sugar coating that normally puts me off.
© kelly anne rist

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