Good afternoon friends, How are we all doing on this grey stormy Saturday?
I have now cancelled all subscription boxes, (any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!), and have been looking for mystery boxes. Well damn, there are dozens out there, but not many with decent reviews.
Now, I’ve never used Wowcher before, but their clearence mystery boxes caught my eye. £10.99 (+£5.49 delivery) for a mystery box with a minimum of 20 items, what have we got to lose?
Good evening friends, I’m in full swing for Autumn, the summer clothes have been packed away, the autumn candles are filling the house with that cosy welcoming scent, and I’m ready to bake! This quick and easy dessert that can be whipped up and ready to serve in an hour.
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
400g blackberries (these were picked from our garden) 55g caster sugar For the crumble topping 200g plain flour 100g butter 100g Demerara sugar 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (optional)
Custard or vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
What you’ll need A glass dish Mixing bowl A wooden spoon
1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
2. In the glass dish, mix together the washed berries and caster sugar until coated evenly.
3. Rub the butter into the flour to make a light breadcrumb texture. Add in the demerara sugar and cinnamon until combined and spread onto the berries
4. Bake for 45 mins until golden brown.
5. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving, and enjoy!
This ones been in the bank for a few months, and since I’m sat with my hair clipped up waiting for the hair dye to develop, I thought theres no time like the present!
A bit of back story – my hair is long thick and dark brown. For any colour to show on my hair, my hair will need to be bleached. Every now and then I’ll throw on a dark brown/black box dye just to give it a richer colour
I, like many others toyed with DIY hair cuts and colours in the past but decided I’d go to a hair dressers for a few inches off, fringe and highlights. Theyre professionals, right?
I found a local salon, pictures on pinterest of my vision, called and booked. I had told them my hair was long dark and thick but thought best I visited to show them my shirt and my pictures of the desired look. ‘No problem, we can do that, It’ll only take 2 hours.’
The inspiration – the fringe and below the colours.
A week later, the morning of my appointment I popped in just to check 2 hours was enough time as I had my friends hen do/batchellorette party that evening and didn’t want to rush. I was told it was plenty of time and that I’d be out by 6pm
When I arrived the senior stylist and hair dresser took a side of hair each and began highlighting, for my half head of highlights – the 3 of us were chatting away, I confessed I’d cut my own hair goodness how many times (thank you Brad Mondo) and box dyed through out the years as I had had a few bad experiences with hairdressers so was anxious – a few previously being scissor happy and cutting far to much off or not been correctly trained to cut curly hair. The hairdressers themselves spoke about, partners, family, holidays, life stories were shared! 30 or so minutes later the foils were removed and my hair was washed.
It wasnt until I was sat back in the chair, whilst my hair was being blown dried, that the senoir stylist was called over…. the tone in her voice made my stomach flip.
‘The colour hasn’t taken properly.’
They both looked extremly concerned as they ruffled throygh my hair standing back and holding pieces in every direction.
‘Hmmm theres only colour at the roots… have you boxed dyed your hair before?’
Yes I answered – I told you this when I popped in last week, and 2 hours ago before you started highlighting… clearly neither had listened.
The senoir stylist nodded, advised his colleague to blowdry, cut and style my hair, and that I will be booked back in free of charge to correct this – as the colour hasnt quite taken correctly – and we didnt take a strand test.
Strand tests should always be taken before dying as standard apparently – but was missed…
I’m sure you can picture my face.
Why didnt I say something at the time you may ask? Well, the styling chair was next to the window, there was glare and I couldnt quite see how bad it was.
I walked home, as soon as I got in the front door I looked in the mirror and burst into laughter.
You know the scene from Batman (1989), where joker sees himself in the mirror after surgery… that was me.
Oh friends, It wasn’t just that the colour hadnt taken fully, it was that I was now walking around with 3 inch root highlights – it was also that the colour was yellow/brassy instead of warm and subtle caramels. Not to mention the nice big patch of yellow at the back of my head. The cut was fine, but the curtain bangs (thick swooping side fringe) I had asked for was instead a few thin short strands to my chin.
I immediatly called the salon, which was now closed and told them how upset I was and how unacceptable and unprofessional it was. You didnt do a strand test, I had told you I had box dyed my hair, you didnt listen, and now this is my hair?
I was devestated. I half an hour I was supposed to have a night with the girls for a hen do, not to mention my birthday in 3 days time. I felt humiliated.
I couldnt stop looking in the mirrors, taking pictures to send to friends in a panic as didnt know what to do – my friend Katie advised me to buy some root touch up spray, and not dye over it in a panic incase it got worse.
I did exactly that and continued with the night. Next morning I called and facebook messaged the salon, and the owner. Monday morning I eventually got a call from the senoir stylist, yes I got an apology, and he assured me he would be the one to correct my hair, but I declined and said I dont want anyone from your salon touching my hair and want a full refund.
The next day I box dyed my hair back to black, and now am doing this once a month since as the brassy tinge is still coming through in patches.
Safe to say, my fear of hairdressers will continue.
Today we’re unpacking the Fab Fit Fun box: Spring Edition!
FabFitFun is a seasonal subscription box available in the US, UK and Canada.
FabFitFun members can subscribe annually for $199.99/year and can customized your whole box or seasonally for $54.99/box and customize 6 of the 8 products from the categories
Each quarter you’ll receive 6-8 full size products with a value of up to $300 Items vary between beauty, fashion, lifestyle, fitness, and home products Each season FFF teams with a charity to shine the light on themand help to raise money for their cause
Keep reading to discovers my picks for this season
Alice + Olivia Daisy Print Duffel Bag & reversible Bucket Hat 1 × $235.00 Durable canvas with a stace face zipper pull and a removable crossbody strap, with 2 exterior pockets and internal zip pocket Dimensions: 16″ W x 9.5″ H x 8.25″ D | 10″
I used this bag as my carry on recently on a trip to Sardinia (blog post on the way). A real life Mary Poppins bag! I packed toiletries, shoes, clothes, books, magazines – was amazing with the amount I crammed in that bad boy. The outside pockets were handy for snacks and tickets, and the cross body strap had the right length and padding to support the load without cutting up my shoulders.
Bucket hats really aren’t my jam so I passed this onto a friend who was thrilled with it.
Splendid Faux Fur Slippers – Crystal Pink M/L – US 8-11 1 × $48.00 These 90’s inspired slippers are so darn soft and comfortable – just the right amount of cosiness for your feet in the spring.
Prive Revaux The Juliet Black Sunglasses& protective sleeve1 × $39.95 Made from scratch-resistant acrylic, these lenses provide 100% UVA/UVB filtering, filter blue-light rays emitted from screens, and deliver maximum optical clarity. Black, gold, sturdy, with a classic shape, perfect to accompany any style.
Spoon restRRP $30 Now we know I love to cook – A chic and sizable stoneware spoon rest with a color-blocked gray and white design that looks gorgeous in your kitchen and keeps countertops clean while you’re cooking up a storm. Dimensions: 6.96” x 4.76” x 1”
Gemelli Jenna Clip – 2 Pack1 × $33.00 Yes you read that right. Who in their right mind would spend that on acrylic clips? They work exactly how they should, no complaints – however weren’t my chosen item in this category – the others were either sold out or didn’t ship to the UK. At least they’re practical?
Butter LONDON™ Teddy Girl Eyeshadow Palette 1 × $28.00 Every once in a while we need to venture out and away from a smokey brown eye and embrace the pastels. This female founded, soft and colourful spring, highly pigmented 9-piece eyeshadow palette features a paraben-free formula with matte shades, 4 shimmer shades.
What do you think of this season’s box? Do any of the items take your fancy?
Now, I don’t mean to be a negative Nancy but I’ll tell you now this review isn’t a positive one. I was less than impressed with Birchbox’ ‘Make it Count’ January edition.
All items bar the Turtle Bag are ‘delux minis’, therefore I only have the prices of each product full size
Real Chemistry Fresh start Foaming Cleanser 15ml (Full Size RRP £24) This cleanser is horrid. I used it as instructed, on different patches on my face as thought some how I may be applying it wrong. The cleanser failed to foam, and quickly became sticky and tacky to the touch. Straight in the bin unfortunately
Green frog – Natural Shower Gel 50ml (Full Size RRP £9.95) Biodegradable bottle, vegan and Cruelty free. This shower gel lathered up well, and left my skin clean and soft. The verbena and bergamot scent floral earthy scent isnt my go to but is something different
Klorane Anti Pollution detox Shampoo with Aquatic mint 25ml (Full Size RRP £8) Possibly the smallest shampoo sample I’ve ever recieved? This detox shampoo cleanses hair of impurities and polluting particles; I hadnt tried a ‘Anti pollution’ shampoo but is pretty underwhelming. The Aquatic mint wasn’t too pleasent, not a fresh sweet mint but more of a toothpaste mint scent.
My hand looks abnormally huge, but this bottle was miniscule!
Arrow – Under eye brightening serum in shade medium ( Full Size RRP £17) A Clean and Vegan Birchbox in house brand which is what we like to see, but a tiny 3ml sample? This serum brightens and moistures the under eyes, whilst giving a healthy glow.
Balance me – Beauty sleet hyaluronic mist 10ml (Full Size RRP £20) I haven’t yet tried this properly as the spray pump doesn’t work which is a little frustrating. I dabbed a little directly onto my hand, a Which gave a bit of warmth and a powerful lavender scent – if the pump worked I’d love to use this product.
Turtle Bags (Long handle) RRP £10 https://www.turtle-bags.com/ ‘Made in India, organic, super strong, natural fibres, biodegradable, ethical and practical’ The long handles were a little too long for my liking, as my shopping was almost dragging along the floor, though I did tie knots into each handle which shortened them and gave me extra grip by doubling up the handles. This bag can carry more than meets the eye, jam packed with fruit and veg, easy to store and wash, easily my favourite product of the box.
This box is a little hit and miss, I can’t say I’m overly impressed. Disappointing for the first box of the year, hopefully in the coming months we’ll recieve better quality and full sized products
My first review of 2022 is bought to you by Roccabox. ‘Clean up you act’ box contains 5 ‘super clean skin and body’ beauty products worth over £81 and one ‘extra treat’.
First up …
Grüum Pür Gentle Moisturiser (Full Size) RRP £8 A lightweight, suble scented Face and neck moisturiser packed with sage, camomile and green tea, perfect application before make up, or at the end of the day on a clean face. Also paraben, sulphate and petrochemical free
Ameliorate – Transforming body lotion RRP £6 (Deluxe mini) This lotion has a terrible scent, reminded me of a instant fake tan I used to wear when I was around 18/19 years old. It left my skin soft enough but itchy and a little irritable, was thrown in the bin shorty after
Paradoxx Repair Game Changer Hair Mask RRP £15 First off I love the packaging, this mask can be applied on dry, towel dried or wet hair. I scooped this onto wet hair for 10 minutes after shampooing. Although the earthy scent isn’t partially to my liking, my hair was extremely soft and tangle free once rinsed. Packed with kelp seaweed, avacado oil and Ginseng, to strengthen, hydrate, condition and take frizz. Love it!
Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel (Deluxe mini) RRP £16 I was impressed with this cleanser. A lovely soft rose scent, this gentle gel to oil texture cleanser easily mented away my make up with a few circular motions.
Caprea Shield Serum with Vitamin B3 (Full Size) RRP £36.90 I’ve applied 4/5 drops each morning the past couple of days before moisutiser and make up. This soaks well into the skin without leaving a greasy layer. This serum is packed with Niacinamide, which helps your skin grow a barrier which retains moisture and protects against UV damage.
*EXTRA TREAT* KOKO Coconut Milk I’m a fan of coconut milk, but not keen on the flavour of this brand, however Coconut is an acquired taste, if I wasn’t a fan I wouldn’t be too impressed to receive this.
Overall I was happy with this month’s box, however there was definitely room for improvement.
Roccabox is no longer a ‘Beautybox’, as over the last 12 months the products are predominatly skin care based, which to me is disappointing.
Since September 2021, the monthly price increased (including delivery) from £13.95 to £18.95.
‘The reason for this price increase is so it gives us more scope to work with brands of all sizes. We are about beauty discovery so you will still be discovering the best brands around’
For the price increase I would of hoped for a bit more variety, a few eyeshadow palette, more lip scrubs, lip tint, coloured eyeliners, make up bags, hair accessories… something that brings a little more excitement.
Blimey, it’s been a few months since I’ve last blogged. I’m back! (Again)
We decided to mix it up a little for boxing day this year, of course we had the standard turkey sandwiches, cheese and crackers and yet another tipple, but before that Callum and I took part in the Annual Boxing Day swim.
I’d always thought people racing into the sea late December were mad, this year something sparked in my head, and it all looked quite appealing!
F it, why not?
This year there were 3 Annual Boxing day swims on The Isle of Wight, each raising money for their chosen charity.
We took part in The Shanklin swim raising money for Sandown and Shanklin Independent Lifeboat
We arrived at The Small Hope beach at noon where The Salix Cafe had Music and entertainment as well as serving hot food and drinks including mulled wine and mince pies.
Tubs of pastel powder were spread out along the beach ready for a explosion of colour before the horn blast for us to race into the sea.
That was the plan – instead handfuls of coloured powder were grabbed and thrown around the beach covering everyone involved. It was hilarious and beautiful.
At 12.30, the horn blasted, myself and about a hundred other rainbow coloured people cheered as we threw ourselves into the sea.
Splashing around in the sea on December 26th, covered head to toe in powder, it was invigorating, and as you can imagine, a little chilly! I should mention, I was dressed as Wonder Woman. As you do!
I knew from watching previous years people normally dress up, so I dug out a comic con costume from 10 years ago.
We swam, splashed, floated around and enjoyed the waves crashing into us for a few minutes before we ran back to land.
So far an amazing £350 has been raised for the Independent Lifeboat.
And bonus, I won joint 1st prize for best fancy dress. Who doesn’t love a tub of Hero chocolates?
I’m tempted by the New Year’s Day swim, although I may avoid the coloured powder – that took some serious scrubbing, it got ev-er-ry-where!
It worked! If you read my last blog post you’ll know I was toying with the idea of making this dish in my Dutch oven from my Autumn Fab Fit Fun box.
This was the first time I made this one pot, Dutch oven stew, I was intrigued but unsure of the outcome. Oh my goodness, this stew was thick, tender and absolutely delicious with a smokey sweetness. Mix it up this season and give it a go
Prep time 15 mins Cooking time 1 hour and 20 minutes Serving 4
Ingredients • 220ml (1/2 can) Guinness • 400g cubed beef in 2inch cubes • 50g dark chocolate • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into small slices/chunks • 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into small slices/chunks • 2 large potatoe washed and quartered • 3 heaped Tbsp plain flour • 1 large onion, diced • 2 cloves garlic • 2 Tbsp Olive or vegetable oil • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce • 1 Tbsp tomato paste • 1 cup beef stock • 1 Tbsp soy sauce • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme (chopped) • 4 sprigs of parsley (chopped) • Salt and pepper to season
Instructions • Heat oil over med/high heat in a dutch oven. • Cook beef cubes for 4 minutes, then set beef aside on plate.
• Saute the onion and crushed garlic for • 3 minutes. Then stir in the tomato paste, and turn down to a low heat to simmer
• On the set aside beef, seive the flour onto the cubes to combine the juices and flour, this will give a paste like consistency.
• Next add Guinness, stock, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and chocolate, to the Dutch oven and stir well for 5 minutes. • Add the flour coated beef and stir well.
• Pop on the lid and leave to cook on a low to medium heat for 40 minutes.
• Gradually fold in the carrots, parsnips, potatoes, thyme, and parsley. Cover and simmer for an additional hour.
Serve this hearty flavoursome stew and enjoy either alone or with crusty buttered bread.