Friday, 19 January 2018

Powder Beauty Drawer- January 2017 Detox Edition Review

About the box
Powder, part of Time Inc who bring you magazines such as Marie Claire and InStyle, has been around for a couple of years now. At first, it only did seasonal boxes, but nowadays you can get monthly boxes that come in a lovely pink (powder pink, actually!) drawer box. Expect a mix of makeup, skincare and nail products.

£15.00 a month plus £3.50 P&P

What I got
This month Powder is sending all current subscribers their special Detox Edition jam packed with loads more items than usual, which you can buy on their website as a one off for £50.00, so this is an amazing bargain if you're already subscribed, as you'll be saving thirty pounds!

First is this really pretty tube of Crabtree & Evelyn Old World Jasmine Ultra-moisturising Hand Therapy (sample, 10g, approx. £1.80, find it here). It is incredibly softening and nourishing on your skin, but I found the scent very overpowering in a floral kind of way. Great if you're into that, but I think I will be passing this on. That said, isn't the packaging beautiful?

This brand seems familiar- wasn't it in the last box? However, I think this is a different product so I will let them off! This is the HASK Charcoal Purifying Deep Conditioner (full size, £2.99, find it here). Usually I'd say don't use anything that says 'clarifying' on coloured hair, but the packaging claims that coloured hair is ok with this, so it's your call! It contains charcoal and citrus oil, and moisturises whilst purifying at the same time. You get a good amount in one sachet so you could probably stretch to two washes unless you have very long hair.

This cute little bottle is Tropic Super Greens Nutrient Boost Serum (sample, 5ml, approx. £7.00, find it here). This is a really tiny sample but that's probably because 30ml comes in at a whopping £42.00, so it's a really pricey product. It has won several beauty awards, and claims to help with skin repair, deliver essential vitamins to the skin, calm irritation and reduce redness. It has a very green smell to it, like herbs, and it comes with a little pipette/dropper so you can easily decant it.

I have actually received this in a previous box, although I don't think it was a Powder Drawer- The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Lip Balm (full size, £13.00, find it here). It is organic, cruelty free and contains shea butter and rosehip.

This is a repeat from the October Powder Beauty Drawer, so I was a bit disappointed to see it again- the Nip + Fab Dragon's Blood Fix Plumping Serum (sample size, 20ml, approx. £7.99, find it here). I don't really need much extra plumping or hydrating on my face, so I will pass this on (again), but I know this brand and product line is really popular so I imagine lots of people will be pleased to see it. It contains hyaluronic acid, velvet flower and dragon's blood (a flower???) to hydrate and help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

This was kind of the odd one out item in the box for me. It's a bit kids makeup looking compared to the rest of the things in the box, it's the Lottie London Glossip Girl Lipgloss in Hashtag (sample size???, find it here). It's a bright pink full coverage gloss, and since I can't ever see myself using this I left it sealed up so I can pop it in a giveaway pile for someone who will truly love it.

Next is this dinky pot of Darphin Essential Oil Elixir Vetiver Oil Mask (sample size, 5ml, approx. £4.50, find it here). This is a stress relief detox oil face mask, containing an essential oil blend of vetiver, french lavender, geranium, and marjoram. It helps stressed out and tired skin look more rested, supple, soothed and glowing. It smells heavenly, and I wonder if you could even put a bit on dry hands as well?

Next are these BLAQ Hydrogel Eye Masks (sample, one set, approx. £4.40, find it here). They contain activated charcoal and hyaluronic acid, and aim to reduce puffiness, detoxify skin and hydrate. Just pop them on your under eye area and lie back and let them work.

This is Skin Chemists Oui Essential Hydrating Day Moisturiser (full size, £24.00, find it here). Containing coconut oil and aloe vera, the ingredients aim to hydrate, balance, soothe and repair. I am pleased that Powder sent such a big full size product of something that so many people use every day.

This brand seems to pop up every few months in a subscription box, this time it's the Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash (sample size, 40ml, approx. £5.12, find it here). Balance Me claims to be 99% natural, and says this sulphate free face wash will purify, refresh and balance.

Next is the Cougar Beauty Hyaluronic Acid Facial Oil (full size, £6.50, find it here). This is another item I received in a different beauty box not long ago, so this will go in the giveaway pile. It's packed with hyaluronic acid so will deliver a huge moisturising hit to your skin, whilst also being cruelty free.

The final skincare item is the Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum (sample, 5ml, approx. £10.83, find it here). This is powered by Murad's 'Tri-Active technology' to visibly reduce lines, wrinkles and crow's feet, as well as firming and brightening skin and reducing dark circles.

Nearly there, this is the last 'proper' item in the box, the Sleek i-Divine Palette in All Night Long (sample sized palette, approx. £1.65, find it here). This is like a shrunk down version of a Sleek palette, including a tiny mirror! Full of lovely nude, brown and shimmer shades, this would be perfect for a smokey eye. Some of the shades might be better used with a wet brush to up the intensity- my swatches were done with a dry brush and so came off a little light.

Finally, there was a selection of Pukka teabags, including their cleanse and detox blends. They all smell lovely and will make a perfect January brew.

Final thoughts
Wow! After December's whopper of a box I didn't think they could top it, but they have done something amazing yet again. I'm kind of wondering how they could possibly top these past few months again. I estimated the value of the items in this box to total approx. £92.28!

If you would like to sign up to Powder's subscription or have a look at their one off boxes, their link is here.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

VOBeauty- January 2017 Review

About the box
VOBEAUTY (which stands for Vegan and Organic Beauty) is a subscription which sends 5 travel or full-sized vegan, organic and cruelty-free products every month. You do not have to enter into any sort of rolling contract- you can simply prepay for each month that you want to receive a box.

£15.95/month, plus £3.95 P&P

What I got
I have to start by apologising as I didn't manage to order the December VO Beauty box in time before it sold out, so I didn't review it- sorry if you were looking for it. Happily though, I got my act together and ordered the January box in good time to receive it.

The first item this month is the Anatomicals Calming Algae Mask (full size, you can get the mask as a set of three for £3.50 here). Anatomicals always have really fun, whimsical packaging, and what's even better is they are cruelty free and paraben free. This is a mud mask with a blend of algae and mineral extracts and is meant to detoxify and calm skin. Definitely a good all purpose mud mask, and one I will pop in my stash

Weirdly, this is the product I'm most excited about this month, the Benecos Sea Buckthorn & Orange Shower Gel (sample, 30ml, approx. 74p, find it here). I love trying out new shower gels and the scent of this one is delightful- it actually contains organic apple juice so perhaps that's what I'm smelling. It is meant to be gentle on the skin leaving it moisturised and refreshed.

The first makeup related item this month is the e.l.f Lengthening & Defining Mascara (full size, 80p {currently in the sale, normally £2.00}, find it here).  This comes in the e.l.f trademark black, simple packaging with a fairly small wand. The formula came out quite dry and clumpy, so I wonder whether it may need a few drops of saline in it to revive it. It's kind of a disappointing mascara compared to what I'm used to, but for 80p/£2.00 it's not so bad.

The other makeup item and the second e.l.f product is the Defining Eye Brush (£2.00, find it here). Again, it's a simple, sleek design which is what you'll always see from e.l.f, a long standing cruelty free good value cosmetics brand. I haven't tried any of their makeup brushes before but this one has soft synthetic fibres and will be a useful addition to an eyeshadow tool ensemble.

Finally this month is the Pure Purpose Wheatgrass & Lemongrass Coffee Body Scrub & Skin Mask (£13.50, find it here). This claims to be both an exfoliating body scrub and a healing skin mask in one. I wouldn't recommend using abrasives on sore, inflamed skin suffering with acne or eczema, so I'm not sure I agree with them on this one. But I do like the ingredients, their cruelty free ethos, and I love a good coffee scrub so for that purpose I think it's a winner.

Final thoughts
Hmm. This wasn't really my favourite of all the boxes VO Beauty have sent out, it was quite low in value and some of the items didn't really speak to me. However, that will happen with subscription boxes from time to time, and you have to commend VO Beauty for sticking to their purpose of cruelty free, vegan and kind to the environment products every month. I only wish that every business could do this!

If you would like to sign up to VO Beauty or browse their cruelty free shop, you can find their link here.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Artemis & Xena- Woodland Adventure Box Review

About the box
Artemis & Xena is a quartlery box service aimed at empowering women and supporting mental health awareness. Each box can be ordered for yourself or sent to someone else as a gift and contain gifts and items based around a theme that can be uplifting, empowering and above all, a lovely treat. I really love this concept.

£19.99 for the one off box. Discounts available if you purchase an annual subscription.

What I got
I'm unboxing and reviewing the contents of this whole, one off box, so beware, spoilers ahead (sorry Lisa! 😀)

This is the 'Woodland Adventures' box, and is absolutely full of woodland creatures!

The first item I pulled out of the box was another box! This is the Sass and Belle Bear On Bike Tin (usually £4.00, £2.50 in sale), it is 11cm x 8 cm and made of tin. It's part of the 'happy animals on bikes' collection at Sass and Belle, and if that's not the most adorable thing I've read all day I don't know what is. I love little boxes and tins like this- they're great for putting little odds and ends in, bits of makeup, sewing things, craft bits, etc. I'm hoping to move house this year so I've put this in my 'happy cute things to decorate my new house with' box.

I love a good notebook, so I was really happy to see this Sass & Belle Animal Adventure Notebook, I got the racoon 'Be Brave' design. The paper inside is plain and unlined, but is surprisingly thick and 'grainy', making it seem of lovely quality and quite satisfying to write on. I think you could use this for both writing and drawing, whichever you prefer.

I love this little fellow, he is the Sass & Belle Woodland Animals Nail File (£1.00). I feel a bit sad using the poor old badgers face to make my nails pretty but he doesn't seem to mind so much.

This is another item part of the 'happy animals on bikes' collection, the Sass & Belle Follow Your Dreams Fox on Bike Plaque (usually £3.50, £1.30 in sale). It is made of tin and has a lovely illustration and quote on the front, along with a metal bendy wire on the back to use for wall hanging purposes. This is another thing for the new house box, it's so cute!

Going along with the nail theme again, we have the Sass & Belle Hedgehog Manicure Set (£6.50), which includes little dinky nail scissors, clippers, tweezers, file and cuticle tool. It all comes in the little zippy up hedgehog. I love having compact nail kits for my handbag so this is a win for me.

I think these have to be my favourite thing in the box, these are Sass & Belle Animal Adventure Coasters (worth ???, you can find them on ebay here). They're really heavy and solid, they feel like stone or something similar and they are such lovely bold illustrations I had to take a photo of each of the four coaster designs to show you how lovely they are!

The final item from the 'Animal Adventure' range are these lovely Gift Tags (£2.50). You get four of each animal design, so twelve in total and they come with lovely jute string to give them a fancy feel. Definitely going in my card and gift wrap basket for future use.

A little beauty addition were these Collection Luscious Lashes Cat's Eye Lashes (£2.99) which is nice, although I still haven't got the hang of these but I imagine I have a few willing guinea pigs in my family who will let me practice.

Finally, along with this adorable packet of chocolate coins, there were some lovely planner and to-do sheets printed on proper card paper which I will actually be using as they are so fancy and easy to read. I love it when even the little things are done well and well thought out in these boxes.

Final thoughts
My approximate estimation of the value of the contents of the box is around £29.00, although this took a lot of guesswork and wasn't based on sales value. Still, this was all curated for me, packed up in a beautifully presented box and sent off for minimal postage costs. I think this is a lovely way of getting some sweet, good quality surprise gifts and the thought behind Artemis & Xena never fails to delight me.

The Woodlands Adventure box is still available, you can find it here.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Pink Parcel- January 2018 Review

About the box
Pink Parcel is a monthly subscription box that sends all of your period essentials- so sanitary towels, tampons or a mix of both (your choice), as well as a generous serving of beauty products, a snack item and tea.

£12.99 a month, inc. P&P

About the box

First item out of the box this month is the Bandzee Glamour Hair Ties (full-size pack of 4, £5.95, find them here). You can also get them for £4.95 with a Bandzee subscription, which I imagine is handy if you're a constant hair tie misplacer like me! I love this newer kind of hair ties- they're soft, stop your hair getting a big kink in it, and are surprisingly resilient considering they look like ribbon. You can get all kinds of designs, but in this month's Pink Parcel we get this set, 'Glamour', which is shimmery rose golds/pinks and creams. They also came in an adorable spotty drawstring bag which I thought was a nice touch.

Next is the Laritzy Eye Pencil (full size, £18.00, find it here). I got the shade 'Shimmer' which is a shimmery pearly white, but there are four shades going out so you may get a different one to me. I am kind of shocked at the price of nearly £20 for just one eye pencil, so I probably wouldn't buy it but it's a cute change from regular old black eyeliner. You could use it on your upper lid as usual, or perhaps change it up by running it along your lower waterline to open up your eyes or along your brow bone to illuminate (although that might not work with your shade if you get a pink for example!)

January can notoriously be a bit of a 'blue' month so this is a very topical product to include- this is Made by Coopers Apothecary Happy Mist (30ml, £12.00, find it here). A Blend of lime, basil and clementine essential oils, this 'atmosphere mist' is meant to uplift and energise when spritzed in your environment. The scent is very different, but no unpleasant- I certainly will be using it.

The last beauty item is actually a recent brand repeat, this being Browcote Waterproof Brow Gel (full size, £6.99, find it here). This is made by the same people who bring you the cult lipstick sealer, Lipcote. The see-through liquid is brushed on with the little spoolie attached to the lid and sets your brows in shape, come rain or shine. I like this as it's truly a universal product, being clear.

This was surprising to me at first, but then I remembered this is the January box and lots of people are on health kicks right about now, post-Christmas food-fest! This is Vega Essentials Nutritional Powder (sample, one serving, worth approx. £1.72, find it here). This sample is chocolate flavour but if you like it, you can also buy vanilla flavour. To make a vegan/plant-based smoothie, just blend with a dairy-free milk, one banana and half a cup of ice. It is made with a blend of plant-based protein, fruit and vegetable powders, and chocolate flavouring. There are also serving suggestions for making milkshakes and even baking with it! It's certainly a versatile product and I am all too happy for the world to be embracing animal-free diets, so I am actually really happy Pink Parcel included this, even if it was a bit odd at first look!

The food and tea this month is Montezuma's Organic Milk Chocolate with Chilli & Lime, and We Are Tea, in various 'flavours' (I got peppermint leaf). I really do not like odd things in my chocolate- salt, fruit, chilli- bleurgh. But I am generally the exception to the rule, so I know this is probably a good selection for most and I have lots of friends and family who will gladly take this little bar of my hands. As for the peppermint tea, that's going gratefully into my stash, it's so good for settling my anxious tummy.

Final thoughts
At first glance, I thought I didn't like this selection, but once I tried the products out, read about them and considered them in context of the time of year, I actually came to think this is a really clever, fun selection of products. Pink Parcel has obviously thought about how people might be feeling unhealthy or down after Christmas/festive indulgence and hyperactivity. I appreciate it when lots of thought goes into these boxes, so this is a thumbs up from me!

If you want to sign up to Pink Parcel, their link is here. Also, they now seem to have got their Pink Parcel shop sorted, with all sorts of goodies, including those featured in current and previous boxes. Just click 'Pink Shop' from the homepage to take a look.