Flavourly Craft Beer Club | January

Flavourly Craft Beer January

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I love trying out various subscription boxes. This month though, instead of the usual beauty boxes, we have something a bit more exciting. Well, it is if you’re into beer. Flavourly is a gourmet subscription service where you can choose between their deluxe food box or the craft beer club (or both if you so wish!). David is really into craft beer and micro breweries so of course we ordered the booze box.

This costs £24 plus £2 delivery but they currently have an offer for £10 off your first order. £14 for 8 craft beers and two snacks is pretty good value. At full price you’re not necessarily saving any money, but I see this box as more about discovery so it’s good if you’re interested in craft breweries. Out of the 8, there were only 3 that we had had before – the Brewdogs and the Innis & Gunn – the rest of the brands we hadn’t even seen before, which is pretty good going.

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The box includes a booklet with information about the breweries and a location map. Like a lot of people, we’re keen to support small and local businesses whenever possible and it’s nice to know where your drinks come from, so this is a great touch.

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Here’s what we received and a very brief verdict:

Eden Brewery St Andrews, St Andrews Blonde: Fruity as you would expect and very enjoyable.

Eden Brewery St. Andrews, Shipwreck IPA:  Good but prefered the other one from St Andrews.

Brewdog, This. Is. Lager.: Brewdog is a favourite brand from Aberdeenshire and this is a good, straightforward lager.

Brewdog Dead Pony Pale Ale: A refreshing and zesty option

Innis and Gunn, Original Oak Aged Beer: Good sweet beer from Edinburgh, you can really taste the toffee and vanilla coming through.

Inveralmond Brewery, Sunburst Bohemian Pilsner: You can really smell and taste the pineapple and grapefruit,  which is surprisingly nice and very refreshing. Favourite of the bunch.

Crafty Dan, 13 Guns American IPA: Smooth but with a hit of hops from the Blackburn brewery.

Crafty Dan, Triple C Golden Ale: Most hoppy of the selection but crisp and tangy.

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To go with the beer, a few snacks are included. We received Lemon Sherbet popcorn from Portlebay Popcorn in Devon (more subtle than feared so very nice) and Sweet Potato Crisps from Fairfields Farm in Colchester. Both good snacks to go along with the beers, and again great choices of company to work with.

Overall, we were very happy with this box. We would definitely use this service again and are also thinking of trying out the food box – they look like they have a great selection every month.

 

Layering for Work with Modcloth

Smart Casual ModCloth
Guys, how much do you love ModCloth? If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a US site, which ships to the UK, selling awesome threads and accessories, cute and quirky homewares and it caters to all sizes. When I was contacted recently to put together a layered style board, I was only too happy to spend an evening pursuing the site (and making a good old Polyvore board)
Since I’ve started a new job recently, I’ve been navigating the dreaded ‘smart casual’ minefield (too smart? Too casual? Every office seems to differ). Plus, being January, it’s bloody freezing ’till about 1pm when the heating kicks on. Layers are needed!
My starting point was the rather cozy looking velvet leggings in a nice deep red – possible to dress up or down and adds a pop of colour. Next a longline shirt would be great for keeping things smart when the CEO’s about and cool when’s it’s needed. A neat scarf is handy to throw on if you’re getting a draft, or venturing to the photocopier room (why is it always freezing in there?! Just me?), while the monochrome cardigan will keep you snug on the tea run. Modcloth know the benefits of a good cardi so have all bases covered (I was tempted by this jawsome shark one but thought it wasn’t really in keeping with the theme!) check them all out here. Smart-casual achieved.
Check out the links below. And tell me, what’s your typical workday outfit?

Black white cardigan
£40 – modcloth.com

Shirts blouse
£23 – modcloth.com

Skinny pants
£20 – modcloth.com

Black shoes
£30 – modcloth.com

Wooden Ships chevron scarf
£36 – modcloth.com

Kikkerland office accessory
£8.57 – modcloth.com

Caring for Ombre’d Hair with Ojon

Damaged Hair Kit Ojon

Ombre, balayage, highlights, pretty much the go-to techniques for ladies looking to give a little ‘lift’ to their hair colour. We love to lighten our hair – it denotes a healthy, outdoorsy lifestyle soaked in sunshine. But it can sadly have a harsh effect on our poor tresses, leaving them damaged, brittle and a bit worse for wear, especially if your colour is coming from the bleach bottle. I’ve had ombre’d hair for about three years so the very tips of my hair are definitely feeling a bit sorry for themselves now.

So when, a couple of months ago, I was invited to a consultation with Jennie Roberts, a Treatment Technician for Ojon, I knew she would have some top tips for me. Jennie recommended a number of products from Ojon for me and also addressed some of my haircare worries. As my hair is not coloured from the roots, a lot of it is ‘virgin’ hair. My hair is fine and tends towards the greasy end of the scale, especially from day two so is only dry on the bottom third and I have a sensitive scalp. Therefore I need my moisturising products to be light but effective.

I left with a few wonder products to get my locks in order. First of all, the Ojon Rare Blend Protecting Treatment*. This is a heat protecting styling spray. It’s incredibly light so I use this when I feel like cremes will weigh down my hair too much. Heat is the number one enemy for damaged hair so a heat protecting treatment is a must. Secondly I went for the Ojon Rare Blend Oil. There is a number of varieties of this oil available but Jennie recommended the Rejuvenating Therapy Lightweight Texture* one for me (seems obvious but I would have totally got sucked in my the pretty colours of the Medium and Thick Texture ones!). She also recommended using just one drop at a time and only adding more as I used the product over time and my hair started to repair its dryness. I can say that this has worked wonders!

Ojon Damage Reverse Restorative Treatment Plus

Lastly, I picked up the Ojon Damage Reverse Restorative Hair Treatment Plus*. This is an intense hair treatment that you use like a mask. It is a hard waxy texture in the tub that you need to scoop out with a teaspoon and warm in your hands to apply. I use this just on the coloured ends of my hair – it would be too heavy for the roots and lengths. I must admit I don’t love the smell, but it is bearable for the 15 minutes that it takes to soak into the hair and do it’s stuff. I use this once a fortnight and that’s enough for me to see a difference – I’ve had no split ends when normally they would be appearing by now.

Ojon is a premium brand so it’s expensive but you do get your money’s worth with the quality of the ingredients which include 100% natural essential oils. And as Jennie explained to me, for my hair type, less id more so these will last me a long time. If you were only able to pick up one, I’d recommend the Hair Treatment Plus which starts at £19 – it is amazing. Ojon is available at Boots so do check them out. Your ombre will thank you!

What are your essentials for colour treated hair?

WOMF | Contouring for Beginners with Smashbox

Smashbox Contour Palette and Primer

Contouring. It’s a scary one, isn’t it? But it looks like, far from being a 2014 fad, it’s here to stay so we better get cracking with mastering it. Luckily, with the right products, it doesn’t need to be scary. The Smashbox Step-by-step Contour Kit* is a cover all bases palette designed to work with most skin tones. Being on the pasty side of pale I was keen to put it to the test. The shade on the left is the contour, bronzer in the middle and a highlighter on the left. The kit also comes with a small, angled brush which is ideal for getting into the contours of your face. Finally, there is a guide to what to put where. They really do help you out as much as possible!

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I went in with a light (nervous!) hand and I think it ended up looking alright. This kit definitely works for paler complexions. The contour shade creates a natural looking shadow while the bronzer is warm without being orange. The highlighter is a nice tone and has no shimmer in it so it’s great if you want a natural look. I like that they went down this route as most people will already have a super shimmery highlighter in their kit but mattes tend to be harder to come by.

The key to contouring if you’re pale like me is to start off lightly and build it up little by little until you get your desired look. Also, contouring doesn’t have to be accompanied by a heavy, full-face look, a pared back look works just as well.

WOMF Makeup

I also used: Smashbox Pore Minimizing Photo Finish Primer*; Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation in Light Porcelain; Faint from the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette for my brows; Revlon Brow Fantasy Gel in Dark Brown; Maybelline Color Tattoo 24-hr Eyeshadow in On and On Bronze; Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara; Smashbox Always Sharp Lip Liner in Rosebud*; Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Calypso*.

Do you have any foolproof contouring tips for me?

Book Review | The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Circle Dave EggersThe Circle by Dave Eggers

Mae has always dreamed of working at Google the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, so she is determined to make the most of the ‘in’ offered by one of her former college classmates. The Circle connects people’s social, work and financial information via a universal operating system which places emphasis on transparency to create one complete profile – no fake names or anonymity allowed. As Mae is quickly inducted into the company policies, including a constant and active presence on her profile, she finds herself becoming more and more entrenched in the company and it’s ambitions, at times abandoning real-life connections for the online world.

At first Mae seems reluctant to this change. She only feels truly at peace solo rowing on the bay with only sea lions and pelicans for company, far from the buzz of the Circle. However, she is so desperate to impress at her work that she allows herself to be overwritten, for her personality to be deleted and replaced with that of “the Circle’s ideal employee”. When she meets a mysterious stranger on the company’s exclusive campus, her dedication is momentarily thrown. She glimpses a sinister outcome for a world where 100% transparency and connectivity is key and the monopoly that the Circle is creating for itself in every aspect of private citizens’ world’s, but is she already in too deep to prevent this?

The Circle  is scarily plausible, an Orwellian novel for the current times. The premise of an all-powerful company controlling all aspects of our life is a classic theme for science-fiction dystopias and Eggers has simply updated this for the 21st Century. It’s a strong hook and one that overcomes what would otherwise be seen as shortcomings in the novel. The characters are mostly flimsy – the ‘heroine’ Mae, frustrating vapid at times, but thankfully this can be forgiven.

Overall, it’s an unsettling but enjoyable read. I disliked Mae, but this made it easier to accept the bad things that happen to her! For me, The Circle  is a timely reminder to think twice about how easily you put your information online… while putting information online. Signing off now!

Have you read The Circle? What did you think of it?

Face Mask Fandom | GlamGlow YouthMud

GlamGlow Youth Mud

I’ve been wanting to try out the GlamGlow YouthMud Tinglexfoliate Treatment (to give it it’s full name) for ages so when I saw that a sample was going to be in the Look Fantastic Beauty Box in November I snapped it up. Although I’ve heard lots of good things about it, it retails at £49.99 (£10 off at Look Fantastic just now though) so I really wanted to try a sample first.

The sample size I got was pretty good – enough for 3 applications. Including sea clay and volcanic minerals, GlamGlow claims to completely rejuvenate the complexion within ten minutes. It is a thick grey cream with lots of very fine exfoliating granules. It also has black sticky things in it, not really sure what they are to be honest.

glamglow face mask

Sadly, I didn’t love this. It definitely does work – it gives your skin a thorough scrub but miraculously for a clay mask, doesn’t feel too drying. You do still need to slap on a moisturiser afterwards if you have dry skin anyway, but it’s probably the least drying clay mask I have tried. However, I just didn’t like the application or feel of it. It’s messy, and it’s kind of dry so it’s hard to spread on your skin. I didn’t like the tingle sensation (or stinging if we’re being honest) and the grains and larger bits felt uncomfortable to remove.

In a way (a £50 shaped way) I’m not to upset to have found this disappointing. I can see why people like it, it does what it claims after all, but to me it just falls short. I use face masks on a weekly basis as a treat and I like to have ones that I know I’ll enjoy using. I wouldn’t look forward to this and it wouldn’t fit in with my pamper routine so it’s a pass from me.

Have you tried GlamGlow YouthMud? Did you like it more than I did?

Hello 2015

2015 diary

Well it certainly seems like Paperchase is doing a roaring trade with these Noto diaries, doesn’t it?!

Truthfully, I don’t have much to say about it being a new year but it seemed a little odd to let it pass without saying… something.

So – resolutions? My main resolution is to adopt a positive attitude after a pretty abysmal December and to start exploring and getting to know my new area. So if you have any suggestions for must-dos in the South West, I’m all ears.

That’s pretty much it. It’s one major goal rather than a series of little challenges, but maybe they’ll come later in the year. I do love a challenge.