Book Review | The Humans

Book review the humans matt haig

Just a quick note today to let you know that I have a guest post up over on Blogger’s Bookshelf. I’m reviewing The Humans by Matt Haig, a book best described as a body-snatching comedy.

Pop over there to read the review in full. Stay a while, have a look around, there’s lots of great content on there for book lovers.

Glossybox | October Pop Art Edition

Glossybox UK October Pop Art Edition

I’ve been trying a variety of beauty boxes this year and there are still a few I haven’t given a go yet, but this month I was tempted back to Glossybox. By the box alone. Yep, I’m a sucker for some pretty packaging. When I saw the Lichtenstein inspired pop art edition I knew it had to be mine, no matter what the contents.

Glossybox UK October Pop Art Edition

Luckily, the contents were also pretty good so I’m happy with my impulse buy on this occasion. Glossybox costs £10 with £3.25 delivery – not too bad considering that this month you got 6 products with 4 being full size.

Glossybox UK October Pop Art Edition

The star of the show this month is the Nuxe moisturising face mask. My skin loves this kind of mask so this is a definite winner for me. It doesn’t smell that pleasant (a bit like Savlon actually) but it feels really soft and hydrating so I can forgive it for the scent.

Glossybox UK October Pop Art Edition

My next favourite is the Ciate nail polish in ‘Talent Scout’. It’s a bold, dark purple creme. Not bluey, not reddish, just purple. Ace. I like Ciate’s formula so although I haven’t tried this yet, I’m sure it won’t be disappointing.

Glossybox UK October Pop Art Edition

Next is the Etre Belle lip exfoliant. I suffer really chapped lips in the winter so I was happy to receive this. It’s a very fine scrub – I usually use the much more heavy duty sugar lip scrubs from Lush so will probably be best used as a gentle alternative in between proper buffing sessions.

Glossybox UK October Pop Art Edition

The last full size product is the So Susan Flutter mascara. I haven’t opened this yet so I’m not sure what it’ll be like, although I have read some negative reviews. I always have numerous mascaras on the go so I’m happy to try it and I’m not too worried if it turns out to be a dud. It’s cruelty free and there is a hummingbird on the lid which is nice!

Glossybox UK October Pop Art Edition

This is the Yves Rocher Quelques Notes d’Amour perfume. It’s nice that although it’s a sample, it’s a mini bottle instead of one of those small vials and it has a rubber stopper on the lid that you can use to apply the perfume. It’s quite a mature fragrance but not overly so, I think it’s rose-based so probably will go down well with floral fans. I might not buy this full size but I will use this up.

Glossybox UK October Pop Art Edition

Lastly, a good sized Rimmel BB Cream. This is in the shade ‘light’ but it’s not what you would describe as pale as it leans on the orange side. It’s a bit of a shame but I’m sure I can pass this on to someone. As you usually get 5 products per box, this is an extra to me so I don’t mind that I won’t get any use out of it personally.

Glossybox UK October Pop Art Edition

I’ll admit that some of the photos in this post are dull and out of focus but I’m blaming Tilly. She was also very excited by the arrival of the October Glossybox so I was a wee bit distracted by her trying to eat the packaging – not good for kitten tummies!

What do you think of this month’s Glossybox?

Lush Halloween Products 2014

Lush Halloween 2014

It’s bath season guys. I love Lush at any time of the year, but it absolutely can’t be beaten in autumn and winter. Last week when it started to get really cold I took myself along to the Princes Street branch to stock up on the new in Halloween goodies. I was seriously tempted by the Christmas stuff but I showed restraint – I’ll pick them up next month. With the exception of the Lord of Misrule bath bomb, these are all new products for this year. I’ve already used a few of these so I shall tell you what I think as we go.

Lush Halloween 2014

This is the Sparkler bath bomb (£3.50) which, as the name suggests, has been created with Bonfire Night in mind. I love this as Bonfire Night is an occasion which is often overlooked by brands as it is a purely British tradition. It is an odd night to celebrate – the capture of a treasonist who was about to blow up Parliament and his subsequent execution – but let’s move swiftly on. This is a fun new shape from Lush and I think it’s a winner. It’s much easier to break in half if you want to get two baths out of it so adds value for money.

Lush Halloween 2014 Lush Halloween 2014

Sparkler has the Rose Jam scent which is rose (obviously) but with just a hint of lemon to keep it fresh and modern. The centre of the bath bomb is filled with extremely fine bronze and gold glitter particles which explode out of the middle like fireworks. The glitter in this is fantastic – it distributes itself evenly through the bath so your bathing in shimmery water but doesn’t really show up on our skin when you get out and rinses away very easily. Sparkler is also studded with popping candy but unfortunately I didn’t hear any of it popping which would have added a lovely effect to the ‘firework’ show. I was disappointed with this as I always get the Cinders bath bomb and always get the crackling effect with that one so I don’t know if they’ve changed what kind they use or if I was just unlucky. Still, a great bath bomb. The effect lasted a good amount of time – 5 mins or so – and afterwards I was left with a yellow-gold shimmering bath which softened my skin and smelt divine.

Lush Halloween 2014

Next I tried the Sparkly Pumpkin bubble bar (£3.50). It’s a good size and could do you for at least three baths. It is a vibrant orange covered in gold glitter and a little piece of cinnamon stick for the pumpkin stem. I think it looks really cute.

Lush Halloween 2014 Lush Halloween 2014

Sparkly Pumpkin is very soft so easy to crumble under the running water. The gold glitter does come off in your hands, but like the glitter in the Sparkler, is easy to rinse away. It smells very citrusy and zest as it has both lime and grapefruit oil and I really like the scent. It creates a good amount of bubbles which last for your entire bath – something that I think the bubble bars do much better than the bubble wands that Lush make do. I actually prefer Sparkly Pumpkin to last year’s Pumkin as I think it’s softer, creates more bubbles and I prefer the smell, so even if you weren’t keen on last year’s, do check this one out.

Lush Halloween 2014

This is the Northern Lights bath bomb (£3.50) and I would describe it as the showstopper of the collection. Again, this is one you could break in half if you wanted to but I think that you would lose some of the effect that it produces.

Lush Halloween 2014 Lush Halloween 2014

 

As you can see, it’s a bit spectacular. The purple outer explodes and releases swirls of vibrant yellow and blue. The effect lasts around 5-8 minutes and afterwards you are left with a bright purple bath scattered with white stars. The stars eventually dissolve so if you’re a fan of long baths like me, you don’t need to worry about scraping them off your tub. Northern Lights is scented with jasmine and ylang ylang so it’s a really nice soft floral, soothing fragrance, perfect for a relaxing evening bath. It also makes the water super soft and your skin feels great afterwards. Definitely my favourite of this selection of bath bombs, and possibly in my top few of all.

Lush Halloween 2014

This guy is the Wizard bubble bar (£3.25). I’ve not used him yet but the texture is the same as the Sparkly Pumpkin so I’m sure it’ll create lots of bubbles in the bath. He is covered in a very fine silver shimmer so I’m expecting the bath to turn a pale purple with a slight sparkle. He is scented with juniperberry, fennel,orange and ylang ylang. The smell is sweet but with a slight spiciness to it and really reminds me of something that I can’t quite put my finger on. I find the fragrance unexpected but weirdly pleasant. This bubble bar is the same size and shape as Candy Mountain and the Penguin bubble bar so I know I can get three baths out of it.

Lush Halloween 2014

Lastly, a returner from last year – the Lord of Misrule bath bomb (£3.50). Again, I haven’t used this particular one yet, but I did buy it last year and I love it. To me, it has that typical Lush smell – y’know that mixture of scents mingling so you can’t pull out just one but you know it smells good. It’s fragranced with patchouli, black pepper and vanilla, an eclectic combination by anyone’s standards so I think that it explains it! The green outer foams up slowly then cracks open to reveal the fast fizzing purple inner to leave you with an indulgent wine coloured bath. There’s also popping candy in this one so hopefully it’ll be noticeable this time.

I really like the entire collection this Halloween. I didn’t get the Fairy Ring soap that goes with it as I don’t use soap bars, but I’m sure it’s also lovely. If you can only get one product I’d say go for the Northern Lights bath bomb, I’ll definitely be getting a couple more before they disappear and I already hope that it comes back next year!

So what is your favourite thing from Lush? Any Christmas products I just have to try?

Latest in Beauty | Build Your Own Beauty Box

Latest in Beauty Build Your Own Beauty Box

As I’m a bit obsessed with beauty boxes, I was really intrigued to try the Latest in Beauty service that allows you to build your own box. Their menu has a mixture of make up, skin care and hair products and there are a selection of full size and deluxe samples available. Prices range from £1 – £8 depending on size and brand so you can tailor your box to your budget.

Latest in Beauty Build Your Own Beauty Box

I went for a mix of face, body and hair stuff:

Sanctuary Resurface and Refine Ultra Polish (£1)
Percy & Reed Abundantly Bouncy Volumising Mousse (£2)
Dr Nick Lowe Sebum Control Cleanser (£3)
Murad Osmolyte Tonic (£3)
Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Soothing Moisturising Cream (£3.50)

When my box first arrived the Jurlique product was missing and in its place was the Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation (not totally sure what that even is). However, the LIB customer service team were very helpful and sent me my missing product within in a few days which was good. I was a bit disappointed in the state of the original box when it arrived though! Not the fault of LIB, Yodel had squished it through the letter box, completely bursting it open. Luckily, none of the contents were damaged. I really, really, really wish companies would stop using Yodel, they are simply atrocious.  I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with deliveries from them and I know a lot of other people have the same complaints.

Moving on, my box came to a grand total of £12.50 plus £3.95 for delivery (a bit pricey considering the service!). There’s no minimum order so you could spend less than this is you only wanted a couple of items.

Latest in Beauty also do collection boxes such as collaborations with Glamour or British Beauty Blogger so when I’m looking at theses, I’ll definitely be checking out what’s in their BYOB section too.

This month I’ll also be getting Glossybox and my first Memebox should be arriving – exciting times! What beauty boxes do you like?

 

Save The Children Volunteering

Save the Children Volunteering

Last week I blogged about my experience with the Save the Children Visual Merchandise team. I also spent a few days with the shop-floor team as well so this post is all about my time there for anyone who is interested in what volunteering in a charity shop might entail.

The shop I was based in was their Mary’s Living and Giving Shop in Stockbridge – a unique shop in Scotland based on the idea of creating a community hub/shopping destination hybrid. This shop is also part of Save the Children‘s community store branches which are entirely run by volunteers – no paid managers. This allows volunteers to really take ownership of the store and of course allows Save the Children to funnel more of the money raised into their work. The Stockbridge store prides itself on selling quality materials (in the few days I was in I saw items from Mulberry, Tommy Hilfiger and Louboutin amongst others) and standing out in a crowded high street.

Save the Children Volunteering

My shifts were four hours on Saturday afternoons. I learned that most volunteers, including the shift leaders, did four hours per week meaning that they could fit volunteering around their busy schedules. This is perfect for people who study, have day jobs or family to look after and worry that they can’t commit to a full day. Saturday afternoon (1:30pm – 5:30pm) suited me fine as I didn’t have to face another early morning – get enough of those Mon-Fri, and I also had my whole evening free.

Save the Children Volunteering

The first day I was there turned out to be their busiest day for months so talk about trial by fire! Still, the shift leader took the time to tell me about how the shop works and train me on the till. I was busy keeping the shop floor tidy and chatting to customers. The till is very easy to learn and there is always another volunteer there to help you if you get stuck. All the customers were lovely too, and I was happy when I help one woman choose a Burberry coat. Alongside this, there are cleaning duties, changing the wall displays, replacing clothes or other items bought from display and taking in and sorting donations. The four hours flies by!

Save the Children Volunteering Save the Children Volunteering

The shop floor has lots of individual touches such as the awesome Nessie chalk drawing to photos of all of the volunteers in the changing rooms. (They’re watching you, so don’t steal like!)

Save the Children Volunteering Save the Children Volunteering

One of my favourite features is the clothes that are hung colour coded. Aesthetically, it’s very pleasing. Behind the scenes, I saw the processing of the donations that becomes the shop’s stock. Every item is examined for damage and, if it passes quality control, priced according to a set structure, hung, and steamed before being taking out to the shop floor. If the donor signed up for Gift Aid the label is also coded so that Save the Children can claim the tax back.

Save the Children Volunteering Save the Children Volunteering

Above are two of my favourite items – pink glitter heels (sadly not in my size) and two of the funkiest ties I have seen in my life! I also bought two jumpers for David – a Penguin one and a Pringle one in perfect condition, but forgot to take a snap of them – sorry!

Again, I found the experience enjoyable and rewarding. They have a really nice team in the Stockbridge store, everyone works hard but there is a relaxed, stress-free atmosphere which contributes to it being a pleasant experience for both staff and customers. And now I know what kind of gems are hidden in the rails, it’ll definitely become a regular shopping haunt for me.

To find out more about Save the Children and the work that they do, please visit their website here.

Lucky Dip Club | Magic Forest

Lucky Dip Club September Magic Forest

Welcome to another Lucky Dip Club unboxing. I hope you’re still enjoying seeing the boxes as much as I enjoy receiving them. The theme for September was ‘Magic Forest’ featuring woodland creatures and the phrase ‘Make Magic!’

The box arrived at the end of September and instantly made me feel festive for the upcoming Halloween season with the orange themed wrapping and owl motifs – hey, owls are spooky OK?!

Lucky Dip Club September Magic Forest

The first item I noticed was this really cute bird art card. I love birds, and especially the swallows in the middle there, take me to a place with swallows or swifts swooping and diving and I’ll be happy for hours. I’m going to pop this up on my picture shelf to make my bedroom that little bit more autumnal.

Lucky Dip Club September Magic Forest

This is a little mini to-do list note pad. I quite like that it’s so small as it keeps your to-do list succinct and manageable and I’m all for that – my one at work is usually two sides of A4. Sad face indeed!

Lucky Dip Club September Magic Forest

A customised initial wooden owl badge. I love his little googly eye and the fact that he’s waving at you. Also love the colour combo. He’ll be going on my winter coat.

Lucky Dip Club September Magic Forest

Eee! This is a wooden jewellery hook. The ribbon is from the packaging that it was beautifully wrapped in but forgot to take a snap of. I love the little fawn – he looks so sad though! I’m going to hang this guy on the side of my beauty cabinet and hang a few necklaces on him. I’m guilty of not wearing jewellery because I can’t see it as it’s tucked away in a drawer so this is great for me.

Lucky Dip Club September Magic Forest

The DIY kit this month is a super sweet fox sleep mask. Sadly, my demanding kitten has ensure that I definitely don’t have time to make this just now, but I will share it when I do get round to it. I have seen a few completed masks by other subscribers on Instagram (#luckydipclub) and it looks really cute and seems as though the clear instructions make it easy to make and achieve the desired result.

Lucky Dip Club September Magic Forest

This is the menu card but I had to share it as it’s a bit adorable. Leona also includes a little competition with every box, so this month was certain jigsaw pieces would win and extra prize. I think this is a really nice touch, and not something you see in other subscription boxes. I think it also shows that Lucky Dip Club is all about the customers and spreading a little joy.

Lucky Dip Club September Magic Forest

Lucky Dip Club boxes go on sale at 7am on the first of every month and the theme for October is ‘Lucky Diner’ – burgers, milkshakes and donuts – yum!. They sell out within a few hours so if you’d like to join the club, make sure you act fast. There will also be a Lucky Dip Cat Club box next month in partnership with Hello Harriet! I can’t wait for this one.

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2014

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

A couple of weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of hopping on the south-bound train over the border to Berwick-upon-Tweed for their annual film festival. The Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival is known for it’s use of historic venues all around the town so I was very lucky to visit on a sunny Saturday afternoon – although I’m sure some Berwickers will tell you it’s always sunny there! The theme for 2014, BFMAF’s 10th birthday, was “Border Crossing”. Considering the Festival took place in the same week as the Scottish Referendum and given Berwick’s unique half Sottish/half English limbo-land history, this theme was perfectly timed. My itinerary for the day was set – a tour of the Artist Trail, the documentary Forbidden Voices, and a reception at Kazmiranda Cafe followed by the Inntravel Short Film Award screening and ceremony.

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

The Artist Trail is a series of moving image installations placed around the town. The venues are all buildings of historical interest such as ice houses or an 18th century gunpowder store, and many of them are usually closed to the public, meaning you get extra bang for your buck. Except that it’s free. But you know what I’m saying. I really enjoyed Jasmina Cibic’s Fruits of Our Land which was screened in the Town Hall Council Chamber. A re-enactment of a real debate over an artwork’s suitability to decorate a parliament building and the meaning of representation was ideally placed in the Council Chamber and really made me chuckle. I also enjoyed Manufactured Britishness by Kristina Cranfeld, an absurd take on the “Life in the UK” citizenship test. I must admit it took me a while to get it – but I’ve tried that test and failed it, badly, so that’s no surprise! My apparent lack of Bristishness aside, the film was tragically comic and a timely exploration of what it means to be British and if national identity is something which is even possible to prescribe. (It’s not).

Barbara Miller introduced her documentary, Forbidden Voices, via recorded message and it proved to be an inspiring watch. Forbidden Voices gives us an insight into the work and lives of three female bloggers who are fighting against oppression and censorship in their countries – Yoani Sanchez in Cuba, Farnaz Seifi from Iran and Zeng Jinya in China. I’m not sure if there are anymore screenings planned for the UK, but you can find out more information on the film here.

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

Finally, I attended the Inntravel Short Film Award. Inntravel are dubbed the ‘slow holiday people’ with a focus on taking the road less travelled, taking your time, and taking it all in – after a day wandering on the Elizabethan Walls this seemed like a great partnership. The short film programme consisted of 7 films all responding to the “Border Crossing” theme.

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

In a strong programme, the eventual winner of the award was Roy Dib with Mondial 2010. Shot on a hand-held camcorder, Mondial 2010 is a tender exploration of  boundaries; geographical, legal and social. A gay couple keep a travel video-log of their trip to Ramallah, Palestine but the pressure of keeping their relationship under wraps as well as the reality of life in a conflict zone soon weighs too heavy. Mondial 2010 is filmed by one half of the couple, placing the viewer directly into their moments of fear, intimacy and uncertainty in an engaging and thoughtful way. A worthy winner indeed. Roy Dib was in attendance at the Festival to receive the award from the jury of Catherine Shoard, Marcus Coates and Hilke Doering and presented by Eunice Olumide.

My trip to the tenth Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival was a bit of a whirlwind affair, taking in umpteen art installations, a feature documentary and a well-realised programme of shorts. I was only disappointed not to have longer, but the best festivals leave you wanting more, and this one certainly did. Looking forward to next year’s edition already!