Blossoming Gifts | Review and Discount Code

Blossoming Gifts | Review and Discount Code

Most of us like receiving flowers, so when I was contacted by Blossoming Gifts to try out their service, I was only too happy to. I was recently let down by a well known company when they left my mum’s birthday flowers on her doorstep for them to be consequently stolen, so I was hoping this smaller company would fare better to say the least! Luckily, Blossoming Gifts flower delivery options include next day and named day options so I had no mishaps when receiving my bouquet!

Blossoming Gifts | Review and Discount CodeBlossoming Gifts | Review and Discount Code

I received the avalanche rose and peony bouquet from the summer flowers range. The delivery was made in a sturdy box, ensuring no damage to the delicate flowers, which were then presented in coloured cellophane with a wet bag to keep them fresh in transit. My delivery was scheduled for a Saturday morning and I had no problems with it – hurrah!

Blossoming Gifts | Review and Discount Code Blossoming Gifts | Review and Discount Code

The roses in the bouquet were mostly opened, but only one of the peonies was halfway opened when I received them. The roses lasted a good week, then the following weekend I disposed of them and created a display with the peonies. I think I will get another week out of two of them that are now open, and two out of the five that are not! I think this represents great value for money and I love to receive flowers that include buds as I know I’ll get longer enjoyment out of them. I also really liked how the greenbell foliage fell around the ‘vase’ I popped them in – it made for a very pretty display.

Blossoming Gifts deliver all over the UK so are a great choice if you are looking for flowers online. They are also very affordable – my bouquet was £29.99 with free chocolates included (not pictured as I scoffed them) but you can upgrade to a large version for just £5 extra. They also do a range of cheap flowers  that include some lovely selections for under £20 if you are on a budget. I know I’ll have to get my mum the Candyfloss Carnations from here next time!

If you would like to treat someone (or yourself, why not?!) here’s a discount code for 33% off: BGIFTS33 (not valid on the Flowers by Post range, but there are lots out-with this selection). I have a few birthdays coming up so will definitley be making the most of this.

Enjoy!

Book Review | The Bees

Book Review The Bees

The Bees is a difficult book to describe. My best attempt is that it is a dystopian fiction in the tradition of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale but with bees – so based on true events…for bees.

Flora is a worker bee of the lowest order. Her kin are worthy only of cleaning the hive and don’t even have the ability to speak. However, Flora different. Larger, darker and able to talk, she has hidden talents. Talents that she must keep hidden in order to survive the totalitarian society. Her love, her loyalty and her life must belong to the Queen and the Queen alone. She serves the hive for the greater good of the Queen… or so she believes. A deep, and forbidden, maternal instinct takes her over and turns her core belief – to accept, obey, serve – upside down.

Her abilities are recognised by a higher ranking priestess bee and Flora is allowed to be elevated above her station, allowing the reader a look into all elements of bee society. We see the devoted nursery workers feeding the hundreds of grubs, the most devout attending the queen, the subservient glorying in the almighty maleness of the drone bees,  the fearless defenders of the hive battling invading wasps, the bold foragers facing an ever ending onslaught of dangers and arriving home to the dancehall to tell of their successes. Flora does it all and more.

The Bees is more than about bees, however. Yes, it does address the many and varied dangers that they face but it also explores some very human issues. Race and class are at the heart of the story alongside politics and theology. It’s an ambitious novel but an incredibly successful one. I really recommend this for fans of dystopian novels. It honestly has everything you would want from this genre but from a completely new and unique perspective. It’s definitely a contender for my book of the year.

Flamingo Candles The Melt Crowd | August Box

Flamingo Candles The Melt Crowd | August Box

Ooooh hello new subscription box! This one has actually been going for a couple of month now, but I’ve just jumped on yet another bandwagon and signed myself up to the Flamingo Candles The Melt Crowd subscription.

Flamingo Candles The Melt Crowd | August Box

For £10 per month (including delivery) you receive 8 full size wax melts and a 20% discount code to use on the Flamingo Candles website that month. On your first month you also a receive a free wax burner, in case you don’t have on already. In all honesty, the burner I received is not the greatest – I think it’s obvious in the photo above but it has quite a lot of flaws in the glaze, but I’m not really complaining. We already have quite a nice burner in the living room, so I’m happy to have this one tucked away in another room – it’s not actually cracked so I’m not concerned that it might break, it’s just that the glaze is a bit sloppy. I do think it’s a nice gesture to provide one, and I think I was just unlucky as other people’s seem to be fine.

Flamingo Candles The Melt Crowd | August Box

Another thing that I like is that subsequent boxes are letterbox sized (all my fave subs boxes are – Lucky Dip Club, Geeky Little Stitcher, Fragrance Shop…). No red card of doom here! They’ll also have your hall smelling lush by the time you get home, these are seriously strong!

Flamingo Candles The Melt Crowd | August Box

So without further ado, here’s a breakdown of the August selection:

  • Kir Royale – Blackcurrant and wine inspired by the classic cocktail. I like this one indeed.
  • Doughnuts – a preview of their upcoming Circus collection. Foodie/cake scents are a bit of a miss with me, but if you like sweet, doughy smells, that’s exactly what this is.
  • Dahlia – Melt Crowd exclusive. Weirdly I’m also not a massive fan of purely floral scents but I imagine this one will be popular.

Flamingo Candles The Melt Crowd | August Box

  • Pomegranate and Cider – MMMM this is more like it. Fruity but warm, it’s my favourite this month.
  • Ginger and Lime – Does what it says on the wrapper, I do love this one too. It’s more lime than ginger so a great summer fragrance.
  • Fresh Cotton – Melt Crowd exclusive. I do also have the Yankee Candle version of this scent and I do have to say that the Yankee one is a little more successful – it smells clean and pure, while this one edges a little too much on the “bathroom clean” side for me. That said, I’m planning a deep clean of the house at the weekend and I’ll for sure have this burning afterwards to up the freshness factor.

Flamingo Candles The Melt Crowd | August Box

  • Green Apples – Strange that this would be a red melt with a green wrapper… but it smells like apples and you can’t go wrong with that! love this one too.
  • Strawberries and Champagne – so unsurprisingly the booze inspired scents have gone down well with me this month! This is a very sweet, candied strawberry smell which I’m currently burning and very much enjoying. It’s making my room smell like the perfect girly, blogging space.

Can’t wait to see what’s in next month’s box. I’m crossing my fingers for some cosy scents now we’re heading towards autumn. Pumpkin spiced latte anyone? I jest, I jest…

Lush Haul | Skydancer Charity Bath Bomb

Lush Haul Skydancer

Lush is well known for it’s charity campaigns – for both animal and human rights, and the latest to be launched is focusing on England’s Hen Harrier birds of prey. I was very interested in this as I absolutely love seeing birds of prey – buzzards, hawks, kites soaring above fields, swooping across highways – a real glimpse of truly wild Britain. However, I didn’t know how critically endangered some of these species are. You do hear a lot about Scotland’s Golden Eagles or Ospreys, but in actual fact, the Hen Harriers are at an even more critical stage. I have learned from the Lush campaign that there are only three breeding pairs left in England. Worse, adults and chicks have been known to disappear – confirming suspicion of poaching.

Lush Haul Skydancer Lush Haul Skydancer

Lush hopes to raise funds towards satellite tracking for new Hen Harrier chicks. This will allow conservationists to monitor them more closely, prevent the illegal hunting of them, and secure prosecutions against poachers.

All profits from the Skydancer – Far from the Madding Guns bath bomb (£3.95) will go the RSPB for this purpose. I’m not going to lie – this bomb is a bit weird smelling (floral and liquorice), but it is gorgeous. I seriously think it’s the prettiest bath bomb I’ve ever seen and you can’t argue with the good cause.

Lush Haul Skydancer

You can see the size of Skydancer above – it’s huge! Could easily do two baths and will be easy to split (if you can bear to snap that bird).

Lush Haul Skydancer

I also picked up a few other items that are new in store, having been trialled in the flagship Oxford Street store. The Frozen bath bomb (yes, inspired by the film) is a rose and grapefruit scented, glitter packed dream,  the Granny Takes a Dip bubble bar is an addition to the popular bath bomb that came out last year, and the Creamy Candy bubble bar is an updated, reformulated version of the Snow Fairy scented original. I also picked up a Twilight bath bomb, not new but not one I’ve used before. I’m looking forward to a nice snuggly, sleepy bath with it very soon.

You can find out more about the Hen Harrier campaign and how to help these birds here. Hopefully over the next couple of years we’ll see their numbers climb, not disappear completely.

Book Review | Techbitch

Techbitch

When Imogen Tate returns to her job as Editor in Chief of Glossy magazine after a leave of absence she is bemused to find herself confronted by her former assistant, Eve Morton. Bemusement soon turns to concern when she discovers that Eve has the backing of the head honchos to turn Imogen’s beloved magazine into an app. Print is dead, long live the internet. The trouble for Imogen is that she is not completely up to date on the whole internet thing (asking assistant’s to print out her emails – what?) so she faces an uphill battle to remain relevant as Editor in Chief of this new look magazine. Coupled with this, Eve is not exactly supportive. The sweet assistant is nowhere to be found and in her place is a business school graduate from a new generation of success hungry entrepreneurs, power-mad, egotistical, and, to be frank, a total tech-bitch.

Techbitch takes the familiar formula of The Devil Wears Prada and flips it on it’s head. Unlike Miranda Priestly *cough – Anna Wintour – cough*, Imogen Tate has got ahead in the industry by being nice. She is well-connected and well-liked. The reader has immediate sympathy for her character – she is returning from work after a period of illness and is faced, unfairly one might say, with dealing with huge decisions made in her absence. And, instead of feeling sorry for herself she just gets on with it.  Eve on the other hand, is very much the baddie. She is jealous, spiteful and mean to her staff. In fact, not mean, cruel.

Some of the situations in Techbitch initially seem quite humorous, until you realise that this is actually happening to people. The forced ‘bonding’ group activities, the working all hours, the sacking of people with no reason and no notice is something that seems to be on the rise in many industries. With the current employment climate still being a bit fraught, people are more willing to accept the unacceptable. For me, Techbitch was particularly nightmare-ish in describing the situation for young writers. Under Eve, Glossy employs an ever rotating roster of bloggers, all of whom are expected to work 24/7, anything less and they are out. This lack of work-life balance is a real problem for many who see no alternative if they want to stay employed.

Overall, Techbitch was an enjoyable read. I liked the main characters, even appreciating the at times, caricature villainry of Eve and it was well paced, if a little predictable. It’s an updated The Devil Wears Prada for the Instagram generation and well worth adding to your summer reading list.

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2015

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2015

Feel like treating yourself? I think you should. You deserve it!  Struggling for an idea? Well this bumper beauty box from Selfridges is a treat and a half! Sure, it’s pricey as beauty boxes go at £40, but take a look, and I’m sure there will be something that’ll tempt you in. The contents are worth £174 (although I personally think that’s subjective – depending on how many products in it you’ll actually use) and I think there are a few good products in here that make it worth the splurge.

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2015

Hair stuff: The iconic (in some circles at least) Tangle Teezer. I’ve never used this before so I’m chuffed to finally have one.

How cute are the pastel Ribband hair ties? Pretty cute! The no-snag ties will be handy as my hair is starting to get to the length where it’s annoying again.

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2015

Two Starskin products – a brightening face mask and a cleansing face puff. These both look very interesting to me even though I’ve never heard of them before. Looking forward to trying them out.

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2015

A Nails Inc Gel Effect polish in ‘Chiltern Street’ as well as a £10 gift voucher for a salon service. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to use the voucher (although I may give it to a colleague in Manchester) but it’s a nice gesture. I do like the colour of the nail polish. I don’t own many baby pinks but I do like them so it’s a welcome addition.

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2015

I love Eyeko eye liners, although I’ve only used their skinny ones, so excited to try this one out. Might take a bit of practice though!

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2015

Face and body stuff: The Clarins body cream is a generous 100ml and smells gorge. I really need to get better at applying body lotion more regularly – I have enough!

DRAGON’S BLOOD Sculpting Gel from Rodial. I don’t know what DRAGON’S BLOOD is as a skincare ingredient but it sounds all Game of Thrones-ey and I’m down with that.

Some James Read gradual tan for the face. I’ve siad before, but I don’t use fake tan so won’t be using this. By the way, if you want any fake tan samples to try, give me a shout and I’ll send you mine! Genuinely, they might as well go to use.

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2015

Lip shit: Oooh – first Nars product! (useless blogger here). This is the ‘Orgasm’ lipgloss. It’s a gold peach. Interesting.

Next is the Illamasqua lipstick in ‘Luster’ – I think that’s the shade name although it could be the finish. It’s a really bright, bright pink. Not sure it’ll suit me but I’ll give it a go!

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2015

Lastly, a couple of face sprays. The Urban Decay De-Slick setting spray. This might be a bit drying for me as I don’t have oily skin, but I want to try it anyway.

I do like cooling water sprays so I definitely will use this Caudalie Grape Water. Yey for instant moisturising!

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2015

But wait! That isn’t all! All those products came wrapped in this awesome Alphabet Bags pouch. As well as the funky slogan, it’s really huge and would be perfect as a holiday make up bag. You can fit so much in it. This was definitely the thing that made me what to purchase this box.

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2015

The box itself also doubles up as a neat cat bed. Wins all round.

Have you tried any of these products? Would you buy the Selfridges Summer Beauty Box? Let me know what you think in the comments :)

August Wishlist | Palm Leaf Paradise

August Wishlist | Palm Leaf Paradise

This month’s wishlist is all about holding on to the holiday vibes with some tropical palm leaf inspired prints and goodies.

Left to right, top to bottom:

Corn Palm from Homebase (£39.99)
 This little guy will grow up to one metre. Or he will in a green thumbed house far away from me. I’m getting better with my house-plant keeping though – I’ve been practising on the office plants which are mostly all still alive! When we move into a (hopefully) bigger house I definitely want to put a few plants about the place.

Palm Printed Jacket from Dorothy Perkins (£17.50)
I love this jacket and it’s versatile enough for work and play.

Banana Leaf Phone Case by Kiwihen (£13.90)
I really need a new phone case. I’m a bit bored of my current marble printed one and it’s a bit cracked at the bottom. I love this illustrated banana leaf one – the prettiest of the leaf prints!

The Melt Crowd from Flamingo Candles (£10 per month)
Not exclusively tropical, but Flamingo Candles includes melts such as Tomato Leaf, Mango and Dragonfruit and Tropical Coconut and Honey. I just tried my first melt from them and it rocks so will be signing up for this subscription box very soon!

White Palm Tree Print Shirt Dress from New Look (£22.99)
New Look has stacks of palm prints clothes in all colours from blue, to green, to neon pink to this more subdued black and white number. I could have filled this entire list with New Look, but I decided to settle for just this one as I thought it was the most wearable (for me).

Palm Print Dress with Collar by Iska at ASOS (£14)
Another really pretty, but subtle dress. Spoiled for choice!

What are you wishing for this month? I’m also hoping for some sunshine but feel that might be pushing it!