My Favourite: Blog

So, as I haven’t really been testing anything other than pain medication lately I decided to post something a little random .

This is probably going to become a bit of a weekly feature. Every Sunday I try and entertain/indulge myself with my favourite things and I thought I’d share some of these things with you.

Let me know if you like the idea and don’t forget you can join in to, I always like to chat to you!

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This week I’m starting with my favourite blog.

I’m sure you’ve heard of it – Post Secrets. It’s spawned off into multiple books, school projects, college talks, it’s even made it’s way into music videos (All American Rejects video Dirty Little Secret featured secrets from the blog).

Basically (if you don’t know about it) Frank invites people to send in a homemade postcard with one of your secrets written on it. It doesn’t have to be serious or huge, it can be silly and light hearted – anything you want it to be.  It’s all anonymous although some people do write in after and claim their secrets. In the beginning every postcard was put up on the blog but now so many postcards are sent that only a hand selected few get shown and every Sunday the blog is updated with new secrets. One postcard can make you laugh, scroll down the page a little and the next one can make you cry.

Here is a short video of Frank talking about some of his favourite postcards and some of the stories surrounding them. Warning! The voice clip at the end gets me every time!

Take a look at this weeks secrets at www.postsecret.com

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Little Break

Hey guys

sorry about the lack of posts. I broke a few toes, bruised my entire foot and then got a stomach virus on top of that and now I have no hot water at home so I’m feeling kind of rubbish at the minute.

Good things are meant to come in threes but it appears that bad things also follow the same rule.

I should be back to normal posting next week, I have the brand new Next Olympic scarf to show you!

xxx

Design Solutions: Jubilee inspired homeware

This is a post for the Next Blogger Network.

This week the Next Blogger Network has set us an interior design challenge: Write a post on how you would theme a lounge for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

I’ve never really had chance to decorate my own home before as I’ve always either lived with my parents or at a rented Uni house but I’m slowly taking over my dad’s house by replacing the things he’s had for decades with newer things from the Next Homeware Collection.

This challenge appealed to me because I instantly thought of union jack patterns and lots of beautiful blues and reds etc but it is something that is easy to get carried away with.

My intention is to keep things simple, add in a couple of things that make you think “Britain” but stop before you reach the “throwing a street party in my living room” level.

I’m basing my choices off my own living room which at the moment has cream walls, cream sofas with pale wooden floors and woodwork.

Here are my picks from the Next Homeware collection

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entrance

My lounge includes a little off shoot that we use as a hall way, it get’s a lot of traffic so I’d put down this doormat (£12). It introduces the theme before you get into the room proper.

Cushions

My sofas each have five cushions , 3 plain white and 2 patterned cream coloured so during the celebrations I would replace the patterned cushions with these bunting themed ones. Nothing says British Celebration more than bunting!

If you’re not a fan of the union jack theme then you could also opt for something like this:

It has the blue red and white colours which nod towards celebrating Queen and country without the obvious flag design.

Art Work

My final touch for the lounge would be to add a little colour onto the walls.

My first choice would be the “Garden Party Prints”. Again, they feature the blue, white and red colour scheme and images of tea, cakes and bunting.

If you want something a little more obvious then Next are also offering this Wooden Union Jack.

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I hope you like my suggestions. They are only small little additions to your existing theme as I don’t want to cram the room full of things and go overboard. You definitely can have too much of a good thing!

You don’t have to keep the theme to one room, there are tons more ideas on the Next website ranging from Union Jack chests, rugs, kitchen ware, lighting and clothing. There’s some really lovely wooden bunting and garden decorations that I’ve got my eye on, hopefully we’ll have good weather!

And as a cheeky little extra I’ll also be buying a pair of Kinky Knickers. Pretty lace underwear fully produced and manufactured in Britain with a little note included in the vintage inspired box to remind you to “Love Your Country!”

I hope you all enjoy the celebrations this summer regardless of whether you’ll be participating or not.

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P.O.S codes for items featured in this post in order of appearance:

Union Jack Door Mat £12: 818-948-X49

Bunting Cushion £14 828-922-X49

Kirstie Allsop Heart Cushion £25 367-608-G70

Garden Party Prints £60 834-345-G37

Wooden Union Jack £50 835-581-G37

Kinky Knickers available in Liberty, Boots and Asos.

Balance Me: Super Moisturising Body Wash

This post is about the Super Moisturising Body Wash that I received in the final edition of Carmine Beauty Box.

I was not employed by Carmine and I was not one of their ambassadors but I did receive this box for free by cashing in loyalty points.

To see what else I received in the final Carmine box click here.

The Product

Super Moisturising Body Wash from Balance Me. Carmine customers received a 125ml bottle worth £8.00.

This wash is also available in a 260ml bottle for £12.25.

What They Say

A soothing, smoothing and dry-skin protecting creamy naturally foaming body wash is blended with rich natural moisturisers including shea butter, benzoin, yarrow and patchouli to encourage long lasting softness and suppleness Balance Me April 2012

I’m going to leave out the brand information and natural ingredient information as I’ve reviewed that many Balance Me products lately that I feel I’m just constantly repeating myself. If this is the first time you are visiting my blog (hello!) then you can find my opinions of Balance Me on every other product review I’ve done on them or you can click any of my links to their store.

On a scale of 1-5 (one being the lowest, five the highest) how much did you enjoy using this product?

I am going to give this a 4.5.

The first thing  I did was flip the lid and have a little sniff and I must admit that I wasn’t a big fan of this at the beginning. It smelt really strong and you can smell the yarrow and patchouli. This initial scent is the reason I knocked 1/2 a mark off.

I then used a tiny amount on a Shower Lily and my opinion completely changed, out of the bottle and on your skin the smell is absolutely beautiful. There is a really nice, thick lather and it really does leave your skin feeling smooth, clean and ultra moisturised.  With summer coming up and the reintroduction of sleeveless, backless dresses and shorts etc into my wardrobe I really like to feel like my skin is at it’s best and this wash certainly helps with that.

So, I used the wash, liked it and thought “that’s that, tried and tested”  and then disaster struck. A few days ago my shower broke in spectacular fashion…sparks, fire, scalding hot water the works. I’m now stuck with just a bath and as I usually avoid the bath like the plague (hot baths make me feel ill) I didn’t have any bath foam etc. I remembered talking to a friend about how she used her Rituals shower mousse as bubble bath and decided to see if the Balance Me body wash would foam up in the same way.

I poured a small amount of the body wash under the running tap and the bath was instantly full with rich, creamy bubbles and the entire room smelt amazing. I  also found that the scent of the body wash also stayed on my skin for longer after I dried off than it did when I was just using it on a shower puff.

I must admit that I did find this body wash a little too runny; I’m used to thicker gels and mousse but this just runs straight out of the tube as soon as you flip the lid so I suggest you open it with the lid facing upwards and pour it out with a light hand so you don’t accidentally use half the bottle in one go.

Would I buy this?

The consistency is pretty much the only thing I don’t really like about this and it’s really not enough to put me off buying another bottle.

It is definitely on my list of favourites.

To read more about this product or to buy it for yourself just click here

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My Summer Uniform

The weather this past week has been lovely and is hopefully a sign of what’s to come this summer. So, thinking ahead I decided to use the rest of my uniform allowance and buy one of the dresses from the new Summer collection at Next.

Here it is!

This is a 2-in-1 Linen dress which costs £30. Perfect for work during the warm summer months.

It has a sheer top (although it’s not see through which is always a bonus with work wear) and a linen skirt which is lined. It is super comfortable and really easy to move around in. It’s also nice enough to wear out after work. I wore it to work for the first time on Tuesday and got so many complements from colleagues and customers alike.

I’m not brave enough to wear this without tights because I’m so pale so I teamed it with black tights and plain black ballerina pumps with my hair up in a messy bun.

If you’re looking for something a little brighter then this also comes in a pink/coral version with a white skirt.

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Stellar Face Balm

This post contains honest, unbiased opinions of a product sent to me for review purposes.

I received a trial size of the treatment which I did not pay for.

Apologies for the lateness of this post. I’ve been trying to soak up the sun whilst we have it (can you believe it’s meant to snow next week?!) and I’ve been saving this post for awhile as this is a multi-purpose product and I wanted to see exactly how many ways I could use it.

The Product

Today I am reviewing the Stellar Face Balm from Balance Me.

This treatment is available in two sizes:

  • 50ml for £18.00
  • 7ml for £5.00

I received a 7ml tub which I did not pay for.

The 7ml is the perfect size to keep in your pocket, bag etc so you can take it out and about with you.

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS: Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter***, Mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, Cera alba (unrefined beeswax), Cocos nucifera (virgin coconut) oil***, Rosa canina (rosehip) fruit oil, Daucus carota sativa (carrot) tissue oil, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Citrus aurantium (neroli)*, Citrus reticulata (mandarin red)*, Citrus aurantium amara (petitgrain)*, Litsea cubeba (litsea may chang)*, Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile)*, Calendula officinalis (calendula) flower oil, Limonene**, Linalool**, Geraniol**, Citral**, Farnesol** *natural pure essential oil **naturally occurring in essential oils ***certified organic ingredient

The Brand

Since receiving the Radiance Oil in the January 2012 Carmine box I have been seeing Balance Me products everywhere and I am now somewhat addicted to them! If I a bit more cash to spare I would be using their products all the time.

Balance Me sell high end natural aromatherapy products which are paraben and sulphate free. The company was founded by sisters in 2005 after requests for their exfoliants by TopShop and the brand can now be found on the high street and winning various awards.

What They Say

A multi-tasking pot of super goodness with body-wide dry skin appeal that is equally effective as a hydrating face mask or to combat dry complexions, formulated with a rich blend of organic shea butter, virgin and rosehip oil and mango seed butter.

How to Use

Basically, think of this as a nicer smelling and more natural pot of vaseline. Use it in the exact same way.

My Opinions

I really like this. I always have a small pot of Vaseline on me at all times, in fact there must be a million little tins of the stuff around my house and in all of my many, many bags.

I wasn’t looking to replace my little blue and white tin but I must admit that I do prefer the Face Balm. It has a nicer scent and isn’t as thick and gloopy so I feel better about putting it on my face and in my hair etc.

Again, Balance Me have stuck a huge “100% natural” sticker on the front so I know I’m not putting any nasty chemicals on my skin.  They do this with all their products so you know exactly how much of what you’re using is natural and how much is synthetic.

As for the product itself it truly is multi-purpose so don’t let the name fool you. I have used this for a whole host of things.

I used it firstly as a face balm; any dry spots and rough patches got coated in this before I went to bed and by the morning after they were mostly gone, any stubborn areas got a dab before I put on my make-up and the balm is nice and light so you really can’t tell that it’s there underneath your foundation.

You can apply the balm to your entire face and use it as a face mask. Keep it on all night if your skin really needs a hydrating treat; Perfect if you have sensitive skin that reacts to all the latest complexes and exfoliationg particles that other companies are pouring into their masks.

And why stick to your face? With the lovely summery weather we’ve been having we’ve all been digging out our flip flops and then realising how dry and horrible our feet have become after months of being stuck in thick socks and tights. Rub this balm into your heels and any dry patches on your feet to get them back to standard and ready for summer. Oh and don’t forget the elbows!

We had a really cold  weather snap in February and I always get really chapped hands and lips. Cue Stellar Face Balm…I rubbed a small amount into my lips and into my hands to keep them soft and smooth, it also worked wonders on my cuticles which were looking a tad bedraggled I must admit. And using the balm as hand cream gave me another idea….could I use it in my hair?

I think most of you know by now that hand creams make really good hair styling products if you’re in a bit of a pinch. I always leave my hair wax at home when I’m travelling and just take a small tube of hand cream. Just take a small amount and run through the ends of your hair twisting a little to define curls and waves.

Again, this Face Balm isn’t as thick and gloopy as hand cream so it’s easier on the hair but it is thick enough to hold and define curls. I’ve even used a tiny bit on my fingers when pulling my hair back so that any little strands of fly away hair get tamed.  If you dye your hair you could try replacing your Vaseline with the balm, just run a small amount on the hairline around your forehead and ears and this will stop the dye staining your skin.

This has become my new miracle product and I know that I’ll definitely be taking this away with me when I go home to France and down to London this summer. It’s at least 5 different products in one handy little pot so if you’re one of the people wincing at the £18.00 price tag just take a breath, add together the prices of your moisturiser, hand cream, cuticle cream, hair wax etc and you’ll realise that this is definitely worth the money…and think how much room you’ll be saving in your bag!

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Sunshine!

It’s such a beautiful day and I finally had half a day off work so I decided to sit out in the garden with my sister and the dogs.

Are you remembering to put sunscreen on? Lots of people in the U.K tend not to bother with it because the weather isn’t as warm as it is abroad but it’s stil important to protect your skin from harmful U.V rays.

And don’t forget about your animals! If you’ve got them in the car make sure you leave the window open a little and if they’re outside all day give them lots of water.

My pug puppy enjoying the sunshine but as the breed can’t regulate their own temperature we have to make sure to spray her with water and give her a drink to make sure she stays cool and healthy.

No posts this weekend + Sports Relief

There will most likely be no posts this weekend because I’ll be working all week during the mid season sale.

The next blog post will be about the Balance Me Face Balm

Don’t forget that the blog sale is still going on and will probably be extended to next weekend due to the mid season sale in store.

You can leave messages on the blog and/or tweet me as I’ll still be checking in everyday.

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It’s Sport Relief this weekend.

If you’re running in any of the events on Sunday I wish you lots of luck and hope that the weather truly does stay lovely and bright.

There are tons of ways to donate to Sports Relief. Just £5 will pay for a vaccine which will save the lives of children in places such as Africa where a child dies approximately every 20 seconds from a disease that is entirely preventable.

Donations also get put to use in the U.K for schemes such as those that help people affected from mental illness, those that know me personally know that this is a big issue for me and more needs to be done to help.

Click here for the sports relief site.

Any amount helps and it’s super easy to donate. You can donate by text and by Paypal so you don’t even need to get up and get your bank card out of your bag.

Carmine “Sold out for March”? more like Selling out completely

I am so disappointed.

Carmine have decided to end their beauty box and have “joined forces” with GlossyBox.

Carmine customers were expecting to receive their March edition box this week but no contact from the company was made at all prompting rumours that they were either closing down or joining services with She Said. Carmine would not respond to any e-mails or posts asking about what was happening.

Today existing subscribers received an e-mail which I’ve copied and posted below:

Guess what ladies! GLOSSYBOX and Carmine are officially joining forces! Yes, that’s right. Carmine has decided to pass on its services to the expertise of GLOSSYBOX to offer you a top-notch beauty box. You can find out more about GLOSSYBOX here.
Wait, what about my March box? Unfortunately you will not receive a March box from Carmine, but not to worry! You have not been charged for it and you will not incur any further payment by Carmine or GLOSSYBOX going forward (unless of course you decide to sign up for GLOSSYBOX).
An irresistible offer just for you… Yes, we know that this probably comes as a bit of a surprise. That’s why we want to give you complete control over your subscription. If you’ve enjoyed your Carmine subscription, you may want to give GLOSSYBOX a try! GLOSSYBOX is currently offering all Carmine subscribers a discount on their first box. To redeem the offer, go on this page and use the offer code GLOSSYWELCOME1 before April 1st.
If you choose not to sign-up for GLOSSYBOX, you will not receive a box or be charged by either company going forward.
Questions?If you have other questions about subscriptions, cancellations, reimbursements, loyalty points, gifts or anything else, please be sure to visit our dedicated FAQ page.
We’d like to thank you all for making the Carmine community such a success and we are happy to leave you in the good care of GLOSSYBOX, who will be sure to look after you with fabulous monthly boxes!
Roxanne from Carmine – www.carmine.co.uk
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Copyright © 2012 Carmine UK, All rights reserved.                                                                                                                                 You receive this because you signed up to Carmine.                                                                Our mailing address is:

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I have no idea what prompted Carmine to make such a move.

I loved Carmine because

  • They provided a perfect mix of skin care and make up
  • They often provided at least one or two full sized products
  • Everyone got the same products
  • They had an awesome loyalty points scheme.
  • They had a good customer service team
  • I used and loved every product they ever sent
  • At least one item was specific to your beauty profile

 I hated GlossyBox because

  • It’s mainly skincare….far too much skin care!
  • Their boxes are extremely hit and miss.
  • They over hype their product
  • Customer service is shockingly bad
  • There are 3 different boxes each month and you have no say in which you get. The value of each box varies wildly so you may end up with a box that isn’t worth the £12.95 you paid.

Why are so many Carmine customers complaining?

I mean we’re getting a discount right?

Well that may be but many Carmine customers switched from Glossybox in the first place because of the points made above.

Carmine are well aware of our thoughts on Glossybox, after all there were tons of new customers posting on their facebook page about why they left Glossy.

I really don’t think that Carmine customers are going to like the way Glossybox operate. When Carmine had to switch two products in their February box they were inundated with complaints, I can’t really see these people switching to the glossy service where it really is a lucky dip as to which products/box you get.

This move makes no sense to me at all and in my opinion it seems that it is 100% about the money rather than looking after their customers. I would rather have had them join up with the new box service She Said and create a new, well run service than sell out to Glossybox simply because it’s more well known.

Why I’m so mad

Carmine must have known that February would be their last month of trading. They would have had to have started sourcing and buying products for their March boxes in February or even earlier so they definitely knew they weren’t continuing.

I feel they would have had a better reception if they had been upfront and honest and told it’s customers “look, we can’t carry on and February will be our last box.”

Instead they have actively sought new customers and charged new subscribers for a box they were never going to receive. I myself have referred so many of my readers, colleagues, friends etc to the service and Carmine were still accepting these new customers and  their money last week or two when they were already shutting up shop. I feel completely let down.  And I feel like I’ve inconvenienced all of my lovely readers that signed up from my blog link.

I could have found a replacement service already and had a box this month, at this late stage many other services have already released their March edition and are sold out.

Are you a Carmine customer?

If so there a few things to point out before March 30th rolls around.
  • You do not have to transfer to Glossybox. This is your money, take a look at other beauty box services. Don’t just go off the sales pitch on their websites, look at their facebook pages too to get a real idea of how they treat their customers and what they actually receive.
  • You will not automatically receive a GlossyBox. You have to subscribe on their website and if you do sign up with them you won’t get a box in March as Glossy March box came out at the beginning of the month and is sold out. You’re going to have to sign up quickly to get a box in April.
  • If you had a fix term subscription (i.e. 6 month, 12 month subscription) or were charged for March as a new subscriber then you will be reimbursed, this process has already started and will be completed by the end of this month.
  • If you ordered a gift box for someone….they aint going to get it. You’ll be reimbursed of course but you’re going to have to find an alternative gift (which sucks if you were expecting a gift this month and it’s too late to get another gift box on time).
  • The product buyer for Carmine has moved to She Said, if you liked the products then it may be worth waiting to see what She Said put out and see if it’s similar.
  • If you had enough points for a free box (50+) then you are entitled to compensation. You should receive an e-mail shortly with the following options: £5 for every 50 points, donation to charity for each free box or you can receive a box with products left over from past boxes. All choices must be confirmed by March 31st so make sure you respond to the e-mail by then. If you don’t get the e-mail you can still contact Carmine via Facebook and Twitter.

I think we should have seen this coming really.

Carmine staff have been jumping ship to She Said, the “In the Box” page was not being updated, we couldn’t review the February box and we got 3 full size products last month…..no service is that generous!
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So now I’m the one in need of advice and opinions.
Which service do you use? Which do you think is the best one?

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March Sale

Another month, another sale!

Mostly clothes this time but I am going to be adding books etc throughout the rest of the month.

Here’s is what is available so far. If you click on the images you will be taken to the page with a detailed description and price etc.

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Vintage!

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There’s plenty more on my Ebay store which you can access by clicking on any of the images above. If you have any questions feel free to post them on here or via any of the contact methods available.