DegustaBox: August 2017

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Last month I became a DegustaBox ambassador and I received the July 2017 box which was amazing so I couldn't wait to receive the August box. As with all subscription boxes, one of the main points I love about them is the mystery of what I'll receive; subscription boxes to me are the adult version of those Claire's Accessories goodie bags from the 90's!

Each months box contains between 10 to 15 food, drink and snack items which I think is fantastic considering the low price and if you use the discount code KVAA2 it will make the box only £5.99 instead of £12.99. The August box contained so many nostalgic items in it as well as some of my guilty foods.

Fruit Pot Jelly Squeeze (69p each)
I used to love jelly growing up but as it typically contains gelatine (which isn't suitable for vegetarians), I haven't had jelly for so long...until now! I was so happy to see that both of these jelly products were gelatine free and even though they are probably for children, I'm still eating them! I've tried the Apple and Blackcurrant flavour and it's so sweet and moreish. I also received an orange flavour in my box.
Refreshers Softies (£1)
Speaking of gelatine and nostalgic sweet treats, Refreshers were some of my favourite sweets in primary school. Now they have giant refresher sweets that are soft, fruity and frizzy but sadly they do contain beef gelatine so I won't be eating them but I know my friends will!

Pick Up! Black 'N' White Biscuits (£1.69)
I think I received some of these biscuits in a previous box but I love this brand so it's fine! These biscuits are milk chocolate flavoured with white chocolate in the middle and I can't wait to try them but it will have to wait until after holiday. This box was not very well timed as it's only a few days until my holiday to Norway.

Cadbury CurlyWurly Squirlies (£1.99)

Another very nostalgic product as I used to eat CurlyWurly bars growing up - they were so moreish while simultaneously glueing my teeth together. Again, it will have to wait until after holiday because I'm trying to be very good...I'm actually succeeding *mostly*.

Dairy Milk Big Taste Toffee Whole Nut (65p)
I haven't had any Dairy Milk chocolate for so long and I love anything toffee flavoured so this is perfect for me! It's from a new range and I think I will actually take it with me for the long train journey to Southhampton later this week as it will be a very early start and a very long day!
Light Bites Soya & Chickpea Popped Chips (99p each)
Now we're onto the savoury snacks and they are healthy too! I received two bags of soya and chickpea chips from lighter life. I have the pesto and sundries tomato flavour and the sweet and smoky chipotle flavour, both of which taste so nice and they contain less than 100 calories each. I've tried a few things from this brand and liked them so definitely check it out!

Orangina & Orangina Light (£1.20 each)
Another item I'll be taking on the train (this box was both great for the upcoming holiday and awful for the upcoming holiday!). The drinks come in the delicious original and a light version and they have cute summer limited edition bottle designs too.

Twisted Halo Coconut Water, Ginger & Vodka (£1.50)
Sticking with the summery theme, this ready to serve drink is perfect for summer as it contains ginger, coconut and lime! I also love the packaging and it only contains 90 calories which is amazing. When friends come round, I'll be buying a few more!
Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce (£1.89)
We're onto the last few items (there were so many in this month box!) and it's something I haven't tried before. I'm not a fan of very spicy food but I do like jalapeños so this hot sauce as it is milder is perfect for me. I'm going to be making vegan tacos very soon so I'll definitely be adding some of this.

Hellmanns Mayonnaise (£1.69)
For me personally, there have only been two items in this box that I am not 100% happy with and those include the Refreshers sweets as they contain gelatine and this one...I can't be the only one who thinks that mayonnaise is just disguising, right? Just me? OK.

Maggi Fusian Noodles (£1.39 each)
Last but not least, my guilty food pleasure. We all have foods that we adore but that aren't healthy, nutritious or even acceptable in modern society and for me, that is buttery, salty instant noodles - they're so delicious. I've only had this box for a couple of days now and I've managed to eat both packets...I have zero willpower when it comes to noodles. Oops.

Overall, I'm really happy with the August box as it contained so many yummy snacks, drinks and chocolate, all of which will be gone a few days after I come back from Norway as I only have so much willpower. If you like the look of this box then use the code: KVAA2 to get it for only £5.99 which is an amazing discount!

What do you think of the August Degusta Box? Have you tried any of these items? 

New In + Favourite Homeware Items

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
It's coming to the end of summer now and autumn is almost here which is making me want to buy all of the autumnal homeware and candles! Autumn is my favourite season as it's so cosy, jumpers are compulsory and it is acceptable to bake and eat constantly. I'm not a fan of summer homeware, it's too bright and colourful, I definitely prefer autumnal homeware and I was recently sent some lovely items from Rooi Home, Dandelion Interiors and Melody Maison.

*Paddywax Travel Candles (£4.95 each)
I've wanted to try Paddywax candles for the longest time but I always put it off so I was very excited to receive these cute candles in the post. I have 'applewood and amber' and 'amber and smoke', both of which are small 2oz candles. I love the packaging, they're so cute and there are so many options to choose from.

Let's start with the 'applewood and amber' scent, I don't really have a favourite as they are both gorgeous but to me, this one smells like christmas, apple pie and potpourri, it is amazing. The scent is so homely, cosy and autumnal/wintery which I love. As the candle is small, it burns evenly, there isn't any tunnelling and it smells amazing. The scent throw isn't incredible but it's really good and they are both making me wish it was autumn even more now.

Next up the 'amber and smoke' scent which is pretty much bonfire night in candle form and who wouldn't want that! It is smokey, deep, woody and rich, I think it might be one of my favourite candle  scents ever. I could smell it all day, it's that good and again as it's small, it burns well and evenly. I cannot recommend these candles enough, definitely check out Rooi Home!
*Dandelion Interiors Dome Fairylight Lamp 
If I could sum up autumn in homeware items, candles, blankets and fairylights would be at the top of the list. Fairylights, as well as candles, can make any room look instantly cosy and inviting. That's why my second favourite is this gorgeous battery powered lamp from Dandelion Interiors that I received a while ago and I've been loving it since.

The lamp features a large glass dome, heavy base and a connected string of copper fairylights inside. The dome can be removed and that's really my only negative as I have almost dropped it a couple of times as it isn't connected to the base at all but apart from that it looks amazing. The fairylights are a mix of yellow and almost pinkish hues which I adore and the lamp looks so victorian, as though it should belong in a dusty library or apothecary. I love that it is battery powered as it can be moved around fairly easily and it has a handy on/off switch on the back rather than under the base. I couldn't be happier with it!
*Melody Maison Copper Mirrored Tray (£6.75)
Lastly, this gorgeous copper mirrored tray has been a favourite recently and it's working well as a blog photo prop too and you'll see it in an upcoming post or two! It's from Melody Maison who I have worked with before as I received an equally gorgeous copper clock from them a few months ago. I think it would also be great for storing and displaying fragrances, makeup or candles too.

What homeware items or stores are you loving? Have you bought anything from Rooi Home, Melody Maison or Dandelion Interiors? 

*Shopping Made Simple: Gift Buying

Monday, August 21, 2017
Image from Now Here This
Buying for your other half or anyone who is a little picky can be tricky, especially if you feel like you’ve exhausted all your options. Trying to think outside the box and come up with quirky, novel ideas is hard enough without also factoring in a budget and finding something that they’ll actually like. If your partner has got a birthday coming up or you’re super organised, and you’re already starting to plan for Christmas *I know I am...*, here are some tips to make shopping simple.

Channel their interests
When your other half gets paid, what do they spend their money on? What do they devote their spare time to? If they had a day off work, what would they do with those precious hours? If you can answer these questions without hesitating, it should be easy to find presents they’ll love. If they enjoy shopping and they’re always on the lookout for trendy new additions to their wardrobe, you could treat them to a shopping spree, choose a new shirt for the collection or go for something unique like some customised trainers. If they’re a food and drink connoisseur, you could order a personalised hip flask, put a hamper of all their favourite treats together or even book a wine tasting class. If they’re a mad footie fan, you could order a signed shirt or book tickets to go and watch a game together. Think carefully about what they love when you’re coming up with ideas and this should stand you in good stead.

Make memories
Shopping for a partner can be really tough, and sometimes, it’s impossible to break the mould of socks, trainers, and aftershave if you restrict yourself to items that you can physically buy in a shop. Instead of buying a mountain of things, why not make memories and gift your partner an experience, a weekend away or even a romantic holiday? Depending on your budget, you could go glamping in the meadows, hire a beach hut for the day or channel your inner adventurer and escape to a national park for a weekend. You could put your feet up and relax with a spa break, set their pulse racing with a track day or get dressed up for a day at the races. I cannot recommend visiting Chester and York enough as well as the bustling city of London.

Shop around for deals and discounts online. It’s particularly beneficial to compare prices if you’re booking trips, flights or hotels. If you can’t narrow down the options, you could create a collection of dates or trips. Use numbered mini envelopes to provide details of each date. You don’t have to crazy and spend a fortune. You can mix and match days out or a night away with simple things like a night in with a takeaway and a DVD or a picnic in the park.

When it comes to buying gifts for your other half, you want to show that you care and you’ve put a lot of effort into present buying. If you find shopping stressful, hopefully, this guide will give you inspiration and help you to come up with some ideas your partner will absolutely love.

What are your favourite kind of gifts to buy for others? What are your go-to gift ideas? 

*This is a collaborative post
*Image from Pinterest 

Colorpop Swatches + Review

Sunday, August 20, 2017
A month or so ago I made my first order from Colorpop which is a US based cosmetics company and they are famous for their incredibly cheap and very long lasting lip products so when they were offering free UK shipping as well as three lip products for $12, I couldn't say no! There is just one issue...

The customs fees are rumoured to be terrible for some unlucky orders and after searching around and talking to people who've made orders, it seems that if you order is less than £15 then you won't have to pay customs fees and thankfully my order came to less than £10 and I didn't have to pay any customs fees *yay*.

My order came really well packaged (maybe too much packaging) from LA and it took about ten days to get to me since I ordered. Another point to mention is that I used PayPal to pay for my order and I think that helps to reduce the risk of customs fees but I'm not sure.
L - R: Echo Park, November, Lost
I ordered three of the ColorPop Ultra Satin Lip ($6 each or 3 for $12) which are long lasting liquid lipsticks in the shades: Echo Park, November and Lost, although there were so many others that I want. I adore the packaging, they don't really have a scent and I'm so happy with the three shades that I purchased, now I want to make another order.

Echo Park
This is the shade that seems to be one of their most popular shades and I can definitely see why as it's a lovely natural neutral pink shade with brownish undertones. It is a 'my lips but better' shade that I cannot stop wearing. It's a perfect everyday shade, it has such a smooth and comfortable formula and glides on well with a creamy, pigmented finish. Unlike their matte formulas, these have a satin finish so they don't look or feel too matte. I cannot recommend this shade enough!

November 
This next shade is is one of the Kathleenlights x ColorPop shades, it must have been a collection. It is a warm pink shade that is a little brighter and pinker than I usually wear but it is gorgeous and just perfect for the spring and summer months. The formula is so creamy, they all feel light and comfortable on the lips and they are all incredibly pigmented.

Lost
The final shade is a rich classic red shade which comes in so handy for making any simple look a bit more polished and put together, especially for blog photos. The only negative about this shade is that as it is much darker and bolder than the other, you can't hide when it comes to mistakes - the fuzzy applicator can make the edges a little less shape and neat which is annoying as otherwise it would be the perfect red.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with my ColorPop order as it came quickly, I love the packaging and the price as well as the fact that I didn't have to pay customs fees! The two natural shades are perfect and I have been using them so much since I received them but the red is a tiny bit disappointing but still definitely worth a try as they are so cheap.

Have you ordered from ColorPop? What do you think of these shades? 

*Blogging Tips + How To Keep Your Blog Current

Friday, August 18, 2017
Image from My Scandinavian Home 
Okay, so you’re getting people reading your blog and interacting with you! You may think that all the hard work is done now and you can relax,but the truth is the hard work has only just begun. You have to continue to work hard to keep your blog popular and up to date, if that's what you want for your blog. It’s difficult to know how to go about this but if you carry on reading you’ll not have to wonder!

Introduce New Content 
This is one of the most important things when keeping your blog up to date and interesting. This can all be avoided if you change your content up every now and again. If you’re a beauty blog, write something that is still linked to beauty but slightly different, perhaps linked in with a similar hobby. This keeps your audience engaged, maintaining what you have earned! There is very little guidance with this purely because it depends solely on what you’re going to be blogging about, so do whatever you see fit but new and exciting content will always be well received.

Constantly Upload Photos 
Photos can’t be used to completely make up your blog, rather they are a force multiplier, they make what is already there much better. Photos can either enhance a post or be a post all in itself as it is able to convey a simple message without any explanation! It’s good to learn how to take proper photos and selfies due to how personal blogs can be, so read this selfie guide by MyTrendyPhone to give you the knowledge you need to take the right selfies! Getting it right means that your blog posts are going to be much more eye catching.

Host Giveaways 
Giving away products that you enjoy can really boost your audience. People are always after free things, and if you're going to host a giveaway you can turn it into a competition and make up the rules yourself! Of course it has be legal, so read this on how to achieve a legal and safe giveaway. Giveaways attract attention because people like free things, and if you put on the giveaway that there are certain conditions to enter such as sharing the post on a social media site, you can get free advertising out of it and a little boost to your followers which doesn't hurt - this is a bit of a controversial topic within blogging but I'd say that you should go for it.

By hosting giveaways to potentially attract more readers and by posting interesting and new content on your blog, it will keep your online space unique and current. Of course there is an art to taking photos, especially when it comes to festive ones to fit the season, so read my guide to learn how to do it.

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any blogging or photography tips? What have you learnt from blogging? 

*This is a collaborative post
*Image from Pinterest 

London Photo Diary: Tower Of London + Buckingham Palace

Thursday, August 17, 2017
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram then you will have seen my photos and video clips of my trip to London earlier this week! I went with my parents and one of my aunties on the 14th and the 15th, the latter was my birthday! We stayed in the London Euston Premier Inn which is so incredibly affordable, the location is amazing, there were vegetarian options and it was so clean - the staff were also so helpful, I'd definitely recommend it.

We traveled down with Virgin Trains from Manchester and it's my first time on Virigin Trains; it was fantastic, we had a table each time and it puts other train companies and quality to shame! On the first day we took the tube, which was a bit of a nightmare as we didn't know what tickets to buy and my contactless card wouldn't work at the barriers but we eventually arrived at the Tower Hill tube station and walked over to the Tower Of London.
Tower Of London
Tickets were a little expensive but in my opinion it was definitely worth it! We decided to wait and go on a tour with one of the yeomen of the guard which I'd definitely recommend as our guide *Steve* was so funny but with so many people in the group, it was a little difficult hearing everything. The tour was only an hour or so then we explored the white tower, the bloody tower and we saw the crown jewels!

As we were queuing up to look at the crown jewels, one of the famous ravens that live at the Tower Of London came right up on the railing where we were standing which was slightly frightening! It was amazing to walk around and we went inside the chapel where Anne Bolyn is buried too. I think if you do want to see everything at the tower and go on a tour then it will take up at least half of your day as we were there until the closing time.
From the Tower Of London you can see the Shard which was amazing as you get the view of the 900 year of tower and buildings with the modern buildings soaring overhead. Inside the white tower there are amazing displays of royal suits of armour, weapons and more so it's well worth going inside. They had suits of armour that Henry VIII wore!

Even though my feet were absolutely killing me *literally every step hurt*, I couldn't recommend visiting the Tower Of London enough and especially the Yeomen of the Guard tour as well as it's so informative and funny. Seeing the crown jewels was incredible, the displays inside the towers were too and despite the number of people, it was easy getting around, we didn't have to wait too long queuing and it was an amazing thing to see (it's definitely not enough to just see it from the outside). You can also see Tower Bridge from there too and it's a short walk to Tower Hill tube station.
St James Park
The next day we took the Victoria line from London Euston to the Victoria tube station as we wanted to see the houses of parliament, big ben and Buckingham Palace as we had a tour booked for later that day. I also wanted to go inside Westminster Abby but the prices were a little high, the queues were insane and you weren't allowed to take photos inside anyway so we didn't bother and walked to see Big Ben, Parliament and House Guards Parade and then came to St James Park which is a park I haven't been in before but it's definitely the nicest and most relaxing park in London.

There was a little Swiss looking cottage in the park with vegetable patches outside, lakes and a water fountain as well as so many beautiful flowers. We stopped at the cafe there and if you are looking for something to eat then definitely check it out as there were so many options and the location is fantastic. You wouldn't expect such a relaxing and quiet space like that within central London.
Buckingham Palace Tour
The final stop we had was a tour of Buckingham Palace which we booked a couple of months before and for four adults, it was about £90 and we went through 19 state rooms and the gardens. Before we went inside Buckingham Palace, I expected it to be a tour of about 2-3 hours with a guide taking small groups around but instead we were all given headsets with videos to listen to as we walked around the massive state rooms which was unexpected and I wasn't a fan of that style of tour!

Around a quarter of the way through the state rooms, I took of the headset and just walked around reading the plaques as it was so annoying having these headphones on and trying to watch a video while looking around. Also my feet were so incredibly sore so in pretty much every state room I had to sit down (thankfully there were benches set up in almost every state room).
As you walk around at your own pace rather than with a guide, you can take a while or as we did, you can move through at a normal pace (with the headphones on you are pretty much at a snails pace) and we were finished within about 70 minutes. We headed to the gardens where there is a shop and cafe, both of which were quite busy. The cafe had lovely views, the weather was so nice for the two days we were in London and I had strawberries and cream although on the website it shows macaroons but there weren't any *I did want a macaroon on my birthday but there wasn't a lot of choice, in my opinion* and the prices were ridiculous!

The gardens were so gorgeous and on the way out you get to see more of them but the last part of the day was pretty much ruined for me as I felt so physically sick (I think it was the heat and tiredness as I hardly spelt thanks to snoring) and my feet were so painful. I felt like I was either going to throw up or faint which wasn't a pleasant end to a lovely trip but thankfully we got a taxi to the hotel and it took us down The Mall, Regents St and some of the most exclusive and fancy streets in London.

Overall, I had an amazing time, we saw some incredible historic sites, Buckingham Palace was amazing, the weather was great and the hotel/train were both perfect. The only downsides were the prices, my ridiculously painful boots and not knowing what tickets to buy for the tube (the staff were great but there were only a couple of people around to help with lots of customers waiting around not know what to do!). I cannot recommend the Buckingham Palace and Tower Of London tours enough, I can't wait to visit again albeit with comfy boots!

Have you been to London? Have you visited Buckingham Palace or the Tower Of London?