New In: Shay + Blue Lilacs and Gooseberries

Tuesday, May 11, 2021
I hope everyone is well, it has been almost two months since I've published a blog post! I might publish a blog post soon about a few life and blog updates but in short, I'm not going to be blogging much from now on (only once or twice per month) and I'm spending far less time online to focus on life offline, if that makes sense! 

*Shay and Blue Lilacs & Gooseberries Eau De Parfum (gifted item sent to me)
Today's post is quite unexpected as I received a very surprise delivery last week from Shay and Blue! I received their lovely English cherry blossom fragrance last year but I didn't expect to receive another - and their newest launch! The new Lilacs & Gooseberries fragrance was released last week and is the first in a new range. Unfortunately it is currently sold out but hopefully it comes back in stock very soon. 
The fragrance is limited edition and made in small batches, it is also vegan and it is cruelty free which is fantastic. It contains notes of: lilacs, gooseberries and white amber which to me smells very fresh, floral and spring-like but it also has musky and richer tones because of the white amber. It is a lovely combination of sweet, floral and musky that I think many would like, including me! 

I have been wearing it for the past few days and from my initial impressions it is a lovely casual fragrance that would be great for the spring and summer months. It does seem to last fairly well on my skin so far and it makes a nice change from the heavier and more wintery fragrances I have been wearing recently. So far, so good and I am very happy with the fragrance - I'll be wearing it throughout the spring and summer months. 

Have you tried any fragrances from Shay and Blue? 

*Gifted item sent to me 

DegustaBox - March 2021

Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Today's post is all about the new March 2021 DegustaBox which is based around the theme of 'hello spring' which is a fantastic theme and I genuinely cannot wait for spring to start as winter seems to have been here for too long! I can't wait for spring flowers, warmer weather and sunny days which bring with them so much positivity - I think we could all do with some positivity right now. 

*DegustaBox - March 2021 
As always the box contains a wide range of products and brands from well known brand names to lesser known ones. The variety of items is great within this months box as there's a selection of snacks, drinks and a few savoury options as well as some breakfast items too. Sadly there aren't as much vegan options in this months box but I think it is a good all round box for spring.
Enervit Protein (£2.50 per bar)
Let's start with the sweet treats, the first being a protein snack bar from Enervit Protein which is a brand I haven't heard of before. You should receive one of two bars in your box - I received the chocolate and vanilla option. Each bar contains 20g of protein and is free from gluten and palm oil; also the bars are low in sugar. 

Mallow & Marsh Vanilla Marshmallow Bar (£1.35 each) 
The second and final snack bar is a marshmallow bar from a brand that has been included in a DegustaBox previously. It looks like an interesting brand and I love the packaging but sadly it isn't vegan otherwise I would have devoured it instantly as a vanilla marshmallow coated in Belgian milk chocolate sounds heavenly. 
Smarties Sharing Block (£1 each)
I'll stick with the theme of sweet treats as there's a new one on the block! Smarties have recently released a new sharing block which is contained in a brand new wrapper that is made of paper packaging so you can easily recycle it which I think is fantastic - I wish more brands had packaging like this. You should receive one of two flavours in your box, either milk chocolate or orange and I received the latter. I think so many people would be happy to see this product in their box; I used to eat Smarties so much growing up! 

Maynards Bassetts Fruit Smoothie Jellies (£1.32) 
Another great sharing sweet item is the fruit smoothie jellies which contain real fruit puree and are a source of vitamins C and E so they are a little healthier as far as candy goes. The sweet contain flavour combinations such as banana and strawberry, mango and passionfruit, pomegranate and berry and lastly pineapple and lemon, all of them sound so delicious. Sadly these sweet contain gelatine, which is an ingredient I personally choose not to eat, but if they didn't, I would love these. 

Brynmor Flapjacks (£2 per box) 
I love flapjacks, there were something we always ate growing up and I have tried this brand of flapjacks in a previous Degustabox and liked them so much! They have vegetarian and vegan options and they are all baked in Wales. You will receive one of three flavours in your box, either apple and raspberry, dark chocolate and ginger or caramel fudge. I would have loved the chocolate one which is vegan although all three flavours sound yummy and great for on the go snacking. 

Pitch Bloc 'O' Choc (£1.40)
There are so many wonderful snacks in the box that would be ideal for sharing with your household or bubble! This delicious French brand has been included in previous boxes and I have tried products from them multiple times before and loved everything I've tried. Again, they would be great for on the go, at work or as a picnic item when the weather becomes a little warmer which will hopefully be very soon. 
Hippeas Chickpea Puff Snacks (99p per bag) 
I ate these puff snacks almost instantly as I've tried them before and loved them! They are vegan, gluten free and less than 91 calories per bag which is great. I have only tried a couple of their flavours but I definitely need to try more as I personally really like these snacks.

Mug Shot Mighty Chicken and Mushroom Noodles (£1.49)
I used to love Mug Shot pastas growing up - I ate them so much and I always loved each one. This flavour is made with natural flavours and it suitable for vegetarians - it would be a quick and easy snack or lunch especially at work. 

Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar (£1.29) 
Onto a couple of cooking ingredients from Filippo Berio including two 100ml sized bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar - the smaller bottles are just the cutest. It has been the UK's favourite olive oil for over 40 years! We have been using this brand of olive oil for so many years and love using it so I'm glad to have more. I used both yesterday for a salad and I'm very happy with them - such a great addition to the March box. 
Organic Cheerios - Honey & Chocolate (£3)
Moving onto a couple of great breakfast options, the first is another new product. Cheerios now have a certified organic cereal that is made using organic honey hoops that are from organically-farmed whole grains as well as chocolate cereal pieces. Cheerios were my favourite cereal for years and these sound very yummy - I think I need to purchase a new box of original Cheerios asap. 

Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Peanut Butter (£2.50)
The final food item before the drinks in the box is a very interesting item and one I haven't seen before - it is the DegustaBox product of the month for March! Kellogg's have a crunchy nut peanut butter which is something I definitely should have known about before as I love both of those items...It combines a smooth peanut butter with crunchy honey roasted peanuts which sounds utterly heavenly. 
Esprala Apple and Red Plum Fruit Drink (£1.09) 
Lastly onto a couple of drinks included in the box, the first is a vegan fruit drink from a new-to-me brand. The drink doesn't contain added sugar and it is only 43 calories per serving. I tried this drink yesterday and really liked it; it has a very refreshing, sweet and fruity flavour that reminds me of a drink I loved years ago but can't remember the name of. Such a light, fresh drink for spring! 

Lucozade Zero Tropical (£1.49)
The final product in the box is the latest flavour from Lucozade - I love that DegustaBox typically includes new or recently launched products in their boxes. The flavour is pineapple and mango and it contains, as the name suggests, zero sugar which is great. Also, the bottle is now fully recyclable which is fantastic for the environment. I tried it this morning and I love the flavour of this new drink and again, it is a great option for spring.

Have you tried any of these products? 

* AD - gifted item sent to me, not paid

Mini Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2021

Friday, February 26, 2021
Today's post is my mini Mother's Day gift guide, my first gift guide of the year, and it features a few lovely pampering products that would be ideal for mums and grandmas this Mother's Day or as treat for yourself. Just a reminder, Mother's Day in the UK is on the 14th March so thankfully you still have time to find a card, buy a gift or craft an item. 
*Tea Plus - Sleep 
I was kindly gifted this tea late last year and I have been slowly drinking it since then, especially recently as I have had trouble sleeping. The tea is designed to help you have a restful sleep and I find the process of drinking the tea as well as the flavour to be quite relaxing in itself! I personally really like the cherry and blackcurrant flavour and I have been loving the ritual of drinking a hot mug of this tea with a book before bed to help me relax. I think any tea would be great as part of a Mother's Day self care hamper, along with a few of the other items in today's post. 
*Bomb Cosmetics Silver Linings Bath Blasters (£2.99)
I have been buying Bomb Cosmetics products for years, even before I started this blog back in the carefree days of 2012. However, I am lucky enough to be gifted their products from time to time. The bath blasters, bath mallows and bath creamers I've either been sent or bought myself have all been so lovely. I think that Bomb Cosmetics products are always so cute, unique and inexpensive so they'd make great little gifts. 
*Feather and Down Home Sweet Home Set (£9.60 - sale)
We all know by now how much I adore Feather and Down products as well as their lovely and inexpensive gift sets; although I will definitely be buying some of their sets in the future - when I've used up the products I already have. So many of the Feather and Down gift sets are currently reduced on their website so now might be a good time to pick up a Mother's Day gift. 

The 'Home Sweet Home' set contains a mini calming candle (50g) and a gorgeous room spray (100ml), both in glass containers. I absolutely adore the scent of any Feather and Down product and these are no different - in my opinion they smell utterly heavenly and relaxing. I love the look of this gift set as well as the 'sleeping bag' set - so many options are available on their site. 
*Feather and Down Massage To Sleep Gift Set (£8 - sale)
The final product from Feather and Down in today's short but sweet Mother's Day gift guide is a great set for someone who hasn't tried the brand before as it contains a couple of their most gorgeous products. The set contains the pillow spray (50ml), bath essence (50ml) and massage soap bar (125g); my favourite product has to be the divine pillow spray. 

I think all Feather and Down products are fantastic, from my experience, and the gift sets make wonderful treats at an affordable price. I personally adore the pillow spray and also the melting shower cream, both of which I use sparingly so I don't run out of them too quickly. 

Have you tried any of these products? What do you think of my mini Mother's Day gift guide? 

* AD - gifted items sent to me, not paid

DegustaBox - February 2021

Monday, February 22, 2021

It's that time of the month again for my look at the new DegustaBox which is all based around 'home comforts' for the February. As always there's a great range of items in the box from a variety of brands; this months box includes brands such as Knorr, Very Lazy, Koko, Hartlety's and more. 

*DegustaBox - February 2021 
The box, in my opinion, contains a great variety of items too, from breakfast options and snack bars to cooking ingredients, sweet treats and lunch options. The product of the month is the Jaffa cakes new flavours (cherry and passion fruit). DegustaBox always typically includes a product or two that has been recently released which I love! 
BelVita Soft Bakes (60p per single) 
Let's start with the breakfast items in the box as there are quite a few! Beginning with the three soft bakes from BelVita in the flavours: chocolate and also blueberry. The bakes contain five wholegrains and are a source of fire, calcium, magnesium and iron. You'll receive three in the box and I think they'd make great on-the-go healthier snacks. 

Hartley's Strawberry Jam (£1.59)
One of my favourite products from the February box has to be the strawberry jam from Hartley's which is so sweet, fruity and delicious. I love adding jam to toast and this flavour is the perfect breakfast addition. I definitely want to try more flavours now!
Koko Original Milk (£1.50)
Another breakfast staple, milk, but this option is made from coconuts! It can be used on cereal, tea or coffee as well as in smoothies. I've tried coconut water and to be honest, it wasn't for me so I'm not sure if I'll love this coconut milk but I will give it a go soon. 

Hilltop Blossom Honey (75p each)
However, if you're not a fan of jam, there's an alternative in the February box for you! There are two mini pots of the Hilltop blossom honey to try. I am personally not a fan of honey so I'll stick to the delicious jam but it is a great trial size. 

Eloments Vitamin Tea - Ceylon Breakfast (£3.99)
You can't have breakfast without tea, I personally love mint tea but I am definitely going to try this new-to-me variety. It is a single origin black tea from family owned and organic farms. Each teabag contains nine essential vitamins including vitamin C and it is certified organic and fairtrade, which is fantastic. 
Boka Cereal Bars (75p each)
The final item I'd categorise as a 'breakfast' item are the two cereal bars from Boka, which is a brand that has been included in a previous DegustaBox. The bars are low in sugar, fats and salts so they might be a good option for on-the-go snacking or at work. 

Bounce Almond Plant Protein Ball (£1.69)
Another great snacking option is the newly relaunched energy balls from Bounce. They are high in protein, high in fibre and only 160 calories each. It is vegan friendly and it is the next item from the box that I'm going to try - it sounds delicious! 

Lost The Pot Noodle (80p each) 
Next up a couple of packets of instant noodles from Lost The Pot Noodle (love the name). There should be two in the box with the flavours: sweet chilli and roasted chicken. I'll definitely be trying the noodles without the flavour packet soon, which is what I do with most instant noodles. 
Very Lazy Chopped Chillies (£1.50)
I love this range from Very Lazy as we've purchased the ginger and garlic previously but I haven't really used the chopped chillies yet; mainly because my tolerance for spicy food is very low unfortunately. However, we will be trying this very soon and I'll continue to use/love their chopped ginger and garlic. 

Knorr Stock Pots (95p each)
Another great cooking ingredient in the box are the two stock pots from Knorr. There should be two included: beef and vegetable, the latter is vegan so I will definitely be using it in a vegetable soup recipe sometime this week. 

Milkybar Cookies and Cream Sharing Bag (£1.59)
The last couple of items are the sweet treats in the box including a sharing bag of the cookies and cream Milkybar. It combines smooth white chocolate and crunchy cookie pieces which sounds delicious and it would be great to share with your household. 

Jaffa Cakes Passion Fruit and Cherry (£1.20)
Last but not least is the product of the month: Jaffa Cakes Passion Fruit and Cherry which are their two new flavours! They have the traditional dark chocolate and light sponge but with two new flavour options which sound very refreshing! 

You can use the code: DTPL4 to get your box for £9.99!

Have you tried any of the products from this box? 

* AD - gifted item sent to me, not paid

Secret Scent Box: February 2021

Friday, February 19, 2021

Today's post is all about a great subscription box that is quite unique as it is a fragrance sample subscription box which features three fragrances each month. We all know how much I love subscription boxes and when they first started there weren't that many available to choose from but now the selection is amazing, including more niche boxes such as a fragrance subscription box. 

*Secret Scent Box - February 2021 
As I've said, the boxes contain three fragrance samples each month, from a range of designer and celebrity fragrances. The samples are all 3ml each which I think is a great trial or travelling size - I keep the samples in my bag for on the go spritzing! The boxes are all well packaged and presented; also they fit through your letterbox. 
The fragrance brands in the February box include: Karl Lagerfeld, Paco Rabanne and Mugler, none of which I've purchased before so it's a good way of trying fragrances. Each fragrance also comes with a handy information card which explains the notes that make up the fragrance. 

Karl Lagerfeld Fleur De Murier contains raspberry leaf, redcurrant, orange, violet, blackberry blossom, orange blossom, lily of the valley, sandalwood, musk, amber and vanilla as notes - so many notes! To me it is a classic fruity fragrance with musky notes; I think most people will like this sample. 

Paco Rabanne Paco is definitely my favourite fragrance of the three! It contains fragrance notes including pine, orange, lemon, coriander, cyclamen, tea, jasmine, lavender, tonic bean, cedar, sandalwood and musk which combine to make a gorgeous fresh and floral fragrance which, for me personally, is utterly beautiful. 

Mugler Angel Nova is the final fragrance and it is another great option! It contains raspberry, lychee, damask rose, akigalawood and benzoin, I personally liked all three fragrances within the box and this one is ideal for the upcoming spring season. 

Have you tried any of these fragrances? 

* AD - gifted item sent to me, not paid

January Reading Wrap-Up 2021

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

January started off as a great reading month but unfortunately anxiety got in the way and sadly I couldn't read much as I'd hoped I would. However, I did finish six books in the month of January, one of which was over 500 pages but overall, I'm not very happy with my reading for the start of the new year. My favourite books of the month include: Master of One, Gentleman Jack and Book Love. 

Master of One by Jaida Jones (544 pages) ★★★

The first book I finished of the new year was the first book over 500 pages that I've read for a while so I was glad to start the year off with reaching a monthly reading goal. In Master Of One, we follow Rags a thief who has been caught by the Queensguard and forced through a series of challenges to find an ancient fae relic...however, the ancient relic turns out to be a fae. 

I loved the fae character, the challenges/action, the magic and world overall as well as the classic fantasy/quest style plot and the interconnecting characters. However, it was darker than I thought it would be and the romance was very minimal and far from prominent (which is how it was advertised). Overall, I did like the book and I'd definitely recommend it if you like YA fantasy. 

Captive Prince by C.S Pacat (241 pages) ★★

Sticking with the darker fantasy theme, I read Captive Prince which is a very highly rated and read book on GoodReads. We follow warrior hero Damen as he is captured and stripped of his identity by his enemy; the story following on from that premise is...disturbing and uncomfortable. There are so many trigger warnings for this book, the most obvious being rape. It personally wasn't for me and I wouldn't recommend it. 

Sketches of Korea: An Illustrated Guide to Korean Culture by Benjamin Joinau (354 pages) ★★★

Moving onto a couple of non-fiction books I read in January, the first is all about Korean culture, from music, housing, food and language to history, traditional dress, temples and much more. I love the layout, illustrations throughout and the easy to follow information. If you are interested in South Korean culture, as I am, then I'd recommend this book as a great basics guide. 

*Gentleman Jack by Angela Steidele (352 pages) ★★★ (3.5)

I have been meaning to read this ebook for years and in January, I finally got round to reading it - I'm glad I did! We follow the life, adventures and many relationships of Anne Lister, who was a regency era landowner, traveller and lesbian. The book details her family, home, financial struggles, her own view of her sexuality, romantic relationships and her many adventures around the UK and the world. 

Before reading this book I knew very little about Anne Lister and now I know just how remarkable she was! Anne Lister seems to have been a very ambitious, confident and intelligent woman who travelled extensively and lived as much as she was able to during the time period. I loved how well researched the book was and equally loved reading about Anne but it was a little bogged down at times (I think it could have been a little shorter or more condensed in places) and there were so many individuals mentioned that it became confusing at times. However, I would highly recommend it as a throughly interesting biography. 

Book Love by Debbie Tung (144 pages) ★★★

Lastly for the month I read a couple of adorable short and sweet comics from Debbie Tung. I read her previous comic in 2017 and liked it so I had to read more. Book Love illustrates book lover problems and habits which is definitely relatable for bookworms, like me. It was exactly what I needed, something sweet and adorable to distract from my anxiety. 

Happily Ever After by Debbie Tung (160 pages) ★★★

I also read her book all about the authors relationship and her marriage which was a very short, sweet and adorable comic book that I found to be quite distracting, entertaining and very sweet. I loved the simple illustrations in all three! I'd recommend all three cute comics I've read from Debbie Tung. 

Have you read any of these books? Did you have any reading goals for the new year? 

* AD - gifted ebook sent to me via netgalley- not paid