DegustaBox: December 2020

Wednesday, December 30, 2020
The end of 2020 is drawing ever closer so it is time for me to share my thoughts on the December DegustaBox which I've been eating and sharing my way through over the month. As always, you can see sneak peeks of my upcoming posts and gifted items on my Instagram (@ofbeautyand). For more information about Degustabox, check out their website or my previous posts. 

*DegustaBox - December 2020
Each months box has a different theme and the theme for December was a little different as they have collaborated with Sainsbury's to create a unique box filled with exciting brands and products, all of which are available at Sainsbury's. The box contains a variety of sweet snacks, savoury snacks, drinks and cooking ingredients for a range of dietary requirements. 
Pipers Crisps (£1.20, 40g bag)
I'll begin with the savoury snacks for a change and the first was one of my favourite products from the box - the Pipers wild thyme and rosemary crisps. The crisps were delicious and while I couldn't try the cheddar and onion flavour, I'm sure it was just as delicious as the other. While quite high in calories, I will be looking out for the wild thyme and rosemary flavour in the future. 

Peter's Yard Sourdough Bites (£2)
Another great savoury snack to share with your household or bubble, the crunchy savoury snacks will be great on their own or with a dip of your choice. They are baked, low in saturated fat, a source of fibre and suitable for vegetarians. 
Brave Roasted Chickpeas - Sweet Chilli (£1)
The final savoury snack before I move onto all of the other goodies, is a roasted chickpea snack. You should have received one packet in your box and the flavour could be: sweet chilli, dark choc or sea salt. I received the sweet chilli flavour and it was delicious!  

Tony's Chocolonely (£1.35)
I have seen this brand all over instagram but I haven't tried it before, I'm not sure if they make any vegan flavours though - I'll have to investigate. I love the packaging and the ethics of the brand! There's one flavour in the box 'caramel sea salt' which sounds amazing and I passed it onto a friend who I hope will love it. 

The Curators Cocoa Caramel Peanuts (£1.20)
The final snack is a gluten free, high fibre snack of chocolate covered peanuts! They are vegan and they taste absolutely delicious; they are very moreish and it is a little difficult to not eat the entire bag in one go! I will be looking out for these in the future for a 'healthy' snack. 
Leon Garlic Aioli (£2.50)
Next up, cooking ingredients and the first is my favourite product from the box - the Leon garlic aioli. I was very happy when I found this item in the box as it is something I've purchased a couple of times already from Sainsbury's along with other vegan items from Leon - I can't recommend it enough. 

Odysea Aubergine Meze Dip (£2.15)
Another great dip or cooking ingredient is an aubergine dip from Odysea. It is made with roasted aubergines, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and parsley - it is suitable for vegans. It would make a fantastic dip to share with your household (no double dipping though!). 

Capsicana Mexican Tomato and Chipotle Tinga Cooking Paste (£1.30)
The final item before the drinks is a cooking paste that can be added to meat, fish or veggies. It has a smokey flavour and would be great for fajitas or BBQ dishes. I haven't tried it but we have tried various cooking pastes from this brand previously and liked them all. 
Nexba Pineapple Soft Drink (£1.25)
There's usually a drink or two within each box and this months box has a great variety including this delicious and refreshing soft drink which is vegan, low calorie and no GMO. It doesn't contain any added sugar, artificial sweeteners or fructose. 

Clwb Tropica Tropical IPA (£2)
Another fruity option which contains pineapples, mangoes, passionfruit and peaches with an IPA. I don't personally drink ale or any other alcohol apart from wine or cider so I haven't tried this but it sounds very delicious. 

Dash Water - Peach (£1.15)
Sticking with the very fruity and fresh theme, the penultimate item from the December Degustabox is a healthy soft drink made using British water and 'wonky' peaches! I love the packaging, the drink is refreshing and it doesn't contain any sugar or sweeteners. 

Good Earth Tea (£2.75)
Last but not least is a box of ginger, turmeric and lemon tea from Good Earth. I haven't tried any ginger or turmeric tea before but I think it would be fantastic for sore throats and colds so it might come in very handy this winter! 

Don't forget to use the code DTPL4 to get your first box for only £9.99!

Have you tried any of these products? 

How To Create The Perfect Cosy Night In

Sunday, December 27, 2020
Winter is here and with it comes dark nights, cold temperatures and dull weather (that is pretty much the norm in Manchester all year round) but it also means that we have the excuse to for many cosy nights in (with your household or bubble). It is admittedly my least favourite time of the year, however there are many ways in which to make it more bearable such as cosy nights in, comfort food, movie days and a valid reason to buy all of the hygge inspired homeware your want including candles, sweet treats, throws and bedding. 
Today's post is all about my tips and personal recommendations to create the perfect cosy night in and the ingredients you will need are as follows: snacks (lots of them!), warm beverages of your choice, movies or TV and cosy bedding or throws. I think that the perfect cosy night in requires all of those elements but you can pick and choose or add in items you love as well - cuddly pets would be ideal. 

The lovely people at Dusk created a little experiment to see which foods and beverages create the most mess and spills on bedding - a highly scientific and useful experiment, I think we will all agree. They found that nachos were the messiest snack and difficult to clean too and tea/biscuits came in at second place. Chocolate bars and crisps were the least messy and easier to clean so choose your snacks wisely! 

TV and movies are also essential, I've been watching good old favourites on Netflix; the TV recently has been awful so I've almost exclusively been watching movies and TV shows on streaming services. In addition to TV and movies, you could also add boardgames and pampering products or even a FaceTime quiz to your cosy night in.  
*Dusk Chelsea Duvet Cover - White (from £31.80)
My final cosy night in essential has to be cosy and warm bedding as well as a knitted throw! Dusk have a wide range of gorgeous bedding in a range of styles, colours and sizes, so you are bound to find something cosy to suit your home. I was kindly gifted their Chelsea duvet cover, pillow cases and a gorgeous throw - they are all currently on sale so go, go, go.

The Chelsea duvet is 200 thread count cotton (which is breathable and very soft) and it is a classic style with delicate stitched detailing which makes it look quite luxe and expensive! The duvet is so incredibly soft and cosy, it is so much better in terms of quality than all of my others so I now know where to purchase my bedding from in the future. 

*Dusk Chelsea Oxford Pillow Cases - White (from £16.20)
The pillow cases are equally as amazing in terms of design and quality as well as how super soft they are! I also love the extra hem (I'm not sure if that is the correct term) and stitching around the edges of the duvet and the pillow cases - they look extra fancy with just that little touch. The cosiest bedding is the ideal accompaniment to a cosy night in, as is a knitted throw. 

*Dusk St Ives Throw - Light Grey (£73.80)
A few years ago I arm knitted my own throw and the process wasn't very difficult, however the quality wasn't amazing and it began to fall apart very quickly - although I'm still fairly proud of my first complete knitted item. A pre-made knitted throw is definitely the easier and quick option; it will also last much longer! I have the light grey colour but there are others available, all of which look very cosy and unique. I think a soft, oversized knitted throw is a fantastic addition to any home (or cosy night in) during the colder months as it makes any room look instantly more inviting. 

You can find out more information about Dusk bedding on their website and don't forget to check out their blog for more information on their 'Netflix and spill' food experiment!

What are your essentials for a cosy night in? 

* AD - gifted items sent to me, not paid

Latest In Beauty Box: December 2020

Monday, December 21, 2020
It's time for my final Latest In Beauty box review of the year and naturally the December box is their festive edit! The selection for the month of December was fantastic and I opted to choose my items early but there are still so many wonderful beauty products to choose from. To get a sneak peek of upcoming posts as well as PR mail and unboxings, follow me on Instagram (@ofbeautyand). 

*Latest In Beauty - December 2020
The festive edit contains a great range of items and brands including Umberto Giannini, Sally Hansen, Dr Teals, Zoeva and more as well as items from previous edits. I chose a few items I don't typically pick along with a few items I know I'll adore. In addition to the products you choose for your December box, you will also receive either a Look Good Feel Better makeup brush or sponge in your box too! 
*Umberto Giannini Temporary Hair Colour and Mask
Umberto Giannini is a brand I don't pick up very often, outside of subscription boxes but when I do I always tend to love their products. I adored a mask I tried from Umberto Giannini as part of a previous Latest In Beauty box so I wanted to give these a go. The mask also contains temporary hair colour in Pink Delight and Forget Me Not. I don't know how well it will work on my dark hair but I'm excited to give them a go. 
*Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair 
The November box contained the Aveda Daily Hair Repair (it was the November 'hall of fame' item) and I fell in love! Naturally I had to add another to my December box as I haven't come across a hair product for a long time that I have adored instantly like this one! It is a full sized item and worth £26 which is amazing value for money considering the box as a whole is only £12.95. 

*Dr Teal's Pure Epsom Salts 
Winter is now here and that means I can break out all of my cosy bath products! As much as I love bath bombs and bubble bars, I think that bath salts can be very effective especially for muscle pain. I didn't manage to order before the lavender scent sold out but the eucalyptus and spearmint scent was still available and it smells amazing. 
*Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Polish in Shooting Star
My favourite and the most long-lasting nail polish I've ever tried has to be the Insta-Dri range from Sally Hansen; the only polish I've worn all year has been the Salley Hansen Insta-Dri in 'Buff & Tumble' which is the perfect pinky nude shade. I am always happy to receive more polishes from this range and the glitter is so pretty - it's the perfect topper for any nude shade. 

*Rimmel 60 Second Polish in Rapid Ruby
Another nail polish I wanted to try was from the 60 Second range from Rimmel which I used to love many years ago but I haven't tried any Rimmel products for years. The shade is a gorgeous deep red which is ideal for the festive season. 

*Look Good Feel Better Detailed Eye Liner Brush
Lastly, the free gift for each December box. I received the detailed eye liner brush but you could have received the sponge instead. The brush is unlike any other I have in my rather large collection as it is almost composed of a silicone tip instead of bristles so I'm not sure how well it will work but I'm interested to give it a go! 

Have you tried any of these products? 

*Preparing For The Future

Friday, December 18, 2020
Image from World Market 
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The end of 2020 is almost here and it has prompted me to start thinking about my goals for 2021 as well as future plans and saving money. I am a chronic over thinker and planner so preparing for the future would sound like a task I'd enjoy but alas, it fills me with dread and uncertainty which is something we've all had enough of this year. However, as I approach my thirties, I do need to prepare and plan ahead. Today's post is focusing on a few options and ideas to help prepare for the future and save money; as always if you have any advice or tips, leave them in the comments below. 

Savings Account + Manage Your Money
Starting a saving account and learning to manage your money is a great first step. Recording your spending, whether in a journal or spreadsheet, is an easy visual way to see your spending habits and from there you can try to identify ways to cut your spending. I find it very easy to justify numerous small treats but when I list them throughout the month, the small amounts add up and that is definitely an area of my spending that I need to control. Visiting comparison sites for utilities/insurance, looking for better deals, buying in bulk and opting for cheaper alternatives are a few more options to potentially save money. 

Funeral Care + Life Insurance 
Life insurance and funeral care is not something any of us want to think about especially in 2020 but it is necessary to prepare for the future. Heart of England funeral care offer a wide range of pre-paid funeral plans which is an affordable way to pay for the cost in advance and have personal wishes recorded. Further information is available on their website.  

Extra Projects + Studying Online 
Earning extra money through side projects or your hobbies (anything from cake making, creating illustrations, making jewellery or blogging) might be a great additional source of income as well as a way of improving your skills. Studying online, whether through university or free online courses (via Future Learn, for example) can demonstrate determination and passion for a certain career you may be working towards or it may help your job prospects in the future. 

Do you have any tips for saving money or planning for the future? 

*Ultra-Convenient Gifts For The Person You Love

Thursday, December 17, 2020
This is a collaborative post (AD - paid)

Do you have a special somebody in your life? If so, then you’re probably often thinking hard about what gifts you can get them. There’s just a small problem: giving them something convenient is always a challenge. After all, you’re often so busy, you don’t have time to walk around, browsing various gifts in the stores. You’re too busy with the rest of your life. Fortunately, there are solutions to this little conundrum in the modern world. Let’s take a look at some of your options.

Home Meal Delivery
Think about the amount of time that the average person spends shopping for groceries, preparing meals, and looking up recipes. The process never ends. And it’s a massive drain on their time, especially if they don’t enjoy it. But what if there was a solution? What if there was another way to get good food into your body without all the usual hassle? Well, it turns out that there is, and it’s called the home meal delivery kit. The way it works is simple. You pay a subscription and then a company will deliver bags of food to your address with all the ingredients you need in just the right proportions to make food. No more guessing. No more looking up recipes. No more buying more food than you need. Just simple, fresh meals prepared every night. Think about the convenience and health benefits this will offer your partner.

Flower Delivery
Food not your partner’s thing? Not to worry. What about flowers? It turns out that you can now get Valentine's day flower delivery. You don’t even have to go to the store - which isn’t a bad thing during a pandemic. You just select flowers that you think they’d like and then somebody will bring them to you, saving you time. Flowers are a great gift because of what they represent. It’s all about beauty and new life - the center of most happy and functional relationships. 

Fruit Preparation Multitool 
Preparing fruit usually requires that you have a bunch of tools. Apple corers, peelers, graters, skewers, knives - you name it. But if your partner’s kitchen has limited storage, you don’t want all those tools cluttering it up. Fortunately, you can now get fruit multitools that collect all these implements in a device that looks a bit like a penknife. You just fold out the tool you need and then put it away when it’s no longer useful.

Reusable Roller 
Nothing is more annoying than spending a lot of money on clothes and furniture, only to find it covered in annoying lint. Carrying a lint roller around with you all the time isn’t practical. But these days you can buy compact, portable versions that you can take with you wherever you go. Most are about the size of a flashlight and can fit in your carry bag with relative ease. Then they just fold out, allowing you to use them while you’re out of the house (or in it for that matter). Most come with recyclable adhesives you can rip off and replace.

Do you have any very practical or convenient gift ideas?

Christmas Beauty Gift Guide 2020

Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Today's post is my final Christmas gift guide of the year and it is focusing on all things beauty, from gorgeous fragrances and cosy candles to winter skincare saviours, pampering face masks, wonderful haircare products and a couple of 2020 essentials. If you are looking for more gift ideas, check out my unisex gift guides for 2020 as well as my previous gift ideas posts. Also, make sure you are following me on Instagram (@ofbeautyand) for unboxings, PR mail and sneak peeks of upcoming posts. 
*Upcircle Coffee Grounds Candle (£11.99)
I'll start with a few heavenly scented products, the first is definitely one for any coffee lovers in your life. The Upcircle coffee grounds candle is handmade in London using soy wax, coffee seed powder and coffee seed oil. It is vegan friendly, cruelty free, plastic free and the coffee used in the candle is repurposed coffee grounds. The candle itself looks so unique especially with the gorgeously scented coffee grounds on the top so I think it would make a very aesthetically beautiful gift or stocking filler. I personally LOVE the scent of coffee but I know a few people who don't love the flavour however they adore the scent so I think it would make a great gift for many. They have a great range of skincare and body care items too, some of which (such as their body scrubs, one of which I reviewed last year loved) are also made using repurposed coffee grounds. If you are looking for a unique coffee focused gift this year, look no further. 
*Shay and Blue English Cherry Blossom via QVC
I reviewed this wonderful fragrance as part of a TSV set on QVC a couple of months ago but I had to recommend the English Cherry Blossoms fragrance again as it is just so beautiful. I adore the packaging, the sets are great value and I think their fragrances all look very luxe! The scent is floral and musky, an easy crowd pleasing scent that I'm sure many will adore. 

As well as candles and fragrances, I think luxury skincare and pampering products are great gifting options too. Sheet masks, especially hydrogel or Korean-made, variations are so popular right now and they're a great travel friendly and mess-free face mask option. I used to be sceptical about sheet masks but 2020 has definitely been the year that I have embraced them fully as a quick, easy and very effective form of face mask; the hydrogel options have been my favourites so far. 

I've included the Gold Collagen Vegan Supplement Drinks within my recent October and November favourites post but I also wanted to mention their face masks in todays gift guide as I've been loving them. They claim to moisturise and improve skin texture, leaving radiant skin. I love the cooling effect of using a hydrogel mask and I find that on the whole they tend to adhere better than paper or fabric sheet masks. I'd highly recommend checking out both the supplement drink and their masks. 
*Bella Forever Hawaii Twist Mask (£14.99, 50g)
You can't go wrong with a traditional face mask either, especially one that smells great and hydrates the skin which is something I think we all need at this time of the year when the temperatures are dropping! Bella Forever has a wide range of natural face masks as well as body masks, handmade headbands, skincare tools, face creams, balms, bath bombs, sets and more - you are sure to find a great pampering gift idea, stocking filler or treat for yourself. 

The Hawaii Twist mask is available in either a plastic pot or a biodegradable pouch - the latter is what I have and I think it is a great eco-friendly option to choose. It is a hydrating face mask filled with natural ingredients such as clay, lavender oil and tea tree oil. I've tried it once so far and my skin liked it so I think it will be a great go-to mask over the festive period. 
Winter Skincare Favourites 
Speaking of festive and winter skincare, I'm going to recommend a few winter skincare saviours that have been helping my skin over the past couple of months. My favourite skincare product of 2020 overall has to be the incredible *Emma Hardie Brilliance Facial Oil which I included and reviewed fully within my wellness post with Very UK. If you suffer with dry, tight or uncomfortable skin especially during the colder months then I cannot recommend it enough and I will be buying a new bottle as soon as I've finished this one. 

Another product I'd highly recommend for those with dry and sensitive skin is the La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume which was a product I bought years ago after reading so much hype and now I can confirm that it is as fantastic for soothing irritated skin as everyone claims it to be. I thankfully don't suffer with awful eczema on my face anymore but it is great for extra dry or sensitive areas of my skin and the eczema on my hands. 

A Hydrating serum and cleanser are staples for me all year round and recently I've been loving the very effective (but very lightweight and fast absorbing) *Nordic Roots serum from Green People. I also adore the *Temple Spa Be Gone Cleansing Creme as a nourishing, soothing and effective cleanser that would be ideal for those with sensitive or uncomfortable skin. 
*Lee Stafford For The Love Of Curls Range (£7.99 to £9.99)
My penultimate beauty gift recommendation is from one of the nostalgic brands from my teens, Lee Stafford. Every time I see Lee Stafford products in their bright pink packaging or smell the signature scent, it instantly reminds me of using their poker straight range constantly as a teenager. As an adult approaching my thirties (oh god!), I am embracing my natural waves and curls more as I think waves or curls are flattering on everyone! 

If your gift recipient (or yourself, it is 2020 after all and we need all of the small treats we can get), is a fan of bouncy waves or defined curls then why not add a few curl friendly products to a beauty hamper or as little stocking fillers? The brand new 'for the love of curls' range is dedicated to all kinds of waves and curls to help soften the hair and tame frizz - everything I need in a haircare range. 

I've been using the *Lee Stafford For The Love Of Curls Shampoo and Conditioner (£7.99 each) for the past couple of weeks and it has been fantastic for my hair especially in helping to soften and reduce frizz. They also have a *Frizz Taming Oil (£9.99), *Custard Cream For Waves and Curls (£8.99), leave in moisture mist, mask, defining gel and more to choose from. The products are all currently 3 for 2 on the Boots website so go, go go!
*Organii Hand Gel and Surface Spray (£3.95)
It wouldn't be a gift guide in 2020 without the obligatory hand sanitiser and cleaning products, would it? I was very kindly sent a couple of minis from Organii that I think would make ideal practical 2020 stocking fillers, including their purifying hand gel and surface spray, both of which are certified natural and vegan friendly. Both items, contain organic tea tree as well as aloe leaf juice, within the hand sanitiser. I've been using both products over the past couple of weeks or so and they are very effective as well as a great size for keeping in my handbag and in the car for use after shopping. I'd highly recommend both as well as their heavenly scented lavender hand wash which I reviewed and adored back in 2017. 

What do you think of my gift ideas? Have you tried any of these products? 

* AD - gifted items sent to me, not paid

Last Minute Christmas Gifts 2020

Saturday, December 12, 2020
Today's post is my penultimate Christmas gift guide of the year! The lead up to Christmas has really sped by but thankfully there's still time to purchase (in-store or online) a range of wonderful Christmas gifts for friends, family, neighbours or colleagues. I wanted to include a very wide range of gift ideas in today's post so we have a few stocking fillers and essentials as well as a few non-fiction book recommendations, along with a unique subscription box, home fragrance ideas and a rather luxe item that would be ideal for dads and grandads. 
*Justice Professional Cool Mint Shampoo and Conditioner (£9.99 each)
Let's begin with a few essentials that I think would make fantastic, practical stocking fillers (or as part of a self care hamper). Justice Professional is a new-to-me salon quality brand, from Just Cuts. They have a great selection of haircare products as well as treatments, styling tools and home hair colour, along with three inexpensive Christmas hair packs which look very colourful and festive! 

I was very kindly sent a few of their products, including the cool mint shampoo and conditioner which are both designed to improve circulation, stabilise oil production, correct irritation and promote hair growth. I have definitely noticed a lot of hair loss during 2020 and I think it is something a lot of us have experienced due to anxiety and stress so I hope this very refreshing duo will help with long term use. 

*Justice Professional Treatment Mask (£11.99)
The product I've been using the most and that I was initially impressed by has to be the treatment mask. The mask contains vitamins and oils to strengthen, moisturise, add shine and to revitalise coloured hair. I've used it on dry hair and then followed with the cool mint shampoo and I have used it as directed - both left my hair feeling smoother, moisturised and softer. I'll definitely be using all three products from Justice Professional throughout the winter months to try to strengthen my hair and restore it to it's normal pre-pandemic state! 
*Limited Edition Christmas Carfume (£11.99)
Another fantastic practical stocking filler is a car fragrance from Carfume (great name!). The car fragrance  comes in a variety of aftershave and perfume scents such as Black Opium, Si, Alien and Flowerbomb, to name a few. However they also have a selection of three limited edition christmas fragrances to choose from as well including Christmas spice, Christmas tree and gingerbread - I was kindly sent the latter. 

Each car air freshener comes with a hand painted glass bottle, cork stopper and fragrance of your choice - there are so many to choose from. Additionally, you can choose from their premium range, gift sets, deluxe boxed air fresheners, home air fresheners, wax melts, diffusers, subscription and more. I personally love the limited edition christmas option and the gingerbread scent as it looks so festive, especially with the red glass bottle. I cannot recommend it enough as a cute, heavenly scented and practical stocking filler. 
*Temple Spa Siesta Forever Candle (£25)
Sticking with the theme of heavenly scented products, next up are two gorgeous and luxe candles that I think anyone would love to receive this christmas! Temple Spa has been one of my favourite brands for a couple of years but it has become even more of a go-to brand this year as I have been using their incredible Be Gone cleansing creme constantly (my skin adores it). However, I've also been a little obsessed with their Quietude room spray and Siesta Forever candle too.

The candle is composed of natural wax with a relaxing blend of essential oils which has a burn time of around 45 hours. The scent is wonderfully calming, relaxing and subtle - it is not headache inducing or too strong. I think it is the ideal relaxing candle for those who don't love overpowering or strong scents. Check out the fantastic Temple Spa gift sets too!

*Rituals The Ritual of Jing Candle (£19.90)
I received this gorgeous candle in the LookFantastic x Rituals box earlier this year and I utterly adore every single product from that box, my absolute favourites being the hand cream and candle. Firstly, the packaging is so simple but beautiful and the scent is even more so. It has a very calming and soothing scent but it is also quite woody, natural and earthy - which is definitely my kind of scent! 
*The Passenger: Japan published by Europa Editions (£18.99)
Next up, I wanted to recommend a few non-fiction books as 2020 has definitely been the year of non-fiction for me with some of my favourite books of the year being non-fiction. One of the most beautifully published non-fiction books I read in 2020 has to be an essay/article collection published by Europa Editions, all about various aspects of Japanese culture and its people. It is both an interesting glimpse into a culture I didn't know too much about but it is also a look into facets of the Japanese people, their customs and traditions as well as devastatingly tragic experiences and natural disasters. 

You'll have to read my upcoming favourite books of the year post to read the full list of my non-fiction recommendations from 2020 but here are a few books I'd highly recommend as Christmas gifts this year, for readers and non-readers alike:

  • Tiny Tattoos by Rebecca Vincent 
  • City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker 
  • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty 
  • The Smile Stealers by Richard Barnett
  • Stiff by Mary Roach 

Make sure you are following me on GoodReads to see my occasional reviews, ratings and what I'm currently reading! I'm currently reading a great non-fiction book, Cursed Objects by J.W Ocker which is fantastic and so far, I'd recommend it too. 
*Skimming Stones Subscription Box (£25)
My penultimate gift idea is a great option for those who love crafting and DIY as it is a subscription box focusing on beautiful fabrics that you can transform into a beautiful item each month! The box contains a new project and everything you need to create it including handy step by step instructions, delivered straight to your door with free postage. You can purchase a one off box which would make a great gift for £25 or you can purchase a flexible subscription for £25 each month. In addition to the subscription box you can also purchase fabric and accessories such as pre-made wash bags, tote bags and more - although orders of these items will be made after the 15th January. 

I was very kindly sent their December box which features a wash bag and pouch project that includes their beautiful 'forget me not' fabric which I adore! I love the look of the design and so far the instructions have been easy to follow but as sewing isn't my forte, the project is taking me a little while to complete; however I'll be sure to share my final creation when it is finished on instagram soon (@ofbeautyand). I think it would make a fantastic and unique gift for anyone who loves fabric and crafting. Order before the 27th December to receive the January box which includes a project to create fabric hearts filled with lavender - how cute! 
*Barrington Single Watch Winder - Shadow Black (£149)
The final gift within today's gift guide is a fantastic, luxe option that I think would be ideal for dads and granddads. The Barrington watch winder is designed to be used with automatic watches - watches that do not have a battery which typically means older and or higher end watches. The watch winder I was very kindly sent is the shadow black option (love the name) in the standard size but it is also available in a flexible cushion size as well as a wide range of colours from burnt amber, crimson red, midnight blue and racing green to slightly more unique options including electric yellow, American walnut, grey koto and glacier white, among others. As well as the single watch winder, there are dual winders, along with four, six, nine and twelve options too. 

I think it would make a very luxe gift, although it is a fantastic price compared to other watch winders online; however the quality isn't compromised. We all know by now how much I love aesthetically pleasing gifts that are also very practical so this one ticks all of the boxes and I think my grandad will absolutely love it; especially as it beats a pair of socks and a tin of biscuits which is what he usually wants for Christmas! They also have a variety of watch cases, storage options and a repair kit so if the watch winder is a little out of your price range, you can still pick up a fantastic gift from their selection.

What do you think of my gift ideas? Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? 

* AD - gifted items sent to me, not paid

DegustaBox - November 2020

Friday, December 11, 2020
I'm very late with today's review of the November DegustaBox as I usually like to post my review within the month; however, it's a great box so I want to share my thoughts and all of the delicious goodies that were part of the November box. If you want a sneak peek inside the box and of my upcoming posts, make sure you are following me on Instagram (@ofbeautyand). 

*DegustaBox - November 2020
Each box has a particular theme (which I love) and the theme for the November box is 'festive and gourmet' which is an amazing theme! The product range from condiments, chocolates, snacks and cooking ingredients to savoury trees, wine and tea. There are many recognisable brands too from Maille, KitKat, Jaffa cakes and Lindt to Kind, Clipper Tea and more. Sadly, there weren't as many vegan options as I would have liked but I have my fingers crossed for the January box. 
*Wolf Bass Yellow Label Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon (£2.25 each)
I'll begin with the drinks within the box, the first are two mini bottles of wine from the Australian brand, Wolf Bass. There will be two bottles, a chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, within everyones box (I sometimes receive multiple or extra items because I'm an ambassador/reviewer for DegustaBox - I'm very lucky!). I haven't tried either but the brand has amazing reviews so I can't wait to try them both. 

*Clipper Tea Advent Calendar (£4.99)
One of my favourite items, actually it is probably my favourite item, from the box has to be the Clipper Tea organic advent calendar - yes, a tea advent calendar. It contains 24 teabags including their various bestselling flavours that you can enjoy throughout the month; or you can share with friends and family over December. I have tried a few flavours from Clipper Tea and I loved all of them. 
*La Boulangere Plain Brioche Baguettes (£1.50)
Moving onto a few savoury options (the box is very sweet heavy this month), the first is a pack of four brioche baguettes from La Boulangere; it's a brand that has been included in previous boxes and while I was vegetarian, I did love their products. My mum has been trying the baguettes and she loves them! 

*Zest Vegan Coriander and Basil Pesto (£2.20)
Along with the tea advent calendar, I also really liked the Zest vegan pesto which is vegan and gluten free. It contains coriander and cashew nuts in place of the traditional basil and pine nuts so it is a little different but I enjoy both tis version of the classic way of making pesto. 

*Maille Dijon Original Mustard (£1.99)
The final savoury option is a jar of original dijon mustard from Maille - another well loved brand that is regularly included in the boxes. I personally don't love mustard but I would like to look for a few new recipes to give it another chance. 
*Lindt Lindor Treatbar (85p each) 
The November box was an absolute treat for those who love snack bars and chocolate as it was filled with sweet goodies. Let's start with what I think will be a favourite for most, the Lindt Lindor Treatbars. You will ahve received two flavours in your box, including mint and orange bars. I haven't tried Lindt chocolate for years but I used to love their truffles. I think my mum will love these! 

*KitKat Santa Bar and Mini Pouch Bag (65p - £1)
Along with the advent calendar, another festive item include the adorable KitkKat Santa bars! You should have received a single bar as well as a pouch bag in the box. Who does love KitKat? It is even better in the shape of a jolly Santa! 

*Kind Bars (£1.30 - £1.99)
Snack bars are a staple within the boxes which is great for me as I love them as quick and easy on-the-go snacks or as 'emergency' snacks within my car. Kind bars is sometimes vegan friendly but sadly one of bars I received wasn't. However, the vegan bars I have tried from Kind have been very delicious and moreish. 
*Jaffa Cakes Orange and Cranberry (£1.20)
The final festive item is a christmassy take on a classic British cake, Jaffa Cakes. The new version has a cranberry and orange flavour with dark chocolate and light sponge for a festive treat. I personally don't like Jaffa Cakes but my mum does and I think she will love these too. 

*Pip's Hot Chocolate (£1)
I received a couple of hot chocolate pieces from this brand in a previous box (and loved them). This option is new and uses cocoa that is ethically grown. It contains no trace of any of the 14 major food allergens so it might be a great gifting option for those with allergies. 

*Daelmans Stroopwafels (£1.30) 
Last but not least is an item I really wish was vegan because I used to love stroopwafels! I loved placing a stroopwafel on the top of my mug of coffee, letting the steam soften it and melt the sugary filling - yum. Although these mini versions will be great to dip into hot drinks or two share with friend and family. 

Don't forget to use the code: DTPL4 to get your first box for only £9.99!

Have you tried any of these products?