DegustaBox - January 2021

Sunday, January 24, 2021
Today's post is all about the first DegustaBox for the new year! I had high hopes for the new box and it did not disappoint as it was filled with a plethora of vegan goodies from a range of new-to-me and well loved brands. You can use the code DTPL4 to get your box for only £9.99.

*DegustaBox - January 2021 
The theme for the January box is 'breakfast and on the go' which is a great theme for the new year; although I think a veganuary box would have been great too. There's a fantastic range of breakfast items, cooking ingredients and snacks in the box - so many of which are vegan friendly! 
Gregory's Tree Organic Strawberry Fruit Twists (89p each)
I'll start with the sweet treats from the box, the first are two fruit twists from Gregory's Tree which is brand that was included in the previous box. I love the fruit twists, they are a natural and healthier version of candy! I can't recommend them enough and I will be looking out for them in the future. 

Mallow Puffs Salted Caramel Mallow Bar (£1.59)
When I opened the box, I didn't think this item would be vegan but it is! It's a puffy vegan mallow with Belgian dark chocolate and natural flavours and colours. I haven't tried it yet but I'm excited to as it sounds delicious. 

Rowntree's Vegan Friendly Fruit Pastilles (£1.29)
I haven't tried a Rowntree's fruit pastille since I was a child as I haven't had any gelatine sweets since then but they are now vegan friendly which is amazing. Each sharing bag contains five flavours including blackcurrant, lemon, strawberry, lime and orange. I can't wait to try them!
Trek Power Millionaire Shortbread (£1.75)
I love snack bars, they are the perfect on the go snacks so I'm always happy to try more. This bar is naturally vegan, gluten free and it contains 15g of protein per bar. I've tried a few of their bars previously and loved them especially the cocoa flavour so I'm glad to have another one to try. 

St Pierre Millionaires Waffle and Brioche Waffle (£1 each)
Sadly, these items aren't vegan but they do look incredibly delicious! Within the January box, you would have received both the millionaires waffle and the brioche waffle; they'd make great on the go snacks. I tried this brand a couple of years ago and loved their products so I wish they make vegan versions of these yummy treats. 

Whitworths Shots Fruity Biscuits (£1.60)
Another ideal on the go snack are these shots from Whitworths which have also been included in a previous box. This flavour combines sultanas, cranberries and white chocolate coated shortcake biscuits which I passed onto my mum and she likes them. They are only 93 calories per pack so they're great healthy snacking options. 
Baker Street Rye and Wheat Bread (£1.69)
Moving onto a few of the more breakfast items including this loaf of rye and wheat bread which is low in fat, high in fibre and dairy free. It is made with a sourdough starter and it is stone baked so it has a lovely flavour! 

Lizi's Super Muesli (75p, 50g each)
Within the box, there's also a couple of flavours of muesli - you should receive both options. The first is 'boost' which contains mango, papaya and turmeric and the second is 'focus' which contains hazelnut, pecan and maca - the latter is definitely my favourite. 

Sun-Pat Peanut Butter (£1.50)
You can't have a box about breakfast without including peanut butter - I love peanut butter on toast. You should receive either the smooth or the crunchy option. I personally love smooth peanut butter on toast, on a bagel or added to porridge for breakfast. 
Nat Bears (£2.90)
The cutest item from the box has to be these adorable teddybear shaped baked oat cereal - so cute! They contain wholegrain oat and no artificial colours or flavourings. You just add the cute bear to your bowl of milk - they come in either honey or chocolate flavours. 

Barley Cup (£2.50)
I tried a sample of this natural drink a while ago as I wanted to try a caffeine free drink that would still have a nice flavour. It is made from cereal grains and chicory roots and is suitable for vegans. It has a rich flavour that I like and I think it is a great alternative to coffee, if you are looking to reduce your caffeine intake. 

Grey Poupon Vegan Dijon Mayo (£2.50)
Lastly a couple of savoury options, the first is a new range of vegan mustard flavoured mayos from Grey Poupon. I personally don't love mustard so this isn't really for me but I think so many would like it and it is great to see more brands bringing out vegan options. 

Mister Free'd Avocado Tortilla Chips (£1.59)
The final item from the January box is a pack of avocado tortilla chips that have a little spice to them. I haven't given them a go yet but I think they would make a great option for loaded nachos with vegan cheese, tomatoes and sweetcorn! 

Have you tried any of these products? 

* AD - gifted item sent to me, not paid

Latest In Beauty - January 2021

Friday, January 22, 2021
I've been a little absent from my blog for the past few days and in the future I will be blogging a little less than usual so you can expect one blog post every week or every two weeks from now on. Today's post is my review of the January box from Latest In Beauty which you may have seen a sneak peek of if you follow me on Instagram. 

*Latest In Beauty Box - January 2021
The variety is fantastic for January and I was able to choose a great range of items from skincare, body care and haircare to hand sanitiser and an adorable sleep mask. Since I chose my items, many more items have been added to the selection including masks, skincare and wax melts! I'm really happy with the items in the box and as always I think the selection and value for money are fantastic. 
Foamie Papaya and Oat 2 in 1 Body Bar 
I'll begin with the most heavenly scented item in the box, the soap bar from Foamie which has the most fruity and fresh scent that's perfect to brighten up a dull wintery day. The design is quite unique and allows for a slightly massage when you use it because of the bumps on the bar. 

Smug Sleep Eye Mask 
Next up is the cutest sleep mask I've ever seen - this one isn't on the site anymore but you can choose the cherry blossom mask from the same brand. It's a blackout, padded eye mask that I think will be great for my sleeping problems. I love the design and it feels very soft, squishy and I think it is a great, unique addition to the January selection. 
Yardley Hand Sanitiser 
Hand sanitiser is one of the most essential items from 2020 and it's the same this year; we all need hand sanitiser so whenever I've seen it on the website recently, I've chosen it. This one is a huge 250ml bottle and it contains 70% alcohol - it will definitely be added to the car very soon for post-shopping sanitising. 

Colab Extreme Volume Dry Shampoo 
Colab is probably my favourite dry shampoo brand, I've tried so many of their scents but I haven't tried this specific one. It is the dry shampoo with a volume boost formula that helps to absorb oil, adds body and increases volume. I haven't tried it yet but I have high hopes as I've loved all of the others!
Skin Chemists Rose Illuminating Glow Peel Off Mask
I haven't used a peel of mask for so long (I've fallen in love with sheet masks in 2020) but I had to choose this item as it is one of their 'hall of fame' products - I always opt for their hall of fame products as they are usually quite special or well loved. I can't wait to try this mask as my skin has been very dull recently!

Oh K! Oil Controlling T-Zone Mask 
Lastly, a product from one of my favourite sheet mask brands - Oh K! I have tried many of their masks and love them all, especially the hydrogel and moisturising masks. However, as my skin has been oils and congested so I think that an oil controlling mask would be a great option for my skin right now. 

Have you tried any of these products? 

* AD - gifted item sent to me, not paid

Winter Clothing Wishlist + Tips

Saturday, January 16, 2021
Images from Awesome Jade
NOT sponsored or gifted (not paid in any way)
Today's post is a short and sweet look at some of the gorgeous items of clothing from Awesome Jade that are on my very long winter wish list! Winter isn't my favourite season but I do love all of the cosy interiors and clothing for the colder months, especially the cute jumpers, cardigans and knitted dresses that are ideal for winter. 

Sweaters & Cardigans
First up, you can't go wrong with a cute knitted jumper, sweater or cardigan for the colder months. I love all of the selection on Awesome Jade especially the Gala sweater in grey which I've already reviewed on my blog - check out that post for more information and photos!

Tip: cute jumpers and cardigans are great layering options for the colder months especially when paired with cosy longer length coats and boots. 

Knitted skirts 
Knitted skirts are so versatile as they can be worn in the summer with sandals and a cami or paired with tights, boots and a knitted jumper in the winter. I personally love midi length knitted skirts as they look so simple but sophisticated. 

Tip: thermal layers are perfect to pair with dresses, skirts or shorts in the winter to add another layer of warmth. 

Lastly, comfy clothing which has been an essential for lots of us during 2020 as so many of us have been in lockdown because of coronavirus. I've been wearing my comfy clothes and pyjamas so much recently because of the third UK lockdown and because of the freezing weather. Investing in comfy clothes is a must for winter.

Tip: look for fleece lined options for extra warmth and don't forget, you can never have too many comfy clothes!

Do you have any tips for winter styling? What do you think of my wish list?

NOT sponsored or gifted

Winter Skincare Tips

Friday, January 15, 2021
If you've been following my blog for the past few years, you may have read some of my previous skincare posts - skincare is an intuitive process for me and my skincare needs are constantly changing. My skincare products and the needs of my skin are most apparent during the changing seasons. Winter is the most harsh time for my sensitive and dry skin as it always accentuates my dryness but thankfully I've amassed quite a few winter skincare tips and a few great products over the years. 

Vitamin C & Brightening Products
I have quite a few products that I've loved for years that are fantastic for combatting dryness and dull skin but vitamin C is a new skincare ingredient to me and one that I've only recently started to incorporate into my skincare routine. Vitamin C is a fantastic brighting skincare ingredient that is great for dull skin, pigmentation and discolouration so it would be ideal as part of a winter skincare routine. 

Over the past couple of weeks I've been using the *Baebody Vitamin C Moisturiser (£18.95) which can be found on Amazon UK. It contains vitamin C, jojoba oil, green tea and vitamin E which combine to create a daily facial moisturiser that is great for those with issues around discolouration, pigmentation, fine lines or dull skin. I love the packaging of the moisturiser, it is lovely to use and I love the smooth texture of the moisturiser - it easily glides over the skin. It is a fantastic moisturiser for my dry and slightly sensitive skin as it leaves my skin feeling comfortable, slightly brighter and super smooth. If you're looking for a great winter moisturiser with vitamin C, check out the Baebody Vitamin C Moisturiser. 

Exfoliating, the face and body, is a must for me during the colder months to help prevent my skin from looking so dull and dry. On the body I quickly use a body brush before my shower and for my face I use exfoliating toners which gently exfoliate the skin without the use of harsh scrubs. I personally use either Pixi glow tonic or the Pixi clarity tonic, both of which I'd recommend. 

Moisturising & Oils 

Last but definitely not least, rich moisturisers and oils! I've been using the Baebody moisturiser and my beloved Emma Hardie facial oil together as part of my evening skincare routine for the past couple of weeks and my skin adores the combination! Moisturising and using oils is important all year round but especially after exfoliating. Staying hydrated, using masks or treatments and keeping your body nourished can also help your skin! 

Do you suffer with dry skin? Do you have any tips or products recommendations?

* AD - gifted item sent to me, not paid

Favourite Winter Outfit + Tips

Monday, January 11, 2021
Today's post is featuring one of my favourite winter knitwear items from the past couple of weeks as well as a few basic winter styling tips from a petite, lazy dresser! I used to publish quite a few clothing posts but I've stopped as I focused on a wider range of topics but it's great to publish posts like these occasionally, particularly when I have a very cute jumper to rave about. 

*Awesome Jade Gala Pom-Pom Sweater in Grey ($42 - currently on sale)
I was very kindly gifted a gorgeous jumper from Awesome Jade which is a new-to-me online clothing store with an amazing range of unique clothing. There are so many items on their site that I loved but I opted for this jumper as it is absolutely freezing in England right now and I don't own a jumper like it! I was torn between this jumper and the beautiful Acne Wide Sleeves Pink Cardigan - it was a very difficult decision. 
The jumper also comes in white, purple and pink, all of which look so cosy but grey is one of my favourite shades as to me it is just such a cosy and flattering shade. The Gala jumper features cute pom pom details on the front, longer length lantern sleeves and unique long cable knit cuffs. All of the jumpers I own are for comfort and cosiness but this one combines cosiness with cute details that makes it look a little unique and special. I adore the design and colour of this jumper and I know that I will get a lot of use out of it over the next couple of months of winter. 

I have the size small (I'm a UK size 8, close to a UK 10) which fits me perfectly and the length of the jumper is great too. I am very petite at only 4ft 11 so most jumpers are a little too long on me but the length of this one is fantastic. Additionally, the quality is great and the jumper itself is very smooth, soft and cosy but it isn't very bulky or heavy. Overall, I couldn't be happier with the jumper, from the cute design and the super soft material to the fantastic fit. The delivery time was a little longer that I thought it would be but I didn't have to wait too long for the jumper to arrive. I'd recommend checking out their site to have a look at their gorgeous items, especially the knitwear. 
Lastly, I just wanted to mention a few basic winter styling tips which if you are in the UK, could be very useful as we've had awful, freezing weather and snow over the past couple of weeks! Also, winter is my least favourite season but I think that these tips and all of the cosy clothing definitely helps me get through the bleakest season. 

  • Layering: add t-shirts under jumpers, jumpers over skirts or sweaters over maxi dresses
  • Thermals: thermal t-shirts and cosy fleece leggings are ideal for winter
  • Warm accessories: cosy beanies, soft scarves, knitted gloves and handwarmers 
  • Cosy socks: layer cosy, fluffy socks under boots for added warm and comfort 
  • Coats: invest in a good winter coat to see you through the season 

What do you think of my jumper? Do you have any winter styling tips? 

* AD - gifted item sent to me, not paid

Anxiety + Relaxation Helpers

Saturday, January 09, 2021
The end of 2020 and start of 2021 was filled with anxiety for me, not just about the current pandemic but a few negative and anxiety inducing things happened that caused me to fall into an anxiety slump for the past couple of weeks. While I still have moments of anxiety every few days that cause me to pace constantly, worry and feel sick, it is definitely better than it was a couple of weeks ago so I wanted to share a few of the products and tips that helped me. 

Do Something 
The first tip if you have an anxious, racing mind is to do something, anything! I have personally found that organising and doing jobs around the house, talking to someone, reading a new book and going for a walk have all helped so much especially when my thoughts won't stop spiralling. Also make time to cook, eat and watch a comfort TV show!
Supplements or CBD
CBD claims to help many issues and have various benefits such as helping with overall wellbeing, sleep problems, anxiety and stress, the latter three I've definitely been struggling with recently. I have been sent this CBD oil and trying the *Natural Works 10% CBD Oil (£40) on and off for the past couple of weeks (always do your own research before taking any kind of supplement and if you are unsure, ask your doctor before taking anything). Their CBD oil is vegan friendly, 100% natural and is derived from organic Swiss grown hemp. Thankfully the oil doesn't have any flavour which is something I prefer for supplements and I haven't noticed any negative effects. 

Research into the effects of CBD is still currently taking place and more research is needed in the future. I personally feel as though it does help me feel a little bit less anxious and stressed but that is just my personal experience and I will definitely need to try it for a longer period of time to see if there are other results or benefits. If you are interested, they do have a code to get 25% off for veganuary on their website so you can check it out along with their very useful information about CBD. 

Deep Breathing and 3-3-3 Rule
A couple of other useful tips I've found recently is to try and focus on deep breathing and nothing else; although sometimes when my thoughts are too strong this doesn't work for me and I have to try and distract myself further. When these moments happen, I find that the 3-3-3 rule helps massively which involves noting three things around you, three things you can hear and three parts of your body - I find this process to be very grounding. 

Anxiety is such a personal struggle and everyone deals with it in different ways such as yoga, mediation, exercise, trying new hobbies and seeking help, whatever works for you. I have just listed a few tips and products that have been helping me recently although I know it will be something I will probably have to deal with on and off throughout my life, these tips have been very beneficial for me. If you have any tips, leave them in the comments below. 

Have you tried CBD? If you suffer with anxiety, do you have any tips? 

* AD - gifted item sent to me

Also please do your own research and ask your doctor before taking any kind of supplement 

December Reading Wrap-Up 2020

Wednesday, January 06, 2021
My final reading wrap-up for 2020 is here, it is a little late, oops! December was a very anxiety filled month for so many reasons and I didn't read as much as I wanted to but hopefully 2021 will be a great reading year and will have far less anxiety in it. I read a total of nine books in the month with one being an audiobook. I also finished all of the published books by Mary Roach over the past couple of months and I'd highly recommend all of them. My favourite books from December include: Gulp by Mary Roach and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.


Gulp by Mary Roach (354 pages) ★★★ (3.5)

Gulp is all about eating, the digestive system, nutrition, food scientists, food production, the science of saliva and bizarre food history. As with the other books I've read by the author, it is filled with dry humour, easy to read information, interesting facts and expert opinions on many topics I hadn't ever thought of before. I was aware of some of the information in the book already (such as fletcherism) but much of it was new to me and I think anyone interested in food or biology will find it to be an interesting and thought provoking but rather gross read! 

Sherlock's Night Before Christmas by Julie Petersen (32 pages) ★★★

I don't typically read seasonal or christmassy books but I had to buy this beautifully illustrated book which follows Sherlock, Watson and a mysterious Santa Claus. It was a very quick, easy and enjoyable little book filled with gorgeous festive illustrations. I liked the quaint festive story and I'd recommend it as a simple festive read or as a Christmas stocking filler. 

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (audiobook, 7 hours, abridged) ★★★ (3.5)

I have had Wolf Hall, the award winning historical fiction novel, on my shelves for years but I've been putting it off because of the praise and the size. However, I noticed the abridged audiobook on Scribd and decided to finally give it a go and I'm glad I did as it was a great audiobook. We follow the life, relationships and career of Thomas Cromwell, in a fictional but factually accurate retelling. As with most students in England, I was taught about the Tudor period and Henry VIII extensively so it is a time in history I'm fairly familiar with but I think that if you aren't, you may struggle with all of the individuals involved and their relationships with one another. 

I thought it was a fantastic historical drama told in an interesting and enjoyably way about many historical figures I've read about or had been introduced to during primary and secondary school. From other reviews, it is a bit of a polarising book as some people love it and others were disappointed but I personally enjoyed it and I think that if you are interested, the abridged audiobook is definitely an easier, and quicker way to enjoy it. 

Spook by Mary Roach (311 pages) ★★★

The second book by Mary Roach (and the last of her published work that I had to finish) is the one that I was the least interested in and subsequently it was also my least favourite but I would still highly recommend all six of her books - Stiff was definitely my favourite though! Within Spook (or Six Feet Under as it is also titled), Roach looks at various topics surrounding the afterlife in various cultures and time periods. Spook explores topics including: 'scientific' experiments to find out what happens at the moment of death, explorations into the soul and the supernatural to reincarnation, past lives, human creation, psychic research and more. 

As I've mentioned, it was my least favourite book of hers and that is mainly because I'm not a religious individual and the idea of past lives, the supernatural and an afterlife isn't something I believe in at all. However, I liked her skeptical but open minded approach the topic, the interesting topics covered and debunking some of the typical aspects of the supernatural (such as ghosts, strange feelings and mediums etc) with science. I'd recommend all of Mary Roach's books especially if you have a particular interest in the topic but this one just wasn't for me, unfortunately. 

*Gudetama: Surviving The Holidays by Wook-Jin Clark (48 pages) ★★★

I received this book as an arc from Netgalley and I initially requested it as it looked like an adorable graphic novel that would be perfect for the festive season. I am not very familiar with the Gudetama character but the lazy little egg just looks so adorable and I wanted to find out more about the character. It wasn't really what I expected as it just follows various characters with seasonal problems and Gudetama offers solutions - I wrongly assumed that it would have some kind of plot or a better structure. Overall, I liked the artwork, Gudetama is utterly adorable and it was a cute quick festive read but I'd only recommend it to those who really love the character already. 

Beauty Volume One by Jeremy Haun and Jason A Hurley (164 pages) ★★★
I wanted a quick read as I felt the start of a reading slump approaching and for me, reading shorter books definitely helps me to stay out of a slump. Beauty is a graphic novel series (the first two volumes are available for free on Kindle Unlimited) about 'beauty' a new sexually transmitted infection that everyone wants as it transforms you physically into a much more attractive version of yourself - blemishes and fat disappear etc. It seemed like such an interesting (if potentially problematic) idea so I read the first two volumes via Kindle Unlimited. 

I did enjoy the art style and it was a very quick and easy graphic novel so it was ideal to stay out of a reading slump. I liked the idea as it is something I haven't come across before and it was darker than I expected too which I like in graphic novels. It was a little gory at times and it definitely won't be for everyone but if it sounds interesting then give it a go - especially if you have a Kindle Unlimited membership or free trial. 

Beauty Volume Two by Jeremy Haun and Jason A Hurley (128 pages) ★★★
The second volume follows a different storyline and characters compared to the first and this second volume had a much more cohesive and easy to follow story. I liked both volumes to an extent but the second was definitely my favourite of the two. It was also much more gory compared to the first which might be something to consider. Overall, an entertaining graphic novel that I'd recommend for fans of more gory, unusual comics/graphic novels. 

The Marquise of O– by Heinrich von Kleist and Nicholas Jacobs (128 pages) ★★
Next up is an unusual read for me as it is a classic novella originally published in German in 1808; it was republished with a new translation by Pushkin Press, one of my favourite publishers of translated fiction. We follow a young widow and mother as her town is overrun by Russian soldiers and while trying to escape with her children, she is 'rescued', falls unconscious and is then raped by a Russian solider. The new pregnancy causes shock and outrage as she tries to discover who the father is and the effect it will have on her reputation and the status of her family. 

I have so many mixed feeling about this novella as on the one hand, why is she marrying her rapist and how could her family treat her so poorly; however, it was written in a very different time. It was a quick, fast paced read and sheds light on a time period in history when social status was vital, women didn't have many (if any) rights and I'm sure there are many other undertones and nuances that have gone over my head. Overall, I'm not sure I'd recommend it especially due to the nature of the book which may be triggering for some. 

Tokyo Travel Sketchbook: Kawaii Culture, Wabi Sabi Design, Female Samurais and Other Obsessions by Amaia Arrazola, Kymm Coveney - translator (192 pages) ★★★
The final book I finished in 2020 was a travel guide, travel log, sketchbook and Japanese history book all in one. We follow the author and illustrator, Amaia, as she travels to Japan and experiences the culture as well as the art and everyday life. I loved her illustrations throughout as well as all of the interesting bits of information about Japanese life, history and culture. I'd recommend it as an interesting and quick read. 

Have you read any of these books? What were your favourite or least favourite books of 2020? 

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