Friday, 27 November 2015

Fandom of the Month October 2015

Kia Ora!

Fandom of the Month is $13 per month, plus shipping. Shipping costs vary but to New Zealand it costs $9.80. Previously there have been Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings (drool, wish I had gotten that one), Harry Potter, Star Wars, and more. Last month it was Percy Jackson themed! What will it be this month?

The theme for this month is SUPERNATURAL! Not one I'm familiar with as I'm a huge wimp and the few episodes I've watched scared me quite a lot.

I love that they include a magnet that relates to the theme. I'm not familiar enough with this one to say whether the card picture relates too ... Supernatural fans will have to let me know.

In this month's box there were three pieces of jewellery. A necklace that has a pendant, gun charm, and knife charm. A ring with what looks like angel wings. And a set of earrings with licence plates on them (presumably the car that the brothers drive around in).

This one doesn't appeal to me at all, but that's purely because I'm not at all familiar with the tv show. Each item is pretty neat, and I'm sure die-hard fans will appreciate it hugely!

Since I'm not going to use any of these items, I'm giving away the contents of the box to one of you lucky readers! Check it out below, and this could be the perfect Christmas present for Supernatural fans!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Until next time ...

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Splendies October

Kia Ora!

It's time for another month of Splendies! This is the October box (I think - it doesn't come with a card so I'm not totally sure), and it's very monochromatic.

This subscription sends you 3 pairs of underwear every month, for $14USD. With the exchange rate (and international shipping of $9USD) I ended up paying $30NZD for a month, which isn't too bad as long as the underwear are high quality. Heck, even if they aren't, $10 for a pair of underwear is still pretty cheap.

The underwear comes wrapped in tissue, inside a Splendies envelope. I like that it's so small, as it fits easily in the letterbox - one of the few subscriptions that does!

Black and white lace, not what I'd normally go for, but I really like the design on this pair! They are pretty comfortable too, although not the best quality I've ever seen. The white elastic around the legs only goes halfway along, and isn't cut properly so the ends poke into you a little bit.

I really like the design of this pair, and they look rather fetching on, but they are really uncomfortable. The middle tends to wedgie easily, so I'm not going to be wearing these for long periods of time.

Boy shorts! I've not worn this style since I was about 13, but the material feels very comfortable, looks like reasonable quality, and I like the combination of the stripes and the large block of black.

I'd been expecting orange or pumpkins for October, given that the US is obsessed with those things at this time of year, but I really like the colours and designs that I received. I think Splendies do a good job of sending a variety of types and materials, and am quite enjoying this subscription!

What do you think? 

Until next time ...

Monday, 23 November 2015

Mask Genie October 2015

Kia Ora!

It's time to do another unboxing of one of my favourite subscriptions, Mask Genie! Mask Genie is a mask subscription run by Genie. It's a small business (one-woman if I recall correctly), and she lives in Hong Kong. This means she has access to a huge variety of Asian masks (Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, and more). Mask Genie is a monthly subscription, 10 masks for $23.50USD or 5 masks for $13.50USD, both including international shipping.

I can already see at least one mask that makes my heart all aflutter - something I've been wanting to test out for a long time now. Let's dive in.

Beauty Mate Anti-Blemish Repairing Mask

This one is from Taiwan, and looks really neat. Anti-Blemish is always something I need, usually for hormonal blemishes. I can't wait to try this one out. 

Sister Diary Cactus Loofah Mask

I've heard some good things about this brand, but not yet had a chance to try one out. Cactus Loofah sounds very exotic, so hopefully it's a good mask!

Mam Activating & Tightening Eye Mask

I do like eye masks, and use them on occasion. I often forget to use them, but this one looks adorable so I'll have to remember. Something a bit different to get in the pouch, but well chosen.

Mediheal  Mask Dress Dress Code Black

I've seen these around for awhile now, and I'm really excited to try it out. I've heard great things about this brand, and who doesn't want to look like they're off to a masquerade ball? I think this might be my favourite mask in this month's pouch!

Elizavecca Milky Piggy 24K Gold Waterdew Snail Mask Pack

I've tried some other Elizavecca products before, but not their sheet masks. I'm really interested in trying out this one, although the 24K Gold thing is a gimmick that has taken over the beauty world in the last year. It seems luxurious, but I'm sure it's a marketing ploy of some sort.

Bio'Main Cordyceps Sinensis Chinese Traditional Medicine Sleeping Pack

I haven't used a proper sleeping pack before. You put this on at the end of your night time routine, and go to sleep in it. In the morning you wash it off before applying your daily products. Apparently this brand is awesome, so I'm happy to give it a go. There is 20g in this pouch, so that should give me 3-4 uses, which is great! Genie has said previously that it smells strongly of herbal medicine, so I'll have to see what that's like, but as long as it isn't too overpowering it should be fine. 

Scinic Black Dual Mask

This one looks fascinting. I'll have to put a picture on my Facebook when I use it. It wraps around your 'V-line' (basically your chin and neck area) as well as covering your face. I've used a neck mask before, but not in conjunction with a face one, so that will be fun to try out.

Dr. Morita Hyaluronic Acid Essence Mask

I'm in the middle of a love affair with hyaluronic acid. I had great results from a serum I tried (and have reviewed) so I'm chuffed to see this one. I'll happily wander round looking like a mad serial killer if I can get great results from it. Woohoo!

Shara Shara Baby Hand and Nail Mask

I haven't had any Shara Shara products to use for ages, so this makes me happy as I like this brand a lot. I haven't tried a hand mask before, so I think this will be perfect for a quiet night in front of the TV, or watching my boyfriend game.

Biore Nose Strip

I've heard Biore is the best brand of these, so I'm happy to give it a try. I don't use pore strips often, and don't usually have great results on the few occasions I've used them, but I'll happily try this out.

October is a brilliant pouch, and I love just about everything that was included! I say every time that this is one of my favourite subscriptions, and I truly can't emphasise that enough. I feel like this sounds like I'm being paid to say good things, but I buy these pouches with my own money. I just love masks, and I can't get enough of Mask Genie.

Until next time ...

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Book Review - Charlie N. Holmberg's Magician trilogy

Kia Ora!

Today I have a bit of a book review/rant for you. I read The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg a couple of months ago, and then read the next two books in the trilogy. I've written up what I thought, and a few things that stood out in particular for you. A wee bit different, but something I felt needed to be said. Let me know what you think!

The Glass Magician and The Master Magician

After reading the first in this trilogy in September, I had to find out what happened in the rest of the story. These two books continue the story of Ceony Twill and Emery Thane, as she completes her apprenticeship in Folding and their love unfolds (lol I'm so punny). Once again I love the ideas that are explored (magic in the Victorian world, the place of magicians, the interaction of varying types of magicians) but I think some of the execution of the books wasn't quite right. Several plot points stand out as being immature (as in the idealistic immaturity of young teenagers who haven't experienced any kind of romantic love before), and I want to explore how a couple of them annoyed me.

Spoilers! Firstly, the way Ceony/Emery's romance is written annoys me. In the first book there is zero reciprocation from him, and she decides she is in love with him in a week or so. Although, with extenuating circumstances I'll let that one go (read book 1 to see what I mean). In The Glass Magician Ceony is pining for him, despite living in the same house, and bemoaning how she will never be his wife/mother of his children. At this point there has been little other between them than some kind gestures, and it isn't certain that Emery feels the same way, or is even aware of Ceony's feelings. In all honesty, I've read fanfiction that was more convincing, and I just don't think either of these characters have real feelings for one another, other than vague geniality. There is a very awkward kiss (during dire circumstances) but otherwise a whole lot of imaginary things going on inside Ceony's head, and her passion to save Emery's life - despite being told to stay safe and basically let the grown-ups sort out the baddies.

This brings me to the second point that annoyed me - Ceony can't simply sit down and let other people deal with dangerous and dramatic situations. Admittedly she is the main character and so should be involved simply to move the plot along, but again this appears to be immature writing where the main character is fearless, the only character who has the skills to deal with the situation (which is clearly wrong as she is surrounded by other qualified and significantly skilled and experienced magicians/law enforcement), and a headstrong refusal to listen to mentors without any real fear of consequences. It's this lack of consequences that adds a corruptive element to the plot, and this isn't emphasized in the book by the author, but it is a subversive addition to the text. There are threats galore of Ceony losing her apprenticeship, of any sort of unnamed punishment, but nothing eventuates despite her behaviour putting herself in mortal danger, leading to the deaths of others, and she simply continues as though nothing happened.

The third thing that got me rather irate occurred mostly in The Master Magician, although lack of referral to it in the first and second book make it more obvious that the author hadn't planned things out particularly well to begin with. What I'm talking about here is the introduction of strict Victorian morality, which had been glossed over and ignored prior to that, until it became a minor sub-plot. It is implied that Ceony's virtue is at stake in the third book, despite having lived with Emery (alone) for the past two years, and two books, - as apprentice and master. It becomes an issue when Ceony's sister makes some disparaging comments, and then there is a drive in the newspaper/media to pull apart opposite-sex apprenticeships. I don't have a problem with portraying Victorian morality (especially as this is the time period in which the novels are set), but I don't think it should be introduced in the third book! There was no mention of needing a chaperone in the first or second books (apart from an occasional reference when Ceony went alone on a dangerous mission), so it stands out as odd now. To make it more interesting (or rage-inducing), Ceony is removed from Emery's house, and moved to another magician's residence - where there are two single men and no other sort of female chaperone. Not the best treatment if you want to make the morality and state of a woman's virtue a part of the plot.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I want to say that these books aren't all bad. The action scenes are well-written, and the general plot (good magicians vs. bad magicians) is actually really interesting! The things I've discussed above are minor issues that annoy me personally, but are probably things that most people won't mind (or notice). Overall, you should check these books out, as despite these minor things that occur, the majority of the writing is great. I did enjoy some aspects of the books, and despite the rant above would recommend them. Perhaps more interesting for those without a degree in English Literature or teens, but not a complete waste of time for anyone else either.

Until next time ...

Friday, 13 November 2015

Australia Haul!

Kia Ora!

I recently popped over to Australia and tripped around New South Wales for two weeks. I dragged my boyfriend into every pharmacy, chemist, or beauty related shop I saw. My favourite was Priceline, and I bought a heck of a lot of stuff. This lead to many complaints about me taking over my boyfriends luggage, and that he was only there to carry all my stuff (partially true), but I'm happy with my little haul.

I've heard some great things about OGX and so I grabbed two of their types of Shampoo and Conditioner to try out. These were on sale when I got them.

I've been after some Antipodes stuff for awhile, and these were on super sale. They were supposed to come in a duo with a serum, but the serums had disappeared into the ether, which meant these were really cheap. I compared the size/price to the full size and getting two baby ones is basically a full size but with a much cheaper price tag. Who can resist that?

I have no excuse for this. I bought the Garnier Micellar Water as an alternative cleanser-type product for use in the mornings (when I just need to get off oils from during the night, and have been using a toner to do this). I can get this in New Zealand, but it feels more exotic getting it from Aussie. 

I asked on Reddit which brands I should try out, and someone suggested Sukin. I promptly found a Priceline, and bought these three (I think there was a buy two get one free deal too). I grabbed the whole shebang, and will try these out soon. They look awesome though!

Did I go a bit overboard with face wipes? Maybe. Do I care? Nope. I grabbed the Swisspers on sale, and the same with the Simple ones. I like both brands and am happy to have enough to last until next Christmas. Fuss Free Naturals is something I got in a subscription box (Lust Have It or Violet Box) ages ago, and I fell in love. I can get it shipped to NZ for about $40 of postage so I took full advantage to grab a few packets on this trip.

I bought this shampoo from Herbal Essences at the start of our trip, since it was cheap and I forgot mine. I grabbed a second bottle of conditioner to bring home since it was cheap at the supermarket. It smells like coconut and leaves my hair feeling great, so I'm pretty happy with it.

Have I mentioned my obsession with body scrubs? I couldn't resist these two from Anatomicals and thought it was a good chance to try out the brand. Keep an eye out for my scrub collection in January!

And there you go, the things I picked up on my trip were a combination of wanting to try out brands, or grabbing the chance while in Australia.

Has anyone else tried out these brands or products?

Until next time ...

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Tea with Alice September and October 2015

Kia Ora!

I've been rather quiet for the last few weeks, and it's because I went on holiday! I popped over the ditch to Australia and enjoyed a couple of weeks tripping around with my partner. It was amazing, and much needed as I've been working pretty hard for the last 6-8 months. But now I'm back, with some subscriptions that arrived while I was away, and a pretty neat haul post next week.

September's Tea with Alice only had 3 teas, as one was confiscated by customs on the way into the country. Customer service was excellent when I contacted them, and they've refunded the box as they weren't able to resend the teas. I still have three teas to test out, so it's a bit of a bonus for me.

Restore Yourself sounds delicious, and looks like something I'll enjoy at nighttime. Creamy Dreamy Earl Grey looks lovely in the packet, and although I'm not the biggest earl grey fan I'll happily try this one out. Caravanserai is a Russian based black tea, and looks strong and wonderful - right up my alley.

October is all black tea! I've finally contacted Tea with Alice (there's never enough time in the day - story of my life), and they've changed my subscription to purely black tea. I don't tend to drink the herbal blends, so it seems like a waste to keep getting them. Although they are very pretty to look at in the packet!

Speakeasy is a great name, and it looks like a light black tea. Perfect for the afternoon pick-me-up! Hasta La Vista, Baby looks to be a stronger blend, perfect for those stoic terminators out there. I'm excited to try both of these.

Darjeeling Darling looks yum too (I feel a bit repetitive but seriously these all look really delicious). Dragon Chai is one I've had before, and loved to bits! I think I finished it in a few days, and was disappointed I didn't have more. It's a sticky tea, coated in honey, and has lots of spices in it. I loved this one, and am over the moon to see it again!

Well there we are, two months worth of tea, and I can happily lose myself in the depths of several hundred cups of tea now. If anyone wants a review of a particular blend, please let me know and I'm happy to do that.

Does anyone else get Tea with Alice? They are so great for trying out different types of tea, and expanding your palate.

Until next time ...