Monday, 28 December 2015

Splendies - November 2015

Kia Ora!

It's time for another month of Splendies! This is the November box. 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 $30-35NZD for a month.

First up this month are a pair of pink lace and black/white polka dots. I like these quite a lot, the colours are cute and the cute is my kind of underwear.

All lace! I haven't ever had a pair like this before, and they are surprisingly comfy. I love the light and dark blue combinations.

This is my favourite pair from this month. I adore the floral pattern, and having lace around the edges suits my style I think. This colour is one of my favs too so I'm really happy with this pair. They are very comfy to wear too, so that ticks off my main requirement!

I'm really happy with the November Splendies. All three pairs are perfect for me, and I'll happily add them to my underwear drawer.

What do you think of this subscription?

Until next time ...

Friday, 25 December 2015

Beautiful Christmas Advent Calendar 2015

Kia Ora!

Over the past month I've been enjoying sharing my advent calendar openings over on my Facebook page. I was lucky to secure an advent calendar from Beautiful Christmas, and it has been such an amazing experience.

The box cost $100 + postage ($16 for North Island, $32 for South Island). It had 25 paper bags of varying sizes inside, each with a gift from a different New Zealand brand, and is ultimately a beauty advent calendar. It shipped in late November, and was on my doorstep a week or so before the 1 December, in perfect time for the Christmas season.

The bags were expertly packed (someone is an avid Tetris player), with all 25 bags nestled together in a box, along with a few promotional pamphlets from individual companies.

Day 1 - Tui Lip Balm Chai
Lip balm is something everyone can use, and is a great way to start off an advent calendar. This one smells fantastic, I love the blend of spices to make chai, and it is a lovely Christmas scent. I've been happily using it since the first, and it's a great lipbalm.
RRP: $7.70 - you can buy your own from here.

Day 2 - Wellington Chocolate Factory Peru Norandino
Yum, chocolate! Who doesn't love getting this for  Christmas? I love that this is included, as many modern advent calendars are full of chocolate, but this also embraces a New Zealand company (and one I hadn't heard of before). This chocolate was delicious, and didn't last long.
RRP: $5 - full size can be bought here.

Day 3 - Black Robin Tingly Bits Mint Body Scrub
Have I mentioned how obsessed I am with body scrubs? There were squeals of joy when I realised what this is. It smells like mint and sugar, and is a wonderful scrub! It's in a glass jar, which is the height of luxury to me. Black Robin included a 10% off code, which is very kind of them.
RRP: $(estimated)5 - check them out here.

Day 4 - At One Konjac Sponge Cleansing Sponge
I've been aware of Konjac sponges for awhile, but haven't seen any. I'm pretty excited to give this a crack, and see what it can do for my skin. It's been a busy month, so I haven't tried this yet, but I have plans for January and can't wait.
RRP: $15 - check out the various sponges here.

Day 5 - Sigil Eyeshadow Omega
I'm not a makeup oriented girl, so this product doesn't appeal to me. However, it's great to see that a sample of such a pretty eyeshadow was included, and I'm sure this appeals to many of the women opening their calendar. I'll be passing this along, but I can appreciate how pretty this is, and what a neat idea it is to include it.
RRP: $1.52 - samples are sold here.

Day 6 - Dedicated to Nature Soothe Eyecream
I love getting eyecream samples, I almost prefer them size-wise as it takes so long to get through a full size eyecream! This one is particularly lovely. It's a formula that absorbs quickly into the skin, leaves it soft and plump, and smells like cucumber. It's really nice, and I'm keen to get my hands on some more like it.
RRP: $5 - can be bought from here

Day 7 - Heavenly Fudge Caramello
Fudge! Who doesn't love fudge? Yum, what a delicious treat to have amongst all the beauty items. Another company I haven't heard of before, and can't wait to try some more flavours.
RRP: $5.50 - find this one and more flavours here.

Day 8 - Evolu Smoothing Body Lotion
Oooooh, body lotion. I really like lotion, and this is a great size for both travelling and trying out a new product. This lotion has avocado, lime, lemon, and NZ Kanuka (I'm not sure what that is) and sounds like a lovely lotion. Keep an eye on my empties for a full review.
RRP: $4.50 - you can buy a full size here.

Day 9 - Naturally Hair Brush
I've been needing a new hairbrush for awhile now, but I've been relegating it to the 'too hard' pile for months. This one looks really sturdy, with a wooden handle and wire bristles. I haven't used a brush like this before, but I'm excited to continue using it, as it leaves my hair shiny and silky.
RRP: $16 - this is a new line due to be released in 2016 by the parent company Brown Brushes and will be available in health food stores.

Day 10 - Olive Rich Cleansing Milk
I've only ever tried an Olive hand cream before (which was average), but I'm keen to try some of their skincare. This is a sample size, but I should get a weeks use out of it hopefully. I have a fairly strict testing of products for 2-3 weeks, so foil packets don't usually work for me, but this size is a good sample size.
RRP: $1.60 - full size available here.

Day 11 - the herb farm Sleepwell Cream
This is a really novel product, and something I would never have expected. It's a cream (mainly lavender based) that you put on pulse points to encourage sleep. I've been using it every night since opening this bag - not because I have particular trouble sleeping, but it has been helping me drop off easier. What a great product to have received!
RRP: $12.90 - buy it here.

Day 12 - Tailor Masque Mini
I've tried this masque before, and it's a great product. I'm not a huge fan of the packaging of the sample sizes, but it's a great way to dispense one use of the mask to try out. I love that this is included in the calendar, and it's perfect timing for stress before Christmas.
RRP: $5 - buy a set of three mini's here.

Day 13 - The Christmas Heirloom Company Gold Star
I didn't know that there was a company that did Christmas decorations, and I'm so happy that this was included. I love the star, it's a classic decoration for the tree. There are so many awesome decorations on this company's website, I can't wait to go on a shopping spree!
RRP: $4.50 - a similar star is available here.

Day 14 - RoVie Lipstick Rose Water
I wasn't expecting a lipstick at all, let alone one in a beautiful colour that suits me! I don't usually wear pink, but this one is basically perfect for me. I have been wearing it everyday, and getting some lovely compliments, and it feels so comfy to wear. It's hydrating, and the colour stays on for hours!
RRP: $28 - you can get other RoVie lipsticks here.

Day 15 - Plantae various samples
Samples are not my favourite thing to receive as I like to test skincare for at least 2 weeks to see how it works for my skin. However this includes a pretty decent range of Plantae products, so you can give something a go if you want to.
RRP: $17.20 - check out their range here.

Day 16 - Temple Tonic rollerball
This is probably the most confusing product for me. It's a blend of oils (which smell beautiful), but I'm not 100% sure how to use it. I love the roller ball, and it's been suggested that I use this as a perfume by rolling on pulse points. This sounds interesting, and I'll have to have a bit of a play with it.
RRP: $8 - you can get testers of this size from here.

Day 17 - Ethique Damage Control Solid Shampoo sample
I quite like Ethique, and have tried a few of their products (most recently their solid body scrub bars - which I love). I've tried Damage Control before, and wasn't a huge fan. It stripped the colour from my hair, and I haven't touched it since. I don't currently have coloured hair, so it might work better now, but I still have a full bar from last time. I gave this sample away to my sister-in-law to try, but I think I'll pull out my version of this bar and give it another go. It smells lovely and minty fresh, which is rather enticing!
RRP: $11 - you can buy a sampler of multiple Ethique products here, or find the full size shampoo bars here.

Day 18 - Skinfood Exfoliating Scrub
This is a full size exfoliating scrub, which is an awesome thing to see in the calendar. Unfortunately it's a product I've tried before and haven't liked. I like a decent scrub for my face, and I don't think that the particles in this scrub are big enough for my liking. However, I do think that it's awesome to have this in the calendar, and that a lot of people will be very very happy, as this is a great brand. I've passed mine on to a different sister-in-law, so someone will be happy to use it!
RRP: $13.99 - you can grab your own from here.

Day 19 - Linden Leaves Summer Handcream
A handcream is a neat addition, and this is a good size. I hate ones that are too big as I get bored with using them. Linden Leaves have produced a great handcream - it sinks into your skin and leaves no greasy residue, just smooth and ultra soft hands. It smells like watermelon, which is fresh and fruity. I did experience the uneasy association with deodorizing spray that people keep in their toilets - but I'm sure that's just me.
RRP: $6.67 - you can get this as part of a set of three Summer scented handcreams.

Day 20 - T Leaf T Christmas Tea
Aaaaah, tea!! This is awesome, and I love that it's Christmas flavoured. It smells absolutely divine, and I'm dying to try it out. I've decided to hold off until Christmas day though, and make a very special pot to share with my mum. Brilliant addition to the calendar, and I'm over the moon to have this in here.+
RRP: $2 - you can get your own from here.

Day 21 - Antipodes Divine Face Oil Avocado and Rosehip
I've never used a face oil before, I tend to gravitate towards creams and gels. I've been hearing some great things about Antipodes though, so I'll give this a go. It doesn't have a particular scent, and is a yellow oil. 
RRP: $10.50 - you can grab a full size from here.

Day 22 - Bossy Solid Perfume Coconuty and Sweet
Wow, this is an awesome product to receive in an advent calender. I wasn't expecting to get a perfume, but I'm really happy to have this from Bossy. It's a whipped consistency, and spreads easily onto pulse points. It's a little oily when you first apply it, but it does sink in over time, or you can wipe the excess off. The scent pay-off is phenomenal, with it lasting all day, and barely fading! It's great.
RRP: $18.95 - you can buy a similar scent here.

Day 23 - Snowberry Gentle Remineralizing Toner
I thought this was a full size product, but turns out it's a very generous sample size! I'm excited to try it as I've seen a lot of hype around Snowberry, and I'm hoping it's an awesome product. I'm a little confused as to whether it's a cleanser (as the instructions imply) or a toner (which it's named as) but I'll figure it out.
RRP: $36 - you can find it here.

Day 24 - Living Light Candle Revive
I don't usually burn candles, but this one smells divine! It's full of citrusy scents, and I can't wait to try it out! It's a great size, and is supposed to burn for 18 hours so it should last quite awhile!
RRP: $18 - you can find it here.

Day 25 - Living Nature Bliss Lip Hydrator
This limited edition Lip Hydrator (basically a lip balm in a fancy tube) is the last bag to open in the calendar. I love the colour, and the packaging is pretty luxurious! According to the website, it's a lip primer and conditioner in one, with a lovely light pink colour. It's made from manuka honey as well as various nourishing butters and oils.
RRP: $29.50 - you can find the non-limited edition one here.

Overall thoughts: I love this calendar, and I honestly think it's a great idea with spectacular quality. It's of generally higher quality than many of the beauty boxes that are available to New Zealand, and it has some wonderful New Zealand brands included. I thought that it was a good mix of skincare and makeup, with some added extras (chocolate, tea, Christmas tree decoration) that added value to the box.

The overall value of the advent calendar was $288.03. I paid $116 altogether, so I think this is a great value for what you get. The products are good quality and you can re-gift them in time for Christmas if you receive something that you don't like, or won't use. I gave away a few things that I had received before, didn't particularly like, or truly won't use.

The things I am most excited to have received are:

  • Dedicated to Nature Eye Cream - I've been using every day and I LOVE IT
  • Black Robin Tingly Bits Scrub - obsession with body scrubs, say no more
  • Tui Lip Balm (Chai) - takes pride of place beside my blogging chair for daily use
  • the herb farm Sleepwell cream - used every night and appears to help with sleep
  • RoVie Rose Water lipstick - has become a workday staple
  • T Leaf T Christmas Tea - tea is my life, so this is a great thing to have
  • Bossy Solid Perfume - unexpectedly I love this, and so does my boyfriend
The things I'm not excited about:
  • Sigil eye shadow - mainly because I don't wear makeup often
  • Plantae samples - because foil packet samples
  • Ethique solid shampoo - I already have this exact product
  • Skinfood Exfoliting Scrub - I've used, and disliked, this in the past
7 things I'm hugely excited to have, 4 things I'm really not interested in. That leaves 14 other things that are really neat, and I'm happy to have and try out, but don't make my 'best of' list. Other people will feel differently about all the products, but that is my personal assessment. If I'm pitting this against normal beauty boxes then the calendar has 21 things I'll use and am happy about, and 4 things that aren't for me. That's way better than the usual ratio of love to hate in a beauty box.

Honestly, this was a great experience. I can't wait for next year, when Beautiful Christmas is planning on releasing a similar calendar, a food version, and a shorter 12 days version. They all sound amazing, and I can't wait to see them.

What do you think?

Until next time ...

Monday, 21 December 2015

Mask Genie - December 2015

Kia Ora!

It's time for another edition of 'random masks sent to me from Hong Kong' AKA the December Mask Genie unpouching! I love receiving this subscription, as it's always new and exciting things that come in the pouch.

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, 8-10 masks for $23.99.

Etude House Blending Sleeping Cream

I think this is a really neat product. You break off the handle of the spoon and use it to stir the product in the bowl of the spoon. It's an overnight sleeping mask, which I've never really used so it will be a new experience for me!

Foot Patch - Titanium

I've had one of these in a previous pouch, and I didn't think it did much. It left my feet sticky in the morning, but otherwise I didn't notice anything. I'll use it because of the novelty value but I don't have high hopes for visible results. 

Sister Diary Pearl Birds Nest Mask

Birds nest is one of those exotic ingredients that I'm not sure what it is exactly but it is supposed to do wonders for your skin. I'm happy to have this brand as it's supposed to be a good one, and I'll try this out soon!

Supermoist Hops Flowers in Beer

Beer in a sheet mask is a novel concept. I generally prefer to drink it, but I'm happy to give it a go on my face. It feels like there might be a lot of essence inside, so that should be interesting. 

Aritaum Fresh Essence Mask - Honey

Honey on the face seems like an adventure in getting sticky, but I'm sure it's been used to make up the essence in a way that isn't sticky exactly like honey. Woohoo, can't wait to try this. 

Donkey Milk Skin Gel Mask Pack - Aqua

I don't know how I feel about donkey, but I'll give it a go. Aqua sounds good going into the hot summer months, so I'll happily try anything to help boost moisture in my skin. 

The Face Shop Real Nature Mask Pomegranate

I love the Face Shop's skincare, and will happily give their masks a go. Pomegranate is a lovely ingredient to have in a mask, and this will be a nice mask to use over summer this year. 

Lovemore Pearl and Red Pearl Barley

I bought the entire Lovemore pouch when Genie was selling it earlier in the year. I haven't managed to use any of the masks yet (problems of a mask addict) but this will give me the boost I need to start using some of them. 

Dr Morita Foaming Essence Facial Mask

The packaging is super cute!! Wow. It has snail in it, which makes me very happy as I love snail! It works really well with my skin, and I can't wait to try this one out. 

Cherry Blossom Ultimate Brightening Mask

Oooh, the packaging is adorable on this mask too! Cherry blossom sounds nice, and I love the idea of brightening, so I'll be interested to see what results I get from this mask. 

There are some truly unique masks in this bundle, and I'm excited to try just about all of them. Keep an eye out on my Facebook as that's where I tend to put my mask selfies and thoughts.

Until next time ...

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Bonjour Jolie - November 2015

Kia Ora!

The November Bonjour Jolie box arrived in my mailbox last week. It made me realise I'm missing a few boxes since my last unboxing (August). Luckily Bonjour Jolie has the best customer service ever, and are making sure things are all sorted out.

Bonjour Jolie is a period subscription service, with lots of options for feminine hygeine products, allowing you to choose between pads, tampons, and disposable menstrual cups depending on personal preference. You can mix and match, and change your choices month to month as well. This is $16USD. There is also an option simply to receive the pampering products, and I've opted for this option. This option is $10USD per month + shipping. Shipping to New Zealand is $14.50.

Yes I ripped the sticker before taking a photo - I'm a naughty blogger.

The card which is uber cute!

Bonjour Jolie Pumpkin Walnut Body Polish

Have I mentioned my scrub addiction/obsession recently? If you're aware of it you would know that I am very happy to have this product. It's very oily, and has seperated a bit, but nothing a good stir won't fix. It was well wrapped to stop oil leakage, which is a thoughtful touch. It smells like cinnamon and nutmeg, and smells great. Perfect for winter, so I might save it for the next few months.

Full size.
RRP: $15

Wooden Bead Stretch Bracelet

Honestly, this one isn't my style. It's nice, and I love that there is a charitable aspect to the company, but other than that it isn't for me. I'm going to pass this one on to a friend.

RRP: $12

Belvita Breakfast Biscuits

I've tried these before and they're a great breakfast alternative. Awesome for snacking on the go. I haven't seen this flavour in New Zealand so it's nice to try something different.


I've never heard of these before, but who wouldn't love chocolate covered raisins?? Soudns perfect, and I'll probably keep these at work for a snack. 

Buzz Strong's Chocolate Cake Cookie 

Honestly, this sounds kinda gross. It's also really oily as the packet has oil stains on it. I'm probably not going to eat this one, but I'll see if any of the kids at Christmas want it.

Kit Kat

I'm going to be honest, I ate this right after I took the picture. This doesn't happen often, but I love Kit Kats. This one looks weird compared to the New Zealand version because it's made by Hershey's, not Nestle. The chocolate tasted weird, and it wasn't the dark chocolate I'm used to. It was ok, but I found it overly sweet compared to the Nestle versions I normally eat. Great to have in the box, but not my favourite thing upon trying it. 

Alpine Spiced Apple Cider

I always look forward to the  tea in these boxes, so I'm disappointed that it's been replaced this month. I can understand why, but I'm not a fan of these packets of sugar (which, let's be honest is basically what they are). I've passed these along.

York Mint Patties
Hershey's Chocolate

I am in love with the York Patties, and broke my diet to eat all of them! Yum, I wish I could get my hands on these in NZ!

The opposite reaction to the Hersheys. I hate that chocolate and think it tastes like vomit, so always pass that brand on. Luckily my partner gave these a try and ate them all.

There you go, that's the November box. I've been in contact with the company to hopefully have my September and October boxes resent, and I'm expecting a December one too. After that, I've cancelled my account though. Partially because with the terrible currency conversion right now I'm paying a lot more than I can afford per box, partially because these boxes have continually been going missing in the post, and I've also changed my diet so I'm not able to eat as many lollies and chocolate things as I could earlier in the year.

What do you think of the box?

Until next time ...

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Flora and Fauna Summer Box 2015

Kia Ora!

Finally, my Flora and Fauna box has arrived. I've been eagerly awaiting it's arrival since I knew it was due at the start of December. I tried valiantly to avoid the spoiler photo on their Facebook page (unfortunately without success), but I'm still happy to be able to play with my own version of the box.

Flora and Fauna is a quarterly (seasonal) subscription box dedicated to natural and cruelty-free beauty products. It is $35 a box, and shipping to New Zealand is around $10 extra. I bought a year's subscription (4 boxes) for $135 + shipping.

Card for those who like to peruse such things. 

 Grant's Aloe Vera Crystal Deoderant

This is something new and completely out of left field for me. I've never used a natural deoderant, and this one is plain odd. The entire stick is hard crystal, and you have to get it wet to use it. It reminds me of the alum my partner uses to stop cuts from bleeding when he nicks himself shaving. I'll happily give this a go, but I'm not sure how well it will work.

RRP: $4.95
Full size.

Eco Tan Pink Himalayan Salt Scrub

I love that this is included. I already have a bottle of this (which I haven't opened) but I'm excited to get a second one. If I haven't gone on about it enough recently, I'm obsessed with body scrubs, so this makes me happy. It also gives me an incentive to open the other tube ...

RRP: $34.95
Full size.

Atom Coffee Body Scrub

This box is scrub heavy, and I'm in love! I haven't actually got any coffee scrubs open currently, and this seems like the perfect size to take away with me at Christmas time. Woohoo!

RRP: $21 (full size 200g)
Sample size (50g): $5.25

Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil

Ummm, what? Honestly I'm not sure what this is, but one day when I'm bored I'll happily rub oil all over one and a half of my legs (or two if the sample allows it). Meh.

RRP: $31.95 (full size 100ml)
Sample size (2ml): $0.64

Dr Bronner's Castile Soap

This is some wacky packaging, and if you go in close up some of the words appear to be nonsense too. I'll happily give a wee soap sample a go. Apparently you can use this for face, body, laundry, general cleaning, the list goes on. I'll probably just use it as a body wash (when I go away from Chrsitmas as it's a great size), but am very interested to give it a whirl.

RRP: $5.95 (full size 59ml)
Sample size (est. 10 ml): $0.59 

Awe Rasadana Hydrating Mask

This is a mask that you apply, leave for 10-15 mins and then pat in fully. It's not the type of mask I usually use, but any kind of mask gets me excited. This one is great for hydration, and has honey, aloe vera, and papaya. I can't wait to try this one out!

RRP: $59 (full size 50ml)
Sample size (5ml): $2.95

Dr Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Body Wash

Ooooh, another decent sample size body wash. Again something that is a great size for travel. I'm happy to try this as I'm never going to be able to afford a full size Dr Hauschka anything, and I love the scents of lemon and lemongrass.

RRP: $6 (trial size) 

Zuii Organic Coral Red Lipstick

This is an interesting way to try lipstick, but it's also kinda cool. I don't generally wear red lipstick, but this way I can try it out without having to get rid of a whole lippy tube if I don't like it. Awesome!

RRP: $29.95 (full size)
Sample size: $1.00 (I'm guessing for this one) 

I think this is a great box for summer! It's scrub heavy, and body wash heavy, but I'm very happy with that. I'm interested to try out the deoderant and the face mask, but I'm less excited about the lipstick and cellulite oil. I'd say this box is a solid 8/10 though, and it's a great mix of brands to try out!

What do you think?

Until next time ...

Monday, 14 December 2015

Owlcrate November 2015 - Myths and Legends

Kia Ora!

I've been drooling over Canadian subscription box Owlcrate for a few months now, and decided to splurge and get one when I saw that the theme was Myths and Legends.

Owlcrate is a themed Young Adult bookworm subscription service that costs $29.99 USD per month, with shipping costs varying depending on your location. The box includes a new release book, and 4 geeky items that fit with the theme. It's a great way to discover new books and authors, and Owlcrate tends to use smaller businesses for the other items, so it's a great way to find great new companies too!

The card with all the information and the companies who provided each of the geeky items. I love that it looks like pages in a book!

The book for November was Soundless by Richelle Mead. She wrote the Vampire Academy books, which I haven't read. I read this book on the plane trip to Christchurch a couple of weeks ago, and really enjoyed it! It was a neat little read, and keep an eye out for the monthly Book Wrangle for December for a full review!

It came with a promotional bookmark (which has been very handy) and some temporary tattoos that relate to the Vampire Diaries.

This castle locket from The Geeky Cauldron is a neat addition to this box! I really love it, and it's the perfect length for me to wear with my work outfits. I've worn it a couple of times already, and it's a great necklace. I don't think that the magnetic catch for the locket is particularly secure, so I am going to keep it closed. The magnet does mean that the castle sticks to my metal necklace stand though, which is kinda cool.

There's a 10% off coupon included, if you use 'OWLCRATE'.

This mirror is adorable, and just what I needed for my makeup bag that lives in my handbag. It's the perfect size, and I love the mermaid scales - I did think it was dragon scales though. I suppose either option works. This is from My Clockwork Castle, and I love the look of some of their other things too!

A bracelet about Camp Half-Blood from Percy Jackson rounds off the geeky items for this box quite well. I'm not going to wear this myself, but it makes a great addition to my sister's stocking so I'm happy with that.

The Colourful Geek has kindly provided a coupon code of 30% off with OWLCRATE until some point in 2016. I'm assuming because they are from the US it's the 5 Jan, but in NZ this could easily be the 1 May. Give it a whirl and see if it works.

OMG tea! I was very very excited to see this in the box, and there were squeals of joy. This is from Adagio Teas, and is supposed to help you wake up from a deep sleep (thus the Sleeping Beauty theme). This tea is delicious, and I've been enjoying having a cup to help with the 3 o'clock slump at work. It's a great pick-me-up.

I am seriously in love with this box. I love all of it, and the book is a great read. There's some wonderful tea, a necklace that is perfect for my style, a handy geeky mirror, and a bracelet. I honestly wish I could subscribe without any qualms, but once currency is converted from NZD to USD then I ended up paying about $80 for the box, which is very expensive and makes this a special treat for me, rather than a monthly subscription option.

Other than price (and it's not that expensive if you live closer to Canada), I can highly recommend this box and Owlcrate itself. It's the perfect box for a bookworm!

What do you think of it? 

Until next time ...

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Monthly Book Wrangle - October and November 2015

Kia Ora!

This post is a wee bit late (ok, it's a lot late), but things have been very busy. I'm sure everyone else is finding they have less time in the lead up to Christmas, and that has impacted on the time I have to read. I haven't read a lot in the last few months, but I'm hoping that December and January will let me devour more books than the four below.

The Winter People - Jennifer McMahon

This is one of the scariest books I've read in a long time. I genuinely had chills reading some sections, and didn't want to go on - but the writing is so immersive and draws you in so that you can't put this book down! The perspective alternates between that of Sara Harrison Shea who died in 1908 after the tragic death of her young daughter, and modern day where Ruthie Washburne notices strange things happening in her home and town - the same place Sara lived and died over a century ago. The split perspective really keeps the plot moving, and allows the reader to make connections between the two women, and draws attention to small details that would otherwise be lost. It allows the author to draw out the suspense, and really extend the horror during certain events. I won't spoil the plot, or the ending, but if you like thrillers, horrors, or are a bit of a history book lover, you should go out and read this! Highly recommended!

See Me - Nicholas Sparks*

I don't read Nicholas Sparks novels often, but I always enjoy them when I do. This is fairly typical to begin with - boy and girl meet and fall in love, despite some sort of awful circumstances. It does go much further than generic love stories though and has a stalker, some major tension and a few action scenes. I quite liked it, for an afternoon read in the sun. It doesn't take long, but is a good way to relax after a hard day at work.

Slade House - David Mitchell*

A haunted house that isn't always accessible, several missing people over half a century, and two troubled siblings at the depth of some sinister soul-sucking. Once again this book was a deviation from my normal reading, but I quite enjoyed it. It's compact, and divided into a series of what seems to be short stories to start with, but connects later on to become one overall plot. The characters are easy to understand, the setting is vivid, and the writing clear. I loved reading this, although it does have supernatural and horror themes (warning for those who aren't into that).

Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor

I read this for a book club, and it was great. It's been on lists of great books for awhile now, and is a must for all fantasy fans. It turns beliefs and superstitions of historic angels and demons on their heads, and creates a world full of magic, family, and the truly wonderful. Set in Italy, Karou studies at an art academy, while also carrying out errands for her adopted 'father' all over the world. Things take a turn for the dark when her access to the Otherworld is cut off, and she begins a journey to discover who she is, and where she came from. This book truly transports you to another place, provides different perspectives on war and conflict, and explores romantic and familial love. I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it to others in a heartbeat!

*PR samples and affiliate links. 

There you are, the four books I read in October and November. They were all very good, if a bit different to my normal reading choices.

Until next time ...

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Fortune Cookie Soap Winter Box 2015

Kia Ora!

It's time for one of my absolute favourite subscription boxes - Fortune Cookie Soap. The smells that these products have are some of the most appealing and always consistently great! I love that there are a variety of products, with one or two stunning products repeated in each box (although with different scents).

Fortune Cookie Soap Box is a box that comes out seasonally, so every three months.  For  international it costs $34USD for each box. However you get a $10USD code with each box to use on their website, which is an awesome bonus.

I've received the Fall and Summer boxes, and will not be stopping my subscription anytime soon!

The theme for the Winter box is 'Hello Santa' and everything smells minty and delicious!

The card with all the deets for those who love seeing it.

Buddy - Fortune Cookie Soap

This is apparently 'notes of holiday fruits, candy, crushed vanilla, and a hint of mint' and it is one of the most delicious scents I've received from Fortune Cookie Soap. It's so sweet and delicious (and that pom-pom is adorable!). This might be my favourite soap so far!

FCS Cheer - Perfume Oil

I love the perfume oils I've received in previous boxes, and this is no exception. Vanilla pound cake (which I'm not 100% certain I know what that is), patchouli, frankincense, and cedar create a scent with major depth. It's a winter scent so I'll hold off until the middle of next year to use it.

Shower Duet - Shave Oil

I've never used a shave oil before, so this is a brand new product to experiment with. I'm not sure about the scent (spruce, vanilla, fir, fruits, hyacinth, mint) but it smells fresh.

Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins - Dry Shampoo

I'm a newbie to dry shampoo, but I quite like the scent of this. I know I'm saying that about basically every product, but it's because Fortune Cookie Soap are gosh-darned great at making things smell wonderful! Anyway, the talc powder bottle makes this a little more difficult to use than the aerosol I'm used to, but it worked well!

Swirly Twirly Gum Drops - OCD Hand Sanitiser

The hand sanitisers are my favourite things in these boxes. I have one at home, one at work, and now this one in my hand bag. It smells like berries, and is quite sweet. This is the first one I've received that doesn't have glitter in it, not that I'm overly attached to the glitter. I really like this scent, and it lasts for hours on your hands.

World's Best Cup of Coffee - Whipped Cream

Yet another delicious staple of this box, and the scent is phenomenal. It smells like coffee and vanilla, and lasts forever. I put some on one night before bed, and a full 24 hours later could still smell it on my hands! That's some lasting power!

Yellow Snow - Bath Bomb

I don't have a bath, but I'll keep this hidden away to take to someone else's house. It smells pretty nice, and is a nice little ice-cream scoop shape, although getting increasingly crumbly the more I tough the packet (thus why it's still in the packet for the photo).

Christmas Glam - Face Plant 

Another new product to play with. This one uses steam to help with pores, and I'm pretty excited to try it out. It does remind me of the scene from Crocodile Dundee II though ... (go check it out if you don't know what I'm talking about).

I love Fortune Cookie Soap boxes. The exchange rate is pretty terrible these days, but I don't even care that I'm paying about $70 per box, to me this is worth it. I love the variety in products, as well as being able to get a new hand sanitiser and pot of whipped cream. Perfume oils seem to be in all of the boxes I've received too, which is awesome.

What do you think of this box?

Until next time ...