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 ...