It’s been a while since I last signed up to a (non-edible!) subscription box, and I’d been missing that buzz of getting a nice surprise through the post each month, so lately I’ve been on the lookout for a new one to trial. I was looking for something featuring collectible items rather than beauty products or anything like that, and I knew exactly where to turn for recommendations. One of my favourite bloggers, Chrissie of Plus10Kapow, regularly reviews popular subscription boxes, and after seeing her publish several positive reviews about Loot Crate, I decided to take the plunge and sign up for a one-off box, just to see whether I like it or not.
Loot Crate are a US-based company founded in 2012, who each month ‘ships a themed mystery box of the best geek, gaming, and pop culture gear to a subscriber base of over 100,000 Looters’. From what I’ve seen their boxes are always well thought out and beautifully curated to suit a theme – something that a lot of other subscription services just don’t quite manage to get the hang of. The box I signed up for was the August Villains 2 box, which is quite possibly one of the best themes for me as I do love myself a supervillain! Loot Crate released their first Villains box last year, and this one is the sequel to that.
I ordered my crate on 19th August, and after much impatient waiting it finally arrived on 1st September, which was a little later than most people’s, so it was incredibly difficult to avoid content spoilers online!
I was expecting to find six or seven items in the box, as this seems to be the norm according to the reviews I’ve seen, but this month there were only four (plus the usual magazine and badge). However, all four items are high-end and good quality, and according to Chrissie’s calculations are worth a whopping £65.04 if bought separately online!
So, here’s all the loot!
Captain America Hydra Pin Badge
Pins and badges are one of the many things that I collect, so it was nice to find one of such great quality in the box. This Hydra pin is very well made, and has a double pin on the back. I reckon this would look awesome on a simple black jacket.
DC Collectibles Wooden Joker
As a lifelong Batman fan this wooden Joker figure was my absolute favourite item in the crate. There’s just something so nostalgic about it as I remember having toys like this when I was younger, and the changeable faces and poseable arms make this figure even more fun. I can see myself collecting more of these in the future (I’ve got my eye on a Batman one I’ve seen), but this one is extra special as it’s a Loot Crate exclusive.
Carnage 16oz Mug
There were two villainous mug designs being sent out in this crate – Venom, and Carnage, which is the one I received. My fiancé is more of a Marvel fan than I am (I’m a DC girl), so he was especially pleased with this. The mug is a good size and makes a nice addition to our ever-expanding mug collection, although for some reason I can see it being used for make up brushes or pens rather than tea!
Los Pollos Hermanos Apron
I love Breaking Bad and I do a lot of cooking, so this apron was a great addition to the box. The quality of the apron is really high, and the colours are nice and vibrant (although you can’t tell in the picture… my camera dislikes yellow for some reason!). This is something that I’d probably buy myself, and the exact same apron is currently being sold on Amazon for over £14.
Badge and Magazine
Every Loot Crate includes a badge to match the monthly theme, and a magazine. This month’s badge feature’s Venom’s spiky smile, and I absolutely love the Joker art on the front of the magazine. When I first saw the magazine at the bottom of the box I thought it was a print, which really excited me as I’d definitely hang this on my wall. In fact, I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t. Perhaps something for Loot Crate to consider in the future?
So, after receiving my first Loot Crate I must say I’m impressed. Everything about it is fantastic – the premium items, the attention to detail, even the fun design inside the box. A monthly subscription to Loot Crate costs just under $30 (about £20), or you can sign up for 3 month, 6 month of yearly packages at a discounted rate. I had a $3 off discount code and ordered a monthly box, making this one $26.95 (a little over £18), with free delivery. For what you get, and the combined total worth of each item, the Villains 2 box was without a doubt worth the money. I’m definitely considering keeping my subscription open for longer!
Are you signed up to Loot Crate? What were your thoughts on the Villains 2 crate?
Rustics is a small subscription box company with a difference, as most of the items in the box are lovingly handcrafted using eco-friendly materials, by the very talented Nic. She also tries to source products locally where possible, and all boxes are packaged from her home studio.
Every box contains around seven to ten items, such as stationery, craft kits and gift items, with an approximate value of £30. The items inside the box are kept as a surprise, but Nic releases sneak peeks of the contents on her website and social media (you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
A limited number of boxes are launched at 8pm on the 1st of each month. The first box – a heart themed Love It Box – was launched in June, and I was lucky enough to receive one through my letter box (the boxes are the perfect size to fit through, so you don’t have to worry about missing a delivery!)
The first thing that struck me when I opened the box was how nicely it was packaged. The box was sealed with monochrome heart washi tape, and the contents inside were carefully wrapped with tissue paper. The monochrome heart theme continued with the items inside, and there was far more crammed into that little box than I was expecting!
So what did I get? Well, inside was two handmade heart greetings cards, a hand printed cotton tote bag, a decopatch wooden heart craft kit, two mini wooden heart tags, a heart pencil, a handmade jasmine tea bag, a ‘You Are Something Special’ print, and some heart-shaped confetti.
Everything in the box is fantastic quality, and the theme is impressively consistent and carried off well. There’s nothing in the box that I don’t like, and it’s hard to pick a favourite item, but I must say I’m really looking forward to having a go at the decopatch kit when I have a free weekend!
There are three payment options for the boxes – a buy now single payment is £17, a monthly subscription is £15 a month, or a three-month single payment is £40 – and all come with free delivery. But however you choose to pay for your subscription, Nic will donate £1 from each box to a different charity each month.
I’m so impressed with Nic’s boxes as they’re so different from any I’ve seen before, and it’s obvious how much love and thought goes into every single item. If you want to bag one for yourself, check out the Rustics website.
If you have a creative loved one in your life who loves to write or draw, or you yourself like to doodle, scribble down your thoughts, or even plan out your blog posts, then this Valentine’s gift idea is for you.
Chroma Stationery specialises in high quality, 50 page notebooks, which are made extra special by being fully personalised. My notebook is from the Nebraska perfect bound range, but they also offer a range of Ryton spiral bound notebooks. Once you’ve chosen your binding type, you also get to pick your cover colour, whether you want plain or lined pages, and your embossing.
Embossing adds a touch of luxury, can be done in either silver or gold, and it’s completely up to you what you have put on the notebook. As standard this is usually a name, initials, or message, but if you get in touch with Chroma they’re more than happy to emboss an image – such as this pretty Valentine’s Day love heart!
My notebook, which I plan on using as a journal, is in shade ‘Annie’ – a lovely grape purple – and the cover has a luxuriously soft feel to it. The embossing is gold in a handwritten font, and I chose lined pages, which are 80gsm and lovely to write on.
The notebooks also come beautifully wrapped in a sleeve, and tissue paper, with a little card about Chroma’s history.
At £7.50 each, with personalisation included in the price, Chroma notebooks are an affordable gift idea for a loved one.
*This Chroma Notebook was sent to me by Chroma Stationery for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
For today’s Valentine’s Gift Ideas post I have put together a gift guide of ten Valentine’s gifts, all of which cost under £10 each. Around this time of year, the prices of romantic gifts, such as chocolate and lingerie, are often hiked up. However, as this guide shows, if you shop savvy you don’t have to spend a fortune to treat that special someone (or yourself!) to something nice. The guide features some traditional gifts, but also fashion and beauty themed items.
Hotel Chocolat Lovely Hearts Classic £6.50 / Thorntons Because I Love You Premium Collection £6.00 / ASOS Heart Friendship Bracelet £2.00 / Yankee Red Raspberry Candle £7.99 / George Entice Lingerie Set £7.00 / Floozie Red Heart Fairisle Scarf £6.60 / Tesco Rose Petals in a Jar £5.00 / LUSH Heart Throb Bubble Bar £3.65 / Models Own Colour Chrome £4.99 / LUSH The Kiss Lip Gloss £5.95
What will you be gifting to your loved one this Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day is also my birthday, so happens to be one of my favourite days of the year. As soon as January comes around I start looking forward to that special day in the middle of February, as not only do I get to enjoy it, but it adds a bit of brightness to the gloomy winter for people everywhere! I’m also a firm believer that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be miserable for those who aren’t in a relationship, as it gives you the perfect excuse to treat yourself, or spend time with family or friends.
So, in celebration of Valentine’s Day, over the next week or so I’ll be bringing you my pick of the best, affordable Valentine’s gifts – perfect for your loved one or even for yourself! Today’s pick is this adorable little set of Love Hearts Tea Lights, available from It’s A Wot.
Since I moved out of my mum’s house and in with my fiancé, I’ve become more and more interested in interior design, and making my home look pretty, and these tea lights help me do just that. They come beautifully wrapped in a Love Hearts wrapper, so they look like a super-sized tube of sweets, and inside you get six tea lights, each of which comes in a sturdy plastic holder.
The tea lights come in three colours – pink, purple and blue – with two of each in the pack, and they all have an iconic Love Hearts message printed on top. The pink ones say “Kiss Me”, the purple ones say “Love Me”, and the blue ones say “Hug Me”.
Despite their small size, the tea lights burn really well. I had them on for several hours the other evening and the flame hardly made a dent in the wax, and they don’t produce much smoke, just a steady flame. My only issue with the candles is that they aren’t scented, but it’s not a deal breaker and I still think they’re lovely.
At just £1.84 for a set of six, these tea lights would make an ideal Valentine ’s Day ‘stocking filler’ for someone who loves cute and quirky little house gifts. They’d also be great for adding a touch of romance to your Valentine’s evening, or even just to help you unwind and relax after a busy day. Want some? Get them here.
*These Love Hearts Tea Lights were sent to me by It’s A Wot for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
As my regular readers will know, a few months ago my fiancé and I moved in together. Since then I’ve slowly been trying to make the house look more like a home, and though it isn’t yet complete (working full-time means very little time to nest!), we’re almost there. As such, I thought it was about time I showed you some of our decor, starting with the living room.
When we moved in the house had been freshly decorated with light brown and white paintwork, and a beige carpet throughout. Neutral tones aren’t usually my thing, but they were easy to work with when it came to adding colour. The living room has been brightened with purple throws, cushions and curtains, and an ambient orange lamp, but it’s the little extras that make it even more homely.
I’ve always liked small mammals and woodland creatures, and the current trend for such wildlife has meant I’ve managed to pick up some lovely pieces. Here are a few of my favourites…
I don’t usually like having an abundance of cushions everywhere, but that all changed when I found these awesome animal photo cushions in Asda, for £7 each. There were several different animals to choose from, but I went for the squirrel, as they’re one of my favourite animals, and the Highland cow, as it reminds me of a lovely time spent in the Scottish countryside a few years ago. These take pride of place on my sofa, and as you can see Miggley approves!
Time for Tea
One thing I struggled to find was a nice set of coasters, and then when I was about to give up, I came across these gorgeous Sass & Belle Wooden Owl Coasters from Flamingo Gifts. There are six coasters in the set (much better than the typical four you usually get!), and they come in a handy stand to prevent clutter when not being used. The quality and design of the coasters is fantastic, and they look great on my coffee table.
The Abode Mouse & Field Mug is also from Flamingo Gifts, and it caught my eye as soon as I saw it as the little grey mouse reminds me of my Russian Blue rat, Heather. I prefer a mug to a cup (it holds more tea!), and this is the perfect size for my morning brew. The simple but eye-catching geometric design is by artist Luzelle van der Westhuizen, and is a good fit for my natural theme. It would also make a nice present as it comes in a gift box, and costs an affordable £8.50.
By the Fire
My fireplace features a lot of owls, with the main attraction being this owl clock. My mum gifted this to me when we first moved in, and I love how it matches the wooden coasters above.
Another of my favourite owls is this lovely felted piece that I bought from a street market in Edinburgh in the summer, during the Fringe. It took me a while to find the right place for it, but it now has a home at the side of the fireplace.
I have two of each of these hares and mice. I have a thing for hares, and I bought these in Glastonbury about ten years ago whilst on a camping trip. They’re special to me, and it’s nice to finally have them on show in my own home! The mice are actually a salt and pepper set, but I have them on display as ornaments as they remind me of my heart rat Mog (RIP). Aren’t they cute?
The Rat & The Hare
These rat and hare sculptures were Christmas gifts from my dad, and they’re incredibly beautiful. They’re by Norfolk-based artist Tracy Whinray, and are wonderfully textured with such expressive little faces. I think they look great in front of the wooden pentagram, handmade by my step-dad.
What do you think of my woodland theme?
*The Wooden Owl Coaster Set and Abode Mouse & Field Mug were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
Over the next couple of weeks I will be writing a series of posts as part of my annual Christmas Gift Guide, and today’s post will be the first in the series.
I always put a lot of thought into finding the right gift for everyone that I buy for, and I try to find something that’s a bit different to your bog standard gift set. There are several book lovers in my family, and this year on my hunt for unusual book-related gifts, I found something that is perfect for book lovers of any age. Though to be honest, this gift is so nostalgic and personal it’d be suitable for just about any of your loved ones…
The Book of Everyone is a 50 page book full of beautiful artwork, interesting statistics, and fun facts, that can be personalised to be about anyone and everyone! I was kindly sent a copy personalised to be about me, and every single page is gorgeous to look at, but also exciting and fascinating to read, as it all relates to my life. I feel like I learnt so much about my own history when reading the book, for example, in May 1989 I spent 30 minutes as a single cell, and in ‘my day’ a litre of petrol only cost 40p! I was also the 5,414,171,296th person alive on the planet when I was born. Amazing.
Creating the book is simple. It’s all done on The Book of Everyone website, and all you have to know about the person you’re creating for is their name, gender, and date of birth. The rest is done for you! Although you can change the text on some of the pages, add photos, and change the colour of the cover, just to make it that little bit more special and unique.
The book also suits any budget, as it’s available in four different formats. A digital PDF version costs £7.50, a softcover edition is £19.50, a standard hardback is £29.50, and a deluxe edition costs £49.50.
One of my favourite things about this gift is the fact that The Book of Everyone is collaborating with the charity Age UK, and every purchase from their site will go towards gifting a book to an elderly person this Christmas, who may not otherwise receive a gift. A lovely idea that I’m happy to get behind.
Books take just a few minutes to create, and are dispatched within 5 working days, so there’s still time to order before Christmas. Who would you buy The Book of Everyone for?
*The Book of Naomi was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*
Whether you’re on a tight budget, or you’re able to flash the cash this Christmas, today’s festive post features a selection of ‘Spend or Save’ fashion and beauty gift ideas for women. The ‘Spend’ section includes a variety of luxury options for those who want to spend that little bit more on a loved one, and the ‘Save’ section includes some great alternatives that are just as good, but don’t cost the Earth.
Alexander Wang Kirsten Bag $295 from ialexanderwang.com / Jurlique Rose Shower Gel (300ml) £14.40 from LookFantastic / Urban Decay Naked2 Palette £33.30 (was £37.00) from Debenhams / Ciaté Tree Trinkets £21.00 (was £30.00) for 6 from Ciate / No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum (30ml) £23.95 from Boots / Dr Martens Cherry Red 1460 Boots £100 from Dr Martens
Multi Belt Two Way Bag £38 from Rings & Tings / Bayliss & Harding Wild Rose and Raspberry Leaf Shower Creme £1.99 from Superdrug / MUA Undress Me Too Palette £4 from MUA / Lacura Multi Intensive Serum Aqua £3.49 from Aldi / Limited Collection Mini Nail Polish & Lip Gloss Bauble £5.00 each from M&S / Burgundy Boots £24.99 from H&M
I’ve been lusting after Alexander Wang’s Kirsten Bag for ages, but it’s really quite expensive and difficult to track down, so when I spotted the copy on Rings & Tings I just had to share it with you all! I don’t yet have either bag myself, but from photographs the copy looks pretty impressive.
I currently have both the Jurlique and the Bayliss & Harding rose shower gels in my bathroom, and they are equally lovely. The Jurlique one foams better, but each has a distinct sweet rose scent and luxurious packaging, making them both gift-worthy.
The Urban Decay Naked2 palette is perhaps one of the most highly sought after beauty products in the blogosphere, so would make an excellent gift for any beauty blogger. If it’s a bit out of your budget though, MUA’s Undress Me Too palette is the perfect dupe. I have it myself and the eyeshadows are all excellent quality, and at £4.00 you really can’t complain!
I’m new to serums, but have recently started to use the Lacura Multi Intensive Serum from Aldi. It’s aimed at women aged 25-35, so I’m almost in that age bracket, and it makes your skin feel so soft and plump. It’s lovely, and an absolute steal, but if you want to gift a more classic brand then No.7 is the way to go.
When I first put this guide together, Ciaté’s Tree Trinkets were £30 for the set, but they have now been reduced to £21 which is actually a pretty good deal, especially if you want to split the set up as smaller gifts. If you want more for your money however, M&S’s beauty bauble contains a nail polish and two miniature lip glosses for £5. I also spotted a Primark equivalent earlier this week, costing £2 for a bauble containing 3 little lip glosses, which is even better value for money!
I absolutely adore Dr Martens and am building up quite a collection. They last forever and, once they’ve been broken in, are incredibly comfortable. But if you’re looking for a cheaper version for your fashion-loving friend this Christmas, H&M’s burgundy boots look fab.
Check back soon for another ‘Spend or Save’ gift guide!
This year seems to have gone incredibly fast, and Christmas is almost upon us. I’m sure by now we are all well into our Christmas shopping (I’ve been extremely organised this year and only have a couple of bits left to get!), but I thought I’d put together a few festive themed posts over the next week or two to help with that last-minute rush. I have spent a while lately trawling the shops and internet for stocking filler ideas, so today’s post features my pick of the best beauty stocking fillers for £5 and under.
Clockwise from Top Left:
Orly Nail Polish £3.99 from Fragrance Direct / Lacura Aqua Moisture Cream £1.99 from ALDI / SuperDrama Mascara £5.00 (was £10.00) from Avon / Halo Futuristic Nail Glitter £4.50 from ASOS / Denman Small Styling Brush £4.99 from Fragrance Direct / Ginger Sparkle Hand Cream £4.00 from The Body Shop / Momiji Mini Gift Set £5.00 from M&S / 3 in 1 Nail Art Pearl Gem Pen £4.50 from Claire’s / MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquer £3.00 from MUA / MUA Luxe Glitter Palette £4.00 from MUA / Montagne Jeunesse Strawberry Souffle Face Mask £0.99 from New Look / Snow Fairy Shower Gel £3.50 for 100g from LUSH / Metal Eyelash Curler £3.25 from John Lewis
I hope you all find this edit helpful! If you have any £5 or under stocking filler ideas to add, please comment below as I’d love to see what you’ve come across.
Check back soon for my next Christmas post, featuring Spend and Save Christmas Gift ideas.
Whether you’re a guy or girl interested in urban fashion, or you have a partner/relative/friend who is, I have discovered a really quirky company who you will definitely be interested in, who are bang on urban trend – Capology. Capology’s edgy pieces would make great additions to any wardrobe wanting to make a statement, or excellent gift ideas for a stylish loved one this Christmas.
Capology are a new, independently owned company, who have a store in Newcastle which was opened in February this year, with Professor Green in attendance, but you can also shop with them online. As their name suggests they specialise in all types of caps, but they also stock unisex and kids’ clothes and hats from brands such as Mishka and Play Cloths, as well as accessories, bags and even toys. After a long time spent browsing their site and trying to narrow down my favourite pieces for this post, I have managed to put together an edit of just a few of the items they have to offer.
My absolute favourite piece on the whole site is the 10 Deep Ghost Roses Crew, pictured above. I’m a big fan of black for Autumn/Winter this year, and the contrasting rose print is unusual, but not over the top. I’d love to see my fiancé in it with a pair of black jeans.
Whether you’re on a tight budget or have a bit more cash to splash, Capology have something to suit every budget, so check them out for all things urban. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all their latest news.
*This post is a collaboration.*